Book Review: Slowly Melting by Yuval Hollander

Title: Slowly Melting: When The Sun Sets Off the Bomb
Author: Yuval Hollander
Genre: Action, Adventure, Technothriller
Rating: 4,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The combined forces of nature and science make for devastating global impact

On a California air force base, concealed long-range missiles are poised for action. Helicopters circle overhead and heavy radar equipment is put into place. The most momentous, sensitive, and dangerous military experiment in the history of the world is about to begin. Deep in the underground command bunker a final briefing takes place with the US president via video stream. On a large screen, a live feed from NASA’s solar radiation monitoring system displays the progress of a dreaded solar storm.

Will a horrendous solar storm carry the threat of nuclear destruction?

When the storm hits its peak, the window for launching a nuclear-armed Minuteman Missile will open. People around the world begin to realize that their worst fears about the portended storm were coming true, as satellites, electric grids, and GPS devices go haywire. Meanwhile, leaders of the United States and North Korea have their fingers poised over their so-called “red buttons,” ready to ignite nuclear war at any time. But will the sun set off the bomb?

Slowly Melting describes a harrowing future image. An air force base in California, where long-range missiles are ready for action, and an underground meeting is taking place with the US president. A live feed of NASA’s solar radiation monitoring system plays in the background – showing the progress of a dreaded solar storm.

With GPS systems going haywire, electric grids and satellites failing, both the USA and North-Korea sit ready to unleash nuclear war at any moment.

The author has a nice writing style that brings the book to life, with plenty of suspense and thrills, and with just the right amount of reality woven into a fictional story. To think a scenario like this could possibly happen in real life is chilling. From the first page to the last, this is an intriguing, nail-biting, suspenseful thriller.

Book Review Memoirs of a Road Warrior

Title: Memoirs of a Road Warrior

Author: Fred Klein
Genre: Humor
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Andrew Livingston, a young, naive college graduate gets a job as a sales engineer for a crazy company. Set in New York in the corporate raider 1980’s this humorous book is a recounting of all the strange history of a high-tech company with an eccentric CEO.

This character gathers together a strange assortment of employees who endeavor to manufacture and sell their products to an equally strange collection of customers. The book tells of their amusing conflicts and experiences throughout the decades.

Follow the company’s encounters with Chinese agents, horse trailers, rocket fuel disasters, con-men, bedbugs, and airplane crashes. Learn how not to run a business!

In Memoirs of a Road Warrior, the reader follows the life story of Andrew Livingston, a college graduate who is quite naive about his expectations from life. Andrew gets a job as a sales engineer for a company that is slightly odd, and with a CEO who is even weirder. As Andrew and his colleagues try to get their company off the ground to customers who are as strange as the employees, hilarity ensues.

Memoirs of a Road Warrior is a rollercoaster of hilarious situations, one rapidly following the next, and this book brought more than one smile to my face. The writing was fluent and entertaining, and if you’re looking for a book that’ll make you smile, this is definitely it.


Book Review: The Girl Who Talks to Ghosts by J.H. Moncrieff

Title: The Girl Who Talks to Ghosts
Author: J.H. Moncrieff
Genre: Supernatural Suspense
Rating: 4,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Would you risk everything to save a stranger?

 Off the coast of Venice lurks Poveglia, the world’s most haunted isle, steeped in centuries of innocent blood. A deranged doctor who took great joy in torturing his patients in life continues to rule his abandoned asylum after death.

Few go to Poveglia willingly, but medium Kate Carlsson has no choice. It’s her job.

While struggling to retrieve a young girl’s soul, Kate uncovers some shocking truths about the evil on the island that challenges her own convictions and morals—and even her life.

Is saving Lily worth making a deal with the infamous Doctor of Death, or is the price too high to pay?

The Girl Who Talks to Ghosts is the sequel to City of Ghosts, which I reviewed earlier. I loved the first book, but I liked the second book even more. This time, the book isn’t set in China (one of my favorite parts about book one was the implementation of Chinese culture) yet it still features a foreign culture, since most of the book is set in Venice, Italy, and the island of Poveglia. I’ve always been a big fan of Italy. I once visited Venice and I loved the city, so I certainly didn’t mind the different setting.

Kate Carlsson is a medium, and desperate to retrieve a young girl’s soul, she heads to the haunted isle. She uncovers some shocking truths about the island that challenges her own beliefs and morals, and even her own life. Kate was already one of the characters in City of Ghosts, and I was glad to follow her along now in this second book. Jackson, the main character of City of Ghosts, is also back for round two.

The writing was excellent and I was drawn into the story right away. Poveglia is an actual island – I’d heard about it prior to reading the book, as I’m a huge history / ghosts / legends buff, and I loved the author had picked this setting. The characters were complex and intriguing, even the villains. The storylines were engaging, and the book kept me guessing. An excellent pageturner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: The Girl in the Red Coat

23289469Title: The Girl in the Red Coat
Author: Katie Hamer
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Age Group: Adult (18+)
Rating: 3,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon

She is the missing girl. But she doesn’t know she’s lost.
Carmel Wakeford becomes separated from her mother at a local children’s festival, and is found by a man who claims to be her estranged grandfather. He tells her that her mother has had an accident and that she is to live with him for now. As days become weeks with her new family, 8-year-old Carmel realises that this man believes she has a special gift…
While her mother desperately tries to find her, Carmel embarks on an extraordinary journey, one that will make her question who she is – and who she might become.

In The Girl in the Road Coat, while at a storytelling festival, Beth loses her daughter, Carmel Wakeford. Carmel soon finds herself living with strangers in a foreign country, with a man who claims to be her “grandfather”, while Beth desperately keeps looking for her daughter.

I thought the book would be a rather intense thriller – it isn’t, but it’s an equally interesting book all the same. Eight-year-old Carmel is anything but ordinary, and the chapters from her POV are really the most interesting ones. She’s highly intelligent especiallly for her age, and she’s one of the most unique characters I’ve ever read about.

More than about Carmel’s disappearance, it’s really about her connection with her mother. I found that a tad dissapointing – there is no real struggle in the book. Sure, Carmel is away from home, but no one is threatening her life, or even her well being. And it’s horrible for Beth, but I felt too distanced from her to really “get” how she felt. There’s no tension, as it’s pretty obvious what will happen to Carmel once she’s abducted.

Without tension, the book is an okay read at best. The writing is haunting and lyrical, which ups the rating from 3 to 3,5 stars, but I didn’t feel as engrossed inthe sotry as I could’ve been had the book been more tense.

Book Review: Why Women Cheat by Daniel Gray

ebookcoverfinalTitle: Why Women Cheat: Confessions of a Pickup Artist
Author: Daniel Gray
Genre: Non-Fiction / Relationships
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Why do women keep falling for pickup artists?  I’ve seen it with my own eyes many times.  I’ve witnessed the inner transformation take place right in front of their significant others; unbeknownst to them.  it’s as if I, and people like me, exist in an alternate universe; like the Matrix.
This book is about:
*Lifting the veil of pickup artistry.
*Informing women about the most popular tactics.
*Teaching attached men how to use these tactics on their own women.
In truth, such a subject is difficult to explain in words.  Many guys, including myself, spend thousands of dollars to learn directly from someone who knows.  I attempt to bridge that gap with three anonymous female writers from around the world.  They are informative and entertaining.
After reading this book, women will have a clearer understanding about what motivates them, and men will recognize that unknown thing that has escaped them their entire lives.  Men and women, single or attached will find this book eye opening.
What are you waiting for?  Don’t you want to know why women cheat?

Why Women Cheat offers an interesting insight into why women would cheat, and why they’re easy prey for pick-up artists. It’s not the case for everyone, though, but it was intriguing to see what kind of ingredients were needed to make a woman fall for a pick-up artist.
The book also focuses on describing techniques these pick-up artists use, both in explaining more about the techniques and in helping women warn about them. And then on top of that, the book also offers some insight in how ordinary men can use the tactics on their own wives / girlfriends / and so on.
This book was an all right read, quite enjoyable even and definitely informative. I was worried that with such sensitive subject matter, it might come across as sexist, but that wasn’t the case at all.

Book Review: Divine Scales by Jennifer Blackstream

DivineScales 500x750Title: Divine Scales
Author: Jennifer Blackstream
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

A warrior with a hunger for sin . . .

Driven by a terrible hunger for the black souls of evil men, Patricio, divine executioner of the gods, patrols the kingdom with blood on his hands and ice in his heart. The families of his victims sing his praises–the result of a witch’s cruel curse that condemns him to be forever surrounded by false adulation. When the curse sours the first hint at romance Patricio has had since becoming the king’s heir, his rage is all consuming. Disgusted, he leaves the mermaid in the sea and returns to the palace…only to be shocked when she bargains for the legs to follow him.

A mermaid out of her element . . .

Marcela’s world has been turned upside-down–literally. Once a proud member of her father King Triton’s royal guard, she’s now the victim of an angel’s curse. Enchanted into false adoration bordering on obsession, she traded her tail–and her voice–to the sea witch for the legs she needed to pursue the object of her desire. In a cruel twist of fate, the very magic that gave her the means to pursue her passion also broke the spell that caused it. Now she’s in the angel’s arms, but how can either of them trust the desire churning inside them when so much magic has muddied the waters?

Trust isn’t easy when nothing is as it seems . . .

A mermaid with legs and no singing voice. An angel with a curse. A witch with a chip on her shoulder. The world is full of magic and mayhem, and for an angel and a mermaid, it will take more than a kiss to balance…the Divine Scales.

In Divine Scales, Patricio might be an angel, but he’s definitely not angel. He yearns for the souls of evil-doers, but the families of his victims sing his praises because of a witch’s curse. The story offers an intriguing spin on the Little Mermaid fairytale, intriguing characters and a well-executed premise. Patricio is a complicated character, hard to connect with at first, but once you get to know him better, he turns out to be not as bad as one would think.

Marcela starts out as your typical love-struck heroine, but once you figure out that her over-the-top obsession is due to a spell, it turns all the more intriguing. Kind of like in the Little Mermaid, she trades her tail and voice to the sea witch, in exchange for the legs she needs to walk on land. But this magic also caused the witch’s curse that enchanted her in the first place, to be broken.

I can honestly say this book has one of the most original premises I’ve ever read. Angels and mermaids? That’s a first. And then the whole spin on the Little Mermaid, one of my all-time favorite fairytales (although the original always makes me cry). The writing is sublime. Both main characters are equally complex and intriguing, and the romance between them is sizzling. The drama is real here, not over-the-top exaggerated like in some romance novels. The character’s feelings sound realistic. The plot offered quite a few surprises.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good romance story with plenty of fantasy elements thrown in, and heaps of creativity.

Book Review: Savage by Gary Fry

21850420Title: Savage

Author: Gary Fry

Genre: Dark Fiction, Horror, Novella

Age Group: Adult

Rating: 2 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Driving home one day from a conference, Daryl seeks a shortcut through a barren countryside. He chances upon a mysterious village whose residents seem rather odd. But they have something to show him—a creature so strange he can hardly believe it exists.
And that’s only the beginning of Daryl’s problems, as he seeks to escape something far worse than he can ever imagine.
Something utterly horrific and extremely savage.

Savage was a little ‘meh’. I’ve read several of Gary Fry’s novellas before, but this novella…it felt off. Not at lot happened, and the narrative moved slowly – too slow. The things that happened just seemed to go nowhere. Several plot points led to nothing, characters were introduced seemingly without reason.

The plot starts with the main character taking a detour home. He ends up in a strange village, where nothing is as it seems. He walks into a pub to ask for directions, and a young girl walks up to him, and starts asking him strange questions, including if he’s one of the Undisciplined. Then Daryl, the main character, gets dragged along into one of the town’s mysteries.

The book is heavy on atmosphere, but unfortunately, not so heavy on plot. The plot goes nowhere, it drags on, and it doesn’t make a lot of sense. But hey, maybe I just didn’t get it. It’s entirely possible – I felt lost while reading, as if I’d missed some major plot point.

Either way, this book was a bit of a dissapointment. I’d expected more. The writing was all right though.

Book Review: Dancing in the Dark by Robyn Bavati

15862108Title: Dancing in the Dark
Author: Robyn Bavati
Genre: YA Contemporary
Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

North American debut of the Australian award-winning dramaDitty Cohen is passionate about ballet–she loves how it feels to stand en pointe, to rise and spin across the room. But her Orthodox Jewish parents want Ditty to focus on the teachings of the Torah and to marry at a young age according to their religious tradition. Although her parents forbid her to take dance lessons, Ditty secretly signs up for ballet and becomes entangled in a web of deceit. As one lie leads to another and another, Ditty knows she must stop dancing, but she can’t abandon the one thing that gives her freedom. She begins to question her faith and everything her parents have taught her, realizing just how much is at stake as her two worlds collide.

When I first started reading this book, I thought it was a paranormal mystery for some reason. I had read the blurb, but because I’ve read several books concerning ballet that were paranormal as of late, and the cover looked suitable for a paranormal book, I was convinced there was going to be one or other paranormal element. I have no idea why though because when I reread the blurb, there’s nothing whatsoever to indicate anything out of the ordinary is going on. Anyway, paranormal or not, I enjoyed this book so much that after twenty pages I forgot I was in the mood to read paranormal at all, and instead focused on Ditty and her friends.

The book didn’t stay that good, unfortunately. It started off great, but then made some time jumps a few times through, leaving out entire years of the character’s life, which made me feel more detached from Ditty. I wanted to get inside her head, but that didn’t work because she changed too quickly, grew older before I very well realized it. I would’ve preferred if the book focused on one year or maybe two of Ditty’s life instead of her entire journey into adulthood, because I had the feeling I was losing my grasp on her as a character. Even though she stays remotely the same from start to halfway through, I needed more detail to picture her growing up.

Anyway, the story starts with Ditty Cohen, one of the several children in an orthodox Jewish family. They live by the old beliefs of the Torah, like resting on Sabbath, celebrating the Jewish holidays, and so on. There’s nothing wrong with that as far as Ditty is concerned. But her cousin Linda is modern orthodox, and a stark contrast to Ditty and her family. Linda wears tight-fitting jeans and short skirts, pierces her nose and ears and all other things you shouldn’t do, whereas Ditty walks around wearing heavy, shapeless dresses. But Ditty doesn’t mind her cousin being different as Linda is her favorite cousin. Linda doesn’t mind her orthodox family either, although she refuses to be like them. But the moment Ditty and her best friend Sara find a TV in Sara’s mom’s bedroom, things begin to change. Sara and Ditty watch the TV in secret, and when one day they find a ballet show, Ditty is hooked. She loves ballet. She goes to the library to find books about it and practises ballet in the bathroom every night. When she finds information about ballet classes, she decides to try them out, for a week. It would be a secret of course, but if it’s only a week, that might work. Right?

Wrong. Because Ditty gets hooked on ballet. It becomes her life, her dream. She spends years and years practising ballet in secret, and then finally decides it’s time to come clean because she has no choice. But the quesiton remains if her orthodox parents will ever allow her to continue to dance…

I liked Ditty although she was a pretty passive character. She doesn’t take matters into her own hands often, but I liked that her passion for ballet drove her to do so. She’s a convincing main character, and her feelings reflect the conflict going on outside: the conflict of her upbringing and community vs. ballet and the new friends she’s made there. I wish I got to know those friends more. They remained empty, personality-less, sketches of characters as opposed to real characters. The only characters truly developed besides Ditty were her friend Sara and Linda.

I’m glad this book was set in a community I knew little to nothing about. I was confused about the time setting at first because everything seemed so old-fashioned I thought it was set in the 1970s or something, until I read about one character’s mobile phone. So the book is contemporary, but it doesn’t feel that way.

I enjoyed reading Ditty’s journey, her love for ballet and her courage to stand up for herself. I felt angry at her parents most of the time. They wanted the best thing for their child but were convinced they were the only ones capable of making good choices related to the child’s life. I see this all too often, and every time it angers me. It’s not their life, but the child’s life, so the child ought to make those choices.

The clash between orthodox and modern orthodox was apparent as well, and I liked this turmoil. The story is good, but it’s not magnificent either. It sketches a situation, a few years of Ditty’s life, but lacks detail to make the reader entirely involved. Nevertheless, I read it in one sitting and enjoyed it. If you’re a fan of YA contemporary stories, feel free to try this one out. It was an interesting read that taught me a thing or two.