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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 #857 - 344,940 Pages Read

Foreign Agent: A Thriller (The Scot Harvath Series) - Brad Thor

Another solid entry in the Harvath series by Brad Thor, this one continues Thor's mastery of writing "faction", a tough gritty story set in today's real headlines. Harvath is after a Russian terrorist hell bent on pulling the US and Russia into the Syrian conflict by carrying out terrorist acts around the world. Harvath not only has to find this guy and stop a world war, but has to battle betrayal from his own side. Thor once again pulls the reader in to a taut, exciting read to the very end. He even manages to add a more complex human side to Harvath near the end that bears watching in future novels.

Book #856 - 344,518 Pages Read

On Rocky Top: A Front-Row Seat to the End of an Era - Clay Travis

Being a huge Tennessee Volunteers fan, as well as a 1990 graduate of this fine east Tennessee institution of higher learning, my review of this book is admittedly biased from the beginning. That being said, Clay Travis has written a compelling and highly entertaining book on the 2008 season of UT football. Unbeknownst to Mr. Travis as he set out to write this book, the 2008 season turned out to be one of the most tumultuous and controversial seasons in the past half-century, arguably ever in the annals of UT football history. Long story short, Phillip Fulmer, who had been a player, assistant, and ultimately head coach of the Vols over the past four decades, finds himself in the middle of a terrible season, which leads to his dismissal by the UT administration. The conflict present is should Phil have received more time to turn the program around. UT fans generally were split 50-50 on this issue, but the book brings forth the angst and conflict that were present leading up to the fateful decision to fire him. I would recommend this book to all UT fans, and probably to football fans in general as a lesson on the changing landscape of college football from the year 2000 on....enjoy.

Book #855 - 344,181 Pages Read

The Silent War: Book III of The Asteroid Wars - Ben Bova

Pretty much continues from where The Rock Rats left off....the characters that Bova developed so well in the first two asteroid war books continue to battle for the riches of the asteroid belt, as well as resolve their personality differences in various ways. Humphries, Astro Corporation, and Yamagata Corporation fall into a deadly battle for control of this vast area of treasures. Bova ends this one with mention of an alien artifact which casts an air of morality over the entire story. Another good read in the Grand Tour.

Reading progress update: I've read 100 out of 337 pages.

On Rocky Top: A Front-Row Seat to the End of an Era - Clay Travis

Book #854 - 343,801 Pages Read

Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher

I first noticed this on a facebook post about the current Netflix series. Reading about it, I thought it sounded like a very interesting topic, until I found out it was based on a book of the same title first published 10 years ago. What followed after buying it and beginning it was one of the most intense, original, and well-written novels I've read since The Hunger Games or The Stand. How has this been such a well-kept secret for the past decade? Every attempt will be made at no spoilers in this review, because the reader deserves to discover anew this haunting story.

Simply, Hannah Baker, a very troubled student at a local high school, commits suicide, but it does not end there. She has arranged for a series of recorded messages by her, 13 in all, to be delivered and heard by 13 people who she feels have influenced her decision to end her life. I cannot really reveal any further plot points without spoiling things, but I can tell you the way the author reveals her audio through the mind of the main protagonist, Clay, as he listens to each tape makes for some incredibly compelling reading. Also, the way the story pertains to him and how everything seems to come full circle through his feelings to me is just sheer genius writing.

Anyone who attended high school and even halfway paid attention to the dynamics of the relationships, friendships, and various issues that we all dealt with on a daily basis will identify with this book. I've heard some of the criticisms....that this book "glorifies" or "mainstreams" suicide, but nothing could be further from the truth. To me, what this book accomplishes is it enlightens us all to the tragedy and epidemic of teen suicide, and how preventable it is with the right support systems in place. If you are an adult with kids, read this book and use it to discuss with your children what is out there and how this can be prevented. If you are a teenager, especially one with typical teenager issues or something much more menacing, read this book and know that there are people out there to talk to. Thank you.

Book #853 - 343,513 Pages Read

Invincible (Star Wars Legacy of the Force, #9) - Troy Denning

This one concludes the Legacy Of The Force series, chronicling the rise and fall of Jacen Solo in the now defunct Expanded Universe (also affectionately known as the Legends series now). Jaina ironically trains with Boba Fett, who once nearly brought about the destruction of her father, in preparation of confronting her twin brother, now known as Darth Caedus. A somewhat emotionally flat galactic battle occurs in the background as Jaina embarks on her quest to destroy her brother, all the while other familiar players are positioning themselves politically for the aftermath of the various conflicts. A good read, but not a great one, as it ends up somewhat underwhelmingly with several issues unanswered, presumably to be addressed in the upcoming Fate Of The Jedi series, which ended up being the last with familiar EU characters.

Need Encouragement

Hey folks....I seem to be going through a reading slump right now.  I have read over 850 books in my life and all of a sudden over the past few months I seem to struggle even reading 10 pages in a day.  Maybe I need to take a break for a bit?  Anyway, I will keep on keeping on, but my completion/reviews may come less often than before.  Sorry....

Book #852 - 343,166 Pages Read

The Case for Easter: Journalist Investigates the Evidence for the Resurrection - Lee Strobel

Definitely the shortest book I've ever read, but possibly one of the most important. The author sets out and makes a very compelling and convincing case by interviewing experts in the field on the subject of the Resurrection as described in the Bible. This made a big impression on me, and I hope it does for others who read it as well.

Book #851 - 343,076 Pages Read

Dragonslayer - William King

Gotrek and Felix return from their battles in the Chaos Wastes in book 3 to find more trouble. A dragon has awoken from a thousand year old slumber to terrorize settlements near where they return to, as well as armies of chaos are on the march to their location. Gotrek continues on his quest for a glorious death by seeking out the dragon with the help of Felix (reluctantly) and other human and dwarf companions. Along the way, Felix struggles with his own decision making, as well as his feelings for an attractive human female who fights along with the group. This novel is as enjoyable to read as the previous 3, and King has created very strong and identifiable characters to follow along with on their trials.

Book #850 - 342,822 Pages Read

Helsreach - Aaron Dembski-Bowden

An impressive tale of the Black Templars, led by Grimauldus, in their defense of the hive city Helsreach from a massive ork invasion. Aaron Dembski-Bowden writes these characters expertly, presenting them as a prominent Space Marine killing force against the orks, yet making them seem conflicted and caring at the same time....no easy feat. As usual, the death and destruction are off the charts on both sides, but there is plenty of heroics to go around.....a definite must for Warhammer fans.

Book #849 - 342,408 Paged Read

Cut and Thrust: A Stone Barrington Novel - Stuart Woods

Yikes....Stuart Woods is cranking out some crap now with this series.  A dull story, with not a lot of Stone Barrington to boot, made for what I can only describe as a terrible novel.  I would have rated this worse, but the ending was mildly readable.  Not sure if I will read anymore in this series, but if I do it will be with a lot of trepidation.  What happened to all the good cop mystery stories that Stone used to be involved in?  A political adviser?  Ugh....

Reading progress update: I've read 100 out of 414 pages.

Helsreach - Aaron Dembski-Bowden

Book #848 - 342,033 Pages Read

Morning Star: Book III of The Red Rising Trilogy - Pierce Brown

The trilogy ends on a solid note, an impressive effort by fairly new author Pierce Brown. Brown does a magnificent job of describing the conflict and pain Darrow feels as he escapes capture and reunites with his friends and colleagues to form the backbone of the Red Rising Rebellion (I made that phrase up). I continue to be impressed with how Brown really opens up the different classes of society by using the solar system as a backdrop, and he really places an emphasis on how Darrow relies not just on his story of revenge, but his friends as well to complete the uprising. The twists in the plot near the end are really well set up and revealed and it really pulls the story along to the concluding scenes. Brown uses a little more graphic and violent descriptions in this one, but considering what is going on and what is at stake, it seems only natural here. This series truly was Hunger Games in Space.

Reading progress update: I've read 400 out of 524 pages.

Morning Star: Book III of The Red Rising Trilogy - Pierce Brown

Book #847 - 341,509 Pages Read

Killing Floor  - Lee Child

I decided to start this series just for the heck of it and was rewarded with a great book. Jack Reacher finds himself arrested in smalltown, Georgia for a murder he did not commit, and while making a case for his innocence and release, finds himself in the middle of a massive counterfeiting operation and conspiracy that involves, of all things, his brother. What follows is Reacher and his newfound girlfriend trying to get to the bottom of this operation while avoiding atttempts on their life multiple times along the way. I was very impressed with how Child took many plotlines and wove them all together in a tight, thrilling novel. Reacher is a very interesting character, with many layers and capable of many things in a story such as this. Looking forward to other Reacher tales in the future.

Book #846 - 340,985 Pages Read

The Rock Rats - Ben Bova

Follow up to The Precipice, this one picks up after Dan Randolph's death as many are racing to the asteroid belt to claim the riches that it entails. Many familiar characters from the previous novel return as Martin Humphries continues his evil ways to prevent anyone but him from gathering the resources everyone so covets. It is debatable what Humphries wants more, the money or the woman he clearly cannot have, Amanda, who happens to be married to one of the ones Humphries is trying to knock off. Bova manages once again to mix politics, science fiction, and human emotion in ways that he is so well known for. Of note also is Bova's treatment of Pancho, who was tapped to succeed Randolph after his untimely death. Pancho pretty much inserts herself into the line of fire as the leader of those who oppose Humphries, much to her peril. Bova has another winner here.