Thursday, May 30, 2013

'Arena: Revenge' by Simon Scarrow


You know that feeling you get when you’re reading and the characters are in the midst of something so… horrible that you think it can’t possibly get worse?  But then it does?  That’s this right here.  ‘Arena: Revenge’ is the fourth book in Simon Scarrow’s eBook series that just gets better with each release.  #4 picks up right where #3 ended, with Macro and Pavo about to do the tango with a host of wild animals in the arena.  OK, not necessarily a host… but they will have to face one EXTREMELY ticked off and hungry lion.  Their blood is but the first of gallons to be spent on the arena floor.

Their trek to this point has been one brutal pain soaked brawl after another.  The gods must have been in a drunken rage when they were putting together this part of Pavo and Macro’s timeline because… damn.  The searing brutality of the arena is on full display here as well as the twists that Simon throws in because 1. He wants to make sure you’re paying attention and 2. He can do that because the man knows how to tell a damn story.  Matter of fact he slips in one juicy morsel and creates one hell of a “Nooooo, is he serious!?” moment. 

Setting aside for a second Pavo’s life as a lower-than-a-slave-gladiator-pawn, he must also deal with the fact that his infant son is also being used as a hostage.  We look back on Rome now and laud her as glorious and grand, and she was.  But we forget at times that she was pregnant with men whose souls were as dark as the Ephors.  Two of those souls work for Emperor Claudius.

Unfortunately, like a day dream with Lacey Chabert, all good things must come to an end.  There is only one more installment after this one before the series ends.  ‘Arena: Champion’ comes out July 18, 2013. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

'Hannibal: The Patrol' by Ben Kane


The good news; Ben Kane is a very good writer.  The bad news; Ben Kane lives in the U.K.  Having to wait and extra four to five months for the book release is about as fun as listening to any Kardashian talk.  The first book in this series is called ‘Hannibal: Enemy of Rome’ and it was released stateside February 27th 2012.  This ‘Hannibal’ short story was released May 16th, 2013.  The second book, ‘Hannibal: Fields of Blood’ comes out September 24th, 2013.  Whoever said “patience is a virtue” certainly wasn’t a book lover.

So if you haven’t read the first ‘Hannibal’ book I would suggest you do so.  If not you might feel a little lost when you read this short story.  ‘Hannibal: Enemy of Rome’ is a full-fledged novel that is an absolute bloody, brutal thrill to read.  ‘Hannibal: The Patrol’ is a small appetizer meant to give us something to munch on while we wait for ‘Fields of Blood’.  This short story is basically a small adventure of Hanno and Mutt as they make their way to Victumulae.  You know, before they rape, murder, and pillage the place.   

Ben also gives us the first chapter of ‘Hannibal: Fields of Blood’ with this short story, so that’s a nice treat.  But I didn’t read it.  Getting teased twice in two days is not fun.  Reading this short story was anticipation torture enough.  Reading the first chapter of a book that won’t be out until September is like Zoe Saldana pulling me in for a kiss and then saying “just kidding, I don’t kiss Jeep lovers”!  Or… something like that.

Friday, May 24, 2013

'Inferno' by Dan Brown


Good, but not great.  When someone asks me (and they will ask me) “how was Dan Brown’s new book?”, that will be my answer.  I enjoyed but there were more than a few places that were slow and had me scratching my head.  It’s almost impossible not to read one of Dan Brown’s books and NOT compare it to ‘The DaVinci Code’.  I know I shouldn’t but I can’t help it.  ‘The DaVinci Code’ is just a plain amazing novel and has become the standard (at least by me) on how codebreaking-thrillers should be written. 

Would I recommend this book?  Yes, like I said it is good.  But where it got weird for me was, believe it or not, the action scenes!  When Robert and his female companion were running away from the bad guys is when it got dull.  I think Dan spent too much time explaining what was around them and the intricacies of such and such building, and why such and such building was built and when.  So much so that it really slowed the story down.  And that was weird for me.  Dan Brown usually doesn’t drop the ball like that.  His research, as usual, is on point but I felt that his strongest strength was also his greatest weakness with this book.

But again it was a strange dance.  When he was telling the story of Dante’s ‘Inferno’ and how it related to the story, how it played in our modern world, it was a VERY good book.  Once they started running and dodging the bad guys and he threw the history and research with them, that’s when I found I had to push my way through.  This story just didn’t have the same “magic”.  I understand that not every book can be a once in a lifetime block-buster, but even the story telling didn’t have the same Dan Brown-esque flair that I’ve grown to enjoy. 

I’ve always been a big fan of end of the world/apocalyptic books so when I started to piece together what the ‘Inferno’ really was I got morbidly excited.  ‘Inferno’ is pretty detailed and complicated so don’t rush through it.  Setting aside the awkward slow parts that were dispersed throughout this book, it was still entertaining and fun.  The ending will catch you off guard because it’s so… complete.  And horrible.  You always wonder if the author “will go there” and Dan Brown certainly does. 

As with his other novels this one has the dance between “this can’t be real” vs. “CAN this be real”?  I was taken by what ‘Inferno’ referred to and I can’t wait for ‘The Discovery Channel’ and ‘The History Channel’ to start producing shows on it.  Not to mention other media houses dusting off their old DVD and shows with the sole purpose to say “I told you so”.  This book will definitely generate conversation and reaffirm Dan’s place as the devil wordsmith of literature.  Damn him… writing these popular books.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

'One Night Stand' by Allison Hobbs and Daaimah S. Poole


I admit it; I’m an impulse book buyer.  When Allison Hobbs posted on her FaceBook site that her and Daaimah S. Poole had published this book, it took me all of two minutes to buy it.  Why so long?  Because, I was looking to purchase this book from someplace other than Amazon… long story.  I started this book last night, finished it this evening, and now I get to tell you about it.

 I think I’ve gotten to the point where I just expect the women in Allison’s book to be just plain bat crazy!  This one is no different!  I can’t even be nice y’all, Shana is stupid.  Stupid, blind, and delusional.  One of the funniest moments in this book comes early when her man, Rome, actually tries to explain to her what “KH” stands for.  I honestly had to go back and reread that because I thought “no one could be this damn stupid”.  But, I was wrong.  Lord help this child.

Now to be fair, Rome isn’t an Ivy League graduate either.  BUT if your woman is a dunce then you’re going to take full advantage of her dunce-ness.  And Rome does.  OK the story: As I mentioned earlier Shana has a loser-idiot for a boyfriend.  However, in spite of this she is still giving their relationship the good ‘ole college try.  The problem is that Rome is giving the co-eds a little college try!  So to get back at him Shana takes a little walk on the wild side herself.  Unfortunately in her wild side travels she comes across a dude named Amir. 

I looked it up on Wikipedia and ‘Amir’ in Latin stands for “is this negro crazy”?!  Now I’ve had some good-good that has made me do, say, think, and imagine some crazy stuff.  But nothing like Legion’s little brother here.  Most one-night stands are harmless, but what happens when you have one where the other person doesn’t want to let go?  Allison and Daaimah tell you.  This is a short story that is not short on drama, sex, craziness.  I really enjoy short stories like this one because they seem to show up (for me at least) at just the right moment.  I had just finished ‘Inferno’ by Dan Brown and I needed something fun and sexual to unwind my brain from all the Italian and code breaking.

They both say they have more stories… so let’s get with it!!  Good job ladies.  

Sunday, May 19, 2013

'Never Say Never' Pre-order

Hello everyone. My name is Jason Frost and I'm a book lover, book reader, book reviewer, and a friend of Victoria Christopher Murray.  I, like the rest of you, think it’s long overdue for this beautiful soul to make the New York Times Bestsellers List. I think we can, I think we SHOULD make that happen with her upcoming book 'Never Say Never' to be released June 4th, 2013.  How do we accomplish this?  Without getting into too much "shop talk”... we pre-order.

But not only do we pre-order, we do so smartly. 
 
In order for a title to make the New York Times Bestsellers List it must be reported by a store that sends that book’s sales information to the New York Times. The bookstore I manage is such a store. So here is what you do: 

You order your book from me and I report the sales. That's it, goodnight.  

It really is that simple. But not really.  

The key is making sure that every single book sold is counted toward that list. If you buy from 'Amazon' you are OK. If you buy from 'Books-A-Million' you are OK. If you buy from ‘Barnes & Noble’ you are not OK.  Long story, but books purchased through 'B&N' will not be counted toward the New York Times Bestsellers list.  If for some reason you can't order from Amazon or Books-A-Million, then please consider my store.

The cost of the book, which includes shipping, is $13.50.  The only "downside" is we are a tad bit pricier than Amazon and we ship book rate. It’s impossible for independent bookstore to compete with the deep discounts and free shipping Amazon offers.  So I'm appealing to you on a much larger scale. Is helping to get one of our favorite authors on the New York Times Bestsellers list worth an extra $1.50?  I think so.  

We can do this guys, so let’s!  

Payments can be made via PayPal using my eMail address – rubiconreader@aol.com.  If you wish to have your book shipped Priority Mail (2 -3 business days) your price will be $16.00. 

 SPECIAL TREAT!

Are you an impatient book lover like myself who can't wait until the release date to read Victoria's book? (Of course you are).  Then click this link and you can read the first seven chapters for free!  
  
If you have any questions please eMail me - rubiconreader@aol.com