Monday, 22 June 2015

Maze Runner #2 The Scorch Trials

Presenting Maze Runner #2 The Scorch Trials by James Dashner.

Here is the summary of the book:

The Scorch Trials picks up where The Maze Runner left off. The Gladers have escaped the Maze, but now they face an even more treacherous challenge on the open roads of a devastated planet.
And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.
Can Thomas survive in such a violent world?


Poor Thomas. And poor Gladers. They really can't catch a break can they. Aftermath of the Maze, their lives just went from bad to worst. The Maze trials may have been over but things are not done yet. The Scorch Trials come next. Out in this desolate danger infested world, the Gladers must journey across the 'Scorch' to finish the Phase 2 of the mysterious experiements. And WICKED is still upto no good and as mysteriously and condescendingly behind the scenes still.

Thomas, Newt, Minho, Frypan, Teressa and all the other Gladers return for this next installment in the Maze Runner series. Conquered the maze they may have, journey the Scorch they must in a world infested by the Flare and get the supposed cure promised o them at the beginning. WICKED's intentions are still very much a mystery, raising even more questions thoughout this book than answering. The stakes too are greater, there was another maze. There is another group. All girls and just one boy.

The Scorch was perfectly imagined amidst the author's words. There is literally nothing left. The heat of the sun is scorchingly unbearable. The nights offer the much needed respite, water is scarce and the storms are dangerously unpredictable. Lets also not forget the 'Cranks', those carrying the Flare in them. And they come in all shapes, sizes and degrees of madness. You can never know with Cranks and that was the best, intriguing and terrifying addictions to the story.

Really no clue as to why people are giving this such low rates because it wasn't like that to me at all. Of course it is not on par with The Maze Runner but it comes close second to it. It held my attention and had me excited till the end. While keeping things close to the vest might be detrimental in the long run but Dashner keeps a well on the mysterious WICKED and I can quite agree that us readers (who haven't read the books yet) and the Gladers are more than ready to find out what the heck is actually going on ..... Of course the upcoming movie has us excited as well.

"An intriguingly dangerous and emotionally turbulent sequel"

Genre :     Young Adult, Dystopia, Post-Apocalyptic, Mystery, Thriller

Publisher: Chicken House

Release Date: 1st August, 2011

My Copy: bought (paperback)

Rate:             4/5 (Really Liked It)

Other Books in the Series(review links):
           #1 The Maze Runner 

Buy:           Amazon | Book Depository

Friday, 19 June 2015

Endgame #1 The Calling

Presenting Endgame #1 The Calling by James Frey, Nils Johnson-Shelton.

Here is the summary of the book:

Twelve thousand years ago, they came. They descended from the sky amid smoke and fire, and created humanity and gave us rules to live by. They needed gold and they built our earliest civilizations to mine it for them. When they had what they needed, they left. But before they left, they told us someday they would come back, and when they did, a game would be played. A game that would determine our future.

This is Endgame.

For ten thousand years the lines have existed in secret. The 12 original lines of humanity. Each had to have a Player prepared at all times. They have trained generation after generation after generation. In weapons, languages, history, tactics, disguise assassination. Together the players are everything: strong, kind, ruthless, loyal, smart, stupid, ugly, lustful, mean, fickle, beautiful, calculating, lazy, exuberant, weak. They are good and evil. Like you. Like all.

This is Endgame.

When the game starts, the players will have to find three keys. The keys are somewhere on earth. The only rule of their Endgame is that there are no rules. Whoever finds the keys first wins the game. Endgame: The Calling is about the hunt for the first key. And just as it tells the story of the hunt for a hidden key, written into the book is a puzzle. It invites readers to play their own Endgame and to try to solve the puzzle. Whoever does will open a case filled with gold. Alongside the puzzle will be a revolutionary mobile game built by Google’s Niantic Labs that will allow you to play a real-world version of Endgame where you can join one of the lines and do battle with people around you.

Will exuberance beat strength? Stupidity top kindness? Laziness thwart beauty? Will the winner be good or evil? There is only one way to find out.

Play.
Survive.
Solve.
People of Earth.
Endgame has begun.


Ancient Aliens. The coming Apocalypse. Amazing race. Endgame: The Calling is pretty much a collision of all that and if you prefer it then this is for you, for sure. And this is in no way a rip-off of Hunger Games, aside from a few similarities. James Frey maybe concerned in bad rep. (God knows he is definitely not my favorite person) but you can't dispute the fact that he and Nils Johnson-Shelton have got a well though-out plot here.

A much hyped, I still found a lot I didn't like but i've got to say it grabs your attention. The story follows that ancient aliens established the population, established the first lines of humanity and left after getting what they wanted. According to their edicts, whenever the populations become to weigh on mother nature, they come back and hold the Endgame, where the chosen players must journey across the world to find the three keys. The winning Players are awarded the safety of their Line in the face of the inevitable destruction.

Of course the murder, mystery, thrill and intrigue are a de-facto part of the game but it is not a rule and it is definitely not necessary. It is graphic too, so I don't suppose kids should read it. And apparently readers can take part in this interactive game too and win loads but i'm not really got with all that so I skipped those parts and only focused on the story.

As far as the players are concerned, i'm not sure I have a favorite. Although it is clear enough who the focused characters of this book are but can't say I liked any of them. And all 12 of them get their own chapters each so on that note it is doubly difficult to root for any of them. The pacing was well set, it did drag at placed and i'm pretty certain I skipped some lines along the way, it was definitely paced well. The way it is written though .... now that is something that takes some getting used to with short clipped sentences like that. But I do want to see what happened and who wins it. At the end i'll only say this, give this a try, Frey maybe bad business but you can't disagree that he has a great book here.

"Amazing Race meets gruesome Sci-fi, Endgame is real and it has lots of potential"

Genre :     Young Adult, Sci-fi, Dystopia, Apocalyptic, Adventure, Thriller

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: 7th October, 2014

My Copy: bought (paperback)

Rate:             3/5 (Liked It)

Buy:         Amazon | Book Depository 

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Fire & Chasm

Presenting Fire & Chasm by Chelsea M. Campbell.

Here is the summary of the book:

Azeril is a ward of the Church, and their most cunning weapon. By day he hides in plain sight as a student, but with his beloved obsidian knife, he also kills wizards. Az has no memory of his life before the Church, until one night, when a wizard recognizes him from his past. The killer in Az never misses his mark, but he can’t destroy the only potential link to his life before this. For the first time, Az has a lead on who he used to be—if only he could escape the watchful eye of the High Priest long enough to investigate.

Azeril discovers that the line between good and evil—the primal forces of the Fire and the Chasm—is as shifting as his own moral compass. And the truth about who he is will put his entire world in danger.


I don't normally go towards fiction that adhere to religious themes. The concept of heaven & hell. Of God & Devil. But really loved what I read here, religious themes included. Fire & Chasm aside from sporting an explosively gorgeous cover follows the story of a young acolyte of the church, Azeril who while suffering from what looks like a permanent memory loss, is an integral part of the war between Good& Evil. The Good-The Fire. The Evil-The Chasm.

With his obsidian knife in hand, is known as the Wizard Killer. The good & evil war is not really new but Chelsea M. Campbell has presented something new here, that almost makes this concept her own. Fire represents the good and grants each acolyte of the church with special powers. The Chasm represents the deep reaches of hell, an embodiment of evil. At first Azeril's character and what he is can be off-putting but as you go forth into the story you see more sides and begin to root for him.

There is darkness in his past and Azeril fights with it everyday desperate to attain that light. His mysterious beginnings also make him a hot commodity for both sides, so it is even more of an excitement to see Az figure out what the truth is, making it one of his defining quality. The world building was definitely the best part of the book. The tale is fairly dark and Campbell expertly maintains that atmosphere till the end.

The pace is also very well maintained. It is a tension-filled, attention-grabber that keeps you invested till the end. May take a bit of time to get into the flow but when you do it it takes you along and doesn't leave till the end. Action packed and keeping the plot moving, this is a consumate standalone ...... but I would totally not mind if the author decided to continue.

"Dark, fast paced and unputdownable tale in the battle between good & Evil"

Genre :     Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Publisher: Skyscape

Release Date: 1st May, 2015

My Copy: publisher & netgalley

Rate:             4/5 (Really Liked It)

Buy:         Amazon | Book Depository 

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

The Bounce

Presenting The Bounce by Mohan.

Here is the summary of the book:

The Bounce! is a short novel that chronicles the life and adventures of a computer programmer, Raj, as he migrates across four countries spanning three continents. The Indian American protagonist is an accidental beneficiary of globalization and offshoring.

The first half of this engaging story is about Raj’s experience seeking love by moving back from America to India, eventually migrating to Canada with his new bride. During their journey, the couple experiences a tragic loss on board an international flight. The second half of the book chronicles the protagonist and his wife bouncing back.

The author’s delicate narrative is in essence a tragedy to triumph story that should appeal to everyone seeking their inner-hero. This semi-autobiographical novel blurs the boundary between fiction and memoir.

The book portrays the life and adventures of those in the global offshoring industry. The eBook is also an ideal gift for American, British and Western Information Technology managers who are interested in the life experiences of their offshoring colleagues.


Short and to the point is how I would describe this book. 'The Bounce' is the perfect example of what the life of an NRI is like. Their dreams and aspirations. Settling in for work in foreign lands far far away from home. Protagonist Raj and IT consultant describes his life having lived across 3 separate continents. An exotic life to live forging new bonds and seeing new things and new places.

Life has both light and dark moments and the author demonstrates it through Raj's escapades in his day-to-day life. Everyone of us are on a road of life. Some find what they want quite soon, while some keep on wandering. Raj is like that wanderer. Be it travelling for work, the hunt for the ethnically Indian wife (something all NRIs seem to desire), starting a family and settling or being handed the short end of the stick by life in the form of a great tragedy.

Mohan has penned a great story here. The bride hunting part was definitely my favorite with its own fun and humor. My only beef and the reason why this gets a star less is because the emotions and the sentiments don't really transcend well. The characters seem much more passive than what we would hope to see in the face of a grave tragedy. They just accept it happened and move on. There is no doubt the author has the flare for the art but if he can just sort this chink in his armor then he can be even better.

"A well meaning debut"

Genre :     Adult, Contemporary

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services

Release Date: 19th March, 2015

My Copy: From author, this is a paid review

Rate:             4/5 (Really Liked It)

Buy:         Amazon  

Friday, 12 June 2015

Absolutely Book-alicious tours: "An Abduction Revelation: The Comeback Kid Returns" by Thomas Hay (Author Interview)














About the book:-



A story that explores a compelling blend between mysterious unknown entities with seemingly true events. Think Close Encounters of the Third Kind blended with Total Recall.

Who are the abductors? Where do they come from? Where are they hiding? Do they even exist? The secrets are revealed in an intriguing adventure filled with mystery, a dash of romance, and a shocking revelation that will torment your reality.

Join 'The Comeback Kid' on his incredible world wide journey as he uncovers secrets behind his abductions and comes face to face with his abductors.

Whether you believe in UFOs and aliens or not, this is a truly interesting story. Pinky Pollock

I am not a sci-fi fan, but this book fascinated me and held my interest from start to finish.Caitlin

Hay is a fabulous storyteller. Rivals with the best sci-fi novels. Zillie Carlson

NOTE: This book stands alone and is not a sequel.




About the Author:-



BORN: April 15, 1943 Kansas City, Kansas (Raised in Clinton, Mo.)

PARENTS: Leonard M. Hay and Kathryn Fisher, of Clinton, Mo.

GRANDPARENTs: E. M. Hay, of Clinton, Mo and Pete Fisher of Kansas City, Kansas.

SIBLINGS: Three half-sisters; Sandra Hay, Barbara Wood, and Susan Anderson and a half-brother; Michael Newhouse.

Graduate of Clinton Senior High School class of 1961.

MILITARY SERVICE: US Navy, stationed aboard the USS Hancock 1961-65, Vietnam Vet.

EMPLOYMENT: Clinton Eye (Democrat) delivery boy. On a bicycle no less. US Navy (Radioman) for four years. TWA and American Airlines for 39 years.

Retired in 2005. Published first book, The Comeback Kid, Memoirs of Thomas L. Hay in November, 2011. Published second book, An Abduction Revelation: The Comeback Kid Returns in October, 2012. Published revised edition (with new cover) of An Abduction Revelation in March, 2014.

Resides in the Kansas City Northland since 1978. When he is not golfing, fishing, or singing Karaoke, he enjoys spending quality time with family and friends. He currently lives in Lake Waukomis, Mo. with his lovely wife Karen, some hyperactive squirrels, too many irritating geese and a few cranky old catfish.



Important Links:-




Author Interview:-


1. I see you have just recently published two books. When did you decide you wanted to write?

Most of my life I have had a desire to write a novel. Don’t really know why, just thought it would be neat. I never could find the time to fulfill my dream during my day job. After I retired, time was no longer an excuse. A subject or plot became my obstacle. To get me motivated, my wife suggested I write my memoirs. “After all,” she said, “you have had an intriguing life.” The more I thought about it the more it made sense. After all, I am the only person who knows all my memories. When I pass, they will pass with me. Writing them down would guarantee that they would last forever. Besides, my descendant’s would then have a history book to learn where they inherited their idiocy. Behold, “The Comeback Kid, the Memoirs of Thomas L. Hay” was written and published.



2. What can you tell us about your books that are not in the blurbs?

Absolutely nothing. Because if I say anything more about them, it would be a spoiler. You know how author’s hate spoilers. On second thought, I can reveal that as a reader of my books you will feel as if we are sitting over coffee having a personnal conversation. I tell the stories in a rollicking conversational style that gets the reader directly involved in my stories.



3. What inspired your idea for the second book, “An Abduction Revelation?”

I got the plot idea from my first wife after I published my memoirs. She had claimed that we had been abducted by aliens during our brief marriage. After our divorce, she adapted an ascetic lifestyle that eventually melted the mind blocks that the aliens had supposedly implanted in her subconscious. I never really believed her, thinking she had to of had a few loose marbles, if you know what I mean. But after writing my memoirs, I got to thinking what if she was right? What if I had some mysterious phenomenon buried within my subconscious. That might make for a good story. And it certainly did! I wrote the story using a lot of my life’s actual events blended with some sci-fi fantasy’s. Almost everyone who has read “An Abduction Revelation” has given it high ratings and good reviews, not only for the writing, but for the story as well. It has lots of twists and turns and the ending is like nothing you would have ever imagined. My readers are left wondering if it is indeed reality, fiction, or my imagination gone wild.



4. What is the hardest part (beginning, middle, or end) of a story to write? And Why?

In the case of my original memoir, the whole book. Reliving almost seventy years of my life was an invigorating whirlwind of self-enlightenment and an intense emotional journey. Many tears from both joys and heartbreaks.

Also not being tech minded and having no experience in writing, I started by using a big notebook pad. After about fifty pages, with arrows and notes scribbled everywhere, I had a complete mess on my hands. My lovely wife came to the rescue, “Don’t you think it would be much simpler if you joined the twentieth century Tom, and use a computer.” Reluctantly, I submitted to the idea. But then the computer and I started having issues right from the start. Lots of issues, until we finally came to the conclusion that I needed to take a class to iron them out. I had never heard of Microsoft Word, but it turned out to be a savior. We still have our issues, but with a little help from a friend now and then, they can usually be resolved.


5. Are you working on anything right now, if so, when do you expect to release it?

Yes. I’m about half way through a sequel to “An Abduction Revelation.” However, it might be awhile before I finish it, as I am spending most of my time promoting the first two books. Being a new author, I never could have imagined the work involved in marketing a book. 



Tour Schedule:-


Sunday, 7 June 2015

The DUFF

Presenting The DUFF by Kody Keplinger.

Here is the summary of the book:

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “Duffy,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.


The DUFF - Designated Ugly Fat Friend. Didn't really think much on it when it first came out. Also i'm not one to join the hype bandwagon as well but then heard the movie was going to come out soon so decided to give this a try. And DUDE ...... why didn't I read this before. Its cute, its dry humor, its sarcasm and so very complicated than what it appears at first glance. Contemporary books almost always sport the same storyline but what sets The DUFF apart are its complex and strong characters ...... It helps that I finished it in one sitting too!

Bianca is a refreshingly honest and cynical protagonist. Not all perfect, she always felt inferior to her best friends Casey & Jessica but she doesn't try to be one too and contributes in anyway possible. She is insanely loyal to her friends and always takes on the role of the protector for them but doesn't like to face her own problems ha-on and always ties to run away from them.

Wesley was the biggest manwhore ever .... if there ever is a thing like that. He is your typical good looking guy who is most annoying too. People deal with problems their own way. Its applies to Bianca and it applies to Wesley as well. They both sleep around to vile away their problems but it is great that they have both had it in them to resolve their mistakes and correct them before it was too late. And as it progresses we see these two coming a long way and opening up more.

And not to forget Casey & Jessica who play the perfect counter. Just like Bianca these two are very loyal to her too and look out for her in anyway they could. Really this book was so cute. There is a lot of slut slamming her but it all balances out with such amazing characters. Kody Keplinger really did a marvelous job here. You can literally feel the emotions exuding from her words in the pages. And this was just the debut book too. So Awesome!

I have seen the movie too, and I will only say this ..... not bad ..... it is actually way different than the plot of the book but it holds a certain charm to it too ...... So check them both out guys. Book first and movie next ..... didn't miss out on it guys. Go for it!

"Its honest. Its sweet. Its cynical and its complex. Think nothing just go for it"

Genre :     Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Publisher: Hodder Children's Books

Release Date: 25th February, 2015

My Copy: publisher & netgalley

Rate:             5/5 (It was Amazing)

Buy:         Amazon | Book Depository 

From a Distant Star

Presenting From a Distant Star by Karen McQuestion.

Here is the summary of the book:

Seventeen-year-old Emma was the only one who hadn’t given up on her boyfriend, Lucas. Everyone else—his family, his friends, his doctors—believed that any moment could be his last. So when Lucas miraculously returns from the brink of death, Emma thinks her prayers have been answered.

As the surprised town rejoices, Emma begins to question whether Lucas is the same boy she’s always known. When she finds an unidentifiable object on his family’s farm—and government agents come to claim it—she begins to suspect that nothing is what it seems. Emma’s out-of-this-world discovery may be the key to setting things right, but only if she and Lucas can evade the agents who are after what they have. With all her hopes and dreams on the line, Emma sets out to save the boy she loves. And with a little help from a distant star, she might just have a chance at making those dreams come true.


The cover attracted me but when I read it ..... well it didn't feel upto what I expected did it. I was sorely tempted to DNF it but decided to stay on it. This is the story of Emma and Lucas. Who is on his deathbed and then his body get taken over by an alien.

There are things about Emma I liked and things I didn't like. It is admirable that she fights to keep her boyfriend alive even when his family have given up on him or even when she doesn't have the support of his parents, the mother most of all. SHe is prepared to even knock on the Witch's door, if that is what would cure him or cancer ..... But on the other hand, she felt very much *pardon my language* pathetic.

She felt too dependent on Lucas. Treating him like a life support. Like she won't be able to go on if Lucas dies. She felt immature and very very clingy. Writing emails of their escapades in life, so that their future kids would know what went on or harassing *almost* those who even think of making moves on her guy ...... So she felt like a total bi*** in that sense.

Then comes the point where the alien 'scout' jacks Lucas' body after accidentally crash landed in their backyard. Really scout was probably the only one I actually liked in this book. While Emma slowly warms up to Scout pretty soon. They don't start best. She doesn't like Lucas' body hi-jacked (neither should anybody) and is particularly nasty to Scout, who knows almost nothing about Earth. The synopsis of the book proclaims a love story, very little of that but what we do get is a cute friendship. And the plot just dragged on. Really amidst such inconsistencies it is apparent enough that this book wasn't for me.

"A watered down close encounter of the third kind"
Genre :     Young Adult, Sci-fi, Romance, Contemporary

Publisher: Skyscape

Release Date: 19th May, 2015

My Copy: publisher & netgalley

Rate:             2/5 (It was Ok)

Buy:         Amazon | Book Depository 

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Gates of Thread and Stone #1 Gates of Thread and Stone

Presenting Gates of Thread and Stone #1 Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee.

Here is the summary of the book:

In the Labyrinth, we had a saying: keep silent, keep still, keep safe.

In a city of walls and secrets, where only one man is supposed to possess magic, seventeen-year-old Kai struggles to keep hidden her own secret—she can manipulate the threads of time. When Kai was eight, she was found by Reev on the riverbank, and her “brother” has taken care of her ever since. Kai doesn’t know where her ability comes from—or where she came from. All that matters is that she and Reev stay together, and maybe one day move out of the freight container they call home, away from the metal walls of the Labyrinth. Kai’s only friend is Avan, the shopkeeper’s son with the scandalous reputation that both frightens and intrigues her.

Then Reev disappears. When keeping silent and safe means losing him forever, Kai vows to do whatever it takes to find him. She will leave the only home she’s ever known and risk getting caught up in a revolution centuries in the making. But to save Reev, Kai must unravel the threads of her past and face shocking truths about her brother, her friendship with Avan, and her unique power.


Determinedly I am not sure what I actually feel for this story. This was more of a cover attraction for me and the title too exuded many promises. But it felt most of all like a one time thing. Set in the fictional city of Ninurta. Lori M. Lee did a marvelous job establishing her story and the world here. The heart of the tale though has only one thing in mind......

It is about Kai (a girl with her own set of secrets) finding her missing brother, Reev. Presumably taken by the vigilante entity called Black Rider. Kai alongwith Avan are told that the Rider takes the citizens for the army is accumulates to bring down Ninurta. But things don't seem to be what they thought so Kai & Avan go in search of the matter ...... And apparently Kai also has the ability to manipulate time as well but her brother forbade her to use it.

While their introduction left much to be desired, I liked Kai & Avan as a couple. Not knowing anything of her true family, she had always been close to Reev and it was admirable that she wanted to correct her mistakes and bring him back. That said she has an amazing ability of manipulating time (not the past), so it felt pretty stupid of her not to use it. That said she sometimes came off as pretty selfish to Avan, asking much of him and giving nothing back. Avan was a likable character but didn't really do much else.

Pacing felt another problem here. It starts out, explaining things building the world up but after a certain moment it just gets messed up. Twist after twist. Revelations after revelations. I usually don't mind all that but here I just couldn't stomach it at all. I liked the battles and how super beings enter the quota and lay out the impossible but at the end of it I just didn't mind what happened anymore and I don't like that feeling. Hopefully the sequel will be much better.

"A revealing fantastical adventure to find lost family"
Genre :     Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Mythology, Dystopia

Publisher: Skyscape

Release Date: 5th August, 2014

My Copy: publisher & netgalley

Rate:             3/5 (Liked It)

Buy:         Amazon | Book Depository 

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

The Cage #1 The Cage

Presenting The Cage #1 The Cage by Megan Shepherd.

Here is the summary of the book:

The Maze Runner meets Scott Westerfeld in this gripping new series about teens held captive in a human zoo by an otherworldly race. From Megan Shepherd, the acclaimed author of The Madman's Daughtertrilogy.

When Cora Mason wakes in a desert, she doesn't know where she is or who put her there. As she explores, she finds an impossible mix of environments—tundra next to desert, farm next to jungle, and a strangely empty town cobbled together from different cultures—all watched over by eerie black windows. And she isn't alone.

Four other teenagers have also been taken: a beautiful model, a tattooed smuggler, a secretive genius, and an army brat who seems to know too much about Cora's past. None of them have a clue as to what happened, and all of them have secrets. As the unlikely group struggles for leadership, they slowly start to trust each other. But when their mysterious jailer—a handsome young guard called Cassian—appears, they realize that their captivity is more terrifying than they could ever imagine: Their captors aren't from Earth. And they have taken the five teenagers for an otherworldly zoo—where the exhibits are humans.

As a forbidden attraction develops between Cora and Cassian, she realizes that her best chance of escape might be in the arms of her own jailer—though that would mean leaving the others behind. Can Cora manage to save herself and her companions? And if so . . . what world lies beyond the walls of their cage?


With such big names like The Maze Runner and Scott Westerfeld mentioned how can you not give this is a chance. The end of 'The Madman's Daughter' series comes the beginning of something new from author Megan Shepherd. Call it a mellowed down version of The Maze Runner and you will know what I am talking of. Was expecting much more action but the flow of words was nicely paced and the plot unhurried.

Intelligent Aliens putting humans in a cage-like zoo environment. This is the story of Cora, Lucky, Rolf, Nok and Leon (there was another there but she died). All of them paired off and the aliens only want them of live peacefully, cooperatively and procreate. A weird situation for the teenagers in itself. Rolf & Nok hit it off quick, Leon was aggressive and Lucky most appropriately fell for Cora but she won't stand for this forced confinement or the rules set by the aliens and does all she can do to finds a way out.

Not sure if anybody put those elements out as a story. Kudos Ms. Shepherd for thinking something original and giving it enough details and background to build and assemble on. And then Cora goes and develops the hots for the alien caretaker, Cassain. I think there is a term for it somewhere, not sure I remember it at the moment but really feelings for the alien, by that I mean very very huge and black eyes (irises & pupils missing) and telekinetic powers. Although i'm not sure i'm phased by it anymore what with more than enough alien-human YA romances these days.

I didn't quite like the humans too really. They felt suspicious and paranoid but I suppose you would too if you are held captive in as cage and been told to react and live according to the rules of the captors ..... And that's what really came off of the story by the author's impeccable words. Classified as a sci-fi dystopia, it felt more like a psychological thriller to me and it kept me vested in the story trying to find out what happened next.

Everyone deals with captivity in their own ways. Some turn complacent, some aggresive, some trying to ingrate themselves with everyone for safety, some go in denial and some rebel and find a way out. Every character here is different, from their looks to their personalities and that adds to the spices to it all. They try to band together, they argue, get violent and turn into a jealous herd if one gets more than the fair share ..... So their interactions were real unpredictable. The pressure of the cage actually makes them into zoo animals in some instances .....

Which was pretty cruel. The playing field is never really constant here. The humans may have their secrets but so does Cassian but to find out more we have to wait for the sequel. Of course I state again, I was expecting more action but the author has set a good pace here in this mellowed beginning. So we keep our fingers crossed for the future and what it brings.

"A human zoo with it vibrantly clashing inmates. If you liked The Maze Runner then you will enjoy this"

Genre :      Young Adult, Gothic, Thriller, Historical Fiction, Romance

PublisherBalzer+Bray

Release Date: 26th May, 2015

My Copy: publisher and edelweiss

Rate:              4/5 (Really Liked It)

Other Books by the author (review links):
              #1 The Madman's Daughter
                     #2 Her Dark Curiosity 
              #3 A Cold Legacy

Buy:           Amazon | Book Depository 

Illusionarium

Presenting Illusionarium by Heather Dixon.

Here is the summary of the book:

What if the world holds more dangers—and more wonders—than we have ever known? And what if there is more than one world? From Heather Dixon, author of the acclaimed Entwined, comes a brilliantly conceived adventure that sweeps us from the inner workings of our souls to the far reaches of our imaginations.

Jonathan is perfectly ordinary. But then—as every good adventure begins—the king swoops into port, and Jonathan and his father are enlisted to find the cure to a deadly plague. Jonathan discovers that he's a prodigy at working with a new chemical called fantillium, which creates shared hallucinations—or illusions. And just like that, Jonathan is knocked off his path. Through richly developed parallel worlds, vivid action, a healthy dose of humor, and gorgeous writing, Heather Dixon spins a story that calls to mind The Night Circus and Pixar movies, but is wholly its own.


A great cover. Alternate history. Steampunk. Aerial Cities. Alternate world. Are all the ingredients needed to get the end result called Illusionarium. I haven't read Entwined, so this is my first experience with this author. And it was quite enlightening. An adventure to a different reality and the search for self-worth is what this really about. Also not that serious but much more witty, humorous & fantastical.

Illusionarium follows the story of Jonathan who lives with his family on the aerial city, Fata Morgana. Apprenticed to his father, the second best scientist/surgeon of the country. But then the attack of the deadly virus, Venen, known only to affect women strikes the city. The King comes a-knocking resulting in not only the Queen but Jonathan's mother & sister also in the casualty list. Jonathan going against the moral ethics of his father takes the help of fantillium, a newly discovered drug that can cause illusions .... and Lady Florel the best scientist/surgeon isn't Lady Florel.

There is London on one hand and Nod'ol, and alternate reality on the other hand. Where illusions and illusionists are in high demand. The story really takes shape when Jonathan enters Nod'ol, a world with its own sets of rules that horribly clash with our own. Under duress he is being made to take part in an illusion creating contest against two other highly competent Illusionists for the 'other' Lady Florel to get the cure for Venen.

Fantasy literally means the unreal. Illusions as a matter of fact are just the same. Quite ingenious of Dixon to create an alternate world to show just what illusions or the make-belief can do when given free reign of the physical world. The excellent world building really adds the fun to Illusionarium. Drawing similarities to (in my reckoning) the Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus & Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. Although the synopsis states The Night Circus & Pixar movies but really I didn't see much similarities in that reference as opposed to the first two recommendations anyway.

And while Jonathan proved rather adorable describing people along the lines of "absolute kind of person" or "sort of person", it is the Officer Lockwood really who really stands out. He can't really illusion anything but has a sort of a love-hate relationship with "Jonny-boy". Very trigger happy too. But really he was just baffling-ly humorous ...... For all instances & purposes Illusionarium is a fantastically magnificent story, not my favorite by far but Heather Dixon sure leaves an impression here.

"Enchanting-ly original and fantastically illuminating"

Genre :     Young Adult, Steampunk, Sci-fi, Paranormal

Publisher: Greenwillow

Release Date: 19th May, 2015

My Copy: publisher & edelweiss

Rate:             4/5 (Really Liked It)

Buy:         Amazon | Book Depository 

Monday, 25 May 2015

Let's Eat Raven and other Doujinshi Short Stories

Presenting Let's Eat Raven and other Doujinshi Short Stories by Nagumo, Aji-Ichi.

Here is the summary of the book:

Doujinshi, otherwise known as independent manga in Japan, is rarely published in English. In fact, it's considered underground and quite exclusive in its home country of Japan as well. Let's Eat Ramen and Other Doujinshi Short Stories finally gives western readers an exclusive look at the elusive world of contemporary Japanese doujinshi manga. Let's East Ramen is a three-part tale of Saeki, a girl who loves ramen noodles. At last, she thinks that she has finally found the perfect ramen shop, but the problem is the shop is completely full of old regulars and she can't get in. Will the timid Saeki ever summon the willpower to reach out and get the ramen that she desperately wants?

A manga about eating Ramen. Yes you heard it this manga is basically about eating Ramen as the title suggests. While I love reading manga, but I have only had the chance to read some of them till now and they are mostly the ones whose anime i had seen. That being said "Doujinshi" is a relatively new field for me. The term basically alludes to what you would call indie-manga and much more exclusive to Japan.

'Let's Eat Ramen and other Doujinshi short stories' consists of 4 stories. The titular story is a 3 part part of a girl, Saeki who fantasizes about eating Ramen at this famous joint but can't gather the courage to enter because the customers there are all men. So she gets a male classmate of her's to go with and eventually on succeeding tasting outings as well. Really these stories are more of a modern contemporary teen romance ...... and so subtitle too.

The other three are all lesbian teen stories about a girl wooing another when the result reveals her true self, another heartbroken about her girlfriend leaving her for a boy and the last about a girl intimidated but another girl because she read books without pictures *wink*. Nothing too graphic, all the stories put their points across in the most common approach.

The art and the plots of Nagumo and Aji-Ichi are not exclusive but more simple and very very subtle and quite literally very innocent. Reads like the regular manga in right to left and counter-clockwise fashion. Not a must read but is more deserving of a once look-through.

"Light manga for light reading"

Genre :     Manga, Graphic Novel

Publisher: Gen Manga Entertainment

Release Date: 18th August, 2015

My Copy: publisher & netgalley

Rate:             4/5 (Really Liked It)

Buy:         Amazon