Book Review: Traveller – Inceptio by Rob Shackleford

Author: Rob Shackleford
Release Date: 25th February 2017
Genre: Time-Travel, Historical, Science-Fiction
Series: Traveller (Book #1)
Edition: E-book
Pages: 
Publisher: Book Baby
Blurb:
If you were sent 1000 years into the past, would you survive?

Traveller – Inceptio describes how the Transporter is accidentally invented and becomes public knowledge when it sends a subject 1000 years into the past.

A Special Forces team of Travellers is then selected and trained with the intent to send them to Saxon England to explore what could be a very dangerous period of history.

From the beaches of Australia to the forests of Saxon England, Traveller – Inceptio reveals how Travellers discover they need a lot more than technology to survive the trials of early Eleventh Century life.

Book Review

★★+1/2

Traveller Inceptio by Rob Shackleford is a time-travel story set 1000 years in the past, through the machine that was invented by mistake. What follows next is an interesting tale about how our ever-so-reliable-science-and-technology can’t bail us out of dangerous situations and how power-hungry people can go to any lengths in order to get their hands on any new invention that can trip the scales in their favour.

The story was good and pretty engaging. The events were interesting and some of them even capturing. The overall world-building was good and the pacing was even. I enjoyed the book on the whole but had a couple of issues both with the plot and the writing. The author went overboard with the exposition, as a result of which I found myself skimming over a lot of pages. The beginning of the book and the base of the story felt a bit weak as it seemed too far-fetched a concept to have actually invented a time-travel machine that travels only certain years and then has the ability to come back when summoned too. I mean the concept could have been a bit more believable if the machine had at least some faults and wouldn’t have been this perfect. After all, it was a result of a mistake.

But after the first part was over, the story only got better. The research appeared to be impeccable and the story got more and more interesting, save for the exhausting bits of exposition. The plot started to feel realistic and I was able to connect with it once the first part was over.

Characterization, unfortunately, felt like another lingering problem as I had a hard time connecting with the characters. They were not badly created, but they weren’t overly impressive nor relatable. I just liked them enough to have been able to read and finish the story (which seemed to be much longer than it should have.)

Overall, I think the book needed a bit more tweaking and that a good editor would have been able to make this book much better. Still, it was an enjoyable read.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Sherlock Holmes And The Nine-Dragon Sigil by Tim Symonds

32666837Author: Tim Symonds
Release Date: 21st November 2016
Series: Sherlock Holmes
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Suspense.
Edition: Ebook (PDF)
Pages: 
Publisher: MX Publishing

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

It’s the year 1906. Rumours abound that a deadly plot is hatching – not in the fog-ridden back-alleys of London’s Limehouse district or the sinister Devon moors of the Hound of the Baskervilles but in faraway Peking. Holmes’s task – discover whether such a plot exists and if so, foil it. But are the assassins targeting the young and progressive Ch’ing Emperor or his imperious aunt, the fearsome Empress Dowager Cixi? The murder of either could spark a civil war. The fate of China and the interests of Britain’s vast Empire in the Orient could be at stake. Holmes and Watson take up the mission with their customary confidence – until they find they are no longer in the familiar landscapes of Edwardian England. Instead, they tumble into the Alice In Wonderland world of the Forbidden City.

Review

Sherlock Holmes & The Nine-Dragon Sigil is an exceptionally well-written book.
Writing about the two MOST loved characters of all time – Sherlock Holmes and Watson – is in itself a humongous task, and pulling it off successfully is not only nearly impossible but also unreal.
But Author Tim Symonds successfully took these two legendary characters and completely owned them in his epic new release Sherlock Holmes And The Nine-Dragon Sigil.

I haven’t read the previous parts in this series, but I am certainly looking forward to reading them as soon as I can get my hands on them because I really enjoyed and loved reading this book.

Author Tim Symonds’ writing is exceptional. It flows in tune with the settings and the era the story is set in and reminds the reader of the beautifully poetic and enchanting rhythm that the classic authors had.
I was completely spellbound by the captivating storytelling and the flow of the sentences in old English.
The plot is ingenious and the pacing is moderate, but it picks up wherever the need arises, keeping it thoroughly engaging for the reader.

I absolutely enjoyed the narration, no doubt, but I enjoyed the plot even more. Staying true to the most famous traits of the most amazing and observant detectives on the planet, the author created a fabulous plot, which kept me guessing at each and every turn.
And needless to say, the end completely baffled me and left me sitting there, holding the Kindle in my hands, smiling at the author’s cleverness. It was a true jaw-dropping ending! And it was mostly because the author handled foreshadowing really well.

The characters were done complete justice and I really enjoyed how the author’s classy sense of humor came out through the characters.
And a bonus for me was that being an Asian myself, I enjoyed the author’s fascinating details and descriptions of China to no end.

I loved this book and would recommend it to all the Sherlock Holmes fans, mystery lovers and anyone with a craving for a well-written piece of English literature.


Goodreads and Amazon

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: Mercer Street by John A. Heldt

27258807Author: John A. Heldt
Release Date: October 21, 2015
Series: American Journey
Genre: Science-Fiction>Time Travel, Historical Fiction
Edition: Ebook (Kindle)
Pages: 431
Publisher: Self-Published

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Weeks after her husband dies in the midst of an affair in 2016, Chicago writer Susan Peterson, 48, seeks solace on a California vacation with her mother Elizabeth and daughter Amanda. The novelist, however, finds more than she bargained for when she meets a professor who possesses the secret of time travel. Within days, the women travel to 1938 and Princeton, New Jersey. Elizabeth begins a friendship with her refugee parents and infant self, while Susan and Amanda fall for a widowed admiral and a German researcher with troubling ties. Filled with poignancy, heartbreak, and intrigue, MERCER STREET gives new meaning to courage, sacrifice, and commitment as it follows three strong-willed souls on the adventure of a lifetime.

Review

Mercer Street by John A. Heldt is the second book in the American Journey Series. As a fan of Mr. Heldt’s books I had a lot of expectations for this book, and as expected, this book lived up to each and every single one of them.

I always find Mr. Heldt’s novels very meticulous, gripping and heart-warming. There’s a unique quality about his writing that makes you feel eerily happy and content while reading his books that you simply can’t put them down. His story-telling is so beautiful that his writing puts tons of ‘big-time’ authors to shame in comparison.

This story is about three females of varied ages –  a daughter, a mother and a grandmother. I loved the assortment of memorable characters and their deliciously distinct backgrounds in this book. They were so compelling that I found myself thinking about them for days, especially about the way things ended.

The vivid imagery, the complex emotional battles each character fights, the moving story and the gut-wrenching situations the characters go through make this book an unforgetful read.

There are some books that are not simply read, but experienced, and this one is one of those. When you read each and every chapter, you feel like you’re not just reading them but savoring them and feel like doing it slowly so as to enjoy the experience for a long time.

I highly recommend this book to everyone, no matter what genre you read.


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.

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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: The Secrets Of Lizzie Borden

25590602

 

 

Author: Brandy Purdy
Release Date: January 26, 2016
Series: 
Genre: Historical Fiction  | Crime Fiction | Mystery
Edition: Ebook (mobi)
Pages: 384
Publisher: Kensington
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads Rating: 5/5
Blog Rating: 5/5
Buy it here: Amazon


Blurb

In her enthralling, richly imagined new novel, Brandy Purdy, author of The Ripper’s Wife, creates a compelling portrait of the real, complex woman behind an unthinkable crime.  

Lizzie Borden should be one of the most fortunate young women in Fall River, Massachusetts. Her wealthy father could easily afford to provide his daughters with fashionable clothes, travel, and a rich, cultured life. Instead, haunted by the ghost of childhood poverty, he forces Lizzie and her sister, Emma, to live frugally, denying them the simplest modern conveniences. Suitors and socializing are discouraged, as her father views all gentleman callers as fortune hunters.   Lonely and deeply unhappy, Lizzie stifles her frustration, dreaming of the freedom that will come with her eventual inheritance. But soon, even that chance of future independence seems about to be ripped away. And on a stifling August day in 1892, Lizzie’s long-simmering anger finally explodes…   Vividly written and thought-provoking, The Secrets of Lizzie Borden explores the fascinating events behind a crime that continues to grip the public imagination—a story of how thwarted desires and desperate rage could turn a dutiful daughter into a notorious killer.

Review

5 Stars Black

This book is simply beyond words. All I can say is that I loved it and that Brandy Purdy is a BRILLIANT author. This is the first book that I’m reading by her, but it is most definitely not the last one. I loved her vivid imagination and the powerful writing which compelled me to forget all the facts and believe in the story that she crafted/weaved so artfully.

For a crime author like myself, this book is a piece of art in the most literal sense and I salute the author for pulling off this book on such a talked about crime. She recreated the entire life of Lizzie Borden in such detail that it’s crazily scary At more than a dozen places I actually wondered if the author really found some diary or a personal journal of Lizzie in her research for the book. It was that believable!

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Lizzie Borden [Image Credit: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3030437/Lizzie-Borden-gravesite-defaced-graffiti.html%5D
I wish this wasn’t a fictitious tale but an autobiography. It definitely felt like one. It seems like Lizzie is one of my old friends and that her deeds were totally justified. Not that I’m a sadist who likes to see people butchered, but I do believe that sometimes motive behind the crime does, in fact, justify it.

Image Credit: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3030437/Lizzie-Borden-gravesite-defaced-graffiti.html
Borden Residence- Crime Scene [Image Credit: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3030437/Lizzie-Borden-gravesite-defaced-graffiti.html%5D
Coming back to the book, I did find it quite lengthy which is quite surprising given that I thoroughly enjoyed the book. But I feel that the reason behind it was the fact that the much-anticipated murders are committed just after the half-way point in the book (around 55%-60%) and, at that point, I was wondering what the hell is left now. But the author smartly told the tale after the murders were committed, which for me, later proved to be the highlight of the book.newspaper

Each and every fact I read about the Borden murders (in my obsessive research of course) was beautifully weaved into the story and made me believe that this tale is not just a fragment of someone’s imagination but the real tale itself. And how I wish it were true, because after reading this book I’ve found myself sympathizing with Lizzie more than a dozen times. My heart really ached for the lost soul that she was and I kept obsessively thinking about the would haves and the could haves for days after reading this book.

Sometimes, though, the writing seemed a little complex considering the lengthy sentences which sometimes stretched as long as one entire paragraph. Especially in the starting of the book. After the first quarter of the book either the sentences got better or I got used to them and didn’t notice them again. Other than this, the writing is superb and I managed to learn a few new words from this book (which is always a plus.)

Here’s the famous rhyme that would have definitely tortured Lizzie to no end:

Lizzie Borden took an ax

And gave her mother forty whacks.

When she saw what she had done,

She gave her father forty-one.

You can read all about Lizzie Borden on Wikipedia here.

If you want to read about the details of her trial then visit these awesome links:

Other Stuff

Opening Line: I awoke from the dream, wishing, as I always did, that it would vanish right away without lingering to torment me, or, better yet, never come to visit me again.

Highlights: Well crafted story.

Lowlights: None.

Memorable Quotes:

Sometimes it is easier to tell a lie. To say No closes the door on the conversation, whereas saying Yes flings it open wide and invites further inquiry and to slam and bar it then is to be branded rude and inhospitable.

I do not know; nor do I want to. I cherish my illusion, if illusion it was.

I won my freedom and baptized it in blood, with Death acting as midwife at the bloody birth that spawned my new life! In one blood-bathed day I was transfigured! I was set FREE! Free, rich, and orphaned all in the same bloody day.

I was sorry, and yet I wasn’t. I had done the right thing, even though it was wrong. If only things, if only we- all of us- had been different it might never have come to this. If only, if only, if only…

“If I were you, Lizzie, I wouldn’t have let anyone see me doing that. I’m afraid that burning that dress is the worst thing you could have done!” Besides killing your own parents of course! her chilly blue eyes silently finished the sentence.

If life were a theater play or a novel this is where my story would end- happily, in a spirit of jubilation, with me vindicated and set free.

But life is not like that.

Memorable Paragraph:

How very ironic that all the world sees her as the very picture of the meek as a mouse prim and pious brittle and birdlike little maiden lady in eternal mourning too afraid to ever say Boo! to a goose. They don’t know the real Emma; no one does except me.

Sometimes the sadness still steals over me and I cry for what might have been. How different my life would have been! I would have been lost to history; there would have been no murders at 92 Second Street, no immortal singsong rhyme about forty whacks; no one would have even remembered my name after I died – I would have had a different name; he would have changed that, just like he changed my life.

All I wanted to do was forget. And I wanted everyone to forget too and just leave me in peace to live my life the way I saw fit. I don’t go prying into their business and private lives! Why couldn’t they accord me the same respect? But I had traded the prison of my father’s house for actual prison bars, only to find when I was vindicated and freed from those that I had become a prisoner of my own notoriety and a higher judge had decreed that it should be a life sentence with no possibility of parole. Ostensibly, I was free to come and go and do as I pleased, but I would never be truly free.

Final Thoughts: A brilliant Crime Mystery!


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

Book Review: September Sky (American Journey #1)

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Author: John A. Heldt
Release Date: January 1, 2015
Series: American Journey
Genre: Science-Fiction- Time Travel | Romance | History
Edition: Ebook (mobi)
Pages: 412
Publisher: Self-Published
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon


Blurb

When unemployed San Francisco reporter Chuck Townsend and his college-dropout son, Justin, take a cruise to Mexico in 2016, each hopes to rebuild a relationship after years of estrangement. But they find more than common ground aboard the ship. They meet a mysterious lecturer who touts the possibilities of time travel. Within days, Chuck and Justin find themselves in 1900, riding a train to Texas, intent on preventing a distant uncle from being hanged for a crime he did not commit. Their quick trip to Galveston, however, becomes long and complicated when they wrangle with business rivals and fall for two beautiful librarians on the eve of a hurricane that will destroy the city. Filled with humor, history, romance, and heartbreak, SEPTEMBER SKY follows two directionless souls on the adventure of a lifetime as they try to make peace with the past, find new purpose, and grapple with the knowledge of things to come.

Review4+1:2 Stars Black

 

I’ve always been a huge fan of Mr. Hedlt’s books and The Mine and The Journey are one of my all time favorites. As a result, I had huge expectations from this one and, I must say, that September Sky didn’t disappoint me.

The storyline is well thought out and thoroughly researched. All the historical facts and places are to the point. Though the plot felt a little far-fetched at times, I still enjoyed it, given that the book was about time-travel, a far-fetched concept in itself.

This book is written in third person multiple POVs which give a very clear idea about everyone’s thoughts and reflections. Author’s writing is one of the best parts of the story and I can’t sing enough praise for it. It is simple, relatable and flows beautifully.

It book had a slow start but it picked up the pace gradually. This, however, is a point that I have gotten accustomed to while reading Mr.Heldt’s books. So, when I read his books I know what to expect and that makes it a little easy for me to get through the slow start of his books. But might be a problem for anyone who’ll be reading his book for the first time. So bear in mind that his books are worth the initial labor.

The ending is amazing. In spite of being a romance novel, I really didn’t see it coming, so it was a pleasant surprise. All the questions were answered with great care at the end and I was completely satisfied with the way things turned out for everyone.

The characterization is really good and I felt a connection with each and every character (even with the secondary ones) and thoroughly enjoyed reading about each and everyone.

As this is the first book in the American Journey series, I’m really looking forward to reading the next one.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: Charles Townsend lifted the small, framed photo from the corner of his desk and studied the boy with the bat.

Highlights: Storyline.

Lowlights: None.

Memorable Paragraph: 

With that Geoffrey Bell, professor of physics, cruise-ship lecturer, and time-travel agent, walked out of the room and out of sight. He left his guests with Victorian clothing, bogus documents, and twenty-first-century anxiety.

Final Thoughts: A heart-warming read.


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

 

Book Review: Pit of Vipers (Sons of Kings #2)

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Author: Millie Thom
Release Date: December 22, 2014
Series: Sons Of Kings
Genre: Historical Fiction
Edition: Kindle
Pages: 5005 (kindle locations)
Publisher: Self-published 
Source: Author (Thanks Millie!)
Buy it here: Amazon

Book Review: The Mine (Northwest Passage #1)

The Mine

Author: John A. Heldt

Release Date: December 6, 2013

Series: Northwest Passage #1

Genre: Science-Fiction > Time-Travel | Historical-Fiction | Fantasy | Adventure | Romance | NA 

Edition: mobi

Pages: 316

Publisher: Not known

Interest: Requested by author

Source: Author (Thanks a lot John!)

Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

In May 2000, Joel Smith is a cocky, adventurous young man who sees the world as his playground. But when the college senior, days from graduation, enters an abandoned Montana mine, he discovers the price of reckless curiosity. He emerges in May 1941 with a cell phone he can’t use, money he can’t spend, and little but his wits to guide his way. Stuck in the age of swing dancing and a peacetime draft, Joel begins a new life as the nation drifts toward war. With the help of his 21-year-old trailblazing grandmother and her friends, he finds his place in a world he knew only from movies and books. But when an opportunity comes to return to the present, Joel must decide whether to leave his new love in the past or choose a course that will alter their lives forever. THE MINE follows a humbled man through a critical time in history as he adjusts to new surroundings and wrestles with the knowledge of things to come.

Review

5-Stars

Positives

The Mine is the best time-travel book I’ve read in a really, really long time! It’s a brilliantly written book and the strong and realistic characterization will definitely blow your mind. Joel Smith, the lead, is such a gentleman and is just so adorable that I really can’t praise enough. You can feel the connection, with Joel, develop over quite a few pages but once he time-travels and starts his new life, you’ll start understanding him better and better with every page you turn. Joel is my new favourite time-travelling character. He is everything a stud, time-travelling brilliant and smart guy should be. He handles the fact, that he has indeed walked into a time-machine and come 59 years before his time, pretty well and starts acting accordingly.

Among the other characters, Ginny really stands out. She is this amazing women whom you really idealize and start respecting instantly. John has left a lot of big authors far behind in the race when it comes to character building (atleast for me!)

The plot is amazing and develops slowly in a very subtle way. It ends beautifully and leaves you craving for more and more. From the historical point of view, as far as I know, John has paid very close attention to the details which is highly commendable.

Negatives

None!

Conclusion

The Mine is a beautifully written book and definitely a must read. I’d recommend it to everyone, particularly the fans of Time-Travel, Science-Fiction, Adventure and Historical-Romance. Trust me, you really don’t wanna miss out on a wonderful book like this one!

You can also read this review at Goodreads.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: “Joel eyed the remains and laughed at the animal that had caused the carnage.”

Highlights: Excellent writing and perfect characterization.

Low-lights: None.

Memorable Quote:

“Beneath that delicate exterior is a strong, resolute woman who does nothing halfway. Never take her for granted and never underestimate her. She will amaze.”

Final Thoughts: The best time-travel book I’ve read till date!