Graphic Novel Review: Nina The Neighborhood Ninja by Sonia Panigrahy

Author: Sonia Panigrahy 
Illustrator: Hazel Quintanilla
Release Date: 2nd November 2016
Genre: Children’s Book | Illustrated | Graphic Novella
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 44
Publisher: 

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

Nina’s a girl who takes charge. She uses her brain and her muscles to complete rescue missions. She doesn’t mind getting dirty and climbing trees. It’s all part of the life of the everyday girl superhero. Young readers are encouraged to recognize that the traits of being smart, strong, and speedy exist within themselves. Young girls will find this book to be a positive affirmation that they too can be superheroes.

Review

Nina The Neighborhood Ninja by Sonia Panigrahy is a delightful read that teaches young children, especially girls, to be a super-hero in their own worlds in their own way.

I rarely read children’s books, but when I was asked to review this title, I simply couldn’t say no. Look at the cover, who can say no to that cute face?!

The book is so adorable that it stole my heart right from the first page and made me smile with each and every turn of the page. Nina is a normal kid who does extraordinary things and has super powers, the best one being her kindness. She teaches kids to be their best self and to do their best to help others in whatever little way they can.

The illustrations are equally beautiful and I’m sure that this book will be quite visually appealing to children.

I’d recommend this book to all the parents who have young children, especially for their little girls. Nina is one superhero you wouldn’t want your child to miss.


Goodreads and Amazon

Author Interview: Jen Benjamin

Welcome to TRB’s Author Interview Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome, Jen Benjamin, author of Follow Me Home.

About the author:

Jen Benjamin is a newspaper writer who enjoys fiction when she gets time away from writing facts. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband, daughter and various furry creatures. When she isn’t writing, Jen enjoys photography, reading, catching re-runs of Frasier and playing the violin. She used to play the violin for church and various other events, but now just plays for herself (and still has nightmares about her one gig as a strolling violinist!).

Contact Details:
Email: authorjenbenjamin@gmail.com.
Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorjenbenjamin
Twitter: @jenbenjam.


Hello, Jen. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

Oh, ambition! Such a strong word for someone as scatterbrained as I am! I love to write and while it would be fabulous to make a living making up stories, I can safely say that my only immediate ambition, as far as writing goes, is to entertain anyone who happens to read my stories.

Which writers inspire you?

There are and have been so many great writers. It’s hard to narrow it down and my writing skills are nothing in comparison with my favorite writers. I think the first writer who struck me with the beauty of her words was Madeleine L’Engle. She was the master of, not showing me, not telling me, but making me feel a story.

Tell us about your book?

Follow Me Home is a romantic comedy/chick lit story about a (what else?) writer named Katie who is thrust into Hollywood life when her novel becomes a film. She is a fish out of water in so many ways as everything she’s familiar with is yanked out from under her. And she wasn’t even blessed with the good hair gene to help her navigate life with silky, smooth confidence. Follow Me Home is a story that will hopefully allow people to see the humor in every-day life as Katie awkwardly navigates her new environment. And there’s men. Attractive men.

How long did it take you to write it?

Well, it was a project for National Novel Writing Month, an event during which writers torture themselves by writing an entire novel in a month. The reward is the satisfaction of knowing that you’re capable of doing this. So…Follow Me Home took one grueling November to write.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

I have a second romantic comedy coming out in April called Quick, Fast and in a Surrey. It’s about Annie Gallagher who is a museum curator, surrey cart driver, fashion lover and believer in Fate. When a handsome historian comes to Annie’s small Oklahoma town, she’s sure Fate delivered him there just for her. Or maybe Satan did. It was probably Fate. It had to be Fate.

Why have you chosen this genre?

The chick lit writing style is a nice break for my mind. It’s written in present tense and flows like a natural thought pattern which can be flowery prose or fragmented musings. It’s a lot of fun.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I’ve always liked to write just to amuse myself. I like to daydream and writing is making something out of whimsy.

Why do you write?

It’s an escape and it feel constructive at the same time. Like, yes, I’m crazy but look what I made with my craziness.

Where do your ideas come from?

A lot of my ideas come straight from insomnia. They are born from random things I think when I’m lying awake at night. Other times it’ll be a song lyric or a little anecdote that my mind just builds a story around.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I am learning to use the computer for writing. Obviously I know how to use a computer but I used to always write by hand. It’s harder for me to feel connected to a computer screen like I feel connected to a pen and paper. But it’s more efficient to use the computer, so I’m now making myself do it.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

That’s a hard question! I’m going to go with:

  1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  2. A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle
  3. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  4. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  5. The Giver by Lois Lowry

And we’ll say those authors are my favorite five, too. Ask me again tomorrow and things may have changed.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I’m not very disciplined at making myself write when I don’t feel like it. I need a taskmaster to threaten me. Deadlines are great taskmasters. But I’ve found that if I just sit down and do it, the words flow.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

Be your own taskmaster! Don’t be as lazy as I am! Just do it!

Thank you, Jen, for all your interesting answers!

About The Book:

When writer Katie Kendall moves to LA to turn her best-selling novel into a film, she is pretty sure it should be the happiest time of her life. But with an unsupportive husband who suddenly files for divorce, the paparazzi assuming she’s having a fling with the leading actor, and her friends left miles away in her old hometown, she begins to think she’s made a big mistake.
Can her new crowd of friends help her through these times? And could those paparazzi snappers have a point about that leading actor…?
This witty romantic comedic debut novel by Jen Benjamin is a tour de force that will have you coming home to it again and again.


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Review: After Life by Mathew O’Neil

Author: Matthew O’Neil
Release Date: 4th May 2016
Genre: Non-Fiction
Edition: E-book
Pages: 275
Publisher: Ockham Publishing

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

What happens to us when we die? It’s a question that has been debated for centuries, moulded through time to fit our ever changing views.
Many religions teach that how we act in our life will determine where we will end up after life. If you follow religious teachings and adhere to their ethical standards, you will be rewarded and spend an eternity in heaven. If not, you will be punished and forced to spend forever in hell.
Modern science, however, will tell you a completely different story: fanciful, hopeful tales of an afterlife are both rationally explainable and lacking in evidence.
Theologian Matthew O’Neil demonstrates that the contemporary religious view of the afterlife is far from what our ancestors envisioned. Subjecting both original Scripture and contemporary faith to the rigours of modern science and rational philosophy, he seeks to answer one of humanities most famous puzzles: what happens After Life?

Review

After Life by Mathew O’Neil is an extensively researched and a gracefully written book that proved to be a highly insightful read.

I’m officially a convert and have recently started reading non-fiction titles, but I know a well-written book when I read one, and this is definitely it. I started reading this book with a mind buzzing with curiosity as, like everyone else, I’ve always wondered about what really happens when a person dies.

I’m not a Christian, I’m a Hindu, but even in our mythology and religious texts we have a lot of similar concepts like burning in the fire of the hell and such, and I’ve always been curious about whether these things were true or just stories. In spite of belonging to a different religion, I loved reading about the comprehensive cultural references about Christianity, Hebrew, and Jew cultures and their various respective Bible quotations and references.

This book answers, or to be more specific explores, these questions and a lot more. Author Mathew has done a great job in not only researching but also in putting across his views supported by this extensive research. I liked the writing style of the author and it made reading this intriguing book a very pleasant experience.

I’d recommend this book to anyone and everyone who’s ever asked or wondered about the ultimate existential question – What happens after we die?


Amazon

Book Review: Traffick Stop by Kenneth Eade

Author: Kenneth Eade 
Release Date: 24th February 2017
Genre: Terrorism Thriller
Edition: E-book
Pages: 275
Publisher: Times Square Publishing

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

Paladine, terrorism’s worst enemy, is back in this third episode of the hit political thriller series.

From the best-selling & award winning author critics hail as “one of the strongest thriller writers on our scene” comes the continuation of the unforgettable story of an unlikely “anti-hero,” Robert Garcia, a dangerous and unfeeling assassin of jihadist terrorists, exalted by social media as “Paladine”, a living paladin whose mission is to rid the earth of evil for the betterment of mankind, is an assassin working covert black ops for the CIA. In this installment of the series, Paladine seeks to retire from the assassination business and finds himself fighting a band of Syrian sex traffickers.

Review

Traffick Stop by Kenneth Eade is a powerful thriller that is sure to make you feel empowered by reading this wondrous story about the fight against human trafficking.

This book is the third installment in the Paladine series and though I haven’t read the earlier parts, I did not felt like I was missing out on something while reading this book. So the author has managed to give enough descriptions of the lead’s mannerisms and his personality on the whole that I was able to follow him on his journey without any reservations.

I loved the premise of the story and the way things unfolded. There were enough twists and turns to keep the reader engaged throughout the book and in spite of being based on such a serious and heavy topic, I didn’t feel over-burdened by the severity of it all, which is the main reason why I really liked this book.

The characterization was really good and I was able to relate to the main lead and also to most of the secondary characters. I liked how the main lead was shown with all the dramatization as it made it an enjoyable read without losing the main point.

I liked the writing style of the author and the writing was simple to follow and made reading this book a pleasant experience. This is a no-nonsense book about human trafficking and sex slave industry, and the author has done a really good job in minute detailings.

I’d recommend this book to all the thriller lovers and to all those people who’d like to experience freedom by reading about the downfall of modern terrorist groups. I sure as hell did feel very inspired!


Goodreads and Amazon

Guest Post: E-Book Revolution by Kenneth Eade

TODAY, AT TRB LOUNGE, WE ARE HOSTING AUTHOR Kenneth Eade, AUTHOR OF Traffick Stop.

Presenting Kenneth Eade…

EBOOK REVOLUTION

When I was going to college, I loved to go to the library to study, slink into a nice comfortable chair, and read until I drifted off to sleep. When Borders came out with their neighborhood blockbuster book stores, I did the same thing, and often left the store with a book I had the pleasure of sampling in the same comfortable way. Now, most people buy their books on the Internet, and read them on their Kindle.

A phenomena of the Internet has been the consolidation of retailers into new monopolies. Retailers such as Netflix replaced blockbuster stores such as Blockbuster Video, who found it impossible to sustain its brick and mortar retail stores against the power of the Internet and the popularity of download streaming. Newspapers have been outdated by means of publishing the written word more expeditiously, and, as a consequence, journalism has had to adapt to try to maintain some kind of quality.

The same has happened to the publishing industry, and the brick and mortar bookstores. Borders, one of the “Blockbusters” of books, was gobbled by Barnes and Noble, who now finds its biggest competitor to be Amazon. Amazon has developed a suite of tools that allow authors to enter the publishing industry, a place once reserved for the elite, and more closed than the world of Hollywood filmmaking.

A recent study found that nearly 70 percent of consumers say it is unlikely that they will give up on printed books by 2016 (per this story at tinyurl.com/q4fm2hu), and the British marketing research agency Voxburner recently surveyed more than 1,400 people, ages 16 to 24, about their media-consumption habits; the survey found that 62% of the respondents said they prefer printed books to eBooks (per this story at tinyurl.com/ktljhph).

I was surprised by these findings because I was sure that ebook sales had been growing at an exponential rate. The annual BookStats Study reports that 457 million ebooks were sold last year; a 4456% increase since 2008, when 10 million were sold (http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/books/2013/05/15/e-book-sales/2159117/). Although paper titles sales are higher, you cannot ignore the steady increase in the number of ebook sales, which I still think is the future of publishing. I think you have to account for the demographic, in that most older readers will naturally choose a print book, whereas younger readers, who tend to do their homework on their laptops, will opt for an ebook.

According to successful New York Times Best Selling Author Hugh Howey, who has turned his back on the publishing industry and now publishes his own books, he makes more money self-publishing and it frees his time that he would be using chasing agents and publishers to write more and better books.

Print books are still being purchased because the non-Generation Y readers are slow to convert to Kindle. They prefer having a printed book in their hands, so there will be a market for the printed book in the near future. However, ebook Sales are still up, and older readers are buying Kindles. Impulse buying is much stronger with eBooks, which are delivered instantaneously, and they are cheaper than print books. I think the reading public will still prefer print books, but, as time goes by, eBook sales will overcome them, merely due to the demographics.

My ebooks both have printed versions that sell on Amazon and are also offered at Barnes and Noble. Although they sell only online, online book sales account for more than 50% of all book sales, as recently reported in Digital Book World (http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2013/online-retail-now-accounts-for-nearly-half-all-u-s-book-sales/). I think that the trend is toward online sales taking over traditional retail outlet sales. We have observed many book store closures and consolidations in the past few years and I think we can continue to see more. I myself will miss being able to go into a book store, pick up a book and relax in a soft chair while sampling its passages to see if I feel like buying it, but you cannot deny the trend. My ebook sales are still running about three times higher than my printed book sales, but the option is there to appeal to both markets, and that is what Amazon is doing with giving authors their “Create Space” platform.

I think publishers have to offer both ebook and print book formats to appeal to both sides of the market. In the end, it is the quality of the book and the promotions that are used to bring awareness to it rather than the medium that is going to control. Like any other product, you have to package and offer it to the consumer in a way that appeals to his or her buying habits.

However, as the reading public ages, new readers will be almost exclusively eBook oriented. I regret the demise of the printed book, but I don’t see that there will be anything that can be done about it, except to preserve them in libraries and museums. With the trend toward iPads and Kindles, and public schools even proposing issuing iPads to students, young people will eventually grow up not knowing what it is like to read a printed book. Technology will do the same thing to the book that it has done to the printed newspaper.


About the author:

Described by critics as “one of our strongest thriller writers on the scene,” author Kenneth Eade, best known for his legal and political thrillers, practiced law for 30 years before publishing his first novel, “An Involuntary Spy.” Eade, an award-winning, best-selling Top 100 thriller author, has been described by his peers as “one of the up-and-coming legal thriller writers of this generation.” He is the 2015 winner of Best Legal Thriller from Beverly Hills Book Awards and the 2016 winner of a bronze medal in the category of Fiction, Mystery and Murder from the Reader’s Favorite International Book Awards. His latest novel, “Paladine” is currently a quarter-finalist in Publisher’s Weekly’s BookLife Prize for Fiction. Eade has authored three fiction series: The “Brent Marks Legal Thriller Series”, the “Involuntary Spy Espionage Series” and the “Paladine Anti-Terrorism Series.” He has written sixteen novels which have been translated into French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.

About the book:

From the best-selling & award winning author critics hail as “one of the strongest thriller writers on our scene” comes the continuation of the unforgettable story of an unlikely “anti-hero,” Robert Garcia, a dangerous and unfeeling assassin of jihadist terrorists, exalted by social media as “Paladine”, a living paladin whose mission is to rid the earth of evil for the betterment of mankind, is an assassin working covert black ops for the CIA. In this installment of the series, Paladine seeks to retire from the assassination business and finds himself fighting a band of Syrian sex traffickers.

Please Note: This book is on sale till 13th March 2017 on US and UK Kindle for 99 cents and all royalties will be going to Prajwala (http://www.prajwalaindia.com/) to benefit victims of human trafficking.


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author’s guest post on TRB, then please get in touch through e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Kenneth Eade

Welcome to TRB’s Author Interview Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome author, Kenneth Eade, author of Traffick Stop.

About the author:

Described by critics as “one of our strongest thriller writers on the scene,” author Kenneth Eade, best known for his legal and political thrillers, practiced law for 30 years before publishing his first novel, “An Involuntary Spy.” Eade, an award-winning, best-selling Top 100 thriller author, has been described by his peers as “one of the up-and-coming legal thriller writers of this generation.” He is the 2015 winner of Best Legal Thriller from Beverly Hills Book Awards and the 2016 winner of a bronze medal in the category of Fiction, Mystery and Murder from the Reader’s Favorite International Book Awards. His latest novel, “Paladine” is currently a quarter-finalist in Publisher’s Weekly’s BookLife Prize for Fiction. Eade has authored three fiction series: The “Brent Marks Legal Thriller Series”, the “Involuntary Spy Espionage Series” and the “Paladine Anti-Terrorism Series.” He has written sixteen novels which have been translated into French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.


Hello, Robert. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

It’s difficult to speak about ambitions without appearing egotistical, but I will flat out say it – I want to be recognized as a best-selling author, along with the most popular mainstream authors of today. It’s not so much about ego as I think I have a powerful and important message in my writing that needs to get to as many people as possible. And, of course, there’s those pesky bills that need to be paid.

Which writers inspire you?

The classic authors like Dickens and Steinbeck come to mind right away. Our history will be told in literature. No matter how the politicians decide to rewrite it to suit their needs, the greatest literary works of our time will be what people will be looking at in a hundred or two hundred years from now to really see how we “ticked.”

Tell us about your book?

“Traffick Stop” is the third in a series of books about Robert Garcia, a military-trained assassin who has, since his retirement, turned to the private sector and is doing what he does best – killing terrorists. In the first installment, he inherited the moniker “Paladine” from a blogger who witnessed his first kill. But he’s really more of an anti-hero than a hero.

 How long did it take you to write it?

The bulk of the work was done in three months, and it spent a month in editing and rewriting to hone it to its present state.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

I’m currently working on the 11th installment of my Brent Marks Legal Thriller series called “And Justice?”

Why have you chosen this genre?

I actually got into this genre by chance. A reader of my legal thriller series suggested this character, who appeared for the first time in Book 9 of that series. Since then, he has reappeared as the main character in three completed books. This is a popular genre, to be sure, but terrorism is something people are interested in now. It’s a hot topic, mainly because we feel powerless to do anything about it. People are relating to this character, who would otherwise be a pretty repulsive guy, because he is giving them an outlet to express their frustration against terrorism vicariously.

When did you decide to become a writer?

It’s not a decision I made, really. I’ve been a writer since I’ve been able to pick up a pen. I’m glad I finally decided to take it seriously.

Why do you write?

That’s like asking why I breathe. How could I not? It’s not something I had to learn. It just came naturally. I’ve always been a storyteller, but I guess I didn’t find my medium until later in life.

Where do your ideas come from?

Since my stories all revolve around real social issues, all I really have to do is look at the news. It seems every day there is something going on in our world that inspires me to “right a wrong” or to at least point it out.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I have to use a computer. Because my thoughts go faster than I can speak, writing longhand became futile a long time ago. I wrote my final exams in law school with an electric typewriter – same with the bar exam. In the days when we had typewriters, the keys used to stick together. That hasn’t happened with the computer keyboard yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

I like “A Tale of Two Cities” by Dickens, “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde, “Of Mice and Men” by Steinbeck, and “Farenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury. That’s not five, is it? I also love the Tom Sawyers books by Mark Twain, who is one of my favorite authors.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

What’s that? No, seriously, I do suffer from lack of inspiration. My assistant (my dog, Misha) offers a solution to writer’s block. She’s always ready to go for a walk and never refuses me. Out in the fresh air, I think about the character and where he is in the story and ideas will usually come, or at least I’ll find out what happens next in the story.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

Well, the business right now is kind of like “Field of Dreams.” You could spend a lot of time trying to get an agent or a publisher, but it won’t do you any good unless you have a body of work. So, build those books and it will come.


THANK YOU, KENNETH, FOR ALL YOUR INSIGHTFUL ANSWERS!

About The Book:

From the best-selling & award winning author critics hail as “one of the strongest thriller writers on our scene” comes the continuation of the unforgettable story of an unlikely “anti-hero,” Robert Garcia, a dangerous and unfeeling assassin of jihadist terrorists, exalted by social media as “Paladine”, a living paladin whose mission is to rid the earth of evil for the betterment of mankind, is an assassin working covert black ops for the CIA. In this installment of the series, Paladine seeks to retire from the assassination business and finds himself fighting a band of Syrian sex traffickers.

Please Note: This book is on sale till 13th March 2017 on US and UK Kindle for 99 cents and all royalties will be going to Prajwala (http://www.prajwalaindia.com/) to benefit victims of human trafficking.


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

 

Guest Post: Self Discovery: The Foundation to Finding Yourself by Jasmine Farrell       

Today, at TRB Lounge, we are hosting author Jasmine Farrell, author of Phoenixes Groomed As Genesis Doves.

Presenting Jasmine Farrell…

Self Discovery: The Foundation to Finding Yourself

My initial step on the path to self-discovery wasn’t an intentional one. I merely woke up one morning in December of 2014, remained in bed for a few minutes in silence and focused on my breathing. Prior to that moment, I was beginning to question my faith, what I had been taught, my level of self-love and whether I honestly viewed myself in a positive light (which wasn’t so affirmative, I should add). Hence the not-so random-subconscious decision to wake up one morning in silence. In the days after that morning in 2014, I began to meditate on the things and people I was grateful for. From there I would alternate between silence and gratitude. I eventually began to read some books about meditation, its benefits, the reason for its demonization and its correlation with self-discovery.

Self-discovery is not a beautiful journey that makes you smile and feel giddy all the time. It’s sometimes messy because when you self-reflect, you begin to hold yourself accountable for the decisions you make. You begin to discover parts of yourself that aren’t so nice and flaws that would make you cringe if you knew someone else who had those same flaws. Nonetheless, the journey is imperative—and priceless!

If you are not sure where to start, why don’t you try the challenges below:

Media Detox:

We are all media junkies. Let’s be real. Whether it’s social media, television, news articles that are doused in yellow journalism, gossip magazines, YouTube or everything all at once, we love to spend hours feeding ourselves whatever media is on offer. While social media has its benefits, as does as a moderate consumption of media too much of it can flood our minds, causing us to drown out what our gut is attempting to say—in addition to muting our own insight and yelling out what media has to say for us. We’ve drowned ourselves with such a copious amount of media that we sometimes look to media to think for us. Because God forbid we might have a mind of our own that isn’t in alignment with media.

Challenge: Do not grab your phone and check your social media accounts when you first wake up and just before you go to bed. Subtract two hours of your television viewing or your video streaming time. Substitute it with an activity that involves connecting with a loved one—in person OR on the phone (this does not include texting). If no one is available, how about making some arts and crafts or coloring? Yes, I said it: Color in a coloring book.

Side note: Some of you have jobs that require you to engage in media. If so, then hustle, Queen. Nevertheless, you can still cut it back during your personal media surfing time!

There Are Beautiful Moments Surrounding You:

Gazing outwardly and taking in life as it plays out around you is a lovely habit to adopt. While walking to work or venturing off to the store, look around you. Stop internalizing what you did wrong the other day. Roll your eyes and move forward from that person in front of you who randomly stopped in the middle of the sidewalk to check their phone. Breathe in slowly, exhale and really look around you. Did you catch the baby giggling at the sight of big bubbles being blown by the mother, or feel the light breeze on a hot-ass I’m-about-to-be-a-cooked-meal-for-a-cannibal day?

Being in the present moment aids you in discovering what you like and what you abhor. It allows you to open up and truly observe the things and people you may have been depreciating. Sometimes in the midst of being present in the moment, you may realize the main person you have been depreciating was yourself.

For me: Being in the moment also helps my common NYC anxieties and my intrusive thoughts. If I’m focused on what’s going on externally, I won’t be too harsh with what’s going on internally.

Challenge: Whenever you can, slow down. Walk a little slower, look at the trees, the homes and the colors that grace your eyeballs. Breathe. Slow down. Observe. Breathe and repeat!

Throwbacks!

Remember the hobbies or activities you used to engage in a few years back that made you smile like you were related to Mr. Kool-Aid? Reflect on that allotted hobby or activity and really consider if you lost interest or whether life happened and you became too busy.

Challenge: Find time for the activity/hobby you love. Make time for it! The time you surrendered from social media can be used for this challenge!

In a society that encourages us to love and be ourselves unapologetically, yet dehumanizes, exploits and subtly belittles us, it can be quite natural to second-guess our value. It is understandable that you may feel as though you are unworthy to wholeheartedly love yourself. Many of us were taught to put ourselves last, in order to obtain happiness or rewards in the long run (how is that working out for you?). A few of us were even discouraged from even showing an ounce of confidence lest we became “cocky”. Confidence is not cocky. Knowing you’re dope all by yourself just as much as the next person isn’t cocky. Devaluing another being while boosting up your own self-esteem—that is cocky.

Push through the cognitive dissonance with a new mentality that is receptive to this:

You ARE worthy to love, know and understand yourself.

How else will you shed your light brightly, love others and live life with purpose?


About the author:

jasmine_farrell_jpgJasmine Farrell is a freelance writer and blogger. From Brooklyn, NY, she has a Bachelor’s in Communications and she loves red velvet cake. Writing in her Grandmother’s memo pads is included into her repertoire of writings. Creative writing is her niche. She loves reading, randomly dancing and creating off-key ballads.

About the book:

phoenix_coverPhoenixes Groomed as Genesis Doves is a collection of poetry that draws the reader into the world of personal identity, inner growth and the complexity of human relationships. Ordinary and common images, especially ones found in nature, are used to craft poems that appeal to the uncommon, the suppressed and the others. Filled with incredible grace and accessible wisdom, the poems explore a wide range of complex emotional themes. With unexpected metaphors and sparkling similes, the pieces vary in rhythm and theme making each one like a foil-wrapped candy: something to savor, enjoying each new bright color on the tongue.


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author’s guest post on TRB, then please get in touch through e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Review: Follow Me Home by Jen Benjamin

25592056-2Author: Jen Benjamin
Release Date: 25th March 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Edition: E-book
Pages: 176
Publisher: Wallace Publishing

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

When writer Katie Kendall moves to LA to turn her best-selling novel into a film, she is pretty sure it should be the happiest time of her life. But with an unsupportive husband who suddenly files for divorce, the paparazzi assuming she’s having a fling with the leading actor, and her friends left miles away in her old hometown, she begins to think she’s made a big mistake.
Can her new crowd of friends help her through these times? And could those paparazzi snappers have a point about that leading actor…?
This witty romantic comedic debut novel by Jen Benjamin is a tour de force that will have you coming home to it again and again.

Review

Follow Me Home by Jen Benjamin is a light and enjoyable Contemporary Romance read that’ll win your heart in a blink.

I get extremely choosy when it comes to Romance genre, therefore I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. But fortunately, this book turned out to be a really pleasant and a light-hearted read. I liked the premise of the story as it was unique and was impressed by the execution and the balance of the emotions the author was able to maintain throughout the book. Romance is a very tricky genre because there needs to be a very strict balance otherwise, the story may either be lifeless or too cheesy and as far as I’ve seen only a few authors can do it correctly. And I’m glad to say that author Benjamin was able to pull off this balance quite well.

I liked the characters and was able to connect to the leading lady as I’m a writer myself (I’m pretty sure that if you want to be a writer or if you are one already, you’ll love this book simply because of its story and theme.) I liked the other secondary characters as well and found the writing pleasant and simple.

I’d recommend this book to all the Romance fans and also to those who’re looking for a light-hearted, breezy quick read to read this summer.


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Author Interview: Robert Sanasi

Welcome to TRB’s Author Interview Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome author, Robert Sanasi.

About the author:

img_3729Robert Sanasi is an Italian poet, novelist and lyricist born in a small town of Southern Italy in 1981. He’s been living abroad for nine years.
After graduating in Communication Sciences at the University of Lecce in 2006, he started composing journalistic articles for local magazines and short poems. He then moved to Bologna for a year ‘to escape the alienation and monotony of the provincial life’. Immediately after that, he flew to Dublin, Ireland in search of work and new life experiences. There he worked at several American multinationals and shifted towards a more creative kind of writing, focusing on poems and song lyrics in English and Italian. The family drama connected to the car accident of his older brother only a few months after his departure, his coma, and his subsequent rehabilitation had a deep and strong impact on Robert’s life and writing. This is also described in his first literary novel ‘Dublin Calling’, to be published by Wallace Publishing in December 2016.
All his works have a strong imprint of autobiographical authenticity which clearly refer to the Beat Generation. He particularly loves American literature of the 1900s and authors such as Kerouac, H. Miller, Fante, Roth, Bukowski, Mcnirney, as well as European authors such Celine, Hamsun Buzzati, and Tondelli. He defines his style as “visionary-expressionistic realism” that focuses on the emotional side of life and literature. He has recently achieved second place in the Poetry section of the online Italian writing contest Word Selfie with his poem Angel of the Street, which has also been selected for an an international event and anthology of poetry called 100 Thousands poets for change.
Apart from the six years spent in Dublin, he has also lived for a time in Copenhagen, Paris, Lyon, Toulouse, Berlin, Bratislava, Krakow, Prague, and Warsaw. He defines himself as a ‘2.0 migrant urban writer’ and a representative of the current “Generation on the run”.


Hello, Robert. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

I’m really doing everything possible (and maybe even impossible) to get there: being a writer. I’ve been “working on the dream” for so long and so hard. Now I’m ready to start it up.

Which writers inspire you?

The ones who are not afraid of writing everything down and try all the time to be original yet authentic. I get inspired mostly by autobiographic writers and real-life stories.

Tell us about your book?

Dublin Calling, as the title may also evoke, is a journey, meaning both physical and existential. It’s the story of a young Italian emigrant who moves to Dublin in search of a job and above all of new life experiences. After his initial enthusiasm, a very tough family issue arises back in Italy and from that point on his soul and life feels like split in two: one in in his home country and one in his new one, Ireland. In the turmoil of the events, he finds himself in a private and restless quest for some sort of meaning or belonging or a piece of full happiness in the most different ways: through love, sex, poetry, trips and attempts to run away from a reality that he doesn’t feel as his own which might be seen as an escape from himself in a city, Dublin, that is just more than a mere story setting. It’s more like a woman to love and hate at the same time and at the same intensity. And which will affect his years, his growth and maybe his life forever. It’s based on many of my personal autobiographic experiences. What I wanted to do was to leave a sign of this “generation on the move” by means of a novel.

How long did it take you to write it?

Pretty much four months. The objective was to finish it just before leaving Ireland for good and I managed to do so.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

Other than finalizing my latest novel, I’m currently working on a script. It’s based on a couple of my literary works. Writing for the screen is quite different from writing a novel but I must say I’m enjoying it. I think I have a cinematographic vision.

Why have you chosen this genre?

Because the realistic narrative is to me the most powerful tool to represent what I want to represent. It’s the only genre I feel comfortable with. I don’t think I could do something different.

When did you decide to become a writer?

It happened twice actually: when I was 22 after reading Kerouac’s On The Road For The First Time and (in the middle of a long hiatus) after I completed Dublin Calling. Then I truly understood it was my own path.

Why do you write?

Complex question that can be simplified this way: to express myself, to create something. Because I’m in love with arts. I guess this just happens, at a certain point, to all artistic minds. It’s something natural and spontaneous. It’s within and comes along the way at some point.

Where do your ideas come from?

Really from anywhere! It’s crazy how ideas and inspiration may come along at any time and in any place. I get many ideas listening to music or watching movies but even in the streets, among the people, in the buses or trains, often when I first wake up in the morning and it’s better to have always something to write down notes or it will be lost. You must be fast and ready to catch that idea or it will fly away.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

Laptop most of the time. If I’m around and some inspiration comes up I take notes on some paper or even on my phone.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

On The Road for sure as it all started from that, then Ask the dust, Tropic of Capricorn, Journey to the end of the night, Portnoy’s complaint.

My favorite authors are Kerouac, Henry Miller, Fante, Celine, Tondelli (and I’d like to add Rimbaud).

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

In the last three years, I’ve been writing totally four novels, which are a lot considering the timeframe. I guess I’m still in a kind of “artistic ferment” having so many stories to tell, therefore it was always easy to move on.

I’ve never really experienced the famous Writer’s Block so far. Probably because I mostly write when I kind of need it, when I know I will enjoy the most. I’m still in a time when I’m not obliged to follow schedules or specific requests, so I write when inspiration comes. If I’m writing and something is not coming up at all or the way I want, I just stop and have a break. It means it’s time to pause.  One hour or one day later, it will go better for sure.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

To follow their passion, to seek improvement and new ways of writing, to be determined, to take themselves seriously as writers, to be professional when contacting publishers and agents or any other person in the publishing industry, to be open to critics and accept an initial failure or delay in results. Persistence is key to becoming an author. Last but not least, to get the necessary satisfaction from what they are doing. Above all, writing is a pure pleasure.

Thank you, Robert, for all your insightful answers!

About The Book:

dublin-calling-master-e-book-cover-1A Southern Italian man who finds himself hungry for life decides to emigrate to the crazy Northern European city of Dublin. From that moment onwards, no matter where else he chooses to travel, Dublin is forever calling him! Dublin Calling is a fascinating and honest insight into the life of a 2.0 migrant. “I was jumping on a rollercoaster for a long and amazing ride. I was a young soul waiting to take-off and experience unpredictability. Hope, pain, love, sex… and everything in between. Dublin was calling me.”


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Novella Review: Nika: A Seychatka Novella by D.H. Gibbs

29380359Author:  D.H. Gibbs 
Release Date: 1st March 2016
Series: –
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Edition: E-book
Pages: 96
Publisher: Sandphics Creations

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

Taken off the streets Nika is thrown into an unknown world where she’s held captive. As an orphan, she has been on the run and must find her way out before they discover her secret. But these people held the knowledge of her family and who she is. Will she be able to find out before her secret is revealed? After hundreds of years, Demyan has finally found the rightful ruler of his race. Unfortunately, she doesn’t know who she is and is doing everything in her power to escape him. Time is running out and Demyan has to convince Nika to take her rightful place otherwise the battle will be lost and his race extinguished.


Review

Nika by D.H.Gibbs is a Young-Adult Fantasy read that is sure to capture your attention right from the start till the very end.

This book is a real example of how really powerful novellas can be. This is, of course, the first book in a series, but I definitely loved it and will be keeping an eye out for the other parts in this series.

The main character was likable and relatable and the other secondary characters were also good. I liked the writing of the author as its simplicity made this book a very easy and a quick read.
I liked the basic concept of the story about how Nika was the long lost heir of her family, which she was completely unaware of. And I especially liked how she was made aware of everything and how well she adapted to her new surroundings. I see a lot of potential in this series and can’t wait to read the next part!

I liked this book quite a bit and would recommend it to all the YA and Fantasy lovers.


Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: The Painter by Lina Toorn

51qlpshotjlAuthor: Lina Toorn
Release Date: 3rd June 2016
Series: –
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Mystery
Edition: E-book
Pages: 234
Publisher: –

Rating: ★★

Blurb:

A very young Dinnie loved her “Bertie” but fate intervened. His sudden disappearance left her devastated. Tormented by the fear of living a lonely life and alone, she ventured out….
The beauty of their love for each other blinded the two sweethearts to everything but each other. Her soul burned like a bright fire; her love’s thirst for her soulmate could not be quenched. Dinnie, a girl in love, suddenly had her love ripped from her heart, sending her soul to the depths of despair. She had lost her hope, her young heart broken to accept life as a lonely journey towards her end, by fate. Slowly, the world would peek into her story through paint. Time held no meaning…. History, her passion and her eye for beauty was allowed to blossom and be expressed.
Would love find her again?

Review

The Painter by Lina Toorn is a women’s fiction book that is centered around the life of a widowed painter who is thrown into the world she doesn’t belong to.

Initially, the book started out strong, but soon, after a few pages, the suspense started to feel a bit forced and then when I kept on reading the book, the story felt awkward, the scenes started and stopped abruptly and the overall plot seemed very shaky.

Sometimes, in the dialogues, the names were interchanged and that created a lot of confusion and it took me a lot of time re-reading passages and sometimes, even pages.

I wasn’t able to feel any connection with neither the lead nor any of the secondary characters, though I was able to feel the efforts of the author to force the connection very clearly, which again was another thing that made me not like the story.

The writing was good for the most part but at times it did feel forceful and clumsy. The dialogue exchange felt unreal and forced too.

Overall, I guess the story is good, but the book is in dire need of thorough editing. I could see the potential in the story as well as in the plot structure, but a few negatives worked against the book more than the positives supported it.

If I really have to, then I’d recommend this book to readers, who won’t mind the technical problems in a book.


Goodreads and Amazon

Graphic Novel Review: Suicide Squad Vol.1 – The Black Vault

32993892Author: Rob Williams
Illustrator: Jim Lee
Release Date: 7th March 2017
Series: Suicide Squad (Vol.1)
Genre: Supernatural, Graphic Novel, Sequential Art
Edition: E-book
Pages: 160
Publisher: DC
Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

A part of DC Rebirth!
From writer Rob Williams, superstar artist Jim Lee and Philip Tan comes the new Suicide Squad!
The government has once again handpicked the worst of the worst for its Task Force X. Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, Katana and Killer Croc. All deadly criminals sent on the most dangerous missions possible by a governement that wants them killed. But their newest challenge? A teammate so powerful that even this group of murderers and thieves can’t control.
Behind the pencils of Jim Lee and Philip Tan, as well as the pen of writer Rob Williams comes SUICIDE SQUAD VOL. 1! Collects issues #1-6 and SUICIDE SQUAD: REBIRTH #1.
Rebirth honors the richest history in comics, while continuing to look towards the future. These are the most innovative and modern stories featuring the world’s greatest superheroes, told by some of the finest storytellers in the business.
Honoring the past, protecting our present, and looking towards the future. This is the next chapter in the ongoing saga of the DC Universe.  The legacy continues.

Review

This book was pretty awesome and I loved the illustrations! The story was pretty good too and I liked the part where all the backgrounds were given. It helped me connect to all the characters as I didn’t know about half of their pasts.

The dialogues were good too and overall I think this is one of the best graphic novels that I’ve read in the recent years. The female characters were neither over-dramatically sexy or muscle-ly or gay. They were really awesome and bad-ass and I really liked Harley Quinn and Katana.
I loved Deadshot and Colonel Rick Flag and even Croc, but Boomerang was just… meh.. though his background story was cleverly told.

All in all, I liked this book better than any other that had Harley Quinn in it and hence, I’ll be giving it an extra star.


Goodreads and NetGalley

Book Review: Amber Alert by Dan Lawton

31847203Author:  Dan Lawton
Release Date: 11th November 2016
Series: –
Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Edition: E-book
Pages: 300
Publisher: Solstice Publishing

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

Time is running out.
Nine-year-old Chloe Janis is abducted.
Abby, her mom, is now faced with revealing her dark past, hidden these last seventeen years, or losing her daughter forever. A cryptic message from a man she’d shoved into the dark recesses of her mind forces her into an impossible situation—revealing secrets best kept hidden or losing her daughter forever.
Secrets, deception, and betrayal surround the small town of Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania. All eyes are on the community, threatening to split open as yet unhealed wounds are probed. Fates will be rewritten and careers redefined. Everyone involved will confront their pasts if there’s any hope of Mifflinburg becoming a town at the heart of redemption and forgiveness.

Review

Amber Alert by Dan Lawton is a suspenseful mystery read that keeps the reader engaged throughout the book.

The plot line of the story is fairly straight and this is not your typical who-dun-it suspense story. The real deal is in the plot buildup that is done excellently well with the use of multiple POVs that keeps the reader reading further without wanting to miss anything.

The characters were all nicely done. I felt bad for Scott, though I did not like Abby at all and I’m quite sure that this was intentional based on the story. I felt really sad for what little Chloe had to go through and felt bad for her father too.The ending was good and appropriate keeping with the personalities of the characters. Though I do wish that Abby should have been locked up in the jail because she truly deserved it. But things are never black and white and this book showcases this very fact beautifully.

The ending was good and appropriate keeping with the personalities of the characters. Though I do wish that Abby should have been locked up in the jail because she truly deserved it. But things are never black and white and this book showcases this very fact beautifully.

I liked the writing style of the author as it had a great flow to it and made reading this book enjoyable and quick. It was simple and free of complex words, which really appealed to me.

I’d recommend this book to all the genre lovers and to everyone who wants to read a light, yet gripping mystery/suspense read.


Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: The Man You Scripted by Calvin Honors

 

32032973Author: Calvin Honors
Release Date: 4th September 2016
Series: –
Genre: Dystopian, Psychological Drama
Edition: E-book
Pages: 129
Publisher: Self-Published

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

2115 London
The city is overrun by organ traders in truck size hearses trawling the streets in the aftermath of the Hemo plague. Writer James Nolte meets Laila an X1 cyborg sent to scan humans for signs of Hemo.
Modern Day New York City
Internal Affairs agent John Azolo connects the dots from an unfinished manuscript to unravel a mystery surrounding his friend’s suicide. Detective Laila Carter, whom John audits, might just hold the key to both stories.

Review

The Man You Scripted by Calvin Honors is a Psychological Dystopian Drama based on a remarkably unique futuristic concept.

The fast paced book offers a lot for the genre lovers. It explores a unique writing style of combining two parallel, seemingly unrelated stories and then bringing them together to a great climax. The characterization was god and all the characters were relatable.

The writing style had a nice flow and made this book an easy and quick read.

I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to al the Dystopian and Speculative fiction buffs. This is one book you wouldn’t want to miss.


Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: How Will I Know You by Jessica Treadway

32489596Author: Jessica Treadway 
Release Date: 6th December 2016
Series: –
Genre: Suspense, Mystery
Edition: E-book
Pages: 416
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

A page-turner about the murder of a teenage girl, from the author of Lacy Eye.

On a cold December day in northern upstate New York, the body of high school senior Joy Enright is discovered in the woods at the edge of a pond. She had been presumed drowned, but an autopsy shows that she was, in fact, strangled. As the investigation unfolds, four characters tell the story from widely divergent perspectives: Susanne, Joy’s mother and a professor at the local art college; Martin, a black graduate student suspected of the murder; Harper, Joy’s best friend and a potential eyewitness; and Tom, a rescue diver and son-in-law of the town’s police chief. As a web of small-town secrets comes to light, a dramatic conclusion reveals the truth about Joy’s death.

Review

How Will I Know You by Jessica Treadway is a compelling read that will leave you with so many thoughts that you’d be thinking about this book for days even after it is over.

When I started reading this book I had this idea that this book will revolve around a murder and then it’ll turn out to be a fast-paced who-dun-it kind, but as I got into the book I realized that I completely started forgetting about the actual murder as the story focused on the people and the relations Joy was surrounded with when she was alive. This book shows so transparently the truth about how exactly the things would be like if a murder of this kind happens in real life of a normal teenager.

This book shouldn’t be misinterpreted as a Thriller, but it is a realistic approach of the author towards the situation on the whole. After reading this book (actually, while reading this book) I realized how easily we form an opinion about someone whom we’ve never really known. How easy it is for everyone, including the parents and the best of friends, to misinterpret the actions of someone and come up with their own theories about how things would have played out and what might have happened and how they start believing and, in a way, living in those theories. Human nature is such a tricky and immensely complex thing that you never know what might happen in the next few minutes.

The writing was really good and had an easy flow to it that made reading this book a good experience and the slow-to-medium pace of the story was completely in sync with the story itself.

The characters were so real and full of life that I was able to connect with each and every single one of them. And I’m really thankful for it because this book is, in all respects, a character-driven story and these strong characters served the purpose perfectly well.

The beginning was great and I was pulled into the story right from the first chapter. The ending doesn’t fail to tell the readers about what really happened on the day of the murder and who did it, so in a way it served as a beautiful closure because otherwise, I’m sure it would have been a really gut-wrenching read.

I’d recommend this book to all the mystery and suspense lovers and also to all those readers who don’t mind reading about dark subjects such as depression and coping with the loss of a loved one.


Goodreads, NetGalley, and Amazon

The Reading Bud’s Top Ten Books Of 2016

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In 2016, we reviewed a total of 90 books at TRB! 90 books!! And it is extremely difficult to hand pick only 10 of them, but selecting the best of the best is the whole point of this post, hence, here’s our 2016’s list of top ten books –

The Reading Bud’s Top Ten Books Of 2016:

  1. The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey
  2. Warren The 13th And The All-Seeing Eye by Tania del Rio
  3. In The Blood by R.L. Martinez
  4. Over The Dragonwall by H.C. Strom and Dennis D. Montoya
  5. The Secrets Of Lizzie Borden by Brandy Purdy
  6. The Eighth Day by Joseph John
  7. Losing Lauren by Alretha Thomas
  8. Security by Gina Wohlsdorf
  9. The Conveyance by Brian W. Matthews
  10. Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1)

Please check out the slideshow below to have a look at all these amazing books.

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Note for the authors of the Top Ten Books:

If you want to use the above TRB logo or share this post with your readers on your blog or social media, then please feel free to do so. A link back will be greatly appreciated.


Apart from these books, there were some books that also deserve a mention in this post:

Book Review: The Little Yarmouth Abduction by Tim Van Minton

31355126Author: Tim Van Minton 
Release Date: 1st August 2016
Series: –
Genre: YA, Mystery, Suspense
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 204
Publisher: CreateSpace

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Falsely accused of murder, twelve-year-old Evan Peregrine battles through a raging storm to get home to the island of Little Yarnmouth, only to find it deserted. Searching for explanations he is soon plunged into the savage world of the Conkwoyoto, an Arctic tribe that turned to piracy after the polar ice cap broke apart. But there is something strangely familiar about these fearsome men and their tattooed faces, and memories of the day he lost his leg and his mother in a collision with an iceberg come flooding back. Now Evan must avoid being captured by the police and the Conkwoyoto while trying to track down the missing islanders, prove his innocence in a murder, and uncover the mystery of the Arctic tribe that’s traveled thousands of miles to Little Yarnmouth Island.

Review

The Little Yarnmouth Abduction by Tim Van Minton is a delightful Young Adult read that will capture your heart and leave you smiling in its wake.

I’ve been reviewing books for almost 3 whole years now and sometimes I come across a book that makes me realize again just why I keep on reading self-published books and reviewing them month after month. Ever so often I come across books that completely steal my heart and leave a long lasting impression on me, sometimes so strong that I have to read those books again, and again, to relive their brilliance. The Little Yarnmouth Abduction is exactly that kind of a book (and so much more, if I am being truly honest.)

Recently, there has been a steady stream of hit YA books that are making big bucks all around the world. Some are good and some are, well, not so good, but when I read this book they all paled in comparison. I honestly don’t know where to begin praising this book, and even how to do it. This book is a delightful, delightful read. I savored reading each and every single page of it and, in fact, looked forward to reading the entire book again as soon as I finished it.giphy-4

The storyline was well thought out and, for me, simply astonishing. I have never heard of mass island kidnapping or anything close, so I thoroughly enjoyed the story all the way through. It was a marvelously brilliant and an extremely clever plot and I loved the pacing and tension that the author cleverly practiced.

The characterization was so brilliant that I’m pretty sure I fell in love with Evan the moment he got up groggily from his sleep on the first-second page and innocently attached his leg to his knee. He is sure to stay with me forever as one of my favorite (and awfully adorable) characters. The cast of secondary characters was equally brilliant and I loved each and every single one of them.

giphy-14

The ending was absolutely smashing as it gave me hopes that there’s a second part on the way (or at least I hope that it is.) The writing was clever and smooth and the light and witty tone of narration was a perfect fit for this story.

I would recommend this book to each and every person who loves reading a good book with impressive characters. I am very sure that this book will definitely win your heart in the first chapter itself.


Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Truth According To Michael by Stevan V. Nikolic

31568408Author: Stevan V. Nikolic 
Release Date: 21st September 2016
Series: –
Genre: True Story
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 448
Publisher: Istina Group DBA, New York

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

“Truth and reality are just our personal perceptions of the things and conditions we see, hear, or feel.”

A novel about the man addicted to love. Based on the true story, it follows thirty-three years in the life of Michael Nicolau. The story takes us on the long path of Michael’s soul-searching and understanding of circumstances that brought him to become a homeless man living in the Bowery Mission, a New York City shelter. Eager to vindicate himself and his actions, he speaks about his life, for hours, day after day, to a social worker in the Bowery Mission. At the same time comic and tragic, villain and hero, Michael is wrestling with the concepts of truth, reality, hope, faith, love, and honor.

Review

In the beginning, the title of the book made me curious, as I am a person that searches the truth in many aspects of life but the most important the personal truth.

Then I started reading and in the first chapter, Michael was in deep trouble, no money, no friends, no home. Then he accepts to make part of a program, the Bowery Mission, a shelter created to rehabilitate homeless people.

Michael is not a classic drug addicted homeless and that’s why his story is more interesting. Every chapter describes a part of his life in the program and a part of his past. Gradually we find out everything about him. His purpose, his problems, his thoughts.
This character is a contradiction. He is intelligent and hardworking but he keeps ending in the same situation of having nothing, but a dream. He keeps searching a woman, an obsession that nobody accepts.

The ending surprised me. Finally, Michael found a way of doing things his way, living as he wanted to, not the way everybody told him to. He finally understands the purpose of his life.

Today’s philosophical questions are illustrated in beautifully in this well-written book. Success, money, business, love, God, religion, freemasonry is all mixed up in a story that kept me tuned.


Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Sting by Sandra Brown

29203612Author: Sandra Brown 
Release Date: 16th August 2016
Series: –
Genre: Thriller, Suspense
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 408
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Rating: ★

Blurb:

When Jordie Bennet and Shaw Kinnard lock eyes across a disreputable backwater bar, something definitely sparks. Shaw gives off a dangerous vibe that makes men wary and inspires women to sit up and take notice. None feel that undercurrent more strongly than savvy businesswoman Jordie, who doesn’t belong in a seedy dive on the banks of a bayou. But here she is . . . and Shaw Kinnard is here to kill her.
As Shaw and his partner take aim, Jordie is certain her time has come. But Shaw has other plans and abducts Jordie, hoping to get his hands on the $30 million her brother has stolen and, presumably, hidden. However, Shaw is not the only one looking for the fortune. Her brother’s ruthless boss and the FBI are after it as well. Now on the run from the feds and a notorious criminal, Jordie and Shaw must rely on their wits-and each other-to stay alive.
Miles away from civilization and surrounded by swampland, the two play each other against their common enemies. Jordie’s only chance of survival is to outwit Shaw, but it soon becomes clear to Shaw that Jordie isn’t entirely trustworthy, either. Was she in on her brother’s scam, or is she an innocent pawn in a deadly vendetta? And just how valuable is her life to Shaw, her remorseless and manipulative captor? Burning for answers-and for each other-this unlikely pair ultimately make a desperate move that could be their last.
With nonstop plot twists and the tantalizing sexual tension that has made Sandra Brown one of the world’s best-loved authors, STING will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the final pages.

Review

DNF at 10%.

I’ve read Friction by Sandra Brown earlier and loved it, so I was really looking forward to reading this one. I was well aware that Brown’s novels had steamy scenes in them, but in Friction, the scenes went well with the story. But this book was way too much and the sexual tension shown between the 2 main leads in the first 10% of the book made me feel so awkward that I simply couldn’t go further.

The writing felt off too and it was more tell than show. On top of all this, the snide remarks of the protagonist were way too much for me.
This book felt more like an overly sexed up New Adult rather than a Thriller. Or at least that’s how I felt.

If you don’t mind reading this kind of content then you might actually like this book. I don’t usually have trouble reading normal sexy stuff (seriously, who does?!), but it’s just that I was hoping to read a really good Thriller and really high expectations from this one.


Goodreads, NetGalley, and Amazon

Book Review: The Phoenix Syndrome by Claire Gem

32313788Author: Claire Gem
Release Date: 29th September 2016
Series: –
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 267
Publisher: Erato Publishing

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Rock Star Contemporary Romance
Turning forty rocks a research technician’s world. Her husband leaves her, and then she’s bitten by a mouse at work. She snaps, taking off to chase after her old dream of a music career and her new crush: a rock band drummer.
Turning forty, for Lannie Marvin, is rough. It’s the day she discovers her marriage has been over for awhile. . .she just never got the memo. At work, a crazed lab mouse brutally bites her–one being treated with a libido-enhancing drug. Lannie snaps and takes off for a wild weekend.
Allard, drummer & songwriter for a metal band, lost his wife and muse to breast cancer five years ago. So when the sexually charged Lannie literally plows into him at the backstage reception, Tristan is ready to learn more about her–and her long-buried interest in musical composition.
But their frenzied affair can’t last. Tristan is headed to the UK to audition his next album. And Lannie soon learns an elevated libido isn’t the only effect of that experimental drug.
The treated mice have gone deaf.

Review

The Phoenix Syndrome by Claire Gem is a fun and light romantic comedy that is a highly pleasant read.

The book started out at a steady pace, but before I knew it I was so engrossed in the plot that I found it difficult to put it down even to make a cup of coffee! This book is one of those books that gives you a feel-good feeling about the story and makes the time go by in the blink of an eye. I enjoyed reading this book thoroughly and found myself chuckling quite often owing to the author’s witty, sarcastic and intelligent\remarks.
I’ve previously read Hearts Unloched by the author and loved her writing style, but this book was even better and I found the writing style even more engrossing. I’m really looking forward to reading her next releases.

I loved the characterization and was able to connect to the main character, Lannie. Even though I rarely read books about characters above 30 years of age, this book proved to be a pleasant experience. I also loved the other secondary characters and enjoyed the background stories of them all. The ending of the story was perfect too.

I’d recommend this book to all the romance and chick-lit lovers and also to those who won’t mind reading a warm funny read.


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Book Review: Tears Of The Ancient And Other Stories by Jason R. Koivu

30374957Author:  Jason R. Koivu
Release Date: 7th June 2016
Series: –
Genre: Fantasy, Short Stories
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 128
Publisher: C Street

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

Travel to new lands and visit old souls in Tears of the Ancient and Other Stories, a collection of short stories filled with demons and dragons*, betrayal and tomfoolery, a whipsmart goblin and a comedic mushroom!

**It’s more like an oversized lizard, if we’re being honest.

Review

Tears Of The Ancient And Other Stories by Jason R. Koivu is a collection of Fantasy short stories that turned out to be a really pleasant book.

As a fantasy lover, I absolutely adore reading about different creatures, worlds and concepts and this book gave me exactly that. I loved the first story; it was about a human-obsessed goblin who was really smart but was not liked by his fellow goblins. I felt so bad for him that by the end I forgot that I was reading a short story. I could have read a full-length novel on just this story. Another one of my favorites was the title story, Tears Of The Ancient. It had a beautiful concept and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

I liked the writing style as it had an easy flow to it that made reading this book a pleasant experience. Author Jason did a wonderful job in crafting each and every story with beautiful detailing work and perfectly setting the tone for each and every story.

I enjoyed most of the stories, and the only complaint I have is that there were not enough stories for a fantasy lover like me. So I  hope that the author comes up with another such beautiful book soon.

I’d recommend this book to all the Fantasy lovers and to everyone who likes reading short stories.


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Graphic Novel Review: Siberia 56 (Volume #1-3) by Christophe Beck & Alexis Sentenac

29430580Author: Christophe Bec
Illustrator: Alexis Sentenac
Release Date: 14th March 2017
Series: Serbia 56 (Volumes 1-3)
Genre: Science-Fiction, Space Exploration, Graphic Novel, Sequential Art
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 156
Publisher: Insight Comics

Rating: ★★★

Blurb:

Trapped on a planet millions of light years away from Earth, five scientists must survive sub-zero temperatures and horrific alien creatures as they make their way across the dead, frozen landscape to their base in this action-packed graphic novel.
It is the age of space exploration, and five scientists travel 80 million light years from home to study the planet of Siberia, the location of Earth’s 56th colony. Completely covered with dense snow and steep mountains, Siberia’s poles reach temperatures of -300° F with icy winds of close to 200 mph.
After their shuttle crashes, the surviving scientists must walk across hundreds of miles of frozen wasteland to find the terrain basecamp. Between the biting cold, devastating snow storms, and horrific alien creatures, their chances of survival are close to absolute zero. In Siberia 56, author Christophe Bec imagines a hostile and fascinating world that harkens to the very best of the science fiction and horror genres. Superbly illustrated by Alexis Sentenac, this stunning work offers a chilling tale of survival in the vast recesses of a dying planet.

Review

The concept was pretty awesome and the graphics were really impressive too, but after the first 20 pages, the story started to feel uninteresting, flat and even predictable. At times it also felt like a slog as I did not like the main character at all.
Overall, the concept was really, really good and I was genuinely looking forward to reading this book as it had some pretty good theme going on, but unfortunately the characterization and the pacing and tension of the story ruined it.
I had problems with some of the dialogues too, but that’s okay given that the ebook is a translated edition.
I wish this book had a dynamic cast of characters and that at least the main character was likable, as it would have been a really strong read then. But alas, it was what it was.


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Book Review: Deadly Hearts by Priscila Santa Rosa

33851874Author: Priscila Santa Rosa
Release Date: 17th January 2017
Series: –
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic Romance
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 205
Publisher: –

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

 

After a deadly disease devastates her country and robs her of everything she has ever known, Isabel cares only about one thing: keeping her infected mother safe.
When rumors of a cure reach her desperate ears, Isabel will do anything to have it. Even if that means getting into bed with Diego, the charming leader of the Vargas drug cartel. Figuratively speaking, that is. Once her initial plan of stealing the cure from his grasp fails, she sees herself at the mercy of one of the most powerful men left in their country. But instead of killing her, an intrigued Diego proposes a dangerous deal. One she cannot refuse.

She will take him to the quarantined island of Bonita, a place that still haunts her nightmares, or she’ll lose her only chance of having the cure.
With no other choice, Isabel embarks on a journey deep into the jungle with Diego—a man she doesn’t trust but who holds the key to her salvation. And maybe, if she lets him, her heart

Review

Deadly Hearts by Priscila Santa Rosa is a smashing post-apocalyptic romance novel.

This novel made me realize one thing for sure, that a romantic story set in a post-apocalyptic setting can be as real and as deadly as any other post-apocalyptic survival story.

Incredibly, author Priscila maintained the level of subtlety and elegance throughout the story for which I am really thankful because nowadays that’s the one thing that’s missing from most of the books in Romance genre. This story had just the right balance of romance, conflicts, drama, action, struggle and the underlying emotion for the desperate need for survival. The number of kills and the disorder made the plot feel extremely real as per the settings throughout the book never making me feel overwhelmed by either of them.

I loved both the main characters, Isabel and Vargas, and their love story was so sweet and real that I found myself cheering for the both of them to fall in love. Their struggles, their emotions, and their desperate motives made both of them exceptionally strong characters.  I loved all the secondary characters as well, especially each and everyone’s highly credible background stories.

Priscila’s writing is one of my favorites when it comes to apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic novels (and talking about the genre, you’ve got to check out Those Who Remain trilogy by her!) The writing is so fluid that it makes the story shine and makes the reader want to go on reading her books without putting them down before finishing with them. And that is what I loved the most about this book as well.

If you love reading romance and/or post-apocalyptic (or even dystopian) fiction, then this book is definitely for you. Even if you’re not into romance you wouldn’t want to miss out on this one as it is a really beautiful story.


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Book Review: Sister Sister by Sue Fortin

33411823Author: Sue Fortin
Release Date: 6th January 2017
Series: –
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Mystery
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 364
Publisher: Harper Impulse

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

 

From the bestselling author of The Girl Who Lied

Alice: Beautiful, kind, manipulative, liar.

Clare: Intelligent, loyal, paranoid, jealous.

Clare thinks Alice is a manipulative liar who is trying to steal her life.
Alice thinks Clare is jealous of her long-lost return and place in their family.

One of them is telling the truth. The other is a maniac.
Two sisters. One truth

Review

Sister Sister by Sue Fortin is a gripping page-turner of a novel that’ll leave you craving for more.

I picked up this book impulsively and having nothing better to read in the first week of the year, I decided to go for it. I was hoping to fill up my entire lazy week with this book as I was on a vacation on a beautiful hill-station, but when I started reading this book, all hell broke lose and I was up in the night at 4 o clock trying to read the book and finish it as soon as I could.

The best part about this book is the pacing. The book was proceeding with a blinding speed and I started to feel really anxious whenever the lead character was faced with a dicey situation.

The characterization is beautifully real. I could totally relate to the main character, though at some places she behaved rash considering that she was a lawyer by profession, but I still understood as behaving with a calm mind in every situation is almost always next to impossible for impatient people. I loved how beautifully the relationship between the lead couple was shown and how over the period of time it was shown getting weak by the chapter due to the situations and “incidents.”

The beginning was good and I was pulled into the story from the starting page itself. The ending was perfect and even though it was predictable, the pacing and the tension buildup totally made up for it.

The writing style of the author is brilliant and it made this fun a really memorable experience. I still can’t get the story out of my mind. This was my first book by author Sue Fortin, but I’m sure I’ll be buying her other books soon as I absolutely loved her writing style.

I’d recommend this book not only to all the mystery and thriller lovers but also to anyone who wants to read a nice book with strong characters and a powerful story.


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Book Review: We Are Going To A Wedding by Robert Davies Higgins

32964848-2Author: Robert Davies Higgins
Release Date: 10 November 2016
Series: –
Genre: Chick-Lit, Romance
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 150
Publisher: AG Books

Rating: ★★

Blurb:

Veronica and her best friend and business partner Elizabeth work long hard hours preparing to open a high class art and gift shop in the English Lake District. With the work completed, they decide to take a short break before the grand opening, and they go to a beautiful country hotel for a few days to chill out.
They befriend a young Australian waitress, who has a bubbly fun filled personality. When a huge old American Cadillac drives into the parking lot, a competition between the three of them ensues as to what the handsome driver does for a living, and who is going to win his heart!
Great fun, and exciting adventures follow, but who indeed will win the heart of the tall handsome stranger?

Review

We Are Going To A Wedding by Robert Davies Higgins was, unfortunately, not for me.

First off the blurb of this book is actually the synopsis of only the first two chapters and after that, the story seems to stretch all the way to the uneventful ending. The story didn’t make any sense for me.

Apart from the story, the dialogues were unreal too. They were awkward and I really think that this book needs another round or two of revising and a good professional developmental as well as line editing.

The characters felt flat and one-dimensional and the story just didn’t make any sense. Veronica was at least tolerable, but the character of Elizabeth was so weird that I had a hard time reading the book whenever she started talking or making pervert snide remarks (which was quite a lot.)

I hate posting negative reviews, but there’s nothing really positive I can say about this book as the writing itself had flaws. I had a hard time focusing on the story with abrupt head hoping and change of POVs without any break or warnings. There were11 chapters in total, but I feel that the story should have been divided into at least 20 chapters giving space for individual POV chapters that could have made the reading experience better.

Unfortunately, I did not like this book and as an author myself I feel like it will be wrong to not point out the flaws, hence the detailed dissection.
Even though I might not recommend this book to anyone, I have a feeling that chick-lit readers might find it interesting enough to enjoy it (or maybe not.) And I do think that if this book gets edited properly and the typesetting is improved then it might make for a pleasant read for the genre lovers.


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Book Review: Esper Files by Egan Brass

32493342Author: Egan Brass  
Release Date: 26 October 2016
Series: Esper Files
Genre: Science Fiction Fantasy, Steampunk, Supernatural, Paranormal
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 
Publisher: Inkitt

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

Set in London during the latter part of the 19th century. An experiment goes wrong at The Oxford Academy of Science, giving certain people extraordinary powers which turns them into ‘Espers’. An institute is set up to teach Espers how to control these power, and stop corrupt Espers from abusing theirs. Nathan and James, two agents from the Institute team up with Freya, a young Esper whose brother (gifted with the strange ability to manipulate emotions) is abducted by a ruthless Baron. The group has to fight against a dark threat to protect the fragile peace of Victorian London… And the rest of the world.

Review

Esper Files by Egan Brass is the first book in the series of the same name and is an enjoyable supernatural fantasy read.

I had no idea what to expect from this book when I was first asked to review it, but when I started reading it and was only a few pages in, I knew it for fact that I was in for a fun ride. And as it turned out, I wasn’t wrong.

Even though the entire concept was quite similar to the X-men team – Professor X, Logan, and Magneto, still I was able to enjoy the new take on the whole “being different” thing.

The writing was captivating and the story was really engrossing. The concept was not unique but it was definitely good. The story progression was really good and I really liked reading this book. I was pulled into the story from the very start right till the end. It was a fast-paced read which proved to be a quick one (another plus for me.)

In this book, I liked the story better than the characters. I won’t say the characters were completely one-dimensional because I liked them, but I wasn’t able to feel a striking connection with any one of them. It was one of those books that made me take enough interest in the characters to want to know what happens in the end and also what happens after it. So I’ll be definitely looking forward to reading the sequel (hoping that now that I know the characters well, I might feel a connection with them.)

I’d recommend this book to fantasy lovers and to anyone who is looking for a light and quick supernatural series to read.


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Book Review: From The Earth To The Moon by Jules Verne

32827Author: Jules Verne 
Release Date: 1865
Series: 
Genre: Classic Science Fiction
Edition: Paperback (part of The Collector’s Book Of Science Fiction)
Pages: 136
Publisher: Aegypan

Rating: ★★

Blurb:

Verne’s 1865 tale of a trip to the moon is (as you’d expect from Verne) great fun, even if bits of it now seem, in retrospect, a little strange. Our rocket ship gets shot out of a cannon? To the moon? Goodness! But in other ways it’s full of eerie bits of business that turned out to be very near reality: he had the cost, when you adjust for inflation, almost exactly right. There are other similarities, too. Verne’s cannon was named the Columbiad; the Apollo 11 command module was named Columbia. Apollo 11 had a three-person crew, just as Verne’s did; and both blasted off from the American state of Florida. Even the return to earth happened in more-or-less the same place. Coincidence — or fact!? We say you’ll have to read this story yourself to judge.

Review

I’m not a fan of Jules Verne’s writing, hence it was a bit difficult for me to complete this book. I’m just glad that somehow I did. Though there was a fair bit of skimming involved (like pages at times.)

There are a lot of good things I can say about this book like the entire concept of the Gun Club and the mission to send a projectile to Moon, some really sharp sarcastic observations that made me giggle every time I recalled them later on, a decent story overall and the feel-good factor. But there was the inescapable Verne writing that I have now come to dread that literally haunted me through the entire book, the excruciatingly slow pace of the story progression and the crazy level of Science involved for such a short read. Though the Science bit was actually quite impressive, I did not enjoy it at all.

I was hoping to finish this book in a few hours, but it took me more than 3 days to finish it. So you can guess why I gave this book a 2-star rating.

I’d recommend this book only to the hardcore fans of author Jules Verne and to no one else.


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Book Review: Class of ’59 by John A. Heldt

31978127Author: John A. Heldt 
Release Date: 1st September 2016
Series: American Journey (Book #4)
Genre: Historical Fiction, Science-Fiction-Time Travel
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 293
Publisher: Self-published

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

When Mary Beth McIntire settles into a vacation house on June 2, 2017, she anticipates a quiet morning with coffee. Then she hears a noise, peers out a window, and spots a man in 1950s attire standing in the backyard. She panics when the trespasser sees her and enters the house though a door to the basement. She questions her sanity when she cannot find him.
In the same house on March 21, 1959, Mark Ryan finds a letter. Written by the mansion’s original owner in 1900, the letter describes a basement chamber, mysterious crystals, and a formula for time travel. Driven by curiosity, Mark tests the formula twice. On his second trip to 2017, he encounters a beautiful stranger. He meets the woman in the window.
Within hours, Mary Beth and Mark share their secret with her sister and his brother and begin a journey that takes them from the present day to the age of sock hops, drive-ins, and jukeboxes. In CLASS OF ’59, the fourth book in the American Journey series, four young adults find love, danger, and adventure as they navigate the corridors of time and experience Southern California in its storied prime.

Review

The Class of ’59 by John A. Heldt is a great romance book, the perfect company for a rainy Sunday afternoon. It combines love story and time traveling with details of ’59 and just a little bit of suspense, crime, and danger.

The book is easy to read and made me curious from the start. When I read about the death of Mary Beth’s boyfriend in the first pages of the book, I didn’t imagine that it will be some time traveling involved.

The characters were so simple, no drama, just enjoying life. I almost envied them. All the problems were so easily solved. So it made me think of a fairytale. A ’59 fairytale.

The descriptions parts, nice and simple, gave me the impression of watching a movie. But still,  I would have loved more of the ’59, something that I can not find on google.

I also liked the unpredictable.I had no idea of what would happen next and how it would end.  Every time I thought the book was leading me somewhere, another event changed the direction.  I really enjoyed the simple optimistic end. It is not the type of book that makes me think but the type of book that makes me smile.


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Book Review: The Lost City Of The Monkey God: A True Story by Douglas Preston

30145126Author: Douglas Preston 
Release Date: 3rd January 2017
Series: 
Genre: Non-Fiction, Adventure, Anthropology, Archeology, History, True Events
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 337
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

A five-hundred-year-old legend. An ancient curse. A stunning medical mystery. And a pioneering journey into the unknown heart of the world’s densest jungle.
Since the days of conquistador Hernán Cortés, rumors have circulated about a lost city of immense wealth hidden somewhere in the Honduran interior, called the White City or the Lost City of the Monkey God. Indigenous tribes speak of ancestors who fled there to escape the Spanish invaders, and they warn that anyone who enters this sacred city will fall ill and die. In 1940, swashbuckling journalist Theodore Morde returned from the rainforest with hundreds of artifacts and an electrifying story of having found the Lost City of the Monkey God-but then committed suicide without revealing its location.
Three quarters of a century later, bestselling author Doug Preston joined a team of scientists on a groundbreaking new quest. In 2012 he climbed aboard a rickety, single-engine plane carrying the machine that would change everything: lidar, a highly advanced, classified technology that could map the terrain under the densest rainforest canopy. In an unexplored valley ringed by steep mountains, that flight revealed the unmistakable image of a sprawling metropolis, tantalizing evidence of not just an undiscovered city but an enigmatic, lost civilization.
Venturing into this raw, treacherous, but breathtakingly beautiful wilderness to confirm the discovery, Preston and the team battled torrential rains, quickmud, disease-carrying insects, jaguars, and deadly snakes. But it wasn’t until they returned that tragedy struck: Preston and others found they had contracted in the ruins a horrifying, sometimes lethal-and incurable-disease.
Suspenseful and shocking, filled with colorful history, hair-raising adventure, and dramatic twists of fortune, The Lost City of the Monkey God is the absolutely true, eyewitness account of one of the great discoveries of the twenty-first century.

Review

The Lost City Of The Monkey God by Douglas Preston is a sensational true adventure book about the very famous legend of ‘Casa Blanca’ a lost city in the unexplored part of the Honduran rainforest.

The book started out so good that I was immediately pulled into the story. It was an exciting and a thoroughly entertaining read and I enjoyed reading every bit of it! This is the first time that I’ve read a true-adventure story and, surprisingly, this book absolutely blew my mind!

I would have never even imagined of reading this book had it not been for The Obsidian Chamber, a book co-authored by Douglas Preston. I really liked the writing style used in that book and hence, when I was offered to review this book, I immediately accepted knowing that, if not the genre, at least the writing of the author was something I was familiar with. But to my pleasant surprise, the writing in this book turned out to be even better than what I was expecting. Douglas Preston has the skill to tell a complex and technical tale in such beautiful and simple words that even a layman like me understood everything and was able to enjoy the entire book.

The only problem I had (and the reason why I dropped my rating from 5 to 4 stars) is that the last 2-3 chapters were a bit of a slog. They were interesting and informative, but they had a lot of stuff that bounced right off my head and left me skimming over paragraphs.

Other than this, the book is a brilliant read and gives a detailed account of not only the search missions author Douglas Preston participated in, but also about the earlier attempts and hoax discoveries related to the legend of the Lost City Of The Monkey God, which was both insightful as well as fun to read.

I’d recommend this book to all the adventure and true-adventure genre lovers and to those who wouldn’t mind taking an adventurous and a really exciting trip to a really, really beautiful legendary rainforest.

“… legends are frequently based on the truth, and this one, so persistent and long-lasting, is no exception.”

Here’s a list of the articles published on the National Geographic website along with the real photographs (these articles were also mentioned and sometimes quoted in this book):


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Book Review: Climatized by Sally Fernandez

32511383Author: Sally Fernandez
Release Date: 4th October 2016
Series: Max Ford (Book #1)
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Detective Fiction, Conspiracy
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 224
Publisher: Dunham Books

Rating: ★★★

Blurb:

Maxine Ford, having resigned as deputy director of the States intelligence Agency, soon needed an outlet for her innate sleuthing capabilities. It only made sense that she would be destined to establish her own investigative firm. Naturally, her stellar clients would be among the Washington elite, including senators, members of the various congressional committees, along with other high profilers inside the beltway.

In the first novel in the series, Climatized, Max is hired by the wife of a prominent Senator to determine the cause of his untimely death. It leads her to discover that three world-renowned scientists had been killed days before they were scheduled to testify before the late Senator’s investigative committee. Meanwhile, a fourth scientist has gone missing. Max determines he is the key to unearthing the motives behind the deaths. Following the many twists and turns, Max and her associate, Jackson Monroe uncover a powerful organization responsible for the killings. The challenges to the global warming “cottage industry” heats up putting into question the alleged science behind the widely accepted climate change dogma. Cogent evidence is provided to the president, forcing him to make a crucial decision-to cover up a diabolical plot-or bring down a multi-trillion-dollar world-wide economy.

Review

Climatized by Sally Fernandez is a mystery thriller that is centered around a huge political conspiracy involving the climate change.

I liked the book as I started reading it, but after around 100 pages the book started to get a bit flat for my taste. The main problem was that there was a lot of telling when it came to the main character Maxine Ford. At places, it felt like the author was forcing the reader to like her and to “get” how stud Maxine is. Plus, there was a lot of background info that was packed in the midst of scenes and situations that made the experience a bit overwhelming. I understand that background is necessary, but in this case, it was too much.

And for some unknown reason, I was not able to connect to the main character, Max, at all and hence, I lost interest in reading this book by the 50% mark. I still kept on going, but it was a real slog and I skimmed over pages just to be done with it. The descriptions of the climate stuff were too taxing and were impossible to keep up with, especially for a layman like me who has no idea about the technical stuff related to any of the climatic situations or the measures taken to avoid/stop them.

This book is not for me, but if you like science (or medical) and conspiracy thrillers then this book might impress you because there are a lot of raving reviews and testimonies for this book by a lot of big people (there are a few testimonies by professionals from NASA.) So I’m pretty sure that this book would be a huge hit in the right hands.


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