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

 

29634554 

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!!!

↔↔↔

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

 

41qe8vahnul__sx311_bo1,204,203,200_

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!

↔↔↔

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

29746754

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!

↔↔↔

Book Review: The Childless Ones by Cam Rhys Lay

Genre: Literary Fantasy
Length: 438 Pages
Publishing Date: October 9, 2018

Buying Links for The Childless Ones:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble

Kobo

Walmart

Author Website:

https://www.amazon.com/Cam-Rhys-Lay/

untitled

From the Blurb:

TWO WORLDS…TWO ALTERNATING NARRATIVES…A REALIST RELATIONSHIP DRAMA…AN EPIC FANTASY…

In the “real world,” we open with Jack Ampong just leaving a prostitute when he receives a phone call that his wife Sarah has been assaulted. With this incident as a jumping off point, we watch as Jack and Sarah deal with past guilt and regrets as well as their own ongoing struggles with relationships, infertility and parenthood.

In the “fantasy world”—ostensibly written by Jack—a bureaucratic Empire rules with an iron fist…an ancient sect of sorcerers have extraordinary powers but are cursed with the inability to have children… and a race of beings called the Mandrakar live lives one quarter the length of normal people, but have memories that are passed on to future generations through the last of an ancient breed of tree. Along the way, we meet a crotchety governor who just wants to do right by his granddaughter, a hardboiled, lesbian, dwarf detective who just wants another drink, and a villainous sorcerer whose motives form one of the central mysteries of the story.

Throughout the book, the two narratives echo off one another—often in surprising ways—ultimately commenting on the very nature of storytelling itself.

My Review:

In his debut novel The Childless Ones, author Cam Lay excellently interweaves separate stories from two very different worlds; real world of aspiring author Jack Ampong and a historical fantasy realm that the later created in his writing, into a marvelous tale of intriguing characters and vividly drawn settings.

The readers are introduced to Jack’s world at the time when his first marriage is at the brink of falling apart. With a swelling aptitude for prostitutes and his inability to concentrate on his writing, a random attack on his wife brings Jack face to face with his own part in steady downfall of his marital relationship. The sudden realization makes Jack turns to his writing as a respite. The reader is then introduced to an entirely different world of strange races, mythical beasts, exotic landscapes, and primeval struggles through Jack’s writing journals. As the story moves forward, we learn about the strained relationship of Jack and his first wife, Sarah and the circumstances leading to their divorce, his second marriage to Neha and the couple’s struggle to conceive a child. Unable to conceive naturally, Neha suggests sperm donation but faced with his own sterility, Jack is keener on getting a child through formal adoption. The issue becomes a relentless cause of strain between the couple.

Initially the two worlds in the book seem too different to be connected, but as the story moves forward, the two separate universe start overlapping and Lay has been entirely successful in bringing them together; he successfully creates completely believable and exciting fantasy realms of Elves, Dwarfs, and humans with the atmospheres set in against fragments of the real world of Jack.

The characters, be it from the real world or Jack’s fantasy world are a quirky mixture of strange aptitudes and intense emotions. The central characters from the fantasy realm, the sorcerer Padgett and mysterious Benedictus are as compelling as Jack, Sarah, Henry, and Neha are from the real world of the story. Lay’s writing is flawless and book’s pace even. The book will appeal to serious readers more as with the inclusion of many different elements in the story, the overall reading experience might become a bit dense for the average reader.

This is a book that aficionados of epic fantasy won’t want to miss.

↔↔↔

Book Review: Lords of Misrule -A Novel by Joel D. Hirst

Genre: Literature & fiction, war, coming of age

Length: 304 Pages

Publishing Date: September 28, 2016

 

Buying Links for Lords of Misrule

Amazon

Kobo

 

Author Website:

http://www.joelhirst.com

Twitter: joelhirst

 

32722258

From the Blurb:

Aliuf Ag Albachar, born into the noble Tuareg ancestry, is just thirteen when he crests a dune with his mother, looks down from atop his camel onto the ancient fabled city of Timbuktu, and contemplates the day it will finally be his. Unfortunately Aliuf has no idea that misfortune will soon force him to flee across the desert away from everything he has known and toward something greater than he ever imagined.

Propelled by restlessness and the indomitable spirit of his clan, Aliuf bravely pushes onward through a dangerous coming-of-age journey that leads him through a barren land. While following his heart through the vast expanses of the Sahara, he becomes a student enthralled with the great works of Islams golden age, a warlord who leads his army of angry men through the colossal dunes of the Sahara to battle the enemy, and finally an Islamic judge who makes a monumental discovery that shakes the foundation of his beliefs and forever shapes his destiny.

Lords of Misrule is an epic tale of redemption, forbidden love, and atonement against all odds as a young man is led on a path of enlightenment across the Sahara where he ultimately must face the consequences of his decisions.

 

My Review:

Aliuf Ag Albachar, a 13-year-old Muslim boy from North Africa has always struggled to come to term with his identity as a noble Tuareg. An accidental misfortune forces him to flee his land and venture into a vast barren land of Sahara. Led by his desire to find some kind of purpose in his life, he takes on to study great works of Islam’s golden age, and eventually, is chosen to lead army of violent Muslim young men to battle the enemies. Later he is made to take position of an Islamic judge. But after making a shocking discovery in a library, he finds himself questioning his beliefs and learns it was about time to face the consequences of his decisions.

The book starts with an ominous note and readers know the final fate of Aliuf in the very first chapter.

The desolate Saharan states in the book are pretty weak and highly vulnerable to inter-religious conflicts. Through the spread of a more radical version of Islam, the theological conflicts spread way faster than the ethnic conflicts in the region. Readers come across rise of certain radical groups which become highly active and are interested in creating an independent Islamic state with branches in other countries. Aliuf is picked by one such group and went on to become an Islamic judge after spiritually leading an army of violent soldiers

It was sad to see how easy it is to twist any ideology and destroy humanity in the name of religion. Hirst portrayed ‘the mob mentality’ in a brilliant way; how a vast majority of people follow their leaders blindly and would unleash their inner demons easily to commit crimes against humanity.

Aliuf’s part in heinous crimes didn’t stop me from feeling a certain sympathy for him. The naïve ’13-years-old’ boy stays inside him and that’s what brings his doom all along. Only if he was sharper, more practical, he would’ve survived the gruesome end.

The mother in me wished Salif had never entered his life. I wish Aliuf had taken advice of his elder to stay away from Salif. As a mother I felt her mother who was always aware of her son’s restlessness, failed to warn him of the imminent dangers. I understand, parents have to let children find their own life paths, but isn’t it, essentially, duty of a parent to guide the child in the right direction?  The first time Aliuf had to flee home, it was because of certain unsavoury circumstances, but the last letter that he received from his mother cleared the last few doubts in his mind and finalized the things for him in a way; she didn’t even try; she should have warned him of the impending dangers; she didn’t fight; instead, she just let him go.

There is one weak link in the story that I would like to mention. Azter’s part in  Aliuf’s doom seemed a bit forced to me. Considering Aliuf’s naivety, his strong feelings for Azter after so many years, though, seem plausible, but any other woman character could have achieved the desired impact.

Having said that, the book is intense as Hirst’s other works. Hirst is, a brilliant writer. there is no doubt about that.

Definitely recommended to all the serious readers.

 

 

Book Review: I, Charles, from the Camps by Joel D. Hirst

Genre: Literature & fiction, war, coming of age

Length: 222 Pages

Publishing Date: April 21, 2018

 

Buying Links for I, Charles, from the Camps

Amazon

Kobo

 

Author Website:

http://www.joelhirst.com

Twitter: joelhirst

 

40101983

From the Blurb:

Charles Agwok never asked to come into the world as a poor black African on the most terrible of continents. It seems especially unfair to him that it is a matter of chance whether he will sleep in a bed, find a job, marry, or die of hunger and disease. Yet although he never asked for his fate, now he must somehow find a way to survive it.

As he embarks on a coming-of-age journey to find meaning within a world that only recognizes violence, Charles does his best to endure the horrifying conditions that he and the other displaced people of Odek must face every day in the sprawling camps of northern Uganda. When a desperate need to find work leads him to the city of Kampala, Charles spends the next ten years as a bitter man frustrated with the unfairness of the world. Charles has no idea he has the power within to change his fate until he is reluctantly recruited to become a soldier in the Lords Resistance Army and must face his past as it rises up to meet him.

In this powerful story, a young Ugandan on a quest to survive his unfortunate circumstances grudgingly becomes a rebel who learns that it is only he who controls the demons living within his soul.

My Review:

There are two things I would like to say before I start with my review of I, Charles, from the Camps by Joel Hirst; one: this book is not for the faint-hearted; two: if you like good books; no, not the formula best-sellers that you can read in a sitting or two, but the real books that you like to read in leisure, the books that make you think about the grim realities of life somewhere far away in other land, the books that fill your thirst for reading, this is the book for you. As I said earlier, this book is not for the faint hearted; it has rape, murder, violence, all of it depicted in an utmost cruel way (not far from reality though!). the book will stay with you for days.

Charles Agwok is a black boy born in Uganda and lives in a refugee camp with his parents and siblings. While the majority of those refugee population is content to live a life of hunger, desolation, and utter poverty, Charles has dreams. Circumstances make him leave his camp, his family behind and what ensues is one man’s journey of becoming someone else driven by hunger, poverty, and greed, making difficult choices and killing his conscience entirely on the way.

I will not talk about the plot, the characters, the flow, the writing style of the author. It is 5 stars. I will not explore the story either. You, yourself have to read the book. I will only talk about Charles. He is the protagonist, the only one. All the other characters are secondary; they just take his story forward.

So let’s start. Did I feel sympathy for Charles? Of course not; he was twisted; don’t you doubt that, even for a second.

Did I understand his motivations to do what he did under certain pivotal situations? Yes, I did. The evil was there inside him. I admit it isn’t always easy to judge someone on other side of the horizon when you, yourself, haven’t walked in his shoes. But I could understand his transition from Charles Agwok to Okot. Why every Charles born doesn’t end up becoming Okot? Because a vast majority of population are people who daren’t dream big and even if they do they daren’t chase their dreams. They’re not content, but they are just average people with average dreams.

And then, there is this small minority; they possess ability to dream and this raw strength to chase their dreams until they catch them. They are the great men in history we hear about. They have the ability to change the world.

But there is another minority altogether; the people who dream but choose the easy way; ethics don’t matter; money, prosperity matters. That’s the minority to which Charles belongs. If you understand that, you will understand his motivations. Not that he, in his own words, cares about what you think of him. He leaves everything to God, aware at the same time that God already knows (he (Charles) being his mere vessel).

A stunningly brilliant, thought-provoking work of literature.

Absolutely… highly… definitely recommended!

↔↔↔

 

 

Book Review: Chosen by Christelle V Gregorchuk

 

Genre:  Fantasy, Magic

Length: 421 Pages

Publishing Date: July 1, 2018

 

Buying Links for Chosen by Christelle V Gregorchuk

Amazon

 

Author Website

Twitter: GregorchukC

 

40731374

From the Blurb:

Magic and Power… Dragons. These are the things of books and movies… of other worlds. They aren’t real. They can’t be real.

Mia wishes for the days when she truly believed that. Days when her biggest worry was whether or not she’d be accepted into the university of her choice. But that was before…

Before her reflection started playing tricks on her in store windows. Before she was unceremoniously ripped from her family and friends and dumped in a place she can’t escape from. A place where no one can reach her. Nethea.

Thrust into a world where Dragons exist and magic is Power, Mia must find a way to accept the role she’s been Chosen to fulfill. A role that seems more and more likely to claim her life as she uncovers the staggering odds stacked against her. If she can do it…if she can rise above the grief and anger that plague her heart and save Nethea from the dark fate waiting in the claws of a monster… Then maybe, just maybe she’ll get to go home again.

Can Mia find the will and the courage to defend and protect a world she doesn’t belong to? Will she take up the heavy mantle of the Guardians of Nethea?

 

My Review:

Mia Astor is just a regular young woman, excited to start a new future with her admission in an engineering course in a Canadian University. But the fate has other plans for her. One night, she’s thrust into a new world, the world where dragons exist, miracles happen, and magic is a real thing. Unable to accept the truth, Mia is too miserable to come to term with this harsh reality. Soon she learns that there is a slight hope of her returning to her earlier life. But before that she has to fulfill her responsibility toward people of Nethea; she has to take on the title of guardian of Nethnea and defeat the powerful Oluan army. For that she must learn to use the hidden powers she’s bestowed with.

The one thing I keep on saying about fantasy is that it is not my genre. But in the last few months, I have read quite a few fantasy books and I admit I’ve loved all of them. ‘Chosen’ by Christelle V Gregorchuk is no different. The book was really lovely and I enjoyed it thoroughly except for the first few chapters as the beginning was a bit slow. But once Mia enters Nethea, the story picked up the pace.

The everyday life in Nethea is intriguing. The characters are likable especially, Hanna and Orden Metrosson. Orden’s character as the keeper of guardians is intriguing.  There is not much of Vander in the first book, but his character has a lot of potential and it would be interesting to see how he gets on with Mia in book two in the series. Mia as a major protagonist couldn’t impress much. Most of the time she’s whiny and unable to make up her mind. But that’s understandable considering she is stuck in an unknown world and barely has any hope to return to her old life. I hope she gets stronger, single- minded in the next book.

The plot is tight and story flows at good pace. The ending is a cliff-hanger and leaves the readers wanting to read the next book in the series.

The only thing that I didn’t like much was how the author didn’t pay much attention to the setting. Even though Mia has started to live in Nathea, readers do not get sense of this place. Nathea seems like Hanna and Orden’s home and nothing else. There is this mention of trade opportunities but no other family or people living in Nethea are shown. It seems there is this single house where the keeper of guardian and his family lives.

Other than that, the book is thoroughly enjoyable and would not disappoint fans of fantasy genre.

Definitely recommended!

↔↔↔

Book Review: Brigitta of the White Forest (Faerie Tales from the White Forest #1) by Danika Dinsmore

 

Genre: Children’s, Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic

Length: 212 Pages

Publishing Date: April 27, 2016

 

Buying Links for Brigitta of the White Forest

Amazon

Kobo

Barnes & Noble

 

Author Website:

http://www.danikadinsmore.com/

Twitter: danika_dinsmore

 

10187685

From the Blurb:

Briggy, what happens when the Hourglass runs out?

Brigitta wished she had paid more attention to her Auntie Ferna’s lessons. Being able to string a thunder-bug symphony wasn’t going to help them now. She didn’t know exactly what would happen when the Hourglass ran out, since no living faerie knew a time when the Hourglass didn’t protect the forest . . . But even though she couldn’t remember the details, she did know that without the Hourglass there would be no White Forest . . .

A charming middle-grade fantasy series, “Faerie Tales from the White Forest” watches the journey of young Brigitta of the White Forest as she has to save her beloved people from a spell that has turned everyone to stone.

 

My Review:

This book is lovely. I’m not much into fantasy but loved Brigitta of the White Forest. It introduces the young faerie, Brigitta, who is the last one of her friends to receive her destiny mark, a special marking on faerie wings.  Accompanied by her younger sister, Himalette, Brigitta is forced to leave protection of her home, the White Forest to seek help from a banished faerie living in Dead Mountain after a mysterious curse turns all the inhabitants of White Forest to stone. Their journey is dangerous and they must seek help of some dubious creatures in order to succeed. What follows is a journey full of adventure, action, courage, and scary beasts.

The starting is bit slow, but after a few chapters the story picks up the pace and is hard to put down after that. I’m one of those people who usually do not like to read young adult or children’s literature. But I admit, I thoroughly enjoyed Brigitta of the White forest. I’m sure children would really love this book. The author has this wonderful talent to get to children’s level and imagine things.

Brigitta is a great role model for the young girls. She’s courageous, even though she doesn’t realize it. Unaware of her inner strength, she faces the danger and sets on to save her home, her family, and all of the faerie realm.

The interaction between the sisters is a delight to read. Brigitta is a typical older sister, always trying to keep Himalette, the little one out of trouble. I loved Minq’s character: the things he can do with his ears is hilarious. All the other characters are lovely as well. The setting is beautiful though it doesn’t come much alive. The biggest strength of Dinsmore is writing is her dialogue delivery. It flows naturally. The interactions between the characters are smooth.

Overall, a delightful read.

Definitely recommend to all the children (up to 11-12 yrs).

↔↔↔

Book Review: The Burning of San Porfirio by Joel Hirst

 

Genre: Literature & fiction, war, political, military

Length: 404 Pages

Publishing Date: December 19, 2015

 

Buying Links for The Burning of San Porfirio

Amazon

Kobo

iUniverse

iTunes

 

Author Website:

http://www.joelhirst.com

Twitter: joelhirst

 

29223532

 

From the Blurb:

What happens when the revolution burns out and the magic is gone? Pancho Randelli doesnt know or care. Released from jail to wander the wasteland, hes haunted by the loss of his great love, Susana, and wonders at the fate of his deputy, Carlitos. He fears for the life of his best friend and hopes he has not become just another victim of madness.

In desperate search for Carlitos, Pancho begins his quest across the shattered landscape of a broken country. While trailing behind cold tracks and blurry memories, he finds something wholly unexpected: freedom. This is not the case for General Juan Marco Machado, who wallows in power at long last. For him, things are not how he originally imagined.

Without magic, all the money and power in the world cannot save the general from downfall and despair. While Pancho may find what he seeks, the general finds nothing but anguish. At the end, neither man will escape the inevitable results of the ideas upon which the revolution advanced, lived for a season only to burn itself out.

My Review:

The book two, the sequel to “The Lieutenant of San Porfirio” opens with Panacho Randelli being released from jail after spending decades there and trails his journey of self-exploration. Parallel to the story of Panacho Randelli, we follow journey of ruthless Lieutenant Juan Marco Machado who has climbed countless ranks and has become a General, El Comandante’s right-hand man.

El Comanddante dies soon and Machado declares himself Venezuela’s acting leader until elections can be held. In reality, he has no intention to resign and keeps postponing the elections which put the country at the centre of a major war while the opponent forces are hell bent on destroying each other; General Machado’s armies at one side and the ousted Vice President Sanchez and various gorilla organizations at the opposite sides.

Panacho’s interactions with Venezuelans all over the country during his journey of self-exploration reveal the true extent of botched system and prevailing corruption in the country. The ideology of communism has failed miserably. The masses; the common people, are constantly wronged at the hands of those in power; Machado’s army as well as his opponent, Sanchez and other gorilla organizations. When it comes to a better system, there is none. By the end, the whole country is burning and the people are left in limbo: directionless- waiting for someone to show them the way.

Hirst’s characterization, as I mentioned for the first book, is great. There are two sides to everyone’s personality. We get to witness a soft side of the utterly ruthless General Machado during Panacho’s stay at the later’s luxurious hideout. Some of the characters from the first book appear in this book. We learn about Carlitos who has come to term with his life and is content with what he has and Geronimo, Freddy’s acquaintance who is stuck in the place and has nowhere to go. We also learn about Dona Esmoralda’s sad fate. Freddy, one of the four protagonists in the first book, meets a sad end.

If you appreciate good literature, you would surely enjoy Hirst’s San Porforio series. But I must warn you the series is not for everyone.  Only serious readers would be able to appreciate the beauty of Hirst’s writing. There is a scene in the book where a coca farmer shares his opinion with Panacho about finding value in things which seems to echo thoughts of the author.

“But you know, business isn’t just about making money. It’s about adding value to society and for your customers. I’ve met some good novelists who could make a lot more money writing harlequin romance novels but don’t find any value in the pornography.”

It seems writing is a passion for Hirst and not a way of making money.

Definitely recommended to history buffs and readers who love good literature!

↔↔↔

Book Review: One Shot by Brian Gates

 

Genre: Thrillers & Suspense, Paranormal

Length: 236 Pages

Publishing Date: November 21, 2017

 

Buying Links for One Shot:

Amazon

 

Author Website:

http://www.briangatesbooks.com/

Twitter: briangatesbooks

36558393

 

From the Blurb:

Decipher the riddles, or the innocent will die. That’s the perilous situation Jack, a humble bartender, finds himself in one foggy evening.

Meet Jack Shot, a bartender with a happy-go-lucky attitude, content to drift through life at his leisure…until one night a strange man pulls up a seat at the bar and flips his life on end.

Now the 23-year-old, whose biggest concern to that point had been asking out a hot blonde coworker, is charged with stopping tragedies before they occur. It starts with a riddle that inexplicably materializes on a single sheet of paper placed on his desk. After deciphering it, Jack is shocked to find they predict impending, man-made catastrophes. The necessary details of these future events are buried in the cryptic riddles, and the lives of many hinge on Jack’s ability to decipher them and stop the devastation before it occurs. Aided by his crush, Abby, and Larry, the old man who runs the bar, Jack takes on the impossible task.

Jack is forced to question his own sanity whilst striving to save as many people as possible, even as the riddles become progressively more lethal and drag him further and further down the rabbit hole.

In a shocking twist, Jack must reckon with the most perilous threat yet, and is forced to confront an evil that hits closer to home than ever before. He must race against time to prevent losing everything, because when the future whispers your name, you only get One Shot.

 

My Review:

Jack Shot is your average everyday young man. He works as a bartender and lives an ordinary life until he finds a poem he wrote for his love interest, Abbey turns into a baffling riddle. The riddle eventually comes to corresponds to a real-life event and Jack learns he is special, after all. He starts to find more riddles in his room pertaining to devastating future crimes. With his boss and friend, Larry and his love interest, Abbey, he embarks on a journey of mystical adventures and action and must confront the evil before it destroys everything.

Supernatural genre is something I’m not interested in much, but One Shot kept me intrigued until the very end. The characters are commonplace and the author sketches their ordinary daily lives so efficiently that I kept hoping for some sort of conventional explanation to emerge out of this whole cosmic phenomenon. I loved Larry’s character. The Irish brothers have a short part to play but they are true darlings. Jack could be anybody; he is just so commonplace – this nice, sweet guy who lives next door. Abbey’s character would have done with little bit of more background.

The story is definitely unique and moves at a good pace. Jack’s first-person narration is engaging, though, at times, it loses its momentum, especially, around the middle.

Each chapter begins with a quote that beautifully sums up the upcoming happenings in the story. The crimes are introduced through poetry cum riddles and I found myself trying to solve them out along with Jack and Abbey. The riddles are complicated; I completely failed at solving them. The ending was unexpected and satisfying.

The book is easy read, entertaining, and a page turner. If you love supernatural genre or mysteries and looking for a quick aborning read, this is the book for you.

↔↔