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REVIEW: WHITE SAND VOLUME 2

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Politics and conspiracy... The second installment in Sanderson's  WHITE SAND  trilogy is one that I couldn't wait to get into (so, I didn't) and I was very pleased to find this was (mostly) better than the first volume in every way. HOW I RATED IT  4.5/5  More exquisite artwork, new information about Sand Mastery, and a more cohesive plotline all made VOLUME 2 of the WHITE SAND trilogy a near-perfect reading experience for me. A deeply unfortunate artist switch in the final chapter of this installment is the main reason, I don't think this is a full 5/5 read.    CHARACTERS Kenton and Khrissilla pick up their missions right where VOLUME 1 left off and I really enjoyed seeing how each of them went about chasing their respective goals. It was also interesting to see how similar they both are in terms of their stubbornness. This time around, some of the characters whose names I couldn't even remember in the first installment, had a much more memorable role to play her

MINI REVIEW: THE FINAL HOUR

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Visions and signs ... I'd received  THE FINAL HOUR as a gift a couple years ago now, but I had a feeling that the subject matter would not resonate with me so I'd avoided putting it off until recently.  HOW I RATED IT  2/5  I don't want to tear this book apart as I think it was written with a desire to do good, but I just found myself in such a poor mental, emotional, and spiritual state while reading most of THE FINAL HOUR which was clearly not the author's intent. CONTENT At it's core, THE FINAL HOUR seems like it is meant to be a very spiritual and perhaps even inspirational book about the signs of the end times and various Marian visions from Fatima to Medjugorje and a host of other sites where the Blessed Mother is said to have appeared to faithful and unfaithful alike. The book is at it's best when it sticks to the details of these apparitions and echoes the message of how important and powerful prayer is. The reasons the book fell so flat for me, when

REVIEW: WHITE SAND VOLUME 1

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Sand magic and gunpowder... Set within Brandon Sanderson's famous Cosmere,  WHITE SAND  is a graphic adaptation of one of Sanderson's earlier novels that was never published. The art style and concept has intrigued me for a while now, so I decided to give this series a try. HOW I RATED IT  4/5  Highly detailed art, a fascinating magic system that lends itself well to the graphic novel format, some interesting characters, and a sprawling world all contribute to making this a worthwhile read although some aspects of the plot and characterization held it back slightly for me.  CHARACTERS While I definitely enjoyed all the characters, fans of Sanderson may find that you don't get to know them as deeply as some of the characters from his novels. I think this is in part due to this being a graphic novel, but I will say that I appreciated moments where we actually do get some of Kenton's internal dialogue as I think that added a lot to my understanding of him and also served t

MINI REVIEW: SCRUM: THE ART OF DOING TWICE THE WORK IN HALF THE TIME

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The many applications of Scrum... I've been reading this as sort an informal book club with some people at work. While I'd read other Scrum-related books in the past, I'd never actually gotten around to this particular title and I am glad I finally did. HOW I RATED IT  4/5  Although SCRUM  does an amazing job of demonstrating all the different ways in which Scrum can help teams and organizations across multiple industries, but indulges a bit too much in the "sales pitch" and some may find it lacking in terms of providing advice on how to avoid some of the pitfalls and challenges that some companies might encounter when using (or more accurately, misusing) this framework.  CONTENT For the uninitiated, Scrum is a framework (a structure for doing things) used by many Agile software development teams. In this book, Sutherland explains that there are a number of uses for Scrum outside of the software industry. It was also interesting to learn that Scrum has its roots i

AUGUST READS

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Following up from July, I was able to get a nice variety of books read. This month was mainly focused on making a dent in my physical TBR of already-owned books as well as finishing up an audiobook I started last month. 1. THE BIGGEST LIE IN THE HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY This was a  5/5  for me After waiting way too long to finally pick this up, I slowly read through this reflective and elegantly simple book about filling up your life with little moments of listening to one's calling. There isn't anything super complex or novel in terms of the advice given, but I've always felt like there is something beautiful and humbling about going back to the basics. I think this is a helpful guide for anyone who just needs a reminder about how to achieve a life of holiness and grace through small acts of good.  Full review here 2. THE WAY OF KINGS (THE STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE #1) I gave this a solid  4/5  stars Technically, I'd been reading this since the beginning of July, but the book

MINI REVIEW: THE BIGGEST LIE IN THE HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY

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A lie and a truth... I'd received a copy of this book during the Christmas season from the church that I go to. For some reason, it's taken me a long time to actually pick it up, but I am so glad that I finally did.  HOW I RATED IT  5/5  This short, introspective book is one of the most insightful and life changing reads I have ever picked up.  CONTENT I was about to begin my review by saying that "there's probably not very much that can be said about Matthew Kelly that hasn't been said before," but then I read some of the reviews (primarily on Goodreads) and found myself truly horrified with the number of Christians that seem to just wake up and choose absolute violence against their own. So, I would like to lay out my humble opinion on what this book is and isn't.  In spite of what the provocative title might imply, the overall themes in this book are actually quite fundamental. I am not especially well read in Kelly's writings or even religious text

REVIEW: THE WAY OF KINGS (THE STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE #1)

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Stormfather, this was good!... I've wanted to get into Brandon Sanderson's STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE for a while now, but found myself very intimidated by the size of  these novels (which tend to come in at a massive 1,000 pages each). Finally, I decided to try to give the audiobook a try even though I haven't had much success with that format before.   HOW I RATED IT  4/5  This absolute tome of a book delivers on some amazing character arcs and an intriguing through line that takes a bit longer to develop than I would have wanted it to, but still offered an enjoyable adventure with tons of great world building. CHARACTERS The characters are really what take center stage in this sweeping epic fantasy. There aren't an overwhelming number of them, but there are several key perspectives that the main story is told from as well as numerous side characters within each arc. In addition to all of that, the book features a number of preludes and interludes that are told from entirely