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Jeremy M. Nelson RSS Feed (Santa Clarita, CA United States)
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The Ruins
The Ruins
by Scott Smith
Edition: Hardcover
287 used & new from $0.01

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Are you master of your fate???, July 31, 2006
This review is from: The Ruins (Hardcover)
Don't read this book because you liked (or loved) "A Simple Plan" - it's NOT the same book. "A Simple Plan" was written in such a way that it was virtually impossible to put down - the pace was fast and furious. You will probably find that you put "The Ruins" down quite a bit - but not because it's boring but because you will need time to "digest" (no pun intended, for those of you who have read the book) the events that take place in its 300+ pages. However, you should read this book if you like Smith's recurring theme of fate and man's ability/inability to control it. Both books forced me to think about my ability to control circumstances and the hubris with which I often assume I am the "master of my fate." I guess that is what makes "The Ruins" so much harder to read and so much more disturbing to finish - Smith has taken the theme to a whole new, darker level. Indeed, this is what makes "The Ruins" a work of horror - not because it's scary in the way that is typical to this genre. However, I don't want this review to be a spoiler, so let me just say - read it - not because it's "A Simple Plan, part II" but because it will do what all good books do - make you think long after you finished the final page.


The Third Secret: A Novel of Suspense
The Third Secret: A Novel of Suspense
by Steve Berry
Edition: Hardcover
159 used & new from $0.01

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stick to thrillers, not liberal projection, June 26, 2005
The one thing this author does really well, and we see it in both The Amber Room and The Romanov Prophecy, is combine history and suspense. When it comes to his latest thriller, The Third Secret, there are plenty of both. The main problem, and this is why I only give it 3 stars, is the huge amount of "liberal projection" Mr. Berry foists onto the Roman Catholic Church. I will not give away the "third secret", but I will say that he somehow assumes that the message given at Fatima was written by the liberal branch of the Catholic Church. On one hand, I suppose this says more about the obvious chasm that separates the American (and to a lesser degree European church) from her friends south of the equator. With the election of Benedict, and the subsequent moaning and groaning in America, is it clear that there is a divide in the church over basic issues; homosexuality, marriage of priests, women in the church, etc. The best place for this dialogue is not in a work of fiction. I am not Catholic, but even I took great offense at the notion that it is appropriate to project one's person bias onto a historical event and then shroud it in historical truth. I hate this about Oliver Stone and I am disappointed by it in Mr. Berry. This is an author with great promise and I hate to see him obscure history through his own narrow lens. I hope that his next work of "fiction" keeps this in mind. Stick to what you do well, Mr. Berry!!!


The Romanov Prophecy: A Novel
The Romanov Prophecy: A Novel
by Steve Berry
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
273 used & new from $0.01

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The very best of historical fiction and thriller combined!!!, May 10, 2005
Wow!!! I pick up a lot of paperbacks that sound like they might be interesting, but they always end up being about the same. I thought this novel sounded interesting and, with my background in Russian history and travel, worth a read. I am glad I did. Mr. Berry knows two things : how to write historical fiction but remain true to facts and how to make a thriller that is both captivating and satifying. I haven't been this excited by a work of this genre since Caleb Carr's Alienist. I think the real strength of this novel is its plausability - there is never a time when you realize that this is obviously a work of fiction because an event has transpired that is grossly unrealistic. Even the relationship between the two main characters - raven and eagle - seems plausible- there is no immediate strormy sexcapde, but rather a gradual development and understanding of each other. Even the idea that Russia would give up its feeble attempts at democracy (and we all know thats been a joke - just look at Putin (aka new Stalin) to reembrace its tsarist past seems likely and, in my opinion, not a bad idea. Russia must come to terms with its present if it is to have any kind of future and this novel addresses that issue. But, to make a short review shorter, go buy this book. Mr. Berry has proven with this book that he is a fierce competitor to anyone else out there writing this type of fiction. Three cheers and may the next book be even better.


Churchill: A Biography
Churchill: A Biography
by Roy Jenkins
Edition: Paperback
Price: $18.70
232 used & new from $0.01

2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's no William Manchester, but it has some merit., January 9, 2003
This review is from: Churchill: A Biography (Paperback)
I was both delighted and perplexed by Roy Jenkin's biography of Churchill. Having read Gladstone and enjoying it thoroughly, I expected the same with Jenkin's lastest tome. I also picked this work because I know that Jenkins is a liberal (Labour) and I thought this might add an interesting perspective to my understanding of the "greatest man of the century."
To begin on a positive note, it is clear that this biography will provide future chroniclers of Churchill some invaluable "insider" information on this great man. Jenkin's comes to the subject with not only the writer's gift, but the practical experience of having worked with Churchill and within the "beltway" of Whitehall. While the name dropping gets a bit tiresome, it is clear that Jenkin's understanding of British politics helps to define Churchills place within it.
Unfortunately, this amounts to "sound and fury" without capturing the true essence of Churchill. I "discovered" Sir Winston through the amazing (so far two volume) work of William Manchester. Not only is Manchester the greatest biographer of our time, but he makes Churchill come alive. I was so inspired by Manchester's work, that I added a new hero to my collection. I was dismayed to see that the few times Jenkin's refers to Manchester it is entirely negative. I also found it disconcerting that Manchester is not cited in the bibliography. This is unfortunate. What is ironic, is that Jenkin's is clearly "Eden" to Manchester's "Churchill" when it comes to capturing the greatest of PM's. Furthermore, this biography does almost nothing with Churchill's remaining 10 years and has the most abrupt ending of any biography I've ever seen. Indeed, it rather ended like my 11th grade student's term papers end - having given you a wealth of facts and a dearth of true understanding.


The Company: A Novel of the CIA
The Company: A Novel of the CIA
by Robert Littell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $35.00
215 used & new from $0.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Destined to be a classic of the Cold War spy genre, August 1, 2002
I must admit that I had never hear of Littell until I saw this book at the local bookstore. I have always been a Cold War genre fan and so I picked it up. I need only say that, having just finished this book, it will probably become a classic. Both in scope and detail, this book encapsulates an entire era. "The Company" is told with obvious insider knowledge of the workings and history of the CIA as well as keeping a fast-paced, engaging dialogue. There is also an honesty to this book about the workings of the agency of the past 60 years. It doesn't shy away from the failures of the CIA. However, it also gives pretty convincing ideas about why the Company has had failures (Bay of Pigs, Hungary, etc.) by introducing the idea of a high level American spy who leaks the secrets of these actions to his KGB handler. Just finding out who this character is (code name SASHA) makes the book a great read.


Atlantis Found: A Dirk Pitt Adventure (Dirk Pitt Adventures)
Atlantis Found: A Dirk Pitt Adventure (Dirk Pitt Adventures)
by Clive Cussler
Edition: Hardcover
538 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars First Time Reader and Hooked . . ., February 3, 2000
I have always avoided the Clive Cussler section of the bookstore because, quite honestly, I didn't trust someone with that kind of a name to entertain me for endless hours. I was under the misconception that he was just more Tom Clancy ala undersee. I WAS WRONG! Atlantis Found is one of the best books I've ever read of its genre. It's fast, furious and exhausting. It even has Nazi's and they always make the best bad guys. I am now committed to reading every Cussler out there. Read it.


A History of the American People
A History of the American People
by Paul Johnson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.85
144 used & new from $5.98

0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First-rate one valume history of the U.S., April 9, 1999
One of the hallmarks of Mr. Johnson's spectacular career as a historian is his desire to get beyond the trivialities of detail (i.e. nitpickey reader from San Gabriel) and to explain how we, as Americans, have gotten to this point in time - good and bad. The sheer scope of this work can be overwhelming if not viewed from this vantage point. Also, this book makes you think and it is HIGHLY opinionated. However, Johnson meticulously footnotes his tome and gives readers a bibliography in which he points readers in the direction of books with opposing viewpoints to his own. It is true that anal-retentive liberals won't like this book and will, instead of focusing on the profound issues of the book, use the "hey this fact isn't correct" diversion. Don't be fooled! With a book of this size, an error here and there is bound to happen and a better editor might have caught this. However, it does not detract from a well-written and highly entertaining history


Angel in the Whirlwind: The Triumph of the American Revolution
Angel in the Whirlwind: The Triumph of the American Revolution
by Benson Bobrick
Edition: Paperback
118 used & new from $0.01

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent one volume history of the American Revolution, June 29, 1998
This is the first history of the American Revolutionary period that I actually enjoyed reading "for fun." Mr. Bobrick's obvious skills as an author have turned this exciting and inspirational period into just that. I knew this book was going to be fantasic about half way through the chapter on colonial America. While his focus is not on this period, Mr. Bobrick brings this era to life with colorful stories and interesting facts. I am a high school history teacher and am always on the look out for great stories and "interesting" history. THIS IS IT!!!


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