Calvin Honors · Drama · Dystopian

Book Review: The Man You Scripted by Calvin Honors

 

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

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

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

Review

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

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

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

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


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Jessica Treadway · Mystery · Suspense

Book Review: How Will I Know You by Jessica Treadway

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

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Mystery · Suspense · Tim Van Minton · Young Adult

Book Review: The Little Yarmouth Abduction by Tim Van Minton

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

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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

giphy-14

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

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


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Stevan V. Nikolic · True Story

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

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

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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


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Sandra Brown · Suspense · Thriller

Book Review: Sting by Sandra Brown

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

Rating: ★

Blurb:

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

Review

DNF at 10%.

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

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

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


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Chick-Lit · Claire Gem · Romance

Book Review: The Phoenix Syndrome by Claire Gem

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

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

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

Review

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

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

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

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


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Fantasy · Jason R. Koivu · Short-Stories

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

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

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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


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Christophe Bec · Graphic-Novel · Science-Fiction · Translated Works

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

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

Rating: ★★★

Blurb:

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

Review

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


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Post Apocalypse · Priscila Santa Rosa · Romance

Book Review: Deadly Hearts by Priscila Santa Rosa

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

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

 

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Egan Brass · Fantasy · Paranormal · Science-Fiction · steampunk · Supernatural

Book Review: Esper Files by Egan Brass

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

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Classics · Jules Verne · Scottish-Fiction

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

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

Rating: ★★

Blurb:

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

Review

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

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

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

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


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Adventure · Douglas Preston · Mystery · Suspense · Thriller · Travelogue · True Story

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

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

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Conspiracy · Detective Fiction · Mystery · Sally Fernandez · Suspense · Thriller

Book Review: Climatized by Sally Fernandez

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

Rating: ★★★

Blurb:

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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


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Douglas Preston · Lincoln Child · Mystery · Suspense

Book Review: The Obsidian Chamber by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

30169765Author: Douglas Preston Lincoln Child
Release Date: 18th October 2016
Series: Pendergast Series (Book #16)
Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Edition: E-book
Pages: 560
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

A TRAGIC DISAPPEARANCE
After a harrowing, otherworldly confrontation on the shores of Exmouth, Massachussetts, Special Agent A.X.L. Pendergast is missing, presumed dead.
A SHOCKING RETURN
Sick with grief, Pendergast’s ward, Constance, retreats to her chambers beneath the family mansion at 891 Riverside Drive–only to be taken captive by a shadowy figure from the past.
AN INTERNATIONAL MANHUNT
Proctor, Pendergast’s longtime bodyguard, springs to action, chasing Constance’s kidnapper through cities, across oceans, and into wastelands unknown.
BUT IN A WORLD OF BLACK AND WHITE, NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS
And by the time Proctor discovers the truth, a terrifying engine has stirred-and it may already be too late.

Review

The Obsidian Chamber by Preston and Child is the 16th book in the Pendergast series.

Before I begin the review, I’d like to mention that this is the first book in this series that I’ve read and although that is almost never a good idea, I wasn’t able to resist accepting this title when it was offered to me.

I absolutely loved reading this book. It was equal parts clever, suspenseful, full of unforeseeable twists and chilling and extremely interesting characters. I enjoyed the premise of the plot and I loved the fact that things were told in such a way that as a new reader to the series, I was able to get an idea about what might have happened in the earlier parts. I even got a decent idea as to how the chemistry between the characters worked up until this part. So I was really happy to get all the important background information that the authors cleverly infused without affecting the present narration.

This book had really strong characters and even though I did not fall in love with the main guy, AXL Pendergast (mainly because he wasn’t the main character in this particular story) I was really drawn towards the other main characters in this book. I’m pretty sure that Diogenes might have been the crazy serial killer in the parts before this one, but in this part, I loved him as he was a completely changed man standing right on the turning point in his life. And it makes me wonder that now that I actually like the villain of the story, how could I possibly read the previous parts. Anyway, back to the character dissection, I did not much like the character of Constance. She was too “ancient” for me to feel connected to her. I did love Proctor, he is this smart, intelligent and stud guy who’d do anything to protect his people. So yeah, this is one of those books that’ll make you fall in love with more than half of the characters.

The storyline was strong and so were the characters and the writing, so there was actually nothing that  I, as a reader, couldn’t have liked. The book started with one hell of a fast paced beginning with Proctor running around the world changing plane after plane chasing the kidnapper and I was hooked right from the start. But then a really mind-bending twist followed and I was like, “What the hell?” and then things started to get really interesting, to say the least.

The ending was a bit slow, but that could be overlooked considering that it is an ongoing series, so a mild closure for all the characters is needed. Though I would have loved to read more about proctor towards the end, considering that the book started with him. Also, a few scenes between Constance and Diogenes felt like a slog, especially when they both started talking about the ancient aristocratic stuff, but maybe that’s just me.

Other than these minor issues, I loved the book, so much that I’m planning to read this entire series from beginning in the coming days. If you like reading nice suspenseful stories rich with strong characters and storylines then this book (or rather series) is for you.


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Ankur Mutreja · Indian Literature · Travelogue

Travelogue Review: Kerala Hugged by Ankur Mutreja

33136501Author: Ankur Mutreja 
Release Date: 2016
Series: 
Genre: Travelogue, travel, Indian Literature
Edition: E-book
Pages: 59
Publisher: Random House India

Rating: ★★

Blurb:

In a borderless world, all would be travelers indeed. India is a small borderless world in itself, and Kerala lies at the southernmost tip. I live almost near the lovely Kashmir, but does that make Kerala any less lovely!
“Writing books is the closest men ever came to having children.” –Norman Mailer
This book is indeed my baby born out of the love of nature.
Kerala is beautiful not only because of “God” but also because of the people who have made Kerala their home. I went there as a parasite in the disguise of a tourist and sucked all I could in a short span of 23 days. But did anybody ever complain? No, never. I think they believe the joy multiplies by sharing, and hereby I emulate them.
It started reluctantly in the midst of court appearances in Delhi courts in a busy September. Don’t know how and when I boarded the Kerala Express, which left me in Kochi to enliven my life forever. Kochi is the place to discover yourself, your life, and the world beautiful around you. How? Discover inside the book.
I, having been discovered, headed to Alleppey. Not to relax in the luxury of backwaters but to learn how they keep it so beautiful. Of course, I had to merge into them to discover their world. Snake boat races epitomize the best of their lives, so very different from that of ours own. You can learn it only if you become part of it. I did try my luck. Did I succeed? Discover inside the book.
Can you fall in love at 40? Yes for sure if you are in Munnar. The one I fell in love with was very special. Who was she? Was she a sexy Keralan? a pretty French? a bold German? a speedy American? a frank Britisher? a thinking Russian? a cute Chinese? a shy Pakistani? or, all of them merged into one? What happened to our love story? Do we meet even now? Or were there heart breaks? Discover inside the book.
Who says it is necessary to work to live? Definitely not if you are in Varkala! You can relax, think, observe, do no work, yet live a life. And it’s so very simple! The nature itself helps you in it. How exactly? Well…discover inside the book.

Review

Kerala Hugged by Ankur Mutreja is a travelogue on Kerala, India.

I enjoyed reading this travelogue as it refreshed some beautiful memories from the time when I visited some of the places mentioned in this book. I liked how the author expresses his love for nature and the places and felt a connection and a bond with those places myself.

For a travelogue, this book is decent, though I do think that this book needs heavy editing (and this is the reason why I gave it a star less than I originally planned to.) There were a few lines that felt incomplete and a few were plain incomprehensible.

Also, I felt that you’ll enjoy this book only if you have already visited all the places mentioned in this travelogue, but if you haven’t been to those places then you might not find this book that insightful as the descriptions are not detailed and the exposition is quite literally missing.

Other than these issues, this book is a decent travelogue that you can enjoy reading and finish within half an hour.


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Anuja Chandramouli · Indian Literature · Mythology

Book Review: Yama’s Lieutenant by Anuja Chandramouli

30279445Author: Anuja Chandramouli
Release Date: 8th June 2016
Series: 
Genre: Fiction-Fantasy, Indian Mythology, Indian Literature
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 376
Publisher: Random House India

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

The inhabitants of the thousand hells of Yama have broken free from their prison and vowed to wreak havoc on the heavens, the earth and hell. With the fiendish Hatakas and Narakamayas teamed up with Naganara, a terrifying necromancer hungry for power, the universe is headed for war and destruction unless one human has something to do with it.
Agni Prakash, a debonair young man whose world has been turned upside down by the death of his twin sister, Varu, has been enlisted to stop these forces and be Yama s very own lieutenant. As the mythical world clashes with his own, Agni discovers a manuscript left behind by his sister. Hauntingly, it draws parallels to the treacherous path upon which he has been thrust. Equipped with an acerbic wit and winning charm, Agni undertakes a battle, where the odds seem tipped wildly against him, and finds unlikely companions along the way.
Will he be able to uncover the secret behind his sister’s writings? And more importantly, will he be able to avert the destruction that seems imminent?

Review

Yama’s Lieutenant by Anuja Chandramouli is an engaging and a well-written book with a unique concept.

The concept fo Yama’s personal lieutenant was quite good and overall I enjoyed the storyline. The flow of the story progression was good too. I did find the plot quite interesting, especially because it wasn’t entirely mythological, at least not directly, and liked the way the author gave it a very unique twist involving mortals in it. I enjoyed the story from the starting till the end. In spite of the ending being quite predictable, I enjoyed it and liked reading this book.

Though there was a bit of scene-hopping problem that left me re-reading some of the lines, and I hate to say this, but it happened quite often.

The writing was good, as always, but I did feel that a much simpler writing would make the reading process more enjoyable. After all, not everyone likes to read the classic-y lyrical language.

Apart from these minor issues, the book was good and it proved to be a nice change for me from the books that I normally read. I’d recommend this book to all readers, especially Indians, who’ve heard different versions of stories based on Yamaraj.


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Dystopian · Kate M. Colby · steampunk

Book Review: The Courtesan’s Avenger by Kate M. Colby

31570429Author: Kate M. Colby
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Series:  Desertera (Part #2)
Genre: Dystopian, Steampunk
Edition: Ebook (mobi)
Pages: 312
Publisher: Boxthorn Press

Preceded byThe Cogsmith’s Daughter

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

A courtesan on a mission. A brothel ravished by greed. A murder to avenge.
Dellwyn Rutt loves her life as a courtesan. For years, she has enjoyed the simple pleasures and lavish gifts of her trade. Now she wants more: the title of madam.
But Madam Huxley, the brothel’s current proprietor, refuses to name a successor—a problem that is amplified by the legalization of adultery. As the new law sends lusty clients flocking to the brothel, Madam Huxley’s greed grows unchecked at the workers’ expense. Only one outsider seems to care: a self-proclaimed prophet who won’t rest until the unholy institution is abolished.
After weeks of abuse, Dellwyn desperately seeks a way to subdue Madam Huxley’s tyranny. But when another courtesan is murdered, Dellwyn must set her struggles aside and solve the crime. The only problem? All evidence points to Dellwyn’s friends… and to her.
Driven by twisting turns, peppered with witty dialog, and shadowed by unrequited love, The Courtesan’s Avenger is a cozy mystery in a steampunk fantasy world.

REVIEW

The Courtesan’s Avenger is the second book in the Desertera series. As with any sequel, I had huge expectations from this one, especially because I loved the first book in this series, The Cogsmith’s Daughter, and I’m happy to say that this book turned out to be as good as I was hoping for.

I loved reading about Delwyn. She was already established as a strong character in the previous book and when I started reading this book I felt like I already knew her. So getting into the story and losing myself in it was really easy. And once I started reading I did not rest easy till I finished the entire book.

I liked the ending and can’t wait to read the next book in this amazing series. One of the best parts for me still remains the absolutely amazing world-building in this book. It is a really strong Dystopian setting and you can feel just how bad things are and the people’s desperation makes you feel grateful for all the life-giving water we have.

The writing was flawless, simple and easy to relate and it made reading this book an even more enjoyable experience.

I just had one issue with the book and that was more a matter of personal choice than anything else, I loved Aya so much that I had just a wee bit of problem seeing Delwyn as the lead in this book. I mean, it’s actually a compliment for the author on creating such a strong character as Aya that now I just want more of her and Will. I loved reading about her in this part, but honestly, I wanted the entire book to be about her and the King. Delwyn was no doubt an absolutely fantastic character, but for me, Aya will always be the main character and I do hope that the author will make her the main character int he next book or maybe even dedicate a series on her alone (I, for one, would definitely love that!)

As I said, there was nothing wrong with the story, it was just that I’m so hung up on Aya that I couldn’t bring myself to rate this book as high as the previous one, hence I’m settling for 4 +1/2 stars.

I’d recommend this book to all the readers of Dystopian and Steampunk stories and also to those who want to start with a fresh series worth their time.


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Alretha Thomas · Book Reviews (by Genre) · crime · Detective Fiction · Mystery

Book Review: Losing Lauren by Alretha Thomas

32575253Author: Alretha Thomas
Release Date: 7th September 2016
Series: Detective Rachel Storme (Book #2)
Genre: Crime, Mystery, Detective-Fiction, Thriller, Suspense.
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 358
Publisher: Diverse Arts Collective

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Alexandra Winifred has played a supporting role in her cousin’s life since they were children. When Lauren Water’s parents are killed in a plane crash, Alexandra becomes her protector, and together they navigate their way through childhood and college. They’re both overachievers, but it’s Lauren who steals the spotlight when she’s discovered by a notable agent and goes on to become an award-winning actress, leaving Alexandra in her shadow as her fledgling publicist. Now Hollywood royalty, Lauren starts to cut those people out of her life who were responsible for her success. Alexandra fears she will be next on the chopping block. But her trepidation about her failing relationship with her cousin becomes her least concern when she’s identified as a prime suspect in Lauren’s subsequent disappearance. Detective Rachel Storme, who has a full plate taking care of a parent with Alzheimer’s and supervising a meth-addicted aunt, is eager to get her hands on a challenging case, but nothing could prepare her for the dark secrets and lies that she uncovers while she does everything in her power to find out what happened to Lauren.

Review

Losing Lauren by Alretha Thomas is an exceptionally brilliant book. So much so that I enjoyed it even more than the first book in this series (which, by the way, I absolutely loved!)

This book is intense, gripping, complex and officially un-put-down-able!

I was hooked right from the beginning to the very end. The plot was amazing and had a depth that I found very satisfying considering that it is a crime novel. The level of intrigue, suspense and thrilling action was perfectly balanced. I enjoyed all the twists and turns that kept me guessing and I am not at all ashamed to say that at some point or the other I doubted each and every single character.

The ending completely baffled me! The whole woman thing literally caught me off guard and I ended up mentally kicking myself for doubting all the wrong people.

One thing I noticed in this book (and the last book too) was that author Alretha Thomas has a unique way of creating characters that have so many layers of complexity that you end up doubting the main POV character more than twice and start wondering “is she the murderer? Is she even aware that she killed another person.” And that is why I enjoy reading her books so much!

The characters, as usual, were well-crafted and relatable. I loved Detective Rachel Storme already, but this part made me love her even more and I guess she is actually in line for becoming one of my favorite fiction detectives of all time.
All the other characters were also very well-developed and I was able to connect to them all. I loved reading about the rich backgrounds of each and every character, more so because they belonged to the Hollywood and their lives were shown beautifully and in a very realistic way.

As usual, this book was written brilliantly with the use of simple language and in relatable POVs which made this book a complete package for me.
I’d recommend this book to all the crime-mystery and detective fiction lovers. This is one series you can’t afford to miss.


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Cultural · Indian Literature · Kartik Sharma · Ravi Nirmal Sharma

Book Review: Quest Of The Sparrows by Ravi ‘Nirmal’ Sharma and Kartik Sharma

12637202Author: Kartik Sharma and Ravi Nirmal Sharma
Release Date: 2011
Series: 
Genre: Cultural – India, Indian Literature
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 261
Publisher: Rupa & Co.

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

Inspired by the life of a sparrow that leads a carefree life, Partibhan, a young and reluctant guru takes off on an amazing journey in evolution. He believes that human beings can become powerful creators, and achieve much more but the desire to secure the future makes them mere survivors. Between birth and death, evolution is the only constant, which humans can achieve by giving up self-limiting practices.
Partibhan sets out to test spiritual principles at a practical level, with the exceptional 600 kilometer journey on foot without money and belongings. He wishes to demonstrate that man’s fixation on materialism and the need to accumulate is overrated: Survival isn’t the goal of life. A much bigger role, a higher calling awaits us.
Can Partibhan and his followers overcome hardships on the way to find the answers they seek? Are they able to prove that spirituality isn’t an impractical concept as many have come to believe but is inseparable from evolution? What insights do they come across? What does their journey prove and what is its power packed message for you? Do they discover peace and joy? How is it different from happiness?
Discover all this and much more in this path breaking, evolutionary new writing that explores the higher meaning of life and demonstrates practically how one can achieve peace and joy while leading a meaningful and creative life.

Review

The Quest Of The Sparrows is a really well-written book by authors Ravi and Kartik.
The profound symbolism, as well as the intense nature of the book, made this a very remarkable read for me.

I enjoyed the way the authors tried to deliver the strong messages of the harsh realities of life through subtle, yet powerful, unique parallels. I also liked the writing style and the voice of the authors and found it to be quite a pleasant experience to read this book.

In spite of this book being centered around spirituality, I never felt that the authors were trying to impose or force their views into the minds of the readers and, hence, I commend them for successfully and deftly getting their point across without hurting anyone’s feelings.

It was a quick read and the smooth flow of the writing and the enjoyable story made reading this book a breezy ride. I’d recommend this book to everyone because it is one of those books that offers a little of something for everyone.


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Jasmine Farrell · Poetry

Poetry Review: Phoenixes Groomed As Genesis Doves by Jasmine Farrell

phoenix_coverAuthor: Jasmine Farrell
Release Date: 7th May 2016
Series: 
Genre: Poetry
Edition: E-book
Pages: 138
Publisher: Nezra’s Expression

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

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

Review

I rarely read Poetry books, but when I came across this book, the title literally pulled me towards it and I decided to give it a shot. And to my utter surprise, I really liked this book.

The poems were well thought-out and had a lyrical and beautiful flow to them that made reading this book no less than an experience. I enjoyed the constant theme of pain projected in all the poems in this collection and, surprisingly, found most of the them relatable.

Phoenixes Groomed As Genesis Doves feels less like a book and more like a journey of self-discovery through literature which the author understakes. It is a beautiful book, written well and the feeling expressed in it came through perfectly making this book a gem in poetry-literature.

In spite of liking this book so much I’m giving it a star less because frankly, I’m not a poet or poetry reader and feel that I wouldn’t know how this book stands as compared to other poetry books, so I feel comfortable giving it a high ranking of 4 instead of 5 stars.
That said, I’d like to tell everyone that this book has some deeply meaningful poems and if you like reading poetry or about pain in general, then I’m sure you’d like it as much as I did.


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Historical · Mystery · Tim Symonds

Book Review: Sherlock Holmes And The Nine-Dragon Sigil by Tim Symonds

32666837Author: Tim Symonds
Release Date: 21st November 2016
Series: Sherlock Holmes
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Suspense.
Edition: Ebook (PDF)
Pages: 
Publisher: MX Publishing

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

It’s the year 1906. Rumours abound that a deadly plot is hatching – not in the fog-ridden back-alleys of London’s Limehouse district or the sinister Devon moors of the Hound of the Baskervilles but in faraway Peking. Holmes’s task – discover whether such a plot exists and if so, foil it. But are the assassins targeting the young and progressive Ch’ing Emperor or his imperious aunt, the fearsome Empress Dowager Cixi? The murder of either could spark a civil war. The fate of China and the interests of Britain’s vast Empire in the Orient could be at stake. Holmes and Watson take up the mission with their customary confidence – until they find they are no longer in the familiar landscapes of Edwardian England. Instead, they tumble into the Alice In Wonderland world of the Forbidden City.

Review

Sherlock Holmes & The Nine-Dragon Sigil is an exceptionally well-written book.
Writing about the two MOST loved characters of all time – Sherlock Holmes and Watson – is in itself a humongous task, and pulling it off successfully is not only nearly impossible but also unreal.
But Author Tim Symonds successfully took these two legendary characters and completely owned them in his epic new release Sherlock Holmes And The Nine-Dragon Sigil.

I haven’t read the previous parts in this series, but I am certainly looking forward to reading them as soon as I can get my hands on them because I really enjoyed and loved reading this book.

Author Tim Symonds’ writing is exceptional. It flows in tune with the settings and the era the story is set in and reminds the reader of the beautifully poetic and enchanting rhythm that the classic authors had.
I was completely spellbound by the captivating storytelling and the flow of the sentences in old English.
The plot is ingenious and the pacing is moderate, but it picks up wherever the need arises, keeping it thoroughly engaging for the reader.

I absolutely enjoyed the narration, no doubt, but I enjoyed the plot even more. Staying true to the most famous traits of the most amazing and observant detectives on the planet, the author created a fabulous plot, which kept me guessing at each and every turn.
And needless to say, the end completely baffled me and left me sitting there, holding the Kindle in my hands, smiling at the author’s cleverness. It was a true jaw-dropping ending! And it was mostly because the author handled foreshadowing really well.

The characters were done complete justice and I really enjoyed how the author’s classy sense of humor came out through the characters.
And a bonus for me was that being an Asian myself, I enjoyed the author’s fascinating details and descriptions of China to no end.

I loved this book and would recommend it to all the Sherlock Holmes fans, mystery lovers and anyone with a craving for a well-written piece of English literature.


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S.M. Baker · Science-Fiction · time-travel

Novella Review: The Unfortunate and Odd Life of Bennett Monroe by S.M. Baker

32451619
Book Cover

Author: S.M. Baker
Release Date: 15th November, 2016
Series: The Wayfarers Chronicles
Genre: Science-Fiction – TIme Travel,
Edition: Ebook (EPUB)
Pages: 
Publisher: Self

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Time, such a fickle and immovable thing. Everyone is bound to it will and pull; unless you happen to be Bennett Monroe, time traveler by consequence, not by choice.
For as long as he cares to remember Bennett Monroe has been able to travel through it time. Forced to work for a madman he reluctantly calls his master Bennett and his companion Cynthia twist and change events throughout time in order to realize their masters goal, of which Bennett remains uncertain.
The past has a way of haunting you, Bennett’s however has a tendency towards trying to kill him.
Join Bennett and Cynthia as they stumble and rip their way through time; acquiring the knowledge of who Bennett is, and what they both will become.

Review

The Unfortunate & Odd Life Of Bennett Monroe is a really enjoyable novella.

It is a story of a not-so-common young man who lives a life full of adventures, filled with odd situations and circumstances. Bennett Monroe has the ability to travel through time and works on assignments given to him by the master that are responsible for keeping the timeline from ripping itself and the whole world apart.

For these strange, and sometimes dangerous, assignments he occasionally works with Cynthia, another time-traveller and a friend of sorts. But now that Monroe has failed in an assignment, he is left with no other option but to take drastic actions with the help of his only friend and confidante.

I liked the unique plot and storyline and enjoyed reading about Bennett and Cynthia’s adventurous lives. This is a time-travel story, but the author has done a great job in adding a new twist to it and making it all the more interesting. So I’m pretty sure that no matter how many time-traveling stories you’ve already read, this one will not fail to fascinate you.

The simplicity of the author’s writing style made this book a very quick and a reasonably pleasant read. I was drawn into the story right from the beginning and was not able to put it aside until the time I finished reading the last sentence.

This book has a very simplistic plot, but the characterization was really well done. I obviously liked the main character, Bennett Monroe, but I also liked Cynthia’s character a lot. And to top it all off, Bennett’s backstory was really well done and made this book all the more interesting and emotionally engaging.

I absolutely loved reading this book! It is a light-hearted Science-Fiction read and I’d highly recommend it to everyone who wants to read a decent time-travel novella.


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German Literature · German Literature · Melanie Raabe · Mystery · Thriller

Book Review: The Trap by Melanie Raabe

30189617Author: Melanie Raabe
Release Date: 5th July, 2016
Series:  
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, German Literature
Edition: Ebook (mobi)
Pages: 288
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Rating: ★★

Blurb:

In this twisted debut thriller, a reclusive author sets the perfect trap for her sister’s murderer–but is he really the killer?
For 11 years, the bestselling author Linda Conrads has mystified fans by never setting foot outside her home. Haunted by the unsolved murder of her younger sister–who she discovered in a pool of blood–and the face of the man she saw fleeing the scene, Linda’s hermit existence helps her cope with debilitating anxiety. But the sanctity of her oasis is shattered when she sees her sister’s murderer on television. Hobbled by years of isolation, Linda resolves to use the plot of her next novel to lay an irresistible trap for the man. As the plan is set in motion and the past comes rushing back, Linda’s memories–and her very sanity–are called into question. Is this man a heartless killer or merely a helpless victim?

REVIEW

I really tried hard to like this book, but it’s not for me.

My main problem with the book was that there was so much description. The exposition literally killed the plot. And the story itself felt very unbelievable and the characters were flat to say the least.

I liked the starting of the book and the build up, but around 20% I started to feel distracted and bored, and by that time I finished the quarter mark, I was already not interested in knowing what happened next. And that was why I read the rest skimming over most of the chapters.

There are so many rave reviews for this book, but I seriously don’t understand what all the hype is really about?


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Horror · Paranormal · Stephanie C. Lyons-Keeley · Wayne J. Keeley

Book Review: Deadraiser – Part 1: Horror In Jordan’s Bank by Stephanie C. Lyons-Keeley & Wayne J. Keeley

31927052Author: Stephanie C. Lyons-Keeley and Wayne J. Keeley
Series: Deadraiser Series
Genre: Horror, Paranormal, Occult
Edition: Ebook (PDF)
Pages: 
Publisher: 

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Necromancy is an ancient black magic used for the purposes of communing with the dead. It is believed that practitioners of the dark art may harness the ultimate power of life and death and raise the departed for their own nefarious, malevolent purposes. It also is alleged that a true necromancer may realize the ultimate gift of mortality.
DEADRAISER is the tale of a present-day practitioner who achieves what others have been unable to do for centuries — to raise the dead. The problem is that he must sacrifice innocent victims in order to maintain his power.
Enter Fanchon (Frankie) Manning, daughter of the late movie star Erika Manning. She is the ideal sacrificial lamb for the Necromancer’s perverse desires. The only thing that stands between the Necromancer and the girl is Christopher McGuire, a lost soul who long ago has ceased believing in anything. In order to save the child, he must somehow rediscover his faith and summon the courage to take on the darkest, most sinister being imaginable.

REVIEW

Deadraiser by Stephanie C. Lyons-Keeley & Wayne J. Keeley is one smasher of a book!
Staying true to its genre, this book kept me up at nights and gave me the chills.

The plot is really great and I enjoyed reading each and every single chapter. There was a mix of newspaper articles, journal entries, pages from the unpublished manuscripts, etc, and all these things took the plot and the setting of this book to an entirely different level.

The basic concept of the book is so unique that I was really intrigued and scared by it before even starting it. I’ve never read anything that was directly based upon Necromancy, and the fact that this book was entirely based on it really thrilled me. And after reaching the third chapter, I was sure that I was in for one hell of a reading experience.

I like the pacing, and the tension built-up was brilliant too. I also liked the flow of the authors’ writing, especially considering that it is a co-authored book. Right from the brilliant opening to the cliff-hanger of an ending , for me, this book scored a perfect 10 on all the fronts.

The characterization is not extraordinarily great, but considering the genre, it was pretty good. At least it was good enough for me to want to read this story without putting it down even for a second.

I’d recommend this book to all the Horror readers and also to those readers who want to read a nice scary read for Halloween. This is one horror book you wouldn’t want to miss!


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Brian W. Matthews · Horror · Science-Fiction · Supernatural · Suspense · Thriller

Book Review: The Conveyance by Brian W. Matthews

29985686Author: Brian W. Matthews
Release Date: June 17, 2016
Series: 
Genre: Supernatural Thriller
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 260
Publisher: JournalStone

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Beneath the calm waters and pastoral fields of Emersville, a deadly secret lurks. But when psychologist Dr. Brad Jordan stumbles upon the odd happenings in the town, he sets off a series of tragedies that threatens to expose a danger long kept hidden from the world. Relentlessly following a trail of madness, suicide, and murder, he soon finds himself confronted with a massive conspiracy, and a sinister device known as the Conveyance.

REVIEW

The Conveyance by Brian W. Mathews is a splendid Supernatural Thriller novel.

The author has cleverly used his background as a psychiatrist to use in the novel as the protagonist’s profession. The struggles and the conflicts of the main lead were so realistic that i was able to connect with him right away and the bond only deepened as the story progressed further.

I was literally pulled into the book right from the very beginning, where the main lead is shown talking to one of his patients (a kid,) and I wasn’t able to put down the book right till the very end when everything goes to hell.

The pacing and the timing were brilliant and so was the fast paced plot. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and some of the parts really creeped me out! This book is a brilliant example of how a good super natural story can be written without having any of the stereotypes in it (yes, I talking to the Vamp and Werewolf lovers.) The author took the concept of creepy dolls to another level. It really blew my mind off!

I found the author’s writing really easy to follow and it made reading this book a really pleasant experience. It was fresh, clever and had a distinctness that I really liked.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who has a liking and an appetite for a creepy supernatural book that actually crosses its path with Sci-Fi genre. So, all in all, if you like Stephen King books and the likes then you really have to read this book!

My copy of The Conveyance:

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The Conveyance by Brian W. Matthews

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Adventure · Historical · Romance · W.E. Lawrence

Book Review: Guardian Of Paradise by W.E. Lawrence

26769446Author: W.E. Lawrence
Release Date: September 20, 2015
Series: 
Genre: Historical Fiction, Action-Adventure, Romance
Edition: ebook (Kindle)
Pages: 297
Publisher: 

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

In 1888, Kira Wall, surviving daughter of missionaries swept away in a tsunami, lives a primitive, but enjoyable life with natives on an isolated island in the South Pacific. But her serene world is turned upside down when an Australian merchant ship, commanded by the sinister Captain Darcy Coleman, arrives with an overabundance of modern and lavish goods. Kira suspects ill intent. Chief Ariki refuses to listen to Kira’s warning, forcing her to uncover the real plan of the captain on her own. Unfortunately, she has a distraction. A six-foot tall, blond, and handsome distraction. Trevor Marshall, doctor and botanist, hopes to find exotic plants on the island to research new cures and medicines. He is dedicated to science, but when meeting the strong-willed, beautiful Kira Wall, he’d prefer to spend time researching her—all night.
The captain thwarts Kira’s attempts to call him out at every step, turning the village chief against her. With only Trevor and her best friend Malana by her side, she stalks the captain and his officers through the dense, predator infested jungle, toward the island’s inactive volcano. Frustrated by her failure to reveal the captain’s true intentions, Kira begins to think maybe she’s wrong about everything. Then an explosion and earthquake bigger than anyone on the island has ever seen renews her resolve. Was the blast natural or man-made? She is determined to prove it was the captain’s doing. Kira races against time and the island people’s naivety to stop the captain from destroying her home and killing everyone she loves.

REVIEW

Guardian Of Paradise by W.E. Lawrence is a action-packed historical read.

I really enjoyed reading this book especially because of the beautiful setting of this story. The fitting descriptions made the island’s beauty come to life and I was left craving for more.

I’m not a Historical Fiction fan, but there are a few authors who really write this genre well, and W.E. Lawrence is definitely one of them. I liked the romance bit too. It was the main theme, but thankfully the author did not overburden the story with mindless romance.

The adventurous undertones and the well-written plot were really engaging. The writing was really simple and easy to follow, making this book a really breezy read. I was hooked right from the beginning to the very end. And the characterization was also good. I didn’t feel a very strong connection with the leads, but considering that it’s not one of my favorite genres, I cared enough about the characters to want to know what happens next – and it was good enough for me.

Despite a few minor flaws (lacking justification of some of the actions of the islanders and a few odd loose ends) I liked reading this book and I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to read a moderate-paced and light-hearted Historical novel.

 


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Fantasy · Lynne Murray

Novella Review: Valkyrie On Planet Fury by Lynne Murray

28758000Author: Lynne Murray
Release Date: January 16, 2016
Series: Gravitas Series
Genre: Fantasy
Edition: e-book (kindle)
Pages: 194
Publisher: Createspace

Preceded ByNovella Review: Gravitas- Valkyrie In The Forbidden Zone

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

A forbidden love. An impossible mission. A planet where death lurks at every turn. Sybil of Planet Valkyrie can’t go home until she confronts the rulers of Planet Fury, where assassination is a popular pastime. The Furies demand that Sybil tap the powers of her familiar demons to find an answer that may not exist-or die trying.

Review

Valkyrie On Planet Fury by Lynne Murray is a speactacular novella. It is the 2nd book in the Gravitas series and I enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed reading the fist book in this series.

This series is based on such a unique concept about females running the planet of Valkyrie and having a lot of husbands in order to balance their Gravitas- their all-time dominant pheromones. Needless to say, it was a quick read and I enjoyed reading it through and through.

Sybill is a brilliantly written and an exceptionally well-executed character, and I always find myself chuckling whenever she makes snide remarks that show her intelligence like a glittering star. Other characters well also relatable and I ended up caring for most fo them.

I’ve always like author Murray’s writing style and this time was no exception. Like the first book the writing had a great flow and I literally breezed through the entire story. The pacing was brilliant as well.

I’d recommend this book and the one before it to anyone looking for a unique and light-hearted quick read.


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Historical · John A. Heldt · Science-Fiction

Book Review: Mercer Street by John A. Heldt

27258807Author: John A. Heldt
Release Date: October 21, 2015
Series: American Journey
Genre: Science-Fiction>Time Travel, Historical Fiction
Edition: Ebook (Kindle)
Pages: 431
Publisher: Self-Published

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Weeks after her husband dies in the midst of an affair in 2016, Chicago writer Susan Peterson, 48, seeks solace on a California vacation with her mother Elizabeth and daughter Amanda. The novelist, however, finds more than she bargained for when she meets a professor who possesses the secret of time travel. Within days, the women travel to 1938 and Princeton, New Jersey. Elizabeth begins a friendship with her refugee parents and infant self, while Susan and Amanda fall for a widowed admiral and a German researcher with troubling ties. Filled with poignancy, heartbreak, and intrigue, MERCER STREET gives new meaning to courage, sacrifice, and commitment as it follows three strong-willed souls on the adventure of a lifetime.

Review

Mercer Street by John A. Heldt is the second book in the American Journey Series. As a fan of Mr. Heldt’s books I had a lot of expectations for this book, and as expected, this book lived up to each and every single one of them.

I always find Mr. Heldt’s novels very meticulous, gripping and heart-warming. There’s a unique quality about his writing that makes you feel eerily happy and content while reading his books that you simply can’t put them down. His story-telling is so beautiful that his writing puts tons of ‘big-time’ authors to shame in comparison.

This story is about three females of varied ages –  a daughter, a mother and a grandmother. I loved the assortment of memorable characters and their deliciously distinct backgrounds in this book. They were so compelling that I found myself thinking about them for days, especially about the way things ended.

The vivid imagery, the complex emotional battles each character fights, the moving story and the gut-wrenching situations the characters go through make this book an unforgetful read.

There are some books that are not simply read, but experienced, and this one is one of those. When you read each and every chapter, you feel like you’re not just reading them but savoring them and feel like doing it slowly so as to enjoy the experience for a long time.

I highly recommend this book to everyone, no matter what genre you read.


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Church fiction · Sharon D. Moore

Book Review: Hidden In Plain Sight by Sharon D. Moore

31794229Author: Sharon D. Moore
Release Date: September 13, 2016
Series: Under The Shadow Of Almighty
Genre: Church fiction
Edition: e-book (Kindle)
Pages: 
Publisher: NewSeason Books

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

Two Pastors.
Two Penalties.
One Shot at Redemption.
When Philly-born playboy, Jason White, discovers a devastating family secret about the identity of his biological father, he launches on an angry quest to find and confront the man. A lengthy investigation into his father, a prominent pastor of a large church in North Carolina, spurs a quick, covert, out-of-town visit to the pastor’s church on Easter Sunday. Will Jason follow through on his desire to destroy the man he believes left him alone and in poverty?
In Raleigh, North Carolina, the greedy and lecherous Bishop Quincy Stewart’s less than discreet history of deceit and all around messiness is threatened with complete exposure when he loses control over his manufactured persona. A chance encounter and life-changing lunch unlocks the chains holding Stewart’s wife, Lucy, hostage and sets the stage for a much needed shift in her life. In a desperate act to break his wife’s spirit and force her into compliance, Bishop Stewart does the unthinkable. Will Bishop Stewart go down for his horrific actions? Will Lucy ever be set free from the pain he has caused her?
The Camelot-like existence of popular and honorable Bishop James Collins becomes shrouded in an indefinable dark cloud when his wife, Victoria, invites an unstable element into their lives. Will Bishop Collins overcome being blindsided by the ugly truths he’s forced to face or will his life and ministry be forever changed?

Review

I’m not a Christian, so the fact that I enjoyed reading Hidden In Plain Sight Sharon Moore says a lot.

I loved reading this right from the beginning till the very end. I especially enjoyed reading about Pastors and Bishops as it was a really unique experience for me. I’m generally a reader of thrillers, mysteries and dark fiction, but reading this beautiful book was a great change in pace and I enjoyed it for the very same reason.

The writing was really good and had a really easy flow that made this book a surprisingly quick read. The plot had a unique simplicity and a depth that made reading this even more enjoyable. I was drawn into this book right from the beginning and was left craving for more at the end. It ended perfectly and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end this amazing story.

The characterisation is good too. All the characters were believable I found myself caring for most of them. This book made me feel a range of emotions that I wasn’t expecting – happy at times and sad at the others, and t was mostly due to the brilliant characterisation.

The plot was excellent and the execution (per say) was brilliant. Author Sharon Moore has done a great job, especially considering that this is her first novel. I am definitely going to read more books by her.

I’m looking forward to reading the next book in this series (and I really hope that the I get to read it soon!)

I’d recommend to everyone who wants to read a nice cozy book.


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Fantasy · Horror · Matthew Quinn Martin · Paranormal · Urban Fantasy

Book Review: Nightlife by Matthew Quinn Martin

17672505Author: Matthew Quinn Martin
Release Date: October 21, 2013
Series: Nightlife
Genre: Horror, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Edition: e-book (Kindle)
Pages: 384
Publisher: Pocket Star

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

For centuries an ancient evil has slept beneath the streets of New Harbor. This Halloween, it wakes up.
An action-packed debut horror novel from talented new writer Matthew Quinn Martin, Nightlife pits a feisty bartender and a mysterious loner against bloodthirsty terrors as alluring as they are deadly.

Nightclub bartender and serial heartbreaker Beth Becker might be a cynic. But when her best friend goes missing Halloween night, Beth knows it’s up to her to find out what happened.

Her quest will take her on an odyssey through the crumbling city of New Harbor, Connecticut. Along the way she meets a homeless prophet warning of something he calls the “Night Angel”-a bloodthirsty creature that feeds on the forgotten. And she will form an unlikely bond with a hunted stranger who knows all too well what stalks the streets at night.

REVIEW

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Nightlife by Mathew Quinn Martin. This book is a real page-turner from start to end. It was literally un-put-down-able!

The best part about this book and also the most impressive one was that this book showed Vampires in completely different light. I guess this is the first time someone has successfully pulled off portraying Vampires as really scary creatures. The concept behind the whole vampire mythology was explored beautifully and I was captivated by the author’s imagination. For the first time in my life, the Vampires actually creeped me out! I’m glad that finally, someone wrote a book that didn’t show vampires as the lovey-dovey pets people want to fall in love with.

Author Mathew Quinn Martin showed them for what they are really are – blood sucking nightmares.

Apart from this, the writing was great too, and the pacing was superb. The alternating POVs kept me on on my toes the entire time and I enjoyed the POV shifts mostly because the transition was really smooth.

The characterisation is also brilliant. I loved all the characters, especially that of Jack and Beth. I even liked Beth’s jackass boyfriend. The reason why I liked Ryan is because all his faults and stupidity made him come out as a really believable character. I was able to connect to all the characters.

The book began with an intriguing prologue which threw me right into the story’s heart and was a complete winner for me. I was so engrossed in it that I wasn’t able to put down this book once I started it.

The ending was good and quite practical. I loved it and thought that it was perfect and in tune with the story.

I’m really looking forward to reading more by the author. I’d recommend this book to all the paranormal and horror lovers and especially to all the Vampires fanatics.


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