#BookReviews: #Mystery #TimeTravel #Memoir

Taking a break from syllabic poetry, I want to share the reviews of some fabulous books I’ve read this month. All four are my favorite authors (The Haunting… has been written by two perceptive stalwarts.) I have read one more brilliantly written book by our wordsmith – Diana. I would share it in my next post this week.

The Haunting of Chatham Hollow gives you a few hiccups in the beginning, oscillating between two timelines and many characters but soon picks up a steady pace and keeps you invested in the mystery as well as seances. A complex plot, ensconcing many stories, it is a combination of supernatural fantasy and cozy horror. 

The style of two authors mingles in a brilliant manner! Who seeks the hidden treasure of Ward Chatham and why? Would Chatham’s ghost reveal the secret? What is the significance of the curse? Many such questions keep gnawing at your heart till the end.

The strength of this book lies in the seances, each one more vivid, more captivating than the other, giving you the feeling of a real scene of a movie. Spiritualists and skeptics provide a balanced view but Ward Chatham adds a weird aura to the story.

Benedict is hardly a competitor for Victor, probably due to his nefarious designs and that is why the latter emerges to be my favorite character. All the characters have been crafted with equal astuteness and the most stunning one is the grandmother of Aiden. 

It is marvelous how all the links are woven together in the end. However, some of the details are superfluous; they hamper the pace of the book and eliminating them could have made it more thrilling. Highly recommended for all kinds of readers. 5 stars reading. 

Geller’s Find by Sandra Cox is an intriguing tale, a combination of western and time travel, with a cozy romance thrown in. True to her style, Cox dives into the story headlong, and keeps a brisk pace, never letting you waver an eyelid. While hiking through the majestic Great Basin, Luke’s love for artifacts leads him into the past, as he hurtles down into a deep hole, “whirling into a tube of rock”and reaches in the year 1882 where he meets Lily, a rancher. The vivid description of his journey, as if he were in an elevator is most captivating. Many questions would crop up in your mind – How would he get back? Will he stay and never go back? How would he find his bag that gets lost? Where would he stay? Can he adjust to the unfamiliar surroundings?

Cox’s characters are most realistic and the way they welcome Luke into their lives is heart-warming. Strong yet tender at heart, Saffron likes Luke but he keeps his distance, as he knows he doesn’t belong to their world. Stryker remains an enigma till the end though Luke is smart enough to see through his sinister plans. There is enough action to keep you enthralled. The book converts into a page-turner toward the end and much is left to the imagination of the reader. Pick up this book, you won’t be disappointed. 5 stars! 

The Winding Road is a poignant memoir of Miriam who was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma in one of her organs at the time of her hysterectomy. It was considered to be incurable. She was told that the survival rate was six to twelve months among the patients over the past twenty years. An experimental treatment was recommended and Miriam decided to go ahead with it. Her candid account of the treatment and suffering is extremely heart-rending.  My heart goes out to her, as she had the grit and the determination to walk through the unknown road, never losing sight of her destination. The positivity that kept her going despite the long waits, failing health and side effects of the chemo, is noteworthy. It was the most difficult path, with excruciating pains that she had to bear throughout the treatment, loss of appetite and weight loss.

Her persistence paid off; the blessings and prayers of her friends and family plucked her from the jaws of life-threatening cancer and she could fulfill her wishes of playing with her grandchildren. It requires great resilience to relive those moments while telling the story but Miriam chose to share it and I admire her fortitude. She has also shared some beautiful pictures of her family that reinforces how valuable this life is with our near and dear ones. 5 stars!

Happy reading! Thank you.

– Balroop Singh.

If you like poetry, here is my latest release  Hues Of Hope 

Advertisement

#BookReviews #Poetry & #Fiction

Life and Soul: Book 2 is divided into six parts, each one delving deeper into the journey of a soul. Harmony’s poetry would acquaint you with your own soul and would gently guide you toward the eternal light that “always surrounds us.” Her succinct style of writing and rich imagery is the hallmark of this collection. She doesn’t let the darker themes dominate her thoughts, she tries to move on and takes delight in the positivity of life’s lessons.

‘Lonely Soul’ pines for a companion but keeps the pain within and smiles through the words, which would pierce your heart.
‘Seeking Soul’ highlights what is not love, how toxic relationships bruise, stifle and slay your confidence. Feel the power of these words from – Still Laundry To Get Done:
“Vocal chords cut, severed
Silenced with words, curt look
No fists necessary…”
And these words hit me like a dagger: Licking honey off the edge of the razor blade.”
‘Loving Soul’ is drenched in passionate love with unique descriptions of falling in love. Love poems in this section are captivating, with brilliant imagery and elation that flows in rivulets of ecstasy. This is my favorite section.

The essence of her life with all the pungent and sweet delights gleams through the last section – ‘The Life of a Soul.’ Though the poems in this book are personal, they would touch your heart, as the themes are universal. You don’t have to be a poetry lover to enjoy these poems. Highly recommended. 

A Voice in the Silence is much more than a cosy murder mystery, it draws you in with its unique characters – Charlie, Jane and Ben and lets you soar with Finn’s imagination. There is not a dull moment as the tension builds up, with Drea’s stalker getting closer despite all the security measures taken by her family friend and cop – Adam. The story moves at an amazing pace, compelling you to guess who the serial killer could be! Would Drea survive the vicious attack? Would her animal friends be safe? If that is not enough, Will Ralph comes in with his irrational demands and threatens to kill.

Drea is an admirable character, crafted with panache, as she rises to the occasion, can’t be intimidated and knows how to react in a catastrophic situation. Her love for furry friends exudes inspiration and her kindness is exemplary. She has been grieving due to the loss of her husband but she puts it aside to face the challenging situations. Love and life sound more important to her than grief and loneliness and she chooses love – a subtle message that life is far more precious than our losses. 

It is remarkable how Finn has woven an interesting book around various themes of love, loneliness, grief, empathy and callousness with a positive outlook. I enjoyed it.

I was allured to Bella, as the suspense about her character and her physical absence in Sandra Kopp’s earlier book left many unanswered questions about her personality. This book focuses on Bella Jacquelina Gaviano, the most beautiful daughter of Carlo Gaviano and his French wife Marie. The turbulent journey of Bella’s life captivates you despite all the horrific incidents that fail to cripple her free and malicious spirit. An impetuous, self-centered, spiteful and arrogant brat, she grows up with the illusion that she has descended from royalty and deserves the privileges of the elite. She wants the best of everything; she knows the ways to accomplish what she wants and figures out how to remove her stumbling blocks. From a seamstress to a coveted beloved, her life is full of bewildering occurrences. 

Kopp’s style of writing, her love for nature and her exquisite language add a literary touch to this book too. A character-driven story, it moves at a steady pace, never slacking, constantly adding new developments in Bella’s life. On the one hand, she nurtures her intense desire for Joseph whom she could entice with her exotic accent, spoken in a throaty whisper, and her dark brown eyes but she also had high expectations from her marriage to Jean-Pierre, in case Joseph becomes aloof and indifferent. The development of Bella’s character is stunning, as it gets darker and murkier as the book proceeds. You would surely say – OMG! 

It is surprising that she never introspects, doesn’t feel any remorse, never is haunted by her deeds, and is perfect in her pretense. The ending of the book deviates from its focus and introduces some new characters. I don’t think they were needed and the story of Bella could be concluded without those superfluous chapters. There is also some repetition and too many details, which could be edited to enhance its value. If you like dark fiction, you would surely enjoy this book.

Thank you.

– Balroop Singh

For poetry: click here to hear Magical Whispers

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.