Saturday, April 24, 2021

Review- The THC: Under a Gibbous Moon by Manoj V Jain


"Now look at the person in the mirror and tell her that you love her."
Sanjaneka stared and stared, unable to utter the simple words aloud.
Why is Sanjaneka unable to love herself? What past is she running away from?
How does an Uber ride help Samar to save his marriage?
Why does the dull moonlight of a gibbous moon trouble Varun so much?
Three lives. One Utopian centre.
The Total Holistic Centre (The THC) welcomes the broken and those looking for closure through its doors and works its magic to return them to the world fulfilled. This is the story of these three troubled souls who seek solace at the centre, indulge in its unusual treatment and find the cures to their ailments in surprising places.
A book on loss, longing and changing circumstances, The THC dives into uncomfortable topics that are usually swept under the rug: fragile relationships, deteriorating marriages, addictions, impotence, and the delicate bond between fathers and sons.
Welcome to the THC

Release date: October 23rd 2016
Published by: Notion Press, Inc.
Page numbers: 204


Although this is the eighth book by author Manoj V Jain that I have read, The THC: Under a Gibbous Moon is the second book he had written. Had I read this book immediately after his first one, I probably would have appreciated it more, but this reverse order helped me realise how far he has come as an author. His work just keeps getting better and better.

The THC is the story of three people who meet at The Holistic Centre while undergoing different treatments and forming a bond that is pure and simply peaceful. The THC itself seemed like something straight out of one’s dream where the air is fresh, the food is simple, nature is all around... truly an ideal destination to heal from all that our protagonists have been through in life which, like any book by the author, was put down in a manner that was relatable, raw and real.

The journey of self discovery and human relations along the way are two themes that Manoj V Jain does really well. Add to that, language that’s easy to follow and understand, characters whose stories are engrossing and endings that leave you feeling content, and you have a great read that is bound to keep you entertained, contemplate and just have a great reading experience overall, which is exactly what The THC did.

The story of Samar, Sanjenaka and Varun, this one stood out for me most because of its portrayal of the father son relationship and a marvellously done homosexual relationship.

Review- Strange Girls by Azzurra Nox


For fans of American Horror Story, Shirley Jackson, and Creepshow.

You know them. Those girls that aren't quite like everyone else. Those girls who stand out in the crowd. Those girls that dare to be different. Those girls are dangerous.

In Strange Girls, twenty-one authors dare to tackle what makes the girls in this collection different. Vampires, selkies, murderous mermaids, succubus, and possessed dolls take center stage in these short stories that are sure to invoke feelings of quiet terror and uneasiness in the reader. Following the successful debut of Women in Horror anthology with My American Nightmare, Strange Girls is the sophomore effort to showcase these talented women in a genre that is often dominated by the male gaze.

Dare to take a walk on the dark side.

Stories in the Anthology:

24 Hour Diner by Charlotte Platt
Sideshow by Jude Reid
The Doll's House by Alyson Faye
Blood by Red Claire
Self-Portrait with Pears by Rachel Bolton
Personal Demons by Angelique Fawns
Friends with Benefits by E.F. Schraeder
Night Terrors by Angela Sylvaine
The Girl Who Never Stopped Bleeding by Sam Lauren
Leda and the Fly by Marnie Azzarelli
Jenny's Bobo by Hillary Lyon
Extinguishing Fireflies by Rebecca Rowland
The Eyes of the Dead by Danielle R. Bailey
My Mirror Wife by Ash Tudor
Patterns of Faerytales by Azzurra Nox
Campfire Tales: The Bloody Rings by Emma Johnson-Rivard
Cracked by Regan Moore
Angel of Death by Phoebe Jane Johnson
Her Garden Grows by Maxine Kollar
Revival by Madison Estes
A Song Only She Can Hear by Wondra Vanian
Tribal Influence by Erica Ruhe

Release date: February 18th 2020
Published by: Twisted Wing Productions
Page numbers: 344


An anthology of twenty two short stories by women writers, Strange Girls is an excellent collection that it is just the right amount of spine-chilling, without leaving you feeling overly terrified. While an horror anthology, the stories cover up a variety of topics, some of them being fantasy, paranormal and science fiction, with an element of horror. Each story is unique and engrossing in its own way.

Since the association of dolls with horror intrigues me in general, I had an alarming (in a pleasing way) time reading Alyson Faye’s The Doll’s House and Regan Moore’s Cracked. Being an ardent admirer of Azzurra Nox who has put this collection together, I loved her story titled Patterns of Faerytales, as well. Not a big fan of science fiction, but because these were short stories done in a meticulous and simple manner, I liked reading Night Terrors by Angela Sylvaine and Tribal Influence by Erica Ruhe as well. Jude Reid’s Sideshow, Charlotte Plat’s 24 Hour Diner, Angelique Fawns’s Personal Demons, Danielle R. Railey’s The Eyes of the Dead, Hillary Lyon’s Jenny’s Bobo, Rebecca Rowland’s Extinguishing Fireflies are some more honourable mentions that were superbly done.

It goes without saying that the other stories were just as brilliant and I truly had a delightful time reading, exploring and imagining each one. A short stories collection exclusively by women writers that is all about women power, Strange Girls isn’t so much about strange girls as it is about the dangerous and dire consequences of just being a girl, which I found inspiring and unputdownable. Put down in the most astounding manner, each story from this collection is simply incredible.

*Note: A copy of this book was provided by Azzurra Nox in exchange for an honest review. We thank them.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Review- Us Three by Mia Kerick

 Us Three on Goodreads


A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

In his junior year at a public high school, sweet, bright Casey Minton’s biggest worry isn’t being gay. Keeping from being too badly bullied by his so-called friends, a group of girls called the Queen Bees, is more pressing. Nate De Marco has no friends, his tough home life having taken its toll on his reputation, but he’s determined to get through high school. Zander Zane’s story is different: he’s popular, a jock. Zander knows he’s gay, but fellow students don’t, and he’d like to keep it that way.

No one expects much when these three are grouped together for a class project, yet in the process the boys discover each other’s talents and traits, and a new bond forms. But what if Nate, Zander, and Casey fall in love—each with the other and all three together? Not only gay but also a threesome, for them high school becomes infinitely more complicated and maybe even dangerous. To survive and keep their love alive, they must find their individual strengths and courage and stand together, honest and united. If they can do that, they might prevail against the Queen Bees and a student body frightened into silence—and even against their own crippling fears.

Release date: April 3rd 2014
Published by: Harmony Ink Press
Page numbers: 180


This wasn’t the first book by Mia Kerick that I read. I have read quite a few of the author’s books in the past which I really enjoyed, that’s why I keep going back for more. Mia very generously offered to gift me a copy of Us Three, and honestly, this book helped me get out of a reading slump, which is awesome.

Something I have read about in Mia’s It Could HappenUs Three is the story of three guys Nate, Casey and Zander (such beautiful names, eh?), who are in love with each other. It might sound weird, but trust me, Mia’s storytelling and character building make it hard to toss it aside as bizarre. The story is honestly amazing and everything about the three being together just feels right. As a reader, I found myself rooting for all three precious boys, individually and together.

Coming to the characters, Mia has done a remarkable job in not just making each character unique and loveable in their own ways, but also lending them a voice which is true to its character. I swear I could tell you whose pov it is from without any mention of the person because that’s how different and stellar each one was and I developed an emotional connect with each. This happens rarely but I couldn’t help but love all three of them.

An intriguing and engrossing read, there’s so much more I could say about Us Three, but honestly, I’d rather you pick up the book and find out for yourself how beautiful it is. From broken homes to loving families to bullying to standing up for and doing what’s right and so much more, Mia has nailed it with this one. I’m so glad and grateful that I got to read this gem that’s gonna stay with me for a long time to come.

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Review- Art, Text, Love by Ajith Siva


This book is dedicated to you. Yes, you.
If you love to have coffee when it is raining. If you get excited about seeing a sky full of stars. And if you ever fell in love at first sight with a complete stranger.

"First love isn't something that happens first in a life. It can happen, even after a few love bonds"
A coffeeholic aspiring writer,Jay realized this paradox when he met a comic artist, Cassy. No, it's not a story of boy seeing girl. It's a story of art and text falling in love with each other.
- Ajith Siva

Release date: February 26th 2020
Published by: Self published
Page numbers: 89 (Kindle)


The idea of poetry in a romance novel is what had me intrigued when I first got to know about Art, Text, Love from its author Ajith Siva. When the book finally got to me, I couldn’t help but appreciate how simple, adorable ans detailed the book cover is. It sums up what the book holds quite well.

Jayan, or Jay, is a writer who finds himself inspired by rain, coffee and love. After a series of relationships with no end, he finally comes across Cassy, a comic artist who steals his heart from day one. The rest, as they say, is history. Jay and Cassy had their share of ups and downs and while both characters were obviously different and admirable in their own ways, the connect one has with characters as a reader was missing.

A short and nice story about falling in love along with all that comes with being in love, Art, Text, Love wasn’t the greatest read out there. But it wasn’t bad at all. Author Ajith Siva’s writing was mediocre and with some polishing, he is bound to be a promising writer.

Overall, I did have fun reading this book, but I honestly wouldn’t pick it up again. You could, however, pick it up if you’re in the mood for something quick and fun.

*Note: A copy of this book was provided by Ajith Siva in exchange for an honest review. We thank them.

Review- Someday by David Levithan


Every day a new body. Every day a new life. Every day a new choice.

For as long as A can remember, life has meant waking up in a different person's body every day, forced to live as that person until the day ended. A always thought there wasn't anyone else who had a life like this.

But A was wrong. There are others.

A has already been wrestling with powerful feelings of love and loneliness. Now comes an understanding of the extremes that love and loneliness can lead to -- and what it's like to discover that you are not alone in the world.

In Someday, David Levithan takes readers further into the lives of A, Rhiannon, Nathan, and the person they may think they know as Reverend Poole, exploring more deeply the questions at the core of Every Day and Another Day: What is a soul? And what makes us human?

Release date: October 2nd 2018
Published by: Electric Monkey
Page numbers: 400


When I bought Someday, I had no plans of reviewing it because the marvellous gem that is David Levithan is someone whose words I read for pleasure. When I read the book though, and I confirmed that I have, in fact, reviewed the previous books in the series, Six Days Earlier, Everyday and Another Day, something made me want to sit down and pen my thoughts about Someday as well. If you aren’t aware of these books at all, it’s a shame (no, I’m just kidding), but to summarise: the story takes us into the mind of A who takes a different body everyday, and whose life the reader doesn’t just follow, but becomes a part of.

Someday was just as unique and magical as Everyday, which didn’t come as a surprise to me. I did realise how much I missed reading about the unique character that is A and finding out more about how life works for someone who has no body. This book was an eye-opener in the sense that it portrayed the balance between right and wrong in a manner that was so meticulous and simple. With a ton of contemporary references, this book ends up telling the reader more than just that though. While the first book, Everyday, made me admire, appreciate and love A, Someday just proved how all of that still stands true.

Another book. Another masterpiece. David Levithan never ceases to astound me with his impressive writing and breathtaking storytelling. Reading Someday was like going to a place I didn’t even know I could call home. It was like drinking a hot cup of coffee on a cold winter evening or a tall glass of perfect temperature water on a hot summer day... stuff you don’t even know you need, but when you do consume it, it ends up consuming you and that I feel is incredible.