Tag Archives: novel

Book Review: “Before the Broken Star”

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(See all my Book Reviews) – Author Emily R. King (http://emilyrking.com/) published the novel “Before the Broken Star” in 2019. Ms. King has published 5 novels. This is the first in her “Evermore Chronicles” 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 another world. The primary character is 17-year-old girl Everley Donovan.

Donovan saw her family killed. She was attacked too but somehow survived. She lives because of a miraculous mechanical heart. She has always assumed that her uncle, a skilled clockmaker, had created the heart. She has been living for years with her uncle and hiding as his adopted apprentice.

Donovan’s father had been an explorer and that is somehow tied to the family’s death. Her father’s former partner Killian Markham comes into the clock shop. It was he who had killed her family and attacked her. She knows she must avenge her family. Now Governor Killian Markham is leading the colony on Dagger Island.

Donovan gets charged with a crime to be sent as a potential wife to the Dagger Island colony. Dagger Island was the last place her father and Markham explored. Donovan wants to revenge the death of her family and find out why her father had to die.

First Lieutenant Jamison Callahan had first seen Donovan in the clock shop. He is the Governor’s aid and is in charge of the women convicts being transported to Dagger Island. Much to Donovan’s annoyance, Callahan seems to have feelings for her.

Donovan must survive the journey by ship and fit into the colony until she can take her revenge. Dagger Island has many myths and there are dangers there to avoid. She must also find a way of being consigned to an unwanted husband.

I enjoyed the 7.5+ hours I spent reading this 294-page young adult fantasy novel. I liked the characters and the plot. This has the makings for a good series. The selected cover art is OK. I give this novel a 4.5 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

You can access more of my book reviews on my Blog ( https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/).

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

Book Review: “The Mercutio Problem”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) –  Carol Anne Douglas (https://www.carolannedouglas.com) published the novel “The Mercutio Problem” in 2019. This is her fourth novel and the second in her ‘Merlin’s Shakespeare’ 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 Violence and Adult Situations. The story is set in contemporary times and in the realms of Shakespeare’s plays.

The primary character is high school actor Beth Owens. The wizard Merlin again sends her back to the age of Shakespeare. She must struggle with Richard III. He has become a mixture of the character from Shakespeare’s play and Merlin’s arch-enemy Mordred.

Richard is fomenting a revolt of Shakespeare’s characters to get their stories rewritten. He not only is causing problems in the world of Shakespeare but also in the real world. There are some characters who want to keep the stories just as Shakespeare wrote them. They have become Owen’s allies.

The young High School student Owens must lead the opposition.

I found the 6.5+ hours I spent reading this 296-page young adult fantasy were interesting. I read the first novel of this series (Merlin’s Shakespeare) and hoped this one would get better. I’m disappointed to say that it didn’t. The basic plot was good, but it felt weak as implemented. There is a bit of LGBTQIA woven into the plot. The selected cover art is OK. I give this novel a 3 out of 5.

You can access more of my book reviews on my Blog ( https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/).

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

Book Review: “A Hero”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – Author Stephen Arseneault (https://www.arsenex.com) published the novel “A Hero” in 2019. Mr. Arseneault has published more than 50 novels. This is the first of his “Corporation Wars” 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 far future. The primary character is Rayford Tyvos Jackson.

Jackson has recently graduated from college with an engineering degree. Work is hard to find and he needs to find a way to support his wife and daughter. The Jackson family decide to travel to the remote mining colony of Echelon. The job with the Arlis Corporation is the only one he can find. He is expecting a good position with Arlis. His best friend at college is running the Echelon mining facility. He hopes this will be a good career move, but the corporation imposes strict rules. Soon, he and his family are fed up and are ready to leave.

Aliens are sited in human space, but they avoid all contact. Without warning, they begin to mercilessly attack human settlements. Humanity has not had a war in decades. The military is ill-equipped and the politicians are unwilling to make hard decisions. As Jackson has feared, there is an attack on the mining facilities on Echelon. Casualties are widespread and include Jackson’s wife and daughter. Seeking revenge Jackson enlists in the Marines.

Human forces struggle against the aliens. They call themselves the Togmal but little is known about them. Even after years of war, there has been no communication. While they win a few battles, humanity is losing the war. Major corporations, including Arlis, step up and offer to take over the war. They claim that their organization and efficiency will enable humans to win. The corporations take over the military. They also take over most functions of the government. The result is that newer and better weapons begin to flow to the troops. Slowly the tide begins to turn.

I enjoyed the 7+ hours I spent reading this 330-page science-fiction thriller. The story is full of action as well as subtle intrigue. I am looking forward to the next novel in the series. This is the second novel I have read from Arseneault (ARMS War for Eden was the other). I have enjoyed them both. I like the selected cover art. I give this novel a 5 out of 5.

You can access more of my book reviews on my Blog ( https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/).

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

Book Review: “American Magic”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – Author Zach Fehst (https://www.zachfehst.com/) published the novel “American Magic” in 2019. He has published two 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 Language. The story is set in the contemporary world.

One day magic begins to happen. Not everyone has the ability and strength varies, but there is suddenly magic in the world. The US government must find the cause and stop the spread of magic or chaos will reign across the world.

The CIA reaches out to former agent Ben Zolstra. Zolstra is not a team player and has had many confrontations with the CIA Director. He has resigned because of that. Now with great reluctance, he rejoins the agency.

Eila Mack is a young black woman who is amazed to discover that she has magical ability. One day she is showing off for her friends in the neighborhood. The next she is being held as a prisoner in a government safe house.

When the CIA Director relieves Zolstra of his post, Zolstra sees only one option. He decides to do what he does best, he takes the mission solo. He grabs Mack and they soon are on the trail of the source of magic. Of course, they are also being pursued by government agents. The two must find the source and stop it before the world falls into anarchy.

I enjoyed the 7.5 hours I spent reading this 320-page fantasy novel. This was an interesting plot with a mix of thriller and fantasy. I like the cover art for the novel, but I don’t see how it relates to the story. 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).

Book Review: “The Warehouse: A Novel”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – Author Rob Hart (https://robwhart.com/) published the novel “The Warehouse” in 2019. This is Mr. Hart’s seventh 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 ‘PG’ because it contains Violence, Mature Language, and Mature Situations. The story is set in the near future. There are three primary characters. Paxton a new security guard. Zinnia a new picker. Gibson Wells owner of Cloud.

Cloud is the superstore of the future. Think of it as a combination of Wal-Mart and Amazon mega-company. Drones make the deliveries and the store carries everything. Employees live at the massive distribution centers. Each is a small city with entertainment, restaurants, and shops. The company over the years has taken over many government functions. It has also replaced most other businesses.

Wells has found out that he is dying and plans to make a road-trip across the US visiting company facilities. Paxton and Zinnia are new employees at Cloud. They meet during the on-boarding process. Paxton has been a prison guard. Then he briefly had his own business until competition from Cloud forced him to close down. Now he wants to earn enough to get back on his feet.

Zinnia isn’t Zinnia. She is a corporate spy sent into Cloud to find information. Zinnia and Paxton begin a relationship. She is not sure if she is using him or if she has real feelings for him. She has no idea who has hired her.

I thought that the 9.5 hours I spent reading this 348-page mystery novel were interesting. I thought that the plot was off to a good start. Sadly, the book had a disappointing ending. There is only a mediocre mystery. I am not a fan of the selected cover art. I give this novel a 3 out of 5.

You can access more of my book reviews on my Blog ( https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/).

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

Book Review: “The Adventure of the Peculiar Protocols: Adapted from the Journals of John H. Watson, M.D.”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – Author Nicholas Meyer (https://www.nicholas-meyer.com) published the novel “The Adventure of the Peculiar Protocols: Adapted from the Journals of John H. Watson, M.D.” in 2019. This is his 8th 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 ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in 1905. The primary character is Dr. John Watson.
 
Holmes brother, Mycroft, approaches Holmes and Watson. A body found in the Thames was a British Secret Service agent. Documents she was carrying implicate the Jews in a world domination conspiracy. Mycroft asks his brother and the Doctor to look into it.
 
The investigation leads Holmes and Watson on a long journey by rail over the Orient Express. They must tread the dangerous ground of Russia to find the answers. Their journey is not without risk.
 
I enjoyed the 5.5+ hours I spent reading this 244-page Sherlock Holmes mystery. Really, this is more of a low-level spy thriller than a mystery. I do like the selected cover art. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

You can access more of my book reviews on my Blog ( https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/).

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

Book Review: “Einstein’s Compass”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – Authors Grace Blair and Laren Bright published the novel “Einstein’s Compass” in 2019. This is Ms. Blair’s first novel. Mr. Bright has two other novels to his credit besides this one.

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 Mature Situations. The story is set in German and Switzerland. It begins in the late 19th century. The primary character is young Albert Einstein.

The young Einstein is given a compass that does more than point to magnetic North. He becomes involved in a struggle between light and dark. Between angels and fallen angels. He finds himself often in danger. He learns to use his compass to travel through time and learn physics from the great physicists of history.

I thought that this was an interesting 6.5+ hour read. This 400-page young adult science fiction novel was a little disappointing. I came close to calling a ‘Rule of 50‘ on it and setting it aside. I think that the selected cover art is interesting. I give this novel a 3.7 (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: “Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: God of War

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – Author Jeff Rovin published the novel “Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: God of War” in 2020 (May). He has published more than 40 novels as well as other works. This is the 19th book in the Op-Center series created by Tom Clancy and Steve Pieczenik.

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. There is a mysterious outbreak of a fatal biological agent in Antarctic waters. The Black Wasp Team is called back to action.

An Australian bound airliner crashes after the rapid infection of all passengers and crew. A private yacht explodes in the South Indian Sea. A helicopter crashes on a South Africa bridge.

The years of apartheid in South Africa spawned many secret projects. Among these is the discovery of a lethal biological agent. The few who knew about it sought to hide it away. They thought it would be safe. They hid it on the frozen shore of a protected island the government-controlled. Unfortunately unlawful digging on the island released the agent.

Soon there is a Chinese vessel investigating the island. The US must find the source of the outbreak and keep it from falling into the wrong hands. Dispatching the Black Wasp Team to find the source of the contagion is the US response. They must find the source and make sure that no other country gets it.

I enjoyed the 8.5 hours I spent reading this 352-page thriller. This is the second novel in the Black Wasp subsidies. I read the first “Tom Clancys Op-Center: Sting of the Wasp” and liked it. This novel is readable as a stand-alone book, but it would be best to read ‘Sting of the Wasp’ first. The Black Wasp Team is an odd collection of four characters. It is not the conventional Special Ops Team. The cover art is OK, though it is not tightly tied to the story. I give this novel a 3.8 (Rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

You can access more of my book reviews on my Blog ( https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/).

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

Book Review: “The Mage-Fire War”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – Author L. E. Modesitt Jr (https://www.lemodesittjr.com) published the novel “The Mage-Fire War” in 2019. Mr. Modesitt has published 80 novels. This is the 21st 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 ‘R’ because it contains Violence. The story is set on a fantasy world. The primary character is Black Mage Beltur. 

Beltur and his wife, along with another mage and his family have traveled to the country of Montgren. The Duchess of Montgren offers them the position of Town Councilors of Haven. Of course, they must bring it out of a state of decay. Beltur and the Council face opposition from some of the townspeople.  They all soon find themselves under threat of invasion as well. They must fight for their new home 

Beltur’s prior experience as a war mage and a scout is critical. His abilities are key in their struggle against the invaders. The struggle does not leave the town of Haven unscathed. 

I enjoyed the 16 hours I spent reading this 538-page fantasy novel. This is the fourth Modesitt novel I have read. I enjoy this author’s work. This is a continuation of the founding story of Freehaven. I have read both of the other books (The Mongrel Mage and Outcasts of Order) in this subseries of Recluse. I have enjoyed these three novels. Modesitt weaves a good tale with rich characters. I look forward to more of his work. I like the chosen 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: “Shrouded Loyalties”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – Author Reese Hogan (http://www.reesehogan.com) published the novel “Shrouded Loyalties” in 2019. Mr. Hogan 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 ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in a different Universe set on the world of Mirrix. The primary character is Naval officer Mila Blackwood.

Blackwood’s country, Belzen, is at war with Dhavnakir. She is serving aboard a submarine equipped with the super-secret ‘shrouding’ technology. The ‘shrouding’ lets a vessel or vehicle pass through the solid ground of planet Mirrix. Dhavnakir spies are everywhere searching for the ‘shrouding’ tech.

While shrouded, unknown creatures attack Blackwood’s submarine. The damaged submarine manages to limp home. Injuries result to both Blackwood and Deckman Holland during the attack. Their commander orders them back to the city of Ellemko. The scientists there will attempt to learn more about the attack. They also hope to understand the marks left on both Blackwood and Holland from the attack.

Holland is a Dhavnakir spy under deep cover. She is trying to get the information she has learned about shrouding to her superiors. Blackwood’s weak, 17-year-old brother, Andrew, gets drawn into the spy intrigue. A childhood friend from Dhavnakir approaches and seduces him. Holland and Blackwood are troubled by what they learn about their respective governments. Simpy surviving turns out to be a challenge.

I enjoyed the 9.5+ hours I spent reading this 313-page science fiction novel. I liked the general plot, but the story is on the dark side. The selected cover art is OK but rather plain. 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).