Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











God's FormulaFrom Goodreads: It is 1939. The scourge that is Nazi Germany is trampling Europe as its scientists vie to deliver ever-increasing destructive power. Now physicist Walter Friedeman – a friend of Albert Einstein’s since childhood – has found a formula to enrich uranium in three months rather than the previously expected five years. Such a formula could deliver Germany the first atomic arsenal. But Friedeman does not believe in the Nazi cause. Friedeman wants the formula in the hands of America, but getting it to them himself will be nearly impossible. He sets into motion a plan to use his teenaged son, a Hitler Youth, to unwittingly do the job using a message Friedeman has encoded in the Elvish language created by J.R.R. Tolkien in his novel The Hobbit.

What follows is a quest across continents as Einstein, Tolkien, and MI-6 officer Ian Fleming work together to find Friedeman’s son, decode the message, and wrest control of the nuclear future before Hitler can steal it for himself.

Reuniting Tolkien and Fleming after their adventure in No Dawn for Men, God’s Formula is a heart-pounding thriller filled with history both real and imagined.

_______________________________________________________________

James LePore and Carlos Davis are back with another riveting tale of espionage surrounding Nazi Germany and Tolkien’s famous novel, The Hobbit. If you’ve read No Dawn for Men, then you already know God’s Formula is going to be a riveting read. And riveting it is—told in chapter format specific to date and time, readers are whisked away to Germany, the United States, England, and beyond as we follow multiple characters through the pages, intertwining with their stories until they collide, leaving us breathless in anticipation as the plot thickens.

I truly love how this story builds suspense; jumping from character to character, situation to situation always leaves me on pins and needles, and I thought it was extremely easy to keep track of all the characters, since LePore and Davis do such a wonderful job fleshing them all out and making them realistic in my mind. The fact that the novel is peppered with real people—real famous people—such as Einstein, Tolkien, and Fleming also adds a bit of fun to it all, dire circumstances and all.

And while God’s Formula does bring together some old favorites from No Dawn for Men, God’s Formula is more of a companion novel, and not a sequel; it can definitely be read as a standalone if you so choose. Though I really do suggest reading both novels because they’re both absolutely intriguing, especially as they combine fact with fiction, leaving readers pondering the aged old question, “what if…” As the final chapter in The Hobbit saga readies for release in the theatric world, now is the perfect time to pick up God’s Formula and see how masterfully LePore and Davis weave fact and fiction together. Four stars.

4 starsI received this novel from the author and publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This title releases today, December 2, 2014

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble

Read my review of No Dawn For Men HERE.

No Dawn for Men



Doing HarmFrom Goodreads: “It’s amazing that there are so many different ways to die in a hospital that have nothing to do with being sick…”

Steve Mitchell, happily married with a wife and two kids, is in line for a coveted position at Boston’s University Hospital when his world goes awry. His over-reaching ambition causes him to botch a major surgery, and another of his patients mysteriously dies. Steve’s nightmare goes from bad to worse when he learns that the mysterious death was no accident but the act of a sociopath.  A sociopath he knows and who has information that could destroy Steve’s career and marriage.  A sociopath for whom killing is more than a means to an end: it’s a game.  Because he is under a cloud of suspicion and has no evidence, he knows that any accusations he makes won’t be believed. So he must struggle to turn the tables, even as the killer skillfully blocks his every move. Detailing the politics of hospitals, the hierarchy among doctors and the life and death decisions that are made by flawed human beings, Doing Harm marks the debut of a major fiction career.

_____________________________________________________________

This was a good mystery novel, but it takes a while for it to really get going.  From the get go we are immersed in Steve Mitchell’s life, learning about his daily routine, his hopes and fears, and his extreme talent for surgery.  He has a great life, though perhaps he’s a little too cocky about his abilities, which in turn causes him to begin making mistakes–mistakes that cost lives and put him under intense scrutiny and his job on the line.  It’s very interesting tale of espionage and betrayal, but the reader really has to wait for it to begin.

The first 30% or so of the novel focuses on Steve and his surgeries, and there are many gritty detailed descriptions as he cuts into people and feels around in their abdomens… cutting through fat, slicing apart muscle, and really digging his fingers in there.  If that makes your squeamish, then you may want to skim those parts, because there are quite a few in the beginning, and they’re somewhat long.  I also recommend reading this the old fashion way and not listening to it on tape. I was listening to the novel on my Kindle using the text-to-speech feather when I was blindsided by these gory descriptions and had to nix that straight away.  Perhaps it’s just me, but there was something exceptionally creepy and nerve-wracking about a mechanical voice reading off the details… so this would be a book that I definitely recommend you read as opposed to listen to…

Detailed descriptions and long introduction aside, though, this novel really begins to take off as the Steve begins making bad decisions in terms of his family due to the pressures at work.  Thus, he and soon finds himself in a race against time to save people’s lives within the hospital, especially once the truth comes out about who has been sabotaging him and the rules are set on the table.  As the novel progresses, it becomes apparent that Parsons really knows his way around the medical field and, apparently, around special opts as well. He did a great job fleshing out the scenes, explaining procedures, and putting into play some key special opts scenes that really made the novel an intriguing read, and I highly suggest it if you like murder mystery novels.  It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before.  Four stars.

4 stars

St. Martin’s Press has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on February 4, 2014.

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble



11228432From Goodreads: “In the new decade, the world gathers in Stockholm for a controversial climate forum. The stakes are high, as violent and unpredictable storms increasingly plague the earth and sea levels encroach on coastal shorelines. Nicole Hunter, head of the richly endowed Everson Foundation, leads the charge to invest in promising research that will hopefully impede environmental devastation. But her contentious stance has been questioned by others, and now her career and her life are both in jeopardy.

Meanwhile, unseen forces assemble to sabotage any breakthrough that could challenge existing global energy markets. Oliver Odin, a mysterious international agent, is sent by the Security Alliance to investigate ominous threats intercepted by intelligence sources. The evidence leads him to the beautiful, strong-willed Nicole and the brainy scientists attending the forum. But when scientists on the verge of a promising discovery are gunned down at a reception held by a United States senator, it becomes apparent that powerful forces will stop at nothing to prevent the world from being saved.

As a few brave souls attempt to rescue the planet from environmental calamity, they soon realize that their mission comes with a price—and some will pay with their lives.”

_________________________________________________________

This was an extremely fun thriller, full of mystery and intrigue.  Beginning with an introduction to our characters and environment, setting the stage for the events to come, the novel really starts to take off as Nicole’s life is threatened at a party where the two scientists she is talking to are shot in cold blood.  Together with Oliver, an intense international agent, Nicole must figure out who is out to stop the green fuel initiative, and it is here that the fast-paced nature of the story begins.

Though a little more scientific than my brain is capable of processing, Hilleren does a great job keeping the reader up to speed with the scientist and environmental jargon as events progress.  And, with its high speed chases, gun battles, and explosions, this novel unfolds quite cleverly as Hilleren intertwines terrorism, espionage, and the very real threat of climactic devastation to create her intense novel.

The characterization was great, and while I wouldn’t necessarily be friends with either Nicole or Oliver in real life, we’re just much too different, I felt like I really got to know them as the novel developed.  Hilleren fleshed them out well and kept the romance to a minimum, which I was extremely happy about because I was much more wrapped up in the thrill of it all than the romantic aspects of the story.  Likewise, I just don’t think the chapter layout would have allowed it.

The chapters are set up to show as many different sides as possible using the third-person narrative, with extremely short chapters that quickly jump from person to persona and event to event to spur the novel on.  Each chapter has its own title, allowing the reader to easily focus on the new segment, which might be about Nicole, a senator, a terrorist, etc., and I really enjoyed this sporadic nature once I began to wrap my head around it.  Though there were many small side stories, Hilleren does bring them all to a point as the story unfolds, which was really fun as I began to piece things together.  Overall, this is a fun and engaging read that I think a majority of adult readers will enjoy.  Four stars.

4 stars

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.



et cetera
%d bloggers like this: