Friday, March 27, 2015

Seal Team Six: Hunt the Fox, by Don Mann

First of all I would like to thank Net Galley and Mulholland Books for making a review copy of this book available to me in exchange for an honest review. The book is available for pre-order from your favorite book store or Amazon. It will be released on May 12, 2015.

In this ongoing series of books about Seal Team Six and their missions we find the team facing a highly classified as well as a highly dangerous mission, well, what else is new for Seal Team Six.

Chief Warrant Officer Crocker and his team will be tasked with enter Syria in the height of the civil war there to infiltrate a Syrian Air Force Base and retrieve eight cans of Sarin Gas that if released could kill thousands of innocent people.

Not only will they face dangerous odds while traveling through Syria, but they will also face the danger of being betrayed by those tasked to help them and those that they believe have their best interest at heart.

Some of the betrayal may even be from their own government which doesn’t appear to always understand the operational hazards that they face and the split second decisions and changes that they need to make.

Crocker also will be faced with some medical challenges during the course of the operation that will push his medic skills to the edge. But like a true Navy Seal he will perform flawlessly and with great patience and kindness as well as with great warrior skills.

All of this on top of having lost a good friend and team member just a few short months ago. Also on top of having his wife threatening to leave him because she can’t take the pressure anymore of being married to a Navy Seal. She feels that he cares more about his team and the thrill of the action than he cares about her.

Don Mann does a great job of building the character traits of Crocker as well as helping us to understand his thinking and decision making processes. He will also give us a good tour of the mind set of a heroic warrior who does his best despite the odds and knowing that he will never receive any recognition for a job well done.

The action is good, the details of the operations are good, the threat is realistic to our world today and thus all of this adds up to a good read.


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Come Winter, by Clare Gutierrez

First of all I want to thank the publisher for making a review copy of this book available to me in exchange for an honest unbiased review.

This is a sweeping saga of the life of Lady Caterina Tabor. It takes place in a period of time when Kings and Kingdoms come and go because of the feuding over lands, people and wealth. Caterina's mother is Italian by heritage and a "healer" by gifting. She is able to produce medicines from herbs that are helpful in the healing of man and beast. Unfortunately during this period of history a woman with this gift was often thought of as a "witch," especially in France. The penalty was death by burning at the stake.

Lord Tabor was a professional soldier who served the King or Queen of England. He was Catholic. But at this time the Queens of England (there are two vying for the throne) are different, one a Catholic the other a Protestant. Even though Lord Tabor serves well if the wrong Queen is on the throne he will not find favor in her court.

Lord Tabor takes his family with him when he goes off to war, thus Caterina sees the devastation of war up close, learns healing techniques and also learns battle tactics from her parents.

Our story starts with her being sent back to England to get her out of danger. She is captured by a Scottish Lord and taken to Scotland where she will begin the first of three "Era's" in her life. She is a tenacious woman, one that is not borne to bend under the strong hand of any man. She is also a woman who is born to be "as a queen" in both her temperament and upbringing.

The story will go from Scotland to England to Italy. It will involve several Kings and Kingdoms as well as plenty of war and intrigue that brings changes to a families life often.

The story will also deal greatly with the sickness and healing that must take place during this time. Sickness takes many without regard to station in life or age. The devastation to a family can be terrible.

This is a Saga because it takes long to develop, covers Lady Caterina's full life and covers at least three different Kingdoms that rise and fall. It is not a "gripping" novel that has plenty of action. Instead it is a "thoughtful" novel that deals with reality and with the emotions and personalities of the people involved. It is a great study in the character of people.

Once started you will be drawn into the story and be anxious to see how it ends, that is what will keep you reading. It is long, it is a bit slow at times, but it is well worth the read and thoughtful contemplation.

There is also a "readers guide" at the end of the book to allow book clubs to have some time to think, meditate and then discuss the many themes developed in the book.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Governor's Wife, by Michael Harvey

With her husband indicted and convicted of multiple crimes it appears that Marie Perry will have the next twenty to thirty years without her husband at home. As Governor his trial has been big news, especially since it is Illinois where almost every Governor seems to end up corrupt.

But rather than going to jail Ray Perry disappears from the courthouse after sentencing and is not seen from again. How he did that no one knows. Where he is, no one knows, how he will survive, well, that is known to some, Ray Perry ran off with 50 to 60 million dollars of illegal funds that really were not his and the "mob" or whoever they are wants it back.

Enter Michael Kelly, Private Investigator, former cop. He is sent an anonymous E-mail and wired $100,000.00 to hire him to find Ray Perry. Thus starts an adventure that could cost Kelly his life. Will he take the job? Will he work for someone who is not named? Will he do what nobody has been able to do for a couple of years, find Ray Perry?

The story is well crafted, the characters are very well developed and the side plots of the story are as interesting as the story itself. Corrupt Politics in Illinois is nothing new, but this brings to light much of what happens when power goes to someone's head.

The story isn't long, but it is packed with true nuggets of creative writing.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Madam President, by Nicolle Wallace

First of all I would like to thank Net Galley and Simon & Schuster for providing me a review copy, for no cost, of this novel in exchange for an unbiased review.

If you were a fan of West Wing or enjoy the new TV series, Madam Secretary, then this book will be something that you thoroughly enjoy.

I felt that the book took some time to get into, since it talked about terrorist attacks on America and the Presidents response to those. The reason for this is that you don’t get back to those attacks until almost half way through the book.

But as I thought about it I realized that Nicolle Wallace took us through a detailed development of the cast of characters that was necessary for the story to come to life and for us to understand the responses of each of the people to the crisis that would face them.

The book is written as a “Day in the Life of” the President as it will entail mainly one 24 hour period of her administration, the day that terrorist attack 5 different sites in America.

You will follow the first female President as well as her female Vice-President, Defense Secretary and Press Secretary. Then there is the development of her Chief of State, Craig, one of the few men detailed in the book other than the husbands or boyfriends of the women of the Administration.

I thought the character development was very good. I thought that the personalities of the characters were developed and came to life very well in the crisis of the story. I particularly enjoyed how realistically Wallace painted President Kramer and her own personal crisis with her husband, loosing a good friend and then the strained relationship with her daughter. All of these things brought a very human quality to the President instead of painting her as just a Political President with no soul.

As you start to read, don’t get discouraged by not reaching the crisis too soon. You will find that the backstory development is highly necessary and it creates a wonderful read.


At the Waters Edge, by Sara Gruen

At The Waters Edge, by Sara Gruen

First of all I want to thank Net Galley and the Publisher, Random House, for making an advance review copy of this book available to me for no cost, in exchange for a review.

There are several themes that run through this Saga about three young people during World War II and their personal issues. I was surprised by some of the low ratings that the book has received, but I think that is because it is not a fast paced, thrill ride about WWII. Instead it is a book about the personalities of the main characters and how they relate to each other and others.

The themes that I picked out were:

1.     The clash of Societal structures, in other words, how the wealthy view the working class.
2.     The importance upper society places on marrying the right partner
3.     The importance of upper society places on their children fulfilling the dreams of the parents.
4.     The fear some young men have of war and the lengths they will go to in order not to serve
5.     How Pride and Prejudice (yes Jane Austen Fans that is a theme) will influence two young men in regards to the others around them
6.     How a marriage needs to be developed and cared for and not taken lightly
7.     How war devastates families and countries
8.     How one hero who survives the war can still loose everything
9.     How love can conquer all and bring two people happiness

Those are just a few of the themes that I found in the book. I thought that Sara Gruen did a masterful job of developing each of the characters, whether they were the main characters or just the supporting cast.

She also does a great job of bringing to light the hardships that the people of England and Scotland went through during the war so that the battle could be waged and won. Also, the complete devastation that war brings on countries as citizens and young men of fighting age are brutally slaughtered in the pursuit of victory.

Also, there is a good case study of how the lack of American involvement was viewed until they finally joined the fight.

Then there is the plot of the story about the search for the Loc Nest Monster that the two main characters are engaged in to try and bring a name to themselves.

I was drawn, slowly, into the story but by the end I couldn’t put it down, I wanted to know how things would end.
I don’t think you will be disappointed in this book, it will bring you issues to think about and items that you need to take a look at yourself to make sure that you don’t end up having issues of pride or prejudice in your life.