Tuesday, July 23, 2013

'Arena: Champion' by Simon Scarrow

Everything has lead up to this.  The blood baths in the arena, the relentless treachery of the lubricous talking Greeks, the unrepentant training regiments, and the exhausting emotional strain all come to a head in ‘Arena: Champion’

Pavo finally gets to fight Hermes to avenge his father’s death, but it doesn’t go at all like you (or I imagined).  For the first time since I started reading this eBook series I actually got mad at Pavo.  Yeah… there were certain names that I called him that I couldn’t say here and that would probably be banned even in a sailor’s dictionary. 

Of course, if you saw the concrete-man that Hermes was, if you saw what he did to a fellow gladiator during a practice session, then if you were on the wrong end of a marketplace brawl, you might say a few curses as well.  While I was eager to see Pavo vs. Hermes, I was also eager to see if the wretched Greeks would get their come uppins’. 

I of course won’t tell you how things turn out, but you can trust that just because this is the last eBook in this series, the action, nor treachery slows down.  It’s been one heck of a ride and even though we knew a “real” book was going to come out that combined all of these, it was still nice to have something to look forward to reading every two months. 

Now… I’m ready for his next one.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Brad Thor is wrong!

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions” - Saint Bernard of Clairvaux
“And some really stupid ones” – Jason

- February 25th, 2012 - Trayvon Martin was holding hands with his girlfriend.
- February 26th, 2012 - Trayvon Martin was murdered by George Zimmerman.
- July 13th, 2013 - George Zimmerman was acquitted of murder.
- July 18, 2013 - Brad Thor offered to buy Zimmerman (who will hence forth be called “child murderer”) a gun.  And all the ammo he wanted.
- July 19th, 2013 Brad Thor took to the airwaves to confirm and reaffirm his tweets from the previous day.

To quickly sum it up: child murderer saw a suspicious looking Trayvon Martin walking through a neighborhood.  The child murderer then, AGAINST the advice of 911, decided to follow Trayvon.  Trayvon being a free citizen wondered what the fuck was going on, fought back against his assailant when attacked.  The child murderer seeing he was getting his ass beat pulled out his gun and murdered an unarmed kid.  During the trial he cowardly stood behind a weak “self defense” strategy even he was the one who went after Trayvon. 

Typical coward move. 

Unfortunately our courts ruled that child murderer did nothing wrong.  But remember… this is Florida.  In the court of public opinion and in the court of common damn sense the child murderer got away with a heinous crime. 
Now it looks like the Feds are looking into this case (probably for show only, sorry it’s the truth) so they have not let the child murderer have his weapon back.  Brad Thor, feeling sorry for this child murderer took to Twitter and TV to show his support for the child murderer.  He said he’ll get the child murderer “Whatever gun he wants + however much ammo, consider it done. I’m buying. Done deal.”

I find that absolutely deplorable.  Brad’s out is that the American courts said he was “not guilty”.  Technically… true.  However… SO?  Have our courts never made a mistake?  Have our courts never set a guilty man free?  Have our courts never put an innocent man to death?  How many DNA cases must be over turned before Brad realizes that our courts are not perfect?!  History is fraught with guilty people walking around innocent because of slick lawyers and stupid jurors.  No so more than this case.

Just because the courts said “not guilty” does not mean, by any stretch of the imagination, that their decisions are absolute and without flaw.  Why a respected author would be so vocal that he would buy child murderer a gun and ammo after said murderer was just on trial for killing someone is beyond stupid.  It’s extreme bad taste at best and deplorably reckless at worst.  Zimmerman needs another gun like Malcolm X needs a train ticket. 

Freedom of Speech is one thing.  Freedom of having common sense is another.  I don’t mind having meaning debates about Obama, taxes, NSA, drones, China, the environment, menial stuff like that.  But the case about Trayvon isn’t political.  It’s human.  If you (Brad) can honestly say that you are SO confident in the child murderer that you are willing to give him a gun and ammo… then you should move him into YOUR neighborhood and let HIM function as YOUR watch captain.  My money’s on he stays where he’s at.

The child murderer had a “fair” trial and the courts said he didn’t do it.  But that damn sure doesn’t mean that he’s innocent.  That only means that his lawyer did a good enough job throwing up enough smoke to a panel of twelve who were happily fooled into believing whatever they were told. 

I don’t know why Brad felt that he needed to say this but he did.  Freedom of speech?  That’s probably a good guess.  But just as he’s free to say what he wants, I’m free to say that he’s an idiot for doing so.  This decision is in such poor taste that I almost didn’t believe it when I saw it.  I had to check a few more sources before I saw that it wasn’t an Onion prank.  As a book lover I fully understand that I’m not going to agree 100% with the folks I read.  As long as they can tell a great story then I’m going to read their work.  But this is something way beyond not agreeing with Brad politically. 

This is about the value of a human life. 

When a man is acquitted of rape you don’t buy him a box of condoms.  When a man is acquitted of identity fraud you don’t buy him a new computer.  When a man is accused of domestic violence you don’t buy him brass knuckles.  When a man is acquitted of murder you don’t buy him a gun.  You don’t.  You just fucking don’t.

Bad move Brad.  One of your worst ever.

Click here to read the article as well as the TV link to watch the exchange between Brad Thor and the TV anchors.

Friday, July 19, 2013

'Con Law' by Mark Gimenez

This is another book that “slipped” by me.  What’s that make… three this year?  Either I need to start paying better attention to my authors or they need to send me a personal invitation when their next book comes out.  A post-it note on a $100 bill pasted under the windshield wiper of a new Jeep Rubicon will do.  In case… you know… you ever get that itch.

Mark Gimenez, Mark Gimenez, Mark Gimenez.  Say his name three times while looking into a mirror and his books will magically appear on your bookshelf.  I recommend Mark to all of my book reading friends as well as other authors because his books read like he’s sitting next to you while you’re in bed reading you a night time story.  (Sorry if that’s a little creepy but I trust you understand what I mean). 

This time out Mark takes us to the sprawling metropolis of Marfa, TX. Never heard of this place until this book but it’s certainly a place I want to visit now.  I read this story as an eBook so it was easy to switch between the story and Google Maps to view the concrete boxes as well as the other small towns mentioned.  Trust me… you’ll want to do the same. 

While Marfa, TX is the setting in which the store revolves the character that adds personality is a guy by the name of John Bookman, or ‘Book’ for short.  Book teaches constitutional law and is a lawyer with a unique gift.  Every once in a while he takes a case that is a lost cause and does what he can.  One of these lost causes takes him and his intern to west Texas.  It takes a bold writer to combine oil, gas, fracking, minimalist art, New York City, roughnecks, Moonpies, a Harley, and concrete.  But Mark does and somehow… it works. 

Book, along with his very attractive intern (insert joke here) has been summoned to Marfa, TX because of a former intern and the accusations he levels on his employer.  However, this is Texas, and Texas means big oil, big gas, big egos and BIG money.  You mess with any of that and you’re looking for a big ass whoopin.  This story has the usual “Gimenez Touch”; funny one-liners, wonderful dialogue between the characters (Mr. Stanton & Ms. Garza), and a healthy dose of the law.  There was one rare slow part in this book however.  When Mark was explaining ‘fracking.’  OMG!!  I thought I had fallen into the Twilight Zone.  I understand the reasoning for it but… DAMN!  I felt like Nadine there for a few seconds.  It happens only a few times, and once you get through it you’re off and running again.

I’m also happy to see that this will be a series.  I’d imagine there are a million and one stories involving Book, the grand state of Texas, and the revolving door of interns.  Yeah… them.  I was a little put off that Book kept telling so many “no”.  What’s up with that?  Smart, famous, accomplished, handsome, surrounded by Texas senoritas?! … dude… use what you got!!! 

Ah well… the musings of a reader.  Another job well done Mark.  Another job well done.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

'Chocolate Flava 4: Busy Bodies' edited by Zane

OK, here's a joke:  what's the difference between a July day in Aiken, SC, hell, a five-alarm fire, and a Zane anthology?  The answer: not one damn thang!  Zane brings us twenty-five (twenty-six including hers) short stories of sweaty, sticky, undulating, uninhibited sex.  The eroticism of their written words is surpassed only by the images they inspire.  These short stories are nothing of the sort because you'll need to factor in day-dreaming time and... stress releasing time. (Oh hush, you freaks know what I mean.)

Here are some of my favorites:

'Doing Bris' by R.W. Shannon - great opening (no jokes here please) to this collection and this short story had nothing to do with the dude being named Jason.

'Prime Piece of Property' by Nadia - selling houses should always be this fun.

'After Dark' by Niyah Moore - this was a good short story, but it didn't make my list because of the story. It made my list because of the last paragraph and one sentence.  I NEVER saw that coming, but when I went back and reread the story I saw the subtle clues and hints. I like how writers can do that. They cause you to miss something on the first pass but on the second or third read you're like "oh... damn..."  Good one Niyah.

'So Much for Rules' by W. Biddle Street - The girl in this one had me cracking up!!   I enjoy when an author can blend sex and humor.

'Hard Times' by Lynn Lake - my absolute FAVORITE story in this collection.  Let me say that again, my. absolute. favorite. story. in. this. collection. Wanton, lusty, naughty, pick one. You could literally feel the need and experience the shiver of release from these two.  Somebody find Lynn Lake for me and buy her (?) a beer.

'Dirty' by Carla S. Pennington - another funny sexy one. Especially the comment about the Magnum condom.

'Shadow Dancer' by Landon Dixon - all I can say about this one is "be careful what you wish for".

'Intimate Strangers' by Michelle Janine Robinson - if the mile-high club was an actual club, these two would be the founding members.

'Coosawhatchie' by Zane - As usual Zane closes out her collection of literary hedonism with one of her own. I was happy to see that she represented my home state of South Carolina, but damned if I knew where Coosawhatchie is. And yes, it is a town because Goole Maps said so.  The story; country girl meets city orgasm. I will always remember my first experience with a Zane book. It was 'Nervous', and I was browsing the table, saw the cover, picked it up, read a few chapters, and burst out laughing right there in the bookstore. I'm glad to see that magic is still there.

We always hear about the hot summer movie but never about the hot summer book. 

Consider that oversight corrected.

Friday, July 12, 2013

'Hidden Order' by Brad Thor

About two weeks in my bookstore I was telling a friend that it takes me, on average, about three to four days to finish a book.  This one took me a day and a half.  Why?  The answer is obvious; this book was good.  No wait, this book was ‘Good Times’ good.  And by ‘Good Times good’ I mean it was “damn… damn… damn!” good.  This one also had the flavor of ‘The Last Patriot’.  Harvath is still front and center but he’s doing more tracking down and investigating than killing.  That’s OK because others have taken up his slack and wow… does Brad get brutal.

This story has a few major story lines going on and (at least to me) more characters than usual.  So while you’re up at 2 AM reading this book make sure you pay attention to who is who because the person on page 150 might not be the person on page 152.  Brad has never been one to shirk from taking the truth, mudstomping it, and then throwing it in our face.  ‘Hidden Order’ is no different and this time the Federal Reserve is the one on the Brad Thor guillotine. 

I’ve always been of the mind that fiction authors write to entertain and non-fiction authors write to educate.  Brad (and a few others) the enviable insane skill to accomplish both.  I consider myself pretty educated but I had no clue about some of the Federal Reserve facts and even some of the facts about Boston, MA.  I probably could have finished this book in a day if I didn’t stop to Google fact check.  But it’s literally impossible not to because you would think that our government… OUR flippin’ government isn’t that blind (stupid) or na├»ve to not see what we see.  But they are.  And someone has taken upon themselves to exploit it.

As I alluded to earlier, Scot is wearing the uniform of an investigator vs. his usual two taps to the skull get up that I like seeing him wearing in this book because some really bad people are doing some REALLY bad things.  I know, I know… they are always doing bad things.  But there is something really… sinister about these guys and in the manner in which they dispatch their victims.  Terror, abject fear, and unimaginable pain don’t even come close to describing it. 

In between the history lesson about the Federal Reserve and beloved Boston there is a lot of action and a very interesting story line between Harvath and another character.  I say interesting because this interaction could have some deeper ramifications as this series moves on.  I like how Brad has developed Harvath over the years and grown him as well.  I seriously don’t think a twenty-five year old Harvath would have done what the forty-year old Harvath did. 

Anyway, Brad can tell a story like nobody’s business and you no choice but to enjoy the conflict between the alpha males, Harvath and Cordero.  You’ll wonder how you could admire (too strong a word?) the genius and creativity of the killers while you are given a history lesson you would NEVER learn in today’s schools, all while apprehensively turning the pages because you really don’t want to see how they slaughter the next person.  But you can’t help it.  This type of voyeurism goes way beyond craning your neck to see an accident.  This is craning your neck to see an accident all while crossing your fingers that there is another one around the corner. 

Brad Thor never disappoints and this one is another bullet!  On a personal note; I had the honor of meeting Brad Thor at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library last year.  I also had the honor of getting to ask him a question during the lecture.  My question was “You use a lot of high tech weapons/technology in your books, do you in real life”?  His answer was “yes”.  Keeping that answer in mind I was blown away to read about the Aerion Supersonic Business Jet.  You know he’s flown on that baby… you know he has!  Brad… dude… I wanna be you when I grow up!  And Natalie… oh mama!  Of course Natalie would just be pure eye candy lest Mrs. Thor kicks Brad’s ass and Mrs. Frost kicks mine.

‘Hidden Order’.  5 stars, 13 stripes, red white and blue over and through!


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

'A Family Affair' by ReShonda Tate Billingsley Pre-Order!

My name is Jason Frost and I manage one of the few remaining independent bookstores in the United States.  I love reading, I love books, and I love those who make it possible for me to love reading and books.

I am also a huge fan and supporter of ReShonda Tate Billingsley. This wonderful lady has been writing books for fifteen years and her love for the craft is as strong as ever.  Despite ReShonda writing over twenty-five books the New York Times Bestseller List has yet to have the honor of having her name on it.

We have the power to change that.


By pre-ordering from stores that report to the New York Times Bestseller List.  Like mine.  

ReShonda’s new book, ‘A Family Affair’, comes out July 30, 2013 and we need to preorder this book like Jesus himself said the world will end on July 31st!  Pre-orders combined with first week sales are extremely important to an author.  I mean, you’re going to buy the book anyway correct?  Let’s do it right and make the numbers count. 

The price of ‘A Family Affair’ is $15 and that includes shipping.  If you would like the book shipped Priority Mail the price is $16. 

Yes I do realize that you can get this book cheaper from just about anywhere else.  But remember, I manage a small independent bookstore and we can’t compete with the huge discounts and free shipping of the big guys. 

That’s fine, because the big guys can’t compete with my love and passion for books, reading, and authors such as ReShonda. 

I think helping her to make the N.Y. List is worth an extra $2.  Seriously folks.  AT&T charges more a month for their stupid “miscellaneous” fees.  We can do this.

Ordering from me is simple.  Payments can be made via PayPal using rubiconreader@aol.com Simon & Schuster usually sends us the books early and as soon as we get them they will go in the mail and on their way to you, and every book is shipped with delivery confirmation. 

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask.  I can be reached at rubiconreader@aol.com

If you would like to read the first seven chapters of ‘A Family Affair’ please click on the links below or HERE:

‘A Family Affair’
ReShonda Tate Billingsley

Sunday, July 7, 2013

'Sinners and the Sea' by Rebecca Kanner

This was one of those books that grabbed me because of the cover.  I Picked it up, read the back, and immediately put it on my “to read” list.  For me, choosing a historical-fiction biblical novel is tricky.  I’ve read some that were very good and some… not so much.  But my reading mojo called to me to read this book, so I did. 

You know going in that liberties will be taken because this is a novel, the fun part is finding out where.  I will say that I did go back and reread the Biblical (NIV) story of Noah after I read this book to 1. Refresh my memory and 2. To see which liberties were taken.

Did I enjoy this book?  Yes.  I liked how Rebecca told the story of Noah.  She took the Biblical story, mixed in her own story, and filled in the “holes”.  While the story mainly revolved Noah and his wife I must admit that I was very taken (and revolted) by Javan.  She was as horrible and disgusting as she was intriguing.  Given the fact that we knew how wicked the world was at that time, I wouldn’t be surprised if God chose to end the world based on what she did on say… Wednesday.  When your evil stands out in a world of evil… your ass is evil!! 

Rebecca takes us on a journey from before the flood, during the flood, after the flood, and after the water recedes.  The part where this story slowed down for me was when they were on the ark.  The brothers Ham, Shem, and Japheth have some very serious conflicts, some of which made me wonder if the flood might have missed a few people.  This is but one of the places where purists will have a problem with the creative liberties taken.  Especially when it comes to the brother’s wives, wow.  Unfortunately, this was the only highlight to their time spent on the ark.  At least for me.

The ending was very interesting.  (No spoilers).  A couple of things happened that made me “this didn’t happen in the Bible… did it”?  I went back and reread Genesis and it did indeed not happen.  But what an interesting imagination Rebecca had to write it in the direction it went.  I haven’t looked hard enough to see if there will be a sequel but there very easily could be because this story ended quite abruptly.  Actually… yeah it did end pretty “BAM”!!  But there was a weird resolution to one very big part of this story. 

All in all I was very pleased with this debut novel from Rebecca Kanner, and I look forward to more of her work.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

'No Boundaries' by Allison Hobbs

Now THIS was a fun Allison Hobbs book!  Plenty of searing sex, twisted situations that border between illegal and uncomfortable, and a interesting story line.  That idiotic Amazon write-up doesnt do this book justice at all.  When you read this book youll be taken by the back-story that Allison has woven in here and THAT is the true meat to this tale. 

Fonia, as a little girl, witnesses her mom carry on a relationship with a man named Mr. Lord.  Mr. Lord loves to control women and Mr. Lord loves to control little girls.  He controls women with sex, and he controls little girls with manipulation.  The crazy part is these little girls have to grow up and they grow up with this devil.  A few years ago there were a ton of jokes about that sick-o Woody Allen marrying his adopted daughter because he was pretty much just growing pussy in his house.  Thats kinda how I felt about Mr. Lord.

But lets back up a bit this book starts out crazy hot!  Brother in shower, hotel room, horny maid, you do the math.  Allison wastes no time grabbing your attention and youll waste no time grabbing um other things.  Jaguar is a playboy and really enjoys the company of women.  They, in turn, enjoy his.  His sexual exploits alone make this book worthwhile but what would be the fun if we didnt read about the women?  They love him and his magic stick and are more than willing to give me anything he wants anywhere he wants.  (Some guys have all the luck). 

Getting back to Fonia; she is a woman who, buy no fault of her own, has the self esteem of one-legged bald-headed woman with sharp teeth and one eye.  Her life isnt her and she has her mother and Mr. Lord to thank for that.  Over the years things happen that mold Fonia into something else.  And as crazy as this may sounds, I really enjoyed reading about the other Fonia. The other Fonia is someone I wish I could meet while Im washing my Jeep or making a buffalo wing run. 

So you have Jaguar and you have Fonia two sexual souls on a collision course that, when met, might end up with both of them in traction.  One problem: Mr. Lord.

OK, this guy!  I stated before that hes the devil and I meant that.  He does things to Fonia and her mother that will make you feel naughty and immoral just for reading it.  The Bible says raise a child in the way he should go and they will not depart from it.  You got THAT right!  That verse must be Fonias mantra because damn.  However, I dont think God meant for the verse to be used like this.  Witnessing Fonia exploring her sexuality is a tantalizing as Meagan Good wearing well just about anything.    Fiona goes through a few transformations in this story. Some you feel sorry for and some you dream for. 

I really enjoyed this book by Allison and it reminded me of the fun I had during her 'Insatiable' and'Double Dipping' days. She's my girl, she's my friend, and she's one of my favorite authors.