(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Ava Glass is the author of Alias Emma which was published in 2022. This is her first publication.
I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Due to scenes of violence and mature language, I categorize this novel as R.
Emma Makepeace has just completed her training as a British secret agent, but that name is only her working alias. Her first assignment seems easy enough. She simply has to escort the son of a Russian dissident across London. And she has 12 hours to do it.
But that is before the Russians hack into London’s extensive CCTV surveillance system. Buses, subways, cars, and trains, the normal means of transportation, are all being watched. Nor can they use a cell phone or a credit card without signaling their location. Emma and her charge must find their way across London without disclosing themselves to the Russian assassins pursuing them.
I enjoyed the 7+ hours I spent reading this 273-page thriller. The novel has action, intrigue, and romance woven into the plot. While I understand the chosen cover artwork, a London city map, I do not think it is very engaging. I give this novel a rating of 4.5 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.
I received an ARC of this book from the author with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Due to scenes of violence, I categorize this novel as R. The primary characters are the young teens Oshun Musa and Frankie, but they are not the only characters.
After Oshun is orphaned, she must attend a military school. Other orphans are there too, learning to be soldiers. Oshun becomes a Space Marine. When the Interstellar Military agrees to join the Space Marines, the illegal child soldiers like Oshun are sent home.
Frankie had been living in a slum until he was taken in by a terrorist. Frankie knows what the terrorists are doing is wrong, but he feels obligated toward him.
Both Oshun and Frankie are faced with breaking their loyalties.
I enjoyed the 4.5 hours I spent reading this 229-page young adult science fiction novel. This novel has a lot of action but is a little rough around the edges. It feels more like a detailed outline than a fully fleshed-out novel. I do like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a rating of 3.4 (rounded down to a 3) out of 5.
I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as G.
The novel is set in the early 1970s. The primary character is Jerry Stieglitz, a marine biology graduate student at UCLA and part-time science fiction author. He is approached by the CIA to take part in a secret mission. A Soviet submarine had been lost and then discovered by the US. He is told that he will be part of a marine biology cover story for a ship attempting to recover the sub. He jumps at the chance for a well-paying summer stipend and the opportunity to gather research data.
He finds out that the real mission is the retrieval of what appears to be an alien spacecraft. A specially built ocean research ship travels to the North Pacific to find the spacecraft. The crew struggles to retrieve the vessel and find themselves faced with a first-contact situation.
Their ship is surveilled on and off by a Russian vessel, causing tensions to rise. Stieglitz is not always comfortable with the secrecy around the project or the longer-term goals of the CIA.
I enjoyed the 10+ hours I spent reading this 279-page alternate history novel. I have been a fan of books by Mr. Turtledove for many years. Among his recent novels that I have read are The House of Daniel, Bombs Away, Fallout, and Through Darkest Europe. This story is a bit slow but very engaging. I hope to see a sequel in the near future. The chosen covert is very eye-catching. I give this novel a rating of 4.5 (rounded to 5) out of 5.
I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Due to scenes of violence, I categorize this novel as R.
The story is set in the world of Avarin. There are two dominant groups, each with a radically different view on death. In the Domain in the north lives are long and death is seen as the ultimate sin. The bodies of those who die can be preserved, then brought back by the Seraph when she returns to Avarin. In the South are the clans. They embrace death to prevent the return of Zara the goddess of death.
A madness is spreading throughout the land without regard to religious views. There are three primary characters. In the North are Lynn and Adrian. Lynn is a rogue Sentinel warrior who is in hiding. She can call upon special powers when engaged in combat. Adrian is a Domain Prince who is leading an army. Nasha lives in the South. She is a cursed hunter and lifelong outcast. The story revolves around these three.
Adrian uses his army to confront the crazed who are attacking everyone. Lynn believes she may have the answer to combating the madness. Nasha is just trying to fit in with her people.
I enjoyed the 14.5+ hours I spent reading this 456-page fantasy. The book seems to be three relatively unconnected stories. There is plenty of action, intrigue, and political maneuvering. I give this novel a rating of 3.5 (rounded up to 4) out of 5.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Due to scenes of violence, I categorize this book/novel as R. The series is set in a steampunk Elizabethan alternative universe.
Newbury & Hobbes, along with their fellow Secret Service agents, find themselves set upon by Queen Victoria’s men. They come to the realization that the Queen is no longer in her right mind. To save the Empire they must enact the ‘Albion Initiative’ to break Prince Edward out of Bedlam.
Their investigation reveals the depths of madness to which the Queen has fallen. Will they be able to put things right? Will the Empire survive?
I enjoyed the 7 hours I spent reading this 244-page steampunk thriller. The novel can be read stand-alone, but it would be best to have read the prior works. I was fortunate to read book 5 of the series The Revenant Express in the summer of 2019. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a rating of 4 out of 5.
(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Ben Bova is the author of nearly 100 novels. Uranus was published in 2020 and is the first book in his Outer Planets trilogy.
I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Due to scenes of violence and mature situations, I categorize this novel as R.
With the financial backing of billionaire Evan Waxman, Reverend Kyle Umber has built Haven, a habitat orbiting the planet Uranus. To Haven Umber has invited “the tired, the sick, the poor“ of Earth. Many have responded, and the population has grown to around 4000. A second habitat is under construction to accommodate the growth.
Chilean astronomer Tómas Gomez was awarded a grant to conduct research on Uranus. With his arrival at Haven and the initial results of his work comes a great deal of unwanted attention. Attention that interferes with the production of drugs and other activities that would be illegal on Earth or the inner planet outposts.
Beautiful Raven Marchesi is one of those who have fled to Haven. She was orphaned at an early age and had grown up in the slums of Naples, Italy. She became a prostitute working the streets and was arrested when she was 20. While she was being held in prison, she was offered the chance to move to Haven and restart her life. Like many, she jumped at the opportunity.
Marchesi is assigned to help Gomez when he arrives. A relationship develops, but they soon both become aware of the sinister side of Haven. Knowledge that could get them both killed.
I enjoyed the 7 hours I spent reading this 368-page science fiction novel. This is not the first novel by Mr. Boa that I have read. In 2016 I read and enjoyed Millennium. I look forward to reading the following books in the series. I give this novel a rating of 4.5 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.
I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Due to scenes of violence, I categorize this novel as R. The primary character is journalist Hans Schirach.
In 2020 Schirach is approached. He begins to learn the truth about what happened. The true Nazi legacy from WWII. The Third Reich may have fallen in May of 1945, but a new Reich was now in power. It is hidden behind the scenes, but wields far more power than Hitler.
There are secrets many do not want to be revealed. The revelation of these secrets could cause governments to fall. Efforts are made to keep the information contained. People die.
I enjoyed the 13.5+ hours I spent reading this 468-page thriller. The novel covers from 1932 up to 2020. It is a mix of historical fiction and alternative history. The fictional plot weaves around many historical facts, popular myths, and conspiracy theories. I like the eye-catching cover art. I give this novel a rating of 4.4 (rounded down to a 4) out of 5.
If you have an interest in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest.
The “World War II Resources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 590 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.
I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. I categorize this book/novel as G. The primary character is teen Lazarus ‘Laz’ Hayerian.
Hayerian wakes up in the Vivipartum cloning facility on Earth. At first, he is alone with just a few dogs for company. The only other humans he encounters have been long dead. There are many other humans in the cloning facility, but they are all dead. At least he thought so at first. That is when he found the girl. She was the only other living human he had encountered. But she was still asleep in her container.
Hayerian can remember his life before, or at least the life of his original. He hadn’t had the easiest life, but he did have an advantage. He can switch or side-step to a parallel universe. If he finds himself in danger or confronted with a problem, he just side-steps to another universe. He chooses one where the Hayerian’s circumstances there are different.
He survives with just the dogs for a while. Then he encounters another human and discovers why the town is deserted. At that point (about 30% into the novel) he attempts to wake the girl.
After that, they are both swept up in humanity’s attempt to save themselves. A rogue planet is on a collision course with Earth, and finding a friendly alternate dimension is their only hope.
I enjoyed the 11 hours I spent reading this 397-page science fiction young adult novel. I have read several novels by Mr. Card, and I have consistently enjoyed them. The others are Ender’s Game, Speaker of the Dead, Xenocide, The Worthing Chronicle, and Lost and Found. The cover art is plain but does relate to the story. I give this novel a rating of 5 out of 5.
I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Due to scenes of violence and mature situations, I categorize this novel as R. The primary character is Irish Garda Detective Lottie Parker.
Parker is called to the murder scene of a teenage girl. With her parents out of town, the 17-year-old Lucy McAllister throws a party. Her body is discovered the next morning. The initial evidence points towards another teen, Hannah Byrne.
Three factors complicate the investigation. The suspect, Hannah, was apparently drugged and has only limited memory of the party. The body of another teen is discovered. The 15-year-old boy had been at the party and is thought to have been selling drugs. Then Parker finds that her own son had been at the party as well.
Can Parker discover who is behind the murders before more teens fall victim? How deeply is her son involved? Is he a witness? Will he be targeted by the killer?
I enjoyed the 10.5 hours I spent reading this 507-page mystery. This is the second novel that I have read that was written by Ms. Gibney. The first was The Stolen Girls. I have enjoyed both of these mysteries and will be looking toward reading more of them in the future. I like the chosen cover art, but it doesn’t strike a chord in relation to the story. I give this novel a rating of 5 out of 5.
I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Due to scenes of violence, I categorize this novel as R. The primary character is 36-year-old Detective Constable Dove Milson. She has just been reassigned to a Major Crimes Team.
The naked body of a teenage girl has been found near the Devon coast. The corpse has been encased in glass, replicating the methods of convicted serial killer Peter Hayworth. But he is long dead. Milson bears a personal connection to the serial killer. Four years earlier, her niece was one of Hayworth’s victims. Milson herself was seriously injured while pursuing Hayworth.
As she and her new partner, Detective Sargent Steve Parker, begin their investigation, Milson’s other niece, Delta, goes missing. By then, the body of a second naked girl enclosed in glass has been found. The fear is that Delta will become the next Glass Doll. Not only must they find the killer, but they have to find Delta before it is too late.
I thoroughly enjoyed the 8 hours I spent reading this 298-page mystery. It was a very smooth read with a few good plot twists. This is the second novel my Ms. White I have read. The other being Remember Me. She is a consistently good writer. I will be looking for more novels by Ms. White. I do like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a rating of 5 out of 5.