Posted in reviews

Trust Me Not — Book Review

Book: Trust Me Not

Author: Ankita Verma Datta

Publisher: Jaico Publishing House

Pages: 378


Rising corporate star Reeva Rai is offered a prestigious position in a top-notch PR agency. It is the opportunity of a lifetime. But working with Enigmatic Billionaire Kunaal Kabi was not going to be easy. Even as she develops feelings for him, she is determined to prove herself.

But when an activist friend turns to her for help with a real-estate scam, Reeva has to make a high-stakes choice. Can she retain the credibility of her prominent clients while helping hundreds save their homes? As she digs deeper to find solutions, a nefarious scheme unravels with unexpected connections. A no-holds-barred race ensues, blood is drawn and Reeva is trapped in the eye of a political thunderstorm. If she succeeds, powerful people will have much to answer


First few pages gave me the feel of a simple story. Gradually the action started building up, suspense and thrill started creeping and then it was hell of a ride.

Some characters at first seemed unnecessary but later their significance dawned in. Each character has been deftly dealt with but again every character had their own secrets which are only revealed at the end.

Reeva and Kunaal’s chemistry was sizzling, gave me goosebumps whenever they shared screen space. I want to know more about what happened next with them, that’s a cliffhanger that’s killing me, please write a novella on them, Ms. Datta.

The atmosphere buildup, the contemporary political scenario, is bang-on. The dirty games played to gain power, how honesty has to constantly fight an unfair war to survive in a corrupt world has been very aptly depicted.

There were so many twists and turns, no scope of predicting what is going to happen but there was a hint of sinister side of Kunaal evident throughout the story though the climax revelation was unprecedented.

This book, as a debut, is A-mazing!

Rating: 4/5

P.S. I received this book in exchange for an honest review. A sincere thanks to writersmelon and the Author. Extra thanks for a signed copy.

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Letters to Iris — Book Review

Book: Letters to Iris

Author: Elizabeth Noble

Publisher: Michael Joseph

Pages: 480

*I received the e-ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*


Tess has a secret – one which is going to turn her life upside down in just nine months’ time.
The only person she can confide in is her beloved grandmother. But Iris is slipping further away each day.
Then chance brings a stranger into Tess’s life.
Gigi’s heart goes out to Tess, knowing what it’s like to feel alone. She’s determined to show her that there’s a silver lining to every cloud.
As their unlikely friendship blossoms, Tess feels inspired to open up.
But something still holds her back – until she discovers Iris has a secret of her own. A suitcase of letters from another time, the missing pieces of a life she never shared.
Could the letters hold the answers that Tess thought lost for ever?


I expected something and it turned out to be something else. And I can’t decide whether it’s a good thing or bad.
Often the prologue is a part from the later part of the story, But we didn’t come to that part. Also, since the title is Letters to Iris, I think the spotlight on senior Iris was not as much as it I was expecting. Gigi’s part, though a good read but was not required, the senior and junior Iris would do. I wanted more on Iris and Tom since Tom seemed to be playing a role in the prologue.

In short, I’m confused whether I should be pleased with the book or not.
Whatever I read was a good, thoughtful read, though.

Rating: 3.5/5 🌟

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The Assassinations: A Novel of 1984 — Book Review

Author: Vikram Kapur

Publisher: Speaking Tiger

Pages: 211


Prem Kohli, the handsome, ambitious son of a Sikh refugee, has the world at his feet: a glittering career and he’s engaged to his college girlfriend, Deepa, despite her father’s reservations about Hindus and Sikhs intermarrying. But, while Deepa remains occupied with their marriage plans, the Indian Army enters the Golden Temple. Prem cannot contain his rising anger at the desecration of the shrine, and at the people around him who shrug it off. He begins growing out his hair and visiting the gurudwara regularly, where he learns about the militancy in Punjab. Matters come to a head when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated and anti-Sikh riots break out, as Prem is caught up in a vortex of violence and hate that engulfs all their lives.
In The Assassinations, Vikram Kapur writes with sensitivity about a topic that still holds painful memories, skilfully telling the story of how ordinary lives are distorted by the forces of history. He also evokes the New Delhi of the 1980s, with its wide, leafy roads masking the precariousness of its Punjabi middle class. This memorable book captures the turbulence of those times, while chronicling how continuing to live means coming to terms with many kinds of deaths.


The plot build-up, setting build-up, moulding of the central character is beyond words. I’m in awe of the author.

This story isn’t about whether you love it or not, it’s about to what extent the impact has hit your heart and mind. And I can’t explain what I actually felt while reading. I was reading this book during the first half of a 10 hour solo train journey, with no one to talk to, all the neighbours snoring in glory (in fact I’m writing this review while on the same journey), and I felt, whenever I took few minutes break from reading or after I completed reading, I was in 1984 and seeing all of it, petrified and out of wits, no idea how to react to it. It’s my phone that brought me back to the present 😅.

All I can do is, bow down to the author and the publisher for creating this masterpiece, I recommend everyone of this generation to give this a read to know what we Indians have been facing right after we gained independence, it’ll seem that we are independent only in documents, not in actual spirits.

Rating: 5/5 (this is a masterpiece, I feel no number can justify it)

P.S. I am glad to have received the review copy. Thank you Writers Melon and Speaking Tiger.

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Dharmayoddha Kalki — Book Review

Author: Kevin Missal

Publisher: Fingerprint

Pages: 439


Whenever there is a decline in righteousness and an upsurge in unrighteousness, at that time, I take birth again.
Born in the quiet village of Shambala, Kalki Hari, son of Vishnuyath and Sumati, has no idea about his heritage until he is pitted against tragedies and battles.
Whisked into the province of Keekatpur, which is under the fist of Lord Kali, Kalki sees the ignominy of death trumping life all around him. He learns that he has been born to cleanse the world he lives in, for which he must journey to the North and learn the ways of Lord Vishnu’s Avatar; from an immortal who wields an axe.
But trapped in the midst of betrayals, political intrigue and forces that seek to decimate him, will he be able to follow his destiny before the Kaliyug begins?


The story is engaging, gave me lot of Amish Tripathi vibes, throughout.

Character development, plot development were commendable. Quality of writing is also good but it still needed quite much proofreading, which the publishers have missed even in the new edition.

The length of the book can be intimidating, with 79 chapters, quite daunting but the chapters were short.

The pace of the book was also good. You might not want to put the book down, cause lots of scheming and actions are involved in the entire book, unless you are sick like I was when I picked up the book and this is your quarantine period read.

Rating: 4/5 (I choose to ignore the proofreading errors since I liked the story)

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Bloody Scotland — Book Review

Author: Lin Anderson, Chris Brookmyre, Gordon Brown, Ann Cleeves, Doug Johnstone, Stuart MacBride, Val McDermid, Denise Mina, Craig Robertson, Sara Sheridan , E S Thomson, Louise Welsh

Publisher: Bee Books


In Bloody Scotland a selection of Scotland’s best crime writers use the sinister side of the country’s built heritage in stories that are by turns gripping, chilling and redemptive.
Stellar contributors Val McDermid, Chris Brookmyre, Denise Mina, Ann Cleeves, Louise Welsh, Lin Anderson, Doug Johnstone, Gordon Brown, Craig Robertson, E S Thomson, Sara Sheridan and Stuart MacBride explore the thrilling potential of Scotland’s iconic sites and structures. From murder in an Iron Age broch and a macabre tale of revenge among the furious clamour of an eighteenth century mill, to a dark psychological thriller set within the tourist throng of Edinburgh Castle and a rivalry turning fatal in the concrete galleries of an abandoned modernist ruin, this collection uncovers the intimate – and deadly – connections between people and places.
Prepare for a dangerous journey into the dark shadows of our nation’s buildings – where passion, fury, desire and death collide.


It’s the first time I’m reading Scottish crime writings and the stories in this anthology just blew my mind off. It’s gory, creepy, scary, eerie but again engaging. Few stories had a little mundane beginning but the climax and ending will make you go OMG! Two stories I felt weren’t as bloody as the rest were, but nevertheless one could like those pieces.

A unique feature in this book is that, all the stories have the setting as the heading followed by the title of the story and the name of the author.

I liked the binding, the cover, the extra notes on the different places in Scotland the stories are set, and author introductions.

Rating: 4/5 🌟

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Hell! No Saints in Paradise — Book Review

Author: A.K. Asif

Publisher: Harper Collins


2050, New York. In the aftermath of a gruelling spiritual cleansing quest, Ismael, a Pakistani-American student, enters into an alliance with spiritual beings who send him on a perilous journey of self-discovery. A non-believer, Ismael must return to Pakistan, now in the grip of a brutal fundamentalist government, and gain the trust of his estranged father, a prominent extremist in the Caliphate. To accomplish this, he must pose as a true believer. Will he survive long enough to infiltrate his father’s inner sanctum and complete his mission? Hell! No Saints in Paradise is both biting satire and allegory that takes urban fantasy to dizzying heights.


I am out words to describe how I felt about this book. It’s crazy, weird, fantastical, futuristic but yet is connected to the present scenario of religious fanaticism that we’re seeing around us.

Faith is good but blind faith can be catastrophic. It’s ok to believe in God, afterlife, Heaven and Hell. But there’s no point in killing one another or blindly following what somebody says in the name of God worshipping.

Our religions are so dangerously misinterpreted from what the founding fathers actually conceptualized and that’s what needs to be put forth in front of the followers.

This book has wonderfully highlighted that in the crazy, wild futuristic, religiously fanatic Pakistan backdrop which I fear might be the case in India as well in the future if we don’t realise our follies in time.

The story was beautifully build-up and the consistency was deftly maintained till the ending with suspense and twists and turns. This book is, according to my judgement, is more of plot-driven rather than character-driven.

A very insightful, enlightening journey that Ismael had been pushed into to transient from being an atheist to a believer to ultimately a Knower.

I hope everyone reads this book and takes away the message. More than being an atheist or a believer, the world will be a better place if everyone are “knowers”.

I’ve been looking for good books written by Pakistani authors and I’m glad I came across this book.

Rating: 4.5/5 🌟

P.S. I received this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the publisher and Writers Melon.

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Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar — Book Review

Author: Kochery C. Shibu

Publisher: Niyogi Books

Pages: 284

A hydro power project in the remote Himalayas.
Three people brought together by fate. Nanda, an engineer from Kerala at the dam construction site hiding from his past, from the law, torn between the love of his dear ones and the traditional kalari code of revenge.
Khusru, a boy displaced from his native village in Kashmir, a gambit in the terror plot threatening to blow up the dam, working as a labour at the site.
Rekha, a Kathak dancer in heart, a doctor by profession, arrives at the campsite as the consort of Khusru.
A village that accepts the dictates of modernity with a heavy heart, its population steeped in superstitions and religious beliefs.
All throng the camp site like moths to a flame. Some escape untouched,successful; some miss a step and perish.
Each has a story to tell and a dream to realize. The fury of nature and hardship of project life has no mercy for the weak and time for the dead.
Like an eternal spectator the Dhauladhar watches as men risk their limb and life in their quest to full fill their dreams.

This book is quite simple. Nothing wow or mind boggling in it. But its simplicity in language and approach is its USP. The story is about life and decisions humans are often forced to take driven by circumstances. The back stories are interesting of how the central characters reach Dhauladhar. Some back stories could be skipped, those characters didn’t have much importance, but they’re nonetheless interesting. However, too many flashbacks on too many characters from way different cultures can be overbearing for the readers . Then there was lengthy descriptions of the dam construction which will be of interest to a limited crowd, others might find it difficult to get the picture. But overall the book is well researched, well taken care of. But the main story if you extract out was quite short, the details lengthened the book. The usage of local language gives the various personal accounts a more personal, familiar touch. I would have appreciated a little faster pace and little more substance in the central storyline.

Rating: 3.8/5

P.S. I had received the book from the Author in exchange for an honest review. Thank You Mr. Shibu

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Going all in — Book review


Three mismatched suburban couples, Steve and Katie, Marty and Erin, and Scarlett and C. Thomas, have been neighbors and friends for years. During a pummeling Connecticut Nor’Easter, the members of the bored triptych engage in a friendly game of Texas Hold’em in front of a fire and over more than a few bottles of Merlot. The impromptu get-together eventually leads to the institution of alcohol-driven, bi-weekly poker nights.

One evening on a lark, someone suggests an alternate payout – instead of pocket change, the winner may choose a player (other than his or her spouse) with whom to spend the night. The proposition takes shape, but complications arise as these things will.

All too quickly, friendships are strained and relationships begin to crumble. Lies are told, truths are exposed, and feelings are hurt. In the end, can anyone bear the weight of this wanton self-indulgence? They are six fully consenting adults, and after all, it’s only a game. Or is it?


This wasn’t my type of a book. The prologue and the climax were interesting, the story idea about dysfunctional relationships among the affluent class was good. But the execution couldn’t impress me. There were many unnecessary drags, not so required sub-episodes.

The book may be good but it’s not what interests me, it started off being a mysterious story but then it took an erotica turn and that’s a genre I generally avoid. So that’s why I’m not that happy with the book. If you are into reading about complicated relationship, human tendencies and some erotica then this might be for you.

My Rating : 3/5 🌟

P.S. I received the e-book in exchange for an honest review and this is my blatantly honest review for this book.

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Lulu’s Ballalam-Bam-Bam Grooves — Book Review

** I received the e-ARC for this book in exchange for an honest review**


There is nothing Lulu loves more than dancing by herself. With each new song, she practices the “Ballalam-Bam-Bam Grooves.” She slides her feet, claps her hands, and bumps her hips against a tree trunk.

There is just one problem. Lulu is a gorilla! When she stamps her feet and shakes the trees, she ends up disturbing all the other animals in her jungle home. Poor Squin Squirrel cannot even sip his nut tea without Lulu’s dancing rattling his tree home. Squin and the other animals try to tell Lulu that her dancing is disruptive, but they cannot get through to the gorilla.

Then, Lulu’s loud music and dancing ends up waking up the mighty king of the jungle. The angry lion Jhawfors then confronts Lulu with the problem. Will the animals be able to find a compromise?

This rhyming children’s tale imparts valuable lessons to young readers. Lulu does not want to stop doing what she loves, but she needs to understand that her actions affect others. Through Lulu, children will learn the importance of respect, compassion, and compromise.


It is perfect for 2-4 year kids. The illustrations are cutesy and colourful and bright that will easily attract baby, inquisitive eyes. The story-telling is in sing-song style, with rhyming words in every alternate line. The sing-song is also attractive for babies, so this book will be a great pastime.

Rating: 4/5

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Into the Light — book review

** I received an e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review **


Into the Light is a memoir-inspired poetry collection in seven parts. 

The book shares the author’s life from a transformative perspective of being in a deep state of darkness to finding hope, miracles and light. In the final part, there are notes to the reader and finding one’s inner peace after adversity. 

This book explores trauma, abuse, sexual abuse, mental illness, loss, healing, spirituality, meditation, inspiration and empowerment.


A memoir in a poetry form, an amazing idea. The poems are written in simple words, blank verse. You will easily connect to these poems — a series of long, short poems, at times it’s just a few couplets. But these give the narrative the apt emphasis wherever necessary. 

The journey portrayed is beautiful, touching and from being sad and painful, it becomes hopeful. 
My Rating: 4.5/5

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The Duchess – Book Review

**  I have received a proof copy in exchange for an honest review . Thank you so much PanMacmillan India**


The incomparable Danielle Steel breaks new ground as she takes us to nineteenth-century England, where a high-born young woman is forced out into the world–and begins a journey of survival, sensuality, and long-sought justice.

Angelique Latham has grown up at magnificent Belgrave Castle under the loving tutelage of her father, the Duke of Westerfield, after the death of her aristocratic French mother. At eighteen she is her father’s closest, most trusted child, schooled in managing their grand estate. But when he dies, her half-brothers brutally turn her out, denying her very existence. Angelique has a keen mind, remarkable beauty, and an envelope of money her father pressed upon her. To survive, she will need all her resources–and one bold stroke of fortune.

Unable to secure employment without references or connections, Angelique desperately makes her way to Paris, where she rescues a young woman fleeing an abusive madam–and suddenly sees a possibility: Open an elegant house of pleasure that will protect its women and serve only the best clients. With her upper-class breeding, her impeccable style, and her father’s bequest, Angelique creates Le Boudoir, soon a sensational establishment where powerful men, secret desires, and beautiful, sophisticated women come together. But living on the edge of scandal, can she ever make a life of her own–or regain her rightful place in the world?

From England to Paris to New York, Danielle Steel captures an age of upheaval and the struggles of women in a male-ruled society–and paints a captivating portrait of a woman of unquenchable spirit, who in houses great or humble is every ounce a duchess.


I’m totally in awe of the protagonist Angelique, such mental strength, self-confidence, determination, courage. The era in which this book is set, these traits are rare in women. Beautifully written, I myself could feel the frustration that Angelique was feeling, in spite of being from an aristocratic family, she had to live a lowly life, only because she was neither a first-born nor a son of the Duke. I found myself raging at the hypocritic society that allowed a woman to sit on the throne, because she’s royal and the others can’t even inherit a penny from their father’s earnings.

The storytelling, characterisations, twists and turns were brilliant.

My first Danielle Steel read and I LOVED it.

My Rating: 5/5

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Blowfish – Book Review

** I have received a review copy from Bloombury India in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Bloomsbury **


Mukund and Chaddha spend their days comfortably ensconced in their cushy jobs, wallowing in regrets that make for good conversation. Mukund, in a fit of bravado. resigns to pursue his “calling”; the only hitch is that he doesn’t know what it is yet! Chaddha is fired and seeks solace in shooting pigeons at point-blank range.
Mukund’s life spirals out of control when Colonel Harpal Singh, the housing society secretary, finds in him a reflection of his estranged son. Harpal places Mukund under “house arrest”, puts him on trial in a kangaroo court and coerces him to fight a ludicrous duel.
Constantly under threat, and running out of time and money, Mukund is about to go back to being a man with bad dandruff, a small car and even smaller dreams, when he meets Suman, a girl who, like him, is trying to figure out what life is all about.

Blowfish is a fast, funny and irreverent take on the overhyped pursuit of passion in a country where flashy cars and posh bungalows remain the only lasting symbols of success and happiness.


In my view, this book can be a good lazy read after you have read 3-4 heavy duty books, with too many metaphors or mind-boggling action or a flamboyant display of fantastical elements, back-to-back. Its simple, funny, fast-paced, realistic — sob story of all youth in India, who don’t want to grow up but they have, slightly haywire that we tend to be. One can very much connect with the different characters, a college topper gets lost in the corporate race; a temperamental punjabi; a stubborn yet whinny old dad; nosy, dominating society head; over caring mother; a confused first timer dad; a pregnant woman on severe mood swing. You’re in for a hilarious, ‘face-palm’-ing ride.

My Rating: 4/5

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A Window to her Dreams — Book Review

** I have received a review copy of this book. Thank you Writers Melon and Readomania**


Aruna, a young divorcee, marries Bhuvan, an averagely successful young man. Both make promises of ever after with preconceived expectations—hers, freedom from a judgmental society and validation of herself and his, unconditional love and partnership.

Despite their best intentions, life plays rogue.

On the one hand, Aruna’s learned conditioning, developed as a result of her past, keeps coming in the way of their married normalcy and on the other, Bhuvan cannot fathom the signs of her distress.

Their good intentions are tried at every step until the day when Aruna’s past revisits her. Bhuvan’s silences, Aruna’s distrust and the resurrection of her troublesome past lead to a downward spiral in their life that shakes Aruna to the core.

As she stands on the precipice of a second failed marriage, Aruna tries one last time to take control of her life, something she had willingly surrendered last time.
Does she succeed in saving her marriage? Or is she held back by her own apprehensions, choosing to stay victim?


What I was most mesmerised about this book was, apart from the characters’ PoVs, there is a limited omnipresent narrative of the Sharma haveli Anwar, giving a bird’s eye view of the Sharma family, especially the woman of the house Uma and her eldest daughter Aruna.

This is a book with no fairy tale, no make-belief, no feel-good elements. It is a blatant truth of a woman’s life. One wrong decision, your life is tainted for good. Marital life can be a bliss or a curse, depends on who you decide to spend with. Aruna’s first marriage was a nightmare, Singh’s style of writing will make you feel that nightmare for yourself.

That anxiety, that fear she bears during her first marriage, is sure to intimidate you against the institution of marriage. But the second marriage will make you realise, that marital life solely depends on your choices, your priorities and your determination and dedication.

I loved the storytelling and the characterisations — an apt depiction of a normal Indian middle-class family trying to make ends meet, fighting for one’s dreams.


My Rating: 5/5

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Awaken — Book Review

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** I had received an ARC from the Publisher in exchange of an honest review. Thank You Pan Macmillan India**


The Haters are coming to destroy all life on Earth. It is not a question of if, but when. 

The Brahmaand has already rung the warning bell and the awakening of the Preservers has begun. Kiara unexpectedly finds her skin covered with golden fur and her sense of smell extraordinarily enhanced; Saumya is suddenly able to go from Ahmedabad to New York in just a step; and Sia’s songs have the power to do things she had never imagined possible.

First in the thrilling Shakti Trilogy set in contemporary India, Ashok Banker’s action-packed and brilliantly imagined Awaken introduces our unlikely heroes who must discover and harness their superpowers before they can protect and preserve the Earth from the wrath of a menacing alien invasion.


The plot is interesting — India is lacking in superheroes and no superheroines, here we get not 1 but 3 superheroines.

There is a lot of reality in the fantasy, be it the description of Delhi, Gujrat, Nairobi or Nagaland. I’m glad the author chose the North East part of the country to place one of his central characters. Majority of us Indians fail to acknowledge the Seven Sister states to be a part our country, but they are. None of can imagine what turmoil they go through– while the rest of the country has got independence from the British and Nazi has been quashed from the world, but states like Nagaland are tortured by fellow Indians— this issue should be highlighted to the world and should be stopped. I’m happy that this issue has got some limelight through this book.

Characterisation is commendable, 3 ordinary young girls all of a sudden becoming not so ordinary and then they realise they exist for a purpose. There is a strong transgender character who is loved and cared for, really touched me. Transgenders are also humans, its just a genetic abnormality, none of the individual’s fault, they shouldn’t be shuned for the game genes have played.

I’m in awe with Saumya’s power of “Popping”. I wish I could Pop around the world.

Story build-up was brilliant, I was in anticipation of what is about to happen next.

I am a little sad that this book had to end when the real action was just starting.

I can’t wait to read the next book Assemble.

Rating: 4/5

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i, HOLMES — Book Review


** I have received an e-ARC of this graphic novel from the publisher**


Everyone has a secret. Hers can get her killed and she doesn’t even know what it is.

She was born with no parents and no name. Fighting to survive in a world of danger and intrigue is nothing new to i Rose who lives by her wits on the streets of New York, but after discovering that she’s being targeted as the descendant of someone world famous who she’s never met, i Rose realizes that life is about to become even more complicated.


It took me some time to get a hang of it. The beginning was a little here and there — Some random card game, a girl disguised as a man, a train suddenly blows up, a unicorn masked man, the aforementioned girl is a vigilante in the eyes of the cops, parrol officer — it took time to make sense out of it. Gradually, things started to make sense and the plot gained momentum, but just then, The End. I am like, “Am I missing something? How is it the end now?” But it was it. I hope the sequel is out soon.

iRose is quite of a tricky character to understand, that’s the highlight of this book. Generally females are typecasted and highly predictable.

I really want to read more of Sherlock Holmes-Irene Adler affair.

My Rating: