#Review : The Ancient Nine by Ian K. Smith @StMartinsPress

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Hello book lovers! Today I’m really excited to be part of of blog tour for The Ancient Nine. Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press for the tour invite and for providing e-ARC. Please check out my thoughts on the book below. The Ancient Nine is available now!

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The Ancient Nine by Ian K. Smith

Publication Date: September 18th 2018
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Read Date: September 3rd 2018
Genre: Mystery / Historical Fiction
Pages: 432

Stars: 4.5/5

4.5 Stars

 

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Spenser Collins
An unlikely Harvard prospect, smart and athletic, strapped for cash, determined to succeed. Calls his mother—who raised him on her own in Chicago—every week.

Dalton Winthrop
A white-shoe legacy at Harvard, he’s just the most recent in a string of moneyed, privileged Winthrop men in Cambridge. He’s got the ease—and the deep knowledge—that come from belonging.

These two find enough common ground to become friends, cementing their bond when Spenser is “punched” to join the Delphic Club, one of the most exclusive of Harvard’s famous all-male final clubs. Founded in the nineteenth century, the Delphic has had titans of industry, Hollywood legends, heads of state, and power brokers among its members.

Dalton Winthrop knows firsthand that the Delphic doesn’t offer memberships to just anyone. His great-uncle is one of their oldest living members, and Dalton grew up on stories of the club’s rituals. But why is his uncle so cryptic about the Ancient Nine, a shadowy group of alums whose identities are unknown and whose power is absolute? They protect the Delphic’s darkest and oldest secrets—including what happened to a student who sneaked into the club’s stately brick mansion in 1927 and was never seen again.

Dalton steers Spenser into deeper and deeper recesses of the club, and beyond it, to try to make sense of what they think they may be seeing. But with each scrap of information they get from an octogenarian Crimson graduate, a crumbling newspaper in the library’s archives, or one of Harvard’s most famous and heavily guarded historical books, a fresh complication trips them up. The more the friends investigate, the more questions they unearth, tangling the story of the club, the disappearance, and the Ancient Nine, until they realize their own lives are in danger.


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The Ancient Nine was a slow burner scholarly mystery set in 1988, story of convoluted mystery of one the club house of Harvard, buried secrets and wealthy cunning titans of the world who will go to any length to protect it. After long time I read such informative novel.

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Main character, Spencer Collins was athletic, smart, American black student of Harvard from average family background. Invitation from the legendary men club of Harvard, exclusive to only rich white students changed everything in his life. Nothing about the invitation was normal and sounded more personal to Spencer that pulled him and his best friend Dalton Winthrop into the puzzle of buried secrets of ancient nine.

I liked Spencer’s voice. It was written in way that pulled me to read more about his life at Harvard. Dalton was much more striking than him in lot of way and also had very important role in the story. Smart intelligent rich rebellious kid and his cold war with his father, his way of probing matters and using resources for that was impressive.

Both the characters were developed and by the end of the book both Dalton and Spencer grew on me and I was much impressed the way they took risk and solved the mystery. There were many interesting secondary characters contributed in progress of the story.

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The story was written in first person narrative from main character’s POV. First few chapters had tremendous info on Harvard ground, magnificent buildings and its history and clubs. I suggest keep the map given in the beginning handy to view all the details on streets, campus, and buildings without getting confused.

Exquisite immaculate narration of the houses took me right there walking along with Spencer meeting famous people and dizzily admiring all the facts and details. It was like reading research paper on Harvard which was turned into fiction story. Soon I found myself googling about everything mentioned in the book. The accuracy of some of the details were really jaw dropping.

After getting loads of info about this secret society and their lavish party, I was much intrigued with the history and the secrets it held. There were lot of question hanging in my mind. Why Spencer was punched, what they are hiding in the mansion, what happened to Abbott 60 yrs ago were the center pieces of puzzle which are intertwined with each other in smart and complex way. As characters tried to get answers to these question the more deep it took them with bunch of more question and some to dead ends.

There was so many things to talk about related to Harvard and the mystery but telling it all here would kill the fun. What I loved most was the Spencer and Dalton’s core research on rare ancient text that linked all the question, Libraries and divisions of Harvard Campus, and all other details that revealed the exquisite history of campus. I haven’t read Robert Langdon series, I watched movies and I can tell this book had the same feel.

The suspense got more thrilling in the second half of the book. Climax was mind-blowing and highly uncertain. Author really knew how and where to put the pieces of the puzzle and still holding the final important one in way that no one can figure out what the picture would be like till the end. That acronym in the poem almost gave away the secret as I knew what it stands for but still I didn’t know how it was connected to mystery until last 10% of the book.

End was great, contrary to what I thought, I didn’t expect it to be wrapped up so smoothly but it was satisfactory.

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A minor point- Racy, entertainment, comments and views of club on women in first half and sport, tournament in the second half the book distracted me from the main mystery. Like clubs in the book it felt like written for men readers.

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Overall, it was original, interesting, slow building and steady paced with exquisite writing. I enjoyed it. Those who like historical suspense with academic details would definitely enjoy the book.


 

About Author:

Ian Smith.jpgIan K. Smith is the author of nine New York Times bestselling nonfiction books, several of them, including Shred and Super Shred, #1 bestsellers, as well as one previous work of fiction, The Blackbird Papers. He is a graduate of Harvard, Columbia, and the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine.

Social Links:

Facebook: @Dr.IanKSmith

Twitter: @DrIanSmith

Author Website

Instagram: @doctoriansmith

Buy Links:

AmazonBarnes & Noble / Books-a-Million  / IndieBound  /  Powells

*** I received e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. ***

What do you think about the book?
Have you read this book already? If so, what do you think about it?

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The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

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The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank; Otto H. Frank (Editor), Mirjam Pressler (Editor), Susan Massotty (Translation)

Publication Date: July 31st 2017(first published 1947)
Publisher: Amazing Reads
Genre: Autobiography / Classic / Non-Fiction / WWII
Pages: 328

Stars: 4.5/5

4.5 Stars

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This is first autobiography I read and to my surprise I loved it more than I expected. It’s a written account of life of Jews in hiding during the WWII from a 15 year old young girl’s perspective. The story was about the struggle of Jews, impact of WWII on their living, human nature and feelings in war time, lots of family drama, and a speck of innocent romance between two young hearts.

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Foreword in book was great. It mentioned key points about the book that I didn’t know before. I didn’t know there were so many versions of this book. The pace was bit slow as it took me a time to get to know characters and what was going on in Anne’s life.

Anne was observant, smart, chatty, outspoken, rebellious, but lonely vulnerable young girl who craved for person who could understand or at least listen to her. Outside diary, with other residents of annex, she had different persona than she had in diary. She was modest, kind and never answered back until it was unbearable, helped in all chores and tried to fit in as much as possible- I liked her these qualities. Her dual persona was wisely described by Anne in second half of the book. (I loved those last few entries.)

Book started with Anne’s normal life, her friends at school, family and how they came to live in Holland. When Anne and her family went into hiding, to live in secret Annex, she started to pour out her real feelings for her family and other residents of Annex, her experience with each member and how her views changed towards them eventually was skillfully narrated in a diary.

I can’t find better words to describe other member of Annex. They were best written by Anne. I didn’t like the way Anne was treated by her mother, Mrs. Van Daan and Mr. Dussel. It felt really unfair and their behavior was literally childish. I couldn’t understand her mother’s partiality at first but as I read more from Anne’s view I felt it was both because of situation and Anne’s nature.

Age, anxiety, fear and the overall situation played biggest part on environment of Annex and mood of its members. It was both amusing and pitiful. At one time I was laughing at the silly squabbles and then next I felt sad to read their misery and sometimes I found myself shaking head at their selfish behavior. They were not of the same mind and might not have understand each other the way a family or people living in close quarters should have which caused lot of conflicts, but they were together in ups and downs and supported each other as much as possible, and that only made me admire them.

Most favorite thing about the book was voice of Anne Frank. She wrote it with full heart, blunt truth and emotions. It was touching, humorous, outrageous and sad all at the same time. One thing I noticed was as she wrote more her writing improved a great deal. Her insight on the adult behavior, war, love, feminism was awe-inspiring. Her critical thoughts in second half of the book clearly showed development in her character.

The end and afterward of the diary broke my heart. After reading their pain, hope, fear and suffering, along with them I also had a hope that they will come out of it at the end. It was devastating to read the end of them, I couldn’t believe the words I was reading.

Anne’s diary makes one thing certain- no one deserves this kind of life. Hatred of one person towards a religion and community destroyed so many life and for what? Each and every living being deserves freedom and life regardless of gender, race, color and religion. A 15 year old young girl could understand this much in the most devastating time period then I think, it should not be that difficult for people who now are living in free world. Humanity is all this world needs, and not to mention more books like this!

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It was bit slow and bored me at certain point. It felt like I’m not progressing in the book.

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Overall, it was touching, mesmerizing, insightful account of WWII by a young girl that I recommend to all readers.


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About Author: Anne Frank

Buy Link: Amazon.in / Amazon.com


What do you think about the book and my review?
Have you read this book already and planning to read in future?

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#CoverReveal : Fountain Dead by Theresa Braun @TBraun_Author @rrbooktours1 @shanannigans81

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How cool is this cover?! I’m thrilled to host this reveal today, and tell you all about Theresa Braun’s first full-length novel, Fountain Dead! Theresa is also giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card, so be sure to enter at the bottom!

Fountain Dead edited

Fountain Dead by Theresa Braun

Expected Publication: Mid-November

Genre: Mature YA Horror/ Paranormal

Mark is uprooted from his home and high school in the Twin Cities and forced to move with his family into a Victorian in Nowhere-ville. Busy with the relocation and fitting in, Mark’s parents don’t see what’s unfolding around them—the way rooms and left behind objects seem alive with a haunted past.

Of course, Mark keeps his ghostly encounters to himself, all the while sinking deeper into the house’s dark, alluring, and ultimately terrifying history. As romantic entanglements intensify, the paranormal activity escalates. Past and present come together. Everything is connected—from the bricks in the walls to the hearts beating in their chests, all the secrets of Fountain Dead are finally unearthed.

Coming Soon!

Excerpt:

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The vapor wafting from the stagnant pool smelled like the rancid rot from inside a carcass. Mark felt he breathed in fire. The gooey surface boiled and foamed as if a prehistoric substance. His heart stopped as something emerged. A goopy and gnarled dome became a sickly face. The eyelids still closed, the rest of the form rose, covered in green.

A tattered dress clung to the feminine curves. The cloth slipped from the shoulders, drawing his attention to her skin. The texture made him gag.

A sour taste of bile filled his mouth. His skin contracted as he contemplated her spongy flesh. Her black eyes sprang open like a demonic doll’s. Her inhuman gaze stabbed his very core, and he knew he was facing a soul-less being. The eyes burned like hot stove burners.

A decomposing hand extended toward his throat.

Mark woke, wet with perspiration. His pillowcase and sheets were damp, as if he’d taken a swim in the fountain. That idea made him unable to breathe. His heartbeat sped along at a rate close to heart attack status as he tried not to blow a gasket about the evil that lie in wait. He whipped his pillow from behind his head and squashed it to his chest. No one would grasp what he’d been feeling—or what he’d been seeing.His lip trembled.Something—a fiend, a spirit, the fountain—wanted to hurt him.Mark’s chest compressed.The devil on his shoulder advised him that his mother had to be right. All of the metal music, the cartoons, the swearing, had been an invitation for demons and darkness. Forget the fact that none of his friends had ever mentioned opening some gateway to hell. These dark forces had chosen him.He lied back, exhaustion sinking him deeper into the mattress. After pulling the blood warm sheets up to his chin, he shunned the moonlight streaming into the room. The crooked claws of the branches squealed against the half-open windowpane. Summer’s hot breath puffed into the house. Mark didn’t have to strain to hear its griping—the sighs of the woodwork and the building’s various joints.The door to the servants’ quarters was open again. However, that bothered him less and less. A perfume of fragrant flowers sent him to sleep.

About the Author:

theresa-braun

Hmmm. What’s this? Looks like Ms. Braun left her computer on and her Goodreads bio open.

This should be fun.

What can we say about Theresa? I mean other than the fact that she’s weirdly obsessed with smiley faces :-). Like, seriously obsessed >:-*. It’s kinda scary :-O.

I think she thinks she’s from Renaissance England or Venice or something. I never could figure out which one it was. (She’s really bad at doing accents.)

She likes romance novels and crime TV, which are pretty much the same thing when you think about it. Ha! Am I right?

She has a hell of a singing voice. Seriously. It’s, like, seventh circle of hell bad.

She likes editing. A lot. Just wait till she get’s aload a this.

Cats. Shoes. Chips and salsa. In that order.

Yeah, that last part didn’t make sense to me either.

Theresa Braun

*There will also be a blog tour for Theresa’s book starting Nov. 12th to Nov. 16th. If you would like to participate, please fill out the sign up form

Giveaway Time!

For your chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift card, click the link to enter! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Fountain Dead Blog Tour (Nov. 12th to 16th)

Cover Reveal Organized By:

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R&R Book Tours


Isn’t it interesting? What do you think about the book and the cover?

Share your thoughts in the comment-box below.

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (46)

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?’ is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It’s a great post to organise yourself. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.


Last week has been bit disturbed both in reading and blog and life as well. My baby shower wound up nicely. But when all relatives are gathered at one place it’s bound cause turbulence in peaceful water. I really don’t like to be social. Some people are not doing anything to keep me happy, they are expecting from me to please them in name of social custom and so called tradition!! Anyway I hope I can have peaceful time till due date.

Last week I finished~ 

The Adventures of Isabelle Necessary by Martii Maclean. Review will be up next month during the blog tour for this book.

Currently reading~

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

831776Anne Frank’s extraordinary diary, written in the Amsterdam attic where she and her family hid from the Nazis for two years, has become a world classic and a timeless testament to the human spirit. Now, in a new edition enriched by many passages originally withheld by her father, we meet an Anne more real, more human, and more vital than ever. Here she is first and foremost a teenage girl—stubbornly honest, touchingly vulnerable, in love with life. She imparts her deeply secret world of soul-searching and hungering for affection, rebellious clashes with her mother, romance and newly discovered sexuality, and wry, candid observations of her companions. Facing hunger, fear of discovery and death, and the petty frustrations of such confined quarters, Anne writes with adult wisdom and views beyond her years. Her story is that of every teenager, lived out in conditions few teenagers have ever known.

I started this last week and will finish it by tomorrow.

Next I’ll read~

Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha #1) by Tomi Adeyemi

34728667They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

This book was so popular ever since its release that I just grabbed it during Amazon sale. It’s been long time I read new release fantasy book so I’m really excited to start it ASAP.


What are you reading this week?
Have you read any of these books before or planning to read in future? What do you think about them??

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#CoverReveal : Snowed in at the Little Duck Pond Cafe @rararesources @Rosie_Green1988

Snowed in at the Little Duck Pond Cafe - Cover Reveal

Hey book lovers! Today is the cover reveal for Snowed In at the Little Duck Pond Cafe by Rosie Green,organized by Rachel’s Random Resources. I hope enjoy the post and like this cover.

Book Details:

Snowed in at The Little Duck Pond Cafe by Rosie Green

Series: The Little Duck Pond Cafe, Book 4

Expected publication: November 15th 2018

Genre: Women’s Fiction / Chick Lit

Synopsis:

The biggest snowfall in years has blanketed Sunnybrook, cutting the village off from the outside world. For Fen, who finds herself snowed in at The Little Duck Pond Cafe, it’s little more than a minor inconvenience. Her love life is finally running smoothly; it looks as if she’s found the perfect man for her.

But then a shocking secret threatens to destroy Fen’s new-found happiness.

Will being snowed in be the final straw? Or will Fen find a way through the snowdrifts to the perfect love?

Pre-order Link – https://amzn.to/2Cg99ki

Author Bio:

Rosie Green Author Pic.jpgRosie Green has been scribbling stories ever since she was little. Back then they were rip-roaring adventure tales with a young heroine in perilous danger of falling off a cliff or being tied up by ‘the baddies’. Thankfully, Rosie has moved on somewhat, and now much prefers to write romantic comedies that melt your heart and make you smile, with really not much perilous danger involved at all, unless you count the heroine losing her heart in love.

​Rosie’s brand new series of novellas is centred on life in a village café. The first two stories in the series are: Spring at The Little Duck Pond Cafe and Summer at The Little Duck Pond Café.

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Rosie_Green1988

 

Now the cover:

 

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That cover is lovely! ❤  Have you read previous books in series? What do you think about them?

Share your thoughts in the comment-box below.

 

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