Tag Archives: Book review

Review: Wings of Chaos by Travis Simmons



This series has been a long journey of discovery for the protagonists and the readers. Here, On the Wings of Chaos, we finally learn a bit more about the original four, Angelica, Jovian, Joya and Amber. They go back to their original goal of looking for their sister Amber. As usual there is a lot happening around them and a few glimpses of what is about to unfold in their future is very fascinating. In his detailed descriptions which are nearly photographic, Travis Simmons has managed to awe his readers again with the transfusion of the clean Wyrd into Sara.
Other transformations are also commendable but this one’s my favourite.

Dear Readers, do read all the books to get an all round experience of the world of the Wyrd. Just one review of one book in the middle of the series does not do justice.

On Wings of Chaos (The Revenant Wyrd Saga #5)

The captivating sequel to A Guardian of Shadows.

In the mystical lands of the Great Realms, Angelica, Jovian, and Joya search for their kidnapped sister, Amber. Their quest has led them through many dangers and revelations, but nothing has prepared them for what’s about to come.

A dream reveals what Angelica and Jovian are, but what does it mean for their future? There’s little time to dwell on this, for the chaos dwarves, the scourge of the Realm of Earth, are gathering at the gates of the Guardian’s Keep. The dwarves have the stone Wyrders’ Bane, and they’ve shown they know how to unleash its plague upon all those who wield the magical force of wyrd. With casters neutralized, a mighty blow has been dealt to the allied forces. The dwarves and trolls attack the keep, and the struggle to survive the war in the north is upon them.

Angelica, Jovian, and Joya’s journey is far from easy, but the future looks even bleaker when visions of a gathering darkness in the west and a congregation of angels could mark the beginning of the final war on the Ever After.

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About the Author

Travis has been writing since he was 14. He began writing a book called “The Calling of the Two” and while writing that on and off he started uncovering another idea.

“Yes, this is all well and good, but what about before? What happened in the world before these characters came into it?” He always knew there was a “before” and as he started wondering about it he got ideas. At first they were little ideas but as he discovered the names for his characters a whole story about them emerged.

Travis started working on The Revenant Wyrd Saga several years back and he is very happy he did because hearing and documenting Jovian and Angelica’s story has been one wild ride for him. He has also written the Infernal Design series.

He lives in a small town at the base of the Adirondack Mountains and hoofing around my neck of the woods gives him a ton of inspiration for his novels. He loves research, and speculating on different ideas and theories.

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Also available in The Revenant Wyrd Saga



(Book 6 coming August)

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Kolkata or Calcutta is always a dilemma #atozchallenge

Review: Calcutta by Amit Chaudhuri

Summary: Although it appears to be a travelogue or an autobiography, it does not fit perfectly into either of the two genres. Chaudhuri’s succinct and elegiac account of a global city, that tries very hard to hold on to its identity, amidst the rapid globalization of a rising economic power is a mesmeric read as diverse as Calcutta itself.


This is the cover of the book in the Indian Sub-continent. The one I own was bought in London, UK and has a garish orange cover, which is very unlike Calcutta. Kolkata or Calcutta has moments of flamboyance and high drama but never garish!

Main review text:
To a non-resident Calcutta-n this book will evoke extremes of emotions. Some, like me, will be taken on a nostalgic trip through Calcutta, a city that was British India’s capital until 1911, the dilapidated metropolis, which had once defined India’s future and national identity. Without its freedom fighters, social-reformers, philosophers, scientists and artists, the India as we know today would have been a different place.

Amit Chaudhuri’s social commentary and economic history of Calcutta are interspersed with character sketches of a derelict city and its inhabitants, who are still clinging on to its colonial past. The Ingabanga community, as coined by Chaudhuri, is the remnants of a culturally elite class that after much intellectual turmoil chose the communist ideals and was then crushed mercilessly by India’s government. Bengalis built their history during their relationship with the British Empire. With the departure of British and the decline of its industries, all its connections with the world were severed.

However, politics is not the book’s major concern. Chaudhuri speaks of the aftermath of politics in Calcutta, commenting on the costs incurred in its battle to preserve the connection with the world outside.  On reading Calcutta, I realized that Chaudhuri wants to impress upon us that we are not living in a world very different from Calcutta. Calcutta is just a case study of the aftermath of globalization. Towns and cities culturally destroyed by commercialization – chains of supermarkets and technological highways are all that connect us – just like in Calcutta.

The other cover

The other cover

Chaudhuri discusses the disconnection that Globalization has to offer. An Italian chef in Calcutta expresses his frustration, that people in Calcutta don’t want his fresh olives and tomatoes. Why would they? I wonder, Italian food is what globalization brought to Calcutta, which already had a mature and developed cuisine, which transforms tomatoes into chutneys!
This book is going to enrage a lot of people. However, it is a kind of book that India truly needs. A book sans the glamour of Bollywood, the mysticism of snake charmers, spices and forgotten villages is not quite the usual fare for literature from the sub-continent. Devastating, it may be, but reading Calcutta will give you an insight of the real India that travelogues will not.

Further reading suggestionA Dead Hand: A Crime in Calcutta by Paul Theroux, The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri, An Atlas of Impossible Longing by Anuradha Roy

Disclaimer for reading suggestions: I haven’t read all of these, but I will read them at some point of time. After careful research they looked like books that are similar in theme or style to Calcutta by Amit Chaudhuri.

Review: The Ruby Slippers by Keir Alexander

Ruby slippers

How can a smelly old bag lady change your life? That is exactly what the characters in this social drama thought about their unkempt acquaintance, Rosa. But things changed after her death when a pair of Ruby slippers were found in her possession.

Not unlike Cinderella’s glass shoe and Dorothy’s magic shoes, the shoe metaphor has a pivotal role to play in this urban fairy tale. The Ruby slippers entranced everybody and drew out the good, bad and ugly in everyone. It enticed, teased and gave them new hopes and desperate dreams.

Michael the Grocer goes on a journey of self exploration, where he learns more about his life and his Aunt Rosa’s. Despite the odds and pressure, unlike some others, he remains resolute that the ruby slippers is a sign of beauty and hope in their lives and not a sudden windfall.

Keir Alexander’s debut novel has shown mastery over plot and character building. Creating many multi-dimensional characters in a compelling and convoluted story is no mean feat. Although I found the novel well paced, it might appear slow to some. But I believe the plot and the build up needed the gentle walk-in-the-park treatment quite unlike the mad rush of New York City.

I am a Lovereading review panel member and I received an ARC for my honest and unbiased opinion of the book. Published by Constable and Robinson the book will be available on Amazon and Lovereading.co.uk from 20 March 2014.

Review: Slide by Michelle Congdon

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Slide is one of those feel good novels that I would read when I am down in dumps. Michelle Congdon’s venture into the world of fiction has had a good start. From the delectable Ryan Fox to the perfect Evangeline, everything and everyone in this début novel is designed to please. Fast paced and slick Ryan Fox the hero of Slide might just develop a fan following amongst the young adult readers.

I would have enjoyed more if there was more of a mystery behind the various deaths in the novel because in the beginning there were hints that  the deaths were not just accidental. However after the slight build up of suspense the story changes its course. Elaborating on the suspense element might have added a little more depth to the story.

This was also the first time that I realized, I am older than the protagonists! It did come as a shock but adult contemporary novels are often written with a certain age group in mind. However, are present day 22 year olds thinking of marriage? Slide and its issues felt like going back in time. Other than the presence of cellular phones, Slide could have been an Adult Contemporary Novel from the 1980s. But, as I have mentioned before, Slide is a wonderful book to pick when you need lift.

Michelle Congdon has very graciously shared Ten Random Facts about Slide. So, I hope they satisfy your curiosity. If not, I am sure she’ll oblige to answer more questions in the comments section below.

Of Vile Bodies and Bright Young Things

Vile BodiesVile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Do you you think that the neediness of seeing and being seen is a particularly human trait? If so, Evelyn Waugh’s Vile Bodies is an embodiment of that trait. The distinguishing feature of the elite of the 1920s society was their shallow frippery and life-is-a-long-party attitude. Waugh’s own comment, ‘I regard writing not as investigation of character but as an exercise in the use of language, and with this I am obsessed. I have no technical psychological interest. It is drama, speech and events that interest me.’ is an example of this shallowness.

Rest assured, Vile Bodies is an enlightening and exciting read. It continued  to shock and amuse me right till the end. ‘…nobody told me there was going to be a war!’ Blissfully oblivious of the real world around them a group of Bright Young Things, led by the perpetually drunken Agatha Runcible, party around London. It is as if, they’ve wilfully decided to enclose themselves in a shroud of frivolity, gossip, costume parties and fun. Many people have died, families and homes lost in the previous war, there is also talk of another war waiting to happen. However, if you don’t talk about it, it does not concern you or affect you. Such is the spirit of the age that Evelyn Waugh comments upon. There is a plot, somewhere, how Nina marries Adam, but its buried under the social cameos, the character sketches that suddenly remind you of someone you know, someone born in the 90s. Yes, that’s a sobering thought indeed!

Vile Bodies

Vile Bodies was adapted into a film, Bright Young Things, by Stephen Fry. Fry’s wit and clever direction manages to make it an entertaining film but fails to copy the bitter and apprehensive taste that Vile Bodies leaves in your mouth. That feeling of self righteous condescension you get while reading a social satire.

Have we learnt any lessons from that age? In this age of Facebook and Twitter  we continue to follow the ideology of seeing and being seen, as a result, forgetting to live our real lives. The gossip in Vile Bodies reminds me of conversations with friends that revolve around Facebook and people I’ve stalked. Hopefully we foray into the world of party and glitterati only occasionally. Halloween balls and costume parties with drunken binges are things we do to entertain ourselves away from the drudgery of real life, rising costs and daily drudgery.

All this because I’ve been invited to a 1920s Prohibition Party by Citysocializer and I’ve been trying to get into the 1920s mood. But I think the present day and age is very like its predecessor so, all I have to do is to dress the part. Flapper and frippery anybody?

Prohibition Party invitation

For more about the party and my thoughts on the 1920s, visit my other blog at driftingtraveller.me

Heritage (The Grimoire Saga #3) by S.M.Boyce

HeritageKara Magari isn’t normal, even by Ourea’s standards—and in a world of shape-shifters and soul stealers, that’s saying something. To the royalty, she’s a loose cannon. To the masses, she’s a failure. But Kara’s arrival in Ourea started a war, and she’s going to end it. An ancient isen named Stone takes an interest in Kara’s training, and it turns out he has more answers than he originally led her to believe. In an effort to unearth a secret that might end the bloodshed, Kara instead discovers an ugly truth about her family—and how much she has in common with an infamous mass-murderer.

Braeden Drakonin has slowly rebuilt his life after the betrayal that tore it apart. His father wants him dead, and frankly, his so-called allies wouldn’t mind that either. Private alliances are formed. Secrets are sold. Tension is driving the armies apart. A single battle will end this war, and it’s coming. Braeden may be a prince, but it will take more than that to survive. He must take the fight to his father’s door—and win.


Heritage (The Grimoire Saga, #3)Heritage by S.M. Boyce

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Heritage is all about life lessons and inheritance. Kara, finally learns to be a hero and is no longer the social outcast of the masses and the scapegoat of Ourea’s rulers. Boyce surpasses herself in the skilful manipulation of characters and it leaves you wondering, who is good or evil? or, how many shades of grey are there? As Kara finds out, at an expense, heroes are not knights in shining armour, their heroism depends on perception and the telling of the story.

Heritage is also all about relationships and unlike the previous two of the Grimoire Saga, Boyce has concentrated on developing relationships more than weaving the fantasy world. In a way Heritage is more of Paranormal Romance than Fantasy Fiction. Whether, Heritage will set a tone, for the rest of the series, is yet to be seen.

However, the slower pace is probably the lull before the storm. The forces of Ourea are gathering and changing sides swiftly, like a rising crescendo before an impending war. Every character has their own agenda and Boyce makes it all very believable. You can actually relate to some of the crises and recognize the reasons for personal vendettas.

On the whole Illusion promises a lot of drama and action in Fall 2014. Can’t wait to see what happens next!

S.M. BoyceInternational Amazon Bestseller. Fantasy Author. Twitter addict. Book Blogger. Geek. Sarcastic. Gooey. Odd. Author of the action-packed Grimoire Saga S.M. Boyce is a novelist who loves ghosts, magic, and spooky things. She prefers loose-leaf tea, reads far too many books, and is always cold. She’s married to her soul mate and couldn’t be happier. Her B.A. in Creative Writing qualifies her to serve you french fries. Boyce likes to update her blog a few times each week so that you have something to wake you up in the morning.

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One Lucky Winner will get a Signed Copy of Lichgates (Grimoire Saga #1) by S.M.Boyce.

Giveaway Open to US Residents Only.

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Treason (The Grimoire Saga #2) by S.M.Boyce

TreasonKara Magari ignited a war when she stumbled into Ourea and found the Grimoire: a powerful artifact filled with secrets. To protect the one person she has left, she strikes a deal that goes against everything she believes in. But things don’t go as planned.

Braeden Drakonin can no longer run from who—and what —he is. He has to face the facts. He’s a prince. He’s a murderer. He’s a wanted man. And after a betrayal that leaves him heartbroken, he’s out for blood. To survive, both Kara and Braeden must become the evil each has grown to hate.


Treason (The Grimoire Saga, #2)Treason by S.M. Boyce

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Buy Links:

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Treason starts right where we left Kara and Braedon in Lichgates and is very fast paced. Boyce does not spend too much time with further descriptions and plunges right into the story. When I finished Lichgates I expected certain turns that the story might take in Treason. But I was surprised and delighted to find unforeseen twists in the plot. While Lichgates was a brilliant debut novel with stunning descriptions and imagination, Treason showcases Boyce’s skills in character development and storytelling. She is exceptionally good at creating villainous characters. While Carden’s villainy will leave you outraged, the others are plotting, scheming and sometimes normal people.

What I also liked about Boyce’s style is that she rarely leaves any questions unanswered for too long. You don’t have to wait till the end of the series to find out what was left for Kara by her father. Moreover Kara matures into a powerful figure and Braeden stops being confused all the time. Romance and relationships play a large role in Treason and I believe it sets a tone for future books in the series. Another character, who develops into a pivotal role is Twin. While reading Lichgates I formed certain opinions about her and I am sure all readers will, but Twin’s role in Treason is quite different from what I had expected. To avoid spoilers, I’ll just say, I am still expecting Twin to become a character with more shades of grey.

The versatility of Boyce’s storytelling is revealed by the fact that she doesn’t have too many obvious cliffhangers holding the plot together. Instead, she has new characters with their own twists in the tale. The political nature and the feuds make Ourea really believable but I couldn’t help drawing parallels with real world situations. As a result the underlying tension and strain in the book is quite palpable and makes it a faster read. I finished reading Treason faster than Lichgates!

I would really like to ask Boyce, whether she considers playing chess akin to writing the Grimoire Saga. Treason reminded me of a convoluted game of strategy with pawns in a major role. I would recommend Treason to lovers of fantasy fiction, but it is essential to read Lichgates first and absolutely vital to read Heritage, if you don’t want to lose your mind, wondering, what happens next?

S.M. BoyceInternational Amazon Bestseller. Fantasy Author. Twitter addict. Book Blogger. Geek. Sarcastic. Gooey. Odd. Author of the action-packed Grimoire Saga S.M. Boyce is a novelist who loves ghosts, magic, and spooky things. She prefers loose-leaf tea, reads far too many books, and is always cold. She’s married to her soul mate and couldn’t be happier. Her B.A. in Creative Writing qualifies her to serve you french fries. Boyce likes to update her blog a few times each week so that you have something to wake you up in the morning.

Connect with the Author:


One Lucky Winner will get a Signed Copy of Lichgates (Grimoire Saga #1) by S.M.Boyce.

Giveaway Open to US Residents Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway