Review: Not the Last Goodbye: On Life, Death, Healing, and Cancer

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Not the Last Goodbye: On Life, Death, Healing, and Cancer
Not the Last Goodbye: On Life, Death, Healing, and Cancer by David Servan-Schreiber

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not the Last Goodbye is a very short but emotionally-packed book. It was written by the author of the Best-Seller 'Anti-Cancer' (a book which I haven't read. I also wasn't aware of this when I started reading it). From what I understand, Anti-Cancer was a diet/self-help book that essentially taught a diet based on scientific evidence that can help prevent cancer increase the longevity of cancer patients. I may be completely wrong about that premise but that is the gist as I understand it. Not the Last Goodbye follows up Anti-Cancer as an end-of-life farewell by Dr. Servan-Schreiber after his cancer returned aggressively.

I can imagine that those who were skeptics and the followers of Dr. Servan-Schreiber's method were shaken a bit by the return of his cancer. In this book, he addresses the skeptics and arguments against his proclamations in Anti-Cancer and his continued support for its teachings. But more than anything, NTLG is a brief recollection of his struggles toward the end of his life and his legacy that he hopes to leave behind.

I think this was a book written for those who hold Dr. Servan-Schreiber dear, including his family, friends and fans, but I think there are also strong lessons that can be picked up by anyone who reads it. It's a bit of a dark read for such a short book and unlike Pausch's 'Last Lecture', I didn't necessarily finish it inspired to pick up and do anything different with life... but it was a decent read and a heart-felt goodbye.

The book was finished just 8 weeks before Dr. Servan-Schreiber's death so I'm sure many will hold these word with great reverence. I'm not sure it spoke enough to those not familiar with his other works but overall it was still a good read.

For full disclosure, I got the book for free from NetGalley for an unbiased review.

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Review: California

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California by Edan Lepucki

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is one of those books that barely survived the DNF shelf. Honestly, after finishing it, I kind of wish I would have done just that and filed it among those not worthy of my time. I suppose that what hurt the most about my overall impression of this book is that it should be been right up my alley. I love stories in this genre. Dystopian fiction is usually my cup of tea but California ended up being a massive disappointment.

There were some small glimpses of adventure and excitement in the story but overwhelmingly the story was made up of dreary dialogue between characters who actually did very little of anything. The setting was perfect for a complicated emotional tale... but it failed to deliver.

This was one of those books that garnered a significant amount of early praise which doesn't seem to be deserved. The pace was extremely slow and the ending left me wholly unsatisfied. I'll be glad to move on to something else.

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Review: Superman/Wonder Woman, Vol. 1: Power Couple

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Superman/Wonder Woman, Vol. 1: Power Couple
Superman/Wonder Woman, Vol. 1: Power Couple by Charles Soule

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Coming off my high praises for 'Injustice: Gods Among Us' I can't help but feel somewhat betrayed by DC. I finally thought I may be getting hooked back on Superman - I felt like I was experiencing some of my childhood joy again - until I read this graphic novel. I was gritting my teeth through the entire storyline. There was too much blubbery romance, too much dwelling on complex emotions and not enough ass-kicking. The storyline was just not great at all. It's not like this is a long graphic novel... and yet I almost didn't even finish it.

I enjoy a bit of complexity and real life in my comics but this was just too much. Luckily I was given a free electronic copy of this graphic novel through NetGalley because I certainly would have felt ripped off if I paid for it.

I'm at a crossroads here: Do I continue reading Superman comics and take the chance of DC ruining my childhood hero or just drop him into my memory bucket with all the good comic memories from yester-year and live with my happy memories of books I enjoyed?

I recommend skipping this one unless you like your superheroes written like Twilight novels.

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Review: Injustice: Gods Among Us Year 2 Vol. 1

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Injustice: Gods Among Us Year 2 Vol. 1
Injustice: Gods Among Us Year 2 Vol. 1 by Tom Taylor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It has been years since I read a Superman comic or graphic novel, not because I don't love Superman (who doesn't!?) but because the DC universe has often seemed a bit lacking. I'm a bit more of a Marvel universe follower but was excited to receive an electronic copy of this graphic novel from NetGalley.

I haven't read Volume 1 of this storyline but the beginning of the book did a good job of catching me up on all of the events of the previous book. Let me just say, this may have reconverted me to Superman! This is a dark and exciting portrayal of the world's favorite superhero... where he is kind of, sort of a villain. And I loved it! I'm definitely going to have to start following these books in the future.

This is an exciting addition to the DC universe storyline and can happily recommend it to all geeks!

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Review: At the Old Haunted House

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At the Old Haunted House
At the Old Haunted House by Helen Ketteman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm not sure it's totally fair for adults to review children's books so I'm going to attempt to see the book as my children see it. There's probably some sort of recipe to making a picture book that will be beloved by my chitlins but whatever that recipe is, 'At the old haunted house' seems to have hit it. This book is a huge hit with my kids. I won it in as a galley review copy from either Goodreads or LibraryThing.

It's a beautifully illustrated hardcover book which clearly had a lot of time and effort put in its production. When I read books to my kids I generally like them to be 1) short, and 2) rhyming. Don't ask me why exactly I like them to rhyme... perhaps it feels more like a game when I read the book to them.

I really think this is a great children's book. I can't rate a 5-stars simply because it doesn't stand up to my long-time favorites, however, if your kids like ghosts and mummies and other spooky halloween stuff, they'll love this book!

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Review: Trickster

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Trickster by Randall Potts

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Poetry is a very personal thing. There are times when a good book of poetry can sweep you away into a totally different world or drown you in a tidal wave of emotion. I don't consider myself extremely skilled at picking out skillful poetry but I still enjoy the romance and lyricism of a good verse. Perhaps the absence of lyricism and romance in modern poetry is often what makes me view it as lacking, but occasionally I fall in love with something new that hits me just right.

Trickster is an interesting collection of poetry. It feels disjointed at times -there are poems which feel like a random smattering of words. While I'm sure there was a goal in mind for those verses, I'll admit that I didn't really get it. However, there were other poems which were quite fantastic.

There was one poem in the book that I actually could have sworn I wrote at one point... but apparently I didn't. Perhaps it is proof that he was able to get inside my head and his words hit me close to home. This is a poetry collection worth reading but I can guarantee the whole collection will appeal to very few while a handful will hit you right where you need them.

I received this as a galley copy free of charge from the publisher as a kindle download. The formatting was a bit weird in ebook form so that may have affected my overall opinion. Still, I'd say it's worth a look!

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Review: Tomorrow and Tomorrow

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Tomorrow and Tomorrow
Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Thomas Sweterlitsch

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one of those books that ends up not being what most readers originally expected it to be. Whether that is a failing or a triumph seems to depend on the reader. I can certainly say that Tomorrow and Tomorrow isn't what I expected it to be... but it ended up being much much more complex and interesting. The story is a potpourri of genres. It is a dystopian post-apocalypse of sorts but is also crime fiction and romance and tragedy. Thomas Sweterlisch created such a complex story with a terrifyingly realistic future of brain-implanted ad-ware and privacy invasion. His description of the future is only a slightly stretch from what is already a part of our everyday lives that it is completely believable and horrifying.

The story itself is not going to make everyone happy. I'll admit that it is kind of a dreary tale. I liked it for that fact but many readers will feel beat down by it. I thought it was fantastic though! The writing was impeccable and the narrator was incredible (I listened to the audiobook).

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