Katie′s #CBR5 Review #10: Dead Center by Shiya Ribowsky

Title: Dead Center: Behind the Scenes at the World’s Largest Medical Examiner’s Office
Author: Shiya Ribowsky, Tom Shachtman
Source: library
Fun Fact: NYC’s subway system is so vast it contains nearly as many stations as all the other subway systems in the country combined.
Review Summary: A not-too-morbid, sometimes funny, sometimes moving, and always fascinating look at what it’s like to work in an ME’s office.

In Dead Center we get to learn about a part of society that most of us probably don’t think about very much – what happens to our bodies when we die. This could be a very morbid or gruesome topic, but the author focuses on a variety of things other than the gore. First, we learn about what challenges face MLI’s (medicological investigators), including everything from identifying cause of death to interacting compassionately with grieving families. We also learn what characteristics make a good MLI. Next, there are stories ranging from the funny or bizarre to the emotional and moving – a recap of some of the author’s most interesting experiences. And finally, we hear about the author’s biggest challenge working as an MLI in charge of identifying all remains found at Ground Zero – a process that took over 4 years.

Read more at Doing Dewey…

Katie′s #CBR5 Review #9: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Title: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Author: Rebecca Skloot
Source: library
Fun Fact: If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they’d weigh more than 50 million metric tons—as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings
Review Summary: An impressively unbiased look at an interesting ethical question, with an equally impressive personal account of how this issue changed one families’ life.

Henreitta Lacks is a young, black woman whose cancerous cells were harvested and grown  without her consent in the 1940′s. At the times, this was standard practice, especially with black patients, who still saw doctors from segregated wards or not at all. Today, her cells have changed the world. As the first cells to survive and continually reproduce, her cells have been used to develop numerous vaccines and learn more about many crucial cellular functions. Unfortunately, her family never benefited from the massive commercialization of her cells, although this book is an attempt to change that.

Read more on Doing Dewey…

Katie′s #CBR5 Review #8: The Big Exit by David Carnoy

Title: The Big Exit
Author: David Carnoy
Source: from publisher for review
Review Summary: A fun modern take on the noir mystery genre with plenty of action and plot twists to supplement the great atmosphere.

Convicted of vehicular manslaughter, Richie is released from prison still claiming his friend actually swapped places and put him behind the wheel. While Richie served his sentence, his friend has gone on to business success and marriage to Richie’s ex-fiance. When that same friend turns up dead, Richie is the obvious suspect. However, while evidence against both Richie and his ex-fiance mounts, not everything is as it seems. Plot twists and intriguing leads kept me reading this one late into the night.

Read more on Doing Dewey…


Katie′s #CBR5 Review #7: Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Title: Born Wicked
Author: Jessica Spotswood
Source: bought on amazon
Review Summary: A creative, engaging alternate history with great characters but not a very proactive protagonist.

Imagine there were witches and that they came to the new world, lured by the promise of religious freedom. Imagine next that, in a backlash against the witches leadership, a male dominated society was formed in which women were expected to be uneducated and subservient. This is the world in which Cate Cahill and her sisters, born witches, struggle to survive. As the time for Cate to choose marriage or  the Sisterhood, her promise to protect her sisters becomes ever harder to keep.

Read more at Doing Dewey…

Katie′s #CBR5 Review #6: Override by Heather Anastasiu

Title: Override
Author: Heather Anastasiu
Source: from publisher for review
Review Summary: An incredibly impressive sophomore novel, with great pacing, interesting ethical questions, and very cool characters but a slightly anti-climatic ending.

Override is the sequel to Glitch, so this description contains some unavoidable spoilers that mean you’ll probably want to skip the review if you haven’t read the first book. So now that those who haven’t read Glitch have left….  This book picks up almost exactly where Glitch left off, with Zoe joining the resistance now that she’s free from the link. She’s quickly swept into a war academy where glitchers are trained to use their powers to fight for the resistance.  The more time she spends there though, the more it becomes clear that divisions lurk just below the surface – about what the Resistance should be willing to do to win and even what winning would look like.  As Zoe struggles to answer these questions for herself, her relationship with Adrien becomes complicated by his own ethical questions about his ability to see the future.

Read more at Doing Dewey…

Katie′s #CBR5 Review #5: Strides by Benjamin Cheever

Title: Strides: Running Through History with an Unlikely Athelete
Author: Benjamin Cheever
Source: library
Fun Fact: There is a marathon through the Médoc region of France where wine is served at the water stops.
Review Summary: A little choppy and light on the history, but still a fun read with both moving and humorous stories about running.

The subtitle of this book is a little misleading. There are some stories about running throughout history, but they’re almost all purely anecdotal. There are a few citations at the back, but they’re fairly sparse, and much of the history is actually myth. I would describe it more as a musing on running, comprising many humorous and touching anecdotes about the author’s experience with the sport. This includes everything from doing a 10-K in Baghdad to participating in the wine-drinking marathon mentioned above.

Read more at Doing Dewey…

Katie′s #CBR5 Review #4: Partials by Dan Wells

Title: Partials
Author: Dan Wells
Source: library 
Review Summary: Fairly typical YA dystopian novel, but with a particularly likable protagonist with strong morals and leadership ability; believable science; and unusually nuanced ethical questions.

In this dystopian wasteland, only a small fraction of the human population has survived  war with the genetically engineered super-human Partials and the ravages of a virus. Although the surviving humans and all Partials are immune to the virus, no human baby has been born immune in over a decade. As a 16-year-old-medic, Kira experiences first hand the horror of the baby-killing virus and the violence caused by factions disagreeing about mandatory pregnancy laws. With astounding insight and determination, Kira pursues a solution – a possible connection between the Partials and the virus – in what may be humanities last hope for survival.

Read more at Doing Dewey

Katie′s #CBR5 Review 3: Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku

Title: Physics of the Future
Author: Michio Kaku
Source: library
Fun Fact: Today the little chip in cards that sings happy birthday has more computing power than the Allied forces in 1945.
Review Summary: An extremely fun and well-explained look at current cutting edge science and where it will lead in the next century.

Are super powers, sentient robots, and flying cars in our future? According to Michio Kaku’s latest book, the answers to that question is probably; not any time soon; and at least floating cars almost definitely. In this book, Kaku makes predictions about what the next 100 years of science will bring and how that science will effect our daily lives. He makes these predictions based on both extensive interviews with scientists doing cutting edge research and his own experience as a researcher.

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Katie′s #CBR5 Review 2: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Title: Falling Kingdoms
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Source: giveaway by Jessica Spotswood
Review Summary: Incredibly well written with great dialogue, well developed characters, and a complex but easily followed plot.

This one really did have a complex plot, so I’m going to direct you to the goodreads description and include an excerpt of that description here:

In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power–brutally transforming their subjects’ lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined…

This book is high fantasy at it’s best. There is a broad, epic plot at the level of kingdoms and we get pieces making up this bigger picture from the perspective of a variety of characters. more…


Katie′s #CBR5 Review 1: Mastermind by Maria Konnikova

Title: Mastermind: How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes
Author: Maria Konnikova
Source: from publisher for review
Fun Fact: Motivation can improve IQ test results and memory formation.
Review Summary: Not the most useful as a self-help book, but a fun and inspiring way to learn about psychology.

Can you learn to think like Sherlock Holmes? Drawing on both anecdotes from Holmes stories and exciting studies in psychology, author Maria Konnikova suggests ways in which you can. She’s clearly familiar with and enthusiastic about both her topics – Homes and the psychology behind his way of thinking – and she does a great job making you feel her enthusiasm too. As someone who understands loving a good book, she had me from her description of her first experience with Holmes. She also integrated real-world, relatable examples with her Holmes/Conan Doyle anecdotes and the psychology studies in a way that constantly piqued my interest.

Read more at Doing Dewey.