Jonathan Stroud has done it again, actually this title is better than the Bartimaeus series (imho). The Lockwood Investigative Company of ghost investigators burn down a house in the process of eliminating a problem specter haunting a house. That’s when things get really interesting, when a wealthy CEO hires them to clean out a mansion where other larger & more experienced agencies have failed. Join Lucy, George, and Anthony as they attempt to stay alive and solve this mystery.
A wonderful read – good plot, and delicious atmosphere, transports you to another London.
Once again I’m impressed with Dave Barry. He is so funny. This time he strings together a cohesive narrative with gut-busting sections, and Christmas cheer. Its a story told about a family who’s dog is dying and how this affects the annual Christmas pageant.
This title unlike the previous 2, is narrated by both Tris and Tobias. I’m Not sure this adds that much (unlike hearing Beans narrative in contrast to Ender’s version of the same story). I’m always suspicious that the author is trying to pad their work to add more pages. Maybe Roth is pulling a Hobbit Movie extension trick, trying to get as much out of the story as she can. Overall, I liked this book, no it wasn’t as fast-paced as the other two, but you gained a lot of explanation. I wonder if Roth knew where the series was headed when she published the first book.
If a song was playing during the opening scenes, it could be the Who’s “Don’t Get Fooled Again” new boss, same as the old boss…
This book describes the multiple and unexpected intelligences of corvids aka the crow family.
Corvids outscore dogs and equal primates on a number of dimensions, with their tool use, and understanding that other creatures have minds (minds that can be deceived) capabilities. Also, Corvids engage in play, from repeatedly sliding down snowbanks, to using a piece of bark to surf the air via updrafts. They recognize individual humans, and have been know to gift humans with small tokens,
Initially, I really wanted a New Caledonian Crow for a pet (they seem to be the brightest of the lot). However, after reading the sections where the crows mob other individual birds, and mercilessly tease other animals, I changed my mind. The authors present a very balanced look at corvids, including the limitations of corvids as demonstrated by the research. Some of the sections on how corvid brains function, shed light on human brains (yes, these avian dinosaurs show convergent evolution with humans).
Maria Snyder crafts almost perfect fantasy novels featuring strong female protagonists.
Avry of Kazan is one of the last healers alive in the lands, she has been moving from town to town attempting to hide her gift because the healers have been blamed for spreading the devastating plague. Healers work by absorbing the injuries into their own bodies, but then healing 5 times more quickly.
Marauders and despots have followed in the wake of the devastation. Prince Ryne appears to be the only king capable of taking on the nefarious evil-doers. Unfortunately, he has contracted the plague, but is in frozen stasis, in case a healer can be found. Prince
Kerrick is searching for a healer to bring Ryne back to life.
Protagonist Sam works for as a programmer for an online dating company. As he is filling out an online application in the hopes of meeting the right one, he realizes that none of the questions really tap into really meaningful issues. Even if meaningful questions were included, most people would lie. So, proposes that he writes a new software algorithm that taps into people’s financial statements. The good news is that it works really successfully in matching up couples. The bad news is that it is too successful and long term monthly signups drop. He is fired, then the grandmother of his new girlfriend Meredith – the perfect match from his algorith – dies. Meredith spends HUGE amounts of time moping and mourning her grandmother’s death. In an effort to return his love Meredith to her usual self, Sam creates another algorithm based on digital conversations between Meredith and her grandmother to recreate a digital version of the grandmother.
The book seems more like a mouthpiece to explore these complicated issues. Unfortunately, there is a HUGE amount of whining by most of the characters (I’m usually pretty sympathetic, but the characters are so hopeless and pathetic). Might have been better reading the book instead of listening to it.
John Bradshaw (not to be confused with the guy who wrote about the family), challenges the conventional wisdom that dogs need to be dominated. He examines the myth that wolves live in a strict hierarchy with submission and dominance displays.
He contends that the wolves that had been studied, were captive wolves confined much closer together than what wolf groups experience in nature – also that the wolves that were studied were American Timber wolves, NOT the European Grey Wolf, the closest Canid ancestor from which ALL domestic dogs have descended (he explores the genetics of domestic dogs, and though it would have been possible to domesticate other canids – jackals, coyotes, dholes, foxes).
He notes that in the wilderness, groups of wolves form around familial bonds, with the supposed alpha pair, being the parents of the others in the group.
Bradshaw then outlines why punishment is ineffective in training animals (including dogs).
I enjoyed parts of this book immensely – however, the romance aspect of “oh, I couldn’t possibly be honest with him” drove me nuts. But the action was uptempo like Divergent, and the ending was good. I was told it was a cliffhanger, but I thought it was a good ending – everybody wound up where they should be, but new things were going to happen next! Can’t wait to read the next one.
Thought I’d try some high-brow humor. It was light fare, nothing gut-splitting like Lewis Black, but lots of chuckles. Plus there were a number of news stories, that eventually I decided they were fake ones like the Onion, but I wasn’t entirely sure, if they were reporting on stories, “Facts stranger than Fiction” sorta thing. Joan Rivers and Phyllis Diller were the funniest (imho).
Laura and her husband Dan’s attempts to conceive a child have taken a toll on their marriage. They move out to the countryside in Wales to remove some stress. Then Laura start interacting with characters from the past (some are ghosts invisible to others, while some are characters seem to be enacting past lives).
No – this book is Not as good as other Paula Brackston books I’ve read. It was difficult to identify with the main character Laura, and the parallel story was Not upbeat at all.
Nicola’s Russian grandfather was persecuted for his paranormal abilities, thus she has kept her paranormal talent hidden. By holding objects she is able to retrieve memories of people who have held the object. However, she decides to track down the origins of a family heirloom said to have been a gift from the Russian Empress Catherine. Nicola knows that the family tale is true, but will need to find proof for the object to have any value. She enlists the help of Rob a man she previously dated, but ran away from when their psychic talents got them noticed.
On the negative side: Rob is way too perfect, always there, super talented. Even worse though is the love-interest in the parallel tale of Anna and Edmund. Anna is repeatedly humiliated by Edmund and finds herself falling for him. Yuck! Gross! There are 2 surprises towards the ending of Anna’s tale. You can see the first one from a mile away. The other one surprised me.
I really enjoyed the atmosphere, the coziness of the settings – London, Scottland, Russia…
I also enjoyed the amount of authentic detail worked into the background of the book. For example, in the book Slains Castle was being renovated into apartments – which when I looked online, is actually the case. In the book Nicola and Rob visit a Russian chain restaurant named Stolle that serves pies (meat pies I think). Turns out such a chain actually does exist in Russia. Just neat!
Another wonderful tale by Neil Gaiman. The 7 year old protagonist has his world turned upside down and inside out, when malignant forces seep/invade his world. At the end of the Lane is the Hempstock farmhouse live the 3 crones who protect the world and keep problematic forces where they belong.
I found it delightful how central books were to the protagonists life, the part about jumping into trees or onto poles, reminded me of myself, I thought jumping into a tree would be quite feasible, though I’d never seen a real person do so. I wonder at Gaiman’s connection to his parents during childhood, given that so many of Gaiman’s tales feature disconnected parents. Especially since the dedication to his new wife Amanda Palmer, something to the effect – so you can understand … hmmm.
At the end of the novel, I had to return to the beginning chapter in an attempt to fill in a couple blanks. Was it his Father’s funeral?
Bess starts off life in the 16th century, her happy peasant family life is disrupted when plague breaks out. After her older brother, her sweet sister, and father die of the plague, Bess’ Mom makes a deal with the local and evil warlock Gideon, which brings Bess back from the door of death. Then a witchhunter is called and accuses Bess of witchcraft, since she survived the plague, her mother confesses in order to spare her daughter and directs her daughter to study with Gideon. But when the town comes for her and plan to burn her the next day, she speaks invocation by the light of her cell windows. 300 years later she is still on the run from Gideon, who wants her to combine their powers. She is able to settle down for brief periods before he tracks her down.
Paula Brackston’s books are so captivating. I can’t wait for her next book in 2014, The Midnight Witch. Make sure you have plenty of time to read, because her books are hard to put down. This book was originally released as the Book of Shadows in 2009.