Tag Archives: Fiction

Book Review: “VanOps: The Lost Power”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “VanOps: The Lost Power” eBook was published in 2019 (November) and was written by Avanti Centrae (https://www.avanticentrae.com). This is Ms. Centrae’s first 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 begins in contemporary Napa Valley, CA. The primary character is App designer and aikido instructor Maddy Marshall.

Marshall is with her twin brother, Will, at their father’s vineyard. All the children have gathered at the request of their father. They hear a shot and rush in to find the dead and the dying.

They “accidentally” run into a long-time friend and secret VanOps agent after the police have left. With him in tow, the three begin the quest for an ancient weapon. If they don’t find it first they fear that the Russians will use it to bypass US defenses and make a devastating first strike. Will the three survive and will they be able to find the weapon first?

I spent 8+ hours reading this interesting 341-page thriller. I like the characters, but they could have been more robust. While the cover art is eye-catching, it does not relate to the story. 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).

Modern WWII Era Movie: “Mission of Honor”

 

(See my other WWII related posts) – I recently watched the movie “Mission of Honor” (originally named Hurricane) on Netflix. This is a modern WWII era film that gives a fictionalized version of the RAF 303 squadron in the Battle of Brittain. The 01:47:00 film was released in March of 2019. The synopsis from IMDB:

The exploits of 303 Squadron RAF during the Battle of Britain. The squadron consisted of Polish pilots, many of whom were veterans of the air battles involved in Germany’s invasion of Poland.

This is more romance set against the backdrop of WWII than it is a war movie. It was enjoyable enough, but not what I would consider an outstanding film. That also seems the consensus on IMDB as there it is only rated 5.9/10. It did receive and 83% on Rotten Tomatoes. While most of the dialog was in English, there was a substantial portion in Polish and some in German. Those were supplemented with English subtitles.


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

  • The”World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 330 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other sources with information on the World War II-era in history.
  • The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.
  • The About WWII page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.

Book Review: “Terminal Pulse”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Terminal Pulse” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Brent Ladd (https://brentladdbooks.com). This was his first novel.

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 main character is Collette “Codi” Sanders.

Sanders has recently come close but failed to qualify for elite military duty. Now she is out of the military and has taken a boring, paper-pushing job for the GSA (General Services Administration).

Suddenly her administrative job has thrust her into the middle of a critical and dangerous situation.

I found the 5.5 hours I spent reading this 274-page thriller interesting. The basic plot was not bad, but the depth of the writing and characters was lacking. The author will likely get better with future novels. I do not like the selected 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).

Book Review: “The Revenant Express: A Newbury & Hobbes Investigation”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “The Revenant Express: A Newbury & Hobbes Investigation” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by George Mann. Mr. Mann has published more than a dozen novels. This is the fifth in his “Newbury & Hobbes Investigations” 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 a Victorian Europe, though not our own.

Sir Maurice Newbury is headed to Russia with Veronica’s sister Amelia to pick up a mechanical heart. The heart has been made by Faberge. Meanwhile Veronica lies ill in London. Their other team member, Sir Charles Bainbridge, is also in London trying to determine who is infection prominent men with the Revenant plague.

I enjoyed the 5 hours I spent reading this 234-page steampunk mystery. This is not the ifirst novel in the series and this novel expected the reader to be familiar with the ongoing plot and characters. I recommend reading them in order. I do like the selected 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).

Book Review: “Arctic Adagio”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Arctic Adagio” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by DJ Cockburn (https://cockburndj.wordpress.com). This is Mr. Cockburn’s second publication.

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’.

Superintendent Rex Harme is providing security on a luxury cruise ship that is above the law. When one of the wealthy passengers goes overboard under suspicious conditions, he must begin thinking like a detective again. He has little time though as it is rumored that much of the crew, including him, will be let go as soon as the ship docks.

I found the 1.25 hours I spent reading this 55-page mystery/thriller interesting. I think better cover art could have been chosen. 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).

Friday WWII Flix: “The Wackiest Ship in the Army”

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(See my other WWII  related posts) – A few weeks back I pulled out this old movie from my collection “The Wackiest Ship in the Army”. It came out in 1960 and the synopsis per IMDB:

During WW2, Lt. Rip Crandall, who was a yachtsman before the war, takes command of the USS Echo, a sailing ship, for a secret mission in waters patrolled by Japanese warships.

This is a little different for a WWII movie in that it is as much a comedy as it is a drama about the war. I have seen this movie a few times and I still like it. On IMDB it has a rating of 6.3/10.


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

The  World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 320 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other sources with information on the World War II era in history.

The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

The “About WWII” page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.

Book Reviews: “Templar Secrets”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Templar Secrets” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Andreas Economou (https://www.aeconomouauthor.com). This is Mr. Economou’s second publication. See my interview with the author.

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 across the ages as it tells a story of the Templars and the Masons.

This story is a mixture of facts and fiction. In the present is George Makrides living in Cyprus. He has recently joined the Masons and has been seeking the secrets that he expected to be revealed.

Starting in 966 BCE Hiram is sent by his king to design and build King Soloman’s temple, but there is intrigue between the kings. Later the crusades take the Holy Land and established the Kingdom of Jerusalem. There is a need to protect pilgrims as they travel to Jerusalem from Europe and the Knights Templar are born. Much later the French nobility and church view the Templars as a wealthy threat and they are persecuted. The Templars are eventually officially disbanded.

Foreseeing trouble, the Templar leadership hides their treasure on Cyprus. The head of the order forms the Masonic lodge to maintain and hand down clues to where the order’s treasure has been hidden. The Masonic order evolves over the decades, but the essential clues in their ceremonies remain.

George and his friend and Masonic brother Alex are becoming disillusioned with the Masons, but their interest in the Templars has expanded. They wonder if the fabled Templar treasure exists and if it really is hidden on Cyprus.

I enjoyed the 11 hours I spent reading this 474-page mystery. While the primary plot of the story is the mystery of the Templar treasure which George and Alex pursue, I found the historical fiction of the Templars and the Masonic lodge much more interesting. I like the selected cover art. I give this novel a 4.1 (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).

Book Review: “The Atlantis Deception”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “The Atlantis Deception” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Mark H. Jackson (https://markhjackson.com). This is Mr. Jackson’s first novel.

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 contemporary England, Brazil, and Egypt. The primary character is archaeologist, Dr. John Hunter.

Hunter has been ostracised by the archaeological community for his theories about Atlantis. Because of his interest in Atlantis, he becomes involved with a secret group in the UK. He travels to the Brazilian rain forest then to the desert of Egypt following the trail to Atlantis. He and his friends find themselves in one harrowing situation after another, caught between two different secret groups.

I thought that the 6.5+ hours I spent reading this 288-page thriller were interesting. While the basic plot is fine, I am not a fan of the implementation. The story jumps or skips in places and I am not a big fan of the characters. The cover art is OK, but could be tied more closely to the story. I give this novel a 2.8 (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).

Book Review: “Conspiracy of Lies”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Conspiracy of Lies” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Kathryn Gauci (http://www.kathryngauci.com). Ms. Gauci has published four 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 and Mature Situations. The story is set in German-occupied France. The primary character is Claire Bouchard, a young French woman who volunteers to return to France as a British agent to work with the French resistance.

Bouchard is still trying to deal with the death of her lover when France is invaded by Germany in 1940. She flees ahead of the German army and makes her way to the UK. She is recruited and trained to be part of the SOE. She is returned to France and becomes a teacher while secretly serving the resistance.

She is faced with many risky situations and becomes romantically involved with both a fellow resistance fighter and with a member of the German Gestapo in her role as a teacher. The story is told by the elderly Bouchard to her daughter in 2001.

I enjoyed the 9+ hours I spent reading this 300-page WWII novel. The story portrays the typical French refugee recruited and sent back to work for with the resistance. This one is more complicated as the primary character develops romantic ties that put her at even greater risk. This is really a story about a strong and heroic woman. While there was more romance in the story that I usually like, I do think that it is a good read. I like the cover are. 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).


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these two pages of mine of interest. 

The  World War II Sources” page is a collection of more than 310 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other sources with information on the World War II era in history.

The “World War II Timeline” page shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

Friday WWII Flix: “La Dernière Section”

(See my other WWII and Short Films related posts) – I came across this short 9:24 video set in WWII “La Dernière Section” a while back. It was uploaded to YouTube in February of 2012 by SnakeMajin – WAW Production. While this is a French production, there was little dialog in the video.

I liked the action in the video, though the fact that none of the weapons were really being fired (bolts not moving, no empty cartridges ejected) did diminish the quality of the film.