Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Scatter, Adapt, and Remember

Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction
By Annalee Newitz
Doubleday, 2013. 305 pages. Nonfiction

In Earth's history, life on the planet has been seriously threatened with extinction at least half a dozen times.  In this book, Newitz considers how humanity would face similar threats should they occur in the future.  She examines how life on Earth has been threatened before, how human life has come through disasters in the past, and what scientific breakthroughs today could help us avoid serious harm in the future. 

From studying ancient underground cities, to cultivating cyanobacteria for energy use, to understanding how space elevators could make leaving the planet easier, Newitz leaves no stone unturned in this serious consideration of what innovations and principles will help ensure the survival of humanity.  This is a fascinating read that has something for everyone, but especially those interested in the sciences.

BHG

The Dead Queens Club


by Hannah Capin
Ink Yard Press, 2019. 455 pgs. Young Adult Fiction

Annie Marck, alias Cleves, has just moved and must start her senior year at Lancaster High. But, when you are friends with the King himself, you instantly become teenage royalty. Henry is a jock, a genius, and brooding bad boy, which explains how he is on his sixth girlfriend in two years. But, when two of these “Queens” end up dead, is something else going on? Can Cleves and her girl gang find out what’s really happening to Henry’s queens before history repeats itself?

I could not believe how seamlessly the story of Henry VIII and his wives was re-imagined as Homecoming King and a teenage girl gang. Cleves is witty, strong, and fierce with a no nonsense attitude. Her one major stumbling block is her love for Henry, which blinds her to the truth for much too long. This story transformed Henry VIII and his wives into a tale that is easy to understand and digest for teenagers. High school gossip, relationships, and parties show just how petty Henry VIII was. There is some strong language, but I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys strong female characters taking down a bad guy.

TT

32 Yolks: From My Mother's Table to Working the Line

32 Yolks: From My Mother's Table to Working the Line
By Eric Ripert
Random House, 2016. 256 pages. Biography

World famous chef Eric Ripert recounts his heartbreaking childhood, the early foundations of his love for food, and his path from a trouble-making kid to line chef in one of Paris's most elite restaurants, where surviving the 17-hour work days and intense pressure was a refiner's fire.  Ripert's book unfortunately ends with his emigration to the United States, before he made a name for himself.  This is his coming-of-age story, perhaps, but readers may be left wanting to hear more about his work and success in the United States.  Ripert certainly had a complex childhood and endured many hardships, but the heart of the book was his love of food and his description of how his tastes and beliefs about food developed through the years.  Recommended for foodies.

BHG

Signed, Skye Harper

By Carol Lynch Williams
Paula Wiseman Books, 2014. 304 pages. Young Adult Fiction

The year is 1972 and 14-year-old Winston can't wait to watch her idol, Mark Spitz, swim in the upcoming olympics in Germany this summer. She lives with her grandmother, Nanny, and their dog, Thelma. She's never known her dad and her mom left her ten years earlier to move to Hollywood in hopes of making it big. And so far Winston has gotten along just fine without her mother. But then a letter arrives from her mom saying that things aren't going well and to "come get me." But California is a long way away from Winston's Florida home and Winston has no idea how she and Nanny will get there. Turns out, Nanny has a sneaky idea that just might get them across the country...

This book was such a fun read. I loved the relationship between Nanny, Winston, and Thelma. I also loved the writing style in this book. Each chapter was quite short, but still so full of emotion. I also loved the humor. Since Winston tells the story the reader gets to know her pretty well and her inner musings are oftentimes hilarious. Despite some of the more serious themes that litter this book, I consider it a light, quick read, but one that sticks with you long after you've turned the last page.

LH

Friday, July 26, 2019

Death Wins a Goldfish

Death Wins a Goldfish
by Brian Rea
Chronicle Books, 2019. 168 pages. Graphic Novel

Death never takes a day off. Until he gets a letter from the HR department insisting he use up his accrued vacation time, that is. Take a peek at Death's journal entries as he documents his mandatory sabbatical in the world of the living. From skydiving to online dating, Death is determined to try it all! DEATH WINS A GOLDFISH is an important reminder to the overstressed, overworked, and overwhelmed that everyone--even Death--deserves a break once in a while.

Two words: Utterly. Delightful. This is one of my favorite books of 2019. There's beauty to be found in every day, even if it's usually lost on us living folk. Like watching a child discover the world, watching Death try his hand at living life brings on all the feels - nostalgia, wonder, pride, vicarious excitement along with a contrasting note of melancholy. You'll be both charmed and gently reminded to take time and just live.

MW

The Women's War

The Women’s War
by Jenna Glass
Del Rey, 2019. 549 pgs. Fantasy

 When women’s only value is in producing a male heir, they are treated like the possessions and bargaining chips of their husbands and male relatives. Then a world-altering spell gives women control of their fertility and they finally have a bargaining chip of their own. However men in power are outraged at this loss of control, and will do anything they can to maintain the status quo.

 Although marketed as feminist fantasy, to me this read like any richly complex fantasy novel but with women as main characters. The plot is driven by the societal oppression and abuse of women, although a wide variety of relationships are portrayed. The world-building was good and I thought the magic system was unique and interesting. While a lot of trauma is described (forced prostitution, rape, etc.), I felt like portrayal of the after-effects of trauma like that was mostly missing. Overall I found this book to be engaging and would recommend it to adult audiences who enjoy high fantasy.

ER

Saturday, July 20, 2019

How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen: A Survival Guide to Life with Children Ages 2-7

How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen: A Survival Guide to Life with Children Ages 2-7 
by Joanna Faber
Scribner, 2017. 409 pgs. Nonfiction

If you want (or desperately need because you’re losing your mind) better cooperation from your young child, this book is for you. Authors Faber and King tailor the parenting tools taught in How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & How to Listen So Kids Will Talk specifically for children ages 2-7 and present them in an engaging style. These tools offer effective solutions to the challenges that will vastly improve your working relationship with your children.

I listened to the audio version of this book, and I loved it. The narration style was interesting and had different narrators when different people were sharing their stories of using the tools. I really like the idea of a parenting toolbox, with different tools for different situations, and a lot of these principles are true even for other adults. This book is not a magic pill to make your kids obey you, but rather teaches reasonable expectations and how to communicate in a way that will get through to small children. It’s kind of like the dog whisperer but for kids. I highly recommend this book to anyone with children between 2-7 years old, especially if you’re struggling with yelling or feel like you’re losing it because they don’t listen.

ER

Friday, July 19, 2019

Teen Titans: Raven

Teen Titans: Raven
by Kami Garcia
DC Ink, 2019. 192 pgs. Young Adult Comics

Rachel Roth, known as Raven to her friends, is involved in a tragic car accident that kills her foster mom and makes her lose her memory. Raven must move to New Orleans to finish out her senior year, but starting over isn’t easy. She remembers everyday stuff like math and cooking, but can’t remember her favorite song or who she was before. With her new friends and a bit of magic, will Raven be able to face her past and the strange darkness building inside of her?

Garcia tells her own version of Raven’s story with the important canon, but some new and fun twists. I loved the inclusion of other types of magic, like voodoo, that are regional and relevant to the story. The illustrations feel gritty and dark, with touches of color that focus the reader on Raven and important moments in the story. Raven was relatable and interesting, while maintaining her core characteristics. This is a great beginning to a new Teen Titans series and I am excited for the next installment about Beast Boy.

 TT

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Normal People

Normal People 
by Sally Rooney
Hogarth, 2018. 273 pages, General Fiction

Some people experience a connection that seems to pull them together no matter the circumstances. This is the connection that Marianne and Connell experience. From the time they were high school classmates, who keep their relationship secret from everyone they know due to their varied social status, to the time they meet again at university when they both attend Trinity College in Dublin, they cannot shake the unique bond they share. Intimate and deep, these two don’t know how lucky they are to experience that connection to one another, but they struggle to find balance between their passionate feelings and how to form a functional relationship, with their individual damage and insecurities in tow.

This is a uniquely moving character and conversation driven coming of age story. It is rare for a book to truly capture real human emotion and insecurity in relationships the way this book did, and I devoured it. It was long listed for the Man Booker prize in 2018 and it definitely has that award-worthy feel with lovely language and a meandering pace that lets you really sink in to what the character’s experience and their emotional ups and downs. I’d recommend this book to those who don’t require a clean read and who enjoy literary fiction with a focus on language and realism.

 RC

Saturday, July 13, 2019

My Girls: A Lifetime with Carrie and Debbie

                                   

My Girls: A Lifetime with Carrie and Debbie 
by Todd Fisher
William Morrow, 2018. 388 pages. Nonfiction

Todd Fisher is the son of movie legend Debbie Reynolds and brother to Carrie Fisher, another movie legend in her own right. In this memoir of his own experiences with the women he calls, my girls, Fisher gives an honest, yet loving, portrayal of the over-the-top lives of his family.

With humor and heartbreak he outlines how he came into the world as his parents’ marriage was breaking up. This began the special and complicated relationship he had with his sister and mother. Debbie’s next two husbands both cheated and stole from her. Todd was there to stand with her through the heartache and the legal nightmares both divorces created. Meanwhile Carrie was dealing with major mood swings that would eventually be diagnosed as Bipolar Disorder. As Carrie began a successful acting and writing career and Debbie continued to perform and work in theater, Todd became fascinated with making movies and documentaries. Most of his life was taken up by the needs of his mother and sister. He was the only man in their life who they could trust to love and stand by them until their untimely deaths, one day apart, in 2016.

Fisher has penned a love story to the family that was demanding, but fiercely loyal to each other and honors his mother and sister as the amazing women and entertainers that they were. This book was funny and heartbreaking at the same time. Reynolds and her children had an amazing bond. Their loyalty was fierce and strong. Whenever Carrie overdosed or Debbie had financial trouble, Todd was there to help them pick up the pieces.

As a lover of both Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, this memoir was a fitting tribute to such amazing women. Yes, Reynolds was an alcoholic; yes, Carrie Fisher was an addict and had debilitating mental demons. But Todd Fisher shows their grit, their intelligence, and their never-ending humor.

If you are a fan of Carrie Fisher’s books like Shockaholic and The Princess Diarist, this book will be a great bookend to a brilliant career of writing. If you are a fan of Singing in the Rain and The Unsinkable Molly Brown, this is a loving account of Debbie Reynolds from her adoring son. I highly recommend it.

AGP

Friday, July 12, 2019

Lost and Wanted

Cover image for Lost and wanted : a novel
Lost and Wanted
by Nell Freudenberger
Alfred A. Knopf, 2019, 315 pages, General Fiction

Helen Clapp is a physics professor at MIT who prefers to live in a world where everything can be explained by science. Helen’s best friend, Charlotte Boyce, was an up-and-coming Hollywood script writer until her life was ended suddenly by complications from lupus. Even though Helen knows her best friend is gone, she still occasionally gets random phone calls and texts from Charlotte. As Helen struggles to understand what’s going on, she also thinks back to her college days, and ponders what she knew about her best friend’s life from a different perspective.

On the surface, this book seems like it’s a supernatural mystery, and it does include a light mystery element. However, this book is really an exploration of friendship, of how relationships change over time, and especially of how different people deal with grief and loss. It was beautifully written, and I enjoyed savoring the story. I also appreciated that even though this is a book about grief and loss, overall, the message of this book is a hopeful one.

Since the main character is a physics professor, this book also includes a lot of complex science-related discussions, but they’re written in a style that makes them easy for anyone to understand. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes quiet stories that make profound points about life.

MB

Thursday, July 11, 2019

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
by Dave Eggers
Vintage, 2001, 437 pgs. Biography

What happens when you become an orphan and a parent all at once in your early twenties? If you're Dave Eggers, you migrate around California with your kid brother, live large like two irresponsible teenage runaways, found three literary magazines, and take advantage of the sugary sympathies of neighbors, family friends, and strangers. Then, ten years later, you write all about it. In this account of the years after his parents died, Eggers gets into the nitty-gritty of how he and his brother live, giving a comprehensive list of eleven-year-old Toph's ultimate frisbee maneuvers, drawing diagrams of his apartment's layout to acquaint the reader with the spaces he inhabits, and describing in detail his various daydreams about various pretty girls.

The resulting memoir is like a night sky: full of separate dazzling bits and pieces that constellate together beautifully like a connect-the-dots, and gradually form a grand tableau that invites the reader's gaze. But don't get me or Eggers wrong--the very title of this book hints at Eggers' sense of irony which gently negates and pokes fun at his project and prevents bathos from leaking in. The narrator and his characters are, after all, funny, honest, and thus so charismatic. While it's clear Eggers' creative impulses sometimes compromise the pure truth of his story, the whole thing exudes a feeling of authenticity to life and human beings. Besides, what is nonfiction anyway but a history conditioned by subjectivity? The postmodern period that this book came out of proved that--more or less.

If you like Jonathan Safran Foer and David Foster Wallace, or other genre-bending memoir-novels like Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, check out A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.

DMR

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

I'll Be Gone In the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer

I'll Be Gone In the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer
by Michelle McNamara
HarperCollins, 2018. 328 pages. Nonfiction

True crime enthusiast? This is your next book! Michelle McNamara was a journalist who became fascinated by the man she dubbed, "The Golden State Killer." Infamous for committing many heinous crimes all over the state of California from 1974 to 1986, this man has eluded capture and identification for almost fifty years. McNamara's debut novel was published posthumously and is currently being adapted into an HBO series. The book takes you through the beginning of her research in 2013 up until her unexpected death in 2016 - at which time she was not finished writing. The book was finished by crime writer Paul Haynes and journalist Billy Jensen. These men were able to put together her manuscripts, interviews, exhaustive research, and detailed notes into a riveting chase for an abhorrent criminal.

The fact that Michelle McNamara wasn't able to see her work come to fruition is heartbreaking to me. This book kept me up late at night, turning page after page until I couldn't keep my eyes open. While reading, I wanted to find The Golden State Killer as much as Michelle did; her passion for justice is almost palpable. The audio book is read by the talented Gabra Zackman and adds an extra layer of depth to an already addicting investigation. Has "The Golden State Killer" been caught? Will he ever? I'll let you decide if you want to look this information up after you finish reading Michelle McNamara's remarkable novel.

LKA

Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls

Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls 
by Jes Baker
Seal Press, 2015. 240 pages. Non-Fiction

For many women, loving your body as it is right now is not always the easiest thing to do. There is a constant barrage of media images telling us we’re supposed to slim down, tone up, be healthier, have no cellulite, always have flawless skin, etc. and it shames us into feeling inadequate. Jes Baker asks women (and men) to instead be proud of the amazing body that you have RIGHT NOW, and points out ways that a flawed system is benefiting from keeping us all striving for largely unattainable and unrealistic body goals. Armed with research and scientific facts, Baker supports her claims that dieting and diet culture are harmful to everyone, that yoyo dieting is physically harmful to health (both mental and physical), and argues for diversity in body representation to change the world.

Jes Baker is the voice we need in the conversation surrounding body positivity right now. Sassy, smart, and unapologetic, she doesn’t shy away from talking about hard topics while still putting out an approachable and relatable air. She encourages everyone, in every body type, to find joy and do what makes them happy regardless of whether their size, shape, ability, or gender conforms to societal beauty standards. For anyone with a body that they don’t always love, this positive and empowering read will have you rethinking what contributes to those negative self images.

RC

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

The River

Cover image for The river : a novel
The River
by Peter Heller
Alfred A. Knopf, 2019, 253 pages, General Fiction

Best friends Jack and Wynn are taking a break from college to spend a leisurely summer camping in northern Canada. Life is idyllic; their days are spent canoeing and fishing, and they curl up by the fire at night with their pipes and settle in for a good book, a bit of stargazing, and great conversation. Their trip is threatened, however, when they begin to see signs of a raging wildfire edging closer and closer. As they head downriver to try to avoid the fire, they run into other campers who seem to be running from more than just the flames.

The River begins very slowly, comparing the fishing techniques used by Jack and Wynn, and giving detailed accounts of how they pack their canoe every morning. But the threat of the wildfire lies underneath the descriptions of leisurely days, and the tension of this book builds and builds, and just keeps on building. This combination of an adventure/survival novel with the elements of a thriller really works. Although this is the first novel by Peter Heller that I’ve read, I’ll definitely be reading his back catalog soon.

Read Peter Heller if you’ve enjoyed books like The Dry by Jane Harper, or The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah.

MB

The Upside of Falling Down

The Upside of Falling Down
By Rebekah Crane
Skyscape, 2018. 239 pgs. Young Adult

Clementine wakes up in an Irish hospital with no memory of who she is or how she got there. Her wonderful nurse, Stephen, tells her her name, let’s her know that she’s in Ireland but originally from Ohio, and that she’s the only survivor of a plane crash. It’s a lot to take in, and in a moment of overwhelming uncertainty she adopts a new identity and escapes the hospital with local boy Kieran O’Connell. Now “Jane” is adapting to life without any memories and starts a journey of self-discovery.

It can be fun to have a fresh start, but Jane/Clementine’s fresh start is just as terrifying as it is exciting. The characters are engaging as they discover themselves and each other, as there are a lot of secrets to go around. Overall I think this is a fun, light summer read.

ACS

A Very Large Expanse of Sea

A Very Large Expanse of Sea
By Tahereh Mafi
Harper, 2018. 310 pgs. Young Adult

Shirin is a 16-year-old Muslim girl in the politically turbulent time of 2002, a year after 9/11. She’s tired of being stereotyped, and is no longer surprised by how horrible people can be because of her race, religion, and the hijab she wears. In the afternoons after school she drowns her frustrations in music and break-dancing in her brother’s new crew as they prepare for the school talent show. Then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in a long time that seems to genuinely like and want to spend time with Shirin, but letting her guard down and forming a real friendship is difficult after spending so long protecting herself.

Shirin is a very well developed character, acting and reacting in realistic ways based on the experiences she’s had. It’s a reminder of how dangerous and cruel it is to form opinions of an entire group of people based on the actions of a few individuals. My heart broke for Shirin and her struggles. I loved Ocean and felt like the conversations between the two were illuminating and intelligent, rather than sentimental or mushy. The teens and their situation felt real. I could easily recommend this book for readers looking for well crafted, diverse, issue-oriented reads.

ACS

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Pawn of Prophecy

Pawn of Prophecy (Belgariad #1)
David Eddings
Del Rey, 1982, 262p, Fantasy

Pawn of Prophecy is an old fantasy story. In the same vein as Robert Jordan, Eddings creates a vast world with many cultures, where magic is possible to the select few who know it's secret, and where an absolute evil force that wants to destroy everything, is waking up from an eternal slumber. The story initially focuses (like many old fantasy epics) on a farm boy, named Garion, who's known nothing but cleaning pots in the kitchen and tending to fields. He's eventually thrust into the world by his Aunt Pol and a storyteller Garion calls Old Wolf, out of necessity, to keep him safe. But for Garion, he only knows the farm, but as he meets kings and queens, learns more about his family and their ancient history, he'll discover that he's far more than a farm boy.

For those that like Robert Jordan's Eye of the World or Brandon Sanderson's Elantris, this will be a great read!

SMM

Four: A Divergent Collection

Four: A Divergent Collection
By Veronica Roth
Katherine Tegen Books, 2014. 285 pgs. Young Adult

Tobias is tired of feeling weak and afraid. At the Choosing Ceremony he transfers to Dauntless in the hopes of escaping his old life. During initiation he discovers that he will do more than escape, he will succeed in his new faction. Things are changing though, and he is not sure who he can trust. Especially once he feels himself drawn to one of the new initiates, Tris.

This is a companion volume to the Divergent series. It is four short stories that take place before the Divergent series. They are told from Tobias's point of view and give a lot more details into his life and thoughts. It explains a lot more about how he got his new name of Four and what it was like for him to be initiated into Dauntless. I enjoyed getting to know Four better. He was one of my favorite characters from the series.

AL

Friday, July 5, 2019

Bird Box

Bird Box
By Josh Malerman
Ecco Press, 2014. 262 pgs. Fiction

Life for Malorie is looking a little more complicated when her pregnancy test comes back positive after a one-night stand. But just as she and her sister start to plan for Malorie's new future, the world is thrown into utter chaos by the so-called "Problem"--something strange and sinister has come to Earth, which, if looked at directly, drives its witness to violent suicide by any means. You must close your eyes if you want to survive. Weaving three narratives together from different moments in Malorie's story, Bird Box explores how survivors navigate the new world, banding together, using the resources around them, and staving off hunger, thirst, and perhaps most importantly, paranoia. As it turns out, it's an Olympian task to stay sane in an environment that drives people mad. Malorie must do not only that, but also bring a child into this world where it seems even animals are not exempt from the effects of the hostile presence.

Just when you thought the post-apocalyptic genre's moment was over, Bird Box bursts onto the scene with several awards and a Netflix adaptation starring Sandra Bullock and John Malkovich. If you want in on the buzz without having to watch something violent, the book is a great place to go; the print medium lends itself well to the phenomenon of blindness and you'll feel just like Malorie, stumbling suspensefully into the twists and surprises of the book. The psychological development of the characters is just as thrilling as the dangerous presence and will have you questioning who the real threat is. Bird Box is Malerman's debut novel, and I must admit at times I struggled to suspend my disbelief--it doesn't quite make sense when Malorie decides to risk opening her eyes to drive three miles just after another character is offed nearby. Moreover, the novel takes on more than four years and such an enormous "Problem" that I wish Malerman had devoted a little more time to, especially after reading Justin Cronin's beautiful and thoroughly-written book, The Passage. But the premise of Bird Box is so terrifying and so compelling that you'll be hooked, and the characters' instincts and wills to survive so universal that I believe the story inside will outlast its momentary trendiness.

DMR

Monday, July 1, 2019

Elevation


Elevation
by Stephen King
Scribner, 2018. 144 pages. Fiction

Scott Carey hasn't been trying to lose weight, but he's been doing so anyway. There are other strange things too: he looks exactly the same no matter how much weight he loses and he weighs the same with his clothes on or off. Scott lives his life alone, in a quiet home, in the picturesque town of Castle Rock, Maine. He doesn't want to make a big deal out of his mysterious weight loss, so he only confides in his doctor and friend Bob Ellis. Scott insists that he not be treated like a science experiment and instead of trying to determine a cause, only has Dr. Ellis monitor his weight loss. During this baffling time in his life, Scott has an encounter with his new neighbors - a married, lesbian couple - that escalates quickly into an ongoing battle. The women are new to town and trying to open up a restaurant in an environment that is less than welcoming. Scott's inexplicable situation becomes unexpected common ground with these women. Through a deeper look at the prejudices the women face - including his own prejudices - Scott is able to find accidental allies in them. Together, they navigate a town that seems to have no place for any of them, and find deeper life lessons than they knew they were looking for.

If you pick up anything with Stephen King's name on it like I do, then you will enjoy this quick read. It left me with a delightfully complete feeling once it was done. It's bizarre, as is most Stephen King, but somehow it's not impossible to believe. I enjoyed experiencing this weird phenomenon through Scott's perspective, which was so very different from what I think my own perspective would be. He accepts what is happening to him and then goes one step further and actually embraces it. The relationship he develops with his neighbors is both inspiring and heartfelt; an example of what it means to focus on love. Be advised that there is some strong language in this book, but if you can get past that, it's absolutely worth the read!

LKA

Altered Carbon

Altered Carbon (Takeshi Kovacs #1)
Richard K. Morgan
Del Rey, 2018, 544p, Science Fiction

Originally published in 2002, Altered Carbon won the Phillip K. Dick award for Best Novel in 2003 and was made into a Netflix Original TV show in 2018. This science fiction novel takes place in a future where human personalities are stored like computer data and downloaded into whatever body (called sleeves) happens to be available. This storage allows mankind to travel the stars, to change appearance on a whim, and even to live forever. With enough money, anyone can backup their mind so, if they die suddenly, they can come back to life with all the memories they had before their most recent backup.  Takeshi Kovacs, a highly trained soldier turned mercenary, is revived from criminal storage, placed into a new body, and hired by Laurens Bancroft (who was revived from a backup after his murder) to investigate the murder of the most recent version of Laurens Bancroft, who died a little less than 48 hours after the previous backup.

In six weeks, Takeshi has to work on Earth, a planet he's never been to before, among a society that is very different from the one he's used to, and he has to do it in a body addicted to cigarettes. Everything seems to point to the murder being a suicide, but with the help of an AI hotel named Hendrix, a hacker named Irene Elliot, and a police lieutenant named Ortega, Takeshi is able to navigate through the streets of San Francisco and find out that the murder isn't just a murder. His past literally comes back to haunt him forcing him to ultimately choose between protecting his own potential future or destroying a vile part of his past.

Those who like Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, William Gibson's Neuromancer, or the movie Blade Runner, will enjoy this cyberpunk-infused story that actively asks the question: What kind of people would we become if we could actually live forever? Content advisory: This book contains explicit scenes related to drugs, torture, and sex, so be advised.

SMM