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andyluttrull

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Sharing my love of books as long as I can...

Currently reading

The Force Awakens (Star Wars)
Alan Dean Foster
Progress: 70/260 pages
The Civil War, Vol. 1: Fort Sumter to Perryville
Shelby Foote
Progress: 422/810 pages
Knife of Dreams (Wheel of Time, #11)
Robert Jordan
Progress: 605/761 pages

Book #872 - 350,775 Pages Read

Moonrise - Ben Bova

This is an early entry in Bova's Grand Tour, and one of the better ones at that. Paul and Joanna Stavenger are desperately trying to keep their vision of colonizing the moon alive while many on Earth (as well as members of their own family) are doing their best to sabotage this mission. Bova again mixes drama with hardcore science fiction to create a suspenseful story about the future of mankind's exploration of the moon as well as the solar system. I really enjoyed this one.

Book #871 - 350,358 Pages Read

Ghosts Of The Tsunami - Richard Lloyd Parry

I visited Japan in 1990, 1994, and 1998 for business. Each time I went, I had a greater appreciation and interest in the people and the culture. I suspect this went a long way into my interests in the catastrophe that killed an estimated 20,000 Japanese people on March 11, 2011, when the fourth largest earthquake ever recorded exploded off the coast of northeast Japan in the Tohoku region. Millions felt the quake, but the initial damage and casualties were remarkably light in this coastal area. The tsunami arrived about 45-50 minutes later.

I've seen the videos. Imagine the ocean inexplicably swelling and growing, reaching heights of over 120 feet in some remote coastal villages. Imagine fleeing to the nearby hills, watching your entire town and potentially thousands of people being swallowed up and swept away by an unforgiving, black, incompressible wave of liquid death. This book focuses in on the village of Kamaya, located near the mouth of the Kitakami River where it empties into the Pacific northeast of Ishinomaki.

A group of children and teachers at Okawa Elementary School in Kamaya felt the earthquake that day. Per protocol, the kids and teachers exited the building and dutifully lined up neatly in the school courtyard. They heard the tsunami warnings. What followed was confusion and a lack of urgency and correct decision making that proved lethal. The doomed group left the courtyard for what they thought was "higher ground" somewhat closer to the river. After the tsunami arrived, only 4 kids and 1 adult survived by actually running to a nearby hill.

Richard Lloyd Parry has detailed the actions and decisions of several families involved in this tragedy, from before to during and after the quake and the tsunami. He vividly and accurately describes the horror they experienced and the gut-wrenching aftermath of searching for their lost children, as well as their journey to find the truth of what actually happened that day at Okawa Elementary School. Parry also layers the book, to me at least, with an underlying sense of dread that this is but one of thousands of stories that occurred on that day when the seas swallowed the northeast coast of Japan, but for some reason this story seems to stand out among the tragedies.

In closing, this book is not for everyone...it is dark. But if you really want to get a sense of what some of the people of Japan went through during and after this geological event, I highly recommend this. My only criticism is Parry closed the book with spiritual comments of people being possessed by the "ghosts" of this event. This seemed a bit out of place for this book.

Book #870 - 350,089 Pages Read

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - Alexander Freed

Hands down, the best Star Wars novel I've read to date...this would have been great even without the movie. It's rare for me to read a book after seeing a movie it is based on, but I have a tradition of doing that with Star Wars movies/novelizations Freed succeeds tremendously by very strong characterization, and bringing the screenplay plot to life in novel form with immense tension. If you have read any SW novels over the years, this one is a must for your library.

Book #869 - 349,767 Pages Read

Use of Force: A Thriller (The Scot Harvath Series) - Brad Thor

I always enjoy Brad Thor books, and since the death of Vince Flynn, he has really become my go to author for kick-ass thrillers. Scot Harvath is called upon to track down potential terrorist acts based on intelligence gathered by others. The acts could potentially be on U.S. soil, so it becomes a race against time and enemy forces as Harvath joins fellow marines he can rely on to help stop the threat. As always, these books move quickly and get right to the heart of the story. This copy is special to me also, since Mr. Thor signed it for me.

Book #868 - 349,407 Pages Read

Die Trying - Lee Child

Jack Reacher finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time as he gets swept up in the kidnapping of Holly Johnson, FBI agent and daughter of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. A radical faction hell-bent on seceding from the US and creating their own country is using Holly as ransom, and it becomes Reacher's responsibility to not only escape, but to stop the inevitable. Lee Child writes a fast-paced, well-penned story with a lot of impressive technical detail and well-developed characters. This one was a joy to read.

Book #867 - 348,855 Pages Read

Allies  - Christie Golden

Probably the best of the Fate Of The Jedi series so far...this one seems to start moving along the plot nicely, as well as add more depth to key players in this series: Luke, Ben, Vestara, Daala, etc. Han and Leia just seem to be bit players here; hopefully they will be more prominent in future installments. The plotline of the alliance between Jedi and Sith moves along here also, and still has a lot of details to flesh out in the future as well. I think the issue of Abeloth and the journey into the Maw has more to reveal as well, but it began to get very interesting in the last third of the book. The Ben/Vestara dynamic seems to be setting up as the key for this series.

Book #866 - 348,449 Pages Read

Farside - Ben Bova

The race is on between the nation of Selene on the Moon and the International Astronautical Authority to build a series of telescopes to view a discovered object several light years away that could potentially harbor life with similar conditions to those on the Earth. When the mirror being constructed for the telescope on the moon is accidentally damaged, the director decides to use nanotechnology to repair the mirror, saving time and money. What follows is one accident after another as the Farside installation tries to simultaneously build the mirror and deal with the potential of the site being shut down due to dangerous conditions. This is somewhat shorter than Bova's previous works dealing with this subject in similar situations, but no less enjoyable as it seems Bova is setting up for novels and stories that will begin outside our solar system. The Grand Tour is expanding.....

Book #865 - 348,082 Pages Read

Backlash  - Aaron Allston

I'm starting to think that all the novels in the Fate Of The Jedi series really comprise one big novel in 9 parts, as this one just picks up where Abyss left off and continues the plot points along similar paths without really going anywhere. Still an enjoyable read, and slightly better written as Allston has proved himself to be one of the better EU writers, but the reader won't learn much more than revealed in the previous 3 in this series, save for a few actions scenes if you're into that sort of thing.

Book #864 - 347,728 Pages Read

Shadows of Treachery[WARHAMMER HORUS HERESY SHADOWS][Mass Market Paperback] - ChristianDunn

Another anthology of WH40K stories related to the Horus Heresy. Took a while on this one as I put it down several times to work on other novels, but still enjoyed the stories when I got to them.

Book #863 - 347,319 Pages Read

The Hunt for Voldorius - Andy Hoare

Interesting book from the standpoint of the Raven Guard and the White Scars working in conjunction against the traitorous Alpha Legion, led by the Chaos-tainted Voldorius, but probably near the bottom of Warhammer books I've read from a quality of writing standpoint. I thought there was a bit too much fluff put in to describe how bombs were exploding, or missiles or bullets flying through the air, or similar descriptions of warfare, but overall still a good read.

Book #862 - 346,905 Pages Read

Abyss  - Troy Denning

Luke Skywalker continues to look for the reason why Jacen Solo turned to the dark side, which leads him and Ben to the old Maw Cluster where he has to submit to dangerous rituals in search for the truth. The Jedi Order continue to battle outside forces such as Galactic Alliance Chief of State Daala and Council Master Kenth Hamner in their quest to find out why Jedi are falling to an epidemic of madness. Han and Leia, along with Jaina, also try to protect these sick Jedi from being taken into custody. Eventually, Ben and Luke confront Sith forces bent on destroying them. Pretty decent book, but more of the same from the previous two, if not slightly better written. I'm hoping the Fate Of The Jedi series moves forward soon...

Book #861 - 346,531 Pages Read

Honor Among Thieves: Star Wars - James S.A. Corey

A pretty fun tale set between Ep. 4 and Ep. 5, this one captures the essence of Han, Luke, and Leia pretty well as they pursue a rebel spy (Scarlet Hark) planted deep in the Empire. The problem is she doesn't have the intel they need yet and Han is forced to join with her in pursuit of a rogue operative with the crucial information against the Empire. Fast-paced and well-written characters make this a good addition to the Star Wars novels.

Reading progress update: I've read 200 out of 414 pages.

The Hunt for Voldorius - Andy Hoare

trying to pull out of a reading slump...too much Netflix.

Book #860 - 346,198 Pages Read

Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World's Greatest Outlaw - Mark Bowden

Mark Bowden has put together an outstanding researched narrative on the rise and fall of Pablo Escobar as Escobar put together his cocaine empire and slowly watched it dismantled by the combined efforts of the Colombian government and special units by the U.S. Bowden also dives deep into the character of Escobar, and the reader really gets a feel for the kind of person he was right up to the day he was killed by Colombian forces. Important to note during this narrative is how Bowden manages to convey how many others around Escobar were affected by his actions, some losing their lives in the process. Really enjoyed this one....

Book #859 - 345,926 Pages Read

Aftermath, The - Ben Bova

The fourth book in the Asteroid Wars picks up after the third, where the Zacharias family ends up fighting for their lives after their ship, the Syracuse, is attacked by Dorn, who has changed after his exposure to an artifact found in the third book. The mother and her two kids are left stranded on the ship and drifting basically in orbit for many months while the father, who narrowly escaped in an attempt to lure Dorn away from his family, must deal with first the knowledge that his family is lost and possibly gone, then the realization that they may be alive as he discovers Dorn's plan to claim all the bodies from the previous conflicts, and an eventual rendezvous with the Zacharias family again. This one is not as good as the previous Asteroid War books, but still an enjoyable read in Bova's Grand Tour stage.

Book #858 - 345,427 Pages Read

Divergent (Divergent Series) - Veronica Roth

Another dystopian novel that I've been wanting to try, and this one was pretty good....not Hunger Games good, but good in its own right. The bureaucracy of this world divides up and coming adults into one of five "factions", for the good of societal contributions (how creepy is that?). The main protagonist, Beatrice (Tris) Prior, is discovered to be "divergent", not fitting into any one faction. Keeping this a secret and declaring for Dauntless faction, Tris then falls into a world of training, developing trust and relationships, and preparing for upcoming treachery concerning her friends and family. Entertaining and thought provoking, I would recommend this novel for all who enjoy futuristic dystopian adventures...