Cover Reveal: You Can’t Fight A Royal Attraction by Ruchi Vasudeva

Title: You Can’t Fight A Royal Attraction

Book buy link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07D24ZDHT

Release date: July 18th, 2018

Blurb:

Being devoted to his friends, Zaheer and Vishakha, the couple who helped him find his place in Mumbai, Rihaan is determined to keep Vishakha from worrying about her wild – and now divorced – sister. The logical option is to sweep the troublemaker off her feet to a supposedly romantic weekend getaway. But Saira is gorgeous and infuriating in equal measures. What’s more, she won’t stay slotted under the ‘bad girl’ label he had for her. Can he handle the real Saira?

Saira knows her reputation has preceded her. She shouldn’t care, but Rihaan intrigues her no end. Already, she finds it hard to fight his appeal and maintain a cool distance from the reclusive yet arrestingly attractive scriptwriter. And then she discovers Rihaan has a secret. When the mystery about him unravels, will it tear them apart? At any cost, she cannot risk more heart break…

 

About the Author:

Ruchi Vasudeva is a doctor by profession, a teacher by vocation and an author by destiny. The writing bug long resided in her till the Passions contest held by Harlequin for Indian authors gave her a golden opportunity to have her dream realized. She debuted in August ’13 with her book ‘Bollywood Fiancé For A Day’. She writes romantic fiction with conflicted characters. She loves to write about spirited heroines getting hurtled out of their daily life as soon as they cross paths with their rather challenging heroes.

Juggling job, writing and family life isn’t something she would recommend to anyone who wants peace and calm but at the end of the day, she finds it very fulfilling. When not bent over the laptop, she might be found with her nose in books or munching nachos at the movies with her husband and two kids or glued to the telecast of Team India in action. Sometimes she drags herself for long walks and surprisingly discovers they are rather good for brewing story ideas. ‘Romance,’ she holds, ‘can feel over-hyped in this day and age but is all too tangible and needed in life on daily basis.’

Author Links:

Twitter

Blog

Extract from the book:

What was it about that cool hauteur that made her want to play with fire?

          ‘Of course, you’re no danger to me in a…’ deliberately she let her gaze run over him. ‘…sexual way, are you?’ He didn’t miss it nor did he miss the insolence she projected. She could see his mouth tighten in controlled annoyance. For a wild minute she wished he’d let loose and the unreasoning thought made her heartbeat pick up.

          ‘Are you trying to challenge me?’ Her heart jumped up at the deep voice laced with mockery. Coward, she derided. Surely she wasn’t frightened of him?

          ‘No challenge for you surely? You can hardly stand the sight of me.’ She reminded him.

           ‘Am I supposed to jump on you in fervent denial of that statement, swearing that I can’t keep my hands off you?’ A dark eyebrow rose. ‘Sorry, but your little game won’t wash, Sehgal.’ Irritatingly he addressed her by her surname again.

           ‘Oh how astute you are, Khehra!’ She widened her eyes. ‘You catch on so fast, guess I’ll have to watch myself more around you.’ She formed a pout, aware of his gaze moving to it, feeling an unreasonable thrill as it did. She must be mad. Or starved of fun. But somehow she couldn’t not try to get a reaction out of that stone monument.

           His eyes narrowed, ‘Whatever you’re trying, I’m not looking for trouble, and I’d advise you not to go poke for it either.’

           ‘So disappointing!’ She shook her head sorrowfully, ‘Here I was getting thrilled to bits we’re going to have this weekend. Just us. Lonesome, twosome.’

*

If you enjoyed the excerpt, do check out the book. It’s available at special pre order discount price right now.

Book Blitz: Preordained by David L. Wallace

 New Release
~ Preordained by David L. Wallace ~
 
About the Book:
In the vein of Seven & The Devil’s Advocate, Art Somers is a detective tracking a serial killer in Murrells Inlet, S.C., a small-town, coastal community with deeply held spiritual and supernatural belief systems. He
discovers while chasing down clues to ID the culprit that the killer has always had his family on his target list.

 Things begin to unravel and materialize around and within him, calling into question his long held religious and paranormal beliefs. On the verge of apprehending the killer, he learns an irrefutable truth: Abraham,
the father of faith, had to choose to either sacrifice his son or disobey a direct order from God; he must now make a choice – sacrifice his soul to save his son.

Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon * Kobo * Barnes & Noble * iTunes
Early Reviews:
“An expertly plotted and executed mystery, shot through with the supernatural…builds suspense effortlessly, hurtling towards a riveting conclusion.” – Clarion Review
“Original and engaging…full of plot twists, surprises, and a substantial dash of the supernatural.” – Publisher’s Weekly BookLife Prize in Fiction
“A gripping detective story with biblical undertones…aptly blends the horror and crime genres.” – Kirkus Reviews

 Chapter 1

From his crouched position in the woods of rural Georgetown County, South Carolina, and under the echo of his heavy breathing in the night air, he watched his favorite family’s movements inside their small brown home.
After much thought about the impression his outfit would make, he’d decided it was festive enough for the occasion. The complete ensemble consisted of a red and black head mask, aligned perfectly to the holes for his eyes, nose, and mouth and a form-fitting, black bodysuit with white wings painted on the back.
For years, he’d contemplated a befitting name for himself and finally settled on Star of David killer. He liked the way the alias reverberated in his head. It revealed a lot. It concealed everything. It hinted at his purpose and yet – it withheld the true essence of his aspirations, keeping them covered in a shroud of secrecy. He hoped an insightful reporter would have an epiphany and bestow that nickname on him. It was far more interesting than the one his parents had given him at birth. He breathed deep and exhaled slowly, taking in the ambience of the moment. He flexed his muscles. It was time to initiate the events that would lead everyone to recognize him by his self-appointed moniker.
He clenched and released his toes on each of his hospital footie–covered feet. Through the sheer curtains of the dimly lit dwelling, he watched the boy pick up the used plates from the table, which signaled the parents and their twelve-year-old son had finished their dinner. He knew them well. He’d cased their dwelling for years, observing every nuance of their behavior. He sat flushed as he watched them for the last time, shivering from time to time from the thrill of the thought of what he was about to do.
The music of the bullfrogs kept him company, along with the thought that all he’d longed for, all that he was meant to be, was about to be on full display on the world stage in a matter of hours. Like Heinz ketchup, he’d been waiting in anticipation for a long time for this moment.
He glanced at the scavengers in the clear sky above him, each casting its shadow across the moon as it circled. They were his favorite creatures—the redheaded, black-feathered, and partially white-winged turkey vultures of the Carolina skies. His outfit mimicked theirs. The birds squawked in the sky, seeming to know his plan for that evening. They’d followed his vehicle from his home until he’d parked, and now they circled directly above him. He could feel their hunger and impatience.
The boy walked outside his home and scraped the remains of their dinner plates into a slop bucket on the back porch. He picked up the hog’s food and headed out to the pigpen, which was located near the backend of their yard.
The Star of David killer watched the boy make his evening trek on pigeon-toed feet that turned inward with each step. Ever since the infant pigs were born, the boy fed the adult male hog an extra feeding at night to prevent him from dining on his offspring. That’s right, the daddy hog actually ate his own children. What a disgusting breed of animal. The overhead undertakers began to shriek and shrill as the boy moved across his lawn, their voices echoing in the night.
The boy jumped at their sound and looked to the skies. He stared into the woods directly below them.
The Star of David killer remained as still as a stone as the kid’s gaze seemed to linger on him for a moment. The last thing he needed was for  he boy to detect his presence and yell out for his daddy. The papa of the family had an itchy twelve-gauge finger that he didn’t want to deal  with that evening.
Seemingly satisfied, the boy stopped searching the woods and continued his walk. The Star of David Killer glanced overhead at the vultures,  angry with them for almost giving away his position. For their carelessness, they wouldn’t be feeding on his handiwork that evening, and if they didn’t atone for their misstep, they wouldn’t partake in any of the festivities on his planned itinerary.
This was the first night—the evening of his coming-out party and the kickoff of his personal pilgrimage. It was the acknowledgment that the presence within him, who had compelled him to plan and now execute the initial steps of his mission, had chosen the right vehicle for the job.
He felt something biting him on his lower legs. Glancing down, he saw by the light of the rear porch that ants were advancing up his calves. He remained silent and didn’t move, not wanting to sound the alarm that he was out there in the dark. A small green garden snake slithered out of the brush toward him. He stepped on it and crushed its head.
The grunting male hog reveled in the slop the boy had dumped into his pen. The female hog stood to the side with her five remaining piglets cowering under her.
The killer frowned at the stench of the hogs. It wasn’t the last smell he wanted on his mind before he began his body of work. To get past it, he closed his eyes and thought of the fragrances inside the boy’s family home, smells that he knew all too well. He’d spent many nights there while they slept, enjoying their scents, with his favorites being the individual smell of each of their worn clothing. The laundry room was a treasure trove of delights. Each of the family members left their own unique and enjoyable stains in their underwear. He’d gotten to know
the other families in just as much detail, meticulously taking in their routines and schedules, getting to know every nuance of each of them.
He removed his bladefrom his waistband and watched Rueben, his first victim, as he rinsed out the slop bucket with a water hose attached to the rear of his home. He squeezed the black-handled blade. The paring knife felt perfect in his hand, after having gone through an exhaustive testing process to find the right cutting instrument—one with just the right shape and size for optimal carving control against a moving body. He’d practiced his skills with it for many hours, initially on cantaloupes, cucumbers, and other fruits and vegetables, until he’d graduated to successful tests on small gerbils, kittens, and puppies he’d purchased at various pet stores.
Finally, the lights went out in the shack. It was time. As usual, Rueben’s parents were more than likely already fast asleep. Rueben, on the other hand, should be wide-awake in his darkened room, surfing Internet porn sites by the light of his laptop. The little fella loved to look at online pussy, but he wouldn’t live long enough to enjoy any.
As the final step of his preparation process, he extracted a bottle of removable glue from the front waistband of his outfit and placed another coat over his hands. It was an additional layer to guard against him leaving fingerprints behind, but he knew he didn’t need to worry on that score. Over the past year, he’d used razor blades every month to remove the top layer of skin on each of his fingertips, making them as smooth as a baby’s ass.
He had no fingerprints.
He could’ve easily used gloves, but he wanted to touch them, to feel his prey with his bare hands. He blew on the glue until it dried. Satisfied, he stood, stretched his legs and approached Rueben’s home on silent feet.
He hadn’t troubled himself to brush the ants from his lower torso. The stinging sensation of their bites would serve as a reminder that before that evening, he was once human.
 
 
About the Author:
 
 
Before publishing his debut novel in 2016, he served over 27 years as an information technology professional working initially for the US Navy, and then the Department of the Navy and various fortune companies. He’s a UCLA writing program alumnus who writes mystery thrillers and children stories. He has three wonderful kids who he enjoys immensely. Writing is his passion and his goal with each story is to capture the imagination in the opening pages and keep it engaged to the story’s riveting conclusion.
 

 

Contact the Author:
Website * Facebook * Twitter

Book Promo: Hiding by Jenny Morton Potts

About the Book:

 
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?
 
Book Links:
 
Read an Excerpt:
 
Chapter 1
Killer Road
April 2007
They died, Rebecca Brown’s mum and dad. They were killed on a road with a big reputation. Rebecca could only imagine it. She was hundreds of miles from the scene of the crash when it happened. When she thought of that road, she pictured it covered in ice, black ice, since the accident took place on a bitter December night. The A42, was the road’s alphanumeric name. The Killer Road, they called it back then in the papers. The Killer Road has struck again! The headlines came into Rebecca’s mind like a voice, like Vincent Price, as if the road arched up into vertical life, a tarmac monster stalking its victims.
Rebecca Brown was four years old when she became an orphan, alongside her sister, Colette, and her brother, Austen. Rebecca was the youngest. She couldn’t even remember the moment she was told. What had they said? ‘Mummy and Daddy have had a terrible accident, dear. In the car.’ At the time, she knew little more than the fact. They were gone. They’d been there all the days of her life, and then they were not. Of the circumstances and detail, she knew next to nothing. Perhaps Rebecca hadn’t thought to ask questions. Perhaps there was little more to say to a child so young. As Rebecca grew, though, so did her thirst for knowledge. But it seemed that, even if there had been a window of opportunity to make her enquiries, that window got bricked up years ago. There was a solid wall now between Rebecca Brown and the truth.
Julia and Stephen, her parents had been called. ‘Julia and Stephen,’ Rebecca liked to say aloud when she was alone in her garret bedroom. She could barely remember them but she thought they sounded really nice. She was sure that they were kind people, with ready smiles and lovely clean clothes.
It was their grandparents who raised the Brown children. It was the Grands who took the youngsters into their care at Taransay, a red sandstone mansion in the north of Scotland. Taransay was only partially restored. It had vast, austere rooms and draughty, wood-panelled corridors; a real Amityville Horror of a home, scary even on a cornflower sky summer’s day, and a weird contrast to the heavenly Highland surroundings. They lived high up on a plateau that could have been made for a view. There was an imposing tree-lined driveway and the steading, as Rebecca’s grandfather Ralph liked to call it, overlooked the magnificent Morar Sands. The golden beach met the Atlantic Ocean which unfurled itself like ruffled navy silk on the calmest of days, but the fierce ones were just as precious to Rebecca, as she stood at her dormer window looking out across the sea’s tossing and turning. She loved it best when the gods got angry down there in the depths and rose up, throwing the spray right at her face.
The land surrounding Taransay was mostly meadow, with the churn and splat of their cattle’s hooves and excretions. Their cowhand, Murdo Hendry, tended the animals. They had mostly Friesians but some Jerseys whose milk was creamier with more butterfat. And they had five Swedish Reds, the strongest and healthiest of the herd, and Rebecca’s personal favourites. They sold their high quality milk to a premium ice cream manufacturer but the income from such a small herd fell considerably short of supporting the Brown clan.
Murdo also tended a half acre of vegetable patch which their grandmother Primmy was inclined to call ‘the potager’. She was often found to use French substitutes for every day words. Austen told his younger sisters that this habit of their grandmother’s was part of her general denial and dislike of where they had ended up. He claimed that her French references were a deliberate barrier to assimilation. Primrose Anctillious Brown described herself as English to the core and it had not been her choice to relocate to Scotland.
The henhouse was Rebecca’s domain. They had a couple of dozen hybrid laying hens which produced far more than they could ever eat, so they supplied their excess to Moss Mills Nursing Home which made them all feel they were doing their bit for the community. However, the Browns were utterly insular and rarely met the community. It was Murdo Hendry – himself a man of very few words – who delivered the eggs.
The perimeter of their land was marked with stone dyke walls, upon which Rebecca could balance, even on the windiest of days. She was certain that this was a skill which would be good for something.
In many ways, the Browns were living in paradise, albeit a rather unpredictable one weather-wise. The blot on the landscape was really the house which was such a strange hulking abode. There was barely a smooth exterior surface. The builder had lumped on every possible feature: turrets, balconies, oriels, buttresses, corbels and a dozen chimneys. And all of the downstairs windows had metal bars fitted on the outside. Not the pretty ones you get in Spain, but the kind you get in gaol. Taransay looked more like a Rhenish correctional facility than a family home. No, this abode was not for the faint-hearted and yet the bereaved children were brought to its huge oak door, for re-settlement; like little refugees with their suitcases and their sorrow.
The rambling, shambling, freezing house was often cited as the reason that guests could not join them. They had moved into the sprawling mansion after the accident, so that there would be room for all of them. And there certainly was. A small regiment would have found it spacious. The house was only partly restored and some years into their tenure, it had become obvious that not only would Taransay never be finished whilst under their guardianship but that nobody had the slightest ambition to try.
About the Author:
Jenny Morton Potts was born in a smart, dull suburb of Glasgow where the only regular excitement was burglary. Attended a smart, dull school where the only regular excitement was the strap. Worked in smart, dull sales and marketing jobs until realising she was living someone else’s life. Escaped to Gascony to make gîtes. Knee deep in cement and pregnant, Jenny was happy. Then autism and a distracted spine surgeon who wanted to talk about The Da Vinci Code, wiped out the order. Returned to wonderful England – and unlikely ever to leave again – Jenny, with assistance from loyal hound, walked and swam her way back to manageable health. Jenny would like to see the Northern Lights but worries that’s the best bit and should be saved till last. Very happily, and gratefully, partnered for 28 years, she ought to mention, and living with inspirational child in Thaxted, Essex.
 
Contact the Author: 
 
Giveaway:
2 Digital Copies of Hiding by Jenny Morton Potts

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Book review: Olivia MacAllister, Who Are You? by Celine Rose Mariotti

I was provided with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Olivia MacAllister, Who Are You?: A Ghost Mystery Set in Maine

New Children’s Book from Dreaming Big Publications
Author: Celine Rose Mariotti
Illustrator: Bob Veon
Available in Paperback and Ebook
Page Count: 80 pages

Amazon Link:
https://www.amazon.com/Olivia-MacAllister-Who-Are-You/dp/1548809780/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1502775150&sr=8-1&keywords=olivia+who+are+you

Publisher Website: Dreamingbigpublications.com
Email: Dreamingbigpublications@outlook.com

About the Book:
Bobby MacAllister and Noel Simpson are cousins, who visit their Uncle Eb in Maine for the summer. There they embark on an adventure to discover the story of their ancestors and the secrets of the ghost, Olivia, who stays in the house. Together, with family friends and partners from the town, they uncover the truth of a long lost love story. Olivia MacAllister, Who Are You? is a fun fiction chapter book for children aged 7 to 10. Will you be inspired to learn about your ancestors’ past like Bobby and Noel?

My Thoughts:

This is a simply written, quick read with an interesting plot line. The main characters, cousins, Bobby and Noel come to visit their Uncle for the summer. With highly inquisitive natures, they start exploring the house and try to discover it’s secrets. Along with some history about the family, we are introduced to the ghost of one of their ancestors, Olivia MacAllister, who seems to still be tied to the house.

As the story unfolds, we learn of her tragic death and her lost love. The mystery behind all this, the tiny adventures that the children go off on and the old house with its secret doors makes for a fun read. It is wonderful to read about how the children bond with their uncle and share a sense of interest in all things mysterious and supernatural.

The story ends abruptly, with some questions left unanswered. It feels hurried and short and at times as though everything is just falling into place very easily. But, this does not take away from the rest of the plot which is actually quite good. Overall, this is a decent read and will ensure that children enjoy themselves.

 

Join Leopold Blake on his thrilling adventure in Panic by Nick Stephenson

About the Book:

Panic

Swift. Silent. Deadly.

Leopold Blake, expert criminology consultant for the FBI, had his weekend all planned out – and it didn’t involve dealing with a murdered senator, a high-profile kidnapping, and at least three near-death experiences.

Three politicians have been murdered in as many weeks, all expertly dispatched, and only Leopold can get to the bottom of it. Unfortunately, as all hell breaks loose on the streets of New York City, he soon finds himself the next target of a powerful enemy who wants him silenced. Permanently.

Against a backdrop of political corruption and murder, Leopold and his team must fight for their lives to uncover the truth before it’s too late.

My Thoughts:

This book is  the second in the Leopold Blake series and is a fast-paced thriller. There is an ongoing murder investigation and Blake is called in to consult.  It is interesting to read about how his mind works and how he works with people. Being rich and having access to everything he wants, he sometimes takes advantage of his position and power! His bodyguard, Jeremy is a tough and interesting guy who ensures that he always has Blake’s back. Bring in a police detective and a civilian, and the author gives us a random mix of people, who are unlikely to meet, let alone work together under normal circumstances.

Though the story flows very well and the plot is well thought out, at times it felt as though the deductions were too easy and that Blake doesn’t have to put in too much effort to solve things. This makes it a little unrealistic to read about. However, putting this aside, the way the story is written is intriguing, making it difficult for the reader to figure out what is going on before the characters in the story do. The story has a lot of action, and adventure in it, with the characters racing against time to catch the culprit. The characters are mostly well developed, though at times they tend to behave in ways that might be difficult for the reader to relate to, but they are deep and complex overall.

As they race against the clock, so does the reader, as we turn page after page to quickly understand the plot and the meaning of the title “Panic”. This book is definitely worth the read for those who love a good mystery thriller!

Delve into the depths of mysterious happenings and rebirth in the book When Shadows Turn Dark!

I was provided with a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

When Shadows Turn Dark

by Vidya Anand

Published by Notion Press, March 2016

When Shadows Turn Dark

About the Book:

Anirudh is clouded with the mysteries of a past life, which he relives through his nightmares. Though his logical mind denies it, he sets out to unravel the secrets about the girl in his dreams, Chitrangada, and her brutal death.

His friends, Madhav and Trisha, support him through his inner battle.

In another part of the world, Sanjana and Abhimanyu are happy in their lives, quite unaware that they are also destined to become a part of this cryptic game.

Will Anirudh be able to save himself from slipping completely into the past?

When Shadows Turn Dark is a tale about friendship, love, betrayal and revenge that interweaves the lives of these people.

A tale about the mystical world of rebirth, and much more!

My Thoughts:

I did not enjoy this book much and I had to concentrate hard to get through it. The main plot seems to have come right out of a Bollywood script, with so many similarities that it is not so easy to distinguish which is original and which is not.

Anirudh, the protagonist, has had dreams about the death of a girl named Chitra, his entire life and he doesn’t know why. He doesn’t even know who she is. Sanjana, the descendant of princess Chitrangada, who lived almost 100 years ago, suddenly experiences changes in moods and we have no idea why. Set in a time when everyone has secrets and won’t talk openly, the concept of rebirth is frowned upon. The story draws upon the past to define the present and the decisions of the various characters take the story forward.

The characters are not very interesting or well developed. The reader is not given much to go on and it is quite difficult to relate to the characters. The women are created under the usual stereotypes of gossip, giggles and being bothered about guys more than their work or career. The men are shallow and there is no depth in the character personalities.

The story runs in two parallels, present day, and a story-line from almost 100 years ago, about which the protagonist has been having dreams his entire life. It doesn’t seem as though a lot of research has gone into the career choice of the characters and it’s ironic how they all end up in the same palace that the past refers to. Even though his friend Madhav has been shown as supportive, the characters never really express themselves and the reader doesn’t know what they are really thinking or how they fit into this story.

There is a lot of repetition of points and this acts as a deterrent while reading, making it difficult to concentrate. Also, while bringing together the past and present, and introducing the concept of rebirth, there is no clarity in the plot. When all the characters meet (this is extremely brief), there is no explanation or connection to what they have experienced. It’s just a short connection and then all of a sudden they all go their own ways. This makes the story uninteresting as it ends up flowing without coherence of thought. The story could have been brought out better with a little more explanation and stronger background information.

On the whole, however, the story is simply written and if you’re looking for a quick read that doesn’t need much thought, this is worth a shot.

Prepare yourself for a lightning-fast, fun, thrill-ride in Snatched by Alison Golden

About the Book:

Snatched (Diana Hunter #2)

What would you do if you discovered a dead body? Would you investigate? Try to solve the case before the police arrive?
Would you prattle on about theories regarding the murder, realizing you know almost too much about it? Would you put the handsome detective off balance so that he then accuses you of being the murderer? All before 9AM? No… surely no one would do that?

Clearly, you haven’t met Diana Hunter.

When embarking on an early morning run, Diana notices a man sitting on the ground reading a book. When she returns, she finds he hasn’t moved a muscle since she left her house. She checks him over and discovers that he is stone cold. Once the emergency services arrive, all equipped with a very good-looking, but pompous detective, Peter Hopkinson, she has to continually prove to the detective why she is not the killer while trying to solve the murder herself.

Will Diana find the murderer before the detective does, or will they both discover that something a lot more sinister is going on at Royal Bay Beach?

My Thoughts:

This story is fast-paced and a very quick read filled with interesting characters. The plot is convincing, starting with the main protagonist Diana, setting out for her morning run. On the way, she notices a person sitting under a tree near her building who has been sitting in the same position since she started her run. It is said that curiosity killed the cat, and though this is not literally the case, Diana finds herself in the position of explaining herself to the lead detective on the case. Add in the fact that he is not at all what she pictured detectives to be like and her wild imagination and we have an interesting chemistry between the two.

The author doesn’t dwell much into the background of the characters, only briefly providing information to fill in plot holes, making it a little difficult to understand them. Also, the whole story seems to happen very smoothly with no roadblock or any disturbances. This is not very realistic, but will still hold the readers attention. However, this doesn’t take away much and still ensures that the story is worth the read. The events unfold very quickly and Diana’s sharp mind prove to be an asset. It is nice to read about a female protagonist who is strong willed, inquisitive and extremely witty, piecing together facts to help solve the mystery.

Grab a copy of this short suspense filled mystery that most mystery lovers will enjoy!

Book Review: Ascendant (book 1) and Midheaven (book 2) by Rebecca Taylor

About the Books:

Ascendant (book 1):

Ascendant by Rebecca Taylor

When I was twelve, my mother disappeared. I was the first person to never find her. I’m sixteen now and she has never been found, alive or dead. I’m not the girl I should have been.

When Charlotte Stevens, bright but failing, is sent to stay at her mother’s childhood home in Somerset England her life is changed forever. While exploring the lavish family manor, Gaersum Aern, Charlotte discovers a stone puzzle box that contains a pentagram necklace and a note from her mother-clues to her family’s strange past and her mother’s disappearance.

Charlotte must try to solve the puzzle box, decipher her mother’s old journals, and figure out who is working to derail her efforts-and why. The family manor contains many secrets and hidden histories, keys to the elegant mystery Charlotte called mom and hopefully, a trail to finding her.

Midheaven (book 2):

Midheaven (Ascendant Trilogy, #2)

As Above, So Below

As the direct descendant of Francis Bacon (aka Shakespeare) Charlotte is the next Ascendant. She is destined to teach mankind the secret mysteries of alchemy.

If only she knew what those were.

With her father’s stone box, and her mother’s first key, Charlotte will quest around the world to solve the puzzle and reveal its secret.

Unless Emerick gets her first.

My Thoughts:

Since I read these books continuously, one after the other, I decided to post a combined review. In general, I enjoyed the premise of the story and the events that occurred to take it forward. The story is written decently and will ensure the reader continues on until the end. The author manages to build up some amount of mystery and intrigue.

However, the protagonist is decent at best, but she gets rather whiny and annoying. Her attentions are directed towards the two guys showering her with attention and she is torn between them in the usual cliched style. At times she comes across as shallow, and at others, someone with a strong mind. She sets out to find the meaning to the clues left behind by her parents. As the story unfolds, the reader is drawn into a world of drama, secrets, betrayal.

The story lacked in precise character development and a deeper premise than was there. It was easy to figure out what might happen next and the books did not make me want to keep turning the pages. Having said this, there are parts that are interesting and had potential. A stronger focus on the characters, creating complex personalities and a more interesting twist to the plot would have made it gripping. Though there was some adventure and mystery thrown in, it just made the story more confusing. It was just another book in the usual style of having a clue and trying to decipher it while also trying to keep it away from the bad guys.

Bottom-line: Read the book. You may or may not like it, but you can form an opinion by yourself.

Book Review: The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co. #1) by Jonathan Stroud

What happens when you walk into a book fair, find books that you’d once read and then discover more books by those same authors? You’re right! You cannot help but be hit with a strong sense of nostalgia!

And once it kicks in, there’s no stopping the onslaught of memories.

It was this same feeling that prompted me to pick up this book by Jonathan Stroud. After all, my mind reasoned, it will be worthwhile coming from the author of the famous Bartimaeus series.

About the Book:

The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co., #1)

When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in . . .

For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.

Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest, most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.

Set in a city stalked by spectres, The Screaming Staircase is the first in a chilling new series full of suspense, humour and truly terrifying ghosts. Your nights will never be the same again . . .

My Thoughts:

A truly wonderful book and concept, this book will ensure that you are hooked from the first page. The story is divided into parts, jumping into the middle of the plot in the beginning itself, then looping back in time to give us some background and perspective, and then charging right on. The best part? All these seemingly unconnected situations all come together in the end and wrap the plot up neatly.

The characters are brilliant, smart, funny, naughty but with a depth that will surprise the reader. There is more to them than meets the eye and it becomes rather clear as we read. Anthony Lockwood proves to be something of an enigma, not only to Lucy but to the reader as well. He is charming for a youngster, conducts himself as well as the elders and still manages to hide some things from everyone. Lucy is likeable and strong, with a talent that far surpasses both the boys. Together the trio set out to make London a safer place, protecting people from ghosts. The climax and the sequences leading up to it are intense and perhaps the best part of the entire book, but what stands out is how every seemingly random situation has a connection in the end. Everything is vital to the plot and it helps to pay attention to even the smallest of details.

It felt really great to immerse myself in this story. The author, with his wonderful storytelling ability, vividly describes each situation and haunting. Every case that the trio take up, we are given a chance to imagine what is happening, sometimes we can even see it playing in our mind. This just points to the wonderful way the author has with words. The characters are well developed and the basis of the plot along with the back story of how the various agencies came into existence makes this book all the more interesting. The ending leaves us with just enough information to want to continue the series.

Overall, not just for the sake of nostalgia, but for the beauty of the story, I strongly urge all my fellow fans of fantasy, ghosts and mystery to read this book!