Book Review—Ensnared by Rita Stradling


Ensnared
by Rita Stradling

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

[I received an ARC from the Author, as part of a LibraryThing giveaway, in exchange for a review.]

I have read a couple of Rita’s earlier works, which I loved so it was natural that my interest was piqued when I saw her latest work and I jumped at the chance of reading her book.

As much as it is a retelling of beauty and the beast (Is it me or are there too many of these coming up recently esp on beauty and the beast?), I liked the futuristic take on the fairy tale as it gives a nice twist to the story.

The initial pages caught my attention and kept me hooked for some time, though certain sections did make me pause and read them over once more as either there was a break in the action or the narrative felt off. There was a reference to Alainn being away and coming back… but from where is not mentioned, until much later.

As I progressed, I was able to match pace with the story, though I felt that there were a lot of ups and down in the action that was happening. There would be a pause in the narrative and a different thread would be picked upon and taken forward. The whole mountain section when Rose steps out of her window needs a once over. There’s something there that disturbs the flow. Same goes for the detailed description of Lorccan’s tower where the flow again breaks a few times and left me confused a bit. The voice leading Alaine around the house or giving her directions, especially phrases like ‘come this way’ were left hanging. Come this way … how.. Is there a 3D projection of a life-size Rose, leading the way or are signs flashing around the walls telling her where to go. This section would require a little more information on how Alainn was being led around the house with the voice asking her to take a left or a right or turn around the corner and walk up the stairs, kind of, which would sound more practical and probable.

The sex scene definitely raised an eyebrow… one minute you have Lorccan writhing in pain on the floor, screaming cause he is living a nightmare and in a wink he is awake and his hand is up her dress and he wants to roll around with her or in her. I mean—what the heck!

As I said earlier, there are a few highs and lows in the story. The high point for me was the rescue scene and the fight scene— this is an intense action scene and the excitement rubs off on you. Post the rescue, the story slightly dips into the daily routine of the characters and I began to wonder where it was going.

The dramatic closing caught me by surprise as it sort of concluded the story, which I had begun to think, should have ended a few pages back. A lot of things get explained here and most of the questions that rose earlier are answered. The end was nice, sweet and sterile.

Good work with a potential for becoming great. I would highly recommend the author for one more round of editing.

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Book Review—Loonies by Gregory Bastianelli

LooniesLoonies by Gregory Bastianelli

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have had this book on my to-read list for a very long time. I’m just glad that I finally did pick it up and read through.

Smokey Hollow is a forgotten town, with its own mysteries and secrets, big and small. The discovery of a locked steamer trunk in the attic of the Brian Keays, editor of the town’s only paper, sets off a series  of undesirable events that shake the town to its very core. While Brian is bent on solving the mystery, he gradually discovers that not everyone or everything is in his favor.

Just as a new clue is uncovered, someone drops dead. Everything it not what its seems. People would rather sweep it under the rug that find out the truth. Yet, there is more to it and as you read further new secrets are unraveled and one thinks—what now? What’s next?

Despite the captivating opening, the book was slow in the beginning and it was only after a couple of pages that the story began to pick up the pace and I started to get a hang of what was going on. But once I was through the initial few pages, I did not want to put it down.

There is a lot of action happening here for a quaint little town like Smokey Hollow and Gregory does an amazing job of taking the mystery of the locked trunk to a whole new level with several twists and turns thrown in at every turn of the page.

Even as an unlikely hero, Brian, our key protagonist, is real, as are his flaws and doubts and addictions. He has got more on his plate than he can handle. So much is going on in his personal as well as professional life, but he does not give up. And you kind of respect him for that. Despite his faults, you will find yourself still cheering for him and hoping that he does not end up dead.

This book may seem a little light for some in terms of the story, but I still felt that it was brilliant. I really liked the gentle way Gregory weaves the mystery, revealing one clue after another while at the same time keeping things real. The clumsy way Brian is able to put it all together, and eventually solve the mystery and help catch the killer, brings the story to a neat closure.

All in all an exciting story. Looking forward to reading more of Gregory’s work.

I got this book as part of  JournalStone’s book review program in exchange for an honest review.

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Just Released—Sinister Ties

My latest book—Sinister Ties (Curse of the Demon Series, Book I) is now available for purchase. Thank you for all your support. Hope you enjoy reading it!

If you like it, please do leave a review at your favorite online retailer.

Happy Reading!!!

Sinister Ties

 

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A cold stormy night conjures up a terrifying nightmare for Bodhi. Is it just a dream or a premonition of something terrible coming his way?

Max Devon is living a happy peaceful life with his wife and daughter. One day his past comes knocking on his door and his whole world is threatened by this harbinger of death. Will he be able to protect his family in time? Will he be able to escape his cursed past?

Find it at your favorite online retailers

Smashwords | AmazonBarnes and Noble | Kobo | Scribd | Inktera

The Countdown Begins – Unravel the ‘Sinister Ties’

Hi Everyone!

Come join Max Devon in this page-turner as he sets off in a race against time to save his family.

Don’t miss !

 Preorder your copy today @smashwords

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Title: Sinister Ties (Curse of the Demon Series, Book I)

Release Date: July 15, 2016

Author: Shirley S. Simon

Categories: Fiction, Horror, Occult, Fantasy, Dark

Words: 37,360

Language: English

ISBN: 9781311426345

Published by Smashwords

Synopsis

A cold stormy night conjures up a terrifying nightmare for Bodhi. Is it just a dream or a premonition of something terrible coming his way?

Max Devon is living a happy peaceful life with his wife and daughter. One day his past comes knocking on his door and his whole world is threatened by this harbinger of death. Will he be able to protect his family in time? Will he be able to escape his cursed past?

Read chapter samples here

Preorder your copy today!

 ∞

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The Bluff by Anand J. | Author Guest Post

 

Good Day Everyone!

Today, I have with me debut author – Anand J. He shares with us about his experience writing his book “The Bluff’. Here’s a bit about the book before I hand over the platform to Anand—

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TITLE: The Bluff

RELEASE DATE: February 15, 2016

AUTHOR: Anand J.

CATEGORIES: Historical Science Fiction/Thriller

PAGE COUNT: 369

ISBN: 978-1523623013

IMPRINT: Black Hawk

SYNOPSIS: Amrith, a twenty-five-year-old boy, wakes up to discover 800 Kg of gold hidden inside his body. He finds out who placed them. But he doesn’t know why. He starts exploring. He finds the reason for Mughal’s downfall. He comes across the legend of two Rajput warriors that his history books stayed silent about. It is when he realizes that he is now being followed by a sect of bloodthirsty extremists who have been looking out for the treasure for 12 generations. It’s up to him now to save his life and safeguard the wealth from falling into the wrong hands.

Join Amrith in his thrilling journey that blends science, history, greed, and fate into a game of Bluff.

Author Guest Post

Experiencing the author within

They say writing a novel is tiresome. You need to struggle for hours, days, months and years to discover a storyline out of thin air; a storyline that gradually pulls you into its world of twists, people and emotions; a storyline that makes your writing an addiction; a storyline that abducts you away from your physical world only to deliver you back there when your mom shouts at you for letting the cup of tea before you turn cold. You need to smile – smile despite screaming SCOUNDRELS deep under your larynx – when your client calls you at a time when your thoughts start to flow smoothly like a coherent chain of lies. Team outings, late night trips, family weddings, friends’ treats, favorite TV shows, Dhoni’s six, Federer’s win, nights and nights of sleep… Your book’s pages will never let the readers know how many sacrificed joys they hide within. And then there are the powercuts. Mosquitoes. Sweat. Existential crisis.To add to the list there’s a proud bunch of friends tweeting ‘My friend has written a novel’ when you have just deleted your 26th rejection mail from a publisher. They say writing a novel is tiresome. And they’re fucking right.

But, it is tiresome is the weakest excuse one can say to give up something. She has a boyfriend comes at a close second. Every plot, to an author, implants a fear — a fear that threatens the author with its vagueness and excites the author with its possibilities. There are a few plots that, in addition, make an author hallucinate. The central plot of my novel, The bluff, was one among that very few. My novel had an escape door before the novel was irreversibly transformed into a serpentine sequence of words. An exit from my present reality into the world I had created. It was as if I was transported to the farthest end of my fictional world right at the start and as I completed the chapters, I was gradually pushed backward towards the exit door with the path I had traced getting filled with words. Like the earth slowly retreating backward to fill the dark sky with the bright, milky moon on a lunar eclipse.

The novel is now complete and here I am back to the present world, now denied access into that very world I had created. That world doesn’t require me anymore. Once created, the creator has to move away and let his/her creation thrive. Author, artist, God… the law is equal for everyone. I don’t require that world anymore. What’s the point in visiting a world that cannot be altered further when there are new worlds to create?

Here’s the thing about writing, according to me. Words, almost always, mean nothing to an author. The thrill of writing a novel is in the escape you make to that new world. You don’t have your sorrows there. You dump it on your creation. Your character cries on your behalf. You motivate your character to come out of its sadness. When you return to your present you will realize that it was actually your character that made you move out of your sorrows. The world you visualize in your novel completes your present by offering a wishful extrapolation. When you are happy, there will always be people there to laugh at your jokes. When you are angry, someone kills someone in that world. It is this hallucination that an author needs. It is to experience this world, people, mind and heart an author invents that he/she writes a novel. Not for language. Not for earning, boasting or dating. Especially dating.

A book ends inside an author’s mind. What you read as words is an author’s permission to visit the world he/she created. The visuals authors see in their mind inspire them to replicate the experience to others. Words become a medium of communication between an author’s mind and the reader’s. Authors care a damn about those words. It’s those visuals that they care. Clear visuals in the author’s mind choose the right words. Right words replicate the right visuals and the right visuals create the right world. An author is just a tool to convert those visuals into a transcript. Nothing more.Nothing less.

The creation of my world is complete. My visuals have spoken. I, now, with utmost humbleness, invite you all to visit the world I created. THE BLUFF, my debut novel is now out on sale after two and half years of toil. Come; experience the thrilling world of Amrith and Aurangzeb as I saw them in my mind.

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About Anand

AJ1.jpgANAND.J, 26, is the co-founder of a creativity consulting company named Spark n’ Beyond. He did his under graduation in industrial biotechnology, for reasons best known to the universe and its perplexing design. He is currently an IMBA student at IE Business School, Spain. A TEDx speaker. Writing has always been his mother’s lap, resorting to it in times of boredom, anger, frustration and happiness. With the dream of seeing himself as a successful writer, he has been writing and chiseling this story of Bluff for the past three years. Yeah, he started way back when global economy looked perfectly fine. He is seeing himself as a writer now and waiting patiently for the word to spread to let the world see him as one.

You can write to him at anandjapesh@gmail.com or reach out to him at his Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook accounts as well as FB Book page

Don’t forget ‘The Bluff’ is available at all leading e-stores: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Nobles | Kobo | iBooks | Google Play | CreateSpace | Paperback