Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

12483465From Goodreads: Once upon a time there was a US President who thought he was wise and could stomp out terrorism. Only the ‘terrorists’ did not quite agree with him. Soon paranoia ran rampant among every nation on this earth until all started annihilating one another.

Out of the ashes, mythology tells us the phoenix is supposed to rise. However, it was not the phoenix that arose, it was a new power amongst the people who survived. It was a Rising Power!


I’m sorry to say that this novel just isn’t for me.  The premise is intriguing, especially with it’s look at what would happen to the world should the very real threat of terrorism and WWIII arise alongside the use of nuclear weapons, but the execution of this story was very difficult for me to follow as a reader.  It begins with very long, dense description of the world in its current state, after extreme war, but the writing is extremely formal and I found it read more like an essay than an actual story, which was a bit jarring.  However, the next two chapters were much more reader friendly, focusing on the lives of Amanda and Sarah Richardson, two young women living a simplistic life with their family in what’s left of devastated America.  It’s a much easier story to follow, and it piqued my interest, but all too soon, I was whisked away to another long, dense chapter filled with pages upon pages of description of the 99th Division Convoy, breaking down every single wagon and troop, with its trailers and container units, which, for someone like me, isn’t appealing at all.  The novel follows this format pretty much throughout the rest of its pages, jumping from story to story, character to character, and interspersing rather long descriptions of inanimate objects and such throughout.  This style made it a very difficult read for me because I wasn’t able to connect with any characters since there was so many and I felt not enough time was given to any one scene or chapter.  Likewise, I found the dialogue shifted quite often between formal, informal, and even archaic wording, following no one specific pattern, which further made it difficult for me to connect with characters as many of the interactions seemed unreal and forced.

Overall, the constant jump from new character to new descriptor really made this novel difficult for me to read, especially as there are so many different mini plots and characters to keep track of, such as Field Marshal Drey, Amanda and Sarah Richardson, their father, Mike Howard, King Jeffrey, Henry, General Humpries, Samuel O’Flynn, and the list goes on and on.  The novel itself is also extremely long and I personally think it wouldn’t hurt to be pared down a bit with a professional edit, removing some of the vast descriptions and stabilizing the dialogue to make it flow, focusing on less characters and moving the plot along.  One star.

1 starI received this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Fro18043874m Goodreads: Based on the life of Alessandro di Cagliostro, the Child of Egypt follows a young boy called Acharat on a life long journey of self discovery as he takes on the guises of Joseph Balsamo and Cagliostro and sparks a bloody revolution that will tear down the Bourbon monarchy in France before setting his sights on the heart of the Christian world, the Pope in Rome.


This novel had a great premise and I really enjoyed the beginning portion that chronicles Acharat’s mother’s woes prior to his conception.  It was highly intriguing and I loved this in-depth look into his mother’s life as a concubine, her whirlwind affair with a Frenchman, her betrayal, and ultimately her death, all of which leads up to Acharat’s birth.  Stolen out of his world-be assassin’s grasp, Archarat survives, and the novel then jumps ahead to his teen years where he learns the truth about the man who saved him, the man to whom his life is indebted.  Learning about the magic his benefactor wields, and learning it himself, the novel then jumps again to his time in France and Rome, ultimately, showing his extreme changes and what the power he wields has done to him.

Overall, this was a great concept, but it ended up being much too long for me.  Like I said, I really enjoyed the beginning, and I liked the middle, but once Acharat/Joseph marries and begins plotting the downfall of the monarchy, condemning innocents and using his wife for ill, well, I lost all respect for the man and the novel began to drag.  The novel takes place over a span of many decades, and to the author’s credit, reading the text feels like it takes place over a span of decades—there is no sugarcoating or quickness about it at all, but I think I needed a much faster pace to keep my attention.  I don’t necessarily enjoy histories all that much unless there is something intriguing happening all the time, and there was just a little too much downtime for me once Archarat/Joseph comes of age to release his evil.

He becomes almost demonic, in a sense, which made reading the novel difficult for me as I lost my respect for him.  Yes, he had a hard life and yes, he was given the gift of magic through mysticism, but I believe he used it in the wrong way.  Watching all the sacrifices that were made for him in order for Archarat/Joseph to live, only to note that he turned out to be evil in the end, left me feeling a bit sour towards him, and, in truth, I felt no sympathy when his actions caught up to him.  He is truly evil, and if I don’t like my characters, I tend to have a hard time finishing a novel, and that was the case with this one, length aside.  I think lovers of histories, historical fiction, and attention to detail will really enjoy this novel, though—after all, it is very well written and, characterization aside, the plot is intriguing.  I, however, found myself liking it less and less as it progressed based on the actions of the main character, which, in truth, is no fault of the authors, but rather a personal preference.  Two and a half stars.

2 stars

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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