Sunday, January 27, 2013

Writing Tip

Hi Readers,

One of my favorite blogs to read online is io9 (, which is a book and tech blog. I thought this article they published a few weeks ago was useful, for those who write historical fiction, and have some difficulty sticking to the language of the time period. I hope it's helpful!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Rani of Rampur is free tomorrow, January 27th!

Hello Readers and Fellow Bloggers,

Rani of Rampur, by Suneeta Misra, is free on Amazon Kindle tomorrow!

SynopsisRani, a young journalist, visits her mother’s native village Rampur, to reconnect with her estranged aunt’s family. Beneath the peaceful façade of the rural landscape, lies political intrigue, danger, and even murder. Can Rani uncover the dark secrets that lie hidden in her ancestral home in time to save those dear to her?

You can learn more about the book by visiting the author's blog or Facebook Author Page.

You can also see my detailed review here and my interview with the author here!
So, curl up with a cup of hot chai, and enjoy this great mystery novel!

Au Revoir,

Book Review: The Eternal Question by Theresa Dawn Sinclair

Hello Readers,

I have just finished reading an interesting novel, The Eternal Question by Theresa Dawn Sinclair. The title and description of the book intrigued me, as they didn't give too much of the plot away. What exactly, I found myself wondering, is The "Eternal Question?"

Reading this novel was a very thought-provoking experience, and raised not one, but many questions, about The Human Condition. Who are we? Why do we exist? What is our purpose in life? The story revolves around a young man, Rowanson, who belongs to the community of Lowerlanders, and his desire to be with Melody, of the more privileged Upperlanders. The Upperlanders, who have an excess of everything one could want, view the Lowerlanders as savages. While the Upperlanders are enjoying lives of leisure, with an abundance of food, clothing, and entertainment, the Lowerlanders are struggling to survive. Along the way, Rowan crosses paths with the mysterious North, who attempts to enlighten him as to his true path in life.

I could not speed through this novel at my usual pace, but this is not a bad thing, as it gave me a lot to think about. I wanted to read it at a slower pace, to consider all the questions that it raised about love, survival, faith, and our existence. The two cultures depicted in this book are very different. On one hand, we have Rowan's people, the Lowerlanders, whose numbers are slowly dwindling due to hunger and illness. When Rowan's love for Melody takes him to Cera, one of the Seven Cities and home to the Upperlanders, he is shocked by how much they have, and how little they appreciate it. They are content to live their lives, with all its excesses.

Each city is comprised of seven levels, and its inhabitants strive to ascend to a higher level, and to improve their lot in life. The highest level, represents Heaven. The descriptions of the city and the Upperlanders' beliefs, raises more interesting questions. Why do people believe what they believe, or feel what they feel, or do what they do? Because we are told to? Who says we should live life the way we do, and never question it? The character North puts it best, when he tells Rowan, "Men worship gods for no other reason than that they are told to do found a society on mythology is to give birth to a monster without a functioning brain -- it is bound to wreak destruction in the end." For those who follow an organized religion, or believe at all in a higher presence, this question is definitely something to think about.

The book is well written, and the author has come up with a complex and fascinating mythology. The world of Thesos and the Seven Cities comes to life through the author's vivid descriptions. I will say, however, that as beautiful as the language in this book was, at times, I felt the author was a little too descriptive. There must be a balance between too detailed and not detailed enough. I think that at times, this affected the pace of the story, and made it a little difficult to read at some parts of the book.

Overall, I felt that the book was an enjoyable, if occasionally challenging, read. I would definitely recommend it to others, especially those, who enjoy reading and discussing novels with others. It is a great book club novel!

My Rating: 4 stars

Friday, January 25, 2013

An Interview With: Me!

Hey Guys,

Ty Patterson, who I interviewed recently, posted an interview with me on his blog. He asked me a bunch of great questions. You can read the full interview on Ty's blog:


My favorite question is below:

What are the top ten lines that you have read in a book?
(in no particular order)

1. “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” — Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
2. “Voici mon secret. Il est très simple: on ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.” Translation: “Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” — Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
3. “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” — The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
4. “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”  – From the poem, The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost
5. “Hello,” he said. “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” — From The Princess Bride by William Goldman (or S. Morgenstern, if you prefer!)
6. “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” — Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
7. “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore— While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door…” From The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe
8. “Tyger! Tyger! burning bright, In the forests of the night, What immortal hand or eye, Could frame thy fearful symmetry?” From Tyger, Tyger by William Blake
9. “But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.” From Aedh Wishes For the Cloths of Heaven by William Butler Yeats
10. Not a story, but I did read it in a book: “Be the change you wish to see in the world” — Mahatma Gandhi

I would love to hear from you all, about your favorite phrases from poems and novels. If you guys have any questions for me as well, leave a comment or email me :)


Thursday, January 17, 2013


Hello Authors,

PLEASE read my guidelines before asking me for a review, particularly the types of books I will not review. I am accepting requests, and finding out later that the books do not necessarily meet my guidelines. I know that it's hard, especially for new authors and self-published authors, to promote their book, and I would love to review your books, but there is some content I don't like to read. I know that this will result in me missing out on some great books, but some things just aren't my cup of tea!

So, to sum up, I do not like:

- explicit sexual content (some sexual content is fine, I am an adult, but no 50 shades of Grey please!)
- graphic rape scenes
- graphic abuse scenes
- graphic torture scenes

You may mention it in passing, I just don't want detailed scenes of the above!


Five Questions With: Ty Patterson

Hello Readers,

I have an interview with Ty Patterson, author of The Warrior. Enjoy!

1. Tell me about yourself and how you first become interested in writing.

I have had a varied career but have primarily been in sales for a long time. I have sold tea, exotic leather goods, automotive lubricants, engineering goods... you get the picture! I have also always been writing, either short fictional pieces for magazines in an earlier life time to advertising copy-writing in another. In December 2011 my wife challenged me to come out of my comfort zone and write fiction in a genre that I liked best and The Warrior was born. I am still selling Smile,  selling my stories that will hopefully live on in the memories and imaginations of my readers for a long time.

2. How did you come up with the idea for this novel (and eventual series)?

I have several friends in the Armed Forces and I have always found it interesting that society expects so much from such people, rewards them so little and yet they go about their jobs without complaint.

It was this 'giving' trait that I based Zeb Carter on;  a person who went readily to help when others shied away, without expecting anything in return. The more I created Zeb and the other characters, the more I liked them and the idea of creating a series around these characters then came naturally.

3. I noticed that your novel included elements from other cultures, and in your bio, you state that you have lived in several different countries. Which of these places was your favorite?

At one level, people are all the same wherever they are. They have the same basic drivers, same motivations and the structures of family,society, state, are more or less the same.

At another level, the level that interests me, people in different countries and cultures are wildly different, develop at different rates, because they are shaped by history, by circumstances, and the impact of time and nature.

So India is the home of Kalari Payattu (Zeb is a practitioner), one of the oldest martial arts in the world and yet it is hardly known to the wider world and remains confined to a select few proponents. The whys and hows of such developments interest me. The developing countries of the subcontinent, especially India,  have so many such whys and hows that it probably is my favorite region. But then I am a migrant, so if you ask me this question in five years time, my answer could be different.

4. What's next in the Zeb series?

Next is a book featuring Broker in a more central role. I have an initial plot in mind and have started banging the keyboard. I hope to get this book out by spring. 

5. Besides the Zeb series, do you have any other projects coming up?

India has one of the most fascinating epics ever written in my opinion, The Mahabharata. This epic is, at its simplest, about a family feud. However, the scale of the epic is enormous, and more importantly, the teachings in the epic have a message for everyone.

I have been thinking of writing this epic but in a very Zeb Carterish way Smile. However this is some way off, since I want to add a few more books to The Warrior series.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Guest Review of: The Urchin by Adrienne Ambrose

Currently reading a book, in the meantime, please enjoy a guest review of a new book:

The Urchin, by Adrienne Ambrose, is a very unusual and interesting book. At first, I thought it was  going to be one type of book: about teenagers surviving in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, and while this was true, it took a completely different and (pleasantly) surprising direction! I liked the way that the supernatural elements were introduced into the story. It was a sudden shift, but not at all jarring. I felt like the pace of the story was kicked up a notch at this point.

Also, I really enjoyed reading about how the boys living at the Urchin were able to survive. A lot of the strategies they used were very smart, but at the same time, not so brilliant as to be unrealistic for a group of teenagers to have come up with. Additionally, the characters were well developed. The multiple flashbacks into Vance's past, for example, helped me grow to love a character, who I had not really liked upon his initial introduction into the story. I really felt for him and the other boys as they experienced tragedy after tragedy in their struggle to survive. The characters spoke and acted in a consistently realistic manner, throughout the novel. They spoke like teenage boys, and their reactions to events struck just the right balance between vulnerable teenage and battle-hardened warrior (especially Vance). I will, however, say that Nick did not grow on me. This was interesting, because I had initially thought him to be the protagonist. Irregardless of my reaction to his character, he was well-developed and realistic.

In technical terms, the story was well-written, with only some minor editing needed (very few typos). The descriptive language really drew me in, and made me feel like I was living in the Urchin, and experiencing the fear and despair that the characters felt. As stated earlier, the language was very realistic as well. The author perfectly captured the way a teenage boy would talk and react in the situations described in the book.At the end of the novel, the story took another unexpected, but enjoyable turn, and ended on a more hopeful note. I wouldn't have thought to take the story in this direction, yet when all was said and done, it made a lot of sense, and was well-done.

All in all, I really liked this book. I think that it can appeal to a variety of readers. As a female, I didn't expect to enjoy reading this post-apocalyptic story with teenage boys as much as I did! The Urchin is definitely worth checking out, and I am glad I did. Looking forward to reading more books by this author!

My Rating: 4 stars

Link to author's amazon page:

Five Questions With: Suneeta Misra

Hello Everyone, 

I am posting an interview with Suneeta Misra, the author of Rani of Rampur. If you have some time, I encourage you to check out this novel, and her blog: Enjoy! More reviews and other fun stuff coming your way soon!

1. What is your background and how did you get involved in writing? 
I have been a Maryland public school teacher for the last 20 years, and have always been involved in encouraging my students to write. I grew up in India, hearing folktales from my grandmothers, about the different gods and goddesses of Hinduism. In fact, in Asia, as in Africa, oral storytelling is a way of passing down cultural values. All children are told stories about the past history of their country or community. I also got interested in making documentaries on the education of lower-caste girls in India, who have been kept out of the school system for so long. While shooting for a documentary, I was humbled by the challenges that many of these girls had faced in order to complete their education. Inspired by some of the stories I heard, I decided to write a fictionalized account of a strong Indian girl who refuses to become a victim, and in fact, ends up rescuing some of those who are dear to her.

2.  Tell me more about writing Rani of Rampur, and how you developed the characters and specific situations in the novel.
      As I said before, I have always wanted to write stories with a strong female protagonist, due to  my interest in the education of lower-caste girls in India. I also have an abiding interest in the mystery genre, and so I thought that combining these two interests would make it a page-turner, and a much more interesting tale.

3.  Why did you choose to talk about the politics of India in your story, which could otherwise be categorized as a mystery? 
      I believe that you cannot separate the politics of India, which is so volatile, from any story about the interactions between the land-owning rich and the landless poor. Since its independence in 1948, India has been a democracy, and has tried to bring about land redistribution, to balance the scales between the rich and the poor. In reality, it has not succeeded, and much of the land is in the hands of a small percentage of people, in a country that still has a largely agricultural economy. Therefore, the relationship between the “landed and the landless”, especially in rural India, is  exploitative.

4.   In discussing this book with others, I have often heard the following question: Why are many of the male characters in this book evil? Please discuss your thoughts on this matter. 
      India has a patriarchal society, and thus much of the power is still in the hands of the male members of the family. Women are often viewed as minions and this is surprising in a country which has a history replete with strong warrior queens and a major religion dominated by female deities. Despite these contradictions, the relationship between men and women in India remains exploitative, with females enduring the brunt of society’s injustices.  

5. Tell me about what’s next for you.
      I am currently working on my second novel, which is again set in a fictitious village in India. It is about a much younger autistic girl. Durga, who overcomes overwhelming odds, to save her friends and family from evil. In this book, I have tried to look at the world through the eyes of this highly intelligent autistic child, in contrast to that of her sister, who is illiterate, but normal in the eyes of society.

Book Review: The Warrior by Ty Patterson

The Warrior by Ty Patterson, is a military thriller, which tells the tale of Zeb, a private military contractor, recovering from horrors witnessed on a mission in the Congo. Now in New York, he attempts to track the perpetrators of the heinous crimes, but finds his path blocked by the FBI. This is the first of a series (Zeb and the Broker).

Firstly, I would like to say that this is a very new genre for me. I accepted this book for review to challenge myself. I knew that this was not a book that would typically capture my interest, but I read the synopsis, and decided to check it out. I am glad I did so, as it was an enjoyable ride.

I definitely liked the main character Zeb. I found him to be well-developed and interesting. I enjoyed not only his action scenes, but also the scenes where he interacted with other characters, and we got to see the softer side of him. I especially liked his interactions with Broker and Rory, and would have enjoyed seeing more interaction with the latter. I also liked the elements from different cultures interspersed throughout the book, such as the scenes with the tablas. As an Indian and a music-lover, this appealed to me, and I felt that these scenes, as well as the interactions with the supporting characters, allowed me to see beneath Zeb's battle-hardened exterior. The descriptions of Zeb playing the tabla were beautifully written, and it was nice to see Zeb transported to another place, where he could somewhat forget the tragic events he had witnessed. Overall, I found the way that Zeb was written very realistically. The way he spoke, interacted, and reacted to various events in the book were believable to me.

In terms of the supporting cast, I found many of them to be sufficiently developed as well. I especially liked Broker, Cassandra, Bear, and Bwana, and their relationships with Zeb. I felt that the character of Rory could have been fleshed out a little more, however. Additionally, I feel that the author established the various settings well. I felt like I was in the Congo with Zeb, and hunting the antagonist with him in New York as well. I really felt his rage, when dealing with the perpetrators of the atrocities in the Congo.

In technical terms, I felt that the book was a job well done! The story progressed quickly, but not so fast that the reader couldn't keep up. The well-executed action scenes are sure to appeal to many readers of all ages. Additionally, the dialogue is excellent and realistic. Some very minor editing is needed, but not so much as to distract me when I was reading. I do feel, however, that the pacing at some points needed a little work. Throughout the novel, the story was progressing at a certain rate and then, about 3/4 of the way through, became significantly more fast paced. This made me feel like the  reader was rushed towards the end a little bit. I would have liked the pacing to pick up a little more gradually, so that the ending didn't feel so abrupt.

The ending of the story was very unexpected, but not in a bad way. I enjoyed every bit of it, and was keen to read more upon reaching the last page. I am curious to see what the next book will be about, since the events of the last few chapters were so surprising to me.

In sum, The Warrior is well worth a read. It is a good introduction to an interesting series. Those who love action and adventure, as well as military thrillers, are sure to enjoy it. Still, those who don't like these types of novels, should keep an open mind, as it is a good read. I think that with some more character development and improved pacing, the next book could be even better.

Below is the link to the amazon page, so that you can check it out for yourself!

My Rating: 3.5 stars

Monday, January 14, 2013

Author Blog

Here is the author blog, for the author of Rani of Rampur (my first review):

Check it out to learn more about her and her work. An interview with this author will be coming up in the near future.

I am currently reading my 2nd book, will post the review soon!

As always, please follow my blog and leave a comment to say hello, suggest improvements, or tell me what you're reading!


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Good Books to Check Out

Looking for a new book to read? While I am in the process of reading and writing reviews, I wanted to post a short list of some books I have read on Kindle in the last few months which I liked.

1. Rani of Rampur by Suneeta Misra: a mystery set in rural India with a strong female protagonist (see review on my page for more details)
2. Scarlette by Davonna Juroe: an interesting take on the tale of Red Riding Hood
3. Fair Maiden by Cheri Schmidt: a ghost story and romance
4. Robin Lady of Legend by R.M. Arcejaeger: an excellent version of Robin Hood, in which the main character is a female!
5. The Medium by C.J. Archer: a paranormal romance (YA)
6. Maids of Misfortune by M. Louisa Locke: a historical mystery with a strong female protagonist
7. Love Regifted by Stephanie Haddad: a romantic comedy
8. Madly Series by M. Leighton: a YA book series (but a little more on the mature side): about a mermaid
9. Stealing Mercy by Kristy Tate: a historical mystery
10. City of Darkness by Kim Wright: another excellent historical mystery revolving around the Whitechapel murders and Jack the Ripper

Happy Reading!

Feature and Follow

Book Lovers and Fellow Bloggers,

I am linking to a feature&follow post on It is a great way to learn about other blogs and get followers for your blog!

Please follow me and leave a comment. I would love to hear from you about anything -- book suggestions, suggestions on how to improve my site, requests for reviews, etc. 

Happy Reading :) 

Book Review: Rani of Rampur by Suneeta Misra

Hello Bookworms!

Today, I will review a mystery I recently read, titled Rani of Rampur by Suneeta Misra, a new author. This novel follows a young journalist named Rani, who lives with her family in Barielly, a village in Northern India. She travels to another village, Rampur, to visit her mother's estranged sister, and to help plan a family wedding. Along the way, she uncovers long-buried secrets, and encounters plenty of drama and political intrigue.

I really enjoyed this book. It is well-written, interesting, and fast-paced. The main character was well-developed and there is a colorful cast of supporting (also well-developed) characters as well. This book is a gritty, thriller-type novel, that exposes the dirty underbelly of life in rural India, so some aspects may shock those readers with more conservative sensibilities. This, however, is the reality of life in the village, and as such, is necessary for the reader to get a more complete picture.

Being of Indian origin, I was familiar with many of the terms and cultural aspects described in the book. However, a lot of it was still new to me. I have only visited the big, modern cities, such as Mumbai and Delhi, during my travels. I have little knowledge of the ins and outs of village life and its unique hardships. Learning about this was fascinating to me, and I would love to read more books like this.

My only complaint was that I wish there was more to the book! I would like to hear more about Rani's adventures, and also the other characters. The author made them very realistic and "fleshed-out". Even the minor characters (like Mr. Tramp, a stray dog) resonated with me. Additionally, the book's setting was established well. I felt like I was there with Rani, uncovering the secrets of the household. I could almost smell the spices and hear the music, so to speak.

All in all, this is a book worth checking out. The quick, fast-paced style and the grittiness of the story help make it a unique, fun read. I look forward to seeing what else the author has to offer.

My Rating: 5 stars

The link to the Kindle version of the book is below:

Happy Reading!


Hello Everyone,

I am new to the Blogger community, and would like to tell you a little about myself and my blog. I am a student in my early 20's, in the medical field. I am of Indian origin, but grew up in the U.S. I enjoy reading, writing, traveling, and good food and good wine.

Since I was young, I have always loved books. I was a shy child so I devoured stacks of books each week. I love all kinds of books. Mysteries, Romances, Fantasy, Non-fiction, you name it. The following are some of my favorite genres, however: mysteries (especially historical and murder mysteries)/women sleuths, romances (again, especially historical, as well as paranormal), fantasy (huge Harry Potter fan!), adventure (Hunger Games!), mythology (especially Greek), books about India, medical non-fiction (House of God, Complications), classic books (Great Gatsby, Streetcar Named Desire, 1984). I will, however, give anything a try.

So, fellow readers and writers, contact me! I would love to read your books and review them!

My Review Policies:

I am open to receiving solicited Advance Reading Copies and Review Copies of Books. My preferred genres are listed above, but as stated, I am open to reviewing books from other genres. I will not, however, review the following: books with explicit sexual content or otherwise offensive content (some sexual content is fine, but not rape, abuse, torture, etc.), excessively long books (maximum: 350 pages), foreign language books (I am sadly, only proficient in English. However, I can understand some Hindi. I am also fine with a book with some terms in another language, as long as a glossary is provided). As I am a student, I cannot promise to agree to every review request. It also may take me some time to get back to you. If you do not hear from me within 1-2 weeks, please assume that I am unable to accept your request/offer. My review copy preference is for e-books, followed by print copies. I have an iPad, so I can review your books on Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo, GoodReads, SmashWords, etc. Once I accept your request, I will read your book and review it. The time it will take to review your book depends on the length and my schedule, but should not take more than 2-3 weeks. I will give it a rating between 1-5 stars, as well as a review. I will also showcase interviews and feature your books on my page.

Hope to hear from you soon!