Hermit Girl, by E. M. Collyer

Hermit Girl by E. M. Collyer My rating: 3 of 5 stars “I’m a bit like moss; at first you don’t notice me, but while you’re not looking, I secretly grow on you.” I got this book for free as an advance review copy by the author who happened to like my review of “Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine” and approached me. Thanks, E. M., I appreciate it! Secondly, I’d like to point out that “ten percent of the profits of this novel [are being] donated to the Children’s Adventure Farm Trust” by request of said author. That’s pretty cool as well. So, now that the introduction is out of the way; what’s this all about? Essentially, it’s about Willow who is a “socially-challenged” young adult, working as a temporary employee in a (for her) boring office job. Living at home with her overbearing mother, Willow is not much of a happy camper. In fact, she is a bit bitchy at times and annoying. Also, she’s a YouTuber and not very successful at that – she has like 10 subscribers. In her videos she basically gives dating advice in spite of the fact that her only relationship (that goes beyond…

Repentance, by Andrew Lam

Repentance by Andrew Lam My rating: 3 of 5 stars “The fact that they had nothing to do with Pearl Harbor didn’t matter. They were guilty by association, by the color of their skin and the slant of their eyes. It didn’t matter that they didn’t speak Japanese, or that they were American citizens. The bottom line was that their kind had perpetrated a horrid crime that came from the land of their ancestors. The shame was a burden that all Nisei silently bore, a burden every soldier in the 442nd was fighting to be free of.” I got this book for free as a win from LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program. Thanks! “Repentance” tells the story of Daniel Tokunaga, a successful surgeon, who is confronted with his estranged father’s past during the Second World War. Daniel’s father is of Japanese descent and fought as part of the 442nd Infantry Regiment, the most decorated unit in U.S. military history. During (mostly) alternating chapters narrating of 1944 (Daniel’s father and his best friend) and 1998 till 1999 we learn a lot about Daniel and his own family as well. Even though Lam doesn’t have his own style, his writing is fairly well,…

Jagger Jones and the Mummy’s Ankh, by Malayna Evans

Jagger Jones and the Mummy’s Ankh by Malayna Evans My rating: 1 of 5 stars “KA-TASTROPHY” Or “The story erupted from his mouth like vomit.” I got this book for free as a win from LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program. Thanks! There are books I’d love to just completely forget about, e. g. Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter so that I could read them again for the first time. Others, I simply want to forget. This book is one of the latter. Reading “Jagger Jones and the Mummy’s Ankh” does indeed feel like the story erupted from [the author’s] mouth like vomit. Seriously, as an author you should be able to at least stay above that level. That seems to be the primary issue, though: The author, Malayna Evans, is the self-professed “author of the middle grade time travel series, The Egyptified Joneses” (from her blurb at Amazon) – despite this being her debut title and she simply can’t write: – Evans’s severely limited vocabulary shows all over the place, e. g. all people are doing if they’re in distress or even hurt is moaning: Jagger moaned as his little sister spun and zoomed back into the house.Jagger moaned…

Operation Hail Storm by Brett Arquette
Advance Review Copy (ARC) , Book Review / January 12, 2018

Operation Hail Storm by Brett Arquette My rating: 1 of 5 stars I was given this ebook for free by the author. In short: An eccentric rich guy called Hail kills a North Korean bad guy, the US administration notices, sends Hail on a mission to break stuff and sends a female “supermodel” CIA agent, Kara, with him. The story is lousy and the entire book has tons of useless techno babble in it that should simply have been scrapped. One of the main characters puts it very nicely: “That meant nothing to Kara. But she did understand that the ship’s big gun was being loaded and brought online. How it worked, she didn’t care.” Neither do we, especially not after having been treated to pages after pages about steering drones, activating weapons, etc. The protagonist, Hail, is a highly annoying character: Hail is sexist…“It was so damn difficult to register this face, this body, this female package with a hardcore CIA agent.”“It was just so damn difficult to take this supermodel for real.” … a macho with nasty attitudes, seeing himself as “the executioner – an exterminator of vermin”, with a blatant disregard for people in general… “The lieutenant…

Rise by Jennifer Anne Davis

Rise by Jennifer Anne Davis My rating: 4 of 5 stars I received this book as part of the Early Reviewers program. As I’ve often received sub-par books, I was somewhat sceptical about this book as well. Turns out I was wrong, to some extent at least. While “Rise” does have quite a few deus-ex-machina moments (a certain rescue comes to mind), even some (more or less) glaring plot holes (what are the “apparitions” during a trial of our heroine, are some of them actually there, etc. etc.?) and some “why did she do *that* now?!” moments, this book was a real page-turner for me. I’ve lost a not-so-small number of hours of sleep over it, actually, which doesn’t happen all that often. In spite of the shortcomings I mentioned before, our heroine is likeable, smart (sometimes…) and obviously fairly powerful. Her primary adversary is written as a multi-faceted character (but still fairly shrouded in mystery at the end of the book) and due to that, a fairly interesting figure. As are several side-kicks of the heroine (yes, sorry, I’ve forgotten her name as neither her nor the book are ultimately *that* remarkable 🙂 ) who grow (despite formulaically at…

Into the Decay by Justin K. Arthur
Advance Review Copy (ARC) , Book Review / October 27, 2015

Into the Decay by Justin K. Arthur My rating: 4 of 5 stars This was yet another pleasant surprise from LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program. This is a classic example for not judging a book by its cover because – let’s be honest – the cover looks like a failed experiment. The book itself, though, is fairly enjoyable. In fact, the story telling, the writing and the overall style (which *is* somewhat rough at the edges) reminds me of an early Brandon Sanderson. The story was interesting and fairly well told.  View all my reviews

Silk by Chris Karlsen

Silk by Chris Karlsen My rating: 2 of 5 stars This is yet another win from Early Reviewers. Unfortunately, it’s a completely forgettable book. I’ve read “Silk” some time ago and waited to write this review for a while to see what I would actually remember and how I would feel about it. The story is pretty much standard murder mystery: Killer kills woman, police tries to find him with the limited means of the time, police catches murders. In between, there’s a bored guy from the landed gentry who tries to achieve eternal youth by acquiring an obscure potion, seduces every woman he meets and kills most of them because it turns him on. There’s the lonely cop with a funny name and his sidekick, their annoying boss and a bit of romance thrown in uninspiredly. The author tries to add a bit of philosophy (“Was he always like that or was it the potion? Everyone seems to have loved him! Must have been the potion” – “No, young padawan, he must have been a monster before because no elixir exists to turn someone into one.”) but fails at that as well. Honestly, find something else to read. This…

Leaving Montana by Thomas Whaley
Advance Review Copy (ARC) , Book Review / September 7, 2014

Leaving Montana by Thomas Whaley My rating: 4 of 5 stars This was yet another surprisingly good book from early reviewers. As usual, I won’t bother with a summary especially since the description is already pretty good. The story is basically narrated on two different levels in time which are slowly being merged into the current day. Especially in the beginning, this is done masterfully and effortlessly. It’s getting slightly harder to understand towards the end of the book when the time frames are getting nearer to each other but it’s still very well done. There are a few minor issues that make me subtract one star:  – There are several occurrences of the nowadays common mistake of using “[I] could care less” when it actually should be “[I] could *not* care less”, e. g. “He acted as if he could care less, but the fact was he did.” (Chapter 5) – A few times, when it should be “then” the author’s mistakenly using the comparative “than” instead. – Fairly regularly, there are instances of a missing comma. These minor issues, though, hardly ever really have an impact on the enjoyment of the book as a whole. It’s brilliantly written,…

Arctic Wargame by Ethan Jones

Arctic Wargame by Ethan Jones My rating: 2 of 5 stars This review may contain spoilers! Since I got this book in a give-away, I really hoped I’d like it. Alas, it was not to be. First of all, the plot is thin. Thinner than a sheet of ice on a puddle. Evil Danes (or rather: a single evil Dane, being blackmailed by clichée russians) attacking Canada with a bunch of common criminals. On the other side are some non-descript Canadians (our bland hero), some noble natives (one of them constantly drunk, corrupted by the evil white men!) and a compassionate American nurse which fight the evil criminal Danes. Oh, and there’s the hero’s love interest who happens to be around for no discernible reason – she adds nothing to the story, doesn’t seem to have any useful talents and is usually just being an accessory. I’m absolutely willing to suspend my disbelief; I might even have accepted the ridiculous notion of a small country like Denmark attacking Canada, an ally, if the storytelling hadn’t been so incredibly boring. The entire story is so unbelievably predictable that only a feeling of obligation towards the author made me finish it. The characters are…

The Normans: From Raiders to Kings by Lars Brownworth

The Normans: From Raiders to Kings by Lars Brownworth My rating: 4 of 5 stars I didn’t really know what to expect from this book. I thought the topic of the Normans was interesting but didn’t get my hopes up high since I had never heard of the author before, popular history books are usually not my taste and the cover was somewhat attention-seeking. I very quickly got drawn into the book deeply, though. Brownworth definitely succeeds in explaining the main Norman rulers and their feats. I was a bit worried about all the names and references but most of the time, a chapter or a few later, Brownworth picks up and expands on the subject he mentioned before and one gets an excellent overview. Sometimes, the chapters are a bit short and there would likely be more to say about the respective protagonist (e. g. Frederick II deserves more attention than he gets here, I think) but all in all, this book makes a very interesting read. I like how Brownworth isn’t shy to voice his own opinion about the respective protagonist at the end of almost every chapter – I don’t always agree with his assessment but I…