Was hoping to see Myron and Elvis together

Faceoff by Dennis Lehane, Michael Connelly, Ian Rankin, Peter James, R.L. Stine, Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child, M.J. Rose, Lisa Gardner, Steve Martini, Linda Fairstein, Jeffrey Deaver, John Sandford, Heather Graham, F. Paul Wilson, Raymond Khoury, Linwood Barclay, John Lescroart, T. Jefferson Parker, Steve Berry, James Rollins, Lee Child and Joseph Finder, Edited by David Baldacci; 2014; $26.99; 367 pages; Simon and Schuster, New York, NY; 978-1-4767-6206-7; Thriller; Checked out from Multnomah County Library, Belmont; 8/20/14-8/22/14

The International Thriller Writers come together for a great bunch of short stories.  Gray Pierce of James Rollins’ Sigma Force works together with Cotton Malone of Steve Berrys’ Magellan Billet and that is just the beginning. Twenty two authors write 11 stories combining some of their main characters, you get RL Stines Slappy teaming up with Preston and Childs’ FBI Agent Pendergast.  All these were exciting to read and experience you would never see else where, like Reacher and Heller together, Lincoln Rhymes and Lucas Davenport working together.  I am going to read all the ITW compilations and have discovered several new authors to read.

Did I enjoy it?  Yes, it fun to see characters I have read separately come together.  None of the authors overwhelm there co-authors so it is like reading a story that one author wrote.


What is with the title of the review?  I was hoping that Harlan Coben and Robert Crais would work on a story that would feature Myron Bolitar and Win along with Elvis Cole and Joe Pike working together.

A nod towards Princess Bride, perhaps

The 6th Extinction by James Rollins; 2014; $27.99; 426 pages; William Morrow, New York, NY; 978-0-06-178481-1; Fiction; Checked out from Multnomah County Library; 8/18/14-8/20/14

I feel like Rod Serling when I talk about James Rollins books.  Imagine if you will a subterranean world beneath the ice in the Antarctic, with its own unique ecosystem.  Some scientist in California has a problem with a genetically engineered virus that kills everything, not just people, flora and fauna and sterilizes the earth.  Meanwhile there is a mad scientist in a hidden lair in the mountains of South America who wants to re engineer the entire world with his genetically engineered creations.  Throw in a series of maps of Antarctic that go back thousands of years including an account from Charles Darwin.  Sigma Force is tasked with shutting down the mad scientist and saving California while fighting the bad guys.  As usual they use their military and science skills to save the day.

Did I enjoy it?  Yes it was an exciting page turner that I enjoyed.  I really enjoy the combination of science, history and military skills.


What is with the title of the review?  One of the ancestors of the bad guy is Cuthbert Cary-Elwes.  Cary Elwes played the male lead in the Princess Bride.


Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

Just Call My Name by Holly Goldberg Sloan; 2014; $18.00; 328 pages; Little, Brown and Company, New York, NY; 978-0-316-12281-8; Young Adult Fiction; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Midland; 8/14/14-8/18/14

Sam and Riddle are now part of the Bell family, in Oregon and their no goodnik father, Clarence, is locked up in prison in California.  Destiny comes between Sam and Emily Bell, she has much in common with Sam, her Mom is also dead and Father in prison.  Clarence breaks out and heads for Oregon because he blames the Bell family for his sons being taken away from him and his being in prison.   He gets to Oregon and kidnaps Emily and her only hope is her nemesis Destiny who goes from being the different homeless girl in town to part of the Bell family.  Exciting action and realistic relationships make for a great book.

Did I like it?  Yes it was good to revisit the characters from I’ll Be There and the relationships were realistic and the action was well paced and realistic.


Why did I read this?  I had picked up I’ll Be There because Holly and I had gone to the same high school at the same time, now I just pick up her books because they are really good.

What is with the title of the review? There is seemingly nothing that can keep Sam and Emily and as the title of the book is a song so is the title of the review


Achingly and Hauntingly Beautiful

The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin; 2012; $26.99; 426 pages; Harper, New York, NY; Fiction; 978-0-06-218850-2; purchased from Multnomah County Library Title Wave Used Bookstore; 8/8/14-8/14/14

Talmadge lost his father in a mine collapse so his mother started an orchard.  Then she died and his sister disappeared into the wilderness.  Talmadge was left to fend for himself and learn and grow on his own.  He lives with a giant what question mark in his soul as he ponders over the years what might have happened to his sister.  He befriends a silent Native American wrangler and an herbalist who had tried to help his mother when she was dying.  Into his life one day come two extremely young pregnant girls who have escaped from the opium addict, with a violent temper, who was keeping the girls imprisoned for his own and others pleasure.  Talmadge deals with the addict and the two girls who are almost feral when he meets them.  One of the girls passes on, after giving birth to a baby girl.  The other girls children die in childbirth and she also has lost her sister.  Della is the survivor but never really fits in with society at the time, becoming a wrangler and a logger at a time when those were not considered appropriate jobs for women.  Talmadge struggles to raise the baby girl left behind with the help of the wrangler and the herbalist, he does well raising her but doesn’t know how to talk with her.

Did I like it?  Yes it will be in the top ten books that I have read this year.  It is set in the Pacific Northwest and at a time when the Old West and civilization were blending together.  It is a wonderful story of family, although there is no trace of a conventional family.  The writing is wonderful and very engrossing.


What is with the title of the review?  This has been a year of beautifully written books for me.  The are heartbreaking and yet they are full of beauty in several different ways.

Why did I read this? 




Sketches from the Highway

Building the Columbia River Highway, They Said It Couldn’t Be Done by Peg Willis; 2014; $19.99; 187 pages; The History Press, Charleston, SC; 978-1-62619-271-3; 979.54W735b; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Sellwood; 8/7/14-8/8/14

Peg Willis presents her research about the Columbia River Highway as a series of sketches about the people who promoted, planned and built the Columbia River Highway.  Some of the sketches are only four lines long. This would not be accepted as a paper in most high school or college classes, it is as if she did her research and published that.  There is no way that I would have turned a paper in like this.  The accounts of the people and the construction are tied together very loosely, there is no context for some of the chapters.  The subject matter was compelling but the structure of the book was lacking.

Did I like it?  I was very interested in the subject matter but the way the book was structured made the story less than compelling to me.


What is with the title of the review?  This is simply a series of character sketches about the people involved in the planning and construction of the highway and then a sketch about each section of the highway.  There is no cohesiveness to the story.

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