Book Review: Were We Awake by L.M. Brown

Author: L.M. Brown
Release Date: 25th November 2019
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Short Story Collection, Family, Relationships
Series: 
Format: E-book
Pages: 215
Publisher: Fomite
Blurb:
In each story of this collection, events make the characters understand that their world is not as it seemed.

In Hidden, the discovery of an affair between her father and aunt is only the start of finding hidden secrets for Hazel.
What it Means to Be Empty-Handed is narrated by a fourteen–year-old daughter of an alcoholic. Her denial and elaborate imagination starts to disintegrate when she lies to the wrong person.
In Crashing, a middle-aged woman lives a life of servitude until she hits teenage boy with her car.
A thirty-year-old murder takes its toll on the victim’s family in Walking A Country Road.
The stories are set in Boston and Ireland.

REVIEW

★★★★

A collection of exceptionally narrated and well-plotted short stories that depict the complexities of life. Each and every story felt complete and was very different from each other in respect of plots as well as their implications, yet the theme somewhat remained centric to the multi-faceted and emotionally taxing life one has to plough through no matter how much they wish otherwise.

I enjoyed reading all the stories as they were all well-written. This is my second book by the author (the first being Treading The Uneven Road The characterisation was flawless and I was able to relate to each and every central character in this collection. The pacing was good and I found the stories very realistic.

I’d recommend this collection to all the readers who want to take a break from their usual genres and try something new and refreshing.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Super Me by Jessica Dazzo

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

Review

★★★★

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

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

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

this review is also posted on goodreads and amazon

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

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

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

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

Review

★★+1/2

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

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

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

this review is also posted on goodreads and amazon

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

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

Blurb:

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

Goodreads

Book Review: Hiding In Third Person

Author: Phil Bradley
Release Date: 31st May 2017
Genre: Action, Adventure, Mystery
Edition: e-book
Pages: 260
Publisher: Archway Publishing

Rating: ★★★+1/2

Blurb:

Ricky, a flippant orderly befriends a mental patient at an asylum he refers to as the spa and dude ranch. He listens to the sick man, the others refer to as Mr. River, tell a dubious tale of two teenage boys on the run from an assassin.
In River’s story, the boys take refuge at an abandoned military base, BOMARC, nestled in the idyllic New Jersey Pinelands. Also trailing the boys are several cops. False identities and coded messages hinder the cop’s search.. Mr. River’s story ends in a bloody showdown at BOMARC.
Asylum doctors plan to move Mr. Rivers to a dark and remote facility. Their ultimate decision hinges on the validity of the sick man’s story. Seemingly, Ricky is the only believer and he has to risk his life to prove the patient’s story to be true.

Review

Hiding In Third Person is an entertaining yet light-hearted read.

I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect from the book in terms of plot and the story, but once I started reading it I found it a very engaging and an entertaining read. The writing is good and has a nice flow to it. No complex words, no complicated sentence structures and no unnecessary detailing – in short, it was a light and casual read.

The characterisation was not great, but I did care for the main lead, Ricky, enough to finish the entire book pretty quickly. As I already mentioned, it is a light read so it worked for me.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes action, adventure or mystery and even to those who are looking for a breezy read to take a break from their usual reading genres.


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.

More from the author: Author Interview: Jen Benjamin

Goodreads and Amazon

Novella Review: Home Is Where The Start Is (Roseland #1)

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Author: Eric Ugland
Release Date: January 29, 2015 
Series: Roseland Series
Book: Book 1
Genre: Contemporary Detective Fiction | Cozy Mystery | Cozy Paranormal 
Edition: E-Book (mobi) 
Pages: 113
Publisher: Air Quites Publishing 
Source: Author 
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

When Ginger Mitchell finds out her mother committed suicide, she packs up her life as a Vegas “dancer” (hey, somebody’s gotta do it) and drives her cherry-red SUV straight home to Portland. Without a disapproving mom to rebel against, what was the point?
But things aren’t what they seem once Ginger gets to the City of Roses. For one, nothing about her mother’s suicide adds up, but no one else even wants to entertain the idea that it could’ve been murder. No one that is, except the ghost of Ginger’s mother, who keeps scaring the crap out of her. It’s probably just a psychotic break because of the grief, right? Sure.
In any case, it’s during one of these visits from Ghost Mom that Ginger decides to solve the murder on her own. She really only ever wanted to be a cop, so maybe she should start a private detective business and see where it takes her. And look, that hippie kid running down the street after a muscle car right now probably needs help. Another case!

Rating

4-stars

Review

Home Is Where The Start Is started off pretty well. I really liked the don’t-give-a-damn attitude of Ginger and most of all the first line that really kick started the book. As I went along it kept on getting more and more interesting. As it’s the first book in Roseland series, it dedicated a good amount of time in setting up the basics (characters, locations, situations, etc.) and honestly, I  enjoyed reading every bit of it.

The writing is exceptional and packs a big dose of humor. I loved the imagery and at more than a dozen occasions it made me laugh out loud.

The book ended on a high note and left me craving for more. I had low expectations from the book considering that it borders on the paranormal realm, but I really enjoyed the ghost angle. Though what I really found strange was Ginger’s mother’s personality. She seemed a little opposite of what was expecting her to be especially  considering her profession. Maybe in the next book it’ll be clearer.

For a novella, this book really packs a punch and is totally worth the time spent on reading it. I’d recommend it to anyone really as it’s a nice cozy mystery to read and enjoy.

You can also read this review at: 
Goodreads and Amazon

Other Stuff

Opening Line: I wish I hadn’t been sucking cock when my mother died, but I was.

Highlights: Storytelling

Lowlights: 

Final Thoughts: A nice and cozy mystery.

Book Review: Southern Solstice

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

Blurb

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

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

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

Rating4half-stars

Review

Plot Story:

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

Characters:

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

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

Romance:

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

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

Writing:

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

Beginning:

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

Ending:

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

Cover Art:

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

Blurb:

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

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

Other Stuff

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

Highlights: Brilliant plot.

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

Memorable Quotes:

Jewels On Your Crown.

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

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

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

Final Thoughts: A brilliant summer read.


Review by:

pics-2 copyHeena Rathore P. aka The Reading Bud

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

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

Read more about me here.


Book Review: The DUFF

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Author: Kody Keplinger 
Release Date: January 1st, 2010
Series: None
Genre:  Young Adult | Contemporary |  Chick Lit. | Fiction
Edition: Kindle
Pages: 370
Publisher: Machete Children's Books
Source: NetGalley

Book Review: Captivated (Donovan Legacy #1)

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Nora Roberts
Nora Roberts
Author: Nora Roberts
Release Date: 1992
Series: Donovan Legacy #1
Genre: Paranormal| Romance | Fiction | Contemporary
Pages: 331
ISBN NO.: 978-0-263-87231-6
Publisher: Silhouette Books
Followed By: Entranced (Donovan Legacy #2)