Category Archives: Book Review

Review of “A Peace Divided”

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Book Reviews – “A Peace Divided” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Tanya Huff. Ms. Huff has published more than 30 novels. This is the second book in her “Peacekeeper” 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 Language. The story is set on a remote world undergoing limited archaeological research. The primary character is former Confederation Marine Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr, who is now a warden for the Confederation Justice Department.

A group of archeologists have been taken hostage. Kerr and her team, augmented with a group from the Primacy, are sent to rescue the hostages. It has only been a few years since the long war between the Confederation and the Primacy ended. The joint operation by former enemies is full of tension.

When they arrive on-planet, they discover the group holding the hostages is also made up of both former Confederation and Primary military. They are there driving the archeologists to find a hidden weapon that can be used to destroy the race know as “The Plastic”. The Plastic was responsible for causing the long war between the Confederation and the Primacy. There are many who now want a way to take revenge on The Plastic for all the death and destruction.

Though I enjoyed the 12.5 hours I spent reading this 379 page Science Fiction novel, it seemed a little flawed. I liked the characters and the plot, but sometimes the story was a little confusing. While there being a prior novel in the series, which I hadn’t read, didn’t help, this novel stood pretty well on its own. I thought the cover art was well chosen. I give this novel a 3.9 (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).

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Review of “The Rest is Silence”

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Book Reviews – “The Rest is Silence” ebook was published in 2014 and was written by James R. Benn (http://www.jamesrbenn.com). Mr. Benn has published twelve novels, all in the “Billy Boyle WWII Mystery” series. This is the 9th novel in that series.

I purchased this novel from the Barnes & Noble (Nook) bookstore. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in World War II England, just weeks before the Allied invasion of France. US Army Captain Billy Boyle is the primary character.

An unidentified corpse washes ashore on a beach being used for secret rehearsals of the D-Day invasion. Boyle is sent to find out who the dead man is, more importantly to determine that he was not a German spy observing the secret activities.

Boyle and his friend and associate Lieutenant Piotr “Kaz” Kazimierz stay at the estate of an old friend of Kazimierz which is located near where the body was found. The family they are staying with seem to have their own secrets and intrigues going on.

On top of their investigation hundreds of US military are killed during a German attack white they are practicing for the invasion. “Operation Tiger” (depicted in the story) was a real life disaster for the Allies while preparing for D-Day.

I thoroughly enjoyed the nearly 10 hours I spent reading this 336 page World War II Mystery. I have read all nine of the novels up to this point and I have thoroughly enjoyed them all. I like the characters that author Benn has created in Boyle and Kazimierz. I also like how he weaves real history into his stories. The cover art is a good selection. 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).

Review of “Does a Bear Shoot in the Woods?”

Book Reviews – “Does a Bear Shoot in the Woods?” is a free, Young Adult fantasy short story published on the Baen website.  It was written by Wen Spencer and published in 2017. Ms. Spencer has published four novels and several short stories.

In this story, Dugan Harman is a High School Junior with an odd past. All in the little town he has grown up in know about him and his family. They have a history of being odd . . . more like insane.

While in the woods experimenting with his camera, Dugan runs across a bear. Not just any bear, but a huge brown bear . . . that can talk. This begins a trip for Dugan where the world he has been told is his psychotic imagination, begins to become real.

While I am not much of a short story fan, I feel that the 90 minutes invested in this short story was well worth the time. I give this a 4 out of 5 evaluation.

Review of “4th Rock from the Sun”

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Book Reviews – “4th Rock from the Sun” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Nicky Jenner (http://www.nickyjenner.com). This is Ms. Jenner’s first book.

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 book covers all things about and related to the planet Mars.

While there is some scientific data, most of the book deals with side stores related to Mars. I feel like it just rambles on about topics associated with Mars.

Sigh . . . I had higher expectations for this book. I read about 20%, but at that point I just had to give up on it. I won’t call a Rule of 50 on it, but it just isn’t a book of interesest to me. I think there will be many who like this book, but I am not one of them.

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

Review of “Hong Kong Black”

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Book Reviews – “Hong Kong Black” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Alex Ryan. This is Mr. Ryan’s second novel and the second in his “Nick Foley” thrillers.

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 today’s China. The primary character is former US Navy SEAL Nick Foley.

Foley has tried to leave behind his Special Operations experiences and now works for a non-profit working to bring clean drinking water to rural Chinese. He has already been drawn into one operation where he helped to save China from a bio-terrorist attack. Now he is being drawn in again.

A Chinese working undercover for the CIA has disappeared and Foley is asked to look into it. What should have been a simple task draws him and those closest to him into another life-and-death situation and a conspiracy of global proportions.

As Foley is investigating this disappearance, his beautiful and close friend Dr. Dazhong “Dash” Chen of the CDC is involved in identifying what is behind a series of mutilated bodies that are washing ashore. Before long their investigations merge into a more serious problem than either would have conceived possible.

I enjoyed the 7.5 hours I spent with this 362 page spy thriller. Event hough this is the second in the series, it read well on its own. I liked the characters and the plot. It is a bit of a different take, US operatives working closely with Chinese operatives to save the day. The cover art is OK, but doesn’t relate much to the story. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

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

Review of “Burntown”

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Book Reviews – “Burntown” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Jennifer McMahon (http://jennifer-mcmahon.com). Ms. McMahon has published eight novels.

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 a New England college town. The primary character is young Eva “Necco” Sandeski.

Sandeski and her mother have been living on the streets hiding from “Snake Eyes”. At first Sandeski didn’t believe in Snake Eyes, but now she knows that he is real and after her. If he finds her she will die like the others.

Her father was a college professor and inventor. Today we would call him a “Maker”. He had plans for a novel device, supposedly designed by Thomas Edison, which would allow communication with the dead. Once he built the device, he found that it worked, but he heard from more than just the one he wanted to hear from.

That device led to his death. Sandeski and her mother ran away from their home. Sandeski lost memories of the tragic day due to a bump on the head or the anguish of the event. Now her mother is gone too. The police think Sandeski is responsible for a murder, and Snake Eyes is on her trail. She is running for her life.

Drawn in to this is 17 year old Theo Sweeny. She has the reputation as a squeaky clean young lady, but she has been convinced to sell drugs at her High School by the college age woman she has become romantically involved with. But then she looses the drug money she had collected and the dealer is after her. Sweeny and Sandeski become allies through unexpected circumstances.

I enjoyed the 7.5 hours I spent reading this 304 page Mystery Thriller. I would also say that this is a Young Adult novel at least in part due to the age of the girls, but it deals with serious topics. While not quite as intense, this novel felt a bit like I was reading a Dean Koontz novel. I liked the characters involved with the story. They are a mix that you would not normally think of as being allied together. The cover art is OK as it depicts the shack where Sandeski lived for a time beneath the bridge while she hid out with her mother. A lot does happen there in the story. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

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

Review of “MacArthur’s Spies”

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Book Reviews – MacArthur’s Spies” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Peter  Elsner. Mr. Elsner has published five 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 ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story takes place mostly in the Philippines during the years just before and during World War II.

While several people are mentioned, the most prominent figure is Claire Phillips, a singer and Manilla nightclub owner. Some of the others include Colonel John Boone who led a group of guerrillas. There is “Chick” Parsons a business man and US Navy officer who claimed to be a Panamanian diplomat to escape the Philippines with his family. Soon after he was on MacArthur’s staff in Australia coordinating guerrilla activities in the Philippines.

This books describes activities of US citizens in the Philippines during the war, as well as several Filipinos. These individuals, mostly civilians, gathered information on the Japanese military, gathered then smuggled supplies to prisoners of war and carried out guerrilla warfare. Their actions were a part of World War II I knew little about before hand.

I found this book to be very interesting. I enjoyed the 9+ hours I spent reading this 362 page non-fiction history. I found it surprising what these and others were able to accomplish under the noses of the occupying Japanese military. The cover art is OK. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

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

Review of “Preparations and Alliances”

Short Stories – I am not a big fan of short stories, but I have been reading those that are published and free on the Baen Books website. Most recently I read “Preparations and Alliances: A Story of the Arenaverse” written by Ryk E. Spoor (http://grandcentralarena.com). He has published three novels in this Universe and ten novels in total.

The story is set in his Universe of the Arena. Humanity has earned a spot in the Arena. Now they must survive outside the stringent rules the Arena imposes. Tunuvun of the Genasi has traveled with the humans back to the Solar system. He is there to do what he can to repay the Humans for what his race considers a deep debt.

While I only spent about an hour reading this Science Fiction short story, I enjoyed it. Because I had not read any other works set in this Universe, jumping in was a little hard. I would suggest having read other works first. I give this short story a 4 out of 5. As my complaint is with most short stories, it ended too soon.

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

Review of “The Silent corner”

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Book Reviews – “The silent Corner” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Dean Koontz (http://www.deankoontz.com). Mr. Koontz has published over 100 novels as well as several novellas.

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 take place in various places in the US, but mostly in California.

Jane Hawk, the primary character of the story, is an FBI agent who’s husband unexpectedly committed suicide. After she got over the shock, she took a leave from the FBI, liquidated everything, dropped off the grid and began to investigate.

Fearing for her son’s life, she leaves him with friends and sets off on her own. She finds that suicide is on the increase and many are as strange as her husband’s case. As she tracks down the trail of a ‘brothel’ with beautiful women willing for clients to do literally anything, she discovers that nono-scale technology may be what is creating these docile and cooperative young women. And it may well be at the root of the suicide of her husband and others. That information comes with a price. She soon finds herself a hunted fugitive. Will she find the truth and will she be able to stay alive?

I thoroughly enjoyed the just shy of 11 hours I spent reading this 466 page Science Fiction Mystery Thriller. I have read many Dean Koontz novels. This one strays from the earlier thrillers with more of a paranormal twist. This one reminds me more of a Michael Crichton novel. I liked the character of Jane Hawk and the way the novel ended I expect . . . I hope to be reading more with her at the core. 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).

Review of “Our Young Guardians: Seven & Two”

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Book Review – “Our Young Guardians: Seven & Two” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Rodi Szoke. This is Mr. Szoke’s first novel and the first in his planned “Our Young Guardians” 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 ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in a mythical land. We are reading the account of what happened set down in a first person ‘diary’ like tale. A young 13 year old boy, Jonek. is the primary character.

Jonek’s life has been as normal as one might expect growing up in a small village. He is suddenly thrust into the role of protector of both his family and strangers he encountered on the way home. This propels him into an epic quest where he faces many opponents with both sword and magic.

I enjoyed the 10 hours I spent reading this 329 page Young Adult Fantasy. While the challenges encountered on the quest are not unusual, some of the characters encountered and allies made are. This novel did arrive at a conclusion of sorts, but the way is prepared for sequels, which I look forward to reading. I think the cover art chosen could have been better. 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).