Compelling, Fast Paced Read Wow! It was love at first sight between me and Dr. Steven Archer Cross. Dr. Cross is self made man who retired from his ownCompelling, Fast Paced Read Wow! It was love at first sight between me and Dr. Steven Archer Cross. Dr. Cross is self made man who retired from his own software company at age 30. Seeking intellectual stimulation, Archer immersed himself in cryptography, often using his super computer skills and the resources of his newer hobby software company, to unlock the mystery of codes. Cross is at loose ends, recovering from the death of his beloved Antonia and living in Italy when Winston Twain, a colleague to whom he had mailed a theory about the Voynich Cypher, a fascinating centuries old document written in an unbreakable code, is brutally murdered. Unbeknownst to both of them, a priceless document, hidden and protected by the Catholic Church holds the key to the Voynich Cypher and a secret that could unleash information that would shake the very foundation of our world. Cross becomes aware of a car tailing him and is unable to completely elude it when the car’s passenger, a gorgeous, violet eyed, black haired goth in a cat suit, jumps from the car and introduced herself as Natalie Twain, the daughter and confidant of Winston Twain. She asks for twenty minutes of his time and convinces him that because his theory was right under her father’s body when he died that both Cross and she are in terrible danger from someone who wants the Voynich Cypher decoded and returned. When they are attacked, Cross understands the danger and the challenge and the race is on! This is an engaging and fascinating read. Inevitably there will be comparisons between it and The DaVinci Code since they both deal with centuries old secrets, the Catholic Church, mysterious societies but The Voynich Cypher will stand up against the comparisons as a worthy read. Action, mystery, an enticing love interest – this book has it all. The characters are strong, well developed and compelling. I could not put it down and hope for more fascinating reads by Russell Blake ...more
The American Challenge Preserving the Greatness of America in the 21st Century by Robert C. Etheredge
5 stars of 5 stars
The American Challenge is an exceThe American Challenge Preserving the Greatness of America in the 21st Century by Robert C. Etheredge
5 stars of 5 stars
The American Challenge is an excellent book that challenges those of us born American citizens to acquire the knowledge of American history necessary to pass the U.S. Citizenship Test that those applying for US citizenship must pass. Etheredge cites a poll that indicates that more than one third of us would fail to pass this test. At the end of the book, he posts a sample of the U. S. Citizenship Test. I took the test before and after I read the book. I am ashamed to say that despite the fact that I am a college educated American; I failed the test before I read the book. Fortunately, my results after I read the book were better and I passed easily.
The author’s motivation for writing this incredibly comprehensive guide to the United States is that he believes that most of us grew up with a love of the U. S., its heritage and its institutions because it was simply a part of our culture. Today, many Americans are not as sure of our country’s greatness in this rapidly shrinking world but the preservation of the freedoms that make us great is more critical than ever. Reading this book is guaranteed to remind you of the cost of our freedom of religion, of speech, of assembly, of enterprise and of its value to us and to the world. My pride in our country was reaffirmed and reignited by reading this comprehensive tome.
Etheredge has compiled a timeline of every significant event, has provided copies of our important documents, with maps, information on our national flag, our military, major speeches, details of how our government works and a huge amount of anecdotal American information. He does in a way that is beautifully organized and with more than a little humor interjected to keep the information from being too dry. An example of this is the place in his timeline where in 1977, “Elvis Presley dies suddenly in Memphis. However, many people will still report seeing him alive.” I also enjoyed his tongue in cheek humor when he cited important documents in our history – Documents Grow Longer as Government Grows: Mayflower Compact 1 page, Declaration of Independence 1 page, the Constitution of the United States 4 pages, the 2010 Health Bill 2,100 pages and the U.S. Tax Code 16,845 pages. He entices us to read our Constitution by telling us that there is one grammar mistake in it, copied from the original that is not an old or British spelling. I did find the error but I’m not going to spoil your search. Etheredge didn’t try but there is nothing that could entice me to read the U.S. Tax Code (which fortunately is NOT included in the book).
I now understand that technically, the United States is not a democracy. It is, in fact, a Federal Constitutional Republic. The American Challenge is not light reading; it is a long, comprehensive look at how a nation for by the people and for the people has managed to thrive for 236 years. It is a book that will make you treasure our heritage and proud to be an American – while also teaching you enough to pass the U.S. Citizenship Test....more
This was a great little Urban Fantasy. Riki Storm grew up with Uther and was his girlfriend before he became the major, hot, sexy rock star that he isThis was a great little Urban Fantasy. Riki Storm grew up with Uther and was his girlfriend before he became the major, hot, sexy rock star that he is today. Uther isn't part of her everyday life because he and the band are on the road a lot. Riki has been doing some free lance PI work for a gorgeous guy named Jet and has a growing suspicion that things are not exactly copacetic in Jet's line of work. She suspects that Jet is working to eradicate vampires - not the hot, sexy ones, but the evil bloodsuckers who see humans as food. Riki's life is one big, wild ride full of crazy people and really weird coincidences - like the fact that a necklace left to her by her Grandmother is being desperately sought by vampires because it can be used to awaken the sleeping vampire minions. Riki is likeable, amusing and manages some pretty weird activities with aplomb and without becoming unlikeable or unbelievable....more
I begrudgingly gave this 5 stars because although I appreciated it, I didn't like it - much in the way that you'd appreciate a piece of art but wouldnI begrudgingly gave this 5 stars because although I appreciated it, I didn't like it - much in the way that you'd appreciate a piece of art but wouldn't want it hanging over your fireplace. Matthes may well be the Hunter S. Thompson of his generation, a brilliant writer with an elegiac way with words, beset by demons that make it impossible to like him, love him, or respect him. However, his story is too compelling to quit reading it. A misogynist, a racist, and drowning in his own self hatred, he is a train wreck from which you cannot take your eyes. In this autobiographical rant from a night baker cum writer (pun intended) we are drawn into a world fueled by alcohol, drugs, and meaningless, sexually promiscuous encounters with any hole he can find to poke his perpetually horny protuberance into - a world devoid of meaning, relationships or love. Like attracts like; his women are as damaged as he. Though he professes to love his mother, any semblance of normalcy in his life ended when he was 17 and his father died unexpectedly and suddenly of a massive coronary. In some places, flickers of normalcy appear - the real and very deep love and respect he has for his sister, his affection for his ancient dog, The Boobs, with her permanently off balanced head but Matthes immediately hides those with another round of indiscriminate sexual encounters with another lying, sack of crap woman or two. The dog's head is off balance from physical trauma while Matthes' is from emotional damage; the dog mirrors Matthes. Matthes believes that he has friends but to his reader, the Bros, his close group of 25 guy pals seem to be cut from the same moth, garbage and feces ridden fabric as he, a new generation of self loathing hedonists, seeking meaning in places where they will never find it. Dismissive of love, commitment, relationships and normalcy, he is still pedestrian enough to long for them in a secret corner of his soul. He longs for them, yet does everything humanly possible to make them inaccessible to him, creating a self fulfilled prophecy of emptiness obliterated by sex, drugs and a little rock and roll. Repugnant, terribly sad, insane and bitter, Matthes is undeniably talented. Unlikely to live to a ripe old age, his written legacy will likely gain a cult following. Hunter S. Thompson may have had Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas but Matthes makes it a road show, carrying with him everywhere he goes....more
The fate of the two princes in the tower (Edward and Richard), imprisoned in the Tower of London as the child king Edward V awaited his coronation, haThe fate of the two princes in the tower (Edward and Richard), imprisoned in the Tower of London as the child king Edward V awaited his coronation, has long been the subject of debate and speculation. When bones of two male children were found under a staircase in the White Tower in 1674,it was widely accepted that the children were murdered by their uncle, Richard III to assure that there were no threats to his monarchy. The Assassin's Wife, Moonyen Blakeley's beautifully researched and written novel is the story of Nan,a simple country girl with the gift of second sight whose gift becomes more of a curse than a gift. Seers are witches and in England, witches are burned at the stake. When her gift becomes too obvious in the village where her family lives, they send her away to filthy, dangerous London to go into service and to assure their safety. Throughout her life, she has a vision of little boys, locked up and in peril. Nan wants to save them but has no idea who they are or how she can help. Nan rises in service, eventually marries Miles Forrest, a dangerously handsomeman who works for the Duke of Gloucester. However, a secret that only she knows is a threat to the throne and Bishop Stillington, the most powerful clergyman in England has been searching for her for years, perhaps to kill or or perhaps to use her in his quest for more power. The subplot of the princes in the tower is a glittering thread running through Nan's story but the story of Nan's life is compelling on its own. The Assassin's Wife is Blakely's first novel but it reads like historical fiction written by the best authors in that genre. This colorful, vividly realistic novel was one that I hated to finish because I wanted so badly to stay in the world that Blakely's so compellingly recreated. She has a wonderful career ahead of her and I fully intend to devour everything she writes. Bravo and congratulations to the Phillippa Gregory of her generation!...more
This was an excellent read! The characters in this novel are extremely well developed and draw you into their world – a world of psychic gifts, espionThis was an excellent read! The characters in this novel are extremely well developed and draw you into their world – a world of psychic gifts, espionage, and supercharged sexuality. Rebecca Miller was an unusual child who demonstrated psychic power and the ability to heal by touch at a very early age. Her father was so disturbed by his daughter’s gifts that he divorced her mother to get away from his own child. By the time she was 23, she had an international reputation and a psychic consultation with the wife of an American senator, whose future she saw as the President of the United States – if he does not go on a trip to England prior to the election. Despite her profound gifts, Rebecca has problems: her only friend is her administrative assistant, electronics don’t work around her and no man has ever been able to deal with her gifts for very long. She’s lonely and frustrated, so decided to go speak at a metaphysical conference and take her first vacation in, well, forever. The conference is a set up and Rebecca is abducted by a group of Special Operatives, led by the exotic and compelling Commander Kelly Nolan. Rebecca’s gifts are a necessity to the Special Ops mission. A certain American Senator, whose wife, Rebecca consulted with is scheduled to land in England in a few days. Is the information Rebecca saw a couple of years ago accurate? Will this Senator be the next President of the United States or will her vision of his assassination come true on the runway? The plot and several subplots intertwine in a complex and satisfying way. Even the secondary characters are well developed and their stories are fascinating as Rebecca’s life and gifts meet theirs. I’m looking forward to more books from Julie Harris. ...more
This is not a fun easy beach read but if I had my way, it would be on every high school required reading list. A futuristic, dystopian society, whereThis is not a fun easy beach read but if I had my way, it would be on every high school required reading list. A futuristic, dystopian society, where all is valued according to its value, real or perceived to the corporation, The Water Thief carries within it the warning of the seeds that we Americans are sowing for our future generations. This is fiction that could easily become reality if we, the individuals, do not make the effort to change the seeds being sown. In its own way, it carries the same type of terrible truth that George Orwell foresaw in the classic 1984. Read this book and then think about it - deeply, frequently and with your mind and eyes wide open. Consider the economic crisis of the past several years where we have had to bail out corporations who had made many, many terrifying deals, only on paper that left people without homes, transportation or employment. The corporate executives were all fine and lost very little, but the poor, undereducated, stupid people got the devastating losses they deserved. Read this book and weep or read this book and change....more