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The Second Coming: A Love Story

30 Dec

The Second Coming(SKIP IT)

Author: Scott Pinsker

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

First Published: 2014

Page Count: 404

Type: Paperback

Film/ TV Adaptation: No

Rating: 2/5 Stars

A fictional take on the Second Coming of Christ that feels more like one long dissection of the Bible then a blow-by-blow of the End of Days.

__________________Positives__________________

*Unique storytelling

___________________Negatives_____________________

*Feels more like non-fiction than fiction    *Confusing side story     *Cliffhanger Ending     *Lacks Action

I alone am the key to salvation.” Two beings appear in modern-day America; one calls himself Joe and the other calls himself Israel. Both claim to be the Second Coming of Christ. Modern followers of the faith become divided as they try to discover if either are truly Jesus Christ, and if that is true, then who is also Satan.

As I’ve said many times, I’m a big apocalypse story fan, and what is bigger then the original end of days story about Jesus coming back to save the faithful and let the sinners fall into the Devil’s hands? Not much in my book, so I was excited to see the author’s take on the classic tale. The tagline and the unique cover alone are enough to draw you in. The story was not what I expected right off the bat, but it was definitely a different way of approaching the subject. The author never lets the reader in on which entity is Jesus and which is Satan, and through a series of dialogues by the entities about different elements of the Bible, the reader has to guess right alongside the main characters which being is the real messiah.

While I thought it was interesting that the author hid the true identity of Jesus probably as a way to build suspense, I would have preferred to know who was who. I think it would have made the story more interesting because the reader would be able to see which main characters made the wrong choices and were tricked into following Satan. By the end of the book, I think I had figured out who was who, but my other qualm was that the author never revealed who was the true messiah! I realize he’s probably saving this so that you tune into the sequel, but after four hundred pages I really wanted to know if my guess was right! I don’t think it would have ruined the sequel to reveal who the real Jesus was, because the reader could go into the sequel knowing the unfortunate souls that weren’t going to be saved. Beyond that, the story mostly felt like a nonfiction dissection of the Bible and only the ending, when the two beings finally meet in front of the world, felt like a fictional take on the subject. Since most of the book is just dialogue between the entities discussing the bible, there is little action even though I had pictured epic battles between Angels and Demons and lots of fire and brim stone like what is described in the Book of Revelation. There was also a confusing side story about crows, bloodworms, a bad dragon, and the morning star which I’m sure has some symbolic meaning but because these things usually go over my head, it just felt distracting every time it was randomly inserted into the story.

I really wanted to like this story and was excited when I first saw the book, but, a couple of pages in, that excitement slowly diminished. I kept waiting for the earth to open up and hellish creatures to pop up to punish the sinners while Jesus came to save the day for the faithful. However, pages upon pages of constant dialogue told me that was not going to happen. Maybe it will in the sequel, but not in this book. It’s an interesting take on the topic, but ultimately not the End of Days story I wanted to read.

*I received a free copy of this book for this review from the author.

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Psycho

24 Dec

Psycho(PICK IT)

Author: Robert Bloch

Genre: Horror

First Published: 1959

Page Count: 175

Type: Paperback

Film/ TV Adaptation: Yes*

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Everyone has heard of  Psycho, but the original book tells the true tale of Norman Bates and his murderous motel.

__________________Positives__________________

*Insane Villain

___________________Negatives_____________________

*Dull Secondary Characters

I think perhaps all of us go a little crazy at times.” A woman on the run makes the mistake of turning into the desolate Bates Motel on a stormy night. Little does she know that the owner, Norman Bates, isn’t quite right in the head. His puritanical upbringing and mental instability will end up costing her more than the money she puts down for a one night stay and it will shed a light on the house of horrors that have taken root at the Bates Motel over the years.

I’ve heard of Psycho the film, but I had never actually seen it. I had also watched the movie Hitchcock, which follows how Alfred Hitchcock went about making the famous film, so I was pretty motivated to eventually experience the story. I managed to get my hands on the book first, so I decided to finally give it a try and I was not disappointed. Norman Bates is one of the most notorious villains in cinematic history and literature. I can see why; the author slowly reveals the insane reality that Norman is living in and the twisted childhood he had with his witch of a mother, Norma, and it is gripping. Even already having an idea about what the story was about from hearing about it in pop culture, that did not lessen my interest in the story at all.

The book is very short and could probably be finished in less than a day. Therefore, I didn’t have too many problems with it because it is so straightforward and interesting that it’s easy to get through. However, when the reader isn’t with Norman Bates or at the motel, the story falls flat. I was pretty bored with the other characters, and just wanted to fly past those parts of the story to get back to Norman. He’s the real jewel of the book.

I don’t see how anyone could not want to check out this book unless you’re opposed to the horror genre. It’s easily a classic because of the crazed killer that Bloch has crafted and the book is so short that it would be easy to knock out in a day. Psycho  is a no brainer if you’re looking for a good book.

*Film Adaptation: ( Directed by Alfred Hitchcock 1960, Starring Vince Vaughn 1998)

The Captive Shadow

21 Dec

TheCaptiveShadow(PICK IT)

Author: Don Kenefick

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

First Published: 2013

Page Count: 333

Type: Paperback

Film/ TV Adaptation: No

Rating: 4/5 Stars

A tale about the lives of a plucky father and son who must separately overcome great trials to try to make their dreams of love and happiness come true.

__________________Positives__________________

*Brilliant Writing    *Lovable Characters

___________________Negatives_____________________

*Too Tidy Ending     *Odd Story

Among Londoners, a tiny number remained steadfastly trashproof.” Peter Goodwin has gone his whole life without the pleasure of love and companionship. He may be shy and a bit different, but he is a genuinely good man who had only put off his desire to create a family in order to take care of his ailing mother. His father, Christopher Goodwin, possessed the same meek disposition and longing for love. Both are able to find a woman who makes them happy, but the cruelties of war and the vengeful nature of a spoiled youth shatter their dreams. Will son or father be able to overcome their separate obstacles to win happiness?

The very first couple of pages where the author introduces us to Peter Goodwin attempting to solicit the services of a dating agency had me hooked. The author’s writing style is deliciously wonderful, full of vivid description and a vast vocabulary of words. It’s rare to find someone that can put words together in such a way that doesn’t feel pompous but like actual art that took no effort at all to assemble. And to top it all off, I felt like I was watching a quirky British rom-com in that first scene. It’s funny and clever, and you instantly fall in love with poor, innocent Peter who just wants to find love. Then there is the other half of the story, where the author introduces the readers to Peter’s father who is equally as innocently lovable and seems to fall into the same trouble as Peter when it comes to awkwardly traversing the world of dating. However, Christopher’s story takes a more dramatic turn when he becomes a prisoner of war for the Japanese in WWII. The torture he endures was so brutal I had to Google prisoner treatment by the Japanese in WWII just to see how much of this was fact or fiction. Apparently there is a whole other half of WWII that doesn’t have to do with Nazis and Pearl Harbor, but with the barbaric treatment of prisoners of multiple countries by the Japanese that I was totally ignorant of. On top of that, I learned from my mom that my great-great uncle happened to survive the Bataan Death March which was the deadliest transfer of prisoners by the Japanese during the war. So thank you author Don Kenefick, for not only writing an interesting story but educating me in the process!

Even though this story is very lovable and funny, it’s also very odd once you’ve finished the book and assess it overall. I don’t think the story’s a very happy one for the two main characters and even the last sentence that closes the book made me scratch my head and wonder why the author chose to end in that way. Some scenes have the characters  go through pretty brutal events and I could never quite figure out if this was a comedy or a drama or something quirky in between. I generally felt depressed about the outcome of the characters’ lives but I guess all stories don’t always have a happy ending? The conclusion of the book also felt very convenient in how everything tied together and I wish the author could have decided to either give the characters a happy ending or stick to a grim closure. It felt like the ending was still trying to make up for all the sad things the characters endured, but it’s too little too late.

Even if the book doesn’t make you feel warm and fuzzy all the time, it will definitely make you feel something, probably a whole range of emotions. No matter what odd turns the story took, I never felt bored or disinterested. For the author’s writing ability alone, I’d read another one of his books. I still don’t know what to make of the story but I’m strangely glad I got the chance to read it.

*I received a free copy of this book for this review from the author.

Safer

13 Dec

Safer(PICK IT)

Author: Sean Doolittle

Genre: Thriller

First Published: 2009

Page Count: 334

Type: Hardcover

Film/ TV Adaptation: No

Rating: 5/5 Stars

A neighborhood’s dark past is unearthed when a man and his wife move to town and anger the wrong person, setting off a deadly chain of events that threatens their lives.

__________________Positives__________________

*Suspenseful mystery     *Fast paced

___________________Negatives_____________________

*Confusing Timeline

My wife, Sara, and I are hosting a faculty party at our home when the Clark Falls Police Department arrives to take me into custody.” Paul Callaway and his wife, Sara, move to a small midwestern town to start building a new life together. Despite Paul’s efforts, he can’t quite fit in to the community, nor can he shake the feeling that something is off with his new neighbor, retired police officer Roger Mallory. When Paul gets too suspicious about his new neighbor, he finds himself framed for a disgusting crime. In an attempt to prove his innocence, Paul’s digging into his neighbor’s past reveals the neighborhood’s dark past concerning a boy who went missing ten years ago. Could that cycle of violence be repeating itself with Paul as the next victim?

This book reminded me a lot of Gone Girl and what an enjoyable reading experience that book was. Like Gone Girl, this book reads like a movie and it is fast paced and to the point. You are constantly trying to figure out what crimes were actually committed in the neighborhood and who did it. You feel just like the main character, confused and untrusting of anyone in this mysterious neighborhood. There’s nearly every kind of crime you can think of going on in this small community that claims to promote safety above all else. There are enough twists and turns in the story to make this an entertaining read from page one to page three hundred and thirty-four.

The author likes to jump around a lot in the story, and while that usually isn’t a problem when it comes to storytelling, in this book it felt confusing. Sometimes it would take me a few paragraphs to figure out where I was in the timeline of the story. The book would jump from the past to the future and back again, when it might just have been easier for the author to lay out the main character’s initial story in one shot to make it more clear how the events of the story unfolded. I wanted to hear about what caused Paul to become framed for such a heinous crime, but it also stopped the momentum of the story every time the plot moved backward into the past.

This is definitely a must read book. Besides my minor issue with the way the plot unfolds, this book is gripping from the very start. The idea of a seemingly perfect neighborhood that turns out to be anything but perfect has been done many times before, but Doolittle’s book manages to keep the theme interesting. I might have to check out more from this author if his books prove to be just as intriguing as Safer was.

The Borzoi Killings

7 Dec

BorzoiKillings(PICK IT)

Author: Paul Batista

Genre: Mystery

First Published: 2014

Page Count: 253

Type: Paperback

Film/ TV Adaptation: No

Rating: 3/5 Stars

A high-profile murder set in the Hamptons, dangerous drug lords, and infidelity await readers who try to solve the mystery of a billionaire’s untimely death.

__________________Positives__________________

*Suspenseful court scenes     *Twist ending

___________________Negatives_____________________

*Slow beginning     *Lack of closure     *Misleading book jacket

‘I’ve survived.’” Juan Suarez, a gardener for the tenth richest man in the world, finds himself the prime suspect in his employer’s murder. As an illegal immigrant from Mexico, he has few allies to help defend him against these accusations until renowned trial lawyer, Raquel Rematti decides to take on his case. However, defending Juan against one of the richest families in America is not her only challenge. Raquel’s life becomes threatened by a powerful group whose primary interest is to make sure Juan is found guilty.

This was another Batista book I thought I wouldn’t enjoy, but as I hit the middle of the story, I found I was fairly drawn into the plot. The drama of Batista’s books usually centers around the court room proceedings of the cases. The Borzoi Killings are where the author really shines as a legal thriller author. The court scenes were suspenseful and sharply written. The back and forth between the defense and the prosecution was nerve-wracking and made the book fly by. And after I thought I had one hundred percent figured out “who done it,” as they say, Batista throws a curve ball ending at you that I didn’t see coming and made me admire him for that sudden twist.

Initially, the book is a bit dry. The beginning is all about introducing Juan and his tough as nails trial lawyer doesn’t even make an appearance until much later in the book. Once you get to the meat of the book, where the Hampton billionaire’s secrets are slowly revealed, the story really grabs you. The story from that point on is great, but I found the description on the back of the book to be a bit misleading about what you can expect out of the rest of the story. Juan’s trial lawyer is said to straddle “the dangerous line between concerned involvement and forbidden passion” when it comes to Juan’s defence. I have no clue what this is referring to because there is not an ounce of chemistry or flirting or romantic tension between Raquel or Juan. The story doesn’t need this element to it; it’s stands perfectly well on its own. However, I really didn’t like the misleading blurb, because that just does not accurately represent the story. And my last small qualm with the book was that the twist ending comes at you so fast that you don’t feel much closure. Batista leaves it open for a sequel, but the reader doesn’t get enough time to digest the big reveal before the book comes to an abrupt close.

I’m not a huge fan of the legal thriller genre but I did find this one interesting. Batista is getting better and better with each novel at creating thrilling stories, but he still has yet to create a book that really blows me away. Nevertheless, it’s a quick read that readers who love crime drama will speed through with pleasure.

*I received a free copy of this book for this review from the author.

Club Dead

29 Nov

ClubDead(PICK IT)

Author: Charlaine Harris

Genre: Fantasy

First Published: 2003

Page Count: 292

Type: Paperback

Film/ TV Adaptation: Yes*

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Note: Book 3 in The Southern Vampire Mysteries

Even at book three in her series, Harris continues to pump out entertaining stories, adding new dimensions to her story’s universe and new characters to love and fear.

__________________Positives__________________

*New characters     *Expansion of story universe

___________________Negatives_____________________

*Less exciting plot than previous books

The sweetest part of being a couple is sharing your life with someone else. But my life, evidently, had not been good enough to share.” Sookie Stackhouse had thought that things would finally settle down for her and her vampire boyfriend Bill. To her dismay, she discovers the honeymoon stage is over when Bill’s infidelity is brought to her attention by another attractive vampire suitor, Eric. But when Bill goes missing, it’s up to Sookie to put her hurt feelings aside to try to find her unfaithful ex before it’s too late.

Adding a little extra spice to the series in book three, Harris introduces Alcide (one of my favorite hunks from the TV adaptation), the werewolf with a rockin’ bod and, let’s not forget, the psycho ex-girlfriend. Not only do we get another suitor thrown into the mix for Sookie, which would make this a love square instead of a love triangle at this point, we also learn more about the vampire universe. There is a queen of Louisiana and a King of Mississippi, and you don’t mess with either. It’s the addition of these new characters that make the series still seem fresh and exciting. Even beyond the expected and enjoyable tension between Sookie’s main suitors, Eric and Bill, throwing another piece of eye candy and another dangerous mission of supernatural proportions really shakes things up.

While the plot was not dull by any means, it didn’t wow me compared to the other books I’ve read. It felt a bit like a filler book whose purpose was to introduce us to some new characters and take us deeper into Harris’s universe. I can see a lot of what happened in this book being used as fuel for some bigger purpose in coming books. I was happy to read about all the new additions to the story, but I’m more excited to read on to other books and see what comes from their inclusion in the story instead of just reading a book that sets up the plot for future books.

I’m still completely in love with this fun series. It’s a guilty pleasure, especially for lovers of romance and the supernatural. Harris has yet to steer her stories in a direction I disapprove of or to disappoint me with a book, so I’m happy chugging along. Without the TV series, this is my only way to get my Bon Temps vampire fix anyway!

*TV Adaptation: (True Blood Starring Anna Paquin 2008-2014)

Drowning

26 Nov

Drowning(PICK IT)

Author: Jassy de Jong

Genre: Romance

First Published: 2014

Page Count: 236

Type: Paperback

Film/ TV Adaptation: No

Rating: 4/5 Stars

A life threatening accident lands the star of our novel into an exotic utopia of desire and pleasure that will keep readers eagerly flipping pages until the end.

__________________Positives__________________

*Steamy romance     *Interesting characters

___________________Negatives_____________________

*Rushed beginning

The rushing sound suddenly grew much louder and I was aware we were falling, spinning, and then…” Erin is on a work trip with her famous photographer husband, Vince, in South Africa when a sudden storm causes her to nearly lose her life. Temporarily separated from her husband because of flooding, Erin takes up the hospitality of her savior, Nicholas de Lanoy, at his large luxury hunting lodge turned private estate and animal sanctuary. However, this rugged bachelor makes Erin a tantalizing offer that, as the days slip by, becomes too tempting to resist, especially given the dark observations Erin starts to make about her relationship with her husband during their forced time apart.

Might I start by saying, if Fifty Shades of Grey had been this engrossing I would have understood why so many women went gaga over the book. However, what turns people on or engages them, especially with this genre, is a bit subjective. So in that sense it’s hard to fully endorse this book because people like what they like. I just happened to greatly prefer this book to Fifty Shades for instance. The steamy scenes of intimacy (and there are a ton, so if this isn’t your thing you might want to look elsewhere and if it is…well…lucky you!) were written very seductively with just the right build up of tension. Nothing feels out-of-place or thrown in there to ratchet up the sexy factor. I also really enjoyed the main men of the story, Erin’s husband, Vince, and the dreamboat, Nicholas. It’s easy to fall for the South African hunk right along side Erin, but it’s Vince’s part in the storyline that made the story interesting for me. This probably won’t spoil much but de Jong really made me want to punch him in the face a lot. But that’s a good thing; I was emotionally invested in Erin’s love triangle.

While I enjoyed getting right to the point with all the steamy romance, I felt the introduction was a bit rushed. There wasn’t enough time to get to know Erin and Vince before they get separated and this could have been to slowly flesh out the reality of their relationship later in the story, but I didn’t feel connected to them at all. You feel a little miffed at Erin for breaking the sacred vows of marriage but, hey, we don’t know her or her hubby that well, so you can’t feel too sorry for the guy except on a really basic level. I felt a lot more connected to all the characters later in the book, as I so aptly pointed out  with my confession of wanting to punch a fictional character in the paragraph above. However, the author could’ve given us a little more time with the couple before the accident.

For erotica, a genre I rarely read, this was a good book. It’s not an earth shattering story by any means, but compared to other books I’ve read in my limited experience with this genre, this is my favorite. If you’re looking to indulge in some sexy romantic literature pick up this guilty pleasure.

Grab your copy of Drowning here:

http://amzn.to/10jRnom

http://bit.ly/1xwZLPm

http://bit.ly/1u8LJk5

*I received a free copy of this book for this review from the author.

The Princess Bride

25 Nov

The Princess Bride(PICK IT)

Author: William Goldman

Genre: Classics

First Published: 1973

Page Count: 450

Type: Paperback

Film/ TV Adaptation: Yes*

Rating: 3/5 Stars

The well-known tale of romance and high adventure will be a hit or miss for readers depending on their opinion of the author’s unique concept for the book.

__________________Positives__________________

*Charming fairytale     *Story doesn’t take itself too seriously

___________________Negatives_____________________

*Author’s narration of story     *Disliked Westley and Buttercup

‘My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die!’” Buttercup, the most beautiful woman in all the land, is set to marry Prince Humperdinck. The problem is, she doesn’t love him and her heart will always belong to her true love, Westley, the quiet boy who grew up tending her parents’ farm. It will take a kind-hearted giant, a master swordsman, and Westley’s fierce determination to free Buttercup from the prince and his villainous plans for her.

As I started reading, I really found myself enjoying this book. It has all the elements of a good fairytale (as the author will point out): true love, a handsome hero, a lovely princess in distress, and plenty of action. However, because of the occasional humor that pops up in the book, the story doesn’t feel old-fashioned. It is charming and aims to be a lovely fairytale, but it also doesn’t try to take itself too seriously which only makes it more charming in my eyes.

However, by the end of the story, it almost felt sacrilegious that I wasn’t totally in love with the book anymore. This seems to be another situation where the book had small pieces to it that made the overall “feel” of the story different then the “feel” of the movie. I haven’t seen the movie in a long time, but I don’t remember Buttercup being so dumb. I wanted to like her, but I can’t root for a dumb princess or really any dumb character, royalty or not. Both she and Westley felt very one-dimensional, so much so that every move they made came off as predictable. But my biggest gripe with the book was the author’s constant interruption of the story. I dreaded those italicized paragraphs. I thought it was something that would be limited to the beginning of the book. Alas, he decided to incessantly butt into my story, revealing major upcoming plot points at every turn. Not only did it make the story feel choppy, but I HATE when I’m told ahead of time about a major plot point in any book regardless of whether I’ve already seen the movie half a dozen times. Some people might enjoy this little game the author plays within the book where he makes the reader believe he is abridging some long-lost work of literature, but I was not a fan in the least. I just wanted my Princess Bride story, not all this other nonsense about random things like your fictional obese son (which was slightly entertaining, but distracting nonetheless).

This was another disheartening journey into a book where I had already seen the movie adaptation. I wanted very very badly to love this book, especially since it took me so long to eventually get a new copy after my mother had gotten rid of my brother’s copy from high school that I had clearly shelved for later perusal. However, the book spawned some classic scenes, characters, and quotes, and there are plenty of people who enjoyed Goldman’s odd storytelling. It’s worth a shot, but for some, it might not outshine the film.

*Film Adaptation: (Starring Robin Wright 1987)

Deadly Odds

15 Nov

Deadly Odds(PICK IT)

Author: Allen Wyler

Genre: Thriller

First Published: 2014

Page Count: 326

Type: Paperback

Film/ TV Adaptation: No

Rating: 4/5 Stars

A thrilling and sexy story about a hacker who gets caught up in a dangerous terrorist organization against his will.

__________________Positives__________________

*Interesting main character     *Sexy, thrilling introduction

___________________Negatives_____________________

*Quick conclusion

“‘Just wanted to get laid, was all…’” Arnold Gold is a geeky virgin who can’t seem to figure out women but he does have a knack for computers. Satisfied with the steady flow of under the table money he makes gambling, Gold heads to Vegas to satisfy his desire for companionship. However, when he meets up with Breeze, a sexy Vegas escort, he finds himself in hot water with the FBI and a group of radical terrorists. Will Gold be able to give the FBI the information they need without sacrificing his life in the process?

Deadly Odds is a very different story then what I’m used to from Wyler. There’s no medical element to it, but it still falls within his favored genre, the thriller. Lately, his stories have felt very similar in their plot layout, but this one was refreshingly different. I loved the sexy introduction to the main character’s exploits in Vegas and how that gets him caught in his predicament. I didn’t find the main character very likable, but that didn’t ruin the story for me; it made it more interesting. He’s socially awkward and has a bit of an attitude, which made it hard for me to root for him. However, he’s so interested in the opinion of others, especially women, that it seems believable that he should find himself blackmailed into helping terrorists.

While I loved the introduction and was pretty into the middle of the story, the conclusion was far too rushed. After the climax and action come to an end there is one chapter of a couple of pages that wraps the whole story up very neatly and quickly. I would’ve liked to ease into the ending of the book. Instead it felt like the author had run out of story and just wanted it over and done with.

If you’re going to read any of Wyler’s books, this is one of the books I’d say you should check out first. While Wyler’s medical thrillers are interesting, I think he should definitely keep branching out into other sub-genres of the thriller section. This book proves he’s got the talent to do so.

Grab your copy of Deadly Odds here:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1xh54PS

B&N: http://bit.ly/1sZrIy1

Astor+Blue: http://bit.ly/1uspcim

*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for this review.

Lone Survivor

7 Nov

Lone Survivor(PICK IT)

Author: Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson

Genre: Biography

First Published: 2007

Page Count: 392

Type: Paperback

Film/ TV Adaptation: Yes*

Rating: 4/5 Stars

A unique tale of heroism during the war in Afghanistan that opens civilian eyes to the challenges of this war and modern warfare, as well as pays tribute to the brave fallen.

__________________Positives__________________

*Interesting storyline     *Unique perspective on modern war

___________________Negatives_____________________

*Slow moving at some parts     *Slow build up to the main story

I will never quit. My nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies.” Marcus Luttrell joined his U.S. Navy SEAL team on a reconnaissance mission in the mountainous Afghanistan to locate a notorious al Qaeda leader and, if possible, capture him or take him out. However, in one of the deadliest battles the Navy SEALS have ever faced, Marcus found himself alone. He was the lone survivor of a fierce firefight and this story chronicles his battle to stay alive and find his way home to tell the world about the brave men that died valiantly serving their country.

After thoroughly enjoying American Sniper and hearing about Luttrell’s story, I knew I had to check this book out. I will admit, I enjoyed American Sniper a bit more than this book because that book seemed to move at a faster, more thrilling pace and I really liked Chris Kyle’s voice as the narrator. However, this is a very interesting story about a particular mission in the Afghan war versus the broad overview we get of the war in Kyle’s book. There are deadly shoot outs between the SEALS and the Taliban, along with sections that record from first hand experience just how ruthless and cold these international terrorists can be. But, there is also the unexpected and uplifting second half of the book that also shows the goodness of humanity that can exist even in the most hellish of places (I won’t spoil it for you if you haven’t already heard how Luttrell manages to survive). And, what I found the most unique about this book was the perspective Luttrell gives us from the point of a member of the military. These servicemen are not fighting in the 1800s; this is the twenty-first century and they have to contend with so much more pressure than their ancestors had to on the battlefield. The effects of liberal media and politics, especially in relation to this mission, have nearly tied the hands of our military and its incredible that they manage to get the job done with so much judgement and restriction hanging over their heads. That topic in and of itself could turn into a long post so I’ll leave it at that, but, if you couldn’t tell, this book leans to the conservative right. That’s perfectly cool with me, but if that last couple of lines got you fired up in defense of the liberal side of the fence, this book is probably not for you.

Unlike the film version of this book which drops you right into the beginning of the mission, Lone Survivor the book takes us through the rigorous training the SEALS undergo before introducing us to the main plot of the book. I think this is a good way to illustrate just how maddeningly tough these U.S. warriors are and it helps to acquaint us to our main character, but having read American Sniper and watching some documentaries on the Navy SEALS training program, I was well read in what they have to go through to earn their place. I wanted to get to the main story and see how Luttrell managed to escape. It takes awhile to get to that part of the book and once your there, the story stalls at some points when Luttrell is trying to catch his breath or lay low.

If you’re looking for a book on interesting modern warfare stories, this wouldn’t be my first choice, but I would suggest that you eventually read it. There was nothing like this event ever in Navy SEALS history and for that reason alone the book stands apart. I also suggest reading the book instead of just seeing the film. The movie changes a lot of what Luttrell says actually happened in favor of a more interesting film and isn’t able to powerfully emphasize certain aspects that Luttrell draws to our attention in the book. Every American citizen should be required to read at least one of these books that chronicles what the military faces when they step onto the battlefield. If these men and women can selflessly give their lives to fight for our freedom, the least we could do is educate ourselves on what it really is like on the battlefield. Maybe required reading in high school alongside novels like The Great Gatsby? Seeing war first hand through the eyes of a soldier would give everyone a better appreciation and understanding of their sacrifice and every book I read about our fighting forces deepens my gratitude and awe at our troops. Though I often think America could use a bigger dose of reality about what we’re facing, I’m always grateful that books like these get written so that these stories get told properly.

*Film Adaptation: (Starring Mark Wahlberg 2013)