29 February, 2016

#SpecialFeature :: #Interview with Farah Oomerbhoy, #Author of The last of the Firedrakes


*** Special Feature - February 2016 ***

Quick Recap:
1st February - Introducing Farah Oomerbhoy
8th February - Farah Oomerbhoy’s Top Picks
15th February - Excerpt from The Last of the Firedrakes
22nd February - Meet Aurora Firedrake in a short Character Interview



Interview with the Author:


When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
I started thinking about this story nearly ten years ago. Building the world of Avalonia, whenever I got time. It was all a hobby at first. I didn't really think I'd ever publish this book when I started imagining Avalonia. 

Initially, I just created the world. I enjoyed drawing maps, and writing down the history and culture of each kingdom, creating different societies and cultures, and it just kept growing and growing. Soon characters started popping up all over the place, each one with their own backstory, history and family. 

One of the first scenes that I thought of in Avalonia was in a magical fairy market. And the first character that came to my mind was Mrs. Plumpleberry, Kalen’s mother. But it was only when I stood before an old French tapestry in my grandmother’s house that I realized the magical market could easily be in the forest depicted in the tapestry. That’s when the whole story started taking shape. And so the world of Avalonia sprang into existence. 

One day I stood before it and wondered, what if I could step into the tapestry, where would I end up? From then on, the person who stepped into the tapestry was a young 16-year-old girl who didn’t know who she really was, her name was Aurora, and this is her story.

That is when I realized without a shadow of a doubt that this is what I wanted to do. To tell stories about magical worlds and the people who live in them.


What inspires you to write?
Inspiration comes from many different places, and there is never one particular thing that has influenced me to be a writer. In fact it is more of an amalgamation of a variety of different thoughts and concepts accumulated over the years of being an avid reader. For me, the whole concept of stepping into another world through a magical gateway has always been the basis of my inspiration to write fantasy literature for young adults.

My love for fantasy literature stemmed from one of the first books I ever read on my own, Enid Blyton's Magic Faraway Tree series. Since then I was hooked and proceeded to devour anything fantastical that came my way. From the magical worlds of C. S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia series, to T. H. White’s The Once and Future King and Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series. Books with an element of fantasy and magic have always fascinated me and influenced the way I look at literature today.

J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Diana Wynne Jones’ magical worlds, Lewis Caroll’s Wonderland books, Ursula le Guin’s Earthsea Quartet and J.M Barrie’s Peter Pan, have all in some way contributed towards my love for magical adventures and fantasy worlds inspiring me to write fantasy for young people. 

There are many others that have influenced my writing in this genre. David Eddings' The Belgariad series and Terry Brooks’ The Sword of Shannara books made me realize the true extent and scope of epic fantasy. 

Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness Quartet and Robin Mckinley’s The Hero and the Crown, were very instrumental in the creation of my main character Aurora. They made me better understand what fantasy looks like with a young girl as the hero. 

These books inspired me to write a story that would combine the best of all I had learned from these wonderful stories, and so The Last of the Firedrakes started to take shape.


What kind of research goes into your book?
There is actually a lot of research and hard work that goes into writing a story of this scale. After all, it is 488 pages and this is only the first book in the series. 

The creation of the world itself took me years. From detailed maps to notebooks filled with information on all the different kingdoms, their politics, societies, trade routes, race, cultures, etc. 

Each character has a backstory and a whole history including character traits, their likes, dislikes, family connections, physical descriptions, and more are all drawn out. In addition to all this, there is mapping out of the magic system used in this world. Everything has to make sense.


What are you working on at the moment?
Book two of The Avalonia Chronicles!


How did you come up with the idea for your current story? 
One of the main concepts of the story is that Aurora could be anyone; that at any point of time it could be you who could open a cupboard, enter a library, or step into a tapestry and be transported to a magical world. 

So when I saw the tapestry in my Grandmother’s house one day, it just clicked that this could be the gateway to Avalonia, and so Aurora Darlington/Firedrake came to life in my head.

I wanted my main character to be one whom young teenage girls could relate to. But at the same time I wanted her to be strong-willed, capable and someone whom they could look up to as well. 

Aurora is sixteen years old; she’s an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. But when she is thrust into a magical world unprepared, that’s when her character starts her journey of discovery. It is not only a journey of learning about the world of Avalonia and its many societies, cultures, and magic. It is also an inner journey for Aurora, a journey of life.

In essence this is a coming of age story, and revolves around a time in Aurora’s life when she has to learn to grow up and face life’s responsibilities on her own. She's very naive in the first book and she is brave and curious too, not always the best combination. 

She ends up making mistakes and gets into trouble just like a regular teenager would. It is only in book two that we will get to see the change in her character. It is a gradual process, and takes time but she will eventually adapt to her situation and grow up in the process, becoming the warrior queen she was always destined to be.


What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?
I think I would have to say that it is the actual world building that fascinates me the most. Creating the world in which my characters live takes up a lot of my time. I love doing research on different ages, histories, mythologies and legends. Researching medieval castles and warfare is one of my favorite pastimes. 

Once the world is built and the characters have been created, only then will I start writing. That is when everything comes to life; it’s like a movie playing in my head. I can imagine each scene and place as if I have been there; the world becomes a real place to me, as do the characters that live within. 

It is the most creative and interesting part of my writing process. I enjoy making sure my characters adhere to the rules and constructs of my world, including the restrictions and use of magic, and the story starts taking shape from there.



Do you know the ending of your books before you finish writing them?

Not always, I do have a vague idea where I want them to go but frequently the characters surprise me and the whole plot can change in the blink of an eye. I find it much more exciting to write this way, sometimes even I don’t know what is going to happen. :)


What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
One thing I’ve learned through this whole saga of trying to get my first book published is, never send your manuscript out to agents or publishers until it’s absolutely ready. I would also advise working with an experienced editor in your genre to polish the manuscript before you send it to anyone.

For those of you who want input on your writing or just want people to read what you’ve written to gauge their response to your work, then Wattpad is a wonderful way to reach many readers and interact with them while they read your book. It is a great platform to meet other aspiring authors, make friends who love the same books and get your book noticed. Many authors have gone on to get agents or major publishing deals after their books did really well on Wattpad.

But the most important thing to remember is to always keep on writing. Even if you never intend to use that chapter, just get the words on the page. 

You know what they say, “you can’t fix a blank page.”


About the Book:
16-year-old Aurora Darlington is an orphan. Mistreated by her adopted family and bullied at school, she dreams of running away and being free. But when she is kidnapped and dragged through a portal into a magical world, suddenly her old life doesn’t seem so bad.

Avalonia is a dangerous land ruled by powerful mages and a cruel, selfish queen who will do anything to control all seven kingdoms—including killing anyone who stands in her way. Thrust headlong into this new, magical world, Aurora’s arrival sets plans in motion that threaten to destroy all she holds dear.


With the help of a young fae, a magical pegasus, and a handsome mage, Aurora journeys across Avalonia to learn the truth about her past and unleash the power within herself. Kingdoms collide as a complicated web of political intrigue and ancient magic lead Aurora to unravel a shocking secret that will change her life forever. 




Book Links:
Goodreads I Amazon I Flipkart

About the Author:

For Farah Oomerbhoy, writing is a passion and reading her solace. She is a firm believer in the fantastic and magical, and often dreams of living in Narnia, Neverland, or the Enchanted Forest.
When she was pregnant with her first child ten years ago, a story popped into her head she could not ignore. “I was at my grandmother’s house, and as I looked at the image of a beautiful forest with a castle in the distance on a tapestry hanging on the wall, I imagined myself being whisked away into another world,” she said. It was at that moment the world of Avalonia, with its powerful mages and fae and the evil Queen Morgana, was born. Farah Oomerbhoy’s debut novel, The Last of the Firedrakes, was released in the summer of 2015.

Farah lives with her husband and three children in their family home in Mumbai, India. She has a Master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Mumbai. Her first novel is The Last of the Firedrakes, Book 1 of the Avalonia Chronicles.

  
Contact Farah:
World of Avalonia


Follow The Last of the Firedrakes Book Tour 

Giveaway:
One Amazon Gift Voucher worth 500INR or $10
One Paperback Copy of The Last of the Firedrakes

26 February, 2016

#BookReview :: The Improbable Wonders of Moojie Littleman by Robin Gregory



Set in the early 1900s, THE IMPROBABLE WONDERS OF MOOJIE LITTLEMAN is a heartrending, coming-of-age story, with a dose of humor and magical realism. After his mother dies in a freak accident, eight year-old, disabled Moojie is sent by his disapproving father to live at St. Isidore's Fainting Goat Dairy, where he befriends a clan of outcasts from an alternate universe. Six years later, this forbidden friendship and subsequent events reveal an extraordinary boy’s tale of loss and connection, first love, and self-discovery.



Goodreads I Amazon




Moojie Littleman had a tough start to life. Born in the 19th century, being orphaned, biracial and deformed did not really help his case. When he was adopted by the Littlemans, his mother loved and protected him as much she could. But after her death, his father packed him off to his Grandfather's Dairy Farm. It was like Moojie never had a chance against life until he decided to take control of it by doing his best. Unlikely friendships along with the hardships of life shaped up the little Moojie into a wonderful person as he grew up.

Moojie starts of as this sad little character who you wish would catch a break in his life. But things really turn around for him when he makes friends with the group of ‘hostiles’ and he starts working hard at the farm. As a reader I saw the growth and development of his character right through the pages. However, it is not just Moojie’s character that surprised me. Without giving out any spoilers, let me just say that there are other characters who will tickle your interest in them and help shape the story, as well as Moojie. 

The plot, the narration and the language – everything surprised me as I, frankly did not expect anything of this caliber from a debut author. It is pretty difficult to believe that this is Robin Gregory’s first work. If I hadn’t known, I would have expected this book to be a work of a season writer with at least 4-5 books under her belt already. The world building and the plot delivery is just flawless.

I have to admit that the title of the book almost made me ignore the book and surf on… it was the cover of the book and the blurb that caught my attention and I decided to give this one a try. The decision turned out to be a wise one. I thoroughly enjoyed the book with its vibrant characters and beautiful narration.


Review Copy received via NetGalley



25 February, 2016

#BookReview :: Voices of the Silent Creek by Vikkas Arun Pareek

Shanti is married in a prominent family but her life will never be the same for a life thrusted on her for honour of the family. She accepts her life but will she let the same fate unfold for her younger sister? 

Bhano discovers the horrors of her sister's life. Will she be able bring justice to her sister's life and her sacrifices? 

Arti finds herself strangled with choices. Will she risk her life and her family's life to help Bhano get justice or leave her helpless? 

The story of set in rural India takes us through unimaginable yet common atrocities which a woman faces in today's society. Will they fail to survive? Will they emerge stronger battling the troubles? 

Goodreads I Amazon

While crimes against women are an all-time high (at least in my conscious lifetime) a lot of writers are taking up the cause and telling stories in a way that is meant to touch the people. Some tell real life stories and some tell real life stories in form of fiction, but the aim is same – to reach out to the mass. Does this one speak to the reader? Let’s find out.

The plot of the story is set in rural India. The story begins with Shanti – when a proposal comes for her that could elevate her family’s standard in the society, she is promptly married off. Every bride begins a new chapter in her life and Shanti was no different. However the dreams of a na├»ve girl and reality of Shanti’s life were two extremes. Soon Shanti’s sister Bhano gets entangled in the mess as well. Then there is the case of Arti, a girl who is in love. These three women and their lives take us on a roller coaster of a journey that, well, is not easily forgotten.
The strength of the story lies in the characters. Shanti, Bhano and Arti are three strong characters who pull through the book. Their life and their struggles are so real that it was difficult to just put down the book without knowing how it all ends. Their stories felt entirely plausible and it was impossible to not feel for them knowing that this was somebody’s reality somewhere – the brutality they faced clubbed with the insensitivity that people around them and the society had towards their situation is something that I wish I could say was shocking. But thanks to the recent stories that have come up in the media they weren’t as shocking; we know that they are our reality – a face of our society that nobody acknowledges as a problem.

The idea behind the plot was really promising. From the way I see it, the author had great intentions and his plot had quite a bit of promise as well. This book could have been so much more if only the author had followed through in the execution part of it. The narrative needed a bit of tightening and the book could certainly do with another round at the editor’s table. The too simple language failed to create the response in a reader that the book (and such issues) should have commanded. 


Review Copy received from the Author



23 February, 2016

#BookReview :: The Impostor Queen (The Impostor Queen #1) by Sarah Fine

Sixteen-year-old Elli was only a child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic in service of her people. The only life Elli has known has been in the temple, surrounded by luxury, tutored by magic-wielding priests, preparing for the day when the queen perishes—and the ice and fire find a new home in Elli, who is prophesied to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.

But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.

Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between her love for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must choose the right side before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.


I came across this book quite accidentally and a friend lent me her copy. I did not have much expectation from it if truth be told. In any case the book did surprise me a lot.

The Imposter Queen is set in a world where fire and ice magic flows through the veins of people. All magic wielders are brought to the temple to live and learn magic as apprentices. But the most powerful magic wielder is always a woman, who rules the nation as their queen, the Valtia. The girl with the potential is always born with a mark on her body. She is then brought to the temple as a child and is educated in all relevant matters till the day she is called upon her duties to the nation. As one queen dies, her power is transferred to the Saadella. Elli has grown up knowing only this life and knowing that one day she will serve her nation with her magic. But when the Valtia dies and the magic doesn’t flow into her, she is forced out of the only home she has ever known. Living a life on the run she is forced to question everything that she had been taught to believe. A war is coming and Elli is supposed to play a pivotal role in it. Will she choose the right side?

I loved the character of Elli for one simple reason – she is quick to adapt. She is brought up to believe one thing but is forced to live a completely different life, but she not only adapts to it quickly, she learns to enjoy it. She never complains and always keeps up hope. Oskar may have saved her life but saves his right back in the end. I loved the way she mingled with his family and worked hard. Freya is such a darling; she stole my heart from the very beginning. Oskar is a guy who makes an impression right from the beginning with his honour bound ways. I loved the way Oskar and Elli’s relationship evolved. Sig appears quite late in the story and somehow I have the feeling that he has a bigger role to play in the rest of the series. I cannot wait to see how their characters are developed individually while developing the plot as well.

The fantastical world created by Sarah fine is a vivid and intense one with so many probabilities and such potential. This series is now in my follow and must read lists. Give it a try if you are a fan of magic and the fantasy worlds.





22 February, 2016

#SpecialFeature :: Meet Aurora Firedrake in a short #CharacterInterview


*** Special Feature - February 2016 ***


About the Book:
16-year-old Aurora Darlington is an orphan. Mistreated by her adopted family and bullied at school, she dreams of running away and being free. But when she is kidnapped and dragged through a portal into a magical world, suddenly her old life doesn’t seem so bad.

Avalonia is a dangerous land ruled by powerful mages and a cruel, selfish queen who will do anything to control all seven kingdoms—including killing anyone who stands in her way. Thrust headlong into this new, magical world, Aurora’s arrival sets plans in motion that threaten to destroy all she holds dear.


With the help of a young fae, a magical pegasus, and a handsome mage, Aurora journeys across Avalonia to learn the truth about her past and unleash the power within herself. Kingdoms collide as a complicated web of political intrigue and ancient magic lead Aurora to unravel a shocking secret that will change her life forever. 




Book Links:
Goodreads I Amazon I Flipkart


Short interview with Aurora Firedrake

Author, Farah Oomerbhoy: Hello Aurora, it’s so wonderful to sit down with you again for a chat. 
Aurora: It’s lovely to see you again too Farah.
Farah: This time we are going to do something different. Let’s have a pop quiz. I know many of our readers would love to know a little more about you. So here goes…

Farah: Chocolate or vanilla?  
Aurora: Vanilla

Farah: Early bird or night owl? 
Aurora: Night owl for sure. :)

Farah: Sweet or salty?
Aurora: Sweet

Farah: Town or village?
Aurora: Villages are so quiet and peaceful. And there is a sense of belonging and camaraderie that you don’t always come across in big towns or cities. The fae village of Pixie Bush in Illiador is my favorite place.

Farah: Reading books or riding horses?
Aurora: Reading, definitely. I do like riding but not for long journeys. It can get very tiring.

Farah: Truth or dare?
Aurora: Dare :)

Farah: What is your favorite season? Why?
Aurora: I think I would have to say spring. I love seeing the first buds blossom, heralding the way for the rest of nature to come alive again after winter blankets the land beneath layers of ice and snow. 

Farah: Are you a good dancer?
Aurora: Not really. But I do love to dance. :)

Farah: What is your #1 dream?
Aurora: To see my parents again. 


About the Author:

For Farah Oomerbhoy, writing is a passion and reading her solace. She is a firm believer in the fantastic and magical, and often dreams of living in Narnia, Neverland, or the Enchanted Forest.
When she was pregnant with her first child ten years ago, a story popped into her head she could not ignore. “I was at my grandmother’s house, and as I looked at the image of a beautiful forest with a castle in the distance on a tapestry hanging on the wall, I imagined myself being whisked away into another world,” she said. It was at that moment the world of Avalonia, with its powerful mages and fae and the evil Queen Morgana, was born. Farah Oomerbhoy’s debut novel, The Last of the Firedrakes, was released in the summer of 2015.

Farah lives with her husband and three children in their family home in Mumbai, India. She has a Master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Mumbai. Her first novel is The Last of the Firedrakes, Book 1 of the Avalonia Chronicles.

  
Contact Farah:
World of Avalonia


Follow The Last of the Firedrakes Book Tour 

Giveaway:
One Amazon Gift Voucher worth 500INR or $10
One Paperback Copy of The Last of the Firedrakes

20 February, 2016

#BlogHop Sign Ups :: Spread Some Indie Love on 31st March, 2016





Let's show our love for Indie Authors!

I have been doing this on Valentine's Day for the last two years. This year due to some personal commitments, I could not do it in time. So, for this year, mark your calendars for 31st March!

If you have not participated before and wondering what this is about... Well, once a year I urge authors / readers / bloggers to feature an Indie Author & all their books or just one Indie Book on their blogs! 

If you have read and enjoyed even one indie (Self-Published) book, I urge you to join in...

The Rules of the Blog Hop:
- Bloggers please register HERE.
- Feature an Indie Author & all their books or just one Indie Book. You can select your content according to your preference.
- Include a Giveaway.
- All posts should be live on 31st March by 9:00am EST.
- Visit, Follow and comment on other Blogs Participating in this Hop!


19 February, 2016

#Spotlight :: Pimpernel by Sheralyn Pratt

PimpernelThey seek him here; they seek him there. For centuries, the elite of the world have sought the Pimpernel everywhere. Some want to kill him, others want to hire him, but Jack Cavanaugh knows that the love/hate relationship comes with the job title. At present, Jack is trying to dismantle an investment scheme centered in Las Vegas, but "trying" is the operative word. It's been a month since he put the face of the scheme behind bars, yet the scam is still going strong. As Jack tries to uncover who has stepped in as the new head, what miniscule evidence there is all seems to point him back to Claire Ramsey, an introverted PhD student studying at UNLV. If ever there as an unlikely head of a investment scheme, Claire's it. She has a genius IQ, but from all Jack has seen, Claire’s intelligence is as much a blessing as a curse when paired up with her acute OCD. Claire can barely make conversation with the cute guy down the hall, which makes it hard to believe she could be the charismatic salesperson who is getting international businessmen to invest $5—50 million a pop. So what is Jack missing? What is the real story behind Claire Ramsey? And once Jack learns it, will he be able to walk away?


amazon get it  


Excerpt

The high-pitched scream from the other side of her apartment door shattered Claire’s thoughts. “Daniel?” That shriek had been way too high to come out of a man. “Help!” Daniel’s voice cried out from the other side of the door. Claire unlocked the door and pushed it open, finding Daniel cowering on the couch in sailor-themed boxer briefs. Classical music played from his bedroom, indicating Daniel had been sewing before he ended up on the couch. On the ground between them lay the lounge robe Daniel had made in his fashion design class along with his house slippers. They looked like they’d been flung at random. “Move!” he shrieked at her, stabbing his finger at the ground like a mad man. “Take the high ground and leave the door open. Maybe it will go back to the gates of hell, where it belongs!” Claire followed the direction of his manic gesturing, freezing when her eyes locked on something the size of her fist with eight hairy legs. “Daniel? Please tell me that is a toy.” “That. Is. NOT. A. Toy!” The spider chose that moment to make its move—which happened to be sprinting her way. Claire shrieked as Daniel motioned for her to join him on the couch. “High ground!” Was he insane? She would have to leap over the tarantula to get to him. Why in the world would she do that when she could just run away and go to a hotel for the night? “Voldemort?” a man’s voice said from behind her a split second before Claire backed into a male body blocking her retreat. Not only did Claire scream, but her body was suddenly possessed by an Olympic hurdler as she scampered across the living room and flung herself into Daniel’s arms on the couch. “You found her!” a flagpole of a man from the doorway said as Claire latched onto Daniel, hiding her face against his shoulder. If she didn’t see the spider, maybe it would cease to exist. “Found it?” Daniel scoffed. “That thing tried to duel me for my sandwich before I batted him off my kitchen table.” Claire shuttered, only vaguely realizing that the shoulder she was hiding her face in was bare. I’ve never hugged a guy who was only wearing underwear before, she thought a moment before Daniel pulled her keys out of her hand and flung them at the ground to join his slippers and robe. “Don’t chase it this way!” Daniel yelled at the other guy. “Come on, Voldemort,” the spider guy cooed. “Let’s get you back into your habitat—Don’t run!” Wait, it was running? Claire didn’t want to see that, yet something compelled her to turn and look anyway. People always said that horrible things seemed to happen in slow motion, but Claire could have sworn the giant arachnid was coming at her in fast-forward mode. In a heartbeat, she had climbed up to ride piggyback on Daniel while he responded by flapping his hands in panic as if he could fan the thing away with a light breeze. Not only did the spider keep running, it was sprinting like an arachnid with a plan—heading straight for the couch. When Daniel backed away, Claire felt her back thump into the wall. Before he could move again, she pushed off his back to stand on the back of the couch, dropping her purse when it threatened her balance. On the way down, it ended up in Daniel’s hands and he wasted no time finding items inside and tossing them at the spider while its owner moved in to act like a human shield. “No!” the tall guy cried as he tried to corral the beast. “Don’t throw things at her. You might hurt her.” Just then, Claire’s favorite lip gloss bounced off the hairy spider, stunning it. That lip gloss was dead to her—not just the tube, the actual brand. She’d never be able to look at it the same again.

add to goodreads      


Sheralyn
Some describe Sheralyn as a girl who's been around the block and worked at every shop. This isn't far from the truth. Writing is what she loves most, however. There's a magical power in stepping into new perspectives time and again, and seeing the world through different eyes. Few things increase empathy more than walking in another's shoes for 100,000 words or so. At least that seems to be the trend so far.

Some random things to know about Sheralyn: 
* She's a wanderer (geographically) 
* She can write a novel, but doesn't have the attention span for one page in a journal 
* She vehemently disagrees with Stephen King's stance that authors should not watch TV 
* She is pretty much incapable of sleeping before midnight

Blog Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 2/28/16 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

15 February, 2016

#SpecialFeature :: Read an #Excerpt from The Last of the Firedrakes


*** Special Feature - February 2016 ***


About the Book:
16-year-old Aurora Darlington is an orphan. Mistreated by her adopted family and bullied at school, she dreams of running away and being free. But when she is kidnapped and dragged through a portal into a magical world, suddenly her old life doesn’t seem so bad.

Avalonia is a dangerous land ruled by powerful mages and a cruel, selfish queen who will do anything to control all seven kingdoms—including killing anyone who stands in her way. Thrust headlong into this new, magical world, Aurora’s arrival sets plans in motion that threaten to destroy all she holds dear.


With the help of a young fae, a magical pegasus, and a handsome mage, Aurora journeys across Avalonia to learn the truth about her past and unleash the power within herself. Kingdoms collide as a complicated web of political intrigue and ancient magic lead Aurora to unravel a shocking secret that will change her life forever. 




Book Links:
Goodreads I Amazon I Flipkart


Read an Excerpt:

Chapter 7
The Midnight Market

Later that night, after I had eaten well and rested, we set out for the midnight market. I followed Kalen along the small path, from Pixie Bush into the very heart of Goldleaf Forest.

>>>><<<<

It seemed to me that we had been walking for quite a while when I could suddenly hear voices and noises quite clearly in the quiet forest. We came to a large clearing, and the delightful sight left me spellbound. The forest was alive, radiant and subtly lit by pretty, different-colored lanterns hanging from the towering trees. Beautifully decorated stalls and multicolored tents had sprung up all over the place. Some were nestled between the tall trees, and some were haphazardly placed around the edge of the clearing, forming a slightly wonky circle. Fae of all sizes, shapes and colors wandered around, having a marvelous time. There were dryads, naiads, brownies, and little pixies with wings who flitted about the place in groups, laughing and eating at the food stalls.

We came to a stall, which was manned by a small, funny-looking fae with a pointy nose and long ears. Kalen identified him as a gnome. He was selling some strangely colored liquid in glass bottles and was haggling unashamedly about prices with two old ladies, whom I thought were very sweet.
As we walked through the market, Kalen chattered on.

“Although some of the larger towns have shops that sell magical ingredients for potions,” Kalen was saying, “this is the only place you can find some of the really rare items.”

I followed Kalen, who was entering a green tent, where the sign outside read: “Buy a plant for your home and garden.” That sounded quite interesting. Maybe I could buy a plant for Kalen’s mom—she had really helped me, after all—but I remembered I didn’t have any money.

The tent was not what I expected at all. The inside was bewitched to look like a large green house; like the forest, it was much larger inside than it appeared from the outside. The moonlight shone through the glass ceiling, and rows of plants and flowers lined the sides of the tent. We decided to 
explore.

I walked through the rows of plants, looking at the labels that were written next to them. There were strawberry plants in a small tray, growing wonderful, juicy strawberries, each one of which had a dollop of cream on the top. The sign near it said: “Grow your own strawberries and cream.”

“Try one,” said Kalen. “No one is watching.”

I couldn’t resist; I loved strawberries and cream. I popped the whole strawberry into my mouth. It was delicious and the cream was thick, fresh, and sweet. It was wonderful.

“Lovely, yes?” said Kalen.

“I nodded, since my mouth was full.

“Ms. Herbchild is wonderful at growing things. These strawberry plants with cream are one of her new inventions, but you can only grow them on trays inside the house, or the gnomes lick off all the cream.”


I made a face at the thought of eating a strawberry that had been licked by a gnome.”


About the Author:

For Farah Oomerbhoy, writing is a passion and reading her solace. She is a firm believer in the fantastic and magical, and often dreams of living in Narnia, Neverland, or the Enchanted Forest.
When she was pregnant with her first child ten years ago, a story popped into her head she could not ignore. “I was at my grandmother’s house, and as I looked at the image of a beautiful forest with a castle in the distance on a tapestry hanging on the wall, I imagined myself being whisked away into another world,” she said. It was at that moment the world of Avalonia, with its powerful mages and fae and the evil Queen Morgana, was born. Farah Oomerbhoy’s debut novel, The Last of the Firedrakes, was released in the summer of 2015.

Farah lives with her husband and three children in their family home in Mumbai, India. She has a Master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Mumbai. Her first novel is The Last of the Firedrakes, Book 1 of the Avalonia Chronicles.

  
Contact Farah:
World of Avalonia


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14 February, 2016

#Spotlight :: Last Vacation by Sarah Elle Emm

About the Book:
Seven days have passed since Naples real estate agent Megan MacKenna has heard from her twin sister, Madeline, who was vacationing on the beautiful, Caribbean island of St. Croix. Though authorities are not convinced there is a case to solve, Megan knows with all of her heart something happened to Maddy. When Megan receives a direct warning to leave the island or end up like her sister, she turns to the only person who has taken her seriously since she arrived, Gabe, a breakfast cook at a local diner. 

Undercover DEA agent, Gabriel Walker has been building his cover for months, waiting for the opportunity to work his way into the infamous Torrez crime ring. When Megan shows up asking questions and Gabe realizes her twin’s disappearance might be linked to the Torrez men, he has to convince her to go back to Florida before she becomes their next victim. 


The closer Megan gets to the truth, the more Gabe begins to suspect he is missing a huge piece of the puzzle. And someone is closing in on Megan…



Buy Links:


Fun Fact:

I grew up visiting the island of St. Croix with my family. As an adult, I lived in the U.S. Virgin Islands, on both St. Croix and St. Thomas. I always wanted to write a fiction story that took place there, but I never took the time to write it until recently.

Excerpt:


Megan peered out at the vast expanse of ocean gleaming in the bright morning sunshine before her. The turquoise waters seemed to go on forever. From the Caribbean Airways in flight map, she had noted theislands of Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and St. John were in the far off distance. She had been told a faint view of the densely populated St. Thomas could sometimes be seen on a perfectly clear day, but no matter how she strained her eyes, she couldn’t quite see it today.

Had Maddy hopped on a sailboat and continued her travels to another island as the police officer had suggested? It wasn’t like Maddy not to check in. Her cell phone had been going straight to voice mail since the last photo Maddy had sent, and according to the cell company, the cell phone was out of service range. Something had happened to her sibling. The last communication with Maddy had been an unexplained picture of an iguana. No message, no text, nothing. Just an enormous, slimy, dragon-resembling lizard. Megan sunk her head to her chest. Where in the world was her sister?

“Everything okay, Miss?”

Startled from her hopeless thoughts, Megan sat upright at the sound of the low voice. Her eyes scanned the length of the man standing before her, and she pursed her lips together. She guessed he was probably about six-foot-two.

As she sat silently, observing him, the man repeated his question, “Are you okay?” His tone bordered on cautious, but concerned.

“Everything’s fine,” she finally managed with a tight voice.

With a smile, his concern faded away, and he reached behind his back to untie a grease-spotted apron. He folded the apron up, pulled out a chair at the table right next to Megan’s, about a foot and a half from her, and sat down.

An internal alarm went off, making Megan feel extremely uncomfortable with his proximity, and she fidgeted with her hands as he stared at her, finally forcing them into her lap. How could a voice so soothing go with a gruff-looking character like him? And what in the world was he doing sitting down so close to her?

About the Author:



Sarah Elle Emm is the author of the HARMONY RUN SERIES, a young-adult fantasy and dystopian series, released in May 2012 by Winter Goose Publishing. (PRISMATIC, May 2012, OPALESCENT, February 2013, CHATOYANT, September 2014, NACREOUS, August 2015) Her debut fiction novel, MARRYING MISSY, was published by Bird Brain Publishing in October 2011. Sarah is a graduate of The University of Evansville, she has lived and worked in Mexico, Germany, England, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and has traveled extensively beyond. Sarah lives in Naples, Florida with her family. When she’s not walking the plank of her daughters’ imaginary pirate ship or snapping photos of Southwest Florida scenery, she is writing.





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09 February, 2016

#BookReview :: Gone with the Bullet by Sheeja Jose

An answer to a gun is another gun. Answer to deceit is love…. 

An eventful journey of a middle aged, hardcore, lonely shooter with a multi-million task falls in love with the teenage daughter of the man whom he has brutally killed. He has a past...his present changes the history…his future is in her hand…

A girl who landed up in his life from nowhere, changes him and his fate forever. Secrets will throw them into the whirlpool of illusions, which going to test the purity of the reality!!! Their amazing journey brings the unusual tale of love, and race against time to to kill and stay alive. 

Will it break them or bring back them together???

A crime thriller with an extra-ordinary end.... 




I have no idea why, but reading the blurb made me think of the movie Leon. There is absolutely no reason, but for some very odd reason it did and I just couldn’t shake off the feeling. As such the book had a lot to live up to.

This being a thriller, I am going to avoid giving any details about the premise of the story since the blurb of the book gives away just enough and keeps just the right amount of secrets. The best I can do without giving away any spoilers is that there are two characters, Mark & Divya, whose past, present and future are all somehow mingled and that the novel spans over a period of 10 days.

The author has laid out a thrilling plot for her readers to enjoy. The main players of this plot are etched out quite well. They shape up slowly as the plot progresses and by the end they grow immensely. I loved the way the author has given some of them a backstory to feel more familiar to the readers. Also the fact that the author has given us multiple POVs, a reader gets the complete look at what exactly is happening. While it is quite satisfying to be able to get into the minds of all the lead players, it also makes the plot more predictable. What pulls the book down is the pace of the story. While the story covers the events of only 10 days, the book is 310 pages long. Therein lays my dilemma. While the multiple POV surely gave me some thrill, it also slowed down the pace. I wished for the story to move faster. The author’s language in the book is quite enjoyable. It did falter at couple of places though, but it is something that can be corrected with tighter editing.

The one thing that stands out in my mind about this book is the way the author has added quotes at the beginning of each chapter. Some of them made it in my pocket book of quotes. Also, can we take a moment to appreciate the cover? I absolutely adored it. It certainly takes the aesthetic aspect of the book to a whole different level and it also managed to pique my curiosity regarding the book and about the female character as well.

With the same elements acting as both the up and the down of the book, this book evoked mixed feelings in me. But when it comes down to the bottom line, the book is certainly a winner. It deserves at least a single read.


Review Copy received from the Author