Posts Tagged ‘confrontational’

Sacred Stone

February 23, 2012

Author: Clive Cussler (and Craig Dirgo)

Title: Sacred Stone

Genre: Adventure

Publication Date: 2004

Number of Pages: 406

Geographical Setting: Greenland, Iceland, United States, Europe, High Seas

Time Period: Contemporary

Series (If applicable): The Oregon Files

Plot Summary:  A 50,000 year-old radioactive meteorite has just been unearthed in the remotest reaches of Greenland by a clandestine archeological team.  When the team is murdered and the meteorite goes missing, it’s time to call the Corporation.  Headed up by the enigmatic and fearless Juan Cabrillo, the Corporation is made up of two dozen or so of the most highly skilled individuals ever to have come out of the military, intelligence, and special-ops communities.  Disguised as a rusty cargo ship, the Oregon serves as the super high-tech floating command center for the group.  When governments around the globe encounter threats too advanced or sinister for their own people to handle, much less their citizenry to ever find out about, it’s the Corporation that gets the call.  In tracking down the meteorite, Cabrillo and his crew discover and must attempt to thwart not only a plot to reduce Western cities to radioactive rubble, but also a scheme to eradicate Islam from the face of the earth by way of poisoned prayer rugs.  A breakneck race against the clock ensues as the Corporation must call upon their every resource, as well as every bit of luck, in order to stop annihilation on a global scale.

Subject Headings: Terrorism – Prevention; Relics; Mercenary troops; Ship captains; Meteorites; Greenland; Suspense fiction; Erik the Red; Elton John.

Appeal: colorful, concise, straightforward, fast-paced, dangerous, dramatic, earnest, foreboding, menacing, intense, action-oriented, layered, conclusive, violent, contemporary, provocative, confident, confrontational, clandestine, energetic, swaggering, tense, urgent, volatile.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: action-oriented,

straightforward, fast-paced.

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

 

Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know by Ranulph Fiennes.

Fiennes “recounts his exploits as an explorer-adventurer, including traveling the Nile in a Hovercraft, four thousand miles of wild river journey in Alaska and Canada, and an overland trek to the North Pole” (Novelist), and that’s just a warm-up in a remarkable life filled with a remarkable number of near death escapes.  This work would do well with the reader enamored by the self-sufficient and ever resourceful adventurer character Cussler seems fond of placing in his novels (and probably thinks himself along those lines as well).

Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA’s Spytechs from Communism to Al-Qaeda by Robert Wallace H. Keith Melton, Henry R. Schlesinger and George J. Tenet.

This title is a collection of some of the harrowing and clandestine operations embarked upon by the CIA since the beginning of the Cold War, and also of the high-tech espionage tools and weapons invented to help agents to live to spy another day.  Spycraft would have wide appeal for any Adventure fan but especially with Cussler’s legions, what with his love of Bond-ish high-tech gadgetry.

SEAL Team Six by Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin.

These are the guys who killed Bin Laden, rescued those people from the Somali pirates, and seem to be the go-to guys anytime the US government needs anyone saved, dead, or captured.  Wasdin was a Team Six sniper and gives a rare insider’s view into the grueling training and harrowing and deadly missions of this elite squad.  If Juan Cabrillo and the Corporation were real (and hopefully they aren’t) they would be rife with former Team Six people.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

By Order of the President by W.E.B. Griffin

At the behest of the President, Special Forces Major Carlos Castillo assembles a secret team of operatives to investigate a missing airliner in this terse, fast-paced action thriller.  Big appeal is here for the reader who enjoyed the more militaristic aspects and machinations of the Corporation and Sacred Stone.  Fans of the Dirty Dozen/Magnificent Seven archetype of every person in the gang having a special skill (like the Corporation) would like this as well.  This is the first book in a series.

Jaws by Peter Benchley

As Cussler’s novels all seem to be water-bourn in some manner, it would seem a natural choice to suggest the granddaddy of aquatic adventure and danger and his masterwork.

The Lion by Nelson DeMille

Former NYPD detective John Corey is now a special agent for the Anti-Terrorist Task Force and must track down a notorious Libyan terrorist hell-bent on murder and destruction.  Another natural choice for Cussler fans, this time in line more with the anti-terrorism aspects of Sacred Stone.  This is also part of a series.

Name: Bill S.

Girl in Translation

April 6, 2011

Author: Jean Kwok

Title: Girl in Translation

Genre: Women’s Lives and Relationships

Publication Date: April 2010

Number of Pages: 304 pages

Geographical Setting: New York City

Time Period: Early 90’s to Modern Day

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: Kimberly Chang and her mother are full of hopes and aspirations, having newly immigrated to the United States, until the realities of living in their downtrodden neighborhood in Brooklyn began to take a toll on them.  Not only do they have to live without heat in the dead of winter, Kimberly and her mother are both forced to work at her Aunt Paula’s factory under sweatshop conditions in order to pay back their debt to their Aunt and make ends meet.  The saving grace of Kimberly’s life is school, where she has to rely on her intellects to find a way out of their exasperating living situation.  However, she constantly feels as if she is keeping a huge secret from her friends at school, and experiences difficulty in breaking the cultural barrier between herself and her American counterparts.  Her only true friend is Matt, a fellow Chinese youngster who works at the factory, but things get complicated when she realizes that she has feelings for Matt beyond that of pure friendship.  This is a tale of love, friendship and the bond between a mother and child that is so strong it takes them through the hardest of times in their lives.

Subject Headings: Women immigrants, Chinese Immigrants, Sweatshops, Poverty, Cultural Differences, Chinese-Americans, Assimilation, Private Schools, Social Acceptance, Coming-of-Age, Self-Discovery, Power Struggles, Malicious Accusations, Cultural Conflicts

Appeal terms: Character-driven, Angst-Ridden, Bittersweet, Confrontational, Dramatic, Fierce, Intense, Searching, Emotionally-Charged, Engrossing, Thought-Provoking, Introspective, Authentic, Candid, Urgent

3 terms that best describe this book: Chinese-American Immigrants, Growing-Up, Cultural Conflicts

Similar Authors and Works:

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother: Stories of Loss and Love by Xinran
Various stories from Chinese mothers are collected in this book about the many Chinese women who were not allowed to keep their daughters because of China’s law and outdated cultural beliefs.  This book finally gives a voice to the downtrodden Chinese women who were unable to escape their difficult situations.

I Love Yous are for White People by Lac Su
A memoir of Lac’s escape from Vietnam to the United States, where they experience a different kind of horror in the poor living conditions of West Los Angeles.

My Mom is a Fob: Earnest Advice in Broken English from Your Asian-American Mom by Teresa Wu
A humorous look at the unsolicited and often misunderstood advice that Asian mothers try to give to their fully-assimilated Asian-American children.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Happy Family by Wendy Lee
Hua Wu, a Chinese immigrant living in New York, meets Jane Templeton and her adopted Chinese daughter, Lily, at a park and becomes their nanny.  Eventually, the crumbling marriage of Jane forces Hua to make decisions on what would be best for Lily.

Bordertown: A Novel by Congwen Shen
13-year-old Cuicui is living in a small rural town in China right before the Communist revolution with her beloved grandfather, and as she grows up she is forced to reconcile the tranquility of her childhood to the turbulent events of her present.

Shanghai Girls: A Novel by Lisa See
Two wealthy sisters, whose fortune is about to dissipate, makes the decision to immigrate to the United States, where they are greeted by more hardships and cultural conflicts than they had ever expected.

Name: Lian Sze

Heart-Shaped Box

June 14, 2010

Author: Joe Hill

Title: Heart-Shaped Box

Genre: Horror fiction

Publication Date: 2007

Number of Pages: 374

Geographical Setting:  U.S.A. (New York, Georgia, Louisiana)

Time Period: present day

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary:

Over-the-hill rock star Judas Coyne  lives comfortably on a farm in New York state with his lady friend-du-jour Georgia, his personal assistant Danny, and his two beloved dogs, Angus and Bon.  He also has a fetish for collecting strange and macabre artifacts.  When Danny comes across an auction for a dead man’s suit (dead man’s ghost included!), Jude can’t resist adding the find to his collection.  However, he soon discovers that the ghost’s surviving family member has ulterior motives, first and foremost of which  is revenge.

Jude must figure out a way to either placate the angry spirit or destroy him outright before the ghost exacts his deadly retribution on Jude and all those close to him.

Subject Headings:

Ghosts;  Rock musicians;  Supernatural;  Secrets;  Men/women relations;  Life after death;  Paranormal phenomena;  Apparitions;  Interpersonal relations;  Ghost stories;  Horror stories

Appeal:

reckless, spooky, menacing, malevolent, ominous, searching, intense, confrontational, secrets, bittersweet, angst-ridden, sarcastic, selfish, cathartic, rock ‘n roll jargon and references

3 terms that best describe this book:

Eerie, bloody, story of redemption

Similar Authors and Works:

Fiction:

1)      Ghost Radio: A Novel – text and illustrations by Leopoldo Gout

An ex-punk rocker discovers a voice from another dimension in the static he hears during his underground radio call-in show.

Similarities:  rock and roll connected main character,  paranormal phenomena, ghosts, ominous

2)      In the Night Room by Peter Straub

The lives of two strangers intertwine when one loses her daughter and the other communicates with people from his youth, people who happen to be dead.

Similarities:  interpersonal relations, ghosts, paranormal phenomena, spooky

3)      Duma Key by Stephen King

After a terrible accident which leaves him crippled, Edgar Freemantle goes to the Florida Keys and rents a house in order to heal.  He takes up painting and soon discovers that his artwork begins to mysteriously reveal secrets surrounding his new landlady’s family history.

Similarities:  family secrets, revenge, paranormal phenomena, cathartic, menacing

Non-Fiction:

1)      Cryptopedia: A Dictionary of the Weird, Strange, and Downright Bizarre by Jonathan Maberry and David F. Kramer

A supernatural encyclopedia of sorts, The Cryptopedia provides chapters on angels, occult symbols, poltergeists, and UFOs, among others.

Similarities:  paranormal phenomena, supernatural, the occult, spooky

2)      Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach

Uses science to try to explain life after death and other paranormal occurrences.

Similarities:  paranormal phenomena, ghosts, life after death

3)      Every Rose Has Its Thorn: The Rock n Roll Field Guide to Guys by Erin Bradley; illustrations by Heather Bradley

A tongue-in-cheek guide that helps navigate the quirky road of rock stars and rock star wanna-bes.  True life stories, quizzes and illustrations are all here to inform and entertain the curious.

Similarities:  rock ‘n roll, rock stars, men/women relationships, sarcasm

Name: Valerie Kyriakopoulos