Friday, October 25, 2013

#35 : 21 hours by Dustin Stevens : A Review

BOOK TITLE: 21 Hours

ISBN: 1480181927

AUTHOR:Dustin Stevens

GENRE: Fiction - Thriller/Suspense


FORMAT: Digital (E-Pub)


REVIEW BY: Shree Janani 

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: The writer mailed the book in request for a review.

Kidnapping, Ex-Con Uncle, Criminal masterminds. These three words in the summary of the book made me go for it. My kind of book really.

The story begins with cattle being branded in a rusty ranch. A frantic phone call from the twin sister( Alex O'Connor) of narrator (Felix “O” O'Connor) stating that her daughter has been kidnapped interrupts the branding process. “O” drives to his sister's place and uses his old prison connections to try track the kidnapper and rescue his niece. (I found that cattle branding interrupted by a phone call extremely amusing!)

One prisoner leads to some equal rouge outside prison who then washes his hands off and points to another criminal, who finally points to the original bad guy.

Our narrator “O” takes matter into his own hands in spite of the police involved and follows that criminal link to take down the bad guy finally and get back his kidnapped niece.

This is the story line put real blunt sans the twists that are actually present in the book. But then, if you pick this book expecting melodramatic twists or strategic turns, you are sure to be disappointed.

The writer, Dustin Stevens has used very simple language and has followed a very mellow style of narration. No frills attached. Just bang on to the point. Yet somehow he manages to convey all sorts of emotions ranging from that protective instinct of a brother to the innocence of a child.

When a book involves kidnapping of a child, writers tend to make it thoroughly dramatic. At times they go overboard. But thankfully that didn't happen with this book. A bit of a drama is okay. But overdoing drama kills of the suspense element.

One other thing which I loved about the was that, the characters weren't exactly complicated. The plot certainly was fast paced but not too fast making the readers lose track of what exactly happens.

There was only one thing I didn't exactly like. The chain of criminals. One leading to another is fine. But one leading to another leading to another isn't exactly “interesting”. When the third criminal came, I sort of became weary. I just wondered of this one was going to lead to another.
Nevertheless, it was worth the read for someone like me who can't just get enough of thrillers.

VERDICT: It's definitely a book to read if you like reading thrillers.


He originally hales from the midwest, grew up in the heart of farm country, and still considers it, along with West Tennessee, his co-home. Between the two, he has a firm belief that football is the greatest of all past-times; sweet tea is really the only acceptable beverage for any occasion, there is not an event on earth that either gym shorts or boots can't be worn to, and that Dairy Queen is the best restaurant on the planet. Further, southern accents are a highly likeable feature on most everybody, English bulldogs sit atop the critter hierarchy, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with a Saturday night spent catfishing at the lake.

Since leaving the midwest he has been to college in New England, grad school in the Rockies, and lived in over a dozen different cities ranging from DC to Honolulu along the way. Each and every one of these experiences has shaped him to who he is at this point, a fact that he hopes is expressed in his writing.


PRICE: Rs.166 (Kindle Edition)


Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

#34 : Shardfall By Paul E. Horsman : A Review


BOOK TITLE: Shardfall

ISBN: 9789491730030

AUTHOR: Paul E. Horsman

GENRE: Fiction - Fantasy


FORMAT: Digital (PDF)

SERIES / STANDALONE: Shardheld Series #1

REVIEW BY: Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: The writer contacted us via mail and mailed his book for a review

The story beings with a “lighting ball” falling over a sacred mountains. The holder of Eidungruve (analogous to a chief of that particular village) sends his son,Kjelle along with his slave, Muus to investigate that peculiar occurrence.

When the salve, Muus touches the “lighting ball” stone, the stone bonds with him and he is essentially freed from being a slave. When Kjelle grabs the stone from muus,an avalanche occurs causing the mountains to collapse  and blocks the search party's return path forcing them to use tunnels and what not to find their way back to their village.

On the way back they meet asgisla, a female magician who tries to find out who really Muus and why the gods choose him to be the shardheld (The holder of that “lighting ball” stone). In an unfortunate turn of events Asgisla is murdered and Muus along with Asgisla's disciple Birthe and Kjelle escape from the murders.

They finally find their way to the village of Eidungruve only to find it massacred and the holder dead. What follows is the story of a Jarl trying to overthrow his king and muus getting entangled in the mess thanks to the fact that he is a Shardheld.

I have no qualms with the plot as such. It's a good book with a great story line. The writer has managed to keep the plot alive by throwing in adequate suspense elements.The emotions are beautifully portrayed. Especially when Kjelle treats Muus badly.

One thing I found slightly annoying was the lack of proper introduction of characters. Such narration tends to confuse the reader. It took me a while to understand who is who. Also given that the names are offbeat (Read not English, probably Dutch as the writer is dutch!),it makes things even worse.

The book is set in Viking era. Not many are aware of that history (Implies I don't know a thing about Dutch history or Viking era).Thought the writer has given a glossary of all those “technical viking terms”, it doesn't help much because I still don't really know who or what a Nord is (Yes. He missed out what that means! Rest is pretty much covered).
Overall, the book needs a bit more of polishing!

VERDICT: A great story line that could have been narrated better. Pick it up if you can manage being slighlty hazed at times.

RATING: 3.5/5

Paul E. Horsman is a Dutch and international fantasy author, Born in Bussum, a quiet little town in the Netherlands (1952). After finishing school and doing a stint in the army in tropical Surinam, he served for thirty years as a Scoutmaster. In his spare time, he earned his bread in various business capacities.From 1995 to 2012 he was an instructor at a large educational institution - where he explained to foreigners the wonders of the Dutch language and customs - until Governmental budget cuts terminated the school. Since then he is a full-time fantasy author.His first books have been traditionally published in The Netherlands by Zilverspoor Publishers: Rhidauna (2012), Zihaen (2013), Ordelanden (Summer 2013). Now he is determined to bring his stories to other parts of the world.In June 2013 his first international book appeared: Shardfall, Book 1 of The Shardheld Saga.

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Paperback, Digital

PRICE: $8.99


Note : This review was first posted in 
Readers' Muse


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

#33 : The Guardian Angels By Rohit Gore : A Review

BOOK TITLE: The Guardian Angels

ISBN: 9789381841280

AUTHOR: Rohit Gore

GENRE: Fiction – Romance


FORMAT: Paperback


HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: The Writer was kind enough to send me a copy


Romance isn't exactly my cup of tea. I absolutely refrain from reading such books unless I am down in dumps. But I made an exception for this book, And I am glad I did that.

The writer contacted me as a result of the promotional spree that I went for the blog and the Facebook page and offered to send his book. He wrote this in his mail to us and I  quote “I am sticking my neck out, but I can assure you that THE GUARDIAN ANGELS won't disappoint you”. I couldn't simply resist his offer.

Come on! How bad can a romance novel be? After all I've read a couple of books by Nicholas Sparks (And I'd be prejudiced if I didn't mention that “incredible” love story by an Indian writer. Pun intended)

The book follows the lives of two star crossed lovers, Adi a.ka. Aditya Mehta, the rich billionaire’s outcast son and Radha, the firebrand daughter of a union leader . The story is narrated partly as diary entry by Radha and Thoughts/Emotions of Adi and few others.

Radha and Adi meet under a very comical circumstance (To me. I found a girl in over sized raincoat saving a guy from 3 bullies extremely comical). Friendship blossoms between them and they grow up being a little more than just friends. That kind of a relationship which is hard to be given a name (More like complicated). Towards the end of the story, they realize (Upon another character pointing it out to them) that they are each other’s guardian angels. No matter what, they will be there for each other.

Adi takes over his family business (Heavy Engineering part of the business) while Radha becomes a social activist. But this isn't exactly why they are “star crossed” (I can't possibly write more about that without giving out the story line.)

Adi just can’t seem to understand Radha.(Okay! Lets' face it. The writer was being point blank realistic. Which man did ever exactly understand a woman well?!)  Thus a lot of banters and these small-cute fights follow. It's those banters and small fights which makes the entire story-line so beautiful.
The narration is simple and highly effective. The writer conveys all emotions beautifully. Be it anger or love or affection. It's just perfect. There is no over dose of this lovey-dovey stuff that seems to be a pertinent characteristic of a romance novel.

After a long time, this was that one book that left me with this “lingering” feeling long after I put down the book. This is one book that I wanted read it in one go.

Dear writer, you really needn't stick your neck  for this great piece of writing. Your writing does a better job than you.

Overall the book is simply beautiful, realistic narrated passionately sans the drag and drama that one experiences while reading a romance/Chic-lit novel.

Thank you Rohit for writing such a good book and most importantly for sending it over. Otherwise I would have surely missed such a beautiful book, thanks to my aversion of romance novels.

VERDICT: This is one book that shouldn't be missed even if you are a romance genre hater.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rohit Gore grew up in a number of towns in India. At various times in his childhood, he wanted to be a theater actor, an architect and a bookshop owner.

After his engineering degree, he was based in Mumbai. An MBA from S P Jain Institute followed and since then he is in the IT industry.
He loves sports, specifically the discussing and watching part of it, since the playing days are long gone. He has traveled a lot – a consequence of living in Mumbai and London. His greatest passion is reading and it inspired him to write. He is a frequent contributor to many online writing forums and wishes there were more writing groups.

He currently lives in Pune, a wonderfully vibrant city with his wife Pranita and son Sahil. He has a keen interest in history, especially the history of music and arts. One of the things he would like to get better at is photography.


PRICE: Rs.81 (Paperback)


Note : This review was first posted in 
Readers' Muse

Monday, October 14, 2013

#32 : Confessions of a Male nurse by Michael Alexander : A Review

BOOK TITLE: Confessions of a Male Nurse
ISBN: 9780007467044
AUTHOR: Michael Alexander (Pseudonym)
GENRE: Fiction
FORMAT: Digital (Epub)
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Amazon recommended me this book. On a loan from a digital library
This book was recommended to me by Till date I simply wonder why. Neither have I purchased books of this genre nor have i browsed books.
Upon reading the summary, I decided to give it a read.
Well...okay I confess. Grey's Anatomy. That's the real reason I read this book. I expected something like that TV show.
The book turned out nothing like that. Nevertheless, it's an unique book.  The book is about a male nurse's reservations/experiences in handling stampeding nudes to inebriated teenagers and to being the only male in a all female and “uncomfortable” gynecology ward.
The summary claims that the book is “touching, shocking and frequently hilarious account of one man’s life in nursing”.
Touching: Check
Shocking: Not exactly.
Hilarious: No way
Snippets of various incidents were narrated in a rather boring manner. One could also blame me for expecting something like Grey's anatomy in paper. It wasn't certainly a good read at all.
VERDICT: I recommend strongly that you don't pick this book if you have something like Grey's Anatomy in mind.
RATING:2 on 5
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michael Alexander is the pseudonym of a nurse who has previously worked in the UK and New Zealand.
EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Paperback, Kindle.
PRICE: Rs.121 (Kindle Edition)

Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

#31 : In Love of Honey,Money.....And My Virgin Passport by Mita Jain : A Review


BOOK TITLE: In Love of Honey, Money....and My Virgin Passport
AUTHOR: Mita Jain
GENRE: Fiction – Romance
FORMAT: Digital
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: The writer mailed the copy upon a request in goodreads forum
I picked up this book with a lot of apprehension. Thought I kind of liked the goodreads summary, I still had my reservations.
Reason: Few months back an Indian female writer had contacted me to review a similar story (No. I have nothing against Indians or Females. After all I fit into both the categories) after reading that poorly edited “Story-less” piece of work, I decided not to take any further chances. (No prizes for guessing what book....oops! So called book it is. I was being a true saint while writing that review)
Alas! The book wasn't that bad. The writing was good. No hi-fi words. Just simple and plain. It was a light read dealing with the original “story” of being an “IT” professional.
The story is narrated by Vinay, the protagonist. He talks about his transition from being a college kid to software “professional”.
Being in the almost same phase myself (Kind of really. I am not software professional, but it’s more or less the same everywhere), I can really relate to the story. But at times it’s just too good nice and sweet. Life isn't exactly fair. Like when the two “villain” Sameer & Anoop quit. Come on. Such managers don't go away so easily. Also when the “GoLive” gets messed up, Please, No client is going to be that sweet (Been there done that! Trust me!). To cut that “Oh-come-on!-no-way-life-is-that-fair” list short, the story simply didn't have twists or turns. It just flows. Since when life in the IT industry “flowed” just like that. Ask any “straight out of college – Just turned professional”, he/she is bound to tell you life is unfair!
Nevertheless, It’s a light book to read. Simple. Sweet.
VERDICT: Pick it up if you want to nod away in some pages of the book and go “no way that's going to happen man!” in some others.
RATING: 3.8/5
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mita was born in India, and spent her childhood there. She clearly remembers how her love for reading and writing grew. It was "Oliver Twist" by Charles Dickens which drew her into the world of reading and writing. She was about ten years of age when she started penning poetry. As she grew, her dreams changed too. But one thing that never changed was her love for art and writing
EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Digital (On Request)

Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse

Sunday, October 6, 2013

#30 : Dead Man's Alibi by Mita Jain : A Review


BOOK TITLE: Dead Man's Alibi
AUTHOR: Mita Jain
GENRE: Fiction - Thriller
FORMAT: Digital (PDF)
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: The Writer contacted me via Goodreads PM and sent me a digital copy.
Never having read a mystery book by an Indian writer, I was a little apprehensive when the writer mailed me her book. I really had to battle all the prejudices I had. Not that I don't like Indian writers, but there are few works by the so called writers which is a sheer disgrace to Indian literary history. I don't want to point out names as I am sure every fellow bibliophile must have gone through the same experience at some point of time.
The book truly surprised me. For someone who isn't exactly a seasoned novelist, the writer has done a pretty decent job.
The protagonist, Jay Gandhi is a criminal lawyer with many enemies. His father is supposedly the inventor of a time machine along with the story's villain Dr.Suborto and another Japanese scientist.
One fine night, his father's corpse lands in Jay's house. His father was supposed to be dead 20 years back in a fire “accident” (Yeah. Twist there! I am not revealing that.) The investigating officer, Rathi “Anna” kicks up quite a storm by calling the press and making a through show before discussing his suspicions with Jay.
What I really liked about the book:
The surprise element. The writer did a good job of keeping the plot alive.
What I felt could have been better:
The writer describes Jay to be a chauvinist. But she doesn't provide adequate proof for that (Come on! He lost his dream after all. No wonder he walked away like that. Any guy would! )
The “Science” part of the book. Tachyons?! Come on. Not many people would know that unless they are Physics buffs. She simply presumes the readers are either “knowledgeable” enough to know what that is or they are patient enough to Google it. Patience is a virtue my dear friend! Just one line describing what it is would have done the trick.
Overall, it was neat, well written with a good story line.
VERDICT: I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to read a not so lengthy yet good Scientific Mystery book
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mita was born in India, and spent her childhood there. She clearly remembers how her love for reading and writing grew. It was "Oliver Twist" by Charles Dickens which drew her into the world of reading and writing. She was about ten years of age when she started penning poetry. As she grew, her dreams changed too. But one thing that never changed was her love for art and writing.

PRICE: Rs. 50

Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

#29 : Glen & Tyler Honeymoon Adventures by J.B.Sanders : A Review


BOOK TITLE: Glen & Tyler Honeymoon Adventures

ISBN: 1257851454

AUTHOR: J.B.Sanders

GENRE: Fiction- Thriller


FORMAT: Digital (Kindle)


HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: I won the #3 book in the series in a giveaway. Thus I wanted to read the entire series.

I really had my reservations picking up this book. Let's just say I am better off reading thrillers and mysteries. Yet again I made a typical judgmental error. I probably should have taken the old adage “Don’t judge a book by its cover” seriously. But I am happy I picked up this book. For it was a rather humorous book written well with good twists (At times too good I say!)

Reading the book back summary, which goes like this, “Tyler can't inherit unless he gets married ... and when Glen proposes, hijacks ensue. Follow the guys on their world-spanning adventure as they defeat mobsters, an evil step-mother, a rakish brother-in-law and pirates. No, really -- pirates Plus there's an underground super-base. And hockey. Come for the romance, stay for the hockey”, you can’t really blame me for making that “Judgmental error”.

The “defeat mobsters, an evil step-mother, a rakish brother-in-law and pirates” part of the story really reminded me of Indian movies. That part of the story post the wedding seemed a culmination of a bunch of Tamil movies (Especially Vijayakanth movies) and another bunch of the Bollywood movies.
Tyler inherits a lot of money (Trillions) and with money comes a lot of trouble. Needless to say the Protagonist like in movies would somehow be well “equipped” in all manner to fight the “Villains”.
Its a little stereotypical. But one thing I should really appreciate is that, the writer has done a real good work of making that stereotypical theme sound not so stereotypical by adding some “gay-romance” and some super spy stuff / twists.

Now coming to our hero, Tyler. He has to marry to inherit his grandfather’s property which turns out to be a lot more than what Tyler expected. But his problem, his current girlfriend rejects his proposal. When he comes back “heart broken”, his “best friend” cum roommate cum college mate virtually proposes to him and they marry. Hang on. Yes, It was supposed to be this namesake marriage (According to Tyler), but when they “kissed” for the pastor, Tyler realized he was in love with Glen all along. Only they had never acknowledged it. Like the normal straight stories, post wedding they meet the parents only to realize Tyler's Step-mother is a true villain.
And they as they go on a cruise for their honeymoon, things turn even murkier. Pirates. Undercover agents. Super Spy investigations. That tells you all.

The most comical part of the story is when Glen & Tyler decided to gift each other, Hockey teams and play with professional players. Thank god, the writer didn't make the horrible mistake of making amateur hockey players (Read our dear heroes) exactly win against the pros.

A combination of hockey and evil mother -in- law brings us to the climax of the story, which I obviously won't reveal (Oh come on! The writer has taken all pains to write this book laced with wit, humour & action! Read it!)

I really appreciate the writer for one thing. The book didn't make me “squirm”. I am not used to all the adult romance. I tend to skip pages while reading such novels. It’s just not my thing. Thankfully, this writer made sure I didn't really skip pages.

VERDICT: Good Read. Pick it up!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: The author lives with an imaginary cat, and works in computer support (you know, the day job) in Upstate New York. He divides his time between writing humorous suspense novels, reading science fiction and urban fantasy, absorbing too much British TV (or as his roommate would say "those crappy BBC mysteries"), pondering why he didn't write a scifi or fantasy novel, and his various hobbies. No, reading isn't a hobby. It's more like a vocation. The author also wonders how people get away with talking about themselves in the third person this way. It's awkward. 

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Kindle, Paperback, Hardcover

PRICE: Rs.164.11 for kindle edition


Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse