Book Review: Those Days In Delhi by Yashodhara Lal

Author: Yashodhara Lal
Release Date: 10th August 2019
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Series:
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 304
Publisher: Harper Collins India
Blurb:
Delhi in the Nineties. And this time, it’s going to be Gudia’s summer. So what if she’s the quintessential awkward middle child? So what if it seems like everything – from the hair sprouting on her legs to teachers making her life miserable – is conspiring against her? She’s taking matters into her own hands, and there’s no way that she’s going to fail. After all, there are three things Gudia is obsessed with – Basketball, the Boy with the American accent…and Winning. But in her desire to win this campaign of middle-school one-upmanship and conceal her plummeting grades, Gudia might just lose all that’s important to her – including herself. Best-selling author Yashodhara Lal is back with this funny, bittersweet and entirely relatable story about growing up; of that summer of innocence, when the world was simpler, and even our problems seemed sweeter.

REVIEW

★★★★

To sum it up in a single sentence, Those Days In Delhi by Yashodhara Lal is a feel-good contemporary read with an interesting story and an equally interesting cast of characters. It was a pretty quick read, mostly because of the well-written prose and also due to the fact that the book was so darn engaging. A really good book that shouldn’t be missed by anyone, especially those who belong to the legendary era of the ’80s and ’90s.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Nameless Book: Everyone Has A Story by Deepthi Ayyagari

Author: Deepthi Ayyagari
Release Date: 30th October 2018
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Short Story Collection
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 76
Publisher: WordBuzz Publishing
Blurb:
Everyone has a story. These are stories about people like you and me, about relationships, love and life. Stories that will make you laugh, cry, and feel deeply about. Some of them, you will not forget for a long time to come…

REVIEW

★★★★

Nameless Book by Deepthi Ayyagari is a collection of short stories that explore the broad themes of emotions and life intermingled with witty narration making it a breezy read. It was a very quick and refreshing read as the author did not burden the reader with the needless sentimental baggage of characters keeping her narrative as well as characterisation light yet eventful.

Ass the stories are full of life and essence and I enjoyed them all very much. I was able to read this book in less than an hour and would highly recommend it to those readers who are looking for a quick fix that they can read in their work-break or commute. Honestly, any person who enjoys reading will have a great time reading this book so I recommend it to everyone.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Brinda -The Extraordinary Story of An Indian Girl (Femme Fatale) by Deepthi Ayyagari

Author: Deepthi Ayyagari
Release Date: 20th May 2019
Genre: Women Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 144
Publisher: 
Blurb:
‘Brinda’ will draw you in bit-by-bit to experience an extraordinary story; for there will always be secret-lives we will never know about, but are free to glimpse through the ‘reel’.
This is Brinda’s story–she was thrown into the local MLA’s house for servitude by the intertwining of her poor family’s greed and a quirk of fate. As she began a new chapter in her life with great anticipation of a financially secure future, fate held darker challenges for her to overcome.
The MLA’s son, Virender, was prying on her blossoming youth. She knew she was sought, and she knew she was bought. As Payal, her only friend in the palatial bungalow plotted her escape, she was not sure if she should go–they both knew some dark and tightly held secrets of the house, and she knew the implications of an escape for herself, and more so, for Payal.
Will Brinda leave or stay on to be exploited? Knowing what could shape out of even the slightest slip, will Brinda take the plunge, or will she resign herself to her fate and wait for what’s in store?
In this intriguing plot filled with choosing between two equally hazardous courses, what does Brinda choose? And what will be the outcome of that choice?
WHAT SHOULD BE ONE’S STAND WHEN DOOM AWAITS IN THE ONLY TWO DIRECTIONS TO TAKE?

REVIEW

★★★★

Brinda -The Extraordinary Story of An Indian Girl (Femme Fatale) by Deepthi Ayyagari is a beautifully written and well-plotted story about a girl named Brinda who has to go through a lot before emerging as a much stronger variant of herself. This story was both, compelling as well as endearing.

The writing, as I mentioned, was good, the characterisation was on point and the story was paced evenly, overall making it a strong read. This is my 3rd book by the author and so far the best one by her, so I was very glad I read this book.

What I loved most about this book was that it offers something that our society needs desperately these days – women empowerment without the pretention of feminism. I have nothing against feminists and feminism whatsoever, but I do have a problem with pseudo-feminists who, by the masses, corrupt the entire movement altogether. I believe in an egalitarian society so I am always in favour of women empowerment and this book is all about showcasing the strength of women. And that is where it scores the brownie points. All this while keeping in mind that the book didn’t feel like it was written with any kind of agenda in mind.

I’d recommend this book to all women’s fiction readers and to everyone who enjoys reading contemporary fiction in general. This book would also make a good read for both feminists as well as the feminazis 😉

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: The Choices We Make by Karma Brown

Author: Karma Brown
Release Date: 12th July 2016
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Series:
Edition: e-book
Pages: 316
Publisher: Mira
Blurb:
Hannah and Kate became friends in the fifth grade, when Hannah hit a boy for looking up Kate’s skirt with a mirror. While they’ve been close as sisters ever since, Hannah can’t help but feel envious of the little family Kate and her husband, David, have created—complete with two perfect little girls.She and Ben have been trying for years to have a baby, so when they receive the news that she will likely never get pregnant, Hannah’s heartbreak is overwhelming. But just as they begin to tentatively explore the other options, it’s Kate’s turn to do the rescuing. Not only does she offer to be Hannah’s surrogate, but Kate is willing to use her own eggs to do so.Full of renewed hope, excitement and gratitude, these two families embark on an incredible journey toward parenthood…until a devastating tragedy puts everything these women have worked toward at risk of falling apart. Poignant and refreshingly honest, The Choices We Make is a powerful tale of two mothers, one incredible friendship and the risks we take to make our dreams come true.

Review

★★★★+1/2

The Choices We Make by Karma Brown is a beautiful, heart-warming and very memorable read about friendships, husband-wife relationships and the unpredictability of life.

This book is one of those books that always stays with the reader. I believe Contemporary Women’s Fiction as a genre has a lot of potential and when the books in this genre are paired with excellent writing, a strong and unyielding plotline and powerful and believable characters, they transform into magic. This book had all these things and so much more. I loved the dialogues in this book a lot because they were good and as a result, each and every conversation felt real. For me, this was the strongest aspect fo this book.

The second best thing about this book was the writing – clean, crisp and clear. As a result, the book felt like a very easy and quick read (something that I always appreciate.) The writing had a very smooth air about it and flowed beautifully complementing this beautiful story. The pacing was spot-on and the tension perfect.

I was totally blown away when the main turning point of the story came; I was left gasping for breath, literally. I did not expect it and it totally broke my heart. It took me a while to digest what actually happened and all the while I kept wishing for it to somehow get undone, but then when it did not, I found myself struggling to grasp what was actually happening just like the characters in the novel. I mean, one thing you know you love a character and then the next thing you know something very bad has happened to them and you totally did not see it coming (I’m remembering Ned Stark’s execution in the first book itself… god! it still hurts!) After having read a lot of books you come to a point where hardly anything surprises you. But this book made me feel emotions I forgot having felt for a long time. This book made me feel like a first time reader who got involved in a book so much that even after having finished the book I am not able to forget the characters.

I’m cutting back 1/2 a star because the author left me sleepless for a couple of nights with such a tragic ending (I hate you for it, Karma Brown, but I love you for writing this book!) I’m sure as hell reading other books by the author. And I’d recommend it to all the readers who have a hunger for really good stories but won’t mind reading about issues related to surrogacy or pregnancy.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and NetGalley

Book Review: The Year Of Oceans by Sean Anderson

Author: Sean Anderson
Release Date: 12th February 2018
Genre: Contemporary Literary Fiction
Series:
Edition: e-book
Pages: 324
Publisher: Riversong Books
Blurb:
Hugo Larson is a retired accountant living in North Seattle. Having recently lost the person most important to him, he attempts to make a life for himself in spite of that gaping absence. While he spends his time swimming, gardening, and accomplishing the mundane tasks of everyday life, he also has several important relationships to manage. Adrian is Hugo’s caring but foolish son, a young man desperately in need of career guidance. Hugo’s brother, Martin, brims with positive energy and a life many would envy: a kind wife, an illustrious teaching career, and a darling granddaughter—but at the implications of retiring. Then there is Paul, a serene next-door neighbor and friend who is haunted by his own loss, who goes on adventures with Hugo through the city. Despite all this, Hugo faces the heaviness of existence, confronts towering questions, embraces and then pushes away those close to him. Through the course of one year, he faces his past, struggles with the present, and questions the future.
What waits for Hugo at the end of that year?

Review

★★★★

The Year Of Oceans by Sean Anderson is a sensitive book about dealing with loss, the overpowering and omnipresent grief that ensues and about individual growth. It was a very likeable read, albeit being on the heavier side of the spectrum.

It was very interesting to read about Hugo, the protagonist, and seeing his journey for an entire year after the loss of his beloved. Many times I found myself feeling a wide spectrum of emotions that the protagonist goes through – sadness, frustration, loneliness, disdain and emptiness. But as the book progresses, the author artfully shows the growth of the main lead in a way that felt very real and relatable.

I loved the writing of the author as it complimented the story well. The story had a good flow to it and I was able to navigate through it easily. I liked the story from start to end, and in spite of an unexpected ending, I felt it was very apt for the book.

The best part about this book, though, was that the subject of death and the grief that one has to cope with afterwards (which is a very tricky one) was handled, to my pleasant surprise, quite skillfully with the much-needed delicateness and subtlety. It was a bit hard for me to read this book as the subject of loss, personally, is agonising for me to handle, but I’m glad that the author respected a person’s sense of loss, in general, and worked gracefully around it, touching on the nerves only as required.

A wonderful book for a debut novel that I’d recommend to everyone and anyone who can handle reading about loss, grief and pain related to a close one’s death.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Spencer’s Risk by Andy Greenhalgh

Author: Andy Greenhalgh
Release Date: 17th April 2018
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Dark Comedy
Series:
Edition: e-book
Pages: 185
Publisher:
Blurb:
SPENCER’S RISK is a dark comic novel. Burnt out and broke, university Drama lecturer Spencer Leyton is a compulsive gambler, estranged from his wife and children and driving his career over a cliff. His some-time friend Justin invites him to a high-stakes poker game. (‘Justin could sell snow to the Eskimos – literally. For some months he had sold cocaine to the Inuit community in Copenhagen’.) The game ends with Spencer owing £10,000 to Paula Malone, the head of a criminal gang.
At work, Spencer is sexually obsessed with a wealthy and glamourous student called Eva. She commits plagiarism,
an offence usually punished by expulsion, but bribes him with £3000 to keep quiet about it. Spencer has inside information about a football game, so he bets the £3000 on it, and that is when things really start to go wrong…
Eva demands the leading role in the College Showcase Production, with disastrous results. (‘Eva was not wearing the costume she had worn in the Dress Rehearsal. Eva was wearing a sporran. And very little else’)
Paula’s deadline runs out. It looks like curtains for Spencer Leyton…

Review

★★★★

Spencer’s Risk by Andy Greenhalgh is a delightful and enjoyable new contemporary read with lots of dark humour highlighted by sarcastic undertones.

It was a very enjoyable book and I had a good time reading it. The characterization was good which was a big plus given the entire story heavily depended on the main protagonist, Spencer. He was very believable and pretty relatable. Even though he landed up in extreme situations, I was able to relate to his worries and dilemmas and hence, was able to connect to him easily.

The writing was clean and good and the author’s clever sense of humour shone through the entire book nicely. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a light and refreshing contemporary book.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Kaitlin’s Mooring by Carey V. Azzara

Author: Carey V. Azzara
Release Date: 3rd July 2018
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Romance
Series:  
Edition: E-book
Pages: 208
Publisher: Glass Spider Publishing
Blurb:
Nothing is more horrific than losing a child, nothing more joyous than the birth of one. When grief intertwines with joy, it throws the Deveau family into turmoil.

Pregnant twenty-year-old Kaitlin Deveau leaves Boston University in a hurry when Henry, her grandfather, calls from Maine with devastating news. Bereft of hope, Kaitlin’s son, Christopher, becomes a life preserver, keeping the family buoyant. Henry, now Chris’s only male role model, teaches him lessons he uses throughout life. In the end, Chris and his adopted sister, Susan, must save their parents from the fate that took his grandparents–but the outcome is uncertain.

Review

★★★★

Kaitlin’s Mooring by Carey V. Azzara is a beautiful story about relationships and family.

This book was surprisingly good and I savoured reading every minute of it. The overall story was a feast and the writing was pretty good and the characters strong and believable. The character’s inner conflicts seemed real and they complemented the carefully woven tale very well. The beginning was slow but built up steadily and the ending proved to be apt.

Except for a few minor pacing issues, I enjoyed the book thoroughly. I’d recommend it to all contemporary fiction readers and to those readers who want to explore new authors and books.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Super Me by Jessica Dazzo

Author: Jessica Dazzo
Release Date: 20th July 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Paranormal
Series: Super Series (Book #1)
Edition: E-book
Pages: 327
Publisher:
Blurb:
What does it mean when your mind goes rogue and starts making stuff up? For example, if you were to hear the radio talk to you—say your name and tell you to do something… that couldn’t be a good sign, right? Or when everyone keeps saying your ex-crush’s name in random conversation when you’re just really trying to get over the jerk because he’s actually terrible? Not good.
Seventeen-year-old Faye Aldright has never quite fit in, but when she starts hearing and seeing things all wrong, it makes life so much harder. Faye knows she’s the cause of all of the intense, awkward, and sometimes explosive misunderstandings with her mom, best friend, and the new boy who she definitely hates. She knows it’s all in her mind and that for some reason, it’s turned against her. It’s trying to ruin her life. She just has to figure out how to fight the crazy in order to get her life back on track–in order to find out what’s really going on in her little town, because something supernatural is definitely going on.
But how do you fight your mind? And what kind of person has their own mind as their nemesis?

Review

★★★★

Super Me by Jessica Dazzo is a refreshing new YA paranormal novel that is hard to put down once you get into the story.

Initially, it took me a while to get into the story, but once I was in, it was hard not to read and finish it off in one sitting. The story is complex, in a good way, and engaging. The writing is good and makes the book an easy and quick read. The characters believable and the setting fitting to the tone of the overall plotline. So, on the whole, it was a complete package and I enjoyed reading it. But what really set this book apart from the others in the genre is the emotional believability of the protagonist’s internal (as well as external) conflicts. I was able to connect with Faye and felt deeply for her. Other characters were also developed well and, hence, the ending proved to be emotionally exhausting yet rewarding at the same time.

If you’re into paranormal and supernatural fiction, then you must check out this book.

this review is also posted on goodreads and amazon

Book Review: For The Lover Of Stories by Charlie Avinash Nicholas

Author: Charlie Avinash Nicholas
Release Date: 20th April 2017
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Cross-Genre – Poetry Collection & Short-Stories,
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 316
Publisher:
Blurb:
Dear you,Welcome to my double feature. “For the Lover of Stories” contains two of my books:

1) “Sanity’s War” is an anthology of interlaced short stories and narrative poems. It depicts epic battles between kingdoms, against nightmarish forces, and within broken souls.

2) “Strange: And Other Accounts From the Taboo War” is a novella of short tales, poetry, and letters. It deals with the Unsung Heroes’ battles against the Grim Reaper’s strange sons.

Review

★★+1/2

For The Lover Of Stories by Charlie Avinash Nicholas is a cross-genre contemporary fiction that is an unusual and somewhat interesting collection of poems (mostly narrative), short stories and epistolary texts and overall it was an okay read.

The writing was okay, not great but not bad either, and the content of each and every chapter was also okay, but because of the different types of texts, I felt a bit disconnected from the book. The tone of the book, which was basically dark and war-based, some literal some metaphorical, was something I liked, but the real problem was that I wasn’t able to relate to any of the characters in any of the texts. Microfiction is tricky and I wasn’t overly impressed by author’s brevity in this book (which is actually a combined version of two books.)

If you like reading cross-genre fiction and won’t mind trying out both poetry and microfiction by a new author then you can go for this one, though I can’t say for sure if you might like it or not.

this review is also posted on goodreads and amazon

ARC Review: How To Walk Away By Katherine Centre

Author: Katherine Center
Release Date: 15th May 2018
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Series:  
Edition: E-book
Pages: 320
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Blurb:
From the author of Happiness for Beginners comes an unforgettable love story about finding joy even in the darkest of circumstances.
Margaret Jacobsen is just about to step into the bright future she’s worked for so hard and so long: a new dream job, a fiancé she adores, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in a brief, tumultuous moment.
In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Maggie must confront the unthinkable. First there is her fiancé, Chip, who wallows in self-pity while simultaneously expecting to be forgiven. Then, there’s her sister Kit, who shows up after pulling a three-year vanishing act. Finally, there’s Ian, her physical therapist, the one the nurses said was too tough for her. Ian, who won’t let her give in to her pity, and who sees her like no one has seen her before. Sometimes the last thing you want is the one thing you need. Sometimes we all need someone to catch us when we fall. And sometimes love can find us in the least likely place we would ever expect.
How to Walk Away is Katherine Center at her very best—a masterpiece of a novel that is both hopeful and hilarious; truthful and wise; tender and brave.

Praise for How to Walk Away:

“A heartbreak of a novel that celebrates resilience and strength.” —Jill Santopolo, bestselling author of The Light We Lost

“If you just read one book this year,
read How to Walk Away.” —Nina George, New York Times bestselling author of The Little Paris Bookshop

“Warm, witty, and wonderfully observed.” —Emily Giffin, New York Times bestselling author of First Comes Love“Sympathetic and refreshing!” —Elinor Lipman, bestselling author of The Family Man

“I can’t think of a blurb good enough for this novel…poignant, funny, heartbreaking.” —Jenny Lawson, bestselling author ofFuriously Happy

Review

★★★★+1/2

How To Walk Away by Katherine Center is a beautiful book about loss, love, courage and hope that has a lot to offer to its readers apart from an exceptional story.

I am so glad that I read this book! It is a really, really good book and has taught me a lot of things about forgiveness – which definitely doesn’t come easy, loss – which does hurt a lot, and hope – which, even though difficult to hold onto, can turn around one’s life.

This book had a delightful mixture of a well thought-out storyline, a string of not only believable and realistic but also very relatable characters, very engaging yet simple writing with an exceptional sense of humour and an excellent ending.

What I really loved about this book was that the author didn’t sugarcoat things, she put things forward the way they are in real life, but she did it so without being overdramatic. I generally shy away from reading books with illness/medical situations because most of the authors present the pain in such horrific (sometimes honest, sometimes not) details and the overall experiences, more often than not, leaves a very bitter taste in my mouth. That said, if done right, these books are nothing short of magic because they have a lot of lessons and takeaways along with a good story (which, as a reader, is always the main thing for me.) For example, I loved John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars, but I didn’t really like Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything.

I’d recommend this book not only to all the contemporary fiction readers but to anyone and everyone who wants to read a really, really good book.

this review is also posted on Goodreads, Netgalley and Amazon

Book Review: His Flawless Love by Pragna Rao

Author: Pragna Rao
Release Date: 1st January 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Relationships, Indian Literature
Edition:
 Paperback
Pages: 208
Publisher: Author’s Ink Publications
Blurb:
Marriage! Is it a tradition? A legal agreement? A biological need? Or something besides all these? Tragedy strikes Isha’s life when she loses her fiancé to destiny. But happiness comes back into her life in the form of a good man who becomes her husband. However, her struggles of her past memories and present situation go on, taking a toll on her new married life. Unable to carry on, she separates from her husband. And yet, the distance between them reminds her of her husband’s unconditional love. She understands the significance of the marital vows and returns to be the best companion for him. Though destiny unceasingly challenges her, it also makes her stronger. Who wins the battle ultimately? Destiny or love?

REVIEW

★★★

His Flawless Love by Pragna Rao is a book about love and marriage and everything that comes with it.

The story was good, well presented and very relatable to those who are married or have someone in their lives whom they truly love. The writing is simple, to the point and the inclusion of bits of poetry really made it an interesting read.

The fact that this book is not too long and easy to read made it a very quick read and I was glad that the author kept the prose tight and light instead of making it longer (in a sing-song way) the way a lot of Indian writers do.

I wasn’t overly impressed by the characterization, but I cared enough for the main characters to read the book and see how things turned out for them.

Overall, a nice and light contemporary romance read.

Goodreads and Amazon

[divider]

Book Review: Small Hours by Jennifer Kitses

Author: Jennifer Kitses
Release Date: 13th June 2017
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 288
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Blurb:

In the vein of Richard Russo and Tom Perrotta, a gripping, suspenseful, and gorgeous debut novel–told hour-by-hour over the course of a single day–in which a husband and wife try to outrun long-buried secrets, sending their lives spiraling into chaos.

REVIEW

★★★★ + 1/2

Small Hours by Jennifer Kitses is an intense read that is sure to leave a mark on the readers.

Given the short and undescriptive blurb of this book, I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect from it. Though sceptical, I decided to give it a try as it kind of intrigued me. Anyway, reading a book without knowing anything about the story is quite exciting, at least for me, so I went ahead and read it. By the quarter mark, I was glad that I did so as this book turned out to be an excellent example of what exactly a contemporary fiction book should be like.

I liked the plot and the basic premise of the story. It was a very intense read about the complexities of relationships and how people change with time and their thought-process and reactions get impacted accordingly. The characterization was brilliant and though I didn’t connect tot he characters personally, I was very engaged int heir day-to-day life.

The beginning of the story was very engaging and the ending was utterly perfect, it was so good in fact that I read the last part thrice to soak it all in – the way issues were confronted and handled. I loved the inner conflicts in this book and really marvelled the author’s writing style.

If you want to read one contemporary fiction this year, make sure this is it.

TRB-gram


GoodreadsNatGalley and Amazon

Book Review: Going All In by Stephanie C. Lyons-Keeley and Wayne J. Keeley

Author: Stephanie C. Lyons-Keeley & Wayne J. Keeley
Release Date: 17th October 2017
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Adult, Light Erotica
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 359
Publisher: Melange Books

Blurb:

Three mismatched suburban couples, Steve and Katie, Marty and Erin, and Scarlett and C. Thomas, have been neighbors and friends for years. During a pummeling Connecticut Nor’Easter, the members of the bored triptych engage in a friendly game of Texas Hold’em in front of a fire and over more than a few bottles of Merlot. The impromptu get-together eventually leads to the institution of alcohol-driven, bi-weekly poker nights.
One evening on a lark, someone suggests an alternate payout – instead of pocket change, the winner may choose a player (other than his or her spouse) with whom to spend the night. The proposition takes shape, but complications arise as these things will.
All too quickly, friendships are strained and relationships begin to crumble. Lies are told, truths are exposed, and feelings are hurt. In the end, can anyone bear the weight of this wanton self-indulgence? They are six fully consenting adults, and after all, it’s only a game. Or is it?

Review

★★★★+1/2

Going All In by Stephanie C. Lyons-Keeley & Wayne J. Keeley is a contemporary fiction (bordering on erotic fiction) written very well by the husband-wife author duo and rich with authentic characterization.

When I read the blurb of this book, I was quite intrigued yet a little sceptic, but having read the authors’ previous book DeadraiserI accepted the book knowing how the writing would be. And to my utter pleasure, the book turned out to be really good!

I loved the way the story was told as the easy flow of the writing made reading this book not only easy but also very quick. There was a use of different POVs which helped me in relating to most of the characters. But the best part about this book was the characterization. The characters were so realistic that it was hard to imagine that it wasn’t a true story. All the characters were unique and had qualities that made them real and relatable. I was really vouching for Steve and Katie’s relationship but I must say that the end was nothing short of satisfying given what he did.

In this book, the authors beautifully experiments and bring us face to face with different human tendencies that anyone can or would exhibit. I’m sure that about eighty percent of the people I know are like Steve; they know what they really want but always try to do the right thing and not think about anything else really.

I’d recommend this book to all the contemporary readers and Poker lovers (you’d love the book just for the kicks alone.)

PS: The book is not outright erotica but it does have some pretty explicit scenes.

Bookstagram


Goodreads and Amazon

ARC Review: The Flawed Ones – A Story of Mental Illness, Addiction and Love by Jay Chirino

Author: Jay Chirino
Release Date: 2nd November 2017
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Mental Illness
Edition: e-book
Pages: 260
Publisher: Archway Publishing

Blurb:

After leaving behind a trail of drug-addled destruction, Jay finds himself confined to the walls of a psychiatric hospital. He is now compelled to confront his actions, his issues, and the past that led him to such downhill spiral. But what surprisingly affects him most are the people that he becomes surrounded by; people with considerable deficiencies that will shed some light on the things that truly matter in life.

“The Flawed Ones” is a thorough examination of the struggles of mental illness, depression, addiction, and the effects they have on the human condition. Most importantly, it proves that physical and mental shortcomings do not necessarily define who we truly are inside- that the heart is, in fact, untouched by our “flaws”, and that love will always prevail above all.

Review

The Flawed Ones by Jay Chirino is a very interesting book on a subject that is not only sensitive but also taboo for many people – mental illness.

The beauty of this book lies in the fact that it not only concentrates on the mental illness but it also tells us about what lies beyond the dark face of the illness itself. This book is a highly compelling and a very intelligent book.

The writing is good and it complimented the story quite well. The descriptions were painfully realistic and I was able to connect to the lead character’s angst. Reading this book made all the situations Jay had to go through, feel very… intimate and real.

The starting of the book was simple yet powerful and good. Even the Author’s Note was really good. As the story progressed I found myself unable to put the book down. It was gripping on an emotional level and that is where this book impressed me.

I’d recommend this book to everyone who likes reading as we all, from time to time, have or will come across people and/or situations where this kind of intense familiarity in regards to mental illness might prove very helpful. If you don’t want to read this book for entertaining purpose then read it for the sake of awareness.

More from the author:
- Author Interview: Jay Chirino
- Book Excerpt: The Flawed Ones by Jay Chirino

Goodreads

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.

More from the author: Author Interview: Jen Benjamin

Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

24688274-2

Author: Julia Heaberlin
Release Date:
11th August, 2015
Series: None
Genre: Mystery | Psychological-Thriller | Suspense | Crime | Contemporary | Adult
Edition: Kindle (.mobi)
Pages: 369
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Source: NetGalley
Buy it here: Amazon

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

A girl’s memory lost in a field of wildflowers.
A killer still spreading seeds.
At seventeen, Tessa became famous for being the only surviving victim of a vicious serial killer. Her testimony put him on death row. Decades later, a mother herself, she receives a message from a monster who should be in prison. Now, as the execution date rapidly approaches, Tessa is forced to confront a chilling possibility: Did she help convict the wrong man?

Review

Black Eyed Susans has a really unique plotline which is brilliant, to say the least. The pacing was great and the twists and turns, along with the suspense build-up was amazing. I enjoyed this book a lot and I’m eagerly waiting to read more books by the author.

The alternating POVs of the lead at 2 different ages provided an ingenious angle to the story and makes it all the more interesting.  I enjoyed the young  POV of the lead character (Tessie) because it was the read deal, but the older one (Tessa) wasn’t disappointing either.

The characterization was great and I was able to feel a strong connection with the main character – Tess (both the selves of her – Tessa and Tessie), which added a new flair to the book. The secondary characters were also well-developed and I was able to connect to almost all of them.

The book started with a great beginning and I couldn’t resist myself from getting lost in this book right from the beginning. And throughout the book, the story had an air of gloominess to it which makes this book a perfect suspense read.

The only thing I didn’t like about this book was the ending. The ending felt a little rushed and it came off as if not a lot of thought was put into it. After reading such a great story I was expecting a little more creativity (and also sinistral thinking) towards the end. It wasn’t well executed and it really made me sad because I had to cut back on a star from its rating.

Still, I’d say this book is worth reading. I’d recommend this book to everyone who enjoys multiple POVs and mystery, thriller and suspense novels.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: Thirty-two hours of my life are missing.

Highlights: Storyline

Lowlights: Ending

Memorable Quote:

People appreciate pretty fantasies like this, where there is a feisty hero, even when there is no factual basis for it.

Final Thoughts: A brilliant psychological thriller.


You can also read this review at Goodreads, Amazon, and NetGalley.

Book Review: Neverland

25317200

Author: Shari Arnold
Release Date: April 7, 2015
Series: -
Genre: Retelling | Fairytale | Young Adult | Fantasy | Contemporary | Romance
Edition: E-Book (mobi) 
Pages: 359
Publisher: Patchwork Press
Source: NetGalley
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

It’s been four months since seventeen-year-old Livy Cloud lost her younger sister, but she isn’t quite ready to move on with her life — not even close. She’d rather spend her time at the Seattle Children’s hospital, reading to the patients and holding onto memories of the sister who was everything to her and more.
But when she meets the mysterious and illusive Meyer she is drawn into a world of adventure, a world where questions abound.
Is she ready to live life without her sister? Or more importantly, is she brave enough to love again?
In this modern-day reimagining of Peter Pan, will Livy lose herself to Neverland or will she find what she’s been searching for?

Rating

TRB 5 stars

Review

Plot/Story:

Neverland is a fairytale retelling of Peterpan and as far as I’m concerned this is the best book I’ve read so far in the fantasy genre. It has a dreamlike  imagery which will leave you craving and begging for more.

The pace of the story was perfect, not too fast, not too slow. I was able to not only read the story in front of me but was also able to live it forgetting everything around me.

This book is literally unputdownable and I love it so much that it has made its place at the top of my all-time favorites! I’ve already read it twice now and I’ll be re-reading it again soon.

Characters:

I absolutely adore the lead characters of Livy and Meyer, so much so that I guess I’m in love with Meyer! The relationship between Livy and Meyer developed slowly and beautifully. The vulnerability of Livy added more depth to each and every aspect of the story.

I wanted to cry when Livy felt hurt and wanted to do a happy dance whenever she got a positive response from Meyer. I even blushed a dozen times while reading about Livy and Meyer’s small interactions.

https://45.media.tumblr.com/f7002f90f03cf17d5c7c5468b2ea3238/tumblr_mqd502krNg1sbgfiuo1_500.gif
https://45.media.tumblr.com/f7002f90f03cf17d5c7c5468b2ea3238/tumblr_mqd502krNg1sbgfiuo1_500.gif

Romance:

The beautiful budding romance between Livy and Meyer was nothing less than magical. It was slow and cute love that started as an odd friendship but developed into something more special. The thing that made their relationship so magical is the subtlety of feelings beautifully expressed by the author.

https://45.media.tumblr.com/1d61ec22b2bd42f451044d203205035d/tumblr_mtp4zcU5VG1svh626o1_500.gif
https://45.media.tumblr.com/1d61ec22b2bd42f451044d203205035d/tumblr_mtp4zcU5VG1svh626o1_500.gif

Writing:

Shari Arnold’s writing style is so simple that it flows smoothly throughout the book. I enjoyed reading this book mainly because of the uncomplicated writing style. I didn’t just read this book, but I was really able to live it (and that’s something.)

Beginning:

The book started beautifully with Livy reading Peter Pan for children in a hospital. How can anyone not get emotionally involved right from the start with this kind of a start! I was swept right off my feet from the very first page. And as the story progressed I lost myself completely in the beautiful world of Livy and Meyer.

Ending:

Ahh… the ending. At first, I was like:

tumblr_m2roxs3Qsb1qb4mxmo1_500
http://s181.photobucket.com/user/amtrak12/media/Gif%20Collection/tumblr_m2roxs3Qsb1qb4mxmo1_500.gif.html

But then after a few minutes, I thought about it and realized that it was for the best and that the ending couldn’t have been better. Yes, it wasn’t a straight out happy one, but it was realistic and, more importantly, acceptable. After being swept off by this story I really dreaded to know the end, but the author, Shari Arnold, really surprised me with a well-balanced ending.

Cover Art:

The cover art of this book is simply awesome. The colors are so pretty and subtle and the minimalistic design makes it a great cover.

Blurb:

The blurb is perfect and gives a fair idea of what to expect from the book. I picked it up from NetGalley after reading the blurb itself, so yeah, it totally worked for me, and I’m sure it’ll definitely get anyone else’s attention as well!

Other Stuff

Opening Line: It’s just before dinnertime at the Seatle Children’s Hospital.

Highlights: Storyline.

Lowlights: None.

Memorable Quotes:

Their eyes are wide and curious, and I love that. If I focus on their eyes I can forget the disease each one carries around like a nametag.

I’ve found that death makes people uncomfortable, while the death of a child clears the room altogether.

God doesn’t save children around here. Sometimes it feels as if he’s collecting them.

Memorable Paragraph:

Jenna slides up closer to me, her excitement a temperature that keeps me warm. She and Alice are spell-bound. They’re the reason I love to tell stories. It doesn’t matter how often they’ve heard it, or that they already know what will happen next. A story is a story. It takes you away from what you’re doing and how you’re living right then, and whisks you away into someone else’s world.

Final Thoughts: This book is pure AWESOMENESS!!!


 

Book Review: Southern Solstice

25263608

Author: Sarah Sadler
Release Date: June 2, 2015 
Series: None 
Genre: Contemporary Romance  
Edition: Kindle (.mobi)
Pages: 404
Publisher: Blue French Press
Source: NetGalley (Requested by Tammi Weed, Director of Media Relations, Modern PR.)
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

As rich and distinctive as the Lowcountry itself, Southern Solstice presents a clever and charismatic journey of love, heartache, adaptation and emotional fortitude as told through a patina of family heritage.

When twenty-four-year-old Larken Devereaux is left brokenhearted by her fiancé on the West Coast, she reluctantly returns to her charmed aristocratic roots in Charleston, South Carolina to rebuild her life and gain self-determination in a prominent southern family that offers everything and requires nothing.

As her impetuous mother orchestrates a reunion with a first love, Larken becomes entangled in a dilemma where she must choose between an intriguing, passionate plastic surgeon—who is anything but superficial—and the annoyingly irresistible man who has silently loved her forever.

Rating4half-stars

Review

Plot Story:

The plot-line of this book is really impressive considering it’s a contemporary-romance story. I enjoyed reading this book and would felt myself pulled into the story from the beginning till the end.
I had a great time reading it and this book will make an excellent summer read. I’d recommend to anyone who loves the genre. I’m not a huge fan of romance novels but this book really stood out. The simplicity of the plot is commendable and so is the rich writing and characterisation.

Characters:

I absolutely loved the characterisation in this book. I was able to feel a strong connection with the lead character- Larken Devereaux. I also loved the male leads – Jackson and Miles.

To be honest, I loved all the other characters as well and felt like I’d known them forever. Each and every character had substance and spoke for itself making the reader feel so comfortable reading the book that you’d want to loose yourself in it.

Romance:

It’s a romance fiction… so figures. The sizzling chemistry between Larken and Jackson is to die for. But when Miles comes into the picture, everything gets upside down and that’s when the the subtle bond between Larken and Miles starts to shine through. It’s amazing how the author not only successfully pulled off a love triangle but also ended it on a brilliant note.

To my surprise, I found myself enjoying the little moments of lovey-dovey stuff without actually cringing away from it. And that’s how, at least for me, a romance book should be.

Writing:

The writing is rich, as I already said, with a few new and heavy words sprinkled here and there. I enjoy this type of writing and I’m looking forward to read more books by the author. The book is written in third-person omniscient narration and the imagery created by the author is brilliant and I thoroughly enjoyed the detailed narration. That said, yes, there were times, especially in the second half of the book, when I skimmed over a few lines here and there. But maybe that’s because I was so curious to find out how it all comes together in the end.

Beginning:

I thoroughly enjoyed the book from the beginning. The emotional turbulence at the very beginning of the book pulled me right in and instantly connected me with the female lead – Larken. After that as I read further the story got more and more interesting with each and every page. I love books with powerful beginnings as they draw me inside from the start and this book did just that.

Ending:

The book ended on a brilliant note and the ending itself was quite surprising. Generally, in romance novels the ending is pretty predictable but in this book but in this case it came as a pleasant surprise and it beautifully pulled out Larken from the web of a love triangle.

Cover Art:

I absolutely adore the cover art. I think it’s pretty classy and goes well with the theme of the book (esp. with Bunny’s quote – Jewels anyone crown.)

Blurb:

The blurb seems perfect to me. I accepted the book based on the blurb itself.

You can also read this review at Goodreads, Amazon and NetGalley.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: “Don’t make this harder on me than it already is, Larken.”

Highlights: Brilliant plot.

Lowlights: A little too descriptive in the second-half.

Memorable Quotes:

Jewels On Your Crown.

And then she thought of Dr. Miles and the scar he had promised not to leave. Then she realised in a strange, hopeless way that he had left one anyway. Men always do.

If the shoe don’t fit, run barefoot the other way.

When you trouble yourself to be obligated to someone, they better have already proved their worth to you.

Final Thoughts: A brilliant summer read.


Review by:

pics-2 copyHeena Rathore P. aka The Reading Bud

My name is Heena and I’m a freelance writer, blogger and a book-reviewer (and soon-to-be author.) I’m an introvert, thinker, neat freak (cleanliness OCD), hardcore idealist, fitness junkie, music fanatic, compulsive reader, self-assertive, opinionated, dog lover and an atheist.

The Reading Bud is my brain-child and is a huge part of my life. I love reading and reviewing. What started as a hobby has become my passion.

Read more about me here.


ARC Review: Her Sister’s Shoes

24919359

Author: Ashley Farley 
Release Date:  24th June, 2015 (I received an ARC)
Series: None 
Genre: Contemporary Fiction | Relationships | Family
Edition: Kindle (mobi)
Pages: 
Publisher: Leisure Time Books
Source: Author (Thanks Ashley!)
Buy it here: Amazon