Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Risk Agent by Ridley Pearson

John Knox and Grace Chu are paired up in China to find Chu's relative that has been kidnapped and Knox's friend has been kidnapped as well. Chu is looking into the financial aspect of the kidnapping and Knox is the brawn. The pair of them have to sort through a tangle of information and keep themselves safe. And still rescue the two individuals that have been kidnapped.

This book started out a little slow for me but after about a third of the way through, I couldn't put it down. I loved the characters of Knox and Chu throughout the book. They seemed to compliment each other quite well. The suspense was developed nicely. I also like the format of the book with the dates and times listed as you read.

One of the issues that I found myself struggling with was that there were so many characters that it was hard to keep up with how they were all associated with one another. By the end of the book I was a little lost but I still enjoyed it and it didn't detract from the book too much.

I enjoyed the inserts about the Chinese history and culture. I felt that Pearson included enough information about China but did not go too overboard and bore the reader. I also like that he would write a word in Chinese but give the English translation. It brought the book to life for me.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Pearson did not disappoint me. I loved the suspense, the characters, the twists and turns, and the setting. I would love to see Knox and Chu come into play in a future Ridley Pearson novel.

(This book was received through LibraryThing Early Reviewers. ARC. Read August 2012.)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Don't Ever Get Old by Daniel Friedman

This is a story of a cantankerous old man named Buck Schatz. An old acquaintance from the war wants to talk to him before he dies. This man informs Buck that the soldier who tortured him during the war is actually still alive and that he took some gold from that soldier in order to give him passage out of the country. Buck is furious. This acquaintance betrayed him and now wants him to find the rest of the gold. Buck is going to ignore this death bed plea until more people start approaching him about the gold. Before he knows it, Buck is drug into the treasure hunt and he has brought his grandson along with him. Bodies start turning up and Buck could be one of them if he doesn't tread carefully.

This was an interesting book. I loved the humor throughout the book and it started from the moment I read Buck's name the first time. The author did a wonderful job with the character Buck. Buck has smart responses to everyone around him, including his wife. I think Buck is the type of character that most people want to become in their old age...cantankerous, witty, no nonsense, and still up for a wild adventure.

After completing the book, I realized that I found the book entertaining but that I didn't hang on to the plot as much as I did the humor and the characters. The story was not bad but I think it was overshadowed by the personalities of the characters. I was anxious to find out how Buck was going to get everything ironed out but I was also anxious to know how Buck was doing after everything was over. I would recommend this books as a humorous book with a mystery twist. 

(Please note that this book was received through NetGalley. Thank you, St. Martin's Press, for the opportunity to read this book. Read on Kindle August 2012.)

Deep Down by Lee Child

This is a short story with Jack Reacher as the main character. This story is a typical Reacher story...just a lot shorter. If you are not a Lee Child/Jack Reacher fan, this book will probably seem pointless and a waste of time. For Child/Reacher fans, it is always fun to read another story that has Reacher solving a problem in his unique way. I do not mind the short stories but I definitely like the full length stories more because Child is able to develop the story to keep you on the edge of your seat. The short stories do not have the same suspense and impact that is in the full length books. This book is worth the read if you enjoy Reacher. I would not recommend it to anyone who is new to Jack Reacher.

Maze Runner by James Dashner

I had seen this book mentioned many times by my friends who love young adult books. I decided to pick it up and see what they were talking about.

Thomas finds himself in a box and being lifted up in the box. When the doors are opened, there is a large group of boys looking in on him. Thomas doesn't remember anything of his past and he has no idea what is going on in the place in which he was delivered. He starts trying to ask questions and no one has a straight answer for him. Things are strange in this new world and before he knows it, things get even stranger when the first girl is brought into their world. Things continue to spiral out of control once she arrives and all of them have to figure out how to survive.

I found the beginning of this book a little slow and annoying. Thomas is constantly asking what is going on and the answers are vague or not given at all. I found myself as frustrated as Thomas with the lack of answers and how he was being treated by the other boys.

As the story continues, I found myself less irritated. I became anxious about how they would get through and survive the Maze. After about half way through the book, I couldn't put it down. I was so impressed with how Thomas fought through all the questions and persevered.

I felt like this book was different from many of the other young adult books I have read lately. It felt like it wasn't a "copy" of an idea from someone else. There could be other books out like it but I have not encountered any of them to date. I thought that the author was inventive and left you wanting more at the end of the book. I look forward to picking up the next book. 

(Library Book read Aug 2012)