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review 2018-11-11 05:34
That's a Wrap: The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs
The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World - Stephen Brusatte

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

A New History of a Lost World
by Steve Brusatte

 

 

The dinosaurs.  Sixty-six million years ago, the Earth’s most fearsome creatures vanished.  Today they remain one of our planet’s great mysteries.  Now The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs reveals their extraordinary, 200-million-year-long story as never before.

In this captivating narrative (enlivened with more than seventy original illustrations and photographs), Steve Brusatte, a young American paleontologist who has emerged as one of the foremost stars of the field—naming fifteen new species and leading groundbreaking scientific studies and fieldwork—masterfully tells the complete, surprising, and new history of the dinosaurs, drawing on cutting-edge science to dramatically bring to life their lost world and illuminate their enigmatic origins, spectacular flourishing, astonishing diversity, cataclysmic extinction, and startling living legacy.  Captivating and revelatory, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs is a book for the ages.

Brusatte traces the evolution of dinosaurs from their inauspicious start as small shadow dwellers—themselves the beneficiaries of a mass extinction caused by volcanic eruptions at the beginning of the Triassic period—into the dominant array of species every wide-eyed child memorizes today, T. rex, Triceratops, Brontosaurus, and more.  This gifted scientist and writer re-creates the dinosaurs’ peak during the Jurassic and Cretaceous, when thousands of species thrived, and winged and feathered dinosaurs, the prehistoric ancestors of modern birds, emerged.  The story continues to the end of the Cretaceous period, when a giant asteroid or comet struck the planet and nearly every dinosaur species (but not all) died out, in the most extraordinary extinction event in earth’s history, one full of lessons for today as we confront a “sixth extinction.”

Brusatte also recalls compelling stories from his globe-trotting expeditions during one of the most exciting eras in dinosaur research—which he calls “a new golden age of discovery”—and offers thrilling accounts of some of the remarkable findings he and his colleagues have made, including primitive human-sized tyrannosaurs; monstrous carnivores even larger than T. rex; and paradigm-shifting feathered raptors from China.

An electrifying scientific history that unearths the dinosaurs’ epic saga, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs will be a definitive and treasured account for decades to come.



This is one of those books that could have been cut down in size readily if we edited out a lot of the details of personal facts.  The author tended towards rambling when he starts talking about his own trips to different countries, his own achievements, and his discoveries.  He also gives more personal background information about a lot of his colleagues than I really cared to know about, and made general, sweeping declarations about how someone was "the single most important contributor to such and such" which made me feel kind of wary.

He also liked to remind the reader that he's a very, very outstanding paleontologist, and that he's worked with lots of great paleontologists, and that he, alone, has made several discoveries, none of which he actually gives names to.  Repeatedly.

There was a lot of repetition of information, bogged down with details as well.

There's a particular part of one of the chapters that kind of stood out to me, because he spends about five or six pages describing the shifting of lands that started breaking apart the super-continent of Pangaea.  He describes volcanic activity and lava flow, and how it was what had caused the first mass extinction pre-dinosaur domination.  This particular fact was talked about, repeatedly in those few pages.  Those first few paragraphs had already told me what I needed to know about the end of the Triassic period.  But he went on as if he thought he hadn't already given me enough information to understand the global significance of this event.  It got to a point where I forgot that there was another point to this particular chapter.

I'm tempted to count the many times he described Tyrannosaurus Rex's body shape and structure, specifically emphasizing the creature's puny, pathetic arms--I think there might have been at least six instances... within a couple pages.  I think I get it.  And I figure I already knew this information without it being harked upon.  And I feel like maybe we should think about T-Rex's feelings when you keep insulting his itty-bitty arms, because that's just rude.  It took him an entire chapter of emphasizing those tiny arms on this enormous apex predator before getting to the point: Why the tyrannosaur still had said small arms anyway?

The rest of the chapter wasn't actually bad, truth be told, if he'd have just stuck with the science.  Instead, he tried to be dramatic, opening the chapter with a tacky introduction, seen through the eyes of a triceratops, describing the T-Rex attack of several hadrosaurs.  It seemed highly unnecessary.  As did many of his other dramatic introductory scenes to a couple other chapters in the book.

Not all of this book is so terrible, however.  If it's one thing I could deduce while reading this book, it was that our author is, indeed, knowledgeable and passionate about his career and the study of dinosaurs.  There were a few fun new facts I, personally, learned about dinosaurs.  And if he was so inclined to go further into some evolutionary studies, I'd be interested.  He certainly touched on evolution several times.  And you even get a pretty good look at the timeline of the pre-dinosaur era, the rise of the dinosaurs, their evolution over millions of years, and then the final fall of their dominance on Earth.

I didn't need a dramatic telling of the "dinosaur outside his window" to know about the "birds are dinosaurs" tidbit.  It's one of the things they teach in a basic science course, y'know.  And his exclamation is a bit oversimplified anyway.  I did, however, appreciate that he then went into the journey that paleontologists went through to finally make and prove the connection between dinosaurs and birds, though.  But his declaration seemed a bit out of tone and unnecessary in light of the fact that, as I already said, this is something you learn in a basic science or biology course about evolution.

And, in a nutshell, evolution is so much more complicated than a simple declaration that "birds are dinosaurs."

This book could have actually been quite informational (and it was, in a way), and it could have been much more interesting to read.  But there was too much non-dinosaur story telling involved, which really just managed to make me impatient with the book.  It certainly could have used a good edit to cut out unnecessary information.

 




This book was read for the Flat Book Society as well as 24 Festive Tasks, for the New Year's Eve Book Task.

 

The Flat Book Society


And since we don't really have a graphic for the New Year's Eve door yet, I give you a brief reintroduction to Dino Baby!  Rawr!

I am the true apex predator!
I dominate all of your squee's!

 

 

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photo 2018-11-10 11:01
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review 2018-11-07 14:49
Galactic-War: "The Fall of Worlds" by Francine Mezo
The Fall of Worlds - Francine Mezo



(Original Review, 1980-11-25)


When you see a pb cover with the author's name in bright red letters over an inch high, and the title letters in white, only a quarter of an inch in height, but you never heard of the writer, it makes you wonder. (The story doesn't read like a translation, nor is there any entry for Mezo in Clute's SF ENCYCLOPEDIA, so this is seemingly not an import.) It looked like something for my SF female protagonists’ collection, so I got it despite one of the most ridiculous cover pictures for that type.

 

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-11-06 19:59
ARC REVIEW Never Let Me Fall by Abbie Roads
Race the Darkness (Fatal Dreams) - Abbie Roads
Hunt the Dawn - Abbie Roads

 

 

 

Fatal Dreams #3, Each of the Fatal Dreams books can be read as a standalone. While this one didn't quite have the same umph as Roads last three books it was still a fantastic read. Very deep in the internal conflict of recognizing who they are together and what they are becoming. A dark fairy tale/folklore at the root of it all tells a tale of never ending love and the power it holds and the reincarnated souls that carry on that power.

Thomas Brown lost the ability to see color when his step father tried to kick his face in, the resulting damage caused serious problems to the optic nerve. He also has the ability to see a person's "death shadow" which tells him basically how evil a person really is and after a person dies it can show him the person's life up until their death. Helena Greyse was tried and convicted for a murder she never committed and spent the last ten years fighting for her life. Helen survived many attacks while in prison some that should have killed her, even her last night there she barely made it out with her life. When they meet for the first time, the day Helen was released, they both knew their lives have unequivocally changed. Helen has brought color to Thomas' life and for the first time in ten years Helen felt safe with Thomas. Thomas and Helen's lives are tied together in so many ways but there is still one giant obstacle for them to overcome. Can their love overcome this common enemy who has been a source of pain for them both?   

Overall, this book was outstanding it's an emotional read, it's dark, it's paranormal, it's suspenseful, it's heavy on the internal conflict without the characters sounding whiny and useless. They are each other's strength, they are the balm for their souls it's a beautiful insta-love romance. The external conflict wasn't as traumatizing for me as the other two, it was still bad but it almost feels like it was glossed over and leaves you with just assuming how bad the events were; but it was still good and I loved the conclusion.  

 

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review 2018-10-31 19:14
Review: Mirage
Mirage - Somaiya Daud

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

I was really looking forward to this one. I got approved for a review copy from Netgalley and then I got a gorgeous purple edged sprayed exclusive signed copy from my Fairyloot September subscription box. But unfortunately, no matter how pretty the book is – I just didn’t like it.

 

I was really disappointed. I sort of went in blind with this one, I didn’t reread the synopsis before I started – I was admittedly expecting a fantasy, and I got a sci-fi. The sci-fi actually read like a fantasy novel. The world building was interesting, the characters were okay, but the plot I found tedious and boring, the romance eye rolling and predictable.

 

At just over 300 pages it’s a relatively short book and was at least interesting enough that I didn’t DNF it, but it was a big snooze for me.

 

The basics of the plot are the heroine Amani’s people and her home planet have been conquered, and leaving under the harsh rule of the new rulers, the Vath. They are workers, live in a close community, Amani has siblings and friends and looking forward to her majority night ceremony. One thing I did actually like was the details to Amani’s religion, described in detail with deep history and stories without being preachy. Her faith gives her hope when everything looks bleak.

 

Until without warning Amani is taken away with Vath soliders and removed from her home planet to the Vath royalty homeworld. Her whole world is stripped from her when she learns she’s the exact image of the crown princess Maram, who needs a body double to attend public events as there has been threats upon her life. Maram is cold, cruel and emotionless. Amani is to be trained how to be Maram – dress like her, act like her, study her know her life and her world as if it were her own. If she fails or talks out of turn, she’s punished, harshly.

 

The writing is beautiful, it’s very poetic and poetry plays a large part of the plot, but it takes so long for anything to actually happen, the pretty writing gets flowery and annoying after a while. When Amani is training in her new forced position, it’s hard not to feel for the girl. Her family has been torn from her, everything she knows has gone, she’s got no one to help or anyone who can understand the pain she’s going through.

 

Though she determined to be strong and look for an opportunity to escape. Unfortunately, one of her jobs as posing as Maram includes spending time with Maram’s fiancée, Idris. Idris has his own backstory and was one of the more interesting characters, however, as soon as Amani has her first encounter with him…it’s painfully obvious where it’s going to go.

 

During the course of her training, Amari is sent on various outings as Maram, and learns that not everything is as it seems. There’s a rebellion brewing and she could play her own part to free her people. There’s a try at a political sort of side plot once Amari gets involved in both sides of the rebellion, but there’s a lot of talking and not much action.

 

Of course everything for Amani goes pear shaped and she finds herself in a terrible position – if things couldn’t get any worse – guess what – they do! Left on a cliff hanger of course, with two more books to follow. While it was kind of boring, I must admit I’m interested in seeing where it was going.

 

There were some interesting themes on family and standing up for your believes, being strong and trying to do the right thing in tough situations. The writing as I mentioned was lovely, so there’s definite potential there.  It would work better for me as a fantasy rather than a sci-fi as that’s what it reads like. Admittedly, it’s an interesting way of writing.

 

Amani and Idris felt like the only fleshed out characters, though the romance was kind of eye rolling. Maram herself had potential as well as she does show some growth as the plot wears on but quickly reverts to how she was when the novel opens. Lots to explore in a follow up.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for approving my request to view the title.  

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