A funny, nostalgic slice of life in a time when companies ran contests to get their products' jingles, slogans, and ad copy instead of paying Madison...moreA funny, nostalgic slice of life in a time when companies ran contests to get their products' jingles, slogans, and ad copy instead of paying Madison Avenue ad agencies the big money to do it. It's amusing how "professional" and streamlined this housewife became in her creative processes to crank out ad copy suited for particular companies/ products i.e. "clients" -- just like I did as a former ad exec. Sure, she's a hero, but I also found this book really, really sad.
I just want to know why she didn't use all that creativity to kill the bastard who was her alcoholic husband and hide the body.
God, I hated this insipid book. So highly touted. The thing that bothered me most about this book was its annoying habit of pointing to previous inter...moreGod, I hated this insipid book. So highly touted. The thing that bothered me most about this book was its annoying habit of pointing to previous interpretation of evidence as "evidence." It's not fresh, untainted evidence -- it's still somebody else's interpretations -- like legends and heresay built on previous legends and heresay.
The logic of this book is like "forecasting" in today's business environment. Numbers of marketing supplies to be ordered are based on expectations built into the official forecast, that was based on what the shareholders wanted to hear. It goes on and on until some poor trade show chickie ends up in a hotel room in Chicago surrounded by boxes and boxes of thousands of umbrellas with her company's name on them.
Regardless, I kept looking for the meat in the stew.
Other things that drove me nuts: is this supposed to be shocking? I guess to most American Christians it could be. Anyone who has read some world history would find this overly dramatic approach......silly and......boring. The final puzzle-clue about flesh and seed, drawing a parallel between an apple and the womb -- is there anyone out there who didn't come up with that one immediately? For Christ's sake.
Has the Catholic church altered and twisted and covered up historical fact? Only forever. Has Man, as he has become smarter (relying less on superstition and more on science), treated Woman worse and worse. A sad true irony. From the worshipped Giver of Life, all the way to Holy Vessel, down to Incubator and Laboratory Slide. In this book, I expected new revelation and insight. My expectations were too high.(less)
I always look forward to my Christmas/ birthday present from my brother and sister-in-law. It's always glamorous, exciting, an exact match for me and...moreI always look forward to my Christmas/ birthday present from my brother and sister-in-law. It's always glamorous, exciting, an exact match for me and my tastes. Imagine my surprise opening a box of old, already-read books, all by an author I'd never heard of! I've enjoyed this collection of Vince Flynn novels more than any fancy perfume, jewelry or fashion items.
My brief personal notes follow with spoilers to help me remember what each one was about, as the titles are so darn similar.
Term Limits – Vince Flynn’s first book with a very interesting plot supposition. Someone is killing federal legislators, the worst pork offenders, with the threat to continue killing them until they balance the budget. Freshman congressman Michael O’Rourke from Minnesota unravels who is killing legislators – it’s Scott Coleman, a former Navy SEAL and Michael’s grandfather. GOOD.(less)
This second Mitch Rapp novel has got serious, annoying problems.
3rd Option – I did not like this 3rd book in the series. Anna, who has become Mitch's...moreThis second Mitch Rapp novel has got serious, annoying problems.
3rd Option – I did not like this 3rd book in the series. Anna, who has become Mitch's love interest, is an idiot and gets herself taken by the bad guys. Mitch wants to quit and marry her. This whole idea of Mitch in a real romance does not work for me. Bad guy Sen. Hank Clark gets away in the end. Flynn tries to connect all the people in previous books, like a dumb romance novel. Recurring character Scott Coleman assists him, Dumond is his computer geek (how many times have I read the paragraph outlining Dumond's background!). Anna was supposed to stay w/ Congressman O’Rourke (Book 1) for protection.
The story started off great -- he is double-crossed and shot in Germany while assassinating a rich German guy who funnels cash to terrorists. Then we have a flurry of “hiring assassins” to off the multiple layers that Mitch is peeling back to find out who is behind it all – the German couple is offed by Peter Cameron and Villaume and Marco (hired by Cameron), Cameron is offed by Donatella (hired by Clark), Marco is offed by Duser (hired by Cameron), Duser is offed by Mitch, who took Anna. It gets dumb.
The top of the food chain is Clark who gets away, and he was doing it all to bring the CIA under investigation and make Irene look bad (she’s poised to take over CIA as Stansfield’s death is imminent) so he could look good enough to run for pres in the future? Weak. And he keeps re-hashing what happened in previous books.
I sense Flynn grappling with real execution issues as he settles into the role of author of a modern-day, action, spy-assassin hero. Don't get me wrong, I love Flynn, but remember the first macrame weaving you did at summer camp when you were 14? The strings were going in different directions, then you remembered them hanging out there flapping, tried to weave them back in, encountered some knotty problems, so you just whacked them off and tucked them under, hoping no one would notice?
And have I mentioned yet how much I hate the Anna character? She is no match for Mitch Rapp. She's insipid.
Book 2 for Vince Flynn and Book 1 for CIA agent Mitch Rapp, his hero of the next 8 books. I begin to really dig this author's lean, masculine writing...moreBook 2 for Vince Flynn and Book 1 for CIA agent Mitch Rapp, his hero of the next 8 books. I begin to really dig this author's lean, masculine writing style, his in-depth technical knowledge of weaponry, strategy, foreign relations, politics, and his nothing-held-back character portraits. I felt myself actually gagging whenever a politician appeared on the pages. Good stuff.
Transfer of Power – a terrorist, posing as a presidential party financial contributor, gains access and takes over the White House. The prez makes it to his secret bunker, but is cut off from the rest of the world, leaving the idiot VP in charge (who begins stupidly to actually negotiate with the terrorist). Hostages include the White House press corps -- okay, how fun is that! Enter Mitch Rapp, who sneaks in with a retired black building engineer, who knows every pipe, trapdoor, nook and cranny. Rapp encounters reporter/ hostage Anna being raped. Buddy and former Navy SEAL Scott Coleman acts as his backup. GOOD.
Mitch Rapp is a pure hero, a man of action, for our era. He doesn't believe in wasting time trying to convince, explain, rationalize, debate, analyze, second-guess, etc. with people who are too self-centered, stupid, and/or weak (read that one as "liberal") to get it. I am reminded of a scene in the Lord of the Rings trilogy in which the trees debate their involvement in the conflict while the entire rest of the realm is at war, good versus evil. And they just continue to talk...while the wind whistles through their branches and heroic creatures die.
How many times have I longed to be Rapp, sitting in a business meeting surrounded by evil villains, and just wanted to jump up and bitch-slap them with a file folder. (These are the guys who think the problem is not that they did something wrong -- the problem is how they were caught. Or the problem is not that they didn't sell enough product to make a profit -- the problem is the reporting mechanism is faulty.) (less)
This is an amazing book, by an author who has really come into his own. He's at the top of his game now, and this is my favorite Mitch Rapp novel.
Sepa...moreThis is an amazing book, by an author who has really come into his own. He's at the top of his game now, and this is my favorite Mitch Rapp novel.
Separation of Power, 4th in series – Flynn totally redeems himself with this one. This is a continuation of the previous novel's story, and bad guy Hank Clark is finally killed by Mitch and Donatella on the last page. Irene is set up as new head of CIA, so cool under fire.
Flynn uses the technique of switching the action back and forth between chapters, leaving you hanging in frustrating ways at the ends of chapters. It's done so well, you find yourself pissed at being left hanging!! -- until you turn the page and remember 'oh yeah, I wanted to know what was happening over there, too'.
We move from a strategy meeting (in which military and political experts are trying to figure out how to take out Saddam Hussein’s nuclear facility under a hospital without creating a PR catastrophe) to Mitch in the field (in which Donatella is being attacked by two assassins waiting for her in her apartment, sent by Israel). Then, when you think the action is over, he starts it up again. I was worn out after reading.
His BEST book so far, will make a hell of a movie. The only thing left to ponder -- who to cast as Mitch? My vote is Gerald Butler, the guy from "300," "Sin City," and "Bourne Identity."
Why Flynn is so enjoyable: His hypothetical discussions regarding military action versus covert CIA action contain REAL details -- the weapons, artillery, personnel, consequences, politics, budget, all real. I read somewhere that the real head of CIA is requiring all employees to read the Mitch Rapp novels "to start thinking about how we can more effectively wage this war on terrorism."
This book was so satisfying. Liir, son of Elphaba, comes into his own and after 266 pages, he begins to do incredible things to help other people, lea...moreThis book was so satisfying. Liir, son of Elphaba, comes into his own and after 266 pages, he begins to do incredible things to help other people, lead, unite, take the helm of his mother’s legacy. And it’s so realistic because he does it while still in a state of confusion and self-doubt, obstacles he never really overcomes (neither did Elphaba really). I love how everyone says to him “if only Elphaba was here to see this…” The Bird Congress aka Witch Nation (charged by Liir to be the eyes of Oz and share info with other species and humans to foil future despots), rides in the shape of a witch on a broom, and Liir rides in the position as the Eye of the Witch.
I loved it when he asked Nanny if she thought Elphaba will have a history and she said “She does already, ninnykins! I just saw her flying up the valley. Her cape went out behind her, a thousand bits in flight (the thousands of birds). Nearly touched the peaks to the left and the right. If that’s not a history, what is?” So, Liir GIVES her a history. I also like how sarcastic he becomes in the middle of the book, like his mother, after life kicks him around a lot, he lies in a coma, etc. At one point he says, “What condition? I’ve been in this condition my whole life. It’s the only condition I know. Bitter love, loneliness, contempt for corruption, blind hope. It’s where I live.” I also love how he becomes a man of wry humor and charm, accepting his fate of never knowing the answers. He tells Elphaba’s monkey “She always liked you better” and smiles at him. The monkey says “Considering who she was, is that a compliment or an insult?”
He poisons all the Emperor’s dragons, which in turn saves lives, achieves revenge on Cherrystone, frees the skies for the birds, unites two warring tribes who thought each other was doing the dragon-stuff. He thinks of a way to draw out the voices of the dead, which allows the She-Elephant to die properly. He still does not know if he is Elphaba’s son until the last sentence when he holds up his newborn daughter in the rain to clean her (after finding her dead, wrapped in Elphaba’s cloak, and he revives her). Her skin is green.
NOTE: How Maguire is successful in using “perception” of different witnesses and participants to alter our “perception” of the well-known Oz Story is through characters who must act without “knowing all the answers” or “having enough information.” We all face that in life. There are those who do not act because of this lack of enough info, are held back, they are cautious, and they never do anything meaningful. And then there are those who do take risks and act (you will never have all the answers or enough info) and thus make/ change history. In the traditional Oz Story, all the risks Elphaba take are mis-perceived. So, it’s fascinating how he again uses this same tool for the story of Liir, and everything he does could be perceived as bad…but it’s not. Thus, the immense satisfaction. And then you get pieces of additional info that determine he was on the right track, confirm his decisions and actions. No misperception, redirection, just the story of a regular Joe-schmoe who does amazing things. “If only Elphaba was here to see this…” I’m talking about more than a mother’s pride and personal vindication. I’m talking about a righting of the wrongs in the world that her son engineers.
And again, I wonder if the son will love the granddaughter properly, being her only caretaker. Obviously yes, because of the way he cared for her immediately, again righting wrongs his mother committed against him. What kind of person will the granddaughter be, what legacy will she leave on the world? How will she carry the burden of Elphaba, the burden of being green. Will Liir ever find Nor?
Green: fresh as spring, dewy, not rotten. The first color I learned about in literary symbolism. The green light of Daisy’s house that Jay Gatsby stares at across the water all the time. It meant HOPE, renewal, fresh new growth, a new beginning. (less)