Category Archives: Book Reviews
I have become a fan of Brad Thor over the past few years. Through his signature character, Scot Harvath, Thor has explored America’s intelligence and military apparatus and the threats that face us both at home and abroad. He’s confronted political and social issues with a refreshing disregard for the prevailing opinions of today’s media and social elite. He’s also written some terribly exciting and thought provoking books. His latest, “The Athena Project”, is no exception.
What would you do in an emergency? Would you freeze? Would you calmly take stock of your predicament? Would you wait for someone to let you know what to do next? These are all questions that we ask ourselves and the answer to them all is – you won’t really know until something bad happens to you. What you can know ahead of time is – what does it take to survive? What type of survivor are you? You’ll find the answers to some of these questions in “The Survivor’s Club”.
This is a book that you should read. Unless you are not planning to be around in a few years, this book should scare the $#!&@ out of you. Why you ask? Is it about graphic violence and torture? No. Is it about Monsters and Demons? No. Is it about cataclysmic natural disaster? No. Is it about the end of the world? Well – maybe.
I’ve read my fair share of thrillers over the last few years. As we have moved into the new millennium, terrorists have taken the place of communists as the focus of most books on the subject (although Nazi’s still remain at the top of the “world’s greatest evil” pile…). As the shift from nation-state to terrorist cell has taken place, many of the old rules of conflict have changed dramatically. In his debut novel, “The Target”, Bill Bowen asks a question that I haven’t come across before – would the policy of deterrence, Mutually Assured Destruction, work when dealing with terrorists? It’s an interesting question.
For a man who supposedly retired from writing in 2002, Stephen King remains a prolific producer of fiction. “Full Dark, No Stars” is his latest release – a collection of four short stories. I’m a huge fan of King, so I was eager to dive in to the book as soon as Amazon so diligently delivered it to my door. I wasn’t disappointed.
In “Full Dark, No Stars”, Kings delivers four stories – “1922”, “Big Driver”, “Fair Extension”, and “A Good Marriage”. While all very different, they each manage to nibble around the edges of a common theme: What happens when seemingly normal people are put in a position to do horrific things? Head’s up to everyone – there will be some spoilers ahead. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…
I’m a pretty politically aware person. I keep up with current events, I have a decent sense of history, and I am a voracious consumer of news and books. I’ve read Glenn Beck’s other books, and looked forward to reading his new release, “Broke”. As I worked my way through it, there was quite a bit of information that I was already aware of. There was also quite a bit that I had never heard before. What struck me, though, was the powerful message in putting all of the information in the book together, weaving a narrative through it, and connecting the dots. This is one of the best non-fiction books that I have read in a very long time. My only complaint is that it’s non-fiction. I wish Beck was making this stuff up – I could sleep better at night if I knew that none of this was true.
As some of you may know, my New Year’s resolution was to try and read 75 books this year. I hadn’t counted on spending 5-6 weeks with “Atlas Shrugged”, so my chances of reaching the 75 book plateau are slim to none. I also hadn’t planned to start blogging and writing book reviews. Like they say in football, that’s why we play the games.
After starting off strong with writing reviews, I began to turn my creative bones to other writing opportunities. A little personal reflection here, a music review there – couple that with trying to keep up with my day job and see my family once in a while, and I find that I have fallen woefully far behind on book reviews.
There’s simply no excuse for it, nor is there any way I can reasonably expect to get caught up with in-depth analysis and opinion on every book that I’ve managed to read but not review. So, I have decided to cheat ever so slightly and partake in the speed dating equivalent of book reviewing – the mini review. Think of it as the little blurb you read about a new book in Entertainment Weekly. 100 words or less – great taste, less filling. I’ll leave it to you to tell me if I’m any good at it.
When I was contacted by Heather Wardell and asked to review her new novel, “Planning to Live”, I was a bit skeptical. It’s very tempting to agree to every request you get from authors to review their books. One of the best pieces of advice I got when starting this blog was – don’t be afraid to say no. Being stuck reading a book that you very clearly are not going to like is a tortuous proposition. Still, being new to the review space, I don’t like to turn down opportunities, so I went over to Heather’s website to check out her writing.
Right away, I thought that I was in trouble. Her site touts her writing as “Women’s Fiction with Depth, Humor, and Heart”. If I know one thing about myself, it’s that I am not a woman. Having already been duped in to reading a romance novel earlier this year (see my review of The Game), I was cautious. Then I thought for a moment and I realized that I actually do appreciate humor and, ostensibly, have a heart. Maybe two out of three was enough to get me through the book. The brief synopsis Heather had sent me was intriguing, so I downloaded the sample chapter and dove it. I’m glad I did.
“Courage and Consequence” is a book both intricate and simple. Karl Rove manages to fill its pages with recollections from his time in politics, as well as expound upon some of his philosophy about elections and the body politic itself. All too often, Bush remained silent and above the fray while his critics raged on unanswered. In this book, Rove takes the occasion to set the record straight. He also takes time along the way to puncture some of the myths that have surrounded him and give us a glimpse of the man that he is.
I mentioned in one of my earlier reviews that Brian Keene is one of my “go to” authors. He always delivers a solid, entertaining story – a comfortable read. The thing is, to find that comfort, you have to be willing to submerse yourself in a story that, in most cases, really isn’t going to be all that happy. “Darkness on the Edge of Town” is one of those books. It has the style and fit of a familiar and well-tailored suit – the kind of suit you would wear to a funeral.