Review: Fire In The Rain by Surendra Mohanty


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A serial killer is on the loose. He surfaces in one metropolis after another, leaving behind a trail of murders. He masquerades as respectable citizens in different cities – a naval officer in Mumbai and Hyderabad, a film director’s brother in Kolkata, restaurateur in Bangalore, racehorse buff in Pune – and targets single working women. ACP Kale is desperate to catch the elusive killer before he strikes again, but he has no clue except that the killer invariably strikes on an ominous day – Friday the thirteenth, and hires luxury cars to date his victims. One of his quarries, the beautiful Richa finally tames him.

Rating:

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Review:

I want to thank the author for providing me with a free copy of the book.

I don’t know how to classify Fire In The Rain. At first, I thought it would be a murder mystery. But as I started reading, I realized there is no mystery surrounding the murders. On the very first page itself, the author introduces us to what triggered the psychopathic tendencies in our villain. He also doesn’t try to hide what goes on through the killer’s mind when he commits the murders or how he commits the murders. So, definitely not a murder mystery.

But, then I thought it would be like a detective novel. But I also couldn’t identify any detective vibe with this book.

I think the correct way to describe this book would be ‘chase’. Yes, the entire book is one big chase of how the protagonist manages to find the killer. One of the things I expect in a book is multi-dimensional characters. I don’t like reading about flat characters whose interactions with each other seem robotic and scripted. Unfortunately, this book suffers from exactly that flaw. I constantly kept wishing the characters had more depth to them. The only character who seemed to possess even a myriad of depth to him was the serial killer. Another thing I didn’t like was the book cover, but almost all indie books suffer from this problem.

Despite these flaws, I found a lot of redeeming qualities in the book. I enjoyed the way the serial killer staked out the victims, particularly in Bangalore. Also, I could tell that the author had put a lot of effort into learning about how some psychiatrists do character profiling on criminals. I enjoyed the bits about the horse races and dog shows.

Yes, this was a pretty short book but a few more pages describing the back stories of the various characters couldn’t have hurt. I think the reason the characters lacked depth was because I knew so little about them. Maybe a bit more history could have helped me relate to them.

Overall, this was a commendable effort for a debut author, but it could have been better.

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Review + Author Interview: Cassie Scot: (Para)Normal Detective by Christine Amsden


https://i1.wp.com/d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1360012911l/15813209.jpgCassie Scot is the ungifted daughter of powerful sorcerers, born between worlds but belonging to neither. At 21, all she wants is to find a place for herself, but earning a living as a private investigator in the shadow of her family’s reputation isn’t easy. When she is pulled into a paranormal investigation, and tempted by a powerful and handsome sorcerer, she will have to decide where she truly belongs.

Rating:

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Review:

Alright, so here’s a fact about me: I rarely give 5 stars to a book. A book should have to thoroughly impress, entertain and delight me in order for me to give it 5 stars. So, you might wonder what is so great about this book that I rated it so highly. Let me tell you what.

First of all, this book is freaking fantastic. I enjoyed the world building so much that after finishing the book, it took me some to realize it was all fantasy and not real. Second of all, the protagonist Cassie Scot? She kicks butt. She is strong and independent and fierce and not at all, obsessing over the guy every few pages. I loved that about her. Also, she cares a lot about her family and her family plays a huge part in this book, which is not something you see in many paranormal books.

For some reason, before I started this book, I was of the impression that Cassie Scot was a YA book. Well, it’s not. I was initially a bit disappointed because pulling off a fantasy plot in an adult or let’s say, New Adult world is kinda difficult. But Christine Amsden did pull it off. The words flowed smoothly without any glitches and the plot is smooth as well. There are no unnecessary scenes in the middle that distract the reader from the very interesting mystery happening in the story.

Now, romance is a major part of the book, but so is the male lead Evan. He plays an important role in the plot and I loved the ending. I LOVED Evan. He was smoking! And that kiss at the end of the book! I had to surreptitiously check that no one was watching me because I didn’t want anyone to see me drooling all over my e-reader.

One thing I didn’t expect from this book was the gore and the scares. It isn’t “horror movie” gory, but there were some scenes that sort of gave me the chills. I had expected it to be a fun, fluffy read, but it was so much more than that. Another thing I loved about Cassie Scot was the fact that there are hardly any cliches involved. This are no hero-pining heroines. The hero doesn’t pop up every time the heroine is in trouble. The hero doesn’t stalk the heroine, meaning he has a life. It was refreshing to read a book that didn’t follow any of the regular paranormal tropes.

Now, if there is one thing that bothers me about this book, it is the fact that I really, really, REALLY want to get my hands on the sequel to the book which is called Secrets & Lies! Like I would kill to read the next book in the series. If the author is reading this, I just want to congratulate her for being such an awesome story teller and to keep up the amazing work in Book 2.

Ooh, and one more thing. This book has got a fabulous murder mystery going. If that doesn’t want to make you pick up the book, I don’t know what will. 😛 🙂 Also, I think the cover looks super-cute. Don’t you?

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

What was the most difficult part for you when writing CASSIE SCOT?

This rough draft of this book came very easily to me. More easily than any other, I think. But then I had to let parts of it go. That was the tough part. For example, there was a chapter between the current chapters one and two in which Cassie stops by the diner to chat with her friends. The only reason it was there in the first place was that I was exploring the world as I went along, but once it was in place it was tough to let it go, even knowing how boring it would be for readers to wade through an entire chapter of girl talk before getting to the dead body! There were a few other moments like that.

What was the easiest part?

Cassie’s character. She came to me all in a rush one day and I could barely contain her. In fact, I had to write all four books back to back because I couldn’t get her out of my head!

What is your favorite scene or was your favorite to write? Don’t forget to tell us why. J

My favorite scene comes near the end, after Cassie kisses Evan for the first time. There’s a lot going on in this book and in the series, but the romance was my special favorite part and that scene really kicks it off. Plus, Evan is a really good kisser.

The sequel is SECRETS & LIES. Can you tell us a little about what’s to come?

Secrets and Lies picks up where Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective leaves off. Without spoiling the end of the first book for you, I can tell you that Cassie is struggling at the beginning of the Secrets and Lies. She’s trying to live on her own for the first time and not having an easy time of it. Her family is falling apart around her, her two best friends are having issues of their own, and then there’s Evan. Cassie owes Evan a debt in Secrets and Lies, making it difficult for her to refuse him anything she knows he wants. And he wants her.

Is there anything in CASSIE SCOT you hope readers take away after reading, or something you want to point out you don’t want readers to miss?

I hope the book speaks for itself! More than anything else, though, I hope readers love Cassie. Her character arc is the point of the series, so if you’re not into her in the first book, you’re not going to be into the series. If you like her, though… I’ve got a lot in store for her. It’s going to be a bumpy road for her and for the people in her life. But trust me. I’ve not only got a plan, but I’ve got the whole series written. (I’m actually super eager for the whole thing to be out so I don’t have to keep biting my tongue about what’s coming!)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Award-winning author Christine Amsden has written stories since she was eight, always with a touch of the strange or unusual. She became a “serious” writer in 2003, after attending a boot camp with Orson Scott Card. She finished Touch of Fate shortly afterward, then penned The Immortality Virus, which won two awards. Expect many more titles by this up-and-coming author.

Author Social Media Links:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Christine-Amsden-Author-Page/127673027288664

Twitter – @ChristineAmsden ; https://twitter.com/ChristineAmsden

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1030664.Christine_Amsden

If you want to visit the rest of the tour stops, here’s the link:

http://atomrbookblogtours.com/2013/07/04/tour-cassie-scot-paranormal-detective-by-christine-amsden/

Book review: The Lying Game by Sara Shepard


Rating:

stars

I had a life anyone would kill for.

Then someone did.

The worst part of being dead is that there’s nothing left to live for. No more kisses. No more secrets. No more gossip. It’s enough to kill a girl all over again. But I’m about to get something no one else does–an encore performance, thanks to Emma, the long-lost twin sister I never even got to meet.

Now Emma’s desperate to know what happened to me. And the only way to figure it out is to be me–to slip into my old life and piece it all together. But can she laugh at inside jokes with my best friends? Convince my boyfriend she’s the girl he fell in love with? Pretend to be a happy, care-free daughter when she hugs my parents goodnight? And can she keep up the charade, even after she realizes my murderer is watching her every move?

This is my first post on my blog and I wish I had a better book to review. Don’t get me wrong, The Lying Game is not a bad book. In fact, it’s quite entertaining. The problem with the book is that it’s just not realistic.

Plot:

Okay, so, basically Sutton Mercer is a popular girl who’s been murdered and now she’s a ghost haunting her long-lost twin sister, Emma, who is a foster kid. Emma doesn’t know she is being haunted though. When Emma comes to know of Sutton’s existence, she travels to Sutton’s town to have a big sisterly reunion, only it doesn’t go as planned (When does it ever?). Soon, Emma starts living Sutton’s life and slowly starts to unravel the mystery surrounding the death of her twin sister, which no one in the town seems to be aware of.

Okay, so let me start listing out the cons (and trust me there are many).

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

Cons:

  • POV:

This book has one of the most messed up POVs I have ever read. Sometimes, the prose confused me because although technically, the POV is Sutton’s, all the events in the story happen though Emma. Sutton does nothing but watch from the sidelines. I wish there was a point where Sutton and Emma got to interact with each other, but that never happens. Plus, often, Sutton describes what Emma is feeling which I have no idea how Sutton, even if she is a ghost, could know. Plus, Sutton doesn’t remember a damn thing about her old life. And then, there is a scene where Sutton’s possible murderer strangles Emma from behind with a chain and then runs off. You would imagine that Sutton, being the ghost that stalks Emma, would finally get to see her killer’s identity, right? But, no. That wouldn’t let the story advance. So, Miss Shepard has made it so that Sutton can only see what Emma can see. Which just sort of struck me as dumb. It seemed like the kind of convenient thing an author would do to push the story forward.

  • The Pranks:

First of all, the only truly mean “prank” I read in the book was the one Charlotte and her posse pull on Sutton. The Nisha prank was a little over-the-top, sure, but mean? I don’t think so. And even so, why does no one – none of the students, the teachers, the parents – ever do anything to put a stop to the pranks? Because they’re (the students, at least) are frightened of Sutton and her friends? I found that a little hard to buy.

  • Characters:

I had a hard time remembering the names of characters merely because when they were introduced, not much background information was given about them. I mean, I get that Emma is just figuring things out herself as the story progresses, but a little info could have helped ease the reading process.

Then, there was the problem of most of the characters being incredibly one-dimensional. They just didn’t interest me. And they were dumb. I mean, Emma has not played tennis in real life at all and somehow no one notices how bad she is? All they say that she is not “in the zone”. Can’t they tell the difference between a tennis newbie and a pro?

  • Protagonist:

I kind of liked Emma, but I also kind of thought she was dumb. I mean, she goes to a new town to meet her sister who doesn’t show up. Then, her friends “kidnap” her mistaking her for Sutton. Her duffel containing her ID gets stolen. Sutton’s friends then decide to take her to a party. Emma gets a text from “Sutton” asking her to pretend to be her. Now, a sane person would be like “This is crazy” and clear up the confusion with Sutton’s friends. But Emma just goes along with it like Sutton asked her to, just because Sutton mentioned it might be “dangerous” to reveal her true identity. WTH?!

Then, there is the scene where Emma has a sudden smart moment and decides to go to the police. Now, when the police don’t believe her, she is just all like “Ah, too bad the police don’t believe me. I guess I have to continue this façade a little longer.” Couldn’t she just have called up her foster mom and let her talk to the police officers?

During the entire book, I felt like Emma just accepted her situation instead of trying to solve it.

  • Plot:

When I read the blurb, I expected it to be at least a little interesting, a little suspenseful and a little scary. Reality: not interesting, not suspenseful, not scary. I felt like I knew everything that was going to happen. It was like reading from my own brain. The only time I felt remotely at the edge of my seat (or bed) was when Emma got strangled by the chain. Then, there is the end. When I finished reading the book, I was sure I was missing a few pages because no book could end on such a note. I mean, there was nothing in the book that you could call a climax. Things just… sort of happened. There is no cliffhanger because there is no plot.

Pros:

  • Emma:

She was not whiny, which is a big plus in my book. Plus, when she is with Ethan, who is her to-be romantic interest, she doesn’t go all fan-girly, which just made me so, so happy.

  • Ethan:

He is the (slightly) shining star in a slew of dull as mud characters. Although he is kind of the stereotype of poem-quoting, brooding guy, I didn’t mind reading the parts with him.

  • Laurel:

Amongst all the characters in the book, the one I liked most was Laurel. The way she seemed to want to emulate her popular older sister and the way she kept coming back to Sutton (or Emma) even after all the snubs was believable.

  • It was a quick and light read.
  • Although I’m not a big fan of Miss Shepard’s way of writing, the mystery surrounding Sutton’s death is interesting enough. Even though I was not fully invested in the story, I still wanted to know who killed Sutton and why.

Verdict:

Even though the book has its many flaws, I would still pick up the second book in the series if only to know more about Sutton’s killer. So, yeah, 3 ½ stars.

Do you agree or disagree with my review?  Please share your opinion in the comments section! 🙂 😀