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Category Archives: ♥BOOKs♥

Hidden Strengths by Thuy & Milo Sindell

    • Hardcover: 128 pages
    • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; 1 edition (May, 2015)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1626562830
    • ISBN-13: 978-1626562837
    • written by Thuy & Milo Sindell

 

I don’t read a lot of self help books, fair or not, to me once all the fluff is blown away, they are pretty much the same. But, this little book peaked my interest…and boy am I glad! Thuy and Milo Sindell have introduced a new concept in self improvement, The Hidden Strengths Methodology.

Hidden Strengths challenges you to think differently, most self improvement programs focus on your weaknesses, Sindell says this is where we err. According to this plan, 10% is weakness, 20% is strength, with 70% hidden in the middle. This is where your untapped potential lies. So, instead of focusing on the weaknesses, which is frustrating and has slim chance of bringing any real changes, we should be concentrating on that center 70%, these skills are closer to being strengths already. Wow, what a concept!

Sindell explains quickly, concisely, and in easy to read language what you need to do. Hidden Strengths is an investment in your future and at under 100 pages it doesn’t require you to invest a lot of time. In addition you also have access to the online assessment which gives you a list of hidden strengths you already have in your arsenal. Then you narrow the list down to the skills that are vital to your professional goals at this time…and presto! You are on your way to uncovering and honing your Hidden Strengths.

In a nut shell – If you buy only one self improvement book this summer, let it be this one. You will not disappointed!

Happy Reading,

RJ

 

Hidden Strengths Book - Unleashing the Crucial Leadership Skills You Already Have

 

 

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Memory Man by David Baldacci (*Audio)

Memory Man by David Baldacci (*Audio)

Memory Man
Amos Decker book #1

written by David Baldacci
read by Ron McLarty with Orlagh Cassidy
11CD’s, Approx. 13.5 hours (unabridged)
ISBN: 9781478929987
ISBN: 1478929987

David Baldacci (Website)

Hachette Audio (Website)
Hachette Audio

 

Best selling author David Baldacci has an innate ability to create interesting characters, there’s even something different about his bad guys… it isn’t that they are more evil or that his books contain more graphic violence – quite the opposite. Baldacci’s writing is classy. It is easy to identify with his characters, to feel for them, to be invested in what happens and Amos Decker is no exception. That said, this book is unlike any of Baldacci’s earlier works, it’s a breath of fresh air in an often stagnant genre.

Amos Decker suffered a crushing helmet to helmet blow ending his pro football career the first time he suited up. How his brain receives and interprets information was forever changed. He was diagnosed with rare cognitive phenomenons known as syynethesia and hyperthymesia. He can’t forget anything. Which for the first two decades of his career in law enforcement was a gift.
Then came that horrific night, when Detective Decker, returning home from a stakeout walked into a nightmare from which he has yet to awaken. His family had been murdered – his beautiful wife Cassie shot in the head, 9 year old daughter, Molly strangled and his brother-in-law’s throat had been slashed. Why? Who had done this? Despite their best efforts the case remained unsolved. His life spun out of control…he lost his home, his job, and nearly his mind.

That was 15 months ago. Now working here and there as a private investigator, Decker is trying to find his way out the darkness when his former partner, Mary Lancaster tells him a man named Sebastian Leopold  has confessed to killing his family. While trying to talk to this confessed killer, there’s a school shooting as his alma mater, Mansfield High. From this point forward everything speeds toward the resolution.

I have always loved David Baldacci’s writing style – he takes risks…thinks outside the box. And Memory Man is definitely outside the box, I had never heard of these cognitive conditions and after much reading on the subject, I still don’t understand it. But that’s ok. This was an interesting read that sparked my imagination and while it did seem to go flat in few chapters, for the most part everything was tied together and resolved by the last page. I can’t say exactly what made this novel fall short for me, except that it just didn’t have the “fire” I have come to expect when reading a Baldacci book.

Happy Reading,

RJ
Goodreads

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1478929987/?tag=3rsreaden

 

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Chase by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge *(BookShots – Audio)

Chase by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge *(BookShots – Audio)

 http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1478967676/?tag=rjsviews-20
Chase – A Michael Bennett’s Story
by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
read by Danny Mastrogiorgio
3CD’s approx. 2.5 Hours
Hachette Audio

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Bullseye by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge *(Audio)

Bullseye by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge *(Audio)

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1478928166/?tag=rjsviews-20

Bullseye
by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge
narrated by Danny Mastrogiorgio
Hachette Audio
6 CD’s approximately 7.5 hours

Click to visit Hachette Book Group Online

 

This is the 9th book in the Michael Bennett series. Some books were better than others a long the way but I always listen to a Michael Bennett Thriller at least once. I love the family, Father Shamus, Mary Catherine, ten kids with ten different personalities and if that wasn’t enough drama, there’s always a high pressure, deadly situation that only Detective Bennett can handle.

Bullseye doesn’t focus as much on family like in previous books. Some listeners will be disappointed, while others will be cheering this change of focus. I was a bit confused how the main plot was based on a couple’s plan to assassinate the newly inaugurated President at some point during the snowy month of November. (The U.S. Presidential election is held in November, however the President is inaugurated in January.) Everything said, I liked it. It’s a political/suspense/thriller with an enormous amount of gun knowledge. I learned a great deal about guns listening to Bullseye. (I made notes and looked ’em up.) Sniper tactics are described in such great detail the image of what was happening as the shooter laid down, exhaled deeply and took aim was as vivid as a painting on my wall.
Several family members want to borrow this book for these reason alone. If you’re a Bennett fan don’t miss this “episode.” If you’ve never read a single book in the series Bullseye might have you reserving the first ones at the Library. Finally, if you enjoy political thrillers give it a listen.

Danny Mastrogiorgio has perfected the narration for Michael Bennett Thrillers. I’ve grown so accustomed to hearing his voice I can’t imagine anyone else narrating for these characters. His pitch, tone, and character specific quirks add another element to the reading experience that is incredibly enjoyable.

MICHAEL BENNETT BOOKS
1-5

Step on a Crack   Run For Your Life   Worst Case   Tick Tock   I, Michael Bennett
6-9.5
Gone   Burn   Alert   Bullseye   Chase
Audio...Enjoy books on the go!
Happy Listening!
RJ  🙂Let's network on Linkedin Let's connect on Facebook RJ's Piniterest Twitter CLICK HERE to Send Me an email

From
audiohachette.jpg
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1455536911/?tag=rjsview-20
 

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Zoo by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge (audio)

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1478906170/?tag=rjsviews-20

Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781478906179
  • ISBN-10: 1478906170
  • Publisher: Little Brown and Company
  • Publish Date: May 2015

the main character still trying to distance himself from his fathers’ legacy as a crackpot, is giving safari tours

Zoo is a half-baked, science-fiction suspense-thriller, that with some comedy relief and backwards humor could’ve been a very good “spoof,” I really wanted to like this book, but the one dimensional characters were impossible to care about. The artificial pacing and choppy dialogue made it difficult to stay immersed in the story. I have been a James Patterson fan since the  irst Alex Cross novel. Over the years there have been some books that weren’t as good as others, but in recent years there seems to be more bad than good. Only the name on the cover is familiar, – Gone is the masterful storytellers’ voice I had enjoyed so very much.This is especially true with Zoo. I understand this is a collaboration, that there will be a lot of Michael Ledwidge’s influence, however, in previous works I could at least recognize Patterson’s input. Zoo is not absolutely terrible, it’s ok. But with so many number one best sellers to his name, I expect more than okay.

Happy Reading,

RJ

http://www.facebook.com/rjsviews

Also available in Hardcover


    What’s on  RJ’s Wish List?

New Release from Best Selling Author Joseph Finder –
The Fixer


//

 

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Set Apart (Bible Study, Kings I & II) by Jessica LaGrone

Set Apart (Bible Study, Kings I & II) by Jessica LaGrone

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1426778422/?tag=rjsviews-20

Set Apart – Participant Book
Holy Habits of Prophets and Kings

  • ISBN-13: 9781426778421
  • ISBN-10: 1426778422
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press
  • Publish Date: June 2015
  • Page Count: 208

Visit Jessica LaGrone Online

I have never had the opportunity to read a study concentrating on the book of Kings. Often during group bible studies the smaller books are skimmed over, so this really appealed to me. The first thing I noticed was the smooth wording. The individual parts of the study work together forming a cohesive, easy to read dialogue that gives you much to ponder. But don’t let the simplicity fool ya’ – this study encourages deep personal reflection, using the kings and prophets as our earthly example. Their struggles are so easily relateable. I would never have imagined that my problems are mirrored in the kings and prophets from so long ago. With each reading, the accompanying questions and material are like directions on a map – with the destination being a closer, stronger walk with God.

One exercise in particular that summed up this experience was more like a mantra – on three separate lines you write your name, then beside the first you write *Chosen, the second *Holy, the third *Royal…throughout the study you are reminded, encouraged and challenged to be the person you were created to be. We have to be molded, like potters mold clay, we too can be transformed…

Set Apart is ah Six week study consisting of:

  • Read the Scripture (five daily readings per week)
  • Reflect and Respond (space for recording responses)
  • Spend time in prayer
  • Take Action

The video was not included so I had to skip over those sections, but I feel sure it would’ve greatly enriched my experience. Also there were scripture verses that had to be looked up independently – it would’ve made things easier for me had they all been right there together in the study book. That said, this is an excellent study, I feel like I really learned a lot about the kings and prophets, but more importantly I learned a great deal about myself. This book is for anyone interested personal reflection and those who seek to have stronger faith. I recommend it for independent or group study.

Happy Reading,

RJ

 

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The Doll Maker by Richard Montanari (audio)

The Doll Maker by Richard Montanari (audio)

The Doll Maker by Richard Montanari   Audio Book Review

Richard Montanari’s Website

doll maker

Wow, I’m sorry to say this is the first book I’ve read by Richard Montanari, but it certainly won’t be the last, I have already reserved Rosary Girls at my local library. Honestly, I really missed the boat with this author – but now that I have secured a quiet listening corner, I’m in for the long ride.

Although this is the eighth book in the series, it works as a standalone. There’s enough information about the characters to carry the reader through. And these are well drawn, three dimensional, and easily relateable. Philadelphia Homicide Detectives Jessica Balzano and Kevin Byrne are interesting, work well as a team, and have a palpable respect for one another. Byrne is more experienced, kind hearted and determined. While Balzano is opinionated and shrewd, with an equally warm heart.  I particularly liked the absence of romantic entanglement.

Richard Montanari weaves multiple angles together into a disturbing tapestry of missing children, murdered children extravagantly posed on painted surfaces, and a convicted child killer weeks away from her final walk. Are they connected? Time is running out for Balzano and Byrne to find out. Throughout the reader discovers information only moments before the detectives. Montanari gives the reader credit and doesn’t spell everything out letter for letter. The Doll Maker is more about motives and concepts, than actual brutality and violence. The latter being the tools used to create his ‘art.’ The creepy tea dance invitations he leaves at each scene add yet another layer to an already colorful piece.

This is disturbing on so many levels – there were entire chapters that gave me goose-bumps (and I don’t frighten easy). Montanari has a gift – the ability to write realistically, believable stories that are the stuff nightmares are made of, but sadly could be the lead story on the news tonight. The Doll Maker is an outstanding book. Period. No matter what opinion you read, good or bad..if you enjoy suspense/thrillers – read this one for yourself.

*DO NOT form your opinion based on the prologue. Yes it is graphic, gruesome and extremely disturbing, but this does not fairly represent the rest of the story.

Happy Reading!

RJ

Goodreads

Hachette Audio

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Memory Man by David Baldacci

Memory Man by David Baldacci


Memory Man
by David Baldacci
read by Ron McLarty with Orlagh Cassidy
11CD’s, Approx. 13.5 hours (unabridged)
ISBN: 9781478929987
ISBN: 1478929987

*Also available in hardcover

David Baldacci (Website)

Hachette Audio (Website)

Best selling author David Baldacci has an innate ability to create interesting characters, there’s even something different about his bad guys… it isn’t that they are more evil or that his books contain more graphic violence – quite the opposite. Baldacci’s writing is classy. It is easy to identify with his characters, to feel for them, to be invested in what happens and Amos Decker is no exception. That said, this book is unlike any of Baldacci’s earlier works, it’s a breath of fresh air in an often stagnant genre.

Amos Decker suffered a crushing helmet to helmet blow ending his pro football career the first time he suited up. How his brain receives and interprets information was forever changed. He was diagnosed with rare cognitive phenomenons known as syynethesia and hyperthymesia. He can’t forget anything. Which for the first two decades of his career in law enforcement was a gift.

Then came that horrific night, when Detective Decker, returning home from a stakeout walked into a nightmare from which he has yet to awaken. His family had been murdered – his beautiful wife Cassie shot in the head, 9 year old daughter, Molly strangled and his brother-in-law’s throat had been slashed. Why? Who had done this? Despite their best efforts the case remained unsolved. His life spun out of control…he lost his home, his job, and nearly his mind.

That was 15 months ago. Now working here and there as a private investigator, Decker is trying to find his way out the darkness when his former partner, Mary Lancaster tells him a man named Sebastian Leopold  has confessed to killing his family. While trying to talk to this confessed killer, there’s a school shooting as his alma mater, Mansfield High. From this point forward everything speeds toward the resolution.

I have always loved David Baldacci’s writing style – he takes risks…thinks outside the box. And Memory Man is definitely outside the box, I had never heard of these cognitive conditions and after much reading on the subject, I still don’t understand it. But that’s ok. This was an interesting read that sparked my imagination and while it did seem to go flat in few chapters, for the most part everything was tied together and resolved by the last page. I can’t say exactly what made this novel fall short for me, except that it just didn’t have the “fire” I have come to expect when reading a Baldacci book.

Happy Reading,

RJ

Goodreads
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The Burning Room by Michael Connelly

The Burning Room by Michael Connelly
The Burning Room audio excerpt

audio excerpt

 The Burning Room
author: Michael Connelly
narrator: Titus Welliver

Hachette Audio Books

 

 

www.michaelconnelly.com

 

It’s hard to believe one of crime fictions most popular detectives is nearing retirement. Most 20 year veterans of the LAPD are ready to take it easy, maybe ride a desk – Not Harry Bosch. The department just assigned him a new partner, 28 year old Lucia Soto. She seems eager to learn and while Bosch accepts the role of mentor his sixth sense keeps nudging him…that something isn’t quite right. But Bosch has to put his uneasiness aside when they are handed the politically charged murder case of Orlando Merced. Shot, in a outdoor plaza nearly a decade earlier, Merced finally succumbed to his injuries. Although the shooter had never been identified, it was thought to be a gang bullet gone “astray.” But when the coroner removes the crucial piece of evidence the gang shooting or random violence theory is crushed.

While all eyes were supposed to be focused on the Merced case, Bosh discovers Soto investigating an unsolved arson/murder case. As a child, she survived the fire that claimed the lives of nine children and one woman, in an unlicensed, dingy, basement daycare. Being a bit of a softie, but more importantly being a seeker of justice, Bosh makes room on his crowded plate for this case. But as the two begin to dig into both cases, they become convinced that amidst an ever widening web of guns, fire, murder and politics is a common thread. We follow the rookie and the veteran as they pull the individual pieces together, providing a measure of justice for the victims and a replacement for Harry.

The Burning Room isn’t a bad book, but it certainly isn’t the action packed novel Connelly fans are accustomed too. I kept hoping the next chapter would change the tone and feel of the story, but sadly it seems Harry Bosch is tired, ready to take his gold watch and close the detective chapter of his life story.

Happy Reading,

RJ

Narration by Titus Welliver 🙂

Titus Welliver’s vocal talents are shining bright in The Burning Room. He brings each character to life by individualizing them with an array  of accents, pitch inflections, tempo and tone. With Bosch’s retirement looming, there’s almost a somber tone throughout and Welliver does an excellent job of making the reader “feel” it.

The Burning Room

 

  • Series: Harry Bosch (Book 19)
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (March 17, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455524190
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455524198


Harry Bosch Series:

The Black Echo (1992)
The Black Ice (1993)
The Concrete Blonde (1994)
The Last Coyote (1995)
Trunk Music (1997)
Angels Flight (1999)
A Darkness More Than Night (2001)
City Of Bones (2002)
Lost Light (2003)
The Narrows (2004)
The Closers (2005)
Echo Park (2006)
The Overlook (2007)
The Brass Verdict (2008)
Nine Dragons (2009)
The Reversal (2010)
The Fifth Witness (2011) (one page brief appearance)
The Drop (2011)
The Black Box (2012)
The Gods of Guilt (2013) (one page brief appearance)
The Burning Room (2014)
The Crossing (November 2015)

 

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Along Came A Spider & Kiss the Girls


Author:  James Patterson (Alex Cross #1)
Narrator:  Charles Turner
ISBN-13: 9781619694125
ISBN-10: 1619694123
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
approx. 12 hrs (listening time)
Hachette Audio
audiohachette.jpg


For all the loyal Alex Cross fans out there, Hachette’s release of Along Came A Spider will be a Must Have! Charles Turner’s narration adds a new dimension to the novel that will put chill bumps ontop of your chill bumps. This book introduced the world to Detective Alex Cross and there’s been no looking back. Built like a boxer, a smooth ladies man who enjoys playing the piano, Cross is a loyal friend, loving son, dedicated father and relentless pursuer of justice.

Gary Soneji is the polar opposite of Cross, he’s evil to the core and has one desire..”to commit the crime of the century.” Soneji is a master manipulator, skilled liar and one of the most beloved teachers at the D.C. private school for children of the rich and famous. So when the mild mannered, popular math teacher abducts two students, the secret service is caught with its proverbial pants down…and for this embarrassment someone’s head is going to roll.

Along Came A Spider is the disturbing story of a brilliant, psychopath matching wits with a hard nosed detective. James Patterson knew the one thing that made this killer truly terrifying was his normalcy. This guy was accepted in elite circles, admired by children and worked everyday in the presence of the United States Secret Service…what could be more frightening?

I’ve read this book a couple of times, but the audio book was a new experience for me I really enjoyed being able to sit back, relax and just listen. Charles Turner is an incredible narrator, that gives Alex Cross a strong, well defined voice, while allowing Soneji’s thoughts of himself to sound stronger than his actual voice. It’s a very entertaining audio experience!

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For The Sender, 4 Letters, 12 Songs, 1 Story

For The Sender, 4 Letters, 12 Songs, 1 Story

OverviewSometimes a letter is like a prayer; it’s more for the sender than the receiver. Singer-songwriter Alex Woodard was letting go of his best friend, a Labrador named Kona, and most of his dreams when he received a letter that would change the course of his life.  What began as a song about that letter evolved into a book and album package about real-life letters, featuring Grammy-winning artists and a live show that has sol d out every performance and inspired thousands in its first few months.

Details
Author:  Alex Woodard
Full Length Album included
FOR THE SENDER

ISBN-13: 9781401941215
ISBN-10: 1401941214
Publisher: Hay House
Publish Date: September 2012
Page Count: 127 Hardcover

For the Sender is a woven mix of creativity, a memoir of sorts, but more a baring and cleansing of the soul through music and dialogue. Woodard takes the reader on a journey of healing, giving hope where once there was none, literally changing ones mind on a spiritual level. Inspiring each of us to channel our energy in a positive way, instead of concentrating on the negative. Showing us that the reason the hateful clerk becomes such a lasting and central part of our day is because their behavior was so jarring. While the kindness of others is often overlooked or missed entirely because it is conveyed in simple, often quiet ways. For the Sender challenges us to not only notice, but to become part of the positives.

The music on the CD is incredible. I put on the headphones and listened to the music while reading the book. (Which I highly recommend) I feel this gave me a real understanding of how the stories inspired the music and how music really is the backdrop of our lives. The stories remind us that as long as we are breathing it’s never too late to alter our course. This is an awesome reading/listening experience, there’s something here that everyone can relate too. It asks the reader to look inward and  realize just how amazing your life truly is. For the Sender is a short read (only 127 pages) that’s reverberations will be felt for a very long time.

Happy Reading!

**Contributors: Sara and Sean Watkins (Nickel Creek), Jon Foreman (Switchfoot), Jack Tempchin (songwriter for the Eagles), Jordan Pundik (New Found Glory)

Click to watch this video

Alex Woodard, Biography

Singer-songwriter and author Alex Woodard has toured nationally behind five critically-acclaimed albums, earning prestigious industry nods and shared the stage with some of today’s most popular acts. Joining a family of prominent musicians in his small beach town home, Alex created For The Sender, a unique book, album, and concert event that features his story of release and redemption woven through songs written about real-life letters. “It started with one letter,” Woodard explains, “and evolved into something bigger than I could have imagined.” Alex was overwhelmed with the letters he received and had no idea it would later turn into a whole new songwriting life.”
Alex lives with a big dog and a bigger horse in the mountains of Idaho. When he is not writing and playing music, he can most likely be found surfing, riding his horse, and reading the incredible letters people keep sending him.

 

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The Competition by Marcia Clark

 

Author: Marcia Clark
Narrator: January LaVoy

ISBN-13: 9781478927228
ISBN-10: 1478927224
Publisher: Mulholland Books

audiohachette.jpg    

 

Make A Place for Marcia Clark on the Best Seller shelf…

Open to a San Fernando Valley, California high school where there’s been yet another school shooting. Special Prosecutor Rachel Knight and LAPD Detective Bailey Keller enter a horrific crime scene, knowing one thing … the heartbroken parents expect answers…and they deserved answers. But with each student interview the picture grows blurrier not clearer. The clues simply didn’t add up to the scene set before them. Survivors describe a Columbine copycat crime… two masked killers interrupted the pep rally and began shooting. Pandemonium erupted, terrified kids scattered, literally running for their lives, as the killers made their way out of the gymnasium, into the hallways, methodically murdering their fellow classmates. The gunfire ended in the library, with two final blasts, as the merciless killers apparently died from self inflicted gunshot wounds. However, when two masks, believed to be those worn by the shooters are discovered in the dumpster this case deviates from its predecessor.

From this point forward hang on to your nightcap, its’ gonna be a long night. Wow, what an incredible reading experience…Clark covered very sensitive and controversial subject matter respectfully, without ever holding back the hard truths that those investigating these crimes must deal with. It’s a chance to look behind the curtain and see the inner workings of these difficult cases.  Especially thought provoking was the dialogue with the forensic experts regarding the personality of a psychopathic killer. There are so many layers within The Competition  it could’ve easily gone awry. However, Clark weaves the various elements together and Clark has woven them together brilliantly. The plot driven style can be tedious and boring, which Clark danced on the edge of in her previous books. However, not this time..the extensive interviews are interesting and insightful, serving not only to move the story forward but to develop the characters as well. Bottom line, this is a good book!

Happy Reading!

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No Way Back by Andrew Gross

No Way Back by Andrew Gross

 

  • NO WAY BACK
  • Author:  Andrew Gross
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1st edition (April 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061655988
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061655982

PAPERBACK EDITION

  • ISBN-10: 0061656046
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061656040

Also available as E*Book

No Way Back

Too many? Everything. This book is a like reading a hurricane in the midst of an earthquake, while preparing for a cyclone. There are so many things going on…big ideas,(good ideas), that individually fleshed out, plotted carefully, with special attention to the small details that build the characters, could’ve been two very good books. Unfortunately, what we have is a fast paced, loosely plotted, shoot ’em up body count book that just doesn’t read like an Andrew Gross novel.

Two strangers, brought together by a swirling mix of coincidence and bad luck, are trying to prove their innocence, which may very well get them killed. That is the basics of Andrew Gross’ No Way Back. The two strangers, Wendy, a suburban housewife (ex-cop) and Lauritzia, a nanny (illegally in this country) working for a lawyer and his family. These women will find a way to not only stay alive, but out maneuver Mexican drug cartels, out smart murderers with ties reaching high into the U.S. government, rogue Homeland security agents and goodness knows what else. It’s a hodgepodge of cliche’s and unrealistic plot twists. There’s no depth to the characters. Halfway through the book it became difficult to continue because I simply didn’t care what was going on, nor what was going to happen next. And I wasn’t the only one, the lead ladies in the story didn’t seem to care that their family members were being hunted and killed.
The substance is missing- and without it, I’m left holding a book that is simply readable. Nothing more. If you’ve read Andrew Gross books in the past, read a few “reader” reviews of this book before you start reading it… so that you will lower your expectations.

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2010’s Best

CLICK HERE to visit NY Times 2010 Best List

BEST OF 2010

AMERICAN SUBVERSIVE. By David Goodwillie. (Scribner, $25.) A bombing unites a blogger and a beautiful eco-terrorist in this literary thriller, an exploration of what motivates radicalism in an age of disillusion.

ANGELOLOGY. By Danielle Trussoni. (Viking, $27.95.) With a smitten art historian at her side, the young nun at the center of this rousing first novel is drawn into an ancient struggle against the Nephilim, hybrid offspring of humans and heavenly beings.

THE ASK. By Sam Lipsyte. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $25.) A deeply cynical academic fund-raiser fighting for his job is the protagonist of this darkly humorous satire, a witty paean to white-collar loserdom.

BOUND. By Antonya Nelson. (Bloomsbury, $25.) For Nelson’s complacent heroine, the death of an estranged friend elicits memories of their reckless youth.

COMEDY IN A MINOR KEY. By Hans Keilson. Translated by Damion Searls. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $22.) Set in Nazi-occupied Europe, this novel, appearing only now in English, is a mid-century masterpiece by the centenarian Keilson, who served in the Dutch resistance.

DOUBLE HAPPINESS: Stories. By Mary-Beth Hughes. (Black Cat/Grove/Atlantic, paper, $14.) Hughes likes to juxtapose her characters’ relative passivity with the knife edge of evil within or, more often, outside them.

FOREIGN BODIES. By Cynthia Ozick. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26.) This nimble, entertaining homage to Henry James’s late work “The Ambassadors,” in which an American heads to Paris to retrieve a wayward son, brilliantly upends the theme, meaning and stylistic manner of its revered precursor.

FREEDOM. By Jonathan Franzen. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $28.) Like Franzen’s previous novel, “The Corrections,” this is a masterly portrait of a nuclear family in turmoil, with an intricately ordered narrative and a majestic sweep that seems to gather up every fresh datum of our shared millennial life.

FUN WITH PROBLEMS: Stories. By Robert Stone. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24.) Our enduring central struggle — the battle between the head and the heart — is enacted again and again in Stone’s collection.

GIRL BY THE ROAD AT NIGHT: A Novel of Vietnam. By David Rabe. (Simon & Schuster, $23.) In this tale of war and eros, two young people from opposite ends of the earth are caught up in events far beyond their control.

THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST. By Stieg Larsson. (Knopf, $27.95.) In the third installment of the pulse-racing trilogy featuring Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander, the pair are threatened by an adversary from deep within the very government that should be protecting them.

GREAT HOUSE. By Nicole Krauss. (Norton, $24.95.) In this tragic vision of a novel, Nadia, a writer in New York, faces a wrenching parting when a girl shows up to claim an enormous desk that has been in her safekeeping for decades.

HOW TO LIVE SAFELY IN A SCIENCE FICTIONAL UNIVERSE. By Charles Yu. (Pantheon, $24.) Yu wraps his lonely story of a time machine repairman in layers of gorgeous meta-science-fiction.

HOW TO READ THE AIR. By Dinaw Mengestu. (Riverhead, $25.95.) Mengestu’s own origins inform this tale of an Ethiopian-American tracing the uncertain road once taken by his parents.

I CURSE THE RIVER OF TIME. By Per Petterson. Translated by Charlotte Barslund with Per Petterson. (Graywolf, $23.) This novel’s lonely Scandinavian protagonist grapples with divorce, death and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

ILUSTRADO. By Miguel Syjuco. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26.) A murder mystery punctuated with serious philosophical musings, this novel traces 150 years of Filipino history, posing questions about identity and art, exile and duty.

THE IMPERFECTIONISTS. By Tom Rachman. (Dial, $25.) This intricate novel is built around the personal stories of staff members at an improbable English-language newspaper in Rome, and of the family who founded it in the 1950s.

THE INVISIBLE BRIDGE. By Julie Orringer. (Knopf, $26.95.) Orringer’s protagonist is a Jewish architecture student in late-1930s Paris forced to return home to Hungary ahead of the Nazi invasion there.

LISA ROBERTSON’S MAGENTA SOUL WHIP. By Lisa Robertson. (Coach House, paper, $14.95.) In these intellectual poems, the experimental curtains suddenly part to reveal clear, durable truth.

THE LIVING FIRE: New and Selected Poems, 1975-2010. By Edward Hirsch. (Knopf, $27.) Hirsch’s “living fire” is an irrational counterforce with which he balances his dignified quotidian.

THE LONG SONG. By Andrea Levy. (Frances Coady/Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26.) Levy’s high-spirited, ambitious heroine works on a plantation in the final days of slavery in Jamaica.

THE LOST BOOKS OF THE ODYSSEY. By Zachary Mason. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $24.) The conceit behind the multiple Odysseuses here (comic, dead, doubled, amnesiac) is that this is a translation of an ancient papyrus, a collection of variations on the myth.

THE LOTUS EATERS. By Tatjana Soli. (St. Martin’s, $24.99.) The photojournalist heroine of Soli’s Vietnam War novel ponders whether those who represent war merely replicate its violence.

MATTERHORN: A Novel of the Vietnam War. By Karl Marlantes. (El León Literary Arts/Atlantic Monthly, $24.95.) In this tale, 30 years in the creation, bloody folly envelops a Marine company’s construction, abandonment and retaking of a remote hilltop outpost.

MEMORY WALL: Stories. By Anthony Doerr. (Scribner, $24.) These strange, beautiful stories all ask: What, if anything, will be spared time’s depredations?

MR. PEANUT. By Adam Ross. (Knopf, $25.95.) In this daring first novel, a computer game designer suspected of murdering his obese wife is investigated by two marriage-savvy detectives, one of whom is Dr. Sam Sheppard.

THE NEAREST EXIT. By Olen Steinhauer. (Minotaur, $25.99.) The C.I.A. spy in this thriller is sick of his trade’s duplicity, amorality and rootlessness.

THE NEW YORKER STORIES. By Ann Beattie. (Scribner, $30.) This collection of tales dating back to 1974 lets readers imagine their way into a New Yorker fiction editor’s moment of discovery.

ONE DAY. By David Nicholls. (Vintage, paper, $14.95.) Nicholls’s nostalgic novel checks in year by year on the halting romance of two children of the ’80s, she an outspoken lefty, he an apolitical toff.

THE PRIVILEGES. By Jonathan Dee. (Random House, $25.) In this contemporary morality tale, a family stumbles along, rich and dysfunctional, without ethical or moral responsibility. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2013 in ♥Best Sellers♥, ♥BOOKs♥, NY Times

 

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Banned & Challenged Books

 

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Here’s a list of banned and challenged books.

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The week may have passed, but you can still get involved…by simply reading one of these books. (or two, or three….)
Exercise your right to read the literature of your choice. You have the right to make the decision of what is acceptable and what
is too controversial for you…personally. These are personal, individual decisions… and each of us has the right to make the choice
for ourselves. Based on our individually held beliefs.

 

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National Book Award Finalists

It’s that time of year again- Here are the 2012 Finalists…

 

square it

The judges have their work cut out for them … as has always been the case, the books that  have made it to this stage are the cream of the crop – take a look at the finalists….

             Do you have a favorite?

post a comment with your favorite or send us an email

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FICTION

Fiction Finalists

FINALISTS:

Junot Díaz, This Is How You Lose Her (Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group USA, Inc.)

Dave Eggers, A Hologram for the King (McSweeney’s Books)

Louise Erdrich, The Round House (Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers)

Ben Fountain, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers)

Kevin Powers, The Yellow Birds (Little, Brown and Company)

POETRY

2012 NBA Poetry Finalists

FINALISTS:

David Ferry, Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations (University of Chicago Press)

Cynthia Huntington, Heavenly Bodies (Southern Illinois University Press)

Tim Seibles, Fast Animal (Etruscan Press)

Alan Shapiro, Night of the Republic (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Susan Wheeler, Meme (University of Iowa Press)

NONFICTION

2012 NBA Nonfiction Finalists

FINALISTS:

Anne Applebaum, Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1945-1956 (Doubleday)

Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity (Random House)

Robert A. Caro, The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 4 (Knopf)

Domingo Martinez, The Boy Kings of Texas (Lyons Press, an imprint of Globe Pequot Press)

Anthony Shadid, House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

YOUNG PEOPLE’S LITERATURE

2012 NBA YPL  Finalists

FINALISTS:

William Alexander, Goblin Secrets (Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of
Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing)

Carrie Arcos, Out of Reach (Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing)

Patricia McCormick, Never Fall Down (Balzer+Bray, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers)

Eliot Schrefer, Endangered (Scholastic)

Steve Sheinkin, Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon
(Flash Point, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press)

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2012 in ♥BOOKs♥, book awards

 

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