Saturday, August 26, 2017

Review: The Truth Factory

The Truth Factory The Truth Factory by Cody McFadyen
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Preordered this as soon as I realized the author is still alive and will publish a new book, which is just a few years late after it was first announced. Word was that he was seriously ill and I expected no more books from him, instead I prepared myself for his death notice.
Not knowing what really happened (it may simply be an extreme case of writers block), I am glad he can write on and hope he is not ill anymore.
Sorry to say so, but this book is as bad as it gets. Just having skimmed a few reviews, some people question who wrote the book, given how far (60%) I got, I still think, it is written by Mr. McFadyen - people change, although I think, this smells of writers block, but that is just a guess.

This drags, it is now quite a few years (5 I think) since I read my last book by Cody McFadyen (sidestory, I bought into this author first, as I thought he was a female, but sadly, I was wrong). That last book was Der Menschenmacher which was first published in German - my first language, so I read it in German, and after reading it with its philosophical theme of Nietzsche I understand why. But that was still suspenseful and brutal.

This book drags, beginning shortly after an over the top brutal and fast paced beginning with a lot of dead.
It consists of inner musings of the MC, and scenes of torture, some from history (reminding me of The Devil of Nanking aka Tokyo). Also an unexpected betrayal which is then so far (61%) not further investigated.
The deaths, torture etc. get personal, but the suspense does not come back.
Taking a break I read other books at the 61% mark and am not very keen on going back to this book.
My rule is, I do not abandon a book after a third (33,3%). Currently I cannot bring myself to read further and whatever happens, even if it picks up, I think, both I and the author have changed too much, so I might drop this author, even if and when I finish the book.

The vision of the author might be to take a major turn in this series and begin a (short?) series consisting of the investigation to bring this sect-like circle of people down - I cannot see it finished in the remaining space of the book. That might be interesting, even for me, but I do not feel it.

Maybe something totally different happens and this might be the last book in this series, I will only know once I finish, but as I do not want to spoil it, just take this: so far I think, this is not recommended, and only hardcore fans of Cody McFadyen and those ADD people who read all from certain authors regardless how bad it is, should read it.

Even if some books by my favorite authors dragged in the middle, this one is too long and too far out, even though I had an advanced course in Philosophy during my last school years and have still some interest in it.

So far I would rate it 2 meager stars. And as always my review is longer than usual with this rating.
Well. Read at your own peril.
After a few days and a few books in between, I am not too sure, I will finish it. Life is too short for bad books!

August 21st, 2017, nearly a year since I last looked into the book.
In trying to clean up my 50 (e)books strong "Currently Reading"-shelf, which mostly consists of started-bored-me-on-to-the-next-book, I will try to get 5-10 books either as definite DNF or FF. This one is currently FF (Fast-Forward, like on a VHS-Videoplayer, if you are old enough remember them ... ah, well, kidding, FF does exist on Netflix / Amazon Prime and 4K Blu-ray whatever).

YES! Finished it, finally. Might peek into the next books, to see how it ends, but not if they are as expensive as I expect, and if they take as long to be published - I have lost my drive to read the worst of the worst with this book, and most books I read are not as boring. While I can recognize this over-the-top dark book, it offers no suspense and I do not like the torture offered by it.

Strongly discourage picking this up, even for free or lent. The second star is for fans of the series, those who need even the bad books by an author to complete their collection. For someone in the search for really bad ideas this might be a brilliant book, but then again, there are better examples in older literature, the Classic de Sade's 120 days of Sodom comes to mind. And even that I have only read parts, not everything. The sheer encompassing timeline and the story are strong, but the storytelling not, it reads like non-fiction-lecture-book, lots of inner monologue little action and so it bored me. Even then there are lots of parts (family scenes) which should have been cut for getting a shorter book. And Callie's way of speaking with her constantly using "Honey-love" grated on my nerves. Could have been that way in the books before in the series, but they where shorter (I think) and had stronger stories, more crime, more suspense, so even then I could skipp that in those books, or it was not present.

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Review: The Truth Factory

The Truth Factory The Truth Factory by Cody McFadyen
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Preordered this as soon as I realized the author is still alive and will publish a new book, which is just a few years late after it was first announced. Word was that he was seriously ill and I expected no more books from him, instead I prepared myself for his death notice.
Not knowing what really happened (it may simply be an extreme case of writers block), I am glad he can write on and hope he is not ill anymore.
Sorry to say so, but this book is as bad as it gets. Just having skimmed a few reviews, some people question who wrote the book, given how far (60%) I got, I still think, it is written by Mr. McFadyen - people change, although I think, this smells of writers block, but that is just a guess.

This drags, it is now quite a few years (5 I think) since I read my last book by Cody McFadyen (sidestory, I bought into this author first, as I thought he was a female, but sadly, I was wrong). That last book was Der Menschenmacher which was first published in German - my first language, so I read it in German, and after reading it with its philosophical theme of Nietzsche I understand why. But that was still suspenseful and brutal.

This book drags, beginning shortly after an over the top brutal and fast paced beginning with a lot of dead.
It consists of inner musings of the MC, and scenes of torture, some from history (reminding me of The Devil of Nanking aka Tokyo). Also an unexpected betrayal which is then so far (61%) not further investigated.
The deaths, torture etc. get personal, but the suspense does not come back.
Taking a break I read other books at the 61% mark and am not very keen on going back to this book.
My rule is, I do not abandon a book after a third (33,3%). Currently I cannot bring myself to read further and whatever happens, even if it picks up, I think, both I and the author have changed too much, so I might drop this author, even if and when I finish the book.

The vision of the author might be to take a major turn in this series and begin a (short?) series consisting of the investigation to bring this sect-like circle of people down - I cannot see it finished in the remaining space of the book. That might be interesting, even for me, but I do not feel it.

Maybe something totally different happens and this might be the last book in this series, I will only know once I finish, but as I do not want to spoil it, just take this: so far I think, this is not recommended, and only hardcore fans of Cody McFadyen and those ADD people who read all from certain authors regardless how bad it is, should read it.

Even if some books by my favorite authors dragged in the middle, this one is too long and too far out, even though I had an advanced course in Philosophy during my last school years and have still some interest in it.

So far I would rate it 2 meager stars. And as always my review is longer than usual with this rating.
Well. Read at your own peril.
After a few days and a few books in between, I am not too sure, I will finish it. Life is too short for bad books!

August 21st, 2017, nearly a year since I last looked into the book.
In trying to clean up my 50 (e)books strong "Currently Reading"-shelf, which mostly consists of started-bored-me-on-to-the-next-book, I will try to get 5-10 books either as definite DNF or FF. This one is currently FF (Fast-Forward, like on a VHS-Videoplayer, if you are old enough remember them ... ah, well, kidding, FF does exist on Netflix / Amazon Prime and 4K Blu-ray whatever).

YES! Finished it, finally. Might peek into the next books, to see how it end, but not if they are as expensive as I expect, and if they take as long to be published - I have lost my drive to read the worst of the worst with this book, and most books I are not as boring. While I can recognize this over-the-top dark book, it offers no suspense and I do not like the torture offered by it.

Strongly discourage picking this up, even for free or lent. The second star is for fans of the series, those who need even the bad books by an author to complete their collection. For someone in the search for really bad ideas this might be a brilliant book, but then again, there are better examples in older literature, the Classic de Sade's 120 days of Sodom comes to mind. And even that I have only read parts, not everything. The sheer encompassing timeline and the story are strong, but the storytelling not, it reads like non-fiction-lecture-book, lots of inner monologue little action and so it bored me. Even then there are lots of parts (family scenes) which should have been cut for getting a shorter book. And Callie's way of speaking with her constantly using "Honey-love" grated on my nerves. Could have been that way in the books before in the series, but they where shorter (I think) and had stronger stories, more crime, more suspense, so even then I could skipp that in those books, or it was not present.

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Review: Grave Witch

Grave Witch Grave Witch by Kalayna Price
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nice one, no vampires, no werewolves and while there is a love triangle, it is handled in a good, non-disturbing way.
World is not too overloaded (one of peeves in some other books) and world-building well done-with a lot not known even in the world itself, so it is the MC learning with the reader. Well written suspense, and although the end is obvious, the baddie is not known for sure until some 2/3 in the book. One nice, necessary, steamy but rather clean sex-scene (straight) at about 80%.
Some torture, but not too detailed.
More for 15 and above, not totally YA.
Highly recommended and will certainly read the next one(s) in the series.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Review: Last Breath

Last Breath Last Breath by Robert Bryndza
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Top-Notch page-turner. Longer review to follow soon.
Added 2 months later:
Obviously the longer review hast surfaced, sorry for that. But I still recommend it, and I gave 5 stars.
For fans of Erika Foster and/or these other series (Author - Heroine):
Angela Marsons - Kim Stone
M.J. Arlidge - DI Helen Grace
Celina Grace - Kate Redman (too much romance and not strong enough heroine for me)
Griffiths, Elly - Ruth Galloway (must admit, I have only read the first book yet)
Robert Dugoni - Tracy Crosswhite
Rachel Amphlett - Kay Hunter



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Review: In the Dark

In the Dark In the Dark by Chris Patchell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review to follow soon!
Wow! No, sorry, no review. It has been a year now and I cannot honestly say I remember the book enough to write a review.
But, I have decided at the time to warrant 5 stars, so I guess, it is good enough to buy more from the author and good enough to recommend it - but please, do not quote me on that.

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Review: Midnight Crossroad

Midnight Crossroad Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Picked this up when I saw the first trailer for Midnight, Texas - a TV series loosely based on the books. Like with the Sookie Stackhouse books and the True Blood TV-series, the books are slower, not so overwhelmingly overloaded (a reason why I paused True Blood after Season 3, buying the Blu-ray-Sets and having not watched it since). But slower does not necessarily mean bad nor good.
This is set in the same Universe as Sookie, variants of the same creatures and Harper (from another book series) is even once mentioned.
Having watched the first 5 Episodes, the TV-series is again rather overloaded, too much happening in the last episode, and too much at the same time. It looks to me as if they pressed events from this book and the possible next 2-4 in these 5 episodes. Half of it would have been enough for me. Also the constant switching between the different storylines (although happening at the same time) was rather annoying.
In the books the approach is better, switching POV chapter-wise. But also less suspense, and were the TV-Show has too much, this book has more inner monologue and thoughts of the POV-Person, not really much happening. Would have liked a mixture of the TV-Show and the Book, more action, more suspense.
Recommended, 3 solid stars. May be the next books will be better, but as I have read all 4 Harper Connely books, some Sookie Stackhouse and most Aurora Teagarden (sort of like Agatha Christie, but in USA and in our time), I doubt it. That is not bad, if you know what you want and like the world Harris created.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Review: The Hidden House Murders: Miss Hart and Miss Hunter Investigate: Book 3

The Hidden House Murders: Miss Hart and Miss Hunter Investigate: Book 3 The Hidden House Murders: Miss Hart and Miss Hunter Investigate: Book 3 by Celina Grace
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Received an ARC for an honest review.
To start honest, this kind of mystery might not really be my cup-a-tea: I read Agatha Christie last when I was still reading in German (translation) only, maybe age 10 or 12 (1976, 1978).
The book takes place in England, but in the past (20th century), I think, which would prevent me from buying this, as I have long stopped reading most books playing too long ago in the past (with exceptions).
But I am paying for this with a review, so I will see how I like this (TANSTAAFL).

Well, better than expected. You feel like visiting the UK between the two Word-Wars, I think, cannot exactly pin the time down, as no real indication is given, they have cars, wireless, a telephone in the house with the need to call an operator (could also be before the first WW, but I guess that not many people had a Telephone way back then).

Very well done, even though I would have liked more suspense. You get to know how servants work and live their life in a wealthy household in the UK. There is lots of eating and tea-drinking, and even if the female servants-team Hunter / Hart try to solve the crime, work comes first, feeding their household, even the other servants. And, having been in the UK a few time during the 1980's for vacation, I can assist, that they still drink a lot of tea, so that is realistic.
The main women are very well described, deeply fleshed out, with the few man mostly described with an outline, but not very deep, only the inspector, which I understand was also in the book(s) before this one is more fleshed out, but not overly so, in comparison to the MC's.

The crime and solving is a lot like in the Agatha Christie books I remember from my childhood, with a rounding of all (surviving) people and staging a big reveal. Not really something I would buy today, I am sorry to say. But in exchange for a review, I must admit, it was very well written, with a certain insight in life at that time I did not expect.

So recommended 4 stars it is, if you want a lighter mystery, not much blood and I did not guess at any point what really happened. No sex, but that is to be expected, and you get a little romance thrown in, some real and some pretend. Having been in the mood for this certainly helped, else it would be a 3 star/recommended.

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Friday, August 11, 2017

Review: If I Was Your Girl

If I Was Your Girl If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

Had this on my Amazon-Wishlist and waited till the price sank.
And after SF (The Expanse #05: Nemesis Games) I wanted something different, so I started this one.

“I asked you what you feel. You can’t have art if you spend all your time forgetting pain.”


Recommomended for a story about queer, transgender, gay. Story is ok, but missed 1 star, as it was just too neat. In the afterword the author recognizes that and explains it, so there is that. My favourite person was Bee, badass and then ... I will not spoil it.

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Review: Body of Evidence #7: Burning Bones

Body of Evidence #7: Burning Bones Body of Evidence #7: Burning Bones by Christopher Golden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

See my other reviews of the series, not much to add.
Far out idea, a little more believable for me, this time.
Ending ok, though all in all again 3.5 stars rounded up to 4.
Bought this and 4 others (one of it I already owned) as an ebook Omnibus "Season 2", will read them with distance between the books, so as not to spoil it, as they are sometimes a bit too much based on a formula/framework. Though I still think, there should be more books, going into the world we have today, with Wifi, tablets and smartphones, etc. .

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Sunday, August 6, 2017

Review: Drive

Drive Drive by James S.A. Corey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Free short story in the Expanse World.
Could have a little more technical background regarding the Epstein Drive, otherwise nice addition to the series, but not really necessary read, as the important facts are sprinkled throughout the novels.

At least I did not pay for it.
Url to story at the Goodreads page for the book. It is not really a book, but to be read online. As I hate that, I copied the text to simple text file in my favourite Editor (BBedit, free version, since the demise of TextWrangler) and read it on my Kindle.

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Friday, August 4, 2017

Review: Nemesis Games

Nemesis Games Nemesis Games by James S.A. Corey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, setting is like taking apart a puzzle.
We learn a lot about the past of Alex, Amos and Naomi, and then the puzzle gets solved with a few new pieces to give a different whole.

Monica whistled low. “Schismatic OPA faction?” she said. “Well. It wouldn’t be the first time a revolutionary leader was targeted by the extreme wing of his own side.”

Some actions are unbelievable, but I tend to overlook these, the action is top notch, and the off-screen deathrate counts as high as ever (it can only be guessed anyway). The logic behind killing that many people escapes me, though, and the action of a terrorist splinter group is hard to analyze, though Fred Johnson has some idea.
“Of course you do,” Holden said. “Why wouldn’t you tell them?” Fred blinked. His laugh, when it came, was deep and rolling. It came up from his belly and filled the air. “Just when I think you’ve changed, you come out with something that is uniquely James Holden. I don’t know what to think about you. I really don’t.” “Thanks?”

And the best one:
“We’re not making any official statements, especially when James Holden’s in the room. No offense, but your track record for blurting information at inopportune moments is the stuff of legend.” (Avasarala, of course)

Highly recommended, probably the best so far in the series. Will not really make sense without having read the other novels, and I also suggest reading the shorties / novellas. Though the order is sometimes confusing.

Off Topic: I am now the proud owner of two T-Shirt's with the OPA-Logo. Not having watched more episode of the Expanse (yet), I hope the logo is the same one as in the series.

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