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review 2017-07-24 17:50
Review: "The Craving" by Z. Allora
The Craving - Z. Allora

 

~ 3 stars ~

 

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review 2017-07-24 12:14
Blood Lines (Blood Books) - Tanya Huff

From the blurb:  

 

Sealed away through unending centuries in a sarcophagus never meant to be opened, he had patiently waited for the opportunity to live again, for the chance to feed on the unwary and grow strong. Now, at last, the waiting had come to an end. Brought to the Egyptology Department of Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum, the seals and spells that imprisoned him chipped away by his discoverers, he reached forth to claim the minds and souls of the unsuspecting city dwellers, to begin building an empire for himself and his god. And only three people had even a hint that anything was wrong.

 

For Henry Fitzroy, 450-year-old vampire, it began with a haunting, inescapable image of the sun, a terrifying symbol of death to one such as he. Fearing for his sanity, he called upon his sometime-lover and comrade in supernatural investigations, ex-cop Vicki Nelson, for help. And even as the two struggled to cope with Henry's obsession, Vicki's closest friend and former partner, Police Detective Mike Celluci was following up on two mysterious deaths at the museum, certain he was looking at murders not accidents - and equally convinced that the killer was a mummy brought back from the dead!

 

This is another action-packed, detective, urban-fantasy novel in the Blood Series by Tanya Huff.  These books make for entertaining reading.

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review 2017-07-24 09:27
Please, Mr. Einstein
Please Mr. Einstein - Jean-Claude Carrière

I feel like I hit the book lottery.  I hate hyperbole, and perhaps after the book hangover has faded I'll find myself backtracking or offering qualifications, but as of right now, this last minute impulse buy, at a used book sale for $1, might be the best book I've ever read.  

 

Ever.

 

I didn't think so when I started it, because the back-cover had me expecting an historical fiction; a what-if look back. I was not pleased to start that first chapter and find myself confronted with a speculative fantasy told in first person omnipresent POV.  I found the narrative voice a bit condescending and supercilious and I didn't see how this was possibly going to be anything other than a pretentious attempt at literary fiction.

 

Thankfully that only lasted for 4 pages or so, before it became obvious what the author was setting up, and I suddenly found myself totally hooked.

 

Imagine the chance to step outside of time and place to have to opportunity to speak with one person in history; not only about themselves and their work, but about their entire field as it spans time and events; to be able to learn and explore ideas with a hero of the discipline, someone who changed the world.

 

This is the setup for the book.  A nameless young woman 'finds' Einstein in a place that transcends time and she is gained admittance to his study for an 'interview'.  What follows is a conversation to which we are invisible observers.  This conversation spans all of Einstein's theories, what his work started; its repercussions; the emotional fall-out and the consequences of his overnight celebrity and the cost of his Jewish background.

 

What can I say?  It's beautiful, this odd what-if of a book.  The science isn't for those disinterested in physics but it isn't incomprehensible either.  The personal element is ... the author made you feel like you were there and made you feel Einstein's wonder, amazement, melancholy, regret, betrayal and pensiveness; the 'doors' were an incredibly vivid way to bring the times and events to life, and a drop-in visit by Newton was both funny and heart-wrenching.

 

I loved this book, I loved it so much.  It's so good I'm overlooking the times the author tried to argue against concepts by using the very same assumptions that he claims makes those concepts false.  Everything else was so overwhelmingly good that the fallacy isn't worth a 1/2 star demerit.  I closed the book wanting to hug it.

 

It's obviously a work of fiction but only in its construct; 85% of this book is factual representation of Einstein's and his contemporaries' theories, so if you're partial to science, philosophy, and think Einstein is a legend, definitely check this book out.  I honestly just wanted to stay in that room with him forever.

 

(This is a English translation of the book Einstein, s'il vous plait.)

 

 

 

 

 

Pages:  185

$$:  $6.00  (location multiplier)

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review 2017-07-24 04:34
Review: League of Dragons (Temeraire Book 9 of 9!)
League of Dragons: A Novel of Temeraire - Naomi Novik

Well, that’s it.  The last book in the Temeraire series!  I thought the ending was satisfying.  It wasn’t particularly surprising, maybe, but I was happy with how things ended up and I enjoyed the last book as much as I had enjoyed the previous books.  The rest of this review consists of general, spoiler-free comments on the series as a whole.

 

I really enjoyed the whole series even though, in retrospect, it lacked some of the things that are most likely to earn my enthusiasm for a book.  In particular, Novik used a straight-forward and consistent story-telling style.  There were surprises here and there, but this isn’t a twisty story with an intricate plot that keeps you confused and anxious to learn what the heck is going on.  I do normally prefer a twistier story, but it held my interest well anyway.  I would be surprised though if somebody who isn’t crazy for the books from the beginning were to change their mind if they tried to keep reading.  The things that made the series enjoyable for me from the start are mostly the same things that sustained my interest through to the end.

 

Novik writes action scenes well, and she also does very well with making characters likeable and sympathetic.  She writes the interactions between characters well too.  I was happy that there wasn’t much romance in the series; I think that would have taken away from the more interesting relationships and been more a source of annoyance than anything.  There isn’t anything too deep here, but I liked the theme of duty versus morality that showed up throughout the series, forcing our characters to decide which should take precedence when those two things were in conflict and to deal with the consequences of their choices.  Even though the series is set during a war, it has a fairly light tone.  Bad and discouraging things happen, but there’s also a decent amount of humor and optimism. 

 

I plan to keep an eye out for future books the author publishes, and I’ll read the new anthology (Golden Age and Other Stories) sooner or later.  Right now I only see a $25 hardcover available for pre-order so I’ll either borrow it from the library if it’s available, or I’ll purchase it when there’s a reasonably-priced Kindle edition available.

 

Next Book

A standalone fantasy book from the 80’s called Weaveworld by Clive Barker.  This is one of those books on my list that I bought on sale a while back and know absolutely nothing about, so I look forward to being surprised.  Hopefully in a pleasant way, but we’ll see. :)

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text 2017-07-23 18:22
Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 395 pages.
A Dance of Blades - David Dalglish

it's time, it's time, it's time! a Buddy Read, that became a Group Read, and I'll be starting this book either tonight or for sure tomorrow. so. a few opening comments:

 

Debbie's Spurts set up the Group involving this book--actually, the whole series--shortly after the two of us committed to a buddy read of Book 2. that's a bit problematic from where I'm sitting, because I would prefer to be involved in the launch of a Group as it starts a Book 1 of a series. I just don't remember a lot of Book 1 of this series...and even if the basics come back to me, from recaps and references to earlier events, I don't know that I'm going to be able to participate in detailed conversations of Book 1. and that's okay, but let's say the group actually attracts new members--let's be humble and say even two people--because we're loving Book 2, I'm just gonna feel bad, because chat will start up over Book 1, and I won't be able to say much, except "I remember that! thanx for mentioning that--oh yes, that was cool, I remember that!". which would get lame, pretty fast. so, what I'm saying is: I'm gonna really be joining and instigating detailed and/or passionate discussions from Book 2 onwards. Debbie's Spurts may have to tow the line for a bit on Book 1, because she read it much, much more recently.

 

now having said all that, I intend to take the Group set-up seriously, even if it's just Debbie's Spurts and myself blathering away (it will all be intelligent, informative blather, I'm sure). I'm gonna be a normal, sociable human being and dissect the books in a group setting. starting with Book 2, but still...I'll be doing it.

 

it does make me wonder what I will be posting when I put up these updates, which is what I'm more used to; "see Group", "see Group", "see Group", maybe? uhhh, no. so I'll work something out.

 

final note: if some plans of mine fall through tonight, and I feel like reading (I always feel like reading), I'll either do a teeny teeny bit of this, or a Spider-Man graphic novel I have in mind. I can't fit Velvet in one night--I don't think; I shall entertain the notion, dubiously and doubtfully, if I entertain it at all--because it's super long! Velvet most likely after A Dance of Blades.

 

 

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