Category Archives: Novella

Review of “Alien busters”

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Book Reviews – “Alien busters” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Safa Shaqsy (http://safashaqsy.com). Ms. Shaqsy has published five novels. This is the first in a planned series surrounding the “Alien Busters”.

I received an ARC of this novella through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘G’. The story is set on an Earth colony on a far away world. The primary character is young Nathalie, an Alien Buster.

As an Alien Buster, she and her colleagues, kill every alien that they can find. Her city on the colonized world believes them all to be a threat to humans. Then one day as she was on a mission to search and destroy aliens, she comes across a young alien and, instead of destroying it, smuggles it back to her home.

She soon involves her two best friends in her deception. They all think there is something that those in control of her city are hiding. They are trying to help Nathalie discover the hidden secrets and keep her ‘pet’ alien, Star, a secret.

I was glad that this was a 185 page read of less than three hours. I did not think this Young Adult Science Fiction novella was very good. The plot was simplistic and weak. I will not be reading any more in this series. The cover art is OK, but has little to do with the plot of the story. I give this novel a 2.9 (rounded up to a 3) 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 “Slow Bullets”

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Book Reviews – “Slow Bullets” eBook was published in 2015 and was written by Alastair Reynolds (http://www.alastairreynolds.com). Mr. Reynolds has published 15 novels.

I received an ARC of this novella 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 the far future. The primary character is Scur, a young woman who was conscripted into the military.

Just as the war ended, Scur finds herself in a battle to the death with a vicious enemy. She is severely injured and when she awakens, she finds herself on a prisoner transport ship. She shouldn’t be there, but she is. She finds herself with hundreds of others from both sides. They have been asleep a very long time.

This was an odd, but interesting little science fiction story of only 192 pages. It took less than 3 hours for me to read this novella. It was an interesting plot, though I would have enjoyed another 100 pages or so for it to be flushed out. Cover art is OK. I’m not sure what else they could have used. 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).

Review of “The Four Thousand, the Eight Hundred”

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Book Reviews – “The Four Thousand, the Eight Hundred” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Greg Egan (http://www.gregegan.net). Mr. Egan has published more than a dozen 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 scenes of Mature Language. The story is set in the future with asteroids having been colonized.

The asteroids Vesta and Ceres are not close, but have a commerce program worked out where one sends large chunks of ice while the other sends large chunks of stone through space. These chunks of ‘cargo’ take about three years to traverse the space between the asteroids.

Some on Vesta ‘catch a ride’ on the cargo, traveling in a suspended state. They are desperate to leave the deteriorating conditions on Vesta. A traditional ferry vessel has left Vesta for Ceres. The Vesta government claims that there are “war criminals” on board. The new port director on Ceres, Anna, is faced with the decision of how to respond to Vesta demands that the ferry carrying nearly 800 passengers be turned away. Vesta has threatened the nearly 4000 escaping Vesta riding the cargo in route.

Thankfully this was a short read of just under 2 hours for the 70 page Science Fiction novella. While I liked the overall plot, I felt that I was dumped into the middle of a story. It also felt a little chaotic to me. In my opinion, this would have been a much better read if it had been expanded into a full novel. The cover art is OK, I guess it is supposed to represent the ferry. I think an image of a block of stone with a survival cocoon attached would have been better. I give this novella a 2.5 (rounded up to a 3) out of 5.

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

Review of “John F. Kennedy and PT-109”

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Book ReviewsWWII – “John F. Kennedy and PT-109” eBook was published in 2016 (the original paper edition was published in 1962) and was written by Richard Tregaskis (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Tregaskis). Mr. Tregaskis published over 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 ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in several different islands of the South Pacific during World War II.

This non-fiction novella tells about the growth of the use of PT Boats during the war years, as well as the exploits of then Navy Lieutenant John F. Kennedy.

It tells about the harrowing experience that Kennedy and the crew went through after their boat, PT=109, was cut in half by a Japanese destroyer. Kennedy let the survivors to safety, then set about to contact the US Navy to get them rescued.

I thought that this 2.5 hour read of 99 pages was interesting. I have read other accounts of the incident, but always enjoy histories of the War era. The cover art is reasonable. 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).

Review of “The Corner Store Witch”

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Book Reviews – “The Corner Store Witch” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by H. D. Lynn (https://hdlynn.wordpress.com). This is her second publication and the first in her “Corner Store Witch” 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 in the contemporary US, but most of the story takes place in another realm of existence. The primary character is young Leone, an avid Fantasy fan and owner of Pulp Magic, a store of comics, games, and books.

A man from another world literally drops out of her ceiling and into her shop. He is soon followed by two oni (invaders to his world) who are after him. When Leone grabs the staff the first man was carrying in order to fend off the oni, she magically gets golden tattoos on her arms. In an effort to rid herself of the tattoos, she, her sister and three close friends journey into another world.

I liked the 2.5 hours I spent reading this 128 page Fantasy Novella. This is the standard quest story, but with irregular quest members. It is unusual too that nearly all of the questers are young women. It does have a bit of Young Adult appeal. The characters were interesting but I did not relate well to them. Making one or more of the followers stronger would have made a better story. Certainly the way the story concluded sets up sequels. The cover art was well chosen and helped draw me to picking the book. I give this novel a 3.5 (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).

Review of “The Girl in the City”

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Book Review – “The Girl in the City” eBook was published in 2015 and was written by Philip Harris (http://www.solitarymindset.com). Mr. Harris had published eight novels and novellas. This is the first publication in the ‘Leah King’ 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 ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in a post apocalyptic future. the primary character is fifteen year old Leah King.

She and her father scrape out a living in the city. She sneaks outside the city to scavenge scrap for resale in the wastelands. While making her way back home one day a man dies at her feet after being shot. Before he dies he tosses her a package.

That package begins a chain of events that have the oppressive Transport Authority chasing her. She must find her way out of the city if she is to survive. She has no idea who she can trust to help her escape.

I thought that this 80 page Young Adult novella was interesting, and was a quick 1.5 hour read. The characters and writing were OK, but I felt the story had just begun to be told when it ended. Perhaps that is just my bias generally against short stories. The cover art is OK, but really does not give much insight into the story. I give this novel a 3.6 (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).

 

Review of “The Steam Man of the Prairies”

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“The Steam Man of the Prairies” eBook was published in 2016 (original paper edition was published in 1868) and was written by Edward S. Ellis (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_S._Ellis). He authored more than 100 “Dime Novels”.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in the frontier lands west of the Mississippi in the 1870s time frame. The primary character is Johnny Brainerd, a young inventor.

Brainerd builds a steam powered ‘man’ and is enticed by an acquaintance to accompany him west from St. Louis to seek out gold. They travel into the western territories constantly battling Indians along the way. Their goal is to meet up with colleagues already mining gold, finish the dig and then head back to civilization. The four encounter one challenge after another as they avoid death from the marauding Indians.

This was an interesting 2.5 hour read of 112 pages. You can definitely tell it was written nearly 150 years ago. It reminds me of the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs or the early Tom Swift books. It was a little hard to read due to the wording of the time. It had a good pace, always finding one problem after another to be overcome. The cover art is well chosen. 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).

Review of “Department of Temporal Investigations: Time Lock”

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Book Reviews – “Department of Temporal Investigations: Time Lock” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Christopher L. Bennett (https://christopherlbennett.wordpress.com). Mr. Bennett has written several Science Fiction short stories, novellas and novels.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘G’. The story is set in the future in the world of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Most of the action occurs at the Department of Temporal Investigations repository. Various objects and technology that have been discovered which threaten the time line are stored there.

Raiders attack the facility with the intent on stealing time altering devices. Agent Gariff Lucsly is caught inside the facility, along with the Director, Laarin Andos. To thwart the raiders, they set off the “Time Lock”. This device gradually slows down time in the facility on a geometric progression. After a few hours have past within the facility, weeks of time has past on the outside.

This time gives the Federation time to come up with a plan to rescue Lucsly and Andos, and to capture the raiders. Not all goes as planned.

This was an interesting, but short read of only 3+ hours for the 88 page novella. The story had an interesting premise, but I had a hard time getting into it. It reminded me more of a Star Trek TV episode. The cover art was OK. Difficult to find an image that shows how time is affected. I give this novel a 3.5 (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).

Review of “Tail Gunner”

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“Tail Gunner” eBook was published in 2016 (originally published on paper in 1943) and was written by R. C. Chivaz. This is Mr. Chivaz’s only publication.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. This is the first hand story of Flight-Lieutenant R. C. Rivaz, D.F.C. He starts as a tail gunner in the British Whitley Bomber, then transfers over to the Halifax Bomber, again as a tail gunner.

Chivaz gives many first hand accounts of flying over occupied Europe and Germany. He also tells of the two instances when his aircraft had to crash land in the North Sea. He describes life as a British flyer during World War II and includes many of his personal thoughts.

I thought that the 4 hours spent reading this 119 page novel gave a good view of life during World War II. This was a short story, actually more of a novella. 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 “Doctor Watson’s Battle”

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“Doctor Watson’s Battle” eBook was published in 2016 (March) and was written by Patrick Mercer (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Mercer). Mr. Mercer has written more than 10 novels and this is the 5th in his “Dr. Watson Adventure” series.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence and implications of Mature Situations. This Mystery novella is set in England of the late 1800’s.

As expected, the primary characters are Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson. Holmes, Watson and Watson’s former orderly Bowler, travel to Colchester to attend an event being held by the army regiment in which Watson and Bowler had served. There they encounter old friends as well as some rivalries. When there is one, then another murder, Holmes and Watson are driven into action.

This was a quick read of 2.5 hours for the 72 page novella. It is written in a consistent style of the original Doyle works. The solution to the mystery was not obvious, which made it enjoyable. 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).