30 December 2013

Review: The Moses Virus by Jack Hyland

In sci-med thriller The Moses Virus, Dr Tom Stewart, a professor and trustee of the American Academy in Rome, stumbles upon an ancient virus, more deadly than the Spanish Flu and becomes the one man who can protect the virus from falling into the wrong hands.

I do like my deadly pathogen thrillers, and The Moses Virus certainly fits into this category, although is a bit slower than most novels in this genre, with a lot of focus being put on the history side of the story especially earlier on. Like many books since Dan Brown, there is a bit of an ‘evil Vatican’ sub-plot that will appeal to fans of that ilk. One of the highlights of The Moses Virus is that it is beautifully written and features well researched descriptions of modern Rome.
My big problem with The Moses Virus was that the plot is flawed, why is Dr Stewart the one to investigate the virus? There is a weak reason given in passing but it doesn’t really make sense. Neither does the fact the police and the Vatican seem completely happy to have him investigate seemly with very little official investigation going on particularly on the part of the police. Then there is the fact that he realises that there are people who will kill to find out what is going on and that he needs to be discrete but then goes any around telling all and sundry about the virus. Later in the book, he seems to manage to organise a cross border raid in very little time, with his only contact in government seemingly a Rome based director of the Laboratory for Communicable Substances. I realise that being utterly realistic wouldn’t work, but the lack of realism really bothers me and detracted from my overall enjoyment of the book.

Overall, an okay read which general fans of thrillers will enjoy, particular those who like a bit of history in the plot. Those who enjoy a bit more science in their thriller will probably be a bit disappointed with the lack of substantial science but The Moses Virus will still make for a pleasant afternoon’s read.

The Moses Virus is available in dead tree format from Amazon.com (January 7th) and from Amazon.co.uk (March 7th).

[An ARC was provided through NetGalley]

27 December 2013

Free Kindle Books: Death in July and A New Dawn Rising by Michael Joseph (27/12 to 31/12)

Need a good book to get into whilst you hide from the in-laws over the holiday period. If so, then these two books are a perfect getaway - and even better - they're free!

Both Death in July and A New Dawn Rising are 4-star Amazon rated thrillers by British author Michael Joseph, and will be free on Amazon between the 27th December to the 31st December - great for some holiday reading or a late Christmas gift.

The books can be found here (or for UK readers) and here (or for UK readers).

Merry Christmas readers!

23 December 2013

Talk: Goodread's 2013 Reading Challange

I have a confession to make, every year for the past few years I have started the Goodreads reading challenge, and then promptly forgotten all about it until the end of the year. That's not to say that I haven't been reading, just that I haven't been recording what I have read. This can be somewhat of a problem when I come to decide on what to read next, as it often takes me a few chapters to realise if it's a book I've read before.

So, this year I decided to preserve with the reading challenge (and marking read books in Calibre). The rules I set myself were simple:

1) I would try to read 52 books, deciding that that was a 'normal' number of books to read.
2) I would only record those I read for reviewing or pleasure, not those for work, study or related to my hobbies.
3) I would not count any fanfiction or similar online creative writing, regardless of length.
4) I would count audio books, as long as they were listened to for pleasure (and I paid attention).

2013 Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge
Tome has completed her goal of reading 52 books in 2013!

Well I'm pleased to say that I completed the challenge in early December, and as of today have read 56 books for pleasure (I may add a few more over the next few days). What I found fascinating as a bit of a geek was the stats that Goodreads provides to allow you to analyse what you have read. So here are some facts about this years reading:

  • Most of the books I read were published since 2000, with the majority being post-2010 - I think this is mainly due to the fact that I'm a reviewer - so a lot of my reading is newly published works. 
  • Most of the books I rated 4 or 5 stars - I think this is due to being careful about what I read. I don't plough through a book I'm not enjoying just for the sake of it. So as I was only recording completed books, it seems obvious that the vast majority would have positive reviews.
  • The longest book I read was Ashfall with 576 pages - Most of the books I read were around 300-400 pages long -so pretty standard for crime/thriller fiction. The shortest book was only 54 pages - which I only read because I was mislead of the length/content. 
  • I primarily read fiction - This maybe misleading. As I discounted books I read for work, study and hobbies - which make up the vast majority of my reading and are primarily non-fiction. It does however show me that I tend to review fiction, and I'm going to look into if this is because I get more fiction requests or something else. The non-fiction I read tends to be personal accounts of things I'm interested in such as crime, mountaineering or teaching. 
  • I tend to read crime and thrillers - This is no surprise, as these are my preferred genres. I did read more zombie and Sci-Fi fiction than I have previously though. I hope this will help inform those who request reviews i.e. I did not read any pure romance this year, so am unlikely to do so next year.
Well that's it for this year. I'll be starting the 2014 reading challenge in January and I highly recommend you do too. I'd also be interested in what you've all read this year, so please do comment. 
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