Monday, January 11, 2010

But I, By Your Great Mercy, Will Come Into Your House. (Psalm 5:7)

Greetings one and all!

For today, I've decided to make it a marathon post whining about my marriage...

I'm kidding! Sheesh!

A couple things today... first, a cool blog I found through Boing Boing, called Superuseless Superpowers. As you can tell from the title, people submit their ideas on the most useless superpowers someone could have, such as...

In-Flight Flight: Being able to soar through the air still won't save you from recycled oxygen and endless stories from complete strangers. Known as the "Cabin Sparrow," this so-called power lets you fly, but only within the confines of an airplane.

Shadow FlexBunny rabbits and birds. These are the normal human limits of shadow puppeteering. That is, unless you have ShadowFlex—the power to cast the shadow of a Bowflex home gym. Hairless, well-oiled pectorals not included.

Healing Punch: As a superhero, sometimes you have to resort to violence. Too bad your ferocious fists instantly heal the damage you inflict. Whereas most punches would deliver a crushing Ivan Drago-like knockout. Yours leave your opponent feeling amazingly refreshed and rejuvenated.

Find many more at The Superuseless Superpowers Blog.

Went this morning to hear my mother speak at a weaver's guild group here in Escondido. Lisa (my sister!) was there also! They tag-teamed the presentation, and then took questions and answers afterwards. I snagged a couple pics, to put on our Rug Care Central website tomorrow, but since you're all so special, I'm going to give you a sneak peek!

There's mom (on the right) and Lisa (on the left :D), in mid-presentation. I always hesitate to take pics, even from the back, since the flash is kinda distracting, and makes the speaker(s) more self-conscious. But we needed pics to post, so I did it anyway!

Lisa, in the post-chat Q&A deal afterwards, explaining something about rug construction, no doubt. Or discussing prostate examination... one of the two.... my sister's blog is called The Rug Chick Blog, and HERE is the link!

My mom's awesome. 'Nuff said. I bet my mom can do better rug repairs than your mom... so there! :P

I finished Gold of Kings last night. I better whip up a review. Here you go...

Gold of Kings, by Davis Bunn: A Review

I received this book in a website giveaway (Fiction Addict) a few weeks ago, and when it showed up in the mail, I shrugged my shoulders and set it on my shelf, next to other books I felt I would not likely read. Well, I don't mean that to be rude - I'd never heard of the book or the author, got it for free, etc. It was cool to win it, but I really didn't know when - or if - I'd get to it, with so many other great books ahead of it on my "to be read" list. But I'd just got done giving up on the previous fantasy novel (that unnamed book that proved a source of controversy!), and so it was the perfect time to pick up a new book.

So, what can I say? I grabbed it and started reading, deciding to give it a chance to hook me.

Right from the first page, I could tell it was going to be a good read. Davis Bunn is an author that knows his way around a page, that's for sure. Effective hooks, clean structure, easy to read, compelling characters, just the right amount of environmental description (enough to paint a quick picture without overdoing it), and good (occasionally great) dialog.

The 3 Key Players: Storm Syrell is the grand-daughter of a high-end antiques dealer - her renowned grandfather Sean (head of the family business) has just been murdered. Henry Bennett is a treasure hunter, and close friend of the recently murdered Sean, who has salvaged antiques and treasures for Sean for years. And rounding out the three main characters is Emma Webb, a US Government lawyer, who is assigned to protect Storm in light of Sean's death.

These three are sent on a wild ride on the trail of the Big Prize that got Sean killed in the first place - the gold treasures from King Herod's temple, that were somehow smuggled out of Jerusalem before the Roman's completed their siege in the first century AD and destroyed the city, tearing the temple down to the ground. The list of treasures they brought back to Rome as part of the victory spoils did not include a rather sizable list of items found in historical records of Herod's Temple. They are still out there, somewhere.

So the story is part treasure hunt, part spy thriller, part love story, and sadly, part cheese. The first half of the book is terrific. In fact, the writing is good/great throughout the whole book. But the story, in my opinion, fizzles. The climax is rather anti-climactic... but really, when pondering how I would have improved the ending, I was at a loss. The way the treasure hunt was resolved is likely the only way it could have been resolved, considering the way the story was crafted. So I can't fault the author there.

I can, however, fault him for the way the story finished up *after* the treasure hunt was resolved. Without giving too much away, there's a "rescue" scene toward the end which is, by all rights, ridiculous, and struck me as the author either deciding on his own - or feeling pressure from an outside source - to add a final (needed) punch to the tale, to make up for the (likely) unavoidably tepid resolution to the treasure hunt itself. It feels very tacked-on, very Hollywood, which saddened me.

But overall, the read was well worth it, even if only to see how a really good author can spin a great tale, and make it seem so effortless. I don't mean to sound down on the author - it is a good, fun, easy, satisfying and fairly quick read (at under 350 pages, hardback). I just wish there was some way to resolve the chase a bit better.

Summary: 4/5 stars. A good, solid read from a Christy Award Winning author who deserves a deeper look. I'll likely check out other books of his if I get the chance. He has many, though he has apparently dropped the T. from his name. He used to be T. Davis Bunn.


OK, I guess that's it for today. I have more to say, but I'll save it for tomorrow.

Until then, have fun!


Abbie said...

Your mom is very awesome. T. Davis Bunn sounds familiar, like I've seen some of his books in the church library or something, but I didn't recognize any of the titles. Glad you got something good, free or not :)
See you tonight, maybe!

logankstewart said...

Superuseless superpowers sounds like such an excellent idea. Thanks for sharing.

Crystal said...

Superuseless Superpowers are super awesome!

Krista said...

I want a Superuseless Superpower!!! How cool!

And Winning books is way cool, more so when you like what you get! :)

Kristopher A. Denby said...

I've had some good luck with these types of adventure stories, but I have also been burned pretty badly by a few too. Think I'll have to stay away from them until something calls to me.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!