FrostBite by Joshua Bader

Frostbite (Modern Knights #1)

 

Books’ Name: FrostBite

Author’s Name: Joshua Bader

Publisher: City Owl Press

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Colin Fisher is a young man with a lot of problems on his plate: a dying father, a dead car doubling as a home, and a mysteriously disappeared fiancée. You’d think with a magical inclination he’d be able to turn it all around, but not so much.

Yet his bad luck appears to be on the way out when the CEO of a multinational corporation offers him a job. It’s a sweet gig as a personal wizard with a fat paycheck. It just has one catch. The paranoid CEO isn’t a mere hypochondriac, he’s been hexed with an authentic ancient curse.

Now Colin is the only thing standing between his new boss and a frozen bundle of fangs, claws, and rage. If he can’t stop the cannibal ice demon in time to save his new boss, it’ll be back to living out of his dead car. That is, if he even survives the battle.

 

Frostbite was a netgalley book—and a very interesting one at that. I was attracted to the book because of its blurb. I mean how cool it is to have one’s personal wizard? If I had one, I would make him/her do all the work of cleaning, washing etc. (Okay, I do have a maid for all that), but a personal wizard will be far more interesting. So, I wanted to see what does the personal wizard do in the book.

But in reality, this story is more than the story of a personal wizard. The story is fast-paced and quite interesting journey of a vagabond wizard to the realization of why he became the wizard. The story has a lot of world-building which happens along with the story as we discover the new world with the Wizard Colin Fisher himself.

What I liked

Fast-Pace: The story is written in quite a fast pace. This fast pace keeps the readers engaged throughout the story. You won’t feel that the story is dragging too much.

World-Building: Very few books are able to make the reader believe the world they are building is possible. This story truly does establish that belief and hence it made the book more interesting for me.

Magic: The interesting way the magic is used made me smile in the book. It is creative and innovative.

What I disliked

Unanswered questions/underutilized characters: There are some characters which just touch and go like the lake faerie. I wish there was more to these characters and their roles in the story Probably the reason for these characters are in the coming novel, but for now they feel underutilized and fillers (which one doesn’t notice because of the pace of the story, but I still wanted to know why they were in the story like what is their long-term purpose.)

Overall opinion

It is an interesting book which sets the stage for the coming sequel. You won’t find the main story incomplete in this part of the book, but it leaves the readers with enough thirst to wait for the next part and see what exactly is going to happen. It is like you have decided to enter a dungeon and this is the first room, and you are really curious to know what was the reason author pulled you in this dungeon.

Definitely a must-read for the fans who enjoy such fantasy.

My ratings:

Four Stars

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Wheat, Not White– A Book Club Review

Only Wheat Not White 
by 
Varsha Dixit 
 

It feels weird to be in a reading slump– to not be able to concentrate on reading, forget about writing. I attribute all this to change of city. I don’t know why but everything makes me feel like I am an alien here, a foreigner (I am not! I am in the same country and in a city where there are many good things happening). I spent my time moping around over the fact and listening to foreign-travel songs. And then I realized how stupid I was being.

I was not going to pick up this book. When the mail for the book came, I passed it on. But then Rubina said that she can personally guarantee that the book is well-edited and well-written. I needed something to come out of my stupid mood swings, and hence I picked up this book. Before I write the summary for the book and elaborate its beauty, let me tell you it was a perfect book to get out of the slump– not too heavy–a beautifully written romance.

The Blurb

What if the one you completely love is the one you simply can’t! Twenty-six-year-old Eila Sood moves to America to mend fences with her estranged older sister, Sheela. Eila and the rest of the family in India had cut off ties with Sheela after she married Steve Jacobs, ‘out of caste, and out of color’. Elia soon realizes that Sheela’s marriage is on the rocks. To help pay Sheela’s household bills, Eila takes a second job at an afternoon strip club. When she crosses paths with the owner, the handsome Brett Wright or ‘blue-eyed ogre’ as Elia calls him, he both infuriates and fascinates her. Brett turns out to be her reluctant and unquestionably sarcastic knight in shining armor. As Eila and Brett spend more time together their desire for each other builds. However, when Brett discovers the true reason for Eila’s refusal he storms out of her life, accusing her of being a prejudiced coward. Will Eila find the courage to break stereotypes and embrace her love? Will Brett find solace in the arms of his ex-girlfriend Cate? Will Sheela and Steve divorce? All of these questions and more are answered in Varsha Dixit’s latest and humorous and steamy love story.
The book is the story about Eila who has traveled to US in order to act as a peacemaker between her parents and her sister .  Her sister, Sheela, married a white man which had severed her ties to the family. Eila has come to US in order to help Sheila reconcile with her parents. But all is not well in US. Sheela’s married life is not the same, and Eila ends up (working in a strip club) falling in love with an American. The story is how both Sheela and Eila comes to term with the fact that the color does not decide the person, but the nature does.

Although the book is mentioned as a steamy romance, it is just a love story. I did not find much “steam” into it, so don’t be afraid of diving into the book because of that.

What I liked:

A perfect blend of American-ness and Indian-ness:  I think this is the biggest weakness of the Indian novel. The novels either end up losing the Indian values and beauty while writing in English, or everything is so much explained that a reader gets bored reading about all the things they know. This novel did nothing of the sorts.  The story had perfect balance between the two cultures. She neither ignored the American culture, nor did the author explained or justified the Indian culture. That probably was the biggest USP for me.

Romance: The story kept true to the nature of the characters and has a romance which made me “feel” the love being developed along with the feeling the connection in first sight. It is not a racy novel, but then there still that aroma of romance and “touchy” feels to make one realize that we are reading about a different culture.

What I did not like

Some Plot Points: There is a point which indicates that the company that hired Eila is reducing the number of hours, and I was left wondering what kind of company hires a person and reduces their hours instantly. Probably that is how recession was in US, because my industry never saw such drastic effect in a day. In our case, it was the slow buildup of the recession things, and there were no recruitment at all. But that as a plot point rankled me a bit.

Overall Opinion:

It definitely is a book worth reading. Beautiful language, amazing chemistry and interesting weaving of the two cultures adds to the beauty of the story. A perfect read!

Four Stars

Thoughts after reading the book:

The subject of an Indian women falling in love in a foreign country with a white man has intrigued me quite a lot. This has nothing to do with the color and even the country, but more about the openness of the culture. I know there are many Indian women and girls who are forward and are open in dating, but till date there is a section of female population of the country who truly are quite subdued when it comes to the sexual desires or simply dating.

And when it comes to western culture, men are perceived as someone who are quite promiscuous (I know this is not true in every case, but still the perceptions are not always true).

It makes me wonder about the courage it will take for these women to shed their inhibitions and date such western men. Same way, it will take huge amount of understanding on the male’s part as well to fight with the preconceived notion of the women. And the signals– I think it will be so difficult for them to translate those signals as well for both males and females.

I have seen this problem occurring in case when both male and female are from the same country, but the female has lived in a reserved environment.

And when families are involved– it turns into a battle on both the fronts. The book did justice to this fact, but I was left wondering for a long time how difficult it is to shed the inhibitions and to trust someone. I probably won’t have that courage(but then I have not even fallen in love with such a person yet!) Probably that is why it is said that the love transcends boundary. Having that kind of affair and developing that kind of trust will be too difficult.

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Breach- A Book Club Book Review

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Breach Cover

 

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When this book was put for review, I was told that this is the book by the woman who leads Mills & Boons in India. Of course, since I live under the rock, I had never heard about the author Amrita Chaudhary. The only reason I picked up the book was I wanted to know was how a famous publisher writes and why was the whole Indian reading community knew about her except me (I already told the reason for this. I live under the rock! :P) And the book didn’t disappoint me. I planned to read one hour daily, but once I started reading, I was so engrossed in the book that I couldn’t keep it down. I finally rested my eyes  when I finally finished the book i.e. after five and a half hour of reading.

Book Summary

Breach is about the cyber security crime. It starts with Acel which is ready to file the patent for cancer-curing drug in the market. The data and all the details are taking place under the observant eye of Uday Veer in India. But everything goes haywire when some data gets corrupted and the whole Indian team is blamed for their ineptness. The book is about the search for the culprit through the maze of masked online identities. Introduced are a range of characters from teenagers to the local goons who are either the party to cyber crime or victim to cyber crime.

What I liked

1) The Intricacy of the Cyber Crime: That was the first thing that pulled me. I am an engineer but I am not tech savvy in the field of software or hardware or internet general. My knowledge is pretty basic when it comes to the online things. That’s why I enjoyed reading all the things that were shown. I am not sure how much of that can really happen (I do think that most of it can happen!) but it was interesting and a bit fearing to read about all the cyber crime thing.

2) Characters : I think this was the strongest part of the book for me. There were quite a number of characters in the story, but none of them was painted white or black. They were neither good, nor bad. I actually sympathized with all the villains and shook my head at some stupidity of the heroes.

3) Teenagers: The teenager characters of Raghu and Madhu deserve a special mention here. I absolutely adored their story. I don’t have any reasons for it, but these two were my favorite characters in the story.

What I Disliked

1) Small Errors: The book was quite well-edited but still I found some small errors in it. I would not have mentioned these anywhere else, but this is a publisher-written book. At least this book should have been error-free, although I wonder if there really are error-free books.

2) Too many characters in the beginning: There were just too many characters introduced in the story in the initial chapters. This made the beginning a bit slow, but the story finally caught the pace in the middle.

Overall Summary: It was an interesting book. I usually don’t enjoy thrillers too much, but this book was fun. A good read after a long time.

My Rating:

Four Stars

Meet the Author

Amrita Verma Chowdhury is the author of Faking It, an art crime thriller about fake modern and contemporary Indian art.
She holds engineering degrees from IIT Kanpur and UC Berkeley, where she was a Jane Lewis Fellow, and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon (Tepper Business School). Her work as an engineer in Silicon Valley led to seven US patents for semi-conductor fabrication – something to show for those bad-haired days. She has done Strategy Consulting and Board Effectiveness work in the US and Australia and has spent long nights fitting five-syllable words inside two-by-two squares. She has worked in the rarefied bastions of Ivy League education bringing together ideas and people. She currently works in publishing.
She lives in Mumbai with her husband Sumit, their two children Shoumik and Aishani, and an assortment of pets including a cocker spaniel, a guinea pig and two turtles. She loves travelling, baking cupcakes with her daughter and hearing from her readers.
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Mockingjay- An end to Hunger Games

MockingjayAuthor’s Name: Suzanne Collins

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Finally, the last installment of the series. Finally, the Hunger Games ended. A resounding end to the epic started with the first book. It’s one series which has impacted me deeply.  The best part, the author managed to put an end to those games. Worst part, there were just too many deaths.

Synopsis

The book starts in District 13. Katniss have become the face for the revolution, though she is still undecided whose side she should take.  All the districts revolt and the final showdown between the capitol and districts happen.This story is how each of the character makes a choice in how they want to defeat the Capitol. I can’t say more without actually revealing the story, but this book is DARK.

What I liked

President Snow: He’s still as creepy as ever. Though his scenes have decreased, his presence has not. He’s one of the best anti-hero written as per me.

Imperfect Peeta: Does this make me cruel that I liked this imperfect Peeta more than the original Peeta? He seems like a believable person now.

Finnick: I loved everything about him- his background story, his love, his performance- everything.

What irked me

Triangle Love Story: This time it isn’t Gale which irked me, but Katniss herself. For three books, she was torn between Gale and Peeta. I expected, rather hoped, that she’ll finally analyze what was there in her heart. But no, in that too she was given an easy choice and her decision was made by actions of Gale and Peeta. I felt so frustrated. :/

Too Many Deaths:  I can’t say if they were necessary or not, but after one point I stopped feeling the pain of the deaths. I got so much involved that my mind actually detached itself from the story. There were many scenes which felt that they were there only to increase the already induced shock.

Overall Opinion

It might be a dark book, but it’s one book which one won’t be able to miss or forget. It imprints itself on the minds of the reader and leaves one with a distaste of all the violence. 

There are section which you’ll want to skip, but still you won’t be able to free yourself from twists and turns of the book.

Ratings

Four Stars

 

Catching Fire

catching fire

 

Author’s Name: Suzanne Collins

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Since I finished Hunger Games, I have been itching to start this book. But I made myself wait for sometime so that I can absorb the previous book’s impact. This book doesn’t dull the impact, but fixes it in the mind. I dreamed of Hunger Games Arena and one of the Korean actors as the protagonist in the arena described in book? Don’t ask me why not the Indian actors, because my dreams have tendency to be weird.

Is it possible to like and not like the book at the same time?

Synopsis

The book starts some time after the previous book. Both Katniss and Peeta are back in District Twelve and are living in the victor’s village. Life is much better than the previous life, but still the sword of Capitol hangs over their head. President Snow informs Katniss that she started a revolution in the Districts and threatens her, but Katniss vacillates between whether she wants to stop this uprising or not. Just like she vacillates between Gale and Peeta.

What I liked

President Snow: He’s an absolutely creepy villain with his breath of snow and roses. He captures the page whenever he came into the picture.

Arena: When I read about the Arena, I was actually awed. I liked the description and the concept of the Arena.

What irked me

Gale: I tried. I really tried to see why Katniss will even think of any romantic relation between them, but I couldn’t find even a single reason. There’s no chemistry between Katniss and him. Even their kisses seem forced.

Last Explanation by Haymitch: I could bear everything the book dished out except when Haymitch tells the plan in the end. It’s such a dry commentary and also so short that I actually turned pages to see if there’s something more which I missed, or maybe the book is censored or something. How could the person with so much of wit and understanding lay out any plan like that?

Overall Opinion

Is it possible to like and unlike the book at the same time? The book kept me hooked to the story, but it could have been better. There were sections which felt too dragged, while there were sections which passed in a blink of a eye(like the speech I mentioned above).

All in all, it’s a worthy sequel to Hunger Games.

Ratings

Four Stars

 

Cinder- A Futuristic Sci-Fi Cinderella

Cinder Book CoverBook’s Name: Cinder

Author’s name: Marissa Meyer

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I selected this book because of its cover. A foot instead of glass slipper and that too with a red stiletto. What an idea! 🙂

Now you might be wondering why was I checking the cover of this book. Are you going to snort if I say it was because of the cover of its upcoming second sequel, Cress? 😀

Although I can swoon over the cover throughout the post, I do understand that the book is more than its cover. I had heard a lot about this book. I never got around to reading it because it lies in Sci-Fi genre, and anything that is not romance is not in my priority list of reading. The near-release date of Cress has forced me to prepone the reading of first two books.

Anyway, the book was a nice surprise. It intermixed the new and the old in such a manner that the resulting mocktail tingled the mind and imagination.

Synopsis

Merrisa Meyer brings to life a Cinderella in the world where android and cyborgs live. Cinder is a cyborg mechanic who lives in Beijing with her adopted family. Enter the evil stepmother, stepsisters. The book also have a prince, Prince Kai, who’s the catch of the Ball.

Like the original story, Cinder is exploited by her mom and one of the stepsisters who do not want her to go to the royal ball. But that’s where the similarity ends. Welcome our villain, the Lunar Queen Levana, who wants to rule the earth through Prince Kai with a sword of intergalactic war. And Prince Kai’s choices are quite bleak.

The book builds a world after fourth world war which is similar to the today’s world yet different. There are similar open-markets, politics and discriminations, but all of them are spiced with the ID chips, spaceships, and glamour. Cinder as a protagonist entrances the reader. Her witty sarcasm and kind-hearted nature makes the reader feel for her.

What I liked:

1) The World of Cinder- “How fascinating you’re! You reel me in with all your machine talk. You glued me to the book with your Lunar glamour. Though I guessed climax and the mystery earlier, I still wanted to read the story and understand what different things are going to happen in your universe. “

2) Iko, the android- “You, with your faulty personality  and girlfriend streak. Chuck humans! I want you as my friend and side-kick.”

This made Cinder pause and squint into Iko’s blinding light. “Why would the prince dance with me?”

Iko’s fan hummed as she sought an answer. “Because you won’t have grease on your face this time.”

Who else could manage to be so mechanically correct than you, Iko!

3) Cinder– “You are amazing with your heart and all the mechanical parts at the right places. You could have been more bold, but you still managed to tug my heart with your dilemmas in the plague-ridden world. Your vulnerabilities and your wrench will stay with me for a long time.”

4) Plot– “I can’t decide whether to love your or not. I loved you when you focussed on Cinder and the world and hated you when you branched out to give us the sequel’s introduction. I loved you when you made Cinder do the heroic things and hated you when you sprinkled romance in Prince Kai’s dishes. Bah, I can’t decide!”

What irked me:

1) Prince Kai– “Darling! You’re a nice character but your chemistry with Cinder is absolutely off. You’ll be better off with Levana because at least your communication with her is much more interesting. Don’t spoil Cinder’s attitude for us.”  

2) Plot– “Oh Plot, do you not know there should not be a public celebration during the time of plague? Think about those who died? Think about how you are enhancing the health risks? You did not play the plague card in correct manner.

3) Romance–  “Oh, honey, have you heard about inert chemistry? I know this is a YA book and all, but couldn’t you sizzle a bit more, just a bit more?”

4) Ending– “How could you be so insensitive? You ended without actually ending? What about Kai and Cinder’s romance? What is going to happen to Kai now? You have to answer these questions.”

Overall Opinion:

It’s an enjoyable read. It could have been much better if all the loose ends were tied together. but despite of all the loopholes, it managed to capture and retain my interest. I finished it not because I was compulsed into finishing the book, but because I wanted to know how is the story going to unfold. Despite the predictable plot, it kept me hooked to the personality of Cinder.

Ratings:

Four Stars