Misguided Sensitivity

13793440Life is a journey and we all learn lessons along the way. Misguided Sensitivity by Phillip Nork is a look at one boy’s search to be happy and excepted by others. The story begins in the 1960s and follows a boy named Phillip who was raised by a stay at home mother and a working father. He has two siblings and at the age of eight years old his parents divorced and he was brought up by his mother and her side of the family. Phillip was mainly raised by females, the closest people to him were his mother and Great grandmother.

He was taught at a young age to respect women and make them feel special. Also as a kid he listened in on his mother and several friends from the neighborhood talk about how bad typical men were. He decided at that point he didn’t want to be a typical man and went out of his way to be different from everyone else. What comes next is the boys lessons in life that he learned from all the women he met while growing up. It also looks at how each experience turned him into the adult he is today.

Phillip Nork states in the beginning of the book that it is based in truth with names and places changed to protect people’s identity. This is a well written memoir that young adults can learn a lot from. Personally I found it a little hard to relate to because I have never experienced the things that he has gone through and never met anyone like him. I also found the book overly sentimental and even though they weren’t graphic, I got tired of the sex scenes. I’ve read a lot of biographies that had funny moments and not so serious moments but this one was different. Misguided Sensitivity was a serious book that was trying to teach life lessons and not to entertain.

I did find Misguided Sensitivity to be an informative book. Phillip Nork was telling what he learned from the people who have gone in and out of his life so the reader can look at their own life and learn from it. I liked seeing how Phillip changed by the end of the book. I also thought it was interesting learning about how divorce affected Phillip. My favorite scene was when Marcy makes Phillip realize he is not alone. Several kids have to deal with divorce and this book shows how it changed Phillip’s life. Phillip was looking to be accepted and loved. He found that the journey to what you want is never easy. This is a good self discovery book that I think young male readers can learn a lot from.

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Jackfish Reborn

18164549On the shore of Lake Superior lies the town of Jackfish. It’s a ghost town that has been abandoned for several years but it holds many secrets. In 1883 Chinese laborers were building a railroad and Tiger Chang was using the workers to support his opium business. Tiger sent a letter home to China about a discovery he made that would secure the future of his family’s business but he made it in the form of a riddle. Flash forward to the present when Dragon Chang arrives in Jackfish to search for his great grandfather’s discovery and further expand his family’s drug empire.

There is more than that going on in Jackfish though, a wild man as the locals call him has moved into the ghost town and he doesn’t like Dragon and his crew on his land. His name is Phil and he is looking to escape his past and live in the wilderness away from civilization. Also adding to the story is a local cop named April who has come to investigate the visitors to Jackfish. She has a rough past of her own and may be in over her head.

Jackfish Reborn by Rejean Giguere is a thriller but not your ordinary thriller. Its set mostly in the wild around Lake Superior and includes a lot of wildlife references that I enjoyed. Phil sees a lot of animals around his home and the book has good descriptions of a bear attack, a battle between a wolf and moose and an encounter with a cougar.  I liked all of the characters in this book but Phil was my favorite because it was like he was in a battle with himself. He is looking for a change and trying to forget all of the things that happened in his past, but he doesn’t seem to be able to leave his past behind no matter how hard he tries.

Another thing that really kept me wanting to read this book was trying to find out what Tiger’s discovery was. All you know is that it will change Dragon’s life and he doesn’t want anyone else to find it. I enjoyed how the suspense in the story increases as you hear how this discovery is effecting all of the characters, even though they don’t know what it is. Also in the story April has an abusive ex-husband that added another dimension to the tale and made things interesting.

There are four major storylines that are masterfully woven together here and each character has a lot of depth. I liked the fact that the story is set mostly in the wild because I don’t think it would have worked as well if it was set in a city. I felt it made Jackfish Reborn more interesting and I liked how the wildlife added to the action that was in the last half of the story. In my opinion Jackfish Reborn is a story about accepting your past and not letting it dictate your future. This book was one great thrill ride and I highly recommend it.

The Malthus Conspiracy

17301954The world’s population is growing at an alarming rate. People have been scared of over-population for a long time and it doesn’t seem like we can do anything about it. Except there is a secret organization that is dedicated to getting the population problem under control. They are called the Malthusian League, they have been around for 200 years, they have many members in different governments around the world and they are dedicated to making sure Thomas Malthus’s prediction that population will outgrow our ability to obtain resources doesn’t come true.

Thomas Malthus was a Reverend and Economist who wrote a paper in 1798 called “An Essay On The Principal Of Population.” Reverend Malthus predicted that as population continues to grow, an epidemic of famine  would destroy society. The Malthusian League causes war and creates diseases to slow down population growth and their secret has been kept for years.

What happens though when two college students named Dean and Felix stumble upon the world’s biggest conspiracy? They have to run for their lives and everyone around them is in danger. The only help they have is from a friend named Ralph and a police officer named Isabella. The four of them have to race against time to expose a secret society and stop the release of a virus that will kill millions but there are people in high places that will kill them at any cost.

This is the story behind The Malthus Conspiracy by Danielle Uidam. This is an excellent action packed thriller that reminded me a lot of Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code minus the religious references. The best part of the book was how It goes back and forth from several character’s viewpoints and moves from the past to the present. Danielle Uidam did a lot of research for this book and fit a detailed history of a secret organization into a well told story. This may have been a long read but there was so much action in it that it didn’t seem like it.

The best part of the book was the character of Isabella, it was great seeing  a strong female character in this story and I liked how resourceful she was. I also liked the character of Ralph. Ralph is a social misfit and not the kind of person that you would expect to see in an action novel. I kept wondering if he was going to be able to break out of his shell to help his friends. Another thing that made this novel stand out was that I’ve never seen car chases that were well described in a book but Danielle made the chase scenes come to life.

The only problems I had with this book were minor. I kept thinking to myself that The Malthusian League wasn’t doing a good job because the population was still growing and there was a scene at a social event that dragged a bit. Other than that the villains in this story were excellent and  I liked how they seemed only interested in eliminating the undesirable part of the population. If you like lots of action and conspiracy theories then this one is a must read and the essays on Thomas Malthus and people’s opinions on his theory at the end made the book better. I’m hoping that Danielle Uidam decides to revisit these characters again in the future.