Review: Indiot (Isa Maxwell Escapades, Book 2)

Indiot by Ana Spoke

Indiot (Isa Maxwell Escapades, Book 2)
by Ana Spoke (Goodreads Author)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Isa Maxwell’s second adventure proves to be even more entertaining than the first and decidedly more dangerous. This time, the dippy but well-intentioned blonde, having made oodles of money from writing a book, embarks on a trip to India to use some of her wealth to help the poor and dispossessed, plus a supposedly down-on-his-luck prince.

On her flight out to India, Isa meets the glamorous and bejewelled Vivian, who seems like best-friend material at first acquaintance. [Anything further about this relationship would be a spoiler, so my lips are sealed.]

Isa’s arrival in Delhi is a total culture shock. Noise, fumes, chaos, locals haggling for business, police corruption, Indian mafia activities, you name it, Isa finds it, or it finds her. It’s as if her naïvety, combined with good-heartedness, acts as a magnet to those looking for easy pickings. But to underestimate Isa’s ability to pull out all the stops (albeit with plentiful blunders on the way), is to assume that she isn’t capable of great ingenuity when it comes to survival.

Shizzle, Inc (Isa Maxwell Escapades Book 1) was primarily comedy chic-lit, but Indiot is a thriller with OTT elements that amount to comedy of the variety that makes you cover your face or clutch your head as you wonder if things can get any worse for Isa. It would make a great comedy thriller movie, and the fact that I kept seeing it as such, says a great deal about Ana Spoke’s ability to paint an extremely vivid picture of India as seen very much through her central protagonist’s eyes: the idealistic outsider learning the hard way about an alien culture.

Ana Spoke gave me an advance copy of Indiot in exchange for an honest review, although my apologies to the author for not making it until nearly a week after publication day. I actually read the novel in two sittings, which says much about its ability to grip the reader’s attention.The only negative to me–and it’s only something small–was that I felt that there could be a little more about Isa’s relationship with Mr Hue and with her friend Harden in Book 1. This was necessary both as a recap for those who read the previous novel soon after it came out (about 9 months ago), as well as to anyone who picked up Book 2 first and read it as a standalone. So, everybody, read both novels, and read them in the right order.

And when you reach the end of Indiot, I can pretty much guarantee that Ana Spoke will have left you dying to read Isa Maxwell’s Escapade Book 3.

This is an author whose writing gets better and better…

Indiot (Amazon US)
Indiot (Amazon UK)

Goodreads review of Shizzle, Inc (Isa Maxwell Escapades, Book 1)
If you missed reading Shizzle, Inc, you can now download it for free on Kindle (Amazon US & Amazon UK).

Ana Spoke’s blog 
Ana Spoke — Goodreads Author

February’s Guest Storyteller, Ana Spoke (2016)

Review: In a Dark, Dark Wood

In a Dark, Dark Wood
In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This thriller is about a hen party from hell, with a tight cast of people carrying a heap of emotional baggage from the past. Not only do they have axes to grind with one another, but at least one of them is seriously unhinged.

The setting for the novel, as the title suggests, is in a dark, dark wood that’s off the beaten track. There’s no mobile signal, of course. The owner of the property is absent. The house is modern with lots of huge picture-windows without curtains or blinds, meaning that at night anyone can see in, but nobody can see out. Stephen King would be proud of the author!

When reading this book, I admit to being spooked and holding my breath on numerous occasions, if not letting out the occasional shriek of surprise. So yes, the novel succeeded on many fronts but didn’t quite make the 5-star slot, as I disliked the characters immensely and wanted to bang their heads together. This isn’t the first book I’ve read where people have burned their guts with lethal alcoholic cocktails and sniffed coke, it was more that this particular cast were so pretentious and self-absorbed, that is was difficult to feel any sympathy for them.

Of course, bearing in my disdain for the characters, I still felt compelled to read on because the novel is exceedingly well-written. It’s pacy, punchy, spooky, freaky, alarming, and has a satisfactory conclusion.

This is British author Ruth Ware’s début novel and I will definitely want to read her next one when it comes out.

In summary, if you want to read a novel that’s a page-turner and will keep you awake at night, then this is for you.

View all my reviews

August’s Guest Storyteller, Blondeusk

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Bio: Blondeusk has always loved writing stories and has spent hours day dreaming of one day seeing her books on the shelf in Waterstones. On her 40th birthday Blondeusk woke up and decided that she had done enough dreaming and it was time to take action on making her dream a reality.

Sarah says:  Blondeusk, welcome to my blog and thank you so much for guest storytelling this month. Whilst you’re here, I’m going to take the opportunity to tell people the success story of your blog, Blondewritemore. As a complete novice to blogging, Blondeusk created her blog in April of this year and already has 200 followers (probably more by now!). This must have taken some hard work and determination to achieve in three months, and I know she’s beavering away with equal determination at her first novel.

The extract below is from one of her stories: a thriller about two women; a captor and a prisoner who become friends and use their bond to break free from their respective confines.

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 Extract from’ The Beautiful Prisoner’

The door to her attic prison cell opened slowly and Kim watched the blue plastic tray come into view. As usual the two bony white hands that gripped the tray tremored slightly which made the china plates of food rattle.

‘Thanks’ Kim said, standing up to accept the tray and smiling graciously at the timid looking face in the dark unlit doorway. The face silently nodded and waited for Kim to step away from the door, so it could be locked and bolted again.

As Kim sat down on the floor, the door was shut and the three bolts screeched angrily as they were forced back across the thick wooden door. Heeled footsteps moved from the door and gradually faded away.

Tray time was Kim’s favourite part of the day. The meal today was chicken casserole, creamed potatoes and peas. It was a sizeable portion and filled a hole within her cavernous stomach. She ate with speed in case one of her captors decided to come back and take it away from her.

After licking the plate clean she sat for a while on the dusty floor boards until she felt sleepy. Soon enough her eye lids started to grow heavy and she crawled onto the small mattress. It didn’t take long for her mind to transport her back to the night of the accident. Her brain had no other dream material and so every time she slept she relived the same scene.

She was back there, lying twisted and broken in the middle of the road, on that hot and sultry evening in July. An eerie silence had descended the road. The birds in the trees had stopped twittering and the sheep in the field opposite were no longer bleating.

Craning her neck she could see the steam vapours from the silver car’s bonnet twirling up into the air. The monstrous car was wedged into a huge bush and there was no sign of life from the driver inside. It had happened so fast. One minute she had been walking along the pavement texting her friend, the next minute there was a roar of an engine, tyres skidding across the road and she was being catapulted into the air.

She lay back and grimaced at the pain emanating from her legs. Suddenly the driver emerged from the car and staggered towards her. He was a tall dark-haired man dressed in a crumpled pin stripe suit. In silence he crouched over her and looked at her sternly with angry dark eyes. After a moment of thought he bent down and scooped her off the road with his crater-like hands. The ground fell away as they lifted her high into the air.

Over his shoulder she watched the giant boot of the silver car rise revealing its dark mouth. As he turned towards the boot, with her in his arms, she started to struggle but it was futile, her body was broken. He reached the boot and placed her inside. As he leant over her she could smell the sweet smell of alcohol on his hot breath.

The boot closed firmly and darkness enveloped her. She started to scream when the engine of the car started.

Kim awoke screaming ‘NO PLEASE STOP!’ Her face was damp with sweat and her heart pounded hard in her rib cage. This has to stop she thought getting up from the old mattress, there has to be a way out of this prison.

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You can find the links to previous guest storyteller posts at https://sarahpotterwrites.com/guest-storytellers-2/

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