Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Virtual Blog Tour - "Six Weeks To Yehidah"

Sorry pretty late in posting this but lets welcome Melissa Studdard who is touring for her book SIX WEEKS TO YEHIDAH and its companion book MY YEHIDAH via Tourz de Codex.

About The Author

Melissa Studdard is the author of the bestselling novel Six Weeks to Yehidah, which also won the 2011 Forward National Literature Award for Middle Grade Chapter Books. She is also a professor, a book reviewer at-large for The National Poetry Review, a contributing editor for both Tiferet Journal and The Criterion, and the host of the radio interview program Tiferet Talk. As well, she is a member of many literary organizations, including the National Book Critics Circle and the Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators.

She loves anything related to writing and reading, whether it's sitting alone with a book and a cup of hot tea, or attending a large poetry reading or literary festival. She also loves travelling, meditating, going for walks, bicycling, practicing yoga, and spending time with family.

She currently resides in Texas with her wonderful daughter and their four sweet but mischievous cats.

Find Melissa here:-

Her official website


Move over, C.S. Lewis; Melissa Studdard is here! Annalise of the Verdant Hills is one of the most delightful protagonists to skip through the pages of literature since Dorothy landed in Oz. Join Annalise and her two walking, talking wondersheep as they travel to ever more outlandish places and meet outrageous and enlightening folk on their journey to discover interconnectedness in a seemingly disconnected world. Discover with them how just one person can be the start of the change we all strive for. A book for all ages, for all time: wonderful, wacky, and bursting with truth!


Bursting at the seams with joy and truth, My Yehidah leads you through one of the most important adventures you can take--the journey to the center of your very own self.

Filled with writing and drawing prompts and beautiful illustrations to color, this book is the perfect jump start for meaningful, creative exploration for people of all ages.

My Yehidah can be done alone or along the novel Six Weeks to Yehidah.


A delightful read, Annalise and her two pet sheep, Mabel and Mimi caught in a flash flood and transported to the land above the clouds find more that they ever bargained for…..there is a land beyond the clouds. From Bob, a man made of light, to Hagski, a nasty bag lady who likes to make rules, to a shaman named Tony and his wise mother Kàna. Here, too, they find that animals talk and musical instruments sprout from the ground like corn. Annalise visits islands and special gardens and a tunnel through the ocean, all the while learning lessons about herself and the nature of the universe. But at last she must decide whether she wants to stay there or return home. 

The author weave an enchanting tale that I guarantee will have a great effect on all of us in one way or another.


Q. Hi Melissa. Please tell us and our readers a little bit about yourself.
I love animals. I’m always picking them up on the side of the road – usually dogs and cats – but I’ve had foxes, raccoons, possums, and other types of critters. I even tried to get a fawn into my car a few months ago. My daughter says if I didn’t have a boyfriend, I’d be the crazy cat lady.

Q. Describe your book in a sentence to convince us to buy it.
Six Weeks to Yehidah is a magical, mythical, mystical journey that will change how you see the world.

Q. What was your inspiration behind “Six Weeks to Yehidah”?
I wanted to share wisdom traditions with younger people, and I wanted to do it in a fun, entertaining way, through narrative and humor. The whole thing actually started as a short story, but I fell in love with the characters and couldn’t quit writing about them.

Q. What are the best aspects of writing?
Bystringing together a new trail of words we can create worlds out of nothing more than syllables; then through those worlds we can understand the deepest parts of ourselves and the most complex aspects of our surroundings. It’s magical.

Q. How do you research for a book before you being the writing process?
Because I write about things I’m interested in, the research happens naturally through the course of living. In Six Weeks to Yehidah, for instance, there’s a lot of Native American imagery and symbolism which were already in my mind from the traveling and reading I’ve been doing for several years. I also Google all sorts of things right in the middle of the writing process. That’s always fun!

Q. Any advice you would want to give to aspiring writers?
First of all, you should always remember that you’re the only person who can speak your truths, and you are worthy of being heard. Secondly, be patient and keep after it and write without ridiculous expectations. Sometimes your writing won’t be good, but you have to write through that to get to the good stuff. Quitting writing won’t fix anything. Don’t be wary of writing the bad stuff. Just laugh at it, think of it as practice, don’t show it to anyone if you don’t feel like it, and keep writing until the good stuff starts flowing again. Just do not stop writing. The most important thing is to keep doing it against all the odds, obstacles, doubts, and insecurities. Those who keep after it are the ones who succeed. I’ve seen it over and over again with my writer friends.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1

(Before you read ahead do know - this review is from a once die-hard fan turned neutral....ME!)

A two-part finale seems to be the new get go for Hollywood movie to whisk extra money out of fan-favorite young adult franchises – and an arguable way to give lengthier final book installments a bit more room to wrap everything up. While audiences were initially skeptical of the idea when it was introduced with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and Part 2, the success of the final two Potter films (both commercially and critically) seemingly justified the extra trip to the theater. But does Breaking Dawn Part 1 fit the standard.....definitely a big NO (and thats coming from a person who loved the concept behind the story....aka ME).

At least half of the film is dominated by one melodramatic scene after another – in place of either interesting character interactions or exciting action – essentially laying ground for the (presumably) more stimulating Part 2. The first half of Breaking Dawn is a mishmash of moments that fail to build tension or further develop any of the fan-favorite characters. The basic plot follows the marriage of the ever sparkly Edward Cullen and Bella Swan as they prepare for their nuptials. The wedding is a grand and joyous affair but not everyone is happy; queue in Jacob. As the wedding bells fall silent, the newlyweds unexpectedly threaten the tenuous alliance between Cullens and Jacob’s Werewolf clan – causing former friends, as well as reluctant allies, to choose sides.

Simply put, the events in Breaking Dawn – Part 1 are underwhelming. While die-hard fans may find the extended honeymoon sequence cathartic – since the films and books have often been criticized for being too “tame” when it comes to sexuality – all of the lustful looks and “passionate” make-out sessions entirely derail any momentum and charm the film had coming out of the opening act. While in previous movies, the fan favourite seemed well balanced with a bit of humor and seriousness here and there but at the end it was a mis-mash of scenes, now here the die hard fans would argue that the film-makers just wanted to stay true to the books....all good....but it is also up to the creative crew to take a big book and make it sing in two or most yet two and a half hours, where it fails. 
Instead for a more competent film experience, Breaking Dawn: Part 1 is simply pandering to the existing fan-base (aka teenage girls) with almost nothing of value to anyone who isn’t already in love with the characters. Where most competent directors would have found out a way to make the material interesting for both fan and non-fan bases but they did not and chose to go with smothering the fan-girls with what they want, i.e., more Edward and Bella action and a little bit of Jacob without his shirt and simply glossed over some of the interesting characters with only glances here and there.

The film looks cheap with bland CGI werewolves and vampire effects – and for a series that is raking in plenty of money with each release, it’s surprising to see such flat visuals at this point. Similarly, despite a stable of up-and-coming actors that includes Stewart, Pattinson and Lautner, as well as critical darlings like Anna Kendrick and Michael Sheen, none of the actors are given any room to deliver a stand-out performance. It’s unfortunate, because despite all the anti-Twilight detractors out there, the franchise leads have shown that they’re capable of offering strong performances when a director attempts to get something more interesting out of them (Stewart in Welcome to the Rileys and Pattinson in Water for Elephants). In that sense, it’s disappointing to see that capable performers and intriguing premises haven’t matured the Twilight series from film to film.
Die-hard fans of the book and movie series will no doubt enjoy watching the film – though, it’s still hard to imagine that they won’t, deep down, find a few of the book’s more decisive moments to be overly cheesy, or even downright laughable. Breaking Dawn – Part 1 is not a competent piece of filmmaking and stands as potentially the worst installment in the series to be made out of the most controversial book of the series. 

Hopefully, given the much more intriguing plot points saved for Part 2, the final installment will end the series on a high note.


Monday, November 28, 2011

The Adventures of TinTin: The Secret of the Unicorn

Herge's all time creation Detective/Journalist TinTin along with his faithful dog Snowy had wowed generation but can Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson's The Adventures of TinTin: The Secret of the Unicorn have the same wow factor?....It definitely does.

Tintin (Jamie Bell) and Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) set off on a treasure hunt for a sunken ship commanded by Haddock’s ancestor. But someone else is in search of the ship. Based on three of the earliest Tintin comic books: “The Secret of the Unicorn,” “Red Rackham’s Treasure,” and “The Crab with the Golden Claws.” The film is a joint effort between Spielberg and Jackson, with the former taking lead as director and the latter producing (roles which will supposedly be reversed for the sequel, should it come to pass). Jackson’s WETA workshop is also handling the visual effects, which involve live actors transformed into CGI cartoons via motion-capture performance.

The biggest question, however, is whether or not WETA can achieve the hard task of making humanoid CGI creations (even purposefully cartoonish ones) feel lively and real, instead of having the characters be stranded in that “valley of the uncanny,” in which the eye and mind struggle to accept that the CGI characters are actually believable humanoids. But it is pretty believable seeing as from my own experience, when I first saw its trailer I actually thought it was a live action not motion-captured animation at all. So WETA has definitely succeeded with the concept and not loose momentum (like Mars needs Moms).

Although only marginally popular in the U.S.A., Tintin to many readers worldwide (especially in Western Europe and the UK) what Batman and Spider-Man are to Americans: a comic book they discovered as kids, grew up with and continue to cherish. The brainchild of Belgian illustrator Georges Remi (aka Herge), the Tintin comics – originally published in French between 1930 and 1976 – have grown over the years into a multinational franchise that includes translations in dozens of languages, various animated films and TV series, two live-action movies, several theme stores, a museum and even a field of study known as “Tintinology.”
Tintin himself is far from your typical, butt-kicking crime fighter. If anything, his erudite approach to solving mysteries, along with a taste for escapades in the Middle East, Asia and Africa throughout the mid-20th century, make him a less brawny, more European counterpart to Indiana Jones, which is purportedly what first sparked Spielberg’s interest in bringing Tintin to the screen back in the early 1980s.

The script stays true to the spirit of the books and a hilarious Serkis as the drunken Captain Haddock, who at one point downs medicinal alcohol, makes for a fantastically unique hero in a family movie. The pace is well maintained and the story never seems to overstay its welcome, which is not the case with many recent blockbusters.John Williams’ score, which mixes moody 60s-style music with the composer’s more grandiose themes, accompanies events up through the rather ingenious finale (involving a massive duel where shipping cranes are transformed into sabers), before a cliffhanger sets up the next installment (to be directed by Jackson).

Now the mocap technique falls somewhere between live-action and animated moviemaking, the same can be said for the performances, which are altogether fluid yet sometimes give the impression of watching a very realistic video game with the sound turned up a few thousand notches. Serkis nonetheless manages to turn Haddock into what will surely be the trilogy’s most memorable personage, while Bell (Billy Elliot) makes Tintin about as interesting as he can be, which is to say sometimes less so than his dog. Thomson and Thompson, Edgar Wright regulars Nick Frostand Simon Pegg provide comic asides that will help adults stay in tune with material aimed at an audience younger than the teenage or twentysomething Tintin, even if this Belgian hero seems to be a model of PG undertakings.
Steven Spielberg’s direction is top-notch. He not just makes the film a thrilling ride but also infuses it with old-world charm and heartwarming emotions. Based on the series of books, the movie is full of clever moments, great action sequences, comedy and intrigue. The screenplay is such that the viewers’ interest is maintained throughout as it follows Tintin on his adventure. The characterisation of Captain Haddock, who goes from being a drunkard to reclaiming his courageous legacy, is brilliant. A couple of sequences involving the expert pickpocket, Silk, and the bumbling detective duo, Thomson and Thompson, bring a smile to the audience’s lips. 

More so, when the action shifts to the city of Bagghar, the viewer is treated to a thrilling ride as Tintin, Haddock and Snowy go on a fabulously choreographed chase. Sequences such as Tintin and Captain Haddock’s escape from the boat, Haddock’s narration of his grandfather’s war with the pirates and that of the climactic fight between Haddock and Sakharine are the highlights. The climax, which also hints at the film’s sequel, is good. The dialogues are very well-written and enjoyable.

Thus,as far as all the aspects of this introduction is concerned, Spielberg and Jackson will have no trouble selling the sequel to us as they have captured our imaginations with a serviceable Tintin introduction.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Vampire Diaries: Till Now: Mid-Season finale

Season 3 of The Vampire Diaries is almost done. Its the Mid-season finale after a successful run of nine episodes and over for the year returning again on 5th January, 2012 (very long wait). And be warned the post below may contain some spoilers for those who have yet to see the ninth episode of the season.

Now lets recap what we know so far - So last season we saw Stefan leaving Mystic Falls with Klaus as condition for the werewolf antidote for Damon who got bitten by Tyler Lockwood in a struggle during he was changing during the full moon. So Stefan is still away and Elena is doing all she can to get him back to town with very little help from Damon, who is being a characteristic jerk and being less helpful than Elena hopes to be. Something else entirely is going on, Damon is actually tracking him along with Alaric, the history teacher and has been marking every place they had seen in a secret closet. Elena thinks all the news clips she procures from Sheriff Forbes about all the deaths are Klaus victims but the case is totally different (more Stefan news than Klaus news). Stefan has literally.....flipped the switch.....true upto a certain extent but there he goes at the season premiere and makes a call to Elena in Mystic Falls.....so maybe the caring Stefan is still in there....maybe there is still hope for him yet.

While Jeremy has his own problems, during the last season when Bonnie brought him back to life without the consent of those dead witches and they said there would be consequences.....well there you have it Jeremy Gilbert can now see the ghost of his two dead girlfriends Vicki and Anna and Bonnie is not in Mystic Falls at the moment so she doesn't know exactly what is going on there back home. Caroline and Tyler on the other....well too much sexual tension there. Alaric on the other feels like a failure - girlfriend dead, ex-wife is also dead and now he must look after Elena and Jeremy but he feels he has failed everything.

On the other hand Klaus and Stefan are a completely different story. Klaus wants to make more hybrids out of the werewolves but something is wrong even if he is doing the procedure as it is (umm... Elena is still alive), all of them are dying. So Stefan is his only companion in all this. After a string of failures in the hybrid making program, Klaus and Stefan go to the windy city....Chicago and there you go dagger out of another original, Klaus' sister Rebecca, who loved Stefan during his ripper period.

So long way from there Damon, Alaric and all the at the moment Mystic Falls residents are trying all they can to keep Elena out of Klaus' radar and Stefan along with Klaus is also trying all he can to keep Mr. Hybrid out of Mystic Falls. And you know what that necklace you saw Elena wear (a present from Stefan) actually belonged to Rebecca and is a talisman of the original witch who set that curse upon him all those years ago. There you have, Mystic Falls just seems to be the perfect place for a mythical creatures confluence and apparently everything dangerous happens there - meaning Klaus suspects that Stefan is not really truthful with him and off they go back there.

Now since I am trying to be spoiler free here in the spirit of those who still need to watch those nine episodes so I'm not going to reveal the story but I'll tell you this the all round invincible Klaus is actually afraid of something. Like Katherine's been running away from Klaus for millions of years Klaus is also running away from someone....a vampire hunter to be exact, Michael. Now why he is running away from this Micheal when the neither the moon nor the sun effect him is a different story altogether.

But i'll tell you this all this details lead up to one hell of a mid-season finale. Where tables are turned, allegiances changed and a plan within a plan rather goes badly. Only one good thing has happened out of all this - Stefan is free of Klaus' compulsion (YAY! ripper Stefan doesn't really set with me) and he wants revenge from Mr. Original Hybrid.

Anyways moving on thoughts for all nine episodes and where it could have been a little better - So I don't really think I need to elaborate much more on all the nine episodes because....well its season 3 and the show is going great keeping us viewers on our toes constantly. Every episode has so much going on there and their formula of ending every episode with a gigantic cliffhanger gives the show a major plus point. But I'd like to point one thing out sometimes all this jumble of story arcs in some of the episodes prove to much and lead it to waste and the episode proves to much of a disaster.

As far as the acting goes I have nothing to say. All of them are so great and no questions asked it is an ensemble of great actors.

So without further ado, the promo for the next episode -

Ohhhhh trouble ahead....and such a long wait....damn!

So see you guys on 5th January, 2012.


Friday, November 11, 2011

The Secret Circle: Till Now: Mid-season finale

After a long absence, I'm back.

And after its nine episode run The Secret Circle is off for the moment to return on 5th Jan, 2012 (that is one long wait). Oh and if you still haven't seen the mid season finale then be warned before you read ahead - you may get some spoilers in here (although i'll try to be spoiler free).

Lets recap what we know so far - Cassie comes to Chance Harbor after an accident that kills her mother (which is not an accident at all) and catches the eye of Adam Conant, who coincidentally is a part of a secret group of witches and want her to join to see the circle to its full potential. But the the thing is Adam is already dating another circle member Diana Meade. Although Cassie knows there is something between her and Adam that cannot be explained, she knows her boundary and knows not to make advances on someone else's man. As to the remaining circle members - Faye Chamberlain, Melissa Glaser and Nick Armstrong - also want Cassie so the circle can be more powerful and be able to do much better spells that just opening lockers or curtains.

So Cassie is still reserving judgement because she is still depressed over her mothers death and is kinda a loner but certain incidents lead her to do the impossible and she must bind the circle in order to contain all the free energy laying around them all. Which leads to some complications the circle can't do individual magic alone and must rely on their fellow members to help in dire situations.

But there you have it - past comes knocking on their doors, revealing things about Cassie's mom that kinda paints her in bad light. So Cassie sits down to research and sort of finds out something entirely different that what they thought. One thing leads to another - a little bit of demon chase, a very very strong demon to be exact that needs a sigil to be contained and we lose a circle member - Nick. Which brings his brother Jake, who is portrayed as a big jerk with not such a great past with the circle member (except Cassie) back to town.

And Jake is way HOT! He seems to have caught the eye of his charming neighbor Cassie. That "Hey Neighbor" line which both Nick and Jack say when they meet Cassie is rather ironic. Apart from all the past bad dealings he has with the circle, Cassie is the only one who gives him the benefit of doubt. She is the only one who sees him as he is now rather than living in the past. Cassie also feels a sort of connection with Jake, both of them feel like outsiders to the tight-knit group or the locals and both have been running away from the show or in Cassie's case her mother who seems to be running away from her past.

But wait there is more to Jake than what meets the eye - he is also the enemy...somewhat. By later we all know the reason why he is back in Chance Harbor and that is not to attend his brother's funeral, well not really. And that is not all he seems to be wavering from his decided course of action through the later episodes. Hmmm....someone other than Adam would be good for her. Lets face it both Cassie and Jake's chemistry during the mid-season finale was of the charts....literally. So pardon me but I'd rather prefer Cassie and Jake to be together rather than her being with Adam.

Hopefully he'll be back for the back episodes (sorry its a spoiler for those who still need to watch the episode). Wait forgot to mention Cassie finally gets to know who her father was, a person named John Blackwell - and some of those scenes where she does magic by herself are super creepy.

Anyways moving on thoughts for all nine episodes and where it could have been a little better - So yes both "The Secret Circle" and "The Vampire Diaries" and babies of L.J. Smith (author) and both are helped by the same production department, Kevin Williamson to be exact. But while the vampire diaries has finally found its niche with the third season going on, the secret circle is still trying to find its footing. And I'd say little by little they are succeeding.....baby steps is good, baby steps is very good. Paranormal is one genre which has a lot of possibilities that can be effectively realized to make it a stellar show. Mainly what I felt was the witch part of the plot course use much work. We are learning about the 2nd generation and what they did or what happened in that fire - suspense and mystery - good way to keep the viewers on their toes but the fact still remains that that part of the plot could have been more fleshed out.

As far as the acting aspect goes - both Britt Robertson (Cassie) and Phoebe Tonekin (Faye) were the only ones who actually had a constant good act going on, although Louis Hunter (Nick) was very good in his act, well this the producers and directors deemed he stay on that is. Hopefully Nick i'll be back somehow. But Chris Zylka (Jake) was a force to be reckoned with....he started out stiff and by the mid-season hiatus became a favourite. Hopefully we'll see him again too. Jessica Parker (Melissa) and Shelley Hennig (Diana) are great as well (but not really my favorites).

But the one thing is it gets a bonus in one context is it honors Harry Potter and decidedly stay different from that genre of wand of waving. Remember the second episode where Cassie and Adam are in the clubhouse and Cassie seeing all the witchy stuff says "It feels like a Harry Potter movie" but Adam says "That guys had a wand". (Since the books and movies are different from each other but being adapted is good it helps you to stay on track and still explore more options.)

Promo for the next episode -

Promo for the next episode looks promising and hopefully we'd all have our hopes answered in the back 9 episodes.

So see you guys on 5th January, 2012. 


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Real Steel

When you hear the term 'fighting giant robots' you immediately picture Michael Bay's Transformers Trilogy but this is definitely not that. Real Steel is definitely a different brand of metal-on-metal action. Based on Richard Matheson’s 1956 short story “Steel,” Real Steel isn’t an action adventure about giant war robots, it’s a much more intimate story about an estranged father and son – as well as their not-so-giant boxing robot.

The greatest achievement in Shawn Levy’s Real Steel is building the world of robot boxing. The term “robot boxing” sounds incredibly stupid when you hear it and flashes of Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Robots. But Levy does a tremendous job for showing not just the hi-tech wonder of the World Boxing Organization (WBO), but he takes us to the back-alleys, run-down theme parks, and country fairs where a punching robot and its owner can make some cash and win some glory. Paired with well-choreographed fights that wisely make heavy use of animatronics and practical effects, Real Steel almost has an unbeatable combination.

Charlie Keaton (Hugh Jackman), former boxer had to step outside the ring to make his living off the boxing robots that basically took his job. However, his impatience, ineptitude, and poor business acumen have left him heavily in debt and scrambling to find any robot that can put up a fight. Lucky for Charlie, his ex-girlfriend dies and he finds a chance to make some quick money by selling custody of his estranged son Max (Goyo) to Max’s aunt (Hope Davis) and her rich husband (James Rebhorn). Charlie cuts a deal to take Max over the summer while the aunt and uncle go to Italy and when they come back, Charlie gets the rest of his money, Max doesn’t have to put up with his deadbeat father, and everyone is happy. But the father-son duo get behind ATOM, a sparring bot and well well well they finally begin to bond with Max providing the voice of reason against Charlie’s general incompetence.
There have been a lots of attempts at such a story but keep all that aside. The real reason for the success of Real Steel is the chemistry between the father-son duo of Jackman and Goyo. As mentioned, there are some self-indulgent moments and the progression is probably going to be pretty predictable for anyone who has ever seen an estranged father/son relationship in a film before, but Real Steel deserves a lot of credit for not gumming up the plot with too much melodrama. The relationship is worked into the story in a competent way – it’s rarely manipulative and both parties are instrumental in moving the story forward, not just reacting to external events. It doesn’t hurt that Jackman and Goyo, unlike many onscreen father/son combos, actually have believable chemistry – which helps elevate the tension and/or humor in several key scenes.

And no doubt the biggest and some of the best sequences come from the robot vs. robot action. For the most part these sequences live up to expectation with some very believable CGI work as well as an enjoyable mix of robots that each feature different fighting styles. While not every bot is as interesting as some of the featured fighters, each of the combatants offers a different insight into the world of Real Steel. Whether competing in underground fighting arenas, backyard brawls, or the glitz and glamor of an official WRB ring, it’s clear that Levy wanted the robots to flesh out this near-future world – not just beat each other into nuts and bolts. Unfortunately besides the few glimpses on the robot boxing levels we are not shown as to the back story for the development of the scenario. 
While the lack of information does make for compelling Real Steel 2 potential, there’s no doubt the current narrative gets short-shrift and some of the established plot lines could’ve been more fully realized in this film. It isn’t a case of unreasonable expectations or wishing Levy had gone deeper into unexplored mythology, it’s a matter of wanting the film to address existing story threads, instead of intentionally withholding, just to have a starting point for a sequel.

But the real question is if this new flick is going to survive or not.....and the answer is yes. Story and characters are the most important elements of almost any movie, and they’re serviceable enough to make Real Steel function. There’s not a disinterest in those crucial elements as much as poor execution through sloppy dialogue. Thankfully, the movie plays to its strengths by bringing the audience into a rich and fascinating world filled with exhilarating fight scenes. Despite a few problems in there Real Steel proves a great entertainment movie. That is clean and family oriented.


Friday, October 7, 2011

The Body Finder #2: Desires of the Dead

Less creepy and more as a message conveying what is to come, I present before you allThe Body Finder #2 Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting.

Here is the summary of the book:

Violet can sense the echoes of those who've been murdered—and the matching imprint that clings to their killers. Only those closest to her know what she is capable of, but when she discovers the body of a young boy she also draws the attention of the FBI, threatening her entire way of life. As Violet works to keep her morbid ability a secret, she unwittingly becomes the object of a dangerous obsession. Normally she'd turn to her best friend, Jay, except now that they are officially a couple, the rules of their relationship seem to have changed. And with Jay spending more and more time with his new friend Mike, Violet is left with too much time on her hands as she wonders where things went wrong. But when she fills the void by digging into Mike's tragic family history, she stumbles upon a dark truth that could put everyone in danger.

What would life be without a few spices in its wake? Pretty boring don’t you think? But if that spice turns out to be an ability that is creepy, disorienting and danger magnet - well you might hope to actually have a life of normally….although that might not be the option available to you, at all. With a sense of righteousness and lack of self-preservation is just the added bonus to the mix don’t you think?

All of the above lines greatly describe the protagonist of our tale, Violet Ambrose. And this is where we pick up the reigns after the first book The Body Finder where we are introduced to Violet and her ability to sense the dead, un-rested souls. Although her ability proved very much helpful in tracking a hunter on the loose, it was also because of this that she almost lost her life. Oh and not to forget Jay Heaton who has been her best friend for so many years is now her boyfriend….hmm.. Somewhere along the line friendship turned into love I suppose.

This is where Desires of the Dead picks up after a harrowing year of hunters and stalkers life at the moment seems to be perfect for Violet. She has great friends, an awesome family, a great boyfriend (who is also her best friend) and they are going steady. The days seem to be mundane at best, well not mundane enough if you consider all the “homework” sessions (notice the double quotes?) that Violet and Jay have together.

And like always the calm is about to be shattered – Jay has got a new friend Mike upon whom Chelsea seems to have set her eyes. So now Jay spends so much time with Mike that Violet seems left out. And would you look at that Violet seems to have a new stalker up her tail (sorry not going to disclose the name as the person has already apologized). Along with all this Violet has a lot of things of her own going on. She found another dead body – a little boy this time. And something or the other makes somebody else find out about her ability. Mistakes are made, trust issues are raised and Violet and Jay decide upon an important step of their life.

Desires of the dead if described in a few words as a right to passage, simple enough Violet, Jay and the whole crew is growing up, puberty stage if you call. Everything is confusing, different, heightened, a new sense of meaning in everything around them. This is a stage to make the important decisions that could change their lives forever.

As I had stated in the previous review of the body finder, this book is all about a normal, high school life with a hint of paranormality. This element definitely does not rule the story but enhances its vigor. A major plus point for the series and the author Kimberly Derting in my books. Dividing and telling the story from two POV makes it even more interesting to read and enjoy. Definitely a favourite, it is enough to understand that whatever happens in here is most certainly a precursor to the next book “The Last Echo”.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Lorien Legacies #2: The Power of Six

Sequel better than the series pilot?....Definitely. This is Lorien Legacies #2 The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore (Jobie Hughes & James Frey).

Here is the summary of the book:

I've seen him on the news. Followed the stories about what happened in Ohio. John Smith, out there, on the run. To the world, he's a mystery. But to me . . . he's one of us. Nine of us came here, but sometimes I wonder if time has changed us—if we all still believe in our mission. How can I know? There are six of us left. We're hiding, blending in, avoiding contact with one another . . . but our Legacies are developing, and soon we'll be equipped to fight. Is John Number Four, and is his appearance the sign I've been waiting for? And what about Number Five and Six? Could one of them be the raven-haired girl with the stormy eyes from my dreams? The girl with powers that are beyond anything I could ever imagine? The girl who may be strong enough to bring the six of us together? They caught Number One in Malaysia. Number Two in England. And Number Three in Kenya. They tried to catch Number Four in Ohio—and failed. I am Number Seven. One of six still alive. And I'm ready to fight.

I am Number Four ended with four a.k.a. John Smith loosing Henri, confronting the Mogs, meeting number six, finding love in the form of Sarah Hart, becoming best friends with Sam Goode and deciding to go find the other Loric - regroup and battle the Mogs once and for all with Sam, Six and his chimera, Bernie Kosar.

These lines pretty much say it all and this is where the next book power of six picks up. Our little band of the merry men....and women are on the run and doing all they can to evade the authorities and find all the remaining numbers....yes the police and the FBI have now instigated them as the terrorist as fake ids were found at their last residence in Paradise, Ohio....

And its one hell of a journey I tell you.....

That is not all there is to this book. Wait for it.....new characters. The book definitely introduces us to a horde of new characters. We meet seven and her Cepan who are in hiding in a remote area in Italy and trying to evade the notice of the Mogs. But even that is too good to last. Trouble seems to find them everywhere.

All that aside lets talk about the characters we meet here. Hector Ricardo, oh I simply loved him. He is a great friend to Seven, he is reliable, he is drunk (don't think too much about it), and he is what is you call a kindred spirit. Then there is number seven herself and she is feeling rather rebellious as she comes of age - developing her legacies and sense the deja vu.....her situation is somewhat the same as John's was.

John is every bit of tough and strong but he misses Henri and feels rather lost without his Cepan to take care of him. Add to that he misses Sarah.

The Power of Six, is for a lack of a better word, something you all shouldn't miss. A must read for all who are fans and who are readers. Pittacus Lore is the man, although the concept of an alien sci-fi tale but I must say it is the level of creativity involved here that makes it possible. You definitely can't miss this one.

And before I forget the title definitely doesn't seem the power of number six.


The Sleepwalkers

Is it just or recently we have been getting a lot of movies and books in the horror genre of literature?.... Anyways I present before you all the review of The Sleepwalkers by J. Gabriel Gates and thanks to both netgalley and the publishers for providing its galley.

Here is the summary of the book:

A chilling and masterfully crafted teen horror novel guaranteed to keep the pages turning, the mind reeling, and the lamp on any reader's bedside table on long after midnight. Privileged and popular Caleb Mason is celebrating his high school graduation when he receives a mysterious, disturbing letter from his long-lost childhood playmate, Christine. Caleb and his jokester friend Bean decide to travel to his tiny hometown of Hudsonville, Florida, to find her. Upon arrival, they discover the town has taken a horrifying turn for the worse. Caleb's childhood home is abandoned and his father has disappeared. Children are going missing. The old insane asylum has reopened, and Christine is locked inside. Her mother, a witch, is consumed with madness, and Christine's long-dead twin sister whispers clues to Caleb through the static of an a.m. radio. The terrifying prophesies of the spirits are coming to pass. Sixteen clocks are ticking; sixty-six murdered souls will bring about the end of the world. As Caleb peels back layer after layer of mystery, he uncovers a truth more horrible than anything he had imagined, a truth that could only be uttered by the lips of the dead.
William Caleb “Billy” Mason has graduated from school and is about to go for a journalism degree in college but at his graduation party he gets a letter from a childhood friend named Christine Zikry about the strange on-goings of his hometown – people are going missing every time and the authorities could care less. Decided his course of action Caleb and his best friend Bean decide to go to Caleb’s hometown to see what the fuss is all about and to help Christine in whatever mess she has landed herself in.

But reaching these they find that it’s a whole new different story. Something is happening there. Something is going on that has all the town folks scared. The haunted old asylum building where the kids were forbidden to enter has now been reopened as the dream centre; basically a new asylum and the patients at the general hospital are all told to go the dream centre, even if they are not mad.

And to top off all that Caleb’s dad is also missing and there has absolutely been no reports about that or any other disappearances at all. In these troubled situations Caleb’s investigative attitude comes to the foreplay and he and Bean try to do all they can to find the true cause of the horror or the nature of the paranormality that is Caleb’s hometown; but these secrets might just shake the foundation of Caleb and Bean’s world.

The Sleepwalkers is what you might call an atmospheric horror story. Although there are lots many actually points that make it an actual horror saga but yes it is the atmosphere and the strange darkness that surrounds the story that shapes that shapes that jaw-dropping conclusion. The Sleepwalker is what you call an ideal speculative and splendidly written paranormal plot by J. Gabriel Gates.

It is every bit mysterious, strange, dark and apocalyptic as it can get in one single story; that just goes to show the level of creativity and the hard work that went into incorporating all the elements and making it into one cohesive tale. The Sleepwalker is a definite must read for any horror and paranormal reader who love to be surprised.


The Body Finder #1: The Body Finder

What would you do if you ever developed the ability to sense the dead and un-rested souls? Not really a power one wants but let’s see how it is dealt with in The Body Finder #1 The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting.

Here is the summary of the book:

Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes that the dead leave behind in the world... and the imprints that attach to their killers. Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find the dead birds her cat had tired of playing with. But now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him. Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet on her quest to find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved to find herself hoping that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer... and becoming his prey herself.

Superhuman strength; Lab experimenting turning you into the ultimate soldier; the ability to see the past, present and future; the x-genes giving you the ability to shoot flames, ice, x-ray vision, telekinetics, heightened brain cells, mind reading, manipulating iron etc. All very clean and healthy abilities to have but what if you instead have the ability to sense the echoes of the dead un-rested souls, crying for help, for someone to hear them and put them to their proper resting place; definitely a very creepy ability to possess and this is where we meet Violet Ambrose, the protagonist of the body finder series. She can sense the dead, the un-rested wailing to quench them of their gory end.

Violet is what you call a normal high-school student, a teenager going through and pushing through in the busy throngs of school, experiencing every hormonal need a teenager does and has great friends. But she has a secret, a secret that might get her unnecessary attention – she can sense the dead – not just any dead – she can sense them the un-rested the worst – for these souls have not been put to rest but covered up in the most gruesome of ways possible. It can be animals, and it can be human dead bodies. Only her family and her best friend Jay Heaton know that she possess this ability and know to keep quiet about it.

Throw in the mix her best friend since childhood (already mentioned) Jay Heaton. Not only did they both grow up together but now Violet is starting to feel different about him. The strange butterflies in the stomach, catching her breath whenever he smiles at her, her insides doing somersaults at the thought of the guy, daydreaming about him, getting jealous when any other girl fawns over him, all the symptoms point to the burgeoning feelings of love and attraction to the opposite sex. Yes, her best friend has developed to be quite the hottie and they had thought would never be possible between them, disgusting even, is becoming true.

Every girl in school wants him now and are secretly looking for ways attracting his attention towards them but somehow Jay seems oblivious of all this…..not for long I assure you. Circumstances, well hormonal teenager related circumstances lead both Violet and Jay to realize their feelings for one another.

Something is going on among all this day-to-day routine. Teenage girls…beautiful even are turning up dead and covered up and buried in forest floors, left in the waters even buried in pits. There is a serial killer on the loose and girls are not safe anymore. But searching the essence of the victims or the imprint of the hunter, Violet might just be playing into their trap.

All this said The Body Finder has an amazing and it really sets you in the mood with both the ebook and audiobook at the same time. The writing is very well done. We find both Violet and Jay along with their friends are really easy to connect with. All of them are just as normal and sane as any other person…. well excluding Violet’s ability to sense the dead un-rested souls and the imprints on the hunters that is. The one thing that is a major plus point for Violet is that she knows that she is no superhero but is very brave and rather lacks the quality of self-preservation for herself and Jay is also well written and their chemistry and all their interaction is very well…..adorable and cute.

What should I say about the conclusion and the case going on through it? Definitely sets the mood, we are always anticipating what might happen next, who would be the next victim. And all the portions in the killer’s might of view really drove the nail hard of the coming storm.

Overall Kimberly Derting has done a great job with this one and like in every other paranormal story where the plot is always shaped around the abilities of the character here it felt as if the person (Violet) was running around with an extra ordinary sixth-sense and going through life as a mundane day would be like.


Lorien Legacies #0.5 I am Number Four: The Lost Files : Six's Legacy

A prequel tale that deals with the background of the independent and foxy number 6, how she came by her legacy, who was her guardian, what happened to her. I present before you all The Lost Files: Six's Legacy by Pittacus Lore.

Here is the summary of the novella:

Number Six—when John meets her in I Am Number Four she’s strong, powerful, and ready to fight. But who is she? Where has she been living? How has she been training? When did she develop her legacies? And how does she know so much about the Mogadorians? In I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: Six’s Legacy, discover the story behind Six. Before Paradise, Ohio, before John Smith, Six was traveling through West Texas with her CÊpan, Katarina. What happened there would change Six forever….

Who is number 6? How did her legacies developed? Why did she not have her CÊpan with her when she met Number 4 - John Smith in I am number Four? And why was she searching for the others? -- All the questions are answered in here. The Lost Files is an account of the circumstances leading to the meeting of Number 4 and 6. We have 6's back story in here; how she met the Mogs and how her CÊpan Katarina dies.

And there is only word to describe number 6 - BADASS - yes she is badass - as we have already seen in Number four she is strong, fearless, a little reckless. This novella tells where she was, how she was captured and the death of her CÊpan. What I liked best was how the story drove home the point of how dangerous all of their lives are. The first book was more matter-of-fact, "Numbers 1, 2 and 3 were killed." It never really felt that John was in danger until the climax. But the harrowing saga of Number 6 really drives a hard nail. She kills without mercy and she also kills with vengeance. Now, all alone, she wants to meet her other kind. Three already died and she's pursuing the Fourth.

All in all Jobie Hughes and Jamie Frey aka Pittacus Lore did a great job. It was short - it was interesting - it was informative - and it was action packed. What more do you need?



After vampires, zombies and post-apocalyptic scenarios nephilim and the heavenly beings seem to be heavy on the teen book scene. So I present before you all Crosseds by Mary Ting.

Here is the summary of the book:

Claudia Emerson has a good friend who shares the same first name and last name. That friend unfortunately dies in a tragic accident during homecoming dance. Claudia is distraught at the loss of her friend, but is even more disturbed by her dreams, which seem to take her to another place called Crossroads. Unknown to her, Crossroads is like a second heaven, a place between heaven and earth. It is where the souls of humans in comas or near death experiences may wander. Where, Claudia meets Michael, a nephilim, a half angel, half human, whom she often meets in her dreams. It turns out that this isn’t her first visit to Crossroads, which is an enigma for no human can ever travel there until Claudia. Now the fallen and demons are after her, suspecting she must be special and it is up to Michael and the other nephilims to protect her. Her dream becomes a nightmare as more secrets are revealed, about who she really is, and the true identities of the people she loves most. Can Michael fight his growing feelings for Claudia and protect her as a guardian angel should?
Claudia Emerson is a simple teen who leads a some of about mundane teenage life but with weird dreams. Although she does not realize it but the place she dreams of is called the crossroads. Crossroads is by standards a place that lies between heaven and Earth, it is where the souls of humans in coma or near death experiences may wonder. In all of her dreams she somehow makes it there which is rather weird because humans are not known to always wander there. It is at the crossroads where she meets a handsome Nephilim or alkin by the name of Micheal, who she meets in her dreams often. And it might not be the first time she visit the place.

But now danger is upon her, the fallen angels and demons are after her for something. Suspected that Claudia must be special it is upon the Nephilim and Micheal to protect her and see that she encounters no harm. Her dreams have now become nightmare and secrets about her identity are revealed. But can Michael control his growing need for her and protect her as a guardian angel should that waits to be seen.

Crossroads is one easy and a quick read. The first part of the book was lovely in all points of view but the second part felt like it could have used a bit of more work. But forget that I still loved the book. It was definitely a refreshing read and the interactions between Claudia and Micheal or with the other Nephilim was nicely done and exciting to read.

Claudia is a very down to Earth person and very likeable. Micheal on the other hand is well handsome and sexy and can easily be seen as to why she is attracted to him. The burgeoning relationship between them both is very gripping and rather very serene to the touch. Besides our lead couple we also have a great ensemble cast with us. Davin, Vivian, Caleb, Gamma, Philip, Patty and everyone else leaves an imprint upon us. And after reading so many vampire and every other Paranormal or supernatural genre it is very refreshing to read about all the myths and lore related to angels. Also the setting of the environment for the novel and the in-depth knowledge Ms. Ting provides about the Crossroads is very refreshing and nicely done.

"Love really knows no boundaries."


The Demon Lover

The one compelling reason i picked up this book was this cover and i was glad cause this was different and although there may be a lot of books like these today but this one was great, The Demon Lover by Juliet Dark.

Here is the summary of the book:

I gasped . . . or tried to. My mouth opened, but I couldn’t draw breath. . . . His lips, pearly wet, parted and he blew into my mouth. My lungs expanded beneath his weight. When I exhaled he sucked in my breath and his weight turned from cold marble into warm living flesh. Since accepting a teaching position at remote Fairwick College in upstate New York, Callie McFay has experienced the same disturbingly erotic dream every night: A mist enters her bedroom, then takes the shape of a virile, seductive stranger who proceeds to ravish her in the most toe-curling, wholly satisfying ways possible. Perhaps these dreams are the result of writing her bestselling book, The Sex Lives of Demon Lovers. After all, Callie’s lifelong passion is the intersection of lurid fairy tales and Gothic literature—which is why she finds herself at Fairwick’s renowned folklore department, living in a once-stately Victorian house that, at first sight, seemed to call her name. But Callie soon realizes that her dreams are alarmingly real. She has a demon lover—an incubus—and he will seduce her, pleasure her, and eventually suck the very life from her. Then Callie makes another startling discovery: He’s not the only mythical creature in Fairwick. As the tenured witches of the college and the resident fairies in the surrounding woods prepare to cast out the incubus, Callie must accomplish something infinitely more difficult—banishing this demon lover from her heart.
Callie gets a job as an assistant professor in Fairwick College in upstate New York and gets in a teensy wit of trouble in her relationship. Her boyfriend and they had decided to get job in the new york together not be hundreds of miles apart where only Thanksgiving or Christmas where they might be able to see each other but there is also a small pesky problem Callie has a demon lover - an incubi - visiting her dreams and all the desires. This starts to be a problem and when the local witches intervene to put a stop to the incubus, not only Callie must get together with them and try to banish him from the area but also banish her demon lover from her heart.

Juliet Dark is the pseudonym of Carol Goodman. She writes historical gothic fiction and literary mysteries. This is her first romantic paranormal fantasy and she succeeds beautifully. Now the prose is really a thing to die for. The way she compares and writes is marvelous. It shows her literary penmanship. Also every scenario shows Callie as she struggles with life, its meaning, her new role in society and maybe try to banish this mysterious lover who visits her dreams. Secrets are revealed - twists are present and the erotic needs are there too. Not to mention all the traditional witchcraft, the folk-lores and the old Gods. All the details and information very intriguing indeed.

An extremely easy and exquisite read.(Warning sexual content!) The Demon Lover will take you in and shows you wonders.


The Iron Fey #3: The Iron Knight

Feel like saying thousand thank you(s) to netgalley. If I had never gotten the email alert all those months back that they were putting a galley of it there, then I would never have picked up the Iron Fey series from my 'to-be-read' pile so soon. Thank you netgalley and thank you to the publisher for putting it on there. May I present an early review of the upcoming book in The Iron Fey #4 The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa.

Here is the review of the book:

Ash, former prince of the Winter Court, gave up everything. His title, his home, even his vow of loyalty. All for a girl… and all for nothing. Unless he can earn a soul. To cold, emotionless faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought. Then Meghan Chase—a half human, half fey slip of a girl— smashed through his barricades, binding him to her irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can survive. With the (unwelcome) company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through to its end— a quest to find a way to honor his solemn vow to stand by Meghan’s side. To survive in the Iron realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible. At least, no one has ever passed to tell the tale. And then Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that turns reality upside down, challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.
As I stated above if not for netgalley I never would have picked up the Iron fey books from my tbr pile so soon......and to think would have missed out on so much. So lets get on with the review then. The Iron Knight picks up straight where the Iron Queen and upto some extent Summer's Crossing finishes.

After the defeat of the false king Meghan has taken over or well accepted her destiny as the sovereign ruler of the Iron Court and in order to save her beloved Ash, who had sworn to be her knight had banished to save him from being poisoned by the Iron. Why? Because Iron is a kryptonite for the oldworld fey and Ash belongs to the Unseelie Court. In doing so not only is she saving Ash but also sacrifice her love for him(or so she thinks).

But all is not over Ash has sworn that some way or another he would be with her in the end and would do anything in his power to get his happy ending with Meghan.

And this journey is what we find within the pages of The Iron Knight. Ash along with Puck, Grimalkin and a certain "hunter" take the most peculiar adventure through Nevernever. What do they search for? A way for Ash to be with Meghan without the iron interfering between them. A jorney for Ash to gain a soul. A journey that stands the test of time for many have tried but failed. So can Ash, Puck, Grimalkin and "the hunter"succeed what had never been achieved?

The very first page of the book quotes "Team Ash, This one is for you" and for all those Team Ash it is. While Meghan was sorely missed (although is in background here) but we understand The Iron Queen was the conclusion to her story but for Ash it was just beginning.

The Iron Knight offers us a glimpse of the complexity that is Ash. We get to see in Ash's mind, his struggles to attain his promise that he had made to Meghan, his dark past, the nature of his relationship to Puck and with his past lover Ariella. For an Unseelie prince it is weakness to show emotion and Ash knows it. Not only is he loyal but there are true horrors in his past that he definitely never shares with anyone. Never giving in to his inner darkness ever.

You all might even start questioning if Ash deserves redemption or not. His journey is a lot more that just finding his soul but becoming somebody else entirely. The harrowing steps of his journey break the Winter Ash bit by bit and out leaves an Ash who is free of the burdens of the past.

Not just Ash but Puck also comes entirely as a new person here. When Ariella died he lost not one but two of his dear friends and inspite of lashing out he has held the pain inside and as you say it 'taking it in turns'. Puck is as fun loving as he is loyal and Iron Knight shows us a rather very serious side of him. Grim is still the same as ever with his cat-ly annoying "know-it-all" attitude.

Julie Kagawa is the boss....for this definitely does not disappoint in the slightest. Twists and turns, coming to terms with your past, resolving centuries long enemity and seeing your promise till the end. This book definitely does not disappoint.


The Locksmith

Very few memoirs interest me and so it goes I present before you all, The Locksmith by Lafe Metz (as told by Kurt Mann).

Here is the summary of the book:

Kristallnacht. Midnight. Sixteen-year-old Kurt Kann hurtles 300 miles across Germany on a motorcycle to protect his family from the unbottled fury of the Third Reich. But he arrives too late. Kurt finds their apartment ransacked and his family gone. His mother has been brutalized, his little brother traumatized, his father imprisoned in Dachau. With daring and ingenuity, Kurt suppresses his own terror to defy the Nazi regime in a desperate struggle to win his family's freedom and secure passage to America. Years later, as a Sergeant in the 203d Engineer Combat Battalion, Kurt leads his squad onto Omaha Beach. He marches across the continent, leaving dead Germans and broken hearts in his wake. Nothing will satisfy him but a final showdown with the Superintendent who betrayed his family that fateful night in November, 1938. In the battle for one man's soul, will Kurt succumb to blood lust and vengeance, or transcend cruelty and injustice to achieve understanding and something like love?

Told through the pen of Lafe Metz by Kurt Mann, it speaks of the locksmith - a true story of a young Kurt, Jewish in the Nazi Germany. Our tale begins in Kristallnacht hurrying home to in order to protect his family but he is a little bit too late. His apartments have already been searched and ransacked and his family in shambles with his father imprisoned in Dachau. Hearing of the wrong done upon his family Kurt is upset but rises to the occasion and is determined to get his father out of the concentration camp and avenge her mother's embarrassment.

After successfully getting his family to America through the bribe money they decide to start anew there. But trouble arises again with the pearl harbor under attack and revenge against the superintendent who had betrayed his family to the Nazis in mind, Kurt returns to Germany to attain his goal.

The two world wars were a difficult time, certainly I was not born then but I had read enough history books to know that war times are the harshest and WWII is well by far a disastrous time of the age. Nazi Germany were not only a ruthless bunch but every thing that had happened under Hitler's rule definitely does not paint Germany in good light and especially against the Jews there. So to get to read a true count of Mr. Mann who was successful enough to evade that and escape to America and there after returning to Germany as an American soldier, well the details speak for themselves - those were harsh times.

Although at times certain points could have used a bit more details but nevertheless the book truly had us transferred to the Nazi era and all of Kurt Mann's struggle against them in order to keep his family safe were awe-inspiring. A true encounter to look at.


The Arranger

Thriller, suspense, futuristic and cunningly crafted, I present before you all my views The Arranger by L.J. Sellers.

Here is the summary of the book:

The year is 2023 and ex-detective Lara Evans is working as a freelance paramedic in a bleak new world. She responds to an emergency call and is nearly killed when a shooter flees the home. Inside she finds the federal employment commissioner wounded, but she’s able to save his life. The next day Lara leaves for the Gauntlet—a national competition of intense physical and mental challenges with high stakes for her home state. She spots the assailant lurking at the arena and soon after, she lands in deep trouble. Who is the mysterious killer and what is motivating him? Can Lara stop him, stay alive, and win the Gauntlet?
Set in 2023 USA our story by far revolves around two arcs. One shows of ex-cop and current paramedic Lara Evans who as her duty states much respond to every distress calls and responds to an emergency but is nearly killed when a shooter flees from the scene of crimes and who would she find as the victim but the federal employment commissioner. Co-incidence, think not - on the eve of her leaving for the Gauntlet - a national competition of intense mental and physical prowess and high stakes for her home town, the winner not only gets a huge prize money and a line-up of advertisements to showcase her but also wins jobs for her hometown - which is a rather good way of earning in the future when due to deflation numerous people face unemployment and the working few try to hold onto their post with a long list of replacements in tow. So Lara wants the jobs to return to her state and is determined to win the competition.

She sees that assailant at the gauntlet games and lands herself in trouble with the Gauntlet managing committee. Can she stop this person before something worse happens and also win the games....well read on...read on.

Lara Evans is our typical heroine, 42 years old, ex-cop a homicide detective and now a freelance EMT is rather a reckless person rushing into scenes without thinking and is a rather determined and point to be noted wants to win at the Gauntlet games and breaking the notion that woman don't win there. But as usual trouble follows and after her roommate is found dead she must do all she can to stay alive and simultaneously try to catch this mysterious attacker.

One arc done the next one follows simultaneously of a nerdy-geeky who is the one arranging the mishaps. Rather lonely and an attention seeker would do anything to gain the affections of a girl he likes.

So the future is rather bleak don't you think? Well the government is still the same. Corruption is abound in all fields of society. The federal government in the USA has been radically downsized, unemployment is high, health insurance is rare and a lot of government services, including basic EMT and police services have been cut to the bone. There are elements of dystopian near future sci-fi afloat as well. Corporations and big business are the true powers, as they control all government agencies and control who works where and the position they can occupy. Salary raises and advances are a part of the pages of history books.

A nice setup to the Gauntlet games as well. A part that is rather very well written and very exciting. And vaguely resembles The hunger games(Suzanne Collins) but to a 9 out of 100% mark. Since the money is scare it is a good setup and there is the grant money as well. The winners bring home money for their home state, which can be used to generate jobs. This devotion of hers to bring back the jobs to her state is a cause to cheer for.

There are some elements of surprise as well and it is how the two arks co-relate is the point that makes the story work. Miss Sellers has done a very great job with it.


The Iron Fey #3.5: Summer's Crossing

Finally gaining some ground on Puck. I present before you all The Iron Fey #3.5 Summer's Crossing by Julie Kagawa.

Here is the summary of the novella:

A Midsummer's Nightmare? Robin Goodfellow. Puck. Summer Court prankster, King Oberon's right hand, bane of many a faery queen's existence—and secret friend to Prince Ash of the Winter Court. Until one girl's death came between them, and another girl stole both their hearts. Now Ash has granted one favor too many and someone's come to collect, forcing the prince to a place he cannot go without Puck's help—into the heart of the Summer Court. And Puck faces the ultimate choice—betray Ash and possibly win the girl they both love, or help his former friend turned bitter enemy pull off a deception that no true faery prankster could possibly resist. An ebook exclusive novella from Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series.

Summer's Crossing is a bridging gap between 'The Iron Queen' and 'The Iron Knight' and in Puck's point of view. Ash has too many debts needed to be paid off and one comes to collect her side of the contract. It is the duty of the fey to complete their sides of the contract and Ash must follow even if it means entering enemy realms to retrieve stolen items or being or anything as required. And for that he needs his once-friend-now-turned-enemy Puck's help. But true to his nature and little nudge from his master Puck has decided to lay trouble in Ash's way of going through his end of the deal. Both fell for the same girl and both want her....well this can't be good can it?

Aside from Ash and Meghan and the usual, the one character that I really like and respect is Robin Goodfellow a.k.a. Puck. He is the one character that balances out all the seriousness and the mushiness between Ash and Meghan and is everything a jester should be. This novella sheds some light upon the inner workings of the mind of Puck. He clearly still loves Meghan...well can't be blamed, she did return his feelings for sometime before deciding on Ash. And its a good change from all the emotional drama that surrounds the two lovely couple.

Thumbs up for Ms. Kagawa! So psyched about reading "The Iron Knight" now.


The Iron Fey #3: The Iron Queen

Another fast record. OMG! I'm on a roll. Oh well.....so I present before you The Iron fey #3 The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa.

Here is the summary of the book:

My name is Meghan Chase. I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who's sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it. This time, there will be no turning back.

So Ash and Meghan have been sent to exile never to return to nevernever ever, well until announced otherwise at least by their sires. Their crime fall in love with one another. Its a rule or should I say law that a Summer Fey and a Winter Fey are not meant to be together. But danger still lurks around the corners. The false iron king has declared open war on the Seelie and the Unseelie Courts and as they myth goes these two 'oldworld' feary can't even turn a hair off from these abominations (iron fey), simple iron does not bode well for them. So naturally Ash, Meghan and Puck (who was later also exiled by the Erlking) are called back because well they are the only ones or better yet Meghan is the only one who can enter the Iron realm without being poisoned by its effect and as her knight and lover (Prince Ash) and her best friend (Puck) tag along as well on this new quest to put a stop to the false king's advent. With loads of help from yours truly Grimalkin.

The Iron Queen *kicks-butt* literally. Its not only the level of details that gives it a positive leverage and staying true to the old saying but its only about the way the characters co-relate with one another. This book is definitely about Meghan, about how much she had grown in the span of time she spent in the feary. Witnessing so many things that normal humans are meant too(well she isn't normal, she is half-fey) and growing into a sensible and an unselfish Queen. Towards the end of this book Meghan finally comes to embrace her destiny, which is a rather huge task to accomplish. As well as uniting them all and accepting the good and the bad.

Not just Meghan but Ash and Puck play a huge role here as well. Now I'm always for Team Ash since it was blatantly obvious from the start and well he is rather gorgeous as well....well Puck could have gone there too but he waited too long to make his move and I have to say he sound rather like a best friend material to me. Both are on a constant change in the character scale. Ash out of the bondage of the Winter court has started to show another side of him or has finally decided to drop the indifferent mask he wears all the time. He is now well rather very sweet, he cares a lot for Meghan. He is more open now and rather very lovey-dovey too. That is definitely a 360 degrees change we get to see in few. The extent to which Ash and Meghan would go to be together is rather heart-wrenching(definitely not another Romeo and Juliet....thank God).

Puck on the other, as mischievous as ever (he is Oberon's jester after all) but also shows a certain level of maturity. He knows he has got no chance with Meghan now and has decided to go the way of 'her happiness is my happiness'. Pretty smart of him and very sacrificing. He could easily fight for her love with the elusive Ash but he knows that Meghan loves him(Ash) and would never be able to return his feeling.

Three of them - Meghan, Ash and Puck along with Grim journey to the Iron realm and stop the false king before the whole of the nevernever is destroyed and helping Meghan along the way as she struggles with both her summer and iron powers. Since I have already finished 'Summer's Crossing' as well, I'd say this one was the best yet. Julie Kagawa really has done it again because like a fairy this Iron Fey series manages to enchant you and you can never break free off it strong hold.

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