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Review: Bookling’s Crate Book Subscription Box

Bookling's Crate Feb. 2017 Box

When I bought my first box there was no plan of unboxing boxes through the year, I just wanted to try out one box, so I started out with the cheapest box I could find, the Bookling’s Crate. But when the box arrived there was nothing cheap about it, instead it started an addiction I’m trying hard to keep in tight rein. 😉

Until now, I have unboxed two of the Bookling’s Crate boxes. The first in January, themed ‘Dreams of Heart’, left me unsure and I decided to withhold review until I could budget in another box. But I got lucky and I won a second box. 😀
**This is to say they have cool contests and that the following is an unbiased review. :) **

Bookling's Crate Jan. 2017 Box

Affordability

★★★★★

The Bookling’s Crate boxes are priced at Rs.799. If you have a code, then you can get a discount on that too! And if you buy a 3 months or 6 months subscription, you pay less that 799 a month.

What can I say, it screams “I’m affordable!!!”.

Value for Money

★★★★★

One of the cool things, the Bookling’s Crate box contains, is a list of items with prices, so I didn’t have to hunt the prices down. Here’s the numbers of each box –
January – 5 items – worth Rs. 1029.
February – 7 items – worth Rs.1196

In sheer numbers, I’ve got my money’s worth. And more I’d say, based on their second box.

Quality of Packaging

★★★★★

Both my boxes came packed well with lots of padding and bubble wrap, arriving in perfect condition. Each item packed well and tucked in well, so as to make for safe transport and an interesting unboxing.

Theme and Book Choice

★★★★☆

The January box was themed ‘Dreams of Heart’. The book was Heartless by Marissa Meyer, an excellent choice in my opinion as I’ve heard good things about the book from friends and it’s rated highly on GR – 4.09. Along with the book was a heart shaped scented vanilla candle from D’Lite Decorative, two sachets of green tea from Tea Treasure, a pack of golden playing cards, a small dreamcatcher on a keychain from MeSha Creations, 4 Harry Potter themed bookmarks, 2 Heartless themed bookmarks and a quote card.

All the items connect to each other and the theme in some way, but somehow it all didn’t sit well together for me, or maybe it’s because I’m not much of a candles and cards person. Hmm…

The February box themed ‘Ready for Anything’ had Freeks by Amanda Hocking as it’s book. I haven’t heard of this book but I have heard of Amanda Hocking and aside from that, this book has such a gorgeous cover. The book also resonated with me because I’ve just finished listening to Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and Freeks I think will help with the Night Circus hangover I’m experiencing. 😀 (GR rating 3.68)
Apart from the book, the box also had a pencil cum wand from BlitheringCannon, two blends of coffee from BeanStalknLeaves, a leaf shaped metal bookmark from MeSha Creations, two Yoga bars, a Harry Potter themed tote bag and two bookmarks with quotes on them.

Unlike the January box, this box had me instantly connecting. Every item had me grinning gleefully, the items all connected and sat well with the theme; I don’t know why, they just did. 😀
I’d have given 3 stars in this section based on the January box but February bowed me over to 4 stars.

Joy of Unboxing

★★★★★

I absolutely enjoyed unboxing both my Bookling’s Crate boxes. The second one even more I think because I knew of some things in the box and I’d had to wait overnight to open my box. 😉

The videos above are the best gauge of my joy. I felt like such a child opening these boxes, experiencing pure unadulterated happiness for a little while as I immersed myself in each box.

Summary

.
I definitely recommend the Bookling’s Crate book subscription box. It hits all my checkboxes.
I’d like to see that something hatke in the theme and packaging that would make them unique but that would be a bonus. Just as it is, the Bookling’s Crate box is bang for your buck. Get it! :)

You can book your Bookling’s Crate box for just Rs.719.10. Use the code FREYA10 to get a 10% discount. (The box costs Rs.799/-).
{Please use the code or let Uthara who runs Bookling’s Crate know you came from me. They have a referral program too with goodies to be won. :) }

February 20, 2017   2 Comments

A Year of Unboxing and Reviews of Book Subscription Boxes

A Year of Unboxing Book Subscription Boxes

Last year I discovered Bookstagram, a large community of bibliophiles and book lovers on Instagram, and a new world opened up. Among challenges, book tags and what not’s, book subscription boxes also started to pop-up on my stream and I was enthralled. I drooled as I checked out the boxes, my heart craving and longing but the rational mind reminded me that shipping to India was way out of my budget. :(

Book Subscription Boxes, are a curated collection of books and bookish goodies based usually on a theme, packed in a box. The key to these boxes is the surprise factor and the simple joy of presents, materialistic ones, but hey, what the hell! :) And then some boxes like the ‘Once Upon A Book Club’ box go the extra by making the theme the book, so you get a bunch of goodies that come wrapped and marked with page numbers, and you open them as you read the book! (Gawd, I can’t wait to try this one.)
 
The Bookling's Crate and BooksnBeyond January 2017 Boxes

Then suddenly in January, I discovered Indian Book Subscription Boxes, first one, then another and then a flood of them. These were now affordable and I wanted all of them but that damn rational mind kicked in again to say, in those numbers they were again unaffordable. However this time, the bugger also had an alternative. How about one box a month through the year?

And there in lies the seed. So, this year I’ve set a budget of a 1500 bucks a month to buy a book box. That money can move around based on cost of boxes, what I mean is that whatever I save each month (if a box is less than 1.5k), will collect and I’m hoping to use it in the end of the year to treat myself to some of those US and UK based boxes. Yay! 😀

 
Watching my first unboxing video, I discovered the joy of watching a joyful experience, my own experience at that. It struck me that I should document my year of subscription boxes, in text, images and video. So, this year there will be at least one unboxing video a month, one book subscription box review and lots of photos and stories on Instagram of book boxes and their contents. :)

Review Parameters

 
In the spirit of fairness, I put some thoughts down on what I’d be reviewing a box on, plus it would help in writing the review. 😉

1. Affordability
2. Value for money
3. Quality of Packaging
4. Theme and Book Choice
5. Joy of Unboxing

Unboxed Book Subscription Boxes

 
Here’s the list of boxes I’ve unboxed by month (I’ll keep adding to it as I go along :) )

January

Bookling’s Crate

February

BooksnBeyond

 

Bookling’s Crate

(coming soon)
 
I’m already enjoying myself so much with these boxes, I can’t wait for the next month to arrive. :)
What do you think? I’d love to know. Have you tried subscription boxes? What was your experience? Any recommendations for me?
 

Photo Credit: Alexas_Fotos on Pixabay

February 18, 2017   No 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

2016: My Yearly Reading Review

2016: My Year in Books

2016: My Yearly Reading Review

 

“Sometimes in order to keep moving forward, not only must you take one step at a time, but you must be willing to look back occasionally and evaluate your past, no matter how painful it is. Looking back lets you know whether or not you are headed in the right direction.”
― G.K. Adams

Before I begin planning my read year in 2017, I thought I’d revisit 2016 to see how I fared in my reading life. I do this every year but this time I thought I’d make a video of it. :)

This is a two part video. In the first part I talk about

– My book stats
– How this is the lowest reading year since 2011
– Experimenting with audio books
– Participating in the Ninja Book Swap
– Why Kindle Unlimited didn’t work out for me
– Learnings from all this data. Things to keep in mind for 2017.

How was your reading year in 2016? Any milestones crossed? What were your challenges?

January 10, 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

Why You Should Also Participate in the Autumn Ninja Book Swap

The Autumn Ninja Book Swap

Autumn Ninja Book Swap

I’m a self-proclaimed booknerd, I love anything books, well almost. But the ninja book swap isn’t just anything; it’s this cool funky fun way to get more books, get gorgeous book paraphernalia and make some wonderful bookish friends.

This year I’ve been exploring the world of books outside of the book. I’ve been looking up podcasts, booktubers, book subscription boxes, bookmarks, book holders, … you name it. 😀

It was while searching for book subscription boxes that I first came across The Ninja Book Swap. I’d already missed the first swap of the year, but I marked my calendar and waited for the next one, I wanted to try it out, exchanging books with a stranger sounded like such a novel-fun idea to me.

Ninja Book Swap

My first and only ever ninja book swap before this was the Mini Swap in June. I signed up, created my list of books and started waiting for the actual exchange. By the time Bex’s email arrived a few days later, I was super excited and all charged up. I couldn’t wait.

I was so impatient, I sent off the book I chose immediately, deciding to send my letter separately to follow. Then another wait, this time to receive my package began. The book came a week later, followed by a letter a few more days later. Seems my partner thought just like me. 😀

My Ninja Book Swap

The whole exchange was so much fun, the initial anticipation, choosing a book for someone else, waiting for my book, the surprise of someone else’s choice, getting to know not one but two bookish folk. Yep, it was only after I got my bookswap parcel, that I realised that the person I sent a book to was not the one who sent me a book. 😛

Now, it’s time for another book Swap and I’m again, super excited. Sign-ups for the Autumn Ninja Bookshop are open and I can’t wait for pairing up to begin. (sign-ups close Oct. 2).

If you’ve never participated in a bookswap before, do it, it’s so fun, and don’t wait, join this one. It’ll be so cool to have friends in the swap. Tell me in comments if you are participating in the Autumn Ninja Book Swap.

 

Here’s some stuff you need to know about the Autumn Ninja Book Swap.

 

  1. You can sign up for a swap on theninjabookswap.blogspot.in.
  2. There are two types of swaps – mini swaps and full swaps.
    Mini Swap – one book & a personal note
    Full Swap – one book, a gift or two & a personal note
  3. Sometimes swaps have themes, like this one is Trick or Treat, but you can also just do the original version, or both. 😀
  4. Make your choice of book and gift based on a list of your partner’s likes and dislikes and their bookish wishlist.
  5. Then make a nice shiny package and send it to your partner before the deadline.
  6. Lastly, start watching out for your package in the mail. 😉

 

  • More details about the Autumn Ninja Book Swap here
  • Read about How it Works (all the rules and terms) before signing-up.
  • More questions? Read the FAQ’s
  • Follow @NinjaBookSwap on Twitter for updates and announcements of swaps.
  • The Ninja Book Swap is an international event and Indian residents can participate (however some other countries may not be covered. Please check website).

That’s about it, it’s rather simple but it’s so much fun. I haven’t yet forgotten the excitement of last times swap and that was a mini swap. This time it’s a full swap with an additional theme twist. I’m all in for the original but can’t make up my mind on whether to do the the theme twist too. What do you think? Two swaps?? Are you participating???

September 24, 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