I'm torn between 3 and 4 stars on this one. I loved the descriptions of the Louisiana swamp and its inhabitants, and the story was fast-paced and exciI'm torn between 3 and 4 stars on this one. I loved the descriptions of the Louisiana swamp and its inhabitants, and the story was fast-paced and exciting, but on the other hand I found the accent of the people forced and it served to distract me from the story. I know the way people from Louisiana sound and reading the author's interpretation of the local dialect was disappointing. Maybe it's just me, but I was so busy reading the words exactly as Feehan had written them (all of the "don'" do thats and "goin'" to do thats,) that I felt like I missed some of the magic in the story - seriously, the word "don'" had to be used at least a hundred and fifty times!
As with all her series', Christine Feehan is a master at weaving her stories together and introducing new characters that I am certain to pine for in the coming year. Anxiously awaiting the newest installment in any of her series' is something that I find delicious. I hope however that her next book will focus more on the story instead of the way her characters sound....more
I found Alice Borchardt's The Silver Wolf during a library search on NoveList - it was recommended to me based on other books I have read and enjoyed.I found Alice Borchardt's The Silver Wolf during a library search on NoveList - it was recommended to me based on other books I have read and enjoyed. I was expecting a light, paranormal romance type novel, easily read and enjoyed, and just as easily forgotten. What I got from reading The Silver Wolf however, was so much more...
Hidden within the pages of The Silver Wolf is an expertly crafted work of historical fiction. Borchardt has created a world of political intrigue and deadly suspense with a splash of the paranormal thrown in for color. The "woman-used-as-a-tool-to-make-men-more-powerful" motif, which is ever present in works of historical fiction, becomes painstakingly real for the reader as she makes her way through the novel. I had to catch my breath more than once as Regeane was moved around on the proverbial chess board of life, without free-will and choice.
The Silver Wolf is a beautifully descriptive piece of fiction with a fascinating story and captivating heroine at its heart. I had no idea when I picked it up that it would end up being one of the best books I've read this year. I read it almost straight through in two days time, and now I wish I has slowed myself down a bit. I will definitely be picking up other Alice Brochardt novels in the future. She certainly was as gifted a writer as her sister, Anne Rice. ...more
Words like beautiful, graceful, and enchanting seem so contrived when reviewing Pamela Uschuk's delightful collection of poetry, Crazy Love. Full of iWords like beautiful, graceful, and enchanting seem so contrived when reviewing Pamela Uschuk's delightful collection of poetry, Crazy Love. Full of intoxicating imagery and dense with metaphor, this slim volume of poetry is a deceptively heavy read. Pamela Uschuk has incredible creativity with words, painting some of the most vivid pictures I've ever "seen" in poetry. I absolutely loved reading Crazy Love, and will definitely be spotlighting Uschuk next year in the poetry feature on my blog. ...more
I must say, Louise Erdrich is a gifted storyteller - a true master of the written word! Her descriptions allow the reader to fall into the pages of thI must say, Louise Erdrich is a gifted storyteller - a true master of the written word! Her descriptions allow the reader to fall into the pages of the story and become engrossed in the lives of the characters. The Painted Drum gives the reader a lot to think about - mysticism and tribal lore, spirituality and the natural world, life and the eventuality of death - you will be haunted by this novel long after you have put it down.
With exquisite descriptions and poetry, Louise Erdrich has captured my imagination again. I will be on the look out for her other novels at the library and bookstore. The Painted Drum is truly inspired and beautiful. ...more
Bird is a bewitching little story - as slight as Miranda herself, and as full of enchantment and wonder. Well-written and full of mystery, the plot isBird is a bewitching little story - as slight as Miranda herself, and as full of enchantment and wonder. Well-written and full of mystery, the plot is intriguing and interesting. What exactly is Miranda? And is Wysteria really the villain of the piece or is it the house itself? These questions and Rita Murphy's vivid descriptions of the coast kept me turning pages until the end. The only thing that I could have wished for would be more pages to help develop the story of Bourne Manor. I would have loved more on the history of the place and it's former inhabitants.
It was a short journey but one well worth my time, and I thoroughly enjoyed being lost within the pages. Bird is a delightful and whimsical mystery....more
In Nevada Barr's A Superior Death, National Park Ranger Anna Pidgeon has moved from the punishing heat of West Texas (Track of the Cat,) to the pristiIn Nevada Barr's A Superior Death, National Park Ranger Anna Pidgeon has moved from the punishing heat of West Texas (Track of the Cat,) to the pristine and icy wilderness of Michigan's Isle Royale National Park - ISRO to those in the know. When two scuba-diving tourists discover the body of local diver Denny Castle submerged in the wreck of the Kamloops 195 feet below the surface Lake Superior, Anna must riddle out the mystery of his death - a tragic accident, or vicious murder?
After reading A Superior Death, I must declare that I am indeed "hooked" on the world according to Anna Pidgeon! Her character holds all of the strengths, weaknesses, vulnerabilities and awkwardness of a real person, and is incredibly easy to relate to. The other characters in the book are, well.. wacky - most of them have no moral center, but are compelling and interesting nonetheless. I was very happy to see Christina and Allison from the first book in the series. Chris and Ally provide a sense of "home" for Anna that she desperately needs in her life.
Aside from it's strong and quirky characters, A Superior Death is also a very easy and quick read with a wonderful plot. The murder/mystery was puzzling right up to the end, making it impossible to put down. The details Nevada Barr provides about the Park and it's wildlife, give the reader true insight into what it means to work for the Park Service. The author's sense of place is astonishingly realistic, putting the reader into the freezing water with Anna. As a bonafide "land-lubber" myself, it was a bit creepy feeling the dark, frigid water crushing down on Anna as she had to dive the Kamloops to help recover Denny's body.
I enjoyed A Superior Death more than the first book in the series (Track of the Cat.) As always, I enjoyed Nevada Barr's vivid description of the Park and was entertained by her off-the-wall characters. I can't wait to get the next couple of books from the library (or from my Mom,) so that I can see what Anna gets into next!...more
A beautifully illustrated guide to the worlds 270 or so species of living primates, The Primate Family Tree is wonderfully organized and easy to read.A beautifully illustrated guide to the worlds 270 or so species of living primates, The Primate Family Tree is wonderfully organized and easy to read. Contained within this slim volume is an introduction to primates - explaining what makes a primate a primate, and information on the geographical distribution, social structure, diet and communication, and of course, conservation strategies.
The Primate Family Tree would be a useful introduction to anyone interested in primates. However, the information may be a little superficial for someone already acquainted with the primate family....more
Animal Speak by Ted Andrews is a guide to the wisdom that can be attained by taking a closer look at the animal kingdom. In it, Andrews provides technAnimal Speak by Ted Andrews is a guide to the wisdom that can be attained by taking a closer look at the animal kingdom. In it, Andrews provides techniques for recognizing and interpreting the signs and omens of the natural world. With insights into the myths/lore and history surrounding animals, Animal Speak helps you to discover the power and spiritual significance of more than 100 different mammals, birds, insects, and reptiles.
For anyone interested in Native American culture, shamanism, connecting with and understanding the creatures that share the Earth with us, Animal Speak is a must read book. Throughout history, animals have appeared in the art, stories, fairy tales/fables, and songs or every culture. Animal archetypes are so enduring within the human subconscious, that many people are fascinated by the habits of a particular animal or group of animals. Andrews explores the meaning of the animals we choose to share our lives with, the animals that appear to us in dreams, the animals we have always been interested in studying, and even the animals that frighten us.
Animal Speak examines more than 100 creatures and their habitats. Andrews discusses the intricacies of the relationship between predator and prey, reading signs and omens in nature, the special significance of colors, patterns, and numbers in the natural world, and the meaning of landscapes.
In the second half of the book, Andrews provides a large dictionary of animal totems, including birds, mammals, insects and reptiles. For each animal, the author imparts valuable information on animal behavior and physical characteristics, as well as a detailed mythological history. Even readers who don't subscribe to Shamanism will find the information Andrews provides on the mating, feeding and other behaviors invaluable in understanding the creatures we share the earth with.
Animal Speak teaches the reader to pay more attention to, listen and learn from the animals around us. By translating the language of animals for the reader, Andrews gives insights into what the natural world has to teach us. It's a wonderful reference that I can see myself referring to again and again. ...more
I just finished reading Stalking the Plumed Serpent and Other Adventures in Herpetology, and it was fan-freakin'-tastic! Based on more than 40 years oI just finished reading Stalking the Plumed Serpent and Other Adventures in Herpetology, and it was fan-freakin'-tastic! Based on more than 40 years of field research, it seems like Dr. D. Bruce Means has seen it all. He dedicates his book "to the unbroken chain of reproduction that led from the beginning of life to [him:]... not to the individual organisms that never missed a mating, but to the proliferating deoxyribonucleaic acid (DNA) that began as pond scum or sea soup and eventually created [him:], and everything else alive today."
Included in this volume are 22 stories of his travels throughout the world, to study all things creepy and crawly. Some of the highlights include being "chased" by a cottonmouth, wrestling with an 85-pound alligator snapping turtle 20 feet deep in the Apalachicola river, and driving down a remote Australian road with a 6-foot coastal taipan wrapped around his left arm. Means also writes of "stalking the plumed serpent" in the Yucatán Peninsula - trying to discover the roots of Kukulcan or Quetzalcoatl in Mayan legends, and searching for the origin of the rainbow serpent legends of Australia.
It's not all about the herps though - Bruce Means writes about the biodiversity all around him wherever he is. There is information on the cotton rat - "the base of the food web" - living in blackberry patches; in Madagascar, Means writes of lemurs and aye-ayes among chameleons, tomato frogs and baobab trees; and there is even a story of of standing on the slopes of an erupting volcano, when searching for the bushmaster in South America.
The best thing about the book is Means' voice. With every word, in every chapter, the reader truly understands the overall ecological message in the book:
"All life is equal in terms of its long evolutionary path to the present. All living things got here the same way that we did. All living things, therefore, have as much right to live on the planet as we do."
The future of the biodiversity of the planet is in our hands, and if we don't do what we can to save the creatures we share the earth with, we will doom ourselves to their fate.
Dr. Bruce Means is President and Executive Director of the Coastal Plains Institute and Land Conservancy, a nonprofit organization he and others founded in 1984 that is dedicated to conserving the rich biodiversity - and elevating public awareness and appreciation - of the vast Coastal Plain of the southeastern United States. He is an Adjunct Professor of Biological Science at Florida State University where he has taught courses the ecology of upland, wetland, and coastal environments of the southeastern U. S. and courses on vertebrate biology, ichthyology, mammalogy, herpetology, general biology, tropical ecology, and conservation biology.
His research includes a wide variety of topics ranging from ecosystems of the southeastern U. S. to fire ecology, the natural history of South American tepuis, biogeography, conservation, endangered species, and the evolution and natural history of amphibians and reptiles. He has published more than 235 scientific articles, technical reports, and popular articles on his research in National Wildlife, International Wildlife, Natural History, BBC Wildlife, National Geographic, Fauna, South American Explorer, and other magazines. His books include two on the ecology of Florida and Herpetophilia, Love of Creeping, Crawling Things and of course Stalking the Plumed Serpent and Other Adventures in Herpetology.
From 1998 to the present, he and his research have been featured in documentary films for National Geographic Television (King Rattler; Quest for the Rainbow Serpent; Into the Lost World; Saving the King of Snakes; Diamondback Survivors, etc.), BBC Television, and PBS. Bruce Means lives in Tallahassee and relishes his time in the woodlands, swamps, and bogs of the Florida Panhandle—and making expeditions into the vast wilderness of northeastern South America ...more
Pierre Boulle's Planet of the Apes is a fine piece of satirical science fiction. Originally published in French, it seems to be lacking nothing in traPierre Boulle's Planet of the Apes is a fine piece of satirical science fiction. Originally published in French, it seems to be lacking nothing in translation and is easily one of the most shocking novels that I have had the pleasure of reading this year. I've loved the original movie from 1968 for many years, and am pleased to report that the spirit of the novel was kept largely intact. However, I will say that as is the case in most novel to big screen adaptations, read the book - the book is better than any of the movies.
Planet of the Apes is one of those novels that makes me wish I hadn't seen the movie first - I can't even imagine how I would feel about the story had I not had prior knowledge of the wheres and whyfors. Pierre Boulle's writing is brilliant and mercilessly cunning in its transparent attempt to expose the reader to an inventive morality play. Told in a succinct and piquant voice, Pierre Boulle's Planet of the Apes is a novel not to be missed. ...more
"I had never planned to become a savanna baboon when I grew up; instead, I had always assumed I would become a mountain gorilla."
- from A Primate's"I had never planned to become a savanna baboon when I grew up; instead, I had always assumed I would become a mountain gorilla."
- from A Primate's Memoir by Robert M. Sapolsky
A Primate's Memoir: A Neuroscientist's Unconventional Life Among the Baboons, is the story of Robert M. Sapolsky's fieldwork as a young graduate student in Kenya. The goal of Sapolsky's graduate work was to determine the relationship of baboon stress levels to their overall health over a period of years. Sapolsky recounts his time spent anesthetizing the baboons in his troop and documenting the results of their "check-ups", watching the troop in the stifling heat and recording behavior, and enduring the many difficulties that come with life in the bush.
The memoir is not only about the baboons however. During his down time, Sapolsky leaves the relative safety of the game reserves and hitchhikes into dangerous territories for sight-seeing experiences. He manages to describe his travels as "vacations-from-hell," with enthusiasm, impeccable timing, incredible humor, subtly drawing similarities between the baboons and humans for his readers.
Sapolsky certainly is an entertaining storyteller, and much of his memoir is laugh-out-loud funny!. My favorite among his many adventures, was the story of the giant cockroaches and army ants invading his tent. Can you say, "BLECH!!!"?
Although there was nothing there that I really didn't know before picking the book up, it is definitely full of good information on primates and primatology. It's obvious from this well-written book that Robert M. Sapolsky loves him some baboons! The baboons in "his" troop all become quite like his family by the end of the study.
The combination of the story of the baboons - each with it's own very distinct personality - and Sapolsky's own story, is a worthwhile and entertaining read. A Primate's Memoir is amusing and full of gritty adventure, while also being a serious scientific study of the savanna baboons of Kenya. The story is captivating and a pure joy to read....more