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review 2018-11-09 12:45
Conveyor Belts: "The Past Through Tomorrow" by Robert A. Heinlein
The Past Through Tomorrow - Robert A. Heinlein,Damon Knight

(Original Review, 1980-10-13)


People have complained about roads as conveyor belts as represented in Heinlein's THE ROADS MUST ROLL as being an inefficient means of transportation because of a number of reasons, some of those being energy efficiency and the problems of handicapped people using them. Instead of building them as a single conveyor belt, how about building them as a variable speed conveyor belt (by this I mean a conveyor belt that at different locations on it can have different speeds).
 
 
 
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.
 
 

 

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review 2018-11-06 02:54
Rites of Winter (Inheritance #6)
Rites of Winter - Amelia Faulkner

This is the first book in a new "season" and it shows. (I didn't steal that line from Elena! She just got to her review first.) ;)

 

It was nice to pick up more or less where the previous book ended, and to see Laurence and Quentin start to work on some of their issues. Quentin especially is messed up from the events of the previous book, but Laurence has his own hangups he needs to work out too. I really would've liked to see more emphasis made on their emotional and psychological trauma, but that was mostly skimmed over in favor of focusing on their sex life. Which is also important because of what Quentin was forced to remember in the last book, and I don't want to discount that. I'm happy none of that caused a backslide. 

 

But look, I don't like D/s at all and this is getting very close to bordering on that and has been steadily going in that direction for awhile. I also have no idea what's supposed to be so sexy about mesh shirts. To me, they look like an overenthusiastic cat attacked someone's wardrobe. So none of this was working for me, and for it being such an important part of their relationship development it left me cold. Add onto that Laurence wondering when the hell he became so submissive and the theory I've been working with since the end of the second book, and this all gets unfortunately cringe-worthy. I could be totally off with my theory, but there is no way for me to know that at this point. All that combined means their sex scenes are the equivalent of dumping me into the Arctic Ocean.

 

The plot itself is well done and paced, and it was good to see more of Otherworld and see the various ways that fantasy and magic blend together in this world. I did think there was a little too much focus on the action at times, when it would've been nicer to see the emotional tolls some more. I'm not really sure what to make of Basil or Jon at this point, since they're not given much dimension. They're interesting though and I'm looking forward to seeing what they bring to the mix in the future.

 

There were a few missing words in this one, and one chapter's formatting was just wonky - but readable. I also don't remember Laurence being so excessive with the "baby" endearments in past books. I'm not one to quibble over that word like others are, but even I wanted to cast it into the fires of Mt. Doom after the third or fourth chapter.

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review 2018-10-03 11:18
Hunted by the Past by Jayne Evans
Hunted by the Past - Jayne Evans

Lucy Smith's life is derailed when she has to babysit her nephew after her sister suddenly decides to prolong her vacation. Then she's cornered at a bank, having to shoot a cop to save her nephew...But despite what the cop, who survives, tells her, she's determined things aren't connected. Nothing is about to derail her meticulously planned life.
Then her car blows up, luckily without her in it, her nephew is once more almost kidnapped...And maybe, just maybe, her sister's disappearance isn't as innocuous as it seems.

And the only one Lucy believes can keep her and the little boy safe is the man she shot at the bank...



This story started off with a bang. Almost literally. The mystery was intriguing, the suspense was ramped up to a thousand, the hero was perfectly flawed and issue-filled, the little boy was utterly adorable...The problem, as mostly happens, was the heroine and her control-freak, disbelieving in spite of everything, tendencies. She was a lawyer, but she still presumed to know more than professionals in the field of law enforcement, and there's nothing you can tell me that will dissuade me from my conviction that the successful kidnapping attempt happened because of her and her I-know-better-than-everybody attitude.
The romance was rushed and rather unbelievable...Maybe because it was so rushed or maybe because of my dislike for the heroine, but the suspense worked.

Until the reason behind the kidnapping and murder attempts was revealed...And everything simply fell apart. It was so thin and seemingly conjured out of thin air and it didn't really make much sense. I'm still wondering why.

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review 2018-09-19 11:46
Woman Without a Past
Woman Without a Past - Phyllis A. Whitney

Even though I find Phyllis A. Whitney's books to be a little bit hit and miss, she's still my favorite author of old-school romantic suspense.  Where Victoria Holt's romances feel instantaneous and contrived, and Mary Stewart's plotting is often (sorry mom) ludicrous, Whitney's stories have so far offered much more consistently crafted plots, vivid settings, and haunting atmosphere.  Her romances don't always work for me (romances seldom do), but the characters do, at least, work up to HEA at a slower, sometimes more smouldering, pace.

 

Woman Without a Past almost got a pass from me at the bookstore because, geez, the title.  And then there's the cover.  Actually, it was mostly the cover, but the title screamed Amnesia story! and that's just a no from me on principle.  But the back cover rescued the book; a woman is recognised at her editor's office as being the long lost identical twin, kidnapped as a baby, from an old and prominent Charleston (South Carolina) family.  Strictly speaking, the title is not at all accurate. 

 

This book drips Southern Gothic.  From the prescient cat, to the rocking horse that rocks itself; from the old plantation house, to the slightly mad mother the family tries to keep locked away as much as possible and the cousin that believes she communes with the dead, this book honestly has it all.  Except romance; there's a hint of it here and there and there's certainly talk of it, but no actual romance until the very, very end.

 

In general, the story is well-written, and it's a good story.  But a couple of things worked against it; one is probably just a twist of timing, as I started it on the plane, and then struggled to finish it while jet-lag kicked my butt, leaving me with the feeling that it took forever to finish it; the second was my exasperation with the main character.  Everyone thinks she's strong and independent, yet at no point in the book did she actually act strong or independent.  She mostly just allowed everyone to roll over her.  It wasn't enough to make me actively dislike her, but it was enough that I was often impatient with her.  

 

As I said, not her best, but certainly not her worst.  Fans of true gothic romance will recognise shades of certain classics in this book; definitely worth a look if you see it in your library or on the bargain rack.

 

I read this for the Southern Gothic square of Halloween Bingo 2018.

 

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review 2018-09-08 17:39
A force to be reckoned with.
Past Tense: (Jack Reacher 23) - Lee Child

Jack Reacher is “a force to be reckoned with”. He moves along at a steady pace until he doesn’t. I have to admit this is my first Reacher novel, have seen the movies of course, but I enjoyed the read much more than the movies. He seems to have a bit of insight as to problems and trouble (hind brain), just shows up at the right time to handle said problem(s). This was an interesting read and at the beginning, I didn’t think I would enjoy this journey, but surprisingly, did. The path is a bit twisted, the outcome...well, let’s just say, “satisfying”. Good read with a bite.

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