The Hit by David Baldacci

Posted: August 2, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Image So after napping and drinking A LOT of caffeine last night, I finished reading The Hit by David Baldacci. Fantastic book! From the author:

Will Robie is a master of killing. A highly skilled assassin, Robie is the man the U.S. government calls on to eliminate the worst of the worst—enemies of the state, monsters committed to harming untold numbers of innocent victims. No one else can match Robie’s talents as a hitman…no one, except Jessica Reel. A fellow assassin, equally professional and dangerous, Reel is every bit as lethal as Robie. And now, she’s gone rogue, turning her gun sights on other members of their agency. To stop one of their own, the government looks again to Will Robie. His mission: bring in Reel, dead or alive. Only a killer can catch another killer, they tell him. But as Robie pursues Reel, he quickly finds that there is more to her betrayal than meets the eye. Her attacks on the agency conceal a larger threat, a threat that could send shockwaves through the U.S. government and around the world.

This is only the second book I’ve read by David Baldacci. The other Baldacci book was Total Control.  I think someone gave it to me. As I remember it was a great stand-alone novel. I was shopping at Sam’s Club and The Hit caught my eye and decided to give it a try. And I was not sorry! This is a fantastic thrill ride!

Will Robie and Jessica Reel (love the name) take us on a globe trotting tale of espionage and betrayal that goes all the way to the upper echelons of the U.S. government. Baldacci creates characters that you really care about and want more of. It also helps that the main characters are contract killers for the CIA. The pace of the book is great and the action is non-stop. If you like action packed political thrillers this book is for you! I give it five out of five stars! Great read!

Since the PS3 to big screen adaptation is in such trouble, losing both its director and Mark Wahlberg, where can we vote for Nathan Fillion (Castle, Firefly) to fill the role of Drake? As evidence, note how he actually looks like the character in question.

Pretty close, huh? Fillion’s got the rugged good looks and debonair charm to fill the Drake role. Not that Mark Wahlberg would have been bad. Marky Mark knows how to do action, but look at Mr. Fillion! We’ve got a winner folks!

However, here is a real bone of contention I’m currently having with Hollywood: Tom Cruise playing Lee Child’s Jack Reacher!

Are you serious, Casting Director?! They don’t look anything alike! Jack Reacher is something like 250 pounds, muscles beyond muscles, 6′ 5″, and blond hair! Tom Cruise is short! He is like 5’7″ on a good day! And the hair…

Now, if they were actually looking for an actor that could really stand up (haha) to the Jack Reacher legacy, let’s try out Alexander Skarsgard of True Blood: 6’4″, 250lbs, and best of all, blond hair. How about Mr. Skarsgard as Jack Reacher?

Perfect! He’s got the muscles, the hair, and the olive drab t-shirt! He’s perfect for the part! This is Jack Reacher right here!

Where can we vote for Mr. Skarsgard and get Tom Cruise off the One Shot island?

Unbroken is the latest offering by Laura Hillenbrand, the woman who wrote Seabiscuit. Several of my friends and family have read this moving story, so I figured I’d give it a shot.

Now you have to understand, I am not a big fan of non-fiction, especially tragic non-fiction. I have spent a good part of my life trying to escape reality, so usually it is wild, crazy fiction for me. Zombies, robots, unrealistic action and adventure. This is where I live. Unbroken on the other hand, is pure unadulterated life and life at its worst. This book was hard to read at times, but oh so worth it.

Unbroken is the story of former Olympic runner, Louis Zamperini. After competing in the 1936 Olympics, Louie finds himself drafted into World War II as a bombardier on a “Flying Coffin”, otherwise known as a B-24 bomber. Throughout the course of the book, Zamperini finds himself shipwrecked, lost at sea, and then eventually a Japanese Prisoner of War. Hillenbrand is a meticulous researcher and she spares us none of the gruesome details of Louie’s time as a POW. However, as bad as his experiences are, his story really exemplifies the character qualities that are mentioned in the title. Throughout all the good and bad things that happened to Louis Zamperini during the course of his life and in particular his imprisonment, he survives beyond all odds, bounces back despite his circumstances, and finds redemption not only with his captors, but with all the others that share in his life. Redemption in this book also refers to the fact that Loius accepts Christ at a Billy Graham Crusade. The ultimate redemption: being brought back in to relations with his loving Heavenly father through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

My father-in-law both share the same view of the latter events. We wished Hillenbrand had delved more into Zamperini’s life after accepting Christ and his work with Billy Graham, however, the book was about his WWII experiences and his time with Christ and Graham certainly take place after WWII. She stuck to the time period faithfully, dedicating only a few chapters to Loius’ post-war experiences.

Hillenbrand has a great writing style that is informative, you not boring. I personally could have lived without all the grueling details of Louis’ detainment, but she writes about them in detail, and in doing so really drives home how much misery and woe one person can take and not give up. Resilience exemplified.

I highly recommend this as an essential read for anyone. Great book!

Up next: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Look who’s got a Nook…

Posted: July 11, 2011 in Miscellaneous

After a lot of debate and going back and forth between the various ereaders, I finally decided on the Barnes and Noble Nook Simple Touch Reader rather than the ever popular Amazon Kindle. And I have not been disappointed. 

The two things that swayed me to the Nook were these: the battery life is two months (versus Kindle’s one) and that it has as touch screen. I can advance pages with a touch of the screen, but can also use the bumpers if I desire. Overall it is lighter, smaller,  and just slicker all the way around. When you need to use a keyboard, a digital one appears on the screen.

I’ve also heard that the Nook Simple Touch runs on the popular Android software. Here is a little known fact: you can use the search feature on the Nook when connected to Internet and you have a simple web browser at your disposal. Good for viewing, but the Nook software does not let you type when pulling up Gmail or Facebook. Maybe this feature will come in a future software update.

Overall, I have been very satisfied with the Nook. I was looking for an ereader, not a tablet. The iPad 2 would win that battle, even though the Nook Color is a pretty slick little tablet coming in at a mere $249. I have read several books on the Nook so far and am very happy with it. I just downloaded a NKJV bible for it, and that has been cool so far as well.

Heat Wave – Richard Castle

Posted: March 24, 2011 in Book Reviews
Fans of the ABC show “Castle” are very familiar with the star of the series, novelist Richard Castle (Nathan Filion). Fans are also familiar with Castle’s fictional character Nikki Heat. Much to my surprise, I found out that there is an actual novel called “Heat Wave” written by, guess who, Richard Castle. Here is the synopsis from Amazon:

A New York real estate tycoon plunges to his death on a Manhattan sidewalk. A trophy wife with a past survives a narrow escape from a brazen attack. Mobsters and moguls with no shortage of reasons to kill trot out their alibis. And then, in the suffocating grip of a record heat wave, comes another shocking murder and a sharp turn in a tense journey into the dirty little secrets of the wealthy. Secrets that prove to be fatal. Secrets that lay hidden in the dark until one NYPD detective shines a light.


Mystery sensation Richard Castle, blockbuster author of the wildly best-selling Derrick Storm novels, introduces his newest character, NYPD Homicide Detective Nikki Heat. Tough, sexy, professional, Nikki Heat carries a passion for justice as she leads one of New York City’s top homicide squads. She’s hit with an unexpected challenge when the commissioner assigns superstar magazine journalist Jameson Rook to ride along with her to research an article on New York’s Finest. PulitzerPrize-winning Rook is as much a handful as he is handsome. His wise-cracking and meddling aren’t her only problems. As she works to unravel the secrets of the murdered real estate tycoon, she must also confront the spark between them. The one called heat.

I am a huge Castle fan. I have both seasons on DVD and watch them repeatedly. The story and characters are so interesting and compelling. Consequently, I was very excited to read the actual “Heat Wave” book. This is where my excitement ended. While it is a good book, if you really enjoy Castle and Beckett’s relationship and interaction on the show, I personally would suggest skipping the book. Watch the show instead. Unless you have the proper perspective.

Which I didn’t. I read the book as if Rook was Castle and Beckett was Nikki Heat. With that said, I really just enjoy watching the show. If I want a dose of the ABC series, I’ll tune in Mondays at 10:00.

Now for the book. The book started off a little slow, and the author (who is still a mystery) seemed to be struggling to find the voice of the characters. About a third of the way through, he (or she) found their stride. The characters started to become more real. The story really hits a good pace and I started to care about the main characters and the plot of  the story. The writing style remains a little choppy for my personal preference, but the story does move along quickly and the action is well done.  The “whodunit” aspect of the story was intriguing and kept me guessing until the end.

I enjoyed reading “Heat Wave”, and if you have a time when you’re reading schedule is light and want a quick, fun read, “Heat Wave” is for you. Maybe I’m not a “true” fan of the show (I think I am), but for my dose of Castle and Beckett, I’ll stick to the writers of the show and not the “fictional” characters.

We Need Your Help!!!

Posted: March 9, 2011 in Adoption

MOWA (Ministry of Women’s Affairs) is planning on limiting adoptions in Ethiopia by 90%. Let’s keep this from happening!

www.gopetition.com

The Ministry’s plan to reduce intercountry adoption by 90% is a tragic, unnecessary and a disproportionate reaction to concerns of isolated abuses in the intercountry adoption process.

We support the Ministry’s goal of ensuring ethical adoptions that serve the best interest of children and serve all vulnerable children & families.

We respectfully urge the Ministry to consider the overwhelmingly positive, ethical and legal services provided to children and families through intercountry adoption. Rather than eliminate the right of Ethiopian children to a permanent family, we encourage the Ministry to accept the partnerships offered by governments, NGOs, and foundations.

Such partnerships could increase the Ministry’s capacity to regulate service providers, further ensure ethical adoptions and expand services to more families and children.

We, respectfully urge the Ministry of Women’s, Children’s and Youth Affairs to reconsider its plan and to partner with governments, NGOs and foundations to achieve their goals and avoid the coming tragedy for children and families.

Please sign this petition to keep adoptions happening in Ethiopia in an effort to serve the children of that country. – Steve

A Blog Reborn… Sort of

Posted: March 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

So, it has been a long time since I have blogged. Honestly, I haven’t been motived to blog. Nor have I had a cause. There are so many things in this life that I use to occupy my time, and writing on my blog is not one of them. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 takes up some free time (more than it should), and honestly, Facebook games are a good distraction as well. I’m not really “socially networking”, I’m just playing Zuma Blitz. I don’t even update my statuses much anymore. Blitz games are the best!

The major reason, I believe, for not blogging is also a lack of focus or a reason to write. When I started this blog, it was very politically motivated. It was the 2004 election and as a good conservative, I was waging the word war to “convince” people that George Bush and the Republican Party was the way to go. While we know how that turned out, I have become less political since then. Not that I don’t espouse what I believe, but I’ve given up trying to sway people to my view of things. If they share my views great, if not, that is great too. I can only go with my conscience. My conscience can’t dictate what you believe, even though sometimes I wish it could…

Consequently, the World of Tomorrow has not really had a voice since then. I’ve tried to tackle pop culture, which is great, but it’s pretty much fluff. How much stuff can I write about comic books and video games? I do like to watch movies and read, so that will have a place here. It is good to share interests with others. I do like to write, but I lack focus. It is time to try and find my voice again.

From here on out, at least for a couple weeks (that’s my guess), I’m going to try and write again and talk about “the world of tomorrow”. A recent event in the world threatens to impact my life negatively. I need to give a voice to that. More on that to come in a different post. It deserves its own space and focus.

Also, if you didn’t know, I believe in the essential and saving power of Jesus Christ. My relationship with God was broken, and Jesus came to restore that relationship with Him. He gave his life and shed His blood as a sacrifice for me. But not only for me, but for everyone in the world. We all have the need for a relationship with Jesus, whether we know it or not. Maybe this is where the voice of this blog needs to be heard. Our actions today can definitely influence our world tomorrow, whether it be half way across the world or the person next door.

Wish me luck as I endeavor to breathe life back into the “World of Tomorrow”!