Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Secret Soldier by Alex Berenson

Book:  The Secret Soldier 

Author:  Alex Berenson 

Grade:  C

Recommended To:  Magicians, soldiers, 

I just finished the 5th book in this John Wells series and I have a piece of advice for Berenson:  Stop writing a book a year, your writing suffers if you do that.

This book is okay.  It isn't great.  It is actually about the same as the other John Wells books, so average.  This book is about the internal politics of Saudi Arabia and I had a lot of trouble getting into it.  I started the book a month ago, put it down and just finished it yesterday.

The problem is that the story just isn't that compelling. Do I really care if part of the Saudi royal family is trying to bring down the other half?  Not really.  Do I really care that John Wells has some "moral dilemma" about killing people.  No, that's his job.  He was an undercover soldier with the terrorists a couple of books ago, you can't convince me now that he has feelings and has to "add 6 more men to his death list."  If he doesn't like killing people, or at least isn't bothered by it, then he should find a new line of work, and then where would the story series be?

Berenson has this annoying habit of attempting to create suspense by starting a sentence -

And then continuing that sentence on the next line.  Um, stop that.  It is super annoying and I actually add pauses into my reading, so then part of the time I forget what I was reading in the line above if there is a pause.  It isn't suspenseful and it isn't a new way to write books.  It is just dumb.

This is a good book for someone who likes action novels where there is a strong hero.  It is a fast read and kept my interest after I got back into the book.

Happy Reading!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Wedding Books

Love this book.  It is totally helpful and has real life advice on wedding planning.   Plus, who doesn't like a book that is made for average people.

So, everyone joins the when they get engaged.  It is like the thing to do.  But, I don't love it.  First, the email me WAY too often.  Second, they are uppity about weddings.  I know, this is ALL they do, but wedding planning isn't hard and I'm not an idiot. 

This book is okay - it is helpful for putting together a time line, but I probably could have found everything online.  Fail.

Anyway, I've been reading wedding book, magazines, and reviews for the last month and I'm not sick of it yet.  I was born to event plan! 

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Book:  Little Bee 

Author:  Chris Cleave 

Grade:  C 

Recommended To:  Book Clubs (maybe) 

This book was recommended to me by a friend who was surprised that I hadn't read it yet.   I did some searching on goodreads and discovered that most people either love or sort of like (three stars) this book. 

It was definitely a three star book.   The back of the book has an extremely short snippet about how the lives of two women intersect and then a "shocking revelation" or something happens afterward and the publisher "doesn't want to give it away."  That is a LOT of hype.   And, I'm not sure that the hype was accurate.  The hype on the back made me expect a lot more from the book and it didn't deliver.

My biggest issue with this book was the enormous number of mashed together themes.  It seemed like Cleave said "oh, I want to write a book for book clubs, here are a bunch of themes I could use."  So, then instead of starting with a story, he started with the themes and tried to build the story around them.  He was unsuccessful. 

Parts of this story were shocking, but nothing was as shocking as the English woman, Sarah's, extreme naivete.  She thought she could save Little Bee from her inevitable deportation and murder in Nigeria by going to Nigeria in the middle of an oil war with her four-year-old son.  I do not respect characters that do incredibly stupid things.  What an idiot.  Here's the kicker:  I'm sure one of Cleave's themes was NOT to have an idiot for a main character.  Of course not.  He thinks she's "morally flawed" or some such nonsense. 

Anyway,  save yourself the trouble on this book.  It was a fast read and it had some shocking bits, but that just didn't make up for the poor writing, the convoluted themes, and a mediocre story. 

Happy Reading!!

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Book:  Unbroken 

Author:  Laura Hillenbrand 

Grade:  B

Recommended To:  Anyone with an interest in WWII.  Especially the pacific theater. 

  I took a break from this blog, and I needed it.  I was too overwhelmed with this blog, wedding planning, and my job to actually keep up with the blog how I wanted to. 

But, I'm back. 

I have been reading a lot and Unbroken was one book that I just couldn't help blogging about.  I got this book for my birthday from my fiance's parents and it came highly recommended. 

This is the story of Louis Zamperini, an olympic track runner who joined the air force during WWII.  He worked on a B24 bomber as the user of a brand new proprietary invention that could sight targets and aim bombs directly at them.  

On one mission his plane crashed into the pacific and he survived for over 40 days and then became a POW in a Japanese camp.   This story was excellent.  I have read a lot of WWII non-fiction and this was one of the first books I've read about the pacific theater and the first book I've read about POWs. Everyone knows about the conditions in the concentration camps, but I hadn't seen any literature about the conditions in POW camps that were supposedly regulated by the Red Cross and the Geneva Conventions.

This was often a very disturbing book, but also a book that left me believing in the American cause.  It was a book full of hope and resilience and I read it in about two days.  I recommend it to anyone interested in a real life hero and to anyone interested in a story that isn't often told. 

Happy Reading!!