Tell the Wind and Fire Review

 

tell the wind coverfour stars

Lucie Manette was born in the Dark half of the city, but careful manipulations won her a home in the Light, celebrity status, and a rich, loving boyfriend. Now she just wants to keep her head down, but her boyfriend has a dark secret of his own—one involving an apparent stranger who is destitute and despised.

Lucie alone knows of the deadly connection the young men share, and even as the knowledge leads her to make a grave mistake, she can trust no one with the truth.

Blood and secrets alike spill out when revolution erupts. With both halves of the city burning, and mercy nowhere to be found, can Lucie save either boy—or herself?

Sarah Rees Brennan’s Tell the Wind and Fire is loosely based on A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. In her world there are two versions of New York. Light new York, a place of wealth and beauty, where the light magicians and their relatives live, and Dark New York, where the dark magicians reside. However, Light New York is reliant on Dark New York to survive, as, without the Dark Magicians, the Light magicians would die.

Read the full review here

Random Blog Post Number Three. (Genetics, baby!)

Hello readers, and welcome to another day of random fact blog posts. So far we’ve covered archery and cooking. So, following this trend, today will be about genetics! (Just kidding, there is no logic, life is anarchy). Today, we will be learning how to understand your own DNA, some facts about the human genome, and how to destroy the world with some time and a $300 Crispr kit!

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Hear me out. Genetics are literally the source code of all life as we know it. And yet, some people know absolutely nothing about what makes them tick!

 

Okay. We will start at the basics. DNA.

 

DNA is the stuff that tells your body what proteins to produce and basically dictate how your body works. The entirety of the coding part of DNA is made up of four nucleotides that we call T,C,A, and G. Sort of like binary. Four different amino acids may not sound like enough options to code for all life as we know it, but human beings have three billion pairs of these in our genome. That allows for a lot of variation. Trust me.

 

On a side note, those fun little $75 ancestry DNA tests that are all the craze nowadays (I did them, they are really cool) only sequence about 900,000 base pairs depending on the test, so don’t put too much stock in the results when it comes to diseases. Many illnesses are influenced by many different genes, so just because one might say you are 2x more likely to get diabetes doesn’t mean that’s necessarily true, as you could have five other genes that state the opposite. If you really want to know, get your whole genome sequenced or go home. The price is really affordable now. It’s gone from $3 billion to a few thousand dollars in just the fifteen years since the first human genome was sequenced! That’s quite a reduced rate!

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Back to understanding DNA. You have three billion base pairs in your genome. This means that you have three billion base pairs of DNA in each cell. Crazy right? That’s the equivalent of 700mb of data stored in each human cell, or roughly 70 Zetabytes of data in the human body. That’s nuts. That is more than the entirety of data used by human beings. More than every movie, every website, every image and secret government AI ever created in the history of the digital age. In one human body. Insane.

 

As a side note, as the entire human genome can fit in 700 mb, all of what makes you you can be stored on a CD. Hilarious. Of course, most genomes are so similar, we could probably compress it down a lot further than that, but why? A CD costs next to nothing at Best Buy .

 

Alright, now we’re going to discuss Autosomal dominant and recessive traits. Autosomal simply refers to DNA not inherited from the sex chromosomes.

 

So, each human has two sets of chromosomes, one inherited from the mother, one from the father. When you have a child, you only pass down one of your two chromosomes to your kids. It’s (mostly) random. This means that if you have a gene on one chromosome, say, for an extra finger, and one chromosome without that gene, you have a 50/50 shot of passing on that gene to your kid. If the child gets the gene from you, and a normal one from his father, and gains an extra finger, the trait is dominant. If the kid gets the gene from you, a healthy gene from his father, and only has five fingers, then the trait is recessive, meaning both genes need to have the same mutation to express it. Most diseases are recessive, as if you had a dominant disease in prehistoric times, you often didn’t survive to child bearing age, whereas if the disease is recessive, you could carry the mutated gene and pass it on without showing symptoms due to your other, healthy gene.

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However, some autosomal dominant diseases, such as Huntington’s, do exist today. These diseases are often particularly horrible as many people don’t know they have it until after having kids and having a 50/50 chance of passing it on to them.

 

Now inheritance is usually a little more complicated than this. There usually isn’t a “blue eyed gene” or a “smooth skin gene”. Many genes factor into having one trait, and untangling them all is often confusing. In addition, recently scientists have begun to understand the effects the environment has on influencing what genes get expressed in your genome.

 

There was actually this really cool study done on twins where the genomes of two identical young twins were compared with the genomes of two old identical twins. It turns out that the older identical twins actually had fairly different genes being expressed, despite being genetically identical at birth, due to differences in what they ate, where they lived, ect. This is how one identical twin could be more likely to get cancer, or go bald a little earlier.

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This environmental effect on gene expression actually explains a lot about why we can’t just insert a gene into someone and know the outcome, or why a person with a lower genetic likelihood of cancer might still get cancer.

 

However, despite all these crazy factors influencing our genes, scientists are getting closer and closer to cracking the human genome. In fact, there is a crazy cool new project being implemented where scientists are collecting one million human genomes through volunteers to help solve this mystery once and for all. I’m going to sign up. And no, I’m not afraid of government subsidized cloning, or insurance companies getting hold of my DNA because let’s be honest here, all it takes is a single skin cell to know your entire genetic makeup. In ten years, DNA tests will probably be so cheap, any Joe Shmo could pluck one of your hairs and get it sequenced for the price of a meal.

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So that’s the basics of genetics. We are only going to discuss one more really freaking awesome and slightly terrifying thing today and that is the idea of gene drives.

 

“What’s a gene drive?” you ask, as you’re not totally bored yet by my rambling. Well, remember how I said that the mommy and the daddy each pass down one gene? So if the mother has a gene for, say, invisibility and one for laser eyes, the child could get either one? Well, gene drives allow you to play God in that you can choose which gene will always be passed down. So you can design it so that invisibility will be passed down to all the kids, and all the kids’ kids, and so on forever until every person on the planet has invisibility. This is wicked crazy.

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How a gene drive works is a little too complicated for a random fact post on a book blog, but let me grossly oversimplify it. Basically, scientists take, say, a mosquito and alter one of its genes with CRISPER/Cas9 (a cool new technology that lets us edit DNA). This new gene has whatever we insert in, plus a little segment that instructs the “normal” gene in the other chromosome to be cut out. So, after the normal gene is gut out, the broken chromosome needs to repair itself, and does so using the second, altered chromosome as a template, thereby copying the altered gene. As the mosquito has little nasty mosquito babies, the gene gets passed down to them, altering the other, healthy chromosome. Now, with two altered chromosomes, that trait is 100% likely to be passed down to the next generation. And on. And on

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So think about it for a minute. If we were to use a gene drive to make all female mosquitoes infertile, the gene would rapidly spread via the males until every female mosquito is dead, and the entire mosquito population becomes extinct. I’ve also heard it hypothesized that with the rate of reproduction, rendering an entire mosquito species extinct by releasing a handful of altered mosquitoes would only take a few years. That’s it. A few years and a 300 dollar CRISPR kit to wipe out humanity’s #1 killer (other then other humans). Isn’t life insane?

 

So yes, genetics is terrifying, and complex, and it’s easy to shy away from it and not want to know or give anyone your genetic information, or use this technology on plants or animals. And you have a very valid point. However, for better or worse the genie is already out of the bottle, so if you really want to save this planet from humanity’s mistakes, make all research go through very public, government approved processes and pass preemptive legislation. Banning GMO’s and burying your head in the sand is more harmful than it is helpful. We all have a responsibility in this new age of unprecedented technological advancement to use our new tools with caution and respect, and the best way to make that happen is to educate yourself and encourage transparency. So let’s do it!

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On a side note, happy May Day everyone!

 

 

The Belles Review

the bellesfour stars

Author: Dhonielle Clayton

Publication Date: February 6, 2018

Buy Now on Indiebound

The cover of The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton is Barbie Dreamhouse pink, with sparkles and roses adorning the cover. Inside is a map of the fictional island setting, beautifully detailed in hot pink and white. On the front of the cover is a beautiful girl (although her eyebrows are a little scary) in fancy dress with a sultry expression. Okay, so I can’t say I’m a fan of the girl’s look on the cover, but, overall, I believe that this cover perfectly reflects the tone of the novel. It’s ornate, and so, so pink, enough to make me slightly uncomfortable picking up the book.the belles border 2.png Yet this was one of the factors that drew me to the novel, the sheer audacity of all that hot pink in anything but a middle grade novel about popularity and hot crushes. Yet, in a YA that professed to be about the dark side of beauty, the cover, and its choice to be so glaringly, overwhelmingly pink and flowery felt almost like a dare.the belles border 3.png

So I gave The Belles a read. And kept reading. I finished this book in less than a day, all 434 pages. It was flowery. It was ornate. And it was dark.

 

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For the full review, click here

Bridge of the Gods Guest Review

I received this book from the author. This is my honest review. Thank you to the author for letting read your work!
I am huge Percy Jackson fan. To be honest, I have not read the books, only watched the movies. When I was given the chance to read and review Bridge of The Gods, I was excited. The book blurb lead me to believe it would be similar to Percy Jackson. The only thing in common was the use of Greek mythology.
Bridge of the Gods (Generation Son Chronicle)

Book Blurb from Goodreads:

Luthor McAlester is a teenage boy living in San Diego, California. His father died when he was a child. Leaving him to become man of the house, living with his mother and younger sister. On his 18th birthday he discovers a power that has been held dormant until now. He is unsure what to do with it in the absence of this father’s guidance. His best friend Gwen, who claims to be oblivious, knows more than she is telling. Can Luther figure out how to use his power and help the Gods like they ask with just the help of his best friend? Or will the lack of guidance from his father prove to be more than young Luthor can handle?





My Review:


*The Bridge of The Gods* was an awesome read. The author loosely uses Greek mythology to tell a wonderful coming of age story. Our MC, Luther, has no idea that he has special abilities until he turns 18. Then, he is approached by Zeus to help the major and minor gods. They face devastation if Luther can’t help them.

The story is a fun. Luther and his best friend run into all kinds of danger and meet lots of cool gods along the way. My favorite is Apollo. He tries hard to be smooth with the ladies but dead down inside he is a sweetheart.

There are a few twists to the story but it ends well. I can’t tell you more than that without revealing any spoilers. 😀

Tank and I give this a 3 paw rating.
🐾🐾🐾

 

I enjoyed it but it didn’t keep me up at night reading it.

 

Read more reviews like this one here: https://girlwithagoodbookandherdog.blogspot.com/

Bury What We Cannot Take Guest Review

35433674Bury What We Cannot Take
by Kirstin Chen

Genre: Historical Fiction
Published on: March 20th 2018 by Little A

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

**I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

Great cover, great synopsis, awesome title. So why not read it?

In Other Lands Review

in other lands

blue ribbonfive stars

Author: Sarah Rees Brennan

Publication Date: August 15, 2017

Buy Now from Indiebound

 

            In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan is probably my favorite book I’ve read this year. So if you plan on reading just one of the books I’ve recommended this year, read this.

First I have to give a disclaimer. I was not intrigued by the plot summary. A boy discovers that he can see the Borderlands, a place where humans and mythical creatures live side by side. Yawn. Read it before. However here is what I didn’t factor in to the book, that I wouldn’t give a shit about the plot. That’s right. Sarah Rees Brennan has created a book where the characters are so amazing, hilarious, and wonderful that the plot could literally be about a sparkly vampire named Tedward Mullen for all I care.

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Okay, where to start. Well, first there is Elliot, the main character. Unlike many novels, the main character is the best character. He is a freaking hilarious idiot genius with an IQ of about 180 and an EQ (Emotional intelligence) of about 60. Optimistically. He doesn’t play mind games, or use tactful diplomacy to get what he wants (until he learns to properly flirt with the elves), he just says what he thinks, and that’s that. So why is everyone mad at him all the time?

Elliot breaks stereotypes, and he breaks them with a bang.

To read the full review, click here

Guest Review of Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel

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Black Bird of the Gallows
Black Bird of the Gallows #1
by Meg Kassel
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: September 5, 2017
Genre: YA Paranormal / Urban Fantasy
Pages: 300
Add it on Goodreads
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

A simple but forgotten truth: Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues will soon be full.

Angie Dovage can tell there’s more to Reece Fernandez than just the tall, brooding athlete who has her classmates swooning, but she can’t imagine his presence signals a tragedy that will devastate her small town. When something supernatural tries to attack her, Angie is thrown into a battle between good and evil she never saw coming. Right in the center of it is Reece – and he’s not human.

What’s more, she knows something most don’t. That the secrets her town holds could kill them all. But that’s only half as dangerous as falling in love with a harbinger of death. 

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I was really surprised that, in a book centering around death and this horrible catastrophe that’s going to hit Angie’s town, it was still a love story. Right away, you see that Reece doesn’t know what disaster is coming and he says flat out that he can’t stop it. He’s just there to feed off the death, honestly. Sounds bad. So you come to terms with the fact that part of the book is going to be about this horrible tragedy. How is Angie going to survive it? Is her family going to survive? What’s coming?

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The funny thing is, that’s not really what I focused on.

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I saw the budding love story. You wouldn’t think it would be possible but Reece is actually a decent . . . what do I call him? Semi-human? Used to be human turned harbinger? I loved the snarky attitudes between them and the clashing at the beginning. That always makes for an interesting love story. It’s not like she swoons and falls madly in love with him right away. Believable.

I also liked Angie’s strength. She’s been through hell and back with her mom and the drugs. But she’s not shriveled up in the corner, unable to cope with her life. When you see her in the beginning, she actually seems pretty happy. She’s got a good life with a dad that loves her and dotes on her.

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I was surprised by the ending, as well. I didn’t think there was a way for the author to spin this book so that you didn’t close it going “what just happened?” Everything wrapped up in a way that I could be okay with. It was actually a really good ending.

Meg Kassel
About Meg Kassel 

Meg Kassel is an author of paranormal and speculative books for young adults. A New Jersey native, Meg graduated from Parson’s School of Design and worked as a graphic designer before becoming a writer. She now lives in Maine with her husband and daughter and is busy at work on her next novel. She is the 2016 RWA Golden Heart winner in YA. 

 

 

To read more reviews like this one, visit the book blog  Ginger Mom and the Kindle Quest