Marius Gheorghe

Building software : make it work, make it good, make it fast

Learn XNA 3.0

I have became pretty interested in game development lately (as a hobby)  and so i've started learning XNA. The first step was to read "Learn XNA 3.0" which is a pretty good book on the subject (although the XNA API could have been explained a little more thoroughly).

Coldfire trilogy

A somehow different fantasy trilogy. Has a few good points but the overall story arc is slightly disappointing  and it would have helped if the writing were a little more “direct”. Loved the conclusion from the last page though.

Unfortunately overall is hard to recommend.

Gears of war : Aspho Fields

 

I'm not much of a fan of literature inspired from gaming but this is a exception. It's a very nice written novel which bridges the gap between the 2 games (and it also deals with the Aspho fields battle from the Pendulum wars). So, if you played the game and you're interested in the Gears of War backstory, this is a must read.

Threat from the sea review

 

This had the potential to be GREAT but unfortunately it ended up being only mediocre. The first book is very interesting and sets up "the stage" just right but the next 2 simply don't deliver. It's a shame because the backstory is very interesting.

Starlight and shadows

The action in this trilogy takes place between the Drizzt and the War of the spider queen novels and the heroine is Liriel Baenre.

The first 2 books are pretty good but the third one is pretty far off ( both as writing style and as a continuation for the storyline). If you're interested in drows than it's worth reading...

War of the spider queen review



The "War of the spider queen"...a pretty big series comprised of 6 novels each written by a different author. When i found out about this i was a little put off...honestly i don't expect different authors to maintain the same style and coherency. And it looks that i was right... while the first 3 books are pretty good and maintain a certain coherence, the last 3 are considerably worse and the writing style appears slightly disjointed.
Overall the series is a interested read if you are a Forgotten Realms fan but if you're just looking for a good fantasy read....then go look elsewhere.

Chalion trilogy



Curse of Chalion : interesting fantasy novel. Recommended
Paladin of Souls : i guess the best word to describe this book would be "boring".
Hallowed hunt : dind't liked this at all.

Bridge of D'Arnath review


This series can be broken in 2 parts. The first 3 books form the main story arc while the last book seems an afterthought and the "action" happens a while after the events in the first 3 books.
The firat 2 books are pretty good. It's somehow refreshing to read a fantasy book in which the main character is not the usual guy but a middle aged woman. The book pacing is good with the action flowing nicely. I was pleasantly surprised by the series when i finished the second book. But the disaster stroke....i don't know what happened because the third book (which ends the main story arc) just plain sucks. Topped by a crappy unsatisfactory ending.
You could get away without reading the last book (and you won't miss much) but if you decide to read it.....simply put it it's just meh.

Html Utopia designing without tables using CSS



This is a book that presents the advantages of doing a design with div + CSS instead of tables. The books starts with a reasonably complex design and show its implementation using CSS. If would have been nice to also show a "table" implementation for comparation.
From my point of view the book fails to "convert" me to CSS. I DO understand all the theoretical advantages of a CSS based layout but the reality is quite different. It takes a LOT of time to create a reasonably complex CSS based layour that works fine on multiple browsers (it takes even more time if you want to support older versions of Internat Explorer). Honestly i do prefer to use a table based layout and use the extra time to make sure that i have a solid application.
But that's just my point of view....

The Book of Words trilogy

If you read fantasy then probably you heard of "Sword of Shadows" series by J.V.Jones. I can't confirm if the series is great of not because i have a habit of not reading series of books before the last volume is published. So wanting to read something by JV Jones, i have settled for "Book of Words".
It's a interesting read....more of a "light" fantasy but, nonetheless, interesting story and characters (although the characters were a bit "cliche"). The storyline itself could have been a little more "fleshed out", but in the end the books were worth reading.

Release It




This is easily one of the best programming books i have ever read. Simply put it, it's about building software for the real world. About designing a system that works well in a real world and that can take a ""beating"" :D.
It has plenty of good advices on how to achieve that.

Recommended

ShipIt


The books is described as ""a collection of tips that show you what tools a successful team has to use, and how to use them well"". My problem, as a professional software developer, with the book is that it's kind of light on content for professionals. I mean....telling me that i need to use source control is useless. I already know this stuff.
So, in the end, i guess the usefulnesses of the books depends very much on the level of the reader.