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review 2019-07-26 12:05
Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Work M... Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us - Dan Lyons

So it turns out that capitalism and most management theory is bunkum and dangerous and only serves investors and not workers.  There are a few companies who are working against that and it's interesting.  


It's kinda depressing to read but also a call to arms for many people trying to get by in this world.

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review 2019-05-28 11:31
Twists, turns, a fascinating backdrop and a new hero
The Never Game (Colter Shaw #1) - Jeffery Deaver

Thanks to NetGalley and to Harper Collins for providing me an early ARC copy of this novel that I freely chose to review.

Jeffery Deaver does not need an introduction. He has been writing and publishing crime and mystery novels and thrillers for a very long time, and he has been collecting awards and accolades for almost as long. Despite my interest in those genres, I hadn’t read any of his books yet, partly because I always hesitate to start reading a series halfway through (yes, and I had many other books to get on with). When I saw this novel, the first in a new series, I thought this was a good chance to remedy that.

This novel has all the required elements for those who love the genre: an enticing opening (in fact, we are given a glimpse of an extremely tense scene that will come much later in the book), a hero with pretty amazing abilities, a complex past, and a few secrets (and a curious name too, Colter Shaw), a twisted case that gets more and more complicated as we go along (red herrings, false endings, action scenes, bizarre clues, plenty of suspects), useless and useful members of law enforcement (LaDonna Standish is my favourite character in the whole book, and she ticks all the boxes: African-American, lesbian, married with a child, a woman from the wrong side of the tracks, intelligent, a good professional, dismissed and bullied by her co-workers), some sort of love-interest (I didn’t care too much for that aspect of the story), an intriguing backdrop to the story (Silicon Valley and the gaming industry), another case he is working on as well that is pretty personal for the hero, and a twist/hook at the end.

If you like the description and are seeking for those elements in a story, do not hesitate. I can’t fault Deaver’s writing. He knows his stuff and he delivers in all aspects. He knows how to bait the reader’s interest, and his mastery of plot is evident. He drops hints, and when you think you have worked out who is the guilty party, or what is going on, he pulls the rug from under your feet. He is good at combining a fairly modern writing style, including plenty of action and the latest technologies, with well-tried classical elements; including the final explanation of how he worked out who the guilty party was (it is not quite a Sherlock Holmes or Poirot moment, but not that far from it). Although most of the story is told in the third-person from Shaw’s point of view, we don’t get all the information he does, for very good narrative reasons.

Any negatives? I cannot compare this book to his previous novels, and although I’ve checked the reviews, it seems that some people see this as the beginning of another winning series (it seems that the character of Colter Shaw had already been introduced in one of his short-stories), and others feel that is far from his best work. For me, one of the issues was the main character. If you had told me about this man, who was home-schooled and grew up raised in a survivalist household in the mountains of California, whose parents were both brilliant professors, but whose father (Ash) suffered from paranoia and insisted in educating his children (two boys and a girl) in the art of survival, totally isolated from the world and who ended up dead in somewhat unclear circumstances; whose mother was her husband’s psychiatrist and chose to follow his radical lifestyle and indulge (?) his paranoia, whose brother disappeared, and who now lives by working on a variety of criminal cases and collecting rewards (but seems to have other financial means) while at the same time pursues his own investigation, I would have said we were onto a winner. He is skilled, he seems to be attractive, he has commitment issues (unsurprisingly), he is somewhat obsessive and does things his own way (he loves to keep notebooks and writes his observations by hand), he is clever and witty, calm and collected under pressure, and no danger or risk faces him. Although he is not that bothered about rules and regulations, he has a sense of morality and of right and wrong (and he chooses to do the right thing). Despite all those characteristics and his back story, which should have made the character irresistible and compelling, I didn’t feel a particular connection to him. I wonder if it was the third-person narration (we also get flashbacks of episodes of his childhood, as a way to flesh out the character’s background and to build up interest and offer more clues) or something else, but although he was interesting, I felt as if I was observing the action rather than getting really engaged and worried about what might happen to him (or most of the other characters). Perhaps it read too much like a movie, and I can take or leave action flicks (I enjoy them, but they don’t engage my mind for long). Some reviewers have compared the character (negatively) to Jack Reacher, and I guess other characters will come to mind for those who love the genre. The character himself goes to pains to explain he is neither a private investigator nor a bounty hunter, but I’m not sure that makes him unique or distinctive enough. As I said, most readers love the character, and I am convinced he’ll be further developed in future novels in the series, so this should not put anybody off if the rest interests you.

I saw some readers complaining about the fact that the book was centred around the world of computer games, some because they didn’t enjoy it and found that slowed the novel down, and others because they felt there were inaccuracies (I can’t comment on that), but although I’m not a gamer, I found the descriptions interesting (not too detailed) and enjoyed the main plot line and the mystery behind the kidnappings (it is not unique but it works well). I made some general comments about the ending earlier, and I’m trying to avoid spoilers, so I won’t go into it in more detail, but I agree that there seems to be a sudden and surprising change of direction at one point (some readers have complained of a “rushed” ending), although everything is explained and I guess that is the name of the game.

In sum, personally I enjoyed the story and the plot, but at this point I am not sure I’m interested enough to keep reading the series. On the other hand, I am convinced Deaver’s reputation is well deserved, and I intend to read more of his novels in the future. (I read a very early ARC copy of the novel, so it might well be that not all I say applies to the finished product).

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text 2018-08-07 06:26
Reading progress update: I've read 38%.
Bad Blood: Secret and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup - John Carreyrou

Wow, there are some full-blown sociopaths at work here. How was it possibly that Elizabeth Holmes could do this for 15 years. It´s unbelivable and reading this makes my skin crawl.


A fantastic book so far.

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review 2014-01-10 23:09
Angelfall by Susan Ee

When the angels of the apocalypse arrive, they are not here to save mankind. Just the opposite. They are avenging angels who are sent to destroy mankind in revenge for mankind killing the Angel Gabriel – known as The Messenger. The story opens in a war-torn California town not far from Silicon Valley. Seventeen year old Penryn accompanied by her paranoid schizophrenic mother and her younger wheel-chair bound sister venture away from their home as conditions worsen. Only minutes after they depart, they come upon a band of angels who are mercilessly cutting the wings off one of their own. They leave the bloody and battered angel victim where he lays as they make their departure but not before one of them swoops back and lifts Paige, the younger sister, from her wheelchair and carries her away.


Penryn vows to get her sister back and care for her family. But she sees an opportunity before her and acts on it. If she can nurse the wounded angel back to health perhaps he can lead her to where the angels have taken her sister. What follows is a thrilling roller coaster ride through what remains of humankind as they fight for our world and what remains of mankind.


I found this to be one of the best futuristic stories I’ve read in a long time. The characters came alive for me. Not just the humans but the angelic ones as well. The descriptions were vivid and put me right in the middle of the action. I found myself rooting alternately for the angels and the humans and sometimes both at the same time. A world where angels were enemies of humankind rather than our friends took some getting used to but it didn’t take this reader long to acclimate to this new and terrifying world.


Fast paced action will keep you turning pages. Complex characters that surprise at every turn will keep your interest piqued. Looking forward to reading Book 2.


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review 2014-01-07 02:17
ARC Review: This is Rage by Ken Goldstein
This is Rage: A Novel of Silicon Valley and Other Madness - Ken Goldstein

It's difficult to classify this book. I guess the closest would be to call this a financial suspense thriller, with social commentary deftly infused into each page.


I have to think a bit about what I want to say before writing up a full review. It was definitely a very interesting read. 



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