Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A Passing Curse by C. R. Trolson

A Passing CurseA Passing Curse by C.R. Trolson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Passing Curse by C. R. Trolson is another fine example of astute writing by this author. An interesting mix of vampire, thriller and mystery, Trolson does a fine job of masterfully guiding the reader on a journey that involves a serial killer, archeology, and maybe even vampires. This story takes place in several locales as we follow detective Reese in his quest to solve the serial killer mystery, and the Transylvania area, where Rusty the archeologist is looking into finding Vlad Tepes (aka Dracula) for her latest employer. There are plenty of over the top graphic scenes whereby the victims' injuries are horrifyingly described, along with some violent fight scenes and some sexual undertones. These things don't detract from the story, but rather add to the sense of tension and peril. Trolson writes well, finely tuning his characters so you get to know them through their actions, and creates scenes that are memorable while meshing together disparate genres. This story is a different take on the vampire angle, and is highly enjoyable.

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Make Your Own Neural Network: by Michael Taylor

Make Your Own Neural Network: An In-depth Visual Introduction For BeginnersMake Your Own Neural Network: An In-depth Visual Introduction For Beginners by Michael Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you were ever wondering how you were going to build your own neural network, well look now further. This book, Make Your Own Neural Network: An In-Depth Visual Introduction for Beginners by Michael Taylor has all the information you need to tackle this project. While it is probably helpful to know some higher level math to undertake this process, such as calculus, the visual presentation in this book makes the process seemingly easier to understand and very approachable. Virtually every page has an illustration of some kind, which is very helpful. A book that is helpful for beginners just starting out as well as programmers who are looking to refresh their knowledge, this guide covers all the bases. From the beginning stages to Python libraries and everything in between, this guide is super helpful and will guide you on your way. Highly recommend.

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Elmo Ritz by Frank X. Cronan

Elmo RitzElmo Ritz by Frank X Cronan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Elmo Ritz by Frank X. Cronan is a fast paced and quick witted book about an interesting character, Dan Hanlon, a bit of a tabloid writer of sorts, whose wife bites the bullet. The problem is the bullet was meant for Dan. Dan is now on a mission to exact revenge on those who killed his ex, and along the way, he reunites with and befriends Elmo Ritz, who Cronan refers to as an "herbal domestic hustler". This bizarre combination of friendship and fortitude work wonders with a plot that is both fast paced and a little crazy. These are not ordinary people, and the story itself is highly creative, while embracing great characters and a wealth of odd situations. With a lot of unresolved questions along the way, this book will hold your attention until the very end, when finally there is a satisfying conclusion and solution. Strong recommendation.

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The Summer I Met Alice by N.C. Cummings

The Summer I Met AliceThe Summer I Met Alice by N.C. Cummings
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Summer I Met Alice by N.C. Cummings is a short little mystery novel about a mysterious little girl named Alice. Becka, a paranormal writer meets Alice one day in her front yard, Alice wearing a strange combination of clothing considering the weather. Becka immediately questions the young girl, and knows something is wrong. The strange story begins to come out after Becka speaks with the police that Alice in fact has been dead for 20 years. This is a tightly woven and succinctly written fast paced story, that brings to light human emotion and suppositions that are often made about those among us who are slightly different. A little girl, and a paranormal writer Becka, are the main and intriguing characters in this short story. Quite good for such a short book, this is highly recommended for a quick and satisfying reading diversion.

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Neostoicism 2.0 by Robert Woolston

Neostoicism 2.0: Stoicism, Christianity & Personal Empowerment for the 21st CenturyNeostoicism 2.0: Stoicism, Christianity & Personal Empowerment for the 21st Century by Robert Woolston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Neostoicism 2.0: Stoicism, Christianity & Personal Empowerment for the 21st Century by Robert Woolston is a bit of a challenge to read, but is a rewarding read nonetheless. In the preface, the author breaks out how the book is written into sections as follows: Ancient Greek Stoicism, Christianity, Neostoicism 1.0, Neostoicism 2.0. The author recommends reading each section in sequence to fully understand his methodology. He details examples of neostoicism at work, with it's seeming inception during an exchange between Alexander the Great and Diogenes. This moment becomes an example of transcendence and equality in the philosophical world, and sets the stage for this new philosophy. Contained herein are great history lessons, alluding to how powerful the ancient Greeks were, in particular the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius as possibly the most famous of all stoics. From there the author moves on to Christian theology, and ultimately to Flemish humanist Justus Lipsius, who may be considered the father of Stoicism. As a way of life, neostoicism is presented as a moral alternative, and while humans enjoy free will, ultimately, man must submit to God so as not to be overcome by passions or instincts. An intellectually stimulating book that will certainly expand your knowledge of neostoicism.

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Friday, August 25, 2017

Jobs for Robots: Between Robocalypse and Robotopia by Jason Schenker

Jobs for Robots: Between Robocalypse and RobotopiaJobs for Robots: Between Robocalypse and Robotopia by Jason Schenker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Jobs for Robots: Between Robocalypse and Robotopia by Jason Schenker is a fascinating look at the implications that may arise with advances in technology. As the author of several best selling books, and a self-described futurist, Schenker is well qualified to write on this subject. Somewhere between a doomsday scenario where robots perform all the functions of labor, to a more pragmatic version where robots actually aid and assist, Schenker finds a happy medium. There is much to absorb in this book from highly interesting data showing the decline of certain industries, and the jobs within those industries, to learning about the background of common names like Smith, Miller, and Weaver, the author makes history and learning about the advances of the industrial revolution accessible and even entertaining. This is a must read for anyone interested in economies, technology, the workforce and labor, and econometrics. Lucid and clearly written, this book is strongly recommended.

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Monday, August 21, 2017

Interviews with the Rauschmonstrum by Nick Latorre

Interviews with the RauschmonstrumInterviews with the Rauschmonstrum by Nick LaTorre
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Interviews With the Rauschmonstrum by Nick LaTorre is a tour de force about a shapeshifter who predicts human history, including elections. He is depicted on the cover of the book with someone who appears to be Dick Cavett, during an interview by the same. Told in a unique format, with a series of interviews, the first with Mike Wallace, this is an ingenious approach to political satire and observation. None of this is meant to be taken seriously, but just to ponder the supernatural essence of the Rauschmonstrum. All of the best television interviewers are included in this book from William F. Buckley to Jimmy Fallon. LaTorre delivers a fine performance with this satiric style of writing, and with nothing else to go on with any biographical data, the reader is left to wonder who this fascinating writer is and what he will come up with next.

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