Steelheart is a young adult, post-apocalyptic fiction by Brandon Sanderson. It is the first book in what will likely be a trilogy.
In the story, Earth...moreSteelheart is a young adult, post-apocalyptic fiction by Brandon Sanderson. It is the first book in what will likely be a trilogy.
In the story, Earth begins to see the emergence of "Epics" or humans with extraordinary powers. No one knows for sure what has caused these new powerful humans to emerge, but seemingly universally these Epics are using their powers for evil.
Our main story follows David, living in the city of Chicago which has been transformed into a steel by a powerful new Epic. David, wanting revenge seeks out a group of Reckoners, or normal humans who hunt down and kill Epics. His goal? To kill the most powerful Epic of all.
So I liked this book, it was a lot of fun. I debated on 3 or 4 stars, but in the end I felt this had to be a three star book. The world is interesting, though picturing a city and land where everything is steel was a difficult concept and issues like rust and tetanus just weren't covered well.
I enjoyed the action and the Epics, a fun take on the super hero genre. One problem I have with Brandon Sanderson is that he often makes one character too silly for my tastes. I think there is a place and a need for a funny character, but his often cross the line from humorous to just silly and that detracts for me. Other than that, I liked the characters, I even liked the silly character, just wish he was more funny than silly.(less)
Baldacci has created a new character in Will Robie to base a series around. Robie is a skilled hit man for the US Government, so he leads a solitary a...moreBaldacci has created a new character in Will Robie to base a series around. Robie is a skilled hit man for the US Government, so he leads a solitary and lonely life, full of routine and killing. The book opens with several scenes of Robie's abilities and harrowing escapes. In one mission though, the assignment doesn't seem right and Robie follows his instincts to discover that he's been set up.
He also discovers a young 14 year old girl who is in need of serious help. They team up and begin to uncover the reason why each of them was chosen to die.
I have to admit that I didn't think a spy/thriller book would work with a grown man and a 14 year old girl team, but Baldacci did a good job of bringing them together and having them work together in a way that may stretch the suspension of disbelief, but never break it.
I'm looking forward to reading more Will Robie books in the future.(less)
Another very solid Harry Bosch book by Michael Connelly. This time Harry see's his mandated retirement time coming soon and for a man like Harry with...moreAnother very solid Harry Bosch book by Michael Connelly. This time Harry see's his mandated retirement time coming soon and for a man like Harry with a need to be solving crimes it can be tough. Harry and his partner take on a cold case where DNA evidence on a murder victim points to a serial offender. The only problem? The man who the DNA points to was only 8 years old at the time of the murder, so it couldn't have been him. While trying to figure out how the DNA could have been on the victim, or if it was a lab mistake, Harry gets called upon to investigate the death on behalf of a former nemesis.
One thing I've always liked about Harry Bosch is his vulnerability mixed with his toughness. A lot of that is on display here in this book where he has to come to terms with questions about his slowing down and abilities when he's not as young as he used to be.
I don't necessarily think you should start with this Harry Bosch book, but I do think you should read the lot of them.(less)
I wanted to like this book more than I did, and I think I'm being generous giving it 3 stars, it's more appropriately 2 1/2. Edit: I had to go back an...moreI wanted to like this book more than I did, and I think I'm being generous giving it 3 stars, it's more appropriately 2 1/2. Edit: I had to go back and change it to 2 stars. I just couldn't in good conscious leave it as 3 stars when compared to my other 3 star books.
I get that Dan Brown is a pseudo-intellectual, and thinks that he is offering some great insight into the future, but lets be honest, he has much less grasp on the moral issues he writes about then Michael Crichton, a true master of this kind of work, ever did. So the "moral issue" in this book comes across as rather simplistic and ham-fisted.
What I love about Dan Brown, is his insights into Renaissance Art. I'm fascinated with the art of that period and I enjoy learning about it, throw in a little thriller/myster and it's a good combination.(less)
I read the Tub of Happiness by Howard Tayler because he is a member of the Writing Excuses podcast. Otherwise, I never would have heard of his work be...moreI read the Tub of Happiness by Howard Tayler because he is a member of the Writing Excuses podcast. Otherwise, I never would have heard of his work because I'm not much into reading serialized comics anymore. I also always try to support local Utah authors, another thing Howard had going for him.
The work was good, it's the first of the Schlock Mercenary series and the early part of Howard's career as an artist and it shows. The art is amusingly simple in some parts and downright bad in others, but you can see growth in just the one volume which I find encouraging.
A good way to know if this is something that would be for your is to check out the Schlock Mercenary page, where strips are done weekly. I believe their is a full archive as well. http://www.schlockmercenary.com/
This was my first Steve Martini book, I have to admit, it was a little difficult to get past the stupid name of the author. It feels too much like a g...moreThis was my first Steve Martini book, I have to admit, it was a little difficult to get past the stupid name of the author. It feels too much like a gimmick. Of course, now I'm hoping that Martini is a pen name and not the author's real name.
Anyway, the book is good, but not great. I was reading a Michael Connelly Lincoln Lawyer book at the same time and it was easy to see who the better author (Connelly, in case you've never read his stuff). But this book was good and although I had determined the killer long before the end, I still found myself picking up speed and racing through the final 100 pages.
The story is about a lawyer, Paul Madriani, who finds himself defending a Judge, Armando Acosta, who has been charged with the murder of an undercover police operative. The very same operative that he was accused of soliciting. Did the judge murder the only witness against him to get out of soliciting charges? Or has a corrupt faction of the police gone out of their way to silence a judge that was looking too far into their actions?
It's a good read. Nothing ground breaking or a must read, but if you're stuck in an airport and could only find a copy of Martini's the Judge, you'll do alright.
I really enjoyed this book which teams up Micheal Haller, the Lincoln Lawyer, and Harry Bosch. Haller, normally a defense attorney is brought to the o...moreI really enjoyed this book which teams up Micheal Haller, the Lincoln Lawyer, and Harry Bosch. Haller, normally a defense attorney is brought to the other side of the aisle when a special independent prosecutor is needed to retry the case of a man who has spent 20 years in prison but new evidence has arisen that may indicate that he is innocent.
The book alternates between a Haller chapter and then a Bosch chapter. Of course this also means that the book alternates between first and third person as Harry's books are in fist person and the Lincoln lawyer books are in third person. Surprisingly it works and doesn't jar you out of the narrative.
I found it very interesting to see Haller working on the side of the people and the differences he has to face because of it. I tore through this book, finishing it in just days. But don't start with this book, read the other Lincoln Lawyer books fist and at least some of the Harry Bosch books to get to know the characters.
Connelly is one of the best in the genre and if you're not reading him you are doing yourself a great disservice. (less)
Great short story by Eric James Stone. The story is of a man working to win the space elevator race and the legal and illegal challanges he faces incl...moreGreat short story by Eric James Stone. The story is of a man working to win the space elevator race and the legal and illegal challanges he faces including the dangerous Gaia Jihadists.
Check out this short if you are into sci-fi.(less)
Illuminated is the tale of a archeobibliologist who must unravel clues found in multiple Gutenburg Bibles to discover some deep dark secret. This is y...moreIlluminated is the tale of a archeobibliologist who must unravel clues found in multiple Gutenburg Bibles to discover some deep dark secret. This is your standard Dan Brown DaVinci Code or National Treasure formula book by first time author Matt Bronleewe.
The story is formulaic, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I found that I enjoyed parts of the book and came away feeling like it was okay. There were a few scenes that felt as if they were tacked on to pad out the word count and didn't relate to the story. Several of the aspects required a larger suspension of disbelief than I was willing to give, such as solving the whole mystery that had withstood the test of time for hundreds of years within the space of a 1 hour airplane flight. Worst of all to me was the ending went out on a real whimper, with the book just pretty much ending without much action, fanfare, or strong conclusion to the mystery.
What really drew me to this book was the cover. It's absolutely gorgeous and a brilliant design. You know how they say you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover? Well, this is probably a decent reason why. The cover is amazing and beautiful, but the story inside is only okay.(less)
Michael Crichton may be the best fictionist of the 90s. This is pretty high praise, but when you consider the breadth of topics that he wrote on, and...moreMichael Crichton may be the best fictionist of the 90s. This is pretty high praise, but when you consider the breadth of topics that he wrote on, and not just wrote on, but wrote on with a level of understanding that is usually limited to those who have spent years in the field.
My most recent read was Disclosure, the story of Tom Sanders as he works in the high tech industry with CD Rom drives. When Tom doesn't get the promotion he expects, but is instead passed over for an old girlfriend, Meredith Palmer, from his past he doesn't want to rock the boat. But when Meredith invites him to a meeting and sexually harasses him and then throws him under the bus Tom gets mad and fights back filing a sexual harassment claim, the only problem is that Meredith has already charged Tom with sexually harassing her. Not only is it now a game of he said, she said, it's clear that there is more to this story than appears and with only days left to discover whats really going on and clear his name Tom needs to figure out whats really happening.
This book was written in the 1990s, so although Tom Sanders works for a high tech company on the cutting edge it's pretty outdated now, though as someone who was involved in high tech at the time I can tell you that the technology is accurate, and the speculation of what the future would be like was right on. Yes, people in the 90s thought CD-Roms were the promise of a better future, with their ability to store hundreds of megabytes it could bring encyclopedias to peoples homes. The idea was correct, in that people would devour the data if it were available, they were just wrong in the delivery method -- the internet became fast and ubiquitous enough to deliver the content that CD-Roms proved just too slow to do.
That being said, the thought of being charged, wrongly, of sexual harassment is almost as frightening today as it was then. It can be used as a devastating weapon as the book shows that a charge of sexual harassment results in an immediate assumption of guilt and one has to prove innocence. Crichton is a fantastic author, and his characters seemed all to real in this book. I found myself hooked and reading until late into the night. I could hardly put this book down.
Frightening, chilling, excellently orchestrated. A good read.(less)
David Baldacci returns to the Camel Club series with Hell's Corner. Oliver Stone, America's most deadly protester is brought back in to work for the g...moreDavid Baldacci returns to the Camel Club series with Hell's Corner. Oliver Stone, America's most deadly protester is brought back in to work for the government which he has been protesting against for the last 30 years. But when a bomb explodes right across the street from the White House it's clear that things aren't always as clear as they seem, especially when they aren't clear to begin with! Stone must weigh his concern for the other members of the Camel Club against getting the help he needs to solve the mystery and prevent more death and destruction, with shifting and uncertain loyalties that make up Washington DC politics it's uncertain who can be trusted.
I thought Baldacci really returned to a fine form here after the disappointing True Blue. The Camel Club is a fun little group of outcasts and misfits and they work pretty well together. The introduction of a well written MI6 operative helps liven things up as well. Some of the plot twists in this book were unexpected, others I saw right from the very beginning, but it was a thrill ride to get through the whole thing. It was just a fun and easy book to read.
This is the 5th of the Camel Club books. You could very easily read this book on its own, but there are some references to characters and story that happened in the previous books. But the real reason why you wouldn't want to start here, is because the first Camel Club book is so great! If you're looking for a fun and enjoyable series of books to read, read the Camel Club books.(less)
Seal Team Six is a look inside the super secret organization that is the very elite of the elite American special forces. The author, Howard Wasdin re...moreSeal Team Six is a look inside the super secret organization that is the very elite of the elite American special forces. The author, Howard Wasdin recounts his experiences as a Seal Team Six sniper. He gives us an insight into the history of the American Special Forces and how they evolved into the elite units they are now. In addition to providing that history, Wasdin also recounts the training and conditioning that he had to experience to make the cut, as well as operations that he was active in, including the events that make up the movie, Black Hawk Down.
Wasdin gives us his history, a troubled one where he faced near constant physical abuse at the hands of his father. Thankfully instead of permanently damaging him, it gave him the mental toughness and inner resolve to overcome all obstacles. Traits that he would need as he climbed the ranks of the special forces elite, eventually hitting the top run, Seal Team Six Sniper, and then his eventual fall from the military after devastating wounds received in Mogadishu.
I really liked this book, there were points when I simply could not put it down. Wasdin is a real person, a person who has lived through difficult things. He doesn't pull any punches. You could get the sense that his thoughts on issues were real, and are probably reflected by many of his team members, like their frustration at the lack of Presidential leadership by Bill Clinton, and the corruption of the United Nations, which lead directly to the deaths and critical wounding of so many American soldiers and Somali people. You may not agree with all of his feelings on the matter, but it's important to recognize those feelings. Sometimes Wasdin comes across as arrogant, some of his choices were poor. I appreciate the fact that Wasdin shares those moments with us in the book, it makes him a human being. By the end of the book, I don't believe anyone can doubt his humility and caring sides as well.
I highly recommend this book. Some who lean very far to the left will have difficulty with some of the thoughts and opinions that Wasdin expresses, but if nothing else, the history of Seal, and the insights into the men who make up the Special Forces is well worth the read.(less)
Crispin: The Cross of Lead is the first in a series by Avi about a young peasant without a name, growing up in 14th century England. Known only as Ast...moreCrispin: The Cross of Lead is the first in a series by Avi about a young peasant without a name, growing up in 14th century England. Known only as Asta's son, the young man and his mother are beyond poor and ostracized even by the other peasants of the small village they live in. When Asta dies, the steward of the town declares that Asta's son has stolen money and that he is to be considered a Wolf's Head, meaning anyone can freely kill them, as they are no longer human. On the run, the priest who helps him is murdered but not before revealing his name, Crispin. Crispin escapes being chased by guards, he eventually makes his way to a town, which has been completely wiped out by the plague. In the town he comes across a giant beast of a man, known as Bear, who forces him to swear allegiance to him. The two then start off on a much bigger journey, with far reaching implications.
This is the first book I've read by Avi, though I know he is quite well known. I found the book to be interesting, I think Avi did a very good job in communicating the religious feelings and life that people lived in that time period. Too often, books set in this time period will gloss over religion despite the fact that it played a major role in the lives of the people, especially the peasants.
The book is a young adult book, and probably even a middle-grade level book. It does what it does well, but advanced readers will have no problem knowing exactly what is going to happen at every step of the plot, and will probably find the whole thing pretty shallow. But this would probably be a good book for young readers to get started on. I will likely continue to read the other books in the series as well, but they will not be a priority for me.(less)
Another great collection of Sherlock Holmes short mysteries. These shorts are where Sherlock really gets to shine because the story is neat and compac...moreAnother great collection of Sherlock Holmes short mysteries. These shorts are where Sherlock really gets to shine because the story is neat and compact and because Sherlock is a master observer he is able to notice the details and put together what happened without the need of hiding what it is he's discovered from the reader for long.
This volume comes after Sherlock Holmes had died battling Moriarty in the last collection. Thankfully for us, the fans of the day were too attached to Holmes to let him go, and finally Doyle acquiesced and gave the people what they wanted, more Sherlock Holmes! What I've said about previous Holmes stories holds true here. We get fun and interesting mysteries, but more importantly to me you get to see and understand the people of turn of the century Britain in a way that no dusty history book would ever be able to provide. These books are a great cultural treasure.
I definitely recommend people read the Sherlock Holmes collections, preferably in order, though that isn't absolutely required. So far so good. Now on to the Hound of the Baskervilles!(less)