Posts Categorized: eARC

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The House of Memory

The House of Memory

The House of Memory is a suspense filled ghost story, and a mystery rolled into one.  It’s a combination I’ve seen before, but done with a degree of skill that is often missed in this type of book. While the mystery part of ghost story/mystery was done well, it is the ghost story portion that really made this book an enjoyable read.  Too often books that focus on ghosts either concentrate on the supernatural aspects to the exclusion of all else or go the horror route and make the undead seem as gruesome and scary as possible. One of the things I really liked about House of Memory is, while ghosts were the major aspect of the book, the world the story lives in wasn’t solely focused on them.  The way ghosts are introduced as part of the world, existing next to everyday mundanity, made them feel somewhat more real… Read more »

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Pandemic

Pandemic

Review by Travis Starnes An alien intelligence launches one last shot at the human race causing a new disease to take hold and bring humanity to the brink of extinction.  Pandemic is the third book, and apparently the last book, in the Infected series.  The series revolves around an alien intelligence attempts to destroy humanity, and humanity’s response. While this book is clearly a sequel and assumes previous knowledge of events earlier in the series it drops enough breadcrumbs to keep up with what is going on.  This is good because I had never read any parts of the infected series and had no idea what was going on.  While I was lost for a chapter getting my bearings the book moves at a rapid enough pace that it doesn’t take long to catch hold. And that pacing is probably the best thing about this book.  It moves very fast… Read more »

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What Remains

What Remains

Review by Travis Starnes Set just before and during the zombie apocalypse What Remains follows a young survivor as she escorts a doctor and two of her young friends from the safety of one camp to another, and through the horrors beyond their sheltered homes. I love a good zombie book and this promised to be just that.  While I am generally prefer older protagonists everything about the setting of this book was the standard fare that I generally love.  The problem is the book just isn’t very good. The overall plotting came off as very juvenile to me.  I don’t really know anything about Kay Holland, but if I found out she was a teenager I would not be shocked. Everything from the plotting to the dialogue to the kid who was training his whole life for the apocalypse would seem more at place in a badly written direct… Read more »

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SnapShot

SnapShot

Review by Travis Starnes An estranged father and daughter look back at the events surrounding the murder of a civil rights leader in the 1960s, a murder the two of them experienced first hand when both were much younger.  Snapshot is somewhere between a standard mystery/thriller and a fictional look back at the troubled 60s. I am torn by this book.  It is both a run of the mill, middle of the road mystery and a fairly interesting story.  Every time I think about the book I can’t tell if I thought it was just ok or really liked it, because it hit me in two completely different ways. The first way is in how the book is presented.  As a mystery novel there isn’t much that got me going.  The mystery is not overly complicated, although the book piles on the intrigue to make it seem more intricate, and… Read more »

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Bad Wolf

Bad Wolf

Review by Travis Starnes Bad Wolfis the 6th book in the Bodenstein & Kirchoff series although it is published as the second story in the US. It follows two inspectors as they investigate two seemingly unconnected crimes, a murdered 16 year old and a kidnapped TV reporter.  As they begin to connect the two events the inspectors head down a trail that will take them into the highest echelons of society. I had a little trouble getting into this book.  While it is a pretty straight forward detective style mystery I just had too many problems connecting with the characters.  The one thing that really stood out to me is the similarities this has to mystery books that were created in Sweden.  I know this is the authors 2nd US release and previously Nehaus was mostly a European writer but other than that I am not familiar with her origin,… Read more »

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The Polaris Protocol

The Polaris Protocol

Review by Travis Starnes The Polaris Protocol is the 4th book in the Pike Logan series, not counting the large number of short stories Taylor has put out, and has Pike and Jennifer headed south of the border to stop a plan to interfere with the GPS infrastructure while trying to rescue Jennifer’s brother from the hands of the Cartels.  If that sounds like a lot of stuff happening in one book, it is.  But it also works. This is the first book I have read in this series and Taylor does really good job onboarding new readers before setting off on high adventure.  The prolog to the book has Pike and Jennifer, and the rest of the taskforce team, finishing up a mission.  Much like the start to a James Bond film this works really well as a device to introduce the characters and give a sense of their… Read more »

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Ex-Purgatory

Ex-Purgatory

Ex-Purgatory starts you in the middle of a story already in progress with characters you should already know but who don’t seem to know themselves.  If you have read the previous volumes in this series then this book has an interesting opening that should keep you riveted.  If, like me, this is your entrance into the series then you will spend the first 30% of the book trying to figure out what the heck is going on. To be fair this clearly was not intended to be a place for new readers to pick up the series and the book makes no qualms about it.  There are really two ways you can go with a series, the stand alone approach where each book resents for new readers and each installment works unto itself or the episodic approach where each title builds on what came before it.  Clines clearly went for… Read more »

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When Soldiers Fall

When Soldiers Fall

Review by Travis Starnes Since Vietnam the public discourse of casualties has become a major issue in American politics but it has been something examined and considered for since the first casualty reporting during World War I.  When Soldiers Fall examines how the government has dealt with the issue of military casualties and the reporting of casualties to the public. Often when a book examines a very minute and specific area of public policy I expect something more academic then geared for entertainment.  That was my expectation when coming into When Soldiers Fall and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.  While there was clearly a lot of in-depth research done for this book Casey does an excellent job of presenting his data and thoughts on the subject in a very conversational and accessible manner.  The book flows very well and is a fast and easy read if you… Read more »

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Call of the Wild

Call of the Wild

Review by Andy Call of the Wild is one of the best classics I’ve ever read. That isn’t much considering I don’t like many classics and that I haven’t read many, but it’s up there with Sherlock Holmes. I even liked it better than Jules Verne which I thought was pretty good. The beginning is a bit boring, but it gets a lot better as the story progresses. The characters are good enough, and overall, it’s not a bad book. There aren’t really any strong characters except the main character Buck. Spitz is as well but other than those two there aren’t very many stand outs. The incident with Thornton’s bragging – Buck’s favorite master – was an interesting and shows of why you shouldn’t brag. Buck is odd since he strives to be leader, and to prove he’s better than everyone else, yet he is from the “soft” south… Read more »

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Fear Nothing

Fear Nothing

Review by Travis Starnes Fear Nothing is the 7th book in the D.D. Warren series and follows her on the track of a gruesome serial killer and recovery from an excruciating injury.  As seems to be the trend lately this is a book in the middle of a series that I am coming into cold.  Luckily this is another one that works without having read the previous adventures of Detective Warren. As characters go Gardner’s seem fairly aggressive, which isn’t unusual for detective style mysteries, but it does make them a lot less likable.  It is hard to tell if this is an offshoot of the story, seeing as how a character sidelined because of a debilitating and extremely painful injury would indeed be very angry and aggressive, or if this is just her way of writing characters.  Regardless the continuing characters get enough of an introduction to be fully… Read more »

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