REVIEW: Sentience

It has been so long since I’ve written a book review, I had to spend a few minutes clicking around WordPress to find out how to view my previous few posts.

Today’s book relates to Artificial Intelligence. Sci-fi is a rare genre on this blog since it’s not something I enjoy reading about. It’s usually difficult for me to understand, and the thought of science and robots taking over humanity is quite scary. My stance on Artificial Intelligence is more on the negative side, since I can’t help but to fear how it may overtake humans and humanity, and how big corporations may abuse it, but I do see the benefit.

This book that I’m reviewing today, Sentience, presents both the positives and negatives of AI in a way that is easy to understand yet interesting. It shows the many different perspectives and possibilities regarding the future, and presents very strong arguments from both sides.


Sentience
by Courtney P. Hunter

get it here

BOOK SUMMARY

Running from a checkered past, Leo Knox participates in a Turing Test hosted by greedy tech-giant, AlgorithmOS, to score enough money to escape her life of violence and chaos. She enters Eden, a contained, natural preserve where the test is set to take place, with twenty-three others. However, four of the individuals in the experiment are not human, but instead, an advanced form of humanoid AI so indistinguishable that everyone begins to question their nature. 

The twenty-four embark on a predetermined journey within the preserve, rigged with obstacles devised by the experiment controllers to elicit human response and emotion. Quickly, madness ensues and divides form, partnering Leo up with Avery Ford, a marine who wears his demons on his sleeve. Romance falls together as the world around them falls apart, revealing the lengths people will go to protect those they love, to achieve monetary gain, or simply to survive.

The story unfolds on the screens of Nathan Aimes, a scientist at AlgorithmOS responsible for monitoring the surveillance over the experiment. Nathan studies the humans involved, only days removed from the immense personal conflicts that sent them in pursuit of the experiment’s generous payout, as they wrestle with where they stand on the polarizing issue of AI and its applications. All the while, he must watch the AI unknowingly fight to prove their humanity, just to leave the experiment unscathed, and simultaneously reconcile the weaponization or commodification that waits for them should they pass the test.

BOOK REVIEW

4 STARS
*An ARC was given in return for an honest review.
*T/W: hinted rape, blood, substance abuse, vulgar language, violence

“Can you put a price tag on the infinite complexities of the human mind and the human soul?”

Courtney Hunter, Sentience

I don’t usually read Sci-Fi, let alone books relating to Artificial Intelligence but I’m glad I took the chance with this one. A big part of it is definitely the guessing game of who is and who isn’t AI, which was absolutely impossible since even the AI’s backstories were built so well.

Twenty-four people, within them are four AlgorithmOS models and the purpose of the experiment is to test whether they can spot who is and who isn’t human. It’s a lot more characters than I’m used to, and throughout the whole story, I doubt half of them were mentioned more than thrice.

Usually, I’d get very invested into a character and that gives me the drive to continue reading. For this one, it was storyline driven. I kept flipping the page, curious about who was AI. Some get revealed halfway through the book, but usually it’s not who I expected. The AI were so humanlike and even the humans couldn’t tell them apart.

For most of the time, this book made me feel uncomfortable and angry. It was difficult to read at some point because some characters pissed me off. Although it is fiction, it raised the question of how violence can be justified, and how in a group of 23 other people, a large number were compliant when ‘authorities’ were violent towards others.

One of my favourite parts of the book were the scientist’s point of view where you could understand their viewpoint of creating AI and the struggles the scientists and developers were facing. Although they were working in this together, their motives and morals were different. Although I personally believe that AI could possibly create more harm, both sides of the argument were presented strongly, which I really admired.

In the end, I think this book was enjoyable. It’s not for the faint-hearted, note the warnings, but it’s for those who want a book that makes them yell in frustration, get angry at the characters and leave them shocked at the many unexpected twists and turns for when the grand scheme is revealed. This is a book that made me marvel at how twisted humans can truly be.

REVIEW: The Bookshop on Lafayette Street

This is a book that was sent to me a year ago. I read it the first time a few months back, only to be a little confused and had to take a break from reading. A few days ago, I picked it up again and although I was a little confused at times, I enjoyed it so much more.

As this is a real place, I am very intrigued and had to search it up! It’s in Trenton, New Jersey and according to Trip Advisor, it’s a highly rated spot for booklovers where you can find books, gifts, games, but most of all, a place that supports local communities.

I doubt that I’d be able to visit Classics Books but The Bookshop on Lafayette Street seems like an accurate representation of what a wonderful place it is.


The Bookshop On Lafayette Street
by Eric Maywar (editor)

get it from Classics Bookstore, Ragged Sky Press or Amazon

BOOK SUMMARY

This collection has everything that you love about used bookstores: books, the sense of wonder and discovery, the cozy clutter, idiosyncratic book lovers, and the feeling that you are in a haven buttressed against the cruelties of the world.

Written by a Pulitzer-Prize winning poet, a newspaper columnist, a playwright, a Dodge poet, a graffiti artist, a blogger, a bookstore owner and more!


BOOK REVIEW

4 STARS
* A copy was given in exchange for an honest review.

This is one of those books where I had to read twice. It was difficult to get into the first time, so I had to take a break from reading and try again. The second time, it felt like I was transported into the bookstore and experiencing the events myself.

The Bookshop on Lafayette Street is a collective work of writers and book lovers centered around the love for books and Classics Books. Some of the events in the book intertwines which appealed to me greatly, but my favourite part was the way the writers wrote about what books and bookstores meant to them in the ‘Extracts’ section. It was such a beautiful way to begin the book – having snippets of the stories and poems but also feelings that were so relatable.

As a reader, it felt magical. I felt excited reading about the way people romanticise reading and bookstores, knowing that these people feel the same way I do. It’s a little like I’m reading their thoughts, feelings and experiences with books, but its so familiar. It is such a treat for book lovers.

Despite reading the book twice and having more luck the second time, there were still some stories/poems which I didn’t understand. Hence I couldn’t feel strongly enough about it to give it 5 Stars. Other than that, it was wonderful and I had so many favourites.

My favourites are Wise Silence, Space, The Last Independent Used Bookstore at the Corner of Warren and Lafayette, The Infinite Collection of Unfinished Stories, Elmore and What the Bookseller Knew. Those were the sections I enjoyed reading (aside from the Extract), which shows that this collection of stories and poems are an absolute work of art.

It felt nice to read about something that I love so dearly. It felt great to know that many others share the same feeling, and it is absolutely evident in The Bookshop on Lafayette Street.

REVIEW: Angel of Mercy

I would have never thought that I’d like reading Historical Fiction but it changed the moment I read the first chapter of this book. It was a pleasant surprise, since reading books set during wartime never interested me but Melina Druga really sparked my interest in historical fiction and now I want to read more (only if it was as good as this one).

Despite liking this book since the first chapter, I took a long time to read it. Many things came up in between but also, I had a little reading slump where I did nothing but watch Netflix. It’s now August, and I’m slowly trying to make time for reading as my TBR list keeps growing. It’s really getting out of hand but now, I have two weeks till the next semester so I hope to squeeze in time to read every day!


Angel of Mercy
by Melina Druga

get it here

BOOK SUMMARY

She had her entire life planned until the Great War began and everything changed.

April 1914.  Barrie, Ontario.  Hettie Steward is feisty, educated, ambitious and stubborn.  Her fiancé, Geoffrey Bartlette, the love of her life since childhood, has been a patient man.  He waited while she attended nursing school and worked a year, but now it is time to wed.  While Hettie is thrilled to be starting her life with Geoffrey, she laments that marriage means sacrificing her beloved nursing career, and domestic life brings her nothing but drudgery and boredom.

When the Great War begins a few months into their marriage, Geoffrey enlists and persuades Hettie to join the Canadian Army Nursing Service and follow him overseas.  After all, everyone says the war will be short, and it will be their opportunity to have a proper honeymoon.  Returning to work is exactly what Hettie was craving, and she eager accepts.

The war, however, does not end quickly.  Soon tragedy strikes, proving true the old adage “be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.”  Geoffrey is killed at the Second Battle of Ypres, and Hettie is faced with a choice.  Return home or stay in Europe and continue nursing?  Moreover, will she discover the person she is meant to be now that her life has been steered onto a new path?


BOOK REVIEW

5 STARS

*a copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review

Life is too short to entertain such thoughts.

– Melina Druga, Angel of Mercy

Angel of Mercy is an enjoyable book. I don’t often read Historical Fiction as some drag on and on to the point where I lose interest. But this, this book was amazing. Every scene had a purpose and not a single scene was boring. It really makes me want to read more Historical Fiction, especially if it is going to be as good as this.

The opening scenes were a little too fast for my liking. One moment Hettie was getting married, the next moment she was a nurse in the war, but I could tell that the author had other things she wanted to focus on but it also makes me unsure of what the future part of the story holds. It plays out really well, since at the start I couldn’t understand what would be so interesting about the life of a nurse while a war is happening, but oh I was so wrong.

Angel of Mercy shows the life of Hettie, a nurse who followed her husband into war. It focused on friendship, family, love and romance, but it also shows the horror of wars and sexism that reflected that era of time (and unfortunately now too but that’s a different matter). It also shows how war can really change someone, and how people deal loss differently. The writing was also easy to understand, which I find very important for a genre that I don’t often read.

My favourite part was how the story is sometimes told through letters sent by Hettie and family members to each other while they were apart. I’d like to say that it was a smart way to include depth into the story, but I don’t read enough of this genre to be able to judge. The author also includes a section at the end of the book explaining about the different wars and what had happened, which I appreciated. I don’t know much about Canada so this was a good way to start.

As someone who don’t often read Historical Fiction, or Romance, this was refreshing. It is a change from the genres I usually read but it is a change that is enjoyable and makes me want to read more.

REVIEW: Cranium Retaliations (Flags, Broken Bottles and Senses Weeping Due to Exhalations)

I’m currently in my first semester of my second year in college! The first few weeks were tough, I had multiple submissions due around the same time but now there’s 3 weeks left till the end of the semester and I surprisingly *think* that I *might* have everything under control.

I haven’t been finding time to read much, but when I do, I hope to take it at a slow pace, enjoying each book rather than speeding through just to give a review. I have a few books that I’m juggling at the moment which I’d like to share with you guys soon.

Till then, enjoy this review of Cranium Retaliations!


Cranium Retaliations (Flags, Broken Bottles and Senses Weeping Due to Exhalations)

get it here

BOOK SUMMARY

The Flags represent some of the icons that made the human history and their values are still alive to this day.

The Broken Bottles represent the misadventures, obstacles and sad facts that can pop during a lifetime.

The image of Senses Weeping represent all kinds of emotions generated by the first two, love on top of all.

Through three symbols, sense of humour and storytelling, the Italian poet Isaak Sank talks about literature, art, history, social injustice, world politics and his roots. Please feel welcomed into the mind of a young artist.

BOOK REVIEW

2.5 STARS

*A review copy was given in exchange for an honest review.

“…I don’t say what I read, I never make notes or underline passages.”
“Can I know why?”
“Because that’s where you reveal the most about yourself, it can be a true personal diary.”

Cranium Retaliations – Isaak Sank

This is a book that I (looking at the reviews and ratings before me) wanted so badly to like. It had such high ratings but I didn’t feel the same way about it.

It is important to note that Cranium Retaliations not like most of the poetry and prose collections that I’ve read. There were lengthy text and a heavy usage of imagery, which I would usually enjoy. However, some of the poems/proses were a little difficult to understand.

I believe it was due to language. Some sentences were not grammatically correct, so I would assume it was translated from another language. Then again, my grasp of the English language isn’t that strong either so I could be wrong. The idea behind each prose was solid, however it wasn’t easy to understand. I had to read some a few times over to understand the meaning, some of them I still don’t really know what it meant but there are notes at the end of the poem indicating what it was about.

With that being said, I have mix feelings about this book. Perhaps, I was not the right target audience. There were a lot of events, words, imagery that were significant that I did not know about, causing me to be confused for half of the proses in this book. For a non-spoiler example, in Expositions Part 2, set in what I believe was 1980, it spoke of things which I knew and was familiar about, all because I had an art history lesson about the 80s and the culture of the people of that era. Which made this quite an issue – to be able to fully enjoy this book, it is necessary to be able to have a basic understanding of the eras or subjects mentioned.

However, with a lot of them, when I finally understood the meaning, it felt like a powerful poem – some reflects on humanity, some gives a mystical feeling, shares different perspectives and even challenges to think differently. I had a couple of favourties from this collection, such as Dear Collard, Penmanship, Wi…Fine?. Although I enjoyed those few, I still can’t get over the difficulty of not understand what some poems were about.

REVIEW: The Twenty-Five Memories of Viggo MacDuff

This was sent to me by Odyssey books a while ago. This is one of the few books where I cried while reading. It was such an enjoyable book and though it was about a breakup, the way it was written, the relationships of the supporting characters with the main characters were all very wholesome.


Twenty-Five Memories of Viggo MacDuff
by Kate Gordon

get it here

BOOK SUMMARY

On Christmas Day, Connie Chase opens the twenty-fifth door on her advent calendar, eating the last chocolate as she tries to swallow the memory of her former love, Viggo MacDuff. His dazzling green eyes are everywhere; from the Christmas tree to the promise of eternal love in a sprig of mistletoe, Connie sees only her hopeless gaze reflected back at her, trapped inside an all-too-shiny bauble. When she finds that even Christmas festivities can’t erase the pain of her first heartbreak, she begins to tell her love story to her best friend Jed.

Unwrapping each piece as they go on adventures together, Connie realises how she let her internal struggles control her, accepting behaviour that she believed she deserved. Connie explores both friendships and romantic relationships, discovering the strength of her voice and the power of her individuality as she reveals her most vulnerable self.

BOOK REVIEW

4.5 STARS

*A copy of this book was given to me by Odyssey Books in exchange for an honest review.

It has been a while since I’ve received this book so when I read it, I’ve forgotten the summary and just went straight into it without knowing or expecting anything.

Initially, I was not into the writing of the first chapter. I remember feeling negative about the way Connie’s monologue was written however it provided a good backstory for the title – Twenty-Five Memories of Viggo MacDuff. I slowly got used to it around the second chapter and found the storytelling quite pleasant. Now that I think about it, perhaps I’m not used to reading a first-person type of story so it felt strange to me.

“I nodded, even though I didn’t agree with Viggo at all. I love poetry and symbolism and playing around with language. I love the beauty of a well-crafted sentence; I admire the skill needed to choose the perfect combination of words. And metaphors and similes and analogies? When they’re done well, they are … exciting.”

Twenty-Five Memories of Viggo MacDuff, Kate Gordon

Connie Chase had her heart-broken by the perfect Viggo MacDuff. He was the one Connie brought back to her parents, thinking that they’d be glad and proud that she met someone who was prim, proper and intelligent. She was head-over-heels for him, and willing to change herself to be how he’d like her to be.

It was a full 180 for Connie Chase. She said goodbye to her Vans, band t-shirts, 90s music and comic books and was introduced into a world of classical music, dresses, make up and whatever Viggo MacDuff liked.

Honestly, I thought it was going to be about some girl complaining and crying over her ex but really, it’s about finding herself again. And it is heartwarming. Especially during the formation of MOADM (Memories of a Different Me). The name itself nearly moved me to tears and was what solidified the 4 star rating.

I really liked the relationships in the story and am glad that Connie had such a wonderful group of people around her that helped her through her breakup. I also liked how her perception of the uberclones changed in the end. It ended on a high note and I’m glad it did, especially after what Connie had gone through.

The story was told through short chapters, which was refreshing. It made the book easy to read, and actually enjoyable since there wasn’t too much happening in each chapter. I would think that this is a book that could be enjoyed when you’re in a reading slump. It is paced well, with good character relationships and is a short read.

I would have to say that this was my favourite read so far this year. I would’ve finished it in two days if I didn’t have the self control. It was truly pleasant to read this.

REVIEW: Diver and Other Poems

Diver is a collection of poems that I purchased from Lit Books back in 2018. I don’t usually purchase poetry since I’m picky about it but I was curious about this one since it was by a local author. It’s already 2020 so it’s about time that I read this.


49289960._SX318_SY475_

Diver
by Alina Rastam

get it here (from Litbooks, an independent Malaysian bookstore)

BOOK SUMMARY

A self-published poetry collection by writer and social activist Alina Rastam.

BOOK REVIEW

4 STARS

Diver is a thin book with 20 poems. It may be a quick read because of the number of poems it has but it is certainly not easy to read it all in one go.

There’s no theme for this collection but a lot of the poems were addressed to people in the poet’s life. Some felt like love letters or diary entries. I’m not entirely sure how to categorize it really but it seems as if they were letters, written from the deepest part of the heart, that wasn’t meant to meet the surface.

It is one of those poetry collections that need to be put in an art gallery. Every line feels sincere. When I read it, it feels as if the poet was pouring out her inmost thoughts and feelings from within the heart. It felt as if I was creeping and seeing something I wasn’t meant to, like as if I was reading into the poet’s diary and experiencing her feelings.

This might’ve been one of the most beautifully written poetry collection that I’ve read so far. I’ve always been more fascinated in lengthy poetry that takes up pages apiece. There were some poems that I didn’t understand and had to read a few times. Either way, I was still able to enjoy the writing.

With that, there was a handful of poetry that I enjoyed. It left a deep impact because of how raw it felt, and the choice of words amplified the emotions. Some of my favourites were ‘For My Father’, ‘For Chang on Her 50th Birthday’, ‘The Quiescent Rain’, ‘Letter to Jane’, ‘Uncle Bob’ and ‘To A Beloved Student’.

I highly recommend this poetry collection. However, it may be a little difficult to find out of Malaysia.

REVIEW: Stargazer

Poetry collection number 3 of my little poetry reading challenge is Stargazer by Rachel M. Patterson. I’ve finished this before going on a short hiatus to focus on my finals but now I’m on a semester break until July. Hopefully, I’m able to read a bit more now.

I’ve received quite a lot of poetry collections to review in the past few months and a lot more since I’ve started this poetry reading challenge so it’s definitely gonna take me some time to get to it, especially since I’m juggling some other books too at this moment. There’s gonna be more reviews heading your way soon!


Stargazer

Stargazer
by Rachel M. Patterson (Patreon)

buy it here

BOOK SUMMARY

A series of unique and emotionally charged poems, paired with sketches from the author.

BOOK REVIEW

3 STARS

Stargazer is a poetry collection that could be read in one sitting. There are 17 poems altogether, accompanied with illustrations from the author.

There were poems about love, depression, hopelessness and hope. Some of the poems were completely heartbreaking and relatable, and some just felt magical. There isn’t a theme that could describe the whole book since it’s about different topics but don’t let that discourage you from giving this a read.

All the poems follows a structure with rhymes so melodious, it easily rolls off the tongue. It was a pleasant read, even if some of the poems were dark. Those were my favourites, actually. I enjoyed how Patterson uses beautiful metaphors and I’m absolutely blown away by each line.

My favourites were “Jagged Pit”, “Chronic”, “Spiral” and “Lunatic”. The way each line was written conveyed the feelings accurately. You are able to experience the emptiness and hopelessness in “Jagged Pit”, “Chronic” and “Spiral” but feel the curiosity and thrill in “Lunatic”. It was enjoyable and not many poems I’ve read was able to make me feel like I’ve been brought to a different dimension.

Filled with illustrations made with a pen. I’ve always admired art like that. It’s simple yet with the many strokes and shading, it looks complex and also beautiful. A good complement to the poems.

REVIEW: An Ocean of Grey

It’s National Poetry Month in the United States and though I may not be from there, I would still love to celebrate. For this month and the next, I hope to finish reading the many poetry collections that I have. Hopefully, I’m able to make a dent in my TBR list and to increase the number of books I’ve read for my reading challenge.

This is the 3rd poetry collection that I’ve read this month. I managed to read it on Meraki Press’ Instagram as it was free to read until the 26th of April. I’m glad I remembered as this collection of poems left me at loss for words but full of emotions.


38725838._SY475_An Ocean of Grey
by Kamalia Hasni

get it here

BOOK SUMMARY
I could find peace
in an ocean
of all the shades
of the colour grey

An Ocean of Grey by Kamalia Hasni explores the pain and aftermath of a love that was promised a forever but had ended too soon. The collection of poetry and prose also includes beautiful illustrations by the author’s friends who had helped her through her healing.

BOOK REVIEW
4 STARS

I think the most beautiful part of poetry is that one way or another, it means something to us, even if it isn’t our story.

The first few poems were a little difficult to get into. I didn’t check out the blurb, I just dived into it, not knowing what it was about. A few poems in, I realised it was about heartbreak. It was difficult to read it since I didn’t understand it myself.

As I turned the pages, I was reminded of what happened to a close friend of mine recently and can’t help but to imagine her feel all this. It brought light to me that this is what she is feeling and though I may have not felt this way before, it helps me to understand what she is going through. Perhaps I may not be the suitable target audience for this book. But it makes me want to send this book to a friend, tell them it’s the best thing to read after a terrible breakup and perhaps somewhere in the poet’s words, they can find comfort that they’re not alone too.

The poems were inspired by songs, each poem with a different song title at the end, creating the ultimate breakup playlist. Most I didn’t know, but could only respect that these songs will constantly remind the author of what she went through. For a handful of those which I’ve heard, I understood and admired the way the lyrics in the song has inspired a beautifully written poem.

The illustrations in this collection were a collaborative work of different artists. Everyone had a different style but it all fit together quite well. I do have some favourites though, and those are absolutely unforgettable.

I enjoyed this poetry collection a lot. It’s very raw, very real. It shares the truth of being in a breakup and how it damages someone terribly, how a relationship can change overnight and the awful way it tears someone into bits and pieces. The words stringed together to form perfect sentences, explaining the very graphic details of what pain her heart felt.

I absolutely recommend this book to those who had recently gone through a breakup or is still in the process of healing. Perhaps you might find words of comfort through this, knowing that someone knows exactly how you feel.

REVIEW: Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose and Pictures

I really enjoy reading poetry since it is an opportunity to think and reflect, the way the sentence flows always makes me feel joyous and the carefully chosen words make it a work of art that never fails to brighten my day. It’s also a good way for me to reach my goal of 24 books this year. Not a very big goal, since I felt unmotivated due to my reading slump that hit in the middle of last year but I’m back and feeling more better!

Often I see my book blog buddies having a little introduction part to their book review. I’ve been trying to adopt that if you can’t tell. I’m also considering changing some things about the blog, maybe even making a new logo for myself since I’m studying a design course and wanted a more unique one.


BookCoverLines by Leon
by Leon Stevens

get it here

BOOK SUMMARY
Lines by Leon is a selection of poems, prose, and short stories that address the subjects of loss, struggle, and reflection. Inside these thoughtful contemplations are original observations about ego, behaviour, human relations, places, and the environment. Many of the pieces feature a lighthearted and even humorous take on a subject, and the author invites his readers to laugh, think, cry, and meditate on the wide variety of thoughts.
Scattered throughout the book are sketches of various subjects, many that relate to the poems and stories they illustrate; others speak for themselves.

BOOK REVIEW
*A copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review.

3 STARS

I enjoyed the illustrations that Stevens made. It was enjoyable to see and it makes it the story feel a bit more personal since the author made the illustration himself.

The poems are split into 11 sections, possibly the most I’ve seen so far in my very few years of reading poetry. Poems about human behaviour, the environment, struggles and a short story. It was a very quick read.

My favourite has to be the whole of People and Places. I believed that it was because most of the places mentioned and poems were about things that I knew, and perhaps if I didn’t, I may not have enjoyed it that much. Some other poems that I really enjoyed were Cycle, The Tendency to Cluster, Ego (Part IV), If (The Refugee). These were poems that I related to and some that I felt were artistically written.

I would describe this book as balanced. There were some poems that I thought were amazing and there was a handful that I really loved, however, there were also some that I didn’t enjoy reading. This poetry collection contains many observations, I guess I prefer poems that invoke deeper feelings, more intense and causes me to think more. It’s my personal preference and not many may feel the same.

From a design perspective, the cover is simple and stunning. The watercolour paper texture – absolutely brilliant! However the font for the text may not be the best font for this book, though the intention may be to have a handwriting sort of font, I believe there were probably better fonts out there that suited this book more. Some of the sketches were a little too light when compared to the text, and it may be difficult to see. I believe it shouldn’t be so since the drawings were beautifully drawn.

Overall, I have neutral feelings about this poetry collection. Not many poems stood out to me but it still was a pleasant read and the drawings were such a great complement to the poems. Perhaps it just wasn’t for me.

REVIEW: Express Pursuit

It has been 2 months since my last review and I’m glad to be out of my reading slump. I believe my biggest motivator was the Restricted Movement Order and my friends on Twitter who, somehow in the past 14 days read 8 books, whereas it has been almost 3 months and I’ve only read 3.

Today I’m reviewing Express Pursuit, a romantic thriller that takes place following Mara Ellington’s trip across Europe riding the Orient Express where she suddenly gets entangled in a complicated terrorist attack threat.

Express Pursuit will be launching on the 3rd of April, so do get yourself a copy of it!


vseopursuit_ebook copy copy copy (1)Express Pursuit
by Caroline Beauregard

BOOK SUMMARY
As she rushed down London’s Victoria Station, feisty Air Traffic Controller Mara Ellington fought her apprehensions about this journey. It was no longer the trip of a lifetime she had dreamed about with her best friend. Instead, fate had turned this exciting adventure into a lonely voyage to honour her deathbed’s wish. After arriving at the train’s platform, a strange incident will leave her baffled but not as much as her unexpected confrontation with Counter-Terrorist Agent Drake Steinfield who has also boarded the legendary Orient-Express, on a mission to thwart a terrorist threat.

The sexy and tenacious agent is on the tail of an elusive Al-Qaeda Extremist leader who has planned a string of massive explosions along the train’s route. Additionally, he may be using the tourist as a pawn in his schemes and according to the CT agent, this makes her his best lead to stop him. Mara and Steinfield will need to join their forces and race against the terrorist’s deadline to prevent these massive tragedies, if they can put aside their clashing personalities and growing attraction. What destiny awaits them down the line of this Express Pursuit?

BOOK REVIEW
*A copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review.

3.5 STARS

*book t/w: terrorism, religion, 9/11 attacks

It has been a while since I’ve read romance novels so this was definitely a change of pace. It’s refreshing to read something different once and a while and this was in between my comfort space (thriller/crime) as well as something new.

I can’t deny that the mention of the Orient Express made me interested in the story. I read it last year and absolutely loved it and it helped me picture the setting better. Being a fan of the book, I can’t help but also feel as if I’m one of the other passengers on the trip, enjoying the Orient Express themed journey.

Beauregard’s detailed descriptions of the scenes give the illusion that I’m travelling along with Mara across Europe, especially since there’s a Restricted Movement Order from the government and I’m trying to compensate for not being able to go outside. It felt nice to be able to pretend that I’m with them on this journey, well, the tourism part, not the ‘I’m-in-terrible-danger’ part.

The story was predictable. There were a few clues here and there so it all made sense when it was explained in the end. Maybe it could have been a little bit more complex but overall it’s quite tame. Then again, if I would be an innocent civilian being entangled in a situation where thousands of lives will be lost, I’d say otherwise.

I liked how the love story blossomed. It’s cheesy, expected but still very enjoyable. The two of them complemented each other. I liked how Mara was able to think under pressure which is probably a skill that she developed from her Air Traffic job. I liked that she wasn’t a damsel in distress and was able to take care of herself. Agent Drake Steinfield’s character on the hand provided a light-hearted feeling with his teasing as Mara’s character felt a little dry. I enjoyed the scenes where they interact with one another as it felt sincere despite Agent Steinfield was just an agent going about on his job. There were also many times where I squealed in delight while reading from his point of view. I can’t help but be invested in their love.

Occasionally, the point of view will switch between Mara and Drake. It’s a little confusing though since there’s no clear division so I’ll have to reread it. Overall, it’s an easy and enjoyable read.