Thursday, November 23, 2017

Home in Carolina

Title: Home in Carolina
Author: Sherryl Woods
Published: March 30th 2010 by MIRA
Format: Paperback, 384 pages
Genre: Women's Fiction / Romance
Series: Sweet Magnolias #5

I do not know why twenty-something women are portrayed as whiney self-centered teenagers, but that is what you get with Annie Sullivan. Back home in Serenity, South Carolina, Annie is working at the corner spa as a personal trainer when she hears that high school boyfriend Tyler Townsend is back home recuperating from shoulder surgery. This is where you have to let go of reality since a major league ball player would never be permitted to go for rehab with a personal trainer in a small town, that is what highly trained physical therapists are for, but then again Sherryl Woods is known to cut a few corners for the sake of a romance.

Three years prior, naughty boy Tyler had a one-night stand with a baseball groupie and he is the father of a baby that was dropped off at his hotel room door. Annie will not tolerate this sort of betrayal and is just one of the factors that pushed her to an eating disorder. Now three years down the road, with Tyler and his son back in town, all the old feelings and disorders are rearing their ugly heads as the town of Serenity sits back and waits see how this plays out.

What is encouraging about this book is the new generation of Sweet Magnolia’s. Annie, Sarah, and Raylene, grew up together and though they do not want to become their mother’s that just might be the direction that they are heading with a slightly younger spin and new complications.

Though there are annoying parts of this series, I do find myself coming back from time to time to see what these ladies are up to. Seems that very little changes -- they can dominate a town and their husbands, but at the same time remain sweet southern ladies.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Whispering Room

Title: The Whispering Room
Author: Dean Koontz
Published: November 21st 2017 by Bantam
Format: eBook, Hardcover, 512 pages
Genre: Thriller
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Series: Jane Hawk #2

You have to both love and hate the wordsmith that is Dean Koontz. He is a firm believer in the style of “why use two words when you can use six” and always throw in ‘like’ (approximately 400 times) so the reader understands that you are about to over describe the underside of a rock. Granted, it is not that bad, but after a while, you would not be surprised if it was mentioned.

As a sequel to ‘The Silent Corner’, Jane Hawk continues on the course of eliminating the people and institution that caused not only her husband’s suicide but also the deaths of 8,400 persons per year that that an algorithm has decided are leading people away from an ideal society.

Not sure how many books are planned for this series, but the second outing reminded me of the lull in a stand-alone where you are not quite sure in which direction the characters are going and they are doing their best to regroup before a thunderous conclusion. Jane Hawk spends most of the book jaunting back and forth across the country with multiple costume changes and near the end the author decides that it is a good time to mention characters from the first book. Thankfully, a wizened traveling companion for Jane was added that livened thing up a bit, and here is to hoping he will reappear further down the line since he was the only highlight of the book.

Yes, you will have to read the first book to understand the second, but if it were not for the first, you would not want to read the second. Hope that made sense since book two is a major let down and hopefully, Dean Koontz and his editors will be able to get this series back on track and someone will earn their paycheck by word searching “like” and tossing most of them out.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Origin

Title: Origin
Author: Dan Brown
Published: October 3rd 2017 by Doubleday Books
Format: Hardcover, 461 pages
Genre: Thriller
Series: Robert Langdon #5

Love him or hate him, Dan Brown sure likes controversy and to stir the pot, but in doing so, he also causes his readers to think. Maybe I am one of those moronic readers that others bash, but I always enjoy his books. Granted, every book tends to have Robert Langdon running through some glamorous city with a beautiful woman, but that does not negate the narrative.

This is a story of conflicts. Ideologies, worldviews, and science are at the forefront. Tech wunderkind Edmond Kirsch (think Steve Jobs and Elon Musk) has brought together the world to watch his touted release. Centered in Bilbao, Barcelona, at the Guggenheim museum, Kirsch sets about to answer the top two questions that haunts humankind. Where did we come from and where are we going? He has claimed to discover the answers to both of these questions and in doing so has angered the religious elite and a small group of mercenaries. As an Atheist, he does not look at religion is the same light as others and with his singular focus on science he has set about to prove once and for all that religion is man’s invention and science is the only path to the future.

Robert Langdon is both mesmerized and confounded by his invitation to this event. Kirsch was once a student of his at Harvard and months prior, the two had a visit where interesting questions has been posed. As Langdon enters the museum, he is handed an earpiece that will help guide his way through the museum and its displays. Only that is not the sole purpose of this devise. Winston, his audio tour guide is nothing like what Langdon was expecting and with this interesting twist. Kirsch’s discovery is held in the balance when a mercenary steps forward and abruptly ends this performance. Langdon and Ambra Vidal, the beautiful woman who is destined to be the queen consort (I know, that was an interesting twist), launch into a race across Barcelona to release Kirsch’s discovery to a desperately waiting world.

The reader has to get past the parts where Robert Langdon is more superhero than Harvard professor. That a woman in a formal dress and heals has no problem traversing streets, paths, and chain link fences. This book is designed to get the conversation started. What if Kirsch’s discoveries are our past and our future. What if tomorrow the entire world were to stop fighting over ideologies and grasp onto one singular destiny. With the speed of which science is moving, and the conversations that have been started, this is a fascinating tale brought to life in a way that will have the reader wondering out loud and bringing up the what-ifs when discussing both religion and science.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Artemis

Title: Artemis
Author: Andy Weir
Published: November 14th 2017 by Crown Publishing Group
Format: ebook; Hardcover, 384 pages
Genre: Science Fiction
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.

I am wondering if I was the only one that missed something earlier in this book and did not know how old Jazz was. I could have sworn that this was a young adult novel with the antics that Jasmine “Jazz” Bashara was up to and the simplicity of the earlier chapters. Granted, there were a few things thrown in that were a little more adult, but still not totally breaking the YA Genre rules completely. Then I am not sure how, but midway through the book, all the numbers came together and I realized that the character that I though was sixteen was actually twenty-six years old and only acted like an insolent teenager.

Artemis is the first and only colony on the moon consisting of two thousand people occupying connecting bubbles with names like Armstrong, Bean, and Shepard. Jazz currently works as a porter ferrying goods from one section to another with a bit of a smuggling business on the side. There are certain products that are not allowed, but since she is a rule breaker, she has decided what should be allowed as long as her rules are followed. Of course, this has put her on the outs with authority figures that she is constantly butting heads with, but that is not going to stop her. She needs to make more money since she has a debt to pay and as long as she follows her own rules, no one will get hurt.

Turns out that there is something very sneaky going on in Artemis and when the local billionaire asks for a favor with a high payoff who is she to say no. Turns out that she was not given the full picture and when that job goes astray, she finds herself a wanted person. There is only one way out and this will put not only her life, but also the lives of everyone in Artemis, in danger.

Andy Weir is known for his humor and there is no exception here. The readers will find themselves laughing aloud and definitely shaking their heads in wonder in not only how Jazz got herself in this situation but also on how she will manage to get herself out. The way this book ends, you can most assuredly see a series in the making and if the rumors are true, the option to purchase this book as a new television series is in the works and we will soon be seeing Jazz in all her brazen ways.