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.

View all my reviews

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.

View all my reviews

Book Review—The Cilantro In Apple Pie by Kimberley N. Knights

The Cilantro In Apple Pie by Kimberley Nadine Knights

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received this book as part of the author program by BooksGoSocial.com in exchange for an honest review.

I loved the book. I think it is one of the most insanely sensible books, I’ve read this year. It was so funny and yet so touching, And I would definitely have to say that my first YA without any romance… zilch… nada… absolutely none at all—making it all the more an interesting read.

With an overdose of courtship, sex, romance and PDA in most of the books that I’ve come across recently, I found ‘The Cilantro in Apple Pie’ a very refreshing and endearing story—a welcome change from the milieu out there.

For a debut novel, Knight has truly delivered a much better work than some of the more popular authors out there. A fine story in itself but the writing style is impressive. It flows smoothly, encouraging you to read it in one go. The characters are well–developed. I liked the way the protagonists Rubie and Gil have been drawn. Their friendship is truly precious and completely relatable. You will enjoy their skirmishes and taunts and also savor the relationship they share.

A book definitely worth the time spent on it.

View all my reviews

Book Review—The Sire by M.S. Fowle

 

SONY DSC

The Sire by M.S. Fowle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

M.S.Fowle weaves a fantastical tale about a kingdom bereft of magik—ruled by a monarch who cannot see beyond his thirst for power. He searches for the Sire, the creator of all magik and in his quest unleashes terrible cruelty on his subjects. War rages and the people of the land live in fear. Magik is prohibited; those found practicing are captured and punished. Here the select few enforce their rule on the laity, to subdue and control them. Amongst this chaos rises a story of faith, friendship, loyalty and …. well magik.

I liked the author’s writing style – the flow is smooth and effortless, though at times I did find it a bit grand in some portions. I had to stop, take a breath and go over the lines a couple of times to let them sink in before I continued further.

The characters are very endearing especially the twins. As you read through you will definitely fall in love with Claire and Walter. They fight yet they stand by each other. They will make you laugh, cry, bite your nails in fear for their lives. You will find yourself enjoying their adventures and little skirmishes.

The end was not surprising yet I was disappointed by the quick closing and felt that it was a bit rushed. It kind of broke the flow that the author had maintained through the earlier chapters. But let’s be honest I was also sad that the story ended.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and do hope there are more adventures of Walter and Claire and we read them soon. I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

Book Review – Behind the Mask by V P Smith

Behind_the_maskBehind the Mask: The Awakening by V P Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I originally posted my review on goodreads, but then I felt that there were other readers out there, who do not frequent goodreads so much, who should know about it. So I decided to share my views with you here. [I received this book in exchange for an honest review through ‘Booksgosocial’s‘ review program for authors]

It’s been quite some time since I have come across a book that I was glad to have picked up. ‘Behind the Mask’ is an edgy, engaging book that you would not want to put down, even for a minute. Though the narrative has some high and low points, but the story will definitely grip you, shock and terrify you and give you sleepless nights.

As the name suggests, the book is about figurative masks and the people behind them. Everyone is wearing a mask. Who can you trust? The person you’ve just met or the one you’ve known your entire life. Are they as good as we think them to be or are they hiding something – so heinous that one cannot even imagine?

Smith will keep you hooked throughout the book, making you sit up and take a closer look at the people around you. You’re might be reading the book, but you’ll start recalling things you’ve seen or heard and you’ll begin to wonder if there was anything there.

Behind the Mask may be a work of fiction, but is not as removed from reality as we might hope for. We cannot ignore the grim reality of our society that Smith highlights here. I am sure law enforcement officials and survivors out there, will agree with the depiction of the sick depraved souls who inflict atrocities on children for their own pleasure. Hidden in plain sight they go on with their games and we are not able to tell them apart.

The question remains – How do you recognize that face that’s hiding in plain sight. How will you unmask it? Are our children truly safe? Who are these criminals – familiars or strangers? Are you strong enough to go forth and fight out the evil that lurks underneath?

Despite the strong storyline, you might question why I just gave it 3 stars. As much as I liked the fast-paced narration Smith uses to superbly control what is revealed and what remains hidden in the story, yet I personally could not agree with some of the train of events as the story progressed. At a certain point I also felt that there was clearly an imbalance of power, where one person was at a disadvantage while too many people were getting away with things, too easily. I did however, love the cover of the book – on closer look you can’t be sure if it’s a guy or a girl.

While I do strongly recommend the book, I also want you to be aware that you will not find all the answers here and it may leave you wanting at the end. I don’t mind this as long as Smith carries forward the questions that arise here to the next book and we get see some gripping conclusions.

I look forward to the second book and hope that it will be as engrossing as this one.

I would highly recommend this one to all lovers of crime and thrillers. It will not let you down.