Book Review of “Two Hundred and Twenty-One baker Streets”

“Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets” is an anthology of Sherlock Holmes short stories compiled by David Thomas Moore. It was published in 2014 (October) and it consists of 14 short stories with very different versions of Holmes and Watson. This book is available on Amazon.

I obtained this novel for free through https://www.netgalley.com for review. I must first say that I am not a fan of short stories. I find that they are simply too short!

In this case I did find the collection interesting. Most of the stores I was sad to see end so quickly. I have read all of the original Holmes stores written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and I found these to be complimentary of those original works. I give this a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also posted on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

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Book Review of “Desperate Times”

“Desperate Times” was published in 2011 and was written by Nicholas Antinozzi (http://nicholasantinozzi.com). This is the first book of the “Desperate Times” trilogy. Mr. Antinozzi has written 6 novels. This ebook is available on Amazon.

This book is a thriller with the story set in New York state in a near future. An apocalypse occurs when there is a sudden financial collapse in the US and around the world. A few have seen the disaster coming and have been planning. The story is of a group that comes together to escape the city and try to survive the crisis at a lake home in rural New York.

As would be expected in such a crisis, some decide to use force to take from those who have thought ahead. The group endures many trials as they struggle to survive. While the story does reach a conclusion, the bigger story continues on in the next volumes of the trilogy.

I enjoyed the seven hours I spent reading this novel. I would rate it as an “R” due to the Violence and Mature Language. I rate this book as a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also posted on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review for “Robin: Lady of Legend”

“Robin: Lady of Legend” was written by R. M. ArceJaeger (http://rmarcejaeger.com/). This is Ms. ArceJaeger’s first book. The eBook is available on Amazon.

I was alerted to this eBook being available for free during a promotion by http://eBooksHabit.com. This is a fantasy for Young Adults, particularly for young women, with a strong young female character. I would rate this book ‘PG’ only because of some fighting that goes on. The story is told first person and is a retelling of the familiar tale of Robin Hood. Only in Ms. ArceJaeger’s version, Robin is a young girl. When the story begins Robin is just 18 and she finds that her father has promised her hand in marriage to Phillip Daniel the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Robin runs away as the only way to avoid the marriage and her father’s wrath. She is bound for London, but gets sidetracked while passing through Sherwood forrest. The results is the story we are used to hearing of Robin’s many adventures, though there are one or two twists to the story.

I enjoyed the eight hours I spent reading this story. This Robin was different enough to be interesting. I thought that the story was well developed, and the characters had depth to them. I score this book as a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also posted on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review of “World of Fire”

“World of Fire” was published in 2014 (August) and was written by James Lovegrove (http://www.jameslovegrove.com/). Mr. Lovegrove has published over 25 novels and many short stories. This book is available on Amazon.

I obtained this novel for free through https://www.netgalley.com for review. This is a Science Fiction novel and I would rate this novel as ‘R’ due to Mature Language and Violence. The story was told first person and is set in a distant future where mankind has spread to distant stars. As they have spread they encountered the Polis+, an AI based race who are humankind’s rivals. A bloody war was fought with the Polis+ and after a particularly costly battle to both sides an uneasy truce was declared. While there is no longer open warfare, along the border with Polis+ space there is constant tension.

The main character of the story is Dev Harmer, an ex-soldier who currently is a troubleshooter for Interstellar Security Solutions (ISS). ISS provides contract services to worlds that have problems, particularly problems that seem to stem from Polis+ activities. He is sent to Alighieri, a planet with an extremely hot surface, at the request of the local government. The planet is very near Polis+ space and is principally a mining colony for helium-3. The underground colony is being threatened by a series of earthquakes. Dev is there to find out what is causing the tremors.

Dev’s investigation leads him across the planet. Dev is not the most likeable character and he quickly rubs many of the Alighieri inhabitants the wrong way. There is a lot of action and intrigue as Dev seeks out the cause of the tremors.

I enjoyed the eight hours I spent reading this first novel of the Dev Harmer series, though I have to say that I did not particularly like the Dev character. His constant wise crack humor irritated me. Other than that the story was interesting. The characters were well developed and the story line was not what I expected. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also posted on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com)

Book Review of “Yesterday’s Kin”

“Yesterday’s Kin” was published in 2014 (September) and was written by Nancy Kress (http://www.sff.net/people/nankress/). Ms. Kress is a Nebula and Hugo award winner, and has published more than 25 novels as well as many novellas and short stories. The book is available on Amazon.

I obtained this novel for free through https://www.netgalley.com for review. This novel is written in the third person and is set mostly in New York, New York at sometime in the near future. I would rate this novel as PG only because of some violence that occurs. The primary character is Marianne Jenner Phd. She is an evolutionary biologist at a small university in New York. Other principal characters are he children Ryan an environmental biologist, Elizabeth a federal border patrol officer and Noah her youngest with drifting interests.

Aliens, the Deneb, have made contact with Earth, and have set up an “Embassy” in New York harbor. They seemingly have come in peace, but have said very little. After four months of little communications, they suddenly request a handful of humans to visit the Embassy. The group is made up of the UN secretary General, the Russian and Chinese representatives to the UN, and most unexpectedly Marianne.

The aliens reveal that the Earth is facing a biological disaster from space in only 10 months. The Deneb have come to warn Earth and ask for Earth’s assistance. The Deneb have already lost outposts to the biological threat, and their home world will be facing the threat in only 25 years.

As Earth scientists begin to work with the Deneb at the Embassy, tension rises around the world. Marianne’s relationship with her children is strained, and surprising discoveries are made regarding the Deneb’s origin.

I enjoyed the four hours I spent reading this novel. It was well written and the characters had depth to them. I thought that this novel had a different twist on first alien contact and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I give this novel a 5 out of 5.

Other book reviews I have written can be found at https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/.

My book reviews are also posted on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review of “Out of this World”

“Out of this world” was published in 2014 (August) and was written by Maggie Morton. This is Ms. Morton’s fourth novel. The book is available on Amazon.

I obtained this novel for free through https://www.netgalley.com for review. This is an erotic fantasy novel. This story is told first person by principal character Iris. I would definitely categorize this book as ‘R’ due to Mature Language and Mature Situations.

Iris is devastated when her partner Jane suddenly leaves her. To get back on track she travels to Amsterdam on a solo vacation. She falls asleep in a cab from the airport, then wakes up in the middle of a field. She goes to explore a nearby building and falls through the floor of the building. Iris lands in the bed (literally) of beautiful Ananda.

Iris soon discovers she is no longer on Earth, but in a world with magic. Iris sets out with Ananda to find a way back home. Iris is attracted to Ananda and the two girls often share a steamy intimacy. Along the journey she develops deep feelings for Ananda. Iris is also caught up in a plot by the evil Queen Tressa to take over and discovers unexpected details of her family history.

If I exclude the many steamy sex scenes and just look at the fantasy story, it is pretty simple. I also felt like there was little depth to the two principal characters. I spent five hours reading this novel and have to say that I only feel that it is worth a 3 out of 5.

My book reviews are also posted on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review of “Broken Monsters”

“Broken Monsters” was published in 2014 (September) and was written buy Lauren Beukes (http://laurenbeukes.com). This is Ms. Beukes fifth novel. The book is available on Amazon.

I obtained this novel for free through https://www.netgalley.com for review. This is written in the third person and set in Detroit, Michigan. I would rate this novel ‘R’ as there is Mature Language and Violence.

The primary characters are Gabriella Versado a Detective with Detroit Police Department, Jonno Haim a writer, Layla Versado, Gabriella’s High School age daughter, Thomas ’TK’ Koon a homeless ex-convict, and Clayton Broom an artist.

Gabriella gets handed a strange homicide involving a young boy. The case is particularly odd and upsetting as he has been cut in half with his bottom half replaced with the bottom half of a young deer.

Jonno is a failing writer who comes to Detroit for a fresh perspective and opportunities. He meets up with a young woman, Jen, who convinces him to start producing video blog pieces about Detroit, particularly the art scene, instead of trying to write.

TK is a scavenger on the streets of a crumbling Detroit. He helps out in a church soup kitchen, but makes a living combing through the many abandon homes in a deteriorating Detroit.

Layla has few friends in school. She and her friend Cas try to catch a pedafile, but that only gets them both into more trouble.

Clayton is an artist, but has strange tastes in his art. In spite of his oddities, he is considered brilliant in some of his works.

The story winds around these five principals, eventually bringing them together. There is a supernatural element to the story that is reminiscent of novels by Dean Koontz. I enjoyed the 10.5 hours I spend with this novel (I am a fan of Dean Koontz) but it did seem to start off slowly. I was 40% of the way through the book before I began to see how these separate characters were tied together, other than the obvious relationship between Gabriella and Layla. The suspense level picked up substantially during the last third of the book. I give this book a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also posted on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review of “Patton’s Spaceship”

“Patton’s Spaceship” was published in 2014 and was written by John Barnes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Barnes_(author)). This is the first book in the Timeline Wars series. Mr. Barnes has published over 30 novels. This eBook is available on Amazon.

I obtained this novel for free through https://www.netgalley.com for review. This is a Science Fiction novel that includes time travel and alternate histories. The novel is written in the first person. Some of the novel is set in Pittsburgh, PA, but much of it is in other locations.

The main character is Mark Strang. Mark’s wife, mother and brother have been killed in a car bomb that was intended for his father. His father had been writing about the middle eastern terrorist group the Blade of the Most Merciful and they had responded with an attack. Mark drops out of college where he has almost finished his Phd in Art History and becomes a body guard after a second failed attack.

Years later Mark is approached by acadamecian Harry Skena for body guard services. It turns out that he has been delving into organized crime and found a link to Blade of the Most Merciful. They are now after him and he needs protection. As Mark tries to keep Harry alive, he encounters a group from a different time line – Athenians – who are at war with those who are behind Blade of the Most Merciful. Mark joins with them and takes on a mission in another timeline where he meets several historical figures who are on the loosing side of a World War II where the Nazis won.

I thoroughly enjoyed the nine hours I spent reading this novel. It was well written and I liked the characters. I also liked the different spin on time travel and alternate history it takes – several parallel universes each with a different time line. The book reminds me of stories by Harry Turtledove. I rate this novel a 5 out to 5.

My book reviews are also posted on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review of “Rook”

“Rook” was published in 2014 and was written by J. C. Andrijeski (http://www.jcandrijeski.com/) and is the first book in the “Allie’s War” series. Ms. Andrijeski is the author of dozens of novels and novellas. The eBook is available on Amazon. I was notified when the book was on sale through http://booksends.com.

The book is written the third person and I would categorize it as Science Fiction as it takes place on an “alternate” earth. The main character is Allyson “Allie” Taylor a young woman who was an orphan. She was adopted, has grown up and is now working in a cafe.

Another race, the Seers, has been living, hidden amongst the humans on this earth since the beginning. The Seers were finally discovered in the early 1900’s. The Seers can “see” the future. Some of them work with the humans to, among other things, find hidden Seers. When the Seers are discovered humans began to be tested to find any Seers hiding among them and establish that the humans are pure. But there are some Seers who continue to hide and move among the humans.

Allie has always thought that she was human, having passed the tests. She has many human friends, but then a Seer, Revik, comes into her life and shakes up her world. Soon she and Revik are running for their lives, and she knows that despite what the tests had shown she is not human.

I spent about 3.5 hours reading this book. I think that the book is a little chaotic, confusing and needs additional editing. I would categorize it as barely ‘R’ due to some Mature Language. I rate this book overall as a 3 out of 5.

My book reviews are also posted on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review of “I Am the Mission”

“I Am the Mission” (also known as The Lost Mission) was published in 2014 and was written by Allen Zadoff (http://www.allenzadoff.com). This is the second book in the “Unknown Assassin” series. This is Mr. Zadoff’s seventh book. This eBook is available on Amazon.

I obtained this novel for free through https://www.netgalley.com for review. This is a Young Adult Thriller, and I would categorize it as R only because of some violence. The novel is written in the first person. The primary character is 16 year old Zack. Just after finishing the mission described in the first book “I am the Weapon”, Zack is sent in to investigate a man, Eugene Moore, who is recruiting and training teenagers in military skills. While the source of some controversy, the camp is similar to other summer camps for kids, though it focuses on military skills. The fear is that Moore may change focus from a training camp into a terrorist force.

Zack goes in under cover, but the situation changes and he is forced to exceed his mission mandate by not only attending a recruitment meeting, but going on to the camp, Camp Liberty. He looses touch with his contacts at The Program, so he is forced to make decisions on his own. Zack calls on the boy he friended in the previous book, Howard, for assistance. Zack makes friends with Moore’s son and daughter, Lee and Miranda, who are both youth leaders in the camp.

The doubts and questions that began to trouble Zack in the first novel continue in this story. He questions even more some of the things he has been told, and his trust of The Program is beginning to fade.

As the story unfolds there is intrigue, a little romance and action. The story moves along well, never letting the reader bog down. The story is a little far fetched (16 year old assassin), but it is well written, and I enjoyed it more than the first book. Overall I give this novel a 4 out of 5 for an entertaining 3.5 hours of reading.

My book reviews are also posted on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).