Headline »

this is what happened

Book Review: THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED by Mick Herron

February 23, 2018 – 12:07 am | One Comment

Mick Herron’s standalone This Is What Happened begins in medias res, with 26-year-old Maggie Barnes hiding in a bathroom in a high-rise building during a dangerous spy mission.
Until recently, she was working in the corporate …

Read the full story »
Books & writing

Book reviews and more

Movies

Advance movie reviews and behind-the-scenes discussions with filmmakers

Q & A

Nerd chats with writers and actors

Random Nerdy Stuff

Ramblings that defy categorization

TV

Recaps and reactions to some of your favorite TV shows

Books & writing »

Nerdy Special List February 2018

February 15, 2018 – 11:42 pm | One Comment

It’s Friday before a long holiday weekend for some. And after yet another school shooting.

When I’m heartsick, I turn to books to save me, and they always do.

Here are this month’s recommendations.

From Jen at Brown Dog Solutions:

A Forest in the Clouds by John Fowler (Pegasus, February 6)

While in college, John Fowler spent a year as a research assistant for Dian Fossey at the Karisoke Research Center in Rwanda. People close to Fowler wanted to know what it was like to work with the great primatologist memorialized in Gorillas in the Mist.

Fowler experienced a dramatically different Fossey from the one the world knew, and struggled with how to respond to those who inquired. Now, decades later, A Forest in the Clouds is his answer.

It engages the reader like a novel, with humor and drama and suspense. The African backdrop, exquisitely woven into the story, adds to the exotic atmosphere with its distinctive climate and breathtaking wildlife. Fowler’s insider story is a new perspective in the world of animal science.

Buy it now from Amazon

The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist: A True Story of Injustice in the American South by Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington (PublicAffairs, February 27)

Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington’s story of institutional racism, junk science, and a broken criminal justice system is a difficult one to read, but incredibly important. Their history of Mississippi racism is mortifying, and the ways it still exists today are equally horrifying.

The pair use meticulous research to build their case against Dr. Steven Hayne, a forensic pathologist; and his friend Michael West, a dentist who claimed to be a bite-mark specialist. Hayne and West took advantage of the flaws in the system, and their greed had devastating effects on people like Kennedy Brewer and Levon Brooks, who were wrongly convicted of murder.

The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist is rich in information presented in a captivating manner. It’s a real-life horror story about a problem that can only be solved through increased understanding and awareness.

Buy it now from Amazon

From Rory at Fourth Street Review:

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin’s Press, February 6)

After unexpectedly inheriting a homestead in remote Alaska, Ernt Allbright moves his family to the Kaneq wilderness. Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder from his time as a POW in Vietnam, Ernt begins to unravel during the long nights in a hostile landscape.

The Great Alone is not his story, however; it’s the story of his resilient daughter Leni and the life she’s able to carve out in the wake of the family wreckage. Set against the backdrop of the tumultuous ’70s, Kristin Hannah has written a riveting novel of survival and brutality. Memorable characters and an unforgettable setting make this bittersweet novel a winter standout.

Buy it now from Amazon

PCN recommends:

Sunburn by Laura Lippman (William Morrow, February 20)

An attractive redhead with sunburned shoulders sitting in a bar in Delaware in the middle of a summer day. A handsome man approaches. They strike up a conversation, the start of something that soon escalates and spins out of control.

Sunburn was inspired by the work of James M. Cain, a master of noir and one of my favorite authors ever, so I approached it with interest but also some skepticism. From the first line, however, it was clear the description is apt. The prose is classic and contemporary at the same time, and even if you know how noir usually ends, Lippman makes Sunburn hard to resist.

Buy it now from Amazon

What’s on your reading list this month?

The affiliate links provide PCN with small commissions if used.

Book Review: THE MAN IN THE CROOKED HAT by Harry Dolan

February 1, 2018 – 6:57 pm | 5 Comments
man in crooked hat

Jack Pellum is a former police detective in Michigan whose life was shattered when his wife, Olivia, was murdered 18 months earlier.
Since then he’s been posting flyers around town that ask whether anyone has seen …

Mini Movie Reviews: Holiday Season 2017

November 26, 2017 – 9:41 pm | 2 Comments
Screen Shot 2017-11-26 at 7.13.34 PM

Hope you had a wonderful weekend! My Thanksgiving was nice and relaxing and the only drama occurred onscreen, with my trying to catch up on movies being touted as award contenders. If you’re wondering what …

Movie Review: JUSTICE LEAGUE

November 16, 2017 – 3:44 pm | 3 Comments
JLeague

I’ve been attending lots of award-season screenings and am behind in reviews, so I’ll do some in this format. Below are my quick thoughts on Justice League.
What you want to know up front: I liked …

Nerdy Special List November 2017

November 7, 2017 – 8:50 pm | 4 Comments
woman in camphor trunk

It blows my mind Thanksgiving is in a couple of weeks and Christmas is next month—I’m still wearing shorts!—but this is my favorite time of year so I say bring on the holidays. With time off, …

Book Review: THE CHILD FINDER by Rene Denfeld

October 18, 2017 – 8:47 pm | One Comment
child finder

As the titular character in Rene Denfeld’s The Child Finder, Naomi does exactly what her job description says: find missing children. Madison disappeared three years earlier, at the age of five, and her parents have …

Nerdy Special List October 2017

October 6, 2017 – 12:52 am | 2 Comments
we're going to need more wine

October is one of my favorite months. The leaves change colors—well, not in L.A. but back east in pictures from family. The weather is cooler so I don’t have to sweat my back off every …

Text, Don’t Call: An Illustrated Guide to the Introverted Life

September 27, 2017 – 1:11 am | One Comment
text don't call

Being an INFJ (the rarest personality type), I was happy to come across this book. The following review appeared originally in Shelf Awareness for Readers and is reprinted here with permission.
Twenty years ago, as illustrator and …

Nerdy Special List September 2017

September 20, 2017 – 12:08 am | 4 Comments
dead woman walking

I’m late getting the list up this month because I ran away. It’s been an exhausting year and I needed a respite from everything, so I went to stay with relatives where there’s no cell service …

Nerdy Special List August 2017

August 7, 2017 – 1:37 am | 7 Comments
the blinds

Summer is almost over and I’m relieved because I’m melting. But I’ve had more excellent reads this summer than I did in the past few years, and many of the standout books are August releases.
Here are our recommendations this …

Book Review: ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE

July 19, 2017 – 11:53 pm | 7 Comments
eleanor

I was in a bad reading slump recently. Picked up six novels and put them all back down after reading only the opening paragraphs. Nothing pulled me into its world, or introduced me to characters I …

Nerdy Special List July 2017

July 6, 2017 – 11:41 pm | 2 Comments
beautiful, terrible thing

Oh, man, it’s been so hot here, I’m tempted to run down the street naked and dive into random sprinklers. Mr. PCN said the neighbors would just think it’s a regular Friday.
The other day, I was reading …

Book Review: THE LIGHT WE LOST by Jill Santopolo

June 13, 2017 – 8:43 pm | One Comment
light we lost

Lucy and Gabe met as Columbia University students on 9/11, when emotions were running high and “our shields were down.” After spending a very intense day together, however, Gabe reunites with an ex, and Lucy …

Theme Tweaker by Unreal