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review 2018-03-19 23:18
Domesticated by Richard C Francis
Domesticated: Evolution in a Man-Made World - Richard C. Francis

This book and I got off to a rocky start because I didn't really learn anything new in the chapter about foxes and then I got a little overwhelmed by all the dog breeds and landraces in the dog chapter. Each chapter focuses on either a single domesticated (or somewhat tamed) animal or related groups of animals, from dogs and cats to camels and ultimately humans. It discusses the changes that that particular animal experienced relative to its wild counterpart and the commonalities between domesticated animals, like a lessened fear response to both humans and "crowds" of its own species and neotenic features (juvenile behavioural or physical attributes that persist into adulthood).


Humans, you say? How could we be domesticated? By whom? Well, apparently some people have wondered whether some of our evolution away from the other apes was due to a kind of self-domestication process that would have brought out attributes common to other domesticated animals in us. After discussion various aspects of this theory, Francis has this to say:

"Whatever its ultimate fate, the self-domestication hypothesis is valuable in reorienting our focus somewhat from our singular intelligence to our emotional constitution, which is every bit as singular. Our pro-social emotional tendencies are what afford human groups unrivaled capacities for coordinated action and, ultimately, our capacity for culture. Intelligence is secondary in this regard. Spock-like creatures, much more intelligent than we are, would never have achieved what we have, for lack of motivation."

Doesn't that give you the warm fuzzies?


Anyway, my attention waxed and waned a bit as my interest peaked and ebbed according to the topic, but overall I think it's a great book that discusses the process of domestication intelligently. I'm kind of curious about the author's other books now too, although I'm not sure whether they'd be as interesting as this.


Previous updates (and boy are there a lot):

48 / 351 pages (dog chapter)

50 / 351 pages (dog chapter: bulldog/breeding quotes)

53 / 351 pages (cat chapter: Sylvester the cat quote)

58 / 351 pages (cat chapter: cat teeth quote)

82 / 351 pages (other predators chapter: raccoons in Toronto)

166 / 351 pages (sheep and goats chapter: Jacob sheep quote)

199 / 351 pages (camel chapter: camel protest quote)

200 / 351 pages (camel chapter: war camels)

245 / 351 pages (rodents chapter: mice as weeds)

248 / 351 pages (rodents chapter: popcorn-like jumping mice quote)

284 / 351 pages (humans - sociality chapter: evolutionary psychology dig)

351 / 351 pages (done!)

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review 2018-03-19 21:44
Flawless 4
Flawless 4 - Jade Jones

Title:  Flawless 4

Author:  Jade Jones

Publisher:  J. J.     

Series:  # 4

Reviewed By:  Arlena Dean

Rating: Five



"Flawless 4" by Jade Jones


My Thoughts....


All that is left to say is wow!  What a read with so much drama with all of the interesting characters whether it was with Shayla, Starr, Romeo, Desmond, Eviva, Dro, Ashley, Kim, Tyree and even Quay?  Be ready for quite a roller coaster ride because this author really gives the reader quite a well written journey that is still not completely finished yet as we are left once again in a cliffhanger wondering who is still alive.  

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review 2018-03-19 18:30
STINGER by Robert McCammon, narrated by Nick Sullivan
Stinger - Robert R. McCammon, Nick Sullivan


STINGER by Robert Mccammon is simply 80's horror F-U-N! With the entire book taking place over the course of one night, it's a great example of the horror being written during that time.


This is the story of a duel alien invasion-one alien crashed on earth due to a ship malfunction, (Daufin) and the other a bounty-hunter come to track the first one down, (Stinger). All of this takes place in the town of Inferno, in west Texas.


With a variety of small town characters putting aside their differences to unite against Stinger, the universal theme of good vs. evil comes into play. The shape-shifting abilities, (for lack of a better word), of Stinger allow it to take over host bodies and bend them to its will, making this a more interesting tale than it otherwise would have been. I think it also must have been quite challenging for the narrator of this audiobook.


The narration here took me a while to get used to, most especially during scenes where there was a lot of action. At first, I wasn't sure if I would make it through the entire way, (Stinger is 500+ pages long), but I did become accustomed to it and began to enjoy it thoroughly.


This is my third time reading STINGER and I think it's possible I might read it again in the future. Sure it's infused with a lot of 80's pop culture and lingo, (all the good looking girls are smash-foxes), but that was a special time for me, and for the horror genre, so I have no problem with that. Also, I think it's possible that STINGER has influenced a lot of authors, (it's difficult not to see a connection to King's UNDER THE DOME), whether they were conscious of it or not.


STINGER was a lot of fun to listen to and Nick Sullivan did a fairly good job of bringing it all home in a fun way. If you're looking for many hours of listening enjoyment and alien invasion action, STINGER is the book for you!


*Thank you to the narrator for the free Audible edition in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2018-03-19 17:58
Sojourn / R.A. Salavtore
Sojourn - R.A. Salvatore

Far above the merciless Underdark, Drizzt Do'Urden fights to survive the elements of Toril's harsh surface. The drow begins a sojourn through a world entirely unlike his own--even as he evades the dark elves of his past.


Third volume of back-story for Drizzt Do’Urden, drow fighter extraordinaire. This is the volume that connects to the Icewind Dale novels which Salvatore wrote before the Dark Elf Trilogy.

Our hero makes the shift from living as an exile in the Underdark to an existence in the unfamiliar world above ground. While he wasn’t accepted in his birth society because of his sense of morality, he is now judged according to his racial background by those who he meets along the way. Can he find people who will acknowledge that he is not an evil drow? Will he finally find someone to call friend and assuage his life-long loneliness?

Once again, the plot is driven by fight sequences, something which Salvatore seems to prefer writing. There’s a lot of dark brooding, but not much real self-reflection by the characters. Perfect for the brooding teen, not so great for the non-brooding older woman. Still, the books are fun to read and short enough to be ideal for a quiet evening at the end of a work-week.

Book 276 of my Science Fiction & Fantasy reading project.

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review 2018-03-19 16:32
Gap into Vision / Stephen R. Donaldson
The Gap Into Vision: Forbidden Knowledge - Stephen R. Donaldson

Beautiful, brilliant, and dangerous, Morn Hyland is an ex-police officer for the United Mining Companies--and the target of two ruthless, powerful men.  One is the charismatic ore-pirate Nick Succorso, who sees Morn as booty wrested from his vicious rival, Angus Thermopyle.  thermopyle once made the mistake of underestimating Morn and now he's about to pay the ultimate price.  Both men think they can possess her, but Morn is no one's trophy--and no one's pawn.

Meanwhile, withing the borders of Forbidden Space, wait the Amnioin, an alien race capable of horrific atrocities.  The Amnion want something unspeakable from humanity--and they will go to unthinkable lengths to get it.


Although this is the first series by Donaldson that I can stand to read, I still can’t say that I love it. I’m not sure that I even like it. There really isn’t one character that I can actually identify with—there are one or two that I’m interested in and want to know what happens to them, but I can’t say that I like them. Mind you, that’s not necessary for a novel but it does make it easier reading.

The aliens in this universe seem to take a cue from Octavia Butler’s Oankali in her Xenogenesis series. Donaldson’s Amnioin also seem to be rather echinoderm-like and are interested in acquiring humans for genetic purposes. Selling someone to the Amnioin is seen as the ultimate evil in human trafficking. But when there’s money to be made, you know that some human is going to try to make deals with them—and it’s rather like trying to make deals with the Fae. You need to watch your wording and make sure you know all of the ramifications before you sign on the dotted line.

If you’ve got any issues with rape scenes, you won’t have made it past the first book. That said, don’t expect that to stop in this book. Morn actually has to go to sick-bay at one point, to get repaired after particularly rough treatment by Nick Succorso. Donaldson doesn’t go into graphic detail, thankfully, but there are more than enough hints to be horrifying.

The cynicism evident in the book is a bit depressing too—everyone seems to be on the take somehow, even the police force that Morn used to belong to. She followed her parents into that occupation and had taken pride in their upstanding reputation—this is yet another thing that gets taken away from her, along with her personal agency.

Book 275 in my Science Fiction and Fantasy reading project.

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