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Saturday, January 30, 2016

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

From Goodreads:

The three laws of Robotics:

1) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2) A robot must obey orders givein to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

With these three, simple directives, Isaac Asimov changed our perception of robots forever when he formulated the laws governing their behavior. In I, Robot, Asimov chronicles the development of the robot through a series of interlinked stories: from its primitive origins in the present to its ultimate perfection in the not-so-distant future--a future in which humanity itself may be rendered obsolete.

Here are stories of robots gone mad, of mind-read robots, and robots with a sense of humor. Of robot politicians, and robots who secretly run the world--all told with the dramatic blend of science fact and science fiction that has become Asmiov's trademark.

Finally! I have read I, Robot, as well as it being my first book by Asimov! I had a hard time deciding what image to use above, as the one I listened to from the library was of course the newest cover from the movie starring Will Smith.  Here is another cover that I found on Wikipedia that says it is the first edition from 1950.

The book is very different from the movie, in fact the movie itself comes entirely, and with a lot of artistic license and expansion from only one of the short stories in the collection, Little Lost Robot.

Asimov is a giant in the science fiction genre, and while I've been aware of him most of my reading life, from at least junior high on, I've felt I should read some, but also steered away, fearing it would be too dry and not interesting to me.  I couldn't have been more wrong.  The collection of stories are set up as reminiscences by Dr. Susan Calvin, Chief Robopsychologist, as she is getting ready to retire from U.S. Robotics and Mechanical Men, and are all centered around times that robots have "gone wrong" or not behaved as expected.  Almost every time it comes down to a dilemma over how to interpret the first rule of robotics: 1) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.  Often the robot's interpretation is different from our own, or extends farther than we intended because they are being logical and are not able to make distinctions in levels of harm, considering them all the same, which causes some very difficult situations.

Far from being dry however, there is plenty of humor and emotion in the stories, even the robots seem to exhibit feelings on occasion that we would not normally attribute to them.  There is also the fear that what we have created will take over, and sometimes they did.  A couple of recurring characters, Powell and Donovan, always get into tough spots as field testers.  One of my favorites was the robot that didn't believe they had put him together, and went on to form his own pseudo-religious order at the base, even after they showed him how they had put him together, he came up with explanations for it.  It's not unlike some of our own current dilemmas.

I enjoyed this collection very much, it's insightful and thoughtful, at the same time as being entertaining and I at least really felt for Susan Calvin, as we travel with her through her life and how it has been shaped by the robots, in one instance very painfully, and again because of an unforseen interpretation of the first law.  There is another book, I, Robot: To Protect by

Monday, January 25, 2016

Juding by the Cover #3 - Gene Mollica

I discovered Gene Mollica through a little series call The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne. I love the story and I loved the covers! Gene really brought Atticus to life, so when I saw a drawing that I think Kevin Hearne shared to win some of the cover art, naturally I entered, following the artist, and looking around at some of his other work, which were covers of other things I had seen and was interested in reading, I recognized almost every cover in his website gallery!

I love Gene's people, they are ready to come off the page on the downswing of a sword or the landing of a jump,  and the backgrounds behind them are just full of color and movement.

Gene is very active on his facebook page, sharing works in progress, and his website is also beautifully done, you can view many probably familiar covers in their original form without the title printing over them, and also purchase signed prints. I'm really tempted to get myself an Atticus, the problem would be deciding which one!



Sunday, January 24, 2016

Kindred by Octavia Butler

From Goodreads:

The first science fiction written by a black woman, Kindred has become a cornerstone of black American literature. This combination of slave memoir, fantasy, and historical fiction is a novel of rich literary complexity. Having just celebrated her 26th birthday in 1976 California, Dana, an African-American woman, is suddenly and inexplicably wrenched through time into antebellum Maryland. After saving a drowning white boy there, she finds herself staring into the barrel of a shotgun and is transported back to the present just in time to save her life. During numerous such time-defying episodes with the same young man, she realizes the challenge she’s been given: to protect this young slaveholder until he can father her own great-grandmother.

"I lost an arm on my last trip home. My left arm."

Is that an opening hook or what? Of course you have to keep reading to find out how she lost her arm!  This is not a happy book, but it is an important one.  There is the sci-fi time traveling element,  but more striking to me was Dana's realization of how easy it was to accept the situation when trying to survive.  As she first finds herself thrown back in time, she is acting a part to survive, but then alarmingly begins to feel like the past is more home than her present.  There is the helplessness of slavery on several levels, the overall black slavery of the time period, her inability to control being jerked back into time, and that she has to keep helping this person who is growing to be such a detestable man, so that she can preserve her own timeline.  Such a daunting and terrifying prospect, being thrown back into that nightmarish time when everything that she is, black, independent and educated, is the exact worst combination of things for her to be to get along.

A definite recommend from me, and I will be looking forward to more of Octavia Butler's work.  Sadly we lost her in 2006, but as this was my first read by her, I have many more to catch up on.

This was my first read for the 2016 Reading Assignment Challenge #2016HW

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Undeniable by Bill Nye

"Evolution is one of the most powerful and important ideas ever developed in the history of science. Every question it raises leads to new answers, new discoveries, and new smarter questions. The science of evolution is as expansive as nature itself. It is also the most meaningful creation story that humans have ever found."—Bill Nye

Sparked by a controversial debate in February 2014, Bill Nye has set off on an energetic campaign to spread awareness of evolution and the powerful way it shapes our lives. In Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation, he explains why race does not really exist; evaluates the true promise and peril of genetically modified food; reveals how new species are born, in a dog kennel and in a London subway; takes a stroll through 4.5 billion years of time; and explores the new search for alien life, including aliens right here on Earth.

With infectious enthusiasm, Bill Nye shows that evolution is much more than a rebuttal to creationism; it is an essential way to understand how nature works—and to change the world. It might also help you get a date on a Saturday night.

Evolution is such a controversial subject. It seems to either make perfect sense to a person or the complete opposite. For the record, I'm on the side of evolution, it just makes sense to me, so in this case Bill was preaching to the choir. This was a fun listen for me because I enjoy science talk when the person lecturing is excited about their subject and can make it fun. Bill is well versed in doing exactly that having had his Bill Nye the Science Guy show, aimed at getting kids interested in science. He's conversational and humorous and just super excited about it! He also makes no bones about which side of the fence he's on, and what he thinks of those who are on the other side. I'm not sure how this would go over with someone who is undecided about evolution vs. creationism, but it certainly isn't going to change the mind of someone firmly on the Creationist side. Instead I think it would put them on the defensive and make them even more determined to fight their case. And lets face it, in most subjects where there are such opposing views that are passionately defended, neither side is going to change the mind of the other.

I'm going to say, if you're already on board, and want a fun science lecture packed with interesting information, definitely give it a listen since Bill narrates himself.  If you're undecided, still give it a listen and see what you think, and try to give Bill a pass for being not so diplomatic about the opposing side.  If you're firmly on the side of Creationism... well... I don't know, I'll have to leave that up to you. :)

Read/Listened to for the 2016 I Love Libraries Challenge

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A Winter's Respite Read-a-thon - January 18th - 24th, 2016

Come join us over at Seasons of Reading for the Winter's Respite Read-a-thon! Now that the hustle of the holidays is done, it's time to relax with a book or three and work on those 2016 reading challenges!

The sign up page is HERE.


I'd like to finish these three up this week, and maybe get a start on something new, we'll see.


I did manage to finish all three of these, so I think I'll call it done and a success!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

24 in 48 Read-a-thon - January 16-17, 2016

I'm going to join the 24 in 48 Read-a-thon for the first time, because I just can't resist! I know I will get no where near 24 hours over the weekend, but we'll see how I do anyway.

Beginning at 12:01am on Saturday morning and running through 11:59pm on Sunday night, readers read for 24 hours out of that 48 hour period. You can split that up however you’d like: 20 hours on Saturday, 4 hours on Sunday; 12 hours each day; six 4 hour sessions with 4 hour breaks in between; whatever you’d like. -- from the 24 in 48 website

Currently Reading:


9:00 AM Sat: 7% of Nefertiti's Heart, 36 minutes
10:30 AM Sat: 35 minutes of Undeniable
7:15 PM SAT: 6% of Nefertiti's Heart, 30 minutes  and 45 minutes of Undeniable.
10:20 PM SAT: 8% of Nefertiti's Heart, 40 minutes
11:00 AM SUN: 8% of Nefertiti's Heart, 60 minutes, 11 minutes of Undeniable.

Total Time: 4:28
Total Pages:  83 pages of Nefertiti's Heart, and 51 pages of Undeniable = 134 pages

Finished: Nada!  I finished NOTHING! lol!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

My favorite reads in 2015 - recommendations

And now it's time for the list you didn't know you were waiting for!  I actually meant to post this a week ago, but you know, stuff and things, they happen. ;)

I hope you had a great reading year in 2015, were able to complete your challenges (but don't be hard on yourself if you didn't, they were just for fun after all!), and are looking forward to more fantastic literary adventures in 2016!  

I'm going to recap with my top 10 reads for the year, just in case you're looking for some recommendations, I know I always am, even though my TBR is enough to keep me busy for several lifetimes!

These are in no particular order but made me laugh, cry, renewed my confidence, inspired me, or took me back to fond memories.  Sometimes all within the same book.  They are books that when I closed the cover on the last page, made me just sit for a bit feeling like I had been allowed to share something special.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes

The Princess Bride was a favorite movie for myself and my friends. I was about 14 when it came out. We quickly fell in love with Cary Elwes, and listening to him read his own memoirs of making the movie just made me fall in love with him all over again. Not that I ever stopped! ;)

I wasn't sure if I would like this one at first. I was afraid the science talk would be too dry. I couldn't have been more wrong, I loved it! The science is actually interspersed with enough personality and humor of the main character that it never bogs down. I felt like they did a good job on the movie as well, even adding a little to the end to give me the closure I wanted in the book that wasn't really there.

The Dalai Lama's Cat and the Art of Purring by David Michie

I love these so much, I love stories told from the animals point of view.  HHC is so much fun because she is so very much a cat, but at the same time tries so hard to understand and employ the Buddhist philosophy in her life.  She has many adventures, and is always in the middle of whatever is going on in the village, not to mention having to help try out new staff who just don't seem to understand how important she is! She gets a real surprise about her own past in this one!  I'm really looking forward to the next installment, The Power of Meow.

You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day

 Like many people I discovered Felicia through her web episodes of The Guild, which depict a group of online gamers who decide to meet up in real life. I am an online gamer, though not quite into all the headphones and chat channels, but I have done it, so I can relate.  I loved it, and have seen her a few other places, so when I saw she had written a book, I thought hey, that sounds like fun, and I love the cover!  I love it also when the author is able to read/perform their own work, that makes it so much more special for me (Cary Elwes above, and John Taylor's book from past years being among THE TOP for me).  What I'm struck by is when you start hearing their story, and relating the time during which you became the most aware of them, seems to be the time when they were having the most difficulty in their own lives, and you realize that being a celebrity is not the dream we all think it should be.  I dearly loved listening to Felicia describe her awkward situations and could relate to her in so many ways.  A wonderful read, and I felt like I'd found a kindred spirit by the end.

The Perfect Hope (Inn Boonesboro #3) by Nora Roberts

I really never expected to be a Nora Roberts fan, but she got me with this trilogy.  The characters were wonderful and I feel like I could just get in the car and drive to this town and see it all for real. Actually I believe Nora has created some of this for real, so obviously I wasn't the only one who felt that way! I think it would be fun to visit some day.  I definitely recommend this trilogy if you're needing a feel good happy ending story of some bachelor brothers meeting their matches, and helping a ghost find her way in the process. Check out Inn Boonsboro if you'd like to see the real place.

The Song of the Quarkbeast by Jasper Fforde

I really enjoy Jasper's Thursday Next series and have enjoyed this one as well.  It's more a kids series in comparison, but is still very witty and enjoyable for adults. Poor Jennifer Strange is still having to hold Kazam Mystical Arts Management together in the absence of it's true leader, who is able to appear only rarely for a few moments at a time.  A fun fantasy series!

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

I tried this out when it came up as one of the Big Library Reads where the e-book is available to anyone for several weeks to all read at the same time. I was drawn by the idea of capturing spirits in photography, and actually learned about a time period in history when there was a terrible flu epidemic, and spiritualism was very popular to try and contact or photograph lost loved ones.  It was an intriguing and intense read and I look forward to more from Cat Winters!

Aunt Dimity Digs In (Aunt Dimity #4) by Nancy Atherton

Aunt Dimity has become one of my favorite mystery series of all time. I love Aunt Dimity herself, Reginald and his cousins, the way Nancy Atherton can weave a mystery without a murder (not saying there are not deaths, but not centered around a current murder), and just the whole town in general.  This episode had a Roman Archeological theme, and the antics of the townspeople were hilarious! I can't recommend these cozies enough!

Children of the Storm (Amelia Peabody #15) by Elizabeth Peters

As much as I love Aunt Dimity, Amelia Peabody IS my favorite mystery series of all time. Amelia and her family are a riot, and Barbara Rosenblat performs the audiobooks to perfection, reading Amelia and her husband Emerson exactly how I pictured them in my head.  If you love all things Egyptian and a lot of mischief, then make sure to take your parasol, and an extra shirt, and hop on the dahabeeyah for a fun ride!

His Majesty's Dragon (Temeraire #1) by Naomi Novik

I love Temeraire, he's equal parts innocence, intelligence, mischievous,  sensitive and adventurous and I picture him as being like a cross of  movie version Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon and Tom Hiddleston, because he's also so nice and polite and really doesn't want to bother anyone, though he does have his own ideas and really isn't sure about this duty thing he keeps hearing of.  This is a fun alternate historical fantasy and I'm definitely looking forward to the rest of the series!

Monday, January 04, 2016

2016 Reading Assignment Challenge


Yay! Another reading challenge I shouldn't join, but I'm gonna, cause I wanna!

There are rules and things here -----> 2016 Reading Assignment Challenge Sign Up

I'm declaring Reading Level 1 which is 12 books for the year, 1 per month.

Book List:

1. The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness
2. Black and White - Jackie Kessler and Caitlin Kittredge
3. Tiger's Curse - Colleen Houck
4. Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern
5. The Discovery of Witches - Deborah Harkness
6. Kindred - Octavia Butler
7. Firelight - Sophie Jordan
8. Infinite Days - Rebecca Maziel
9. The King's Mistress - Emma Campion
10. Rivals for the Crown - Kathleen Givens
11. Queen of Kings -

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Bout of Books 15 - January 4th - 10th, 2016

Bout of Books

It's Bout of Books time again! Just in case you don't know what that means:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 4th and runs through Sunday, January 10th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 15 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.

                                                                 - From the Bout of Books team

Currently Reading: 

All done!


1/04/16: 33% of Claus, 59:33 of Riddle
1/05/16: 70% of Claus, 1:51:51 of Riddle
1/06/16: 100% of Claus, 2:29:29 of Riddle, started Magician
1/07/16: 3:12:45 of Riddle, 31% of Magician
1/08/16: 7:12 of Riddle, 58% of Magician
1/09/16: 78% of Magician
1/10/16:  100% of Magician


That's a wrap for this Bout of Books, I'm very pleased with my result! Thanks again to our hostesses for another great Bout of Books, and I'll see you for the next one in May!

Saturday, January 02, 2016

My To Be Read List - January 2016 - Classic Sci-Fi

And the Winner is.....

 I'll be honest, I wanted this one to win, though I am still interested in the others.  I have seen the movie, which I realize is probably a lot different than the book.  I was able to check out the audio from our library, which will help a lot because once again I've overestimated how fast I can read! lol!


Welcome to my January 2016 edition of My To Be Read List, hosted by Michelle @ Because Reading. This is a monthly meme where we offer up 3 choices from our TBR pile for our readers to pick from to help us make the super hard decision of "what do I read next?" a little easier and to whittle away at the ever growing TBR Mountain! 

Theme: Classic Sci-Fi - My husband and I are both voracious readers, but sometimes have very different tastes.  I asked him to pick 3 books he'd like me to read.  Feel free to leave me a comment and tell me what you chose and why.

The poll will stay open through Friday 1/8 , and I'll update this post with the winning book on Saturday 1/9, then post a review on the last Saturday of the month, 1/30.

If you think this sounds fun and would like to join (the more the merrier, because we love voting!) please head on over to Because Reading where Michelle lays out the rules for us!

And the choices are...

From Goodreads:

NAME: Valentine Michael Smith

Valentine Michael Smith is a human being raised on Mars, newly returned to Earth. Among his people for the first time, he struggles to understand the social mores and prejudices of human nature that are so alien to him, while teaching them his own fundamental beliefs in grokking, watersharing, and love.

From Goodreads:

The three laws of Robotics:
1) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2) A robot must obey orders givein to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

With these three, simple directives, Isaac Asimov changed our perception of robots forever when he formulated the laws governing their behavior. In I, Robot, Asimov chronicles the development of the robot through a series of interlinked stories: from its primitive origins in the present to its ultimate perfection in the not-so-distant future--a future in which humanity itself may be rendered obsolete.

Here are stories of robots gone mad, of mind-read robots, and robots with a sense of humor. Of robot politicians, and robots who secretly run the world--all told with the dramatic blend of science fact and science fiction that has become Asmiov's trademark.
From Goodreads:

Simak's "City" is a series of connected stories, a series of legends, myths, and campfire stories told by Dogs about the end of human civilization, centering on the Webster family, who, among their other accomplishments, designed the ships that took Men to the stars and gave Dogs the gift of speech and robots to be their hands.

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