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review 2018-06-17 16:54
The Science of Everyday Life
The Science of Everyday Life - Marty Jopson

I had started this book with the intention to comment on each chapter - or part, as each section contained smaller chapters on the various topics of the book - but as so often, I ended up finishing the book before I could summarise my notes for each part. 

 

I much enjoyed the buddy read of this with Murder by Death, who is infinitely more patient with books than I am. Unlike her, I am not just a bit biased by my admiration for Helen Czerski's Storm in a Teacup, I fully enjoyed - and have no regrets - about Storm in a Teacup spoiling Marty Jopson's attempt here at making science accessible to the general reader. 

It is not that The Science of Everyday Life was a bad book - it wasn't! - it is just that the brevity of descriptions and eclectic selection of topics really makes an entertaining introduction to science for people who think they don't like or want to know about science. I am just not Jopson's target reader here. (But I am, evidently, Czerski's target audience.)

For what it is, tho, Jopson does an excellent job at showing how science is the basis of everything around us - from the colour of autumn foliage to the workings of toothpaste to why sheep don't shrink in the rain (despite wearing woolly jumpers) and why people shrivel up in the bathtub.

Each topic is explained just briefly enough to gather interest but not leave you bored with pages and pages of explanation.

 

Again, I wish there had been more explanation and connection between the topics, but this was not in the scope of this book.

 

I should add, tho, that there was one chapter that left me baffled and criticising its content - the part about the boomerang did nothing for me. I could not follow the description of the experiment and could not understand the explanation that was offered for how a boomerang works. I had to google the answer and explanation here.

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review 2018-06-16 08:25
The Science of Everyday Life
The Science of Everyday Life - Marty Jopson

Upfront, this book suffers from my bias a bit:  I're previously read Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life by Helen Czerski.  Both books have the same goals, and both are effective and interesting, but Czerski's writes a more cohesive narrative and her writing is somehow more seductive: she makes physics seem magical.  Fortunately, there's very little overlap in what both books cover, so this was by no means a wasted effort.

 

BUT, if I'd read this first, I'd have rated it higher; it's a very good book and Jopson actually includes a lot more 'things' and the science behind them.  The chapters are divided by category:  Food and Drink, Home and Kitchen, Science Around the House, Science in the World and Science in the Wild.  I had favorites from each section, as I've mentioned in previous reading updates, but right now the one that sticks the most is why leaves turn colours in the autumn.  Turns out this is a very deliberate process and he explains it so clearly - I have a whole new outlook on all those yellow and orange leaves I raked up this morning.

 

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book - especially for readers who are interested in science but might find a running narrative challenging to their attention span - Jopson's explanations are all separated within each chapter, making it very easy to pick up and put down, or refer to for specific reasons (solid index at the back too) as a reference.

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review 2018-06-06 05:12
The Ghost of Tobacco Road...
The Ghost of Tobacco Road - Dale J. Young

This book had its ups and downs for me. The plot and the paranormal elements were really good and I enjoyed the actual story immensely. The author's writing however, was pretty shoddy at times and it was hard to overlook some of the poor construction.

 

For example, there was one character, "Sexy Sarah," that we were introduced to at the beginning but her story was completely forgotten about and never wrapped up.

 

And speaking of "Sexy Sarah," that wasn't the only cheezy name we were forced to endure. "City Boy" and "Country Boy" wers used more times then I even want to count.

 

Also, in one chapter, two of the characters, Harmon and Logan, were having a conversation and in every sentence the author restated the characters names i.e. How are you Logan? I'm doing good Harmon. Logan, have you looked at those papers? No, Harmon I've been busy with Sexy Sally...

 

It just went on and on and on. I'm not a professional writer or anything but to me, if it's crystal clear that two characters are conversing with each other, there is no need to repeat their names over and over again, in every single sentence.

 

So there were some pretty big bumps and pot-holes plot-holes along Tobacco Road, but if the author would hire a good editor, this could be a 5 star story.

 

*Buddy Read with Marie : )

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review 2018-06-02 03:44
A reread, and I finally figured this one out
Be Buried in the Rain - Barbara Michaels

I've read this at least three times, maybe more, with the most recent reread about a year ago when I was reading all of the Barbara Michaels gothics that I have.

 

That particular reread was with a specific purpose: I had started writing another contemporary romantic-suspense-with-ghosts and I wanted to get good handle on how Michaels had structured hers.  I already knew Ammie, Come Home had serious plot and detail problems.  Be Buried in the Rain was written about twenty years later, so I was hoping she had improved her technique.

 

Be Buried in the Rain was also one of my favorites of the Michaels gothics, along with Houses of Stone and The Walker in Shadows.  Even though I read all three books last year, I still had some issues with both Houses and Be Buried.  So although I'm already involved in several other reading projects, this afternoon I picked up the latter to see if I could finally figure out the solution to my problem with it . . . or accept that maybe Michaels had left a major thread dangling.

 

And I think I did it.  In the process, I gained a grand new respect for the writer Michaels/Mertz/Peters became after the almost laughable errors in Ammie.

 

No spoiler posted here, and maybe everyone else who has read Be Buried in the Rain picked up on this detail the first time through and I'm just the dullard who missed it until the (at least) fourth read.  But I feel more confident tonight about my own writing. 

 

And now, back to my own ghosts!

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review 2018-06-01 18:25
Good Grief This Was Bad
The Courtesan Duchess - Joanna Shupe

Ugh. Well that's two romance buddy reads that did not end well, LOL. I love reading these books with WhiskeyintheJar Romance but wow. This one actually somehow maybe beat out the last book where we had the virgin kidnapped by the escaped convict who threatened her all the time, but somehow love happened.

 

"The Courtesan Duchess" had two leads who should have dusted their hands off after meeting and agreeing to go live separate lives. The first few sex scenes I had a hard time with (believable scale didn't quite register) but then I just got bored. Nick and Julia were not engaging and as Whiskey said, besides having sex with each other, there was nothing else there. Very boring romance with a plot you could call a mile away.

 

"The Courtesan Duchess" has Julia, Duchess of Colton traveling to Venice in order to seduce a husband she has not laid eyes on in 8 years. Julia plans on seducing the Duke of Colton, Nick, in order to become pregnant with his heir in order to call on the money that his cousin, Templeton, is now refusing to give to her. Did you follow all that? I think what kills me the most from this story is that Julia had other options, she had a very good friend who is also friend's with Nick who would have given her funds, could have written to Nick, etc. This scheme was so harebrained I couldn't do a thing but laugh at it.

 

Julia ends up taking lessons from a London courtesan on seduction and each chapter heading has some pearl of wisdom from her to Julia. I feel like I recall this from some movie about a woman who becomes a courtesan in Italy. I am not going to go looking it up.

 

Oh in case you are wondering why Nick doesn't recognize Julia, it's because she dies her head flaming red and I guess she grew in 8 years. I don't know. I had a hard time with that. I guess he never looked his wife in the face when he recited his vows and refused to have anything to do with her. 

 

If a romance is going to succeed, you have to want the two characters who are the hero and heroine to get together in the end. You have to want them to get past the issues and fall madly in love. Instead I wanted to shake Julia for being a moron with this plan and Nick for just being about 90 percent awful throughout the book. 

When Nick eventually realizes that Julia has done he takes it upon himself to banish her to the country and the time jumps in the story became ridiculous. I think from start to finish this book took place over a year. 

 

The secondary characters are not that interesting. This book also seems intent on positioning one of the characters as the main character in the next series. 

 

The writing was fine, I just did not care for Nick and honestly think he got off too lightly in this. 

 

"The display shocked Julia. Scandalous yet strangely alluring, the performance served as a reminder that her husband’s life was a world away from her own sheltered existence in London."

FYI, she's a virgin at this point. I don't even get what was happening here. 

 

"His black hair a bit long, it fell down around his collar to frame his perfect features: a straight nose, bold cheekbones, and a full mouth. He was truly breathtaking."

 

FYI, she is thinking this while watching him fondle another woman who is also "pleasuring herself" while everyone watches. 

 

"If Colton’s odious cousin, Lord Templeton, followed through on his recent threat to further reduce her stipend, in a few months she wouldn’t have enough funds to pay the servants or the rent on their small house in Mayfair. Colton’s mother had made it clear Julia was unwelcome at any of the ducal properties. Which meant she and her aunt would be destitute. Julia needed a male child, a legitimate one, to serve as the heir to the Colton estate."

Another thing that kills me about this dumb plan, what if she happened to have a girl? She does get that a baby is not automatically going to be a boy because she wants one right??

 

"God, it had hurt. But it was done—and he hadn’t noticed. Julia felt a surge of triumph, a roar of feminine power at the success. Now the pain was receding, just as Pearl said it would, and a strange new sensation, one of delicious fullness, dawned."

Of course we get the best first time ever scene. Courtney Milan has been the only who has ever written a first time scene that felt realistic to me in a romance book. 

 

The flow was up and down and that is really because of the time jumps. We go from a month, to maybe two months and all of sudden it's 9 months later. 

 

The book setting moves from Italy (which barely felt real at all) to England. I hope you enjoy Nick saying tesorina and bellissima. In my head he said everything with a terrible accent.  

 

The ending has a reveal that anyone that was paying attention could have guessed at and a happily ever after.

You can read Whiskey's review Hate the Hero

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