Book Reviews: Myths, Strong Women, and Sex Cards

I was just described as a “card-carrying member of the male race, subspecies hetero.”
I have definitely been called worse.

30 Nights
A shy researcher at a university in Toronto has the hots for a professor, but she’s too scared to do anything about it, even with her best friend annoyingly pushing her. Then she finds sex cards at her great grandmother’s funeral and wants to act them out with her crush, but nothing happens until he accidentally overhears her talking about them.
If she wasn’t so terrifyingly timid Glenna would be quite a catch; she even has an R2D2 mug, so I definitely like her. It’s not the characterization of this man character that is the main selling point here. It’s the humor in this book that makes it so good. A lot of it is self-deprecating, as it would have to be with such a bashful lead, but I liked a lot of it.
While she certainly grows in this story, the biggest evolution is Eric’s, since the romantic target always has to have something big in their past that will come back to haunt them. This is one of those stories where you know they’re gonna end up together, and there’s gonna be hurdles and misunderstandings in the way, so the main question is how they get to the happily-ever-point. Thankfully it was a well done and humorous.

Women in Blue
Biographies of pioneering law-enforcement women in the history of the United States. Basically a little background on each woman, then descriptions of some crimes they solved.
The premise made for much anticipation, but the execution came off as too matter-of-fact, almost textbook style; in fact, it got boring after a while. I imagine this book will be inspirational to its target audience, but as regular reading material it feels dumbed down. Almost more of a reference book, an introduction to get the reader excited about the historical figured they’d just read about, so that they go looking for more somewhere else. And there are plenty of suggestions for that.
My two favorite parts were the nutshell dioramas—I wanna go see them—and the forensic artist. Extras take up the last 15%, starting with a list of law enforcement agencies. There are also web links and a bibliography.
So this is a gateway book, supposedly for teens but reading a bit younger. Informative and fine for the target audience, but thought it could have been written better.

Casimir Bridge
A reporter gets her story pulled and goes off to Africa to find her roots, surprisingly enjoying it. In the meantime, a tech visionary builds a new home for himself on a far off planet and tries to stave off a conspiracy that wants his wealth and Earth governments who don’t like that he’s so independent.
Because there are two big storylines that eventually will meet, there was a lot of switching between them, which made for far too many chapter breaks. It also starts off with a prologue hook and then goes back in time to see how the reporter got there, which I thought unnecessary.
As far as the plot, I figured out the Stonehenge riddle way before her. And about halfway there’s something that’s supposed to be a huge surprise, only the author had gone so far into it beforehand that it was not surprising at all. There’s a lot of science in this science fiction novel, but other than some world-building it’s mostly about how the heroes McGyver themselves out of jams.
Liked it well enough, but didn’t love it. Sucks that it was unfinished, and not so sure I’ll go out of my way to read the next part.

Ancient & Epic Tales From Around The World
Exactly what the title claims. “Offering a global overview, this anthology of concise retellings” of some of the most famous and a few mostly unheard of legends is a good primer for someone about to take a mythology class.
There’s only a small bit of each story, without any commentary, therefore there’s no original writing. All that can be done here is judge on the selections, because the world has so many cultures that you can’t help but wonder what’s missing.
Some highlights:
The book starts with the oldest story of all, Gilgamesh.
Telepinu needs anger management; King Solomon does too, and both stories feature bees.
Never underestimate the tongue, even if that sounds naughty. (The warrior took so long I thought the king would have been dead by the time he finally got the milk.)
Sucks to be Daphne.
Interesting reading a Beowulf story other than Grendel.
“Finn, in the cradle, nervously sucked his thumb.” Loudmouth coward is Finn MacCoul, but at least he married well.
Smart Indian princess outwits death.
Hard to tell who is the villain in the African story of the baby and the father.
Popol Vuh!
Flood story caused by a monkey.
Ends with almost 30 pages of notes and of course the biblio, as further reading would be expected.



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