Friday, 30 June 2017

Gravedigger

The title attracted me to read this in the first place. I presumed that the story would unfold with elements of horror. I was proved wrong.

The plot revolves around a grave digger but it takes the reader into realms of fantasy. There is magic, sorcery and the quintesstential fight between good and evil. But I must admit, the treatment given to this comcept is what has made all the difference.

Michael is a good writer but there were a few places where descriptions ended up confusing me. As a reader, I lost conversations, their underlying meaning and in a way a part of the story itself. Hence, in my opinion the language used was a bit difficult to comprehend. He has used imageries in various depictions. These imageries did pop up in my head every time I understood what was going on. I also found bits of breaks in the narration. A few places had scenes that could have been elaborated for better understanding.

The protagonist stood out as one strong character and that was a major plus point for the story. Sadly, many of the important characters were introduced in groups. Due to this it really became difficult to separate one from another at times.

To sum up, if you are looking for a fantasy story that has loads of violence in it, then this book is worth reading. Maybe a second reading might help change my opinion or a sequel might succeed clearing up my doubts and answering the questions lingering in my mind. Only time will tell.

P.S - Thank you Dane and Booktrope Publishing for giving me a book that gave a different perspective about the fantasy genre. Hopefully, the next story, a sequel if there is one, would be a much improved version.



Eyes Like The Lighthouses When The Boats Come Home

I had read Dane's debut novella No Rest For The Wicked and had liked it. So I picked up this collection of poems with a hope to read wonderful poetry. Sadly, I was disappointed.

For me, poetry in any form is worth its salt if it succeeds in stirring up emotions within me. This anthology had no such effect on me. It was the language used that kind of put me off. It had loads of abuses. Agreed, as a modern day performance, such usage was in demand. But for me, poetry means a beautiful message or piece of writing I can convey to my children. Poetry is like a chant that you keep repeating to yourself over and over again depending on the mood it is supposed to convey.

Dane's selected poems were supposedly performed at various stages. In this context, yes, maybe when they are read aloud they sound better. But while reading them silently trying to savour every single word, they never succeeded in touching my heart. Sorry about that Dane.

To sum up, the poet has put his heart and soul in this collection. Hence, it is worth reading for his sake. Maybe if he had called it by any other name, like Stand Up perfomances or something, the effect would have been different.

P.S - Sorry again Dane. Being an ardent fan of poets like Frost, Hardy, Sarojini Naidu, Tagore, Ogden Nash and the like I gave an honest opinion. I respect your courage to pen down your performances and hope the next collection succeeds in changing my views.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Lyre

After a long time I read a story about a warrior princess. The book has been named after the protagonist Lyre. She is a fiesty woman who saw the beauty in combat and became the first female warrior.

The plot is about the trials and tribulations, ups and downs in the life of Lyre. It brings out how circumstances can change perceptions, society can influence thinking and how customs and traditions sometimes take priority over relationships.

The narration is beautiful. I laughed and cried with the protagonist. Language is lucid. Tina is amazing when it comes to using words. Her descriptions made me feel I was part of the story like a silent spectator. The storyline incites visual imageries to pop up at every stage.

The story is all about Lyre. She is one of the finest female protagonists I have read about. She has her flaws but even with her imperfections you will fall in love with her. Tina celebrates spirit of a woman, her steely resolve and never-say-die attitude through this story.

To sum up, I am going to read this story again, especially during the days I am in low spirits. I read it in one sitting straight and loved the entire session. The end has a cliffhanger and I am hoping there is a sequel to this awesome story.

P.S - Thank you Jennifer from Teeter Moore Publishing for introducing me to an amazing writer. The opinions expressed are my honest views.

122 Rules

The story which leaves you wanting more is definitely worth reading countless times. I read this book in one sitting and wished the story hadn't ended.

The plot revolves around a prime witness who is forced to go into hiding. It deals with chasers, the victim, mob, name the elements in a thriller and they are all here.

Deek has an amazing writing style. His narration kept me on tenterhooks. Throughout the reading I was kept guessing at every page. If I say I was part of a movie unfolding before my eyes I won't be wrong. The imageries were vibrant and touched every corner of my mind. In fact there was not a single sense that was left untouched. Language used did perfect justice to the story. It ensured that I never stopped midway.

Two characters stood out. One was the perfect protagonist and the other one was a protagonist with shades of an antagonist, or was he an antagonist with traces of a protagonist? For that you need to read the story. As a reader, I loved every twist and turn that happened in their lives, how perceptions changed and the emotions they felt.

To sum up, the book is a must read. It is excites, amazes, and keeps a reader engaged till the last page. You need to read it to believe it. It is a thriller that promises and delivers by keeping the readers engrossed. There is a cliffhanger so I am sure there is a sequel.

P.S - Thank you Erin and Deek. The storyline has been awesome and I can't wait to get my hands on the next one!

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Sky Ghosts: The Night Before

I have read all the stories so far in the Sky Ghosts series and this short story is like bonus.

The story is short and  standalone acting as the prelude to this wonderful series. For the what how and why you need to read it. All I can say is that Pain is back in action. Those who have read even one story from the series will understand what I am talking about.

Writing style is awesome as usual. There has been no dip in the narration. Every scene feels like a movie that I am witnessing in my mind's eye. Loads of imageries are on offer for every reader. Language is lucid yet a bit stromg. There is graphic violence and black humour as well. Hence it is apt for adult but not for the young young adult readers.

The story gives a glimpse into the life of a sky ghost. The characters in this short story would entice you to read the series for sure. Need I say more?

To sum up, this prelude is a must read both for fans of sky ghosts series as well as for those yet to be initiated. If you are looking for a different story that is sans mushy romance this story is an apt choice. Excellent writing that can be read in one session for sure.

P.S - Thank you Alexandra. You rock as usual. Loved this short prelude to one of my favourite series. Love the Sky Ghosts.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

The Bad Girl

There are stories that leave an imprint in the hearts and minds of the readers. This book did just that for me. I read it in one session but the story never left me or my mind for the next few days.

The plot revolves around a girl who has to fight every odd that comes her way in order to survive. This story is about vulnerabilities, relationships and finding a home. It is a journey of self-discovery, of goodness and love.

Donsky's writings appeal to every sense that exists. It made me feel pain, hear the silent tears, see the scenes in my mind. It brought out every emotion within me. I felt I was a part of the story but in no postion to help out the protagonist. Narration is beautifully crafted and language is simple and easy to understand.

The author has worked wonders with characterisation. Every character has an important role to play in the story. The icing on the cake is the protagonist through whom the story is revealed.

Life can be strange. People tend to judge a person without realizing the pain he or she must be going through. Donsky Levine does full justice with her story by bringing out this aspect well. The author has also subtly brought out that goodness is always rewarded and good-hearted people see the goodness in others no matter what.

To sum up, this story is worth reading every time you lose faith in yourself or feel life is unkind. It is excellent, awesome, amazing. A definite must read.

P.S-Thank you Maxine and Booklover Catlady Publicity for letting me read an amazing novella in exchange of an honest opinion.

Breathing Two Worlds: An Excerpt

Excerpt:

"Oh!" the Mom answered, but could not contain her curiosity with one hand holding the hyper toddler and the other on her hip she could not resist, "You two don't look like brother-sister, hmmm. So, what is your relationship?" she inquired with a slight smile in a soft voice but without any inhibition. A handful of seniors sitting in the same room observed all the drama and nodded to each other while their fingers were moving on the Tulsi neck beads.

Neena rolled her eyes and thought to herself, "Jeez! We Indians are always darn inquisitive."
Nikhil immediately got up and started walking towards the dining area. This was happening to them for the umpteenth time, and he was now tired of clarifying things. He had lived in this country for half a decade now and still he could never understand the fascination Indians had for marriage and children. 


Neena was confused at first because it was unlike Nikhil to be so rude. On the contrary, sometimes Neena referred to him on lessons in patience but today it was different. But then she didn’t have a choice; she felt it was rude to walk away from the young mother leaving the conversation unanswered. Moreover given Indian mentality in all possibility, she might even follow them till she had a convincing answer to her question. 

About the Book:
Neena Arya, a Delhi-born goes abroad for further studies and decides to settle down there. Determined to be a 'somebody' from a 'nobody' she blends with the Americans via the accent and their mannerisms while having a live-in relationship with her European boyfriend, Adan Somoza.

When illness hits home, Neena rushes to meet her ailing dad. Tragedy strikes and amidst the mingling with relatives and friends, she finds herself suffocated with the two different cultures that she has been breathing since she moved to the United States. How will she strike a balance between both the cultures as she continues to support her widowed mother? Will she be able to do justice to her personal and professional life after the loss?

Amidst the adjusting she bonds with an ally and learns about ties beyond blood. On what grounds will she be able to form an invisible thread that she has longed for since childhood?

Breathing Two Worlds ventures into cultures and ethnicity allowing Neena to ponder upon her foundation and priorities.

Available on Amazon

Book Trailer: 


About the Author:
Ruchira Khanna, a biochemist turned writer, left her homeland of India to study in America, where she obtained her Master’s degree in Biochemistry from SJSU and a degree in Technical Writing from UC Berkeley.

After finishing her studies, Ruchira worked as a biochemist at a Silicon Valley startup for five years. After the birth of her son, Ruchira took a job as a technical writer, so that she could work from home. Soon, she began doing freelance writing work as well.

Her love of writing grew and she started working on her own books. After four years of freelancing, Ruchira published her first book, a fiction novel for adults called Choices.

Then came the children’s book The Adventures of Alex and Angelo: The Mystery of the Missing Iguana. She got a thumb’s up review from Kirkus Reviews.

In January 2016, she has published her second fictional novel Voyagers into the Unknown. It talks about the quest for happiness as the heavy hearted tourists travel miles from different parts of the world to Raj Touristry in Agra, India. Return to their respective home with a healed heart. This book talks about their journey!

In Breathing Two Worlds, Ruchira talks about ethnicity and cultures, and helps to strike a balance via a fiction-drama novel as her characters breathe two worlds.

In addition to writing books, she is a holistic healer associated with Stanford Healing Partners and also maintains a blog of daily mantras on Blogspot, called Abracabadra. Ruchira currently resides in California with her family.



Find her on: Website Blog



Monday, 26 June 2017

Yes I Named My Daughter Gaylord Focker

Sometimes some books don't end up the way you expect. I picked up this book thinking there are loads of laughter in store for me. Sadly, I was a bit disappointed. 

The concept of this book is unique. This book is an unbook as the author states and has lived up to its promise of being a compilation of lists. Lists of names that are supposedly embarrassing, funny and strange. Also agreed that the author has invested a lot of time in researching and compiling. However, what may be embarrassing and funny to some, may not be so for others. Hence, this I felt, was a demerit for the book.

To quote an example, in India it is common to name children after gods. We have Krishna, Shiv, Parvati, Durga and the like. So as per an Indian, there is no harm in naming a child Jesus. It only beings out the tremendous amount of faith in God that the parents have. Maybe as a mark of thanksgiving and devotion they have named their child. Yet again, the pronunciation of names differ from country to country. Hence, translation of the same from native language into english may result in name being mispelt. 

The book is all about lists of strange-sounding names. Yet, like I said, depending on the country or place where the reader might stay, the names may not be weird in the first place. The author has strived to be humourous with his compilation. However, it may be easily misconstrued by people too.

To sum up, this book is readable because firstly the author kept his promise that this unbook is about lists. And secondly the amount of time he spent in researching is praiseworthy. No effort is a wastage. Hence, read this book as an appreciation for the author's patience and devotion to the topic. 

P.S - Thank you Joseph for a unique list. The opinions expressed are my honest views.

Last Year's Resolution

First things first, I am not a Christian. Yet as a believer in God I can comprehend the underlying meaning being conveyed by the story.

The plot is about how a famous writer finds love and as circumstances change, he uses his writings to help people around him. The storyline brings in trials and sufferings with lots of biblical references. Some of the references were a bit difficult to comprehend because of lack of knowledge about the Holy Bible. However, I am sure there would be similarities in the scriptures world over. After all, all religions are different paths to the same God.

The author quotes from the Bible and many of the references have deeper meaning as well. The story does evoke lot of visual and auditory imageries. However, I felt there was a bit of disconnect at some places. May be it is my perception.

The characters have been well-defined. Yet, it could have been better. The concept appealed to me but since I am not a Christian it was difficult for me to draw parallels.

To sum up, the book is worth reading since it helps bring out the power of devotion. Notwithstanding religious preferences, belief in God does give the strength to face adverse situations.

P.S - Thank you Robert for a story that reasserted my faith in God as the supreme power, belief in whom can move mountains.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Elphie Goes Trick Or Treating


I love children's books. They have vibrant, beautiful illustrations. The story is simple and yet has a deeper meaning. I read this book aloud to my daughters and they loved it.

The plot is simple. It is about Elphie the baby elephant and how he discovers his confidence. For the what how when and why you need to read this awesome book.

What is outstanding is the way the illustrations match the storyline. The choice of colours is so child friendly and uncluttered. The language is very simple and apt for children upto tweens. It is narrated lucidly. It was as if a movie was playing in my head alongside as I was reading.

The protagonist is an elephant but represents every child in this world. The emotions of fear, dejection, lack of confidence and subsequent gain, every mood has been well etched. The story also brings out the importance and impact of sharing, friendships and self-esteem.

To sum up, this story is a must-read irrespective of the fact whether you have kids or you don't. As Elphie goes trick or treating the adult reader definitely gets connected to his or her inner child. This quaint little story is worth reading again and again and again.

P.S - Thank you Hagit for this beautiful story. Looking forward to reading more of your writings.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Meeting Of The Mustangs


Some stories have the inate power to make you want to read them again and again and again. This book has been a wonderful reading experience for me.

The plot revolves around a mustang who has to face challenges at every step. You have to read the story to find out what those challenges are. It is a book for every lover of horse stories. It is a story on relationships, of courage and being fearless no matter what the circumstances are.

What is the most beautiful feature about this book is the fact that it highlights the relationship between man and beast.

Cathy has a wonderful style of writing. Her descriptions instantly make the reader go into the land of visualizations. The mental imageries are one of the powerful tools she has used to capture the attention of the readers. The language is simple and can be understood by children and adults alike. Hence, this book is child-friendly.

Any reader would fall in love with the protagonist. The mustang lives a life his style. Through his journey the beauty of life, importance of relationships, hope, every emotion comes to the forefront.

To sum up, even if you are not fond of animal stories, you must read this story. It will touch a chord in your heart and make you thank god for a beautiful life. I read this book in one session and it is definitely worth reading again and again and again.

P.S - Thank you Cathy for this awesome story. I am surely going to read this book as many times as I can.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

No Rest For The Wicked

Horror has become the flavour of this month for me I guess. So, my third book chosen also evokes a deep sense of fear in me.

The bottom line of the story is that angels are not all sweet and sugary nice. They can be mean too. If I say that the plot deals with how angels ensure there is no rest for the wicked-natured, I won't be wrong.

Dane is a master storyteller. His words conjure up imageries that can scare and make you squirm. Language is basically meant for young adults and above. Hence this book is a no-no for children.

His weakest area has been characterisation. This is my personal view. It maybe because a single character did not stand out in the entire gamut. Though the antagonists were spelt out and main characters identified, a little bit more of their descriptions would have worked wonders. I had to reduce a star.

To sum up, I was compelled to finish the story in one sitting and that speaks volumes about the writing. Dane is an author to watch out for if you love horror stories. I only wish Dane had added more details about the characters and elaborated a few sub-plots. It would have gone a long way in engaging the reader more. The book is definitely worth reading if you love horror stories.

P.S- Thank you Dane and Booktrope Publishing for this wonderful story. I did have a tough time putting myself to sleep after reading this.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Tales Of Blood And Sulphur


First and foremost, this book took me way out of my comfort zone. I must admit I am not too fond of horror or stories that give me the chills. But this book was different.

This book is a collection of twelve short stories. Each of them can be read in isolation. Yet, somewhere there was a common thread that ran through each one. If I say that they were similarly dissimilar or dissimilarly similar then I won't be wrong.

Clay has a different style of narrating. In fact, the stories have an inherent tone of fear as a backdrop. The way he has used words to create fear in the minds of readers is commendable. However, there are a few places where he has used slangs and that put me off a bit. It is my personal view, maybe since I am not used to hearing such words hence the hesitation. And that is the reason for reduction of one star. Keeping that aside, each story had the power to create mental imageries. In fact, there were two stories that had me so scared that I had no option but to take time to get over the goosebumps they gave me.

Most of the stories had protagonists who aptly justified their role in their respective stories. There were two stories whose characters appeared weak. But again, maybe they were meant to be so.

To sum up, the book is worth reading. However, these tales of blood and sulphur are gory and violent. Definitely a no-no for young readers and faint hearted people. Read it at your risk and at the cost of losing sleep thanks to the fear you would develop. JG Clay is a writer to watch out especially for fans of horror and paranormal.

P.S -  Thank you Dane from Booktrope Publishing for giving me this scary yet really different set of stories.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Change Of Heart


I had taken a long break from posting reviews. Reasons are personal yet when I decided to restart, I picked up this book to read. Was I elated? Yes, a bit because vampires and werewolves intrigue me. Did this book disappoint me? Sadly, yes, it did.

This book is the beginning of a series called The Royal Blood Chronicles. Accordingly, it introduces the reader to a world where a 'huvamp' is created. By the way, Huvamp is my way of calling a hybrid version of vampire who is still human.

The best part about this book is narration of storyline through various point of views. Yet, it is this style that has complicated the storyline. An otherwise interesting plot sadly got a bit difficult for comprehension. The language is simple but the constant changes in point of views acted spoilers. Mark did take a risk by introducing and then natrating the entire story through views of his characters. I must admit, if the number of characters had been lesser the narration would have had greater impact. Individually, there are many scenes that have the ability to ensure creation of visual imageries in the minds of the reader. Mark does have a unique style of narration.

The storyline helps aquaint us with the various characters of the story. Sadly, too many of them lead to a bit of confusion. The protagonist or the human turned vampire staying human needed a bit more of focus. Maybe then it would have helped retain the interest.

To sum up, the concept is interesting. However, it needed a bit more of de-cluttering of point of views. Maybe it was a gamble the writer took to present the story. Given the fact that it is a part of a series, and that too the beginning, the story is worth reading once. For the lovers of vampire stories this book may just be the beginning of an fascinating series. I am sure the next book would be much more interesting and less complicated.

P.S - Thank you Mark for this story. Looking forward to your next. Am sure it would surpass this story and be awesome!