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Joined 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Primarily a horror reader, but always down for some historical fiction and gay stuff.

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mikerickson's books

reviewed Wolfsong by T. J. Klune (Green Creek, #1)

T. J. Klune: Wolfsong (Paperback, 2018, Dreamspinner Press) 4 stars

The Bennett family has a secret: They're not just a family, they're a pack. Wolfsong …


3 stars

An unsteady first entry to a series I'll likely continue and that I expect will enjoy the later entries more. If nothing else, I can pat myself on the back for pushing through a premise that initially had me feeling pretty uncomfortable.

Fantasy is my "maybe this time I'll like it!" genre. From fully-fictional worlds with paragraphs of background exposition to only slightly-incredible magical realism, it never really sticks for me, but I think this is the closest I've gotten to enjoying it in a long while. Basically we have here a setting where 1) werewolves are real and 2) magic is real, but we learn this as readers at the same steady pace as our mundane protagonist does. So far so good.

And really the paranormal aspects really just serve as a vehicle to drive home on the themes of family, loyalty/betrayal, and self-worth. And boy are those themes …

George Friedman: The Next 100 Years 3 stars

"Conventional analysis suffers from a profound failure of imagination. It imagines passing clouds to be …


4 stars

While I will be putting this on my nonfiction book shelf, this 100% reads like geopolitical fanfiction and I mean that in the most endearing way possible.

It was an interesting exercise reading a prediction of the future written back in 2009... in the year 2024. (Hell, Osama bin Laden was written about in the present tense... because he was still alive!) The author attempts a logical progression of events with the information and state of the world available to him fifteen years ago, but the problem with prognosticating is that the sooner you're wrong about something, the sooner your house of cards comes falling down. That said, hindsight is 20/20 and maybe I'm not being fair because what the hell predictions have I made, but anyone who pays attention to current events will likely notice the same things I do.

For starters, there's a lot of confidence in China …

Keigo Higashino: The Devotion of Suspect X (Detective Galileo, #1) (2011) 4 stars

The Devotion of Suspect X (容疑者Xの献身, Yōgisha Ekkusu no Kenshin) is a 2005 novel by …


4 stars

I try to avoid spoilers in my reviews, and this will be no exception, but the twist at the end of this book is what really sold me on it so it'll be hard to not talk about my favorite part.

While I would categorize this as a mystery, the reader has a front-row seat to the inciting murder (or really "self-defense-turned-manslaughter" in this case), so it's not a whodunit. Really the central mystery is whether or not the detectives assigned to the case are able to piece together what we as the audience already know, or if the involved parties can get away with it.

The medium-sized cast of characters is surprisingly interwoven with each other, even if they don't immediately realize how, which leads to some interesting dynamics and alliances and interactions. There's a physicist and a mathematician that were buddies back in college years before this plot …

Brian Evenson: Father of Lies (Paperback, 2016, Coffee House Press) 4 stars


4 stars

I can repeat the mantra of, "the presence of challenging content in media is not an endorsement of said content" all I want, but goddamn if this wasn't a difficult read. There were scenes that had me physically grimacing and pulling all sorts of faces while reading with one eye closed, as if that'd spare me the mental imagery of what was happening on the page.

What we have here is a blatant repudiation of organized religion and what it looks like at its worst. A local provost of a regional Christian offshoot sect is accused of unspeakable things by some in his congregation, but the clergy rallies around their guy to protect him from the allegations. They shouldn't have, but the Sunk Cost Fallacy wins out and things get worse.

The neat/tragic thing about this book is that I don't know if it was a purely psychological descent into …

Danny Caine: How to Protect Bookstores and Why (2023, Microcosm Publishing) 3 stars


3 stars

I am a habitual visitor of local bookshops (and I'm fortunate to have multiple good options near me despite not living in a city), and I almost always walk out with something; my physical TBR pile is growing quite formidable. So I don't know that I was necessarily the target audience for this book, but I have been seeing it show up frequently, usually right on the checkout counter of . And I really enjoyed this author's first book - How to Resist Amazon and Why - so it seemed logical to give this one a go.

It's structured around visiting specific real-world bookstores, interviewing the owner(s) to learn about a particular issue or hardship they faced, how they overcame it, and how to extrapolate that takeaway to your local community. Straightforward enough, and allowed for a formulaic and predictable format through each chapter. There is a bias towards stores …