Category Archives: Three Stars

The Saga of the Phoenix

The Saga of the Phoenix - volume 1: a sea story and the birth of a new civilization by [Oriano Galvanini]

Giorgio is finally living his dream to work as a radio operator on cargo ships, but little does he know that life has a lot more planned for him. In a strange turn of events, he receives an ominous radio message on one of his voyages, asking him to meet with a peculiar individual. The meeting introduces him to a secret organization and sets him on a path paved with covert operations, futuristic tech, and a lofty ambition to unite the world. Who’s behind the Phoenix, what’s their true aim, and how will Giorgio fare in his new position?

The Saga of the Phoenix is a spellbinding work of literary fiction. This interesting historical fiction is a blend of adventure and science fiction. Beginning in the 20th Century, Galvanini narrates a sailor’s shenanigans before he delves into the young man’s exciting journey as a member of a group looking to change the world. One high point is how Galvanini explores various cultures. He takes readers around the world through the main character’s sea voyage, a worthwhile experience for adventure lovers. The book also doesn’t lack imagination as Galvanini deftly combines fantastic tech with space travel, extraterrestrial life, and political and economic maneuvers, all spiraling into a global utopia. The first few chapters are sprinkled with a bit of intrigue here and there, but once you get past them, you’re in for a fairly exciting ride.

Conflict is the lifeblood of every engaging story. It’s the seemingly insurmountable obstacle the characters have to overcome; the evil that needs to be conquered; or the heart that needs to be won. I would have loved to have seen the conflict built up a bit more in this novel so that it felt on par with the excellent story telling.

The Saga of the Phoenix – volume 1 is a dramatic sea driven adventure story that takes readers on a historical journey that is fun to read.

Pages: 357 | ASIN: B099FHNDM1

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SuperPower

SuperPower: The Ability to Fly or to Become Invisible : The Deal of the Art (Book #1): The Deal of the Art (Book #1) (SuperPower: The Ability to Fly or to Become Invisible The Deal of the Art) by [ROGER Pedersen]

SuperPower: The Ability to Fly or to Become Invisible by Roger E. Pedersen, is about men and women who have the SuperPower of flight or invisibility. They hook up with Professor Steele and his associate, the FA-King, to pull off the world’s largest one-night heist of major art museums in New York City, London, and Paris. This is a thrilling setup that ensures readers will have plenty of action in store for them.

Author Roger Pedersen has created a compelling story with unique characters. Each chapter focuses on one character at a time. These chapters give the backstory for each character as well as which SuperPower they have. Most of the information helps the reader to better understand each character and allows the reader to connect with them. Even though the characters weren’t introduced in an organic way that fits in with the main idea of the story I wanted to keep reading to see where these characters ended up and what happened to them because I was fully invested in their character by the time I completed their dossier. The reader learns a lot about each character, providing plenty of depth to each character in a story that focuses on creating characters that are very detailed, making this somewhat of a character study type super hero book.. This makes sense, since most chapters begin with ‘Dossiers on’ such and such person. This gave me a Dungeons and Dragons feeling where players spend a lot of time building out detailed characters (or at least I did) so that they felt authentic and personal.

SuperPower: The Ability to Fly or to Become Invisible is an interesting story with a unique take on the super hero idea. This was a fun action adventure story that has a lot of potential to be a riveting series. Now that the characters are setup, I can’t wait to see more of them in future novels in this lively action series.

Pages: 289 | ASIN: B09CFTPLH3

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Into The Garden Came a Snake

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In Into the Garden Came a Snake follows retired Chicago Police Department Captain Michael Brinker who is pulled into an NCIS investigation when he discovers a burner phone linked to a trio of Syrians who are determined to make the U.S and the world pay attention to the genocide in their homeland. During the investigation, Michael is reunited with his college sweetheart, NCIS Special Agent Samantha Nielson, who disappeared from his life without a word almost twenty years ago. With double agents working against them, will the Naval Criminal Investigative Service be able to stop the plot targeting an unknown Navy asset?

This suspenseful police procedural is filled with action and unexpected twists. This is a story that made me form suspicions and then kept me reading to find out if I was correct or not. I enjoyed discovering new clues and trying to figure out what would happen next and how various threads all tied together. The “good guys” weren’t always good and this added a lot of uncertainty and intrigue to the story, which left me wondering who else was working against NCIS and kept me guessing whether characters would be able to redeem themselves in the end.

While I enjoyed the story, I felt that there was a lot of information to take in, along with specific details and backstory of secondary characters, yet readers are still left with burning questions such as: who was Special Agent Rebecca Daniels? Which agency did she work for? And why did she drop the burner phone where Michael would find it?

In Into the Garden Came a Snake is a thrilling crime fiction novel with riveting characters on a treacherous quest to uncover the truth. Author D.M. Karlman knows how to immerse readers in a deeply intriguing mystery and then slowly unravel it with dramatic effect.

Pages: 238

Blood In The Medicine Bowl

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Blood In The Medicine Bowl, by Steven Bryan Clegg, is a book that contains two pivotal stories, and both need to be told. The first is about the importance of awareness of poaching rhino horns for money, and the second is about the alertness of crime against humanity with the kidnapping of children. The story’s main setting is South Africa. A rhino having been poached is unlawfully sent to Vietnam to be prepared for illegal sale. The horn is boiling in a pot at Mr. Bui’s home when his 10-year-old son accidentally cuts his finger, the blood dripping into the boiling pot. Meanwhile, Detective Elizabeth Beyes works feverishly to track down and capture a kidnapper of children. Her search leads her to a magician who also steals rabbits called Magic Pete.

Author Steven Bryan Clegg begins his riveting story with a barrage of scenes and characters to setup his novels theme’s of the crime and consequences of poaching and kidnapping. His setting begins in South Africa, shoots to Vietnam, then to China, and back to Africa where he delves into the second plot involving Detective Liz Beyes and her partner, Detective Zahn Lin. Each scene is captivating, the locations are vivid and seem exotic. At times I found the introduction of so many characters a little overwhelming, but the story does a great job keeping the storylines separate, although I felt that it was hard to tell which storyline took priority. By the end of the novel, the story had come full circle and ends leaving the readers feeling satisfied. The dialogue is paced well and I enjoyed the conversations between characters in the story, which showcases Clegg’s talent of character creation. I found many of the characters to be relatable.

Blood In The Medicine Bowl is an intriguing story that dramatically explores the consequences of poaching and kidnapping in some creative and stirring ways. The combination of dual storylines ensure readers are consistently engaged with the story.

Pages: 297

 

ONE MAN’S SEARCH FOR THE DIVINE

ONE MAN'S SEARCH FOR THE DIVINE by [Andre Patenaude]

Andre Patenaude’s One Man’s Search For The Divine is an intimate look into the realities of struggling with childhood abuse and trauma. Using his own words, the author takes us through how he navigated his 30’s in search of enlightenment and healing. Ultimately, the vulnerability and authenticity of this book make it an emotional read.

The author goes into great detail about his depression, substance abuse, and divorces in a way that is realistic and emotional. Interestingly, he also manages to incorporate spirituality into the narrative and explains how it played an integral part in his healing process.

What really makes his story interesting though is the fact that he took his life into his own hands and decided to seek out meaning. From page to page, Andre regales us with his experiences while cycling, hitchhiking, and walking across the country. He spends countless hours in tents and meets helpful strangers along the way. His story not only speaks to his fortitude but also helps readers regain faith in humanity

We see the kindness of those he meets and how they nudge him forward on his spiritual journey. We also encounter the guru who changed his life and feel the genuineness of his transformation. And better still, we feel the support from his family as he trudges through his chosen path.

Ultimately, this book is a source of hope for anyone dealing with trauma, abuse, and addiction, but I think the writing style could have been more engaging and descriptive. The book feels like a series of dense journal entries rather than a story.

Man’s Search For The Divine is an inspiring memoir that is thought-provoking and emotionally stirring.

Pages: 109 | ASIN: B00KICJOX4

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The Commune

The Commune, by Erica Abeel, is about a commune in the Hamptons where newly liberated women come together to plan the seminal 1970 Women’s March for Equality. These women find that while they’re talking and planning, they are tugged between the ideals of the movement and the draw of the past they may not be ready to let go of.

Abeel started this book off with a good hook: Leora is at the beginning of the Women’s March for Equality, explaining what some signs say to her young son, and is wondering if they were going to get enough people to make the March mean anything. This scene ends with Leora’s happy surprise at all the women who are going to the March. After this, we are taken back in time four months. We learn how Leora came to be a part of the Women’s March for Equality and learn more about her past and the important women who planned the March.

Throughout this poignant book we’re taken to different times and locations, with thoughts and dialogue all flowing together. Sometimes it’s hard to separate the two. We freely float between characters, locations, and times, ensuring the story is always moving forward, always revealing something, and always reading some engaging piece of dialogue, but sometimes it was hard for me to understand who was talking.

The Commune is told from the perspective of multiple characters, but ultimately I felt like this was Leora’s story, as I connected with her more than the other characters we follow throughout the story. While I appreciated the intriguing detours the other characters takes us on, Leora steals the show because she is such a compelling character.

Author Erica Abeel has a strong command of language that she uses to construct some scenes that are firmly rooted in locations, with very little fluff, always focused on our emotive characters, and because of this story story is riveting.

The command of language, the sections of connection, and the good hook at the beginning is the best parts of the book. Also, the end brings this captivating historical fiction story to a nice close. The Commune provides a satirical but impassioned story on women’s suffrage that will appeal to anyone looking for a culturally impactful story.

Pages: 330 | ISBN: 1954351798

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Against All Odds

Against All Odds by [Luis Ammerman]

Luis Ammerman’s Against All Odds is an interesting remake of the Cinderella fairy tale. It follows the life of Hazel, an orphan who is continuously mistreated by her stepmother and two stepsisters. Set in England in the regency era, it is full of colorful language, characters, and events.

Hazel seems to be primarily concerned about getting a well-off husband to whisk her away from her troubles. Even her stepsisters Anna and Mary seem to be obsessed with attending soirees and getting betrothed. And like in every regency romantic piece, the honorable knight, Stephen, does eventually come for the helpless princess.

Stephen is described as tall, dark, handsome, reputable, and wealthy -exactly what you expect from the male romantic interest. Once he enters the plot the story follows their love and all its dramatic ups and downs. The plot will appeal to anyone looking for romantic regency era melodrama in the same vein as the show Bridgerton.

While the plot line is well know, it is still filled with interesting moments that test our main characters in different ways and places them in intriguing situations, but I would have appreciated some unexpected twists.

This book is written for ardent fans of the historical romance genre. It is very easy to read and is quite emotionally charged. It draws you into Hazel’s circumstances and makes it easy to relate with her. It is hard not to root for her, especially after all she has gone through.

Apart from love, the book clearly depicts the themes of family, belonging, friendship, loyalty, and resilience. At the heart of it, it is a story of a girl who refuses to give up on life, love, and hope amid painful circumstances.

If there is one thing the author does a good job of though, it is highlighting the cruelty of Hazel’s stepmother and stepsisters – they are literally the worst people in the book. And while that does paint them in a unidimensional way, it stays true to the Cinderella narrative.

Against All Odds is a well-written Victorian era love story that sets riveting characters against an exquisite backdrop where the drama is high and so is the entertainment value.

Pages: 359 | ASIN: B094RK1DKT

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Apocalypse Blockers

Apocalypse Blockers by [Simon carr]

Apocalypse Blockers by Simon Carr is a fun, short story about the end of the world. It is not as serious as it may first sound. In the book we follow a number of different characters that could be described as weird and strange. Each of the characters comes from a different dimension, they are right away forced to unite and join forces to avoid and block the end of everything that ever existed, to be known as the apocalypse of the multiverse.

The book serves as a parody of superhero stories and fantasy adventures. The characters presented are funny and are constantly making the most nonsensical claims possible, all of it adding up to an entertaining, comic-relief type of story. There are gods, priests, vampires, wizards, werewolves and even zombies. Different realities in the multiverse are visited by our group of main characters, in an attempt to block and stop an impending apocalypse in each of them, thus eventually receiving the name of “apocalypse blockers”.

The best part of this book is its creativity and blatant hilariousness that will leave readers laughing. There are many jokes and silly phrases throughout this unconventional story that truly makes it stand out. There are no rules followed nor limits to the way in which the world presented operates, a technique that allows the author to enjoy complete liberty through which he displays ridiculous, yet funny situations. However enjoyable the novel is, I found myself lost in some sections as I found it hard to follows some scene to scene transitions as there was some rather large leaps without reorienting the reader.

Apocalypse Blockers is a book that was written with the idea of fun in mind, its main purpose being to entertain its readers. Each character is unique and humorous in their own way. The humor presented throughout the entirety of the story made for a lighthearted read that included a number of witty remarks. I appreciate how uniquely different this story is from anything that I have read, it is an interesting approach that I would like to see more of in the future.

Apocalypse Blockers is an exciting science fiction adventure story that tells a hilariously wry superhero story that is consistently entertaining and witty.

Pages: 238 | ASIN: B08W81Z68G

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