30. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Bryan, Fiction, Westerns

Blood Storm by Bill Brooks, 343 pages, read by Bryan, on 06/29/2014

hw7.plJohn Henry Cole, a detective out of Cheyenne,  is asked to go to Deadwood to look into the murder of three soiled doves.  The plot is complicated when the madam puts an ad in the paper with a $5000 reward for the capture of the murderer(s), which draws in all sorts of bounty hunters.  Insert your typical western characters in Deadwood (Calamity Jane, Doc Holiday and Kate, an evil lawman, and, God forbid, an Englishman!), and the story becomes filled with memorable moments.  OK, not really.  It is a typical Western:  lots of gun play, some romance,  one-liners, the over-sharing barkeeps, minors, prostitutes, etc…  However, it is a fun read and I would recommend it.

26. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Bryan, Fiction, Mystery

The Bat by Jo Nesbo, 384 pages, read by Bryan, on 06/25/2014

index0M68J1B0This is the first book in the Harry Hole series.  Hole, who is one of Norway’s top detectives, is sent to Australia to observe an investigation of a murder of a Norwegian.  However, his instincts kick in and he is drawn into the investigation.  Nesbo does a good job introducing a cast of quirky characters, but I felt that maybe there were too many.  Some of them blended together and were just difficult to keep straight.  The plot was good, but slowed at times to give back story (it is the first in the series).  All that being said, I will definitely read more of the series.

23. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Bryan, Fiction, Thriller/Suspense

The Simple Truth by David Baldacci, 470 pages, read by Bryan, on 06/22/2014

indexWhen a clerk at the U.S. Supreme Court gets murdered for trying to help free an innocent man in a military prison, his brother joins the investigation.  Soon, however, he finds that he is a suspect.  He partners up with another clerk and they, along with the prisoner and his brother, try to unravel a political tangle 25 years old.

16. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Bryan, Science Fiction, Teen Books

The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card, 384 pages, read by Bryan, on 06/15/2014

hw7.plWhat if the Norse Gods were living among us?  What if all of the past gods were still around, trying to blend into their surroundings and watching for an opportunity to regain their status?  The Lost Gate is about Danny North, the son of Odin and Frea, and showed little magical abilities.  However, he soon learned that he could create gates, making him a Loki-like god.  Since gates are forbidden (the punishment is death), Danny goes into hiding and discovers others with abilities that the great god families do not know about.  The book concludes with a confrontation with The Gate Thief, who could strip Danny of his powers if victorious.  A good light read.

16. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Bryan, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Seventh Son by Orson Scott Card, 241 pages, read by Bryan, on 06/02/2014

hw7.plTaking place in an alternative history America, this book introduces the Alvin Maker series.  Alvin is born the seventh son of a seventh son, giving him certain magical abilities.  The seventh son uses his abilities to help people, however, there are elements that disapprove of his actions.  However, Alvin’s true enemy is slowly closing in and uses his human allies in his scheme to kill Alvin.

The book was fast paced and interesting.  I would be interested in a prequel that explains the alternative history and political landscape of the United States.  Some of these conversations were intriguing, but not fully played out.

12. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Bryan, Fiction, Historical Fiction

Under the Eagle: a tale of military adventure and reckless heroism with the Roman Legions by Simon Scarrow, 246 pages, read by Bryan, on 12/11/2013

Under  Under the Eagle is Simon Scarrow’s first book.  Cato joins the Second Legion as an Optio, a rank usually reserved for veterans, much to the dismay of the other men in his Century.  However, under his Centurian Macro, he grows into the position. Along the way, they become involved in a plot involving lost gold and the Emperor.

This is Mr. Scarrow’s first book.  The author mentioned that he is attempting to create a Richard Sharpe character for the Roman Legion.  That is a pretty high standard, but he is off to a decent start.  It will be fun to see if the characters become a bit more dynamic in the upcoming novels.  He also kind of yada-yadas the battles, which I also hope improves.  All-in-all, a good start and a fun read.

03. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Bryan, Fiction, Westerns

Red Moon by Ralph Cotton, 295 pages, read by Bryan, on 12/01/2013

redmoonA fun read — we follow the adventures of Arizona Territory Ranger Sam Burrack as he tracks the outlaw Orez.  As a western, one would expect the usual cast of characters – stage drivers, Native Americans, soiled doves, mysterious strangers, railroad men, outlaws — and they are all included.  This tale is a bit different, however, in that it takes place in the desert during a round of severe storms.  Burrack battles on and, as expected, meets up with Orez in a final showdown.  Who will win?  OK, it is pretty obvious, but it is still a good story.

03. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Bryan, Dystopia, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Allegiant by Veronica Roth, 526 pages, read by Bryan, on 11/20/2013

allegiantThe final part of the trilogy, Tris and Tobias’s lives continue to be jumbled as they are selected to leave Chicago and visit the outside world.  Once there, they find that their entire world-view is false and they have to decide to live in this reality or face that all they know will be erased.  This book is a good conclusion to the trilogy, although the wrap-up chapters take way too long, in my opinion.  The book is also written differently than the others — it alternates between Tris and Tobias as first-person POV.  It becomes clear why Roth did this as the story unfolds, but I found it a bit distracting.

02. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Bryan, History, NonFiction

Washington's secret six: the spy ring that saved the American Revolution by Brian Kilmeade, 235 pages, read by Bryan, on 11/26/2013

WashingtonIf you were to mention the American’s attempt to spy on the British, most people could come up with Nathan Hale.  Unfortunately, he was caught before he did much spying.  Kilmeade examines the lives and work of Washington’s spy ring in New York that was so secretive, that even today some of the actual names are not known.  They are credited with capturing a British Navy signal book that helped the French fleet stop the British from evacuating Cornwallis at Yorktown, uncovering the plot by Benedict Arnold, and many other acts of bravery — all while living in British occupied New York.  Many of the techniques that they used are still used today — yet most Americans have never heard of the Culper ring.

I don’t normally read nonfiction, but this one is a keeper.  It is short, informative and well-written.  I highly recommend this to any history buff.

02. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Bryan, Dystopia, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Insurgent by Veronica Roth, 525 pages, read by Bryan, on 11/07/2013

36zxyqpbInsurgentTris Prior continues on her adventures in factioned Chicago.  This book is the typical second act of a three-act play — darker and basically a “how much worse can it get” plot.  Tris’s life continues to unravel with losses of family and friends.  Politically things erode to a point that she is faced with joining the Factionless.  However, there are agendas at play there as well…

This book continues the pace of the previous and does a good job building to the climax.  Not a bad read.

02. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Bryan, Dystopia, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Divergent by Veronica Roth, 487 pages, read by Bryan, on 11/03/2013

divergentTris Prior lives in a future Chicago that is recovering from war.  Society is broken into groups of like people, and at the age of 16, each person gets to choose their group.  Tris makes a difficult decision to choose against her family’s group and the adventure begins.  Plots are uncovered and all of society (as they know it) is at stake.  Much like the Hunger Games, this book is a good read and would be appealing to teens who do not feel in control of their lives.  It is fast paced but still has some substance.

07. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Bryan, Fiction

Sycamore Row by John Grisham, 447 pages, read by Bryan, on 11/06/2013

grishamSycamore Row is a follow-up to A Time To Kill, focusing on lawyer Jake Brigance and his collection of odd associates.  Grisham does his typical good job of creating interesting characters that, along with an interesting plot, draws the reader in. 

30. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Bryan, Fiction

The Lions of Lucerne by Brad Thor, 512 pages, read by Bryan, on 10/29/2013

lucerneIf you are into political thrillers, you’d certainly recognize the genre here.  This is Brad Thor’s first book and he follows the pattern perfectly — from the hero that gets shot multiple times and can still scale a mountain in the same day to the poorly-executed punchlines after someone gets killed.  OK, I really did like the book, but it was what it was.  A fun read.  Available from MOBIUS.

08. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Bryan, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, 368 pages, read by Bryan, on 10/08/2013

Ender, a child, is forced into a life path not of his choosing – military leader of Earth.Ender

30. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Bryan, Informational Book, NonFiction

Humboldt: Life on America's Marijuana Frontier by Emily Brady, 260 pages, read by Bryan, on 09/28/2013

Emily Brady presents a look at the marijuana “industry” in Humboldt County, California.  She focuses on a few characters and chronicles their lives as growers in this very secretive community.  The book builds towards California’s legalization vote in 2010.  Although Brady makes her views clear throughout, it isn’t overbearing and people on both sides of the issue should be able to read it without too much discomfort.