Book Reviews

Twisted Traffick (Twisted Trilogy #2) by Geza Tatrallyay

Twisted TraffickTitle: Twisted Traffick (Twisted Trilogy #2)
Author: Geza Tatrallyay
Rating: ★★★★

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

Twisted Traffick is the second book in the “Twisted” trilogy. We find ourselves back at it with Greg Martens, the author, and now wife, Anne Rossiter. Anne is called back to assist her former Interpol boss when her Russian friend, Julia Saparova, also known as Adam Kallay’s former stripper girlfriend, is missing. 

Generally speaking, the second novel in a trilogy holds a lot of filler. It gears us up for the final installment. This, however, was not the case in Twisted Traffick. And if anything, it makes it a little better of a read due to the fact that the readers now know most of the main characters. 

Delving back into the uranium heist business, we find ourselves with Hetzel, Polyakov, and all of their friends once again. This time… in the human trafficking industry. In fact, these same men have taken Julia. But not only her, the criminals are targeting the families of parents holding jobs at the Mayak Corporation, or those similar, where uranium contamination was at an all-time high. These parents were provided with a story that these horrible  men would find jobs and a better life for their children. So, who wouldn’t want to do that for their own children?! Little did they know, their children (conveniently all females were accepted into the program) were sent into sex trafficking unbeknownst. I can’t even to begin the fathom the guilt that the girls’ parents felt.

This was anything but a filler story. It was a story within itself and could definitely be read as a standalone for someone not having read the first story. I think that is the key to any good novel. I’m curious as to what the last novel in the trilogy holds. Let’s all hope Julia finds a nice guy, right?! She seems to have the worst luck!

Tatrallyay not only provides us with the history and reality of life in post-Soviet Russia, but with an entertaining back story of how our foes came to be and how they are connected with some of our main characters.

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. Romance doesn’t play a major role in the story. The characters are realistic and well-described. I think the topic is one that more people should know about. Fortunately, for the reader, it was not too graphic, but enough to understand the implications that people suffered from these horrible monsters. A great read for someone who is looking for a little more substance than those who mainly resort to fiction!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Geza

Born in Budapest, Hungary, Geza escaped with his family in 1956 during the Hungarian Revolution, immigrating to Canada the same year. He grew up in Toronto, attending the University of Toronto Schools, where he was School Captain. He graduated from Harvard University with a BA in Human Ecology in 1972 (after taking a break in his studies to work as a host in the Ontario Pavilion at Expo70 in Osaka, Japan). Geza was selected as a Rhodes Scholar from Ontario, attending Oxford University and graduating with a BA/MA in Human Sciences in 1974; he completed his studies with a MSc in Economics from London School of Economics in 1975. Geza represented Canada as an epée fencer in the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.

Geza’s professional experience has included government, international organizations, finance and environmental entrepreneurship. Since 2004, he has been semi-retired, managing investments mainly in the clean energy sector and devoting himself to his family and his writing. Geza is a citizen of Canada and Hungary, a green card holder with an American wife, a daughter living in San Francisco and a son in Nairobi, and currently divides his time between Barnard, Vermont, and San Francisco.

The third book in Geza’s ‘Twisted’ trilogy, TWISTED FATES, will be coming out in June. Besides the three “Twisted’ thrillers, Geza has published an e-thriller, ARCTIC MELTDOWN, and has another international political thriller, THE RAINBOW VIINTNER, under contract and due to be published later this year.

Besides his novels, Geza had had two memoirs published: FOR THR CHILDREN, the true story of his family’s harrowing escape from Stalinist Hungary during the Revolution in 1956, and THE EXPO AFFAIR, the story of three Czechoslovak girls he tried to help defect to Canada at EXPO 70 the world’s fair in Osaka, Japan in 1970.

Geza’s poems have been published in journals and two of his poetry collections – CELLO’S TEARS and SIGHS AND MURMURS – were published by P.R.A. Publishing. You can find more out about all these books at www.gezatatrallyay.com.

Book Reviews

Twisted Reasons (Twisted Trilogy #1) by Geza Tatrallyay

Twisted ReasonsTitle: Twisted Reasons (Twisted Trilogy #1)
Author: Geza Tatrallyay
Rating: ★★★★

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

Greg Martens and Adam Kallay were childhood friends. After years of not seeing each other and their careers taking them separate ways, they decide to reunite in Vienna to research the histories of their ancestors. But, was that really the main motive behind the reunion? Greg, after recently going through a divorce, is invited to speak at the Austrian English Literary Society. Adam had just been appointed Deputy Direction of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security at the International Atomic Energy Agency. While not prominent reason behind their reunion, Greg and Adam are drawn to a HEU (highly enriched uranium) heist. Will they bring the perpetrators to justice or will they assist in stealing this valuable and expensive commodity?

Once in Vienna, crime novelist, Greg Martens, finds out that his best friend, Adam, is presumed dead by a hit-and-run. Along his journey to provide justice to Adam and track the disappearance of enough uranium to make a nuclear bomb, Greg makes the acquaintance of Anne Rossiter, an Interpol agent. Business quickly turns into something more. 

Greg decides to get revenge for his friend’s death and attempts to go after the perpetrators alone. However, things are not as these seem. Not everyone is as they appear and secrets are learned. 

What was really nice about this novel was the history incorporated throughout, as well as, bringing attention to issues in this part of the world that we don’t always hear about in the grand scheme of things, especially where much larger events took place. Radiation, while at the time, didn’t seem to be an issue, affected the health of those working with the commodity. Cancer and many other diseases develop from this exposure. In even just a few days, some people can die from the radiation, and that is exactly what happened in the Soviet Union. However, with the war going on, attention isn’t brought to these people who were suffering. 

Overall, I enjoyed this novel. For those of you who know me, I’m not always a fan of romance in these types of books, but I understand everyone else’s needs when it comes to love being included in novels. The “Anne missed Greg” and “Greg missed Anne”s included at the end of some chapters was a little much and not realistic to me, but that was probably my biggest complaint of the whole novel. The only other issue I could see being an issue for readers is keeping the characters straight in the beginning of the novel. I think, for me, this is due to the foreign names (which totally make sense!), but after reading more, they quickly become recognized.

Will Greg help with the heist in order to stay alive? What really happened to his best friend, Adam? Is there romance between Greg and Anne? What will happen with enough uranium to make a nuclear bomb?

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Geza

Born in Budapest, Hungary, Geza escaped with his family in 1956 during the Hungarian Revolution, immigrating to Canada the same year. He grew up in Toronto, attending the University of Toronto Schools, where he was School Captain. He graduated from Harvard University with a BA in Human Ecology in 1972 (after taking a break in his studies to work as a host in the Ontario Pavilion at Expo70 in Osaka, Japan). Geza was selected as a Rhodes Scholar from Ontario, attending Oxford University and graduating with a BA/MA in Human Sciences in 1974; he completed his studies with a MSc in Economics from London School of Economics in 1975. Geza represented Canada as an epée fencer in the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.

Geza’s professional experience has included government, international organizations, finance and environmental entrepreneurship. Since 2004, he has been semi-retired, managing investments mainly in the clean energy sector and devoting himself to his family and his writing. Geza is a citizen of Canada and Hungary, a green card holder with an American wife, a daughter living in San Francisco and a son in Nairobi, and currently divides his time between Barnard, Vermont, and San Francisco.

The third book in Geza’s ‘Twisted’ trilogy, TWISTED FATES, will be coming out in June. Besides the three “Twisted’ thrillers, Geza has published an e-thriller, ARCTIC MELTDOWN, and has another international political thriller, THE RAINBOW VIINTNER, under contract and due to be published later this year.

Besides his novels, Geza had had two memoirs published: FOR THR CHILDREN, the true story of his family’s harrowing escape from Stalinist Hungary during the Revolution in 1956, and THE EXPO AFFAIR, the story of three Czechoslovak girls he tried to help defect to Canada at EXPO 70 the world’s fair in Osaka, Japan in 1970.

Geza’s poems have been published in journals and two of his poetry collections – CELLO’S TEARS and SIGHS AND MURMURS – were published by P.R.A. Publishing. You can find more out about all these books at www.gezatatrallyay.com.

Book Reviews

War of the Staffs (War of the Staffs, #1) by Steve Stephenson & K.M. Tedrick

War of the StaffsTitle: War of the Staffs (War of the Staffs, #1)
Author: Steve Stephenson & K.M. Tedrick
Rating: ★★★★★

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Anyone out there love Lord of the Rings? If so, this is the book for you. Wizards, elves, dwarves, humans, orcs, dragons, and (a new twist)…vampires!

As legend goes, there existed siblings, one good and one evil. Adaman, the good god died at the hands of Adois, the evil goddess. Many years later, Adois sends a powerful, vampiric wizard, Taza, to bring evil upon a new planet. The only way to defeat Taza, along with the influence of Adois, is to assemble the two pieces of Ancient Staff of Adaman. Prophecy states that a young Prince may have the power to overthrow Taza and the grueling influence of Adois.

 

So, I feel like the easiest way for me to review this novel is to compare it to Lord of the Rings when describing the protagonists:

  • TarquinHe is our youngest little prince of Partha who happens to be our focal point of the prophecy. Raised to be an Elven diplomat since birth, Tarquin disappoints his father when deciding to join the armed forces of the Borderers, which happens to consist mainly of dwarves. As our prince climbs up the ranks, he is then tasked with leading a unit into the Underground to recover a Dwarven city, Brackas, lost to the evil while assisting Celedant uncover ones of the missing pieces of Adaman’s staff. To me, he will one day be like my beloved Aragorn.
  • CeledantComparable to Gandalf, he is there when you need him and has the potential to do more harm, but stands by as the others perform the greater deeds. Finding it his duty to restore the balance between good and evil, he is tasked with reuniting the two parts of the Staff of Adaman. One thing that surpasses Gandalf is his relationship with his dragon!
  • MorgannaIllanni rebel, her father put a warrant out for her head after she showed her disgust with her family being turned into vampires. Approached by her long-time friend, Kalsti, she decides to help the rebels free the human slaves. Barely surviving a critical injury, Dolgar, the god of the dwarves and healer, saves Morganna and provides her with the power to heal. With her new power, she heals Tarquin after a deadly blow when the two first meet. 
  • TazaThe War of the Staffs version of Saruman…except for a vampire. With his ultimate goal being of working for Adois (through her staff) to bring evil upon Muiria, he has turned all of the dark elves into vampires to do his bidding. 

 

Let me just say, there has to be another book! I need to know how Celedant and the others recover the last piece of the Staff of Adaman! Please, please, bring some more dragon action! And, while there wasn’t any romance in this novel (what a relief!), I’m feeling some sexual tension between Tarquin and Morganna (didn’t see that coming since the beginning of the novel…not!). Besides for a few grammatical errors and the beginning being confusing with keeping the characters straight, this was a great read that was even-paced, exhilarating, and sucked you into the story.

The expected publication date is July 16, 2018.

Book Reviews

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1) by Holly Black

The Cruel PrinceTitle: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1)
Author: Holly Black
Rating: ★★★★

So, naturally, I hope to dislike the books that everyone else dotes on. However, this was not the case this time 😦 At the beginning, it slightly reminded me of the Wintersong series (which don’t seem like anything special to me and I kind of find annoying).

At a young age, Jude (our heroine), Taryn (her twin), and Vivi (her oldest sister) experience the death of their mother and Jude and Taryn’s father by none other than Vivi’s very own father (Madoc, who also happens to be the Fae general). Forced to live in Faerie, Jude and Taryn stick out like a sore thumb. 

What could I become if I stopped worrying about death, about pain, about anything?If I stopped trying to belong? Instead of being afraid, I could become something to fear.

Ten years later, Jude’s lifelong goal was to become a knight in the High Court. Cardan, the swoon-worthy youngest prince is wicked, yet charming…oh yeah, and likes to make Jude’s life hell. After constantly being bullied by Prince Cardan (who I believe happens to be our Cruel Prince) and his friends one too many times, she decides to stand up for herself. 

That’s what comes of hungering for something; you forget to check if it’s rotten before you gobble it down.

Probably what I like best about Jude is that she is not the typical heroine. We see her flaws upfront and she doesn’t try to be this perfect person. At the climax of the story, we see her willing to do anything to overthrow the crown.

But Jude has a secret that she must keep from all but the ones in on it. Will she betray the ones she loves? Will this new secret put not only herself in danger, but those she loves, as well? What is she willing to lose in order to stay true to her heart?

Most of all, I hate you because I think of you. Often. It’s disgusting, and I can’t stop.

Cardan is the typical bad boy, so it is no wonder that all of the girls swoon over him. But, somehow he also happens to be my favorite character. At the beginning of the story, we see this drunk, selfish guy who is set upon making everyone else’s lives miserable. However, as the story progresses, we see that every action Cardan performed was strictly to defend people he cared for. So, in fact, he is quite selfless.

Ahhh!! The feeling of this quote resides in me all too familiar. Ever get the feeling that you wish you never thought about one specific person ever again, but they seem to delve into every thought? So frustrating!

We don’t need to be good. But let’s try to be fair.

Betrayal, murder, and deceit are common themes in Faerie. By betraying people Jude has known most of her life, she is convinced that the future of Faerie can be made more “just” from its current state. Is she willing to compromise her morals for a better future?

I’m surprised by how much of a page-turner this novel was. I’m so excited for the next installment and what Black has in store for us next!

Who will be crowned king? Who is Taryn’s love? Who will be murdered on the rise to the crown? Is anyone safe? 

Book Reviews

Wintersong (Wintersong, #1) by S. Jae-Jones

WintersongTitle: Wintersong (Wintersong, #1)
Author: S. Jae-Jones
Rating: ★★★ 

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

As a tribute to Shadowsong being published today, I figured I would post my review of Wintersong. Let me start by commenting on how much I adore this cover. So beautiful!

What is eternal life but a prolonged death

Eternal life is certainly something that many wish for, right? However, is it really worth it in the end? Ending up alone and seeing others you care for die? The Lord of Mischief, aka the Goblin King, is the epitome of this desire. However, what happens when you only get one life? Could you risk it all to save those you love? This is exactly the dilemma that Liesl faces when the Käthe is kidnapped. In order to save Käthe, Liesl offers herself in marriage to the Goblin King.

What’s the use of running, if we are on the wrong road

Liesl, the reliable, plain child of the family lived in the shadow of her beautiful sister and talented brother. While her main source of love came from music, she was never in the spotlight like her brother, especially in her father’s eyes. In order to save the ones she loves, she sacrifices her dreams to preserves theirs, sacrificing her music for the Goblin King.

Life,” he said softly, “is more than flesh. Your body is a candle, your soul the flame. The longer I burn the candle…” He did not finish.
“A candle unused is nothing but wax and wick,” I said.“I would rather light the flame, knowing it will go out than sit forever in darkness.

After being betrothed to the Goblin King, Liesl finds that in exchange for the life of her sister, she sacrificed her own…literally. While Liesl becomes her best person living in the Underworld with the Goblin King, she is slowly dying. Getting closer acquainted with the Goblin King, both physically and emotionally, her love of music soars and is quite content with her living situation. However, this leads to the question of…What am I willing to sacrifice? Can Liesl sacrifice herself in order to spend the last of her short life with the Goblin King or will she sacrifice her love of him for life? Will love make the Goblin King sacrifice his happiness in order to save the one he loves?

While I did enjoy the novel,  I don’t understand how Liesl could love someone who kidnapped her sister and made her sacrifice so much for his happiness alone, and in deceitful ways? Not to mention, the Goblin King is bipolar. I guess it’s the whole bad boy thing, which I will never understand. It’s like a Beauty & The Beast rendition. With that said, I still will have to find out what happens in the sequel.