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Thursday, June 29, 2017

What's Up, Buttercup?

I'm slowly reading and thinking about each section of The Secret Life of the Mind:  How Your Brain Thinks, Feels, and Decides by Mariano Sigman.  A cognitive neuroscientist, Sigman has already had me pondering the ways scientists, psychologists, and linguists approach what goes on in the minds of pre-verbal infants--what they understand and when.  Definitely not the blank slates assumed for so long.  Also intriguing are the moral choices of toddlers.  Then the section on which serves us better in decision making:  rational deliberation or hunches.  And what are hunches really?  Oh, and does our sense of smell influence our choice of mate?  Why would this be inverted in pregnancy?  Curiouser and curiouser!  

Some of what I've read affirms what I've read in previous books, but some information is new and compelling.  I especially like seeing the creative ways different ways theories are tested, especially with infants.  

I have not read a brain book in a while, and I am thoroughly enjoying this one.  Which cover do you prefer?

Buried on the Fens.  Joy Ellis' Nikki Galena series continues to keep me engrossed. An unofficial body is discovered in a cemetery, and a decades old murder appears to be entwined with a more recent one.

Initially, the team believes they are looking at two separate cases, and the recent murder of a well-liked businesswoman must take precedence.  Nikki finds the older murder a fascinating curiosity, but as both investigations proceed, connections are established.

As usual, Ellis' novel works perfectly well as a standalone.  Now, I look forward to the next in either the Nikki Galena or the Rowan Jackson series!

NetGalley/Joffe Books

Police Procedural.  July 10, 2017.   

Perfect Prey is the second in the DI Callanach series, and I have not read the first one.

The Goodreads reviews so far have been mostly 4 and 5 stars, and I would have happily agreed to 4 stars--accept for two things.  The murders were grotesque and unbelievable and Ava's relationship with Joe (or as one reviewer called him, "dickhead").  Oh, you, too, will agree with that designation!

On the other hand, the tension was great, Callanach's character was interesting and unusual, and there were a couple of good twists.  

I have a problem with books that depend on the bizarre and/or the grotesque--but that's my personal perspective. 

 There was plenty in this book to keep me interested, yet I was uncomfortable with the detailed exploitation of violence in Perfect Prey.  Would I read another in the series?  Yes, just to see if violence is a prevailing theme.  I liked Callanach and some of the secondary characters; Ava, not so much, although she was going through an emotionally difficult period.

NetGalley/Avon Books

Police Procedural.  July 27, 2017.  


  1. The Secret Life of the Mind sounds like an informative and interesting read. There's something mysterious about how brains work and though I rarely read such nonfiction (or any others in general) I'm quite intrigued about this book. Perhaps some other time if the mood calls for it. :)

    1. The Secret Life of the Mind continues to keep me intrigued--the human brain is so mysterious and complex!

  2. The Secret Life of the Minds sounds fascinating! It's been long while since I last read a book like that.

    Buried on the Fens sounds good as well. I am glad you are continuing to enjoy the series!

    1. The Secret Life is compelling and easy to read. I'm moving through it slowly and thinking about it a lot. Ellis' Fen series, both of them, are well-plotted and have characters I love catching up with. :)

  3. What a great trio of books! This reminds me that I need to read a nonfiction book one of these days. And, of course the mysteries all sound so good.