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review 2017-01-27 10:33
Powerful historical fantasy
Drood - Dan Simmons

Dan Simmons book DROOD is a masterpiece of sorcerous historical fiction. The sorcery doesn't lie in some otherworldly supernatural changes to history, but instead lies in the astonishing historical verisimilitude that Simmons brings to his portrayal of Victorian society, Charles Dickens and his milieu. Simmons helps us to smell, taste, and live in the often-crumbling and often-opium infused reality of that society, and to understand the complexities of the relationships around Dickens.


What's fascinating to me is that Simmons hardly ever has to bring in anything supernatural in order to make a book spooky, otherworldly and astonishing. Instead, he simply tells one version of Dicken's life, and the clarity he brings to that observance of a life is powerful. 


I found the book enthralling: one of Simmons best works. 

Source: nednote.com
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review 2017-01-19 00:00
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History - Elizabeth Kolbert This book does a great job showing how mankind has effected the Earth and it’s environmental ecosystems, not just in the modern era but for thousands of years. Everything the author discusses is well documented or shown to be very well researched hypotheses.

There have been five mass extinction events: the Cretaceous-Paleogene, the Triassic-Jurassic, the Permian-Triassic, the Late Devonian, and the Ordovician-Silurian. The Sixth Extinction is now in progress in the current Anthropocene (Age of Man) era.

Kolbert begins the book showing how early scientists did not believe in extinction until Cuvier, Lyell and even Darwin pushed forward various hypotheses based on reading of the fossil record.

She then moves into where man starts having a mass effect. We are not just warming the planet but excessive CO2 is acidifying the world’s ocean. We are destroying habit. And in our world travels, we are transporting species out of their native habitat, in effect creating a new Pangea with less diversity. Those of us living in Florida in the United States know all too well the problem invasive species pose.

Many may think that mankind just started having this adverse effect beginning with the Industrial Revolution. However, this book gives compelling evidence that we have been decimating species for thousands of years. As she put it in the book, “Though it might be nice to imagine there once was a time when man lived in harmony with nature, it’s not clear that he ever really did.” She writes about the growing body of evidence that man was instrumental in the extinction of the meg-fauna between 40-60 thousand years ago.

In the later chapters, she writes about more recent events such as the great bat die-off (due to an invasive fungus), the Sumatran Rhino and the destruction of species we may not even know about as we destroy rain forest habitat.

One reviewer (http://viiamanda.blogspot.com/2014/03/serial-killer-who-me.html) called this book a good horror novel. That is a valid summation. This information in this book is very depressing and at times downright frightening. However, Kolbert infuses a little humor and just the right time. She also hints that there is still hope and time for reversing some things.

A quote from the book sums it all up very well: “A sign in the Hall of Biodiversity offers a quote from the Stanford ecologist Paul Ehrlich: IN PUSHING OTHER SPECIES TO EXTINCTION, HUMANITY IS BUSY SAWING OFF THE LIMB ON WHICH IT PERCHES.”
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review 2016-11-03 19:32
Unnatural Deeds
Unnatural Deeds - Cyn Balog

Victoria Zell doesn't fit in. She was the new kid last year at St. Ann's - a close-knit Catholic school - and still hasn't made any friends. But now she's not the new kid anymore. Mysterious and charismatic Z is. He makes her feel special. He makes everyone in the whole school feel special. Victoria becomes obsessed with Z, trying to figure out who he really is. And that's when something terrible happens.

This book was so good. I devoured it so I didn't have a chance to put the pieces together that I may have noticed otherwise. I love how this is Victoria's story about what happened, written to her boyfriend, Andrew. The whole story flowed well, the characters felt real, I enjoyed the twists and turns. I also really enjoyed the police interviews with students, teachers and parents. Definitely worthy of a re-read.

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review 2016-11-02 17:51
To Trust a Wolf (Unnatural Alliances #1) by Danielle Hardgrave
To Trust a Wolf (Unnatural Alliances Book 1) - Danielle Hardgrave,Olivia Conway
To Trust a Wolf is the first novella in the Unnatural Alliances series, and it gets the series started with a bang. We meet Helen Jurist, an archivist/party planner at the museum, whose schedule has been thrown off kilter with the finding of a Viking hoard. Many people are interested in it, but up until now, no one has been allowed to see it. 
This is an intricate story that not only gives you a story to sink your teeth into, but also paves the way for further novellas/books in the series. Very well written, with no editing or grammatical errors to disrupt my reading flow, this was a thoroughly enjoyable story. I definitely enjoyed it, and look forward to reading more in this series.
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book and my comments here are my honest opinion. *
Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
Source: archaeolibrarianologist.blogspot.de/2016/11/review-by-merissa-to-trust-wolf.html
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review 2016-10-31 18:58
Unnatural Deeds
Unnatural Deeds - Cyn Balog

Unnatural Deeds by Cyn Balog is a bit of an odd duck. The book starts out with someone who has been in a terrible accident, and is narrating the story. It's a bit hard to follow until the book starts really unfolding, but it's worth the confusion.


Victoria Zell is the new girl at an exclusive private school. The other students have been together forever, so she sticks out even more than she usually would. The only person who understands her is her neighbor and boyfriend Andrew. He's been there for her every day since Victoria's family moved in. And they share everything, all their secrets.


Or rather, they shared their secrets. Once Zachary Zimmerman, known as Z, shows up in Victoria's homeroom class, her world gets turned upside down. Encouraging her to cut class, be more adventurous, make new friends, and eventually try out for the lead in the school play, Z seems to be an interesting influence on her. But is he a good one, or a negative one?


With chapters interspersed with interviews from Victoria and Z's classmates, teachers, families, and friends, it's obvious something serious happens at the end. But what exactly is it? And even if you know what it is, how did it happen, and why? 


It's difficult to get much more into the plot and story of Unnatural Deeds, as it will spoil all the sudden, unexpected twists and turns. I had an inkling of what the twist at the very end might be, but I was surprised by how it played out. That was nothing like what I expected. And it's not like anything I've read before. Which was nice. It's still a YA book, so it's geared towards HS and early college students, but it's a good read for adults.


Fans of Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse novels, Gone Girl, The Woman in Cabin 10, etc. will find this an enjoyable read. There is a lot of mental illness in the book, but it's well handled. It's a very major theme, but it makes it realistic, showing the ebbs and flows of depression and low mania. It is a bit stigmatizing near the end, but I think the rest of the story makes it a little more acceptable. It's a good read. 


Unnatural Deeds
Cyn Balog
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire (November 1, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1492635790
ISBN-13: 978-1492635796


In the interest of disclosure, I was provided an ARC of this book.

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