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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-08-16 12:07
Books&Chai Series: 6 Reasons I Fell in Love with Raptor Red by Robert T. Bakker
Raptor Red - Robert T. Bakker

 

Introduction to the Book

My friends already know how crazy I am when it comes to fiction based on dinosaurs. I have been known to wax poetic about such books.

In this book, however, Bakker takes facts about dinosaur life and weaves them into a story. So, it is like reading fictionalized non-fiction!

 

Introduction to the Chai

Now that you have had your book intro, let me proceed by introducing you to another series of blog posts: Books&Chai. Whenever I post with this tag, you will find a book from a genre that goes beautifully with the featured flavor of chai (tea).

Black tea, which is the flavor featured in this post, is known to improve concentration and focus. Since I was reading a book about a very intelligent species, the Utahraptor, I decided black tea would be a smart choice!

 

 

Reasons for all that Book-Luvin’

Now, we move on to the six reasons that made for an awesome read:

 

The Humor

If you have been following this blog, you must know now that for me, humor is an important part in a book. In any book! The more unlikely it seems that the author might be able to create humorous situations (say, like in a book from a bloodthirsty monster’s POV), the more I appreciate it!

 

I found the two examples from Raptor Red funny as heck!

 

 

 

The Sciency Bits

You can’t have a good fact-based book without some science in it. For me, catching glimpses of the science while being embroiled in Red’s latest adventure was a lot of fun!

This particular quote is from a scene when a male raptor comes face to face with a field of red flowers. What’s more, they smell like rotten meat, which the raptor considers food. This kinda blows up its sensory perception temporarily. Faced with such an evocative color, it doesn’t know whether it is supposed to court the blooms, fear them, or eat them!

 

 

This quote is from a scene where Red sees a turtle for the first time. The whole scene was written well enough to have me go Awww and Lol in turns.

 

 

The Dino-Facts

I am aware that I could have included these in the sciency bits mentioned above. But, no! These facts were juicy enough to merit their own category. Snippets of how life used to be for different kinds of dinos gave the book an authenticity.

 

This quote explains how after speciation (birth of a new species from an old one) Utahraptor society had adopted a matriarchal structure.

 

 

This one is about how two completely different species banded together for survival. One of them had longer necks that enabled them to check for predators over a wider area. The other one contributed by their sheer numbers.

 

 

The Poetic Language

I am a sucker for when a scientists takes a theory or fact and describes it with beautiful language.

 

 

The Squicky Bits

Another favorite. There was a bit about how dangerous assassin bugs could be to the raptors. I looked them up and science (and class Insecta) did not disappoint!

 

Absurd Creature of the Week: The Ferocious Bug That Sucks Prey Dry and Wears Their Corpses

 

 

…wears their corpses. I mean corpses! Duuuuuuuuuuuuuude!

 

A Mixture of it All

The example below is an unholy combo of all the reasons that I have mentioned above. Watch them in action:

 

 

Lastly,

 

 

What do you think about the book? Do you like the new tag that this review is sporting?

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text 2017-08-07 07:36
Book Booty, August 2017

 

So, a visit to Kitabain brought me these beauties. Let’s look at them all:

 

I am slowly collecting my way through the Discworld novels. Sadly, I still have a ways to go. Anyway, planning to get back to this series as soon as I find the second book.

 

 

This hardcover edition is beautiful and contains many of the short stories written by Poe. The cover shows an orangutan from a murder mystery. A good addition to my collection, won’t you say so?

 

 

 

Part of the Ender’s Quintet and the very book that I needed to read next in this series. Can’t wait to get started.

 

Read my review of the Speaker for the Dead book here.

 

 

 

 

 

The unassuming cover opens into a most amazing book. You will find Victor Frankenstein’s experiments that led to the creation of his monster spawn. The book has illustrations, photographs, and log entries that give it an authenticity.

 

For my ongoing love affair with all things Frankenstein, you might wanna check out Project Frankenstein.

 

I think this is a good haul. How about you?

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text 2017-07-20 16:00
Book Booty, July 2017

 

A dear friend and colleague left the company recently. To us, it meant that we’d be seeing less of her. We decided to surprise her with a trip to The Tent and bought her a bevy of books. She loved it! We all got just a bit teary eyed but that’s life, isn’t it! You meet awesome people, get to know them better, and then become sad when you part ways with them.

Anyway, since I took myself there, I had to sample some of The Tent’s goodies. But you already knew that. So, this is what I got:

The Buried Giant is a book that I have wanted to get for a while now. The delicious controversy surrounding it and the rumor that it is fantasy without being fantasy have only convinced me to get it.

I loved both The Secret Life of Bees book and the movie. Wanting to see if the author’s other books are as magical, I have purchased this one as well. Now, I have two of her books in my collection:

Since people keep pairing the two, I have wanted to read this one ever since I read The Road. Now I can! The book can be used in lieu of a door stopper but if I can survive WoT, I am sure I will live to tell the tale after having read this one!

Read and loved this one, so I wanted it for my collection. I like the cover on this edition even though I have yet to watch the movie!

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I have heard mostly negative things about Memoirs of Geisha and how the author of that book has over-romanticized and out-slutted the role that geishas played in the Japanese society. From trusted sources come recommendations that present a more accurate picture. This author is one from that list and I couldn’t stop myself from getting this book.

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To be honest, I don’t know why I bought this…yet. I might read it or I might give it to someone who will get more use out of it than I would. Haven’t decided!

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This was a wonderful find. This book-cum-RPG thing is why I love going to The Tent. I have found all sorts of amazing things there. If you remember my illustrated Hobbit and LOTR editions, that is where I got them from.

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The empty frame was filled with cards displaying characters from the book. Each card had the picture of a character at the front and some questions (that might help in brainstorming) at the back. Here are the cards:

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A closer look:

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Am I crazy or are they really pretty? Like the book on Rock history, I haven’t decided what I am going to do with these yet. Any ideas?

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text 2017-04-26 20:31
Book Booty Plundered in April 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

I shopped in two batches this month:

 

Liberty Book Bazaar

This is the haul I ended bringing home from the bazaar:

 

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While I don’t mind searching for the books in the piles that are dumped on tables in Liberty, I do mind that the collection gets worse and worse every month. I had to do a lot of digging before I ended up with these baubles. The amount of digging has been increasing with each bazaar. In the past, I have defended it when people said that you can’t find any good books there because I did, time and time again. Now, I’m not so sure!

 

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I have yet to read anything by Kim Stanley Robinson, which means this might be the wrong book to start with. I’m going to give it a shot anyway, which is why I bought this.

 

The Thursday Next series is amazeballs as Icky will tell you. Like what she had to say? Read more of her musings here. I’m slowly collecting all the books in the series. This is such a pretty cover!

 

My reasons for buying Shogun can be found here.

 

Roth, Snicket, and the Irish Fairytales Omnibus all looked really interesting!

 

A look inside the minds that thought up Narnia & Middle Earth? Sign me up!

 

This will make me stick to my plan of reading more Non-fic. I thought if I started with books on subjects that interested me, success will be more likely.

 

I loved Night by Elie Wiesel and wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass me by.

 

It has dinosaurs #nuffsaid

 

Kitabain

 

This online site continues to kick ass. It has an amazing collection of sci-fi/fantasy books, which is the only tab that I click on while there anyway. I mean, I found this gem on the site! They are prompt in delivering the books unlike some stores I know. They will never change the price of a book either. The rider will text you before leaving and if you mention a specific time for delivery, they will agree to it without any extra charges. The books are all reasonably priced. If I didn’t love going to bookstores and physically picking out the babies, I’d do all my book shopping from here. The only caveat that continues to be irksome is that often a book will be shown as available when it isn’t. I don’t like it!

 

Here’s my haul from Kitabain for this month:

 

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The two Douglas Adam’s are so beautiful that they make me want to cry! I have already read the first one in the series, so I just had to get the next two.

 

The two Frank Herberts are also the next parts in the Dune series that I need to read. These might be paperbacks but they’re in awesome condition as promised by the bookseller. My buddy read with Weird Enough can be found here.

 

The next couple consists of two compilations of sci-fi stories and I love how I get to sample the work of an author by reading a short story by them. It helps me decide if I want to try a novel written by that author or not. Also, one of them had a story by Clifford Simak and since I recently read and fell in love with his book, All is Grass, I was like:

 

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Then there are Asimov and Aldiss who are basically must-reads if you are into sci-fi, so I HAD to buy those. Right? Also, I loved Asimov’s Bicentennial Man and mention him here in my new short story for Wringo Ink.

 

Abercombie is an author that I have been wanting to try for a while now. Friends who like the kind of stuff that I do swear by him, so I thought what the heck!

 

For my previous book shopping posts, go here, here, and here.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-02-18 20:39
I Review for You, A Treasure Trove of 17 Stories about Chess-Playing Unicorns, Presidential Candidates Stuck on Mars, & Everything in Between!
Asimov's Science Fiction: Hugo & Nebula Award Winning Stories - Sheila Williams

 

 

 

Unicorn Variations by Roger Zelazny

If an anthology starts as strong as this one did, then there’s no way I would not continue reading it! Consider the human species about to become extinct and our fate hinging on a chess match between a bartender, a unicorn, and a sasquatch.

 

 

 
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Fire Watch by Connie Willis

I had already read this story & liked it. Keep a box of tissues handy when you read it!

 

 

 

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Hardfought by Greg Bear

I am not ashamed to say that I abandoned this one halfway through into the story. It was too convoluted and complex for me to care about what was happening to the characters.

 

 

 
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The Peacemaker by Gardner Dozois

Fanaticism can be found in all kinds of worlds and often results in innocents getting hurt and this story was no exception.

 

 

 

 
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Speech Sounds by Octavia Butler

In a world gone silent due to a viral mutation, chaos and animalistic behavior is the rule of the day.

 

Press Enter by John Varley

Press Enter and find out things, if you dare!

 

I hugged her, and her breath came again, hot on my chest. I wondered how I'd lived so long without such a simple miracle as that.

 

Portraits of His Children by George R. R. Martin

I was surprised to read this story but not when it didn’t turn out to be anything special. The premise was good but the execution was too typical for me to enjoy it.

 

Rachel in Love by Pat Murphy

An ape raised as a human child by a scientist is left to fend for herself when her father dies.


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Why I Left Harry’s All-Night Hamburgers by Lawrence Watt-Evans

A hamburger joint that serves customers from all dimensions.

 

Even in the realities where the Europeans never found America and it's the Chinese or somebody building the cities, there just isn't any reason to build anything near Sutton. And there's something that makes it an easy place to travel between worlds, too; I didn't follow the explanation. She said something about the Earth's magnetic field, but I didn't catch whether that was part of the explanation or just a comparison of some kind.

 


Ripples in the Dirac Sea by Geoffrey A. Landis

A time traveler who can’t return to his own time. Because. Consequences.

 

Once I tried to commit suicide by murdering my father, before he met my mother, twenty-three years
before I was born. It changed nothing, of course, and even when I did it, I knew it would change nothing.
But you have to try these things. How else could I know for sure?

 

 

Boobs by Suzy McKee Charnas

A teenager has to deal with teasing and bullying at school because of developing earlier than her classmates and finds an unusual bloody silver lining that just might help her get through!


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The Manamouki by Mike Resnick

A couple emigrates to a Kenya-esque world and tries their damnedest to fit in and yet…

 

Bears Discover Fire by Terry Bisson

Exactly what the title says and yet you will enjoy it, if you have fun reading weird things.

 

Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress

Genetic developments allow parents to specify what their offspring should be like down to the last detail. When a couple is about to have a baby, the father chooses to have her be sleepless. Even a world so advanced in genetics isn’t ready for sleepless people taking over it.

 

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Barnacle Bill the Spacer by Lucius Shepard

Barnacle Bill is a simple man whose job is to remove barnacles from the shuttle’s exterior walls. All he wants is to make himself useful, so he won’t be sent back to Earth, which would be a death sentence. Is it ever that easy?

 

The power of the Strange Magnificence, you see, lay in the subversive nihilism of their doctrine, which put forward the idea that it was man's duty to express all his urges, no matter how dark or violent, and that from the universal exorcism of these black secrets would ultimately derive a pure consensus, a vast averaging of all possible behaviors that would in turn reveal the true character of God and the manifest destiny of the race.  Thus the leaders of the Magnificence saw nothing contrary in funding a group in York, say, devoted to the expulsion of Pakistanis from Britain by whatever means necessary while simultaneously supporting a Sufi cult.

 

Fiction or prescience?

 

Danny Goes to Mars by Pamela Sargent

Danny is the next presidential candidate who is advised to join an astronaut team to Mars to increase his chances of winning in the upcoming elections. The results didn’t quite meet his expectations but when do they ever!

 

 

The Nutcracker Coup by Janet Kagan

A human diplomat unwittingly incites a people (I use that term loosely because they are quadrupeds and had quills) to rebel against their ruler. Oh, and nutcrackers play a big role in the rebellion!

 

 

I think this anthology was a really good one even if did take me ages to finish it. I enjoyed reading, Unicorn Variations, The Manamouki, Barnacle Bill the Spacer, Danny Goes to Mars, & The Nutcracker Coup, the most. I purchased this book from Kitabain and am so glad that I did!

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