Angels of the Night and Day: Last Chapter + Epilogue

Oh Wow!

Ok. This is the first story I am finishing and it’s a feet for me. Angels of the Night and Day was my first foray into writing fiction (ok fanfiction but so what!) and it might be a blip on the radar for bigger things to come but it means something and I will¬†be shameless and blow my own trumpet over itūüėÄūüėÄ

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Click on the link below to get to the last chapter – Alive and then use the next button for the Epilogue

https://sakshichopra.wordpress.com/fanfiction/svm-fanfiction/angels-of-the-night-and-day/chapter-32-alive/

 

 

Daughter of Smoke and Bone: Book Review

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Book Blurb:

Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she‚Äôs prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she‚Äôs about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

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Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love.
                                                                                It did not end well.page_end

Such a beautiful book. This is how fantasy should be written. This is how fantasy should flow- like lyrics…

Right of the bat, I was immersed into Karou’s world, which is as colorful as her natural bright turquoise hair. She is an exceptionally gifted artist, living in Prague, and what she draws or paints breathes like it is¬†alive. Damn, even I am writing like poetry now and that is the effect this book had on me.

Karou¬†is raised by a set of mysterious, out of the world creatures she doesn’t fully understand, though they are the normal of¬†her life – a¬†horned half man she calls Brimstone, a half snake half woman Issa, and a few others. She straddles two worlds, the human one and the other one where her mysterious family belongs.

Karou¬†runs errands for¬†Brimstone¬†in return for small wishes. And like all mature seventeen year olds, uses them for mature far reaching wishes like an¬†itchy crotch for her douchy ex boyfriend. While he is in the middle of modelling. Nude. Surrounded by her entire art class. Or¬†giving her ex boyfriend’s current girlfriend bushy eyebrows¬†and so on and so forth…

Karou has a mostly normal familial relationship with Brimstone. Brimstone  is taciturn, strict and sometimes scary. But he cares for Karou in his own way. Even if we know early on that he is a demon, their conversations are pretty standard for a seventeen year old rebellious teen and their maybe parent figure.

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‚ÄúI don’t know many rules to live by,’ he’d said. ‘But here’s one. It’s simple. Don’t put anything unnecessary into yourself. No poisons or chemicals, no fumes or smoke or alcohol, no sharp objects, no inessential needles–drug or tattoo–and…no inessential penises either.’

‘Inessential penises?’ Karou had repeated, delighted with the phrase in spite of her grief. ‘Is there any such thing as an essential one?’

‘When an essential one comes along, you’ll know,’ he’d replied.‚ÄĚpage_end

But then Brimstone¬†sends Karou on a dangerous quest in Marrakesh and the colorful story starts getting deep.¬†There, Karou comes face to face with her past, her present and her likely future. She sees Akiva, she knows he is not human, she knows he is not even one of her friendly family demons, her body wants to get away from him. But Akiva sees Karou too, knows she is not human, knows she is not his kind either and his body doesn’t want to let her get away. So he follows her.page_end

‚ÄúUntil a few days ago, humans had been little more than legend to him, and now here he was in their world. It was like stepping into the pages of a book — a book alive with color and fragrance, filth and chaos — and the blue-haired girl moved through it all like a fairy through a story, the light treating her differently than it did others, the air seemed to gather around her like held breath. As if this whole place was a story about her.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúShe moved like a poem and smiled like a sphinx.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúI came back to find you,‚ÄĚ Akiva said. ‚ÄúI don‚Äôt know why. Karou. Karou. I don‚Äôt know why.‚ÄĚ His voice was so faint she could barely hear him. ‚ÄúJust to find you and be in the world that you‚Äôre in‚Ķ‚ÄĚ

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All is not unicorns and rainbows. War is brewing. And this war¬†will expose all that was yet hidden from Karou’s mostly human eyes. A war that at once destroys her world and remakes it into something she couldn’t have lived without if she knew.¬†There was so much story here. Intrigue and mystery and layer by layer the history of Akiva and Karou unfolds and enfolds.

A rather huge secret (and plot point) is¬†revealed. (I won’t tell! Read the book for it.)

Sides are picked. The oldest foes come again at arms against each other. Questions are asked, such as does being born a monster makes you one or does choosing to fight a holy war and massacre hundreds make you an angel? What is evil and what is good and what makes us one or either? Is it our family? Our upbringing? Our choices? Or simply if we have wings or blue hair? If both light and dark are the two sides of the same coin then what gives one the right to vanquish the other?page_end

‚ÄúHave you ever asked yourself, do monsters make war, or does war make monsters? I’ve seen things, angel. There are guerrilla armies that make little boys kill their own families. Such acts rip out the soul and make space for beasts to grow inside. Armies need beasts, don’t they? Pet beasts, to do their terrible work! And the worst part is, it’s almost impossible to retrieve a soul that has been ripped away. Almost.” He gave Akiva a keen look.”But it can be done, if ever… if ever you decide to go looking for yours.‚ÄĚ

“Once upon a time, a little girl was raised by monsters.
But angels burned the doorways to their world, and she was all alone.‚ÄĚpage_end

The magic was in the story as well as in the writing. Sure it followed a lot of YA tropes like –¬†Teenager without a stable family and into all kinds of nefarious activities but feels alone and not understood.¬†Overtly good looking guys falling in love with the teenager left and right.¬†One of the overtly good looking guy is an actual honest to god angel! (yes wings and all).¬†Tortured hero with tortured past. A few surprises that I don’t want to reveal…

But the thing is, Daughter of Smoke and Bone was fresh and beautiful and funny and gut wrenching despite all of this. The author Laini Taylor has a definite gift with words. Lovely that this is just the first book of the series and I have more to go. homerdance

Amazing find this one!

Paradise by Judith McNaught: Book Review

Alright. Lets do this.

Paradise

Book Blurb-¬†Corporate raider Matthew Farrell had come a long way from the poor, scruffy kid of Indiana’s steel mills. A long way from the country club where, feeling like an outsider, he had dared to fall in love with a beautiful blonde named Meredith Bancroft, and known a once-in-a-lifetime passion and betrayal that sill haunted his memory… Now world leaders courted him, the media watched his every move, and he was ready to move in on the Bancroft empire.

A cool, poised executive in her family’s legendary department store chain, Meredith had once defied her father for the sexually magnetic, intense Matt Farrell — and their brief, ill=fated marriage was the disastrous outcome. Now, as the Bancroft firm is threatened by a hostile takeover, Meredith is forced to confront Matt. As tensions build between them, bittersweet memories rise to the surface, leaving them suspicious, restless, and uncertain. Will they be able to believe in each other — and grasp the tender miracle that is before them?

Paradise, by Judith McNaught, a writer I have recently come across and have come to love, is one read I knew was going to be special while I was just finishing the first chapter.

I was right.

What a read. All 709 epic pages of it.

First I’d like to commend the author for the way she wrote all the characters, main or otherwise. Both the hero and the heroine, Meredith and Matt, are perfectly¬†in tune with their times, their circumstances and families. The way they meet and react to each other, reads like that was always bound¬†to happen and couldn’t have been anyway else. In fact, when I realized Matt and Meredith were going be near each other for the first time in that snooty country club, I was like…

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I actually took time to shut my kindle for a minute, giggle uncontrollably like an idiot and start up reading again with a dopy smile for the rest.

The writing is that good.

Second, oh how I loved the heroine. Meredith Bancroft is intelligent, self respecting, classy, has career aspirations and is as far from the vacuous/flighty/doormat heroine trend that has been going on for some time, as can be. Meredith is practical, thinks before she acts, and careful to the extreme. And yet she loves Matt impulsively, completely and passionately. When love deserts her, both from Matt and from her father who is her only remaining family, Meredith steps back, takes charge of her life and goes on to complete her business degree from Northwestern. Not only that, after all that happens to her, Meredith forgives and bravely forgets and graceful as ever, sincerely tries finding joy again.

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Which brings me to the third reason I can give this book a hundred stars- the handling of feminism and ideas of sex equality at home and at the work place in the seventies and eighties. Meredith’s ambitions of inheriting and subsequently running her family’s retail empire are a real driving force in her life for which she works hard. Hers¬†is NOT¬†some sort of pseudo-career that the writer just describes in the first chapter and then mentions only for the sake of wardrobe choices for her day, or to just lay groundwork for business trips that invariably result in dalliances with the hero. Her career and business and day to day work and strife are well written and integrated into the story and the build up of her character. I particularly liked the way her¬†struggles with male chauvinism at the work place are written, without drama or trying to invoke pity. People, men, are sexist and do not want to bow to a female president. The female president, Meredith, fights and doesn’t take this sexism lying down.¬†You can’t help rooting for this girl.

With each shitstorm Meredith braved, I put down the kindle, mentally cheered her being part of the female sisterhood, and resumed in fascination.

So when Matthew Farrell, the hero, actually treats her dreams and aspirations with respect, we get the seamless first step of a budding relationship that spans decades.

Matthew Farrell- the genius, ambitious, street smart, tenacious, outsider and nobody, who the ‘industrialist creme de la creme’ didn’t see coming and snubbed repeatedly. Matthew Farrell grew on me, little by little, chapter by chapter, with each adversity he faced down. He is the quintessential alpha male, without showing any traces of the currently trendy trop-y assholery/control-freakery/anti-feminist behavior. Rather, Matt is responsible, mature, adaptable and loyal. And Matt is¬†passionate to the nth degree, passionate when he loved, passionate when he hated and passionate when he turned his mind into building his business empire.

Then there is the love story. Beautifully rich, poignant, filled with torment and tenderness alike. And oh the heartbreak of young love! I should mention here the few times I shut my kindle, bawled my heart out at the cruelty of fate and started up reading again, dreading what was going to happen to these two brave souls next.

The second chance angle made it better. The story grew as the characters grew. Matt and Meredith¬†came to terms with themselves, their insecurities and needs, before they could be in a position to understand each other. Yes they had loved each other the first time around, but they didn’t exactly know what they were getting into. I loved that when the second chance came about, they tried behaving as¬†mature adults (most of the time anyways), failed mostly because there is a fine line between love and hate, flew of the handle, but always always came back to each other and tried again because they were too stubborn to give up and too intelligent to not see what they could have.

Here’s my Matthew (tall, dark hair, grey eyes and handsome) and Meredith (blonde, graceful and beautiful with an old world charm)
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Judith McNaught does romance books to perfection. It’s not that her characters are flawless rainbows of unicorn perfection. It is that her characters are sometimes flawed¬†but always strong, sometimes¬†insecure but beautiful nonetheless, willful but wise, ingenious and fun…and I could go on and on…As I read each subsequent book written by her, I am dreading the point in future when I’d have finished all of them and would have to find another author who compares to her in romance writing.

Maybe I’ll read all of them again.

Maybe I’ll find something else.

But Paradise (and the other McNaught books) are already winners of a lifetime for me. Thank you Ms McNaught for sharing your wonderful gift of writing with us readers.

Obsidian (LUX Novel 1): Book Review

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Book Blurb:

Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring…until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don’t kill him first, that is.

My Humble Opinion:
I love this book. Because … Aliens!!!
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Always had a secret little fetish for Aliens. Add to that my love for superheros with awesome powers and my exasperation with realistic stories of unrequited love and the impossibility of inter-species relationships (cough cough Sookie Stackhouse series cough cough), this book was an absolute breath of needed fresh air.

Won’t go into the story here. That’s for you to read and me to be smug over having read it already.

We have the other-alien-villain-race that is hell bent on obliterating Daemon’s people. Secret government organizations that track and try to keep ahead of each of these races. Under cover human-alien experiments. And a missing, suspected dead, twin, who needs to be found.¬†Makes for the light but engrossing kind of page turner, with all the elements of a superhero romance put in for the kicks.
Now quite a lot of readers have said that Obsidian is reminiscent of Twilight and what not. But honestly folks, I liked Obsidian (and Onyx and Opal, and all the other books in the LUX series) much more than the famed Twilight series, or the other regular dark hero stuff going around. The main tipping point being, Daemon Black, the hero who while being a jerk, is not a depressed debby downer and the heroine is a normal human being, not a weepy dishrag!
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So¬†Daemon Black is dreamy.¬†He¬†totally owns his otherness, his powers, his beauty and the whole frikking show. So when he¬†comes up in a scene, the nerd in me does a happy dance and claps gleefully, because Daemon Black is not ashamed of what he is. He is actually quite proud of himself and his powers. SOOO not an ANTIHERO! (I think the Daemon they got on the book cover is meh and totally picture Bill Skarsgard in the role but that’s besides the pointūüėÄ )¬†The heroine, Katy (I loved her¬†nickname Kitten by the way) is the regular teen.¬†She is not uncoordinated, not shy, just a little awkward like most of us are at the age. Katy is funny, butts heads with the best of them and loves fiercely. She reads a lot, also like a lot of us. The best part is¬†that she writes a book blog.
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The day my internet was hooked up was better than having a hot guy check out my butt and ask for my phone number.
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And Thank God for no insta-love. The story develops from Katy and Daemon cutting each other to pieces, amidst checking each other out…
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“You’re such an ass. Has anyone ever told you that?”
He flashed a genuinly amused smile. “Oh, Kitten, every single day of my blessed life.”
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My palms itched to have a close encounter of the bitch-slap kind with his face.
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‚ÄúThe son of a bitch blew up my laptop.‚ÄĚ
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…to being forced and then actual¬†friends, albeit simultaneously getting hot for each other …
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‚ÄúYou don’t look like an alien!’ It seemed important to point that out.

He arched a brow. ‘And what do aliens look like?’

‘Not…not like you,’ I sputtered. ‘They aren’t gorgeous–‘

‘You think I’m gorgeous?’ He smiled.‚ÄĚ

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…to eventually give in and become lovers.
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‚ÄúWill you show me what you really look like? You don‚Äôt sparkle, do you? And please tell me I didn‚Äôt almost kiss a giant brain-eating insect, because seriously, I‚Äôm gonna‚ÄĒ‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúKat!‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúSorry,‚ÄĚ I muttered.‚ÄĚpage_end

“I won’t hurt you, Kat.” His tone was softer, but still laced with fury as he tried to control me without doing any real damage. “I could never hurt you.”
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Obsidian, the first book in the LUX series, is an awesome SCI-FI, YA, action packed romantic adventure series with twists, turns and lotsa surprises.
I finished Obsidian in one sitting, started after dinner and was finished the next morning. I then promptly started with the next books of the series, household duties be damned.  I loved it. I would completely recommend it to the readers of the supernatural/fantasy/scifi romance genre.

Hide and Seek (Poem)

You don’t know how it feels in here,

you’re not in my head, you see,

to keep you out, I’d lie to you,

I’d lie to keep the¬†peace left to me.

 

I got it all jumbled, the up and the down,

Don’t know what’s good from¬†bad,

I’d still fight¬†to¬†keep the¬†good I can,

and take what bad is to be had.

 

Hide and seek’s the game we play,

a game of screens and smoke,

I hide you seek, I seek you hide,

and what’s left to unearth is hoax.

Sakshi Chopra

19 May 2016

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