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Book Review: The Jeera Packer by Prashant Yadav

The Jeera Packer by Prashant Yadav
 

The Jeera Packer by Prashant Yadav

Summary:

(Goodreads)

I once changed the history of Uttar Pradesh state with a gun and a finger. One shot, one man. Right man, wrong man. But that was thirty years ago. I shot people through their heads then. I pack jeera in a basement now.
This is me and here is my story.

He was the best sharpshooter in the state. A true bullet artist. But he gave it all up to lead a happy, normal, stable life . . . with his loving wife and dear son.

And that proved to be his undoing.

Resonant and deeply affecting, The Jeera Packer is the gripping tale of a man who after three decades of playing the happy family man returns to his profession of old for one final work—to shoot the chief minister.Convinced that this is his raison d’etre, will he manage to pull off this one last act, as his concluding hat tip to the man he could have been? Will he be able to brush away the jeera dust and rediscover himself? Or has the middle-aged family man already throttled the sharpshooter in him?

 
The Jeera Packer by Prashant Yadav
Title: The Jeera Packer
Author: Prashant Yadav
Paperback: 344 pages
Publisher: Fingerprint! Publishing (December 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 in exchange for an honest review.

Cover: Old-world Gangster!

Paper & Font: Ebony & Ivory with easy to read font

Readability, language: Easy with Lots of Bollywood references

The Jeera Packer is the story of a sharpshooter turned good boy. Now a jeera packer, he lives a simple life with his wife and son. But he’s troubled with the thought of his life’s achievement, his Taj Mahal. To satisfy this emptiness he sets out to kill the Chief Minister, believing it his raison d’être. It’s a tough goal with hurdles and a lot to lose. Life after will never be the same again. Will the Jeera Packer really thrown it all away, his good life for a moment of glory?

Impressions

 
I hadn’t realised it as I read the book but now I’m thinking of it, I just don’t remember the protagonist being named, he is simply the Jeera Packer through the book. Hence apt title, eh? The cover with it’s old-world UP gangster feel and title written in Hindi, totally appeals to me.

The plot isn’t like anything I’ve read before. Prashant Yadav managed to surprise me a few times. Set in UP, the backdrop of central India adds to the story & politics; in my minds eye, it was like watching an Anurag Kashyap movie. The story holds a good pace with a climax I never saw coming.

Characters

 
The characters of The Jeera Packer are sketched out well, and each character grows and gets richer as the story goes along. The local dada who is now a The Dada in politics, the Professor his brother who loves him yet yearns the chair, his steward Lal Mani who has proved his genius by surviving, and the Jeera Packer, a man who left Dada’s side to live the normal life and now wants to kill him. There are a lot of supporting characters too, each one adding meaning to the tale.

Story and Style

 
Prashant Yadav has a different writing style, the likes of which I’ve not read before. It took the first few chapters for me to grasp his style, but after I got the groove of it, the story rolled out beautifully. The language of the book is simple with lots of Bollywood dialogues and references thrown in. I enjoyed and even laughed out at some of the references and connections.
There’s a lot of Bullet philosophy and trivia I connected to in the book too. I smiled many a time at the references of a fellow Bulleteer.

In Short

 
I enjoyed reading The Jeera Packer, it’s good masala, an Indian Mid-West tale with a good pace and strong dialogues. If you like dark, emotional, filmy, action novels, The Jeera Packer would be perfect for you.

Buy On: Amazon US | Amazon India

About the Author:

 
Prashant Yadav - The Jeera Packer
A little boy who never grew up. A wise man who didn’t need to. A smartass who didn’t bother. Prashant Yadav went to IIT Kharagpur, IIM Ahmedabad & Stockholm School of Economics. He runs his own company, advises start-ups and practices karate.
 
Author Links:
WebsiteGoodReads │ Twitter – @pr_ashantyadav
 
 

September 23, 2017   No Comments

Spotlight: Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery

Author: L.M. Montgomery

Narrator: Colleen Winton

Length: 8 hours 20 minutes

Publisher: Post Hypnotic Press

Series: Anne of Green Gables, Book Three

Genre: Classics

 

Anne of the Island was published in 1915, seven years after the best-selling Anne of Green Gables, partly because of the continuing clamor for more Anne from her fans – a fan base that continues to grow today!
In this continuation of the story of Anne Shirley, Anne leaves Green Gables and her work as a teacher in Avonlea to pursue her original dream (which she gave up in Anne of Green Gables) of taking further education at Redmond College in Nova Scotia. Gilbert Blythe and Charlie Sloane enroll as well, as does Anne’s friend from Queen’s Academy, Priscilla Grant. During her first week of school, Anne befriends Philippa Gordon, a beautiful girl whose frivolous ways charm her. Philippa (Phil for short) also happens to be from Anne’s birthplace of Bolingbroke, Nova Scotia. Anne, always the good scholar, studies hard, but she also has many life lessons. This book sees Anne leave behind girlhood to blossom into a mature young woman.

AudiblePost Hypnotic Press

➜Use the code Anne_VT17 to get 35% off downloads and CDs from Post Hypnotic Press.

Lucy Maud Montgomery OBE (November 30, 1874 – April 24, 1942) was a Canadian author best known Anne of Green Gables and the series of novels that book begins. The “Anne” of the books is Anne Shirley, an orphaned girl who comes to live with Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert on their farm, Green Gables. Published in 1908, the book was an immediate success in Canada, the United States and beyond. It has been adapted multiple times to screen, stage, radio, and TV.

Anne Shirley made Montgomery famous in her lifetime and gave her an international following. Anne of Green Gables was ranked number 41 in “The Big Read,” a survey of the British public by BBC to determine the “nation’s best-loved novel” (not children’s novel!). And a survey conducted by School Library Journal (USA) in 2012 ranked Anne of Green Gables number nine among all-time children’s novels.
Anne of Green Gables was followed by a series of sequels with Anne as the central character. Montgomery published 20 novels as well as 530 short stories, 500 poems, and 30 essays in her lifetime. Her work, diaries and letters have been read and studied by scholars and readers worldwide. Mostly set in Prince Edward Island and locations within Canada’s smallest province, the books made PEI a literary landmark and popular tourist site. Montgomery was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1935.
WebsiteFacebookTwitterPinterest
Narrator Bio

Colleen is a Vancouver actor, singer, dancer, director and choreographer…and now a narrator. Her career has taken her all over the country and includes the Stratford, Shaw and Charlottetown Festivals, the original Canadian companies of CATS and Show Boat, extensive film/TV credits, and numerous directing/choreographing credits. Her stage work has been honoured with numerous nominations and a Jessie and Ovation award and she received a cultural award given by her local Chamber of Commerce. She was especially pleased to have recorded the works of L.M. Montgomery for Post Hypnotic Press just before she embarked on a production of the musical Anne of Green Gables at Theatre Calgary in which she plays Marilla Cuthbert.

 

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Post Hypnotic Press. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Anne of Green Gables Giveaway: Three Winners

Aug. 13th:
History From A Woman’s Perspective
Spunky ‘N Sassy

Aug. 14th:
A Lovelorn Virgo
2 Girls and A Book
Tara’s Book Addiction

Aug. 15th:
Dab of Darkness
Joy of Bookworms
Canadian Book Addict

Aug. 16th:
CGB Blog Tours
A Book and A Latte
Macarons and Paperbacks
Lilly’s Book World

Aug. 17th:
To Read Or Not To Read
Jorie Loves A Story
Reading for the Stars and Moon
Notes From ‘Round the Bend
Haddie’s Haven

Aug. 18th:
The Maiden’s Court
The Book Slayer
Jorie Loves A Story
Hall Ways

Aug. 19th:
Christian Chick’s Thoughts
Lomeraniel
Life As Freya
Bound 4 Escape
WTF Are You Reading?

➜Sign up as a host here

August 19, 2017   1 Comment

Audio Book Review: Aranya by Marc Secchia, Narrated by Siromi Arserio

Aranya by Marc Secchia
 

Aranya by Marc Secchia

Narrated by Siromi Arserio

Summary:

(Goodreads)

Chained to a rock and tossed off a cliff by her boyfriend, Aranya is executed for high treason against the Sylakian Empire. Falling a league into the deadly Cloudlands is not a fate she ever envisaged. But what if she did not die? What if she could spread her wings and fly?

Long ago, Dragons ruled the Island-World above the Cloudlands. But their Human slaves cast off the chains of Dragonish tyranny. Humans spread across the Islands in their flying Dragonships, colonising, building and warring. Now, the all-conquering Sylakians have defeated the last bastion of freedom–the Island-Kingdom of Immadia.

Evil has a new enemy. Aranya, Princess of Immadia. Dragon Shapeshifter.

 
Aranya by Marc Secchia, Narrated by Siromi Arserio
Title: Aranya
Author: Marc Secchia
Narrator: Siromi Arserio
Paperback: 454 pages/14h 33m
Publisher: Amazon CreateSpace (June 13th 2014)
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Dragons
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: So-so

Narration: Clear but Grows on you

Readability, language: Easy and Simple

Why did I choose this book: I haven’t read a dragon story since Eragon and Aranya promised even more, a shape-shifter dragon!

Aranya, Princess of Immadia is taken hostage by Sylakia, a island country that has ruthlessly conquered the island world. Aranya dreams of a black dragon and can set things on fire when she loses control of her emotions but she is unable to understand what it all means, until she gets thrown off a cliff for high treason.

Falling to her death, she transforms and finds her true self, an amethyst dragon. Flying away from death she sets out to learn more about herself and bring the tyrant Sylakian empire to heel.

A dragon shape-shifter, a dragon rider, dragon monks, dragon ships, an island world, tyrant rulers, and more made for a plot that felt quite new. The story centers around Aranya as she learns what it means to be a dragon, in the process we get introduced to different people, places and history of the island world.

Set in a large world made up of islands, from cold Immadia to warm sunny Remoy. There are oceans, cloud lands, volcanos, and different races of people in this world. Marc Secchia brings it all to life with his words, and the flying height and sight of a dragon make it even more beautiful.

Aranya is the protagonist of the story but Zuziana, princess of Remoy has an important role to play too. Aranya first meets Zuziana in the Sylakian tower and there begins their stormy friendship. They almost can’t stand the sight of each other but circumstances bring them together and as they get to know each other, they become fast friends, with Zuziana finally becoming Dragon Aranya’s rider. There are other characters too, quite a few of them and some of them make an impression. King Baran – Aranya’s father, Riaryan – the dragon monk, Yolathion – third hammer & the man she loves.

The story is structured well with Aranya discovering her powers in the first part, then going on a journey of discovery in the next and finally fighting for a cause in the third. The start of the story is slow until Aranya shape shifts for the first time, however Marc Secchia has used these initial chapters well to establish a few ideas and relationships. Once past this the pace picks up and hold well until climax. I did feel a drop of pace though between fights which are adrenaline packed with detail.

The story has little subplots through out and most of them add to the story. At the end though a lot of new sub-plots are introduced and most of them are left as unanswered loose ends to be completed and answered.

I listened to Aranya on Audible, narrated by Siromi Arserio. The language of the book lends itself well to listening, with language being simple and easy to follow. I’m not sure if it was me or the narrator, but Siromi Arserio’s voice took some getting used to however once I did, I enjoyed listening to her right to the end, all of 14 hours and 33 minutes.

Overall Aranya was a good choice to read/listen, Marc Secchia brings a beautiful world and a beautiful dragon with magic together to spin a tale I got hooked to, I can’t wait to read book 2. If you like YA Dragon Fantasy, Aranya is just the book for you.

Buy On: Amazon US | Audible | Amazon India

About the Author:

 
Marc Secchia - AranyaMarc is a South African-born dragon masquerading as an author, who loves writing about dragons and Africa, preferably both at the same time. He lives and works in Ethiopia with his wife and 4 children, 2 dogs and a variable number of marabou storks that roost on the acacia trees out back. On a good night there are also hyenas patrolling the back fence.
He’s the author of 21 fantasy books in 3 languages.
 
 
Shiromi Arserio - AranyaA native of London, England, Shiromi Arserio is a stage actor, voice talent and audiobook narrator. She holds a B.A. in Theatre from Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance. In addition to narrating dozens of audiobooks, her voice can be heard in documentaries, e-learning projects and video games such as Nancy Drew: The Shattered Medallion. Shiromi currently resides in the Seattle area with her husband and her two furbabies.
 
 
Author Links:
WebsiteGoodReads │ Twitter – @MarcAuthorFacebook Page
 

August 15, 2017   1 Comment

Spotlight: Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery

Author: L.M. Montgomery

Narrator: Colleen Winton

Length: 9 hours 5 minutes

Publisher: Post Hypnotic Press

Series: Anne of Green Gables, Book Two

Genre: Classics

 

Following Anne of Green Gables (1908), this book covers the second chapter in the life of Anne Shirley. We learn of Anne’s doings from the age of 16 to 18, during the two years that she teaches at Avonlea school. It includes many of the characters from Anne of Green Gables, as well as new ones: Mr. Harrison and his foul-mouthed parrot, Miss Lavendar Lewis, Paul Irving, and the twins Dora (sweet and well behaved) and Davy (mischievious and in constant trouble). Anne matures, slightly, but she gets into a number of her familiar pickles, as only Anne can: She accidentally sells her neighbor’s cow (having mistaken it for her own), gets stuck in a broken duck house roof while peeping into a pantry window, and more.

AudiblePost Hypnotic Press

➜Use the code Anne_VT17 to get 35% off downloads and CDs from Post Hypnotic Press.

Lucy Maud Montgomery OBE (November 30, 1874 – April 24, 1942) was a Canadian author best known Anne of Green Gables and the series of novels that book begins. The “Anne” of the books is Anne Shirley, an orphaned girl who comes to live with Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert on their farm, Green Gables. Published in 1908, the book was an immediate success in Canada, the United States and beyond. It has been adapted multiple times to screen, stage, radio, and TV.

Anne Shirley made Montgomery famous in her lifetime and gave her an international following. Anne of Green Gables was ranked number 41 in “The Big Read,” a survey of the British public by BBC to determine the “nation’s best-loved novel” (not children’s novel!). And a survey conducted by School Library Journal (USA) in 2012 ranked Anne of Green Gables number nine among all-time children’s novels.
Anne of Green Gables was followed by a series of sequels with Anne as the central character. Montgomery published 20 novels as well as 530 short stories, 500 poems, and 30 essays in her lifetime. Her work, diaries and letters have been read and studied by scholars and readers worldwide. Mostly set in Prince Edward Island and locations within Canada’s smallest province, the books made PEI a literary landmark and popular tourist site. Montgomery was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1935.
WebsiteFacebookTwitterPinterest
Narrator Bio

Colleen is a Vancouver actor, singer, dancer, director and choreographer…and now a narrator. Her career has taken her all over the country and includes the Stratford, Shaw and Charlottetown Festivals, the original Canadian companies of CATS and Show Boat, extensive film/TV credits, and numerous directing/choreographing credits. Her stage work has been honoured with numerous nominations and a Jessie and Ovation award and she received a cultural award given by her local Chamber of Commerce. She was especially pleased to have recorded the works of L.M. Montgomery for Post Hypnotic Press just before she embarked on a production of the musical Anne of Green Gables at Theatre Calgary in which she plays Marilla Cuthbert.

 

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Post Hypnotic Press. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Anne of Green Gables Giveaway: Three Winners

Aug. 6th:
History From A Woman’s Perspective
Spunky ‘N Sassy

Aug. 7th:
The Book Slayer
A Book and A Latte
Tara’s Book Addiction

Aug. 8th:
CGB Blog Tours
2 Girls and A Book
Lilly’s Book World

Aug. 9th:
The Maiden’s Court
Macarons and Paperbacks
Canadian Book Addict

Aug. 10th:
Jorie Loves A Story
Notes From ‘Round the Bend
Dab of Darkness
Haddie’s Haven

Aug. 11th:
To Read Or Not To Read
Joy of Bookworms
Hall Ways
Bound 4 Escape

Aug. 12th:
Lomeraniel
Forever Literary
Life As Freya
WTF Are You Reading?

➜Sign up as a host here

August 12, 2017   No Comments

Audio Book Review: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, Narrated by Colleen Winton

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
 

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Narrated by Colleen Winton

Summary:

(Goodreads)

Anne, a young orphan from the fictional community of Bolingbroke, Nova Scotia, is sent to Prince Edward Island after a childhood spent in strangers’ homes and orphanages. Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, siblings in their fifties and sixties, had decided to adopt a boy from the orphanage to help Matthew run their farm. They live at Green Gables, their Avonlea farmhouse on Prince Edward Island. Through a misunderstanding, the orphanage sends Anne Shirley.

 
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Title: Anne of Green Gables
Author: Lucy Maud Montgomery
Narrator: Colleen Winton
Paperback: 320 pages/10h 7m
Publisher: Post Hypnotic Press (May 30th 2013, first published 1908)
Genre: Classics, Historical, YA
Read: audio book

Stars: ★★★★★
Buy On: Amazon US | Audible | Amazon India

 

My Review:

Note: I received this book from Post Hypnotic Press via AudioBookworm Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Cover: Classic

Narration: Clear, Cheery, Engaging

Readability, language: Easy and Simple

Why did I choose this book: I first read Anne of Green Gables as a child; I must have been really young as apart from remembering that I’ve read the book, I don’t remember much else. In the last few years I have found myself wanting to read the book again, so when I received a review request for the audio version I jumped at it.

Anne of Green Gables is the story of 11 year old Anne Shirley an orphan girl who is sent to the Cuthberts by mistake. The elderly siblings Matthew and Marilla had planned to adopt a young boy to help around the farm but Anne arrives instead. Anne will have to prove she is worth keeping if she is to stay and not get sent back.

First published in 1908, this classic is over a hundred years old and yet the story resonated with me. I found myself falling in love with Anne and wishing the book would never end. The story covers 6 years of Anne’s life with the Cuthbert’s, going to school, making friends and even her changing perspective of boys.

Set on the Green Gables farm and in the fictional town of Avonlea (modeled after Montgomery’s hometown of Cavendish), Anne is a most delightful companion to explore the terrain. Montgomery’s descriptions bring it all to life in way that made me feel I was right there and Anne’s imaginings had me grinning remembering the child I was many years ago, her imagination made the trees, the greens, the lake and every thing else more that they were, packed with life, stories and beauty.

When I started out listening to Anne of Green Gables, I didn’t think I would connect with a 11 year old child, but a soon as Anne made her entry I was hooked. A chatty red head with freckles, Anne is a child in her talk and imaginings but with a knack for saying the most uncanny truths. She made me sit up and notice the world around me in a different light.

Anne is forgetful, silly, stubborn, blunt but pure at heart. She wins over not just Marilla but all the people around her, slowly but surely. She forgets to put flour in her cake, gets her best friend Diana Barry drunk by mistake, tells Mrs. Lyne just what she thinks of her and yet they can’t help but love her, for she is also the child who loves and gives with all her heart.

Marilla and Matthew are two other characters I loved. Matthew is a man of few words, simple in his ways with a quiet strength of character. He is happy to listen to Anne ramble on and on, seeing her for who she truly is. Marilla is a strict lady with rules and set ways of doing things, who starts out unsure if keeping Anne is the right thing to do but gradually is bowled over.

There are just so many things I loved about Anne, so many incidents and situations that had me smiling and laughing sometimes as Anne gets herself into a spot and then with childlike magic gets out of it too. You just can’t help falling in love with her, she’s such a kindred spirit. Through the book she grows up, slowing learning and changing into an adult and yet she still has her childlike heart, pure and in the right place.

There is so much I wanted to list out in this review, so much I wanted to say about Anne, but words don’t seem enough and I just can’t make up my mind on which incidents to relate and which dialogues to share, there are just so many. You are just going to have to read or listen to the book.

I chose to listen and I am so glad I did. Colleen Winton has done a kickass job narrating Anne of Green Gables. She brings Anne to life, at times it felt like Anne was actually here, right with me and not a 100 year old character. Her diction is clear, her voice melodious and easy on the ears. Each character intoned and voiced differently so I was never got mixed up with the characters. It was 10 hours of blissful listening and I can’t wait to get started on Anne of Avonlea, the next in the series.

I strongly suggest you read Anne of Green Gables if you haven’t already. And if you have, then listen to it, it was just such a wonderful 10 hours I spent, I want to do it all over again.

Buy On: Amazon US | Audible | Amazon India

About the Author:

 
L.M. Montgomery - Anne of Green GablesLucy Maud Montgomery OBE (November 30, 1874 – April 24, 1942) was a Canadian author best known for Anne of Green Gables and the series of novels that book begins. Montgomery published 20 novels as well as 530 short stories, 500 poems, and 30 essays in her lifetime. Her work, diaries and letters have been read and studied by scholars and readers worldwide. Mostly set in Prince Edward Island and locations within Canada’s smallest province, the books made PEI a literary landmark and popular tourist site. Montgomery was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1935.
 
 
Colleen Winton - Anne of Green GablesColleen is a Vancouver actor, singer, dancer, director and choreographer…and now a narrator. Her stage work has been honoured with numerous nominations and a Jessie and Ovation award. After having recorded the works of L.M. Montgomery for Post Hypnotic Press, she has embarked on a production of the musical Anne of Green Gables at Theatre Calgary in which she plays Marilla Cuthbert.
 
 
Author Links:
WebsiteGoodReads │ Twitter – @Post_HypnoticFacebook Page
 

LMM signed photo Credit: Library and Archives Canada / C-011299

August 5, 2017   1 Comment

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