Tag Archives: ebooks

Review of “Arabella The Traitor of Mars”

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Book Reviews – “Arabella The Traitor of Mars” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by David D. Levine (https://www.daviddlevine.com). Mr. Levine has published three novels as well as numerous novellas and short stories. This is the third in his
“The Adventures of Arabella Ashby” 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 an alternate history to our own. While the story is set in Earth’s 19th century, this one has lighter-than-air craft traveling around the Solar System since the 1600s. The main character in this fantastical tale is Mrs. Arabella (Ashby) Singh, a young woman who has grown up in the British Colony on Mars.

While she is a more or less proper English young lady, she has shown far more interest in adventure and mechanical automata than English refinement. She has already proven to be a force to be reckoned with as she helped her fiance defeat Napoleon’s space navy at Venus. While in London celebrating the defeat of Napoleon and paying last respects to Lord Nelson who died in the battle, she learns of a plan by both The Mars Company and the British Crown to force the entire planet of Mars into the British Commonwealth.

Flush with the defeat of Napoleon, there seems to be no obstacle to Britain’s domination of Mars or the Solar System. When her husband is chosen to lead the British forces, she feels betrayed and flees Earth in a desperate attempt to reach Mars ahead of the British forces and lead a resistance as she feels Mars is her home rather than England. It becomes a race to see if adequate Martian forces can be brought together to oppose the powerful British fleet.

I enjoyed the 8.5+ hours I spent reading this 336 page steampunk alternate history and fantasy. While I liked the story and there are several very well created battles between opposing vessels, I really had a hard time with the notion of there being a breathable atmosphere between planets and ‘sailing ships’ able to travel through space. Perhaps if I had started with the first book in the series things would have been explained, but I doubt it. I was able to pick up this third novel in the series and read it without really needing to have read the prior novels in the series. I do like the cover art. 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).

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macOS New Book Release – Cognitive Productivity with macOS

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Product Announcements – CogZest of Vancouver, British Columbia  has released Dr. Luc P. Beaudoin’s new e-book, Cognitive Productivity with macOS(R): 7 Principles for Getting Smarter with Knowledge. In today’s competitive economy, Mac users need to deal with unprecedented amounts of information and technology options under intense time pressure. Beaudoin’s new, screencast-rich e-book demonstrates pro-active strategies for assessing, organizing, selecting, processing and mastering information.

Cognitive Productivity with macOS is the Mac-focused, practical sequel to Beaudoin’s ground-breaking e-book, Cognitive Productivity: Using Knowledge to Become Profoundly Effective. When it comes to learning, not every app is created equal. Common ways of processing information actually interfere with learning. Using the right apps and the right strategies can enormously boost your ability to learn and think effectively. This is what Cognitive Productivity books are all about. Cognitive Productivity books are designed to help you “thrive in the sea of knowledge”.

Luc Beaudoin is a cognitive scientist, author and entrepreneur who specializes in cognitive productivity and well-being. His work has been featured in Forbes Magazine, The New York Times, Lifehacker, Popular Science Magazine, Cool Tools, The Guardian, The International Business Times of London, etc. He is co-founder of CogSci Apps, inventor of mySleepButton(R), founder of CogZest, and Adjunct Professor of Cognitive Science and of Education at Simon Fraser University.

Cognitive Productivity books are themselves prequels to CogSci Apps’ upcoming, first-of-its-kind, cognitive productivity app. Cognitive Productivity with macOS book is available today on Leanpub and imminently on iBookStore and Amazon Kindle Store.

Review of “Stars Uncharted”

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Book Reviews – “Stars Uncharted” eBook was published in 2018 (August) and was written by S. K. Dunstall (Sherylyn and Karen Dunstall – http://www.skdunstall.com). This is their fourth publication.

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 primary characters are Captain Hammond Roystan, Junior Engineer Josune Arriola, and Body-Modification Artist, Nika Rik Terri.

The Road to the Goberlings and her crew led by Roystan had come across the infamous ship Hassim. The Road, while basically a merchant vessel, was not about to overlook a financial windfall. What they had found when they boarded the Hassim was the crew dead and the ship occupied by heavily armed Company men. The Road‘s crew took the Hassim from the Corporate men and claimed her for salvage. Roystan needed to lead his crew in a quick sale of the Hassim and disappear before the Corporation’s men could find them.

Arriola had been undercover on board The Road. She was really part of the Hassim‘s crew. She had been sent to The Road to keep an eye on Roystan. Terri had wound up in the pocket of ruthless Corporate thugs. While a Body-Modification  Artist, she had more than enough ability to mend the Corporation’s men. When an assassin forced her cooperation, she took the opportunity to run from the Corporation.

Roystan, Arriola, and Terri find themselves together and struggling to avoid the same Corporation. The Corporation believes that Roystan may have information that will lead to an incredibly valuable mineral deposit. All of this leads the three into one dangerous situation after another.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 10 hours I spent reading this 416 page science fiction thriller. I liked all of the characters created for this novel. I did think the whole body-modification art was a bit weird, but we do have a growing ‘Body Hacking’ movement so who knows. It did give a little different twist to the plot. I am not a big fan of the chosen cover art. This is the third work of Dunstall and I have enjoyed them all, though I think this is the best of their novels. 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 “Final Target”

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Book Reviews – “Final Target” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by E. V. Seymour (http://www.evseymour.co.uk). Mr. Seymour has published 11 novels. This is the second of his “Josh Thane 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, Mature Language, and Mature Situations. The primary character of the story is former Assassin for hire Josh Thane.

Thane has ‘retired’ from his role as an assassin and the violent world he was part of. He is surprised when a person from his past, MI5 agent Inger McCallen, shows up. Thane has a romantic interest in McCallen but has never wanted to complicate his life further. Now McCallen is recruiting him to investigate a threat against her life.

As Thane pursues the investigation, he finds himself the target of more than one attack. Then McCallen disappears and MI5 seems to think Thane is involved. Thane must avoid MI5 while he desperately tries to find McCallen. Crime figures that he formerly worked for begin to die, and that is another complication with connections back to him.

I enjoyed the 7.5 hours I spent reading this 272 page mystery and thriller. I liked the character of Thane who is definitely a guy with a sketchy background, but who is trying to live a normal life. 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 “The Gemini Agenda”

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Book Reviews – “The Gemini Agenda” eBook was published in 2018 (original paper edition was published in 2012) and was written by Michael McMenamin and Patrick McMenamin (http://www.winstonchurchillthrillers.com). Mr. McMenamin Sr. has authored or co-authored 12 books. Mr. McMenamin Jr. has authored or co-authored 6 books. This is the third in their “Winston Churchill 1930s 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 ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Situations. The story is set in 1932. The primary characters are Mattie McGary, Churchill’s goddaughter and a reporter for the Hearst newspapers, and Bourke Cockran a law professor, former US Army MID agent, and the son of one of Churchill’s former mentors. Also playing a significant role in the story is the German Kurt von Sturm.

By this point, McGary and Cockran are an intimate pair, though not yet engaged. McGary is drawn into a mystery of grisly murders across the US by Hearst. She encounters ruthless thugs who try to discourage her investigations. Meanwhile, Cockran is engaged as the divorce attorney for Ingrid, the wife of Wesley Waterman. Waterman and Cockran have already crossed paths earlier in the book series. Waterman uses his wealth and power to block the divorce including violence and murder.

When Ingrid’s siblings disappear while traveling in Europe, she and Cockran set out to find them. McGary’s investigation of the murders also leads her to Europe where there is evidence that some Americans that have been abducted are being held. Both paths lead to a secret medical facility where studies are being conducted under the direction of the Nazis.

Von Sturm has had affairs with both McGary and Waterman and still carries deep feelings for both women. When he finds Waterman under threat, he steps in to rescue the young woman. In doing so he risks the deadly retribution of both colleagues and his employers if they find out. He feels honor bound to do what he can to save Waterman’s siblings.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 11+ hours I spent reading this 400 page historical thriller. I have enjoyed the three major characters in the novels, as well as the other real people of the era that are woven into the story. While this isn’t a true WWII story, it deals with real factors that lead up to the war. The cover art is OK, but an image of one of the Pitcairn autogiro craft that Cockran and McGrady repeatedly use would have been better in my opinion. 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 “Tidal Wave”

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Book ReviewsWWII – “Tidal Wave” eBook was published in 2018 and was written Thomas McKelvey Cleaver. Mr. Cleaver has published eight 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 action in the Pacific Theatre during the period in World War II from the fall of 1944 until the end of the war.

This is a detailed account of action, primarily naval air warfare carried out by both sides. There are many individuals, aircraft and ships named, along with their activities. This is not a book that is easy to read due to all the facts laid out. I do think this would be a good read for the serious student of World War II history. I did find the 10 hours I spent reading this 320 page non-fiction history interesting. The cover art is a good selection. I give this novel a 3.8 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

Those interested in this book may also find my “World War II Timeline” and “World War II Sources” pages of interest.

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

Review of “SEAL Team Six: Hunt the Viper”

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Book Reviews – “SEAL Team Six: Hunt the Viper” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Don Mann (http://usfrogmann.comand) and Ralph Pezzullo (http://ralphpezzullo.com).  Mr. Mann has authored or co-authored a dozen books, while Mr. Pezzullo has authored or co-authored seventeen. This is the seventh novel in their “SEAL Team Six” 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 mostly in the Middle East. The primary character is US Navy SEAL Thomas Crocker.

Crocker and his team are in Syria and are confronted with ISIS combatants. While defending a Syrian city from attack, he meets the young French epidemiologist Severine Tessier risking her life there as a volunteer with Doctors Without Borders. She and Crocker connect.

Months later, a colleague of Tessier’s is kidnapped by ISIS forces. Her imminent execution is announced. Tessier reached out to Crocker for help to rescue her colleague. While officially told NO, Crocker and his team make a desperate attempt to rescue the girl before she is executed. Tessier mounts her own search for her young colleague. It is a race to see if either will find the girl before she is executed.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 6.4 hours I spent reading this 320 page modern Special Ops thriller.  I liked this novel as the story had more of a realistic feel to it than many of this genre. 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).

iMac Guidebook – eBook for iMac & High Sierra

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Product AnnouncementTap Guides of Poole, United Kingdom has announced its latest book: iMac Guidebook. Brought to you by the expert team at Tap Guides, and written by best-selling technology author Thomas Anthony, iMac Guidebook is packed with top tips and in-depth tutorials. You’ll learn about exciting iMac features such as its massive 27-inch Retina display, discover how to use macOS High Sierra and its built-in apps, plus much more. Available in eBook format, exclusively through the iBooks Store.

If you’re looking for a desktop Mac, then the iMac is pretty much the best choice you can make. It has a massive, 27-inch, 5K LED display, it’s fast, it’s beautiful, and it also works with macOS High Sierra: the best desktop operating system available. iMac Guidebook is the perfect companion for your new Mac. By the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll be an expert in nearly everything iMac and macOS related.

Inside you’ll discover:

  • Everything you need to know about the iMa & High Sierra
  • How to set up your Mac
  • How to use the Magic Mouse and TrackPad
  • Detailed app tutorials
  • How to edit photos
  • Essential settings and configurations
  • Troubleshooting tips

Device Requirements:

  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, Windows, & Kindle Devices
  • eBook Pages: 378 Pages

iMac Guidebook is $3.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies), and available worldwide exclusively through the iBooks Store in the Computers and References categories.

Review of “The Parcifal Pursuit”

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Book Reviews – “The Parcifal Pursuit” eBook was published in 2018 (original paper edition was published in 2011) and was written by Michael McMenamin and Patrick McMenamin (http://www.winstonchurchillthrillers.com). Mr. McMenamin Sr. has authored or co-authored 12 books. Mr. McMenamin Jr. has authored or co-authored 6 books. This is the second in their “Winston Churchill 1930s 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 ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence, Mature Situations, and Mature Language. The story is set primarily in 1931 Europe. The primary characters are Mattie McGary, Churchill’s goddaughter and a reporter for the Hearst newspapers, and Bourke Cockran a law professor, former US Army MID agent, and the son of one of Churchill’s former mentors.

There is a plot in Germany to assassinate President Hindenburg and restore the Kaiser to power. Part of this plot also involves finding the ancient Christian artifact, the Spear of Destiny. Churchill and Hearst send McGary to find the Spear and return it to the British Museum. Separate forces acting for the Kaiser and Hitler are also after the Spear. Making things even more dangerous, members of a new Knights Templar are sworn to protect the Spear.

Simultaneous to this, Cockran is in German with his lovely new client. She is being pressured to sell the tabulator company she just inherited from her father, who was murdered. She and Cockran are confronted by Nazi thugs trying to force her to sell. Cockran must call on old friends from Ireland to help him.

As the plot develops Cockran and McGary are thrown into one desperate situation after another. Their romance is threatened by Cockran’s lovely new client as well as a distinguished German that is accompanying McGary on the search for the Spear. Both McGary and Cockran must also contend with enemies that are not so obvious as the uniformed Nazis.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 11.5 hours I spent reading this 442 page period thriller. While not a novel set in World War II, it deals with events and figures that will soon play important parts in that conflict. I like the characters created for this series of novels. While this book could be read stand-alone, it would be best to start with the first book in the series “The DeVelera Deception“. 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).

Review of “Outcasts of Order”

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Book Reviews – “Outcasts of Order” eBook was published in 2018 (June) and was written by L. E. Modesitt Jr. (http://www.lemodesittjr.com). Mr. Modesitt has published nearly 80 novels. This is the twentieth novel in his “Saga of Recluse” 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 and a little Mature Language. The story is set in a world where magic is possible. This novel continues to follow the young Mage Beltur introduced in “The Mongrel Mage“.

Beltur, though raised by his uncle and trained as a While Mage, has found he is a powerful Black Mage. He used his skill to help defend Elparta from invasion. Now that the threat is over, he finds himself under new threats.

For some in Elparta he is too strong in magic and they see him as a threat to their power. His romantic interest in a young healer, Jessyla, is seen as a threat by a Black Mage that desires her. His ability to aid the coppersmith Jorhan to cast rare and beautiful cupridium pieces is seen as a threat to the traders.

He finds that he must flee Elparta in fear of his life. Jessyla insists on coming with him and becoming his consort (wife). They must face the dangers of traveling to Axalt. Not only must they travel through winter storms, but brigands threaten travelers along the road.

Once they arrive in Axalt, things are better, or at least seem so on the surface. Both Jessyla and Beltur are able to further their skills as Healers. Baltur is able to produce more cupridium pieces with Jorhan. He is an outsider though and different. Even though they have distanced themselves from Elparta, the Council there tries to make trouble for him as his friends.

Beltur must protect himself and his friends from attack from one direction after another. It becomes a question of how far will he have to go. What will he have to do to survive? Will he ever find a place that he and Jessyla can have a home and a family?

I thoroughly enjoyed the 19+ hours I spent reading this 656 page fantasy. I have enjoyed reading the last two novels in the “Saga of Recluce”, and they make me want to go back and start the series from the beginning. This novel reads pretty well on its own, but certainly reading “The Mongrel Mage” first helps. I do like the characters that have been created. Beltur, while a very strong Mage, is still finding his own strengths and abilities. This novel was a little slower than the previous one, though I did still find myself drawn to reading it. This novel is more about his growth as a Mage and a Healer. I like the cover art chosen for this novel. 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).