The Gathering Storm (Daughters of the People #6)

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Summary:

Born a Viking and an immortal warrior of the People, Sigrid Glyvynsdatter has spent her entire life chasing wars and men, not necessarily in that order. Now one of the People's leading geneticists, she longs for the thrill of battle and the spoils of war. Even her work on the recently discovered Bones of the Just isn't enough to break the routine boredom she's fallen into.

Until Will Corbin snags her attention with a stolen kiss.

Will has been watching Sigrid from behind the bar of his parents' pub since she walked through its doors two years ago. In a fit of exasperation, he dares to kiss the woman he's wanted for so long, risking her wrath and his life.

But will that one kiss lead to something more, or will the forces aligned against them destroy the fragile attraction stretching between Will and Sigrid before they can fall in love? (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Please note: I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the author and I voluntarily chose to write a review

Review:

In this much-awaited book we finally get to find out (some!) what happens next in the world of the People and what is yet to come with the Shadow.  Will is one of the characters I was hoping would end up with a happy ending and I was happy to hear that he was the focus of this book along with Sigrid.  Sigrid is an interesting character who has been a daughter much longer than many and in an interesting way has a both more and less flexibility because of it.

I found this book to be a little less intense than some of the previous books, but that is partially in the nature of the topic being based locally for the People.  This was a book that had a lot of setup for the next books to come so it will be particularly interesting to see what happens as they start to bring the different stakeholders together.  All in all it was wonderful to be thrown back into the series and I cannot wait to hear what happens next!

Warning: Contains violence and repeated sexual content.

Rating: 4 stars!

Who should read it? Fans of kickass women and the series – start at the beginning though!

Want to read the whole series?

Tempests and Slaughter (The Numair Chronicles #1)

Tempests and Slaughter

Summary:

Arram. Varice. Ozorne. In the first book in the Numair Chronicles, three student mages are bound by fate . . . fated for trouble.

Arram Draper is a boy on the path to becoming one of the realm’s most powerful mages. The youngest student in his class at the Imperial University of Carthak, he has a Gift with unlimited potential for greatness–and for attracting danger. At his side are his two best friends: Varice, a clever girl with an often-overlooked talent, and Ozorne, the “leftover prince” with secret ambitions. Together, these three friends forge a bond that will one day shape kingdoms. And as Ozorne gets closer to the throne and Varice gets closer to Arram’s heart, Arram begins to realize that one day soon he will have to decide where his loyalties truly lie.

In the Numair Chronicles, readers will be rewarded with the never-before-told story of how Numair Salmalín came to Tortall. Newcomers will discover an unforgettable fantasy adventure where a kingdom’s future rests on the shoulders of a talented young man with a knack for making vicious enemies. (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

This was a wonderful reminder as to why I love Tamora Pierce so much.  She’s so wonderful at making the ordinary extraordinary and giving clear insight into the day-to-day experiences of the characters.  It was interesting to hear her write a male character for the first time (in the Tortall realm) although I can’t say that I found any significant difference to her other books. 

Numair as a child is unusual and it’s interesting to see how different he is than the adult he becomes.  Of course, being a story about his early years, there’s a ton of foreshadow - particularly when it comes to characters and how their relationships intermingle.  The main reason this book didn’t hit five stars for me is because there wasn’t much of a conflict, climax or resolution.  Instead, this was a book of setup around Numair and who is about to become.  We know what will eventually happen (to some degree) in the next book, but this was the foundation for that to build upon.

Warning: Contains violence.

Rating: 4 stars!

Who should read it? Fans of the Tortall realm, but if you’re not familiar with the series, I’d recommend at least reading the “Wild Magic” books before diving into this series.

Want to read the whole series?

  • The Exile’s Gift (The Numair Chronicles #2)

Case in Point

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Summary:

Cosentino demystifies the consulting case interview. He takes you inside a typical interview by exploring the various types of case questions and he shares with you a system that will help you answer today's most sophisticated case questions. (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

For being one of the most popular case books, I found this book less useful than expected.  The one thing that I will say it does have going for it is that it’s a quick read.  If you are completely unfamiliar with what a case interview is, it may be a good introduction and overview to general approaches that can be taken to address cases.  That being said, if you’re looking for true case preparation, I’d recommend “Case Interview Secrets” by Victor Cheng as I think it gives a structure that is easier to apply to multiple scenarios (rather than trying to memorize 12 different frameworks).

The reason this book still got 3-stars is because I found it a decent point of reference and something that I used to prompt my memory through the preparation process.  I’d still recommend the book, but only if you’re going to also read other books.  If you’re only going to take the time to read one case book – give this one a skip.

Rating: 3 stars!

Who should read it? Folks completely unfamiliar with case interviews and are looking for an introduction to the concept.

The Sellout

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Summary:

A biting satire about a young man's isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, Paul Beatty's The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game. It challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life, the civil rights movement, the father-son relationship, and the holy grail of racial equality - the black Chinese restaurant.

Born in the "agrarian ghetto" of Dickens - on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles - the narrator of The Sellout resigns himself to the fate of lower-middle-class Californians: "I'd die in the same bedroom I'd grown up in, looking up at the cracks in the stucco ceiling that've been there since '68 quake." Raised by a single father, a controversial sociologist, he spent his childhood as the subject in racially charged psychological studies. He is led to believe that his father's pioneering work will result in a memoir that will solve his family's financial woes. But when his father is killed in a police shoot-out, he realizes there never was a memoir. All that's left is the bill for a drive-thru funeral. 

Fueled by this deceit and the general disrepair of his hometown, the narrator sets out to right another wrong: Dickens has literally been removed from the map to save California from further embarrassment. Enlisting the help of the town's most famous resident - the last surviving Little Rascal, Hominy Jenkins - he initiates the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school, which lands him in the Supreme Court. (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

This is a book that were I in a different point in life I probably would have gritted my teeth and finished it up.  I gave the book 100 pages and then called it an abandonment.  While I don’t think I disliked the book as much as some people, I did find the book extremely repetitive and very clear that the main themes were going to be visited and revisited.  Although there were some clever twists and satire mixed in, I just dreaded going back to the book and ultimately decided the fact that it won the Booker award wasn’t reason enough to stick with it.

Another difficulty was choosing to read this book with a highly international book club.  Many of the American references were lost on them and style of writing made it incredibly difficult to explain.  I find that another strike against the book as I generally think of books as something accessible to everyone.

Warning: Contains repeated violence.

Rating: 1 stars!

Who should read it? Folks interested in finding out what all the fuss is about and willing to go in for the long haul.