Posted in 3.5 stars, Book reviews

The Nine-Chambered Heart by Janice Pariat

36682054.jpgGenre: Fiction

Date Published: 25 November 2017

Pages: 216

Source: Harper Collins Review Copy

Goodreads Synopsis: ‘You, though, are as beautiful as light splitting through glass.’ Nine characters recall their relationship with a young woman – the same woman – whom they have loved, or who has loved them. We piece her together, much as we do with others in our lives, in incomplete but illuminating slivers. Set in familiar and nameless cities, moving between east and west, The Nine-Chambered Heart is a compendium of shifting perspectives that follows one woman’s life, making her dazzlingly real in one moment, and obscuring her in the very next. Janice Pariat’s exquisitely written new novel is about the fragile, fragmented nature of identity – how others see us only in bits and pieces, and how sometimes we tend to become what others perceive us to be.

Buy it here – Amazon India | Amazon US | Flipkart | BookDepository Add on Goodreads

My View: The first I heard of this book was when I was invited to its book launch. I had never seen a performative play before and I am glad I finally did. It was really well done, intense and made me inquisitive about the book. Of course, the prior interview with the author helped. And hence I asked for a review copy.

Lo and galore, this beautiful hardback landed in my mailbox. I started reading it the same day. While reading, my mind went back to the play. I could ‘see’ the characters playing their parts, could remember their voices. They had indeed done a really good job!

About the book, I am really not sure where to begin. The words paint vivid pictures, the expressions intense, a smile here, a curious glance there. It’s like a movie running in your head. And all the while, you’re trying to picture this character, filling in the gaps, kohl’ing her eyes, painting her lips. A little by little, as you get to know her better but do you really? Get to know her better? Or is it all a mirage and you’re just looking from nine pairs of eyes and seeing someone different each time? Is it the same person throughout? Or have the layers piled on? The character has developed and is no longer who she was earlier? Such an enigma.

Truth be told, I read so much international fiction, that sometimes it takes me ages to get into an Indian-author written book. That was so not the case with Pariat’s book. It just went on, smoothly, without any bumps. Like lyrics, the writing flew by. At times melodious, at times rough. But there it was. Very vivid and striking. It follows you days after you have read it. And you wonder.

I like the way the relationships are projected. Fleeting, fragile, gone with the wind. Isn’t it how they all are? Maybe a touch of imagination, a dash of freedom has been added but the essence remains. All these relationships, they speak their own mind, tell their own story and leave for you to unravel this person, this central character who never really appears except what you know of her through others and the kind of relationship they have had with her.

Despite all the things I liked, there are a couple caveats. I understand the need to not label names, places etc and leave them as they are. That is not a problem. But if I have to read ‘city without a river’ and ‘city with a river’ 8 times (or maybe more), it irritates the hell out of me. I would rather read ‘Delhi’ or ‘Sikkim’ or I can even do without any mention of it. But that line, again and again, drives me crazy. Really!

However, if you can put this little irritant aside, there’s a lot for you here. Hidden in this gem of a book. I think I will go back to it again one day and re-read, to once again lose myself in the mystery, the way relationships work and don’t. The way in which life goes on with hiccups. The way you don’t know where life is headed and have no control over it. And maybe learn a bit or two. To add a bit of carelessness to yourself, to live a little, to throw caution to the wind, and go on living, unabashed, unfettered…

3.5/5 stars – Somewhere between ‘I liked it’ and ‘I really liked it’.
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Author Bio:

Janice is a writer based between London and New Delhi/Shillong (depending on the weather). Her first book Boats on Land: A Collection of Short Stories won the Sahitya Akademi Young Writer Award and the Crossword Award for Fiction in 2013. Her novel Seahorse has been published by Vintage, Random House India, in November 2014.

She studied English Literature at St Stephen’s College, Delhi, and History of Art at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London.

Her work has featured in a wide number of national magazines & newspapers including OPEN, Art India, Tehelka, Caravan: A Journal of Culture & Politics, Outlook & Outlook Traveller, Motherland, and Biblio: A Review of Books, among others.

(Thank you, Harper Collins for providing me a review copy. All opinions are my own and unbiased.)

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Posted in 3 stars, Book reviews

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Date Published: May 24, 2012
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Pages: 466
Source: Owned
Format: Paperback

Goodreads SynopsisWho are you?
What have we done to each other?

These are the questions Nick Dunne finds himself asking on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police suspect Nick. Amy’s friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn’t true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they weren’t made by him. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone.

So what did happen to Nick’s beautiful wife?

Buy it here – Amazon India | FlipkartAmazon US | The Book Depository | Add on Goodreads

My View: Early 2013, I was dabbling with the idea of getting an Audible Membership. I could take two freebies for my trial version. In my search for those two free books that would hopefully make me addicted to Audible, I went around my favorite Goodreads Group asking for suggestions. And Gone Girl came up as one. I grabbed it right away. I started listening to it on March 10, 2013. It was going good but then it became too slow for me (yeah, can you believe that?). I was almost 2/3rd into the audio when I quite gave up on it.

In the meantime, I bought a paperback as well. A year and a half down the line, with the movie coming up in theatres, I was adamant to give it another try if nothing else than to see what the hype was all about. And here I switched to paperback and started from scratch. Although I could not finish the book in time and ended up watching the movie first. The movie was pretty good, I would say. I had read 1/3rd of the book, remembered the second part from the audio so it was only the last one that was unknown to me. I think they did a decent job of getting it on big screen.

This is how my reading progress looks like on GR.

03/10/2013 page 16 3.0%
05/08/2013 page 200 42.92% “Slow but it’s taking a massive turn now..hmm..interesting, very interesting.”
11/04/2014 page 1 0.21% “Starting over again. Switched from audio to paperback now.”
11/16/2014 page 335 71.0% “”Come home so I can kill you.” Classic!”
11/17/2014 page 340 72.0% “‘One should never marry a man who doesn’t own a decent set of scissors.’ Quite profound, eh?”
11/17/2014 marked as: read

After I had seen the movie, it did seem a bit senseless to finish the book but I kept at it until I was done.

So what are my afterthoughts? Well, to begin with, I would say too much hype really kills a book for me. Perhaps I would have liked it had my expectations not skyrocketed with all the good reviews. The book started off well, got a bit slow, then turned interesting again but somewhere down the line, I lost interest. I agree the plot is mind-blowing, the characters quirky and absolutely insane and the book has all details taken well care of. It was a thrilling and unpredictable ride. But somehow the last part of it didn’t go down well with me. I would have rather had a different chain of events to end the book with. It’s difficult to say much about the book without giving it away.

It’s not bad at all, worth giving a shot. Maybe the editing could have been tighter and the end different but that would have changed the book completely. Just my opinion as a reader/ listener.

What did you think of Gone Girl – the book/ movie?

3/5 stars – I liked it.download (8)

Posted in Giveaway

Fire & Ice Giveaway (INT): Crimson Footprints by Shewanda Pugh

Cambria Hebert

So I read Crimson Footprints last year and loved it. Read my review below and enter the giveaway sponsored by the lovely author Shewanda Pugh.

I’m currently reading Crimson Footprints II: New Beginnings. 🙂

Giveaway

1 Ecopy of Crimson Footprints



Goodreads Summary: When an insecure, bi-racial woman begins a cloak-and-dagger love affair with a Japanese American man, she is intent on keeping her bigoted family in the dark—albeit with devastating consequences.

On the night of her brother’s murder, Deena Hammond stumbles upon Takumi Tanaka, lost and on the wrong end of a .32. After rescuing him from the certain fate driving through the hood in a Ferrari will bring, a sweet kind of friendship begins. A balm for her grief.

Maybe, Deena likes to think, it happened the day her white mother killed her black father. Or maybe, it was always a part of them, like DNA gone bad. Whatever the case, Deena knows that her family would never approve, hell, never acknowledge her fast-growing love for Takumi. And had he never made love to her that way, in that unraveling, soul-searching sort of way she could’ve done the same. But love’s a devil that way.

So, their game begins. One where they hide what they are from everyone. From anyone. And Tak understands this—for now. After all, Deena’s career hinges on the favor of her mentor and boss, his hard-ass of a father. And the Hammond family is already stretched thin with grief. Yet, each step Deena takes toward family and career brings her closer to an acceptance she’s never had. And away from him.

Buy it here – Amazon (Only $0.99)

My Views: Wow! Yes, that is the word. I opened this book expecting nothing and I ended up with everything. Literally. This book hooked me from page 1 and never did my attention falter. The book is just so refreshing. It’s so fresh and new, the concept unexplored, at least as far as my reading is concerned.

This is an underdog (said so, because the book is not high in the ranks or popularity while it clearly needs to be out there) which has much to offer. It has got them all, the touches of reality, the romance, the humor, the seriousness, everything. It is one of those books that captures you in a way so unexpected and just takes you with itself for a ride.

The concept is like a breath of fresh air. You keep on thinking what would happen next but it’s so unpredictable, just like life. It’s so real, the setting, the people, the situation, the whole book. It just doesn’t feel like a book, it’s like viewing someone’s life from the outside, almost being a part of it.

The characters are very well-sketched, there is no inconsistency and you feel like you know them all intimately.

I loved the humor, it’s so real and fresh.

So I think you really need to watch out for this one and read it.

5/5 stars – I loved it.

Posted in book tours, Giveaway, Guest Post

Top Ten Tips for Writers by Patrick W. Carr & Giveaway (INT)

Top Ten Tips for Writers

I’m a little leery of offering my top ten tips. I’m a debut author after all, and I usually find myself in need of writing advice rather than dispensing it. At the risk of being repetitious, I’ll put for the ones that have helped me the most.

1. Just finish the book: I really needed this one. For years I would write three chapters, get stuck, and give up. Then I would start a new book and repeat the process. It’s also possible to get caught in the “endless edit.” Look, it’s never going to be perfect. You can always edit later.

2. Join a writers group: Writing well in isolation is really difficult. Join a group or find a critique partner, but do something where you can get feedback on your work. It’s indispensable.

3. Enter a contest: This can be rough because a contest judge has no reason whatsoever to soften the blow. The first contest I entered, I had one judge basically tell me, “Don’t ever quit your day job.” Wow, did that hurt, but after I got through grieving, I went back and looked, really looked, at what they were saying.

4. Be disciplined: Ooh, I hate this. Discipline in any shape is not my thing. The problem is if I don’t enter my story world every day, I start to forget the details and nuances of it that make it real. If a go a week? Forget it, it will take me days just to get back in the groove.

5. Choose craft over marketing: All the publicity in the world won’t sell a bad book. Of course, as soon as I say that, everyone goes, “Well, what about…?” And they’re right. There are some horrendously bad books (the temptation here to mention some of them by name is almost overwhelming) that have sold well. But, by and large, good books sell well and bad books don’t. Write a good one. Learn your craft.

6. Live a big life: Try everything. Never danced before? Take a lesson or three. Don’t know how it feels to get hit with a practice sword? Find out, but stay away from the head. Ouch. Play music, sing songs, go on hikes. As a writer, it’s your responsibility to take these experiences and breath them onto the page. Nothing is ever wasted. I’ve blown out my knees several times playing sports. I wish I hadn’t , but you can bet my intimate familiarity with pain has made it into my writing.

7. Observe: The writer’s biggest tools are his senses. Life is made up of sights, smells, tastes, sounds, and textures. Bring them all to your writing. I’ve spent a bit of time on farms. I know what cow manure smells like. Just how I know makes for a pretty disgusting story, but the experience, the smell, made it to the first line of my first book.

8. Be ruthless: Your skin must grow as thick as buffalo hide. Find your worst critic and use them to make your writing better. Don’t make excuses for a boring passage. If it bores you, it’s bound to bore your reader. I’m blessed. My editor at Bethany House is wonderfully sweet and supportive, but she works my manuscript with a fine-toothed comb.

9. Know the requirements of your genre: Writing a romance? Great, but if you’re a first time writer, don’t even think about submitting a 200k word manuscript. Don’t keep your heroine and hero apart at the end. Writing a fantasy? Awesome, but once you’ve built the rules for your world, don’t break them. The reader will never forgive you.

10. Read: Read the great stories of your genre. If you love fantasy, then make sure you’ve gone through Tolkien with a fine-toothed comb, not only for what he does better than anyone, but where he could have done better. Romance? Great. Take a couple of turns through “Pride and Prejudice.” These are the rods you will be measured against. No, we’ll probably never get there, but it’s our job to try.

Wow! Thank you so much for stopping by, Reviewing Shelf, Mr. Patrick. They are one of the most simple and practical top ten writing list I have ever seen. Love them. Very resourceful.

Blurb: An Epic Medieval Saga Fantasy Readers Will Love

In the backwater village of Callowford, Errol Stone’s search for a drink is interrupted by a church messenger who arrives with urgent missives for the hermit priest in the hills. Desperate for coin, Errol volunteers to deliver them but soon finds himself hunted by deadly assassins. Forced to flee with the priest and a small band of travelers, Errol soon learns he’s joined a quest that could change the fate of his kingdom.

Protected for millennia by the heirs of the first king, the kingdom’s dynasty is near an end and a new king must be selected. As tension and danger mount, Errol must leave behind his drunkenness and grief, learn to fight, and come to know his God in order to survive a journey to discover his destiny.

Buy it here – Amazon | Add on Goodreads

Author Patrick W. Carr

Patrick Carr was born on an Air Force base in West Germany at the height of the cold war. He has been told this was not his fault. As an Air Force brat, he experienced a change in locale every three years until his father retired to Tennessee. Patrick saw more of the world on his own through a varied and somewhat eclectic education and work history. He graduated from Georgia Tech in 1984 and has worked as a draftsman at a nuclear plant, did design work for the Air Force, worked for a printing company, and consulted as an engineer. Patrick’s day gig for the last five years has been teaching high school math in Nashville, TN. He currently makes his home in Nashville with his wonderfully patient wife, Mary, and four sons he thinks are amazing: Patrick, Connor, Daniel, and Ethan. Sometime in the future he would like to be a jazz pianist. Patrick thinks writing about himself in the third person is kind of weird.

Blog Tour Giveaway

$10 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 1/31/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareadernotawriter.blogspot.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW
Posted in Book reviews

Pulse by Kailin Gow

YA Fantasy
Title: Pulse
Author: Kailin Gow
Date Published: 8/2010

17 year-old Kalina didn’t know her boyfriend was a vampire until the night he died of a freak accident. She didn’t know he came from a long line of vampires until the night she was visited by his half-brothers Jaegar and Stuart Greystone. There were a lot of secrets her boyfriend didn’t tell her. Now she must discover them in order to keep alive. But having two half-brothers vampires around had just gotten interesting.

· Award-winning Finalist in Romance Fiction (2011 International Book Awards)
· Award-winning Finalist in Multicultural Fiction (2011 International Book Awards)

Reading Addiction Blog Tours

My View: I have said it time and again that somewhere down the line of reading paranormal books starting from Twilight, I lost interest in them. But as few of my recent reads show I’m not only reading the genre again but enjoying it too.

Pulse is a paranormal fantasy genre and though it has vampires (the usuals’), the plot is new. It not only focuses on the vampires but builds a nice story around them which has romance, action and lots of thrill.

Three brothers – one dead and two in love with the same human. What do you think? Ah, did I hear ‘what’s new?’ Well, lots! Because she is no ordinary human, she has something all the vampires are after. Did I catch your attention? Ah, well!

And what if she gets enamored by both the brothers? Adds more fuel to the fire, doesn’t it? This and more had me turning pages rapidly in this book. But sadly, it’s such a tease. With 4 sequels to follow, it reveals only enough to arouse your curiosity. Now I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

And also make sure to read the story behind Kalina’s character’s name and no, it’s not picked up as a variation of the author’s.

Kailin Gow

Author Bio
Kailin Gow has appeared on top national syndicated talk shows such as ABC Radio, Barbara Dooley show, Chat with Women on KKNW Seattle, Broadminded on Sirius Radio XM, and more as a leading authority on YA and women’s issues including self-esteem, body image, dating and sexual relationships, abuse, and bullying. Kailin has been a published author for over 10 years with over 100 titles published under her name and under pen names.

She is the founder of the community social site, The Saving You Saving Me Project, http://www.savingyousavingme.com which helps teens, young adults, and women deal with social issues like sexual abuse, self-esteem, body image, bullying, cutting, relationships, and more in a positive community environment. The Saving You Saving Me Project is an extention of her YA-mature fiction Saving You Saving Me.
Kailin Gow began writing books for tween girls to help them with self-confidence and self-esteem. Her book, Gifted Girls Activities Guide to 365 Days of the Week, became a reference book used in girls organizations across the U.S. As her tween fans grew to become teens and young adults, Kailin began writing engaging and entertaining young adult book series for them. The results are book series like the Frost Series, PULSE Series, Wicked Woods Series, Stoker Sisters, Phantom Diaries, The Fire Wars, FADE, DESIRE, and more.

All her books are inspired by personal experiences. Saving You Saving Me was inspired by her experience as a peer counselor for young women during college and from her psychology major college roommate’s experience being in a relationship similar to the one portrayed by Sam and Collins in the book. Loving Summer was inspired by Kailin’s experience growing up with a family consisting of a mother, two sons, and a daughter who went through a similar experience of tragedy in the book. Aunt Sookie is based on herself and some actor friends she knows. The Frost Series, Circus of Curiosities Series, and FADE Series came about through vivid dreams. Never Say Never was inspired by Kailin’s experience as a radio host and working with and interviewing bands, as well as having college friends who were in bands. Kailin also played the drums and keyboard for a band she once started. A classically-trained musician, she was once led her school orchestra, playing first chair violin. Her experience in the music world and her love of Phantom of the Opera, inspired the Phantom Diaries. PULSE was inspired when Kailin was in the hospital suffering from heavy blood loss post surgery and needed several bags of blood to survive (like a vampire). Beautiful Beings was inspired by her college encounter with a young demon exorcist. A pastor once told her she had the gift of sight and that she was destined to become a prolific author, many times over.

She began taking her writing seriously when her daughter was diagnosed as being on the spectrum and her mother was fighting three types of cancer. Four years later, her daughter was no longer on the spectrum, and her mother became cancer free. Kailin believes in hope and miracles, after having been through several struggles and experiences herself. This is why she writes.

When not busy inhaling chocolate and drinking coffee by the gallon, Kailin makes time for writing fantasy books, blogging as an expert blogger for Fast Company, volunteering as an Emergency Responder and volunteering for battered women’s shelters. For fun, she plays the electric violin, and puts together a music playlist for her radio and web shows.

Her Frost Series consisting of the Bitter Frost Series, The Wolf Fey Series, and the Fairy Rose Chronicles along with her other book series are being developed into worldwide MMORPG Games by SEE GLOBAL ENTERTAINMENT, which is the world’s leading game developer known for developing the top blockbuster films into games.

Contact Links
Facebook
Website
To sign up for news on new releases, contests, events, and more, join theEDGEbooks.com.
Twitter – @kailingow
Posted in 3.5 stars, Book reviews, Giveaway

A Marriage of Inconvenience by Christine Young & Giveaway (INT)

A Marriage of Inconvenience
by Christine Young

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
When the duchess decides to wed her to a wastrel and a fop, Ravyn Grahm takes matters into her own hands and declares her engagement to another man. Instead of fessing up and telling her great aunt what she has done, she goes through with the pretense. Aric Lakeland is the bastard son of an earl and has a dangerous reputation. But Ravyn is willing to do most anything to keep the duchess from discovering the lie.

A DEVIL-MAY-CARE SMUGGLER

He’d bought land in America, looking to put down roots and end his life of adventure, but Aric Lakeland got more than he bargained for when he encountered a beautiful heiress who made a promise she didn’t want to keep. But the promise could not be undone and standing between them were more obstacles than either ever dreamed. Aric had made plans to spend the rest of his life in America and that was at odds with Ravyn’s plan of living in England and running her father’s estate. Now, he’ll have to choose between his dreams and the woman he loves more than life.

Buy it here – Amazon | Add at Goodreads

My View: If you have been following my blog, you will know that I love me some historical fiction and this book easily fit into that happy space.

I love ‘My lady’ and some chivalry and oh, call me old-fashioned but isn’t that so romantic?

This book never bored me for even a single second. The editing is flawless. Although I would say the plot is not very innovative, the way it is dealt with is, making it a unique book in itself.

The characters are amazing. Ah, some old-fashioned, handsome, rugged men! Drool! And a brain-y lady with an attitude who can stand up for herself. Perfect!

And the romance is to die for. Sizzling hot. Readers below 16 stay far far away!

In short, really liked this one. It has got all the oomph. But if you’re looking for a lot of substance in the plot, you may be a bit disappointed. Looking for some drooling and romance? You’ve found the right book.

3.5/5 stars – Between ‘I liked it’ and ‘I really liked it’. images (25)

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Born in Medford, Oregon, novelist Christine Young has lived in Oregon all of her life. After graduating from Oregon State University with a BS in science, she spent another year at Southern Oregon State University working on her teaching certificate, and a few years later received her Master’s degree in secondary education and counseling. Now the long, hot days of summer provide the perfect setting for creating romance. She sold her first book, Dakota’s Bride, the summer of 1998 and her second book, My Angel to Kensington. Her teaching and writing careers have intertwined with raising three children. Christine’s newest venture is the creation of Rogue Phoenix Press. Christine is the founder, editor and co-owner with her husband. They live in Salem, Oregon.
http://christineyoung-romancewriter.blogspot.com/

Giveaway (INT)

Christine will be awarding a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Comment away!

Follow the tour.

Posted in Book reviews

The Night She Disappeared by April Henry

Title: The Night She Disappeared
Author: April Henry
Reading level: Ages 12 and up
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Published: March 13, 2012
Source: NetGalley
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0805092625

Goodreads Summary: Gabie drives a Mini Cooper. She also works part time as a delivery girl at Pete’s Pizza. One night, Kayla—another delivery girl—goes missing. To her horror, Gabie learns that the supposed kidnapper had asked if the girl in the Mini Cooper was working that night. Gabie can’t move beyond the fact that Kayla’s fate was really meant for her, and she becomes obsessed with finding Kayla. She teams up with Drew, who also works at Pete’s. Together, they set out to prove that Kayla isn’t dead—and to find her before she is.

Buy it Here- AMAZON | Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide | Add on GoodReads

My Views: Phew this was a fast read, just a quick couple of hours and it’s devoured. I really liked this book.

Though it’s no secret how much I love thrillers, this one went a step ahead. All the police documents, medical forms and interviews made it more interesting.

This isn’t much of a mystery, it’s a fast paced thriller that keeps you on the edge and makes you want to read until it finished. So I’m glad I started reading it in the evening and could sleep peacefully by the time night arrived.

The various POVs work well for this book and I have begun to appreciate books that are written this way. So much better to know what’s going inside everyone’s head and it keeps things clear instead of all mixed up.

In all, if you are looking for a fast-paced thriller, this is a good choice.

4/5 stars – I really liked this book.

Posted in Book reviews

Slide by Jill Hathaway

Title: Slide #1
Author: Jill Hathaway
Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: March 27, 2012
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062077902
Source: My Book Shelf

Goodreads Summary: Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth—her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself. She was murdered.

Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else’s mind and experiences the world through that person’s eyes. She’s slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed “friend” when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie’s slashed body.

Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can’t bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting off lately, more distant, especially now that she’s been spending more time with Zane.

Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again.

Buy it here: AMAZON | Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide | Add it on Goodreads

My Views: First off, I love the cover. It totally captured me!

I was hooked to this book within the first few pages, so much so that I didn’t want to sleep before I finish reading it. It was simply mind-blowing.

The concept is novel and not too paranormal to veer me away from it. I wanted to know what would happen next. The writing is simple and crisp. The characters nicely etched out. And kudos to the author for the concept.

Till mid-length, the book is amazing and I thought it would be taking a place in my favorites shelf, but that was not to be. After the first half, the book went downhill for me. There was too much going on, a few inconsistencies or lapses here and there. I like my mysteries sharp and clean. And though this one kept me guessing till a fairly good point, the mystery didn’t do it for me. It raised too many questions that couldn’t be answered by the book.

The book was so good to begin with and it just frustrates me that the mystery wasn’t good enough in the end. This book had the beginnings of a really good book but in the end it turned out to be just average for me. However, since this is the author’s first book, I find it to be a good enough start and would love to read her future books.

3/5 stars – I liked it.

Posted in Book reviews

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

Title: How to Save a Life
Author: Sara Zarr
Reading level: Ages 12 and up
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 18, 2011
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0316036064
Source: American Center Library

Goodreads Summary: Jill MacSweeny just wishes everything could go back to normal. But ever since her dad died, she’s been isolating herself from her boyfriend, her best friends–everyone who wants to support her. And when her mom decides to adopt a baby, it feels like she’s somehow trying to replace a lost family member with a new one.
Mandy Kalinowski understands what it’s like to grow up unwanted–to be raised by a mother who never intended to have a child. So when Mandy becomes pregnant, one thing she’s sure of is that she wants a better life for her baby. It’s harder to be sure of herself. Will she ever find someone to care for her, too?

As their worlds change around them, Jill and Mandy must learn to both let go and hold on, and that nothing is as easy–or as difficult–as it seems.

Critically acclaimed author and National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr delivers a heart-wrenching story, told from dual perspectives, about the many roads that can lead us home.

Buy it here: AMAZON (You can also see the author interview here which is really nice) | Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide | Add it on Goodreads

My Views: This one is a different kind of a book. It is such a new concept for me. Something serious, stark, un-revealed yet so true, so heartfelt and real.

The story is told from the perspective of two girls, Jill and Mandy. And it’s good to get into their minds, to know them better, to hear what they think, to get to know them intimately and how they are as a person.

The story is sentimental and emotional and tugs at your heart. It talks about how life is unpredictable and situations that happen which we haven’t even dreamt of. It makes you feel emotions – from being happy to sad, angry, frustrated. It is a book of THAT kind.

Though it’s not a page-turner like a thriller, you still want to read on to know what happens. You cry for Mandy, hug Jill. No, probably it won’t make you cry. It’s not a sad book.

It’s just something that comes once in a while and makes you think about things that matter, think about your life, goals and things you should be greatful for.

In all, read this one when you are in a neutral mood. I can’t guarantee it won’t make you sadder if you are already sad. 🙂

4/5 stars – I really liked it.

Posted in Book reviews

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Title: The Name of the Star (Shades of London)
Author: Maureen Johnson
Reading level: Ages 12 and up
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Publishing Date: September 29, 2011
Source: Library
ISBN-10: 0399256601

Summary:THE DAY Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it’s the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city — gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific work of Jack the Ripper in the autumn of 1888. Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was with her at the time, didn’t notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, what is he planning to do about her? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

Buy it Here – AMAZON | Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

My Views: This one was…different, I would say. It was slow to start with, and then rapidly gathered speed. I love mysteries, I do. And I was really looking forward to solving this one (or let it solve itself, as the case is, in a book).

But…yes there is a but, I did not expect what really happened. Though that is usually good in a mystery, the unpredictability, I wished that it would have been something else and not what happened.

I give the author credit for this very novel concept and the manner in which the writing has been handled. Smooth, easy to follow, and exciting. And the end was explosive, literally. LOL!

The book makes for a fast read like all mystery and thrillers and was glued to it though I wished it was like that from the start and till the very end. The middle of the book was my favorite part when something had happened and it was all so secretive and who-done-it type.

The book makes for a good reading overall.

3/5 stars – I liked it.

Posted in Cover reveal

Cover Reveal: Shadowborn by Jocelyn Adams

Shadowborn: A Lila Gray Novel (#2) by Jocelyn Adams
Release Date: October 1, 2012

A Glimpse into the book

Why me?

That’s the question Lila Gray asks every time yet another bad guy tries to destroy the earth, and she learns she’s the only one who can stop it. Once again, something’s on the prowl, leaving hundreds of comatose, souless victims in its wake.

Couldn’t the deadliest assassins of the Otherworld go after someone else instead of the brand new Queen of the Seelie? One who still hasn’t adapted to her new role.

Lila would ask Liam Kane, King of the Unseelie, for advice, but something’s off with him, too. He’s holding back. In some way. About some thing. In fact, he refuses to tell her what’s going on.

The truth holds Lila back from the greatness of her role—the people she was born to lead—the man who she desperately loves—and the solution to the latest war raging around her.

To find the answers, she’ll need to fight through her own darkness and embark on a journey through her psyche.

If she doesn’t succeed, the Shadowborn will claim not only her world, but her soul.

Previous Books in this series: The Glass Man (Lila Gray #1)

So, what do you think of the cover?

Posted in Book reviews

Crimson Footprints by Shewanda Pugh

Goodreads Summary: When an insecure, bi-racial woman begins a cloak-and-dagger love affair with a Japanese American man, she is intent on keeping her bigoted family in the dark—albeit with devastating consequences.

On the night of her brother’s murder, Deena Hammond stumbles upon Takumi Tanaka, lost and on the wrong end of a .32. After rescuing him from the certain fate driving through the hood in a Ferrari will bring, a sweet kind of friendship begins. A balm for her grief.

Maybe, Deena likes to think, it happened the day her white mother killed her black father. Or maybe, it was always a part of them, like DNA gone bad. Whatever the case, Deena knows that her family would never approve, hell, never acknowledge her fast-growing love for Takumi. And had he never made love to her that way, in that unraveling, soul-searching sort of way she could’ve done the same. But love’s a devil that way.

So, their game begins. One where they hide what they are from everyone. From anyone. And Tak understands this—for now. After all, Deena’s career hinges on the favor of her mentor and boss, his hard-ass of a father. And the Hammond family is already stretched thin with grief. Yet, each step Deena takes toward family and career brings her closer to an acceptance she’s never had. And away from him.

Buy it here – Amazon (only $2.99!!)

My Views: Wow! Yes, that is the word. I opened this book expecting nothing and I ended up with everything. Literally. This book hooked me from page 1 and never did my attention falter. The book is just so refreshing. It’s so fresh and new, the concept unexplored, at least as far as my reading is concerned.

This is an underdog (said so, because the book is not high in the ranks or popularity while it clearly needs to be out there) which has much to offer. It has got them all, the touches of reality, the romance, the humor, the seriousness, everything. It is one of those books that captures you in a way so unexpected and just takes you with itself for a ride.

The concept is like a breath of fresh air. You keep on thinking what would happen next but it’s so unpredictable, just like life. It’s so real, the setting, the people, the situation, the whole book. It just doesn’t feel like a book, it’s like viewing someone’s life from the outside, almost being a part of it.

The characters are very well-sketched, there is no inconsistency and you feel like you know them all intimately.

I loved the humor, it’s so real and fresh.

One thing that unnerved me were editorial glitches but I hope they would have been taken care of in the final version.

So I think you really need to watch out for this one and read it.

5/5 stars – I loved it.