20 September, 2017

Knitted Tales - A collection of emotions by Rubina Ramesh - [Book Review]

Book Details: 

Book Title: Knitted Tales - A collection of emotions
Author: Rubina Ramesh
Genre: Anthology, fiction, short stories
Publisher: The Book club
Length of the book: 126 pages
Source: A free e-review copy from the book club for review


Blurb:
 What forces an innocent girl to become a sex symbol? Her desires? Or cruel fate? 

Is a lifetime enough—for avenging a betrayal? How do you hide secrets that never stopped haunting you? 

Can vengeance and secrets of your past devastate your present? How can long-buried crimes of yours suddenly raise their head? Can sinning be saving?

Is your spouse your soulmate? What if they never understood your feelings? Can you still live with them?

Lastly, does life give only two options? Live or die? What if there is a third?

In her debut anthology, Rubina Ramesh tries to find answers to these questions that are often from the heart and yet makes the mind ponder over the solution. Or is it the other way round? Either way, Knitted Tales is a bouquet of emotions that is bound to touch both your head and your heart.


My Review:

I love short stories. I like to read a variety of stories with different concepts one after the other without knowing what comes next. But, It's difficult to review an anthology as you cannot say the book is bad if one story doesn't meet your expectations and cannot say it's good only because you loved a few stories.

I didn't feel difficult to review this book as it really kept me glued till the end and exceeded my expectations. The title is very apt as all stories cover different emotions in a heart touching way. This is my first book of the author and I look forward to read more. 

Here is my take on some stories:


A secret in their closet - This story is amazing. The mystery element, the narration and good twist in the climax are great. 

Betrayal- This story is in the perspective of an abuser. It is sad that men who hurt their wives and feel that it's their duty to keep their wife supressed will never understand the victim's perspective. This story also brings out another important point that the victims being silent when abused is also one of the contributing factor to the abuse. Well written.

Chicklit - This story is about racism that immigrants are facing in US. Very nice story. I agree that sometimes even children can teach us great lessons. 

I loved these lines and you know, so true.

"We hate racism if we are the victims but dare our children marry outside our race! We put all other racists to shame"

Lolitha - This story is full of emotions and real. 

No regrets- This is a fun story of a gynocologist turned to a housewife in USA due to visa rules. Iam in the same boat too but couldn't relate to the story well. I felt like something is missing in the story which I cannot pinpoint.

The other woman - The story is very good and I feel pity about the young kid Aru. Relationships are complex and sometimes, kids involved in relationship issues suffer more than actual people. But, i felt, the ending of story is abrupt.

Daddy, hear me out - This is a heart wrentching story of a school girl who gets insulted, scolded every day for her poor marks. For a change, i liked the climax which is positive and unexpected.

The stories 'Suvarnarekha', 'the missing staircase' and 'cliff notes' didn't impress me. 

My Rating: 4.5/5

PS: I have received this book from the author in exchange for a review and this is my honest opinion on the book.

Purchase Link:

About the Author:
 Rubina Ramesh is an avid reader, writer, blogger, book reviewer and marketer. She is the founder of The Book Club, an online book publicity group. Her first literary work was published in her school magazine. It gave her immense pride to see her own name at the bottom of the article. She was about 8 years old at that time. She then went to complete her MBA and after her marriage to her childhood friend, her travel saga started. From The Netherlands to the British Isles she lived her life like an adventure. After a short stint in Malaysia, she finally settled down in the desert state of USA, Arizona. Living with her DH and two human kids and one doggie kid, Rubina has finally started living the life she had always dreamed about – that of a writer.


Until next time,

#WordlessWednesday - It's raining somewhere

It's raining somewhere far!
See, how beautiful the sky is covered with clouds before the rain.





Until next time,






Linking this to #WordlessWednesday hosted by Anni and Christina.

Real Wordless Wednesday

19 September, 2017

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown - [Book Review]

Book Details:
Title : The lost symbol
Author: Dan Brown 
Genre: thriller
Length of the book : 500 pages
Publisher: Doubleday books
Source: A copy picked from local library

Blurb:
WHAT IS LOST...
WILL BE FOUND
In this stunning follow-up to the global phenomenon The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown demonstrates once again why he is the world's most popular thriller writer. The Lost Symbol is a masterstroke of storytelling - a deadly race through a real-world labyrinth of codes, secrets, and unseen truths...all under the watchful eye of Brown's most terrifying villain to date. Set within the hidden chambers, tunnels, and temples of Washington, DC., The Lost Symbol accelerates through a startling landscape toward an unthinkable finale.

As the story opens, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned unexpectedly to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, however, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object - artfully encoded with five symbols - is discovered in the Capitol Building. Langdon recognizes the object as an ancient invitation...one meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of esoteric wisdom.

When Langdon's beloved mentor, Peter Solomon - a prominent Mason and philanthropist - is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes his only hope of saving Peter is to accept this mystical invitation and follow wherever it leads him. 

Langdon is instantly into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and never-before-seen locations - all of which seem to be dragging him toward a single, inconceivable truth.

My Review:
I loved the earlier novels of Dan Brown especially 'The Davinci code'and 'Angels and Demons'. What I like about the author is that he includes many facts from research in his books and also put some mystery element till the climax. 

Now, coming to this book -
This book is more about masons, their rituals, their pupose and the significance of architectural monuments in Washington DC. This is a fast paced thriller like his other books but defenitely not his best work. Eventhough 3/4th of the book is interesting, i felt, there is a lot of unnecessary information in the remaining pages and needs good editing. The last few pages are more like a lecture material embedded just to increase the length without any story attached to it.

The characterization is great and the suspense is maintained till some point. The pace is good and the plot is interesting. The book cover and title are apt.

My Rating: 4/5

Purchase link: Amazon

About the Author:
Dan Brown is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Da Vinci Code and, previously, Digital Fortress, Deception Point, and Angels and Demons. He is a graduate of Amherst College and Phillips Exeter Academy, where he spent time as an English teacher before turning his efforts fully to writing. He lives in New England with his wife.

Until next time,


14 September, 2017

#ThursdayTreeLove 23 - A Tree in red

Fall is around and so, I am looking forward to watch colourful leaves on trees. But, this pic is from 2012 when we visited Vermont state during fall season. How is it?
Linking this to #ThursdayTreeLove hosted by Parul.

Until next time,

13 September, 2017

Hot air balloon liftoff #WordlessWednesday

There is a tradition to lift off hot air balloons every year on labour day in Colorado springs.

This particular balloon just touching the water looked amazing.

More snaps below:




Until next time,
Linking this to #HappySunday link party hosted by Vasantha, Anubhuti and Menaka. This post is written for the prompt "special moments in your town". 


Simple Indian Mom
Also, linking this to #WordlessWednesday hosted by Esha and #WritingWednesdays  hosted by Corinne.
Real Wordless Wednesday

12 September, 2017

Gratitude List - Aug 2017

It is very late for me to publish my gratitude list for the month of August, but this has been a busy month and it is better late than never.



1. Paint Nite
This has to be the first in the list. I love drawing, pencil sketching and painting a lot. I couldn't learn pencil sketching more than a few months in my childhood, but I loved those days. Here came an opportunity to attend a painting class due to my friend and of course, I am happy to grab the opportunity. With my spouse's support in taking care of kids for a few hours, I managed to paint a canvas for the first time in my life. Here is the pic. It was not a bad start after all.

2. Festivals and Pujas
August has kept me very busy. Varalakshmi vratham and Vinayaka Chavithi are both very important festivals in our household. Adding to these, I also have done another pooja 'Sai baba Parayana' for one week. Festivals are a great time to thank God and offer our prayers together as a family.

3. Get together
We had a small get together with friends and also a potluck. We spent some fun time cooking different delicacies, chit-chatting and eating together. It is both relaxing and rejuvenating.


Thus, last month went in a jiffy and I am grateful to God for my happiness.

Until next time,
Linking this to #GratitudeCircle hosted by Vidya Sury and #MondayMusings hosted by Corinne.



08 September, 2017

First Crush, Last Love by Elizabeth McKenna - Book Promo



 




Romance - Contemporary
Date Published: 8/1/17

 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

Remember your first crush? How your heart raced and your cheeks flushed whenever you saw him? Jessie Baxter does, and it’s happening again. Ten years ago, despite her best efforts, Lee Archer wanted to be just friends. Now, he wants more, but Jessie's still recovering from a psycho ex-husband. Can she learn to trust again and make her first crush into her last love?

Elizabeth McKenna’s latest novel will have you remembering the angst of high school, the grief of a failed relationship, and the happiness of true love.


Excerpt

The smell of bacon roused Jessie from an early morning dream of being chased across a cold, moonless beach. The feet that carried her for miles on her runs were useless in the deep sand. Every time she stumbled, her panic grew until her body no longer responded to commands. Rubbing at her heavy eyelids, she blew out a deep breath, and the last remnants of the nightmare faded away.
She squinted at the clock on the nightstand and groaned. It seemed like she had been asleep for mere minutes. After saying goodnight to Lee, she had stared at the dim stars on the bedroom ceiling and waited for sleep to bring her a needed reprieve from her messed-up life. Instead, her mind had bounced between Billy and Lee, wondering what either of them was up to and why she had to be involved.
When her stomach rumbled in appreciation of the smoky sweet smell, she sat up with a jolt. Lee Archer was in her mother’s kitchen making breakfast, and it smelled damn good. She jumped out of bed and twirled in a circle, unable to decide what to fix first. Her frizzy curls stood out in every direction, and her breath reeked from last night’s garlic-laced meal.
She grabbed a pair of running shorts and checked the hall before dashing to the bathroom. A few minutes later, she emerged with her hair in a messy bun and her teeth scrubbed to the point of drawing blood.
In the kitchen, Lee stood at the stove pushing eggs around a pan and wearing last night’s rumpled clothes and a shadow of a beard. Jessie clamped down on her bottom lip. It was too much to take in.
“You’re awake. I left you some coffee.” He gave her a crooked smile before turning his attention to the frying bacon.
She eyed her morning drug on the far side of the kitchen and willed her legs to move in the direction of the coffee maker. After dumping three sugar packets into a cup, she poured the heavenly brew with a sigh. Looking up, she frowned at Lee’s amused expression. “What? I like sweet coffee.”
“Breakfast will be ready in a minute. Can you put down the toast?” He nodded with his chin at the toaster.
While she slept in, Lee had set the table, cooked eggs and bacon, poured juice, and cut three mums from her mother’s garden for a centerpiece. Yeah, making toast was the least she could do.
“What do you do for a girl the next morning when she actually sleeps with you?”
Lee’s eyes ran up and down her body, and then something akin to a growl came from his throat. Maybe she should have put on sweats instead of shorts.
“I like cooking. Remember Denny’s restaurant? I think if I hadn’t become a cop, I would have been a chef.”
They settled at the table and ate in silence for the first few bites.
“Is it OK?” He pointed at her plate with his fork.
She nodded in appreciation. “Better than OK. I usually grab a granola bar for breakfast. This is a real treat.”
“I was thinking we could swing by my place so I can get cleaned up before heading to the station. I’ll need you to make a statement before I can run the knife for prints.”
Her gaze went to the kitchen island where the hunting knife sat wrapped in the plastic bag. “Billy was arrested for a bar fight in college. Would his prints be in the system for that?”
“Should be.”
“If it’s his knife, then what?”
“We’ll bring him in for questioning.”
“Can you hold him? Like put him in jail?”
“That will be up to the DA and the judge.”
She nodded. “Even if he did this, he can still . . .”
Putting her fears into words would make them too real, but from the grim look on Lee’s face, she didn’t have to.
“You could file for a restraining order,” he said.
“Would that help?” She wasn’t sure she had the strength for more legal action against Billy. Like most divorces, theirs had been ugly, full of half-truths and name-calling. She had even secretly wished him dead at one point to put an end to it all.
“To be honest, probably not, but it would make arresting him a lot easier if he keeps stalking you.”
Stalking her. She hadn’t thought of it like that, but it was what Billy was doing. Her knuckles whitened as she gripped her fork. Three years. Before this weekend, it had been three years since she had talked to her ex-husband. Why couldn’t he move on? If their love had been so wonderful—if they had been soulmates—he never would have cheated on her. That was the one thing she had never understood when he fought the divorce. It was obvious they weren’t right for each other. Why couldn’t he see that?
She nibbled on a piece of bacon, while her mind searched for new answers to old questions. After a few more bites, she pushed her plate away.
“Changed your mind about my cooking?”
“It was wonderful. I guess I don’t have much of an appetite this morning.”
“How about I clean up while you shower?” Lee gathered their dishes and headed for the sink.
She shook her head in disbelief. “How are you not married?”
Over his shoulder, he gave her a smile that ignited small fires in several sensitive areas of her body. “I have no idea.”
“Well, the cockiness might be a turnoff,” she said, covering her desire for him with a dose of sass.
He looked down at his crotch. “There’s nothing wrong with my—.”
She held up a hand. “Stop!”
His low chuckle sent flames over her cheeks. He turned on the kitchen faucet and squirted dish soap into the sink. “Go take that shower.”
Jessie darted from the room. It would need to be a cold shower, she thought, as she pounded up the stairs.


About the Author





Elizabeth McKenna works as a full-time technical writer/editor for a large software company. Though her love of books reaches back to her childhood, she had never read romance novels until one Christmas when her sister gave her the latest bestseller by Nora Roberts. She was hooked from page one (actually, she admits it was the first love scene).


She had always wanted to write fiction, so she combined her love of history, romance and a happy ending to write Cera's Place and Venice in the Moonlight. Her short story, The Gypsy Casts a Spell, is available for free on her website http://elizabethmckenna.com/. She hopes you will enjoy her first contemporary romance novel, First Crush Last Love, as much as others have enjoyed her historical romances.


Elizabeth lives in Wisconsin with her understanding husband, two beautiful daughters, and a sassy Labrador. When she isn't writing, working, or being a mom, she's sleeping.




Contact Links

Twitter @ElizaMcKenna

Purchase Links



Reading Addiction Blog Tours

Until next time,

#ThursdayTreeLove - Sep 7th, 2017

I love sunsets and so, I take a lot of snaps with sunset and trees.
Here is a tree I spotted on a beautiful evening with bright sunlight behind.

Linking this to #ThursdayTreeLove hosted by Parul.

Until next time,

06 September, 2017

#WordlessWednesday - Sep 6th, 2017

Spotted these love birds at hot air balloon lift off on Labour day in Colorado springs.
Linking this to #WordlessWednesday hosted by Anni.

Until next time,
Real Wordless Wednesday

The Mahabharata Murders by Arnab Ray - [Book Review]

Book Details:

Title: The Mahabharata Murders
Author: Arnab Ray
Genre: Thriller, fiction
Publisher: Juggernaut
Length of the book: 300 pages
Source: A free review copy from Juggernaut

Blurb:

One by one, the Pandavas fall.

Duryodhana claims to be reborn. In modern-day Calcutta.

A beautiful model. He cuts her open. His DRAUPADI

He hammers surgical needles into his SAHADEVA. The head of NAKULA he severs.

Will Detectives Ruksana Ahmed and Siddhanth Singh be able to keep him from his ARJUN, BHEEMA and YUDHISTHIRA?

Or will Duryodhana finally win?


My Review:

First of all, this book is not about mythology, but it's a thriller fiction based on some Mahabharata characters. This is the story of a Psyco killer on loose in Kolkatta and the investigation of murders by the homicide branch officers Ruksana and Siddhanth. When the killer murders people one after the other assuming himself as the reincarnation of Duryodhana in Mahabharata and the victims as Pandavas, the detectives have to think fast and smart to stop more killings.

More than the murders, it's the character of Ruksana that moved me. She is real. She is not strong, believes in doing right, gets manipulated by everyone around but sails on the safe boat atlast. The plot is interesting with analogies from Mahabharata stories. The climax is not very predictable and allowed readers to think a lot about the murdere and the motive.

What i didnt like in the book is the way climax is carried out. The plot is good but might have written in a better way. When the author tries to explain about the murderer and his motives through a third person, it seems like a slight disconnect for the reader. The reader's mind gets confused on why he has to trust second hand information instead of directly understanding the motive from the murderer through some clues. But, i liked the way it ended. 

Overall, I would recommend this to someone who love crime thrillers.


My Rating: 4/5

PS: I have received this book from Juggernaut for review and this is my honest opinion on the book.

Juggernaut is an app to find and read high quality affordable books. Do try this app if you are a book lover.

About the Author:

Arnab Ray, better known as Greatbong, is one of India's most widely read bloggers who blogs at Random Thoughts Of A Demented Mind. He is known for his sarcastic takes on the Indian film industry, Indian politics and society in general. His blog was awarded the "Indiblog of the Year" at Indibloggies in 2006[1] and 2008. He has written for several media outlets like the Washington Post, Outlook magazine and Live Mint. He graduated from Jadavpur University as a Bachelor in Computer Science and Engineering and went on to finish his PhD in Computer Science from State University of New York at Stony Brook. He is presently employed as a research scientist at the University of Maryland and resides in the suburbs of Washington DC. His first book "May I Hebb Your Attention Pliss", published by Harper Collins, was on India Today's Bestsellers list.

Until next time,

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