Suramya's Blog : Welcome to my crazy life…

June 9, 2010

Inhuman Resources (OSI Series Book 03) by Jes Battis

Filed under: Reviews-Urban Fantasy — Suramya @ 8:15 PM

Inhuman Resources (OSI Series Book 03)
by Jes Battis


When a powerful necromancer is killed, Occult Special Investigator Tess Corday must handle the heavy politics in the occult community as carefully as she handles the scant evidence. But with her sometime lover Lucian Agrado representing the necromancers in the grisly matter, things are about to get out of control…fast.

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Review:The third book in the OSI series picks up about a year maybe two after the events in the previous books. When I started reading the book I had high hopes with it.

However I had to stop after the first couple of chapters because it felt like the author thought that the book didn’t have enough drama and decided to put in the tried and true feature where the main female character is very insecure about her relationship and so on.

Thankfully I restarted the book after a few days because the initial drama wasn’t dragged out and the book got quite interesting after that ended. If I hadn’t re-attempted to read the book then I would have missed out on a good book.

The plot was interesting and the characters were well developed. The book ended in a self-sufficient manner while giving information to set the stage for the next book in the series.

I don’t know if the author will see this but just as an advice, don’t fill the next book with too much angst or something. There are too many books out there that do that. Be different.

Final Recommendation: Book starts off slow but is a good read.

June 7, 2010

From Hell with Love (Secret Histories Book 04] by Simon R. Green

Filed under: Reviews-Urban Fantasy — Suramya @ 8:01 PM

From Hell with Love (Secret Histories Book 04]
by Simon R. Green


It’s no walk in the park for a Drood, a member of the family that has protected humanity from the things that go bump in the night for centuries. They aren’t much liked by the creatures they kill, by ungrateful humans, or even by one another.

Now their Matriarch is dead, and it’s up to Eddie Drood, acting head of the family, to figure out whodunit. Unpopular opinion is divided: it was either Eddie’s best girl, Molly. Or Eddie himself. And Eddie knows he didn’t do it.

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Review:Think James Bond with magic and then add a bit of aliens, Gods and Immortals and you get the world of Eddie Drood. The book is based in the same universe as the Nightside books but the two never interact thanks to some ancient binding pacts.

The book has a very fast paced plot and has some interesting plot twists. The ending was completely unexpected and sets the way beautifully for the next book in the series.

The characters were mostly well developed though some of the secondary characters could have used a bit more fleshing out. The book is filled with one liners and has a distinct feel of homage to the Bond movies/books. Some of the plot twists I expected but some I didn’t which made this a very interesting read.

If you haven’t read the previous books in the series then you might miss out on some of the finer plot points but in a pinch you can read this as a stand alone book too.

Final Recommendation: A great read. Really recommended

June 6, 2010

Had to Back up and Hard reset my Nokia N95

Filed under: My Life — Suramya @ 8:05 PM

For some reason my N95 started acting really strangely last week, after I copied some ebooks to the phone it became really really slow. On an average it started taking upto 8 seconds to perform any operation on the phone. So if I got an SMS and wanted to read it it would take about 8 – 16 seconds for the SMS to open. If I restarted the phone it would work ok for about 30 seconds or so and then become really slow again. Plus the battery life also got quite bad. I was getting about 2-3 hours on a full charge without any use, plus the phone was heating up a lot.

Since the last thing I did on the phone was copy some text/html files to it I tried deleting them and other files from the phone but that didn’t fix anything. So I decided to do a hard reset on the phone.

But before I could do that I had to backup the data on the phone. The files on the internal file system and the Mass storage device were quite easy to backup. The problem was backing up the Contact list and the SMS’s. I did a little research and found that the Contact list can be backed up to the Mass Storage by following these steps:

1. Open Contacts
2. Options -> Mark/Unmark -> Mark All

That will mark all the contacts in your address book. Once you do that Go to

3. Options -> Copy -> To Mass Memory.

This creates a directory called Contacts on the Mass Memory under the folder Others and stores all the contacts as .vcf files. Which you can copy to your computer using the USB cable. To restore all you have to do is open Contacts and then Options -> Copy -> From Mass Memory.

Backing up the SMS’s was a bit more involved. To do that you need to have Python for the Nokia phones installed. I used a Python script to loop through my Inbox and write the contents of the SMS into a text file that I then backed up.

The code incase you need it is listed below:

from time import ctime
import codecs
import inbox, appuifw
box = inbox.Inbox()
msg = box.sms_messages()
f ='E:/Others/listSMS.txt', 'w', 'utf8') # open file in UTF8
for i in msg:
	f.write(ctime(box.time(i))) # convert seconds in a string
appuifw.note(u'All SMS are backed up!', "info")
f ='E:/Others/listSMS.txt', 'r', 'utf8')

Once I backed up all the data, I did a hard reset on the phone. The Built in function to Restore Factory defaults didn’t seem to accomplish anything so I had to resort to a search on Google again.

Use the following codes to do a Hard Reset on a Nokia N95 8GB. (Warning: This removes all data from the phone except the data stored on the Mass Memory)

Reset code: *#7370# or *#7780#

The page I got this information from listed *#7780# as the hard reset code but it didn’t do anything on my phone while *#7370# did the job.

Once I reset the device it started functioning properly again which was good. So I had to restore all the applications on it. About 1/2 way through I installed ‘FlipSilent-RDA-v2.00’ which allows you to silence your phone by flipping it. As soon as I tried installing it the phone went nuts again. Which sucks because I really love this app 🙁 I think the version I downloaded was infected. I don’t have the original .sis file that I used to install it the first time and now I really don’t feel like experimenting again by installing various versions to my phone to get a working version. I guess I could try contacting the author directly. Lets see.

But still, I have a working phone once again and all is well.

Well this is all for now. Will write more later.

– Suramya

A Flash of Hex (OSI Series Book 02) by Jes Battis

Filed under: Reviews-Urban Fantasy — Suramya @ 7:55 PM

A Flash of Hex (OSI Series Book 02)
by Jes Battis


In our line of work, there were demons and necromancers, and then there were’other things. Older things without names that you didn’t ever want to meet. I swallowed a lump in my throat, knowing I was in the presence of evil’

As an Occult Special Investigator, Tess Corday has seen her fair share of disturbing crime scenes–but nothing ever shocked her as much as the ritualistic murder of a drugged-out runaway kid, who she soon learns was not the first such victim.

All the dead teens had traces of the dangerous magical drug called Hex in their bodies. All were the children of powerful mage families. All were killed with the sacred tools of mages. It adds up to the chilling possibility that the OSI is dealing with a serial killer, one who has incredible inhuman powers.

To stop the slaughter, Tess and her partner Derrick will go anywhere and do anything’including seeking help from the necromancer Lucian Agrado, whom Tess is under orders to avoid . But as the deaths continue, Tess becomes convinced that the identity of the killer is locked inside her own head. And the question is’how many rules is she willing to break to get to the truth?

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Review:The second book in the OSI series picks up about 6 months after the end of the previous book. Tess Corday has been promoted to OSI Level 2 and has formally adopted Mia along with her partner.

The plot was quite intricate without becoming laborious and the characters were well developed. Different facets of their personalities are explored and we learn some really interesting facts about some of the characters (I can’t tell you more without spoilers) and certain characters from the first book make an unexpected appearance in the book.

The story universe is expanded a bit more from the 1st book and the characters have a quite sense of humor that borders on the macabre at times but is quite fun to read.

Final Recommendation: A great read. Going to go get the next book in the series now.

June 5, 2010

Strange Neighbors by Ashlyn Chase

Filed under: Reviews-Paranormal,Reviews-Romance — Suramya @ 7:48 PM

Strange Neighbors
by Ashlyn Chase


When all-star pitcher and shape-shifter Jason Tanner buys a small apartment building, he sees it not only as an investment but as a place to escape the demands of major league baseball. That is, until he meets his tenants – a sarcastic unemployed crime-fighter vampire; a wereraven with a morbid sense of humor; a super-friendly salesman werewolf; and two witches with an owl who work as phone sex actresses. Not to mention a beautiful, all-too-human nurse. But with all the hooting, howling, and hollering going on, how’s an all-American shapeshifter supposed to sweep a girl off her feet?

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Review:This is the first book I have read by this author and it looks like it might be the first book in a series. So far I haven’t found any confirmation if thats the case but if it is then that would be great.

The book is based in an apartment building where each of the tenants have their secret and when Merry moves into the building she is the only one who is not a paranormal. Add in the sarcastic ghost of a murdered writer from the 60’s and you have the beginning of a great book.

Most of the characters in the book were great but I really didn’t like the character ‘Dottie’. I found her to be quite irritating and could have done without her in the book.

Other than that the book was a fun read.

Final Recommendation: A good read

June 4, 2010

My Trip to Gangotri and Gaumukh

Filed under: My Life,Travel/Trips — Suramya @ 11:35 PM

I think its about time I blogged about my trip because certain people have been bugging me about it. It took so long because I brought back an unwanted guest with me from the trip – Some sort of stomach virus.

We (Me, Dad and Mom) left for Gangotri on the 29th at 6 am and drove 526 km to Gangotri. The last 300 something kilometers were in the hills so it took us a little over 14 hours to make the journey. We got there a little after 8pm and it was a bit chilly over there so we quickly walked to the guest house (I don’t really remember the name but it was a facility run by the Gadhwal Government). While talking to the manager at the place we found out that since last year a restriction has been put on travel to Gaumukh and now only 150 people per day are allowed to make the trip. Another wrinkle was that in addition to the 150 people limit the forest department has also set the limit on the no of horses allowed up to the glacier to 15.

Since we didn’t have permission we had to wait for the Forest department to open at 8am the next day before we could leave for the glacier. If that hadn’t been the case we would have left at around 6am. We spent that extra two hours visiting the famous temple and having breakfast.

Thankfully we got the permission to visit Gaumukh quite easily but unfortunately by that time the permitted no of horses had already left. So we had to convince the person incharge to allow 3 extra horses to make the trip (No there was no bribe involved. Just told them about our time constraint etc). Initially it was planned that mom and dad would take horses but I would walk but since its quite boring to walk alone and I had no intention of walking 14 kms alone I also got to ride up on a horse.

The journey to the actual Gaumukh is a total of 18 kms but horses are only allowed till the first 14 kms and the last 4 kilometers have to be covered on foot.

It took us about 5 hours to make the 14 km journey by horse and the view was amazing for most of the way. Towards the end though the greenery (trees) was replaced by shrubs and then plain rocks and dirt because we were over the snowline. By the time we got to Bhojwassa it was about 2 pm and my backside was no longer on speaking terms with me. We stopped over there for the night. Initially we had thought that we would make the remaining 4km trek to Gaumukh the same day but then decided to wait for the next day to permit our bodies to acclimatize to the high altitude. (This was at 3792 mts elevation)

Unfortunately mom got a mild case of Acute mountain sickness so we decided that she wouldn’t make the last 4 km walk. So it was just dad and me at 5:30 am the next day when we left for the Glacier (which is at 4463 mtrs elevation) . The trek wasn’t that bad. Infact the hardest part was the first 500 mtrs because it was a pretty steep climb. After that the climbs and descents were quite manageable. It took us 1 1/2 hours to make it to the official termination of the path which is about 500 mtrs from the mouth of the glacier. Since everyone else was continuing the trek to get to the actual mouth of the glacier we also did the same and ended up climbing pretty much to the mouth of the glacier. This last 500 mtrs took us another 1/2 hour since there was no track anymore and we had to climb over boulders and then slide down to get to the glacier.

At this point the temperature was way below freezing and the wind chill made things even more fun. It was so cold that in the time it took me to take 3 photos my fingers were numb enough that I couldn’t make changes to my camera settings anymore. But it was worth it. Because of the cold we only stayed there for about 10-15 mins before heading back. By this time the sun had come out so it wasn’t that cold anymore. In fact by the time we reached base camp I was sweating enough to remove my sweater.

After we got back we rested for about 2 hours and had breakfast and then hired horses to take us back. The ride back was more endured than enjoyed because by that time pretty much most of my body parts had gone on strike. If you think that you don’t get tired when riding a horse I suggest you go ride one for 4-5 hours and then come back and talk to me.

The trail between Gangotri and Bhojwassa is quite steep and there were a lot of places where my body was at an angle of almost 45 degrees from perpendicular to keep my balance on the horse. (You are supposed to lean back if your horse is descending a slope to allow it to maintain its balance).

Once we got back to Gangotri we picked up our luggage from the locker and started driving back towards Uttarkashi. It took us a bit over 5 hours to get there and we all crashed quite quickly once we got to the hotel. The next day we left the hotel at 7:30 am and drove back to Delhi with a small detour to visit my cousin on the way.

I did take a lot of pictures and I will be posting some of them on Facebook (I am still considering the changes to the photogallery over here) once I publish this post.

Well this is all for now. Will post more later.

Edit: Posted the pics Here

– Suramya

Night Child (OSI Series Book 01) by Jes Battis

Filed under: Reviews-Urban Fantasy — Suramya @ 7:50 PM

Night Child (OSI Series Book 01)
by Jes Battis


Enter the night world of the OSI… OCCULT SPECIAL INVESTIGATOR

Tess Corday, Occult Special Investigator for Vancouver’s Mystical Crime Lab, is used to seeing dead vampires. But there’s nothing ordinary about this case. Not the lab results on the cause of death. Not the teenage girl living at the address found in the vamp’s pocket, who may well be in thrall to a demon. And certainly not Lucian Agrado, the necromancer who is liaison to the vampire community. Agrado is supposed to be part of the solution, but Tess suspects he might be part of the problem.

Soon she finds herself in the middle of a paranormal conspiracy that will change her life forever – and possibly end it.

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Review:Night child takes us to an alternate world where Vampires, Mages and Demons exist and while their existence is not known to public at large enough people know about them that a government agency has been created to deal with crimes committed by paranormal entities.

The book was a good read. It took a slightly different view of Vampires and Mages by making them humans with Demon blood instead of just plain humans who have died or have a hereditary trait that allows them to control power.

The characters are well defined and the plot was also quite interesting. It took me almost till the end of the book before I was able to figure about who was the killer.

Since this is the first book in the series I am going to go get the second one now and I am adding this author to my list of authors to watch out for.

Final Recommendation: A good read

June 2, 2010

Milrose Munce and the Den of Professional Help by Douglas Anthony Cooper

Filed under: Reviews-Young Adult Fantasy — Suramya @ 7:44 PM

Milrose Munce and the Den of Professional Help
by Douglas Anthony Cooper


No one except Milrose Munce knows that ghosts of former students live in his school. Not only is Milrose aware of these ghouls – he’s on a first-name basis with all of them. Of course, some are more likeable than others: the third floor is the home to nearly all of his good friends. Most of them – like Imploded Ig, Deeply Damaged Dave, and Toasted Theresa – were the victims of science experiments gone wrong though they do manage to maintain a sense of humour about their demise. Then there are the ghost athletes who lurk in the basement – a pretty disagreeable group, the majority of them having died after a particularly clumsy manoeuvre on the school’s sports field.

After Milrose is given yet another detention for offering his teacher an answer that was just a bit too clever, his life takes an unexpected turn. He is sent to a hidden den in the school’s basement to receive Professional Help. Here, he and the quick-witted Arabella, a fellow captive, are put under round-the-clock supervision of the maniacal Massimo Natica. Fortunately for Milrose and Arabella, once they join forces with their ghostly friends, Massimo Natica doesn’t stand a chance.

In the tradition of Edward Gorey and Roald Dahl, the dark comedy and imaginative brilliance of Milrose Munce and the Den of Professional Help will appeal to adults as much as it will to younger readers.

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Review:Inspite of having a weird name this book is one of the funniest books that I have read in a long time.

The main character in the book is a boy with a higher than normal intelligence who also happens to be able to see and talk to ghosts. Now as expected the staff of the school where he meets most of the ghosts in his acquaintance are not happy about seeing him talk to empty space or laugh at jokes that only he can hear so they send him to “Professional Help” where they try to cure him of his problem along with another student who also shares his ability to talk to Ghosts.

He along with the Ghosts of the students who haunt the school mount a campaign to rescue them from the “Help” and it includes a lot of explosions, bad poetry and sarcastic wit.

The characters were very well written and the dialog between the characters was quite funny.

Final Recommendation: A great read

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