Category Archives: Book Review

Book Review: “Burma: The Forgotten War”

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Book Reviews – “Burma: The Forgotten War” eBook was published in 2018 (original paper edition published in 2004) and was written by Jon Latimer. Mr. Latimer published several non-fiction books.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of violence. The book covers the years of World War II detailing actions taken in what was then Burma (now known a Myanmar).

Most of what I have read regarding World War II has been either centered on the European Theater or the Pacific Theater and focused on the forces of the US. Most of the Burma campaigns were centered around British or Commonwealth ground forces, though the US played a major role in the air engagements.

I thought that the 16.5+ hours I spent reading this 961-page history were interesting. The page count seems high, but the last third of the book was citations of reference. Certainly, there was a lot of information presented that I had not known about before. Some history books are presented in a very readable fashion. I have reviewed a few of those in the past. This was not one of those books.

This was very dry. It is filled with names, dates, and locations. The fact that the locations are for places I had never heard of did not help. Also, I found that the numerical military unit references used for both British and Japanese units was very confusing. I also felt that the book was very choppy, jumping back and forth in time.

If you are researching military efforts in Burma during WWII, you will find this a very useful book. It does a good job of conveying the misery that troops of both sides had to endure for most of the Burma war efforts.  The perspective presented on the war and especially the Commonwealth troops engaged in it very British. The chosen cover art is OK. I give this novel a 3 out of 5 based on general readability.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).


If you are a student of the World War II era in history, you may find my pages “World War II Sources” (a collection of museums, websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds with information on the World War II era in history) and “World War II Timeline” of interest.

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Book Review: “Ian Fleming and Operation Golden Eye”

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Book Reviews – “Ian Fleming and Operation Golden Eye” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Mark Simmons. Mr. Simmons has published a dozen books.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘G’. This is the true story of novelist Ian Fleming and the work he did during World War II for British Intelligence to keep Spain from entering the war as an ally to Germany.

While the focus is on how Spain was convinced to stay out of the war, many of the exploits of Fleming and other intelligence agents are shown to be the basis for his later fictional intelligence agent, James Bond. I was a fan of Fleming’s Bond novels and found this background information a bonus to the World War II era history. This non-fiction book goes into great detail as to the efforts of the British to keep Spain neutral.

I enjoyed the 7.5 hours I spent reading this 256-page non-fiction account of World War II intrigue. I thought it was a little chaotic at the beginning and jumped around a bit. As with many non-fiction historical books, there were many names, places, and dates mentioned. Despite this, I still feel that it was a very readable book. This is one aspect of World War II that I had not previously known much about. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a 3.8 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).


If you are a student of the World War II era in history, you may find my pages “World War II Sources” (a collection of museums, websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds with information on the World War II era in history) and “World War II Timeline” of interest.

Book Review: “Perfect Girls”

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Book Reviews – “Perfect Girls” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Alison James. This is the third novel by Ms. James and the third in her “Detective Rachel Prince” series.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in the modern day US. The primary character is Detective Rachel Prince.

Prince is a Detective in the British National Crime Agency. A request comes through for assistance from the US. The body of a beautiful twenty-five-year-old English girl has been found dumped behind a department store in Hollywood, California. Prince is assigned to the case and flies to the US.

Police think they have found the murderer, but Prince is not convinced. In fact, the more she investigates the death, she believed it may the work of a serial killer. She is called back home though before she can convince authorities. Consumed by the case, she returns to the US on her own to try and solve the murders. Her investigation has not gone unnoticed by the killer and Prince soon finds herself under their power.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 7 hours I spent reading this 339-page mystery. This is the second novel in this series I have read and I have enjoyed them both. This one is a little different as most of it takes place in the US. I like the character of Prince in the novels. I also enjoyed the plot twist the author has at the end of the book. While this is the third novel in a series, it reads well on its own. The cover art is OK. I give this novel a 4.5 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Book Review: “Crash”

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Book Reviews – “Crash” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by N. S. Shajay (https://www.nsshajay.com). Shajay (a pen name) has published three novels. This is the first book of the “Status Unknown Trilogy”.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. The story is set in the far future. The primary character is Captain Patrick Knox.

A long war is over and humanity is beginning to spread out into the universe again. Knox is taking a ship full of colonists to a new world. He was acclaimed as a Hero during the war, now he just wants to take his passengers to their new home and settle down there himself. They have to make one small detour along the way to deliver a load of convicts to a prison world, but that is supposed to be quick and easy.

A bomb set by a terrorist from a group against further human expansion takes the spaceship off course. It crashes on an uncharted, but a human compatible world. Now Knox must take charge and lead those who lived through the crash in survival. They find that not only are there significant threats indigenous to their new home but the convicts, many of which are convicted murderers, offer there own threat.

Complicating matters is the fact that the only Doctor to have survived the crash is a convicted serial killer. She is brilliant and beautiful, but no one knows how far she can be trusted.

I thoroughly enjoyed the nearly 8 hours I spent reading this 272-page science fiction thriller. I like the plot and the mix of characters in this story. It is a mixture of survival and action. The cover art is OK, but I think there are other images that would have been better. I look forward to reading more stories in this universe. I give this novel a 4.4 (rounded down to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Short Story Review: “The Egg”

Short Stories – I like the author Andy Weir. I have read both his “The Martian” and “Artemis” and thoroughly enjoyed both. I came across this short story of his today on https://cafebookbean.org/ and enjoyed it too, though it isn’t exactly the science fiction that he normally writes.

It is a quick read of about 5 minutes. In the story, a man dies and . . . well, it is so short you just need to read it. You can read it here. I give it a 4.4 (rounded down to a 4) out of 5.

Book Review: “Sheppard’s Quest”

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Book Reviews – “Sheppard’s Quest” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Gary Caplan. Mr. Caplan has published seven novels. This is the third in his “The Alliance of Worlds ” series.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘G’. The story is set in the far future. The primary character is Alliance fleet officer Robert Sheppard.

When new allies, the Talcon, ask for assistance, Sheppard attempts to help them out. He and his ship are on the way to confront the Varlons. While in route he has the time to follow up on the Talcon request and investigate why animals are mysteriously disappearing from their Starcity ship. Before long, Sheppard and his task force join their allies in a confrontation with the Varlons.

I thought the 5.5 hours I spent reading this 239-page science fiction novel were interesting. This is supposed to primarily be a space opera tale of military confrontation in space. There was some of that, but this certainly wasn’t “The Lost Fleet”. For me, the story kept going in too many directions: the mystery of the lost animals, the confrontation with the Varlons, and the mysticism of the Star Knights. This book does read pretty well as a stand-alone novel even though it is the third book in a series. In summary, this novel was close, but not quite there yet. The cover art is OK, but I think a better image could have been chosen. I give this novel a 3.4 (rounded down to a 3) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Book Review: “Restless Lightning”

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Book Reviews – “Restless Lightning” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Richard Baker (https://richardbakerauthor.com/). Mr. Baker has published more than ten novels. This is the second novel in his “Breakers of Empire” series.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Situations. The story is set in the far future. The primary character is Lieutenant Sikander North of the Commonwealth Navy.

A little time has passed since North’s first adventures in “Valiant Dust“. Now he has been sent to the alien Tzoru Empire. He takes the opportunity while planetside to rekindle the flame with Dr. Duston. While on the surface he is inadvertently drawn into a rebellion that no one saw coming. In the resulting conflict, he finds himself in danger time and again. He also finds himself working with and dependent on Dremish forces that only a short time ago he was battling with.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 11.5 hours I spent reading this 432-page science fiction tale. This novel is a mix of political intrigue, space vessel combat, and heavily armed combat on the surface. I generally like the character of North, but he is not your perfect hero. I like this series. It reminds me of the “Honor Harrington” novels. I think the cover art is OK. I give this novel a 5 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Book Review: “Lost Solace”

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Book Reviews – “Lost Solace” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Karl Drinkwater (https://www.karldrinkwater.uk). Mr. Drinkwater has published 4 novels. A sequel to this novel is due out this year.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in the far future. The young woman, Opal, has stolen a spacecraft with advanced AI capabilities. She is searching for a Lost Ship – one that has disappeared in Nullspace and suddenly returned.

She finds what she thinks is a Lost Ship and gears herself up to explore it. She doesn’t have much time. The ship is being drawn into the gravity well of a neutron star. She finds something there that she wasn’t expecting and which puts her very existence at risk. Her exploration of the ship is further threatened by the arrival of a military force. She and her ship AI, Clarissa, must find a way to survive.

I thought that the 5.5 hours I spent reading this 274-page science fiction novel were interesting. Because of the eerie setting for the novel, this is almost as much of a horror novel as it is science fiction. While I like the AI Clarissa, I am not as big a fan of Opal herself. The plot was interesting, but not outstanding. The cover art was OK. I give this novel a 3.4 (rounded down to a 3) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Book Review: “Sherlock Holmes and the Greyfriars School Mystery”

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Book Reviews – “Sherlock Holmes and the Greyfriars School Mystery” eBook was published in 2015 (original paper edition was published in 1996) and was written by Val Andrews. Mr. Andrews published more than 20 Sherlock Holmes mysteries. In total, he published over 1000 books and booklets, including Houdini novels and books on magic.

I ordered this novella from Amazon when it was being promoted by the publisher. I categorize this novella as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in 1912 England with the familiar characters of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.

Both men are retired now. Watson has been called on by his former schoolmaster for some assistance. One of the staff, Dr. Locke, has been working for years on a history of the Greyfriars School, but it has now gone missing. Watson is asked if he will convince Holmes to come out of retirement and help find the manuscript.

Holmes leaves retirement and his bees behind briefly as he and Watson visit Greyfriars School. Once they have arrived at Greyfriars, they are unexpectedly drawn into the search for the murderer of a local jeweler. They find themselves confronted with rebellious school boys, a not altogether forthcoming Dr. Locke, and a desperate killer.

I enjoyed the 2+ hours I spent reading this 109-page mystery. This mystery is written very much like the original Holmes stories. I think that the cover art is appropriate. I give this novella a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Book Review: “Weird War 2”

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Book ReviewsWWII – “Wierd War 2” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Richard Denham. Mr. Denham has published seven books.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains some scenes of Violence. The book is a collection of short (one to two page) non-fiction stories about World War II.

I spent an interesting 5 hours reading this 176-page book of strange non-fiction tales. I was hoping for more of the unusual. Unfortunately, I had heard most of the stories collected in this book before. This might be a good book for someone just getting interested in that period, particularly for a young adult because of the short story structure. The cover art is a good choice for this book. I give this book a 3.4 (rounded down to a 3) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).


If you are a student of the World War II era in history, you may find my pages “World War II Sources” (a collection of museums, websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds with information on the World War II era in history) and “World War II Timeline” of interest.