Magic Binds

“Did you run any of this by Curran?”

“I told him I was about to do something idiotic and dangerous, and he told me to go ahead and let him know if he could help in any way.”

“I don’t understand your relationship.”

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Gray Hat C#: A Hacker's Guide to Creating and Automating Security Tools

Odd book. Not quite what I expected. If you’re looking for a reference on how to tie one of the various mentioned tools into a C# project yourself, it will have a potentially useful starter at least. Other than that, the specific sections could use a bit more fleshing out to be useful alone and all together, it’s an odd combination.

Structurewise, the first section of the book was odd. Basically a tutorial of C#, but only a limited subset of functionality, chosen oddly. Then a number of web related things. Sure. Weird, but fair enough. Then we have SQL injections and XSS, which are discussed in more depth other places. Yes, this book ties them to C#, but it’s string processing. Nothing super specific to any particular language there.

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Magic Shifts

“Does everybody think I’m an asshole?” Curran asked.

“Only people who know you or have met you.

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Skyward

I imagined those broken rocks as the broken bodies of my enemies, their bones shattered, their trembling arms reaching upward in a useless gesture of total and complete defeat. I was a very odd little girl.

Spensa (Spin) is an odd girl in an odd world. Humanity is trapped on an alien planet for reasons (initially) unknown. The sky is filled with rubble and debris that occasionally rains down on them and from time to time aliens come down and try to kill them. Spin’s father is a pilot, trying to protect them, but he dies early in the book (before a timeskip), called a coward–seemingly one of the worst things you can call someone in this world.

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Magic Breaks

“Fortune favors the brave,” I told her. It also kills the stupid, but I decided to keep that fact to myself.

Curran is out of town, so of course things are going to go wrong. Taking a lot of what’s been building, between the Pack having troubles with a non-shifter as essentially second in command, the relationship between the Pack and the People, Kate’s trouble with Roland and more particularly with Hugh.

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First Lord's Fury

Life, Tavi reflected, seldom makes a gift of what one expects or plans for.

It’s darkest before the dawn.

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Magic Rises

Kate and gang go to Europe!

The world building in the Kate Daniels universe is really top notch. It’s set in a modern world where magic has returned. So far, not that unusual. But in this world, magic and tech alternate which set of rules dominate. When tech rules, no fireballs, no tracking spells, etc. But when magic dominates, skyscrapers decay and planes fall from the sky. So you’re in a modern world without a lot of the modern conveniences. There are a few issues (like where does the power come from? haven’t the power plants fallen apart? who works there…), but it’s still pretty awesome.

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Magic Slays

Kate’s no longer a mercenary and needs something to do with her time and skills, so ends up opening a private investigation business. Which of course takes a while to get going, so when she’s hired by Ghastek and the People to track down a runaway vampire… things of course are going to go from bad to worse. That’s quite a thing.

It’s an interesting twist to see the big bads this time around to be more or less vanilla humans that hate magic . It’s been done before, but that doesn’t make it any less worth exploring in a world where magic (sometimes) reigns supreme.

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Princeps' Fury

Compared to the previous books, Princeps' Fury changes focus somewhat. For the first time, we’re not actually focussed solely around Alera and the domain and battles of the humans. Instead, we’re going to Canim where unfortunately the Vord have taken over nearly anything . It’s a neat change of focus and a crazy escalation of stakes–although admittedly not unexpected.

The parts with Tavi are pretty wonderful. He’s really likeable and does a great job of overcoming problems by outthinking them, even now that he’s actually coming into powers of his own. It’s almost unbelievable just how good he is at planning, but he’s the protagonist. It works.

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The Car Hacker's Handbook: A Guide for the Penetration Tester

A car can be a daunting hacking target. Most cars don’t come with a keyboard and login prompt, but they do come with a possibly unfamiliar array of protocols, CPUs, connectors, and operating systems. This book will demystify the common components in cars and introduce you to readily available tools and information to help get you started. By the time you’ve finished reading the book, you’ll understand that a car is a collection of connected computers—there just happen to be wheels attached. Armed with appropriate tooling and information, you’ll have the confidence to get hacking.

Well. If you want a textbook to reference when you want to break into a car, this could be a good place to start. It’s not really a good high level overview, since it spends most of the book on specific examples. While those are fascinating, they feel too low level and specific to actually read through all of them.

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