Friday, September 19, 2014

Tomorrow Wendell : Ridley RM : A review

Title: Tomorrow Wendell
Author: Ridley R.M
Genre : Fantasy-Fiction/Supernatural Thriller
Jonathan Alvey is in the private investigation business and specializes in the art of using supernatural elements and magic to solve the clients ‘problems in the town of New Hades. Enter Wendell Courtney, a client who brings forward a baffling case. Wendell recently had an un”fortune”ate  prediction from a tarot reading machine and is in a vex ever since. His death has been predicted in precisely a week, by every prediction method he has laid his hands on and he is shit scared. The rest of the story goes about explaining how Jonathan deals with Wendell’s curious problem while dealing with another rogue organisation-The Apatedyne.
The reader gets the idea that Alvey is supposed to be this really cool dude, who is lazy but sharp. Kind of like our Jack Sparrow minus the gaudy eye make-up and beads. In trying to establish such a character, every detail of Jonathan’s mundane actions is painstakingly explained in flowery language which makes it a bit hard to return to if you don’t force yourself to. But it does get quite interesting once you stick to it. Kind of like most of my subjects at school! So the main question here is do you have the determination to put up with the way Jonathan swishes and swishes and swishes his bourbon while thinking or his long drawn out thoughts while crossing a very small street? Then go ahead and you might come to like the story a lot.
One other interesting thing is the different way in which magic has been potrayed by the author. It is not like your regular wave your wand, see a bird fly kind of magic but an intense experience which drains you physically and emotionally and is said to even drastically change a person towards the end of their life. The creatures mentioned also sound quite new to me and honestly there were certain parts where the book was an absolute page turner. It more or less deals with how it would actually look like if only magic were real, which is quite refreshing.
And since I cannot tell you more without revealing crucial parts of the story, let’s just skip to the ending. The climax was a tad bit of a let-down and appeared a bit rushed. But it all looks like a good opening for a sequel and I find myself strangely waiting for it.

What I Like: The good language and the narration.

What I Didn’t Like: The overtly flowery writing to explain stuff like eating noodles. I get that he is hungry, but it seems like a bit too much!
Rating: 3/5

Purchase Links:

Readers' Muse Note: Thanks Deepika Anandakrishnan for yet another amazing review!

Instant Karma by Donna Marie Oldfield : A Review

BOOK TITLE: Instant Karma
ISBN: 978-1500619152
AUTHOR: Donna Marie Oldfield
GENRE: Fiction
FORMAT: Digital
REVIEW BY: Deepika Anandakrishnan
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: The author sent us review copies. We thank her for it!
Do you believe in karma? Materialistic, selfish estate agent Siena Robinson doesn’t – until she hits a disastrous run of bad luck that makes her wonder if she has brought it upon herself.
In Instant Karma, Siena moves to the quiet village of Fenville, where the locals are opposing a development that will see a beloved hall and library replaced by new flats and shops. What her neighbours don’t know is that she is one of the developers and stands to make millions from the deal.
But then Siena discovers that her high-school sweetheart, Aiden, is leading the protest and she finds herself acting as a double agent who is torn between her neighbours’ plight and making lots of money.
Will Siena betray her new friends and let greed ruin a second chance with Aiden? And will she ever find out who or what is behind her run of bad karma? 
Have you ever seen the movie “13 going on 30” staring the underrated Jennifer Garner? Well this story really reminded me of that movie. I was a teenager when I saw that movie and was absolutely in love with chic flicks. It was one of my favourites for a long time and what I loved was how they tried their own little spin on Newton’s Third Law: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. What goes around comes around.
In the story too it’s quite simple, don’t act like a two faced bitch. If you do your car is hit, your shoes and bags are spoiled. Universe decides to punish Siena with such punishments when she decides to become a double agent for the sake of a new project and is actually using her new neighbours. This would make her a ton of money but essentially put out a precious old Library and the community hall in the small village of Fenville.  But our protagonist doesn’t understand this one bit and instead moans and moans about how she is a nice person but bad luck follows her around. I sometimes ended up hoping that more things happened to her just for her stupidity.
Once in a while she figures out that it could be her materialistic nature causing all the troubles and proceeds to rectify it. But since she has quite the record for selfish acts her bad karma backlog is too full and continues to bite. And then all of a sudden Siena realises her mistake one evening and rushes home to correct it. I hope you have already realised its going be a happily ever after type of story. Let me blush for your sake if you haven’t!
A couple of mistakes apart the writing is sharp and the dialogues are short and crisp. The flow of the story is also very good and it’s not at all difficult to keep reading and wonder how the story ends, which was what reminded me of the movie mentioned above. If you cut out the whiny Siena’s actions it’s quite easy to enjoy the book. Well at least it helps that one could have some type of sentiments for the character!
WHAT I LIKED: The writing, the climax
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: The plot and a more intelligent protagonist.
VERDICT: Good read for young adults and romance lovers
Donna Marie Oldfield is a freelance writer based in the Peak District, England who has been writing and editing for 15 years. She has worked for titles such as Heat, The Guardian, The Sun and Now as well as copywriting for a wide range of businesses. She likes cats, pasta, books and cake
EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Paperback, Kindle.
PRICE: Rs. 181 for Kindle edition.


RM note: Special thanks to our guest reviewer Deepika Anandakrishnan for her wonderful review in such a short notice. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Twisted Reflections by Shay West : A Review

BOOK TITLE: Twisted Reflections
ISBN: 9781620154335
AUTHOR: Shay West
GENRE: Fiction
FORMAT: Digital
SERIES / STANDALONE: The Adventures of Alexis Davenport #2
REVIEW BY: Dhivya Balaji
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: The author’s manager sent us digital copies for review. Thank you, Pamela!
Alexis Davenport is learning to come to grips with her ability to travel through time, but she still hasn’t been able to stop the evil Drifter and his Master from trying to alter the past.
When she travels back to ancient Egypt, Alex gets a most unexpected surprise; she meets someone who can help her figure out how to use her powers, another Traveler like herself.
But can Alex learn how to control her gift before Drifter finds a way to stop her from meddling in his Master’s plans?
Twisted Reflections is the highly anticipated Book Two, in The Adventures of Alexis Davenport Series.
          In this second instalment of the series, Alexis Davenport is going strong in her new school, has just settled herself into her aunt’s house and had started coming to terms with the reflections in the mirror forcing her to go into the past to protect history. But her mother has shattered her peaceful comfortable setup by announcing that they have to move to another house soon. Coming to terms with her life being jeopardised once again by the impending move and her aunt forcing her to work more hours in her shop, Alex pushes herself to face all her troubles.
          Adding to Alex’s troubles, she comes across another traveller in one of her travels to Egypt to save the timeline of King Tut. The traveller, Sean, informs her that he is well aware of the gift and has a master who guides him and helps him protect the timeline. From Sean, she learns that she could control herself to travel to the time period she wants. Alex practices travelling on will and goes to Sean’s time period, late twentieth century UK, and meets his master, who only increases her confusion regarding her gift.
          In Egypt, Alex and Sean manage to not only foil the plans of the evil traveller; they also manage to force him out of the body he inhabited. The evil traveller, the drifter, is angry beyond words and speeds up his plan to kill Alex. If and how Alex manages to save history and escape the clutches of the traveller, in addition to handling her other normal troubles forms the rest of the story.
          The plot is expected (the readers would have a better understanding if they read book one first). The character development has a few believable twists and when the real name of drifter is revealed, along with his designation in the current time period, the reader is left with a dry anticipation that leaves them frustrated for more information. What should have been at least a semi closure, tries in vain to be a cliff hanger.
          The second book has slightly more detail about Alex’s teenage problems, making her a slightly irritating protagonist, right when her character should obtain more depth and clarity. But if you enjoyed book one, there are enough events in book two to keep you engaged with just the right amount of sympathy with Alex to keep you going.
WHAT I LIKED: The continuation of interesting events in history, the main reason the books are interesting.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: The slightly dampened character development of Alex and Karen, not to mention Jenifer.
VERDICT: If you enjoyed book one and want to know what happens next, go for this.
Shay West was born in Longmont, CO and earned a doctorate degree in Human Medical Genetics from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical. Dr. West currently lives in Grand Junction, CO with her two cats. When not writing novels, she plays with plushie microbes and teaches biology classes at Colorado Mesa University. She is the author of the Portals of Destiny series and the Adventures of Alexis Davenport series. She has also been published in several anthologies: Battlespace (military sci-fi), Orange Karen: Tribute to a Warrior (fundraiser), and Ancient New (steampunk/fantasy).
You can find Dr. West and more of her work at
Social Media Links:
PRICE: Rs. 180 for Kindle

Dangerous Reflection by Shay West : A Review

BOOK TITLE: Dangerous Reflection
ISBN: 9781620154045
AUTHOR: Shay West
GENRE: Fiction
FORMAT: Digital
SERIES / STANDALONE: Series (Adventures of Alexis Davenport #1)
REVIEW BY: Dhivya Balaji
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: The author’s manager sent us digital copies for review. We thank her for it!
Alexis Davenport wants to go home. She hates her new school, her mother for moving her away from her friends, and her father for walking out.
To make matters worse, Alex is haunted by images of strange girls reflected in her mirror. It’s bad enough juggling homework, a relentless bully, boys, and a deadbeat dad; now, she must save the world from an evil presence hell-bent on changing the past – and our futures. Who knew her A+ in history was going to be this important?
          Dangerous Reflection is a pleasant read. When we were contacted by the publicist for a review, the fantasy genre initially made me apprehensive, but the gist had enough substance to pique my interest. And the book crossed my expectations. It was a very pleasant read, with the right amount of drama, suspense, fantasy, and brilliant event sequence thrown in.
          The protagonist of the story is Alexis Davenport, a teenager. The story starts with Alex and her mother Patricia moving to Patricia’s sister Karen’s house because Alex’s father had deserted them. Naturally, Alex is disappointed both with her father’s departure and her move to another state, meaning a different school and loss of her friends back home. But thankfully, the ‘angry teenager’ phase does not dominate the book. ON the way to her aunt’s house, Alex is frightened when her reflection changes in a restroom mirror. Where her face should be, she encounters the face of another girl. Alex does not make much of it, imagining it to be due to her exhaustion and sadness.
          But the reflection repeats itself, forcing Alex to conclude that she has a weird condition. Alex does not understand how to control the reflections that appear randomly in mirrors. She is frightened out of her life when her hand, apparently out of her control reaches up to touch the reflection in the mirror. It causes her to blackout and when she regains consciousness, she finds herself in the body of the girl whose face was shown in the reflection. Alex finds herself inhabiting the body of some girl in the past, and due to her knowledge in history, knows that she is about to witness a major happening in history. In her first adventure Alex saves the Book of Kells, which is an important artefact.
          When Alex is zapped back to the present, she realises that though her adventure in the past seemed to happen for days, in reality, not even a few minutes had passed. Thoroughly confused, Alex fears her sanity and is unable to even spill the beans to her mother. Then there are the regular problems she faces in a new school, trying to gain friends, to blend in, and going for a sure path to heartbreak when she falls in love with the sport star co student, Beau Johnson. Meanwhile, she accidentally gets herself into an audition for a play. On the whole, in spite of her busy schedule and other teenager problems, she encounters various reflections in the mirror and finds herself during important moments in history, making sure nobody tampers with the events in the past that might have catastrophic effects in the present.
          The only person who knows her secret is her classmate Jenifer, who finds Alex when she is in one of her ‘travels’. In addition to this, in every trip to the past, Alex senses an evil presence that might be another traveller who is trying to alter the course of history and therefore ensure chaos. Alex manages to escape the presence every time, and realises that her life is in danger. In one final trip, the body Alex inhabits is killed by the evil traveller and she enters into the void. Whether or not she makes it out of the void into her own body creates the element of surprise in the first book.
          Thankfully, the story is not over the top in making out the protagonist to be heroine who takes up the cape and becomes a super woman. Alex is a normal girl, who is frightened by the abnormality and faces every problem in school like a normal teenager would do. Her friends are realistic, natural and her mom and aunt are strong female characters who lend support. The story is more about a teenager’s adjustment to life and its problems, and about what a normal girl would do in an abnormal situation. With no larger than life characters, the book is an interesting page turner.
          The plot is simple enough, with the author using important, but not very popular events in history, making the reader maintain the right amount of interest to keep going. The story is set in a believable tone and the characters are strong, clear, and each leave a strong impression in the minds of the reader. Go for this book if you like a YA novel with a female protagonist.
WHAT I LIKED: The clear story, lucid language, and the believable main characters
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: The long yearning of Alex for a jerk (makes her weak, might be the author’s intention, but is still irritating). And making Alex the reason history is still untainted. (Wait; was it the whole point of the story?)
VERDICT: Go for this one. It is written for teenagers, with the least amount of crudeness.
Shay West was born in Longmont, CO and earned a doctorate degree in Human Medical Genetics from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical. Dr. West currently lives in Grand Junction, CO with her two cats. When not writing novels, she plays with plushie microbes and teaches biology classes at Colorado Mesa University. She is the author of the Portals of Destiny series and the Adventures of Alexis Davenport series. She has also been published in several anthologies: Battlespace (military scifi), Orange Karen: Tribute to a Warrior (fundraiser), and Ancient New (steampunk/fantasy).
You can find Dr. West and more of her work at
Social Media Links:
PRICE: Rs. 240 for Kindle

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Even God Doesn't Know Rajeev Pundir : A Review

BOOK TITLE: Even God Doesn’t Know
AUTHOR: Rajeev Pundir
GENRE: Fiction/ Romance
FORMAT: Paperback
REVIEW BY: Dhivya Balaji
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Blackbuck publications sent us a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Amar and Akbar are bosom friends. Rekha is their classmate while studying in an engineering college. Where Akbar and Rekha fall in love, Amar also has a crush for Rekha which changes into a one-sided love affair and gradually into an obsession. He continues to endure his feelings for Rekha for years together, silently.

A sudden mishappening changes the lives of all three in a single night. The novel unfolds the story of the threesome lead by infatuation, possessiveness, obsession, love, hate, doubt and greed against the backdrop of premonitions.
          Some books start out very promisingly. They offer you some sort of sneak peek into how the book is actually going to progress. Then there are some books that make you want to pick them up by the summary given in the back cover. Then there are books that impress you in the first line of the first page. And finally, there are books that crash your expectations in the subsequent chapters so much so that you want to close the book and be done with it.
          The word in the summary made the reader cringe. It is ‘mishap’ not ‘mishappening’.  Overcoming the obvious misspelling and already wondering about the editing, I picked up the book. The opening pages containing the first prologue, was mildly interesting, and it made me sit up and think maybe, just maybe, the book might prove to be interesting.
          But over the course of the story (the plot is a triangular love story) that hopes to portray the struggles of budding, blossoming love, sacrifice and all those gentler emotions, somehow, somewhere, there is always a sour feeling because of the substandard way of writing and editing.
          The story might have made it big, and had more of an impression in the minds of the reader if only the reader themselves didn’t feel the urge to correct the word phrasing and grammar (occasionally spellings). What could have been a really nice love triangle that never goes larger than life falters in the shoddily written dialogs. It fails to stay in the mind.
          There is the typical middle class struggle, of the poor unable to afford coaching, to the pangs of young love, the story has it all. But basically, there is that thorn. If you are not a seasoned reader, or if you don’t feel the urge to correct misspellings, or if you can overcome the language to enjoy the story, go for this.
WHAT I LIKED: The opening pages.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: Language, story construction, and the whole drab areas of description.
VERDICT: If you can digest the writing, the story can manage to make an impact.
PRICE: Rs. 171 for Paperback