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review 2017-07-20 09:10
Zoom: How Everything Moves by Bob Berman
Zoom: From Atoms and Galaxies to Blizzards and Bees: How Everything Moves - Bob Berman

TITLE:  Zoom:  How Everything Moves,  From Atoms and Galaxies to Blizzards and Bees


AUTHOR:  Bob Berman




FORMAT:  Paperback


ISBN-13:  978-1-78074-549-7






In this "pop-science" book, Bob Berman takes a whirl-wind tour around the many phenomena that have to do with motion.  He includes interesting stories that span astronomy, geology, biology, meteorology and history.  Everything from the exploding universe, runaway poles, magnetic fields, radiation, atoms, snow, ice, tides, tsunami, how clouds stay aloft, earth;s motion, in-tune mosquitoes, wind, air pressure, lightning, thunder, meteors, electricity, sneezes, animals, cells, and much more.


The author explains each phenomenon in an enthusiastic, clear and understandable manner, without bogging the reader down with complicated science. Bob Berman provides a new perspective on old "stuff" and also covers topics not usually covered in popular physics books.  Each chapter covers something different, so the reader can dip in and out without getting confused.  This book was a joy to read.




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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-07-09 16:23
Sadly, the Killer Bees In This Story Didn't Kill It For Me!
The Colony: A Novella - Craig Anderson




This was a giveaway win that I won on the very awesome group, Apocalypse Whenever as part of their June giveaway. I'd like to thank both the author and the group for the book!

What I Liked:

I liked the males cloned by the AI, Eve, were programmed to reach maturity within a few months. Since the AI had been constructed to figure out the bee problem, it likened the maturity rate to like the one found in bees.

The Melior apis were terrifyingly awesome.


I loved the deviousness of the AI i.e. how she figured things out, made the men play poker to learn how to deceive humans, deliberately failed the Turing tests, and her whole plan to clone more men and use them as her army. The last part is problematic though, as you will read below.

What I Didn't Like:

The book started off as YA but that changed by the end of the story.

I almost never notice proofing and editing mistakes but there were quite a few of them so, it was hard to miss. Spelling mistakes etc. are always a big turn off for me!

The events of the story are too predictable. I sighed out loud when the main character, Ben, was pitted against his only friend, Frank, in the final fight.

If the ozone has finally given in and collapsed as the story mentions, then how have humans managed not to become UV-riddled pincushions? If it isn't important to the plot, why mention it?

Another minor quibble, if the Melior Apis is the name of a species, then it should be written like, Melior apis or Melior apis

Say, Eve clones more of Frank-men and sends them to the women for reproduction. How would that work? The women accepted Ben because of his unselfish nature. Why would they treat the Frank-men the same way? Wouldn't Ben tell them what Frank was like? Moreover, why would the army of Franks want to take over the women camp? Wasn't Frank competing and winning all the contests, so he could get out and get with the ladies? I think there are some plot issues that need to be sorted out!

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review 2017-04-24 16:46
The Bees - Laline Paull,Orlagh Cassidy

This book is the monthly pick for my sci-fi book club so at least a 1/3 of the way through this book I thought the bees were aliens, then I didn't think they were aliens, then I was back to thinking they were aliens, finally figuring out it's just about bees. I think I hurt my brain.

So after finishing this book (it's really about bees), I ended up really liking it and actually tearing up at the end. This author has a wonderful imagination. 4 out of 5 stars.

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review 2017-03-04 14:55
The Bees
The Bees: A Novel - Laline Paull

Not only was Flora 717 born into the lowest class of her society, she was also born bigger and darker than the best of them. As a sanitation bee, she is only fit to clean the hive while living to accept, obey and serve which means to do whatever is necessary for the good of the hive and the holy mother. It is discovered that Flora has many talents that are not typical of her kin and while most mutant bees are instantly destroyed, Flora is reassigned to feed the newborns. Then she is reassigned to become a forager, flying around gathering food for the hive. Flora eventually finds herself in the Queen's inner sanctum where she discovers secrets - some good, some bad. And Flora has a secret of her own, breaking the most sacred law of all.

This started off so bad for me that I wanted to give up and I hate DNFing a book! There were so many smells that it became monotonous and irritating. But I kept at it and while there were still quite a few smells throughout the rest of the book the overall story ended up being okay. It's creative for sure, but it wasn't a book I couldn't wait to pick up again after setting it aside.

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review 2017-02-14 15:35
"Hour Of The Bees" by Lindsay Eagar - Fictional Journey Across America Using My TBR Pile
Hour of the Bees - Lindsay Eagar



One of the best ways of traveling across America is via the imagination of others.

Using eight books in my TBR pile, I'm journeying from the Farallon Islands off the coast of California  to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginian via Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri "and Kentucky, writing reviews as I go.



"Hour Of The Bees", the third book in my journey across fictional America, takes me to the Painted Desert in New Mexico.


New Mexico is one of my favourite States. It's managed to keep its wild beauty. The Painted Desert is one of the most spectacular places I've visited. It manages to be both stark and welcoming, as if it's daring you to have the courage to live there.


Painted Desert New Mexico

Despite this, I found myself delaying starting "Hour Of The Bees". I even considered finding an alternative book in my TBR pile to continue my journey.




Well, the blurb sounds a little miserable, a twelve year old girl forced to spend the summer with a grand father she barely know and who is sinking into the quicksands of dementia. I've already lost someone to dementia. It's a very grim business.

I'm ashamed to admit that I was also put off by the cover. Could the publishers have put any less effort into it? It's bland, amateur, and not even slightly intriguing.


So why did I read it? It's read by Almarie Guerra, who did a wonderful job with "The Water Knife".


She does a beautiful job with "Hour Of The Bees" and I soon found myself absorbed into the world of twelve year old Hispanic girl, spending the summer on a dying ranch in the desert, preparing to move her soon-to-be-lost-to-dementia grandfather for a move to a home.


During the summer, her grandfather tells her the story of his life, starting always with "Once upon a time". The story has strong elements of magical realism or perhaps allegory would be a kinder description, which I normally find tiresome because it so far removed from reality and is obsessed with being clever. Lindsay Eager showed me that it doesn't have to be like that.


She introduces a splendid ambiguity to the story telling by having the tale told by an old man with dementia to a girl with limited experience of life. This ambiguity left me to make up my own mind and helped me to concentrate on the emotional truths of the novel: that life must be embraced to be lived, that love is the anchor of hope and that a place can have a soul that we can push roots into and be nurtured by.


This is a summer of change for the young girl, making her re-examine who she is and who she wants to become. We see her relationship with her (step)sister shift shape from day to day, her empathy for her parents deepen and her lover for her grandfather and the land he's given his life to blossom. She focuses on time and how we measure it and comes to understand that our approach to time changes who we are.


The pace of the story-telling is perfect: slow enough to give the sense of time passing on a remote desert ranch and fast enough to keep you wondering what will happen next. Each moment is threaded between the pearls of "Once upon a time..." story telling that change the context of the present moment and the meaning of everything that passed before.


"Hours Of The Bees" is a fresh, original and pleasantly non-didactic book that made me think, cry and occasionally laugh. I was surprised to see that it's being marketed (and winning prizes) as a children's book, not because it isn't a good book for children to read, but because I think it's range and appeal is much broader than that.


I enjoyed my summer on the this ranch in the Painted Desert. I recommend you spend some time there.




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