Graphic Novel Review: Nina The Neighborhood Ninja by Sonia Panigrahy

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

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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


Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: After Life by Mathew O’Neil

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

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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


Amazon

Book Review: Traffick Stop by Kenneth Eade

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

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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

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


Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Follow Me Home by Jen Benjamin

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

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

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

Review

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

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

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

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


Goodreads and Amazon

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

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

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

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


Review

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

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

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

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


Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: The Painter by Lina Toorn

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

Rating: ★★

Blurb:

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Amber Alert by Dan Lawton

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

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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

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


Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: The Man You Scripted by Calvin Honors

 

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

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

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

Review

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

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

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

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


Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: The Little Yarmouth Abduction by Tim Van Minton

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

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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

giphy-14

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

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


Goodreads and Amazon

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

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

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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


Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Sting by Sandra Brown

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

Rating: ★

Blurb:

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

Review

DNF at 10%.

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

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

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


Goodreads, NetGalley, and Amazon

Book Review: The Phoenix Syndrome by Claire Gem

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

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

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

Review

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

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

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

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


Goodreads and Amazon

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.


Goodreads and Amazon

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.


Goodreads and NetGalley

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.


Goodreads and Amazon

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.


Goodreads, NetGalley and Amazon

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.


Goodreads and Amazon

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.


Goodreads and Amazon

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.


Goodreads

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.


Goodreads and Amazon

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):


GoodreadAmazon and NetGalley

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.


Goodreads and Amazon

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.


Goodreads, NetGalley and Amazon

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.


Goodreads

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

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

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.

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

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

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.


Goodreads and Amazon