Category Archives: eBook

Book Review: “Changeling”

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Book Reviews – “Changeling” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Molly Harper (https://www.mollyharper.com/). Ms. Harper has published more than thirty novels. This is the first in her “Sorcery and Society” 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 an alternate history of sorts where magic is possible. The primary character is 14-year-old Cassandra Reed, aka Sarah Smith.

In this timeline, those with magic have risen up and taken over the world. Those without magic, the Snipes, are ‘taken care of’ by those with magic. Those with magic grow richer and more powerful, while the Snipes simply become servants and tradesman.

Smith is a Snipe and has grown up living in the Warren. She and her family serve the magical and powerful Winters family. Once Smith accidentally demonstrates a magical ability of her own, things change. Snipes are not ever supposed to have the ability to use magic. Smith, has the ability and it is powerful. The Winters change her looks and enroll her as a distant cousin in Miss Castwell’s Institute for the Magical Instruction of Young Ladies.

The Winters foster the coverup as it would be just as devastating to them as to Smith and her family for the truth to get out. Smith struggles at the school having to deal with snobby girls. She finally finds a couple of friends there who are each an outcast in their own way. Her jealous sister threatens their subterfuge and everyone is threatened by a witch that wants to raise the dead and use that army to take over the world.

I enjoyed the 7+ hours I spent reading this 271-page young adult fantasy. The characters were interesting and the plot, while not new, was well implemented. I did think that the end to the story came more quickly that it could have. The final confrontation might have been strung out a little more. Certainly, a firm footing is laid for follow-on novels in the series. The cover art is OK, but a scene from the story would have been better in my opinion. 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).

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Book Review: “Executive Force”

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Book Reviews – “Executive Force” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Gary Grossman (https://www.garygrossman.com). Mr. Grossman has published four novels. This is the fourth in his “Executive” 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 contemporary US. The primary characters are Secret Service Agent Scott Roarke and his fiancée Katie Kessler, a lawyer and assistant to the US Supreme Court Chief Justice.

A series of assassinations of political leaders is driving the US into chaos. A growing secessionist movement is being fueled by this and threatens the US. Roarke must find the assassin and stop him before there are more deaths. Kessler is looking into the secessionist movement for the Chief Justice and goes undercover within the leading organization. Both find themselves in danger and on trails of evidence that lead to the same conclusion.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 10.5 hours I spent reading this 448-page thriller. While this is the fourth book in this series, it reads well on its own. I liked the characters and the plot created by the author. The cover art is kind of bland. Something related to the story would have been better in my opinion. 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: “Time’s Children”

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Book Reviews – “Time’s Children” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by D. B. Jackson (http://www.dbjackson-author.com). Mr. Jackson has published six novels. This is the first of his “Islevale Cycle” 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 another world where magic is possible. The primary character is fifteen-year-old Tobias Doljan.

Doljan is a student of magic with a specialty as a Walker who can travel through time. He is sent to the court of Daerjen. The sovereign of Daerjen, Mearlan IV, asks him to Walk back in time fourteen years, far beyond what is normally allowed. Doljan agrees to take the risk and the burden of aging himself fourteen years in order to stop the war that has been going on.

Doljan survives the trip back in time, but Mearlan and his court are unexpectedly attacked and killed, disrupting the timeline. The only survivor is Doljan and Mearlan’s baby girl. Doljan, though only fifteen in the body of a thirty-year-old man, must find a way to save the princess and evade the invaders.

Doljan’s close friend and love from the magic school, Mara, senses the disruption in time when Mearlan is killed in the past. Though she has forgotten who Doljan is, she knows she must follow him into the past to correct the change in history.

Plots that span time. Magical creatures. Threats from foreign powers. This has the making of a great fantasy series.

I thoroughly enjoyed the nearly 13 hours I spent reading this 528-page fantasy. I liked the plot and the characters. I think the twist of aging those who travel through time adds to the story. I like the cover art. 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: “St. Paul’s Labyrinth​”

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Book Reviews – “St. Paul’s Labyrinth” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Jeron Windmeijer (https://jeroenwindmeijer.nl/). Mr. Windmeijer has published three 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 ‘PG’ because it contains some scenes of Violence. The story is set in contemporary Leiden, Netherlands. The primary character is university professor Peter de Haan.

Haan attends the installation of an underground waste container. He does so as an opportunity to do archaeological exploration. Few opportunities come to do excavation in the old city. Surprisingly, this excavation opens up an old and unknown tunnel. Haan and a colleague venture in. Inside the tunnel, they find a naked man covered in blood. Then Haan gets a mysterious text message ‘the hour has come‘.

When the colleague disappears in the tunnel, Haan becomes the target of a police investigation. Then when his close friend Judith Cherev disappears, he finds that he has been given only hours to solve a puzzle and save her. Along the way, he discovers hidden mysteries, a secret society, and a group that will do anything to keep their secrets hidden.

I enjoyed the 8.5 hours I spent reading this 329-page thriller. This has the feel of a Dan Brown thriller, but I did not find it nearly as good. There was quite a bit of detailed reference given to Leiden. That would probably make this book attractive to you if you lived there or knew the area well. Unfortunately, I found this novel a little slow and it felt disorganized to me. The cover art is OK, but I think something more closely tied to the story would have been better. 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: “The Last Saturday of October”

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Book Reviews – “The Last Saturday of October” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Douglas Gilbert. This is Mr. Gilbert’s first publication.

I received a copy of this novel from the author in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘G’. The story is dramatized non-fiction.

This is an inside look at how close the US and Russia came to nuclear war during the Cuban Missle Crisis. In 1962 the US had discovered Soviet nuclear missile sites in Cuba. The US set a fleet to stop shipping headed into Cuba that might be carrying nuclear weapons.

Captain Vasili Arkhipov is given the mission to take his submarine brigade to Cuba. They are carrying nuclear-tipped torpedoes. He had already survived a nuclear disaster at sea on another submarine and was suffering from what we now know as PTSD. His vessel and crew were being chased by a large antisubmarine force of the US. He was being pushed ever closer to having to use his nuclear weapons.

I enjoyed the 6 hours I spent reading this 238-page non-fiction book that reads like a thriller. I think that Gilbert did a good job of taking history and making it readable and exciting. I like the chosen cover art. I give this book a 4 out of 5.

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

Book Review: “Dark Winter”

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Book Reviews – “Dark Winter” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Anthony J. Tata (https://www.ajtata.com). Mr. Tata has published nine novels. This is the fifth in his “Jake Mahegan Thriller” 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 mostly ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in the contemporary US, Russia, North Korea, and Iran.

Foreign-based hackers penetrate the US military and cause havoc with the various weapons systems. Nothing works as it should leaving the US defenseless. The US power grid is disrupted plunging many into darkness. Russians invade Europe. Iran invades Iraq. North Korea attacks the south and Japan. A new form of warfare, ComWar, is underway.

The only way to stop the ComWar is to destroy the control centers. But that won’t be easy with them located in Russia, Iran, and North Korea. Mahegan’s trained team must split up and take on all the control centers at the same time. If the control of ComWar cannot be disrupted, the world is headed for World War III.

I thought the 8+ hours spent reading this 464-page thriller was interesting. Interesting take on technology. While I have read the previous two novels in this series and liked them, I did not think this one was as good. This novel reads well on its own even with the prior novels in the series. 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: “Mr.​ Campion’s War”

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Book Reviews – “Mr. Campion’s War” eBook was published in 2018 (December) and was written by Mike Ripley (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Ripley). Mr. Ripley has published nearly twenty-five novels. The Campion stories were originally written by Margery Allingham, then her husband Philip Youngman Carter. Mr. Ripley was engaged to complete an unfinished manuscript. Since then he has written four more Campion 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 mostly in World War II era France. The main character is Albert Campion.

Campion is celebrating his seventieth birthday in current time and has called together several people from his past. Close friends and family know little about some of Camion’s escapades when he was younger. In particular, they have no idea of his exploits in occupied France during World War II.

Campion is sent to Vichy France to make contact with Freiherr Robert von Ringer, a German intelligence officer. Ringer is no traitor but wants to stop substantial currency transfers being made to smuggle funds out of occupied Europe. Campion, though not a trained spy, must help free a Jewish banker and his family before he can get the information needed to stop the transfer of funds. Not only must he be cautious of the German secret police, but also of the French underworld gangs.

The past comes back to haunt Campion when one of his birthday party guests is attacked.  A plot initiated in the 1940s plays out today.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 8+ hours I spent reading this 280-page WWII thriller. I enjoyed this novel and, frankly, would like to read more in this series. While this novel has many prior books in the series, it reads well on its own. I like the cover art. 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).


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: “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.

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).