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review 2018-01-29 10:14
Animal Kingdom by Jack Ashby
Animal Kingdom: A Natural History in 100 Objects - Jack Ashby

TITLE:  Animal Kingdom:  A Natural History in 100 Objects


AUTHOR:  Jack Ashby




FORMAT:  ebook


ISBN-13:  978 0 7509 8613 7



This book does exactly what it says on the cover - it provides a natural history of the animal kingdom in 100 objects.  The objects in the title refer to museum objects - specimens of various animals found either on display or in the museum's storage facilities.

The book is divided into 4 parts:  (1) Understanding Diversity; (2) Life's Turning Points; (3) Natural Histories; and (4) Displaying Nature.   Each part has a variety of very short animal/object chapters highlighting various scientific concepts, observations and historical anecdotes.  The narrative at the beginning of each part is rather useful and informative in tying all the separate objects and concepts together.  Each chapter also includes a photograph/illustration of the object as well as additional illustrations or diagrams as required.  The writing is clear, concise and easy to read, without bogging the reader down in too much scientific jargon.  

Ashby starts off by discussing the diversity that exists in the animal kingdom by using 18 different museum objects that represent 18 major groupings of the animal kingdom.  These 18 selective objects don't generally receive a great deal of attention, so there was generally something new to learn for each short (extremely short) chapter on each animal.   

Life's Turning Points takes a look at 10 objects that represent 10 points of evolution that lead to mammals:.  This section includes the Cambrian Explosion, jawless fishes, cartilaginous fishes, ray-finned fishes, lobe-finned fishes, tetrapods and vertebrate life on land, amphibians, amniotes (e.g. reptiles), mammal-like reptiles, and modern mammals (e.g. the horse).

The Natural Histories section deals with how evolution works.  So objects/animals have been selected to discuss such concepts as:  natural and sexual selection; convergent evolution; biogeography; processes underlying animal adaptations; animal senses; genetic systems underlying animal ecology; symbiotic and parasitic relationships; how humans are affecting the world today; etc.

The final section of the book takes a look at how museums obtain, preserve, display their specimens and represent nature.  It also examines the purpose of museums and their relationship with the public.  This is a particularly interesting section since the subject of preserving and displaying specimens that aren't always in a good condition is a fascinating subject (how do you preserve a jellyfish?). 

The author manages to condense a variety of biological concepts and extras, in plain language, in 100 short, illustrated chapters without being boring.  His selection of objects to represent various concepts is interesting and provides an opportunity to highlight several uncommon animals, as well as provide fascinating information about each animals.  This book lends itself well to reading a chapter or two at a time.  The expert zoologist or biologist will probably not find very much new information in this book, but the general interested public may find a great deal they haven't come across before.





-The Emerald Planet: How Plants Changed Earth's History by David Beerling


- Parasite Rex by Carl Zimmer


- Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin


- Restless Creatures by Matt Wilkins


- Squid Empire: The Rise and Fall of the Cephalopods by Danna Staaf


-  When Life Nearly Died: The Greatest Mass Extinction of All Time by Michael J. Benton.


-  Tales From The Underground: A Natural History Of Subterranean Life by David W. Wolfe.


-  The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions by David  


- What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins by Jonathan Balcombe.  

-  Life: An Unauthorised Biography: A Natural History of the First Four Thousand Million Years of Life on Earth by Richard Fortey.
-  The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution by Richard Dawkins



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text 2018-01-22 15:48
My Newest Book Is On Sale
IN THE WOODS: Murder In The North East Kingdom - Elisabeth Zguta

Hello Friends,

I wanted you to know that my newest book



IN THE WOODS Murder In The North East Kingdom


It's now available in paperback!


Better News - the eBook is still on sale this week for only .99

So grab a copy now before it goes back to 3.99




Reviewer's comments:


"It is easy to feel drawn to each character in the book and you begin to want to follow along with Sam and her self discovery. . . "


"This was a fun and suspenseful read! Being familiar with the northeast, I found the descriptions of the woodlands and environment spot on, in fact, it made me want to go for a hike in mid read; too bad it was -10 degrees. This is the 3rd book from this skilled writer that I have read, I definitely recommend it, be prepared to hear the calling loons. Looking forward to Elisabeth Zguta's next book!"


I hope you take advantage of the lower price and enjoy reading the story.


Book description:

A role-playing game staged in the remote woods of the North East Kingdom, turns into a deadly pastime when a killer uses the game as a means to seize his victims.


A dead body is discovered in the woods by Samantha Tremblay, a Forest Ranger who works at Maidstone Lake. The locals call her Sam. She swears to bring the killer to justice for the victim but soon finds herself in over her head, as she works alongside New Hampshire Trooper Zachary Gerard assigned to the case. More bodies turn up and motivation to solve the crimes mount.


Old secrets get in Sam’s way, and she isolates herself from others. Haunted by unanswered questions about the past, she lives with cracked relationships—between herself and her father—her friends. Mourning her mother, Samantha feels a pull toward her heritage, the Abenaki tribe, but is afraid to open that doorway. Could the tribe help discover the answers to her quest for the truth?


Pulled emotionally from all directions, Samantha Tremblay searches for answers to find a killer, and to discover herself.


Find it here: https://www.amazon.com/WOODS-Murder-North-East-Kingdom-ebook/dp/B076Z2QZ8X/




Source: www.amazon.com/WOODS-Murder-North-East-Kingdom-ebook/dp/B076Z2QZ8X
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review 2018-01-11 00:33
Six misfits walk into a bar (again)...
Crooked Kingdom: A Sequel to Six of Crows - Leigh Bardugo

Keeping this one short and sweet because I'm still emotionally shook after finishing this series. I kept wondering if I had a reason to give it 4.5 stars instead of 5, but I don't. Two long books full of action and content, and there is nothing I disliked. So have some gorgeous fanart!




God I love this casting. I said before that I loved duologies but now I regret it. I wish I had another book of these amazing six babes! 

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text 2018-01-09 20:08
Reading progress update: I've read 485 out of 532 pages.
Crooked Kingdom: A Sequel to Six of Crows - Leigh Bardugo

"Go. May Djel watch over you until I can once more."


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text 2018-01-09 14:41
Reading progress update: I've read 453 out of 532 pages.
Crooked Kingdom: A Sequel to Six of Crows - Leigh Bardugo

There is so much action here that it's blink and miss. Blink and miss Kaz making another amazing scheme, blink and miss Jesper making an impossible shot, blink and miss Inej breathing awesomeness. I love it. 

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