#BookReview – Random Bullets by Joy Mutter

The blurb reads,

“Set in Jersey, Cornwall, Manchester, London and other places not of this world, Random Bullets is a contemporary crime thriller with a paranormal twist. After shooting and killing his nephew, a gunman runs wild in a London park. What drives Edward to commit such heinous acts? Who will survive yet another of his moments of madness?”

randombullets

This is a story about a murder. And the things that lead to the murder and how the different characters are interconnected. It’s actually quite well written, even though a little heavy on the details and characters.

The central point of the book really made me think. A person is not always driven to commit heinous crimes. There is always something that pushes him/her to the precipice. And that is what made me think. I mean Edward, the villain spent his whole life being pushed down and humiliated. This pushed him over the precipice.

It was nice to see details about the lives of people who were impacted by the incident. I mean you often wonder about the people who die in accidents when you hear about it and this book had a lot about them as well.

I really felt bad for Edward, and at the same time, the learning I took was that it’s really important for a person to be in charge of their own life. I mean, incidents keep happening. Life doesn’t go as per one’s wishes and that being so affected by external circumstance is not the right way to go on. I could explain Edward’s reasons for doing what he did but that would be the spoiler.

The book’s title is apt, Random Bullets. When a person lashes out, the most unintended victims are those who are not connected to the matter. These are the random bullets that hurt.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a tad heavy on the details like I mentioned but a good read nonetheless.

#Quotable 22 on Environment

The ice is melting faster than usual. The magnetic pole is moving towards Russia at sixty-four kilometers a year due to changes in the earth’s magnetic core. That’s stirring changes in the Arctic climate, but they’re to our advantage. Our first priority is to make a profit.

-Alexis Miller, The Arctic Night

Want to read more of this Nordic Noir?

Get it on Amazon

#Quotable 21 on Environment

The Multinational oil companies are looking for approval to drill for oil in the Arctic Region.Environment campaigners say that drilling could have horrific and long-lasting effects on the waters and wildlife of the Arctic.

-Alexis Miller, The Arctic Night

Do you want to read more into this environment based Nordic Noir?

Check the book out on Amazon

Royal Ups and Downs- A March Bride (A Year of Weddings #1) by Rachel Hauck

The blurb reads,

Susanna has found her true prince, and their happily ever after is just around the corner. But when Nate asks her to give up something precious to her, Susanna can’t help but wonder if it’s a sign that their love is not meant to be.
Susanna Truitt (Once Upon A Prince) is three weeks from royalty. She’ll soon marry King Nathaniel II of Brighton Kingdom. But when the government insists she renounce her American citizenship before the wedding, coupled with the lack of involvement by family and friends, her heart begins to doubt whether this marriage is God’s plan for her.
Nathaniel would do anything for his bride-to-be. But he knows his position requires that she give up a lot to be with him. Her life will never be her own — right down to her very identity. When she travels home to St. Simon’s Island, Georgia, right before the wedding, Nathaniel fears she won’t return. Gathering his courage, he devises a plan to win his bride all over again, and together they seek out a kingdom to treasure above all.

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One of the best things about these books from Zondervan are the covers. They are so beautiful. It captures the most underrated part of a Christian Bride, the bouquet! Most photos focus on her eyes, her veil or the intricacies of her dress. Few find beauty in mere flowers. In this series, every bouquet stood for something the bride believed in, some memory, or some fantasy for her wedding.

We now get pulled into Susanna’s wedding. She is a commoner who fell in love with a King. And I didn’t know this book was a sequel. Although, until I read a fellow reviewer saying that, I never felt any such indication. The thing with these short novellas is that they never reveal everything about the characters or their romance. It stays hidden. Since the focus of this is the Wedding, that gets the spotlight, often hiding the actual steps that led to the wedding in the first place.

So we dive into the story of how a commoner is getting married to the King. The King feels burdened with responsibility of his new kingdom and faces a threat when he has to convince his bride to be to give up her American Citizenship.

The rest of the book is filled with a lot of weirdness. Somehow I couldn’t connect to Susanna. I mean, I don’t know her story, or how she fell in love. The book is filled with her dramatics on coming to know that she has to renounce her citizenship. Surely, I would be outraged if someone asked me to renounce my Indian citizenship, but I would fight it. I wouldn’t run away from things.

Susanna runs away like a coward, throwing Nathaniel’s plans into a mess. He has to take things in his hands, even go to the extent of wooing her back. This I didn’t like. I mean does the woman always have to throw a tantrum to get her work done? Here I am reading about brave women, like Kateryn Parr and Anne Boleyn who sparred with a king to get their way and get reforms initiated, and on the other hand you have weaklings like Susanna.

This book’s saving grace is Nathaniel, and the way he works to woo Susanna back. It shows how much he loves her and to what extent he will bend to get her back. But in my opinion, no woman should stretch a man so much. And the same works the other way. No man should twist a woman to get what he wants. And I detest characters like that.

I’m probably being more caustic than what this book requires but somehow, this identity crisis didn’t take me in its sway. I often feel my identity is under attack, but I haven’t felt anything for Susanna here and that made me go against her in what I read.

I figure now as I think of it, having characters from a previous novel did not work out in the book’s favour. The book’s characters are half baked and there is a constant feeling of simply reading about strangers acting like total buffoons. Not good and certainly not a good tactic. Don’t take the reader for granted!

This book marks a decline in the general quality of Zondervan’s novels. The April, May and July brides are pathetic attempts at stitching together romantic novels. These books should definitely be avoided.

 

My Rating: 2/5

2 star

Wow!!! Absolutely Stunned- Cephrael’s Hand (A Pattern of Shadow and Light #1) by Melissa McPhail

The blurb reads

“All things are composed of patterns…” And within the pattern of the realm of Alorin, three strands must cross: In Alorin three hundred years after the genocidal Adept Wars, the realm is dying, and the blessed Adept race dies with it. One man holds the secret to reverting this decline: Bjorn van Gelderan, a dangerous and enigmatic man whose shocking betrayal three centuries past earned him a traitor’s brand. It is the Adept Vestal Raine D’Lacourte’s mission to learn what Bjorn knows in the hope of salvaging his race. But first he’ll have to find him.

In the kingdom of Dannym the young Prince Ean val Lorian faces a tenuous future as the last living heir to the coveted Eagle Throne. When his blood-brother is slain during a failed assassination, Ean embarks on a desperate hunt for the man responsible. Yet his advisors have their own agendas, and his quest for vengeance leads him ever deeper into a sinuous plot masterminded by a mysterious and powerful man, the one they call First Lord.

In the Nadori desert tormented by the missing pieces of his life, a soldier named Trell heads off to uncover the truth of his shadowed past. But when disaster places him in the debt of Wildlings sworn to the First Lord, Trell begins to suspect a deadlier, darker secret motivating them. Honor-bound to serve the First Lord in return for his life, Trell continues on his appointed path, yet each day unveils new and stranger secrets that eventually call into question everything he knows.

cephrael's hand

 

I’d been a part of Novel Publicity tours before but this was the first tour where I asked for a Paperback to be mailed to me. I don’t know what part of me prompted me to opt for this book, but I did without reading the excerpt.

Right, I have been beta reading/ reviewing/ editing books for quite a while now and so I’d like to think I can make out how good a book is within the first 50 pages, which are the “Golden Pages”. It is within those pages, that I make a decision, mentally, whether to continue reading a book or not.

And the first 10 pages of this book, really shook me up. I’d never read something which had thrown me off so much. I’d never encountered something which was luxuriously complicated yet, it made me want to read and find out what happened next. The Map of Alorin and the Glossary of Terms was very very fascinating and gave me some bit of an insight into what lay ahead in the book.

I was enraptured by Prince Ean’s capture. I was sucked into his world where his blood brother was slain and he was taken away by a mysterious creature. I tried to wrap my head around the long names and a fantasy world which seemed so new, like I had been sucked in there. I tried to link and connect. The first 100 pages, thus I spent in connecting. And then, I realised, I tried to find a pattern in everything. Perhaps, that is what Melissa, the author, intended in the first place.

Of the 3 stories which came into Book 1, I don’t know why, I was drawn to Trell. He reminded me of a certain brooding man, who is one of my closest today, and that somehow made me want to read more about Trell. I found his back story so very fascinating, and his experiences were so bizzare.

Right, so let me discuss the book the way I usually do, with questions and answers. The Adept race is dying. These weilders of strands are dying and not finding their knowledge returning. Without this power, the realm is slowly dying. To coincide with this decline, there are dark forces who are out to unhinge the world as every one knows it. The Adept Wars have led the Fourth Vestal, Raine, to seek his blood brother Björn and seek answers for his hand in destroying the Adept race and Alorin. 

Why is everyone coming to assassinate one prince of one small kingdom? Who are the mysterious creatures who come to save Ean at every danger? Who is Trell? Will he be able to find out what happened to him? Can he discover his past without compromising his integrity? Who are the mysterious creatures he finds? Why is fate so much in his favour?

What really happened in the Adept Wars? Who was responsible for tearing the fabric of the Adept race? Was Björn really the culprit or are there truths that Raine has clouded his vision to? 

This book was all of this and so much more!!!

I was so hooked and I was so annoyed I had to study when I really wanted to be sitting in a corner reading this book. In a way, the delayed reading enhanced my experience. I had so much more to look forward to. I was peeling the layers and discovering what was happening and trying to reconstruct everything, just like the characters were. I was satiated by reading little bit at a time and those auto tweets which went out to my twitter feed reached Melissa who was also in tune with my progress. It was an amazing feeling.

I was so happy that another blog tour for this book was announced because I couldn’t finish it the first time around and this time, I made sure to write a review.

One of the things I really love about this book is the complexity. Some people like books to be fairly simple but I love it when my mind is deceived and this one did that on all counts. I was so shocked this wasn’t picked up by some publishing house and how it hadn’t become a big phenomenon yet. When it does, I am sure we will stand smug, knowing we spotted it first!!!

The winning point, apart from the beautiful new world of Alorin, is how believable characters are. Ean is young, reckless and he remains so. Trell is mature, composed and is purposeful. Alyneri is troubled, dedicated and knows love. Raine is burdened and rightly so. Each character has their own role to play and while there are so many, each character has his role to play.

By the end of the book, I was glad the second one had already arrived because the day I finished reading Book 1, I just jumped to reading Book 2. I have my own opinions about Bethamin and his fire and that seems like such an apt explanation looking at world events but my lips are sealed. Contact me to know more about my opinions :p

Also, what I liked, being Indian, a lot of names were Indian sounding. The drawchyr, Ramu, Balaji, Mithiya and Jaya made me feel like somehow, my culture had influenced the writing of this book and that drew me further to the book.

 

I don’t really doubt my rating. But this book has seriously knocked it out of the park!!!

5 star5 star5 starThrice? That is how good this book was!!!! Now that I’ve finished Book 2, I feel like there is some void in my life. I want Book 3 and I want it NOW. I also want the other books because I want to be reading them all the time!

Just pick this one up NOW!!

 

 

#3 Within 40 Hours (2012)

A Guest Post by My Bestest Friend on His Experience shooting for a Documentary in College

experimental

This was the first documentary I was involved in. And it was based on the students of Kamla High School in Mumbai.

1. Pre-production: It is important to invest a good amount of time in pre-production. But that does not mean we can spend 90% of the time on deciding what to do. In our case, the school that we worked for was supportive by all means. We could shoot wherever we want, we could go in a class in the middle of a lecture and interact with the students very easily. So we were sure at least there are no hindrances from the organisation. We could focus on the creative aspects. We chose the right organisation.

2. Best time to shoot: In photography it is known as the Golden Hour. Luckily enough for us, to match the timings of our college and the school, we had to shoot…

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#Thrilling: Spear Mother by Brandon M Lindsay

 

Title: Spear Mother: A Tale of the Fourth World
Author: Brandon Lindsay

Synopsis: 

Sandrena of the Mist Clan has been chosen for an impossible task: to kill an ancient god bent on consuming the Fourth World. Failure leads to the destruction of mankind. Yet even success could end in true death for Sandrena and her five companions. 

Armed only with a magical spear whose power she can’t unlock and plagued by memories of a life she never lived, Sandrena must bind her group together if any of them hope to survive. 

She must become Spear Mother.

 

AVAILABLE AT: 

Smashwords

About Brandon Lindsay:

Author of the Fourth World fantasy series. The stories Dark Tree and Spear Mother, as well as the story collection The Clans, are now available as ebooks.

 

Social Links for Brandon Lindsay:

 

Goodreads

Twitter

Facebook

Website

Tour Banner - Spear Mother

This book was a bit of a daze because I hadn’t read any other tale of the Fourth World. What I was really surprised with, was the length and how much the book expected to cover.

The book starts off with 6 companions led by Spear Mother Sandrena. She has vivid dreams of a mission she has to fulfill and a Spear whose powers she does not know of. Her life changes because of these dreams and now she is expected to kill a God. What are the chances of survival? Not bright. What happens next? Can Spear Mother lead her pack to victory? Who is the God they have to kill and why? Who sent them on this mission?

This book covers all that and more. There were lot of small points which highlighted the book for me!

The book talks about different lands and how this one act would bind them all. This got me thinking about how similar it was to our world. We lived in different worlds, oblivious about the other worlds and stubborn enough to NOT co-exist with them. There were people who crusaded against this and there are some who have led their lives thinking their clan is superior. The underlying of this premise was very deep for me!

Also, Sandrena’s dreams. I’ve often wondered about us co-existing in an alternate reality. Just thinking about it even for a short span excited me a lot. The mere thought of an alternate reality gives me a lot of food for thought!

The end was a little surprising. I didn’t expect it. A total curve ball and what a curve ball. I was completely flummoxed. The author tied up the loose ends quite well. I really don’t want to give out a spoiler! That will ruin it completely!

What I do have a bit of an issue with, is the killing of the God itself. It felt a little hurried. When you spend so much time building up for a Mission Impossible, it is acceptable to spend some time, or pages, documenting the execution of the Mission Impossible.

I had my fair share of unanswered questions which is why I was confused about the ratings to give this book. I felt the author was too pressurised to convert this into a short story. It could definitely have had some more punch in terms of writing because there were places where I felt something was missing.

My Rating: 3.5/5

3.5 starts

There were places where I felt the book was BRILLIANT in terms of the concept and the end really blew my socks off. This is a good book, and is currently free, I do recommend this as a short read!