Posts Tagged ‘book’

Eternal Father strong to save
Whose arm has bound the restless wave
Who bids the mighty ocean deep
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in Peril on the sea

Can you imagine leaving port one sunny day on some rich person’s catamaran, your job to sail it safely halfway around the world to Miami; along with three strangers, you battle weather and electrical outages. After months at sea with no outside contact, you finally near land and can only stare at the mass destruction of what used to be Miami. In shock, you cruise the coast and see violent and terrifying events. Coming upon a couple survivors it is revealed that a horrible virus spread while you were at sea. The virus apparently began in Haiti and quickly overwhelmed the mainland, and soon around the world. Those infected are no longer human, a fever destroying all but the baser instincts of the brain.

What to do? Where to go?

This is a movie worthy novel. Told from the point of view of Rob, a seasoned mariner, it is easy to see a Kevin Costner-esque figure fitting the role. Colin Drysdale crafts Rob into a strong but reluctant leader, intelligent and quick thinking, absolutely trustworthy and honorable. I would absolutely want to be on his boat when living at sea means total survival.

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Which came first, the chicken or the egg? So goes WHODUNNIT. The book released on June 18, 2013 and the first episode of the television series aired on ABC June 23, 2013. Both versions feature an unsuspecting butler hired by an anonymous employer to ready a massive estate for guests.  Each new instruction delivered to him on a note card left for him to find.

The story, told by Anthony Zuiker, is a fast-paced race to the finishline; there can be only one survivor and one murderer. Each guest believes he or she has won a prize to live as a billionaire for a week.  Posing as a guest, the killer meticulously executes the real guests one at a time, purposely supplying clues for the mystery to be solved.

Although an easy read, it was nice to sit back and try to solve the murders along with the characters. I will say this…the butler did not do it and I was surprised when the killer was revealed.

Have no fear of spoiling the show by reading the novel. Aside from Giles the butler, the players and crimes in this deadly game are all new. Reading the novel excited me to watch the show every Sunday night on ABC; I want to find out WHODUNNIT.

A successful female military commander, a queen desperate to help her people, and magical lands. How could I possibly pass this up? Oh but I wish I had. I really wanted to enjoy this journey, I tried and tried but I frequently found myself thinking about the laundry or dishes that needed doing. So, I made it halfway before deciding I needed to move on.

I really could have enjoyed the story, but the storytelling lacked focus and polish. From poorly constructed sentences to incorrect vocabulary, Natasha Hellenthal needs to enlist the aide of a trusted beta-reader. Someone who can be critical and supportive, honest and constructive. I am very impressed with several original ideas, and feel this story has great potential with some work.

A guilty pleasure of mine is watching cheesy movies on SyFy. (There is nothing better on a hot Texas summer day than sitting in the air conditioning watching Debbie Gibson and Tiffany fight while giant pythons and alligators eat people.) I kept trying to picture this book as one of those horribly written movies with awful acting and corny computer graphics. But as the hours dragged into days I had to let it go.

Mighty and Strong is the second installment in Michael Wallace’s Righteousness Series. An entertaining sequel to The Righteous, Jacob Christianson once again finds himself caught between protecting his religion and questioning it. When an FBI agent goes silent while undercover in an extremist end-of-the-world FLDS community, Jacob is asked to quietly make contact. Reluctant to get mixed up in another government operation against a polygamist group, Jacob realizes that his inaction could harm his own family.

Jacob’s spiritual search and resistance to conforming make him relatable; he is a good guy trying to find his path to God and support his family. Seeing his character struggle with self-doubt and insecurity  while trying to do good things in this world feels so familiar, so personal.

I really enjoyed Mighty and Strong, but I felt the big “thing”, the conspiracy plot, was really just meh. The climax scene was well choreographed and exciting, unfortunately the conspiracy was quite minor and so it left me wondering “what was Fear Not actually hoping to accomplish?”

Hidden Agenda by Peter Berman

Posted: June 14, 2013 in Books
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Law and justice are not always equal.  Laws are created to protect the majority, but justice is entirely personal. Jeremy Hart knew the law. Claire Carleton needed justice. In Hidden Agenda, you will find yourself asking “At what point is justice valid when the legal system is impotent?”

Peter Berman has created a silver screen worthy novel of crime, courtroom drama, twists and turns. How it was possible to keep me absolutely intrigued page after page and never truly reveal the end game is a credit to Berman’s genius. He has developed every character into a living, breathing person; from Jeremy Hart to the bailiff, every one matters. Every clue Berman has left, every intersection woven is vital to the tapestry of Hidden Agenda.

While there were some typos in the e-book version I read, they were not enough to detract from the battle of wits that takes place in this novel. From the first to the last page, Hidden Agenda rivals any of the works by John Grisham or James Patterson. This is absolutely a great read for fans of police and courtroom dramas like Law and Order.

The Righteous by Michael Wallace

Posted: June 6, 2013 in Books
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Freedom of religion is a constitutional right that can be denied to no citizen, and separation of church and state is a concept that is used when it is convenient for the majority. Plural marriage, however, has been criminalized. As such, Morman fundamentalist groups scattered throughout North and Cental America have closed ranks and become very private communities. We as a society tend to fear what we do not understand, and that fear is occasionally given a face. Like any other race, religion, or creed there are people that do bad, evil things. I am not here to sway you one way or the other in your views on polygamy. It is understand able, however, that the leaders of these communities would perfer to limit the inclusion of outsiders.

Michael Wallace has opened a window into this very private world. In the fictional community of Blister Creek, UT Amanda Kimball uncovers a dark secret and dies a traitor’s death for it. When th Prophet hears of the death he sends Jacob Christianson, an unmarried member if tge church, to investigate under the guise of securing a husband for his sister and a wife for himself.

I have been a long time fan of Patricia Cornwell’s character Kay Scarpetta. Like Scarpetta, Michael Wallace’s intelligent but flawed character Jacob Christianson is relatable, understandabke, and real. He questions both religion and science.  He struggles with the confinement of fundamentalism and weakness of individualism. He fights for the privacy of his community and the justice for the victims.

I am a sucker for post-apocalyptic movies like Mad Max, The Postman, and Waterworld. I find the genre fascinating and exciting; survival tactics, ingenuity, and determination. In these settings, there is no place for the weak or timid, but being strong doesn’t have to mean total domination; enter the “reluctant hero”.

In “The Gunfighter & The Gear-Head”, Cassandra Duffy has skillfully blended lizard aliens, wild-west gun fights, steam-punk blimps, cults, and lesbian romance drama into an exciting adventure using wit and well developed persons and places. Provided glimpses into their lives pre-invasion, the reader is able to connect with the characters as real people and become invested in their survival post-invasion.

Cassandra has a sarcastic sense of humor that translates well to her characters. “If I get lynched for being a scientist, Buddhist, lesbian, witch, don’t blame me.” Being able to successfully capture so many aspects of humanity is a rare talent, especially in the lesbian genre. I look forward to many more stories from this author.