Friday, February 18, 2011

'One Rough Man' by Brad Taylor

On the back of this book it says, “Vince Flynn and Brad Thor move over…” Whoa there Charlie. Vince and Brad have a total of twenty-two books between them and a loyal fan base that is more staunch than a gun totin’ bubba living in Alabama wearing a ‘God Bless the USA’ t-shirt! (Yes McFly I do realize it was probably the publisher or some intern that wrote that, but still). That being said… this book IS the kind of book that Flynn and Thor’s fan will eat up. The one thing that immediately jumped out about Pike was his in-your-face arrogance. It was almost bordering on fingers scraping the chalkboard annoying, but Pike has earned the right to be just that.

Pike and his covert operation are so deep cover that they’re illegal. Now I don’t mean like “certain members of Congress don’t know” illegal, I mean like “George Washington just rolled over and kicked Benjamin Franklin’s coffin” illegal. But they’re trying to deal with the very real and deadly threat of terrorism, and they can’t get the job done with the sissified cowards in D.C. running around lighting candles, holding hands, and singing Sarah Mclachlan. They need hard men to take care of a hard problem. Enter: Taskforce. Reading about a few of their operations, I see why they have to operate waaaaaaaaaay under the radar. They use techniques and extermination methods that made me cringe and would arouse a snotty Yale lawyer.

Their motto is simple: get the job done. Period. Show no quarter to the haters of infidels who want to kill innocents in the name of some false prophet. If they step on your toes, then you mushroom bullet their skull. An EYE for an EYE only sounds good in 4th grade Sunday school. A problem (to put it mildly) arises when the basement hiding cowards bring the fight to U.S. soil, and are aided with the help of traitors within the fraternity of our government. Pike is in the wrong place at the wrong time and just happens upon something that will lead him yet another insane and brutal plot by “those guys”. What causes him to be at that place and at that time will sadden you.

Thus begins the Pike adventure assisted by an unlikely woman named Jennifer. To be honest, Jennifer got on my nerves, and I was hoping Pike would dismiss her like Julian Assange does women of legal age. It’s one thing to tromp around the globe chasing “those people” with a professional team. Having to do it with a pushy, clueless neophyte is something that good books are made of. Good guys and bad guys alike fly, train, run, and drive from the jungles to the metro, to the war torn third world, trying to either stop or detonate a WMD. There are more than a few scenes of brutality and violence that cause quite a response, but they flow right along with the story. This was my first slam-bam thriller of 2011, one of many I’m sure from Mr. Taylor.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

'Recipe For Love' by Shamara Ray

This was a different book for me. Whenever I see a Zane title I immediately think “hot, freaky, sweaty, insatiable, non-stop sex”. And be honest, you think the same damn thing. (Oh shut up, yes you do). But that wasn’t the case with this book. This book was a VERY enjoyable read without the permeating trademark sex that Zane and her authors are known for. No, Shamara entices us with another type of sensual delicacy: cooking. Now keep in mind that this IS NOT my type of book. Scroll through my blog or reviews on Amazon and you’ll get a very clear idea what I like to read. High adrenaline, fast action, and uncontrollable leg shaking sex.

So what was it about this book that made me like it so? Was it the gorgeous author with the stunning smile on the back cover? Maybe, probably. :-) Was it a well written, very entertaining story? Good guess. Maybe because the story revolved around the making, preparation, and consumption of my second favorite debauchery, food? Right again. Jade (love her name) owns and runs a restaurant while dealing with the matters of the heart. Bryce (REALLY couldn’t stand this fool) is an idiot who messed up but can’t get over Jade. Milan is her best friend and Bria is her restaurant/business partner. As with most good reads, the main character is surrounded by a cast of characters that may or may not be good for her. As I write this I can’t but keep asking myself WHY I enjoyed this book so much? I know it’s probably not a big deal to you but for me it’s like… like… me enjoying a vegan burrito. I just don’t see how in the hell I would enjoy it. But I did.

I think I liked it so much because it was truly very entertaining and had that extra spice to hold my interest even though it’s not my normal type of read. There are also twenty pages of recipes at the end of this book that are like the perfect desert ending. And, almost as if they were written just for me, there are a number of delicious shrimp recipes. A brotha’ loves himself some seafood! As the manager of an indie bookstore I would love to host Shamara on her book tour if she ever makes it to California; one condition. She brings some of her food delights to her book signing. Seriously, do not pass this book up because I think if you read it, you’ll come away with the same feeling as me. Ahhhh…


Monday, February 7, 2011

'The Eagle in the Sand' by Simon Scarrow

I’ve only written a review for a few of Scarrow’s books because I’ve been too busy enjoying this series. I decided to write one for ‘Eagle in the Sand’ for one reason and one reason only. Jehoshua. I’m not a scholar by any stretch so I didn’t quickly pick up on who Jehoshua was. There were clues throughout the book, including his mother’s name, Miriam. The clues, however, were written few and far between so you don’t (at least I didn’t) put them together until the “big one”; the revealing of the third friend of Bannus and Symeon. Yeah I read how some people were offended that Simon used his creative license to tell this story but, who cares? I don’t understand people like that. I know what I believe and no author is going to change my mind no matter what he writes. Are these people so easily swayed in their convictions? Can they not see through that fact that this is “just a story”? But again, who cares? If the y want to waste their life debating issues in a fictional novel… then let ‘em. On to the story…

Macro and Cato have finally been sent East, but not where Macro would have liked. They are sent to Bushir by their friendly enemy, Narcissus, in order to find out what is going on in the Eastern Provence. They show up and immediately get into the type of trouble like only these two can. Yep, even Cato. Having been in the legion four years and under the tutelage of Macro would beat the softness out of anyone. The action is fast, the grating politics are all too familiar, the blood flows, and the friendship grows. It seems that Rome for all its glory has a hard time not with the huge nations, but rather with the smaller factions. Such is the case in this novel.

Cato and Macro are knee deep in sand and knee deep in people who just can’t get it through their thick skull that being under the rule of Rome is just better for everyone. A small faction is rising and it is up to Macro and Cato to put a stop to it. In order to do that they must take charge of a Roman outpost whose soldiers have grown soft and whose leaders are blinded by greed. Our two buddies are given orders to take command and wipe these desert savages out. Of course nothing goes as it should. Nothing. Simon Scarrow continues his brilliant storytelling in part 7 of this… this… deliciously good series. I started this series “late” but I’m slowly catching up and I don’t know what I’m going to do when I have to actually wait for the latest book to be released. One more thing: In the “truth is stranger (and more interesting) than fiction” category, I was in awe that Mr. Scarrow was freaking INVITED to Egypt by King Abdullah because he enjoyed reading this Eagle series. Nice to know people huh?


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

'The Choir Director' by Carl Weber

I’m standing here trying to put into words what to say about this book. Fun? Enthralling? Funny as hell? Sexual in a “church kind of way”? (inside joke). Either Carl Weber has a blessed imagination or… well actually there is no or. I’ve been impressed with this man and his storytelling since the day I picked up my first novel by him. I would suggest reading the other books in this series before you start this one. ‘The Choir Director’ is a continuation of the happenings of First Jamaica Ministries, Bishop T.K. Wilson, James Black, Monique, Simone, and the new guy; Aaron Mackie. Now be warned, Simone will have you thinking that this is a full blown soap opera! This woman is a complete and total psycho mess!!

I have NEVER read about a church like the one described between these pages and I most certainly have never read about church people like this. Church people like the ones in this book don’t need to be anywhere NEAR a church! The drama starts on page 3. Yeah, as in 1, 2, BAM!! This one sister drops a Hiroshima type bomb in the middle of church service and the scandals don’t lose speed the whole way through. And to be a church, there are some freaks up in that mug. The new guy Aaron Mackie has been recruited as the new choir director. First Jamaica is having serious financial and after the mess caused by the leaving choir director (remember page 3?), they need someone to fill the pews.

Aaron has the looks and voice of an angel and is the perfect someone to help the Bishop and his church. But like most everyone in a Carl Weber novel he has a past that will floor you. There is so much deception within this novel and, truthfully, that was the driving force that made me finish this book a lot faster than I anticipated. Usually when you think of backstabbing, sexual scandals, blackmail, suicide, theft, and embezzlement you’re reading an article about Lindsay Lohan’s weekend. Not a supposed house of God. Come on now! I truly enjoy reading Carl’s books because they are pure fun and total escapism! Despite the needs-medical-treatment disorderly lives these folks lead, I look forward to reading about them. I just couldn’t ever go to their church. I want to escape from the devil, not meet him there and share communion. One other thing: I really like how Carl puts discussion questions at the end of his books. Unfortunately I don’t live in an area that has active book clubs to discuss this man’s work. So if anyone lives near the Central Valley and is looking for a male point of view… ummmm… hello…… :-)