More 5 #Star #BookReviews @EverDreamer7321 @teagangeneviene

Today I have mystery and fantasy books, which I would like to share with you.

My Review: The Windwilder Haunting by Sandra Kopp

‘The Windwilder Haunting’ by Sandra Kopp is a riveting saga of three generations, action packed with deceit, lies and mysterious happenings. Kopp builds up mystery around the mansion slowly, with amazing details of the Windwilder mansion and her exquisite language adds an aesthetic touch to this book. The prologue is enigmatic, as it grips you with poetic language on the one hand but proceeds with a lightning speed to reveal that the mansion is being set on fire! Then the story flows at an amazing pace, without a dull moment. It is much more than just a ghost story; it is the superb style, the narrator’s love for nature and an eye for detail that elevates this book above an ordinary period story.

 I like how Bella, with her inconspicuous presence, holds the plot and keeps you invested till the end. Lillian is another strange character, who doesn’t seem to like anybody but her contribution to the story is astounding. Madelyn’s connect with nature and her passion to know more makes her a likable protagonist. Though drawn by the mysteries of the mansion, she refuses to be manipulated by John and has a mind of her own. She is intuitive enough to understand where the secrets lie and follows her own path in discovering them. However, all hell breaks loose, as somebody is unhappy with her visits to the mansion.

I like how Sandra keeps a control over the horror element and doesn’t let it slip into gruesome details. I admire how she switches gears to the descriptions of nature to lighten the mood: “The sun touched down, and a final scattering of brilliant light ignited the wispy clouds into flaming orange plumes that blazed for just moments before turning red and then purple as they drifted north.” I would recommend this book to all book lovers.

My Review: Dead of Winter – Journey 1 by Teagan Riordain

A riveting story, Dead Of Winter: Journey 1 would transport you to a world of fantasy yet Teagan’s characters seem absolutely real, as they are haunted by fears of religious fanatics who try to stamp out knowledge, brethren of Un’Naf have made oppressive rules for women and there is a fear of banishment for Emyln who is a gifted girl.

Osabide, an elderly widow has been banished from her village just because she is a healer and a person of great knowledge. She warns Emyln to keep silent about her ability to see and hear ghosts. The story is told from Emyln’s point of view; she knows she is not loved by anyone in her family, even her sister taunts her and she can’t share her thoughts with her. The refrain “winter is coming” dominates this novella and adds a touch of mystery to it. I can’t wait to read the next journey!

My Review: Dead of Winter – Journey 2

Journey 2, Penllyn takes the story of Emyln forward; new characters are introduced and the shocking intentions of Emyln’s father are revealed. Deae Matres, a group of women brings in some hope but Teagan doesn’t divulge much about these mysterious women. Zasha, Osabide’s niece, is the member of this organization. I like the way the story is developing and Emyln is growing stronger with each experience. The style of writing is intriguing, the mood mysterious and the language is beautiful. 

You would keep wondering why Emyln’s father who never takes her anywhere is taking her to Penllyn. She could sense that he is sad and angry but dare not ask a question. It was such a relief that Afon couldn’t succeed in his mission. I am loving these journeys.

Please click on the links to view the book descriptions.

Thank you. Happy reading!
Balroop Singh.

Here is my latest release: Hues Of Hope 

#BookReviews: 5 #Stars for each one!

Mystery and romance is a deadly combination and these books have both. I enjoyed all the three books due to their themes and amazing visual details. I would like to share my thoughts about them with you. Please click on the links to view the book descriptions.

Genuine Deceit – My Review:

I was lured by the name of this book, wondering how deceit could be genuine! I was not disappointed. All speculations about who deceived whom and why would fail and you have to wait till the end to know the truth. ‘Genuine Deceit’ deals with a multi-dimensional plot with its tentacles connected with the past of Reagan’s parents and complicated relationships.

Shocked by the murder of her grandmother, Reagan arrives in her childhood home and gets sucked in by the vortex of inexplicable discoveries. As she is trying to find a foothold, she sinks deeper into the whirlpool of mysteries. Her friends try to help her but it is hard to believe whom to trust. The story gets murkier with each chapter, each development entangles it more than expectations. It moves at a good pace but it could’ve been breathtaking if a few superfluous chapters were edited.

Characterisation has not received much attention, as the story is packed with events. However, Aiden emerges to be a perfect protagonist who could absorb emotions, support Reagan in all the situations yet give her the freedom to make her own decisions. Fiona’s character development is slow but stunning. Secondary characters sound nondescript. 

Too much has been compressed into this book and the baggage of back stories is so massive that you would wonder – what else? It finishes in a filmy style with amazing visual details, transporting you to the scene of crime. Such an outstanding plot doesn’t need profane language – (F and S words) could have been avoided. If you like mysteries, this is a must read! 

Things He Hadn’t Told Her – My Review:

Things He Hadn’t Told Her by Vicky Whedbee captures your attention from page one, as it begins with a nerve-wracking incident of two teenagers pledging to be “blood brothers” when Chad saves the life of Cole. It introduces you to loving relationships within affectionate families, awesome friendships, beautiful description of a fairy tale romance and wedding. It has an amazing flow, realistic characters but their story is predictable. It makes you wonder how long should you hold your true feelings; it tugs at your heart and makes you think about the depth of love. Riding on the rollercoaster of emotions, Chad holds his secret in his journal, which plays a significant role in the book.

Vicky possesses an eye for detail; the way she talks about her characters and their dressing style adds another dimension to the visual effects of their appearance. She has a knack of carrying on the conversation for a long time and hold the interest of the reader. Written in a light-hearted style, a mixture of humor and realism makes it pure fun at places: “Cole was preoccupied with picking up more than two grains of rice at a time with his chopsticks.”

However, the book gets melancholy toward the ending and drags on for a long time. I wish Maggie had picked up the vibes, I wish she could have been more perceptive. On the whole it is an interesting book. Highly recommended. 

Between the Vines – My Review:

Between the Vines recline entangled relationships, which need to be understood. Elena and Aaron’s attraction to each other is not new yet they try to dismiss it for their own reasons. Both have their doubts, Heather, the jealous hen tries to cash on their weaknesses and a superb story with an eternal triangle unfolds. Written in a breezy style, this novella banks on edgy relationships that cry for attention.

Who could define relationships better than Staci? She has crafted three couples, so different from each other. If the unconditional love of Larissa for Jace would melt your heart, you would like to shoot Heather for her selfish overtures to win Aaron and poke Elena for building tall walls around her to keep Aaron out intentionally. This may be a quick read but provide the lovers with some food for thought. I really enjoyed it.

Thank you. Happy reading!
Balroop Singh.

Heart-warming Stories #BookReviews

This week, I am sharing two novellas by Staci Troilo, as I read them one after the other and both won my heart due to her style of writing. I look forward to reading more in the series.

I had read and reviewed The Edge of Fear in the month December but am sharing the review now, as this book too focuses on relationships and I have just finished another book – Love Me: A Christmas Wish by Jacquie Biggar who weaves wonderful webs of relationships.

No Such luck by Staci Troilo is a brilliant story that defines relationships and makes Piper Seidel ponder over her lucky charm and high school crush. I like Staci’s crisp style, her dive into the story, without wasting a moment in unnecessary descriptions to let the reader decide the superfluity of adolescent thoughts that sound dearer than realities of life. 

When I stumbled upon book – 2 of the series, I thought, let me start with book – 1 and I must confess, it made my afternoon most pleasant. This is a short read, I finished it within an hour but it left me craving for more – such is the style of Staci! Her focus on characterization is remarkable, as Piper, an impatient, brazen and reckless person grows up into a fine woman by the time her story ends. There is a subtle message for those who lack the virtue of introspection. I look forward to reading the next book in the series. Highly recommended.

‘Pour It On’ is as enjoyable as good wine, a perfect blend of fun and business in an aura of light-hearted “meet and greet” night that might crash due to Nigel, the arrogant sommelier who has decided to quit Romy’s restaurant, without any prior notice.

I like the metaphorical title of this novella, as Staci astutely pours anger and angst right in the beginning, with a dash of romance into the story along with wine. Rick Santucci adds the much needed boost to the party though the misunderstanding is like an icing on the cake, making the story superbly succulent.

Troilo creates memorable characters with well defined traits. You would either love or loathe them and admire the skill of their creator. If you like short, heart-warming stories, this is a perfect pick.

The Edge of Fear by Maura Brennan is a riveting story of love and relationships that are exemplary if we keep Frank out, but such vindictive and sinister characters do lurk around us to derail a mirthful life. Hattie’s happiness agitates him, he conspires to extract money out of her but how far does he succeed in harassing his former wife keeps you turning the pages of this fast-paced book. Brennan wastes no time in unnecessary details and keeps her focus on the story.

Strong female characters, action-packed narrative, love for little Lilly and a filmy finish make this book quite engaging till the last page. Though predictable at places, the story moves at a breath-taking speed and the smooth introduction of new characters is admirable. A thread of fear runs throughout and is contagious enough to touch your heart. All the characters leave a mark on your memory, especially Celine and Agnes. Even secondary characters like Rhonda have been handled with elan. Highly recommended for those who like light thrillers.

Love, Me: A Christmas Wish Novel by Jacquie Biggar is a heart-warming story of Cassie who believes in the magic of Santa Claus. She wants a puppy but her yearning for a dad overrides her Christmas wish and she writes a letter to Santa to give her a dad so that her mommy won’t be alone if she falls sick again. My heart goes out to such a child who is suffering yet thinks of her loving mom. Add another character of utmost goodness to the story and a perfect world, where love abounds, is created.

Kyle enters just at the right time when Grace needs help; his attraction fortifies his efforts and lovely bonds are created. Biggar has a knack of crafting such relationships in her stories and this book is exceptional. A feel-good story that is bursting with hope despite Cassie’s battle with cancer. There are some beautiful moments to be cherished and I love how Avery and Cassie wait for Santa in the sleigh to convey their new Christmas wish! Highly recommended!

Thank you. Happy reading!

– Balroop Singh.

#BookReviews: 5 #Stars for each one!

Some books inspire me to write a review midway and I usually makes notes on my Kindle, more so if the characters are endearing. There are others, which elicit no response from me even after I’ve finished it. The books I share today are the ones that belong to the first category – I made so many notes that the reviews were almost ready by the time I finished reading them.

Weathering Old Souls – My Review:

Weathering Old Souls is an excellent collaboration, in which two styles of James and Didi blend in a perfect manner. I have read many stories about reincarnation but this one has a unique angle with more than one soul speaking through Abigail, who slowly learns to set aside her fears and resolves to find the answers. Deeply embedded in a shroud of mystery, all the stories of the past have been woven in a brilliant manner, as nothing seems out of place. 

A powerful beginning sets the tone and ignites your curiosity about ‘Fashionista,’ whose identity is revealed just at the right time. Then the death of Abigail’s mother adds another dimension to her story, which unfolds slowly, with so many connections! It left me spellbound; it demands your attention at each step, as it doesn’t give you a moment to flutter your eye-lids!

James is a master-crafter of building relationships and his skill shines in this book too. Margaret grows up to be the angel sister of Abigail, supports her at each step and their love for each other is exemplary. Elizabeth and Bradford understand her better than her biological father and their relationship with Abigail is heart-warming. Each character displays a distinct characteristic and makes a significant contribution to taking the story forward. Even secondary characters have been crafted with incredible insight.

I marvel at the joint venture of two writers who have produced this coruscating work in a cohesive expression. I really enjoyed this book. Highly recommended!

The Girl Who Loved Cayo Bradley – My Review:

‘The Girl Who Loved Cayo Bradley’ by Nina Romano is an enlightening historical western, with an intense romance of two lovers, separated by choices and circumstances. The story allures you right in the beginning with gripping details of escape through a tunnel, and a chilling description of a ten-year old boy standing tall in the face of threat from Apache Indian. Native American culture comes alive on the pages of this book, as the plot revolves around Connor Bradley who had lost his identity the day he was abducted by Mbai. Torn between his white heritage and connection with Jicarilla tribe, Cayo learns to be physically strong but becomes an emotional wreck who could never forgive himself; his past clings to him, “riding like wings on the back of his guilt and self-hatred.”

Romano gets into the mind of Cayo to wrench out the emotions that rip him apart each time he thinks of his love, each time he thinks of his sisters and the man he grew up to be against his wishes. His guilt, his yearning for Darby and his struggle to reveal his true self to the girl he loves makes you ponder over the unknown shackles that bind us despite our efforts to break free.

Written in an exquisite style, poetic at places, this is a character driven story and therefore each character has been crafted with élan. If Darby endears herself with her simplicity, sincerity, dedication and independent decisions, Hanna is the one you would loathe. If Aunt Bea sounds cold, Aunt Mary is just the opposite. It is the plausibility of characters that makes this book truly remarkable. Highly recommended.

– Balroop Singh

Thank you.

#BookReviews

Winter days may be shorter but they prove to be a blessing when your Kindle is loaded with all genres of books. Each year, December happens to be at the top when I look at the books I’d read in a month. I have many reviews to share this month. Though I never set a “reading goal” but the books I could read last year exceeded my expectations.

Word Weaving #1 is a unique combination of talent; it would inspire many more poets to explore all forms of poetry – haiku, tanka, haibun, etheree, shardoma and many more! Colleen Chesebro and Jules Paige encourage you to play with words to create meaningful syllabic poetry by introducing each form in the beginning of a section.

The beauty of verses by various poets shimmers like moonlight in this anthology of themed poetry. “Moon” – the favorite figure of magnificence for many poets, the haunting symbol of love is the focus of poetry in this book. “Harvest Moon” has been interpreted from fascinating perspectives – for Finn, it emits “celestial beams” reflected in the eyes of her pet while for Peach it “stitches lace” and makes “frosty hems on scarlet leaves.” There are many such images to enthrall your senses in this collection.

A must read for poetry lovers, this book is an excellent creative guide for beginners. Kudos to the editors for taking the initiative of introducing so many amazing poets in one book. I loved it.

‘Perfectly Imperfect’ is a delightful story of a young couple that would win your heart despite their rocky romance. Rhys meets Georgina in connection with her tottering business but likes her even before he could tell her his intentions of selling her company, which has been merged with CLO due to financial troubles.

Jacquie’s brilliant character oriented plot keeps you spell-bound till Rhys works out a solution. This is a light-hearted reading but gives a deep insight into relationships that form the basis of Biggar’s stories. There is a clear indication that Rhys and Georgina are made for each other! I love the way they meet, even their misunderstandings could regale. Well-written novella.

‘Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance’ is a lovely collection of personal pictures and tanka poems, which record the poet’s memories. Each poem complements the picture that precedes it and reminds us how loving relationships keep us connected despite the years that flee by.

Gauffreau takes you down the emotional lane, shares her personal experiences that anybody could relate to, as grief is not individualistic, it touches us in one form or another. A quick read but would really make you reflect on how each moment of life is precious. A beautiful tribute to her family!

The Kindle edition of this book is not compatible with Kindle or cloud reader but I could read it on my IPad.

Thank you.

If you like poetry: click here to hear Magical Whispers

Have you checked my latest release? – Slivers: Chiseled Poetry