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review 2018-10-22 15:10
A Thousand Doors: An Anthology of Many Lives
A Thousand Doors: An Anthology of Many Lives - J.T. Ellison

Mia Jensen has had a horrible day. She's wondering how she got to this point in her life when she hears a noise in the kitchen. She's brutally attacked and left for dead and as she's dying she experiences some of the lives she could have lived if only she made a different choice.

This anthology tells the many lives Mia Jensen could have lived. If only. In my opinion there's not one bad story here. They're all strong, interesting and they all have the same flavour.. they all seemed like Mia. Contributors include Catherine McKenzie, Kaira Rouda, Kimberly Belle and Kate Moretti, but like I said every one of these stories is great. They felt complete. I know I've wondered "what would have happened if I did that?" and "if I hadn't of done that then this never would have happened." A unique and thought-provoking read that brought out a lot of emotions both for me and Mia Jensen.

Thank you to Netgalley and Two Tales Press for an ARC.

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review 2018-10-15 13:44
REVIEW BY LIZZY - Disjointed Lives by Morgan Sheppard
Disjointed Lives - Morgan Sheppard
Promotions Manager, Ava Reese, has all she ever wanted: a fantastic husband, a great job, a good life. But her past haunts her. 

Although she thought she had left the darkness behind long ago, her dreams start to haunt her during the day, making her question everything she has.

Ava hopes that meeting with her best friend, Paige, will help her find peace again. Can they put Ava’s dreams to rest, or will the past destroy everything Ava has so carefully built?
@MorganJSheppard, @elizabethb19871, #Contemporary, #WomensFiction, 4 out of 5 (very good)
Source: archaeolibrarian.wixsite.com/website/single-post/2018/07/06/Disjointed-Lives-by-Morgan-Sheppard
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text 2018-07-31 13:19
July Wrap-up
Conrad Monk and the Great Heathen Army - Edoardo Albert
Kitchen Witchcraft - Rachel Patterson
Haunted Castles of England - J.G. Montgomery
Ghost Boy - Stafford Betty
Llewellyn's Little Book of Life Between Lives - The Newton Institute
Woven in Wire - Sarah Thompson
Unnatural Creatures - Maria Dahvana Headley,Neil Gaiman
Herbal Formularies for Health Professionals, Volume 2 - Jill Stansbury
Knitting Ganseys, Revised and Updated: Techniques and Patterns for Traditional Sweaters - Beth Brown-Reinsel

9 books this month, which is good for me. 6 of them were non-fiction which don't take as long (usually) and 8 of the 9 were from Netgalley.


I do have another 7 partial reads on the go which I hope to at least mostly finish by end of August and one more book from Netgalley that definitely won't fit into Halloween Bingo, so I'll start it next.


I have 5 books from Netgalley that I haven't started yet that just might fit a Halloween Bingo category, so I'll wait to see what they are before I start any of those! Unless I actually finish all of my current reads, in which case there is one less likely than the others.


I'm still working my way through the massive pile of samples. Hopefully choosing books for Bingo will lead to eliminating a few of those! There are a couple in my Horror folder that I hope to include in Bingo, not least of all the third book of the Jason Crane series. It's becoming a tradition to read one of these each year! Though I think this is the last of the series.


Of this month's books, the stand out was Conrad Monk and the Great Heathen Army, which I reviewed on my last post before this one. It earned a rare 5 star rating from me.


Two of the non-fiction books I read will remain among my reference books; Haunted Castles in England and Herbal Formularies for Health Professionals. The Jewellery and knitting books will also get some future mileage and hopefully I'll find time to try a few projects.


So not a bad month, but I definitely need some more good fiction reads in the upcoming months.

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review 2018-07-18 10:37
Llewellyn's Little Book of Life Between Lives
Llewellyn's Little Book of Life Between Lives - The Newton Institute

The Newton Institute


I have to admit that the first few chapters of this put far too much emphasis on belief. Maybe it's because I've read other books on this subject matter but I feel that someone who takes the trouble to read about it has already become at least open to belief and the 'exercises' in the first few chapters seem redundant and amount to quiet contemplation of the sort of things that will have already led the reader to pick up the book, like being attracted to certain places or eras.


As the chapters went on I had hoped for something more, but the 'exercises' continued to be more suggestions for things to think about rather than guidance for self-hypnosis as I've seen in other books. There were references for going between lives but no real instruction about how to accomplish that.


All of the 'evidence' presented was completely subjective accounts. No examples of evidence that got confirmed by historical records or surviving relatives of the previous person as I've seen elsewhere.


When it began talking about a council of elders, the book pretty much lost me and it went further into new age territory after that. To be quite honest, if this were the only book I had ever read on reincarnation, I would be writing the topic off as total fantasy. The writing itself is good, but there is nothing to convince the questioning reader that any of it is any more than imagination.

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review 2018-07-08 18:58
The Lives of Ants by Laurent Keller and Élisabeth Gordon, translated by James Grieve
The Lives of Ants - Elisabeth Gordon,Laurent Keller

I was cataloging a newer edition of a biology book and happened to come across this while I was hunting down the older edition for possible weeding. I don't read a lot of nonfiction - according to my records, I've only read or listened to approximately 13 nonfiction books in the past 10 years - but this looked reasonably interesting and social insects intrigue me.

My knowledge of ants is pretty limited. I've read a few popular science articles and I played SimAnt a lot when it came out (anybody else remember that game?). That isn't enough to judge whether the information in this book is any good.

That said, I found The Lives of Ants to be very readable, if not terribly well organized. The beginning of the book felt like the authors were throwing around information confetti. The bits and pieces of information were fun, but so brief and varied that it was clear the authors were only scratching the surface of an enormous topic. Also, I had trouble keeping track of which ant species were mentioned, and whether some of them had come up more than once. Species that were outside the norm in some way tended to get more attention. I suppose that's understandable since "weird" tends to make for more interesting examples, but it sometimes made it hard to get a good feel for just how far outside the norm they were.

Although there was certainly interesting information throughout the whole text, Part III was by far my favorite. Each chapter in this part was focused on a single ant genus. Chapter 13 covered Dorylus, army ants, chapter 14 covered Oecophylla, weaver ants, chapter 15 covered Cataglyphis, desert ants, and chapter 16 covered Myrmecocystus, honeypot ants. Unfortunately, most of these chapters only dealt with one or two features of these ants, albeit with more thoroughness than previous examples in the book. I was often left with questions about social organization, nest structure, etc. that weren't addressed.

Part II (Social Life), Part IV (Advantageous Liaisons - things like ant trees, aphids, etc.), and Part V (Bloody Pests! - covered things like supercolonies) were other sections I enjoyed, even as the authors sometimes frustrated me. It was often very difficult to get a complete picture of the life of a specific genus or species of ant. Yes, the book (thankfully) includes a species index, but I didn't particularly want to turn to that and jump around the whole book trying to piece together scraps of information. Besides, sometimes the information I wanted (such as more detailed information about "invasive" ant distribution - where is this species considered native and where is it invasive?) just wasn't in the book.

The worst section of the book were Parts VI and VII, which looked at the genetic basis for behavior and social structure. A huge portion of this was written as though ants could see their own genetic makeup and that of their nest mates and make decisions based on who was more or less related to them. Later on, the authors made it clearer that this behavior was based on scent, which has a genetic basis, but even then I had questions about how all of this was supposed to work, considering that the ants shared the same nest, would all be sharing their scents, and would therefore, I would think, all have very similar scents even if some were less related to each other than others.

The final section, "High-Tech Ants," dealt with robots and swarm intelligence's applications in artificial intelligence. It felt a little out of place but was, I suppose, intended to highlight myrmecology's broader applications.

The book included a section with color photographs, as well as several black-and-white drawings throughout. The thing that bugged me about the drawings was that their placement had little to do with the text. For example, one intriguing illustration of a parasitic queen (Teleutomyrmex schneideri) that has no workers, clings to Tetramorium caespitum queens, and lives in complete dependence upon her host queen and host queen's workers wasn't explained until 6 chapters (approximately 40 pages) later.


(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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