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review 2018-07-21 15:00
No bullshit romance
Silver Silence - Nalini Singh

Big thanks to Ceridwen and her guidance, because I really liked this one.

 

The world is rich but understandable enough, and the author does not go for info-dumping to ensure it. So, from my point of view, extra kudos for being self-contained.

 

I don't know how the romance works in other volumes, but there were a lot of positives for me in this one:

 

- There is a very alpha male. He's very protective, sure. But he's respectful. And he wants his mate to be his equal. Everyone equates capacity for being alpha with capacity for love.

 

- Consent is a huge thing in-world. At some point, the main male character says consent once does not imply consent again. Like wow, how come we don't see that often. So sexy.

 

- Main female character is BAMF. Actually, everyone is BAMF, even the grandmother. World of BAMF. But what I like is that it is in a quiet way. We don't see her engage in any huge display of power here, but it's always there, in the dialogue, her hyper-competence, the way she attends to her looks and literally calls it armor, the no-bullshit directness.

 

- Directly related to that one, the way the romance progresses in a no-bullshit way. Given the uber-praticality of anyone in Silence, and Valentin's commitment it makes sense. It translates into fast paced and big on communication. There are hurdles, but it's more an external, plot related thing. Little to do with hysterical angsty push and pull. Like I said, no bullshit. Such a relief.

 

I don't know that I will love all of the books in this series, but what I see I like, and will certainly read more Singh soon

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review 2018-06-17 23:33
Autonomous
Autonomous - Andy Marino

Autonomous was an interesting book filled with funny and serious parts. It simultaneously addresses social media and an AI like program while taking the reader and characters on a trip cross county in a self driving car. 

 

Otto is a self driving car that is learning human behaviors and emotions(perhaps not for the grater good) from its inhabitants. Otto has learned all the negative behaviors humans exhibit and perceives them as normal and harmless. This raises the question 'if AI existed would humans be able to direct it toward good, or would follow some negative example and turn evil?' 

 

Autonomous is a truly intriguing book and I would love to see it in a series!

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review 2018-06-13 21:28
An honest, simple, and clear explanation of intermittent fasting as a weight loss method and good tips on how to implement it.
Z-FAST: A Simple, Proven Intermittent Fasting Method - John Zehren

I must confess that I have struggled with my weight from very early on (well, all my life) and, like the author of this book have tried (or read about) a variety of diets. In my case, if something doesn’t make sense to me, I don’t try it, especially if it is something long-term. (I am a doctor but I’ve worked mostly as a psychiatrist, and I cannot claim specific expertise on this subject, even if I’ve read plenty about it). I have been hearing about intermittent fasting for quite a while and know people who have tried some versions of it (like eating only 500 calories two days a week), and I felt curious when I saw this book on offer for free. After all, fasting has a long tradition and plenty of people and cultures adhere to it, in one fashion or another.

The book is easy to read (I read it all in one evening), and although it is packed with information, it is not overly complicated. There is some degree of repetition because some of the information is relevant to several of the points the author discusses but does not get excessive or boring. The style of writing is conversational, and it is easy to imagine that you are talking to the author, who comes across as a knowledgeable and likable person, fully convinced of the goodness of the method, and interested in sharing it with as many people as possible. I’d recommend checking a sample of the book to make sure it suits the reader’s taste.

While many books of this kind try to sell you something (a method that involves subscribing and paying for a programme or buying supplements or other books, foods to be delivered at home, an exercise programme), this is not the case here. The author clearly states that he does not have time to prepare elaborate meals or to exercise for hours on end, but what he can do is not eat. The plan might not suit everybody as it does require a big deal of discipline and strong will (most diets do) but it is pretty flexible, and it makes sense. Different people feel differently, but for some, it might be easier to have nothing at all to eat at times than to try to restrict the amount of this or that or engage in very complex routines. The book contains testimonials from a variety of people who have tried fasting as a method to lose and control their weight and have found it useful, some for a large number of years. I particularly liked the idea of having an emergency plan and making a strong commitment to take action if the weight goes over a certain level. Personally, I cannot say if the plan works or not as described, but I’d recommend the book as an interesting read for people considering fasting as a method to control their weight.

My only warning would be that readers must pay attention to the fact that the book mentions that it might not be a suitable method for people with certain medical problems as it does not place a lot of emphasis on that aspect. I’d recommend anybody with chronic health conditions or taking regular medication to check with their physicians before attempting this.

An easy-to-read book that proposes a simple weight loss and maintenance plan that will particularly appeal to those with little time and who prefer simple options (not easy, though).

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review 2018-05-16 01:19
Nyxia
Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad) - Scott Reintgen

The premise of Nyxia is a few teens are chosen to compete to venture to another planet to mine a powerful substance called Nyxia. Ten are in the program, only eight will be chosen.

 

I really liked the main characters. They seemed so life like, each one with a different personality type. It was kind of like a game show; the ones with the highest scores win. Emmett, the character whose perspective we follow, has the conflict and personality evolution necessary for a main character. Unfortunately some of my favorite characters died or where cut out of the competition. I hate when this happens because I have to stop reading the book for a few days to process. This was such a fast paced book that had me reading ahead and constantly going back to check each characters scores and compare them to one another. It was a si-fi book that seemed as though the characters where living normal lives until they got chosen. This made it seem more realistic and as though something like it could happen in the future. I really loved Nyxia and am probably going to add it to my favorites.

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review 2018-05-04 20:00
Goofy and bottom heavy
Fast & Loose - Elizabeth Bevarly

This has two characters that are different and a bit quirky, refreshingly different from the usually hero and heroine. The hero is a horse trainer but really no scenes involving that, you get some of the hoopla surrounding the Kentucky Derby a little. The heroine is a glass artist, you get more artsy stuff/tone involving her. 

The author did a great job introducing her characters, maybe too good a job because it feels like 60-70% of the book is introducing our characters and slowing bringing them together. We then get a rushed bottom heavy ending of them coming together and having a very quick romance. I really enjoyed these characters separately but did not get near enough time of them together to feel their romance.

There was also a secondary romance that came close to stealing the show. 

Definitely a different beat contemporary if you're looking to break out of the usual contemporary fare but the rushed romance ending killed all the lengthy character ground work the author had done.

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