Deep Fathom by James Rollins – ‘I feel humbled.’

You know that experience after reading a book and don’t know how you feel about it just yet?

That’s exactly what I felt after Deep Fathom. It’s thrilling, action-packed and has a bunch of really good characters to root for – all key ingredients to a wholesome reading experience. 

deep fathom

But while ‘impressed’ is an expected reaction from Rollins’ work, I’d say ‘humbled’ is a more appropriate term for this.

It’s been a while since I’ve experienced reading something that makes me feel humbled. I’m not sure how but something in the story struck a chord. Now that I think about it, it’s something along the lines of:

  • There’s so much more out there – deep sea–  that we don’t know of. Secrets that invite curiosity but might be best left undiscovered.
  • We never really know when things end for us. One day it’s all sunshine, the next it’s over.
  • It’s always great to have people with the same interest – sharing your dreams, helping each other. To know someone has your back when you need it.

And Jack Kirkland is a beautiful protagonist – someone you can sympathize but is equally complex to fully understand. I especially liked his methodical approach to things and the way he easily diffuses panic by staying ‘focused’ – not an easy feat but one thing he did so very well in the entire story.

This was what Jack liked best about diving. The isolation, peace, the quiet. Here there was only the moment. Lost in the deep, his past had no power to haunt him.

The ending….is just plain WOW! I didn’t expect that. A literal out-of-this-world twist that I welcomed with open arms after everything. It’s an experience that I think every thriller and science-adventure fan deserves to experience.

And I thank James Rollins for this work. I’ve been a fan of Sigma Force and I’m always left in awe. This is amazing. Go check this out, dive deep!

Mark Your Calendars! January 17 – ‘Tangled Like Us’ (Like Us Series Book 4)

Like seriously. Never have I  been very excited waiting for a book sequel!

Damaged Like Us, the first installment, was an accidental find as part of my Kindle’s free ebooks and it’s amazing! Needless to say, I had to purchase books 2 and 3 because I just had to. There was no debate. No second thoughts.

So when I learned how book 4 was on its way, HURRAY!

Yes! I need more and the Ritchie sisters don’t disappoint!

Patience isn’t my strong point, but I’m being tested. Two days more. Just two days more and Tangled Like Us will officially be available! I can’t wait.

Here’s a sneak peek of the book’s first page from Krista and Becca’s official Instagram.

kbr - tangled like us

Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark T. Sullivan – better fiction than true story

A novel based on a true story and set during the war against the Nazis, this book pretty much presented a solid train of events that spanned years while staying focused on the story of its hero – Pino Lella.

While inspired by true events, it can be tricky to identify along the way which of it is true and which is pure fiction. And if you have preset expectations on reading something autobiographical, this may not appear good.

Overall, though, I like the story. But I viewed it mainly as a fictional work based on the Nazi war rather than a recount of experience by someone who lived through the tragedy of that era. I suspect it has something to do with Mr. Sullivan’s writing style.

Still, the story is a fine read and shows a decent amount of drama, struggle, politics, and religion fit for its setting.

It’s not something I’d recommend but if you want a glimpse of what that war felt like without boring yourself out with dates and names, I say you give this a try. 

More details from Mark Sullivan books’ official website.

Stay current with Mark Sullivan on Twitter: @MarkSullivanBks

 

 

 

Damaged Like Us (Book 1) by Krista & Becca Ritchie -A sizzling series debut!

Honestly, if there’s one special, accidental find I consider on this year’s random reading list, THIS will be IT.

Damaged Like Us came as a free read in my Kindle device, and it’s practically more than what I expected. Way, way more. Even better than some books I purchased for more than the entertainment it offered.

I never read the synopsis. I went and dove into the book for the sheer interest I had with the title and the book cover. Yes, cover design matters.  I like visuals.

Surprise, surprise!

First 3 pages, I knew it will be romance. Good-looking protagonist, with a hot bodyguard and all that’s missing, is our guy’s romantic interest. And I was so damn sure it’s a woman. A cool, highly-trained female bodyguard for our American billionaire – and he has no idea. Interesting start. Quite predictable, but interesting.

Dear World, stop fucking with me. Sincerely, an agitated human. – Maximoff

Exactly! Because while I was dead sure we’re looking for a lady bodyguard, a solid buff walks in the scene and my surprise-slash-confusion skyrockets to a maximum level. And it doesn’t help that I’m grinning so hard for that twist.

So this is what it is….

Like right now, I try to ignore his overwhelming presence, and I slowly cap the juice jug again. My gaze stays on him. No matter how hard I say look at the juice. – Maximoff

And the initial flow of the story is so beautifully written, characters well described that I have all the reason to jump on the same boat as Maximoff. Because he’s being too overly affected that the emotions metaphorically seeps out of the book! (technically, the ebook).

So yes, I was surprised by the twist, but I was all in for it.

The Maximoff-Farrow chemistry

Is more than just a theory. You see, ALL protagonists for romance stories have to have chemistry. It’s a need to keep the interest up – the fuel to the plot’s engine, the spice to the potentially bland monotone of a plot. Without it, romance dies.

And this ship, whatever it’s called at this point, is far from dead. It is sailing first-class!

TENSION is overwhelming, I dare say. And there were more instances that I could count when I wished to get a knife to cut the tension myself. And when it finally came to that point when tension has to be broken, it was just plain EXPLOSIVE! Maximoff and Farrow are memorable characters, but they’ve elevated themselves to a whole new level when placed in a romantic ship with them both as captains. And I was in for the ride!

This is the first book in the Like Us series which dedicates at least the first three books to Maximoff and Farrow’s story. Needless to say,  I’m grabbing myself a copy of the next installment!

 

 

‘How to Start’ when you don’t know where to begin?

I don’t seek to provide answers since I, in the first place, am struggling with the same issue.

How do you start on something when you don’t know where to begin?

Common suggestions include:

  • reading books on your subject of interest
  • talk to ‘authority’ people
  • take classes (online or classroom setup)
  • then you can always go for the DIY step where you learn/unlearn things at your own pace

But a fact is, not all these will work on everybody. Some might. Others will do well in combination and there are times when they just don’t.

Any thoughts? Any personal suggestion?

 

 

Book Review: The Geography of You and Me (Jennifer E. Smith)

Theirs was a relationship built on neutral ground and impartial geography: park benches and stone fountains and picnic blankets.  (Ch. 3)

A light-hearted read with an easy-to-follow narrative. Not much tension really. It’s about two teens falling in love during the most casual, but unconventional first encounter – *spoiler alert*a city-wide blackout.

But the story’s far more than just romance. It’s a story of family, life, and quest of finding oneself. It’s also a gentle reminder of how people come and go; Of how fleeting relationships can be and how simply they vanish when not nurtured.

Finding relationships don’t always come with options. But nurturing one is a personal choice.

They were like a couple of asteroids that had collided, she and Owen, briefly sparking before ricocheting off again, a little chipped, maybe even a little scarred, but with miles and miles still to go. (Ch. 10)

This is a linear read with a quite predictable outcome. Simple but not boring. But definitely not for those who want passionate romance. This isn’t it.

‘Before Dying’ – A Bleach-Inspired Fanfiction (One-shot)

DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN BLEACH. Takeshi Konomi does. And its production company. 


There is only one, true ‘Kenpachi.’

Unohana Retsu, Captain of Gotei 13’s 4th Division retired to her quarters exactly eight o’clock that evening.

It was a long day; typical but meaningful.

After all, it’s her last.

She received her mandate – a death match.

Unohana-taichou released a deep breath, slowly padding towards the small wooden desk, which she intentionally placed in front of the window. Atop the furniture were few sheets of blank paper and a pen. She couldn’t help but smile at the simplicity of it all.

Whereas a number of her co-captains flooded their desks with stacks of paperwork and books, she chose to free her personal desk with anything other than the basic writing necessities.

Unohana Retsu never liked writing. Definitely not when speaking directly towards the object of her sentiment works better – faster.

But tonight is different.

She’s compelled – no, more like obligated to leave an important notice to his loyal vice-captain. Isane Kotetsu, has, after all, served her and the entire Gotei 13 spectacularly. She’s a strong woman deserving to stand by her captain’s side.

Still, Unohana believed Isane’s no frontline fighter. Her vice-captain is a natural when it comes to caring for people. And while this is ultimately a strong factor as part of the Gotei’s ‘Healing Squad,’ Unohana saw it as a vital weakness.

When she dies, she knows quite well how Isane would react.

She’ll just have to tell her that everything’s going to be all right.

Unohana sat down on the wooden chair, picked the pen, dipped it on ink, and started writing.

Greetings to: Isane Kotetsu – Yon ban – tai Fukutaichou

You, reading this letter, would mean that you’ve come looking for me after learning that I have not made any appearances in any of our scheduled rounds. For this, I truly apologize. It must be difficult filling in for me on those duties, ne, Isane?

I am grateful to have you around.

Unfortunately, it is with deep regret that I have to tell you that this  message might as well be the last mandate I’ll hand you as the 4th’s captain. I and Zaraki-taichou has finally received the orders to settle our long due match, which I assume, you already know about.

I will go all out with the intent to kill.

I am certain you will wait for my return, but I order you not to. Rather, do take my post as the interim captain and heed the commander general’s orders.

I command you to stay strong, Isane. Heal the wounded and fight for my stead. This is war and people die. The 4th division exists to save lives, but should you need to take up your sword to slay an enemy, by all means do so with full honor.

I, Unohana Retsu, captain of the Gotei 13 4th Division, do hereby allow you to practice full authority on my behalf in performing the 4th’s duty to Soul Society.

May the Soul King guide us all.

-4th-

Kyouraku Shunsui, the recently elected new Commander General, had shown much consideration as to give Unohana a choice. Zaraki Kenpachi’s true power needs to be awaken, and Unohana’s apparently the only shinigami in existence capable of doing that.

Shunsui gave her a choice.

To refuse the mandate of a death match.

Unohana didn’t.

She knew what she’s capable of; knew exactly why she had her powers suppressed up until now. She is the captain of the 4th Division tasked to heal the wounded – to save lives.

But she was and is a warrior, a cold-blooded criminal with blood on her hands. She backs out of combat when ordered, but never when given the choice. She’s the first Kenpachi, a true-blooded, frontline warrior who slays without an ounce of regret – holding nothing back.

Shunsui gave her a choice.

And she’s taking it.

Unohana breathed deep, folded the letter, and unsheathed her zanpakutou. After decades of waiting, it has finally come.

Only one deserves the name ‘Kenpachi.’

Unohana knew that.

And she’ll fight through her last to claim it back.

“Gambatte ne, Minazuki,” she said, giving a lovely smile to her zanpakutou.

The smile we never saw again.


Introvert’s note: I’m not particularly averse to the idea of Unohana dying. I somehow saw it coming at some point considering her inevitable battle with Zaraki. Still, it’s a bit disappointing how their battles and background stories weren’t given much depth. They’re both excellent characters in the Bleach-verse. And I really hoped for more. 

Consider this work my frustrated outburst.