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Audio Book Review: Heartborn by Terry Maggert, Narrated by Julia Whelan

Heartborn by Terry Maggert
 

Heartborn by Terry Maggert

Narrated by Julia Whelan

Summary:

(Goodreads)

Her guardian angel was pushed.

Keiron was never meant to be anything other than a hero. Born high above in a place of war and deception, he is Heartborn, a being of purity and goodness in a place where violence and deceit are just around every corner.

His disappearance will spark a war he cannot see, for Keiron has pierced the light of days to save a girl he has never met, for reasons he cannot understand. Livvy Foster is seventeen, brave, and broken. With half a heart, she bears the scars of a lifetime of pain and little hope of survival.

Until Keiron arrives.

In the middle of a brewing war and Livvy’s failing heart, Keiron will risk everything for Livvy, because a Heartborn’s life can only end in one way: Sacrifice.

Fall with Livvy and Keiron as they seek the truth about her heart, and his power, and what it means to love someone who will give their very life to save you.

 
Heartborn by Terry Maggert
Title: Heartborn
Author: Terry Maggert
Narrator: Julia Whelan
Paperback: 238 pages/6h 24m
Publisher: Createspace (October 2016)
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, YA
Read: audio book
Stars: ★★★★☆
Buy On: Amazon US | Audible | Amazon India

 

My Review:

Note: I received this book from the author via AudioBookworm Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Cover: Dark and Inviting

Narration: Clear, Crisp, Engaging

Readability, language: Easy and Simple

Why did I choose this book: The cover was what drew me in and the world of angels closed the deal for me. :)

Heartborn is the first part in a series about angels and humans. Kieron comes from a land high above, a place of violence and bloodshed. A place more like our world than the world of angels. And he has fallen, in to the human world to save the girl Livvy who has just half a heart, but her heart is failing and time is running out.

I quite liked the cover, it’s dark with an angel wing in the foreground and a cosmic background that kept drawing my eye. The title is appropriate as Kieron is Heartborn; the blurb explains this a bit more – “… a Heartborn’s life can only end in one way: Sacrifice.” and more explanations are in the story.

Plot & Characters

 
A plot that bridges the world of angels and humans, I haven’t read a book like Heartborn before. That said, it wasn’t clear to me even at the end what or how the world’s were tied-up. Hints are dropped through the book of Livvy being a saviour of the angel world but no explanations are given.

The world of angels described by Terry Maggert intrigued me with it’s human-like fallibility, deception, politics and strife. That part of world building was done well and I throughly enjoying listening to all that happened in the world above. In comparison, not much detail of the human world is given and there are more questions raised than answered.

Characters were another bit of a sore point for me. The protagonists Kieron and Livvy didn’t make much of an impact on me. They seemed shallow and insubstantial, especially when they got to kissing without much ado. However the other characters made quite an impression – Kieron’s parents – Sinoff & Vassa, Cressa the Blightwing, and Dozer – Livvy’s best friend; they hold so much promise and I can’t wait to see more of them in the next book ‘Moonborn’.

Writing & Narration

 
Terry Maggert’s writing is simple and language easy, I didn’t have trouble following the story and the pace was good, building well towards the climax. I didn’t see the end coming and it did surprise me, brownie points for it’s unexpected and non-clichéd, non-Happily Ever After end.

My favourite part of the story was Chapter 16, the longest chapter, an hour and 8 minutes but packed with action, so much action I relistened to the whole chapter to relive the action sequence.

Julia Whelan was a treat to listen to, a soothing clear crisp voice, it was easy to follow her every word through the 6 hours and 24 minutes of listening time. She has done a good job of intonation and voice modulation, with shifting speaking styles to differentiate the characters.

Heartborn: In Summary

 
In summary, I enjoyed listening to Heartborn, both in story and narration. I can’t wait for the next book – Moonborn to know what happens next in the story. The world of angels Terry Maggert has created, has me fascinated and hooked. Heartborn comes strongly recommended if you are into Paranormal Fantasy.

Buy On: Amazon US | Audible | Amazon India

About the Author:

 
Terry Maggert - Heartborn
Left-handed. Father of an apparent nudist. Husband to a half-Norwegian. Herder of cats and dogs. Lover of pie.
Terry Maggert lives near Nashville, Tennessee. When not writing, he teaches history, grows wildly enthusiastic tomato plants, and restores his 1967 Mustang.
 
 
 
 
Julia Whelan - Heartborn
Julia Whelan has appeared in many films and television series, most notably ABC’s Once And Again. She’s recorded hundreds of novels across all genres and has received multiple Earphones and Audie Awards. She has repeatedly been named one of Audiofile Magazine’s Best Voices and was Audible’s Narrator of the Year.
 
 
 
 
Author Links:
WebsiteGoodReads │ Twitter – @TerryMaggertFacebook Page
 
 

June 12, 2017   No Comments

Book Review: Finding Molly – An Adventure in Catsitting by Justine Prado, Jenn St-Onge

Finding Molly by Justine Prado, Jenn St-Onge
 

Finding Molly: An Adventure in Catsitting by Justine Prado, Jenn St-Onge (Illustrator), Maytal Gilboa (Editor)

Summary:

(Goodreads)

Fresh out of art school and creatively unfulfilled, Molly is stuck in the suburbs with her parents and their cat, Pishi. When she is offered an opportunity to cat sit, she sees it as a way to get closer to her friends who live in the Los Angeles Arts District while fulfilling her dream of making a living as an artist.

 
Finding Molly by Justine Prado, Jenn St-Onge
Title: Finding Molly: An Adventure in Catsitting
Author: Justine Prado, Jenn St-Onge (Illustrator), Maytal Gilboa (Editor)
Paperback: 170 pages
Publisher: EMET Comics (January 15th 2017)
Genre: Graphic Novel, YA
Read: eBook
Stars: ★★★★★
*

 

My Review:

Note: I received this book from EMET Comics via YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Cover: Eye-catchy

Illustration : beautiful & detailed

Readability, language: Easy read

I’ve read graphic novels before, but that was ages ago as a kid, in the time of Chacha Chaudhri and Tinkle. So, when Sarah of YA Bound Book Tours reached out with Finding Molly, I grabbed the chance to correct that lapse, plus it’s an Indie comic by an author of colour, has a mixed race female protagonist and has cats! That’s a lot of bonus points! 😀

I read Finding Molly in almost one sitting and I enjoyed it so much, I went back immediately to start re-reading and absorbing it in detail.
Molly is just out of art school and lost. Not wanting to sell her soul to a company, she works for free at a local bookstore while she struggles with her art and voice. She is envious of her friends who live in a studio and make art, but she has no money and lives with her parents who are supportive but want her to get married or find a job.

In the midst of all this, a random picture of her cat on Insta leads to her getting a job to draw a cat and that leads to high-paying cat-sitting jobs and a cat comic strip. The money she makes, helps her move out into the Art District of LA where her friends live but her struggles don’t end there…

Finding Molly by Justine Prado, Jenn St-Onge

With negligible experience in this genre I started reading with a clean state and I took away so much. Compared to a word novel, a graphic novel takes so much more ‘slowness’ while reading; there is so much detail in every picture and you need to slow down to absorb it. I blazed through Finding Molly the first time and found myself pleasantly surprised at the end. I went right back and second time I noticed so much more.

The story part in dialogue is nuanced and one that almost everyone can relate to, but along with it artist Jenn St-Onge, has built so much detail in her drawings. The time when Molly is having a flashback is differently shaded to distinguish the time difference, there is art everywhere, on walls, t-shirts, each panel is just so packed.

When I picked up the book I hoped it would check off a few boxes in my reading challenges this year. And that it did – protagonist of colour, graphic novel, indie comic, author of colour – but it did more. I’m so glad I picked up Finding Molly for I enjoyed the book, both reading and staring at each panel. And the cats were adorable. 😀

A special mention for the end section of the book that introduces the author, the artist and shares the behind the scenes story of creating Molly. I loved getting to know the people behind the book, it made it all more real for me.

Finding Molly by Justine Prado, Jenn St-Onge

This book was a lovely introduction into the world of graphic novels. The language and setting with use of technology and social media in the story helped me relate easily to Molly even though she is a Millennial and I am not. I loved the colour theme and the look and feel. It was easy to read and had enough to offer in the details. It was an all new experience in reading.

I recommend the book for those who read Graphic Novels and for those considering it. :)

*

About the Author & Artist:

 
Finding Molly by Justine Prado, Jenn St-Onge
 
 

April 7, 2017   2 Comments

Book Review: Sultan of Delhi: Ascension by Arnab Ray

Sultan of Delhi: Ascension by Arnab Ray
 

Sultan of Delhi: Ascension by Arnab Ray

Summary:

(Goodreads)

When a path is forged in blood, it is hard to find peace.

The son of a penniless refugee from Lahore, Arjun Bhatia has worked his way up from being an arms smuggler in the badlands of Uttar Pradesh to the most influential power-broker in Delhi.

But when the shadows of the past, of a friend he has lost forever and of a woman he can never be with, finally catch up to him, Arjun finds himself fighting the biggest battle of his life. For at stake is not just his iron hold over the government, but something even bigger—- his family…and his soul.

Spanning five decades and two generations, Sultan of Delhi: Ascension is an explosive saga of ambition, greed, love and passion.

 
Sultan of Delhi: Ascension by Arnab Ray
Title: Sultan of Delhi: Ascension
Author: Arnab Ray
Paperback: 301 pages
Publisher: Hachette (October 26th 2016)
Genre: Indian Fiction, Crime
Read: Paperback
Stars: ★★★★★
Buy On: Amazon US | Amazon India

 

My Review:

Note: I received this book from the author via Hachette India (and an B00kR3vi3ws Giveaway) in exchange for an honest review.

Cover: Very Gangster!

Narration: Lovely smell and easy to read text

Readability, language: Easy with Lots of Desi cuss words

I met Arnab Ray at the IndiBlogger Conference sometime ago, it was the first time I had met him or had even heard of him but by the end of his talk, he had made an impression. I remember his wit and his own particular brand of humour. I’d enjoyed listening to him and so, when ‘Sultan of Delhi: Ascension’ came along I grabbed the book.

The Sultan of Delhi is the story of a sickly child who survives the journey to India during partition, and goes on to become one of the most powerful men in Delhi. Arun Bhatia has a drive to become someone and this drive takes him from being a mechanic to becoming a guns smuggler and then on to bigger pastures of Lyten’s Delhi, politics and business.

First Impressions

 
Some books manage to encapsulate the story in all it’s elements – title, cover, blurb and pages; The Sultan of Delhi is one of those books. The title is appropriate in that this is the story of the rise of a man to power; the cover shows the rugged drawing of a man holding a gun behind him, the image of a man who holds power and knows he holds power. And then there is the blurb that tells you the whole story and yet makes you want to read the book.

The plot is very Godfatherish, though I didn’t feel so while reading and realised only in hind sight, which says a lot for the writing. The plot feels new and punchy, Arnab Ray has delivered a complex plot simply, without any unnecessary complexities.

The story shifts from Lahore, to Uttar Pradesh and then Delhi as it unfolds over 50 years. Starting out at partition Arnab Ray draws a detailed background to his story right up to the 90’s, each place and setting adding to the tale, making it feel all to real.

Characters are the Core

 
The protagonist, Arjun Bhatia is a bad guy, it’s a fact established early in the book but the various facets of a bad guy are fleshed out well and I found myself feeling for and empathising with the character, and sometimes even rooting for him.

There are three main female characters, the wife, the mistress and the daughter. Each one of them is shown as their true selves, with both weaknesses and strengths. And the author brings out a lot of Arjun’s character through his relationship with them. For instance, when things go downhill, even though it is his daughter who delivers the worse blow, along with the hurt, Arnab Ray captures the pride a father feels for his daughter too.

Apart from the women who are given equal strength and voice as the male ones in the narrative, there are other characters that stand out. Arjun Bhatia’s sons and their friends as the typical rich spoilt kids with an unreal sense of reality. The ex-cop turned hitman with a wry sense of humour… The characters bring this novel to life.

Story and Style

 
The book is structured in three parts – Arjun’s initial years as a refugee and a gun runner, his move to Delhi and his rise to power and finally his battle to save his family and empire. The book starts out at a good pace and stays fast paced right up to the end. The author has tied up all loose ends and yet has left enough open to weave in part 2.

Arnab Ray’s language and writing style is very Hinglish, and I could connect and relate to it with ease. Be warned this book has a lot of profanity in it, in the native tongue too, but it adds that element to the telling, that punch that would be lost in translation.

Having picked up the book based on my only ever meeting with the author, the book delivered all I expected of Arnab Ray. Now, I can’t wait to read his three other books and this one’s sequel. (Before I started reading Sultan of Delhi: Ascension, I hadn’t realised this was a two part book, so to me the end seemed perfect, it felt so right. Then I realised there will be a second part, and now I’m all excited for it.)

In Short

 
Sultan of Delhi: Ascension is super masala fast paced read, perfect to settle down with on a lazy afternoon. You are going to want to read this at one go. Recommended if you like Indian Contemporary fiction filled with action and drama.

Buy On: Amazon US | Amazon India

About the Author:

 
Arnab Ray - Sultan of Delhi: Ascension
Arnab Ray, better known as Greatbong, is one of India’s most widely read bloggers who blogs at Random Thoughts Of A Demented Mind. He is known for his sarcastic takes on the Indian film industry, Indian politics and society in general. He is presently employed as a research scientist at the University of Maryland and resides in the suburbs of Washington DC. Sultan of Delhi: Ascension is his fourth book.
 
Author Links:
WebsiteGoodReads │ Twitter – @greatbong
 
 

January 29, 2017   2 Comments

Book Review: Anomalies by Colette Freedman and Sadie Turner, Narrated by Lucinda Clare

Anomalies by Colette Freedman and Sadie Turner
 

Anomalies by Colette Freedman and Sadie Turner

Summary:

(Goodreads)

In the future there is no disease. There is no war. There is no discontent. All citizens are complacent members of the Global Governance. But one summer is about to change everything.

Keeva Tee just turned fifteen. All of her dreams are about to come true. She’s about to make the trip to Monarch Camp to be imprinted with her intended life partner. One day they’ll have perfect kids and a perfect life. But in her happy, carefree life in the Ocean Community, something weighs on her mind. She hears whispers about “anomalies”—citizens who can’t be imprinted. No one knows what happens to them, but they never seem to come back.

When Keeva arrives at Monarch Camp, her worst nightmare becomes a reality—she is an anomaly. After they are imprinted, the people she loves begin to change, and she starts to doubt everything she’s ever believed. What if freedom and individuality have been sacrificed for security? And what if the man who solves all the problems is the very man who’s created them—and what if he isn’t a man at all?

When Keeva finds a warning carved under a bunk bed she begins to understand: Nonconformity will be punished, dissent is not an option, insurgents will be destroyed.

 
Anomalies by Colette Freedman and Sadie Turner
Title: Anomalies
Author: Colette Freedman and Sadie Turner
Narrator: Lucinda Clare, Punch Audio
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: SelectBooks (February 9th 2016)
Genre: Fantasy, Dystopia, Post Apocalyptic, Sci-fi
Read: audio book
Stars: ★★★★★
Buy On: Amazon US | Audible | Amazon India

 

My Review:

Note: I received this book from the author via YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Cover: Eye-catchy blue!

Narration: Easy on the ears. :)

Readability, language: Easy on the mind.

Anomalies was my third sci-fi dystopian audio book, and I’m enjoying myself. It’s like I’m on a roll!

A World of Peace

 
Anomalies is set in a future world with no war, discontent and disease. People who survived the great war, now live in skill-based communities with their intended partners, governed by the Global Governance.

The book explores a world where people are happy, there is no illness, humankind is complacent, pliable and peaceful. This has been achieved by Sorbek Vesely, who heads the Global Governance that keeps citizens in check with advanced technology.

At fifteen children are sent to Monarch Camp where they meet their perfect partners and then go on to lead perfect lives in a perfect society. But there are anomalies, those who do not have perfect partners and who do not fit into the system. Keeva, the female protagonist is an anomaly.

The male protagonist is Calix, Sorbek’s son who he is grooming to be his heir. Calix hates his father, his methods and all he stands for, yet he is powerless to stop him.

Narration and Story

 
I can’t say more without giving up the story but I enjoyed listening to Anomalies on Audible. Lucinda Clare’s narration is excellent. At no point does the speech get monotonous and Lucinda Clare uses her voice well to switch between characters so each is distinct, she was a pleasure to listen to.

The authors have done an excellent job with world building, building slowly and in detail, so in my mind’s eye I could see this world as if it were real. Two characters’ POV also meant seeing this world from two extremes, the eyes of the oppressor and the oppressed. There are a lot of characters in the book, each one well fleshed out so I could associate with them as if I knew them.

The world at first glance seems great, but the peace and happiness is utopian and comes at the price of individuality with forced conformity. It made me sit back and question the value and importance of free will. Then there were Sorbek’s methods which while dishonourable and depraved, achieved peace, so does the end justify the means?

There’s more to the story than this of course, there’s another ancient race, a resistance and lots of action. The story sets a good pace and doesn’t let up right to the end. It’s 8 hours of listening and I found myself distraught at the end, wanting to continue and know more. I can’t wait for book 2.

The Short & Sweet

 
I enjoyed Anomalies; if you’re into dystopian sci-fi, this book comes highly recommended. The audio book with Lucinda Clare’s narration is especially recommended, I absolutely enjoyed listening to this book.

Buy On: Amazon US | Audible | Amazon India

About the Author:

 
Sadie Turner - Anomalies
Sadie Turner is a Los Angeles-based producer and writer originally from Brighton, England, who works in business development with several Hollywood entrepreneurs. She has various projects in development, and also teaches yoga.
 
 
Colette Freedman - Anomalies
 
 
Colette Freedman is an internationally produced playwright with over 25 produced plays. She has co-written books with Jackie Collins and Michael Scott. Colette currently has several scripts in development.
 
 
 
 
Author Links:
Website │ GoodReads – Sadie Turner / Colette Freedman │ Twitter – Sadie Turner / Colette Freedman
 
 

January 20, 2017   No Comments

Book Review: Raven’s Song (Inoki’s Game) by I.A. Ashcroft, Narrated by Mikael Naramore

Raven’s Song (Inoki’s Game) by I.A. Ashcroft

 
Raven's Song by I.A. Ashcroft
Title: Raven’s Song (Inoki’s Game)
Author: I.A. Ashcroft
Narrator: Mikael Naramore
Paperback: 290 pages
Publisher: Lucid Dreams Publishing (March 14th 2016)
Genre: Fantasy, Dystopia, Post Apocalyptic, Sci-fi
Read: audio book
Stars: ★★★★☆
Buy On: Amazon US | Audible | Amazon India

 

Summary:

(Goodreads)

A century ago, the world burned. Even now, though rebuilt and defiant, civilisation is still choking on the ashes.

Jackson, a smuggler, lives in the shadows, once a boy with no memory, no name, and no future. Ravens followed him, long-extinct birds only he could see, and nightmares flew in their wake. Once, Jackson thought himself to be one of the lucky few touched by magic, a candidate for the Order of Mages. He is a man now, and that dream has died. But, the ravens still follow. The nightmares still whisper in his ear.

Anna’s life was under the sun, her future bright, her scientific work promising. She knew nothing of The Bombings, the poisoned world, or the occult. One day, she went to work, and the next, she awoke in a box over a hundred years in the future, screaming, fighting to breathe, and looking up into the eyes of a smuggler. Anna fears she’s gone crazy, unable to fill the massive hole in her memories, and terrified of the strange abilities she now possesses.

The Coalition government has turned its watchful eyes towards them. The secret factions of the city move to collect them first. And, old gods stir in the darkness, shifting their pawns on the playing field.

If Anna and Jackson wish to stay free, they must learn what they are and why they exist.

Unfortunately, even if they do, it may be too late.

 

My Review:

Note: I received this book from the author via Author Assistant in exchange for an honest review.

Cover: Dark and eye-catchy.

Narration: Easy on the ears. :)

Readability, language: Easy on the mind.

This is the second audio book I’ve managed to complete. I’d enjoyed my first book Project: Perception by Joshua Cook, (another fantasy) so much, I decided to pick up Raven’s Song for a listen. It seems like fiction is working better for me on audio, but that’s a topic for another day.

Raven’s Song is set a 100 years in the future, after the burning. This is a world of shields, radiation and raiders. In this world Jackson a smuggler, and Anna a woman from the past, must learn to use their magical abilities and stay alive.

It was the title that first caught my attention, they are beautiful birds – Ravens and have long been associated with magic. Then there was the cover that reminded me of the Omen series, one of the few books I’ve read in that genre. My mind was already made up to read the book, the blurb was that last nudge I needed.

The plot of Raven’s Song felt new and holds promise for the series as a lot of hints are dropped through the book about the core of the story. However a lot of questions remain unanswered at the end and I am still unclear about the heart of the series.

The concept of the world I.A. Ashcroft is creating for the series looks promising, set a 100 years in the future, a world ravaged by fires, a New York now contained in a shield, protected from radiation and raiders. My only complaint that he doesn’t explain how it all happened, I’m really curious and I hope Book 2 has the answer.

Apart from the main characters Jackson Dovetail, Anna Mathews and Agent Jayden Walker, there are other characters that I.A. Ashcroft has described well and made memorable. I’m looking forward to meeting them in future books.
Jackson and Anna are described well, but it was Agent Walker that stood out for me. His character has so many shades and secrets.

Raven’s Song starts off well and holds a good pace through out. This is a long book, 11 hours and 23 minutes! And I didn’t not get bored at any point, I couldn’t stop listening, wondering what would happen next. The story builds well to the climax and the end is a good primer for the next book.

I do wish though that so many questions had not been left unanswered, I would have like to know more about how the world was destroyed, where the gods mentioned in the blurb fit into the story and what the story really was about.

I quite liked I.A. Ashcroft’s style of writing, it light and easy to digest without big words and flowery descriptions. And yet there is enough dialogue and narration to make the book an enjoyable listen.

Mikael Naramore, the narrator brings the story and characters to life using different voices and styles for each character. His diction is clear with a good rate of speech, my Indian ear had no trouble at all understanding him.

I enjoyed Raven’s Song and I’m looking forward to book 2. I definitely recommend the book if you are a Dystopia Fantasy reader. However be warned, you will be left with a lot of questions and a wait for book two. :)

Buy On: Amazon US | Audible | Amazon India

About the Author:

 
I. A. Ashcroft dwells in Phoenix, Arizona, alongside a wonderful tale-spinner and two increasingly deranged cats. The author enjoys reading and pretending to be other people while rolling dice and wearing fancy hats.

 
Author Links:
WebsiteGoodreadsTwitter
 
 

December 1, 2016   No Comments

Book Review: Iron Goddess by Dharma Kelleher

Iron Goddess by Dharma Kelleher

 
Iron Goddess by Dharma Kelleher
Title: Iron Goddess
Author: Dharma Kelleher
Paperback: 269 pages
Publisher: Alibi(June 28th 2016)
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Gay and Lesbian
Read: eBook
Stars: ★★★☆☆
Buy On: Amazon US

 

Summary:

(Goodreads)

Shea Stevens is biker royalty. Her father was the president of the Confederate Thunder Motorcycle Club. Under his watchful eye, she learned how to pick locks, disable alarms, and hot-wire cars like a pro. But all that is ancient history. Or so she thought . . .

After a stint in prison, Shea has worked hard to make a quiet, happy life for herself in Arizona. She spends her time bonding with her big-city girlfriend and running her bike shop, Iron Goddess Custom Cycles, with her dedicated team of misfits. But when one of her employees is shot and three of her specially commissioned bikes are stolen, Shea’s new life collides with the criminal underworld she tried to leave behind.

Shea knows better than to trust the police. So, with her Glock on her hip, she takes the investigation into her own hands. Shea’s search for the bike thieves leads her straight to her father’s old gang—and her estranged sister, whose young daughter has been kidnapped by a rival club. The last thing Shea wants is to be caught in the middle of a war—but if she learned one thing from her old man, it’s that when someone comes at you, you push back. Hard. And that’s exactly what she’s going to do.

 

My Review:

Note: I received this book from Alibi (a Random House Imprint) via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Cover: Grunge and rugged.

Paper and font: Easy on the eyes.

Readability, language: Easy on the mind.

Being a biker myself, the story of another female biker instantly appealed to me and I picked up Iron Goddess. I thought it would be a good insight into the biker culture of America.

Shea is an ex-motorcycle club member who now custom builds bikes for women and is happy in her new life. Until suddenly the old world comes calling when her shop get burglarised, her estranged sister turns up and her niece gets kidnapped. Will Shea be able to get her bikes back? Can she rescue her niece? And keep her sanity and distance from the old life of violence? That’s the story.

Apart from being the name of Shea’s bike shop, Iron Goddess the title is also a metaphor for the strength she must find in herself. I quite liked the cover with its rugged colour tones and graphic. The blurb is a good test of what to expect in the book.

I found the plot new and different, I haven’t read a story like Iron Goddess before. Dharma Kelleher surprised me constantly, I kept guessing what would come next but she always had an ace up her sleeve. I like books that keep me on my toes.

I’ve never been to America or Arizona where this story plays out but the descriptions of the mountains, valleys, city roads, traffic, sudden rains and more, made it all very real for me.

Shea’s strength and will to fight was something I admired but her stubbornness to not stay out of trouble got to me a few times. And then there was her sister and the chauvinistic men who really got my goat. Iron Goddess has a varied cast of characters and I enjoyed the diversity in the book. The characters of Iron Goddess feel real, their emotions and reactions easy to associate with.

Dharma Kelleher uses simple language that makes for fast reading and the story is fast paced too. The climax is good but unexpected and took me a while to accept.

Overall, Iron Goddess was an enjoyable read and I recommend it if you are looking for a fun, action-packed diverse book. I learned a thing or two about American Bike Culture too!

Buy On: Amazon US

About the Author:

Dharma Kelleher
 
A biker chick, Dharma Kelleher writes gritty tales about renegades, outlaws, and misfits. She has a degree in journalism and over the years, has worked as a news director, a construction worker, a goldsmith, a caregiver, and a web developer. Some of her favourite authors are Lawrence Block, Elmore Leonard and Jim Butcher.

 
Author Links:
WebsiteGoodreadsTwitter
 
 

September 22, 2016   No Comments

Book Review: First Comes Love by Emily Giffin

First Comes Love by Emily Giffin

 
First Comes Love by Emily Giffin
Title: First Comes Love
Author: Emily Giffin
Paperback: 380 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books(June 28th 2016)
Genre: Womens Fiction, Chick Lit
Read: eBook
Stars: ★★★☆☆
Buy On: Amazon India | Amazon US

 

Summary:

(Goodreads)

Growing up, Josie and Meredith Garland shared a loving, if sometimes contentious relationship. Josie was impulsive, spirited, and outgoing; Meredith hardworking, thoughtful, and reserved. When tragedy strikes their family, their different responses to the event splinter their delicate bond.

Fifteen years later, Josie and Meredith are in their late thirties, following very different paths. Josie, a first grade teacher, is single—and this close to swearing off dating for good. Determined to have the future she’s always wanted, Josie decides to take matters into her own hands.

On the outside, Meredith is the model daughter with the perfect life. Yet lately, Meredith feels dissatisfied and restless, secretly wondering if she chose the life that was expected of her rather than the one she truly desired.

As the anniversary of their tragedy looms and painful secrets from the past begin to surface, Josie and Meredith must not only confront the issues that divide them, but also come to terms with their own choices. In their journey toward understanding and forgiveness, both sisters discover they need each other more than they knew . . . and that in the recipe for true happiness, love always comes first.

 

My Review:

Note: Thanks to Penguin First to Read Program for offering me the book to read and review :)

Cover: Simple and clean.

Paper and font: Easy on the eyes.

Readability, language: Easy on the mind.

Blood is thicker than water isn’t just a proverb I learned in school but also, a life lesson. Life taught me that family comes first, they don’t judge but love you for who you are, they stick with you when others shirk you off. And that siblings share a bond, a very special bond.

So, when I first heard of Emily Giffin’s book on the All the Books podcast it caught my attention and I picked it up when Penguin offered it though their First to Read program.

First Comes Love is the story of two sisters and their bond. 15 years ago, when they were in their twenties they lost their elder brother Daniel in an accident. The loss of a sibling changes their life as they struggle to cope with their grief and loss. Over 15 years it’s impacted their relationship too. Will they be able to save it?

I loved the cover, it’s simple and clean. The title’s appropriate and the blurb sets the stage quite well.

I’ve read stories of siblings reuniting before so the plot isn’t all new but it still was different. All the layers and twists involved in Daniel’s accident created a world that was easy for me to associate with. All that was happening felt real.

The sisters, Josie and Meredith feel real and believable; I found myself liking them and disliking them based on the situation. Pain of the loss of a loved one is easier to deal-with with family, but loss can also easily make a wedge between them. I’ve experienced this, so I found myself sympathising with Josie and Meredith as they dealth with their individual loss, and found strength in each other again.

The language of the book is simple and easy but the pace was a little slow for me and that spoilt the climax for me. That said, I enjoyed reading Love Comes First right to the end.

A good read if you are into family drama. A story anyone with siblings can associate with. Go ahead read it, it does stand up to the hype.

Buy On: Amazon India | Amazon US

About the Author:

Emily Giffin
 
Emily Giffin is a graduate of Wake Forest University and the University of Virginia School of Law. After practicing litigation at a Manhattan firm for several years, she moved to London to write full time. She now lives in Atlanta with her husband and three children. First comes Love is her eighth novel.
 
Author Links:
WebsiteGoodreadsTwitter
 
 

September 20, 2016   No Comments

Book Review: Destiny of Shattered Dreams by Nilesh Rathod

Destiny of Shattered Dreams by Nilesh Rathod

 
Destiny of Shattered Dreams by Nilesh Rathod
Title: Destiny of Shattered Dreams
Author: Nilesh Rathod
Paperback: 254 pages
Publisher: Rupa Publications(May 20th 2016)
Genre: Contemporary
Read: Paperback
Stars: ★★★★☆
Buy On: Amazon India | Amazon US

 

Summary:

(Goodreads)

An insider’s view into what goes on behind the glittering facade of corporate stardom, DESTINY of SHATTERED DREAMS is a fast-paced
tale of a brilliant young man’s meteoric rise. It is also a moving portrayal of the fallibility of love.

Ambition, passion
and raw courage are Atul Malhotra’s key aides to realizing his dreams as he learns the art of gambling for high stakes. What follows is a game of treachery, infidelity and murder.

The book lays bare the sordid corporate-politico nexus that compels this once middle-class boy to deftly learn the ropes and negotiate a world where dirty deals and power plays can make or break lives, where one wrong choice could be fatal.

A tale of yachts and hidden Swiss accounts, sordid affairs of lust, intrigue and exhilarating highs, Nilesh Rathod’s Destiny of Shattered Dreams is also the story of innocence forever lost.

 

My Review:

Note: Thanks to Nilesh Rathod for offering me his book to read and review :)

Cover: Eye-catchy

Paper and font: Font could have been bigger

Readability, language: Easy

I had mixed feelings when I first picked up Destiny of Shattered Dreams, the story of a man’s rise and fall in the corporate world. Corporate drama isn’t really my thing or maybe all books I’ve read until now of that type haven’t worked for me.

Either ways I’m tentative about those types of books but Nilesh Rathod’s book did sound interesting so, I took the shot. Glad I did too, I breezed though it and enjoyed reading it.

Atul Malhotra is a boy who comes from simple beginnings and with shear hard work has climbed the ladder. Now he has his own company and powerful political people have invested in it. But with big money comes big trouble.

The cover is a colour spread of red and blue representing dreams with a jagged crack running through it. Between the cover and title, clear expectations are set of shattered dreams. The blurb also sets the same expectation.

The story is mostly set in Mumbai but other cities like Delhi and Geneva also feature as work and holiday destinations. Mumbai is present in the story in the background but it doesn’t play a predominant role.

The characters are very real flawed people who I found myself encouraging at times and getting so irritated with at others. The shallowness of us human beings is so apparent though the story and characters of Nilesh Rathod. At times I also felt the characters were very stereotypical in their reactions, I’d expected a more liberal modern outlook in a contemporary book.

Right at the start within 20 pages I knew Atul was going to go to jail but as he told his story Nilesh Rathod captured my curiosity and held it right to the end. The pace of the book is good but I felt the climax was very clichéd and it dampened the end for me.

The book was an easy read in language and structure and I breezed through it. But I felt that there was too much poetry (it’s translation) and philosophy through out and that also took away from my enjoyment of the book. That said, if you like contemporary corporate or business drama, this book will fit the bill really well. A good fast read!

Buy On: Amazon India | Amazon US

About the Author:

Nilesh Rathod

Nilesh Rathod is a businessperson, writer and poet.Destiny of Shattered Dreams is his debut novel and he is currently working on his second novel. He lives in Mumbai.
 
 
Author Links:
WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook
 

July 19, 2016   No Comments

Book Review: Twin Reflections by Elizabeth Joseph (The Maze of Mirrors #1)

Twin Reflections by Elizabeth Joseph (The Maze of Mirrors #1)

 
Twin Reflections by Elizabeth Joseph
Title: Twin Reflections
Author: Elizabeth Joseph
Paperback: 170 pages
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.(January 2016)
Genre: YA Fantasy
Read: eBook
Stars: ★★★★☆
Buy On: Amazon India | Amazon US

 

Summary:

(Goodreads)

The maze of mirrors has been accumulating energy for ages. When Vera and Mark unwittingly find themselves trapped in the maze, its passages prove to be the least of their problems. Its magic can be a great tool or weapon, as Queen Missena is learning, and they are at its mercy. As they travel through, the illusions created by the maze takes them to places unexpected and dangers unforeseen.

But Vera has magic of her own. Will her magic help her and Mark escape the maze? Or will they be trapped inside forever?

 

My Review:

Note: Thanks to Elizabeth R. Joseph for offering me her book to read and review :)

Cover: Simple and childlike.

Paper and font: Easy to read font.

Readability, language: Easy on the mind.

I picked up Twin Reflections on a whim, without much research, so it was only at the end after I’d enjoyed the book, that I got to know the author was a teenager, she’s just 14, I was stunned!

This is a story of another world, with magic, and some people of this world have powers and auras. There’s something brewing in the kingdom, like a rebellion. There is also a Maze of Mirrors that is like AI, created but now out of control.

The Queen of the Kingdom can maybe control it but she’s new and doesn’t know the ropes yet. And there are these twins, a brother and sister pair who stumble into the labyrinth and now have to fight with all they’ve got to get out of it.

I was lost in all the detail and all that was happening at the beginning of the book but as I progressed it started to fall in place. There’s a lot happening in the story as Elizabeth Joseph creates this new world and sets the stage for a promising series.

The characters of the twins, Vera and Mark are well described and I felt like I knew them. All the other characters too evoked emotion as I found myself rooting for them, especially Queen Missena when she has this epic fight in the labyrinth.

That was one of my favourite scenes. Towards the end of the book there is this cat fight between two magicians that I enjoyed ( 😛 the secrets out, I like cat fights). Another scene that I vividly remember is when the pins drops and Vera sees through the labyrinth, understanding it’s workings, a very Matrix like moment.

The cover is simple drawing of a girl looking into a mirror, like those seen on children’s books and that mislead me into thinking this would be a simple book. But it isn’t, this is a complex story with many layers and subplots. I’m amazed that a 14 year old mind could envision all that and put it on words too, at 14 I was only reading books. 😀

This book is for ages 14 and above and I highly recommend it. There are some bits where I felt it got very muddled and unclear but it doesn’t take away from the story and I hope Elizabeth Joseph’s writing gets better through the series, like Christopher Paolini’s in the Eragon series. The story holds so much promise for an entertaining series.

Buy On: Amazon India | Amazon US

About the Author:

 
Elizabeth Joseph is a 14 year old 9th grade student in Kansas City. She has written several short stories, poems and plays during her elementary and middle school years. She started writing Twin Reflections in the 5th grade and completed it 3 years later in 2015.

Author Links:
WebsiteGoodreadsTwitter
 

July 12, 2016   No Comments