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review 2017-07-17 20:05
Turing's Imitation Game
Turing's Imitation Game: Conversations with the Unknown - Kevin Warwick,Huma Shah

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

That was an informative, albeit also controversial, read about Turing’s ‘Imitation Game’, focused on the game itself rather than on the man (who I like reading about in general, but here I was definitely more interested in his famous ‘test’, since I keep hearing about it, but never in much detail). It sheds light on Turing’s aim when devising the test, as well as on what he predicted, and that may or may not happen sooner than expected.

Several sections in the book are devoted to examples of studies and events during which the test took place, pitching human judges against both machines and other human beings, without the former knowing what or who the latter was. Actual, textual examples allow the reader to try and make their own judgment—and determining where the machines are is not so easy as it seems. I was accurate in my guesses except but once, I think, however I can see where judges were ‘fooled’, and why. At other times, I was surprised at the outcome, for instance quite a few human participants made ‘boring’ answers to conversations, which in turn prompted judges to believe they were talking to a machine—and conversely, some AIs were clearly programmed with a variety of lively potential responses. Eugene Goostman, especially, with its persona of a 13-year old Ukrainian boy whose English is only second language, has good potential (in that you can tell some of its/his answers are stilted, but not more than if it/he was an actual learner of ESOL).

The test as a whole posits several interesting questions and conundrums. Namely, the fact that it’s based on language, and that one may wonder whether being able to converse means one is gifted with ‘thought’. Another one is whether the test as it exists can really be used as a marker: aren’t the various chatbots/AIs out there simply well-programmed, but in no way indicative of whether they’ll be able to go further than that?

Also, I’m not sure I can agree with the 2014 ‘the Turing test has been passed’ result, as it seems to me the percentage is too low to warrant such a qualifier (if 90% of judges were fooled in believing they were conversing with a human, now that’d be something else... or am I aiming too high?), and it’s too early anyway for the current AIs to have been developed far enough (as fascinating as some of their conversations were, they still looked much more like complex chatbots than anything else—at least, to me).

Conclusion: 3.5 stars. I did learn quite a few things no matter what.

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text 2017-04-10 13:05
Blog Tour Stop for Ain't He Precious? by Juliette Poe with Excerpt


Today’s stop is for Juliette Poe’s Ain't He Precious?, we will have info about the book and author,and a great excerpt from the book. Make sure to check everything out.

Happy Reading :) 




Ain't-He-Precious-FOR WEB-new


Welcome to Whynot, North Carolina, population 3,872. It has one stoplight, one bar, and the one-and-only Trixie Mancinkus.

Eleven years ago, Trixie graduated Harvard Law, turned down a job offer from one of the most prestigious law firms in Boston, and headed home to Whynot to open her own firm. Not only did she leave behind the big city, but she also left her boyfriend of three years. And just so we’re clear… that would be me.

So what am I doing in Whynot at this very moment? It seems Trixie needs help with a legal case and for some insane reason, she called on me for assistance. I’ve been in town for five minutes, and I’m every bit as out of place as I feel. Trixie is all sweet, southern curves to my tailored suits and high-priced haircuts. It’s a culture clash of north versus south and about the only thing we have in common is our physical attraction to each other.

But I have a new motto since coming to Whynot: When life hands you lemons, all you need is a little sex and sweet tea to make things better.






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Over lettuce wraps, I let her vent more about her brother but I only let this go on during the appetizer. Once our entrees arrive, I insist we change the subject. She’s not calming down, only getting more worked up, and diversion has always worked best with Trixie.

“Raleigh seems to be a nice town,” I say conversationally in an effort to get her relaxed.

She rolls her eyes at me because as much as I know how to “handle” her when her temper is spiked, she recognizes the fact that I am indeed handling her. Apparently, she finds it adorable. She cuts a piece of her orange chicken and gives in to my attempt to switch the conversation. “It really is. It’s spread out so you don’t have that overwhelming big-city feel, but you have all the luxuries a big city affords like museums, professional sports, fine dining, etcetera.”

“Overwhelming is an interesting choice of words,” I observe. “You didn’t feel that way in Boston, did you?”

I’m surprised when her cheeks turn a bit red. Her voice is reluctant when she admits, “Yeah… it was a bit too much for me.”

My mouth hangs open as I stare at her. How could I not know that? We had made plans to live in Boston, and there was a time when she was completely on board.

“I’m sorry,” she blurts out. “I know what you’re thinking… Why would I have even considered all those plans we’d made if I felt that way?”

“Got to admit… this is a bit surprising to hear.”

Trixie puts her fork down and levels her gaze on me. “Ry… I loved you. And I loved Cambridge. It was small and well… comfortable. It wasn’t small like Whynot, but it reminded me of home a bit. But honestly, I was only considering staying there in Boston because of you. I didn’t like it at all. Too many people. Too much concrete and glass. Too much noise. It’s just not me.”

“You should have said something a lot earlier than you did,” I reprimand her quietly. I can’t help feeling a bit angry over this revelation, because who knows what would have happened had we had some honest discussions about where we wanted to go that could suit both of us.

“Would it have changed anything?” she asks me bluntly. “You were set on Boston. You wanted that job at Hayes Lockamy. You worked your ass off at Harvard and the clerkships to get that job offer. It was everything to you.”

“It wasn’t everything,” I tell her sharply.

“Maybe not,” she retorts. “But it clearly meant more than me. As I recall, I asked you to come to Whynot to practice, and I got a resounding ‘no’ to that offer.”

“You sprung that on me at literally the last minute, Trixie,” I say angrily. “After I’d accepted the job offer at Hayes Lockamy. You didn’t give me any time to process any of it.”

“And you didn’t bother to try to talk me into staying,” she snaps.

“Seriously, Trix,” I say in exasperation. “I’ve been here two days, and I’ve watched you in your element. You were born to live here. This is where you’re supposed to be. Being a small-town lawyer in Whynot surrounded by your close-knit, if not nutty, family is what brings you joy. Are you seriously trying to infer that you would have left all of this to stay in Boston with me if I’d just tried to talk you into staying?”

“No, what I’m saying,” she sneers at me as she leans across the table but I don’t miss the light sheen of tears in her eyes, “is that you and I clearly weren’t meant to be, and we’re both better off for making the choices we did.”

Now that hits me hard, right in the middle of my chest, and I have to resist the urge to rub my knuckles over my breastbone to ease the pain.

Trixie merely pushes up from her chair, grabs her purse, and practically runs out of the restaurant.

“Shit,” I mutter as I stand up. I grab my wallet, take out enough money to cover the meal and tip, and toss it down on the table.

I jet out of the restaurant, scan the area, and see Trixie walking quickly toward her car. I wouldn’t put it past her to jump in it and drive off without me, so I break into a fast trot to catch up with her. My hand latches onto her elbow just as she reaches her car, and I spin her to face me.

“What the hell, Trix?” I ask her with frustration, anger, and a little bit of self-loathing that I let the conversation get so out of hand. I’ve always been the mild-mannered one between the two of us, knowing how to deftly control and sidestep her temper so it doesn’t get the better of her.

Or me.

I brace, expect her to rail and rant some more. Instead, she launches herself right at me, making a tiny hop to throw her arms around my neck. Her mouth comes to mine hard as one of her hands grips into my hair, fisting it tight.

Jesus Christ… stars wink in my vision at the feel of her mouth on mine, so long forgotten and yet completely familiar all at once. I don’t think—just act. My arms band around her tight, hauling her body to mine. I push her back into the side of her car, tilt my head, and I kiss her back with every bit of longing and regret that she seems to be mutually feeling in this moment.









Juliette Poe is the sweet and swoony alter ego of New York Times Best Selling author, Sawyer Bennett.

A fun-loving southern girl, Juliette knows the allure of sweet tea, small towns, and long summer nights, that some of the best dates end sitting on the front porch swing, and that family is top priority. She brings love in the south to life in her debut series, Sex & Sweet Tea.

When Juliette isn’t delivering the sweetest kind of romance, she’s teaching her southern belle daughter the fine art of fishing, the importance of wearing Chucks, and the endless possibilities of a vivid imagination.






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Source: snoopydoosbookreviews.com/blog-tour-stop-aint-precious-juliette-poe-excerpt
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text 2016-04-10 17:30
Because Only You Guys Would Understand
Logan McRae (10) - In the Cold Dark Ground - Stuart MacBride

When you finish all published books in a series and then have to wait for a new release:


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Source: rachelbookharlot.booklikes.com
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review 2016-02-25 12:28
Try Not To Breathe
Try Not to Breathe: A Novel - Holly Seddon

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

An OK read, though I wouldn't go further than that. I could guess easily enough who the culprit was (there are plenty of hints if you pay attention), and while chasing those was fun, in retrospect, there weren't many really “suspenseful” moments—everything was well-packed by the end.

Told through the point of view of three characters mostly, the story deals with the mystery surrounding the coma in which Amy Stevenson has spent the past 15 years of her life, after having been assaulted and left for dead. She's still here, in her head, her mind still active, but very sluggishly, as if one year was perhaps only one day for her, and she's first convinced she's just sick, or hungover. Her only visitors are Jacob, who cannot let go, and Alex, a journalist struggling with alcoholism and the health problems that will follow (ironically enough, Alex used to be a successful health columnist). As Alex gets intrigued by Amy's fate, feeling close to her both geographically and in age, she starts digging into past events, trying to figure out if there's still a way to bring justice to the victim here, or if all trails have now gone forever cold.

I'd say the premises are definitely interesting, but the way the story unfolded was a bit... boring. Partly because of the style, that regularly was more about telling than showing (especially in the beginning), partly because, as previously mentioned, I thought there wasn't enough tension, not enough at stake—I didn't feel the sense of urgency and danger I like to find in mystery and triller novels, that foreboding, impending certainty that “something” is going to happen to the main character before the end. I also think I expected something different when it came to Amy's involvment: different ways of communicating, maybe, instead of Alex sitting next to her bed and talking? Or something closer to Amy slowly waking up, or desperately trying to let the world know what she knew, and failing due to her body not responding?

The characters in general weren't as fleshed out nor as interesting as I had hoped; in fact, they were more often annoying than anything else. Alex's drinking problem, how she screwed up her career and marriage, weren't such a “dark” background as a somewhat idiotic one (that is, her reactions, her way of going about a lot of things didn't make me think she was a clever person). Jacob's wobbly relationship with Fiona felt mainly like something that could've been dealt with in five minutes if the characters had been remotely willing to communicate—that was a no-brainer for me, I don't even see why Jacob had to lie at first. (And let's be honest, while Fiona's reactions can be viewed as understandable, considering that she had had a bad experience in the past, the way she immediately jumped to conclusions and put on the drama queen act weren't exactly encouraging for Jacob to start spilling the beans, making her appear like a harpy, and making me wonder if such a partner would be worth the trouble. But then, I guess I'm just not one to deal with high-maintenance people anyway.)

Conclusion: Interesting theme, but that would have worked better with more tension, and perhaps a different involvment of the comatose character. 2.5 stars.

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review 2016-02-23 19:11
My Sweet Audrina
My Sweet Audrina - V.C. Andrews

I read this book when I was 12 or so, and I remembered liking it, so this time I wanted to read it in English and not in French... I guess the "ignorant preteen" + "bad translation" combo left me with a very different impression than the one I got now. Some 25 years later, I definitely didn't like it.

Too many twists that veered into sensationalist territory, and not in a good way (so many people falling down the stairs). Very stilted dialogues that nobody would use, especially not in the 70s or 80s. Audrina being pretty dumb, all things considered, because even when she had all the hints, she still needed other characters to spell it out for her. Also every female character being either the self-sacrificing type who stays with others out of "duty", or the ruthless-seductress type—virginal and pure women vs. debased and sexualised ones. Not to mention the "it's all the woman's fault" undertones (marriage going sour? It's Wife's fault, because Wife isn't sexually active enough for Husband to be happy, and so it's normal that Poor Husband cheats on her).

I guess reading stuff I liked when I was in my teens isn't always a good idea. :/

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