29 November 2016

Author Q&A Session #86: With John Lansing

Hello friends and readers,

We meet after a long while. Hope you all are doing fine and having a great day. And with the holidays just around the corner, I also hope that you all are getting your shopping done to your heart's fullest content. May the never-ending Christmas and Thanksgiving wishlist keeps growing!

Well about me, I'm great, just got back from a short weekend trip from the beachside where I went with my office colleagues and it was fun!

Okay, so let's get back to the literary world now. You know why I'm here! Yes, that's right, it's time for a brand new author interview session and today I present you with a talented and amazing author named, John Lansing whose books are exceelnt and intriguing enough to make make the readers fall for him and his stories.

His latest book, Dead is Dead is widely loved by readers from all over the world. So let's chat with this author to know more abouyt him, about the book and many other things that are both bookish and non-bookish.


So stay glued and don't miss this exclusive content!


Read the review of Dead is Dead

Review #564: A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott



My rating: 4 of 5 stars


“Wild roses are fairest, and nature a better gardener than art.”

----Louisa May Alcott



First let's just wish this talented and brilliant author, Louisa May Alcott, a very, very Happy 184th Birthday and we will only hope that her stories be loved, read and adored by all ages of readers from around the world. And on this special occasion, I'd like to pen a review piece about one of her not so popular book, A Long Fatal Love Chase which is targeted for mature audience and was written before her literary success for the books like Little Women, Little Men, Eight Cousins etc.. Although this particular book has not been widely read or loved by the readers, but I would like to notify such readers to not to judge the book harshly as this when she wrote this book, this young writer was on the road to financially support her family and did not even begin her writing career professionally at that time.

28 November 2016

Review #563: The High Priestess Never Marries by Sharanya Manivannan



My rating: 4 of 5 stars


“I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.”

----Robert A. Heinlein



Sharanya Manivannan, an Indian author, pens a heart touching, extremely gratifying and thoroughly thought provoking book of short stories, The High Priestess Never Marries, about love and marriage, Sharanya Manivannan where the author weaves stories, ranging from half a page length to almost 50 pages long, of independent women of today's century and also those who are not fearless to break free from the rules, all the while letting the readers to give wings to their hearts' desires over the values of the society.

Review #562: Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern



My rating: 4 of 5 stars


“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”

---- Charlotte Bronte



Cecelia Ahern, the #1 international bestselling author, pens her new contemporary fiction, Lyrebird which reads like a breathy timeless romantic fantasy of music and love and it centers around a young male documentary filmmaker and a lonely exotic and wild girl of the mountains with a rare talent to mimic whatever sound she hears and when these two meet, both of their worlds and lives change for the good. A heart warming tale that is surely going to touch millions of hearts around the world.



Review #561: Mr. Eternity by Aaron Thier



My rating: 4 of 5 stars


“I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realizes an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don't have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.”

----Virginia Woolf



Aaron Thier, an American author, has penned a terrific and gripping tale of evolving American history through thousands of ages in his new book, Mr. Eternity centered around an almost thousand years old ancient mariner who has survived through various civilizations in American history and has witnessed the sociological and environmental changes of the planet, who is actually on a quest to search his lady love.


23 November 2016

Review #560: The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee



My rating: 5 of 5 stars


“The unnatural and the strange have a perfume of their own”

----Fernando Pessoa



Stacey Lee, a Chinese-American author, pens a charming tale of young love and perfume in her new young adult book, The Secret of a Heart Note that revolves around a teenage perfume maker, who has a nose for each individual's scent and can customize that perfume into love elixir to make people fall in love with one another, but her magic comes with a price of never falling in love with anyone, but the girl desires of a normal life with a high school, boyfriend and social reputation.



22 November 2016

Review #559: The Waiting Room by Leah Kaminsky



My rating: 4 of 5 stars


“We think there are limits to the dimensions of fear. Until we encounter the unknown. Then we can all feel boundless amounts of terror.”

----Peter Høeg



Leah Kaminsky, an award winning Australian author, has penned a terrific and extremely soul touching story in her debut book, The Waiting Room that revolves around a Jewish woman who is also a doctor living with her husband and son in Israel whose ordeal through out a single day after the warning about a possible bomb threat is strikingly captured by the author, as the woman whose deceased mother's ghost keeps haunting her about the days that she underwent during the Holocaust, and as her mother's voice runs through her head, her fear grips her completely, making her question her life in such an unsafe place.

Review #558: Reliance, Illinois by Mary Volmer



My rating: 4 of 5 stars


“Woman must have her freedom, the fundamental freedom of choosing whether or not she will be a mother and how many children she will have. Regardless of what man’s attitude may be, that problem is hers — and before it can be his, it is hers alone. She goes through the vale of death alone, each time a babe is born. As it is the right neither of man nor the state to coerce her into this ordeal, so it is her right to decide whether she will endure it.”

----Margaret Sanger



Mary Volmer, an American author, pens a well crafted as well as an enthralling historical fiction, Reliance, Illinois that centers around the life of a young teenage girl and her young unwed mother, who shifted from Kentucky to Reliance in order to get married to a wealthy bachelor, all the while addressing the little daughter with a birthmark covering half of her face, as the woman's little sister, grief-stricken by her mother's actions and the coldness by her mother's new family, the little girl takes shelter in the mansion of the town founder's daughter, who teach her a great deal about life women's life in the post-Civil war period, but dark secrets threaten to destroy the safe coccoon of happiness that the little girl built around her.

20 November 2016

Review #557: The Spy by Paulo Coelho, Zoë Perry (Translator)



My rating: 3 of 5 stars


“Death is nothing, nor life either, for that matter. To die, to sleep, to pass into nothingness, what does it matter? Everything is an illusion.”

----Mata Hari



Paulo Coelho, the international bestselling author, pens a gripping and part fictional tale on the life of a legendary dancer cum falsely accused as a spy, Mata Hari in his new novel, The Spy that opens with the execution of this exotic and talented dancer by the French, but then the author spins a riveting autobiographical account of the dancer's life through a fictional letter penned by the dancer herself addressing to her lawyer. She is an epitome of grace, individuality, extravagant lifestyle, exquisite and unique fashion style, independence and her erotic dance moves in the early 20th century in Paris.


Review #556: Immortal by Krishna Udayasankar



My rating: 5 of 5 stars


“The true alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.”

----William H. Gass



Krishna Udayasankar, an Indian bestselling author, pens an enlightening and highly thrilling part fantasy and part mythology book, Immortal that revolves around a cynical history professor, who has been walking on the Earth since the beginning of the time and will be walking till the end of the time, and his quest to find a historical and supposed to be extinct as well as mythical object with the help of his patient assistant and a mysterious young and beautiful woman, traveling across the borders and the seas.


17 November 2016

Review #555: I Will Send Rain by Rae Meadows



My rating: 5 of 5 stars


“It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.”

----Chuck Palahniuk



Rae Meadows, an award winning author, pens a heart wrenching story about a farm family in her new novel, I Will Send Rain that centers around the Bell family who have migrated to Oklahoma but gradually they get caught up in the fierce dust storms that disrupted their farm harvest, their health, their dreams and also their relationship among one another, but the woman of the family tries to hold her family together even if she needs to sacrifice her own happiness. A story of survival of a family and of the times of Dust Bowl and their struggle to hold up together.

15 November 2016

Review #554: This Was a Man (The Clifton Chronicles, #7) by Jeffrey Archer



My rating: 4 of 5 stars


“My dear young cousin, if there's one thing I've learned over the eons, it's that you can't give up on your family, no matter how tempting they make it.”

----Rick Riordan



Jeffrey Archer, the international bestselling author, is back with the final installment in The Clifton Chronicles called, This Was a Man that yet once again brings alive our favorite characters alive with new shocking twists and turns that will overthrow both the powerful families, the Barringtons and the Cliftons along with some supporting cast of characters, thereby giving the readers a closure from this extremely enticing and slightly heart breaking tale.


10 November 2016

Review #553: Like a River Glorious (The Gold Seer Trilogy, #2) by Rae Carson



My rating: 3 of 5 stars


“Gold conjures up a mist about a man, more destructive of all his old senses and lulling to his feelings than the fumes of charcoal.”

----Charles Dickens


Rae Carson, the New York Times best selling author, is back with the most awaited sequel of her young adult fantasy trilogy, The Gold Seer Trilogy called, Like a River Glorious. After the first book's major cliffhanger, the readers were frantically looking forward to this book, to learn about the edgy journey filled with tons of challenges for the young magical teenage girl dressed up as a boy coming to an end and on whether the girl has managed herself to free herself from the clutches of her tyrant uncle once and for all. And this book answers all the questions that the readers were left with in the last book.


Synopsis:

After a harrowing journey across the country, Leah Westfall and her friends have finally arrived in California and are ready to make their fortunes in the Gold Rush. Lee has a special advantage over the other new arrivals in California—she has the ability to sense gold, a secret known only by her handsome best friend Jefferson and her murdering uncle Hiram.

Lee and her friends have the chance to be the most prosperous settlers in California, but Hiram hasn’t given up trying to control Lee and her power. Sabotage and kidnapping are the least of what he’ll do to make sure Lee is his own. His mine is the deepest and darkest in the territory, and there Lee learns the full extent of her magical gift, the worst of her uncle, and the true strength of her friendships. To save everyone, she vows to destroy her uncle and the empire he is building—even at the cost of her own freedom.

The second epic historical fantasy in the Gold Seer trilogy by Rae Carson, the acclaimed author of The Girl of Fire and Thorns.



Leah Westfall has somehow deluded herself from the grips of her materialistic, evil and cruel uncle, Hiram, who also happens to be her only living relative in this world. But that seems to be very wrong, as soon Hiram's men find Leah and her group of friends who are all travelling towards the land of opportunity in California during the era of Gold Rush. Although Leah had to tell about her biggest secret about her ability to sense the presence of gold nearby to her friends, and since her uncle already knows about her esoteric ability, he will do anything to trap that girl's power for his own benefit, even if he needs to kill a few souls on his way. But now that Leah and her friends are here, they are in full form to make money and settle down, also they barely come across any resistance from the Native "Indians" Americans, instead this group of teenagers help those native folks and in respect, they too help Leah to get her the land from her uncle and his cunning men.

Disappointment slowly and silently seeps in to my soul while reading this book! This was not expected from an author who in her previous book made her readers gather that rare sense of feeling like they are actually living and breathing in that historical era which brought so many changes in the face of the world ~ the gold rush era. That time warp feeling got so wrong in this book, even though we are aware what happened in reality, the author tried to project a fantastical image of that time line, which did not make any sense to the story. The whole plot came crashing down just because of this fictional projection of the accurate facts of history, moreover, the protagonist's demeanor too wasn't justifiable with the attitude of then Western settlers.

The author's writing holds the flair of that bygone era of history, also the coherent prose is laced with proper emotional depths to make the readers feel for the story and for the characters as well. The narrative is free flowing, even though somewhere the narrative tends to be too long and boring at times and also there are unnecessary dialogues which make the story too tedious. The pacing is very, very slow, often dragging its readers with its trivial and too thorough descriptions about some scenes or dialogues those are unwanted and makes no sense in the story at all. The previous book was unraveled through many layers and twists, although this book, too, has some surprises in store but those are thoroughly foreseeable.

The characters never cease to disappoint in the midst of such an inaccurate story line, as they are once again strongly developed with their flaws and perfection, layered with emotions to give them a realistic outlook and also they feel like they are pulled out of some history book, since the time and the era syncs well with their demeanor. The main protagonist, Leah, is one of a kind who is brave, determined and a strong-minded girl fighting for the land and for her powers all by herself through danger. And surprisingly most of the characters are bound to leave an imprint on the minds of the readers. There is a bit of cliched love drama that also makes the plot so unreal and dull, especially its hard to digest the fact that white western settlers are falling and scheming together with the Native Americans for the downfall of that cruel man's gold mine and the land where Native Americans are treated as slaves.

In short, this story falls below my expectations, moreover, I do not feel the need to continue reading this trilogy further. So that ends my tryst with The Gold Seer Trilogy .

Verdict: Compelling yet somewhere the book lost its old charm!

Courtesy: Thanks to the author's publishers for giving me an opportunity to read and review a copy of this book.

Read the review Walk on Earth a Stranger (The Gold Seer Trilogy, #1) by Rae Carson
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Author Info:
I write books about teens who must do brave things. I'm originally from California, but I now live in Arizona with my husband, who is the smartest and therefore sexiest man I know. My books tend to contain lots of adventure, a little magic and romance, and smart girls who make (mostly) smart choices. I especially love to write about questions I don't know the answers to.
Visit her here


Book Purchase Links:

Review #552: The Silent Ones by Ali Knight



My rating: 2 of 5 stars


“A secret's worth depends on the people from whom it must be kept.”

----Carlos Ruiz Zafón



Ali Knight, an English author, is back again with yet another enticing psychological thriller, The Silent Ones that revolves around the abduction of five teenage girls by a strange woman who confessed in the kidnappings and murders of those missing girls but never confessed in the whereabouts of their bodies or how she killed them, ten years down the line, the brother of one of the girl's launches his self investigation find out the truth behind her sister's disappearance.



Review #551: The ABC Murders (Hercule Poirot, #13) by Agatha Christie



My rating: 5 of 5 stars


“Our weapon is our knowledge. But remember, it may be a knowledge we may not know that we possess.”

----Agatha Christie



Agatha Christie, the Queen of Mystery, has spun and extremely intriguing crime fiction and the thirteenth tale from her Hercule Poirot series called, The A.B.C. Murders that revolves around the anonymous letters stating as well as challenging Poirot that a murder will take place in the alphabetical order in a random town, and that intrigues the clever Poirot to come out of his early retirement to catch the mad serial killer striking random people in the alphabetical manner.



8 November 2016

Review #550: Instructions for a Second-hand Heart by Tamsyn Murray



My rating: 4 of 5 stars


“Sharp are the arrows of a broken heart.”

----Cassandra Clare




Tamsyn Murray, an English author, pens a soul touching and riveting young adult contemporary fiction in her new book, Instructions for a Second-hand Heart that is centered around two young teenagers, one suffers from a fatal and terminal heart condition where his heart is forced to pump throw external machines and is on the never ending waiting list for a heart donor, and the other lives under her perfect brother's shadow but soon tragedy strikes and leaves her broken hearted.



Review #549: The Lost Ones by Ben Cheetham



My rating: 4 of 5 stars


“Fifty percent of something is better than than one hundred percent of nothing.”

----Chuck Barris



Ben Cheetham, an award winning English author, pens a dark and an intriguing family thriller, The Lost Ones which centers around the mystery of a little missing girl right under the nose and eyes of her own mother near the forest which is and was popularly known for the cult who performed their rituals there located in a small town with some ugly secrets behind the unsolved murder case of a married couple, that has a strong similarity with the features of the little girl's disappearance.



3 November 2016

Review #548: Daughters of Jorasanko by Aruna Chakravarti



My rating: 5 of 5 stars


"Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come."

----Rabindranath Tagore



Aruna Chakravarti, an award winning Indian writer, pens an enlightening story about the Tagore household's women in her new book, Daughters of Jorasanko which is the sequel to her bestselling novel, Jorasanko. This book, Daughters of Jorasanko is an intimate tale about the Tagore household portraying the women who are all bound together by the threads of marriage at a very tender age, where some are engulfed by the widowhood at a very early age whereas some are simply carrying the seeds from one generation to another and through these women's lives the readers will come to know a different side of our noble laureate Rabindranath Tagore.

2 November 2016

Review #547: The Private Life of Mrs Sharma by Ratika Kapur



My rating: 4 of 5 stars


“I have too many fantasies to be a housewife.... I guess I am a fantasy.”

----Marilyn Monroe



Ratika Kapur, an India writer, pens a heart felt and very intimate tale of a middle aged married woman's life and thoughts in her upcoming book, The Private Life of Mrs Sharma in which the author weaves a compelling story about a mid-aged North Indian married woman with a teenage son and a husband working offshore in Dubai, who when meets a handsome stranger on her way to work, begins a forbidden companionship with him all the while aspiring for a fulfilling life not only for herself but also for her son and for her husband. Her longings and desires make her vulnerable as well as resolute for her husband's homecoming but when tragedy strikes, everything seems to be falling apart.

1 November 2016

Review #546: All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood



My rating: 5 of 5 stars


“The greater a child’s terror, and the earlier it is experienced, the harder it becomes to develop a strong and healthy sense of self.”

----Nathaniel Branden



Bryn Greenwood, an American author, pens a heart wrenching and sad tale about abuse and love in her new book, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things that is centered around a forbidden love story between an adult man and a very young female girl, both being the victims of social, mental, emotional and physical abuse from their own families, so when they meet, there is an instant connection between them that forbids the readers of the book to feel disgusted towards such a unnatural relationship. Although it is so much more than just a love story.