Suneeta Misra, author of Rani of Rampur, has just published a new novelette titled "Of Kings and Queens". Unlike Rani of Rampur, which is set in modern day India, this new story is a romantic thriller set in pre-independence India. The story revolves around a young prince. He overcomes challenges and faces many dangers as the only heir to the kingdom of Mirpur. I will post the link tomorrow when it is available on Amazon, and will post a review soon. I hope everyone gets the chance to read it (and please review!).
Just posting some links for you all. As you know, I previously featured The Writer's Drawer on my blog. Beryl has put together an excellent site -- it is a great resource for both authors and readers. Click below to see some of what the site has to offer.
When I was reading Time's Twisted Arrow, I also took a look at the author's website, which is almost like a companion novel! On this site, she posts diary entries written by various "CHRONOS historians". This allows for the reader to become completely immersed in the author's world. I really loved this idea. In the era of e-readers and tablets, I feel that authors could really benefit from using tools like this. I have seen several "interactive" books pop up recently in the iBook store, although many of them are for younger readers. I also play a lot of games on my tablet that sometimes feel like interactive novels (such as the Broken Sword franchise and Phantasmat, a mystery game). In the past, many of the games available on various consoles were very action-heavy, but there are now many options for casual gamers and book lovers. I would love to hear everyone's opinions.
Is there an interesting author blog that adds to your reading experience?
Have you read any interactive books for adults that you could recommend?
Do you have any game suggestions that you think readers would like?
I have just finished Time's Twisted Arrow by Rysa Walker. This is an interesting young adult novel which could fall into both the sci-fi and historical fiction categories -- two of my favorite genres. It is the first in a series titled "The CHRONOS Files".
The novel revolves around Kate, who discovers that her grandmother is a CHRONOS historian. These historians (from the future) travel to various eras and observe significant events in history. Kate has also inherited her grandmother's skills. The main challenge that Kate faces as she hones her new skills, is tracking down her grandfather Saul, who sabotaged the CHRONOS expeditions, and left historians stranded in various time periods. Her grandfather then used time-travel to gain power. Kate must use her new skills to travel back in time, locate Saul, and stop him.
The author does an excellent job of explaining the concepts in this story and setting clear rules in place for the world she has created. As a history buff, the idea of the CHRONOS historians is fascinating to me, and I hope that when I get the chance to sit down and write a book (which of course will be several years from now), I can come up with something as unique.
The character of Kate was well-developed, as was her relationship with Trey and her family members. I feel, however, that the supporting characters could have been developed a little more. For instance, I would be interested in learning more about Kate's grandmother and her past time-traveling experiences. I also felt that at the end of the book, I knew very little about Conner and Charlayne. I did think that Trey was well-developed, and I liked him very much, though at times I thought he was a little too perfect! Still, I'd like to see more of him in book 2.
In technical terms, the book was very well-written and evenly paced. When I picked up the book, I read two pages, got really interested in it, and then had to put it down for a whole week due to work and other commitments. It was so frustrating, because I was dying to read it. It hooked me right from the beginning, and kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end.
In sum, this is a well-written novel, and a great introduction to the CHRONOS Files series. The mythology was very complex, but clearly explained. I really liked that it made me think, and I can't wait to see what happens in book 2 (which I hope is released soon!).
I recently became acquainted with Beryl, who runs a site called The Writer's Drawer. I checked it out, and had to post about it because it's great! The Writer's Drawer not only features reviews, but also creative writing pieces from various authors around the world, as well as book recommendations (including some by yours truly). Other features include book promotions and links to writing-related and author sites. Beryl even offers editing services for authors.
I would have to say this is the most informative website I've come across, and as a new blogger, I hope to collaborate with other readers and authors, to create something as unique as this site. I would definitely recommend everyone visit her site and see all that it has to offer.
Mythology/Concept: This is the first book I accepted that was significantly longer than my usual page limit, and I decided to review it because it sounded so intriguing. The story revolves around the concept of the Nephilim, who are half-human and half-angel. Arianna is one such being, in fact, the very first Nephilim. This novel (and series) revolves around her journey and her battle against evil. I thought this was a very unique and well-executed idea. As someone who is admittedly a little unfamiliar with various aspects of Christianity (as it is not my religion), I was able to understand the complex mythology surrounding the Nephilim. I feel that the author presented it very clearly.
Pacing: I have to say, the beginning of the novel really sucked me in! I was very engrossed in the prologue about Ganymede and Arianna, as well as Alexandria's early life and her journey towards discovering her true identity. After this introductory part, however, I do feel that the pacing stalled slightly. I think that this sometimes happens with certain books in a series. In an effort to divide a story arc evenly into several books, some parts may feel too slow, and others too rushed. After Alexandria discovered who she was, she traveled to meet others who were like her. She also began training and rediscovering parts of her past life. This is a good chunk of the book, and I felt that after the fast-paced first section, this felt like it was a little too long. After this portion, the story again ramped up, and a battle occurs. This occurs very suddenly towards the end of the novel, and it felt a little jarring.
Characterization: I thought that the main character of Alexandria was well-developed and interesting. I also liked many of the supporting characters, especially John, Rohan, Sabina, and Alex's two brothers - Wallace and Conner (who I wished I had seen more of!). I was a little more neutral towards the characters of Jackson and Gaius, the two love interests. Of the two, I think that Jackson was better developed, as was his friendship with Alex. I liked the friendship, and was warming up to the romance, but felt that this could have been introduced later in the book (or in a later story). This is because I felt that they hadn't known each other long enough. Gaius, I think, was introduced a little suddenly, and so, I think, was not as well developed. For this reason, despite the fact that the two had known each other for so long, it didn't feel that way to me. One other point that I would like to bring up is that I wanted to see Alex struggle a little more with re-discovering her talents. I did like the fact that the effects of her training took their toll, as they reminded us of her "human-ness", but I did wish her powers didn't come back to her as easily as they did.
Other Points: I thought that the flashbacks were beautifully written. The author's wonderfully descriptive language made me feel like I was experiencing the events firsthand. It was almost as if I was in Ancient Egypt or better yet, the Library of Alexandria! I also felt that the battle was well written and exciting, and that the character of Kronis was very intimidating. I think that the book ended at a good point. Sometimes individual books in a series have an ending that leaves me feeling like the story is incomplete. A good book in a series should function as a stand-alone novel and also leave the reader eager to read more. I think that the author of Arianna's choice did this perfectly, and I can't wait to see what happens next to Alex and her friends. All in all, a fun read, that I would definitely recommend to all lovers of fantasy and mythology, as well as faith-based fiction.
Again, here is something to enjoy while I am reading the next book to be reviewed. Not completely off-topic, as the movie is based on a book! :)
I saw Warm Bodiestonight with some friends, and was pleasantly surprised at how funny it was! For those who love paranormal romances like I do, this is definitely a fresh twist. I haven't read the book that the film is based on, so I can't say how the two compare (although movies usually pale in comparison to the original material!). However, I found it to be a wildly entertaining and charming film. For those of you who haven't heard about this movie, it is set in a post-apocalyptic America, where a plague has wiped out many people, and has turned some of them into zombies. Our hero, R, is a zombie, but a fairly unusual one. He still has thoughts, and hopes, and dreams. At the beginning of the film, he meets Julie, a human, (after killing her boyfriend and eating his brains...) and is surprised to learn that he is still capable of feeling emotions. He begins to fall in love with her.
In most zombie-related films I have seen, the zombies are the bad guys. Here, the writers have managed to make me empathize with them. The film portrays R as being not so bad. He just wants to feel something again, anything at all. There is a funny scene at the beginning of the film, where R thinks that it must have been nice before the plague, when people were able to feel and connect with each other; the film then cuts to a scene a busy airport, with people rushing back and forth to get to their destinations, completely ignoring each other. Everyone is staring at their phones. This is the unfortunate truth of the world today. We get caught up in our lives and our personal issues, and rarely have time to catch up with our loved ones. So, slow down for a minute, and give your mom/dad/sibling/significant other/friend a call. I'm off to do the same :)
"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it." -- Ferris Bueller's Day Off
I am currently reading a book and will post the review shortly. In the meantime, enjoy a guest review of Jesse James and the Dragon's Egg by W. Edward Woodward III!
Jesse James and the Dragon's Egg is the first novel in a new series about a young boy and his adventures. In this first book, Jesse and his friends find an unusual egg while trespassing on his neighbor's property. A fascinating magical creature hatches from the egg and forms an instant bond with the boy. Unfortunately for Jesse, there is someone who wishes to take his new friend away from him, even if they have to kill him and his friends to do so.
Although I am older than author's target audience, I still enjoyed this book. Sometimes I feel as if books aimed at preteens and young adults are written too simply, but this is not the case here. The author trusts that his audience is smart enough to understand the fast paced story with its detailed mythology. As a result, the book appealed to me as well, and kept me interested until the very last page.
The main character, Jesse, has been developed very well. Early on in the book, he experiences some tragic events, and I was able to relate to him easily. These scenes were very well written, and I definitely felt poor Jesse's pain. Many of the supporting characters were realistically portrayed as well. I especially liked Brad, and empathized with his frustrations regarding his family obligations and his arguments with Jesse. I also liked Kate, and seeing her hold her own in the group of boys brought a smile to my face. On the other hand, it seemed to me that Lamar and John didn't have much to do in the story, and I hope that they play a bigger role in the next story. I also hope that Jesse's relationships with his mother and Jake are explored in more detail in book 2, as I forgot about them on occasion while reading book 1. I did not feel any sense of urgency as Jesse was trying to help his family.
As for the older characters, I definitely loved Jag and his family. I do feel that secrets he revealed later in the book about Jesse and his own background could have been explained a little earlier. I think that everything was explained a little suddenly towards the end, which disrupted the pacing a little bit. Also, I wished more could be explained about Jag and the other adult characters, but I understand that as this is the first book in the series, something must be left for book 2. Lastly, I very much loved the character of Al, the dragon, and his relationship with Jesse. I thought that the concept of the Siriti was very interesting. I felt Jesse's love and concern for his pet, and his unwillingness to give him up, despite the trials and tribulations the duo faced.
In technical terms, I thought the book was well-written, but does need some minor editing for a few typos. I also thought some scenes in the book were very funny, such as when Jesse and his friends attempt to hide the egg from his mother. Additionally, the interactions between the children were well done and showed the strong friendships they had with each other. The dialogue was realistic as well, as the young protagonists in the book spoke in a manner similar to most children in that age range.
In sum, this is a fun read, even for those who are no longer in the preteen to young adult age range. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would love to see what happens next to Jesse and his friends!