May 23rd, 2016

Me

Book Critique 2016 – 02/18/2016: Shadow Game (Ghostwalker Series #1)

Feb 2019: Updated with Spoiler Alerts section.

Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a book review.
Prologue: Go here.
For review of all books in this series: Go here.

Stars: 4 / 5
Recommendation: A definite pick if you are into paranormal romance with a touch of eroticism and the unbelievable.

Shadow Game is the first book in the Ghostwalker Series by Christine Feehan published in August 2003. When I saw the movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine (re-run on the TV sometime in 2011), it spiked my interest in super-soldiers and genetically engineered humans. I was already reading Christine Feehan's The Carpathian Series. Incidentally she has written quite a few novels on super-soldiers too. And that's how I ended up reading this series.



Ghostwalkers are a group of women and men who are sent on special missions. They have psychic abilities, physical abilities (both enhanced genetically and natural) and some abilities more rare than others. However every Ghostwalker would need an "anchor" to draw back the psychic backlash from other ghostwalkers, especially that would instigate violence. As the series proceeds we get introduced to four teams of Ghostwalkers each enhanced in more ways than one can think. The imagination of the author in bringing on new abilities injected to these super-soldiers is amazing. In the first book, Shadow Game, we get introduced to Team One and the pairing between Captain Ryland Miller and Lily Whitney. It is set in San Francisco, CA

Dr. Peter Whitney successfully enhances the psychic abilities of a group of men working for the Special Forces. However there are problems with their enhanced abilities especially being unable to block the psychic overload around them. Captain Ryland Miller heads this team and feels himself responsible for any success or disaster of his men. He had made the decision and his men had followed into this experimental nightmare. As the experiment progresses and Dr. Whitney fails to stop mishaps (some men lose their lives), he brings in his daughter Dr. Lily Whitney for help.

The instant attraction that she feels for Captain Miller is above charts which confuses her a lot. However she also feels Miller's hate towards her father which she doesn’t understand. However she eventually learns that Dr. Whitney had separated he men from anchors and might have murdered the ones that were failures. And he suspects he would be the next. She also notices that there is open animosity between her father and Colonel Frank Higgens, Miller’s immediate commanding officer. That night when her father misses the dinner date with her, she takes it as a normal thing as it had happened several times before. However although being having no psychic abilities he somehow contacts her right before he dies or she thinks him dying. Before she feels him being dumped into the ocean he tasks her to help Ryland Miller and his team and also find "the others". She is left at a loss for words and emotions before she realizes that someone at the Donovan's (the company for which Dr. Whitney and Lily worked for) could be the one murdered her father.

After getting her emotions and feelings gathered she confronts Ryland Miller as to why he had come in between and broke the contact with her father. She learns lot more about the situation his team is in during the time. As promise to her father and honoring his dying wish she opens up her home for Miller's team. Fearing that they will be killed, she helps them escape the facility and into her huge home. She helps the men by teaching them techniques and exercises to rebuild their mental barriers. In parallel she also tries to find who has killed her father with help of Ryland Miller. But there were still so many pieces of puzzles to be solved. Who were "the others" that her father spoke of in his dying wish?  Can she find them? And if she found them what will she do with them? How could she even begin to look for them? What happened in the experiments that killed Miller's men? Will the remaining men survive and be able to live in the outside world by themselves? Who killed her father? Was Colonel Frank Higgens responsible for it? Or someone higher than him are behind all this? And to add to all of this she could not understand if the tremendous attraction she has towards Ryland Miller, is it true or has been enhanced thru pheromones injected between them?

Certainly a complicated plot with complex characters involved. I cannot deny that there is definite eroticism in the book as a parallel plot between the lead character along with the main story going along. However I do have to tell that I fell for the actual plot rather than the eroticism for me to continue on with this book as well as the series. As always there are some repeat paragraphs through the book where the author writes again and again about a character, but that's how her books are written so they are there - You can skip them or read on.

All in all another series to definitely read and know about the generic experiments that are done (most of them secretly) through these stories, know the people and watch their fight to live normal closer.

Spoiler Alerts:
1) Plot Reveals:
a. Christine thanks her dear friend Cheryl L. Wilson in this book. She has thanked Cheryl in several of Carpathian books from the Dark series and also in the Leopard series. We, as readers, know Cheryl Wilson as C. L. Wilson, and for her famous series Weathermages of Mystral.
b.  Dr. Lily Whitney, Ryland's mate, is an anchor and has ability to calm the bombardment of emotions and feelings into the brains of psychic men around her. Dr. Peter Whitney maps Lily and Ryland through genetics and enhanced pheromones.
c. Lily Whitney's family consists of her father, Dr. Peter Whitney; housekeeper and her caretaker, Rosa Cabreros; her chauffer, John Brimslow; her security expert, Arly Baker.
2) Sub-Plots:
a. GhostWalkers have their own doctor who takes care of them as well as keeps them safe from the outside threats and politics - Dr. Brandon Adams
b. GhostWalkers Team One, special forces team comprised of Army Rangers and Army Green Berets - under direct command of General Theodore Ranier; headed by Captain Ryland "King" Miller, can walk in dreams and also psychically link his team. The other team members consists of Kaden, his second-in-command and also an anchor; Raoul "Gator" Fontenant can control animals; Sam Johnson can move objects; Jeff Hollister can walk in dreams, move things and levitate; Ian McGillicuddy can sense danger coming; Tucker Addison; Nicolas "Nico" Trevane can walk in dreams and is an anchor; Jonas Harper; Kyle Forbes
c. Group One of Dr. Peter Whitney's Orphans : Eleven orphan girls on whom he had conducted his experiments to make them psychically enhanced, along with Lily - the only girl he had adopted for himself.
3) Grammatical / Historical / Location / Character Errors:
a. On Pg. 214, Line 11, it should be "…office, someone were watching…"
b. On Pg. 230, Line 18, "Lily" is mis-spelled.
c. On Pg. 243, Line 20, it should be "..Why did he always…"
d. On Pg. 268, Line 15, it should be "Her breath was…"
Me

Book Critique 2016 – 02/19/2016: Mind Game (Ghostwalker Series #2)

Feb 2019: Updated the review and added Spoiler Alerts section.

Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a book review.
Prologue: Go here.
For review of all books under Ghostwalker series, Go here.

Stars: 4 / 5
Recommendation: A definite pick if you are into paranormal romance with a touch of eroticism and the unbelievable.

Mind Game is the second book in the Ghostwalker series by Christine Feehan and published in August of 2004. Ghostwalkers are a group of women and men who are sent on special missions. They have psychic abilities, physical abilities (both enhanced genetically and natural) and some abilities more rare than others. However every Ghostwalker would need an "anchor" to draw back the psychic backlash from other ghostwalkers, especially that would instigate violence. As the series proceeds we get introduced to four teams of Ghostwalkers each enhanced in more ways than one can think.

This plot revolves around Nicolas "Nico" Trevane - one of the Ghostwalkers from Team One headed by Ryland "King" Miller - and Dahlia Le Blanc - one of the orphans from Group One that Dr. Peter Whitney had experimented on. It is set in Louisiana bayous.



Shadow Game left us off at a juncture where Dr. Lily Whitney-Miller and Captain Ryland Miller find the video tapes of several other girls that her father Dr. Peter Whitney had experimented on long before the Team One of Ryland Miller came on. And they were also unsure if Team One was the only team that Dr. Whitney was involved in. To add to the blow Lily finds out that Dr. Whitney was not her biological father and she didn’t have a clue of her birth of where she came from. Whitney had taken orphans from around the world who had psychic capabilities for his experiments. And when they failed, or more importantly an incident with Lily made him decide to disband his experiment, relocate the girls elsewhere but adopt Lily as his own. Now Lily takes upon the task to find these girls, provide for in terms of money and shelter and also give them support to control their abilities.

With much search she finds one called Dahlia Le Blanc in a private sanitarium in Louisiana run by the Sisters of Mercy but owned by Whitney's Trust. Nicolas "Nico" Trevane takes upon himself to find her and bring her back to safe haven in Lily's mansion. Dahlia possesses an extraordinary telekinetic gift among other gifts that Dr. Whitney enhances it to the fullest. She was the fire with her emotional imbalances to Nico's ice. Despite the fears that Lily has for Nico with his flat and cold eyes, she had no choice but to comply with them. Nico sets on his search but lands into far more bigger trouble than he imagined. Someone is after Dahlia to terminate her and he has no clue who that is. And neither does Dahlia. But she has to trust Nico to help her get out. Thus the plot begins.

With the trust gradually building between them, the heat of attraction builds. Lily had feared that Nico would be unemotional. However, in the book we see how slowly inch by inch Dahlia melts away Nico's ice and stamps herself permanently in his heart. He clearly falls for her and willing to give his life for her safety and to keep his promise to Lily. No two characters have been better suited than these two in this book. However, they do have to overcome the secrets that they hold hidden with each other and fight as one with the unknown enemy before to reach safety of Lily's home.

Christine Feehan introduces The GhostWalker Creed, a sort of promise and prayer combined together, with this book..



Another fun read by Christine and I was left on the edge of my sofa (precisely) watching these two travel through dangers and survive. I hope you will enjoy it the same way I enjoyed.

Spoiler Alerts:
1) Plot Reveals:

a. Nico Trevane and Dahlia Le Blanc take shelter in one of Raoul Fontenot's homes in the bayou when they are escaping from the antagonists. In their love making, due to the amount of energy that they both dispense and how it gets manipulated, they single the windows and walls on the room they are in.
b. The second Ghostwalker's team are Navy Seals and belong to NCIS. The first time around when I read these books, I didn’t give it much thought. But now that I am reading a second time, I realize that they belong to an organization, based on which there are three TV shows - NCIS, NCIS - Los Angeles and NCIS - New Orleans. I had a review of Season 13 of NCIS though, when that show reached to a crux.

2) Sub-Plots:
a. GhostWalkers have their own doctor who takes care of them as well as keeps them safe from the outside threats and politics - Dr. Brandon Adams
b. GhostWalker Team One, special forces team comprised of Army Rangers and Army Green Berets; first introduced in the first book, Shadow Game - under direct command of General Theodore Ranier
  i. Headed by Captain Ryland "King" Miller, can walk in dreams and also psychically link his team. His story was told in Shadow Game, and he marries Lily Whitney, adopted daughter of Dr. Peter Whitney, at the end of that book.
 ii. The other team members consists of Kaden, his second-in-command and also an anchor; Raoul "Gator" Fontenant can control animals; Sam Johnson can move objects; Jeff Hollister can walk in dreams, move things and levitate; Ian McGillicuddy can sense danger coming; Tucker Addison; Nicolas "Nico" Trevane can walk in dreams and is an anchor; Jonas Harper; Kyle Forbes
c. GhostWalker Team Two, comprising of Navy SEALS working with NCIS; first introduced in this book; under direct command of Rear Admiral Frank Henderson - headed by Logan "Max" Maxwell; Jesse Calhoun; Todd Aikens; Martin Howard, Neil Campbell; Jack Norton; Ken Norton
 i. As of this plot, Jesse Calhoun after getting treated for his torture decides to go back to his home town to run his radio station.
d. Group One of Dr. Peter Whitney's Orphans: Twelve orphan girls on whom he had conducted his experiments to make them psychically enhanced - Lily Whitney-Miller, the only girl he had adopted for himself; Iris "Flame"; Dahlia Le Blanc; Tansy; Jonquille; Laurel; Rose
3) Grammatical / Historical / Location / Character Errors:
a. On Pg. 231, Line 8 from bottom, it should be "..You have given…"
b. On Pg. 320, Line 19, it perhaps should be "…was Lily who sent along…"
Me

Movie Critique 2016 – 02/20/2016: Loins of Punjab Presents

Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a movie review.
Prologue: Go here.

Stars: 4 / 5
Recommendation: For that rainy lazy day, just flick to this movie and watch it for some very good sense of humor.

Loins of Punjab is a 2007 Indian film in Hindi/English language directed by Manish Acharya. It is a mockumentary on a singing competition called "Desi Idol" hosted by a meat company based on the Indian Idol / American Idol and the likes. This was the director's debut film. The director captures the audience with the peppy prelude of the famous song "Apni Toh Jaise Taise" from the 1981 hit Hindi film Laawaris ( = Orphan or Bastard) for his opening credits. Smart move!!



Loins Of Punjab is a meat company that hosts a singing competition occurring during one weekend and catering to South Asians predominantly Indian community from New York and New Jersey areas. Bokade Event Management is given the contract for this event. Enter the candidates who are participating in the event:

Preeti Patel from Edison, New Jersey (whose passion is to sing, but her parents are pushing her into mainstream engineering and medicine just like any typical desi family)




Sania Rahman from Lower East Side, New York (an Indian born and brought up in US, aspiring to become an actress but does not understand or read or write a single word in Hindi)



Balraj Deepak Gupta from West Village, New York (a gay rapper who can RAP only with swearing words but looking for a name in the music industry)



Rrita Ishaan Kapoor from Kings Point, Long Island, New York (a socialite who always want to one up another socialite - Bubbles Sabharwal - and joins the competition only to prove that point and has little no knowledge of music / singing)



Vikram Tejwani from Gramercy Park, New York (who lives and breathes facts of all kinds and his job is being outsourced to India soon)



And finally Josh Cohen from GlobalCap Partners, Midtown, New York (an aspiring singer and loves India, in love with Opama Menon - an Indian girl).



The plot follows the candidates and their effort to get through the competition and win it. But they are not without their quirks. The Patels are very miser but they go as far as bribing the judges so Preeti can win. Sania faces her troubles with Hindi and has mishaps through the way. Josh Cohen only knows two songs - Aye Dil Aye Mushkil from the 1957 classic Pyaasa and Indian National Anthem. However, he loves Indian movies and in love with Opama. However they do face ridicule from other desis and to the extent that Opama gets frustrated. Then there is Rrita Kapoor who tries to persuade, blackmail, buy or threaten the other contestants to leave so she can win the ultimate prize - $25,000 in cash. And finally the event manager, Mr. Bokade, with his unique way of handling the entire episode.

As everyone try to outdo each other, we fall in love with the characters. There is no basic story other than the contest, but each character shows a glimpse of their life that leaves us wanting to know them more. Manish Acharya has directed the movie very well and a brilliant job with the actors he picked. Incidentally Manish Acharya acted in the movie as Vikram Tejwani. Pity that he lost his life to a horse riding accident at a very young age. Singers Shaan and Anushka Manchanda appear as the celebrity judges in the finals. The closing credits finally gives a chance to the rapper Balraj Deepak Gupta with the song Dhaki Naki Naki Naki Dhin Tara.

Loins of Punjab Presents is a hilarious comedy even though there were a few moments of lullness that might have cause you to lose a little. Yet worth a pick. Look to Netflix or online on Youtube to enjoy this movie.