Category Archives: Book Reviews

Masterly Misled

Masterly Misled A History of Deceit by Gregory Bathgate is a thought-provoking and intriguing book that explores the conspiracy theories floating around the circumstances of the clash between the Australian cruiser HMAS Sydney and the German auxiliary cruiser HSK Kormoran off the West Australian coast on November 19, 1941. In this book, the author has explored every bit of evidence present at the time of the clash, plus the committee’s rulings. Then, the author explores this case in great detail using these facts and some assumptions.

Author Bathgate provides a collection of data ranging from charts and images to interview snippets and records of the investigation, which I found to be interesting and almost like watching a documentary. However, I did feel that the author’s writing came off as a report conceived to state the facts in their basic form, making me feel like I was one of the investigating officers.

The data collected is arranged topic-wise and presents the arguments to the audience without much ornamentation. I would’ve liked a little more drama to the story and maybe have the investigation reports mixed with a particular form of storytelling or more narrative. However, many details and data are provided, allowing the reader to form their own opinion and try to solve the case alongside the author. This book comes off as a factual read, but I was captivated by all the data and evidence.

Masterly Misled A History of Deceit is a historical look at the mystery of what happened on that day, November 19, 1941. With detailed facts and evidence obtained by the author, readers will be able to come to their own conclusions as to what ruling is correct, if either. I recommend this book to those who enjoy watching detective shows where evidence is provided and the reader ventures alongside the investigator to solve the crime. For readers venturing into this book to search for an interesting conspiracy, this book is for you.

Pages: 351 | ASIN : B0BJ1SXSD3

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In Herschel’s Wake

In Herschel’s Wake by Michael Wohl is a memoir that recounts the author’s journey to his father’s burial. He is accompanied by his siblings on this trip. The style is very intimate, and the subjects are delicate as it deals with death, complicated father-son relationships, grief, and forgiveness. The author’s realization of who his father was might remind the reader of The Stranger by Camus, in which the main character only comes to understand his mother when approaching his own death. This memoir belongs to a larger group of works wherein complex parent-child relationships are only understood when it is too late. It also explores dynamics between siblings which can be tough to navigate as well.

The strength of this book is how honest it is and raw. The reader will feel as though they are reading the author’s personal diary, which might be uncomfortable but also makes it even more beautiful and easy to read. It is truly a page-turner. Although the subjects that are tackled may seem heavy, the tone is humorous at times and make it easier to read. This is an emotional and profound memoir; any reader will find elements that will resonate with them and that they might relate to.

In Herschel’s Wake is an eye-opening memoir about family and relationships. It should be noted that it might need a trigger warning for people with a challenging relationship with their own family that they have not resolved. However, it is definitely a book I would recommend to someone who has gone through grief and has come to terms with it.

Pages: 258 | ASIN : B0B8PCKNZG

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The Lost Siren

The Lost Siren by Hermione Lee starts out with one of the most beautiful settings I have read in a book so far! Aquila is a young, beautiful, and enchanting Siren of the sea. Unfortunately, she wakes up on an iceberg alone, scared, and without a memory of her past. She’s bruised and cut up but finds her way to an island, where she is rescued by a young sorcerer named Everard.

Everard and Aquila fall in love with each other quickly. He takes care of her and answers any questions she has. He doesn’t like it when she has questions about the palace or the royal family. Everard, however, is not the knight in shining armor we all thought at first. He hurts and abandons Aquila, and she is rescued by a handsome king. Aquila quickly falls in love with the king’s kind spirit, but as she starts to regain her memory of her past, she isn’t proud of who she used to be. Finally, war comes to the palace, and Aquila must write all her wrongs to end the war.

I really did enjoy the creative aspect of the book. The world that was created by the author was unique and painted a good picture in my mind. It was well written with great detail. I loved the characters and their development throughout the story. I enjoyed reading about the magical powers they had in this world. An island full of magic creates such a beautiful picture. What I didn’t like about the book was how the relationships developed when it came to love; there was no build-up. I like falling in love with the characters; in this case, readers are not given much to build on.

The Lost Siren is a captivating teen and young adult novel with elements of romance. While there is a love interest, the story focuses on how Aquila deals with her emotions and the realization of who she is. It is perfect for teen girls struggling with who they are and want fantasy novels that focus on more than battles and wizards.

Pages: 158 | ASIN : B0BGPV6LWN

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Forbidden Horizon

The human race has an ongoing debate about the existence of life elsewhere in the universe. But what if there was life outside of humans, and what if they already knew everything about us? The Xalin are just such a race. Having conquered what they considered to be human beings’ weaknesses for wars and destruction, the Xalin hatch plans to make themselves known to humans on Earth. They wish to show humans that great scientific advancements are possible, if only they could stop making critical mistakes.

Told in three parts, Forbidden Horizon by David Crane is about groups of astronauts and their adventures in outer space. Humans have already created a base on the Moon, and a group of astronauts are enroute to Mars. But when David Blackstone, the leader of the Lune One Moon base, is confronted with an out-of-this-galaxy opportunity, he has no choice but to take it.

Author David Crane’s extensive knowledge of science and space travel really shines in this intellectually-invigorating novel as the ships and methods of space travel are believable for a science fiction novel. The amount of detail about space in this sci-fi story is impressive and, at some points, a little dense. However, Forbidden Horizon draws the reader into the story so much so that you feel like you are standing inside the IMS Daedalus on your way to Mars.

Forbidden Horizon contains fascinating detail about outer space and space travel, making this an intriguing read. I would have liked more action or danger included in the story, but this still feels like a classic science fiction story, much like Isaac Asimov’s novels where the ideas are fascinating all on their own. Fans of hard science fiction will enjoy the attention to detail about space and technology and will surely be engrossed with Forbidden Horizon‘s plot.

Pages: 274 | ASIN: B0BH3HCKG7

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Payback

Pay Back by Malcolm Chester is a thrilling read that is filled with edge-of-your-seat action. Ralph Tager has been through a lot over the span of one month, from losing his brothers in arms due to an ambush, to his nine year old daughter being abducted, to his wife being killed while trying to protect their daughter. Now he seeks revenge. After retiring from the Navy, he is hired by a billionaire to be part of a group called the Pay Back, who hunt and kill pedophiles.

This explosive novel reads just like an action movie, and reminds me of the hit TV show 24 starring Kiefer Sutherland. Ralph Tager is an interesting character and one that readers will enjoy following. I feel like he is someone that many readers think of when they fantasize about being an action hero. He is good looking, smart, skilled with weapons and has a loving wife and daughter. He is the epitome of an action hero and I was left wanting to know more about him. All of this changes once he loses everything and you see his rage drive his decisions. I couldn’t help but root for him even though in law enforcements eyes he is breaking the law.

There are a lot of dimensions to the plot, but author Malcolm Chester keeps things relentlessly moving forward. I enjoyed the quick pace and succinct dialogue that gets right to the point. Ralph’s experiences were laid out neatly for him. I would have enjoyed seeing Ralph challenged a bit more because I felt like he was well equipped to handle the obstacles in front of him and I was rarely worried about him. Ralph’s character goes through many transitions in his life which I felt flowed seamlessly into each chapter and made it easy for the reader to visualize the time lapse.

This is a riveting action drama that goes into some sensitive subjects that some readers may want to avoid. Pay Back is a book that is laser focused on entertaining the reader with drama, action, suspense and a strong protagonist driving the story forward. I would recommend this book to readers looking for an action adventure story that removes the fluff and turns the action up to eleven.

Pages: 228 | ASIN: B07Z9Q5FST

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From Where I Sit

Written by Ray Lecara Jr, From Where I Sit is a collection of short stories. Easy to read and engaging, there are five stories to enjoy. Beginning with Scent of Juniper, an exciting, short-action thriller detailing a world war two agent’s mission to locate and acquire a rare Faberge egg. The story plunges straight into the middle of the action as assassins launch an attack. With a fast pace, it is instantly absorbing and finishes on a cliffhanger, leaving me keen to read on and find out what happens next.  

A Life Lost Living is the following short story in the collection. I particularly enjoyed this one. The main character was thoughtfully crafted. It details the friendship between a young bartender and an elderly veteran who drinks in his establishment. Through conversations, the elderly man reveals the story of his life, his sorrows, his bitterness, and the effects of war on his life. He is alone, estranged from his family, with his wife and parents long dead. The complexity of the father/child relationship is examined in this story, as is the ever-present question of the point of living, especially when the burdens and regrets weigh heavily in older age. The ending is original and poignant. It is an emotional piece of writing with beautiful descriptions of the New England winter and the connections to land, memory, and childhood.  

Goldie, the next story, showcases man’s love for their most loyal companion, the dog. A touching tale of loss and how people can move forward even when they think they won’t. One Night In Bangkok is a super short story featuring another canine companion protecting their chosen human in a funny set of events.  

The final story in the collection Old Lang Syne features two lovers reconnecting after years apart when they accidentally bump into each other on new years eve. Catching up on how their lives unfolded after they split, they are able to rehash the events that led to their break up. This is an interesting look at how life evolves and changes as people progress. In addition, it looks at the difficulties people face with mental health struggles and how they can overcome them. 

I really enjoyed reading the short stories. They were all well-written, and the characters were easy to engage with. I had no problem becoming invested in any of the characters or the stories. Each story examined different areas of the human condition and the emotional aspects of life. I liked the fact you can dip in and quickly read each story. The premise of each individual story was exciting and original. The characters were convincing, and the quality of the writing was good. Each story flowed nicely, and the dialogue was well-crafted and easy to read. 

Pages: 131 | ASIN : B0B8DKJV1Y

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The Sanctimonious Psychoproctological Invasions

In The Sanctimonious Psychoproctological Invasions: The Handbook for Political Analysis, Dr. Len Bergantino discusses the political climate in the United States while paying attention to the first amendment. The author extensively writes about this constitution clause, enlightening his readers on the political workings, how the government runs its daily business and the life the political class lives. The author exhausts every point regarding political discussions, giving sober analysis in every argument. The reader gets the privilege of reading through Dr. Bergantino’s notes, letters, and opinions on issues that not many are comfortable discussing. 

One of the most remarkable features of a good author is his bravado. Dr. Bergantino is bold in his work. He writes his truths and does not shy away from addressing controversial matters. The confidence displayed by the author makes reading this informative book interesting and engaging. Throughout the book, the reader learns about the political world and human stories. Dr. Len Bergantino shares personal tales, writing about his private life, professional life, passions, and the impact modern-day politics has had on his life. I relished reading his personal stories, his interactions with the who-is-who in the political class, and his contribution to his community.

Dr. Len Bergantino displays wisdom in his language and does not openly show partiality when writing about either Right Wing or Left Wing politics. The discussions are balanced, and the analysis is delivered objectively. Even when using strong language, Dr. Len Bergantino ensures that his message is not lost depending on the phrases he uses. America is the land of the free, and even with all its freedoms, American society seems to fall short in some areas. Dr. Len Bergantino does not conceal the evil of the political class, as he writes about it all; the good, the bad, the ugly, the embarrassing, and the pride instilled in Americans.

As an educator and political expert, Dr. Len Bergantino seems to be the ideal person to discuss the status quo and the battement of society. This educational book is arranged in an unconventional manner, which is great as the reader can choose and pick which topics to start reading first. The images of the author’s works shared between the pages give the reader a good idea of how Dr. Len Bergantino’s mind works and thus give one a better comprehension of these thoughts.

The Sanctimonious Psychoproctological Invasions: The Handbook for Political Analysis is a one-of-a-kind book that will expand readers’ scope in politics, help readers to fully understand their rights as a citizen, and enlighten them on how the world works. I recommend this fascinating book to political science students and readers who enjoy political and socio-economic literature.

Pages: 366 | ISBN : 1955691835

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Arc of the Poet: A Poetic Memoir

Arc of the Poet by Roger Darnell is a wonderfully expressive memoir. This book tells the story of Roger’s upbringing, including various hardships and joyful moments, which become the source of the author’s creative inspiration for writing. The author’s story begins in the 1960s when his mother was a writer and a poet. She becomes one of the main inspirations for Roger’s journey into writing and creativity.

The author takes the reader on a thoughtful and observant journey through his early years, where he faced hardships and extraordinary events. The language is engaging and the writing is sharp which helps convey the importance of art and how it enhances one’s life. All of this in a little over one hundred pages, which goes to show Roger Darnell’s skill as a writer in keeping everything concise yet potent. This is an emotionally resonant memoir as readers will be able to relate to the feeling of not being or doing enough, which I feel is one of the most common struggles with artists.

Throughout the book, the author expresses how he needed to improve his writing, and in doing so, while struggling with life, he felt vulnerable and inadequate at times. I appreciated the candid nature with which Roger told his story. Readers will be able to understand him, if not relate to him. I found Roger’s story highly relatable because I could personally identify with these experiences.

Arc of the Poet is a stirring and engaging memoir that I thoroughly enjoyed. From the deeply personal perspective of a life well lived to the heartfelt reflections, Roger Darnell has written a delightful and evocative memoir. I recommend it to anyone who can relate to the struggles of a creative life, or to anyone who wants to understand the obstacles artists face.

Pages: 118 | ASIN: B0BLG6SVFT

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