Last Vacation

About Last Vacation:

Seven days have passed since Naples real estate agent Megan MacKenna has heard from her twin sister, Madeline, who was vacationing on the beautiful, Caribbean island of St. Croix. Though authorities are not convinced there is a case to solve, Megan knows with all of her heart something happened to Maddy. When Megan receives a direct warning to leave the island or end up like her sister, she turns to the only person who has taken her seriously since she arrived, Gabe, a breakfast cook at a local diner.

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Undercover DEA agent, Gabriel Walker has been building his cover for months, waiting for the opportunity to work his way into the infamous Torrez crime ring. When Megan shows up asking questions and Gabe realizes her twin’s disappearance might be linked to the Torrez men, he has to convince her to go back to Florida before she becomes their next victim.

The closer Megan gets to the truth, the more Gabe begins to suspect he is missing a huge piece of the puzzle. And someone is closing in on Megan…

Author Bio:

IMG_9297Fiction author, Sarah Elle Emm, is a native of Evansville, Indiana and graduate of The University of Evansville. She has lived in Germany, England, Mexico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and traveled extensively beyond. Sarah is the author of LAST VACATION (suspense), and the teen fantasy Harmony Run Series, which includes PRISMATIC, OPALESCENT, CHATOYANT, and NACREOUS. She is also the author of MARRYING MISSY, (women’s fiction), a #1 Amazon Best Seller. When she’s not walking the plank of her daughters’ imaginary pirate ship, she is writing.

Excerpt:

Megan peered out at the vast expanse of ocean gleaming in the bright morning sunshine before her. The turquoise waters seemed to go on forever. From the Caribbean Airways in flight map, she had noted the islands of Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and St. John were in the far off distance. She had been told a faint view of the densely populated St. Thomas could sometimes be seen on a perfectly clear day, but no matter how she strained her eyes, she couldn’t quite see it today.

Had Maddy hopped on a sailboat and continued her travels to another island as the police officer had suggested? It wasn’t like Maddy not to check in. Her cell phone had been going straight to voice mail since the last photo Maddy had sent, and according to the cell company, the cell phone was out of service range. Something had happened to her sibling. The last communication with Maddy had been an unexplained picture of an iguana. No message, no text, nothing. Just an enormous, slimy, dragon-resembling lizard. Megan sunk her head to her chest. Where in the world was her sister?

“Everything okay, Miss?”

Startled from her hopeless thoughts, Megan sat upright at the sound of the low voice. Her eyes scanned the length of the man standing before her, and she pursed her lips together. She guessed he was probably about six-foot-two.

As she sat silently, observing him, the man repeated his question, “Are you okay?” His tone bordered on cautious, but concerned.

“Everything’s fine,” she finally managed with a tight voice.

With a smile, his concern faded away, and he reached behind his back to untie a grease-spotted apron. He folded the apron up, pulled out a chair at the table right next to Megan’s, about a foot and a half from her, and sat down.

An internal alarm went off, making Megan feel extremely uncomfortable with his proximity, and she fidgeted with her hands as he stared at her, finally forcing them into her lap. How could a voice so soothing go with a gruff-looking character like him? And what in the world was he doing sitting down so close to her?

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The Last of the Firedrakes

The Last of the Firedrakes (Avalonia Chronicles #1)

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Author: Farah Oomerbhoy

Book – Wise Ink Creative Publishing, 488 pages

Genre: Fantasy

Source: Review Copy

 Story Line

“A fantastic adventure story that will transport you to a dazzling world of myth and magic.”

16-year-old Aurora Darlington is an orphan. Mistreated by her adopted family and bullied at school, she dreams of running away and being free. But when she is kidnapped and dragged through a portal into a magical world, suddenly her old life doesn’t seem so bad.

MapAvalonia is a dangerous land ruled by powerful mages and a cruel, selfish queen who will do anything to control all seven kingdoms—including killing anyone who stands in her way.  Thrust headlong into this new, magical world, Aurora’s arrival sets plans in motion that threaten to destroy all she holds dear.

With the help of a young fae, a magical pegasus, and a handsome mage, Aurora journeys across Avalonia to learn the truth about her past and unleash the power within herself. Kingdoms collide as a complicated web of political intrigue and ancient magic lead Aurora to unravel a shocking secret that will change her life forever.

About the Author:

Farah Oomerbhoy low-resFarah lives with her husband and three children in their family home in Mumbai, India. She has a Master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Mumbai. Her first novel is The Last of the Firedrakes, Book 1 of the Avalonia Chronicles.

For Farah Oomerbhoy, writing is a passion and reading her solace. She is a firm believer in the fantastic and magical, and often dreams of living in Narnia, Neverland, or the Enchanted Forest. When she was pregnant with her first child ten years ago, a story popped into her head she could not ignore. “I was at my grandmother’s house, and as I looked at the image of a beautiful forest with a castle in the distance on a tapestry hanging on the wall, I imagined myself being whisked away into another world,” she said. It was at that moment the world of Avalonia, with its powerful mages and fae and the evil Queen Morgana, was born. Farah Oomerbhoy’s debut novel, The Last of the Firedrakes, was released in the summer of 2015.

 You can follow Author on:

Farah Oomerbhoy / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram / Pinterest / Twitter / Author Post

Book Speaks

The Last of the Firedrakes is a wonderful book with a compelling story, diverse characters, and great plot, packed with magic a perfect read for a fantasy lover.

A fast read filled with drama, entertainment and good pacing. Beginning is really great but somewhere in the middle it becomes little loose but author did a great comeback to make overall experience of reading this book well. A lot happened in this book, Aurora’s journey is a long and twisted one, and that makes the book always changing and going in new directions. There is romance but not an easy love at first sight but one packed with tension and difficulties which was great, somewhere I found Aurora little too dumb but it was refreshing. Magical world created by author is also quite interesting especially a winged horse which belonged to a magical race known as “pegasus” which was quite cool.

Favourite quotes from ‘The Last of the Firedrakes’

“Everything happens for a reason, and nothing is an accident. It is all part of a much larger divine plan,”

“I had to stop running. I had to turn and face my life head on. It wasn’t enough being like everybody else; I had to be the best, and I was going to show everyone what I was truly made of. I was done with being a terrified princess, constantly waiting to be saved. I was going to be a queen, and, like Vivienne said, I had better start behaving like one.”

Overall rating for The Last of the Firedrakes is 3 actually 3.5, it is a nicely written book with good plot and characters but somewhere story is pushed a bit more to get the predictable actions which is annoying at times. If you like fantasy you will surely enjoy this one. We are looking forward for next book in the series.

Your Turn now go ahead and read it if you want some magic and fantasy dose.

 Buy Links:

AMAZON / FLIPKART

Giveaway Details:

  • One Amazon Gift Voucher worth 1000INR
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  • 3 Signed Copies of The Last of the Firedrakes

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The Palace of Illusions – Review

Book: The Palace of Illusions
Author: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Year: 2008

About the Author:

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an award-winning author and poet. Her work is widely known, as she has been published in over 50 magazines, including the Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker, and her writing has been included in over 50 anthologies. Her works have been translated into 20 languages, including Dutch, Hebrew and Japanese. Two of her books, The Mistress of Spices and Sister of My Heart, have been made into movies.

Chitra currently teaches in the nationally ranked Creative Writing program at the Univ. of Houston. She serves on the Advisory board of Maitri in the San Francisco Bay Area and Daya in Houston.

About the Book:

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The Mahabharata is an epic tale and is certainly not a new story to many of us. Most of us are familiar with it either by reading, by stories told by our parents or by TV serials, it’s no doubt one of the most renowned tale in India.

Mahabharata tells the story of the five Pandava and the Great War they’re destined to fight, ‘The Gita’ lessons and yes, Lord Krishna. This epic tale has given us many larger-than-life heroes, inspiring virtues, life lessons, stories-into-stories and even business lessons. Our culture has drawn a lot from the pages of this epic.

But for ages there was no voice that tells the tale about women of this era and that’s what Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni came up with.

“This is Panchaali’s Mahabharata”

The novel traces the princess Panchaali’s life, beginning with her birth in fire and following her spirited balancing act as a woman with five husbands who have been cheated out of their father’s kingdom. Panchaali is swept into their quest to reclaim their birthright, remaining at their side through years of exile and a terrible civil war involving all the important kings of India. Meanwhile, we never lose sight of her strategic duels with her mother-in-law, her complicated friendship with the enigmatic Krishna, or her secret attraction to the mysterious man who is her husbands’ most dangerous enemy. Panchaali is a fiery female redefining for us a world of warriors, gods, and the ever-manipulating hands of fate.

Book Speaks:

I was totally swept over by Chitra’s prose, mesmerized by the conviction with which she writes the story of one of the most complex characters of Mahabharata. Draupadi’s version of Mahabharata, capturing the essence of the epic in the form of a story but most importantly it gives a new perspective to the old story.

As the story begins Draupadi emerges as any mortal being, flawed by vices in the most realistic ways – egocentric, unpredictable, displaying regular acts of anger, confusion, insatiable yearnings, her hidden desire for Karana. All this being the cause of one of the most disastrous battles in the history but as book progressed, she showed her other side of being wise, passionate, head-strong and heroic.

It shows how difficult and horrendously life treated her. Her oppressed childhood, forced polygamy and everything she has had to endure tore my heart to pieces. This poignantly told story changed my views about the epic and specially Panchaali’s character.

Author no doubt did a wonderful job of trimming, condensing, and restructuring the story through Panchaali’s eyes.

Overall rating: 4

Clearly, BookSpeaks enjoyed this book as it touched our hearts.

You know there are books that somehow soak deeper into your being. The kind you enjoy, but you can’t point to the one thing about them that makes them so spectacular. The Palace of Illusions was one of those books.

Which book has unexpectedly ended up staying with you long after you’ve read it’s final words? Share with us – it’s Your Turn now.

Soul Warrior by Falguni Kothari

 

Soul Warrior (The Age of Kali, #1) by Falguni Kothari

falguni_40_clrAbout the Author: Falguni Kothari is a New York-based South Asian author and an amateur Latin and Ballroom dance silver medalist with a semi-professional background in Indian Classical dance. She’s published in India in contemporary romance with global e-book availability; Bootie and the Beast (Harlequin Mills and Boon) and It’s Your Move, Wordfreak! (Rupa & Co.), and launches a mythic fantasy series with Soul Warrior (The Age of Kali, #1)

About the Book: Twisted myths. Discretion advised. 

Fight fate, or succumb to destiny?

In the dark Age of Kali, the Soul Warrior alone stands guard over the Human Realm, protecting its denizens from evil-willed asuras or demons. When a trick of fate appoints him guru to a motley crew of godlings, he agrees to train them as demon hunters against his better judgment. Suddenly, Lord Karna is not only battling the usual asuras with sinister agendas, but also rebellious students and a fault-ridden past.

Spanning the cosmic realms of mythic India, here is a tale of a band of supernatural warriors who come together over a singular purpose: the salvation of Karna’s secret child.

Book Speaks: Lately we have seen many books retelling stories from Indian mythology, some giving a new perspective to an old story, some telling less known stories and some with a complete twist. Soul warrior by Kothari is one such book which came with a fresh voice and a different story. It’s a wonderful read and because I knew very little about the complicated details of the myths I was engrossed in it till the end.

Lord Karna is the Soul Warrior, the one that fights to keep the balance and the demons out of the Human Realm. And he gets assigned a task he never wanted, train 6 new warriors. As the plot progresses there is lots of family- relationship drama, Reincarnations – God, and needless to say twist and turns which keep one engrossed in the book till the end.

Overall rating 3 – Hindu Mythology: I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in reading Hindu mythology. A certain amount of prior mythological knowledge would be good to know the characters well, but it is not a prerequisite as author has very clearly defined the characters and plot.

Book Links:

Kobo iBooks * Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon Canada

Source – Review Copy

The Pilgrimage

I enjoy reading Paulo Coelho’s books because they touch you and make you want more. First book that I started with was ‘Brida’ and it has left a great impact on me, followed by ‘The Alchemist’ which I am sure I don’t have to tell anything because it was simply ultimate, a master piece.

I connected with experiences written in the book, its exercises, and shadow approach for decision making, the fear of failure, the cruelty exercise, the legion, the messenger, and the omens. My favourite ‘The Burial exercise’ was really breathtaking; I felt Goosebumps because of the amazing experience, the description of the scene was simply awesome. Though sword and magic were secondary things for people like me but the entire journey of ‘The Road of Santigo’ by ‘the common man’ had lots of teaching to offer.

It’s a great feeling to experience teaching with imagination. It feels amazing when a book reveals its secrets in front of you as if things are just happening right there. I imagine myself singing, getting into trance & walking the path to discover my sword. When I read ‘The Pilgrimage’ it filled me with the feeling of joy, consciousness, courage and hopes to follow my heart.

I feel incredibly enriched and renewed after each read. It stirs my soul and my mind up. It’s indeed a source of inspiration and illumination. Amazing indeed.

Just want to say thanks to author for this encouraging, outstanding, enriching experience of ‘The Pilgrimage’ like The Pilgrim!

Overall Rating 4