Book review: Forsaken

Who in their right mind would reach out for a horror novel when they already know that they are not sleeping well at night? Who chases witches when they are being haunted by demons in their own nightmares? No one, except yours truly I suppose. But again how does one let go off a chance to read about the witches and their crafts, and probably have a bit of nightmare contributed by them as well? So how did Forsaken by J D Barker fare on the scare scale? Read more to find out.

Name: Forsaken
Author: J D Barker
Genre: Fiction Paranormal
Characters:  Thad, Rachael, Ashely McAlister, Clayton Stone, Christina

The story revolves around the McAlistair family - Thad a bestselling writer, Rachael his pregnant wife and their daughter Ashley, and a deal that was made years with the Forsaken by one of them unwittingly. Though Thad's first novel failed to hit the roof, his second and third novels shoot him up to the stars. He barely questions it, even when he understands subconsciously something was amiss. Rachael takes pride in her loving husband, adores her daughter Ashley and expects her second with equal zest. She has not quite forgotten the rough start they had and that her husband had cheated her once. When the Forsaken wants to take back what was promised to Her, they have to deal with it in their own respective way, separately. Do they give in to their weaknesses or they put their family first, forms the present day storyline.

The story that Thad writes set in the 17th century, rather a parallel universe, narrates about the life of the witch and how She ends up hunted. We are taken to the magical world where time is subjective and manipulatable by Her. Physical appearances are mere disguises and often deceptive. The narrator and the reader oscillate between the sides - the young girl whom the narrator is attracted or the witch who haunts people. She much like the folktales forces people to sign their souls off with the blood. Who is real and where does the fiction stop and reality begin?

The novel alternates between different point of views and time-lines, which works pretty well. The pace of narration is consistent and doesn't slacken a bit. The storyline might seem too familiar and the climax quite a bit overused, but the real strength of the novel is the vivid description of the scenario and the terror that engulfs the McAlistair family. The author makes it look like we are almost watching a movie, a scary one at that. Realising the story uses a famous character from Stephen King's novel creates a thrill that only a fan would understand.

I am no scaredy cat in general, and the nightmares are something I have to accept as a part of the life of a horror addict. But just as I started reading Forsaken by J D Barker, I realised it was going to be much harder because it involves a pregnant woman and it somehow made queasy. Thankfully, the writer did not take us down that road.
Despite all these strengths, I took a day more than usual to finish. Why? I couldn't get to understand the characters, much less like them. I would have liked to have known the characters better and deeper, I felt they were pretty one dimensional. There was just a small part (less than a chapter) to explain the witch's effect on the young girl, which could have been a tad longer and stronger. It might just be me, but I couldn't help imagining 'the minions' from the 'Despicable' movies instead of the creepy, evil witch worshipers. My bad but I just could not.

For someone who is eagerly awaiting the release of the movie 'IT' and is gathering her wits to read the book, Forsaken acted as the right place to start. With an obvious and expected influence from Stephen King, Barker could be an author I might have to watch out. If you wanna read quick, fast, creepy thriller, I recommend Forsaken by J D Barker.

Book review: 4:50 from Paddington

One cannot go wrong with an Agatha Christie, can they? Of all the projects that I have started and left midway, reading the entire Agatha Christie collection was the one that I almost came close to completing. Maybe I was near completing it only because I had started it during my school days and our library suddenly had replenished their book stock with lots of Christie's. I have decided to re-read as many books of hers as possible this year and try and revive the reviewing habit. Of course, I would be continuing to read and review other books as well. So let us take our plunge, right away.
Book Name: 4:50 from Paddington
Author: Agatha Christie
Genre: Fiction Thriller
Characters: Miss Jane Marple, Lucy Eyelesbarrow, Mrs Elspeth McGillicuddy, Luther Crackenthorpe, Emma, Alfred, Cedric and Harold Crackenthorpe

Book review: India Shining

While the entire blogger fraternity is going crazy with their resolutions to read more and blog more, it has been almost a month since I have read anything, much longer since I reviewed. Though it is unlike me to not pick a book for such a long time, especially when I have quite a backlog with the review copies, it has been somehow difficult to do just that. One can easily blame it to the fact that I have moved country just now, but the truth is I was on a reading slump. Or still I am. How does one simply get out of a reading slump?

Search inspiration from other readers? Check.
Get your loved ones to motivate (read as flatter) you? Check.
Sweet talk yourself into getting more books? Check.
Take a break? Check and (WARNING) that doesn't work at all.

Well, an almost threatening message from the author / friend might just as well work, at least in my case it did. So thanks AD for that, now on to the review, before I could get another warning message.

#BookTour:: The Braille Club Reborn

NEW RELEASE! The Braille Club Reborn – J.A Kerr
braille-club-reborn-header
The Braille Club Reborn is the fourth and final book in The Braille Club Series and is AVAILABLE NOW!

Book Review: Optimal Exposure


“That's the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.”― Jhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake
If my last book had taken me to Afghanistan, the war-torn country with rich culture and diversity, Optimal Exposure took me to Israel and then back to India with a classic detective/whodunnit story. Most of us heard about Kumbh Mela and the related news about its participants who run into millions. What happens when an elderly photographer is found dead amidst the crowd? What and who would help him out, if at all? Sounds intriguing? Then Optimal Exposure by Dan Rogel is the book for you.

Book review: The Sentimental Terrorist: A Novel of Afghanistan

If I had to list out the top ten of my most favorite books, at least two would be about Afghanistan. Given their rich and diverse culture and complex history, it has always been a pleasure reading about the country. So when I got the review request for The Sentimental Terrorist: A Novel of Afghanistan, I grabbed the offer without any second thought. Read on more to know how The Sentimental Terrorist: A Novel of Afghanistan stands in comparison to my other favourites from the same land.

Book Review: The Boy is Back


Most of us have that one person to whom we have to share every minute detail of the daily life. We spend up dishing about everyone else in each other's lives. Thanks to the new age technologies, we can do a LIVE relay of anything that happens. It includes any shopping decisions and dating disasters. Sometimes it is more than one person, as in my case. Hence there are group chats. Okay, spare me the lecture about gossiping, because this ain't. Sometimes there are WhatsApp texts with screenshot and images, other times there is the chatty rant out through audio message a rarer case. But if any of us is trying to reach us through the old fashion phone call way, then it is way too big for texts to handle. And if you are at a place where there is no mobile signal, there is good old email conversation. If you can spin your head around these scenarios, then you would love the new book in the block, because the entire storyline of The Boy is Back has been set on a narration based on email, texts and group texts, journal entries and even reviews.
Book Name: The Boy Is Back (Boy #4)
Author: Meg Cabot
Genre: Fiction Romance Chicklit
Characters: Rebecca, Nicole Flowers, Reed, Marshall, Carly and Trimble Stewart, their parents Judge Richard P. and Connie Stewart.

Book Review: Metro Diaries - 2

If you have been in the webs of the internet for a while, then you should be struck by the writer bug like many of us have. There you go I said what I desperately try not to get attached to 'writer' tag. I write (type) a wee bit, and surely not what I could tag as writer. But then there a few among us, who know to do it and continue doing it. Give it up to  Namrata or Privy Trifles, who has been doing this for a long time now and has a collection or two of short stories published to her name.


You know what is better than a short story? A collection of short stories. Now I have never had an anthology reviewed earlier, though I like reading short stories. So when I received the book for review, I was hesitant to write my review even after a long while after I finished it. And now that DDS is holding her knives above my head here goes my review. Apologies DDS!

Book review: Penumbra

Everyone one of us would have tried playing the sleuth when we were young, thanks to the Enid Blyton and Carolyn Keene books like the Secret Seven and Famous Five and Nancy Drew. Even Scooby Doo and friends helped us to imagine ourselves as the clue finders, that we were not. A few days ago, I unlocked my house to find the living room a mess. Of course, I had to be the detective that I always wanted to be, to deduce and choose between the hot wind or the mouse as the culprit behind the ransack. I carefully analysed the window placement and probable direction of the wind and decided to blame it. I also was joyous that it could not have been the mouse, as there was no other damage found around the house. I do not know if I should feel happy or foolish that I didn't think of any other possibility for having a mess inside a locked house, like a thievery or a ghost phenomenon.

Nothing better could have made me choose this book for a read than the above incident. Yes, after I solved a classic whodunit I wanted to read about one. So here I spent a little over two hours to read this short story. So how did it fare on the scales of a real life detective (that's me, ahem ahem).

Book Review: Meet Me in Paris

One of the many reasons we read fiction is to escape the reality called life. Reading a memoir is like reading fiction for me, as it doesn't happen to me or anyone I know. For instance, I didn't realize Memoirs of a Geisha was an actual memoir until I completed it (yeah I kinda missed the point while reading the title) and it did feel like a fiction while reading it. Rarely does a memoir make me feel that the writer did go through these, and they know what they talk about. So when I received Meet Me in Paris from the author I did not expect anything different. So how did it fare on the scale? Read on.

Book Name: Meet Me in Paris
Author:  Juliette Sobanet
Genre: Memoir
Characters: Danielle (Juliette), Nick
Disclaimer: Thanks to the Author for the free copy of the book, in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Mummy's Little Angel

Last week a friend was discussing in one of the forums about how if a plot had identical twins, then it somehow it involves a case of mistaken identity in most regional movies for ages now. We though proved to him otherwise, had to agree it was the case of the majority. Now if there were identical twins, it could be acceptable that there could be some confusions due to their appearances, but how different can they be based on their interests, personalities or habits. If you have ever wondered how siblings who are born and brought in similar conditions have entirely different personalities, can twins vary so much given that they have been together even prior to birth? This precisely brings us to the crux of this book  Mummy’s Little Angel by JW Lawson.

#BookTour:: Mummy's Little Angel

Book Description:

Joanne didn’t believe that her life could become worse than it already was. She had lost everybody and everything she had loved. She was alone. Surely she had suffered enough? The press had called her identical twins psychopaths. Her Maggie. Her Annie. But she still loved them, even though one of them had killed her husband, Jeff. Joanne believed that his murder had been an accident. How could one of her girls be a murderer? She knew them better than anybody else. They were good girls really.

She just had to prove it.

The brutal murder of her god-daughter Laura had never been solved. Items were missing when Laura’s remains had been discovered: clues that could lead to the capture of her killer. One of them was Laura’s doll … the doll that Joanne later discovered in her home. Joanne is facing the most horrific dilemma of her life. Has the wrong woman been imprisoned? Could her child have used such brutality against her best friend? Or could both women be innocent after all?

She needs to find somebody for her daughter to confide in; somebody she will trust. She needs a miracle. There is only one person who can help. He is compassionate and caring, with an amazing ability to gain the trust of the most difficult patients. He is Joanne's only hope. He is Jonathan Davies.

Book Details:

Book Title: Mummy's Little Angel by JW Lawson
Category: Adult fiction, 294 pages
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Friesen Press

My Review:

Joanna is mobility impaired, her husband is shot and is labeled a pedophile, one of her twin is disfigured and suffers from amnesia due to a fire accident and the other twin is blamed for it all and is imprisoned. Both the daughters love their mother and the mother loves both of them unconditionally and equally, though the daughters do not agree on that. They both have been competing for being 'Mummy’s Little Angel' all through their lives, even while they were particularly close to and fond of each other - or were they really?

There may have been places that made me feel the writing could have better but hey the making-me-sit-on-the-edge-of-my-seat plot makes up for everything else. Also be warned of the explicit contents like gory violence and rape, scenes related to pedophilia, ritualism and BDSM and mildly abusive language involved. The first book that I could relate this book to is the Gone Girl, though the plots and the writing are nothing similar. If you liked the Gone Girl and you are in the look out for your next psychological thriller, then here is your next book.


Meet the Author:

Award Wining Author, JW Lawson is already gaining recognition for her writing talents in the US and world-wide. The second of a trilogy of sensational thrillers, Mummy's Little Angel is the winner of the highly acclaimed Worlds Best Story competition and has also received some outstanding reviews from the professional team of judges in the competition. She is currently writing her third thriller, Crossroads which will be available in 2017 and the final book of the current series, HushLittle Baby will be available in 2018.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

Author Interview:


What advice would you give budding writers?

Research your subject thoroughly before starting your manuscript then plan your story and create the characters. What do they look like? What are their mannerisms? Remember that readers need to visualise so much when they are reading a novel. Finally, don’t give up! Follow your dream. Ignore negativity and write that story.

If you could put yourself as a character in your book, who would you be?

This is a tough one as all of the women in my book suffer so very much. However, I’d have to be Joanne. I understand the trials and tribulations one faces with disability and as a mum, the love I feel for my children is unconditional.

How long have you been writing?

Since I was five years old. I still remember the poem I wrote!

Do you ever get writer’s block? What helps you overcome it?

Yes, and when I do, I shut down my laptop and stop writing for the day. Once I’ve had time to relax and read through the manuscript without any pressure, I find that the words start to flow once again.

What is the last great book you’ve read?

It’s old but it’s one of my favourites that I’ve read several times – Jodie Picoult’s The Storyteller.

If there is one thing you want readers to remember about you, what would it be?

That I created Doctor Jonathan Davies. Loads of my fans already fancy him!

Book review: The Devil's Prayer


I once got caught red handed by my Science teacher in my fourth grade for reading Archie's while she was teaching. (Yea I live on the edge like that.) A friend had brought her book for me to read and I wanted to finish it before the evening. No wonder I stood without feeling guilty and in fact I was proudly standing when she called out me. Now that I think about it, I realize she didn't scold or punish me; she just forbade me from reading during class hours. Thanks to teachers like her, my love for reading has not burnt or faded out, like everything else in my life. 


You know what,  I still am the same, I love Archie's and I don't stop reading even when I am reprimanded or scorned upon. Yet, I can't think of the last time I picked a book and couldn't put it down until I finished it. Thanks to 'The Devil's Prayer' by Luke Gracias, I stayed awake up to the wee hours to complete this one.What makes a novel un-put-down-able?



Is it the fast-paced and well-knotted plot? Characters that you can relate to or intrigue you? Or crisp and engaging narration and language? Or just the fact that it has the name of an author that you like? Well, I can not hold it anymore. This book has it all, erm, except the last one.  I hadn't heard of Luke Gracias before I picked the book and now I can't wait for the sequel. Says much about the book and his writing, read on to know more. 

Book Name: The Devil's Prayer 
Author: Luke Gracias
Genre: Fiction - Historical Thriller
Characters: Siobhan, Denise, Jess
Rating: 3.5 /5

Disclaimer: Thanks to the Author, Netgalley and Writer's Melon for the free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

The story begins with Sister Benedictine's suicide leaving a group of monks on a trail in Spain. Siobhan watches the story on the television to realize that it was her mother who went missing six years ago.  She begins her journey to the isolated convent her mother seemed to have belonged to in a quest to search answers for her questions. She is tailed by the mysterious monks when she finds her mother's confession and a mysterious key. What she learns leaves her confused about her mother's sanity and makes her start doubting her loyalty to her family. Whom would you choose to believe and trust - your mother who abandoned you six years ago or the person whom you have loved and protected until that moment?

The book takes us through two parallel stories from different realms, her mother's story leading to the suicide and the daughter who is trying to solve the mystery behind her mother's disappearance and the subsequent public death. Denise's story and her deal with the Devil had me engrossed and sleep defied me until I completed it. Of course, as always I rooted for the so called bad guy, the Devil and was waiting for him to get his share back. There are  some graphic scenes of violence, so a word of caution for the faint hearted.

I loved that Lucas's storyline never dropped its momentum anywhere in the story. But I did find a difference in the writing between Denise's and Siobhan's stories, may be it was intentional - or not. The ending seemed to be a little bit hastened and cluttered though that did not affect the reading experience much. I repeat, I can't wait for the sequel. Even though the book did not leave a cliffhanger, there are too many answered questions.

Do you remember the frenzy that the number '666'  created when the Omen came out, or the Mona Lisa garnered with the release of ' The Da Vinci Code'  and somehow everyone wanted a piece of Da Vinci's history? That is how I felt about Genghis Khan and the solar eclipses. You might find the plots to be quite similar, an untimely death, followed by a family member frantically trying to make something sense out of the death and unraveling of the mysteries related to the religious cults supported by history and fiction. It is the execution that makes all the difference.


If you like historical fiction/thriller, grab The Devil's Prayer already.

Book review: The Speaking Ghost of Rajpur

My countdown of the number of days for summer holidays to begin starts right from the day our school reopens. I guess every Indian child would have done this. Summer vacations are all we wait for. For me, summer reminds me of the lazy afternoons with no fixed schedule. One day could be playing in the streets with friends without even realizing that the sun usually works at his best or just wondering what snack my Paati (grandmom) was going to make that evening.

Summer and its scorching hot days sure did bring out the mystery seeker in me. We used to invent stories in our heads, decide to enact them and all that, without the adults finding out them somehow made me feel adventurous and excited. There are very few books that take you back in time make you feel nostalgic and make you miss those good ol' times. The Speaking Ghost of Rajpur by Priyonkar Dasgupta promised to do just that. Read on to know if it delivered what it promised.

Book Review: With You I Dance

How far would you go further when you have realized that your dreams are shattered? What if it were the one thing that kept you alive and kicking? Would you forgive yourself if you were the only one that was responsible for your fall? This book made me ponder over loads of questions of these sort, even while I was reading. If I did get an answer to these would be a post for another day, but here goes my review on the book With You I Dance by Aarti V. Raman.

Book Name: With You I Dance
Author: Aarti V. Raman.
Genre: Fiction - Romance
Characters: Meera, Zoya, Abheer

Disclaimer: I received this book from the FingerPrint (publisher) free of cost in return for an honest review.

#BookTour :: The Conspiracy at Meru (Vikramaditya Veergatha # 2)


VICTORY IS TEMPORARY. THE BATTLE IS ETERNAL.

Vikramaditya and his Council of Nine have fought valiantly to repel the rampaging hordes from Devaloka and Patala – but Avanti has been brought to its knees. Ujjayini lies battered its citizens are scared and morale is badly shaken. Meanwhile, the barbaric Hunas and Sakas are gathering on the horizon and cracks are emerging between the allied kingdoms of Sindhuvarta.The only silver lining is that the deadly Halahala is safe. For now.

Book Review: The Sunlight Pilgrims


Call me a pessimist but I am still wary about the much talked about Doomsday or Apocalypse. I mean who wouldn't want a Hulk or Iron man to save our asses and since I know that it is not gonna happen I will want Constance from this book to be at my side. Apart from being fiery, no nonsense and resourceful she is completely Apocalypse prepared. Not only that she is getting her daughter trained as well. Oh have I not started my review yet? Oops here it goes!


When I received this book from Random House, I was in the middle of reading another book but I couldn't wait out to start this one. Thankfully, this was an e-book so spent my time burning my midnight oil over without being all guilty for a reading a book while another was already being read. But sadly the fervor to complete the book stopped then and here and it took about another ten more days to review. Fret not, I am with a review about The Sunlight Pilgrims: A Novel by Jenni Fagan. 

Book Review: Corpokshetra: Mahabharata In The MBA Yug

You have heard it all. From your grandfather, your uncle and aunts all through your childhood every single time you request a story. And oh when you are all grown up a repeat of them several times a day especially when you don't request them at all. Yeah I am talking about Mahabharata and the stories that take place just around it. Then came your television series that gave us an image or a face to connect to the epic that we have been hearing all along. 

Yet of late it is becoming too much of a disconnect from all those moral stories we have been hearing, thanks to new age corporate lives we are living in. Truth maybe harsh but I couldn't possibly understand why and how a story about family feud, a gory war and especially that involves too many marital relationship could relate to my current life. Or so I thought, till I started reading the book 'Corpokshetra: Mahabharata In The MBA Yug' by 'Deepak Kaul'. Read on to know what my skeptical brain thought about it.

#BookSpotlight :: 21 Shades of Night

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#100daysofbookquotes: Quote week: 15

We are finally here. I am super happy and proud to share the final leg of #100daysofbookquotes.
I know there have been times that I thought I was gonna go off the bandwagon but hey, I scrapped through.
For those of you wondering what this is about, go like our FB page and get updates as soon as they happen. Our FB page is here

099
“Usually we walk around constantly believing ourselves. "I'm okay" we say. "I'm alright". But sometimes the truth arrives on you and you can't get it off. That's when you realize that sometimes it isn't even an answer--it's a question. Even now, I wonder how much of my life is convinced.”

― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief


100
“The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.” 

― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby




Book Review: 300 Days


I remember complaining to one of my friends that I need a simple, ordinary love story to read. You might be surprised to hear that those are rare, these days. I have had enough of vampires sucking blood, werewolves fighting with their clans for a mortal and oh how could I forget offspring from the future come to haunt you. I was ranting on why it was difficult to give me a straight romance for once. Then I got  300 Days by Bragadeesh Prasanna in exchange for a review. 

You know what it is - a really simple story a boy meets girl, boy likes her, boy gets her and then boy doesn't - he grows up. The normal love story that would be easy to relate to almost everyone, the kind that we hope happens to us just to experience the warm gushy feeling and then suffer through the gut punching pain all in the name of love. 

Book Name: 300 Days 
Author: Bragadeesh Prasanna
Genre: Fiction - Romance
Characters: Jai, Sravani, Sai, Sindhuja, Chris

Book Review: The Girl Who Couldn't Come Up With an Original Title

This week has chosen to be dark themed on its own. I have been reading on and off these days, erm.. actually took a long break from reading and that is for sure going to affect my yearly target of 52 books. I know it sounds an easy mark for few, but seems such right now a difficult one to reach. Hey don't hold it against me, there were many books that I read and decided to not continue further. 

Anyway coming back to the topic, I received ' The Girl Who Couldn't Come Up With an Original Title' for review and I picked up not knowing that it contains two short stories both based on the above mentioned dark themes like suicide, depression and despair. All I knew was it had a intriguing and title and it came in highly recommended by Maxine herself. So go ahead find out if I was satisfied.


#100daysofbookquotes: Quote week: 14

The last stretch before I reach my milestone of  #100daysofbookquotes. Stay back and take a look at how things have been around here. 
Like our page to be update as and when it happens - Our FB page is here


Week 1      Week 2   Week 3    Week 4    Week 5    Week 6
Week 7      Week 8   Week 9    Week 10   Week 11  Week 12 


092
There were always in me, two women at least, one woman desperate and bewildered, who felt she was drowning and another who would leap into a scene, as upon a stage, conceal her true emotions because they were weaknesses, helplessness, despair, and present to the world only a smile, an eagerness, curiosity, enthusiasm, interest.
Anaïs Nin


093
“The battle you are going through is not fueled by the words or actions of others; it is fueled by the mind that gives it importance.” 
― Shannon L. Alder

 
094
“We cross our bridges as we come to them and burn them 
behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and the presumption that once our eyes watered.”
—Tom Stoppard, Rosencratz and Guildenstern Are Dead
 
 095
“Of course it's possible to love a human being if you don't know them too well.” 
― Charles Bukowski

 096
“I was born good but had grown progressively worse every year.
Scout” 
― Harper LeeTo Kill a Mockingbird

 097
“When people don't express themselves, they die one piece at a time.” 
― Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak



098
“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.” 
― Stephen KingOn Writing: A Memoir of the Craft