Parasite

Parasite

Review by Travis Starnes Parasite really took me off guard.  It is the story of a future where humans have purposely made themselves hosts to a genetically modified species of Tapeworm.  Everything seems great until the parasites start getting restless, then things get interesting. I was really unsure what to make of this book.  Even after reading the back of the book I wasn’t sure if it was a mystery, sci-fi or horror story.  Turns out it is a little of all three.  Something I didn’t know going in, but I think most readers should be warned about before reading it, is this is part one of a larger story.  The book ends on a solid cliff hanger, which honestly killed me.  By the end of the book I was totally invested in what was going on and when I flipped the page and found the afterward and a “to… Read more »

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Fire Base Illingworth

Fire Base Illingworth

Review by Travis Starnes Fire Base Illingworth looks at one small area of the Vietnam conflict, focusing on an assault on an American Firebase near the Cambodian border.  The book is a straight up history but told in a very narrative style that I have always felt works for this narrowly focused type of history. The author clearly has an affinity for this area of the war and this is not his first history about it.  He previously wrote a book about a small conflict just days before the events in Fire Base Illingworth and involving some of the same men.  If anything this book is a continuation of that previous work, although he does a good job recapping the events of his previous book for readers not familiar with it. Keith’s writing is excellent and he clearly has talent as a military historian, a very specific skill set to… Read more »

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Combat Doctor

Combat Doctor

Review by Travis Starnes Combat Doctor was written by a Canadian doctor who served in one of the field hospitals in Afghanistan and details his experiences.  I will say up front that I am really impressed by what these guys do and was really looking forward to reading this book.  I have read several war memoirs from both support (medical, etc.) and front line soldiers and generally always enjoy these types of books. This is essentially Dauphin’s thoughts on the war told in a series of events and anecdotes.  There are some scenes that you can’t help but be affected by, such as the story near the beginning of the book about the guy trying to save his kids arm.  As far as it being a glimpse into the world of the military field hospital, the book is brutally honest about what really happens to soldiers. While the events can… Read more »

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The Heavens Rise

The Heavens Rise

Review by Travis Starnes With how direct and clear they make story synopsis these days it is rare I am surprised with the direction a book takes, but The Heavens Rise took some turns I didn’t see coming.  I did noticed when I started reading this book it was tagged by the author as both a Mystery and Science Fiction, yet by the time I was half way through I was pretty sure it was just a mystery.  It is the tale of a small group of contemporaries, I won’t say friends since they aren’t all so friendly, and a tragedy that affects their lives. This book is written very well.  Christopher Rice manages to create tension and suspense expertly, even in situations that aren’t themselves very suspenseful.  This isn’t a horror story and there isn’t a killer lurking around the corner but Rice creates the same tension that you… Read more »

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Ancillary Justice

Ancillary Justice

Review by Travis Starnes Ancillary Justice follows a ship’s AI, or at least a portion of it, stuck in a single body as it tries seeks out revenge on the near-immortal Lord of the Radch. I read a lot of science fiction and this book had some interesting stuff in it that I haven’t seen much in other sci-fi.  The way Leckie has dealt with artificial intelligence and how one system can see and interact through multiple vantage points is fascinating.  When I first saw how this book was going to play out I thought jumping from one view point to another, yet staying with the same character in those different points of view, would be confusing (just writing that sentence was a bit confusing).  What surprises me is how well Leckie pulls it off and how it doesn’t come off as confusing at all.  That isn’t to say it… Read more »

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Diner Impossible

Diner Impossible

Review by Travis Starnes Diner Impossible is the third book in the Rose Strickland series about a diner waitress who through happenstance ends up investigating and solving crimes for her friends. I will be honest; I had never heard of the Rose Strickland series before reading this book and was not familiar with the character, her exploits, or her friends.  In fact when I got this book I didn’t even know it was a series at first, although the fact that it is becomes readily apparent while reading it.  I will say I am happy I found this series and I plan on going back and picking up the first two books.  I might know how those end, because they are both mentioned in this installment, but I am sure I will enjoy them all the same. This book falls squarely in the “madcap non-investigator mystery” style book that I… Read more »

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Show Us Your Book Giveaway

Show Us Your Book Giveaway

Giveaway Ends: Dec. 24th, 2013 We want to see who our readers are and what your favorite book is.  From now until December 24th we are asking everyone to send us a picture of you holding your favorite book or books.  If you are camera shy go ahead and hold the books to obscure your face.  We just want to see your reading. To be entered send an email with the picture and your first name (if it really bugs you, use a nom de plum) to giveaway@homeofreading.com. Everyone who submits a picture will be entered to win and the winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card, which we know you will go out and use to buy another book.   Anyone who enters will be signed up for our newsletter mailing list (don’t worry, we only send a newsletter once a month and never share your information) and you… Read more »

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Little Demon in the City of Light

Little Demon in the City of Light

Review by Travis Starnes Little Demon in the City of Light promises a gruesome crime and sensational trial, and that is exactly what it delivers.  The book focuses on a murderous couple, Gabrielle Bompard and Michel Eyraud, their murder of a wealth Parisian, and the novel defense that Gabrielle was hypnotized into committing the crime. This book reminds me heavily of Devil in the White City.  While it isn’t quite as good as the Pulitzer Prize winner, it gets very close.  The similarities strike me not simply because the book follows a gruesome murder, but in the narrative way the events are told and the tone that is used throughout the book.  Levingston is a skilled writer and it shows as he manages to weave together the story in a very compelling way.  True crime novels has a tendency to get a little lazy and let gruesome events try and carry… Read more »

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Someone Has Taken My Place

Someone Has Taken My Place

Review by Travis Starnes Someone Has Taken My Place is a true story about an Irish insurance investigator on the trail of an identity thief.  It could be called true crime, although it is uniquely different than anything in that genre. When I first heard this book described as a “riveting story of insurance investigation” my thought was, yea right?  The most amazing thing is that is a pretty accurate description of this book.  I am not sure how he did it, but David Snow managed to take insurance fraud investigation and make it fascinating.  The writing is superb across the board.  Snow managed to take what is essentially an intellectual tale and make it extremely accessible.  This is not, or at least mostly not, an action piece.  Nearly every chapter Snow, who the book follows, is on the phone or in meetings.  And in every instance I cared about… Read more »

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The Survivors Club

The Survivors Club

Review by Travis Starnes The Survivors Club is a fairly classic detective story set in Arizona near the border between the US and Mexico.  While investigating an apparent drug cartel murder detective Tess McCrae begins to see a disturbing pattern. As mysteries go this one is solid.  It has pretty much everything you could ask for from a “who done it” and avoids a lot of the pit falls I have seen in other mysteries lately.  The mystery itself is very well conceived.  There is just enough information to keep you guessing but a tough enough puzzle that you don’t figure it out till the very end.  I particularly liked how the various murders were all connected together and I doubled back on my guess several times as parts of the story were revealed. J. Carsen Black is not an author I was familiar with prior to reading this book,… Read more »

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