Tuesday, August 20, 2013

'A Time to Kill' by John Grisham - My thoughts...

This isn’t a review on an ‘A Time to Kill’, but rather my thoughts on this book and why I chose to reread it.  I can count on two hands the books that I’ve reread in my life.  It’s just something that I don’t do.  The books that I have reread I’ve done so because they have been my best of the best.  My classics.  My future leather bounds for my future acre sized library. 

This one easily qualifies to be in that list.

 I’m not sure when I read this book for the first time but I remember reading it and feeling like “daaaamn”.  Brutal, hard, and uncomfortably engrossing.  ‘A Time to Kill’ was John Grisham’s first book and having just read it (again), this guy had to have balls of STEEL to write this one.  Why?  Because this white man from Mississippi uses the word ‘nigger’ more times than a rap concert in Harlem.  Featuring Ice-T.  When he’s angry.  No wonder this book was rejected twenty-eight times!  Now I will say that the use of the word ‘nigger’ wasn’t used in a gratuitous manner.  Meaning, he used it because it needed to be used.  I just didn’t remember how much it was used.

As a Black man that grew up in South Carolina I despise that word like no other because I’ve seen it used is the worst possible ways.  I don’t use it at home and I don’t use it around my family.  I won’t say that I’ve never used it because that would be a big fat ass lie, but it is not a part of my everyday language.  What struck me in this book was how interchangeable the word ‘nigger’ was with the word ‘black’ or ‘black person’.  So much so that white people would say ‘nigger’ around their Black friends and their Black friends don’t even bat an eye.  This story takes place in Southern Mississippi but still! 

I also forgot just how brutal the opening of this book is.  The rape would suffice as being horrific but the aftermath that these two bubba’s subjected that ten year old girl just makes you cringe.  I enjoyed this book as much if not more the second time around.  I even managed to make a couple of folks look at me like I had lost my damn mind in the Carl’s Jr.  I was reading the opening of the trial and Jake came out of left field and asked the two mothers of the child rapist the same question.  Priceless in the questions, and priceless how John wrote it. 

I reread this book because the sequel, ‘Sycamore Row’ comes out October 22, 2013 and I really wanted to be fresh with the story and the characters.  I’m glad I did and now I REALLY can’t wait!  Folks say that this book is one of Grisham’s best and I would have to agree with that.  This isn’t just one of his “lawyer” stories; this is a story about hatred, revenge, flawed hero’s, a justice system with her own issues, and some pretty colorful (Lucien) characters. 

There are no time expirations on books so if you haven’t read ‘A Time to Kill’ then there are a million and one way for you to do so.  But I would push it closer to the top of your “to read” pile because ‘Sycamore Row’ comes out in a few months and it’s going to hit with the force of a Mississippi Tsunami.  You’ll want to be ready when it does.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

'The Loch Ness Legacy' by Boyd Morrison

Boyd Morrison’s first book was ‘The Ark’.  It was about the secret behind Noah’s Ark and the flood, but his take on the flood is very different, very interesting, yet very plausible.  His second book, ‘The Vault’, was a thriller about King Midas and his legendary “touch”.  The next one, ‘The Roswell Conspiracy’, was about Roswell/Area 51 and interspersed between the Tyler Locke adventures we get ‘Rogue Wave’, a book about a comet striking the planet and ghetto slapping Hawaii and ‘The Catalyst’, a book about science, technology, and the artificial making of diamonds.  Yeah. 

So as you can tell Boyd has a pretty healthy track record of writing books about the fantastic.  GOOD books mind you, but truly fantastic.  So I shouldn’t have been at all surprised to see that his new book ‘The Loch Ness Legacy’ is about out dear girl ‘Nessie’, the mythical Loch Ness monster… all… right… I’ll bite.  Actually this was an easy call for me because I’ve read all of Boyd’s book (less ‘Roswell’) and I have enjoyed them all.  But this one… even for Boyd it seemed like a stretch.

Tyler, our brilliant ass kicking scientist/soldier is back in his fourth adventure and he’s (again) rushing against the clock to save the world.  This time it’s to track down this creature, that they aren’t sure exists, in order to help staunch a weapon that was created by the Nazi’s from starting World War 3.  A mythological creature, Nazi’s, modern day terrorists, biological weapons… what the hell!?!  But that’s Boyd for ya’. 

The crazy man (because there’s always a crazy man) behind all this mayhem is Carl Zim.  A white supremacist with (who would have guessed) a very imbecilic view on who should populate this world.  He and his loyal numbskulls attack the Eiffel Tower and that is where this maze starts.  But this time it’s extremely personal because Boyd’s sister is forced in the fray and his best buddy Grant is caught with something VERY bad. 

‘The Loch Ness Legacy’ is another world traveling thriller that takes us from the fish tossing markets of Seattle, to Versailles France, to the highlands of Scotland, and to the depths of Loch Ness herself.  There are bad guys, hot women, cool weapons, and enough action to choke a unicorn.  No, unicorns don’t make an appearance in this book but you never know with Boyd. 

One of the best parts in this book for me?  That submarine.  I would LOVE to troll the depths in something like that.  Not sure if I want to look out and see the murky peat of Loch Ness, but a trip to the Marianna Trench or even around the islands of the Bahamas.  Yeah… I could get with that.  (Anytime you want to send that invitation Boyd…)  

As usual I had fun reading Boyd’s book because they are fun reads.  And get this… I even understood some of the crazy science and cryptozoology terms!  I guess you DO get smarter by reading.  Thanks Boyd for giving us another one to savor.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

'Purple Reign' by K'wan (an eBook novella)

Honor.  Love.  Loyalty.  Sex.  Death.  Usually that would be a tag line for one of my Roman books.  This time I’m talking about one of Harlem’s most talented writers, K’wan.  To me authors are celebrities and it’s an unwritten rule that once you’ve “made it” as a celebrity you only need one name.  Jordan, Beyonce’, Montana, Ah-nold… you get the idea.  K’wan is one of my celebrity authors who are like that. 

When an author puts out a book we rejoice.  When they put out an eBook between the yearly releases, it’s like extra caramel on… well… just about anything.  This time out the eBook is ‘Purple Reign’.  Chapter 1 opens this story with every man’s dream (if you have to ask then you might wanna get your testosterone level checked) and it doesn’t slow down. 

We head to Miami, and Miami is the place where you can get it ALL in your face!  The saying is “revenge is a dish best served cold”.  Apparently it should also be served naked.  Violence is a distance cousin of lust and lust is the horny uncle we all have and try to ignore.  Don B, Lord Scientific, and other brothers that have had their rep forged in concrete, prove that they are no stronger than the regular man when it comes to coño

What’s shocking is the manner in which it happens. 

One of the great joys I have as a reader is reading authors who write to the point of no return, past the point of no return, and then bitch slap the point of no return with pimp hand so hard you’re left wondering if they really meant to write that.  Well K’wan did and… damn!
‘Purple Reign’ is a shorter version of what K’wan does best.  Tell stories.  And the brotha’ does it well.  Very, very well. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

'The Omega Project' by Steve Alten

Damn.  Where do I start?  It's been just shy of two years since Steve Alten has released a book, but if 'Omega Project' is the end result of two years of research and work, then I sincerely hope he takes another two years before he puts his next one out. 

GEEZ-US this was a good got-dam book!  And a surprisingly short one for Alten.   'Shell Game' came in at 534 pages, 'Grim Reaper' at 672, and 'Meg: Hell's Aquarium at 512.  This one is only 329.  I wondered how Steve was going to fit this mammoth of a story into only 300+ pages but he did.  And he did it by not putting in any fluff.  Every word matters and every sentence holds meaning.  None of that trick that we all did in high school.  You know the one, adding a few extra "very" and "and" to add to increase our word count.  Steve doesn’t have any useless embellishment, no wasteful back-story. 

Everything that went in mattered.

'Omega Project' is the type of novel my dreams are based on.  It takes place in the past, it takes place in the future, and it takes place in the ummm... super future.  One of my dreams has always been to go back in time and see Mother Earth before man screwed her up.  And I mean waaayyyy back when dinosaurs roamed, when the Amazon was beautiful, lush and deadly, and the only thing more pure than a mountain stream was another mountain stream.  Oh how I dream.  My other dream (nightmare) is that I would love to see the end of the world.  Morbid, I know and I fully embrace that.  But I love reading end of the world novels and this one is a big fat juicy bite of that.

This story opens with what we’ve grown used to… mankind being lied to about an extremely dire situation.  The next chapter is the residue of that ignorance.  And thus begins our story…

Our planet has gone through one hell of a change.  One so radical that even Noah would say “no fuc*ing way”.  Our main boy, Ike, has been selected for a mission that would greatly increase mankind’s chance for survival.  Oh yeah, he also created GOLEM.  What is a GOLEM you say?  Think of a supercomputer on “X”.  Now multiply that by about a thousand, add a few strands of DNA, the ability to learn before things happen, and a severe God complex.  THAT’S GOLEM. 

Ike’s mission is simple; secretly evaluate the crew on a practice run to make sure that they are the right people chosen to make the real trip to Jupiter to mine for helium-3.  There are twelve of them, six men, six women, and (oh yeah) Ike.  Of course this is a Steve Alten novel so NOTHING goes as it should.  Absolutely frikking nothing. 

I mentioned earlier that Steve doesn’t waste words with this book.  That is appreciated even more with the interacting between the characters.  There is (sorry if this sounds cheesy) character magic with these people.  The emotion, the banter, the sexual tension, the intellect, even the conflict worked to propel this story into something extraordinary.  So something happens on this mission and our boy Ike is thrust into a world that I have only dreamed about.  And I suppose him as well.  But while my dream world is full of nature in all its beauty and majesty, Ike’s real world is anything but. 

Nature has… evolved. 

But not into unicorns and sparkling ponies.  No, she’s evolved into something frighteningly scary, and Ike has about two minutes to figure this out or she’ll make him into history.  This is where this story REALLY gets good.  Remember GOLEM?  Well he (she/it) plays a very interesting roll in the creation of this new world.  All of Steve’s books make you question your beliefs and this one is no different.  Without giving away any spoilers you wonder what God is, who God is, and how far would he allow things to go before stepping in.  Or would he step in at all?  You also wonder will mankind learn anything from our past. 

But it’s weird… even after two pages I don’t feel that I’ve done a good job telling you what this book is about.  I’ve left out so many things that make this such a wonderful read.  I didn’t tell you about ABE, good lord how could I not tell you about ABE?  I didn’t tell you about all the exceedingly smart and extremely good looking and pre-nymph women, I didn’t tell you about the mind-bending technology, some pretty cool “Easter eggs” which I rather enjoyed, the science, and the granddaddy of them all… the story. 

Steve is a writer and this man can tell a damn story.  I know I sound like a broken record because every time I read one of Steve’s stories I say that.  But I can’t help it.  Talking about one of Steve’s books and leaving out how great the storyline is like telling a blind man that PaulaPatton is standing naked in front of him.  What good is it if you keep it to yourself? 

Ok back to the things I forgot to tell you about; (did I mention the women?)… I think… oh yeah one more… Steve alluded to this twist in the book trailer but I almost wish he hadn’t because I think it’s a bit of a spoiler.  Not a large one but I admit to thinking “what the hell” when I watched it. 
As per classic Steve this book plows through and you don’t know how the hell things will turn out until the very last page.  And I sincerely mean the very. last.  page.  This is an apocalyptic thriller with heavy emphasis on the ‘apocalyptic’ and ‘thriller’.  There are a few veiled (not really) political jabs thrown in because that’s just how Steve is, as well as humor in just the right places.  There are majestic creatures, scary creatures, and creatures that are like us. 

And madness.

But it’s not a madness that you can, nor will you want, to escape.  So don’t.  Don’t even bother trying.  Providing I’m blessed to live a long life, I have already started a “re-read” list.  Steve is already on there with ‘Grim Reaper’ and ‘Meg’.  Now I have one more to add.

(Side note: if anyone would like to discuss this book please eMail me.  I want to make sure that my brain isn’t pulling a Gabrielle Douglas with some of the revelations book).  OK, that’s it… go read!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

'Baby Got Back' edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel

First off, this title made me laugh.  If you’re a child of the 90’s you can’t help but think of Sir-Mix-A-Lot!  However, as weird as it may sound, both Sir-Mix-A-Lot and Rachel Kramer Bussel do share one thing in common.  They both love a well shaped booty!  Hell if you want to be honest, who doesn’t?  But while Sir Mix is all out how booty looks, Rachel and her sexual minions are all about how booty feels.  So prepare for a ride on the dark… I mean the backside. 

I don’t suppose that anyone who has a problem reading this type of stuff would even be reading this review or checking out this book.  But just in case, know this collection of erotic short stories covers every freaky lifestyle imaginable.  (OK, maybe not imaginable but the range is still pretty great).  Despite the slowly progressive nature of our society, booty sex is still a major taboo.  I guess that’s what makes collections such as these, fun. 

We’re voyeurs on something that we either can’t do or won’t do.  Something so decadent and so naughty that we’d rather buy the eBook than the paperback, so that no one can see us reading it.  What would you did (god forbid) if you were caught in the ‘New York Underground Public Library’ reading this book?  I will say that even for folks (like me) who are OK with different types of sexual situations and techniques; there were a few short stories in here that made me go “huh?”  Not in a bad way but rather in a “OK I need to go back and reread that because I thought she was… no wait, I thought HE was… no wait… hold on… “ kind of way.
Rachel and her harem of writers deliver yet again.  Here are a few of my favorites:

‘Brenda’s Booty’ by Tenille Brown.  THIS is how you open a collection like this one!  Wow.

‘Rectified’ by Tiffany Reisz.  Aside from the hot sex, I loved the banter between Lela and Brad.

‘A Winter’s Tale’ by Veronica Wilde.  I don’t frequent a café, but I might start.

‘Bar None’ by Mina Murray.  The short scene where the waitress is going down the list of cocktails.  Then…

‘What You Feel Like’ by Talon Rihai & Salome Wilde.

‘Hard Astern’ by Thomas R. Roche.  All I want is to see Hannah’s dress.

‘With Lucy in the Middle’ by Kathleen Tudor