Book Review: The First Wave by James R. Benn
4 Stars , Fiction , Historical Fiction / November 8, 2010

I bought this eBook. My rating for The First Wave – 4 About: “The First Wave” by James R. Benn is second book in the fictional Billy Boyle series.  In the Billy Boyle book (review) we meet the young Boston cop who has been enlisted as a special investigator to his uncle in Washington during WWII.  Only that his uncle is Ike, and he takes Billy with him overseas. Thoughts: While the first book in the series I considered historical-fiction, this book is more of a crime story which happens during war time. The history is there, but it there are far too many liberties taken with time-line and the story-line does not deal with any specific occurrences (such as Operation Jupiter from the last book). The author did make this clear at the end notes, otherwise my rating would dropped.That being said, I like the fact that the stories revolve around little known events of World War II instead of the big ones we all learned about. In “The First Wave” Billy has matured, he has seen devastation, revenge, backstabbing and some more of the acts men do in war time.  Much like Billy, so has Mr. Benn’s narrative…

Book Review: Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving
4 Stars , Fiction / November 5, 2010

I borrowed this book from the local library. My Rating for Last Night in Twisted River – 4 About: “Last Night in Twisted River” was my first John Irving novel and the word “operatic” comes to mind. Even though this novel is long, the plot is tight and interesting. I never thought I’d read a novel which has a tight plot, but still manages to ramble on and on as well as keep my interest – but there you have it. “Operatic” and a “tight plot”… sounds like your kind of novel – Buy it today! | Thoughts: This is one of those books that I, personally, really like. The book is polished (but not overdone), the characters are very engaging and each one, even the minor ones, has their own history full of prose as well as many insights into parenthood and the joys and pains that come with it. | The story moves back and forth in time, despite Irving’s weird sex scenes, violent actions and some funny (and not so funny) deaths, the plot revolves around Daniel becoming a writer and gives Mr. Irving the opportunity to take out his ire on “dimwitted” book reviewers and sensationalistic…

Book Review: Kingdom Under Glass by Jay Kirk

I got this book for free. My rating for Kingdom Under Glass – 5 About: “Kingdom Under Glass” by Jay Kirk is a historical fiction – biography tale, set in the late late nineteenth – early twentieth century, about the great taxidermist & conservationist, inventor and sculptor Carl Akeley, his wives Delia “Mickie” Akeley and second wife Mary Jobe Akeley. Akeley is a legend, I’m surprised I haven’t heard of him before this book.  On a jungle expedition he killed a leopard with his bare hands, somehow survived an elephant attach, stuffed Jumbo the elephant for P.T. Barnum, was an acquittance of Teddy Roosevelt, invented a movie camera, used his fame to prompted King Albert of Belgium to create the world’s first wildlife sanctuary in the Belgium Congo (Virunga National Park) and I’m not even going to detail his scientific and artistic achievements. Come on, can you resist a biography of a guy that killed a jaguar with his BARE HANDS? No, then buy it here! Thoughts: Jay Kirk has done the impossible, he made a book about a taxidermist not only interesting, but entertaining as well.  Jay Kirk’s prose is beautifully written, brilliant, smooth and striking, however it is…

Author Q and A with Bob Ingle
Author Q&A / November 2, 2010

Elections Day Special. The people of New Jersey often wonder where does all the billions of money from the road-tolls go? I came to a conclusion that collecting tolls is simply a time honored tradition.  After all, the New Jersey’s delegates to the Constitutional Convention were late because they stopped to collect tolls, as well as trying to collect tolls from the Continental Army (which prompted an angry letter from General Washington to the New Jersey legislature which resonates as truth to this day). Richard Stockton, the signer of Declaration of Independence from New Jersey, hedged his bets by also signing the a loyalty oath to England.  The only signer to do so (and we named a college after him).  That’s almost like having an elected official being a member of the workers’ union he/she is supposed to negotiate with (according to Bob Ingle’s Blog post “Union Federation Runs Election Boot Camp” New Jersey has five of these, while the other 49 states have nine – combined!). Bob Ingle (Politics Patrol – The Bob Ingle Blog | @bobingle99) has co-authored the New York Times bestseller  “The Soprano State” (buy | review) together with fellow journalist Sandy McClure.  The book is…

Book Review: The Help by Kathryn Stockett
4 Stars , Fiction / November 1, 2010

I bought this book. My Rating for The Help – 4 About: “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett’s tells the stories of black domestic servants working in white households of Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960s.  A white college graduate, who doesn’t really do anything, decides to collect these stories (a book within a book) and publish them during the civil rights unrest of the time. Face it – YOU NEED HELP – Get The Help here Thoughts: “The Help” is a reader friendly book, it’s easy to read and oddly easy to digest due to its heavy subject. The story is well told and well written, I loved the anecdotes in the book, in which the reader is privy to some funny moments and the plot twists are very good.  The characters are, by large, three dimensional and vivacious, here and there are some characters that come along which are not drawn up entirely well. The middle of the book lags in some places, but the narrative picks up the pace as you read along.  Also, some of the plot devices seem forced, but that doesn’t take away that much from the story which keeps getting more interesting as you…

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