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Books by the Blogger:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


paperback | Kindle | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


paperback | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

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Authors & publishers:
I've decided to stop accepting review copies. The downside of getting buried in free books is that reading increasingly becomes an obligatory act. After some seven years of blogging books, it's time for me to return to the simple pleasure of reading only the books I want to read, when I want to read them.



  
From a random review:

  

« December 2018: Book notices | Main | February 2019: Book notices »

January 2019: Book notices

  

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T.M. Logan, Lies

  Amazon  

Joe Lynch has the best of intentions when he innocently follows his wife's car into a hotel parking garage. But his plan to surprise her leads to an altercation with the man she is there to meet, her best friend's husband, Ben, an obnoxious type A type who's a whiz with computers. Things escalate very quickly after their encounter. Ben goes missing, the police are looking at Joe for Ben's murder, and no one will believe Joe's claim that he's being set up by the alleged victim. Lies had me fully interested and fully duped up to the dramatic climax, when the bad guy lays it all out for us in a James Bond-style information dump. I found that conversation hard to swallow: too much talk under the circumstances. But otherwise, I've no complaints.

Rachel Rosenthal, Identity Thief

  Amazon  

Rachel Rosenthal tells a very interesting true story about a period of her life when she and her fiancé were experiencing financial problems, due--she suspected--to an identity thief who'd stolen her wallet in Chicago. There's more to it than that, but I don't want to give anything away. This is a short read, a recent addition to Amazon's newish imprint, Amazon Original Stories, under its Kindle Singles umbrella. I love the brevity of the story, but it did leave me wanting to know more about the person behind the author's financial issues, particulars about just how things were done. Including that information, though, would have turned this into more of an investigative piece, and I understand that that's not what the author intended. And after all, being left wanting more is better than wishing it would end sooner.

James Renner, True Crime Addict

  Amazon  

Maura Murray drove her car into a snowbank near New Hampshire's White Mountains on February 9, 2004. She declined a passing motorist's offer of help, but he called the police anyway from his driveway 100 feet away. Seven minutes later, when the police reached her car, she was gone. James Renner, a crime reporter who's written about missing girls before, became interested in Maura's case in 2009. Renner's book weaves various threads into a very readable narrative--the events leading up to Maura's disappearance, the police investigation, the author's investigation, red herrings and other bits of evidence, horrible and terrifying events from Renner's personal and family history. I particularly appreciate his transparency in his presentation of evidence. His approach toward reporting is to lay the evidence before readers so they can follow along, fact check him, and come to their own conclusions. It's honest and more credible than stories served up with their evidence fully digested. This is true crime, but it's also a form of (very modern) history, and this is how I would like history presented to a popular audience as well.

Gavin Edwards, The World According to Tom Hanks

  Amazon  

Like everyone else in the world, I'm a fan of Tom Hanks. Still, I didn't expect much when I downloaded a sample of Gavin Edwards's celebrity bio, The World According to Tom Hanks. I definitely didn't expect to wind up buying and reading the whole thing. But it's well written and interesting, and somehow it just goes down very easy, even at more than 350 pages. The book is divided into three parts: a straightforward biography; a look at Hanks through the prism of his "ten commandments" (e.g., "Excel at your life's work"), which I believe are precepts attributed to Hanks by the author rather than a list Hanks came up with himself; and what I assume is an exhaustive list, with discussion, of Tom Hanks's films.

Edwards's account is, not surprisingly, overwhelmingly positive, but he does have some critical things to say about some of the movies--and he can also land a nice turn of phrase from time to time: "Returning to the role of [Robert] Langdon, Hanks has a bit more urgency in his performance and a bit less bouffant in his hairdo. To say the character is paper-thin does a disservice to paper--however, it is nice to see a movie hero who takes murder and mayhem in stride, but gets really excited when he enters a library."

Edwards did not interview Hanks for the book, but reportedly had his blessing in writing it. He certainly interviewed a lot of people around Hanks as well as mining televised interviews for material. The result is a very readable and informative narrative.

Gregg Hurwitz, Hellbent

  Amazon  

Hellbent is the third book in Gregg Hurwitz’s Orphan X series. Evan Smoak, trained from puberty as part of a black ops program, now uses his formidable skills to help the helpless. That calling has its own considerable dangers. But he’s also being hunted by similarly trained operatives who’ve been tasked with tying up loose ends. Evan necessarily lives a secretive life--two lives, really. He excels at the lethal ninja stuff, but he’s still learning how to play the average guy, which makes for some amusing interactions. This time around, Evan has run-ins with Charles Van Sciver (his nemesis), Van Sciver’s various cronies, and the L.A. chapter of MS-13. But his trip to Target with a new friend may be the most traumatic experience for him. I really enjoy the Orphan X novels. They’re great thrillers. Evan is an interesting, likable character who’s growing as a person as we read, and events in this latest installment humanize him just a bit more. It just keeps getting better.

Elizabeth Stuckey-French, The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady

  Amazon  

In The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady, seventy-something church lady Marylou Ahearn adopts an alias and moves to Tennessee to be near the man she's decided to kill. She's got her reasons: Dr. Wilson Spriggs did something awful to her some sixty years before. But killing the old man isn't as easy as she'd expected, and in the process of getting herself in position to do the deed, she winds up insinuating herself into the lives of his family members. Spriggs lives with his daughter and son-in-law and their three children, two of whom have Asperger's. No one in the family is particularly happy, for various reasons, so Marylou has a lot of material to play with when she waltzes into their lives.

This was a fun, light read, and it was satisfying when things fell into place rather tidily at the end. But I never felt like I was reading about potentially real people, and I was never emotionally invested, so I suspect it will ultimately be a forgettable read. Nothing wrong with that, though.

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Book-blog.com reviews by Debra Hamel are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

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About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  






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Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.