Book Review: Moscow Rules by Daniel Silva
4 Stars , Fiction , Latest Posts / June 18, 2013

About: Moscow Rules by Daniel Silva is the eighth in the Gabriel Allon series. Even though there are numerous references to the previous books, I thought this novel was still a good read and could be read independently. 352 pages Publisher: Signet Language: English ISBN-10: 0451227387 My rating for Moscow Rules – 4 Buy this book in paper or elec­tronic format* Thoughts: Moscow Rules by Daniel Silva (web­site) is another solid, well-written and dependable adventure in the Gabriel Allon chronicles. After reading the 8th book in the series it is obvious that Silva has created a character that is strong, subtle and conflicted with an interesting background story and engaging future. At this point in his life, Allon and the readers aren’t really sure what he is. Allon is too old to be the James Bond style agent, too young to retire, too cynical to take a desk job but he is a patriot in every bone in his body and is still able to contribute. Silva realize that he can’t keep his spy young forever and basically ruined his spying career in several books prior by having his face splashed across newspapers and European agencies not allowing him entry…

Flag Day Post: Books & Beef with Betsy Ross

Today, June 14, is flag day in the United States so I thought this post would be appropriate. My daughter who just finished second grade, decided to do her biography project on Betsy Ross (she had to do several persuasion papers, a biography, autobiography, an entrepreneurial project (design, build, and sell for profit a product – in her case an easel made out of popsicle sticks) and more), which I found a bit disconcerting. As an astute student of history I know that the only “proof” we have of Betsy Ross sewing the first American flag is a family legend which started after she died by her grandchildren. At first I was put off by my daughter’s choice, mostly because of the tale told about Ms. Ross is now told so often and is printed in so many history books that it actually became fact, with absolutely no evidence. Much like George Washington’s wooden teeth (they were made of bone – could you imagine chewing with wood splinters?), or that Columbus discovered the Earth was round (the first globes went on sale the year Columbus sailed, by the way he didn’t “discover” America either) and many more. If you’re interested…

Graphic Novel Review: Death of Superman
5 Stars , Fiction , Graphic Novels , Latest Posts / June 13, 2013

About: Death of Superman is a collection of a one of the most famous storylines in recent comics history (1992). The comics were created by a myriad of artists including writers Dan Jurgens, Jerry Ordway, Louse Simonson and Roger Stern and artists Jon Bogdanove, Jackson Guice and Tom Grummett. 168 pages Publisher: DC Comics; First Edition edition Language: English ISBN-10: 1563890976 My rating for Death of Superman – 5 Buy this graphic novel from Amazon.com* Thoughts: Death of Superman is basically an epic fight between Superman and Doomsday leaving the reader wanting for more with an open ending. As for story, well… Superman dies… it’s in the title and that’s basically it. There is no background to who or what Doomsday is but the book stays true to the Superman ideals: he never gives up and he is selfless (see Glen Weldon‘s book Superman: The Unauthorized Biography). This book is part one of a long and interesting Superman saga. If you buy this book make sure to also get World Without a Superman, The Return of Superman for an exciting read. The art in the graphic novel ranges from good to very-good, since this is a collection of single issues, drawn and inked…

Book Review: Big Brother by Lionel Shriver
4 Stars , Fiction , Latest Posts / June 12, 2013

Article orignially published as Book Review: Big Brother – by Lionel Shriver on Blogcritics.org About: Big Brother by Lionel Shriver is a fictional book from this acclaimed author. Ms. Shriver won the 2005 Orange Prize for her acclaimed novel We Need to Talk About Kevin. The pub­lisher is giv­ing away one copy of this book –to enter fill out the Raf­fle­copt­ter form at the end of the post. 384 pages Publisher: Harper Language: English ISBN-10: 0061458570 My rating for Big Brother – 4 Buy this book in paper or elec­tronic format* Thoughts: Big Brother by Lionel Shriver (Facebook) is a book which stylistically reminded of So Much for That which I thought was fantastic. Ms. Shriver wrote an interesting book, with a twist at the end which I did not see coming. I was a bit disappointed with the book because I thought it might have more social commentary. After all, So Much for That was scathing in its criticism of the health care system. I was expecting more of the same about the weight loss industry, its shysters, the discrimination and reasons for obesity – I got some of that but not much. Yes, I concede that I should read a book without any…

Book Review: The Death and Life of Superman by Roger Stern
3 Stars , Fiction , Latest Posts / June 10, 2013

Arti­cle first pub­lished as Book Review: The Death and Life of Superman by on Blogcritics. About: The Death and Life of Superman by Roger Stern takes the saga of “The Death of Superman“, “Funeral for a Friend“, “Reign of the Supermen”, and “The Return of Superman“, which appeared in comic book form in the mid 80’s, and turns it to light reading. 418 pages Publisher: Bantam Books Language: English ISBN-10: 055309582X My rating for The Death and Life of Superman – 3 Buy this book from Amazon.com* Thoughts: The Death and Life of Superman by Roger Stern, a successful comic book writer, is a fast read for someone who wants to get caught up on the Death of Superman saga without reading the comics. There is a bit of suspense and mystery, but overall there are no surprises and little mystery. The story starts slow, does not have the “punch” of the comic book stories, but picks up pace towards the end. I was a bit disappointed because it seemed to me that the author just looked at the pictures of the comic books, and turned them into words, without adding any new insight. There are no character studies, smart twists or interesting tidbits….

Giveaway: Pepper: A History of the World’s Most Influential Spice by Marjorie Shaffer
Latest Posts / June 6, 2013

A few days ago I reviewed Pepper: A History of the World’s Most Influential Spice by Marjorie Shaffer. The publisher has kindly gotten back to me offering one copy for a giveaway. To enter fill out the Raf­fle­copt­ter form at the end of the post. Give­away Give­away ends: June 13, 2013 US Ship­ping Addresses Only No PO Boxes Win­ners will have 24 hours to write back with their address, oth­er­wise an alter­nate win­ner will be picked Congratulations: balenette@

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