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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Mystery · psychological thriller · Suspense

Book Review: Sister Sister by Sue Fortin

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

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

 

From the bestselling author of The Girl Who Lied

Alice: Beautiful, kind, manipulative, liar.

Clare: Intelligent, loyal, paranoid, jealous.

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Chick-Lit · Romance · SprkIt

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

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

Rating: ★★

Blurb:

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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

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


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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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Reviews By Contributors

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

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

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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


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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.


Goodreads and Amazon

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.


Goodreads and Amazon

SprkIt

Book Review: Running: The Best Cure For The Worst Relationship by Richard Cohen

41csfc879al-_sx331_bo1204203200_Author: Richard Cohen
Release Date: – (ARC)
Series: 
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Relationships
Edition: E-book
Pages: 356
Publisher:  Createspace

Rating: ★★★

Blurb:

Estranged twins Brian and Amy are sixty years old when chance throws them together at a party. A blow-up on Amy’s part sets them on a course that leads to the reconciliation of their love, friendship, and emotional attachment. Years of no communication, petty differences and pent up anger, wiped away their comfort,friendship and love. A tragedy for twins who were inseparable as children. In the midst of a wedding reception Amy makes a public spectacle of herself and becomes enraged at her brother and throws down the gauntlet that she can run a marathon, as her brother had done eighteen times before. Facing humiliation, Amy sets out to train and run a marathon while losing over eighty pounds. Through the pains, pride, honesty and self-reflection of running, Amy gains contentment and happiness that she always yearned for, which money and materials never could fulfill. With a much improved sense of self and a feeling of pride and confidence, Amy opens herself up to regain what she had lost with her brother– love and friendship.

Review

Running: The Best Cure For The Worst Relationship by Richard Cohen is a light-hearted contemporary read centered around running.

I liked the basic concept of the story and the story build-up was decent. I did like the main characters but was not able to feel a strong connection with them. They were likable enough for me to read this book till the end to see how things end for them and for me that was a relief.

The story is about a twin brother and sister duo, Brian and Amy, who are kind of estranged and cross path after a while in an unsuspecting wedding where they end up in a bet in which Amy, who is fat and unfit, decides to run a marathon. As I said earlier, the concept was really interesting and the story turned out to be really good by the end, but there were a few issues with it that made me rate this book lower than I would have loved to rate it otherwise.

First of all, there was endless head-hopping. The story was written in the third-person omniscient narration and the POV shifts were understandable, but what I didn’t like was the abrupt shifts in POVs. There were some POVs of secondary characters too but only for a couple of paragraphs in between the POVs of the main characters. And that was really off-putting, to say the least.

Secondly, the story progression felt a bit slack due to continuous and abrupt change in timelines. In one paragraph you’re in present, the next one you’re reading about 20 years younger Brian. These timeline shifts were not technically right so it was also a bit of a downer.

Other than these two issues, though, there was nothing major that affected the book in a negative way. The story is good and I’m sure that if you can see past, or completely ignore, the technicalities of fiction writing (which, for the life of me, I can’t) then I’m sure you’ll enjoy this story.

SprkIt

Book Review: Eden’s Apple by Pamela Blake

29325959Author: Pamela Blake
Release Date: 18th February 2016
Series: 
Genre: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Edition: E-book
Pages: 286
Publisher:  Xlibris

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

Prewar Bradford, England, 1937. A sinful act is perpetrated by a father against his daughter that will alter the lives of three future generations. Rose’s troubled past haunts her forever. Lucy seduces a man of the cloth and has to bear its devastating consequences. Samuel escapes real life and journeys through his own hell to try and find what he has lost. Children are deprived of a normal upbringing. Secrets, when revealed, have a destructive power. These are ordinary people whose lives go full circle in their voyage of self-discovery and who undergo a transformation resulting from an extraordinary existence. Each of them has to overcome his or her tragedy before the realization that great success, or the reaching of one’s own goals, does not give the pleasure, happiness, or satisfaction expected. Ultimately, it is only in the real values of love, understanding, self-sacrifice, and forgiveness that the outcome has to be found.

Review

Eden’s Apple is a moving story about two women that’ll rip your heart apart. It is a story of a mother and daughter who go through their own hells and experience the cruel brutality of the world in times where there was little to no hope for single women.

I started reading this book expecting to read about family drama, but I was taken aback by the sheer realism and the cold brutality that defines this book.

Author Pamela Blake’s narration is extremely powerful and strong. I was so lost in the story that I wasn’t able to think about anything else. The author’s strong narration crippled my senses and made me see the emotions of fear, love, and loss with such acute realism that I was moved deeply.

There were a few issues with the dialogues and conversations, but in front of such powerful writing, everything can be overlooked. The story itself had so much life that it pained me to imagine it to be a piece of fiction.

I liked this book a lot, yet I feel a sense of foreboding thinking about it now. I have so many emotions welling inside of me even after long finishing this story that I have to literally force away some of the things I read in this book. I’ve read only a few books   based on the theme of child abuse, but I never imagined any story to have such a lasting impact on me the way this book had.

I’d recommend this book to everyone because of it an exceptional story written brilliantly.


Goodreads and Amazon

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.


Goodreads and Amazon

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.


Goodreads

SprkIt

Book Review: The Beauty Of The Fall by Rich Marcello

Author:  R32711997ich Marcello
Release Date: 25th October 2016
Series: 
Genre: Corporate-Fiction, Sci-Fi
Edition: E-book
Pages: 358
Publisher: Langdon Street Press

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

A TECHNOLOGY EXECUTIVE CHARTS A HIGH-RISK,
UNCONVENTIONAL PATH WHILE GRIEVING THE LOSS OF HIS SON.
Dan Underlight, a divorced, workaholic technology executive, suffers lingering grief over the death of his ten-year-old son, Zack. When Dan’s longtime friend and boss, Olivia Whitmore, fires Dan from RadioRadio, the company that he helped create, he crashes and isolates himself.
Willow, a poet and domestic violence survivor, helps Dan regain his footing. With her support, Dan ventures on a pilgrimage of sorts, visiting Fortune 500 companies to flesh out a software start-up idea. When Dan returns home with a fully formed vision, he recruits the help of three former RadioRadio colleagues and starts Conversationworks, a company he believes will be at the vanguard of social change.
Guided by Dan’s generative leadership, Conversationworks enjoys some early successes, but its existence is soon threatened on multiple fronts. Will Dan survive the ensuing corporate battles and realize the potential of his company? Or will he be defeated by his enemies and consumed by his grief?

Review

The Beauty Of The Fall is a unique story that’ll grip you right from the start till the very end. It is a story full of heartache, sadness, dreams and possibilities – everything that makes this book a complete package.

I liked the basic concept on which The Beauty Of The Fall is based upon. To have a software that brings truth to selected conversations is not only unique but also very intriguing. Especially in times like these, the application of measures mentioned in this book will surely make for a nice topic of discussion.

The characterization was good and I was able to connect with the main character, Dan Underlight. The secondary characters were also well developed, but I was glad that the author let the main lead, Dan, steal the show.

I liked the writing style of the author; it was simple and made this book a pleasant and an easy read. I liked the easy flow of the narration and  fast-paced story progression. All these factors, combined together, made this amazing story all the more enjoyable.

As I mentioned earlier, I really liked the basic concept of the book and wish that we had a company like Conversation Works in real life too because I’m sure it would have definitely helped on a global scale. Anyway, it was mainly the concept of online fact checking that really gripped me.

I’d recommend this book to all the readers who like reading corporate fiction and also those who like light Sci-Fi stories.


Goodreads

Author Interview

Author Interview: Jasmine Farrell

Welcome to TRB’s Author Interview Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome author Jasmine Farrell.
I’m presently reading her latest poetry collection Phoenixes Groomed as Genesis Doves and I must say that it is a beautiful book!

About the author:

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


Hello, Jasmine, thank you for being here today.

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

My ambitions are to be internationally known as a poet with five novels under my belt and to have my words entice people to search the inner most parts of themselves.

Which writers inspire you?

Zora Neale Hurston, Nikki Giovanni and Claudia Rankine.

Tell us about your book?

Phoenixes Groomed as Genesis Doves is a book of poetry that inspires readers to challenge the status quo as they step out on new journeys and move forward from the comfort of tradition. It was inspired by major life transitions in the last two years, which had me questioning “truths” which shuttered my true self from the world. After a tumultuous and an enlightening journey, I learned to look at the world with new eyes. By sharing my experiences, I chose to open my heart and inspire those on similar paths. Faced with the unknown of a new world my poetry has never felt more alive and honest.How long did it take you to write it?

How long did it take you to write it?

Well, being that the poems were created sporadically from 2014-2016, I guess I can say two years.

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

Yes, I am working on a fantasy novel. However, I will not disclose the details of the story as of yet. It is titled, Malum Street.

Why have you chosen this genre?

Poetry is my niche. I didn’t necessarily sit down and decide what genre I would venture into. It just happened that way. I guess because it was initially a form of writing that helped me to express my feelings the best.When did you decide to become a writer?

When did you decide to become a writer?

I decided to become a writer during my third year in high school. I couldn’t see myself (still can’t) do anything else.

Why do you write?

I write to encourage, release, express, challenge and enlighten others. The best way for someone to understand my heart is to read my poetry.

Where do your ideas come from?

My ideas come from the situations I deal with or the crazy circumstances that I have observed. My ideas come from my mind and the late stories my grandmother told me.

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

I prefer longhand with a pen or pencil. I even write my articles for Ayo Magazine by hand initially and then type it up.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

My favorite books are:

  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  • Sula by Toni Morrison
  • The Skin I’m In by Sharon Flake
  • Native Son by Richard Wright
  • Citizen by Claudia Rankine

My favorite authors are Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, Nikkie Giovanni, Elisa Romeo and Eric Jerome Dickey.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I don’t know how to deal with writer’s block. I always free write. However, during the moments where nothing comes to mind, I allow the silence to just be.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken and someone needs your weird ass in his/her life!

Thank you, Jasmine!


About the book:

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


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed please get in touch.

Reviews By Contributors

Book Review: Indiana Belle (American Journey #3) by John A. Heldt

29922773Author:  John A. Heldt
Release Date: 14th April 2016
Series: American Journey
Genre: Historical Fiction, Time Travel, Romance
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 295
Publisher: Self-Published

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Providence, Rhode Island, 2017. When doctoral student Cameron Coelho, 28, opens a package from Indiana, he finds more than private papers that will help him with his dissertation. He finds a photograph of a beautiful society editor murdered in 1925 and clues to a century-old mystery. Within days, he meets Geoffrey Bell, the “time-travel professor,” and begins an unlikely journey through the Roaring Twenties. Filled with history, romance, and intrigue, INDIANA BELLE follows a lonely soul on the adventure of a lifetime as he searches for love and answers in the age of Prohibition, flappers, and jazz.

Review

To say this book surprised me would be an understatement. I mean, wow. I didn’t look at the Goodreads tags for this book so I was extremely intrigued when the word time-travel popped up. After that, I was hooked. I could not put it down until I reached the very last page.

It starts with Cameron, a dissertation student, researching the state of Indiana who comes across a picture of a woman and tt is pretty much love at first sight for him. He is then presented with the opportunity to travel back in time and actually meet this woman, and at the same time add some adventure to his otherwise lonely life.

Although time-travel is a major aspect of this tale, it’s more about adventure, romance, and a little mystery. It’s about a man and woman who are nearly a century apart but have the same dreams and aspirations and, decide to take a few risks because life’s too short to keep second guessing everything.

I adored Cameron. He was charming, intelligent, witty and an absolute gentleman. I could relate to his lonely existence and his thirst for some excitement in his life. I was rooting for him right from the start. Candice was a delight and extremely likable. All characters, including the supporting ones and the bad guys, were very well developed and well written.

The writing was amazing, with an almost poetic atmosphere. The author did a great job in bringing the Roaring Twenties alive; from the quaint little town to the illicit clubs, from the church to the Ku Klux Klan, this book had it all. And the author managed to weave everything together beautifully.

The book began with the right pace, setting up the plot and characters quite early on and I held onto them until the very end.

I had predicted the ending but I was pleasantly surprised by the twist. It had the right amount of action without being overly dramatic. In short, I loved it.

I loved the romance. It was light and sweet, and a pivotal part of the story. Cameron had already decided that he had fallen in love with the woman in the photograph but to actually see it happen when he was with Candice was even more amazing. Their scenes were incredibly sweet and their relationship progressed naturally.

It’s no surprise that the cover art features the very picture that sets the plot rolling. It’s lovely and fits the book perfectly.


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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

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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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Cover Reveals · My Novels

Cover Reveal: Deceived by Heena Rathore P.

Presenting to you all the Cover of my debut novel, Deceived – 

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Designed by Bhavi Mehta

PUBLISHING: FEBRUARY 2017 

BLURB:

How well do you know your loved ones?

A girl who’s trying to cope with the murders of her mother and five-year-old brother.

A journalist who is chasing the ghost of a potential serial killer.

A thirteen-year-old girl who slaughters her parents.

And a revenge-driven psychopath who is about to destroy everyone’s life.

A psychological thriller that weaves its way through the sadistic past of a traumatized child to the snare of dark mysteries of a beloved father.

Add Deceived your Goodreads to-read shelf 

ABOUT HEENA RATHORE P.:

author-picHeena Rathore P. is a 25-year-old full-time novelist, part-time Social Media Strategist, Novel Critique, Book Reviewer and a YouTube Podcaster.

She draws her inspiration from the works of legendary Stephen King and Sidney Sheldon.

She is an introvert, a thinker, a neat freak, a voracious reader and a GSD-lover. In her free time, she loves watching apocalyptic, thriller and slasher movies and series.

She lives in Pune with her beloved husband in a house full of books, music, and love.

She loves creating fictional worlds, but more than that she loves living in them.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK

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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