Saturday, April 04, 2015

Quick Reads

I have been a bit busy and haven't been posting book reviews. I've still been reading, just haven't gotten reviews done. So here's some quick hits of what I've been reading lately. As always, these are Amazon links. Clicking shows you love me. Or something.

Independent Study: The Testing, Book 2 and Graduation Day: The Testing Trilogy, Book 3 - Book 1 was teens in peril in a dangerous cross-country journey. They made it through alive, so now they're at school. School can't be as dangerous, right? I thought the first book stood well on its own. The second and third books were less necessary and the ending not altogether satisfying. Not like Divergent-bad, but a little too neat a package. I'd recommend book 1, but you can probably be fine treating it as a singology instead of a trilogy.

Brilliant Mistakes: Finding Success on the Far Side of Failure - In your efforts to eliminate mistakes from your company and its process, beware of zapping all the creativity, of creating a culture or environment where it's impossible for advantageous mistakes to occur. These are the kinds of mistakes that open up new fields or lines of business - the kind of revolutionary jumps that can't occur in a company so focused on careful evolutionary change. I wish there had been more real-world examples, but it was a good book I'd recommend.

Shadow Ops: Breach Zone (Shadow Ops series Book 3) - When I read this one, I didn't realize it was part of a trilogy. It made reference to past events, but it explained them so well that I thought it was just history being covered for us. The book also uses flashbacks to help understand why one of the main characters is the way they are and the past history between the two main characters. New York has been invaded by a non-human army and the book is the efforts to regain control on several fronts - a military tale with elements of magic. I thought the characters and their voices and they way they spoke were distinctive, whether they were military, law enforcement, politicians or ambassadors of a foreign country. This was a rather long book with the good guys under seemingly impossible odds and while a lengthy book, it was engrossing.

The Roar - Humans live behind a wall in the upper part of the northern hemisphere. Overcrowding means that in many places, cities are stacked one on top of the other - the wealthy in gleaming towers while the impoverished below the streets in a second city where flooding is common, mold is ever-present and a regular cause of death. The rest of the planet a wasteland due to the chemicals used to kill all the animals and their habitats after all the animals began attacking humans decades before. The story focuses on a young girl, kidnapped a year prior by a government official and held against her will on an orbiting space station and her brother, the only one in her family who believes she's still alive. A new supplement is introduced at the schools and despite their poverty, an arcade opens where children can learn to fly pod fighters like the ones used in the world's defense program. It's a pretty solid book with a satisfying ending. Don't know if I'll continue in the series or if enough has been resolved for me to go in a different direction.

Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality - It hasn't been too long since I read this book, but I don't remember much beyond the title. It's one of those books that is helpful while you're reading it, kind of like a coach kicking your behind and making you get out there and make things happen, but that's about it. I do need one of those coaches, but that's why I put 10X on my wish list for both Kindle and CD.

Erasing Hell: What God said about eternity, and the things we made up - It turns out that I never wrote a review on here, but I did write one on Amazon. Here's what I wrote, under the title "Overheard at a Dinner Party": I don't feel I was the audience for this book. I think I would only be the audience if I were sitting between Chan and Bell at a dinner party and Chan was speaking past me in the hopes that Bell would hear him refuting Love Wins. I got the sense reading this that maybe it should be sold with Bell's Love Wins, that I would have gotten more out of it if I had read Love Wins first. With specific regards to hell, I feel like I should have been more compelled or convicted from reading the book, but mostly I just felt "meh."

Accelerando (Singularity) - Blech. None of the stuff described in the two different descriptions of the book happened in the first three chapters that I slogged through. Avoid avoid avoid.

Tunnels (Book 1) - Will Burrows and his dad love to dig (get it, "burrows"?) and explore underground places, be it caves or abandoned tube stations. When his dad goes missing, Will finds clues that allows him to pursue his father to some underground world. Some massive, massive underground world. Some great, vivid writing make it easy to imagine the underground world, but the story itself suffers some construction problems, with characters conveniently coming in and out of the picture as needed. I would recommend it, though, just for the descriptive writing.

Matched - Cassia and her family live in a very North Korea-like state - everything is highly controlled, but life is good because they're told it is and they don't know any better. Until something goes wrong with Cassia's matching. The ceremony is wonderful and in a rare twist, her betrothed is someone from her own school instead of being someone from another school in another part of the country. After the ceremony, she returns home with the (essentially a flash drive) that will tell her more about her betrothed. Only, oddly, a different boy appears briefly on the screen. She's contacted the next day and forced to hand over the flash drive, told that there was some kind of error or anomaly. It's enough, however, to throw her mind into chaos. Opportunities end up presenting themselves, allowing her the opportunity to get to know the other boy more.

Reading right now:
* Inc, April 2015
* I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist
* Before Happiness
* Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?

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