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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Drakon

Drakon

Review by Reynold Starnes Drakon is S. M. Stirling’s follow-up to the Draka Domination trilogy.   The Domination trilogy is an alternate history tale which envisions a dystopian society formed in South Africa by British loyalists following the American Revolution.  The Draka society is slave-holding and racist with everyone not part of the privileged Draka elite viewed as serfs.  At the end of the trilogy, we find the Draka are bioengineering their off-spring to become a new and superior species. Drakon begins in the year 2442, where Gwendolyn Ingolfson, who is a first-generation modified Draka and is nearly five hundred years old acts as a trouble-shooter for the Race.  She took part in the Final War which, in this timeline, the Draka won.  Except for a small number of feral humans, the solar system only has the Draka and homo servus, genetically modified humans.  At the end of that war, the… Read more »

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Orbital Decay

Orbital Decay

Review by Travis Starnes Orbital Decay is a mixture of classic science fiction and cold war era fiction.  Construction workers on a space instillation learn that the bases real purpose is to spy on Americans and they decide to take matters into their own hands. Overall this isn’t a bad story and reading it as someone living 20+ years after it was written it is easy to see parts of the book that are almost prescient.   It shows how the public consciousness concerned about government surveillance is not limited to recent events and has been a concern for a very long time. While the moral of the story does hold up the rest of the book feels highly dated.  This is definitely a work from a Cold War mindset and you can feel that throughout the story.  There are also many references that were topical at the time but no… Read more »

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Ripper

Ripper

Review by Andy The book Ripper by Stefan Petrucha is one of the absolute best books I have ever read, and it definitely deserves any awards it has or might get. This mystery is about a young boy named Carver who wants to be a detective. This book has every element that makes a good mystery.  It has some very surprising twists, shows good clues, has smart observations and a good deal of suspense. The plot progresses quickly with lots of exciting turns. This is obvious considering that at the beginning of the book Carver is in an orphanage and eventually ends up chasing Jack the Ripper. Along the way Carver meets future president Roosevelt, lives in an asylum and researches in a secret underground base. Stefan was able to take these great ideas and turn them into an amazing book with a fast-paced plot that keeps you wondering what… Read more »

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1914: The Year the World Ended

1914: The Year the World Ended

1914: The Year the World Ended is an accounting of the origins of World War I.  It takes on myths that surround the war and tries to show why the powers that be in Europe allowed the world to dissolve into one of the bloodiest conflicts in history.  The author, historian Paul Ham, asks why 8.5 million people had to die. There is no denying that Paul Ham is a skilled historian.  His research for this book is thorough and meticulous.  He has a very firm grasp of all the events that built up and eventually lead to the war and the players involved.  This book is very detailed and gives a very complete explanation of the causes of World War I. While as a history text it does succeed, in every other way this book fails.  It is billed as a narrative account and it is anything but that. … Read more »

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