In the early 1900’s in old Russia, the beginnings of the Russian revolution are forming. The aristocrat class is in danger and families are making plans to escape before the war takes not only their homes and properties, but their lives. Olga is a young doctor and the only daughter of Natasha Vishnievsky. Her father arranges for her to escape, unfortunately things do not go as planned. Seven Days in Lebanon is a book filled with history and based off the real life of Olga Von Eggert Khadjieff, Eleanor Tremayne’s grandmother. The book covers three generations of women’s lives in the family and is weaved together through journal entries, memories, and an ambitious well off artist looking for meaning in his own life.
The story starts out in Russia, but quickly moves into Olga’s escape from the Bolshevik army and the journey she takes is not an easy one. Fate kept her alive on more than one occasion and her skill as a doctor kept her alive more than once as well. The beginning of the book goes into detail about her escape from Russia and, eventual marriage to Prince of Kiva, through journal entries and stories that Olga is telling her granddaughter Anastasia. Olga’s mother Natasha kept a journal of notes, family history, and memories meant for Olga. However, it was never reunited with her and ended up in the hands of Damian Tolbert a rich French artist that writes and shoots photography.
The story’s point of view jumps around a lot, going from Olga, to Anastasia, sometimes her parents, and to Damian. The time lines are also mixed and mingled, it is not told in a linear fashion rather just like it would be listening to a family member, bits and pieces here and there and you have to assemble it all together in order in your own mind. It is confusing at first but soon you realize that the writing style is slightly different for each point of view. It draws you in despite the jumps. Knowing this novel is based on real events that took place in the life of the author’s grandmother, Olga, makes the story that much more interesting. These are first hand events and stories passed down from one generation to the next, a lost tradition.
There are some harsh topics and some graphic details involving death, and rape, and murder. However, they are told from the perspective of facts and not in a sensational manner. It is just how things were back in that time. There are times the stories feel like a history lesson and times like a day dream. The mix of styles makes this book intriguing and you want to keep reading it. The sad and brutal events are mixed with hope and promise of a better future.
Aside from the history element, seeing Anastasia discovering her heritage is probably my favorite part. How things from the past, little things like that raven imagery all start build a bigger picture for her and she grows into her heritage that prior to Olga’s death she said she didn’t care about. This is a great telling of a family and their history told in a manner that is fun and engaging and not like that of an autobiography or history book. This would be a great choice for anyone looking for a book club book or discussion group.
Pages: 386 | ASIN: B07NJJTGYJ
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On a frigid winter morning in St. Petersburg, Russia 1917, eighteen year old Olga Von Eggert must leave her country and family. The Bolshevik army is on a mission to destroy all aristocrats. When Olga fails to join her entourage at the designated rendezvous, Prima Ballerina Mathilda Kschessinska notifies the Khan of Kiva, a mutual acquaintance. The Khan’s son, Prince Razek Bek Khadjieff, defies his father’s orders and sends his strongest Cossack soldier to save the young Baroness. Nearly ninety years later, Damian Tolbert, a Frenchman living in Paris bids $100,000 on an antique diary with the initials NV on the leather cover. Once the journal is translated from Russian to French Damian is determined to find the rightful heir to this antique keepsake. Several years later, by coincidence, or perhaps fate, Damian discovers Anastasia Sullivan, the only living descendent to the journal, in an odd town called Lebanon, Ohio. Rather than answers, Damian finds more missing pieces to his puzzle. Will the “Mind Marauders ” finally leave his psyche? And, who is this mysterious artist, Anastasia Sullivan? This historical novel is inspired by true events of the author’s grandmother, Olga Von Eggert Khadjieff.
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M.P. Prabhakaran takes readers across ten countries in Europe. The exciting journey is filled with amazing experiences, new trials, immense learning, and lovely interactions. Reading the book made me understand why the author modified English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley’s words and said: “The more I travel, the more I discover my ignorance.” Traveling the world is truly fun, at least that’s what I got from M. P. Prabhakaran’s book. I learned quite a number of things as I read.
The first city the reader is introduced to is Stockholm. The fact that the author visited the Swedish city twice confirms just how much he loved being in Stockholm. One can say that M. P. Prabhakaran is inquisitive in nature. That is perhaps the reason why he knows about a lot of people, their culture and the political climate in their respective countries. He is also charismatic and easy to talk to. I loved the conversation he had with the Swedish woman married to an Iraqi while riding a bus in Vaxholm. I empathized with the woman and her baby. I loved their conversation though. Mr. Prabhakaran knows how to keep the conversation going and that’s why the woman felt comfortable talking about her life with a stranger. The author’s conversations are among the things that made the book a lovely read.
It was interesting reading about the author’s encounter with the Russian Mafia on a St. Petersburg street. Being a target because you are a foreigner is no fun at all. There was a lesson at the end of it all; don’t put all your cards in one pocket. You would have imagined that his trip would have been smooth without any trouble. His harassment with the mafia was however just a little problem that was averted without the author being harmed. His trip was mostly pleasant, with only a few incidents that can be ignored.
From Stockholm to Bergen, to Helsinki, Prague, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Moscow, and all the amazing places the author went made the story exotic, for someone that hasn’t been to all these places. Having to travel through all those countries in just 30 days is not a simple thing. The author enjoyed walking, taking the train and even flying to go see the world and learn about societies.
The author is knowledgeable in the political state of the countries he traveled. I admired that in him. I would be there reading about his beautiful trips, then out of nowhere, he would throw in a fact about the leadership of a country either in the past or present. I love that he reminded the reader of a little history that may have been forgotten.
I understand why M. P. Prabhakaran took to traveling in Europe. Given an opportunity, I would travel the world as he did. I loved that he also documented every interesting thing because I enjoyed reading his tales. “An Indian Goes Around the World – Ii: What I Learned From My Thirty-Day European Odyssey” is a lovely book that will make you want to travel.
Pages: 270 | ASIN: B0794N38FB
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Lifeliners follows Nash as he navigates a tumultuous future with the next evolution of human’s, lifeliners. What was the inspiration behind lifeliners and how did that develop as you were writing?
Lifeliners began as an idea for a short story on a long flight from Europe to Melbourne, Australia, my home. I always have my notebook handy, never knowing when inspiration would strike. Tired of browsing through inflight entertainment, I began jotting down notes to flesh out a story about an emerging new human able to draw energy from someone by touching them. From previous reading and watching documentaries, I knew that birthrates in Western countries have been falling for a while, accompanied by growing sterility. Could this be a product of our high-pressure technological lifestyle and high density urban living? I decided to develop this theme into a story. Nature decided that lifeliners were the answer to who would over time replace normal human beings. Of course, people would not be prepared to simply let lifeliners take over, but that only added to the story’s depth.
Well, I wrote the short story, posted it on my website, and I thought I was done with it. Time to finish what was then my latest book project Legitimate Power. Once I had it published, I began reviewing ideas for a new book – and kept coming back to lifeliners. It was one thing to write a short story, but fleshing it out into a full-length novel was not something I had in mind, wanting to write another contemporary political drama/thriller. But the bug had bitten me and the characters clamored to have their say. Lifeliners began to haunt my days. The only way I would have peace was to write the damned book, and I was glad that I did.
I really enjoyed Nash’s character and the relationship he has with Cariana. What were some important themes for you when creating these characters and their relationship?
Nash was a lifeliner in a social environment that is growing increasingly hostile, fanned by propaganda by governments the world over – it was easy to blame lifeliners for the problems people had. His natural instinct was to survive, and if possible, secure his future, provided no one found out he was a lifeliner. Having someone to love, raise a family, was an obvious and normal goal, but one he was not sure he could achieve. Would it not be better to wall himself in from social contact and ride out whatever troubles might lay ahead? That is how he lived for a few years, especially after thugs murdered his first love, Sally. Meeting Cariana, not a lifeliner, generated normal human feelings, and he ignored his inner warnings and allowed himself to become ensnared by her, which regrettably led to all the subsequent unpleasantness. Having found out that remaining walled in did not work, he needed to change things, not only for himself, but other lifeliners as well. This led to a gradual transformation of his world view and as a person.
Falling in love with Cariana, cool, beautiful and accomplished, was easy. Her work as a geneticist alarmed Nash, knowing that she could expose him, and if the relationship was to mature, he would have to reveal himself to her anyway and face possible rejection. For Cariana, starting to fall for Nash, she faced a psychological burden having her brother killed by a drunken lifeliner. It embittered her against all lifeliners. She recognized the sick nature of her attitude, but she could not help herself. When she learned that Nash was a lifeliner, the image of him as a dashing prince was shattered, and she hated him, yet she could not extinguish her love for him. I believe the interplay of emotions and feelings the two had for each other, and the emotional baggage both carried, hopefully made them more real, something readers would expect in any couple.
I enjoyed the realistic portrayal of science in this story. Did you conduct any research for this book, or were these things you were thinking about?
Although the idea of drawing bioelectromagnetic energy from another person is a fictional foray, I spent a lot of time researching material for Lifeliners, which reinforced the information I already had about the complexity of human biochemistry. The loss of our ability to synthesize pyruvate into leucine and valine is a fact, as are their functions. However, I have taken some liberty when I suggested that lifeliners can also synthesize vitamin C. But who knows what nature may have in store for us in the future. Although Lifeliners is a work of fiction, I always thoroughly research every one of my contemporary novels to ensure the validity of my facts and that I do not stray too far from what is scientifically possible with my science fiction.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
Having just completed Lifeliners, and busy marketing it, I need to take a break and recharge my creative battery. It usually takes me a couple of months before I start nurturing ideas, seeing which of them can be turned into a novel. However, this does not mean that I have stopped writing. As a matter of fact, I just added a new short story to my collection, Doorways of the Mind, and I have another that I will write within the next few days. Until the urge overcomes me to tackle a new novel, I will be spending some of my time doing book reviews and editing for other authors.
When everybody is against them, it is tough being a lifeliner, as Nash Bannon found out. Lifeliners are ordinary people…almost. They can draw energy from another person; they live longer and are smarter. Scientists claim that Western high-pressure living and growing sterility in developed countries has triggered the rise of lifeliners, and homo sapiens will replaced by homo renata within ten generations. So, what’s not to like about lifeliners? Protest marches by extremist groups, riots, attacks against lifeliners, repressive laws enacted by governments everywhere, were portents of a dark future. Young, successful, Nash Bannon did not like what was going on, but he thought he had the world at his feet and life in Australia was good, provided no one found out he was a lifeliner. A chance encounter with Cariana during a lunchbreak develops into something he considered important. The Australian government calls a snap election, and Nash stands as a Senate candidate on the Lifeliner Party ticket. Unless lifeliners rise up and fight for their rights, they can expect sterilization, incarceration, and possible extermination as democracies everywhere turn into autocracies. To survive, the Lifeliner Party must employ the same dirty tricks the government used against them, but they were not prepared for what awaited them.
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Caution to the Wind recounts your thrilling and sometimes perilous journey out on the ocean. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I kept a journal throughout the entire voyage and soon discovered that I had a real love for writing. My cruising life took me on an incredible journey, which strengthened my desire to share this adventure. My passion is to inspire those who are contemplating a similar voyage, and to encourage people to follow their dreams!
You had been through so much while sailing, both physically and emotionally, was there ever a moment that you were not prepared for and made you rethink things?
Being caught in a major storm with no ability to make contact with the outside world, was an intense experience. There was nothing that could have prepared us emotionally or mentally. What was crucial at the time was how to stay alive, in such extreme conditions. There were moments where I questioned my life and the decision that I made to make this voyage. What was paramount for me was the possibility of never seeing my family again. What really stuck in my mind is that if we didn’t survive, no one would know what had happened to us. We could disappear without a trace, consumed by the very ocean that I love.
Looking back on that time, what do you miss the most?
I miss the freedom and the simplicity of life, that cruising offers, which I found to be incredible. It is hard to replace the excitement of navigating to foreign shores, and the diversity of cultures and people, that I met along the way. I have strong memories of amazing sunsets & sunrises, brilliant starlit skies, and an interesting array of sea and bird life.
If you were to take another trip, without limitations, where would you go?
Without limitations, I would buy a yacht in Europe, to cruise around the Mediterranean without a time limit. Venture up through the beautiful canals of France once again, cross the English channel to explore the UK, and eventually head back to Australia. Which route, I am not sure at this point.
On May 5th, 1994, at 9.30 am on a chilly, sunlit day, Ebony, a 36ft Roberts Spray, left the safety of Lyttelton Harbour in New Zealand, to venture into the unknown, where nothing would be predictable.
The voyage plan was to follow the famous trade wind route, sailing from New Zealand to England.
All too soon, they found themselves battling their way to Sydney, Australia. Caught in a ruthless storm with no contact with the outside world, they were truly alone. All the romantic notions of the ultimate cruising life disappeared into oblivion.
Step aboard Ebony and take an adventure, an epic 15-month voyage. Experience this day-to-day passionate tale, packed with intrigue, and at times suspense. Experience the delights of the lands visited and learn more about the world of international sailing. This was a life-changing adventure, with a dramatic, unexpected, ending.
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Once upon time, women struggled to gain notoriety capable of any feat besides household responsibility. The struggle was life and death in the resistance of recognizing the inevitable rise of women. Starting life in Italy with a wealthy protestant family. Sylvie idolizes her father Dr. Fiore. Sylvie has her hopes set on being one of the first female doctors known to the area. But when Sylvie is married off to a wealthy craftsman named Leon, in France, she quickly realizes that this dream may be out of her reach and possibly run the risk of death. Is Sylvie’s dreams worth dying for? This book starts our journey in a small town of Eze in Southern France in the late 1600’s and tells a fictional story based from real time events in our history. This is book one of a new short story series.
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Adolf Hitler ruled Europe with an iron fist. With his political promises to desperate people, he spoke of a reign that would last 1,000 years. Under his command humanity entered a new dark age. Tales were told of horrors taking place in the East – of railroad cars, of ovens, and death. There was just one “detail” he kept to himself.
When Hitler survives an assassination attempt on his life, his secret is discovered by those in command. A secret beyond the realms of reality!
A German U-boat Captain is ordered to transport Adolf Hitler to a secret military base in Norway, during the closing days of the Second World War. While on this mission, he discovers that there is more to Germany’s “Führer” than meets the eye. To his horror, the Captain discovers the Third Reich’s darkest secret: Hitler is a vampire!
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Eva, a sixteen-year-old witch, lives with her mother and friend Ritta in 13th century Spain. Eva is a renowned healer who wishes to live a simple life among human peasants. One day she meets a boy named Johnathan who is more than he appears to be. Together with her friend Alec, and her faithful familiar Midnight, the trio travel across medieval Europe to help save the human world from war and the powers of darkness that threaten to engulf them all. Along the way Eva and her friends discover that friendship and love are a powerful type of magic that may help awaken the ultimate power lying dormant inside of Eva.
The Cursed Child by Maria Vermisoglou has everything a young adult fantasy reader could wish for. Supernatural creatures, handsome young men, and a feisty heroine who seems to always find herself in the middle of a major catastrophe – a catastrophe only she can solve. While all the ingredients are there for a delightful supernatural adventure, although sometimes predictable.
The story begins with our heroine, Eva, explaining to us that she is a witch and that witches live for hundreds of years and protect humanity from demons and other dark forces from taking over the earth. Eva has a best friend Ritta who is also a witch and lives with her and her mother in a humble house in the village. One day Eva runs into Johnathan, a handsome boy who asks her to attend the royal ball. Eva agrees begrudgingly and thus begins an adventure across 13th century Europe. Without giving away too much of the plot, Johnathan turns out to be the heir to the throne of Spain, but his ascension to the throne is far from guaranteed. Johnathan’s father and uncle have both been warped by their privilege (and in Johnathan’s father’s case – an actual demon) and end up turning on their own son/nephew to try and take the throne from him. Luckily, Johnathan and his best friend Alec, are interested in being better rulers than their relatives and accompany Eva as she magically wisks them around Europe trying to escape civil war and evil demons.
While Vermisoglou’s main trio, Eva, Alec and Johnathan, are a captivating and entertaining bunch, I wanted more unexpected twists to be thrown at the group to see them continue to develop and make them truly engrossing. Eva and Alec are best friends but nothing more. Eva continually berates Johnathan for being stupid but seems to very quickly and neatly change her opinion as things wrap up at the end of the novel. Perhaps one of the most enjoyable aspects of the book however is the great descriptive flair of the author. The fabulous ball gowns and wedding dresses are described in specific detail that leave enough room for the reader’s imagination to make them come alive.
All in all, The Cursed Child contains enough magic, political intrigue and heartwarming moments to keep its young adult audience enthralled until the last page.
Pages: 574 | ASIN: B07BV423FK
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A young American physician Dr. Scott Fitzgerald from Pennsylvania sets out on a journey to fulfill his fathers dream by returning to Afghanistan where his father Bryan had spent nearly twenty years as the first American in that remote kingdom. Bryan had befriended Prince Akbar, the hero of First Anglo-Afghan, and won the hearts and minds of Afghans receiving a golden sword and the title of the American Prince. Like his father, Scott wanted to take the Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution to the farthest lands of the world. Following many adventures he joins Prince Ayoub, the hero of the Second Afghan War.
Scott travels from Philadelphia across Europe, Russia, Afghanistan, India to the Far East. He returns with lessons learned and truths he discovered and writes them in this book to reach the present and future generations. He regards the American Republic as an indestructible fortress of freedom and democracy that all extremes of left and right factions are inevitably drawn back into the fortress of ‘Immortal Ideas”, built by their forefathers with their genius, their fortunes and their lives. Scott believes, as Americans we have never claimed to convert or to rule the world. We just want for others to have the same inalienable rights of life, liberty and pursuit of their own happinesss.
Scott quotes a great American, The Constitution of the United States is the impassioned and inspired vehicle by which we travel through history. It grew out of the deepest inspiration of our existence that we are here to serve Him by living free. That living free, releases in us the noble impulses and our best abilities so that we use these precious gifts for good and generous purposes and that we will secure them not just only for ourselves and our children but for all mankind.
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I Spy with My Little Eye analyses and discusses our changing behaviours as a society. Why was this an important book for you to write?
This book was important for me to write for three different reasons. First, on a personal level, researching and writing this book has helped me think through a number of concerns that have been in the back of my mind for a while about the direction in which our society is heading. As a result of this process, I’m more convinced than ever that I, as a parent, need to make active choices that go against some of today’s societal trends if I’m to provide my children with a sensible worldview and a solid starting point in life.
Second, I find it worrying that there isn’t greater debate about the values and norms underpinning our society. I think we need to acknowledge and perhaps rethink many of our behaviours if we wish to solve some of the symptoms of ill-health that are plaguing our societies, such as stress and anxiety, financial indebtedness and shallow aspirations. It’s difficult to change course if we don’t know where we’re heading. Acknowledging the problems is therefore a good start. I raise a lot of issues for discussion in this book and it’s my hope that it will be used for spurring debates in schools, book clubs and other places.
Finally, as I see it, questions around morality have too often been outsourced to, and monopolized by, organized religion. What I want to show by using the seven deadly sins and seven heavenly virtues is that being religious is not a precondition for being concerned about, and engaging in discussions around, morality.
This book uses a combination of statistics, quotes and recent topics to illustrate various points. I thought the research was outstanding. What was one thing that surprised you while you were researching this book?
On the whole, the data I used in the various chapters supported the hunches I already had about the issues I raise. In that sense I wasn’t particularly surprised by what the data showed. That said, I was still horrified to have my suspicions confirmed, especially when it came to statistics concerning children, such as the large amount of time they, on average, spend in front of screens, and the little time they spend outdoors.
This book looks at some of the problems affecting Britain s society today. Is there a problem that is unique to Britain? What is a problem that is shares with the world?
Although I’m drawing on material mainly from the British context, the issues I’m discussing are applicable to many more countries than the UK. I would argue that much of what I write about are trends found across the Western world. For example, in the first chapter titled Pride I discuss how today’s ‘celebritisation’ – the increased celebration of celebrities – affects the aspirations of young people towards careers that come with fame and glamour. This trend is far from unique to Britain. Seeing, for example, that the reality TV series Keeping Up with the Kardashians is apparently aired in 167 countries, I would say this issue is rather widespread.
Also, the role of the West as a predominant exporter of popular culture and information means that the norms and values we experience today in Britain may well be the norms and values experienced across the developing world in the years to come, if they aren’t already.
I think it would be a worth-while exercise to organize cross-cultural debates around the issues I raise in this book. For example, it would be interesting to set up panel debates at universities for students from different countries to discuss commonalities and differences in how they perceive values and norms playing out in their respective societies.
I understand that you currently live in London, but you’ve also lived in various other countries. How has this affected you as a citizen?
I was born and raised in the Northern Swedish countryside and I have moved many times as an adult, both within countries and across countries and continents. For over a decade now I’ve called England my home; starting off in London, moving out to the Essex commuter belt, and more recently setting up shop in rural Devon.
These moves have naturally altered the mirrors in which I see myself in relation to other people and cultures. Each time these contextual mirrors have changed I have had to step out of autopilot mode and take stock. In that sense, I think the many moves have made me wiser and more understanding as a person. They have also added a comparative perspective to my societal observations. For example, I think I have a better grasp of American politics because I’ve lived in both Montana and Washington D.C. And, I think I understand European geopolitics better because I’ve called Sweden, France, Spain and the UK my home.
On the other hand, I would probably have exercised a louder societal and political voice if I had stayed in my home country. Being an immigrant comes with a natural wish to blend in, and to be accepted. Especially after Brexit, I have sadly found myself adding things like ‘my husband is British’ or ‘I’ve been in England for many years’ when I meet new people simply to justify my existence in this country. I must also admit that I’ve had a fear when writing this book that people will think ‘who are you to come here and judge us?’ I sincerely hope the book won’t evoke such feelings.
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?
In my next book I highlight the Western world’s evaporated trust in politics, business, and international institutions and argue that we need to tackle this lack of trust through greater focus on integrity and honesty in public life. I shed light on a number of the mechanisms believed to induce integrity through interesting (and hopefully amusing) cases from around the world, including whether Donald Trump’s fibbing can be stopped by naming and shaming, and if FIFA’s culture of corruption is finally an issue of the past. My intention with the book is to re-package academic research into an approachable format and let interesting cases bring the theories to life.
The book is only in its research phase so it won’t be ready for publishing for quite a while still.
Which direction is our society heading in? Does it provide a good enough nurturing ground for the next generation to flourish? Is it time we took a good look at our values and behaviour and changed course? Dr Linnea Mills offers a frank discussion about the prevailing norms and values in today’s Britain, interpreted through the seven deadly sins and seven heavenly virtues. She tackles head-on topics as diverse as celebrity culture, work-life balance, immigration politics and economic divisions. This is a book for anyone with a keen interest in society, philosophy and politics. Get inspired and join the debate.
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