GENRE: Fiction – Romance
NUMBER OF PAGES: 231
SERIES / STANDALONE: Beyond the Cage #1
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy as a part of Red Moon Book Tours.
Our protagonist Walker is a rookie who wants to fight in the MMA. He dropped out of law school much to the disappointment of his father who cut him off financially as a punishment. Gracie, our female protagonist is a successful MMA agent. Walker happens to be her best friend’s brother on whom she had a huge crush on when she was 12. When Walker lands in her couch as he doesn’t have a place to stay, she realizes that the crush hasn’t exactly faded out. Things turn complicated thanks to Walker’s sudden boxing match and Gracie’s pretty much absentee boyfriend, Erik. Eventually Gracie ends up making a choice between her career, her boyfriend and Walker.
This was one of those types of books that I really couldn’t decide if I hated it or liked it. The writing was simple and pretty much normal. The story was appropriately paced but predictable in spite of having few twists and turns. The characterization was the high point of this book. Almost all the characters, from Erik to Gracie to Walker to Tyson, were all well carved out. Not having read any MMA based romance before, I really didn’t have a standard to compare this book with. Though given that this is the first MMA romance that I’ve read, I’m not sure this is what I expected. I half expect some sabotage and espionage with the fights. Thankfully the book never had any awkward situations or erotic scenes that absolutely drive me mad. The story has enough potential for spin offs.
MY SAY: Entertaining read. You won’t hate it nor will you go gaga over it.
PLOT : 6/10
BOREDOM QUOTIENT: 3/10 (Lower the better)
OVERALL RATING: 7/10
The writer is giving out THREE $20 Amazon Gift Cards. Check out the giveaway here
Walker Adams was supposed to follow in his lawyer father’s footsteps, but instead he’s training to be an MMA fighter. And while he works for his chance to make it in the Maximum Fight League, he’s bunking on his baby sister’s best friend’s couch. Gracie Andrews is all grown up—in all the right places. But she’s engaged to the fight match-maker who holds Walker’s career in his hands…
Gracie had almost convinced herself that she’d put her silly childhood crush on Walker to rest. But the sight of him sleeping in only a pair of boxer briefs makes it clear that some things never change. And as old sparks turn to flames, Gracie is forced to decide between the future she thought she wanted or the man she’s never stopped loving…
“Whoa…occupied,” Walker Adams said, quickly reaching for a towel as the bathroom door swung open.
“Shit, sorry.” Grace shut her eyes as she slammed the door, but not before seeing much more of her best friend’s older brother. Something her fifteen-year-old self would have gone to extreme measures to see.
Well, that image was going to take a brain injury to forget.
“I’ll just be a second,” he called through the door as she turned to leave.
“No worries-take your time.” She checked her watch. She had fifteen minutes before she had to leave for work. They would need to come up with a better routine if they were going to be roommates for several weeks.
Several weeks. Holy shit. How had Kylie talked her into this? When her best friend had called from California to ask the favor, she wished she hadn’t answered the call because Kylie had asked her a question she’d been unable to refuse.
“He’s desperate,” Kylie had said.
Desperate was one word that failed to come to mind when she thought about Walker. She was pretty sure he’d never wanted anything too long before getting it. “Really?”
“Yes. I mean, he will never admit it, of course, but he’s left himself zero options. If he’s not attending classes, Dad says he’s not paying his rent or helping him financially until he wakes up and realizes he’s ruining his future.”
That sounded like Judge Adams. He saw one future for his son and Grace didn’t expect the man to ever support the fighting career Walker had dropped out of law school to pursue. She’d sighed. “All I have is a pull out sofa-no spare room.” She cringed at the thought of someone sleeping in her living room…even for a few weeks. She’d never had a roommate, preferring her privacy and space.
Roommates were messy and loud and…messy.
“Trust me-he’s not picky right now. He’s been sleeping in his Jeep for the last few weeks. He finally told me and I’m a little worried about him living on the streets in Las Vegas.”
Her resolve melted. The idea of Walker Adams down on his luck was a completely foreign one. The high school valedictorian and football star was not exactly lacking in the ‘good fortune’ category. Not when it came to success or brains or looks…so how had the guy voted ‘most likely to succeed’ in high school end up needing her pull out sofa?
“Okay, he can stay here…but you know I’m moving in three weeks, right? July 31st my lease is up and I’m moving in with Erik.”
“I was kinda hoping you’d come to your senses…” her friend had mumbled.
“Nope, still planning a future with a successful, gorgeous man.” She didn’t take offense at Kylie’s attitude toward Erik. The one and only time her friend had met her boyfriend, the Christmas before, they hadn’t exactly hit it off. Erik was kind of an acquired taste. His abrupt manner could be a little off-putting to those who didn’t know him well. Normally, if her best friend and boyfriend didn’t get along, it would be a cause of stress for Grace, but with Kylie a thousand miles away in L.A. and their visits rare these days as they both climbed their respective corporate ladders, her friend’s opinion seemed to matter less.
“Fine…Well at least he hasn’t proposed yet, so there’s still hope.”
Grace rolled her eyes. “So when is Walker getting here?” Changing the subject was always the best course of action whenever their talks turned to her relationship.
“I’ll text him right away with your address and he’ll be there soon. He can’t be that far away.”
Fan-fucking-tastic. Her best friend’s brother, a guy she’d been completely in love with at fifteen, and a man she hadn’t seen in almost five years would be her new roommate in a matter of minutes. “Can’t wait to see him,” she’d lied.
Jennifer Snow lives in Edmonton, Alberta with her husband and four year old son. She is a member of the Writers Guild of Alberta, the Romance Writers of America, the Canadian Author Association, and SheWrites.org. She is also a regular blogger on the Heartwarming Authors site and is a contributing author to Mslexia Magazine, WestWord Magazine and RWR. She has also taught RWA Chapters courses online. Her 2013 Holiday Romance-The Trouble With Mistletoe was a finalist in the 2014 Golden Quill Contest and the Heart of Denver Aspen Gold Contest.
Her publishing credits include two holiday novellas, previously published by The Wild Rose Press, now re-released or being re-released as self-published editions through Amazon. The Mistletoe Fever was an Amazon bestseller for two weeks in the category of Kindle Short Reads. Her six book small town, Brookhollow series is published through Harlequin Heartwarming and she has a new MMA sports romance series releasing through Berkley/NAL Intermix in 2015. RT Reviews has given each of her Brookhollow series books 4 stars.
She also hosts an annual SnowGlobe Award contest in recognition of holiday themed romance stories, with over forty entries each year, with participants ranging from new authors to NYT Bestselling authors, such as Brenda Novak and Sarah Morgan. More information about the contest can be found at www.snowglobeawardcontest.vpweb.ca
She is active on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and various blog sites and has a monthly author newsletter.
GENRE: Fiction – Romance
NUMBER OF PAGES: 259
SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy as a part of RABT tours! Thanks guys!
A female protagonist who simply doesn't have this need to have a man in her life to feel complete or wholesome – An unusual story line isn't it? A good prompt for me to pick up the book.
Lucy is a successful business women who runs her own clothes store. She is in her late twenties and has never felt the need for a man to complete her life. Her life is just perfect according to her, but her mother believes other wise. She keeps pushing Lucy to date and sets her up with horrendous dates. Unable to put up with such blind dates, Lucy turns to an agency to get dates for all her family events. Things go smooth until she one of her arranged date falls sicks and she is forced to take the agency owner's brother in law – Oliver, as her date. Ollie is fun and bonds instantly with Lucy's family, who are convinced that he is the perfect match for her. Things get complicated leaving Lucy suffocated. The story ends on a “happily-ever-single” note.
Romance writers often stereotype women to be the nagging witch who goes on yapping at men until they commit to marriage or kids. This writer, Jessica, gave a much needed refreshing premise to the story. The protagonist Lucy emphasizes on one very important point that the society somehow fails to understand – Not every woman needs a man to complete her, she can be successful with being backed by a man romantically involved with her. This is not unheard of but is widely ignored and definitely not used in romantic novels. This writer took a big gamble by inculcating such a premise. The gamble evidently paid quite well! The characterization and the narration aided this concept in being delivered effectively. I was expecting a traumatic history for Lucy's character which eventually resulted in this state of hers. To my pleasant surprise there was no such thing which affirmed the premised of the story. Jessica brilliantly reversed the romantic notions associated to a male and female where in the male is a commitment-phobic and the female pesters for lifelong commitment.
MY SAY: A refreshing change from stereotypical romance.
BOREDOM QUOTIENT:2/10 (The lower the better)
OVERALL RATING: 8/10
AUTHOR LINKS: Facebook,Goodreads
BOOK LINKS: Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Enter to win a $10 gift Card!
GENRE: Fiction – Literary
NUMBER OF PAGES: 164
SERIES / STANDALONE: Faraway Lands #2
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy from the writer! Thanks a lot Marion for sending this beautiful book to me.
Having read most of Marion’s works, needless to say, I’m a big fan of hers already. Evocative writing filled with descriptions and tiny details are a rarity these days. In fact, the very genre of literary fiction has been diluted over the years so much that the writing has waned into the equivalent of an instant coffee – watery and flavorless. This book is a pleasant exception much like the writer’s other books.
“The Lion Mountains” is a heartwarming tale of happy little English girl – Melanie in the enchanting land of Sierra Leone, Africa. Melanie in her own sweet way of a child understands the cultural differences between her country and that of Africa while discovering the dangers that lurks beneath the sweet exterior of the country that she very much taken by. The story is part of the writer's own experiences in the country.Narrated from the view point of the child, the story delivers a strong message that is essential for an adult, more than a child, to lead a peaceful life.
It is evident that the writer, Marion, is extremely proficient in the art of storytelling, for it is apparent in the way the book has been written. I could visualize the sights and feel the atmosphere of Sierra Leone through the story. Most importantly, I could step into the shoes of an 8 year old who tries her best to understand the complicated dynamics of an adult’s life. The writer effortlessly deals with complex themes of cultural differences, women oppression and the liberal culture of Africa. In short, the book is a pure joy to read and a perfect material to assimilate and ponder upon.
MY SAY: A must read just for the human values the writer has dealt with.
PLOT : 8/10
BOREDOM QUOTIENT: 1/10 (the lower the better)
OVERALL RATING: 9.5/10
AUTHOR LINKS: Website
BOOK LINKS: Amazon
Mitch MacLaren has reasons for avoiding relationships, and in his opinion, they’re pretty darn good. As the new president of RTC Bucking Bulls, difficult challenges occur daily. He certainly doesn’t need another one in the form of a fiery, blue-eyed, redhead.
Dana Ballard’s new job forces her to work with the one MacLaren who can’t seem to get over himself and lighten up. Their verbal sparring is second nature and entertaining until the night of Mitch’s departure when he surprises her with a dare she doesn’t refuse.
With his assignment in Fire Mountain over, Mitch is free to return to Montana and run the business his father helped start. The glitch in his enthusiasm has to do with one irreversible mistake—the dare Dana didn’t ignore. Now, for reasons that confound him, he just can’t let it go.
Working together is a circumstance neither wants, but both must accept. As their attraction grows, so do the accidents and strange illnesses of the animals RTC depends on to stay in business. Mitch’s total focus should be on finding the reasons and people behind the incidents. Instead, he finds himself torn between his unwanted desire for Dana and the business which is his life.
Red hair had never turned him on, nor had outspoken women. He preferred brunettes with soft curves, warm smiles, and open arms that knew when to let go. Mitch had the feeling if Dana ever got her claws into a man, it would be all over except for the sounds of surrender. From her description of Kell Corwin, she may have found someone to keep her occupied for some time. The knowledge didn’t give him any comfort. He moved toward her, taking the box off the hood of the truck and stowing it on the seat next to him, then turned to look at her.
“Have a safe trip, handsome.” Her blue eyes sparkled in the moonlight, although he could detect a look of what? Melancholy…regret?
“No goodbye kiss?” he half-teased.
Her gaze narrowed on his, her lips set in a thin line as if she struggled with a decision. “Sure, why not.” She rose up on her toes, placing what was meant to be a peck on his cheek.
In a quick move, Mitch wrapped his hands around her arms, pulling her tight as he shifted, his mouth finding hers. The kiss was demanding, coaxing, the intensity sucking all the air from her lungs. She pulled her arms free, wrapping them around his neck, drawing him down as their tongues collided, tangling, as if fighting for dominance. He set his hands on her waist, dragging her closer, taking everything he could as heat flared between them. Letting his hands roam up and down her back and hips, he grabbed her shirt, intending to pull it free. Instead, her moan snapped him out of his passion-induced trance. As quick as it started, he set her aside, his breath ragged.
“That was some goodbye kiss, lady.”
Shirleen Davies writes romance—historical, contemporary, and romantic suspense. She grew up in Southern California, attended Oregon State University, and has degrees from San Diego State University and the University of Maryland. During the day she provides consulting services to small and mid-sized businesses. But her real passion is writing emotionally charged stories of flawed people who find redemption through love and acceptance. She now lives with her husband in a beautiful town in northern Arizona.
Q: Congrats on your debut novel! What or who inspired you to write?
A: Since I was twelve, I’ve being reading fiction, which I love to do. I started writing essays
and term papers in high school and college. In law school my writing changed to motions and
briefs, which was extensive. In 2009, while browsing through a Barns and Noble, I stopped to
read a book on writing fiction, which I had never done before. Part of the joy of writing for me
is doing a lot of research. I love to read and study about new locations, or facts about things I include in my story like guns, bullets, and airplanes. Before I started writing fiction I never realized how much research was involved in creating a believable story line. So, what inspired me to write? Before I started writing fiction, I already loved to write. Since I love to read fiction, and after reading that book on writing fiction, I thought I would give it a try. Two Hearts is the third book that I’ve written. My first two attempts are still sitting on my shelf where they will probably stay for eternity.
Q: How does it feel to have published your book finally?
A: Pretty awesome. It took me about two and half years to write the story, which was a long
process of writing, re-writing, editing, and proof reading. After putting the finally period at the end of the story, I wasn’t actually finished.I gave my book out to be read to about thirty or forty people. In every case it came back marked up in red. Back to the editing table. I spent about six months writing and rewriting.I then sent Two Hearts out to be edited—more writing and rewriting. Then the publishing process, which took about four months.It feels totally awesome to have Two Hearts finally published. Looking back over the whole experience, it has been challenging, with its ups and downs, but it has also be completely fulfilling, knowing that I started and finished the goal I had set out to do.
Q: Your story features mining and mines prominently, that is a rather unconventional set up for a romance tale, any particular reason? Or any personal experience?
A: A mine or mining in general does not seem to be the premier backdrop for a romance tale. The story is really about Jaxon’s undying love for Annie and that nothing will ever distract him from his devotion to her.The opening scene is of Jaxon digging for gold in the abandon Western Pleasure mine on his ranch in Montana, which helps sets the tone for his strength and character. Jaxon’s father could have paid for Jaxon to purchase any size of ring for Annie, which he tried to do, but Jaxon wouldn’t let him. The setting of the mine allowed for Jaxon to prove what kind of man he was. It also just so happens that one of the nicknames for Montana is “The Treasure State,” because of the numerous mines located there. Unconventional for a romance tale? Probably yes, but the end result worked well.
Q: Being a lawyer or real estate appraiser or a writer, which excites you more?
A: I love being a writer, which allows me to learn new things practically every day. I’m not
perfect at it, but I love to research and research to make sure I understand how something works. Also, there are so many different types of story ideas. My mind is allows thinking and planning new scenes-just like daydreaming, which I than get to put down on paper. It is definitely more fun to write fiction than being a lawyer or an appraiser. But, of course, that is just me.
Q: Tells us about your writing process.
A: I have a very time consuming day job. Fortunately, I am self-employed, so I try to stop
working at a reasonable hour to allow myself time and energy to write. When I am heavily into writing a story, I try to consistently stop my day job at six. I take a one hour break for dinner. I start writing at seven and I will usually work until ten. I will do this four to five days a week. I don’t work on Sunday and I usually will only work half a day on Saturday. So, if the moon aligns with all of the stars, and everything is in place in the Richey family universe, I will spend anywhere from twelve to fifteen hours a week writing. This doesn’t happen every week. I try, but things come up. To break up the stress from work, I take my wife and two daughters out faithfully every Friday night.
Q: Any pearls of wisdom for inspiring writers?
A: Persistence. Don’t give up. Keep trying. I recently read a writing tip from an internationally bestselling author. To be a writer, you have to study and write. First you study techniques, styles, and other writers. Then you write. Don’t be afraid of failure. Study and write.
Rapid fire questions:
Q: Coffee or Whisky?
A: Chocolate Rocky Road milkshake, please.
Q: Given a chance to be reborn, would you choose to be a male or female?
A: I’m definitely not perfect at it, but I think I have a handle on being a male. I would choose to be a male again.
Q: One thing the world doesn’t know about you?
A: I’ve climb the highest mountain in the United States continent, Mt. Whitney, seven times.
Q: Given a chance to learn—Dancing or Boxing?
A: Dancing—my partner, my beautiful wife, would not be out to kill me.
GENRE: Fiction - Romance
NUMBER OF PAGES: 434
SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy as a part of iRead Book Tours! Thanks guys!
The title, the book back summery and the book cover, all three of them promise just one thing – Romance, pure romance and love. The story was just that. The writer lived up to the promises he made via the title, summary and the cover.
The book opened with our protagonist Jaxon, toiling away in the mines of Dillion to mine a small lump of gold from which he eventually crafts a ring for the love of his life, Annie. He proposes to her and they are married. They eventually relocate to Venezuela as Jaxon lands a mining job there. All is great in their lives when storm hits them in the form of Jaxon’s boss’s wife and his father’s illness. The blissful relationship between Jaxon and Annie turns rocky thanks Annie’s mom who had instilled notions of infidel husbands right from a young age. Adding to the agony, Annie’s dad simply refuses to acknowledge her and ignores her completely. Naturally, Annie’s faith in men and romantic relationship is ideally built on Jaxon’s behavior with her. Thus things turn sour when that boat of trust is rocked. Do Annie and Jaxon wade out of the tangles of their relationship? Read the book to know that!
The writing was good enough, though I felt the writer, James, put in a lot of description of about things that weren’t really vital to the story. Almost sixty percent of the story is filled with practical romance which is obviously slow paced, but the last forty percent of the story is the cherry on the cake. I simply couldn’t put the book down once I reached that part of the book. The book interested me a lot as it was set against the backdrop of the mining industry (obviously! That’s the Instrumentation engineer in me talking!). I anticipated reading about the process of mining and conjured up images some juicy scenario amidst that backdrop, but sadly that wasn’t there. Adding that as a scenario could have amped up the pace of the book midway. There were about handful of typos in the book. In short, tighter editing in the first part of the book could have made the story crisper and a far enticing read. The characterization utterly saved this book as it was very realistic. Jaxon is your typical good looking male species who attracts a lot of unwanted attention and is extremely poor in expressing himself. Annie on the other hand, is your typical girl who completely trusts the love of her life yet has that iota of doubt over the relationship almost always! A strong characterization couple with adequate surprises amidst mildly predictable scenarios made this book a pleasurable read.
MY SAY: A practical tale of trust, faith, love and friendship.
PLOT : 7/10
BOREDOM QUOTIENT: 4/10 (Lower the better)
OVERALL RATING: 7/10
AUTHOR LINKS: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook
BOOK LINKS: Amazon
GENRE: Fiction – General
NUMBER OF PAGES: 410
SERIES / STANDALONE: Those Pricey Thakur girls #2
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy from Westland Publishers! Thanks guys!
Not having read the prequel to this book – Those pricey Thakur girls, I was a little skeptic about following the story and understating the character progression. Thankfully I was able to read it as a standalone, thanks to the fairly independent story line.
The story is based on a commonly witnessed episode in our country – property squabble. BJ a retired judge and the father of five beautiful girls, dies leaving behind a high value property in the posh area of Hailey road. Bonita Singh aka Bonu, the protagonist of our story and BJ’s granddaughter from his second late daughter lives in that very house and also runs a successful albeit a slightly fraudulent one. BJ, on his death bed, entrusts his step-grandson, Samar, his first daughter Anjini’s adopted son to sell off the property and divide the share equally among the sisters. Bonu is vehemently against the idea of selling thanks to certain ideologies drilled into her by her late mother. Bonu sees this as a perfect opportunity for revenge. Surprisingly, her revenge is the last problem that Samar faces trying to sell this property. In comes BJ’s brother questioning the paternity of BJ which automatically ensures the girls do not inherit the property. What follows is a high octane drama sprinkled with some romance and a lot of humor. /*I prefer putting it that way. No spoiler policy!*/
The characterization for me was initially a bit confusing as I hadn’t read the previous book. Thankfully, the book had a family tree right in the beginning which helped me immensely in understanding who was related to whom and how. In spite of having a lot characters, typically like a large Indian family, the writer, Anuja, managed to give them all enough attention that they deserved. The characterization was honed enough for a reader to understand the behavior even if the book is read as a standalone. This is not an easy feat to achieve. The book isn’t exactly a literary marvel. But then, it isn’t meant to be that. It’s your typical Indian read with well written story line narrated in a quirky manner!
MY SAY: A good one time read with typical Indian masala.
PLOT : 8/10
BOREDOM QUOTIENT: 3/10 (The lower the better)
OVERALL RATING: 7/10
AUTHOR LINKS: Goodreads
BOOK LINKS: Goodreads, Amazon
Thanks Nitesh for taking time to answer my questions!
1. Congrats on the success of your book! What or who prompted you to write this book in first place?
Thank you. I was in Switzerland for my master studies during 2010-2012. It was during that period, the idea of writing a book developed. What began as a time killing exercise for weekends soon turned out to be an obsession (even during weekdays). Of course I was heavily influenced by mystery novels and Rhonda Byrne's the Secret and so the journey of writing an uncanny fusion of mystery and philosophy began.
2. The number seven! Why that particular number? /*Are you a Harry Potter fan * winks * */
Well, there is always something special about this number. There are lots of natural phenomenon that has 'seven' attached to it. For example seven colours of rainbow, seven continents in the world and so on. Even according to Hindu religion, a man has seven lives. The marriage ceremony is incomplete without seven vows. Then there is also a reference of the seventh heaven in Islam. The references are countless. As for me, I was simply tempted to add another Seven in the list :) However, the real significance of calling it The Seventh Cup, you would decipher by the end of the novel.
3. Your protagonists, Avinash and Verona, out of the two which character did you find difficult to structure and write?
I would opt for Verona. I found it quite challenging to describe a character who is mysteriously beautiful, a character who is omnipresent without being present, a character who is the cynosure of the entire novel and has the potential of keeping the readers engaged right till the last line of the last chapter.
4. The cover and the trailer, both are unconventional, sort of looks like that of a self help book which makes it all the more unique! Did you design it?
The trailer was conceptualized by me. The basic idea was to create an aura of mystery and suspense which I feel the trailer succeeds to convey. The idea of the cover page was suggested by my web page designer. We sat together and designed the number 7, trying to include as many words as possible into the body of the number that describes the basic idea of the novel. The result was quite satisfactory.
5. Any pearls of wisdom for aspiring writers? After all, this is your first book!
My advice would be simple-Keep writing and believing in yourself, the rest will follow.
Now for some rapid fire to know the person that you are
1. Tequila or Coffee?
Coffee..any day any time
2. One habit that you have been trying to get rid of but never managed to yet.
Eating Junk food :)
3. One thing the world doesn't know about you yet?
Let it remain behind the veil...for now :)
4. Given a chance to learn – Ballet dancing or Taekwondo?
Ballet dancing :)
5. Your biggest inspiration?
NUMBER OF PAGES: 311
SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy as a part of The Book Club Tours!
The Seventh Cup is the story of Avinash and Verona, two people from immensely different background and cultures. Before you jump to conclusions, no, it's not your typical Bollywood style firangi-Indian love story! The book had a note telling that the reader would be compelled to read “The Secret” after finishing this book if they hadn't done so already. I remember picking up that book ages ago and struggling to make it past even the quarter mark of the book. All my fellow book lovers kept suggesting that I should finish reading the book for it is supposed to be one life changing book. Somehow, that never happened, or may be I never wanted it to happen (For those who have read this book, PUN INTENDED, for those who haven't, that's a sample of how this book goes). And no, I still don't want to read “The Secret”.
Avinash first meets Verona when she takes up the student exchange program in his college at Goa. Eventually he falls in love with her but only to be crushed and dejected as Verona has a boy friend already. What follows is a story of mind transportation, a domino effect of events and a couple of murders investigated by Swiss detectives.
The story line as such was filled with a lot of surprises. The writer had in fact made all the clues to solving the murder so apparent that I blindly overlooked them. There in lies the beauty of this book. The book was filled with a lot of philosophical-ish metaphysical discussion which initially were interesting but as the story line progressed, it became a bit monotonous. I felt those discussions could have been toned down a bit. There were parts of the story that we repeated. The scene as such was vital and needed to be repeated, but that could have been done in a different way. The characterization was good and just perfect in aiding the story line. The writing on the other hand has a huge scope for improvement. The writer, Nitesh, managed to portray emotions perfectly but didn't hit bull's eye with romance. I felt the whole chemistry between the husband and wife detective pair was a bit forced and artificial. The editing also lacked finesse, for there were quite a bit of grammatical errors and syntax errors. That just ruined the good mystery that the writer crafted with a lot of care. Overlooking all that, the writer surely nailed the mystery element of the story book. That prevented me from putting down the book midway.
MY SAY: Overlooking many factors, read the book just for the crux of the story line – a good puzzle, well solved!
BOREDOM QUOTIENT : 5/10 (Lower the better)
OVERALL RATING: 6/10
AUTHOR LINKS: Website, Goodreads
BOOK LINKS: Amazon.com |Amazon.in | Flipkart
1. Congratulations on your book! A collection of short stories which primarily feature thread and the art of sewing – this is a rather abstract theme. Who or what inspired you to pick such a theme?
When people ask me why I chose sewing as a connecting ‘thread’ for my SEWING CAN BE DANGEROUS and how unusual that is for a theme, I laugh inwardly. Why? Because before I wrote my very first fictional story, coincidentally entitled, “Sewing Can Be Dangerous,” I had been a quilt designer/teacher for over twenty years. I was surrounded by quilts (my husband always claimed we were living in a ‘padded cell’), and my studio had boxes upon boxes of fabrics and wool (I also knitted scarves for Xmas gifts), homemade folk art angels coating the walls, and two sewing machines.
So, after writing that first story, although I realized I wanted to continue writing others to go with it, I also knew that collections often needed some sort of theme; hence the sewing/craft element.
2. You’ve dealt with various demons of society in your book, be it the Nazi themed story of the story dealing with slavery yet featuring sewing as a vital part. What prompted you to pick social issues?
Reading or watching movies/documentaries about heavy social issues has always interested me. Although I’ve been told I have a great sense of humor, love to toss out a good laugh (Just ask my family, friends, and students), and howl at a good comedy, when it comes to research and writing, I enjoy discovering events from the past, and the more potent they are, the better. These often sobering events not only resonate with me, they remind me of the phrase, ‘History tends to repeat itself.’ Therefore, once I knew I wanted to combine different stories involving the fiber arts, I did not want to turn the collection into cozy little lightweight sewing stories. Not this gal!
3. Your protagonists are primarily female. Isn’t that like stereotyping by associating females with the art of sewing?
You know, you’re right! OMG...I guess at the time I wrote these stories, I related more to females in history than males. However, in my novel UNEXPECTED GIFTS, which was written after the stories and involved a young woman reading her ancestors’ diaries in order to help her resolve some of her own life problems, there were several chapters expressed through a male’s point of view. I certainly enjoyed writing those as much as the chapters with the female narratives.
4. Tell us about your writing process.
As for conceiving a book/story idea, it’s a bit like, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” I can come up with an idea at the oddest times––driving (ssh! Don’t tell the traffic cops), watching a movie, reading an historical article, talking to someone, hearing a news blurb––and soon, it begins to fester. Or, I can read about a time period where one little fact sticks out like a sore thumb and catapults me into an entire story.
Then, being basically a planner, I feel the most comfortable coming up with a beginning and end as soon as possible. Once I do that, I actually can feel my body relax. Although that doesn’t always happen, until it does, my mind is on high alert looking for those two scenarios.
As for outlining, I’ll start with a vague outline. Then, as I obtain more details (scene ideas, actual page numbers from the research books I have highlighted, character motivations/development, and plots), I will furiously scribble about these things on bits of paper and stuff those notes in separate envelopes. Read-Scribble-Stuff, I call the process. And then, much like turning many blocks into a quilt, I start mapping out the chapters one by one, and taping down the bits of paper into a notebook to remind myself which way I am going. I take that process chapter by chapter, but never get too far ahead of myself. Do I always stick to my outline? Absolutely not! But the structure helps me think more clearly.
Then I usually write my scenes, one at a time, always in long hand first (like I am doing now), often sitting on the bed with my favorite cat squashed up against me, his head draped over my legs (like he is doing now!) I’ll then go to the computer and type that scene up, making small edits along the way. I print it out and edit. And edit, and well…edit.
5. Any pearls of wisdom for aspiring writers?
Being a fairly new writer myself––I mean, I didn’t even start writing until I was middle-aged––all I can say is I am still learning the writing process versus the promotional process and how balance is the key. Because I write a lot of historical fiction, I’ve also come to terms with my genre not being as popular as murder mysteries, vampires, or erotic romance, but I’ve decided to follow my heart and let the chips fall where they may…Who knows? Maybe I’ll write a modern day thriller in the future, but for now...
Now for some quick fire questions
1) Crochet or Entrelac?
My mom crocheted afgans, finished the embroidery projects I would always abandon, and knitted incredibly beautiful cable-knit Irish sweaters for all of us. Talk about influences! I myself like to crochet and knit, but Carpal Tunnel has limited those activities.
2) Given a chance to learn—Fencing or Tango dancing?
Can’t I do both?
3) Coffee or Rum?
Coffee. It gets me going first thing in the morning. If it were rum, I’d never get off of the couch!
4) One habit of yours that you always wanted to get rid of but haven’t yet.
Raiding the refrigerator whenever I’m frustrated with a scene or an Internet problem!
5) Tell me something the world doesn’t know about you yet.
Hmmmmm. Let’s see...well, having been trained as a classical singer, I decided to try my hand at singing pop/rock music to ‘loosen me up’. The year was 1979, Disco was King, and when I sang in small clubs, it was a true eye-opener. I found out that I didn’t want to hang out with the band members, who reveled in staying up all night jamming as they guzzled whisky. Nor did I enjoy coming home reeking of cigarette smoke. I ultimately learned I was a more private person who loved getting up early in the morning to jog along the beach; someone who was comforted by the little things I did in my home or with friends and family. HOWEVER, the best thing that came out of that experience was I met my husband at one of those clubs and I am still grateful for that…35 years later!!
Thanks Mallery for taking time out to answer my questions!
Check out the review of her book here
GENRE: Fiction Short Story Collection
NUMBER OF PAGES: 276
SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy as part of NjKinnyâs blog tours. Thanks a lot!
A short story collection centering sewing as the theme yet under the genres of romance, mystery, thriller and political events - this whole concept of simply unimaginable to me. Moreover, the title by it is rather intriguing â how on the earth can sewing be dangerous - Unless of course, the writer decided to refer some other activity metaphorically as sewing. The cover simply amplified my curiosity for it was a patchwork quilt of images. I really had to pick up this book.
Needless to say, the book really didnât disappoint me. All the eleven short stories were equally just brilliant. The writer, S R Mallery, has simply given the art of sewing a totally new dimension. Can you imagine a patchwork quilt serving as a map of codes for liberating Negro slaves? Can you even think of patchwork quilt being used to smuggle forged German passports for Jewish nationals? This writer did just that in her stories. Each and every story dealt with different types of characters ranging from a newlywed woman trying to make her husband happy to differently abled yet talented slave escaping from her masterâs clutches. Each and every story was of a different genre namely â paranormal, historical, political, romance, mystery. This made the book a complete package. Though the writer has used the most common historical scenarios like the Salem witch trial, The Holocaust, American Dark Age of Slavery, she has present all of them in an entirely different perspective. She simply integrated sewing with all the above historical events in a brilliant manner and the result â a never thought of short story!
The writing was crisp and perfect with adequate importance given to the history or the genre in question. The characterization obviously was spot on and very much apt for a short story collection. But the highlight of the book would be the emotions. I experienced all emotions that each character emoted in the story â be is happiness or a sense of determination or agony. This is the handwork of brilliant writing!
MY SAY: A Must read collection of short stories.
PLOT : 9/10
BOREDOM QUOTIENT: 0/10 (the lower the better and book wasnât one bit boring)
OVERALL RATING: 9/10
Welcome to my stop on the Blog Tour of Sewing Can Be Dangerous And Other Small Threads by S.R Mallery. This is a collection of 11 short stories. Featuring stories from genres like mystery, history, romance and action, this anthology has been highly rated by readers all over the world and has 4.8 out of 5 rating on Goodreads.
And I am so excited to share this book on my blog today. Also, Sewing Can Be Dangerous And Other Small Threads by S.R Mallery is only 99c/Rs. 63 from a limited time!
~About the Book~
No. of Pages: 276
Publication Date: December 2013
Genre: Historical Fiction, Anthology, Short Stories, Romance, Mystery, Action
The eleven long short stories in "Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads" combine history, mystery, action and/or romance, and range from drug trafficking using Guatemalan hand-woven wallets, to an Antebellum U.S. slave using codes in her quilts as a message system to freedom; from an ex-journalist and her Hopi Indian maid solving a cold case together involving Katchina spirits, to a couple hiding Christian passports in a comforter in Nazi Germany; from a wedding quilt curse dating back to the Salem Witchcraft Trials, to a mystery involving a young seamstress in the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire; from a 1980âs Romeo and Juliet romance between a rising Wall Street financial âstarâ and an eclectic fiber artist, to a Haight-Asbury love affair between a professor and a beautiful macramÃ© artist gone horribly askew, just to name a few.
Grab the kindle/Nook book at just $0.99 or Rs. 63!
Amazon IN: Kindle Book
B&N: Nook Book
~Meet the Author~
Pinterest: (I have some good history boards that are getting a lot of attentionâhistory, vintage clothing, older films)
$25 Amazon Gift Card
Ends on 31st July
GENRE: Fiction - Romance
NUMBER OF PAGES: 259
SERIES / STANDALONE: Saltbox #1
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy as a part of Goddessfish promotions. Thanks guys!
I’m not exactly the sort of a person who ardently follows a reality show, but then this book looked that the type which would provide an insider insight of how those shows are conducted. This intrigued me a lot. After all, it is a common knowledge that reality shows aren’t as real as they are proclaimed to be!
Our protagonist, Monica is the associated producer for the “Finding Mr. Right” – the show to find the love of life for our lonely bachelorette, Ronnie. Paul Dewitt is a scriptwriter for this show but is pulled into participating as a contestant when one of the original contender flees. Sparks fly when Monica meets Paul and they eventually end up being dating. But then, does Ronnie find love just as the show promises? How do Monica and Paul end up together if Paul is contender for the show? Read the story to know that.
The book was a rather entertaining read. I expected espionage and heated drama between contestants as the blurb talked about the reality show. But hey, the story turned out to be even better! There was of course a lot of drama and some espionage which made the book a fast paced and pleasurable read. The book was filled with typical reality show type nasty characters, whirlwind romance and lot of temper tantrums making it a finely balanced read. The characterization was good, but I felt the writer was a bit partial towards Monica’s character while Paul’s character seemed a bit neglected. The writing was just perfect. There were few steamy romance scenes but that didn’t impact the overall feel good factor of the story.
MY SAY: Breezy light read. The perfect travel break read.
PLOT : 8/10
BOREDOM QUOTIENT: 2/10 (Lower the better)
OVERALL RATING: 7/10
AUTHOR LINKS: Goodreads
BOOK LINKS: Goodreads
Meg will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
GENRE: Fiction – YA Sci-Fi
NUMBER OF PAGES: 150
SERIES / STANDALONE: Guy Erma and The son of Empire #3
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy as a part of iRead Book Tours.
Exile is the third part in The Guy Erma and The Son of Empire series. The story is a perfect continuation of its preceding book – Hunter. In this installment Prince Theodor escapes from the crutches of his captor with the help of the domeside orphan and blade champion, Guy Erma. In the process of escaping, he unearths a secret destructive weapon smuggled and embedded into the dome to create mass destruction. For those who have read the first two books, the whole plot centering the secret weapon shouldn’t be difficult to follow as the very weapon is mentioned right in the first chapter of the first book. What follows is a political thriller and battle amongst alpha males, namely Chart Segat, Price Theodor and the Emperor.
In this book, Guy Erma tries to uncover the mystery surrounding his birth. Eventually he does, but what he discovers shakes his very foundation of beliefs. Amidst all this, Guy’s relationship with Prince Theodor dilly dallies between not trusting and being dedicated. Though in the end Prince Theodor and Guy Erma forge a beautiful friendship. It was typical of me to anticipate a “tech” filled ending, but surprisingly for a scientific fiction the book ended on the most humane note possible.
The writing in this book was akin to the previous book – simple and crisp ensuring that the readers aren’t bored. The story was fast paced and laced with adequate surprises ensuring that the readers were hooked. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the description of the Dome’s architecture and its associated tech features. All the three books had illustrations of various central characters and backgrounds, helping the readers visualize the story better. With a wee bit of tweaking of the story, this book series has an immense potential to be made into a movie.
MY SAY: A refreshing sci-fi series! Well conceptualized and executed perfectly!
PLOT : 9/10 (Just for that brilliant ending!)
BOREDOM QUOTIENT: 2/10 (Lower the better)
OVERALL RATING: 8/10
AUTHOR LINKS:Website, Facebook , Twitter, Pinterest
BOOK LINKS: Amazon, Goodreads
“To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting” said Edumund Burke, the Irish philosopher. It’s that time of the year to reflect upon the books that I’ve read so far in the year. It’s International Authors’ Day after all!
2015 began with a bang for me, both personally and professionally. I had set myself few goals when the year began. I’d prefer to call it goals for the term ‘resolution’ is has become synonymous with ‘disobedience’. My first goal was to attend a literary event. I have always wanted to discuss books with strangers. Though I’ve been doing that online, but then, nothing like an actual endless conversation about books! Thanks to my less hectic work life, I was able to attend The Hindu Lit for life, held in the month of January. I got meet a lot of like-minded people. In fact, I ended up having conversations on varied subjects with people from a variety of age group. I also got a wonderful opportunity to meet great literary figures like Elanor Cotton, Damon Galgut, Justice Leela Seth and others. Of course, I also got to meet two people, whom I’m I admire completely, writer Amish Tripathi and journalist Rajdeep Sardesai. To sum up, I managed to achieve Goal one completely!
My second goal was to revive my almost dying creative writing skills. I’ve been majorly writing book reviews (or Control Philosophies for work) for the past two years. Moreover, my friend from school, Dhivya at Readers’ Muse kept pushing me to start writing short stories so that we could publish a collection of short stories together. Thanks to her push (more of a shove maybe), I actually started writing creative pieces. That initial momentum as a result of her shove slowed down as I parted ways with her from Readers’ Muse. Encouragement from other friends of mine, made me pick up pace and resume writing again. As a result, I published my first official short story in my new blog. I’m presently working on another short story and hope to finish it soon. Thus, Goal two is complete!
My third goal was to read books by various writers. Being an obsessive and seasoned reader, I had tendencies to pick up books by established writers like John Grisham, James Patterson, Jeffery Archer and Jeffery Deaver only. Having read quite a bit of self-published books last year I realized that there are indeed many ‘unknown’ writers who churn out great books which sadly go unnoticed. I decided to experiment a bit more this year. So far, I’ve reviewed quite a bit of books by writers from various parts of the world in varied genres. Hence Goal three has progressed successfully so far!
I wouldn’t dream of even setting the above three goals if not for the encouragement, love and never ending support from few people. Thus begins my “thank you” list - First, to my parents, for inculcating reading habit and nurturing my writing habit. Next, to my teachers at school, I’d be lost without them. Third, to a long list of people most of whom I met ‘online’. As much cliché that sounds, they are the folks who supported me and continue to do so immaterial of where I blog. My heartfelt thanks to the following people – Marion Eaton, Sherrie Cronin, Laura Fabiani, Sage Adderly, Tia Sounders, Kolleen Kidd, Stephanie Collins,Rubina Ramesh, Sundari Venkatraman, Nikita Johri, Sumeetha Manikandan, Athil DeMarco, DDS, Naheed Hasan & Sarah (Indireads Publishing) , Megha Paramar (Fingerprint! publishing), Iti Khuranna (Harper Collins), Daniel Janik (Savant Publishing). I wish to thank all other writers and other book promoters who have considered me eligible to review their books and sent me their books.Last but not the least, my heartfelt thanks to DDS for starting this International Authors' Day blog hop.It has given me the perfect chance to thank people who really made me happy by writing great books! I hope to keep reading and writing!
Now for the exciting part of the IAD Blog hop - THE GIVEAWAY! Enter below to win a copy of Laura Fabiani's Daughter of Mine. My sincere thanks to Laura for agreeing to gift her book as a part of International Authors' day. If the below form doesn't load, click here.
Daughter of Mine by Laura Fabiani : The Blurb
Tiziana Manoretti is an only child in her late twenties blessed with loving parents, a promising career, and a best friend who fiercely protects her. When her mother falls seriously ill and the relationship between her parents becomes suddenly strained, a carefully hidden family secret is revealed and Tiziana's seemingly idealistic world is turned upside down. After discovering she was born in a Naples orphanage and subsequently given up for adoption, Tiziana sets out for the small town of Gaeta in an attempt to find her birth parents. Meanwhile, her best friend Christopher is sending her mixed messages, causing her to wonder if there is more to their relationship than just companionship. As she becomes intertwined with a handful of interesting characters who help her uncover her past, Tiziana needs to decide whether her feelings for Christopher are deeper than she realizes. She discovers herself and others all while her family's resilience and love for one another is tested when confronted with a shocking truth. The answers lie in a box found in a closet in Italy, and Tiziana must determine if she wants to embrace the heartache and the pain from her past in order to learn forgiveness and find peace in the future.
GENRE: Fiction - Romance
NUMBER OF PAGES: 94
FORMAT: Digital - PDF
SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy from Indireads, the publishers in exchange for an honest review. Thank you ladies!
Love’s labor is tale about the quintessential situation a girl in our society faces when she falls in love with a man from other caste or culture. Our protagonist, Piali has run away from the iron hold of two stubborn men, her father and the love of her life. Her father, like every other typical parent refuses to accept Piali’s choice of man, Sathya as he is from a different caste. Sathya does everything he possibly can to prove that he is a perfect match for Piali but in vain. He eventually takes a decision to elope and marry Piali. Piali doesn’t really favor this decision and chooses to wait till her parents come around. She escapes to Mussorie and joins a residential school as a teacher. Eventually Satya finds her. What follows is Piali’s labor for love.
The story is akin to something that one might actually witness in our country. The writer, Andy Paula, has impeccably utilized a fact that our society still continues to frown upon inter-cultural marriages. She deserves to be appreciated for not forcing the protagonist, Piali to make a drastic choice between her father and the man she loves. That would have been a stereotypical Bollywood-ish cliché. In fact, that very part of the story where Piali runs away speaks volume about the characterization. Needless to mention, the characterization was realistic and perfect. The story line over all was good, though I felt the climax could have been tuned out a bit for I felt it was a bit abrupt. The writing was compelling and crisp with all the characters emoting perfectly to the dot.
In short the book was a well narrated, realistic story of choices, heart break and societal stereotypes.
MY SAY: A compelling read in spite an abrupt ending. Perfect read for that bored flight travel.
PLOT : 7/10
BOREDOM QUOTIENT: 3/10 (Lower the better)
OVERALL RATING: 8/10
AUTHOR LINKS: Goodreads, Website
BOOK LINKS: Goodreads, Amazon, Indireads
Contemporary Romance / Romantic Comedy
Date Published: 5/17/2012
They say life gets more interesting after 40. Chloe sure hopes so.
Freshly divorced at 40, Chloe has few illusions left about her ability to make any of her dreams come true. She is never going to be thin, never going to be a famous singer, and obviously never going to be sexy enough to keep a man like her handsome ex-football player husband from cheating. Thank heavens she at least has great friends.
Celebrating her return to Cali with a long weekend at the 5-star Blue Skies Hotel and Spa with them seems like just the thing she needs to jump start her “do over” post-divorce life. How much Chloe ends up liking sexy owner, 45 yr old Jasper Wade, is a surprise though. So is the way Jasper's unrestrained kisses send lust and renewed hope singing through her.
Chloe had laughed so much in the last hour that her face hurt. And several mai tais had put a humorous haze over pretty much everything.
“Emma, those quizzes are all going to say that I can’t get a guy because I have some sense of decorum about not groping a guy’s crotch in public. Do women in their twenties actually follow that advice?” Chloe demanded.
“Yes,” Emma said firmly. “And I think they have a lot of sex.”
“But do they ever find a genuine love-that-lasts kind of relationship?” Taylor asked, trying to sound wise.
Emma scrunched up her face. “Well, two of them found mine and Chloe’s husbands, so I think the answer is yes in some cases. Of course, this is assuming they actually love our ex-husbands and vice versa.”
Chloe snorted. “Well, I say good luck to them for trying. My ex’s new woman better stay skinny for the rest of her life.”
They laughed again and took another sip of their drinks.
“Okay—okay,” Emma said more soberly, “one more question and I’ll quit.” She paused until she knew Chloe and Taylor were paying close attention.
“You and your best friend are having lunch. She tells you there’s a hot guy checking out your breasts,” Emma said seriously. “What do you say in reply? Taylor—you go first.”
Taylor laughed, the drinks having worked their magic on her by loosening her tongue. “Well, I would dip into the sarcasm I hold back just for these special situations. I would say ‘Sure, him and every other guy’ in my best, most confident voice. Then I’d do this.”
Lifting her small breasts in her hands like an offering to the gods, Taylor pursed her lips in a smooch, and leaned over the table to her friends. They laughed so hard and so loudly that all the people in the pool starting leaving.
“Just like the old days,” Taylor said. “We’re clearing the area.”
“Okay Chloe—what would you say?” Emma said, swinging an innocent gaze in her direction.
“If the man is checking out my breasts, it’s because he’s not used to seeing so much untanned flesh in the state of California,” Chloe declared, laughing and holding the edges of her lapels open as wide as she could to peer into her dress. “Look—the girls and I haven’t seen sunlight in five years. It will take me months to tan all this.”
They all looked at Chloe’s large and very white breasts, giggling without denying her statement. It was the truth after all.
“Maybe you can start with one of those self-tanners or a bronzer. You have to work your way up to a real tan again,” Emma said with a laugh.
“Emma—that question didn’t sound like the other quiz questions,” Taylor commented, looking at her not-so-innocent friend who was giggling softly and looking guilty.
“Okay—fine. It wasn’t a real question on the quiz. There’s a good-looking guy in the dining room who has been admiring Chloe’s cleavage since we sat down to have lunch,” Emma said, laughing. “I think she should practice her subtlety theory on him.”
“Well I’m certainly in the mood to practice after three mai tais. Show him to me,” Chloe demanded on a tipsy laugh.
Emma’s eyes grew larger as she giggled and whispered. “Okay I will, but just don’t turn around. He’s headed to our table. Just smile at Taylor and pretend to be fascinating.”
Chloe’s eyes widened as she heard the deep voice at her side.
“Good day, ladies. I’m Jasper Wade, hotel manager. I hope you’re enjoying your stay. If you need anything while you’re here, please let me know,” he said gallantly, his gaze taking in all of them before coming back to Chloe and her breasts.
Chloe, full of mai tai and happy laughter, turned her head and smiled into his very nice face, sighing with ego happiness as she watched Jasper Wade’s gaze straining to stay away from her cleavage. The day was certainly turning out to be a very nice way to celebrate her return to California.
“Well, aren’t you sweet, Mr. Wade? I was just going to look for the ladies room,” she said, laughing. “Can you point me in the right direction?”
“It’s in the hallway just outside the dining area. If you like, I’d be happy to show you,” Jasper said, his heart beating rapidly as she rose slowly to her full height.
Jasper couldn’t remember the last time he had been so excited by a woman he didn’t even know. She was tall, smiling, and quite an alluring woman altogether. It was all he could do not to reach out and put his hands on her to assure himself she was real.
Chloe purposely stayed bent over the table until the last minute, and then straightened slowly, her breasts following her slow moments. “Sorry. I seem to be a bit tipsy. Too many mai tais.”
“Lovely way to enjoy a sunny afternoon by the pool,” Jasper said with a smile, placing a solicitous hand on her arm, or at least he hoped it was coming off that way.
Chloe took two steps and stumbled slightly, forcing Jasper to catch her, which momentarily squashed her ample cleavage against the front of him. “Oops—sorry.”
She watched his eyes darken and had to restrain the giggle fighting to be set loose. Behind her, Chloe could hear Emma and Taylor’s in-drawn breaths at her boldness.
Turning innocently to look at them, she had to fight laughter at their obvious surprise. She didn’t need a damn quiz to tell her how to interest a man. She just needed the good-looking motivation currently with his hands on her. It was the most wickedly confident thought she’d had in years, and it brought an equally wicked smile to her face.
“I’m fine girls, but I guess I need to walk off a little of the buzz. Don’t worry. Mr. Wade seems quite dependable. I’m sure he won’t let me fall,” Chloe said, winking at their wide-eyed expressions.
Chloe turned back slowly, brushing her breast lightly across his sleeve as she put her arm through Jasper Wade’s. He inhaled sharply at the contact, but Chloe pretended not to notice or hear, though of course she had. It was all she could do to bite back a sigh of happiness. “Sorry again. Can’t believe I’m so tipsy. Thank you for helping me, Mr. Wade. You really do have a nice hotel.”
“Really?” Jasper asked, his voice breaking on the word so he cleared it. “Sorry. I mean—thank you.”
About the Author
Donna McDonald is an active dreamer and finds writing to be the best way to use her creativity. Needing to satisfy both sides of her brain, she is a cross-genre author of contemporary, fantasy, and paranormal romances. Her books appear on bestseller lists for humor, romantic comedy, space opera, and more. She craves laughter from her readers and focuses her attention on making that happen as often as possible. She loves to hear from anyone who has read her books.
2 Signed Print copies (US ONLY)
GENRE: Fiction – Sci-Fi
NUMBER OF PAGES: 162
SERIES / STANDALONE: Guy Erma and the son of Empire #2
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy as a part of iRead book tours.
This second book picks off from the first book, wherein Prince Theodor was kidnapped. In this book, the kidnapped prince tries to escape from his captors and his mother resorts to all possible measures to retrieve her son. His mother Regent Sayginn turns to Karl Valvanchi to help find his son. Thus, Karl Valanchi’s story is narrated in depth. The other highlight of this part of the story would be that of Guy Erma’s storyline – the story of the underdog who seems determined in getting into dome elite.
This book is a bit racier when compared to the first book due to a lot of action sequences. The first book focused on the politics of the Empire, giving the readers an idea of the key characters and their impact on the story line. This book on the other hand, focusses more on the actual story progression. There is an elaborate chase and escape sequence revolving around prince Theodor. The first book was an absolute cliff hanger. This book on the other hand surpassed the first book when it came to climax. Sally left me high and dry, prompting me to pick up the next book without a delay. Some un-answered questions from the first book are given a much needed explanation but still, the story feels a bit incomplete. Hopefully the next and the final book will answer my questions and give me a sense of closure.
The writing in this book is a bit more compelling when compared to the previous book. Some parts of the story, especially the part where Regent Sayginn choose to race herself instead of letting the trainer, was thoroughly enjoyable to read. The final chapter where Guy Erma and Prince Theodor enter is a combat takes the cake! This book also provides a diligent insight into the characters and their thought process thus giving a much needed finesse to the characters. Almost all the characters are given equal space and importance so much that the emphasis on the protagonist is reduced. Nevertheless, this book proved to be a page turner.
MY SAY: Perfectly written Sci-Fi read - a complete page turner! Much appreciable when read as a series.
PLOT : 8/10
BOREDOM QUOTIENT: 3/10(Lower the better)
OVERALL RATING: 8/10
AUTHOR LINKS: Website
BOOK LINKS:Amazon, Goodreads
NOTE : YOU CAN READ THE REVIEW OF THE FIRST BOOK - KIDNAP HERE
GENRE: Fiction – Romance
NUMBER OF PAGES: 165
SERIES / STANDALONE: Series of books (3 stories)
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy from The Book Club Tours
Mr.Imperfect series by writer Aditi Chopra is a series of 3 stories about the lives of 3 people who eventually end up being friends. As the title of the series suggests, the male protagonists in each of they story are imperfect in one or the other way, yet they are essentially the sort of men who would make perfect life partner. Aditi has beautifully emphasized and brought out the fact that love is all about accepting people with their imperfections.
The first story, House of Love is about real estate agent Nikki, a real estate agent who has been adhering well to her never date a client rule until she meets Karan in the most funnily weird circumstance. This story is a really simple tale of love and misunderstanding. One of the most common circumstance in any realistic story narrated in a simple and neat manner. Nikki's character face the most common struggle a woman faces - the need for recognition.
The second story has a very Indian touch to it. Sonali, a simple girl from small town girl marries a reluctant NRI from Texas, Ishan. When she finally lands in Texas, she has trouble adjusting given that Ishan isn't really helpful initially. This story again paints a very realistic picture with the most optimistic and happiest ending.
The third story, Love Tango is my personal favorite. Maya is sensuous dance instructor who fills up for an absentee regular dancer in Tahir's restaurant. Sparks fly instantly between them and they end up dating. Tahir's almost non-existent creative inspiration ticks as soon as he meets Maya and he ends up writing a book that he always wanted to. That very book almost endangers their relationship yet they survive that storm.
The story line in general was well thought of with enough pace to keep the readers hooked. All the three stories have that feel good factor that made it a pleasurable and enjoyable read. Though I enjoyed the quintessential happy ending in all the three stories, at the end of third story that feeling became a wee bit too much. The characterization was perfect enough for a romance tale.
MY SAY: A feel good fast paced and interesting romance read.
BOREDOM QUOTIENT: 2/10 (Lower the better)
OVERALL RATING: 7/10
AUTHOR LINKS: Blog, Facebook
BOOK LINKS: Amazon.com |Amazon.in | Amazon.co.uk
GENRE: Fiction – Young Adult Sci-fi
NUMBER OF PAGES: 186
SERIES / STANDALONE: Guy Erma and the son of Empire #1
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy as a part of iRead book tours
My taste for scientific fiction declined thanks a lot of writers who went on a stereotyping spree there by producing a lot of similar books with more or less the same elements. After all fiction is a product of a man’s imagination but stereotyping that is akin to obstructing creativity. This writer, Sally Ann Melia thankfully broke all stereotypes by narrating a tale which is set in an advanced generation long ago but with the same human characteristics as the present world. Never did I regret picking up this book.
In this installment of the series, Sally narrates tales of two boys, one, a prince of the empire, Theodor and other, a reluctant model-aspiring fighter-bastard child, Guy Erma. Both the characters are similar yet have a paramount of difference between them. The narration is set in a faraway planet with astounding technological improvements like flying droids that act as cameras and flying disc which act as transport medium. Theodor ends up being kidnapped by people who don’t believe that the Dome (a part of the planet in which the narration is set) should be closed. His mother,Sayginn, embarks on a mission to find missing Theodor. The elaborate description of the Dome is a treat to read. The description was accompanied by beautiful sketches that re-affirmed by visual image from the description.
The story line as such doesn’t have any logical loopholes but sort of lacks explanation in certain parts. After all, this is the first book in the series and may be the writer has more to explain about in the other books. I found the starting of the book a bit uncomfortable and hazy to read for the story sort of began with a bang and a lot of technical terms. Thankfully, the writer added an appendix which made me comfortable therein after. I felt that the writer could have done way better in the characterization department. A couple of major characters (Sayginn and Guy Erma) were well developed with a lot of finesse while other major characters (Theo, Chart Segat) were a bit shallow. Again, I’m expecting to know more about these characters in subsequent books.
The writing needless to say was crisp and neat, conveying what exactly the writer probably envisaged to convey. One line of thinking that stood out was the underlying politics. The technology may have grown leaps and bounds in that planet, but the humans still remain the same with the same qualities of present. This whole mix of human politics and technological advancement made this book a fast paced and interesting read. I just had to pick up the next book! (Thankfully, I have all the three books! This is turning out to be one nail biting series where the readers can’t possibly wait for the next installment)
MY SAY: A fast paced and interesting scientific fiction that is worth a read!
PLOT : 8/10
BOREDOM QUOTIENT: 2/10 (The lower the better)
OVERALL RATING: 8/10
AUTHOR LINKS: Website
BOOK LINKS: Amazon, Goodreads
GENRE: Fiction – Historical
NUMBER OF PAGES: 376
SERIES / STANDALONE: Ram Chandra Series #1
After ‘humanizing’ Lord Shiva, writer Amish has taken upon re-telling Lord Ram and his life story. Scion of Ikshvaku is Amish’s fictionalized version of Ramayana, the epic that has been interpreted and narrated by countless people. This book has been recorded as one of the most extensively marketed books with the book trailer going viral, pre-orders jumping and a lot of digital contests. Naturally, the strategic marketing resulted in people expecting a magic from Amish. Sadly, this book failed to match the level of magic that the Shiva trilogy managed to create. That might be because Ram’s character isn’t as dynamic as Shiva’s.
Read on ONLY if you have read the book. /*this review contains spoilers hereinafter*/
Unlike Lord Shiva, who got a radical makeover in Amish’s previous books, Lord Ram or Emperor Ram is more or less the much ethical and law abiding man from the actual Ramayana. Sita’s characterization, on the other hand is a different story. She is this strong spear wielding administrator unlike mellow Sita from the actual Ramayana. The other characters, Laxman, Bharath, Kaikeyi and Manthra have all been given a rather refreshing twist which had a huge impact on the story line. Ravana, as of now, has also been unaltered and remains the loathed evil demon. I don’t exactly trust Amish to let that be in the subsequent books. It is evident that he has done a lot of research about Ramayana, its protagonists, the sequence of events and the underlying philosophy. To revamp almost all the characters, such research is vital. One thing that I loved utterly was that, Amish stripped all the characters of their supernatural element, like Ravana having 9 heads or Ram’s birth - making the story a realistic and natural read.
Like the characterization, the plot has also been revamped, re-adapted, re-engineered (or whatever re-word you know of) from the original Ramayana leaving a majority of readers (me included) in a state of shock. I was stunned with the liberties that the writer took adapting the Nirbhaya incident and Darupati’s Swayamvar into Ram’s tale. More than anything, one school of thought that pushed the envelope for me is where the nobility of Ayodhya and Emperor Dashrath hate Ram as his very birth was the reason Dashrath lost the battle against the evil Ravan. In a way that made me love Ram a bit more than I already do.The plot line so far was laced with right amount of twists and turns. So far so good, but I’m definitely curious about what is to come, for the crux of Ramayana is yet to be narrated.
Let’s face it. Amish is no literary genius, but then he created a cult following with Shiva trilogy and revived the present generation’s almost extinct interest in mythology. His simplistic writing aided the books in reaching even the people who don’t read books much. His writing has come a long way from being sober to being narrative (specifically in this book). To re-engineer and gave a face-lift of sorts to a much read tale, one needs to have guts and be unapologetic about it. It is evident that Amish fits that bill perfectly.
MY SAY: A one time read and page turner with right amount of drama and action.
PLOT : 8/10
NARRATION: 6/10 (I found the philosophical part on leadership and laws to be a bit repetitive)
CHARACTERIZATION: 9/10 (Especially for Sita’s character!)
BOREDOM QUOTIENT: 3/10 (The lower the better)
OVERALL RATING: 7/10
This is something which I felt has to be mentioned. I had an opportunity to meet the writer and interact with him during The Hindu Lit Fest 2015 in Chennai held on the month of January. For some one who has sold a lot of copies and wrote sensible mythology, he came across as a simple and warm man. When the announcement about this book was released I was debating if I should really pick this book up.
Ramayana is close to my heart because my parents brought me a copy of this epic when I was beginning to understand the sense of right and wrong. It was just not another story for me. It much more than that, for it taught to be devoted like Lord Hanuman and humane like Maa Sita - two lessons that I strive to perfect till date (oh yes! Lord Ram wasn't really my hero at all in the story). That is why I have always avoided reading adapted versions of this epic. I can't possibly handle my favorite story being misinterpreted.
I sincerely hope that writer Amish, doesn't end up altering my sense things. I picked up this book only and only because, his previous books were much in line with my though process. When it comes to mythology, books really do alter my thought process and beliefs. I know this might sound childish or even may be immature, but this is who I really am and I'm unapologetic about it.
Life’s Too Short for Leftovers; 9 Lessons from a Third World Kitchen By Michael Ditchfield : Cover Reveal!
Date Published: July 23, 2015
Part inspirational rallying call, part first-person, autobiographical narrative, part eulogy for a treasured friend and mentor, “Life’s Too Short for Leftovers” takes the reader on a highly personal journey of self-discovery. Best-selling author Michael Ditchfield’s “9 Lessons from a Third World Kitchen” – cleverly presented as courses on a menu – conveys a singular perspective on what it means to be human, and what is required of us as individuals to be active, engaged participants in humanity.
With delightfully dry wit and profound understanding, Ditchfield introduces us to Chef Noel Cunningham – his guide and teacher – along with a kitchen-full of congenial and extraordinarily noble real-life protagonists that have served as both lightning rods and light posts in the author’s relentless (albeit sometimes reluctant) pathway toward personal transformation.
Ditchfield is a master storyteller, and his conversational style skillfully relates timeless philosophies to contemporary challenges and opportunities that face Third World countries today. Based on his extensive experience in Africa, Ditchfield brings a generous portion of lucid insights and aha moments to the table, leading the charge toward improved, positive outcomes – in our own lives, and in the lives of others. “Life’s Too Short for Leftovers” is a stimulating and memorable must-read for students of Life.
“Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.”
I have surrounded myself with Chef ’s nurturing wisdom every day since his ghostlike face appeared before my sheepish eyes on that memorable evening in 1992. I am forever grateful to Noel for keeping me close, transforming the course of my life. He welcomed me into his kitchen as a friend and “closet chef” to learn the finer touches of his culinary expertise … and to understand his deeper mission. I learned how to scramble eggs without using any utensil except the pan, and I endeavored to give of myself to help him offer the children of Africa a better tomorrow. He was my mentor and friend on a much deeper level than anyone else in my life. As a mentor, he schooled me for hours on end; and as a friend, he scolded and embraced me with equal vigor.
For many years, I was a student in Noel’s kitchen of wisdom, where the apron of his profession had become the very fabric of his life. The kitchen that we both shared was not limited to this country, but boiled over into the Third World, where every child has a right to live, to have enough to eat, and to be respected as a human being.
I will never graduate, because there is no graduation ceremony; I will never receive a diploma, because there is no diploma. But what I achieved in Noel’s kitchen is a degree of hope that I can make a meaningful difference in the lives of others—after changing my own life first. I took a sharp knife and burst the bubble that had become the gilded cage I’d lived in since my arrival from the shores of Jolly Olde England. Since then, I’ve made a point of surrounding myself with people wiser than me.
This book intends to illustrate how changing our lives enriches our lives. Think of the times when we sit for a long period of time and one leg starts to fall asleep; we adjust our bodies to feel more comfortable. In the big picture, life is no different. We usually only change when we are uncomfortable. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Some cooks only replace a menu item when it’s run its course. But the great chefs are always changing their menus. Whether because they are tuned in to seasonal influences or because they know they so much more to offer, they are not afraid to add or remove something. They believe in themselves enough to make those kinds of decisions.
Changing when we’re comfortable means taking responsibility early enough to avoid discomfort. We can change even when things are going well. We can’t change yesterday’s menu; we can only change today’s.
“Only a fool trips on what is behind him.”
Of course, there are some things that stand the test of time, like Chef Noel’s Penne Bagutta with Chicken, Mushrooms and Broccoli, or Life with Integrity, Accountability, Love, and Decency. Both are abidingly satisfying.
The nine lessons set forth herein pertain to the emotions and interactions that we all face in our daily lives. The lessons evolved as a result of me sitting down around the fire with people of the Third World, listening to their voices that collectively resound with wisdom and love. Like most of us, they want better lives for their families, and are prepared to do what it takes to get there. It’s just a little more difficult when they are dealing with the particular challenges that
life has put on their table.
These lessons slice across the cutting board of life—from the relationships we have to ourselves to the relationships we have with others.
By taking a hard look at your motives and the motives of others in Read the Recipe to observing the temperature at which you’re functioning as you Preheat the Oven, you will begin to understand. In learning patience, forgiveness, and tolerance as you Simmer, Don’t
Stir, and in overcoming procrastination as you Clean Your Plate, you will begin to understand. In simplifying your life as you Just Add Water, you will continue to understand. You will begin to exceed your seeming limitations as you Bring to a Boil, and offer life’s riches to others as you Pass the Butter. You will discover that you can make a difference in your world by getting to
know your own kitchen … and then inviting others in, who are part of the world we share.
These nine lessons are ones that matter. They will have a quiet way of sneaking into everyday life. We will never go hungry if we accept personal responsibility, and neither will the people around us. We may not see now that change is on the menu, but we will find ourselves ordering it. We’ll never know how far the ripples will travel or how many lives we might touch unless we drop the first potato into the water. Whether it’s the taste of our own enriched lives or that of others, it’s a dish that we’ll order time and time again. We should spice our own lives the way we intend them to taste—we have all the right ingredients, and we are about to learn how to use them. With these lessons, we can choose a life the way we would choose a meal: wisely
About Michael Ditchfield
Humanitarian Michael Ditchfield—bestselling author, sought-after speaker, entrepreneur, and former professional athlete, is committed to addressing the humanitarian plight of developing countries. Ditchfield speaks widely on how to inspire change and promote empowerment among cultures and individuals.
He has worked extensively with children in Africa using sports and culture in furthering the peace process. He remains dedicated to transforming lives by advocating for human dignity across the globe.