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review 2018-11-16 08:22
Gentleman-in-waiting: "So Good They Can't Ignore You" by Cal Newport
So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love - Cal Newport



After having finished "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck", I wanted to read this one to work as a counterpoint. I'm glad I did.


When I was younger, I watched Jurassic Park one and two, and I wanted to be Steven Spielberg! Doing well in my dance classes made me want to be a professional tap dancer. Watching Top Hat and West Side Story made me want to combine both aspirations to become a director of musicals, both film and theatre! By the time I was in secondary school, the arts were not viewed as a viable career option, and out of law, engineering, and other traditional subjects, I choose to become a Computer Scientist. I was in my final year at university studying Computer science, and I'd happily have remained a gentleman-in-waiting for several more years to save up and see the world! (I didn't have a career goal that I was passionate about).

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-11-16 07:10
Thoughts: The Woman Left Behind
The Woman Left Behind - Linda Howard

The Woman Left Behind

by Linda Howard
Book 2 of GO-Team

 

 

Jina Modell works in Communications for a paramilitary organization, and she really likes it.  She likes the money, she likes the coolness factor—and it was very cool, even for Washington, DC.  She liked being able to kick terrorist butts without ever leaving the climate-controlled comfort of the control room.

But when Jina displays a really high aptitude for spatial awareness and action, she’s reassigned to work as an on-site drone operator in the field with one of the GO-teams, an elite paramilitary unit.  The only problem is she isn’t particularly athletic, to put it mildly, and in order to be fit for the field, she has to learn how to run and swim for miles, jump out of a plane, shoot a gun... or else be out of a job.

Team leader Levi, call sign Ace, doesn’t have much confidence in Jina--who he dubbed Babe as soon as he heard her raspy, sexy voice--making it through the rigors of training.  The last thing he needs is some tech geek holding them back from completing a dangerous, covert operation.  In the following months, however, no one is more surprised than he when Babe, who hates to sweat, begins to thrive in her new environment, displaying a grit and courage that wins her the admiration of her hardened, battle-worn teammates.  What’s even more surprising is that the usually very disciplined GO-team leader can’t stop thinking about kissing her smart, stubborn mouth…or the building chemistry and tension between them.

Meanwhile, a powerful Congresswoman is working behind the scenes to destroy the GO-teams, and a trap is set to ambush Levi’s squad in Syria.  While the rest of the operatives set off on their mission, Jina remains at the base to control the surveillance drone, when the base is suddenly attacked with explosives.  Thought dead by her comrades, Jina escapes to the desert where, brutally tested beyond measure, she has to figure out how to stay undetected by the enemy and make it to her crew in time before they’re exfiltrated out of the country.

But Levi never leaves a soldier behind, especially the brave woman he’s fallen for.  He’s bringing back the woman they left behind, dead or alive.



The truth is that this book probably doesn't deserve more than 3 Stars.  It isn't the best outlined, and would even come across as fairly boring to anyone looking for an action-packed story where our heroine gets left behind, and needs to fend for herself until her team comes back for her.  But the summary blurb is a little bit misleading, frankly, and the action-packed part of the book really doesn't take place until well into the last half of the book.

The Woman Left Behind had tons of potential to be a great book, but it fell short of that by maybe spending too much time on Jina's day-to-day training life with the GO-Team she's been re-assigned to work with.  This part of the book, in itself, is already a little unbelievable, and requires a very high willingness to suspend disbelief.

By narrative, Jina ends up spending six months on physical training and drone training.  In the book, there are times where you want to get on with the story.  On the other hand, I can't find myself just blowing off that first half of the book she spends challenging herself and pushing herself to physical limits she never knew she had.  And I honestly loved the camaraderie built between her and a team of macho super paramilitary men who didn't think she was going to make it in the first place.

Color me contradictory--those six months she spends getting to know her knew teammates was truly loads of fun.  I love a character driven story, and I love great character interaction, and this book certainly had that in spades.  To others, it might come off dragged out and too banal for a romantic suspense, or military romance thriller.  And once again, the entire ordeal requires a certain amount of suspension of disbelief anyway--because who in their right mind actually thinks its a great idea to take a bunch of chair-bound tech geeks and force them through high impact military precision training so that they can join these elite GO-Teams in dangerous operations?

I have a hard time believing that the higher ups couldn't have just transferred in some military personnel, already trained for battle, who also have great tech skills.

But moving along, because something about that entire training sequence sort of appealed to me anyway.

Yeah, I'm kind of wishy-washy in my opinions.

And speaking of the romance, for romance lovers, this book might also kind of fall to the wayside.

While we DO have a lovely couple to focus on, we unfortunately don't get to see much of the chemistry, or the romantic bond building between Jina and Levi.  And also, Levi sort of runs hot and cold, which helps him get categorized squarely on my asshole list.  I don't care that he also had some very good personality traits, he crossed a couple lines he shouldn't have crossed and that makes him an asshole.  The way that the romance was resolved made me a bit pissy.

On the other hand, I like how Jina's own self-revelation journey/conflict was concluded.  Somehow, it seems appropriate for her.

So without a whole lot of suspense and without a whole lot of romance, and without even a focal conflict, this book, instead, ends up becoming a sort of self-journey book for Jina, as an individual.  And it's a fairly thought-provoking journey that I thoroughly enjoyed.

And we'll just kindly side-step that strange, background villain subplot that lurked along the entire book, and took up precious book space every few chapters.

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/11/thoughts-woman-left-behind.html
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review 2018-11-15 18:52
Dark Force Rising / Timothy Zahn
Dark Force Rising - Timothy Zahn

The dying Empire's most cunning and ruthless warlord—Grand Admiral Thrawn—has taken command of the remnants of the Imperial fleet and launched a massive campaign aimed at the New Republic's destruction. Meanwhile, Han and Lando Calrissian race against time to find proof of treason inside the highest Republic Council—only to discover instead a ghostly fleet of warships that could bring doom to their friends and victory to their enemies.

Yet most dangerous of all is a new Dark Jedi, risen from the ashes of a shrouded past, consumed by bitterness… and scheming to corrupt Luke Skywalker to the Dark Side.

 

Recommended for Star Wars junkies and younger sci-fi readers.

The author leans heavily on the reader’s assumed knowledge of the Star Wars franchise. Now, it would seem that a person cannot live in our society these days without knowing the basics of the movies, but I admit that I have never watched them. So I have no emotional involvement arising from the films.

As I said in my review of Heir to the Empire, I find that these books would be better suited to the young adult age group and skewed toward the lower end of that—maybe age 11 to 14? Very simple vocabulary, uncomplicated plot, very black-or-white characterization. There are fights and deaths, but not described in gory detail. Princess Leia is pregnant, but that is the full extent of the acknowledgement of sexuality. Readers are very obviously supposed to be picturing Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill in their minds’ eye while reading and superimposing their film knowledge over the skeleton that Zahn provides.

Readers that enjoy this trilogy should also consider reading the Legend of Drizzt series by R.A. Salvatore. They require about the same level of reading ability and provide less graphic violence than some other science fiction/fantasy series.

Book number 298 in my Science Fiction & Fantasy Reading Project.

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review 2018-11-15 16:19
The Art of Unfuckdness: "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck" by Mark Manson
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life - Mark Manson

Ah, that reminds me of an old joke: Two guys meet their former colleague at a street corner and one of them says: “ Joe, we have a good laugh every time we talk about the day you told the boss you were fed up of daily project meetings and unmet milestones”

It is an invariable fact of life that the vast majority of people that go around declaring to the world at large that they don't give a fig about others opinions actually care more about them than those that stay quiet on the issue.

The author has just taken the title of a best-selling book (“The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, and chosen an alternative that will stand out in the bookshop and encourage newspapers to run excerpts that look good in bookshops. I think it's an attempt to piggyback on the success of Marie Kondo's book by being "inspired" by the title and hoping people will pay money without looking too hard at the contents of the book.
 
 
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.
 
 

 

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review 2018-11-15 15:52
Captivating the Earl by Callie Hutton

Captivating the Earl

Synopsis

Lady Elizabeth is hiding in the country as a governess, Miss Lizzie Moore. When handsome Lord Hawkins arrives at her employer’s house, she wants nothing to do with the roguish earl, even though her heart says otherwise.

Lord Hawkins is a rake of the highest order but when he is drawn to his cousin’s beautiful governess he must rein in his impulses. She can’t be his, though Hawk can’t stop thinking about her.

After an attempt on Lizzie’s life, Hawk learns who she really is. In defiance of orders from the Home Office to bring her in, he vows to protect her. Even though he’s not entirely sure she’s innocent, she is his responsibility. Lizzie doesn’t trust him but has grown to love him. When Hawk offers her the ultimate safeguard against nefarious scoundrels—his name—she refuses. She loves him, but fears she’s merely another one of his ’duties.’

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Review

It is an absolutely amazing historical fiction novel. I loved everything about it, the story, the characters, the starting, and the ending. I think it's perfect in every way.


Lizzie has been hiding since her father disappeared. She fears that the ton would not accept daughter of a traitor and it seemed like the right thing to do. She has found a perfectly acceptable position as a governess and has been living comfortably... until Lord Hawkins arrives at his cousin's estate. She hopes that he doesn't recognize her but more importantly than that it seems that they both have a mutual attraction which cannot be ignored. She is a member of the staff and it is unseemly for Lord Hawkins to pay her so much attention. However, the real trouble starts when he receives a letter from the Home Office and suddenly it appears that Miss Lizzie's life is in grave danger.


Hawk cannot believe that Miss Lizzie is actually Lady Elizabeth, but something about her had intrigued him right from the moment he met her. Now it is up to him to keep her safe and he cannot trust anyone. Because there seems to be another traitor in their midst, one who wants her dead. They both flee and must uncover the truth before something really bad happens.


As the two spend more time together they begin to realize how much they love each other. If this ended well they might find something truly beautiful to cherish for the rest of their lives.


It's a must read a historical romance novel. I loved the story, it's well-written and has some amazing characters. I especially loved Lizzie and Hawk's characters. Their story was definitely worth reading for me.

 

P.S. I received a complimentary copy of this book via NetGalley.

Source: mineofbooks.blogspot.com/2018/11/review-captivating-earl-by-callie-hutton.html
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