Showing posts with label Book Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Book Review. Show all posts
June 19, 2012

An Adventure And A Romance - Book Review

Defying Gravity

Defying Gravity - Cherie Reich
(book one of the Gravity Trilogy)
Publishers - Surrounded by Books Publishing
Genre - Speculative Fiction - Soft Science Fiction - Space Romance
Ebook - Novelette - 60 pages, Price $ 0.99
Available at Amazon Kindle Store


A Futuristic Space Fantasy Novelette
Homesick upon the SS Perseid, Linia, a young linguist, thinks she signed up for a mission of peace, but her crew members have another plan: attack the planet Medusa.
Bored with his dying planet, Alezandros, a space cruiser pilot, joins the Medusan army in his quest for adventure.
When the SS Perseid clashes with the Medusans' cruisers, Alezandros and Linia's lives intertwine. Sucked through a wormhole, they crash upon a post-apocalyptic Earth and are captured by cannibals. In adjacent cells, Alezandros and Linia cast their differences aside for a common bond: escape. But when romantic feelings emerge between them, they might do the unthinkable because for a Medusan and a Persean to fall in love, it would defy gravity.

This is a novelette by fellow blogger and author Cherie Reich.
It tells a story that starts of with both, depressing aspects of a planet peopled below the surface and the sinister strategy of a enemy planet that seeks to launch an attack via a space mission under the guise of exploration.
The author interweaves Greek mythology with a battle in space with its own set of unexpected.consequences.
The protagonists, Alezandros and Linia's lives gets complicated as they end up travelling through a wormhole and landing on a hostile, damaged, old Earth.

How they end up prisoners in the same camp unknown to each other, wrestle their hostile captors and escape using their special powers, and the budding romance between them in the process forms the rest of it.

The author has clearly taken the effort to build different planet worlds, races, language while keeping  it all in sync with the basic characterisations of the myth.
She has created believable characters whom you can't help but root for.

This is a soft science fiction of danger and romance. The length of the work makes it difficult to create a more scientifically layered world. Hence, this may not appeal to science fiction aficionados of the hard and soft genres alike.

I would recommend this pleasure read to first timers to science fiction and to romance readers who enjoy varied settings specially out-worldly and other worldly. And lovers of short fiction would enjoy this.

For the writing and the interesting premise, the book gets a between 3.5 to 4/5 rating from me.

Personal Disclaimer: This book was an original purchase used for the purpose of review, hence the post in entirety is my basic impression after reading the book. It is not based on intervention by the author or publishing house.
April 14, 2012

Waiting for Some Inter Dimensional Romance - A Book Review

The Waiting Booth - Brinda Berry
Publishers Etopia Press  
Genre - Speculative Fiction - Fantasy/Paranormal/  Young Adult - Romance
Ebook - 186 pages, Price $ 5.99
Available at Amazon Kindle Store


Mia has one goal for her senior year at Whispering Woods High--find her missing older brother. But when her science project reveals a portal into another dimension, she learns that travelers are moving in and out of her woods in the most alarming way and government agents Regulus and Arizona are policing their immigration. Mia’s drawn to the mysterious, aloof Regulus, but it’s no time for a crush. She needs to find out what they know about her brother, while the agents fight to save the world from viral contamination. But when Regulus reveals that he knows Mia’s secrets, she begins to wonder if there’s more going on than she thought...and if she was wrong to trust him...

This is a debut novel by the author Brinda Berry in the young adult – fantasy category. The protoganist Mia has a neurological condition, synaesthesia where the mixing of the senses enables her to see colors within sounds, smells, and words. 
The story begin in a calm, everyday manner with high schooler Mia’s interaction with a busy but protective father, musings over her missing elder brother Pete and her science project in the woods adjoining their rather secluded home. Austin and Em are Mia's best friends, though Austin would like to trade the friend tag for something more, something Mia can’t see him as.
It is the chance photographing of seemingly shady characters Regulus and Arizona that hurtles her into a far secretive, deceptive and at times dangerous world beyond the ordinary. She is literally pushed into the other dimension in her part of the woods with Regulus and Arizona turning out to be “enforcers” with an inter-dimensional monitoring agency IIA.
Their apparent knowledge of her brother and their story makes them trustworthy but a series of incidents and interactions with her project mentor threatens to change everything to a point where she doesn't know whom to trust.
The primary characters, Mia and Regulus are strong and vulnerable in their own way. Their romance is slow given their initial and subsequent meetings and picks up in a subtle manner as the story unfolds .
The secondary ones like Arizona and Austin whom we may see more of in the later books,  shine through with humour and risk taking loyalty respectively.
The concept of portals which I expected to reveal an alien world but unveils a totally different one was a great move by the author. The act of betrayal at the end is again unexpected though the way the scenes are incorporated left me with an unsettled feeling as a reader. Maybe, the next book will expand on it and make it clearer.
There are sweet romantic moments towards the end which fall in the sweet category of romance rating - Sweet -> Hot -> Spicy.
I give this a 4.2 rating. 
Overall I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to lovers of YA fantasy that is not based on magic.

I received a copy for review through the group Knights of the Round Table on Goodreads. 

Personal Disclaimer: Though this book was a free copy received for the purpose of review, the post in entirety is my basic impression after reading the book. It is not based on intervention by the author, publishing house or the book forum.
March 20, 2012

A Race To Live Or Ruin - A Book Review

The Curse Of Gremdon - Ciara Knight
Genre - Speculative Fiction - Fantasy/ Adult Fiction
Novel - 282 pages, Price $ 7.99
Available at Amazon Kindle Store


In a world where marriage is forbidden, sex is only granted to male warriors, and the outer realm is full of murderous creatures, Arianna fights to protect the life of her only living relative, her brother.Tardon, an elite warrior, is granted anything he desires by the Elders, but finds little joy in the voluptuous women presented to him. Born for the bloodlust found only in battle, complicated emotions emerge when he discovers his equal in the alluring warrior, Arianna. Charged by the Elders with saving the castle from  attack, Tardon and Arianna risk the curse when they traverse the vast outer realm to retrieve serum from the Tree of Life. If successful, the Elders have promised Tardon the right to marry and Arianna the cure for her brother’s death fever. Will their love carry them through or will the discovery of a great deception be their ultimate demise

This is a fantasy set in the kingdom of Gremdon, basically a sword and sorcery style of story telling. The magic is not visible in daily life and yet is very much there in the background, playing a crucial part.
I liked the author's focus on the two main characters, elite warriors Arianna and Tardon allowing the readers to explore their interaction, romantic and otherwise. The world around them is created with painstaking detail and clarity that one feels a part of the narrative.
 The secondary characters are well developed and some of them linger on after the ending. Ex Warrior Saldor's feelings for Arianna vacillating between friendship and love, her brother's natural affinity towards the deprived and troubled, the enforcers and the apprentice's penchant for using their powers to control and subjugate enhance the progression of the story.
Despite the romantic tension, its not all rosy and their task to retrieve the sap from the tree of life is beset with obstacles and live threatening dangers.
 Though it does drag a bit in the beginning, it picks up pace fast enough. The twist and turns keeps one engrossed and at the edge of the seat unable to predict what comes next.
The superb twist in the end really catches the reader unawares, though the author leaves subtle hints throughout the book.
Some may find the dark, shadowy world a bit sexist with the male warriors being pampered by the Elders. Arianna is the only female warrior  where most of the women are engaged in other activities. But  this only makes the Elders ruled world that much more realistic.
There are strong romantic scenes which fall in the spicy category of romance rating - Sweet -> Hot -> Spicy.
I give this a 4.5/5 rating.
I recommend this enjoyable read to all fantasy lovers looking for a tale well told and surprisingly different.

I received a copy for review through the group Knights of the Round Table on Goodreads. 

Personal Disclaimer: Though this book was a free copy received for the purpose of review, the post in entirety is my basic impression after reading the book twice. It is not based on intervention by the author, publishing house or the book forum. 
February 25, 2012

A Review Of A Survivor's Struggle To Live

Cat And The Dreamer - Annalisa Crawford
Vagabondage Press
Genre - Contemporary/ New Adult/ Realistic/ Women Fiction
Novelette - 22000 words, Price $ 2.99
Available at Amazon Kindle Store
Barnes and Noble Nookbooks
Google Books/eBooks

A surivor

Today, I am reviewing 'Cat and The Dreamer', a novelette (though Wiki says its word count makes it a novella), a give away on a guest blog post. Technicalities aside, a contemporary + realistic women fiction as this blurb goes:

As a teenager, Julia survived a suicide pact, while her best friend, Rachel, died. Julia’s only escape from her guilt, and her mother’s over-protection, is her imagination. When Adam arrives in the office, Julia’s world takes a startling turn as she realises reality can be much more fun than fantasy.
Finally she has someone who can help her make the most of her life.
But can she allow herself to be truly happy?

The book is basically a first person narration by, the then 15 and now 29 year old survivor Julia, on life as it is now. 
It's a poignant, raw and very hard hitting portrayal of a woman trapped in a teenager's mind, who struggles her way through the art of living.
 The ghosts of the past, over protective parents and bullying co workers make it thrice as difficult to taste freedom of a normal life.
Adding to this deadly potion are her own fears and her penchant of seeking refuge in the dream world, she often inhabits. They resurface when her knight in shining armour Adam, literally rides his way through her office and personal life.
Will his protection and love be enough for Julia to start anew? Read it to find out...

I loved the wordplay, realistic conversations and the process of Julia's slow awakening to reality and freedom.
The book deals with the effects of bullying on young minds, covertly which works for it.
The supporting cast of Adam was most likeable, Cat made a good antagonist and the parents could move you to pity or anger depending on your my case they invoked both pity and a little resentment.

My only grouse is the length of the work which leaves you wanting to know more of Julia and  specially Adam.
An excellent choice for reading on a weekend that gets a 4.5 out of 5 rating from me...and of course, having a hardy heart goes without saying.

February 21, 2012

Nostalgia Attacks The Campus - A Book Review

Down The Road - Edited By Ahmed Faiyaz And Rohini Kejriwal
 Grey Oak Publications
 Genre - Contemporary Fiction - Short Story Anthology (28 stories by 16 authors)
 Paperback, Pages 216, Price  INR 195 
 (Currently for sale only in the Indian Sub-continent)

This collection takes a trip down memory lane into the campus experiences both high school and college.  Not  just about 'a carefree life and fun times' as many parents believe but also a journey through the pains and trials of soon to be grown ups.
As the blurb says:
An exciting and eclectic collection of short stories that bring out all those memories - unforgettable, warm, thrilling and at times embarrassing - of life and the times in school and college campuses.

The stories are broadly dived into four sections. The first category “Attendance Is Compulsary” deals with antics both within and outside the high school classroom. Most of these deal with teenage crushes and romances, some in a breezy manner with a quirky ending that made me do a high five like ‘Down The Road’ by Ahmed Faiyaz. A couple like ‘Rishi And Me’ by Ira Trivedi and ‘Sororicide’ By Paritosh Uttam twisted and pulled at the heart strings.

 The second grouping “Festivals, Elections And Placements” as the title suggests deal with other aspects of campus life. Some like the tale ending of ‘ Loves Me, Loves Me Not’ by Vibha Batra that made me laugh, ‘Between Friends’ By Paritosh Uttam which had me cringing. ‘The Cafe With No Name’ by Sneh Thakur, the endearing story that reminded me of the Irani cafes with their bun maska and chai that once dotted the Mumbai landscape. And the ‘Setting’ by Ahmed Faiyaz the brilliant, twisted ending of which, had me commiserating.

Further down the pages, “Lights Out” deal with the end of the golden days and career beginnings. Here ‘The Worm That Turned’ by Malathi Jaykumar was a inspiring read albeit the embarrassing beginning. Short and hard hitting ‘Bellow Yellow’ by Chinmayi Bali raised uncomfortable questions. 

The final section “Looking Back”  literally has, now well established  protagonists turning back to individuals from the school, who made a difference in their lives.Of these, the thought provoking 'Strangers In Strange Places'by Abhijit Bhaduri struck a chord. I enjoyed the very different read ‘Accidental Start’ By Kunal Dhabalia as well as the cheeky 'Remember Me' by Ahmed Faiyaz.
I found interesting, the well researched,  finale essays ‘Fiction On Campus’ by Sonia Safri and ‘Bollywood On Campus’ by Aseem Rastogi.

I loved the quirky, twisted endings which leaves room for possibilities an imaginative brain can explore.
I also loved the use of realistic settings and reactions which give many of the stories that personal touch.
Each of the author has a distinct writing style and some managed different writing voices effortlessly.

A major grouse I have with a few of the stories was the abrupt ending. A couple of them felt, with due respect, written by those who love to hoard their words rather than let them out. In some cases, I am sort of  unhappy with the stories, for the simple reason 'I didn't want them to end'. 

 Since this not the first publication for many of the authors, they have seemingly honed their craft to capture the moments with candid humour, subtle sarcasm, often exploring painful emotions with raw honesty. The conversationalist styles of most of the works coupled with  fast paced story lines makes for a quick, entertaining read. It earns in my capacity as a reviewer a 4.5 out of 5 rating.

I would recommend this collection for any one looking for  good stories well told, who want a fictional rendition of their own personal experiences. Not a heavy duty anthology though some of them would fall into that category.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.comParticipate now to get free books!

 Personal Disclaimer: Though this Collection was a free copy received for the purpose of review, the post in entirety is my basic impression after reading the book twice. It is not based on intervention by the authors, editors, publishing house or the blogging forum.

Other Books
A bloggette friend Annalisa Crawford has released  Cat & the Dreamer in the Genre: Contemporary Women / New Adult . Available from Amazon, B&N, and other places.
Here for links.  Do check it out.
Since I won her E book Novella at a blog guest review will be up this Friday or Saturday.
December 01, 2011

A Journey Through A Fairytale - Book Review

   The Iron Tooth - Prithvin Rajendran
 Lead Start Publications  
 Genre - Fiction/ Fantasy (Children/ Middle Grade/Young Adult)
 Paperback, Pages 218, Price  INR 195/$ 8 (available at

‘The Iron Tooth’ is a fantasy set in the fictional continent of Goodabaiya and aimed at children and young teens. It starts with the prologue of a young, unmarried and pregnant girl from the land of Sumrak thrown out of her home and forced to find shelter at a remote area in the foothills of the Mala Mountains.  There she gives birth to two babies – a human boy and one troll girl which form the basis for events which are revealed only at the end of the story.
  The book then takes us to the land of Dashter, a great and mighty kingdom ruled first by a good king, Dashtum and later by his equally strong but evil son Darum. It is Darum’s eldest daughter Nova’s vanity driven behaviour that leads to her imprisonment and suffering of her people cursed by the powerful magician Faerum; till their redemption at the hands of Princix.
 Three main Characters emerge at this point, the protagonist Princix whose unknown heritage is revealed with other clues that tie up the prologue with the tale. The imprisoned Princess Nova who by then, regrets her part played in the curse becomes his love interest keeping in line with the fairytales we have grown up with. Finally the evil Wizard rather sorcerer  Faerum who enlists the help of six powerful fellow wizards and the Custodian Of Light in his cruel, malicious act of revenge on Dashter . The book then introduces us to the kingdom of Greatix, which is also the home of our protagonist and his family. Princix, who is both kind and brave, on an quest for fame and wealth wins magical weapons that enable him to become the Champion General for the kingdom of Greatix.
Princix’s duty as Champion General is to find out what ails the neighbouring kingdom of Dastur and help alleviate it. He journeys with two Imperial Guards, Candelbre and Hammil faces his share of battles and adventures  and discovers the all-important iron tooth.

The Author Prithvin has faithfully adhered to the fairy tale style and tried to create a tale that displays his creativity in the process. There is a assortment of languages in the book including the one invented by the author, the language of the Bak. Both old and modern English have been used throughout the book and a bard style of rendition of opinions and conversations finds a place. A multitude of characters in the form of mythical creatures like vampires, trolls, Medusas, fairies, an immortal Custodian, zombies, ghouls and creatures of the author’s own imagination  like the elite soldiers, the Baks are found throughout the pages.
 I liked the addition of appendices which include a chronology, maps, a translation of the Bak language Nivthrip.
I felt that the cast of characters was overcrowded with the mythical beings have very little to do. The prologue will baffle readers till the end, which I wish had been addressed in the form of a retelling in the early or middle part of the book.
At times the book felt like a series of short stories leaving this reviewer with an ambivalent feeling. The tenderness between Princix And Nova didn’t inspire either nor did Faerum come across as that cruel or foreboding.
The book overall has good continuity and flow but doesn't suck you into its world making you want to read more. Some stereotypes are inevitable because of the genre and do not detract from the book, but a tame  Nova who does nothing but repent her actions was a bit of a dampener for me.
Some of the opinions were demeaning to women. They shouldn’t find place in a book whose primary audience is to be those between 9-13 years.
The book doesn’t clearly mention the exact genre rather coded only as a mystery on the back cover. This being the author’s first novel, hopefully his next novel will be worth more than the 3/5 star rating  given for the debut attempt.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.comParticipate now to get free books!

 Personal Disclaimer: Though this book was a free copy received for the purpose of review, the post in entirety is my basic impression after reading the book. It is not based on intervention by the author, publishing house or the blogging forum.

October 18, 2011

A Romantic Journey Through Music - Review Of Live From London

 Live From London - Parinda Joshi 
 Publisher  - Rupa Publications  
 Genre - Chick Lit - Contemporary Fiction - Women Fiction
 Novel - Paperback - Pages 204 
 Price - INR 195/$ 19.95 
 Available at Amazon

This book is not just a journey from India to England. This is a crossing over from a  carefree, fun filled days of growing up to the pain and trials filled life of a grown up. It is not about going back to the roots rather about escaping the harsh realities of one world to nurture broken dreams in another.
 This story of an aspiring singer who loves her red guitar starts with her first major failure and a humiliating one at that. Anyone who had watched or been a part of reality talent shows know the trauma of failing under watchful, snickering eyes of millions. Nishi Gupta experiences this with a  false start in TV reality talent show "British’s Got Talent". This, coupled with the fact that the debut is an unplanned one makes it a double jeopardy in terms of her future career.
The tale unfolds with her trying to drown the nightmarish memory in the cacophony of an internship in one of the dominant record label companies in the U.K - Hues. Accompanying her in the roller coaster ride is a trio of friends Riya, Sarah and Zac (as different from each other as cheese, chalk and beer), a rigid boss turned friend Lynette and loving parents, who in typical Indian style of parenting, are unable to cut off the apron strings. 

It’s a kind of reverse karma that a Britain’s Got Talent reject’s first breakthrough comes from the generous, underhand plans of the American Idol runner up. The new import from USA on the UK horizon is initially the current big client material for her company but goes on the become the love of her life. The half Canadian, half Indian musician boyfriend Nick Navjot Chapman dominates a major part of the story. Nick and the well meaning but flirty friend Arjun provide the necessary drama and entertainment.
This tryst with fame causes a major upheaval in Nishi and Nick’s personal lives and she returns to India, to Mumbai, where her father is currently stationed. The search for success continues its often lighthearted and crazy journey till it meets the open gates called "co-host" for a reality TV show Indian Rockstar Season 5.

The boyfriend is initially too good to be true, but becomes more human with the classic touch of falling for (well almost) a seductive and tempting colleague. The nerdy, bossy Sarah who spearheads Nishi’s dormant desire for success is a typical alpha female whose affair with goofy, witty but less smart guitarist Zac is doomed to failure. Riya, the typical rich, happy go lucky romantic who falls for men with looks comprises the third of the band of close friends. Nishi's support system comprises of  a mom who shows her love through food and well meaning but oft rejected advice, a civil servant father who is torn between treating her as an adult and his na├»ve child and a rigid female boss who becomes her mentor. Arjun, an RJ for the popular FM Channel "Radio Mirchi", who at the onset is annoying but gradually becomes a good friend is added to this collection of interesting characters.

Nishi, the protagonist, comes across as a little heartless and insensitive to others feelings. I didn't quite feel her pain and her success in a short span of 6 months is a bit unsettling. I wish her character had been better rounded but I guess a 21 year old can be granted some leeway.

I loved the “unfinished” ending which leaves room for more possibilities even a sequel.
I liked the concept and the fact that the author has done the necessary research to provide an authentic description of the music scenario in London and Mumbai.

A major grouse I have with other chick lits or expat writers (a reason why they don’t form a major part of my reading) is the excessive caricature and stereotyping of characters. In the case of Live From Londonwhich I have rated at 3.5/5, I am glad to say the book manages to escape that quite well.

The author, Parinda Joshi, captures the moments with candid humour that often belies the tribulations and heartbreak beneath. The conversationalist style coupled with a fast paced storyline makes for a quick, entertaining read.

I would recommend this book  for those looking for a modern fairytale with its sad moments. This is not a book for those interested in an extensive study into human relations and emotions or looking for depth in characters.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.comParticipate now to get free books!

 Personal Disclaimer: Though this book was a free copy received for the purpose of review, the post in entirety is my basic impression after reading the book twice. It is not based on intervention by the author, publishing house or the blogging forum.
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