Blog Book Tour | “Quicksand: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery” by Gigi Pandian Readers who appreciate Lara Croft or Tia Carrere’s ‘Relic Hunter’ will happily find a new Professor Adventurer who finds extreme joy in digging up the past!

Posted Wednesday, 29 April, 2015 by jorielov , , , , , 1 Comment

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Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Quicksand: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery ” virtual book tour through France Book Tours. I received a complimentary spiral-bound* ARC copy of the book direct from the author Gigi Pandian, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

*This is my first spiral-bound ARC copy of a novel to receive, as what is unique about it is the layout of the pages, as there are ‘two pages per sheet’ of the ARC itself! The flow of the narrative goes from right to left, as the first ‘page’ is set to the right and then the first full page shifts back to ‘left to right’, then if you turn to the third page, it’s in the right order but all the pages are double-sided. It goes with saying I had to adjust to reading it in this style, as at first I thought it was all in reverse! It is the first time I can honestly say I understand other dyslexics and how reading can cause you unexpected problems, as I never had the issue with left to right or right to left, but as I’m finding as an adult dyslexic, everything changes once you leave your childhood years!

A notation on why I love my local library: I borrowed the first two novels in the series via ILL (inter-library loan) in order to understand the flow and pace of the character’s journey. The unique part is that both paperback copies of “Artifact” and “Pirate Vishnu” arrived from public libraries in the PNW: Pacific Northwest! This is an example of how blessed I am for being able to use inter-library loan via my local library and how awesome WorldCat is to connect us to books which are outside the collections of our local library systems! This is one key reason I link books I am highlighting on my blog to WorldCat because depending on where you live, the book will let you know if it’s available to request; either locally or through ILL’ing!

“Artifact” arrived via the North Central Regional Library in Wenatchee, Washington whereas “Pirate Vishnu” arrived via the Timberland Regional Library in Turnwater, Washington. Both copies were paperbacks and only lightly read which made the experience for me as a book blogger discovering a ‘new to me author’ truly enjoyable! I have added the entire series and the novella to my “Book Wishes” List on Riffle! I hadn’t realised there was a ‘prequel’ to the series hidden inside of an anthology until after I received the books via inter-library loan; much to my delight the anthology is also available to borrow in the future!

This is why I stress that local libraries are a wicked resource for readers everywhere to use, not just for those of us who blog our reading lives but for anyone who is curious about an author, a book, or a non-fiction topic to research: a local library and the resources they can provide you with are unparallelled! When I am being writerly I can happily attest I love conducting my research via my local library as well, because you can quantitatively gather materials you cannot have on hand otherwise.

Why adventure and archeological artifacts interest me :

A very little known fact about myself is the original dream I had as a youngster, wells, wait, if I were to be truly honest, the second dream I had as a ‘field of choice’ was to become a Historical Archaeologist. Mind you, I was greatly attached to the aspects of being a Paleontologist prior to settling on archaeology, but my interests wavered a bit to settle on ‘historical’ as I toyed with the idea of ‘Nautical’ (although that would need a PADI certification to achieve!) before uncovering Forensic Anthropology; for the 80s this was a radical idea of thought as the 90s were only just on the fringe of beginning. Not quite your typical rising sixth grader who had a penchant for parapsychology ontop of digs, bones, and the past hidden below the ground!

I was always quite intrigued and motivated by the ‘explorers’ in fiction, as my favourite childhood adventurer series was penned by Frank Perretti and called the Cooper Kids Adventure Series. Ironically or not, it’s not a trilogy or a quad, and has more books in the series now than when I first read them as I have the original boxed set with the original illustrations! Smiles. It was a natural curiosity to become attached to Indiana Jones (movies 1, 3, and 4 respectively; the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles serial most definitely) and Lara Croft as brought to life by Angelina Jolie in the motion pictures. I truly loved Tia Carrere’s serial as well (Relic Hunter) but only had the pleasure of seeing it sporadically. Definitely a serial to see if I can borrow on dvd whilst I’m not gathering a ‘new to me’ BBC serial! (Hallo, Foyle’s War and Last Tango in Halifax!)

To me, living vicariously through adventure novels (oh, I had forgotten I read the novels for Indiana Jones too! oh! I had forgotten to mention the Graphic Novels, too!) is a wicked sweet joy of mine! I do not read adventure novels often enough, and it’s definitely an under-read area of literature I’d like to explore in the future! I even have my eyes on Classical Lit offerings such as the Joseph Conrad novels, and of course, definitely reading about Aubrey and Maturin throughout Master and Commander! I love a wide range of adventures, from deep sea diving to archaeological digs to the high sea epics of the historical past to a contemporary jewel heist or an espionage thriller. Honestly, there is so much randomness to the adventure genre that you just never know what you will uncover next! Isn’t that the beauty of it?! For me, it definitely is! Hence why I am grateful to have found Gigi Pandian and Henery Press!

Blog Book Tour | “Quicksand: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery” by Gigi Pandian Readers who appreciate Lara Croft or Tia Carrere’s ‘Relic Hunter’ will happily find a new Professor Adventurer who finds extreme joy in digging up the past!Quicksand: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery
by Gigi Pandian
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Fayette Terlouw
Source: Author via France Book Tours

A thousand-year-old secret room. A sultan’s stolen treasure. A missing French priest. And an invitation to Paris to rekindle an old flame…

Historian Jaya Jones finds herself on the wrong side of the law during an art heist at the Louvre. To redeem herself, she follows clues from an illuminated manuscript that lead from the cobblestone streets of Paris to the quicksand-surrounded fortress of Mont Saint-Michel. With the help of enigmatic Lane Peters and a 90-year-old stage magician, Jaya delves into France’s colonial past in India to clear her name and catch a killer.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Series: ,


Genres: Action & Adventure Fiction, Archaeological | Anthropological Historical Perspectives, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Cosy Mystery


Published by Henery Press

on 10th March, 2015

Pages: 280

Published By: Henery Press (@HeneryPress), part of their Mystery Collection
Available Formats: Hardback, Paperback and Ebook

{ Book One: Artifact: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery }

Add to Riffle + Public Library

{ Book Two: Pirate Vishnu: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery }

Add to Riffle + Public Library

{ Prequel Novella of the series: Fool’s Gold part of ‘Other People’s Baggage’ Anthology }

Uniquely it is mentioned all three novellas in the set are inter-connected!

Add to Riffle + Public Library

Converse on Twitter via: #JayaJones

About Gigi Pandian

USA Today bestselling author Gigi Pandian is the child of cultural anthropologists from New Mexico and the southern tip of India. After being dragged around the world during her childhood, she tried to escape her fate when she left a PhD program for art school. But adventurous academics wouldn’t stay out of her head.

Thus was born the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Series (Artifact, Pirate Vishnu, and
Quicksand
). Gigi’s debut mystery novel was awarded a Malice Domestic Grant and named a “Best of 2012” Debut Novel by Suspense Magazine.
Her short fiction has been short-listed for Agatha and Macavity awards, and she also writes the new Accidental Alchemist mystery series.

She takes photos of gargoyles wherever she goes, and posts them on her Gargoyle Girl blog.

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Read an Excerpt of the Novel:

Quicksand by Henery Press

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My reflections on behalf of “Artifact” and “Pirate Vishnu”:

I am happily fascinated by the choices of what is placed inside the cover art design for novels, as there are moments where the art on the covers are so genuinely representative of the stories within you feel as if the art on the cover is another layer of dimension to the story therein. I felt this was true with Artifact as there was a Royal Mail envelope, the ruby artifact, and Jaya’s drum set are featured with a map of England featuring Nottingham England straight North to Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Dundee Scotland. It gives a rounding to the story and a proper sense of the place in which the story is set. I simply loved the style of the illustrator Ms Terlouw!

The Acknowledgements page stood out due to the openness of Pandian to express a portion of the process from conception and creation of the story straight through to the pre-pub routines to finalise the manuscript. She gave a shout-out to different organisations of whom guided her path as much as the individuals who helped her get this far. It felt like an ‘open letter’ of gratitude rather than a compulsory requirement. I love when writers share a bit of themselves in this section and let go of the arbitrary!

A scene is set by a presumption of blood in lieu of curry and a press article delivering grim news that stalls Jaya’s stasis of normalcy. A jarring reminder the heart and mind are never quite in sync as memory would be led to believe. The receptive nature of her landlady gave a good balm towards the privacy Jaya intends to maintain and the distance she strikes to endure from others.

The package Jaya receives reminded me of how much I loved ‘Romancing the Stone’ as a package set to Joanie gave the impetus to her adventure in South America. It is a good tool to use the postal system to re-direct a plot forward by encouraging people in a close circle of connection to step forward into the fray. Oft-times I find myself hopeful writers will lean on the post moreso than technology, and finding this opening gave me a heap of joy!

Most of the books I read go unnoticed by my cheeky cats, however every blue moon they take a more invested interest. Artifact was sniffed and approved as an intriguing read! Normally, a paw grab or a respite of rest upon a book clues me in that my cats are fond of my choices; although truth to be told, they have a decided preference for library books! Unless of course they’ve taken up residence on my review books recently received by post and have snuggled into a ‘cat nap’ on top of the pile! One of my darlings kept close company as I dissolved into the text aptly pensive of where I was disappearing!

The layers of this story are what interested me the most, because Pandian has created such a unique harmonic environment for her characters! You have Mahilan, Jaya’s brother who refuses to speak English and prefers Hindi whenever he graces Jaya with his presence, except that she’s better at understanding Tamil not Hindi! Jaya herself is a (1st Year) Professor inasmuch as a Historian who was bourne to an Indian (as in India!) Mum and an American Dad; giving her a perspective of insight across both cultural worlds. Miles is the harmless neighbouring poet who has a mad crush on Jaya or at the very least a vested interest in her well-being whereas Sanjay her sitar player in arms not only helps her pull in a bit of an extra income whilst regularly playing a local venue but is her best friend. The cheeky bit is that Sanjay is a magician who is quite intuitive when it comes to Jaya, despite her best intentions to overlook it.

By the time Lane Peters enters her life, as the research grad student needed to help identify and prove the provenance of the ruby artifact, Jaya is well on her way into the gritty realties that not everything you first accept as ‘known’ is what ends up being ‘true’ in the end. However, Jaya finds someone she can relate to in Lane Peters, the understated yet dedicated to his field student of Art History. The unique undercurrent to the action of this adventure story is finding two people who do not feel as they belong where they live. As if they are always on the defensive having to validate who they are and why they appear as they do. It brings up a good question about how society can dismiss people out of hand and never take the time to get to know them.

Each of them are respectively hungry for an adventure, even if they did not express this aloud. I think it has to do with being an academic or a researcher as it’s all rather grand, but at some point, travel is a necessary component to exercise. Equal in tenacity to purport a method to unravell a historical mystery through research, Jaya and Lane are aptly suited to each other. Lane’s main flaw is his compulsion to smoke, whereas Jaya has to remember to let her guard down.

I appreciate the baroque of the Scots being included but it was a bit out of my depth to follow all of it, though the gist happily was apparent. Languages do tend to confuse me as most dyslexics will surely claim alongside me. The broach of the fairy and the fabled lore of the Highlands perked my attention being a Scot myself. Any new gleamings of life in the Highlands of Scotland is a wicked happy discovery for me to uncover! And, I had known there is a thin veil of where the fabled, folk, and lore reside in the Highlands.

My notes are a bit on the lighter side for this novel because I was so entrenched in the book itself, that I stopped writing down the notes as I read the story! I was quite consumed by everything Pandian put into Artifact and I wish I had perhaps an extra week to read Pirate Vishnu because the timing for me was a bit off from center. I had to return both books at the same time, as they arrived on the same day, and therefore, most of the second novel is left unknown as I will explain next.

Unfortunately for me, my time was not my own this month, as I was predominately sick off/on throughout April which affected my readings and my blog schedule overall. I was only able to gloss over Pirate Vishnu in order to gather the gist of the context and understand where Jaya and Lane Peters had shifted forward in the series after the conclusion to Artifact. It is definitely my intention to re-borrow the series (even though I have plans to purchase it as well!) starting with the prequel novella and then re-borrowing books one and two, in order to properly soak inside the series start to finish. It is the type of series you can get lost inside and for me, that’s a definite joy!

My Review of Quicksand:

As soon as you open your eyes into the story, your right back where you were during Artifact as Jaya’s world feels as intimately real as your own! Her crazy-quirky landlady Nadia is there to greet her at the same moment as Miles, and for a small fraction of a second you wonder if you ever exited this world because it’s nearly as if time shifted forwards at such a slow pace as to now allow you to miss too much in-between your visits! It’s just a year to nearly the day of when her life tucked inside the adventure to start all adventures with Lane Peters and the ruby artifact that proved it had such an incredible story to reveal to them both!

Your eyes do not linger too long as your devouring this story with such gusto as a beloved plate of Indian foods whisking their aromas into your nostrils and making you feel hungrier than you are! (I had mentioned my passion for Indian foods previously, did I not? Hmm,… mango lassos, samosas, and naan are three favourites but ooh! I cannot leave without the sweet balls in rosewater!) I can tell you I was wicked excited about the bit of mail Jaya received as I was thrilled to peaches Pandian was keeping the postal loveliness inside the stories! Inside of ‘turning the pages’ as we normally do with books, I was ‘flipping’ the ARC front to back carting off alongside Jaya where Pandian earmarked us to go next!

Leave it to the bloke who stole your heart and left you in pitapats of uncertainty about your future, to waltz back inside your life with a larkspur suggestion of a rendezvous in Paris! Paris of all places, the very epitome of where lovers meet and where romance thrives or at least whilst thinking of Paris through a heart full of want of a bloke whose just nay out of reach such as Jaya’s Lane Peters. You can feel the torn nature of Jaya’s emotions, as which should she choose? Opening the semester properly as any good natured Professor might or globe hop!? If it were me, I’d jump the plane!

Arriving to find yourself bamboozled by a cheeky classy villain has it’s upswing if you can reunite with your boyfriend, but it’s how to get yourself untangled from this quagmire that truly sets your heart on a pulse of alertness! I’ll give it to Pandian, she knows how to write a narrative where each step you take inside Jaya’s shoes, is one step backwards towards understanding how everything is being set-up to either make you take a fall or inspire you to jump forward ahead of the person controlling the forward motion. I like mysteries like these, as they allow you to dispel your own sense of logic and root out your own theories of what is happening as the action is moving forward. It’s one of the reasons I loved Agatha Christie’s style of telling mysteries as she didn’t always show everything to the reader until the final chapters.

A good healthy chase ensues in this installment as much as the second novel, but part of the allure for me was finding another seemingly hopeless state of affairs involving water during a moment of where Jaya, Lane, Sanjay’s French illusionist friend Sébastien, and the villain himself are against a mad dash for time to sort out a way through the water and muck. It reminded instantly of my favourite part of a motley team working together to survive from National Treasure 2! Similar to Artifact this is one series I love to read and regrettably do not take too many notes to share with my readers! I just feel so absorbed by the way in which Pandian writes her stories; I’m elsewhere for the time in which the story is inked to the page, and even despite my earlier unease to read the spiral-bounded ARC, I found my way and did not want to leave the ARC until it was consumed!

There is an eloquence behind titling this novel “Quicksand” as it is nearly a metaphor for how quickly you can dissolve inside a plot to undermine your own sanctity and place yourself in a line of harm without even realising how quickly your sinking past a point of return. Even if the author had a different intention in why she selected the title.

Why I celebrate a character like Jaya Jones, a note on Equality & Diversity in Lit:

Jaya Jones reads to me as if she were an honest to goodness real-life character being written on the page to leave behind the tales of her real-life adventures. She is presented with such a warm honesty by Pandian that it takes you a moment to realise her ancestry is both Indian and American by birth. Pandian gently acknowledges the cultural and ethnic ancestral pasts on behalf of her characters, whilst eluding to their countries of origin as a ‘quick reference’ if your reading these stories out of order and hadn’t realised Nadia (the landlady) was Russian.

However, I never felt Pandian was leading by cliche or leaving hollow characters on the page, as she has envisioned such full-bodied characters that you barely notice their cultural differences. To me, this is bliss to find in an on-going series because it paints quite the true portrait on our own society. Culture and ethnicity doesn’t need to be blinding apparent, as sometimes it’s simply as natural as breathing. When you grow up in a multicultural city (my background) or your globe hopping with your parents (Pandian’s background) you start to ‘see people’ for who they are and without seeing them simply as their culture or their race.

It’s refreshing because these are stories where #EqualityInLit and #WeNeedDiverseBooks truly start to merge into each other as a way of seeing stories enchant us through the lens of characters who reflect the people we see in our everyday worlds. I wish I could find more series that are as real to me as the Jaya Jones series, and I definitely believe that in the future I shall find more, but for right now, it’s a wicked sweet honour to have found Pandian’s voice in the Mystery genre as I am hoping this series will continue to grow and develop through the years!

I try to talk more openly about equality and diversity on my blog as I read books that alight in my life, mostly as it’s something I grew up around and thereby I do not always think to remember to mention cultural, religious, or ethnic differences as I grew up without seeing colour or culture, but rather I saw people. I grew up listening to their stories and celebrating who they were inside their lives. I loved meeting a variety of people not just out and about in the city, but at the different restaurants my family would frequent. The Greeks by far are the most boisterous outside of the Italians, but the Indians have such a charming resonance for food, that it takes foodie culture to a new level.

Finding stories where the backdrop and heart of the story itself is rooted in a culture outside of your own is part of the gratitude of bliss this reader enjoys discovering. It takes a writer like Pandian to fuse the story together and yet craft a mystery that is not too easy to solve and thereby envelopes you in a world you want to visit time and time again.

I was especially grateful to Ms Pandian for sending me bookmarks featuring the book covers of the series, as it was such a special treat to be able to see the covers even before the ILLs came in to read!

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This book review was courtesy of: France Book Tours:

France Book Tours

{ click-through to find the road map for the tour }

Quicksand Blog Tour via France Book Tours

Be sure to check out my Bookish Events for (2015)

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Reader Interactive Question:

What do you love about soaking inside an archaeological-based mystery or adventure? Which characters do you think of when picking up a story that involves archaeology or globe-trotting to sort out a historical mystery!? What is your most ideal ‘adventure’ country to visit and explore?

Comment Box Banner made by Jorie in Canva.

{SOURCES: Cover art of “Quicksand”, book synopsis, author photograph of Gigi Pandian, author biography, the blog tour badge were all provided by France Book Tours and used with permission. Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin. France Book Tours badge created by Jorie in Canva. Comment Box Banner made by Jorie in Canva. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Buy links on Scribd excerpt are not affiliated with Jorie Loves A Story. Book Excerpt was able to be embedded due to codes provided by Scribd.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2015.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Wednesday, 29 April, 2015 by jorielov in 21st Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, Amateur Detective, ARC | Galley Copy, Archaeology, Art, Art History, Artwork Provenance, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book | Novel Excerpt, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Book Cover | Original Illustration & Design, Bookish Discussions, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Contemporary Romance, Cosy Mystery, Crime Fiction, Equality In Literature, France, France Book Tours, French Literature, History, Indie Author, Lady Detective Fiction, Library Catalogues & Databases, Library Find, Library Love, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Modern Day, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Scribd, Travel, Treasure Hunt




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