Ruined (Regency Retold #1)

January 18, 2018

Book: Ruined(Regency Retold #1)

Author : M C Frank

Rating : 4 / 5

Synopsis

The duke of Ashton sits at the Opera at Vauxhall Gardens, bored out of his mind, and plans murder.
He curses the day that brought the little governess, destitute and sad, at his door eight months ago, to upset his careless if a bit meaningless existence.
How could he have guessed the terrible, evil secrets she was hiding? And now that he knows all, the truth appears wilder, even more despicable than even he could have imagined. He hadn’t counted on losing his heart to her, of course, but he did.

What he doesn’t know is that a tendril of the shadows of madness and sin that followed Beatrice to his door is still out there, looking for something to devour.
The only one who can save him from the darkness is the girl herself, but he knows he’ll never see her again. He who once prided himself on his indifference to other human beings, feels his chest constrict with pain every time he even thinks of her.

Beatrice, smart, gentle, kind-hearted, lovely.
Ruined.

A perfect blend of darkness and light, this Regency retelling of Jane Eyre will break your heart as well as uplift it.

Review

First of all thanks to the author for the review copy. I’m proud to be part of MC Frank’s Street team as well Book Robin Hoods

This is a regency retelling of Jane Eyre, as I’m still in the process of completing Jane Eyre, so I can only say that the characters are similar. Dominic,the duke of Ashton is looking for a governess for his ward Adelina.  Adelina is his cousin’s daughter, who passed away and the responsibility  of his daughter was handed over to Dominic.  He interviews several candidates and finally selects Beatrice Devon , even though she is just 19 years old . Dominic is astonishes at the progress which Beatrice makes on Adelina. Dominic enjoys his time with Beatrice, but he realises that she is afraid of something or someone.

What is Beatrice afraid of?

Will Beatrice make a lady out of Adelina

Is the Duke falling in love with the governess?

Read to find out

I enjoyed the book a lot. I read it in one sitting, took about 3-4 hours. The banter between Beatrice and the Duke was amusing. Kiss scenes were smoky. The narrative is interspersed at times with Beatrice ‘s part which adds to the mystery of the book. I love Beatrice’s character, my heart broke for her.Dominic , was the dark handsome duke who rushes to rescue the damsel in distress, the  arrogant rake who falls in love . Adelina , was a cute spoilt brat, she was fun at times.Lady Augusta was perfect as a motherly character

Recommend for romance readers

About the Author 

M.C. Frank (writer, reader, designer, physicist and teacher, to name a few) has been living in a world of stories ever since she can remember (that’s before she knew how to write). She started writing them down when she could no longer stand the characters in her head screaming at her to give them life, and while those first scribblings weren’t exactly good (nor were they books, although she insisted on calling them that), they were enough for her to discover her passion in life.
She got her university degree in physics a few years ago (yes, she’s like Sheldon, only a bit crazier!) and is now free to pursue her love of reading and writing, as well her free-lance job as editor-in-chief. She lives with her ‘dude’ in a home filled with candles, laptops and notebooks, where she rearranges her overflowing bookshelves every time she feels stressed.

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The Gazebo 

January 16, 2018

Book : The Gazebo

AuthorEmily McGlashan

Rating : 3/5

Synopsis

Growing up and trying to be accepted as part of a crowd when you are already in a minority, is never easy but for teenager, Lola Tarapachii, life is far more complicated than just the usual adolescent angsts. With an alcoholic mother and a severely depressed older brother, Lola has to face responsibilities far beyond her years. An unexpected fire in the school dining hall, leads to Lola making life-changing relationships with an eclectic family of youths who accept her for who she is, share her troubles and help her tackle the hardest decision she has ever had to make…

Review

Thanks to Olympia Publishers for the review copy.

The story takes us through the life of Lola. Lola is a black girl who lives with her mother, whose is an alcoholic and her elder brother, Sebastian who is suffering from depression. The book talks about how Lola copes living with them. Lola’s best friend is Anne , who is white.Lola’s grandmother comes to live with them sometimes, that is the only time Lola feels cared for. Sebastian refuses to eat, and has tried to take his life once before. Lola is the only thing that is keeping him alive. 

Will Lola be able to save Sebastian?
Can Lola live a normal life?
Read to find out

It was a short book, I finished in about 1-2 hours. It tells us of the impact of depression on the patient’s loved ones.There are moments throughout the book where we can feel  the  racial discrimination.I like how the title correlates with the story. The Gazebo is where Lola makes new friends, the whole story revolves around the events that happen there. 

Hell! No Saints in Paradise

January 13, 2018

Book : Hell! No Saints in Paradise

Author : A K Asif

Rating : 4 / 5

Synopsis

2050, New York. In the aftermath of a gruelling spiritual cleansing quest, Ismael, a Pakistani-American student, enters into an alliance with spiritual beings who send him on a perilous journey of self-discovery. A non-believer, Ismael must return to Pakistan, now in the grip of a brutal fundamentalist government, and gain the trust of his estranged father, a prominent extremist in the Caliphate. To accomplish this, he must pose as a true believer. Will he survive long enough to infiltrate his father’s inner sanctum and complete his mission? Hell! No Saints in Paradise is both biting satire and allegory that takes urban fantasy to dizzying heights.

Review

Thanks to Writersmelon  for the review copy

The story takes place in 2050,New York. We meet Ismael, the narrator and main protagonist, who is an atheist. He left Pakistan and moved to America ,when he was 18 years. He is out to write a thesis on whether Heaven and Hell exists.

On his quest he comes in contact with other worldly beings who entrust him with a mission.They suspect that Khalifa, the head of Pakistani Government has a evil plan up his sleeves.Ismael has to gain the trust of his estranged father, and infiltrate the Khalifa’s camp. His father Ibrahim is a staunch believer in Paradise and Hell and is one of Khalifa’s close confidants. The Lahore, to  which  Ismael comes back to after 12 years is different. People are ready to die and kill to earn “swaab” (blessings). Everyone is obsessed on going to paradise,and nobody can stand non believers.

Will Ismael gain the trust of his father?
Does Paradise and Hell exist?
Who are the other worldly beings who have made Ismael a part of the mission?
Read to find out

The book started out slow, then it picked up pace. There were times that I was so confused and felt the whole thing was strange. It is brilliant, if you think of it as a religious satire. It reminded me of a story I studied in school of a priest who reached heaven, where God asks him “Why are the bhajans (devotional songs) played on speakers, do you think I’m deaf?”. It was hilarious at times. Full marks for the sheer imagination of the author. I felt that the elaborate descriptions of the sex scenes was not needed. This is a book which may not appeal to everyone.

Recommend for readers who love religious satire

The Tree House

January 11, 2018

Book: The Tree House

Author: Glenn Haybittle

Rating: 3.5 / 5


Synopsis

Max and Ada, ten-year-old neighbours, are engrossed in composing a book of spells in a tree house in Paris when the Nazis arrive to occupy the city. Max, the child of a rape and abandoned by his mother, is in foster care; Ada is Jewish.

Almost fifty years later Max, the black sheep of the family, summons his grandson to tell him the story of those years in Paris and reveal a guilty secret that has eaten away at him. His mind is now set on digging up the past and he wants Mark to accompany him across the English Channel. His dying wish is to shed light on the two missing women in his life: Ada and his mother. Mark though is struggling with his own existential crisis. There is a missing woman in his life too.

A deftly accomplished tightrope act of pathos and humour, The Tree House is a bewitching novel of loss and restitution, heritage and the hereafter.

Review

I received a ebook copy of the book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

The story starts off when Mark Mets his grandfather Max. Mark’s grandfather was always considered mentally unstable by even Mark’s parents. His grandfather was Mark’s favorite person in childhood, but one day he left and came back only 5 years later. So Mark is surprised when Max wants to meet him. Max tells him about his childhood and wants to ask a favor of Mark.

Max lived in Venice with his guardians Camille and Paul. His real mother, Elisa was a dancer, she gave him  up because  he was a child of rape. Max’s best friend was Ada, his next door neighbor. The Tree House which was built by Ada’s father was their playground. They spent most of the time in the treehouse with their  book of spells. Ada’s family was Jewish and that was the time when being Jewish meant you were discriminated. Max felt bad that Ada was treated differently, but he never had the courage to stand up for her. Then one day something happened after which Max never saw Ada again, he still feels guilty for that act.

Interspersed with this narrative, we also get to see flashbacks of Mark’s life, how a single act changed his whole life.

Why does Max feel guilty?
What happened to Mark?
What favor will Max ask of Mark?
Will both grandfather and grandson get closure?
Read to find out.

I fell in love with the cover and the name , so requested this book. Usually i don’t read about war and Holocaust, but i thought i would give this a try. The book started slow,but later it was good. The friendship between Max and Ada was so sweet. I loved the twist at the end.I felt bad for Max, he had so much guilt in him. The parallel between the lives of the grandfather and grandson was good. It is a short book which talks of childhood hood,loss and guilt.

 

Favourite Quotes

“Memories are like the heart;you mustn’t ask too much of them.Just let them get on quietly with their schooling”

“Love was a great mystery to us.Probably the biggest and the most alluring mystery of all.We talked about it a lot without understanding it was what we felt for each other “

If I had to tell it Again

January 9, 2018

Book : If I had to tell it again

Author: Gayathri Prabhu

Rating: 5 / 5

Synopsis

Sixty-six years of a lifetime gone. There would be no funeral. He had donated his body to the local medical college. It was part of his script, his fantasy about death. He would show his hospital donation certificate to anyone who came to our house. No rituals for me, he would announce. To his mind there was some justice in being cut up by medical students. He had wanted to be a doctor. There is his corpse, lying on the floor, people constantly milling around, talking about his untimely, unfortunate death, while I stare at everyone in dry-eyed annoyance. He had always been a popular man, much loved, generous to a fault to his neighbours, even if angry towards his own family. I just want him gone from the house. When the van from the morgue comes to pick him up, everyone urges us to touch his feet, to ask for his blessings. It is expected from children of dead parents. Everyone watches us. You first, an old man points to me, my father s first-born. I bend down, my fingers touch his feet. In my mind the words form, loud and distinct I forgive you.

Review

First of all thanks to Harper Collins for sending me the review copy.

I loved it, this is a book about depression, it left me teary eyed at few places. The author talks of her relationship with her father, whose drowned his depression in alcohol. The father who could accept nothing less than success from his firstborn.

The story starts with her father’s death. Later we go back to her childhood. The father whom she calls as SJM in the book, was a selfless person to outsiders, but was actually an abusive alcoholic who was lost in the world of depression. He didn’t acknowledge that he had depression, just found excuses and people to blame. As all Indian parents he wanted his children to be perfect, to be famous, so that he can live through them. When the children don’t adhere to his level of perfection, he starts abusing them. The author manages moves away from her father’s shadow, but later she falls into depression. She realizes her similarities with her father , but she is ready to accept her illness and find treatment for it. We see her fight against depression.This is a book which makes you acknowledge that depression is  an illness which needs treatment, it gives hope to the the millions out there that depression can be overcome.

I have always found memoirs to be boring. The only one I have completed was My Story by Kamala Das. The cover of the book attracted my attention even though it had just text, maybe because of its simplicity. There was 1 chapter which was narrated as a play, that was the only which bored me as I don’t like plays. There were moments when you cringed reading about the abuse.One of the characters i fell in love with was her dog,Chinna.It was brave of her to write about all this, and i hope it gave her some amount of closure.

Recommended for readers who loves memoirs

About the Author
Gayathri Prabhu (born 1974) is an Indian novelist who currently lives in Manipal, Karnataka.  She presently teaches literary studies at the Manipal Centre for Philosophy and Humanities.Prabhu holds a MA degree in Mass Communication from Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, an MPhil in Creative Writing from Swansea University in the United Kingdom and a PhD in English from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in the United States. Prabhu won the prestigious Vreeland Award at the University of Nebraska for best creative manuscript in 2011. She has also published widely on literary studies and presently teaches at the Manipal Centre for Philosophy and Humanities, Manipal University.[1][2]

She has been appointed as the Dr TMA Chair in Indian Literature at Manipal University for 2017-2018. [3]

Prabhu is engaged in mental health advocacy work at her university and is the Coordinator of the Student Support Centre,[4] a pioneering psychotherapy venture designed exclusively for students.

Manthan

January 6, 2018

Manthan By Utkarsh Pandey

Time is a wheel that turns in circular motion. During this circumnavigation, The Earth according to mythology has undergone four Yugas, Satyuga, Tretayuga, Dwaparyuga and Kaliyuga. Hence, at the end of Kailyuga, Time and Earth return to the start of Satyuga.

Vishnu, the Preserver of the universe has the responsibility to maintain and sustain the Earth in this journey. He ensures that the world does not fall apart. To do so, his Avatars on Earth, guide humans to a new paradigm to ensure they tread on the path defined as per the laws of nature.

It is believed that we are in the fourth leg of time, the Kaliyuga. The Vedas and Gita mention that at the end of Kaliyuga, Vishnu will return to Earth as his tenth and final Avatar, Kalki and free the world from the shackles of Adharma.

This is a fictional work, describing the journey of Kalki in the era of Kaliyuga and the challenges he faces in this journey.

The characters and references in this book have been chosen from the ancient mythologies, however the story and the journey of Vasu is a work of fiction.

‘Manthan’ is the first in the series of books, ‘The Kalki Chronicles’. A journey of faith with all its highs and lows.

I hope you enjoy being part of the Manthan that Vasu undergoes in order to become the great Avatar, Kalki!

I have always been a mythology fan . In childhood , it was through Amar Chitra Katha from Kindle and DD1 , the serials. Now it is mythological retellings , my favourite authors are Amish Tripathi and Kavita Kane. The 10 incarnations of Vishnu is always a topic of conversation in my house , as still there are confusions on which are the 10. Matsya ,Kurma ,Varaha ,Narasimha ,Vamana ,Parasurama ,Rama,Krishna,Kalki . Some say Balarama is the 8th avatar and Krishna the 9th while  others  say that  Krishna is the 8th avatar and Buddha is the 9th one .

Coming to the book , this one is about Kalki. The person who is supposed to bring an end to Kaliyuga,according to the other books i have read , he is pictured as riding a white horse with a sword in his hand and  will be  born to Sumati and Vishnuyasha . Our protagonist , Vasu was born to Sumati and Vishnuyasha,he is 15 years old , a kid who keeps to himself and loves nature. The story takes us through how Vasu become Kalki. Kalki avatar’s purpose is to fight against Kali and bring an end to Kaliyuga. This is the first part of the Kalki chronicles. 

It was a fast paced book. I loved it. Looking forward to read more of the Kalki chronicles. I enjoyed Vasu’s quest and the puzzles. Since I’m a mythology fan, most of the the characters were familiar to me. It reminded me of the Shiva Trilogy and Harry Potter, at times. 

Recommend for readers who love  mythology. 

GOODREADS

AMAZON

PUSTAKMANDI

Utkarsh is a Software Engineer, based out of Noida, India. An avid reader and photographer right from his school days, this is his first foray into writing. Utkarsh spends his time reading, watching movies and traveling. He lives in Delhi with his wife and newborn son.

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{IN THE WORDS OF THE PUBLISHERS}

At Aarahan Publishers we have a talent-oriented approach. If your work is good, we believe you should never miss that opportunity to get it published. We are on the lookout for people with a flair and passion for writing.It is our passion to champion unheard voices and stories. We love to listen to the voices that are not heard owing to lack of opportunities, and provide them a platform to be heard.

For a talented but new author finding a good publisher is a difficult task. If you have the talent all you have to do is knock on our door. We will assist you in every way possible to provide you the opportunity to have your say and make your dream of getting published a reality.

In today’s world, fierce competition among publishers lead them to focus only on big author names and bestsellers. Aarahan focuses only on two essentials – find good writers and help them get published.

If writing is your forte, publishing is ours. At Aarahan we give wings to new writing talents, aid them during their writing journey and give their work maximum publicity so that it will reach a global audience. We follow a professional approach towards our work. If you have poured your heart out writing your masterpiece that no publisher has time to look at, come share your original creation with us and together we will make the world listen to you.

Aarahan Publishers, based out of Pune, is on the lookout for aspiring authors. We offer a forum for you to express yourself and be heard. If you have a quality product we will make sure you get the right guidance to get it published. Aarahan Publishers would love to work with gifted writers and make their work reach thousands of readers.

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The World Remains

January 6, 2018

Book : The World Remains

Author: Brindi Quinn

Rating: 4 / 5

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Synopsis

The world remains a mystery.

Fair-haired, fair-skinned Ashlin is the same as her family. She’s the same as her classmates. She’s the same as everyone. Ashlin is one of the last 90 people left in a dead world. Tucked away in a small commune, her only friend is a boy, different from the rest – shunned because his eyes don’t match. And he holds a secret. What really remains in a world thought to be dead? And what forgotten history has been painted into Ashlin’s skin?

In a world where everyone’s the same, difference can be deadly.

Recommended for ages 16+

Review

I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review

This is  a dystopian scifi novel . Initially the Maker created a race of people, later when they became greedy , the maker scattered them to different pasrts of the world.Thus different races came about, skin colour, hair color made people different. Finally people from different races mingled and then came about the one true race .Ashlin is one of last 90 people of the race left in the worlsd . She is fair skinned, fair-haired and blue-eyed same as everyone , which she finds boring .  She has a secret which only her friend Olte knows. Olte  was exiled from their world because  of his mismatched eyes.

What is Ashlin’s secret?
Why is Olte  different? Are they really only 90 left in the world ?
Read to find out.

The narrative is interspersed with Ashlin’s letters to a person mentioned as “G” , which adds  a level of mystery to the story. The story is fast paced and keeps you intrigued the entire time. Olte , our heroine’s love interest ,has an  air of mystery around him. Ashlin does come off as a damsel in distress at times, but i still liked her. I never could have guessed that story would change directions like that.

About the Author

Brindi Quinn is a young adult / teen author from Minnesota, speaking “quirky” in a variety of genres, from paranormal to sci-fi to fantasy.

Quinn has published a plethora of highly-rated works, including novels, compilations and miniseries, all geared toward a young adult audience. Her series have been hailed as addictive, unique reads within the genre by reviewers across platforms.

The Relic Cover Reveal

January 5, 2018

Happy Cover Reveal!!

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“Vijay stuck his ear on the door and pressed the eye of the cobra as if he pressed a button, he heard a latch unfasten itself. Immediately the two halves of the door started to slide in their respective sides. With a creaking noise, the legendary door slid open.”

The story of “The Relic” revolves around the Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Kerala – the treasure it holds and the mystery around it. The tale begins with the government trying to find out whether the money had been misappropriated.

Vijay, an Intelligence Bureau officer, is sent with orders to open the  secret vaults of the Shri Padmanabhaswamy temple. He finds ways to open the vault and is particularly fascinated by a pot he finds in a metal box, amid heaps of the golden ornaments and precious gems.

After completing the formal investigations, he sets out to find out for himself the secret behind the pot.

The Relic is a journey of the officer on his quest to unravel the mystery behind the pot and incorporated into the plot is the intrigue of the Aghoris in Banaras – some of them practice rituals that are gory and grisly.

It talks of ascetics and their divine yogic powers, through which they could teleport their souls into other people’s bodies. It also talks about astrology and also warns how people in the modern world are being misled by the fake astrologers.

The story is both a thriller and an insightful glimpse into the  protagonist’s mind, that incorporates Vijay’s personal life and his curious past.

Ashwin Karthik S.N:

Ashwin established himself as a true achiever from the very moment of his birth. He was born with a deficient supply of oxygen, which resulted in a crippling and life-long condition called cerebral palsy.

He is quadriplegic, with the severest form of cerebral palsy that affects all four limbs. But, as though to balance his misfortune, he is blessed with an indomitable spirit and the will to take up impossible challenges of leading and succeeding in a world full of people without disadvantages;

Qualified as the first engineering graduate in India as Computer Science, as specialization. Ashwin is presently working with ANZ, as a Business Analyst. Besides the precision and efficiency he shows in his work, he has also been a mascot of the company’s effort for inclusiveness.

Ashwin has been felicitated with many other awards, the highest among them being the national award for being the “Best Employee” in the space of PWD’s from the honourable president of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee and the Helen keller award.

Work and academics are not the only fields he shines in! An embodiment of a truly multifaceted human being, he gives form to his feelings and beliefs through poignant poetry written in different languages.

Madhava Sharma:

It is said that god doesn’t give you troubles without giving you the strength to face them. It takes a lot of zeal and determination to convert one’s weaknesses to strength. Madhav is a living example of the above. The man descended slowly in blindness due to the medical condition called “Macular Degeneration”.

The medical condition was only potent enough to snatch away the man’s sight but not his vision or his love towards life or the dignity with which he chose to lead it. After successfully qualifying as a commerce graduate, Madhava has walked various paths of life in order to respectfully earn a livelihood.

He has worked in various organizations at various positions, he has successfully worked as an insurance agent and has a LIC agent profile for over two decades. He has also been a successful business man for some time.

Currently he holds the position of a senior officer in the admin department of a MNC called Mphasis.

Madhava is an inspiring personality, he believes in returning what he has received from the society and hence is serving at various social organizations and NGO’s that work towards the betterment of the specially abled.

His poetry in kannada not only entertains and inspires one and all. But also conveys a very strong and positive message to the society.

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Robin Hood Aesthetic by MC Frank

January 3, 2018

Robin Hood  was always one of my favorite heroes. I used to have an illustrated copy of it in my childhood. Robin who stole from the rich and gave to the poor and his merry band of men. M C Frank is writing a book based on Robin Hood . Check out the aesthetic, i love it . You can read excerpts at her page too

robinhood_aesthetic

Click here for the excerpt

 

2018 Reading Challenges

January 2, 2018

As the new year is here setting up some reading goals

  1. Goodreads Reading Challenge                                                      gc_challenge                                                                           The goal for 2017 was 100 books and i managed to read 150+ books so far , so planning to keep as 150
  2. Beat the Backlist btb When the new release come the old ones are forgotten. I have around 10 physical books and 100+ ebooks pending so when i saw this challenge, picked it up
      • A Gathering of Shadows
      • Strange the Dreamer
      • The Silent Companions
      • Forest Dark
      • Wonder Woman
      • Artemis
      • Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine
      • Wonder
      • Dark Matter
      • Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
      • Godsgrave
      • Demi-Gods
      • Copycat
      • Beautiful Broken Things
      • The Power
      • A Madness so discreet
      • My Absolute Darling
      • Before I Die
      • God Shaped hole
      • A Little life
      • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
      • Asking for it
      • The Handmaid’s Tale
      • The Young Elites
      • Beguiled

     

    I’m planning on making it 50 , posted the top 25 .
    I’m on team Novel Knights.
    You can click here to enter this challenge or find out more about it.

  3.  The Ultimate Popsugar Challenge BGCheck out the goodreads group                  https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/152458-ultimate-popsugar-reading-challenge.
  4. Nonfiction Challenge :-  Planning to read 5 Non Fiction Books
  5. Classics Challenge : Planning to read 5 classics
  6. Modern Mrs Darcy 2018 Reading Challenge Rec

Do let me know what challenges you are planning for 2018