Tag Archives: James Rollins

Summer reads – The 6th Extinction by James Rollins

It’s been a long time since I read a Sigma novel. I forgot how James Bondian they sometime seem what with last minute saves and getaways from impossible situations.


Still, I love these novels because Mr Rollins has a way of looking at information from different strata of life and incorporating them into an incredible story that actually makes sense. Even when it’s incredibly unbelievable. 🙂 (INCREDIBLY!)

I don’t want to go into details about the story, I think it’s better if you read it for yourself when you are up to some good adventure/thriller fun.

The most important thing about this book is that it presents genetic research and gene manipulation from two perspectives which are opposite to one another but which cannot be dismissed as completely wrong. Or right for that matter. It always comes back to ethics and morality. And some people not having them. 

But to make a long story short, I always learn a lot from these novels and go away wanting to learn more about different subjects. 

Even when it seems learning more might make me see the future of mankind in a bleak perspective…

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My top 5 authors

Last week I talked about my favorite perfume houses and this week I’ll talk about my favorite authors. Although this list might change every once in a while.

J.K. Rowling – Well, if you follow my blog, this can’t come as a surprise. 😉 I am a huge fanrowel of the Harry Potter series (I admit, I haven’t yet read any of the other novels she wrote). I find the world of HP so well written that I keep going back. Especially at times of stress.

Kresley Cole – She’s on top of my list of paranormal romance authors. She’s really good at what she writes and the steaminess of her scenes is undescribable (go read and see for yourself).

James Rollins – The list wouldn’t be right without  mentioning  the thrilling action packed novels that are in my opinion so much better than what Dan Brown writes. And the mysteries and legends that he can weave into the story at the same time making them believable is incredible.

Marija Jurić Zagorka – She is my favorite Croatian author and my first foray into the historical romance genre which she wrote in the first half of the 20th century. Her novels are still very popular and will probably remain so for many generations to come. The bad mjzthing though, for some reasons her descendants won’t allow her novels to be translated into foreign languages so we, fans, need to wait for the requisite time before the novels are no longer copyrighted.

Jane Austen – As I am a huge romance fan, the list wouldn’t be complete without the original woman who started it all. Pride and Prejudice being of course my favorite (I admit pride is one my flaws).

So, who are your top 5 authors?

Quick bookish reviews

I don’t think my thoughts on each of them would suffice for a post, so I’ll just talk about them all together.

James Rollins: The Eye of God

Reading a James Rollins novel is always a thrilling ride. The fact that he can take legends or rumours and turn them into a credible alternative that is always a bit scary to ponder but unbelievably believable (couldn’t find a better phrase, sorry) – is what makes his novels always my top choice once they are released.eye of god

Basically, an action-packed, thrilling ride through the world with interesting bits of history thrown in for a possible alternative view on what we think we know.

Which is why I’m leaving you with this quote I found a bit scary to ponder:

“Could that be possible? Could Plato have been right all along: that we are blind to the true reality around us, that all we know is nothing more than the flickering shadow on a cave wall?

 

John Oehler: Aphrodesia

I admit, thinking that there might be a true aphrodisiac in any form is scary. Seems I’m reading books with scary ideas in them. 😉

The book is full of interesting tidbits from the perfume industry which I found fascinating (loved the part where IFRA is criticised).Aphro-cover-209x300

I also loved the idea on which the story is based and the difference a minute thing can make. What I had a problem with was the main character Eric. As he seems to lack much of a character. It seems like his nose and perfume ability is his only defining quality. He certainly doesn’t seem to have read a crime novel in his life because it was kind of obvious who was behind his perfume disgrace/fall (well, I had 2 people on the list but it became clear rather quickly that one of them didn’t do it).

It might just be me, as far as I can tell, nobody else had a problem with Eric. But he’s such a bad read  of people’s characters, it’s tragi-comic and basically, in my opinion he came off as a bit stupid for real life (one outside perfumery).

That said, how cool is forensic perfumery?! Love that!

 

Alex Connor: The Rembrandt Secrettherembrandtsecret

Another novel with an interesting crime twist. Turns out I either read too much crime novels in life or writers no longer try to hide who the killer is.

I admit, I expected it to be more of an art crime thriller when it’s actually an art crime novel. The only thrilling part of it was learning that Rembrandt was a bad person and that a character in the novel wears Bal a Versailles.

Even though the letters this novel revolves around are fiction for the story of the book, the fact that the woman who wrote them existed and suffered at Rembrandt’s actions remains true.

I can’t say I was excited after reading this book but I did enjoy it a lot and will definitely pick up the other thrillers by A. Connor. I got  a bit hooked on the art history you can learn about reading this. 🙂

 

Cristin TerrillAll Our Yesterdays

I’ve kept the best for last. 😉

Now, this book has really amazed me. This won’t sound nice but it was better than I expected when I started reading it. It’s an intricate YA story of time-travel, power-hungry people and friendship.

The great part? You really need to think through some parts where time travel is involved. 😀

The story switches from the perspectives of the future characters come to the past and the present people who, it won’t take you long to realize, are the same. This doesn’t even qualify as a spoiler.AOY-Cover-Hi-Res

I don’t want to mention what exactly it’s about because I don’t want to spoil it for you. But you can probably guess if the future characters returned to the past, it is because of something that needs to be changed in the past.

This was just so well written, I enjoyed it a lot. Even though Marina in the present day is a bit of a self-centred teenager. 🙂

But the fact that  my heart beat faster at some points, and then constricted at others, and kept me awake when I should have been sleeping… Those are clear signs how good I found it.

The best thing? It’s not part of a series! Finally! 🙂

Dan Brown: Inferno

infernoI think my memory might be faulty.

I kept thinking of Dan Brown‘s novels as being similar to James Rollins’ ones but I was wrong (I find Mr. Rollins’s ones much better).

But since I’ve read all Dan Brown’s novels so far, I definitely wanted to read Inferno and see where the story with Dante might take us. I learned a lot again – which is one of the good things about this book.

One of the bad things about this book is that it annoyed me to no end. 🙂 From the beginning to the end pretty much.

All of my initial misgivings about some seriously “stupid” plot parts were satisfyingly explained afterwards (I was hoping for that, otherwise it would have been a serious error on the side of the editor).

I do hope I am not going to give away any spoilers but I found the plot to be consciously misleading for the reader until such time as Mr. Brown decided to let us in on what’s actually happening. First, I had a hard time turning my mind around who did what, then I expected that to be another smokescreen until it seemed at the end, that was it.

Speaking of the end, I’m also a bit unsure of how did that female partnership come to happen so easily but I’m happy with that being the case.

And if you think from the start that this might be a mystically fantastic story, you’re going to be wrong. There is a good, rational explanation to everything (except the reason why every character is SO terribly smart).

I would say that the best thing about this novel is that it tackles one theme that I found scary in an another book I read this year (Frozen Solid by James M. Tabor) and that is over-population, i.e. private ideas and actions on how to curb it. Which are never good.

Inferno makes some good, hard points about the fact that we collectively need to start inferno2thinking about this as rather soon it will kill the planet we live on. Correct term for it being “Malthusian growth model” or exponential mathematics. Very scary stuff and unfortunately very true.

That is just one of the interesting things I learned reading Inferno. One other interesting thing is that it makes you wonder and ask yourself some things that you probably wouldn’t like to answer (or know what your answer might be).

For those reasons alone I would say it’s a book worth reading. Just turn a blind eye to the frustrating parts. 😉

 

James Rollins & Rebecca Cantrell: The Blood Gospel (The Order of the Sanguines series)

Seems I am not such a huge fan of Mr. Rollins as I realized this wasn’t a Sigma series book only after it downloaded to my Kindle and I opened it. 🙂 And I was wondering the whole time how come another author managed to cooperate with him on it. Now I know.

I enjoyed the book but I’m not so sure the ending couldn’t have been a bit better – I was a bit underwhelmed that I was going to have to wait for another book to see what happens next. Because in Sigma series, I get the feeling that the story of the particular book is sort of finished while here, even though there is a type of ending to it, I hated all the unfinished threads I wanted to know about which will possibly be handled in the next book. I’m guessing there will probably be more than one sequel so blood gospelnot all of my questions might get answered.

Generally speaking though, the idea is an interesting one and from the beginning I was already wondering what’s the deal with the priest that he is so obsessed with blood and seems to hate women. Both of those questions got answered. 🙂

I loved the description of the places where the story takes place – it really made me wish I could visit them myself (and as soon as possible).

I liked this quote particularly:

“The Church had many locks and many secrets to hide behind them…”

I believe that to be true in reality as well. One thing that is fascinating about this book is that at the same time it is both pro and contra Church. It is rather realistic in that regard.

In the end, I enjoyed it a lot even though I had many things I wished were done differently (not to say better). It is a typical Rollins action packed story with an interesting premise, albeit this time not believable. In the Sigma series I find the strange ideas around which the books are based seem rather possible. Not this time though.

Is it just me or do you also notice how many times in books things seem to happen conveniently for the characters? Never though when I’d like it to. 🙂

P.S. I just have to say I love it when historical persons make an appearance in a book of fiction because they fit into the story. 🙂 This time around it’s Rasputin and Elizabeth Bathory.

 

Pic taken from Goodreads James Rollins profile.

James Rollins: Bloodline

I seem to be saying this again  and again but I am so happy with my Kindle. For the most part because I can have the books I want to read as soon as they are out, as opposed to waiting until they reach Croatia.

So, of course, as soon as the Bloodline was out it was on my Kindle as well. Because I really am a huge fan of the Sigma series.
Therefore, I didn’t doubt I would enjoy the last Sigma installment as well. And I did. And again it was full of interesting premises, this time revolving around making man immortal (or just very long living).

The story though revolves aroun Guild trying to disband Sigma (and practically succeeding). I had fun as the Knights Templar made a guest appearance (I always enjoy them being mentioned).
Basically the thread Mr. Rolling decided to use as the background for Bloodline is really good.

What I enjoyed immensely in this story (one thing I haven’t really noticed earlier, which doesn’t mean it wasn’t there) is that the bad guys really get their come-uppance in the manner I (most readers actually) find deserving. (Btw, lately I noticed my vengeance factor for the bad guys is really great).

The other thing is I learned a lot about Somalia – and that MI6 doesn’t employ women? I still find that one strange.

Anyway, this time around, one more thing about Mr. Rollins’ writing became apparent but I’m not saying this as a complaint. He is a guy after all. 😉
The thing is, there are many strong female characters in Mr. Rollins’ novels. Smart, strong, capable and scary. But when you take a closer look, it’s always the men who have more power, understand the situations (where the bad guys are coming from) and generally seem to take care of those strong women in the end.
Once again, I am not complaining about this or trying to make it into a feminist issue, it’s just something I found interesting while reading Bloodline.

As expected, this was again an action-packed, intriguing story full of interesting concepts we get explained in the end (not of the novel but the book).
No wonder I am such a huge fan of it. 🙂

James Rollins: The Devil Colony

I feel reviewing Sigma series novels by James Rollins no longer serves any purpose. They are all good. 🙂

Equally good. If I had to name one that was my favourite, I’d always go with the last one in the series because that one would be the most fresh and action-packed in my mind.

I might put some spoilers in this but they will be small ones.

What I admire about Mr. Rollins is the research that obviously goes into every one of his books and the fact that he comes across so many different intriguing ideas and puts them together into a fictional story that could so very easily be true.

I want to know why I can’t read random facts and combine them in my head in such incredible scenarios?!
I mean, after reading how he combines them, it feels logical everyone should be able to. And that is in my mind a good sign that the research for the book and the writing were solid. Ok, that sounds lukewarm. They were more in the hot category than lukewarm.

I do wish I had more time on my hands so I could read the books recommended at the end of The Devil Colony. Those books were the basics from which this novel sprung.

And I’ll give you a quick idea of what’s it about. Again, the Guild and Sigma are opponents, Crowe Painter gets a more prominent role as this novel centers around Native Americans, Founding Fathers and nano technology.
If you can’t imagine how nano technology combines with the first two, read the book. Although, you should start at the beginning of the series in order to get the right idea.
But, if you did read the series so far, I’d also suggest reading the short story featuring Seichan – The Skeleton Key – as it’s a good lead into the novel.

And I finally got some answers about  Gray’s love life I was wondering about in the last book. So, it wasn’t Seichan in his bed by the end of the last novel (so mean of Mr. Rollins to tease us so) and the relationship between Gray and Seichan won’t bloom suddenly as this book was want to show but something is building there.
And this time, the kiss was on Gray’s initiative. Not that it counts a lot regarding the situation. (that was my spoiler for the day)

James Rollins: Excavation

It’s fun when you go back to the beginning of a writer you really like and you realize, he also learned to write better with time. 🙂
If this were my first James Rollins novel, I’m not really sure if I would have continued reading him. This way, I got introduced to him through the Sigma series (which I love) so I can look on Excavation as the trial and practice it took for him to get where he is now.

The story is set in the Andes where archeologists are looking for clues as to a previous race inhabiting the same place where Incas lived. Anyway, without getting too much into the story, all kind of discoveries are made and the beginning of incredible stories that will later appear in Rollins’ novels are here but just not as well developed as in Sigma.

It took me a bit longer than  usual to get through it – it’s not bad but it’s just not very believable or very gripping. It’s more like an action movie with bad actors trying to convince us that their cheesy dialogues are serious and the whole plot is terribly tense and serious and all you can think of is that’s it is too funny how they try and fail miserably. It’s still fun but because it’s funny to watch the failure not because it’s supposed to funny. This sounds complicated even to me and I know what I was trying to say. 🙂 Did I lose you with this explanation?

The point is, if you are interested in James Rollins, start with Sigma and once you are done with that, consider if you really love Mr. Rollins enough to brave his earlier work. 🙂

And before you start thinking I think it’s a really bad book, it isn’t. It’s just nowhere near to what he writes now.

Pic by: http://www.jamesrollins.com/

James Rollins: The Doomsday Key

I just love his books – ok, this is for now only valid for Sigma series, but I don’t think the rest can be bad. If you’re a good writer then whatever you write is just good. 🙂

One way that I know a writer has really climbed on my list is when his/her hardcover comes out and I don’t even bat an eye at the price but can’t wait to go and spend the money because it means I will be having it in my hands soon. Like with Mr. Rollins.

I cannot but help wonder how much research goes into each of his books. Even more so because he takes real things and facts and combines them with his characters to fit the story. The really scary part comes at the end of his books, what was real in the book and what wasn’t – way too many of those things you wanted to be fiction seem to be fact. Very scary. Especially concerning this one when the facts point to the devastation man has done and keeps doing to this planet we live on. And not only that, but how much of that is actually being hidden and kept away from public. James Rollins always says which books helped him get to know some subject better and I always plan on getting them but still haven’t managed to do it (will though eventually).

In Doomsdsay Key we have some GM foods gone real bad, “interesting” views on how to keep the world population in numbers that can actually live off the amount of food the earth can produce, Gray Pierce on a mission with the 2 women who effect his emotional life, Painter also on a mission, some back-stabbing and some not, Celtic history and some even older, Black Madonnas, strange diseases and their cures and a lot of learning to be done. And how would you not love the book?!

It just hit me yesterday that Gray Pierce is a combination of James Bond and Indiana Jones – he can get you out of any life-threatening situation and is really a genius when it comes to deciphering riddles. Plus, he has no lack of women (even though he is not that interested in quantity but quality). 🙂

And to end this with the best little tidbit – there is going to be at least one more SIgma book (since there is a “war” starting between Sigma and the Guild). I hope it takes a while before it’s over. 😉

Summer swimming among books

Hello everyone – I’m finally back! 🙂 Well, I’ve been back for a week now though it already feels more like I never left. I would never have guessed how much work can suddenly appear the moment I return from my vacation… Besides, it wasn’t possible for me to write last week – I had to do something about my blonde hair before returning here (sun and the sea do turn me into a blonde each year). So, now I’m a redhead again and have a little bit of time to share my summer memories.
I managed to read more books than I thought I would, but less than I wanted to. Around 12-13. Not sure at the moment. I have to say that James Rollins and R.E. Feist head the list of my top reads lately. I love them both, especially Rollins because you can actually learn a lot from his books. And it’s all fun. 🙂 I highly recommend it to all who read Dan Brown and thought: “Oh, I’d like some more of this!” or “This is awful, I expected so much more!”. James Rollins is so much more and in somewhat the same manner. Do give him a try. 🙂

Some of the more memorable days this summer was a visit to Jablanac, a town nobody really cares much about because the ferry will take to the island of Rab from there, so everyone just goes on. We spent a lovely afternoon there, taking a stroll and visiting one of the more famous coves in Croatia: Zavratnica. I didn’t know there was a sunken ship there (you might see some contours on the photo).

The photo of Jablanac harbor:

Entry to Zavratnica:

The contours of the ship:

Leaving island of Pag for mainland (on the ferry):

That’s it from me today. No perfume related thoughts – they are to come later in the week (thoughts on Boadicea line).

Btw, since I returned it feels like I lost my ability to differentiate between smells properly. Is it possible beacuse I rested my nose for almost 3 weeks, it will take some exercising it now?

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