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review 2019-09-11 21:13
To Kill The Truth by Sam Bourne
To Kill the Truth (Maggie Costello #4) - Sam Bourne

To Kill The Truth was an excellent political thriller that was almost perfectly paced and very timely. I could hardly put it down! The plot never got stale and even though there were a couple of eye-rolling coincidences at the end, I loved it.

 

This was the fourth book in the Maggie Costello series. Maggie is a feisty red-headed Irish woman who, before this book commences, worked for the US government as an advisor. Apparently, in the previous book she made the decision to step away from government and focus on other, more sedate things. When a prominent historian is killed, though, Maggie’s old friend from government, Donna, contacts her and asks her to investigate. We soon discover, when a library (part of the Alexandria group) burns down, an individual (or group) is trying to destroy historical documents and thereby wipe the collective memory. Obviously they don’t stop there. They destroy digital records as well as murdering the likes of Holocaust survivors.

 

A sub-plot, and an excellent one at that, was the trial of Mr Keane who was being sued as he denied slavery. This tied in expertly with the main plot and demonstrated how far and deep these opinions reached.

 

Although Trump was never named, it was obvious the book was a swipe at his administration. Just have a look at this quote for example:

 

It’s fatal flaw, you see, Maggie, was that it relied on shame. Truth relied on shame. People were embarrassed to be caught in a lie. They were ashamed of it. Before him, no-one wanted to do it. But then this once-in-a-generation, hell, once-in-a-millennium man comes along and he couldn’t give a rat’s asshole. He doesn’t even blush. He feels no shame. He doesn’t care. And because he doesn’t care, you don’t need to care either. And, just like that, it’s over. Truth is dead.

 

The thing is, though, once-in-a-millennium? I sincerely hope so, but it’s set a trend. Nothing illustrates that more than Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and cohort. Truth is dead? It’s an extremely dangerous trend. No-one knows when it will end and that is scary. However, don’t let that put you off reading this, because there’s no better time to. We can’t ignore what’s going in and be apathetic. There are still liberal commentators out there, such as James O’Brien who’s book I would implore everyone to read. I reviewed it not so long ago and it illustrates the hypocrisy of Brexit philosophy.

 

Obviously this was plot-driven and I’m much more a character-driven narrative fan, but that didn't curb my enjoyment at all. Every character was believable, although Maggie was by far the best She was feisty and strong and wouldn’t take no for an answer. I’m going to go back and read the first 3 books in the series and I'm really looking forward to learning more about her and her past.

 

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review 2019-02-10 10:40
To Kill the President
To Kill the President: The Most Explosive Thriller of the Year - Sam Bourne

by Sam Bourne

 

I don't often read books with political themes, but it was given to me at Christmas and once I started to read, I got caught up into the intrigue and danger of a well-written Thriller.

 

Maggie is a White House aid whose job it is to investigate an apparent suicide by the president's personal physician. Something about it doesn't smell right and she digs deeper, finding reason to suspect that the doctor was killed as part of a higher level plot. When she starts getting too close, her suspicions are confirmed by what might be called near miss attempts on her life, given as warning to back off.

 

The one thing I found unrealistic was that she didn't. Whatever altruistic or patriotic ideology a person might have, the threats expanded beyond just herself, to loved ones, and a woman in particular, especially one who saw the benefit of just sitting back and washing her hands of it, would be very unlikely to take on the odds demonstrated against her.

 

Despite that, it made a good story and the twists and turns got frightening at a level that made me wonder just how much of the techno-terrorism might actually be possible. Towards the end, I found it difficult to stop between chapters because I needed to know what happened next!

 

The ending was worthy. No spoilers, but there was some high tension to the very last.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-10-21 13:04
Review: Day By Day Armageddon: Beyond Exile
Day by Day Armageddon: Origin to Exile - J.L. Bourne

This was an amazing follow-up to "Armageddon"!  Our protagonist and group survive the incursion of hostiles, regroup and keep on keeping on.  They do more reconnaissance and perform a fee rescue, one of which involves military personnel.  This eventually leads to our protagonist returning to active military service and becoming the ranking officer on the ground, which put him in charge of many soldiers and civilians.  There is a small contingent of military (on destroyer ships) still active and trying to do what they can to protect the remaining living and take out the threat of the dead.

 

After a search mission gone bad, our protagonist is separated from the group, on his own, injured and on foot, hundreds of miles from home.  It's a harrowing experience and he almost dies several times.  Then his luck changes and he gets help from an unknown group, with experimental tech.  He picks up an ally along the way, and they work together to get back to safety. 

 

He makes it back to the bunker after being gone for 45 days.  Once back and rested they learn that the group that 'helped' him get back home, had ulterior motives, and the bunker comes under siege.  They are able to escape and get evacuated to the war ships.  There we learn that they are planning a mission to China to retrieve patient zero--because of course it always starts in China!  And this all started because scientists found a non terrestrial vessel in a block of ice and just had to investigate it.  They didn't follow protocol, this the outbreak of an unknown disease that brings the dead back. *sigh*  That explanation was unexpected, but not necessarily a bad one.  At least this series gives an actual explanation as to where this outbreak came from.  Now our protagonist is commissioned to the mission to find patient zero and perhaps a cure, or vaccine.  Can't wait to see what happens next!

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review 2018-07-23 13:21
Holly Bourne: Spinster Girls - Was ist schon normal?
Spinster Girls – Was ist schon normal?: ... Spinster Girls – Was ist schon normal?: Roman - Holly Bourne,Nina Frey

Als Protagonistin ist die 16-jährige Evie damit bemüht, ihre Zwangsstörung in Griff zu bekommen. Nach einem Aufenthalt im Krankenhaus ist sie in ihren Alltag zurückgekehrt. Zwar geht sie noch regelmäßig zur Therapie, aber die Medikamentendosis wird stetig heruntergeschraubt und ihr Genesungstagebuch hat sie in Normalwerdetagebuch umgetauft, um ihr großer Ziel festzuhalten: wieder normal werden. Also zur Schule gehen, Freundinnen treffen, Parties und Dates. Und das alles, möglichst ohne ständig an Keime und andere Krankheitserreger denken zu müssen. Ohne sich die Hände blutig zu schrubben. Oder die Haltbarkeitsdaten sämtlicher Lebensmittel zu tabellarisieren.

Die Sprache ist angenehm zu lesen, teilweise amüsant, sodass die ernste Thematik geschickt aufgelockert ist. Dazu gibt es neben dem eigentlichen Erzählen auch Auszüge aus Evies Normalwerdetagebuch und Gedanken in Kategorien wie „Unguter Gedanke“, „Unguter, aber vernünftiger Gedanke“, „So richtig unguter Gedanke“ oder „Noch üblerer Gedanke“, die nicht nur für Abwechslung sorgen, sondern auch Evies Situation illustrieren. Da sie aus der Ich-Perspektive erzählt, fällt es leicht, mir ihr mitzufühlen und sich in sie hineinzuversetzen. So werden Handlungen, die von außen betrachtet undurchsichtig erscheinen würden, nachvollziehbar. Sehr eindrücklich erfährt man als Leser, wie Evie mit ihren Gedanken kämpft, und wie sehr sie ihnen doch ausgeliefert ist.

Auch scheint der Roman durchweg sorgfältig recherchiert und es fließen viel Hintergrundinformation mit ein.
Neben Evies Zwangsstörung ist der „Spinster Club“, den sie mir ihren Freundinnen gründet, ein zweites großes Thema. Hier geht es um Feminismus, um Emanzipation. Darum, man selbst zu sein, sich nicht für eine Beziehung zu verbiegen und sich auch nicht über sie zu definieren.

Gefallen hat mit hier auch der realistisch er Umgang mit der Liebe: In Jugendbüchern scheint man es häufig mit Protagonistinnen zu tun zu haben, die 16, 17, 18 Jahre sind als auf ihren Seelenverwandten treffen. Auf den einen Menschen, der für sie bestimmt ist den sie den Rest ihres Lebens lieben werden. Das ist unrealistisch und wird hier erfrischend anders dargestellt. Denn, so schön es auch wäre, Liebe heilt nun mal keine Zwangsstörung und es ist nicht auf einmal alles gut.

Insgesamt spannende Themen und eine wichtige Botschaft in einem witzig erzählten Buch.

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review 2018-06-23 14:09
What's a girl gotta do? by Holly Bourne
What's a girl gotta do? - Holly Bourne

This was the third book in Holly Bournes trilogy, The Spinster Club. For those who haven’t read it, the spinster club is not a club for old woman, it’s a term that’s been turned on it’s head. It’s what 3 college girls call their feminist group that meets at each other’s houses, cheesy snacks at the ready. This whole trilogy has its roots in feminism, although this is the first book in the series where it took centre stage.

 

I started this series 2 or 3 years ago with the first book, Am I Normal Yet. It was about 1 of the 3 friends, Evie, although they hadn’t become friends at that time. It mostly focused on mental illness and it was only towards the end the theme of friendship and relationships took hold. I really enjoyed that first book, but not so much the second, which was from Amber’s perspective, another girl from the group. This was from Lottie’s perspective, the one who started the spinster club to begin with. She’s the smartest of the 3 apparently and is pipped to go to Cambridge University. This book and the first are set just outside London, in an unnamed town, whereas the second book is set in the US when Amber goes to see her mother. In this one it’s the last year of college for the girls, after which time they’ll be forced to separate.

 

So, the plot. After being subject to verbal harassment on the way to college one day, Lottie decides on an extra-curricula project. She plans to call out every instance of sexism she witnesses for a whole month, along with the girls from her feminist society at college. She’s doing this alongside her hefty college work and preparation for an interview with Cambridge University. At the start, Lottie doesn’t know what a big project she’s getting into and soon begins to feel the strain. She also gets involved with a guy, which complicates things more.

 

Even though feminism is an issue that transcends age, I don’t think I was the intended audience. I think it might benefit younger people more who are just getting into feminism. They can learn some of the fundamentals and are poised to be inspired. During Lottie’s project it became obvious just how much sexism women have to put up with on a daily basis, so it really helped shed more light on the issue for me.

 

If you’re thinking the novel sounds overly preachy, you’d be right and wrong. There was a good deal of finger-pointing in the name of feminism, but at no point did I roll my eyes and think it was too much. It was all pretty much justified. There were also plenty of side plots to divert from this issue, such as a romance between Lottie and the film student who was filming her during her project for a YouTube channel dedicated to it. There was also a strong focus concerning friendship, which has always been a big theme in each of these books.

 

The writing was nothing fancy. It was very much to the point, with few descriptive elements to speak of. Apart from the odd reference to appearance and a little about the surroundings, there wasn’t much. That didn’t particularly matter to me, as it’s what I’ve come to expect from the YA genre at large. Holly Bourne has just written her first adult novel, though, so I would be interested to see if that changes. I doubt it, though. What this was instead was a really fun read, with just enough seriousness to prevent it from falling into being too light. It was exactly what I needed, a fun read.

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