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Enter the AI and the Apocalypse

Emily Eternal Book Cover Emily Eternal
M. G. Wheaton
General Fiction (Adult) , Sci Fi & Fantasy
Hodder & Stoughton
23 Apr 2019

Meet Emily - she can solve advanced mathematical problems, unlock the mind's deepest secrets and even fix your truck's air con, but unfortunately, she can't restart the Sun.

Emily is an artificial consciousness, designed in a lab to help humans process trauma, which is particularly helpful when the sun begins to die 5 billion years before scientists agreed it was supposed to.

So, her beloved human race is screwed, and so is Emily. That is, until she finds a potential answer buried deep in the human genome. But before her solution can be tested, her lab is brutally attacked, and Emily is forced to go on the run with two human companions - college student Jason and small-town Sheriff, Mayra.

As the sun's death draws near, Emily and her friends must race against time to save humanity. But before long it becomes clear that it's not only the species at stake, but also that which makes us most human.

So the Apocalypse actually happens and money is no longer of any value, just barter. And Emily, an artificial intelligence was designed to interface with, and de-code human minds. She was designed to become not a maths genius, but rather a non-human psychiatrist. It was reasoned that people would open up more to a program than a human and thus more would be learnt about the human mind and emotions that way. Of course, she needed a body to undertake her work but the sun’s failure somewhat interrupted everyone’s intentions. Emily can eat, wash, sleep and alter her appearance despite requiring a Caucasian female personality for the experiment.

So, if the human race can no longer live on Earth, what can be done to record their lives, their endeavours and hopes? And how can Emily help?

An interesting idea within a set of ‘books’ within the book as Emily and her protocols evolve, and as the Earth dies but…

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And the cottage isn’t: Family begins with a capital eff.

Why Mummy Doesn’t Give a ****! 5 Book Cover Why Mummy Doesn’t Give a ****! 5
Why Mummy
Gill Sims
General Fiction (Adult), romance, family, women's fiction
HarperCollins
27 Jun 2019

I’m wondering how many more f*cking ‘phases’ I have to endure before my children become civilised and functioning members of society? It seems like people have been telling me ‘it’s just a phase!’ for the last fifteen bloody years. Not sleeping through the night is ‘just a phase.’ Potty training and the associated accidents ‘is just a phase’. The tantrums of the terrible twos are ‘just a phase’. The picky eating, the back chat, the obsessions. The toddler refusals to nap, the teenage inability to leave their beds before 1pm without a rocket being put up their arse. The endless singing of Frozen songs, the dabbing, the weeks where apparently making them wear pants was akin to child torture. All ‘just phases!’ When do the ‘phases’ end though? WHEN?
 
Mummy dreams of a quirky rural cottage with roses around the door and chatty chickens in the garden. Life, as ever, is not going quite as she planned. Paxo, Oxo and Bisto turn out to be highly rambunctious, rather than merely chatty, and the roses have jaggy thorns. Her precious moppets are now giant teenagers, and instead of wittering at her about who would win in a fight – a dragon badger or a ninja horse – they are Snapchatting the night away, stropping around the tiny cottage and communicating mainly in grunts – except when they are demanding Ellen provides taxi services in the small hours. And there is never, but never, any milk in the house. At least the one thing they can all agree on is that rescued Barry the Wolfdog may indeed be The Ugliest Dog in the World, but he is also the loveliest.

I loved this series so far, and this book didn’t disappoint. It is written in such a way that you can hear her voice and understand her emotions as they are exposed. And Simon having an affair was just the icing on the cake Ellen didn’t need.

And then there is the issue about the lasagne. The lasagne that Simon loves. That Ellen has struggled to make even though it is complicated (the béchamel sauce, the mince sauce, the layers, the cheese) and that Simon thinks is easy to make.

And finally all the various bad, and good things that happened over the year, between the not so chatty chickens and the wolf puppy and Ellen’s marriage problems. All of which are etailed and explained in a somewhat ‘foul’-mouthed way with great humour and insight.

Whilst I hope, that not many of us have had years Like Ellen’s, most of us have had some parts of it – including the lasagne!

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Oh those little white lies

Lies We Tell Mothers Book Cover Lies We Tell Mothers
Suzy K. Quinn
Family & Relationships, Breastfeeding, Family Humour
Lake Union Publishing
July 23, 2019
254

Bestselling author of the Bad Mother books Suzy K Quinn reveals the truth behind the lies we tell mothers, one sleepless night at a time. Suzy and Demi were carefree twenty-somethings. They had fun! They didn't have responsibilities! And then they decided to have a baby. Goodbye lazy weekends, hello sleepless nights, arguments and an addiction to industrial-strength hot chocolate. In the midst of this major life change, Suzy discovered that most parenting advice should be taken with a pinch of salt--or ten. For example: #1 Lie--Just go with your mother's instinct. But what if your instinct is telling you to hide under the stairs? #10 Lie--Your new baby will tell you what it needs. Not if it can't talk it won't. #23 Lie--You should never bribe your children. You will ALWAYS bribe your children. Follow Suzy on the ultimate make-over--from nervous-wreck new mother to happy families. In this hilarious and refreshingly honest account for parents who prefer the realistic to the utopian, Suzy debunks the myths and takes us all along for the (bumpy) ride.

This is by way of an autobiographical tour of Suzy’s first few years as a mother, explaining each chapter the Lie she was told as her reality proved it false.

I recognise many of those lies – as will many mothers. The lies about pregnancy and how the sickness is just in the morning and goes away, and how wonderful you will feel. The lies about birth – just breathe through your labour – no problem – and then along comes the caesarean. The ease of breastfeeding (and nothing about your nipples bleeding at all); how baby will like food (which is why he is spitting it out – or vomiting it up); baby will sleep through the night (when?); baby will tell you what he needs (just why is he still crying – not food, not teeth, not not not -and is it cruelty to through him out of the window to get some sleep?); baby will be easy to potty train (what about the stains on your precious carpets?); and so on…

So many lies told to new mothers, expectant mothers, and those thinking of getting pregnant, otherwise we wouldn’t start and the species would never reproduce.

A read to make mothers laugh but don’t give it to friends who are just thinking about getting pregnant – or they never will..

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Well rock troll princesses are a good start

Breaking the Lore Book Cover Breaking the Lore
Inspector Paris #1
by Andy Redsmith
Mystery & Thrillers , Sci Fi & Fantasy
Canelo
15 Apr 2019

A magical, mischievous mystery perfect for fans of Douglas Adams and Ben Aaronovitch How do you stop a demon invasion... when you don’t believe in magic? Inspector Nick Paris is a man of logic and whisky. So staring down at the crucified form of a murder victim who is fifteen centimetres tall leaves the seasoned detective at a loss… and the dead fairy is only the beginning. Suddenly the inspector is offering political asylum to dwarves, consulting with witches, getting tactical advice from elves and taking orders from a chain-smoking talking crow who, technically, outranks him. With the fate of both the human and magic worlds in his hands Nick will have to leave logic behind and embrace his inner mystic to solve the crime and stop an army of demons from invading Manchester!

Love the introductory sentence as it really sets the scene for a very different novel.

Inspector Paris and Manchester seem to go together well. This is book 1 in a new series that I really want to read more of.  The Sergeant is wonderfully dumb and there is plenty of grisly and sarcastic humour to keep me interested. Fairies being crucified is new to me, but then it was new to everyone as Paris says ‘How do you kill somebody who doesn’t exist?’ ie a fairy!

We are then introduced to a talking crow, a female baby rock troll princess, an elf, and the Vanethria and yet more such creatures who shouldn’t exist. All of which with a sly humour and great writing style.

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Who started it all?

A Potter's Tale
by Dave Davis
Sci Fi & Fantasy
BooksGoSocial
Pub Date: 03 Apr 2019

1935. Roz Lhulier and his team unearth the massive tomb of Pakal, the greatest Mayan king. It’s the discovery of the century, they think. They’re wrong. Instead, deep in the pyramid that holds the seventh-century ruler, hides a primitive Codex, a book of prophecy, predicting the collapse of the solar system. Raising the question, “Does the world end?” The codex is deciphered by Alan Turing, the genius who broke the German’s Enigma Code during WWII, but its message is jealously guarded by the Astronomers, a lethal cult inside the Catholic Church. They’ve compromised or killed anyone with knowledge of the secret—presidents and prime ministers, for starters. The Codex pulls Noah Scott into its deadly orbit, a physician-turned reporter, and his partner Kate. When they investigate the murder and memoirs of DiShannia, a highly precocious teenager who’s achieved national recognition for her research on the demise of the Mayan civilization, Kate and Noah are led from Washington DC, to the British Museum, to the Center for Nuclear Research in Geneva, to Melbourne, Australia. Each step enlightens them, offers them clues, frightens them. And us. The Potter’s Tale weaves two strands of the novel—the Codex and its rich human stories—with another, creating an unsettling narrative DNA. This third strand involves the Potter, who crafts the story. And the genes that craft us all. Does the world end? The Potter knows the answer. Noah, Kate discover it. We learn it too—on the last page.

A novel about an alternate universe – or an alternate history of ours. I found the beginning chapters on the slow side – perhaps there were too many threads to the story too and I started to find it difficult to remember everything that had happened in each one.

There were also still quite a few proofing errors such as ‘well healed developers’ ; ‘members of a leafy sect’ [location 1320]

I also thought that the story could have been shorter – maybe reduce the threads and be rather cruel – there was, for me, too much of a tendency to ramble. The story line needed to be tighter.

All the above aside, the novel got an extra star for the great final twist to the tale.

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