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Breaking Traditions: The Shifter And The Mage by Madilynn Dale – Review by Anantha Rusum

Breaking Traditions: The Shifter And The MageBreaking Traditions: The Shifter And The Mage by Madilynn Dale
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In short, this book is a traditional love story of young love which blossoms and meets the scorn of the elders which is told in a different way in a different world. Natalie is a shape shifter who can transform into a wolf. She belongs to a traditional family who want her to follow the traditions. She is engaged to another shapeshifter, Theo, who is now her ex.
Everything is in order according to Natalie’s parents. Their obedient daughter is bright, helps them in the bakery and is about to be engaged. They want nothing but a happy predictable future for her.
But Natalie’s fate is entwined with a Mage, Alex whom she meets in college. They both meet at a party and sparks fly between them. They are drawn towards each other much to the disdain of Natalie’s parents.
Will Natalie and Alex be able to break traditions for their love? Would they be able to mend the broken relationship with her parents?
This forms the crux of the story. In Eastern culture, we come across this saga a lot more. Breaking the barriers of the society demands a heavy sacrifice. I could relate to the struggle of Natalie and Alex quite easily.
It is a very easy read and keeps the reader engaged till the end. Hope to see more from this author.

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Blessed: The Academy of Seraph by Brandi Elledge – Review by Anantha Rusum

Blessed: Academy of the SeraphBlessed: Academy of the Seraph by Brandi Elledge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fantasy story woven around angels, demons, demis, immortals and magic, this book hooks the reader right from the first page. Many years ago, when a plague was causing human population to die, 15 archangels, who were not supposed to interfere, broke the law and saved few humans. These humans were considered blessed and possess special powers. Over centuries, as the bloodline progressed from one generation to another, the descendants still possessed certain special powers.
Hence, in the current world, it was mandatory that each human is tested whether they are blessed or not, at the age of 16.
One such blessed girl, Gabriella, despite being blessed, detests her super powers.
She is sent to one of the academies where the officials soon find out that she is blessed. Despising her situation, against her wishes, she agrees to get trained. she becomes an object of interest to her commanding officer. She makes few friends and many enemies in and outside the academy. As fate would have it, she finds herself in a pivotal position in an upcoming war as she tries to trace her own lineage.
It is a very fast paced book, with funny and interesting characters. I enjoyed it. I felt that the ending should have been more conclusive. But overall, a very enjoyable read.

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Calamity under the Chandelier (A Sleuthing Starlet Mystery Book 1) by Camilla Blythe – Review by Anantha Rusum

Calamity under the Chandelier (Sleuthing Starlet Mystery #1)Calamity under the Chandelier by Bianca Blythe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very interesting and an amusing read, Calamity under the Chandelier is about two American actresses who find themselves caught in a tricky situation in England in 1940s amongst the British elite.
Veronica is a Hollywood actress who has eloped with an Earl, a would-be-duke and that does not go very well with his family. Her good friend Cora, who is also an actress, is having a bad time in Hollywood losing all her contracts. So, she decides to take a break with Veronica and travels to England. But things are not as rosy as it seemed to be. The two starlets dream of a countryside England where everything is green and they can get the coveted freedom of their own lives incognito, unbound by the chains of the showbiz.
But when they reach England, they enter the civilization of the British elite, who look down scornfully on foreigners. The two American girls cannot blend in with the characters they meet in the manor and seem to draw attention in whatever they do.
Things go worse when a chandelier drops from the ceiling and none other than the Duke is killed. All suspicions are pointed towards Veronica. But there is something which the family is withholding back. Cora dons into her film character of a lady detective and conducts her own little investigations.
There are numerous characters who could be suspects. Can Cora crack this mystery? That forms the crux of the story.
It is a very light and fast paced read. There were some loose ends in the end, but overall, the plot is captivating. I loved reading this book!!

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FALL: The Ragnarök Prophesies: #2 by A.K. Morgen – Review by Anantha Rusum

Fall (The Ragnarök Prophesies, #2)Fall by A.K. Morgen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A book filled with emotions, this book is about two lovers Arionna and Dace, who are willing to sacrifice everything for each other and for the greater good, to stop Hati and Skoll from freeing Fenrir, which means the end of the world. The story has all the elements in it, it brings back some of the famous characters from Norse Mythology. I love Norse Mythology and I picked up this book as it hinted about Ragnarök. I was a little disappointed as I had hoped to see more mythological characters showing up. But this book, make no mistake, is about the lead characters and their emotional ups and downs in their relationship. Dace doesn’t stop at anything trying to save his lady love. Arionna decides to leave him, so that he can focus on the job in hand for the greater good. Will they survive apart, forms the crux of the story. It fast paced and full of action, though it did make me a little sad at places, especially when their relationship gets strained. It is a good book, I enjoyed it, but as I said earlier would have been great to have more mythological characters in it to make it a lot more interesting.

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The Traveler: Chimera Revolution (The Book of Eleanor 2) by Shannon Nemechek – Review by Anantha Rusum

The Traveler: Chimera Revolution (The Book of Eleanor 2)The Traveler: Chimera Revolution by Shannon Nemechek
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

To start with, I had not read the first book so I did not have a stepping ground and got pulled into the middle of the action. It took me a while to figure out who is who, but once that is sorted, the book was rock and roll! The story transports the two main characters Katie and Colm to 1779 Savannah, where they are pulled into a world of deception, danger and lies, and an old enemy. There is a prophecy to be fulfilled and there is suspense in every step they tread on. Katie has to figure out whom to trust and whom not to. Colm is to make a choice, which will decide the course of history.
It is overall a very gripping read; I only wish I had read the first book so that I can understand this one better. I will surely pick up the previous book very soon!

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Eagle of the Empire (Relic Hunters) by Martin Ferguson – Review by Anantha Rusum

Eagle of the Empire (Relic Hunters, #1)Eagle of the Empire by Martin Ferguson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

At the onset, let me begin by saying this book reminded me of Indiana Jones movie series. It has so many elements in common with the movies, the suspense, the thrilling action, the adrenaline rush and the historic mystic element attached to it. Adam Hunter is in search of his brother, who has gone missing searching for a historic relic, which dates back to the times of Marcus Aurelius, one of the five good emperors and the last emperor to rule over a Roman era which bestowed peace and stability to the empire. In order to find his brother, Adam has to search for the relic.
Adam journeys with few of his quirky friends in British Museum from London to Scotland and from there the story takes us to the quest of the Eagle relic of ancient Rome. But it so happens that they are not the only one in search of the relic, they have an opponent with evil intentions whose eyes are set on the relic. It is the race of time for Adam and his friends against this evil adversary to get their hands on the relic.
The book keeps the reader on the edge of your seat till the very end. It is Young Adult fantasy but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I couldn’t let go of the book and finished it in one shot! Highly recommended!

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A Book Signing To Die For: Beach Reads by Judy Moore – Review by Anantha Rusum

A Book Signing To Die ForA Book Signing To Die For by Judy Moore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A very neat cozy mystery book which I enjoyed reading thoroughly. It has all the elements of a good book in it, a solid plot, good characters, a murder and a hint of romance. Sometimes you pick up a book not knowing much about the author or the book itself and read it with an open mind, with minimal expectations, it is a very pleasurable feeling when the book starts growing on the reader as you flip it page by page. This is precisely the effect this book had on me.

Beck O’Rourke co-owns Beach Reads bookstore and coffee shop with her grandmother. They live in an apartment along with Beck’s sister above the bookstore. They have book signing events which happen very frequently where they get small time and relatively well-to-do authors to speak and then sign the books bought in their store. On one such book signing event, they invite a Cozy mystery author, Marcia Graybill to their bookstore. As people love her mysteries, they get an audience of over 50 that day and the event turn out to be very successful.

Shortly after, in the night, there is a dead body found behind the jewelry store, which is adjacent to the book shop. The police department, headed by a handsome police detective Devon, arrive on the scene of the crime and make their own conclusions, which Becky does not concur with. She heads off to investigate the murder on her own. The murderer does not like this intrusion and neither does the police department. Now Becky’s life is in danger and she has to go all out to crack this case by herself.
It is a brilliant plot and a very edgy read; I could not guess the murderer till the very end. There are times however when I did feel Becky was taking too much liberty and it was amusing that people did not mind her intrusions or her queries. She is not a hired detective after all. It was like reading one of Ms. Marple’s mysteries of Agatha Christie, but Ms. Marple would take an effort to acquaint herself with her suspects personally before extracting information from them. Becky goes a fast forward route and with one visit or one phone call, her suspects seem to disclose quite a lot to her, which I found slightly amusing. I was also expecting a slightly longer romantic liaison between the main leads, but considering it a cozy mystery, it is understandable that the inferences have to be subtle.

Otherwise I loved every bit of it, the characters were adorable. And as I said earlier, I read this book with a very open mind and as a reader, reaped the rewards. A very fine book and looking forward to read more from this author!

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Another Yesterday (Seashells and Second Chances Collection Book 2) by Angela Christina Archer – Review by Anantha Rusum

Another Yesterday (Seashells and Second Chances Collection Book 2)Another Yesterday by Angela Christina Archer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an emotional story about two women, mother and daughter, their struggles and their ups and downs in life. In the year 1966 Maggie moves to a small-town Shadow Brook where she dreams of starting a family and a future. She leaves all her past behind, and rebuilds her life with a little inn. She hides her past behind in journals and letters, hidden in the attic of the inn. Thirty years after, her daughter, Rachel is a happy person living a successful life in New York. Suddenly her life turns upside down, and she is forced to seek solace in Shadow Brook again, where she has to encounter her past. As she renovates her inn, she finds those letters her mother had hidden long back. How does Rachel react to those letters? What do these both women do when life throws them a second chance? That forms the crux of the story.
This is a heartwarming story of hardships and forgiveness. It is a tale of two women and it is very easy to connect with their characters. The story is told from different perspectives, and it jumps back and forth from mother to daughter. It does have a dash of humor but there are emotional scenes which bring a lump in your throat. The story has all elements in it which makes it a gripping read, small town setting, love, heartbreak, forgiveness and a chance of a second love. Definitely a good book!

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Love Gaia: The Diary Directive by TL Clark – Review by Anantha Rusum

Love Gaia: The Diary DirectiveLove Gaia: The Diary Directive by T.L. Clark
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Love Gaia

A very neat dystopian Young Adult book based on the post-apocalyptic future, where the entire man kind has been wiped out, it is very thought provoking and an amazing story. Set in the future world, the story moves back and forth between the youth reading their harsh history lessons through the diary of Dr. Rachel, one of the survivors of the apocalypse. Aroha, a young woman reaching adulthood lives a peaceful life in an almost perfect world, an idealistic community where people believe in high values – Honesty, respect and fortitude. Aroha’s teacher walks them through a brutal history lesson about the founders of the community and the struggle they went through to form this society. She reads out a dairy of one Dr. Rachel, who is one of the founding members of this community. Dr. Rachel was one of the survivors who was kept underground for years together after the apocalypse which happened around the year 2069. Dr. Rachel loses everything, but she is determined to fight back for her freedom. The dairy talks in depth about Dr. Rachel’s struggle and her vision on the basis of which, the society of Aroha is formed. The book is indeed very though provoking and very unique book. It is a very short book, and very easy to read, do not miss this one!

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Summer’s Stolen (Seasons of Magic Book 2) by Sarah Biglow – Review by Anantha Rusum

Summer's Stolen (A Seasons of Magic urban Fantasy Novel)Summer’s Stolen by Sarah Biglow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the second of the Seasons of the Magic series and I find myself enjoying this series a lot. It is full of action, interesting characters and keeps the readers on the hook till the very end.
Ezri is on another case with her friend Jacquie, cousin Desmond and other members of the authority. There are children who are missing one after another. The video footage shows them disappearing. Ezri has to use all her magic, her power and her strength to trace these missing children. She pairs up with an FBI agent Cartwright to follow the trail of the whisperers who will eventually lead her to the people who have been kidnapping the children. We get to know about other magical communities in this book, like the African and the Hispanic people who follow magic in their own accord and the friction between different communities.
I love this book, which has both a thriller and a fantasy element to it. In fact, even without the fantasy element, this book and the characters would have been equally exciting. Ezri comes across as a strong-willed independent woman whom everyone can rely on, the savior which the western magic descendants need. Overall a very good read, full of twists and turns! A good sequel to the first book! I am hoping there will be two more in this series, and cannot wait to read the third!

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