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review 2018-12-01 01:30
What kind of superpower do you have?
El Deafo - Cece Bell

El Deafo by Cece Bell is the autobiographical account of the author as a little girl after she contracted meningitis and became deaf. First point in this book's favor: The illustrations are absolutely delightful. If you were a fan of the Arthur cartoon growing up then you'll love her artistic style as it's very reminiscent of that. (The characters are all rabbits.) She focuses primarily on her experiences using the different hearing aid devices that she had growing up and how isolated it made her feel. Bell doesn't shy away from exploring her shame and 'otherness' in comparison to her family and friends which I think is refreshing in a middle grade book. The way that Cece ultimately copes with the changes and difficulties that she's experiencing is by creating an alternate persona where she uses her deafness as a superpower. (Check the picture below for an example.) I personally really loved the references of such classics as Batman (with Adam West) and one of my faves M*A*S*H. I don't know that younger readers will appreciate that as much but I thought it was a great touch. Included at the end of El Deafo is a little informational blurb about Deaf culture so if parents are reading with their kids (or teachers with their students) it makes a really awesome learning tool. I loved that kids are getting to see a character using a hearing device in a medium that is easily digestible and conveys the message that no matter what our abilities we are all 'super' in our own ways. 9/10


An example of the art writing style. [Source: Goodreads]



If you don't follow me on social media you may have been surprised/confused when I started posting a new review every day this week. I did this because I didn't want to play catch-up like I did earlier this year with books I've finished but not yet reviewed. However, I'm not seeing a ton of engagement in these posts so I want to get your opinion. Are you enjoying the more frequent posts or do you prefer once a week and you don't care when they go up? Please comment below with your thoughts! :-)


What's Up Next: Cici's Journal: The Adventures of a Writer-in-Training by Joris Chamblain with illustrations by Aurélie Neyret. 


What I'm Currently Reading: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-10-10 11:21
Flash Time by Jules Boles

TITLE:  Flash Time:  The Discovery and Meaning of Cyclic Time


AUTHOR:  Jules Boles


PUBLICATION DATE:  September 2018




ISBN-13:  9781999712099


NOTE: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. This review is my honest opinion of the book.



Interesting concept.  Flawed execution.

According to the author's hypothesis (and own words); Flash Time is

"the concept that time moves in repeating cycles of events, so the universe always exists and was never formed in a Big Bang as claimed.  Flash Time Zero moment or ‘effect’ occurs in a cyclical ‘instant’ in which events begin to happen again as they did before. In that ‘zero moment’ time begins again. This Flash Time model suggests the universe can ‘update itself’ faster than light via a Grid, when rotational energy imbalances trigger the ‘switch’ in Order outlined here, causing the Cycle to continue, as implied by Gödel (c1931) and Bell in 1964. This causal circle of events requires a faster-than-light cosmos thus removing the need for a slower-than-light cosmos using a ‘no communication theorem’. These issues appear resolved finally with a triple cycle entangled spacetime state where past, present and future act in unison during any one cycle, in which outcomes must conform to that pattern. Freewill is then maintained, yet depends on what was chosen in the last cycle, while usually being unknown, though not always (déjà vu applies here). Bell realised later a conflict with freewill, yet without the ‘non-linear triple cycle’ effect of entangled ‘triple time’ as above, and so decided against a perfectly repeating event sequence, even though one was implied. This Grid enables this to be so, since it appears to allow superluminal update speeds from local realism, and suggests a reform of the Dirac equation’s reliance on linear time."

I'm providing Boles's own words because I'm not entirely sure I understood completely what he was writing about.  Flash Time is an interesting concept.  However, while the author might be onto something, he does not do a very good job explaining the concept.  No-one doubts time is cyclical in terms of seasonal cycles, life cycles, nutrient cycles etc; but having time go around in a circle then just start from zero again after a catastrophe doesn't really work for me.  Time is still linear for those of us living on the planet.  Rotating through various natural cycles (Earth-wise or cosmologically) seems pretty normal and self-evident to me, but Boles didn't explain the whole start over concept to my satisfaction.  Or why a particular cycle couldn't go through eons instead of the few thousand years he suggested.

The author doesn't manage to adequately explain why his numerous examples are supposed to be proof of Flash Time, rather than just proof of insufficent data, faulty hypotheses/theories or someone buggering up the mathematics.  Boles criticises science for making assumptions and modifying/inventing new hypotheses, but he is quite happy to use the end-results of scientific studies when they suit his hypothesis.  The author also contradicts himself, makes a vast number of wild/unsubstantiated speculations, cherry-picks DNA/geological dating results, uses old (discarded) hypotheses, and generally provides no solid evidence for flash time.  This book is esentially a dissertation on what is wrong with various scientific methods and hypotheses, such as Carbon-14 dating (and other geological dating methods) and the Big-Bang.  All these less than 100% accurate scientific findings are supposed to be proof of flash time.  The author never states WHY this is supposed to be evidence of Flash Time, as opposed to evidence for something else, or even just evidence that scientists don't know everything.  Getting the maths wrong, does not prove flash time.  

The writing style of this book is not particularly pleasant as the reader has to wade through multiple repetitions, jumping around with disjointed topics (from neanderthals to the Big Bang in one paragraph), wonder where he got the information from for a large number of odd statements, and lack of cohesion.  An editor would have been useful.  It would be interesting to see what a physicist or cosmologist has to say about the Big-Bang chapter, since most of the theoretical physics went over my head there.

Flash time is an interesting concept, but I didn't manage to grasp the concept adequatley just reading this book, nor do I agree with the manner in which the author provides "evidence" for his hypothesis.  Further research is needed!


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review 2018-09-15 22:05
A Discovery of Witches / Deborah Harkness
A Discovery of Witches - Deborah Harkness

Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.


I read this to fill the Spellbound square of my 2018 Halloween Bingo Card.

I know there is a fandom out there for this particular flavour of Paranormal Romance, but I am not among them. I guess that life experience shapes these tastes and mine have shaped me to reject being a fragile flower type of woman and to abhor bossy, controlling men. Diana is my nightmare as a main character, someone who thinks she is strong but in reality is always tired, hungry, injured, pale and otherwise needy. 

I also had issues with the vampires. They are a pretty namby-pamby kind of vamp--able to eat food, sometimes sleep, and exist happily by hunting deer. Essentially, they are humans with cold skin and long life expectancy. They spend an awful lot of time snarling and growling, but Matthew "purrs" rather a lot. I don't even have an idea of what that would sound like.

Then there's Matthew specifically, who's supposed to be over 1000 years old, but still acts like an adolescent. He's moody and angry for no apparent reason, full of secret sources of angst. And he's met everyone--Christopher Marlowe was his pal, Shakespeare signed a book for him, he corresponded with Charles Darwin. It's like all those folks who go for regression hypnosis and emerge thinking they are reincarnated Robert the Bruce or Cleopatra, never a pig farmer from Finland.

On top of all that, there's the relationship between Diana and Matthew. Once she decides he's the one, she keeps inviting him to bed and being astonished when he turns her down. Science says that she can't get pregnant because they are different species, but Matthew always has some lame excuse. There's some ancient covenant that forbids interspecies relationships or his mother wouldn't approve (!) or they've got all the time in the world, on and on. I don't know about other women, but if a man turned me down that often, I wouldn't be hanging around for further humiliation. Then, all of a sudden, Matthew kisses her and declares his love in front of his mother. Poof, they're married now. (That reminded me so much of a scene in Harris' Sookie Stackhouse novels where Sookie is persuaded to take some object & present it to Eric Northman, and poof! They're married) Despite this official marriage, he still won't consummate the relationship. 

Can vampires suffer erectile dysfunction? 

It's 579 pages long and they still haven't done the deed.

(spoiler show)


This is like a cross between the Mayfair Witches of Rice, Outlander by Gabaldon, and Twilight. It reminds me strongly of the work of Christine Feehan and Kresley Cole, two authors that I now avoid. Fans of these franchises will no doubt enjoy this book more than I did. Govern yourselves accordingly.

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text 2018-09-13 21:33
TBR Thursday
Parable of the Sower - Octavia E. Butler
A Discovery of Witches - Deborah Harkness
Slasher Girls & Monster Boys - Jay Kristoff,Carrie Ryan,McCormick Templeton,Stefan Bachmann,Cat Winters,April Genevieve Tucholke,A.G. Howard,Megan Shepherd,Leigh Bardugo,Kendare Blake,Marie Lu,Nova Ren Suma,Kami Garcia


How nice to have only 3 books (out of 10) with hard & fast due dates!  I've been waiting most of the year for Parable of the Sower--the library just recently added a second copy to their holdings, or I would probably be waiting until sometime next year!


A Discovery of Witches actually arrived way to early for Halloween Bingo, so I threw it back and it has now landed on my reading docket for the second time.  This time I intend to read it and enjoy it!


I've already made a start on Slasher Girls & Monster Boys.  It's a book of short fiction, so perfect for coffee breaks at work.  So far, two stories in, the tales are certainly dark, but not something that would freak me out to read after dark.  They're really good--if any one is reading this for Halloween Bingo, I think you (and I) have a treat ahead of us.


The weather has been dreary today--all grey skies and looming chances of precipitation.  When I got to work this morning, there were traces of snow around the edge of the parking lot.  It seems awfully early, but this is Canada and we know that winter is coming! 


Enjoy the Halloween reading, folks!

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text 2018-09-10 06:57
Enhanced Bublish delivers the same results - none
Three months ago, I responded to a free offer from Bublish to use their “e-book Author and Discovery Platform” for two weeks.
Bublish claims they can help you “promote your work and build your brand” with, among other things, “book bubbles,” excerpts of your work shared across social networks. These bubbles also allow you to share “the story behind the story,” similar to a director’s rough cut which Bublish claims “is a powerful way to build social proof with readers.”
I already had a Bublish experience shortly after it was launched a few years ago. I quit using the platform then because despite encouraging numbers regarding bubble views, profile views and conversions there were no sales.
When I logged in I was surprised to see previous bubbles for my novels Forest, and The Big Picture still on the site.
Since I was launching Cold-Blooded, Book 2 of the Mattie Saunders Series, that’s what I began promoting, but after a month, and still having free access to the site, I decided to repost the bubbles from The Big Picture.
Bublish provides a daily update of social metrics for the past 90 days on a member’s dashboard. I’ve just completed my current 90 day run posting almost every day and here are the results:
Bubble Views - 4891; Profile Views - 47; Conversions (which retailers users are visiting from your bubbles) - 161
Sorry to pop their bubble but again my use of Bublish did not result in a single sale, and neither did it generate any additional activity such as page views on Smashwords or visits to my author website over the three month period.
Today’s enhanced Bublish costs $99.00 a year or $9.99 a month. For a paid subscription you receive the opportunity to upload unlimited books, an author profile, social metrics, e-pub creator, exclusive programs (deals from their corporate partners) premium resources (tutorials, videos, etc.). You can also sign up as an Emerging Author and upload one book and post unlimited book bubbles free.
With the exception of posting unlimited books on Bublish, you can get everything else Bublish offers from other sites free.
The only benefit I gleaned from Bublish then and now, was condensing scenes into author insights (bubbles). It really hones your focus.
Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.
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