I love post-apocalyptic fiction and its ilk, so I thought I'd enjoy this natural disaster survival book. It was, sadly, rather boring. Ashfall starts off decently, getting right to the action, but it tapers off pretty quickly as we follow Alex on his journey east to find his family. Stuff happens, but most of it isn't interesting - there's way too much description of how he travels and mundane details about the roads he's on, the kind of food he's eating, and people who have no relevance to the story. I appreciate Mullins' attempt at painting a realistic picture of what might happen in the event of the Yellowstone eruption (he does not shy away from violence, death, rape, cannibalism or starvation), but the book lacks a sense of depth on these heavy issues. The human against human violence was given less weight (meaning time spent discussing or describing it) than the unnecessarily gory animal butchering scenes. If you're not turned off by these themes, I'd recommend Cormac McCarthy's The Road instead.
Switch is an excellent book on the psychology of change. The Rider/Elephant/Path analogy the authors use works very well (though admittedly it is not their own idea, it is a borrowed concept from another book), and the book is full of examples and anecdotes that show the methods at work. Without giving you answers for every problem you might face and want to overcome, Switch gives you a blueprint for how to work at making changes in your personal, social, and business life.
I'm willing to accept a lot of ridiculousness in the manga I read but this one was too much even for me. It was so nonsensical I couldn't even finish the first volume.
Realistic fiction is generally not my cup of tea, and I've already read (and lived) my fair share of "fitting in" stories, so I was hesitant to pick up Wonder, but I had heard from so many people how much they liked it that I thought I'd give it a try.
For the most part, I liked Wonder. I thought Palacio did a great job of making Auggie seem like a very normal, average boy with the exception of his physical different-ness. His voice feels very authentic, and I love that he loves Star Wars. I also liked the chapters told from his sister Via's point of view, but I thought the other POVs pulled the focus off of Auggie (I am reading this book for his story, after all!)
The book lost me is at the very end, where the conclusion was overly sentimental, basically undoing all the good will it had been building over the course of the story. I can't say too much without giving away what happens, but I will say that I was disappointed in it.
If you love Jones' Chrestomanci books, don't miss these short stories! Warlock at the Wheel is somewhat reminiscent of O. Henry's "The Ransom of Red Chief" and, although funny, probably the weakest story of the bunch. Stealer of the Souls features the friendly faces of Cat and Tonino, and thus really feels like it's part of the Chrestomanci canon. I probably enjoyed Carol Oneir's Hundredth Dream the most, probably because I get a kick out of Carol the "child star" and her overly involved mother. The Sage of Theare reminds me the most of reading Chrestomanci for the first time - new, unfamiliar world with a sense of something much larger going on.