Book Review: A Life Out There by Brian McNatt

Author: Brian McNatt
Release Date: 31st March 2019
Genre: New Adult Fantasy
Series: 
Edition: E-book
Pages:
Publisher:
Blurb:
It is the mark of every true Wolf-Lord to heal from the worst of wounds in a matter of minutes, to shapeshift into any fantastical form imagined, and to burn away at deadly silver’s touch.
Princess Candida, third child of Queen Celeste of Romulus, can’t. Hers is a quiet life of shame, secluded from the wider world and treated more as servant than family. All she has to get by are the twin sibling who embodies everything she could have been, the stories of her world she fills her heart with, and the dream of a life beyond cold castle walls.
The kitsune thief changes everything. Forced to flee before Celeste’s wrath, Candida finds her way to the beautiful yet dangerous port city of Brillant. There, amidst performers, alchemists, and refugees, Candida discovers the world is everything she hoped for, everything she feared, and so much more.

REVIEW

★★★★

A Life Out There by Brian McNatt is a quick and enjoyable read with some very interesting beings (which appears to be one of the author’s strengths) and a fresh concept.

I enjoyed reading this book even more than I did the first two books by the author which only goes on to prove that the writing of the author is constantly improving and growing on me as a reader. The concept was very different from that of his earlier books and the progression of the plot was really good. The pacing was even and tension fell and rose at the right places.

This book had well-developed characterization. Candida was a good character and, thankfully, I was able to connect with her. I was able to relate to her inner conflicts and felt empathetic towards her.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to all fantasy readers.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Past Sins (Legends of Heraldale #2) by Brian Natt

Author: Brian McNatt
Release Date: 30th June 2018
Genre: New Adult Fantasy
SeriesLegends Of Heraldale (Book #2)
Edition: E-book
Pages: 316
Publisher:
Blurb:
War rages across Heraldale. The Unicorn Empire sends its armies across the land, a blitzkrieg that every day brings the struggling gryphon nations closer to the final dreaded defeat.
In the Empire’s way stands Princess Galaxy, hippogryph.
Together with her adoptive gryphon brother Brynjar and the unicorn Owain, she has defied the iron will of Lord Mordred, evaded the might of the Imperial Army, and saved the city of Port Oil from the ravages of the rogue magical monster Spell Virus.
Now Galaxy continues her quest to bring the war to a final end, flying east to the Elderphine Forest and the secrets of her hippogryph heritage. A hidden kingdom will test her wisdom. A lonesome dragon will test her compassion. A travelling warrior will test her resolve. And a former enemy will test her ideas…to the breaking point.

REVIEW

★★★★

Past Sins by Brian McNatt is the second book in the Legends Of Heraldale series and a sequel to Legends Of Heraldale book. This book was definitely a step up from the last one, which was also an enjoyable read. The issue I had with characterization was pretty much-resolved in this book as the main and recurring characters slowly grew on me and the plot started to make more and more sense in the larger picture.

There were some very interesting new characters who made this book even more interesting. The writing, in this part, felt smoother too. Overall, it proved to be an easy book to read than the previous part and hence, I liked it better than the last world.

I’d recommend it to anyone looking to explore a fresh series by a new author.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Twisted (Twisted #1)

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Author: Lola Smirnova
Release Date: June 30, 2015
Series: Twisted
Genre: New Adult | Suspense | Adult
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 313
Publisher: Createspace
Source: Publicist
Buy it here: Amazon

Followed by: Craved

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Back in the 90’s, the corrupt post-Soviet Ukraine with its faltering economy, is thrown into a devastating depression. Times are hard. Opportunities are scarce.

Three eager young sisters – Natalia, Lena and Julia – dream of a better life and weigh their options: do they stay and struggle like their parents, or join scores of their compatriots in the sex trade in glittering western European cities, who earn in a night what they’d take several months to earn at home? Naive and tempted by the allure of ‘quick’ money, the girls set off on an adventure that changes their lives forever…

Can they stay out of trouble enough to fulfill their ambitions?
Can they hold on to their idealism in a world where depravity and danger are constant companions?
How far are they willing to go to make a buck?

Inspired by real-life events, Twisted is a fascinating New Adult SUSPENSE THRILLER about vulnerability, courage and the art of making a living in the sex trade…

Review

I reviewed Craved, the second part in Twisted trilogy, not long ago, and I was fortunate enough to receive the prequel of this amazing book as well by the publicist for review [also the author was kind enough to send me a signed copy for this one!] So, please ignore that I’ll be comparing this book to the next one which might seem odd taking into account that this is the 1st book in Twisted trilogy.

I absolutely loved this awesome and entertaining book! It’s every bit as entertaining and as engaging as its sequel.

Once again the writing of author Lola Smirnova totally blew my mind off by its simplicity and the ability to keep me glued to the book the entire time. Time flew like a bird and I was left craving for more.

Though the book is about the life and struggles of Julia, a prostitute, author Lola has successfully managed to keep the incidents and the serious bits as light as possible, making this book a really pleasant read and not a disturbing one as one might expect from a book based on true life events, esp. that of a prostitute.

I was in the story right from the minute I started it and felt a really deep connection with the lead of this book, Julia, as well as her sisters (whom I feel like I already know closely from my earlier read.) The witty interludes and author’s sharp sense of humor kept me entertained as well as crackling for most of the time. It was dangerous as well as refreshing to get a glimpse inside the life of a person willingly entering the sex trade and trying to play by her own rules.

This book is a masterpiece and is awesome o so many different levels. The severity of the topic always stays just below the surface but never does it ever surfaces to make the reader uncomfortable. This technique of storytelling is where this book really scored for me.

This book is worth all the praise and all the money. I’m really falling short of words here in describing how much I enjoyed reading this book. The story, the plot, the flow of the incidents, the linearity , the pacing, the beginning, the ending, etc, everything is perfect and I’d recommend this book to anyone who’s looking for a good book to read.

So go ahead and grab a copy of this book and its sequel to meet Julia and her sisters and to accompany them on their unusual yet dangerous journey of sex, drugs and alcohol.

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 Bookstagram

Other Stuff

Opening Line: ‘Sag es!’ he screams at me.

Highlights: Storytelling.

Lowlights: None.

Memorable Quotes:

I saw so many of these ‘love affairs without love’ that I became used to the concept and formed my okay-with-being-a-pro attitude. As I see it, the only difference between any hooker and our neighbour Dasha is that the former’s ‘labour hour’ is the latter’s lifetime.

Final Thoughts: A brilliantly written book.


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Review: Craved (Twisted #2)

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Author: Lola Smirnova
Release Date: June 30, 2015
Series: Twisted
Genre: New Adult | Suspense
Edition: Ebook (mobi)
Pages: 316
Publisher: Createspace
Source: Publicist
Buy it here: Amazon

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Having been to hell and back, the eager sisters from Ukraine – Natalia, Lena and Julia – decide to retire from selling sex and walk the straight and narrow path back home. But when an old friend calls them with an opportunity to make buckets of ‘easy’ money in South Africa, they find it impossible to refuse. Their return to the night life of the entertainment business brings with it all the old familiar temptations – alcohol, drugs, prostitution… Can the girls resist their vices and stay together? Or will this industry destroy their sanity and their family?

Inspired by real life events, Craved is a fascinating story of addiction, survival and the art of making a living in the sex trade.

Review

 

Before starting with this book, I had low expectations in terms of entertainment given the fact that it is about the sex trade industry. I was expecting to read about 3 girls and all the injustice done to them, but this book was spectacularly surprising.

The characterization is brilliant and the personalities of the lead characters, as well as the supporting ones, are really well crafted. The story is thoroughly absorbing and completely capturing. I felt a connection with all the characters in this book and realized the brutal truth about this repelling industry.

I was pulled into this book right from the start to the very end. The battles the girls face, each and every day, and their hard life is explained beautifully, but surprisingly enough without burdening the reader with sorry feelings by showing the girls headstrong and ready to accept any challenge that is thrown their way.

The author’s writing is incredible and the flow is so good that I was done with this book within a day of starting it. I was really impressed with this book and knew, as soon as I was through the first few pages, that I’m reading something that is very, very special.

The descriptions are vivid and the imagery is great. I felt that I was in there with Julia all the time when she was going through her everyday life.

The book ended with an amazing cliffhanger of an ending and left me craving for more. I was like – Seriously!?

And, in spite of the entertaining value of the book, the seriousness of the issue was never lost on me.

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My copy of Craved

Other Stuff

Opening Line: ‘Harder!’ he screams in desperation. ‘Harder!’

Highlights: Characterization.

Lowlights: None.

Final Thoughts: A really capturing read.


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Review: Normal

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Author: Danielle Pearl
Release Date: August 11th, 2014
Series: Something More
Genre: New Adult | Romance | Contemporary
Edition: Mobi
Pages: 445
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

It’s the kind of situation most people would dread. Starting at a new high school, in the middle of my senior year, in a new town, in a new state. I know no one. No one knows me. That’s what I’m counting on.

A year ago, Aurora “Rory” Pine was just a normal teenage girl – just as sweet and naive as the fairy tale princess she was named after.

But this isn’t a year ago.

Rory is broken, and now suffering from a debilitating anxiety disorder, wrought with precarious triggers, she moves across the country to escape the source of her troubles. Her plan is anonymity, but that’s easier said than achieved for the new girl having a panic episode outside of calculus. The worst part? There’s a witness – and a gorgeous one at that.

Sam is a walking trigger for Rory. Incredibly handsome, built like the star athlete he obviously is, and undoubtedly popular, Sam outwardly represents everything Rory despises about high school. But as the fates keep throwing them together, a connection sparks that neither ever expected, and certainly couldn’t ignore.

But Sam has issues too, and Rory’s past won’t just stay in the damned past. When friendship evolves into something deeper, can a girl utterly destroyed by the worst kind of betrayal and a boy battling demons of his own ever have a normal relationship? Is that even what they want? Find out in NORMAL, a gritty story of trust and abuse, heartbreak and salvation, and if they’re lucky – love. This is not a flowery romance – not for the faint of heart. For fans of Colleen Hoover, Jamie McGuire, and Abbi Glines!

Rating

4-stars

Review

Plot/Story:

I don’t usually read books like Normal. It’s too close to reality for my taste. That being said, I was hooked from the start of this book. Rory is starting a new school and her first day there she has a panic attack in the middle of the hallway, just in time for Sam to walk out and find her. I knew there was going to be a love story in it and I was excited to see how the story progressed.

Then, I read where the story was going, what had happened to Rory and I was suddenly sick and ready to read the end to see if Rory found a happy ending like she should.

I have never been a victim of rape (thank God) and I don’t know the emotional turmoil that comes with that, but I felt like this story really gives you the truth. The panic attacks, the low self worth, and the idea that maybe it was all your fault.

This book covers one of the most controversial topics we have right now. Honestly, I feel that every girl should read this book once. I felt that it could be comfort to others who have been in similar situations, where they were made to feel they were raped because of what they wore or did. That they asked to be raped.

Yeah, the love story was adorable, but the real meat of this book was the damage that had been done to Rory and how she was dealing with life after.

The only problem I had with this story is that there is a very graphic sex scene that I felt was a little out of place. I feel that it lost its YA rating with that scene.

Characters:

I loved Rory and admired her for all of the wonderful things she pushed through after her traumatic experience. She is a strong female character. For Sam, who doesn’t love the boy who always comes to the rescue, the only boy who may understand what Rory needs at the moment. And then there is the sickening ex-boyfriend who I honestly wish had been killed somehow.

Romance/Kills:

There was only one death and I won’t say who. It’s tragic and heart breaking. There is romance of course, and it will make your heart flutter when things go right.

Writing:

I think the author did a fantastic job with this novel. Nothing stood out that annoyed me about the writing and everything seemed to be in place. Although, some chapters were a little lengthy and I was ready for the story to get to the point.

Beginning:

The beginning is what pulled me in. It makes you ask just enough questions to push you to continue reading. And it takes most of the book for all of the questions to be answered. 

Ending:

I am going to be honest here…as I am sure you are all hoping I am. The ending really ticked me off. I felt like there was so much left unsaid that could have been said in the first book. Also, it reminded me a lot of how Fifty Shades of Gray ended. I wasn’t happy, but I did hurry and purchase the second book so I could find out what happened next.

Cover Art:

The cover is simple and rather perfect for the story.

Blurb:

I feel like the blurb could have been a little better. It says something about Sam and his issues, but his issues take a back seat to Rory’s problems and it isn’t really a main focus in the story. Also, I think that the blurb should include the fact that this story is about rape, because no one should go in blind to a story like this.

You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: It’s the kind of situation most people would dread.

Highlights: Rory is a strong female lead that girls can look up to.

Lowlights: The detailed sex scene.

Final Thoughts: This is a good book for girls to read, to learn their own self worth and to never let anyone tell them that they asked to be raped.


Review contributor:

pics-2Heather Mostella:

I’m a reader, writer, dreamer, and crafter. I like to create things and I love to see what others create. I avoid reality as much as possible, and often pretend I’m a vampire. I also own a group of black cats, so my neighbors think I’m a witch and I’m okay with that. I am a fan girl.

I love shows like Doctor Who, Supernatural, and Grimm. I love anime and dream of one day going to Japan. I just like to have fun, enjoy life, and do what makes me happy.

Read more about Heather here.


Book Review: Missing Melissa

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Author: Alretha Thomas 
Release Date:  5th May, 2015 
Series: None 
Genre: NA | Mystery |Relationships | 
Edition: Kindle (mobi)
Pages: 301
Publisher: Divers Arts Collective
Source: Author (Thanks Alretha!) via NetGalley
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

Twenty-two years old with a journalism degree from UCLA and a promising entry level position at a television station, Madeline Patterson is ready to take on the Universe. Raised by two loving parents, adored by her grandmother, protected by her dog, Pepper, and supported by her best friend—Madeline has it all. There’s only one thing missing—literally missing—her identical twin, Melissa.

When Madeline and Melissa were three-years-old, their mother was carjacked in broad daylight while taking them to a doctor’s appointment. She was able to get away with Madeline in tow, but the assailants left the scene before she could rescue Melissa. A long and massive search ensued, but Melissa was never found and is believed to be dead. However, a dream Madeline has on her twenty-second birthday, wherein Melissa appears to her as a grown woman pleading for help, convinces her Melissa is still alive. Against her parents’ wishes, Madeline vows to find her twin. However, in doing so, she unknowingly stumbles upon a series of startling clues that point to her parents’ possible involvement in Melissa’s disappearance. Paralyzed by fear, Madeline doesn’t want to face what could possibly be the ugly and grim truth about her parents. However, her desire to find Melissa propels her forward—but nothing could prepare her for what she discovers.

Rating

4half-stars

Review

Plot/Story:

I enjoyed the plot a lot. The pace of the story was good, it was neither slow nor super fast, just the way a my. Everything happened at the right time. So, the timing of the twists were really good to keep the readers hooked.

I really enjoyed the little pieces that kept on twisting the plot. It really kept me on the edge right till the very end. There were so many possibilities that came in mind and I suppose, that’s how a really good mystery is supposed to be.

Characters:

I was able to relate to all the characters. I loved all the characters, especially that of Madeline, her BFF Ruby and her pet Pepper. There was such a beautiful connection between Ruby and Pepper that I fell in love with them right from the start. Ruby is a friend to die for, and a one who’ll die for you.

I felt a real connection with Madeline and still feel that she’s a close friend or a real person (which is really rare in mystery books.)

I loved the Madeline’s family as well and the last part of the book focused beautifully on the unique relation between the twins. I enjoyed knowing all the characters as each and every one of them had a unique spark to their personalities.

Romance:

The relationship between Madeline and Sam was really cute. It was a refreshing given the mystery involved in the book.

It developed slowly (which was perfect given Madeline’s situation) and Sam was a perfect gentleman. I really enjoyed the subtle growth of their relationship and the way it took shape at the end of the book.

Plus, it really justified Sam’s interest in a long lost case inspite of all the weak and insufficient evidences.

Writing:

Alretha Thomas’ writing had a very easy flow to it. I loved it and the fact that she kept it subtle. No unnecessarily complex words as I hate digging the dictionary again and again (even on Kindle.) You can just start the book with an unexplainable ease. Her writing, or to put it correctly, her story-telling helped me glide through the entire book smoothly. I enjoyed reading this books and now I’ve decided to read all her other books as well.

Beginning:

The biting had a great pace and I was sucked into the plot right from the start. I loved having the descriptor of most of the characters’ personalities in the beginning itself. I was

Ending:

I enjoyed the ending a lot. The mystery was brilliant and there no way I could have guessed who was actually behind the kidnapping. It was totally unexpected and I loved it.

Blurb:

The blurb for Missing Melissa is just perfect. I accepted this book for review after reading the blurb. As soon as I read it, I knew I really wanted to read this book.

Cover Art:

To be honest I have mixed feeling about the cover for this book. It’s not excellent but it’s not even dull. I like the mirror reflecting the chic as it symbolises the twins but for a book this good there should have a much serious cover that can radiate the feeling of mystery.

You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: She’s not dead.

Highlights: Brilliant plot-line

Lowlights: None

Memorable Quotes:

God help me to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Normal is a setting on a washing machine and not what our lives are supposed to be.

Final Thoughts: A refreshing mystery.


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.


Book Review: The Mine (Northwest Passage #1)

The Mine

Author: John A. Heldt

Release Date: December 6, 2013

Series: Northwest Passage #1

Genre: Science-Fiction > Time-Travel | Historical-Fiction | Fantasy | Adventure | Romance | NA 

Edition: mobi

Pages: 316

Publisher: Not known

Interest: Requested by author

Source: Author (Thanks a lot John!)

Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

In May 2000, Joel Smith is a cocky, adventurous young man who sees the world as his playground. But when the college senior, days from graduation, enters an abandoned Montana mine, he discovers the price of reckless curiosity. He emerges in May 1941 with a cell phone he can’t use, money he can’t spend, and little but his wits to guide his way. Stuck in the age of swing dancing and a peacetime draft, Joel begins a new life as the nation drifts toward war. With the help of his 21-year-old trailblazing grandmother and her friends, he finds his place in a world he knew only from movies and books. But when an opportunity comes to return to the present, Joel must decide whether to leave his new love in the past or choose a course that will alter their lives forever. THE MINE follows a humbled man through a critical time in history as he adjusts to new surroundings and wrestles with the knowledge of things to come.

Review

5-Stars

Positives

The Mine is the best time-travel book I’ve read in a really, really long time! It’s a brilliantly written book and the strong and realistic characterization will definitely blow your mind. Joel Smith, the lead, is such a gentleman and is just so adorable that I really can’t praise enough. You can feel the connection, with Joel, develop over quite a few pages but once he time-travels and starts his new life, you’ll start understanding him better and better with every page you turn. Joel is my new favourite time-travelling character. He is everything a stud, time-travelling brilliant and smart guy should be. He handles the fact, that he has indeed walked into a time-machine and come 59 years before his time, pretty well and starts acting accordingly.

Among the other characters, Ginny really stands out. She is this amazing women whom you really idealize and start respecting instantly. John has left a lot of big authors far behind in the race when it comes to character building (atleast for me!)

The plot is amazing and develops slowly in a very subtle way. It ends beautifully and leaves you craving for more and more. From the historical point of view, as far as I know, John has paid very close attention to the details which is highly commendable.

Negatives

None!

Conclusion

The Mine is a beautifully written book and definitely a must read. I’d recommend it to everyone, particularly the fans of Time-Travel, Science-Fiction, Adventure and Historical-Romance. Trust me, you really don’t wanna miss out on a wonderful book like this one!

You can also read this review at Goodreads.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: “Joel eyed the remains and laughed at the animal that had caused the carnage.”

Highlights: Excellent writing and perfect characterization.

Low-lights: None.

Memorable Quote:

“Beneath that delicate exterior is a strong, resolute woman who does nothing halfway. Never take her for granted and never underestimate her. She will amaze.”

Final Thoughts: The best time-travel book I’ve read till date!