Book Review: The Serpent’s Secret

Title: The Serpent’s Secret (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond #1)

Author: Sayantani DasGupta

Genre: Middle grade mythological fiction

Format: Hardcover

Published: By Scholastic on February 27th, 2018

ISBN13: 9781338185706 (US Hardcover edition)

Grade: Outstanding

The Serpent's Secret

Synopsis

On the morning of her twelfth birthday, Kiranmala is just a regular sixth grader living in Parsippany, New Jersey… until her parents mysteriously vanish and a drooling rakkhosh demon slams through her kitchen, determined to eat her alive. Turns out there might be some truth to her parents’ fantastical stories-like how Kiranmala is a real Indian princess and how she comes from a secret place not of this world.

To complicate matters, two crush-worthy princes ring her doorbell, insisting they’ve come to rescue her. Suddenly, Kiran is swept into another dimension full of magic, winged horses, moving maps, and annoying, talking birds. There she must solve riddles and battle demons all while avoiding the Serpent King of the underworld and the Rakkhoshi Queen in order to find her parents and basically save New Jersey, her entire world, and everything beyond it…

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Book Review: Aru Shah and the End of Time

Title: Aru Shah and the End of Time (Pandava Quartet #1)

Author: Roshani Chokshi

Genre: Middle grade mythological fiction

Format: Hardcover

Published: By Rick Riordan Presents on March 27th, 2018

ISBN13: 9781368012355 (US Hardcover edition)

Grade: Outstanding

Aru Shah and the End of Time

Synopsis

Twelve-year-old Aru Shah has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she’ll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archaeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur?

One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru’s doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don’t believe her claim that the museum’s Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again.

But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it’s up to Aru to save them.

The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?

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Book Review: Mirage

Title: Mirage (Mirage #1)

Author: Somaiya Daud

Genre: Young adult sci-fi fantasy

Format: E-book

Published: By Flatiron Books on August 28th, 2018

ISBN13: 9781250126429 (US Hardcover edition)

Grade: Outstanding

Note: I received a free digital ARC of the book for promotional purposes as part of a blog tour and this in no way influences my opinion

Mirage

Synopsis

In a world dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated home.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.

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Book Review: Norse Mythology

Title: Norse Mythology

Author: Neil Gaiman

Genre: Mythology

Format: Audiobook

Published: By W. W. Norton & Company on February 7th, 2017

ISBN13: 9780393609097 (US Hardcover edition)

Grade: Outstanding

Norse Mythology

Synopsis

In Norse Mythology, Gaiman fashions primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds; delves into the exploits of the deities, dwarves, and giants; and culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and the rebirth of a new time and people. Gaiman stays true to the myths while vividly reincarnating Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki, the son of giants, a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator. From Gaiman’s deft and witty prose emerges the gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to dupe others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.

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Book Review: Faint Promise of Rain

Title: Faint Promise of Rain

Author: Anjali Mitter Duva

Genre: Adult historical fiction

Format: Kindle e-book

Published: By She Writes Press on October 7th, 2014

ISBN13: 9781938314971 (Paperback edition)

Grade: Outstanding

Faint Promise of Rain

Synopsis

It is 1554 in the desert of Rajasthan. On a rare night of rain, a daughter is born to a family of Hindu temple dancers just as India’s new Mughal Emperor Akbar sets his sights on their home, the fortress city of Jaisalmer, and the other Princely States around it.

Fearing a bleak future, Adhira’s father, the temple’s dance master—against his wife and sons’ protests—puts his faith in tradition and in his last child for each to save the other: he insists that Adhira is destined to “marry” the temple’s deity and to give herself to a wealthy patron. But Adhira grows into an exquisite dancer, and after one terrible evening she must make a choice—one that may carry her family’s story and their dance to a startling new beginning.

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Book Review: The Psychology of Time Travel

Title: The Psychology of Time Travel

Author: Kate Mascarenhas

Genre: Science fiction

Format: Kindle e-book

Published: By Head of Zeus on August 9th, 2018

ISBN13: 9781788540100 (UK hardcover edition)

Grade: Outstanding

Note: I received a free digital ARC of the book via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review

The Psychology of Time Travel

Synopsis

1967: Four female scientists invent a time-travel machine. They are on the cusp of fame: the pioneers who opened the world to new possibilities. But then one of them suffers a breakdown and puts the whole project in peril.

2017: Ruby knows her beloved Granny Bee was a pioneer, but they never talk about the past. Though time travel is now big business, Bee has never been part of it. Then they receive a message from the future–a newspaper clipping reporting the mysterious death of an elderly lady.

2018: When Odette discovered the body, she went into shock. Blood everywhere, bullet wounds, flesh. But when the inquest fails to answer any of her questions, Odette is frustrated. Who is this dead woman that haunts her dreams? And why is everyone determined to cover up her murder?

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Book Review: Spinning Silver

Title: Spinning Silver

Author: Naomi Novik

Genre: Fantasy

Format: E-book

Published: By Macmillan on July 12th, 2018

ISBN13: 9781509899012 (UK hardcover edition)

Grade: Outstanding

Note: I received a free digital ARC of the book via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review

Spinning Silver

Synopsis

Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father’s too kind-hearted to collect his debts. They face poverty, until Miryem hardens her own heart and takes up his work in their village. Her success creates rumours she can turn silver into gold, which attract the fairy king of winter himself. He sets her an impossible challenge – and if she fails, she’ll die. Yet if she triumphs, it may mean a fate worse than death. And in her desperate efforts to succeed, Miryem unwittingly spins a web which draws in the unhappy daughter of a lord.

Irina’s father schemes to wed her to the tsar – he will pay any price to achieve this goal. However, the dashing tsar is not what he seems. And the secret he hides threatens to consume the lands of mortals and winter alike. Torn between deadly choices, Miryem and Irina embark on a quest that will take them to the limits of sacrifice, power and love.

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