Book Review: The Lost City Of The Monkey God: A True Story by Douglas Preston

30145126Author: Douglas Preston 
Release Date: 3rd January 2017
Series: 
Genre: Non-Fiction, Adventure, Anthropology, Archeology, History, True Events
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 337
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

A five-hundred-year-old legend. An ancient curse. A stunning medical mystery. And a pioneering journey into the unknown heart of the world’s densest jungle.
Since the days of conquistador Hernán Cortés, rumors have circulated about a lost city of immense wealth hidden somewhere in the Honduran interior, called the White City or the Lost City of the Monkey God. Indigenous tribes speak of ancestors who fled there to escape the Spanish invaders, and they warn that anyone who enters this sacred city will fall ill and die. In 1940, swashbuckling journalist Theodore Morde returned from the rainforest with hundreds of artifacts and an electrifying story of having found the Lost City of the Monkey God-but then committed suicide without revealing its location.
Three quarters of a century later, bestselling author Doug Preston joined a team of scientists on a groundbreaking new quest. In 2012 he climbed aboard a rickety, single-engine plane carrying the machine that would change everything: lidar, a highly advanced, classified technology that could map the terrain under the densest rainforest canopy. In an unexplored valley ringed by steep mountains, that flight revealed the unmistakable image of a sprawling metropolis, tantalizing evidence of not just an undiscovered city but an enigmatic, lost civilization.
Venturing into this raw, treacherous, but breathtakingly beautiful wilderness to confirm the discovery, Preston and the team battled torrential rains, quickmud, disease-carrying insects, jaguars, and deadly snakes. But it wasn’t until they returned that tragedy struck: Preston and others found they had contracted in the ruins a horrifying, sometimes lethal-and incurable-disease.
Suspenseful and shocking, filled with colorful history, hair-raising adventure, and dramatic twists of fortune, The Lost City of the Monkey God is the absolutely true, eyewitness account of one of the great discoveries of the twenty-first century.

Review

The Lost City Of The Monkey God by Douglas Preston is a sensational true adventure book about the very famous legend of ‘Casa Blanca’ a lost city in the unexplored part of the Honduran rainforest.

The book started out so good that I was immediately pulled into the story. It was an exciting and a thoroughly entertaining read and I enjoyed reading every bit of it! This is the first time that I’ve read a true-adventure story and, surprisingly, this book absolutely blew my mind!

I would have never even imagined of reading this book had it not been for The Obsidian Chamber, a book co-authored by Douglas Preston. I really liked the writing style used in that book and hence, when I was offered to review this book, I immediately accepted knowing that, if not the genre, at least the writing of the author was something I was familiar with. But to my pleasant surprise, the writing in this book turned out to be even better than what I was expecting. Douglas Preston has the skill to tell a complex and technical tale in such beautiful and simple words that even a layman like me understood everything and was able to enjoy the entire book.

The only problem I had (and the reason why I dropped my rating from 5 to 4 stars) is that the last 2-3 chapters were a bit of a slog. They were interesting and informative, but they had a lot of stuff that bounced right off my head and left me skimming over paragraphs.

Other than this, the book is a brilliant read and gives a detailed account of not only the search missions author Douglas Preston participated in, but also about the earlier attempts and hoax discoveries related to the legend of the Lost City Of The Monkey God, which was both insightful as well as fun to read.

I’d recommend this book to all the adventure and true-adventure genre lovers and to those who wouldn’t mind taking an adventurous and a really exciting trip to a really, really beautiful legendary rainforest.

“… legends are frequently based on the truth, and this one, so persistent and long-lasting, is no exception.”

Here’s a list of the articles published on the National Geographic website along with the real photographs (these articles were also mentioned and sometimes quoted in this book):


GoodreadAmazon and NetGalley

Book Review: Guardian Of Paradise by W.E. Lawrence

26769446Author: W.E. Lawrence
Release Date: September 20, 2015
Series: 
Genre: Historical Fiction, Action-Adventure, Romance
Edition: ebook (Kindle)
Pages: 297
Publisher: 

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

In 1888, Kira Wall, surviving daughter of missionaries swept away in a tsunami, lives a primitive, but enjoyable life with natives on an isolated island in the South Pacific. But her serene world is turned upside down when an Australian merchant ship, commanded by the sinister Captain Darcy Coleman, arrives with an overabundance of modern and lavish goods. Kira suspects ill intent. Chief Ariki refuses to listen to Kira’s warning, forcing her to uncover the real plan of the captain on her own. Unfortunately, she has a distraction. A six-foot tall, blond, and handsome distraction. Trevor Marshall, doctor and botanist, hopes to find exotic plants on the island to research new cures and medicines. He is dedicated to science, but when meeting the strong-willed, beautiful Kira Wall, he’d prefer to spend time researching her—all night.
The captain thwarts Kira’s attempts to call him out at every step, turning the village chief against her. With only Trevor and her best friend Malana by her side, she stalks the captain and his officers through the dense, predator infested jungle, toward the island’s inactive volcano. Frustrated by her failure to reveal the captain’s true intentions, Kira begins to think maybe she’s wrong about everything. Then an explosion and earthquake bigger than anyone on the island has ever seen renews her resolve. Was the blast natural or man-made? She is determined to prove it was the captain’s doing. Kira races against time and the island people’s naivety to stop the captain from destroying her home and killing everyone she loves.

REVIEW

Guardian Of Paradise by W.E. Lawrence is a action-packed historical read.

I really enjoyed reading this book especially because of the beautiful setting of this story. The fitting descriptions made the island’s beauty come to life and I was left craving for more.

I’m not a Historical Fiction fan, but there are a few authors who really write this genre well, and W.E. Lawrence is definitely one of them. I liked the romance bit too. It was the main theme, but thankfully the author did not overburden the story with mindless romance.

The adventurous undertones and the well-written plot were really engaging. The writing was really simple and easy to follow, making this book a really breezy read. I was hooked right from the beginning to the very end. And the characterization was also good. I didn’t feel a very strong connection with the leads, but considering that it’s not one of my favorite genres, I cared enough about the characters to want to know what happens next – and it was good enough for me.

Despite a few minor flaws (lacking justification of some of the actions of the islanders and a few odd loose ends) I liked reading this book and I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to read a moderate-paced and light-hearted Historical novel.

 


Goodreads | Amazon

Book Review: Chakana by W.E. Lawrence

28094715Author: W.E. Lawrence
Release Date: December 2015
Series: 
Genre: Historical Fiction | Action | Adventure | Suspense | Romance
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 325
Publisher: CreateSpace
Source: Publicist
Buy it here: Amazon

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

In 1939, before the start of World War II, James Fleming, the original British secret agent, races on a high-stakes chase to track down the ancient lost treasure of King Huascar of the Incas. He must recover it before the Nazis do or the whole world will be in imminent danger.

But this is no ordinary treasure hunt. The Incas have proven their cunning and intellect in not only how they hid their treasure, but how they protected it. Fleming joins forces in the remote ruins of Peru, South America with Kate Rhodes, a policewoman on leave from the United States, her archaeologist brother, Nick, and their college professor, Dr. Charlie. Together, they must decode, interpret the clues, and face the challenges of the Chakana on their hunt for the treasure.

If this wasn’t difficult enough, the group is hounded throughout their search of the ancient Sacred Valley by international artifact smugglers, familiar with the Chakana and working with the Nazis, who are determined to acquire the treasure to help finance their war effort. Intrigue, danger, suspense, action, adventure, and even romance abound in this brave band’s quest to save the free world.

Review

This is my first book by W.E. Lawrence and I must say that I’ll be reading more books by him soon.

In Chakana, the story began with a simple, yet interesting, prologue and I was drawn into the book right from the beginning. The alternating POvs kept the plot clear and interesting throughout the book. It ended on a great note and I really enjoyed the little twist at the end.

The characterization is good, but I hate to say that I wasn’t able to feel a strong connection with either of the leads. The characters are built nicely, but something about them felt amiss. In spite of the author’s efforts, James came out a little disconnected and crude, and Kate’s character didn’t have enough clarity. As a result, the romantic angle seemed dull, in spite of all the steamy make-out scenes.

I enjoyed the adventure on the whole and, apart from minor flaws, this book makes for an interesting and engrossing read.

This book has a great storyline and the historical settings make this adventurous novel a really interesting read. I liked the author’s writing style because it had a great flow. The pacing was good too.

Overall this book makes for a really good read and I’d recommend it to all the adventure buffs.

Bookstagram

Instagram

Other Stuff

Opening Line: The rumble of thunder sent the horse into a nervous prance.

Highlights: Writing and storyline.

Lowlights: Lack of strong connection with the leads.

Final Thoughts: A lovely historical adventure book that’ll make for a nice summer read.


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Review: Monsterland

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Author: Michael Phillip Cash 
Release Date: April 6, 2016
Series: None
Genre: YA | Adventure | Urban Fantasy | Post-Apocalyptic | Horror>Zombies |
Paranormal>Vampires | Shapeshifter>Werewolves | Post-Apocalyptic
Edition: Ebook (mobi)
Pages: 336
Publisher: Create Space
Source: NetGalley
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

Welcome to Monsterland – the scariest place on Earth. All guests can interact with real vampires in Vampire Village, be chased by an actual werewolf on the River Run, and walk among the dead in Zombieville.
Wyatt Baldwin, a high school student and life-long movie buff is staring bleakly at a future of flipping burgers. Due to a fortuitous circumstance, Wyatt and his friends are invited to the star-studded opening of Monsterland. In a theme park full of real vampires, werewolves and zombies, what could possibly go wrong?

Rating

TRB 5 stars

Review

It was the entrance to the Auschwitz death camp.

http://blewzen.deviantart.com/art/Werewolf-vampire-zombie-sketches-450864569
http://blewzen.deviantart.com/art/Werewolf-vampire-zombie-sketches-450864569

The story line of Monsterland is really unique, fresh and, I must admit, quite chilling (esp. the werewolf part.)

It’s not scary in the literal sense as such but it does gives the chills at more than one occasion. The descriptions are wildly realistic and the images they paint is worth all the time and money spent on this book. I felt that I was the one visiting the Monsterland with my friends and not the fictional characters. The story is beautifully crafted and the detailing is commendable. Being a paranormal/shapeshifter/horror storyline, the author successfully captured the character backgrounds and successfully added layers to the overall concept.

I enjoyed the book right from the first line right till the very last one. The overlapping of the paranormal and horror genres is commendable because, despite my initial reservations, the author managed to woo me with his amazing story and its execution. It is a job well done on the author’s part.

I felt a connection with each and every character of this book. What seemed to be pointless discussions of monster-obsessed teenagers in the initial pages of the book, made more and more sense as the story progressed and finally when it reached the last act.

I also enjoyed the last connection that the author made between the characters. It’s a well thought out storyline with 3-dimensional characters and layers and layers of different elements.

All the elements blended perfectly well together (except for one little thing- why was Raoul the vamp scared of the zombies!?!? Well, this crossed my mind only for a second before I got caught in the thrill of the moment and my mind moved on to other characters who were literally fighting for their lives (when the story is as good as this, who cares?)

I love myself some badass zombies but this is the first time I actually saw them sympathetically as “victims” and poor sick people who are not someone to be shot or bashed in the head by any/everyone, but a sad bunch of unfortunate people who caught the plague.

http://weknowyourdreams.com/zombies.html
http://weknowyourdreams.com/images/zombies/zombies-07.jpg

By the starting of the end, I was actually feeling sad for all the three creatures- the zombies, the vamps and the werewolves- but by the end, all the other things faded from my mind and I experienced what I really wanted to (and why I really picked this book in the first place)  – a complete monster massacre.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: The sky was a sparkling, power blue, mosquitoes droned lazily over the tepid water, frogs croaked messages while they sunbathed on waxy lilypads.

Memorable Quotes: 

Wyatt looked back at the main area of the park, feeling uneasy he was being led somewhere he shouldn’t be going.

Memorable Paragraphs: 

Wyatt glanced back in his rearview mirror and shifted uncomfortable in his seat, remembering why the sign unnerved him. It bore a stricking resemblance to a picture he has seen in his history book. The words were in German and read Arbeit Macht Frei– Work Makes You Free. It was the entrance to the Auschwitz death camp.

Highlights: Superb concept and amazing execution of all the elements.

Lowlights: None.

Final Thoughts: A must read for paranormal and post-apocalyptic readers.


You can also read this review at Goodreads, Amazon and NetGalley

 

Book Review: Neverland

25317200

Author: Shari Arnold
Release Date: April 7, 2015
Series: -
Genre: Retelling | Fairytale | Young Adult | Fantasy | Contemporary | Romance
Edition: E-Book (mobi) 
Pages: 359
Publisher: Patchwork Press
Source: NetGalley
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

It’s been four months since seventeen-year-old Livy Cloud lost her younger sister, but she isn’t quite ready to move on with her life — not even close. She’d rather spend her time at the Seattle Children’s hospital, reading to the patients and holding onto memories of the sister who was everything to her and more.
But when she meets the mysterious and illusive Meyer she is drawn into a world of adventure, a world where questions abound.
Is she ready to live life without her sister? Or more importantly, is she brave enough to love again?
In this modern-day reimagining of Peter Pan, will Livy lose herself to Neverland or will she find what she’s been searching for?

Rating

TRB 5 stars

Review

Plot/Story:

Neverland is a fairytale retelling of Peterpan and as far as I’m concerned this is the best book I’ve read so far in the fantasy genre. It has a dreamlike  imagery which will leave you craving and begging for more.

The pace of the story was perfect, not too fast, not too slow. I was able to not only read the story in front of me but was also able to live it forgetting everything around me.

This book is literally unputdownable and I love it so much that it has made its place at the top of my all-time favorites! I’ve already read it twice now and I’ll be re-reading it again soon.

Characters:

I absolutely adore the lead characters of Livy and Meyer, so much so that I guess I’m in love with Meyer! The relationship between Livy and Meyer developed slowly and beautifully. The vulnerability of Livy added more depth to each and every aspect of the story.

I wanted to cry when Livy felt hurt and wanted to do a happy dance whenever she got a positive response from Meyer. I even blushed a dozen times while reading about Livy and Meyer’s small interactions.

https://45.media.tumblr.com/f7002f90f03cf17d5c7c5468b2ea3238/tumblr_mqd502krNg1sbgfiuo1_500.gif
https://45.media.tumblr.com/f7002f90f03cf17d5c7c5468b2ea3238/tumblr_mqd502krNg1sbgfiuo1_500.gif

Romance:

The beautiful budding romance between Livy and Meyer was nothing less than magical. It was slow and cute love that started as an odd friendship but developed into something more special. The thing that made their relationship so magical is the subtlety of feelings beautifully expressed by the author.

https://45.media.tumblr.com/1d61ec22b2bd42f451044d203205035d/tumblr_mtp4zcU5VG1svh626o1_500.gif
https://45.media.tumblr.com/1d61ec22b2bd42f451044d203205035d/tumblr_mtp4zcU5VG1svh626o1_500.gif

Writing:

Shari Arnold’s writing style is so simple that it flows smoothly throughout the book. I enjoyed reading this book mainly because of the uncomplicated writing style. I didn’t just read this book, but I was really able to live it (and that’s something.)

Beginning:

The book started beautifully with Livy reading Peter Pan for children in a hospital. How can anyone not get emotionally involved right from the start with this kind of a start! I was swept right off my feet from the very first page. And as the story progressed I lost myself completely in the beautiful world of Livy and Meyer.

Ending:

Ahh… the ending. At first, I was like:

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But then after a few minutes, I thought about it and realized that it was for the best and that the ending couldn’t have been better. Yes, it wasn’t a straight out happy one, but it was realistic and, more importantly, acceptable. After being swept off by this story I really dreaded to know the end, but the author, Shari Arnold, really surprised me with a well-balanced ending.

Cover Art:

The cover art of this book is simply awesome. The colors are so pretty and subtle and the minimalistic design makes it a great cover.

Blurb:

The blurb is perfect and gives a fair idea of what to expect from the book. I picked it up from NetGalley after reading the blurb itself, so yeah, it totally worked for me, and I’m sure it’ll definitely get anyone else’s attention as well!

Other Stuff

Opening Line: It’s just before dinnertime at the Seatle Children’s Hospital.

Highlights: Storyline.

Lowlights: None.

Memorable Quotes:

Their eyes are wide and curious, and I love that. If I focus on their eyes I can forget the disease each one carries around like a nametag.

I’ve found that death makes people uncomfortable, while the death of a child clears the room altogether.

God doesn’t save children around here. Sometimes it feels as if he’s collecting them.

Memorable Paragraph:

Jenna slides up closer to me, her excitement a temperature that keeps me warm. She and Alice are spell-bound. They’re the reason I love to tell stories. It doesn’t matter how often they’ve heard it, or that they already know what will happen next. A story is a story. It takes you away from what you’re doing and how you’re living right then, and whisks you away into someone else’s world.

Final Thoughts: This book is pure AWESOMENESS!!!