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Bollywood Invasion

Bollywood Invasion by Ricardo Alexanders

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Amarna and the Biblical Exodus by Dirk Schroeder

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Ward

Ward (The Ward Triumvirate Book 1) by Kyle Waller

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Pretense

Pretense – Imbroglio Trilogy (Volume 1) by John Di Frances

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The Steel Queen (The Silk & Steel Saga Book 1) by Karen Azinger

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Heir of Ra (Blood of Ra Book One) by M. Sasinowski

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Heir of RaAt the Giza Plateau during the year of 1913 in Egypt, Lord George Renley explored under The Great Sphinx enters a dark chamber with an unusual carving on a door. The legendary Hall of Records is believed to be located at this location. Is it legend or fact? Soon after, Hazim, his Arab guide, started bleeding from his nose. Lord Renley became dizzy and collapsed. The only reminder of the event was a notebook that a young Arab boy stole from the dying hands of Hazim.

Alyssa is not your typical 17-year-old girl. She spends her time working with her father, Kade, who is an archaeologist. Her education is working as one of his assistants. Currently, she is left in charge of a dig in Peru while her father is on a dream assignment in Egypt, exploring a room under The Great Sphinx and is only allowed this privilege for 24-hours. Leaving Alyssa in charge in Peru, is a great responsibility for someone so young. She feels honored, but also deprived. Why can’t she be on this once-in-a lifetime dig with her father?

Her father, Kade follows the steps of Lord George Renley in searching for The Hall of Records. Just like his predecessor, he also became ill. Nothing seems to help him, every day leads him one step closer to death. No one seems to be able to medically help him. Will he die?

Bollywood Invasion by Ricardo Alexanders

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

Bollywood InvasionAt once engaging and cleverly creative, Ricardo Alexanders’ Bollywood Invasion enrapts readers with a fun and fantastical coming of age story, set in a well posed merging of reality and fiction which surpasses the reaches of time and continents.

Instantly the story draws you in, as initially, we meet John Palmieri living in modern times in Brooklyn; he’s a nerd and Beatles lover in high school and unsatisfied with his lower middle class existence. Things start with him in the throes of a dream, once again being bested by his arch-enemy Frank Castellano. He loathes Frank, who seems to have so much more than John; smarter mouth, bigger house, more friends, better stuff, including, the attention of the girl he secretly loves -Samantha.

The real adventure begins when fate crashes into his life, via an accident, knocking John unconscious. When John awakes, he finds himself in a parallel existence, where he has been transported back in time to late 1950’s, India. He wakes up as eighteen year old Raj Scindia, a prince in the Indian royal family. Naturally, he’s initially confused by his sudden transportation to a completely foreign life and culture with many humorous moments ensuing as he tries to wrap his head around what has happened to him.

Amarna and the Biblical Exodus by Dirk Schroeder

Amazing discoveries of over 35 major links between the enigmatic and beautiful ‘Amarna Period’ of Pharaoh Akhenaten and the Biblical Exodus, proving beyond any reasonable doubt that the Exodus actually happened, and who the relevant Pharaohs were, together with astounding photos and hundreds of translated ancient texts as well as mummy analyses which exactly match the Biblical account in detail and explain the likely motivations and reasons for most of the strange but vitally significant phenomena and features. Other writers have puzzled over Akhenaten’s missing army and gold as well as his monotheism, together with his father’s (Amenhotep III) loss of a firstborn heir… but these things are just the starting point for solid answers in this astounding collection of discoveries. The style of the book is progressive, for the benefit of those less familiar with the topic, whilst providing more scholarly detail as the book progresses.

Click here for an overview of Amarna

Ward (The Ward Triumvirate Book 1) by Kyle Waller

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

WardFar from just another dystopia, Kyle Waller’s Ward creates an immersive universe of inviting darkness. The action packed pages will easily grip your attention.

To begin with, this story has no heroes, in the classical sense, only villains. After the main character is faced with the following proposal: Up the river? Or down in the dirt? He ends up in the prison-city of what once was Sacramento California. The Ward is a place of no redemption, only survival. On one hand, the condemned must face nature, as ash keeps snowing over the land. But on the other hand, far more dangerous are the people who inhabit these parts. As the inhabitants are divided into several groups competing for some very limited resources, the power-plays that emerge are the main threat. Well, Kyle Waller throws his main character in the midst of this ongoing war, thus allowing the reader to jump straight into the action.

However, beyond all the action and thrill of Ward, there is a more serious issue underlining the entire narrative, mental illness. While at certain points its presence becomes blatantly obvious, at other times, it is much more subtle. It is this subtleness that I found more impressive. In these cases, it resembles an invisible presence, something that you can’t see, but can only feel. And this sensation of uneasiness is masterfully woven into the pages of the novel. Setting aside the story line, the book can serve as an incentive to prompt more dialogue on this often ostracized subject, which in reality as well, lurks mostly in the shadows.

Pretense – Imbroglio Trilogy (Volume 1) by John Di Frances

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

PretensePretense by John Di Frances is a gripping thriller set on the backdrop of our current political turmoil. This first book of the Imbroglio Trilogy prepares the stage for the reader by offering generous descriptions on multiple levels from a rather personal presentation of the main characters to a peek into international relations and affairs. However, this does not imply the least bit that the novel is dominated by descriptions, since in reality, it is quite action-packed. So, the reader is offered a front row seat by the author to a series of assassinations and also an international manhunt.

The story is presented on two main fronts; on one side we have a group of assassins, while on the other, an international team of special investigators. In this sense, the reader is truly privileged, since he can glimpse into both sides. It all starts in Bratislava with an apparently lazy day of a glamorous American couple. However, a drastic turn of events soon takes place. The Slovakian Prime Minister dies in a car explosion and he is only the first victim. Shortly after, the Prime Minister of Poland is assassinated while watching a game in a crowded football stadium. While the modus operandi differs greatly, the setting and also the method to murder are all very different. Still there seems to be a common thread connecting these incidents.

A specialized task force is soon put together consisting of members from different countries and covering a great variety of expertise. Also, since the assassins seem to be traveling a lot, they are forced to cooperate with a number of other national security organizations or police departments. In fact, as it will turn out, the case expands well beyond European borders. While the main investigation team proves itself efficient in finding clues that lead back to those they hunt, the catch itself proves to be quite a challenge, as the assassins continue to slip through their fingers.

The Steel Queen (The Silk & Steel Saga Book 1) by Karen Azinger

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

The Steel Queen

NOTE: The Steel Queen will be on sale on Amazon for 99 cents (regularly $4.99) from July 24 to July 30.

Endowed with the markings of an unforgettable debut read, Karen Azinger’s The Steel Queen, draws readers into Erdhe, a fantasy imbued realm ripe with intrigue, knights, bravery, swords, sorcery and pure evil. As the premier novel in her Silk and Steel Saga, this novel serves well as an introduction to the medieval type lands of the kingdoms of Erdhe, along with its various engaging inhabitants.

Author Azinger provides a filling fantasy read built with a satisfying integration of action, intrigue and fantasy elements. The story engages instantly immersing the reader in a complexly woven storyline, which houses an abundance of varied and unique characters. The female characters bear particular appeal because of their determination and cunning in a world where their place is limited by male dominance.

Foremost, the story, particularly follows the paths of several focal characters; Katherine/Kath, a young princess whose deepest desire is to lead and wield a sword. Blaine, son of a pig farmer who earns a seemingly impossible knighthood. Steffan, a dark character who seeks power at any cost and Liandra, queen of Lanverness who looks to preserve her wealthy kingdom. Meanwhile, events unfold, with the story told from their multiple perspectives with the narrative changing viewpoints frequently, as each moves toward their destiny. As well, furthering the character woven storyline, are brief appearances of additional engaging characters. Although, initially, it seems the characters are on separate paths, with their own goals to achieve, destiny dictates otherwise as a malevolent force at work threatens all of Erdhe.

The Victim’s Club (Kindle Single) by Jeffery Deaver

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The Victim's ClubA different approach in some ways. Deaver has written this book as a Novella and it is very interesting though short.

Jon Avery is a detective working in Monroe County Sheriff’s office and is given a case to help out on as the primary detective is away for a few days. Avery begins his work when the state calls with some info the other detective had requested on one of her cases. It turns out that a burner phone was used to photograph a professor from the local college. The pictures showed the lady lying on a bench and pretty much undressed but also appeared to be asleep.

Avery knew of the college and that it was well known for its sports programs as well as quite a bit of partying. In discussing the event the other detective had found that Rose Taylor, the professor, had been at a party where she had one glass of wine and had started the second when she really felt wiped out so she had laid down on the bench. When she came to she noticed how her clothes were all messed up but instead of reporting to the police or anyone at the party she headed home.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

Reviewed by Allen Hott

UnbrokenThis is quite a story about an Olympic runner from the U.S. team In the Berlin Olympics of 1936. Although he didn’t win the race (he finished 8th) but he ran the fastest final lap not only in the race but of anyone in distance running in the Olympics. His time of 56 seconds was so astounding that Adolf Hitler made a point to meet and congratulate him at the race’s end.

The runner was Louis Silvie Zamperini, son of Italian parents who moved the family to California where they basically lived in severe poverty in the late 20s and early 30s. Louie led a slightly tough young life as he was basically a wild young man. At an early age he was drinking, smoking, and actually living like a bandit in that he would steal food especially as he was always hungry. He always felt that he could fend for himself in all areas. He was lucky in that his older brother, Pete, who was almost a direct opposite type of boy, took very good care of Louie. There were also two younger sisters in the family who helped to somewhat control Louie.

The 17th Suspect by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The 17th SuspectI have to assume the title The 17th Suspect refers to this book’s place in a series of books by Patterson. Probably the 17th Women’s Murder Club novel since I know he has written a batch of them (usually with help and often with Maxine Patterson). There is nothing in this story about a bunch of murder suspects but there is lots of good reading.

It is two stories (kind of usual for the Murder Club series) in one of which Yuki Castellano, the Assistant District Attorney, is involved with attempting to find a woman guilty of (a) first raping a man while holding him captive and (b) of attempting to find her also guilty of shooting the same man in the leg.

The second story involving the second member of the Murder Club is about San Francisco Police Sergeant Lindsay Boxer as she not only is battling to find who is shooting vagrants and street people but also battling her own physical condition which appears to be deteriorating rapidly.

Both stories are well worth the reader’s attention as they unfold quickly and show how the in-side portion of the criminal justice system works but also shows how the “on the street” portion of the system plays out.

Yuki fought hard to get her case into Criminal Court and worked even harder to figure out what actually went on as two co-workers entwined themselves in not only sexual adventures but then it appears one of them took it even further. The female player supposedly tied up the male participant and raped him (while he unbeknownst to her recorded it all on tape.) He claims she raped him though they had been having sex for some time together willingly on both behalves.

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Everyone Brave is ForgivenDoes everyone view the events of World War II the same way? Imagine living in London during 1939, before the Americans entered the War. Naturally, at first everyone believes it will be a short series of battles with the Brits leading the way. Everyone wants to do their part, with many able-bodied men immediately enlisting. The wealthy, or those from the “better” families”, became officers. A few chose to stay working in the city to maintain the continuity of life. The children were evacuated to the country. Some chose to remain. What was life like in Londen then?

Everyone Brave is Forgiven is a story for those who search for the genuine experiences of the past. The strong voices of each character discloses the true life of the time period. Whether from Mary North being a single and pretty new teacher and finding her place in the world, or Hilda as Mary’s best friend, Tom is her boss and fiancé, Allistar going off to fight, or Zachary as the black and poor. Each voice explains living through a turbulent time of hardship.

Chris Cleave loosely based this novel on his grandparents. This London resident has won the Somerset Maugham Award in 2006, been on the shortlist for the 2006 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize, also on the shortlist for the Costa Award and having his books on the New York Times Bestsellers’ List. He is the author of Incendiary, Little Bee, and Gold.

Rescued: An Andy Carpenter Mystery (An Andy Carpenter Novel) by David Rosenfelt

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

RescuedAndy is called to come help with a truck load of dogs found at a rest stop. The driver of the truck, who was contracted to transport the dogs from Southern states to rescue groups in the Northeast is found dead having been shot. Andy is on board with the Tara Foundation taking on the care of the dogs, but he isn’t necessarily so ready to yield to Laurie’s request. Laurie asks Andy to defend her ex-fiance who is going to be charged with the murder. Dave Kramer had a history with the victim which is bound to come out, and while he admits he shot the victim, he claims it was in self defense. The problem is, there is no sign of the knife Dave claims the victim used to threaten and attack him.

As Andy begins to investigate he finds several things that don’t seem to add up. The Tara Foundation is having trouble locating the groups supposedly in line to accept the dogs. As is often the case, some folks are not quite who they appear to be which leads to some interesting twists to the plot along the way. Rescued, in my opinion, has one of the best legal cases running through it of the series. There is a fairly complicated solution to the murder which requires Andy and is team to look well beyond the dogs and into corporate America for their answers.