Book Review: A Touch of Death (The Outlands Pentalogy #1) by Rebecca Crunden

 

Genre: Science fiction, Dystopian, Apocalyptic

Length: 306 Pages

Publishing Date: February 23, 2017

 

Buying Links for A Touch of Death:

Amazon

 

Author Website:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16493101.Rebecca_Crunden

 

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From the Blurb:

A thousand years in the future, the last of humanity live inside the walls of the totalitarian Kingdom of Cutta. The rich live in Anais, the capital city of Cutta, sheltered from the famine and disease which ravage the rest of the Kingdom. Yet riches and power only go so far, and even Anaitians can be executed. It is only by the will of the King that Nate Anteros, son of the King’s favourite, is spared from the gallows after openly dissenting. But when he’s released from prison, Nate disappears.

A stark contrast, Catherine Taenia has spent her entire life comfortable and content. The daughter of the King’s Hangman and in love with Thom, Nate’s younger brother, her life has always been easy, ordered and comfortable. That is, where it doesn’t concern Nate. His actions sullied not only his future, but theirs. And unlike Thom, Catherine has never forgiven him.

Two years pass without a word, and then one night Nate returns. But things with Nate are never simple, and when one wrong move turns their lives upside down, the only thing left to do is run where the King’s guards cannot find them – the Outlands. Those wild, untamed lands which stretch around the great walls of the Kingdom, filled with mutants and rabids.

 

My Review:

Nate Anteros, resident of Anais, the wealthiest city of Cutta is spared from the gallows after openly rebelling against the Kingdome owning to his affluent family ties. Catherine Taenia, Nate’s younger brother Thom’s companion has always led a sheltered life. She resents the closeness between the brothers and holds Nate responsible for Thom’s unhappiness. An unfortunate incident brings Nate and Catherine together and a subsequent fatal infection forces them to flee the city of Anais to Outlands, a wild, untamed land beyond the walls of Kingdome Cutta which is filled with rebellions, mutants and rabids.

The Touch of Death is the first volume in a five-book series and Crunden skillfully explores the changed political scenario in a post-apocalyptic earth in which economical, theological and sociological structures have mutated.

It has all the fear and horror of the first book in series – heartbreaking losses, hair-raising escapes and gruesome details of past experiments on humans and mutants, and builds up the central characters and prepares us for the showdown which is still to come in upcoming future. In this first book of the series, Crunden slowly unravels an intricately constructed and unsettling alternate future and successfully creates a believable post-apocalyptic Earth in which darkness prevails in common people’s lives.

The characterization is great, but narration is one of the best qualities of Crunden as a writer. She knows how to play with words. The narration is what makes this book beautiful despite the dark and utter gloom taking central stage in the plot. Crunden takes time to develop genuinely engrossing ideas and characters, although, at times, the conversations seem to linger endlessly. A tighter structural editing would have done wonders to this debutant of the series. But than this is the first one in the series, so it’s understandable that Crunden took liberty when it comes to development of her characters. The book is definitely a strong addition to dystopian literature with its stylish narration and the author’s understanding of human bonding under extreme duress.

A very well-written, memorable book that will make the reader want to grab the next book in the series immediately.

Highly recommended to all dystopian fans and also fans of literary fiction. A beautiful, stylish debut!

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Book Review: Strange Cars in the Night by Eric Keegan

 

Genre: Poetry

Length: 80 Pages

Publishing Date: January 2, 2019

 

Buying Links for Strange Cars in the Night:

Amazon

 

Author Website:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17932818.Eric_Keegan

 

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From the Blurb:

Strange Cars in the Night is a savage debut poetry collection that moves at breakneck speed, written in the taste of a modern-day Hunter S. Thompson. It continues to unfurl Eric’s stream of conscious writing style onto the page and depicts an almost hallucinogenic recounting of what happens every night when the moon comes out to play.

 

My Review:

Many poets have been inspired by motor vehicles to write their poetry. Some have been fascinated by the working parts; engines, head gaskets, crank shafts while others have found the filling stations, roadside eateries capture their attention. While the working parts can be amusing and filling stations informative, the main attraction of the motor vehicles is the fact that you can drive and visit places in them. This became something of a mark for the protagonist of Strange Cars in the Night, who spent much of his night time driving on the roads; his car is something of a place where he can observe the world in leisure and mulls about life and people in general.

Inspired by the joys and travails of motor travel at nights, Eric Keegan’s debut collection is quirky yet engrossing. In Building Secret Machines, the headlights themselves fired Keegan’s imagination to write a poem about their significance in sale of the vehicle.

In Motor City Run Run, Keegan is transfixed by the different car models whereas in Cult of Personality, he is fascinated by the group of roadside heathens who observe him driving by. Under his quiet, observant gaze, they become symbols of a primitive troupe engrossed in their strange ancient ritual of worshipping.

Travel Mug captures the suddenness of a car crash. In the poem It’s Meant for Show Keegan reminds us that traffic is dangerous for children. In Certificate of Title, Keegan mulls about ordinary things.

In A Space So Delicately Confined, Keegan talks about transitory nature of lovers’ quarrel. Late-night driving on deserted roads can be risky. In Derelict Debacl, the mood of Keegan’s poem is light despite the forbidding notion of robbery at its core. That’s the best thing about Keegan’s debut book in fact; his verses are light and he stays away from any kind of sentimentality or hackneyed expression in his poems. He refuses to lapses into the expected sentimental phrase even occasionally.

You might be the one driving, or the one being driven. You might be the one in love with the feeling of freedom one gets from driving on the open road, the one who hates the confinement of city traffic. Maybe you are a pedestrian on a crowded road struggling to hold your wits. One way or another, you’re going to love Strange Cars in the Night.

It’s an interesting, quirky book of poetry; a good book that is thoughtful, stylish, and consistently engaging.

Definitely recommended!

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Book Review: A Sister’s Promise by Shelby Perry

 

Genre: Action and Adventure

Length: 284 Pages

Publishing Date: December 17, 2017

 

Buying Links for A Sister’s Promise:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

 

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From the Blurb:

Acheson Bulloughs was the most cruel pirate to ever sail. And the most mysterious. Nicknamed The Black Prince, the legendary devil pirate operating a ship of the damned ruled the seas with an iron fist before his sudden and unexplained disappearance at the height of his rule, leaving nothing but rumors and whispers behind.

Sasha Hawthorn comes from a long line of historians, the most recent being her deceased older brother Chris. When a recent auction brings forth new light on Acheson’s possible whereabouts, she is pulled from her life as a college lecturer to follow in Chris’ footsteps.

As hints begin to create a map of Acheson’s last days, Sasha becomes more and more enticed at the legendary cargo that might have been beneath the deck of The Lucifer. But even with her crew of elite specialists, she is all too aware of the danger hovering around them and that every move they make draws it, and whoever else is looking for the missing ship, closer and closer.

 

My Review:

After legendry historian Chris Hawthorn’s death, Sasha Hawthorn, his sister and research partner take on the job of touring country’s top educational institutes, leaving Chris’s pending research work behind. But after an auction reveals possible whereabouts of a long-lost pirate ship with valuable gems—a project Chris left pending, Sasha agrees to take part in the search operation as the team leader. With the help of her teammates, a group of elite professionals, Sasha traces the location of the lost cargo. The narration then runs on high-octane fuel as the team is forced to take on a defensive position on account of a crucial kidnapping. Sasha despite her kick-ass attitude is capable of raw emotions and brings her own strong presence to the role. The plot is tight, but what makes Perry’s book really shine, though, is the portrayal of Sasha’s character—a brilliant mix of emotions and brutal reasoning—of calculated thinking and explosive action, making her an impressive badass heroine. A must read for every thriller fan!

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Book Review: The Enchanter’s Child by Navya Sarikonda

Genre: Fantasy

Length: 288 Pages

Publishing Date: December10, 2018

Buying Links for The Enchanter’s Child:

Amazon

 

Author Website:

https://www.navyasarikonda.com

 

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From the Blurb:

Wren has a secret. She’s the last of the Arobol, a group of magic-wielders. After her parents were murdered by a dark entity when she was young, she has been trying to discover who has killed them. However, it wasn’t just anyone; it was the Dark Sorcerer, a being who is believed to exist only in a fairytale. When an unexpected tragedy hits, Wren is forced to flee to town in hopes of finding the leader of the Gavreel Society, said to have information on her parents’ killer.

Zayne has been working for months to uncover the reason behind the dead bodies showing up in multiple towns and the mysterious symbol that is etched into their skin. As Trading Day approaches, he goes to meet with his Gavreel Society to formulate a new plan for uncovering the person behind these killings. Little does he know that he’ll find the solution in a girl, one who’s holding as many secrets as he is.

Quinn is an assassin, killing anyone his Master orders him to kill. Tasked with finding the Enchanters’ Child and bringing her back alive in exchange for his freedom, Quinn won’t let anything get in his way. Yet, when he finally discovers the Enchanters’ Child, he finds himself questioning his ability to fulfill his mission. Weaving a story of deception, he befriends the Enchanters’ Child, but wonders if she is worth his freedom.

As they race to find the Sorcerer, each for their own reasons, secrets come out, powerful enough to tear them apart.

My Review:

When I picked this book, I had no idea about the author’s age. After finishing the book, I read her biography and whew! I was blown apart right there–Not because, at such a young age, she has written a book – but because, at such a young age, she has written an engrossing, entertaining book–she’s merely a high-schooler! I don’t read young adult books–for me, the young adult books are meant for young adults only– I’ve not read Harry Potter series (despite being a big fan of Rowling’s Cormoron Strike series) so far–but I read The Enchanter’s Child in one sitting. It’s engrossing and it will keep you hooked until the end. I think it’s a wonderful book, and I’m not usually a fan of fantasy.

If I had to criticize anything, it would be about the lack of emphasis on the backstory. I guess it could have done with a bit more build-up. I would’ve loved to see the author gives more thought to developing it a bit more. But then, she’s so young, and for her age, she has already surpassed many experienced authors. She’s good when it comes to adding the surprise elements to the story. There are plenty of unexpected twists; when you think you know what’s going to happen, the author throws in another surprise for you.

Highly recommended, especially, to YA readers!

Book Review: The Last Love Letter: A Labyrinth of Love Letters Book 2 by Felix Alexander

Genre: Romance, Mystery, Historical

Length: 233 Pages

Publishing Date: September 17, 2018

Buying Links for The Last Love Letter: A Labyrinth of Love Letters Book 2:

Amazon

Author Website:

http://www.felixalexanderwriter.com

 

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From the Blurb:

“What if you were the one?”

With those words, Arabella España is lured into a tale of forbidden love and forgotten secrets. In the wake of a murder in 1950’s Puerto Rico, Nationalists revolt against American colonialism. An amnesiac recluse, married to a man she does not love, Arabella finds solace in the only remaining book in her possession. One of many banned by Puerto Rico’s Gag Law.

The mysterious novel entitled THE LAST LOVE LETTER by one Aurelio Valentino leads Arabella on a journey with the main character in search of his lost love. But as she delves deeper into the story, she makes a shocking discovery: the novel contains clues to finding the legendary Labyrinth of Love Letters. A place of love and myth linked to the letter stolen from the corpse of the man who had recently been killed.

As each page draws Aurelio and Arabella closer together, she anxiously searches for the love letter that will reveal the identity of Aurelio’s lost love. In her endeavor to find the Labyrinth, she discovers that the murder is a fate tied closely to her own destiny. Soon Arabella’s literary journey reveals memories of her forgotten past and she discovers what happens when the main character of the story falls in love with the reader.

 

My Review:

The Last Love Letter by Felix Alexander is the second book in A Labyrinth of Love Letters series. After an accident, Arabella España wakes up one day to have no memory of her past and comes to live with Ramiro, a man who claims to be her husband. At the same time Leonardo Dominici, a wealthy banker and one of the city’s elite is found murdered and a bloody letter is stolen from his dead body. In the wake of drastic political situation on account of turmoil between the revolutionaries and government officials in the city, Ramiro instructs Arabella not to leave the house. Isolated and with barely any feelings for her husband, she finds solace in a book; The Last Love Letter by Aurelio Valentino given to her in secret by a nun. As she delves deeper into the story, she becomes curious about the Labyrinth of Love Letters, a secret place where lovers meet. Arabella realizes the book contains clues to the secrets from her own past as well as murder of Dominici.

Part historical fiction, part romance, part mystery, Felix Alexander’s The Last Love Letter is a tale of one young woman’s explorations of forbidden love and forgotten secrets. The character of Arabella is the most engaging along with Aurelio Valentino’s character; the secondary characters are less developed though. The book takes a sweet, leisurely look at Aurelio Valentino’s melancholy love story along with romantic love in general.

The readers looking for hard-core historical mystery will be a bit disappointed as the author’s emphasis is more on romance. The author has an exquisite eye for detail when it comes to putting the feelings of romantic love in words.

After reading The Last Love Letter, one thing is clear–Alexander knows writing, he knows Puerto Rico, and he’s done his historical homework. With engaging narrative and s strong sense of place, the book is a pleasure to read. The readers who have enjoyed Alexander’s earlier book, The Last Valentine: A Labyrinth of Love Letters will love The Last Love letter as well.

A great treat for lovers of historical romance with an adequate dose of mystery!

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Book Review: Blessed: The Prodigal Daghter by A. L. Bryant

 

Genre: Supernatural Thriller

Length: 279 Pages

Publishing Date: January 9, 2019

 

Buying Links for Blessed: The Prodigal Daghter:

Amazon

 

Author Website:

Twitter Link: https://twitter.com/ALBryantHSW

Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100029069148653

 

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From the Blurb:

On New Year’s Eve 2021 the staff at St. Ann’s Hospital witness a medical miracle when a semi-conscious woman walks into the emergency room. The Jane Doe has been stabbed multiple times and as the staff struggle to keep the woman alive in the end all they can do is stand back and watch as their mysterious patient revives herself.

Glory wakes up in St. Ann’s Hospital gravely injured from an attack she cannot remember. However, her memory loss is no ordinary amnesia and she is no ordinary patient. Much to the shock of the hospital staff Glory heals at three times the rate of an average person. Soon the administration hears of her unique case and waste no time convincing the recovering Glory to be a part of an experiment to discover the origins of her power.

Once outside the comforting walls of the hospital it becomes apparent that healing is just a small portion of Glory’s capabilities. Abilities that to Glory’s distress are becoming increasingly unstable. Deciding that the hospital’s experiments are in vain, Glory embarks on her own Journey to discover the source of her power, unaware that she is a major pawn in a war between two secret organizations.

The two syndicates continue to clash in their fight for control and their battles result in several casualties. The crimes of their warfare surface and draw the attention of Dennis Wilson, a NYPD Detective known for solving his cases in the first forty-eight hours. Dennis follows the trail of bodies out of curiosity. But when his curiosity causes the deaths of his loved ones Detective Dennis becomes obsessed with the case.

In his overzealous attempts to find the murderer Dennis becomes the syndicates’ next target. Now the Detective must run for his life and the only person capable of saving him is the very person he suspects.

 

My Review:

Blessed: The Prodigal Daughter opens with a woman near death arriving in hospital gravely injured, stabbed multiple times. Her physical injuries, although, takes no time to heal much to the astonishment of staff at St. Ann’s Hospital, she suffers from amnesia and has no recollection of what happens to her or a clue about her identity. The hospital signs a contract with her to use her case for research, but soon Glory (a given name by the hospital staff) found herself becoming weary of her inability to remember her old life and decides to leave. Little does she knows that she’s a mere pawn in a bloody war between two mysterious organizations; The Family and The Syndicate.

When I picked up Blessed: The Prodigal Daughter to read, I didn’t have many expectations from it – mainly because I’m not a fan of supernatural fiction: I hardly ever read books in this specific genre. But a few pages in the book, and I was completely hooked. The best thing about this book is that it’s thoroughly engrossing. There are passages that start abruptly, and I found myself struggling to understand what was happening and how. A bit of structural editing would have helped the narrative to flow more smoothly. However, despite this obvious (and only) problem, the book is completely absorbing. While the premise is definitely interesting, it is the execution of plot that makes Blessed a thrilling read. There’s great build-up as the story moves forward, and Bryant has tidied up all the loose end neatly. The ending would leave readers to wait eagerly for Bryant’s next book in the series.

Although Blessed is a supernatural thriller, there is a tinge of spiritual revelation to the whole narrative that is hard to miss. There is evil. There is darkness. And there is the spiritual awakening as well.

A stunning, fast-paced supernatural thriller with every character, from Glory’s difficult journey of self-revelation to Jo-Sung’s fierce protective nature, inflaming the tension, Bryant’s narrative explodes with a sharp climax. The ending would make readers wait eagerly for the next book by Bryant,

Wholeheartedly recommended!!!

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Book Review: The Secret of Heaven (Aiden Leonardo #1) by Felix Alexander

Genre: Thriller, Spy and Politics, Historical

Length: 377 Pages

Publishing Date: April 2, 2016

Buying Links for The Secret of Heaven:

Amazon

Author Website:

http://www.felixalexanderwriter.com

Twitter: ForeverPoetic

 

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From the Blurb:

When Lazzaro de Medici is found dead, Professor of Biblical Studies Aiden Leonardo is the prime suspect. He must utilize his knowledge of Scripture to decipher an encrypted letter and find a Lost Bible dating back to the time of Christ. Pursued by the FBI, Chicago PD and a secret organization known only as The Group, Aiden races against the clock to expose the secret of heaven. For hidden within the text is an ancient truth about the most controversial message Jesus left to His disciples.

 

My Review:

Aiden Leonardo, a professor of Biblical Studies is implicated in a murder inquiry and pushed into an underworld of deep-rooted religious cults after the death of his mentor and father, Lazzaro. Involved in the search of the Lost Bible, with various law enforcement agencies chasing after him, Aiden will have to find a hidden truth about Christianity, a secret that has the ability to destroy the world order

Weather you are a believer in the underlying religious implications or no, you will find this book entertaining and adventurous. The pace is fast, and though, there are too many secondary characters with changing perspectives and facing multitudes of situations, readers would find themselves hooked to the story. Constantly moving from place to place, holding readers’ attention from beginning to end, Felix Alexander is brilliant at picturing fine detail, allowing readers to use their imagination to visualize the events as they take place.

My only complaint is characterization; most of the characters, I found I didn’t care about. I understand it’s hard for author to give due attention to every single character when the plot is extremely fast-paced, but the protagonists deserved a bit more attention. This is the first book in Aiden Leonardo series, so I’m sure there will be plenty of scope for growth for all the major characters. Other than that it is interesting story.

While the book is a work of fiction, Felix Alexander has done a thorough research to ensure that his explanations and depictions of ancient theology are as accurate as possible. Some readers might be skeptical of Alexander’s depiction of the events and the evidences and arguments he introduced in the story. But then, any arguments which imply that the very foundation on which the entire religion of Christianity is based is false tends to attract some kind of criticism. Moreover, the story is fictional and readers need to keep that in mind.

The Secret of Heaven gives you plenty to think about religion of Christianity through exploration of the roots of faith. If you like fast-paced action, conspiracy theories, secret societies, The Secret of Heaven is a book for you to read. 

Definitely recommended!!!

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Book Review: Feeling Groovy: How Sensitive People Find Meaning, the Confidence to Express Themselves and Create Fulfilling Lives by David Ferrers

 

Genre: Self-help, Motivational

Length: 170 Pages

Publishing Date: December 8, 2018

 

Buying Links for Feeling Groovy

Amazon

Author Website:

http://davidferrers.com

Twitter: groovy_feeling

 

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From the Blurb:

Discover how to make a stressful job meaningful and enjoyable, how to manage a difficult boss, how to break free from the restrictions of your current life and free yourself to express who you really are. Here one of the world’s top self-realisation coaches will guide you along the road to a rewarding life by asking you simple, yet revealing questions and telling you stories.

Feeling Groovy is a happy and positive sweet spot where you feel constantly relaxed, liberated, chilled out, all is well with the world. You feel cheerful, devil-may-care, reckless even but, at the same time, confident that anything you do will have a good outcome. When you’re Feeling Groovy you have a strong sense of direction. You have a deep inner knowing that what you are doing is meaningful, not just for yourself, but also for other people. You know, at a deep level, how you do it. You have feelings of purpose and certainty.

When you’re Feeling Groovy you have unstoppable energy that is seeking an outlet. You want to go out and greet the world, to spread your good feelings to others. You’re just letting it happen for you, in your own way. When you’re Feeling Groovy you challenge the world to give you excitement and stimulation. You’re up for challenges. You know you can win. Think Usain Bolt.

“David’s coaching was a life changing experience which produced profound effects in both my work and personal life. David understands people very well, particularly the workings of the human mind, and is able to explain your emotions and help you control them whilst giving you the confidence and direction to achieve your goals.” Bob Stark, Commercial Director, Portafina.

Everyone who want to enjoy a happy and rewarding life should read this book and keep it on their bookshelf for constant reference.

 

My Review:

Happiness and freedom come from knowing how to break free from the restrictions of your current life – and most importantly, free yourself to express who you really are. Feeling Groovy is a practical and philosophical book that will teach readers the wisdom to be able to do just that. Ferrers gives you the blueprints to get your head out of the pre-conceived notions of doing things the right way, take a hard look at yourself, what you really want, and shed many of the illusions you’ve been slowly poisoning your life with. It doesn’t matter if you’re a millennial or no, this book will provide you with a healthy point of view.

The book is divided into twenty chapters and each chapter offers different strategies to help readers integrate the goal (of staying happy) into their life. There are a lots of strategies Ferrers goes through in this book. Some of the main themes are these:

(1) Choosing what do you really want; focusing on the things that are actually meaningful to you

(2) Learning to be ok with your fears

(3) Setting a big goal for you and working to achieve it slowly

(4) Understanding the importance of values you hold in your life

(5) Learning to enjoy simple things in life

(6) figuring out what in the end give your life a meaning

As with all the self-help books, the exact mechanics are left to the reader, but the questions, Ferrers raises and the principles provided are thorough and workable. The ideas in one of the chapter(where some of the people decided to follow a comparatively less lucrative dream job after abandoning their high-profile careers sounded a bit over the top) wouldn’t sit very well with money-minded people. But in the end, it is up to any person to realise what is more important to them. A little bit of copy-editing would do this book good to remove restating of some of the phrases.

The pace is fast and the book flows smoothly; it’s an easy read that feels more like a conversation than a dissertation on self-realization. The story-telling occurs at fairly regular intervals, but it’s short and to the point. Readers wouldn’t feel bogged down by too many examples of real-life incidents from strangers’ lives.

A lovely self-help book that even people who don’t read self-help books would enjoy!

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Book Review: The Last Valentine: A Labyrinth of Love Letters by Felix Alexander

 

Genre: Romance, Historical

Length: 282 Pages

Publishing Date: July 20, 2017

Buying Links for The Last Valentine: A Labyrinth of Love Letters:

Amazon

Author Website:

http://www.felixalexanderwriter.com

Twitter: ForeverPoetic

 

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From the Blurb:

When Olivia Villalobos finds a bloodstained love letter she endeavors to deliver it before Chief Inspector Sedeño finds it in her possession. A city along the southern coast of Puerto Rico emerges in the aftermath of the Spanish-American War. Olivia, daughter of a drunkard police investigator who never knew the truth behind her mother’s disappearance, finds a bloodstained love letter in the hidden compartment of her father’s coat. Convinced it belonged to the man recently found dead she sets out to deliver it to the Labyrinth of Love Letters. A mysterious place believed to be an urban legend where the transients of forbidden love leave missives for one another. She enlists the help of Isaac Quintero to find the Labyrinth and they soon realize their quest has opened the door into Old Sienna’s darkest secrets–the perils, madness and depth of tragic love.

 

My review:

Set in 1935 in Old Sienna, a lovely Puerto Rico town, the book takes the reader on an adventure filled romantic mystery. An unidentified man is found murdered in a street of Old Sienna. The man’s identity remains unknown. The only clue that can lead to reveal the victim’s identity, a bloodstained love letter found with the victim’s body disappears from the police evidence files. Chief Inspector Sedeno who takes on the investigation suspects one of his colleague, Inspector Javier Villalobos of the theft. Unknowingly, the letter lands in Inspector Villalobos’ daughter, Olivia’s hands, prompting a search for the mythical Labyrinth of Love Letters. Will Olivia Villalobos with the help of her childhood friend, Isaac Quintero, succeed in finding the mysterious Labyrinth? What happens when long-buried secrets come out in the open and threatens to change lives of everyone involved?

In The Last Valentine, Alexander depicts love in its full glory, be it the happily ever after scenario or tragic end to some unfortunate love story angle in a sweet, old-fashioned world. For those who do not care about romance genre much, The Last Valentine would seem a bit over the top when it comes to depiction of to what extent a lover could go for the sake of their love. The mystery part of the story; finding the identity of the murder victim and that of murderer, nevertheless, is very intriguing, I would have loved to see the author depicts it in more of a hard-boiled stance: whereas the beginning of the book promises a delicious, old-fashioned, cozy mystery story, it becomes heavy on romance as the story proceeds. Not that it would hamper the reader’s ability to enjoy the book any less though.

Alexander’s writing is elegant and lovers of classic literature would find intermittent citations of stunning pieces of classic literary giants’ work (including the lesser known ones’ that I’m itching to get my hands on right now!) a pleasure to read. The setting of old-world Puerto Rico as well as the concept of Labyrinth of Love Letters is fascinating. The lovers of historical romance genre with a healthy dose of mystery would definitely love The Last Valentine.

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Book Review: Shadows of Time: The Amulet of Alamin by Felix Alexander

Genre: Fantasy
Length: 464 Pages
Publishing Date: April 2, 2016

Buying Links for Shadows of Time: The Amulet of Alamin:
Amazon

Author Website:

http://www.felixalexanderwriter.com

Twitter: ForeverPoetic

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From the Blurb:

The veil between the heavens and the underworld has fallen.
Mesopotamia is a region with kingdoms at war. The desires of gods and men sweep across the Land Between the Two Rivers so frequently that peace is merely a memory of a forgotten time. Demons and shape shifters lurk in the shadows, sorcerers and soothsayers warn of impending danger, and a demigod sits in the eye of the storm.
It has been millennia since the Tablet of Destinies fell from heaven. After the fall of angels and the emergence of the Watchers, the gods set out to destroy the Nephilim and retrieve the Tablet, but a piece of the stone chipped away before it was lost.
Fashioned from that piece of the Tablet, an amulet was gifted to Alamin in his infancy, but when he discovers the gods and angels want him dead he is forced to flee with it and only the Fallen Angel can protect him. Princess Safia is betrothed against her wishes and she flees with Alamin on a perilous quest across the Ancient World that blurs the boundaries of reality with the realm of myth until Alamin surrenders to the Fallen Angel.
Troubled by the prophecy, Inanna crosses oceans and deserts to find her son before she journeys into the underworld to retrieve his soul. The King of Kish names Sargon—the boy general—his Cup Bearer. Zagesi condemns his soul for immortality, but his deal with Mephitsophel is an ominous portent for the fall of kings. The fate of existence hangs perilously in the balance and the realm between the heavens and the underworld collapses into chaos.

My Review:

I’m not big on fantasy, myth books. I believe more in real science and while I’m willing to suspend disbelief up to a certain point, the image of mythical creatures: shape shifters, sorcerers, demons, gods, and immortals performing unbelievable tasks just do not compute much with me. Because of that I usually avoid fantasy genre. While the plot of this book sounded fascinating, I was a bit sceptical about reading it since it is a full-blown fantasy, but this book got me hooked right from the beginning.

The premise is fascinating and extremely creative. Alamin and Princess Safia set out on an ill-fated quest after the circumstances brought them together to escape those who wish him dead, and who wish to obtain an amulet fashioned out of the coveted Tablet of Destinies. They meet Sargon, the cup-bearer of Kish on the way and together they encounter an underworld of demons, gods, sorcerers, and soothsayers.

The setting of this book – the medieval world is bit improbable, but it’s not gritty; it’s not terribly realistic, but despite being dangerous, it seems like an awesome place to be. You are going to fall in love with it once you start reading the book.

The characters are either endearing or loathsome and well-portrayed. Sargon, for example, is wholesomely charming. He is incredibly strong, fairly good looking, determined, and to an extent still naive. There is Safina – she’s stunningly beautiful with fire in her heart. She is strong-willed and daring. She knows her mind and is, definitely, a go-getter. The other characters are equally engaging; the heroes – you would love to love, and the villains – you would love to hate. In case of Alamin, his hesitation regarding his magical powers is well portrayed; the way his incredible magical gifts required a continuous effort to really use; the way he is unable to get out of any troublesome situation without effort or consequences. His magic has its advantages and its pitfalls. Despite his uncertainty, he wouldn’t get on readers’ nerves. The development his character continuously goes through the story is absolutely convincing and real. There are immortals, demons, gods, and demigods. They are creatures out of traditional mythology. The immortals are mysterious, the gods and demigods mystical, the demons loathsome, but the ghouls are the creepiest and the scariest. Characterization is definitely Felix Alexander’s strong point.

The pace is fast and the plot tight. Though, at times, the things get a bit confusing with too many characters and situations, but that wouldn’t stop the reader from finishing the book.

A stunning fantasy that I would definitely recommend to all the fantasy lovers as well as those who’ve never tried the genre before. Give it a try. It’s worth your time.

Absolutely captivating!

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