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review 2017-12-17 08:58
Origin by Dan Brown
Origin - Dan Brown

Professor Robert Langdon is invited to the Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao to a presentation by one of his former students, futurist Edmond Kirsch. Kirsch's presentation is supposed to be revolutionary, presenting the answer to humankind's two oldest and most intriguing questions;Where do we come from? and Where are we going?

But before Kirsch can launch the gist of it, he's killed by a bullet to the brain. Someone doesn't want his findings to be made public, but Langdon is prepared to do anything to thwart their plans. Even go on a run with the future queen of Spain, be accused of kidnapping, and dodge an assassin from a Catholic sect...


Whenever I pick up a book categorized as a thriller I expect to be thrilled. Dan Brown has been failing at that in the last three installments in this series, with this last one being the absolute worst of the bunch.

Instead of mysterious, suspenseful and thrilling, I got boring, dull and plodding. It started off slow, slightly hurried up along the plot, yet never really picking up pace to even get to the level of "interesting" with its nonlinear narrative jumping backward, forward and sometimes even sideways in time resulting in severe loss of momentum at most inopportune times.
It was unnecessarily overcomplicated and filled with redundancy and unnecessary side-plots (that ended up not leading anywhere and/or didn't provide the "oomph" the author probably wanted), until the main story arc got lost in the twists, turns and spirals (pun utterly intended) provided by the fillers and ballast of the rest of it.

In the end, the final revelations of Kirsch's discovery and who was really behind his televised murder and why, came at a point where I wasn't excited about what happens next, but eager for it all to end.
The real "murderer" was no surprise, since I expected something along those lines; everything was set up too nicely for it not to happen the way it did. And the revelation about our origin and destiny certainly didn't inspire the awe and internal debate that was supposed to, I guess. It wasn't anything new—not the past and certainly not the future.

So what was this book really about? Why was it really written? It didn't bring anything new to the table, it wasn't intriguing, it wasn't thrilling. It also didn't adhere to the canon established in Inferno if the conversation about babies between the future kind and queen of Spain was any indication.
Was it really just for the money?

If it was, that's even more disappointing.

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review 2017-12-16 19:14
Colors Of Christmas
Colors of Christmas: Two Contemporary Stories Celebrate the Hope of Christmas - Olivia Newport

Title: Colors of Christmas
Author: Olivia Newport
Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Inc.
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Rating: Five
Review:

"Colors of Christmas" Two Contemporary Stories Celebrate The Hope of Christmas By Olivia Newport

My Thoughts....

Two Contemporary Stories Celebrate The Hope of Christmas:

Christmas in Gold

What a story that had me in tears...What will happen when a older woman [Astrid] falls and breaks her ankle. Then her family wants to put her in an assistant living facility. Wow, what a family! You will just have to pick this one up to see how it will all come out as she meets a Physical Therapist named Carly.

Then next we have....

Christmas in Blue

This was such a wonderful contemporary heartwarming story of 'love, loss and the beauty of family and friends.' What will happen as a mysterious stranger [Gabe] appears in town to help Angela. How will this take a turn and instead of dread there will be 'joy and tenderness in Angela's heart' for this holiday.

Both of these stories are well written and will contain a message that is only for the reader to receive. I found these stories tender, so endearing and hopefully one hearts will be lifted for this Christmas holiday season from the read. I was left to be reminded to be 'thankful and never take anything for granted.'

Thank you to NetGalley and Barbour Publishing, Inc. for a review copy in exchange for my honest review.




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text 2017-12-16 07:05
Cover Reveal - Pretty As A Peach

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-12-16 06:28
Book review : I hate everyone but you gabby dunn
I Hate Everyone But You - Allison Raskin,Gaby Dunn

November 15- December 1 

Dear Best Friend,
I can already tell that I will hate everyone but you.
Sincerely,
Ava Helmer
(that brunette who won’t leave you alone)

We're still in the same room, you weirdo.
Stop crying.
G

So begins a series of texts and emails sent between two best friends, Ava and Gen, as they head off to their first semesters of college on opposite sides of the country. From first loves to weird roommates, heartbreak, self-discovery, coming out and mental health, the two best friends will document every moment to each other. But as each changes and grows into her new life, will their friendship be able to survive the distance?. 

Review : I really enjoyed this book the format was something that was really cool told in texts and emails this is about two best friends who are both in there first year of college but they are both in different states this book deals with anxiety sexuality and friendship I loved it with the audiobook cause the authors narrated there parts this was a funny book the only problem I had was Ava's character was going out with the most fuck boy character but other than that pretty good story .

Quotes 
“I can already tell that I will hate everyone but you.

Sincerely, 
Ava Helmer

(that brunette who won't leave you alone)”

ALREADY I HAVE GIVEN MORE PRACTICAL ADVICE THAN MY CURRENT THERAPIST WHO IS ACTUALLY LICENSED. HOW DOES ANYONE HAVE A JOB?”

We're still in the same room, you weirdo.

 

 

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review 2017-12-16 01:01
The Power of Narrativium
The Science of Discworld - Terry Pratchett,Jack Cohen,Ian Stewart

Murder by Death and BrokenTune have essentially summed up a lot of the points I'd want to make about The Science of Discworld.  (What a misnomer that title is, incidentally -- and not only because the science part is really concerned with "Roundworld," i.e., our world ... the science part in this book expressly negates what chiefly makes Discworld tick, namely narrativium, which is described here as the narrative imperative, but actually stands for so much more.  But I'll get to that in a minute.)  And there is quite a bit of more discussion in MbD's post here and in the comments sections of BT's posts here and here, so little remains for me to add. 

 

There is one point in particular that is bothering me about the assertions made by the scientist co-authors, though, and that is their constant poo-pooing of any- and everything that isn't scientifically quantifiable or measurable, even though (in one of their many contradictions) they do admit in the book's final chapters that the "How-to-Make-a-Human-Being" kit we have inherited and are, ourselves, passing on to future generations (both individually and collectively) includes "extelligence", which constitutes not only collectively shaped knowledge and experience, but also virtually every abstract concept known to mankind today ... as long as -- according to Stewart and Cohen -- a person's response to such a concept can be measured and recorded in some way, shape or form.  That, however, still doesn't stop them from talking down the concept of a soul (human or otherwise), or from insisting that narrativium doesn't exist in our world.  I disagree, and largely in lieu of a review I'm going to throw their co-author Terry Pratchett's own words right in their teeth (and incidentally, Pratchett was, for all I know, an atheist, so religion -- which seems to be a key part of Stewart and Cohen's objection to the notion of a soul -- doesn't even enter into the discussion here):

"I will give you a lift back, said Death, after a while.

'Thank you.  Now ... tell me ...'

What would have happened if you hadn't saved him?' [the Hogfather, Discworld's  version of Santa Claus.]

'Yes! The sun  would have risen just the same, yes?'

No.

'Oh, come on.  You can't expect me to believe that.  It's an astronomical fact.'

The sun would not have risen.

She turned on him.

'It's been a long night, Grandfather!  I'm tired and I need a bath!  I don't need silliness!'

The sun would not have risen.

'Really?  Then what would have happened, pray?'

A mere ball of flaming gas would have illuminated the world.

They walked in silence.

'Ah,' said Susan dully. 'Trickery with words.  I would have thought you'd have been more literal-minded than that.'

I am nothing if not literal-minded.  Trickery with words is where humans live.

'All right,' said Susan.  'I'm not stupid.  You're saying humans need ... fantasies to make life bearable.'

Really?  As if it was some kind of pink pill?  No.  Humans need fantasy to be human.  To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape.

'Tooth fairies?  Hogfathers? Little --'

Yes.  As practice, you have to start out learning to believe the little lies.

'So we can believe the big ones?'

Yes.  Justice.  Mercy.  Duty.  That sort of thing.

'They're not the same at all?'

You think so?  Then take the universe and grind it down to the finest powder and sieve it through the finest sieve and then show me one atom of justice, one molecule of mercy, and yet-- Death waved a hand.  And yet you act as if there is some ... some rightness in the universe by which it may be judged.

'Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what's the point--'

My point exactly.

She tried to assemble her thoughts.

There is a place where thwo galaxies have been colliding for a million years, said Death, apropos of nothing.  Don't try to tell me that's right.

'Yes, but people don't think about that,' said Susan.  Somewhere there was a bed ...

Correct.  Stars explode, worlds collide, there's hardly anywhere in the universe where humans can live without being frozen or fried, and yet you believe that a ... a bed is a normal thing.  It is the most amazing talent.

'Talent?'

Oh, yes.  A very speccial kind of stupidity.  You think the whole universe is inside your heads.

'You make us sound mad,' said Susan.  A nice warm bed ...

No.  You need to believe in things that aren't true.  How else can they become?  said Death, helping her up on to Binky."

(Terry Pratchett: Hogfather)

So you see, Messrs. Stewart and Cohen, there is narrativium everywhere where there are humans.  It may not have been part of the universe from the time of its creation (however we attempt to pinpoint or define that time).  And we don't know whether any of the long-extinct creatures who populated our planet millions of years before we came along had it -- if they did, it seems they at any rate didn't have enough of it to create a lasting record beyond their fossilized physical remains.  But humans wouldn't be humans without narrativium.  Because that's how the rising ape becomes something more than a mammal (call it a falling angel or whatever you will).  Because that's why it is the sun we see rising every morning, not merely a ball of flaming gas.  Because that's why the stars are shining in the sky at night, not a collection of galactic nuclear reactors that just happen to be close enough so we can see them with our naked eye.  And because that's what enables us to hope, to dream, and to consequently make things come true that nobody previously even thought possible.

 

It's narrativium that got us where we are today.  Not alone -- science, technology, and a whole lot of parts of the "How-to-Make-a-Human-Being-Kit" helped.  A lot.  But narrativium is the glue that holds them all together.

 

And since as a species we also seem to be endowed with a fair share of bloodimindium, maybe -- just maybe -- that, combined with narrativium and scientific advance all together will even enable us to survive the next big global catastrophe, which in galactic terms would seem to be right around the corner (at least if our Earth's history to date is anything to go by).  If the sharks and a bunch of protozoons could, then one would hope so could we ... space elevator, starship Enterprise, or whatever else it takes, right?

 

P.S.  Like MbD's and BT's, my love of the Discworld wizards is unbroken.  And clearly there is no higher life form than a librarian.  (Ook.)

 

P.P.S.  I said elsewhere that I'd be replacing Val McDermid's Forensics with this book as my "16 Festive Tasks" Newtonmas read.  I'm still doing this: at least it does actually have a reasonable degree of actual scientific contents; even if highly contradictory in both approach and substance and even if I didn't much care for the two science writers' tone.

 

 

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