Book Review: El Dorado 1 & 2 by Ben Hammott

Reading these books made me feel like I was on an Indiana Jones adventure, with a bit of King Solomon’s Mines thrown in for good measure. I cannot recommend these books highly enough.

History and the present intertwine in this ripping yarn of adventure and adversity deep in the Amazon jungle. This is an absolutely fantastic story in which Ben Hammott has crafted an ingenious tale full of great characters, all of whom are likeable but not necessarily always good people.

The story hooks readers with the mysteries of the past and legends of treasure, and then connects to them through the descendants of the original adventurers.

From that point on, this pair of books takes the reader on a journey through rough terrain, down treacherous rivers, and territory inhabited by previously unknown tribes.

Reading these books made me feel like I was on an Indiana Jones adventure, with a bit of King Solomon’s Mines thrown in for good measure. It had plenty of heart-in-your-throat moments, a tantalising amount of mystery and intrigue, and some really engaging characters and dialogue to keep the story moving.
5 stars for this great book that would suit any reader from YA upwards.

I cannot recommend these books highly enough.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can buy the books individually, or as a set at a discounted price, which 616ai5ervgl-_ux160_
is how I bought them. They’re fantastic reading, so indulge yourself and get both!

 

 

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Book Review: The Merlon Murders by Victoria Benchley

Set in Scotland, ‘The Merlon Murders’ is an intriguing mystery revolving around the death of a prominent local identity.

S25270390et in Scotland, ‘The Merlon Murders’ is an intriguing mystery revolving around the death of a prominent local identity.  Duncan Dewar sets out to investigate the death and finds himself in a complex web of local social relationships, loyalties and interpersonal history. Benchley has developed a wonderful cast of characters and a very authentic feeling in her Scottish settings.
‘The Merlon Murders’ Book 1 sets the scene and gets the reader involved in local life in the village of Taye, where the reader is enticed by a number of minor questions and mysteries that evolve along with the main storyline.
However, the book ends on a cliffhanger without any warning, and without any solution at all to either the minor questions or the main mystery. The answers are promised in Book 2, a fact which left this reader feeling less than satisfied, being one who is accustomed to a mystery book delivering resolution to the problem and complications established in the plot rather than just being left hanging.

 

I really enjoyed reading this book, but the ending left me disappointed. Despite that, I’ve given it four stars, because it’s a great read.
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Book Review: The Lover’s Portrait by Jennifer S Alderson

This book has all the ingredients needed for a great mystery/thriller … 5 stars for ‘The Lover’s Portrait’.
You’re sure to enjoy this fantastic book.

30000039This book has all the ingredients needed for a great mystery/thriller: history, intrigue, conspiracy, heartbreak, action and suspense. It may sound contrived or mundane to say that a book is a “page-turner” and that one “couldn’t put it down”, but it really is true of ‘The Lover’s Portait’. Set in Amsterdam, t’s a well-designed, fabulous historical puzzle, solved decades later by someone who has no intention of becoming a detective; rather, it is through her dogged commitment to the truth that she uncovers the answers. The author has woven together a number of compelling plot lines to construct her own work of art. It is free of gratuitous violence and sex, making it suitable for Young Adult audiences as well as older readers.
The story moves at a great pace, keeping the reader fully engaged in Zelda’s quest for the truth. The characters are well-developed and very believable. Zelda, as the main protagonist, is flawed and realistic, while the antagonist is both intelligent and cold-hearted, and is therefore very easy to dislike. This is paralleled in the ‘historical’ characters in the story: the protagonists are likeable and genuine, both oppressed for different reasons, while the author has very effectively characterised their NAZI antagonist as cruel and vindictive through his own motivations and actions without resorting to any typecasting or cliche.  Throughout the novel, the author succeeds in using the natural empathy of the reader to drive their interest and engagement in the characters and plot without the reader being aware of any such positioning.
As the novel draws to a close, Anderson pulls the various story lines together into a neat and satisfying conclusion, albeit tinged with sadness and regret.
5 stars for ‘The Lover’s Portrait’.
Read it. You’re sure to enjoy this fantastic book.
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