Saturday, June 28, 2014

Review: The Reckoning

The Reckoning
The Reckoning by Jane Casey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Not totally 5 stars, the ending was too neat in the romance department.
Great police-procedural and up until near the ending I really like Meave as a strong female botching her relationships and keeping alone some of the time. Bad idea for keeping me interested to end it this way.
Quite a few twist as the different stories meander together. Torture, pedophiles, not one but two insider-informants, and everything in the UK, not USA, great language, a few new words I had to look up, even then the meaning was clear from the context ( norks ).
Will take a break and read the July 2014 BOTM for the Goodreads-group Psychological Thrillers [b:You're Next|10148340|You're Next|Gregg Hurwitz||15046649].
Highly recommend, and except for the ending, not too much romance and then often going wrong, so the main character can focus on the job and her career. Just that the ending makes me fear about the next book in the series.

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Review: The Burning

The Burning
The Burning by Jane Casey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Started after reading the novella introduction [b:Left For Dead: A Maeve Kerrigan Story|18073669|Left For Dead A Maeve Kerrigan Story (Maeve Kerrigan, #0.5)|Jane Casey||25375860].
Great opening chapter, with a nice twist, setting the stage for a great story.
Despite me giving 5 stars to the book, it looses steam somewhat at 80 to 90%.
And I guessed the whodunit rather early on, it was just too obvious.
But the how and why was written very good also the different pov's (the two female leads and later on Rob) make it interesting, where a lesser writer would have spoiled it, here it is written in an expert way to function in a thriller-suspense-way.
The setting is in the UK, mostly London and Oxford (!) at least a place visited for a day with my parents some 30 years ago on a sunny vacation day.
Very highly recommended, with a few nice twists, even though some where too obvious.
Also the by-the-book police procedures with a nearly totally botched undercover-bait operation where very good.
And you get an inside look in to the mind of a professional liar and killer.
There are some disturbing scenes, in some way even the starting chapter with the twist-ending.

The writer who reminds me most of her is [a:Val McDermid|5672|Val McDermid|], one of my favorite writers.
Hopefully the next books are just as good.
Even before getting to the end of the book, I bought the next on my Kindle PW1. OK, it had to be fast as I set my Wi-Fi on the router to turn off at 11 pm, and it was already after 10 pm, and then I decided to sleep before the last chapter (the minutes left-display on the Kindle helps with the decision, it was just too long a time), only reading the last chapter this morning at breakfast.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Review: CyberStorm

CyberStorm by Matthew Mather

My rating: 0 of 5 stars

As I looked through my wishlist (Wunschzettel) on my Kindle for the Prime-Sign to show that I can borrow a book, I read that this was in development for a movie.
Will start today, but try to finish [b:The Maze Runner|6186357|The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1)|James Dashner||6366642], as I am at 67% there and want to finish it soon.
The Cyber-Attack is paired with really bad weather and the story concentrates not on the reason for the attack, but on the conditions of a little group of people who have one prepared prepper. A winter storm (a few days later a second one threatens) makes things worse.
Nothing is really known, wether it was an attack from a foreign nation or hackers from within.
Disinformation, paranoia and conspiracy theories are rampant.
This is not so much a book about a Cyber-Attack, but rather a disaster-novel with a bit of technology-breakdown thrown in.
As fuel for backup-power-generators runs out, TV/CNN/Radiostations shut down.Much of the story would have happened without the hacker-attack, as systems depend on power and connectivity between each other for maintenance and to the internet.

At the current reading speed, I hope to finish it soon. It is not so much that it drags, but rather that I wanted more cyber, less normal life. And some of the people, I could care less wether they died or not.
So far not recommended. May change hopefully when an explanation is given or with the ending.

OK, so three stars it is, some discussions and warnings in the book are true and the explanation in the ending is good, but as expected, nothing too fancy - the conspiracy theories bandied about during discussions in the book and from private selfmade-radio-stations are better, well some of them. This is set to be a film? Big Yawn!!! Just another update on disaster-movies with a bit more realism regarding the Cyberattack-part thrown in.

Could be shorter, could have done with less personal issues and more suspense. Conclusion is no recommendation from me for this book, except that I gave 3 stars and they are solid, no faults I could detect, meaning I overlocked them or the tech is getting better in books like these.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Review: Winner Take All

Winner Take All
Winner Take All by Barry Eisler

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Lend this in March 2014 with Amazon Prime. Struggled with it, paused for a few months (too long), picked it up, still not really into it and read a few 1 (there is only 1 review with 1 star? unbelievable) and 2 star reviews and abandoned it.
Not enough action, and the character thinks too much. Maybe it would have helped to read the first 2 in this series - I did not. And regarding the other reviews, I guess not.
Some parts of it read like a collection of short stories. I could not detect a whole storyline and made the decision at 29% (per Kindle PW1 count) to abandon it. So, to shelf it at "read" is not entirely true.
Not recommended, 2 stars as the character is interesting enough to warrant the second star.

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Review: Nevermore

Nevermore by James Patterson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Finally! The last book in the series. A bit less than 4 stars, for being repetitive, mostly action-reaction to certain events.
Romance thrown in, but in a teen-like way, as the heroine and the heroes are way younger than 18.
The series as a whole was too long, I would not recommend to read the books all one after the other.
As with James Patterson other series (not having read most, to be sure), the books are written with a certain structure, that stays the same, and that is in all Pattersons books my main gripe. So 4 stars is too much for the whole series, 3 not enough, somewhere in between. And I am glad it has ended.
The ending is very good and has a few nice twists, but also some rather pathetic advice which is ok, but feels like a parent to a young child, but it is good advice and maybe that was the point of the whole series: to show what is important and how you can change the world, but not alone?!
Some scenes are very bloody and cruel, and they feel real, not like in a fairy tale. But for YA very good.
With these caveats and keeping in mind, that there are too many parts, recommended.

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Friday, June 13, 2014

Review: Ice Station

Ice Station
Ice Station by Matthew Reilly

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Should finish more books before starting new ones. Oh well, my mistake.
Fast paced, very interesting page-turner. Warning: has no real chapters, that makes it hard to stop. As some scenes are very long, like the fight scene between the two elite-units this could lead to reading this in one sleepless night, so beware - it is too long for that, per the Kindle-display of left reading time, I think it was just over 10 hours after it has adjusted to my reading speed. And it feels that way.
So far this reminds me of some authors I read a lot during my teens, like [a:Alistair MacLean|26970|Alistair MacLean|] and [a:Colin Forbes|243122|Colin Forbes|].
But is up-to-date with the tech described.
The fight-scenes are great, but they dominate the book, more or less non-stop-action and if I take a step back to see the big picture, there are too many fight-scenes, too long and while the body-count is very high, some lucky safes-escapes are too unbelievable.
The discovery, the reason for the fight scenes and the background, would so far fit on 20-30 pages. The book is long, and could have done with less fight scenes, and longer and more meat to the discovery.

So, now having finished it, a solid 3. Not too bad, if it had been shorter and/or less fight scenes, it would have got a 3.5, meaning it could be rounded to 4 stars depending on my mood.
Recommended as fast paced guilty pleasure, and I might check out the next books. The hero is better than the brutal torturer Scot Harvath in [a:Brad Thor|5088|Brad Thor|]'s series, although I will read more of that one, as I want to see how far Thor pushes the envelope.

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Monday, June 9, 2014

Review: Purified

Purified by Brian Robert Smith

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Currently as a promo free at Amazon (limited time, I guess), where I got it. Also BOTM in the Goodreads-Group Psychological Thrillers.
Wow, is that boring. The only thing that keeps me reading is that so far no one has mentioned the word Zombie.
But basically that's what it is. Struggling to get further, I think I am gonna stop before the 30% mark, my self-set border for abandoning a book. At page 52 / 17 % now, and the book reminds me of [b:Pines|15034320|Pines (Wayward Pines #1)|Blake Crouch||20688937], which I still think is the worst book I read in a long time.
Also, this reads more like a horror-book than a thriller. No thrills here for me.
Now at 41% after I decided to FF-skimming through the book, will probably finish it today.
All main characters are unlikeable and I cannot understand the choices the make, nor relate to them, which also reminds me of Pines. The cops overly brutal and not helping, doctors are crazy ( ok, I have met some like that in real life ).
And the twists get more into the horror-territory.
Maybe I should feel bad about giving this book the 2 stars I might give it, depending on the ending, and not paying for it, but hey, life is too short for bad books.
The ending was, how to put it, the best thing that could happen, not to spoil anything, but it is a blood-bath and lot's of people die.
Deserved or undeserved, I am against police shooting without cause and in this case most victims where unarmed.

Why not wait for a few police cars before searching the building, why not use a cellphone, which would have been handy quite a few times in the book, even early on. Most parts of the book read like it is playing in the 60's: no smartphone, no cellphone, no computer, no internet is used even once, they have cars not horse-drawn carriages so it is obviously at least 20th century, but then dates get mentioned it is 2010 ??? If it was a cult or a crazed Unabomber not using technology, but the police in our time on this same planet without 2-way-radio, and no cellphone ?
So for a no thrills-horror with some bloody ending, 2 stars it is, actually, the ending saved it somehow. Not recommended. Or only for fans of [b:Pines|15034320|Pines (Wayward Pines #1)|Blake Crouch||20688937] (see above, these 2 books have a few things in common).

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Saturday, June 7, 2014

Review: The Pretenders

The Pretenders
The Pretenders by Charlaine Harris

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Bought this as I like both Christopher Golden and Charlaine Harris.
Interesting story, part #1 of a new trilogy, the other parts yet to be published.
Read this on my iPad with the Kindle app.
Recommend this one to fans of the Harper Connely-series, [b:Grave Sight|58077|Grave Sight (Harper Connelly, #1)|Charlaine Harris||2027280]. But as a comic, this is the usual fast read, but it was not expensive, so that's ok.

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Review: Le bleu est une couleur chaude

Le bleu est une couleur chaude
Le bleu est une couleur chaude by Julie Maroh

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Read this Comic in German translation, as my school-level-french is not up to it and in English it would also have been a translation.
Very good coming-out story, with a few lesbian-sex-scenes.
Shows the problems gay still have with friends and family not very accepting and anti-gay-slurr.
And also the more or less normal problems which can happen in any relationship, wether hetero- or homosexual, with a hint of swinging both ways.
Sniff, very sad ending.
Mostly black-and-white.
Will watch the Blu-ray of the film these days, which according to the last page in the comic had drawn some critic for being overly sexual, probably straying in to (Soft-)Porn-territory. The author Julie Maroh said that obviously the film was made with a male mind-set of what Lesbians-Sex/Love-Live should be, not having consulted with real Lesbians. And the two female leads also said they felt exploited.
So, in Germany this only warranted an FSK 16-Rating, which translates to "Not for Teens under 16 (and no children)".
After watching the movie I will add to the review.

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Friday, June 6, 2014

Review: Dead Girls Walking

Dead Girls Walking
Dead Girls Walking by Suzy Cox

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nice one, like the first, major twists (2!) at the end, which I reluctantly use to add 1 star to what would otherwise be a solid and recommended 3 star-book. Major teen drama with a few suspects for the killer. As saying more would be a major spoiler, I should have read this way faster, but got distracted by other things to do.
Cannot wait for the next book in the series, which is so far not even announced.

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