crime thriller

QBR: 3 AND A HALF MURDERS BY SALIL DESAI

12:00:00 AM

                               

                              
                                 3 and a Half Murders By Salil Desai

                                     RT Rating: 2.7/5

                               328 Pages, Finger Print Publishing (2017)

                               Crime Thriller/Murder Mystery

           The Verdict: A decent, but over-long crime thriller with an unexpected climax!

Synopsis: Sanjay Doshi has killed his wife Anushka Doshi (who was cheating on him) and has committed suicide.The suspect is her 'lover' Shaunak Sodhi. Can Inspector Saralkar solve the mystery?

The Good:down- to -earth characterisation of Saralkar and his aide Motkar ,no excessive violence and pointless twists, the big reveal in the climax(the identity of the killer)

The Bad: The 'why' of the crime could have been better imagined, the usual cliche's like the fake Godman, the officer's nagging wife,a couple of loose ends(ASI Murgud covering up the 7 year old case quite easily)

Recommendations: Borrow it!

-nikhimenon

Medical Thriller

QBR: Miracle Cure By Harlan Coben

12:30:00 AM

Image:Amazon UK

Miracle Cure By Harlan Coben

RT Rating: 2.6/5

Medical Thriller/Crime Thriller

480 pages, ORION (2013), originally published in 1991 by British American Publishing
 The Verdict: One of Coben's earliest works, Miracle Cure can be read once , if you are a die-hard Coben fan!

Synopsis:Dr Harvey has discovered a perfect cure for HIV.But there is someone trying to sabotage his discovery!

The Good:the 'Medical' aspects are still relevant, has it's moments of suspense

The Bad:Pretty dated work (even Coben himself admits the same), the climax twist was pretty predictable, quite over-long too!

Recommendations:Borrow it!

-nikhimenon

Andrea Camilleri

QBR: Angelica's Smile by Andrea Camilleri

12:00:00 AM


                              Angelica's Smile By Andrea Camilleri

                                           RT Rating: 2.5/5

                               304 Pages, Pan MacMillan(2015)

                               Romance/Police Procedural

       The Verdict: An okayish , half baked romance-police procedural

Synopsis: Vigàta's elite are targeted in a series of brilliantly executed robberies,can Inspector Montalbano solve the mystery?

The Good: Easy Read, fairly good English translation,partly funny

The Bad: the romance was half baked,so was the investigation,ends up neither here nor there

Recommendations:Skip it!

-nikhimenon

crime thriller

QBR: Behind Closed Doors by B A Paris

9:55:00 AM

 For those of you, who are too lazy to go through 'long, boring' book reviews, ALOP hereby presenting the new Quick Book Review (QBR) series (if James Patterson can bring out BOOKSHOTS, why can't we?☺)



                         Behind Closed Doors By B A Paris

                                      RT Rating: 3/5

                            293 Pages, St Martin's Press (2016)

                                    Psychological Thriller

           The Verdict: A fairly good read built on an intriguing premise!

Synopsis: Jack and Grace are the perfect couple and everyone adores them, But are they living a perfect lie?

The Good: The Premise is fresh , Grace's characterisation, emotional nature of the read, focused narration

The Bad: The climax was not entirely convincing!

Recommendations: Borrow it!

-nikhimenon
                      

Fantasy

Veil of the Deserters - Jeff Salyards

11:33:00 AM


Veil of the Deserters
Book 2 of the "Bloodsounder's Arc"

Read about the first book HERE

ISBN - 9781597804905
FIRST PUBLISHED - 2014
PAGES - 464
GENRE - Fantasy
PUBLISHER - Night Shade Publishers

AUTHOR - Jeff Salyards

SYNOPSIS - History, Family and Memory… these are the seeds of destruction.

Bloodsounder's Arc continues as Captain Braylar Killcoin and his retinue continue to sow chaos amongst the political elite of Alespell. Braylar is still poisoned by the memories of those slain by his unholy flail Bloodsounder, and attempts to counter this sickness have proven ineffectual.

The Syldoonian Emperor Cynead has solidified his power base in unprecedented ways, and demands loyalty from all operatives. Braylar and company are recalled to the capital to swear fealty. Braylar must decide if he can trust his sister, Soffjian, with the secret that is killing him. She has powerful memory magics that might be able to save him from Bloodsounder’s effects, but she has political allegiances that are not his own. Arki and others in the company try to get Soffjian and Braylar to trust one another, but politics in the capital prove to be far more complicated and dangerous than even Killcoin could predict.

Deposed emperor Thumarr plots to remove the repressive Cynead, and Braylar and his sister Soffjian lie at the heart of his plans. The distance between "favored shadow agent of the emperor" and "exiled traitor" is an unsurprisingly short road. But it is a road filled with blind twists and unexpected turns. Before the journey is over, Arki will chronicle the true intentions of Emperor Cynead and Soffjian. And old enemies in Alespell may prove to be surprising allies in a conflict no one could have foreseen.

QUOTES - 


“Rumor's the slut you bend over a chair and never see again. Truth's the lady you wed.”

“There always seems to be an 'until'. That is one of life's harsh lessons.”


“It is a ripper. I would be disappointed if it simply nuzzled them and showed its belly for a good rub.”

FL Speak - Book 1 of Bloodsounder's Arc was a gem. It led nowhere, didn't bank on promises to fail and had a cast of ruthless killers you wouldn't want to be stuck with. Without a sound plot, it stood tall as first of the trilogy or even as a standalone.

Book 2, however, doesn't. Whatever sense of lull you were accustomed to (although less truly), this book picks up the pace in action and story line at a break neck speed. To rehash, we have a young scribe, unsullied in warmongering who has been hired to chronicle the deeds of a certain Slydoon company. If book 1 was his trial of fire, book 2 leads him straight to the depths of fiery hell.

The Slydoon have returned to their homes. Homes that are familiar and filled with political betrayals and memory magic. Wars, lots of it, on almost every page to satisfy your thirsting pangs of action and swear words. Veil of the Deserters will take you on a ride to the unknown, literally unknown places that you have not encountered in book 1. Political intrigue, treachery and good ol' betrayal at its finest. I must say the good Captain Killcoin and his Syldoon has grown on me. Arki, not so much, despite his lack for not trying.

An empire awaits. The Syldoon wait. And the schemes and plots twist and turn.

RATING - 5/5

Fantasy

Hymn - Ken Scholes

10:32:00 AM


Hymn
Book 5 of 'Psalms of Isaak

Read about the first 4 books here

ISBN - 9780765321312
FIRST PUBLISHED - 2017
PAGES - 352
GENRE - Fantasy
PUBLISHERS - Tor

AUTHOR - Ken Scholes

SYNOPSIS - Ken Scholes completes his five-book epic that began with his acclaimed first novel Lamentation. The battle for control of The Named Lands has captivated readers for ten years as both characters and readers have learned the true nature of world called Lasthome.

Now the struggle between the Andro-Francine Order of the Named Lands and the Y Zirite Empire has reached a terrible turning point. Believing that his son is dead, Rudolfo has pretended to join with the triumphant Y zirite forces but his plan is to destroy them all with a poison that is targeted only to the enemy.

In Y Zir, Rudolfo's wife Jin Li Tam is fighting a war with her own father which will bring that Empire to ruin.

And on the Moon, Neb, revealed as one of the Younger Gods, takes the power of the Last Home Temple for his own.

FL SpeakWhat a ride it has been.

Hymm marks the end of an era. The conclusion we had been waiting for comes crashing down on the Named Lands blurring the lines between mortals and gods, legends and facts. Suffice to say, this is one of those series that completely swept me away by the sheer audacity of the author's imagination. The only other authors I can think of are Brandon Sanderson (to an extent) and the much under-hyped Adrian Tchaikovsky.

Years of gap between publications aside, Ken Scholes takes the book to a rising crescendo before letting it fall in a final blaze of glory. The stories of Isaak, Neb, Petronus, Rudolfo, Vlad and Jin will forever be etched in my heart if not in the hearts of men of the Named Lands. The Psalms of Isaak is a creative mastermind, craftily combining science fiction into a tale that defines the fantasy genre. Like a master chess player going for the kill, Ken Scholes brings all the players into the game in this final novel and begins a bloodbath that even the Gods can't avoid.

The bad guys turn humane and the good guys turn into monsters and in between are the kin-dragons, flying free again. Oh, what a ride this has been.

A fitting end to a grand tale.

RATING - 5/5 stars

nikhimenon

The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

8:14:00 PM

Pic-amazon.in


                 The  success of The Girl On The Train and Gone Girl inspired many first time writers and scribes to come out with their own versions of it .While some of them have been decent enough (The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena definitely being one ) ,many of them have been damp squibs.Ruth Ware's The Woman In Cabin Number Ten (though pretty formulaic) fortunately belongs to the former category and is undoubtedly a time-pass read.'The Woman'... is Ruth Wares's second novel after the hugely succesful 'In A Dark, Dark Wood'

                The Protagonist is Lo, a woman with anxiety disorder and also with drinking issues  (Rachel,anyone?).She is the resident editor of Velocity,a travel magazine.As her boss is on maternity leave,she is assigned to cover the inaugural voyage of a luxury cruise.While everything is okay in the beginning,she happens to witness a woman being thrown out of her next cabin to the deep blue sea.Though she is pretty sure about what she has witnessed,not everyone is convinced about her version of events-as there has never been an occupant in the next cabin! (cabin number 10)

               The writing is decently paced and devoid of long, unnecessary detailing.As the book cover rightly puts it,'The Woman'.. reads more like an Agatha Christie meeting The Girl On The Train.The setting is pretty much Agatha (too many people locked in a particular set up),but the writing and characters are more like Paula Hawkins'. We have got a (not-that-likeable) flawed heroine who is trying desperately to prove what she has 'witnessed' has not been a product of her deviant mind.

               On the downside, I felt that the blurb gave away too much regarding the story line. It's like, if you have read the blurb, you can pretty much skip the first one fifty pages or so. Also, the suspense is not that unpredictable either (the tail-end twist with that mystery about the money in the account is good though!).On the whole, I am giving this book a 2.9 out of 5.

-nikhimenon


4 stars

Review: Age of Azmoq: The Valantian Imperium by Rajamayyoor Sharma

11:03:00 AM


My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The book blurb was exciting enough to catch my attention when I got the request to read this book. Plus , I am a fan of fantasy fiction so I am always on a lookout for good ones from indian authors. Overall, am really happy with this huge book.

The story opens with introducing us to the narrator and his little village that later becomes the centre of action in the book. The people of the village , the setting and the lifestyle is so amazingly explained in details that you feel like settling in this story. The isolated village sits on a huge reserve if Azmoq , a rare metal that's controlled by the rulers. The story takes our narrator out if his village ,making friends and returning with them to defend his village from the empire's wrath. We meet all characters one by one , know their stories and see them building this team together and learn about how the empire came into being.

What is interesting is that , while there is no clear villains here in terms of black and white , the whole narrative gives you enough questions to think about deeply. The moral delimna of warriors , rulers and even a common man are touched upon in this book.

And now to the things that bothered me - the jump from one person / year to other in the narration. The book is not linear which works well only if the distinctions are clear. I struggled at few places to see whose point of view was the chapter telling and even which year it is on. Second the font is very small. The book is much huge for the 400 pages it has been presented in. Oh yes , now I realize I read 400 amazing pages and did not feel like letting it go ever.

Hope the author works in the second part very soon as I am looking forward to it already.

View all my reviews

crime thriller

The Kind Worth Killing By Peter Swanson

7:20:00 AM

                       

                     The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson is a thriller which is worth your time and money. Full of twists and turns,this 400+page work is a genuine page turner. Ted,Miranda and Lily are the principal characters.Ted is upset that his wife Miranda is cheating on him.He meets Lily while waiting for his flight in Heathrow airport. Lily offers him help.They hatch a plan to kill Miranda. But Miranda has other plans for Ted.

                      I particularly liked the characterization of Lily.The manner in which Lily's past life is revealed is truly riveting.The writing is taut and thrilling.The Chapters alternate between Ted and Lily's perspectives and believe me, the shift in perspectives is not done in an irritating manner.

                      For those of you who are still wondering the origin behind the title of this work,here it is- Lily says at one point , "Truthfully, I don't think murder is necessarily as bad as people make it out to be. Everyone dies. What difference does it make if a few bad apples get pushed along a little sooner than God intended? And your wife, for example, seems like the kind worth killing."

On the whole,I am giving 3.5 out of 5 for this novel.

-nikhimenon

Fantasy

Requiem - Ken Scholes

4:08:00 PM


Requiem
Book 4 of "Psalms of Isaak"

Read about the first 3 book here

ISBN - 9780765321305
FIRST PUBLISHED - 2013
PAGES - 398
GENRE - Fantasy
PUBLISHER - Tor

AUTHOR - Ken Scholes

SYNOPSIS - Ken Scholes's debut novel, Lamentation, was an event in fantasy. Heralded as a "mesmerizing debut novel" by Publishers Weekly, and a "vividly imagined SF-fantasy hybrid set in a distant, postapocalyptic future" by Booklist, the series gained many fans. It was followed by Canticle and Antiphon. Now comes the fourth book in The Psalms of Isaak, Requiem.

Who is the Crimson Empress, and what does her conquest of the Named Lands really mean? Who holds the keys to the Moon Wizard's Tower?

The plots within plots are expanding as the characters seek their way out of the maze of intrigue. The world is expanding as they discover lands beyond their previous carefully controlled knowledge. Hidden truths reveal even deeper truths, and nothing is as it seemed to be.

FL Speak - Probably one of the best books in the series. Everything is moving at a rapid pace towards a conclusion. It's not there yet but the plots within plots are revealed anew and the key players emerge from their shadowy places.

What began with the fall of Windwir was not the beginning. The plan was set long ago. Long before these charismatic men and women were born. But even the best-laid plans are as good as the intentions of those who follow it. Requiem is truly the story of Neb, of Rudolfo, of Vlad, of Jim and of Isaak. Ken Scholes wonderfully bridges a far-reaching quest of destiny and connects it with political intrigue and war campaigns. Filled with revenge, blood-letting, dream sequences and a lot of running and flying, this wonderful tale of fables and legends carefully fills the gaps between myths and facts.

By the end of book 4, we know there's more to the Named Lands than the people living in it. We also know the people on the moon and that the desolation of Windwir was just one of the many that ended civilisations and history. This is a grand war for the survival of humankind. Because if the Crimson Princess were to rise, the land of living will return to the Dark Ages.
 

RATING - 5/5

crime thriller

Little Boy Blue by M.J. Alridge

12:11:00 PM


                Little Boy Blue is the first book by M.J.Alridge that I have read.It's basically a crime thriller and is the fifth book in the D.I.Helen Grace series.I was not that aquainted with Helen Grace and her subordinates before picking this book up for my weekend read, still I found this work to be quite an enjoyable read.

            Jake Elder( a professional dominator) is found dead in one of the shady clubs in Southampton.Though the case initially looks like a bizarre sex game gone wrong,pretty soon it becomes clear that there is something more to it,as bodies start piling up in a similar fashion at various other places.What's more striking is Helen's personal equations with the victims and it becomes evident that a lot is at stake for her. Adding spice to the narrative is the unhealthy competition between Helen's subordinates , Sanderson and Brookes.The tension catches on, the killer is revealed culminating in a stunning climax, leaving the reader anxious and surprised at the sudden turn of events.

Little Boy Blue is undoubtedly a fast paced,nail-biting thriller.I can't wait to grab a copy of the next one in this installment.I'm giving it a 3.5 out of 5.

-nikhimenon

Indian fiction

Review: Aqson Level I by Sreejib

1:46:00 PM

Aqson Level I

Genre : Mythology , Thriller ,
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I started this book casually one day while in flight and before I knew I had reached my destination and I hated that I had to stop reading.

Aqson is a game played between Lucifer and God to claim each other's weapons and for general winning over each other, till next game. This particular game is for 30 years and the goal is to become the PM of the country, India . ( Ok, please accept it as fiction and move on)

The book starts setting the stage with this and then jumps 20 years ahead where Lucifer has declared his weapon - Yuvrani , pathos who is the youngest party chief of the ruling party and daughter of the current PM , along her angel Vanraj.  God is yet to make a move, and even when his team's angel Job ( why that name , I wonder ) makes an appearance in Kolkata, his weapon Life is no where in picture for most of the book. Interesting and wait when this mystery gets solved ..

Since the game is set in political context , we meet a lot of political players , see the rise of a student party and how it changes the political face of the state and country too. The author knows how to make the political scene relevant and not over preachy. I wish some of the youth is indeed working on the ideas discussed in the book. Meanwhile , don't forget that the game is on and how !

The writing is full of humor and I was actually laughing in some of the scenes. The political discussion was a brilliant part in my opinion. So was the bonding between the people behind the Student party and their interactions with each other are so fun.

I loved the way the author established the back story , the technology and the powers of Angels involved in the games. This is a very fresh take on mythology genre and a welcome break from the books that have flooded the literature scene in recent years. This helped me keep my faith in Indian fiction writing.


The plot , the characters , the build up and the twists in this book are superb !! I Can not wait for the next part.

This book review is a part of "The Readers Comsos Book Review Program and Blog Tours, for details log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.in

View all my goodreads reviews

crime thriller

I am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll

10:45:00 PM


Agreed, this book is a smash hit and the author is widely hailed as the 'next big thing' among the new breed of women crime writers, but I found the novel to be a pretty average work.

A woman(Ella) accidentally stumbles upon two teenage girls during a train journey only to find out later that one of the girls (Anna Ballard) has gone missing. The book is all about the mystery behind the sudden disappearance of Anna. This 'Gone Girl' meets 'The Girl On The Train' kind of tale is told through the perspectives of it's principal characters -Ella (the witness),Luke (Ella's son),Sarah (the friend), to name a few.The chapters are pretty short and each one ends in a mini cliff- hanger (which was pretty annoying, after a point). The characters are poorly written, their motives and intentions quite patchy to say the least. Also, the reason for the 'guilt-feeling' of Ella and the others is not properly explained.The final twist is just about okay.

On the whole, I am giving a 2.5 out of 5 for this book.

-nikhimenon

dreams

Let Me Go by Shriram Iyer

6:22:00 PM



Best friends Indu and Anshu meet in school and bond over all things innocent and fun. They start ignoring each other  in college but what happens when they part ways is what we call life. When they get a second chance to meet and be friends , it is going to test both of them to the limit to decide how long to hold on to each other. 

Sometimes you start reading a book with some apprehension and expecting to be entertained for a while. And it is good as that allows the book to surprise you in so many ways. This book is a ode to friendship with love. And I am so happy someone wrote , perhaps a little cliched but still a story that so much is believable and close to truth.

Anshu and and Indu have always been best friends and nothing more. Even in their differences , they have not thought to hurt each other though Indu's actions however selfish , have always been for love and to make her relationship work. When Anshu falls in love and decides to marry , he has no plan to think of his past life but it still comes to crash the party. How he manages his friendship while juggling with everything else is beyond imagination.

This is a story of messed up priorities , reckless loving and living. It talks of dreams and how we get derailed from achieving that. There is no judgement , nothing wrong or right in friendships sometimes.  This is a well plotted and inspiring story. The story pulls you along very easily. There is no pretense or lofty ideas in there. It is a simple book that is meant to make you feel good when you finish.

I really enjoyed this book and am so glad I spent one weekend with these characters.

My rating : 4/5

Fantasy

Antiphon - Ken Scholes

3:37:00 PM


Antiphon
Book 3 of "Psalms of Isaak'

Read about the previous books HERE

ISBN - 9780765321299
FIRST PUBLISHED - 2010
GENRE - Fantasy
PAGES - 384
PUBLISHER - Tor

AUTHOR - Ken Scholes

SYNOPSIS - Nothing is as it seems to be.

The ancient past is not dead. The hand of the Wizard Kings still reaches out to challenge the Androfrancine Order, to control the magick and technology that they sought to understand and claim for their own.

Nebios, the boy who watched the destruction of the city of Windwir, now runs the vast deserts of the world, far from his beloved Marsh Queen. He is being hunted by strange women warriors, while his dreams are invaded by warnings from his dead father.

Jin Li Tam, queen of the Ninefold Forest, guards her son as best she can against both murderous threats, and the usurper queen and her evangelists. They bring a message: Jakob is the child of promise of their Gospel, and the Crimson Empress is on her way.

And in hidden places, the remnants of the Androfrancine order formulate their response to the song pouring out of a silver crescent that was found in the wastes.

QUOTES - 
“Part of me wants justice for this. Part of me wants to never cause harm to another.” 
“Watch for the ones who leave your mouth hanging open. Study them, find out what they love and what they fear. Dig the treasure out of their soul and hold it to the light. Then Be like them.” 
“Her laughter was an upbeat song set to a minor key.” 

FL Speak - It took me a while to get into this.

I read the second book 5 years ago. Book 3 was a blur. It was hard to connect and make sense of especially when reviews of this epic series are so less. Why internet, why? After a lot of searching and I really mean a lot, I went back to this and for the third time, Ken Scholes blew me away.

Book 1 and Book 2 were fun. This was a revelation of sorts. The bigger picture is still unknown but what was once myths and legends slowly turned into practicality and logic. The use of magiks and technology is a deadly combo especially when you have a nomadic army, invisible scouts, metal men, blood sacrifices and treasure troves of legends in the deserts.

The desolation of Windwir began the series. By book 3, we are getting to know why exactly someone annihilated an entire city and a race of people. Meanwhile, the canticle is still singing. or ringing is it? Music people can hear. The music they hear in dreams. Music metal servitors hear. I must be mad but I stopped wondering what that it could be. I just know it sings and it requires an answer. 

Halfway down book 3, I've fairly grasped the on-goings of the book. The Named Lands are in danger. Grave, grave danger. Neb, the boy who witnessed the fall of Windwir finds himself in the Churning Wastes, a vast desert hunted by strange women under abnormal magiks. Isaak is in the Named Lands, dreaming about a song. It's a compelling book, making you fall in love with the characters over and over again. We see a hint of a bigger plot with more and more impossibilities coming to a fruition. The Watcher and the Crimson Princess? Who are they and what do they have to with a race of people that came out of nowhere. 

The Named Lands face a threat never envisioned before. And within the Named Lands, there is treachery in plenty. Rudolfo and Jin Li Tam face the threat for their baby while the world slowly moves towards its impending destruction.

RATING - 5/5 stars

cover reveal

Cover reveal : Children of Blood And Bone by Tomorrow Adeyemi

11:30:00 AM


Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debutChildren of Blood and Bone.

They killed my mother. They took our magic. They tried to bury us. Now we rise.

Zélie remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. When different clans ruled – Burners igniting flames, Tiders beckoning waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoning forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, anyone with powers was targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope. Only a few people remain with the power to use magic, and they must remain hidden.

Zélie is one such person. Now she has a chance to bring back magic to her people and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must learn to harness her powers and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where strange creatures prowl, and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to come to terms with the strength of her magic – and her growing feelings for an enemy.


Review: Letters to My Ex

2:30:00 PM

Letters to My Ex Letters to My Ex by Nikita Singh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was so stressed out with work when I started this book late one night. And I finished it in a single sitting. This was so real , so heartfelt and so intimate. I thought of all the sent and unsent emails I wrote in love , after a fight or sometimes even now out of so much overwhelming love that only makes sense with words.This book has no end and no beginning and it doesn't even feel like a story. It is just a whole bundle of letters , texts and emails that together take the reader on this adventure called love and loss. It might be cliched , or cheesy at places. But that's how romance is , that's how it feels comfortable with some one you love.  Brilliant feels to this.

View all my reviews

Harlan Coben

Home By Harlan Coben

7:52:00 AM



Home is the latest title in Coben's Myron Bolitar series and re-unites Myron,Win,Big Cyndi,Esperanza once again for a brand new adventure.Also Joining them in the adventure are Mickey,Ema and Spoon.

Two boys go missing and twelve years later,Win and Myron stumbles upon one of them in London and manage to bring him home ,but not everyone is convinced that he is the real person.This is the basic premise of 'Home'.Myron and Win ,in their trademark style try to solve this mystery but I must confess that 'Home' is one of the weakest works to have come out in Bolitar series.The book is not at all racy and nothing much really happens in the first two hundred +pages of this tale.The twists are far and few in between and not of them are indeed convincing.Too much time is spent in unnecessary detailing and by the time the actual mystery is revealed, the reader loses interest in the whole proceedings.The good thing about the climax is that though the twist is predictable,it manages to move you emotionally (the tail-end twist including Brooke and 'the gun' could have been avoided though).The epilogue reveals a positive event in Bolitar's personal life and I am definitely looking forward to the next one in the series.

On the whole,I am giving this one a 2.75 out of 5.

-nikhimenon

Drama

#Review: Friends and Other Liars by Kaela Coble

3:09:00 PM

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I started this book with some expectations based on the Goodreads review.  And they were all met but in a way I had not expected. I expected the secrets to be really more sinister and maybe directly hurting the narrator.  But in bargain , the way the secrets impact the people close to them and the everyone's life is so amazingly captured in the book. I hated some characters ,empathized with some and in the end , I fell in love with each one of them. That's how this book hooks the reader and make you feel concerned. This was a beautiful story. Tragic ,but so full of real wise words. I had a hard time letting this one go.

About the Author: 
KaelaCoble lives in Burlington, Vermont, and is a member of the League of Vermont Writers and a graduate of the WoMentoring Project. This is her first novel.

Website: https://kaelacoble.com/


View all my reviews

Ben Tripp

Rise Again - Ben Tripp

11:08:00 AM


Rise Again
Book 1 of "Rise Again'

ISBN - 9781439165164
FIRST PUBLISHED - 2010
PAGES - 371
GENRE - Dystopian Thriller
PUBLISHERS - Gallery Books

AUTHOR - Ben Tripp

SYNOPSIS - A MYSTERIOUS CONTAGION. MASS HYSTERIA. SUDDEN DEATH. 

And a warning that would come all too late . . . 

Forest Peak, California. Fourth of July. Sheriff Danielle Adelman, a troubled war veteran, thinks she has all the problems she can handle in this all-American town after her kid sister runs away from home. But when a disease-stricken horde of panicked refugees fleeing the fall of Los Angeles swarms her small mountain community, Danny realizes her problems have only just begun - starting with what might very well be the end of the world. 

Danny thought she had seen humanity at its worst in war-torn Iraq, but nothing could prepare her for the remorseless struggle to survive in a dying world being overrun by the reanimated dead and men turned monster. Obsessed with finding her missing sister against all odds, Danny's epic and dangerous journey across the California desert will challenge her spirit . . . and bring her to the precipice of sanity itself. . . . 

Filled with adventurous human drama - and shocking inhuman horror - Rise Again marks a vivid and powerful fiction debut.

FL Speak - If there is a specific dystopian fiction I love, it is zombie apocalypse. 

Who doesn't love Resident Evil or World War Z? The immensely famous "The walking dead" or my favourite "warm bodies"? There's nothing better end of the world stories than humankind rising up from the dead to terrorise those who survived. If you've played the game "last of us", I bet you've wished to be a part of such an world one time or the another. 

I wanted to read The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp and ended up with this one. Boy, I was glad I got this. After a slow, sluggish start the pace skyrockets to an astounding speed. It's like being trapped in an underground Umbrella facility which is full of zombies and you've got a pistol and ten folks to save. 

ALICE MODE : GOD

What started as a personal crusade turned into a sense of duty and obligation. Danielle as the heroine of this book is a character worth loving in this mash of gore and brain parts. Of course she is flawed. No one would send a Lancelot to a zombie story. It's her flaws that is endearing to readers and makes her unpredictable. 

The book ends with a vicious twist. Both personally to Danny as well as to the story for the next book. I've this feeling it wouldn't bode well. Not at all. You see, they're evolving. That's not good. Oh crap.

RATING - 4/5 stars

author interview

CONVERSATION WITH BRITISH AUTHOR AND HISTORIAN, JAMES BARR-PART TWO

12:31:00 PM

In the second part of the conversation,James Barr reveals his softer side and his experiences in the Indian sub continent.


Q:Have you ever got frustrated for having chosen to be a professional writer?
(smiles)yes,you have days when you are researching and you find nothing and there are also times when you are trying to write and get nowhere. But it’s true for every other author as writing is not at all an ‘easy job’. But if you ask me would you be doing anything else,I would say No!

Q:How do you deal with criticism and have you ever been accused of distorting history for selling a couple of more copies?

It depends on what kind of criticism it is. For my last book, some people thought it was hard to follow while some others were of the opinion that it did distort events.At the end of the day,it’s about your conviction in what you have done.As far as You are confident that you have done a pretty honest and balanced version of events without taking sides, you can deal with the criticism in a mature way.

Q:So far,You have written mostly about the Middle-East.Do you plan to do something else with your future works?
Yes,definitely! I am also interested in the relationship between ‘allied countries’ and the ‘tensions’ between them.

Q:Have you ever been to India?
I was invited to the Jaipur Literature Festival last year and I was astonished by the sheer number of people who turned up to hear Shashi Tharoor speak in the festival.You will never see something like that in England.India is an amazing Country.

Q:About Piracy?                           
Piracy in U.K is mostly about the digital copies that get illegally uploaded.But I think ‘hard copy’ piracy is not much of a problem in the U.K.

Q:How easy it is to be a full time-writer in the U.K.?
It’s not at all easy.Very few writers earn decent amount of money by writing full-time.In that sense,I have been fortunate enough.

((Nikhimenon is an Infectious Disease doctor by profession and a freelance book blogger by passion.He has been trained in India and in the U.K.The first part of this conversation can be read here.)




author interview

Conversation with British Author and Historian, James Barr-Part One

12:25:00 PM

(James Barr is a British author and historian. His book on Lawrence of Arabia and the Arab Revolt, ‘Setting the Desert on Fire’, was published in 2006. ‘A Line In The Sand’, on the rivalry between Britain and France for dominance in the Middle East, followed in 2011. His latest work is on the post-war middle East and will be out by mid-2018. In this candid conversation with nikhimenon, he opens up about his work, inspiration and how he deals with criticism.This will be published in two parts,the first part can be read here)

James Barr
Q: What inspired you to be a writer?
Though I started writing when I was quite young, my first big ‘break’ happened about 15 years ago when I got an opportunity to pen down the history of a small organization in London. Immediately after the publication of that book I went to Syria and it was my experience there that served as the real inspiration for my debut work.Fortunately, it got good acceptance and my second work infact grew out of my first book .

Q:There are ‘best-selling’ authors authors who work with  newbie writers to bring out a book.What is your take on that? Do you think it works better that way or the ‘veteran’  is just lending his name for ‘easy money’?
Yes,you do hear about that.There are some authors who work with a team of people ,who inturn basically do the job for them.Well,if you are successful enough ,it’s a way of working. But personally, I would never prefer that kind of work .For me, the excitement of the job I do is about finding things out and if I delegate that job to somebody else, I would lose that ‘sense of discovery’ which is partly what I find exciting about what I do. Secondly, there is also the question of trusting other people’s judgement. As soon as you involve other people in the (writing) process, you are risking your reputation to someone else’s judgement. If the book turns out to be an awful one, it’s you (the ‘brand’) which ultimately suffers!

Q:What are your hobbies?
I used to like drawing. I think it has helped me a lot to kill time while attending extremely boring conferences(chuckles)!

Q: Do you ever plan to write for Television?
Not particularly!

Q: When will your next book come out?
I am just finishing my next book now and it should be out by mid-September ,2018. It’s a history of Anglo-American rivalry in the middle-east from the second world war through to the 1970s.

Q:Do you intend to write fiction at some point of time?
One of the big frustrations when you do these projects is the amount of stuff that you can’t use in the book. Most of the background data don’t go into your book and it’s quite tempting to make a fictional work out of all these ‘junk’ info. But to be very frank, I don’t intend to do something like that in the near future. Mixing fact and fiction quite often leaves a reader confused and having said that, it’s a reality that the style of history writing has changed a lot. People tend to write popular history as if it is fiction. I think I would struggle to ‘invent’ a story as I believe Truth is stranger than fiction.

(Nikhimenon is an Infectious Disease doctor by profession and a freelance book blogger by passion.He has been trained in India and in the U.K.The second part of this conversation will be posted soon.)

Fantasy

Scourge of the Betrayer - Jeff Salyards

4:46:00 PM


Scourge of the Betrayer
Book 1 of "Bloodsounder's Arc"

ISBN : 9781597804066
FIRST PUBLISHED : 2012
GENRE : Fantasy
PAGES : 320
PUBLISHER : Night Shade Books

AUTHOR - Jeff Salyards

SYNOPSIS - Many tales are told of the Syldoon Empire and its fearsome soldiers, who are known throughout the world for their treachery and atrocities. Some say that the Syldoon eat virgins and babies–or perhaps their own mothers. Arkamondos, a bookish young scribe, suspects that the Syldoon’s dire reputation may have grown in the retelling, but he’s about to find out for himself.

Hired to chronicle the exploits of a band of rugged Syldoon warriors, Arki finds himself both frightened and fascinated by the men’s enigmatic leader, Captain Braylar Killcoin. A secretive, mercurial figure haunted by the memories of those he’s killed with his deadly flail, Braylar has already disposed of at least one impertinent scribe ... and Arki might be next.

Archiving the mundane doings of millers and merchants was tedious, but at least it was safe. As Arki heads off on a mysterious mission into parts unknown, in the company of the coarse, bloody-minded Syldoon, he is promised a chance to finally record an historic adventure well worth the telling, but first he must survive the experience!

A gripping military fantasy in the tradition of Glen Cook, Scourge of the Betrayer explores the brutal politics of Empire–and the searing impact of violence and dark magic on a man’s soul.


QUOTES - 
“You haven’t lived until you’ve grieved. Death, life, together, the same. And if you’ve only experienced life you’re only half-alive.”
“And if that only inflames your curiosity, I say to you, a writer without curiosity is a bird without feathers.”
“Your mugs are weaker than your ale, innkeeper. I regret I have to pay for either.” 
“She regarded me as a seasoned drover might regard a cow.” 
“I'll tell you this much. Men think memories are like murals or statues or truth or whatever happened, never changes none. But that ain't so. They can capture the untruth of something, just as easy. They can change, especially as time leads to time.

FL Speak - Where do I start about this book? The lack of a plot or the immensely lovable uncouth humour? The fantastic characters or the whirwind action sequences?

Scourge of the Betrayer takes you on a ride alongside ill-disciplined mercenaries where swords and flails speak mightier than the words of the scribe through whose POV we muddle across. An opportunist meets an unpredictable man and is left to make choices he never imagined were choices. Stuck between a rock and hard place, our scribe Arki attempts to pierce the mystery of the Slydoon in hopes of seeing himself in a glorified pedestal.

I love such books. I am a sucker for teams and cadres. Be it the Bridgeburners, the Mad Lancers or the Band of the Red Hand. If there are people worth following into battle, I invest more than a little emotion into them. The Slydoon is one such group. Jeff Salyards takes us on a nightmarish journey of gut wrenching fight brutality and a plot loosely tied around the outcome of such fights.

There is a larger story. There has to be. But for once, I'm glad to read a book without thinking too far ahead.

RATING - 4 Stars

book blast

#BookIntro - The immortality trigger by Douglas Misquita

9:44:00 PM

~ The Immortality Trigger by Douglas Misquita ~
a Luc Fortesque adventure thriller


1945 
Allied paratroopers raid a secret Nazi research facility. The operation is reported as a success. But, the lone survivor, Benjamin Ezra, knows otherwise. 

2014 
A drug lord, El Fantasma threatens to plunge Colombia into an era of bloody drug wars. DEA Country Attaché, Zachary Mason is in charge of a covert operation to remove El Fantasma, with the help of a vigilante, El Angel, and a retired undercover agent, Raymond Garrett. 

In Naples, INTERPOL agent, Sabina Wytchoff, is investigating the death of her parents, when the Wytchoff family’s association with an ancient cabal comes under investigation. 

After the events of The Apocalypse Trigger, Luc Fortesque, is scouring the world for the man who tested experimental drugs on him. 

Wei Ling works for a shadow Transhumanist faction within China’s State Council, developing drugs that will enhance human longevity. 

Their paths will converge… violently… and conclude the mission that began in 1945.

The Immortality Trigger is also available at all leading eBook retailers


Reviews for The Immortality Trigger:

"...with a storyteller of Misquita’s caliber, you just may need Dramamine before the first chapter is done." - Bestthrillers.com

"For fans of the fast-paced and modern tale with global reach that dabbles in history, this is a perfect storm." - Lydia Peever





Other books in the series:
         



Douglas Misquita is an action-adventure thriller writer from Mumbai, India. He hammered out his first novel on the keyboard of a laptop with half-a-working-screen, and has been churning out literary entertainment to the tune of a book-a-year. His books have been praised for their pace, locales, intertwined plots, research and visuals - it’s almost like watching a movie… only, this one unfolds across the pages of a book! 





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