GENRE: Fiction - Thriller
NUMBER OF PAGES: 352
SERIES / STANDALONE: Pero Baltazar #1
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy as a part of iRead Book tours in exchange for an honest review. Thank you guys!
Having read the first installment in the Sci-Fi series, I quite knew what to expect. I really didn’t enjoy that book due to various reasons, but as a reviewer, I knew better not to be prejudiced. After all, this book belongs to a different genre – a genre which I’m most comfortable with and love reading.
A regular safari shoot by two people who are pros at it –Mbuno – The guide and Pero Baltazar – the producer – what is the possibly of things going wrong? Especially when you are shooting at open plains with no civilization in play! Everything is bound to go wrong when there is an imminent threat from a terrorist cell. Reason – the show is being hosted by Mary, the daughter of world’s top television evangelist who has a mass gather planned in Nairobi, Kenya. They must combine forces to thwart the attack. However, that isn’t simple, thanks to Pero’s moonlighting job as clandestine courier to the US State Department. Do they escape? Read the book, I’m not letting out spoilers, certainly not for this book.
The writing as such felt a bit different when compared his other book. The sentences were less choppy and plot was quite logical, tight and flawless. The characterization, however, was a wee bit superfluous. I really couldn’t relate with the motivations and aspirations of the characters as far as major characters are concerned. However, there were few minor characters, who did a way better job and for which the writer is to be lauded. The plot as I mentioned earlier was quite flawless in terms of logic, but the layering was even better. Pacing on the other hand was uneven – the story started off being a bit slow for my taste but thankfully picked up much needed momentum. With rich detailing on the scenes of Africa and its culture, the book was is a treat to read for people like me who love detailing.
MY SAY: Thriller good enough!
AUTHOR LINKS : Website Twitter Facebook
BOOK LINKS : Amazon Barnes & Noble Chapters/Indigo
GENRE: Fiction - Thriller
NUMBER OF PAGES: 372
SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy from Pump Up Your Books in exchange for an honest review! Thank you guys!
Dan brown and Steve Berry have used and abused topic like god, holy grail, the fight between good and evil, the fight between science and religion. Every other book that I pick belonging with the same type of setting, I hope the writer does come up with something original. This writer did bring in a refreshing change but not where I expected.
Nina, our protagonist, is a university professor who accepts an assignment to authenticate a long lost table which would be the gateway to heaven. Things take a nasty turn when she realizes she has been betrayed and is being chased by a mad man billionaire – Van Der Venn, with expansive resources at disposal. Joining hands with her is the charming hotelier, Alessandro, who has his own motivations with regards to the Venn. They end up travelling to India to cut the chase and unlock the mystery.
I couldn’t help but draw parallels to Dan brown’s books – The character of Nina and Robert Langdon were similar in a way that they had their fair share of a tormented past. They are both professors who end up getting involved in dangerous things. They travel to other county to solve mystery. So to me, initially the book was a bit boring – that is until the writer established his premise. Once he moved on to the actual chase, the sequence of events got interesting. Being from India, I wasn’t really amused with writer’s description of Jaipur and it railway station. Having visited both, I can vouch that they aren’t as bad as the writer has projected. People writing about my country seem to be of opinion that we have dusty roads, poor infrastructure and a horrible traffic – Judging the entire country by visiting one place isn’t exactly a wise thing to do. And no, not all of us gawk at foreigners or pull their hair. I wasn’t really amused by that part of the story, though I won’t deny it is not known to happen.
The writing as such was good with smooth narration. However, the characters and their motivation seemed to fall flat a bit due to uncanny similarities with other books.
MY SAY: It’s an okay read!
AUTHOR LINKS : Goodreads
BOOK LINKS : Amazon
GENRE: Fiction – Paranormal Short Stories
NUMBER OF PAGES: 155
SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy as a part of TBC book tours sent by the publishers in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.
I seem to be on a short story reading spree. I don’t regret it one bit. When I like what I’m reading, there isn’t a need to complain at all. So diving straight in,
There were 5 stories in the collection with all stories being paranormal in nature.
The First story – First Love - For someone sailing on the same boat, I could relate with the story a lot. The climax though was predictable, nevertheless it was heart breaking.
The Second story – The Story Teller–Having seen what Tsunami was capable of, this story hit home. Emotions of loss hit home for me.
The Third Story – Reminiscence – Mundane tasks couldn’t have been narrated possibly in a better manner.
The Fourth story – Happiness Clinic - Aptly titled. The story was just more than a tale of a man finding his way out from depression, it was the tale of how the life of a woman is impacted post marriage.
The Last Story – Best Friends Forever – My personal favourite. Hallucinations and supernatural elements, when mixed, result in something explosively thrilling. This story was just that – it was simply too good. The played her strength here – psychology.
Writing and Characterization
With a fabulous vocabulary and brilliant narration, this book was one treat to read. The phrasing was perfect and conveyed all the right emotions. However, the characterization is debate worthy. Raghavan’s character in third story seemed so well developed with Prerna’s character in the last story lacked finesse. In sense, I felt the writer focused more on Alice’s character instead of that of Prerna’s. This might be justified due to the very story line of that story.
MY SAY: Neatly packaged book. Must read for paranormal fiction lovers.
To know more about this book, Head here.
Someone's Always Waiting
ENCOUNTERS is a potpourri of five sumptuous stories involving a motley crew of protagonists. Skating along the borders of fantasy and paranormal themes, the stories track incredible and poignant journeys of self-discovery, tracing the cathartic aftermath of fleeting encounters.
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Sumana was born and raised in Bengaluru, Karnataka, where she went on to graduate with a BSc in Electronics, much to the surprise of her teachers, and relief of her parents. In what can only be described as a quirk of fate, she ended up as an IT consultant - a role she essayed for more than a decade. She then moved to the UK where she quit her job and pursued academic and literary interests. The result of this pursuit has been two Masters, one published book, quite a few manuscript drafts, and above all, being stone-broke perpetually.
She currently lives in the UK with her husband and several books.
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About the Book:
Perfect for fans of Jojo Moyesâs, Me Before You, My Last Love Story is a heartbreakingly romantic tale about the complexities of trauma and whether love can right a wrong.
I, Simeen Desai, am tired of making lemonade with the lemons life has handed me.
Love is meant to heal wounds.
Love was meant to make my world sparkle and spin.
Love has ripped my life apart and shattered my soul.
I love my husband, and he loves me.
But Nirvaan is dying.
I love my husband. I want to make him happy.
But he is asking for the impossible.
I donât want a baby.
I donât want to make nice with Zayaan.
I donât want another chance at another love story.
Conversation with Zayaan Khan from My Last Love Story.
Introduce yourself to our readers.
Hey! Iâm Zayaan KhanâZai to my friends. I have two younger sisters and a mother, and we live in London. Iâve come to Carmel-by-the-Sea to be with Nirvaan and also to finish my dissertation in Islamic studies.
Youâre a nerd, huh. Then, this question is perfect for you: If you could do something dangerous just once with no risk, what would you do?
Zai: Nirvaan and I have pretty much covered all the risky and dangerous things men can do. As of this moment, Iâd try any risky experimental medical procedure on Nirvaan to rid his head of tumors once and for all.
Whatâs the biggest lie you told in childhood?
Zai: That I love my brother. That he was redeemable in Allahâs eyes.
Which of your ancestors would you most like to meet?
Zai: My eight-times great grandfather who was a Sufi saint. Iâd love to meet him and discuss philosophy.
Is it more essential to develop beliefs or gain knowledge?
Zai: Gain knowledge, of course. Belief without knowledge is a waste and an error. Knowledge is reason. Belief can be unreasonable.
Heavy. Letâs end on a fun note, shall we? Whatâs the most fun party you ever attended?
Zai: Myâourâfifteenth birthday party. It was at Dandi Beach back home in Gujarat. Itâs where weâNirvaan and Iâmet Simi.
And thatâs our five questions done. Thanks for being a sport. And I wish you find that experimental procedure for Nirvaan too.
At once heartbreaking, delightful and completely unexpected. A must read!
~ Sonali Dev, author of The Bollywood Affair
In My Last Love Story, Kothari examines love and loss, desire and desolation, with a deft, wry touch that kept me reading late into the night and moved me to tears.
~ Julia Tagan, author of Stages of Desire
About the Author:
Falguni Kothari is an internationally bestselling hybrid author and an amateur Latin and Ballroom dance silver medalist with a background in Indian Classical dance. She writes in a variety of genres sewn together by the colorful threads of her South Asian heritage and expat experiences. When not writing or dancing, she fools around on all manner of social media, and loves to connect with her readers. My Last Love Story is her fourth novel.
1 Copy of My Last Love Story by Falguni Kothari
Paperback Copy if the Winner is US or Indian Resident / eBook for other International Winner.
First look at The Conspiracy at Meru (Vikramaditya Veergatha # 2)
Guardians of the Halahala (Vikramaditya Veergatha # 1) has a new look as well!
The deadly Halahala, the all-devouring poison churned from the depths of the White Lake by the devas and asuras, was swallowed by Shiva to save the universe from extinction.
But was the Halahala truly destroyed?
A small portion still remains â a weapon powerful enough to guarantee victory to whoever possesses it. And both asuras and devas, locked in battle for supremacy, will stop at nothing to claim it.
As the forces of Devaloka and Patala, led by Indra and Shukracharya, plot to possess the Halahala, Shiva turns to mankind to guard it from their murderous clutches. It is now up to Samrat Vikramaditya and his Council of Nine to quell the supernatural hordes â and prevent the universe from tumbling into chaos!
A sweeping tale of honour and courage in the face of infinite danger, greed and deceit, The Guardians of the Halahala is a fantastical journey into a time of myth and legend.
Reviews for Guardians of the Halahala
The story is interknitted with action, brilliant storytelling, and insightful of mythological and legendary elements that get under your skin and challenge the way you perceive history, as only few of the talented authors can. ~ Shreya Ganguly @ The Notepad Reviews
I am intoxicated, drugged, and floating in a world that has come to conquer my senses since the last few days. The world of Vikramaditya. The world carved by author Shatrujeet Nath. ~ Amrit Sinha on Goodreads
The quality of writing is powerful and beautiful, almost surreal. ~ By Manish Mahajan on Amazon
In fact the only disappointing thing about this book was that the second part isn't ready yet. ~ Srikanth Sarathy on Amazon
About the Author
Door-to-door salesman, copywriter, business journalist & assistant editor at The Economic Times; Shatrujeet Nath was all this before he took to writing fiction full-time. He debuted with The Karachi Deception in 2013, followed by The Guardians of the Halahala and The Conspiracy at Meru, the first two books in the Vikramaditya Veergatha series. At present, he is writing volume three of the series. Shatrujeet lives in Mumbai, but spends much of his time in the fantasy worlds of his stories.
Also by the Author;
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GENRE: Fiction – Sci-Fi
NUMBER OF PAGES: 224
SERIES / STANDALONE: Tag #1
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy as a part of iRead book tours in exchange for an honest review. Thanks guys!
Imagining how life would be in years gives a vast playground for a writer to experiment and let loose their imagination. Peter Riva, the writer of this book has turned to the most predictable school of thought – what if at one point of time computers try to kill his very own creator.
Our protagonist Simon’s job is to ensure that the artificial intelligence system runs in top notch condition to help the smooth functioning of the county administration. Things take a violent turn when they very system threatens the existence of his life as well as other fellow human being's life. He is short on time and has to rely on his instincts to save the world.
Being an ardent fan of artificial intelligence and having worked on a project relating to AI, I found the story line relatable but a little far fetched. Of course, given that the book is a work of fiction, such an imagination is acceptable. Having said that, readers in general who aren’t acquainted with his concept of science would simply not see beyond lines of code. The writer could have avoided elaborating on that front. I felt the characterization was a bit superficial and lacked that conviction of a man on a mission. “Tempestuous” would be the right word to describe the writing. Few parts of the writing were really good while in few parts of the book the sentences were a bit abrupt. The writer certainly needs to be lauded for his brilliant sense of imagination. The plot line as such was riveting with enough sensible twists and turns.
MY SAY: For people who love pure Sci-Fi, this book is a treat.
AUTHOR LINKS: Website Twitter Facebook
BOOK LINKS: Amazon Barnes & Noble Book Depository Chapters/Indigo
GENRE: Fiction - Mystery
NUMBER OF PAGES: 209
SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy from the writer in exchange for an honest review. Thanks a lot Sharath :)
A proper mystery should be savored slowly like the famous South Indian filter coffee – The first sip will hit you like a tornado and simply would keep getting intense. The last sip would leave you intoxicated and floating in heaven – this story to me was just like that. From a true-blue filter coffee lover, this is the maximum compliment that can be doled out.
The village hostess is found murdered and body is sprawled in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. An inexperienced constable is tasked to investigate the case. Given her profession, the villagers are secretly happy that she is gone for good. This simply adds every other villager a suspect. With the help of the temple priest, the constable tries to solve the case.
With a plot which was simple yet well-developed and airtight logical, the book was an absolute utopic read for a hard core mystery lover like me. However, the writer followed the tried and tested method in solving a crime – Periodically add and delete every other character to the suspicion list and end with the most unsuspecting character. The characterization was equally good and matched the caliber of the plot. The writer gave equal importance for all the characters leaving no room for me to complain about the lack of focus on specific characters. The writing, needless to say is flawless and hugely reminds me of RK Narayan’s books. I’ve mentioned the same in the review of this other book – Donoor’s curse and I still stick to it. There was this debate in an online forum as to how writers fill the narration with transliteration of the local language to bring in authenticity. Sharath’s writing is the perfect example of how to bring in that Indian feel with minimal usage of transliterated local language. The highlight of the narration would be the visual imagery. Visualizing the quaint little village, the temple and the characters were no trouble at all
I really couldn’t find a single flaw. Been ages since I enjoyed a good mystery like this.
MY SAY: A must read book.
AUTHOR LINKS: Goodreads
BOOK LINKS: Goodreads, Amazon
PS. There was a strong accusation from a certain reader of my blog that I’ve been generous with the ratings as I receive books for free. I take this chance to reiterate my stand on being honest – My reviews are honest to point. I have no qualms in calling a rotten apple rotten. As far as the rating is concerned, I am no Shakespeare to rate writers. I ensure that the ratings are in accordance with the review I write. Amazon/Goodreads forces me to put out a rating, I wouldn’t really if given a choice. Using abusive language or giving out a one star rating doesn’t really solve the purpose of a review. A review is meant to be a critical criticism and not a mere rating.
In fact, I have a large collection of "To-Read" books which I purchased from my own hard earned money. Don't really have the need to write a stellar review to keep the supply of free books coming. Been book blogging for three plus years now, I've turned down more requests than I've accepted.
GENRE: Fiction – Short Stories
NUMBER OF PAGES: 260
SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy as a part of The Book Club book tours in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Rubina and Sujit
There is a general misconception that Short stories are difficult to read. In Fact, Publishers and writers believe that marketing a collection of short stories is simply grueling. However, there are enough people around like this writer Sujit Banerjee, who have gone on to prove that short stories can be as marketable as a full length novel. Accomplishing this however is no easy feat unless the writer is can adeptly handle characterization. Reviewing a collection of short stories is difficult, especially if there are 26 stories which are equally good. So here is my humble attempt in telling you about why I absolutely loved this book.
There were 26 stories, each named after a character alphabetically. Few stories had cliffhanger endings, while few were interlinked – as in they were narrated from multiple point of views. I’ve never read such stories. It was rather heart warming to reach such narrations. Most of the stories dealt with dark emotions – heart wrenching, soul stirring types.
Projecting various shades for a single character in a short story is simply impossible and would probably be imprudent. So this writer went to do it in a different way – but using multiple point of views. However, the writer more often than not ending up just showing the darker shades of the character. All the characters could either be classified as dark,darker and darkest. I was a bit disappointed that the writer didn’t capitalize on light hearted emotions which would have simply added variety. In spite of the characters being simply dark all the way, they made a lasting impression. My personal favourites being that of Farzhana, Manu and Siraj. The writer certainly needs to be lauded for one type of variety that he brought in – the characters – Unborn child, man on deathbed, Married woman, a lover. It was as if the writer observed people in a crowd and decided to write stories guessing about their lives and aspirations.
The language, the narration – the writing in short obviously was pretty clean and good. The writer used simple but effective sentence structuring to make his stories effective and convey fierce emotions. Just that all stories seemed a bit similar thanks to the gloomy theme, so phrasing may seem to be a bit repetitive while it is actually not.
Cover and Title
The cover was actually stark opposite of the stories from the book – it was bright and beautiful. The title however, didn’t make sense until I read about 3 stories. The book was indeed a ‘departure’ from your normal collection of short stories.
MY SAY: A great read.
To know more about this book or the writer head over to this page
RUKHSAT THE DEPARTURE
Where a story stops, another one begins. The thing with them is, they never walk alone. They always walk with a group of friends. Each reaches its own climax. Then with a final gasp of mortality and despair, fade away. No, they never die, they multiply. To the extent that the original gets lost and new ones are born. Over and over again. Yes, they get lost. No, they never die. They live on, permanently etched in the book of time. And from there, we borrow them and bring them alive. Again. And again. Here are twenty six of them, some standing alone and some chatting up with their long lost friends. When they depart, they leave a lingering fragrance of nostalgia and curiosity. What happened then?
Twenty-six alphabets, twenty-six names, and twenty-six short stories. Each exploring one unique emotion, taking you into the dark recess of the mind. Some frothy and most of them dark. Most standing alone and some facing a mirror, where the same story comes alive in two different ways, through two different protagonist . Meet myriad characters - from the single-minded prostitute to the man on the railways station bereft of any memory; a woman desperate for a biological child to a dead man's trial. Meet a jealous lover with a twisted brain and a gay man's memory of a one-night encounter. Meet twenty-six such characters arrested and sentenced for life inside the pages of a book. Each one leaving an indelible mark on your soul.
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Meet the Cast
Abhimanyu – In the Beginning
I felt the poison of anger raging around me, inside me, pulsating like an entity; anger at the one who betrayed and the one who took advantage of this betrayal. The anger of not being able to stop both. Then the flash of knife and the flowing blood, shimmering in the flames of the torches inside the chamber. Screams followed by hushed voices; bodies being dragged down a flight of stairs. The sound of digging and burying. Later, ruins all around as empires fell and one intrigue chased another through time while swords sliced and arrows whiz past, seeking hearts. Who was I and what was all this about? Why were most of the images that flitted through my head always dark and tinged with red? Rarely, very rarely were they warm and loving. So rarely were they, ever like the sun shining on a cold and shivering memory.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Born to Bengali parents in Lucknow, I grew up in Patna where I finished my post-graduation in Psychology and ended up becoming a tour operator instead of a Psychologist! Which was
good since a Bengali born in UP and reared in Bihar does not make a great Psychologist! Am I now glad to be in tourism? It has taken me all over the world including places you would have never heard of. Eh? How about Tlacotalpan? It’s in Mexico.
Destiny had other plans as well so I became a reluctant healer. A crazy Shaman in Mexico set the ball rolling and it has rolled all the way to Delhi. Today I both heal as well as read Tarot cards. My wife thinks I am mad. My friends think I am weird. I guess I am both.
My first story was published in a magazine when I was seventeen. The Editor made such a hash of it that I stopped sending out my stories but I continued writing. Then I broke my heart and started writing poems; first in Hindi and then in English. All personal collection. They still remain personal. I do shudder when I read some of them! Then the short stories came back and written over two years - now is a collection.
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