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Intensely Focused

I'm not obsessed, I'm just intensely focued.

Currently reading

Home Improvement: Undead Edition
Charlaine Harris, Toni L.P. Kelner
Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories, Volume I
Arthur Conan Doyle
Echo: The Complete Edition - Terry Moore I much preferred reading this in one go. It's a good story with interesting characters. I liked the quotes from famous scientists that started each book. I think Moore did a good job of showing why the scientists loved science so much, although the take on Phi isn't new.
Whispers Under Ground - Ben Aaronovitch I continue to really enjoy this series. The mysteries and word Aaronvitch has created are interesting and there are always some wonderfully witty lines.
Blood Trade - Faith Hunter I enjoyed this book but I am getting tired of the will they/won't they with various characters. At some point she needs to make a decision and there needs to not be external things blocking them from being together.
Etiquette & Espionage - Gail Carriger This book actually felt more "young adult" than most YA books I've read lately. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, it is the target audience, after all.

The story itself isn't exactly new. Misfit adventurous girl becomes the leader of a group of girls but it was pleasant nonetheless.

I do like the idea of a school dedicated to teaching people how to be evil.
Prodigy - Marie Lu I enjoyed this book. It took the story to an interesting place. I'm curious where it will go next.

I'm surprised that homosexuality was okay in the military. The rest of the society is so focused on doing everything for the Republic I figured they'd want all their elite soldiers to breed more soldiers
Extinction Machine - Jonathan Maberry I enjoyed it, though I'm beginning to wonder what can possibly be left. Werewolves?
The Black Country - Alex Grecian

This was a good follow up to The Yard . I figured out some of the mystery before the reveal but that's okay. I still really enjoyed the story and the characters.

Encounters of Sherlock Holmes - George Mann, Mark Hodder, Paul Magrs, James Lovegrove, Eric Brown, Richard Dinnick, David  Barnett, Cavan Scott, Mark Wright, Stuart Douglas, Kelly Hale, Mags L. Halliday, Nick Kyme, Steve Lockley I enjoyed it but none of the stories stuck with me or stood out.
Moon Over Soho - Ben Aaronovitch I enjoyed this book and I'm hoping there are more in the series. There continues to be an interesting blend of science and magic and I like that the protagonist is trying to figure out how it all works together.
The Mammoth Book of Zombie Apocalypse! Fightback - Stephen Jones

This isn't a traditional anthology. It's in the style of "found" documents and the multiple authors contributed.

I was disappointed with this one. I'd read [b:Zombie Apocalypse! and thought it did an exception job of showing a civilization in decline before the zombies even showed up. Since this is a sequel of sorts, I thought it would pick up about where the other one left off but instead a lot of the book covered the same territory from other points of view but there was very little indication of a society already in decline except for the mention of austerity here and there.

The actual zombie stuff wasn't all that interesting. I think they made a mistake in having a section from the point of view of the zombies because then you start to get into logistics. There's a throwaway reference to a meat farm but at some point food becomes a major issue. They tried to do some interesting things with acquiring the memories of another person but I'm not sure it makes sense that if zombies can't think or think creatively they'd be able to carry out complex military operations.

Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson - Lyndsay Faye I enjoyed it. This was a more compassionate Holmes than in some other incarnations. Watson was mostly portrayed as intelligent but did have occasional moments of cluelessness.

Faye did a good job with Holmes' increasing frustration and real pain at the cost of his continued failure.
Scarlet - Marissa Meyer

I liked it but I thought the series was going to follow the characters from Cinder. Instead I think the majority of the time was spent with characters based on a different fairy tale, though there was some intersection.

Black Sun Rising - C.S. Friedman

I enjoyed it for the most part. I thought most of the characters were interesting, particularly Tarrant and Vryce. Unfortunately, the exception is Chaini who's just kind of there. Vryce and Chaini flirt a bit and somehow that's sort of kind of maybe love? The person he's attracted to isn't there for very long and I didn't feel like their connection was particularly strong in the first place.

Some other reviews have said it shouldn't have been enough for him to throw everything aside to return her to her former state and I agree with that. However, I think part Vryce's job/religious calling is killing bad things and healing people so if it had been presented more in that light rather than because he was sort of kind of maybe thinking about falling in love with her it would have made a lot more sense.

And it turns out he didn't really pay attention to the things that made her different and unlikely to be a good partner for him in the first place so all his angsting about how she was going to change didn't really work for me. Was she the first Loremaster he'd ever met? If not, did he just forget their personality template?

I get why Senzei goes on the quest. We're told about their years long strong friendship rather than actually shown it, but I buy that as motivation for him to be there.

The world the author created was pretty awesome, I just wish it could have been used more effectively. It was a little unclear to me if only people with some kind of innate gift can affect how things evolve or if it's supposed to be the mass unconsciousness and if so, how they keep all that under control.

Pity the Billionaire: The Hard-Times Swindle and the Unlikely Comeback of the Right - Thomas Frank

It was an interesting book about how the Right used the traditional populist rhetoric of the Left to get people energized and turn their anger toward things like stopping health care reform rather than focusing on the bailouts. But as with What's the Matter with Kansas, I found myself wishing that Frank would take a hard look at the Left, too.

He seems to still believe that there is a populist movement on the Left but I no longer believe that's true of the Democratic establishment. One need only to look at the Progressive Caucuse's budget and how little attention was paid to it to see that.

Wrayth - Philippa Ballantine I really enjoyed this book. It nicely sets up several hooks for the next book and moved the story along smartly.
Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street - Neil Barofsky If you're interested in the bailout rather than how we got into this crisis in the first place you should definitely read this book.

I've been doing a lot of reading about the crisis and the aftermath, but there was still a lot that was new to me. I hadn't realized just how disorganized Treasury was or how involved the White House was in covering Treasury's ass at the expense of the taxpayers.

Apparently the real purpose of HAMP wasn't to help homeowners at all, but to slow down the defaults to spread out the pain for the banks. That's why the modifications didn't reduce the principle and the modifications expire in five years.

I'd heard that Congress wanted to bail out main street but this book did a good job of actually showing it. TARP and other programs were approved by Congress because they were supposed to bail out main street and as soon as the bills were passed Treasury abandoned that aspect.

The fact that TARP funds were generally paid back with money the banks borrowed from different government programs is something I knew but that I wish was better known by the general public.