Mercy

This is the fourth and final book in the Atlee series. I felt like this book tried to be too much. It felt like the author knowing that this is the end of the series just tried to escalate the tension by throwing a little bit of everything at it in some type of thriller hodgepodge soup. I enjoyed the book but it was not as compelling to finish as all of the previous Baldacci books have been. As such, if you read the first three I recommend finishing the series. However just realize that you will have to swallow a pill of “oh yeah, well it gets worse from almost nowhere” I think I would have liked it better have he simply wrote two novellas instead of one novel trying to be two different things.

The Haunted Cabin Mystery

Boxcar Children number 20. After all the stuff I have been reading lately, it was nice to return to the Aldens. This was a cute little mystery that left you guessing until the end. Good misdirection and great resolution leaves you feeling good about old values. Reminds you that family is the most important thing. Recommended.

Lucind’s Secret / The Ironwood Tree

Books 3 & 4 of the Spiderwick Chronicles. These books are perfect for those reluctant readers in your life. They are quickly and punchy. A quick payoff even for slow readers. Being so short they feel like a single chapter in most books, but they do reach out and grab your attention. I enjoy them even though the overall plot of the book moves very slowly, as it is only minutely progressed in each book.

Armada

I hate to say it but even though I liked the ending, it was as much of a troupe as this whole book. If you want to read this story just read Ender’s Game. It feels like it is targeted to YA but the language does not feel like that at all. Almost trying to ring true to my generation but missing there too. This book is everything wrong that Ready Player One did right. But instead of doing its own thing it chased along in the well worn out trail of Sci-fi novels before it without bringing us a new perspective. Unfortunately, I like this authors other works but for this one, I would recommend you skip it.

Scientific Secrets for Self Control

This audiobook is available from The Great Courses. This is a high level overview of the subject of self control. There are several interesting citations on what causes us to lose control. Overall I feel that the interesting part of this book is that it helps to give attention to the choices we make and the state of mind we are in when such choices are made. That said, there were a few examples that I felt were flimsy or one sided and this it felt like the research might have been swayed. Of course the marshmallow experiment is cited. Overall, it is a three hour listen and I feel it is worth your time if only to get your feet wet in the subject.

Dragon Ghosts

Unwanted Quests book 3. Over half way through this five book spin-off series and it was a fun adventure. The thing I really liked about this book was the idea of bad assumptions. Too often we the protagonist always making the perfect assumption. I do feel like a portion of the remaining two book needs to be dedicated to Artime and the hinted at possible plot lines that could be associated with that. Overall the story was good just lacked that wowza moment. Hopefully it is building for the end of the series.

Dragon Bones

This was book 2 of the Unwanteds Quests. This was a good read. The pacing was on, I do wish that the twists were a little less predictable, but I guess that is what I get for reading YA. Aside from that the story line was good and no actual dragons were injured in the making of this book. The concept of inheriting traits through bones is as old as time, but this was a little different twists and I really that it was clever. Hope you enjoy it too.

Dragon Captives

This is the spin-off series for the Unwanteds. This was a good read. If you enjoyed the Unwanteds then you will enjoy this one. Personally I still feel like something is missing to this writing. I feel that it might be the lack of a thinking question. The pacing is great and the formula for the writing is good. But it feels like the story is hollow like it does not leave you with a hard question.

The Dead Zone

If you could go back and kill Hitler, would you? This is the idea behind this Stephen King novel. I really loved this novel, albeit I will warn that it has definite adult content. If you can get past those parts this novel like all of Mr. King’s will get you thinking. Being able to touch someone and see a vision, this becomes the curse. Living with something like this would be difficult. I love that we see the good and bad of this.

The Meritocracy Trap

I enjoyed this perspective to the condition of the workforce and what got us here. Twenty years ago my professors we talking about the diminishing middle class. This gives an explanation to why that is happening. It also pushes very hard on how the elite are continuing to pull ahead. All that said the book does get a little repetitive, but I feel like it is good information. This is something I would love to look at more in depth. Part of the fix that he calls out is availability of top tier education. It will be interesting to see if we can get that to happen with the push to online education. I will be surprised if the Ivy League does not cash into that market. I do not agree that there is no hope for the future, but I do expect that it will look different that any of us could imagine.