ARC Review: Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

Author: Melanie Golding
Release Date: 30th April 2019
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Adult Fiction, Horro, Supernatural, Suspense
Series: 
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 304
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Blurb:
“Mother knows best” takes on a sinister new meaning in this unsettling thriller perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman, Grimms’ Fairy Tales, and Aimee Molloy’s The Perfect Mother.
Everyone says Lauren Tranter is exhausted, that she needs rest. And they’re right; with newborn twins, Morgan and Riley, she’s never been more tired in her life. But she knows what she saw: that night, in her hospital room, a woman tried to take her babies and replace them with her own…creatures. Yet when the police arrived, they saw no one. Everyone, from her doctor to her husband, thinks she’s imagining things.
A month passes. And one bright summer morning, the babies disappear from Lauren’s side in a park. But when they’re found, something is different about them. The infants look like Morgan and Riley—to everyone else. But to Lauren, something is off. As everyone around her celebrates their return, Lauren begins to scream, These are not my babies.
Determined to bring her true infant sons home, Lauren will risk the unthinkable. But if she’s wrong about what she saw…she’ll be making the biggest mistake of her life.
Compulsive, creepy, and inspired by some our darkest fairy tales, Little Darlings will have you checking—and rechecking—your own little ones. Just to be sure. Just to be safe.

REVIEW

Let me begin by saying that when I first saw this book’s listing on NetGalley, I was totally in awe! It had the most amazing cover, an incredible blurb and (upon further research) some really good reviews in the book’s favour. So basically it had it all and I was positive that this will be one heck of a read.
To be honest, I couldn’t start reading this book fast enough and I felt like this right till the moment I started reading this book:

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But when I started reading this book, say about 20-25 pages in, I was really not sure if I was reading the right book because the writing felt very forceful and unnecessarily dramatic. For one, the author kept going on and on about how the main character (don’t even remember the name) did not feel “the rush of love” for her newborn twins. I am all for complex and grey characters, but after a while, it did start to feel like the author was unnecessarily pressing the point on the readers in order to make them hate the MC (or maybe they just wanted to make the readers feel that the character was very complex) either way, it felt too forced and outright fake. Still, I kept on reading in the hopes that maybe once this part gets over the good part would begin.

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Then came the part where the MC was being checked by the doctor in order to see if her womb (?) was okay (not even sure if I even understood that part) and then everything went to hell because the descriptions got so crazily gross that it’s going to take me a long time to get over it. I mean, if you haven’t been pregnant ever, then I recommend not to read this part as it sure as hell scared the shit out of me!!

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AND THAT WAS IT FOR ME!
I COULDN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!

If you’ve read this book and liked it, then hats off to you! But you haven’t yet read this book and are planning to read it, then I’d suggest to check out some other book on twins and/or pregnant-female-horror fiction like Cleaving Souls by Chauncey Rogers or stick to the plain ol’ decent thrillers like Sister Sister by Sue Fortin or The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena.

You can also read this review on Goodreads

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Audiobook Review: Origin by Dan Brown

Author: Dan Brown
Narrator: Paul Michael
Release Date: 3rd October 2017
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense
Series: Robert Langdon Book #5
Edition: Audiobook
Length: 19 hours
Publisher: Random House Audio
Blurb:
Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the ultramodern Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to attend a major announcement—the unveiling of a discovery that “will change the face of science forever.” The evening’s host is Edmond Kirsch, a forty-year-old billionaire and futurist whose dazzling high-tech inventions and audacious predictions have made him a renowned global figure. Kirsch, who was one of Langdon’s first students at Harvard two decades earlier, is about to reveal an astonishing breakthrough . . . one that will answer two of the fundamental questions of human existence.As the event begins, Langdon and several hundred guests find themselves captivated by an utterly original presentation, which Langdon realizes will be far more controversial than he ever imagined. But the meticulously orchestrated evening suddenly erupts into chaos, and Kirsch’s precious discovery teeters on the brink of being lost forever. Reeling and facing an imminent threat, Langdon is forced into a desperate bid to escape Bilbao. With him is Ambra Vidal, the elegant museum director who worked with Kirsch to stage the provocative event. Together they flee to Barcelona on a perilous quest to locate a cryptic password that will unlock Kirsch’s secret.Navigating the dark corridors of hidden history and extreme religion, Langdon and Vidal must evade a tormented enemy whose all-knowing power seems to emanate from Spain’s Royal Palace itself . . . and who will stop at nothing to silence Edmond Kirsch. On a trail marked by modern art and enigmatic symbols, Langdon and Vidal uncover clues that ultimately bring them face-to-face with Kirsch’s shocking discovery . . . and the breathtaking truth that has long eluded us.

Review

★★★★

Origin by none other than Dan Brown is a gripping thriller which was both enjoyable and gripping. This book is the 5t instalment in the Robert Langdon series and, unlike lost key, was more in sync with the author’s impeccable sense of modern-day controversies. I enjoyed it a lot and was happy to note that this book differed from the last one (which is one of my favourites in this series, Inferno) greatly.

The characterisation was spot on, the twists and turns were really good and made the mystery more interesting (though it was a bit predictable, maybe that was because of the fact that by the 5th book you generally know what the author is capable of doing) and the plot-line was excellent. The only complain I had from this book is that it had hours of exhaustive descriptions and backstories and crazily lengthy dramatics. This has been my problem since the first book, Angels & Demons, but this book took it all to another level entirely. Now it might be because this is the only book I have read (listened to) as an audiobook, but the descriptions felt too long even for Dan Brown’s standards – out of 19 hours more than 9 might have been the descriptions, so that is a LOT! Because of that, I zoned out a lot while listening to it and even fell asleep.

Still, overall it is worth a read if for nothing else than for the story itself and I’d recommend it to all Dan Brown readers and to those who are interested in conspiracy theories and such.

Read this book for RMFAO

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Burning Ridge by Margaret Mizushima

Author: Margaret Mizushima
Release Date: 11th September 2018
Genre: Suspence, Mystery, Thriller
Series: Timber Creek K-9 Mystery #4
Edition: e-book
Pages: 280
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Blurb:
Featuring Mattie Cobb and her K-9 partner Robo, Burning Ridge by critically acclaimed author Margaret Mizushima is just the treat for fans of Alex Kava.On a rugged Colorado mountain ridge, Mattie Cobb and her police dog partner Robo make a grisly discovery—and become the targets of a ruthless killer.

Colorado’s Redstone Ridge is a place of extraordinary beauty, but this rugged mountain wilderness harbors a horrifying secret. When a charred body is discovered in a shallow grave on the ridge, officer Mattie Cobb and her K-9 partner Robo are called in to spearhead the investigation. But this is no ordinary crime—and it soon becomes clear that Mattie has a close personal connection to the dead man.

Joined by local veterinarian Cole Walker, the pair scours the mountaintop for evidence and makes another gruesome discovery: the skeletonized remains of two adults and a child. And then, the unthinkable happens. Could Mattie become the next victim in the murderer’s deadly game?

A deranged killer torments Mattie with a litany of dark secrets that call into question her very identity. As a towering blaze races across the ridge, Cole and Robo search desperately for her—but time is running out in Margaret Mizushima’s fourth spine-tingling Timber Creek K-9 mystery, Burning Ridge.

Review

★★★★

Burning Ridge by Margaret Mizushima is the 4th instalment in the Timber Creek K-9 Mystery but can be totally read as a standalone. I’m glad that I got the opportunity to read this book as it was a really good read with a nice plotline and honest characterization. I enjoyed the story on the whole and didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything significantly even though I’m new to this series, and now I’m looking forward to exploring the prequels and the sequels to this part.

The two things that I liked best in this book were the plot and the characterization – the plot was intense, yet not over-the-top complex and the characterization was simply but realistic and I was able to feel a connection to both the story as well as all the main characters, especially the leading lady Mattie and her GSD, Robo.

The writing was simple and clean and the book had a moderate pacing which complimented the story well. The tension was also moderate, though it spiked up enough wherever needed to make it a very engaging read. Overall, I felt that this book is a complete package and I think that based on this book I can already see this series becoming a nice thirst quencher for mystery-ravenous readers.

I’d recommend this book to all the readers of mystery, suspense and light thriller genres, especially those who are looking for a new detective series to explore.

this review is also posted on goodreads and amazon

Book Review: Cleaving Souls by Chauncey Rogers

Author: Chauncey Rogers
Release Date: 10th October 2017
Genre: Horror, Supernatural, Thriller, Suspense
Series:
Edition: E-Book
Pages: 225
Publisher: 
Blurb:
Some dangers you cannot outrun. Some nightmares do not end when you wake.
Something is watching Katherine Harris. She can feel it when she goes out. She can feel it inside her home. She feels it in her bed. Her husband, Alex, wants to blame her anxiety on her pregnancy, but he’s often away for work. He doesn’t know what it’s like to be stuck in a small town, to be trapped in a tiny house on a run-down street, to be alone. Kat does, and the feeling only grows worse.
Whatever is going on, Kat’s certain that it’s far more serious than pregnancy jitters. When Alex takes Kat on a second honeymoon to get her mind off things, it becomes far more dangerous as well.

Review

★★★★+1/2

Cleaving Souls by Chancey Rogers is a super fast-paced supernatural read that is literally un-put-down-able.

Wow, what a suspenseful and goosebumps-inducing ride! The first part (out of all 3) was my favourite as the suspense built up was so perfect that it was literally impossible to put down the book! The characterization wasn’t overly relatable for me, but it felt very realistic and seemed apt for the story, so it served the purpose well.

A very well-written book with simple and smooth writing which made for a very quick read. The flow of the writing was so good that I finished this book in less than 48 hrs when I wasn’t even planning on reading it and happened to pick it up randomly on a whim, earlier than I had planned.

My only complaints are the slight slack in pacing around the 70-90% mark in the ebook and a somewhat down-played climax-built up. Just before the end, the plot progression suffered because of downplaying the main conflict of the story. It wasn’t bad as suck, but I feel that given the thrilling Act I and the sensational Act II, this part, Act III of the story could have been so much better in terms of tension, pacing and overall progression of that bit. Thankfully, the ending made up for this little negative, the only negative in the book.

I’m sure as hell looking forward to reading other books by the author! And I’d recommend this one to all supernatural and horror fiction fans and to those who won’t mind reading an unsettling or pregnancy-related story.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: On The Devil’s Side Of Heaven by Roger Peppercorn

Author: Roger Peppercorn
Release Date: 9th January 2018
Genre: Mystery, Crime, Thriller, Suspense
Series:
Edition: E-Book
Pages: 583
Publisher: Wallace Publishing
Blurb:
With the drop of a judge’s gavel, Walt Walker has finally lost everything. The badge and gun he used to carry and the moral certainty of right and wrong, good and evil that used to keep him grounded. Now Walt, sans gun, gets his badges from an Army Navy store. He spends his days in South Florida, working for a boutique insurance firm as their investigator. He spends his nights in dive bars, trying to forget the mess he has made of his life.
Ronald Jacobs always preferred the title Human Resource Manger to Hitman. But now that he’s retired, he can concentrate on living in the shadows as a respectable gentlemen farmer. Far from the reach and pull of his past life.
Their transgressions are behind them but a chance encounter and a failed assassination attempt sets the two of them on a collision course of violence and retribution. Hunted by contract killers, the law, and corporate bag men, they are pursued across the unforgiving adobes and the sweeping vistas of the Mesa Valley in Western Colorado.
Survival means putting their past in front of them and their differences aside, because in this world the only thing that matters is to cast not others on the devil’s side of heaven, lest you be cast in with them.

Review

★★★+1/2

On The Devil’s Side Of Heaven by Roger Peppercorn is a hard-boiled crime thriller packed with lots of action and suspense.

This book proved to be a decent crime thriller and delivered what it promised – lots of suspense and thriller laced with tons of action and drama. The mystery was good, the characterization decent (though not overly powerful) and the pacing good. The writing was good and consisted of various POVs which turned out to be very interesting and engaging. There were several excellent twists and turns that kept me hooked to the book and the ending paid off well.

The only complain I have about the book is that it was too long. Maybe if some of the cliched scenes weren’t there then it might not feel a bit of a drag at some places, but otherwise, it was a good book. I’d recommend it to all crime, mystery and thriller readers.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Watch Me by Jody Gehrman

Author: Jody Gehrman
Release Date: 23rd January 2018
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense
Series:  
Edition: Physical
Pages: 308
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Blurb:
Kate Youngblood is disappearing. Muddling through her late 30s as a creative writing professor at Blackwood college, she’s dangerously close to never being noticed again. The follow-up novel to her successful debut tanked. Her husband left her for a woman ten years younger. She’s always been bright, beautiful, independent and a little wild, but now her glow is starting to vanish. She’s heading into an age where her eyes are less blue, her charm worn out, and soon no one will ever truly look at her, want to know her, again.
Except one.
Sam Grist is Kate’s most promising student. An unflinching writer with razor-sharp clarity who gravitates towards dark themes and twisted plots, his raw talent is something Kate wants to nurture into literary success. But he’s not there solely to be the best writer. He’s been watching her. Wanting her. Working his way to her for years.
As Sam slowly makes his way into Kate’s life, they enter a deadly web of dangerous lies and forbidden desire. But how far will his fixation go? And how far will she allow it?
A gripping novel exploring intense obsession and illicit attraction, Jody Gehrman introduces a world where what you desire most may be the most dangerous thing of all.

Review

★★★★

Watch Me by Jody Gehrman is a very enjoyable fast-paced psychological thriller with good characterization and a very intelligent story-line. This book reminded me a lot of a book I read a couple of years ago (I have totally forgotten what was the name of the book and the bestselling author duo, though I do remember it was a British book), this one was very similar to that. And most of the plot was kind of the same, but the ending was totally different and the creep in this book came across as a kind of well-meaning psycho (I’m sure it doesn’t make any sense, but you’ll get it once you’ve read the book.)

The story progression is what I really loved about this book along with the detailed exposition. The characters were good and believable enough and the pacing excellent. Though, in spite of all this, I feel that the ending was a bit abrupt and unclimatic. I mean, here I’m reading the book enjoying where the plot is going with high-intensity drama and the high stakes and as I turn the page the book ends with an anti-climactic turn of a page. Now that was a big turn off.

Still, I’d rate the book high as I loved every bit of it except for the last 2-3 pages. If you love thrillers and fast-paced stories about psychopaths and sociopaths then you must read this one!

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: The Prom Dress Killer by George A. Bernstein

Author: George A. Bernstein
Release Date: 18th July 2017
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Mystery, Crime, Detective Fiction
Series: 
Detective Al Warner Suspense – #3
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 336
Publisher: GnD Publishing LLC
Blurb:
A psychopathic killer lurks in Miami’s shadows, snatching and murdering young auburn-haired women. Strangely, they are killed without trauma and left clad in frilly prom-style dresses.
Miami’s crack homicide detective, Al Warner, is on the case, but the killer has left few clues. Why were these girls taken and then executed? Was he intent on killing redheads, or was there some other connection? And why were their bodies so carefully arranged in peaceful repose, wearing prom dresses?
Warner’s hunt for this clever psycho is stymied by a lack of clues as he desperately searches for the latest victim. The suspense ramps up when the murderer finally makes one tiny error.
As Warner and the FBI doggedly zero in on their fleeing prey and his newest captive, the action escalates. Unlikely players are drawn into a tense, deadly game. As the stunning climax plays out, Warner is trapped in a classic Catch-22. In order to snare this lethal psycho, he must make a decision that may haunt him forever.

Review

★★★+1/2

The Prom Dress Killer by George A. Bernstein is a psychological thriller-suspense, full of engaging twists and turns and a strong storyline.

This book had an engaging storyline, a good enough psychopath and a neat flow to it overall. I liked the writing of the author as it was simple and straightforward, just the way I like while reading thrillers. Overall it was a good book, though I felt distant towards the characters, so characterization is the only downside for me in this book. If the characters would have been relatable and the victims a bit more real, then I would have, straight away, given this book a full extra star, but sadly that was not the case.

Still, it is a decent read if you don’t have a strong character-over-plot liking. If you’re okay with a strong plot, then go ahead and check this one out.

this review is also posted on goodreads and amazon

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Book Review: Memory Man by David Baldacci

Author: David Baldacci
Release Date: 21st April 2015
Genre: Mystery, Crime-Thriller, Suspense
Series: 
Amos Decker
Edition: ebook (MOBI)
Pages: 416
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Blurb:
Amos Decker’s life changed forever–twice.
The first time was on the gridiron. A big, towering athlete, he was the only person from his hometown of Burlington ever to go pro. But his career ended before it had a chance to begin. On his very first play, a violent helmet-to-helmet collision knocked him off the field for good, and left him with an improbable side effect–he can never forget anything.
The second time was at home nearly two decades later. Now a police detective, Decker returned from a stakeout one evening and entered a nightmare–his wife, young daughter, and brother-in-law had been murdered.
His family destroyed, their killer’s identity as mysterious as the motive behind the crime, and unable to forget a single detail from that horrible night, Decker finds his world collapsing around him. He leaves the police force, loses his home, and winds up on the street, taking piecemeal jobs as a private investigator when he can.
But over a year later, a man turns himself in to the police and confesses to the murders. At the same time a horrific event nearly brings Burlington to its knees, and Decker is called back in to help with this investigation. Decker also seizes his chance to learn what really happened to his family that night. To uncover the stunning truth, he must use his remarkable gifts and confront the burdens that go along with them. He must endure the memories he would much rather forget. And he may have to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Memory Man will stay with you long after the turn of the final page.

Review

★★★★+1/2

Memory Man by David Baldacci is nothing short of a complete crime-thriller package – entertaining plot, engaging storyline, brilliant writing, the perfect hook and a unique inner conflict that makes for a strong base of this awesome new series.

This is my first book by David Baldacci and I am so glad that I read it. It is an amazing book and I’m very happy to have read it. Lately, I’d been fed up with detective stories because more or less all of them are the same (no matter if the protagonist is a female or a male.) So I had almost abandoned this genre of mystery thrillers when I was asked to review this book. Fortunately, I accepted it because I had heard a lot of praise for David Baldacci’s storytelling and didn’t want to miss out a chance on reading his current sensation back in 2015. However, due to my scepticism, it took me a better part of  2.5 years to even consider reading it ditching the other books I had. And now that I’ve read it, I’m glad that I finally took the step and read it!

This book was so much better than I was expecting it to be. It had life-like characters that were highly relatable, especially the lead, and a plot that had so many twists and turns that I was literally biting my nails because of all the tension and suspense. The mystery was out of the world and I really, really enjoyed the ending.

If you are a mystery buff and love high-tension thrillers, then READ THIS BOOK! It’s really, really good!

this review is also posted on:
goodreads, netgalley, and amazon

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Book Review: Seeing Red by Sandra Brown

Author: Sandra Brown
Release Date: 1st February 2017
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Mystery
Series: 

Edition:
 ebook (MOBI)
Pages: 432
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Blurb:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sandra Brown delivers her trademark nonstop suspense and supercharged sexual tension in this thriller about tainted heroism, cold fury, and vengeance without mercy.
Kerra Bailey is a television journalist on the rise, and she’s hot on the trail of a story guaranteed to skyrocket her career to even greater heights: an interview with the legendary Major Trapper. Twenty-five years ago, the Major emerged a hero from the bombing of the Pegasus Hotel in downtown Dallas when he was photographed leading a handful of survivors out of the collapsing building. The iconic picture transformed him into a beloved national icon, in constant demand for speeches and interviews–until he suddenly dropped out of the public eye, shunning all members of the media. However, Kerra is willing to use any means necessary to get to the Major–even if she has to wrangle an introduction from his estranged son, former ATF agent John Trapper.
Still seething over his break with both the ATF and his father, John Trapper wants no association with the hotel bombing or his hero father, and spurns the meddling reporters determined to drag them back into the limelight. Yet Kerra’s sheer audacity and tantalizing hints that there’s more to the story rouse Trapper’s interest despite himself. And when her interview of a lifetime goes catastrophically awry–with unknown assailants targeting not only the Major, but also Kerra–Trapper realizes he needs her under wraps if he’s going to track down the gunmen before they strike again . . . as well as discover, finally, who was responsible for the Pegasus bombing.
Kerra is wary of a man so charming one moment and dangerous the next, and she knows Trapper is withholding evidence collected during his ATF investigation into the bombing. But having no one else to trust and enemies lurking closer than they know, Kerra and Trapper join forces and risk their very lives to expose a sinuous network of lies and conspiracy running deep through Texas–and uncover who would want a national hero dead.

Review

★★+1/2

Seeing Red by Sandra Brown is yet another typical contemporary thriller by author Brown that has an uber handsome and dangerous hero, a very modern damsel in distress and some racy thrills and chills.

I didn’t like this book a lot so I’m going to keep my review very short and to the point – I found it a bit too cliched. The plot felt unrealistic and the characters very unrelatable and somewhat annoying. In short, it wasn’t my cup of tea.

If you haven’t read a fast-paced thriller in a while or if you’re craving for one badly, you might want to check this one out as it’ll definitely quench your thirst for a suspense thriller, if nothing else.

this review is also posted on goodreads, netgalley and amazon

Book Review: Hiding by Jenny Morton Potts

Author: Jenny Morton Potts
Release Date: 1st February 2017
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Mystery
Series: 

Edition:
 ebook (MOBI)
Pages: 258
Publisher: Cahoots Publishing
Blurb:
A gripping psychological thriller with chilling twists, from a unique new voice.
Keller Baye and Rebecca Brown live on different sides of the Atlantic. Until she falls in love with him, Rebecca knows nothing of Keller. But he’s known about her for a very long time, and now he wants to destroy her.
This is the story of two families. One living under the threat of execution in North Carolina. The other caught up in a dark mystery in the Scottish Highlands. The families’ paths are destined to cross. But why? And can anything save them when that happens?

Review

★★★★+1/2

Hiding by Jenny Morton Potts is a fast-paced new psychological thriller that will keep you hooked right until the very end.

I enjoyed every bit of reading this book! The writing was one of the best parts of this book; it was very fluid, smooth and engaging. The next best thing for me was the mind-blowing plot; it was so interesting that it was hard for me to stop myself from reading the next chapter every time I finished one. The plot unravels beautifully and the reveals were rewarding. Once I started the book, it was literally unputdownable! The chapters are paced brilliantly and the changing timelines of the two different POV characters made this a thoroughly enjoyable read.

The characters were so good and full of life – I loved Rebecca, and though I wasn’t able to overly connect to Keller, I did get the motivation behind his actions. The secondary characters were also well constructed and very relatable.

This is my first book by this author and I’m looking forward to reading more by her in the near future. I’d recommend this book to thriller/psychological thriller lovers.

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this review is also posted on goodreads and amazon

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Graphic Novel Review: Manga Classics – The Stories Of Edgar Allen Poe

Author: Edgar Allan Poe
Adapted By: Stacy King
Illustrator: 
Several
Release Date: 17th October 2017
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Short-Story Collection, Graphic Novel
Series: 

Edition:
 PDF
Pages: 308
Publisher: Udon Entertainment
Blurb:
The Tales of Edgar Allan Poe is a brilliant collection of some of his best-known stories: The Tell Tale Heart (a murder s haunting guilt), The Cask of Amontillado (a story of brilliant revenge), and The Fall of the House of Usher (an ancient house full of very dark secrets). Also included in this collection are The Mask of the Red Death (horrors of ‘the Plague’), and the most famous of all his poems: The Raven (a lover s decline into madness). Best read in a dimly-lit room with the curtains drawn, Poe s brilliant works come to life in darkly thrilling ways in this Manga Classic adaptation.”

Review

★★★

The Stories Of Edgar Allen Poe is another adaptation by Stacy King, who has adapted several other Manga Classics including Sense And Sensibility. This was my first encounter with any of Edgar Allen Poe’s works, and to say that the stories creeped me out would be an understatement considering that I write horror and creep-worthy fiction myself.

To be honest, this book did not please me like some of the other Manga Classics did; maybe it was because I wasn’t able to connect with Poe’s writing, or maybe because there were only a couple of stories. Either way, I didn’t like this book enough to get and read other works by Mr Poe because having previously read Stacy King’s other adaptations, I know that that it wasn’t because of her or the illustrations, which were beautifully done, to say the least.

The illustrations, as mentioned above, were awesome and spell-binding (literally!) They felt eerie and many times I stopped reading only to examine the illustrations more closely as they had such amazing details. Unfortunately, I received a very early ARC edition of this particular book, so some of the illustrations were only in black and white. Nonetheless, the illustrations were remarkable.

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If you’re anything like me and dread reading most fo the classics, then go ahead and give this one a read. It never hurts to have read the condensed and illustrated version of the most famous works of one of the greatest authors of their time.

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Review also posted on: Goodreads and NetGalley

Book Review: Bitterhold by Hunter Trammell

Author: Hunter Trammell
Release Date: 10th December 2017
Genre: Science-Fiction, Adventure, Action, Thriller, Suspense
Series: 
Phoenix Rising (Book #1)
Edition:
 E-book (mobi)
Pages: 131
Publisher: Outland Publishing
Blurb:
In the future, Earth’s civilization has spread across the stars and now humans and aliens peacefully coexist under the rule of the Eglar Empire as it spreads relentlessly across the universe. Crime is almost unheard of and to many the Empire is a Godsend.
But for an enlightened few it is different. While the media distorts the facts, the universe is on the verge of destruction as the Elgar’s get closer to the Aisle of Dominion, an ancient fable that tells of immeasurable power to whomever beholds it.
An attack on an Eglar Militia base forces Decklan Brady, a grieving father of one of the casualties, to embark on a quest for retribution. But as he investigates he discovers that there is more to it than he was led to believe.
Falling foul of the law, Decklan ends up as a prisoner in Bitterhold, a cryogenic reformation colony onboard the Starship Arcadia. There, he befriends Wesley Rhead, the former leader and founder of a militia group known as Phoenix.
Together, the two devise a plan to escape and rekindle the fire of a broken dream. But can Phoenix really bring justice to the oppressed and restore peace throughout the stars? And can Decklan expose the harsh truth of what happens within the Eglar Empire?

Review

★★★★

“Bitterhold is the home to the worst beings the galaxy has to offer.”

Bitterhold by Hunter Trammell is a powerful beginning to a new sci-fi adventure series, Phoenix Rising.

I really enjoyed reading this book because it was an interesting mix of new and unique concepts, settings and beings (aliens as well as humans.) The technology was another thing that really interested me.

The descriptions were good, without being too overwhelming (which a lot of sci-fi novels tend to be) and the characterization was good. I liked the lead but wasn’t overly able to connect with him, though I did care for him and his sufferings enough to want to know where the story takes his character. I liked other characters too and overall they all made the story very engaging.

The plot, for me, was the strongest element of this book; it was complex (in a good way), very detailed and had really good twists and turns that made it a very entertaining read.

Overall, Bitterhold makes for a good read packed with high tension curves and action that is easy to digest. It is an engaging and a pretty quick read and I’d recommend it to all sci-fi and adventure readers.

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Review also posted on: Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: How Will I Know You by Jessica Treadway

32489596Author: Jessica Treadway 
Release Date: 6th December 2016
Series: –
Genre: Suspense, Mystery
Edition: E-book
Pages: 416
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

A page-turner about the murder of a teenage girl, from the author of Lacy Eye.

On a cold December day in northern upstate New York, the body of high school senior Joy Enright is discovered in the woods at the edge of a pond. She had been presumed drowned, but an autopsy shows that she was, in fact, strangled. As the investigation unfolds, four characters tell the story from widely divergent perspectives: Susanne, Joy’s mother and a professor at the local art college; Martin, a black graduate student suspected of the murder; Harper, Joy’s best friend and a potential eyewitness; and Tom, a rescue diver and son-in-law of the town’s police chief. As a web of small-town secrets comes to light, a dramatic conclusion reveals the truth about Joy’s death.

Review

How Will I Know You by Jessica Treadway is a compelling read that will leave you with so many thoughts that you’d be thinking about this book for days even after it is over.

When I started reading this book I had this idea that this book will revolve around a murder and then it’ll turn out to be a fast-paced who-dun-it kind, but as I got into the book I realized that I completely started forgetting about the actual murder as the story focused on the people and the relations Joy was surrounded with when she was alive. This book shows so transparently the truth about how exactly the things would be like if a murder of this kind happens in real life of a normal teenager.

This book shouldn’t be misinterpreted as a Thriller, but it is a realistic approach of the author towards the situation on the whole. After reading this book (actually, while reading this book) I realized how easily we form an opinion about someone whom we’ve never really known. How easy it is for everyone, including the parents and the best of friends, to misinterpret the actions of someone and come up with their own theories about how things would have played out and what might have happened and how they start believing and, in a way, living in those theories. Human nature is such a tricky and immensely complex thing that you never know what might happen in the next few minutes.

The writing was really good and had an easy flow to it that made reading this book a good experience and the slow-to-medium pace of the story was completely in sync with the story itself.

The characters were so real and full of life that I was able to connect with each and every single one of them. And I’m really thankful for it because this book is, in all respects, a character-driven story and these strong characters served the purpose perfectly well.

The beginning was great and I was pulled into the story right from the first chapter. The ending doesn’t fail to tell the readers about what really happened on the day of the murder and who did it, so in a way it served as a beautiful closure because otherwise, I’m sure it would have been a really gut-wrenching read.

I’d recommend this book to all the mystery and suspense lovers and also to all those readers who don’t mind reading about dark subjects such as depression and coping with the loss of a loved one.


Goodreads, NetGalley, and Amazon

Book Review: Climatized by Sally Fernandez

32511383Author: Sally Fernandez
Release Date: 4th October 2016
Series: Max Ford (Book #1)
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Detective Fiction, Conspiracy
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 224
Publisher: Dunham Books

Rating: ★★★

Blurb:

Maxine Ford, having resigned as deputy director of the States intelligence Agency, soon needed an outlet for her innate sleuthing capabilities. It only made sense that she would be destined to establish her own investigative firm. Naturally, her stellar clients would be among the Washington elite, including senators, members of the various congressional committees, along with other high profilers inside the beltway.

In the first novel in the series, Climatized, Max is hired by the wife of a prominent Senator to determine the cause of his untimely death. It leads her to discover that three world-renowned scientists had been killed days before they were scheduled to testify before the late Senator’s investigative committee. Meanwhile, a fourth scientist has gone missing. Max determines he is the key to unearthing the motives behind the deaths. Following the many twists and turns, Max and her associate, Jackson Monroe uncover a powerful organization responsible for the killings. The challenges to the global warming “cottage industry” heats up putting into question the alleged science behind the widely accepted climate change dogma. Cogent evidence is provided to the president, forcing him to make a crucial decision-to cover up a diabolical plot-or bring down a multi-trillion-dollar world-wide economy.

Review

Climatized by Sally Fernandez is a mystery thriller that is centered around a huge political conspiracy involving the climate change.

I liked the book as I started reading it, but after around 100 pages the book started to get a bit flat for my taste. The main problem was that there was a lot of telling when it came to the main character Maxine Ford. At places, it felt like the author was forcing the reader to like her and to “get” how stud Maxine is. Plus, there was a lot of background info that was packed in the midst of scenes and situations that made the experience a bit overwhelming. I understand that background is necessary, but in this case, it was too much.

And for some unknown reason, I was not able to connect to the main character, Max, at all and hence, I lost interest in reading this book by the 50% mark. I still kept on going, but it was a real slog and I skimmed over pages just to be done with it. The descriptions of the climate stuff were too taxing and were impossible to keep up with, especially for a layman like me who has no idea about the technical stuff related to any of the climatic situations or the measures taken to avoid/stop them.

This book is not for me, but if you like science (or medical) and conspiracy thrillers then this book might impress you because there are a lot of raving reviews and testimonies for this book by a lot of big people (there are a few testimonies by professionals from NASA.) So I’m pretty sure that this book would be a huge hit in the right hands.


Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: The Obsidian Chamber by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

30169765Author: Douglas Preston Lincoln Child
Release Date: 18th October 2016
Series: Pendergast Series (Book #16)
Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Edition: E-book
Pages: 560
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

A TRAGIC DISAPPEARANCE
After a harrowing, otherworldly confrontation on the shores of Exmouth, Massachussetts, Special Agent A.X.L. Pendergast is missing, presumed dead.
A SHOCKING RETURN
Sick with grief, Pendergast’s ward, Constance, retreats to her chambers beneath the family mansion at 891 Riverside Drive–only to be taken captive by a shadowy figure from the past.
AN INTERNATIONAL MANHUNT
Proctor, Pendergast’s longtime bodyguard, springs to action, chasing Constance’s kidnapper through cities, across oceans, and into wastelands unknown.
BUT IN A WORLD OF BLACK AND WHITE, NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS
And by the time Proctor discovers the truth, a terrifying engine has stirred-and it may already be too late.

Review

The Obsidian Chamber by Preston and Child is the 16th book in the Pendergast series.

Before I begin the review, I’d like to mention that this is the first book in this series that I’ve read and although that is almost never a good idea, I wasn’t able to resist accepting this title when it was offered to me.

I absolutely loved reading this book. It was equal parts clever, suspenseful, full of unforeseeable twists and chilling and extremely interesting characters. I enjoyed the premise of the plot and I loved the fact that things were told in such a way that as a new reader to the series, I was able to get an idea about what might have happened in the earlier parts. I even got a decent idea as to how the chemistry between the characters worked up until this part. So I was really happy to get all the important background information that the authors cleverly infused without affecting the present narration.

This book had really strong characters and even though I did not fall in love with the main guy, AXL Pendergast (mainly because he wasn’t the main character in this particular story) I was really drawn towards the other main characters in this book. I’m pretty sure that Diogenes might have been the crazy serial killer in the parts before this one, but in this part, I loved him as he was a completely changed man standing right on the turning point in his life. And it makes me wonder that now that I actually like the villain of the story, how could I possibly read the previous parts. Anyway, back to the character dissection, I did not much like the character of Constance. She was too “ancient” for me to feel connected to her. I did love Proctor, he is this smart, intelligent and stud guy who’d do anything to protect his people. So yeah, this is one of those books that’ll make you fall in love with more than half of the characters.

The storyline was strong and so were the characters and the writing, so there was actually nothing that  I, as a reader, couldn’t have liked. The book started with one hell of a fast paced beginning with Proctor running around the world changing plane after plane chasing the kidnapper and I was hooked right from the start. But then a really mind-bending twist followed and I was like, “What the hell?” and then things started to get really interesting, to say the least.

The ending was a bit slow, but that could be overlooked considering that it is an ongoing series, so a mild closure for all the characters is needed. Though I would have loved to read more about proctor towards the end, considering that the book started with him. Also, a few scenes between Constance and Diogenes felt like a slog, especially when they both started talking about the ancient aristocratic stuff, but maybe that’s just me.

Other than these minor issues, I loved the book, so much that I’m planning to read this entire series from beginning in the coming days. If you like reading nice suspenseful stories rich with strong characters and storylines then this book (or rather series) is for you.


Goodreads, NetGalley and Amazon

Book Review: Friction by Sandra Brown

25114548Author: Sandra Brown
Release Date: August 18, 2015
Series:
Genre: Crime, Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Romance, Adult
Edition: E-book (mobi)
Pages: 416
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Sandra Brown comes a gripping story of family ties and forbidden attraction.
A Texas Ranger, relegated to deskwork due to past recklessness, petitions to regain custody of his five-year-old daughter, and his case is assigned to a family court judge who is as attractive as she is ambitious. When a masked gunman barges in during the custody hearing with his sights on the judge, the Ranger reacts instinctually and goes after him. But authorities apprehend the wrong man, and the real gunman remains unknown, at large, and a threat. Will this take-charge lawman jeopardize his chances of custody by going after the would-be assassin? And will this unlikely pair be able to deny the forbidden attraction building between them?

Review

This book is a wonderful read and a true page turner. I was in it from the moment I picked it up as I found the blurb quite intriguing. I enjoyed the lucid flow of the story and the pace with which the events unfolded. I know there are a few negative reviews for this book, but I actually enjoyed reading this one a lot! Though I did find the love making scenes a little cheesy, still it was a nice break from all the fast-paced action.

This book began with an excellent an extremely captivating opening and the clock that was set ticking by the end of the prologue really got me going. What really made this book a compelling read was that ticking clock itself. It kept the story tense and on track throughout. The ending was also perfect and made complete sense.

The characterization is brilliant and the characters had so many layers of complexities that it was difficult not to take them as real people. I was able to connect with all the characters, including the secondary ones. If there’ll be a sequel to this book (?) then I’ll definitely read it as I’d love to read more about the main characters.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who loves mystery-thrillers and don’t mind a slight overdose of steamy make-out scenes.

 

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Opening Line: The two stalwart highway patrolmen guarding the barricade stared at her without registering any emotion, but because of the media blitz of the past few days she knew they recognized her and that, in spite of their implacable demeanor, they were curious to know why Judge Holly Spencer was angling to get closer to the scene of a bloodbath.

Highlights: Storyline and pacing.

Lowlights: None.

Memorable Quotes:

“You pick a guy who everyone sees, but no one is looking at.”

“He’s made a bargain with the devil, and he hadn’t held up his end.”

Final Thoughts: A wonderful book packed with lots of action and suspense.


You can also read this review at GoodreadsNetGalleyand Amazon.

Book Review: Cold Girl (West Coast Crime #1)

25825999

Author: R.M. Greenaway 
Release Date: March 26, 2016 
Series: None
Genre: Mystery|Thriller|Suspense|Crime Fiction
Edition: E-Book (mobi) 
Pages: 336
Publisher:  
Source: NetGalley
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

It’s too cold to go missing in northern B.C., as a mismatched team of investigators battle the clock while the disappearances add up.

Smart urbanite RCMP Constable Cal Dion isn’t designed for snow, silence, and deep, dark woods. But that’s where he finds himself after a life-altering car crash: coping with brain damage and posted in the snowbound Hazeltons of northern B.C. But how can he find his footing in a new life when he can’t find his own keys?

Detective David Leith has his own demons to tackle. Forty-two years old and a dogged investigator, he’s seen a lifetime’s worth of cruelty on the job, and his conscience has taken a battering. And now a monster is murdering young women on his turf.

Kiera Rilkoff, a popular young singer, is missing. Has she also fallen victim to the so-called Pickup Killer? The urgency ramps up as one missing woman becomes two. It isn’t until the bitter end that Leith discovers who is the coldest girl of all.

Rating

4half-stars

Review

Plot/Story:

Cold Girl is one of those books that you can either love or hate. And for me, fortunately, it’s the first one. I really enjoyed the story and relished the way it ended. The plot is not only outright gripping but quite unique as well but in its own subtle way. Cold Girl has a character driven plotline and the author successfully pulls it off. The plot line is simple enough, but the twists and the turns scattered throughout the book makes it a fairly complicated one but in a good way.

The writing is a little different, which took me a fair amount of time to get used to, but by the end I got the hang of it. The story flowed well and the pace of the story was also good. But, in spite of everything being great, I thought that the book was exceptionally lengthy. In my opinion, it can be reduced to 3/4th of its length and still have the same impact. This little fact bugged me to no end because it was a really, really time-consuming read.

So, if you have enough time on your hands, then go ahead and read Cold Girl, as it’s a superb detective fiction.

Characters:

As I just said Cold Girl is a character-driven book and the author has managed to create something that I call as “awesomeness.” The main characters, Leith and Dion, are the life of this book and I can still picture them moving around and doing stuff in their daily lives –  that’s how powerful the characterization in this book is. I was totally able to connect with them and the bond that formed is a really strong one.

When we have two male leads who hate each other there is bound to a favorite. Mine is Dion. His vulnerability is what draws me to him and I’m sure in the coming books he’ll emerge as a really strong lead, even more than Leith.

The other characters such as the Law brothers, other constables and DCs, the victims and the suspects, each and everyone had a unique personality and surprisingly I was able to relate to them all. Full marks for characterization!

Romance/Kills:

There is no romance as such, but a major part of the investigation revolves around the relationship of the deceased and the suspect.

There is also a considerable number of killings prior to the main case which involves a serial killer. It serves as a great diversion initially and later on connects beautifully to the case-at-hand.

Writing:

The writing in this book is a little different than what I’m normally used to. Some of the sentences felt a little awkward at times but later I realized that it had more to do with the author’s style of writing than glitches. Fortunately, after reading half of the book I found myself getting used to it.

Having said that I would have definitely enjoyed the book more if the editor had straightened out those awkward sentences and made them a little less painful to read.

Still, I enjoyed the book and the amazing characterization totally made up for whatever problems I had with the writing in the first half of the book.

Beginning:

The book started off perfectly well with an intriguing prologue and then continued on a high note that kept me engaged the entire time. I enjoyed the detailed insight into the police procedurals and enjoyed the overall suspense that kept on building till the end.

Ending:

The ending of the book was perfect considering that it’s a part of a series. In fact, I’m really looking forward to how things are going to shape up in the next part. The mystery also ended well. A classic example of a simple situation going out of hands.

Blurb:

The blurb is apt and gives a really clear idea about what to expect from the book. If I had come across this book in a bookstore then I would have definitely grabbed it after reading the blurb.

Cover Art:

The cover art is good but not excellent. It could have a been a lot better.

You can also read this review at:
Goodreads and NetGalley

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Opening Line: She was the only patch of stillness on the planet, to Dion, the dark-haired girl sitting on the far wing of the bleachers, second to lowest tier, watching the band play.

Highlights: Exceptional characterization.

Lowlights: Length of the book.

Final Thoughts: A brilliant but lengthy read.

Book Review: Sisters Of Sorrow

25348662

Author:  Axel Blackwell
Release Date: 24th April, 2015
Series: February 17, 2015
Genre: Fantasy | Adventure | Young Adult | Magic | Supernatural | Mystery | Thriller | Suspense
Edition: mobi
Pages: 332
Publisher: Self-Published
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

Anna Dufresne lives in a factory that eats children. If the brutal machines don’t kill Anna, her guardians’ neglect and abuse probably will. The only thing this abandoned teen wants is out. But the factory is inside a stone fortress, on an island, where people are sent to be forgotten. It serves as a dumping ground — both for orphans who are not welcome at finer institutions, and for nuns who have disgraced the Church. The walls of Saint Frances du Chantal’s Orphan Asylum hum with secrets and buried scandal.

In the catacombs below the factory, something long dead, something almost forgotten, stirs. It offers Anna a key, and promises freedom, if she will seek it out when she escapes. She knows her plan will endanger the other children, but Anna cannot resist the call of freedom.

Her escape attempt triggers a chain reaction of chaos, shaking the orphanage to its foundation and laying bare its deadly secrets. As Anna flees into the night, she discovers that the evil nuns were the least of her worries. The swirling mist of the island hides terrors more dangerous than she could ever imagine.

Rating

5-stars

Review

Plot/Story:

Sisters Of Sorrow has an amazingly superb plot-line. It is a complete adventure-mystery package and this book is by far one of the best books I’ve read by an independent author. I enjoyed each and every chapter to the core and I literally had to drag myself away from the book to sleep at night.

This book is a masterpiece and I’ll recommend it to all the adventure and mystery fans. If you want to read a good book with an amazing story and superbly crafted characters, then this book is for YOU.

This book is about an orphan girl who tries her best to get away the cruel nuns of SFDCOA. She risks everything, even the life of her girls (sisters) and other orphans. But when she gets out, she discovers the ugly truths of the island and the asylum itself. The story shows her struggles and dilemmas beautifully and the of course highlights her choices which ultimately makes her a hero.

I enjoyed every ounce of this story and I’m going to re-read it soon, in fact I wanted to start it over again as soon as I finished it, but I have a lot of stuff to do right now to indulge in something so absorbing.

Axel Blackwell has beautifully proved that YA genre is so much more than Hunger Games, Divergent and Immortal Instruments.

Characters:

The author, Axel, did a fabulous job in creating, what I like to call as, the perfect characters. The characterisation is so strong that you’ll fall in love with each and every single character. I felt so bonded with Anna and Donny that I wanted to get in the book and help them out at tight places.

Even the characters of the evil nuns are so beautifully created that you’ll want to get stay away from McCain and Eustace.

Another character that I really enjoyed was that of Joey. The author really impressed me with such a unique character. I enjoyed having such a different being in a story like this.

Romance/Kills:

It’s a YA book and the main character is 14 years old, so there’s no romance but there’s a lot of love. Anna’s love for her girls (whom she lovingly calls her sisters of sorrow) is so heart-warming. Her attitude towards all her girls make me want to cry the tears of joy. She is such a brave little girl that I really, really love her.

Writing:

Writing style of Axel Blackwell compliments the story beautifully. He is an amazing story-teller. the writing is simple and perfect. I enjoyed reading the perfectly written third person throughout the book and based on this book I’m going to read all the books by him.

Beginning:

My heart clenched so bad when the story began. The nuns terrified me to no end and thinking about little girls and boys under their supervision gave me the willies.

The beginning was so powerful that as soon as I read the first page, I knew that I’m not going to be putting this book down anytime soon. I started to feel the bond with all the characters (that were mentioned from beginning) in the initial pages only and by the time I was half way through the book, I knew it’s going to be my new favourite.

Ending:

The ending of this book is perfect. It couldn’t have been better than what it is. I was so relieved and happy that the author maintained his level of brilliance throughout the book, till the very last word.

Blurb:

The blurb gives a fair idea about what to expect from the book. This book has so much to offer that it’s practically impossible to sum it up in a small blurb.

Cover Art:

Nice. I really like it and coupled with the blurb, it gives a really mysterious feel to the book. I love it.

You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: Anna Dufresne sat on the edge of her cot in the predawn hour, staring down at her mummified pinky finger.

Highlights: Amazing plot and brilliant characterisation.

Lowlights: None.

Memorable Quotes:

When I’m dead, there’s nothing else they can take away. And that is it’s own kind of freedom.

No food and no blankets gets you dead little girls and boys.

If a child will not work, neither let him eat.

Being Anna’s friend is a bad idea.

They can only kill you once. After that, they can never hurt you again.

Memorable Quote:

A troop of broken orphans, shell shocked into doing the next thing that must be done. The only difference was that this time, the next thing that must be done involved sneaking through a storm while being chased by ax-weilding nuns and a Joseph-Thing. These girls have faced the stampers and needle machines on a daily basis, this wasn’t much worse.

“Lady!” Jane interrupted, in a voice that made Anna want to hide under a cot. “are you blind as well as stupid? Look around you. There used to be a fortress here. It stood here for a hundred years. It’s gone now. You know why? Because it made Anna it’s enemy. If anyone ought to be scared, lady, it’s you. There used to be a factory there, now it’s just a hole full of sand and seaweed, because it tried to keep Anna on this island.

“Anna fought off an entire order of evil nuns, an army of mercenary witch-hunters, a pack of wolves and a-a-a Joseph-Thing, to rescue her girls and get us off this island. And now you are going to just saunter up in your silly white dress and threaten her? I’ve seen a lot of moronic behaviour since I’ve lived here, lady, but you take the cake. You are one dumb-witch.”

Final Thoughts: You’ve GOT to read this book!!!


Review by:

pics-2 copyHeena Rathore P. aka The Reading Bud

My name is Heena and I’m a freelance writer, blogger and a book-reviewer (and soon-to-be author.) I’m an introvert, thinker, neat freak (cleanliness OCD), hardcore idealist, fitness junkie, music fanatic, compulsive reader, self-assertive, opinionated, dog lover and an atheist.

The Reading Bud is my brain-child and is a huge part of my life. I love reading and reviewing. What started as a hobby has become my passion.

Read more about me here.