Tag Archives: Brad Thor

Foreign Influence by Brad Thor

ForeignInfluenceThor

Book #28
Foreign Influence
Thor, Brad

Genre: Thriller/Spy
Pages: 560 (chunkster)
Recommend

This is my second read of this book, with the first being July 2010; and while I wasn’t quite as blown away with the story this time (too recent of a read for me to be totally surprised and *I wasn’t surprised by the ending this time), I still think my comment from then is good:

My jaw actually dropped open at the ending. Oh. My. Word! I never saw that coming*. Thor’s best book ever – bar none. Best quote? The very, very, very last 2 sentences of the book (in the Acknowledgments – speaking of his wife, Trish): “Thank you, honey. I love you.”

This book was timely in 2010, it’s even more so today. Recommend the book and the series.

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September Wrap Up

Grand month. Weather was lovely, we were able to take some nice drives, enjoyed dinner with friends and flat out had a good time. The end of the month saw the real arrival of fall, with a hint of winter and we enjoyed 3 great storms in 2 days: wind (70-80mph stuff), around 5 inches of rain—give or take an inch, lost power for a bit, and survived it all. Fun stuff.

My favorite picture this month is my new banner. Such a busy bee. Spotted him while on our way to dinner with friends. We were late while I photographed. Fortunately our friends understand my quirks.

We enjoyed loads of good movies (reviews HERE), and I read five good books. Spoiler-less reviews ahead, but first the statistics.

Recap:
September: total pages: 1673; 5 books (no rejects)
2013 Recap to date:
Total pages read: 10573
Number of books read: 27
Chunksters (over 450 pages): 10
Non-fiction: 4
Fiction: 1
Mystery: 3
Historical fiction: 1
Thriller/Spy: 14
Young Adult/Youth: 3
Pictures / Animal: 1

September Books:
Book #23
Fatal Forecast: An Incredible True Tale of Disaster and Survival at Sea by Tougias, Michael J.

Genre: Non-fiction
Pages: 244

Not quite as good as Overboard!, but still a most compelling read. Tougias give depth to each person in the story.

Recommend.

Book #24
Lil BUB’s Lil Book: The Extraordinary Life of the Most Amazing Cat on the Planet Hardcover by Lil BUB

Genre: Pictures / Animal
Pages: 128

Little book filled with 128 totally delightful pages of pics of “Lil BUB” on an adventure. Brings a smile to my face. Buy it. Buy several and give them away. You’ll be glad you did.

Recommend.

Book #25
The Apostle by Thor, Brad

Genre: Thriller/Spy
Pages: 357
Recommend

Review is HERE.

Book #26
Fire Along the Sky by Donati, Sara

Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
Pages: 688 (chunkster)
Recommend

Review is HERE.

Book #27
Secrets at Sea by Peck, Richard

Genre: Youth
Pages: 256

I’ll admit that having spent months last year dealing with mice in our car and then rats in our garage (thanks to a neighbor who wasn’t dealing with their garbage), reading a story where mice are the main characters was almost too much to bear; but Peck created charming mice within an endearing story. Totally fun read and a nice break from the heavier read for the month.

Recommend

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The Apostle by Brad Thor

apostle

Book #25
The Apostle
Thor, Brad
Genre: Thriller/Spy
Pages: 357
Recommend

As a long time fan of Brad Thor’s ‘Scot Harvath’ series, I expect certain things in each book: patriotism, adventure, political conflicts, terrorism, and a good read that keeps me interested and entertained. The Apostle met all my expectations and then some.

The characters, both friend and foe, were well developed; the settings fit the story; and I found myself cheering at the end of chapter 60.

By the time I reached the very end, I was glad for a break—yet wishing there was more to the story. Best of all, I felt proud to be an American; and, sadly, I seldom feel that way with our current president. I’m thankful for the freedoms I enjoy, and I’m deeply grateful to every man and woman who serve (and have served) in order that I might live in this wonderful country.

I join the heroes of this book in the closing words of this book:

With that, all of the men in the room raised their bottles and in unison said, “To the United States of America.” – The Apostle (Brad Thor), page 357

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August 2013: movies, books and a monster

Great month! I grew older and became a Beatles song, we enjoyed the annual quilt show, did some fun shopping, mourned my lost geraniums, went to a picnic with friends, attended the Wooden Boat show.

We watched several good movies and thoroughly enjoyed a Harry Potter movie marathon—finishing it on my birthday just as I’d hoped.

Movies:
~Enigma (see review)
~Red 2 (see review)
~Spitfire Grill (see review)
~A Blueprint for Murder (see review)

~WYATT EARP (1994)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0111756/
Cast: Kevin Costner, Dennis Quaid, Gene Hackman
Good cast. Good cinematography. Fairly true to real life. Slow in spots. Recommend.

~MOONSTRUCK (1987)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093565/
Cast: Cher, Nicolas Cage, Olympia Dukakis
We like the humor, the characters, the story and the cast as a whole. However, Cage is a dork, and some of the dialogue is sooooo bad it made us cringe. Still a fun re-watch. Recommend.

~TREASURE ISLAND (1934) with a very young Jackie Cooper and Wallace Beery as Long John Silver.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0025907/
Pretty bad. Beery didn’t have that great pirate voice that Robert Newton made so famous in the 1950 version. Stilted acting. I wondered to myself why we were watching this, when finally hubby said, “Okay. What else do we have to watch?” LOL Fortunately, I ordered the 1950 version on dvd as a surprise for hubby (who adores that version of this movie, and has fond memories of the book and the movie), so a few nights later we watched …

~TREASURE ISLAND (1950) with Bobby Driscoll as Jim Hawkins, and Robert Newton as Long John Silver.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0043067/
Now then, matey, if ye haven’t yet seen this here version of the grand story from Robert Louis Stevenson, why then ye can’t be a’callin’ yerself a real pirate!

~Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120631/
The “real” story of Cinderella. A refreshing new take on the classic fairy tale.
Cast: Drew Barrymore, Anjelica Huston, Dougray Scott
We last watched this in 2006 and found it a 5-star delight. It held up to our memory and we had a great time munching popcorn and watching.

~The Associate (1996)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115580/
A comedy about making it on Wall Street. Prejudices are hard to break and Laurel Ayres quickly learns that in order for people to take her seriously she has to work for an older white man …
Cast: Whoopi Goldberg, Dianne Wiest, Eli Wallach, Tim Daly and Bebe Neuwirth
One of those goofy movies where nothing makes sense, and yet it rings of reality.

Books:
~Book #19: Hidden Order by Brad Thor
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 384
Don’t recommend

(rejected The Last Man by Vince Flynn)

~Book #20: Ruby Holler by Creech, Sharon
Genre: Youth (8-12)
Pages: 310
Recommend with a caution.

~Book #21: The Astronaut Wives Club by Koppel, Lily
Genre: Non-fiction
Pages: 322
Don’t recommend

~Book #22: The Last Patriot by Thor, Brad
Genre: Thriller/Spy
Pages: 342
This was a top read in 2009 and I commented that I found it “exciting and timely”. This time I found it disappointing and unsatisfying. The ending was abrupt, several things were never truly resolved, not enough “action”, and I know that Thor writes better than this book. Don’t recommend unless you desire to read the entire Harvath series from Thor.

Recap:
August: total pages: 1358; 4 books (with 3 rejected)
2013 Recap to date:
Total pages read: 8900
Number of books read: 22
Chunksters (over 450 pages): 9
Non-fiction: 3
Fiction: 1
Mystery: 3
Historical fiction:
Thriller/Spy: 13
Young Adult/Youth: 2

Finally, on one of our drives we stopped to watch the ocean and were treated to a sea monster. Wonder who created him?

seamonster

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The Last Patriot by Brad Thor

Book #22
The Last Patriot
Thor, Brad
Genre: Thriller/Spy
Pages: 342
Don’t recommend unless you desire to read the entire Harvath series from Thor.

This was a top read for me in 2009 and I commented that I found it “exciting and timely”. This time I found it disappointing and unsatisfying. The ending was abrupt, several things were never truly resolved, there wasn’t enough “action”, and I know that Thor writes better than this book.

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Hidden Order by Brad Thor

Book #19: Hidden Order by Brad Thor
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 384
Don’t recommend

I am a huge fan of Brad Thor’s writing, and I went against my rule on maximum price cut-off and purchased the Kindle version at full price as I’d heard great things about this book. I was horribly disappointed in the story. Horrific murders and much too detailed for me, I wound up skipping vast sections of the story. This was not a ‘Scot Harvath’ political action thriller, this was a serial murder story where Harvath played a small role in the story. The murder plot was fairly transparent for someone who reads a lot of mysteries. I didn’t identify with the other main characters. I found the constant hormone raging references annoying and silly.

The location of Boston was unfortunate. I realize Thor started writing this long before the marathon bombing, and I understanding the reasoning behind Boston for the plot, so I’ll give him a pass on that; but the rest I can’t give him a pass on—so I can’t recommend this book; and that’s something I never thought I’d write.

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Happy Dancing with a Pen

I’d originally planned to post this in January, but I got busy. No time like the present to catch up with things.

Rather than set a numerical goal, or genre goal, or page total goal for 2013, I sat down and thought about what all I enjoy doing in life and started making lists. See, one of the things I like to do is make lists, written out by hand. Lists of chores, errands, phone calls to make, tasks, fun things, don’t want to do things, and—well—all things; and then I love, love, LOVE taking my pen and scratching through an item when it’s accomplished. I find it immensely satisfying to scratch through something. Seriously. It’s joyous. It’s freeing. It’s happy dancing with a pen.

Since I’m always adding to my lists, there’s always a moment of joy and freedom; and my pen happy dances constantly! The best part is that not everything has a deadline, so what’s left on this list at the end of the year just rolls over to next year, and the next year, and it never ends. Well, it will some day, but I won’t care what’s left at that point. 😉

Anyhow, I opted to go back to what makes me happy (and it is all about me, isn’t it?), and I made up lists early in January. I’ve accomplished several big tasks on my main house list and am working my way through another task. Yeah me.

My book list is working well. My original list started with five non-fiction titles, and five fictional titles. Then I decided to do the Brad Thor Ultimate Reader Experience and that added 12 books to my list (13 when his newest book is out and affordable for me). Then I added a minimum of six books from James Rollins (three stand alones and three from his SIGMA Force series). I keep adding books to it, scratching off books when done (also scratching off the rejects). What a kick! I’m actually very happy with my reading this year, and my pen is happy dancing all over the house.

Here’s my “read some day” list as it presently stands:

Non-Fiction: (all owned on Kindle)
35 miles From Shore by Emilio Corsetti III
Devil at my Heels by Louis Zamperini
Decision at Sea by Craig L Symonds
Fixing Freddie by Paula Munier
Kittyhawk Pilot by James Edwards
Flags of our Fathers by James Bradley
A Mighty Fortress by Chuck Alling (read)
Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand (K – set aside)
The Reagan Diaries by Ronald Reagan (set aside)

Fiction: (all owned on Kindle)
Amazonia by James Rollins
Enemy Among Us by Randy Reardon
No Mercy by John Gilstrap
Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie (rejected)
At All Costs by John Gilstrap
The Charm School by Nelson DeMille
Fire Along the Sky by Sara Donati
The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
Sandstorm by James Rollins (read)
Muffin Man by Brad Whittington (K)
All the Brad Thor books (see below)
Judge Dee (hopefully 3, see below)
The Lions Game by Nelson DeMille (read)
Triple Play by Elizabeth Gunn (read)
Above Suspicion by Helen MacInnes (read)
Assignment in Brittany by Helen MacInnes (read)

The Collected by Brett Battles
The Last Man by Vince Flynn

Possible additions: Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks (on hold at library)
The Sojourn by Andrew Krevek

Brad Thor books in order: (own all on Kindle)
January’s Book: The Lions Of Lucerne (read)
February’s Book: Path Of The Assassin (read)
March’s Book: State Of The Union (read)
April’s Book: Blowback (read)
May’s Book: Takedown (read)
June’s Book: The First Commandment (read)

July’s Book: The Last Patriot
August’s Book: The Apostle
September’s Book: Foreign Influence
October’s Book: The Athena Project
November’s Book: Full Black
December’s Book: Black List

Judge Dee (3 or more):
The Chinese Gold Murders
Judge Dee at Work (read in 2013)
The Lacquer Screen (read in 2012)
The Chinese Lake Murders
The Monkey and the Tiger
The Haunted Monastery (read in 2012)
The Chinese Bell Murders
Necklace and Calabash
The Red Pavilion (read in 2012)
The Emperor’s Pearl (read in 2012)
Poets and Murder (read in 2012)
The Chinese Maze Murders (read in 2012)

The Phantom of the Temple
The Chinese Nail Murders
The Willow Pattern
Murder in Canton
Poisoned Bride and Other Judge Dee Mysteries

SIGMA Force series by James Rollins (at least one): (own all on Kindle)
1. Sandstorm (2004)
2. Map of Bones (2005)
3. Black Order (2006)
4. The Judas Strain (2007)
5. The Last Oracle (2008)
6. The Doomsday Key (2009)
7. The Devil Colony (2011)
8. Bloodline (2012)

9. The Eye of God (Scheduled for publication: Summer, 2013)

Rejects and set asides:

  • Mrs. Tuesday’s Departure by Suzanne Anderson—Confusing as we moved from the past to the present, and it was obvious that the ending was going to be incredibly sad, beyond my limits sad.
  • Pinheads and Patriots by Bill O’Reilly—No longer timely
  • From Notting Hill with Love…Actually by Aku McNamara—Boring
  • Mrs. Kennedy and Me by Clint Hill and Lisa McDubbin—cloyingly soppy
  • Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie—I am still done with Agatha. I used to adore her books. In fact, I read them all, but I still remember hating SLEEPING MURDER and tossing the Ladies Home Journal across the room at the end. I tried to get into this story, but found the characters annoying, the plot transparent by chapter 2, and the thing was boring.
  • And Furthermore by Judi Dench—I set this aside in order to read a library book, and I may or may not return to it.
  • Dying Saved My Life by Kevin Sorbo—Had to stop reading as it was depressing and causing me to have anxiety issues.
  • American Sniper: the Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History by Chris Kyle (K)—too depressing at this point
  • The Reagan Diaries by Ronald Reagan
  • Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand—(set aside at the 1/3 point) Hillenbrand is an excellent author — well, okay, I’m basing that on the one book of her’s that I’ve read – Unbroken – but I do think she can spin a tale. However, I totally love the movie that is based on this book and so the book, for me, bogged down in what I found to be useless and mundane details. The movie had such a good pace, and the book was so slow and it became boring and a chore to read. After spending 4 weeks and reaching only page 184 out of 523 pages (that’s around 6 pages a day!), I gave it up. I should have given it up earlier, but I kept thinking it had to get better. Oh well.

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