I've recently completed reading Murach's ASP.NET 2.0 Upgraders Guide. It's a fairly recent book that deals with the new features of ASP.NET 2.0 and targets an audience that has quite some experience with ASP.NET 1.0. As an experienced .NET developer I was looking for a book that would bring me up to speed with the latest and the greatest of ASP.NET 2.0. I tend to get bored easily, so I need a book that gets to the point immediately. This is where it failed for me.
It does cover all the important aspects such as Master Pages, DataGridView, DetailsView and Role and Membership Providers. And does do that well since I learned a lot of new stuff (even though I keep a tight lease on the MSDN site). It even explains how some solution was implemented in ASP.NET 1.0 and why the new solution is so much better. But what bothered me was that a majority of the book is explaining basic concepts that should already be imprinted in your mind. Moreover, the book is organized in way that on every few pages a new concept is explained in two different ways. The right page usually contains a large bullet list with an explanation and some examples, whereas the left page basically contains the same information but written out. For me, it was annoying to start reading the summary (because the text starts by referring to it) and then discover that the left page is not adding anything substantial. One of the two is sufficient for understanding the technology, so I wonder what the author had in mind.
Anyway, I would give the book three out of five stars. The content is really good, but should have been more compact.