Friday, February 28, 2014

The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century)The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You have no heart if you don't feel grateful for what you have after reading this book.

It's been reviewed and talked about by men and women smarter and more eloquent then me. I don't have anything new to add most likely, but it's very hard to imagine the large scale suffering that's depicted in this story. We live like kings compared to those who literally had to scrape and pick to make a few pennies so they could eat each day. No daily job, so guarantee of success or survival, discrimination, and blind hate.

It’s far from being a happy tale, but it's one I will not likely forget.

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Lowland

The LowlandThe Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a tangled story of reprehensible behavior and love. The Lowlands capture lives and the decisions a family makes through the generations and the effects those decisions have on one another.

This book was pretty good, it became a chore to read the last 100 pages. I just wanted to get it done so I could move onto what was next. It was hard to relate with the story, because of the tragedy in involved. I'd like to read more of Lahiri to see if I'd enjoy some of her other works better.

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Monday, February 17, 2014

T25 Focus: Day 26

Out with Alpha, In with Beta.

Today was the first day of the Beta cycle, and it was a great workout.  I needed the change from the Alpha.  After 5 weeks of the same rotating workouts it was starting to get a little repetitive doing things like the run progression over and over if you know what I mean.

We're looking forward to continuing through the new workouts, so far they're intense but still fun.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Countdown City

Countdown City (The Last Policeman, #2)Countdown City by Ben H. Winters

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The continuing story of a former policeman facing the apocalypse, by trying to find someone who's gone missing. Mystery and danger litter his path to find his former babysitter's husband. He continues to look, though he's not sure what he'll find.

The Last Policeman trilogy's second book is just as good as its first. I'm really enjoying the series and look forward to reading the final book once it comes out. These books will likely find a home in my permanent collection.

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Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Last Policeman

The Last PolicemanThe Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So yeah, what do you do when you find out an asteroid is heading for the Earth and it's going to potentially cause mass extinction in several months? Do you give up, crossing things off your bucket list, or keep going on as you normally do, hoping for the best? The Last Policeman follows a police detective as he tries to solve a murder which appears to be suicide, something all too common since the world learned its fate.

I enjoyed Ben H. Winters' writing style. It flowed well and that made it easy to read the story engaging. I'll be moving to the second book in this trilogy next, I hope it's as good as this one.

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Nature Girl

Nature GirlNature Girl by Carl Hiaasen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book had a lot of quirky characters, they were crazy and outrageous. The plot was funny and at times absurd. I thought the author did a good job marrying the two elements together to produced a fun book full of shenanigans.

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Monday, February 10, 2014

T25 Focus: Day 21

My legs felt like cement this morning, especially when I hit the lunge progression.  I'm not excited about doing Total Body Circuit three times this week, but I'll get over it.  I'm looking forward to starting Beta.  I'm enjoying the workouts, but it will be a nice change.

Fables, Volume 1

Fables: The Deluxe Edition, Vol. 1Fables: The Deluxe Edition, Vol. 1 by Bill Willingham

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The idea of fabled characters and creatures living in the real world is fun. The idea of those characters being forced out of their words by "The Adversary", an evil being who's conquered the fables homelands, and you've got gold. If you can think of a fairy tale character from Snow White to Dorothy and Todo, they're in there.

This collection of the first ten issues of Fables, covers two different story arcs. Bill Willingham's writing is superb, though it takes time to think about the characters in any other light than what you've seen or read in years past, yeah I'm talking about you Goldilocks.

I have many more volume to catch up on.

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Saga, Volume 1

Saga, Volume 1Saga, Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I snickered when reading the first panels of Saga. It wasn't overtly funny, but it had a certain charm and grit that caught me. That held up through the whole first volume.

Brian Vaughan’s writing and storyline was excellent, but it was Fiona Staples’ artwork that I enjoyed the most. I’ll be reading volume two fairly soon, and will be waiting for volume three in April.

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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Elantris

ElantrisElantris by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Elantris fell, it fell hard. Its God like people apparently cursed were shut behinds it's filthy walls and ignored. No one knows how someone is chosen to be an Elantrian, but no one wants to one … not anymore.

Even in his first novel, Brandon Sanderson creates elaborate characters and worlds with ease. I really enjoyed this book and hope he writes a sequel as it's been rumored. I’ve yet to be disappointed with Sanderson’s writing.

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Monday, February 3, 2014

T25 Focus: Day 16

We finished week three on Friday, stretched yesterday, and started week four today.  In no time we'll be done with the Alpha cycle and heading into Beta.  The workouts are still going well and we're feeling good.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Power Games

Power Games (Operation Enduring Unity, #1)Power Games by Richard Peters

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have a policy and it’s called honesty. Richard Peters, the author, sent me a copy of this book to read and review and asked for feedback, whether it was negative or positive. As you read through, I hope that my words will be helpful. As someone who’s writing his first novel, I hope that others will be kind enough to help me like this when the time comes.

I’m crazy about the post-apocalypse and dis-utopian society. The idea of a second civil war gripping the United States of America easily fits into both of those quite easy. I had finished another book the day before I received a copy of Power Games and luckily I had a free rainy Saturday, so I read.

The story starts with bang, literally. Quickly after the opening scene the situation spirals out of control, the balance of power teeter on a knives edge. Before you can almost blink, a high-stakes game of chicken involving Congress, individual States, and the President develops.

I’ll be real honest; I didn’t really like characters in this story. That’s not a bad thing unless I was supposed to like particular ones. I couldn’t even root for anyone, I felt like they were all very easy to hate. This especially rang true for any of the politicians and most of the press. If you like a lot of detailed battle scenes, this is the book for you. Each of the firefights and full-fledged battles were laced with military jargon, tactical detail, and a grisly imagery.

The biggest issues I had were pretty simple. I got lost here and there as the story progressed. The scenes pick up speed the further I progressed through the book. Essentially the story and characters started to blur together. I hope in further installments that the characters develop more and that I get to know them a little better.

Long story short is that I liked the story and wish I could give it a three and a half stars instead of three. I look forward to seeing where it goes, since the ending defiantly leaves things unresolved and the horizon open.

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Citrix Smart Check Setup on XenDesktop/XenApp Video Walk-through

In this video walk-thro ugh  we setup Smart Check, one of Citrix's Smart Tools.  We used Citrix Cloud and XenDesktop. Here's a ...