I think I’m going to be sticking with this rapid reviews style for the foreseeable future. I’m still enjoying my reads, but I’m struggling to review them at any length.
It’s All a Game, by Tristan Donovan
Board games have been with us longer than even the written word. But what is it about this pastime that continues to captivate us well into the age of smartphones and instant gratification?
In It’s All a Game renowned games expert Tristan Donovan opens the box on the incredible and often surprising history and psychology of board games. He traces the evolution of the game across cultures, time periods, and continents, from the paranoid Chicago toy genius behind classics like Operation and Mouse Trap, to the role of Monopoly in helping prisoners of war escape the Nazis, and even the scientific use of board games today to teach artificial intelligence how to reason and how to win. With these compelling stories and characters, Donovan ultimately reveals why board games have captured hearts and minds all over the world for generations.
I’m not hugely into history, but when this book popped onto my radar, I thought I’d give it a go as I am a fan of games. I found the later chapters more interesting as they covered games I know and love. I wasn’t as keen on the earlier chapters as they were more based in history and what people can tell from artefacts. This only counts towards my Goodreads goal, as I bought it earlier in the year. I gave it 3*.
Zero, by Marc Elsberg
The million-copy bestselling international thriller with a terrifyingly real plot – what if the things we share about ourselves online get into evil hands?
The more you share, the more they take. What will you have left?
How much of ourselves are we putting online? When a teenager is shot dead after chasing a criminal in the street, investigating journalist Cynthia Bonsant is led to the popular social media platform Freemee, a competitor to Facebook whose lifestyle app claims to give you everything you need to succeed in life: confidence, knowledge, money . . .
But there is someone who warns against its evils: ZERO, the world’s most-wanted activist, known for his viral videos campaigning against the loss of privacy in the digital age, growing data theft at government level and the rising number of teenage suicides.
As Cynthia gets closer to unravelling the evil mastermind behind the Freemee site, she herself becomes a target, and runs for her life into the sewers. But in this world of surveillance cameras, data glasses and intelligent smart phones there is nowhere to hide . . .
I thought this had an interesting idea for a plot, and was initially gripped. However, it started to become a little far fetched the further the story went along, and I began to lose interest. I probably wouldn’t read another book by the author – both books I’ve read (Blackout review here) started well but went downhill. This was from my own shelf and I gave it 3*.
What Falls Between the Cracks, by Robert Scragg
Did she slip through the cracks, or was she pushed? When a severed hand is found in an abandoned flat, Detective Jake Porter and his partner Nick Styles are able to DNA match the limb to the owner, Natasha Barclay, who has not been seen in decades. But why has no one been looking for her? It seems that Natasha’s family are the people who can least be trusted. Delving into the details behind her disappearance and discovering links to another investigation, a tragic family history begins to take on a darker twist. Hampered by a widespread fear of a local heavy, as well as internal politics and possible corruption within the force, Porter and Styles are digging for answers, but will what they find ever see the light of day?
I enjoyed the plot of this to start, however I found the office politics all got a bit too much. There were parts that were fast paced, then other parts dragged. I nearly DNF’d it several times. I did however really like the characters of Porter and Styles, and enjoyed their banter. This was borrowed from the library, and I gave it 3*.