Saturday, May 28, 2016

Review: Love Is For Tomorrow: Reunion

Love Is For Tomorrow: Reunion Love Is For Tomorrow: Reunion by Michael Karner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Shorty, free at least when I bought it.
A little background for the longer Love is for tomorrow, which I read in German.
For most books I really like these little add-ons, like the cut-scenes section from a DVD or Blu-ray, which I also always watch.
As I did not like the main book too much - see my German 3star - not recommended - review, this was ok, and I recommend it, if you like the main book.

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Review: Love Is For Tomorrow: Thriller - Spione, Agenten und Terror in Russland

Love Is For Tomorrow: Thriller - Spione, Agenten und Terror in Russland Love Is For Tomorrow: Thriller - Spione, Agenten und Terror in Russland by Michael Karner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Review in German, as I received a German language edition for free from the author for an honest review.

Dieses Buch habe ich für einen ehrlichen Review kostenlos vom Autor erhalten.
Die Geschichte ist hinreichend spannend, aber mir reicht es nicht für eine Empfehlung, ich konnte mit keiner der Personen etwas anfangen, während ich gut finde, das sie nicht zu einfach gezeichnet waren und nicht einfach simpel gut oder böse, wurden immer nur Fragmente der Persönlichkeit offenbar. Dadurch war keine so richtig sympathisch oder total unsympathisch.

Die Kampfszenen waren detailliert und gut aufgebaut, aber mir fehlte gerade am Ende ein grosser Knall oder ein heftiges Blutbad - das Ende hat eher Auswirkungen, die unklar und offen bleiben und damit erst im nächsten Buch (das ich sicher nicht lesen werde) gelöst werden können, damit ist dieses Buch zwar sinnvoll und logisch beendet, aber das ist nicht mein Ende - hätte ruhig brutaler sein können.

Eigentlich ein sehr schnell gelesenes Buch, habe ich mit über 5 Tagen Lesezeit etwas schwer getan, in kürzerer Zeit (ein verregnetes Wochenende z.B.) gelesen könnte es gut als Fast Food zwischen einigen Bänden von Brad Thor die Zeit vertreiben.

Damit solide 3 Sterne, ohne Empfehlung.

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Review: In the Clearing

In the Clearing In the Clearing by Robert Dugoni
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thank you NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for providing a free ARC for review!
This is not a solid 5 star for me, more like 4.5 and rounded up.
There are two different cases, starting with a scene from 1976 and this old case was not as interesting to me as the other one from today, also compared to the first two books not as gripping.
Teamwork and getting help from experts still make this interesting and keep this book from getting a lower rating. Although the solution to the (for me better case) second case feels a bit rushed in the end. And then there is a touch too much romance, I could have done with less, in the first two books it was enough.
Still, recommended, just no serial-killer, and no overlapping in the crimes from the first two books (as these where concluded and solved, to be expected). As I am not too fond of lawyers and stay away from John Grisham after reading a few books, I am not sure, wether to try one of the David Sloane books, but as I like Dugonis style I might just try it.

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Review: Her Final Breath

Her Final Breath Her Final Breath by Robert Dugoni
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beginning and not reading on with quite a few books this year.
But this is a a fast paced page-turner and I could not really stop, would have read in a day or less if RL did not intervene (pesky clothes washing, cooking and sleep).
A little romance, just enough for my taste, sex mentioned but happening off page.
Very brutal, explicit crime-scenes, a serial killer and quite a few suspects, one failing a lie-detector - even though voluntarily taking the test!
There are quite a few twists, and I did not guess the real killer. There is also the story which started in the first book, which added to the suspense. Also because (as often) the MC does not tell her partner nor her friends, nor her colleagues all that is happening when she is alone.

Although enough information is given to be read as a standalone, I suggest reading the first Novel My Sister's Grave first, there is some overlapping with one of few crimes in this book. Also be prepared that after 20-30% that you might not be able to stop reading, quite gripping.
Highly recommended, solid 5 star. Will certainly read the next one in the series.

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Review: The Academy: A Short Story

The Academy: A Short Story The Academy: A Short Story by Robert Dugoni
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As expected a short read, still recommended, adds to the background of the Tracy Crosswhite series.
One of the characters pops up in the third book, it helps to know her, others in the second.
Fast food, no crime.
Hopefully still free, it is too short to pay for it.

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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Review: Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! Just as funny as I thought. To quote Bart Simpson "Making teenagers depressed is like shooting fish in a barrel.". Had this on my list TBR, for some time, but bought it the day I read that it is in development as a TV-series - with Selena Gomez as the dead MC. Hope it will be made, this is still not sure.
Also own the Audible Audio book (rather cheap if you bought ebook at Amazon, Audible being owned by Amazon).
Early on the format of sending 13 tapes as chain-packet-letter-like to 13 persons is said to be anachronistic, as no-one uses tapes anymore and some have problems finding a tape-player, but in this context for this story it is just perfect.
Some things that happen may disturb you, bullying is happening, but that is not the worst, you have been warned, but I will not go into details, as not to spoil the fun of reading this.

Highly recommended book about not growing up due to the usual reasons (suicide, fatal illness, getting killed etc.).

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Review: Der lautlose Schrei

Der lautlose Schrei Der lautlose Schrei by Andreas Suchanek
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This review is for the first series, containing 12 ebooks (which are not all listed on Goodreads yet).
The first 4 volumes where available for free, probably as a teaser and I had them since October 2015 until my mother read them and said they where rather good, then I bought the rest.

The single volumes are novellas, with a supposed reading time of 90 min. give-or-take
As most, if not all, end on a really heavy cliffhanger, I really did not like to read it in serial form, waiting two weeks or more for the next volume.
Instead I started after the last volume (12) was published and bought all the rest, which was rather expensive, for these short ebooks. Also I was surprised that no subscription service with auto-delivery was offered (I think this format screams for something like this, maybe I just did not find it, but even then it is the fault of the publisher not to advertise it).

Also there are a few short, chapter-like ebooks to be found free as additional material.
Like on a DVD / Blu-ray they contained cut scenes, sometimes offering more background, so I suggest reading them.

While the series started like a book for children, in the later books it became sometimes brutal, and romance (incl. gay) was stronger featured, giving this a YA feel, going to adult.
This was appealing for me, as I first thought it was on level of Enid Blyton or some such writing.
But some of the problems are about life-or-death-situations and people die or get injured.
What I really liked was the use of up-to-date technology, SmartPhones, Digital Cameras, Tablets, WiFi. Even the hacking was described in a realistic way - something I often miss in other books, either it gets blown out the realm of possibility, doing things which are not possible or it gets described wrong (and faulty). Not here, this is as good as it gets, and you have the feeling the author knows what he is doing.

The later books I rate 5 stars, with the beginning ones 4 star, some single volume may bore a bit, but the entire series, read fast, is a rather good page-turner. Also enough twists I did not see coming and I did not guess too early who the main baddie would be.

In the end, not all is solved and some big questions remain open, leading the way to a second series.
So far I am not too sure, wether I will read the single volumes in one sitting (after all are published) or as they are published, given that in the afterword the main author writes about problems which led to more than two weeks between the volumes that was planned.

Highly recommended as the whole series, and I would advise buying all books at once, regardless that they are pricy. Cannot wait for the next season of this series!

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Review: Skin Deep

Skin Deep Skin Deep by Christopher Golden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just 3.5 stars rounded to 4
Way too much coincidences and too far out biology / chemical strangeness. Probably should have expected that, but in this book it was just too much for me.

Very good integration of still existing race differences and struggles, with a character (who was also in the books of the series before this one) strongly opposing Jenna's (white female) having a coloured (black) boyfriend, Damon - with the character being female, coloured (black) and angry most of the time (forgot her name), just the opposite of Jenna.

The ending was strong and saved it somewhat.
Recommended for fans of the series, but do not expect too much. As I often read this when other books bore me, I recommend to put distance between this and other books between reading.

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Review: The Forgotten Room

The Forgotten Room The Forgotten Room by Lincoln Child
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great page-turner, could have done with a few more up-to-date gadgets (no tablet / iPad / Smartphone / iPhone / WiFi? srsly?). Checked the publishing date, as I waited a long time for the price to reach the less than 10 Eur I set myself, and finally bough it for 11 Us$ (which is roughly 10 Eur).
Only a hint of romance, no sex. Some graphic, bloody scenes but not much violence. As often, the MC does too much alone, although he gets an assistant during the story. The opening chapter is pure genius, although it has nothing to do with the main-story, it sets the stage and shows without too much words the kind of work the MC does (if you do not already know from previous books).

Description of the place, castle like mansion, weather etc. top-notch, imho. Not too much to bore, just the right amount.

Highly recommended, but not overly realistic. Not sure, wether it was a short read or due to the page-turner quality I finished it in a mere 2 days, could have done this in one long sitting, if I had nothing else to do or did not care as much about sleep as I do. Still, would have been better with a few up-to-date technologies, it could have been written in 1990ies or 2000ies, after (rich) people started using mobile phones and laptops.

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Review: The Replaced

The Replaced The Replaced by Kimberly Derting
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As I write this a few months later, I still have not looked into the third book of this series, yawn.

Too much romance, MC not really the strong heroine I prefer. Pesky love triangle. Not enough
action and major cliffhanger ending. Preordered the next book in the series. But am not really looking forward to it, will probably read it just to see how it ends and to judge the series.
No Sex and no real love-scenes more like a bit of feeling-fooling around, reads like a book
about twelve year olds. As the heroine was 16 when she the Taking took place and her
new love interest in the first book is 17, not very real, I'd expect most to practice sex
at that age - except when under close parental supervision or silly other reasons like
"saving for marriage", relegion etc. As it is written I do not see a reason why they did
not at least try to have sex in first book, in this second book there simply was not
the time and place for it. Still this felt more like "for age 10 and up", not like
"age 16 and up" as the MC, and a few other characters, and for adults like me (turning fifty this June 2016) it feels unreal.
And I must admit, as I write a few notes for the review I had to read the ending again, to refresh my memory just a short few hours after reading it, what exactly the cliffhanger was - bad sign that it was so instantly forgettable, meh, whatever
And as I finally write this review I have forgotten this ending a second time.
Cannot really say this is still a recommendation, wait for the review of the third (and probably last) book, as I think this is set to be a trilogy.

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Review: The Taking

The Taking The Taking by Kimberly Derting
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nice, but more or less ovious cliffhanger at the end. Pesky love triangle.
Still good read, recommended. Sorry for the short review, will write more for the second book in the series. And the third, if I dare to read it, I have already bought both, here's hoping I will not regret it.

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Review: My Sister's Grave

My Sister's Grave My Sister's Grave by Robert Dugoni
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! Some twists kept me guessing till the end, and even after the killer was known still unexpected twists. Should and could have read in less time, fast paced page-turner, very highly recommended and a solid 5 stars. As I do not care for lawyers I will not read his other series, but the .5 novella "The Academy" and the next book in the series "Her final breath" are already on my Kindle.
Have recommended this to my mother as the german translation was available cheap for a short time. Got this cheap in english as well, but had in my big virtual TBR-pile for 8 months.

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Review: The Girl In The Ice

The Girl In The Ice The Girl In The Ice by Robert Bryndza
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ending was as expected, but still worthwhile, fast paced page-turner and 5 stars.
Recommended, but could have more (unexpected) twists.
Have ordered the next book in the series and will read it.

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Saturday, May 14, 2016

Review: Illuminae

Illuminae Illuminae by Amie Kaufman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! Got this on my TBR (& bought)-pile far too long.
This SF with battle, a few things about wormholes and space travel are not really explained, but should be know beforehand (STNG/Deepspace 9 or other SF books). Cannot really imagine how you would read this without the knowledge, but maybe these parts can be skipped, the main parts of the story are well explained. Still, an appendix or index with explanations would have helped (yes, even me).
While some scenes where a bit long, and I had trouble with the small print (wavy lines of words), the main reason I prefer ebooks to printed books which lack adjustable font-sizes (and search capabilities), this was simply a great read.
No sex though but luckily no love-triangle, nor instalove either.
The main characters are well developed, and quite a lot of minor characters get a little background without that being boring or getting too long.
And then the AI, since Pohl: Gateway have I not read such great conversations with an AI. Simply genius.
Great plot-twists some I did not see coming, but going into details here would mean spoiling the fun! Bloody fights, mass-killings, necessary mass-killings, and some interesting decisions from the AI.
Highly recommended, strong 5 stars.
If you can plan your time for this book, I suggest reading it in a single setting or a long, rainy weekend. The next book is expected to be published mid-to-late October 2016, I have the Kindle ebook in pre-order.

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Monday, May 9, 2016

Review: Boy 7: Vertraue niemandem. Nicht einmal dir selbst

Boy 7: Vertraue niemandem. Nicht einmal dir selbst Boy 7: Vertraue niemandem. Nicht einmal dir selbst by Mirjam Mous
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Late in writing reviews since starting of 2016, sorry.
Watched the movie yesterday, the German one - it was filmed twice in 2015, once from the dutch, which I still aim to see and nearly at the same time from a German production company.
Not really sure about the age-group this is aimed at, I would say 12 and above, jupp, just checked on the webpage of the author, beware - FLASH Mirjam Mous.
This book is a clear warning about such procedures and has an ambitious ending, which may for some be unsatisfying, but I think it added to the despair this story was going for.
The movie (the German one at least) has a clear, more or less good, happy ending.
So while this may at times seem like a light teenager-read with a bit of romance, beware, it is not.
Recommended and really like the characters, some where likeable and believable, although others a bit cardboard-like. Paranoia reigns.
Highly recommended.
Recommended, might warrant sequels, but I think it is a standalone.

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Review: Alien Hunter

Alien Hunter Alien Hunter by Whitley Strieber
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Has been made into a series by SyFy, so I stumbled over it and wanted to read it.
Reminds me of Pines - nearly as bad; should have DNF'd it early on.
The entire book no likeable characters and I cannot really feel for them.
Where it not for the spoiler-title of the book you would be unsure in the end if the creatures are Aliens from Outer-Space or not.
The TV-series is named Hunters, which serves to keep the mystery. But not enough to keep me interested.
The TV-series is half a star better, going on 3, but not really worthwhile-watching, also very brutal and bloody. Lately too many (US) series show too much blood and torture, even when it is not really necessary and the series is more or less aimed at teenagers (think no sex-scenes).
Both (book and series) not recommended. Will not read more books from this series and probably stop with watching the TV-series.

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Review: The God's Eye View

The God's Eye View The God's Eye View by Barry Eisler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Got a "books from authors you have read"-mail from amazon, and checked this out, while I was not too fond of the last Eisler I read (one of the Rain-series), I was looking for something like this, and knew from the blurb on, that it would be right up my alley, and I was right.
Also, the price was good, less than a fiver (Eur). Expect to finish it fast, probably before the weekend is over (being Wednesday today).

(May 09th, 2016 I am late in writing the real review and it will be short).
This would have been a solid "just 3 stars" if not for the section after the book, which is missing from most fiction (Michael Slade being one notable exception. Although named Acknowledgments - I would say sources; German Quellenverzeichnis, he links there to a few resources. For this alone 1 star extra, giving 4 stars, as I miss this in a lot of novels which are based in part on real events, places etc. .
As I am eagerly cramming Snowden related material and am a former Helpdesk (IT)-slave (Systematics, EDS, HP), I am familiar with a lot of the technology and most is state-of-art, some a bit SF (maybe). So there where few surprises and with more of them or twists (I saw most of them coming long before they happened), this could have been a real page-turner. Failing this, it was only slightly suspenseful and engaging.
Still, recommended, to those who are not too much into technology or into the Snowden revelations: highly recommended, and do not really read is as fiction or SF, understand that this describes a reality just as we might live in (or as one of my favourite TV-Series said it "15 minutes into the future..." - being Max Headroom). Cue as background-music Art of noise feat. Max Headroom: Paranoimia

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