Elentarri's Book Blog

Book reviews and other interesting goodies.

SPOILER ALERT!

The Line Tender by Kate Allen

The Line Tender - Kate Allen

TITLE:  The Line Tender

 

AUTHOR:  Kate Allen

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DESCRIPTION:

"The Line Tender is the story of Lucy, the daughter of a marine biologist and a rescue diver, and the summer that changes her life. If she ever wants to lift the cloud of grief over her family and community, she must complete the research her late mother began. She must follow the sharks.

Wherever the sharks led, Lucy Everhart’s marine-biologist mother was sure to follow. In fact, she was on a boat far off the coast of Massachusetts, preparing to swim with a Great White, when she died suddenly. Lucy was eight. Since then Lucy and her father have done OK—thanks in large part to her best friend, Fred, and a few close friends and neighbors. But June of her twelfth summer brings more than the end of school and a heat wave to sleepy Rockport. On one steamy day, the tide brings a Great White—and then another tragedy, cutting short a friendship everyone insists was “meaningful” but no one can tell Lucy what it all meant. To survive the fresh wave of grief, Lucy must grab the line that connects her depressed father, a stubborn fisherman, and a curious old widower to her mother’s unfinished research. If Lucy can find a way to help this unlikely quartet follow the sharks her mother loved, she’ll finally be able to look beyond what she’s lost and toward what’s left to be discovered.
"

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REVIEW:

 

This book is targeted at 10-13 year olds, but I think adults can enjoy it too.  The writing is lovely and the story poignant, sad and hopeful.  The shark sketches throughout the book were beautiful too.  This is a kid's book so I can't complain too much about all the adults accommodating every impulsive whim of the child narrator. ;)  Or maybe the adults in this book are just really kind.  I like that the book was set in the 1990s - no-one was glued to a cell phone or TV, the kids were mostly "free range" and the atmosphere was relaxed.  There are some really fascinating facts about sharks and shark tracking that highlight the need for shark conservation without being heavy handed and preachy about it.  Ultimately the book is about loss and coping with that loss.

 

 

The Accidental Time Machine by Joe Haldeman

The Accidental Time Machine - Joe Haldeman

TITLE:  The Accidental Time Machine

 

AUTHOR:  Joe Haldeman

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DESCRIPTION:

"Joe Haldeman "has quietly become one of the most important science fiction writers of our time" (Rocky Mountain News). Now he delivers a provocative novel of a man who stumbles upon the discovery of a lifetime-or many lifetimes.

Grad-school dropout Matt Fuller is toiling as a lowly research assistant at MIT when, while measuring subtle quantum forces that relate to time changes in gravity and electromagnetic force, his calibrator turns into a time machine. With a dead-end job and a girlfriend who has left him for another man, Matt has nothing to lose taking a time machine trip himself-or so he thinks.
"

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REVIEW:

An entertaining and light romp through future time via a wonky (it only goes forward and sideways) and accidentally discovered time machine.  The main character is a bit flat and I can't say the futures provided by Haldeman were terribly exciting.  The novel was entertaining but not great.  I found the beginning more interesting than the end.

The Clock and the Camshaft by John W. Farrell

The Clock and the Camshaft: And Other Medieval Inventions We Still Can't Live Without  -  John W. Farrell

TITLE:  The Clock and the Camshaft: And Other Medieval Inventions We Still Can't Live Without

 

AUTHOR:  John W. Farrell

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  2019

 

FORMAT:  Hardcover

 

ISBN-13:  9781633885721

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DESCRIPTION:

"This history of medieval inventions, focusing on the eleventh to the fourteenth centuries, vividly portrays a thriving era of human ingenuity—and the results are still being felt to this day. From the mechanical clock to the first eyeglasses, both of which revolutionized society, many of the commonplace devices we now take for granted had their origin in the Middle Ages. Divided into ten thematic chapters, the accessible text allows the reader to sample areas of interest or read the book from beginning to end for a complete historical overview.

A chapter on the paper revolution shows that innovations in mill power enabled the mass production of cheap paper, which was instrumental in the later success of the printing press as a means of disseminating affordable books to more people. Another chapter examines the importance of Islamic civilization in preserving ancient Greek texts and the role of translation teams in Sicily and Spain in making those texts available in Latin for a European readership. A chapter on instruments of discovery describes the impact of the astrolabe, which was imported from Islamic lands, and the compass, originally invented in China; these tools plus innovations in shipbuilding spurred on the expansion of European trade and the later age of discovery at the time of Columbus.

Complete with original drawings to illustrate how these early inventions worked, this guided tour through a distant era reveals how medieval farmers, craftsmen, women artisans, and clerical scholars laid the foundations of the modern world.
"

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REVIEW:

 

Short but interesting.

Gods and Robots by Adrienne Mayor

Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Tec - Adrienne Mayor

TITLE:  Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology

 

AUTHOR:  Adrienne Mayor

 

PUBLICATION DATE:  2020

 

FORMAT:  Paperback

 

ISBN-13:  9780691202266

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DESCRIPTION:

"The fascinating untold story of how the ancients imagined robots and other forms of artificial life--and even invented real automated machines

The first robot to walk the earth was a bronze giant called Talos. This wondrous machine was created not by MIT Robotics Lab, but by Hephaestus, the Greek god of invention. More than 2,500 years ago, Greek mythology was exploring ideas about creating artificial life--and grappling with still-unresolved ethical concerns about biotechne, life through craft. In this compelling, richly illustrated book, Adrienne Mayor tells the fascinating story of how ancient Greek, Roman, Indian, and Chinese myths envisioned artificial life, automata, self-moving devices, and human enhancements--and how these visions relate to and reflect the ancient invention of real animated machines. Revealing how science has always been driven by imagination, and how some of today's most advanced tech innovations were foreshadowed in ancient myth, Gods and Robots is a gripping new story of mythology for the age of AI.
"

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REVIEW:

 

This is an interesting and informative overview of what ancient myths (mostly Greek and Roman, but a few others) have to say about machines, robots, artificial intelligence (i.e. creatures made not born) and their implied philosophical questions.  The book also provides a chapter that covers the mechanics and technology during antiquity.  Mayor provides an eye-opening and transformative manner of looking at the ancient myths. I enjoyed this scholarly book a great deal.

This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

This Is How You Lose the Time War - Amal El-Mohtar, Max Gladstone

TITLE:  This Is How You Lose the Time War

 

AUTHORS:  Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

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DESCRIPTION:

"Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future.

Except the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them. There's still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war.
"

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REVIEW:

This is a beautifully written semi-epistolary novella, with an interesting concept, novel world building and quirky characters. I loved how the characters developed together. This novella reminded me a bit of Patricia McKillip's The Riddle Master of Hed trilogy, while at the same time being completely different. Maybe it was the writing style?

To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers

To Be Taught If Fortunate - Becky Chambers

TITLE: To Be Taught, If Fortunate

 

AUTHOR: Becky Chambers

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DESCRIPTION:

"At the turn of the twenty-second century, scientists make a breakthrough in human spaceflight. Through a revolutionary method known as somaforming, astronauts can survive in hostile environments off Earth using synthetic biological supplementations. They can produce antifreeze in sub-zero temperatures, absorb radiation and convert it for food, and conveniently adjust to the pull of different gravitational forces. With the fragility of the body no longer a limiting factor, human beings are at last able to explore neighbouring exoplanets long suspected to harbour life.

Ariadne is one such explorer. On a mission to ecologically survey four habitable worlds fifteen light-years from Earth, she and her fellow crewmates sleep while in transit, and wake each time with different features. But as they shift through both form and time, life back on Earth has also changed. Faced with the possibility of returning to a planet that has forgotten those who have left, Ariadne begins to chronicle the wonders and dangers of her journey, in the hope that someone back home might still be listening.
"

 

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REVIEW:

 

Interesting concept, boring execution.  The idea of temporarily altering your genetics to fit into an off-planet environment was interesting, but the writing was just tedious.  There were too many info dumps about biological concepts.  Too much "telling" and not enough "showing".  The main narrator has absolutely no personality, and the other characters are even "flatter".  For a space exploration novella this one was pretty bland.  Nothing "exciting" happened, even though the potential was there.  No personal development, no inter-personal development or crew dynamics either.  Everyone was just so... agreeable... and ... nice.    Even the potentially exciting parts came across as bland.  I got excited there for one moment with the giant slug-things... but NOTHING HAPPENED!  The ending was an interesting twist, but I found it highly unsatisfying and not at all plausible.  The one thing going for this novella is that it is short!

SPOILER ALERT!

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Bird Box - Josh Malerman

TITLE:  Bird Box

AUTHOR:  Josh Malerman

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DESCRIPTION:

"Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.

Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remains, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now that the boy and girl are four, it's time to go, but the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat—blindfolded—with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children's trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. Something is following them all the while, but is it man, animal, or monster?

Interweaving past and present, Bird Box is a snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page.
"

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REVIEW:



****************************SPOILERS!!!!****************************



*************************LOTS OF SPOILERS*****************************



I watched the movie and read the book.  I don't get what the fuss was about.  As a horror novel, it might have gory bits, but it just didn't work for me.  I was neither scared, left in suspense or terrified.   Too slow, no details about the "creatures" (their motivations or what they were, which is completely unsatisfying and incredibly annoying), limited atmosphere, limited drama (psychological or otherwise) and I simply didn't give a damn about any of the characters (they were bland).  Also, Malerman needs to do some research on child birth, especially if he is going to write about it.  And calling the kids "Boy", "Girl" instead of their names? What if it had been two girls or two boys?  "Boy1", "Boy2"?  "Firstborn", "Secondborn"?  I'm also failing to see 4 year old kids do any of the stuff the kids do in this novel.  Unless my husband's 4-year old nephew is on the bottom end of the physical and mental scale?  The novel basically comes down to "a bunch of people stuck in a house" dynamics, with the usual associated messiness (no need for nebulous monsters if people want to kill each other or themselves - they do this perfectly well on their own).  The "creatures" come across as simply irrelevant - an excuse for people to lock themselves up.   

Interesting concept, flat execution.

PS:  I did not appreciate reading about the poor dog!!

SPOILER ALERT!

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

House of Salt and Sorrows - Erin A Craig

TITLE:  House of Salt and Sorrows

 

AUTHOR:  Erin A. Craig

 

NARRATOR:  Emily Lawrence

 

FORMAT:  AUDIO BOOK

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DESCRIPTION:

"In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls' lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn't sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh's involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it's a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.
"

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REVIEW:

 

A beautifully written, dark (and sometimes creepy) retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses fairy tale.  Lovely world building and characters, though some of the younger sisters started to merge.

PS:  I listened to the audio book and managed to stay awake, as well as anticipating my next listening session, which is something that almost never happens with audio books.

SPOILER ALERT!

Humble Pi: A Comedy of Maths Errors by Matt Parker

Humble Pi: A Comedy of Maths Errors - Matt Parker

TITLE: Humble Pi: A Comedy of Maths Errors

 

AUTHOR: Matt Parker

 

DATE PUBLISHED: 2019

 

FORMAT: Paperback

 

ISBN-13: 9780241360194

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DESCRIPTION:

"What makes a bridge wobble when it's not meant to? Billions of dollars mysteriously vanish into thin air? A building rock when its resonant frequency matches a gym class leaping to Snap's 1990 hit I've Got The Power? The answer is maths. Or, to be precise, what happens when maths goes wrong in the real world. As Matt Parker shows us, our modern lives are built on maths: computer programmes, finance, engineering. And most of the time this maths works quietly behind the scenes, until ... it doesn't. Exploring and explaining a litany of glitches, near-misses and mishaps involving the internet, big data, elections, street signs, lotteries, the Roman empire and a hapless Olympic shooting team, Matt Parker shows us the bizarre ways maths trips us up, and what this reveals about its essential place in our world. Mathematics doesn't have good 'people skills', but we would all be better off, he argues, if we saw it as a practical ally. This book shows how, by making maths our friend, we can learn from its pitfalls. It also contains puzzles, challenges, geometric socks, jokes about binary code and three deliberate mistakes. Getting it wrong has never been more fun."

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REVIEW:

 

An interesting and breezy collection of stories about maths errors that resulted in incorrectly illustrated and nonfunctional soccer balls, funky code, collapsing or bouncing bridges (and other structures), nonfunctional airplanes, financial disasters and disastrous space flights, amongst others. The author has a sly humour and an easy writing style. This book isn't particularly technical. The author manages to make mathematical blunders an entertaining reading experience while illustrating the importance of maths literacy (and double checking everything!).

SPOILER ALERT!

Eye of the Shoal by Helen Scales

Eye of the Shoal - Helen Scales

TITLE: Eye of the Shoal: A Fishwatcher's Guide to Life, the Ocean and Everything


AUTHOR: Helen Scales


PUBLICATION DATE: 2020


FORMAT: Paperback


ISBN-13: 9781472936820
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DESCRIPTION:

"Wild fish hover in seas, rivers and lakes, out of sight and out of mind. But from the very first time Helen Scales immersed herself into their liquid world, she realized that fish are beautiful, mesmerizing, complex and exciting. The moment she sank down to eyeball a wild trout--the fish poised in front of her, expertly occupying the three-dimensional space in a way that she could only dream of imitating--sparked the ichthyologist within, and set in motion years of study and exploration in the fishes' unseen domain as she became a devoted fish-watcher.

In this book, Scales shares the secrets of fish, unhitching them from their reputation as cold, unknowable beasts and reinventing them as clever, emotional, singing, thoughtful creatures, and challenging readers to rethink these animals. She takes readers on an underwater journey to watch these creatures going about the hidden but glorious business of being a fish. Their way of life is radically different from our own, in part because they inhabit a buoyant, sticky fluid in which light, heat, gases and sound behave in odd ways. They've evolved many tactics to overcome these challenges, to become megastars of the life sun-aquatic. In doing so, these extraordinary animals tell us so much about the oceans and life itself. Our relationship with these scaly creatures goes much deeper than predator versus prey. Fish leave their mark on the human world.

As well as being a rich and entertaining read, this book will inspire readers to think again about these animals, and the seas, and to go out and appreciate the wildness and wonders of fish, whether through the glass walls of an aquarium or, better still, by gazing into the fishes' wild world and swimming through it.
"

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REVIEW:

This book provides a fascinating and enjoyable survey of the fishy world, from fish colours and illumination, what they see, to venoms, poisons, how and what they eat, their evolution, the sounds fish make and if they can think and feel (apparently this is an issue!!?). In addition, Helen Scales provides personal observations from her lifelong passion of fish watching, as well as interesting historical anecdotes and more recent fishy research. Each chapter is also followed by a fishy folk tale. The writing style is natural and easy to understand. This is a beautifully written and enjoyable book that celebrates the diversity of fish but minimizes the doom and gloom (e.g. conservation, pollution and over-fishing).

OTHER BOOKS:
- Squid Empire: The Rise and Fall of the Cephalopods by Danna Staaf
- What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins by Jonathan Balcombe
- Venomous: How Earth's Deadliest Creatures Mastered Biochemistry by Christie Wilcox
- Restless Creatures: The Story of Life in Ten Movements by Matt Wilkinson
- Spirals in Time: The Secret Life and Curious Afterlife of Seashells by Helen Scales
- Horseshoe Crab: Biography of a Survivor by Anthony D. Fredericks
- Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime: The Oceans' Oddest Creatures and Why They Matter by Ellen Prager
- Kraken: The Curious, Exciting, and Slightly Disturbing Science of Squid by Wendy Williams
- Poseidon's Steed: The Story of Seahorses, from Myth to Reality by Helen Scales
- Witness to Extinction: How We Failed to Save the Yangtze River Dolphin by Samuel T. Turvey
- Voyage of the Turtle: In Pursuit of the Earth's Last Dinosaur by Carl Safina

SPOILER ALERT!

A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher

A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking  - T. Kingfisher

TITLE:  A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking

 

AUTHOR:  T. Kingfisher

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DESCRIPTION:

"Fourteen-year-old Mona isn’t like the wizards charged with defending the city. She can’t control lightning or speak to water. Her familiar is a sourdough starter and her magic only works on bread. She has a comfortable life in her aunt’s bakery making gingerbread men dance.

But Mona’s life is turned upside down when she finds a dead body on the bakery floor. An assassin is stalking the streets of Mona’s city, preying on magic folk, and it appears that Mona is his next target. And in an embattled city suddenly bereft of wizards, the assassin may be the least of Mona’s worries…
"

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DESCRIPTION:

 

This is supposed to be a children's fantasy novel that is apparently too dark for kids?!  Corpses and assassins are no doubt old hat to kids these days.  Personally I found Bob, the carnivorous semi-intelligent sour bread starter dough, hilarious and Nag, the horse skeleton, rather cute.  And that one Ginger Bread Cookie has more personality than most authors give to their main characters.  The protagonist is a 14 year old girl who is a wizard with bread (just bread!!), who manages to still be a (sensible) teenager (mostly) with all the shit that is going on in her life, without all the whining usually associated to these types of books.  The "step-parents" actually manage to be likeable, decent people.  This is a another great adventure/detective/save the city story with Ursula Vernon's original brand of humour and imagination.

 

The Journeys of Trees by Zach St. George

The Journeys of Trees: A Story about Forests, People, and the Future  - Zach St. George

TITLE:  The Journeys of Trees: A Story about Forests, People, and the Future

 

AUTHOR:  Zach St. George

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  July 2020

 

FORMAT:  Hardcover

 

ISBN-13:  9781324001607

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DESCRIPTION:

"Forests are restless. Any time a tree dies or a new one sprouts, the forest that includes it has shifted. When new trees sprout in the same direction, the whole forest begins to migrate, sometimes at astonishing rates. Today, however, an array of obstacles—humans felling trees by the billions, invasive pests transported through global trade—threaten to overwhelm these vital movements. Worst of all, the climate is changing faster than ever before, and forests are struggling to keep up.

A deft blend of science reporting and travel writing, The Journeys of Trees explores the evolving movements of forests by focusing on five trees: giant sequoia, ash, black spruce, Florida torreya, and Monterey pine. Journalist Zach St. George visits these trees in forests across continents, finding sequoias losing their needles in California, fossil records showing the paths of ancient forests in Alaska, domesticated pines in New Zealand, and tender new sprouts of blight-resistant American chestnuts in New Hampshire. Everywhere he goes, St. George meets lively people on conservation’s front lines, from an ecologist studying droughts to an evolutionary evangelist with plans to save a dying species. He treks through the woods with activists, biologists, and foresters, each with their own role to play in the fight for the uncertain future of our environment.

An eye-opening investigation into forest migration past and present, The Journeys of Trees examines how we can all help our trees, and our planet, survive and thrive.
  "

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REVIEW:

 

In a combination of science reporting and travel writing, St George provides a fascinating look at the history and nature of forests, how people interact with them and what the future holds for them.  An overarching theme of the book is the migration of forests (or lack thereof) from one area to another.  A delightful reading experience.

Other People's Pets by R.L. Maizes

Other People's Pets  - R.L. Maizes

TITLE:  Other People's Pets

 

AUTHOR:  R.L. Maizes

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DESCRIPTION:

La La Fine relates to animals better than she does to other people. Abandoned by a mother who never wanted a family, raised by a locksmith-turned-thief father, La La looks to pets when it feels like the rest of the world conspires against her.

La La’s world stops being whole when her mother, who never wanted a child, abandons her twice. First, when La La falls through thin ice on a skating trip, and again when the accusations of “unfit mother” feel too close to true. Left alone with her father—a locksmith by trade, and a thief in reality—La La is denied a regular life. She becomes her father’s accomplice, calming the watchdog while he strips families of their most precious belongings.

When her father’s luck runs out and he is arrested for burglary, everything La La has painstakingly built unravels. In her fourth year of veterinary school, she is forced to drop out, leaving school to pay for her father’s legal fees the only way she knows how—robbing homes once again.

As an animal empath, she rationalizes her theft by focusing on houses with pets whose maladies only she can sense and caring for them before leaving with the family’s valuables. The news reports a puzzled police force—searching for a thief who left behind medicine for the dog, water for the parrot, or food for the hamster.

Desperate to compensate for new and old losses, La La continues to rob homes, but it’s a strategy that ultimately will fail her.

Other People’s Pets examines the gap between the families we’re born into and those we create, and the danger that holding on to a troubled past may rob us of the future.

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REVIEW:

 

A very cute, entertaining and sometimes emotional story.  I loved all the animals.  The humans - some people should just not be parents.

PS:  I just wish the author had chosen some other name other than the juvenile and silly "La la" for her main character.  

The Reign of Arthur by Christopher Gidlow

The Reign of Arthur: From History to Legend - Christopher Gidlow

TITLE: The Reign of Arthur: From History to Legend

AUTHOR: Christopher Gidlow

PUBLICATION DATE: 2007

FORMAT: Paperback

ISBN-13: 9780750934190

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DESCRIPTION:

"This intriguing volume looks at the early sources describing Arthur's career and compares them to the reality of Britain in the 5th and 6th centuries. It presents the most up-to-date scholarship and a convincing case for the existence of a real 6th-century British general called Arthur."

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REVIEW:

 

Gidlow provides a comprehensive, scholarly analysis of ancient texts with a comparison of what is known of 5th and 6th century British life in an effort to determine if the fabled Arthur is a real person. Gidlow also examines how a 5th/6th century warrior became the "King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table". Interesting, but after a while all the picking apart of old texts and the "could have been", "might have been", "it is plausible" just got tedious. A bit more archaeological evidence would have been useful. Arthur fanatics will find the book interesting.

SPOILER ALERT!

Mort(e) by Robert Repino

Morte - Robert Repino

TITLE: Mort(e)

 

AUTHOR: Robert Repino

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DESCRIPTION:

"After the “war with no name” a cat assassin searches for his lost love in Repino’s strange, moving sci-fi epic that channels both Homeward Bound and A Canticle for Leibowitz. The “war with no name” has begun, with human extinction as its goal. The instigator of this war is the Colony, a race of intelligent ants who, for thousands of years, have been silently building an army that would forever eradicate the destructive, oppressive humans. Under the Colony's watchful eye, this utopia will be free of the humans' penchant for violence, exploitation and religious superstition. As a final step in the war effort, the Colony uses its strange technology to transform the surface animals into high-functioning two-legged beings who rise up to kill their masters. Former housecat turned war hero, Mort(e) is famous for taking on the most dangerous missions and fighting the dreaded human bio-weapon EMSAH. But the true motivation behind his recklessness is his ongoing search for a pre-transformation friend—a dog named Sheba. When he receives a mysterious message from the dwindling human resistance claiming Sheba is alive, he begins a journey that will take him from the remaining human strongholds to the heart of the Colony, where he will discover the source of EMSAH and the ultimate fate of all of earth's creatures."

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REVIEW:

 

This is a book about a cat and a dog, ... and ants (giant vengeful ants!). Also friendship/love. This novel has an interesting and original concept but sometimes I wished for more plausibility (I'm not talking about the giant ants), and something more. Something was just missing. In the end I didn't really care that much about Mort(e).

The Genius of Dogs by Brian Hare & Vanessa Woods

The Genius of Dogs - Discovering the Unique Intelligence of Man's Best Friend - Brian Hare, Vanessa Woods

TITLE: The Genius of Dogs - Discovering the Unique Intelligence of Man's Best Friend

 

AUTHOR: Brian Hare & Vanessa Woods

 

DATE PUBLISHED: 2013

 

FORMAT: Paperback

 

ISBN-13: 9781780743684

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DESCRIPTION:

"Is your dog purposefully disobeying you? Probably, and usually behind your back. Should you act like ‘top dog’ to maintain control? No, you’re better off displaying your friendliness – and not just to your dog. Which breed is the cleverest? That’s the wrong question to ask. These are just some of the extraordinary insights to be found in 'The Genius of Dogs' – the seminal book on how dogs evolved their unique intelligence by award-winning scientist Dr Brian Hare. He shares more than two decades of startling discoveries about the mysteries of the dog mind and how you can use his groundbreaking work to build a better relationship with your own dog."

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REVIEW:

 

Hare and Woods take a look at various doggie studies to determine exactly how intelligent dogs are compared to humans, wolves and occasionally other animals (e.g. crows and bonobos).  The book is a bit erratic, with the authors covering a variety of topics and writing about their personal dog experiences.  But since I love dogs, this didn't really bother me.  The sections on domestication (dog, fox, bonobo and human) were particularly interesting.  This book made for an entertaining and easy read on comparative cognitive science with a focus on dogs, while providing some fascinating information that might not be generally well known.

 

PS:  The dog is smarter than the cat! 

 

Currently reading

German: Biography of a Language by Ruth H. Sanders
Progress: 100/248pages
Candide and Other Stories by Voltaire
Progress: 50/302pages