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Friday, 24 April 2015

The Walls Around Us

Presenting The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma.

Here is the summary of the book:

“Ori’s dead because of what happened out behind the theater, in the tunnel made out of trees. She’s dead because she got sent to that place upstate, locked up with those monsters. And she got sent there because of me.”

The Walls Around Us is a ghostly story of suspense told in two voices—one still living and one long dead. On the outside, there’s Violet, an eighteen-year-old dancer days away from the life of her dreams when something threatens to expose the shocking truth of her achievement. On the inside, within the walls of a girls’ juvenile detention center, there’s Amber, locked up for so long she can’t imagine freedom. Tying these two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls’ darkest mysteries.

We hear Amber’s story and Violet’s, and through them Orianna’s, first from one angle, then from another, until gradually we begin to get the whole picture—which is not necessarily the one that either Amber or Violet wants us to see.

Nova Ren Suma tells a supernatural tale of guilt and innocence, and what happens when one is mistaken for the other.


"Your focus determines your reality" ...... sorry couldn't resist quoting Star Wars here but seriously readers this book requires your focus because if you loose that then you will never be able to make a head or tail of this complex-ly marvelous convoluted piece of part psychological thriller, part magical realism extravaganza. Its a bit long, rather depressing, and somewhat confusing, messes with the head and you just can't help not ask - "What the hell is going on here?"

This is my first time with Nova Ren Suma and I exactly did just that. Don't take me otherwise, I liked it actually ..... very much. My point is, the plot is a rather mysterious complicated fuzzy mess, so you really need the concentration to understand what is going on or you will just keep re-reading stuff. The Walls Around Us tells its story through two girls, Amber & Violet. One convicted of killing her stepfather, the other an aspiring Ballerina with too much ambition for her own good ..... and through their voices we come to know the person of interest Orianna, known to all as the 'Bloody Ballerina'.

In a way this is the most depressing book I ever read, so while I recommend small doses, I found the approach of full steam ahead much better. Tauntingly mysterious, with its fair share of murder, corpses, guilt, derision, juve, acute mental disorders and plain erratic story tellers (Amber & Violet). this turns out to be a bumpy ride ..... Who is lying? Who is real? Does it all really happen or is it all a product of their minds.

The story is of course difficult to follow. But that is where the fun lies. Little by little as the layers peel off you start to appreciate the genius of the author because we jump timelines between the the girls which would not be clear if you don't focus. Really the book is one big puzzle and Nova Ren Suma, the master manipulator pulling the strings pulls us readers into her dark and eerie tale kicking & screaming and little willing ..... because at the end of it what really is in our heads is that - 'I am not putting it down until I find out the ending'.

It takes time to deduce the ending but really, it is a challenging piece, atmospheric, provocative, quite disturbing and immensely satisfying. I have come to associate the eerie and dark where Ballet is considered with the psychological thriller genre .... just look at the movie 'Black Swan'. Anyways you have made a new fan in me Nova Ren Suma.

"A mysteriously provocative and eerily tragic number with a ghostly touch"

Genre :     Young Adult, Paranormal, Magical Realism, Psychological Thriller

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Release Date: 24th March, 2015

My Copy: publisher & netgalley

Rate:             4/5 (Really Liked It)

Buy:         Amazon | Book Depository 

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Crewel World #2 Altered

Presenting Crewel World #2 Altered by Gennifer Albin.

Here is the summary of the book:

Life. Possibility. Choice.
All taken from Adelice by the Guild—until she took them back.

But amid the splendid ruins of Earth, Adelice discovers how dangerous freedom can be. Hunted by soulless Remnants sent by Cormac Patton and the Guild, Adelice finds a world that’s far from deserted. Although allies are easy to find on Earth, knowing who to trust isn’t. Because everyone has secrets, especially those Adelice loves most. Secrets they would kill to protect. Secrets that will redefine each of them. Torn between two brothers and two worlds, Adelice must choose what to fight for.

In this thrilling sequel to Crewel, Adelice is about to learn how tangled up her past and future really are. Her parents ran to protect her, but nothing can save her from her destiny, and once she uncovers the truth, it will change everything.


Crewel presented the magic. Altered presented the science behind the magic. Sequel to the brilliantly written 'Crewel', 'Altered' serves as the perfect addition to the Crewel World series. Crewel showed us Arras. Altered shows the post-apocalyptic Earth, left barren and desolate by Arras' leeching. And it was a long time coming. Taking off where Crewel left off, continuing Adelice, Jost and Eric's journey on Earth.

By all extents and purposes, Earth in a gray area. Run by a man with his own agenda. Earth is a world limping on the slow way to recovery. Arras may represent a formal setting, with all things proper, Earth on the other hand represents the ruins and the civilization on its last legs in this futuristic society. Sunrruners (harvest & collect sunlight), Remanants (soulless zombies) and the introduction of new characters gives this sequel much to tell about. This by no means is a bridge story guys, standing on its own two feet more like.

And if you think Crewel packed some mean punch then think again because whatever you thought would not be possible, comes to pass in Altered. With the introduction of new characters like Dante, Jax, Falcon, Kincaid and the man behind Kairos himself, things begin to spiral out and Adelice has no idea what to do with the situation. The romance on the other other hand goes full blown triangle. And in between Adelice with the help from Dante tries to get a handle on her ability in uncharted space, Earth's raw weave.

Of course, what is going to happen in 'Unraveled' is still up in the air (for me) but I will say this, Gennifer Albin you rock.'Crewel' introduces us to a fantastic futuristic society where almost anything can be achieved, where the art of weaving means something much more real and much more dangerous. Then 'Altered' followed. A sensational follow up with higher stakes and much more ground to cover. I am uncertain who to support - Jost or Eric, brothers with a past (much partial to Jost) ...... but hopefully the last book will clear that up and make for fitting finale to this most singular and breathtaking piece of literature.

"An enticingly sensational and an unforgettable sequel"

Genre :      Young Adult, Sci-fi, Dystopia, Post-Apocalyptic, Romance

PublisherFarrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Release Date: 29th October, 2013

My Copy: bought (ebook)

Rate:              4/5 (Really Liked It)

Other Books in the series (review links):
                #1 Crewel

Buy:           Amazon | Book Depository 

Friday, 17 April 2015

Wells and Wong #2 Arsenic for Tea

Presenting Wells and Wong #2 Arsenic for Tea by Robin Stevens.

Here is the summary of the book:

Schoolgirl detectives Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are at Daisy's home, Fallingford, for the holidays. Daisy's glamorous mother is throwing a tea party for Daisy's birthday, and the whole family is invited, from eccentric Aunt Saskia to dashing Uncle Felix. But it soon becomes clear that this party isn't really about Daisy at all. Naturally, Daisy is furious.

Then one of their party falls seriously, mysteriously ill—and everything points to poison.

With wild storms preventing anyone from leaving, or the police from arriving, Fallingford suddenly feels like a very dangerous place to be. Not a single person present is what they seem—and everyone has a secret or two. And when someone very close to Daisy looks suspicious, the Detective Society must do everything they can to reveal the truth... no matter the consequences.


Our joyous pair of school girl detectives Daisy Wells & Hazel Wong are back for another spiffing case. Its the holidays and they (Daisy & Hazel) are at Fallingford, Daisy's home for her birthday. Invited are family, friends and few extras for a birthday tea. And one of the lot doesn't see the light of the next day/ With storm raging and floods setting in, home suddenly feels much more dangerous.

No matter the consequences or the suspects involved, Wells & Wong must find out the killer before something bad happens. Robin Stevens really did wonders to these two girl. Just like 'Murder Most Unladylike', the Detective Society has taken to detecting again because the adults are keeping big secrets and the suspect likely points to someone close.

Of course Hazel's running commentary is welcomed again and appreciated as she compares the quirks of her own home to those of Fallingford and high strung Daisy who must battle her own fears to do what is right. Despite the stark differences in their appearances or country, these two best friends make a stellar pair. The brash English Rose (Daisy) and the voice of reason (Hazel). A tighter mystery than before, the detective society must sniff out who ruined the tea party and save the day again.

"A new and equally knotty case close to home for our audaciously bold school girl detectives Well & Wong"

Genre :      Children's, Adventure, Suspense, Mystery, Historical

PublisherCorgi Childrens

Release Date: 29th January, 2015

My Copy: publisher and netgalley

Rate:              4/5 (Really Liked It)

Other Books in the series (review links):
                #1 Murder Most Unladylike 

Buy:           Amazon | Book Depository 

Friday, 10 April 2015

Cormoran Strike #2 The Silkworm

Presenting Cormoran Strike #2 The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling).

Here is the summary of the book:

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, she just thinks he has gone off by himself for a few days - as he has done before - and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realises. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were published it would ruin lives - so there are a lot of people who might want to silence him.

And when Quine is found brutally murdered in bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any he has encountered before . . .

A compulsively readable crime novel with twists at every turn,The Silkworm is the second in the highly acclaimed series featuring Cormoran Strike and his determined young assistant Robin Ellacott.


A missing husband. A dubiously libellous book. Its less than famous author and his less than fortcoming literary circle. Solving the Lula Landry case, afforded Cormoran Strike much success and a pool of rich clients vying for his services to tail their lovers/better halves. When chance comes in the name of Leonara Quine, looking for assitance in the return of a wayward husband, what appears a simple case turns out to be much more intrinsic and of mysterious proportions.

Cormoran Strike and sidekick Robin Ellacott are back eight months after the Landry case, neck deep yet again in a new case that may have been a spur of the moment decision but turns out to be even more nerve wreaking than what they have dealt with before. 'The Cuckoo Calling' set the corner stones and 'The Silkworm' ploughs on ahead. What started as a missing person case turns into the most curiouser of a murder, with a Hannibal-esque (bizarre) murder of the author and a calculating ruthless murderer on the loose.

Rowling is a master. Really to envision an idea and to put it into such perfectly suited words. A compact and complex plot with its many layers. This particular case sets the perfect tone for the suspense and thrill. Everything is there, well ordered and well paced...... Just as unputdownable and attention grabbing as the first book was...... The Silkworm raises the bar considerably higher and I am more than excited to see what new, mysterious case comes knocking on Cormoran Strike's door.

"Mysterious, suspicious and maddeningly terrific"

Genre :      Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

PublisherSphere

Release Date: 19th June, 2014

My Copy: bought (paperback)

Rate:              5/5 (It was Amazing)

Other Books from the Author:
                Cormoran Strike #1
                The Casual Vacancy
               Harry Potter (i read the series before 
                   I began blogging, so I never put up 
                     a review for them)
    
Buy:           Amazon | Book Depository

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Wells and Wong #1 Murder Most Unladylike

Presenting Wells and Wong #1 Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens.

Here is the summary of the book:

Deepdean School for Girls, 1934. When Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong set up their very own deadly secret detective agency, they struggle to find any truly exciting mysteries to investigate. (Unless you count the case of Lavinia's missing tie. Which they don't, really.)

But then Hazel discovers the Science Mistress, Miss Bell, lying dead in the Gym. She thinks it must all have been a terrible accident - but when she and Daisy return five minutes later, the body has disappeared. Now the girls know a murder must have taken place . . . and there's more than one person at Deepdean with a motive.

Now Hazel and Daisy not only have a murder to solve: they have to prove a murder happened in the first place. Determined to get to the bottom of the crime before the killer strikes again (and before the police can get there first, naturally), Hazel and Daisy must hunt for evidence, spy on their suspects and use all the cunning, scheming and intuition they can muster. But will they succeed? And can their friendship stand the test?


Its charming. Its fun. Its refreshingly young. Its Sherlock Holmes & Dr. Watson in a rather younger female version. Set in a 1930s boarding school for girls, sees Daisy Wells & Hazel Wong, members of the Detective Society, cunningly battle lessons, Masters & Mistresses, peers and fellow dorm mates, relish some well deserved Bunbreaks, all the while on the lookout for a nice new case to solve and crime to detect ...... Or so says Daisy Wells' detective novels.

But real lie comes knocking when Hazel discovers the dead body of their science mistress Ms. Bell but when she raises the alarm the body mysteriously vanishes ..... warranting the services of the Wells & Wong Detective Society as they go on gathering evidences, eliminating alibis and suspects when nobody knows what actually happened to Ms. Bell.

Daisy and Hazel were of course the best part. The perfect English Rose Daisy (or as much you would expect of a child) and the Oriental girl from Hong Kong Hazel because of which she is treated differently by everyone. Her peers have some very weird habits and quirks and reading Hazel's running commentary at the most opportune moments put a smile on all our faces seeing as she is the voice of the book. Their friendship is a little complicated but it is interesting to see them go through highs and lows and stay tight as they are.

They are not your conventional detectives either, nor do they possess the means to investigate like grownups do so it is really interesting to see them achieve their objectives with such cleverness and dexterity with the limited amount of freedom they are afforded. A well crafted and refreshingly cunning new whodunit through the eyes of third formers. I am pretty sure that Daisy & Hazel are even younger than the Secret 7, Famous Five, Nancy Drew and those Hardy Boys .... So that's something isn't it ..... Bravo girls.

"Wells & Wong take us by storm"

Genre :     Children's, Adventure, Suspense, Mystery, Historical

Publisher: Corgi Childrens

Release Date: 5th June, 2014

My Copy: bought (ebook)

Rate:             4/5 (Really Liked It)

Buy:         Amazon | Book Depository 

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Cormoran Strike #1 The Cuckoo's Calling

Presenting Cormoran Strike #1 The Cuckoo Calling by Rober Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling).

Here is the summary of the book:

When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case. A war veteran, wounded both physically and psychologically, Strike's life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model's complex world, the darker things get - and the closer he gets to terrible danger.

A gripping, elegant mystery steeped in the atmosphere of London - from the hushed streets of Mayfair, to the backstreet pubs of the East End, to the bustle of Soho - The Cuckoo's Calling is a remarkable debut. Introducing Cormoran Strike, it is a classic crime novel unlike any other book you will read this year.


J.K. Rowling is back with a bang. After 'Harry Potter' and then 'The Casual Vacancy' comes this surprisingly engaging whodunit suspense/thriller with a competent and ingenious Private Detective in the form of Cormoran Strike, who we can't help but like. Of course The Cuckoo's Calling comes to us not under Ms. Rowling's own name but under a pseudonym Robert Galbraith (notice this seems to be the pseudonym of another author as well) .. Only later did it come out that it was Rowling who wrote it ...... and what a plot it is too.

War veteran. Disabled and just broken up from his girlfriend and struggling in debts. Cormoran Strike strikes gold when he is hired to solve the suspicious suicide of model Lula Landry by her adoptive brother John Bristow. With his dubiously gigantic appearance, a rather eidetic memory and logically sound mind, Cormoran Strike was an instant favorite. Add in ecstatically enthusiastic secretary Robin who had always nurtured the secret desire to be an investigator, you get one hell of a good team and an instant hit book. 

Reads like a champ this book does. There is a certain flow to the written words that just keeps you hooked. You start from the first page and by the time you realize, you will have progressed much in the book ..... And this is what I admire most about a book, its ability to keep us tethered. The suspense, the thrill, the clues and most of all Strike's way of reasoning were what had us wondering .... who did it.

Of course, Rowling maintains the suspense till the end and we are rightly left astounded by the reveal of the murderer. Admittedly I only got this book after it became known that she had written it but really it deserves all the praises. There is a new an competent detective on the horizon. With a well balanced and well developed plot, The Cuckoo's Calling easily ranks as some of the best whodunit fiction of recent years. While I liked Casual Vacancy, it will still come third to 'Harry Potter' and 'Cormoran Strike'.

I have already read 'The Silkworm' and of course loved it too ..... so stay tuned for my review of it. A gem, this book is most certainly a gem.

"Utterly compelling and irrevocably unputdownable"

Genre :      Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

PublisherSphere

Release Date: 13th February, 2014

My Copy: bought (paperback)

Rate:              5/5 (It was Amazing)

Other Books from the Author:
                The Casual Vacancy
               Harry Potter (i read the series before 
                   I began blogging, so I never put up 
                     a review for them)
    
Buy:           Amazon | Book Depository

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Soulfinders #1 Shadow Study

Presenting Soulfinders #1 Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder.

Here is the summary of the book:

Once, only her own life hung in the balance…

When Yelena was a poison taster, her life was simpler. She survived to become a vital part of the balance of power between rival countries Ixia and Sitia.

Now she uses her magic to keep the peace in both lands—and protect her relationship with Valek.
Suddenly, though, dissent is rising. And Valek’s job—and his life—are in danger.
As Yelena tries to uncover her enemies, she faces a new challenge: her magic is blocked.And now she must find a way to keep not only herself but all that she holds dear alive.

A CHRONICLES OF IXIA NOVEL


I may be jumping in the middle of the fray but this book was what I needed tog et out of the reading slump I have been in for a few weeks. I confess I haven't read any of the 'Chronicles of Ixia' series/books yet. That said I was hesitant because there were bound to be allusions to previous instances that may have happened in the earlier stories and I would not have understood it at all but I took a chance and was rewarded.

'Shadow Study' may not introduce us to the characters and just jumps in the actions but first timers will feel at ease. Snyder did a great job of summarizing their backgrounds for us to feel familiar with them.

Yelena, Valek, Janco, Ari and their fantastical world of Ixia. A world of magic, mystery and adventure. While a few instances did puzzle me but I was able to overlook that and enjoy it as it is. Shadow Study is a perfectly well written fantasy and I enjoyed it very much.

Yelena and Valek I loved very much. Yelena felt like the typical YA heroine. She is headstrong, independent, honorable, faces danger headlong notwithstanding that she could come to harm. Although she feels herself vulnerable without her powers but her intuitive nature is more than enough substitute for the deficiencies of the situation.

Valek is the heart-mate to Yelena. He is the loyal subject, the ardent lover and the crafty assassin of our story. The designated protector, he takes his job pretty seriously. His were the chapters that provided the most history. While Yelena and Valek did not spend much time together seeing as they were rather tied up with their issues but for the start of spin-off, they hit it off rather well. Of course, Janco's perspective alongside Yelena's & Valek's seemed a bit weird but seeing as (again I mention) I am not as familiar with the characters as I would have liked, I took it as it is.

All in all, I was pleased with what I found. Snyder has penned a well balanced fantasy. The instances. The scene changes. The twists & turns and the three perspective changes. Maria V. Snyder did a damn great job laying out all the pieces while keeping the mystery & suspense of the plot well under order. At last I would only say this while you would like this very much but make to read the other Chronicle of Ixia books first to be able to enjoy it the most ..... Seriously though Shadow Study proved to be a well endowed reading material and I don't regret any part of it.

"A captivating new fantasy and a return to the fantastic land of Ixia"
Genre :     Young Adult, High Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

Release Date: 24th February, 2015

My Copy: publisher & netgalley

Rate:             4/5 (Really Liked It)

Series by Author(only those reviewed on blog):
         Healer #1 #2 #3

Buy:         Amazon | Book Depository 

Thursday, 26 March 2015

YA BOUND BOOK TOURS: Diamond Sisters Book Blitz


The Secret Diamond Sisters (The Secret Diamond Sisters #1)
Release Date: 02/25/14
Harlequin Teen
381 pages

Summary from Goodreads:
Savannah. Courtney. Peyton.

The three sisters grew up not knowing their father and not quite catching a break. But it looks like their luck is about to change when they find out the secret identity of their long-lost dad—a billionaire Las Vegas hotel owner who wants them to come live in a gorgeous penthouse hotel suite.

Suddenly the Strip's most exclusive clubs are all-access, and with an unlimited credit card each, it should be easier than ever to fit right in. But in a town full of secrets and illusion, fitting in is nothing compared to finding out the truth about their past.

Buy Links:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | Book Depository | iBookstore

Praise:
"Sexy and often electrifying ... Gossip Girl meets The Princess Diaries in a city that never sleeps." 
--Booklist

"This quick and entertaining read is filled with glitz and glamour ... get ready for one crazy and fabulous ride." 
--RT Book Reviews

Book Two:

Diamonds in the Rough (The Secret Diamond Sisters #2)
Release Date: 10/28/14
Harlequin Teen
448

Summary from Goodreads:
All-access doesn't mean no problems.

The three Diamond sisters survived the summer in style after coming to live with their long-lost billionaire father. But making a place for themselves at their exclusive new Las Vegas private school is throwing them any number of gold-plated curves. Savannah's YouTube stardom turns into a Sweet Sixteen reality show extravaganza—with complimentary enemies on the side. Dangerous flirtations don't keep Peyton from a gamble that will risk far more than she planned to bet. And when Courtney and the sisters' archenemy, Madison, uncover two explosive secrets, it will rock even this town of glittering illusion—and turn their lives upside down all over again.

Sisterhood, first crushes, and scandalous secrets explode in book two of Michelle Madow's riveting series, The Secret Diamond Sisters.



COURTNEY DIAMOND

The fireworks started before either of them could say anything more, bursts of light shooting into the desert sky, bigger than any firework show Courtney had seen in Fairfield. It was impossible to ignore the electricity bouncing between the inches of space separating her and Brett, dancing across her skin with each boom overhead. She couldn’t stop glancing at him from the corner of her eye. He looked lost in thought, although sometimes she swore she caught him watching her, too. This went on for twenty minutes, and then came the finale—shot after shot of fireworks exploding, without a second’s break between them. Some sored into their air like comets and others spread like meteor showers, filling up miles of sky.

When it was over, Courtney was sitting so close to Brett that their arms were an inch from touching.

“How did you like it?” he asked, not making an effort to move away.

“I loved it,” she replied. “Thanks for bringing me.”

Her head felt fuzzy, and she pushed a strand of hair behind her ear, her arm brushing his. She stilled at the touch, and he looked at her with more intensity than he had the entire night.

“Are you two ready to leave?” Dawn destroyed the moment, standing up and brushing invisible dust off her jeans.

Courtney jerked backward, torn out of her trance. If the others hadn’t been there, what would have happened between her and Brett? She’d never kissed a guy before, but from the way he was looking at her, she felt like he’d wanted to kiss her. And if he had, she wasn’t sure she would have stopped him.

She shook her head at the thought. Courtney had never broken a rule in her life.

Whatever had just occurred between her and Brett could never happen again.



About the Author
Michelle Madow was inspired to write The Secret Diamond Sisters series while walking through her favorite hotel in Las Vegas. The next book in the series, Diamonds in the Rough, launches in October. Prior to The Secret Diamond Sisters, she successfully self-published The Transcend Time Saga. A tireless promoter of her work, Michelle is active on social media networks and has toured across America to promote her books and encourage high school students to embrace reading and writing. A graduate of Rollins College, Michelle lives in Florida ... but she loves going to Vegas.

To chat with Michelle and other fans about her books, joinMichelle Madow's Street Team on Facebook!


Author Links:
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GIVEAWAY:
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Book Blitz Organized by:

The Avatari

Presenting The Avatari by Raghu Srinivasan.

Here is the summary of the book:

A Mythical Kingdom: Legend has it that only those chosen by destiny can gain entry into Shambhala, the mythical kingdom believed to hold the ancient wisdom that humanity will need to resurrect itself from the inevitable apocalypse. They are the Avatari.

An Ancient Artefact: When Henry Ashton, a retired British Army officer settled in the Yorkshire dales, receives a letter from a monk entreating him to prevent a hidden treasure stolen from a Laotian monastery from being misused, he finds himself honour-bound to respond. Assisted by a retired Gurkha Sergeant, a high-strung mathematician from Oxford with a Shambhala fixation of her own and an American mercenary on the CIAs hit list, Ashtons mission leads to an ancient map that dates back to the time of the great Mongol, Kublai Khan.

A Secret that Must Not be Revealed: The group follows the trail, risking the perils of the inhospitable deserts of Ladakh, turmoil in Pakistan and the rugged mountains of Northern Afghanistan, where the Afghan War is at its height. But they are up against a deadly adversary with seemingly unlimited resources, who will stop at nothing to get possession of the anicent secret a secret that, if revealed, could threaten the very fabric of human civilization.


Finally a book by an Indian author that begs attention. I can count on one hand, the many modern Indian thriller that I like and it is not much. But I am pleased to proclaim that Raghu Srinivasan's The Avatari makes the quota for the well liked and the well developed thriller it is. Although the plainness of the cover did much to dissuade me, seeing as there are many books that sport much better looking eye-catching covers ...... but I persisted and was well rewarded.

Majorly set in 1986 and spanning across all of time. Following the death of a Buddhist lama in a monastery, retired British Army Officer Henry Aston is asked to honor a promise made many years ago and prevent the hidden treasure of Shambala from falling int the wrong hands on the pleas of a Laotian monastery. Assisted by companion Durga Bahadur, a retired Gurkha Sergeant, Susan Hamilton, mathematician from Oxford and Peter Radigan, an American mercenary on the CIA's most wanted list. Together they must traverse the journey made by the great Mongol Emperor Kublai Khan through the inhospitable terrains of Ladakh, Pakistan and the rugged mountains of North Afghanistan where the Afghan War is at its heights to save the mystical knowledge of the elusive Kaalchakras.

But the enemy is not far behind with their unlimited resources and their fell desired .... Spanning across three timelines and through numerous perspectives, The Avatari tries to do justice to all of it with the help of a well maintained plot and a well crafted background. And the irony of it all, aside from an Indian author none of the cast are of Indian descent but it doesn't feel out of place at all. Although this is a 512 paged book, it still felt way too long in places and the actual thriller part felt far and too few in between. It is understandable that the author tried to create a solid base but going to such lengths wasn't really necessary.

Nevertheless, it was 'Shambala' that drew me in and did not let go till the end. So as far as a debut thriller is concerned, this is a great beginning for Srinivasan and I would not mind returning for a re-read of this marvelous adventure in the future either.

"A well crafted debut and the promises of Shambala. I recommend"

Genre :     Fiction, Thriller, Adventure, Historical Fiction

Publisher: Hachette India

Release Date: 5th February, 2014

My Copy: Hachette India

Rate:             4/5 (Really Liked It)

Buy:         Amazon 

Angry Bird Comics Vol 2: When Pigs Fly

Presenting Angry Bird Comics Vol 2: When Pigs Fly by Paul Tobin & Isa Python.

Here is the summary of the book:

The adventures continue in these charming, all-ages comics featuring who else, the Angry Birds!

Angry Bird. Who doesn't know of Angry Bird..... After being categorized as the best mobile game, they have now branched out to the comic sphere.  Granted this is a second volume and I haven't read the first but since there is no issue of continuity, this volume surprised me quite so.

The birds as per usual are protecting their eggs from the clutches of the bad piggies and the piggies as usual eavesdropping and devising ways to one up the birds. Quite silly and childish really. While I wouldn't say that this graphic volume is all ages appropriate, only for the children ..... but if you are looking for some distraction, then I daresay this 9 story extravaganza of silly antics and laugh-out-loud scenarios is just what you need.

"For fans of the games"

Genre :     Graphic novel, Comics, Childrens

Publisher: IDW Publishing

Release Date: 14th April, 2015

My Copy: pulisher and netgalley

Rate:             4/5 (Really Liked It)

Buy:         Amazon | Book Depository 

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Secret Box #2 The Secret Cipher

Presenting Secret Box #2 The Secret Cipher by Whitaker Ringwald.

Here is the summary of the book:

The Secret Cipher is the sequel to The Secret Box, a rollicking adventure full of family rivalry, magic, questing, and laugh-out-loud humor that's perfect for fans of Dan Gutman, Wendy Mass, and Trenton Lee Stewart.

Jax Malone and her cousin Ethan Hoche were not expecting one of Jax's birthday presents to contain a dangerous magical object from a mythical past: an urn with the dark power to suck hope out of the world.

Though the first urn is safely hidden, there are two more urns that could rid humanity of both faith and love. And powerful enemies who want to find them and use them to control the world. Now, even though they were never meant to open the present and discover its secret, Jax and Ethan must race to find and destroy the two remaining urns before it's too late.


Jax, Ethan and Tyler return for yet another adventure. Jax's birthday present changes their lives. All those stories are true. The Greek Mythology holds true. The Gods exist and most of all certain things, myths of legends are real and are powerful beyond all imaginations. The urn of hope maybe safe but two more still remain. Faith and Love. Two more urns that may just be more powerful than their third counterpart.

I'd say the author did a decent job expanding on his universe. There is a definite character development evident in this sequel. Jax is a bit more cautious, although still very much the energy freak. Cousin Ethan is still the factoid geek but a bit more confident and Tyler, still the designated driver. Things just have escalated now. Godly intervention is expected now that those urns have come to light and secrets from the past reveal the potential for even great changes. An action-packed sequel and a fast page turner ..... We are more than invested to learn what the fate of our heroes is and what happens next.

"A quick and fast paced sequel"

Genre :      Middle Grade, Adventure, Paranormal, Fantasy

PublisherKatherine Tegen Books

Release Date: 24th February, 2015

My Copy: publisher and edelweiss

Rate:              4/5 (Really Liked It)

Other Books in the series (review links):
                #1 The Secret Box 

Buy:           Amazon | Book Depository