Book Review: The Sultan of Monte Cristo

The Sultan of Monte Cristo
The Sultan of Monte Cristo

Blurb:

This vivid novel offers much entertainment and excitement throughout its telling of various adventures.  Although the main character’s motives are presented, only small portions of the story involve his attempted redemption, leaving room for resolution in a subsequent sequel.  Creating a more obvious through line that better connects all of the characters and their actions will improve the overall narrative while the multitude of subplots offer the creative material necessary to build a compelling series.

Having no former knowledge of The Count of Monte Cristo hinders the reader’s understanding of the protagonist’s current situation, but additional sequels provide a format that allows room for necessary background information to be provided.  Dantes’ character is undoubtedly flawed, a huge asset in terms of presenting a relatable protagonist.  Offering further insight into his past will allow audiences to better understand his former behaviors and appreciate the lengths to which he will go to try to remedy his wrongdoings.

Raymee is introduced rather abruptly, but is a strong and gripping character nonetheless.  One is instantly impressed by her intelligence and confidence and appreciates the desperation of her situation.  Raymee’s motives are a bit muddled, as her desire seems to change from one of avoiding her betrothal in favor of true love to that of acceptance of her fate in exchange for power.  The disclosure of Dantes’ influence on her behavior is a brilliant addition, as it strongly connects the two characters and allows for vivid representation of the monstrosity of revenge.  The castrations are unexpected and graphic, characteristics highly indicative of current popular television programs.  Parallels between Raymee and Daenerys Targaryen from the program Game of Thrones can certainly be drawn, as each beautiful female develops from youth to a place of authority, cunningly demonstrating her power to influence her subjects.  Raymee’s continued rise, especially following the implied birth of the Arabian prince, and potential fall is certainly deserving of further exploration, particularly if she continues to gain inspiration from Dantes’ past.

Review:

I have not read the original version, The Count of Monte Cristo. However, this short read turned out to be a pleasurable read for Dantes and Mercedes, who are lovers. I like how the story is written in a simple and easy-to-read read manner. Dantes later learns about his anscesty, which is traced all the way back to Mary Magdalene. I think the continuation of the story from one chapter to another is a little abrupt and leaves the readers feel that the story is hanging. As a reader, it takes a while to follow the shift in the settings of the story.

I like the fact that Mercedes is being protrayed as an independent woman who goes on to venture into a business although she agreed to become Dantes’ second wife. She also asked Dantes to marry her, and I see this as a form of a strength of woman.

Overall, I would give this book a 3-star for the characterization of Mercedes and Dantes.

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Stories of Women of Substance

Non-Fiction Book Reviews

I read a lot of non-fiction books: memoirs, biographies and autobiographies from my school days, and the women featured in these books and their stories have truly inspired my life to date and turned me into a fan of non-fiction books, especially stories from the Middle East.

I will try to post the video reviews for the books I have read in the past once I have cleared the books in my TBR list. Or probably do them concurrently. For those of you who are new to my blog, you can check out my video reviews or #booktube here on YouTube.

M book video reviews

Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera (Memoir)

Shame

Jasvinder Sanghera, CBE, is a campaigner who fights against forced marriages and honour-based crimes in the UK. Shame is her memoir that walks us through her life as a victim of forced marriage at the age of 14. Jasvinder was born into a Sikh family living in the UK. Her parents emigrated to the UK from India before she was born, and the family still has a very close connection with their roots in India.

Jasvinder ran away from home to escape her marriage and had since been outcasted by her family. Jasvinder’s pain of being rejected by her own mother and family because of her choice to not get married was saddening and it tells the reader the importance of being accepted and loved by family members in order to have a fulfilling life as one grows up.

Jasvinder had a failed a marriage and after that found the love of her life. She went on to study at a university after having kids and founded Karma Nirvana to speak for the victims of forced marriages, both men and women, in the UK. A highly recommended book for anyone looking turn adversity into strength.

Mayada, Daughter of Iraq: One Woman’s Survival Under Saddam Hussein by Jean Sasson (Biography)

Mayada

One of the most disturbing books I have ever read. The details of how women suffer behind the bar during the time Saddam Hussein was in power, as described in this book, were too harrowing and sickening. I had to just pause a few times while reading as I was baffled with the fact that women can be treated so lowly just because they were put behind the bar.

Mayada is the granddaughter of one of the most prominent leaders of Iraq, and she was arrested for a crime she did not commit, which is printing leaflets against Saddam at her shop. The rest of the story is about what happened to her and the rest of the ‘Shadow Women’ in the jail. She got out the jail quickly and was not tortured like the rest of her inmates.

While the incident is based on true events, I did not find any potential conflict of interest over the story of this book, yet. It is highly recommended to anyone who loves being teleported to a different world, especially Iraq and the Middle East.

Burned Alive: A Survivor of an “Honor Killing” Speaks Out by Souad (Biography)

Burned Alive

Burned Alive is a story of a woman surviving honour killing after being tried to be murdered by her family members for getting pregnant with her man she loved. This story will open your eyes to how women were tortured in past by denying the rights to express their thoughts freely. This event took place in the seventies, during the time when women’s rights movement had not gained prevalence in many parts of the world.

Souad lived in a society that considered a seventeen-year-old girl to be an old maid, and she lost hope in getting married to a man of her family’s choice because her elder sisters were still not married, and she was left with no choice but to wait for her sisters’ turn to come because older girls were married off first. She fell in love with a man and got pregnant with him. The pregnancy was kept a secret but soon the family got to know about it and attempted to murder her and her child.

Souad recalled the story after some twenty years this incident happened to her from a place somewhere in Europe, where she lived after escaping her home country. Although Souad later got married, found an employment opportunity and learned a second language, she preferred to keep her whereabouts a secret due to the fear of her family tracing her back and killing her.

Highly recommended for those who like to read about the lives of women in the seventies in of the Middle Eastern countries.

Book Review: Medellin: Acapulco Cold (Rick Fontain Book 3) by Bill Fortin

Medellin Acapulco Cold (A Cold War Adventure with Rick Fontain Book 3)
Medellin: Acapulco Cold (Rick Fontain Book 3) by Bill Fortin

Blurb:

In March 1987, the CIA’s Operation Acapulco Cold took on the Medellín cartel. The journey would be dangerous. The alternative for not recovering the nuke would be too horrible to imagine. 
A theft occurs as a result of President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev’s treaty agreement in January 1986. Russian SS-20 medium-range missiles were removed from Eastern Europe and their nuclear MIRV packages removed. A shadow group inside the failing Russian government steals three of the nose-cone assembles. 
A Russian named Geonov is charged with selling one of these devices to the Medellin cartel. The asking price was $40 million dollars in cash. Pablo Escobar did not even blink when he was offered one. Operation Acapulco Cold is the detailed action taken by the CIA to address this life-altering situation.

This giveaway is for 3 winners choice of one print or ebook copy of the book. Print is open to the U.S. only and ebook is available worldwide. This giveaway ends August 30, 2019, midnight pacific time. Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e23ee71d1263/

Medellin: Acapulco Cold (Rick Fontain Book 3) by Bill Fortin

Review:

A face-paced book that grips your attention from the very beginning. If you enjoy reading historical books, this book would surely entertain you. Fortin’s work clearly shows that an extensive research had been made to write this book, which revolves around the Cold War.

It’s hard to believe that this is a work of fiction, especially when the story features Ronald Reagan and a detailed setting of the 80’s. Truly an enjoyable read and it didn’t take a long time to finish the book, considering that the plot really hooked me into the story.

A 4.5 star !

Book Review: American Corporate by Jeb Stewart Harrison

American Corporate

Blurb:

A playful, big-hearted tragicomedy in the Russo/Irving mold, American Corporate chronicles the misadventures of middle-aged Jack Sullivan and his family as they bounce across the country in search of gainful employment, domestic tranquility, and a few people they can trust. It is a story that working parents past, present and future will see as part of their own: the triumphs, the tragedies, the innocent mistakes and the not-so-innocent mistakes, and above all the forgiveness that keeps families together to face another challenge.

Review:

American Corporate by Jeb Stewart Harrison is a reminder to us on how corporate world can be toxic and how depending on corporate to make a living would disappoint us one way or another.

Jack Sullivan, the main character in this story, goes through a mid-life crisis as he struggles to provide the necessities for his family. His wife is unhappy with him and cheats him behind his back.

His family is dependent on his dad’s income but that too came to an end soon as his dad runs into financial issues.

The rest of the story brings to an everyday American’s life where most of us struggle to make ends meet. This story is a very good read, considering that my book entitled ‘The Sin of a Fresh Graduate’ will be launched in two week’s time and therefore, I could relate to this book a lot.

A five star!

Buy link: https://www.amazon.com/American-Corporate-Mr-Stewart-Harrison/dp/1986937860

Book Review: Mrs. Rossi’s Dream by Khanh Ha

Mrs. Rossi’s Dream by Khanh Ha

Blurb:

“I live in a coastal town in the deep south of the Mekong Delta. During the war this was IV Corps, which saw many savage fights. Although the battles might have long been forgotten, some places cannot forget.” Thus begins the harrowing yet poignant story of a North Vietnamese communist defector who spends ten years in a far-flung reform prison after the war, and now, in 1987, a free man again, finds work as caretaker at a roadside inn in the U Minh region. One day new guests arrive at the inn: an elderly American woman and her daughter, an eighteen-year-old Vietnamese girl adopted at the age of five from an orphanage in the Mekong Delta before the war ended. Catherine Rossi has come to this region to find the remains of her son, a lieutenant who went missing-in-action during the war. Mrs. Rossi’s Dream tells the stories of two men in time parallel: Giang, the thirty-nine-year-old war veteran; Nicola Rossi, a deceased lieutenant in the United States Army, the voice of a spirit. From the haunting ugliness of the Vietnam War, the stories of these two men shout, cry, and whisper to us the voices of love and loneliness, barbarity and longing, lived and felt by a multitude of people from all walks of life: the tender adolescent vulnerability of a girl toward a man who, as a drifter and a war-hardened man, draws beautifully in his spare time; the test of love and faith endured by a mother whose dogged patience even baffles the local hired hand who thinks the poor old lady must have gone out of her mind, and whose determination drives her into the spooky forest, rain or shine, until one day she claims she has sensed an otherworldly presence in there with her. In the end she wishes to see, just once, a river the local Vietnamese call “The River of White Water Lilies,” the very river her son saw, now that all her hopes to find his remains die out. Just then something happens. She finds out where he has lain buried for twenty years and how he was killed.

Please read the author interview with Khanh Ha here

Review:

If you love books that teleport you to a different culture and time, Mrs. Rossi’s Dream will not disappoint you!

This story is about Mrs. Rossi, who had lost her son in the Vietnam War. She arrives at Vietnam and comes in contact with Giang, who was a communist defector in the Vietnam war. She tells him the purpose of her visit to Vietnam; which is to find the remains of her son.

The story is told from the voices of Giang and Mrs. Rossi’s late son. The author had done an excellent job in weaving the gripping details of the Vietnam War, and the harrowing experiences the warriors had gone through. 

It felt like as if the readers are invited in to the world of the Vietnam War and at many times, the book would make you feel so bad for those affected by war. It somehow reminded me of my visit to the Memorial Park at Cambodia, which was very disturbing.

A book I cannot put down and I loved how the author invites us to the lives of the two main characters of the book, coupled with the love of a mother who relentlessly searches for the remains of her dead son.

A five star for this book.

https://www.amazon.com/Mrs-Rossis-Dream-Khanh-Ha/dp/1579625681

Book Review: The Prophetic Mayan Queen: K’inuuw Mat of Palenque (The Mists of Palenque Book 4)

Book Review: The Prophetic Mayan Queen: K'inuuw Mat of Palenque (The Mists of Palenque Book 4)
The Prophetic Mayan Queen: K’inuuw Mat of Palenque (The Mists of Palenque Book 4)

The Review:

If you’re into the ancient histories, especially on the Mayan prophecy, you will find this book interesting. The author of this book, Dr Martin, is
she is a non-professional ancient Mayan civilization and cultural researcher . This makes the read very interesting as the Mayan cultural background in this book feels very real and the author literally brings you into the world of the Mayan. I think if an author with little to no knowledge on ancient histories were to write a similar story, I don’t think the story would have felt this real and inviting.

The main character in this story is K’inuuw Mat and she is married. As the story develops, she finds out shocking truth about with whom she would have her dynastic heir with. It is her husband’s brother. I love the romance between Mat and her brother-in-law. There will be family conflicts and there is a mounting pressure on Mat to answer the Goddess’ mandate to preserve Mayan culture.

As the story develops, what I like the most is Francesca who enters the Mayan village to discover her grandmother’s secrets. It’s a book that brings you to a different dimension. The names of the characters in the book can be a little difficult to pronounce and they don’t really stick on my mind. But, other than that, I enjoyed reading the book.

A 4 star for this book!

Book Review: Tenacity by Ron Coury

Tenacity by Ron Coury
Tenacity by Ron Coury

‘Tenacity’! Some people are just not born to settle down. Some people are never satisfied, always seeking more, pushing farther and climbing higher. ‘Tenacity’ by Ron Coury is about one of those people. ‘Tenacity’ is a memoir about Coury’s life and all of the trials and triumphs that he has faced in his time.

Born in Brooklyn to second generation immigrant parents, Coury knew from a young age that he wanted to be a business man. His first job was shining shoes at the subway station for a dime. From those meager beginnings, Coury quickly realized that he enjoyed making money and doing it through hard work. The story of ‘Tenacity’ is in Ron Coury’s hard work, clever machinations, determination and, of course, tenacity in the face of adversity.

I greatly enjoyed this book and Coury’s perspective on life in general. Apart from funny anecdotes about his no-nonsense parents and occasionally less-than-reputable friends, ‘Tenacity’ was filled with a lot of genuinely good life advice. This book is surprisingly aspirational and almost functioned like a self-help book for me in some ways. I also learned quite a bit about the world of casino-ownership which is something that I never had any reason to think about before but I ended up finding very interesting.

Coury tells the entire story of his life in a stylistic, ‘Wonder Years’ sort of way that really makes you feel as though you are being taken along on the journey with him and that he remembers everything perfectly. I loved this style of writing that is based on recollection and has a dash of humor and embarrassment. Coury owned something like 35 business in the Las Vegas area at one point and reading about a man who starts out with nothing building an empire is like reading about the American dream.  I highly recommend it and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Purchase Ron’s book at https://www.amazon.com/Tenacity-Businessman-Survives-Brooklyn-Corruption-ebook/dp/B07KDLDB66/ref