Friday, January 30, 2015

Finding Sheba Review

For centuries, historians have speculated that the Queen of Sheba is nothing more than a seductive legend; but when undercover agent Omar Zagouri finds a tomb in a tunnel beneath Jerusalem, he unearths cryptic clues that may lead to the queen’s final resting place.

This discovery, if authentic, could throw into question the governmental claim to the Holy Land—and prove the Bible false. Wealthy collectors, ruthless archaeologists, and officials from Egypt, Ethiopia, Israel, and Yemen scramble to find and lay claim to the secret site.

Dr. Richard Lyon of Brown University, the world’s leading expert on the queen, is found murdered in his office, setting off a chain of deadly events. Omar desperately works to piece together the puzzle to locate the queen’s burial ground, fearing another assassination will take place. He teams up with one of Lyon’s protégées as well as with his ex-girlfriend, agent Mia Golding, in order to unravel the truth about the queen, expose a murderer, and reveal a timeless story of love, revenge, and sacrifice.

My Review:

Moore delivers a heart-pounding race through ancient landscapes and modern intrigues as an epic hunt for the Queen of Sheba’s final resting place leads to the truth behind the legends. The discovery of a hidden tomb leads to the attempted murder of the Coptic Pope and pulls a diverse cast of characters into a quest across the deserts of Saudi Arabia in order to find clues they hope will prove the existence of key historical figures mentioned in the Bible. Along the way, they face death, desert pirates, scheming men set on making sure the truth is never found, and loss of their very heritage and beliefs in a journey that spans across thousands of years.
I loved, loved the way history and mystery collided in this book! The details provided about the fascinating areas and their historical significance captivated my imagination, and added a touch of possible reality to this work of fiction. Even though the Queen of Sheba remains veiled in semi-myth, I felt the events of her life as they unfolded in this book could have happened. I came to adore her strength of character, and her ached for her sufferings as she attempted to lead her people at such a young age.
It speaks a lot about the queen's power that she is able to capture so much attention thousands of years after her death. The cast of characters that come together to try to piece together the story of her life were each fascinating in their own right—from the student attempting to find evidence to support her thesis to the special agent with an attitude problem. Their different storylines expertly wove in and around each other throughout the book. When they all converged, things exploded in surprising ways. The entire book was a poignant combination of reflecting on the beauty of the past and longing for hoped for futures. The murder, intrigue, and constant ducking and dodging death all added elements that kept me riveted. The ending made me cry a bit, which I've never done with a thriller before. Excellent read!

Man, it is so hard to write this review without spoiling anything. It is great! If you enjoy political thrillers, ancient mysteries, and spicy love stories, this blends all three. Enjoy!

*I received a free kindle copy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review*

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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Beneath by H.B. Moore

Chalice Stratford's hands won’t stop shaking, and not only is she required to give up her medical practice, but she’s forced to enter the witness protection program since the serial killer who brutally scarred her is still at large. Working in a museum in Bordeaux, France, the last thing she expects is to be abducted in a museum theft gone wrong. Omar Zagouri, the man behind the heist, is not who she expects, and Chalice soon learns he might be the one man who can put her demons to rest. 

Beneath is a fast-paced, short work of fiction that introduces the character Omar, which is featured in H.B. Moore's larger novel, Finding Sheba. The characters hooked me from the very beginning. I wanted to know what had happened to Chalice that had forced her to go from successful surgeon to a woman working in a French art museum. Also, she has the worst luck ever! She is still dealing with emotional trauma from her own harrowing torture, only to be held at gunpoint by three men stealing a famous painting. I loved her guts as she stood up to them to protect a teacher and group of children, even though it was clear her physical and emotional scars ran deep. I deeply cared about her character for such a short story. However, I found some of her actions to be a little unbelievable considering her history. I didn't see how she could trust a man who'd held her at gunpoint, especially after her previous horrible experience that put her in protective custody. I also didn't believe her opening up to spill her woeful tale to a man, and wanting to escape with someone she didn't know rather than talk to the police.  The attempt at a little romance also came off as a little forced. I read Finding Sheba before this book, so it was hard to even picture Chalice and Omar as a couple. I also was disappointed in the lack of resolution in the story. Chalice told a little about her experience that put her in her current situation, but not in great detail. Omar promises to help, but then it just ends. I wanted to see her problem, which the story had teased about the whole time, get resolved. Her confrontation the man, or testifying against him, or something to wrap up the conflict built in the fabric of the story would have been nice. I would love to read more of Chalice's story which wasn't possible in such a short piece already jammed full of action. Other than that. I thought, the characters and storyline were very engaging, and it is a great introduction to Omar's character and job. I would definitely read more books about both characters!

Content Alerts: The main character does reveal her bra to show a man the scars on her body, and there are a couple instances of swearing.

***I received this story for free in exchange for an honest review.***

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