Posts Categorized: eBook

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Frappe Today Dead Tomorrow

Frappe Today Dead Tomorrow

Frappe Today Dead Tomorrow is the definition of a ‘cozy mystery’.  It has a crime, in this case an assault that puts a young woman in a coma, the hero who isn’t an investigator but is thrown into the role, and a villain with shady plans, and little on screen violence. I will say this had a nice twist to it, in that Star, the girl in the coma, joins the investigation in a supernatural way by being able to communicate with Emma, the main character, and minimally affect the world around her.  It is sort of like a ghost side kick, with the exception that the person isn’t actually dead.  There is a lot of supernatural/metaphysical stuff in this book that I did not expect when I first started reading it.  Not that it’s a bad thing.  The subject is generally well handled and while a bit to new-age… Read more »

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Rise of the Phoenix

Rise of the Phoenix

Rise of the Phoenix is a fairly standard action thriller that, while it has issues, gets a lot of things right.  You have the two main characters, both excellent in their field, mixing humor and action as they seek to stop a terrorist threat.  Formulaic?  Sure, but it’s a formula that works, so why mess with it. The action is what this book gets right.  Once you get past the setup and introduction, which I will address in a moment, the action is high paced.  For the lovers of adrenaline fueled thriller action, Gibbs hits the right marks.  The main characters are also well developed, but as individuals and with their interaction with each other.  They are believable as characters with enough backstory to keep them from being just stereotypical stand-ins, which is a problem in many books in this genre. I do have two issues with the book, one… Read more »

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Emerge

Emerge

Emerge is a fairly standard young adult novel that hits all the boxes on the YA checklist.  Thankfully it does so competently and with a plot that is interesting.  You have Allie, the girl who is different but even she doesn’t know how different.  Read, hidden special powers.  The guy she meets that accepts her for who she is, and turns out to be special to.  A secrete destiny waiting to be discovered. Formulaic however does not equal bad.  Allie is a completely likable character and has an emotional depth which is refreshing to see.  Her relationship with Aiden is believable and well done. In a genre where relationships are all to often one dimensional or unbelievable, I was happy to see Craven knew how to avoid these pitfalls. The backstory is also well done.  There was a lot thought put into the backstory of the world and while yes,… Read more »

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The Con Men: Hustling in New York City

The Con Men: Hustling in New York City

When I started reading Con Men I was expecting stories about big time cons in New York.  I was thinking about the classic con men like we see in the The Sting, The Grifters, or Catch Me If You Can.  That really isn’t what this book is about.  This book is about the street level hustler.  The guys paying three card monte and running scams on neighborhood stores. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this book.  If you are looking for a behind the scenes look on how someone can talk tourists out of their money, convince a store to let merchandise walk out the front door, or set up Ponzi schemes, then this book delivers.  The authors spend years with scam artists plying the streets of New York and delivers an amazing view into that world you can’t get from reading news accounts or trial transcripts.  They tell you… Read more »

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Train to Nowhere

Train to Nowhere

Train to Nowhere is set in a dystopian future where people are divided into classes and live completely separate from each other.  In this future world strict population controls are in place and illegal children, those children that were born outside of the new rules of the society, are placed on the trains known as Orphan Trains.  The story follows one of these orphans named Garland, as he strains to see the bigger world outside the train. This book has a lot of good things going for it.  First and foremost are the characters, who are well designed and relatable.  You can’t help but feel for Garland as he fights between the desire to leave the train and wanting to be with his friends.  Or be nervous for him when he finally manages to get into the larger world.  The reader is also given a counter in the form of… Read more »

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Spy for Hire

Spy for Hire

Mark Sava, John Decker and friends must protect a small orphan being used as a pawn in a turf war between governmental agencies.  Spy for Hire is a straight up action thriller and for fans of the genre it ticks off all the boxes you would expect. The story itself is about as cookie cutter spy/action thriller as you get.  It isn’t bad mind you, just a bit ho-hum.  The good guys are clever and often manage to outwit their adversaries and there is some good action with a few plot twists thrown in to keep you on your toes.  The only real problem with the plot twists is that they are completely telegraphed.  You see where the twists are going almost as soon as they are introduced and readers of the genre will find very few surprises.   Additionally there are problems with the sub-plots.  Mayland introduces events and side… Read more »

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Bread and Butter

Bread and Butter

Bread & Butter meshes a restaurant/chef story in the vein of Kitchen Confidential with a more traditional family drama to create a new take on the culinary drama.  While not everything in this book really works I can see what the author was going for and commend her for it. Two things are clear from reading this book.  One is that Michelle Wildgen is a foodie and has a real passion for the subject.  Her descriptions of the food and the cooking of it are the literary version of food porn.  You can almost taste the meals from her descriptions.  Her ability to describe food is what I enjoyed most about the book.  After reading a chapter of Bread & Butter what I really wanted to do is get into the kitchen and cooks something. The other thing that is obvious from reading this book, at least to someone who… Read more »

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Runner

Runner

In Runner, Patrick Lee takes the standard military thriller and manages to add some new twists that elevate the book beyond what is expected from the genre.  Since I am a fan of the thrillers and read a lot of these types of books it is pretty rare that I am surprised by them.  I was really pleased that this one managed to surprise me by the second chapter. This book is an interesting mixture of the standard ex-special forces hero comes out of retirement to save the girl type of story and adds a light sci-fi element giving the plot a nice spin.  What is better is that the twist isn’t held until the end of the book but instead put up front in the first few chapters. The other thing that really helps this book is the pacing.  A lot of thrillers claim to be “fast paced” but… Read more »

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Three Princes

Three Princes

Imagine a world where the Egyptian civilization never fell; a world where the Pharos still maintained power and a legacy going back generation.  That sounds like a pretty good premise for a book, right?  I thought so too.  Unfortunately while Three Princes has that awesome setup and gets the feel of the world right the actual story just doesn’t hold up. This is a book I really wanted to like.  I love Egyptian history and the Egyptian “style” so the idea of bringing that forward into modern times really intrigued me.  And that is the big thing this book gets right. Add to that the fact that in the story the Incans also remain and are the Egyptians main adversary and I am totally on board.  Ramona Wheeler is very good at describing the world in such a way that you can almost feel it.  While the alternate history lover… Read more »

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The Martian

The Martian

This is the obvious analogy, but The Martian by Andy Weir is Robin Caruso in space, on steroids and jacked up on laughing gas.  This book sits in a weird place between straight fiction and science fiction.  Or rather it is science fiction but much closer to the science end then fiction end. This book doesn’t follow the standard narrative structure, and that really works for it.  Three fourths of the story is told through journal entries by the protagonist because, with the exception of a few portions of the book, he has no contacts with anyone else.  Most of the story happens through Watney’s inner monologue which sounds like a bad thing but really works.   When the story does switch to other characters and a more normal story structure all I wanted was for it to get back to Watney and his journal. The character of Mark Watney is… Read more »

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