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review 2018-03-18 19:35
The Fold (audiobook) by Peter Clines, narrated by Ray Porter
The Fold - Peter Clines,Ray Porter

Mike is a small town English teacher who would prefer to stay a small town English teacher forever. However, an old friend of his has finally found a project that intrigues him enough that he's finally willing to use the abilities he's locked away as much as possible.

Mike is sent to learn as much as he can about the Albuquerque Door project and report his findings back to his friend Reggie, so that an informed decision can be made about whether to renew the project's budget. Mike, with his high IQ and eidetic memory, is uniquely qualified to do this job - he can get up to speed faster than anybody else Reggie might have on staff. And one of the things Mike quickly figures out is that the Albuquerque Door folks are hiding something from him. The Door does exactly what it's supposed to do, allowing people to travel a great distance in just a single step, and the hundreds of tests that have been performed have all gone perfectly. So why is everyone so secretive and so adamant that more tests need to be run?

I've listened to this three times and am just now getting around to writing a review about it. The first time I listened to it was a couple years ago. I knew going in that it was a loose sequel to Clines' 14, which meant that I had a set of expectations as to what the Door was and how things were going to go. The first half of the book didn't compare favorably to 14 at all. It was very slow, and I got frustrated with how secretive everyone was. The second half was more fun and occasionally surprising, considering what 14 had led me to expect.

My re-listens went better than my first time through. The first half wasn't quite so frustrating because I knew going in that it was going to take a while for the characters to let their guard down, and I enjoyed looking for signs of the twist I knew would be happening later on.

Mike's abilities were cool, but I wouldn't be surprised to learn that they had very little in common with what having an eidetic memory is like in real life. His recall of visual information was perfect, and he could "rewind" and look at any scenes he'd ever witnessed as much as he'd like. He could even take massive amounts of data from documents he'd seen and create graphs and charts with it in his head. The bit with the shooting near the end struck me as a being a bit ridiculous, even with

the setup Clines did earlier on in the book, showing how Mike could throw stuff into a trashcan without looking or move around in a dark room without trouble. Throwing stuff into a trashcan is one thing, but had Mike ever even held a gun before?

(spoiler show)

Just as in 14, Clines presented readers with a likely love interest for his main character and then paired him off with someone else. The sex scene bothered me even more during my re-listens than it did the first time around, because the detail that Mike missed became even more obvious. I suppose lust shut his brain off?

The monsters were a little cheesy, especially in audio, but I actually thought The Fold's monster part was better than 14's monster part. I did find myself wishing that Sasha hadn't had such a limited swearing vocabulary, though.

All in all, The Fold was pretty good. I felt it was more consistently enjoyable than 14 but that 14 had a much better setup. Crossing my fingers that Clines writes another book set in this world. And maybe allows his next hero to stay single.

Oh, and a slight spoiler: all the animals

technically make it through okay.

(spoiler show)


(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2018-03-17 15:45
"The Chessmen", by Peter May
The Chessmen - Peter May
Book # 3, in the Lewis trilogy

This final plot in the trilogy set on the island of Lewis featuring former policeman Fin MacLeod works perfectly well as a standalone novel. Although, newcomers will have plenty of backstory to assimilate but be assured it is neatly woven in the narrative that you will not feel lost at all. This is a story of love, friendship, loyalty and betrayal.

In a nut shell, Fin’s new job is head of security and is handed the job to putting a stop to poachers on a private estate. The main suspect is Whistler, his oldest friend. Their friendship is tested when the pair stumbles onto a light aircraft at the bottom of a dry drain with its pilot dead at the helm. The police is called to investigate the crash, Fin’s finds himself at the centre of it all. Rivalries, secrets and wrong-doing begin to surface…..and makes for quite an interesting read.

Mr. May shifts action back and forth and uses flashbacks as the story unfolds in both past and present. The story is good but what set it aside from others is how talented the author is in creating the sense of place for his readers in order to be absorbed into the life of his characters and into the landscape of the Hebrides. “The Chessmen” is good mystery novel with several obvious holes in the plot. Although Fin does find some resolution for the past tragedy, enough is left unsaid letting you wonder if really this is the end. This contrived ending has left me somewhat unsatisfied.


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review 2018-03-15 00:26
Let's fly Wilbur and Orville! (Before I made history) - Peter Roop

For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

This is a great non-fiction book for young readers. I think it is easy for the reader to connect and relate to. This book focuses mostly on Wilbur and Orville Wright's childhood and young adulthood. The authors bring up many relateable topics such as toys, school, and friends. 

The book is very easy to read, with short manageable chapters. 

This is a good book for children, especially those who may not think they like non-fiction very much. A well-done biography of the Wright brothers.

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review 2018-03-14 06:41
Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness
Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness - Peter Godfrey-Smith
Other Minds - Peter Godfrey-Smith

I don't know quite how to rate this one, so I went for 4 stars.  This is likely to be more a collection of disparate thoughts rather than a cohesive review of any kind.


Most people are not going to find Other Minds a 'popular' science book.  It's not dry, but it is dense.  The author merges what is currently known in evolutionary science with philosophy, and has written what is largely a thought experiment on the concept of consciousness and it's origins, and not just for the octopus; this covers all life.  Octopuses get more page time than other creatures, but still only make up about ... 40%, maybe 50%?  Not quite what I was expecting, but I was willing to go with it.


I listened to the audiobook, although I have the hardcover as well.  The narrator, Peter Noble, does an excellent job with the narration; his voice is crisp and clear and he reads it as though he has a thorough grasp of the material. 


But ... I don't know if it was me or if the title of the book was too open to interpretation, but I did not realise how deeply philosophical the material was - this made the audiobook very challenging for me; I'm not a fan of other people's thought experiments in general, so I really struggled with a wandering mind as I listened to this book.  I understood the general concepts he covered, but whole sections of the narration would just wash right over me before I'd realise my consciousness checked out.  


Conclusion: I'd have been better off reading the physical edition, I think.  It's a very well written book, but it's heavy material for someone like me, for whom listening requires a conscience effort.  I'll likely re-read my hardcover sometime soon, so I can determine how much I missed, and give my mind a chance to reinforce some of the points I found most interesting.

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text 2018-03-13 23:55
KYD Green Round: Suspect Card Guess - Team MbD / Lillelara / TA
Unnatural Death: A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery - Dorothy L. Sayers,Ian Carmichael


Finished Dorothy L. Sayers's Unnatural Death over the weekend and decided to use it for a Stephen King suspect guess (a book by an author whose [last] name begins with "S").

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