I've been a fan of Robert J. Sawyer for years but haven't really delved deeply into his recent books. Am I ever glad I read this one! I actually listeI've been a fan of Robert J. Sawyer for years but haven't really delved deeply into his recent books. Am I ever glad I read this one! I actually listened to the audiobook version (so shoot me if you think that's not reading) and it was one of the best audio fiction experiences I've ever had. Usually, I don't like multiple narrators, especially if different people are reading for the same character but in this book, the multiple narrators didn't take away from the experience.
There is a scene where the book's main character, 15-year-old Caitlin, is told about and sees the first view of earth by man from space and there are actual recordings of the original astronauts at that exact time interspersed with Sawyer's narrative. That portion of the novel kept me riveted and I thoroughly enjoyed the story as well as the audio experience.
As for the plot and writing, I really liked both. I think Sawyer has always written characters very well, and I especially liked how he depicted and voiced Caitlin, the artificial intelligence who gains "consciousness" throughout this novel, and the Japanese researcher who created the tech that enabled Caitlin to acquire vision. I also enjoyed the handling of Caitlin's transition from a dark, sightless existence to one of vision. Her wonder and discovery of the world actually had me looking up at the autumn leaves on my walk home from work today. The other thing I think the author did very well is explain the uses of web tools and technology in a way that wasn't boring, technical and dry, at least not from my perspective.
There are storylines left unresolved, and I guess they are the hooks to keep me reading the next books in this series.
Okay, is anyone else out there dying to know if Jabriol ever finds out what really happened to his parents and siblings, inst**spoiler alert** SPOILER
Okay, is anyone else out there dying to know if Jabriol ever finds out what really happened to his parents and siblings, instead of suffering silent, tormented loss and memories?
I like the entire Skolian Empire series, but especially the books focused on Soz and Jabriol (the dad) and on this Jabriol. The Kyle web/mesh stuff wasn't as detailed and difficult to follow as it was in some of Asaro's earlier books and I like the way she fleshed out the "humanity" of some of the Aristo characters.
The threads from her earlier novels are pretty well maintained, some storylines picked up (Kelric's, for example) and developed even further.
I don't know if the author will write more about this character, but he has become a favorite of mine in the Skolian family. I look forward to reading more - it's one of a very few series that has me on tenterhooks, waiting for the next book.
I've read only 3 "Dummies" books before, none of them on the subject of computer/tech, and they were good primers for the reader who wants an introducI've read only 3 "Dummies" books before, none of them on the subject of computer/tech, and they were good primers for the reader who wants an introduction to a subject. I should have remembered that frame of reference when I borrowed this from the library.
I'm pretty comfortable with Work and Excel, having used them since 1995, and am a more recent user of Access. We upgraded to Office 2010 about 2 weeks ago through a student promotion so I was looking for a book that addressed some of the newer features of Office. The book covered all the very basic things: creating a document, naming a file, all the very basic functions that a new user would need to know. Thus, it wasn't for me.
While the information was solid, I think the presentation was not as ideal for the novice user of Office, for whom the book was written. It's not necessarily the author, I think it's the Dummies series parameters: the italized font and b&w photos make are not as reader-friendly as some other series for computers that I've seen.
To sum up: if there were no other choices of manuals for Office out there, this would be ok for the beginner user. ...more
I thought this series rocked the first time I read it years ago and upon second reading, I still think so.
Didius Falco is one of the most interestingI thought this series rocked the first time I read it years ago and upon second reading, I still think so.
Didius Falco is one of the most interesting and likable lead characters in any mystery series, and his dry, self-deprecating voice makes him one of my favorite characters of all time. Davis' depiction of the Roman Empire circa 74 AD is meticulously researched and the plot of this story, involving a murder, corruption in the silver mining industry of the Roman Empire and the rise to power of a new imperial family, keeps the reader engaged until the end.
Davis also makes interesting observations on the class system in which Falco works and lives and which complicates his own life in many ways.
I look forward to reading more about Falco and peers....more
I liked this better than the previous book in the "series" if that's what this can be called. Sleeping Dogs takes place 10 years after The Butcher's BI liked this better than the previous book in the "series" if that's what this can be called. Sleeping Dogs takes place 10 years after The Butcher's Boy, but the stories are closely linked through the main characters' flashbacks, anecdotal remembrances of their colleagues and enemies from the earlier book, and a believable "fill in the time" lives they've led until this novel's story takes place.
I think what I like so much about this book is the thinking process of the main character (I keep calling him that because he changes identities a few times in this book) who is an assassin, with a killer's instincts and skills, but who is also very human and slightly vulnerable, in a Dexter-ish sort of way.
Clever clever clever is what comes to mind whenever I read Thomas Perry. He is a smart writer and can create both sense of place and character so skilClever clever clever is what comes to mind whenever I read Thomas Perry. He is a smart writer and can create both sense of place and character so skillfully. I read this book years ago but forgot how interesting his characters, especially the main characters: the butcher's boy, killer-for-hire who is rounded out like no other assassin main character I've read about in a while and Elizabeth Waring, the mathematical analyst who is thrown into a mafia-related investigation as her first foray as a field agent. The butcher's boy takes his name from the fact that his mentor/father figure was actually a butcher at a meat shop in his day job. The contract killer actually feels fear, he gets nervous, he feels pain, and is a consummate professional in his work. Elizabeth really questions her job, her abilities, her boss while she still attempts to gather the threads of a bunch of seemingly unrelated murders. There are numerous US cities featured in this novel, but it is primarily set in Las Vegas, which Perry vividly captures in his spare, gorgeous sentences. Definitely look forward to re-reading the follow-up book to this one, Sleeping Dogs, which takes place 10 years after this one ends.
As with most Jeffrey Deaver books that educate readers about a certain topic (i.e. how electricity works, what dirt is composed of), Roadside CrossesAs with most Jeffrey Deaver books that educate readers about a certain topic (i.e. how electricity works, what dirt is composed of), Roadside Crosses also attempts to teach, in this case, a myriad of topics about the computer and the internet. Deaver covers blogging, virtual reality gaming, erasing and restoring hard drives, tracking IP addresses and a whole lot of other computer-based subjects, some much better than others. However, where this book FAILED for me was that Katherine Dance, whom I actually like as the main investigator and series central character, did some really stupid things in the book. I find it really really hard to believe that an intelligent, educated female investigator would go off into dark, shady woods at night to investigate something phoned in by an anonymous caller, refusing back-up assistance when it's offered. That whole scene really bothered me as a clear plot .....what?.... distraction and it's the first time I've read a Deaver book and thought, "Hmmm, that was totally unnecessary." And this ongoing implied mad attraction between Dance and her partner, O'Neil, with whom she is contemplating a vroom-vroom, despite the fact that he is married, could be based on something that really does happen in life, but is it something that the series is building up towards? Otherwise why is that necessary to the story? to the character development? The actual mystery, the whodunnit plot, was alright, but it was obvious, way more obvious than in some of Deaver's books, that so-and-so was not really so-and-so as presented. Anyway, I still intend to read book 4 in the Katherine Dances' series, but I hope it's a better novel than this one....more
I totally forgot how much this book delves into some New York history. This second time around reading it, I learned a lot about the composition and vI totally forgot how much this book delves into some New York history. This second time around reading it, I learned a lot about the composition and variations of dirt and about certain nieghborhoods of NYC, and a little more about Lincoln Rhyme. I didn't think he was as fleshed out as I remembered, but then I have the hindsight of learning more about his character through out all the other volumes about him. I had forgotten that Dellray started out as a sort-of unlikeable FBI agent who becomes a more developed character throughout the series. Overall it's a solid storyline with lots of interesting tidbits about forensic investigation, and I am just about to dive into my next Deaver re-read. ...more
It's been a while since I've really enjoyed the Lincoln Rhyme series. With the last 3, I seriously saw the plot twists coming way ahead and that hadn'It's been a while since I've really enjoyed the Lincoln Rhyme series. With the last 3, I seriously saw the plot twists coming way ahead and that hadn't usually been the case with Jeffrey Deaver.
The latest Rhyme/Sachs novel really captured my interest and attention, with the sick serial murderer using electricity and the electrical grid serving New York City as his weapon of choice. As with all the Rhyme series, there was much that was educational about The Burning Wire: I learned tons about electricity and wires and some about how NYC gets the electricity all its folks and services need.
It was good, again, to see all the characters from previous books, and with each book, they grow on the reader as we get to know them better.
Reading this book made me want to meet Lincoln Rhyme again for the first time. I am reading The Bone Collector again. ...more
I "read" the audiobook version of this latest from Thomas Perry. I found it interesting that like Perry's earlier Metzger's Dog, the "villain" of thisI "read" the audiobook version of this latest from Thomas Perry. I found it interesting that like Perry's earlier Metzger's Dog, the "villain" of this book turns out to be surprisingly full of traits that made him likeable as the story progressed. Another interesting quirk of this novel was that the person who started out the whole story as the seeming protagonist, Joe Carver, didn't actually end up as the main character. In fact, the novel felt a bit fragmented in that there were a number of characters whose stories all seemed to take centrality in one chapter or another, but not one who really was THE protagonist. Perry continues to write wonderfully fleshed out sense of place (in this case, Los Angeles) and of characters, including a few "thugs", one main semi-connected crook, an interesting "driver" with a shady past, a bigamist cop, and a manic young woman just itching to let her psychotic self bust loose, but the style of this novel was just that: a few different strands of the story featuring a multitude of characters, intertwined but parallel, not as polarized between hero and villain. It was different from most of his recent works, not necessarily bad or boring, but I prefer his other styles and his earlier books. ...more
Ever since someone introduced me to the website, I've been a fan of the tips, photos, personal stories and solutions featured on the site. The first bEver since someone introduced me to the website, I've been a fan of the tips, photos, personal stories and solutions featured on the site. The first book, Apartment Therapy, was a neat compilation of selected apartments highlighting individual features in each residence . This book takes that format but has additional tips for decor and organization for small, some tiny, spaces. Even though some of the furniture/fixtures cannot be easily purchased (i.e. where I live in central BC), many of the apartment owners/renters found their goods uses at markets, Craigslist, recycling stores. This book has lots of ideas, lots of photos, and a room-by-room organization that makes sense. A plus is the compact size for a hardcover design book. I am a fan and believer of the lifestyle "therapy" that Gillingham-Ryan preaches and am working on de-cluttering and streamlining our small place likewise. ...more
This is one book that will be so much richer to the reader if the first 2 are read first. Since I was firmly entrenched in Lisbet's camp by the end ofThis is one book that will be so much richer to the reader if the first 2 are read first. Since I was firmly entrenched in Lisbet's camp by the end of book 2, I was very pleased to see justice served by the end of the novel. A really really satisfying ending to Lisbet Salander's story, at least thus far. I look forward to finding out if Larsson's estate settles the issues around book 4 and if it will ever get published, and if it is a good fit with the existing trilogy....more