China Basin by R.A. Niles – Review

China Basin by R.A. Niles

On a wintry foggy morning in San Fransisco in June 1950, when the bloated corpse of Carlo Steffano, a mob lawyer, rolls out of a cargo net, Inspector Andrew Johnson hardly feels any remorse for the dead man. However, what complicates matters further is the discovery of another corpse—that of Hector Arroyo—in the trunk of a nearby car. Arroyo is a drug mule and works for the Mexicans.

This piques the interest of Johnson and his partner, Camozzi, since the mob and the Mexicans are fierce competitors. Hence, it doesn’t make any sense for these two bodies to be discovered near each other.  Thus, starts a fateful investigation into these grisly murders, told in the first person from the perspective of Johnson, that plunges him neck-deep into the quagmire of drugs, brothels, and Communism in China.

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Playing Dead by Monique Faison Ross – Review

Playing Dead by Monique Faison Ross
Playing Dead by Monique Faison Ross

Rating – 4/5

Monique, the daughter of San Diego Charger’s football great Earl Faison, never imagined marrying her high school boyfriend would turn out to be the most horrible mistake of her life. She also hadn’t imagined she would survive this mistake to narrate her tale.

Playing Dead: A Memoir of Terror and Survival by Monique Faison Ross recounts the author’s experience of a nightmarish marriage that culminated in a brutally violent incident. Her relationship with Chris was unstable from the beginning, but it gradually turned abusive and denigrating.

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True Freedom: How America came to fight Britain for its Independence by Michael Dean – Review

True Freedom by Michael Dean
True Freedom: A Novel by Michael Dean

Rating – 4/5

Set in Boston and London and spanning sixteen years, True Freedom: How America came to fight Britain for its Independence by Michael Dean chronicles the events that led to the American Revolutionary War (1775 – 1783). Focusing on a few prominent characters, Dean provides the readers with an insider’s view into what shaped the revolution.

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When They Made Us Leave by Annette Oppenlander – Review

When They Made Us Leave by Annette Oppenlander
When They Made Us Leave by Annette Oppenlander

“I think about a time when eating your fill and feeling safe was normal. … and the worst I worried about was doing my homework. I long for that time, but as I lay there in Wolfgang’s threadbare blanket, another conviction grows inside me like a terrible sore.

I realize I’m mourning instead because that time will never return.”

Quoted from When They Made Us Leave by Annette Oppenlander

A longing for the past that is never going to return – that’s the aftermath of a war. Annette Oppenlander’s “When They Made Us Leave: A Novel about Hitler’s Mass Evacuation Program for Children” details the brutalities of the Second World War from the perspective of the German youth (and their families) who had to attend the much-loathed KLV program (an evacuation program).

As the frequency of Allied bombings increases in Germany, parents are encouraged, and in some cases forced, to send their children to youth camps where they will supposedly lead a better life. Fourteen-year-old Hilda and her childhood friend and love, Peter, are among them. While Hilda is reluctant to leave her mother, Peter is ecstatic to attend such a camp and spend time on the beaches, as promised by the camp organizers.

However, Peter soon realizes the farce behind such camps which are being run in a military style by dogmatic individuals. Hilda, too, must endure a draconian Abbess in the cloister she is forced to attend.

Oppenlander describes Hilda and Peter’s heart-wrenching journey through a war-stricken Germany back to their ravaged homes and into each other’s hearts in this book.

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Blood Seduction by Anna Rainn – Review

Blood Seduction by Anna Rainn
Blood Seduction by Anna Rainn – Review

Rating – 3.5/5

Haunted by her abusive past, Lenore has been pining for her high-school sweetheart, Andrew, for years. Trapped between a domineering mother and a non-existent love life, Lenore yearns to break out of her monotonous life.

Her wish comes true when she meets Richard, a handsome, rich and mysterious club owner. With eyes the shade of night, all-black attire, cold hands, and wickedly sinful ways, Richard seduces Lenore into a dark and deadly world. Now Lenore must decide – to remain as the flawed Lenore of her past or to become Richard’s Ella, a seductive and powerful woman.

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Beyond the Fields by Aysha Baqir – Review

Beyond the Fields by Aysha Baqir
Beyond the Fields by Aysha Baqir

A jolly afternoon. Omer, Zara, and Tara – three siblings running without a care on the village fields and playing hide and seek. Suddenly, the game becomes too real. Omer and Zara can’t find Tara. They shout her name, they run here and there, but can’t find her. Evening draws in with dreadful news.

Their parents whisper.

They don’t let Omer and Zara see her. Tara is unexpectedly married to a man from the city which seems to resolve the tension in their house. However, some days later, a newspaper clipping emerges about the man Tara has been married to. Zara is determined to rescue her twin. With Omer’s help, she hatches a dangerous plan to not only rescue Tara but also seek justice for her. Will Zara succeed? Read Beyond the Fields by Ayesha Baqir to find out.

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