Monday, December 15, 2014

Aoleon The Martian Girl by Brent LeVasseur : A Review

BOOK TITLE: Aoléon The Martian Girl: A Science Fiction and Fantasy Saga - Part 1: First Contact, written and illustrated by Brent LeVasseur
CATEGORY:  Middle-Grade, 94 pages
GENRE: Science-fiction and Fantasy
PUBLISHER: Aoléon Press
RELEASE DATE: January 31, 2015

          Crop circles magically appear in Farmer Johnson’s field. A mysterious light sweeps over the night sky and awakens Farmer Johnson and Gilbert, the boy next door.
          Curious, Gilbert ventures out to discover the source of the light and stumbles into a beautiful Martian girl sitting in a crop circle. Farmer Johnson also investigates the strange light, and thinking that Gilbert and Aoléon are vandals, he chases them. But they sprint to Aoléon’s saucer and escape only to be pursued by the U.S. Air Force. 
          Gilbert has never been attacked by swarms of giant killer robots. Never met strange aliens from other worlds. Never skyboarded across a megalopolis hidden deep inside an extinct volcano. Never trekked across a vast Martian desert. And never been eaten alive by a gigantic slor (well, almost never, unless you count Billy the fat bully at school). 
          And luckily, he has never ever confronted an evil ruler of Mars bent on conquering the Earth to steal its cows.

          Never...until now! 
          This may be the adventure Gilbert always wished for.
          If only he can survive.

          Aoleon – The Martian Girl, is a science fiction novel written for and enjoyed by children. The story has everything in a story you would expect a sci-fi novel about Mars to have. There are your crop circles, the UFO and the blue skinned, antennae headed, large eyed Martian, Aoleon (a word resembling, Alien, for the uninitiated) and the tough sounding science terms. It is enjoyable for those who like science fiction novels.
          Aoleon is a novel rich in graphics and that is the most notable feature of the novel. Whenever there is a difficult to understand scene, or you just cannot visualise a character just right, there is a picture to help you bring the description to life. From the simple character of Gillian to the Martian, and the crops on earth to the modern Martian city images, these are vivid, 3D and littered throughout the book.
          A little girl from Mars, Aoleon, takes a high tech spaceship and enters the earth’s orbit, choosing a field in Nebraska, USA to create crop circles in a wheat field. The reasons for why she does that are interesting. Meanwhile, Gillian, a small boy with a troubled house gets repeated dreams of strange lights, Aliens in space suits and when he wakes up from these, he is disoriented and afraid.
          On seeing the strange lights one more time, he decides to follow the lights. Within minutes, he bumps into Aoleon, and they communicate in English. (Aoleon and her race are advanced enough to learn our language). But soon, another farmer, whose field Aoleon had just ‘vandalised’ chases them and they get into Aoelon’s spaceship (the size of a sports car) to escape. Aoleon takes him out of the earth’s orbit to Mars. They are chased by the USA military in a scene worthy of hi-fi military and spy movies.
          Evading authority, Aoleon smuggles Gillian into Mars and while she shows him around the place, he notices that Mars is a society dominated by Artificial Intelligence and it has plans to somehow steal all milk bearing cows of the earth and over power us. What happens next? Well, read part 2 of the story, soon to be released.
1.    Easily understandable story line.
2.    Good effort with graphics – helps children visualise better
3.    Interestingly worded – words are as good as the graphics used.
          On the other hand,
1.    The much beaten appearance of ‘Alien’, ‘Martian’ and spaceships are repeated
2.    The Premise that Martians are way more cleverer and are more advanced than us as a race (though that might be critical to the story)
3.    The fact that absolutely no aircraft from earth or highly trained military professionals can even come near to beating a little girl from Mars.
          A good read, given the fact that the book was advertised exactly as what it was. Expect a science fiction novel with lot of graphics and everything exactly as you would expect a novel about Martians to have – you won’t be disappointed.


Mr. LeVasseur enjoys crafting good stories based on lovable characters designed to translate well to multiple media formats such as books, games, movies, and toys. He lives in New York when he is not commuting between Southern California and Olympus Mons, Mars. His hobbies include writing, 3D animation, musical composition, and intergalactic space travel. He also enjoys various sports such as skiing, running, and exospheric skydiving.

For more information about the book:

Friday, November 28, 2014

Interview with RV Raman : Author of Fraudster

          Author RV Raman, author of the crime thriller, Fraudster, opens up to Readers’ Muse in this interview. We @ Readers’ Muse thank the author for his candid answers that tells us a little more about the man who created such memorable characters. We thank you for your insightful answers, sir!
1. Please tell us a little about yourself (preferably something that is not in your goodreads Profile!)
There is so little to say …
I used to be an ardent follower of cricket, with India and the West Indies being my favourites. A minor dream was fulfilled when I watched test cricket at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica (I went on to watch many more matches there).
I’ve had the good fortune to have travelled widely and seen different cultures. I’ve also had the ill fortune to have had my car hijacked, not once, but twice.
2. What was the basis for writing Fraudster? Was there a specific event or a group of events that was your inspiration?
Fraudster was an experiment with two objectives:
First, I wanted to see if I could come up with something that would go down well with Indian readers. My earlier attempt at another genre (epic fantasy) had found favour with some global readers. I then wanted to write something very Indian.
Second, I saw a gap in the crime fiction genre – few people write novels with the core in corporate India. And those who do are a generation younger than me. In my writing, I wanted to offer a more tenured perspective of the temptations and challenges in the corporate world.
No, Fraudster was not inspired by any specific group or event. I chose banking for my first novel as it is perhaps the easiest arena to showcase varied motivations, and to construct a white-collar crime. On the one hand, you have upright, incorruptible people like Visht and Subbu. And on the other, you have opportunistic men driven by greed.
3. Of the characters of Fraudster, who is your favourite and why?
Varsha. Had I had a daughter, I would have liked her to be something like Varsha.
4. Which character was the most difficult to frame/ create?
Ranade. For one, I don’t know any police detectives, and my perspective of these guys is entirely based on novels set in the western world. All the other characters are quite common in the corporate world – the kind, upright Visht; the caring but no-nonsense Subbu; the helpful IT support geek in Ashwin, the lecherous middle-manager in Vincent Shain; and a bright, vivacious girl in Varsha.
5. For someone with your experience in this field, how easy or difficult was writing Fraudster?
While the basic elements of content were not new, assembling them into a credible crime and an industry-wide scam took some doing. I found that writing crime fiction requires a lot more rigour and care than epic fantasy does. Multiple components and several causal chains of events have to fit seamlessly and credibly. I didn’t want an informed banker or corporate executive discovering logical flaws.
6. I had a really good time reading the book. For a computer enthusiast who is interested in reading fast paced thrillers, Fraudster was a really engaging read. But I couldn’t really classify it in one genre. It was too realistic to be fiction (of course it was fiction, this is a compliment!) How would you classify your book, and why?
I see it as a combination of a mystery and a thriller. The first murder is a classic locked room mystery, and the rest of it is a thriller. The blurb focusses on the thriller element.
7. What is your writing habit? In calm and silent environments or even the hustle and bustle of traffic?
I need a good measure of calm to write and edit, and the mind must be free of cares. But formulating scenes and events can be done anywhere. I find that walking promotes imagination and non-linear thinking. I tend to do a lot of my thinking on my feet.
8. Are there any plans for a future book? What more can we expect from you, sir? We’re eager in that regard.
I am in the midst of the next novel, which is set in the Indian stock market. As a computer enthusiast, you will find the core crime a little more IT driven (more than just Blackberry and email).

Now a set of short rapid fire questions for you, sir!
Favourite classic book: The Three Musketeers
Favourite authors: Isaac Asimov, Arthur Conan Doyle, JRR Tolkien, PG Wodehouse
Books that influenced you: The Foundation Trilogy, The Complete Sherlock Holmes, The Lord of the Rings, The Four Just Men
Top five books on your bookshelf (it might even be related to your profession!):
1.    The Golf Omnibus by PG Wodehouse
2.    The Complete Yes Minister / Yes Prime Minister
3.    The Complete Sherlock Holmes
4.    The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov
5.    The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
Classics or modern literature? Either, depending on the mood.
What is your opinion on the books that come out these days as compared to classics? I read to get away from the misery that surrounds me, not contemplate it further. I find that modern literary fiction depresses me. But I still do read some of it.
What do you do to unwind (other hobbies): An evening out with friends, or I read.
Something that ticks off your nerves immediately: Duplicity.
Your advice to young authors? I am a rookie myself. I can’t advise others. What I tell myself is to write for the pleasure of it, not for fame or fortune.

 About the Author:

Over a career spanning three decades and four continents, RV Raman advised several banks, financial institutions and corporates on various matters. He has now turned to writing fiction set in corporate India, based on his insights and observations.

Having moved away from full-time roles, he now teaches business strategy at an IIM, mentors young entrepreneurs, advises select clients and writes.
Tired of extensive physical travel around the world, he now prefers less punishing mental excursions into fictional worlds of his own creation. He lives in Chennai.
Fraudster is his first corporate thriller, and is available in most book stores including Flipkart & Amazon.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Claiming Carlos by Rachel Ayala : Spolight

Book #2 of Sanchez Sisters Series

Choco Sanchez is stuck in a rut. She's never hit a softball and has been friends forever with Carlos Lopez, the head cook at her family's Filipino restaurant. When flashy restaurant consultant Johnny Dee hits her with a pitch, she falls head over heels and gets a makeover

Carlos Lopez is not about to lose one for the home team. Johnny launches a full scale change on the menu, and Carlos sends him straight into the dumpster. Claiming Choco's heart proves more difficult. But never underestimate a man who can cook hot, spicy, and steamy, and we ain't talking just food.

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[Love to Hate Miranda]

“Stop.” Miranda waves a spatula and blocks our way. “No members of the wait staff allowed in the kitchen.”
“I need another order of vegan spring rolls. No meat!” Sarah yells.
“She stole my gluten-free bangus.” Susie pushes her way past Miranda, who bounces against the door to the cold room, opening it.
“Out, out of the kitchen.” Miranda sticks a finger in Susie’s chest. Big mistake.
Susie’s nostrils flare and her piercings dance. “Out of my way.”
With a hefty push, she shoves Miranda who stumbles back into the cold room. Her arms windmilling, she falls in between the sides of raw pork belly hanging up to dry.
“Ai ya!” Miranda slaps at the pork bellies and pulls on a trussed whole duck for balance, right when a wooden tray of balut, fertilized duck eggs with the intact embryo, falls and splatters over her. The slime and partially formed embryos ooze down her hair and face.
Everyone except Johnny bursts out laughing. I whip out my cell phone and snap as many pictures as I can before Johnny blocks my view to help his mother.
Out of nowhere, Carlos appears, and he gives Johnny a kick on the back of his tight leopard printed butt, sending him sprawling against the skewered suckling pigs. They tumble like dominoes, knocking Johnny on top of his balut-covered mother.

Carlos picks up a tray of the Vietnamese style transparently wrapped no- fry spring rolls and flings the contents into the cold room all over Johnny and Miranda. “Vegan spring rolls is off the menu.”

About the Author
Rachelle Ayala is a bestselling Asian American author of dramatic romantic suspense and humorous, sexy contemporary romances. Her heroines are feisty and her heroes hot. She writes emotionally challenging stories but believes in the power of love and hope.

Rachelle is the founder of an online writing group, Romance in a Month, an active member of the California Writer's Club, Fremont Chapter, and a volunteer for the World Literary Cafe. She is a very happy woman and lives in California with her husband. She has won awards in multicultural and historical romance

Connect with the Author:
Website I Blog I Facebook Twitter I Goodreads

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1st Prize - $20 Amazon Gift Card
2nd Prize - Choice of Rachelle Ayala's eBooks

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Voice In my Ear by Ken Newman : A Review By Deepika - Our Beloved Guest Reviewer


Title : The Voice In My Ear
Author: Ken Newman
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Urban Legend
Series/Standalone: Standalone
Review By: Deepika Anandakrishnan
How I Got This Book: Every night before going to bed I prayed to God asking Him to magically send some books my way to keep me from going insane. And He showered me with the two wonderful authors of this blog to whom I owe my sanity now.
The story jumps through timelines back and forth to show how Zack Cole survives a horrific near-death experience and loses and slowly regains his memory. The secret to his survival turns out to be Layla: a 4000 year old witch who hangs on to him. Literally! She has been transformed into a living tattoo and stuck onto his back with all her mighty powers intact.  Over time she develops a strange intimacy with the womanizing Zack. Add to this confusion, a band of violent fanatics who are out to hunt Zack and a hot new girlfriend who could be “The One”. We have a boatload of problems now. Will Layla use the powers in her reserve to help Zack? Or is she too jealous about his new girlfriend to bother about his life now?
Newman tries to get your attention from the word go and his narration aptly supports his intention. It is a delight to watch Larry, the alien, hatch his plans with such glee. Plus he has nailed the Texas accent as I was quite astonished to actually hear it when reading the dialogue. Though this could be to my new experience of speaking to a Texan for five hours a day, it is nevertheless commendable.
If you think this could be a sci-fi story, think twice. It is more like a sub-genre of an urban legend. But if you are a sucker for those stuff (like me), then this is your playing field.
The living witch tattoo twist is a fairly new idea to me and the way she has been introduced was honestly quite funny. He actually turns out to be her human guardians in return for having “Larry the Angel Dude” save his life from a devastating accident. Add to this Zack Cole’s constant womanizing attitude and Layla’s temper flares. It’s quite a love(ly) game indeed. The author seems to have introduced the pseudo worlds between Layla and Zack in order to delve deep into their personalities and develop their relationship. All it does is increase the passion between them and aggravate Layla’s old ‘bad’ personality traits which actually resulted in her becoming a tattoo. That story too is quite riveting. On top of such a high voltage drama, we have a religious group of vicious members out to bag Zack’s head. Why? They think he is an…..Sorry…I am not letting out that twist here!
So many different characters are introduced but they all somehow manage to meld together to form a supernatural thriller. Be it Marci, the villainous girl who is out to get everything or Larry the rock-star Texan angel who hogs the screen whenever he is on; the author manages to pace it all beautifully. And what’s up with the farm guy they try to kill? In my head he looked quite distinguished too! Why couldn’t he have been the hero’s secret father or something like that!..sigh!!
What I like: Excellent for the senses but easy on the eyes too.
What could have been better: Probably the narrative flow could have been a bit smoother. It tends to drag at some places.
Verdict: Save the book for a cosy weekend. Have a cup of your hot beverage and try to find that comfortable position before you start reading. You won’t regret it.
Rating: 4.5/5
Price : Rs.303 (Paperback)
Book Link :

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

SPOTLIGHT! Fraudster by RV Raman

Title:  Fraudster
Author: R V Raman
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Hachette
Date: 2014
Price: Rs. 250
Pages: 272
ISBN: 9350098008

Fraudster : The Story of Corporate India’s Black Sheep:
Fraudster is a suspense thriller from R. V. Raman set in the world of corporate finance.
Summary of the Book
Some people will do anything to silence anyone they think are obstacles. They won’t stop at anything, not even murder. In this thrilling novel, a young banker deposes before a commission investigating large-scale financial fraud. She is found dead the very next day. Meanwhile, a leader of corporate India falls to his death from his South Bombay flat. In a multinational accounting firm, the high-security server room is hacked. The hackers want more than just company secrets. Illegal finance, high-profile crimes and brutal manipulation combine in this tale of greed, treachery and corruption amidst corporate India’s worst members.
About R. V. Raman
R. V. Raman is an Indian writer and the former head of KPMG's Consulting Practice and the co-head of their Risk Advisory Services. He was also partnered with A.T. Kearney and Arthur Andersen, and boasts an experience of over three decades and covering four continents. Currently a faculty member at the Indian Institute of Management, Trichy, he teaches Business Strategy. He is based in Chennai and this is his first book.
Copies Available at all online stores:

Know More Inside Stories, Connect with The Author:
Twitter: @RvRaman_
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