Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Review: Heir to the Empire

Heir to the Empire Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reading the Thrown books, some out of order. Also I tend to read other books (SF, crime) in between, so this took me longer.

Chapters are too long, so this added to me taking rather long to read it.
Reading the Thrawn books as background to the Star Wars: Ahsoka TV-Series on Disney+.
Thrawn is for me the most interesting character in the Star Wars Universe.

This book has a lot of story with Han Solo, Leia and Luke etc., that could have been shorter.
So recommended reading for Star Wars fans, 4 stars it is.

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Review: Heir to the Empire

Heir to the Empire Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Sunday, September 3, 2023

Review: Zero Days

Zero Days Zero Days by Ruth Ware
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rating 3,8-4 rounded to 4, as it was a page-turner.
Could have rounded down, as it was not totally what I wanted, so here my review:
My own background is former IT Helpdesk more or less professional. Since late 1985 (Xmas) I have owned and used computers. The It Girl
For fear of spoiling the story I did not read too much of the blurb and nearly no reviews.
As the reviews for her earlier books where highly praising it, I bought but did not read yet The It Girl and plan to buy and read The Turn of the Key.

This book feels a bit like the movie/old TV-series "The Fugitive" (Movie with Harrison Ford), a woman on the run. With a bit of real IT thrown in, together with social media.

What I wanted was rather less "woman on the run" and more IT / social-media.
The main events are rather well explained, and the tech parts are without fault and not going to deep for the unwashed masses.

The job of the husband-wife couple is for companies and called penetration-testing, and is divided in two parts, basic-breaking&entering and hacking, or getting access through social engineering. Then writing a report about the vulnerabilities and mistakes of the company and giving advise what can be done. Basically that is what the late Kevin Mitnick has done and described in his book The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security, which I have yet to buy and read.
In the book that is abbreviated to pen-testing, and this, together with the parts about Bitcoin, crypto-exchange and the description of getting access to the IT of a company are spot-on and felt real. That saved my rating from getting rounded down to 3 stars.

A point that is made, and this rings true. is that the main problem is not the IT., but the human part. As someone who worked as a Helpdesk slave, service and friendliness is ingrained and sometimes I must stopp myself from saying YES once too often and helping.
People, especially in an office-environment are often too trusting and friendly and tend to help stranger, which are correctly dressed and themselves friendly and seem harmless. And a little bending of the rules, fibbing, lying and confidently state things go a long way. There is a scene in the movie Antitrust (2001) where a new employee gets instructed to wear his lanyard with the company-ID/Keycard all time and challenge others who do not display it openly.
This is also the last scene in the book, and one of the best.

Recommended for a page-turner of "a woman on the run" and believable IT parts thrown in, for people with basic understanding and interest in IT, hacking and bitcoin. But I would have liked more of the IT-part. And thus it felt too long for me, even though it was a quick read.

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Review: Cold Service

Cold Service Cold Service by Robert B. Parker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Bought this ebook as a Kindle 2014 cheap for 99 ct. (Eur), maybe the price reflects the suspense of the book ...
When I was a teenager up to my tweens, I read a lot translated (German) Paperbacks from Robert B. Parkers Spenser series (also Ross Thomas and others).
After snatching up School Days because of the School shooting theme, and enyoing the that one, I wanted to revisit Parker someday, but I agree with some of the 2 and 3 star reviews, this felt like he was copyomg himself and not very suspenseful.
As I have changed in the 30-40 years since I read Parker, maybe it is me, I will revisit a few other books from him, I rembember reading, like the first Spenser book and maybe DNF them.

So, not really recommended except for hardcore Spenser fans. Rating 3 stars seems upgraded, more like 2,5-2,8 stars. And although it is a short book, I took too long to read it, reading other books between, as I did not feel like reading it in one sitting. Had a hard time finishing it.

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Sunday, April 23, 2023

Review: Overkill

Overkill Overkill by Vanda Symon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rating: 2,8-3 Stars rounded up to 3 for being the first book,
both in a series and the first (and most probably only) book
by this author I read.
Was cheap when I bought the ebook, as where 2 and 4 of the series,
so I bought the 4 books and later gave 2, 3 and 4 back, as they will
be a waste of time.

The premise and setting (New Zealand) sounded interesting and
the blurb quotes promised a page-turner.

Was that wrong: yeah, if you want a sleeping pill...
Way too long with descriptions which where ok, but did nothing
for me for the story. Could have been at least 1/3 shorter.
My real tipping point was a long description af the failure (!)
to change a tire on a borrowed truck, while having no cell-phone
reception to call for help.

For quite some time the reason for the killing (and therefore the
real case) is unkown to the MC and the reader.

Also, while it is within reason, the MC is doing quite a lot
on her own, something I really do not like, as a main plot-device
in crime (Kathy Reichs does that too often in her Bones books).
A of the aditional information is really whell put together and
explained, but all in all it is too much and too wordy for me.

The MC is also not real interesting, she thinks about boring things too much.

Took me too long, as I was not that much interested.
So, for me this not page-turner and I would not recommend it,
barely 3 stars.

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Review: Overkill

Overkill Overkill by Vanda Symon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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Monday, April 17, 2023

Review: Die letzte Lügnerin: Justiz-Krimi | SPIEGEL Bestseller-Autoren

Die letzte Lügnerin: Justiz-Krimi | SPIEGEL Bestseller-Autoren Die letzte Lügnerin: Justiz-Krimi | SPIEGEL Bestseller-Autoren by Florian Schwiecker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review in German, as this a German book (my first language)
and as of now not available in english translation.

Kostenloses ARC von NetGalley und Knaur gegen einen Review zur Verfügung gestellt.

Wie oft bei Tsokos hat das Buch einen realen Hintergrund.
Die Handlung hat einige sehr gute Wendungen, die ich nicht alle
habe kommen sehen, und die sehr real wirkten, auch das Ende, mit einigen offenen Problemen gefällt mir, mit guten Erklärungen.

Als Serie ist es sinnvoll, die vorigen Bände zu lesen, kann ich nur empfehlen, vor allem, da ich den vorigen Der dreizehnte Mann: Justiz-Krimi (Eberhardt & Jarmer ermitteln 2) etwas besser fand.
Und ich bin auch gespannt, wie es weitergeht.

Das Buch kann auch gut gelesen werden, ohne True-Crime oder Gerichtsmedizin-Fan zu sein, allerdings sind einige krasse Beschreibungen dabei, nichts für zarte Gemüter, aber das ist bei einem Buch wie diesem zu erwarten. Soweit ich sehe, würde ich das nicht als Trigger bezeichnen, und sonst sind keine vorhanden, also Trigger-Warnung: detaillierte Beschreibungen von einigen blutigen Szenen/Verletzungen, was mE zu erwarten war.

Der soziale Hintergrund (Wohnungsnot in der Grossstadt, wird auch bei mir in Hamburg so sein) ist sehr gut ausgeführt. Der Fall könnte spannender sein, etwas zu viel tell, not enough show

Damit aber auf jeden Fall insgesamt eine Empfehlung meinerseits.

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