[Review] THE LAST TOURIST (Milo Weaver #4) by Olen Steinhauer, DNF

About the Book

Title: The Last Tourist
Author: Olen Steinhauer
Publisher: Minotaur Books (March 2020)
Find it on: Goodreads | B&N | Google Books | Amazon | Kobo | iBooks

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Review

Abdul Ghali, a CIA analyst, is tasked to go after Milo Weaver — the head of The Library. The Library is a private organization collecting classified information all over the world. It does not trust the authorities, hence its creation, and is often involved with terrorists and violence.⁣

But Abdul is not a field agent. For the longest time, he’s been sitting behind his desk and computer analyzing data. So the big question is, why is the CIA sending him and why now?⁣

This book is the fourth installment in the Milo Weaver series, but it can’t be read as a standalone. It uses jargon, most of which I would not have understood had I not read similar spy books before.⁣

The story-telling is dry and cold. The characters are two-dimensional. It’s easy to get confused between Milo and Alan, between Leticia and Alexandra because sometimes it’s not clear who’s speaking. There are no chapter headings to indicate whose POV it is.⁣

There is no clear mission to the point that it gets frustrating. At first, they are tracking Milo, then Abdul, the Milo again, then someone else. The story is dragging, and things only quicken at ~30%. ⁣

On a positive note, the book tackles relevant issues, is backed-up with good research, and is feminist.⁣

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Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for giving me a copy in exchange for an honest review.⁣⁣ Check my sidebar; follow me here and on the rest of my social media accounts for more bookish content and honest reviews!

[Review] THE ILLNESS LESSON by Clare Beams, 3 out of 5 stars

It’s 1871 in Ashwell, Massachusetts and Samuel Hood decides to convert his barn into a progressive school for young girls. He’s planning to teach the students himself together with his daughter, Caroline, and friend, David Moore.

Eliza Pearson Bell is one of the girls who express interest in becoming a student. Coincidentally, she is also the daughter of Miles Pearson – the man Samuel loathes the most. Caroline and David decide Eliza will bring good publicity to the school but for very different reasons.

Everything is going well for the Trilling Heart School (named after the strange red birds that re-appeared in the area around that time) until Eliza gets sick. It becomes even more mysterious when the rest of the girls gets the same illness. No one can figure out what’s gotten into them or how they got it. Samuel calls his physician friend, George Hawkins in the hopes that he can bring light into this case.

Clare Beams’ The Illness Lesson is dark and haunting. It is slow-paced and serious, curious as it is rich with symbolism. Caroline holds a lot of promise as the heroine of this book, but she fails. It is so ironic how the school that wants little girls to grow up as critical thinkers is the very same school that will shut educated women down. It is so disappointing to see a strong and knowledgeable woman like Caroline defeated by a patriarchal society. But maybe the real lesson here is to keep on fighting because back then, our sisters could not. Trigger warnings include epilepsy, death of a parent, implicit malicious acts, adultery, and sexual abuse.

Thanks to Edelweiss and Doubleday for giving me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

[Blog Tour + Review] OLIVER DOLIVER’S DINOSAUR COMES TO STAY by Papa Perkins, 3 out of 5 stars

About the Book

Title: Oliver Doliver’s Dinosaur Comes to Stay
Author: Papa Perkins
Release Date: 6th February 2020
Genre: Picture Book
Page Count: 20
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon

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Blurb

Oliver Doliver (who is really just Oliver but he does like having both names) will be mostly Oliver in this story. Oliver is six years (and one month) old and has a friend who is a Dinosaur called Aya Buddn.

This is the story of how they met!

And more adventures will follow.

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Review

This picture book has cute and simple graphics accompanying the narrative in every turn of the page. Short but sweet, this story about a unique yet touching friendship is perfect for children’s bedtime stories or study breaks. This is just the beginning, and there will be more adventures from Oliver and his dinosaur buddy. Hopefully, these next adventures will include more activities and teach more interesting lessons.

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About the Author

Website

Mark Perkins was born in 1951 and spent his career in art.

He is married and lives in Poole with his wife, Avril. They have 3 children and 7 grand-children.

He and Avril bred Burmilla cats for 20 years and they still have 6 for company, along with two miniature dachshunds, two snakes, bantams and a few rather lovely pond fish.

Following schooling near Poole and in Wimborne Minster in Dorset, he attended Bournemouth College of Art for four years and followed this by gaining a teaching certificate from Bretton Hall College in Yorkshire where he met Avril.

Returning to Dorset, Mark took up a post in an advertising studio in Bournemouth and remained there as creative director until 1991 at which time he found teaching art more rewarding and began teaching art to students from ages 12-18.

As well as being a teacher he was elected to full membership of the CSD Chartered Society of Designers in 1983 after 10 years in professional practice.

He produced designs for advertising, print and all forms of graphic communication. He specialized latterly in the design and production of large exhibition stands for national and international clients.

Ill-health forced Mark into retirement in 2000, which gave him the chance of pursuing his own interest in drawing and painting for his pleasure; much of which was contained in many sketchbooks, avoiding the necessity of explaining his thoughts to others in a public arena.

Throughout the past few years he has moved from abstract concepts into the more satisfying world of the printed book for children. His printed works include Alphabetcats, A Nature Diary, several volumes of the work of Lesley Anne Ivory and latterly ‘Words, Works & Worlds’ – a compendium of pages from his sketchbooks.

However of all of these, it is writing for children which inspires him most, and even now as he considers the thought of being 70, he reckons it’s not too late to discover what he perhaps should have begun 20 years ago.

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Tour Schedule

[Blog Tour + Review] COFFEE TRAVELLER by Fahad Ben. G, 3⚝

About the Book

Title: Coffee Traveller
Author: Fahad Ben G.
Release Date: 29th October 2019
Genre: Poetry
Page Count: 140
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Get it on: Goodreads | Amazon

A collection of musings about travel, life, love, family, relationships, the future and growing up in Saudi Arabia, by the author and poet Fahad Ben G.

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Sample Poem

Invisible lines tie me to you whether I like it or not.

No matter how much I travel away from you, no matter how far we are, and no matter how different our roads are;

No matter how distinct our stations are, and no matter how your routes and mine are different;

The invisible lines continue to tie me to you.

Constant they are… they exceed the multitude of people between you and me.

Tense they are… indifferent to the laws of the universe or the gravity of Earth.

Unaffected by the amount of rocks and dismal valleys,

That separate my icy mountain from your flaming mountain…

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Review

Fahad Ben. G compiles all his poems about love and life as he travels and drinks coffee. This compilation became the poetry book we get to know today as Coffee Traveller. Thanks to Faye at Authoright and Clink Street Publishing for sending me a physical copy in exchange for an honest review.

First of all, I love how the poems are simple and easy to digest. The emotions in every line will hit you right in the feels. The reason why I gave it a 3 and not a 4 is because of the typo errors that distracted me from my reading. I understand that English is not the author’s mother tongue but the book should at least be properly edited, especially for minor grammatical mistakes. And while I don’t really mind recurring themes, I hope that the author did not use the exact same words when writing the next poem. Overall, the pieces written here are relatable, short, and sweet.

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About the Author

Fahad Ben. G was born and raised in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He has a Bachelors Degree in English Language Translation from the College of Languages and Translation at King Said University, and a Masters in English Linguistics from Imam Mohammed Bin Said University. Having lived in France and Japan, he finally settled in London in 2017 where he now works in the diplomatic sector.

Follow Fahad on Twitter!

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Tour Schedule

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[Review] The Love Solution by Ashley Croft, 3⚝

Sarah and Molly Havers have been orphaned since their teenage years. Sarah, being the eldest, sets her dreams aside for a while in order to support younger Molly. Fast forward a bit, Sarah is now living happily with her boyfriend Niall and has even started her own jewelry business. Little did she know about what’s coming and how these events will shake her world. Dr. Molly Havers, on the other hand, is a behavioral ecologist working on a hormone that can alter people’s feelings and make them in love. She is doing this under the guidance of her boss, Dr. Ewan Baxter, whom she also has the hots for. Is this ‘Love Bug’ really the solution they’ve been looking for? Can love really be controlled?

I love that this book is feminist in nature. I also love that it has a good balance of romance and humor. However, I found the premise problematic. There have already been a lot of stories about creating a love potion and this one did not really stand out. I hated Sarah’s character but I adored Molly and Ewan’s relationship. My favorite character would have to be Liam because he is the gentleman we all need. I would recommend this to friends looking for a light but not-so-impressive read. Trigger warnings include a car accident, death, cheating, sex, pregnancy, profanity, and mental health problems.

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[Review] SISTERS OF SHADOW AND LIGHT by Sara B. Larson, 3/5

Zuhra grew up in the citadel with her mother, sister Inara, and their helper/family friend Sami. The citadel was already a fortified structure, but the night her sister was born, the hedge around the citadel grew triple its original height trapping them all inside. Also, his father, a Paladin (Paladins are tall creatures with magical powers and blue light in their eyes), was suddenly gone, leaving them not only with no place to go but also broken hearts. One miraculous day, a stranger was able to pass through the hedge and everything in their lives changed.

First of all, I love that this was a feminist story. There were several strong and empowered women who were treated as men’s equals in everyday lives, leadership, and battles. I don’t have a favorite but those who stood out for me were Sami, Ederra, and Sachiel. For the male characters, I found Alkimos and Loukas admirable.

Now let’s go to Cinnia, Zuhra and Inara’s mother. I tried to understand her but I just can’t. She’s one of the characters I hated in the book. She’s a mother but how can she be so weak for her daughters? I also didn’t like that she’s displacing all her hate to Inara when the poor girl is not even to blame that her husband left fifteen years ago. She’s very lucky to have Sami around who voluntarily stayed with them to act as the girls’ mother.

For our protagonist Zuhra, I’d say I have a love-hate relationship with her. At first, I was on her side because everything just seemed so unfair to her. She was acting as her sister’s protector and putting up with their lonesome mother all the time, but this was not enough for Sami to tell her the truth she deserved to hear. It took a stranger for the secrets in the household to start spilling. Then, on the second part of the book, I just felt that she became too stubborn and insensitive of others’ feelings. Suddenly, everything was about her. While I admire her courage, I can’t deny the fact that more characters got hurt or died because of her. I just hope she will be more mature in the next book.

For the romance part, I felt that Zuhra’s feelings for Halvor and Halvor’s feelings for Inara were all too sudden and forced. I’d say Raidyn was a good match for Zuhra, but Raidyn was also one problematic character who needs to grow up which is why I like Loukas more.

I found the first part slow but the second part was where all the action was. I was loving it until the last few chapters. I understand that this is the first book in a series and that there should be a cliff-hanging scene in the end. But instead a good closure and leaving just one big mystery, an awful lot has happened in the end that messed the story.

Overall, I still felt good after reading the book. I learned some lessons and there were a lot of quotes I liked. I was so happy at all the family reunions, no matter how short they were. I would recommend this to lovers of fantasy, adventure, and action. Thanks to NetGalley and Tor Teen for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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[Review] THE POISON PROFESSION by Rachel Wright, 3/5

This review first appeared on and was written for OnlineBookClub.org. It has been slightly edited here and the rating has been adjusted for a 5-star system, which is more common.

The Poison Profession by Rachel Wright is about Louisa Clayman, an ex-medical student who hides under the monicker, Crail. Louisa has a very successful security systems business which was established by her and her brothers, Jack and Tom. Clayman Security, Ltd. looks like a normal business on the outside, but there’s actually a whole lot more going on inside. They hunt and kill big-time criminals when they get too big for the authorities to handle.

So far, it has been great for the three siblings and everything is going right. That is until Louisa meets Rikard, an online gamer from Geneva who is basically the king of Warpath. They meet only for a brief moment and the next thing they know, they are head over heels for each other. What they don’t know is that, this attraction is what will shake everything up.

What I liked about this book is the author’s attention to detail. The imagery was great and she was able to make every scene alive in the readers’ minds. I also loved how the plot and the characters developed. I liked how Crail seemed to always be organized and perfect in every way, but when she fell for Rikard, she became vulnerable too, like all of us who have been in love. I would also like to commend how the author used her influence to raise awareness for Tikopia in the Solomon Islands.

There were occasional typos and that’s the only thing that I did not like. I highly recommend this to lovers of crime thriller, mystery, and romance. I would also like to give a fair warning to future readers that this book has a lot of erotic scenes and there were a lot of profanities used. Last but not the least, this book deals with drugs and murder.

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