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Transactions of Belongings

Transactions of Belongings - Jaya Padmanabham http://www.b00kr3vi3ws.in/2014/06/TransactionsOfBelongings.html

I have to admit that I picked up this book based solely on its title. ‘Transactions of Belonging’ sounded a bit ominous and it genuinely made me curious about this anthology of short stories by a single author.

This anthology contains twelve astonishingly daring and beautiful short stories that delve into human emotions thoroughly. From a mother daughter relationship to the life of an lonely old man to a mother anguishing over whether her son is a terrorist to a girl ending up as sex worker in her life to the connection between drinking and abuse to children becoming too independent of their parents. Name an emotion that real people feel in their lives that hasn’t been deeply explored already and it is there in this book.

Each story has its grip on the reader and I can’t, for the life of me, decide which story I like the best. Individually, each story has something unique to offer and as a whole this anthology is a bomb waiting to go off as readers turn its pages. It took me only a couple of hours to finish reading this book and I wished that there were more pages to be turned. I applaud the author for choosing to write such emotional short stories that tug at the right heartstrings. An amazing debut and I hope to read more meaningful work from this author soon.

The Murder Bag

The Murder Bag - Tony Parsons We follow the life of DC Wolfe as he joins the homicide department. His first case is that of a gruesomely murdered banker. With the wife as the only probable suspect, Wolfe is busy hunting the murder weapon – a weapon designed to take off a man’s head at a single swipe. But soon a homeless druggie is murdered the same way. Though at first it seems that there could be no possible connection between the two except for the murderer, they soon find that both the victims went to the same public school as boys. With ‘Bob the Butcher’ claiming responsibility for the murders on internet, Wolfe is soon on the track of a dangerous serial killer. Will he be able to catch the killer before he gets to those who are close to Wolfe?

From the very first chapter we are given a glimpse into the character of the protagonist DC Wolfe. HE takes his job seriously and is even good at it. However, he tends to be downright impulsive and ignore the chain of command in course of his duty. He trusts his instincts to the core. He is also a family man who lives with his young daughter and their dog. He loves his daughter completely. After a somewhat slow start, the pace picks up as bodies start piling up and Wolfe starts tracking. The police procedures are described in details and some information provided is kind of repetitive. However the author sets up the scenes and settings well. At some points DC Wolfe is portrayed as a methodical thinker, like Lee Child’s Jack Reacher. However I did not like how the majority female characters were portrayed – showing more distasteful characteristics more often than good or redeemable characteristics.

Overall, this book made one hell of thriller that I quite enjoyed reading!


The Queen of the Tearling

The Queen of the Tearling  - Erika Johansen http://www.b00kr3vi3ws.in/2014/06/TheQueenOfTheTearling.html

Soon after her birth Kelsea Glynn was sent away into hiding. Marked for death, she returns to the kingdom once she turns nineteen and now either she will be dead or live to be the fiercest queen of the Tearling. Accompanied by Lazarus, she takes on the perilous journey to win over her people, her country from the clutches of the Red Queen and the respect of The Fetch. But her path is not so easy – filled with hurdles and betrayals, Kelsea has to take on a lot of responsibilities. Will she be successful or will she bite off more than she can chew?!

I absolutely loved this book! From the authors beautiful style of narration to the setting to the charactersto the whole plot. Everything about it is brilliant. I can see the film rights have already been bought even before the release of the book. It has a magnetic quality about it that is absolutely unavoidable and I finished reading this book in one sitting, resulting to a really late dinner for everyone in the family.

Kelsea is a strong character, full of doubts about herself, yet she overcomes them strongly. I liked the way the author narrated her inner turmoil about what actions to take, it made her more real to me. Lazarus is another really strong character. I hope Kelsea has him till the very end. His strong presence lends some assurance about the safety of the princess. And oh! The Fetch. I absolutely love this rebel. There is something charming about this character that has not only Kelsea smitten to him. I also liked the aura of mystery about the Red Queen, her real identity and her powers.

The narration of the story switches from POV to POV giving us a complete look at every aspect of the story from different characters. I wish though the author would have included Lazarus’s POV too. I would have loved to know what goes on in his mind. The plot is totally unique from what I have read so far. Infused with humour and twists, the story is one hell of a roller coaster journey.

Overall an amazing read that I would recommend to every YA Fantasy lovers.

Magyk (Septimus Heap, Book 1)

Magyk (Septimus Heap, Book 1) - Angie Sage Clearly written for children,this book of Magic seems a bit tame. Especially if one has already read Harry Potter Series.

The magical terms and spells seemed too simple. Yet the characters were well drawn and fleshed out. I personally liked Jenna, Boy 412, Aunt Zelda and Alther. I didn't like Marcia and Simon as much.

DomDanel, the Villain of the story seemed bit too easily dealt with. Would have liked a bit more action on that front.

Pressed Pennies

Pressed Pennies - Steven Manchester http://www.b00kr3vi3ws.in/2014/06/PressedPennies.html

Can two people connected through their past, struggling in their present, come together to complete each other?

Rick and Abby has a shared past but circumstances had torn them apart. Now years later, their experiences since then have changed them both. Going through divorce is a difficult thing and as these two get reacquainted, their relationship is different this time round. On one hand Abby’s spirit is completely broken. On the other hand Rick has no experience in raising or even dealing with kids. Will this odd couple, with their shared history, be able to find their way to each other again?

The protagonists’ characters were drawn very close to real characters that we know in our lives. As such their little nuisances and quirks made them very real to the readers and it was easy to relate to them. I felt for Abby really. Her ex-husband had left her broken, yet she had to put up a brave front for her daughter. I applause her for getting out of the abusive relationship in time to save herself and her daughter as I understand that it is a very difficult thing to do. The book changed POV from time to time and though at times it felt real sudden and took time to catch with the change, being able to read from both POV really helped getting to know the characters up, close and personally.

My only wish is that the author would give bit more details about the different settings. Other than that this novel was full of emotions and drama that kept my pages turning till the very end.

Whole Latte Love

Whole Latte Love - Rachelle Ayala
Carina Chen is young, smart, career oriented investment banking professional. When apartment hunting for the summer internship, she comes across Dylan Jewell, a handsome and charismatic barista. At first Carina tries to avoid and ignore Dylan and the attraction she feels for him as she just doesn’t need a distraction. When her boss asks her to spy on Dylan and influence his decisions in exchange for position in the company, she faces a dilemma… Dylan on the other hand finds himself attracted to this Asian girl in a way that calls for forever. But what will happen when he finds out that she has been spying on behalf of his ex-girlfriend? Will they fall apart or will they eventually find their ways to each other for their happily ever after?

Dylan Jewell is a hottie and he knows it. However that doesn’t stop him from following his heart in music business and helping the homeless apart from his job as a barista. I had to admire Dylan for taking the less conventional road and following his heart. It would have been easy for him to join his father’s firm and put his degree to some use. Instead he chooses to struggle as a barista and a part time musician. It takes strength to not choose the comfortable life and high paying job to go follow a dream. Carina Chen is a sweet and ambitious girl who wants to make a mark on the investment banking industry. Meeting Dylan changes her perspective on life. She realizes that a person working as a barista is not essentially less ambitious. She is taken into Dylan’s world and finds it liberating in way. Yet it doesn’t affect her own ambitions. The plot, while quite straightforward, brings in different flavours. There’s love, betrayal and drama to keep you hooked onto the pages. The author’s style of writing is simple and inviting. She narrates the stories in a way that makes you think that she is specially narrating it for you.

I want some of that Latte Love for myself!

That Autumn in Awadh

That Autumn in Awadh - Rachna Singh Essentially a love story, ‘That Autumn in Awadh’ tells us the story of Samar Solanki and Sara Shergill, brought together and then torn apart. Sara is a small town girl, making her living in the city of Lucknow. She meets Samar at work and their acquaintance soon turns into much more. But the society will not leave them be – as young lovers of different societal status – they have a lot of hurdles to cross. Their love will be tested most thoroughly, but will it survive?

The main advantage of this book is its characters and their situation. Sara and Samar are very relatable character and their story is that one of the thousands that show up in news every now and then. I particularly found Sara to be strong as she didn’t lose her calm completely when Samar’s family was out for blood. Bits of humour sprinkled here and there made the book more interesting. The author’s style of writing has the feel of a seasoned writer at times. However, the second half of the book seemed rushed and out of sync. It was very easy for me to take breaks while reading the book.

While the book itself had its own ups and downs and moments of glory, I feel that the plot did not live up to its full potential. Overall it was a couple of hours of light reading and I do not regret knowing Sara and Samar.


Heaven And Hell Alliance: all rules go loose

Heaven And Hell Alliance: all rules go loose - B.S. Sarwagna Kumar http://www.b00kr3vi3ws.in/2014/06/HeavenAndHellAlliance.html

It is not every day that we get to read and IWE Fantasy Novel. Love Stories, Mythical retellings and campus stories can be found a dime a dozen. But an IWE love story with a fantasy twist – not often. And that is what made me pick this book up in the first place.

Sam and Yash are an odd couple… a match made in heaven or hell, I do not know! When a fallen angel and a demon fall in love on the face of this earth, they do not know each other’s true identity. But eventually the facts come out. Will Yash corrupt the world to get his beloved or would he prove God’s will? These two lovers, contrary to the most famous love stories, do not give up their lives for their love; instead they bring heaven and hell together to be together.

What I liked the most about the book is its characters and the basic concept of demons, angels, heaven and hell. Sam and Yash are a feisty duo who I loved cheering for. They go such lengths to be together that it reinstates one’s faith in love. However, I feel that the full potential of the plot was not realized. There was a lot more that could be developed out of this plot. It is a love story – but it is different. The author’s style of narration is simple as is the language used to narrate. Smooth flowing story that makes you believe in the Fantasy of it.


Stones - Polly Johnson http://www.b00kr3vi3ws.in/2014/06/Stones.html

Coo is a sixteen year old girl, who spends more time at the beach than in a class. Her emotions are in turmoil as her elder brother, a drunk, is dead. She feels guilty for wanting him to be dead most of the times and for not missing him enough. She finds an unlikely friend in Banks, a homeless man, who is a drunkard too. An unlikely relationship of formed and even though Banks is not an ideal person to talk to, he is the only one Coo can talk to.

Nothing about this book is traditional. I mean the protagonist is called “Coo”!! The story doesn’t involve a teenager throwing typical temper tantrums or is it a happily ever after sort of a love story. Instead it is about the journey of one girl who has taken her brother’s death in a bad way. Coo has some of that typical teenager angst about her but mostly I found her to be different from typical YA Heroines. She is strong in her own way and impressionable in her own way too. I loved her for that. The subject matter and the content matter is not light either and may not be made for everyone. The author’s narrates the story in a brisk manner that lets us get close to Coo and Banks Just enough instead of getting too familiar with them.

This book struck a chord with me. I felt and wished throughout the book. This is an odd book with a depressing ending, yet I liked it!

A June Bride

A June Bride - Marybeth Whalen
While still recovering from a recent relationship, Wynne meets Andy on The Rejection Connection – a reality TV Series. They hit it off and soon Andy proposes. As, Meredith – another Reality TV Series star, offers to help Wynne become the perfect June bride, Wynne’s ex boyfriend walks back into her life. Will she go on to marry Andy or will she go back with Callum? With exposed hearts and secrets, take on the journey to find out Wynne’s fate.

Another novella down and I have really lost interest in the series. Once again lack of depth to the characters and a point to connect with them makes this novel a struggle. This book though had more potential plotwise from the last two books in the series. Yet the lack of growth and development in the characters really make it hard to keep turning the pages. Andy and Callum had so little part to play that I didn’t really care for either of them and did not root for either of them to get the girl. Wynne came across as a really superficial girl who sounds like a broken record.

I am sorry, but I couldn’t care for the book much and speed read the second half of it. I am done with this series too.


A May Bride

A May Bride - Meg Moseley Ellie Martin is like any other girl, dreaming of her perfect wedding, but with a secret wedding fund of her own. All she needs is a groom. When Gray Whitby walks into her life, a whirlwind romance leads the way to her perfect wedding. But Gray is tired of being the second fiddle to Ellie’s family. Will Ellie and Gray be able to work through their differences and problems or will it lead to nothing.

I may have taken a too rash decision by applying for all the books in this series. I recently read the Silver Linings Series – a series of romance novellas, and though I am not particularly a romance buff, I rather enjoyed the short and sweet novellas. So, when I saw this series up for grabs on netgalley, I decided to give this series a try too. And once through the first three novellas, I applied for the remaining ones that were available on Netgalley. But book 5 was quite disappointing and so was this.

Once again, it wasn’t the plot or the writing style that I had a problem with. Yes, the plot was predictable and the writing style is simple too. But that is what I have come to expect from romance books – whether novel or novellas. It is the characters that I seem to have a problem with. The biggest sore point of this novel is Ellie’s mom. She is practically a bully and lacks every quality that makes a mother. Then there is Ellie herself. She lets herself get bullied all the time. I understand that when it is coming from your mother or family, one tends to be more tolerant. But there’s somewhere where one has to draw a line. It would have been easy to sympathize with Gray, had it not been for his temper tantrums. Ellie is anyways bending over, why add to her burdens if you can’t help her out?

Once again I suppose as far as a romance novella goes, this goes on fairly well with respect to the plot. But the characters were not people I could connect or empathize or sympathize with.


An April Bride

An April Bride - Lenora Worth http://www.b00kr3vi3ws.in/2014/06/AprilBride.html

This is the fifth installment in this series of novellas. With each installment, my expectations have been increasing…

Stella Carson is a soon-to-be-bride whose faith and patience is tested when Marshall, her beau, is injured in the line of duty. He returns with blanks in his memory and PTSD. Stella is torn between her wedding preparations – that may never be and helping Marshall recover his memory. Will the wedding happen or will Stella loose her man?

Okay, I have to admit that I struggled with this novella. The plot and the narration style is simple enough. It is with the characters that I struggled. On one hand we have Stella, a god-believing girl, whose first thought when she finds out that Marshall has memory issues and is struggling with PTSD is that she might have to cancel her wedding. It was downright shallow of her care about her ‘wedding’ and ‘wedding preparations’ when the person she loves is struggling so much. Second of all, even though Marshall doesn’t remember his bride to be he is ready to go ahead with the wedding just on faith… I could probably accept that if it wasn’t for the fact that Marshall insisted on being consulted in every little detail of the wedding. No man, let alone one suffering from PTSD would ever want to be part of the frilly planning part of a wedding. I had a tough time stomaching that too. Also, there was too much repetition as if the author was trying to tell us how serious Marshall’s situation was by having him repeat the same things a number of times.

This is just my POV. Apart from the characters, I guess this was just another romance in the market.

A March Bride

A March Bride - Rachel Hauck http://www.b00kr3vi3ws.in/2014/06/MarchBride.html

This book, along with being part of the A year of Weddings Novella Series, is also a sequel to Once upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck. I realized it too late and I haven’t read the Once upon a Prince yet… But anyway, the author gives a short background introduction to get us all caught up and as such this can be read as a standalone.

The Novel begins with Susanna Truitt and King Nathaniel II’s impending wedding. The wedding is in three weeks and Susanna gets a cold feeling from Nathaniel. She is afraid that she might get jilted. However, Nathaniel is just starting to realize how much Susanna has to give up, including her American citizenship, to be with him. For Susanna, luck seems to have some other plans than her own. Her grandmother falls sick and even her best friend is on bed rest. All these ‘signs’ make Susanna nervous who leaves for her hometown to be with her grandmother and her best friend. Nathaniel fears that she might not come back to him after realizing the price she has to pay to be with him. So he takes certain matter into his hand.

While some of the other novellas in the series have the Christian fiction theme to them, it was the strongest in this particular novella. Even having not read ‘Once upon a Prince’, Nathaniel and Susanna’s characters came out very clear to me. Their individuality and their quirks made me like them a lot. The Storytelling style is simple and smooth. The plot is, though predictable, interesting. And I guess, I did like the fact that this is a clean romance.

The Bitter Kingdom

The Bitter Kingdom - Rae Carson Elisa is on a rescue mission and she has a plan you unite the countries. We see little more of Alodia here. But once again Elisa and Hector steal the spotlight throughout. Well fleshed out and developed characters who deserves their happily ever after.
The mystery of the Godstone is not fully solved though and I wish it would be explained a bit more.

The Crown of Embers

The Crown of Embers - Rae Carson Elisa's character is growing as she faces more hurdles and choices. I loved her for not bitching about her life, instead moving on and looking ahead! She is a character you will love rooting for.

More action at all ends and more of Hector & Storm too.

I like the fantasy world built by Rae Carson in this book.

The Fragile Heart

The Fragile Heart - Ankit Jaiswal The Fragile Heart is essentially the story of Jai and his emotional roller coaster. While still in school, Jai falls for a girl. Soon after much research he discovers more about her – Geeta. After days of agonizing over her, Jai finally manages to profess his love for her in a letter. But Geeta walks out of his life leaving Jai’s love unfulfilled. He nurses a broken heart for quite long and it is only during his college life in Bangalore that Riya walks into his life. Riya manages to touch his broken heart and maybe even heal it. But what’s a story without a twist. Geeta walks back into his life at Mumbai. To find out what happens next is why you should read this book.

Jai, Geeta and Riya are all characters that a relatable to. They are all like the youth of our generation – influenced by Bollywood in the matters of the heart. I particularly enjoyed the part where Riya first walks into Jai’s life and their quirky interactions. But sadly enough that is the highlight of the book. The plot is straightforward and doesn’t provide for much scope of twists and surprises. So probably everyone will be able to guess ‘What Happens’. The author shows promise in his narration style though his language needs some polish and the book could do with another around at the editor’s desk.

Overall, this book wasn’t a hit or a miss and failed to make a permanent impression.

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