dan brown

My Very Own “Book Bucket List” – February 2018

Posted on Updated on

I’ve knocked the 9th entry off my Book Bucket List:  Origin by Dan Brown. You can see the review here. In its place, I’ve added The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor to round out the 12 options for the next vote – see below for the poll.

 

 

The poll for the March 2018 read is open. Click below to vote by 2/21.

 

Below is the link to the on-going Book Bucket List and a background on what it’s all about. My Very Own “Book Bucket List”  —  Click the link to access everything since the beginning of this post series as well as see the 12 books currently on the list.

 

About Me
I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS.  I am writing my second novel, Father Figure, with plans to publish it in early 2018. As part of the process to engage with my fans and followers, I am publishing a weekly status on the progress of this second book. For a description of this book, check out the post where my friends and followers voted for this book as my second novel.

Beyond these two books, I have a number of short stories, poems and other novels in various shapes and forms. I also read A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, Tags, Awards, Age/Genre/Book Reads and Author Spotlights, as well as the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge.

You can also access my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Advertisements

Book Review: Origin by Dan Brown

Posted on

When Origin, the fifth in the Robert Langdon series by Dan Brown, was published last Fall, I couldn’t wait to read it. Unfortunately, I had several ARCS, giveaways, and commitments that forced me to hold off until just this week to read it – nearly 5 months of misery. I cried when my fellow readers published reviews and I couldn’t look at them. I kicked things when the book mocked me on the shelf. Then my wonderful blogger friends voted for this as the book they wanted me to read in February on my Book Bucket List! So I survived and made it my priority this week… in the end, it was a good read and I will always enjoy Brown’s style, plots and characters. I’m giving this one 3.5 out of 5 stars and will rate either a 3 or 4 on each of the book sites depending on their ratings meanings.

rigin.jpg

The story is quite intriguing, as always. A man holds a press conference to reveal that he has found the answers we’ve all been searching for: (1) Where did we come from, and (2) Where are we going? It kicks off a series of events including his murder, the ire of many established world religions and the envy of historians and cultural icons. Langdon pairs up with the future Queen of Spain who runs the museum where the murder occurs, then they travel the country to discover all the answers.

The scenery, setting, and backgrounds are marvelous. Brown is highly adept at giving readers exactly as much as they need to picture the story without coloring it in too much… a few blurry edges for personal imagination. The sheer intensity of the research he must have done in the worlds of science, religious, museums, Spain and art is admirable. The volume of characters, the who is good versus who is evil balance, the red herrings, the small and large steps during the chases… all of these facts and the enveloped tone completely make this a 5 star read from those perspectives.

But then I started comparing it to his previous novels, to other works in this sub-genre and to his overall approach in telling the story. It fell short for me. There weren’t enough side stories. The characters were flatter than usual. I would love to have seen a bigger story about the Spanish royalty’s influence and history (other than Franco) in regard to science, evolution and romance. There were no scenes except a memory between the prince and his future consort, so I didn’t root for them. Langdon almost felt like a secondary character in the book. And the various sects of religious and military groups involved in the story seemed too fluid and/or disorganized in terms of the bigger picture. It made the story less interesting as I couldn’t really latch onto any specific character. Even Langdon had a minimal connection to the man who was murdered… despite being professor and student, we saw very little memories of a bond between them. Throw in a few conversations at a pub bonding over a theory, or an argument over the church, something to connect them for us in the present.

That said, I do enjoy these types of novels and there was enough to keep my interest. It just wasn’t a consistent page-turner throughout the whole book. I’ll still read the next one. And I’ll always be in awe of the author’s intelligence, world knowledge and style.

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

365 Challenge: Day 182 – Authors (My Top 10)

Posted on Updated on

Authors: Writers of books that are in my top 10 list

authos

 

Sunday posts, the end of each week, have become a theme on This-Is-My-Truth-Now, organized by groups of five (5) focused on interesting things about my life. I’m continuing the trend of the seventh day, ending the week on Sunday, as a list (we know I love them) that provides more in depth knowledge about me.

  • Weeks 1 – 5: My Ethnicity
  • Weeks 6 – 10: A to Z Favorites
  • Weeks 11 – 15: Meaningful Colors
  • Weeks 16 – 20: Cities I’ve lived
  • Weeks 21 – 25: Jobs I’ve held

The next set of 5 Sundays covers the “Top 10” of entertainment options that I spend my time thinking about or doing: Authors/Books I Read (Week 26), TV Shows I Watch (Week 27), Countries to Visit (Week 28), Foods to Cook (Week 29), and Pastimes (Week 30). It’s a bit of an unwieldy set of similar items, but these are five leisure activities where I spend a majority of my time, which clearly speak volumes about who I am and how I like to keep myself occupied.

author.png

First up is a list of my ten favorite authors, chosen based on each having a number of books I have read or want to keep reading. Often in my favorite genres (mystery fiction, historical fiction or suspense/thriller fiction), you will likely see a pattern. I only selected authors under the following conditions: (1) I’ve read at least 2 of their books, (2) They have more coming out or already out that I desperately want to read, (3) I could re-read some of their books and still get something new from them each time, and (4) one or more of their books have been adapted to film or TV, which I have seen and loved.

It was tough to narrow down to only ten, and sometimes I questioned whether I just enjoyed the author’s novels or I truly felt I could read them at anytime. If I hesitated, I tossed them to the next level, which means this is a list of people who while I might not love 100% of everything they do, I can always settle into a comfy chair with a cup of coffee and a few hours in the world they’ve created (just for me, I know they had me and me alone in mind when writing the words!). These ten are in no specific order!

  • Agatha Christie
    • All the mystery and suspense I need to keep me highly interested
    • Favorite: And Then There Were None
  • Ken Follett
    • The storytelling is top-notch, I can feel all the connections between time periods and characters
    • Favorite: World Without End
  • Kate Morton
    • Amazing and brilliant descriptions, ability to transport you to a different setting
    • Favorite: The Forgotten Garden* (not yet a film, but I see it in my head already)
  • Dan Brown
    • Unbelievable suspense, so many weaving plots, rich depth of plot and setting
    • Favorite: Angels and Demons
  • Henry James
    • Lyrical language capable of truly making you think about who you are and why you choose to do the things you do
    • Favorite: Daisy Miller
  • J. K. Rowling
    • A world of magic like no other, I can read these over and over again with utter joy, even as an adult
    • Favorite: The Philosopher’s Stone
  • Edgar Allan Poe
    • I am a huge lover of Gothic and dark literature when done properly
    • Favorite: The Tell-Tale Heart
  • William Shakespeare
    • The ability to strike a balance between plot and character, where you simply get lost in everything he has to deliver
    • Favorite: Othello
  • Janet Evanovich
    • A bit of mystery, romance and humor, the only series I find myself laughing aloud consistently
    • Favorite: Eleven on Top
  • Philippa Gregory
    • I adore British history and lineage of all the kings and queens, plus her ability to present historical fiction in such a beautiful manner captivates my attention
    • Favorite: The White Queen

 

vig.jpg

What are your favorite books? Who are your must-read authors? What’s your favorite activity to keep occupied when you have free time to spare?

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

TAG: Mid-Year Freakout Book

Posted on Updated on

Picture1.png

Thanks to Steph @ LostPurpleQuill for tagging me! What a cool way to celebrate the middle of the year in our book challenges. I appreciate it. And to any readers on my blog, please go check out Steph’s blog. She posts regularly and has great things to say, also poetry, photography, and fantastic book reviews.


1 – THE BEST BOOK YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2017

You by Caroline Kepnes. It was a fantastic surprise with its different perspective, how it drew me in and the eerie sensation of rooting for the stalker. I must read the sequel this summer.

you.jpg

2 – YOUR FAVORITE SEQUEL THIS YEAR

It’s not a sequel, but the third book in a series that I love. I cannot wait until Ken Follett releases A Column of Fire, part of the “Pillars of the Earth” historical fiction series. I love the characters and the plot so much.

column.jpg

 

3 – A NEW RELEASE THAT YOU HAVEN’T READ BUT REALLY WANT TO

I want to read Paula Hawkins’ Into the Water, but the reviews are mixed. I put it on this summer’s Book Bucket list. If you’re not sure what that is, click to find out.

intowater.jpg

 

4 – MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE FOR THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR

Dan Brown’s Origin. I would have picked Ken Follett’s book, but I already chose that above. Many folks don’t care for Brown, but I love this series. Can’t wait to see the complexity he brings in this plot.

origin

 

5 – YOUR BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

Lisa See’s Peony in Love. I really thought the description on the book cover would be a beautiful tale with lots of emotional heartache and connection. For some reasons, I found myself uninterested in Peony’s plight and thought it was way over-written for what its goal was.

peony

 

6 – BIGGEST SURPRISE OF THE YEAR

Sally Hepworth’s The Mother’s Promise. I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy the book, given it hit a little too close to home with someone you love dying of cancer. But it was written in such an intricate way that I couldn’t put it down. I certainly felt a lot of emotion and really had a connection with several of the characters.

mothers promise.jpg

 

7 – FAVORITE NEW TO YOU OR DEBUT AUTHOR

Caroline Kepnes because of You. The style was fantastic. The way she draws you in, encourages you to love and root for the guy who’s a psycho stalking a woman. It took careful planning and I admire her skills as an author, especially with the point of view and perspective she chose to write it in.

 

8 – YOUR NEW FICTIONAL CRUSH

It would be scary if I chose Joe from You, given he’s a stalker. {But it is} So… from something I read this year… Patrick, the main character’s best friend, in Single Malt Murder, a new mystery series based in Scotland. He’s caring, loving and well-traveled.

singlemalt.jpg

 

9 – NEW FAVORITE CHARACTER

Lucy from Amanda Prowse’s The Idea of You. Lucy desperately wants a child, but it doesn’t seem to want to happen for her. She is courageous and strong, especially when her husband’s daughter from a previous marriage causes some trouble. Lucy has a few flaws, but in the end, she really steps up and does the right thing to make the best of the entire situation.

ideaofyou.jpg

 

10 – A BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY

Gayle Forman’s If I Stay. The hospital scenes. The paradox of being alive yet being comatose. Having to learn what happens to the rest of your family. Making a choice of whether to let go or try to hold on. It grabs you by the throat and holds on for way too long. I couldn’t keep it in and had a few moments.

ifiistay.jpg

 

11 – A BOOK THAT MADE YOU HAPPY

Richard Jay Parker’s Be My Killer. This will probably come across the wrong way, but I loved the systematic tracking of all the people involved in this social media serial killer twisted thriller… simply to torture and kill them. I wasn’t happy because they were murdered, but I absolutely love horror and whodunits, so I was smiling the whole way thru, trying to figure out what was going on in this book. A Twitter killer. Sounds hilarious!

killer.jpg

 

12 – YOUR FAVORITE BOOK TO MOVIE ADAPTATION THAT YOU’VE SEEN THIS YEAR

Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind. I finally saw the whole movie and it was fantastic. I’d only seen a few scenes in the past. I know, crazy!

gonewindw.jpg

 

13 – FAVORITE BOOK POST YOU’VE PUBLISHED THIS YEAR

The Book Bucket List post where I list the 12 books I must read this year in case I die. You can see it here.

 

14 – THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK YOU HAVE BOUGHT/RECEIVED THIS YEAR

Hmm… are we talking cover or story? I’m gonna go with story and say Kate Morton’s The Distant Hours. It is fascinating and has an incredibly beautiful but scary story inside its covers. I found it on the bookshelves in my apartment building’s library, quickly grabbing it to put on my TBR.

distant.jpg

 

15 – WHAT ARE SOME BOOKS THAT YOU NEED TO READ BY THE END OF THE YEAR

Ha! I could direct you to my book bucket list, or to some I listed above, but the two that come to mind that are must-reads for me in the near future:

Kate Mosse’s Citadel, as it’s the third and final in a historical fiction trilogy set in France. The story is amazing and is sure to have a fantastic conclusion.

citadel.jpg

Kate Morton’s The Lake House, as I love her writing… and this needs to find its way into my hands soon.

lake.jpg


 

I TAG:

And anyone else who’d like to participate…


 

About Me

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. Once you hit my site “ThisIsMyTruthNow” at https://thisismytruthnow.com, you can join the fun and see my blog and various site content. You’ll find book reviews, published and in-progress fiction, TV/Film reviews, favorite vacation spots and my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge.” Since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life… see how you compare! Each month, I will post a summary of a trip I’ve taken somewhere in the world. I’ll cover the transportation, hotel, restaurants, activities, who, what, when, where and why… and let you decide for yourself if it’s a trip worth taking. Feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Tell me what you think.

Review: Angels & Demons

Posted on Updated on

Angels & Demons Review
4+ out of 5 stars to Dan Brown‘s Angels & Demons, the first book in his “Robert Langdon” thriller series. When I saw the movie trailer for The Da Vinci Code, I was hooked and immediately bought the book so I could read it first. When I got home, I realized it was not the first in the series…

I refused to read it… and then I went to the store and got the first one, Angels & Demons, so I could read them in order. And while it’s not really necessary, I always follow the order (unless I have an ARC with a due date on a newer book and no time to get to the whole series). So I started Angels & Demons, and I was was simply blown away.

Not everyone loves Dan Brown, and people aren’t always kind, but man… I LOVE HIS BOOKS! And I’m not afraid to say it… so if you don’t like them… don’t be hating on this review because I will

On a more serious note, the climax with each of the murders, the deep connections to so many Catholic rituals and ceremonies, the brilliance of the chase… it just left me unable to stop reading it. It’s exactly the kind of book I like to read:

1. Has some connection to me — I’m Catholic and knew most of the stuff they were talking about

2. I love reading about murder — since I won’t do it in real life, I have to get my thrills somehow

3. Secrets are the best thing in the world — I have so many about others, but I never let anyone have one about me

4. Classic battle of good versus evil — This is my life. Should I be good or bad today? Ugh… Sophie’s catch #22…

5. It’s non-stop thought-provoking messages and themes — How much control and time do we really have right now?

Oh, that’s the spot baby!

And with that said… if you want a real review with details about the story, go find someone else’s! Today was all about just being excited to think about the book again. Now that said, I thought Da Vinci Code was a slight bit better, hence the 4 here.

Ciao! I’ve got some branding to do…

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

Review: The Lost Symbol

Posted on Updated on

The Lost Symbol
The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dan Brown is one of my favorite authors. I know there are several of my online and in-person (sounds so weird!) friends who disagree, but ultimately… you have to acknowledge the amount of time and dedication he puts into his story, the vast eccentric cast of characters, the intrigue and suspense, the unexpected connections and the fast-paced thrill of turning the pages more quickly than you can actually read each one. People love books for different reasons. It’s not always the “beautiful and lyrical prose” or the “emotional gut punch you feel from its reality.”

These books are meant to keep your heart racing, your mind guessing and your eyes unable to blink for a few minutes at a time. At the time I’m writing this review, it’s been about five years since I read the book, and I still haven’t seen the movie… but I am excited to watch it, though I haven’t heard great things from those who have.

Of the four Robert Langdon books in the series, this was my least favorite. Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code had such complex and shocking story lines, I couldn’t help but be amazed. Inferno was so intense and ripe with “what if” scenarios, my mind was non-stop going. With this book, it’s still a huge and complex puzzle, but it felt a little weaker than the other ones. There was a different type of emotional connection given Langdon’s friendship with the kidnapped mentor.

I liked the puzzle, but were pictures necessary?

It was a little too easy to solve this time.

It felt a bit repetitive at times.

But you still flip the pages faster than a normal read.

I’d push you to read his other books. I’d be OK if you skipped this one.

But I am still super excited about Origin, the fifth in the series, which will debut later this year.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.


View all my reviews

Review: The Da Vinci Code

Posted on Updated on

The Da Vinci Code
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5 stars to Dan Brown‘s The Da Vinci Code. Most folks have seen the movie and probably not read the book. What a loss for them!

I had never heard of Dan Brown before. I heard about the movie being made of the book and how it was coming out relatively soon. I looked it up and saw it had the “treasure-hunter” thrill appeal and decided to read the book before the movie could come out and warp my interpretation. So glad I did!

It’s addicting. Growing up Catholic, I knew most of the religious detail, but once it weaved it art, literature, history and philosophy, I was just enamored with the story. Could it really be true? Maybe I’m related to Adam and Eve too! Ok, let’s not get too crazy…

Magnificent story-telling. Quick adventure. Beautiful scenes and images. Brown exhibit’s intensely good control weaving back and forth between each of the plots, sub-plots and mini-plots. It’s as realistic of a treasure hunt as one can get if you are not an adventurer, archaeologist or exhibition-junkie.

But what took it to the next level for me was the amount of detail included for every component. It’s the intricate of the intricate, relying on pure puzzles to move the story forward. Each new puzzle creates its own spark of drama directing readers to challenge what they do and do not know about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, languages, culture, locations, etc.

It hits so many different waves of appeal that I felt it was at the top of its game. And it probably only edged out Angels & Demons because of how tight this story was. Definitely a must-read for the genre, for Brown and before watching the movie adaption.
View all my reviews