Book Review: The Newlyweds by Arianne Richmonde

About the Book:

The Newlyweds

One marriage. One lie. Two sides to the story.

The moment Vivien meets Ashton, she knows she will be his wife and absolutely nothing will stop her.

Powerful, rich and from a good family, Ashton is everything Vivien is not. So, she molds herself into Ashton’s perfect soulmate.

Pouring his favorite vintage wine, whispering ‘I love you’ over dinner in front of friends and biting her tongue when she disagrees with him are simple sacrifices for the perfect marriage she has always craved.

When people begin to notice the bruises on her cheek, she holds their stares. There is no cry for help from Vivien. She simply keeps her mouth shut and lets the gossip continue.

If you saw Vivien nursing a black eye, you might be forgiven for thinking what everyone else does – that she is the victim in her marriage, but you’d be wrong. Vivien and Ashton’s life together is much more complicated than that. You will never guess the true story behind Vivien’s undying devotion to her husband. Nor could you possibly predict what she does next…

Perfect for fans of Gone Girl, Behind Closed Doors and The Perfect Couple. If you enjoy reading twisted psychological thrillers with bags of suspense, then you’ll love The Newlyweds from USA TODAY bestselling author Arianne Richmonde.

My Thoughts:

The Newlyweds is a psychological thriller that follows the life of Vivien and Ashton as they transition into life as a newly married couple. Vivien is seen trying to fit into society and uphold her name as the perfect wife to Ashton. As the story progresses, we get pulled into the narration assuming that Ashton is abusive in the marriage. But no way! After building this narrative, the author starts to pull apart the plot and reveals so much more that is happening underneath.

As the real story emerges, the reader is in for a roller coaster ride filled with lies and deception. Noone is as they seem and everything we learn is a lie. The author has done an amazing job with the plot line and narration, making us like some characters, dislike some and then completely change our minds about the entire set of characters. For every plan, there is a master plan and then another one.

Though some parts of the plot line didn’t make sense or fully fit in, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and was truly shocked by some of the revelations. I would never have guessed at anything that happened. This is the beauty of the story telling and I highly recommend this book for fans of psychological thrillers!

Book Review: The Wrath of the Hellfires (Vikramaditya Veergatha #4) by Shatrujeet Nath

About the Book:

PATIENCE IS A DRAWN BOW. RAGE, ITS RELENTLESS ARROW.

Shukracharya’s plan to break the unity of Vikramaditya’s Council has borne bitter fruit. Friends have become sworn enemies, and brother has turned against brother, setting Avanti on the path to self-destruction.

Even as Vikramaditya prepares to counter a Huna invasion, a rebellion brews within Ujjayini, while a devious conspiracy is hatched to humiliate him. With Indra’s spies swarming the palace and Shukracharya making a bold bid to take the Halahala, the king is dangerously close to the brink of defeat.

Alone and abandoned by those dear to him, fighting to protect his wife and his people, trying his best to keep his promise to Shiva, will the samrat rise one last time to defend his love, his city and his honour?

As the asura and deva forces muster in a final, desperate gamble to claim the Halahala, The Wrath of the Hellfires brings an explosive conclusion to Vikramaditya’s epic tale of action and adventure.

My Thoughts:

The Wrath of the Hellfires is a very fitting conclusion to the Vikramaditya Veergatha series! The story takes us where Book 3 left off with everyone going in their own path. The Devas and Asuras are each planning to wreck havoc and Vikramaditya is left to take a stand and defend not only his kingdom and people, but also to fulfil his oath to protect the dagger containing the Halahala!

This plot flows steadily, a little slower than the previous two books, but with enough speed as to keep the reader hooked from page one. Each and every sub plot which came up until book 3 is addressed and the story comes a full circle to reach the conclusion. In the end, Vikramaditya not only lives up to his oath, but also to his personality, being someone who leads by example, putting himself in the line of fire to protect everyone and everything that he loves.

With the Asuras, Devas, nagas, kinnaras and so on descending on Earth, all hell breaks loose and the Kingdom is under heavy attack. The author takes us on a wonderful journey throughout this series and I thoroughly enjoyed it! To avoid talking about the plot, I would like to stress a little on the character sketches! The author once again sticks to each character sketch and brings out the best and worst in the characters. There are twists and turns that add flavour and flourish to the story with some unexpected things that will surprise the reader! The focus is also on the war that is brimming everywhere and how our beloved characters fight in it. This is really wonderful to read with explanations that are vivid and help us to imagine very easily!

In conclusion, this book is worth the read as is the entire series! The Vikramaditya Veergatha proves to be a treasure trove of mystery keeping the reader guessing until the very end! The readers are in for a treat and eventually arrive at a conclusion that will satisfy everyone with strong characters fighting to save humanity against all odds!

Book Review: The Vengeance of Indra (Vikramaditya Veergatha #3) by Shatrujeet Nath

About the Book:

VENGEANCE IS A CAGE. FORGIVENESS IS FREEDOM.

In their greed to possess the deadly Halahala, the devas and the asuras have employed every dirty trick against Vikramaditya and his Council of Nine. But the humans are still standing, bloodied but unbowed.

When the wily Shukracharya discovers the secret to breaking the Council’s unity and strength, he forges an unlikely alliance with his arch-enemy, Indra, to set a deceitful plan in motion.

As cracks emerge between the councilors and their king, ghosts from the past threaten to ruin Vikramaditya and Kalidasa’s friendship, signaling the beginning of an eclipse that will cast a long shadow over all that Vikramaditya holds dear. And into this shadow steps Indra, bearing an old grudge – and a devastating new weapon.

How much longer before the Guardians of the Halahala finally fall apart?

My Thoughts:

Once again my heartfelt gratitude to the author for reaching out to me regarding this series!

The Vengeance of Indra is Book 3 in the Vikramaditya Veergatha series. It picks off where Book 2 ends and maintains a steady pace throughout. With cracks forming in the bonds between the councilors in the court of Vikramaditya, it feels as though everyone is starting to forge their own path. Having been sent away, Shukracharya formulates a major plan to wreak havoc in the minds of the humans. To achieve this, he proposes an alliance between the devas and asuras.

With everyone’s focus shifting from the true purpose of protecting the Halahala and sticking together, jealousies come to the surface along with anger and pain among other negative emotions. The author has done a wonderful job with the story and the way it has been brought forward! There are so many many many twists that the reader will be left reeling in shock and trying to comprehend the situation. This is how I felt many times while reading the book, but I loved it!

The beauty of the story lies in it’s characters. Vikramaditya’s personality traits are those which we aspire to have in ourselves. With no fault of his own, he is placed in a situation where being true to his duty, leads to mistrust among his people, his family and those closest to him. The author brings out these contrasts in character traits very well while subtly teaching us some very valuable life lessons!

 This fast paced book has so many plots and sub plots and sub sub plots that it is hard to keep track, but important all the same. I love that there are so many aspects to the story that add value to the entire story! In the end, the book will leave the reader wanting more! I have never felt so happy after having read a book and this series has done this and more! It has left me raving and talking about it even after finishing the books!

Book 4, here I come! I cannot wait to know what happens in the conclusion to this epic tale!

Book Review: Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo

About the Book:

Welcome to the world of the Grisha.

Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives.

Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties.

A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets – a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

My Thoughts:

Having completed Book 1, I had to read Book 2 to know what happens in this duology! Leigh Bardugo brings to us an epic conclusion in this fast paced novel! Crooked Kingdom sees Kaz and his crew double-crossed and forced to go underground with almost no allies. Almost all their faces are on wanted posters and it looks like everyone is teaming up. Lured by the promise of jurda parem, everyone is coming to Ketterdam in search of the secret.

The story follows Kaz as he once again forms a master mind plan and sets out to execute it with the help of this crew of outcasts and some more people they pick up along the way. Friendships are tested, relationships are strained, new bonds are forged among everyone in this story. With revenge and justice  being strong motives as well as a sense of righteousness to get what is owed, the plot lines are brilliant and very well formulated!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading more about the characters who somehow make themselves beloved to the reader and who carve a space in their heart and mind! The book is gripping and kept me reading late into the night with an interest to find out what happens next. The author brings a few unexpected twists into the mix and leads us to an almost happy ending (can be interpreted in any way and may differ based on each person’s perspective). She also plays to the strengths of each character while also ensuring that they come into their own and discover what they can really do, thus finding their place in the world.

This duology is definitely worth reading and describes one of the best heists and revenge plots that I have come across with wonderfully crafted characters who are ruthless and still honorable in their own way. A must read series!

Book Review: The Conspiracy at Meru (Vikramaditya Veergatha #2) by Shatrujeet Nath

A huge thank you to the author for providing me with a copy of the book!

About the Book:

The Conspiracy at Meru (Vikramaditya Veergatha, #2)

VICTORY IS TEMPORARY. THE BATTLE IS ETERNAL.

Vikramaditya and his Council of Nine have fought valiantly to repel the rampaging hordes from Devaloka and Patala – but Avanti has been brought to its knees. Ujjayini lies battered its citizens are scared and morale is badly shaken. Meanwhile, the barbaric Hunas and Sakas are gathering on the horizon and cracks are emerging between the allied kingdoms of Sindhuvarta.

The only silver lining is that the deadly Halahala is safe. For now.

Bent on vengeance, Indra is already scheming to destroy Vikramaditya, while Shukracharya has a plan that can spell the doom for the Guardians of the Halahala. How long can the human army hold out against the ferocity and cunning of the devas and asuras? And will Vikramaditya’s love for his queen come in the way of his promise to Shiva?

 

My Thoughts:

“The road begins where we start walking and ends where we stop. The road is not at our feet, it is in our minds. As long as we care to walk, we shall find roads to walk upon. If not old ones, then new. When neither of us is willing to halt, what have we to fear?” – said by King Vikramaditya to his Queen Vishakha.

                                         ——————–x——————–x———————

“In battle, is it not the strongest or the bravest or those with the greater numbers who win,” said Vararuchi. “Victory belongs to the side that best understands the price of defeat.”

                                         ——————–x——————–x———————

“The thirst for vengeance is invariably bereft of perspective and morals.” – Shukracharya

                                         ——————–x——————–x———————

These are some quotes from the book that have stayed with me long after I have finished reading it.

The Conspiracy at Meru, book 2 in the Vikramaditya Veergatha series, picks up where book 1 left off. Having placed the Halahala in a safe place, King Vikramadiya and his council are still facing various threats to the nation, both expected and unexpected. When we find that the might of the Asuras and devas and everyone else in between are poised to attack in some way or other, it’s a matter of who will strike first! To counter all this, they come up with numerous plans and strategies, all the while trying to anticipate what can go wrong. Trust me, a lot can go wrong!

The author does a fabulous job with each of the characters, both important and seemingly unimportant. I have come to realize that every person has a role to play and as a reader, we should be careful not to disregard anyone in this series! Such is the way of the author that he masterfully creates plots and sub-plots that are wholly unexpected!

The story in itself is simple when we strip it down, coming down to the clear idea that the Halahala must be protected. But the cost to do so and the sense of duty are something to be considered. This takes a huge toll on everyone and the surprises and twists do not stop coming! New alliances are forged and old are broken in this story that seems to be foretelling of things to come (in the further books).

Shatrujeet Nath is a master story teller and his books are gripping, pulling the reader in from page one. Without going into details of the plot (this is already hinted at in the book blurb), I would like to point out that there is a lot looming over the horizon and this is just Book 2, there are two more books to go to find out what happens!

Book Review: Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo

About the Book:

Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1)

Nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017, this fantasy epic from the No. 1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of the Grisha trilogy is gripping, sweeping and memorable – p erfect for fans of George R. R. Martin, Laini Taylor and Kristin Cashore.

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams – but he can’t pull it off alone.

A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist.

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction – if they don’t kill each other first.

An epic new exploration of the Grisha universe from the writer of SHADOW AND BONE, SIEGE AND STORM and RUIN AND RISING, totally consuming for both old fans and new.

My Thoughts:

This book is my first 5* read of 2021.

Wow! Just Wow! That was and is my reaction after finishing this book! I must say that in spite of all the hype around it, the book lives up to everything! I am glad that I read it and I cannot wait to read the next book!

Six of Crows follows six outcasts as they set out on a journey to pull of an impossible heist. However, impossible is a loose term, I am not sure that there isn’t anything this group cannot do when they set their mind to it! We are introduced one by one to the various characters and given an overview of who they are along with the progress in the story. I enjoyed this way of handling a story!

The characters we meet have been through a lot or have a lot of secrets, but with each revelation, we come to understand them much better. I also enjoyed the fact that the entire plan for the heist was not fully revealed to us and the reader discovers the plan along with the other people on the team. Considering that they are all in their late teens, none of the characters behave in that way, but sometimes we are reminded of their age and it makes them more real to the reader! Nina is delightful and turned out to the opposite of what I assumed. I also loved Inej and Kaz. Each one different but finally everyone comes together by some common thread.

The setting at Ketterdam reminded me of Amsterdam, but is very well described. So is the journey and the place of the heist. I quite enjoyed reading about their journey and how these six people learn to accept each other and maybe trust one another. With the threat of the jurda parem and it’s affect on the Grisha, there is indeed a lot happening and a good precedent is set for Book 2.

This is a very unconventional review from me considering that I have focused more on how I feel and on raving about the book. But, I cannot help it!

The author has done a brilliant job and the story is gripping until the very end! There are so many twists and turns that it is impossible to stop reading once you start! This book is a must read!

Book Review – Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy (Christmas In Evergreen #3) by Nancy Naigle

About the Book:

Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy: Based on a Hallmark Channel original movie

An unexpected encounter… An extraordinary discovery… Welcome back to the town of Evergreen.

Katie, an author struggling to write her second novel, heads to Evergreen, Vermont for a holiday retreat—only to get an assignment to write an article about the town. On the train, she meets Ben, a former big-city reporter who’s now a librarian in Evergreen.

Katie’s initially skeptical about Evergreen’s love of Christmas; the place seems too good to be true. Meanwhile, Ben’s wary of Katie’s intentions. He’s protective of his small town, and he knows all too well how cynical the media can be. Then a hunt for a fifty-year-old time capsule leads to a remarkable discovery. As Katie and Ben get caught up in the community’s past and present, they both begin to envision new possibilities for the future.

This feel-good Christmas romance includes a free Hallmark original recipe for Cranberry Crostini.

My Thoughts:

A simple and straightforward story, Christmas in Evergreen will ensure that the reader has a wonderful time and will fall in love! The story is set in the picturesque town of Evergreen with it’s inhabitants more like family than neighbours. The story follows Katie as she comes to the town on holiday while trying to work up the inspiration to write her second novel. As we follow her exploration of Evergreen, we meet so many people and also learn their stories. Each shop has a history and a whole lot of charm.

I enjoyed reading about the long lost time capsule which added some intrigue to the while story and while the focus was on Katie, we did learn more about the people and their lives. This did not divert from the plot and I enjoyed getting to know everyone!

As Katie discovers more and starts to fall in love, the author ensures that we also learn about traditions and working together. This is quick and joyous read, perfect for the holidays!

Book Review: An American in Paris by Siobhan Curham

A very Happy Publication Day to author Siobhan Curham for the release of An American In Paris today, 04.01.2021

About the Book:

An American in Paris

Walking through Montmartre that morning was like the eerie calm right before a storm. The roads were deserted. We carried on, arm in arm, and then finally, we saw them. Columns and columns of soldiers, spreading through the streets like a toxic grey vapour. ‘You must write about this,’ he whispered to me. ‘You must write about the day freedom left Paris.’

1937: Florence has dreamed her whole life of coming to Paris. She arrives on a sweltering summer day and, lost on the steep streets of Montmartre, asks for directions from Otto, a young artist with paint-spattered clothes and the most beautiful smile she has ever seen.

Otto becomes her guide to Paris, taking her to visit paintings in the Louvre and bookshops by the Seine. And when Otto returns home to finish his studies, they vow to reunite on the same spot they met, one year to the day.

Still dreaming of their parting kiss, Florence starts writing for an American newspaper and throws herself into becoming truly Parisian. All too soon, heady days of parties and champagne are replaced by rumours of war. When Otto finally returns to her, it is as an exile, fleeing Nazi persecution.

Soon, not even Paris is safe. Florence’s articles now document life under occupation and hide coded messages from the Resistance. But with the man she loves in terrible danger, her words feel hollow and powerless. If Florence risks everything by accepting a dangerous mission, can she rescue their dreams from that sunny day before the war?

A sweeping wartime story that will capture your heart and never let it go. Fans of The Alice NetworkThe Lost Girls of Paris and My Name is Eva will be absolutely gripped from the very first page.

My Thoughts:

Note: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

An American in Paris is a sweeping tale of love and loss, the impacts of WWII on people and the resilience of some to take a stand. The book is written from two perspectives, following dual timelines, on set in the time from 1937 – 1945 and the other in the present day which in the book is the year 2018.

In the present day part we are introduced to Sage who is on an emotional spiral and messes up her public persona while trying to deal with the grief of her mother’s passing. As she tries to deal with the aftermath of her scandalous viral videos, she receives an email that may just change her life and give her the answers that her mother may have once searched for.

As the story progresses, the reader is also introduced to Florence, an American dancer who comes to Paris in 1937. The author treats us to two different stories, one of Florence who finds love and laughter, a purpose in life until the war begins and starts to affect France, and that of Sage who embarks on a journey of discovery.

Though Sage is featured in the book, I feel that her character and that of Sam were just to provide perspective and a connection to the past. The main focus is on Florence and her story. It is one of strength, bravery and the will to fight back as well as of enduing love and faith. It is both heart warming and heart-breaking to read, but will draw the reader in completely until the very end. The author does a wonderful job in painting a picture of war torn France, the impact it had on the people and how they were treated. A lot of research has definitely gone into the historical facts as many of them could be verified as well.

The plot flows well starting from the beginning and going on until the end of the war and the aftermath. The characters are relatable and their experiences harrowing to say the least. Since I have visited Paris many times, it was wonderful for me to read about Florence’s emotions while discovering Montmartre and Musée du Louvre as well as my personal favourite, the bookstore Shakespeare and Company.

Be prepared for an emotional roller-coaster and a story that will cause the reader to pause and think. This book is well worth the read and I highly recommend it!

Book Review: Shelly’s Stocking Goes Missing by Anitha Rathod

About the Book:

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Publication date: Dec 4, 2018

Word count: 545

Age Group: 2-5

Shelly painstakingly makes a stocking from an old bag. The stocking then flies to the town and cannot find its way back. Read the book to know if Shelly’s Stocking returns and if Shelly gets her presents this Christmas.

 

 

Connect with the Author:

My Thoughts:
Shelly’s Stocking Goes Missing is a very simple and pleasant story of how Shelly makes a stocking for Christmas hoping to receive her present in it. The story is very simple and narrated in poetry form. The author show the reader that Shelly is resourceful and creative as she figures out how to convert a shopping bag into a stocking and decorate it. The pictures are well done and will ensure that children are drawn in to the story. It is quite an enjoyable read for little kids!

Book Review – My Name is Anton: A Novel by Catherine Ryan Hyde

About the Book:

My Name is Anton: A Novel

New York Times bestselling author Catherine Ryan Hyde returns with a hopeful novel of sacrifice, two lost souls, and enduring love.

It’s 1965, and life has taken a turn for eighteen-year-old Anton Addison-Rice. Nearly a year after his brother died in a tragic accident, Anton is still wounded—physically and emotionally. Alone for the holidays, he catches a glimpse of his neighbor Edith across the street one evening and realizes that she’s in danger.

Anton is determined to help Edith leave her abusive marriage. Frightened and fifteen years Anton’s senior, Edith is slow to trust. But when she needs a safe place to stay, she lets down her guard, and over the course of ten days an unlikely friendship grows. As Anton falls hopelessly and selflessly in love, Edith fears both her husband finding her and Anton getting hurt. She must disappear without telling anyone where she’s going—even Anton.

If keeping Edith safe means letting her go, Anton will say goodbye forever. Or so he believes. What would happen, though, if one day their paths should cross again?

My Thoughts:

Catherine Ryan Hyde’s books always have a theme and a message and they are delivered so beautifully, it is impossible to miss her books! I have read many books by her and I am left amazed every single time. Even though a lot of the themes focus on loss, life, unconditional love, memories, relationships, bonds and so many more, each book is different from the other.

My Name is Anton is the story of a seventeen year old boy named Anton, who is trying to figure out his identity as well as reconcile the death of his grandfather, his brother and the partial loss of his right hand. Anton is both physically and mentally wounded and in the midst of the emotional conflicts, he happens upon Edith. Edith is in an abusive marriage and after one incident is witnessed by Anton, by chance, he makes it his mission to help her get away!

This book is a romance novel, which in itself is a different book for the author. It talks of unconditional love that lets go, the kind of love where a person learns to be unselfish and sacrifice all for the safety and happiness of the other person. Anton let’s Edith go one time and as fate brings them back many years later, it remains to be seen whether such love endures and how it affects people.

I love the characters of Grand-uncle Gregor and Grandma Marion. They bring light into Anton’s life and support him when he needed it the most with compassion and understanding. The circumstances behind the death of Anton’s brother are extremely sad and the author touches upon Mental Health and discusses it in a very delicate manner. The fact that it is important to acknowledge and deal with is brought out in a subtle yet straight forward manner through the experiences of the characters.

Overall this story starts of a little slowly, first focusing on the growing friendship between Anton and Edith and later focusing on how Anton learns to cope with life, his disability and grows into a more confident individual all things considered. The reader is in for an emotional rollercoaster that will make you sad at times, empathize with the characters and finally laugh with them as they find the light and joy!

I highly recommend this book just as I do with all of the books by the author!

Note: I was approved a copy of the book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion.