BOOK REVIEW: The Perfect Storm – by Sebastian Junger

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Title: The Perfect Storm
Author: Sebastian Junger
Genre: Non Fiction, History, Adventure
First published: 1997
Finished reading: June 17th 2015
Pages: 248
Rating 3

“How do men act on a sinking ship? Do they hold each other? Do they pass around the whisky? Do they cry?”

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I know that Sebastian Junger wrote The Perfect Storm as a non fiction story and he wanted to incorporate as many facts as possible. I really appreciate his effort and I can’t deny the story is interesting, but with all the different facts about fishing it was hard to stay focused on the main story. It took quite some effort to keep reading all those details about fishing boats; while it is interesting, it can get a bit monotone. I did appreciate the many historical facts in The Perfect Storm, but the story itself didn’t seem to have a logical order and that made it quite hard to read. The prose is solid and it shows that Sebastian Junger really made an effort in trying to make the story more readable. It is quite an interesting story, but I guess someone who is really interested in fishing and history would probably enjoy this book a lot better than I did.

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This non fiction story will tell you all about the history of sea fishing and what went wrong during the trip of the Andrea Gail back in October 1991. Working on the fishing boats has never been an easy or safe job, and a lot of fishermen have lost their lives to the sea. Mother nature can be cruel and the sea can have a tremendous force that is beyond anyone’s control… And a storm can arrive when you least expect it. The crew of the Andrea Gail will soon find out just that… As the author relates what happened before and during those last days at sea.

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It’s not like The Perfect Storm isn’t an interesting story and I enjoyed reading part of it, but after a while it became repetitive and it was hard to stay focused. I know it’s a non fiction story and I normally enjoy reading that genre, but I guess it didn’t help I’m not all that interested in sea fishing. Maybe if the story would have been told chronologically it would have been easier to stay focused… For now it was a struggle to reach the final page. If you are interested in fishing and sea adventures, you will probably like this one. If not, the movie might be a good alternative… I haven’t seen it myself, but I’ve heard good things about it.

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BOOK REVIEW: Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone – by J.K. Rowling

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Title: Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone
(Harry Potter Series #1)
Author: J.K. Rowling
Genre: YA, Fantasy
First published: June 26th 1997
Finished reading: September 3rd 2014
Pages: 310
Rating 5

“The truth.” Dumbledore sighed. “It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.”

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I’ve long lost track of the times I have read this first book of the Harry Potter Series. I still remember getting a copy as soon as the Dutch version came out when I was nine… I have devoured Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone probably at least a dozen times since then in three different languages, and I just cannot get enough of it. Every time I pick up this book, it transforms me back into the nine-year-old kid than first experienced the magical world of Hogwarts and its witches and wizards. I remember wishing I could go to a school like Hogwarts myself and learn how to use magic… Hermione was like a role model to me when I was growing up, and these books have definitely left their mark on my childhood. Books and cleverness indeed!

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Poor little Harry Potter is forced to live a miserable life with his absurdly normal Muggle aunt and uncle after his parents die. Harry’s only living relatives fear anything not normal and they keep the fact Harry is in fact a very special and famous boy a secret. But secrets are not made to be kept forever. Just before his eleventh birthday, someone tries to contact Harry with a message that will change his life forever. His uncle tries to stop it at all costs, but with the help of Hagrid he finally learns the truth about the past anyway. Harry is in fact a very famous wizard! The boy with the strange lightning scar has been invited to attend the Hogwarts School Of Witchcraft And Wizardry to learn all about magic. His aunt and uncle are against it, but Hagrid takes him along anyway. Soon the magical world starts to show its secrets to Harry…

Harry meets his now famous side kicks Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger at the Hogwarts Express that takes them straight to Hogwarts. Ron and Harry hit off straight away, and this friendship grows only stronger when they get sorted into the same house named Gryffindor. Harry feels at home for the first time in his life, although he does have a tendency to get into trouble a lot. Unfortunately, that isn’t the only thing that he has to worry about, as something dark is about to happen at Hogwarts. Something that involves the Dark Wizard that attacked and killed his parents when he was little… A wizard so dangerous people fear even speaking of his name: Lord Voldemort. You-Know-Who needs something that is currently hidden at Hogwarts, and it seems that he has the help of one of the teachers in retrieving it… Will Harry and his friends be able to stop them in time?

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Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone without doubt deserves the full five stars. It brings back great memories and J.K. Rowling is simply a genius creating such a rich world full of magic with a limited amount of words and pages. An incredible children story I would definitely make my future kids read!

BOOK REVIEW: Killing Floor – by Lee Child

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Title: Killing Floor
(Jack Reacher Series #1)

Author: Lee Child
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: March 1st 1997
Finished reading: April 30th 2014
Pages: 524
Rating 3

“Evaluate. Long experience had taught me to evaluate and assess. When the unexpected gets dumped on you, don’t waste time. Don’t figure out how or why it happened. Don’t recriminate. Don’t figure out whose fault it is. Don’t work out how to avoid the same mistake next time. All of that you do later. If you survive.”

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I can’t really remember reading something from Lee Child before, so I will consider this a first impression. Although I can’t deny enjoying the general plot and action, there was a slight overdose of testosterone used in this book Killing Floor. It almost feels as if Lee Child put old action movies like Die Hard or Rambo together in a blender and left his story ideas in there too soak up all those male hormones. Don’t get me wrong, I still liked the overall story, but the actions of the main character Jack Reacher are sometimes a bit too Rambo. Also, the sometimes short sentences got on my nerves, especially in the beginning. I guess that is what Lee Child was going for in describing his main character for his new series, but I wasn’t impressed. I will be trying other work of him, just to see if his writing changes over the years… But for now I have to say I’ve read better.

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In Killing Floor, we follow ex-military policeman Jack Reacher wandering around, and get to the sleepy town of Margrave. The first impression is a dull town, too well looked after maybe, but quiet and without crime. That changes quickly when they arrest Reacher for a murder he didn’t commit. A conspiracy involving almost the whole town is slowly revealing itself… When Reacher finds out it was his brother who got killed that night, he swears he is going to find the killers. In the meantime, more bodies are starting to show up, all brutally killed. Together with a few seemingly not dirty cops, one of them turning into his lover (Roscoe), he tries to find out what is really going on in Margrave. Here it turns really Rambo and Reacher kills various bad guys on the way; at one point five against one. Which caused my eyebrow to raise real high.

Of course the classic kidnapping couldn’t be missing, and adds some fuel on the fire. Determained to save the day, Reacher goes for his final big bang. Somehow he manages to uncover the conspiracy, save the hostages and get away unharmed, even with the bad guys supposedly having weapons that shoot in a wide range to kill everyone quite easy. And to insure a next story, Reacher decides he can’t settle down and has to hit the road again…

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I guess Killing Floor serves to enjoy yourself for a few hours, as long as you know what to are getting into. Sure, it is an entertaining read full of action, but just too Rambo for me to really enjoy it. So if you are a Die Hard Rambo fan, this is the book for you.

BOOK REVIEW: The Bone Collector – by Jeffery Deaver

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Title: The Bone Collector
(Lincoln Rhyme Series #1)

Author: Jeffery Deaver
Genre: Mystery, Crime, Thriller
First published: 1997
Finished reading: March 26th 2014
Pages: 427
Rating 4

“The human creature is so astonishing, but count on it before anything else to be just that-a creature. A laughing animal, a dangerous one, a clever one, a scared one, but always acting for a reason-a motive that will move the beast towards its desires.”

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I must admit I decided to read this book mostly because of the movie. Although it has been some years since I last saw it, I still could recall I enjoyed it, so I decided to give the book a go. And I must say I wasn’t disappointed. I will have to see the movie again though, just to see what similarities exist between the two… The main characters of the movie doesn’t seem to fit with the way Jeffery Deaver describes them.

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The Bone Collector is the first out of a series about a criminologist named Lincoln Rhyme. His life was changed terribly after an accident on the job which left him paralyzed from the neck down. After not having worked for three years and even thinking about committing suicide, his knowledge is suddenly needed again when a terrible serial killer appears in New York. The killer, also called unsub 823, leaves clues at the scenes of the victims for the cops to guess where the next body will be… And it is their job to try and find the location on time to save the victims.

Lincoln Rhyme asks for the help of Amelia Sachs, the first officer on scene at the first murder. Although she isn’t a CSI, he makes her process the scenes and quickly she becomes his eyes and ears. Rhyme uses his knowledge of the city to understand the clues, and they are able to save various victims on time. And they are closing in on the killer too, so unsub 823 steps up his game and starts attacking the cops. And next comes the unexpected end where we find out who the killer really is…

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The Bone Collector is without doubt a great read and definitely recommended if you like crime novels and want to learn a bit about New York history as well. The characters are interesting and its fast pace makes it hard to stop reading before the story is finished.