As many twists as a crazy straw

Dark Shore, Book Two of The Atlanteans by Kevin Emerson; 2013; $17.99; 470 pages; Katherine Tegen Books, New York, NY; 978-0-06-206282-6; Young Adult; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Rockwood; 7/14-7/17

Why did I pick this up?  Because I had read the first book, The Lost Code, after meeting the author, Kevin Emerson at Wordstock 2o12 and seeing him along with Martha Brockenbrough, and Sean Beaudoin at a stop on their book tour.

What is the story?  Owen, Leech and Lilly have fled Eden to fulfill their destiny as ancient Atlanteans.  They flee the forces of darkness and encounter all kinds of obstacles, crazy people and radiation.  They encounter a group who have decided they are Gods sent by the ancients to save them.  Another member of the three is revealed and one of them will be unable to continue on the journey in the third book.

Did I like it?  Yes, very much.  Kevin Emerson has crafted quite the thrill ride.  He has well rounded characters in a story that pulls you in.


What is with the title of the review?  With a crazy straw the liquid takes several twist and loops before it makes it from the glass to your mouth.  The story here takes a lot of crazy twist and loops before it makes it to the conclusion.

I can see why Spielberg wants to make a movie of this

Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson; 2011; $25.00; 347 pages; Doubleday, New York, NY; 978-0-385-53385-0; Science Fiction; Checked out from Multnomah County Library, St. Johns; finished in San Diego, CA; 6/6-6/13

Why did I pick this up?  I had read a couple of things by Daniel Wilson previously and I had met him at Wordstock last year and knew that Steven Spielberg had optioned it and was trying to make a movie of it.

What is the story? Similar to Will Smiths’ version of I, Robot except much more violent and technologically evil.  One computer gains sentience and takes over all other robots and uses them to take over.  Killing and imprisoning humans and experimenting and grafting them together with robots.  Some computer programmers survive the robopocalypse and are able to get some of the robots separated from the central core and other robots gain sentience and align themselves with the humans so they don’t get enslaved by the central computer.  This combined human and robot uprising manages to overcome the evil computer.

Did I like it?  It was ok, I am not a big fan of the story structure, but I am excited to see the movie if it ever gets made.


What is with the title of the review?  This will fit right in with E.T., Close Encounters, AI and Minority Report.


people keep changing and growing

Kill You Twice by Chelsea Cain; 2012; $25.99; 326 pages; Minotaur Press, New York, NY; 9780312619787; purchased from Powell’s Books at Wordstock 2012; 2/6-2/7

Why did I pick this up?  I have read all the previous books in this series and enjoyed and I think I have spoken to Chelsea at the last three Wordstocks and had enjoyable conversations with her.

What is the story?  Someone is murdered on Mt. Tabor and tied to the tallest tree, someone is murdered on the Made in Oregon sign and Archie Sheridan and the Beauty Killer Task Force are on the case.  It can’t be Gretchen Lowell because she is in custody at the Oregon State Hospital, but she may know who it is.  As Archie, Henry, Susan and the task force try and solve the case, more of Gretchen’s past is revealed.  We find out more about her upbringing and some of what may make her whom she is.

Did I like it?  Yes, even though saying that I liked a book about a serial killer is kinda weird.  I think it is the mystery and the solving of the crime and the relationships between the characters that I really like.


What is with the title of the review?  This is the way that a series of mysteries should be written.  With each successive book the characters should grow and learn from the previous experience and change when things happen to them.  Archie, Gretchen, Susan and Henry, among others have changed and grown.

Golden Earring, Blue Oyster Cult and Devo

The Infects by Sean Beaudoin; 2012; $16.99; 347 pages; Candlewick Press, Sommerville, MA; 978-0-7636-594 7-9; Purchased from Powell’s Book Store, Cedar Hills Crossing at author appearance; 1/23-1/25

Why did I pick this up?  I read Sean Beaudoins’ book Fade to Black before he was at Wordstock.  Then he and several other authors made an appearance at Powell’s Bookstore at Cedar Hills Crossing and I picked this up.

What is the story?  Niles Sole is an employee of a chicken processing plant which distributes a wide variety of chicken related products.  One day something goes wrong with the plant and Nile is charged and convicted of a crime.  He is then assigned to participate in an outdoor program called, Inward Trek, by hiking and camping in the great outdoors.  One night Niles is awaken by a strange sound outside his tent and oh boy, there is a nightmare beginning. Although this is so much more than just a story about zombies, it is a story about friendship, family and the things we do for love.

Did I like it?  Yes, it was an intriguing mix of zombies, family, love, injustice, corporate greed and processed food.  If all of Seans’ books are this much fun I am looking forward to reading more.


What is with the title of the review?  To me the central themes of this book is the things we do for love, which was a hit song for the band Golden Earring in the 70’s.  There are also nods to Blue Oyster Cult and Devo among others throughout the book.

The Tale of Two Wilderness

Wilderness by Lance Weller; 2012; $25.00; 293 pages; Bloomsbury, New York, NY; 978-1-60819-937-2; Checked out from Multnomah County Library; Gresham; 1/21-1/23

Why did I pick this up?  I met Lance at Wordstock last year when I got Bruce Holberts’ signature, and I told Lance that I hadn’t read his book yet but that I would.

What is the story?  Abel Truman fights for the Rebs during the Civil War at the Battle of Wilderness and is severely wounded and afterwards makes his way to the wilderness of Washington.  This is the story of the people he encounters while he is in the Army, after he is wounded and as he makes his way in the wilds of Washington.  He makes friends with a few people and has a dog that is important to him.  His friends are very important to him and influence some of the decisions he makes.

Did I like it?  This reminded me of a book I read back in 2001 called Perfect Silence by Jeff Hutton, which is also set in the Civil War.  Both books have a lushness about them, it is like watching a painting come to life.  I remember defining the book as one of the lushest I have read, and Lance Wellers Wilderness would also fit into that category.  Weller uses words like paint, and sentences are like the paintbrush that bring the picture to life.


What is with the title of the review?  The book tells the story of Abel Truman as he fights at the Battle of the Wilderness and as he fights for survival in the wilderness of Washington state.