Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Review: The Initial Fold: A first contact space opera adventure

The Initial Fold: A first contact space opera adventure The Initial Fold: A first contact space opera adventure by Nick Adams
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lent this with a free Kindle Unlimited trial.
Good beginning for the series, but not sure, wether I will read the next books, 3.5 stars rounded down to 3 - due to the language, which was unnecessarily juvenile-jokingly, even in serious situations and when it was dangerous due to possible miss-understandings (sarcasm not understood by some races etc.).
The main story with two first-contact scenarios happening, was fast moving and without the language this could easily have been a 4star book, but the sexual innuendos and the language seemed out of place, without it this could have been an easy fast rainy-weekend-YA-read, so while not really NA, it felt off for me. With real sex scenes this might have worked, but as it was written this was somehow feeling like a different story added to the book, and did not work for me.
The persons where ok written, but some got on my nerves, with their quirks and ticks.

For KU this was one of the better books, so I recommend it, it may also be that the next books in the series get better, but to state it again, I am not sure wether I will read them.

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Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Review: Portraits of the Dead

Portraits of the Dead Portraits of the Dead by John Nicholl
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Lent this with a free Kindle Unlimited trial.
DNF at 9% percent, wow, what a drivel. Skimmed the ending, that did not help.
Another bad KU choice, where I fell for the blurb.
Not recommended, what others see in this boring writing I will never understand.
Have to change my way to decide which book to get, I am doing something wrong, my last choices where too often really bad.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Review: The Cutting Room

The Cutting Room The Cutting Room by Ashley Dyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Let's see if this book can hold my interest.
Short intro in the 2 mc's then they are lured to the remains of the next victim of a serial killer.
With the setting being in UK, and for once not London, instead Liverpool, this might just be my kind of book.

4.5 stars rounded up to 5. Up-to-date internet social media-use, with facebook, twitter, tumblr, instagram, live-streaming, VPN, email and short-messages (SMS and chat). Very well done, without embellishing or any mistakes I could spot. Also without hacking, sadly, but as that is often wrong or over-the-top, achieving too much, the fact that it is not used makes it more real for me.
In other books the police (or the investigating people) have a go-to-Hacker (often male) who is like a magician, making things happen that (without explanation) are very expensive, very hard to do in a short time frame or simply impossible.

The POV was mainly from three different persons, the female detective (DS Ruth Lake, which for me is the main character), the male detective (DCI Greg Carver) and the Killer. This was one of the things which did not sit too well with me, but the chapters where short, and the story connecting Art, Performances, Streaming, Graffiti, Exhibition, Tattoos and even crowd-manipulation, was well written, and delved into ethics, asking "what is allowed in Art" and "what is Art" without giving a certain answer - you have to think about the book, probably even after you have finished it.
As I am an interested observer who likes Giger, I know some of the images which are in that style described in The Cutting Room - see the linked book Biomechanics.
Page-turner, with short-chapters, so you can try to take a break after finishing another chapter - if you really want to...

The personal problems of Lake & Carver played a certain role in this book, very well integrated into the story, but a bit much, will be interesting to see how this will grow or develop in the next book (there will be a next book, I hope?!). Will try to get the first book in the series cheap, or borrow it, if possible (just checked, it is not that expensive, might buy it after reading something different).

Highly recommended UK Serial Killer case with excellent Internet integration in the story.

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Thursday, June 27, 2019

Review: Trouble is a Friend of Mine

Trouble is a Friend of Mine Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This beginning of the "Trouble is a friend of mine"-Trilogy was pitched to me as a Veronica Mars alike read. In some ways it is, but the main driver of the story is not the female heroine ( Zoe ), but the waky-over-the-top male MC ( Digby ).
As such, this is my main gripe with the story, while it is from the POV of Zoe, she comes acros as a meek, sometimes submissive femaile. So not like Veronica Mars and definetly so not my kind of female heroine: Zoe is not very strong, and certainly not independent.
Then again, the book is well writen and has good, real dialogue and no errors I noticed.

So 3 solid stars for totally twisty crime, well written and rounded high-school drama, with certain outstanding scene. As an example, Bill, a female minor character has a very real scary scene later in the book. From her and some others I would have liked to read more, but the unlikely pairing of Digby and Zoe just does not interest me too much.

Still, would recommend the book, but am not too sure, wether it was logical to buy the next 2 books, even though they where cheap, not sure, if and when I will be in the mood to read them.
This one could be read on a rainy weekend and that just feels about right. Oh, and also, there is kind of an unsolved crime still open in the end, serving as cliffhanger.

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Saturday, June 22, 2019

Review: The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Pre-ordered this October 25th, 2016, was recommended by quite a few blogs I read, and probably persons, received it on Kindle when it was published (EU, Germany, but in English), February 28th, 2017 (more than 2 years ago) - also bought the Audible as a Whispersync deal cheap in December 2017.
One of the reasons to buy this, that it is a current story of the "black-lives-matter", the other that what was then supposed to be filmed to be a movie, and it was. That one I also pre-ordered on iTunes, and I will be able to watch it on or after June 27th, 2019, Friday next week (as of today).
At that time I want to have finished the book.

As a white straight male, I chose to read some books which are diverse, even though I am not that much into race wars or LGBT+. Being German we have homegrown Nazis here, with a fallen-off-the-cliff-far-out-right-wing political party (AFD), and I learned that being disabled gets you in their crosshairs as much as being a jew or black. Some members of the Police-force are supporting Nazis and protecting them being found out. Currently it looks not as bad here as it does in the USA, but we are getting there.
So this one of the more serious books I read this year. And given my bad choice of books these past months, so far probably it looks to be one of the better reads, well written and engaging.

So, 5stars it is, maybe a little much, as the main story is obvious, no twists, but sadly very real, as we saw a few black youth killed, unarmed, posing no threat by a police officer.

Highly recommended, well written, should be read by young white people, to get educated.
Cannot wait to see movie soon.

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Sunday, June 16, 2019

Review: Remote Access

Remote Access Remote Access by Barry Finlay
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lent this with a free Kindle Unlimited trial.
Skipped/skimmed the also lent second Marcie Kane book, as the first was just so bad.

This should be more interesting: a PotUS-Trump-alike, with doing things without counsel, Hacking, China, Trade relations, so and begins ok. Also it is nearly a Roman à clef to current events (China trade, Huawei, PotUS), which should make it interesting.

But again, it has too much information which does nothing to the story for me, about 30% of the personal issues, descriptions, places etc. could be cut without changing the main events in the story. It feels like a by the numbers story, no surprises so far, and I skip parts regularly.

Also, the main character in the first book, Marcie gets a Fiancé and is planning her wedding, and he is now the main MC for the good guys, something I really do not need, I wanted a strong, single, independent woman, not some boring romance, nor a male MC.

As a contrast and forcing me to read this till the end, the political issues and the hacking descriptions and actions are spot on. There is also some action, everything believable.
So where fails the book for me? TMI - too much information which is not needed. The usual drunk problem with one of the characters, well written, but all taking too long, also a lot is explained in too much details, maybe necessary for the unwashed masses? Just an example: SWATTING, sending a SWAT-team to an innocent person as a prank or revenge or whatever.
All valid and realistic story points, but somehow the added story is not suspenseful. As if on purpose.

Will try to finish the book today, as I want to give it back for a different and hopefully better Kindle-Unlimited book.
Pending some major good twist or a surprise ending or whatever, this barely rates 3 stars, more like 2.5 rounded up for a good idea. Would have liked to read this idea from way better author. And shorter. Maybe still recommended, but I suggest reading it faster than me - 8 days is too much, showing how much interest I did not have in the book!

Ending one of the main story with the ballroom scene was ok, but would have liked a full success, not this failure. The other one was as expected, but well done. Would have liked another and more story about the assassin, not about Marcie & Nathan. Their ending was way boring. As in certain stories no main so-called-good-people die, I am tired of this, would have killed some main characters unexpectedly.

So, the ending of the the main story saving it a little, it is now a full 3 stars, not rounded up from 2.5 stars, but as it is I fail to recommend it. The current reality was well mirrored in the book though, so if you manage to read this on a rainy weekend, it may hold a little more interest than a fluffy romance for some.
Oh, and just to be sure, I will most probably not read a book by this author again. While I could not detect any errors, the style was just not suspenseful enough.

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Monday, June 10, 2019

Review: Uncommon Stock: Version 1.0

Uncommon Stock: Version 1.0 Uncommon Stock: Version 1.0 by Eliot Peper
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lent this with a free Kindle Unlimited trial.
Beginning takes too long for me to hold my interest, even though the blurb sounded very good, right up my alley.
Currently leaning to DNF.
Will skim reviews and decide what to do.
Ok, was interesting enough to read to the end, but I skimmed some passages.
My problem with the book is, I wanted more hacking, more from James, more suspense and/or crime.
This ebook is a good collection of how to built a startup, how to raise money (which is the main theme in the book). Having read a book by Frank Thelen, his so called Autobiography, I am somewhat interested. Frank Thelen is or was one of the jurors/advisors of the German version of Sharktank (called translated to english "In the lions den" - "In der Höhle der Löwen"), where groups and people can pitch their ideas and get advice and sometimes money.

Such a scene is also in the book.

The book focuses on the female MC, and her ideas, personal problem and sports. A lot of time is wasted and for me also suspense with scenes which do nothing for me, there is a lot of hiking and running, some climbing, and the descriptions are detailed enough that I think, the author has personal experience.
Then again, a lot is told, not shown, not a style I like too much.

Nearing the end, suspense suddenly rises, the book ending in a cliffhanger. But I am not sure, wether I really want to read the next books, then again, it might get better. As all books are currently on Kindle Unlimited, at least I would not have to pay for it, but my KU-trial runs out in little more than a month, and so far my choice of books from KU just confirmed that it ok for free, but not, if I have to pay for it. Just checked the price of this book, and the only reason to buy the Kindle version would be to get the audiobook with audible cheap with it, if you want to, so there is that, but I still think, it is too expensive, this for me is a typical 99ct read.

This review feels little like the breakup apology "... it is not you, it is me".
So, from my description, you should know what you are getting into, wether this book is for you or not.

Recommended, still, but only 3 stars for being too long, too much tell and not enough suspense.
Just read the blurb again, and think, drug cartels are not playing a great role in the book, so some of the blurb is way off.

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