Review: The Rise of Sivagami by Anand Neelakantan

About the Book:

The Rise of Sivagami (Baahubali: Before the Beginning, Book 1)

Blessed by the sacred Gauriparvat, Mahishmathi is an empire of abundance. The powerful kingdom is flourishing under its king, who enjoys the support and loyalty of his subjects, down to his lowly slaves. But is everything really as it appears, or is the empire hiding its own dirty secret?

Orphaned at a young age and wrenched away from her foster family, Sivagami is waiting for the day she can avenge the death of her beloved father, cruelly branded a traitor. Her enemy? None other than the king of Mahishmathi. With unflinching belief in her father’s innocence, the fiery young orphan is driven to clear his name and destroy the empire of Mahishmathi against all odds. How far can she go in her audacious journey?

From the pen of masterful storyteller and bestselling author Anand Neelakantan, comes The Rise of Sivagami, the first book in the series Baahubali: Before the Beginning. A tale of intrigue and power, revenge and betrayal, the revelations in The Rise of Sivagami will grip the reader and not let go.

My Thoughts:

I am sure all of you out there have watched Baahubali 1 and 2. Most of us have come to love the characters but as with most movies, we do not get to know some of the characters well. In this case, with the focus of the movie plot on Baahubali (first the father and then the son – who share the same second name), we are introduced to some very strong and compelling characters about whom we don’t know much.

This book, the first in a trilogy, seeks to close the gaps and give us an insight into those characters who definitely need to be explained. The major questions of – Who are they? Where are they from? How did they get to where they are today? – are brought up and the author seeks to give us the answers.

Sivagami, the strong-willed lady, who is ruthless with her decisions, is a woman who brings out the curiosity in people. Since the movies do not give us anything about her or how she came to be the Queen, this book tells us her story. A girl from humble beginnings, with a thirst for revenge, Sivagami is portrayed as head strong and determined. She takes her time to plot and plan, showing us the strength and cunning in her nature while at the same time, we are shown how much she cares for her friends and can go to any length to protect them.

The book also talks about Kattappa in his youth, at a time when he is just starting out, along with intricate details about his life, his father and brother. It is a completely different person that we are shown, which might take you by surprise, but remember, he is still an unsure youth, trying to understand and find his place in the world. His part of the story, running parallel, talks about his struggle to accept the way the world is.

This prequel has a lot of subplots and twists, bringing out the darkness of the times and the conspiracies and corruption behind the doors of the kingdom. Everyone has an agenda and something to hide. The characters are all portrayed in shades of grey, making us believe that they aren’t as bad as they actually are. Though the story is well written, there are many times when many of the characters introduced do not inspire empathy, in-spite of the dire circumstances. There is so much that seems to be cluttered together into this first part. It feels more like a rant on the system than a portrayal of emotions that arise due to the circumstances, with the nobles and the slaves, and then those who take advantage of and abuse their power!

Pushing these flaws to the side, the story has immense potential and brings out a feeling of nostalgia and a slight sense of satisfaction of knowing who these characters are. Of course, this is just the beginning, there is more to come!

 

Release Blitz: Amniwar by Adam Reese

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33957848Amniwar by Adam Reese

Genre: Science Fiction Suspense
Series: Amniwar Trilogy, Book One
Publication Date: February 21, 2017

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Humans are in danger of extinction due to the multiple world wars that have progressively shaken the fabric of society. The government discovers a leak, leading them to a Navy Captain’s son, Aaron Lambright. Their desperate actions to bring silence to the secret Aaron holds is only the beginning of a sinister plot to bring the nation kneeling before tyranny.

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Book Review: The Lost Daughter of India by Sharon Maas

About the Book:

One woman. One impossible choice. Her daughter or her happiness …

When Caroline meets Kamal the attraction is instant. He’s enchanting, charismatic and she can’t wait to set up a new life with him in India. Both their families are against the union but Caroline is convinced they’ll come round, especially when she gives birth to a beautiful daughter, Asha.

Asha is an adorable child but Caroline, homesick and beginning to hate the remote Indian village they live in, struggles with motherhood. Kamal is hardly ever there and she feels more and more isolated. In the grips of severe depression Caroline flees back to America, leaving Asha behind.

Ten years later …

Caroline recovered from her illness, is consumed by thoughts of the daughter she abandoned. Desperate to find Asha, she reunites with Kamal, intent on tracking her down. Will they ever be able to find their lost daughter? If they have any chance, they must confront the painful truths of the past and a terrible secret that has been kept for many years, until now.

A heart-breaking and beautifully written story of loss, secrets and the strength of a mother’s love against all odds. If you enjoyed Diane Chamberlain and Lucinda Riley then this book will find its way into your heart and stay there. 

My Thoughts:

The main premise of the book, child trafficking and prostitution, is rather relevant and important for everyone to be aware of. The story focuses on that when Asha is kidnapped and sold away. Well, going back a little, the story starts of by introducing us to Kamal and Caroline, going back and forth in time to give us insights into them and Asha, their in the present time. The story also consists of some other very important characters, one of them being Janiki, Asha’s foster sister and a kind of mother figure.

The author has brought out the plot decently, but there is a lot of repetition and this forced me to lose interest in the book a little. Once a point is emphasised, there is no need to keep talking about it again and again. This was a major deterrent. Other than this, the characters were well developed with a good amount of depth. All the players had a role to play and the author has done some amount of justice in her description of India. On one side she has shown us the glamorous parts, or what people assume it to be, and on the other she has brought out the underlying truth behind most of the glamour surrounding the country. It is not as exotic as most foreigners seem to think and this is emphasised through Caroline’s character who has a love-hate relationship with the country, starting off with a romanticised notion since her childhood.

The story progresses to focus on Asha’s life after her parents leave her to grow up with her foster parents (though foster isn’t exactly the right word. They are a family who take her in and love her as much as her parents, sometimes even more). Set in Madras and Bombay, the author brings out some harsh realities, forcing the reader to pause and think. Some of the scenes have been described very well and the attention to detail in them makes up for the negative points. It is also clear that a good amount of research has gone into this book and that makes the information more authentic and believable.

The story is filled with heart-break but brings out the importance of family and the lengths to which people will go to rescue the ones they love. It also shows us the ways a persons ideas can affect and influence their decisions. I recommend this book mainly for the plot line and idea that the author is trying to portray and make us aware of.

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Book Review: Chameleon by Zoe Kalo

CHAMELEON

By

Zoe Kalo

4019c-chameleon

Genre: YA/Gothic/Ghost/Multicultural

Word count: 55,000

Release date: February 2017

Premise:

Kicked out of school, 17-year old Paloma finds herself in an isolated convent in the tropical forests of 1970s Puerto Rico, where she must overcome her psychosis in order to help a spirit and unveil a killer.

Blurb:

An isolated convent, a supernatural presence, a dark secret…

17-year-old Paloma only wanted to hold a séance to contact her dead father. She never thought she would be kicked out of school and end up in an isolated convent. Now, all she wants is to be left alone. But slowly, she develops a bond with a group of girls: kind-hearted Maria, insolent Silvy, pathological liar Adelita, and their charismatic leader Rubia. When, yet again, Paloma holds a séance in the hope of contacting her father, she awakens an entity that has been dormant for years. And then, the body count begins. Someone doesn’t want the secret out…

Are the ghost and Paloma’s suspicions real—or only part of her growing paranoia and delusions?

My Thoughts:

A dark psychological thriller, this story has just the right amount of paranormal and psychosis to spook the reader a little. The story emphasizes on the bonds people form in life and how each one affects the person. Keeping secrets, guarding them at the expense of others’ lives also plays a major role in the plot line. The story is well written and will send chills down your spine at some places. It is easy to relate to some of the characters, their feelings and thoughts.

The author has a unique style of expression which is evident across all her works and is quite pronounced in this story. She has ensured that this book is as different from the others and that the reader will be hooked until the end. There is no stopping once you take the first step into the story.

As Paloma tries to deal with the death of her father, she encounters a group of girls who share strange bonds with each other at an isolated convent. She is sent there by her mother and step-father, with the intent of reform. Little does she know that she will stumble upon some well kept secrets that threaten to come out once she is there. Who knows to what extent a person will go to protect the ones they love and their secrets? The author also highlights the power of suggestion and how trust plays a major role in a persons life. As dark and tragic as this book may be, it has a lot of lessons that are relevant. Though a little slow on the uptake, give the story a chance and pursue it.

A wonderful read, with well developed characters, the right amount of darkness associated with them and the plot, this is worth a read!

Cover Reveal: Chameleon by Zoe Kalo

~ Cover Reveal ~
Chameleon by Zoe Kalo
Genre: YA/Gothic/Ghost/Multicultural
Word Count: 55,000
Release Date: February 2017

Premise:
Kicked out of school, 17-year old Paloma finds herself in an isolated convent in the tropical forests of 1970s Puerto Rico, where she must overcome her psychosis in order to help a spirit and unveil a killer.

Blurb:

An isolated convent, a supernatural presence, a dark secret…

17-year-old Paloma only wanted to hold a séance to contact her dead father. She never thought she would be kicked out of school and end up in an isolated convent. Now, all she wants is to be left alone. But slowly, she develops a bond with a group of girls: kind-hearted Maria, insolent Silvy, pathological liar Adelita, and their charismatic leader Rubia. When, yet again, Paloma holds a séance in the hope of contacting her father, she awakens an entity that has been dormant for years. And then, the body count begins. Someone doesn’t want the secret out…

Are the ghost and Paloma’s suspicions real—or only part of her growing paranoia and delusions?

About the Author:
A certified bookworm, Zoe Kalo has always been obsessed with books and reading. Reading led to writing—compulsively. No surprise that at 16, she wrote her first novel, which her classmates read and passed around secretly. The pleasure of writing and sharing her fantasy worlds has stayed with her, so now she wants to pass her stories to you with no secrecy—but with lots of mystery…
A daughter of adventurous expats, she’s had the good fortune of living on 3 continents, learning 4 languages, and experiencing a multicultural life. Currently, she’s working on a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature, which she balances between writing, taking care of her clowder of cats, and searching for the perfect bottle of pinot noir.

 
Connect with Zoe Kalo on the web:

Cover Reveal: A Way Back Into Love by Veronica Thatcher

~ Cover Reveal ~
A Way Back Into Love by Veronica Thatcher
5th January, 2017

About the Book:

Nothing is perfect. Life is messy. Relationships are complex. Outcomes, uncertain. People, irrational. But love… Well, that makes complicates everything complicated. When you are caught in a tangled web of secrets, lies, and complex affairs, someone is bound to get burned.

Emily Stevens is a spunky, spirited college girl whose life is turned upside-down when she realizes she’s in love with her best friend of fifteen years, Derek Thorpe. As Emily prepares to confess her feelings to Derek, something happens one night which changes her life forever. Five years later, Emily finds herself in Boston, alone and heartbroken. Will she ever be able to forget the past? And what will she find when she returns home… to the man she left behind?

About the Author:

Veronica Thatcher is an exciting new contemporary romance author. Ever since she was very young, she’s dreamed of becoming a doctor when she grew up. While still forging ahead with that, majoring in pre-med in college, she unwittingly stumbled upon a new dream—becoming a published author. Some may call her an introvert or a wallflower, but she has always found she could express herself better in written, rather than spoken, words. However, never in her wildest dreams had she envisioned she would pursue writing as a prospective career, not just a hobby. Her love for writing goes hand-in-hand with her love for a good romance novel—whether it be a feel-good, sweet romance or a dark, suspenseful one. When she’s not studying, reading, or writing, she is usually found blasting her favourite songs, sometimes singing and dancing along to them.  She dabbles in a number of activities, including painting, karate, singing and dancing. She is a huge chocoholic – probably the biggest – and she is an ice-cream junkie too. She considers herself technologically handicapped forever and has no shame in admitting that. She also deems chocolates her boyfriend, Patrick Dempsey the love of her life, and Friends her life!

Her first book, A Way Back Into Love, is slated for release in February 2017, and she hopes readers will enjoy it as much as she enjoyed writing it. You can reach Veronica through Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Wattpad and Gmail.

Contact the Author:
FB Page * FB Profile * Twitter * Wattpad

Review: All the Breaking Waves by Kerry Lonsdale

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

About the Book:

All the Breaking Waves

From the bestselling author of Everything We Keep comes a gripping tale of long-buried secrets, the strength of forgiveness, and the healing power of returning home for good.

After a harrowing accident tore her family apart, Molly Brennan fled from the man she loved and the tragic mistake she made.

Twelve years later, Molly has created a new life for herself and her eight-year-old daughter, Cassie. The art history professor crafts jewelry as unique and weathered as the surf-tumbled sea glass she collects, while raising her daughter in a safe and loving environment—something Molly never had. But when Cassie is plagued by horrific visions and debilitating nightmares, Molly is forced to return to the one place she swore she’d never move back to—home to Pacific Grove.

A riveting exploration of love, secrets, and motherhood, All the Breaking Waves is the poignant story of a woman who discovers she must confront her past, let go of her guilt, and summon everything in her power to save her daughter.

My Thoughts:

A heartfelt novel, All the Breaking Waves brings together a mixture of psychic abilities and family drama. The main focus is on the bonds of family and the importance to forgive and move on. The protagonist, Molly, has hidden within her a secret for twelve years. This has caused her to run away from her home and from her grandmother. When her daughter turns out to have terrible visions and nightmares, she is forced to return to the very house she had run from to seek her grandmother’s help. Forced to face the demons of her past, she doesn’t expect to come face to face with the man she had loved so many years ago and still did. She also had to deal with some revelations about her grandmother and eventually her past.

The author has written the story really well, beautifully blending these various aspects of the plot. She gives her characters a rather magical look and adds the same touch to her style of writing. The concept of sea glass and jewellery making with it is intriguing. Also, the author alternates between the present time and narration of events in the past and this flow happens flawlessly, making it easier for the reader to understand the events that have crafted our characters and made them who they were. Our protagonist is also forced to deal with her abilities, apart from those of her daughter’s and to accept that she can do more good than harm if she just tried.

A wonderful story, this teaches us the importance of family and the necessity to stick together and talk things out always. Throw in some romance a charming little girl and we have a great mix! A good read, strongly recommended for those who enjoy a good romance with a character who has an interesting psychic ability.