24 September, 2020

The Canyons and Colors #WordlessWednesday #ThursdayTreeLove

 This pic is taken at Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park near Montrose, Colorado.



Until next time,






Linking this to #WordlessWednesday hosted by Natasha and #ThursdayTreelove hosted by Parul. 




Hawthorn Woods by Patrick Canning - [Book Review]

Book Details:

Title : Hawthorn Woods

Author: Patrick Canning

 ISBN: 979-8-663-48797-9 (pb) 978-0-578-72823-0 (ebook) 

Publication Date: Aug. 4, 2020 

Formats: Paperback, ebook 

Available On: Amazon,

major online retailers Price: $15.95 paperback $9.99 ebook

 Page Count: 300 

Genres: Domestic Suspense, Thriller, Mystery 

Source: A free review copy from the author




Logline:

Seeking to rediscover herself after a divorce, a detective-minded woman embarks on solving the small mysteries of a Midwest neighborhood, only to learn the secrets hidden there are more horrifying than she could have ever imagined.


Synopsis: 

Summer, 1989.

 Reeling from a catastrophic divorce she just can’t seem to leave behind, Francine Haddix flees San Francisco for a two week stay at her sister’s house in Hawthorn Woods, Illinois. 

The quaint neighborhood of shady trees and friendly neighbors seems like the perfect place to sort through her pain and finally move on with her life—but the tranquility doesn’t last long. Beginning with a complete stranger throwing a drink in her face at her own welcome party, Francine soon discovers the supposedly idyllic suburb is hiding a disturbing number of mysteries. 

Why is the handsome-ish guy next door lying about who he is? What’s hidden in the back of the teenage troublemaker’s shed? Who wrote a threatening message in blood? Which of the smiling neighbors has a secret they’d kill to keep?

Seeking to reclaim a natural passion for sleuthing numbed by her divorce, Francine rewrites her prescription from one of relaxation to one of investigation. If she can detect the lies, follow the clues, and remember how to trust herself, she might get to the bottom of what’s so very wrong in Hawthorn Woods. She might even be able to believe the future can be good again—assuming she lives long enough to be in it. 

My Review:


When I started reading the first few chapters, I got a feeling of reading a chick-lit. But, the story slowly transforms into a mystery as well. 

Hawthorn woods is just like any other neighborhood with different types of people and gossips around. Laura Jean is my favorite actor and I can relate to those kinds of people in real life. They are great friends and fun to share our lives with.

Francine is depressed by her divorce and still cannot come out of those memories yet. She seeks comfort in using her detective skills for an investigation along with Bruno and finally falls in love with him.

Until the truth is found, Ronald is my second most favorite character. Calm and sensitive individual looking for a relaxing retirement life. 

The characterization is great. I loved the portrayal of Charlie, Bruno, Eric, and Lori. The narrative is interesting. It's basically a cool read, unlike a suspense thriller. There are one or more great twists in the story and unexpected turns, but till the last few pages, it's smooth and predictable.

The pace is just right to me. The title and the book cover are appropriate. I loved the tag line of the book and the lines from the questionnaire before each chapter. Those lines before each chapter are relevant to the story. 

I don't have anything that I disliked about the book. If you are looking for a chick-lit mixed with a little mystery, you will love this book.

My Rating : 5/5


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

 Author:

 PATRICK CANNING is the author of three novels, including Cryptofauna (2018), The Colonel and the Bee (2018), and his latest, Hawthorn Woods (2020). He has also published several short stories. When he isn’t writing, he enjoys playing beach volleyball, following space exploration, and losing at bar trivia. Patrick lives in Los Angeles with his dog Hank, who some consider to be the greatest dog of all time. 

patrick@patrickcanningbooks.com

Katie.schnack@smithpublicity.com www.patrickcanningbooks.com 

@catpanning 

Until next time,



14 September, 2020

Nomit and Pickle Go Shopping by C. E. Cameron - [Book Review]



Summary: 

Friends Nomit and Pickle head off on an adventure to the shops!




Information about the Book

Title: Nomit and Pickle Go Shopping

Author: C. E. Cameron

Genre: Children’s Picture Book

Publication Date: 1st September 2020

Page Count: 19

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing

Goodreads Link: 

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nomit-Pickle-Go-Shopping-Cameron-ebook/dp/B08GKZBKT9 


My Review:

Nomit and Pickle is such a cute story of a brother and sister. As we can guess, both love each other but fight with one another. 

While Nomit calls her sister multiple times to get ready, Pickle enjoys her bike ready, gets ready slowly, and even goes back to fetch her purse while her brother is waiting. 

They go shopping and there is nothing left other than Pizza which Nomit hates. Mmm... Poor Nomit. Did he compromise? What her little sister do to please his brother? You have to read to know the answers.

What I liked?

I loved the illustrations. Pickle is so cute with her hair tied up. The font in the book is very nice. It's pleasant.

I loved that it has a beautiful message at the end of the book. 
The concept and narrative are good for children. I would recommend this to 2 to 5 yr olds. They will definitely enjoy listening to the story. 

My Rating:

Of course, 5/5 :-)


Author Information

CE Cameron is very much a family person. Nomit and Pickle have been created through observing and being part of the trials and tribulations of family life, growing up & the brother / sister relationship. The stories take you through various experiences as well as day to day challenges - even when it comes to the simple, daily tasks! She loves family, food and animals and lots of exploring. The characters have lots of adventures coming up, including little challenges, which could go wrong & generally do! There is a ‘thought for the day’ at the end of every adventure. CE Cameron is a private person who loves nature and believes the most important thing in life is family. She hopes the Nomit and Pickle Adventures will be great to read as a bed time story and for children seeing a positive at the end of any challenge!


Tour Schedule





Monday 7th September

Donna’s Book Blog


Tuesday 8th September

Bookish Blue


Wednesday 9th September

Pen to Paper


Thursday 10th September

Nayu’s Reading Corner


Friday 11th September

Dash Fan Book Reviews




Monday 14th September

Bound 4 Escape


Tuesday 15th September

Fantastic Feathers


Wednesday 16th September

Book Babble


Thursday 17th September

Jazzy Book Reviews


Friday 18th September

Wall to Wall Books



Until next time,


12 September, 2020

Gratitude List - Aug 2020 #GratitudeCircle

 It's difficult to write this gratitude list when Corona Virus is showing it's harsh impact everywhere and wildfires making many homeless in US Western states. What can we be grateful for when people are suffering around us and losing jobs?

But, this list might be a reminder that we should be thankful for our basic needs fulfilled in these uncertain times. If we have a place to stay, enough food to feed our family, clothes to cover ourselves, and no health problems, who is luckier than us? Shouldn't we be grateful for these simple yet important things in our lives?





I am grateful for relaxing weekends, simple, yet comforting meals I cook, the good health of my family, friends, and some Me-time.





So, Here is my Gratitude List for last month - Aug 2020 :

Virtual Recital

My time is majorly spent on editing our students' dance videos and publishing them on youtube in August. We couldn't do a stage Recital this year on behalf of our dance school - Kala Deepika Dance Academy due to Covid-19.

I am grateful for this activity as I passed time with video editing every evening and enjoyed publishing them on Youtube. Parents and Students felt good too to be able to showcase their dance even during COVID-19 time.  

All our Virtual Annual Recital videos are in the below Youtube channel.

Kuchipudi Dance Practice Videos


Book Reading:

I couldn't read more books last month but could read at least one book from the library. Chitra Banerjee is my favorite author and I completely enjoyed the short story collection about arranged marriage.

Read my Review for more details. 

Click the book image to buy on Amazon.



Festival Celebrations:


We celebrated 2 festivals in August. Varalakshmi Vratham and Vinayaka Chavithi.

Both are important festivals celebrated annually by us. Both have a procedure to follow with the offerings to make and the puja process to do.

Varalakshmi Vratham
Varalakshmi Vratham



I am still not getting better in preparing offerings to God, but a lot better than earlier. I celebrated Varalakshmi Vratham on a weekday, so it was not a pleasant experience running between puja and work.

We celebrated Vinayaka Chavithi to our heart's content as it was on weekend. Kids participated in preparing the clay Ganesha and we enjoyed our family time. 

Vinayaka Chavithi
Vinayaka Chavithi



Local hiking and outdoor time:


August is the last month before the Fall to enjoy the Summer outdoors in Colorado. We did some local hiking, relaxed at the river-side, and watched beautiful skies. 

It rained more than it usually does in Colorado this month. So, we could see some beautiful rainbows and colorful sunsets.

SunSet
Is the Sun Smiling?



Self-care :


My Health continued to be better in August as well. I reduced my blogging time, could spend some time watching Netflix, editing videos, and reading books.

I am really grateful for my Saturdays. Took afternoon naps on some days, cooked one-pot dishes, and relaxed overall.  

What are you grateful for this month or the last month? 

Do let me know in the comments. 

Until next time,





Linking this post to #GratitudeCircle hosted by Vidya Sury.




04 September, 2020

Arranged Marriage by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni - [Book Review]

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Book Details:

Title: Arranged Marriage

Author: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Publisher: Anchor; First Paperback Edition (May 1, 1996)

Print Length: 307 pages

Source: An e-copy from library



Blurb:

Although Chitra Divakaruni's poetry has won praise and awards for many years, it is her "luminous, exquisitely crafted prose" (Ms.) that is quickly making her one of the brightest rising stars in the changing face of American literature. Arranged Marriage, her first collection of stories, spent five weeks on the San Francisco Chronicle bestseller list and garnered critical acclaim that would have been extraordinary for even a more established author. For the young girls and women brought to life in these stories, the possibility of change, of starting anew, is both as terrifying and filled with promise as the ocean that separates them from their homes in India. From the story of a young bride whose fairy-tale vision of California is shattered when her husband is murdered and she must face the future on her own, to a proud middle-aged divorced woman determined to succeed in San Francisco, Divakaruni's award-winning poetry fuses here with prose for the first time to create eleven devastating portraits of women on the verge of an unforgettable transformation.

Purchase Link: 

My Review:

 I have read Chitra Banerjee's novels earlier and I am a fan of her stories. So, I searched for her books and found this kindle copy from our local library. 

Like Chitra's other novels, these stories also cover Indian immigrants in the USA. Being an Indian staying in the USA,  it is easy for me to relate to these stories. All are related to the woman's problems and immigrant lives.

I love that most of the stories are real or nearer to real life. I like the narrative but in some stories, I felt the transition between scenes is not smooth but abrupt and confusing. I like the details in the stories like environment, weather, culture, and the way the author portrays the feelings of characters. 

Most of the stories are heart touching and will stay in your mind even after finishing the book and make you think of characters. A few I didn't like, maybe I expected more depth in those characters.

This line tells a lot about Arranged marriages in India.

Wasn’t it every woman’s destiny, as Mother was always telling me, to leave the known for the unknown?

Clothes is one of my favorite stories. It shows the dreams of a young bride moving to a new country with her husband. The climax is heartbreaking,  but that's how life is.


A perfect life is a tribute to a mother's love. It's very touching and sure will stay in my heart for a long time. 
 
The maid servant's story is heart-wrenching and I cannot explain in words the impact the story had on me for days. It is so sad that a few women had to bear problems throughout their life. 

The Disappearance is not my favorite story but a good one. It's surprising that a few men consider abuse as common in households and don't treat it as a problem. 

Doors - I loved this! A simple story but a gripping narrative. The climax makes you feel the impact of simple habits on one's married life.

Meeting Mrinal is about 2 women meeting after a long time while realizing that no one's life is perfect and perfection is only a mirage. Great message.

My Rating : 4/5

I recommend this book to immigrants, especially women, and also to someone who loves to read real stories.

Until next time,


03 September, 2020

Mummy Wears Blue Shoes By Scott Furlong - Book Spotlight

 Summary:

Emily is five-years-old. She wears pink ballerina shoes and wants to be a ballerina when she grows up.


Emily’s mummy and daddy are both special police officers called detectives. Lately, Emily has noticed that her mummy hasn’t been spending time with her. She has stopped taking her to dancing lessons and her older brother, Jackson, to his rugby lessons. One night, Emily sees her mummy crying on the sofa being comforted by her daddy. At a family meeting Emily learns that her mummy is poorly with something that the doctor calls Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. 


Mummy Wears Blue Shoes is a heart-warming story about a family who are living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is a story written about a family, for families by a family, by author Scott Furlong with illustrated by his cousin Emma Cahill.





Information about the Book

Title: Mummy Wears Blue Shoes

Author: Scott Furlong

Illustrator: Emma Cahill

Genre: Picture Book

Publication Date: 15th September 2020

Page Count: 54

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55103855-mummy-wears-blue-shoes 

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mummy-Wears-Shoes-Scott-Furlong/dp/1913340708/ 







Author Information

Scott Furlong resides in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia on a 10-acre equine property. He medically retired from the Queensland Police Service after 20 years’ service with PTSD and Depression in December 2019. He was a detective for 18 years and worked in Homicide, Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Task Force, Organised Crime and Officer in Charge of a Criminal Investigation Branch. He is currently studying a Bachelor of Law and a Masters of Professional Studies (Research). His love of learning didn’t develop until he was in his early 40s. Scott’s wife was also a detective and worked in child protection. In 2011, she also medically retired from QPS with PTSD. They have one son who is 14 years old. Scott has a great love for reading and writing. He also loves cooking and sports.

MUMMY WEARS BLUE SHOES is Scott’s debut novel.


Tunnels in a row #WordlessWednesday

 

Midland Tunnels, Buena Vista, Colorado





Until next time, 

Linking this post to #wordlesswednesday hosted by Natasha and Esha.


31 August, 2020

Revisiting the Word of the Year #MondayMusings

My Word of the year for 2020 is Self-care. We are already in the 9th month of the year and I want to revisit that post to see where I am with my Goals.



Personal goals set in Jan:


  • Yoga at least thrice a week - I couldn't follow this more than 2 months I believe, so I am going to give it a second try in the coming months.

  • Having nutritious breakfast at the right time every day - I could follow it most of the months. So, on track with this. 

  • Sleeping before 10 am - Could achieve most of the days - On track

  • Making time for hobbies- especially blogging and painting - I decided to step back on a few things due to health reasons and blogging is one of them. No regrets! :-) Could paint a bit though to my satisfaction.

  • Keeping Saturday for myself to relax - The best goal this year! I enjoyed my time mostly every Saturday either by sleeping more or eating out or traveling. Sundays are dedicated to my dance classes in the mornings.
The first few months were busy with office work and health problems which made me realize that I need to spend more time on Self-care then ever.

Nowadays, I am spending more time on just relaxing, taking naps in the afternoons on weekends, watching Netflix on the evenings on weekdays, taking local hikes on weekends, sleeping early every day, preparing simple meals, including more vegetables in my diet etc.,

Reducing my office work is not in my hands but I can better organize my days now. I have cancelled all my morning office calls before 7 Am however important they are. I am hoping I can continue this in future. I am trying to strictly close office work by 4 Pm, though not possible every day. 

I have reduced my time on blogging, book reading, and painting as it seems like I need more rest or reduce my office stress to some extent. 

Do you set goals for the year? or a Word of the Year? If so, do you track them?

Do let me know in the comments.


Until the next time,








Linking this to #MondayMusings hosted by Corinne @everydaygyaan.com





27 August, 2020

A Life time to Move On by Anupriya Chowdhary - Release Day Blitz

 


~ Release Day ~


About the Book:

When Kumar finds out that his only daughter is in love, he has a tough time coming to terms with the fact that his Doll has grown up already. But his displeasure takes a different turn when he realizes who his daughter’s love interest is.

Sarika couldn’t have been happier at the news of her elder son having found the love of his life. She can't wait to see him happily married. But the revelation about the girl’s parents numbs her as much as it shocks her.

What is it in their past that Kumar and Sarika need to make peace with, so that their children can find their ‘Happily Ever After’.  Will they be able to do so?



Book Links:
Goodreads


Meet Sarika


Sarika believes that she has left her traumatic past and move on in the true sense. And why not?

She is successful, recognized and rewarded. Not only as a social entrepreneur but a loving wife and a doting mother to two sons.

She had really not foreseen that on his annual vacation to India, her elder son would drop a bomb albeit a pleasant one on them. And now she couldn’t wait to prepare for the Shagun for the girl who her son has chosen as the one for himself.

Only if she knew better. However ironical it sounded, but for her son to be happy, she had to clear a test herself. Was she prepared to face the past she had thought she had left far behind in her life?
His silence has angered her then. She had endured a lonely bitterness and worked her way through life. But had she moved on in the true sense? Probably not.  Was she ready to face her demons in person at this age?

The stakes are high. Her only hope is that her nemesis too understood the same. Could they finally patch up after 30 years?



About the Author:
Anupriya belongs to that generation of Idiots (the proud ones though), who did their engineering first and then decided on what they actually wanted to do. She completed her MBA in Human Resources and worked in the corporate world for 8 years, before taking a professional break. A mom by day and a reader/writer by night, Anupriya is a die-hard romantic. Yet she believes that love (in any relationship) is a part of life, not, the heart of life. And she aims to bring to the world, stories around this theme. She can be found in the dot com world at her blog www.mommytincture.com, which contains her ranting about her experiences in her various roles as a mother, daughter, wife and foremost a human being, all churned together. It is also her outlet to the world where she doles out loads of gyaan on self-improvement and relationship management.

Anupriya on the Web:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Pinterest

Until next time,



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