Thursday, January 30, 2014

#55 : Nowhere, AZ by Chris Nunley : A Review

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BOOK TITLE: Nowhere,AZ

ISBN:  1478352965

AUTHOR: Chris Nunley

GENRE:Fiction

NUMBER OF PAGES: 148

FORMAT: Digital

SERIES / STANDALONE:Standalone

REVIEW BY: Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review Copy provided as a part of Virtual Author book tours. We thank the writer for the copy.

SUMMARY :
 “Always going somewhere. Never getting anywhere.”

Negative energy haunts the nameless Narrator, who's been on the run for twelve years. A convicted killer on the loose, he has no one left to rely on and no place to call home, so he heads west.

"Those who will remember will say it's all my fault." 

He has no control of what he's capable of and does his best to avoid any type of confrontation at all costs. Words are said, things are done. Friends turn into enemies."They call me a monster." 
REVIEW:

Books with supernatural elements have become a strict no for me these days. I felt I had an overdose of that genre already and I need a change. But when this offer came up I couldn’t resist. Old habits die hard you see. Thankfully the book didn’t make me repent my decision.

The whole supernatural element of negative energy has been handled so beautifully that I almost forgot such a concept is more than hypothetical - It’s fantasy.

Initially the writing was a bit slow and the story lagged at places. But as the plot line progressed I was so hooked that I completed the book in a day.

What I loved about the book :

The progression of plot, the twists and turns, the supernatural element was subtle yet managed to work perfectly in favour of the writer.

What I felt could have been better :

The book was too small – 148 odd pages (Prime reason behind a small review).

Okay I agree our dear protagonist it a misfit and a person who gets hurts and ends hurting others. But that does mean he shouldn’t have a name.

Any one in America will understand what AZ stands for. Few people like me who have no idea about American states, AZ makes no sense.
But one thing that really ticked me off was that wild west concept. Okay yeah going west is really famous idiom as far as I have heard. But then I feel the writer sort of failed to deliver that wild west idea.

VERDICT: It’s a quicke!

RATING: 3.5 on 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Chris Nunley has been writing ever since he could put a pen to paper.
In tenth grade, he wrote a spec episode of “Seinfeld” for his creative writing class, and realized that writing wasn’t an assignment, it was a passion. He went on to write several other screenplays, including an adaptation of Albert Camus’ “The Stranger.”
Chris graduated with a degree in Screenwriting from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, then went on to work for the television show “MADtv” as a Writers’ Assistant as well as selling material as a Contributing Writer.
His first novel “Nowhere, AZ” – a story about karma and its implications, as well as his second novel “The Pouch – A Story About Sacking Up” are both available for purchase as paperbacks or for a Kindle device at Amazon.com.
EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Kindle & Paperback

PRICE:$9.89 (Paperback)

BOOK LINKS: http://www.amazon.com/Nowhere-AZ-Chris-Nunley/dp/1478352965/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1379721818&sr=8-1&keywords=chris+nunley



Note : This review was first posted in 
Readers' Muse
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Thursday, January 23, 2014

#54 : Kill Daddy by Gerald Freeman : A Review


BOOK TITLE: Kill Daddy

ASIN : B00FQQBV2O

AUTHOR: Gerald Freeman

GENRE: Fiction

NUMBER OF PAGES:216

FORMAT: Digital - Epub

SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone

REVIEW BY: Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: The writer sent us a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. We thank him for it.

SUMMARY : Trauma from the past becomes a part of who you are. It weighs down on the present, suffocating life and preventing you from healing and moving on. If you continue to carry this baggage around long enough, you will eventually become who you are not. Believe in the essential goodness of your true self, however, and you will accept the past, but let go of the burden and finally become the real you. This is the story of one man's struggle to accept the past and move on before it destroys everything he is and could ever hope to be. In desperation Gerry flees society to save his sanity and ends up in the remote villages of East Africa. Midst the poverty, he encounters hope and more love than he could imagine. Will it be enough to save him? Can he repair the damage done to him in his childhood or will his abusers win in the end?

REVIEW:
 When the writer contacted us for a review, we were in the middle of the #Womanifesto campaign planning. Here we are running a campaign to make a change in women’s lives and a book about an abused man’s road of recovery lands! Ironical isn’t it?

The characterisation was pretty good. More than the characterisation, the process of repairing an emotional damage was brought out beautifully.

The writer made an exemplar job of portraying various emotions along with their shades of variance.

The book was akin to a tour guide to Africa. Of course, unlike a conventional tour guide this book brought out the psychology of African People and their culture. One thing that is clearly evident is that the writer either has travelled extensively. But if this is his memoir I’d say, it’s really not up to the mark.

The process of healing isn’t as simple as the writer portrayed it to be. It’s complicated. But there is another angle of looking at it. May be the process of healing is so subtle that our protagonist didn’t even realize he has been healed.

The writing was pretty much simple. Though the emotions were portrayed beautifully, I felt they lacked the conviction and that depth. I felt the writer sorted of underplayed it out of the fear of writing a book with heavy emotions which might not go down well with many people.

SUBTLE would be the perfect word to describe this book.

One thing I really didn’t understand was the “lady love” part. Gerry’s love interests seemed very superficial and a bit confusing. It sort of left me wondering if the readers were supposed to feel that or was it just me?
The best thing about this book – The Irony – A depressed protagonist in search of “an emotional cure”/ seeking to be healed in a poverty ridden and struggling country and ends up getting his wish fulfilled.

What could have been better: More emotions. A bit of depth to the emotions would have done the trick. The title of the book could have been something positive.

VERDICT: It’s a slow and subtle inspiring read. Do not expect a racy plot line.

RATING: 4 on 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  The Writer was inspired to write Kill Daddy after he returned from his roller coaster ride In Kenya and Uganda where he spent almost 2 years living with the local people.

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Digital

PRICE: Rs. 249 ( Kindle Edition)


BOOK LINKS: http://www.amazon.in/Kill-Daddy-Life-Gerald-Freeman-ebook/dp/B00FQQBV2O/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1390488371&sr=1-1



Note : This review was first posted in 
Readers' Muse
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Thursday, January 16, 2014

#53 : An Incurable Insanity by Simmi K. Rao : A Review

                                                   

BOOK TITLE: An Incurable Insanity
ISBN: 1627465928
AUTHOR:Simmi K. Rao
GENRE: Fiction - Romance
NUMBER OF PAGES: 376 Pages
FORMAT: Digital
SERIES / STANDALONE:Standalone
REVIEW BY: ShreeJanani
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy as a part of bOOk r3vi3ws review tours 
REVIEW:
Writer Rohit Gore managed to change the prejudice I had about romance and Indian writers. (Read the aftermath bitter experience of reading a certain famous “book”)
Then came along writer Simmi K.Rao and bowled me over with her beautiful book. The blurb in the summary gave me an impression of a mushy cold weather romance novel in store but the book turned out to be nothing like that. The art work in the cover really was beautiful and looked rich. Added to the whole “eager quotient” of the book.
Ruhi is this perfect Indian woman with just the right amount of modernization. Then there is her husband, Shaan – the adorable jerk who once loved a woman and was kind enough to tell his newlywed wife that they can’t possibly be man and wife. Yet they find their way and work on their relationship.
The plot is rather simple: Hate – Love – Hate – Love. Nothing new there. Yet I was hooked to the book and finished in two days. Obviously that’s the beautiful narration at work. Ruhi’s thought process is the perfect example of an Indian woman’s thought process (er…A normal woman maybe?!) so all men out there, take some pointers from the book to make both our lives easier.
The main theme – arranged marriage - always seemed mysterious to me. For someone who has practically grown up being told that marriages should be “arranged” by the parents/elders/aunts/ “whoever is older than you”, the book wasn’t boring.  The narration conveyed all those mysterious and butterfly – shy sort of feelings perfectly. It worked to an extent that I came to a conclusion that “arranged marriages” after all can’t be bad. After all the Indian logic of “do not talk to a stranger but marry one” does sound weird and thoroughly unrealistic. Nevertheless it’s a beautiful tradition to be kept up.
The language was simple and the writer made a good job of keeping up that suspense element without beating around the bush. It’s hard to keep a reader intrigued in a plain love story. But somehow this writer pulled it off perfectly.
My only complaint would be that initial drag. The book was quite a bore initially but then things changed and the story line progressed beautifully.
Overall, Ms.Rao, thank you for writing such a book filled with raw emotions. You nailed it I say!

VERDICT: Go ahead pick It up. Even the romance “haters” would find this book thoroughly readable!

RATING: 4.5 on 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Simi K. Rao was born in India and has been living in the United States for several years. Her contemporary romance novel An Incurable Insanity, published by Tate Publishing, was released on October 8, 2013. An Incurable Insanity is her first foray into writing. The inspiration for the story came from what she has seen transpire among and within the immigrant community. Some of the experiences included are her own; some have been garnered from friends and casual conversations with acquaintances. She also writes poetry, is an avid photographer, loves to travel, and is a practicing physician. She currently lives in Denver with her family
EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Kindle
PRICE: Pricing Information not available

BOOK LINKS: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DRJZ31C/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb



Note : This review was first posted in 
Readers' Muse

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

#52 : Into You by Riley J.Ford : A Review

                                                 Into You


BOOK TITLE: Into You

ISBN: 1478174307

AUTHOR: Riley J. Ford

GENRE: Fiction – Paranormal Romance

NUMBER OF PAGES: 253

FORMAT: EPub

SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone

REVIEW BY: Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review tour – Premier Virtual Author Book tours

SUMMARY: What if you could know exactly what your friends are thinking? High school student Winter Reynolds can, but there's a catch...

She can only read people's thoughts when she's kissing them.

When a member of the track team is murdered, Winter has an opportunity to use her special ability to find the killer. Trouble is, kissing everyone on the track team isn't such a good idea when you have a new boyfriend. Talk about complications!

Should Winter persevere using her secret power to catch the murderer still in their midst, even if it means risking her relationship with her one true love?

Disclaimer: Mild profanity and a graphic murder scene. While humorous, this book also explores the underbelly of teen life. May not be suitable for younger teens

REVIEW:
The book is what exactly it claims to be - A light and humorous read for teens. For someone who is out of teens (I have no qualms about stating my age!) the book is like a reflection of the past- The teen life, the pressures, the highs and lows of it.

The writer has used the most foolproof recipe to get that instant connect with the readers: A rather predictable combination of Boys high on testosterone, possessive girls, mean girls, high school drama and to top it all the main suspense element, A murder of a ‘softling’ (My word for that silent, calm and shy girl of a class!)

I couldn’t find any loopholes in the plot but I did find the end sort of predictable. Any seasoned mystery lover would find the plot rather usual. Nothing really surprising or to put it simply there were just two unexpected twists. JUST TWO – One the murder itself and other the ability of our protagonist to read minds when she kisses people.

The writing was simple and was mostly in present tense. Few people might find this whole “Present Tense” narration a bit uncomfortable. Winter’s whole thought process is annoying at times. The narration made it a little bit more difficult to plod away quickly.  Even a seasoned reader needs some time to get comfortable with the writing style.

 In spite of a predictable plot line and a simple language I was really hooked to the book. It’s the fool proof combination at work I suppose!
I really loved the character of Winter’s boyfriend. He is the typical and desirable type of guy (But in reality dear Ms. Writer does such a specimen exist?)

Overall, the book was light and humorous to read even for a non teen.

PLUS: Suspense kept alive sans a loophole in the plot. Paranormal element helped a lot in that.

MINUS:  A predictable ending and the present tense narration.

VERDICT: YA lovers go for it. Rest of you, go for it only if you desperately need something “ light” . The book will certainly snap you out of that emotional jam.

RATING: 3.5 on 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: RileyJ. Ford is a graduate of UCLA with a degree in English. After teaching at both the high school and college levels for a number of years, she turned to writing full-time. Her non-fiction books are used in college classrooms around the country, and her essays have been featured on such websites as MSNBC.com.

 She is the author of three fiction books, INTO YOU, a young adult mystery, CARPE DiEMILY, a romantic comedy caper, and FIFTY SHADES OF FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, a satire. She enjoys running with the bulls in Pamplona and downhill skiing in her free time. 

RileyJ. Ford is the WINNER of Blogger Book Fair Reader's Choice Award, Humor Category

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Kindle, Paperback

PRICE: Rs.219 (Kindle Edition)


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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

#51 : Eve's Tomb by D.R.Hadrian : A Review

                                              Eves Tomb

BOOK TITLE: Eve’s Tomb

ISBN: 1630418544

AUTHOR: D R Hadrian 

GENRE: Fiction

NUMBER OF PAGES: 255

FORMAT: Paperback

SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone

REVIEW BY: Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: The publisher (Blackbuck Publishers) sent us a copy in exchange for a honest review
SUMMARY: Vinamzi Lance, an Oxford graduate is shocked to hear about the murder of his Professor. He is more perplexed when he learns that the last message from the Professor is for him.
However, the message turns out to be a code. Along with the Professor’s son Bruce, they embark on a frantic hunt through the Vatican and then to North America after the lost prophecy of Nostradamus. Retrieving the prophecy is not as easy as two great powers, the Church and the Virgins (a secret cult) embroil as they think it holds the destiny of the world.  Ironically all the intricate plotting of the Virgins and the Church turn to mayhem as they confront an adroit deception. Finally, the last hopes of saving the world from a nuclear disaster and the battle of the sexes are in the hands of Vinamzi and his friends…
Will they be able to stop the destruction or will Eve’s tomb be a burial ground of them all…

REVIEW:
Oxford grad English professor + Code cracking + Prophecy + Church – Sounds like a typical Dan brown novel doesn’t it?

That’s the summary at play I guess. Also, the summary was the biggest reason for me agree to review this book.

The cover of the book is quite beautiful – a dark green colour with the statue. Gives it an air of mystery and intrigues the reader.

The plot line is quite solid and I wasn’t able to find any logical flaws. But there were simply too much characters and I didn’t feel the need for so many characters.  The interlock between the characters - as I prefer to call – is rather unusual in this book.  Logic took a hit when some random reporter decided to play the role of a girlfriend to our protagonist and he actually reciprocate and go along.  But then the book is a work of fiction – anything is acceptable when it comes to fiction isn’t it?

What I liked about the book:

The writing was quite simple. The writer has surely done his research about quite a lot of historical stuff (like he should!). The plot line was racy and managed to keep me hooked. 

I loved the characterization of Bruce. I was virtually in splits imagining that tattoo drawn without his knowledge!

The codes – which were the backbone of this book – were rather abstract. Not the usual sort of symbols etc. The writer certainly deserves a standing ovation for trying to incorporate abstract codes.
I read this book during my trip to Mysore – turned out to be a perfect thriller to my linking! To me a “not so good” book can ruin my “vacation mood”. Thankfully this book didn’t!

What could have been better:

For a seasoned reasoned reader, drawing comparisons between this book and books by Dan Brown & Steve Berry is inevitable.  The writer obviously has been hugely influenced by Dan Brown and Steve Berry and it clearly reflects in his writing.

The codes in book were good but they lacked the ability to hold the suspense for long, in sense the writer progressed to the next code before even the effect of the present code could be felt. Also, it’s rather surprising that the writer didn’t take the plot line to Saudi Arabia as the “Eve’s tomb” is actually present there!

One thing that certainly put me off was the spell errors. I did find quite a few but overlooked them as the plot and the writing in general were good!

Overall, A neat read which certainly is good but isn’t the type to be raved.

VERDICT: Why not?! Pick it up it’s quite a racy read!

RATING: 3.5 on 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: the writer  loves to read, listen to music and of course write. he has authored three books. He love fiction, and at the same time likes some encouraging books( Self-help).

EDITIONS AVAILABLE:Paperback

PRICE: Rs. 143


Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

#50 : An.Al - The Origins by Athul DeMarco : A Review

                                                 


BOOK TITLE: An.Al – The Origins

ISBN: 9788172344702

AUTHOR: Athul DeMarco

GENRE: Fiction

NUMBER OF PAGES: 264

FORMAT:Paperback

SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone

REVIEW BY: ShreeJanani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Won this as a part of Tales Pensive giveaway

SUMMARY : There are legends, myths, fables, and parables. And the tale of the man with two heads is one of them.

When the invitation to play is a dead, mutilated stray dog stuffed inside a gunnysack, you know that the game is going to be dangerous and that the only way to stop the madness is to understand it. And to hope that when the time comes, the knife finds a sweet spot. This is where it all began . . . this is the story of the man with two heads
  
REVIEW:
The summary thoroughly sounded just like my kind of book – The kind that is extremely violent with murder scenes and detectives going bonkers to solve it. I also stumbled across a particular interview of the writer which upped my curiosity (Sinister and witty would be the appropriate words to describe the writer’s responses). Thus curiosity killed the cat – leaving me mildly disappointed after I finished reading the book. Nevertheless, the book still proved to be a good read!

The story is about conjoined twins who are just the opposite of each other. I couldn’t help but wonder if the writer watched the Tamil movie “Maatraan” starring Suriya  (Which in turn was “inspired” by the Thai movie ‘Alone’! Originality at its peak). The characterization of the twins are virtually the same.

The twins go out exploring the world free from their protective family only to end up as PI. They help police crack all unsolved cases yet don’t get recognition for it. Andy, the silent one just plays along with his twin Alfie, the not-so-silent one with an eye for details cracks the cases.
Wait a minute! Haven’t we heard that somewhere? Sherlock Holmes obviously - Watson and Sherlock in the form of twins! That comparison is inevitable. Then the villain – Anita, (No she wasn’t like Moriarty!) is the female version of Dexter in terms of that trademark switchblade and lots of blood!

The writing is pretty humorous at times but a bit of a drag at certain parts. I felt the writer sort of overplayed the suspense element. The book cover, the title and the summary are justified perfectly.
Description of our dear villain – Anita with her cannibalistic nature and her lethal switchblade was a raw deal. The writer should probably run a warning for those with a feeble heart and a tendency to have nightmares!

What I liked:
The characterisation of the twins, Eguene, Dom and Anita . The plot was air tight and I couldn’t find any logical flaws. The bickering between the twins was hilarious! The descriptions of most of the scenes were rather “Graphic” (and gory,livid) which helped in visualization – a style which seems to be a rarity these days.

The lack of romance made the book realistic. Livid murders, cannibalistic nature don’t go well with romance. The writer surely got that right.

In spite of the similarities with Sherlock Holmes, the writer managed to give a clear characterization and did an exemplar job of playing around with various shades of human nature.

What could have been better:
The final showdown. The book left me feeling a bit disappointed. After all, there are always innumerable possibilities to end a mystery novel.

To sum it up: A onetime read. A brilliant attempt by a rookie!


P.S. The writer signed the book. I went ROFL for his message was hilarious : “Real Men Wear Pink”

VERDICT: Dear mystery junkies, the book is A treat. Go for it!
But for those with a weak heart, it’s better to steer clear!

RATING: 3.8 on 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Athul DeMarco resides in Bangalore. For now. He is a design researcher who is constantly on the move. When he is not travelling, he is seated, in his boxers, writing on his laptop or shouting at the television.

He took a break from a cushy job and gave up on a company expense account in 2009. Bored and disillusioned with early morning flights, he remembered what somebody had once mentioned, ‘If you like travelling, writing, and meeting people, and are always trying to figure out what people are thinking, you either become a researcher or you start to live their lives . . .’ And so, he now spends his time writing stories instead of making PowerPoint presentations. He is delusional when it comes to cricket and believes that Ajit Agarkar is the greatest player of all time. He also believes that Sherlock Holmes truly exists. Athul’s body clock suggests that he is currently residing in Japan. He is unsure of most things, but firmly believes that he is 1/16th of everything.
An.Al – The Origins is his debut novel.

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Paperback, Kindle

PRICE: Rs.173 (Paperback)



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