#BookReview : Tiny Imperfections by Alli Frank, Asha Youmans @PRHGlobal #TinyImperfections #WomensFiction

Tiny Imperfections by Alli Frank, Asha Youmans
Publication Date : May 5th 2020
Publisher : G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Genre : Women’s Fiction / Fiction
Pages : 336

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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The Wedding Date meets Class Mom in this delicious novel of love, money, and misbehaving parents.

All’s fair in love and kindergarten admissions.

At thirty-nine, Josie Bordelon’s modeling career as the “it” black beauty of the ’90s is far behind her. Now director of admissions at San Francisco’s most sought after private school, she’s chic, single, and determined to keep her seventeen-year-old daughter, Etta, from making the same mistakes she did.

But Etta has plans of her own–and their beloved matriarch, Aunt Viv, has Etta’s back. If only Josie could manage Etta’s future as well as she manages the shenanigans of the over-anxious, over-eager parents at school–or her best friend’s attempts to coax Josie out of her sex sabbatical and back onto the dating scene.

As admissions season heats up, Josie discovers that when it comes to matters of the heart–and the office–the biggest surprises lie closest to home. 

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to PRHGlobal for free copy. ***

Tiny Imperfection was entertaining fiction that revolved around Josie’s life and school admission season. It was about admissions at private school, drama, love, friendship, and at its heart of all it was about Bordelon family.

Tiny Imperfections was written in first person narrative from Josie’s perspective. Her witty and refreshing voice gave the story so much heart, emotions, and soul. It was set in San Francisco, divided in four parts- First season- that narrated Josie’s life story, about her job, and her dreams and worries for her daughter; Mid Season- narrating hilarious parent interviews and Josie trying hard getting her daughter to apply for academic college rather than art college; Stress Season that brought lot of drama and big revelation at the end; and Next Season which was more like an epilogue telling how things settled down after the storm of drama.

I enjoyed reading Josie’s backstory and her background in first few chapters, how she met her best friend Lola, turns of her career path from nanny to modelling to now 39-years-old admission director at San Francisco’s most famous private school, Fairchild Country Day, and in middle of all how she conceived at 21. She was wonderful character.

Josie was black mom living with her aunt Viv in San Francisco. She was sassy, snarky, sexy woman. Being diverse worked well for her as student and as employee at Fairchild but she had brains along with her beauty and diversity and loved kids and her job at Fairchild.

Author portrayed her personality as ex-model and single mother brilliantly. Her emotions were heartfelt. I rooted for from the beginning. I could see how it must be for her 4-years-old self to accept her mama abandoned her with an aunt whom she didn’t know existed, coming out of spell of big city and money, and coming back with lost dreams and a her own 4 years-old baby Etta at Aunt Viv’s doorstep, left with heart broken and unsuccessful relationships later. I was glad she found job, raised Etta with her aunt and kept her head high.

I understood her wish to secure her daughter’s future by making her apply to best college where she can major in academic subjects and have a high earning job but Etta had other plans. She was best Ballerina, wanted to be professional dancer and attend Art college. Everybody could see that and even Josie but she couldn’t ignore DNA and the possibility of Etta ending up the same as she did at her age. I liked the way she found a third way and made Etta apply to her choice of college and also let Etta apply to college of her own choice.

It’s not always easy when 3 generation women are living under same roof but Bordelon women cared and supported each other. I loved mother-daughter-grandmother banter. Aunt Viv was full of life, wisdom and love. I loved seeing her flirt with Golden Boy, taking Etta’s side and reprimanding Josie. If it wasn’t mentioned I would have thought she was Josie’s birth mother not aunt.

Lola and Roan were best friends one could ever had. Lola was mother of three sons and Josie’s best friend. She worked in rival school of Fairchild and yet that never bothered to their friendship. Their Tuesday drink day after school and their humour dripping chats were fun to read. Roan was gay and Josie’s colleague, her best hire and two worked together on admission applications and selecting right little students and parents like friends. Both created best and fun work place environment that made me wish to join them.

I hated that art director who looked down on Josie, always telling her she didn’t know her own daughter and how to raise her. How easy it was for him to judge Josie! Nina was another character I despised. Clearly, she was not best head for any school and I hated her for taking away one thing Josie wanted to do. I’m glad to read what happened to her later.

Golden Boy, Ty was fun to read. When he entered Josie’s life with his husband for their daughter’s admission, I found Josie’s attraction towards Ty a bit weird. It was smooth in the beginning Josie making a joke with her attraction and not giving it much thought by focusing on admissions and college application but then that parent interview and text banter implanted doubt in readers’ mind. I wasn’t shocked when Ty revealed the truth but it was fun to see where this was going. I loved him, he was total gentleman, a lovely doctor, perfect friend and brother. I wish I could see him more after his big revelation.

Romance wasn’t big part of the book. We aren’t even sure if there is possibility of romance until climax. Best part of the book was application and emails from parents and Josie’s sarcastic replies that she never sent. It was hilarious to read.

I liked the way author showed competitions between parents and how far they went to get admission in private school, how private schools carry out admissions, and that ‘the richer the better’ concept. It made me think how tough it might be for single parents or average income parents to get admission. Momsters fretting over their 4-years-old kids’ admission and praises they sung or activities they made their kids do to make their application strong was baffling. And my goodness, that mom saying, ‘I would die if my kid turned out normal’ was most shocking. At that point I really admired Josie for handling it smoothly because I know I would have snapped at that mom if I was in her place.

Climax was great. I was curious to know what will happen after whole drama with Nan and how Etta’s interview will go. I couldn’t place Aunt Viv’s weird behaviour and when the reason was revealed it was surprising. I liked their conversations afterwards and what Aunt Viv had to say about whole thing and it answered everything.  I loved end and the way things turned out for Bordelon women at the end. A bit predictable but I’m not cutting star for that as I enjoyed it.

Overall,

Tiny Imperfections was laugh out loud, feel good, and diverse women’s fiction with great characters and many hilarious scenes. I recommend this to fan of this genre.

Book Links : Goodreads | Amazon.in | Amazon.com

Affiliate Link : Book depository


 I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know in comments what do you think about this book and my review, have you read this book already or going to add it to TBR. Which is your favourite adult romance?

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#BookReview : Maps of Bliss and Rage by Mario Dhingsa

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Maps of Bliss and Rage by Mario Dhingsa
Published May 15th 2019
Genre: Fiction / Anthology
Pages: 186
Stars: ★★★★☆ (3.5)

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Eight achingly original, wonderfully witty and touchingly tender stories spanning the globe:
Antarctica, New Zealand, India, New York City,
Malta, Italy, Switzerland, England.
Eight countries, eight strangers, eight escapes…

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Mario Dhingsa. ***

Maps of Bliss and Rage was collection of 8 short stories set in 8 different countries. It was about survival and adventure, revenge, abuse and religious conflicts, politics, Christianity and miracle, unlikely friendship, rumors about princess and her dangerous life, reminiscence of school life.

Writing was great. I loved the way each stories started with interesting characters and their situation, the way stories developed with plot twists and the unpredictable ends. Setting was great, the place and timeline for story, cultural aspect and some historical facts ware written perfectly. Some stories were entertaining, while some emotional, tense and had hard topics.

That blurb doesn’t say anything about the stories, so here is bits of what it’s about and what I liked.-

1. Between the Sword and the Wall

This was good first story of the collection. It followed Crozier, an environmentalist and Rawdon, a penguin biologist selected as staff replacement at Casey Station in Antarctica. Their wait till research starting in October was crucial in icy, bone chilling atmosphere. Loneliness, nothing to do drove most of them crazy. Rawdon got this crazy idea to visit a likely girlfriend at another base. In weather so chilling that even half kms was impossible to cross, these two set out on this crazy and deadly adventure. Their situation was awkward and I did feel bad for them but it was entertaining and humorous. I liked the end.

2. I won’t stay Still

This was the story of hurt lover and undervalued subordinate plotting their revenge to settle the score with a politician who was rich, powerful and an adulterer. It was set in New Zealand. I liked the way characters were called. There was no original name but were called by their position- diplomat, clerk, secretary, ambassador, Lady N. it was quite unique and so was the story. I loved this one. End was satisfactory.

3. The end of the storm in my hand

This was my most favorite story, set in India. It was a story of a gang leader plotting  riots along with corrupted police officers, a cowardly evil officer who abused his wife and beat his children to vent off his anger, a helpless father trying to save his innocent daughter-in-law and many other people of the town. This made me so much angry. It had some tragic events. The story was perfectly written. It was close to the fact. Author captured culture and flaws of India aptly.

4. The Pierogi Negotiation

It was set in USA that followed meeting of President Nixon with his National security advisor Kissinger discussing diplomatic situation related to bringing peace and ending Vietnam war. This was not my favorite story. I almost lost interest in the middle and had to read few passages again to get a grip.

5. Saints and Shipwrecks

It followed a sour old man and his son who returned after long time with his roman fiancée. Set in Malta, it expressed old man’s dislike towards romans, his strong belief in Saint Paul and the story of shipwreck, a daughter-in-law who didn’t agree with his thoughts and arguments, and a son sandwiched between two desperately trying to calm the situation and bring truce between the two bickering person in the house until they witness a miracle. At first I didn’t get what was going on and what they were talking about until I googled the Saint Paul story they were arguing over. I liked the way story took turn. End was shocking.

6. A Gentle Hand

This was set in Rome, at cemetery where a wondering spirits met three other waiting for the gate to open and pass through from this world. They form unlikely friendship after death during this waiting period. Their life story was intriguing. But again I lost interest at some point and I had to read twice to understand this story.

7. Knives Within

This story follows a rumor about illegitimate princess, a member of imperial family of Japan, who was sent away to study in Europe but kept under protection and surveillance. There were those who wanted to save her, keep her protected and those who wanted to take advantage of imperial family’s situation and harm Princess. The story was tense, fast paced, had interesting turn and unpredictable end.  

8. De tijd brengt rozen

The story followed Marty reminiscing a childhood event that changed his life, a time with his beloved teacher who understood him, cared for him and had changed his life by helping him to be better person. This story had unexpected end.

Why 3.5 stars-

As I said I had, in 2-3 stories I lost interest in middle and had to re-read few passages to get a grip. Maybe it’s just me, it won’t be the case with you, but it niggled a little.

Overall, it was interesting anthology with creative stories that took place in different countries .

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon

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What do you think about the book and review? Have you read this book already or any book by the same author? Are you going to add it to TBR? Which is your favorite Anthology or short story?

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#BookReview : I Know You Remember by Jennifer Donaldson

I Know You Remember by Jennifer Donaldson
Publication Date: October 8th 2019
Publisher: Razorbill
Genre: YA / Thriller /Psychological thriller
Pages: 336
Stars: ★★★★★

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Jennifer Donaldson is back with another twisted thriller perfect for fans of One of Us Is Lying and Gone Girl.

Zahra Gaines is missing.

After three long years away, Ruthie Hayden arrives in her hometown of Anchorage, Alaska to this devastating news. Zahra was Ruthie’s best friend–the only person who ever really understood her–and she vows to do whatever it takes to find her.

Zahra vanished from a party just days before Ruthie’s return, but the more people she talks to, the more she realizes that the Zahra she knew disappeared long before that fateful night. Gone is the whimsical, artistic girl who loved books and knew Ruthie’s every secret. In her place is an athlete, a partier, a girl with secrets of her own. Darker still are the rumors that something happened to Zahra while Ruthie was gone, something that changed her forever…

As Ruthie desperately tries to piece together the truth, she falls deeper and deeper into her friend’s new world, circling closer to a dangerous revelation about what Zahra experienced in the days before her disappearance–one that might be better off buried.

In her stunning follow-up to Lies You Never Told Me, Jennifer Donaldson once again delivers a propulsive thriller with a masterful twist, skillfully creating a world where nothing is quite as it seems.

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to PRHGlobal for free copy. ***

I Know You Remember was suspenseful YA thriller that revolved around Ruthie and her lost best friend Zahra. It was about obsession, dysfunctional family, abusive parents and their addiction issues, friendship and jealousy.  

Writing was addictive, it pulled me into story right from the beginning. Setting was fabulous. The story had that sad, heavy darkness hanging over it all the time and Alaska’s cold weather, trails through wilds and stories of predator attacks heightened those feelings. I loved that dark fantasy characters wrote in the book. That fanfiction story, Starmaiden and Lyr characters and bits of the world was fascinating.

Book was first person narrative told from Ruth’s POV. Her voice was believable, it felt real, made me see all characters the way she wanted. It started with Ruth at her mother’s funeral who died in hiking accident. She decide to go back to her hometown, Anchorage, to her dad’s home. She left the town 3 years ago after her parents’ divorce because of her alcoholic father. But now he was sober, married, and only relative left. On arriving back, she tried to contact her best friend Zahra all through weekends but couldn’t even find her at her home. I kind of felt sorry for Ruth and then on Monday, school announced terrible new, Zahra was missing.

Things turned dark and uncertain soon and fast. Ruth felt so much change in Zahra’s room at her home and personality. The Zahra people were talking about was not the same she knew. It was scary to see a drastic change in girl going from kind and lively to aloof and caught up in teen drama. I was worried for Zahra. I kept thinking what might have happened to her to cause this change, what happened to her after party, where she went and who might have hurt her. I was worried for Ruth who not just lost her mother but her best friend.

Ruth was determined and fierce girl, obsessed to find Zahra. And so she friendship with Zahra’s friends and tried to get to know people she was connected with. Tabitha, Zahra’s now best friend, was never sober. She was this rich and bitch girl who mostly lived alone in big house. Ben, Zahra’s ex-boyfriend, was volatile, popular guy but not everybody liked him. They had big fight the night she disappeared. There was rumor Zahra was cheating and then there was her grandfather, a famous pastor who was misogynist. No single character was reliable and likable except Ingrid. She surprised me. She was brave, smart, caring, and protective step-sister of Ruth. Though I didn’t appreciate her blind belief, she was most likable person in the book.

There were many elements in story– PTSD, social anxiety, drug and alcohol addicted parents, their ill-treatments and its effects on kids’ mentality and psychology, exploitation of religion and using it to gain power and control. All the big serious topic that gave so much to discuss over. I blame parents here for the all wrong thing happened in the book.

Climax was most interesting. Once I got to know characters, I knew where this story was heading. I had my guesses and when I reached climax, bingo. I thought I would give it 4 star because I could figure it all out at some point, but then came most shocking twist. I read in some reviews saying it felt like author decided to change the end all of sudden but I feel it was a clever. I felt like why I even tried to guess who the real culprit was! I couldn’t have guessed that twist. End was satisfactory but still mind-boggling.

Overall, it was gripping, thrilling, page-turner with brilliant twist and amazing setting. I surely recommend this book.

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Affiliate Link: Book Depository

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#Review : A Family By Christmas by Viv Royce #AFamailyByChristmas

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A Family by Christmas by Viv Royce
Publication Date: October 14th 2019
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Genre: Romance
Pages: 200
Stars: ★★★★☆

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Chocolatier Emma Miller has a new business selling bonbons to the residents of the quaint town of Wood Creek. When a tiny visitor stops by her shop with an interesting request, Emma is intrigued. The young girl needs chocolates that will help her widowed dad fall in love, preferably with her teacher. What Emma didn’t count on was Casey’s ever so charming and handsome dad, Grant, stepping into her life. She has to remind herself to be cautious because the one thing she learned in foster care is that people always leave.

Pilot Grant Galloway is touched by his daughter’s gift and is curious about the person who made the world-class chocolates. But when he steps into Emma’s shop full of delicious smells and tasty morsels, he forgets to breathe. And it has nothing to do with his favorite dessert. She’s pretty and kind, and when she has to deal with a difficult client, his protective instincts kick into high gear. But he risked his heart once. When his wife died, it left him broken. He’s just now beginning to pick up the pieces, and he and his daughter will be leaving town once the holidays are over.

Thanks to some Christmas wishes, though, these two might discover that their carefully laid plans are about to change.

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to author and publisher. ***

A family by Christmas was chocolaty sweet romance that revolved round Emma, Grant and his lovely family in small town. It was about new venture in small town, family, love, belongingness, following your heart and gut feeling.

Characters-

Emma was nice person who wanted to keep her customer happy and survive her business in new town. She was too gentle and generous but I liked her sentiments and outlook towards her business totally opposite of what she was taught. Her thoughts and feelings were realistic and heartfelt. I loved her even more for selflessness.

Grant was her polar opposite. While Emma was cautious by nature, loved her sanctum of shop and home, Grant loved freedom, life-risking adventure and his old pilot job. He was caring and lively person. His feelings for his daughter was lovely.

Casey the little girl of Grant was sweet adorable child. All side characters were nice and supportive.

What I liked-

Writing was great, east to follow and atmospheric. Setting was vivid filled with Christmas spirit that gave festive touch to the story. I loved Emma’s shop, Wood Creek town, Galloway nursery and Christmas fair. The story was third person narrative from Emma and Grant’s perspective. It worked nicely here giving the parallel view of their thoughts and feelings.

It started with a little girl trotting in Emma’s Chocolate Shop placing a cute special order for her daddy. She wanted Emma to make chocolates that help her dad, Grant, fall in love with her teacher. On receiving such delicious chocolate gift, Grant was curious why owner of the chocolate shop was giving it away and so he visited her shop. He wanted Emma to befriend Casey, spend Christmas with her so she can build bond with new people, come out of her shell and enjoy Christmas before they live the town when he get new job. Emma was hesitant at first but she loved Casey and didn’t want to spend Christmas alone. But could she stop the feeling that has started growing after meeting Grant? Can she save herself from heartbreak when both Grant and Casey left the town?

Both had one thought, enjoy it and have fun till it lasts but as they spent more time with each other, friendship turned into deep feelings and blossoming love. It complicated their situation. Emma wanted to stay while Grant wanted to leave on first opportunity. I was curious to see when he will realize his true feeling for Emma and what he will decide after that and will Casey agree to leave her grandparents and Emma with whom she was attached now and have formed strong bond.

Emma’s loneliness being a foster kid touched my heart. It was admirable to see her standing on her own feet, running a shop by heart with so much love and dedication. I was happy for her when she got connected with Grant’s family and all the support she got from town and other shop owners. I knew it will be her best Christmas this time. I liked her attitude and the way she handled her feelings not spoiling new formed bond with Grant’s family. I loved her even more for her selfless advices even though it hurt her.

I liked Grant’s perspective. I could understand Grant’s dream and wish to get job after getting over his loss. It looked like selfishness from certain view but I didn’t feel so. Everybody needs to live for themselves, for something that make them happy and flying was his need and happiness. But I liked him for thinking about his daughter at the same time. His dilemma was realistic.

I loved getting answers to all questions. I liked the message in the book about, trusting your feelings and working out a way that is best for everyone not what you want and your family wants. End was sweet and filed with happiness.

Why 4 stars-

No villain, no drama, no misunderstandings that equals to no twist which made it a tad predictable.

Overall, I enjoyed this family by Christmas. It was charming, cozy, and delightful Christmas read filled with festive feel. Do I recommend this for your Christmas reads? Righto.

Books Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Affiliate Link: Book Depository

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What do you think about the book and review? Have you read this book already? Are you going to add it to your Christmas TBR? Recommend me your all time favorite Christmas read.
Fun Question- Which is the best Christmas gift you have received so far?

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#Review : Currently by Sarah Mensinga

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Currently by Sarah Mensinga
Publication date: December 27th 2018
Publisher: Chattersketch Press
Genre: Fantasy / Steampunk / Sci-fi
Pages: 364
Stars: ★★★★★

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Every year, Nerene’s village shelters in Varasay City while the surrounding lands flood. Yet Varasay only protects those who obey its laws, and after Nerene’s boyfriend Sande starts a riot, he’s in danger of being cast out. Nerene manages to contact Lord Osperacy, a traveling thief with enough power and money to save Sande, but he’ll only help Nerene if she agrees to work for him.

Eager to save her boyfriend, Nerene takes the job. Yet working for Lord Osperacy means leaving Sande behind in Varasay City. It also means tolerating Lord Osperacy’s children who have a supernatural ability to make others do as they wish, an ability the family uses to manipulate and steal.

Just as Nerene begins to despair that she’ll never see Sande again, she meets Cressit, a wealthy, charming musician. Cressit offers to help Nerene reunite with Sande, but she’s not sure he can be trusted. He has a strange interest in the Osperacy family, and he seems to know more about Nerene than he should.

Even worse, the more time Nerene spends with Cressit, the less she thinks about Sande…

*** Note: I received this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Sarah for this beautiful book. ***

Currently was mix of steampunk, fantasy and mythical creature. It revolved around Nerene, her survival in the world filled with slavery, trickery and injustice, her love for her boyfriend and dangerous journey she boarded to keep him safe. It was about social injustice, survival, power, politics, trust, betrayal, friendship, and love; and Siren lore.

That synopsis was perfect. It covers enough without giving away what you are into and its best that way. The book was slow burner and steady paced. It took its time in world-building, characterization and their development. Writing was great. Easy to follow, gripping and filled with emotions. The world-building was best in the book. I loved all the places, unique name and social structure. The description was vivid and impressive. I wish there was a map of Varasay city and the rout they followed.

The book was told from Nerene’s captivating voice and was divided in three parts-

First part was about Nerene and her boyfriend, Snade. Village they lived in, their struggling poor life, how they survived the tide when their village was flooded and their shelter up on the mountain in Varasay city; the priests who called themselves God, their many unfair rules and injustice towards deeplanders (people like Nerene dwelling in villages that are flooded every year); Snade’s protest towards the slavery they were forced into and how that changed their life.

It was emotional to read Nerene’s story and her situation. I felt for her and I could see why she was always cautious, tried to follow rules, and wanted safe and certain life for her and Snade. While Snade was her antipode- rash, reckless, lawbreaker who wanted to run away with Nerene from Varasay, and for that he would do anything. I liked him in this first part. He was brave and bold, spontaneous and smart. It was sad to see what happened to both of them after his stunt in factory. Story took interesting turn from this point.

Second Part was all about Nenrene’s journey through various cities and ports with Osperacy family. I was curious to know more about Osperacys. Melily, Lord Osperacy’s daughter was spoilt teenager, moody, selfish, and her tantrums were difficult to handle. It was Nerene’s job to keep her in control which was amusing. It got her into lot of trouble and also led her to Cressit. Cressit was superstar musician and singer who was filthy rich, selfish but not as much, and tricked Nerene to get what he wanted. There more to both of these character. As I read more about Melily I understood she mostly acted bad to Nerene out of jealousy. She yearned for love and companion. Nobody paid her attention or talked to her about her feelings. While Cressit was actually nicer. As I was reading through Nerene’s eye, I had my doubts towards all characters but Cressit always felt good, no matter what his intentions were or how much the emotions around him was fake or real. What I liked most in this part was Osperacy’s secrets and many illegal things he and his family was involved in, and their supernatural abilities.

Third part and climax was not that separated. Many things were included in this part. Escape plan, Villains following their trail, survival, action. It was tense, exciting, nuanced, and filled with emotions. Characters developed a lot by this point and we see lot of change in them. Most amazing was, Melily’s development. I loved the strong bond formed between her and Nerene, and some more interesting things related to her abilities. It was life altering for characters and I loved the way story took turn from this point till the end.

The insight was great. I found Nerene’s unwavering nature commendable. It was at some point unbelievable, if I was in her place I wouldn’t hesitate from harming the villain but she was such a righteous, law abiding person who followed her conscience all the time. That’s what it said about the story and characters- doing right thing, following conscience takes courage. They wouldn’t be in this situation if Snade has not started riot or Cressite came out clean and many more, there is always an alternative to the rash and reckless path that didn’t involve harming and hurting other or even worst killing; It tells about the power and its greed and manipulation.

I didn’t like Nenrene’s step just before end. Her reason was understandable but it didn’t feel satisfyingandthat End was shocking. I actually expected a closure, but now it left me curious, thinking of all possibilities. An epilogue would have ended it but I guess there might be a continuation and I may get some back and future story in next book, if author decides to write it.

Overall, it was interesting and wonderful novel with impressive world. If you like to read book involving Sirens, you would want to read this. I definitely recommend this book to fantasy and steampunk lovers.

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon

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What do you think about the book and review? Have you read this book already? Have you read a book featuring Sirens or flooded world? Which is your favorite steampunk book?

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