adrenaline

The spaceship The Hangman's Daughter over a sun

The Bastard Legion

By Gavin Smith
4
Rated by Anne G
Sep 14, 2022

The Bastard Legion is an action-packed thrill-ride into space warfare.  Gavin Smith stays in the very top tier of science fiction writers with his future mercenaries.  When I first saw the back of the book, I thought this military science fiction sounds like Suicide Squad.  And I was right - it even has a science fiction Australian guy with a killer boomerang.  The next question: is this space opera more like the mess of the movie or the well-crafted graphic novels?  


The answer is dramatically the latter.  This is a wonderful addition to Smith's amazing fiction of imaginary wars and

Cover of TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY by Linwood Barclay

Take Your Breath Away

By Linwood Barclay
4
Rated by Gregg W.
May 17, 2022

This week's edition of #NewTitleTuesday is written by one of the most reliable bets in the thriller genre, Linwood Barclay, a master of a kind of book you don't see much of on the shelves as you used to - the "airport thriller," shorthand for a kind of forgettable novel that one might pick up at an airport to pass the time. There's little that's forgettable about his newest, however: TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY is an excellent page-turner that is perfect for a summer thriller that will keep you glued to the pages, desperate to find out what happens next.


TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY begins with Brie

Dec 28, 2021

A good thriller isn't written so much as it's carefully constructed. Out of all the other literary genres - with the exception of romance - a thriller is a constant high-wire act, with the author having to carefully balance the drama on the page against what the reader expects. Not only does a good thriller keeps the reader guessing, but it also keeps the reader WANTING, hanging on every page, until the promise of the book is fulfilled, with the thing in these sorts of books that's always under threat is either saved or brought back to the light.


Thrillers used to be the domain of crime and

Nov 16, 2021

We have plenty of patrons here at the Johnson County Library who love a good thriller. Sure, domestic and psychological thrillers still dominate the bestseller lists, but patrons are not always looking for secrets and lies set amongst deteriorating marriages and otherwise-idyllic suburban settings. We're talking old-school thrillers, where one person - or several people - are on the run from bad people with even worse intentions. Novels like these are great at keeping the pages turning and the plot humming along; with a good thriller that's fast-paced, stocked with memorable characters, and

Cover of Down Range by Taylor Moore

Down Range

By Taylor Moore
4
Rated by Charles H
Nov 9, 2021

The frontier has long felt like a fixture of the collective American psyche, and literature featuring western characters facing the struggles of the rural life has been around since the late 1800s. These western novels often featured tough characters with a firm sense of moral justice and skill with a gun. This archetypical character has continued into modern writing, but in recent decades has made the leap out of the western genre and into thrillers and mysteries in the form of rural law enforcement. This can be seen in Sherriff Walt Longmire (created by Craig Johnson), Game Warden Joe

Sep 15, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Georgia M.. has won second place in the early age group for the Sci-Fi Spring 2021 Youth Writing Contest with her piece "Not So Boring."


 


Not So Boring 


Of course we get stuck on the worst planet, Aerial. Out of the 116 planets my family discovered in the past year, we had to get stranded on the most boring and cold one.


I spend most of my time on the ship playing with our munden, Tuerto. He’s a mix between a dog, a cat, an elephant, and a tiger. White with black stripes, he has pointy ears, a short, stubby trunk, and a dog-like

August Snow cover image. Skyline of Detroit, Michigan.

August Snow

By Stephen Mack Jones
4
Rated by Kari E.
Jun 2, 2021

August Snow is a former Marine, police officer, and a product of a loving Mexican/African American family. He loves his hometown of Mexicantown, Detroit and hates seeing the decay, drugs, violence and corruption running through the city.  He’s bought and renovated a number of houses on the street to bring them back to their former glory. After being fired by the police for uncovering high level corruption, August wins a $12 million lawsuit against the city for unfair termination. Traveling the world for year to regain his perspective and deal with his parents deaths, August yearns for his city

Blacktop Wasteland book cover

Blacktop Wasteland

By S.A. Cosby
5
Rated by Kristen Re.
Dec 10, 2020

“There was no honor among thieves. Boys in the game only respected you in direct proportion to how much they needed you divided by how much they feared you.”


Blacktop Wasteland is full of action and suspense.  Just when you think it may let up, S.A. Cosby shifts the action into another gear.  It is a nonstop adrenaline rush (You know it’s going to be good when the book starts out with a drag race). 


We ride along with Beauregard “Bug” Montage, who is a complex character with many titles: father, husband, son, car mechanic, and getaway driver. He struggles providing an honest living for

Batwoman's face

The Many Arms of Death

By Marguerite Bennett
0
Rated by Anne G
Aug 13, 2020

     Steve Epting's art in comics and graphic novels is fantastic.  Eptig is able to give Batwoman: The Many Arms of Death a classic feel with modern sensibilities, as he has with other superhero comics.  


     We are introduced to Kate (Batwoman) and her lost year where she spent time on an island full of degenerates, with her lover keeping the peace.  Now she returns while tracking down some arms dealers who are selling the biological weapon the monster man serum.  My biggest complaint is that we do not really get enough backstory to care about or know who some of these characters are

Dealing With Dragons

By Wrede, Patricia
5
Rated by Anne G
Feb 21, 2020

"Well I'm not a proper princess then!" Cimorene snapped. "I make cherries jubilee and I volunteer for dragons, and I conjugate Latin verbs-- or at least I would if anyone would let me. So there!”


I have slowly been making my way through a long list of fantasy fiction books I have wanted to read or reread.  Dealing with Dragons is one of those re-read upbeat books; possibly it was “the” book that honestly got me hooked on reading. 


I cannot sing enough praises about this fast-paced book, in particular for its excellently written main character.  This is one of the best “fractured fairy

The Woman in Cabin 10

By Ruth Ware
3
Rated by Megan K.
Dec 31, 2019

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware


Ruth Ware, a well established mystery author, created a captivating novel with The Woman in Cabin 10. I am not overly familiar with Ware’s writing style, as I have only read two (this one included) of her mysteries. The formula of this particular book reminded me of an Agatha Christie novel, as it followed the same “trapped with a group of people, one of whom is a murderer” formula as many of Christie’s own books. Lo Blacklock, a travel writer, is given the chance to report on a luxury cruise with a select few passengers, when she hears a splash in the

The Assassins of Tamurin

By S. D. Tower
4
Rated by Anne G
Nov 1, 2019

     The Assassins of Tamurin is on my top ten favorite adult books for young adults list.  I read this Asian-influenced fantasy for the first time nearly 15 years ago, and I have probably read it at least that many times since.  The Canadian author made me fall in love with the characters, even the characters I think I hate.  Everyone in this fantasy fiction is detailed, alive, and real.


          This culturally diverse book has an engaging story line and a lovable strong female lead character.  When I re-read this I thought it was too good to be a first effort; the story flows along

Supergirl: Being Super

By Mariko Tamaki
0
Rated by Anne G
Oct 9, 2019

In Supergirl: Being Super Canadian author Ms. Tamaki sets us in a "Friday Night Lights" community that reminds me an of apotheosis of Americana; a dream vision of flyover country.  Quite simply illustrator Joelle Jones is the worthiest exclusive find that the publisher DC has netted in a while.  Within comic books and graphic novels, her Supergirl is specific.  While Kara is well-built, the sensuality is not over-sold, which is refreshing for superhero comics.  I would have loved the angst-filled tone to drop off even more, as in the chapter "For All Seasons," in which the story is threadbare

May 28, 2019

"Some people always burn." - Ally Condie, The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe


            Poe Blythe is the seventeen-year-old captain of the last mining ship from the Outpost. In this dystopian fiction, she wants far more than the gold they tear from the Serpentine River. She is looking for revenge, and she is going to use her steampunk-ship to do.  Poe has vowed vengeance on the river raiders who robbed her of everything two years ago. This woman of steel navigates the treacherous waters of the Serpentine. As she does so, she realizes there might be a traitor among her crew.


            The

Jan 2, 2019

With an impressive cast,


Jeff Bridges, Jon Hamm, Dakota Johnson, Chris Hemsworth, and serious breakout star of 2018 contender, Cynthia Erivo


Bad Times at the El Royale  is the follow up to Drew Goddard's critically acclaimed directorial debut, The Cabin in the Woods...


   


   The El Royale Hotel was once a hot celebrity getaway, frequented by the likes of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack.  Its days of glory are over, however, as a series of strangers check in to an otherwise empty hotel.  There's a priest (Bridges), a vacuum salesman (Hamm), a singer (Erivo), and a woman (Johnson

Safe Houses

By Dan Fesperman
4
Rated by Kari E.
Oct 1, 2018

Helen Abell runs four CIA safe houses for the Berlin Station in 1979. While performing routine microphone inspections she captures two important conversations that will change the course of her life. Helen knows her clearance does not allow her to investigate these agents, however a series of events leads her to uncover sinister cover ups within the CIA. In 2014, Helen and her husband are murdered in their Maryland farmhouse by their son. Anna goes home to bury her parents and discover what lead her brother to this horrific act. She enlists the help of a private investigator new to town, Henry

Jul 18, 2018

This isn't going to be a review, so much as an essay on my journey into the world of Dungeons & Dragons and general Role Playing Games (RPG) starting in my late 20's, so strap on your sword and buckler and get ready for an adventure!


 


Like a lot of you, I "knew" about D&D through the zeitgeist.  Seen it mocked in movies, sitcoms and sketch comedy. Had friends that played in quasi-secret for fear of shaming in high school and college. Even sold the books when I worked in a bookstore without ever opening one. I "knew" what it was, and my opinion was set. And it should be obvious at this

Jun 10, 2018

"You’ll be silent forever, and I’ll be gone in the dark."


Michelle McNamara’s book investigating the Golden State Killer is a truly masterful work. The author explains her obsession with this case and her hopes of discovering the identity of the killer. She presents a staggering amount of research and information in such an engaging and organized way, while her clarity of writing and ever-present empathy enhance the reading experience.


Foolishly, I was not prepared to read about the truly haunting crimes that the Golden State Killer committed in the 1970s and 1980s. The author never

Dunkirk (2017) DVD

By Christopher Nolan
3
Rated by Emily D.
Apr 27, 2018

The film Dunkirk tells a very important story. During the Second World War the British, French and other allied forces get surrounded at Dunkirk, a beach town in France. The limited Navy and Red-cross ships can't seem to make it back across the channel without being hit by German forces, and British fighter planes don't have the fuel capacity to be of much help. Overall, the situation is very grim. The British Navy commissions the use of any serviceable ship or boat to rescue the 300,000 some odd soldiers trapped at Dunkirk.


Now you are prepared to watch a movie that has virtually no

Mar 26, 2018

If you're looking for some mindless action and excellent snark, this is the movie for you.


I can find fault with the pacing and the paper-thin plot, but the reason for the movie is obvious: Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson trading quips and being generally hilarious.  When they do that, it's definitely worth the time.


The general idea: a dictator (Gary Oldman) is on trial, but all of the witnesses against him are either dead or discredited by lack of hard evidence.  The last chance to convict him lies with notorious hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson), but Interpol has been

The Chemist

By Stephenie Meyer
0
Rated by Lisa J.
Nov 3, 2017

If you enjoy the television series Blacklist and black-ops stories you will enjoy this surprise offering from Twilight author Stephenie Meyer.


The Chemist is a former black ops government employee known for her ability to use various drugs, poisons and their antidotes to chemically torture people with information the government needs. However, "The Chemist" has been on the run since discovering that those in charge are perhaps operating by their own agenda and survival depends on disappearing. Once you get past the initial few chapters the story takes off and doesn't let up until the final

The Late Show

By Michael Connelly
5
Rated by Hilary S.
Sep 9, 2017

Renée Ballard works the overnight shift at LA's  Hollywood station aka The Late Show. Cops on this shift don't get to follow their cases - they respond to calls, get information and start the paperwork for the daytime crews to take over. This is why it's considered a punishment for cops that have screwed up in some way. It's rather unfulfilling, and Ballard struggles against this - she's a good cop, and wants to finish a case. She finds a way to keep working on all three of the cases she gets a call out on. One of the cases is a credit card theft that seems pretty straight forward, another is

Love & Mercy DVD

By Paul Dano
5
Rated by Brent W.
Aug 26, 2017

In portraying Brian Wilson of Beach Boys fame, Love & Mercy perfectly evokes the Southern California of 1967. I left the theater deeply affected by the sweep of Wilson’s tumultuous life. Paul Dano is superb as the young Brian, and John Cusack is very moving as the deeply troubled middle-aged Brian. In fact, all the actors are superb. While I wasn’t a fan of either the man or the group before, I am now. This is a great movie and I’ve watched it at least five times.

My favorite scenes depict the recording of Brian's masterpiece, Pet Sounds. Highly recommended.

Assassin's Creed (DVD)

By Justin Kurzel
2
Rated by Axel F.
Jul 7, 2017

Justin Kurzel’s newest film, Assassin’s Creed, has been called one of the best video game based movies made so far. Unfortunately, that isn’t much of a compliment. In this film Callum, played by Michael Fassbender, is captured by the Abstergo Corporation and placed into a machine, the Animus, in order to access and relive memories locked in his genetic code. Using these memories The Corporation, run by The Templars and the Assassin’s sworn enemies, hope to find an ancient relic that will allow them to take control of all free will. As convoluted as that sounds it is pretty much the plot of the

Leverage, Seasons 1-5

By Timothy Hutton
5
Rated by Josh N.
May 17, 2017

"Sometimes bad guys make the best good guys."


I love a good caper, a story involving a heist or con (or both), with crazy plot twists and scenes that mess with your perceptions and expectations. With the TV series Leverage, there are five seasons, 77 episodes, of great capers. And I love every minute of it. The show has former-insurance fraud investigator Nate Ford (played by Academy Award-winner Timothy Hutton) team up with four of the best criminals in the world: grifter Sophie Deveraux (Gina Bellman); hitter Eliot Spencer (Christian Kane); hacker Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge); and the

The Trespasser

By Tana French
5
Rated by Hilary S.
Mar 23, 2017

An anonymous call comes in to the Stonybatter police station, instead of the emergency line in Dublin. The caller says that a woman may have fallen and hurt inside her own home. When police arrive, all the doors are locked and they find Aislinn Murray dead, but not from a fall. The case gets passed on to the Murder Squad. Detectives Conway and Moran have the case handed to them by their boss, just as they are looking to clock out and go home. Antoinette Conway is the only woman on the squad, and isn't well liked, she's brusque, confrontational, and keeps to herself. She's immediately

Meru (DVD)

By Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhely
4
Rated by Michelle H.
Oct 14, 2016

I have long admired climbers for their singleness of purpose and puzzling assessment of risk. Dwindling food reserves. Lack of oxygen. Numb toes. Incoming avalanche. Keep climbing!


Offering a first ascent, Mount Meru attracts climbers with an insatiable hunger to test their mettle. I was expecting to witness an arrogant expedition. What I saw instead was less a story about adversity and triumph than one about the relationships between climbers. Meru poignantly captures the subtleties of human interaction when partners experience the unfortunate – keeping in mind these folks court misfortune

You: A Novel

By Caroline Kepnes
5
Rated by Axel F.
Oct 11, 2016

Aspiring writer, Guinevere Beck, thinks nothing of her “chance” meeting with Joe Goldberg, the guy at the local bookstore. The fact that he happens to be her perfect match down to the last detail just shows how lucky she is to have found him. Right?


Joe Goldberg knows it is meant to be when Guinevere Beck walks into his bookstore, but fate moves too slowly. Joe takes matters into his own hands and soon enough, with help from social media, Joe finds out everything he needs to know. Armed with her address, best friends’ names, access to her email, and so many other details of Beck’s life, Joe