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review 2018-01-10 03:24
Sweet read, love conquers the past
First Street Church Romances: Love's Cure (Kindle Worlds Novella) (Sweet Grove Beginnings Book 4) - Emily Murdoch

A quick sweet story that brings two wounded souls together. Mariana's blindness has made her angry for most of her life. Gerald's one mistake follows him to Sweet Grove. Her need for independence from her family is encouraged by Gerald. Feelings grow fast with the help of a little faith. I enjoyed the characters and this small town as it grows.

I received a copy of this story as a gift, and this is my unsolicited review.

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review 2018-01-04 15:12
Rise of the Necrofauna by Britt Wray
Rise of the Necrofauna: The Science, Ethics, and Risks of De-Extinction - George Earl Church,Britt Wray

I spent quite a lot of this book wondering why I was reading it. A lot of its arguments felt presented back-to-front and it fell to two stars after it quoted the Bible. Yes, the science discussed is interesting but a reasonable argument  for wanting to bring back extinct mammoths in some form wasn't presented until a hundred or so pages in. Until that point I just couldn't understand why someone would think that bringing back a species that hasn't been around for 4000 years and died out quite naturally had a rationale. (It has to do with temperature regulation of the steppe and that environment actually being significantly colder with herd animals trampling the snow – good news for the methane trapped in the arctic permafrost). Pleistocene Park is a cool concept that I may have to look into more, although it's entirely possible that science behind it amounts to mostly wishful thinking.

 

Otherwise I feel that a quotation by Tom Gilbert about de-extinction that Wray used on page 77 was very much apropos:

"I think it is a very cool project technologically, but most of the environmental reasons people use to justify why we should do it are silly or wrong."

And some of them just weren't very compelling, or didn't seem to have been well thought out. Sure, 150 years is a very short period of time, but look at how the rural/urban landscape has changed in that time. What's the point of trying to bring something back if it'll just die out again? It's a waste of resources. People already complain about pigeons, so why would passenger pigeons be any different?

 

That said, Wray's conclusion is quite reasonable:

"I think our biggest challenge, if we are to pursue it fully and with increasing fervor, is to somehow couple de-extinction with improved strategies to overcome the larger structural issues that endanger species in the wild. Without expanding on the hard work that conservationists, environmentalists, and some politicians have been doing for decades, de-extinction risks being done in vain."

So yeah, the science is cool and should be pursued because of its potential impact on other areas of conservation, but I remain unconvinced in general.

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text 2018-01-02 18:01
My top reads of 2017 - the top 3!
Bad Sister - Sam Carrington
I Am Watching You - Teresa O'Driscoll
Tastes Like Fear: DI Marnie Rome 3 - Headline Digital,Sarah Hilary,Imogen Church
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review 2018-01-02 00:49
ARC Review: At Sixes And Sevens by M.A. Church
At Sixes and Sevens (Fur, Fangs, and Felines Book 4) - M.A. Church

I waited with much anticipation for this book, after the two main characters, Aidric the werecat from Dolf's clowder and one of his betas, and Carter, the alpha werewolf from the Dark Lake Pack, felt the mating bond in the previous book, when he came to the clowder lands to address an issue caused by his nephew with the Veela and his mate - I just had to know how a love story between a dog and a cat would work out. 

There's no insta-love in this series, thankfully. The mating bond, while presenting a strong pull and a desire to pursue that pull, does not mean instant HEA. No, the weres in this series must overcome odds, danger, and potential pain to get their happy ending. This applied to all the couples (and the thruple from book 1), and I'm glad that the author didn't deviate from that point here either.

Obviously, with Carter being an Alpha, Aidric must face the reality of leaving his clowder, giving up his beta position, and moving in with a bunch of werewolves, some of which are none too happy that their Alpha was given a werecat for a mate, and a male to boot. Carter's ex-girlfriend Sabrina, who fancied herself alpha-mate without ever being given that promise by Carter, and her brother Delaney make trouble for Aidric and Carter from the start, sowing distrust and trouble where they can, and things only get worse when during the first full moon run, an attack is carried out on the pack house where the pups are kept. 

I really liked how the author keeps giving her characters some huge odds to overcome, and how the cat and dog characteristics are presented, what with Aidric chasing his own tail, and Carter's wolf close to the surface, making him somewhat gruff on occasion. Their behavior is colored by the animal that lives inside them, and it permeated every action and reaction they had to each other and their surroundings.

Carter also struggles a bit with being given a male mate, which would in his mind prevent him from having children/pups to carry on his Alpha line, plus the additional headache of having many members of his pack resist his mating a werecat. Clearly he hasn't heard of surrogacy or adoption. 

The relationship grows slowly as they start to build on the mating pull, starting to trust each other more every day, and learning about each other. The UST is high, but neither is willing to complete the mating bond until they are certain of their own feelings and each other. When the mating finally comes - oh boy, oh boy, that sure is explosive. 

This was an excellent, strong addition to this series, and I hope there will be more. The book can be read as a standalone, since the events from the previous books are somewhat rehashed by being interwoven into the book's progression, but then you'd miss out on the fun of the first three books, and you wouldn't want that, amirite? So, just read the whole series! 


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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review 2017-12-31 22:57
Western Civilization to 1500
Western Civilization to 1500 (College Outline) - Walther Kirchner

The story of Western Civilization centers in Europe but begins over 8000 years ago in Mesopotamia and Egypt and seems like a daunting task to cover in less than 300 pages even if one only goes to the end of the Middle Ages.  Western Civilization to 1500 by Walther Kirchner is a survey of the rise of society from ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt through the Greeks and Romans, the Middle Ages, and the beginning of the European Renaissance.

 

Kirchner spends less than 30 pages covering the Fertile Crescent and Egypt through 3500 years of historical development before beginning over 110 pages on Greco-Roman history and the last 130 pages are focused on the Middle Ages and early Renaissance.  This division clearly denotes Kirchner’s focus on Europe in this Western Civilization survey, though one cannot fault him for this as even now knowledge of the first three and half millennia of the historical record is nothing compared to the Greco-Roman sources, yet Kirchner never even mentioned the Bronze Age collapse and possible reasons for its occurrence.  The highlight of the survey is a detailed historical events of Greece and Roman, especially the decline of the Republic which was only given broad strokes in my own Western Civ and World History classes in high school and college.  Yet, Kirchner’s wording seems to hint that he leaned towards the Marxist theory of history, but other wording seemed to contradict it.  Because this was a study aid for college students in the early 1960s, this competing terminology is a bit jarring though understandable.  While the overall survey is fantastic, Kirchner errors in some basic facts (calling Harold Godwinson a Dane instead of an Anglo-Saxon, using the term British during the Hundred Year’s War, etc.) in well-known eras for general history readers making one question some of the details in eras the reader doesn’t know much about.  And Kirchner’s disparaging of “Oriental” culture through not only the word Oriental but also the use of “effeminate” gives a rather dated view of the book.

 

This small volume is meant to be a study aid for students and a quick reference for general readers, to which it succeeds.  Even while Kirchner’s terminology in historical theory and deriding of non-European cultures shows the age of the book, the overall information makes this a good reference read for any well-read general history reader.

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