Thursday, 23 June 2016

Live For This: Unbreaking the Broken



I didn’t plan on reading Live For This by Kathryn Biel because in my mind, it’s one of those stories that will make me feel miserable after reading. Surely, a man with a broken body and woman with a shattered soul is a downright depressing combination, yeah?

Well, guess what? It’s not that at all. I didn’t feel like the world is crashing down on me. There’s no feeling of heaviness or misery or grief. Nothing of that sort.

This is superbly written. It’s hitting the right notes. The jokes are landing. The drama bits are heart-rending and just tug at this ninja’s heartstrings.

Perhaps the only problem here is that it has similarities to Jojo Moyes’ “Me Before You”. Now, I don’t know if this was inspired by the book or the similar events are just mere coincidences. It might bother some readers, but it does not bother me all that much because there is a clear divergence in storyline.

This is not a story that’s just written for the sake of eliciting strong emotions. It not only sends a message of hope, but also the acceptance of hard realities.

Two words: Read this.   ★★★ 5/5

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

The Missing: A Turmoil in the Family



Claire is pushed to the brink when her son Billy went missing. Though there’s hope that Billy is still alive, the fear and the uncertainty are enough to drive Claire into “madness”. She goes through frightening psychological episodes that had physical manifestations. That part of the story is brilliantly depicted with great emotional impact. 

The writing is somber and the story, while understandably a psychological thriller, is rather short on thrills. But it’s because The Missing by C.L. Taylor is more of a family drama than a straight up crime thriller. Despite this, the author is able to deliver an engaging story of a family crippled by secrets and deception. 

I wouldn’t say the story is predictable, but this is one of the rare times I was able to guess an integral twist of the story before it was revealed.


Despite the lack of thrills, I thought the characters are well developed and readers can easily sympathize with them.  ★★★ 4/5

Monday, 6 June 2016

A Perilous Thirst: Vampirically Good



All right. So, I just had a conversation with a gay vampire, a very intelligent one, I might add. It was an honest conversation, but of course, he was doing all the talking and I was this captive audience. He was so open and candid about his life as a vampire in the time of AIDS epidemic. Even with his charm and confidence, I sensed his fear. It was real. With a vivid recounting of his conquests, he revealed a part of him that’s almost human.

A Perilous Thirst is a vampirically good short story that makes you feel that you’re actually there listening to an intriguing vampire character.


I don’t even know his name.  ★★★ 4/5

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Escape From Zandell: Something Ominous Lurks



In fantasy stories, Book #0 is usually the big set up with an even bigger cliffhanger; the characters are introduced and the fantasy world is established. Escape from Zandell by Dale Furse has managed to do that, but it was a bit of a confusing set up and it’s a challenge to keep up with the characters early on. But once you get to the second act, things start to make sense and you begin to understand the characters and their respective motivations just a little bit (there are still questions though). 

One problem here is that it’s not clear (at least not to me) who the real main character is. It seems to shift depending on the circumstance. But 
I like that there’s always this feeling that something ominous is lurking and any second, some character will die or will be in grave danger. It’s that kind of storytelling that piques my interest. Surely, it’s worth following the series, in the hope that this is just the start of something epic to come.  ★★★ 4/5