106. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 12 Library Edition by Christos Gage
This is the final “season” of the Buffy comics that spun off of the tv series after it ended. It took awhile for me to finally get around to this one because my local bookstore never seemed to have a copy when it was originally released and I never bothered to ask them to special order it for me. Then I think it went out of print, but then was just recently re-released in this library edition for whatever reason. I wanted to support my local bookstore during these COVID times and they had this in stock, so I finally decided to read it and close out the series.
Unfortunately this was not a great ending. The stories were blah and suspect based on how few issues there were in this final season they didn’t really have a plan to bring it to a close, but found out that it was being canceled as it were and threw something together in the final few issues since the whole first third of the book focused solely on Giles in a pretty stand-a-lone story that I assume they wouldn’t have wasted their time on if they knew they were going to be done a few issues later. It wasn’t great, but at least there was closure I guess and hey I’m not sure I thought it was any worse than I thought the actual last season of the tv series was. I give it a 4 out of 10.
105. Broken (In the Best Way Possible) by Jenny Lawson
If you’ve ever read Jenny Lawson’s blog The Bloggess or any of her other books of essays then you pretty much know what you’re going to get with this book. A few of the essays were a little too out there for my taste, but overall they are what you know and love about her. If you read the blog you’ll recognize several of them repeated from there, but there is plenty of new stuff as well. It was an excellent diversion (in the best possible way) during this terrible times. I give it an 8 out of 10.
104. Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen by Jose Antonio Vargas
Jose Antonio Vargas is probably the most well-known undocumented immigrant in America. In this book he recounts his experience being sent from the Philippines by his mother to live with his grandparents in California and what it was like to try and fit in with a new culture. He doesn’t realize he is undocumented until he is a teenager and tries to get a driver’s license. The rest of the book is about living his life hiding while also trying to feel worthy of being in the country until he can’t take it anymore and uses his platform as a journalist to publicly announce his undocumented status. He uses his own personal experiences to elucidate the problems of immigration in the United States and to ask people to think about what being an American actually means and what it is they personally did to have a right to be here. It’s an excellent book that helps personalize and make real a very broken system that will help inspire people to do more to change how we treat immigrants in this country both documented and undocumented. I give it an 8 out of 10.
103. The Organ Thieves: The Shocking Story of the First Heart Transplant in the Segregated South by Chip Jones
In 1968 Bruce Tucker, and African-American, fell and hit his head and was taken to the hospital where his heart was removed and placed in the body of a white man without his family’s consent as the first heart transplant in Virginia. This book is the story of that event but also the history of heart transplants and some of the issues surrounding by African-Americans are skeptical of the medical establishment. This is one of those books that I feel like I would have read a New Yorker length article about rather than an entire book. It was interesting information and I felt like most of the context provided around the central story of this particular heart transplant was relevant, but there also felt like there was too much of it. It was a longer book than I felt like the content warranted. I give it a 6 out of 10.
102. Recursion by Blake Crouch
Barry is a cop investigating something called false memory syndrome that seems to be afflicting people where they seem to have false memories of another life that they never lived. Helena is a memory researcher desperately trying to create a way to save her mother’s memories as they fade away in dementia. Together they will try and solve the mystery of false memory syndrome and try to put a stop to what is causing it. This was a good plot driven thriller that had me engaged. I finished it very quickly. There’s some pseudo time travel that at times I felt made it difficult to keep track of where we were in time and the story, but it was easy enough to wave away as timey wimey stuff as the 10th Doctor would say without really losing the thread. It was definitely a plot driven rather than character driven book. I would have preferred a little bit more character development as we never actually saw Barry and Helena’s relationship develop we were just told it existed. I give it a 7 out of 10.
101. Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory
Olivia has recently moved to L.A. to start a new law firm with her best friend. While waiting for her new house to be ready she’s staying in a hotel where she meets an attractive and charming man at the bar. It turns out to be none other than Max Powell, the junior senator from the state. He woos her and they start seeing each other under the radar, but is his high profile public career going to break their relationship? I really liked this romance. They had a really cute relationship and the impediments they faced seemed realistic. I give it a 7 out of 10.
100. Born to Fly by Sara Evans
This book is a memoir by country star Sara Evans about her childhood and breaking into country music as well as her career and her family. She had some interesting stories to tell, but I also got annoyed by some of her proclamations about this is how men are and this is how women are and this is how you should run your blended family as well as some other things. It’s great that she has figured out what is best for her family and her marriage, but I don’t think that means it’s what is best for everyone. I know some of the things she said would not be right for me and my marriage. I give it a 6 out of 10.
99. Ghosting: A Love Story by Tash Skilton
Miles and Zoey unknowlingly work as ghostwriters for competing dating sites in which they play a sort of Cyrano role for helping people get dates on dating sites. They also are locked in a battle over the best table in their neighborhood coffee shop where they both try to set up to work every day. Little do they know that their clients’ dates that they think they are falling for online are actually each other. This was a really cute love story with lots of good banter. I tore through this book. An excellent romance. I give it an 8 out of 10.
98. The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan
After losing a keepsake from his fiance on the day of her death, Anthony has been collecting the lost things that he finds in hopes of one day reconnecting them with their owners. As his death nears he decides to bequeath his collection along with his house to Laura, his housekeeper. Along with Freddy the gardner and Sunshine the girl with Downs Syndrome who lives across the street the set out to fulfill Anthony’s dying wish of reuniting as many lost objects with their owners as possible. I read this for a book club and everyone else liked it more than I did. It grew on me a little bit more at the end, but like the book I read just previous to this one it’s of a certain genre that I don’t really know how to name, but I know it when I read it, and it’s not really my thing. I give it a 5 out of 10.
97. The Book of Second Chances by Katherine Slee
After a tragic accident as a child that killed her parents and left her permanently injured, Catriona has been living with her grandmother. Together they created a best selling children’s book series with her grandmother writing the stories and Catriona illustrating. Now her grandmother has passed and her will is linked to a mysterious scavenger hunt that Catriona must complete before she can inherit anything. So together with a childhood friend sent by her grandmother to help her they set out on a journey to discover her grandmother’s past and possibly the rumored last book in the series. This is a book of a certain type that doesn’t really appeal to me all that much, but that I expect would delight a lot of readers. I give it a 5 out of 10.