Friday, September 25, 2015

#231 : What have you inherited? by Marianne Perry

Check all that apply now or may in your future:

a). money and/or property

b). a family heirloom and/or ancestral documents

c). a talent and/or interest

d). a birthmark and/or physical resemblance

These are the usual items identified. The Inheritance, however, will prompt you to re-consider your understanding of theterm.

The Inheritance is set from 1897 to 1913 in Calabria, a region in southern Italy. It tells the story of Caterina, an atypical peasant woman who challenges social norms and the tragic chain of events her determination to live a life of her choosing ignites.

Answer Yes or No:

a). Were you raised according to defined social norms?

b). Were you expected to respect certain cultural values and religious beliefs?

c). Were you obligated to honour existing loyalties and continue the family business?

Did you answer “Yes” to any of the above? If so, do you believe family expectations can also be inherited?

What if a son or daughter spurned this type of inheritance? What conflicts would rejection ignite? How would family dynamics change? What would be the societal impact?

The Inheritance explores these issues from various perspectives and in so doing, reveals the complexity of the term. By the end of the book, you will be compelled to re-examine your personal situation and perhaps, change your definition.
I took this photograph (SEE BELOW) while wandering on a country road during a research trip to Calabria. I inherited my love of nature from my grandmother and my yen to explore and learn from my late father.

What have you inherited?

Marianne Perry welcomes your comments at her website where she blogs about writing, travel and genealogy. Visit her Pinterest boards @marianne5018 for more photos. 

#230 : The Inheritance by Marianne Perry : Review


GENRE:  Fiction - Historical

FORMAT: Digital


HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review Copy as a part of Italy Book Tours. Thanks guys!


Having this insatiable appetite for books based in Italy, I picked this book too. The Old Italian culture is simply a romantic notion for me.

The Inheritance is the story of two women – Anna and Caterina. The story opens with Caterina being born under Anna’s presence. Sadly Caterina’s mother, who is Anna’s most trusted servant, dies during the child birth. In spite of being from an elite family, Anna is determined to take care of Caterina against her husband’s wish. Eventually Caterina grows up, so does Anna’s sons. What follows is a story of star crossed lovers.

When the story began, I was in awe with Anna’s character. She was so strong and independent. Sadly as the story progressed, that trait was simply lost. Anna tolerated the pathetic treatment that her older sons and husband meted out. She never stood up or acted against their barbaric actions. While one part of the story involving Santo (Anna’s husband) was all cold and evil, the other part of the story, with Caterina and her dad, the cook Bruno and Anna’s youngest son, Lorenzo was all warm and colorful. The contrast was a bit too stark for my taste. The writing obviously was a bit too stiff and there were too many characters without any proper impact. To my complete surprise, the book ended on a cliff hanger. It was like the writer decided to slam the break on car that was progressing with a steady speed (particularly towards the end)

MY SAY: One time read. Worth totally because of the climax


PLOT: 7/10



BOREDOM QUOTIENT : 4/10 (Lower the better)


AUTHOR LINKS:  Website   ~   Twitter   ~    Facebook

BOOK LINKS: Amazon     Barnes & Noble    Chapters/Indigo


#229 : The First Life of Vikram Roy (Ruby Iyer Series) by Laxmi Hariharan :Release Day Blitz!

About the Book:

His family is being held to ransom by a deadly mastermind. 

Vikram never should have left his family, but when Vikram's father brings his half-brother Vishal home, life will never be the same. Vikram thinks things will be better now that he's gone. He's met the love of his life, his future looks bright and then everything is shattered. Now, his family's life is hanging in the balance, and only Vikram can do what needs to be done to save them. From the bestselling dystopian fiction author with over 200 reviews and ratings of her dystopia books across Goodreads, Amazon and other retailers. 

If you’re looking for books like Hunger Games, then this dystopia romance series, The Ruby Iyer Series is it.

Book Links:

An exclusive excerpt and GIVEAWAY from The First Life of Vikram Roy

The Ruby Iyer Series—by Laxmi Hariharan

I hear the staccato of shots being fired, followed by yells and howls of pain. Then, the sound of something being smashed and everything goes quiet. The TV no longer chatters. I look to the open door. The recreation room is down at the end of the corridor. The sounds of shots get closer. Without giving myself a chance to think I make a run for the door slam it shut, lock it and it’s as if that’s a signal to the rest of the men to jump to their feet. Without a word, the ten of us scram to our bunks, pull on trousers and shoes.We get our hands on whatever weapon we can find. No guns, none of us have guns. So I grab my cricket bat. (As if that’s going to make a difference?)
 Around me the others too are grabbing cricket bats and hockey sticks. Neil grabs an iron rod. An iron rod? Where did he get that from?  We drop to the floor, crouch and wait. 
Should I hide under the bed? Nope, no way. Like, that is going to help. 
And then a crash as the door is broken down, hacked by what looks like an axe till it’s in pieces on the floor and through it step through two men. One holding a machine gun, the other wielding an axe which he drops to the floor and instead grabs the the gun slung over his back. They are both wearing balaclavas, so we can’t see their features. Of medium height, they are muscular and dressed all in black: Black jeans and sweatshirts, their hair covered by the hoods. Their backs are to the door. They point their guns at us, signalling to us to put our hands up. I hesitate, not looking around but sense that the others too are not sure what to do. The first gunman points his gun at the nearest recruit … a boy just out of his teens and shoots him in the head. 
There is a collective gasp from the room. A chill runs through me. Who are they? How did they break through the security measures of the force base? And then they are foolish enough to barge right into the heart of the training facilities of the force and shoot its cadets? Why? Why would they do that? The gunmen gesture to us and this time we follow their orders. We walk to the wall at the back of the bunkhouse and line up, hands on our heads, staring ahead.
An alarm rings out then. Finally! It’s been almost ten minutes since the shooting started. Still, the reinforcements should be here soon. Now all we need to do is keep these gun men distracted enough so they don’t kill us. As if reading my mind, the guy who’d shot the young recruit moves forward, his gun trained on us. I draw in a breath and hold it. The sweat trickles down my back. My heart is racing so fast I am sure if I look down I can see it leaping out of my chest. The gunman passes me, walks to the end of the line; then back to the middle where I am. 
"You have no idea what this is about do you?" He asks.
He sounds young, as if he is barely a man himself. And something in his voice … muffled as it is, it sounds familiar. A faint recollection  grabs the edge of my mind, And then I forget everything because he leans close to Neil who is next to me, and smashes the butt of his gun into his stomach. Neil falls to the ground, moaning, holding his middle. I firm up my stomach muscles. I know I am next, I must be. I want to squeeze my eyes shut, but don’t. The gunman leans to the other side, and shoots another man in the head. 
This chap collapses without a cry. What the fuck? I want to jump him right then, but that would be really stupid of me. I am not going to help anyone if I get killed will I? There are six of us left in the room now. One of the younger recruits lets out a sob, at which gunman no 2 holds his gun at him, so he shuts up immediately.
The gunman asks me, "Where are the plans?’
"What are you talking about?" I reply, trying to stay calm, struggling not to show how scared I am inside. 
He only grins and in response, and without taking his eyes off me, holds his gun up and I know what what he is going to do and I scream. "No!" But it’s too late. This time he’s shot two more guys in succession. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. These guys are desperate, or crazy or both. 
Besides me Neil stirs on the ground.  
The gunman takes a deep breathe, as if trying to calm himself and says, "Don’t pretend to be dumb. If you don’t get me the blue prints of the security arrangements being planned by the force for Bombay; the one that you and your team mates are being trained for, then all the rest of you die too."
Only six of us left now. Four young lives, gone just like that. I feel sick. What the fuck are these guys upto? And … and how do they know about the plans? This is top secret. The only reason I know about it, is because I’ve overheard the training officer speaking with the ACP about it on the phone last week. And only because I happened to be waiting outside his room then. And how does this gunman even know that I know the details?

Want to find out what happens next? Click here

About the origins of Ruby Iyer:

Growing up in Bombay, my daily commute to university was inevitably nightmarish. It's just how public transport is here. The man behind you on the bus will brush up against you. You know you are going to be felt up on a crowded train platform. All you can do is accept it and get on. Or so you think. I did too, until, a young photojournalist was raped in the centre of Bombay in broad daylight.  It made me furious. Nothing had changed in this city in all these years. Then, I had a vision of this young girl who would not back down; who would follow her instincts, stand up for herself regardless of consequences.  Thus Ruby Iyer was born. Make no mistake, Ruby’s her own person. She leads. I follow. You can download the RUBY IYER DIARIES, the prequel novelette in the series free HERE

About The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer

2015 Readers' Favorite (Bronze) YA Action

 YA Finalist 2015 IAN Book of the Year Award

Finalist 9th Annual Indie Excellence Awards

When her best friend is kidnapped, Ruby will stop at nothing to rescue him. 

Criminals run the streets of Bombay. Jam-packed with the worst degenerates. The city is a shell of the pride and joy it used to be. Ruby knows something must be done, but it isn’t until her best friend is kidnapped by the despotic Dr Braganza that she knows that she and she alone must save city, save her best friend, save the world from total destruction. Armed only with Vikram, a cop-turned-rogue they are about to embark on a road they may never return from. If you’re looking for fast-paced books like Hunger Games or dystopia fiction like Angelfall, the Ruby Iyer series is perfect for you. 


All SEPTEMBER earnings from the RUBY IYER SERIES will be donated to SAVE THE CHILDREN: SUPPORT CHILD REFUGEES OF SYRIA. All the RUBY IYER books with their brand new covers, are on SALE all this month at 99p/c & Rs 69/49. Click HERE to buy them. 

YOU can also donate to SAVE THE CHILDREN directly HERE 

About the Author:

She almost died. But when dystopia romance author Laxmi Hariharan had a near death experience, she was told to write. Laxmi is the creator of dystopian romance series, RUBY IYER SERIES (The MANY LIVES OF VIKRAM ROY - FINALIST Indie Excellence Awards, the bestselling The RUBY IYER DIARIES , The FIRST LIFE OF VIKRAM ROY, The SECOND LIFE OF RUBY IYER & VIKRAM ROY, PANKY's FIRST LIFE), and the Amazon bestselling, eLit Gold winner, The Destiny of Shaitan (Bombay Chronicles, 1). If you're looking for books like Divergent and Angelfall, you'll love the RUBY IYER SERIES.

Laxmi writes books similar to Hunger Games while listening to electronica & progressive rock, and downing innumerable cups of extra sweet ginger-chai. She is also an avid photographer of street art and believes she was a tree -- a redwood -- in her past life. London is where she creates. Bombay is what fires her imagination. 

Receive a free copy of THE RUBY IYER DIARIES when you sign up to her Newsletter 


The First Life of Vikram Roy, The THIRD book in the RUBY IYER Series, launches this month. To celebrate the launch of the FIRST LIFE OF VIKRAM ROY I am giving away a $30 gift card. Winner will be drawn, Oct 1, 2015, and announced in my next newsletter.



Thursday, September 24, 2015

#228 : The Great Pyramid of Cydonia (Aoleon The Martian Girl #5) by BrentLeVasseur


GENRE: Fiction – Sci -Fi


FORMAT: Digital

SERIES / STANDALONE: Aoléon The Martian Girl: Part 5

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy as a part of iRead Book tours. Thanks Guys!


This book picks off from the fourth book in the series. Gilbert, Aoleon and Bizwat storm into the prison facility to release Aoleon’s parents and end up blowing up the place while releasing all the prisoners. They then go on to save planet Earth from the Luminion’s invasion. Meanwhile back in ‘Tera’ the President of US and his team authorize counter attacks which fail comically against the technologically advanced Martians. Will Earth be saved on time?

Just like previous books, this book also had beautiful and vivid illustrations that really got me all excited. The bright colors and the sleek costumes look so enticing! I felt these illustrations just got better as the story progressed. Or maybe the writer mastered this art as he wrote this edition of the series. The action sequences and parts where Bizwat taught Gilbert all the tricks of this training were a treat to read. The major twist which was placed half way in the book simply was simply brilliant. That twist revealed who the true enemy was. I simply laughed my head off reading it. The scenes back in earth were quite humorous. Not sure if it was intentional, just that it we humans seemed so primitive when compared to the Martians. Needless to mention, the narration was just perfect. The characters somehow seem to have matured though they are very much the kids that they were in the start of the series.The USP of this book would be the vivid narration of action sequences and the subtle humor all along the story. 

MY SAY: A fitting end to an enchanting and thrilling series


PLOT : 9/10



BOREDOM QUOTIENT: 1/10 (Lower the better)


AUTHOR LINKS: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Aoléon: The Martian Girl 




Monday, September 21, 2015

#227 : Historical Fiction by Vincent B. "Chip" LoCoco

A Song for Bellafortuna is a Historical Fiction novel. I am often asked why I write for

that genre. My easy answer is that I always loved history and was a history major in 

college at Loyola in New Orleans.  I remember vividly one of my professors who brought 

history to life for us students. No longer were we just reading facts on a page, but instead 

history was brought to life. 

When he taught about the Civil War, muskets, bugles and swords were brought in to class 

as our professor would go into character and we were back in 1861.  Or when we studied 

about the D-Day landings, and he gave a class along the levee of Lake Pontchartrain 

where the Higgins boats (which were built in New Orleans) were used in 1944 to practice 

for the landings.  History came alive.

So what is historical fiction? The academic definition is historical fiction is a literary 

genre in which the plot takes place in a setting located in the past.  

A great historical fiction novel should tell a story, but, and here is the key, place the 

reader in a time and place from a long time ago. 

Sir Walter Scott’s novel Waverly is often recognized as the first historical fiction novel.  

After Waverly, many authors begin writing historical fiction works.

My contribution to this genre, A Song for Bellafortuna, takes place around the year 1900 

in Sicily.  As one reviewer put it, “The author paints a picture of the era before motorcars, 

when agriculture provided the most employment. One gets the feeling of the slower pace 

of life. Journeys take longer. Distances feel greater.

What I love about this genre is historical fiction can also have elements of romance, 

mystery, coming of age, or a thriller. It really cuts across all genres and incorporates all 

these genres together, and at that same time, teaching us something about the period. 

As for me, my two novels are regarded as Italian Historical Fiction. Hopefully, for a few 

hours while reading, you will be transported to Italy, and see and feel the sights and 

sounds of that culture and time.

Chip LoCoco

Author of A Song for Bellafortuna and Tempesta’s Dream

#226 : A Song for Bellafortuna by Vincent B. "Chip" LoCoco : Review + GIVEAWAY!


GENRE: Fiction - historical


FORMAT: Digital


HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review Copy as a part of iRead Book Tours. Thanks guys! 


Wine, Olive, Sicily – An intoxicating combination for someone who has been dying to explore Italy ever since I met and interacted with beautiful people from that country. When this book came up for review, the summary conjured up an image of a picture postcard village with passionate people. The story didn’t deviate one bit from that image.

Antonio Sanguinetti and his son, Giuseppe, along with fellow villagers are determined to overthrow the Vasaio family who has reigned over the village of Bellafortuna. The Vasaios had initially offered loans for farmers who struggled with their harvests. As time progressed, the entire village was under huge debt to the Vasaios who charged exorbitant interest rates. The Sanguinetti, being Wine merchants, weren’t exactly under Vasaios grip as they haven’t taken loans from them. Impacted by sufferings of the villagers under Vasaios and an haunting past, Giuseppe grows up loving music and eventually ends up uniting people by using music. He is quite ambitious and devises a plan along with the rebellion society that was formed to overthrow the Vasaios. Does his plan succeed? Will the glorious past of the picturesque village be restored to its former glory where the farmers prospered?

The first few chapters of the story were dedicated to character building. The writer took his sweet time to build characters and the story block by block. Needless to mention, all characters had that rich depth that was very vital for such a story. Then suddenly the plot picked up pace - especially after the death of an initially main character mid-way. The writer brought in subtle elements of sorts to emphasize that the book was set in a different era which would have been lost otherwise – for example, the tolling of Church bell when a fellow villager passes away, the Opera culture and the horses as a means of transport. The story ended on a rather optimistic note. Such endings always given that good feel after having experience an emotional roller coaster in the form of the story.

One element that truly requires a mention is the vivid description of Sicily. It simply increased my want to visit Italy! The beautiful ruins, the breathtaking view of valley, I could imagine everything!

My only qualm with this book would be the liberal usage of Italian. Though various phrases have been translated to help people like me, there were few times when I had to Google to check meanings.

MY SAY: That perfect summer read.


PLOT: 8/10



BOREDOM QUOTIENT: 2/10 (Lower the better)


AUTHOR LINKS: Website     Twitter    Facebook



Saturday, September 19, 2015

#225 : The Dove's Lament by Kirthi Jayakumar : A Promo

Read my review of this book here

The Dove's Lament


Kirthi Jayakumar

The Blurb

The Dove's Lament is a journey that takes you around the world, bringing to life the human side of conflicts that tear people apart. From the genocide in Rwanda, to war-stricken Bosnia, from child marriages in India to prostitution and drug trafficking in Colombia, these stories traverse a microcosm of reality. Be it the manifestation of Bacha Baazi in Afghanistan, or the fight for paradise on Earth, Kashmir, the repertoire of stories lend a soul to what otherwise remain a muddle of news reports and statistics. Through these stories, Kirthi embroiders a tapestry of the unvanquished human spirit in varied shades, and shakes you up to the reality that surrounds you.

Buy @

Meet the Author

Kirthi Jayakumar is a Lawyer, specialised in Public International Law and Human Rights. She has diversified into Research and Writing in Public International Law, Arbitration and Human Rights, besides Freelance Journalism. Working as a UN Volunteer, specializing in Human Rights issues in Africa, India and Central Asia and the Middle East, Kirthi has worked extensively with grass root organizations that focus on women's rights, and also run a journal, academy and consultancy that focuses on International Law, called A38. Kirthi is also the founder of the Red Elephant Foundation, an organisation that works for the empowerment of women.

You can stalk her @


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