Two Historical Fiction Reviews!

Hiya peeps! I’ve got two interesting novels today, for a virtual blog tour organized by Roger Charlie.

These books are fitting for anyone who enjoys historical fiction. One focuses on the lives of two people living in 20th century NYC, and how their lives unfold for a time. The second is the sequel, where this couple join a few others in dealing with the post Pearl Harbor bombing, as the U.S. enters WWII.

Be sure to check them out, and see my review for each book below! =D

 

 Sheldon Friedman
Sheldon Friedman was born in St. Joseph Missouri. He lives in Denver, Colorado. He is a University of Denver graduate and practiced law in Denver until 2008. He taught legal courses at the University of Colorado Law School, University of Denver Law School and Daniels School of Business at the University of Denver. After leaving his law firm he joined a national mediation and arbitration firm until January, 2016. He is also an accomplished playwright, having a number of local readings and productions. His play The Long Goodbye was staged at Denver’s Crossroad’s Theater in 2010. His book, The Velvet Prison was named as a 2017 fiction award finalist by the Colorado Author’s League.
 
~ Connect with Sheldon Online ~
 

The Velvet Prison

 

 The Velvet Prison
~Released: September 14th, 2016
~Length: 244 Pages
~Genres: Historical Fiction
~Parent’s Guide: PG-17
 
Against the pulsating back drop of a New York City in social and economic change, young Travis Kane struggles with his passion to be an artist painter, and the conservative demands of his strict grandfather, Barclay Kane.
 
His mother, unable to come to terms with tragedy, has taken Travis’s infant sister and abandons him, leaving their house in Gramercy Park, and Travis to be raised by the grandfather he adores.
 
Travis enters a New York speakeasy, with a unique idea, that will change his life, leading him on an exciting journey, meeting Manhattan’s privileged, studying in art in Paris and, finding his way to Broadway.
 
Meanwhile, Lindsay Wayne’s mother, seamstress, has a secret, and a passion. Her daughter will become a famous stage actress, and this is her focus.
 
Lindsay and Travis’s worlds collide.
Their lives will never be the same again.

 

 

A flashback to the past.

History has always fascinated me. I adore learning new ways people used to survive and thrive – how did life used to look? It’s hard to believe where this book starts off is already a hundred years ago, especially considering how relatable the characters and their life are.

Travis’s life is, sadly, all too common. Echoed again and again even in today’s current climate, growing up with pain and the constant tension in the world, the threat of war constantly looming in the distance. He shows his character in several situations, following his artist’s heart, even when life gets surprising and a little messy. The secret thread connecting him and Lindsay was easy to guess, and I supposed a bit predictable from the first few chapters, however I didn’t feel as though I missed out. The progression was done well, and revealed in an entertaining way.

I liked Lindsay quite a bit. She was the kind of girl most of us enjoy having in our circle of friends, and is always an interesting person to be around. I enjoyed her personality, and how she interacted with other people. I can’t help but take notice of how women are thought to have behaved in the past, and the contrast between her Hannah were striking, given their relationship. I think she was naive for constantly defending Hannah, instead of admitting the woman needed some help, and being more realistic about the overall situation. Still, it fit her personality to be a bit stubborn, and was more of a character trait than an actual complaint.

In the same ways the author described Travis painting, he created this book with a lot of color, making it easy to see what is meant to be important. The focus isn’t so much the state of the war, or any particular country. It isn’t a political statement piece, but rather a look into what an ordinary life would have looked like, and a taste of reality, from the view point of some well-created characters. Each one grew quite a bit, and were defined very well throughout the story.

My only complaint, is that the story lagged somewhat in a few places, with a bit too much emphasis was put on keeping things ‘mysterious’ for the reader, while other places felt far too rushed. It seems as though details could have been explained a in a more crisp manner, and the flow balanced better. Even so, the story overall was entertaining, and I would recommend it to other historical fiction fans.

*I was given a complimentary eCopy of this book, from the author, to read in exchange for an honest review.

The Satin Sash

 

 The Satin Sash
~Released: April 4th, 2017
~Length: 198 Pages
~Genres: Historical Fiction
~Parent’s Guide: PG-17
 
After the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor in 1941, American lives change dramatically. The Satin Sash continues the breathtaking lives of Travis Kane, Lindsay Wayne and Jean-Paul Renault with all the inherent dangers of the French Resistance, President Roosevelt’s live or die missions, and death defying action when German spies secretly enter the US through it’s ports. A wedding reception and the lives of Travis Kane and his family are thrown into chaos as America enters World War II.
 
The Satin Sash is set against the explosive backgrounds of New York, France, London and Ireland. Travis Kane becomes President Roosevelt’s tool in bringing one of the world’s most famous paintings to New York. Racial tensions surface. A famous black activist enters politics and an actress makes choices in the face of heartbreaking tragedy. A public enemy serves his country in wartime and a black artist becomes famous. When a baby is born the future shows promise.
 
With tension, suspense and surprising plot twists, we continue to follow the lives of the people we loved in The Velvet Prison

 

 

The gang is all grown up!

Travis and his companions seem to have a knack for finding and creating drama. The overall feel of this book reminded me of The Great Gatsby, with it’s flare for dramatic and flamboyant situations and overall feel. While the characters all fit themselves, they each seemed to become a bit emotional – which was even noted in a joke by one of the characters.

While I enjoyed the progression of the story, I had been hoping for a different kind of story. The actions of each character were far more influenced by world events, which is fitting, but made it somewhat predictable and not quite as satisfying as the prequel. I suppose it’s all in personal preference, but from the synopsis, I had simply been expecting something a bit different.

All that to say, this was still a good story. Seeing each character handle the different aspects of the confrontations made for an easy look at the different nations involved. While there didn’t seem to be an overall point or message of the story, it was interesting to see the differences in the nations, and people dealing with war.

I did enjoy this book, and the plot twists surrounding several of the characters. The cultural differences of the period were portrayed well, and gives a stark contrast to the world we live in today. The author set the story up well, and the flow was far better than the previous book. I would recommend this to fans of The Velvet Prison, and would be interested in reading other books by this author.

*I was given a complimentary eCopy of this book, from the author, to read in exchange for an honest review.

 

Do you enjoy historical novels? Let me know in the comments below!
 
Thanks for visiting! Have a wonderful day! =D


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Review of “The Discharge” by Gary Reilly!

Hiya peeps! I’m excited to share an awesome book with you guys today. Written by the late Gary Reilly, it chronicles the life of a soldier in the Army, and is highly autobiographical – how cool is that!?

I was able to do a review, and also have that posted below. Check it out, and if you like what you see, be sure to add the book to your tbr list!

The Discharge

 Discharge

~Released: June 23rd, 2017

~ Publisher: Running Meter Press

~Genres: Historical, Military

The Discharge is the third novel in Gary Reilly’s trilogy chronicling the life and times of Private Palmer as he returns from the U.S. Army to civilian life after a tour of duty in Vietnam. It is a largely autobiographical series based on his own two years of service, 1969-1971, which included a year in Southeast Asia.

In the first book, The Enlisted Men’s Club, Palmer is stationed as an MP trainee at the Presidio in San Francisco, awaiting deployment orders. Palmer is wracked with doubt and anxiety. A tortured relationship with a young lady off base and cheap beer at the EM club offer escape and temporary relief.

The Detachment is the second in the series. This novel covers Palmer’s twelve months in Vietnam as a Military Policeman. In the beginning, he endures through drink and drugs and prostitutes but comes to a turning point when he faces his challenges fully sober.

Now, in The Discharge, Palmer is back in the United States. But he’s adrift. Palmer tries to reconnect with a changed world. From San Francisco to Hollywood to Denver and, finally, behind the wheel of a taxi, Palmer seeks to find his place.


 About the Author

 Gary Reilly

Gary Reilly was a natural and prolific writer. But he lacked the self-promotion gene. His efforts to publish his work were sporadic and perfunctory, at best. When he died in 2011, he left behind upwards of 25 unpublished novels, the Vietnam trilogy being among the first he had written.


Running Meter Press, founded by two of his close friends, has made a mission of bringing Gary’s work to print. So far, besides this trilogy, RMP has published eight of ten novels in his Asphalt Warrior series. These are the comic tales of a Denver cab driver named Murph, a bohemian philosopher and aficionado of “Gilligan’s Island” whose primary mantra is: “Never get involved in lives of my passengers.” But, of course, he does exactly that.


Three of the titles in The Asphalt Warrior series were finalists for the Colorado Book Award. Two years in a row, Gary’s novels were featured as the best fiction of the year on NPR’s Saturday Morning Edition with Scott Simon. And Gary’s second Vietnam novel, The Detachment, drew high praise from such fine writers as Ron Carlson, Stewart O’Nan, and John Mort. A book reviewer for Vietnam Veterans of America, David Willson, raved about it, too.


There is a fascinating overlap in the serious story of Private Palmer’s return to Denver and the quixotic meanderings of Murph. It is the taxicab. One picks up where the other leaves off. Readers familiar with The Asphalt Warrior series will find a satisfying transition in the final chapters of The Discharge.


And they will better know Gary Reilly the writer and Gary Reilly the man.

~ Connect with Gary Online ~

PG-17

Life after the military is often a struggle, as many modern veterans can attest to. It isn’t just a modern issue though, and in The Discharge, Gary Reilly shows us just how relatable the post-military struggles of the Vietnam era really were.

I love reading autobiographies, and stories inspired by true people. Getting a glimpse into someone’s life is fascinating, and if it’s historical, even better. Following Private Palmer, knowing there were truths from the author’s life throughout the story, made it awesome. The story was completely captivating, and I truly feel as though I connected with a genuine person.

Being the wife of a military veteran, I felt a special pull to this story. In so many ways, I recognized the struggles my husband and so many of his military buddies encounter, and the entire challenge transcends time. This is a book many people could relate to, and if nothing else, learn from. It’s a wonderful, raw, gritty look at the life of a regular man, making his way through life.

I would definitely recommend this book, and am happy to have had the opportunity to experience it.

*I was given a complimentary copy of this book, from the publisher via Roger Charlie, to read in exchange for an honest review.

Let me know what you think of this story!

Thanks for visiting! Have a wonderful day! =D

“The Secret Billionaire” by Teymour Shahabi!

 Book Tour

Hiya guys! DRR has an interesting novel to share with you today!

Set in the ’60s, this Young Adult Mystery explores a young billionaire in London. Doesn’t that sound interesting?

Check out the author’s inspiration for writing the novel, and be sure the enter the giveaway at the end of the post!

The Secret Billionaire

 The Secret Billionaire

~Released: September  29th, 2016

~Genres: Young Adult, Mystery

Amazon

 

1960s — March 24. Billionaire Lyndon Surway takes off in his private plane and never returns.  His will leaves the entirety of his wealth—one of the largest fortunes in history—to his “ dear friend Lucian Baker.”  Only there is no trace of anyone by that name. And the fortune itself is nowhere to be found. Andrew Day knows nothing of wealth and privilege, but he won a scholarship to study at the most exclusive school in the country, in the town where the mystery, decades later, remains unsolved. There he discovers friendship and danger with the aristocratic Cameron and the beautiful Olivia. But watchful eyes follow him everywhere… Until, one night, he comes across a secret that will change his life. As he begins to unravel what really happened to the Surway fortune, the question remains: who is Lucian Baker?

 About the Author

 Teymour Shahabi

Teymour Shahabi was born in Paris in 1985 of Persian parents. He moved to the United States to study Comparative Literature and Mathematics at Harvard University. He currently lives in New York City, where he’s spent the last few years among serious grownups who probably have no idea he’s doing this. The Secret Billionaire is his first published book.  You can watch (and help) him try to figure out writing and life at his YouTube Channel.

Goodreads ~ Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

 Author Promo Pic

Inspiration for “The Secret Billionaire”

by Teymour Shahabi

What was the inspiration for “The Secret Billionaire.” The most truthful answer for this book (for any book?) might be at once the most magical and the most banal – maybe even the saddest. Most probably, I wrote the book for the reason that some might read it – for the same reason that all of us, book lovers, crack open any book: to escape. I started writing it when my life was, arguably, veering a little too close to seriousness and adulthood, to predictability and safety. My response, naturally, was to create a situation – to invent lives for a set of invisible human beings – in which none of these things would be certain. 

It’s understandable, therefore, that the ideas that came to me originated in all the places where I’ve found escape throughout my life – especially in the stories of my childhood. I’ve been haunted by tales of hidden treasure since reading “The Count of Monte-Cristo.” I fell in love with that story since I first heard about it around the age of ten, and I finally read the book a few years ago in my twenties. To me, that makes it count as a childhood favorite – especially given my alarming lack of evolution over the years. 

Beyond the story, “The Secret Billionaire” is set in a universe that is primarily influenced by two worlds. The first is the world of comic books. I’m probably the person in the world whose love of comic books is the most disproportional to the number he’s read. (I remind myself of Hansel in “Zoolander” when he says, “Sting would be another person who’s a hero. The music he’s created over the years, I don’t really listen to it, but the fact that he’s making it, I respect that.”) In other words, I’m in love with everything about comic books – their mythology, their rules, their aesthetic, and their pantheons – and someday I’d be very excited to read them. Comic book heroes have inherited the role of pagan gods in our culture; we look to Wonder-Woman and The Hulk with the same awe that people once felt for Athena and Ares. For my book in particular, I’ve probably been inspired by Batman the most, because his world, like that of “The Secret Billionaire,” bends the laws of physics and society to their extremes without ever shifting into fantasy. The second inspiration for the setting of this book is small town America – a world that is still, in my eyes, filled with the hope, excitement, and bighearted values that fairytales are made of. (If you want pictures of the real-life town behind the fictional Spring Forge, please shoot me an email.)

Finally, I’m deeply indebted to my favorite children’s story of all – the one that inspired not only “The Secret Billionaire,” but my lifelong love of stories. That is the story of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. There are moments in the book that specifically reference events in Ali Baba’s tale. Like the treasures themselves in both stories, these references are secret, but just like those treasures, the thought of them makes my eyes glimmer. And I’m particularly proud of the link to Ali Baba because the legend takes place in Persia, the land of my own ancestors, and one of the great sources of storytelling in the history of humankind. 

 Giveaways!

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Let us know what you think of this book in the comments below!

Thanks for visiting! =D