Thursday, January 30, 2014

Nowhere, AZ by Chris Nunley : A Review

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BOOK TITLE: Nowhere,AZ


ISBN:  1478352965

AUTHOR: Chris Nunley

GENRE: Fiction

NUMBER OF PAGES: 148

FORMAT: Digital

SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone

REVIEW BY: Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review Copy provided as a part of Virtual Author book tours. We thank the writer for the copy.

SUMMARY :
 “Always going somewhere. Never getting anywhere.”

Negative energy haunts the nameless Narrator, who's been on the run for twelve years. A convicted killer on the loose, he has no one left to rely on and no place to call home, so he heads west.

"Those who will remember will say it's all my fault." 

He has no control of what he's capable of and does his best to avoid any type of confrontation at all costs. Words are said, things are done. Friends turn into enemies."They call me a monster." 

REVIEW:

Books with supernatural elements have become a strict no for me these days. I felt I had an overdose of that genre already and I need a change. But when this offer came up I couldn’t resist. Old habits die hard you see. Thankfully the book didn’t make me repent my decision.

The whole supernatural element of negative energy has been handled so beautifully that I almost forgot such a concept is more than hypothetical - It’s fantasy.

Initially the writing was a bit slow and the story lagged at places. But as the plot line progressed I was so hooked that I completed the book in a day.

What I loved about the book :

The progression of plot, the twists and turns, the supernatural element was subtle yet managed to work perfectly in favour of the writer.

What I felt could have been better :

The book was too small – 148 odd pages (Prime reason behind a small review).

Okay I agree our dear protagonist it a misfit and a person who gets hurts and ends hurting others. But that does mean he shouldn’t have a name.

Any one in America will understand what AZ stands for. Few people like me who have no idea about American states, AZ makes no sense.
But one thing that really ticked me off was that wild west concept. Okay yeah going west is really famous idiom as far as I have heard. But then I feel the writer sort of failed to deliver that wild west idea.

VERDICT: It’s a quicke!

RATING: 3.5 on 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Chris Nunley has been writing ever since he could put a pen to paper.
In tenth grade, he wrote a spec episode of “Seinfeld” for his creative writing class, and realized that writing wasn’t an assignment, it was a passion. He went on to write several other screenplays, including an adaptation of Albert Camus’ “The Stranger.”
Chris graduated with a degree in Screenwriting from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, then went on to work for the television show “MADtv” as a Writers’ Assistant as well as selling material as a Contributing Writer.
His first novel “Nowhere, AZ” – a story about karma and its implications, as well as his second novel “The Pouch – A Story About Sacking Up” are both available for purchase as paperbacks or for a Kindle device at Amazon.com.
EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Kindle & Paperback

PRICE: $9.89 (Paperback)

BOOK LINKS: http://www.amazon.com/Nowhere-AZ-Chris-Nunley/dp/1478352965/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1379721818&sr=8-1&keywords=chris+nunley

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

EXCLUSIVE REVIEW: C3 BY SHERRIE CRONIN!



*This is our first joint review for Readers' Muse. Yes this review is a unique product of the two minds in this blog!!*

BOOK TITLE: C3
ISBN: will be updated after the book releases.
AUTHOR: Sherrie Cronin
GENRE: Fiction
NUMBER OF PAGES: (yet to be revised in the final draft
FORMAT: Digital
SERIES / STANDALONE: Volume 4 of the Number 46 Ascending series.
REVIEW BY: Dhivya Balaji & Shree Janani Sundararajan
HOW WE GOT THIS BOOK: We at Reader’s Muse had an opportunity to be editors for this book. We gave our inputs from a reader’s perspective and we thank the author for choosing us to edit her manuscript. We also thank her for accepting our little inputs and incorporating them into the story. A reader can’t get a bigger thrill than made to be felt a part of the book and its creation. Thank you, Sherrie!
REVIEW:
          *DISCLAIMER: C3 is the fourth installment of the Number 46 Ascending series by Sherrie Cronin. We have been part of this novel since its draft came out. Yes, we have edited this novel and given our inputs on this.*
          This novel follows the life of the youngest Zeitman, Teddie. In the insistence of a friend, Teddie goes to India as an exchange student to a school in Darjeeling. There, she shares the room with Michelle, her friend, a mountaineer and a local girl, Usha. There she meets with various experiences that hone her childhood ability. (We aren't revealing what it is, of course! For purposes of this review, we will call it travelling.)
          Teddie is exposed to a totally diverse world in India. As she adapts to the new school, she encourages Haley, who has dreams of conquering the peaks of Himalayas. She has certain eye opening experiences with her Indian friend Usha and her friends from the US. The book is basically a story of coming to terms with one’s unique abilities and using that ability to help others. The plot centers around courageous women and how they overcome the challenges they face in the world.
          The plot is a novel attempt and it is fairly tight, with not many holes. The author, after all, is famous for her continuity and the common thread in all of her books. The book, like its predecessors, is well researched and the author takes care to get her details right in this book. The characters are cleanly etched. The writing is clean too, and does not use technical jargon. Sherrie takes care that even though she has included a debated supernatural element in the story, it is not overdone. The story flows smoothly and is believable. But on the minus, due to the immense details that must be included to allow readers to understand, the story seems slack paced in certain places. There are sudden flashes of slow moving theory in between racy scenes.
          The plights of women in India and neighbouring countries are well explained, and the character of the American social reformer who helps the local women out of misery is totally native as well as international. The Indian Law Enforcement could have been given a little more positive spotlight. This novel is a rarity in a few things. Though it has various characters like perverts, molesters, greasy businessmen etc, the story is devoid of any violence or romance. It is a commendable trait in a novel these days and a refreshing change from the run of the mill novels that focus on love, sleaze and violence.
          Considering that this is a book written about India by an author who has never visited the country, makes it all the more special. The readers will never realise this secret if not told explicitly. There is, of course, a lot of research that was done for this book. As usual, visiting the companion links of this story is a treat unto itself.
WHAT WE LIKED:
          The clean writing, clear characters, continuity between books of the series.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER:
          Certain slow paced theory parts that hamper the speed of the narrative.
VERDICT:
          Go for this novel if you want a refreshing eye opener. If you are fans of Sherrie, this is her best so far. If you have never read her, go ahead; pick this one up without worrying about the loss of continuity of the first three books. This book is as good as a standalone as it is a part of a series.
RATING: 4.5/5
(for the unique concept, a refreshing plot line, emphasis on women, and thoroughly decent writing.)
EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Digital.
PRICE: will be updated after the book releases.

BOOK LINKS: will be updated after the book releases.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Book Blast: The Finishing of Lady Amelia by Scarlett Rains


 
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The Finishing of
Lady Amelia
(Sisters of the Heart Series, Book 3. 
Prequel to Betrayals of the Heart) 
[Kindle Edition]
 December 25, 2013
Scarlett Rains (Author)

Book Description
Lady Amelia Fitzailwyn knows everything about everything. She certainly does not require Finishing School. If John and Alex had not tattled on her, she would still be home! It was fine for them to chase every skirt in the Kingdom but she has one kiss ...or two, and Uncle carts her off!

Day one of her banishment at Madame de Rigeur's Young Ladies Finishing Academie is dismal. Her roommate is insular, Clarissa is cruel...and that spotty girl's rash is probably contagious! Then, she meets Monsieur Pelfrie, the handsomest man she has ever seen, and Amelia decides it might just be possible to endure the two long years away .

Enjoy this delightful tale of mischief and mayhem as a sheltered young woman comes of age in Georgian England.

Great Ratings on Goodreads
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/329797000?book_show_action=true

About the author
Scarlett Rains left the womb with pen in hand...which might explain why her mother carted her off to a children's home at an early age.  Not one to let such things distract her from nurturing her creative talent, she lived, learned, laughed and loved her way through what could have been a traumatic childhood.  
 
That little bend in the road, and a battle with breast cancer, could not stop Scarlett from writing.  The more emotionally evocative events of her life made her appreciate her shared humanity and the desperate need that most people have to laugh.  Scarlett keeps those memories close when she writes. She draws on the personalities of the wonderful people she has been blessed to encounter when she develops her characters, always striving to make her readers laugh so that they may escape their worries for awhile.

Scarlett is a clinician by profession, though she is trying hard to deny that so as to continue writing. We wish her every success.  Her books are enjoyed by readers around the world and we would hate to lose such a talented author.

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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Book Blast! Seduction of a Bluestocking by Scarlett Rains



Seduction of a Bluestocking
(Sisters of the Heart Series, Book Two)
[Kindle Edition]
Scarlett Rains (Author)
 December 25, 2013
 
Book Description
 
Jilted and heart-broken, Miss Rachel Steele leaves home to begin a new life as governess, mind made up never again to succumb to a man’s charm. Then William Seaton, old friend of her employer, disturbs her peace: meddling in matters outside his concern. "Good riddance to bad rubbish," she says when he finally leaves. Soon thereafter, disaster strikes and Rachel accompanies her charge to the estate of her guardian, the Duke of Warwick: who from his letters sounds like a man well in his dotage. Rachel marches in to his study to persuade the doddering old coot to keep her on as governess. Words fail her when she finds that he is not at all old…definitely not doddering, but none other than the irritating, William Seaton!

William Seaton’s life is precisely as he would have it: mistresses all prettily lined up in a row, a cozy chair at Whites molded comfortably to fit his frame: fine port and cheroots a nod away…just perfect! He is anything but charmed to renew Miss Steele’s acquaintance, she is a nuisance he does not want or need, in fact, he’d prefer to hear nothing except farewell from her tightly-pressed lips. Knowing the annoying bluestocking will likely disrupt his well-ordered life, he agrees to retain her for the sake of his ward.

Hence begins a sizzling romantic campaign of Napoleonic proportions which draws the unwelcome attention of a villain from William’s past. Will Rachel and William realize their love for one another before he seeks revenge?

Review
Kim Dalferes on Amazon
Scarlett Rains has created a wonderfully romantic story set in the backdrop of 18th century London. The reader comes to care about the central characters, Rachel and William, as they travel through a decade's worth of survival and sparring. After each sustains life-changing tragedies, fate puts them on a journey that the reader hopes will inevitably bring them together. It's a joy to follow their path to see how they will each eventually trust and love again. The reader will also appreciate the effort Ms. Rains put into her portrayal of the societal limitations placed on women during this time period. This added nuance helps to enrich the story and draw the reader into Rachel's struggles. By the end of the book I found myself wanting to continue to follow the lives of Ms. Rains' characters: a true sign that this is a well-written historical romance novel.

A Personal Message from Scarlett

I am grateful for every instant of my life...good and bad. Each moment was a lesson that moved me in the direction intended for me and made me who I am. I breathe in and say, "Thank you, Lord".  I breathe out and say, "Please, guide and direct me." And, here I am.

I will never forget the day I rang the radiation bell after my last radiation treatment. This inscription was on the card my treatment team gave me:
"Ring this bell, three times well to celebrate this day.
My course is run, my work is done and I'm on my way."
If you have been diagnosed with cancer, may God bless you and give you the courage and strength for your battle. When you reach that point where you can accept the reality of your diagnosis, I say face it, take it in and know that you have the strength and courage to conquer it ...in your way. You may be surprised at how profoundly you will change.

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Friday, January 24, 2014

Book Blast : Promises of the Heart by Scarlett Rains



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Promises of the Heart
(Sisters of the Heart Series, Book One)
[Kindle Edition]
Scarlett Rains (Author)
December 25, 2013
Book Description
 
Fate Plays a Hand!
When Amelia Fitzailwyn, Duchess of Kensington, is orphaned at a very young age, she must leave home and  travel to her new guardian's estate . She embarks on the journey with her beloved governess, Rachel: wishing all the while that her Uncle William would somehow rescue her. To her delight, he does! Uncle William is her new guardian...and he has two sons! Amelia happily settles in to life at Havenwood Manor with her new family.
 
 
The Stage is Set!
What are the servants whispering about? Have they noticed all those heated looks between Uncle and Rachel? Amelia sees mysteries everywhere...and would solve them all if her cousins would leave her alone long enough to do her research! She wishes John, the eldest, would keep his nose out of her affairs and poke it back in his theme bookHow to be the Most Boring Personage in the Realm. And Alex, the skirt chasing hypocrite, irritates her even more: going on-and-on about her one little rendezvous with Simon.
 
Time Will Tell!
When it turns out Uncle, is not really her uncle, Amelia begins to see the irksome boys in a new light. In fact, she plans to marry one of them! Will John stop straining his steely grey eyes reading and see her for the woman she is? Or will Alex stop pulling the curl out of her hair long enough to notice the sheen of it as it wraps around his finger? Solve the mystery, dear reader, as you enjoy this delightful tale of a young woman's coming of age in Georgian England.

Amazon Review
   By Nanasthoughts
 
I found this book to be most enjoyable. The story line kept my interest with romance, laughter, and mystery. The adventure is all wrapped in a delightful story stamped with the propriety of the 18th century. I am looking forward to the next book.

About the author:
Scarlett Rains was raised in an orphanage, survived that and breast cancer! She considers all of it a blessing, refuses to let anything stop her; insisting that life is what you make it! Scarlett is a person who will spout optimistic 'truths' with her last breath! She is a busy grandma juggling a hectic schedule to try to balance her family's needs (including her insular cat's hissy-fits and her demanding dog's pathetic begging for belly rubs) and still manage a few minutes to write her stories. She often awakens from a sound sleep, jumps up, snatches a cup of coffee and hides in her office behind locked doors typing 18th century romance novels. Scarlett believes escaping her day-to-day responsibilities by living vicariously in the lives of the characters she creates keeps her out of trouble …and saves the cost of psychotherapy services. The author’s delightful Sisters of the Heart Series books are enjoyed by readers around the world. Scarlett loves receiving feedback and ideas from her readers.

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Divided Within by John Guillen : Review and Book Tour

Divided Within
John Guillen, author
Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Publication Date: October 29, 2013

BOOK SYNOPSIS

Houston area private eye Andrew Banks is hired by sixteen-year-old Mercedes Vega to figure out what's dividing her parents. As soon as he meets the rest of the Vega family he realizes that the situation is only one step away from becoming dire. He puts the safety of the family over everything else until the case hits much too close to home. It becomes a race against a wealthy restaurant owner that ultimately becomes deadly.


REVIEW
                Divided within is a first person narrative of Andrew Banks, a private detective who had just started business. Along with his girlfriend Sydney, Andrew realises his long term aim of being a private eye. But in his very first case, a teenage girl comes to him with a story of mild abuse and discord between her parents. Andrew offers to help without understanding the depth of the problem involved. Once he meets the parents, Banks realises that it is a web of deception and deceit involving a drug cartel.
                From there, the story takes a deadly turn with men and weapons. Professional killers are hired to kill the interfering detective and his girlfriend. It is a race against time as Banks seeks the help of police personnel to help him get through. How he finds out the final link and how he comes out of the scene with professional killers ready to ruin his life forms the rest of the story.
                The story is fairly straightforward. No over the top scenes or adrenaline rushes. There is no actual space for twists and turns, unfortunately making the story predictable. The characters are superficially written with no grey areas and hidden characters. Good is good and bad is bad. The overall book is sort of a compilation of events related to one case. But in its own way, the book does become un-put-down-able after the initial few pages. Where the author falters is in the description of the story line. Sometimes, certain things need to be hidden behind curtains for the benefit of the reader. And the author must attempt to pique the curiosity in his next ventures, and we would be pleased to read them.

Verdict: Go for it if you like light detective fiction. For hardcore fans, this might just leave you feeling lacking.
Rating : 3.7/5

AUTHOR BIO

John Guillen has had a love of books for as long as he can remember. As a grade school student he would browse the tables of the semi-annual book fairs at his school and convince his parents to buy as many books as he could. This passion would reemerge years later as a high school teen. He'd read books by the best crime authors of the day long before completing the required school work.

John knew early on in college that he wanted to become a writer and immediately began work on his debut novel, Divided Within, less than two weeks after graduating from the University of Houston Downtown in May 2013.

When he's not writing or reading a new novel, he enjoys listening to country music and staying up to date on current news stories.



LINKS

Twitter: @JohnGbooks
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Divided-Within-Andrew-Banks-Volume/dp/1492747580




Thursday, January 23, 2014

Kill Daddy by Gerald Freeman : A Review


BOOK TITLE: Kill Daddy

ASIN : B00FQQBV2O

AUTHOR: Gerald Freeman

GENRE: Fiction

NUMBER OF PAGES: 216

FORMAT: Digital - Epub

SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone

REVIEW BY: Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: The writer sent us a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. We thank him for it.

SUMMARY : Trauma from the past becomes a part of who you are. It weighs down on the present, suffocating life and preventing you from healing and moving on. If you continue to carry this baggage around long enough, you will eventually become who you are not. Believe in the essential goodness of your true self, however, and you will accept the past, but let go of the burden and finally become the real you. This is the story of one man's struggle to accept the past and move on before it destroys everything he is and could ever hope to be. In desperation Gerry flees society to save his sanity and ends up in the remote villages of East Africa. Midst the poverty, he encounters hope and more love than he could imagine. Will it be enough to save him? Can he repair the damage done to him in his childhood or will his abusers win in the end?

REVIEW:
 When the writer contacted us for a review, we were in the middle of the #Womanifesto campaign planning. Here we are running a campaign to make a change in women’s lives and a book about an abused man’s road of recovery lands! Ironical isn’t it?

The characterisation was pretty good. More than the characterisation, the process of repairing an emotional damage was brought out beautifully.

The writer made an exemplar job of portraying various emotions along with their shades of variance.

The book was akin to a tour guide to Africa. Of course, unlike a conventional tour guide this book brought out the psychology of African People and their culture. One thing that is clearly evident is that the writer either has travelled extensively. But if this is his memoir I’d say, it’s really not up to the mark.

The process of healing isn’t as simple as the writer portrayed it to be. It’s complicated. But there is another angle of looking at it. May be the process of healing is so subtle that our protagonist didn’t even realize he has been healed.

The writing was pretty much simple. Though the emotions were portrayed beautifully, I felt they lacked the conviction and that depth. I felt the writer sorted of underplayed it out of the fear of writing a book with heavy emotions which might not go down well with many people.

SUBTLE would be the perfect word to describe this book.

One thing I really didn’t understand was the “lady love” part. Gerry’s love interests seemed very superficial and a bit confusing. It sort of left me wondering if the readers were supposed to feel that or was it just me?
The best thing about this book – The Irony – A depressed protagonist in search of “an emotional cure”/ seeking to be healed in a poverty ridden and struggling country and ends up getting his wish fulfilled.

What could have been better: More emotions. A bit of depth to the emotions would have done the trick. The title of the book could have been something positive.

VERDICT: It’s a slow and subtle inspiring read. Do not expect a racy plot line.

RATING: 4 on 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  The Writer was inspired to write Kill Daddy after he returned from his roller coaster ride In Kenya and Uganda where he spent almost 2 years living with the local people.

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Digital

PRICE: Rs. 249 ( Kindle Edition)


BOOK LINKS: http://www.amazon.in/Kill-Daddy-Life-Gerald-Freeman-ebook/dp/B00FQQBV2O/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1390488371&sr=1-1

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Mine by John Heldt : A Review




BOOK TITLE: The Mine
ISBN: -
AUTHOR: John A Heldt
GENRE: Fiction/Sci-Fi/Romance
NUMBER OF PAGES: 286
FORMAT: Digital
SERIES / STANDALONE: The Northwest Passage #1
REVIEW BY: Dhivya Balaji
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: The author filled up our review form and sent us an ePub copy for review.
SUMMARY:
In May 2000, Joel Smith is a cocky, adventurous young man who sees the world as his playground. But when the college senior, days from graduation, enters an abandoned Montana mine, he discovers the price of reckless curiosity. He emerges in May 1941 with a cell phone he can't use, money he can't spend, and little but his wits to guide his way. Stuck in the age of swing dancing and a peacetime draft, Joel begins a new life as the nation drifts toward war. With the help of his 21-year-old trailblazing grandmother and her friends, he finds his place in a world he knew only from movies and books. But when an opportunity comes to return to the present, Joel must decide whether to leave his new love in the past or choose a course that will alter their lives forever. THE MINE follows a humbled man through a critical time in history as he adjusts to new surroundings and wrestles with the knowledge of things to come.

Note to sci-fi readers: THE MINE is a novel that spans several genres. Though it features time travel and offers elements of science fiction, it is primarily a love story set in Seattle in 1941.

REVIEW:
          When the author filled the review form on the blog, the blurb of the story interested us. And when we replied, the author promptly sent us a copy. The story and the summary did contain very little in common. But if you expected sci-fi or anything even remotely scientific, back off. The main theme of the novel is romance.
          Joel, a neo modern guy lives in Seattle in the year 2000. While on a trekking trip to a nearby abandoned mine, the adventurous Joel gets a blinding flash of light, falls down and comes out of the mine, only to find himself in the year 1941 when he comes out of the mine. He feels much disoriented and thinks that he would be able to go back if he drops in the next day.
          Fate has a different plan in mind. Joel cannot find his way back into the future and instead roughs up a living in Seattle of 1941. Armed with nothing but knowledge of the future, Joel tries to settle himself in the world that he has been forced into. Much as he tries not to make friends or influence life of the past, Joel falls in love with a beautiful maiden. Things turn murky when he meets the younger self of his own grandmother.
          Thoroughly settled into the old life, Joel gets another chance to reclaim his life in the new millennium. The rare occurrence that shunted him into the past occurs again. A portal to the new world opens. But Joel is faced with a dilemma. To return would mean to leave the love of his life, his new found friends, and the comfortable life he had settled into. But to stand back would mean the loss of his normal life and parents and friends he had known in 2000.
          Does Joel take the chance, or does he stay back forms the rest of the story. The plot is new and the concept is refreshing. The characters are well sketched but the story line is too fantastic to be real. The perfect boy perfect girl and perfect landscape story does not fit into reality and is merely an escape for the imaginative mind to revel in its fantasies.
WHAT I LIKED: The concept, the description of life in the 1940s.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: The story itself needs some brushing up. Though it is good in the way it’s written.
VERDICT: The author has extended a ‘reflection into your own past’ idea to a new level. It is a well written story. Go for it. But don’t expect sci-fi or you will be sorely disappointed.
RATING: 3.8/5
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
John A. Heldt is a reference librarian and the author of THE MINE, THE JOURNEY, THE SHOW, and THE FIRE, the first four novels of the critically acclaimed Northwest Passage time-travel series. The former award-winning sportswriter and newspaper editor has loved getting subjects and verbs to agree since writing book reports on baseball heroes in grade school. A graduate of the University of Oregon and the University of Iowa, he is an avid fisherman, sports fan, home brewer, and reader of thrillers and historical fiction. When not sending contemporary characters to the not-so-distant past, he weighs in on literature and life at johnheldt.blogspot.com.
EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Kindle.
PRICE: Rs. 187