The Elephant Keeper’s Daughter by Julia Drosten: A Review

If this is how my year’s going to be in terms of books that make me come undone, then, by all means, bring it on. 

The Elephant Keeper's Daughter by Julia Drosten

Historical romance/ Coming of age/ 295 pages/ Expected release date: April 10th 2018, Amazon Crossing

About the book: 

Ceylon, 1803. In the royal city of Kandy, a daughter is born to the king’s elephant keeper—an esteemed position in the court reserved only for males. To ensure the line of succession, Phera’s parents raise her as a boy.
As she bonds with her elephant companion, Siddhi, Phera grows into a confident, fiercely independent woman torn between the expectations of her family and her desire to live life on her own terms. Only when British colonists invade is she allowed to live her true identity, but when the conquerors commit unspeakable violence against her people, Phera must add survival to the list of freedoms for which she’s willing to fight.
Possessed by thoughts of revenge yet drawn into an unexpected romance with a kindly British physician, the elephant keeper’s daughter faces a choice: Love or hatred? Forgiveness or retribution?

My review: 2615 2615 2615 2615 2615

This book unravels a disruption that Phera’s family never imagined would come upon them with the British invasion. Their heritage, their homes, their faith, dignity and life all become undone on one night when one of their own betrays their King and has him exiled to create room for the British.

In all this, Phera stood out as the youngest child to be born to the Elephant Keeper of the Palace. She’s born female but has to live the first twelve years of her life as male because of a lie her family told the King. She cannot declare the truth too because according to their custom only males would be Elephant Keepers and she loves Siddhi-her elephant cow, too much to jeopardize that.

The authors invite you into Sri Lanka, into Phera’s world and you see it through her eyes, feel it through her heart beat and her anguish becomes your own and her people’s death and brutal treatment at the hands of the British makes you wonder just how much a person could take.

It is a tale that reminds me of an African proverb, Until the story of the hunt is told by the lion, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.
I am glad to have gotten the chance to read this book courtesy of NetGalley. My views on it are on the tale and for such a long time colonization has often bragged about introduction of civilization into colonies but with this tale, and as with many more, I beg to differ.

If you are into historical fiction, then I’d recommend you read this book. It’ll break your heart, challenge your beliefs, but it’s a well told story that’s bound to make you want to walk through that jungle with Phera and her elephant cow.

Pre-order today: Amazon


Interesting books I’ve read this week

The Prince of Mirrors by Alan Robert Clark

Historical Fiction/ Paperback pages 352/ Published by Fairlight Books

I could not put this book down . Set in the 1860s to 1890s, it tells the story of Prince Albert Victor, the would be Uncle of Queen Elizabeth II.
Albert is known as Eddy and he is the heir while his younger brother Georgie is what you’d could the spare, but everyone sees Eddy as weak, naive, and undecided- and his ability to reign is unknown to everyone including his parents. They send him to university at some point.
It’s at the university that he meets Jem, his new tutor, but it’s at that first sight that Jem knows he could never walk away from Eddy. “For most of his life, his heart is a passive, sleepy thing. Then it sees a young face peeking out from under a floppy hat in the morning sun. And when his heart awakes, it roars. He panics. He does not know what to do….to reach out towards it might bring discovery, scandal, and disgrace.” Read more…here

PS: The Prince of Mirrors is set to be released soon.

Touch of Ice by Mary Auclair

Sci-fi alien Romance/ Kindle Edition, 315 pages/ Published by Eclipse Press

When Endora is faced with her daughter’s terminal illness, she takes the only chance she’s got. She braves the potential risks and signs a mating contract with the Delradon Draekon Lords, intent on using the payment to buy the aliens’ cure to save her daughter’s life. Lord Aldric Darragon rules over his land with an iron fist until one day the only woman who is genetically compatible with him agrees to his offer of mating. As his all-consuming passion for Endora explodes, an ancient threat looms heavy over humans and Delradons alike. With the lives of everyone he cares about hanging in the balance, Aldric has to fight the demons of his past if he wants to defeat the enemies of the present.

I love any book that has dragons in it maybe it’s because I was born in the Chinese year of the Dragon, or maybe it’s just one of those mythical beings that fascinate me, but this book was one I couldn’t put down. Read my full review (here)

Get a copy of this book today on Amazon.

Book Review: Heat by Donna Grant

I love the Ancients, and if you throw in some magic and dragons like this book did, then you’ve got my attention.

336 pages/ Fiction/ Dark Romance 

The story involves Dragon Kings, Fae, Druids and the battle for supremacy between the magic world of immortals and human beings. There is a war brewing and an ancient Dragon King, Nikolai, is woken up from his deep slumber and finds himself in the middle of it all. He has the ability to bring to life one’s memories and thoughts through his art and Esther, a former MI5 Agent, and sister to Henry, a member of Dreagen, has lost a huge chunk of her memory after coming across a Druid.

In an attempt to regain her memory, Nikolai, comes to terms with an action they took against a former Dragon King, Ulrik, the man who raised him as his own after his parents were murdered. The guilt he’s carried over the years makes him not only vulnerable but also understanding of Esther’s fears and angst. When they are on the brink of finding the powerful Druid, Nikolai, realizes that Esther is his mate and that makes their quest more dangerous. Past secrets, former and new allies, all align and you can help but wonder when the next book’s going to be released.

  • I loved the flow because the author’s writing feels like you are listening to a story and living it through the characters. She’s got a balance on character dynamics in the Dragon Kings.
  • I am intrigued by the mystery she’s created around Ulrik. The other dragons know him as a great leader, calculative and even manipulative but they also know that he’s not a fool. It’s almost as though they are the pieces on his grand chessboard and he decides which moves to take.

I was drawn to Con because:

  1. He is in love with Rhi, a fae, and they cannot be because there are enemies including Rhi’s sister, who prefers to have them apart.
  2. He is the Dragon King who Ulrik is most likely to challenge to a fight and defeat.
  3. He is calculative, he does not second guess himself or give away too much of himself.

So, Donna Grant, I’d love to read Con and Rhi’s story because I know he did not just save Balladyn,because the woman he loves asked of him. He’s looking to collect a favor and I want to know what it is.

Can we take a second and talk about the cover? 🙂  🙂 I love it.

If you’re into ancients, magic, dragons, faes and love a story that moulds the past, present and future into one huge mystery then you’d better read the #DragonKings series.

PS: Thanks NetGalley

Get a copy: On Amazon


2017’s most memorable books

Hello, how are you today?

It’s the final Saturday of 2017 and this year has been such a thrill for me because of all the books I’ve read. So, let’s get into this short list of the books that I enjoyed or books that I cannot get out of mind to date!

  • Freshwater by Akwaeke EmeziAn extraordinary debut novel, Freshwater explores the surreal experience of having a fractured self. It centers around a young Nigerian woman, Ada, who develops separate selves within her as a result of being born “with one foot on the other side.” 

  • Rain Falls on Everyone by Clar Ni Chonghaile : Theo, a young Rwandan boy fleeing his country’s genocide, arrives in Dublin, penniless, alone and afraid. Still haunted by a traumatic memory in which his father committed a murderous act of violence, he struggles to find his place in the foreign city. Plagued by his past, Theo is gradually drawn deeper into the world of Dublin’s feared criminal gangs. But a chance encounter in a restaurant with Deirdre offers him a lifeline. Theo and Deirdre’s tender friendship is however soon threatened by tragedy. Can they confront their addictions to carve a future out of the catastrophe that engulfs both their lives?

  • Valdaar’s Fist (Best Epic Fantasy I’ve read this year and the author is amazing). Valdaar’s Fist. Forged by mortals. Enchanted by Drow. Wielded by a god. Lost by man. Or was it? A band of unlikely adventurers embark upon an epic quest in this first book in a four-part series, battling minotaurs, demons, orcs, and wraiths—and occasionally themselves. Surely they must prevail…because the very balance of power in the land requires it.
  • Poetry: Helium by Rudy FranciscoHelium is filled with work that is simultaneously personal and political, blending love poems, self-reflection, and biting cultural critique on class, race and gender into an unforgettable whole. Ultimately, Rudy’s work rises above the chaos to offer a fresh and positive perspective of shared humanity and beauty.

Helium by [Francisco, Rudy]

That’s it for now. What are your memorable reads this year?

Don’t get married until you’re single by Sam Opeche

Publisher: Matador/112 pages/ Nonfiction

I was drawn to be this book because of two things: the title and the fact that the title part reflection of my status.
The author’s writing is timely and full of insights into being single, dating and getting married. He shares his own life experiences and those of the people he has interacted with over the years on what it means to give your best version to another in any commitment.
This book is written in what feels like a narrator’s voice and I had to highlight chapters and make notes as I read through it on my eReader.

I’d recommend reading it in print version so you can always make notes or highlight key areas that inspire, thus making it easier for you to progress in keeping track of areas of improvement. Some highlights for me included:

Singleness is a thing to be pursued and not be avoided. You shouldn’t get married because you are alone or because you want something. If you get married because you are looking for something from someone, or because you are looking for someone to complete you, then you become a burden because you haven’t got anything to give.

I received an advanced digital copy of the book in exchange for an honest review and I am glad that the publisher and NetGalley granted my wish because now I can approach my weaknesses with such clarity.

The value of life is not in its duration, but in its donation. You are not important because of how long you live, you are important because of how effective you live.- The late Dr. Myles Munroe

This book would make an awesome gift to friends who are single and gosh, how about in Kenya and some parts of Africa where people look at you and ask “when are you getting married?” as though you came with an expiry date!

Get the book on : Amazon

Also reviewed on: Netgalley

A Review of Love and Other Inconveniences by Rhea Arielle

Love and Other Inconveniences by Rhea Arielle

125 pages/ Poetry/RavenSeagull Publishing

About the book: This is an emotive journey through the stages and waves of love, heartache and self-discovery using short poetry to make sense of it all. The words written here are unfiltered thoughts from the heart, on themes that all vulnerable beings have experienced in their own way and timing.

My take on it:
I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my thoughts on the collection and I’d say the poems evoke feelings that any reader could relate to.

  • The author’s writing style is simple and her poems fluctuate between thoughts, reflections and at times offer a bit of resonance to them.
  • The collection is divided into three parts referred to as ‘acts’ here making it an easy read with each act building on a specific theme.

I suck at drawing or making sketches, but Jerell Drakes illustrations in this book made me think it’d be easy, for which I’d gladly admit it’s not.

I was particularly touched by this poem which I couldn’t stop rereading:

When you’ve lost
your place in this world
lay your crown
upon your head
for you’ve always been
your own kingdom.

Review rating: 3.5 stars

Review also posted on: Goodreads

Get a copy of the book on: Amazon

About the author:
Rhea Arielle was originally born in the twin-island republic of Trinidad and Tobago. She attended New York University and majored in Finance and currently lives in Maryland where she is pursuing her writing passion. She’s on Instagram too: rheaarielle

Rhea Arielle

Book Review: The Voice Inside by Brian Freeman

The Voice Inside by Brian Freeman

348 pages/ Genre: Crime, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

About the book:

One cop’s lie has set a killer free.

Four years after serial killer Rudy Cutter was sent away for life, San Francisco homicide inspector Frost Easton uncovers a terrible lie: his closest friend planted false evidence to put Cutter behind bars. When he’s forced to reveal the truth, his sister’s killer is back on the streets.

Desperate to take Cutter down again, the detective finds a new ally in Eden Shay. She wrote a book about Cutter and knows more about him than anyone. And she’s terrified. Because for four years, Cutter has been nursing revenge day after stolen day.

Staying ahead of the game of a killer who’s determined to strike again is not going to be easy. Not when Frost is battling his own demons. Not when the game is becoming so personal. And not when the killer’s next move is unlike anything Frost expected.

My take on it:

I wouldn’t want to be Frost. I wouldn’t want to be neither Eden nor Rudy Cutter because both were downright evil and wicked to kill.
What I would however love is to look Mr. Freeman in the eye and say “that was one hell of a chase! You’ve practically got me to steer clear of 3:42 am!”

I did not look forward to any psychological twists when I requested to read this book off NetGalley.

  • I was intrigued by the title, the blurb and I was looking forward to taking a break from all the romance and poetry I’d been soaking up.
  • This book offers an uncanny pace because where I expected Frost to use his detection skills and hunt Rudy Cutter for the sick serial killer he was, Frost took time to reflect on his sister’s life and murder.
  • Frost’s actions went against the grain of my expectations and this made reading this book such a thrill.

If you’re looking for a psychological thriller laced with some action and a good detective on the hunt, then this would be right up your alley.


I’m going with a four star review because the ending left me wanting more and knowing for sure that Tabby and Frost have unfinished business and I’d love to know how he’ll work his way through that one.

Reviewed on: NetGalley & Goodreads

Get a copy of the book on: Amazon

About the author:

Brian Freeman is a #1 Amazon bestselling author of psychological thrillers, including the Jonathan Stride, Frost Easton, and Cab Bolton series.

His books have been sold in 46 countries and 20 languages. He is widely acclaimed for his “you are there” settings and his complex, engaging characters and twist-filled plots.
Check out his website for more: Brian Freeman Books .  Brian Freeman