Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Review of "Altered Carbon" by Richard Morgan

Brief Summary: Altered Carbon is a novel detailing how an enhanced criminal worse on a supposed murder case for a wealthy and very old man.

Long Review: The universe of Altered Carbon is rich with detail and makes reading very enjoyable. I will only give a brief overview of the characters as spoilers would ruin the book. A criminal from another world who has been in storage has been transported back to Earth to solve a crime. He is employed by a very wealthy and rich individual who supposedly killed himself. Takeshi Kovacs, the criminal, starts to unravel the mystery of the crime and makes several people's lives better in the process. 

I very much enjoyed listening to this book. I picked it up after watching the first season on Netflix and I was still interested in listening. There are a few differences from the show but none that distract from the main plot. The book is written with such detail you feel present. As the first in a series I found it self contained enough that I am not particularly interested in reading the rest of the series. I wouldn't mind but as it isn't available in the library I will probably wait to read them.

Rating: 3/5

Other Works: Broken Angels, Woken Furies, Thirteen

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Review of "Artemis" by Andy Weir

Brief Summary: Artemis is a crime novel set on the moon and follows Jazz and her work to repay an old debt.

Long Review: Jazz is a smuggler in Artemis, the city on the moon. Jazz works for everyone as a delivery person which makes her the best to smuggle goods into the city. She is working in the underbelly of the city to try and make a living for herself because of a falling out with her dad when she was in her teens. Her plans start to go awry and she is offered a new job which she can't refuse. The job goes sideways and she has to rely on her network to right the wrong and save the city.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Artemis. The book was in print and I couldn't put the screen down. I set down my crafting to read and that is unusual for me these days. I would recommend to anyone who enjoys crime, space related books and science.

Rating: 4.5/5

Other Work: The Martian

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Review of "No-Drama Discipline" by Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson

Brief Summary: No-Drama Discipline is a quick read on how to change your discipline perspective and have a happier, healthier family life.

Long Summary: In my continuing parenting research I found No-Drama Discipline and learned about how to connect and redirect. The main strategy presented to discipline a child is to first connect and then redirect. There were three points to think about the behavior causing you to consider discipline: why?, what lesson to teach them?, and How can you teach that lesson?. My favorite quote from the book was "when we know better, we do better." The book covers the science behind the brain and the upstairs, reasoning brain versus the downstairs, lizard brain. We want to focus on the 3 brain C's: the brain is changing, the brain is changeable, and the brain is complex. Our children are constantly learning and developing and our discipline approach should change and develop as well. The point why should be looked at by an acronym: HALT, Hungry, angry, lonely, tired. If your kid is one of these things could it be causing the outburst?

The book also presented ways to maintain response flexibility. Turn down the shark music (da da dum), chase the why, and think about the how. Connection strategies were to get down below the child's eye level, validate their feelings, stop talking and listen, and reflect back to them what you are hearing.

Discipline is teaching but you need to wait until the child and possibly you are ready to redirect. Be consistent but not rigid on boundaries. Exceptions are allowed but not the norm. Children and parents need to have insight, empathy, integration and repair ruptures. Strategies to help REDIRECT are: Reduce your words, Embrace the emotions, Describe what you hear, Involve the child, Re-frame a No into a conditional yes, Emphasize the positive, Creatively approach the situation, Teach Mindsight tools.

Overall I loved this book and plan on implementing these parenting strategies in my toolbox.

Rating: 4.5/5

Other works: The Whole Brained Child, The Yes Brain

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Review of "Killers of the Flower Moon" by David Grann

Brief Summary: David Grann addresses the birth of the FBI due to the killing of Osage Indians in Oklahoma and the murders which were not prosecuted.

Long Summary: The horrors recounted against Native Americans of the Osage tribe in this work brings to light the disregard for human life in the early part of the 20th century. While I am glad history is being preserved in having a book to read, I found the book hard to listen to due to the deceit and death of innocent human lives. The perpetrators had no regard for Native American lives and almost decimated an entire tribe of people. 

The book is separated into three parts. The first part recounts the story of Molly Burkhart and her family. The second is about investigator White and his work toward bringing the killers to justice. The third part is about further research by the author and his work finding nearly 600 suspicious deaths of Native American of the Osage tribe.

I would recommend this book if you are interested in learning more about Oklahoma history, the Osage tribe, or the birth of the FBI.

Rating: 3/5

Other works: The Devil and Sherlock HolmesThe Lost City of Z,

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Review of "Fire and Fury" by Michael Wolff

Brief Summary: "Fire and Fury" provides a synopsis of the first days in the Trump White House and illuminates the chaos of Donald J. Trump as president.

Long Summary: I will endeavor to keep my political views from influencing this review. The book was extremely well written. Overall, I did not get the impression the author was trying to influence the reader with his depiction of what was observed and reported. The content of this book gives great insight into events reported in popular media. There were a few spots where the book did drag, even at 1.25X speed but this had to do more with my lack of interest in the content at the time.

I would appreciate another book covering more time of DJT in office.

Rating: 3/5

Other Works: The Man Who Owns the NewsBurn Rate: How I survived the Gold Rush Years on the Internet

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Review of "The Dark Forest" by

Brief Summary: The Dark Forest expands on the previous novel and a resolution is reach to the problem introduced.

Long Summary: I do not feel I can write this review without spoilers therefore SPOILERS  LIE AHEAD.

The beginning of this book starts out with an ant, a character from the previous book, and a new character in this book. There is a discussion between the two characters that proves pivotal as the book continues. The books is centered around the wall facers who are humanities hope against Trisolaris.  They are supposed to come up with plans only in their minds to keep the sofans from discovering their plans. The book covers many years of the crisis. The wall facers have challengers from the ETO trying to discover their plans. One wall facer  meets his wall breaker. The main character who is being followed in this book is a wall facer and seems to not be planning at all but instead starts an unexpected family. The government in charge of overseeing him puts his family into stasis to get him to work on the project. The plan works and he starts to work on the project and gets put in stasis himself. When he awakes 200 years later he is in a new world where progress has advanced and the wall facer project is no more. Another wall facer meets his wall breaker and the main character is the only wall facer remaining. A tragedy strikes the worlds' space fleets when a probe from Trisolaris reaches the solar system. Luo Ji, the main character, is reinstated as a wall facer and in now humanities only hope. His plan seems to have worked and an agreement is reached between humanities and the Trisolarans.

All in all this book was frustrating, depressing, and fascinating. There is a lot to unpack and I can't wait until I have someone to discuss the book with in person.

Rating: 4/5

Other works by the Author: The Three Body ProblemDeath's EndBall LightningThe Wandering EarthTaking Care of Gods