Thursday, 17 March 2016

TIME TO DIE: Frighteningly Devilish

Time To Die by Caroline Mitchell is a chilling read with an interesting cast of characters whose lives intersect; but not always in the best of situations.

I personally like my crime/mystery thriller to be as close to reality as possible. Injecting a paranormal and supernatural twist makes it a little tricky because it could blur the line between what is plausible and what is not. And it’s a question of whether you’re willing to go on board or not.

Well, I’m on board and completely gripped!

DC Jennifer Knight and a team of specialists with extraordinary skills set out to catch a killer who may or may not have supernatural abilities. Given how elusive he is, he could very well be a mystical creature who commits the most unthinkable crimes.

I am impressed at the character dynamics and interaction of the Moonlight Operation squad and fascinated at how they handled the investigation.

This is a brilliantly executed crime thriller with a remarkable main character and an unforgettable villain. ★★★ 5/5

Review copy provided by Bookouture through NetGalley.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

FOLLOW ME: When Twitter Kills


How can you resist such a killer tagline?

There’s a disturbance in Twitterverse and the person goes by the name @Apollyon. A faceless and seemingly harmless entity has gained notoriety when the “Following” count becomes a tally of victims. The elusive suspect becomes a viral twitter sensation  the police scramble to identify, but fail miserably.

Enter Freddie Venton, the spunky but down on her luck wannabe journalist who’s been waiting for the right break to come. The opportunity presents itself when she reconnects (fortuitously) with an old friend Nasreen Cudmore, now a police officer.

Using an underhanded tactic, Freddie gets to her first crime scene and becomes involved in it when the police hires her as a consultant because of her social media “expertise”.

While this is an entertaining read for its unique plot, it’s hard to ignore how ridiculously inept the police are. And this hurts the story quite a bit.

But there’s still a lot of things to like in this story that it still stands out. The Freddie and Naseer side story gives the right amount of drama, while the main story progresses at a thrilling pace.

Follow Me will appeal to thriller junkies who crave for a clever and inventive murder mystery. ★★★ 4/5

*Review copy provided by NetGalley

Friday, 4 March 2016

Two Reviewers, One Book: The Winged Turban


Once in a while, I invite a reviewer, a blogger, an author, or a random character to sit with me in this very comfortable couch and share our views (opposing or otherwise) on a chosen book that caught our fancy.

My review partner for today is Leisl KaberryShe’s the author of the Titanian Chronicles Series.

The book that intrigued us is 'The Winged Turbanby Joshua Grasso.

Beatrice is the victim of an arranged match to the Duke of Saffredento, who hastily abandons her to an estate full of forgotten traditions and curses. When the portrait of a strange woman begins turning up in the house, she summons the great sorcerer, Hildigrim Blackbeard, to investigate. The portrait, it seems, has traveled through time to find her—and bring her back by any means necessary. For she can no longer be Beatrice of Saffredento, but a young woman who died two-hundred years ago and must be reborn through the magic of an Enchanted Circle. But no one in recorded history has ever conjured such a Circle, though quite a few have gone mad in the attempt...

Hi Leisl! I’m honored to be reviewing this book with you. Thank you for agreeing to do this.  I’d offer you cookies but this show has no budget :p

What? No cookies??  And I was looking forward to chomping chewy biscuits while discussing this book. 

Next time there'll be food! I promise! Such a trip, this book is, isn’t it? You know, across dimensions in true high fantasy fashion… 

Oh yes, for sure… I’ll admit the whole portrait story line brought back images from the previous book ‘The Astrologer's Portrait’ but it went in a completely different direction… and yes across dimensions… who would have thought? Grasso could almost make a series out of it… The Portrait Series… I wonder where the next portrait will take us.

The Astrologer's Portrait

Makes you think Joshua has some kind of portrait fetish going on. Oh sorry was I thinking out loud? The story starts with a paranormal phenomenon of some sort. A portrait of a woman with a winged turban haunts Beatrice. It was a perfect start and from then on, it was hard to disengage. I was completely drawn to it. Was it just me?

No certainly not just you. In fine Grasso form, he had me hooked from the get-go. The Winged Turban portrait was creepy and fascinating and kept me guessing as to what was going on. I was on Beatrice’s side (it seemed none of the household were). I was sure she wasn’t crazy… so I was pleased she called in Hildigrim and I wanted to fire the Majordomo, he was a major dodo… sorry bad pun! But seriously, didn’t you just wanna slap him?

Haha! I’d ninja roundhouse kick him out of this dimension! There are memorable characters in this book. Hildigrim Blackbeard is a favorite. But I have to say that Sergei the stone reader has the right amount of “crazy” in him. But every character is compelling. There’s something driving him or her. So, despite being a fantasy, there’s something “real” in the story. The mix of fantasy and human drama just works seamlessly. And I appreciate this because sometimes in fantasy or sci-fi, the human elements are just forced into the story, consequently taking a backseat in favour of flashy setups and epic battles.

True, true *nods with contemplative fingers on chin*. I like how Grasso develops his characters, they are three-dimensional. They have their flaws and their sensitivities as well as their strengths and passions and even idiosyncrasies.
Just when you think you know a character, they surprise you with something new. I think Hildigrim was a fave for me too but I also liked Lady Dorothea, she was a strong, determined woman… real determined.
Grasso has a great talent for telling a story, sure its fantasy and this is a wonderful element but its far more than that, it’s a tale built around life and people and the world in which they live, influenced by the times they live in. I found that I rarely had any idea where it was going… how did you find it? Unpredictable or unsurprising?

I seriously had no clue how the story would unravel. The secrecy and the unpredictability added to the reading enjoyment. But I have to admit that I had high expectations because of that incredible build up. I kept saying “You better not mess this one up, Dr. Grasso!”  So, what elements did you think work? 

Well, I’ll say it… I don’t read romance novels, it’s just too much of the mush and stuff for me but what I do enjoy is a bit of romance within a story. Grasso has the right amount, there are a few budding romances throughout the story which is refreshing. I also liked that it was not only Hildigrim (the sorcerer) who had mystical abilities and talents. There was a fair bit of magic and paranormal activity going on throughout the story that crossed dimensions. Magic, mystery and a dash of romance… makes for an enticing recipe.  What did you think?

I agree with you. I like that he didn’t go overboard with the romance and he did have enough control not to go too crazy on the fantasy and mystical elements. Because, obviously, we can only suspend our disbelief so much. And I have to mention the funny bits. They are hilarious in a deadpan kind of way.

You know I’ll ask this… what elements you think didn’t quite work?

Uh, that’s a toughy. I’ll be honest… the notion of reincarnation threw me at first, I didn’t like it and I can’t explain why, maybe because the world feels like it is our own but in a different time. And then I got over it… reminded myself the first rule of fantasy – Anything is possible. (disclaimer: I don’t really know if that is the first rule of fantasy or whether it is in fact a rule… but it sounded good) So with the anything is possible mentality I began to enjoy the concept and possibilities. Where you thrown too or were you completely on board?

I didn’t think of it from a philosophical or religious standpoint because he approached it on a fantasy level and did not present it in a controversial way. Though to me, I thought he somehow explored the concept of being in the wrong world (or time) and if it could be rectified, which is fascinating to me.
Did you expect anything less from Joshua Grasso?

Okay, speaking as a big fan of Joshua Grasso…no, absolutely not… I expected a compelling story that would lure me in with writing that feels natural and every word that flows. Every time I picked up the book (ipad) I was very quickly lulled back into the world and I didn’t want to leave. My one disappointment? I’d love to have a paperback version but it’s only available on Kindle. Of course you probably wouldn’t find fault in this KN after all, you are the ‘Kindle’ Ninja. 

Haha! No issue at all. I do prefer ebooks for practical reasons. So, the big question is: How would you rate “The Winged Turban”?

It's a big 5 stars from me!

I give it 5 big fat ninja stars for the incredible and fantastic reading experience.

Check out books by Joshua Grasso

Check out books by Leisl Kaberry