A little bit of love, and a little bit out there.

I just finished reading Swan Loch, a novel written by Randy Mixter, and I can honestly say this was one of the most pleasant read I’ve had in a while, and though I may be crucified for it, it actually called to mind some of my favorite authors works, Stephen King.  I’m sure this is one of many that I will read by this author, and I can only hope that all those that follow will be as entertaining and easy to identify with.

One of those love stories gone wrong, where the bad guy gets his mits in and causes the whole world to go spinning away.  Even the threat of losing someone you love can cause people to do strange and careless things, but when it actually happens, it’s amazing to see what you can find yourself doing.  Going beyond what you ever believed possible, and taking yourself to places beyond your own belief.

This was a story that was just plain good, every character felt real and the story felt like one that you could have heard from your buddy at the pub, or when out with the gang at the lake.

I’ve always liked good stories, and I’ll always enjoy reading.  Some days I’ll find myself looking out above the pages and wondering how this came to be, who could imagine such things and explain them to me so beautifully?  It boggles the mind, and though I try to  imitate the greats, I think I may still have a way to go.

In other news, Stephen King has gone and turned another one of his stories into a major event.  Under The Dome is now a miniseries that started on CBS last night, and it seems like it will be very close to the actual book.  Stephen King recently decided to become more involved with the movies/series based on his books, and his last few projects have been very sympathetic to the original written work.  I’ve go high hopes for Under The Dome.  I admit, I’m not watching it yet, I’m going to do the marathon viewing session after it’s all over, and yeah, it’s not reading, but I’ll still let you know.

Have a good read folks, talk to you as soon as I finish “Chasing Vegas” which is the first book I’ve had the pleasure of reading in the first person, for multiple characters.  I think it may be a bit of a novelty for me, and it’s really turning into a good read, so I’ll keep on reading.

I’ll be away for a week on vacation, chances are I’ll read a book or three while I’m away, so next time may be a bit long.

Thy Kindom Fall

So I finally finished reading this book by Austin Dragon, and a few pieces of information have trickled through to my brain and it’s definitely not a bash piece, nor it is a tip of the hat to Trek or Shatner, it’s really does stand well on it’s own and proves to be quite compelling.  It really makes you want to think about what we’re doing now, and where we’re heading, by taking a pretty hard look at our reliance on technology, and how we view others of different faiths.

There are three main groups in this book the Americans, the Caliphate (Muslim extreme) and the CHIN’s (China India and such), with a few other smaller powers, such as Canada, Mexico, South America, Africa and the Russian Bloc.  But the superpowers are the big three and they’ve become that way because of what may happen in the future.  It’s possible that Muslim extremists manage to take over a good portion of the world, and it’s possible that  China allies with the India to form a super block, to become the big three, and it’s possible that a whole lot of other things happen.

The book concentrates on how we view religion, and it seems like the author may be a good christian (I’m not very good, I’ll admit) who is seeing how the world can be changed by our attitudes towards religion in general.  In this future America, there are the “Pagans” and the “Jew-Christians” who can be considered the non-believers and the believers.  I think the author lumps the Jewish and Christian folk together just to make things a little bit easier to write, but it does work well enough.  The book shows some of the worst aspects of technology, and I almost felt guilty reading it on my tablet, rather than in paper form!  It shows how people can be dependent on those technological gadgets that we carry around with us every day.  Already in current times, there have been incidents where distraction caused by “tek” has caused harm and even death to people who have been texting or reading while using their devices.

But this story goes so much further, it really shows how things can grow and how we can be pulled along without even realizing it.  I can honestly see these books being a first step towards the classic Blade Runner story by Philip K. Dick (Do Androids dream of Electric Sheep?).  It’s a good book, I hope the sequel, coming out soon, will be equally as thought provoking.

The Amun Chamber

I finished reading “The Amun Chamber” by Daniel Leston.  It was a fairly good book, but didn’t always hold my attention.  But it did call to mind the Indiana Jones movies that I saw years earlier. 🙂

How much does this book “borrow” from the Indy movies and lore, well, the main character is a former professor/archaeologist, and he finds a young lady whom he befriends and who helps him on his way.  She naturally has an estranged relative who had something of importance to help him on the quest to find the hidden relic.

Now be that as it may, the story was still well written, and was fun to read, and I’m sure many will find the book to be one of the first to be bought by the same author.  I cannot say that this will be the case for me, it just felt too much the same as another’s work, and that never really excites me when I’m reading.  So maybe I’ll give Daniel Leston another go, but then again, maybe not.

The new book I’ve started reading is “Thy Kingdom Fall” which is the first book in the After Eden Series, it’s interesting, but confusing at times as well, and sadly the e-book formatting is a little off, every once in a while in the middle of the text, the author’s name shows up, like they incorrectly formatted an forgot to remove his name from the bottom of some pages, and that got it rolled in between some paragraphs.  The author is Austin Dragon, and he’s a good writer.  It’s started off with some chapter titles that made me thing this would be a tip of the hat to either Star Trek, or William Shatner, with chapter 1 being “Wolf 359” a star group that played a part in Star Trek: The Next Generation, and chapter 2 was called “Tek World” which was part of a series of books by William Shatner (“Tek War”, “Tek Lord” and “Tek Vengeance” to name but a few.)  But when reading the chapters, you soon realize that is it not quite that type of science fiction.  It takes place many years in the future (well, about 50) and plays heavy on the threat of Muslim Radicals and the changing of the world as a result of that.  It shows one way of dealing with what happens if Muslim Radicals manage to become a superpower.

I’m not finished the book yet, but it does paint some interesting pictures.  It’s a little hard to swallow at some points, especially the way it treats all Muslims as radicals, and then also tries to group Jewish and Christians together as something to be controlled and kept separate from the rest of the population.  It seems to be about what is possible in a non-secular future, where “Pagans,” or non-religious, are in control, and the US Constitution is changed for something that alters and “streamlines” the amendments made to it.

I’m still not sure where it’s going, but the ride so far has been entertaining, and at times enlightening.  The ideas may not be popular, but they are definitely interesting to read about.  I can personally say that I’m not a fan of some of them,but they do make for interesting fiction.

Are you Afraid? Have you been in a Haunted House? Jack Kilborn writes all about it!

Ok, so he doesn’t really go into a Haunted House, but he writes about a group of folks who decide to spend the night there in order to receive a reward of a million dollars!  Who wouldn’t want to tempt fate for a million bucks, I would!  But wait, there’s more to this story than just surviving the night in a haunted house, first you must know it’s past, and all of the atrocities that happened there.  From when slavery was the norm, to the 21st century, the Butler House has passed from one family member to the next.  Each generation having done something to deserve their spot in hell, and each generation dying for what they’ve done, and sometimes killed by the phantoms of the previous generation!

Jack Kilborn is a skilled writer, and keeps you entertained while you sit up all night reading his books.  He writes Thrillers as well as Sci-Fi (under a different name) and also writes intrigue novels (also under a different name).  It must make it hard to keep track of who you are with so many names!  But what he does is write well.  His characters are believable, and easy to relate to.  You feel for his characters, and you identify with one or two of them right from the start.

This book was an amalgamation of many characters from previous books, but it didn’t feel like I was missing anything while I read it.  It didn’t matter to me what happened previously, as it was enough to understand that something did happen previously.  The way these characters are affected by their past definitely had a role in how they reacted to their present, but it wasn’t necessary to know the details.

As it turns out, I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were a character or two that I had seen before (in Afraid) which meant I did know something about at least some of the characters.  Whether that made me enjoy the book more or not, I can’t really say, but I do know that when I read Afraid, I was eager to read more from Jack Kilborn, and was pleasantly surprised when Haunted House came out. 🙂

Afraid was the novel I read just before I took a detour with my Odd Thomas and Dan Brown diversions, and it was another good book.  Each of the books I read by Jack Kilborn, so far, have been good reads that entertain me and make me happy, as well as make me feel for those poor folks who find themselves in some pretty dire situations.  Afraid and Haunted House are pretty obviously novels about terror and suspense, and each one handles this a bit differently, and turn around in slightly different ways.  In Afraid, I was not really sure where things were headed, but I have to admit, in Haunted House, I was pretty convinced on what the ending was going to turn out like.

I’m never sure if I’m happy when I guess correctly the ending of a story, or if I’m disappointed.  But one thing for sure, I enjoy the trip along the way!  Next work of fiction to grace my Kindle is “The Amun Chamber” and having already gotten part way through it, I’m definitely feeling an “Indiana Jones” vibe.  This book is written by Daniel Leston, and I’ll tell you more about it when I’m finished.  In the meantime, be sure to keep a good book handy!

Dan Brown on Fire, Odd Thomas, and a bit of Odd Ray

Hello all, I know it’s been more than a week since my last post, and it’s not even Tuesday, but here I am trying to make things right.  I’ve been a little out of it lately, and reading has taken over my life!  Boo hoo hoo, you say, I agree, no excuse.  But here’s something that will light a fire, Dan Brown’s Inferno, a world class book by a world class author.

Inferno revolves around Dante’s Inferno, a well known piece of epic poetry, and how, it seems, anything can be turned to nefarious uses.  Robert Langdon makes a return appearance in this book and does his best to right the wrongs and follow the rabbit hole no matter where it goes.  It’s a good book, and definitely kept me reading until the wee hours of the morning, but sadly, there are a few points that just seemed missing.  The efforts of the author to try to keep you in the dark at times hits a wrong note, and at other times just seems plainly forced.

Don’t get me wrong, the book is still an excellent read, and if you’ve suspended belief long enough, these small items may fly right by you without you ever really noticing.  As always, an entertaining romp through Italy is involved, near death, and all sorts of clues that have to be decoded.  A lot of fun to read!

Before I read Inferno, I read Odd Apocalypse, an Odd Thomas novel by Dean Koontz.  Odd seems to find himself in odd places ever more easily as he travels along the coast of California, and find himself associating with ever incredible people.  This one is a little different, I feel, than the past few novels, and may be a bit of a shock for some readers.  Odd is pretty much the same, and handles things in his usual way, but Odd Apocalypse has some different sort of problems for Odd to figure out, and stretches the imagination is different ways that in the past.  The demons are not so much mythical and fantasy come to reality, but more so as almost aliens from a sci-fi novel, come to visit on Odd’s turf.  True, in the episodic piece Odd Interlude, sci-fi seems to have played a role, but that was supposed to just be a sidebar along the Odd journey.  Now it seems that sci-fi has come to visit, and may not be leaving any time soon.

I’m a big sci-fi lover, and have read my fair share of sci-fi novels, so it’s not impossible for me to believe that these genres of horror, fantasy and sci-fi can intermingle, but I will admit that it was a bit of a surprise to see it featured here.  It works well, and feels almost right, but to me, it was a different story because of it.  Odd still feels like an old friend come to tell you a tale, but it seems now that may be Odd has run out of old tales, and is making up some new ones to keep us entertained.

All in all, two wonderfully distracting books, would I recommend them to anyone else, absolutely, but be forewarned, both of these books are not as good as their predecessors.