WWW WEDNESDAY – 14/04/2021

This is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

All you need to do is answer the following three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Also, do follow the host and other bloggers who participate!

It is wonderful to know what everyone is reading and recommendations are always welcome!

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What are you currently reading?

A variety of genres actually!

Twinfluence by Grace Costello (Goodreads Author), 

Nina Walker (Goodreads Author), M.F. Lorson (Goodreads Author)

Twinfluence

The Frights of Fiji by Sunayna Prasad

The Frights of Fiji (Alyssa McCarthy's Magical Missions, #1)

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

I am hoping to get started with my brand new copy of The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna. The book has an amazing cover and spray painted edges! Considering that this is one of the most talked about books, I am excited to join the fan club!

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Do stop by to share your thoughts or posts!

Book Review: Rea and the Blood of the Nectar (The Chronicles of Astranthia, #1) by Payal Doshi

About the Book:

Perfect for fans of the Aru Shah books and The Chronicles of Narnia.

A middle-grade fantasy about twelve-year-old Rea Chettri, who portals into an otherworldly realm to go on a secret quest to find her missing twin brother Rohan. The clock is ticking in this fast-paced, thrilling, and exciting adventure rife with evil creatures, a ruthless villain, and unforgettable friendships.

It all begins on the night Rea turns twelve. After a big fight with her twin brother Rohan on their birthday, Rea’s life in the small village of Darjeeling, India, gets turned on its head. It’s four in the morning and Rohan is nowhere to be found.

It hasn’t even been a day and Amma acts like Rohan’s gone forever. Her grandmother, too, is behaving strangely. Unwilling to give up on her brother, Rea and her friend Leela meet Mishti Daadi, a wrinkly old fortune-teller whose powers of divination set them off on a thrilling and secret quest. In the shade of night, they portal into an otherworldly realm and travel to Astranthia, a land full of magic and whimsy. There with the help of Xeranther, an Astranthian barrow boy, and Flula, a pari, Rea battles serpent-lilies and blood-sucking banshees, encounters a butterfly-faced woman and blue lizard-men, and learns that Rohan has been captured. Rea also discovers that she is a princess with magic. Only she has no idea how to use it.

Struggling with the truth her Amma has kept hidden from her, Rea must solve clues that lead to Rohan, find a way to rescue him and save Astranthia from a potentially deadly fate. But the clock is ticking. Can she rescue Rohan, save Astranthia, and live to see it all?

Rea and the Blood of the Nectar is Payal Doshi’s stunning #ownvoices middle-grade fantasy debut about understanding complex family dynamics, fighting for what is right, discovering oneself, and learning to make friends.

My Thoughts:

Rea and the Blood of the Nectar is an amazing adventure filled story that follows Rea as she embarks on a journey to find her kidnapped twin brother. The author brings out the differences in characters between Rea and Rohan as we start of the book observing their sibling rivalry. Almost twelve years old, the two are more alike than they care to admit, but have drifted apart with Rohan developing new interests. When Rohan disappears and their mother and grandmother go into a worried frenzy, Rea takes it upon herself to find her brother.

The book gives us a glimpse into the tea gardens of Darjeeling and then takes us into flower filled Astranthia, making this a delightful read for both the young and old! There are portals, magic, secrets, mystical creatures and so much more that add to this captivating read! Rea makes friends along the way and slowly learns to trust people as well as let go of jealousy. She also learns the importance of thinking about other people and not just how things affect her. All these messages and lessons are brought out very well through their experiences and I am sure that they will serve as a learning for our young readers!

Set against the backdrop of India, the author also brings out some of the culture and food which are for me quite relatable. However, the best parts of the story are in the magic filled adventure that the children and fairy embark on. The plan to save Rohan turns into one of revelations and truths which serve to help everyone in Astranthia.

I loved reading this book and am looking forward to more adventures for Rea. She is strong for a twelve year old and quite determined. I also enjoyed how she opens herself up to new experiences and learns to form bonds of friendship. A thoroughly enjoyable tale, Payal Doshi has brought to us a page turner as her debut novel!

Release Day Blitz – Bovine Tricks by Seelie Kay

 

About the Book:

Lady Annabelle Trask is missing. Unfortunately, MISix doesn’t know if they’re looking for a woman, a cow, or something in between!

Is it real or is it fantasy? That’s the question MISix Agent Mathilda Honoria Spencer struggles with on her latest assignment. Tasked with discovering the whereabouts of Lady Annabelle Trask, Tillie is thrust into the world of Hucows and other human animals. It’s a world that raises serious questions about sexual fetishes, intentional physical enhancements, and even pornography, but in the end, Tillie has only one mission—to rescue and return Lady Annabelle to the Queen. However, as she and her partner, Agent Abdul Ali, attempt to find Lady Annabelle and keep her out of the clutches of terrorists bent on destroying the monarchy, they must also wrestle with their feelings for each other. Can they draw the line between their duty to the Crown and their relationship with one another? Or must they embark on separate paths to continue to serve the Queen?

Book Links:
Goodreads * XtasyBooks

Read an Excerpt from Bovine Tricks

Tillie’s face reddened. Suddenly, she felt quite queasy. She started to speak, but her superior held up his hand. 

“There’s more. This is a human-animal auction. It is not limited to Hucows. There will be Hupigs, Huhorses, and maybe even, Husheep. Fortunately, you are to focus on the cows. That is where we believe Lady Annabelle will be found.”

Tillie gazed at him. “What if she isn’t there? What if she has changed…er, species?”

“I suggest you cross that bridge when you come to it.”

“And what am I to do if I find Lady Annabelle? How do I extract her?”

“You purchase her at the auction. You have been given sufficient funds to bid up to one million Euros.”

Tillie’s eyes grew wide. “Criminy. That much?” 

Lord Ryder nodded. “These cows are well-trained and well-treated. The females are pampered—weekly manicures, hair treatments, and such. A happy cow is a happy milker, as they say.”

Tillie’s eyes widened. “Lady Annabelle could be there willingly? She is not necessarily a captive, forced be a Hucow?”

“Exactly. And that is our dilemma. While the Queen hopes that she is there willingly, several factors are at play. Lady Annabelle may have freely joined a farm to become a Hucow, or she may just have danced on the wild side and somehow wound up at auction. In the alternative, she may have been kidnapped and forced to become a Hucow, or she may have been forced and now enjoys the lifestyle. There are all sorts of reasons she could be there and all sorts of reasons she prefers to stay. Our only mission is to get her out.”

Tillie frowned. “Why would they put her up for auction? Isn’t that a way to get rid of unproductive or uncooperative cows?”

“Not necessarily. Some farms simply raise and train Hucows, then sell them. Given their going rate, it is a lucrative business. A great way to supplement the income from a regular farm. Human cows bring much more lucre than actual farm-raised cows.”

Tillie sighed. “For just one day, I would like to forget that there is a whole lot of people engaged in activities that far surpass my imagination.”

Lord Ryder’s mouth curved up into a wry smile. “Then we would be out of a job.”

Tillie tapped her jaw, considering. “You know, this might be a better job for the Yanks. They are a kinky bunch. I believe there was a recent study that found them to be the kinkiest country in the world.”

Lord Ryder snorted. “If you were the Queen, would you want that bunch of kinksters to know your relatives are participating in like behavior? Why their intelligence services would find a way to use it against us for decades.” He shook his head. “No. This we do alone.”

About Seelie Kay:

Award-winning author Seelie Kay writes about lawyers in love, sometimes with a dash of kink.

Writing under a nom de plume, the former lawyer and journalist draws her stories from more than 30 years in the legal world. Seelie’s wicked pen has resulted in nineteen works of fiction, including the new paranormal romance series Donovan Trait, as well the erotic romance Kinky Briefs series and The Feisty Lawyers romantic suspense series. She also authored The Last Christmas, The Garage Dweller, A Touchdown to Remember, The President’s Wife, The President’s Daughter, Seizing Hope, The White House Wedding, and participated in the romance anthology Pieces of Us.

When not spinning romantic tales, Seelie ghostwrites nonfiction for lawyers and other professionals. Currently, she resides in a bucolic exurb outside Milwaukee, WI, where she enjoys opera, the Green Bay Packers, gourmet cooking, organic gardening, and an occasional bottle of red wine. 

Seelie is an MS warrior and ruthlessly battles the disease on a daily basis. Her message to those diagnosed with MS: Never give up. You define MS, it does not define you!

Seelie on the Web:
Website * Blog * Twitter * Facebook * Instagram * Author’s Amazon Page

WWW WEDNESDAY – 07/04/2021

This is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

All you need to do is answer the following three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Also, do follow the host and other bloggers who participate!

It is wonderful to know what everyone is reading and recommendations are always welcome!

 ——————————————————————————————————————

What are you currently reading?

My current reads are more focused on feel good romances. I am taking a small break from reading serious and emotionally heavy books!

What did you recently finish reading?

The Little Orchard on the Lane by Tilly Tennant

What do you think you’ll read next?

       There are too many books on the TBR. I am hoping to get into some historical fiction as well as mythological fiction next!

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Do stop by to share your thoughts or posts!

Book Review: The Little Orchard on the Lane by Tilly Tennant

About the Book:

Feel the sun on your face on a Somerset terrace overlooking golden fields and wild meadowland, and watch as romance beckons and long-hidden secrets are revealed…

When twenty-seven-year-old Posy arrives at picture-perfect Oleander House in the Somerset village of Astercombe, she is enchanted. Adopted when she was just a baby, Posy is excited to re-connect with her birth family and help out on the family cider farm with its old stone walls and bees buzzing in the hedgerows.

There’s just one tiny problem – her new next-door neighbour, haughty, handsome vineyard-owner Lachlan. Lachlan has taken an instant dislike to Posy, and after a furious argument when she ventures on his land, she’s pretty certain there’s not a heart of gold beneath his frosty exterior.

Yet as she falls in love with the flower-filled hedgerows and apple-green fields of her new life, she discovers more about her grumpy neighbour. Even though he acts like the world is out to get him, she can’t ignore the sad expression in his dark eyes.

And when Posy discovers the heartbreaking secret that is tearing Lachlan apart, she understands why he has shut the door on the world and vows to help him, as well as the vineyard, which has fallen on hard times. Yet just as Lachlan lets Posy in, a terrible night threatens to destroy everything she has begun to care about and puts someone she loves at risk. Will her dream life in the country come at an awful price?

If you love Nicola May, Debbie Macomber and Milly Johnson, then you will adore The Little Orchard on the Lane. An enchanting summer romance about new beginnings, second chances and trusting your heart.

My Thoughts:

The Little Orchard on the Lane is a heart-warming story of finding oneself, family and love. This is a feel-good book that ensures the reader will experience every single emotion along with the characters. The story introduces us to Posy, a well mannered girl who has everything she could ever hope for. She has wonderful parents, a great friend and a job that she enjoys for the moment. When she suddenly finds out that she has two uncles who live in Somerset and own a farm, her world as she knows it is turned upside down.

Posy sets out to meet them along with her adoptive mother who supports her throughout this. What ensues is an amazing journey for everyone. I loved how Posy handles her meeting with her relatives and then forms bonds with each one of them. Her mother is wonderful and I adored her character. The author has done a wonderful job with the setting and the plot line, giving us a glimpse into everyone’s thought process, fears and then the love that develops only with family even if you’ve known them for a short time only.

One of my favorite characters apart from Posy is Asa, her fun loving uncle who is dealing with his own demons. Brought together, this uncle-niece duo is unstoppable and share an enviable bond. Posy also starts to form feelings for Lachlan, who owns the neighboring vineyard and who is not very amenable to company. As Posy works to break down barriers not just with her family but with Lachlan, we are treated to a wonderful story filled with so much love and togetherness. I adored this story and enjoyed it so much! This is a pleasant read and is perfect for a summer getaway!

Book Blitz: Dare to be a Duchess by Sapna Bhog

 

He’s a powerful duke. She’s his uncle’s ward. They have forever been at war, until one night, one masquerade, and one kiss…

Lara Ramsay is no stranger to scandal. As the orphaned daughter of a British colonel and his beloved Indian wife, whispers follow her everywhere. Not even the protection of the formidable Duke of Wolverton, a man she can’t stand, keeps the gossips at bay.
The audacious Lara has driven Tristan Wentworth, The Duke of Wolverton, to distraction since the day his uncle took her in—and he’s quite certain doing so is her favorite pastime. After catching her and his younger sister at a salacious masquerade, he’s had enough scandal and issues a marriage ultimatum: find a husband within six months or one will be chosen for her.
Unfortunately, no one in the ton appeals to her. Except, perhaps, the duke himself. The battle of wills has only just begun, and when Lara kisses him, their fate is sealed.
Sometimes even the most proper duke needs to break the rules to win the heart of the woman he loves…

Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon.in * Amazon.com

Quotes from Dare to be a Duchess:

“Here, right at this moment, I’m giving you an ultimatum: Find someone from the ton to marry in the next six months or I will choose someone for you.” – Duke of Wolverton

“Well then the plan is simple, ‘Divide and Rule.’” – Lara Ramsay

“You’ll be surprised that a gentleman with the best intentions can behave like a rake when faced with temptation.” – Duke of Wolverton

“I think, Wolf, that you go on and on about my undesirability and my unattractiveness as a way to convince yourself more than me. The fact is that you kissed me because I am desirable and I am very attractive indeed.” – Lara Ramsay.

“You know very well that I’m accepted in the ton, albeit grudgingly, thanks only to you. No man wants to marry me, and I don’t want to marry any of those men.” – Lara Ramsay.

Read an Excerpt from Dare to be a Duchess:

Wolf crossed his arms and glared at Lara. Despite being at fault, she was as unrepentant as ever. Her absolute nonchalance drove him mad, always. 

“It is my concern. Getting into trouble is second nature to you, so I’d be lying if I said that it gave me any pleasure to be the one to help you out.” Wolf scowled at her. “Paxton is not a fool. He only has to think closely as to whose identity I would desperately want to protect and then remember your dark hair and he will come up with your name. You truly have no sense at all.”

“Well then you shouldn’t have bothered coming to my aid,” Lara retorted. “I could have handled the situation perfectly well by myself.” 

Wolf put his hands on his hips. “And how may I ask would you have done that?”

“I’ve heard that a well planted knee on a delicate part of a man’s anatomy would normally do the trick.”

His eyebrows shot up. “You’re crazy to think that you could have deterred Paxton that easily.”

Lara merely stared at him, her head held high, further fueling his temper. 

“What, nothing to say?” he snapped. “Which brings me back to my first question. What in the world are you doing here in this depraved place?” 

Lara continued to watch him with those deep blue eyes, her lips set in a mutinous line. Her lack of response irked him even more. 

“Answer me,” Wolf demanded, his tone sharp.

She met his gaze head on. “We had no inkling this place would be so bad. And nothing untoward has occurred, so stop shouting at me.”

 “Unbelievable,” he growled. “Do you know how bad this place can be for two innocent girls like yourselves? Behind their masks and costumes, the men here have only one thing on their minds when they look at you, and you, as usual, don’t care that you could be completely ruined if discovered, let alone taken advantage of, in this den of vice. You are wild and irresponsible and you give no thought to your actions or the consequences thereof. And you 

brought Anne here? Just because you don’t care about your reputation doesn’t mean you can play fast and loose with hers.”

Lara’s eyes blazed with fury. “Anne is not a child. She is a grown woman who has a mind of her own.” 

“And that is justification for you to come here?” Wolf countered.

“I, too, have a mind of my own,” she shot back. “And I do not appreciate you telling me what I can and cannot do.”

His nostrils flared. He was the Duke of Wolverton, one of the most powerful men in England. No one defied him. And yet this one woman stood against him at every turn. Why couldn’t she understand the potential danger for her or Anne here?

About the Author:
Sapna Bhog is an author from India who writes contemporary and historical romance novels. As a self-proclaimed die-hard romantic, her books are filled with swoon-worthy heroes and feisty heroines who clash all the time, but do get their happy ever after. Sapna has always surrounded herself with books and when she is not writing she is reading. Originally from Dubai, she now lives in Western India with her husband, kids and a Siberian Husky. Sapna gave up a successful IT career and took a foray into writing and has never looked back since. Her favourite pastimes are reading, writing, traveling and shopping—not necessarily in that order. She loves to hear from readers.

Sapna on the Web:
Twitter * Facebook * Instagram


Book Review: The Wraith’s Memory (Between Gods and Mortals Book II) by Whitney Rines

About the Book:

The Wraith's Memory (Between Gods and Mortals Book II)

The massacre of a village by a mysterious group of conspirators spreads division and war across Liansea and chases survivors to the last strongholds standing, Terimah and Nismyth.
When Terimah’s strict entry rules cost more refugee lives-Mortal and Amaranthine alike, refugees turn to Nismyth and their open-gate policy. Unaware of the corruption being cultivated in the ruling family, infecting everyone from the upper echelon down to the lowest villagers.
    When a mysterious illness brings tragedy to the village of Aritehn, wounding both the population and trust in their rulers, many villagers including a young man named Chiron, seek ways to save Aritehn themselves. An interview with Nismyth’s military recruiter sets his course when he is sponsored for education instead, and exposed to more of the corruption than before. Choosing to defy his sponsor costs him more than he could ever fathom and sets a dark path ahead of him.

The Wraith’s Memory follows Chiron’s beginnings and walks the path leading him to his future, and the one who might hold the path to his redemption.

My Thoughts:

This book is a fast-paced dark fantasy that will keep the reader engaged. The story follows Chiron as he seeks a way to save the village of Aritehn while finding his way to his destiny. The story is well-written and the author brings to us characters who are worth reading about and knowing. There are many unexpected twists and turns in this fantasy adventure that brings to us a world with wraiths, wyverns and many other creatures.

It took me some time to get into the book, but on pursuing ahead, I found the book to be quite enjoyable. The story will make you love some characters, hate some and then again re-think your opinions of them. This book is a good fit for those who love a good fantasy fiction novel! The author has done a good job with the descriptions and world setting. It is complex and well developed. I am grateful to the author and Booktasters for the opportunity to read and review this wonderful book!

Book Review: The Sigil: A Novel – Part I by Shakeil Kanish

About the Book:

The Sigil: A Novel - Part I

A tragic death.
A dangerous obsession.
A desperate mission.

Lake’s brother Devlin was murdered right in front of him. Simply because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Why, then, does Lake think Devlin knew he was going to die before they ever set foot in the gas station that night? As he obsesses over his brother’s death, Lake begins to uncover a hidden world full of forbidden magic and growing danger. Now he’s stuck, caught between the world that his brother was meant for and his own. Lake is beginning to realize that no one and nowhere is safe.

Nova Rathers may not be especially powerful in the Mage world but she makes up for it with a magical bag of snacks and a body constructed by the Gods to slay. Desperate to be more than her lineage, she finds herself teamed up with a group of misfits and, in her mind, the weakest creature of all – a gida…a powerless human. Together, they start to unravel the lies that built their world and continue to hold it hostage. Nova’s last year at Breyburn Academe was never going to be easy but she had no idea that it could ever get this bad.

Lake, Nova, and their newfound friends are about to find the truth behind what has been hunting them. But knowing is only half the battle. Even if they survive, will the rest of the world remain standing?

 

My Thoughts:

The Sigil is an interesting fast-paced novel that throws the reader right into the story. We are introduced to Dev and Lake, brothers, who share a unique bond. The story focuses on Lake and initially his insecurities especially when compared to his brother. Little did he know how much his brother sacrificed and how much he loved him. The story picks up once Dev is murdered with Lake trying to find the reason behind all this. This leads him to discover a hidden academy where everyone had some form of magic.

The author introduces us to some very interesting characters and I enjoyed how each one of them interacted with the other. They are strong together and this is shown as the plot progresses. With a single minded focus on the plot, the author ploughs ahead, taking Lake and us readers along for the ride. With a threat to the human world looming, Lake being threatened to be removed from the academy as he does not have any magic, there is a lot going on. In the midst of it, he forms a bond with Stone. I love how the author delicately handles Lake’s love life and how accepting his parents are of his choices.

The beauty is in the writing and the character emotions and the unexpected twists and turns. I truly enjoyed this book and found it to be quite unique even in the world of magic. I do recommend this book and look forward to reading more in this series!

Book Review: Dreaming Under An Island Skye by Lisa Hobman

About the Book:

Dreaming Under An Island Skye

Is there really such a thing as a second shot at true love?

After three wonderful years of marriage, librarian Juliette Fairhurst’s heart is shattered when her husband, Laurie, is taken from her much too soon.

Devasted, Juliette decides to take a sabbatical and reconnect with her mother’s birthplace, the village of Glentorrin on the picturesque Isle of Skye.

Welcomed by most of the villagers, Juliette throws herself into an idyllic community life, taking on the role of temporary summer guardian at The Lifeboat House Museum; a role that offers her the perfect escape from the tragedy of her real life.

During her time on the island, Juliette clashes with brooding single dad and artist, Reid Mackinnon and is befriended by his son Evin and dog Chewie. It’s clear that divorced Reid is struggling and scarred by his own painful experiences.

Can these two lost souls find a lifeline to rescue each other?

Or will their pasts scupper their second chance at real happiness?

My Thoughts:

This is a delightful story of love, loss and second chances. The story follows Jules as she struggles to deal with the loss of her husband, the love of her life. Having a wonderful support system in her best friend Millie and brother, Dex, she copes pretty well, but there is always something missing. When a first date post her husband’s passing ends up in disaster, Jules decides to take a holiday and visit the Isle of Skye. This is where her mother grew up for some part of her childhood and for some reason Jules feels a pull to visit and explore.

Taking the scenic route, Jules drives down over two days, reaching her destination in awe of the beauty of the place. It doesn’t take long for Jules to find friendship and kinship among the people of Skye as she makes a small space for herself in the community. We are also introduced to Reid Mackinnon, father to the adorable Evin. Evin and his dog Chewie slowly endear themselves to Jules while Reid struggles to deal with his life. All the various characters in the story are amazing and well thought out. Everyone has a story to tell, but in the end they come together as one.

I love how the author has delicately handled the different forms of loss a person feels, introducing us to Mr Hamish, grieving for his wife for more than thirty years, Jules, grieving the loss of her husband but with the determination to try to move on and Reid, dealing with an ex-wife who cheated on him and then left him. There is also beauty in the way people come together to help one another and it is not a community but one very big family.

As the story progress, Jules immerses herself in the history of the place while volunteering to run The Lifeboat House Museum. The experience is cleansing and everything she needs to relax and refresh and find herself once again. This is a heart-warming tale filled with some sad and a lot of bright moments that will light up the reader’s day! I thoroughly enjoyed this story and loved being a part of Jules and Reid’s journey! In the end everyone needs support from their loved ones in different forms and this is well portrayed in this book. I recommend this light but emotional read to all those who love a good story, especially ones about healing and second chances.

WWW WEDNESDAY – 24/03/2021

This is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

All you need to do is answer the following three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Also, do follow the host and other bloggers who participate!

It is wonderful to know what everyone is reading and recommendations are always welcome!

 ——————————————————————————————————————

What are you currently reading?

My current reads are more focused on feel good romances. I am taking a small break from reading serious and emotionally heavy books!

 

What did you recently finish reading?

My Mother's Secret

Max and the Spice Thieves

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

       There are too many books on the TBR. This is my usual statement, but I am planning to see where my mood takes me! I will pick my next reads based on that! 😀

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Do stop by to share your thoughts or posts!