Book Review: The Bowery Slugger by Leopold Borstinski

About the Book:

A turn-of-the-century Jewish boy punches his way into the gangs of New York.

When Alex Cohen arrives in 1915 America, he seizes the land of opportunity with both hands and grabs it by the throat. But success breeds distrust and Alex must choose between controlling his gang and keeping his friend alive. What would you do if the person you trusted most is setting you up to die at your enemies’ hands?

The first book in the Alex Cohen series is a violent historical novel, which rips through the early years of the Jewish New York mob. Leopold Borstinski’s gripping crime noir beats at the chest of every reader with a bloody fist.

About the Author:

Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.

There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.

He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/borstinski

Facebook: www.facebook.com/LeoBorstinski

Website: http://www.leopoldborstinski.com/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/l/B071ZZXZMR?_encoding=UTF8&redirectedFromKindleDbs=true&ref=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000&rfkd=1&shoppingPortalEnabled=true

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bowery-Slugger-Alex-Cohen-Book-ebook/dp/B07X7HC4L2/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1572945986&sr=8-1

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Bowery-Slugger-Alex-Cohen-Book-ebook/dp/B07X7HC4L2/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+bowery+slugger&qid=1572946119&sr=8-1

Google Books: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=7L2vDwAAQBAJ&rdid=book-7L2vDwAAQBAJ&rdot=1&source=gbs_vpt_read&pcampaignid=books_booksearch_viewport

NOOK: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-bowery-slugger-leopold-borstinski/1133282419

My Thoughts:

The Bowery Slugger follows the life of Alex as he steps off a boat and onto American soil. This is a well-written story set during the onset of World War I, bringing the reader to a small part of the world and it’s inhabitants. Alex, in his teenage years, is smart and ruthless, grabbing opportunities and finding his way forward. We are introduced to the Jewish New York mob and how it is run. We meet some very interesting people who add different views and dimensions to this story.

The story is fast paced and at some points is quite graphic and gruesome. However, the author handles the plot quite well and the reader is pulled in the midst of family drama, power struggles, trust and status. The characters are well crafted and fit into the historical setting of this first book. The period and setting is so well described that it is easy for us as the readers to imagine it all in our minds.

Though slow at the beginning, the story picks up speed and pushes forward to an interesting climax. There is indeed some romance brought into the mix, but it takes a back seat most of the time. This story arc shows the reader a contrast in character thinking and brings into focus the skills of the main protagonist. As Alex starts to consider a move from his profession for the sake of love, he starts to wonder at his skill set and whether he is cut out for a world away from crime and the mob.

The plot is elaborately crafted and the reader takes a journey through the hierarchy of people and how the system works. There is a weird sense of justice about the job Alex holds inspite of the violence. there is a sense of honor.

The Bowery Slugger, an apt title for Alex in my opinion, is well worth a read!

Book Review: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

About the Book:

A Curse So Dark and Lonely

 New York Times bestseller!

Has everything you’d want in a retelling of a classic fairy tale.” – Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of A Spark of Light and Small Great Things

“Absolutely spellbinding.” – Stephanie Garber, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Caraval and Legendary

In a lush, contemporary fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Brigid Kemmerer gives readers another compulsively readable romance perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer.

Fall in love, break the curse.

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

My thoughts:

It is very easy to tell someone that the only way to break a curse is to fall in love. However, what people do not tell and this is the main catch, is that it is not so easy to fall in love.

This is the problem that Prince Rhen of Emberfall is facing. Having made one mistake in his youth, he is cursed to relive the eighteenth year of his life again and again and again. What was his mistake you may wonder? He courted an enchantress and cast her away. Spurned due to this and seeking revenge, she curses him. The curse can only be lifted when he finds true love.

Doesn’t this sound like a typical fairy tale but with the roles reversed? The prince has to find his princess. However, nothing is as easy as this explanation and this is not just any fairytale. In this new age re-telling of the Beauty and the Beast, the author brings to us a new age spin on things. Once the curse begins, the prince has the duration of the autumn season to find his true love. If that doesn’t happen, he turns into a monster and becomes quite dangerous.

The author brings to us a tale of sorrow and grief that is hidden behind the walls of the castle and unknown to the people of the kingdom. The only story that the people know is that their king seems to have abandoned them. The Prince’s guard is the only other person around and the only one granted with the ability to move from this time/place to the present day Earth and bring back girls for the Prince to court.

During one such situation, we are introduced to Harper. Harper witnesses a kind of kidnapping and tried to stop it. It is in this situation that she is brought back to Rhen’s world. The author then brings to us a wonderful tale of friendship, loyalty and eventually love. The characters are well developed and you cannot help but fall in love with them and their story. If I continue to write more, I will only gush about the story and reveal all the plot twists. To avoid that I will stop here and conclude.

A very well thought out book, this is a must read for all! I cannot wait for Book 2 and I am sure most of you will feel the same.

Book Review: Once Upon A [Fallen] Time by Samreen Ahsan

About the Book:

Once Upon A [Fallen] Time (Stolen Series II)

2015…
All her life, Myra Farrow has been obsessed with medieval castle-and the kings and princes who once inhabited them. When Steve Bernard, a wealthy videogame designer offers her to model for a princess character in his new game, Myra can’t resist his offer to enter the mysterious, colourless, and cursed Hue Castle. But unknown to Myra, her soul is bound to it by blood and sorcery. When she enters the castle’s doors, she awakens dark powers, time travelling through a cursed mirror, torturing her present, and rewriting her future, leaving Steve Bernard with millions of questions.

1415…
Edward Hue, the last of the Hue royal bloodline, has never stood in the sunshine, nor felt the rain, or held a living flower. Cursed from birth to live in darkness and bring death to all he touches, he is at the mercy of his cruel, tyrannical father King Stefan, who will not rest until he shatters Edward’s soul and makes his son into a diabolical copy of himself. Edward’s one hope is the mysterious woman, who walks into his life through a cursed mirror, out of his dreams, and introduces him: love.

Will Myra break Edward’s curse and bring him out of the darkness, or destroy him utterly? Will Steve ever be able to finish his game without Myra? Past and future collide in a tale of love, obsession, betrayal, and the hope for redemption.

This is book 2 of [STOLEN] SERIES.

My Thoughts:

Samreen Ahsan brings to us a smashing second book in the series. This book follows up where the first one left off, but takes us deeper into the past. In the first book, Myra only had dreams and glimpses of Edward, but in this one, she finally crosses over to the past. The author takes us on a journey through Edwards world as Myra tries to navigate her way. Edward tries to keep her hidden from the king, but it is not so easy. When the king finds out about her, it is her wit and knowledge of this past time that keeps her going.

The author brings to us a wonderful tale of love and mystery, weaving the past with the present. In the present, Myra’s family and friends are missing her and no-one knows where she is except Steve. Even though he tries to explain it, no-one believes the ‘story’ he tells.

In the past, Edward is fascinated by Myra and as she passes some time there, changes start to occur. Some color starts to appear in his otherwise dark life. The author once again handles the characters very well and weaves an intriguing plot!

A must read for all romance lovers out there and of course for fans of the author!

Book Review: The Truth About Gretchen by Alretha Thomas

About the Book:

Gretchen Holloway, in her final year of graduate school, is in the throes of auditioning actors for her thesis film, inspired by a murdered young football star who has haunted her dreams for two years. Gretchen believes making the movie will be cathartic. But instead of freeing her, embarking upon the film production unleashes a sequence of events that lead Gretchen to conclude that she’s the reincarnation of the young man.

Regina Wilson has always wanted to be an actress. When her agent gets her an audition for a role in Gretchen’s film, which eerily mirrors one of the worst events of her life—the unsolved murder of her older brother, Robert—she’s hard-pressed to go through with it. Upon fleeing, she leaves behind a keepsake that features Robert’s photo. Gretchen sees the picture and recognizes Robert from her dreams. She tracks down Regina, and after being rebuffed and called crazy, Gretchen’s unexplainable knowledge of events in Robert’s life eventually convinces Regina that Gretchen is Robert reincarnated.

The two decide to have his case reopened, but their significant others are dead set against it, and the police, who believe that Robert’s death was gang-related, are less than cooperative. However, Gretchen is desperate to get justice for her former self, and Regina wants justice for her brother. The women piece together the final week of Robert’s life. And the deeper they delve into his past; one shocking revelation follows another, leaving them wondering who they can trust and if they’ll live long enough to find Robert’s killer and bring him to justice.

Amazon link.
Social media links for the Author:

My Thoughts:

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

This book brings to the reader the concept of re-birth or re-incarnation. The plot is intriguing whereby the protagonist has dreams of someone who was murdered. Initially, she is not aware that it is about a real person and she embarks on a journey to turn these dreams into a film.

The story follows Gretchen as her path crosses with Regina, Robert’s sister. At first resistant to the whole concept, Regina starts to believe that Gretchen might be able to uncover and solve the mystery behind her brother’s death. The story is well thought out, but at times it seems a little stretched. At times it was even difficult to connect to the main protagonist, but it becomes easier as we progress through the book. Her strong sense of justice and the need to help prevail.

Overall this book is a decent read depending on the tastes of the reader!

Book Review: The Circle Taken by Sage Sask

Note: I would like to thank NetGalley for the review copy.

About the Book:

Abandoned at eleven with no memory of her family, Alexia yearns to learn her true identity. Under the new government’s regime, sixteen-year-olds are evaluated for their desire to harm others. Throughout the test, Alexia struggles to conceal her secret. Failing in her mission, Alexia is taken and must fight to prove herself to her captors.

Desperate to escape, Alexia embarks on a dangerous quest for the truth of her past. In the resulting battle between life and death, Alexia learns that sacrifice and the gift she fought to keep hidden may be her only chance for survival.

A secret unearthed, a shocking betrayal, and a moment when lives hang in the balance leaves Alexia with only one choice. Will the decision determine her destiny or end her life?

My Thoughts:

The Circle is an interesting YA Dystopian read. A major part of the plot reminded me of The Hunger Games, but the story here is well-written and the characters were easy to understand. The story is quite fast paced and if the reader does not pay attention, it is easy to miss something important.

Alexia, the protagonist, has no memory of who she is or about her family for more than 5 years. She lives at an orphanage and learns to just keep her head down and move forward. When her secret is discovered, she is sent to a secret place. Here she has to fight to prove herself, to train, all the while trying to figure out who she really is. As she navigates this world and discovers it’s secrets, we are introduced to a group of people with a very specific way of thinking.

The characters are well crafted and interesting, most in their teenage years. All of them seek to befriend Alexia for different reasons, but in the end they stand together as one group. This journey is wonderful to read about. As fast-paced as the story is, a lot happens in this book and it ends at a twist leaving the reader yearning for more. I enjoyed reading this book and am looking forward to the next book, mainly to discover what happens to Alexia. The questions of how she deals with the truth behind her identity and the consequences of her decisions will hopefully be answered in the next book! This book is worth a read for fans of dystopian YA fiction.

Book Review: The Forest of Enchantments by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Having read The Palace of Illusions by Chita Divakaruni, it was a no-brainer to pick up this book! Read on to know my thoughts on this must read book!

About the Book:

The Forest of Enchantments

The Ramayana, one of the world’s greatest epics, is also a tragic love story. In this brilliant retelling, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni places Sita at the centre of the novel: this is Sita’s version.

The Forest of Enchantments is also a very human story of some of the other women in the epic, often misunderstood and relegated to the margins: Kaikeyi, Surpanakha, Mandodari. A powerful comment on duty, betrayal, infidelity and honour, it is also about women’s struggle to retain autonomy in a world that privileges men, as Chitra transforms an ancient story into a gripping, contemporary battle of wills.

While the Ramayana resonates even today, she makes it more relevant than ever, in the underlying questions in the novel: How should women be treated by their loved ones? What are their rights in a relationship? When does a woman need to stand up and say, ‘Enough!’

My Thoughts:

A scintillating read, The Forest of Enchantments will take the reader on a journey with Sita as the protagonist. The story follows her from childhood to adulthood and highlights the Ramayana from her point of view.

We are introduced to Ram, Lakshman and even Raavan as they are seen by Sita. The entire story focuses on her journey and what she felt through it. It is a wonderful take on the Ramayana and strongly brings out the feelings and opinions of the women in the story.

The author brings out the contrast in characters and ensures that the reader is interested in reading the book. There is not even one moment when the reader will wonder why they are reading the book. Even though we might have already read the Ramayana, Sita’s perspective is something none of us stop to think about. It is a re-telling like no other, exploring the views of the women in the story and introducing the reader to them.

The strength of the women, the resolve and their actions shape the course of the story and give us a different view of the same events we are familiar with. Chitra succeeds in humanizing all the characters and making them more relatable. We are forced to think about their points of view, their circumstances and give them the benefit of doubt. The author brings enough doubt to the idea of good and bad, focussing on the grey areas and the fact that there could be more to how we perceive things.

This is perhaps one of the best written books and I can promise that the readers will be left spell bound!

Book Review: Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

About the Book:

Three Women

‘A book that blazes, glitters and cuts to the heart of who we are. I’m not sure that a book can do much more’ SUNDAY TIMES

‘The kind of bold, timely, once-in-a-generation book that every house should have a copy of, and probably will before too long’ NEW STATESMAN

‘Extraordinary’ JOJO MOYES 

‘I will probably re-read it every year of my life’ CAITLIN MORAN


All Lina wanted was to be desired. How did she end up in a marriage with two children and a husband who wouldn’t touch her?

All Maggie wanted was to be understood. How did she end up in a relationship with her teacher and then in court, a hated pariah in her small town?

All Sloane wanted was to be admired. How did she end up a sexual object of men, including her husband, who liked to watch her have sex with other men and women?

Three Women is a record of unmet needs, unspoken thoughts, disappointments, hopes and unrelenting obsessions.

‘A masterpiece’ ELIZABETH GILBERT

‘Addictive’ DOLLY ALDERTON

‘Riveting, assured and scorchingly original’ DAVE EGGERS

‘Indescribably magnificent’ MARIAN KEYES

‘Astounding’ JESSIE BURTON

My Thoughts:

Three women chronicles the lives of three protagonists, their dreams, hopes and the consequences of decisions they make. We see how the women deal with it. The book is confusing since each of the women’s story is told in chapters, but they are not continuous. We keep alternating among the three and sometimes this may cause the reader to lose track of what they read previously if the book is not read in one sitting.

However, knowing that some of the stories are based on true events doesn’t make a lot of sense since the author has only picked three stories to portray. The women come across as needy and submissive to the men in their lives. Sometimes it feels as though they cannot think for themselves or stand up for themselves. In addition, the book focuses more on chronicling the events than really analyzing them or the people.

I lost focus some way through the book, but I continued reading to see where it would go. Ultimately the events are just sad and you feel sorry for the women, but there is not much of a take away from the book.

Book Review: Mom’s of the Missing by Steffen Hou

I was provided with an ARC of the book in exchange for my honest review. I normally do not read a lot of non-fiction, but I am truly glad to have read Mom’s of the Missing.

I would like to express my gratitude to Steffen Hou for reaching out to me.

 

About the Book:

 

Release Date: 10-15-2019

Paperback: 262 pages

Genre: True Crime

ISBN: 978-1-54397-972-5 (print)

ISBN: 978-1-54397-973-2 (ebook)

Publisher: BookBaby

 

 

“Oh my God, we found a dead body.” The man’s voice, calling from a mountain trail in Cleveland National Forest, was frantic. “Please hurry. I’m so scared. It’s a little kid.” When police arrived, they were met by a horrific sight. The girl was naked and had been positioned in such a way that detectives believed the murderer had seen his kill as some kind of a trophy. As if he were showing off his “work”. The little kid was Samantha Runnion, a five-year-old girl who had been abducted while playing in her parents’ garden the day before.

Samantha is just one of too many American kids who disappear. Almost half a million children are reported missing every year. And all across America parents are searching for their missing children or—if the worst case scenario has come to pass—the person who killed them.

Moms of the Missing investigates ten abduction cases. Through personal and heartbreaking interviews with the victims, it describes how parents maintain their hopes of one day finding their children—some of whom were taken by a stranger, a family member, or human traffickers. And two survivors tell what it is like to be held captive.

Moms of the Missing explores the principal types of abductions, and—not of least importance—who’s most likely to become a victim of the epidemic of missing children.

About the Author:

Steffen Hou (born 1975) is a Danish author and filmmaker. As a true crime author he
has written about topics such as innocent Americans on death row, human trafficking,
and the white supremacy movement. Moms of the Missing: Living the Nightmare is his
third book.

Contact the author: steffen.hou@houmedia.dk

Website: steffenhou.com

Facebook: facebook.com/steffen.hou

Twitter: @steffenhou

My Thoughts:

As clearly stated in the synopsis, this book deals with facts and investigates ten abduction cases. Through each case we are introduced to the kinds of abductions that exist and how they can happen. This is presented to us through interviews with family members who have had to deal with the loss of a child.

Each experience shared is harrowing and scary, difficult for most of to understand, but necessary for us to be aware of. It is sometimes difficult to digest the kinds of cruelty out there in the world, but through this book, Steffen Hou and the affected people would like to bring about an awareness. Awareness is a must to be able to take preventive actions.

The book is very well structure as explained by the author in the prologue. The reader is introduced to the type of abduction, followed by a description and the authorities or body(ies) to be alerted. This is then followed by a detailed account of an experience. What happened on the day of the abduction? The nature of the child in general and their relationship with their family. The heartbreak and trauma the family faces when the child is missing. The support or non-support of the authorities. A step forward and a few backwards everyday towards trying to find an answer. And then a conclusion, good or bad, but with a strong message.

I would like to share that I respect those who have come forward to support this book and share their stories. It is definitely not easy to have your life taken apart and then to talk about it. The main message of the book is to keep up Hope and to contact the right people if a crime has already been committed and a child is missing. It is also about the prevention of such crimes and the steps we can take to educate ourselves, our peers and our children.

Though this was a difficult book to read, my heart goes out to all the victims and their families. I strongly recommend this book to everyone as it brings about an awareness on a very important topic that could help any one of us in the world today.

We are all in this together and we should learn to support one another. Also, please be aware and sensitive towards other people!

Thank you Steffen for bringing your book to my notice!

Book Review: P.S. from Paris by Mark Levy

About the Book:

P.S. from Paris (UK edition)

They knew their friendship was going to be complicated, but love—and the City of Lights—just might find a way.

On the big screen, Mia plays a woman in love. But in real life, she’s an actress in need of a break from her real-life philandering husband—the megastar who plays her romantic interest in the movies. So she heads across the English Channel to hide in Paris behind a new haircut, fake eyeglasses, and a waitressing job at her best friend’s restaurant.

Paul is an American author hoping to recapture the fame of his first novel. When his best friend surreptitiously sets him up with Mia through a dating website, Paul and Mia’s relationship status is “complicated.”

Even though everything about Paris seems to be nudging them together, the two lonely ex-pats resist, concocting increasingly far-fetched strategies to stay “just friends.” A feat easier said than done, as fate has other plans in store. Is true love waiting for them in a postscript?

From Marc Levy, the most-read French author alive today, comes a modern-day love story between a famous actress hiding in Paris and a bestselling writer lying to himself.

My Thoughts:

I picked up this book mostly due to the connection to Paris. It is a city that I have come to love and I wanted to see how much of it I could connect with through the book.

The story follows Mia, an actress from UK as she gets away from the film industry, her husband and everything that is a part of her reel life. She needs a break and to re-assess what she wants from life. She ends up in Paris, at the doorstep of her best friend Daisy.

The reader is also introduced to Paul, an architect turned writer, who moves from the US to Paris to get away. He does this just after his first book was published as he doesn’t know how to deal with the fame. We also meet his best friend and the best friend’s wife, who are wonderful additions to the character ensemble.

The author takes us on a pleasant journey through the streets of Paris, from Montmartre, the artists square to the view from the top of the Opera. The locations are well described that for people who have been to Paris, it is a trip down memory lane, and for those who have not, it will spark the flame of discovery and the urge to visit this beautiful city.

The book deals with some important issues like self discovery and growth, trust and beyond all that love. Mia learns to open herself up to new experiences and possibilities. She takes a decision regarding her marriage and spends time working as a waitress at her friend’s restaurant. She happens to meet Paul by accident, through a date setup via a dating site. On Paul’s side, this is done by his friends as they think that he is not focusing on himself and his life. What turns starts off as a surprise and a joke, blossoms into a strong friendship between two people who want to experience more in their lives.

As we follow the two main characters on their journey of discovery, we travel a little with them as they deal with the consequences of their respective livelihoods. We also see love blossom as well as the uncertainty that follows it. The bonds between characters and the trust they have in their friends is something to learn from. The story is very well-written, it is fun, intriguing and is quite a pleasant read. I absolutely adored this book and recommend this to everyone.

Book Review : The Day I Lost You by Alex Sinclair

About the Book: