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What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe

What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

Randall Munroe

audible, ebook, physical book.

ISBN – 978-1848549579

 

What if…I were to recommend a book full of scientific fact? What if…I were to tell you it was intelligently written, witty, and full of interest? Science is not my normal genre of book to read or if I do then I would normally have taken months to plough through dry facts, and it would end its life as a doorstop!
What If? however has been as fresh as a spring breeze after a vile winter, it held my full attention from the first word to the very last ( I was listening to the audible version ), there are far too few books of this kind around, science does not have to be dull and boring, and when someone gets it right as Mr Munroe most certainly has with What If? it is an utter joy to read and for me I have learned far more from this book than all my time with science teachers at school!! why? because he makes science interesting, fun, he challenges and stretches the envelope, he takes a daft question and runs with it, this to me is the definition of an enquiring scientific mind, why could my teachers not have had Mr Munroe’s enthusiasm and interest in this way.
I have never carried my device around with me listening to a book as I have with this, purely because it gets in the way, but I had it perched all over the place at full volume while I did the dishes, cleaned, tided etc because it was so incredibly interesting I found myself unable to put it down because I wanted to know the outcome of each reply and couldn’t wait!
The book is well laid out, the chapters are short and easy to take in, there is a nice flow between question and response as well as a good balance of scientific speak, easily digestible information and humour in the measured responses he gives to the readers questions. I loved the short chapters which were dotted through the book with a couple of quick questions he was never going to respond to…read the book and you will understand why! The writers style is fantastic, there is a lot of wit and dry humour mixed in with scientific writing aimed, luckily for me! at all of us, it is so nice to have a bunch of science’y stuff which is not so highbrow it is incomprehensible to us laypersons but instead holds your interest and teaches you while making you laugh at the same time.
The narrator of the audible version Wil Wheaton was in tune with the book, and the demographic it was aimed at, getting across the dry humour very well it really felt like he got the book, I loved his intonation and his pitch and tone the whole way through were very good which thoroughly added to my enjoyment of What If? because if the narrator is off it can totally ruin a great book.
Run and get this book, I LOVED IT!!!

The Frank Family That Survived by Gordon F. Sander

The Frank Family That Survived

Gordon F. Sander

ISBN 0-09-179488-9

This wonderful book was given to me as a gift by a very kind friend. He knew I had read The Diary of Anne Frank ( ISBN 978-0385508576) and had found it to be extremely moving, as well as knowing that I was a complete bookworm and therefore for me nothing is better than getting a new book to read.
For me it was a little stiff to get into while the family connections are all explained, and the significance of what is happening is set out, this is very detailed but it is very much worthwhile hanging on in there for the family do truly come alive, under the writers thoughtful viewpoint drawing the reader in and bringing to life his family history. It is very interesting to hear the inside view from members of the family, and also to an extent a view from the newer generation of their family which gave a different slant on the story. The family history is brought to sharp focus in part because of the inclusion of photos so you could see the faces looking at you from parts of their lives described in the book and therefore connect better with the family who’s astonishing life you are reading.
I found this book to be such an eye opener, showing very sad aspects of humanity, but in this book thankfully also flashes of human kindness and self sacrifice, and these are both well described and provide a little balance to the grim history being laid out for us, I learned a lot from this book.
It is difficult I think from our modern perspective to understand the unbelievable conditions the Franks were forced to endure due to the time in which they lived, from the high life to the absolute lows of life during the great wars, however thanks to the obvious effort the writer has put into his research the book outlines with unusual clarity how they managed to survive and his writing is so descriptive it is hard to shake the book from your head when you put it down. I think that in part because of the way it was given to me and the window it opened into the past through a very richly and vibrantly described family dealing with such utter destruction that would cast a shadow over generations meant I could not put it down and it brought me to tears over and over at the devastation wrought on our world and millions upon millions of lives of all faiths and nationalities and for no good cause.
Reading this book has left me with an ongoing interest in both the World Wars and other difficult topics the book has opened my eyes too. While as I said this was not the first book I have read on this subject I do think this gives the reader a broader view because of the generational follow through and the different perspectives through which this story is presented.
This is a book that I very highly recommend to anyone wanting an in depth view from the inside of this war and not just from the inside perspective of those who ‘dived under’ but those around them as well. I very much enjoyed the book because of the way in which it was approached and written and I am impressed by the writers strength and skill to complete the project. But readers be aware it is a book of great depth and historical importance not a lightweight by any stretch of the imagination.
This is a book of great importance, a book to provoke thought and conversation, one of the books to be treasured and to ensure this time is never forgotten.

Love Immy xx

Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton

Little Black Lies

by Sharon Bolton

ISBN 9780552166393

 

This was a book I really really enjoyed reading, having never read anything by Sharon Bolton I found it by accident while I was milling around the bookshop and was attracted by the jacket and the title, then it sat in a pile of books I was meaning to read for ages!! it attracted me again while looking for a distraction one day and I’m so pleased this was the one picked out of the pile as I found it a very easy read, I personally have often found writers who use the style of splitting a book by character can create a distracting and confusing story but in this style Ms Bolton clearly excels as this was very clear and easy to follow, particularly as I had to put it away halfway through for several weeks but it was very easy to get straight back into even after such a long break in reading, and that is due to such great writing.
I found this to be a well written and thoughtful thriller/mystery with as many twists and turns as a road on the Falklands. By turns I think I probably suspected every single islander and tourist, but I did not see the ending coming, at all…when the last few paragraphs sunk in, I had to go back and reread it because I was so surprised, you have to love an ending like that, where you don’t see it coming and then it keeps impinging on your consciousness for the next few days with questions! I found the book cohesive and smooth, it didn’t lead you by the nose to the easy option, come to an inexplicable shuddering halt, or lose the plot halfway through it was just a thoroughly intriguing and very memorable read.
All of the characters are incredibly human and interesting, their internal struggles and well thought out, the character traits which both push the four main characters apart and also pull them together are beautifully written. This book is written in three parts, each a personal perspective of one of the three main characters which works incredibly well because of this particular story, the main characters flaws and imperfections bring the book to life as we follow them through this huge struggle with their individual loves, losses and decisions that affect each others lives so deeply past, present and future. It follows each in a twisting, tumbling, intertwining period of their lives where they could come together or blow each other apart, believe me it is very much worth taking the time to read.
These beautiful islands are brought to life in this book, their beauty and barrenness, the flora and fauna, the close knit community and of course intrigues therein, the nature of humankind good and bad in equal measure. there is judgement and balance in this book, the necessity of a cull brought to life in a brutal but clearcut way with a counterbalance later of a communities needs, this is well thought out and cleverly written.
For me this book is a must read and I really recommend it, particularly if you are looking for something a little different and less predictable than the usual mystery/thriller. I was so very sad to finish it but after a quick search of the bookshelves I see that there are several more books by this author so I will be interested to see if I find them as intriguing as this one…

Available as physical book, download and audiobook.

New release…Amanda Aksel ‘The Pregnancy Test’

Amanda Aksel

The Pregnancy Test

ISBN (to follow)

This is the third of a trilogy, I read the first book a few years ago and quickly realised that it was a fun filled and in the end joyous story, as long as I appreciated that the lighthearted approach hid a depth in the story that I did not at first appreciate and it filtered slowly through my brain and stayed with me. So when I found out recently that there was a second and soon to be released third book I was over the moon, I downloaded and read the second book and found it to be as well written and interesting as the first book, it was thoroughly enjoyable and equally entertaining and thought provoking.
This third book however, for me particularly, as someone unable to have children and having gone through a lot of this was I felt written with the utmost sensitivity to the subject, and as someone often sensitive to it this is saying a great deal. The book is very well researched and thought out, it is written with strength, openness and does not shy from the harsh truths of this terribly difficult situation faced by many, I give a great deal of acknowledgement to this writer for her sensitivity and also her humour, a difficult balance to achieve, but Ms Aksel achieves it beautifully in The Pregnancy Test, it was therefore with understandable trepidation that I started this book but I am so pleased that I did as it has actually lifted my spirits as it is so stunningly observant of human nature, and beautifully captures the friendships and the generosity of spirit we should be capable of, I cried while I read this book but with the characters because of the insight and thoughtful writing not as I thought I would out of sadness for myself, this is because the writing is so good it does what every bestselling book does, it takes you out of yourself and focuses your thoughts on the characters brought to life through the web of words Ms Askel has woven for us.
The characters in this book are by now very well described, and have good depth allowing the writer to push the relationships between them leading to a not just easily believable read, but a book that was glued to my nose firmly from start to finish. I was delighted with the way the trilogy evolved the central characters, to the point I was so involved with them I was by turns telling them off, giving them encouragement, and when I had to put the book down to eat and sleep wondering if they would work things out.
I do have a single small criticism, these books are not the lightweight reads they are to me presented as, dealing as they do with the difficult and in some cases painful realities of life, it does not lower itself by painting the world with a rose coloured tint, but instead deals truthfully and openly but with humour and honesty with the ups and downs of life. And even through it faces squarely some hardships it is written in such a way as to bring you hope that every obstacle can be surmounted, this is a good way to leave us readers wanting more, as it is not very often I find myself just as invested in the third book as I was in the first.
This is a good read and well written book, which I think will soon be listed as an award winner, I am hoping that Ms Aksel writes more books as her style and tone go down very well with me and I will be looking forward to her next publication, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

A Little Luck, A Lot of Fate by Linn B. Halton

A Little Luck, A Lot of Fate.

Linn B.Halton

EPUB ISBN 978-1-78189-329-6
MOBI ISBN 978-1-78189-328-9

I am as those of you who have read my reviews already will know a huge fan of Ms Halton’s writing, and The Restaurant @ the Mill will I think always be my favourite because it was the first of her works I read, but this new offering comes second only by the very tiniest of squeaks. I really enjoy the flow of this book, it has a really nice cosy feel to it right from the beginning, the writer draws you in by infusing her book with exquisite readability and subtlety, this flows through her characters giving a real depth and interest to each, making them easy to bring to life in your head whilst reading and this really helps to make them interesting, believable and three dimensional.
I love that I became lost in the book as, being so fully immersed that I lose myself seems to happen less and less frequently making this book an absolute must for my bookcase.
The chapters are a good length and each is full of interest making the book a smooth and lovely read, my one and only problem with it being that it was over far to quickly and I found myself at three am reading the last page and being extremely disappointed that I had finished such an enjoyable read so quickly, but…once I had started to read I couldn’t wait to find out how it finished and couldn’t stop reading despite trying to put it down about five times!!!
There is a refreshing honesty in the characters, it does feel like they could be real people as their personalities are so beautifully distilled onto the pages, I think this is due, as with all Ms Haltons writing to the fact the characters have both positive and negative traits as well as dealing with both good and bad times all throughout the storyline which gives a great balance and therefore a more believable read than an awful lot of other books in similar styles.
I found this book in particular of hers to be lightly and hauntingly written, with some extremely thoughtful descriptions of individuals sadness that really affected me and she also deals with the issue of the anguished and tortured personalities and the reasons behind it in a particularly thoughtful and enlightened way.
The writer explores very creatively the interesting thought that one wrong decision or missed opportunity in your life can create such a difference in the way your life path changes for the good or bad, and how very easily the future reading could/should be interpreted as this left the two main characters second guessing a certain amount of the readings and also the decision they were making. It is also a wonderful exploration in itself of the differences in believing in psychics and their powers or not and how this could perhaps be a wonderful experience. I personally have had no experience with such things but can see how it could be so intriguing and I really enjoyed the way this was all woven into the book.
The love triangle was very well set out and left me on the edge of my seat to the end and what a beautifully written ending it was. The three main characters were of such depth and interest it was impossible not to enjoy the ensuing story through each perspective as it unfolded, I have to admit that there was a warmth and joy threading through this that left a golden glow long after the book was finished.
I feel the first page of this book is a joy to read and wills you to turn the pages and submerge yourself in this absolutely stunning read, however I was moved by the dedication at the beginning before even reaching page one of the story, I feel this book is yet another award winner for Ms Halton.

Linn B.Halton review coming next week…and a short break

Dear All,
I am really very sorry however I must take a short break in my reviews, this is due to personal circumstances. As I can’t do justice to my blog I feel it is better to wait until I can, than to disappoint you all with a sub standard set of reviews.
There will be a review next week of a book I hope you will love as much as I did because it has gone straight onto the special shelf on my bookcase…well it will as soon as I order my physical copy!! I have already read it twice! the wonderful new offering from Linn B Halton.
I will be back as soon as I possibly can, thank you all in advance for your understanding I appreciate it.
xIx

Immortal’s Spring by Molly Ringle

Immortal’s Spring

Molly Ringle

ISBN 978-1-77168-040-0

I love that the writer dives straight back into the heart of the storyline, there is a powerful beginning to book three which pulls the reader straight back into the story without missing a beat from book two. After the storyline being set up so beautifully in books one and two it really feels like you can relax into the book after the opening chapter and wait for the magic to unfold.
Sadly this is the last the last book in this trilogy, it continues the dark and brooding storyline, pulling the reader along in a fast pace with drama and confusion, threat and counter threat there is a nice soft mix of magic, gods and two realms side by side from the point of view of the immortals.
Ms Ringle continues the good development of the characters and I like that she does not shy from relationship difficulties, or sexuality this all being honestly and well portrayed.
There is a nice development where the worlds energies are shown to be in charge of humanity, where we are shown how the fates balance good and evil and punish the bad in the underworld even if they escape punishment in this life, this is a really nice inclusion in the story as it shows the reader that perhaps these things will eventually balance themselves out.
We are shown a much bigger picture this time of the long and distant connections, of the who’s and when’s, of the lives almost repeated, this gives us a twist on amongst others…no no no, you must read the book to find out, I could not possibly spoil these revelations as they are inspired.
I personally found the ending somehow slightly disappointed me, it was all a bit to quick and to be so neat and tidy and happily ever after so very quickly after two and three quarter books worth of build up, well firstly I wanted more and after the writers beautifully balanced darkness and light everywhere else was a bit of a surprise to have it all wrapped in big tidy happy bow.
After looking forward to an epic battle between the goodness and hope of the underworld and immortals and the evil of Thanatos above ground, and all the writers hard work setting us up for this battle in all three books it all came to a rather abrupt finish which, after the superb creative and detailed writing that I have become used to in the series so far it felt a little lacking in detail in the finale, the battle scenes came across as a little rushed and the aftermath was all to tidy, even in a happy ending there should be a few casualties of war on both sides instead it was very one-sided.
I actually had to go back and re-read several times those last scenes after I had finished the book, feeling like I had maybe missed something, but realised that for me it was because it was all finished too quickly. I have loved reading this series, and Ms Ringle is among my favourite writers, my niggles with the ending do not in any way diminish this and I will continue to purchase and re read her books, but I must be honest on my blog, as difficult as I found it to write this review I could not review the first two in the series then miss the final book as I didn’t love it quite as much as the first two. That said, please do not let this put you off reading these books, as they are all very much worth reading. It must also be said that this is of course only my opinion, you may view it differently.

Underworlds Daughter…new review, second book in the trilogy! yes that means there will be at least one more review…

Underworlds Daughter

Molly Ringle

ISBN 978-1-77168-016-5

I did find myself pause before opening this book for the first time, wondering if after all the excitement and scene setting of the first book this one could possibly continue the same level of interest for the reader, also I was worried it may disappoint me…it most certainly did not.
Really good introduction, gets right back into the heart of the story without skipping a beat, and I like the continued character development straight off the bat, ongoing with both the main characters and through this second book the development of the Thanatos team, including the explanation of where the group developed.
Again Ms Ringle has delivered a book that is truly gripping and very readable, as well as being full of love, joy, fun, and of course some frights along the way. There is the excitement of the original lovers as they have the realisation that the threads of many of their lives have remained interconnected, these twisting threads of souls over the centuries is particularly well thought out. The slow reveal of the relationship twists and turns is particularly well done, I’m no spoiler but look out for who turns up where and when particularly on the wrong side, at the worst possible time and place!!
I personally like the fact these books are not all happiness and light, bad stuff happens and not just to bad people, while I’m sure there will be a certain degree of happy ending at the end of the series I like the fact we have to work for it as the writer shows us life is not always fair. While there is much happiness and positivity in each book so far, there has also been a fair amount of anxiety ridden page turning with ones heart in ones mouth through the difficult bits.
The end is devastating to the reader yet again! As the writer does love to leave us on a cliffhanger, and this time it could not have been more superbly written. My heart is now in my mouth for the future of all my beloved characters, I cannot wait for the final book in the series, I preordered my copy and I’m anxiously waiting to begin reading it now that I have finished this one!! but at the same time knowing it will be the last book is so sad…I do seriously hope that Ms Ringle has thought of this and is busy working on something else so spellbinding for her readers that will capture me as these two have.

Hi everyone, time for another review. Persephone’s Orchard, hope you enjoy…

Persephone’s Orchard

Molly Ringle

ISBN 978-1-926760-98-8

This is one of the most engaging and beautifully written books I have come across in a long time. It manages to weave its way into your life and I found myself thinking about it all the time, and whilst not being able to stop reading it I also didn’t want the book to finish.
I just loved the writers style and choice of subject, the way the past and present, myth and new story were so well intermingled I was pulled into the book in a way few other writers have achieved, this combination of mythology and up to date fiction becomes a kind of new romantic myth/fantasy that is very different and refreshing, giving a new perspective on an ages old myth.
The writing style was both fast paced and fearless, the content interesting and curious, navigating the lives and interconnectedness of each character, managing to capture both the past and present concisely and with clarity, it only took me two days to read the book and in that time it went everywhere with me, it is now a very battered, dog eared and beloved part of my collection.
Each character was full to bursting with personality and they were brought so effortlessly to life in the pages, so completely, compellingly, captivatingly and unforgettably written that they stay with you long after you have read the last page. Even the smaller parts are well crafted so that even the less than pleasant personas stay sharp in your memory despite a seemingly deliberately subtle description.
There is an enjoyable freedom in the writing as it winds and meanders through the captivating relationship between the two main characters, the writer breathes life into every word, every look and allows the story to blossom happily at its own pace, there is no feeling of the book being rushed, just a feeling that Ms Ringle enjoyed writing it every bit as much as I enjoyed reading it.
Greek mythology is not something I really had any knowledge of or much interest in, however in this vividly reimagined world of God’s and Myth’s Ms Ringle awoke an interest which has led me to read some of the mythical collections and I found I loved these as well. Her fresh perspectives bring to life in a new unusual way the intrigues of these ancient stories, there will be no spoilers here as it is better for you to unfold the intriguing twists and turns of Persephone’s Orchard yourself.
There is not in my estimation any reason to pigeonhole this book in a specific category as it has a wider appeal than any one category can offer, so don’t feel put off if you find it in a category you may not normally read as this book is bigger than that.
What a complete triumph of an ending….how could Ms Ringle do this to her readers?

Review Number One…Welcome to The Restaurant @ the Mill

The Restaurant @ the Mill

Linn B. Halton

ISBN 978-1-938404-14-6

I can honestly say I fell head over heels in love with this book almost from page one, there was so much in there to keep you fully engaged that it was a delight. It is one of the few books I could honestly not put down until I had finished and I found I was still reading in the wee small hours, just me and a box of tissues.
The people have been given real depth of character and you feel could almost step out of the pages fully realised, plus the story is so beautifully crafted you almost feel you are going through their individual issues with them as a confidant. You are left with a heartwarming impression of each and every person she writes about in the Mill. Throughout the book you are taken on a real emotional roller coaster and by turns I found myself sad, desolate, overjoyed, rooting for the underdog, grinning like an idiot, giggling and sobbing into my pillow.
Having purchased and read Ms Halton’s other novels, I find her to be a truly gifted and emotive writer who has become one of my all time favourites. To whom I return time and again, re-reading her books over and over, until at last a new one becomes available for me to devour. I do however think The Restaurant @ the Mill will always be my favourite because it was the first of her books I read and also its ethereal quality, but I do wish she could write as fast as I read.
The locations used are so beautifully chosen and put to paper they are brought to life in the readers mind, descriptive writing at its very best! There has also obviously been a great deal of research into a lot of diverse areas behind the characters hobbies etc but this comes across as effortless, and is beautifully written with a complete understanding of her inspiration.
For me the way the book is split into seasons is nice way to achieve the overall appeal of the book. This in turn was split into nice size chapters, making it easy to pick up where you leave off although that was on the odd occasion I was able to put it down ( the odd tea and cake break is a necessity ). This is a really good size book and is paced perfectly to keep your interest the whole way through, part of the pull is the interconnection of storylines which on the surface seem unrelated and are often not fully resolved leaving the reader to drawer their own conclusions but filling in just enough information to allow you to do so, which is a welcome relief.
Sarah’s final words really pull the silvery threads of each storyline together wonderfully in a beautifully soft paranatural unveiling of her story at the end and essentially you are left bereft when you finish the last page and have to put your friends on the bookshelf, hoping when you look next in the bookshop a new publication by Ms Halton will have magically appeared.

Love

Immortal