Tag Archives: NetGalley

Book Review of “The Forever Man”

“The Forever Man” was published in 2014 (July) and is the third book written by author Pierre Ouellette. The eBook is available on Amazon.

I was given early access to the book for review through https://www.netgalley.com. This is a Science Fiction, post apocalypse novel set in near future Portland, OR. The writing was well paced, never letting the reader get bogged down.

The primary character in the story is Lane Anslow who is an aging contract police officer for Portland. His younger genius but bipolar brother Johnny contacts him asking for help, then disappears. Lane contacts Rachel Heinz, who is chief of staff to Harlan Green, and a girl friend of his brother’s. Something starts to spark between Lane and Rachel as they work together to find Johnny.

Harlan is the head of a growing political party and has a lot of power. Both Lane and Rachel begin to have doubts about him as they continue to investigate.

Thomas Zed is fabulously wealthy and 127 years old. He is deeply interested in life prolonging technologies, and Johnny was one of his chief scientists.

The deeper Lane digs into his brother’s disappearance, the more dangerous the obstacles he runs into. There is quite a bit of action and intrigue through out the story. There are some parts that verged on the far-fetched, but it is a SciFi thriller.

I enjoyed the story, giving it a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also posted on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review of “Steampunk Trilogy”

“Steampunk Trilogy” was published in 2014 and was written by Paul Di Filippo (http://paul-di-filippo.com). It is actually a collection of three stories – “Victoria”, “Hottentots” and “Walt and Emily”. Mr. Di Filippo has published other works. This eBook is available from Amazon.

I obtained this publication for free through https://www.netgalley.com for review.

Victoria – Set in 1838 London. the main character Cosmo Copperthwait combines a newt with cells from humans and grows what looks like a fully formed woman. As it turns out, the creature he has created looks very much like the young Queen Victoria. When Queen Victoria disappears, the newt is substituted for her until the missing Queen can be found. Cosmo is involved in a search for the missing Queen.

Hottentots – The main character is Louis Agassiz who is a Swiss scientist. I can’t say more than that as I struggled to finish this portion of the novel.

Walt and Emily – This is set in 1860’s with Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman as the main characters. Emily’s brother is in pursuit of the afterlife and has brought a collection of characters to his home to help him get there. Emily is a disbeliever, but accompanies them just to keep them honest. She is also infatuated with Walt Whitman.

First, none of these seem to be “Steampunk” to my mind. Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steampunk) defines Steampunk as “a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery,[1] especially in a setting inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century. Steampunk works are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century’s British Victorian era or American “Wild West”, in a post-apocalyptic future during which steam power has regained mainstream use, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power. Steampunk perhaps most recognisably features anachronistic technologies or retro-futuristic inventions as people in the 19th century might have envisioned them, and is likewise rooted in the era’s perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, and art. Such technology may include fictional machines like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or the modern authors Philip Pullman, Scott Westerfeld, Stephen Hunt and China Miéville. Other examples of steampunk contain alternative history-style presentations of such technology as lighter-than-air airships, analog computers, or such digital mechanical computers as Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine”. Needless to say I found none of these attributes present in any of the tree books, so I am at a loss as to why it is labeled as “Steampunk”.

In the first two stores, dialog was written to include character’s accents. This made them very hard to read.

I thought that “Victoria” was a little odd, but tolerable, though I did not find the story very engaging.

“Hottentot” was incomprehensible. I forced myself to finish it and I am not sure what the point of the story was. There was a side of the main character that was bigoted against blacks. Perhaps it was meant as a satire.

“Walt and Emily” was the best of the three, though it was too full of characters thinking and speaking in poetry for my taste.

Needless to say I did not enjoy the eight hours spent reading this work. I feel like those eight hours were stolen from me. This was certainly the worst work I have read this year, and quite possibly the worst publication I have ever read. I give it a 2 out of 5.

My book reviews are also posted on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book review of “The City”

“The City” was published in 2014(July) and is written by Dean Koontz (http://www.deankoontz.com). Mr. Koontz has written around 100 books, as well as some graphic novels. This eBook is available on Amazon.

I was provided the manuscript for “The City” for early review through NetGalley (https://www.netgalley.com). “The City” is written in the first person and is set in an unidentified large city. It is a mystery/thriller with a little supernatural thrown in. While there is some violence, I would say that the book rates no more than PG13.

Jonah Kirk is the main character. The story starts with him at age 57, but he then tells his story about what happened to him when he was eight years old beginning in 1967. The story continues for about two years of his early life.

Sylvia and Tilton are Jonah’s parents, but his father isn’t around much and they soon get a divorce. Sylvia is an aspiring singer, but she still needs to work the lunch counter at Woolworth’s to make ends meet. Sylvia’s parents, Anita and Teddy Bledsoe, live in the suburbs. Teddy plays the piano on a regular basis at a hotel restaurant and in a department store. Anita works in a church office. They, other than Tilton, are a close family.

Jonah meets a young woman “Pearl” who tells him that she is the spirit of the city. She visits him from time to time and guides him. Pearl also shows Jonah a frightening dream where he sees a young woman dead. A short time later that same woman moves into an empty apartment on the sixth floor of his apartment building. At first Jonah thinks the woman is pretty, but quickly she shows a sinister side. That starts a string of events that play out through the rest of the story. Jonah makes new friends and looses people that are close to him. He finds aid and comfort from Mr. Yoshioka who lives upstairs in the building. Together they delve into the mystery of the young woman on the sixth floor and find much more, including a potential murderer and a conspiracy, than they had expected.

I have long been a fan of Mr. Koontz and have read several of his other novels. I enjoyed this novel, though I do not believe it is as good as some of his others. The story seemed to drag along slowly for the first few chapters, but then it did pick up. Once I got into the story, it was easy to keep reading. Unlike most of the other novels by Mr. Koontz that I have read, this one did not keep me on the edge of my seat. I would give this a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also posted on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review of “Shadow Swarm”

“Shadow Swarm” was published in 2014 and was written by D. Robert Pease (http://www.drobertpease.com). Mr. Pease has published 7 books. This eBook is available on Amazon.

I obtained this novel for free through https://www.netgalley.com for review. This is a fantasy novel set in a place different from ours. Aberthole Nauile awakens to find himself in a stone sarcophagus. He knows neither who nor where he is. As the story quickly unfolds you find that Aberthole is the king of Nuadaim and he has just been “born” fully grown. He meets the Neglafem who are the guardians of the heir, and who have been watching over him.

Aberthole is still trying to accept that he is a king, when he and the Neglafem are attacked. Illiam the elder of the Neglafem who has just begun to teach Aberthole of this world, is killed during the attack. Illiam’s grand daughter, Elise, helps Aberthole to escape. While she is leading Aberthole away she is taken by the forces of evil. That starts a long battle raging widely across this world to get Elise back. Aberthole recruits others to help him battle the forces of evil that have been enslaving the world.

Aberthole is expected to have great power and be able to defeat the forces of evil, but he knows nothing about his powers. While he fights to overcome the enemy and get Elise back, he is full of self doubts.

He is tormented by the memory of the many who die under his leadership. He also feels he is letting his followers down because he is unable to wield the power they had expected him to possess. What power he slowly masters does not look like it will be enough to overcome the forces of evil.

I thought that this was a good fantasy story. It seems to be compressed into one novel, where the same tale in other fantasy series would be spread out over more. The way the story ends though, there may be follow on novels. I did not particularly like the main character Aberthole. He seemed to lack too much confidence in himself. Other than the violence of battles with sword and spear, I would rate this PG, and I would give the novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also posted on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review of “Cop Town”

“Cop Town” was published in 2014 (June) and was written by Karin Slaughter (http://www.karinslaughter.com). Ms. Slaughter has so far published nearly 20 novels. This novel is available through Amazon. I was provided this novel through NetGalley (https://www.netgalley.com) for pre-publication review.

This novel is set in 1975 Atlanta, Georgia and is written in the third person. The novel opens on the first day at being a police officer for Kate Murphy. She is young and beautiful. Most of the Atlanta police force is male, and few believe that women should be on the force. This is an eventful first day at work as the serial cop killer known as “The Shooter” has struck again killing the 5th officer.

Patrolman Jimmy Lawson’s partner was shot and though Jimmy struggled to save him, he died. Jimmy’s sister Maggie, also a police officer has questions about how Jimmy said it all happened, but her brother won’t talk to her and her uncle Terry, a police Sergeant, bullies her into dropping it.

Kate is briefly paired with Jimmy Lawson. Jimmy, in fact all of the Atlanta police, are all out for blood to revenge the killings. Jimmy dumps Kate on his sister Maggie and goes off to investigate on his own. Kate feels totally inept, but learns quickly from the few other women officers.

Kate and Maggie follow some of their own leads, but are blocked along the way by the other officers because of their gender. Kate though she has an Irish surname, is jewish. Her husband of only two years having been killed in action in Vietnam.

Both Kate and Maggie fight prejudice as they delve deeper into the serial killings, and are shocked at what they uncover. They also find themselves in the thick of action and danger from time to time. They struggle not only with criminals, but with their fellow officers as well.

I thought that this novel was well written, and the characters interesting. It shines a light on a time of change and prejudice in America as the two women investigate. I have not read any of Ms. Slaughter’s other novels, but thoroughly enjoyed this one. I give it a 5 out of 5.

I also post my book reviews on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com)

Book Review of “End of Enemies”

“End of enemies” was published in 2014 and is the first in the “Briggs Tanner” series by author Grant Blackwood (http://grantblackwood.com). Mr. Blackwood is the author or co-author of eight novels. This eBook is available on Amazon.

I obtained this novel for free through https://www.netgalley.com for review. This is a thriller and is told 3rd person with the primary characters being Briggs Tanner and his partner Ian “Bear” Cahil, though there are many others.

The real story begins with a submarine just off the coast of Japan in the last days of World War II. Then we skip ahead to present day where Briggs is on vacation in Japan. There he witnesses a murder. That starts an unofficial, then more official investigation. In Washington, D.C. the intelligence community is concerned about an agent that has disappeared in Beirut, Lebanon. Why was he suddenly taken and what does it mean?

Briggs is a former US Navy SEAL, and now works for an off-the-books US intelligence agency. What seemed at first like a random killing turns into an international crises which spans the globe. There is action, danger and intrigue as the story rapidly unfolds to involved a Japanese billionaire, the middle east, and a threat to world peace.

This is the first novel by Mr. Blackwood that I have read and I thoroughly enjoyed the 12 hours spend reading it. I look forward to reading others by Mr. Blackwood. It reminds be of Clive Cussler stories, which isn’t a surprise since Mr. Blackwood has co-authored three novels with Clive Cussler. I give this novel a 5 out of 5.