Source: from publisher for review

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#FuturisticFriday Review and Giveaway: The Mirror Thief

May 10, 2016 Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary, Thriller 9

#FuturisticFriday Review and Giveaway: The Mirror ThiefTitle: The Mirror Thief
Author: Martin Seay
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: This was a big, bold, beautiful story with inspiring writing and an enthralling plot.

“The core story is set in Venice in the sixteenth century, when the famed makers of Venetian glass were perfecting one of the old world’s most wondrous inventions: the mirror. The Venetian mirrors were state of the art technology, and subject to industrial espionage…for any of the development team to leave the island was a crime punishable by death. One man, however—a world-weary war hero with nothing to lose—has a scheme he thinks will allow him to outwit the city’s terrifying enforcers of the edict, the ominous Council of Ten . . . Meanwhile, in two other Venices—Venice Beach, California, circa 1958, and the Venice casino in Las Vegas, circa today—two other schemers launch similarly dangerous plans to get away with a secret . . .  All three stories will weave together”, connected both thematically and by direct interaction or inspiration of each character by the others. (source) Read more »

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#FuturisticFriday Review and Giveaway: The Atomic Weight of Love

May 3, 2016 Fiction, Historical Fiction 16

#FuturisticFriday Review and Giveaway: The Atomic Weight of LoveTitle: The Atomic Weight of Love: A Novel
Author: Elizabeth J. Church
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: I liked the idea of this book and the writing was beautiful, but the tone was too detached and the glimpses of the protagonists life were too brief.

“In 1941, at seventeen years old, Meridian begins her ornithology studies at the University of Chicago. She is soon drawn to Alden Whetstone, a brilliant, complicated physics professor who opens her eyes to the fundamentals and poetry of his field, the beauty of motion, space and time, the delicate balance of force and energy that allows a bird to fly. Entranced and in love, Meridian defers her own career path and follows Alden west to Los Alamos, where he is engaged in a secret government project (later known to be the atomic bomb).” (Source) Once there, Alden and Meridian’s relationship suffers. They no longer have the intellectual conversations she so loved and she resents that Alden respects her less now that she no longer has the academic career she gave up for him. When, twenty years later, a young Vietnam veteran shakes up Meridian’s life, she must decide if it’s too late to start again. Read more »

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#FuturisticFriday Review and Giveaway: Britt-Marie Was Here

April 28, 2016 Fiction 6

#FuturisticFriday Review and Giveaway: Britt-Marie Was HereTitle: Britt-Marie Was Here
Author: Fredrik Backman
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

At 63 years old, Britt-Marie is used to living for others and very set in her ways, so it takes a lot to convince her to leave her husband of 40 years. This is the beginning of the path that leads her to the small, crumbling town of Brog where the residents may need her as much as she needs them. Through a number of unexpected adventures, from coaching a soccer team despite her previous hatred of the sport to the romantic advances of a kind policeman, she just might learn to live for herself. Read more »

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Easy Reads in Mini-Reviews

April 26, 2016 Uncategorized 6

Easy Reads in Mini-ReviewsTitle: The Wild Robot
Author: Peter Brown
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

This story about a robot living on an island and making friends with the animals there was as cute as you might expect. There were even adorable illustrations, which I enjoyed a lot. I was a little disappointed to find that this was at the young end of middle grade though and even though I’m definitely in the mood for easy reads right now as I work on finishing up grad school, it still felt too simplistic for me to really enjoy it. I would highly recommend it to anyone in the right age range or who doesn’t mind reading middle grade books in general, but it wasn’t my favorite read. Read more »

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#FuturisticFriday Review and Giveaway: The Regional Office is Under Attack!

April 13, 2016 Uncategorized 13

#FuturisticFriday Review and Giveaway: The Regional Office is Under Attack!Title: The Regional Office Is Under Attack!
Author: Manuel Gonzales
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: Fantastically fun and quirky, but also dark and underdeveloped.

“In a world beset by amassing forces of darkness, one organization—the Regional Office—and its coterie of super-powered female assassins protects the globe from annihilation. At its helm, the mysterious Oyemi and her oracles seek out new recruits and root out evil plots. Then a prophecy suggests that someone from inside might bring about its downfall. And now, the Regional Office is under attack.” (Source) Read more »

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Review: From Silk to Silicon

April 9, 2016 History, non-fiction 14

Review: From Silk to SiliconTitle: From Silk to Silicon: The Story of Globalization Through Ten Extraordinary Lives
Author: Jeffrey E. Garten
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: This was a fascinating, whirlwind tour of the history of globalization, but would have been better if it were longer.

I’d describe this book as a microhistory, focused on the most influential people in the expansion of globalization. About 30 pages are devoted to each of ten influential individuals, from Genghis Khan to Andy Grove to Margaret Thatcher. Each had a large impact on history, but was also a product of their times and provided an interesting window into the era they lived in. Read more »

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Review: The Summer Before the War

April 6, 2016 Fiction, Historical Fiction 6

Review: The Summer Before the WarTitle: The Summer Before the War
Author: Helen Simonson
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: This was a cute story, but too predictable to be complex and not quite happy enough to justify the predictability.

In East Sussex, in the summer before the start of WWI, the big news is the progressive choice of a female Latin teacher, Beatrice Nash. The wealthy Agatha Grange, who pushed for Beatrice’s appointment, is determined that Beatrice prove herself a good choice, despite being more attractive and independent than might be considered proper in a Latin teacher. Meanwhile, Agatha’s two nephews have their own problems as they slowly get pulled into preparations for war. Read more »

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#FuturisticFriday Review and Giveaway: Lab Girl

April 5, 2016 Uncategorized 24

#FuturisticFriday Review and Giveaway: Lab GirlTitle: Lab Girl
Author: Hope Jahren
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: This book succeeds as both an approachable primer on some cool science and as a relatable, moving memoir.

“Acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren has built three laboratories in which she’s studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Her first book is a revelatory treatise on plant life—but it is also so much more. Lab Girl is a book about work, love, and the mountains that can be moved when those two things come together. It is told through Jahren’s stories: about her childhood in rural Minnesota with an uncompromising mother and a father who encouraged hours of play in his classroom’s labs; about how she found a sanctuary in science, and learned to perform lab work done “with both the heart and the hands”; and about the inevitable disappointments, but also the triumphs and exhilarating discoveries, of scientific work.” (Source) Read more »

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Review: All Stories Are Love Stories

March 27, 2016 Fiction, Literary 8

Review: All Stories Are Love StoriesTitle: All Stories Are Love Stories: A Novel
Author: Elizabeth Percer
Source: from publisher for review
|Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: I enjoyed most of this book and it did remind me of Station Eleven, but the writing wasn’t as beautiful and I dropped a star because of the ending.

“On Valentine’s Day, two major earthquakes strike San Francisco within the same hour, devastating the city and its primary entry points, sparking fires throughout, and leaving its residents without power, gas, or water. Among the disparate survivors whose fates will become intertwined are Max, a man who began the day with birthday celebrations tinged with regret; Vashti, a young woman who has already buried three of the people she loved most . . . but cannot forget Max, the one man who got away; and Gene, a Stanford geologist who knows far too much about the terrifying earthquakes that have damaged this beautiful city and irrevocably changed the course of their lives. As day turns to night and fires burn across the city, Max and Vashti—trapped beneath the rubble of the collapsed Nob Hill Masonic Auditorium—must confront each other and face the truth about their past, while Gene embarks on a frantic search through the realization of his worst nightmares to find his way back to his ailing lover and their home.” (Source) Read more »

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Review: In Other Words

March 9, 2016 Memoir 16

Review: In Other WordsTitle: In Other Words
Author: Jhumpa Lahiri, Ann Goldstein
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: I enjoyed this beautifully written glimpse into the experience of learning a new language, but I felt emotionally disconnected from the author.

I find the way in which this book was written fascinating. The author, Jhumpa Lahiri, grew up in the US, speaking Bengali at home and English in school, but along the way, she also fell in love with Italian. This is her first attempt to write a book in Italian and the version I read was translated back into English by someone else, translator Ann Goldstein. In it, Jhumpa discusses her love of Italian, her experience learning the language, and a bit about what motivates her to write. Read more »

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