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Books with a Beu

Jamie Beu, owner and co-author (with his wife) of CatholicFamily.info, is a "cradle Catholic", devoted husband, and father of two girls. He is a regular contributor to his parish newsletter, as well as an impassioned defender of the faith who is able to both support and challenge others as necessary -- all in an effort to build-up Christ's Kingdom on Earth. To this end, he does a lot of reading - not just of religious books (for education and research), but also of secular books, both to decompress as well as to keep a finger on the pulse of pop culture (the better to relate to others, as well as to help restore the culture).

Currently reading

Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know
Meg Meeker, Meg Meeker
Dan Simmons
Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life
'John Townsend', 'Henry Cloud'
Boundaries Face to Face: How to Have That Difficult Conversation You've Been Avoiding
Henry Cloud
Jesus of Nazareth
Pope Benedict XVI, Adrian J. Walker
Permutation City
Greg Egan
Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religions
Pope Benedict XVI
Is Jesus Coming Soon?: A Catholic Perspective on the Second Coming
Ralph Martin
Prelude to Foundation (Foundation: Prequel, #1)
Isaac Asimov
Autobiography of a Saint: Therese of Lisieux
Thérèse de Lisieux, Ronald A. Knox, Vernon Johnson

Naked Heat (Nikki Heat)

Naked Heat - Richard Castle Another installment for fans of the ABC TV show "Castle", "Naked Heat" continues the adventures of NYPD detective Nikki Heat (based on the TV show character "Kate Beckett") about 6 months after "Heat Wave". Although my primary complaint about "Heat Wave" (the constant use of Nikki Heat's full name throughout the narrative) is still partly there, this book is superior to its predecessor in several ways.

First off, there is more to the 2nd novel. Where the first book felt like you were reading a long episode (maybe two-parter) of "Castle", this second book is more epic in scale: more characters (both victims and suspects), more tense situations, and more character development. These are all done well too - it is not merely another example of "the sequel has to be bigger". It is a product of both better writing as well as the sequel's "little exposition needed" advantage over the first.

Secondly, the book makes more implied references to the TV show. In fact, it can become a bit of a game to try to figure out in which episode it was that Rick Castle got his inspiration for the next bit of the story. This makes the tie-in to the show that much more enjoyable for fans of the show: Easter eggs abound!

Finally, the romance angle is played better than in the original. Whereas the first book handled romance like a tequila-laced sledge hammer, the follow-up becomes more about the thrill of the chase, the questions and doubts about feelings and emotions, as well as rivalries and communication issues.

All in all, fans of the show will really appreciate the additional effort that went into this book. It's not Shakespeare, Austen, or Tolkien, but it's way better than your average "bodice ripper" (spoiler?).