Sigma Force Series Book 1: Sandstorm – Explosive!

How else can you best commence an action series than starting it off with a kickass pilot installment?

Sandstorm is everything I wished for in an action-adventure story! Great characters, full-on action, fast-paced storytelling, and awesome settings! Nothing surprising really, considering my first experience with Deep Fathom. But I should say that Sandstorm brought the whole science-religion-mystique game to a new level.

Quick peek: 

A strange and deadly explosion at the British Museum that piqued the attention of Lady Kara Kensington, Safia Al-Maaz and SIGMA force. Questions eventually lead to a trip to the Arabian Peninsula in search of answers – of a lost city and a lost race birthed from an ancient queen of the Bible. 

!!!SPOILER ALERT!!!

Points of interest:

The myth of Thenisnasesare – otherwise known in the story as the ‘Boogeyman of the Dessert.’ It is said to bring sure death to trespassers of the area they guard – the same place incidentally (or intentionally) threaded by Kara’s father during their hunting trip on her 16th birthday. The same day when he vanished – a precursor to Kara’s untiring search for the real cause of her father’s demise.

Cassandra Sanchez–  Who proved to be a formidable foe among all others. She started as Painter Crowe’s partner. Skilled in combat, smart, deceptive and a total femme fatale in action.

  • She marked the first significant act of betrayal in SIGMA, much to Painter’s dismay both professionally and personally as it was hinted that their relationship could’ve lead to romance.
  • She foreshadowed the existence of a secret terrorist organization with global influence – the very same people she serves. 

Too bad. I actually thought they’d make a power couple. And I hoped for a change of heart in the end. But well…

Dr. Safia Al-Maaz’s ancestry – Born from a mother who turned out to be a descendant of the ancient Ubar Queen (a.k.a Queen Sheba of the Bible) – sharing the same genetic material and bearing a close resemblance to the women of their blood.

Interestingly, these women can conceive at will – a process scientifically termed as parthenogenesis – making it possible to preserve their clean and pure bloodline.

Those who have the blessing of Ubar have the ability to project their will upon their minds.

Such as….vanishing at will. A real perk, don’t you think?

Side characters worth mentioning…

Omaha Dunna skilled archaeologist who is also Safia’s ex-boyfriend. An adventure-seeking man who’s spent most years of his life on the field than being grounded home. 

Coral NovakPainter’s new partner who replaced Cassandra after the upfront betrayal. She’s an ex-military who also holds a doctorate degree in Physics. She’s sharp, skilled in combat and knows enough of science to figure out some of the mysteries surrounding Ubar. 

Kara Kensington Safia’s best friend who is also a multi-billion dollar business tycoon. She’s a major sponsor to the British Museum and collects special artifacts uncovered from the Arabian Peninsula. 


This is an action-packed story and a page-turner that keeps you glued on your seat from start to finish. Difficult to put down once you’ve started. And Painter Crowe……I’m an instant fan.

 

 

 

Overview on the Aerial Ethereal Series by Krista & Becca Ritchie

It enthralls, captivates and strikes you like no other. That’s what a circus is. And so much more.

Aerial Ethereal introduces us to a stunning cast of gymnasts and aerialists tasked and paid to entertain in front of a live audience. But the story focuses more on the personal struggles of central characters, their dreams, family, psychology and mental issues that are too relatable to ignore.

Amour Amour tells the story Thora James and Nikolai Kotova. Thora, a girl who dreams of being a part of the fantabulous Aerial Ethereal and Nikolai who is a star of the company – naturally gifted with the ability to hold the audience’s attention. Two individuals sharing the same passion in the circus. Two individuals with very different skills set.

Theirs is a love that started as a simple attraction, turned passionate and deep in time.

Infini is the coffee to Amour Amour’s cream. It’s angsty, dramatic and tackles some real psychological and mental issues that many of us today may easily relate to. It focuses on Baylee Wright and Luka Kotova’s story. Both already active members of Aerial Ethereal but performing on different shows. Both aching to strike a conversation, but are legally-bound not to.

Theirs is proof that first love never dies – it stays. And the more it’s drawn apart, the stronger the feeling stays.


I’ve finished reading both books and I can’t help it! I crave for more. There is complexity in its beauty and I hundred percent love to read more (if any.)

As to my thoughts on both, we’ll have to save that for another post!

Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark T. Sullivan – better fiction than true story

A novel based on a true story and set during the war against the Nazis, this book pretty much presented a solid train of events that spanned years while staying focused on the story of its hero – Pino Lella.

While inspired by true events, it can be tricky to identify along the way which of it is true and which is pure fiction. And if you have preset expectations on reading something autobiographical, this may not appear good.

Overall, though, I like the story. But I viewed it mainly as a fictional work based on the Nazi war rather than a recount of experience by someone who lived through the tragedy of that era. I suspect it has something to do with Mr. Sullivan’s writing style.

Still, the story is a fine read and shows a decent amount of drama, struggle, politics, and religion fit for its setting.

It’s not something I’d recommend but if you want a glimpse of what that war felt like without boring yourself out with dates and names, I say you give this a try. 

More details from Mark Sullivan books’ official website.

Stay current with Mark Sullivan on Twitter: @MarkSullivanBks

 

 

 

Book Review: The Geography of You and Me (Jennifer E. Smith)

Theirs was a relationship built on neutral ground and impartial geography: park benches and stone fountains and picnic blankets.  (Ch. 3)

A light-hearted read with an easy-to-follow narrative. Not much tension really. It’s about two teens falling in love during the most casual, but unconventional first encounter – *spoiler alert*a city-wide blackout.

But the story’s far more than just romance. It’s a story of family, life, and quest of finding oneself. It’s also a gentle reminder of how people come and go; Of how fleeting relationships can be and how simply they vanish when not nurtured.

Finding relationships don’t always come with options. But nurturing one is a personal choice.

They were like a couple of asteroids that had collided, she and Owen, briefly sparking before ricocheting off again, a little chipped, maybe even a little scarred, but with miles and miles still to go. (Ch. 10)

This is a linear read with a quite predictable outcome. Simple but not boring. But definitely not for those who want passionate romance. This isn’t it.

Thoughts on The Book of Lies by Brad Meltzer

Heart-pounding…the novel’s overall theme of family resonates, and the relentless pace and twists of the narrative sizzle on the page.Library Journal

I have a fair deal of reading favorites when it comes to the mystery/suspense genre. And while I’m far from being an expert, I can easily add or dismiss a book based on how it appeals to me on the first 3 chapters.

The Book of Lies had me in the first chapter.

It’s curious, fast, and dramatic, and when combined in the opening act, how can you resist?

One element that is worth mentioning and something which sets it apart from many  suspense stories is the ‘family angle.’ Whereas a lot of work belonging to the same genre introduces villains and protagonists as having some direct connections with huge conspiracies, The Book of Lies builds up in a story of a boy’s personal family loss and how it affected his actions which eventually led him on the quest to find one of the world’s greatest mysteries while at the same time struggling to keep himself (and his loved ones) alive.

The ‘family theme’ has remained intact throughout the narrative. It never got lost.

The Book of Lies quote

We also see a very unique mystery twist between pop culture and the Bible. With Superman’s history being brought at the center stage and how it relates to the world’s very first murder – that of the Bible’s Cain and Abel. Who would’ve thought, right?

Only Meltzer.

But it’s quite anticlimactic at the end and a part of me (the adrenaline-induced me) wished to find something a bit more shocking. I mean, all these times people died and killed for that single mystery behind ‘The Book of Lies!’  It must be worth those lives!

But perhaps it is. After all, most of the answers to complex riddles are found in plain sight. We just don’t see it. This story is one of those. Beautifully delivered.

It’s an intriguing treat, with a unique ingredient to fans of Bible mystery fiction. Plus, the family drama is worth the read!

Rating:

                    ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ / 5                   

Mood:

😎