The Name Game Book Tag

Pentru postarea de astăzi m-am gândit să aleg un tag pe care l-am găsit mai de multă vreme online, atât pe unele blog-uri, cât și pe Booktube. Acest tag se numește The Name Game Book Tag și a fost creat de KimberleysBookNook. Tot ce trebuie să faceți este să atașați câte un titlu de carte citită sau achiziționată care să se potrivească fiecărei inițiale a numelor voastre. Ca să fiu sinceră, nu am fost sigură dacă voi găsi titluri potrivite pentru fiecare literă a numelor mele, însă, până la urmă, am izbutit să creez o listă cu cărți care înseamnă ceva pentru mine.

AAmor Intellectualis de Ion Vianu este o carte autobiografică presărată cu informații culturale și istorice, personalități ale culturii române interbelice și limbaj erudit care necesită multă atenție din partea cititorului. Sunt sigură că o voi înțelege mai bine cu cât voi înainta în vârstă. Am ales-o pentru că aceasta a fost a doua sau a treia carte căreia i-am scris o recenzie,

L La țigănci de Mircea Eliade este una dintre cărțile mele preferate scrise de acest  excepțional autor român. Stilul plin de suspans, paranormalul care contrastează cu banalitatea vieții de zi cu zi și episoadele pline de mister prin care trece Gavrilescu în casa țigăncilor, m-au făcut să ador această nuvelă încă din liceu.

IIubirea a spus de Jalaladin Rumi este primul volum de poezie mistică sufită pe care l-am citit și care m-a făcut să văd viața într-un mod diferit. De la această lectură încoace, Rumi a devenit poetul meu preferat.

NNotre-Dame de Paris de Victor Hugo nu mi-a plăcut la fel de mult ca musical-ul, însă a fost o lectură interesantă care m-a pus pe gânduri cu privire la religie, identitate, mentalitate, istorie etc. Îmi doresc să o recitesc pentru a-i scrie o recenzie detaliată.

AAucassin et Nicolette este o parodie care răstoarnă toate stereotipurile medievale, atât literare, cât și sociale. Deși nu este o capodoperă, este o cantafabulă amuzantă.

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AAntigona de Sofocle alături de celelalte două piese de teatru din așa-zisa trilogie a familiei lui Oedip mi-au trezit dragostea pentru literatura antică. Citiți Antigona pentru a descoperi o femeie puternică pentru care datoria este mai presus de propria-i viață.

NThe Necklace of Goddess Athena de Effrosyni Moschoudi este un roman fantastic în care zeii coabitează cu oamenii de rând și le trimit semne pentru a-i ghida către adevăr. Phevos și Daphne sunt aruncați în Atena zilelor noastre pentru a descoperi anumite secrete de familie și pentru a regăsi colierul Zeiței Atena dăruit tatălui lor.

DDavid Copperfield de Charles Dickens este prima carte despre care am știut că îmi va plăcea chiar și înainte să o citesc. Dickens are talentul de a-ți zdrobi sufletul prin relatarea copilăriei triste a lui David și maturizarea sa treptată cu toate greutățile și micile bucurii care vin să îi modeleze personalitatea.

RThe Rocker Who Holds Me (The Rocker) de Terri Anne Browning este o poveste de dragoste contemporană plină de dramă, suferință, gelozie, dar și prietenie și dragoste cu o protagonistă care are grijă de cei patru membrii ai trupei Demon’s Wings atât ca  manager, cât și ca o soră, fiind recunoscătoare pentru că acești bărbați i-au salvat viața cu mulți ani în urmă. Cum va reuși Ember să-și facă sentimentele cunoscute față de Nik, solistul periculos de atrăgător al formației?

EEscape from Sudan (Lust, Money & Murder) de Mike Wells este, din punctul meu de vedere, cea mai bună carte a seriei Lust, Money & Murder. De ce? Pentru că te ține în tensiune de la început până la sfârșit, iar tu nu poți să-ți dezlipești ochii de pe pagini sperând că Elaine Brogan și celelalte personaje vor supraviețui atacurilor extremiștilor, vremii neprielnice și animalelor salbatice care le ies în cale. De când am descoperit această serie thriller de spionaj, nu o mai pot lăsa din mână; mai mult, a devenit o „plăcere vinovată” pentru mine.

EThe Ebb (The Lady of the Pier) de Effrosyni Moschoudi este prima carte din trilogia scriitoarei din Grecia menționate mai sus, unde două povești aparținând unor epoci istorice diferite se împletesc frumos într-o poveste de dragoste paranormală cu acțiunea atât în Insula Corfu, cât și în Brighton, Regatul Unit. De ce Sofia este vizitată în vis de o doamnă îmbrăcată în negru, care recită versuri pe ponton în fața valurilor întărâtate de furtună? Citiți și veți afla sau așteptați recenzia primei cărți.

AAmintiri din copilărie de Ion Creangă este una dintre cele mai frumoase cărți românești pentru copii care fascinează cititorii atât prin limbajul neaoș și savuros al autorului, cât și prin pățaniile lui Nică, pe care, din ce în ce mai puțini copii le înțeleg.


În încheiere, voi eticheta câțiva bloggeri și vloggeri, însă oricine este invitat să-și alcătuiască propria listă și/sau să posteze răspunsurile sau link-ul către blog-urile sau videoclipurile personale mai jos. Sunt curioasă să aflu ce ați ales. Așadar, etichetez următorii bibliofili: Elena de la eLitere.ro, Adela de la Vanilla Moon Books, Anca de la Anca și cărțile, Geo de la Just Reading My Books, Tyna și Oliviana de la Delicatese Literare și Robert de la Lectură și ceai.

 

Prima carte tag

Tot vizionând filmulețele booktuberilor români, am găsit un tag despre primele cărți citite; tag creat de Adi de la Twisted1717, ale cărui întrebări mi s-au părut interesante; așa că m-am gândit să răspund și eu la ele.

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1.Care a fost prima carte pe care ai citit-o?

Prima carte pe care am citit-o din proprie inițiativă a fost Iris – Spectacolul abia începe de Miron Ghiu Caia, o carte despre istoria trupei Iris, de la începuturi până în anul 2002. Aceasta a fost prima carte pe care am citit-o pe nerăsuflate, pentru că eram fascinată de amintirile membrilor formației, întâmplările, bârfele și zvonurile legate de trupă și de fiecare dintre ei în parte. Deși pasiunea mea pentru lectură a venit mult mai târziu, țin minte cât de uimită și de încântată am fost că am terminat cartea în trei zile. De atunci mi-am dat seama că dacă îmi place o carte foarte mult, o devorez în câteva zile. Însă revenind la cartea biografică a trupei Iris, mi-aș dori să o recitesc, la un moment dat, pentru a o redescoperi și pentru a-mi reaminti de prima carte citită de mine, care mi-a deschis drumul spre lectură.

2.Prima serie de cărți pe care ai citit-o și ai terminat-o.

Probabil sunt printre puținii oameni de pe planetă care n-au citit foarte multe serii de cărți la viața lor. Am văzut câteva serii tentante pe Amazon, însă, încă nu sunt sigură dacă aș avea suficientă răbdare să citesc o poveste care se întinde pe mai multe volume, fiecare carte având  un număr generos de pagini: Outlander, Cântec de gheață și foc chiar și Harry Potter. Deși am mai citit câte o carte din câte o serie, majoritatea lor nu m-a atras atât de mult încât să nu pot trăi fără să le citesc pe restul. Deocamdată, singura trilogie pe care am terminat-o este The Lady of the Pier de Effrosyni Moschoudi care mi-a plăcut la nebunie, însă vă las pe voi să o descoperiți. Pe de altă parte, încă mă mai lupt cu Lust, Money & Murder de Mike Wells, o serie thriller cu agenți secreți care pare să nu se mai termine. Sper totuși să mă țină nervii și răbdarea până la ultima carte, oricare va fi ea, pentru că nu pot renunța la serie din cauza personajelor de care m-am atașat timp de zece cărți.

3.Primul stand-alone pe care l-ai citit.

Deși la vârsta respectivă încă nu dădusem de gustul cititului și nu știam ce cărți îmi vor plăcea, am citit Enigma Otiliei de George Călinescu pentru școală și nu pot spune că mi-a plăcut foarte mult. De multe ori, m-a plictisit, mai ales în pasajele lungi de introspecție. Acum știu că acele pasaje sunt importante pentru a ilustra complexitatea personajelor, însă atunci încercam să citesc de plăcere și… nu prea mi-a reușit. În plus, am o relație destul de complicată cu saga de familie: poate să-mi placă sau să mă plictisească rău de tot. De aceea, nu știu dacă voi mai citi o a doua carte scrisă de Isabel Allende după Zorro.

4.Prima carte pe care ai citit-o într-o zi.

Prima carte pe care am citit-o într-o zi a fost Confesiunile unui opioman englez de Thomas De Quincey, care, deși nu mă așteptam să îmi placă, m-a fascinat prin subiectul ieșit din comun pe care îl aborda autorul, riscând foarte multă critică din partea societății vremii.

5.Prima carte pe care ai citit-o și nu ai mai terminat-o.

O dată la o anumită perioadă de timp se întâmplă să dau și peste cărți care nu îmi plac. Deși nu cred că este prima, voi alege Spre far de Virginia Woolf, o carte care are drept procedeu literar principal fluxul conștiinței. Îmi pare rău de acest roman, însă m-an chinuit foarte mult cu el în facultate, până l-am abandonat de tot. Aș încerca să citesc cartea și în română, însă… am anumite dubii că o voi citi și înțelege mai ușor.

6.Prima carte pe care ai citit-o/terminat-o și nu ți-a plăcut.

Basmul Prințesei Repede-Repede de Emil Brumaru și Veronica D. Niculescu este printre foarte puținele cărți pe care le-am terminat de citit, deși nu mi-au plăcut. Îmi pare foarte rău că mi-am sacrificat timpul pentru această carte. Din punct de vedere al genului, se situează undeva între o carte erotică și un basm, ceea ce mie mi-a dat senzația de infantilism. Sper să nu supăr pe nimeni, însă mie nu mi-a transmis nimic acest așa-zis basm pentru adulți.

7.Prima carte care te-a făcut să plângi.

David Copperfield de Charles Dickens m-a făcut să plâng, pentru că am simțit că rezonez în anumite privințe cu protagonistul. Nu pot spune că am plâns în hohote, dar dacă mai ai o fărâmă de umanitate în tine, nu are cum să nu îți smulgă o lacrimă scena în care domnul Murdstone, tatăl vitreg al lui David, îl bate pe băiat fără motive întemeiate și fără pic de milă.

8.Prima carte pe care ai cumpărat-o.

Prima carte pe care am cumpărat-o a fost Mistere venețiene de Kathryn Walker.

9.Prima carte pe care ai primit-o cadou

Primele două cărți de care îmi pot aduce aminte cu certitudine, le-am primit la sfârșitul clasei I. Acestea erau Amintiri din copilărie de Ion Creangă și Din lumea celor care nu cuvântă de Emil Gârleanu.

10.Pe cine etichetezi să facă tag-ul mai departe?

Etichetez pe oricine dorește să răspundă la cerințele acestui tag. Nu uitați să-mi lăsați un comentariu sau un link mai jos spre blogul sau videoclipul vostru pentru că sunt curioasă să citesc răspunsurile voastre.

Social Media Book Tag

Social Media becomes more and more part of our everyday life whether we like it or not. Nowadays, it’s really hard to picture our lives without it or the Internet as a whole. A while, my friend Elena from eLitere.ro posted her answers for the Social Media Book Tag which combines two things I enjoy: social networks and books, which were made to go hand in hand in my world. Without further ado, here are my answers for this fun little book tag.

Twitter – Your favourite shortest book

Well, that’s a bit tricky because my favourite books are not so short, but I’m going to say La țigănci by Mircea Eliade, which is translated into English as With The Gypsy Girls. It’s a paranormal novella that has elements of magic realism and it’s basically the story of a poor piano teacher named Gavrilescu who lives a plain and unfulfilled artistic life, but deep inside he longs for adventure and he is drawn to a mysterious house where strange things happen and times flows differently. This is one of my favourite works of Romanian literature and I would recommend it to any bookworm out there because Eliade was a great writer.

Facebook – A book everybody pressured you into reading

Of all the recommendations I get from my family, friends and acquaintances, the book one of my mum’s friends insists that I should read is Isabel Allende’s The House of The Spirits. I would gladly read it if it weren’t for two reasons: I’m not very fond of family sagas in general and the second reason is that I read Zorro which is written by the same author and I didn’t like it because the story drags a lot and it was a painful read.

Tumblr – A book you read before it was cool

To be honest, I’m quite the opposite. I watch many booktubers, so I know what’s cool or trendy, but I prefer to go my own way and read a book because I’m interested in it, not because everyone else reads it. There are a few popular books I would like to try, but they aren’t on my top priority list for now. I own enough books to keep me entertained for the following years and I’ve signed up to some author newsletters to be noticed about their newest releases.

MySpace – A book you don’t remember whether you liked or not

I don’t think such a thing ever happened to me. I might forget the name of the characters or parts of the plot, but I usually remember if I read a book or not, even if I hated it.

Instagram – A book that was so beautiful you had to instagram it

I don’t have an Instagram account, but I like to look at other readers’ bookstagrams. For me, every book is beautiful in its own way, so I don’t have an answer for this one. However, I’m going to take photos of the books I own for my book reviews and other tags.

Youtube – A book you wish would be turned into a movie

I would like to see Lust, Money & Murder by Mike Wells turned into a blockbuster or into a TV/Netflix series because it’s an action-packed espionage thriller full of suspense, twists, criminals and a badass female Secret Service agent. What else can you ask for? Even the series has a resounding title begs to be printed on a movie poster or to appear in a movie trailer.

Goodreads – A book you recommend to everyone

Hmm. there are a few novels I love to death, but I’ll switch to poetry now and recommend The Essential Rumi by Coleman Barks because his poems are spiritual, they make you question everything you did in life and you become aware that less is more. I know that this isn’t a book for everybody out there, but Rumi is my favourite poet of all time and it will be very difficult for anyone else to take his place.

Skype – A book with characters that you wish you could talk to instead of just reading about

Now this one is actually easy because I would like to meet any character from Effrosyni Moschoudi’s novels The Necklace of Goddess Athena and The Lady of the Pier which is actually a trilogy I’m currently reading.  I would like to meet and hang out with Phevos, Ksenia, Daphne or Manos because I’m obsessed with myths and Greek culture and civilisation. Plus, they are kind and hardworking youngsters from whom I have a lot to learn.

If you’ve enjoyed this article, like or share it with your friends and if you want to play along, feel free to leave a comment with your answers or if you already have an article or a video response, please leave the link to your blog or video below. I would be more than happy to take a look.

Review: Black Widow by Mike Wells

 

Book 10 of Lust, Money & Murder

Title: Black Widow

Author: Mike Wells

Genre: Crime, Thriller, Suspense, Espionage

Year of Publication: 2017

Self-Published

Series: Lust, Money & Murder

Rating: 4/5 stars

Note: “I was provided with an advanced reader copy of this book so I could give an honest review.

Warning: Lust Money & Murder is a book series where every book is the continuation of the previous one. If you haven’t read the first book and you are interested in doing so, please return to my review after finishing it, because this article contains spoilers from the first book!

In case I haven’t bored you enough or even annoyed you with my favourite espionage series, today I’m going to write a few paragraphs about Mike Wells’ most recent book in this series, Black Widow, where Elaine is forced to confront and relive her past.

Six months after the events from the ninth book, Elaine Brogan receives an unexpected visitor, whom she hasn’t seen in years.  Kathy, whose identity I won’t reveal, came to Elaine’s farmhouse to ask for help and to reveal a terrible truth about Patrick Brogan’s death. As if the reencounter with this strange yet familiar person wasn’t enough to shock Elaine, now she was to cope with her old wounds too. In order to find out the truth about the suspect aka Spyro Leandrou aka Kathy’s husband, Elaine needs to go to Santorini (Greece) and pose as a governess for Leandrou’s illegitimate son. Meanwhile, Luna goes to Pittsburgh to investigate Patrick’s case.

Kathy is a character I didn’t like that much because she had the gut to appear again in Elaine’s life out of the blue to seek help because she feared for her life. No wonder Elaine reacted the way she did in the first chapters because she didn’t trust Kathy even a bit.  However, things might begin to change in Greece, where the two will pretend to be employer and employee. Kathy is apparently refined and ladylike; instead, she’s insecure and she hasn’t quit her lifelong vices. The thing that annoyed me the most about her was the way she got rid of the Canadian governess. Okay, I understand that Kathy needed to make room to facilitate Elaine’s access into Spyro Leandrou’s house, but the way Kathy did it made me shake my head in disapproval, to say the least.

As for Spyro Leandrou, who is a criminal, according to what Kathy and Cattoretti said: the Greek tycoon seems to have a good side too: he shows his unconditional love to his son Alex, for whom he provided a thorough education both for his mind and body. On the other hand, if we look at Kathy and Elaine’s relationship, it will change a bit for the better; Elaine discovers qualities and abilities Kathy didn’t seem to have before.

This book was pretty steady-paced (with a few exceptions) because Elaine, Luna and Dimitry go on this new mission to gather information and to enable Elaine’s access to Leandrou’s criminal activity. The book has beautiful descriptive passages about Dubrovnik (Croatia), Oia and Fira (Santorini, Greece) which made my heart swell with joy because I’ve visited those places at least twice until now. The narrator makes fun of the unspoken rules of Greece, which seem very strange for Westerners, as well as Dimitry’s mentality, which I can understand to a certain point. Anyway, it was an interesting read and I’m really curious to see what happens next.

Review: Escape from Sudan by Mike Wells

Book 9 of Lust, Money & Murder

 

Title: Escape from Sudan

Author: Mike Wells

Genre: Crime, Thriller, Suspense, Espionage

Year of Publication: 2016

Self-Published

Series: Lust, Money & Murder

Rating: 5/5 stars

Warning: Lust Money & Murder is a book series where every book is the continuation of the previous one. If you haven’t read the first book and you are interested in doing so, please return to my review after finishing it, because this article contains spoilers from the first book!

Blood diamonds, she thought. That’s exactly what these are. She felt almost as superstitious as the Africans now, as if the pink diamonds themselves had somehow caused all this hardship and death.” (Loc. 2421-2423).

As some of you already know, Lust, Money & Murder is one of my favourite series and, even though I’ve taken a break from it for a few months, here I am writing a review for the ninth book, which is entitled Escape from Sudan.

Elaine Brogan reveals her true identity to Stanley Ketchum, but the former-CIA agent doesn’t believe that the pretty blond is a U.S. Secret Service agent, but ‘some gold digger who was working with Raj to get her hands on the diamond mine”. (Loc. 456-457) Therefore, in order to push the mission forward, Elaine must convince Stan to cooperate and she hopes that he will not inform Raj about her (and Luna’s) unofficial investigation on Malik and his illegal smuggling. Will Ketchum’s conditions change the initial plan? How will Cattoretti react? Caught between Cattoretti’s plan and the investigation, Elaine Brogan must also cope with the frequent attacks from the Janjaweed warriors, who constantly follow them.

Meanwhile, back in Tangier, Nick LaGrange has problems of his own: from questioning his wife’s relationship with Cattoretti, finding out the truth about Isabella, to being held prisoner by some Ukrainian gangsters. What’s real and what isn’t? How will Nick manage to escape and what other risky missions will he have to go on?

This book was an emotional roller-coaster for me because some plans change; others almost fall apart due to dangerous situations, mistrust or new information, which took me by surprise as if they punched me in the face. This novel is one of the bloodiest of the entire series and almost everyone gets shot or hurt at least once. I was shocked, I was surprised, sometimes even disgusted, but I laughed when a character or a scene was funny and I rooted for Elaine and Nick to escape from the life-threatening situations they were into. You never know how things will end even when you are inches away from finishing the book.

Review: Blood Diamonds by Mike Wells

Book 8 of Lust, Money & Murder

 

Title: Blood Diamonds

Author: Mike Wells

Genre: Crime, Thriller, Suspense, Espionage

Year of Publication: 2016

Self-Published

Series: Lust, Money & Murder

Rating: 4/5 stars

Note: I was provided with an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

WarningLust Money & Murder is a book series where every book is the continuation of the previous one. If you haven’t read the book series and you are interested in doing so, please return to my review after finishing the previous book, because this article contains spoilers from it!

Towards the end of Book 7, Elaine Brogan is obliged to join forces with Giorgio Cattoretti, in order to bring Raj Malik down as a revenge for what Malik did to her and Nick. According to Cattoretti, Raj’s wealth is based on the profit he makes from smuggling diamonds from a secret cave in a war zone from central Africa. Though Elaine thinks this mission is very risky, she wants to bust Raj for everything he has done, while the Italian mastermind is most of all interested in the rare pink diamonds themselves. For this mission, Elaine has to track down Stanley Ketchum, the ex-CIA agent who supplies Raj Malik with the precious diamonds and to use her charms to find out the exact location of the mine and to give the coordinates to Cattoretti.

Meanwhile, Nick, who escaped from the black site with the apparently mute nurse, Alisha, discovers that she is actually Isabella, the woman who blew up one of his undercover missions from the past that might have killed him. Though Nick is disgusted with what Isabella did to him a few years ago, he wants to know if she was linked in any way to the attack from the black site and to those who hold Elaine hostage. Though the reencounter with Isabella stirs some mixed feelings in Nick, he is equally worried about what had happened to Elaine and even insecure at the thought of her being again with Cattoretti. Even if Isabella’s presence annoys Nick, he reluctantly accepts her offer to help him look for Elaine, in exchange for a service he has to return.

Elaine’s journey through Northern and Central Africa is remarkably built and written through the way Mr Wells depicts and outlines the local cultures of Morocco, Chad and Sudan, the issue of poverty, war and extremism, international aid and dangerous encounters with wild animals. Though changing her identity is a piece of cake for Elaine, I think that here she plays her best role pretending to be a Texas trophy wife with the purpose of seducing Stan and hoping she will have the opportunity to see the diamond mine up close.

Will she get what Cattoretti wants without making Stanley too interested in her? I’ll let you find out for yourselves.

Review: Off the Grid by Mike Wells

Book 7 of Lust, Money & Murder

 

Title: Off the Grid

Author: Mike Wells

Genre: Crime, Thriller, Suspense, Espionage

Year of Publication: 2016

Self-Published

Series: Lust, Money & Murder

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Note: I was provided with an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Warning: Lust Money & Murder is a book series where every book is the continuation of the previous one. If you haven’t read the book series and you are interested in doing so, please return to my review after finishing the previous book because this article contains spoilers from it

In the beginning of the seventh book, Elaine Brogan and Nick LaGrange drive to the U.S. Embassy in Paris, where they are arrested on the spot for letting Cattoretti go. Ouch! It looks like Raj Malik found out somehow what the two secret agents did and he decided that it would be better to put them in prison and interrogate them whenever he likes. There, we enter the abominable hell Elaine lives in; terrifying thoughts cross her mind that she will not see Nick or her children again, she endures the humiliation of staying into a windowless, stinky cell and she undergoes various methods of torture (such as loud metal music, sleep deprivation, starvation) which gradually affect her mind and senses. Unlike his wife, Nick copes a little better with this subhuman treatment, because he worked as a professional extractor if you still remember from book 6. But how can he escape without his equipment? Did Elaine and Nick reach a dead end? Will anyone help them get out of this obscure place? Read the book and you will find out.

A secondary plotline stretches in front of our eyes and we read about Luna Faye’s story: her mixed-race origins, the traumas caused by the kids at school who bullied her and made fun of her size and looks, the reasons why she became interested in Martial Arts and in a career as an FBI agent. For me, it is fascinating how mature Luna was in her teen years and what a strong sense of justice she had at that time in her life. Becoming an FBI agent, she is sent to investigate the case of a famous serial killer that inspired her to enter the field of forensics. In this part of the book, you will also understand why Luna is so afraid of flying and how she managed to stop the serial killer and his accomplice from getting away.

Elaine and Nick’s imprisonment and some events that take place in the second part of the book were a bit scary, thought-provoking, but they made me read on. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same thing about Luna’ story. It was a little too long for my taste, as well as Dimitry’s mission to follow Raj everywhere he goes. I am a devoted fan of this series, but I had some mixed feelings while reading Off the Grid and I’m not so sure if I still want to continue reading it. The premise for the eighth book is pretty tempting, but what if the digressions or secondary plots bore me like it happened in this case?

I guess I’ll have enough time to answer this question until the next book comes out. I’m not a big fan of book series and I’m pretty surprised that I came so far with Lust, Money & Murder, which means a lot, but for my curiosity to be fully satisfied, the eighth book needs to be more dynamic (especially the first half of it) and maybe as engaging as On Russian Soil, for example. However, this is my personal and honest opinion and suggestion. I’m not scolding Mr Wells, but if nowadays we have the privilege to connect with the authors of our favourite books, why we shouldn’t analyse their works critically, for the benefits of both writers and readers? I hope that my thoughts about this book will not spoil your excitement about it, but a reviewer’s purpose is to notice both the highs and lows of a book. Until next time!

Review: The Extraction by Mike Wells

Book 6 of Lust, Money & Murder

 

Title: The Extraction

Author: Mike Wells

Genre: Crime, Thriller, Suspense, Espionage

Year of Publication: 2015

Self-Published

Series: Lust, Money & Murder

Rating: 4/5 stars

WarningLust Money & Murder is a book series where every book is the continuation of the previous one. If you haven’t read the book series and you are interested in doing so, please return to my review after finishing the previous book because this article contains spoilers from it!

I just can’t believe how addicted I am to this series. The cliff-hanger from the previous book was so well done and so intriguing that I couldn’t stop thinking about what was going to happen to Elaine Brogan and how she would overcome a certain life-threatening situation.

In the beginning of the sixth book, Raj Malik receives Elaine’s message and then the “head of the U.S. Secret Service operations in Europe” (Loc. 27) calls Leon Gilmour, a professional extractor, who rescues American assets from neutral or hostile countries. He must extract a young American agent who is suffering from hypothermia and wolf bites. It also seems that she is held hostage by an insurgent and Leon must deal with him too. Afterwards, he must destroy any evidence of struggle or gunshots before the police find them.

Some important events and secrets from Leon’s past are uncovered, though the hint given by the narrator in one of the first chapters will definitely make the readers of the previous books recognise him immediately. However, I will not reveal the name of the character. I can only add that life can sometimes be very ironic.

In this book, we can see how twisted Cattoretti’s mind is (more than ever if you ask me), what plans he has got regarding Elaine, her family and her saviour. How evil can a criminal mastermind get? However, after returning home, Elaine hatches a plan to find Cattoretti’s hideout, because he has kidnapped Tony, but also to find out where Lexy and Cattoretti’s son was taken without the mother’s consent.

The book is full of amazing elements: split missions through which the agents find more information about Cattorretti and his accomplices, epic fights in unexpected places, adrenaline, suspense, but also a bit of humour every now and then. However, the story is not over yet because we have to explore the seventh book.

 

Review: On Russian Soil by Mike Wells

Book 5 of Lust, Money & Murder

The Undercover Hunt For An International Criminal

 

Title: On Russian Soil

Subtitle: The Undercover Hunt For An International Criminal

Author: Mike Wells

Genre: Crime, Thriller, Suspense, Espionage

Year of Publication: 2014

Self-Published

Series: Lust, Money & Murder

Rating: 5/5 stars

WarningLust Money & Murder is a book series where every book is the continuation of the previous one. If you haven’t read the book series and you are interested in doing so, please return to my review after finishing the previous book because this article contains spoilers from it!

After mastermind Georgio Cattoretti succeeds in stealing the entire collection of Picasso paintings from Hermitage Museum, the Russian Government surprisingly asks the United States “to send someone from the FBI Art Crime Team over to help them on the case” (Loc. 4974, Book 4). And who is the most suitable person to go on an undercover mission to St. Petersburg, to catch the international criminal? Elaine Brogan, of course.

However, her biggest challenges are: she has to pose as an FBI Art Crime detective, then she must catch Cattoretti before the Russian police does and she also needs to figure out a plan “to lure him out of Russia (…) or trick him in crossing the border into Latvia or Lithuania or Estonia” (Loc. 43) from where he can be extradited to the U.S. authorities and judged for his crimes. Elaine is not thrilled about her mission because of her lack of knowledge in art crime and also for the way Cattoretti treated her in the past, including his attempt to kill her. But in the end, she is left with no other choice but to obey the orders of her superior. How will she accomplish her complex assignment with all the risks it implies? And another important aspect is this: how will she complete her undercover mission without raising suspicions from Russian art crime expert, Inspector Sergei Amperov and his team?

I won’t actually give you too many details because this book is very well-built and the interesting journey is more enjoyable when you don’t know what to expect from this part of the series. The narration resembles a mystery book, though the reader knows from the start who committed the art heist. The deductions regarding the heist, the criminal’s intentions, the identity of the accomplices who helped him and the plan to catch the Italian mastermind and to bring back the priceless paintings safe and sound are the main parts of the story. I think that this particular book resembles a modern Sherlock investigation with high-tech surveillance gadgets, while the action is placed on Russian soil mixed with local culture and mentality. I also love the way the author describes the gloomy winter weather and the majestic historic buildings of St. Petersburg, not to mention the lavish Hermitages Museum itself.

 

This is all I have to say about On Russian Soil. Until next time!

Review: Cattoretti’s Return by Mike Wells

Book 4: of Lust, Money & Murder

An Unstoppable Villain’s Thirst for Revenge

 

Title: Cattoretti’s Return

Subtitle: An Unstoppable Villain’s Thirst for Revenge

Author: Mike Wells

Genre: Crime, Thriller, Suspense, Espionage

Year of Publication: 2014

Self-Published

Series: Lust, Money & Murder

Rating: 4/5 stars

 WarningLust Money & Murder is a book series where every book is the continuation of the previous one. If you haven’t read the book series and you are interested in doing so, please return to my review after finishing the previous book because this article contains spoilers from it!

At the end of the third book, it seemed that Georgio Cattoretti met his match and Karma gave him what he deserved. However, in the fourth book, we find out that he is a little disabled, due to the fight he had with Elaine Brogan, but he is overall alive and kicking. Though barely surviving the fall, the waves and his injuries, Cattoretti is determined to hide from the local police, Interpol and the U.S. Secret Service that were looking for him. The memories and traumas caused by the time he was imprisoned in the U.S. made him vow to himself that he would rather commit suicide than spend another day behind bars. With the way the narration about Cattoretti’s survival and pitiful condition is told, it almost makes you sorry for him and his ingenuity reminds me of Robinson Crusoe.

But “the cat always lands on his feet” (Loc. 6074), as Cattoretti always said to himself. He manages to flee from Italy without being caught by the police and settles in Cyprus, where he lives peacefully for a while under a false identity. However, he is afraid that the Russian Mafia — let’s say… an old acquaintance who laundered his counterfeit money — was probably following him. The head of the organisation could spill the beans and Cattoretti’s contract killings would surface. Because he doesn’t want to be caught and he hopes to seek protection, the Italian criminal goes to Moscow to talk to Yuri Zubov. However, things are not that smooth and his life may be at stake…

As you already noticed, the main events in this book revolve around Georgio Cattoretti, his survival story, his plans to find a hideout and to make a comeback in the criminal world. However, the narration also shows the Italian criminal’s cynical relationship with his young submissive housekeeper and accomplice, Lexy. They travel to a few European countries and to Russia, where they have some interesting adventures, such as those from Amsterdam.

Personally, I truly enjoyed the information provided by the author about art and about the places visited by the characters. This all makes one feel the pulse of that certain city. The Italian criminal loves art, but inspiration strikes him in a bad way. He plans to make an immense art heist by stealing Pablo Picasso’s paintings from Hermitage Museum, but let’s not forget that he also wants to take revenge on Elaine Brogan. How will Georgio Cattoretti overcome all the obstacles? Will he achieve his goals? Read and you will find out! Until next time, don’t hesitate to pick a good book!