Thursday, December 31, 2015

Review: Shoot First

Shoot First Shoot First by Eva Hudson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not final! ARC-Review!
Received an ARC for an honest review.
Wanted to fast read the final book (that I bought cheap just the day I finished the ARC, paying a promo price which makes me feel bad), but did not find the time yet.
If nothing was changed, a bit much with the bad planning (car needs gas, iPhone runs out of power).
And solving everything on her own.
Wanted to give 4 stars, but two events prevented me from it: one chapter needed at least an explaining sentence more - for me there was a part of the story missing, not from the main storyline, but one of Ingrids bad decisions, there could have been a whole chapter about it, from me just one word, not to spoil it: rooftop, and when you read it, you know what I mean. This for me is half a star less, I will check the published ebook wether that was changed, it may be and change the rating and the review accordingly.

The final half star was the twist at the end, while I thought she was making an interesting choice and the series could take a turn in an interesting direction, that was reversed with another twist which I seriously do not like. I will look into the next book or the reviews but this decision may be the end of reading the series for me, sorry.
Regardless, I miss Eva Hudson, hers was a sad story and the new author has done a good job, even if I may leave the series.

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Review: Hex Hall

Hex Hall Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nice twists, even with the romance, sort of a love-triangle (you have been warned).
The romance takes a turn, and was ok for me.
The MC is just the right amount of unsure and weepy, but also gathers her wits and is strong at other times. Only she is not world-wise and gullible, a few times she fell for mean tricks, even in a normal school she would have suffered. She has a strong sense of trust once she makes a friend and later realizes that not everything is black-and-white, more like a grey area, even with people, very nicely developed and therefore one of my more likeable heroines.
One major twist I saw coming, was just too obvious, but others not. Fast read, recommended, but was somehow missing something (action? suspense? witchcraft? could have more of all), so 4 stars, for some maybe less, but I can live with that.
Just checked, I bought it Halloween!
No sex, could have done with a few kinky sex-scenes (shapeshifter-faerie?). No swearing (ah, for once not the same 5 boring US-american swear words!).
Recommended, will read the next book in the hope Sophie grows up.

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Review: The Breaking Point: A Body Farm Novel

The Breaking Point: A Body Farm Novel The Breaking Point: A Body Farm Novel by Jefferson Bass
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Very twisty, as expected bloody, politics (!) the first 1/3 I had a hard time finding out in which year it was supposed to play. For new readers: the series is not published nor written in order, this book is somewhere in between:
After 9/11 but other events mentioned in the books (not in reality) had not happened yet! It is rather late when an exact date is mentioned (I looked, so could not have missed it).
As with other writers in genre (Kathy Reichs comes to mind), this series is hit-or-miss, the books varying in suspense and action. This is one of the best, if not the best of the series.
Personal tragedy is happening, and the case takes a few unexpected turns, which kept me guessing.
Highly recommended, and can be read as a standalone (which may be even less confusing than trying to place this time-whise in the big story of the other books).

This was written by a team, the original inventor who conceived and maintained the "University of Tennessee Anthropological Research Facility" known as the "Body Farm" untill his retirement, Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson, who first met when Jon made one of a few TV-Documentaries about the Body Farm (although supposed to be very good, not available for purchase on DVD). They wrote a few non-fiction books alone or together about the Body Farm and the so far 8 novels (and a few novellas) of this series. Wikipedia has more about these two and the Body Farm.

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Review: Leviathan Wakes

Leviathan Wakes Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As I have a thing for filmed books, as soon as I read that there is a series made, I grabbed up this book and soon started it. That I already bought the Novella The Butcher of Anderson Station, helped, as the series was already on my radar.
Most of the book two alternating pov's, Miller (the detective) and Holden (the righteous man).
Complicated enough to grab ones attention even for the long read this has been.
A lot of action and some bloody fights keep the action going, but peppered with a few twists and decisions which while looking good or even inevitable at the time they where made, they have more or less unexpected results, and show that there might be a problem setting all information free.
Moral and later in the book self-justice gets discussed, although this is one case I think it is justified.
Still, to see it developed, handled and discussed makes for a nice change, in a lot of US-American books I read the last few years, this gets not questioned, or all acting persons agree with the vigilante (which I normally do not, this one case being the exception of the rule).

This book, the first in a series, has for me the makings of a TV-series which could be the next Game of Thrones, but a skimmed a few reviews of the next book, and I may be wrong, although the ratings are even higher. Still bought it, and will read it soon. Not sure wether this series is finished, but so far 5 novels and a couple of shorties / novellas have been published, so they may go on. Edit: have not checked correctly, or it has been added recently, but on Goodreads they list this series now as 9 books, with #06 expected to be published 2016, the following without a planned date.

Will comment this review when I have watched the (currently 4 episodes) TV-Series.

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Review: The Butcher of Anderson Station

The Butcher of Anderson Station The Butcher of Anderson Station by James S.A. Corey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Bought this some time ago, for such a short story I think it should have been free as an add-on to one of the novels of the series or free as a teaser.
Good background addition, I read it then the character pops up in the first Expanse Book Leviathan Wakes, which helps to understand the character and the story better.

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Review: Closed Hearts

Closed Hearts Closed Hearts by Susan Kaye Quinn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Started December, 08th 2013 and took a rather long break. Bought the Kindle-Trilogy-Box set, although I already bought and read the first book - another promotion, cost me even less than a Euro.
OK, I had to fresh my memory of the pervious book by reading a the last few pages again. It has been too long a break between Open Minds - Mindjack #01 and this one.
- Sorry, have some catching up to do on Goodreads with rating / reads / reviews (writing this December, 31st 2015).
Fast pace, devastating twist near the end. Will write more (hopefully) after reading the third book in 2016. Also bought the short stories / novella-compilations.
Highly recommended.

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Review: Anomaly

Anomaly Anomaly by Tonya Kuper
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Even for 3 stars, recommended.
But there is too much boring romance Reid-Josie for my taste.
Will read the next book in the series, but if the romance-level keeps up that may be my last.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Review: Darkest Hour

Darkest Hour Darkest Hour by Meg Cabot
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

More like 3.5 stars, bit much repetition (crying etc.).
Still a nice fluffy, fast read.
Recommended for fans of the series and it works better if you have read all other books before this.

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Review: No Good Deed

No Good Deed No Good Deed by Allison Brennan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another one in my favorite series by Allison Brennan.
This will not work as a standalone, with the story beginning two books earlier with Dead Heat. Some books by Allison Brennan have too much romance or personal problems for me to warrant 5 stars (or even 4). Not this one, this is for me just the right amount.
Lots of action and problems, with a few moles in the FBI/DEA and lots of people ending up dead.
This resolves all story-lines and ends the trilogy beginning with Dead Heat in the series of Lucy Kincaid and the Brennan-Universe of Kincaid/Rogan which also has other books.

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Review: Crux

Crux Crux by Ramez Naam
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Not bought, lent with Amazon Prime for November 2015 (two books of a three part series, nice one, Amazon!).
A few nice twists and a solid second book in the trilogy, but more like 4.5 stars.
Will wait with buying the third book, read some other stuff.
Very highly recommended, but will not work as a standalone, I suggest reading the Nexus first, obviously.

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Review: Childhood's End

Childhood's End Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not bought, lent with Amazon Prime for December 2015, due to the mini-series from SyFy. As often, I like to read the book and then see the film or (mini-) series.
And as sometimes happens, this was quite dated and not very suspenseful.
At times it dragged along, barely covering the philosophical themes with dialogue or story.
Nice idea, but basically I did not like both the style and the book, having read such drivel in my childhood and late teens, mostly still in German translation, though the Rama-series from Clarke I read in English, if I remember right.
Three stars for a good idea, and an interesting ending. If they filmed it, as it was written, I wonder why the chose this book. And if not, why bother at all?
My ebook (Kindle) has a scene, which was re-ritten during the cold-war-high-time, nice addition, which as far as the explanation goes, should be in all newer books.
I will watch the series at some point, and add a comment here, but am not looking forward to it.
Maybe my tastes have changed too much since last reading Clarke, and 2001 was also not really my cup of tea (hm, I have cut down my coffee-consumption, never really drank tea, except during vacation in the UK, it is safer to drink tea there, than coffee).
Not recommended, except as a sleeping pill.

A better book, if I am not totally off (should read it again), with something of a similar concept: Blood Music!

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Review: All In

All In All In by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wanted to pre-order this for Kindle, and was looking forward to reading it as soon as I got it, but could not order it as a Kindle ebook in Germany, had to jump through the usual hoops (VPN) to buy it as a Nook EPub from Barnes and Nobles and convert it to Mobi.
As with the other books of the series, a few great twists right up till the end! And this one was better than the last, having resolved and settled some of the romance-triangle.
Still no sex-scenes. But luckily more action, the background for Sloane and enough twists to screw your mind.
This is solid, must-read-page-turner 5 star for me. Although some adults may differ.
As I am for few years now retired and turned 49 this year I am not really YA, but still enjoy these genre a lot (although I could do with some sex-scenes, kinky please).
Highly recommended, but not really a standalone, you should have read the other books in the series.
Looking so forward to the next book!

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Review: Hidden

Hidden Hidden by Casey Hill
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Probably a mistake to read 3,5 books in a row of a series.
Got this again as a promo through bookbub, rather cheap (not free).
And again I feel bad, that cannot really give more than 3 stars.
More like 2.5 until near the end, dragged along, a few little twists with a suprise ending which was more a cliffhanger but saved it to 3 stars.

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Review: Torn

Torn Torn by Casey Hill
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not to spoil anything, but in my view there was a major logic error with the DVD they got sent later in the book, regarding the number of crimes and victims filmed (there should have been 1 more, I paged back to see if I did remember wrong, I did not).
So, I hoped with time the writing and the books would progress and get better, but again, this is a solid 3 star if you can ignore the DVD, that would normally warrant a star less. It may be that it was explained, but I cannot remember that, it is rather late for me to write the review (being December now and having read the book 2 months and a lot of books ago).

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Review: Crime Scene: CSI Reilly Steel Prequel

Crime Scene: CSI Reilly Steel Prequel Crime Scene: CSI Reilly Steel Prequel by Casey Hill
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Short read, a novella. This is a prequel to the series, placing Steel in Quantico.
This gives an interesting view of the education on a real life case.
Still, as with the other books, too straight-forward, not enough twists.

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Review: Taboo

Taboo Taboo by Casey Hill
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nice debut, but not enough suspense, guessed the killer early on, too straightforward, not enough twists. As I got this free from a Bookbub-promo-mail I feel bad about it, not paying for it, but this will not change my review.
Liking the setting (Dublin) I will read more of the series.

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Review: A Madness So Discreet

A Madness So Discreet A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As it was set in the late 19th century, not really my kind of book, but the idea and setting was great.
Took me a while to read, though, not much suspense.
Very well described and developed main character (heroine).
So, 4stars it is. If you like Asylum-Settings and mad people, I recommend giving this a try.

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Review: Book of Shadows

Book of Shadows Book of Shadows by Alexandra Sokoloff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

More like 3.5 .
Good use of Witchcraft and the suspension of believe and the struggles of the main-character with what he believes.
May be a bit too much fantasy for some, but I found it well integrated, but unexpected.
As I like to be surprised, it was a good thing.
Recommended thriller with supernatural overtones. But not her best book, so beware.

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Review: The Loch

The Loch The Loch by Steve Alten
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Liked the use of mobile tech (phones, internet on laptops) with realistic and spotty coverage.
The book felt rather long but it was worth it, if even for the main setting, Loch Ness, alone!
The science felt sound and the devastating deaths and fight scenes well describes.
Warrants still not really 5 stars, but as I write this now (3 months later, sorry) I do not care.
In my childhood I read some real-world (-ocean) books like Hans Hass, Costeau and others, having an interest in Ocean-Life, so this is right up my alley.
The descriptions of the places makes me want to be there, even if it is not for me (wandering does not suit me, sitting in a wheelchair).
Still, I am not sure wether to read another book by this writer. Probably not anytime soon.

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Review: The Naked Face

The Naked Face The Naked Face by Sidney Sheldon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read this a long time ago (20-30 years) in German.
Wanted to read it again as I discovered the TV-Movie with Roger Moore was available as a Blu-ray and
I am usually fond of reading a book and the watching the Movie/TV-Show.
Have not watched the Movie (watched it also 20-30 years ago in German TV before reading the German book).
Romance and Mystery, no real thriller. What I really liked about the movie was an added subplot where the Dr. used a terminal with an off-site cpu for record keeping (at that time very high tech) which played a minor role.
The murder scenes are bloody and may be for someone expecting a more romance-read, disturbing.
Recommended standalone romance-mystery if you know Sheldon and what to expect.

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Review: Perfect Cover

Perfect Cover Perfect Cover by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nice read, but way too much action, not enough suspense or free time (off time) for the characters. Even training should have happened more.
Will certainly read the next book in the series, can this recommend as a fast fluffy read during better books.

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