Posts Tagged ‘action-packed’

Tomorrow, When the War Began

October 3, 2012

Tomorrow, When the War Began cover

Author: John Marsden

Genre: Adventure

Publication Date: 1993

Number of Pages: 277

Geographical Setting: Australia, present day (1990s)

Series: The Tomorrow Series (book 1)

Plot Summary:  A group of teenagers blow off the town’s festivities to go camping in Hell.  After a relaxing week in the Australian bush, the group returns to the unimaginable: empty homes, spoiled food and dead dogs.  The book reads like the first in a series, giving ample time for a fully developed setting and character development before jumping into the thrilling plot.  The characters transform as their new bleak reality sets in.  Readers discover character growth and plot development through a single narrator’s point of view.  The book ends on a suspenseful note as the group decides how best to deal with the grave situation at hand.

Subject Headings: Resourcefulness in teenagers; Hiding; Imprisonment; Resourcefulness; Determination in teenagers; Determination (Personal quality); Guerrilla warfare; War; Survival; Teenagers – Australia; Wilderness areas — Australia

Appeal:  Action-packed; Builds in intensity; Suspenseful; Bleak; Compelling; Series characters; Introspective; Detailed setting; Accessible; Small-town; Episodic; Flawed; Emotionally-charged; Coming-of-age

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Compelling; Bleak; Emotionally-charged

Three fiction read-alikes:

Life as we knew it by Susan Beth Pfeffer (Bleak, Emotionally intense, Compelling, Survival, Series)

Set in rural Pennsylvania, 16 year-old Miranda’s life changed in a blink of an eye as a meteor causes more trouble than scientists predicted.  Miranda and her family struggle to survive the Earth’s violent reaction to this event.

Holding Their Own: A Story of Survival by Joe Nobody (Survival, Action-packed, Series)

Set in 2015, a couple must learn to survive in an America that has fallen into a second Great Depression, and devastated by terror attacks resulting in governmental collapse.

Winter’s End by Jean-Claude Mourlevat (Compelling adventure story about teenagers set in other countries)

Set in an unnamed country, this dystopian story is about four teenagers daring escape from their prison-like boarding school.  The teenagers struggle for survival and quest for answers about their past, keeping readers on the edge of their seats.

Three related non-fiction titles:

The Time of the Rebels: Youth Resistance Movements and 21st Century Revolutions by Matthew Collin (Young adults, Resistance)

This book discusses the role youth movements played in taking down oppressive governments.

 Violent Politics: a History of Insurgency, Terrorism & Guerrilla war, from the American Revolution to Iraq by William R. Polk (guerrilla warfare and insurgency in several countries)

William Polk takes a global approach to the history of insurgency, terrorism & guerrilla warfare.

 Red Earth, Blue Sky: the Australian Outback by Margaret Rau (Australian Outback)

The story of Margaret Rau’s journey through the Australian Outback.

Name: Shira

John Dies @ the End

August 1, 2012

Author:  David Wong

Title: John Dies @ the End

Genre: Horror

Publisher/Publication Date:  Thomas Dunne Books, New York. 2009

Number of Pages:  377

Geographical Setting:  “Undisclosed Location” in Midwest, United States of America

Time Period:  Modern Day

Series:  First two books of Web-Published novel

Plot Summary:  “Watch out for Molly.  See if she does anything unusual.  There’s something I don’t trust about the way she exploded and then came back from the dead like that.”  Such is the humor of David Wong and his buddy John, who dies at the end.  Dave is a guy in his mid-twenties, working a dreadful job at a video store, when John “accidentally” injects him with the black soy “sauce,” and everything around them goes to hell.  You see, Dave and John know the world’s going to end, and it is up to them to defeat the evil Korrock, a grotesque being from another dimension.  Along the way they recruit nerdy babes and hard-boiled cops, encounter genuinely scary (and original) foes like centipede-men who wear bad wigs, a man who is literally made of cockroaches, giant slugs and jellyfish, and the deadly bratwurst creature that can’t wait to “meat” you.  This is a tale for nerdy guys and the girls who love them, horror movie fanatics, and those who love creepy crawlies, because there are a lot of them.  Told in a style that is both funny and extremely graphic, you’ll be taken aback at how the characters develop over time, and you will care for them all the way to the explosive conclusion.

Subject Headings:  Psychic Powers–Time-Travel–Aliens–Cockroaches–Shadow Men–Bugs (Slugs, Worms)–Meat–Teenagers–Mental Disabilities–Amputation–Las Vegas–Reptiles–Jellyfish–Video-stores–Drug Addiction–Art (Paintings)–Hell–Guns–Explosions–Video Games–Dark Comedy–Romance–Bro-mance

Appeal: Bizarre,Shocking, Graphic, Genuine, Comical, Quirky, Action-Packed, Bloody, Emotional, Character-Driven, Over-the-top Violence, Dark Humor, Manly, Geeky, Blunt, Silly, Intense, Weird

3 Appeal terms that best describe this book:  Comical, Original, Bizarre

3 Similar Non-Fiction works and authors:

A History of Ghosts:  The True Story of Seances, Mediums, Ghosts and Ghostbusters.  Peter H. Akyroyd.

This is a novel about a man (a skeptic) who grew up in a household where Seances were a normal thing, and talking with ghosts was treated like a normal part of everyday life.  That man is Peter Akyroyd, grandfather of the actor Dan Akyroyd, who supposedly based much of his screenplay Ghostbusters on his grandfather’s life.  Did you know “ectoplasm” is something that actually exists?  This funny, insightful novel will appeal to Wong’s fans for its humor, quirkiness, and downright fun family history full of spirits!  Ghosthunters, look no further.

You Might be a Zombie and Other Bad News: Shocking but Utterly True Facts.  By

David Wong is the pseudonym of Jason Pargin, editor-in-chief of (the online humor magazine).  This hilarious novel combines articles from the various authors of the website into nugget-sized “facts,” with a semi-serious journalist tone.  Readers will love these tales that never take themselves too seriously, yet contain actual, researched information that skews societal norms, but, in turn, also defends them.  David Wong would be proud!

Fangoria’s 101 Best Horror Films You’ve Never Seen:  A Celebration of the World’s Most Unheralded Fright Flicks.  Adam Lukeman, Fangoria Magazine.

Simply put, those who truly love horror subscribe to Fangoria magazine.  In fact, most probably came to know about John Dies @ the End because of it.  This handy reference guide contains a plethora of reviews on horror films, comics, video games, music, and books!  This guide contains a fair amount of “Terror-Trivia” that will appeal to fans of Wong’s work, providing geeky insider knowledge into the myriad details that are the horror world.  Both common and obscure horror titles are included.  Not to be missed!

3 Similar Fiction works and authors:

The Best of H.P. Lovecraft:  Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre.  H.P. Lovecraft, August Derleth (editor)

This collection of short stories contains perhaps the “best” stories Lovecraft has to offer (The Shadow Over Innsmouth, The Dunwich Horror, The Shadow Out of Time).  The ancient monster Cthulu is obviously a creature of great influence in David Wong’s work.  These disturbing stories contain dark creatures from other dimensions, insane human beings, devilish animals, and wicked prophecies and blood-thirsty insects.  Deeply moody and always frightening, a bit of dark humor is thrown in from time to time.  Truly for adults only, make sure not to read these before you go to bed.

Knee-Deep in the Dead ( Doom #1)  Dafydd ab Hugh, Brad Linaweaver

This first book in a series based on the popular computer game Doom contains far more depth than one might associate with violent computer games.  You are a marine with a troubled past, and have now just heard things are not going too well on a moon-post created for “mysterious purposes.”  All of a sudden, you hear a terrible noise, inhumane screaming over your radio.  A swarm of creatures, grotesque, devilish, have just emerged from a portal nearby.  Will you survive the inevitable onslaught?  This book is full of insane battles, logic puzzles, and vividly depicted locales told in a fashion quite similar to David Wong’s.  Highly cinematic.

Parasyte (Volume 1)  Hitoshi Iwaaki

“They arrive in silence and darkness. They descend from the skies. They have a hunger for human flesh. They are everywhere. They are parasites, alien creatures who must invade – and take control of – a human host to survive.”  Such is the introduction to Hitoshi Iwaaki’s sprawling sci-fi/horror manga series, Parasyte.  Shin is a typical high school student until he is infected by one of the alien parasites.  Instead of destroying the parasite he instead forms a mutual bond with it and travels about Tokyo, challenging evil beings and humans alike.  Very gritty and graphic, this series also has strong characters, philosophical musings, and fast-paced, unique battles.  Quite unique indeed.

The Mediterranean Caper

July 23, 2012

Author:  Clive Cussler

Title: The Mediterranean Caper: A Dirk Pitt Novel

Genre: Adventure, Thriller, Suspense

Publisher/Publication Date:  Berkley Books, New York.  1973

Number of Pages:  372

Geographical Setting:  The Island of Thasos, Greece.

Time Period:  Modern Day

Series:  Dirk Pitt series

Plot Summary:  One of the first novels of Cussler’s Dirk Pitt series, this is a tale of intrigue, sabotage, and scientific exploration.  Dirk Pitt  is a rough-and-tumble, modern-day adventure-man with a troubled past, charming wit, and the occasional mean streak about him.  A member of the National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA), Dirk and his brainy colleagues embark on a mission to discover a missing creature in the evolutionary chain, only to be thwarted by a WWI bi-plane.  Pitt’s revenge on the nefarious plane leads to a tale laced with suspense, intrigue, picturesque Roman vistas, tricky villains, snarky quips, beautiful babes, and explosions galore.   This action-infused thriller is a page-turner and never lets up till the exciting conclusion.  As far as thrillers go, Cussler certainly knows what he’s doing.

Subject Headings:  Dirk Pitt (character)–Thosos (Greek Islands)–Military Bases–Submarines–Sabotage–Navy–WW I Planes– Bi-Planes–Classic Cars–Boats– Military History–Roman History–Greek Vistas–Aegean Sea–Labyrinths–Mediterranean–Troubled Pasts–NUMA (National Underwater and Marine Agency)–Adventure–War Criminals–Nazis.

Appeal:  Edgy, Informative, Shocking, Smarmy, Un-pretentious, Action-packed, Witty, Fast-paced, Richly detailed, Violent, Smart, Gut-wrenching, Spry, Loud, Serious.

3 Appeal terms that best describe this book:  Smart, Fast-paced, Loud.

3 Similar Fiction works and authors:

Blood of the Reich.  William Dietrich.

Those who enjoyed the German threads (and machines) in Cussler’s The Mediterranean Caper may enjoy this similar tale about a modern-day publicist who must find the truth about a story on the history of Nazi SS officers and an American Zoologist looking for a legendary energy source in Tibet.  Fast-paced and suspenseful, this story provides a female protagonist akin to Dirk Pitt who is thoughtful, playful, witty, and smart.  Told in alternating chapters (both the past and the present), this tale should please anyone looking for an engaging, page-turning thriller.

State of Fear.  Michael Crichton.

This thought-provoking suspense novel by Crichton is an eco-thriller taking place in various exotic locales such as Paris, Iceland, and the Solomon Islands.  Those who find Cussler’s technologically  intense scientific and militaristic facts intriguing will enjoy this tale about a millionaire dealing with a present-day concern: global warming.  This compelling, richly told tale is both intellectually stimulating with the action-packed, fast-paced pace readers love.

Thunderball.  Ian Fleming.

Those who love Dirk Pitt’s brash, some-what dark, womanizing ways will most likely enjoy this James Bond tale by Ian Fleming.  In this tale Bond deals once again with the evil criminal organization SPECTRE, which has just hijacked an NATO airplane containing two atomic bombs , and is demanding ransom.  Will Bond succeed?  And, will there be beautiful women to cavort with whilst examining cool gadgets and sketchy situations.  Most certainly so!

3 Similar Non-Fiction works and authors:

Castles of Steel.  Robert K. Massie.

This historical, non-fiction novel tells the tale of early, 20th-century naval history between the British and Germans during WWI.  The writing style of this work is filled with intriguing details, is thoughtfully described and is very scholarly, but not boring.  It is a military narrative of the finest proportions, and a good place to start for Cussler fan’s who enjoy his intricately described boats and machines of olden times.

Ancient Greece: A history in eleven cities.  Paul Cartledge.

Those who enjoyed the lushly detailed, mysterious vistas of The Mediterranean Caper might enjoy this historical novel about the development of eleven Greek city states and the politics thereof.  The book contains many significant details and contains a time-line, glossary, and list of important figureheads of the time.  Engaging and well-researched, fast-paced and highly accessible reading.

Horrible shipwreck!a full, true and particular account of the melancholy loss of the British convict ship Amphitrite, the 31st August 1833, off Boulogne, when 108 female convicts, 12 children, and 13 seamen met with a watery grave, in sight of thousands, none being saved out of 136 souls but three!   Andrew C.A. Jampoler.

This amusing, startling story tells the tale of the convict transport ship Amphitrite, and how it came to its ultimate demise off the shores of France in 1833, carrying over 100 women prisoners and their children.  Though non-fiction, this book is action-packed, written in the thriller/adventure style, and is full of intrigue and historical comedy and intrigue.  It contains bibliographical details and an index as well.

Fire and Ice

October 5, 2011

Author: Garwood, Julie

Title: Fire and Ice

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Publciation Date: 2008

Number of Pages: 352

Geographical Setting: Chicago, Illinois; Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.

Time Period: Contemporary

Series (If applicable): Buchanan Novels ( 7 of 8 )

Plot Summary: Sophie Rose is a feisty and tenacious journalist with a nose for a good story. When Sophie leaves her job at a major Chicago newspaper to work for a small local paper in Alaska, she unintentionally finds herself in the middle of a bizarre story. Far from the city crime beat, she now covers local stories and showcases hometown personalities, such as the winner of several area 5K marathons. When that runner turns up dead with Sophie’s business card tucked into one of his trademark red socks, Sophie follows the trail of the mystery north to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. She is accompanied by former FBI agent Jack MacAlister, who serves as her bodyguard. Sophie and Jack face the dangers of the Alaskan wilderness, as well as their growing attraction toward each other.

Subject Headings: Conspiracies, Former FBI Agents, Bodyguards, Attraction, Male/Female Relationships, Protectiveness in Men, Moving to a New State, Murder Investigation, Small Towns, Female Journalists

Appeal: Action-Packed, Character-Driven, Fast-Paced, Atmospheric, Dramatic, Romantic, Steamy, Suspenseful, Conversational, Descriptive, Dialogue-Rich, Simple Language.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Action-Packed, Steamy, and Suspenseful.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Always Time to Die by Elizabeth Lowell

Similar to Sophie Rose, the heroin of this book is a writer who seeks to uncover hidden secrets. Similar to Fire and Ice, this book features action, adventure and romance. Readers who enjoy Romantic Suspense with strong female lead characters may enjoy this book.

The Maze: FBI Series by Catherine Coulter

This book introduces Catherine Coulter’s famous FBI couple, Lacey Sherlock and Dillon Savich. While these characters reappear in many of her books, this book follows a similar pattern to Fire and Ice in that it follows the characters as they solve a mystery, falling in love in the process.

Show No Mercy by Cindy Gerard

This is the first book in Gerard’s well-reviewed Black Ops series. Readers who enjoy Fire and Ice will likely be drawn to many of this book’s similar features. It has a female journalist, political conspiracy, action, adventure, and of course… romance.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Call of the Wild: My Escape to Alaska by Guy Grieve

Alaska serves as an essential backdrop to Fire and Ice. The setting has a significant impact upon the way in which the plot unfolds. Readers who are drawn to Fire and Ice because of its setting may also be drawn to Grieve’s account of his time spent in the Alaskan wilderness.

Emus Loose in Egnar: Big Stories from Small Towns by Judy Muller

The evolution of Sophie’s career as a journalist, especially her transition from the big city to a small town, has significant impact upon her character development. Readers drawn to stories about journalists in small towns may find this an interesting read.

The FBI Career Guide: Inside Information on Getting Chosen for and Succeeding in One of the Toughest, Most Prestigious Jobs in the World by Joseph W. Koletar

Similarly, Jack’s past as an FBI Agent plays a significant role in shaping his character and his personality. Readers drawn to stories about FBI Agents or former FBI Agents may be interested in learning more about the profession.

Name: Brigitte Bell

Star Wars: Legacy

August 10, 2011

Author: Ostrander, John

Title: Star Wars Legacy – Broken

Genre: Graphic Novel – Science Fiction

Publication Date: 2007 – (Last issue of original series published August  2010, series continued with a new story arc with the last issue being published May 2011.)

Number of Pages: Broken is 144 p.

Geographical Setting: A galaxy far, far away …

Time Period: @ 137 years after the Battle of Yavin (The events of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope)

Series: Star Wars: Legacy

Plot Summary: In this graphic novel iteration of the Star Wars saga, much has changed in the 137 years since those plucky rebels blew up the Death Star. The Empire and the Sith have risen again and now vie for control the galaxy. The Jedi have been defeated and are once again hunted as enemies of the state. Additionally, the last f the legendary Skywalker blood line, Cade Skywalker has not only rejected his Jedi heritage but is also addicted to the illicit drugs he uses to cut himself off from the Force. On top of everything else Cade makes his way in the galaxy with his companions, Blue and Jariah,  as bounty hunter often specializing in tracking Jedi. However the Force will not be denied Cade Skywalker is force to reckon with his heritage and embrace his considerable power, when he becomes the prime focus of the powers that be in this newly chaotic galaxy. Broken is the opening chapter of a new story in a newly expanded and re-imagined Star Wars Universe.

Subject Headings: Star Wars, the Force, George Lucas, Expanded Universe,

Appeal: Quick pace, action packed, mature content, accessible, humorous, witty, colorful characters, plot driven, stunning illustrations, political intrigue, philosophical.

3 terms that best describe this book: Space warfare, Jedi saga, slightly grimy space opera.

3 Relevant Non Fiction Works and Authors

Star Wars: The New Essential Chronology by Daniel Wallace, with Kevin J. Anderson


Star Wars: The New Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels by W. Haden Blackman

Star Wars: The New Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology by W. Haden Blackman

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Dark Empire by Tom Veitch (Illustrated by Cam Kennedy): The familiar cast of characters in action set jus after Return of the Jedi chronicling Luke Skywalker’s turn to the Dark Side of the Force and the return of the Emperor.

Dark Empire II by Tom Veitch (Illustrated by Cam Kennedy): Continuation of the first Dark Empire Series.

Tales of the Jedi: Golden Age of the Sith by Kevin J. Anderson: Set over 3,000 years before the events of the original Star Wars trilogy. This series has more of a fantasy feel similar to Martin’s Game of Thrones, with intrigue and feudal infighting.


I, Jedi by Michael A. Stackpole

August 1, 2011

Author: Stackpole, Michael A.

Title: Star Wars: I, Jedi

Genre: Science Fiction

Publication Date: 1998 (Hardcover), 1999 (Softcover)

Number of Pages: 577

Geographical Setting: A galaxy far, far away

Time Period: A long time ago

Series (If applicable): Star Wars – Stand alone novel.

Plot Summary: Corran Horn was once a former officer and pilot in the Corellian Security Force. For personal and political reasons he defected to join the Rebellion against the Galactic Empire, that still persists after the destruction of the second Death Star at the Battle of Endor. Having worked his way through the piloting ranks of the Rebellion, Corran now finds himself as a lead pilot in the Rogue Squadron, the Rebellion/New Republic’s most elite starfighter squadron. During his time in Rogue Squadron, Corran discovers a long lost secret about his heritage and finds that he is descendant from a long and storied line of Jedi Knights. When his wife goes missing on a mission for the newly formed New Republic, Horn joins the first class of Luke Skywalker’s newly formed Jedi Academy, so that he might gain the skills necessary to rescue his wife. Disappointed with the deliberate pace of  Skywalker’s teachings, Corran leaves half trained, and during his mission to save his wife, finds himself tempted by the dark side of the Force.

Subject Headings: Star Wars, George Lucas, Jedi, Galactic Empire, Corran Horn, fighter pilots, The Force.

3 terms that best describe this book: High adventure, suspenseful, space opera.

Similar Authors and Works: Karen Travis, James Luceno, Troy Denning all are regular contributors to the Star Wars Universe. While they have their own unique styles they all know how to maintain the pace of a Star Wars novel.

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card – This book is also about space battles, very dramatic and focuses on a main character’s training and personal development.

Look to Windward by Iain Banks – An intricate plot punctuated by pitched space battles between good and evil.

Once a Hero by Elizabeth Moon – Fast paced science fiction about space warfare, and the main character coming to terms with a storied heritage.


Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Star Wars Art: Visions by J.W. Rinzler (Introduction)  & George Lucas (Foreword)

Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary by David West Reynolds, James Luceno & Ryder Windham

Star Wars Character Encyclopedia by DK Publishing

by  Morgan S. Lewis

Changes by Jim Butcher

July 23, 2011

Author: Jim Butcher

Title: Changes

Genre: Fantasy

Series: The Dresden Files

Publication Date: 2010

Number of Pages: 438

Geographical Setting: Chicago, IL; Chichén Itzá, Mexico

Time Period: 21st century

Plot Summary: In the latest full length novel of the Dresden Files, Harry Dresden (professional wizard and private investigator) is shocked to find out that he has a daughter and that she has been kidnapped by his hated foes, the bloodthirsty vampires of the Red Court. It is a race against time as Harry struggles to piece together the location of his daughter, all the while avoiding vampires, monsters and dark gods. Aided by colorful cast of allies ranging from a no-nonsense Chicago cop to an agnostic warrior of God, Harry fights the darkest forces he has faced yet and uncovering one of the biggest surprises of all: his family. Changes turns the entire Dresden universe upside-down and culminates in an amazing climax that must be read to be believed.

Subject Headings: Urban Fantasy Fiction, Mystery Fiction, Supernatural Fiction, Magic, Vampires, Chicago, IL, Chichen Itza, Mexico, Maya.

Appeal: fast-paced, compelling, flawed, gritty, suspenseful, intricately plotted, character-driven, conversational, dramatic, 1st person narrative, action-packed, complex.

3 terms that best describe this book: breakneck-paced, cinematic, engrossing

Similar Authors and Works

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors
Chicago Street Guide to the Supernatural: A Guide to the Haunted and Legendary Places In and Near the Windy City by Richard T. Crowe (Supernatural. Chicago, urban, horror)

An Illustrated Dictionary of the Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya by Mary Ellen Miller and Karl Taube (Mayan legends, monsters, gods, mythology)

History of Magic and the Occult by Kurt Selegmann (Magic, occult, sorcery, potions, supernatural)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors
The Spy Who Haunted Me by Simon R Green (urban fantasy, fast-paced, dramatic, character-driven)
War for the Oaks by Emma Bull (war, urban fantasy, faeries, supernatural)
13 Bullets by David Wellington (fast-paced, vampire-hunting, grim)

The Man From Stone Creek

July 23, 2011

Author: Linda Lael Miller

Title: The Man from Stone Creek

Genre: Western, Romance

Publication Date: 2006

Number of Pages: 331

Geographical Setting: Haven, Arizona

Time Period: 1903

Series (If applicable): Stone Creek Series

Plot Summary: Lawman Sam O’Ballivan comes to the town of Haven, Arizona, to replace a schoolteacher. His real mission, however, is to track a band of outlaws and bring the order to town. As a welcome, he has to deal with unruly kids whose leader is Terran Chancelor. Terran brings Sam to his older sister, Maddie, who immediately attracts his attention. Maddie is a pretty, sharp-tongued postmistress working for the despicable Mungo whose sons are suspected of being part of the outlaw gang. Besides fighting the bad guys, Sam, who has a fiancé back in town, has to fight his feelings for Maddie. This story reaches the Old West way beyond the mixture of danger, action, and a romance. It pictures the harsh realities of the times, including frequently orphaned children and teenage prostitution as a means of survival. Those in a mood for humor and drama filled classic western rather than a love story may choose to skip the last chapter.

Subject Headings: Arizona – Fiction; Arizona History to 1912 – Fiction; Arizona Rangers – Fiction; Schoolteachers – Fiction; Western Stories; Love Stories

Appeal: fast-paced, action packed, romantic, dramatic, humorous, lifelike and vivid characters, action oriented, frank style, resolved ending, colorful language with some jargon, rugged historical setting, multilayered, social issues, alternate male and female perspective

3 terms that best describe this book: action packed, humorous, romantic

Similar Authors and Works:

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Arizona: a Cavalcade of History by Marshall Trimble – very readable, story-like writing on Arizona’s history, part of which is the novel’s setting

The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction by Linda Gordon – this true crime story explores in depth the social issues and holes in the law touched in Miller’s novel; the true incident of 1904, Arizona closely follows the novel’s setting

Wyatt Earp: The Life Behind the Legend by Casey Tefertiller – as a lawman of the Old West was the main character in the novel; this biography describes life of a real lawman in the same setting

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Outlaw Lawman by Paul Bagdon – similar to Miller’s setting of lawless town where it is no easy to stay alive; the main character is trying to become a lawman; occasional humor and plenty of action

Summer Moon by Jill Marie Landis – combines humor, love story, drama, and dangers of living in the Wild West, alike in The Man From Stone Creek

To the Last Man by Zane Gray – although more concentrated on action than it is in Miller’s story, it combines it with some romance; exploration of the earlier history of life in Arizona, which precedes Miller’s setting

Name: Anna Demitraszek

Casino Royale

February 24, 2010

Author: Ian Fleming

Title: Casino Royale

Genre: Adrenaline, adventure

Publication date: 1953

Number of pages: NA (read Kindle edition)

Geographical setting: Northern France

Time period: 1950s

Plot summary: This is Ian Flemings classic that started the Great 007 Odyssey. British Secret Service operative Bond, James Bond, is a suave spy tracking Le Chiffre, a treasurer of a Russian-backed trade union, in Northern France. Le Chiffre is running a gambling racket at the posh Casino Royale to recover money he stole from the union. An expert gambler himself, Bond is sent to beat Le Chiffre, thus prompting Soviet spy group, SMERSH, to assassinate Le Chiffre, leading Bond and the Secret Service to SMERSH. Bond is assigned the beautiful Vespa as his aid, and he soon falls for her. After a thrilling all-night baccarat game against Le Chiffre, Bond encounters more than he bargained for. After being captured and tortured, Bond manages to escape, but more questions remain about SMERSH, his lover, and his own future.

Subject headings: Bond, James; Spies — British; International intrigue

Appeal: compelling, engrossing, intriguing, vivid characters, action-packed, straightforward

Three terms that best describe the book: Suspenseful, hard-edged, and stylish

Similar authors and works:


James Chapman, in License to Thrill: A Cultural History of the James Bond Films, examines what impact the Bond films have had on our society and politics. Covering every film from 1962’s Dr. No to 2008’s Casino Royale, Chapman even looks at the actors who have played the iconic spy.

Bond Girls are Forever looks at the female characters in the Bond novels and movies and the actresses portraying them. Sometimes lauded as strong, self-confident role models or as sex objects, author Maryam D’abo investigates these icons from both sides of the debate.

Want to be James Bond? Sure we all do. And Jack Barth’s International Spy Museum’s Handbook of Practical Spying can help. This is practical guide that demonstrates how techniques from the international spy world can be applied to your every day life of avoiding carjacking and other petty crimes. No passport required!


John Le Carré’s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold follows Alec Leamas, a Bristish agent in Cold War Berlin. Made to look the fool in order to go deep under cover, Leamas learns that there is no clear line between the bad guys and the good guys.

Our Man in Havanna represents author Graham Greene well — even though it was published over forty years ago. Darkly comic and satirical, we laugh and cry with a vacuum-salesman-turned-spy as he files reports he’s made up from Havanna, Cuba. Then his stories come true.

Another Berlin thriller, Ian McEwan’s The Innocent shows us that the world of espionage is more than fancy clothes and fast cars. Young Agent Marnham finds affairs, murder, and betrayal as he fights for his sanity and his life.

Hothouse Orchid

February 23, 2010

Author: Stuart Woods

Genre: Thriller

Publication Date: 2009

Number of Pages: 294

Geographical Setting: Orchid Beach, FL (Fictional)

Time Period: Present day

Series (If applicable): Holly Barker Series: Orchid Beach, Orchid Blues, Blood Orchid, Iron Orchid

Plot Summary:  The CIA sends Special Agent Holly Barker home to Orchid Beach for a long vacation after she allowed an international terrorist to escape twice.  Holly, the former police chief of Orchid Beach, is not home a day before when is attacked and finds herself embroiled in a serial rapist case. Holly finds herself confronting her former commander, Jim Bruno, the new Chief of Police of Orchid Beach, with whom she had charged with sexual harassment. Adding to the fray, is Lauren Cade who is working for the state police and is an investigator on the serial rapist cases.  She was once raped by Bruno who was acquitted of the crime. Is it just coincidence that there are a series of rapes occurring just when Bruno arrives in town?  Holly and Lauren set out to find the criminal behind these rapes that have now also turned into murder. Fast cars, high-speed boats and lifestyles of the well-to-do add to this rapidly moving story.

Subject Headings: Fiction, CIA-Fiction, Holly Barker- Fiction, Florida- Fiction, Police- Florida- Fiction, Police Chiefs- Fiction. Women-Crime Solving-Fiction

Appeal: contemporary, escapist, edgy, fast-paced, open-ended, plot-centered, investigative, multiple points of view, hard-edged, vivid, action-packed, corruption, strong language, dangerous, violent, serial characters, twists

3 terms that best describe this book: Suspenseful, engrossing, page-turner

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Strange Piece of Paradise by Terri Jentz
The author tells the story of her and her Yale roommates’ attack and near murder by a man with an axe. No one is ever caught and the author goes back to the scene of the crime fifteen years later and learns about several other murders that took place that year within the area. A haunting story of a woman and her quest to find justice.

Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets by David Simon
A classic and Edgar Award winner, this book takes us through the life of the everyday homicide cop. The reader follows various homicide cops and their cases and the toll this type of life takes on them.

The Blooding: The True Story of the Narborough Village Murders by Joseph Wambaugh
The true story of the first serial murderer and rapist who was caught and convicted through the use of DNA. The book does not only focus on the use of DNA testing, but the hunt that the police go through to find the killer.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

A False Dawn by Tom Lowe
Sean O’ Brien, a former Miami homicide detective, lives the lifestyle of the rich. Living on the St. John’s River in Florida, O’Brien has a riverfront cabin, a cabin cruiser and a life he loves. His life of leisure ends when he is a suspect in a string of rape/murders and he has to go back to work to prove his innocence.

Split Image by Robert B. Parker
After a high-ranking crime figure is found dead, Jesse Stone needs to get his act together to solve the crime.  Still battling his alcoholism, and his (latest) failed relationship with his ex-wife, Jess finds help in the form of Sunny Randall, a private investigator. Three plot-lines throw the two of them together in this continuing serial.

True Blue by David Baldacci
Two sisters, Mace Perry an ex-cop just released from prison and Beth Perry the chief of D.C.’s Metro Police, are out to solve the rape and murder of a noteworthy U. S. attorney.  If the two can solve the case, Mace feels that her name will be cleared and she will be reinstated as a cop.  A fast-paced read that takes the reader through the seedier areas of life.

Name: Noreen