The Human Instinct: How We Evolved to Have Reason, Consciousness, and Free Will – Kenneth R.

Human InstinctHumans are special, aren’t they? They speak many languages, and write beautiful poetry. They paint pictures and music that stir our emotions. Nope, the evolutionists say. We’re just products of mindless adaptation. Thank goodness Brown University biologist Kenneth Miller has an opposing view, and he makes his case very well, rejecting the idea that our actions and even our thoughts are determined by evolution. He begins with a summary of the recent finding of the fossil record and chromosomal patterns that are similar between humans and primates, to underscore his basic belief in human evolution. He then addresses the evolution of consciousness and of free will. The book is easy to read and provides much to think about.

eGalley review                                        Publication date 4.17.18

Posted in adult, Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

Accidental Brothers – Dr. Nancy L. Segal and Yesika S. Montoya

Accidental BrothersWilliam and Wilber, fraternal twins, grew up near the tiny village of La Paz, Colombia, without electricity, running water and the other conveniences most of us take for granted. But that was the life of all those around them. They didn’t feel deprived, except that William longed for an education, something that none of his relatives seemed to need. Jorge and Carlos, another set of fraternal twins, were raised in Bogota, lived the life of city kids. They went to school, to college. They were your ordinary urban professionals. And then the lives of these four young men were changed forever when they learned that their twin brothers were not their twins, were not even their brothers. Somehow, at the hospital, one twin in each pair was switched with a twin in the other pair. Psychologist, Dr. Nancy Segal, and social worker Yesika Montoya, used this unique opportunity to carefully research the old question of nature or nurture, looking at the impact life events have in shaping personalities. I found the story of the brothers lives before and after they learned the truth, and the findings of the authors about the role of genetics in personality, very interesting. But the book could have used some editing. Events seemed to jump around and much information was repeated.

eGalley review                                               Publication date 4.17.18

Posted in adult, nonfiction, Uncategorized | Tagged ,

Sky in the Deep – Adrienne Young

Sky in the DeepEvery five years, the lowland dwelling Aska and the mountain dwelling Riki must meet in battle because their respective gods had a feud.  They fight and die because their gods had a spat generations ago.  During the last fighting season, Eelyn watches, horrified, as her brother is stabbed then falls to his death with his assailant into a deep gorge.  He is presumed dead and she, her father, and her clan mourn his passing.  During this fighting season, she is stunned when she sees her brother fighting alongside their mortal enemy.  Surely she is seeing a ghost – or is she? She is wounded, taken prisoner, enslaved and bought by her brother’s adopted brother.  The very man who wounded him five years ago.  When an even more vicious clan, the Herja, attack the Riki, the Aska and Riki must ban together to defeat this common enemy.

This story is predictable, but that is okay!  Inspired by Viking lore and infused with gory battles, this is a really good read that is hard to put down.  It is chock full of violence, complex and likeable characters and gorgeous descriptions of the land.  Eelyn is both fearsome – popping the eyeball out of a prisoner – and  kind.  She’s deeply loyal.  I eagerly await the next installment.  Highly recommend!

eGalley review                                      Publication date 4.24.18

Posted in fantasy, highly recommend, Uncategorized | Tagged

An Argumentation of Historians – Jodi Taylor

Argumentation of HistoriansIt was a good plan, of course it was. The historians would be in Persepolis trying to see if Alexander deliberately set fire to the place. All the while Clive Ronan (the evil villain) would be back at St. Mary’s taking the bait and being captured. Nothing could go wrong. Yeah, right. I’m talking about Max and her cohorts. Everything could go wrong, and it usually did. But when Max found herself plopped down in 1399 with no way to get home, things got very, very bad. This is book nine in the adventures of the historians at St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research. It’s a secret operation that allows “investigation of major historical events in contemporary time.” In other words, time travel. It’s a complex book, funny, tragic, heart-warming, sometimes very bloody (although this book is far less bloody than some of the previous ones). It’s better to start with book one, but not absolutely necessary. There are enough references about previous disasters to keep you up to date. I absolutely love these books.

eGalley review                                 Publication date 4.10.18

Posted in adult, highly recommend, science fiction, Uncategorized | Tagged ,

Cave of Bones – Anne Hillerman

Cave of BonesTribal Police Officer Bernadette Manulito knew she owed Officer Cheryl Jasper a favor, a really big favor. So she had to say yes when asked. Then she learned that she had agreed to make a speech, and that was the worst punishment she could imagine! When told it would be a simple talk to a group of troubled girls involved in an outdoor program, she calmed down a bit. Of course, nothing is ever simple and Bernie had to deal with a traumatized girl who had discovered a human skeleton and an instructor who had gone missing. Meanwhile Bernie’s husband, Sergeant Jim Chee is worried about Darleen, Bernie’ sister. Seems she is involved with some less than desirable characters. For many years I enjoyed Tony Hillerman’s books, and am delighted that his daughter, Anne, has taken over the series. Each book has gotten better, and this one is really good. The action flows, and the plot comes together quite nicely. Navajo traditions are woven into the story, and the descriptions of the landscape are wonderful. I am eagerly anticipating her next book.

eGalley review                               Publication date 4.3.18

Posted in adult, mystery, Uncategorized | Tagged

The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume Three – Neil Clarke (Edited by)

Best Science FictionLet’s see . . . there are a group of fiddle players on a ship bound for deep space, a talented forger of beef, a story involving a pair of feuding sisters and raccoons, ships leaving the dying earth. From the near future on earth to alien worlds in galaxies far, far away. You get the idea. This collection has something to offer everyone. There two novellas, eleven novelettes, and thirteen short stories, representing authors from many countries with many views of the future. Very good reading.

 

eGalley review                                           Publication date 4.3.18

 

 

Posted in adult, science fiction, Uncategorized | Tagged

To Die But Once – Jacqueline Winspear

To Die But OnceIt is spring, 1940, and England is full of fear, full of uncertainty, waiting, waiting for something to happen. Young men had gone abroad to fight a war as had their fathers. The country was on edge. Phil Coombes should not have been worried. His teenaged son had managed to get a job with a painting company, working at RAF bases with fire retardant paint. It was a reserved occupation. The boy would not have to enlist. But Mr. Coomes was troubled, felt that something was wrong. The boy just didn’t sound like himself, and he was having bad headaches. So he came to Maisie Dobbs for help, asking her to quietly look into things. Jacqueline Winspear paints a vivid picture, capturing the war’s effect on various individuals, from the bravery at Dunkirk, to the profiteering, fear of spies, leaking of classified secrets. Maisie Dobbs is a complex character, very believable. At first, I felt that there were too many plot lines, but things came together and I ended up liking the book very much. Even though this is part of a series it can be enjoyed as a standalone.

eGalley review                                                Publication date 3.27.18

Posted in adult, historical fiction, mystery, Uncategorized | Tagged , ,