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Last chapter was my favorite. Before that this was teetering on not being a keeper. I also enjoyed the alternate reality story and White House crush sLast chapter was my favorite. Before that this was teetering on not being a keeper. I also enjoyed the alternate reality story and White House crush story. Strangely least interested in what her daily life / job are like. And I sympathize with B.J. Novak's feelings on theater....more
This was about a woman who had some magic but it was locked away when she was a child, for the same reason for that she changed her name and avoids peThis was about a woman who had some magic but it was locked away when she was a child, for the same reason for that she changed her name and avoids people with magic. Then her scoundrel husband dies and she inherits a house in a town where it looks like her past is coming to get her.
This was a book that falls squarely into 'fun read' category. Read in on setting, enjoyed myself, and you can't really expect more than that. The dialog is snappy and cute and most of the characters are quirky and interesting. I didn't know this was the third book in a series, so it sort of works fine as a standalone, but I did feel like past couples from previous romances were showing up and their voices didn't feel distinct so I got confused by who was who amongst that group. That was one issue, otherwise I did enjoy the magic part of the world building and general weird personalities and humor. Probably the other issue was there were parts where it did feel a little schmaltzy for me and there was something about the wrapup of the conflicts that felt almost too easy.
P.S. I liked this hero. Very dry, almost expressionless British guy, the bad guy in the past, who really has a surprising inner world of emotion. Really liked his interactions with the heroine....more
Story set in a world where people believe that they are governed by certain elements: water, earth, wood, fire, air, which are reflected in their persStory set in a world where people believe that they are governed by certain elements: water, earth, wood, fire, air, which are reflected in their personalities... This is never clearly explained but what you glean from the narrative as its very woven into the society and peoples behavior is often explained by the fact that they are clearly of a certain element. When a child is born their father goes out to find 3 'blessings' with the help of strangers. These blessings come in the form of coins stamped with a glyph and are said to inform one's whole life. Blessings can also be received throughout a persons life: people go to nearby temples, dip their hands into them, and then read what the future portends from what they've picked.
Zoe Ardelay is a coru woman, which means she's affiliated with the element of water. At birth she was gifted with the blessings for beauty, love, and power, but so far she hasn't felt that any of her blessings have come to pass. She is just starting to grieve the death of her father when a man comes to her remote village to tell her that she has to go with him back to the city she was born, in order to become the King's fifth wife. Numb with grief, Zoe goes along, but when she reaches the city, she manages to shake away some of her complacency, long enough to slip away at the first opportunity.
3.5 stars. Great world building and premise and I enjoyed the light romantic elements and the magic system, but there were parts where the plot meandered somewhat. I felt suspicious when this aimlessness was saved by one convenient twist which was then revealed to be still not the full story, then yet again not the full story. But quite a nice read despite that niggle - I do want to read the next book....more
I read this months ago but I remain fascinated by it and often remember some of the insights from this book. This seems to be about REALLY looking atI read this months ago but I remain fascinated by it and often remember some of the insights from this book. This seems to be about REALLY looking at a demographic, finding out what draws them to something and then using these insights to market to these consumers. But it also is interesting as a book about cultures around the world. It felt like Lindstrom was an anthropologist discovering the hearts of other civilisations and explaining what made them beat to me. As someone who has lived as a "foreigner" in a couple different places these observations resonated (eg. What people in different countries saw as elegant and aspirational, elevator etiquette and smalltalk in the U.S., and how belonging to a pack can drive customer loyalty). Recommend if you are someone who loves learning about different cultures (or more about your own)....more
Fascinating book that basically explains how "talent" which people often attribute to success in a chosen field is not really what makes success happeFascinating book that basically explains how "talent" which people often attribute to success in a chosen field is not really what makes success happen, but rather other factors like opportunity, access, and a drive to improve. Has a lot of real-world examples that back up "best-practices" to get yourself where you want to be. I felt somehow cheered up by the idea that being excellent at something IS hard work and takes time. Would recommend if you enjoyed Gladwell's Outliers, as it feels like a good companion book to that....more
Borrowed from library - I'm on a productiveness self-help kick this year. This book is mostly about how easy it is to slide back to old behaviors despBorrowed from library - I'm on a productiveness self-help kick this year. This book is mostly about how easy it is to slide back to old behaviors despite your best intentions to do better in some aspect of your life. It's easy to rationalize and make excuses, so the basic idea is to really track your effort and through that keep yourself more accountable: are you REALLY trying? And what external factor may be affecting us? I give this book high points for pointing out something obvious yet something that is easy to lie to yourself about (we're "superior planners but inferior doers"). People tend to rate themselves higher than where they actually are, and this affects improving themselves. And people tend to discount that they are affected by other people or circumstances outside themselves. My takeaway was the importance of goals and tracking them, and having that data to help reach the goals. But I do feel that something about the writing made it not stick in my head as much as I'd like. It's only been 2 weeks since I finished this but I feel it fading away quickly....more
Read it because it falls under the category of "I hear about this book so much I want to see what everyone's talking about". Pretty well known for intRead it because it falls under the category of "I hear about this book so much I want to see what everyone's talking about". Pretty well known for introducing the 10,000 hour rule which a lot of programmers talk about. Found it fascinating when it comes to explaining success but focusses a lot on things that are luck and circumstance, like birth month and culture, less about how individuals can create their own success. So felt like this was interesting, but less practical than Duhigg's Smarter Better Faster. It does however lay the foundation for understanding how small advantages can snowball into success, and how hard work (and knowing how to communicate the right way in certain situations) is a necessary part of the formula. Also pretty interesting if you find learning about how cultures are different from one another interesting, which I'm always fascinated by....more