City of Miracles

City of Miracles is a bizarre, fantastic end to a bizarre, fantastic series. Once again with another point of view, this time we follow Sigrud, with Shara and Mulaghesh both taking minor background roles, what with Shara dying in the first few pages… Hey. It’s not a spoiler, if it happens that early in the book… Plus, you know she always has another trick up her sleeve! ).

Sigrud is a fascinating character seeing him deal with yet another loss and on yet another mission to track down and kill those responsible in a way that only he can do is well worth reading on it’s own. Combine that with the inevitable-in-hindsite fallout of killing or driving off all the godly beings in a land…

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Flood Tide

Pitt also studied the shattered windshield, the splintered engine hatch, the holes stitched across the bow, the wisp of dark smoke rising from the engine compartment. “If you’d arrived two seconds later, Admiral Sandecker would be stuck with the chore of writing my eulogy.”

Again?

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Mystery Ranch

MORE RELATIVES!

This time, apparently Grandfather has an estranged sister, living nearly on her own out in a giant ranch house somewhere or the other. She keeps running off the help, so of course Jessie and Violet (being the girls) go to help her –and miraculously have no trouble doing so. It’s kind of hard to believe, but it’s nice to have another change of scenery. And hey, I always love reading aloud books in my ‘creaky old woman voice’. :D

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Investigating Cryptocurrencies: Understanding, Extracting, and Analyzing Blockchain Evidence

I find Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies endlessly fascinating. They hit a number of my personal interests, in particular low cryptography and level network protocols/data formats. I’m generally familiar with how blockchains work in general and have actually played a bit with demo implementations of the same technology. That being said, there are a lot of details on the business and variety between different technologies that I find less than knowledgeable about.

The book will not help you build your own cryptocurrency.

The book is not a detailed technical deconstruction of the technologies behind cryptocurrencies, although I do cover them in sufficient detail for you to be able to understand the concepts and explain them to others.

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The Yellow House Mystery

Remember Surprise Island ? Remember

Then Henry said, “Grandfather, that’s one thing we can’t understand. Why didn’t we ever get to go into that little yellow house? Doesn’t it belong to you?”

Mr. Alden looked at his grandchildren. Then he said quietly, “That’s another story.”

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City of Blades

“Welcome to old Voortyashtan,” the captain says with false cheer, waving at the mouth of the Solda. “Though you can’t see much of it these days. It’s moved, y’see, about three hundred feet. Vertically, straight down.” He grins and laughs wickedly.

City of Blades surprised me.

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Shock Wave

Shock Wave is yet another crazy book. Par for the course at this point. This time around, we have shipwrecks, sea serpents, diamonds, and a strange ‘acoustic plague’ that kills every living thing within a hundred kilometers. The bad guys are evil, the good guys are going to win in the end, and it’s going to be a crazy story along the way.

Characterwise, it’s more of the same. It’s fascinating to see a fairly believable love interest for Pitt in Maeve1. And we have more and more from the side characters, in particular Giordino with Pitt and Rudy Gunn and Admiral Sandecker doing their own part to save the world. Giordino even gets a big show hand to hand fight at the end, although why in the world he didn't just shoot her, I'll never know . Also another transgender villain? Why? Again, it’s just a few lines, but … why?

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Spoon River Anthology

The Spoon River Anthology is yet another of those books I last read in High School which came back up when I decided to branch out and read some more poetry. In this case, it was actually a whole production where each person in the class would memorize a different poem and then we made a platform in the woods, dressed up, and recited them. Pretty cool actually.

Mine:

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Surprise Island

The second Boxcar Children book and the first of the formula that would come to define the series. It’s summer and the children are off to an adventure to an island Grandfather owns , more or less by themselves (although two other adults live on the island). They make a house, explore, find mysteries, and generally have an idyllic time.

“Now, tell us, Grandfather,” cried Henry. “We ran all the way home from school.”

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World Without End

The Pillars of the Earth was quite a ride of historical fiction, introducing us the people of a small English city of Kingsbridge in the 12th century. When I learned that there was a sequel (World Without End) set in the same town but hundreds of years later, I was intrigued. A timeskip with the same setting but different (descended) characters hundreds of years later isn’t something I’ve often seen and it’s fascinating when done well. Add in that World Without End is set during the years of the Plague… I was intrigued.

For the most part, World Without End did well. It has big shoes to fill following up to Pillars of the Earth. In comparison, the building seems smaller (a bridge and a tower instead of the entire cathedral), the conflicts seem smaller and more petty, and the characters feel more anachronistic. There are any number of times when I wonder if people of the time period were really that ‘modern’ or is that an invention of Follett.

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