Running Barefoot by Amy Harmon: A book review

Blurb:When Josie Jensen, an awkward 13-year-old musical prodigy crashes headlong into new-comer Samuel Yazzie, an 18-year-old Navajo boy full of anger and confusion, an unlikely friendship blooms. Josie teaches Samuel about words, music and friendship, and along the way finds a kindred spirit. Upon graduation, Samuel abandons the sleepy, small town in search of a future and a life, leaving his young friend behind. Many years go by and Samuel returns, finding Josie in need of the very things she offered him years before. Their roles reversed, Samuel teaches Josie about life, love, and letting go. Deeply romantic and poignant, Running Barefoot is the story of a small town girl and a Native American boy, the ties that bind them to their homes and families, and the love that gives them wings.


Running Barefoot is an amalgamation of all my favorite romantic themes in books. Slow burn romance with a clear promise on the endgame? Check. Second chance at a relationship when the characters are more equipped to deal with it? Check. Hard working, sensible, loyal main characters? Check. Uncontrollable crying while reading? Check. Meaningful classic romance book references? Check. I mean their conversation started with that love letter from Persuasion that is the be all and end all of literary love letters for me.

A book I couldn’t put away? Check.

I went into Running Barefoot with zero expectations, without reading the summary. I can’t say what made me pick this one up. But I am so glad I did. It was an experience in technical brilliance and emotional character building…continue reading review

Warcross by Marie Lu: Book Review

Book Blurb:

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.


Oh wow! What an unexpected surprise Warcross turned out to be. I will not summarize the plot here. After all, I went in blind too. And by blind, I mean I didn’t even read the blurb. I just jumped in. And I couldn’t jump out till I finished the whole damn book.

First, about the main characters.

Emika is an awesome protagonist; intelligent, street smart, independent, with a healthy sense of self preservation. The book is written in Emika’s point of view and captivates till the end. I developed a little girl crush on this girl, what with her hacking prowess and debugging abilities (I am a coder ha ha), though plot wise, things do work out for her a little too much. I don’t mind that. Emika is as far from a wilting violet heroine as can be. Which is great. There is a romance. This romance does not dictate her life and ideas. Which is refreshing!

Here’s a sample of her life process-

But sometimes, people kick you to the ground at recess because they think the shape of your eyes is funny. They lunge at you because they see a vulnerable body. Or a different skin color. Or a different name. Or a girl. They think that you won’t hit back – that you’ll just lower your eyes and hide. And sometimes, to protect yourself, to make it go away, you do.

But sometimes, you find yourself standing in exactly the right position, wielding exactly the right weapon to hit back.

See how more people (cough girls cough) need to think this way?

Read complete review here-

Click to read Warcross Book Review

My first spy thriller! Let Bhutto Eat Grass: Book Review

Without giving away spoilers (any more than I already have), I want to say that Let Bhutto Eat Grass blew me away and kept me coming back for more. The story flows seamlessly, sets a good pace and doesn’t slack whatsoever. The characters are well fleshed out, their progress natural. Once I started on the first chapter, I could not put the damn thing down. I read it while – brushing teeth, burning toast, doing the dishes, hopping on my feet to calm down a very cranky 2 month old followed by reading the story out loud to the same but considerably mellowed down two month old… etc etc… you get the picture. I loved Agarkhedkar’s dry sarcastic humor. It was the perfect voice to paint a picture of the sorry state of Indian politics in the seventies, and very realistically capture how relatively normal people might deal with the horrific.

Click to Get to the Review

Love and Decay, Volume One by Rachel Higginson: Book Review

Book Blurb by author:

Zombies- as if that wasn’t enough to ruin any girl’s dream of a happily ever after.

A vaccination gone oh so wrong and a huge portion of the world’s population was turned into Zombies. Reagan Willow is forced out of her home when her parents become casualties of the horrid Zombie Apocalypse. With the help of her best friend Haley, they’ve become somewhat of experts on surviving the dangers of a world thrust into chaos and decay.

Reagan and Haley are on a vague mission to find somewhere safe to live out the remainders of their terrifying life when they stumble upon the Parkers, a pack of brothers that seem to have the survival thing down in a much more efficient and successful way than Reagan could ever have imagined. They are also protecting their eight year old sister, Page, and will do anything to keep her safe.

The brothers decide that Reagan and Haley need help with being kept safe as well, and as a group they set off to find the Zombie-free utopia Reagan is dreaming of.

Zombies are a daily problem, constantly threatening the lives of their group, but they’re not the only peril on the journey ahead. Militia groups of power hungry men are also a constant concern. And settlements of paranoid, suspicious people turn out to be just as hazardous.

Admit it or not, apocalypses, end of the world scenarios, destruction of the world as we know it, all of these are subjects that fascinate us all on some level. Maybe it is about a morbid curiosity of watching a train-wreck. For some of us, it may be because of a doom and gloom kind of personality. Or maybe, the subject is so fantastically impossibly probable, that we can’t help but think about it every once in a while.

Love and Decay by Rachel Higginson is a dystopian drama, set in a world where a cure for STDs involuntarily triggered a mass infection turning humans into zombies. Right off the mark, here’s a few things that hooked me to this story-

  1. Narrators are two badass twenty year old women who fight zombies, face humans worse than zombies, are not whiny complaining sob-sters and have a deep friendship that does not shake.
  2. Zombies.
  3. Great and believable action sequences.
  4. Freaking zombies!

Continue Reading…(Click here)


Kulti: Book Review


Book Blurb: 

“Trust me, I’ve wanted to punch you in the face a time or five.”

When the man you worshipped as a kid becomes your coach, it’s supposed to be the greatest thing in the world. Keywords: supposed to.

It didn’t take a week for twenty-seven-year-old Sal Casillas to wonder what she’d seen in the international soccer icon—why she’d ever had his posters on her wall, or ever envisioned marrying him and having super-playing soccer babies.

Sal had long ago gotten over the worst non-break-up in the history of imaginary relationships with a man that hadn’t known she’d existed. So she isn’t prepared for this version of Reiner Kulti who shows up to her team’s season: a quiet, reclusive, shadow of the explosive, passionate man he’d once been.

Nothing could have prepared her for the man she got to know.

Or the murderous urges he brought out in her.

“Sal, please don’t make me visit you in jail. Orange isn’t your color.”

This was going to be the longest season of her life.

A seven year old football nut (I won’t call it soccer because I am not American and everybody other than Americans calls the sport football because see, foot meets ball is football) Sal watches the debut of a nineteen year old German footballer Reiner Kulti on TV, watches him score an impossible goal and take his team to victory, and she is hooked for life. Literally. To football and to Reiner Kulti.


Sal did what the best of us with a childhood obsession, that stretches into teenage, do. Covered her bedroom walls with Kulti’s posters, wrote him fan letters declaring she was his #1 fan, had an imaginary relationship with him and informed her parents that one day she, Salome Casillas, was going to marry Reiner Kulti. Sal dreamed of playing with Kulti one day, no matter how out of the world her dreams looked like. So with the single minded focus of a girl on a mission, she played football, put her heart, soul and life into it, till her dream took a life of it’s own.

Of course, while Sal was busy perfecting her game, Reiner Kulti rose as an international superstar and became a world renown celebrity. He married when Sal was seventeen and in anger, she tore down all his posters from her walls. Then Kulti got divorced (but the damage was already done for the passionate teenager in love/hate with him), won more world cups and player of tournaments, allegedly got injured and retired. All in the course of 20 years.

The story starts however, with an announcement of a new assistant coach for a twenty seven year old Sal’s WPL soccer team- the Pipers. In a fun twist of fate, the new coach is none other than Reiner Kulti. But, and that was a big juicy but, Kulti is nothing like Sal and everyone knows and expects him to be. He is silent, distant and uninterested. Long past her childhood crush, the most aggravating thing for Sal now is, he does not even want to play football with any of them.

Thus starts ACT 2 of Sal and Kulti’s story (Kulti of course has no idea of Sal’s obsessive ACT 1).

Reiner Kulti is rude, infuriatingly taciturn and generally an ass. Sal, when she can’t take it anymore, calls him out on it. The after effects are good and bad. Kulti starts paying attention to the team. Which is good. He takes a special interest in Sal. That starts the bad (initially at least). Because when Kulti really starts coaching, he is relentless.


He kept going. “Twenty-three, this.” “Twenty-three, that.” Twenty-three, twenty-three, twenty-three…

Shoot me in the face, twenty-three.

There wasn’t affection in his tone, much less pride.

Every single time I looked at him when he called my number, his face was set in a rough expression. Glowering. He was glowering at me.


But my favorite thing that came out of his mouth was “Is that how girls play soccer?”

Oh man.

I’d heard that one before. It still got me every time.

But if what he wanted, was for me and the team to show him just how girls played, he got his wish. We were all out for blood.


Tough love apart, over a period of time, Sal and Kulti form a tentative friendship when Kulti unexpectedly starts spending time outside practice with Sal, starting with Sal kicking a ball to Kulti and him kicking it to a goal (not) followed by a one on one match between the two when Reiner Kulti plays football for the first time in two years.

For all his standoffish rudeness, Reiner ‘the King’ Kulti is not as uninterested as he comes off to be. His interest in Sal’s career comes through in how he rips her a new one and threatens to bench her when she does not play as well as she can in a match. He protects her, even if no one sees it. He stands by her and through sheer stubbornness that rivals Sal, fights to be her friend even when she doesn’t want him (outwardly of course).


He might have started pulling on the shortest of short ends of his hair in what was a mix of annoyance and frustration. “Yes, goddamnit, get mad! If my coach had ever even hinted at taking me out of a game, I would have lost it. You’re the best player on the team—“

I’d swear on my life that my heart stopped beating. Had he just said what I think he said?

“You’re one of the best I’ve ever seen, period, man or woman. What kills me is that you are a complete fucking pushover who’s hung up on worthless words in front of a person that doesn’t matter.” His cheeks were flushed. “Grow some balls, Casillas. Fight me for this. Fight anyone that tries to take this away from you,”


The friendship becomes deeper. It thrives. Over the course of a season, Sal comes to know the real Reiner Kulti, not the superstar, not the celebrity. Sal pulls Kulti out of his iron barricades, inch by glacial inch. The silent German makes his way into Sal’s heart, inch by precious inch. Their relationship grows over sharing runs and workouts, sharing games, sharing ice packs and arnica oil, sharing meals. Oh and small rebellions against their PR department and team managers after pictures of them start appearing in the press and Sal is threatened that she’d be traded with another team if she doesn’t keep a low profile. But by then, Sal is fighting for this burgeoning but fragile bond too.


Best thing about the heroine, Salome Casillas doesn’t do anything by halves. When she breaks her walls for Kulti, down the walls go with aplomb. She realizes she never really stopped loving her idol ‘the King’ and now, he means much more to her than a distant dream.

And by the Gods Reiner Kulti doesn’t half ass stuff as well! He loves Sal back with an intensity that took my breath away. He is tenacious, protective, possessive, obnoxiously honest, devious, a little needy and amazing with Sal and her family.

Yep! I swooned. I fell in love with Kulti too. Who wouldn’t? Reiner Kulti has now joined the ranks of my best book boyfriends. With honors!


Things I loved about Mariana Zapata’s Kulti-

  1. Salome is the best kind of heroine- never quits, works harder than possible, fights with the bitchiest of them and still has honor. She is completely awesome. Reiner Kulti is pretty awesome too. Together they are a force to be reckoned with.
  2. This is the best slow burn romance I have read.
  3. Sal’s relationship with her family. Both her parents are involved and loving. Her dad is a drama queen but her best friend. Her mom wanted something other than football for Sal, but supports her nonetheless. Her older brother Eric, also a footballer, is protective as brother should be. There is even a pest of a younger teen sister. They all talk to each other, matter in each other’s life and are as close knit as they can be while living cities apart.
  4. The book beautifully pictures the lives of athletes, one who is a superstar in contrast to the one who is as good but not valued as much as the other one. The sacrifices they make, the discipline they self impose, the everyday pain and sweat of keeping their bodies in top form to keep up their relevance, even the early bed times and careful food selections, everything reads genuine and real.
  5. The humor. Sal’s inner voice is hilarious.
  6. All characters are well written, well fleshed out and fun to read.

Things I didn’t like about Mariana Zapata’s Kulti-

  1. Not a damn thing…

Daughter of Smoke and Bone: Book Review


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’s 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’s 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?



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.


“I 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.”page_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

“Until 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.”

“She moved like a poem and smiled like a sphinx.”

“I came back to find you,” Akiva said. “I don’t know why. Karou. Karou. I don’t know why.” His voice was so faint she could barely hear him. “Just to find you and be in the world that you’re in…”


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

“Have 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.”

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


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…


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.

giphy (1)

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)


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

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!!!

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!
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 point 😀 ) 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.
The day my internet was hooked up was better than having a hot guy check out my butt and ask for my phone number.
And Thank God for no insta-love. The story develops from Katy and Daemon cutting each other to pieces, amidst checking each other out…
“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.”
My palms itched to have a close encounter of the bitch-slap kind with his face.
“The son of a bitch blew up my laptop.”
…to being forced and then actual friends, albeit simultaneously getting hot for each other …
“You 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.”

…to eventually give in and become lovers.
“Will you show me what you really look like? You don’t sparkle, do you? And please tell me I didn’t almost kiss a giant brain-eating insect, because seriously, I’m gonna—”


“Sorry,” I muttered.”page_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.”
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.

Happily Ever Ninja: Book Review


Book Blurb:

There are three things you need to know about Fiona Archer… I would tell you what they are, but then I’d have to kill you.

But I can tell you that Fiona’s husband—the always irrepressible and often cantankerous Greg Archer—is desperately in love with his wife. He aches for her when they are apart, and is insatiable when they are together. Yet as the years pass, Greg has begun to suspect that Fiona is a ninja. A ninja mom. A ninja wife. A ninja friend. After fourteen years of marriage, Greg is trying not to panic. Because Fiona’s talent for blending in is starting to resemble fading away.

However, when unexpected events mean Fiona must take center stage to keep her family safe, her response stuns everyone—Greg most of all. It seems like Greg’s wish has come true.

Except… not.

When all is said and done, can Greg handle this new version of his wife? Will his irrepressible cantankerousness push her away? Or can the couple find a way forward without either being forced to step back into the shadows?

Meet Greg Archer 🙂

And this is Fiona …














Happily Ever Ninja is the fifth book in one of favorite book series – Knitting in the City by Penny Reid. (Check out my pinterest Penny Reid board . She is pure gold people). Although Greg and Fiona’s story is stand alone, I would recommend reading all the books in the series for full enjoyment of all the wonderful characters.

I love all Penny Reid books and especially this series. But when I was around the fifty percent mark, I thought I won’t give Happily Ever Ninja a five out of five star rating. I thought it was too close to reality and therefore, did not fulfill/assuage my dire need to escape from real life; something that I usually want to experience while reading romance books. Mundane things like picking up dirty clothes after your husband leaves them all over the floor (bedroom or bathroom or hallway or under the sofa or anywhere actually), doing the dishes, wiping down the counters, paying bills, thinking about investments, following up on the gazillion things that pop up randomly at all hours and so on and so forth aren’t high on my list of things to feel about while reading a romance book.

However, something happened when I wasn’t deterred by the things I wasn’t liking (don’t we all need a break precisely from these things when we read? I know I do) and kept reading anyways. The story grew. The characters grew and kept getting deeper. Instead of just laughing at Penny Reid’s characters’ antics, I started getting very emotionally invested and cried along with Fiona when she cried and finally opened up about her needs and wants. My heart beat right along with Greg even when he was being an ass. I completely understood Fiona’s frequent urge to kiss Greg and then choke him and then kiss him again. Reluctantly I also understood Greg’s need of shielding Fiona (and consequently his children) from all the nastiness going on. I got the characters, I laughed with them and cried with them and made them my own.

What I am trying to say is, by the time I finished, I had fallen in love with this book. Not because it had a perfectly perfect romance, but because it so beautifully described and handled the perfect imperfections of the marriage and the love story of two headstrong, independent, intelligent and self reliant people. People who struggled with but finally understood the notion that relying on each other makes them stronger, not weaker. That needing your husband/wife/partner/family/friends is the most natural thing for a human being and nothing to be ashamed of. That asking and expecting love, respect and companionship from your husband/wife doesn’t make you selfish or entitled or needy. It just means that you want them and that’s that. Took Greg and Fiona the whole book, but then oh well…That was what the story was about, for me at least.

The knitting group made it’s appearance and now has a new member, Aunty Gregina (LOLZ)…All of my beloved characters were there once again to support each other. I swear I go through a crocheting face after reading another book in the Knitting series.

The love story is sneaky here. Penny Reid is being a sneaky ninja. The hero and heroine have a long distance relationship for most of their lives which might not be inherently romantic but once you start thinking about it, the fact that they have been together through thick and thin and so much distance and absence makes this one of the most optimistic and deeply romantic story I have read. Most people give up a relationship as soon as the term ‘long distance’ is thrown in the mix. These two didn’t and didn’t for years. Greg and Fiona argue about any and everything. But then they work and fight so hard for their relationship, through all the realities of managing two kids and jobs and dreams and aspirations.

I am giving Happily Ever Ninja a five star rating because Greg and Fiona’s love story happened and thrived in the midst of raising kids, saving the world’s environment, managing household bills and investments, battling terrorists, doing laundry, being spies, washing pots and pans and teaching kids stuff you don’t want them to learn on the streets! Such a wonderful book 🙂

Oh and I made a banner… Cookie for me 😀

Amour Amour: Book Review


How high do you dare to dream?

How much do you give up for it?

How far are you ready to go?

How much are you prepared to loose?

Amour Amour is the story of Thora James, an acrobat gymnast and amateur aerialist, who dreams of making it to one of the best circus shows of the world, Las Vegas’ Amour. A rare lead position has opened up in Amour and the show producers are looking for a female gymnast who has it in her to shine on stage. If Thora lands the role, it means a minimum one year contract with Amour, not to mention the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.

No one believes Thora can make it. Her parents expect her to play it safe and finish her remaining year of college education in accounting, which she got through a gymnastics scholarship. Her best friend and fellow gymnast Shay is strongly against her up and leaving everything she has, for a pipedream she wants to chase. He reminds Thora repeatedly that she cannot dance, has an average face that is forever fixed in a scowl and is too tight laced to perform with the kind of sensuality required for a love ballet. Her dream is impractical. Her hopes are childish. Her move to Las Vegas doesn’t make sense.


I’m average. And the longer Shay stares at me, I feel it. And I want to be more than that. Doesn’t everyone?

When he meets my eyes, he shakes his head at me. “You’re one in a million, Thora. It’s a pipe dream, you realize this?”

I nod. “Yeah, I know. But if I don’t believe in myself, then who will?”


But then being practical, mature and sensible is not doing it for Thora anymore. She wants more from her life. She wants Amour. So for once in her sensible sheltered proper life, Thora James takes a risk, packs a suitcase and heads to Vegas. Which is no fairytale. Thora doesn’t dazzle people in her audition. How she first meets Nikolai Kotova, Amour’s male lead and star performer, is embarrassing. Seeing him next day at her audition bashes the last dregs of self confidence she had. After a humiliating five minutes in spotlight, everyone just reiterates what Thora’s family and friends have been telling her all along- she isn’t good enough.

Now Thora James can go back home to Cincinnati Ohio, or stay put, train and perfect her form, and wait for another position or chance to come along. A chance does come by, though not in the form of a role in a show. It comes by in the least expected form of Nikolai Kotova when he decides to help her feed her dream and not give up on herself.


“I admire your courage. I know what you’ve given up to be here. I know the kind of artist it takes to land a role. I know that you won’t receive one on your own. And I imagine you, myshka, two years from now, working at Phantom with the same aspirations, the same dreams, in the same place where you are now. It’s wasted courage. And wasted love. You shouldn’t have to waste those things.”
I’m speechless.
And overwhelmed. When someone reaches out and gives you a hand—for no other reason than to see your success—it’s powerful. And rare.
He wipes beneath my eye with his thumb. “I’d rather feed your hunger than watch you starve”


“I’m clawing at something that doesn’t want me. And to say goodbye is like severing a part of me that I can’t easily replace.”


“The things greater than us, Thora, they’re not impossible. It’s just fear talking, telling you that you can’t when you can. I know you can.”


I loved the book. The writing is good. The story moves beautifully. Thora’s struggles with family, money, self doubt and the development of her art were real. The sweat and tears and bruises were real. How she keeps fighting for her dreams, to partly save face with her family and partly because she had come too far to fail and give up, was very real too. The way Thora’s relationship develops with Nikolai, slow and steady, in fact the way Nikolai’s character is uncovered layer by layer, is amazing.


“He is power. Man. And strength. He is charm and desire and indestructible things.
I want to emit an equivalent passion. I want to be strength and desire. But I’m not sure how to match him and still move. It’s easy to be confident in the face of average-standing competition. It’s hard to pretend you’re something greater in the face of someone who’s already beyond great.”page_end

“I’m in love with you,” I whisper.
He tries to smile but his eyes flood instead. “Don’t love me more than your dreams, myshka. Because I love you too much to let you give them up for me.”



Nikolai stands tall, beckoning me, and I leap with all my strength. He bends only slightly, my left leg catching above his shoulder as I latch onto him. The gasp from the audience is the last thing I hear, blocking out the rest.

I clutch his hair, and he grips my back, our inhales in sync. Our exhales timed. My heart explodes. In a billion pieces at the way he stares at me. At how he holds my face, caringly, like the love of his life just ran into his arms. He whispers something in Russian that I know means: I love you.


The idea of giving everything you have, to a dream, might be old, but the way Krista Ritchie does it in Amour Amour touched me. In places where a lot of books fail to touch.

I’ll be honest. I laughed. I cried. I didn’t sleep all night and kept reading and had a fight with the husband for not sleeping all night and crying and breaking my eyes in the process. Kindles were threatened. But I seriously couldn’t put Amour Amour down before I finished it. There was the glamor and showmanship associated with the hit Vegas show. There was the dreamy athletic, six foot five, chiseled and ripped, completely dedicated to his art, serious Russian, Nikolai Kotova. There were real problems of making it in the strange fast city of Vegas when you literally have nothing to fall back on other than a couch in a friend’s home and fierce stubborn will. As a nice bonus, the side characters were well fleshed out and individually interesting. The way Thora’s life unraveled and how she found her direction again was inspiring.



“I’m average. I’ve been average most of my life, but there are moments where I feel extraordinary. Invincible. Able to conquer any fear and step outside any box. There is no illusion, no fantasy. I can climb a forty-foot pole. I can fly eighty-feet in the air. I can be taller than tall. It’s a dream that I’m living. Every day. With him.”


All in all, five out of five stars to this lovely book and I’d recommend it to my friends any day. Good job Krista Ritchie.