Book Review: Death Unmasked by Rick Sulik

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Author: Rick Sulik
Release Date: November 6, 2015
Series: 
Genre:  Mystery | Thriller | Historical Fiction
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 287
Publisher: Christopher Matthews Publishing
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon

Rating: ★ – DNF

Blurb:

A reincarnated evil is stalking the women of Houston. With each murder, the madman quotes an excerpt from the Oscar Wilde poem, “The Ballad of Reading Gaol.” A huge smokestack belching smoke, a ragged flea market double-breasted wool coat, and an old antique picture frame, bring the distant past back to haunt Houston Homicide Detective, Sean Jamison. With those catalysts, Jamison knows who he was in a past life and that he lost the only woman he could ever love. Searching for his reincarnated mate becomes Jamison’s raison d’être as he and fellow detectives scour Houston for a brutal serial killer. The memory of timeless love drives Jamison’s dogged search for a serial killer, determined to finish what he started decades earlier.
Each clue brings Jamison closer to unmasking his old nemesis. Tenacious police work, lessons learned in the past, and intuition may be the only weapons he has in preventing history from repeating itself.

Review

I left this book at page no. 158 (which is more than 50% of the book) because that was exactly where my patience gave way. The story began nicely and I liked the concept and settings, but the narration and editing didn’t work me.

At times, the dialogues didn’t make sense and most of the time if felt like the male lead was giving lectures instead of having conversations. I really think that this book needs heavy and thorough editing.

I hate DNF’ing books and I always try my best to push myself and to give the book another chance (again and again,) and with this book too I tried the same (especially because the author sent me the book from the US) but even after forcing myself to read further I simply couldn’t.

I really feel that a few revisions and strong editing can help this book reach its full potential, but right now it’s simply not ready.


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Review: Those Who Remain (Book #1) by Priscila Santa Rosa

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Author: Priscila Santa Rosa 
Release Date: August 2014
Series: Those Who Remain Trilogy
Genre: Apocalyptic | Horror > Zombies |
Edition: E-book (mobi)
Pages: 232
Publisher: Not Specified
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon

Followed by:

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Hide your children, lock your doors, and load your guns because zombies are real and they are coming. Danny Terrence knows this better than anyone. He spent months preparing for the inevitable moment the disease would reach his small town. What he didn’t prepare for is the fact that nobody really believes him.

Luckily for him, an old classmate and bully just happens to be the first one bitten. The bad news is that the family with the biggest arsenal of guns just packed up and left town, leaving them defenseless from an oncoming zombie horde. Being a leader isn’t turning out the way Danny imagined.

Yet four other survivors easily have it worse than him. Between a thirteen-year-old girl on a road trip from hell, a family of paranoid hunters having to deal with their feelings for the first time ever, a stubborn doctor butting heads with a cold-hearted sergeant and an amoral British professor carrying the fate of humanity in his hands, Danny has it easy. Unless, of course, they all end up in his town, messing with his already messed up life.

Follow these five people as their paths cross and their lives and hopes are challenged in this thrilling novel.

Review

I enjoyed this book from start to end. For me, this book is nothing short of a GREAT apocalyptic book!

The characterization is awesome and the alternating POVs kept me at the edge of my seat the entire time! I felt a strong connection with everyone, but my favorites are The Girl, Hunter’s Daughter, and The Last One Out.

The writing is excellent and I literally breezed through the entire book in a single day! I loved it and have already requested (and received) the remaining two parts of this trilogy [can’t wait to read them!] The suspense build-up, the mysterious undertones, the chills and the curiosity, everything that the characters felt, came out beautifully.

I never felt that I was reading a book, I felt like I was in there with each and every character experiencing everything they did, first-hand.

The pacing is excellent and the twists and turns and the interludes at the end of the book were simply a master stroke.

I loved the Zombies as well, and the disease’s spread felt really natural and practical.
I’m really, really excited to know what happens next as the author ended all the POV’s on a great note. It’s literally killing me to read other books before getting to the next parts – This book is so good!

Other Stuff

Opening Line: My only window to the outside world is a thin gap between the closet’s doors.

Highlights: Pacing and story.

Lowlights: None.

Memorable Quotes:

Turns out, deep down, I’m sentimental. Very deep down.

It took me hours to realise that crying wouldn’t change anything. Shoes. I need new shoes.

I let out a sigh, embarrassed for him. A sociopath, but not a smart one.

It’s a rule of every horror story: when someone is too happy, or things are going too well for a character, then the next scene his head is rolling down the floor with the psychotic murderer making a surprise return from the dead.

A crazy disease spreading, riots going on, people running away, the military taking control over everything and I can’t load my rifle. PTSD is a bitch.

Memorable Paragraphs:

I don’t think she went to the drugstore at all. Why else did she take the car? She didn’t leave me behind. She took him away. To save me.

Father puts a hand on my shoulder. We both know leaving her behind meant her death. I’m allowed a minute to grieve for a mother I never truly knew. Then we run.

Between doctors, nurses, staff and patients, Saint Jude Hospital housed almost ten thousand people. Three hundred soldiers were sent to keep them safe. Only five people were leaving alive.

Some kids ask Santa for a toy. I wished for the Zombie Apocalypse. He took his sweet time, but finally my present was here. With luck, unwrapping it wasn’t going to kill me or destroy the town.

Final Thoughts: Best Zombie book I’ve read so far this year!


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Review: Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1)

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Author:  Sylvain Neuvel
Release Date: April 26th, 2016
Series: Themis Files
Genre: Science-Fiction Fantasy > Robots | Speculative Fiction | Thriller
Edition: Ebook (mobi)
Pages: 320
Publisher: Del Ray
Source: NetGalley
Buy it here: Amazon

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb: 

World War Z meets The Martian. This inventive first novel will please devoted fans of sci-fi as well as literary readers hoping a smart thriller will sneak up on them.

17 years ago: A girl in South Dakota falls through the earth, then wakes up dozens of feet below ground on the palm of what seems to be a giant metal hand. Today: She is a top-level physicist leading a team of people to understand exactly what that hand is, where it came from, and what it portends for humanity. A swift and spellbinding tale told almost exclusively through transcriptions of interviews conducted by a mysterious and unnamed character, this is a unique debut that describes a hunt for truth, power, and giant body parts.

Review:

 

This book is a MASTERPIECE. I mean I don’t even know where to start and what to say about this book…

*Sigh* Let’s begin here… At first I had only a faint idea of what this book would be like, but trust me, it wasn’t even 1% of what it turned out to be (in a good way.) It totally BLEW my mind OFF!!!

First off the format is super intriguing and very, very clever. The transcripts, interviews, personal entries, a few random conversations, newspaper articles etc, were not only intelligently constructed but also mixed deftly in what can only be called a really, really impressive combination. The sequencing was brilliant and made this book an epic read. Hats off to the author for pulling this off with such perfection.

I can’t even begin to express how impressed I am with this book’s format and writing. I mean, as an author myself, I can understand how difficult it would have been and for that alone, kudos to the author.

Coming to the story, I was expecting it to be something different. But saying that I was surprised by the direction the plot took in the second half would be an understatement. I mean it was a whole lot different from what I could have expected. The story itself is an outstanding piece of work in itself.

If it’s not obvious already, then let me state it clearly. I LOVE THIS BOOK! I mean really love it. It’s a really, really intelligent book with a very strong plotline and astounding characterization.

The end of this book completely caught me off guard. So yeah, it was good through and through.

And the nameless interrogator cum adviser cum whatever the hell you wanna call him, was simply wow! I love him… I mean he is indeed a real softy (an inside joke for anyone who reads this book.)

In the end, I’d just like to say one thing: If you want to read only 1 book this year, make sure Sleeping Giants is the ONE.

And I just found out (while writing this review) that this book is the 1st book in series, Themis Files. So, now I’m eagerly waiting for the second part… Hope it comes out soon!

Other Stuff

Opening Line: It was my eleventh birthday.

Memorable Quotes: 

If you fall in love with someone, there’s a good chance the person won’t love you back. Hatred, though, is usually mutual. If you despise someone, it’s pretty much a given they’re also not your biggest fan.

There I was, this tiny little thing at the bottom of the hole, lying on my back in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Highlights: Format and characterization.

Lowlights: None.

Final Thoughts: If you want to read only 1 book this year, make sure Sleeping Giants is the ONE.


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Graphic Novel Review: Warren The 13th And The All-Seeing Eye

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Author: Tania del Rio
Illustrator: Will Staehle 

Release Date: November 24, 2015
Series: 
Genre:  Fantasy | Mystery | Paranormal | Children’s Fiction | Adventure | Sequential Arts > Graphic Novel
Edition: ASCM
Pages: 113
Publisher: Quirk Books
Distributer: –
Source: NetGalley

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb: 

Meet Warren the 13th, a cursed 12-year-old Victorian bellhop who’s terribly unlucky . . . yet perpetually optimistic, hard-working, and curious. Orphan Warren’s pride and joy is his family’s hotel, but he’s been miserable ever since his evil Aunt Anaconda took over the management. Anaconda believes a mysterious treasure known as the All-Seeing Eye is hidden somewhere on the grounds, and she’ll do anything to find it. If Warren wants to preserve his family’s legacy, he’ll need to find the treasure first—if the hotel’s many strange and wacky guests don’t beat him to it! This middle-grade adventure features gorgeous two-color illustrations on every page and a lavish two-column Victorian design that will pull young readers into a spooky and delightful mystery.

Review

Warren the 13th And The All-Seeing Eye is a delightful read not only for children but for adults as well (at least I enjoyed reading it and would love to read it again!)

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WT13ATASE is about Warren (the 13th), a toad-faced and unlucky 12-year-old orphan who stays with his uncle Rupert – a lazy dumb chap – and his wife, Annaconda – a clever witch who continuously troubles Warren to search The All-Seeing Eye (a legendary treasure about which no one seems to know.) Warren is a bright kid who tries to see the good in every situation and who dreams about growing up and restoring his forefather’s hotel to its full glory someday. He’s a good lad who tries to do everything at the same time and wanting nothing in return.

Paleface

Warren stole my heart in the first few pages of the book and, as I read ahead, I was totally spellbound by his cuteness and willingness to help everyone. It really broke my heart to see him trying to be the bellhop of the hotel, carrying all those heavy luggage alone, with no help from his lazy uncle. I also loved chef Bunion, and Mr. Friggs, Petulia and Paleface, but I hated aunt Annaconda and despised uncle Rupert, all to say that the characterization is terrific! The author made me feel like I know all these characters well enough to have such strong emotions and that’s where this book earned all the raves from me.

The illustrations are truly magical. I loved them and they managed to take the story to a whole new level.

This book is simply outstanding and I’d recommend it to all the children, and even to their parents and brothers and sisters. Everyone needs to read such an amazing book!

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

Book Review: Twisted (Twisted #1)

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Author: Lola Smirnova
Release Date: June 30, 2015
Series: Twisted
Genre: New Adult | Suspense | Adult
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 313
Publisher: Createspace
Source: Publicist
Buy it here: Amazon

Followed by: Craved

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Back in the 90’s, the corrupt post-Soviet Ukraine with its faltering economy, is thrown into a devastating depression. Times are hard. Opportunities are scarce.

Three eager young sisters – Natalia, Lena and Julia – dream of a better life and weigh their options: do they stay and struggle like their parents, or join scores of their compatriots in the sex trade in glittering western European cities, who earn in a night what they’d take several months to earn at home? Naive and tempted by the allure of ‘quick’ money, the girls set off on an adventure that changes their lives forever…

Can they stay out of trouble enough to fulfill their ambitions?
Can they hold on to their idealism in a world where depravity and danger are constant companions?
How far are they willing to go to make a buck?

Inspired by real-life events, Twisted is a fascinating New Adult SUSPENSE THRILLER about vulnerability, courage and the art of making a living in the sex trade…

Review

I reviewed Craved, the second part in Twisted trilogy, not long ago, and I was fortunate enough to receive the prequel of this amazing book as well by the publicist for review [also the author was kind enough to send me a signed copy for this one!] So, please ignore that I’ll be comparing this book to the next one which might seem odd taking into account that this is the 1st book in Twisted trilogy.

I absolutely loved this awesome and entertaining book! It’s every bit as entertaining and as engaging as its sequel.

Once again the writing of author Lola Smirnova totally blew my mind off by its simplicity and the ability to keep me glued to the book the entire time. Time flew like a bird and I was left craving for more.

Though the book is about the life and struggles of Julia, a prostitute, author Lola has successfully managed to keep the incidents and the serious bits as light as possible, making this book a really pleasant read and not a disturbing one as one might expect from a book based on true life events, esp. that of a prostitute.

I was in the story right from the minute I started it and felt a really deep connection with the lead of this book, Julia, as well as her sisters (whom I feel like I already know closely from my earlier read.) The witty interludes and author’s sharp sense of humor kept me entertained as well as crackling for most of the time. It was dangerous as well as refreshing to get a glimpse inside the life of a person willingly entering the sex trade and trying to play by her own rules.

This book is a masterpiece and is awesome o so many different levels. The severity of the topic always stays just below the surface but never does it ever surfaces to make the reader uncomfortable. This technique of storytelling is where this book really scored for me.

This book is worth all the praise and all the money. I’m really falling short of words here in describing how much I enjoyed reading this book. The story, the plot, the flow of the incidents, the linearity , the pacing, the beginning, the ending, etc, everything is perfect and I’d recommend this book to anyone who’s looking for a good book to read.

So go ahead and grab a copy of this book and its sequel to meet Julia and her sisters and to accompany them on their unusual yet dangerous journey of sex, drugs and alcohol.

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 Bookstagram

Other Stuff

Opening Line: ‘Sag es!’ he screams at me.

Highlights: Storytelling.

Lowlights: None.

Memorable Quotes:

I saw so many of these ‘love affairs without love’ that I became used to the concept and formed my okay-with-being-a-pro attitude. As I see it, the only difference between any hooker and our neighbour Dasha is that the former’s ‘labour hour’ is the latter’s lifetime.

Final Thoughts: A brilliantly written book.


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Review: Over The Dragonwall by H.C. Strom and Dennis D. Montoya (Dragonwall Chronicles #1)

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Author:  Dennis Montoya & H.C. Strom
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Series: Dragonwall Chronicles
Genre: YA | Fantasy | Adventure
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 277
Publisher: Self-Published
Source: Publicist
Buy it here: Amazon

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

A thousand years ago the gods brokered a peace treaty with the dragons to save mankind. As a monument, the magical Dragonwall was built stretching from the Dwarven city of Farreach to the port city of Seareach. Over generations, the great dragon’s stories have turned to myths and the treaty forgotten. The wall’s magic is failing and the call for a hero goes unanswered.
Oberon a young monk and his friends leave the city of Delvingdeep to answer the riddle of the existence of dragons. No one expected a short cut though a swamp would ever lead them on a heroic adventure over the Dragonwall.

Review

I enjoyed reading Over The Dragonwall a lot and I really think that this book needs more publicity and attention as it can very well end up as a bestseller among the young adult crowd (but only after rectifying the few faults it has. Read on to know more.)

I loved the concept and the story line, they are simply brilliant. The characterization is also good but needs some work to make it better. Obi as a lead is a really good character and the other characters, the other members of the party, are also a real treat. The concept is a winner but there were a few problems in the execution. The editing is poor. Sometimes there is a slip in narration and out of nowhere it changes to the first person at more than one place.

The words sometimes are repeated and the dialogues feel unnecessary and unpolished. I really think that this book needs some heavy editing and also a new cover, and then it’ll be ready to climb the best selling list.

This book is a mixture of Hobbit and harry potter, sprinkled with dragon tales and undead ghouls (zombies) and wolves and witches – so you see, there’s everything that a fantasy fanatic like me wants from a book.

In spite of poor editing, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and I’d love to read it again whenever I’ll have some free time (yes, it’s that good!) I’m looking forward to reading the sequel as the book cleverly ends at the beginning of a new adventure.

Bookstagram:

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Other Stuff

Opening Line: “Why do you haunt my dreams, hag?”

Highlights: Brilliant storyline.

Lowlights: Editing.

Memorable Quotes: 

Tomorrow he might see a dragon, and everything will change.

He hated not knowing the reason for things.

Final Thoughts: A beautiful story that’ll take you on a unique adventurous journey.


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Review: Carrion by Jonathan R. Rose

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Author: Jonathan R. Rose
Release Date: November 8, 2015
Series: 
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic
Edition: E-Book (mobi)
Pages: 114
Publisher: Montag Press
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon

Rating: ★ – DNF

Blurb:

Carrion is about a world consumed by chaos. But in this world, you are not a desperate survivor hoping to outlast the bedlam; instead, you are the monster that caused it. Consumed by an insatiable hunger, a malevolent need to feed, you are the one from whom the masses flee. And because of you a group of barbaric men led by a fanatic with a gleaming badge fastened to his chest have banded together with the intention of hunting you and all those like you down. Follow in the footsteps of a fiend. See what he sees. Taste the flesh. Smell the decay. Suffer the anguish. Witness a massive city crumble under the weight of fear and hate and become hell. Whether engulfed in flames, or flooded by lakes of blood, all that remains are monsters and men, and the war that wages not only between them, but within themselves.

Review

I hate saying this but I have to leave this book alone for good as the it’s really failing to keep up with the expectations I had before starting with it.

The writing is really good but the plot seems a little off and the whole monster’s journey is really starting to make me feel sick. I usually have a good appetite for blood and gore but here it’s starting to feel quite forced and unnecessary, I mean yes, the monster is going to rip out the flesh off the bones and suck the bones dry, he is a Zombie after all.

There are a lot of raving reviews for this book, but it’s not what I expected, so it’s a DNF for me. If you are really into zombies and the undead and are totally into blood-spilling and gory writing, then this book is for you. But it would do you good to keep in mind that this book has nothing more to offer.


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Graphic Novel Review: Wonder Woman: Earth One Vol. 1 by Grant Morrison

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Author: Grant Morrison
Illustrator: Yanick Paquette

Release Date: April 2016
Series: Earth One
Genre:  Fantasy | Superhero | Mythology | Sequential Arts > Graphic Novel
Edition: ASCM
Pages: 128
Publisher: DC Comics
Distributer: DC Entertainment
Source: NetGalley

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb: 

Following the New York Times #1 bestselling original graphic novels Batman: Earth One and Superman: Earth One Volume 1 andVolume 2 comes Wonder Woman: Earth One Vol. 1!

For millennia, the Amazons of Paradise Island have created a thriving society away from the blight of man. One resident, however, is not satisfied with this secluded life — Diana, Princess of the Amazons, knows there is more in this world and wants to explore, only to be frustrated by her protective mother, Hippolyta. Diana finds her escape when Air Force pilot, Steve Trevor, the first man she has ever seen, crashes onto their shores. With his life hanging in the balance, Diana ventures into the long-forbidden world of men. The Amazons chase after her and bring her back to Paradise Island in chains to face trial for breaking their oldest law — staying separated from the world that wronged them.

Thought-provoking yet reverent, thoroughly modern but still timeless, the power and courage of Paradise Island’s greatest champion — Wonder Woman — is introduced in this new addition to DC’s New York Times bestselling EARTH ONE original graphic novel series.

Review

I’m new to the Wonder Woman Universe and wanted to start with this book as it is the first in the series and starts with the origin story.As a newbie to the Winder Woman comics, I don’t have any basis to compare the story told in this graphic novel, but I do know a few elements and as far as I am concerned, this book is really impressive.

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As a graphic novel enthusiast, I enjoyed the bright colors schemes and the bold and extravagant characterization. The Wonder Woman comes out asa real superhero in her full glory on each and every single page.

Witty dialogues scattered around this entire graphic novel proved really enterataining and helped author’s sense of humor come across beautifully.

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Though I was expecting the Amazons of Paradise Island to be simple and elegant beauties, I had no idea (that is till I read this book) that they were this amazing bunch of sexy and hot islanders. I loved this interpretation of the Paradise Island, in fact, I found it quite enterataining. But the whole lesbian spin made me wonder a lot about stuff I really didn’t want to think about.

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Still, I really enjoyed reading this graphic novel and I’ll definitely read all the parts to come in this series.

Bookstagram

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You can also read this review at Goodreads and NetGalley.

Picture Book Review: The Most Magnificent Thing

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Author: Ashley Spires
Release Date:
March 31, 2016
Series: 
Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Mystery, Speculative Fiction
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 250
Publisher: Obsidian Dawn
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

A warning from a stranger.
“Nothing you know is real. Your name isn’t Shawn Jaffe, you’re not an investment broker, and you’re not from Ohio.”
But the stranger is murdered before he can explain.
Now Shawn isn’t sure who he can trust.
Even his own memories are suspect.
Someone is watching him, controlling him, using him.
To survive, he’ll need to find out who and why.
But the stakes are much higher than one man.
Our humanity is on the line, and on the eighth day, it could be the beginning of the end.

Review

The Most Magnificient Thing is indeed the most magnificent thing I’ve read in the last few months. This book is utterly adorable and so cutesy that you’ll fall in love with this book as soon as you’ll open it. It has a unique feel good factor that really touches the heart as you follow this cute “regular girl” on her journey to create the most MAGNIFICIENT thing.

The illustrations are simply beautiful and elegant and they look really precious. The color-scheme of the book is simply stunning and quite soothing to the eyes (considering this book is for children.) I loved the concept the simplicity of the story and the wit that the author included in this beautiful story skillfully.

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The simplicity of the story and the concept is something that made this picture book a special read.

If you have a child, or even if you don’t, you really, really need to get this book! It’s the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen ❤

Bookstagram

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You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Review: Dying To Tell by T.J. O’Conner (Gumshoe Ghost Mystery #3)

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Author: TJ O’Connor 
Release Date: January 8, 2016
Series: Gumshoe Ghost Mystery
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Crime Fiction, Paranormal, Detective Series
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 384
Publisher: Duvinchi Media Group
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Detective Oliver Tucker never knew how perilous the past was until his wife, Angel, is nearly killed and the reclusive banker, William Mendelson, is found murdered in a hidden vault where ancient Egyptian relics and World War II secrets are stashed.
Now those relics are missing. The secrets are coming out. The dead are talking.
Tuck, the detective for the dead, knows there’s more to Mendelson’s murder than haunting family secrets and decades-old skullduggery. With Angel and his detective partners, Tuck’s guided by his long-dead grandfather, World War II OSS Captain Oliver Tucker I. Ollie is still on a mission from 1942 as murderers, thieves, and spies descend on small-town Winchester.
As the case unfolds, Tuck must also confront the growing distance between his death and Angel’s life–and the outcome is a killer of its own.

Review

This book is a real masterpiece. I enjoyed each and every chapter thoroughly and had a great time enjoying the great narration and the amusing twists and turns throughout the story. The steady flow of twists and turns and the odd reveals are perfectly timed and make reading this book a brilliant experience.

I was really impressed with the author’s writing style. It’s fresh, engaging and has a really good flow that makes reading this book one hell of an experience. And the best part of this book was the author’s sense of humor. The witty writing is just out of the world. I was chuckling the entire time whenever Tuck made a witty remark. I even cracked up laughing hard at more than a dozen instances (and my hubby found it rather amusing.)

The characterization is AMAZing and the author has done a fabulous job in creating, what I would call EPIC characters. I’m in love with all the main characters and I feel a sense of close connection with all of them.

The mystery itself was the highlight of the book and the author nailed it right to the very minute details.

This book has everything- a fabulous mystery, perfect characterization, brilliant timings, humor, ghosts, emotional nit-picks, funny one-liners, elements from the past (WWII) and a time-travelling detective. What else can a reader want more! I LOVED this book and I’m going to read all the other parts in this series (each and everyone!)

The small chapters and the alternating POVs kept me completely glued to the book and whenever I had to keep the book aside, you know for everyday life, it really irritated me to no end. I simply wanted to sit and be lost in this amazing story where a dead detective, and that too a stud one, solves the crime with his partner and wife.

I loved the idea of involving stuff from the past in the crime of the present and the entire ghost-family-thing The concept is really unique to me and I must say that I really, really loved it!

Bookstagram:

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Other Stuff

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Opening Line: “Dying is as perilous as secrets and lies. Depending, of course, on who is keeping the secrets and who is telling the lies.”

Highlights: Writing and author’s sense of humor.

Lowlights: None.

Memorable Quotes:

When I was alive, I was a hotshot homicide cop. Now, dead, I’m still a hotshot homicide cop- it’s just that my clients are nearly always dead or, at least, connected to someone who is dead.

Sometimes being dead is a pain in the ass.

Memorable Paragraphs:

A tall distinguished man in a heavy wool overcoat stood beside her now. He had one arm around her, speaking slowlyto her – consoling her- and his other arm hung to his side, a black, compact .45semiautomatic handgun in his grasp. He looked like a younger Clooney, but perhaps better looking. I instantly distrusted him.

Final Thoughts: A terrific cozy mystery.


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

ARC Review: Eighth Day by Joseph John

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Author: Joseph John
Release Date: March 31, 2016
Series: 
Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Mystery, Speculative Fiction
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 250
Publisher: Obsidian Dawn
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

A warning from a stranger.
“Nothing you know is real. Your name isn’t Shawn Jaffe, you’re not an investment broker, and you’re not from Ohio.”
But the stranger is murdered before he can explain.
Now Shawn isn’t sure who he can trust.
Even his own memories are suspect.
Someone is watching him, controlling him, using him.
To survive, he’ll need to find out who and why.
But the stakes are much higher than one man.
Our humanity is on the line, and on the eighth day, it could be the beginning of the end.

Review

The Eighth Day is an outstanding book and I truly enjoyed reading it. The book is written in multiple POVs and captures each and everyone’s viewpoint beautifully. The author has skillfully woven a tale that feels nothing short of magical, but in a speculative way. One thing that I’d like to mention here is that the timing of the POVs (the order in which the information or story line was revealed) was perfect and it was due to this that the book hit the bull’s eye for me.

The concept itself is out-of-the-world-brilliant and the blurb made it all the more exciting by conspicuously revealing only a few details at a time, only enough to make the reader go “hmm… that sounds interesting.”

The writing is sharp and the sentence formation is really clean and crisp. I enjoyed reading the way the author has this unique style of describing stuff using parallels without, but being blatant. And that’s one thing I’m looking forward to learning from this book. I admire the author’s ability to keep me engaged and speculating throughout the book.

 

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Right from the imaginative plot to the characterization, the author came out as a winner on all fronts. I felt a strong connection with the lead as well as the supporting characters, and even the bad guys. They were so well crafter and thought out that I even sympathized when one of the bad guys lands in trouble. This book had the give-enough-details-and-you-start-understanding-the-bad-guy’s-purpose sort of thing.

The fast pace of the book keeps things interesting right until the end where the book ends with an explosive climax. The ending is perfect and I really hope that the author writes a sequel to this book(?) and that too soon!

I’d recommend this book to anyone who’s looking for a good speculative or even a sic-fi read. Mystery lovers will also enjoy this book equally.

My Bookstagram

Other Stuff

Opening Line: “They’re watching you.”

Highlights: Writing.

Lowlights: None.

Memorable Quotes:

He was darkness in a world of darkness, and soon he’d dance again.

He was a shadow. He was the night. And nothing would stop him now.

Memorable Paragraphs:

Each morning, he woke and took a shower. He suited up and ate breakfast. He drove to work, and each day he faced countless acts of immorality and ungodliness that deepened his contempt for humanity. Evil came in the form of colorful pills, white powder, and a syringe. It dressed in blue jeans and a T-shirt, a business suite, and sometimes it wore a uniform and carried a badge. It wielded a pistol, a rifle, a knife, a baseball bat, and anything else it could get its hands on to shoot, stab, and bludgeon. It stole cars, money and lives. It raped, and it murdered, and it was everywhere.

Final Thoughts: An exceptionally brilliant book!


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Review: Floor 21

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Author: Jason Luthor
Release Date: June 2, 2015
Series: 
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian, YA, Suspense, Thriller
Edition: E-Book (mobi)
Pages: 234
Publisher: Kindle Press
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

As humanity lives out the remainder of its existence at the top of an isolated apartment tower, young Jackie dares to question Tower Authority and their ban on traveling into the tower’s depths. Intelligent and unyielding, Jackie ventures into the shadows of the floors below. But will her strong will and refusal to be quiet—in a society whose greatest pride is hiding the past—bring understanding of how humanity became trapped in the tower she has always called home, or will it simply be her undoing?

Review

I LOVED this book. It started off pretty great and ended on the same note. Floor 21 is written in the form of recordings in alternate person and I truly enjoyed how this format took this story to a whole new level.

It was really intriguing and kept me on edge the entire time. I was constantly trying to figure out the mystery of the tower as well as that of what awaits outside it. The author has done a splendid job in beautifully carving out the story.

The pace of the story is great and the voice of the main character just wooed me! It was literally like sitting in front of a teenage girl and listening to her blabbering about her life.

I was hooked from the start to the very end. Each and every chapter or recording kept me glued to the book and made me finish the book in a day.

There were a few loose ends left at the end, but considering it was in the form of recordings, I’m ready to give this book benefit of the doubt. Though I do hope that there’ll be a sequel to follow this book so that we can finally know what really happened and that what lies outside the Tower.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: “My name id Jackie, and it’s not so bad living here.”

Highlights: Format of the book.

Lowlights: None.

Final Thoughts: A great dystopian book.


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Review: Papa’s Family Recipes

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Author: Tony A. Smith
Release Date: March 27, 2015
Series: DCI Lambert
Genre: Memoir
Edition: E-Book (mobi)
Pages: 315
Publisher: Self-published
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Papa’s Family Recipes is a true story of Alberto Petrucci, the son of emigrant Italian parents from Detroit. Alberto went on to become one of the largest contractors in the Midwest. He was a very kind, caring, and humble man who loved his family deeply. He also had a passion for cooking and was quite good at it. Alberto, know to those in his family as “Papa”, left behind a treasure trove of tasty recipes like his Italian Chicken recipe, and his recipes for Risotto. He also left behind a recipe for his secret family spaghetti sauce. Have you ever met someone you liked the first time you met them? That was the man called “Papa”.

Review

Papa’s Family Recipes is a heart-warming tribute to author Tony’s father-in-law- Alberto Petrucci aka Papa. I’m generally not into non-fiction, but this book is something entirely different.

It took me to an emotional journey and left me craving for my own father’s company. It was touching and the love and care Tony put into writing this book comes across beautifully.

The writing is brilliant and it feels like author Tony and his wife are speaking directly to the reader.

As I mentioned, I’m not into non-fiction, hence, I have no particular example to compare or rate this book with, but as far as I’m concerned, I’m quite sure I can happily rate it 5 stars because this book is beautifully heart-warming read.

And the recipes? I LOVED them! And I’m going to try each and every one of them. I especially liked the Tomato section. What really touched me was that each and every recipe’s original photo was provided with the recipe, which made it all the more relatable. Somehow it managed to pull a string in my heart.

Kudos to a job well done, author Tony A. Smith.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: “Alberto’s parents came directly from Naples, Italy, making him a 100 percent purebred Italian descendant.”

Highlights: The love that can be felt pouring out of every line.

Lowlights: None.

Final Thoughts: A heart-warming tribute.


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Review: Dead Eyed (DCI Michael Lambert #1)

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Author: Matt Brolly 
Release Date: September 3, 2015
Series: DCI Lambert
Genre: Crime | Detective Fiction | Mystery | Suspense | Psychological Thriller | Adult
Edition: E-Book (mobi)
Pages: 315
Publisher: Carina UK
Source: Publishing Push
Buy it here: Amazon

Rating: ★★★★☆

Blurb:

DCI Michael Lambert thought he’d closed his last case…
Yet when he’s passed a file detailing a particularly gruesome murder, Michael knows that this is no ordinary killer at work.
The removal of the victim’s eyes and the Latin inscription carved into the chest is the chilling calling-card of the ‘soul jacker’: a cold-blooded murderer who struck close to Michael once before, twenty-five years ago.
Now the long-buried case is being re-opened, and Michael is determined to use his inside knowledge to finally bring the killer to justice. But as the body count rises, Michael realises that his own links to the victims could mean that he is next on the killer’s list…
The gripping first novel in a thrilling new crime series by Matt Brolly. Perfect for fans of Tony Parsons, Lee Child and Angela Marsons.

Review

This book started out slow and took its sweet time to pick up the pace. Initially, I had to struggle a bit to get into the book, but once I was 15% through, I was in for good. The pace picked up and the book went from slightly interesting to quite interesting and then I was on the edge of my seat almost biting my nails.

The story felt a little too long but considering that it is the first book in a detective series, I’m okay with it because I know that establishing the basics and the background is really important.

I like Lambert… a lot. He’s one hell of a stud detective. One that I would love to read about. He’s all broken and stuff but, again, he is a real stud! He is everything a detective should be like- smart, intelligent, sharp and daring. And this is all to say that the author truly nailed the characterization. Even the other characters, esp. Sarah May, were quite good and totally relatable.

The writing is great and the shifting POVs keep the book interesting and intriguing. The descriptions were so good that I squirmed every time another victim turned up with either their eyes cut out or stitched shut with black thread… And, trust me, it is one of the best things about this book.

The only thing that I find a little off is that the motive of the killer wasn’t made clear. I mean after reading a seemingly lengthy book, there’s nothing that I wanted more than to know the gory and dirty details of the killer’s motives or, at least, the driving force behind them.

Still, I enjoyed the book. And for a debut novel, this book is really amazing. Unfortunately, I’ve stopped rating books with 1/2 stars, otherwise, this book would have been 4+1/2 instead of just 4.

I’m looking forward to reading the next book in this series.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: “The man hovered on the edge of the dance floor.”

Highlights: Characterization.

Lowlights: Ending.

Memorable Quotes:

In oculis animus habitat. The soul dwells in the eyes.

She viewed her past like a voyeur, her memories akin to a reader imagining a character from a book.

Final Thoughts: A fantastic start to a new Detective/Crime series.


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Review: The Fulfillment (Fulfillment #3)

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Author: Erin Rhew
Release Date: October 15, 2015
Series: The Fulfilment Series
Genre: YA | High-Fantasy | Romance
Edition: E-Book (mobi)
Pages: 222
Publisher: BookFish Books
Source: Author (Thanks, Erin!)
Preceded by: The Outlanders
Buy it here: Amazon

Rating: ★★★★☆

Blurb:

Layla’s world tumbles out of control when she discovers the truth of her parentage and realizes the Prophecy—the one she upended her entire life to defend—is incomplete. When her new friends share the entire Prophecy, the revelations contained within it alter her destiny and challenge everything she and Wil believe in. Now, she must confront the Outlander queen to save the Ethereal kingdom while grappling with this new reality. Tortured and imprisoned, Nash accepts his fate and offers the First Ones the one thing he has left to give: his life. In a desperate attempt to save the people he loves most, he surrenders himself to the Outlander queen and a destiny darker than he could have ever dreamed possible.
Wil, tormented by the consequences of his choices, realizes he may never be able to uphold his end of the Prophecy. His mistake casts a deep, foreboding shadow over his kingdom and those he loves while its ripples threaten to shatter both the Prophecy and everything he and his family have sworn to protect.
In this epic conclusion, lives are lost, kingdoms clash, friendships are tested, and love and fate collide

Review

This book marks the end of an awesome trilogy, that I believe, every fantasy reader must read. As much as I hate that this series has ended, I am quite relieved because it ended in a really good way.

Though I liked it, I couldn’t help but wonder if this one was a little rushed. It surely felt like it. It didn’t disappoint me in the least if anything it just felt really fast-paced (unlike the first two books that were medium paced.)

The overall tying-the-loose-ends thing worked out well and every question was answered before the book ended on a happy note. I liked how the author gave a beautiful shape to the love triangle that was looming on top of everything, and, I never say this for love triangles, but this one made complete sense.

There’s just so much to say that I don’t know how to write everything in this review, all I’m going to say is- it is a series well written and a plot well executed.

I’ll look forward to reading more books by author Erin Rhew.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: “Then you don’t have the entire prophecy.”

Highlights: The satisfactory ending.

Lowlights: None.

Final Thoughts: A brilliant YA Fantasy read.


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Review: Head In The Box

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Author: C.P. Kemabia
Release Date: January 4, 2014
Series: 
Genre: Mystery | Crime
Edition: Ebook (mobi)
Pages: 141
Publisher: Speedy Publishing
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads Rating: 3/5
Blog Rating: 2.5/5
Buy it here: Amazon


Blurb

Charlie and her roommates along with their friends could have never imagined that, after the birthday party of the night before, their morning would take a twisted turn with a macabre discovery: a box containing the head of a stranger.
Because of their different personalities and also because of another unfortunate event, they can’t decide on the right way to deal with it.
Their disagreement ultimately triggers heated arguments and unsuspected passions. And as the story unfolds, the strain of their situation will take their relationship with one another to the very edge.
Yet most shocking will be the answer to the main question that is on everyone’s mind: who is the man whose head ended up in the box and… who brought the box into their apartment?

Review

The Reading Bud Stars Black-2

This book started out pretty good and the mystery involved was also nice, but by the time I neared the end I started to wonder what was the point of the entire thing. I mean I get that this is more like a novella, a very quick read, but still, what was the point of it all. If you have 7 people in a story then the suspect is all too clear, because apparently everyone has read Agatha Christie’s books and, hence, everyone knows that it won’t be the guy the author clearly tries to show as the suspect. We’ve all been there where the butler or the maid turns out to be the suspect- the person who appears only twice or thrice in the entire story. So, in spite of having a good plot, I seriously thought that the story lacked when it came to execution.

One of the positives about the book is that it is a real quick read. So, if you want to try it, it won’t take long. And as you can see from my rating, it is a bearable read (if you don’t read a lot of mysteries.) But if you do then you might find it a little odd.
The characterization in this book is surprisingly good and I’ve given 3 stars for that matter alone.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: On the morning of October 22nd, 2011, something terribly shocking happened.

Highlights: Characterization.

Lowlights: Plot.

Final Thoughts: Okay-okay.


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

Book Review: Craved (Twisted #2)

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Author: Lola Smirnova
Release Date: June 30, 2015
Series: Twisted
Genre: New Adult | Suspense
Edition: Ebook (mobi)
Pages: 316
Publisher: Createspace
Source: Publicist
Buy it here: Amazon

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Having been to hell and back, the eager sisters from Ukraine – Natalia, Lena and Julia – decide to retire from selling sex and walk the straight and narrow path back home. But when an old friend calls them with an opportunity to make buckets of ‘easy’ money in South Africa, they find it impossible to refuse. Their return to the night life of the entertainment business brings with it all the old familiar temptations – alcohol, drugs, prostitution… Can the girls resist their vices and stay together? Or will this industry destroy their sanity and their family?

Inspired by real life events, Craved is a fascinating story of addiction, survival and the art of making a living in the sex trade.

Review

 

Before starting with this book, I had low expectations in terms of entertainment given the fact that it is about the sex trade industry. I was expecting to read about 3 girls and all the injustice done to them, but this book was spectacularly surprising.

The characterization is brilliant and the personalities of the lead characters, as well as the supporting ones, are really well crafted. The story is thoroughly absorbing and completely capturing. I felt a connection with all the characters in this book and realized the brutal truth about this repelling industry.

I was pulled into this book right from the start to the very end. The battles the girls face, each and every day, and their hard life is explained beautifully, but surprisingly enough without burdening the reader with sorry feelings by showing the girls headstrong and ready to accept any challenge that is thrown their way.

The author’s writing is incredible and the flow is so good that I was done with this book within a day of starting it. I was really impressed with this book and knew, as soon as I was through the first few pages, that I’m reading something that is very, very special.

The descriptions are vivid and the imagery is great. I felt that I was in there with Julia all the time when she was going through her everyday life.

The book ended with an amazing cliffhanger of an ending and left me craving for more. I was like – Seriously!?

And, in spite of the entertaining value of the book, the seriousness of the issue was never lost on me.

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My copy of Craved

Other Stuff

Opening Line: ‘Harder!’ he screams in desperation. ‘Harder!’

Highlights: Characterization.

Lowlights: None.

Final Thoughts: A really capturing read.


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Review: The Secrets Of Lizzie Borden

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Author: Brandy Purdy
Release Date: January 26, 2016
Series: 
Genre: Historical Fiction  | Crime Fiction | Mystery
Edition: Ebook (mobi)
Pages: 384
Publisher: Kensington
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads Rating: 5/5
Blog Rating: 5/5
Buy it here: Amazon


Blurb

In her enthralling, richly imagined new novel, Brandy Purdy, author of The Ripper’s Wife, creates a compelling portrait of the real, complex woman behind an unthinkable crime.  

Lizzie Borden should be one of the most fortunate young women in Fall River, Massachusetts. Her wealthy father could easily afford to provide his daughters with fashionable clothes, travel, and a rich, cultured life. Instead, haunted by the ghost of childhood poverty, he forces Lizzie and her sister, Emma, to live frugally, denying them the simplest modern conveniences. Suitors and socializing are discouraged, as her father views all gentleman callers as fortune hunters.   Lonely and deeply unhappy, Lizzie stifles her frustration, dreaming of the freedom that will come with her eventual inheritance. But soon, even that chance of future independence seems about to be ripped away. And on a stifling August day in 1892, Lizzie’s long-simmering anger finally explodes…   Vividly written and thought-provoking, The Secrets of Lizzie Borden explores the fascinating events behind a crime that continues to grip the public imagination—a story of how thwarted desires and desperate rage could turn a dutiful daughter into a notorious killer.

Review

5 Stars Black

This book is simply beyond words. All I can say is that I loved it and that Brandy Purdy is a BRILLIANT author. This is the first book that I’m reading by her, but it is most definitely not the last one. I loved her vivid imagination and the powerful writing which compelled me to forget all the facts and believe in the story that she crafted/weaved so artfully.

For a crime author like myself, this book is a piece of art in the most literal sense and I salute the author for pulling off this book on such a talked about crime. She recreated the entire life of Lizzie Borden in such detail that it’s crazily scary At more than a dozen places I actually wondered if the author really found some diary or a personal journal of Lizzie in her research for the book. It was that believable!

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Lizzie Borden [Image Credit: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3030437/Lizzie-Borden-gravesite-defaced-graffiti.html%5D
I wish this wasn’t a fictitious tale but an autobiography. It definitely felt like one. It seems like Lizzie is one of my old friends and that her deeds were totally justified. Not that I’m a sadist who likes to see people butchered, but I do believe that sometimes motive behind the crime does, in fact, justify it.

Image Credit: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3030437/Lizzie-Borden-gravesite-defaced-graffiti.html
Borden Residence- Crime Scene [Image Credit: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3030437/Lizzie-Borden-gravesite-defaced-graffiti.html%5D
Coming back to the book, I did find it quite lengthy which is quite surprising given that I thoroughly enjoyed the book. But I feel that the reason behind it was the fact that the much-anticipated murders are committed just after the half-way point in the book (around 55%-60%) and, at that point, I was wondering what the hell is left now. But the author smartly told the tale after the murders were committed, which for me, later proved to be the highlight of the book.newspaper

Each and every fact I read about the Borden murders (in my obsessive research of course) was beautifully weaved into the story and made me believe that this tale is not just a fragment of someone’s imagination but the real tale itself. And how I wish it were true, because after reading this book I’ve found myself sympathizing with Lizzie more than a dozen times. My heart really ached for the lost soul that she was and I kept obsessively thinking about the would haves and the could haves for days after reading this book.

Sometimes, though, the writing seemed a little complex considering the lengthy sentences which sometimes stretched as long as one entire paragraph. Especially in the starting of the book. After the first quarter of the book either the sentences got better or I got used to them and didn’t notice them again. Other than this, the writing is superb and I managed to learn a few new words from this book (which is always a plus.)

Here’s the famous rhyme that would have definitely tortured Lizzie to no end:

Lizzie Borden took an ax

And gave her mother forty whacks.

When she saw what she had done,

She gave her father forty-one.

You can read all about Lizzie Borden on Wikipedia here.

If you want to read about the details of her trial then visit these awesome links:

Other Stuff

Opening Line: I awoke from the dream, wishing, as I always did, that it would vanish right away without lingering to torment me, or, better yet, never come to visit me again.

Highlights: Well crafted story.

Lowlights: None.

Memorable Quotes:

Sometimes it is easier to tell a lie. To say No closes the door on the conversation, whereas saying Yes flings it open wide and invites further inquiry and to slam and bar it then is to be branded rude and inhospitable.

I do not know; nor do I want to. I cherish my illusion, if illusion it was.

I won my freedom and baptized it in blood, with Death acting as midwife at the bloody birth that spawned my new life! In one blood-bathed day I was transfigured! I was set FREE! Free, rich, and orphaned all in the same bloody day.

I was sorry, and yet I wasn’t. I had done the right thing, even though it was wrong. If only things, if only we- all of us- had been different it might never have come to this. If only, if only, if only…

“If I were you, Lizzie, I wouldn’t have let anyone see me doing that. I’m afraid that burning that dress is the worst thing you could have done!” Besides killing your own parents of course! her chilly blue eyes silently finished the sentence.

If life were a theater play or a novel this is where my story would end- happily, in a spirit of jubilation, with me vindicated and set free.

But life is not like that.

Memorable Paragraph:

How very ironic that all the world sees her as the very picture of the meek as a mouse prim and pious brittle and birdlike little maiden lady in eternal mourning too afraid to ever say Boo! to a goose. They don’t know the real Emma; no one does except me.

Sometimes the sadness still steals over me and I cry for what might have been. How different my life would have been! I would have been lost to history; there would have been no murders at 92 Second Street, no immortal singsong rhyme about forty whacks; no one would have even remembered my name after I died – I would have had a different name; he would have changed that, just like he changed my life.

All I wanted to do was forget. And I wanted everyone to forget too and just leave me in peace to live my life the way I saw fit. I don’t go prying into their business and private lives! Why couldn’t they accord me the same respect? But I had traded the prison of my father’s house for actual prison bars, only to find when I was vindicated and freed from those that I had become a prisoner of my own notoriety and a higher judge had decreed that it should be a life sentence with no possibility of parole. Ostensibly, I was free to come and go and do as I pleased, but I would never be truly free.

Final Thoughts: A brilliant Crime Mystery!


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

Book Review: The Outlander (The Fulfillment #2)

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Author: Erin Rhew
Release Date: October 21, 2014
Series: The Fulfillment Series
Genre: YA | High-Fantasy | Romance
Edition: Ebook (mobi)
Pages: 345
Publisher: BookFish Books
Source: Author
Buy it hereAmazon

 


Blurb

With King Jesper dead and Prince Wilhelm mortally wounded, Halfling prince, Nash, and the Fulfilment, Layla, assume the throne of Etherea. They must contend with a new Prophecy Candidate who asserts her position, and Layla is surprised to find her fate intertwined with this challenger. Facing a myriad of choices, Nash and Layla’s decisions affect not only their own futures but that of two kingdoms.

Unbeknownst to the Ethereals or the Vanguards, a slumbering menace stirs in the south, awakened after centuries of slumber. The mysterious Outlanders, a force shadowed in mystery, sit poised to tip the balance of power, sending ripples of fear throughout both warring kingdoms.

Elder Werrick proved a formidable foe, but Layla may yet meet her match in the monstrous Outlander queen. This mistress of the dark’s plans, rooted in revenge and ancient lore, now threaten the livelihood of all three kingdoms.

Racing against time, Layla travels to the Borderlands—home of the Voltons and Ecclesiastics—to discover as much as she can about the war, the First Ones, and the prophecy itself. Lives teeter in the balance, kingdoms sit on the cusp of ruin, and a beast, greater than any she’s ever faced before, plots a catastrophic attack.

Review

5 Stars Black

The Outlanders start right where the first part, The Prophecy, ends. It feels as if you’re reading the book in continuation without any break, which in this case, is a good thing, cause really loved the way the book’s been written.

I enjoyed this par more than the first as there were some amazing detailing in relation to the awesome world build by the author for this series. It had layers and layers of elements which took the entire experience to the next level.

The new characters that were introduced in this book are so amazing that either you’ll love them or completely hate them! I mean, this part evokes such strong emotions that it leaves you crazily craving to know what happens next and wonder “how the hell is everything going to get better!?” The drama added an another layer to this awesome story and the love triangle successfully created a complicated web of suspense (in a good way.)

This is one of those rare instances where the middle book of a trilogy is actually the best part of the story. And I’m happy that i read this book, simply because it is an awesome Fantasy read!

If you’re looking for a kickass Fantasy series then this trilogy is what you need!

You can read my review of The Prophecy (The Fulfillment #1) here.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: Will stared down at the delicate hand gripping his arm.

Highlights: World-building.

Lowlights: None. 

Final Thoughts: An amazing Fantasy read.


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Review: September Sky (American Journey #1)

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Author: John A. Heldt
Release Date: January 1, 2015
Series: American Journey
Genre: Science-Fiction- Time Travel | Romance | History
Edition: Ebook (mobi)
Pages: 412
Publisher: Self-Published
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon


Blurb

When unemployed San Francisco reporter Chuck Townsend and his college-dropout son, Justin, take a cruise to Mexico in 2016, each hopes to rebuild a relationship after years of estrangement. But they find more than common ground aboard the ship. They meet a mysterious lecturer who touts the possibilities of time travel. Within days, Chuck and Justin find themselves in 1900, riding a train to Texas, intent on preventing a distant uncle from being hanged for a crime he did not commit. Their quick trip to Galveston, however, becomes long and complicated when they wrangle with business rivals and fall for two beautiful librarians on the eve of a hurricane that will destroy the city. Filled with humor, history, romance, and heartbreak, SEPTEMBER SKY follows two directionless souls on the adventure of a lifetime as they try to make peace with the past, find new purpose, and grapple with the knowledge of things to come.

Review4+1:2 Stars Black

 

I’ve always been a huge fan of Mr. Hedlt’s books and The Mine and The Journey are one of my all time favorites. As a result, I had huge expectations from this one and, I must say, that September Sky didn’t disappoint me.

The storyline is well thought out and thoroughly researched. All the historical facts and places are to the point. Though the plot felt a little far-fetched at times, I still enjoyed it, given that the book was about time-travel, a far-fetched concept in itself.

This book is written in third person multiple POVs which give a very clear idea about everyone’s thoughts and reflections. Author’s writing is one of the best parts of the story and I can’t sing enough praise for it. It is simple, relatable and flows beautifully.

It book had a slow start but it picked up the pace gradually. This, however, is a point that I have gotten accustomed to while reading Mr.Heldt’s books. So, when I read his books I know what to expect and that makes it a little easy for me to get through the slow start of his books. But might be a problem for anyone who’ll be reading his book for the first time. So bear in mind that his books are worth the initial labor.

The ending is amazing. In spite of being a romance novel, I really didn’t see it coming, so it was a pleasant surprise. All the questions were answered with great care at the end and I was completely satisfied with the way things turned out for everyone.

The characterization is really good and I felt a connection with each and every character (even with the secondary ones) and thoroughly enjoyed reading about each and everyone.

As this is the first book in the American Journey series, I’m really looking forward to reading the next one.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: Charles Townsend lifted the small, framed photo from the corner of his desk and studied the boy with the bat.

Highlights: Storyline.

Lowlights: None.

Memorable Paragraph: 

With that Geoffrey Bell, professor of physics, cruise-ship lecturer, and time-travel agent, walked out of the room and out of sight. He left his guests with Victorian clothing, bogus documents, and twenty-first-century anxiety.

Final Thoughts: A heart-warming read.


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

 

Book Review: From A Distant Star

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Author: Karen McQuestion
Release Date: May 19, 2015
Series: None
Genre: Science-Fiction | Young Adult | Romance | Contemporary
Edition: Ebook (mobi)
Pages: 256
Publisher: Skyscape
Source: NetGalley
Buy it here: Amazon

 


Blurb

When Lucas Walker inexplicably recovers from a terminal illness, everyone is astonished –except for his girlfriend Emma, who never gave up hope. However, as friends and family celebrate the miracle, Emma becomes alarmed: Lucas has changed. He speaks haltingly, can’t recall past events, and even his own dog doesn’t recognize him. Emma begins to suspect something is terribly wrong. What happened to the Lucas she loved? Does his strange behavior have something to do with the shooting light that fell into Lucas’s backyard the night he recovered?

As the two set off on a road trip in search of the truth, the journey takes an unexpected turn. First they’re shot at by unknown enemies and then helped by unlikely allies. Before long, Emma and Lucas are plunged into a desperate life or death race against time.

Packed with intrigue and emotion, FROM A DISTANT STAR is a riveting novel about loyalty and the power of love.

Review

4 Stars Black

 

I enjoyed this book from start to end. It was a light read and had some really fun elements. In spite of being a Sci-Fi, it was more on the side of Romance fiction (other than a stranded alien.) I loved the characterization and felt a connection with the lead character, Emma, and even Scout (to some extent.)
I loved the plot line and though it felt a little off at a few places, it managed to pull me inside the story from the beginning till the end. I even loved the other characters. They felt very realistic and that’s where this book scored for me. That and the fact that it was a fast read.

I liked the writing style as well because it flowed nicely and wasn’t complicated like most of the Sci-Fi books. And unlike most of the YAs these days, this book is standalone, which is a big plus for anyone who wants to read a nice little piece of fiction.

It also had a great ending, one that I predicted when I was less than half through the book. But the author still managed to keep me second guessing it right till the end. So, it was a pleasant reading considering everything.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: A Piercing light flashed across the sky and plunged to the earth, landing in a farmer’s field.

Highlights: Storyline.

Lowlights: None.

Final Thoughts: A fast YA read.

Book Review: Monsterland

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Author: Michael Phillip Cash 
Release Date: April 6, 2016
Series: None
Genre: YA | Adventure | Urban Fantasy | Post-Apocalyptic | Horror>Zombies |
Paranormal>Vampires | Shapeshifter>Werewolves | Post-Apocalyptic
Edition: Ebook (mobi)
Pages: 336
Publisher: Create Space
Source: NetGalley
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

Welcome to Monsterland – the scariest place on Earth. All guests can interact with real vampires in Vampire Village, be chased by an actual werewolf on the River Run, and walk among the dead in Zombieville.
Wyatt Baldwin, a high school student and life-long movie buff is staring bleakly at a future of flipping burgers. Due to a fortuitous circumstance, Wyatt and his friends are invited to the star-studded opening of Monsterland. In a theme park full of real vampires, werewolves and zombies, what could possibly go wrong?

Rating

TRB 5 stars

Review

It was the entrance to the Auschwitz death camp.

http://blewzen.deviantart.com/art/Werewolf-vampire-zombie-sketches-450864569
http://blewzen.deviantart.com/art/Werewolf-vampire-zombie-sketches-450864569

The story line of Monsterland is really unique, fresh and, I must admit, quite chilling (esp. the werewolf part.)

It’s not scary in the literal sense as such but it does gives the chills at more than one occasion. The descriptions are wildly realistic and the images they paint is worth all the time and money spent on this book. I felt that I was the one visiting the Monsterland with my friends and not the fictional characters. The story is beautifully crafted and the detailing is commendable. Being a paranormal/shapeshifter/horror storyline, the author successfully captured the character backgrounds and successfully added layers to the overall concept.

I enjoyed the book right from the first line right till the very last one. The overlapping of the paranormal and horror genres is commendable because, despite my initial reservations, the author managed to woo me with his amazing story and its execution. It is a job well done on the author’s part.

I felt a connection with each and every character of this book. What seemed to be pointless discussions of monster-obsessed teenagers in the initial pages of the book, made more and more sense as the story progressed and finally when it reached the last act.

I also enjoyed the last connection that the author made between the characters. It’s a well thought out storyline with 3-dimensional characters and layers and layers of different elements.

All the elements blended perfectly well together (except for one little thing- why was Raoul the vamp scared of the zombies!?!? Well, this crossed my mind only for a second before I got caught in the thrill of the moment and my mind moved on to other characters who were literally fighting for their lives (when the story is as good as this, who cares?)

I love myself some badass zombies but this is the first time I actually saw them sympathetically as “victims” and poor sick people who are not someone to be shot or bashed in the head by any/everyone, but a sad bunch of unfortunate people who caught the plague.

http://weknowyourdreams.com/zombies.html
http://weknowyourdreams.com/images/zombies/zombies-07.jpg

By the starting of the end, I was actually feeling sad for all the three creatures- the zombies, the vamps and the werewolves- but by the end, all the other things faded from my mind and I experienced what I really wanted to (and why I really picked this book in the first place)  – a complete monster massacre.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: The sky was a sparkling, power blue, mosquitoes droned lazily over the tepid water, frogs croaked messages while they sunbathed on waxy lilypads.

Memorable Quotes: 

Wyatt looked back at the main area of the park, feeling uneasy he was being led somewhere he shouldn’t be going.

Memorable Paragraphs: 

Wyatt glanced back in his rearview mirror and shifted uncomfortable in his seat, remembering why the sign unnerved him. It bore a stricking resemblance to a picture he has seen in his history book. The words were in German and read Arbeit Macht Frei– Work Makes You Free. It was the entrance to the Auschwitz death camp.

Highlights: Superb concept and amazing execution of all the elements.

Lowlights: None.

Final Thoughts: A must read for paranormal and post-apocalyptic readers.


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

 

Book Review: The Prophecy (The Fulfilment #1)

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Author: Erin Rhew 
Release Date: September 29, 2014
Series: The Fulfilment Series
Genre: YA | High-Fantasy | Romance
Edition: E-Book (mobi) 
Pages: 381
Publisher: BookFish Books
Source: Author (Thanks, Erin!)
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

Growing up on a small farm in the kingdom of Vanguard, seventeen-year-old Layla Givens lives a deceptively tranquil existence. But her carefully constructed life quickly falls apart when she’s abducted by a religious zealot who proclaims her The Fulfillment of an ancient peace prophecy and whisks her away to marry her greatest enemy.

Wilhelm, Prince of the Ethereals, is reluctant to meet his new bride. He’s grown up believing Vanguards are evil, an enemy to fight and fear…not love. Can he set aside his prejudices and work alongside Layla to bring lasting peace after centuries of war?

Nash, a loner who has never fit in, carries a huge secret, one big enough to destroy both kingdoms. When he accidently meets Layla, he’s no longer content to live in the shadows, but he must resist his growing attraction—for her safety and for the longevity of the two kingdoms.

When Nash’s secret is revealed, a firestorm sweeps through both realms, with Layla at the center. Now she must choose between duty and desire while the fate of two nations hangs in the balance.

Rating

TRB 4 half star

Review

Plot/Story:

I absolutely loved the plot line of The Prophecy. It’s entertaining as well as really emotionally involving. I really enjoyed the story and  it pulled me into the world of Vanguards, Ethereal and Outlanders right from the very beginning.

The world-building is superb and the author has really done a commendable job in detailing. The book is written in multiple POVs and takes us through the lives of all the three main characters in detail. The pace of the story is great and being an absorbing read and all it proved to be quite a fast read.

I’m really excited to read the next book in the series as I honestly want to explore the amazing world of this book.

Characters:

The characterization in this book is really impressive. I loved the main characters, Layla, Will and Nash and even the supporting characters of Vespa, Grant and Volton Holt (there were more but I’m just mentioning my favorites.) I was able to connect with them all and was able to feel all the emotions the characters were experiencing. I really wanted to cry when they cried and literally grin when something good happened (especially when Nash came in the picture.)

Romance:

This book is a romantic YA Fantasy, so what else do you expect!? It has tons and tons of romance and the author managed to pull off the love-triangle thing gracefully. Though at first I thought it to be a little weird, considering Layla’s nature, but it was all explained beautifully in the second half of the book. And yes, it all did make sense (which is really rare these days!)

Writing:

The writing is really powerful which I was expecting and which doesn’t come as a shock because the author is an editor and I’ve read quite a few books edited by there and they were really awesome! T

Begining:

The Prophecy pulled me in right from the start. I loved the Day Of Dawning was intrigued about all the cryptic thoughts Layla had about the First Ones and the Ecclesiastics. I mean that really, really made me curious and that was the point where I realised that I was in for a brilliant read.

Ending:

The ending surprised me, but I must say I did expect a little more (just a teeny bit.) I mean the ending was haw-inspiring but I kind of made my peace with it thinking that at least now Layla won’t have to choose between the two princes. Maybe it’ll be different in the second part but I really needed something more that would have made it a cliff-hanger of an ending.

Blurb:

The blurb is perfect and it totally managed to get me to read this book. So yeah, it’s as good as it can be.

Cover Art:

I absolutely cover the cover art of this book and it really makes me want to pick up a hardcover copy of the book.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: Beware of gray skies; they can be an omen.

Highlights: The world-building.

Lowlights: None

Final Thoughts: An engaging fantasy read with brilliant world-building.


 

You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Review: The Girl Without A Name

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Author: Sandra Block 
Release Date: September 8, 2015
Series: None specified
Genre: Mystery|Psychological Thriller|Suspence
Edition: E-Book (mobi) 
Pages: 368
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Source: NetGalley invitation by Tiffany Sanchez
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

Another gripping pageturner featuring psychiatrist Zoe Goldman, the protagonist from Little Black Lies.

In what passes for an ordinary day in a psych ward, Dr. Zoe Goldman is stumped when a highly unusual case arrives. A young African American girl, found wandering the streets of Buffalo in a catatonic state, is brought in by police. No one has come forward to claim her, and all leads have been exhausted, so Zoe’s treatment is the last hope to discover the girl’s identity.

When drugs prove ineffective and medical science seems to be failing, Zoe takes matters into her own hands to track down Jane Doe’s family and piece together their checkered history. As she unearths their secrets, she finds that monsters hide where they are least expected. And now she must solve the mystery before it is too late. Because someone wants to make sure this young girl never remembers.

The Girl Without a Name is a powerful novel of memory and forgetting, of unexpected friendship and understanding…and of the secrets we protect no matter the consequences.

Rating

TRB 4 stars

Review

Plot/Story:

In one sentence- I enjoyed reading Girl Without A Name. Though it wasn’t a complete thriller, still it had its moments where it really stood out. It’s a slow paced story taking the reader through the ups and downs in the life and times of Dr. Zoe Goldman, which I must agree, was quite interesting.

What I really enjoyed about this book is the mystery and how all the small-small elements that snaked around the main plot, came together at the end beautifully making complete sense. Even though I’m a little bit disappointed with the fact that it was a subtle read and not a mind-boggling thriller, I still enjoyed this book, mainly because the ending took me by surprise. And that’s really rare! So, I really like this book.

Characters:

Dr. Zoe Goldman is a memorable character. I really enjoyed her witty nature and stark comments. She felt like a real character and the idea of showing her so vulnerable really managed to make a place in my heart for her (as a character.)

I’ll be reading the prequel to this one soon as I’d like to know what really happened with Dr. Zoe in the previous part.

Romance:

There was no romance worth mentioning but there was quite a lot of emotional stuff involving Zoe, her brother, and her deceased mother. The emotional angle added up to the advantage of the book in terms of character development, as it really added a new layer to Zoe’s character.

Writing:

The writing is simple and subtle and it made reading this book a pleasant experience. It’s good enough that I won’t mind trying out other books by Sandra Block.

Begining:

I was drawn into this book right from the very start. I really enjoyed the quirky banterings of Dr. Zoe. Her wit kept me entertained for the better part of the book. The starting of this book gave me an impression that there is going to be one hell-raiser of a mystery in the later part of the book but, to my annoyance, there wasn’t.

Ending:

The book ended with a real bang but, as I just said, I was expecting a lot more. I initially thought of this book as a thriller mystery but as it turned out it was just a mystery (with nothing really thrilling about it.) And that too a cozy mystery at that. Still the book managed to surprise me at the end, so there’s that to look forward to.

Blurb:

The blurb is good enough, though, I feel that it does give a slight impression that this book is a fast-paced thriller (or maybe it’s just me.)

Cover Art:

The cover art could have been a lot better but considering it’s a mystery read, the fog on the cover really does give an apt impression of the genre (at least.)

Other Stuff

Opening Line: We call her Jane, because she can’t tell us her name.

Highlights: The ending.

Lowlights: Slow pace of the story.

Final Thoughts: A slow paced, enjoyable mystery read.

Book Review: Neverland

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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:

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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: A Fairy Extraordinary Christmas Story

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Author: A.J. York 
Release Date: December 1, 2015
Series: None
Genre: Children's Fantasy|Fairytales|Magic|Middlegrade|
Edition: Ebook (mobi)
Pages: 31
Publisher: Nova Sky Books
Source: Author (Thanks, Jen!)
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

A fully illustrated Christmas story that will make your heart sing!

Upstairs in the Anderson’s attic there is chatter coming from the Christmas, Easter and Halloween boxes. Someone new has arrived. Tallulah the Christmas Fairy wakes to find herself attached to the top of a tree. She soon makes friends and has a magical first Christmas. Once the festivities are over, Tallulah finds herself in the attic with the other decorations from Easter and Halloween. Each year they watch the seasons change as they wait excitedly for their turn to go downstairs. Until one day new boxes appear and then the unthinkable happens. A Fairy Extraordinary Christmas Story is a magical and uplifting tale for the whole family.

RatingTRB 5 stars

Review

A Fairy Extraordinary Christmas Story is a beautiful book that gives us a peek in the lives of the various decorations (that we assume to be non-living) such as Christmas decorations, Halloween decorations, Thanksgiving decorations, etc. and even a few toys.

It’s a heart melting story about how the decorations get all super-excited as their time of the year comes and how, when the festival ends, they get sad as they are stowed away in the attic. How they wait for the seasons to proceed and for their festival to come so that they can again be hung or placed downstairs and can finally see the family and the world outside (through the windows.)

The story is told from the POV of princess Tallulah, who is a new addition to the Anderson’s Christmas decorations. She sits at the top of the Christmas tree and makes loads of friends over time. And as the years go by all the decorations grow extremely close to each other and finally all the events lead up to the most amazing Christmas ever. (I won’t say anything further as it is a surprise after all!)

This story is so beautiful that not only children but adults will also enjoy it thoroughly. It’s a fairly quick read and will be a nice gift to give it your kids this Christmas. (I know I’m a little late, but what the heck, it’s still holiday season.)

In the Christmas spirit, here’s some magic for all the readers of TRB:

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Source: http://24.media.tumblr.com/eb323b1073d16f12cb46f41f8cc93b3f/tumblr_mftv2hFCaA1ric07zo1_400.gif

Book Trailer

Other Stuff

Opening Line: Tallulah had no idea she was alive. At least, not straight away.

Highlights: Awe-inspiring story.

Lowlights: None.

Final Thoughts: A magical read!


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.


 

Book Review: Quiet Neighbours

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Author: Catriona McPherson
Release Date: April 6, 2016
Series: None
Genre: Mystery
Edition: Ebook (mobi)
Pages: 336
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Source: NetGalley
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

It’s the oldest bookshop in a town full of bookshops; rambling and disordered, full of treasures if you look hard. Jude found one of the treasures when she visited last summer, the high point of a miserable vacation. Now, in the depths of winter, when she has to run away, Lowell’s chaotic bookshop in that backwater of a town is the safe place she runs to.

Jude needs a bolt-hole; Lowell needs an assistant and, when an affordable rental is thrown in too, life begins to look up. The gravedigger’s cottage isn’t perfect for a woman alone but at least she has quiet neighbors.

Quiet, but not silent. The long dead and the books they left behind both have tales to tell and the dusty rooms of the bookshop are not the haven they seem to be. Lowell’s past and Jude’s present are a dangerous cocktail of secrets and lies and someone is coming to light the taper that could destroy everything.

Rating

TRB 1 star

Review

DNF’ed at 20%

I just can’t get into this book. I guess a few sentences are plain weird to say the least. Things seem to happen out of nowhere and I have no clue where the hell this book is headed.

I’ve previously read The Child Garden by Catriona McPherson and absolutely loved it. So, I was expecting a lot from this one as well, but sadly, after a few pages, only everything went south.

I like the author’s writing style but for this book what didn’t work for me was the characterization and the desperate need to bring out the characters’ love for books. It felt quite forced to me.

Hopefully, the other books will be better than this one, cause I really liked TCG, and want to read more books like it.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: It was the last thing on her mind when she fled across London.


You can also read this review at Goodreads and NetGalley.


 

Graphic Novel Review: Oddly Normal (Chapter #1)

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Author: Otis Frampton 
Illustrator: -
Release Date: 1st May, 2006 
Series: Oddly Normal
Genre: Young Adult | Magic | Fiction 
Edition: ascm file
Pages: 132
Publisher: 
Distributer: Diamond Book Distributors 
Source: NetGalley

Blurb

Oddly Normal is a 10-year old girl with the most unfortunate name and the luck to go with it. The product of a unique mixed-marriage (her mother is a witch and her father is human), Oddly has grown up between cultures and she is the proverbial outsider. On her 10th birthday, her parents mysteriously disappear and she is left in the care of her great Aunt, a citizen of a fantastical place called Fignation.

Rating

TRB 5 stars

 

Review

Note: It’s been quite a while since I read this one and now finally I’ve got the time to pen down a review for it. As it’s been a sort of late reviewing, this review is not as detailed as I would have liked but I’ll be reviewing the sequel soon, so I’ll be more descriptive when I review that one.

Oddly Normal is the one of the best graphic novels I’ve read so far. It’s extremely engaging, superbly thrilling and, I must say, remarkably cute! I love the characterization and Oddly are indeed a really remarkable character. I can completely relate to her and I really think that this series is going to be epic. The illustrations are rich and spot-on. I really, really love this book!!!

The world-building in this novel is a work of pure genius. The names are just totally amazeballs (yea, I had to say that) and the storyline is one that can easily suck the reader inside the amazing and adventurous world of Oddly.

If you’re looking for a new graphic novel series to start with, Oddly Normal is just the thing you need. Trust me.

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(Review of Oddly Normal #2 is coming shortly!)

You can also read this review at: Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Review: No Rest For The Wicked (Vampires Of London #1)

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Author: Wolfe Cotto
Release Date: February 28, 2015
Series: Vampires Of London
Genre: Paranormal Fiction
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 288
Publisher: Black Crow Publishing Limited 
Source: Publicity Assistant, Sam
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

Edward DeVere, 600 and some year old vampire, resident of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, has been taking it easy.
London is home sweet home and Eddy considers himself a Renaissance man; a bit of a modern day ‘flaneur’. Some would say a ‘slacker’ and a bit of a ‘stoner’. Opinions are divided.

Eddy knows the city like the back of his hand. Life is ordered, predictable and boring. Until someone near and dear disappears and he is left with no choice but to find out why.

It should just be a night’s work for such an ‘old timer’.
But things don’t go as planned.
Eddy’s cosy world starts to fall apart.
Nothing is what it seems.
It’s time to wake up, smell the coffee and roll his sleeves up.
It’s a damn nuisance, he’s exhausted and could really do without all this ‘tom tit’.
But it seems, there’s just no rest for the wicked.

Rating

TRB 1 star

Review

DNF’ed at page 170. Though I really liked the witty comments and observations of Edward, the writing style of the author really bothered me. The sentence formation is really complex (and at times really weird, what with 5-6 commas in one single sentence itself.) It really distracted me from the plot, which BTW was a little too uninteresting for my taste. At one point (around page 50 or so,) I was wondering what the hell is really going on.

If I would have had free time at my hands I would have tried to at least complete it, but unfortunately, I don’t have even a second to spare. Certainly not for the books that don’t suck me right into it. from the start. But if you are really patient and don’t mind the blabberings of an extremely talkative vampire, then go ahead and give it a try. You might just like this book.

You can also read this review at:

Goodreads and Amazon

Other Stuff

Opening Line: I wake from a bad dream, except I know it wasn’t just a dream.

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Book Review: Nirvana (Nirvana #1)

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Author: J.R. Stewart
Release Date: November 10, 2015
Series: Nirvana
Genre: Young Adult|Sci-Fi|Dystopian|Fantasy|Mystery|Romance
Edition: E-Book (mobi) 
Pages: 186
Publisher: Blue Moon Publishing
Source: NetGalley
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

When the real world is emptied of all that you love, how can you keep yourself from dependence on the virtual?

Animal activist and punk rock star Larissa Kenders lives in a dystopian world where the real and the virtual intermingle. After the disappearance of her soulmate, Andrew, Kenders finds solace by escaping to Nirvana, a virtual world controlled by Hexagon. In Nirvana, anyone’s deepest desires may be realized – even visits with Andrew.

Although Kenders knows that this version of Andrew is virtual, when he asks for her assistance revealing Hexagon’s dark secret, she cannot help but comply. Soon after, Kenders and her closest allies find themselves in a battle with Hexagon, the very institution they have been taught to trust. After uncovering much more than she expected, Kenders’ biggest challenge is determining what is real – and what is virtual.

Nirvana is a fast-paced, page-turning young adult novel combining elements of science fiction, mystery, and romance. Part of a trilogy, this book introduces readers to a young woman who refuses to give up on the man she loves, even if it means taking oan entire government to do so.

Rating

TRb 3 half star

 

Review

Plot/Story:

Nirvana is an amazing YA read with a really fresh plot line and a great new dystopian world setting. I loved the characterisations and the fast pace of the story.

I was really impressed with the storyline and the world-building concept of Nirvana, though, it lacked a little behind when it came to the execution of these two concepts. I enjoyed the book (no doubt about it) but somewhere I felt that if the second half of the book can be tweaked a little bit then it can be at par with the best-selling YA reads of today.

Characters:

I loved the lead character, Kenders, and was able to feel a connection with her. Though, in the second half of the book I felt that connection slipping (as soon as Serge comes into picture.) I loved Andrew, the male lead, as well but sadly the same thing  happened with him.

Romance/Kills:

This book falls in the romance genre as the plot depends on the romantic relationship between Kenders and Andrew. And like any other dystopian book there is a love triangle (Kenders, Andrew and Serge) but thankfully it’s not a farfetched one. It starts and ends within an acceptable time frame and now I’m really looking forward to the next instalment of this series.

Writing:

I enjoyed the easy flow of author’s style of writing. It’s simple yet relatable and makes reading this book a pleasant experience. Having said that, I’d like to point out that I felt that the first half of the book was excellent whereas the second half lagged a little behind not only in terms of the plot line but also in terms of the characterisation and flow of the story.

Beginning:

I started enjoying Nirvana right from the first sentence and continued to do so halfway through the book. Everything was just amazing and I had no issues with anything (but only till the first half.)

Ending:

The second half of the book along with the ending felt quite weak to me. The plot went on to some other uninteresting tangent and ruined an otherwise excellent story. I really hope that the sequel will be better than this one.

Blurb:

The blurb is good, but I felt that it actually revealed a major spoiler about Andrew’s fake death. I would have liked it better to have come across  it while reading the book instead of the blurb.

Cover Art:

The cover art is marvellous. I really like the eerie feeling it radiates. It’s just perfect.

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

Other Stuff

Opening Line: Eight-year-old Larissa Kenders pulls a doll tighter toward her and opens one eye.

Highlights: Plot line.

Lowlights: Second half of the book.

Final Thoughts: A decent dystopian read with a rather weak ending.