Book Series Review: Dan Brown Series

Recently (right before the new year actually), I renewed my monthly Audible subscription, knowing I wanted to read more books. Sure listening isn’t reading, but hey, I’m consuming the book right?! With that, I got a couple books that I wanted to have in my library (once you get them through the subscription, you have them even if you cancel or suspend your membership, which is really cool).

One book I had found, was from the author Dan Brown. I’ve read some of his work already, “way back when”, about a decade ago now. It was right before Angels and Demons (the movie adaptation) came out that I last read his work. I loved reading that book and watching the movie then. After that, I watched the Da Vinci Code. I loved it, and moved on, thinking nothing of it.

Some time later now, I stumbled upon his name again in the Audible library, with the latest Robert Langdon novel, released in 2017. I saw that character’s name and went gawkingly wide eyed. The middle schooler in me went “OMG I can’t even right now!”

You know I tapped that “buy now for 1 credit” button so fast, I don’t even recall seeing the “confirm purchase” deterrent- yes, there WAS NO DETERRING THIS GIRL!

Maybe it was the cold meds, maybe it was the book (in the Maybe it’s Maybelline slogan)

Come to find out, while letting the book download over LTE (I was on my way to work, okay! And no, I wasn’t driving- babe was…thanks babe!), there was 2 WHOLE OTHER BOOKS THAT I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW HAPPENED.

“Buy 3 more credits for …” GIVE ME THOSE CREDITS DAMN IT!!! Haha…I was literally an irrational 8 year old with $20 to spend at the toy store, with too much sugar in her system.

So yea, I bought extra credits so that the other two books that I missed were technically cheaper, and have one extra credit to spare, when in all good reality, I’d be able to wait (if I had the patience…lol) until next month, where I could pick them up without coughing out this extra money, but oh well….Christmas money right?! (Thanks grandma’s)

Anyway, now that I have more books to listen to, due to my impatience, ya’ll in turn will get more reviews of books! Hopefully you like these reviews!

I’m reviewing each book as I listen to them, for reference. This is more for my end, since (1) I kind of went out of order and (2) it’s easier to review as I go, then upload this post, as I feel doing it out of order and individually wouldn’t be fair to you guys/wouldn’t be enough content for one post, each, while leaving you wanting to read the books.


Angels and Demons (Book 1) (Movie)

Obviously this is the series starter book. The nice thing about these books, is that it doesn’t really matter what order you read them in. Each book is it’s own adventure, kind of like the multiverse in comics.

This book does set up some character development on Robert Langdon though, the main character that is throughout this series. Picture him as the fit, attractive, while also dad-aged sub you had in high school.

Yes, this is that Angels and Demons that got a feature film. So did the next book. Yes, they did it backwards.

Assuming you’re not familiar, or it’s been clearly too long since the film was relevant (same boat girl, same boat. I read it right before the movie came out and watched the movie. I couldn’t tell you the actual plot to save my life, without googling it to see what the gist was. Hence why I’m re-reading it!), let me give you some info to lure you in!

So some major science guy is murdered, in Switzerland. But he’s not just murdered, he’s murdered by a group that is thought of as long dead. He’s branded and his one eye has been torn out, and the eyeball itself is eventually found in his lab, where only him and his daughter are the only ones who can get in.

What’s in that lab? The only thing that is 5-8 times more deadly, ounce for ounce, than the atomic bomb: anti-matter. What’s also missing? The anti-matter.

Since Langdon is a professor of symbology, especially religious ones, he’s called in, to decipher the branding initially, until they discover that the anti-matter was stolen. So there’s less than 12 hours for them to find this anti-matter tube, before it’s battery that keeps it stable, runs out of battery juice.

To make matters worse, it’s the day that clergy is voting on the next Pope, as the late Pope had just suffered what is thought to have been a stroke (no formal autopsies are done on any Pope). Why is this bad? 4 of the most prominent clergymen are missing…then there’s the call.

The caller is the one who will be killing one of the clergy, on the hour, starting at 8pm (20:00), and the big show of the anti-matter explosion, taking out Vatican City, occurs at midnight.

Each clergymen is murdered in a different way: Earth, Air, Fire, Water. Each clergymen is killed in a different location. They must figure it out: Langdon, the scientist’s adopted daughter, and the higher ups in the Vatican City, that aren’t voting for the next Pope.

It’s a hot mess, which will keep you on your toes and wanting to keep on reading!


Da Vinci Code (Book 2) (Movie) (finished approx. 1/26/2019)

Oh boy! A murder one! It starts with Robert Langdon on a business trip in Paris, and a desperate call to his hotel room. He told the main desk to let it wait till morning, but they insisted otherwise.

Langdon gets dragged into a murder scene at the Lurve. As a symbolgist who now has some extra notoriety after the incident in Vatican City, on top of his regular work as a professor and a writer, he gets called in to help with this shit.

Everything points to the works of Da Vinci, and the murderer uses hidden things in the art work that is in the area.

*Please be nice to me, I didn’t write this right after finishing it, so I’m doing the best I can here*


Lost Symbol (Book 3) (finished 1/27/2019)

This book takes Langdon to the DC area, and he has a brief thing to deal with his mentor. This is the shortest book in the series, so this will be the shortest book review.

So Langdon is offered to do a speech in DC, from his mentor, but once he arrives, he quickly learns that the inventation was not set up to be a speech, but was a kidnapping to get more information.

He’s given the hand of his mentor, tatto’d with symbols (previously not a tattoo’d hand), and that’s only the start of the journey. He’s accompanied by security to figure this guy out, and see if his mentor is still alive.

Thanks to his fitness and swimming routine, Langdon survives being waterboarded even, in the process, because he wants to protect those he loves, and he doesn’t actually know the answers, which the kidnapper doesn’t believe to be true.


Inferno (Book 4) (Movie)

If this isn’t a direct reference to Dante’s Inferno, I don’t know what is. Basically a creative way to introduce someone to the Divine Comedy. Good recommended read for those in school.

This is a read and a half. 3 hours away from the end, and I still need answers. You’ll become lost about 5 hours away from finish, whatever that is in pages. It’s a journey and a half leading up to there, but then it takes another twist, and makes you reconsider investing in the book, because it’s half not worth it. BUT IT’S ALL WORTH IT! Really, I swear, even with the extra WUT there, as you’re nearly at the end.

Langdon wakes up in a hospital, with no recollection of what has happened over the last 2 days, nor how he landed up in Florence. He has a believable head wound, and a nurse telling him it’ll be okay. But is she a nurse? Is she even a legal resident of Italy?

The last thing he remembers is getting an invitation and him being back home in Cambridge. Now since he’s in a hospital, he doesn’t know what to make of anything.

Moments after gaining consciousness, he gets told that he had a head wound, and had amnesia, and had an odd thing in his internal pocket of his coat. But he doesn’t have an internal pocket on his infamous coat.

He also doesn’t have his Mickey Mouse watch that he’s had since childhood. So what’s really going on? He doesn’t know.

Until shots are fired right in front of him, and him and a nurse flee the scene, since he was told he had a guest just moments prior.

He’s been told that he’s being hunted. Or is he? Is it the nurse? Is it all just a ploy?

Someone wants to spread the 21st century version of the black plague, and wants to stay anon about it. Was Langdon involved and couldn’t recall? What did he even do? No one really knows.

No one knows until he gets saved, after his nurse friend flees, and he finally gets some answers. Now, is her fleeing, allowing him to get the answers he wants? Will this save the planet from the plague?


Origins (Book 5) (finished 1/6/2019)

This was the 2nd book I personally read, and third story/adventure I had with Langdon’s character. Reading this book made me want to go back and read through the whole series properly, and impatiently got more credits on Audible just to have all 5 right away.

Origins is a journey that Robert Landgon takes, when he is invited to a non-disclosed party/announcement launch that no one knows what this thing is all about. The host is a former student of his, that he’s kept in touch with, but through life and the student’s projects, they stopped keeping in touch until this invitation.

This announcement was brought through technology, and was about the two key questions we have as a species: “Where did we come from?” and “Where do we go?”. The student/host gets assassinated mid-presentation, and it’s a hot mess for the next not even 12 hours, like always.

Ugh, I hope there’s more adventures! I love it all. I plan on exploring more of Dan Brown’s work over the next while.


Have you read any of Dan Brown’s work? Have you read anything of his outside of these 5? Let me know how you liked them (and which ones you read, so I know!).

If not, what are you planning to read in 2019? What have you read already this year?

What are some good reads I should look into?

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Book Review: What Have You Done?

I’ve done a lot of reading lately. Well, via Audible. I’m in the middle of a 5 book series, that I’ll be sharing a BIG review on, once I’m done with the series.

This time though, I’m doing one on the book “What Have You Done” by Matthew Farrell. And even though the “about this book” section gives a good bit of info, THAT END THOUGH is something else.

It’s very much a “who needs enemies when you have family” book. Family drama, murder, and revenge cheating.

When a mutilated body is found hanging in a seedy motel in Philadelphia, forensics specialist Liam Dwyer assumes the crime scene will be business as usual. Instead, the victim turns out to be a woman he’d had an affair with before breaking it off to save his marriage. But there’s a bigger problem: Liam has no memory of where he was or what he did on the night of the murder.
Panicked, Liam turns to his brother, Sean, a homicide detective. Sean has his back, but incriminating evidence keeps piling up. From fingerprints to DNA, everything points to Liam, who must race against time and his department to uncover the truth—even if that truth is his own guilt. Yet as he digs deeper, dark secrets come to light, and Liam begins to suspect the killer might actually be Sean…
When the smoke clears in this harrowing family drama, who will be left standing?

Is that not convincing? You can read AND listen to it for free on Kindle Unlimited and Audible (make sure to have the Kindle Unlimited subscription and the Kindle app, and the Audible app. Download the book to the Kindle app, and tap on the book settings, and there you can access the Audible version, which will open up in that app).

The audio book is 9 hours long, which includes credits to the author and storyteller. This is one of the shorter books I’ve listened to, but still rather good.

If you like crime and mystery, you’ll love this book. I forgot how much I missed crime and mystery type books, until reading this and the series I’m still reading.

What books have you been reading lately? I’d love to know, to add to my ever growing list of book inspo!

Audio Book Review: I Can’t Make This Up

This book is longer than you think this is, let me tell you. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE COMEDIANS.

My links here are affiliate links, so if you click on them and purchase, I get a small percentage, at no extra cost to you.

So I made the mistake of thinking I’d be able to catch up on 2 seasons of Thrones, read a book, work on this blog, finish this particular audio book, plus do all I was during my 16 day vacation last month. Obviously we saw how that went. So I finally finished Kevin Hart’s I Can’t Make This Up audio book last night.

If you know who Kevin Hart is, his book (especially the audio version) is nothing short of anything that Kevin produces. He even has some commentary from his dad put into it, and him trying to narrate it is just as amusing as his comedy specials and clips.

If you don’t know who Kevin Hart is, please, just stop here, go watch his stuff, ANYTHING REALLY, even if it’s on YouTube. You’ve probably seen his face on some GIF reactions IRL (well, on the internet IRL).

This book is the story of his life. It doesn’t just stop at his fame. He goes through his upbringing, his trouble with his now ex-wife that was a long up and down roller coaster type of relationship, to his career, and even the downfalls of his character (and still makes it amusing, because we can all relate somehow).

It’s everything you think it’d be, if you’ve seen any of his comedy specials. Listening to him narrate it, I think makes it. It adds his personality better, and his style. So if you’re debating on just reading it or listening to it, I 100% recommend the audio version. Grant it, I’m totally biased since I didn’t read it, but listened to it.

Evil in America: Another Book Review

To add another book review to my list this year for you guys, I finally finished June’s book.

Since we’re in Mercury retrograde, and I’m taking time off of social media, I can tend to the things that I truly want to tend to. Not like I couldn’t do those things anyway, and I should get better about managing future aspirations and betterment and mindless scrolling of social media that doesn’t do much other than either smiles or frowns.

Now let’s get into the book review instead of babbling about pointless stuff. You probably came here to read my commentary and thoughts about the book and not tangents. The book was, you guessed it: Evil in America.

I do regularly listen to Shapiro’s podcast and occasionally read the articles he writes, when they come up on my Google homepage for recommended reads. With that, you would think that by now I would have read at least one of his books already. Nope, this is my first.

He has an interesting take on things, and that shows in his writing. I like how he took, in Evil in America, each “chapter” was a headline or big topic happening at the time he wrote it. He shared the date for when he wrote the commentary as well. It’s a good reminder for those of us reading it later in time.

Not like we don’t necessarily recall those events (some I didn’t know about because I wasn’t so politically involved at the time), but putting a date with it, helps file it better in our brains like “Oh, okay, that’s when that was”.

Shapiro has a new book he’s currently working on and will be due out in 2019, and I plan on getting it.

Audio Book Review: Wisdom of Sundays

I’ve never really gotten into Oprah, but I know she’s so influential, and love her vibe, for what I’ve listened, heard, and saw of her. Awhile back, Aileen from Lavendaire said that she had listened to the audio book of Oprah’s Wisdom of Sundays, taken from her series on her network.

I chose my first of two audiable credits I had, to listen to Wisdom of Sundays as well. It was no better time to listen to this, right before my trip to California. I’ll be sharing more on how I planned that on Monday! Anyway, I truly suggest, as a fan or not so much fan, to go listen to these conversations she shares in this audio book.

Truly, this book is something that was perfectly placed into my life, and made it’s way into my life, at no better of a time.

Oprah’s best life style shines through this whole book, which really isn’t a book, but filled with best life tips, tricks, and “Ah-ha!” moments we should all experience. I would love to get into watching or listening to more of the Super Soul Sunday conversations because of this book.

Oprah shares her conversations with people like Gary Zukav, my next re-read author (which I next to never re-read) Ekhart Tolle, and one of the last ones on her list, Daniel Pink. I love the idea that that conversation brought: every great person/influencer has a sentence or catch that we remember them for.

Throughout this book, every time that Oprah talks about gratitude and her gratitude journal, I keep telling myself that I need to get back into doing my daily gratitude. I was doing so well, doing 5 a day, and kind of lost track of it. This is a habit that I wanted to cultivate this year, and I’m not doing it as much as I should.

Also, while listening to this whole book, over the course of many days, I am brought back to mindfulness and self awareness. When I say I needed this book, at this exact point in my life, I mean it. The mindfulness brought to light in the conversation of John Kabat-Zin was the start of everything I needed in this book. When he says “When you’re making pasta, and stirring the sauce, JUST STIR THE SAUCE”

The next conversation that hit me was the one with Reverand Bacon (I think that’s his name…chapter 4 of the audio book…listed as chapter 5 because of the intro being a “chapter”, for reference).

Their take on vibrations, and how what you do, say, and surround yourself with, creates your vibration and energy. When you tweak or mess with one (or when one messes with you), the others are affected. It makes sense on why I have a lot of the desires that I do, wanting to branch out and move on, in terms of my work, let alone who I want to keep around me.

I’ve been on the journey of filtering out or limiting the energies that don’t vibe with mine, either as they come, or the ones that have been around too long and need to go. Frankly, most of that has been dealt with, so it’s just a “deal with it as it arises” sort of thing.

My next “Ah-ha” moment came just a little over a chapter later in the listen. Commentary on the idea of “the opposite of poverty isn’t wealth, but justice”. What justice are you doing for yourself? With that

As I listened to Oprah’s conversation with Elie Wisel at the end of her book, the first minute broke my heart. Any survivor of that type of horror brings my feels out, and knowing that his heartbreak of his sister dying during the Nazi reign makes me feel the sad feels. Anything like that, sad feels doesn’t even cut it for my pain, and I didn’t even loose someone from those wars.

Wiesel had written about 50 books, and he is best noted for saying “The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference”, which is remarkable. Looking through his list of books is what I HAVE to do over the next while, and add to my ever-growing list of books to read.

He passed away just under 2 years ago, and may his soul truly rest easy.

This audio book is a MUST READ/LISTEN. I grasp why those who recommend it, recommend it. When you need hope, when you need inspiration, when you need ideas, when you are in need of “Ah-Ha” moments, get this audio book. Listen to this when you are short on yourself, when you need something to pull you out of yourself, out of your mind.

This will be a listen frequently. This will be at least an annual listen, like what I’m making the Power of Now from Tolle, and Tuesdays with MorrieTuesdays with Morrie by Albom.

I’ve never been the type to re-read books. But as of late (the last 2 years really), I’ve turned into one of those. My first re-read was Tuesdays with Morrie, hence my desire of talking with “older” people, and wanting to turn it into a podcast.

The Power of Now hit me so hard last year that I couldn’t help but want and near NEED to put it on a re-read list. Listening to Wisdom of Sundays has done the same thing. 12 Rules for Life is on my re-read list as well.

 

Controversial Books: May 2018 Book Review

This month, I read “Dangerous” by Milo Yiannopoulos. Yes, I had to Google his name to spell it…you would’ve too. This is my actual read, and not an audiobook read. I’ve turned to audiobooks as of late, and I’m no longer ashamed.

I do get rather sidetracked, looking stuff up when I’m busy, versus actually reading up on things. I also love the convenience of audiobooks when I’m doing mundane tasks, because it makes it all the less boring. One day I’ll be making enough money, where I’m not working where I am now. In the mean time, I have to make do with that time I have.

Anyway, instead of making this a sob story/pity party, let’s get into this book review! Dangerous has been out since Independence Day 2017, after LOADS of issues and controversy. What event of Milo’s doesn’t include such a thing though?

Yes, this is written by that Milo. That flaming gay conservative who married a black guy?!?! YES THAT MILO. He’s gay, and he’s every bit of that gay stereotype, with no guilt whatsoever of it. Kudos to him. Especially since he’s conservative, and pissing off the left, since he’s every ounce of that flaming 80’s homosexual:

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That’s all the background you need of him…really. And if need more, read the book haha!

So, let’s get into the book review, shall we?

Milo goes into the reasons why certain groups hate him. Not only that, he goes into why they don’t like him-he picks apart their more popular arguments/stances, and why they don’t stick, if you actually give it some sunlight. Half of it is sarcastic remarks or jokes, and the rest is points, in a mostly light manner.

There’s 9 chapters/groups that hate him, that he goes into, in the fashion above. The notable list is: the progressive left, the alt right (both poles of the horseshoe), Twitter, Feminists (more so the new wave), BLM, the Media, establishment Gays and Republicans (not the same chapter though), and Muslims.

Then there’s a chapter about why one group DOESN’T hate him: gamers.

The last chapter is about how awesome his college tour speeches are.

Personally, I enjoyed his commentary on how awful some of his “haters'” points are. Even his commentary on why modern feminists (see these books: Female Spectacle  Feminism) don’t like him, and his take on abortion. Yes even his take on abortion. 

Half of the commentary in the BLM chapter is also amusing as well. The same reason we laugh at the small amount of people who blame Jews for what’s going wrong in America, and what’s going on, is what’s happening when blacks blame the whites in America for the same things.

Yes, sure, there’s issues still, but how you handle the issues dealt to you, is up to you, and that includes you trying to blame someone else for your misfortune, sadly. The reason why whites land up better, and Jews better yet, is because of how they keep at things, and look at their issues and shortcomings.

If I gave you any more glimpse into Milo’s book, I’d fear that I’d have a plagiarism and copyright lawsuit on my hands!

The way Milo’s book reads, is nothing less than the troll-f*ckery that you’d expect out of him. Even though Milo and Ben Shapiro don’t get along, I’ll turn around next month and read one of Shapiro’s many books. “Which one?” you ask… Well that’s for next month for me to tell!

 

Audio Book Review: Eat. Pray. Love.

When YouTuber Kalyn Nicholson says that this will make a travel bug crawl into your soul, she was right!

This week, I’m sharing my review on none other than Eat, Pray, Love. Go grab it, and re-read it (or just read it!). If you’re not a book reader, check out the movie here.

Elizabeth took us around the world. I loved all three parts of the book, or really each “mini-book”, in which the three countries could be their own mini book. Eat and Love were my two.

I could so see myself gaining the same 30 pounds she did in Italy. I also fell in love with her trip to Bali as well. Bali was where she found love, but I don’t think just in the romance way.

You’d think she’d find romance in Italy (which she kind of did), but it wasn’t the romance she needed or deserved. She had to find herself again, create that spark again, to truly find her kind of romance.

In Bali, she seemed to find her love of people, of culture again. She could also keep her love of travel as well, as you’ll see towards the end of the book.

That’s the most basic of all basic summaries, and as much as I would love to totally spoil the whole book for you (assuming you haven’t read it, which, if I can say this nicely: GO FREAKING READ IT!), I won’t.

If it’s been awhile since you read this lovely book, make sure that you can do it on a beach or wherever you find a fancy, and dive right back in! You’ll enjoy it as much as the first time around, I promise.