Book review: Sands of Eppla by Janeal Falor

Sands of Eppla by Janeal Falor

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I received this book from StoryOrigin in exchange for an honest review, and probably the only reason I stuck with the book to the very end. The book summary had me hooked which was one of the reasons why I had wanted to read the book in the first place. Plus, I have read other books by Janeal, so I was definitely looking forward to it. Unfortunately, this one did not match my enthusiasm.

Don’t get me wrong. The book is well-written and the details are incredible. Cassandra is blind and lives alone with her monkey, away from the rest of the population. She is independent and self-sufficient. How she goes on with her day to day task is praiseworthy. Then one day a stranger stumbles into her house and her life changes forever. She and Nikon’s friendship is fresh and dear. Her loving Monkey is too cute and his mischiefs, entertaining.

However, the book was too slow for me. I kept waiting for something exciting to happen and I had finished 50% of the book without anything happening. It felt sterile, like watching someone’s (very descriptive) life, which made it difficult to sustain attention. It is only till the very end that it gets moderately exciting. I also couldn’t get the whole amant and odisome concept nor was the whole magical sand thing clear to me. Maybe it will get clearer in the subsequent books in the series. Reading through here, there was always this vague feeling at the back of the mind that something needs to be explained.

Maybe I would have to read the next one in the series to get the doubts cleared.

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Book review: Time Crawler by Varun Sayal

Time CrawlersTime Crawlers by Varun Sayal

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The book is a collection of unique short stories, on superior beings (aliens) existing amongst humans on earth. Hiding their true nature but living in plain sight, they are slowly manipulating everything in their favor. It would not be long when the human race would be completely obliterated. Only a gifted few humans can see them for what they are, which is why they are being targeted and killed off.

I liked the stories and found the concept definitely frightening and yet intriguing, which is what kept me going.

All the short stories are unique and captivating, but not all are of the same level. The opening story ‘Eclipse’ was a tad slow and dragged a bit. I would have preferred it to be a bit more crisp and tight. There are long narratives portions that made it monotonous at times. If they could have been dialogues it would have made a big difference. There were some sections I found a bit hard to understand—I got confused in the 3D and 4D parts and had to keep going back to make sense of it.

‘Death by Crowd’ was quite hardcore and the clean-cut writing brought it out well. Handled better than the first one. ‘The Genie’ was comical and fun reading. “Time Crawlers’, ‘the Cave’ and Nark-Astra’ were the best of all.

I liked that though starting off slow, the stories picked up the pace and kept me engrossed to the end. I liked the style of writing, and look forward to reading more stories from the author.

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Book Review—One Wish Away by Ingrid Seymour

Image result for One Wish Away: Djinn EmpireOne Wish Away by Ingrid Seymour

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review.

I absolutely loved it. A rocking story. The main concept is way old—the Genie and the magic lamp in the Arabian nights, who grants three wishes to his master. But I liked the fact that more contemporary elements are woven into the tale. Ingrid while keeping the mystical and magical elements intact added just the right dosage of drama, romance, and action to keep my interest and had me glued to the book.

Marielle is a normal girl with regular problems. Her life is laced with one tragedy after another. She is broken, lonely, trying to keep herself from drowning in her sorrows. She is distrustful and yet still trying to hang on to the last threads of her sanity. Farris is the angel in disguise—the only one who can right the wrongs—but will Marielle trust him enough to accept her share of three wishes…

An enigmatic tale of love, revenge, and magic. A must read.

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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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