Book Review: The Circle Taken by Sage Sask

Note: I would like to thank NetGalley for the review copy.

About the Book:

Abandoned at eleven with no memory of her family, Alexia yearns to learn her true identity. Under the new government’s regime, sixteen-year-olds are evaluated for their desire to harm others. Throughout the test, Alexia struggles to conceal her secret. Failing in her mission, Alexia is taken and must fight to prove herself to her captors.

Desperate to escape, Alexia embarks on a dangerous quest for the truth of her past. In the resulting battle between life and death, Alexia learns that sacrifice and the gift she fought to keep hidden may be her only chance for survival.

A secret unearthed, a shocking betrayal, and a moment when lives hang in the balance leaves Alexia with only one choice. Will the decision determine her destiny or end her life?

My Thoughts:

The Circle is an interesting YA Dystopian read. A major part of the plot reminded me of The Hunger Games, but the story here is well-written and the characters were easy to understand. The story is quite fast paced and if the reader does not pay attention, it is easy to miss something important.

Alexia, the protagonist, has no memory of who she is or about her family for more than 5 years. She lives at an orphanage and learns to just keep her head down and move forward. When her secret is discovered, she is sent to a secret place. Here she has to fight to prove herself, to train, all the while trying to figure out who she really is. As she navigates this world and discovers it’s secrets, we are introduced to a group of people with a very specific way of thinking.

The characters are well crafted and interesting, most in their teenage years. All of them seek to befriend Alexia for different reasons, but in the end they stand together as one group. This journey is wonderful to read about. As fast-paced as the story is, a lot happens in this book and it ends at a twist leaving the reader yearning for more. I enjoyed reading this book and am looking forward to the next book, mainly to discover what happens to Alexia. The questions of how she deals with the truth behind her identity and the consequences of her decisions will hopefully be answered in the next book! This book is worth a read for fans of dystopian YA fiction.

Book Review: The Forest of Enchantments by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Having read The Palace of Illusions by Chita Divakaruni, it was a no-brainer to pick up this book! Read on to know my thoughts on this must read book!

About the Book:

The Forest of Enchantments

The Ramayana, one of the world’s greatest epics, is also a tragic love story. In this brilliant retelling, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni places Sita at the centre of the novel: this is Sita’s version.

The Forest of Enchantments is also a very human story of some of the other women in the epic, often misunderstood and relegated to the margins: Kaikeyi, Surpanakha, Mandodari. A powerful comment on duty, betrayal, infidelity and honour, it is also about women’s struggle to retain autonomy in a world that privileges men, as Chitra transforms an ancient story into a gripping, contemporary battle of wills.

While the Ramayana resonates even today, she makes it more relevant than ever, in the underlying questions in the novel: How should women be treated by their loved ones? What are their rights in a relationship? When does a woman need to stand up and say, ‘Enough!’

My Thoughts:

A scintillating read, The Forest of Enchantments will take the reader on a journey with Sita as the protagonist. The story follows her from childhood to adulthood and highlights the Ramayana from her point of view.

We are introduced to Ram, Lakshman and even Raavan as they are seen by Sita. The entire story focuses on her journey and what she felt through it. It is a wonderful take on the Ramayana and strongly brings out the feelings and opinions of the women in the story.

The author brings out the contrast in characters and ensures that the reader is interested in reading the book. There is not even one moment when the reader will wonder why they are reading the book. Even though we might have already read the Ramayana, Sita’s perspective is something none of us stop to think about. It is a re-telling like no other, exploring the views of the women in the story and introducing the reader to them.

The strength of the women, the resolve and their actions shape the course of the story and give us a different view of the same events we are familiar with. Chitra succeeds in humanizing all the characters and making them more relatable. We are forced to think about their points of view, their circumstances and give them the benefit of doubt. The author brings enough doubt to the idea of good and bad, focussing on the grey areas and the fact that there could be more to how we perceive things.

This is perhaps one of the best written books and I can promise that the readers will be left spell bound!

Book Review: Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

About the Book:

Three Women

‘A book that blazes, glitters and cuts to the heart of who we are. I’m not sure that a book can do much more’ SUNDAY TIMES

‘The kind of bold, timely, once-in-a-generation book that every house should have a copy of, and probably will before too long’ NEW STATESMAN

‘Extraordinary’ JOJO MOYES 

‘I will probably re-read it every year of my life’ CAITLIN MORAN


All Lina wanted was to be desired. How did she end up in a marriage with two children and a husband who wouldn’t touch her?

All Maggie wanted was to be understood. How did she end up in a relationship with her teacher and then in court, a hated pariah in her small town?

All Sloane wanted was to be admired. How did she end up a sexual object of men, including her husband, who liked to watch her have sex with other men and women?

Three Women is a record of unmet needs, unspoken thoughts, disappointments, hopes and unrelenting obsessions.

‘A masterpiece’ ELIZABETH GILBERT

‘Addictive’ DOLLY ALDERTON

‘Riveting, assured and scorchingly original’ DAVE EGGERS

‘Indescribably magnificent’ MARIAN KEYES

‘Astounding’ JESSIE BURTON

My Thoughts:

Three women chronicles the lives of three protagonists, their dreams, hopes and the consequences of decisions they make. We see how the women deal with it. The book is confusing since each of the women’s story is told in chapters, but they are not continuous. We keep alternating among the three and sometimes this may cause the reader to lose track of what they read previously if the book is not read in one sitting.

However, knowing that some of the stories are based on true events doesn’t make a lot of sense since the author has only picked three stories to portray. The women come across as needy and submissive to the men in their lives. Sometimes it feels as though they cannot think for themselves or stand up for themselves. In addition, the book focuses more on chronicling the events than really analyzing them or the people.

I lost focus some way through the book, but I continued reading to see where it would go. Ultimately the events are just sad and you feel sorry for the women, but there is not much of a take away from the book.

Book Review: Mom’s of the Missing by Steffen Hou

I was provided with an ARC of the book in exchange for my honest review. I normally do not read a lot of non-fiction, but I am truly glad to have read Mom’s of the Missing.

I would like to express my gratitude to Steffen Hou for reaching out to me.

 

About the Book:

 

Release Date: 10-15-2019

Paperback: 262 pages

Genre: True Crime

ISBN: 978-1-54397-972-5 (print)

ISBN: 978-1-54397-973-2 (ebook)

Publisher: BookBaby

 

 

“Oh my God, we found a dead body.” The man’s voice, calling from a mountain trail in Cleveland National Forest, was frantic. “Please hurry. I’m so scared. It’s a little kid.” When police arrived, they were met by a horrific sight. The girl was naked and had been positioned in such a way that detectives believed the murderer had seen his kill as some kind of a trophy. As if he were showing off his “work”. The little kid was Samantha Runnion, a five-year-old girl who had been abducted while playing in her parents’ garden the day before.

Samantha is just one of too many American kids who disappear. Almost half a million children are reported missing every year. And all across America parents are searching for their missing children or—if the worst case scenario has come to pass—the person who killed them.

Moms of the Missing investigates ten abduction cases. Through personal and heartbreaking interviews with the victims, it describes how parents maintain their hopes of one day finding their children—some of whom were taken by a stranger, a family member, or human traffickers. And two survivors tell what it is like to be held captive.

Moms of the Missing explores the principal types of abductions, and—not of least importance—who’s most likely to become a victim of the epidemic of missing children.

About the Author:

Steffen Hou (born 1975) is a Danish author and filmmaker. As a true crime author he
has written about topics such as innocent Americans on death row, human trafficking,
and the white supremacy movement. Moms of the Missing: Living the Nightmare is his
third book.

Contact the author: steffen.hou@houmedia.dk

Website: steffenhou.com

Facebook: facebook.com/steffen.hou

Twitter: @steffenhou

My Thoughts:

As clearly stated in the synopsis, this book deals with facts and investigates ten abduction cases. Through each case we are introduced to the kinds of abductions that exist and how they can happen. This is presented to us through interviews with family members who have had to deal with the loss of a child.

Each experience shared is harrowing and scary, difficult for most of to understand, but necessary for us to be aware of. It is sometimes difficult to digest the kinds of cruelty out there in the world, but through this book, Steffen Hou and the affected people would like to bring about an awareness. Awareness is a must to be able to take preventive actions.

The book is very well structure as explained by the author in the prologue. The reader is introduced to the type of abduction, followed by a description and the authorities or body(ies) to be alerted. This is then followed by a detailed account of an experience. What happened on the day of the abduction? The nature of the child in general and their relationship with their family. The heartbreak and trauma the family faces when the child is missing. The support or non-support of the authorities. A step forward and a few backwards everyday towards trying to find an answer. And then a conclusion, good or bad, but with a strong message.

I would like to share that I respect those who have come forward to support this book and share their stories. It is definitely not easy to have your life taken apart and then to talk about it. The main message of the book is to keep up Hope and to contact the right people if a crime has already been committed and a child is missing. It is also about the prevention of such crimes and the steps we can take to educate ourselves, our peers and our children.

Though this was a difficult book to read, my heart goes out to all the victims and their families. I strongly recommend this book to everyone as it brings about an awareness on a very important topic that could help any one of us in the world today.

We are all in this together and we should learn to support one another. Also, please be aware and sensitive towards other people!

Thank you Steffen for bringing your book to my notice!

Book Review: P.S. from Paris by Mark Levy

About the Book:

P.S. from Paris (UK edition)

They knew their friendship was going to be complicated, but love—and the City of Lights—just might find a way.

On the big screen, Mia plays a woman in love. But in real life, she’s an actress in need of a break from her real-life philandering husband—the megastar who plays her romantic interest in the movies. So she heads across the English Channel to hide in Paris behind a new haircut, fake eyeglasses, and a waitressing job at her best friend’s restaurant.

Paul is an American author hoping to recapture the fame of his first novel. When his best friend surreptitiously sets him up with Mia through a dating website, Paul and Mia’s relationship status is “complicated.”

Even though everything about Paris seems to be nudging them together, the two lonely ex-pats resist, concocting increasingly far-fetched strategies to stay “just friends.” A feat easier said than done, as fate has other plans in store. Is true love waiting for them in a postscript?

From Marc Levy, the most-read French author alive today, comes a modern-day love story between a famous actress hiding in Paris and a bestselling writer lying to himself.

My Thoughts:

I picked up this book mostly due to the connection to Paris. It is a city that I have come to love and I wanted to see how much of it I could connect with through the book.

The story follows Mia, an actress from UK as she gets away from the film industry, her husband and everything that is a part of her reel life. She needs a break and to re-assess what she wants from life. She ends up in Paris, at the doorstep of her best friend Daisy.

The reader is also introduced to Paul, an architect turned writer, who moves from the US to Paris to get away. He does this just after his first book was published as he doesn’t know how to deal with the fame. We also meet his best friend and the best friend’s wife, who are wonderful additions to the character ensemble.

The author takes us on a pleasant journey through the streets of Paris, from Montmartre, the artists square to the view from the top of the Opera. The locations are well described that for people who have been to Paris, it is a trip down memory lane, and for those who have not, it will spark the flame of discovery and the urge to visit this beautiful city.

The book deals with some important issues like self discovery and growth, trust and beyond all that love. Mia learns to open herself up to new experiences and possibilities. She takes a decision regarding her marriage and spends time working as a waitress at her friend’s restaurant. She happens to meet Paul by accident, through a date setup via a dating site. On Paul’s side, this is done by his friends as they think that he is not focusing on himself and his life. What turns starts off as a surprise and a joke, blossoms into a strong friendship between two people who want to experience more in their lives.

As we follow the two main characters on their journey of discovery, we travel a little with them as they deal with the consequences of their respective livelihoods. We also see love blossom as well as the uncertainty that follows it. The bonds between characters and the trust they have in their friends is something to learn from. The story is very well-written, it is fun, intriguing and is quite a pleasant read. I absolutely adored this book and recommend this to everyone.

Book Review : The Day I Lost You by Alex Sinclair

About the Book:

Book Review: The Hocus Pocus Magic Shop by Abigail Drake

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

About the Book:

The Hocus Pocus Magic Shop

When chemist Grace O’Leary finds a book of magic spells hidden in her Aunt Lucy’s run-down magic shop, the scientist in her itches to try them out. She mixes up a batch of love potions as a joke, and has to face the consequences when they actually seem to work.

Her dream of becoming a professor is in peril, and time is running out to finish research for her dissertation. She can’t handle any more distractions, but the magic shop is on the verge of closing, her aunt has become forgetful and confused, and a handsome reporter named Dario Fontana keeps sniffing around for a story. The last thing she needs is for him to find out about the love potions and expose her as fraud, but she begins to trust him, and the sizzling chemistry between them is soon too powerful to deny.

With her personal and professional life in chaos, and her budding relationship with Dario in jeopardy, Grace is faced with a difficult choice. Fixing what is broken means going against every logical bone in her body. Can Grace learn to silence her scientific brain long enough to accept the truth about magic…and also about herself?

About the Author:

Award-winning author Abigail Drake has spent her life traveling the world and collecting stories wherever she visited. She majored in Japanese and Economics in college, and is a book hoarder, a coffee drinker, a linguistics geek, and an eternal optimist. She writes women’s fiction and young adult fiction with smart, sassy, funny heroines, and she also enjoys blogging about the adventures of her mischievous Labrador retriever, Capone.

Abigail is the winner of the prestigious 2017 Prism Award for her book Traveller, and the International Digital Award for her young adult novel, Tiger Lily. In addition, she was named a finalist in the Golden Pen, the Golden Leaf, the Dante Rossetti Book Award, and the Cygnus Award for Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction. Learn more about http://abigaildrake.com

My Thoughts:

The Hocus Pocus Magic Shop introduces us to chemist Grace O’Leary who is working on her PhD thesis. When she is framed for helping a student to cheat, she is stripped of her TA privileges and shunned by many of her peers. Looking for a break and a change of scenery, she volunteers to visit her Aunt Lucy who had a mild accident and to provide her support.

The reader is introduced to a variety of characters, but they are brought in quite abruptly. There is not a lot of background information provided about them which leads us to wonder how they are connected to the main character.  Much of Grace’s situation is a cliche, she meets a handsome young man who lives in her Aunt’s town, she is struggling to deal with the pressure of completing her thesis and finally, there is the mystery of who caused her aunt’s accident.

The events that occur seem sudden and disconnected. There are times when the reader will wonder how certain characters are even tied in or have information. It took me a while to get into the book and to really piece together the story.

However, as the story progresses, it becomes easier to understand the plot even though the characters were not very easy to relate to for me. There is magic, mystery and romance all mixed together rather haphazardly. But, this book proves to be a rather light and simple read if one does not try to focus too much on the plot. The friends that Grace makes and the support she receives in the end make it worthwhile to read about.

Book Review: The Legacy of the Heirs by A. V. V. Reddi

It is with great pleasure and pride that I write this post today.

I would like to introduce you all to The Legacy of the Heirs, Book 1 in a series written by my good friend A. V. V. Reddi. This is his first published work.

Read on to know more about the book and my thoughts about it.

About the Book:

Paperback: 348 pages

Publisher: Notion Press; 1 edition (13 July 2019)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1645465934

ISBN-13: 978-1645465935

 

John Rolland, the head of an erstwhile crime family, discovers a plot to murder him. The person he turns to for help is his grandson Viktor. With each member of the family having their own agendas and alliances, Viktor embraces the legacy of his family and begins work on protecting his inheritance and the ones he loves. As Viktor goes deeper into this world, he discovers that more people are involved than he first expected and that more drastic steps needed to be taken for him to survive.

The book can be found here: Notion Press, Amazon, Flipkart

About the Author:

A. V. V. Reddi, an entrepreneur and heir to a legacy, brings his passion for writing forward with his first novel at the age of 27. It can be said that the apple does not fall far from the tree, as Reddi is the great-grandson of the famous film producer B. Nagi Reddi, who helped shape the foundations of Indian cinema.

A businessman and startup founder by day and an author by night, Reddi is fun, charismatic and intelligent, as is evidenced by his writing style and narrative. Having experience in various walks of life right from the world of politics to the world of industry, thanks to his legacy, Reddi brings to life compelling characters with strong motives and bold personalities.

Reddi now runs a successful educational startup and works in his family business while dedicating his spare time to creative writing both in the form of fiction and poetry.

My Thoughts:

Note: This is my honest and unbiased opinion of the book.

The Legacy of the Heirs is built up on a strong plot filled with intrigue, mystery and a whole lot of family drama. At first it might seem as though the story is confusing, but upon persisting, the reader is in for a treat.

On the surface, the family seems to work fine together, but if you go and peak beneath, there are so many shades to each character. Everyone has secrets to hide and their own confidantes within the family circle. The story focuses mainly on Viktor, the grandson of John Rolland, and his aim to protect his family no matter the cost. We are introduced to his close knit circle of friends who are ready to do anything for him.

These characters are brought in one by one and are well thought out. We are given glimpses into who they are and how they fit into Viktor’s life. Apart from the friends, comes the entire Rolland family: the children, their spouses and the grand children. The reader is dropped right in the middle of a murder plot and then something along the lines of revenge.

Reddi weaves an intricate web of love, lies and deceit to ensure that the reader remains hooked. He has also managed to handle a large number of characters with ease. As a reader, we can understand each person’s significance and their role in this elaborate plot. The story is well written and seamlessly flows from one situation to the next.

By the end of the book, the reader is left yearning for more!

 

Book Review: Gryphon Riders Trilogy by Derek Alan Siddoway

About the Books:

Windsworn (Gryphon Riders Trilogy #1)

Windsworn (Gryphon Riders Trilogy, #1)

An unlikely young hero. An incredible destiny.

Eva has never swung a sword. She’s never flown through the open sky on a gryphon or dreamed of being a hero. She’s content with a quiet life — two feet firmly on the ground, working in her foster-father’s forge. But that’s all about to change.

When Eva discovers a young thief hiding in her woodshed with a stolen gryphon egg, the shy, timid girl is forced to leave everything she’s ever known to become Windsworn — elite warriors who ride fierce gryphons into battle. As she struggles to learn the ways of the Windsworn, Eva finds herself caught in a plot to destroy the gryphon riders and plunge the kingdom into war, a plot that somehow involves her deceased parents.

In the face of growing danger, can Eva conquer her fears and unravel the secrets of her past in time to save the Windsworn?

Fans of Eragon, Harry Potter and the Dragonriders of Pern will love this fast-paced coming of age fantasy, set in a world of majestic gryphons and ancient magic.

Windswept (Gryphon Riders Trilogy #2)

Windswept by Derek Alan Siddoway

A long-forgotten champion. An ancient darkness.

Now a full-fledged gryphon rider, Eva’s come a long way from the timid girl she used to be.

After proving herself to the Windsworn, forging a bond with her gryphon, Fury, and discovering the truth about her parentage, Eva thought life would get easier. Instead, war is blossoming on the eastern frontier. And raiders on giant sabercats might only be a shadow of worse things to come.

If that weren’t enough, a captured enemy reveals a startling truth: Eva’s long-lost father is still alive.

Against direct orders, Eva and her friends desert the Windsworn, risking everything to bring her father home. Eva and Fury have come a long way in a short time, but beyond the mountains, danger lurks at every turn. Will Eva sacrifice everything she holds dear for a man she’s never met?

Don’t miss the rousing second installment in the Gryphon Riders Trilogy!

Windbreak (Gryphon Riders Trilogy #3)

Windbreak by Derek Alan Siddoway

From the fires of war, a queen must rise.

Against all odds, Eva and her friends are alive. And they’ve returned home with the only chance the Windsworn have of defeating the Smelterborn.

Hope, however, will prove to be short-lived and bittersweet.

An army of iron golems marches west and nothing can stop them. To survive the coming war, the gryphon riders must stand with old enemies against the ancient darkness. As the fighting begins, a small band makes their way east on a desperate quest: to destroy the source of the Smelterborn’s power once and for all. Chances are, none of them will make it out alive.

Eva and Fury will be tested like never before. Heroes will fall. Kingdoms will shatter. The price of victory has never been higher.

Will Eva succeed in driving back the darkness or will everything she loves be crushed beneath the iron fist of the Smelterborn?

Don’t miss the epic conclusion of the Gryphon Riders Trilogy!

My Thoughts:

This started off with a review request for book #1, but turned into a marathon reading session of the entire series!

Windsworn (Gryphon Riders Trilogy #1), introduces us to Eva, a young girl who chances upon a thief in possession of a Gryphon egg. This part of the story will remind the reader of the Eragon series ( if you are a fan ), but later on the story takes on it’s own identity and the reader is taken on a wonderful adventure of discovery and learning. The entire series follows Eva’s journey as she learns to be a Gryphon rider, gains the trust of her Gryphon and forges new friendships. Having earned the trust of some of her peers and teachers, Eva, embarks on a journey to save the world from those seeking to destroy the Windsworn.

The plot thickens in Windswept (Book #2), where Eva discovers the truth behind her parentage and the chance that her father might be alive. Throwing caution to the winds, she takes off on a journey with some friends against all orders to discover the truth. Finally, in Windbreak (Book #3), Eva and the Windsworn must stand against the Smelterborn and also unite with others whom they previously considered to be enemies. Having learnt the secret to destroying the golems, Eva must do what she can to end it all. What ensues is a thrilling war that will have the reader on the edge of their seats.

Throughout the series, we follows Eva on her journey of growth, self-discovery and the search for the truth. This coming of age series is filled with adventure and action. The war sequences are well written and the entire plot comes together very well throughout the three books. The author keeps the plot simple but ensures that the reader is hooked until the end of not just a book, but the entire series. The supporting characters are well crafted and add a lot of spice to the book.

I am grateful to have been given the chance to read and review these books and I do recommend them for fans of fantasy adventures. Do give this series a shot!

Book Review: The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

About the Book:

The Priory of the Orange Tree

A world divided. A queendom without an heir. An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction – but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained to be a dragonrider since she was a child, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

My Thoughts:

I found this book while browsing through Instagram. There was a lot of posts about it and so much of praise. I knew that I had to read the book. It was the best decision I made.

Samantha Shannon weaves a world of fantasy, magic and dragons, that makes for a very compelling read. The story follows a great number of characters across various parts of the globe, mainly referred to based on the directions of North, South, East and West. Each direction has it’s own set of countries, rulers and stories. The author weaves them all together slowly, unraveling parts of the mystery and introducing us to many people.

As the story progresses, the reader has no choice but to keep going on. It is so well written, that the reader can imagine the scenes with ease. This helps to connect with the people and their surroundings. The story is filled with intrigue, mystery, love and magic. There is also some betrayal, a lot of hope, a strong sense of duty and bonds that grows among people from being united against a common enemy.

The story follows the lives of Ead, Sabran and Tané. Each have their own stories, their own secrets and a big role to play in this narrative. In addition, we have a lot of supporting characters who play pivotal roles in shaping the happenings in the story. The characters are strong and well crafted making it easy for the reader to connect with them and understand them. Each of the characters are tested when their faith comes into question, as well as when they are forced to take decisions that would change the course of their lives forever. This has been very beautifully depicted and the companionship between some of the characters is heart-warming.

I absolutely loved this book and the journey I took with the characters as they navigated their lives and finally moved towards the fight with an ancient enemy. I strongly recommend this book to all the readers out there! This is worth the read!