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review 2019-12-02 18:18
Book Review - How to Shield an Assassin by AJ Sherwood
How to Shield an Assassin (Unholy Trifecta #1)How to Shield an Assassin by A.J. Sherwood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So I first learned of A.J. Sherwood through her Jon's Mysteries series and kinda fell in love with her writing style. And then I read her Fourth Point of Contact and my mind was blown!
But this book... this book is a bit different from her others and yet oh so wonderful, It was a fun, delightfully amusing romp despite the main characters being an assassin, a mercenary, a thief and a hacker. Oh, and a seriously badass little girl who has them all wrapped around her finger!

Assassin Ari (Aristide) Benelli has lived his life in the shadows and alone. Sure he has a twin brother but that brother was as far from a career criminal as Ari could get so he stayed as far away from Luca as he could for his brother's sake. He had a few friends, a hacker and a thief, but he lived his life solo, doing the job he was good at. And yet a desperate and abused little girl named Remi had him doing the unthinkable - adopting her and settling down. Sort of.

With the help of Ivan and Kyou (the thief and the hacker) - Remi's adopted 'uncles' - Ari attempts to raise his very own little Black Widow in the making while continuing to work. Enter Carter Harrison - Mercenary with a soft spot for kids and a pretty honourable guy all around.

Carter has a job, one that needs a very specialized skill set - and the only one who has it is Ari. A stolen painting needs to be 'liberated' from a private collector with a penchant for illegal objets d'art and a Fort Knox like security system. Ari is the only one who's ever managed to get in and get out. But Ari comes with a crew, and Carter is blindsided by the attraction he feels for the assassin as well as being completely charmed by Remi and reluctantly impressed with Ivan and Kyou.

This book was lighthearted and _fun_. I enjoyed every gosh darned minute of it, from Ari's unconventional parenting, to Remi with her vulnerability and swagger, to the 'crazy uncles'. The romance between Ari and Harrison was sweet and nice but the story itself drew me in and kept me interested.

Can't wait til for book 2!

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-03-31 00:19
Book Review - Zero Day Exploit by Tami Veldura
Zero Day Exploit (The Robin Hood Job, #1)Zero Day Exploit by Tami Veldura
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

White hats, bodyguards and grifters, oh my!

I really enjoyed this book! REALLY enjoyed it. Asher Hunt, aka The Hunter is a white hat hacker with a grey past, but he's trying to stick to the straight and narrow now. Being busted by the FBI and coping a deal made Asher reevaluate his priorities and a broken heart made him reevaluate his loyalties so now he takes legit IT jobs where he hacks a client's security to find the holes in their system. Totally legit right? There's nothing shady about being set up in a mobile hacking center in an RV in the middle of no where with a bodyguard babysitter, is there? Mortgage companies are completely above board right? And Asher isn't noticing that the bodyguard, Connar James is totally drool worthy and just his type. Nope, he's here to do a job - a white hat job; except that it really isn't and their 'boss' is setting Asher and Connar up to take the fall for his shill game.

But Asher's past is closer to his present then he might like and his old friends from The Den, a network of hackers who live in the grey/black zone, might be the only ones who can help him clear his and Connar's names, give back the stolen money, and get justice against the man who tried to play them all.

And where does Connar fit in to all of this? He's a soldier without a mission, a man who lived for war even though he'd left the war behind him. He's a man who played fast and loose with the protection jobs he' taken, skirting the line of legality. So why was a bruiser hired to babysit a hacker? Why were they both being set up? And why was he feeling white hot lust for an annoying geek with horrible taste in music and a scary love of cheap Asian food?

Asher's past and his present collide with a man who could be his future. Now all he has to do is rob from the rich and corrupt, give back to the poor and maybe get what his heart desires in the process.

Tami Veldura's writing is fast, sharp and full of tension. Sie leaves you on the edge of your seat in the fast paced sections and hir attention to detail is phenomenal. Sie can convince you that you're sitting in the room full of hackers and computer geeks or in a boxing ring watching two ex-military men beat each other good naturedly. Very Impressed. Looking forward to the sequel.

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review 2016-10-29 20:57
Secrets, lies and conspiracies.
The Illuminati: The Counter Culture Revolution-From Secret Societies to Wilkileaks and Anonymous - Robert Howells

I obtained an ARC copy of this book through NetGalley and Watkins Publishing and I freely chose to review it.

I haven’t read any works of fiction related to the Illuminati but I came across them in my profession. I’m a psychiatrist and I’ve had several patients suffering from paranoid ideas that involved conspiracy theories and in more than one occasion they believed the Illuminati to be behind them. Although I read about them at the time, when I saw this book I felt curious and thought it would be a good chance to learn more.

The book isn’t exactly what I’d imagined. It does look at the history of the Illuminati movement — talking about its roots in the past and history, its relationship to religious and political movements and to big historical events (like the French Revolution) — and the latter part of the book links it to counter-revolution and counterculture up to the present time (with such phenomena as Anonymous, Wikileaks, digital piracy and hacking). This is not a critical account of the movement, as it is written by somebody with deep insider knowledge who appears to be a big believer and personally invested in the cause. I found the historical part interesting but also interspersed with plenty of detail about the process of indoctrination and their teachings, rather than individual facts. For me, it was more of a history of their ideas and philosophies rather than a detailed account of the movement and its people.

The modern part I found fascinating. Comparing many of the counter-cultural movements (beats, hippies, punk…) to the Illuminati, be it in their anti-institutionalised or anti-authority stances, or in their secret and anti-establishment nature (like hackers and Wikileaks) the author builds a strong argument for the continuity of the Illuminati’s philosophies in many of these groups and he makes a call for everybody to join in with their ideals of exposing corruption and removing the power from those who use it for personal benefit and don’t morally deserve it. Some of the arguments are very personal and down to the author’s interpretation, and as mentioned before, this is not a book that tries to expose both sides of the argument. I enjoyed the modern part and some of the comments and parallelisms it draws, although people who are strong believers in institutionalised religions might find it offensive, and some of its ideas can be too personal for others (his view of hackers and piracy might not be shared by many).

If readers are looking for an enthusiastic and eager discussion on the subject from somebody sympathetic to its tenets who expresses his opinion without hesitation, you will find it interesting, but it is not the book to read if one seeks a neutral or rigorously critical evaluation of the subject.

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review 2015-12-03 22:23
Beating Ruby
Beating Ruby (Spotless Series Book 2) - Camilla Monk

I had a great time reading this. Boo! to the fact that I was reading it during a time of year when my work-load is at its heaviest so I couldn't tear through it like I needed to, but I managed to grab moments to dive back in.

I love, love, loved the first book Spotless in this series. Mainly because it hit a sweet spot for me in reading I didn't even know I needed. It was funny, had a romance (even if I would not consider it a romance novel), had adventure, bad-ass characters, smart characters, great quotable lines, and some irreverence -- basically it hit my bent sense of humor in exactly the right place. But probably the best thing about it was that it felt fresh. it wasn't something I've read 1,000 times before.

This book continues in that vein. We get more of the geek-heroine Island who is a computer engineer. And we get more of the OCD but super sexy assassin March.

In this one they start off the book apart because at the end of the previous book, March has left Island alone for her own good. So she has moved on to a new boyfriend, Alex. I won't say anything about Alex because...spoilers... but I will say I was very suspicious of Alex from the jump. He felt too convenient. And, really, he just wasn't March.

The main plot if about a piece of security software that can do a lot of damage if it gets in the wrong hands and it pretty much does. Island decides to become a mini-sleuth and once she ends up in a air-shaft with a mouse eating her shoe... well lets just say things take off and don't look back.

Just like the previous book, this one globe trots, which is also fun. Unlike the previous book this one will cause one to rethink their relationships with various members of the animal kingdom including Sloths, Platypuses and baby Octopii (be free Krakky!).  Seriously, the scene at the Japanese restaurant where Island first meets the baby Octopus we come to know as Krakky is legit one of the funniest things I've read all year!


If you read this, read it for the fun dialogue and the adventure and the  throbbing undertone of romance between March and Island.  If you go in expecting a traditional romance trajectory then you might be disappointed because those two are not there yet.

Great series!

Received the ARC from the author.

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review 2015-01-10 00:00
The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution
The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution - Dennis Boutsikaris,Walter Isaacson,Walter Isaacson Folks, this review will be a little different. I gave this book a try, even made it to the third disc, and couldn’t get into it. A lot of the historical references and technical talk were unfamiliar to me (I’m a biologist, not a computer scientist), so the significance of much of the book was lost on me. However, My Main Man (M3) is a computer scientist and was totally caught up in this book. He kindly wrote the following review for my blog.

M3 here with a review of The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution.

Walter Isaacson has put together a compelling story of the people responsible for creating computers and the internet. He starts early with Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage in the mid-1800s and takes the reader on a biographical tour that includes Alan Turing, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and, of course, Al Gore. But Isaacson explains throughout that it’s not only these visionaries and geniuses we should thank for the digital revolution. Rather it was collaboration and team work that allowed for the big leaps, or more often, grinding progress that brought forth the computer age. Isaacson also shows how important the different “ecosystems”, as he calls them, were for innovation. Places like Bell Labs, Xerox PARC, Stanford University, and Silicon Valley along with the venture capitalists that kept things moving when big companies weren’t willing to take risks on early technology, were key as well.

20 minutes in, I was hooked. I have a Computer Science degree and had heard of many of the players Isaacson covered during my studies, but his book really brought them to life. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who works in a computer related field or is a technology entrepreneur, or who simply wants to learn just how wacky Gates, Jobs, and the rest were before they got famous. While lots of concepts and tech were covered by Isaacson, I think it will be accessible for the non-Geek too.

Why I read this book: Road trip with Nrlymrtl and she threw the audio book in the CD player. Just about every time we travel she’ll play an audio book that I probably wouldn’t have chosen otherwise and this one turned out to be a winner, for me at least.

Narration: Dennis Boutsikaris narrates the majority of the book and keeps things interesting by doing great impersonations of the various hackers, geniuses and geeks when reading their quotes. Unlike most non-fiction audiobooks I’ve listened to, The Innovators was far from boring. Boutsikaris’s vocal skill and Isaacson’s pace made it more fun for me than a serial biography about computer nerds probably ought to have been.

What I Liked: Learning about the personalities involved – most of these innovators were very colorful characters and the author did a great job making them real to me.

What I Disliked: Since several different innovators and teams were working on the same thing but at different ecosystems, some of the latter chapters started to feel repetitive – though it was interesting to see how different factors allowed one person or team to get ahead.
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