Monday, February 24, 2020

#BookReview: Merchants of Milan (Night Flyer Trilogy, #1) by Edale Lane



Three powerful merchants, two independent women in love, one masked vigilante.


Florentina, set on revenge for her father’s murder, creates an alter-ego known as the Night Flyer. Madelena, whose husband was also murdered, hires Florentina as a tutor for her children and love blossoms between them. However, Florentina’s vendetta is fraught with danger, and surprising developments threaten both women’s lives.
Merchants of Milan is the first book in Edale Lane’s Night Flyer Trilogy, a tale of power, passion, and payback in Renaissance Italy. If you like gadgets and gismos, rich historical background, three-dimensional characters, and fast-paced action with a slow-boil lesbian romance, then you are sure to love this series.

Review: For a long time I was looking out for an f/f story with mature characters and the timing for Merchants of Milan could not have been better. Last year was my introduction to some really amazing historical fiction books and it made me realize the value in this genre. A story set in the city of Milan in 1600s, this book is another wonderfully crafted historical romance. It starts with the death of a scientist by the hands of an arrogant merchant, expecting his daughter would be in no position to avenge her father's death. Of course, she proves him wrong and how!

Some time back, I was reading about the life and various discoveries of Leonardo da Vinci and was amazed at the range and depth of his knowledge. Florentina, being his apprentice and a keen learner and observer uses many of Da Vinci's works as the base of her tools and tricks used by her alter ego, the Night Flyer. Her actions and the name give such a Batman vibe and I was glad that it lived up to the expectations in my head. Not just the historical setting, the drama within the family and other merchants were beautifully narrated, the action sequences were brilliant too. There was no one -dimensional or extra character that did not serve his/her purpose in the story. It was one of the factors I would remember this book for. I could visualize them so easily and I really wished I could see this story as a show someday.
The romance part though started very abruptly for me and felt forced in the beginning, it gradually became a part of the story and pushed the plot forward seamlessly. Both Florentine & Maddie are amazing women who are intelligent, kind, strong and most importantly have a great sense of duty and justice. It was heartening to read their interactions with each other and the kids alike.
I am very much looking forward to reading the next part of the book only to know about their story.
Kindle Version:  https://www.amazon.com/Merchants-Milan-Night-Flyer-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B083H6WNKD/

About the author:  Edale Lane is the author of an award-winning 2019 debut novel, Heart of Sherwood. She is the alter-ego of author Melodie Romeo, (Vlad a Novel, Terror in Time, and others) who founded Past and Prologue Press. Both identities are qualified to write historical fiction by virtue of an MA in History and 24 years spent as a teacher, along with skill and dedication in regard to research. She is a successful author who also currently drives a tractor-trailer across the United States. A native of Vicksburg, MS, Edale (or Melodie as the case may be) is also a musician who loves animals, gardening, and nature.
Author Links: 
Twitter:   @EdaleLane
Official Site:  https://pastandprologuepress.lpages.co/

More posts on the book at below blogs:


I Smell Sheep  http://www.ismellsheep.com/ Guest Post
The Seventh Star Blog http://www.theseventhstarblog.com Guest Post
The Writing Process http://kimsprocess.wordpress.com Author Interview
Jazzy Book Reviews https://bookreviewsbyjasmine.blogspot.com/ Guest Post
A Lot of Pages   http://www.A-lotofpages.com Review
The Literary Underworld http://www.literaryunderworld.com Guest Post
Jorie Loves a Story http://www.jorielovesastory.com Review
Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books) http://www.quirkycatsfatstacks.com  Review
The Paperback Voyager http://thepaperbackvoyager.wordpress.com Review
Willow's Thoughts and Book Obsessions https://willowwritesandreads.com/ Review
The Paperback Voyager http://thepaperbackvoyager.wordpress.com Interview

Jorie Loves a Story http://www.jorielovesastory.com Follow-up VLOG


***
This book was provided to me for an honest review, and no compensation was provided for the same.

View all my reviews

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Pradhamadrishtya-Malayalam Crime Thriller: Update






I'm really glad to share the latest update of the upcoming Thriller , 'Pradhamadrishtya' here.The latest teasers of the book have just got released.There has been a positive buzz about the book all around.Thank you all, for the support.Book is being published by greenbooks,india.It is expected to come out by early March, this year.

Thanks and regards

#alexmorrisiscoming#

-nikhimenon

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Review: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Red, White & Royal Blue
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

What happens when America's First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

Alex , the son of first female President of America , for some reason has a beef with Prince Henry which becomes an issue for both countries when their altercation reaches newspapers. So , begins a fake friendship which gradually grows into something that could change not just them personally but also has long lasting effect on their families and  politics of both countries. 


RW&RB is a enemies ( sort of ) to lovers story.  Both Alex & Henry are picture perfect men on surface level. Alex though is no fan of Henry and there is no chance where he lets his irritation show. At one event , their conversation though takes an ugly turn and ends up being reported in newspapers as an altercation. As damage control, Alex is ordered to spend a weekend with Henry to show the world an alternate reality. Once the misconceptions are cleared , there begins a friendship of Instagram pictures, comments , texts & emails that are so damn fun to read. Gradually , we come to know the story of Henry's family , Alex dreams , Alex's parents growth in their own area, the siblings and friends and some of the staff that accompanies them on all their (mis)adventures and journey to each other's life and heart.  

And then I was a careless fool, and I fell in love with you anyway. When you rang me at truly shocking hours of the night, I loved you. When you kissed me in disgusting public toilets and pouted in hotel bars and made me happy in ways in which it had never even occurred to me that a mangled-up, locked-up person like me could be happy, I loved you.And then, inexplicably, you had the absolute audacity to love me back. Can you believe it?Sometimes, even now, I still can't.”


In parallel, we also read about presidential election drama, the tricks and games people play in order to win. and then there is blessing of friendship that our main cast enjoys. Whether it is the phase where Alex & Henry are getting to now each other , or how "the gang" comes together - Alex , Henry , Nora , Pez & June together are superb. Their  love for each other and loyalty in face of any challenge is worth being envious. They have their own personalities and ideologies and each is a force to reckon - kind of setting the stage for future leaders and change makers  we need.

“On the map of you, my fingers could always find the green hills, Wales. Cool waters and a shore of white chalk. The ancient part of you carved out of stone in a prayerful circle, sacrosanct. Your spine's a ridge I'd die climbing.
If I could spread it out on my desk, I'd find the corner of your mouth where it pinches with my fingers, and I'd smooth it away and you'd be marked with the names of saints like all the old maps. I get the nomenclature now- saints' names belong to miracles”

But what actually shines most in the whole book is the letters that Alex & Henry write to each other once they accept each other's love. Those letters are so damn cute and intense and heart warming at the same time. The author's research and appreciation of literary quotes and written correspondence makes this part of the book such a joy to read. I lost count of the highlights I made on this book by the time I finished it. 



View all my reviews

Monday, February 17, 2020

Regional: Selfie by Selma



                        'Selfie' is a collection of memoirs by Selma.Written in a very simple, yet interesting manner, the book is also a commentary on the many social issues which we have witnessed in the last couple of years or so. In this book, Selma also pens down the interesting events which happened in her personal and professional life and the foreign travels which she has embarked upon till date.The debut writer is successful to a very large extend ,in airing her thoughts interestingly.Her positive approach towards life is also pretty evident in her writing.The reader also get to know that she is a very updated and open minded,fun loving,cinephile human being with very liberal values. On the downside, the book doesn't offer anything new in terms of knowledge or narrative style. At times, while reading the social issues mentioned in the book, the reader gets the feeling that he/she is just going through a collage of the news paper headlines of the past couple of years or so.The author hasn't really bothered to go into the intricate details of the issues being discussed, rather she has only brushed through the issues in an albiet topical manner. Also, there isn't anything that is too intriguing or eventful in this memoir.

On the whole, I'm going with a 2.6 out of 5 for this book.

-nikhimenon

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Regional: Nayika Agatha Christie by Sreeparvathy


                               Mystic Mountain by Sreeparvathy was a book which I didn't like that much. It had left me with absolutely mixed feelings and I genuinely thought that the book had a perfect setting and a decent beginning but only to lose it's steam midway. Anyways, the book went on to become a best seller and the author's follow up work,titled 'Nayika Agatha Christie' has just hit the stores a couple of days back.
                              First thing first; unlike 'Mystic Mountain', 'Nayika Agatha Christie(NAC)' is not a full blown thriller. This book is more of a biographical fiction and tries to trace the 11 missing days in the life of  the 'queen of crime'.The novel begins with the disappearance of Agatha and her husband Archie getting framed for her disappearance/murder. Her car and some of her belongings are later found abandoned somewhere in the outskirts and the police,media and the public kicks of one of the greatest searches of all time to bring back the writer,dead' or 'alive'.
                             Coming to the positives, the book is definitely a light read and at no point does the author try to 'show off her literary intelligence' by indulging in over detailing and long, boring monologues. Though in the beginning , I thought that this one was going to go the 'Gone Girl' way, pretty soon, it became evident that the author had other plans in store.  The friendship between Anna and Teresa has been portrayed really well.The comparison between Poirot and his contemporary 'Holmes' is also brilliantly done.The book also throws light on the exemplary observation skills and intelligence of Agatha Christie in crime deduction & body language with the 'shop robbery-overcoat-scene' being the perfect case in point.The author also should be given due credit for not portraying 'Archie' as a full blown villain and giving him equal space to open up.
                        It is pretty evident that the author has done a great deal of research for penning this work.Madam Christie's love for music and her penchant for problem solving have been etched out in a graceful, realistic manner.Also 'NAC' discusses multiple themes like adultery,solitude,midlife crisis, lost love, depression and melancholy in a subtle, yet effective manner.
                        On the downside,as I said in the beginning,this book is not in the thriller genre and if you pick up this book expecting a fast paced thriller, you will be disappointed. This one is a good character study of one of the greatest writers of all time.Period!

On the whole,I'm going with a 3.25 out of 5, for this work.

-nikhimenon

#FaeFriday #weeklybooktag : What book helped you through a difficult time?

Fae Friday is an awesome new weekly post created by Kristy at Caffeinated Fae.

To participate in Fae Friday, please do the following:
Link back to Kristy's blog -  Caffeinated Fae.
If the prompt idea is from another blog, link to that blog as well.
Use #FaeFriday when posting to social media so we can all find each other!

This week on #FaeFriday, we’re talking about healing! Faeries are known for their healing abilities. It doesn’t matter if it’s a dying plant or a broken heart. The fair folk can help mend what is broken. So this week’s prompt is: What book helped you through a difficult time?





Most times I do not read when I am really upset or would read just anything for distraction. But in last 5 years I have read Rule by Jay Crownover four times from start to finish. The story is now imprinted in my mind and yet every time I need to find some peace and smiles on my own, I read the story of  Rule & Shaw (Marked Men series #1 couple) . Rule is the playboy who has decided to show a bad attitude to his family after his twin brother's death. Shaw has loved Rule since she first saw him and has been taking care of him ever since even if it means being hurt every time she sees Rule with a new girl every weekend.  One birthday, they come together physically but staying together in a relationship is a completely different game, that none of them knows how to play. The Marked men series has 6 books but Rule and Rome ( who is Rule's elder brother ) are two of the men whose stories are my absolute favorite.

Rule has a special place in my heart because this book was my introduction to this world of amazing friends, love that has the power to lift each other and stand strong in face of difficulties , some awesome tattoos and enough sweet moments to guarantee a happy smile at the end.

For  this reason, I have this book in my kindle so I can pull it at random anytime I need a pick-me-up buddy :)


Thursday, February 13, 2020

Regional Book Review: Surgical Blade (Stories) by C.Anand


Surgical Blade is an anthology by debutant author C.Anand. There are six stories in this collection where varying themes like retribution, casteism, paternity,loneliness and depression are explored.The book is published by Ivory Books,Thrissur, one of the latest entrants to Malayalam publishing arena.

As I mentioned earlier, Surgical Blade has got six stories.The language is pretty simple and you can easily finish reading this book in a couple of hours or so.Though the themes explored in the book are quite decent, to be very honest, none of them manage to break new grounds nor do they explore any hitherto unexplored ones.While 'Surgical Blade' deals with 'revenge and retribution',the story also tries to make a social commentary on the sexual violence faced by tribal women.'Munichaami' is a story which tries to deal with the multiple themes of estranged paternity and apathetic attitude shown by children towards their elderly parents at the same time. Among the stories, I felt 'Jaathibeejam', which takes a subtle dig at casteism as the pick of the lot.

On the whole, 'Surgical Blade' is a decent collection.

-nikhimenon

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

QBR: Mumbai by Lissy

                                                        Contemporary Fiction
                                                       136 + pages
                                                       Mathrubhumi Books
                                                       Originally Published in 2006
                                                       RT Rating: 3.2/5

Mumbai by Lizzy is a poignant take on the life in the city of dreams

The Verdict:This is quite an engaging read!
Synopsis: Mumbai is the kind of book where the setting itself becomes the protagonist.The novel introduces us many interesting characters and the struggles and turmoils they face while living in this big city full of dreams.If you loved the Anurag Basu movie, 'Life in a Metro', you are definitely going to like this work.The book had also won the best debut novel award by Mathrubhumi books, way back in 2005.

The Good:the setting, the characters,the writing

The Bad:the book doesn't have a linear story, per se.
RecommendationsBuy it!

-nikhimenon

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Book Teaser: Malayalam Thriller Novel 'Pradhamadrishtya'







Presenting the teaser of my debut Novel. Please do support. A lot of effort and a lot of struggle have gone into this.
Thanking the almighty for giving the strength to complete this work.

-nikhimenon

Friday, February 7, 2020

#FaeFriday #WeeklyBlogTag - What book made your heart soar ?


Fae Friday is an awesome new weekly post created by Kristy at Caffeinated Fae.

To participate in Fae Friday, please do the following:
Link back to Kristy's blog -  Caffeinated Fae.
If the prompt idea is from another blog, link to that blog as well.
Use #FaeFriday when posting to social media so we can all find each other!

This week’s Fae Friday topic is pixie dust! If you’ve seen Peter Pan, you know that pixie dust is used to make you fly. So this week’s prompt is: What is a book that made your heart soar?




And for years to come , I will always pick Love Virtually (linked to my review from 2012) No other book appeals me more when I need to feel happy. The emails that Emmi & Leo write to each other are so fun , loving and full of all things beautiful and fuzzy.


The book has the perfect tagline : "Have you ever just clicked with some one?"

By 2012, I had made best friends online , had a boyfriend whom I met via twitter (now married to him) and I kind of lived more through emails / tweets /chats than offline. So the idea of falling in love with someone through emails alone was something I wanted to read desperately and so my search led me to this book. This is one of the books that I read and lived when I did not even like the romance as a genre.


"Write to me Emmi. Writing is like Kissing, but without lips. Writing is kissing with the mind."



Leo : It’s sad, Emmi, we’ve got nothing more to say to each other.
Emmi : Maybe we never did.
Leo : Well, for two people who’ve got nothing to say to each other, we’ve been chatting away one hell of a lot.



This book doesn't have a proper ending ( but that is taken care in sequel which is equally enjoyable). so which book would you recommend in this genre  ?

Happy Friday & Happy Reading always :) 

Saturday, January 25, 2020

#FaeFriday #WeeklyblogTag : Changeling


#FaeFriday is an new weekly post created by Kristy at Caffeinated Fae . This week on #FaeFriday, we’re talking about changelings. Faeries were often accused of leaving changelings in place of a child. So this week’s prompt is:

What is a book you picked up that wasn’t at all what you thought it would be?

I am very picky about books I read and I can be caught with a book that I hoped would be good but turned out to be average but rarely has it happened that I avoid a book *after* I have checked its review / ratings and opinions by trusted book lovers in my circle. Having said that , I do remember avoiding the Cormoran Strike books because I was not ready to judge J K Rowling for writing a different genre when I was still not over Harry Potter. When it was first revealed that The Cuckoo's Calling was written by Rowling under the Pseudonym Robert Galbraith , I decided to stay away from the books for the time being.



Multiple recommendations could not sway my decision till I chanced upon the show Strike  which is a adaptation of the book. I realized after completing the first story that the show is based on the new books by Rowling. I immediately stopped watching the show and picked the books (not the first one though) I read The Silkworm(book#2) , Career of Evil(book #3) and Lethal White(book#4) in a very short time and later finished watching the show too . I absolutely loved the character and dynamics of Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott. Their friendship is so natural and full of respect , affection and admiration for each other that the transition for them over the four books was very appreciated.

My Favorite book in the series is Silkworm which is so atmospheric and layered that I felt it more like a literary creation than a mystery/ thriller one. It also has my favorite element - a novel manuscript , authors , publishers and a really twisted manuscript. After reading the series , I was more impressed by Rowling's skills as a master story teller. This series , though a thriller one , stands tall on the shoulders of a brilliantly spun story and backed by a wonderful cast.

On a side note, I felt the show episodes could have been more in number to match the length of the books and would be glad if this is taken care when the TV adaptation for Lethal White is released. 

#BookReview: Merchants of Milan (Night Flyer Trilogy, #1) by Edale Lane

Three powerful merchants, two independent women in love, one masked vigilante. Florentina, set on revenge for her father’s murd...