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review 2018-03-28 17:16
Recycles much from his earlier work
Red Inferno: 1945 - Robert Conroy

This book is Conroy’s fifth alternate history novel, yet in many respects it reads like his third one, 1945, given how much he borrows from it. Though the setting is different – with the premise being a clash between Soviet and American forces in Germany at the end of the Second World War in Europe – the elements are all too familiar to anyone who has read Conroy’s earlier work. As in the earlier novel, they will encounter green lieutenants, beleaguered but determined generals, men trapped behind the lines cooperating with OSS agents, a duplicitous Soviet Union, and a plucky man from Missouri attempting to address it all. Even the ending is essentially the same, though this is less of a surprise as all of Conroy’s novels seem to conclude with an “in-the-end-the-world-was-left-a-better-place” sort of wrapping up.

This is not to say that this is not an enjoyable book, as fans of Conroy’s alternate novels will find the author firing on every cylinder that he has within these pages. But it seems that with the fifth novel (and his third consecutive one set in the Second World War) Conroy’s creative well is running dry and he is beginning to recycle earlier ideas in a slightly refreshed setting. In his “Acknowledgments” section at the end of the book he expresses his hope that this will not be the last alternate history novel he writes; while I'm sure it wasn't, I hope that he put more time into giving readers something new and different, rather than just warming over his earlier work.

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review 2017-07-13 17:36
Jungle Inferno by Desiree Holt
Jungle Inferno (The Phoenix Agency Book 1) - Desiree Holt

Mark and Faith have been friends since childhood, using their own special way of communicating—telepathy. But they refused to cross the boundaries of their friendship and Mark went off to protect the country...Then one day Faith receives his distress message...

DNF @ 20%

I simply couldn't go on. The premise with the wounded soldier held in captivity in the middle of the Peruvian jungle, only able to communicate with one person in the outside world, was interesting. Unfortunately, the execution was severely lacking.

Instead of following a linear narrative, the story kept jumping, alternating between the present (Mark being captive, sending SOS messages to Faith), flashbacks (their childhood and how they slowly fell in love), and fantasies. While the flashbacks worked in establishing the connection between the two main characters, the flashbacks were nothing but sex, sex, and more sex, contributing nothing to the story, but titillation...And yes, serving to slow the already slow pacing even more.

I didn't really connect with either of the protagonists, maybe because in the 20% of the book I read, there were three sex scenes without much character introduction or, God forbid, development. What also bothered me was the fact the heroine, a writer, was determined to find a SpecOps soldier all on her own (yeah, right), and the fact said SpecOps soldier was capable of transmitting all kinds of messages, but his own location.
I didn't really find the suspense that suspenseful, once more because the fantasies trampled all the intensity the suspense could've generated.
And finally, I didn't really like the voice and narrative style. It sounded rather juvenile and slightly amateurish, especially when it came to the heroine-centric scenes.

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review 2017-06-26 16:48
Raintree: Inferno - Linda Howard

Well, that sucks. Here I am, trying to read down this mountain and at the same time attend to that stash of numbered romances I'd picked up for varying reasons and I pull out one that's so interesting that I feel the need to hunt down the other 3. This is the opposite direction of reading down; this is adding to. (mutter)


Oh, it had its issues...


Our H, powerful fire mage or whatever, runs a casino. A suspiciously successful player is spotted and dragged into his office. The h - gifted in ways she's not really sure about and trying to ignore - finds herself meeting him, getting tested by him, questioned by him, etc. A fire breaks out in the casino. He drags her with him, forcibly links her power to his to help put the fire out, and drags her home with him.


Or rather, compels her to go with him. He manages to forget things like the need to relieve oneself. She's understandably pissed off (and he was almost pissed on, but don't think he thought about that)


This takes half the book - issue one.


Somehow over the next couple of days, they manage to fall for each other (or perhaps it was insta-love, not sure). - issue two


And they figure out there is a bad guy and he starts heading for the home fort.

It ends in a cliff hanger - issue three


And I wanna know what happens next.

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review 2017-06-08 22:28
Jungle Inferno (The Phoenix Agency Book 1) - Desiree Holt

Jungle Inferno is another amazing read from Desiree Holt. This is a fairly short read, perfect for those with limited time for reading. I love the characters. Faith and Mark's story has bits of paranormal, humor, drama and action. Plenty of sizzle packed into this book. I can't wait to read more from this talented writer! Jungle Inferno is book 1 of the Phoenix Agency Series but can be read as a standalone.
This is a complete book, not a cliffhanger.

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review 2017-05-01 05:57
Slips into the melodramatic
Neptune's Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal - James D. Hornfischer

I read this as part of the naval history kick that I've been on lately. For the most part I've been reading histories of the design and construction of warships, which has provided some interesting insights into geopolitics and the deterministic factors in the wars of the 20th century. With my reading narrowing to cruisers lately, I became more interested in reading about some of the campaigns in which they fought, which led me to this book.


What made this particular campaign so interesting was that it was simultaneously both a reversion to earlier forms of naval combat and a new type of warfare. The early battles of the war in the Pacific had already demonstrated the decisive role that air power was coming to play in naval battles. Yet air power still suffered from a number of limitations, most notably that the planes could only operate in daytime. This had the effect of shifting naval combat to night, when ships could operate free from fear of air attack. This pattern first emerged in the naval battles around the Solomons in the fall of 1942 where the heavy attrition in aircraft carriers suffered by both sides gave surface combatants greater reign. These battles were desperate and often confused affairs, with both sides literally operating in the dark when it came to their enemy's dispositions and position. Yet while the United States suffered proportionally heavier losses, their success in holding off Japanese bombardment and resupply efforts on Guadalcanal facilitated the eventual American victory there, beginning the long, bloody rollback of the Japanese empire.


James Hornfischer describes all of this in a book that carefully reconstructs these naval actions and sets them in the context of larger operations. It's described with a high level drama that often reflects the tension and excitement many of these men felt as they found themselves thrust into a war to which they were still adjusting. Yet Hornfischer's writing often crosses the line from dramatic to melodramatic, as he strains to achieve eloquence through bombastic prose that can be overwrought. In this respect,  in attempting to achieve Homeric heights he comes across as hackneyed and overwrought. Nor does it help that Hornfischer's coverage is heavily weighted towards the American side, which is perhaps understandable given the weight of his sources but nonetheless imbalances his analysis. As a result, while an entertaining and often informative account of the battles, it falls short of being the epic, definitive account that the author so clearly aspires to write.

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