Books

The Roswell Conspiracy, by Boyd Morrison

roswell-conspiracy-100Boyd Morrison’s latest book, The Roswell Conspiracy was easily one of my most anticipated books of the year.  Release number three in the Tyler Locke series, this may be the best book yet.  The story opens with Dr. Tyler Locke and Grant Westfield visiting New Zealand’s Southern Hemisphere Proving Grounds to put a new top secret hybrid test car through a series of cold weather tests.  But while in New Zealand, Dr. Locke takes a side trip to visit a seventy-five year old woman claiming to have a piece of wreckage from infamous Roswell crash.  Tyler’s firm, Gordian Engineering is the foremost airline crash investigation specialist in the United States.  This makes Tyler the most logical consultant to help identify the wreckage the old woman has held in secret since 1947.

Right out of the gate, the book launches into a rocket propelled thrill-ride as Tyler struggles to uncover the secrets of the Roswell crash.  But even the mysteries of crashed alien spacecraft are not enough for a storyteller like Mr. Morrison.  Complications quickly arise as secrets long buried by the Russians start coming to light and drawing attention to a rouge SVR agent who attempts to steal the Roswell artifacts.  This draws a tangled web of international intrigue that grows to involve the FBI as well as the NSA, international drug-runners and arms dealers.
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SecondWorld by Jeremy Robinson

2ndworldThis was one of the best books that I have read in some time, and there is quite a bit of competition for that claim. SecondWorld was an amazing combination of action, suspense, historical fiction, and science fiction. I was a little reluctant to start reading because I was concerned that it would be another apocalyptic tale. I enjoyed the Strain Trilogy but it really ended on such a down note that it was depressing. SecondWorld is not a story of doom a gloom, but rather a fantastic adventure with a plot the took one interesting turn after another.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough. If you are looking for a fun summer read that is full of action, adventure, and is unlike anything you have read before, this is the book to pick up. I found myself hoping that it would not end.

United Moon Colonies By Tom Merritt

12456933-198x300This was a fun work of fiction from Tom Merritt, popular web personality and current host of Tech News Today on the TWiT network.  Those who recognize the name will remember Tom from his work at Cnet and as a long time host of the Buzz Out Loud podcast.  With United Moon Colonies, Tom crafted a fun future fiction narrative where the earth has just concluded a “Worlds War” in which the entire population of the planet has squared off against all forms of radicalized religious fundamentalists united under one regime.  The story takes place very shortly after the fall of the radical superpower and begins with the United Moon Colonies, a nation unto itself, taking a larger role in global politics.

The premise of the book is interesting and continues to evolve as the story progresses.  The story grows to encompass a variety of politically motivated twists and characters take on greater depth and find new motivation.  Those familiar with Merritt’s podcast work will likely be familiar with his intricate level of political and historical knowledge.  That proficiency shines in his writing as this book explores the dynamics of the world politics in a time of crisis.
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Steve Jobs: The Biography (42 weeks and counting)

The Steve Jobs biography has been on the New York Times best seller list since its release.  As of today, that’s 22 weeks and counting!  Though it has recently dropped to number 5 on the list, this is an amazing achievement.  The book was authored by Walter Isaacson, and by his own admission (and detailed early on in the book), he was very reluctant to write the biography and put off Jobs requests for some time.

There have been numerous reviews of the book.  Some calling it an amazing look behind the scenes of Silicon Valley.  Others claim that the story would have been better told by a writer more technically savvy.  But despite the criticism and the praise no one can debate that the timing of the biographies release was nothing short of Steve’s standard for exemplary showmanship.  Plus the book is packed with drama detailing the turmoil of Jobs very private life.

All of that aside, 22 weeks on the best seller list and still counting?  Outstanding!

Update: 5/14/12 @ 10:02am
As of today, the Steve Jobs book remains on the best seller list at #14.  This 28 consecutive weeks and counting.

Update: 7/27/12 @ 4:45pm
As of today, the book has remained on the list for 39 consecutive weeks and has also climbed back #3 on the combined print & e-book nonfiction list.  It has moved to #6 on the stardard hardcover nonfiction list. This book has amazing staying power!!!

Update: 8/28/12 @ 9:15am
Talk about staying power.  The book has yet to leave the list.  We are at 42 consecutive weeks and counting.  Current position: #9.

Helm by Steven Gould

help-iconA friend talked me into reading this book. I have read several other novels by Steven Gould, including the Jumper series, and Wildside.  Each of them a fantastic read in their own right.  But after reading the summary of this book online, I just couldn’t get interesting enough to pick up a copy.  But, after some cajoling, I was finally ready to give it a shot.  I’m really glad I took the time.

Put aside some of the other summaries of the book you might have read.  This book has a very interesting premise, and it plays out with an exciting cast of characters.  I’m a big fan of the characters when I read.  If I don’t care about the folks in to book, how can the story really be that engaging?  So, my trick here is to describe the book without giving too much away.

Consider Earth in the distant future.  The planet has been devastated and the last remnants of civilization escape to an interplanetary staging area on the moon.  The staging area was originally configured for a deep space expedition sending a crew to checkout a recently discovered planet in deep space that has been going through an atmosphere terraforming procedure.  But now that Earth has hit the fan, the project has to be reconfigured to send all surviving citizens to colonize the remote Earth like planet.
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Insomnia and Seven More Short Stories by Jeremy Robinson

insomnia_robinsonInsomnia is a collection of great short stories from the author of Pulse and Instinct, Jeremy Robinson.  As the title implies, there are 8 shorts in total.  Each story is followed by an editorial by the author explaining why he wrote the piece and detailing what he recalls from the experience.

Each story is interesting in its own right.  Robinson explores genera’s that he normally does not write in and explores writing in the first person.  For those who are already fans of his work, this is extremely interesting since it offers a glimpse behind Robinson’s other published works.  Its like getting a brief look into the creative process as a successful writer toys with new ideas and considers new ways to expand and perfect his writing style.
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Antarktos Rising, by Jeremy Robinson

antarktos-risingA global cataclysm strikes in the form of a polar shift changing the balance of power across the planet.  The earth’s magnetic field shifts by several degrees throwing the planets climate into complete chaos.  Most of North America is transformed instantly into an arctic wasteland while the middle east becomes a fertile wonderland.  This is the premiss Antarktos Rising is based on.

As North America literally freezes over, Antarctica thaws to becomes the most sought after continent on the planet.  And since no nation had land rights to a contentment that had been locked in ice for millennia, suddenly every nation in the world is in competition to lay claim.  Despite the apocalypse that is presented at the beginning of the book, competition for Antarctica is the main plot of the story.

Not only has the continent thawed offering a potential refuge for millions of the displaced pollution, but it turns out that Antarctica has its own secrets that have laid hidden from the civilized world for thousands of years.  And as countries compete to lay claim to the newly freed land, the teams in placed scouting the continent struggle to survive secrets long since forgotten.
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Changes by Jim Butcher, Book 12 of The Dresden Files

changes_butcher_iconFans of The Dresden Files have a new adventure in their hands.  April 6th was the release for book 12 of the series chronicling the supernatural exploits of wizard and private detective, Harry Dresden.  Dresden is the worlds only publicly practicing Wizard.  Don’t believe it?  It says it right there on his business card.  But while earlier books were more centered on cases brought to him as a private investigator, Changes is entirely focused on Harry’s personal life.

The Dresden Files has been one wild adventure after another.  Vampires, trolls, werewolves, wizards, fairies, and all manner of mystical beings congregate around modern day Chicago.  And where supernatural forces frolic, supernatural bedlam often ensues.  And over the years Dresden has made powerful friends and even more powerful enemies.

This time around Harry’s personal life catches up with him.  And in the course of the tale, author Jim Butcher does an amazing job of pulling in characters from novels past and linking them all into a potent and action packed crusade that will change the future of the Dresden character forever.  Every previous book literally brought Dresden to the events detailed in this book and the consequences of this edition threaten to have far-reaching ramifications.

It’s hard to review the story without giving away twists or turns critical along the way.  It’s impossible to mention the peripheral characters that come into play without giving away information that is key to the resolution of the story.  I consider this a mark of the true craftsmanship that Jim Butcher employs when telling his tales.  The characters are compelling and long lasting as they are developed further from one book to the next.  Later books directly reference the outcome of events that were important in earlier books and surprisingly consequential in continuing storylines.
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Quality Time with the Amazon Kindle

Amazon.com jumpstarted the stagnated ebook market with the release of the Kindle.  Though at a glance the device comes off as a simple e-reader, it boasts a feature set that make the device as powerful as it is comfortable to read.  A built in QWERTY keyboard makes it easy to annotate text, highlight passages, and leave notes beyond what would have normally fit in the magian of a conventional book.  All without doing physical damage to the book in the process.

I really wanted to take my time with the Kindle before putting together a review.  To that end, I have spent that last 5 months reading.  In that time I have completed 21 Kindle based novels and 4 hard cover versions.  More than enough time, I believe, to evaluate the content consumption device.
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Instinct by Jeremy Robinson

instinct_book_iconInstinct is book two in the Chess Team series by Jeremy Robinson.  And it was a book I read in a weekend because I found it nearly impossible to put down.  The action and suspense keep the pages flying by.  The story takes turn after turn as the team struggles with a mission that could alter the course of human evolution forever.

An assassination attempt is made on the President of the United States.  But its not the sort of attempt that a Secret Service Agent can throw himself on top of.  This plot is viral.  One of the viruses unique properties is that it only infects men, but does so at a genetic level.  And once infected, it is 100% fatal.  While the American government struggles to contain the contamination, and works to hide it from the American people, the Chess Team is sent to Vietnam’s Annamite mountain range to track down a cure.

Along the way, they discover the origin of the virus as well as who has weaponized it.  The team also discover an Anthropologist who has been lost in the jungles of Vietnam since 1995.  And while the Chess Team struggles to discover the cure, they find a lost race of savage creatures that may challenge man’s claim as the dominant species on the planet.
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