Cover Reveal: Deceived by Heena Rathore P.

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

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Designed by Bhavi Mehta

PUBLISHING: FEBRUARY 2017 

BLURB:

How well do you know your loved ones?

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

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

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

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

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

Add Deceived your Goodreads to-read shelf 

ABOUT HEENA RATHORE P.:

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

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

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

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

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

WEBSITE | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK

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Book Review: In The Blood by R.L. Martinez

27689746Author: R.L. Martinez
Release Date: March 21, 2016
Series: The Witchbreed Series
Genre: High Fantasy, Magic Realism
(Magic Elementals > Wizards, Witches & Shapeshifters)
Edition: E-book (mobi)
Pages: 356
Publisher: Lake Water Press
Source: Publicist (via NetGalley)
Buy it here: Amazon

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

The Warrior
The war between Dosalyn and Roanaan has ended, but a new battle begins for prisoner-of-war, Ottilde Dominax. Dreams of her witchbreed twin sister are visions of death and betrayal. Driven by their grim warning, she escapes her captors and races across nations to save her sister.
But she may arrive too late…
The Witch
Oriabel Dominax has kept her healing magic secret while she cares for her family’s struggling estate. But the arrival of a new lord with secrets of his own, the discovery of a dark and addictive magic, and threats from a cruel blackmailer push Oriabel closer to disaster.
Through it all, the Witch’s Tree calls…

Review

I enjoyed this book through and through. I picked up this book in hopes of reading a decent fantasy novel, but this book pleasantly surprised the hell out of me! It is an epic book with a brilliant plot, stunning characterization, and beautiful writing – all weaved together into a fantastic work that I was lucky enough to read.

This book has everything a fantasy lover craves – A new world to get completely lost into, characters whom you can love and hate forming unbreakable emotional bonds and a story that’ll make you forget everything else.
I was completely blown by the simplicity of this book and I’m eagerly waiting for the next part in this wondrous series.

In this book, the author uses realism as her weapon. Not all tales of good witches and helping shapeshifters end happily, and I’m really glad to say, that this book made me realize that the world of magic is not something to play around with.

R.L. Martinez uses her dark imagination to plow the fields of her war-wrought world with realism. It really made the entire witch breed concept interesting and mesmerizing. Now, I’m actually afraid of witches (which is something that is always  missing in most of the fantasy novels.) The author’s writing was really smooth and the pacing was exceptional.

The romance in this book literally swept me off my feet because of its simplicity and subtlety.

At first, the timelines seemed a little jumbled, but once I got in sync with the story I was able to make out the timelines pretty clearly.

In spite of all the raves, there was only one significant negative that stood out while reading this book, and it was the fact that most of the names (both of places and people) were odd and difficult to pronounce. It made it a bit difficult for me to enjoy the first few pages, but once I let go of my obsession of pronouncing the word right, I was able to get into the book easily enough. (Though I’m pretty sure I’ve got more than half of the names wrong, and to be honest, this book is so great that I don’t even care about it anymore.)

As I said earlier, the characterization is brilliant! I felt a really strong  connection with the leading twin ladies of this book (I’m not gonna say the names as I’m sure I’ll pronounce them wrongly.) The other characters were so good that I felt a bond with each and every single character (secondary as well as not-so-important ones.)

This book ended on an excellent note with a smasher of a cliff hanger. After reading the last page I was literally pulling at my hair!

I loved this book and I think that everyone on this planet should read this series as I really think that everyone will love it!

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Opening Line: With cold stiff fingers, Ottilde Dominax rubbed the prisoner number tattooed on the side of her neck.

Highlights: Storyline and magic realism.

Lowlights: Names with difficult and odd pronunciations.

Memorable Quotes:

The world is only so big and you can only run so far.

Final Thoughts: A brilliant high-fantasy read that you simply can’t afford to miss!


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

 

Book Review: The Cogsmith’s Daughter (Desertera #1) by Kate M. Kolby

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Author: Kate M. Colby 
Release Date: October 15, 2015
Series: Desertera
Genre: Dystopian | Steampunk | Fantasy
Edition: Ebook (mobi)
Pages: 306
Publisher: Boxthorn Press
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

In a desert wasteland, one king rules with absolute power and unquenchable lust, until the cogsmith’s daughter risks everything for vengeance.

Two-hundred years ago, the steam-powered world experienced an apocalyptic flood. When the waters dried up, the survivors settled around their moored steamship in a wasteland they named Desertera. Believing the flood and drought were caused by a scorned goddess, the monarchs demanded execution for anyone who commits the unforgivable sin—adultery.

Today, King Archon entraps his wives in the crime of adultery, executing each boring bride to pursue his next infatuation. Most nobles overlook King Archon’s behavior, but when Lord Varick’s daughter falls victim to the king’s schemes, he vows revenge.

When Aya Cogsmith was a young girl, King Archon had her father executed for treason. Orphaned and forced to turn to prostitution for survival, Aya dreams of avenging her father’s death. When Lord Varick approaches Aya with plans for vengeance, she agrees to play the king’s seductress—even though it puts her at risk for execution.

Review

The Cogsmith’s Daughter is the first steampunk book I’ve read in a long time, and I must say that I’m really happy that I did. This book is nothing short of a masterpiece.

The Cogsmith’s Daughter has a brilliantly written and efficiently developed plot line that is set in a mesmerizing new world. Playful yet serious at the same time, author Kate M. Colby’s writing is simply outstanding!

As soon as I started reading the first chapter, I completely lost myself in the scary, although interesting, world of Aya. I was able to relate to her on so many levels that I still feel that she’s not just a character but a friend whom I know inside out. This only proves that the characterization is beyond perfect. It’s simply magical!

I fell in love with the male lead, just as Aya did, and felt every emotion in the deepest corners of my heart. I felt sad when Aya was sad and felt happy when she found even a tiny bit of joy. Most of all, I enjoyed Aya’s thought process, and her innocence and determination made her a very compelling character.
Other characters were also crafted finely and I loved them all (even the well-crafted character of the protagonist.)

I have NO words to describe the brilliance of the worldbuilding that was executed flawlessly by the author in this book. Kudos to a job well done!

The book ended on a great note and I felt completely satisfied after finishing the book, yet at the same time, I was left craving for the next part.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this beautiful book and I’d recommend it to all the readers who are looking for an EPIC new series to read.

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Opening Line: Aya Cogsmith awoke, as she did every morning, to the croaking of the mechanical frog next to her bed.

Highlights: Exceptional writing and worldbuilding.

Lowlights: None.

Memorable Quotes:

This was her chance to reclaim her life, get back her father’s shop, and finally attain justice for his death. She was going to take it or die trying.

Memorable Paragraph:

“You forgot, Varick. You live in an illustrious estate, have all the fruit and wine you can ingest, and receive every pampering from your staff. I live in a dirt-floored hovel, trudge miles for water, and let disgusting men penetrate me for the smallest coins in a currency. Do you really think death wouldn’t be a relief?”

Final Thoughts: A magical read that will leave you craving for more.


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Review: Justice For Jessica by Alretha Thomas

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Author: Alretha Thomas
Release Date: March 31 2016
Series: Detective Rachel Storme
Genre:  Mystery | Thriller
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 328
Publisher: Diverse Arts Collective
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Mousey, overweight Stacey Sullivan would love to trade places with her glamorous socialite BFF, Jessica James—that’s until she discovers Jessica murdered in her own home. Whip-smart detective Rachel Storme is ready to exchange her gun and badge for a gardener’s hat and hoe. But she reluctantly puts her plans on hold when she’s asked to help solve Jessica’s murder. These two strangers from different generations—Stacey a millennial and Rachel a baby boomer—become unlikely friends in their pursuit of JUSTICE FOR JESSICA. But their friendship is put to the test when Stacey insists that her husband, Matt, is innocent in spite of evidence that speaks to the contrary. Rachel, baffled by Stacey’s blind loyalty to Matt, doggedly fights to take Matt down, but with Stacey’s help, he eludes her at every turn. Is Matt the killer or could Grant, Jessica’s husband, be the culprit? Perhaps it was her jealous sister, Georgette or the maid, Rosa? No matter who the killer is, Rachel, by any means necessary, is determined to find her man or woman.

Review

I read Missing Melissa by Alretha Thomas last year and I totally loved it! So when I was contacted by the author for the review of Justice For Jessica, I immediately accepted. And as it turned out, this book lived up to all my expectations.

It is a brilliant and entertaining book and it serves as a delightful start to a new mystery series. The storyline was not only good but also remarkably engaging as the author cleverly used the plot twists that kept me guessing the entire time.

The pacing was good and the flow of the story was really smooth. The alternating first person POVs of Rachel and Stacey, the main characters, not only helped in building the suspense beautifully but also managed to keep me glued to the book the entire time.

The characterization is also brilliant and I’m happy that I was able to feel a strong connection with Detective Rachel Storme, as this is the beginning of a new detective series in which she’s the said detective. The character of Rachel is really strong and in spite of her age, I felt a really strong connection with her.
I really loved her and I’d definitely read the next book in the series. In fact, I’d love to read ALL the books in this series!

The other characters were also very well-developed and relatable, especially that of Stacey. I’m not sure if we’ll see her in the next books in this particular series, but I hope that we do because I’d love to know how her life turns out in the future.

The plot of this book hooked me right from the first chapter, where the murder happens, and after that it book took me on a really exciting and thrilling journey. At times, I was so engrossed in the lives of Rachel and Stacey that I completely lost track of time.

Like any good mystery novel, this book ended with one hell of an unpredictable ending that left me completely surprised.

The cover art of the book is really good and the color theme is also good. The blurb is self-explanatory and I’m sure that these things are more than enough to make a reader pick up this book from the stands.

I’d recommend this book to all the mystery and thriller readers and also to those  who are searching for a new detective series to begin with.

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Opening Line: “Thank goodness it’s finally Friday. Halle-freakin’-lujah!”

Highlights: Plotline and mystery.

Lowlights: None.

Memorable Quotes:

It just seems impossible that someone that beautiful could be a murderer. That’s probably the same thing people said about the serial killer, Ted Bundy.

Final Thoughts: A thoroughly engrossing and exciting read!


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

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

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Author: Tania del Rio
Illustrator: Will Staehle 

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

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb: 

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

Review

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

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

Paleface

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

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

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

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

Book Review: The Secrets Of Lizzie Borden

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


Blurb

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

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

Review

5 Stars Black

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lizzie Borden took an ax

And gave her mother forty whacks.

When she saw what she had done,

She gave her father forty-one.

You can read all about Lizzie Borden on Wikipedia here.

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

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

Highlights: Well crafted story.

Lowlights: None.

Memorable Quotes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

But life is not like that.

Memorable Paragraph:

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

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

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

Final Thoughts: A brilliant Crime Mystery!


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

Book Review: Monsterland

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

Blurb

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

Rating

TRB 5 stars

Review

It was the entrance to the Auschwitz death camp.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Stuff

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

Memorable Quotes: 

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

Memorable Paragraphs: 

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

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

Lowlights: None.

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


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

 

Graphic Novel Review: Oddly Normal (Chapter #1)

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

Blurb

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

Rating

TRB 5 stars

 

Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Review: 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.


Novella Review: Gravitas- Valkyrie In The Forbidden Zone

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Author: Lynne Murray 
Release Date:  28th Feb, 2015 
Series: None 
Genre: Fantasy (Space-Fantasy) | Adult
Edition: e-book (.mobi)
Pages: 106
Publisher: Murraymade Books 
Source: Author (Thanks Lynne!)
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

An urgent mission.

A woman with a past.

A dangerous burden.

Sybil, from Planet Valkyrie, carries a risky amount of Gravitas, a top secret aphrodisiac, to trade at a conference on ending slavery in her sector of the galaxy. Attacked by an angry warrior from slave-holding Planet Roggr, Sybil falls through an unmarked portal to land on Earth. The Forbidden Zone. Rescue is impossible. Portals to Earth are sealed. Sybil needs to defend herself, protect her hazardous cargo, and find a way home–while dealing with a damaging overdose of Gravitas.

Rating

4half-stars

Review

Story/Plot:

I loved the plot of this amazing novella. It has a really, really unique concept of having a planet where women dominate men and they undertake several husbands to look after the estate and home affairs. Lynne Murray successfully created a unique world that is both believable and marvellous. It’s uniqueness really stood out and I was longing to be able to visit this wondrous place (but only if they’ll allow a human from earth to visit their planet!)

I loved the attention she paid to all the small details. Everything sounded so beautiful and real. The concept of humans worshiping the alien visitors was hilarious and interesting, I mean what if the world in the book is really ‘real’! God, that will be amazing!

The over all structure of the book is great and it keeps you glued to the book from staring to end.

Characters:

I absolutely loved Val-Sybilla (a Valkyrian.) She is the strongest and the most independent female leads I’ve ever read. She is beautiful in her own way and I love this about her. The second character I loved in this book is Gelbrave. Initially I hated him but the author worked up her magic in showing his growth in the story. By the end I found him to be extremely humble and adorable.

Rest of the characters were also amazing and I was able to feel a connection with each one of them.

Romance:

There was a lot of romance, or should I say, Gravitas propelled lust. Sybil carried around huge amount of Gravitas with her in a ritual jewellery and it made people get attracted to her sexually. So everyone kind of wanted to take her. But, the relationship between Josu and Sybil was beautiful. It was a true-love relationship and I loved the fact that he always supported her.

Writing:

Lynne Murray’s writing is beautiful. It’s subtle and had an easy flow to it. I was lost in the story as soon as I started reading it. No complicated sentence-structures and no unnecessary tongue twisting words – just perfect.

At some points her subtle sense of humour made me laugh. It was a great experiences and for a novella, this book is amazing. Not too long, not too short, just the right length.

Beginning:

I loved the beginning, the first chapter started right in between a complex situation (as you can guess from the first line, see below) and then the author explaines how they got there and then later picks up from there and tells what happens after that first scene. The structure of this books is so amazing that it’ll grip you right from the first page.

Ending:

The ending is perfect. It had the right amount of drama, action, emotions and logic. I enjoyed it and it made me smile broadly after finishing the book.

Cover Art:

I love the cover art. It’s stylish and beautiful. And the red hair girl goes well with the description on Sybil. The colors on the cover really stand out. It’s one of the two reasons I read this book.

Blurb:

The blurb is intriguing and is the second reason for me to accept this book for review.

You canals read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: I landed, naked, on the highway with a lust-crazed Roggarian warrior trying to scramble on top of me.

Highlights: Unique concept.

Lowlights: None

Final Thoughts: A refreshing read with a unique concept.


Review by:

pics-2 copyHeena Rathore P.

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.

ARC Review: Her Sister’s Shoes

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Author: Ashley Farley 
Release Date:  24th June, 2015 (I received an ARC)
Series: None 
Genre: Contemporary Fiction | Relationships | Family
Edition: Kindle (mobi)
Pages: 
Publisher: Leisure Time Books
Source: Author (Thanks Ashley!)
Buy it here: Amazon

Book Review: The Magician

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Author: D.A. Pupa
Release Date: July 10, 2014
Genre: Psycological-Thriller | Fiction | Mystery | Suspense
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 316
Publisher: Wing Span press
Source: Author (Thanks a lot Dave!)
Buy it here: Amazon

Book Review: Angelfall (Penryn And The End Of Days #1)

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Author: Susan Ee
Release Date: January 1st, 2011
Series: Penryn & The End Of Days
Genre:  Young Adult | Dystopian | Post-Apocalyptic | Fantasy | Paranormal > Angels
Edition: Kindle
Pages: 288
Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing and Skyscape
Source: NetGalley
Followed By: World After (Penryn & The End Of Days #2)

Book Review: The Journey (Northwest Passage #2)

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Author: John A. Heldt
Release Date: November 3, 2012
Series: Northwest Passage #2
Genre: Science-Fiction > Time-Travel | Family | Romance
Edition: mobi
Pages: 271
Publisher: Self-published
Interest: Requested by Author
Source: Author (Thanks a lot John!)
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

Seattle, 2010. When her entrepreneur husband dies in an accident, Michelle Preston Richardson, 48, finds herself childless and directionless. She yearns for the simpler days of her youth, before she followed her high school sweetheart down a road that led to limitless riches but little fulfillment, and jumps at a chance to reconnect with her past at a class reunion. But when Michelle returns to Unionville, Oregon, and joins three classmates on a spur-of-the-moment tour of an abandoned mansion, she gets more than she asked for. She enters a mysterious room and is thrown back to 1979.

Distraught and destitute, Michelle finds a job as a secretary at Unionville High, where she guides her spirited younger self, Shelly Preston, and childhood friends through their tumultuous senior year. Along the way, she meets widowed teacher Robert Land and finds the love and happiness she had always sought. But that happiness is threatened when history intervenes and Michelle must act quickly to save those she loves from deadly fates. Filled with humor and heartbreak, THE JOURNEY gives new meaning to friendship, courage, and commitment as it follows an unfulfilled soul through her second shot at life.

Rating

4half-stars

Review

Plot | Story

I loved the first book in this series, The Mine, and so obviously I was expecting a lot from this one. The Journey met all my expectations and even managed to make it’s place in my favourite books. Inspite of increased expectations somewhere I had a bit of a reservation, before starting the book,  thinking that how one time travel book can be different from the other one by the same author. And to my pleasant surprise, John Heldt exceeded all my reservations and this book made a remarkable read. It’s concept was totally different from the last one (which for me was totally awesome!) I love both the books so much that I can’t even pick my favourite one out of the two.

Coming back to the plot and story, The Journey started of on a great note and only after a very few pages the time-travel thing happens. The flow of the story was good and the pace was something that I call “no-nonsense pace”, where everything major happens without any unnecessary drama or twist.

I was completely absorbed in the story right from the first page till the very last one. I enjoyed this book thoroughly and I might just read it a second time soon.

Characters

I loved Michelle and Shelly Preston. They’ve easily become on of my favourite characters (like Joel from the previous one.) I even loved the other characters… actually, scratch that, I loved all the characters. John’s characterisation is so gripping that the reader can’t help but fall in love with all the characters, especially the main ones.

I loved the little meeting towards the end where Michelle meets Joel. That was a real treat.

Romance

There was romance in the book but the overall story was about something else. The little bit of romance between Michelle and Robert was refreshing and entertaining. It was the typical old school romance where there’s no sex before marriage and was the sweetest part. I hated it when in the end Robert suffers but well, it only shows that not all endings are happy.

Writing

Now that I’ve read two books by John Heldt, I can say without any hesitation that I’m already a fan of his writing. I can connect with his way of writing almost instantly. It’s very effective in a very simple way. He never over-exaggerates anything nor does he undermines the importance of either the plot or the characters. Also, his stories are always so much more than what the reader expects. They are very eventful and keeps the reader absorbed throughout the book. His writing is subtle and I really enjoy reading his books.

Beginning

I was absorbed in the book right from the start. I loved the beginning as it was quite eventful. I loved the time travelling thing and the way the story progressed. I even like the willingness and even the eagerness of Mitchell to start a new life for someone who time-travelled unknowingly, given her past.

Ending

Ending was a huge surprise. I had a lot of assumptions for the end but I never imagined it to be what the ending really is. I compliment John Heldt for pulling off such a drastic ending. It blew my mind and left me wondering if it really should have happened as I loved the lead a lot. But that’s the way a good ending is, so yea, I made my peace with it (not to forget Shelly was Mitchelle herself!)

Blurb

In one word, this blurb is precise! It tells the reader what there is to know. As this is not a mystery book, there’s nothing that can spoil this book except the end, so the blurb is perfect.

Cover Art

The cove art is very much in sync with that of The Mine and as a part of the same series, it’s a good thing. Keeping the theme of the book in mind, I think that the cover is good enough. It has a depth but still I feel that it could have been a teeny tiny bit better. Still I like it.

You can also read this review at Goodreads | Amazon.

Other Stuff

Opening line: Michelle started at the marble memorial and saw dead things.

Highlights: John Heldt’s supereb storytelling

Lowlights: None.

Final Thoughts: An amazing read.

FTC Disclaimer
I do not accept any form of payment for the reviews I write or the other content I post. 
Books received from Authors & Publishers are designated as such. 
Receiving books from Authors/Publishers, in no way affects my review as it is my own opinion.

Book Review: Blondes, Books & Bourbon (ARC)

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Author: R. M. Ridley
Release Date: March 13, 2015
Series: None
Genre: Urban Fantasy | Crime > PI | Anthology | Magic/Elementals | Paranormal
Edition: mobi
Pages: 21709 (kindle pages)
Publisher: Xchyler Publication
Source: Author (Thanks a lot Mr. Ridley!)

Book Review: Almost Adept

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Author: Olga Godim
Release Date: January 5, 2014
Series: None
Genre: High Fantasy | Romance | Young Adult | Magic/Elementals
Edition: mobi
Pages: 4339 (kindle pages)
Publisher: BURST
Interest: Requested by author
Source: Author (Thanks a lot Olga!)
Buy it here: Amazon

Book Review: The Bone Treaty (Seal Of Solomon #1)

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Author: T.C. McKee
Release Date: August 1, 2014
Series: Seal Of Solomon
Genre: Fantasy | Paranormal > Angels/Gargoyles | Young Adult | Urban Fantasy
Edition: mobi
Pages: 3853 (kindle pages)
Publisher: BookFish Books
Interest: Requested by Publisher
Source: Author (Thanks a lot Erin and Tammy!)
Buy it here: Amazon

Book Review: Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2)

Frost Bite

AuthorRichelle Mead
Release Date: April 10, 2008 
Series: Vampire Academy 
Genre: YA | Fiction | Paranormal-Vampires | Contemporary
Pages: 327
ISBN NO.:  -
Publisher: Penguin India
Preceded by: Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1)
Followed by: Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3)

Book Review: Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1)

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Author: Richelle Meade

Release Date: August 16, 2007

Series: Vampire Academy

Genre: YA | Fiction | Paranormal |Vampires | Contemporary

Pages: 332

ISBN NO.: 978-0-141-32852-2

Publisher: Penguin India

Followed by: Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2)

Blurb

She must be protected at all times from the fiercest and most dangerous vampires of all – the ones who will never die.
Rose Hathaway is Lissa’s best friend – and her bodyguard.
Now after two years of illicit freedom, they’ve been dragged back inside the iron gates of St. Vladimir’s Academy. The girls must survive in a world of forbidden romances, a ruthless social scene and terrifying night-time rituals.
But above all, they must never let their guard down, lest the immortal vampires take Lissa – forever…

Review

4+1/2-Stars

Positives

Vampire Academy is a brilliant and fresh take on Vampires. I absolutely loved the story-line and the characters were out-of-the-world good. Richelle’s writing (in first person) and the subtle plot- development absolutely blew my mind off. This book is definitely a page turner. It’s intriguing plot kept me stuck to it day and night! This book is painstakingly good and I’ve already got it’s sequel issued from my library.

Talking more about the characters I’d like to say that the leads, Rose and Lissa, have super contrasting personalities. On one hand Rose is bad-ass, impatient, reckless and sassy and on the other hand we have Lissa who is classy, delicate, patient and graceful. For me, Rose Hathaway is the best female lead character after Katniss Everdeen. Being a damphir, absolutely nothing can stop her from saving Lissa from even the tinniest of harms! Their friendship and bond were the best thing about the whole story!

This book is what I really needed to rouse my interest, yet again, in the YA genre. It is a must read.

Negatives

I don’t think here’s anything negative to say about this book. The only reason I’m holding back half a star is because unfortunately I happened to watch the movie first, so it kinda killed the suspense for me. Hopefully the next book will get a full 5-stars rating from me.

Conclusion

If you love YA genre, Vampire Academy is definitely for you. I’m already regretting staying away from it for so long, but nevermind, better late than never! I’m very happy that I read it and more than excited to read the next part. Go ahead and get yourself this book, if you haven’t already!

You can also read this review on Goodreads.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: “I felt her fear before I heard her screams.”

Highlights: The fresh take on paranormal genre.

Low-lights: None!

Quotes:

“Taking a deep breathe, I made one of the hardest decisions of my life.
I walked away.”

“I didn’t like having reasonable arguments thrown at me.”

“I had a standing arrangement with God: I’d agree to believe in him—barely—so long as he let me sleep in on Sundays.”

“Screw you,” I told him in a low voice.
“Are you offering?”
“From what I’ve heard, there isn’t much to screw,” I shot back.”

Memorable paragraph:

“Lissa and I had been friends ever since kindergarten, when our teacher had paired us up together for writing lessons. Forcing five-year-olds to spell Vasilisa Dragomir and Rosemarie Hathaway was beyond cruel, and we’d—or rather, I’d—responded appropriately. I’d chucked my book at out teacher and called her a fascist bastard. I hadn’t known what those words meant, but I’d known how to hit a moving target.
Lissa and I had been inseparable ever since.”

Final Thoughts: A brilliant YA read 🙂

Book Review: Lord Of The Flies

15732006Author: William Golding
Release Date: 1954
Series: None
Genres: Classics|YA|Brit-Lit|Adventure|Dystoia| Sci-Fi
Pages: 230
ISBN NO.: 978-0-571-20053-5
Publisher: Penguin India

Blurb

A plane crashes n a desert island. The only survivors area a group of schoolboys. At first they revel in the freedom and celebrate the absence of grown-ups.

Soon though, as the boys’ fragile sense of order begins to collapse, their fears start to take on a sinister, primitive significance. Suddenly, the world of cricket, homework and adventure stories seems a long way away. The boys are faced with a more pressing reality – survival – and the appearance of a terrifying beast who haunts their dreams.