December 9th, 2019

book collector

Books 83-84

Unity (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)Unity by S.D. Perry

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Probably more like a 2.5 read and maybe some of that is on me rather than the author. Maybe if I had read this way back when it was first published I'd have enjoyed it more. I also get the feeling there was a series by Perry for DS9 because there are characters in this I don't recognize but obviously the reader is expected to. that said, maybe they were in the last season of the show that I was unable to watch for reasons I don't remember 20 years later (yikes).

Let me start with what I really liked: the parasites. To be honest, Star Trek: The Next Generation's first season wasn't strong (these days it probably wouldn't have gotten a second) but there were a few episodes that stood out and the parasites that infiltrated key Starfleet members was one of them. It was a neat idea with an open end to it. That's where this book comes in. The parasites are back with a tie-in to the Trill and have now infiltrated Bajoran leaders threatening Bajor's being allowed into the Federation.

If the book had concentrated on that alone it would have worked for me but instead there was SO much else going on. It opens in a non-linear way which would have ended the book right there for me if I wasn't using it in a reading challenge. We have Jake Sisko returning to DS9 with Opaka, a very pregnant Kasidy waiting for him, his father is gone, Kira has been excommunicated from her religion, Ro is dating Quark and they're both about to leave the station and a big hot mess with Ezri and the Dax host interacting with previous related hosts, not to mention at least three other story lines with characters I don't know (some Andorian story line, a father/daughter tension story line, a Bajor religious tension story line)

It's too scattered and some of it just plain boring. I didn't care about the Andorians or the father/daughter thing (and if they were actual DS9 characters I've totally forgotten them).

Unfortunately some of the parasite stuff is uneven too. For the first half of the book they're a threat to the Trill, some huge secret, but once Bashir learns how to use the Trill to talk to the queen parasite, we never even see the Trill again and it's all about Bajor and Kira.

I guess a post-series DS9 story wasn't what I was looking for.

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One Night in Drake Mansion (Skeptic Detective #1)One Night in Drake Mansion by Channing Whitaker

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I won this in a Goodreads giveaway which in no way impacted my review.

I liked the premise of this. Five people are going to be locked up in the haunted Drake Mansion in the middle of nowhere Iowa. If they last the night they'll earn a million dollars. This could be any ghost hunting show like The Ghost Adventures or Ghost Nation. We have an actress trying to get her 15 minutes of fame, a psychic medium, a local woman, a paranormal investigator and a paranormal skeptic, the main point of view character, Harlan. All they know is a hundred years ago the Drake family was murdered and/or disappeared from the house which has been boarded up since with multiple local stories of the hauntings.

As they investigate, Harlan finds a diary of Vinton Drake, the patriarch, which details his encounters with Malvern Kamrar, a magician he had known in WWI, who now claims to be immortal. Is the house haunted? Did Kamrar teach Drake the secrets to being immortal? Did Kamrar murder the Drakes? All questions that get explored.

Here's the thing though, and I say this as someone who has done paranormal investigations since the 1980s, they can be boring, a lot of tedium goes into it and reading about it isn't much more exciting. So flipping back and forth between the diary and them investigating the house was a good way to avoid that. However some places did run a bit dry here and there, especially Harlan going on and on about how fake psychics are. There is too much repetition in that respect. Also there were a couple of weirdly misogynistic areas, just a couple and they stood out like a sore thumb (and one could easily have been done away with, Harlan and the show producer's plane trip out there for one, it added nothing).

I liked Harlan though for the most part. It might be interesting to see what happens next with him.

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Books 51 - 60.

51. G.Eliot - Middlemarch
Very thick book, but so much worth it.

52. Hillesum - Essential Writings (English translation)
A surprisingly good path of a mystic's development, from chaos to peace in chaotic world.

53. M.Shikibu - The Tale Of Genji (unabridged, R.Tyler transl.)
Really good story, really good translation, really good notes and pictures.

54. S.Clarke - The Ladies Of Grace Adieu & Other Stories
A really good short story collection with things happening in the same universe as Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.

55. Gerson - Paletas: Authentic Recipes For Mexican Ice Pops, Shaved Ice & Aguas Frescas
What it says. It may be short, but there's plenty of recipes for people of all ages.

56. St. Elizabeth Of The Trinity - The Praise Of Glory: Reminisces Of... A Carmelite Nun Of Dijon, 1901-1906 (English translation)
You don't hear so much of this Carmelite saint, perhaps because her holiness is so inwardly focused and how this is written, but it's still a pretty fascinating story.

57. Weir & Clarke - A Tudor Christmas
What a great read, informative, and you feel like taking on some of the customs (again).

58. Jansson - Finn Family Moomintroll (in Finnish: The Magician's Hat) (English translation)
A story with excitement and comfort, with all ending happily with plenty of food to eat.

59. Michaels - Hot Bod In A Box: Kick Butt With 50 Exercises From TV's Toughest Trainer
Actually a box of cards that I consider here to be a book - and having the moves on cards makes them easy to see when you need to do them.

60. Cavallini - St. Martin De Porres (English Translation)
Excellent biography, never wandering too far from the person, quite modern in attitude. Martin dP is a far more interesting a man than you'd think at first.
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