Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Fort by Bernard Cornwell

I am not through this book yet, however I am listening to it while driving to and from work and on the elliptical machine. If you love history, particularly the American Revolution this is a tremendous story of the Penobscot Expedition. For military buffs this story also details a joint operation gone wrong and is a good teaching resource for young military officers trying to understand the joint concept. Many notable figures from history are involved in the Penebscot Expedition including Paul Revere, Sir John Moore, Peleg Wadsworth, Dudley Saltonstall, Solomon Lovell, Francis McLean, and Sir Henry Clinton. The majority of the action occurs on a peninsula in what is now Castine, Maine. Then it was known as Majabigwaduce and considered part of Massachusetts. Bernard Cornwell does a wonderful job of creating characters that relay human nature and the emotions of war. I highly recommend this book.

Sword of God by Chris Kuzneski

Chris Kuzneski delivers another fun Payne and Jones story in Sword of God. The content can be touchy, or even controversial to some readers, however the story still delivers just read it with a grain of salt. The tale starts on the island of Jeju in Korea, beautifully described as the Korean Hawaii. The beauty is corrupted by the find of a torture chamber inside a cave by a small and curious boy from a local village. In typical Payne and Jones fashion the action builds from there bringing the reader on a fun, and fast paced adventure culminating in Saudi Arabia at the holy city of Mecca. The typical quips and euphemisms Payne and Jones are known for are ever present as well as the simplified references to military operations and lifestyle. Mr. Kuzneski writes fun action stories and this one is no exception. Although this story trespasses in the somewhat taboo topics of Islam and the Quran it does present positive characters and negative characters from all walks of life. Of interest is the potential find of original pages that the Quran was built from. All in all a fast read, somewhat violent, and not to be taken seriously.

The Columbus Affair by Steve Berry

Steve Berry did it again! He wrote an excellent story mixing history and adventure alongside religion and geography to paint an incredible tale. Starting mere moments before the lead character, Tom Sagan, takes his own life Mr. Berry takes on a journey through Jamaica, Vienna, Prague, Cuba, and back to Blue Mountains of Jamaica to unearth ancient Hebrew relics and the real Christopher Columbus. Tom Sagan is saved by Zachariah Simon and is drawn into a quest to find Hebrew Relics attempting to save his estranged daughter Allie from torture or worse. Sagan has to acknowledge his shortcomings as a father and public failures ending in a tumultuous fall from grace as an esteemed journalist in order to find reconciliation with his daughter, the memory of his deceased father, and his personal past. This is not a Cotton Malone thriller but does exist on the same plane. For reference see Mr. Berry's short story, The Admiral's Mark. Mr. Berry proves through research, attention to detail, and inclusion of the human element that he is among the preeminent writers of our time and can write in a series or stand alone flawlessly. If you are interested in history and a great story Steve Berry is a can't miss!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

It Seems Like Forever

I last posted on March 1st. Twenty-One days later my wife and I welcomed boy number three into the world. It has been quite a roller coaster since then! We decided with some help and time off (I was home for over two weeks) I could remodel the kitchen. With a newborn!! I admit not the smartest decision but the price was right (20% off the whole kitchen including granite), I was off and we did have help. Well several snags later (and some hard lessons learned about IKEA kitchens) and the kitchen is almost done. In the midst of the baby and the kitchen I took my next course for my grad degree. Now that may have been the bigger mistake. I don't know how many people have ever taken business finance but I never had before this course. And I've never been particularly mathematically strong. The bottom line here, I will be re-taking this course. Despite the hectic pace I managed to finish two books! I finished Steve Berry's "The Columbus Affair" and Chris Kuzneski's "Sword of God." Look for their posts individually. And I will add my comments on "Fundamentals of Corporate Finance 7th edition" by Brealey, Myers, and Marcus. This is not the book for a business finance newbie.