Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Opalescent by Sarah Elle Emm : A Review




BOOK TITLE: Opalescent
ISBN: 978-0988904934
AUTHOR: Sarah Elle Emm
GENRE: Fiction / YA / Dystopian
NUMBER OF PAGES:
FORMAT: Digital
SERIES / STANDALONE: Harmony Run #2
REVIEW BY: Dhivya Balaji
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: I thank Debdatta Sahay for this review copy too.
SUMMARY:
          Still enslaved in a mixed-race zone within the United Zones of the Authority, Rain Hawkins is part of a secret resistance preparing to take on the tyrannical President Nicks before plans to kill the mixed zones across UZTA are executed. When unsettling dreams and a mysterious voice begin to haunt the dark nights, Rain fears someone more powerful than she has discovered the resistance and their secret abilities. With a known Authority spy on her heels, and her boyfriend, Jabari, suddenly acting strange, Rain doesn't know who to trust and if the voices calling to her are friend or foe. As conditions across all of the zones get worse and the stakes rise, Rain embarks on a quest for answers that will put the people she cares about most in more danger or take them one step closer to the truth and their eventual freedom.
REVIEW:
          Prismatic, book one of this series, was well written and true to its genre. It did not disappoint me and of course for someone who had been stuck with reading too many dystopian novels at a stretch, the plot seemed to be developed from hints of the same mould. Teenager rebellion group plotting against the establishment and all this happening in the near future, making this a part science fiction novel. Never having been a YA fanatic, Prismatic, though good in writing, didn’t exactly offer anything exhilarating.
          Opalescent on the other hand, impressed me. There is no other word for it. Yes there were faults; yes there were other limitations too. But after reading the first book of the series, I had expected the story to go in one direction but this one went in a different one. It is still predictable in some cases, but with many more interesting twists.
          The story is milky iridescence – like the description. This book is the overload of information and too many character and behaviour twists. Nearly hundred pages longer than its predecessor, this book contains a lot more information. Rain Hawkins is still going strong. The first chapter shocked me (though it is expected, the writing style still tugged at some strings) and it is then I decided that I was beginning to like this series.
          Rain has premonitions and this adds to her already growing burden of being oppressed. From burning books to erasing history, the oppressors do everything to bring total control over the masses. They do not stop with renaming streets, they proceed to even rename people with numbers. Unlike the previous one, this book ends with a very ominous note. I had begun to like Rain more in this book, and also loved the detailing, even if it all still sounds very familiar. This one made me rush to open the next book in the series.
WHAT I LIKED: The detailing. The story developing into the whole premonition paranormal thing.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: The story was a bit long and sometimes dragged, but the overall effect was good.
VERDICT: Still the stereotypical lemonade – but this time with a dash of vodka!
RATING: 4/5
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sarah Elle Emm is the author of the HARMONY RUN SERIES, a young-adult fantasy and dystopian series, released in May 2012 by Winter Goose Publishing. (PRISMATIC, May 2012, OPALESCENT, February 2013, CHATOYANT, September 2014, NACREOUS, August 2015) Her debut fiction novel, MARRYING MISSY, was published by Bird Brain Publishing in October 2011. Sarah is a graduate of The University of Evansville, she has lived and worked in Mexico, Germany, England, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and has traveled extensively beyond. Sarah lives in Naples, Florida with her family. When she’s not walking the plank of her daughters’ imaginary pirate ship or snapping photos of Southwest Florida scenery, she is writing.

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Paperback, Digital
PRICE: $1.98 for Kindle, $14.75 for Paperback


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Prismatic by Sarah Elle Emm : A Review




BOOK TITLE: Prismatic
AUTHOR: Sarah Elle Emm
GENRE: Fiction / YA/ dystopian
NUMBER OF PAGES: 249
FORMAT: Digital
SERIES / STANDALONE: Harmony Run #1
REVIEW BY: Dhivya Balaji
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: I thank Debdatta D Sahay for this review copy.
SUMMARY:
          Rare glimpses of birds are the only reminder of the freedoms Rain Hawkins once had. Now segregated into a mixed-race zone within the United Zones of the Authority, under tyrannical rule of President Nicks, Rain is forced to endure the bleak conditions set upon her. The possibility of a way out arises when Rain discovers an organized resistance called The Freedom Front, and learns that she, along with many other multi-racial people, has special abilities. Determined to overcome her situation, Rain sets out on a mission with the resistance that will fill her life with wonder, romance, and the undying hope for a better world.

REVIEW:
          Tyrants everywhere fear the people they oppress, for one day; the people rise up in revolt and can easily overthrow the establishment.
          Prismatic follows the same kind of story line - it is a first person narrative of Rain, a teenage girl. The story starts in 2046 and most of it is in 2050. USA as we know it has been taken over by Elizabeth Nicks, a fifty something woman who has plans for world domination. She has become president through elections and once she gained power, had completely abolished the current political system and instead pacified people by giving out perks like renewable energy powered vehicles.
          Rain and her family are only few of the many people who have been moved from their residence to some government controlled enclosed space. Far from the comforts of the homes they built from their own sweat and blood, the people are being forced to live in segregated colonies. The character of Elizabeth seems umbridge-sque, and of course, like all tyrants, she wants every communication channel controlled and people segregated racially. Placed among other segregated people, Rain learns of the many horrors committed and with the helps of others like her attempts to overthrow the system.
          The concept of calling the tyrant 'Tricky Nicky' made me smile everytime I read it, no matter how serious the book was at the time. Maybe because I had read too many stories where teenagers revolt against an establishment, or because all stories follow more or less the same path and sometimes show that the protagonists have special powers, I felt that this book did not offer anything extraordinarily new. But for someone who has not read these types of novels, every twist and turn would be intriguing and the struggle of the characters might seem inspiring. This is basically a novel about human fight for freedom from a tyrant's oppressive rule.
          The language is fairly decent and the plot, though predictable keeps the readers interest alive. The writing makes sure I will read the other books of the series. The characters are written with decent depth. The expected quintessential romance angle is also present, making the book lively for a set of readers. Overall, a nice read generally and a really interesting story if you have not tried this genre yet
WHAT I LIKED: The language and writing style
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: Personally felt that it follows stereotypes of this genre – but not a deal breaker
VERDICT: Gives what you expect from a novel of this genre.
RATING: 3.8/5
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

          Sarah Elle Emm is the author of the HARMONY RUN SERIES, a young-adult fantasy and dystopian series, released in May 2012 by Winter Goose Publishing. (PRISMATIC, May 2012, OPALESCENT, February 2013, CHATOYANT, September 2014, NACREOUS, August 2015) Her debut fiction novel, MARRYING MISSY, was published by Bird Brain Publishing in October 2011. Sarah is a graduate of The University of Evansville, she has lived and worked in Mexico, Germany, England, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and has traveled extensively beyond. Sarah lives in Naples, Florida with her family. When she’s not walking the plank of her daughters’ imaginary pirate ship or snapping photos of Southwest Florida scenery, she is writing.
EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Kindle, Paperback
PRICE: $1.99 for Kindle and $11.75 for Paperback


Writers Of the Future, Volume 31 : A Review



BOOK TITLE: Writers of the Future : Volume 31
ISBN: 978-1619863224
AUTHOR: Multiple authors
GENRE: Science Fiction
NUMBER OF PAGES: 498
FORMAT: Digital
SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone
REVIEW BY: Dhivya Balaji
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: I was give a digital copy of this book for review during its release.
SUMMARY:
          The future is here…the future is now!  Orson Scott Card, Kevin J. Anderson and Larry Niven have seen the future. Now, you can, too.
          A constellation of the brightest lights in the Science Fiction and Fantasy firmament have judged these authors to be the best, the brightest, the truest emerging stars in the field.
          From Alien Invasion to Alternate History, from Cyberpunk to Comic Fantasy to Post-Apocalyptic Worlds, these are the winning writers who have mastered every version and vision of sci-fi and fantasy.
          Don’t be left behind. Get a read on what’s next.
          “The Writers of the Future contest looks for people with the best imaginations who can see through the possibilities of the strangest and best ideas and tell stories that intrigue us and involve us.” —ORSON SCOTT CARD
          Celebrate the 31st anniversary of the Writers of the Future contest and the 26th anniversary of the Illustrators of the Future contest.
#WofF31
REVIEW:
          Some books come to your seeking a review, and you feel like giving honest comments and sometimes caustic remarks about the writing in the book. Then there are these other books that make you star crossed just be looking at them. Even with the most critical of eyes, you cannot find and point out any faults. The mere knowledge of what the book is about and the sheer star power it has backing it up will create a sense of awe in reading. ‘Writers of the Future: Volume 31’ belongs to the latter category.
          While I started reading the book, my first thought was sadness that I had missed previous volumes of this great book. Having always been a fan of science fiction, I jumped up at the chance to review this book. But I had to read and grasp every story slowly and due to the huge size of the volume, it took me more than my usual time to complete. But every second of the time I spent reading this book is worth it. It even gave me a foolish expectation that I could, in fact, write and submit my own entry for a place in this prestigious anthology – and keep trying until I succeed, maybe in a few years down the lane, when I am sure this contest will still be going strong.
          From basic science fiction stories to stories belonging to the fantasy genre, this book has a variety of stories to interest every type of Sci-fi lover. Before reading this book I had no idea that science fiction can be written in these many ways. Half Past by Samantha Murray sent a deeper meaning to me. I had a few issues with some stories that lacked an ending. I also wanted some stories to explain better – I had to go through them more than once. But overall, it is a very intriguing anthology of stories – each one has something of value to offer.
          There is absolutely nothing to criticise about the writing. These are winners of a competition among multiple entries. The language is crisp and even though some stories are long and seem dreary, the overall effect after reading this anthology is a strange sense of satisfaction of having read a great book. I am thankful for having had an opportunity to read this book, and I hope I will be able to read other volumes of the same.
VERDICT: Prepare to leave the present as you know it, and get to know how diverse science fiction can be.
RATING: 4.5/5
EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Digital and Paperback
PRICE: $0.99 for Kindle, $10.93 for paperback


Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Dowry Bride by Shobhan Bantwal : A Review



BOOK TITLE: The Dowry Bride
ISBN: 978-0758220318
AUTHOR: Shobhan Bantwal
GENRE: Fiction
NUMBER OF PAGES: 320
FORMAT: Paperback
SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone
REVIEW BY: Dhivya Balaji
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: I thank Fingerprint! Publishers for this review copy.
SUMMARY:
          One sultry night, a young bride overhears an extraordinary conversation. The voices speak of a plot to murder a wife who has failed to produce a child and whose family has failed to produce the promised dowry...
          Megha is sick with horror when she realizes she is the intended victim. Her husband -- the very man who tied the sacred necklace of marriage around her neck -- and his mother are plotting to kill her! In the moment of panic, she runs for her life. Frantically racing through Palgaum's deserted streets, her way lit only by the lights strung up for the Diwali festival, her single goal is to escape death by fire. But fleeing from her would-be-killers seems impossible -- unless she can find someone to help her...
          To approach her best friend would bring scandal to an innocent woman's doorstep, and turning to her own strict, conservative family is out of the question. Instead, with nothing but the sari she wears and a memory of kindness, Megha finds her way to Kiran, the one man who has shown her friendship and respect. Hiding her in his apartment, Kiran becomes her protector. But the forbidden attraction that grows between them can only bring more danger...
          Caught between tradition and the truths buried in her heart, a dowry bride will discover the real cost of the only things worth having in life...
REVIEW:
          The Dowry Bride – it is a book I had wanted to read for some time now, being impressed with the title and the issue it represented. But the book didn’t quite reach up to what I expected from it. Here is my full review.
First Impression:
          Very impressive front cover and book blurb. The whole theme of a woman’s leg with Mehendi and fire was an immediate attraction. It gives the reader a very eager idea of what the book is going to be about. And the title is also an amazing reader magnet. The blurb was interesting enough with a hint of horror and cold blooded but commonplace crime that is plaguing the Indian society.
The story:
          The story is as expected from the blurb. Megha Ramnath, all of 21 years, one day hears her mother in law plotting to murder her with her own husband. Immediately feelings of fear, helplessness and complete and utter desperation plague her mind. Megha decides to flee and frantically thinks for a place of Sanctuary. But nothing comes to her mind. Going back to her parents would mean being sent to her in laws immediately. Going to her best friend would mean landing the friend in trouble. In short, she realises that anyone who accepts her and gives her sanctuary will immediately be ostracised from the society.
          Suddenly, the image of her husband’s cousin Kiran comes to her mind. His gentleness and his availability as her only option after being chased by a hooligan makes Megha reach out to him. The first half of the book is thrilling enough and details the trials Megha faces and also brings out the many issues plaguing the society in India. This part of descriptions and the author’s knowledge about the culture are a pleasant read. Megha, for someone so educated, seems so naïve. But it is the sad truth in some (very few, but still existent) places in India that even though brides are well educated, beautiful and have other impressive qualities, they are still married off to lesser qualified men.
          From then on, Megha’s life becomes a hellish one of jumping in fear as she hides for dear life in Kiran’s apartment. Cooking and caring for him slowly makes her realise that inadvertently she is falling for his gentle charm. Megha’s dilemma is written nicely. But once she realises that she has to completely give a closure to her past if she wanted to live peacefully, her mind starts working towards it. With the help of Kiran, Megha tackles the beasts. The ending is a mellowed down version of what I expected from such a promising book.
          As to the pluses, the language is fluent, and the descriptions are unique. Kudos to the author for writing on such a sensitive subject. The part where Megha hides from Kiran’s mother and her Father in Law’s letter are parts that made an impression on my mind. The story also highlights the journey of Megha as a very timid character (whose initial decisions land her in one trouble after another) to a strong willed woman who carves out a path for herself.
          The minuses – for such a promising premise, my personal opinion is that the story has faltered midway. Yes, the forbidden attraction is racy, yes the feeling of love is not a mistake but I feel that midway, the book turned into more detailed description of why exactly Megha was attracted to her saviour and the romantic moments take away the horror of the issue that is bride burning. The focus on the main issue is relaxed a bit as the reader begins to wonder if Megha will marry Kiran instead of having to wonder if Megha will emerge unscathed from one of society’s most horrific awful evils.
          Also, the characters are one dimensional. Everyone knows that a typical MIL needs no particular strong reason to hate her son’s wife – there have been numerous jokes about this over the years and across cultures. But little more grey areas in the characters could have given them more credibility. Chandramma’s past is not justification enough. While I wouldn’t go so far to call this as prejudiced, I find it unsettling that all good characters are innocent, good at heart and summarily heroes while all villains are evil, and black – both at heart and outside.
           A little more depth and a stronger reason would have made the impact this book has much stronger among the audience. An ulterior reason doesn’t exist in reality when such bride burning cases are concerned – usually the only reasons are failure to give a dowry, or bear a child, and sometimes even begetting a female child – but as a piece of fiction this could have added more dimensions to the characters to at least make them stand out instead of being stereotypical. Overall, the story had good potential, but the ending was too sweet and way out of the sad reality, taking the focus away from the issue and veering towards being a bestseller novel.
VERDICT: Good writing, but for a novel with such potential, it veers away from the main element of focus.
RATING: 3.5/5 (Points taken for veering away from focussed subject and given for fluent writing)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Paperback, Digital
PRICE: Rs. 198 for paperback


Friday, September 25, 2015

I Don’t Wear Sunscreen by Kavipriya Moorthy : A Review



BOOK TITLE: I Don’t Wear Sunscreen
ISBN: 978-9352061662
AUTHOR: Kavipriya Moorthy
GENRE: Fiction / Chic Lit
NUMBER OF PAGES: 87
FORMAT: Digital / epub
SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone
REVIEW BY: Dhivya Balaji
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK:
          The author sent me a digital copy in exchange for an honest review. I thank her for it J
SUMMARY:
          For Laksha, life is a gift wrapped in red ribbon. But that’s all shattered when she falls for the misogamist Prabhu. His ambivalence and vacillation always keeps her at bay, turning her into a neurotic. She gets betrayed by the most credible, loses her job, feels devastated and dejected as incidents crowd upon her corrupting her naiveté.
          Enigmas unfold revealing every glitch. Who will clear her blurred skies? What invigorates her career and life? Will she ever forgive her beloved? And how will Laksha survive?
          The story also revolves around her rapport with Pallavi, a childhood friend and the relationship she has with her silver-tongued mom. Focusing on how experiences change perception of little things, this contemporary tale gives a better meaning to friendships, relationships, solitude, pain, compassion and success.
          More often than not, Life drags you down to the adversities and thrusts outward to shine. It is your grit that truly matters when you reach rock bottom, and left with no choice other than to pick yourself up and leap forward, however arduous it may be!
REVIEW:
          I Don’t Wear Sunscreen – chick lit, and every bit as quirky as the title itself. It would make you want to read the whole thing to even know why it was named this way.
          The book is short – only 87 pages in the digital copy I was sent and I finished it within a night. The first impression about the book is its cover page. The theme – sunset, a woman (in a silhouette) looking reflectively at it over a water body – reflects the mood of the book – slightly dark with some amount of betrayal and loss, and a woman surmounting it and reflecting on life. This goes to say each person can interpret the cover in their own way, according to which part of the book appealed to their tastes.
          Now to the story itself – it starts in July of 2009. Laksha the central character has an inseparable best friend in Pallavi. The girls do almost everything together and have been friends since their childhood. Then as time progresses, they each choose different streams of education and go their separate ways. Laksha goes on to Mumbai while Pallavi goes to Coimbatore and pursues her engineering to get a job and save her family from impending poverty.
          Laksha and Pallavi’s friendships are nicely written, with the right amount of closeness, ego, silly fights and of course the twinge of jealousy. Laksha feels possessive and jealous of Pallavi’s friendship with a man she met but quickly shrugs it off as Pallavi declares that she does not place any man in a higher place than her friendship. Little moments like these are what makes the usual reader feel connected to the story as is. But the friendship does come to a chasm. 
          Time plays a huge role in their separation as the frequency of calls reduces from ‘once daily’ to ‘once a week’ and then stops after a point of time. Laksha feels good in Mumbai with a good job that comes from the recommendation of her good friend Sai. Alone in the big city, Laksha finds a friend in Sai, and slowly begins to fall in love with him. She begins to enjoy life in the city and is in a happy phase.
          But one day, Laksha comes home from Mumbai and encounters a strange and horrifying experience in the train that leaves her traumatised. Her parents and everyone around her are naturally worried sick but Laksha finds her way home, only to be a victim of Post Traumatised Stress. During this time, she learns many shocking truths about the events in her life and experiences the bitter taste of betrayal. What happened in the train journey and how and why it affected Laksha so much forms the second half of the story.
          The writing is from the heart – raw, direct and sometimes seemingly born out of emotions rather than the critical storyteller’s impartial words. But a seasoned reader cannot help but feel that a few more expressive phrases could have lent the story some more interesting moments. Save for a few really good dialogues, the words are read as a whole and not as individual memorable conversations. More of this would have made this a 'quote book' people usually remember words from - thereby the story too. The book has a lot of unused scope for it. There are places where the characters could have been given a bit more depth from a perspective to make them stand in the reader's mind. I really enjoyed reading about Laksha as a flawed but perseverant heroine - protagonist.

The trials faced by Laksha and how her parents react to that are explained brilliantly. The twist at the end – and the big, hyped title reveal give the sudden jolt to the reader numbed by all the revelations of twisted betrayal in Laksha’s life. The language could do with some polishing and a little more careful editing could have avoided the typos and phrasing errors. These do not however hamper the overall reading experience because the reader manages to skim through them as a part of the story.
          The idea of starting the story with a shocking prologue (Jan 1st, 2014) and suddenly going almost five years behind makes the reader almost forget how the story started. Only almost near the end will the reader remember the incident at the prologue. The book is written at a slow pace initially and rushes towards the end with many details coming hard and fast. This makes you read some parts again and again to understand the various implications.
          I finished this story in a few hours and I really did like it as a whole. The review points out the finer points of the story and the complete reading experience that is the book. The characters are realistic, not larger than life and prone to human weaknesses. The words follow a similar path. Overall, a commendable debut attempt by the author with huge room for improvement. Looking forward to her second book!
WHAT I LIKED:
          The story, the character of Laksha’s mother, the dilemma of Pallavi (all through the story) are well written
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER:
          The big reveal almost slips by unnoticed – epilogue has to be read a few times to be understood fully. The enormity hits you only on slow reading.
VERDICT:
          Go for it if you like your chic lit novels with a brooding theme in some places. This is not a feel good romance.
RATING: 4/5
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kavipriya Moorthy is a Chennai based business analyst and a freelance content writer. A thorough ambivert and a pampered southpaw, she possesses a flair for carving creative ideas. She runs a blog that talks about professional ethics: http://yoursprofessionally.com, and scribbles her prancing thoughts at https://preethinakshatra.wordpress.com. She is also a guest writer on various blogs, e-magazines and has contributed to an anthology
EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Digital / Paperback
PRICE: Rs. 199 for Paperback


Spotlight: The First Life of Vikram Roy by Laxmi Hariharan


About the Book:
His family is being held to ransom by a deadly mastermind. 

Vikram never should have left his family, but when Vikram's father brings his half-brother Vishal home, life will never be the same. Vikram thinks things will be better now that he's gone. He's met the love of his life, his future looks bright and then everything is shattered. Now, his family's life is hanging in the balance, and only Vikram can do what needs to be done to save them. From the bestselling dystopian fiction author with over 200 reviews and ratings of her dystopia books across Goodreads, Amazon and other retailers. 

If you’re looking for books like Hunger Games, then this dystopia romance series, The Ruby Iyer Series is it.




Book Links:
Goodreads I Amazon


An exclusive excerpt and GIVEAWAY from The First Life of Vikram Roy
The Ruby Iyer Series—by Laxmi Hariharan

I hear the staccato of shots being fired, followed by yells and howls of pain. Then, the sound of something being smashed and everything goes quiet. The TV no longer chatters. I look to the open door. The recreation room is down at the end of the corridor. The sounds of shots get closer. Without giving myself a chance to think I make a run for the door slam it shut, lock it and it’s as if that’s a signal to the rest of the men to jump to their feet. Without a word, the ten of us scram to our bunks, pull on trousers and shoes.We get our hands on whatever weapon we can find. No guns, none of us have guns. So I grab my cricket bat. (As if that’s going to make a difference?)
 Around me the others too are grabbing cricket bats and hockey sticks. Neil grabs an iron rod. An iron rod? Where did he get that from?  We drop to the floor, crouch and wait. 
Should I hide under the bed? Nope, no way. Like, that is going to help. 
And then a crash as the door is broken down, hacked by what looks like an axe till it’s in pieces on the floor and through it step through two men. One holding a machine gun, the other wielding an axe which he drops to the floor and instead grabs the the gun slung over his back. They are both wearing balaclavas, so we can’t see their features. Of medium height, they are muscular and dressed all in black: Black jeans and sweatshirts, their hair covered by the hoods. Their backs are to the door. They point their guns at us, signalling to us to put our hands up. I hesitate, not looking around but sense that the others too are not sure what to do. The first gunman points his gun at the nearest recruit … a boy just out of his teens and shoots him in the head. 
There is a collective gasp from the room. A chill runs through me. Who are they? How did they break through the security measures of the force base? And then they are foolish enough to barge right into the heart of the training facilities of the force and shoot its cadets? Why? Why would they do that? The gunmen gesture to us and this time we follow their orders. We walk to the wall at the back of the bunkhouse and line up, hands on our heads, staring ahead.
An alarm rings out then. Finally! It’s been almost ten minutes since the shooting started. Still, the reinforcements should be here soon. Now all we need to do is keep these gun men distracted enough so they don’t kill us. As if reading my mind, the guy who’d shot the young recruit moves forward, his gun trained on us. I draw in a breath and hold it. The sweat trickles down my back. My heart is racing so fast I am sure if I look down I can see it leaping out of my chest. The gunman passes me, walks to the end of the line; then back to the middle where I am. 
"You have no idea what this is about do you?" He asks.
He sounds young, as if he is barely a man himself. And something in his voice … muffled as it is, it sounds familiar. A faint recollection  grabs the edge of my mind, And then I forget everything because he leans close to Neil who is next to me, and smashes the butt of his gun into his stomach. Neil falls to the ground, moaning, holding his middle. I firm up my stomach muscles. I know I am next, I must be. I want to squeeze my eyes shut, but don’t. The gunman leans to the other side, and shoots another man in the head. 
This chap collapses without a cry. What the fuck? I want to jump him right then, but that would be really stupid of me. I am not going to help anyone if I get killed will I? There are six of us left in the room now. One of the younger recruits lets out a sob, at which gunman no 2 holds his gun at him, so he shuts up immediately.
The gunman asks me, "Where are the plans?’
"What are you talking about?" I reply, trying to stay calm, struggling not to show how scared I am inside. 
He only grins and in response, and without taking his eyes off me, holds his gun up and I know what what he is going to do and I scream. "No!" But it’s too late. This time he’s shot two more guys in succession. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. These guys are desperate, or crazy or both. 
Besides me Neil stirs on the ground.  
The gunman takes a deep breathe, as if trying to calm himself and says, "Don’t pretend to be dumb. If you don’t get me the blue prints of the security arrangements being planned by the force for Bombay; the one that you and your team mates are being trained for, then all the rest of you die too."
Only six of us left now. Four young lives, gone just like that. I feel sick. What the fuck are these guys upto? And … and how do they know about the plans? This is top secret. The only reason I know about it, is because I’ve overheard the training officer speaking with the ACP about it on the phone last week. And only because I happened to be waiting outside his room then. And how does this gunman even know that I know the details?


Want to find out what happens next? Click here


About the origins of Ruby Iyer:
Growing up in Bombay, my daily commute to university was inevitably nightmarish. It's just how public transport is here. The man behind you on the bus will brush up against you. You know you are going to be felt up on a crowded train platform. All you can do is accept it and get on. Or so you think. I did too, until, a young photojournalist was raped in the centre of Bombay in broad daylight.  It made me furious. Nothing had changed in this city in all these years. Then, I had a vision of this young girl who would not back down; who would follow her instincts, stand up for herself regardless of consequences.  Thus Ruby Iyer was born. Make no mistake, Ruby’s her own person. She leads. I follow. You can download the RUBY IYER DIARIES, the prequel novelette in the series free HERE






About The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer
2015 Readers' Favorite (Bronze) YA Action
 YA Finalist 2015 IAN Book of the Year Award
Finalist 9th Annual Indie Excellence Awards

When her best friend is kidnapped, Ruby will stop at nothing to rescue him. 

Criminals run the streets of Bombay. Jam-packed with the worst degenerates. The city is a shell of the pride and joy it used to be. Ruby knows something must be done, but it isn’t until her best friend is kidnapped by the despotic Dr Braganza that she knows that she and she alone must save city, save her best friend, save the world from total destruction. Armed only with Vikram, a cop-turned-rogue they are about to embark on a road they may never return from. If you’re looking for fast-paced books like Hunger Games or dystopia fiction like Angelfall, the Ruby Iyer series is perfect for you. 


DOING MY BIT
All SEPTEMBER earnings from the RUBY IYER SERIES will be donated to SAVE THE CHILDREN: SUPPORT CHILD REFUGEES OF SYRIA. All the RUBY IYER books with their brand new covers, are on SALE all this month at 99p/c & Rs 69/49. Click HERE to buy them. 

YOU can also donate to SAVE THE CHILDREN directly HERE 


About the Author:
She almost died. But when dystopia romance author Laxmi Hariharan had a near death experience, she was told to write. Laxmi is the creator of dystopian romance series, RUBY IYER SERIES (The MANY LIVES OF VIKRAM ROY - FINALIST Indie Excellence Awards, the bestselling The RUBY IYER DIARIES , The FIRST LIFE OF VIKRAM ROY, The SECOND LIFE OF RUBY IYER & VIKRAM ROY, PANKY's FIRST LIFE), and the Amazon bestselling, eLit Gold winner, The Destiny of Shaitan (Bombay Chronicles, 1). If you're looking for books like Divergent and Angelfall, you'll love the RUBY IYER SERIES.

Laxmi writes books similar to Hunger Games while listening to electronica & progressive rock, and downing innumerable cups of extra sweet ginger-chai. She is also an avid photographer of street art and believes she was a tree -- a redwood -- in her past life. London is where she creates. Bombay is what fires her imagination. 

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GIVEAWAY
The First Life of Vikram Roy, The THIRD book in the RUBY IYER Series, launches this month. To celebrate the launch of the FIRST LIFE OF VIKRAM ROY I am giving away a $30 gift card. Winner will be drawn, Oct 1, 2015, and announced in my next newsletter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway