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text 2018-06-21 22:40
TBR Thursday
The Hazel Wood - Melissa Albert
The Fuller Memorandum - Charles Stross
Looking for Alaska - John Green
They Came to Baghdad - Agatha Christie
The Name of the Star - Maureen Johnson
The Spy Who Came In from the Cold - John le Carré

I will finish The Bourne Identity soon.  Then I'm off to visit The Hazel Wood and see what the Fae are doing there.

 

For The Summer of Spies, I'll be reading The Fuller Memorandum, They Came to Baghdad and The Spy Who Came In From the Cold

 

RL Book club selections are Looking for Alaska and The Name of the Star.

 

Life is interfering with my reading these days.  Do you ever go weeks without anyone wanting to do things on the weekends, and then suddenly everyone wants to do something on the SAME weekend.  Just like no one phones for days, then suddenly everybody calls.

 

Off to the mountains on Saturday (Peyto Lake) with my trusted friend Barbara.  With any luck, I will have photos to share on Monday.

 

Have a fun weekend, y'all.

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review 2018-06-21 21:50
Out in Sept
They Fought Alone - Charles Glass
Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley

If you know anything about SOE then you have heard about the Starr brothers, maybe not in depth and maybe just by their code names, but you have heard them. John Starr was at Avenue Foch at the same as Noor Khan and was one of the men who planned an escape attempt with her.

Charles Glass presents the story of the brothers’ actions in SOE during the second World War. George Starr avoided capture and lead a rather effective group of resistance operatives in occupied France. His brother, John Starr, was not as lucky.

In many ways, using the two brothers, Glass shows the divergent paths an SOE operative could take. Capture in most case, meant torture and death. But freedom could mean death as well, but also to strike against the Nazis, then possibly, possibly honors after the war.

Not that those who joined SOE did so for honors; it was a top-secret organization after all.

The book’s one problem is the same problem that is in any book about SOE, what is the truth and what actually happened. It’s hard, and then you have to factor in the times, the situation and all that.

To be fair, Glass does his best. He does note when something is rumor and when something is fact. If there are two divergent stories, he gives both with context and pros and cons. This is especially important when dealing with John Starr’s story as his is less clear cut than his brothers. Did he help the enemy or not, if he did is he at fault are questions that Glass must attend to, and he does, quite well. While he is sympathetic to his subjects, he is not blind or totally in awe. It is a balanced recounting.

The Starrs are the focus of the book, but Glass does give time to various members of the Circuit and other prisoners. 

This book is nice addition to the works about the members of SOE.

 

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review 2018-06-17 19:40
The Equations of Life
The Equations of Life: How Physics Shapes Evolution - Charles S. Cockell

[I received a copy of this book from NetGalley.]

Well, that was a pretty informative read. A little difficult to get into at times (although I suspect half of it was because I was trying to read it when I was too tired), but definitely informative.

To be honest, I’m not that well-versed in equations in general. I can solve basic linear equations with two unknowns, that kind of thing; just don’t ask me to memorise really complex ones. So, I admit that, at first, I was hesitant to request this book, thinking that maybe it’d be out of my reach. Fortunately, while it does deal with equations, it’s not just page after page filled with numbers and symbols, and the author does explain what each term of each equation stands for. In the end, this was all fairly understandable, both the math and the writing itself.

The book doesn’t simply deal with equations either, and delves into astrobiology and basic atomic and particles physics (electrons -are- subatomic particles, after all, and knowing what part they play in atomic interactions is useful to understand what exactly happens at the biological molecular level, too). In fact, I found that a couple of chapters do fit in nicely with quantum theory, if you’re interested in that as well, since they explain essential interactions at shell level. I hadn’t studied chemistry since… at least 21 years, but this sent me back to my old classes, and I realised that I still possessed the required knowledge to get what the author was talking about. Which is great, because 1) I’m interested, 2) I like it when I grasp something that old me would’ve dismissed as ‘too hard’, 3) did I say I’m interested?

Last but not least, the book also contains a list of references that I’ll try to check at some point. Not all of them, of course, but since he points to Sean B. Carroll and his works on evo-devo, that’s a win in my little world.

All in all, this was a set of really interesting and intriguing theories, theories that make a lot of sense when you think about it and take time to observe nature around you. (Why did animals develop legs and not wheels? Well, inequal terrain and all that… Logics, logics…) And if you’re wondering about the possibility of other forms of life, either carbon-based on other planets or not even carbon-based, the author also explores this, going to demonstrate why it may or may not work (hence why a basic lesson in chemistry is provided). A solid 4.5 stars for me (I just think it dragged slightly in the last chapter).

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url 2018-06-16 06:58
www.freedom-pdf.com/2017/03/christmas-caro.html
A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings - Charles Dickens,Michael Slater

download the book pdf

 

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review 2018-06-12 21:38
California Creatures by Clasman & Anthony
California Creatures - David Anthony,Charles David Clasman

Note: Even though this is Book #3 in the series, it works just fine as a stand alone.

This is another great collection of spooky tales for the whole family. I expected great things from this book since Frightening Florida was so wonderful and I was not disappointed. Some tales are based on local myths or legends while others have a more modern bend to them.

A few of the tales stood out for me. I loved the tale that have grandparents who claim to be monster hunters (The Boot). I didn’t know until the very end whether the grandparents were going to be heroes or villains. I also loved the opening tale (Tar Pit Terror) because who doesn’t love a scary story that features a skeleton and this skeleton comes out of a smelly, gooey pit. Toll to the Troll was also awesome. I will never look at Alcatraz the same way again.

This collection of tales has a good balance of humor and scary. For instance, The Man in the Gray Suit had me laughing over the corny surfer slang. Often the various characters, almost all of which are kids, tease each other adding a few chuckles to even the scariest stories.

California Creatures is great for all ages as any sad ending to the heroes is left off scene and merely implied in the ending. I liked that most tales left things open ended so I can imagine my favorite heroes escaping at the last second… or being eaten or such if I felt they needed a dramatic ending.

The collection is full of little surprises. A dragon!?! Some weird fountain of youth? A zoo for movie monsters? The authors’s imaginations are on full display with these tales. 5/5 stars.

I received a free copy of this book.

The Narration: Neil Holmes gave another great performance. I love his range of voices, from little girl to gruff grandma to questionable security guard to impatient troll – he has a different voice for them all. His female voices were feminine and his little kid voices were well done. I loved all his emotion too, especially for the scared surfers. I did notice a few small technical issues with the recording – a few times I think I heard paper rustling and once there was a line that partially overlayed another line. None of these small issues detracted from my enjoyment of the book. 4.5/5 stars.

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