This Just In! Einstein’s Dreams, by Alan Lightman

Einstein's Dreams, by Alan LightmanWhy This? I’ve read Alan Lightman before. His book Reunion was to me was a mixture of philosopy, relationships and life choices that I am not quite sure I fully understood, but found it enjoyable to think about.  Since then have been looking for another of his books to read.  I have heard good things about this one.  In fact Amanda at Life and Times of a “New” New Yorker has a review of Einstein’s Dreams up today, and it seems as though he is both still philosophical and enjoyable.  I traded for this on Swaptree, and I knew it was coming but I didn’t know when, so it was a surprise in my mailbox.  It came more quickly than I thought.

What’s It About? If you liked the eerie whimsy of Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, Steven Millhauser’s Little Kingdoms, or Jorge Luis Borges’s Labyrinths, you will love Alan Lightman’s ethereal yet down-to-earth book Einstein’s Dreams. Lightman teaches physics and writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, helping bridge the light-year-size gap between science and the humanities, the enemy camps C.P. Snow famously called The Two Cultures.

Einstein’s Dreams became a bestseller by delighting both scientists and humanists. It is technically a novel. Lightman uses simple, lyrical, and literal details to locate Einstein precisely in a place and time–Berne, Switzerland, spring 1905, when he was a patent clerk privately working on his bizarre, unheard-of theory of relativity. The town he perceives is vividly described, but the waking Einstein is a bit player in this drama.

How exciting!

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This Just In! New to My Bookshelves!

Why This? I gave a way a copy of this book  here on Linus’s Blanket.  I make it a habit of not giving away anything that I don’t want to read myself, and it’s partially set in New York City, so I was interested right away.

What’s It About? Sarah Walters is a less-than-perfect debutante. She tries hard to follow the time-honored customs of the Charleston Camellia Society, as her mother and grandmother did, standing up straight in cotillion class and attending lectures about all the things that Camellias don’t do. (Like ride with boys in pickup trucks.)  But Sarah can’t quite ignore the barbarism just beneath all that propriety, and as soon as she can she decamps South Carolina for a life in New York City. There, she and her fellow displaced Southern friends try to make sense of city sophistication, to understand how much of their training applies to real life, and how much to the strange and rarefied world they’ve left behind. When life’s complications become overwhelming, Sarah returns home to confront with matured eyes the motto “Once a Camellia, always a Camellia”- and to see how much fuller life can be, for good and for ill, among those who know you best.

Why This? I won this book at a Goodreads, and it just came today.  I had no idea I had won anything til it showed up in my mailbox with a note, so I was really surprised.   I love surprise books in the mail.  It looks like it is a light read but it is dealing with interesting subject matter;  I am hoping that there will be some depth to it as well.

What’s It About? Rachel is an attorney living and working in Manhattan who has always been the good girl-until her thirtieth birthday, when her best friend Darcy throws her a party. That night after too many drinks Rachel ends up in bed with Darcy’s fiance. Although she wakes up determined to put the one-night fling behind her, Rachel is horrified to discover that she has genuine feelings for him. As the September wedding date nears, Rachel has to choose. She discovers that the lines between right and wrong can be blurry, endings aren’t always neat, and sometimes you have to risk it all to win true happiness.

How exciting!

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Mating Rituals of the North American Wasp, by Lauren Lipton – Book Review

Mating Rituals of the North American Wasp, by Lauren LiptonMating Rituals of the North American Wasp, by Lauren Lipton
Publisher: 5-Spot
Publication Date: May 29, 2009
Format: Trade Paperback
In  A Nutshell: A Good Read

When Peggy Adams accompanies her friends out to Las Vegas for a bachelorette party she laments at always being the bridesmaid and never the bride.  Having a little bit too much to drink she finds her Prince Charming and the next thing she knows she wakes up in bed with an unfamiliar man.  Horrified she flees his hotel without speaking to him, and goes back home with her friend and business partner Bex determined to put the experience behind her.  She gets a pre-engagement ring from the boyfriend she has been dating for seven years and tries to be happy with that, but her happiness is short lived when she receives a call from the mystery man in the hotel- she can’t be pre-engaged because she is already married to  the mysterious stranger!

Peggy heads out to Connecticut to meet with her husband, Luke Sedgwick to plan a quick annulment.  But when one of the townspeople let’s Luke blue-blooded grandmother, Abigail Sedgwick, know that her grandson is married she is overjoyed that he is finally married and gladder still that Peggy comes from one of New Ninevah’s oldest and most illustrious families, the Adams (Peggy’s family is really from California!).  Abigail has a mild stroke when she discovers that they are planning on dissolving the marriage, and then promises them her house, to do with as they please, if they can just stay together for one year.  But Luke and Peggy have taken an instant dislike to one another and it remains to be seen whether they can stick it out for a year, even for the money.

It took me the first few pages to get into this one and I think it’s because in the beginning I liked the characters less than I thought I would.  Peggy comes off as crotchety and ill-tempered as she tries to get blood out of a stone and have her unworthy boyfriend Brock commit to her, and Luke seems rather out to lunch as he founders trying to make money and deal with a persnickety girlfriend, Nicole Pappas.  I also didn’t expect them to be so mercenary with the deal they made.  Of course Abigail wants then to get married, and she is practically at death’s door and has never sold her house or wanted to do so.  It has been very important to her, and Luke and Peggy plan to sell it off and split the three million dollars that it is worth as soon as they can get their hands on it.  Yes, I know the grandmother is being manipulative, but still.

Peggy has to spend half the week running her store with her friend Bex, and on the weekend she goes to Connecticut to spend time with her “family”.  Things shifted and I really started to get into the story more when Peggy starts her visits to Connecticut on the weekend and start to get to know the house and its quirks, and the townspeople, and customs of the WASPs.  The comedy derives from the fish out of water aspect, because of course most of what Peggy does or is used to flies in the face of her new surroundings. As usual I enjoyed getting to hear about the food and the customs of different people, and though I knew where the story was going and how it would end, I started rooting for screaming in frustration for Peggy and Luke to just talk to each other and get it together because you see that each is what the other is looking for, but somehow they keep missing that point.

Bonus for me was that this book was set in my neighborhood, so it was fun to hear about the landmarks and museums and to know the street Peggy is standing on.  Some of the stuff pertaining to her and Bex having a store strike me as not making a whole lot of sense knowing the exorbitant prices on the Upper West Side. It’s a miracle that they would have been able to afford more than a newspaper stand on the side of the street in the first, but it’s all in good fun.

Memorial Day has come and gone and summer is unofficially here.  This is a great book to grab and head out for some prime real estate on the beach or in a park, put on your shades, chill out and read.

About the Author: Lauren Lipton is the author of two novels, It’s About Your Husband (2006) and Mating Rituals of the North American WASP (2009). She is also a freelance journalist who specializes in style, business and trend stories.Born in Providence, R.I., Lauren grew up in the North County of San Diego and in Los Gatos, Calif., before moving to Los Angeles. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and anthropology from Occidental College and a master’s degree in print journalism from the University of Southern California.  She lives with her family in New York City and in Litchfield County, Conn.

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There is a blog tour going on today, and it’s a rather large one.  I’m sure that all you hae to do is throw a rock and you will hit a review of this book.  You can throw some rocks here.
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Have you reviewed Mating Rituals of the North American Wasp, by Lauren Lipton? Please e-mail me your link or leave it in the comments, I’d love to have it here.

Do you think that you could stay married to someone you didn’t like for year if you would get a million dollars at the end?

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Convenient Marriage, by Georgette Heyer – Book Review

The Convenient Marriage, by Georgette HeyerThe Convenient Marriage, by Georgette Heyer
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date:February 1, 2009
Original Publication Date: 1934
Format: Paperback, 320 pages
In A Nutshell: A Good Read

Horatia Winwood’s sister has been engaged by their mother to marry the Earl of Rule, but since her sister is hopeless in love with someone else, Horatia goes to the Earl and offers herself up in marriage so that her sister is free to marry as she pleases.  The Earl is intrigued by the quirky, stammering young lady, and accepts Horatia’s proposition since he must marry anyway.  Horatia lets the Earl know that she doesn’t plan to interfere in his life, and that they will truly have a marriage of convenience.

Horatia’s life changes completely once she marries the Earl and becomes a lady of consequence.  She spends a mint of money on clothes and gambling and is always looking to participate in the latest entertainments.  The Earl is obliging in every way until an old enemy takes and interest in Horatia, and she in him- that’s when the Earl has to step in and keep his young wife from coming to harm.

I was immediately taken with the premise of this story, and I liked the way that Heyer jumped right into the action.  Horatia and the Earl were quickly married and we started seeing Horatia interact with her new friends, indulge in exciting an different activities, and revel in her high society status.  Heyer shows that one of her sisters is concerned by the changes in Horatia and the new ways she seems to be behaving and thinking.  I liked the storyline and the way that it progressed, but I also found it really frustrating that Horatia and the Earl didn’t interact more, and there was a  little too much of her wastrel and financially insolvent brother and his bumbling friend for my taste.  They were the comic relief, but for me a little of them went a long way.

This is the first Heyer novel that I have read where the characters seem a little flimsy to me.  Horatia is very young, and though in the beginning I like the sacrifice that she makes for her sister, as the novel progresses I didn’t feel like I got any further insight into her character besides the fact that she is suddenly rich and doing whatever thing crosses her mind.  It was hard for me to see her go from so thoughtful to so thoughtless in just a few short chapters.  It’s apparent that there is some spark between Horatia and the Earl and I was looking forward to see how they would interact as they got to know each other, and how they behaved in such close quarters while adjusting to living together and their newly married state. That didn’t really happen as much as I would have liked.  My favorite scenes were of Horatia and the Earl bantering at home.

Georgette Heyer masterfully and realistically recreates Georgian and Regency England, and with  The Convenient Marriage there is no exception to exacting research and standards.  From the great clothes, and wonderful food to the to the exceptionally on point language, she excels in carving out the time and place so accurately that the scenes literally come alive before your very eyes.  I have noticed in some historical fiction that I come across language which strikes me a suspiciously modern, and can get distracted in wondering whether characters would actually say things like that in a particular time period, but I find that never happens when I am reading a Heyer novel.  I am able to trust her descriptions and language completely.

All in all, I enjoyed The Convenient Marriage. For me, this wasn’t her best, but it works as a light and superficial comedy. My favorite of her books so far is The Reluctant Widow, but  as usual I loved the costumes,  descriptions and the airs and manners of the time.  Like I said before, Heyer goes a long way in getting the details just right. The characterizations aren’t very deep here, but the plot was entertaining even if the storyline was bit unbalanced and skewed more to Horatia and her brother than her and her husband. I think this is intended more as a farcical comedy than anything else.  The Convenient Marriage moved along at a good pace.  Heyer spent some time fleshing out quite a few of the minor characters, and sometimes I felt I knew more about them than Horatia, and I definitely knew them more than the Earl, but it was a nice distraction from some of the heavier books that I have been reading and if you like a good farce, then I am sure you will find a lot that is enjoyable here.

About the Author: Georgette Heyer wrote over fifty novels, including Regency romances, mysteries, and historical fiction.  She was known as the Queen of Regency romance, and was legendary for her research, historical accuracy, and extraordinary plots and characterizations.

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Have you reviewed The Convenient Marriage, by Georgette Heyer? Please e-mail me your link or leave it in the comments, I’d love to have it here.

Have you read any books by Georgette Heyer yet? If so, what’s your favorite?

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Coming This Summer: Nerds Heart YA

nerd-hearts-ya

I just finished reading The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins.  I polished it off in one sitting, and it was excellent, but it’s not a little book by any means.  This book is all over the place as are many others, so what about all the great lesser known YA reads?  Renay, from YA Fabulous wanted to make sure that all the little guys got their due and so for this summer she rounded up the troops, 20 book bloggers in all, and created Nerds Heart YA, a tournament of the more obscure, but still great YA reads .  I’m so excited to be one of the judges.  We’ll look at 16 of the best YA books you probably haven’t heard much about in search of the ONE. Watch these great blogs below for more information, reviews, and to see what advances in the tournament.

The Bloggers

Valentina, Valentina’s Room
Jodie, Book Gazing
Natasha, Maw Books Blog
Ali, Worducopia and Lenore, Presenting Lenore
Mary Ann, Libr*fiti
Trish, Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’ and Vasilly, 1330v
Kelly, YAnnabe
Becky, Becky’s Book Reviews, and Kailana, The Written World
Heather, A High and Hidden Place
Amy, My Friend Amy
Laza, Gimme More Books!
Stephanie, Stephanie’s Confessions of a Book-a-Holic
Nicole, Linus’s Blanket
Renay, YA Fabulous and Susan, She’s Too Fond Of Books And It’s Turned Her Brain
Chris, Stuff As Dreams Are Made On and Nymeth, Things Mean A Lot

The Tournament

Nerds Heart YA Tournament Brackets

The Books:

  • Pretty Monsters, by Kelly Link

Hope you’ll join us.

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Items of Interest: Links that Caught My Attention Last Week

Jen over at Devourer of Books reviewed the YA novel  Bad Girls Dont Die, by Katie Alender. Besides the fact that the title grabbed my attention, I enjoy reading YA and this one looks like a good ghost story.

Beth at Beth Fish Reads reviewed Great Dream of Heaven, a book of short stories by Sam Shepard.  I love Sam Shepard.  Not only is he a great actor but he is also an accomplished playwright and author.  I have had the pleasure of seeing one of his plays, but I had no idea that he wrote short stories as well.  What a renaissance man, though I guess these days we would say that he is a multi-tasker.

Swapna at S. Krishna Book’s kicked off a series that with the 411 on all the different trading/swap sites for books.  Check out her first post in the series where she gives an overview of trading books online, and then check back for more as she gives you the scoop on the ins and outs of all the different sites like Bookmooch, Paperback Swap, and Swaptree.

Shelly at Write for a Reader is hosting a giveaway of The Real Real a YA novel by the authors of the Nanny Diaries, Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus .  I never read the Nanny Diaries, but their YA offering looks interesting so check out Shelly’s review.

And speaking of giveaways, you have to check out Ms. Bookish and her mondo book giveaway round ups.  Talk about one stop shopping! Big List of Book Giveaways, Fiction – Part 1. Big List of Book Giveaways, Fiction – Part 2. Big List of Book Givewaways,  Non-Fiction. If you can’t win a book from her links then I think it must definitely be you!

Carrie at Books & Movies lists her favorite memoirs.  I think I must love memoirs, I have read so any of them this year.  They just go right to the heart of the great and defining moments in a life , and I am always curious about other people- their backgrounds, upbringings and how it informs their world view and shapes how they handle experiences.  I haven’t read any of the ones Carrie has listed, but Imagined London: A Tour of the World’s Greatest Fictional City by Anna Quindlen sounds interesting.

I was joking around with Kathy of BermudaOnion on Twitter that I had so many books that  would have to start making furniture out of my books so that I could fit them into my apartment, and lo and behold I saw a post about making furniture out of books. Well, I can make speakers anyway, but it’s a start. I can apparently also make my own book buddy. Who knew?

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TSS: Progress Notes

the-sunday-salonI am a little book restless.  I have been bopping around from thing to thing which is a bit unlike me.  I usually pick a book and read it through to the end.  Right now I have a lot of stuff in progress.

I’ve been listening to The Runaway Quilt, by Jennifer Chiaverini on audio,  and I am loving it.   Sylvia The Runaway Quilt, by Jennifer ChiaveriniCompson is a fun mix of knowledgeable and crotchety and right now she is looking into family secrets in her past that have to do with some quilts, a hope  chest and a hidden diary that she has found in the attic of her home. She doesn’t  take kindly to the fact that her distant relatives might have been slaveholders and she is looking to get to the bottom of the situation.  I really like the flashes of the other times to where her German ancestors are just settling down to a rundown farm in Pennsylvania.  I love that I am listening to this because it is allowing me to take some interesting notes on the story as I listen. If it continues along as it has been, I will go back and start from the beginning the series.  Thankfully this could be a stand alone book as far as I am concerned.  I’m not missing any of the story by starting with the fourth book in the series.

The Hunger Ganes, by Suzanne CollinsI just picked up Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins (raved about on every blog that I have come across).  Only two pages in and I can see what everyone is talking about.  The paragraphs are simply written but still manage to be dense with information.  I am enjoying seeing the picture develop of this society where it seems that lots of things in life have gone horribly wrong.

For a little fairy tale action I have turned to Robert Coover’s Briar Rose which I first heard about from Meghan at Medieval Briar Rose, by Robert CooverBookworm.  I love reading about fairytales.  The last time that I read a book heavily featuring a fairytale was Carol Goodman’s The Seduction of Water, which I loved right up to the ending which was unfortunately a  little contrived and a bit rushed.  Coover has made me think about all the things that I never would have thought of when reading fairy tales.  As a child and maybe too as an adult I have accepted them at face value, but I guess it makes sense that sleeping princesses can be raped and taking advantage of while sleeping and maybe princes do die trying to wake them from their spells.  This is a short book, but by no means is it going quickly.

In about a half an hour, I am off to the movies with my mom and then I will spend the rest of the day flitting around the books that I have started and will hopefully be able to settle in and finish one.

What so you do when you can’t decide what to read? Do you start reading a bunch of stuff like me? Toin coss (yes, I really wrote that originally) Coin Toss? Poll?  Read nothing at all? Something else? I wanna know, so tell me.

Read more Sunday Salon posts.

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The Road of Lost Innocence, by Somaly Mam

the-road-of-lost-innocenceSomaly Mam lost her parents at a young age in Cambodia.  Having no idea of what her name was or her age, Mam grew up in war torn Cambodia as an ethnic minority. The Khmer Rouge discriminated against the Pnong tribe and other ethnic minorities, and being half Pnong, Mam  had darker skin than the rest of the villagers and was taunted and reviled by people because of it.  Mam’s grandmother wandered away from the village, never to return, and Mam observed that it was not uncommon for people to just up and leave- she figures that her grandmother assumed that she would be better off in the village.  I wasn’t anymore than a few paragraphs into this book and I was absolutely stunned.  My jaw dropped and I didn’t close my mouth again until I got to the the end of The Road of Lost Innocence.

Mam is left totally at the mercy of her wits as she eats where she can among families in the village and supplements her slim pickings with the nuts and berries that she finds in the surrounding woods.  When a man arrives claiming to be acquainted with her family young Somaly quickly surmises that she would be better off having someone to look after her than to continue living the haphazard existence that she has been living.  The little girl thinks that she has finally found her family, and she calls the man “Grandfather”, but her dream quickly turns into a hellish nightmare as he treats her as an indentured servant and forces her to do his cooking and cleaning, and backbreaking  work for other families in the village- hauling water and working in the rice fields to earn money to support him.   Her “Grandfather” first sells her virginity when she is sent to a store owner under the pretense of running an errand only to be brutally raped, and later he sells her into sexual slavery in order to pay off his debts.

After years of horrendous rapes, beating and cruelty, Mam is able to escape from her horrific life when Cambodia opens up to tourism and aid workers from Europe and the United States. She meets wealthier patrons who are able to provide her with some stepping stones out of sexual slavery despite the dubious beginnings to their relationships (after all she does meet them as a prostitute).  Mam goes on to rise above her circumstances, but she can never forget where she came from, and using the little money available to her she founds AFESIP (Acting for Women in Distressing Circumstances) and dedicates her life  to helping as many girls as she can escape their harrowing situations.  Her own circumstances have left her struggling to trust and connect with people, especially men, and it affects her capacity for trust in her relationships but she does all that she is able to for her girls.  She sees herself in each of the girls she encounters and while she can’t forget her pain or what she endured, she wants the girls to not feel ashamed of themselves and know that they can make better lives for themselves.

I picked this book up at the library about four months ago and kept extending the return date.  I knew that I wanted to read this book, but I also figured that it would be an intense read, and one for which I would need to prepare.  Finally, I couldn’t renew it anymore and it was either time to read it or take it back, so I took the plunge and started reading.

Somaly Mam tells her story directly, simply and without displaying any pity for herself.  She is remarkably restrained and controlled in her storytelling.  She sets out to explain what she thought were the worst moments of her life and the result is incredibly shocking and moving.  Even though the circumstance Mam endured were brutal she is of the opinion that the girls being sold into slavery today have it even worse.  They are found chained and tortured in despicably grim living situations, lacking cleanliness and protection from disease.  The trafficking of very young girls- as young as 5- has exploded into big business, and tourist hotels have been so that men who travel to Cambodia on vacation can spend time with young girls.

Somaly Mam’s work is much needed, and never ending.  The Road of Lost Innocence strikes a fragile balance between horror and inspiration.  This haunting memoir is a must read.

 

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Reunion, by Therese Fowler – Book Review

Reunion, by Therese FowlerReunion, by Therese Fowler
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: March 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
Rating: Recommended

Devastated by the end of her relationship with Mitch Forrester, Blue Kucharski went through a wild period in her life and as a result gave birth to a son whom she gave up for adoption.  She emerges from her experience determined to make a life for herself and after years of hard work emerges as Blue Reynolds, a wildly successful Oprah style mogul, talk show host and queen of all media.  Now that Blue has more money than she knows what to do with, she discretely begins the search for the son she put up for adoption all those years ago with the help of a private investigator.  A location shoot in the Florida Keys leads to a chance meeting with Mitch Forrester and his family, a collaboration on a project, and the promise of a new start; but everything is complicated by the secret that Blue is keeping, and also by the disapproval of Mitch’s handsome and brooding photojournalist son Julian.

As soon as I started reading this book, I was hooked.  It is a fast and fun read.  I loved the characters and I got into their story right away.  The writing and the dialogue flawed and the characters were well-drawn and distinct, lovable and flawed. Fowler seems to effortlessly present characters who are wonderfully human, and caught between what are often times conflicting emotions when they haven’t yet figured out all of the answers.  Blue has been shaped by the experience of having a free-spirited mother and in response to her upbringing and other circumstances in her life she grows up trying to control everything and stifling a lot of herself, so it was lovely to see her start to grow out of that to reach for something different.

The minor characters were also very interesting.  Mitch Forrester’s father has suffered a stroke that has left him not only with his own persona, but that of an astronaut as well.  His family has to live with the other character intruding upon them at any time.  Blue’s best friend is charming, and has been involved with her life for so long and cares so much. I loved the subplots with Blue’s crazy mother, and while the relationship with her sister isn’t fully addressed it is interesting to see that there is a difficult dynamic there as a result of Blue’s fame and fortune.

This is a great “escape” read. It is suspenseful because you really want to find out how everyone will end up. It comes together rather quickly and a little conveniently in the end, but it completely sucks you in and you just love all the characters. I could hardly put this book down once I started and read it in just a few short sittings.  A perfect summer read, it’s great for not only  the beach, but also planes, trains and automobiles.

About The Author: Therese Fowler holds an MFA in creative writing. She grew up in Illinois, and now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with her husband and two sons.

Check It Out: Therese Fowler’s blog, Making It Up.

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Fault Line, by Barry Eisler – Book Review

fault-lineFault Line, by Barry Eisler
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: March 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover, 320 pages
Rating: Good

Ben and Alex Treven have been estranged essentially since they were teenagers, since the death of their universally loved sister Katie. It was then that their family started to unravel and they were never able to get it back together.  Now, the two brothers are all that is left of the Treven family, yet they don’t have a relationship at all.  Ben has joined the Army and is a part of an elite, covert and deadly Special Ops Team and Alex has gone on to climb the corporate ladder at Sullivan, Greenwald- on the verge of being in a position to make partner as he works on an exciting new technology called Obsidian.

When the inventor, and the contact in the patent officer working on Obsidian die under mysterious circumstances and within 48 hours of each other, Alex figures out that he and the 1st year associate Sarah Hossein, whom he has worked with on the project, might be in big trouble and he grudgingly calls out for help from the only person he thinks can keep them alive, Ben.  Ben and Sarah dislike each other instantly and the brothers relationship is hostile and strained, so they have their work cut out for the as they try to get to the bottom of things and stay alive.

I like to read a good thriller now and again, and Barry Eisler came highly recommended from other thriller lovers, so I figured his first stand-alone novel would be a good start.  This was a fast-paced and suspenseful  book that had not only had action but themes of corruption, trust, guilt, betrayal and family.

I liked the way the family drama played out underneath the action and suspense.  As the brothers are working together to find out what’s going on, their past slowly unfolds and we find out what happened that caused the wedge between the two brothers and the aftermath of their sister’s death on the family.  Sometimes I felt that the reasons given for the anger and hatred that they felt for each other were a little slim- bordering on irrational, but their thinking was well-fleshed out and you could see how each brother arrived at their position whether or not it made a lot of sense.  I think that sometimes emotions don’t make a lot of sense. I wanted each of the brothers to get over themselves and to stop being so stubborn.  Ben especially could be a little stereotypically military and Neanderthal, but I enjoyed both characters and seeing them interact.

Overall this was a solid and enjoyable read.  The writing was crisp, flowed smoothly and was engaging and accessible even as it explored darker family themes, war  and violence. The pacing was on point; the story moved a great clip and I never got bogged down in either the past or the present so long that I was disconnected from what was going on.  I wasn’t especially surprised by anything, but I liked the way that it unfolded.  This is a good light “heavy” read, if that makes any sense.  I was definitely interested until the very end.  Perfect if you like suspense/thriller/action novels and will be spending some hours sitting on the beach, or on a train or plane.
About the Author: After graduating from Cornell Law School, Barry Eisler spent three years in a covert position with the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, then worked as a technology lawyer and startup executive in Silicon Valley and Japan, earning his black belt at the Kodokan International Judo Center. Eisler’s thrillers have won the Barry Award and the Gumshoe Award for Best Thriller of the Year, have been included in numerous “Best Of” lists, and have been translated into nearly twenty languages. The first book in Eisler’s assassin John Rain series, Rain Fall, has been made into a movie starring Gary Oldman that was released by Sony Pictures in April 2009.

Author Website: www.barryeisler.com

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