Friday, December 21, 2012

Jason's Favorite Books of 2012





Well, as 2012 draws to a close it’s time for me to reflect on the books that made me lose sleep, skip lunch, take extra long breaks, postpone lovin’ (just kidding on that one), and spend too much money.  

The lamentations of a book lover.  

This year I read 60 books.  Lower than most years, higher than others, more than what I’ll read when I’m dead.  What were your favorite book(s) this year?  Please feel free to share.  

The list below are my favorite books of 2012 in the order in which I read them.  I stopped numbering (#1, #2, #3) my books a couple years ago.  If you would like to read the review I did on the book, please click on the book’s title.  Clicking on the author’s name will take you to their website.

Steve Jobs’ by Walter Isaacson: As much as I try to avoid non-fiction like Ebola, I just had to read this one.  Toi, my rep from Simon & Schuster, sent me a copy started off my reading year with a BAM!!  I seriously don’t want to hear about your fake ass Apple hate, Steve Jobs was THA man and this biography, while coming in at almost 700 pages, is just a beginning if you want to learn more about this amazing man and his vision.   




The Governor’s Wife’ by Mark Gimenez: I’ve been a fan of Mark since ‘The Color of Law’.  Every damn book this guy has written has been a winner!  I just wish the American publishers would get pull their head out their ass and sign this guy!  I’m tired of going to Mark’s website and seeing how his books are constantly in various Top 10 list across the pond.  Geez!!  If you have any doubt if this book is good, then just ask Victoria Christopher Murray.  I sent her a copy.



‘Eskkar and Trella’ by Sam Barone: I’ve been a fan of Sam’s for years.  I’ve followed the adventures of Eskkar from book one, to the prequel, back to the present.  Sam writes thick books so find a secluded cabin, a billowing snow storm, a couch by a wall-to-wall window, sit back and prepare yourself for a book to get lost in.  I just checked and I see that Sam has a new one out!  SWEET!  (Thanks for the eMail Sam.  Not).




‘Horses on the Storm’ by William Altimari: A kick ass book about Roman soldiers fighting in the desert.  Rufio is a character I shall not soon forget.  William is a classy guy as well.  He sent me a hardcover of this book.  As a surprise.  Signed.  Fan for life.






‘An Accidental Affair’ by Eric Jerome Dickey: The man can write better than most of us breathe.  His intellect is as sharp has his wit.  He likes Jeeps.  He’s my #1 favorite author of all time.  Period.  What more need be said?    







‘Wind Through the Keyhole’ by Stephen King: This is my #2 favorite author of all time.  ‘The Dark Tower’ series is the reason the word ‘epic’ was invented.  Grand and magnificent in every way, ‘The Dark Tower’ will be a series that I will read in my golden years. (I hope).  Stephen takes us back to that magical time with a small addition that fits between books 4 and 5.  This man is crazy talented, with an emphasis on crazy.



‘Spartacus’ by Ben Kane: Bloody.  Brutal.  Rapacious.  (Did I mention brutal?).  Just the kind of book I like.








‘Black List’ by Brad Thor: This one easily fits in Brad’s Top 3 books.  What happens when Big Brother has an unlimited budget, bad guys in charge, and idiots in charge of them?  This book will tell you.  And this book will scare you.  You’ll never look at your iPhone or computer the same way.





‘Slaves of the Empire’ by Aaron Travis: I was looking up books on gladiator about four years ago.  This one popped up but at the time it was out of print.  I looked liked one that would be perfect for me so I kept checking.  Through the mysterious power of the eBook I was able to get my hand on a copy.  I honestly didn’t know what I was in for.  You won’t either.  Wanna find out?  Click here




‘No Easy Day’ by Mark Owen: This is the second non-fiction book on my list.  WTH!?!








‘The Last Man’ by Vince Flynn: There are three HUGE things that happen in this novel that will forever change the course of Mitch Rapp’s life. 







‘Scandalous’ by Victoria Christopher Murray: My only foray into Christian fiction.  Wait… wait… wait… it’s NOT Christian fiction!  It’s just a story with a strong religious theme.  Well whatever you choose to call it, one thing you won’t call it is boring.  Jasmine is my new literary crush… well at least the pre-church Jasmine.





‘Sword and Scimitar’ by Simon Scarrow: The Siege of Malta, known to many as the bloodiest and most brutal in history, is told by one of historical fiction’s finest writers. 












'Battle for Empire' by Sam Barone: The ONLY book I’ve ever added after my “best of” list had already been posted.  And damn well worth it!!













For me, 2012 was also the year of ‘The Walking Dead’.  I took some website up on an offer to download the first issue for free, and that’s all she wrote.  I went through sixteen volumes in about three months.  For me that’s blazing fast.  And blazing expensive.  But since I’m willing to forgo food for books I didn’t really give it much thought.  I know the world has gone ‘Walking Dead’ crazy with the TV show, but if you want to really get to know the characters and read about the little things that the show skips, then get the graphic novels.  Robert Kirkman can definitely tell a story.   It’s not just some jumbled up black and white art with blood and gore for sensationalism.  There is substance here and for me that is the driving force behind why I’m such a fan.

Well there you have it.  One man out of six billion giving his take on thirteen books out of three hundred million.  I hope you enjoy it.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

'Sword and Scimitar' by Simon Scarrow

Like most of you I was going about life reading, eating, Jeep hunting, and patiently waiting on Simon Scarrow for the next Macro and Cato book.  But this time out Simon gives us something else.  I’m a history buff only in the sense that if I read it, it must be in fiction form.  J  Yeah, I don’t like the non-fiction stuff because it ends up being way to dry.  But if you take that same non-fiction, add a very good writer, literary license, and the ability to twist it into a story… then you’ve got me.  

Simon’s got me.

Because I read historical-fiction I knew about the Siege of Malta, but I haven’t read anything that focused on it until this book.  And I enjoyed this book as much as I have the Macro and Cato series.  I’ve found that if a writer is a true writer it won’t matter what they pen, it’s going to be good.  I can honestly say that if you have enjoyed Simon’s other work then you will like this slight turn from the “ordinary”.  

‘Sword and Scimitar’s’ main character is a knight names Sir Thomas.  He’s brave, smart, learned, honest, and loyal.  Unfortunately like most men his, weakness rests within the heart and between thighs of a woman.  The other unfortunate thing is that nature of man never changes.  Ever.  Jealously and hypocrisy are the catalyst for a decision that involves Sir Thomas and the repercussions of this last for two decades.

Meanwhile, while the Knights of the Order were playing whose king of the castle, the Ottoman Empire was making plans to basically annihilate them.  The siege on Malta is known to be one of the bloodiest and most brutal in history. 
 
The descriptions of that brutality are not hidden here.

As with all of Simon’s books, there are stories behind the story behind the story.  Sir Thomas is a knight but he’s also a fighting paradox.  Seeing a knight fighting for God while battling whether or not he believes in God was almost as intriguing as seeing him fight on the battlefield.  Of the most poignant moments in this book is when Simon weaves in the Epicurean paradox.  Seeing this only made me think that the internal battle within Sir Thomas must have been fierce.  

Enemies are made, enemies are kept, and enemies are revealed.  As too is true love.  I’m by no means a romantic, but it is impossible to not be stirred by the last few chapters of this book.  Simon does an absolutely wonderful job with this book in the retelling of this siege and everything that went on before, during, and after.  I’ve said before that you know a book is good when your heartbeat matches that of the characters.  I really had a good time with this book and I venture to say that you will too.  

If you STILL want Macro and Cato Simon has thrown us a bone.  He has an eBook only series that involves Macro.   Have you read it yet?  I have.  J  Did I like it?  You damn right I did!  The first installment, ‘Arena: Barbarian’, came out late October.  The second installment, ‘Arena: Challenger’, comes out late December!  I can deal with having to wait two months between books.  But no longer Simon.  Rubicon OUT!!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

'Politics. Escorts. Blackmail.' by Pynk


Every once in a while, when reading an erotic novel I stop fantasizing about the characters and start fantasizing about the author.  This is one of those times.  In ‘Politics. Escorts. Blackmail.Pynk gives us a book that is so chock full of sex that you wonder if she wrote this while engaged in it.  You know how sometimes a reporter will visit a war torn country to get the “real story”?  Or how an actor might starve themselves for an important role?  I’m thinking Pynk might have been naked with some lucky man giving her some tongue lovin’ while she was writing. 

Oh it can happen.  Pynk sitting at her desk after a nice long bath, her body still warm from the water… her skin still perfumed with the smell of sensuous bath oils… her little lady shaved and smooth.  She picks up her phone and sends me… I mean sends this unknown and unnamed guy an iMessage that says simply “inspire me”.  How else could she pen such a sexually charged story? 
And please do not pick up this book if you only jumped on the erotic bandwagon because of that weak ’50 Shades’ shit.  This here is erotic for grown folk.  Folks who KNOW what good erotica is.  There book here is a veritable sexual buffet for the taking… just be ready to eat.  Pynk wrote this book like she had something to prove.  She doesn’t, but it’s nice to read an author who loves what they do.  And Pynk LOVES what she does.

There are about six or seven sexual scenes in this book that had me going “what tha’ fuck!?!!?”, but there was one that had me floored.  I won’t tell you exactly what happened but I will give you a hint.  Dentures.  Oh yeah, Pynk delivers a book about twisted desires, secret desires, fulfilled desires, UNfulfilled desires, paid desires, forced desires, “Ellen” desires, and large desires.  I loved that she put my hometown of Columbia, SC in the story as well.  And yeah, there is a story here.  It’s not just about the sex.  There’s a spider web of characters that create a spider web of drama that covers a nice sticky web of sex.

Prepare yourself.  Actually I take that back.  Why tell you to do something which is impossible?  Grab this book, grab your lover, grab yourself… hell grab something!  ‘Politics. Escorts. Blackmail. is Pynk at her sexual best.

9780446563345

Disclaimer:
I would like to thank Pynk, Yolanda Gore, and Grand Central Publishing for including me on this blog tour.  I was able to get a print copy AND a digital copy of this book.   Perfect for book lovers like me who like reading when and how ever the hell we like.  Besides, the eBook version allows you to make notes.  You know… for when you run out of Viagra and you need some stimulation.  RUBICON OUT!!!!


Thursday, November 29, 2012

'Scandalous' by Victoria Christopher Murray



There are certain genres that I just don’t read.  Romance, non-fiction, poetry (UGH!), and Christian fiction.  Victoria Christopher Murray falls in the last category… although she might have issueS with the “Christian fiction” label.  That’s what I call it.  My books have to have a certain “ump” to them.  They either have to have lots of graphic violence and/or graphic sex and/or graphic drama and/or characters that need Jesus more than Satan.  (Ad yes, I DO know that I just said “graphic drama”)  I know it’s prejudiced but Christian fiction just doesn’t have that “ump”, and it’s probably not supposed to.  So because it doesn’t I usually just skip it.  So what in the world made me choose this book?  
  1. Ummm… look at the cover (just kidding).
  2. No I’m not kidding.
  3. A pretty little birdie in D.C. told me it was good and I trust her judgement.
  4. I’m willing to at least try other genres.
So did I enjoy this book?  Without intending to offend the Christian fiction readers that might be reading this review, “HELL YES”!!  Victoria can write and she can write well.  Extremely well.  Even though this book didn’t have the graphic details that I look for it did have the other thing I look for; a very GOOD story.  Actually let me back up and say that while this book didn’t have the graphic details of the things I’m used to, it does have that in here.  

Jasmine is a mess.  She’s a woman who enjoys sex (a LOT of it) and she is also very comfortable with holding others to a different standard than she holds herself.  Conveniently delusional is a pretty good description.  Buuuuuut she’s about to get married and all that is about to change.  Right?  Not hardly.  Matter of fact, a good argument could be made that she’s even more scandalous now than before she was engaged.  She’s engaged to Kenny, but meets a dude named Roman.  She absolutely loves Kenny and her only attachment to Roman is that he can make her va-jay-jay sing like Mariah Carey.  Kenny can’t.  

But Jasmine has other demons and it seems that she is almost forcing herself to marry Kenny.  Don’t get me wrong, Kenny is a good man but he’s not the right man for Jasmine.  I felt bad for him because he has no idea that he’s about to commit to something that he can’t control.  Or even contain.  Jasmine gets caught up and the repercussions are serious.  So serious that I was absolutely shocked to read about one incident.  I love authors that write “to the point of no return” and Victoria has a scene in here that made my jaw drop.  I sincerely didn’t expect that.  Nor did I expect the ending.  

This isn’t fair.  Now I have to put Victoria’s other books in my reading que because I have to see if Jasmine is still a nut.  (She is.) This eBook is a prequel and it looks like the husband in this one isn’t the same one in others.  Not a spoiler, because like I just said, this is a prequel.  I had a blast reading this book and I almost feel bad waiting this long to read a book by Victoria Christopher Murray.  I say ‘almost’ because I hate waiting for books in a series.  Now I can just fly through the “Jasmine Chronicles” without having to pretend that I’m Job and having patience while waiting for the next book!  

 Great job Victoria.