"I had kind of given up on Stephen King - I believe the last novel of his I tried to read was "Lisey's Story" a few years ago which I couldn't finish. I loved all of his earlier works including "Salem's Lot," "Carrie," "The Shining," "The Stand," and on and on, but some of his later stuff just didn't do it for me. But when I first heard about "11/22/63" and its premise of going back in time to stop the Kennedy assassination, I had to read it! I got a copy as a Christmas gift and I was not disappointed. This has to be one of King's best books since "The Stand" - I loved every word of it (and that's a lot of words - almost 850 pages worth)! I was 13 in 1963 when Kennedy was killed and I actually remember thinking at the time that it would be nice to go back and prevent the killing - it really was like a bad dream. King's book uses this idea and the resulting novel is all that you could ask for in a time travel story. Some of it was reminiscent of the "Back to the Future" movies including using known sporting events results as a betting tool to make money. It also reminded me a little of "It's a Wonderful Life" and how changes can effect other events and people's lives. Along the way in this novel, King takes us back to Derry, Maine and the events of his novel "It". He then provides a myriad of information about Lee Oswald and his wife Marina, and the events leading to 11/22/63. The novel also includes a great love story and the ending I thought was near perfect. This is the first book I have read in 2012 and I doubt I will read a better one this year - very high recommendation!"
"I found this to be a real eye-opener! Coming from a Mormon background (I grew up in Utah), this book was very relevant for me. I thought Ebershoff did a great job in telling this story that includes the roots of polygamy in the Mormon Church along with a modern day murder mystery in a polygamist cult and how the two stories connect with each other. I tend to agree that the story would have perhaps been better if only the story of Ann Eliza Young was told, but I did get engrossed in the modern-day story as well. Reading the story of the Mormon beginnings and Brigham Young was definitely not the same stories I was taught in Mormon Sunday school. Especially the baser aspects of why Brigham and Joseph Smith entered into polygamous relationships and some of the other historical aspects such as the "hand-cart tragedy." This is a work of fiction and it is hard to separate the fact from the fiction, however, I think the author tried to accurately portray the events as much as possible.
The story within the modern-day cult reminded me a lot of the HBO series "Big Love." I would recommend this series highly. This book also piqued my interest in reading more about Ann Eliza Young -- I would like to read her book "Wife No. 19" at some point. I didn't realize she had such an impact on the Mormon Church's renouncement of polygamy. Overall a high recommendation for this book."
"This was another page-turner in the Reacher series. In this one, Reacher is on a bus going through South Dakota in the middle of the winter. The bus is involved in an accident and Reacher is stuck in a small town with a lot of problems including a motorcycle gang selling meth and a potential murderer about to strike the town. Well, needless to say, Reacher gets involved in what turns out to be an epic climax. I don't know if Child was thinking of ending the series with this book (given the ending which leaves you wondering about whether Reacher survived) but the series continues with "Worth Dying For" - the only remaining Reacher book I haven't read. I did have a couple of quibbles with "61 Hours" - first, it seemed like Reacher was not quick enough to figure out who was doing the murders in the small town (I had this figured out about half way through the novel), and second, I didn't really like how the novel left you wondering at the end. That being said, I still liked the book and would recommend it along with all of the previous Reacher novels from Child."
"When I started reading this, I thought it was going to be a very campy, comic-bookish, off-the-wall kind of read. However, I was pleasantly surprised by all the research the author did into the life of Lincoln. If you throw out the vampire story, this would be a pretty good biography of Lincoln from his childhood through his untimely death. I especially enjoyed some of the possibilities laid out there including things like Lincoln's possible friendship with Edgar Allan Poe. The author then does a great job of blending Lincoln's history with the vampire story and at the end even left room for a possible sequel. The writing style to me was very good and did not detract from the story. I would overall give this one a high recommendation. It made me want to read more about Lincoln's life and tragedies."
"I have been meaning to read a Faulkner novel since I took a literature course in college that included Faulkner over 40 years ago. Well, I finally finished this one and I have to say it was a challenge to read with the page-long sentences and its stream of consciousness style. But I'm glad I stuck with it. I know Faulkner is considered one of the greatest American novelists and I can see why. I can't imagine how he was able to write in the style he did for over 300 pages. The story was told from different points of view and was sometimes very convoluted - I found myself having to reread several sentences to get the full meaning of what was being said. The novel tells the story of the rise of a plantation owner in Mississippi and his downfall. It includes themes of race, slavery, incest, the Civil War, and the downfall of the South. Overall, a rewarding experience but not sure when or if I will try to tackle another Faulkner - maybe I'll try Moby Dick instead."
"An okay thriller. The Absence told the story of a very dysfunctional family and how each family member's guilt played into an ancient and evil presence at an old mill house in the Fens of England. I would give this one a marginal recommendation although I thought the story was a little long-winded and overplayed its premise of the absence. The novel reminded me somewhat of James Herbert's horror stories although I enjoyed Herbert's novels much more."
"I really enjoyed this latest Reacher thriller and thought it was on par with most of the other Reacher novels that I have read (I still have 5 or 6 left to read). This one takes place while Reacher is still in the army immediately before his discharge and the events of The Killing Floor. In fact it nicely ties up how Reacher happened to go to the little town in Georgia where the Killing Floor takes place and how his brother happened to be there. I always thought this was way too coincidental when I first read Floor. As far as the events in The Affair, Reacher sifts through the evidence and even with some misdirection comes to the right conclusions as usual and handles the outcome in the usual Reacher way! I would recommend this one! Now I need to finish reading the other books in the series."
"For Patterson, I thought this was a very powerful novel delving into the racial injustices in the South during the early 20th century. Although the title of the book implies that this is an Alex Cross thriller, it is actually much more. It tells the story of Cross' great uncle, Abraham, and his cousin, Moody, in the town of Eudora, Mississippi. It is the story of lynchings, racial bigotry, hatred, and violence towards African Americans at that time, and paints a very ugly picture of man's inhumanity to man. The book is written in Patterson's fast short-chapter style and is a very quick read but the subject matter leaves you with something more to think about that his usual action thrillers. The trial sequences in the book were somewhat reminiscent of "To Kill a Mockingbird" but not quite in the same league. The book includes references to historical figures such as W.E.B. DuBois and Teddy Roosevelt but I'm not sure of the historical accuracies. If the South was anything like what is portrayed in this story, there is a lot to be ashamed of! Overall, a high recommendation for this one."
"I thought it was a pretty good thriller in the ilk of "The DaVinci Code" and "The Last Templar." I really enjoyed the historical aspects of the story of the Alexandria library. The premise about the Biblical translations and that the Holy Land was actually in Saudi Arabia was very interesting. However, I thought the political implications of this were somewhat far-fetched. Overall though, an enjoyable and fast-paced story."
"One of the best sci-fi novels I have read in some time. Silverberg has always been one of my favorites in this genre and in my opinion, this is one of his best! The novel details an alien invasion over a 50-year period using one family, the Carmichaels, as a focus. The Carmichaels struggle for years through several generations to try to rid the earth of the invaders with no success. Any attempt at killing the invaders results in harsh reprisals including a virus that kills more than half of earth's population. The invaders seem to be invincible and use humans as slave labor. During the invasion, many earthlings collaborate with the invaders and these "quislings" are hated and despised by the rest of humanity. There are several complex characters in the book mostly in the Carmichael family. The patriarch of the family fought in Vietnam and was named Anson, a name passed down through the generations and a nice tribute by Silverberg to Robert Anson Heinlein. Overall, a high recommendation for this one."
"Another good page-turner from Rollins about the nefarious genetic manipulation of DNA in animals and humans! This one reminded me a lot of some of Michael Crichton's novels such as "Next" which was also about genetic engineering and intelligent animals. I was also reminded a lot of H.G. Wells classic "Island of Dr. Moreau" - one of my Wells favorites. I really enjoyed the setting of the first part of the story in the bayous of Louisiana and would give this one a very favorable recommendation."
"Another super James Rollins adventure story! I took this book with me on a business trip to Florida and read it on the plane and at the hotel. Hard to put down with non-stop action and very interesting premises about life itself and how man may have evolved. Some very wicked people were also in this adventure - Louis Favre and his Indian girl-friend "Tshui" (who got thrills out of torture and shrinking heads!) had to be some of the nastiest villians I have encountered in recent memory. Overall - a fun and exciting read."
"Finished reading this today. It always amazes me how early explorers had the courage to do what they did. This is especially true of polar exploration. I mean what would it take to head off into the polar regions in a balloon?? Prior to reading this book, I had never heard of the Andree expedition so I am glad was able to read about it. This book reminded me of some of the biographies I read growing up in the 1960s - it was nostalgic in a way. I was also a fan of Jules Verne growing up and this expedition could have come straight from his pen! Overall a very fascinating story. It is definitely amazing how the story and photos were preserved and discovered over 30 years after the fateful balloon voyage. The mystery of why Andree and his crew perished is also very interesting. The writer of the introduction to the book is quite sure they perished by carbon monoxide poisoning from their cooking stove, however, if you read the Wikipedia.com article on the expedition, the theory that the men succumbed to trichinosis that they got from eating undercooked polar bear meat is suggested along with some other theories. Recommend this book to anyone interested in early exploration of the polar regions."
"Well, I quite enjoyed this latest Cussler novel! As in all of his books, it was a page-turning adventure. In this one, Dirk Pitt and NUMA save the world from an evil Canadian energy mogul and along the way find a way to stop global warming! As usual the events were somewhat far-fetched and included the usual coincidences but it was full of action and interesting ideas. I also really found interesting the information about Franklin's lost expedition in the 1840's in search of the Northwest Passage. I always learn something new when I read Cussler's novels."
"Stayed up late last night to finish this one - I couldn't leave Reacher hanging! This is number 11 in the Reacher series and again Child has not slacked off. In this one Reacher gets together with the remaining members of a group of investigators who worked with Reacher in the Army. They are looking into the death(s) of the other members of the group who were apparently thrown out of a helicopter over the desert outside of Los Angeles. Well, you just don't mess with Reacher and his friends! This one also involves a possible terrorist attack, some sleazy ex-cops, and it is one heck of a ride. High recommendation for this and all of the Reacher series!"
"Quite the shocking little novel! I'm sure any believing Christian would find this book to be blasphemous - I mean it portrays Mary as a lascivious adulterer, Jesus as a drooling idiot, and the savior of man as a mentally unstable follower of Carl Jung from the future. I found this novella (winner of the Nebula award for best novella in 1967) to be very thought-provoking and I was quite impressed with the whole premise of the story. I would recommend this one to anyone who has an open mind about the origins of Christianity."
"A great way to spend an hour or so. This small book included all of Bryson's wit as well as the same excellent travel writing. Bryson's childhood images of Africa pretty much correlated to mine (i.e., Jungle Jim and Tarzan movies) but his trip to Africa brought him reality as he witnessed the extreme poverty and needs of the African people. I was a little disappointed that the book wasn't a little longer but I enjoyed it nonetheless!"
"What a story! When I first started reading, I found it a little hard going -- mainly because of the use of London vernacular -- but as I got into the story, I got used to the language and found myself anxious to get on with the story. A real thriller with one of the most dispicable, vile bad guys I have ever encountered! Often times, the details were very disturbing and gory, but I could not put the book down. I would highly recommend this to any reader of hard-core crime stories. I was also surprised that this was written by a woman."