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Apr. 1st, 2011 | 02:02 am
posted by: abbypeace in thebookbag

The toughest writers of the world are the ones that put that knuckle in storytelling. Blessings goes out accordingly to Dashiell Hammett, Mickey Spillane, James Patterson, Walter Mosley, Robert Crais, Donald Goines, Raymond Chandler, Michael Connelly, Elmore Leonard, Dennis LeHane, Ian Fleming, James Ellroy, K'wan Foye, Korede Abayomi, Chinue Achebe, Edgar Poe, Ernest Hemingway, etc. If you've read these writers then you know exactly what I'm talking about, with their gritty tales. I just finish this new novel last night, called Shebang!, and I honestly think it's the best hardcore fiction I've ever read. The storyline is filled with conflicts, police against thugs, and the smooth ladies. This writer (Korede Abayomi) wasn't playing with his characters, because, as a reader, it shocks you (sometimes deeply) when a character you're starting to build a bond with suddenly dies. The Police were the adamant subject of this novel, as it decipher their methods, the methods of the NYPD, used against their fiercest enemies, the common thugs. 

Here's the printed synopsis of Shebang!

Imagine New York City in a state of panic, a frenzy shoot-out in the middle of Times Square, a race war brewing between two gangs, citizens and journalists alike clamoring about the murder-rate, and the NYPD armed and ready to shoot it out with their rivals.., all these stemming from a shocking murder that rock the east-side of Brooklyn.
For hard-nosed detectives like Shawn and Philip, solving crimes and catching murderers is a daily job. But how will they handle chaos and insurgency in the Big Apple? Who will survive, and how will the victory be won?

The shocker - and saddest part - of this novel is when Philip (one of the hard-nosed detectives) was suddenly gunned down, in broad daylight. That's when the chaos in New York City began, with the surviving detective (Shawn) mounting a full force against the city gangs. City-wide raids were enforced, and the insurgents were killed off one by one, in a very stylish way you can only read about. This book is fun.  Forty chapters of non-stop action and suspense.

When my friend first told me about this novel Shebang! , and the writer, i decided to look up his name that night on the internet, and then I clicked on his homepage Koredeabayomi.org   Here I saw that he was offering full digital downloads of Shebang! for free only for that week -  two weeks ago). I downloaded the book, and i was blown away by the first chapters. I continued reading on through my laptop until my eyes got tired from the flashing screen. The next day i decided to order the AUTOGRAPHED copy of the book, from the same website. Simply put, this is the best $12  i have ever spent, especially in this new age, when you can download, and then place an order for the writer's signature; especially one of this magnitude. I'll say no more.
KoredeAbayomi.org

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Castle Lark and the Tale that Stopped Time

Mar. 27th, 2011 | 02:46 pm
posted by: thecrimsonfiend in thebookbag


Castle Lark and the Tale that Stopped Time by Zelda Leah Gatuskin

Synopsis: In a surprisingly cheery post-earth evacuation story, two teenagers return to explore earth as it repairs itself with a mysterious Vine. Everyone seems to have different intentions for how to deal with the Vine, but it has a master plan all its own. Science-fiction and Fantasy.

Review: The was a surprising look into not only what might happen to the planet if humans have their say, but also into ancient earths past. This story really has it all- wizards, hover cars, life on mars, mystical plant life, romance, hope for the future, and a nicely pulled of happy ending. While Gatuskin seems to enjoy weaving multiple new layers into her story at any given moment, there are a few things she does absolutely perfectly. The distinction between the children who were born on mars, and the parents who evacuated earth as children is painted with both amusement and longing for the world they’ve never know. Gatuskin understands the principles of science fiction perfectly and the story shows it. 

Other notes: I picked up this book precisely because it had a dismal review from Library Journal (deciding when to trust book critics is my new mission). I was really happy to find out the review was wrong. While the book does have a slow start, it is definitely worth the read as the ending is so intricate and well done. However, if you are looking for a copy of this book, you won’t find it on Amazon- I borrowed my copy from a friend, and I’ve been told the only way to find it is the author’s website, http://www.amadorbooks.com/books/caslark.htm . It is a rare find, but definitely a good one. I plan on reading some of Gatuskin’s poetry when I can get my hands on it. 


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The Island of the Day before by Umberto Eco

Feb. 8th, 2009 | 08:00 pm
mood: thankfulthankful
posted by: chrischinchilla in thebookbag

The Island of the Day before by Umberto Eco
www.umbertoeco.com
Umberto Eco is often a difficult read, he has a tendency to take a really good (semi-fictional) plot and wrap in a lot of intellectual posturing that can become annoying and fundamentally far too distracting to continue reading. I am well aware of his vices and whilst I frequently have no idea what he is talking about I still really enjoying reading his books and would even list him as one of my favourite authors. The Island of the Day before is perhaps one of Umberto Eco’s easiest reads with a fairly simple plot by his standards and enough beautifully written descriptions and prose to cope with a relatively small amount of intellectual discussion. The story tells of a young noble in the 17th century who gets abandoned on a mysterious ship in an unknown location and his (and the western world’s) coming to grips with discovering new worlds, sciences and cultures whilst attempting to cling on to the familiar, mystical and old world. A wonderful read with a lead character that you will love, despise, support and become frustrated with throughout the book.

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1421, Gavin Menzies

Oct. 24th, 2008 | 03:53 pm
location: Melbourne, Australia
mood: peacefulpeaceful
music: Natural's Not In It-Gang Of Four-Return The Gift
posted by: chrischinchilla in thebookbag

1421, Gavin Menzies
www.1421.tv
Living within the European focussed world view that many of us have had instilled into us from an early age it is often hard to forget that there are and were highly developed civilisations besides the Europeans, and the Europeans weren’t necessarily always the first to achieve or discover things. In 1421 Gavin Menzies sets out a believable hypothesis that the first nation to ‘discover’ and ‘chart’ the rest of the world outside of their own locality was the Chinese and not those who we’re led to believe such as Columbus and Magellan. He also sets out many pieces of evidence to show that China had a tremendous level of contact and influence on many nations around the world including the Aboriginals, Maori, Native Americans, African nations and more. The final strand of his hypothesis goes on to show that the European explorers were actually in possession of Chinese maps before they set out into the ‘unknown’. Perhaps the most fascinating elements of the book is realising how advanced the Chinese were, long before the rest of the world, in terms of technology, trade and attitude (there are no cases of Chinese slaughtering native races for no reason) and the shear scale of their operations, showing that the Chinese wielding massive power and potential is nothing new. The fact that China has only recently come out of the self imposed insularity it commenced in 1421 (thus drawing to a close it’s exploration and trading empires) makes this a very current and apt book. Gavin Menzies style is extremely enthusiastic, he is clearly passionate about his subject, he repeats himself a lot and his somewhat amateurish writing style sometimes grates, some waffling aside though, this is a truly fascinating read that makes you question a lot of what we believe and hold true in European society.
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JPod

Sep. 17th, 2008 | 02:20 pm
location: Melbourne, Australia
mood: happyhappy
posted by: chrischinchilla in thebookbag

JPod
Douglas Coupland
www.jpod.info
 
Perhaps the closest reference point to Douglas Coupland for those of you unfamiliar with his work is Kurt Vonnegut, a reference point that I’m sure Douglas Coupland hears frequently. If you’re unfamiliar with either’s work then I guess the best description would be, “different” or maybe “hyper real”, characters sort of shamble through in a state of confusion that no one else suffers from with odd occurrences happening to them that no one else considers odd. JPod is a book about and aimed at Geeks, there are a lot of references in the text to computers, Geek culture and attitudes that may be lost on those unfamiliar with them, whilst this wont detract from the plot, Jokes will certainly be missed. JPod also makes a habit of inserting lots of random pages into the book, some relevant, some a complete waste of tree, for example over 60 pages filled with numbers involved in games that the characters play with each other whilst at work, a nice character building device, but a waste of paper.
A funny and easy read (this took me a week and I don’t have a lot of time to read in my life) full of accurate and amusing observations, but one that will be lost on many people.
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Rome & Jerusalem

Sep. 17th, 2008 | 02:05 pm
location: Melbourne, Australia
mood: happyhappy
posted by: chrischinchilla in thebookbag

Martin Goodman
Buy from Readings
 
This book took me a very long time to read, months in fact, the topic is a weighty one, not hard to understand or absorb, just one that can only be digested in short sittings. It deals with the long running conflict between Rome and Jerusalem, dating back to the latter years of BC and effectively (through recurring anti Semitism) running until now. However this book deals with events primarily up to 4th Century AD and the collapse of the Roman Empire in the West, including the fascinating reign of Constantine who took the Roman Empire from abusing Christians, to spreading their word and simultaneously alienating even more in the Jewish world.
A fascinating read, but not for the faint hearted or those expecting to learn more on the subject any time soon.
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The Prester Quest, Nicholas Jubber

Apr. 28th, 2008 | 09:23 pm
location: Melbourne, Australia
mood: lovedloved
posted by: chrischinchilla in thebookbag

The Prester Quest
Nicholas Jubber
www.amazon.com/Prester-Quest-Nicholas-Jubber/dp/0385607024
 
The prester quest is a story of two men’s present day retracing of a journey from Italy to Ethiopia made by a Papal Emissary in 1177. His mission to deliver a letter to a supposedly (and widely believed to be) real King of a fantastical Christian land in the heart of Islamic lands. I read a similar 'retracing the steps' book (Victoria Clarks, The Wayfarers) about a year ago, which was an amazing read, so this book had a lot to live up to. It starts slowly and doesn’t really get going until about a quarter of a way through the book, the author's slightly facetious tone initially rather annoying and patronizing. However once the plot and journey kicks in the book is a gripping read full of interesting facts, observations and experiences from History and their eventful journey across several countries, continents and cultures.

Or read on my website at www.chinchillamusic.com/article.php?ID=185
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Bill Bryson – A Short History of nearly everything

Mar. 16th, 2008 | 09:21 pm
location: Melbourne, Australia
mood: exhaustedexhausted
music: Goodbye Girl-Squeeze-The Big Squeeze : Best Of (Disc 1)
posted by: chrischinchilla in thebookbag

Bill Bryson – A Short History of nearly everything
Black Swan

I have a recently rediscovered passion and interest for History, absorbing many tomes over the past few months, my favourite being brief surmises of ‘all of History’.

Possibly it’s laziness or a fear of delving to deeply into specific areas of History so early into my enthusiasm, or perhaps a desire to get an overall picture of the state of the world before specialising. Whatever the reason Bill Bryson’s infamous book that comes highly recommended from many sources is nothing to do with human history as such, rather a history of how we got here in the first place. 574 pages (plus 110 pages of notes and indices) dealing with weighty topics such as the creation of the universe, scientific pioneers and Evolution with an enthusiasm and clarity so often missing from such volumes, not only dealing with the issues but also revealing some of the fascinating characters and lives behind infamous discoveries.

Perhaps one of the most remarkable aspects is the stories behind such familiar names, sometimes you hear so much about historical characters and their achievements you forget that they also suffered struggles, had lives, relationships and personalities. The book is a pleasure to read, you learn so much without it flying straight over your head or sending you to sleep, despite it’s topics you find the book hard to put down, eager to discover what happens next or what crazy ideas scientists came up with next.

It’s simultaneously scary and refreshing to realise that we actually know very little about the world around us and that so much of what we think we know has been discovered relatively recently. Likewise a lot of our assumptions and conjectures on the universe are based on such little evidence; there are many tales of completely and utterly ridiculous mistakes, but who’s to say that our assumptions now are any more accurate.

Life is fascinating, complex and confusing, full of amazing coincidences and mysteries, if you have even a modicum of interest in who we are and how we got here then I heartily recommend Bryson’s extraordinarily accessible book and challenge anyone not to learn at least a handful of captivating facts to conjure up during drunken late night conversations.
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hi

Feb. 3rd, 2008 | 09:37 pm
posted by: mcpon in thebookbag

I would like to tell you guys about a forum for discussing children's literature.  It's a place to meet new people of like-mind.  Thank you!
Children's Books forum - Home

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Review! for three books

Jan. 26th, 2007 | 09:41 pm
posted by: broadway_bound3 in thebookbag

I have three books to Review so it's going under the cut. I've been lazy about doing the reviews so I'm catching up now.

 
Now I'm off to read Mary Shelly's Frankenstein

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