Monday, July 26, 2010

'The Mullah's Storm' by Thomas W. Young

Oh yes. If I had to sum up my feelings in two words, those would be it. Before I read this book I was coming off a three week summer vacation and I was looking for books from my “go-to” authors. You know, the one who never let you down because all of their books rock? While doing that I came across this one… and here is where I stopped. As you read you wonder why this story seems so “real”. I won’t give away the answer but with a tad bit of research you’ll find out. Modern military-thriller readers will tear through this like a Hummer H1 through the deserts of the Middle East. While both of my parents proudly served in the Army, I have no clue of all the Army lingo and special language used to convey even a simple, “move to the left”. Mr. Young handles it deftly without making you feel like a newbie.

There is plenty of suspense to go along with the action as we follow Major Parson and Ms. Gold through some of the most unforgiving terrain this side of hell. They also have to fight some of the most evil and despicable people this side of hell. You’re going to hear a lot of words like “thrilling”, “gripping”, “exciting”, “heart-pounding”, “captivating”, and “fascinating” to describe this novel. And you know what? They’d all be right. You know you’re into a book when your heart starts pumping fast to either 1. catch up with the action or 2. to match beats with the character’s. Mr. Young also tells this story with some pretty raw emotion too. While certain people would like us to behave like mindless robots and have no feelings toward people trying to KILL US, Major Parson has (good or bad) other ideas. I found myself shouting “YES”!! when he would allow himself to be human, even for just a moment.

Like I said earlier, this is a fantastic book that will keep you from the first snippet of action, through the mind numbing cold, to hunt of the enemy that runs, until the “end”. When I read books this good and see that it’s an author’s debut… I can only wonder who were the idiot publishers that told this guy “no”.


Friday, July 23, 2010

'Chedda Boyz' by C.J. Hudson

Well…! When I say that this book was surprisingly good, it’s not an insult. After you read so many street novels you start to wonder if they all are going to be about the same thing; guns, drugs, sex, and violence. And to be honest if they weren’t about guns, drugs, sex, and violence they really wouldn’t be STREET novels, right? ‘Chedda Boyz’ is street and definitely about guns, drugs, sex, and violence; but its how this story is told that makes it stand out. C.J. takes the gutter, turns it upside down, shakes, and whatever fell out is what he wrote. Man he tells about two murders that are as grimy and wrong as you can get.

The sex makes more than a few cameo’s between these pages, with one scene still playing out in my head. (Not sure if that is good or bad). This is a quick read but you have to pay attention because this story has more characters than Harlem has cockroaches. The only difference… cockroaches aren’t as nasty. I enjoyed reading about Amanda because she was one. racist. freak! Dre and Ty are as cold blooded as Clinton’s wife, and the women in this story are as fine as Toni Braxton and Zoe Saldana. If you are a street novel connoisseur then this should definitely be on your to read list. If you’re not, maybe you should pick it up anyway and be just as surprised as I was.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Amazon lies... again.

Amazon recently put out a press release where it said for the first time, they sold more Kindle titles than hardcover titles. OK; 1. That is complete and total bullshit and 2. That is complete and total bullshit. True, the one-trick-pony Kindle is the best selling e-raper… I mean e-reader to date but there is no way that THAT many people have Kindles, and that those same number of people bought that many new releases, which is what Amazon is actually saying. This smells of funny math, half told truths, and the corporate board circle jerk. I would like the entire story please Amazon. But I’m about as likely to get that as Sarah Palin is to get an endorsement from the NAACP. Amazon is fighting tooth and nail not to become the iPad’s bitch, so much in fact that they have to produce lies and have new Kindle releases once a month.

What’s even more interesting is that you have a number of Kindle owners who completely lambasted Amazon for pricing ANY book above $9.99. So now I’m supposed to believe that these same “readers” had a change of heart and bought so many e-books that it surpassed hardcover sales? Seriously, do I look like I was raised in Florida? I know how to count Mr. Bezos, and these numbers do not add up. Not if you use conventional math anyway. 1+1=2. Amazon math: 1+1=15. Blonde math: 1+1=… umm… hell, who are we kidding? Blondes don’t do math. Book sales and the book industry are in a serious state of flux and it’s hard to tell up from down. Bookstores are closing faster than Kim Kardashian legs when you tell her you work at McDonald’s; authors are finding lucrative way to self-publish, and publishers are becoming stingier with CO-OP, ARC’s, and reps. Most of my reps are telephone now because of all the cutbacks. Slight disclaimer here, my Simon & Schuster phone rep kicks ass!! But it’s still nice to have a store visit from time to time.

E-book sales ARE going up no doubt, but how far is the question. Amazon has their numbers. Apple iPad has it’s. Even the red-headed stepchildren of e-readers, The Kobo and the Sony e-reader have their own. It’s like the whole industry is on a digital reader acid trip. The peyote mushroom hoedown. The LSD date night. Anybody with the smallest bit of common sense knows the industry is headed digital, but there will ALWAYS be a place for print books. Dedicated e-readers like the Kindle make about as much sense as a blonde in college. Sure, they’re fun to play with but after a few months… what’s the point? (Sorry blondes. I joke because I care). My iPhone can do everything except get me a date with Toni Braxton and it only cost $199. Why the hell would I buy a stupid Kindle, Nook, Kobo, or Sony e-reader that can "ONLY" read books for TWICE that price?

But I’m getting off on a tangent (those who know me know that this is normal). There is no way in hell that Amazon has sold more e-book than hard covers this “early” in the game, and for them to say so is stunningly untrue and extremely misleading. But hell, what do you expect from a company who uses books as a loss-profit item? I think this was a very blatant way for them to try and say “hey, we’re still relevant in the book business” while pretty much doing everything ELSE to devalue the worth, financially and academically, of a book. Gotta love the irony.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Is there such a thing as intellectually crude humor? There must be because how else could you explain this book? I read this book based on a tip from some friends who live in So-Cal. And you really can’t go wrong with book recommends from buddies who live in So-Cal. Up till this book I hadn’t read anything by Mr. Winslow so I went in with my mind wide open. Which was a good idea because I needed all the cerebral space for every little bit of everything this book had to offer.

The last time I tried this I got a nosebleed but I’m feeling lucky. So here goes... Mexican drug lords want to take over the booming, exotic weed trade from a pair of hard working yet laid back dudes. These dudes (Ben & Chon) share a bed partner whose name is Ophelia. Ophelia, or “O”, is known for being quirky and having the most earth shattering orgasms known to man or Brazilian gods. Ben & Chon are the Yin and Yang to each other and opposite in almost every way, sans one. Don’t mess with their weed. Period. The Mexican drug lords not only ignore this one simple rule, they compound their idiocy with blackmail. Even Forrest Gump wasn’t that stupid. The Texas Chainsaw Mexicans send Ben & Chon a pretty gruesome message via Skype. Who said low-life drug dealers can’t be techno-geeks?

Ben & Chon… well… they comply. But HOW the comply is what makes this story total badass! ‘Savages’ is a mind trip mix of Zen, fiction, Woodstock, Cytherea on “e”, prose, violence, and one heck of an startling ending. I never ever, ever, ever, ever saw that one coming. What really had me going with this book were the blatant violence and the genius blending of uncontrived intellect and gutter humor. 100% pure Middle East Opium blend of sharp, pungent wit. Sum this up in one word? Decadently indecent.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

'Foreign Influence'

Was it me or was Scot Harvath incredibly brutal in this one? While Thor's books do strike an emotional chord, it struck a very different one in the beginning of this book. We all know what cowards and hypocrites terrorist are, but when Scot happens upon a terrorist camps that holds and tortures children... chilling. I was ready to grab a rifle and march over there myself. Vindication is had in an incredibly poignant and heartbreaking scene. And that scene sets the tone for this book. Scot doesn't usually hold back but there was something... different... about the type of needed brutality and the method in which it was dispensed.

The chickenhearted "my religion is about peace" terrorists are tossing bombs around like candy and innocent people are, of course, the unwitting targets. The horrors described are brutal and graphic. There are a number of storylines that swirl around in this book but Brad being Brad brings them together in one explosive "ending".

I read this one with the same fervor that I read ALL of Thor's books. I find that I have "reader's remorse" when I read his work. I get it, I devour it, and then I hate myself because now I have to wait even longer for his next work. Whoever said "patience is a virtue" has never read a good... GREAT book. Luckily Brad will put out another one at the end of this year. The surprise is how he works that one in this one. Brad Thor is an author whose work I love reading, love talking about, and love spending my time reading.