Next Chapter Book Reviews

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Kill Chain

Product DetailsKill Chain
By Andrew Cockburn
Henry Holt
Retail Price $28.00
Amazon Price: $21.80

Book Description: 

An essential and page-turning narrative on the history of drone warfare by the acclaimed author of Rumsfeld, exploring how this practice emerged, who made it happen, and the real consequences of targeted killing
Assassination by drone is a subject of deep and enduring fascination. Yet few understand how and why this has become our principal way of waging war. Kill Chain uncovers the real and extraordinary story; its origins in long-buried secret programs, the breakthroughs that made drone operations possible, the ways in which the technology works and, despite official claims, does not work. Taking the reader inside the well-guarded world of national security, the book reveals the powerful interests – military, CIA and corporate – that have led the drive to kill individuals by remote control. Most importantly of all, the book describes what has really happened when the theories underpinning the strategy — and the multi-billion dollar contracts they spawn — have been put to the test. Drawing on sources deep in the military and intelligence establishments, Andrew Cockburn’s Kill Chain unveils the true effects, as demonstrated by bloody experience, of assassination warfare, a revelation that readers will find surprising as well as shocking.

Review

This was a very interesting book on an a  topic you don’t read much about.   I can’t say I’ve ever seen another book on the history and effects of target killings and robotic warfare.   The author did a great job with his research and documentation, yet he writes in a very engaging manner.  It is a bit alarming on how easy computer generated targeted killings are to accomplish and it makes today’s popular movies not seem so far fetched.  It was a very enlightening read.

~Reviewed by David H.

 

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    Dead Drunk

     

    Product DetailsDead Drunk
    By Jean Ayer
    Create Space
    Retail Price:  $14.95
    Amazon Price:  $12.17

    Book Description:

     

    An intriguing detective mystery novel set in a summer resort town on the coast of Maine in the 1980s, Dead Drunk evolved from the actual story of the author’s life with her upper crust alcoholic husband and their dysfunctional family and friends. The perspectives of seasonal residents, as well as the local people who work for them, give a glimpse of ‘how the other half lives.’ Much of the story is told from the point of view of the sympathetic barman, Richard, during and after parties at the family “cottage,” Alderwood. For years he has catered at the big old cottages of the wealthy summer community, and so has come to know these people, their eccentricities, and something of their relationships with the peculiar family at Alderwood. Richard remembers the erratic behavior of his own alcoholic father. He is still haunted by the memory of its heart-wrenching effects on his mother, so he understands the quirky, seemingly inexplicable behavior of this family. He empathizes particularly with the plight of the children. They suffer from their father’s verbal aggression, the traumatic effects of which are vividly portrayed. The father’s transgressions are well hidden by his seemingly immaculate social persona, yet friends of the family bear witness to the gradual degeneration of the his character. His behavior has become increasingly spiteful and erratic. The children’s distress is profound. In one case, it is utterly devastating. One of the summer crowd dies unexpectedly after a party for which Richard catered at Alderwood. Despite the nonchalance of his clients, Richard is so disturbed that he feels compelled to make meticulous notes after the party. He becomes obsessed by the mystery, and analyzes the events of that evening. He seems to be the only one to suspect foul play . . . until the dead man’s contentious, meddling sister-in-law, who knows a good deal about the hidden dramas of the Alderwood crowd, calls in a police detective. The investigation turns up many bones from the closets of this disturbed family and its circle of friends. Richard’s insight and inside knowledge further illuminate the enormity of the group’s dysfunction, despite their affectations of propriety. His first-hand account proves invaluable in the pursuit of the surprising solution to the case.

    Review

    The plot of this mystery novel is laid out for us from the perspective of a bartender who has worked in the background for a wealthy family for years.  I found this to be a unique and intriguing voice.  While I don’t truly understand high society, the author took great pains with details and background to get the author up to speed on the world of the rich and famous.  Her characters were intriguing and a bit creepy, reminding us that things (and people) are not always what they seem.  They mystery was not easy to figure out, engaging the reader, and making the book hard to put down.  I thought it was a great read.

    ~Reviewed by Allie B.

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      Hush

      Hush
      By Karen Robards
      Gallery Books
      Retail Price $26.00
      Amazon Price: $17.77

      Book Description: 

      In New York Times bestselling author Karen Robards’s latest heart-pounding thriller, a woman must uncover a murderer—or risk being the next victim of a vicious killer.

      When Riley Cowan finds her estranged husband Jeff dead in his palatial home, she’s sure it’s no coincidence. The police rule it a suicide, but Riley thinks someone’s out for blood—specifically someone Jeff’s father ripped off in one of the biggest financial fraud cases of all time. She suspects that someone is trying to send a message to Jeff’s father: Tell me where the money is, or everyone you care about will die.

      Enter Finn Bradley, an FBI agent with a dangerous secret. He’s after the money too, and Riley quickly becomes his chief suspect. But when someone tries to kill her, he has no choice but to protect her until he can uncover the truth. The question becomes, can they discover the killer’s identity in time, before he resurfaces—and strikes again?

      Dubbed an “exceptional storyteller” by the Chicago Tribune and “one of the most popular voices in women’s fiction” by Newsweek, Karen Robards’s latest action-packed novel will keep you glued to the pages until the final, shocking conclusion.

      Review

      This is a compelling and intriguing murder mystery. The unique storyline  is captivating and it is quite interesting watching the pieces of the puzzle fall into place.   This is an excellent story with intriguing characters and the plot moves along at a good pace, keeping you engaged. It is well worth your time.

      ~Reviewed by Tara L.

       

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        Far as the Eye Can See

        Far as the Eye Can see
        By Robert Bausch
        Bloomsbury
        Retail Price $26.00
        Amazon Price: $19.71

        Book Description: 

        Bobby Hale is a Union veteran several times over. After the war, he sets his sights on California, but only makes it to Montana. As he stumbles around the West, from the Wyoming Territory to the Black Hills of the Dakotas, he finds meaning in the people he meets-settlers and native people-and the violent history he both participates in and witnesses. Far as the Eye Can See is the story of life in a place where every minute is an engagement in a kind of war of survival, and how two people-a white man and a mixed-race woman-in the midst of such majesty and violence can manage to find a pathway to their own humanity.

        Robert Bausch is the distinguished author of a body of work that is lively and varied, but linked by a thoughtfully complicated masculinity and an uncommon empathy. The unique voice of Bobby Hale manages to evoke both Cormac McCarthy and Mark Twain, guiding readers into Indian country and the Plains Wars in a manner both historically true and contemporarily relevant, as thoughts of race and war occupy the national psyche.

        Review

        This book chronicles the life of Bobby Hale, a man who has seen the worst of the war between the states and heads West to find his life purpose.  This book is definitely written by a man for men, but even as a woman I found it interesting and it gave me insight into the male psyche.  It captures the mindset of a simple man from this time period. The book was well-researched and the author represented the time period well.  It was full of adventures (and misadventures!) that were entertaining and full of life lessons.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.

        ~Reviewed by Sarah K.

         

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          Double Strike

          Product Details

          Double Strike (A Davis  Way Crime Caper- Volume 3)
          By Gretchen Archer
          Henery Press
          Retail Price:  $15.95
          Amazon Price:  $13.93

          Book Description:

          Bellissimo Resort and Casino Super Spy Davis Way knows three things: Cooking isn’t a prerequisite for a happy marriage, don’t trust men who look like David Hasselhoff, and money doesn’t grow on Christmas trees. None of which help when a storm hits the Gulf a week before the most anticipated event in Bellissimo history: the Strike It Rich Sweepstakes. Securing the guests, staff, and property might take a stray bullet. Or two.

          Bellissimo Resort and Casino Super Spy Davis Way has three problems: She’s desperate to change her marital status, she has a new boss who speaks in hashtags, and Bianca Sanders has confiscated her clothes. All of which bring on a headache hot enough to spark a fire. Solving her problems means stealing a car. From a dingbat lawyer.

          Bellissimo Resort and Casino Super Spy Davis Way has three goals: Keep the Sanders family out of prison, regain her footing in her relationship, and find the genius who wrote the software for futureGaming. One of which, the manhunt one, is iffy. Because when Alabama hides someone, they hide them good.

          DOUBLE STRIKE. A VIP invitation to an extraordinary high-stakes gaming event, as thieves, feds, dance instructors, shady bankers, kidnappers, and gold waiters go all in.

          Review

          I have never read any books in this series before.  I know that probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do, but honestly, this book was stand alone and I enjoyed it immensely.  Davis Way has enough on her plate right now – family troubles, work troubles, personal issues.  With all her personal turmoil, she is then thrown into a murder investigation that involves going under cover and a need for a speedy resolution.   This is a great adventure/mystery that uses a lot of humor to lighten the situation.  The characters are colorful and interesting and the plot intriguing.  It was a great read.

          ~Reviewed by Allie B.

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            The Evolution of the Black Rifle

            The Evolution of the Black Rifle
            By Jeff Zimba
            Prepper Press
            Retail Price $12.95
            Amazon Price: $11.66

            Book Description: 

            Jeff W Zimba brings the reader on a twenty-year journey through the testing and evaluation phase of America’s longest serving battle rifle, now known by many names, such as the AR-15, M16, M4, 416, and many others. From the History and Development of the Modern Black Rifle (an award winning, in-depth article) to accessories and configurations the reader may have never even heard about, this book includes numerous, previously published articles focused solely on the black rifle and includes a few of the author’s picks for new upgrades and systems to watch in the future. With a Foreword by legendary musician, outspoken outdoorsman, and 2nd Amendment advocate, Ted Nugent, and a Preface by a former Navy Seal of the elite Team 6 and member of the top secret team REDCELL, never before has such a compilation of articles on a single weapon system been published. Join Jeff Zimba on his journey to study (in his words) “the most versatile modular weapon system ever designed.”

            Review

            This book takes an in depth look at the M16 series of rifles and is a must have for the serious student and collector of the black rifle.  There is an huge amount of information in this book that just can not be found anywhere else. If you really want to know about the rifle from people who designed, built, improved, developed and redeveloped the system is to get this book.  It give and excellent history of how a weapon/weapon system is developed for the US military. Great insight into the engineering, R&D, testing and politics that created what is now considered a common platform for a modern semi-automatic rifle.  If you are interested to know why this series weapon system is still the reigning king of the US Military, read this book!

            ~Reviewed by John C.

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              Deadly Force

               

              Deadly Force
              by Massad Ayoob and Jeff Weiner
              Gun Digest Books
              Retail Price $21.99
              Amazon Price: $15.38

              Book Description: 

              In a long-awaited update of the world’s most authoritative work on the subject, Massad Ayoob draws from an additional three decades of experience to educate responsible firearms owners about the legal, ethical, and practical use of firearms in self defense-the armed citizens’ rules of engagement. Deadly Force discusses:

              • Understand the legal and ethical issues surrounding use of lethal force by private citizens
              • Learn about the social and psychological issues surrounding use of lethal force in defense of self or others
              • Preparation and mitigation–steps the responsible armed citizen can/should take

              “After forty years as a practicing criminal defense attorney, I know that what Mas says, teaches, and writes is the best, state-of-the-art knowledge you can get.” ~Jeff Weiner, Former President, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

              Review

              This is an extremely informative book that all gun owners should have in their libraries.  It is organized well by topic so it is easy to reference.  It is best to be prepared for any situation and the authors fully explore your options if you are involved in a situation where you have to use deadly force in self-defense.  This book covers a lot of ground from purchasing the right gun for you to what to do if you had to use your weapon.  It will help debunk the myths surrounding deadly force and lays out your responsibility as a gun owner.  This book is a good first step in knowing your rights and responsibilities.

              ~Reviewed by John C.

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                Glory Days in Tribe Town

                Glory Days in Tribe Town
                by Terry Pluto and Tom Hamilton
                Gray & Company
                Retail Price $15.
                Amazon Price: $14.36

                Book Description: 

                Relive the most thrilling seasons of Cleveland Indians baseball in recent memory! Remember the excitement of those first years at Jacobs Field? When it seemed the Indians could find a way to win almost any game? When screaming fans rocked the jam-packed stands every night? When a brash young team snapped a forty-year slump and electrified the city?Those weren’t baseball seasons, they were year-long celebrations.

                Step back into the glory days with sportswriter Terry Pluto and broadcaster Tom Hamilton as they share behind-the-scenes stories about a team with all-stars at nearly every position . . . a sparkling new ballpark . . . wild comeback victories . . . a record sellout streak . . . two trips to the World Series . . . and a city crazed with Indians fever.

                Revisit baseball’s most fearsome lineup: Albert Belle’s mighty swing and ferocious glare . . . Jim Thome’s moon-shot home runs . . . Omar Vizquel’s poetry-in-motion play at shortstop . . . Kenny Lofton’s exhilarating baserunning and over-the-wall catches . . .

                These two Cleveland baseball veterans were there for it all. Now, they combine firsthand experience and in-depth player interviews to tell a rich, detailed story that Tribe fans will love.

                Review

                What a fantastic book for baseball fans!  The authors help you relive the “glory days” of the Cleveland Indians from 1994-1997  through narrative, interviews, collected letters, old columns, personal stories, and more.  Each chapter can be read independently, so you can skip around reading in the order of your own personal preference, which makes it  a great coffee table book or one to leave in the bathroom.  It is a wonderful look inside the Indians clubhouse.

                ~Reviewed by Adam B.

                 

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                  Someone Else’s Love Story

                  Someone Else’s Love Story
                  by Josh Jackon
                  William Morrow
                  Retail Price $14.99
                  Amazon Price: $11.85

                  Book Description: 

                  Someone Else’s Love Story is beloved and highly acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Joshilyn Jackson’s funny, charming, and poignant novel about science and miracles, secrets and truths, faith and forgiveness; about falling in love, and learning that things aren’t always what they seem—or what we hope they will be. Shandi Pierce is juggling finishing college, raising her delightful three-year-old genius son Nathan, aka Natty Bumppo, and keeping the peace between her eternally warring, long-divorced parents. She’s got enough complications without getting caught in the middle of a stick-up and falling in love with William Ashe, who willingly steps between the robber and her son.Shandi doesn’t know that her blond god Thor has his own complications. When he looked down the barrel of that gun he believed it was destiny: It’s been one year to the day since a tragic act of physics shattered his world. But William doesn’t define destiny the way others do. A brilliant geneticist who believes in facts and numbers, destiny to him is about choice. Now, he and Shandi are about to meet their so-called destinies head on, making choices that will reveal unexpected truths about love, life, and the world they think they know.

                  Review

                  Though this was a novel, it was story that seemed very real and applicable to life.  It was full of flawed but intriguing characters, that I took to heart.  The storyline was clever and the author held me captive throughout the entire book.  Though a bit quirky, the plot was clever and held many surprises.  I enjoyed the tiny miracles that bubble up unexpectedly and it made me wondering how many “miracles” are in my own life that I don’t fully credit.  The book was well-written and an entertaining read.

                  ~Reviewed by Rosie B.

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                    Love Gently Falling

                    Love Gently Falling

                    Love Gently Falling
                    By Melody Carlson
                    Center Street
                    Retail Price $12.00
                    Amazon Price: $10.45

                    Book Description: Rita Jansen is living her dream as a hairstylist in Hollywood when her father calls with news that her mother has suffered a stroke. When she gets home to Chicago, Rita finds her mother is healing but facing a long recovery. Worse, without being able to run their family-owned salon, her mother could lose the business. Rita decides to help, but she only has until Valentine’s Day to come up with a plan.
                    As Rita takes her mother’s place at work, the nearby skating rink she loved as a child brings back fond memories. Rita also finds herself renewing friendships with her childhood best friend, Marley, as well as her classmate Johnny. Although they now lead such seemingly different lives, Rita is surprised by how well she and Johnny connect and how far he will go to help her. Though Rita believes Johnny is only being kind, with romance kindling in the air and on the ice, their friendship may just fall into something more. 

                    Review

                    I thoroughly enjoyed this latest book by author Melody Carlson.  While I am a big fan, I do have to say that while I don’t think that any of her books are “zeroes”, I don’t think all her books are “heroes” either.  With that said,  Love Gently Falling is definitely a hero.  This is fiction based on real life, showing us an honorable way to handle personal tragedy in our lives.  She makes you want to aspire to live your life well.  Though the main character is in her late twenties and I am 52, I could still relate to her and the choices she had t to make.  I think she is a great role model for the twenty-somethings out there.  The book was well-written, the storyline believable, Carlson drew you into the story from the very beginning.  I give it 5 stars for sure!

                    ~Reviewed by Allie B.

                     

                     

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