BOOK REVIEW: Private – by James Patterson

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Title: Private
(Jack Morgan Series #1)
Author: James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: March 23rd 2009
Finished reading: November 29th 2012
Pages: 400

Rating 3

“People trust me with their secrets, and I’m not sure why. It must be something in my face, probably my eyes.”

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I normally enjoy the work of James Patterson, but I have mixed feelings about this one. Maybe it is because he wrote it together with Maxine Paetro. Maybe it is because it felt like they tried to squeeze in too many storylines into one book. Maybe it is because the many sub plots confused me and I couldn’t make out what the main story was. And it could have even been because of the shallow way of concluding each sub plot. What I can say is that this book could have been that much better if they would have sticked with just one main story. The general idea is very promising and the main character definitely interesting. It’s just a shame they decided to develop the story the way they did. All in all I would recommend picking up a different book if you want to enjoy Patterson’s work.

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Private is about Jack Morgan, an ex-Marine who still struggles with memories of the war. His dad is in prison and asks Jack to take over his investigation company called Private. The company works for high profile clients and has access to the best equipment and staff. When the wife of a Jack’s good friend was murdered, he uses his resources to help find the truth. At the same time, they are both investigating the murder of various school girls and the possible fixing of NFL football matches by referees. Last but not least, his brother shows up with an enormous gambling dept and asks for help.

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 A lot of cases at once, and it becomes hard sometimes to keep following the different story lines. Although Patterson wrote better ones, this one is still interesting enough to keep reading if you have a copy at hand.

BOOK REVIEW: Agent 6 – by Tom Rob Smith

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Title: Agent 6
(Leo Demidov Trilogy #3)
Author: Tom Rob Smith
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: 2011
Finished reading: November 23rd 2012
Pages: 543
Rating 2,5

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Agent 6 is the third and last book in the Leo Demidov trilogy. The fact that I haven’t read the first two books might work against me and the lower rating I had to give this book… In general it was an ok read, but I felt something was missing to turn it into something great. There are some tense moments in Agent 6, but in general there is not a lot of suspense. And then were are not even talking about the ending, which was not satisfactory at all, even without having read the first two parts Child 44 and The Secret Speech. In short I wouldn’t suggest it. I still might read Child 44 though, since I’ve heard great things about it.

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We start reading about Leo Demidov in the past, and learn how Leo and his wife Raise first met and fell in love. Set in the 1950s, it is a story about love at first sight and rejection by Raisa. But they end up together anyway… Leo in the mean time is a member of the Russian secret police and in training to interpretate secret messages in diaries. In that same first part we get introduced to a black American singer Jesse Austin, who will play a big part in the tragedy of the Peace Tour in 1965. The two plots are brought together by a concert the singer gives in Russia (Jesse Austin is a Communist).

In 1965 he is no longer a secret agent. His wife Raisa and daughters Zoya and Elena travel to New York to be part of a Peace Tour, but he is forbidden to travel along with his family. Leo suspects something, but he cannot protect them as he is on the other side of the world. They end up being caught up in a conspiracy which ends in a tragedy, but Leo was never allowed by the Soviet government to investigate what really happened. But he never ceases to search for justice and has to face his memories and ghosts of the past…

Leo never stops his quest for justice, and we follow him to 1980. He is now an adviser in Afghanistan, a country controlled by the Soviet Union. He cannot stand facing his feelings, so he drowns them in opium. He has a new trainee, a young Afghan girl who is enthusiastic about the new world the Soviets have to offer. But he knows from experience that that enthusiasm will soon change as she realizes what is really going on.

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Like I said before, I just felt like something was missing while reading Agent 6. I couldn’t get into the story and the end definitely wasn’t satisfactory. I wish I would have enjoyed this final book of the Leo Demidov trilogy since I’ve heard great things about the previous books… But I didn’t, and I definitely wouldn’t recommend reading it unless you’ve read the first two book and don’t like to leave trilogies unfinished.

BOOK REVIEW: The Hunger Games – by Suzanne Collins

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Title: The Hunger Games
(The Hunger Games Trilogy #1)
Author: Suzanne Collins
Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Fantasy
First published: September 14th 2008
Finished: November 14th 2012
Pages: 374

Rating 5

“And while I was talking, the idea of actually losing Peeta hit me again and I realized how much I don’t want him to die. And it’s not about the sponsors. And it’s not about what will happen when we get home. And it’s not just that I don’t want to be alone. It’s him. I do not want to lose the boy with the bread.”

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This is probably one of my favorite YA dystopian series ever. The Hunger Games just has it all: a great heroine to connect with, some serious action and bad guys and a little pinch of humanity to seal the deal. A lot of spin offs have been written since this book has been first published, but none can compete with Katniss and her crew. Katniss is easy to relate to, full of awesomeness and she makes the story THAT much better. She is probably one of my favorite female dystopian heroines ever! The story is easy to read and the book is hard to lay down unfinished. In other words: if you like the YA dystopian genre and haven’t read this one yet, go read The Hunger Games now!

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The Hunger Games trilogy is set in a post apocalyptic future where the world called Panem is divided into a Capìtal and twelve districts. Each of the districts has its own purpose, and they are all suppressed by the people of the Capital. To keep the districts under control after an earlier rebellion, the Capital has invented a very cruel game… Each year these so-called Hunger Games require two children from each district to participate. They are chosen based on a lottery system where all children of a certain age have their name included in the drawing. After they are chosen, the 24 contestants are put together in an arena and have to fight each other to the death until only one remains: the Victor. The Hunger Games are to remind the people of the districts of the past rebellion and its consequences. They are not only forced to watch their children being send away to the Games, but also forced to participate in the feasts before the actual games and to watch and listen to anything broadcasted by the Capital.

The main character and heroine of The Hunger Games is the 16 year old Katniss Everdeen. Everybody is poor in the districts, but when her father dies, she was left to take care of her mother and little sister. Katniss turns to desperate measures and goes hunting with her best friend Gale, something forbidden by the Capital. They struggle, but are able to survive for quite some time. But things change drastically when Katniss’s younger sister is chosen as the female contestant for their district… Katniss cannot bear to see her little sister go, and volunteers to take her place to protect her. The other contestant, Peeta, is a bakery boy who has been in love with Katniss for a long time, although Katniss prefers not to notice. Together they travel to the Capital and begin the preparations for the opening ceremonies… Let the games begin!

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The Hunger Games definitely is definitely a book to make sure you have tissues closeby. There are so many great characters and contestants, and knowing that only one can survive the Hunger Games is heartbreaking. The Games go on for two weeks and we watch as 24 young children try to survive by avoiding and hunting each other at the same time. Until the end comes with a big bang… I myself couldn’t let this one go until I got to the last page. A definite must read!