Friday, July 31, 2015

Review: City Of Fire

City Of Fire City Of Fire by Robert Ellis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Kindle eBook bought July 28th, 2015 had a lot of obvious (scan?) errors, some I send to Amazon. As most or all errors where of the kind that a spellchecker should have caught, I think that and/or an editor was not involved, and even for a cheap book that was distracting. Hopefully for later readers this will corrected.

The book and story was too long with the places and backstory, could have been 20% shorter. Still, a page-turner, with a few twists.
An an insight in the mind of a serial rapist/killer. Also not all people in the book are not just bad or too good to be true, more like something in between.
Big twist in the end I did not see coming, well done with the red-herrings.
For the errors, and being too long, 1 star less. And I would have rather liked that it took place somewhere else, LA again, really? But with the fires very scary and well described. Also the background stories are well integrated not simply jumping back in time.
Although it was late, I did not stop near the end to finish the book, closing it, my bedtime clock showed 1:10 am, with planning to get up again at 7:30 am (which I did, yawn).
Highly recommended, like the heroine and if you can stand the sometimes epic feel of descriptions, and can stand the bloody crimes, give it a try.


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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Review: Soul Survivor: A Jenna Blake Body of Evidence Thriller

Soul Survivor: A Jenna Blake Body of Evidence Thriller Soul Survivor: A Jenna Blake Body of Evidence Thriller by Christopher Golden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As all the books in the series so far, I really liked this, and as I skimmed a few reviews, I was afraid that Jenna would seem whiney, but I think that the losing of a close friend and the grief (see the book before in the series) was well handled and not too much.
Fast read, no sex, a little romance, a little love-triangle (yeah, just a warning).
Could have been a bit less obvious, more twists, except for the major twist in the end, did not see that one coming and reading the blurb of the next book I do not think it will hold.
So, for not being complicated enough, only 4 stars, still highly recommended, a Teen/YA-Version of Kathy Reichs.

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Review: Scarlett Undercover

Scarlett Undercover Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nicely done standalone (so far), 3-4 stars, cannot really decide.
Different. Quite a few twists and who can you trust. No real fantasy, the question about Djinns bootle/ring was not answered, leaving the ending open.
Well done, and recommended, make that 3.5 stars.

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Review: Vicious

Vicious Vicious by V.E. Schwab
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Good idea, World-Building well integrated as a thesis, where the characters learn how the gift works.
Did not like any of the characters, Sydney is ok, but not fleshed out enough and plays not a great enough role in the story, I would also have liked more from Mitchell. And the chapter-weise time-flashbacks where too much, although nicely separated through the chapters and pointed out with the chapter-titles (unlike other books where I had trouble to find out the time especially after I took a break).
Nice ending, but no real twists, the revenge/retribution takes to big a role. The title describes the book perfectly, no really good people. And the religious streak of Eli was not realy logical, otherwise he would have killed himself.
Could have done without the torture, although that was obvious from early on, that both Eli and Victor do not have a problem with that, even relishing it.
So, 3 stars it is. Recommended if you like revenge books - I do not.

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Review: The Ruby Circle

The Ruby Circle The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great conclusion to the series, but somehow too much romance, with Adiran and Sydney being married.
And the ending was too neat, while the promise of more books (another spin-off?) in the same world is appreciated, I would have liked a death or hard twist at the end.
So, sorry, only 4 stars, but still highly recommended. Cannot really be read as a stand-alone, should be read after the other books in the Bloodlines-Series, for non-fans and people who do not have read the other books (at least some) it will be too confusing.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Review: Time's Mirror: A CHRONOS Files Novella

Time's Mirror: A CHRONOS Files Novella Time's Mirror: A CHRONOS Files Novella by Rysa Walker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a longer novella, which offers and ads to the CHRONOS-storyline from Pru's POV. And that is also my problem with the book, while it makes me understand the very well written characters, Pru is not one of the brightest, and gets more than once lied to (ok, not her fault) and does suspect it, but still does not really think with her own mind. Maybe the situations are just to bad, but she also shows no real interest in things that could help her. As it is, I strongly recommend to read this book for the background and the different POV, with the caveat that this is a dumb girl, too young and if you have read the other books, her mind gets muddled by too many time-jumps, and that certainly does not help liking her, wether it is her fault or not. We get a lot of her thinking about things, and that is mostly non-tech, more romance, and very single-minded, even when she tries to correct mistakes with time-jumps, she always thinks of herself first, not seeing the bigger picture. If she had had a normal life, it would have been a boring one, housewife, pop out 2.3 kids and raising a family - not my kind of gal nor heroine. Currently I cannot say, how I will rate it - it is adding the whole series, and with Pru being deliberately written this way, and there being such women in the world (although I know none and would not befriend one), it is interesting. So even though it is a novella, I took a break to start [b:The Martian|18007564|The Martian|Andy Weir|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1413706054s/18007564.jpg|21825181]. OK, that was a downer, dumbed down, overhyped Bestseller, snarky, but not really good - see my NSFW-Review here: see my NSFW-Review. Usually I post the same review at Amazon.com, but this time they declined "obscenity", I had to revise the wording... So, enough OT, back to this book, although I took my time reading it, that was mostly for not liking Pru (and Simon, and Saul). But still a must-read for completing the background to some scenes and the series. So, 5 stars it is. And for a Novella I paid for, I think it was rather long and for once, worth the money - often I think they are too expensive and should only be given away for free, like they did back in the old days, as a teaser for the next book. It will not really work as a standalone, you should have already read both the first and second book in the series, otherwise it will be very confusing, it is complicated enough with all the time-jumping.

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Review: The Fixer

The Fixer The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Is this YA? well, no, more A! A thriller, no sex, no romance, no love-triangle, no SF, no Fantasy - just hard, gritty, Washington D.C. Reality. A few deaths. (The story is) Mostly the search for the Spindoctor / Puppetmaster, be it male or female, pulling the strings behind the scene. The muddy bog of the high stakes of a political intrigue-poker-game. The characters are very well drawn, with flaws and making mistakes, sometimes dangerous ones. It feels like they are slowly drowning in quicksand, just at the last second getting thrown a compromise of a life-line - but one that will cost them (probably in the next book?). Great Thriller with a touch of YA growing up, but mostly not really YA, more a sixteen year old trying to find out what happened and to cope with the fallout or change it for the better, without really considering long-term repercussions. A short thriller, could have read this in one day, but wanted it to last, so I took a few breaks. Highly recommended page-turner. Additional info (no spoilers): Jennifer Lynn Barnes on Family and belonging, very insightful

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Review: Exposure: A Virals Novel

Exposure: A Virals Novel Exposure: A Virals Novel by Kathy Reichs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ending of the case could have been better, "Deus Ex Machina" comes to mind, but at least no vigilante self-justice, so it could also have been worse. A few nice twists, complicated evolution of a beginning romance. No Sex. And no love-triangle. Very believe-and-likeable characters. POV changes a few times, interesting choice. Did not see the twist with the psycho coming, very well done. Highly recommended, but I guess you should read the other novels in the series. Reading this one now, makes a lot of other books in this genre (YA) pale in comparison, most I sampled did not reach this level of suspense, good characters, places and above all, very well done science. While not yet achieved, it is entirely plausible and based on fact. Other things are state-of-the-art techniques, I could not detect mistakes, and only missed some of the use of (iPhone-) Apps which was covered in the previous books - ok, they used the phones / computers for chat and the previously used Apps where still used, but nothing new (well, tumblr is mentioned). Encryption plays a role, nice. All in all, the computer stuff is very well done, integrated and without errors but also not too complicated non-tech-people.

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Review: Shock

Shock Shock by Kathy Reichs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I did not research it, so just to state the obvious: this not a sequel, but a prequel the Viral-Series by Kathy & Brandon Reichs. It covers the beginning - before there where Virals (if you know the series). So I guess you can read it anytime without having to read the other books first or regarding which book(s) you already know. Nice one, but rather short, as all novellas. I would have liked to read more, even without much happening, Tory & Co are just rather interesting. For being too short (not one hour to read, if I remember right), 1 point less. As this is before the virals, this does not really add too much to the series, except for fans, but then again, who wouldn't be a fan of that series, it is top noch?! Recommended only if you do not pay too much for it - I think most novellas are too expensive, and always regret paying for them, where once was time in the dark ages where ebook novellas where free as a promotion, but sadly these days are gone, "said he, striking his greying fuzzy beard that badly needed shaving".

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Review: City of Heavenly Fire

City of Heavenly Fire City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ending was a bit too neat, and without spoiling it, after the fight and some political (and may be wrong) decisions, it ends with solving a problem too easy and too neat, also I saw that coming, and that is never a good sign for resolving a twist. That could have been written better. Also there may be reason for several decisions or solutions to bite them later on. Still do not like Jace, my favorite characters are Clary, Izzy and Simon. Love and romance was so-so, could have done without some of it, Sex is mentioned, but mostly happening off-page. No pesky love-triangle helps, though. Fight scenes and the main story-line was great, although in my edition (Kindle ebook), the switch between POV from different persons was sometimes very sudden and not easy to find that it has switched and to whom, that should have been chapter-beginnings/endings. As it is, the chapters where too long for fast reading with barely a break to stop reading - I just did stop, when something other came up, but it was not very practical, I often had to read paragraphs again to find the place where I stopped (without setting Bookmarks, I tend not to do that), maybe also a problem with the Kindle Voyage, where it is too easy to touch from a distance and page forward without wanting to - so it may be partly my fault. Remembering the first 5 books, I think the Clary - Jace relationship was seriously grating on my nerves, the main reason for taking a break in reading the books. Although looking at the date of the review of the first 5 books, more when 2 years was rather too long and I skimmed the ending chapters of the book before to get into it, and that helped. Highly recommended, for fans of the series, but you should have read the other books from the series before it. If I had read it another time, I might give it 4 stars, as it is now, more like 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5, I feel like it. As I disregard the problems others have with Cassandra Clare regarding probable lifting of ideas from other books, I have not really followed that discussion. And I do not mind, if the source material is good (one of the reasons I am not sure, I will read 50 shades of grey - I did not like the creepy stalker series Twilight that much).

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Review: The Evolution of Mara Dyer

The Evolution of Mara Dyer The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Started this directly after finishing the first book in the Mara Dyer-Trilogy. Again, could have done with less Mara-Noah-romance. Otherwise some things where expected, some not. Major twists with the ending, and a serious, nail-biting-Cliff-Hanger. As a side note, I thought the story could have ended there - with only a hint at a solution, without conclusion - the author could have died, or not written a third book on purpose, ah, the agony! Luckily the third book is available, cannot think of waiting for it to be published. Still 5 stars and still highly recommended, if you can stand watching someone slowly going mad. Might change that regarding how the story continues in the third book.

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Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Started this the instant (this morning) I read the second Never, Never book. Wow! (Feels like a touch ...) A touch too much ... romance - to quote and paraphrase a long forgotten pop-song (urgh, just googled it, AC/DC, one of my not so favourite bands, have no album from them, do not like the singers voice). Nice twists, that kept you guessing, most I did not foresee, except for the last one, that I thought coming early on, but is it true or not? Expertly done as a cliffhanger. Could have been shorter, but did not drag, every time I thought, that was too much, not anymore Mara-Noah, something happened. Very Highly recommended, pending the reading of the other 2 books.

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Review: Never Never: Part Two

Never Never: Part Two Never Never: Part Two by Colleen Hoover
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Even shorter than the first one, I guess. And cliffhanger mid-suspense-sentence, wow. If possible I would recommend to read this and the first one only when the third and last one in the Trilogy is available. One thing I forgot to mention in the review of the first book: world-building is excellently handled, we get to know bits and pieces as the heroine/hero do. In this book there is not much growing up or learning about their own self. As a second book, still a page-turner and still recommended. A glimpse of the reason behind the memory-loss is offered.

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Review: Never Never

Never Never Never Never by Colleen Hoover
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! Instead of a few twists, this is just one big twist, thrown together with not a love triangle, but a love whatever-you-call-it (you have been warned), serious Love-Romance, Sex mentioned, but not kinky or explicit. More towards older teenagers then some YA I read, but not really adult. Bad cliffhanger! Luckily you can buy the second part of this trilogy now, as this was a rather fast and short read. What I really liked was the self-finding-out and critique, "how bad was I as a person" and changing, constantly changing? At some points I thought no teenager (Charlie) would think like that, but I ignored that. Still, the most glaring example "She was my incubating uterus and birthday party thrower ...". Really? And also a highly recommended page-turner. That could bite me later somewhere the sun don't shine, given that this is only the first part of a trilogy. And it cannot be read as a standalone and from the reviews I skimmed, the same can be said about the second book. And a warning, the third book is not published. The second will so far warrant only a very short review, more to be said after the Trilogy gets its closure with the third installment of "Never Never". It could go totally of the rails. Or not. I cannot really wait to see, and will probably finish the second book as soon as possible. As one reader I follow (yeah, sorry, checked, it was Angel) compared this to Mara Dyer, I have bought the three books of that Trilogy today (it has been on my TBR for too long now, along 1200 other books, grmphh, this is getting too much).

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Review: Die Frauenkammer

Die Frauenkammer Die Frauenkammer by Jannes C. Cramer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Amazon Prime lent. Read in German, as it was written in German and is currently (June 2015) not available in English, as far as I checked. This is a debut, so more like 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4. Straightforward serial killer story, but nicely done. Real characters, some likeable, some not, no sex, and for once no sexual motive. But the most interesting idea is revealed in the beginning, after that there is no more who-dunnit or big twists, but suspense is still good, with little twists and the killer has done some nice planning without being omnipotent. And still has some improvising to do, when things go wrong, which is managed quite well, well up till the end. What I really liked, the police did not cut corners or do something against the law, no vigilante or law bending, although the last decision is questionable. As you may be able to lend it free with Amazon Prime or Amazon Unlimited, I recommend to do so, the price asked for it (4,99 Eur) feels too high, and for a book you may read once, too much.

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Review: Mr. Kiss and Tell

Mr. Kiss and Tell Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While I really liked this, I realize that I may have overrated the first Veronica Mars book. The case meanders and suspense is ok, but not great. What disturbed me, and that may also apply to the first book, that while she has doubts, there is some vigilantism (mostly by others) and rule breaking, ok, she is not police or FBI. Still, nowadays this disturbs me more than in the past. Recommended, but you should know the TV-Series and probably the first book, not that it is necessary, this can be read as a standalone, so a lot of needed information is repeated.

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Review: Cold Moon

Cold Moon Cold Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great third (and final?) book in the series about the Huntress, a few twists and turns until it is not entirely clear who killed whom. And an ending to die for. The integration of todays technology and old religious superstitions together with a group of anonymous blogger feeding the media frenzy is as real as it gets, simply the best I have read, without mistakes or exaggerating. Top-Notch, really very well done! Twisted romance, and for once an FBI-Agent who tries hard to stay inside the law. Would love read another book in this series, but can understand when this is closure - even with all the loose ends. (Cue - The Doors: This the End). Highly recommended. Would not read it as a standalone, it really helps to read the first two - although the Prologue helps as a reminder.

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Review: Mind's Eye

Mind's Eye Mind's Eye by Douglas E. Richards
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Amazon Prime lent. For the story, read the blurb, I will not spoil anything. A little romance with a kick and no explicit sex-scenes (I think no sex-scenes, but I write this review a few books later, I may remember wrong). Like the main-character and his female side-kick. Great idea and highly recommended page-turner. Will certainly read the other book(s) in the series. Already read other books by this author, and really like his Trilogy "Prometheus Project", that is more YA-oriented (even younger ones).

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Review: Hornet's Nest

Hornet's Nest Hornet's Nest by Patricia Cornwell
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

tl;dr-version: do not read do not buy! I am serious! This was a mistake, I cannot really understand how someone who wrote such page-turners as the first few Kay Scarpetta novels can write such mind-boring drivel. This was supposed to be a book about a serial-killer. The killer was just on a few pages, the crimes of the killer where ok, gruesome and bloody. But not enough crime, the book read like a drive-by-shooting. Every single person who popped up got a background-story and a few or more sentences what they where thinking. Sounds awesome? Go watch your dryer tumble your clothes, that holds more suspense in the outcome. Top that with even the cat (!) of the main female character (I dare not call her heroine) getting a background story and a few thoughts towards solving the case. And the persons all have personal problems, which are sometimes way too much and not every interesting. Not one character was really likeable - maybe with the exception of the cat, I can understand that she feels frustrated that no one understands it. And as with other books by her, the end was as expected. Reason I finished this book (although 2/3 in Fast-Forward-mode): I read a few bad reviews where they where turned off by the explicit fetish scenes. Although that was for entire series, so may be I picked the wrong book, I wanted to see how she integrated that, and hoped for some real interesting fetish (Mo Hayder does this in some of her books). Given that I stumbled into this knowingly, it is my own mistake buying this book as a Kindle-eBook and paid the normal amount Eur 6,34. Would not take it for free or as a gift now. Even the Kay Scarpetta-Books are better, and I stopped reading them after the 5th book. At least those where all page-turners although formula-written and nearly all with the same ending.

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Review: Killer Instinct

Killer Instinct Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Stars: more like 4.5, rounded to 5. Beware: more of the love-triangle, no sexscenes, too much romance and inner dialogue, not enough action most of the book, but the twists and the end save it from getting 4 stars or less. The first one was better, this is not as much of a page-turner, but still very good. The ending promises more books and with the final twist maybe - hopefully - more action. Still recommended, but you should like (and have read) the first book. Looking forward to the next book, where will get the background story for Sloane. And, truth be told, I would love-love-love to see this as a TV-series.

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Review: The Naturals

The Naturals The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! Well written YA, beware: love triangle, but ok, no sex-scenes, but bloody (serial killer). Teens with a special gift - hence the title, get lured into the FBI to form a special group. A few nice twists, some I did not see coming, and well fleshed out back-ground-stories for some. Romance was ok, not too much. Highly recommended. Suspense and thoughtful moments interchanged very well. Bought the next book in the series same day I finished this. This was a recommendation by Allison Brennan with word "a book I wish I'd written!" - this is a first, that I read a book recommended by one of my favorite authors! When I check out what they are reading, often they do not list anything, or mostly the classics (Enid Blyton, Agatha Christie or some other drivel, well, not really kidding here).

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Review: The Martian

The Martian The Martian by Andy Weir
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Had the preview loaded from Amazon and my eyes on this book for some time. As it is getting filmed and fefe recommended it, I finally caved, started the preview this night before I took a hammer and killed the light, then bought it today. Actually an additional reason was that I do not like the main character of the CHRONOS novella [b:Time's Mirror: A CHRONOS Files Novella|25810884|Time's Mirror A CHRONOS Files Novella (The Chronos Files, #2.5)|Rysa Walker|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1435502500s/25810884.jpg|45666878] I started before. Nearly DNF'ed this with the first sentences, language! While the swearing is apt to the situation, I still think, the use of the same few swear words in US-based books, is a bad choice. Living in another part of the world (EU - Germany) and also consuming UK (and other)-based books and TV-series I cannot believe, that the US-Americans do not have better swear words, more inventive?! To new authors I suggest: make some up, or simply drop them! Just another example: The smile of a man who fucked with his car and didn’t break it. Shuddering to the image someone actually fucking his car... Could have used so many different words here, "meddled", "tinkered", etc. But "fucking"? In this case and sentence it is not the right word, and there are other places in the book where these words where used in the wrong context. From educated people like the Hero of this book (he has studied) I expect more. Reading on, the whole language is this book feels, hm, how to put it?, young and a bit simple, so "laypeople" can understand the tech (and bio), I am curious how this will feel and play out further on in the book. Story itself is interesting, so I will read on, but I must say, the language in the beginning was a turn-off, so far it has mellowed a bit. The tone throughout the book is funny, sometimes snarky or in rare occasions sarcastic. And not really a style I want to read, the tech could have been not as dumbed down lawypeople -like, more SF for me. But ok, I can see how this would appeal to the usual non-SF-reading masses. Still think this book is overhyped, as where others I did not like, [b:Gone Girl|21480930|Gone Girl|Gillian Flynn|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1432019852s/21480930.jpg|13306276] - I am looking at you. Not recommended, but still 3 stars, as the main idea was pure genius and I could not detect any mistakes or errors in the logic. It reads a bit like big long McGyver Episode. And given that there are a lot of twists, the ending was more or less as expected, the possibilities where rather limited, and I would really have liked to be surprised - but was not, sadly.

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