Book Review of “Green Witch, Dead Witch” by Renee Benzaim


Blurb:

WITCHES IN BAKERSFIELD???
Two women, one man, are dead. All three were solitary green witches who met from time-to-time to share rituals and festivals. Not a coven, just a group of like-minded individuals who preferred to practice their witchcraft alone.

The first two deaths appeared to be accidental, but the third death was an obvious murder. Each death occurred in a different area of Kern County – in different jurisdictions – which made it unlikely any connection would be made between the deaths.

The third body was found in an outlying area of Kern County, which put it in the jurisdiction of the Kern County Sheriff’s Office. The detective team assigned to investigate this homicide consists of Lead Detective Annie Avants and her partner, Detective Tom Weston. As the initial investigation begins, they find nothing to make them suspect that this murder is connected to any other death in Kern County.

Clem Moonstone is a solitary green witch who owns a metaphysical shop in Bakersfield. She and Annie Avants have been friends for many years. When Annie and Tom attend the funeral of the victim whose death they are investigating, Annie is surprised to see Clem there. Clem explains to Annie that the young woman whose funeral they are attending is the third person in her circle of friends to die during the past few months.
Annie’s gut instinct tells her to look into the previous two deaths. Clem gives her the names of the other two people and the locations where their bodies were found. After Annie obtains the files and begins to research their deaths, she comes to the chilling conclusion that the first two deaths may not have been so “accidental” and that all three victims may have died at the hands of a serial killer.
It appears someone is killing the witches of Bakersfield

My Review:

This story is entirely about Magick – Green magick. The concept is put across very strong that witches do exist among us today and most of them are good witches. The idea is put across very subtly and nicely. In fact it makes you want to meet a green witch.

Witches are being killed and it all appears to be accidents. Only someone is suspicious that they are not accidents and witches are in fact being murdered. Detective Annie Avants is dealing with a personal crisis of her own. This case gives her a break from her crisis and she dives nose down into it. However, the murderer appears to be someone of Magick background. Will Annie be able to catch hold of the murderer? Or her lack of magick lead to the murderer going scott free?

Annie is not someone you instantly tend to like. She has all the features of a detective – fierce, independent, brave and at the same time, a bit too careful. Her thinking process is relatable, but there are times through the book when you feel like telling her it is OK to let go and live life spontaneously. And that makes Annie a human. Renee has done a good job creating a detective who is as much human as anyone of us. She is afraid of making mistake, just like any one us.

The book is really nice. I am looking forward to understanding the characters more by reading the previous parts of the series

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Book Review of “Cause of Death (Det. Annie Avants #1)” by Renee Benzaim


Blurb:

A Serial Killer. A black widow spider. A race to catch the perp before someone else dies.

Amazon Best-Selling author, Renee Benzaim, writes about the ultimate female detective fighting against time to catch a serial killer in Bakersfield, CA before a new victim is found.

Meet Robbery/Homicide Detective Annie Avants and her partner, Detective Tom Weston, of the Kern County Sheriff’s Office in California. In the dusty farm community of Bakersfield, someone is abducting and killing young Hispanic females. The killers weapon of choice – black widow spiders. Can these two dedicated Detectives catch the killer with the help of their peers and friends, Deputy District Attorney Jesse Greyeyes and Technical Investigations Chief Laine DelMonte?

CAUSE OF DEATH is a spine-chilling thriller that keeps you guessing right up to the last minute – and makes you wonder about the “normal” people in YOUR daily life.

My Review:

Cause of Death is the first in the series of Annie Avants Mysteries. A serial killler is on the loose who kills Hispanic women with black widow bites – a very painful way to die. Detective Annie Avants along with her partner Detective Tom Weston team up with Deputy District Attorney Jesse Greyeyes and Technical Investigations Chief Laine DelMonte to figure out who the killer is before another woman gets killed.

The mystery is really interesting and almost fast paced. The psychological aspect of the serial killer is shown only at the end. Till then, the reader is left wondering who is the killer and what is his motivation. There are some dead ends on the way but the route diverts soon and the race goes on. Annie Avants is a nice female detective with the right elements of feminine traits with a nice strong blend of courage and bravery.

Annie Avants is here to stay and so is Renee Benzaim.

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Book Review of “Mr. Meeker” by Dwayne Fry


Blurb:

Mr. Meeker believes he is being abducted by aliens every night. He tries to tell others about his abduction, but even his wife and his boss think he’s crazy. Mr. Meeker tries to discuss the abductions with the authorities. They, too, believe he’s crazy. Is Mr. Meeker crazy? Is he imagining these things?

My Review:

Mr. Meeker was a different kind of novel than something I expected it to be. It is humorous, science fiction type. The story starts with a completely ordinary man having an extra ordinary experience. The experience makes him behave differently and that causes the people around him to get frustrated and think he is going mad.

The humor tones to the story is interesting and different. The way the story goes is captivating for a short story. The characters are appropriately developed. Those who are not playing a major role are developed to a lesser quantity. There are not much emphasis on physical appearance which makes us use our own creativity to picture the characters the way we want them to be. However, the ending could have been a lot different. The way the story ended gave a very disheartening feeling to the story and for Mr. Meeker.

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Book Review “Willakaville: Amazing Adventures of Astronomical Awesomeness” by Mathew Heinecke


Blurb:

Welcome to Willakaville! An otherwise normal town turned upside down by crazy, silly, strange and supernatural wackiness. Amazing adventures of astronomical awesomeness has it all! Adventures, magic, mystery, time-travel, aliens, laughter, conspiracies, monsters, mayhem, dilemmas, and cats.

My Review:

Willakaville is an amazing short story collection with brilliant creative stories and beautiful imaginative creations. There is not a single story in the entire collection which will not leave you in awe for the story as well as the author. Mathew has a very fabulous and vivid imagination. If these are stories he has written, I can not even imagine what stories normally come to his mind.

Each of the stories tackle an out-of-the-world problem. Sometimes it is a tomato attacking Willakaville, otherwise it is a bad man coming and making everyone mean to each other. At times, people start swearing, other times, they are busy eating only mushrooms. If a mayonnaise causes trouble one day, then alien attack happen another day. Citizen of Willakaville is always in some or the other adventure.

The story, language and the drawings are just wonderful. Yes, the stories are illustrated and that too in a very imaginative fashion. Not that the stories require any illustration. The way the words are said for each story makes the reader imagine every circumstance with out the drawing’s help. But the drawings are an attraction too and will make a good reading for children, with the colors and bright feel of the book.

This is one of those books which must be read on a hard copy. I would really recommend anyone who buys it, to go for a hard copy. The feel of the stories and the drawings will be enhanced to a different level with the book in hand. Absolutely looking forward to further adventures of Willakaville.

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Book Review of “ANA!” by Cat Blount


Blurb:

”Got a younger sibling? Caitlin has one too!”

ANA! was written based on the relationship between my daughters Caitlin and Ana. From the time Ana, my youngest, was able to move about on her own, she seemed to always, let’s say, give Caitlin an exciting time. For me, it’s the cutest thing to see them playing with each other and having fun… For Caitlin, however, at times, it was more like, “Hello, she’s terrorizing me here!”
Join in the story with your child and try to figure out what Ana will do next.

Sisters? Yes. The same? Not quite. That’s OK isn’t it? Well…

An over-the-top, exaggerated, fun story for all.

My Review:

“Ana” is an illustrated story of two sisters. Those who have sisters will relate to the story completely. Whether you are the younger one or the elder one, the situations that happen in ANA will most definitely have happened in your life while growing up. The story feels very real and natural. The closeness between the sisters are kept intact while still explaining their differences. The naughtiness of the younger one and the helplessness of the elder one (and at times, even the mom) is an amazing, and nostalgic experience to read.

The drawings are artfully done. Language is beautiful. The entire book is colorful and appears to be for all age groups. Even parents of two sisters would love to read this one. Ana is a must have, preferably in hard copy. The colours and feel would be better if you have it in hand.

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Book Trailer of “Eliza Bluebell” by A. J. York


The book Trailer for Eliza Bluebell is released on YouTube

The Review reference of Views She Writes is very kindly added to the beautifully prepared trailer

Do check out the review of Eliza Bluebell by clicking on the link. It is definitely an amazing book to read

Interview with Zaara Khader on India Post Live


Zaara Khader gave an interview on India Post Live for her new book “The Forbidden One”

Along with critics view of the book, the book review shown was from Views She Writes

Find the review of The Forbidden One by clicking on the link

 

Book Review of “Wiggly Slider” by Patsy Whittle


Blurb:

Wiggly Slider was born with two front teeth. Now, worms don’t have teeth, but Wiggly’s parents told him he was special. While Wiggly was chewing on a leaf, one of his teeth fell out and got lost. Wiggly searched for it but couldn’t find his tooth. He desperately wanted to find it so he could leave it under his rock for the Tooth Fairy. Then, maybe she would bring Wiggly something nice. Wiggly sets out to find his tooth. He gets help from his new friends along the way. Will Wiggly and his friends find the lost tooth? Will the Tooth Fairy make a trip to Wiggly’s home?

My Review:

Wiggly Slider is a very amusing children’s book. Just by looking at the cover, you will get that urge to read the book. A worm with teeth? How is that possible? How would that worm be? Will he be different? Arrogant? Or sweet?

Reading the book is an equally warm feeling. The more you get to know about Wiggly, the more you adore him. His fixation on Tooth Fairy is obvious as worms can never hope for the Tooth Fairy otherwise. His dedication to the work at hand and his loyalty to those who helped him in the end is very endearing.

Wiggly Slider is a wonderful book to be read out to children or let them read on their own. The importance of doing the task at hand diligently and giving due credit to those who helped are very important lessons to be taught to children. The illustrations and colour makes the appearance of the book very appealing to adults too, so naturally to kids as well. The language is simple and easy to understand and to read as well as a self assignment.

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Book Review of “A Sallamong’s Story” by Mona Roper


Blurb:

Santos, an endearing Sallamong, goes through turmoil when drought strikes the island and his parents turn against each other. With the help of wise and loving counsel from his grandmother, playing with his friends and supportive Sallamong tradition, Santos finds happiness and confidence again. However, when faced with a difficult decision – whether or not to shed his skin – his insecurity returns and he is tempted to stay in his old skin and forfeit the benefits of growing up. He makes a life-affirming decision when he comes to the wonderful realization that, regardless of what skin he’s in, he will never stop being himself.

My Review:

Children’s stories are always endearing, even if it is a soft copy to be read on an e-book reader. But when it is in hard-copy and you can see the cartoons and drawings on high-definition and the spacing of the words, clarity, smoothness of the page, colourful cover page, it is just an experience unlike anything else. The reading experience heightens and the pleasure of it, even for an adult, is so amazing. So, before anything, a special thanks to Mona Roper for agreeing to provide a hard copy for review and sending it all the way to India. I finished the book half an hour after receiving it. That is how much the book cover and a glance inside made me love the book.

Santos is a 10-year-old Sallamong, and is how a normal 10-year-old Sallamong is expected to be – cute, naughty, adorable and thinks the world of his parents and grand parents. Now at the age of 10, Sallamongs shed their skin. Santos has mixed feelings of shedding. The story is about how a child handles a conflicting matter and how the adults around children should handle such conflicts efficiently.

The story is beautifully illustrated with a colourful, wonderful drawing at every page. These drawings help imagine and picture the happenings of the story very nicely. The words are really easy to understand, which kids can try to read themselves too. The family bonding shown in the story is really cute. “Green glow” of pride of the grandparents in the end is just beautiful.

Since everything is mentioned, I have to mention that the printing quality of the book is unparalleled. The cover page drawing is very catchy. The paper quality is beautiful. The shine of the pages and smoothness is another thing that drove me to read it so soon. Very light yet very nicely done. The book is a complete package. 5 stars

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Book Review of “Use Somebody” by Riley Jean


Blurb:

It takes but a single moment to reach a dream, and a single moment to destroy it.
All Scarlett Rossi wanted was a simple college experience: work hard, stay positive, and be true to herself. Enter charming and enigmatic Gabriel, who swoops into her life as if heaven-sent, opening her eyes to possibilities far beyond her bubble of obscurity. Together, for a brief moment in time, they dream bigger and love deeper than either one of them ever imagined. Until one horrific night where an act of heroism goes terribly wrong, and everything good in the world is ripped away… including Gabriel.
Traumatized and alone, Scarlett escapes back to her hometown, determined to bury the twisted nightmares of that night, and resolved to keep everyone out in the process.
When do-gooder Vance Holloway makes it his personal mission to cheer up the new girl at work, he has no idea what he’s getting himself into. Scarlett’s tough shell and spicy attitude doesn’t fool him. He knows deep down, that sweet, innocent smile still exists, and he’ll stop at nothing to prove it. Patience, persistence, and a little ice cream pay off. Slowly they become friends. Then best friends. Then more. Only one problem: he was never supposed to fall in love.
So begins an explosive tryst of pull and resistance, between one worthy white knight, and the damsel who doesn’t want to be saved. Scarlett won’t survive another heartbreak, but can their friendship survive a compromise?
If Vance is so determined to break down these walls, he’ll have to learn—just as she did—that when it comes to things like trust and love, there are always consequences.Because the last man that she loved swore to protect her, then paid with his life. And took with him a piece of her soul.
Now Scarlett must decide if true strength means guarding her heart, or surrendering to it once more. One final secret remains: what really happened the night she swore she’d never love another man, and whose hands are stained with his blood?

My Review:

What a book!!! Seriously, by the time I finished it, I was so much amazed by the story. There are very few books which has managed to take me on a roller coaster ride as much as “Use Somebody” has.

Scarlett has turned into Scar – a hard-core form as compared the bubbly happy and innocent girl she was before she went to college. Now she doesn’t care about anything, is as far away from happy and bubbly as possible, and does not believe in love. Her co-worker Vance is a very positive person, who wants to convert Scar back into Scarlett. What started as friendship soon turned into love for Vance, but Scar is still scarred and cannot trust again. Will Vance be persistent enough to make the impossible possible? Will Scar let herself be loved so much that she becomes Scarlett again? When the dark past comes tumbling back, will they both be able to sustain the pressure? Or will it end up breaking them both irreparably?

This is a dark love story. The story is in first person and alternates between past and present at frequent intervals. There are bouts of diary entries in between which gives an insight mostly for Scar but there is one entry about Vance too, which gave another turn to the story. The book is very much in detail and require patience to read every word of it. The story pace is very fast and that makes reading word by word very difficult. There are many places where I rushed through various paragraphs just to know what happened next.

To give more authenticity to the review, I am sharing the status updates I kept putting on Goodreads, whenever i finished a particularly thrilling part

  • 35% – There are times at the book, like when Ricky asks Scar to get a tattoo, when you feel Scar is a real person, a friend standing with you, and you have this powerful urge to tell her not to do it and go listen to Vance
  • 50% – The pain is clear but Scar and Vance should get together soon. I am dying to know what happened with Gabriel but she should open up now. Poor guy is trying so hard
  • 50% – The story is elaborate and very much in detail. And somehow it is still very endearing. It is very much like life itself. You know everything is going to end well in the end, but the present is far too slow for patience
  • 50% – The poems in between are so perfect for the settings. Rhyming and so much in sync with the story. Just perfect

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