Book Review: The Little Prince Returns by Yoram Selbst

Title: The Little Prince Returns
Author: Yoram Selbst
Genre: Children’s Books
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Remember Antoine de Exupéry, that wonderful author and not so successful pilot, who crash landed his airplane in the Sahara desert so many years ago, with scarcely enough water to keep himself alive for a week.

Remember how a magical, curly-headed little prince suddenly appeared out of nowhere and insisted that he draw him a sheep. Remember Antoine’s enchanting description of the days they spent together before his companion disappeared as abruptly as he had appeared. And remember his anguished appeal to anyone who might meet him again to:

“Please comfort me. Send me word that he has come back.”

Decades passed. Those who longed for his return could only dream. And then, one day, it fell to the good fortune of a young fisherman lost at sea, afloat on a little ship that he had stolen from its owner, to discover the very same curly-headed prince splashing in the water below him, calling for help. He rushed to help him aboard.

This book tells the tale of what happened after that moment, of the blossoming of friendship and understanding between two unlikely companions as, over many cups of tea brewed with the last of their water, they shared their life experiences and their inner feelings. It is an attempt to recapture the unforgettable magic of that earlier encounter.

In The Little Prince Returns, Yoram Selbst tells the story of a younger fisherman lost at sea, afloat on a stolen ship, and discovers the curly-head prince we all know from the story of “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Exupéry.

The fisherman and the prince form a friendship that is both unlikely and special at the same time. I was quite fond of “The Little Prince” when growing up, and this story brought back some of the magic of that original, classic tale. This “sequel” of sorts is not as great as the original, I would say, but it’s pretty close.

Book Review: The Secret of Israel’s Power by Uzi Eilam

Title: The Secret of Israel’s Power
Author: Uzi Eilam
Genre: Nonfiction, Arms Control
Rating: 3,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The successful track record of Israeli innovation policies, told from within.

This is the inside story on how Israel became a military technology powerhouse within less than two generations, told by Brigadier Uzi Eilam. The story blends the broad view of a person who led the creation of incredibly far-sighted R&D programs, with intimate portraits of the main players in a complex strategy that spans continents, corporations and armies.

Eilam’s story focuses on Israel’s decision to add technology to the military factor when creating attack and defense mechanisms, against its threats. Eilam also tells how Israel, with its persistence, courage and “chutzpa”, made a very successful journey and was able to create an internationally competitive space program.

More than any other account, this book explains how a very small country was able to make a concentrated use of its limited assets with astute leverage of international relationships while at the same time, create the backbone of Israeli civilian technology industries.

In The Secret of Israel’s Power, the author investigates how Israel achieved a feat that not many nations did before: become a military powerhouse in less than two generations.

A lot of focus is put on the decision to add technology and combine it with military progress, creating various attack and defense mechanisms that eventually gave Israel a huge advantage over potential opponents. But it also focuses on the human component: on human’s strength and courage.

The book is nonfiction, but it’s far from dull or boring – it gives an intriguing, detailed insight and shows a thorough understanding of how the military works and how technical know-how can advance military forces.

Book Review: Where Shadows Meet by Nathan Ronen

Title: Where Shadows Meet
Author: Nathan Ronen
Genre: Espionage, Thriller, Mystery
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

It’s up to him to stop the assassination of the King of Morocco and stop chaos in the Middle East.

Arik Bar Nathan is head of the Israeli National Security Council. He has a direct contact with the Prime Minister. Due to the sudden death of the Prime Minister, Arik’s entire life is about to change.

The new Prime Minister seeks a better public opinion of him and demands that Arik serve this need to build a political image as Mr. Security, revealing secrets and showing off the success of military operations. Arik, an honest professional is not willing to take part in any of these fraudulent activities. The PM decides to end Arik’s duty and dismisses him, as well as the head of Mossad, from their positions.

The new head of the Mossad is a cunning character whose ties to the new Prime Minister are anything but professional.

It doesn’t take long for the new head of the Mossad to ask Arik for assistance. The Israeli Intelligence Agency has received information about Al-Qaeda operatives planning to assassin the King of Morocco during the Inauguration event of the big mosque in Casablanca.

Arik is the only one person who can put an end to this plot and is asked to use his abilities and contacts, to assist in this underground mission In Morocco, and save the King together with the French DGSE secret service.

If the King of Morocco is assassinated, there will be chaos in the Middle East and thousands of lives will be lost. Arik and his commando team must get to him first!

Where Shadows Meet is a tapestry of intrigue, wit, drama and dare that enthralls the reader from start to finish. A brilliant espionage thriller that will leave you breathless. It is the remarkable story of those who live in the shadows, working under false identities and behind masks, addicted to adrenaline and control. An intricate tale of passion and danger.

Nathan Ronen’s history with Israeli national security easily conjures the stories of extraordinary people, dedicating their lives to ensuring public security while paying a costly personal price. These people live in the shadows, functioning behind masks and borrowed time, and like many of us, remain terrified of loneliness.

In Where Shadows Meet, Arik Bar Nathan has worked as the head of the Israeli National Security Council under the previous Prime Minister, but after the sudden death of the latter, a new Prime Minister is elected who demands Arik helps him craft a better public and political image.

Arik refuses to take part in any unsavory activities, and is promptly dismissed. However, Arik is soon asked for assistance by the Israeli Intelligence Agency regarding Al-Qaeda operatives planning to assassinate the Kin of Morrocco. Arik is the only person who can put an end to this evil scheme, but he will have to risk his own life to do so.

Action, espionage, this book feels like watching a movie, and a pretty good one at that. The dialogue is fast, the scenes are action-packed, the pacing is tight, and overall, this is an excellent read!

 

Book Review: Dolphins Don’t Run Marathons by Sam Brand

Title: Dolphins Don’t Run Marathons
Author: Sam Brand
Genre: Nonfiction
Rating: 3 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I am trapped in the marathon world.

Help!! I cannot find any way to escape the marathon jungle world.

Stop being a case study in the runner’s world.

Dolphins Don’t Run Marathons will lead you towards a new direction so you will be able to find a way to escape from the world of marathons and move on to a new, positive sporting life.

Sam Brand thinks that the peak of the marathons may have been reached. Dolphins Don’t Run Marathons will show you the way to reinvent yourself, to become a new you, with the 26.2 loving thoughts that will change your running world.

Dolphins Don’t Run Marathons is Sam Brand’s philosophy behind sports and happiness.

You can shape your world, become a dolphin, all other animals are already taken.

Go for the human dolphin’s magic life.

So, apparently, according to Dolphins Don’t Run Marathons there are different types of people aka animals: Human Ants, who are running marathons, Human Dolphins who exercise regularly but are not overly obsessed with exercising, and Human Chimps, who do little to no exercise.

Okay, so admittingly, I’m a chimp and nowhere near Dolphin or Ant territory, although I would like to be a Dolphin, and it’s been on my new year’s resolution list for years to start exercising regularly. But something always comes up and by now, I’m an expert at finding excuses why I should not exercise, ranging from lack of time to lack of space to lack of whatever-I-can-come-up-with-at-the-time.

The book is quite simple and straightforward. It promotes running and exercise but with measure, and stresses that people shouldn’t overdo it, which sounds like a healthy approach to me.

Book Review: When I Fall, I Shall Rise by Dan Shtauber

Title: When I Fall, I Shall Rise
Author: Dan Shtauber
Genre: Memoir, Nonfiction
Rating: 4,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

It all began in 1944 when the Germans occupied Hungary. This is when Risa Shtauber’s life turned from an ordinary life to one of surviving unspeakable horrors.
Risa was shipped together with many other Jews to the Oradea Ghetto and from there to the Plaszow Labor Camp and later to the Ober-Altstadt Labor camp. And even this was not enough… Risa was sent to the Auschwitz Death Camp to be slaughtered!
But, she survived!
Having survived, she met her husband – Mordechai Tzvi and they created a family which included 4 sons, 22 grandkids and 34 great-grandkids!
At the age of 94 and living her life in Israel, she still feels victorious when remembering those horrible years!
This book is a special gift given to Risa Shtauber during an emotional event, in the presence of all of her descendants: sons, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

I’ve read quite a few memoirs of holocaust survivors last year, and although the subject matter is harsh and depressing, I still enjoy reading them – for in every story, there’s a glimpse of hope, there’s a portrayal of hidden strength that allowed the author to survive and perhaps even more astonishing, that allowed them to live, to continue on living life, even after all the horrors they have witnessed.

Risa Shtauber is one of these survivors, a brave young man who was shipped to the Oradea Ghetto, along with many other Jews, and then was later dispatched to the Plaszow Labor Camp and Ober-Altstadt Labor Camp and eventually to arguably the most famous camp of them all: Auschwitz.

The fact that Risa survived is nothing short of a miracle. In this book, Dan Shtauber interviewed his grandmother, Risa, and was able to write down her experience through these harrowing, traumatizing years. The book was a gift from the grandson to the grandmother, and that alone already makes it unique and inspiring. Risa is truly an awe-inspiring woman, and she definitely deserves such a thoughtful gift. It’s heartwarming to know that, even in the most terrible darkness, the strength of a human soul can survive and hold on to the light. When I Fall, I Shall Rise is a fitting, inspiring title for this memoir.

Book Review: As You Witch by Erin R. Bedford

Title: As You Witch
Author: Erin R. Bedford
Genre: Paranormal, Reverse Harem, Witches
Rating: 2 stars

Purchase: Amazon

If you could wish for anything, what would you wish for?
When Max gets a magic amulet that makes nearly every desire come true, she’ll learn the truth of be careful what you wish for.
However, magical hijinks aren’t all that Max has to worry about. With her hard-working parents strained to pay her tuition, Max’s only chance to stay in Winchester Academy is to win the scholarship at the big school fair. Of course, to win, she has to beat her bully of a rival, wow the entire school, and juggle four guys vying for her attention.
Nothing a few wishes, a little magic, and a lot of luck can’t handle … she hopes!

I previously reviewed the first book in the series, Witching on a Star. That wasn’t a success by any means – I rated it 2,5 stars, and while I had high hopes for a reverse harem set in a witching academy, my hopes fell flat and the book was a bit of a dissapointment.

Still, I picked up book two, As You Witch, because I wanted to see if it would get any better. The series has a lot of potential, it just never executes it well, so I thought that maybe some of those kinks would’ve gotten fixed in book two. Alas, no such luck, and I even liked this one less than the first one.

This book was filled with unnecessary drama from the start until the end. With a million possible options to pick villains when your book is set in a witching world, the author keeps on using the mean girl as a villain. It’s dull and predictable. The dialogue is so bad that I had to roll my eyes at every other sentence. Max is immature, childish, entitled, and the guys she’s supposedly in love with are so bland and boring even I wouldn’t be able to keep them apart.

There is no conflict. There’s nothing really at stake. The relationships are too perfect – these four guys are instantly OK with all of them being with the heroine, and none of them is trying to win her for themselves. Of the four guys, only two have a hint of a personality, and the other two are basically just thrown in so this would be a reverse harem and not a love triangle. Either give them more personality or focus on the two that do have developed personalities and that a reader can root for.

Look, I know I’m one of the few who isn’t fond of this series, and it has really high overall ratings on Goodreads and Amazon. So, don’t take my word for it, this is after all just my opinion. But as far as reverse harems go, I’ve seen a lot better than this one.

Book Review: A Trace of Revenge by Lyle Howard

Title: A Trace of Revenge
Author: Lyle Howard
Genre: Paranormal Mystery, Thriller, Supernatural Thriller
Rating: 4,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

A young boy is left for dead by the assassin who has just bludgeoned his parents.

Matt Walker witnesses the murder of his parents but is able to escape and remains alive. He loses his ability to hear but finds out he has a unique power called Psychometry. This power is an ability to “trace” or know an object’s history, just by touching it.

A few years later, a top-secret government armament is stolen during a deadly hijacking at sea and someone intends to sell the powerful weapon to fulfill their own twisted ambitions.

At the same time, a ruthless mob boss has a gruesome secret that he must protect no matter the cost.

All it takes is something as unassuming as a foul ball hit at a Major League baseball game, to send all of these characters and events spiraling on a collision course aboard the most unique cruise ship ever built and send Matt on the quest to find his parents’ killer.

In A Trace of Revenge, Matt Walker witnessed his parents’ murder and narrowly escaped with his life. Although he can no longer hear due to this terrifying ordeal, he discovers he has an unique power: the ability to trace an object’s history by touching it.

Seeking revenge for what happened to his parents, Matt is dead-set on tracking down the killer, no matter what the cost. Add in the theft of a top-secret government weapon, the most unique cruise ship ever built, and a ruthless mob boss with a harrowing secret, and you have an edge-of-your-seat thriller that is fast-paced, not predictable at all, and solidly escorts the reader from one chapter to the next.

Book Review: Psy’s Last Mission by Jacob Steinberg

Title: Psy’s Last Mission
Author: Jacob Steinberg
Genre: Science-Fiction
Rating: 3 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Our planet was hit. Our planet was destroyed. We are now searching for a new planet

Julia is the Naval Officer of Space City, a spacecraft colony inhabited by 5 million people. The spacecraft was on a 2,000-year journey to a viable planet but was hit by an asteroid and destroyed a few decades before reaching its objective.

It is Julia’s task to find a new planet for the people of Space City. She and her team find an unknown planet but before being able to observe it, they are caught in its atmosphere and forced to land.

Once on it, Julia decides to inspect it and goes on a tour of the planet, leaving her team behind.

She finds the source of the planet’s energy which leads her to inspecting the plants’ secrets, which will change everything she thought she knew.

In Psy’s Last Mission, Julia is the naval officer of Space City, a spacecraft colony inhabited by five million. Julia is tasked to find a new plane for the people of Space City, and when on the lookout to investigate a new planet, they’re caught up in the planet’s atmosphere and are forced to land. Once on the planet, Julia decides to inspect it while leaving her team behind, and as she tries to find the source of the planet’s energy, she’s in for more than she bargained for.

I wanted to like this book, but I couldn’t like it as much as I had hoped I would. Some ideas were great, but the execution was lacking. Some chapters were very well-written, others were bland. The editing could also be better overall, and this brought down the reading experience a lot. Some parts of the book were over-the-top and even made me roll my eyes. Overall, though, it had a solid story and some fun surprises.

Book Review: Haunted Blood by Elik Katzav

Title: Haunted Blood
Author: Elik Katzav
Genre: Paranormal Mystery / Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

A missing reporter is found drained of blood after being murdered in a ritualistic ceremony.

Now, a young boy has gone missing.

David used to be a police detective before he was shamefully dismissed for claiming that a demon possessed an old priest.Now, he is taking odd jobs as a private eye and investigating the disappearance of a missing boy. As his investigation progresses, he becomes certain that supernatural forces are involved.

The theft of an ancient pagan god statue from a museum, a patient in a psych ward who claims she took part in secret sacrificial killings, and a ruthless cult leader who will stop at nothing, all allow David to understand evil things are coming his way.

David must solve the mystery before the clock strikes zero. If he doesn’t find the boy, he will lose himself as well.

In Haunted Blood, we follow main character David, who used to be a police detective before he was dismissed because he claimed a demon was possessing an old priest. Now, David makes a living as private investigator, and it’s this job that leads him to the search for a missing young boy, which is linked to the murder of a missing reporter – found drained of blood in what looks to be a ritualistic ceremony.

Combined with a woman in the psych ward claiming she participated in sacrificial killings, and an evil cult leader, David realizes that the evil he recognized all those years ago has come back to haunt him. And if he wants to find the missing boy, he’ll have to face his own worst fears.

The world-building was great. I read a lot of paranormal mysteries, but to have one set in Israel is quite unique and gave it an intriguing feel. I liked the characters and plot, even if the plot was not that original, the setting and characters definitely made it entertaining!

Book Review: Malta, The Ultimate Island by Amit Offir

Title: Malta, The Ultimate Island
Author: Amit Offir
Genre: Nonfiction, Travel Guide
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Are you searching for an exotic destination with fascinating history, turquoise colored sea, beautiful beaches, and vibrant nightlife?

After vacationing and exploring many exotic destinations all over the world, the traveler Amit Offir arrives in Malta to enjoy everything the island has to offer, and to ascertain whether the stories about the island’s charm justify the prestigious name many tourists have given it.

If you would like to vacation on an enchanting island with exotic beaches, exceptional diving sites, interesting attractions, unique culture and history, excellent food and for dessert, a vibrant nightlife – Malta is the perfect destination for you.

The fascinating story of the author, and his special approach to life will inspire you, and provide you with a wealth of tools to help you travel often, and enjoy each and every moment on your trip to Malta!

In Malta I found everything I was looking for in the perfect vacation,inexpensively, and within short distance of all sites.’

– Ideal destination all year round
-7,000 years of fascinating history
– Perfect for a beach vacation & diving
– Excellent for family trips extreme adventures

Malta, The Ultimate Island is a travel guide that explores the island of Malta, its unique destinations, and shows you the charm of this exotic beauty. Around Christmas time, it’s perhaps a little strange to think about sunny beaches, but I actually quite enjoyed imagining a holiday on Malta while cozing up near the Christmas tree under a blanket!

The book talks about the various diving sites of the island, the culture and history, and even gives recommendations as to what food you should eat on your trvaels to Malta! There are some beautiful pictures that accompany the stories and suggestions made by the author.

The author also briefly touches upon his own lifestyle and ideals, and combines that with a travel guide to Malta. It’s an interesting mix, and I quite liked it. The historical / cultural parts were my favorites, and I was glad to uncover that Malta has a lot more to offer than breath-taking beaches: it also has a lot of history and culture.