Book Review: Roller Coaster in Tehran by Y. I. LATZ

About the Book:

Roller Coaster in Tehran

Imagine being sent to spy on your country’s worst enemy!

Dr. Amalia Tavori is a mother of three and an expert rollercoaster engineer with a short fuse and an insatiable appetite for adventure. She is forced to join the Israeli Mossad to save her husband from economic collapse. Amalia is sent under false identity to Tehran, the capital of Israel’s worst enemy, to help the Iranians build a grandiose amusement park.

Every day could be Amalia’s last!

Roller Coaster in Tehran reveals an intimate picture of the exceedingly dangerous daily life of an Israeli spy in Tehran. Amalia knows no boundaries and has no shame. She fools both her enemies and her operators from the Mossad, working out of her own deep inner convictions.

Can Amalia complete her mission without losing her life?

When a grave disaster befalls her family in Israel, it becomes even more difficult for her to perform her secret mission. This book redefines the concepts of loyalty, betrayal, enemies, and compassion. The image of an ordinary woman emerges – one who yearns for true love but who has been forced to become larger than life itself. She is prepared to sacrifice herself for her country, but not to sacrifice her life for an existence without love.

My Thoughts:

Meet Dr. Amalia Tavori an Israeli spy for the Mossad and an expert rollercoaster engineer. She is sent to Tehran on mission, under the ruse of helping the Iranians build a huge amusement park. Being a part of this world and the work, doesn’t deter Amalia from enjoying the thrill of it all. The exhileration she feels when she travels on missions seem to have made her crave danger more, taking her away from her family. A mother of three, Amalia finds that her relationship with her husband has sunk, mostly due to how he dealt with the loss of their money, forcing her to join the Mossad in the first place, to save him and their family. Having gotten accustomed to a certain lifestyle, it is rather difficult to perceive any other way of life.

While on mission in Tehran, Amalia is forced to reconnect with her old friend, to renew old ties as she continues to get closer to her friend in order to get to her husband. Through all this, we see the compassionate side of our protagonist as she struggles to deal with some of the facts presented to her, which seem to contradict the nature of the people she sees everyday. As the story progresses, we see a more sinister plan in place and a stronger character in Amalia as she decides to fight for what is right was well as a life filled with love.

A heart wrenching and deeply moving story, the author brings to us the trials and tribulations of a mother and her love for her children, her country and herself. We follow her as she navigates through heart ache, desire, and hurt among other emotions. We meet some interesting characters, central to the plot and who add a lot of substance to it. This story teaches us about making choices and the consequences each choice may have.

Book Review: I Am Not A Traitor by Y. I. LATZ

About the Book:

I am Not A Traitor

Henry Stein is a former Israeli Navy cook with a huge secret…

Dive into the story of an exciting espionage case that takes place in the most covert unit of the Israeli Defense Forces. Henry Stein, the 50-year-old veteran chef of the Israeli Navy’s submarine fleet is laid off from his job after thirty years. Due to his big secret, he cannot reveal this fact to anyone, not even to his wife.
A secret that is intertwined with a serious of international calamities

How does his secret relate to the murder of his grandmother in London thirty-five years ago, to the arrest of his backpacker daughter in Colombia, to his love affair with a sexy Korean-American who almost gets him killed, and to his longstanding personal relationship with the British MI6?
A compulsive page-turner full of courage, terror, and passion

Step by step, the secret life of the “innocent cook” is exposed. As he fights a war of survival opposite the CIA, MI6 and the Israeli Mossad, he is revealed as a courageous man who follows his heart, until the arrival of the inevitable moment when he must decide once and for all where his loyalty lies—with his country or with his homeland.

My Thoughts:

Set in Israel, this story follows the life of Henry Stein as he deals with the loss of his job and the events that unfold after. The reader is given a glimpse into the world of the Israeli Mossad and the working of the CIA and MI6. How are all these agencies involved? How is Henry Stein suddenly in the middle of all this?

All the above questions are answered as the reader progresses through the story. We meet Henry’s wife and child, explore his life and as time passes, we are shown glimpses of the person he really is as well as his past. So many secrets, so many lies, some told to protect loved ones, some for selfish reasons, the author strives to reveal them all one by one as the story progresses. Henry is fighting to prove his innocence without revealing well kept secrets, which are on the brink of being exposed.

A story with a decent plot there are elements to the story that will keep the reader hooked. However, there were a few parts of the story that seemed to drag on and didn’t sit well with me, as well as the introduction of some very random characters who didn’t seem to add much value to the plot. Overall though, this story is an interesting read, exposing a lot of what happens behind closed doors and how spies work. It also shows how countries work at large and loosely helps the reader understand a world otherwise not very well-known. It shows us what a person can do for the love of a country, for his loved ones and above all for himself as well. It brings out the courage required to hold true to a story and stand for what you think or know is right.

Get set for another emotional roller-coaster with A Charm of Finches by Suanne Laqueur

Suanne Laqueur’s upcoming novel : A Charm of Finches will be out later this year. I was provided with an ARC and as usual I was swept away! I do not know what it is about her books and writing, but it completely sucks me in and then I move only after finishing the book! Suanne deals with many pertinent issues in her books and handles the topics, the emotions and her characters very well.

About the Book:

A Charm of Finches (Venery, #2)

“I swear. Give me one more chance and I will make the most of it.”

From the author of The Fish Tales comes the long-awaited second book in the Venery series. In An Exaltation of Larks, Laqueur captured readers with a tale of life, friendship and the bonds of love that both create and destroy. A Charm of Finches follows Javier Landes as he retires from escorting, reinvents his writing career and invites love to be his friend. Both love and friendship arrive in the form of Steffen Finch, an art therapist from Manhattan, and what starts as casual deepens into a passionate relationship—everything Jav has ever wanted, and everything he fears losing.

Stef’s business card reads Curator & Sailor. His creative and insightful nature have made him into a talented therapist, the one to call for delicate, complex cases. While his career is full of excellence, in matters of the heart he’s barely mediocre. Openly bisexual, his committed relationships have always been with women, but at the age of forty, a failed marriage and a handful of forgotten lovers are all he can call his own. His professional success can’t conceal a deep need to connect with someone who inspires him to be the best he can be. Someone like Javier Landes.

Geno Caan, one of Stef’s patients, is likewise struggling to find the best of himself after a sexual predator destroyed his family. Unsure of who he is or where he belongs, Geno allows an alter-ego called Mos to make decisions on who gets to come near him and for what purpose. Living a double life within a web of protective lies takes its toll and after a suicide attempt, Geno enters a private rehab facility and starts to work with Steffen Finch. Under Stef’s patient and compassionate navigation, Geno uses art to express what Mos forbids to be spoken aloud—the crucial first step in taking back his life. But when Geno’s attachment to Stef gradually spills onto Jav, the boundaries between professional and personal begin to blur.

Over the course of a year, three overlapping lives form an unexpected and unconventional triangle, revealing how men make love in times of war, and how love is a great wisdom made up of small understandings. A Charm of Finches is an epic tale of survival and secrets guaranteed to make you think and feel and remember.

My Thoughts:

This new story by Suanne brings together three very different people in this story, highlighting their backgrounds and characters. She takes her time to focus on each one of them, including Jav, even though we have already met him and know his story (if you have already read An Exaltation of Larks).

Geno, a rape victim, is also forced to deal with the death of his twin brother and his father one after the other in a very short span of time. The trauma is not easy to deal with and his journey to healing forms the crux of this story. At the same time, Stef and Jav form an expected bond and take an instant liking to each other. The story of their growth as individuals and together forms the other part of this story.

Suanne deals with topics of trauma, self-discovery, healing as well as acceptance all rolled into one neat story. The emotions are deep and tug at your soul. They will force you to go through the issues of the characters with them and accompany them on their journey. A story filled with hope, love and everything good, Suanne doesn’t hesitate to highlight all the bad things that can happen in life and how they can be dealt with, without sounding preachy in any way.

The teaching techniques used and the concept of art for therapy is wonderful and frankly interesting to read about. The book on the whole is wonderful and as usual written in Suanne’s unique style of being to the point, and being an emotional roller-coaster. You will love them, hate them, cry with them, but you will not be able to put down the book until you know what happens in the end!

I will stop my review here, without talking a lot about the story for fear of divulging it all! Read it and enjoy!

Book Review: Another’s Child by Einat Danon

About the Book:

Another's Child

Imagine inheriting a child that you don’t even know!

One morning, Yael and Arik Katz are startled by a surprise inheritance: Noa, the ten-year-old daughter of Canadian friends with whom they had made a long-forgotten will-exchange agreement, is delivered to their doorstep with no warning. Why did her parents decide that she should grow up with acquaintances rather than family? How do you raise a girl you do not even know?

Secrets and lies are revealed and everything starts to get complicated

Noa does not find her place in Israel. Yael takes her back to Toronto to look for a more suitable adoptive home. The search reveals answers to questions that have not even been asked about parenthood, marital relations, love, one’s home, and the fragility of life.

Can life ever be the same again?

As Yael delves into Noa’s past to better understand her, she discovers some unflattering things about her own partner and that the connection between her family and Noa is deeper than it had seemed. These shocking revelations leave Yael with a serious dilemma about her own family relationships.

My Thoughts:

An intriguing tale of how a tragedy can change the lives of various people, Another’s Child deals with responsibilities, secrets and a little girl caught up in the middle of everything.

How would you feel if your normal routine and life is disrupted one day by the news that you have inherited a child?

Shocked! That is exactly how Yael felt when she opened the door one morning to a lawyer and little Noa. Noa’s parents had died in a car accident and as per their will, Yael and Arik Katz were to take care of the little girl. This story shows how certain decisions made in the spur of the moment can have bigger consequences later on in life.

As Yael struggles to accept the new child into her life, she decides to make it easier for everyone and takes her back to Canada to find a family willing to adopt her and keep her there. Through this journey, she learns things about Noa, while at the same time opens a can of worms that cannot be closed. Once she takes a peak, she is caught up in the web of lies that threaten to turn her world up-side down. She is forced to rethink her life and her opinions about her Husband, the love of her life.

The author deals with topics of trust, relationships, family, secrets and lies. The story is well-written and will draw you in, ensuring that you experience all the emotions of the various characters. Noa is a smart child, who senses the underlying tones of distrust, but yearns to be accepted by the family even though she acts out and against Yael. Arik is strong and gentle at the same time, connecting with Noa in a way that no-one can, easily understanding her moods. Yael is colorful, sometimes happy, sometimes angry and even sad, but still trying to do the right thing. At times she does come off as annoying and her reactions are very childish, but it will not make the reader hate her. The journey Yael taks through this story is not only one down memory lane, but also one that looks at her life and helps her rediscover herself, gaining confidence once more. The relationship that develops between Yael and Noa is beautiful to see as it goes from hatred to grudging respect to acceptance. It is difficult to hate a child even when you hate her mother!

The story ended quite abruptly for me, it seemed to just fall into place eventually, after all the drama and heartbreak. This was confusing and made the book seem incomplete to me. However, the entire plot and story were good and worth the read! The author did a good job with the portrayal of emotions and in keeping the reader engaged!

 

 

The Summer That Made Us by Robyn Carr

I was provided with a copy of this book by Little Bird Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book:

The Summer That Made Us

My Thoughts:

The Summer That Made Us is a story spread across three generations of women, bringing them together once more in an attempt to make everything right again. The story introduces us to women who are mothers, daughters, sisters and even cousins. The tragedy that broke them apart, the lives they led before and after, and a journey towards healing.

What started off as tradition between two families (two sisters married two brothers) and their children, soon becomes a rather intriguing story as the truth of the past comes out into the open. When Meg, who is suffering from cancer, wants to open up the Lake house one more time, she sets into motion a series of events that finally shape the lives of her sisters, cousins, her aunt and mother. So much has changed and happened, but the voices of the past never keep quiet.

The Lake house brings out memories and secrets buried deep, and though the plan is met with resistance initially, it proves to be better than expected. Meg’s elder sister sets out to make the house livable again, while Meg invites the family. The best part of this story is when one by one, each woman finds her peace with her past and her present, finding ways to open up and move on. The journey of healing begins with frank conversations and open discussions. This is made clear by the author, who ensures that the reader is hooked until the end. You will laugh and cry with these women, you will love them and hate them and eventually, as things start to become right, you just know that this story was worth knowing and needs to be passed on.

This story is filled with people whom we can easily relate to, their troubles become our troubles and their pain is ours too. Such is the beauty of the author’s story telling. This book is worth a read for all the lessons it brings out and the life experiences along with the bonds between people. Even though people change in life, their journey shapes them, some bonds are forever and family is always there by your side no matter how bad it gets! That’s a message every reader will take away from this book!

Book review: Olivia MacAllister, Who Are You? by Celine Rose Mariotti

I was provided with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Olivia MacAllister, Who Are You?: A Ghost Mystery Set in Maine

New Children’s Book from Dreaming Big Publications
Author: Celine Rose Mariotti
Illustrator: Bob Veon
Available in Paperback and Ebook
Page Count: 80 pages

Amazon Link:
https://www.amazon.com/Olivia-MacAllister-Who-Are-You/dp/1548809780/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1502775150&sr=8-1&keywords=olivia+who+are+you

Publisher Website: Dreamingbigpublications.com
Email: Dreamingbigpublications@outlook.com

About the Book:
Bobby MacAllister and Noel Simpson are cousins, who visit their Uncle Eb in Maine for the summer. There they embark on an adventure to discover the story of their ancestors and the secrets of the ghost, Olivia, who stays in the house. Together, with family friends and partners from the town, they uncover the truth of a long lost love story. Olivia MacAllister, Who Are You? is a fun fiction chapter book for children aged 7 to 10. Will you be inspired to learn about your ancestors’ past like Bobby and Noel?

My Thoughts:

This is a simply written, quick read with an interesting plot line. The main characters, cousins, Bobby and Noel come to visit their Uncle for the summer. With highly inquisitive natures, they start exploring the house and try to discover it’s secrets. Along with some history about the family, we are introduced to the ghost of one of their ancestors, Olivia MacAllister, who seems to still be tied to the house.

As the story unfolds, we learn of her tragic death and her lost love. The mystery behind all this, the tiny adventures that the children go off on and the old house with its secret doors makes for a fun read. It is wonderful to read about how the children bond with their uncle and share a sense of interest in all things mysterious and supernatural.

The story ends abruptly, with some questions left unanswered. It feels hurried and short and at times as though everything is just falling into place very easily. But, this does not take away from the rest of the plot which is actually quite good. Overall, this is a decent read and will ensure that children enjoy themselves.

 

Book Review – Shifting Sands: Tradecraft: Phase One by Michael Shusko

About the Book:

Shifting Sands: Tradecraft: Phase One

Iranian physicist Dr. Sara Qaderi has been leaking intelligence to the UN detailing her deadly work at a nuclear facility in Iran for months—but her time is running out. Colonel Mostafa Sabri is on the hunt for the traitors who have been compromising Iran’s national security. And he always finds his prey.

Since birth, Sara has been taught that Americans aren’t to be trusted. Now her life is in the hands of Nick Shane, an American Marine whose mission is to get her and the vital information she carries to Afghanistan before Israel drops the first bombs of the next world war. He has his own reservations about this Iranian physicist and her motives. But he also has his orders, and will carry out his mission at all costs.

Will they make it in time to save the world from erupting into a violent global conflict—or die in the unforgiving Iranian desert?

My Thoughts:

The plot is good, the story solid and well-written. Shifting Sands takes the reader into a world at the brink of war, showing us the harsh reality of the conditions around. We are introduced to Nick and his brothers on one side, and Dr. Sara Qaderi on the other. Israel is on the verge of dropping bombs on Iran, and the good doctor’s testimony may be the one thing that can stop it all. While there is friction between Nick and his elder brother, it is clear that each one has issues of their own and Nick is trying to deal with his demons.

As the story progresses, the reader is given some insight into each of the characters and their lives. However, this proves to be a little confusing since we are introduced to so many people and chapters abruptly jump to describe someone completely new. Everyone of the characters has an angle and a mission. Experience and some knowledge of the area plays a big role in this story. It takes a little while to get used to the concept and style, but the writing is simple and straight forward. As a result, it may take some time to complete the book, but it’s worth a read, especially when all the action starts! The author portrays how the war affects people and how they deal with it and this is clearly from some experience, otherwise it would be difficult to articulate and explain the emotions behind it all.

This book is definitely worth a read for those who enjoy the action and a slightly fast-paced story of duty, honor, and protection of countries and their people.

 

The Silk Weaver’s Wife – An intriguing story of two women!

About the Book:

The Silk Weaver's Wife

‘On the way back down the grand staircase to the hall, her eye was caught by a portrait, hanging in a particularly dark corner of a landing. It was of a young woman, seated at an easel; she was painting a silk moth, its eggs nestling on a mulberry leaf.’

1704: Anastasia is desperate to escape her controlling and volatile father and plans to marry in secret. But instead of the life she has dreamed of, she finds herself trapped in Venice, the unwilling wife of a silk weaver.

Despite her circumstances, Anastasia is determined to change her fate…

2017: Millie wants more from her relationship and more from her life. So when her boss Max abruptly ends their affair, she takes the opportunity to write a feature in Italy.

Staying in a gorgeous villa, Millie unexpectedly falls in love with the owner, Lorenzo. Together they begin to unravel an incredible story, threaded through generations of silk weavers.

And Millie finds herself compelled to discover the identity of a mysterious woman in a portrait…

A gorgeously written, richly evocative story, The Silk Weaver’s Wife is perfect for readers who love Kate Morton and Gill Paul.

My thoughts:

The Silk Weavers Wife is a well-written story, set in Italy and which tells of two tales set almost three centuries apart. The story revolves around 2 women, Anastasia and Millie, both strong and well crafted characters, who prove to be an inspiration for all.

Anastasia is brought up to be respectful, proper and do as her father says. Along with her younger sister and mother, they live in constant fear of her Father’s moods and hate. He only ever seems to show his love to his dog and the horses. Anastasia develops an interest in art and secretly tries to pursue the same. When she is taken away from the man she loves and is forced to marry someone her father had made a deal with through his gambling, her life takes a turn for the worse. Forced to lead a life she doesn’t want, she finds solace in her maid, who helps her find a way to escape the abuse and eventually find her way back to the man she loves. However, even this road is not smooth and is filled with learning and a journey of self-discovery, as well as healing. Anastasia travels across Europe and then to London where she learns to improve her art and then to apply it to the finished product of silk weaving.

Jump ahead to the current day scenario and we meet Millie who has come down to Italy to write a feature on Silk Weaving and how it has evolved over time. Ironically, this trip also proves to be one of self-discovery and developing a sense of respect of oneself. She develops a bond with Lorenzo, the owner of the villa where she is staying and his charming daughter. Millie learns to deal with her failed relationship with her boss, a married man, and as she researches more into the subject of her article, she digs up information pertaining to Anastasia.

As connections are made with the past and parallels are drawn, the author takes the reader on an interesting adventure. In many ways, the journey of the silk worm relates to the journeys led by both women they they finally discover who they are meant to be and learn to be content with their lives. The story moves across time as it unravels, going back and forth to give us a complete picture. The characters are well developed and deep, with the supporting characters playing major roles and contributing to this beautiful tale.

An inspiration, this story brings out the strength of women and how the love and support of those around them, helps them achieve wonders!

 

Book Review: Henry and the Hidden Treasure by B.C.R. Fegan

About the Book:

Henry and the Hidden Treasure

Henry and the Hidden Treasure is an imaginative adventure a young child has in defending his pocket money against his little sister. Henry constructs elaborate defensive measures that he is sure will stand up to the clever ambitions of Lucy. Little does he know, Lucy has a few tricks of her own.

With a focus on introducing children to the use of ordinal numbers, Henry and the Hidden Treasure also draws out some important qualities of being a kid – such as creativity, the value of listening to parental advice, and of course, being nice to your sister.

My Thoughts:

A simple enough children’s story, this book seeks to enlighten children about the importance of listening to your parents and of having an imagination and not shying away from it. It also subtly brings out the concept of ordinal numbers and thus proves to be a useful way of teaching a mathematical concept to children.

The story is imaginative and Henry’s ideas are highly amusing. However, though it is a short story, it felt very abrupt and incomplete, as though the whole point of the plot is not yet conveyed. Looking at this from a child’s point of view however, it proves to be enjoyable and just enough to perhaps keep their attention.

This is a good story to use for both fun reading and as a teaching aid with it’s wonderful illustrations.

Book Review: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

A Man Called Ove

What I thought about The Man called Ove

‘Men are what they are because of what they do. Not what they say,’ said Ove.

Set in Sweden, this story of your everyday person and the things they face in life is both heart warming and heart breaking at the same time. The author takes us on a journey through Ove’s life, a short duration after his wife dies and while he is contemplating committing suicide to join her. Ove is a grumpy old man, who seems to put people off with his attitude. Little does anyone know that underneath that hard exterior, there is a wonderful man inside!

A perfectionist, Ove expects things to be a certain way, to happen in a certain way. He has a routine and he expects to keep it. When he is suddenly out of a job, he is thrown off center for a while. Add to this the death of the one person who truly understood him and accepted him for who he is and I am sure that you can understand Ove’s state of mind. If not, read on! This book is truly worth it.

We are introduced to an intriguing set of characters who make this story more colorful. Parvaneh, a pregnant lady with two children and a weird husband, seems to take it upon herself to bring Ove out of his shell. As Ove sets out everyday with the idea of killing himself, something happens to prevent it and make him postpone by a day, each day. A stubborn man, Ove has a set way of doing things and he follows the rules. He has come up through sheer hard-work and determination and all theses experiences seem to have shaped him. The entry of his wife into his life proves to add some color into it, but just enough for her to bring out the best in him.

This story shows us all sides of life and how it shapes a person and their attitude. We are shown how Ove has grown and how the people in his life have affected him. The story goes back and forth, thus ensuring that we get all parts of the story. The man called Ove, has a lot to say and a lot to teach us. It’s up to us to understand this and learn. We are also shown a side of him where he has made friends and lost them over something that ideally wouldn’t matter much to us. With a set mind and ideals, Ove is as stubborn as one can be. This story is about how to break out of this and adapt to the changes in the world around you.

The supporting characters in this story are well crafted and seek to bring out different shades of life. They are from different backgrounds, and show us various kinds of lifestyles and thought processes. The children are delightful and it is partially their innocence, coupled with Parvaneh’s bossy nature that seeks to bring Ove out of his shell. As he begins to help people again, frankly speaking, he is forced to, it changes him once more and gives him a new purpose in life.

A well-written novel, the author brings out the truth behind every person’s life, the hardships they face and the ease with which they can handle it when surrounded with people who love and support them. The simplicity of the plot and the depth of the characters make this a brilliant read.