Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sue Recommends Mullah's Storm by Thomas W. Young

Mullah's Storm is the most realistic and compelling novel that i have ever read. Suspenseful and electrifying from the beginning to end, and as close to reality as it could possibly be.--General Carl Stiner U.S. Army(Ret) Former Commander in Chief U.S> Special Operations Command

The Mullah's Storm is the first novel written by Thomas W. Young and I hope that his subsequent ones will offer the adventure, suspense, thrills, and vivid as life experiences that I found in this one.

Knowing the author's background--
4,000 hours as a flight engineer for the Air National Guard in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, and elsewhere...(from cover)--you find that he has written about thoughts, fears, and characters taken from his own experiences as well as those of colleagues from military engagements.

The author allows you to walk in the shoes of a downed pilot and an army translator in the Hindu Kush as they try to outmaneuver the Taliban; survive the extreme conditions in these snowy, frigid, and dangerous mountains; and keep control of a radical Muslim cleric who is their prisoner. You will not regret giving this book a chance and will not want to put it down.

For audio fans, I just found out that Scott Brick reads the audiobook. I plan to listen to it next as Mr. Brick transports you to the extreme conditions and situations of Mr. Young's story. SH

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Romance Award Winners--RITA Award

The Romance Writers of America annually recognize the best romance novels and novellas published in 12 categories with the RITA Award.

If you enjoy romance, see if you agree with their 2010 winners for the following categories:

Best Contemporary Single Title Romance
Too Good to be True by Kristen Higgins

Best Historical Romance
Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas

Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements
Lost Recipe for Happiness by Barbara O'Neal

Best Regency Historical Romance

What Happens in London by Julia Quinn


Best Book about the Vietnam War

Our Vietnam : The War 1954-1975
by Langguth, A. J.

Historian and journalist A. J. Langguth delivers an authoritative account of the war based on official documents not available earlier and on new reporting from both the American and Vietnamese perspectives.

In Our Vietnam, Langguth takes us inside the waffling and deceitful White Houses of Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon. Langguth documents the ineptness and corruption of our South Vietnamese allies, and recounts the bravery of soldiers on both sides of the war.

With its broad sweep and keen insights, Our Vietnam brings together the kaleidoscopic events and personalities of the war into one engrossing and unforgettable narrative.

Langguth was a New York Times Vietnam Saigon bureau chief during the war. His narrative style allows him to tell the story of America's involvement in Vietnam like an exciting political thriller. What sets his book apart from other Vietnam books is his interviews with important but lesser known American and Vietnamese eyewitnesses. If you want one book to learn about the Vietnam War this is it.


Mike sez: you gotta check out Beasts of Burden

Beasts of Burden by Evan Dorkin & Jill Thompson

You need to read this--seriously, it's that easy of a review to read, just go out, find the book in our library and sit down and read it. You will thank me for it.

What, that's not enough? All right, all right--for those of you who don't follow my recommendations with blind obedience, here's a quick run-down of the book: this is a world where a band of dogs and one cat (who has been allowed to tag along by the reluctant dogs) who come on some scary stuff going on in their neighborhood. The story quickly turns into a good-versus-evil plot line with magic and murder as the dominant drivers. But it's not as easy as all that--Evan Dorkin (of Milk & Cheese fame) and Jill Thompson (famous children's illustrator) have done a smash-up job of creating a group of animals that the reader quickly identifies with and cares about. Jill's ability to render anthropomorphic animals through her artwork is amazing, lending a depth to the animals' expressions that I haven't seen in comics or children's art before; and Evan's stories are thrilling and heart-breaking throughout. I can't wait for the next round of stories from this team--hopefully there's plenty in the works!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Megan recommends: Lost in Place

This is an oldie but a goodie. Mark Salzman has written quite a few novels, but I like his memoir of growing up in suburban Connecticut in the 1970s. Lost in Place: Growing Up Absurd in Suburbia chronicles his childhood as an unconventional kid in a conventional family with humor and grace. His attempts to adopt the lifestyle of a Zen monk are particularly funny.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

In Memory - Bill Evans, Jazz Pianist

Bill Evans, who died 30 years ago this week at the age of 51, was a master of harmonies, chords, pedaling, phrasing and dynamics. Evans' collaboration with Miles Davis on the timeless album "Kind of Blue" is an example of his techniques. A mentor to countless musicians who came after him including Herbie Hancock and Keith Jarrett, Evans too early death was an unimaginable loss to the world of music. His last recorded piece on September 9, 1980, was "My Romance" by Rodgers and Hart. Browse our collection of Evans' music on CD in our Media Room on the first floor.

Looking for action? Rob says to try Andy McNab

Enter Nick Stone. He's not quite on the same level as Jack Ryan, Gabriel Allon or Jason Bourne, but after you've wrung all the action out of Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum and Daniel Silva, you might want to give Nick a look. He's ex- SAS and he's smart, crude, wry and more than a little unhappy with his higher-ups. Nick Stone is the creation of Andy McNab, an author who knows the subject well, having been in the SAS himself and participated in missions all over the world. In the 13 Nick Stone novels, McNab has his alter-ego fighting Al Quaeda, the IRA, the Russian mafia, Saddam Hussein and other assorted terrorists. Start at the beginning with Remote Control, when Stone was still under SAS orders. In the later books, he goes independent, accepting assignments from a variety of intelligence services. What McNab's novels have going for them is first-person knowledge of special ops detail, the disgruntled grunt's eye view of the world, an imperfect hero and lots of action.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sue Recommends The Postcard Killers by Patterson and Marklund

James Patterson is one of the most prolific authors today. Last year he earned $70 million to become the world's highest paid author (according to Forbes) surpassing both J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter) and Stephanie Meyer (Twilight). This is all made possible by his teaming up with other authors, and his newest release, The Postcard Killers, falls in this category.

Liza Marklund, a bestselling author in Sweden, was a good choice for turning out an action-packed, will-they-ever-solve-the-mystery thriller. The story takes place in multiple locations in Europe where young couples are being killed in their hotel rooms while on vacation. The killers send a calling card, a postcard, to alert authorities that they will kill in their town. The authorities are puzzled by the staged placement of the victims that resemble well known art. Why take the time to do this?

It takes an unknown journalist and the father of one of the victims (who just happens to be a New York detective) to keep the investigation going and try to find an end to the killings and the father's obsessive grief. The plot and action keep you reading to find out who wins--the killers or their pursuers. One of Patterson's better thrillers.

Warning: not for those who do not want graphic descriptions of the murder scene. SH

Friday, September 3, 2010

Mike Suggests: Drood

Drood by Dan Simmons, read by Simon Prebble

I ended up listening to the audio presentation of this stunning historical literary mystery because I read Deb's post on our other blog about the reader, Simon Prebble, who won the "Voice of Choice" from the publication Booklist. I can't say enough good things about Drood--its pacing, plot, and characters were all masterfully written that I'll be sure to check out other Dan Simmons books. Drood is a tale full of mystery and madness, where Dickens and his fellow author (and collaborator) Wilkie Collins are drawn into the search for a shadowy and violent master of mesmerism known only as Drood. The reading by Simon Prebble was flat-out fantastic--he made my hair stand on end at the end as Wilkie Collins is finishing his confession, and made Collins' madness so palpable that I was absolutely thrilled.