Book Review: In The Shadow Of The Kingmakers by Vahid Imani

Author: Vahid Imani
Release Date: 9th February 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction, Thriller, Suspense, Mystery
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 300
Publisher: Stormtop Publishing
Blurb:
The shadows were closer than he thought …
Tehran in 1924 is the stage for a daring international showdown over the control of Persian oil fields. James Malcolm, a British operative stationed in Tehran weaves an intricate plot in hopes of installing a new loyal Persian king. A teenage boy’s accidental involvement becomes a distraction. When his plot is sabotaged, the fragile peace in Persia is threatened along with the boy’s life. Malcolm’s clandestine investigation entangles him with unwitting American diplomats, treacherous double agents, and murderous Soviet spies, all seeking to foil the oil grab of the British.

REVIEW

★★★★

In The Shadow Of The Kingmakers by Vahid Imani is an immersive historical suspense thriller that pulled me in right from the start to the very end. I really liked it because of the complexity of the plot and the ease with which it was laid by the author for the reader to read.

The writing is really good and the book is easy to follow, making it a relatively quick read. The characterization was also good and I was able to feel a connection to the protagonist, James, and was rooting for him throughout the book. The plot was the hero for me and the story felt very well fleshed out, especially the cultural details and the rich exposition.

The ending was apt and it made a lot of sense. I enjoyed this book through and through and would recommend it to all historical fiction fans and readers of mystery and thriller genre.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

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Book Review: The Memory Tree (Carson Chronicles #2) by John A. Heldt

Author: John A. Heldt
Release Date: 30th April 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction, Time-Travel, Sci-Fi, Relationships & Family
SeriesCarson Chronicles – Book #2
Edition: E-book
Pages: 659
Publisher: 
Blurb:
Days after barely escaping 1889 with their lives, the Carsons, siblings from the present day, resume their search for their missing parents in 1918. While Adam and his pregnant wife, Bridget, settle in Minnesota, unaware of a wildfire that will kill hundreds, Greg seeks clues in his great-grandparents’ Mexico, where he finds love, danger, and enemies. At the same time, Natalie, the ambitious journalist, follows a trail to World War I France, and teen twins Cody and Caitlin rekindle a friendship with an old Pennsylvania friend haunted by her past. In THE MEMORY TREE, the sweeping sequel to RIVER RISING, several time travelers find answers and meaning as they continue the adventure of a lifetime in the age of doughboys, silent movies, and Model T’s.

REVIEW

★★★★

The Memory Tree by John A. Heldt is a compelling sequel to River Rising, book one in the Carson Chronicles series. Just like the first part of this series, and the others I’ve read by the author, this book was equally interesting, entertaining and emotional. It had a lot to offer in terms of the rich American history, WWI and the culture of the years long gone. This book was especially good because it had a twist which I was not expecting and the element of surprise really caught me off-guard as I’ve come to understand where things are generally moving in author Heldt’s books because of having read many of them and being familiar with his style of writing. So the twist was a pleasant surprise for me.

The characterization was good and I was able to see the development of all the characters from the last book experiencing new worlds and living in times new to them. The writing was good and complimented the story well. And I’m really looking forward to reading the next part of this series.

I’d recommend this book to all historical fiction lovers and to everyone who loves reading stories on relationships and families. It is an honest-to-god feel-good story that will definitely warm your heart.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: The Afterlives of Doctor Gachet by Sam Meekings

Author: Sam Meekings
Release Date: 1st August 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 290
Publisher: Eyewear Publishing
Blurb:
Who is that mournful man in the painting? THE AFTERLIVES OF DOCTOR GACHET tells the story of Paul Ferdinand Gachet, the subject of one of Vincent van Gogh’s most famous portraits: one that shows what the artist called “the heartbroken expression of our times.” But what caused such heartbreak? This thrilling historical novel follows Doctor Gachet from asylums to art galleries, from the bloody siege of Paris to life with van Gogh in Auvers, and from the bunkers of Nazi Germany to a reclusive billionaire in Tokyo, to uncover the secrets behind that grief-stricken smile.

REVIEW

★★★★

“I know some people argue that our lives are predicated on the quirks of our genes, that our destiny is inscribed in the code of our DNA. On the other hand, it is only when we are tested in the outside world that all the possibility bristling within us is whittled down and we really take shape.”

The Afterlives Of Doctor Gachet by Sam Meekings is a very delightful and a pretty compelling historical read with a powerful, well-written and brilliantly executed storyline. This book was such a good break from all the contemporary fiction I read. The plot was very unique, fresh and pretty captivating. I enjoyed reading this book a lot because I truly enjoyed reading each and every single sentence of this book (which is very rare  for me.) The writing was beautiful and the author’s style was pretty impressive. I guess I can say without a speck of doubt, and as rare as it may be, that in this book the writing was the best part.

I loved the characterization and character development in every chapter. I also appreciated the side-story of which was given in alternating chapters; it kept the story from being monotonous and made it very interesting.

I’d recommend this book to all historical-fiction readers and to anyone who is looking to take a break from their usual choice of books and might want to explore something refreshing and brilliant. Also, I’m sure Van Gough enthusiasts and fans would definitely love reading this book and exploring the background of the subject of one of his most talked about pieces.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Madrone by Jack B. Rochester

Author: Jack B. Rochester
Release Date: 15th July 2014
Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
Series:
Edition: e-book
Pages: 340
Publisher: Wheatmark
Blurb:
The year is 1969. After an interminable four years under the boot of the US military, twenty-four-year-old Nathaniel Hawthorne Flowers is ready for his real life to begin. His plans are straightforward: spend as much time as he can with his girlfriend, Jane, finish college, and become a writer. But when Nate is denied admission to UC Santa Cruz, he decides that a bachelor’s degree isn’t necessarily the path he’s laid out for himself. He can learn about literature on his own, and he’ll have more time to write if he isn’t in school. His choice doesn’t sit well with everybody. Jane’s father asks Nate how he’ll support Jane without a degree. Jane’s mentor offers to pull some strings at SC if Nate agrees to become his student. And when a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity presents itself, even Nate is tempted by the allure of conventionally defined success. Picking up where Wild Blue Yonder left off, Madrone inspires us to consider how far we’ll go to remain true to ourselves.

Review

★★★★★

Madrone by Jack B. Rochester is a beautiful sequel to Wild Blue Yonder, which picks up where the first one left off giving a detailed glimpse into the life of the protagonist, Nathaniel Hawthorne Flowers, after he enters the next phase of his life and explores the world outside of the military.

Just like the previous book by author Rochester, I thoroughly enjoyed this book as well. I’m glad that I got a chance to read the first book so close to this one because the whole story of Nathaniel felt like a nice long movie. The writing was really good and felt apt for such a beautiful story. The characterization was great as instantly I was able to connect to Nathaniel, and was able to relate to him while he went about living his life in a world that was new to him.

The book is based in the 1960’s and the author has done a commendable job in enabling people like me, who never saw that era, to be able to live it through his amazing cast of characters. The settings did not only make the book very interesting but also very enjoyable.

It is a good book with a heart-warming story and exceptional writing to compliment it, sprinkled with a cast of characters that would steal your heart in a blink and I’d recommend it to everyone who loves reading a meticulously constructed story with fully fleshed-out characters.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Wild Blue Yonder by Jack B. Rochester

Author: Jack B. Rochester
Release Date: 1st August 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series:
Edition: e-book
Pages: 306
Publisher:
Blurb:
“Nathaniel Hawthorne Flowers, eh?” said First Sergeant Wilford H. Buford. “That yer real name or one you picked up out there in fairyland Cally-forny?” “Wild Blue Yonder” is the coming-of-age story of Nathaniel Hawthorne Flowers, a smart but sheltered boy from suburban Chicago whose beloved father suddenly dies, resulting in his flunking out of college. It’s the 1960s, so he gets a draft notice but joins the Air Force to avoid going to Vietnam. Nate’s adventure takes off as he tries to understand the military mindset and the massive social disruption going on in America. His journey takes a Kafka-esque turn when he is sent to Germany to become a military newspaper correspondent whose stories will never see print. Existential, psychedelic, fun-filled and laced with the rock ‘n’ roll of the times, “Wild Blue Yonder” is the story of Nate finding his personal and spiritual values as he discovers the love of a girl and the meaning of family and friendships.

Review

★★★★★

Wild Blue Yonder by Jack B. Rochester is a beautifully written historical fiction book with such realistic characterization that it takes the book to a whole new level of awesomeness.

I truly enjoyed reading this book; it had great writing, really good characterization, very nice pacing and tension and the plot-progression was really, really good. And on top of all this, the story was not only realistic but also very emotional and deep, which made reading this book so worth it. I was pulled into the story right from the start and was in it for good till the very end. The conflicts felt real and the backdrop was fantastic. Overall, it is a very, very good book.

I’d recommend this book to the readers of historical fiction as well to those who are looking for a refreshing new dramatic story and won’t mind the backdrop of war.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Krishnaa : Queen Bee of No. 8 West Iyen Street by Radhika Giridhara And Vidya Nagaraj

Author: Radhika Giridharan and Vidya Nagaraj
Release Date: 12th December 2017
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Indian Literature, Historical Fiction
Series:
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 302
Publisher: Notion Press
Blurb:
When a marriage proposal from a much married 30 year old Raghavenrda for 12 year old Krishnaa comes knocking on the door of Gundappa Chowltry, life takes on a dramatic turn for Krishnaa. An official bride-seeing ceremony and a quick peek at the bridegroom  seals things  and  before long Krishnaa finds herself embarking on her new journey with her new husband-a man she barely knows, to the temple town of Kumbakonam. What lies in store for Krishnaa in her new house as Raghavendra’s second wife? Where is Raghavendra’s first wife?  Are Krishnaa’s dreams and desires fulfilled? What cards are dealt to Krishnaa by the hands of destiny?While tracing Krishnaa’s life journey from 1904 to the modern times, the book captures the soul of the Indian Joint family system, the customs and traditions, the love and laughter and the ever green human values. Set in the picturesque temple town of Kumbakonam, on the banks of river Cauvery, amidst the majestic Gopurams of Chakrapani and Sarangapani temples, the story of Krishnaa unfolds in all its colourful glory.

Review

★★★+1/2

Krishnaa: Queen Bee Of No.8 West Iyen Street by Radhika Giridharan and Vidya Nagaraj is a very interesting take on marriage, in general, and the Indian joint-family system and its quirks.

This book was a welcome change from the western books I read, and as a bonus, it had a good story that was equal parts interesting and entertaining. I enjoyed reading this book a lot and I felt the joy that I always feel while watching Rajshee films (which are famous Bollywood movies based on Indian joint-families and are about Indian traditions and belief-system.)

The characterization was great, the writing was good and overall the book was a quick and easy read. The story had quite a few turns that made it very enjoyable and the authors’ ability to not go melodramatic over issues like child-marriage and second marriage is really commendable.

Overall, it was a nice read and if you are an Indian or an Indian culture enthusiast, then you should definitely consider reading this book.

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Book Review: The Legend of the Washo Gold by Jon Budd

Author: Jon Budd
Release Date: 17th October 2015
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: The Vince Davis Trilogy
Edition: E-book
Pages: 177
Publisher: Jonathan H Budd Publishing

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

To prevent a repeat of the Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, Hank, a modern day Native American Indian, overcomes his doubts about his tribe’s ancient religion and leads a war party to recover a cursed Indian treasure.
Succumbing to the genocide brought down upon them during the infamous 1849 California Gold Rush, the Washo Indians were teetering on the brink of extinction. With the help of a mysterious stranger, they devised an ingenious plan to survive. Many years later, when the secret of their survival is threatened, the tribe appoints a modern day warrior to lead a war party to San Francisco to recover stolen Indian treasure and secure the secret of the Washo Gold.
This novel enables the reader to experience the infamous 1849 California Gold Rush from the perspective of a tribe of Native American Indians who lived through it.

Review

The Legend Of The Washo Gold by Jon Budd is a very interesting and engrossing read.

This book is one of those rare reads that make you realise how the world can be a very difficult place to live in. That minorities are not always treated right and sometimes they have to go for extreme means to sustain and survive the cruel world that’s nothing more than an enemy to them. This book does exactly this and so much more.

The story was really good and gave a unique perspective of a small Native American Indian tribe that was not treated well and had to take up extreme measures for their survival. The writing is good and makes the reading of the book easy and smooth. The imagery was good and the overall the story was full of internal as well as external conflicts.

The characterization was good and though not every character was memorable, the important characters stood out, albeit a bit slowly. I enjoyed reading about them and that was more than enough to keep me glued to the book right until the end.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes reading historical fiction and won’t mind the tribals’ point of view.

More from the author: Author Interview: Jon Budd

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Book Review: The Beekeeper’s Daughter by Jane Jordan

Author: Jane Jordan  
Release Date: 26th November 2016
Genre: Dark Thriller, Historical
Edition: E-book
Pages: 
Publisher: Black Opal Books

Rating: ★★★

Blurb:

Annabel Taylor, a beekeeper’s daughter, grows up wild and carefree on the moors of England in the late 1860s, following in the footsteps of her mother, a beautiful witch. Annabel’s closest friend is Jevan Wenham. The son of the blacksmith, he lives his life on the verge of destruction. His devotion to Annabel is full of twists and turns as brutality melds with deepest desire. But when Jevan is forced to travel to London to receive an education, Annabel is devastated.
Then Alex—heir to the Saltonstall legacy and son of Cerberus Saltonstall, the wealthy landowner of the foreboding Gothelstone Manor—comes into her life. Alex is arrogant and self-assured, but he cannot stop thinking about the outspoken girl he encounters on the road to Gothelstone. Not only is he bewitched by Annabel’s beauty, he feels drawn to her by something he can’t explain. Alex and Annabel are socially worlds apart, but that doesn’t stop him from demanding her hand in marriage. When Annabel refuses, she is forced into an impossible situation. Jevan believes she has betrayed him, regardless of the fact that her decision saves him from the hangman’s noose.
As a devastating love triangle unfolds, disturbing revelations thrust Annabel into a startling reality, where nothing is as it seems. Now both her life and Jevan’s are in danger, and her fledging powers may not be enough to save them…


Review

The Beekeeper’s Daughter by Jane Jordan is a historical book that was a bit of a heavy read, at least for me.

I did have a lot of expectations from the book, but when I started reading the book the writing itself failed to pull me in and this happens very rarely with me. Needless to say, it proved to be a hard read for me and in spite of trying my best, I was not able to connect to the lead the way I should have and, as a result, the rest of the book obviously started to feel like a drag.

Though I must say that the story is unique, in spite of the cliched love triangle. I really wish I was able to connect to the lead because then it would have been a much pleasant read.

This book has a lot fo positive reviews, so I’m sure that Historical Fiction lovers might actually like this book. But it wasn’t for me.


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Book Review: Eden’s Apple by Pamela Blake

29325959Author: Pamela Blake
Release Date: 18th February 2016
Series: 
Genre: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Edition: E-book
Pages: 286
Publisher:  Xlibris

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

Prewar Bradford, England, 1937. A sinful act is perpetrated by a father against his daughter that will alter the lives of three future generations. Rose’s troubled past haunts her forever. Lucy seduces a man of the cloth and has to bear its devastating consequences. Samuel escapes real life and journeys through his own hell to try and find what he has lost. Children are deprived of a normal upbringing. Secrets, when revealed, have a destructive power. These are ordinary people whose lives go full circle in their voyage of self-discovery and who undergo a transformation resulting from an extraordinary existence. Each of them has to overcome his or her tragedy before the realization that great success, or the reaching of one’s own goals, does not give the pleasure, happiness, or satisfaction expected. Ultimately, it is only in the real values of love, understanding, self-sacrifice, and forgiveness that the outcome has to be found.

Review

Eden’s Apple is a moving story about two women that’ll rip your heart apart. It is a story of a mother and daughter who go through their own hells and experience the cruel brutality of the world in times where there was little to no hope for single women.

I started reading this book expecting to read about family drama, but I was taken aback by the sheer realism and the cold brutality that defines this book.

Author Pamela Blake’s narration is extremely powerful and strong. I was so lost in the story that I wasn’t able to think about anything else. The author’s strong narration crippled my senses and made me see the emotions of fear, love, and loss with such acute realism that I was moved deeply.

There were a few issues with the dialogues and conversations, but in front of such powerful writing, everything can be overlooked. The story itself had so much life that it pained me to imagine it to be a piece of fiction.

I liked this book a lot, yet I feel a sense of foreboding thinking about it now. I have so many emotions welling inside of me even after long finishing this story that I have to literally force away some of the things I read in this book. I’ve read only a few books   based on the theme of child abuse, but I never imagined any story to have such a lasting impact on me the way this book had.

I’d recommend this book to everyone because of it an exceptional story written brilliantly.


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Book Review: Death Unmasked by Rick Sulik

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Author: Rick Sulik
Release Date: November 6, 2015
Series: 
Genre:  Mystery | Thriller | Historical Fiction
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 287
Publisher: Christopher Matthews Publishing
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon

Rating: ★ – DNF

Blurb:

A reincarnated evil is stalking the women of Houston. With each murder, the madman quotes an excerpt from the Oscar Wilde poem, “The Ballad of Reading Gaol.” A huge smokestack belching smoke, a ragged flea market double-breasted wool coat, and an old antique picture frame, bring the distant past back to haunt Houston Homicide Detective, Sean Jamison. With those catalysts, Jamison knows who he was in a past life and that he lost the only woman he could ever love. Searching for his reincarnated mate becomes Jamison’s raison d’être as he and fellow detectives scour Houston for a brutal serial killer. The memory of timeless love drives Jamison’s dogged search for a serial killer, determined to finish what he started decades earlier.
Each clue brings Jamison closer to unmasking his old nemesis. Tenacious police work, lessons learned in the past, and intuition may be the only weapons he has in preventing history from repeating itself.

Review

I left this book at page no. 158 (which is more than 50% of the book) because that was exactly where my patience gave way. The story began nicely and I liked the concept and settings, but the narration and editing didn’t work me.

At times, the dialogues didn’t make sense and most of the time if felt like the male lead was giving lectures instead of having conversations. I really think that this book needs heavy and thorough editing.

I hate DNF’ing books and I always try my best to push myself and to give the book another chance (again and again,) and with this book too I tried the same (especially because the author sent me the book from the US) but even after forcing myself to read further I simply couldn’t.

I really feel that a few revisions and strong editing can help this book reach its full potential, but right now it’s simply not ready.


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