Friday, February 21, 2014


Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Tris, formerly known as Beatrice, and her boyfriend Four are at the heart of the second book in the Divergent series.  They join forces with members of Abegnation and later some of their Dauntless family in order to battle the mind-control invasion of Erudite.

A war has begun within the walls.  Other than the woman who orchestrated the whole thing, only one man is certain why it happened, everyone else is speculating.  That one man has proven himself to be cruel and untrustworthy.  Four will absolutely not listen but Tris thinks that despite his flaws, he may just be telling the truth.  In the meantime, they must try to stay alive and save as many others as they can.

While they stay with the Amity group outside the walls, Tris realizes why she could never be part of their faction.  Their happy peacefulness is so contrary to her nature that she must leave before she explodes.  When they seek refuge with Cantor, their black and white way of seeing the world is both refreshing and painful.  Revelations of truth cause a strain in the relationship between Tris and Four.  Being young in a young relationship, they aren't quite sure how to handle absolute honesty.

Four decides to ally himself with his estranged mother and her group of Factionless.  Tris is increasingly weary of her agenda and finds herself an ally with Four's cruel father in attempt to reveal what the leader of Erudite started a war to keep hidden.  As Four and Tris grow more familiar with the attributes and flaws of each faction, they become more certain that a world of factions is no way to live.  The way they each seek a new world could tear them apart forever or the truth of it all could bind them like nothing else could.


Divergent by Veronica Roth

Some sort of horrific war has occurred.  Chicago has a wall around it.  There is a gate in the wall and the lock is on the outside.  Everyone inside the wall lives in one of four factions.  A fifth faction lives outside the wall.

Beatrice is sixteen years old and today is the biggest day of her life.  She has grown up in the faction Abegnation in which the members give selflessly to others in time and service.  She will undergo an aptitude test which will tell her in which faction she belongs.  She then gets to choose and decide if she will follow the advice of the test or go into another faction.  The one thing she absolutely doesn't want is for the test to be inconclusive.  If that were to happen, she would be Divergent.

This is an engaging story.  Beatrice is like-able and believable as a sixteen year old girl who has grown up struggling to be selfless.  She sometimes behaves stupidly but so do all sixteen year old people.  This is a story about a girl growing into her own, coming of age in a dystopian world full of turmoil.

This book has been made into a movie and I am looking forward to seeing if the movie does justice to the story.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


11/22/63 by Stephen King

For all the Stephen King haters out there, this book is not horror.  Also, Stephen King is one of the few writers that can develop a character in a single paragraph to the point where you are completely engaged with that character and are ready to delve into the depths of the story with that person so if you hate horror, pick one of his other books and read it (like this one).

For those old enough to remember, 11/22/63 was the date that John F. Kennedy was shot and killed.  Now, if you were a writer and could write a "what if" with regards to that date, what would you do?

Being a lover of time travel in the Outlander series as well as traveling with The Doctor, this book was right up my alley.  If you can suspend your disbelief long enough to read this wonderful "what if", I highly recommend it.

I loved this book.  The character, Jake Epping, was wonderfully believable.  I was engaged with his inner-wrestling.  I thought he was great making up stories on the fly (and I was ready to believe that he was the one making this stuff up).  This was a great trip back in history and I learned much about Lee Harvey Oswald but also what life was like in the late 50's and early 60's.  I have always had a vision of Happy Days but that isn't really the picture portrayed by King.  The anachronisms that rise up to bite Jake in the butt at times, were often sneaky enough that I didn't catch them.  I would be terrible at time travel in the long-term.  Sure, I could probably pop in to a different time for a day or two but for many years, I would probably fail miserably.

Anyway, before I blow it and give too much away, just read this book.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Long Knives

Long Knives by Charles Rosenberg

Jenna James is an attorney turned UCLA Law professor.  A quick 15 minute meeting with a student early one morning turns into a total nightmare in which Jenna is a suspect in a murder but also convinced that she was the intended victim.

Jenna does a few things that are stupid and you know that they will come back to bite her in the butt - and they do.  All in all though, the portrayal of Jenna seems to be realistic.  There are times that I believe that she really does know her stuff in the legal world.  Her actions, however, often belie that fact.

A big part of the mystery surrounds sunken treasure and maritime salvage laws.  I really felt like Jenna's character was knowledgeable in the realm of maritime law.  Rosenberg could have been making it all up but it sounded plausible and I had no problem believing that the character had developed a love for this type of law.

All in all, this was a fun murder mystery and the whodunit reveal went right to the very end.
By the way, I got this book as a Kindle First.  This is an offer that Amazon Prime members get where they get to choose a free book each month from a selection of four different books.  I have no idea what the general availability is at this time.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Line

The Line (Witching Savannah, Book One) by J.D. Horn

This was a good light read.  I wanted to smack the protagonist several times though because she was being so obviously stupid and whiny.

This book takes place in Savannah and definitely uses the lore of the city to it's advantage.  The protagonist comes from an old Savannah family known to be witches.  Her life has been both benefited and not because of this bit about her family.

I can sort of see how the author will make more books in the series but it wasn't engaging enough, didn't leave me hanging enough, to want to read further.  I bought the book on a $.99 deal on my Kindle and I think I definitely got my money's worth but I am not sure I can give it more recommendation than that.

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Book Store

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Book Store by Robin Sloan

I had someone recommend this book as "geeky and fun" because of it's references to various computer programs.  This book, however, is so much more that that.

This book combines Old Knowledge and New Knowledge and weaves them together with a wonderful mystery - several actually.  I hesitate to say much more because I don't want to accidentally drop any spoilers.  I will say this, you should read this book.  It is a fun and entertaining escape.