July/August 2016 Books

Morning Star (Red Rising, #3)Morning Star by Pierce Brown
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

WOW. Such a satisfying 3rd book. So many unexpected twists, impressively complex and clever. I marvel at the mind who came up with this. Well done, great characters, highly recommend!

The Hickory Staff: The Eldarn Sequence Book 1The Hickory Staff: The Eldarn Sequence Book 1 by Rob Scott
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The cover made me pick this up from a friend's shelf.

It was a slow start. I was disoriented by the switch between worlds and even timeline for each chapter. I ended up ignoring non-Earth storylines until the inevitable merge. Easier to follow.

Some interesting elements, though I can see the complaints of other readers. Why is every woman stunningly beautiful, in danger of rape and yet whose grin can only be described as sexy? Why are they so eager to fall in love and have sex in filthy, public locations? This might be a little indulgent on teen boy geek fantasy.

Slow start and ends with a cliffhanger in the final epic battle which, now it seems will be just the beginning of a saga. I am curious to see how it plays out, so I might pick up the sequel. Would not recommend though, unless you're on vacation and it's all you've got to read.

To Hold the Bridge: Tales from the Old Kingdom and BeyondTo Hold the Bridge: Tales from the Old Kingdom and Beyond by Garth Nix
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Well, that's it for me. DNF. This is the second Nix book I've struggled through. Got about 75% done and just couldn't be bothered, even while on vacay.

All these short, unsatisfying stories about an MC with some self-doubt dilemma that they come to terms with by the end of a very short chapter. What's the point? Each setting was different, but it was the same story and did not give me any more thought or complexity to the universal question, "Am I worthy?" This book was not worth it.

Intentional Living: Choosing a Life That MattersIntentional Living: Choosing a Life That Matters by John C. Maxwell
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A man I deeply respect once told me to pay attention to the personal pronouns someone uses. Are they mostly talking about "I" or "my", or "we" and "our"?

Friends of mine think very highly of Maxwell. As this is my first encounter, I can only comment on the premise of this book, and I was left highly disappointed.

Such a great concept, and yet the narrative executed felt so self-lauding and vague. It was lazy. Every sentence had multiple "I"s, every example one of Maxwell's successes.

This topic could have been so much better communicated had it been backed up with external articles, research, content, and a variety of others' perspectives/stories.

As it stands, it reads as a charismatic salesman saying, "This is how you live the most productive meaningful life: be intentional, the why the who the what---and here, what better examples could you find than my own wildly successful life! See? It's so easy/not easy."

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four MealsThe Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an eye-opening, instructional read. I did find Pollan's tangential philosophic musings a little repetitive--once the narrative strayed from story for fact I often skimmed. I get that he wanted the reader to process his thoughts with him... But it felt "telly" vs "showy".

Nevertheless, I have a fresh appreciation for grass, new caution for the food industry, and now am committed to eating local.

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