13 June, 2019

11 June, 2019

Lacewood by Jessica James - Book Spot Light and GiveAway





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Women’s
Fiction/Contemporary Romance
Date
Published
: 6/18/2019

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Sometimes
love is just too powerful for one lifetime…

MOVING
TO A SMALL TOWN in Virginia is a big change for New York socialite Katie
McCain. But when she stumbles across an abandoned 200-year-old mansion, she’s
enthralled by the enduring beauty of the neglected estate—and captivated by the
haunting portrait of a woman in mourning.

Purchasing
the property on a whim, Katie attempts to fit in with the colorful characters
in the town of New Hope, while trying to unravel the mystery of the “widow of
Lacewood.” As she pieces together the previous owner’s heartrending story,
Katie uncovers secrets the house has held for centuries, and discovers the key
to coming to terms with her own sense of loss.

The
past and present converge when hometown hero Will Durham returns and begins his
own healing process by helping the “city girl” restore the place that holds so
many memories. As the mystic web of destiny is woven, a love story that might
have been lost forever is exposed, and a destiny that has been waiting in the
shadows for centuries is fulfilled.



Part
love story, part ghost story, Lacewood is a timeless novel about trusting in
fate, letting go of the past, and believing in things that can’t be seen.

A
powerful and poignant tale that vividly conveys the heartache of war, the
tragedy of loss, and the fulfillment of destiny…even when souls are separated
by centuries. Lacewood takes readers on a journey that connects the past with
the present—and the present with eternity.








Excerpt

Turning
in a circle, Katie studied the room again. Faded wallpaper curled and peeled
above the dusty wainscoting, but the walls themselves appeared sturdy. On the
far side of the entryway, and dominating the wall, stood a mammoth fireplace
with an ornately carved hearth. And above the mantle hung a captivating
painting of a woman in nineteenth-century dress.

“Who
is she?”

The
sheriff turned to the dusty, sun-bleached portrait in the heavy carved guilt
frame. “One of the previous owners, they say.” He shrugged. “The family history
kind of got lost with the house. Everyone around here calls her the Widow of
Lacewood.”

Katie
stood spellbound. The woman was dressed completely in black, but the
magnificence of the gown gave the impression of sophistication and class. Her
chin was slightly elevated as if to project strength, yet there was more than a
hint of sorrow and pain in her eyes.

“She
looks so sad.” Katie spoke without removing her gaze. “And so young. How could
she be a widow?”

The
sheriff had already started to walk away, but he turned back and glanced at the
painting. “Not sure, but they say she never remarried. She’s the one out in the
cemetery, too, I reckon.”

Katie’s
heart suddenly struggled to beat. The anguish in the woman’s eyes kept her
riveted. She could see the pain. Feel a heart ripped apart. Something was
missing that could never be replaced. Katie had felt such loss before. In a
way, that’s why she was here.

“You
coming?”

Katie
heard the sheriff calling from the next room, and turned to follow. With one
quick glance back, she noticed particles of dust now swirled and danced in a
shaft of light, almost like a living thing. Her breath caught in her throat as
the dust seemed to materialize into the form of a woman, her eyes dull with the
same tortured despair and disbelief as the one in the portrait.

Katie
jerked her head around for a closer look and blinked. The woman was gone.


About
the author:

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Jessica
James believes in honor, duty, and true love—and that’s what she writes about
in her award-winning novels that span the ages from the Revolutionary War to
modern day.

She
is a three-time winner of the John Esten Cooke Award for Southern Fiction, and
has won more than a dozen other literary awards, including a Readers' Favorite
International Book Award and a Gold Medal from the Military Writers Society of
America. Her novels have been used in schools and are available in hundreds of
libraries including Harvard and the U.S. Naval Academy.



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Until next time,

10 June, 2019

5 ways to Find out your hidden talent

As per the Dictionary, A 'Talent' is natural aptitude/ skill. Everyone has some talent but they find it difficult to identify them. Some of my friends used to tell that they are not good at anything/ any skill. I tell them, "It's wrong. You just don't know yet what you are good at".

Our genes, the environment that we grow, the people we are surrounded with, the opportunities that we pick up, the risks we take etc., are several factors that might decide our talent. We get a few skills through genes, we gain a few skills as we have a passion for them, and we gain a few skills as we work hard with determination.



Creative abilities are hard for us to identify until we try them by ourselves. Athletic abilities cannot be found until we are introduced to them at least once in our lifetime. There are some other skills like observation, adaptation, flexibility, courage which come out based on situations we face.

I suggest below 5 ways to identify hidden talents:

1. Determine what you enjoy:

I think this is the easiest way to find out our hidden talent. If we love something more than the other, that might be something we are good at. This need not be true for all. But, we choose our hobbies depending on what we enjoy in our life, it can be photography/ art/ dance/ sport. If we don't love that activity we cannot spend that extra hour from our hectic daily life, right?

I enjoy writing, reading books, painting, and dancing. I am ready to sacrifice a few hours of sleep/ TV time to work on them as it gives me satisfaction and happiness.

 So, start by listing the activities that you enjoy. There are chances that you might be good at these activities. Even if you are not good at it, your mind is ready to work hard to become better at it.

2. Explore Multiple activities:

Most of the people I know are not exposed to/ introduced to the activity they are good at. So, there is no chance for them to know about it. That is the reason, I suggest that we should explore all the hobbies/ activities even when we think that it is not for us. We cannot say, what might interest us, with which activity we might feel passionate about.

I know, many parents these days are introducing many activities to their kids, which is great. But, an overdose will make them hate the activities that they might be good at. If you want to try a new skill like crochet/ painting, learn it, try it, explore it, give it some time, before deciding/quitting it.


3. Leave the fear of rejection :

This is the most important thing. Let's say, you realized that you are good at writing. You start a blog, write a few good posts, get appreciations from friends and family, you proceed, improve your skills, start a business of content writing. If some publishers reject your work/ you don't get any monetary benefit, it becomes disappointing. But, please continue for the love of your hobby, for your happiness and for your satisfaction.

Rejections doesn't mean you are bad at that skill, it just means that you didn't meet the requirements of the person who rejected it.

You might choose some other profession for a living but never leave the hobby that you are good at. If we can get away from the fear of rejection, it is easy to find the skills and improve them.

4. Come out of comfort zone:

Sometimes, we cannot identify our skills if we don't come out of our comfort zone. I was thinking from my childhood that I am an introvert and not outgoing as I didn't feel comfortable talking to people in crowds. But, that's not true. As I grew up, I enjoyed being with people, felt happy to get attention.

When I had to give a speech for the first time on stage, I was afraid, but I could easily grasp the techniques on how to talk in public, use modulation, pauses, not to show the nervousness etc.,with practice.

Yes, these skills might not have come naturally for the first time. But, these were gained with learning and practice.

5. Identify the skills that you are passionate about:

Most probably,  our passion and emotional  connection drives our ability.

Identify any skill that you are passionate about and something that motivates you to become better at it.

 A skill that ignites your passion.

A skill on which you can spend hours and hours at a stretch losing the track of time.

Use your strengths to the benefit.

I hope, these points help you to find your hidden talents and work on them for your happiness and satisfaction.

Until next time,





This post is written as part of a blog train #letsblogwithpri hosted by Prisha. Thanks to Debidutta for introducing me to this blog train. I would love to introduce Sharvari to the blog train. Sharvari is a mom , a HR professional and a beauty and health blogger. Read her posts.


Hosted By :Prisha LalwaniMummasaurus.comIG: @mummasaurus1FB: /mummasaurus1

Shiva Stone: Hampi's Hidden Treasure by AJinkya Bhoite - [Book Review]






check out the schedule here



Shiva Stone: Hampi's Hidden Treasure


by


AJINKYA BHOITE









BLURB

Mithila is a senior archeologist on the Hampi site along with two other UNESCO scientists. They decide to open some secret vaults in the underground Shiva temple. Treasures and artifacts from the 18th century make the headlines but the Shiva Stone was kept a closely guarded secret.

When a RAW officer hires Mithila on a secret mission to safely transport an ISRO professor and the Shiva Stone to Bangalore, she knows something is up.

Why is the stone called the Shiva Stone? Why are archeologists, UNESCO, ISRO, and RAW interested in a discovery at Hampi? Why is Mithila working for RAW? Is she the only agent on the mission?

Shiva Stone will take you on a thrilling adventure through the historical site of Hampi. Buy it now!

Grab your copy @

Amazon.com | Amazon.in



My Review:

The Story is about a team trying to find out more details about the Shiva stone found in Hampi archeological site which is made of specific metal which is of global interest. Mithila, a senior archeologist is teamed with 2 ISRO professors for this mission but they find out that the stone is not what they expected it to be and there is a malicious strategy behind this mission.

The blurb definitely seemed interesting and so, I had more expectations on this book. The initial part knowing about Hampi, the Shiva stone, the architecture of Hampi temple, etc., is very good. But, gradually when the story veered away from Hampi episode, I lost my interest.

I usually don't like reading books which are part of a series. This book ends very abruptly. I can understand that the author is planning the next part but the ending might have been better to have a smooth transition to the next part and also give a feeling of satisfaction.

The characterization is good, especially the professor and Mithila. The book cover is great and apt.

The narration is good but in some places, the story seems to miss the flow. It is confusing as the story is said in the perspective of different characters changing in every chapter. If the story is narrated from a single person's perspective, it might have been better. The pace of the book is good, not very fast/ slow. There are still some links missing/ logic to be explained, but I think, these will be covered in the next series.

I loved the book cover but I think, the title is slightly misleading.

My Rating : 3/5

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

About the author




I am an Electronics and Telecommunication Engineer with an inclination towards reading and writing. Besides, being Engineer, I enjoy running.

My first novel is Shiva Stone which is self-published on Kindle.

I was born in a small town called Wai, near Panchgani, Maharashtra. Moved to Satara for High School.

Under-graduation from Pune University and Masters from California State University, Long Beach.

Currently, working as a Cloud Support Engineer for Amazon Web Services.

You can stalk him @




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08 June, 2019

Innovative and unique castle - Bishop Castle, Rye,Colorado

Bishop Castle is 2.5 hrs drive from Colorado Springs and it is good for a day trip in Summer.

This America's biggest one man- physical project is built by John Bishop in Custer county in the middle of beautiful mountains at Rye, Colorado. This castle is open to public and free to visit.


Innovation, uniqueness and determination are the words that come to my mind when I talk about this castle. This is the result of a single man's hardwork and his effort for his whole life.


The stainless steel dragon, spiral stairs, protruding bridges , glass windows caught my attention. John Bishop calls his work as "A monument to hard working people".




I suggest you to visit this place in summer so that you can reach every nook and corner of the castle which are otherwise slippery with snow.




Kids really loved the castle. It is challenging and interesting for them to take spiral staircases to reach to the top of the castle and walk on the protruding bridge at such a height.


 It seems scary at a few parts and kids below 5 yrs might find it difficult and need more help from adults. The railings are very cold in spring and water melting from snow is falling on us while climbing. So, I suggest that you visit this place only in summer if going with kids.

I am planning to write a post on my suggestions for day trips from Colorado Springs. Bishop castle is one such place where you can spend 2 hrs.

While returning from the castle,  we saw a beautiful lake on the roadside -Lake Isabel. You can take a quick stop for a photo.  The drive was very scenic and there are several campgrounds near by.

If you have time, you can cover Peublo river walk, Lake peublo state park while returning back to Colorado Springs/ Denver.



Let me know if you like this castle.

Until next time,







03 June, 2019

The Coven Murders by Brian O'Hare - [Book Review]

Book Details:

Book Title : The Coven Murders (The Inspector Sheehan Mysteries Book 3)
Author: Brian O'Hare
Genre: mystery, crime, horror, thriller
Length of the book : 385 pages
Publisher: Crimson Cloak Publishing; 1 edition (February 11, 2018)


Blurb:

The Coven Murders opens with a horrifying account of a ritual Black Mass with human sacrifice in an abandoned church.

 Twenty-one years later, near an old ruined church in an area of outstanding natural beauty, Chief Inspector Sheehan and his team discover the skeleton of a young woman. But what seems initially to be a straightforward case, brings the team into conflict with a powerful Satanist who has plans to offer up to Satan another human sacrifice on the evening of the great Illuminati feast of Lughnasa. 

Several murders occur, baffling the Inspector until he makes a connection between the modern murders and the twenty-one-year-old skeleton. The team’s pursuit of the murderer, and their determination to protect a young woman who is targeted by the coven, lead to a horrific climax in a hellish underground crypt where Sheehan and his team, supported by an exorcist and a bishop, attempt to do battle with the coven and a powerful demon of Baphomet, jeopardizing not only their lives but risking the wrath of Satan upon their immortal souls.

My Review:

The story starts with police discovering a skeleton near the old church ruins. When the main detective Sheehan and his team start investigating this, they find out that the dead body is of a pregnant lady who was stabbed to death 21 years ago. 

In the next few days, six murders happen in the same way without any clue or motive putting more pressure on their investigation. The remaining story is about the team's deductions and the details about a coven, human sacrificing ritual which is linked to all these murders and finding the culprit. 

I am not really a big fan of crime series/ murder investigations. But, this story is very interesting with a twist of satanic cult, rituals and other unbelievable facts. Initially, I felt that the story is not progressing fast enough, but it picks up pretty quick at the end.

The narration is gripping and the suspense is maintained till the last page. I enjoyed the part where the Bishop explains about different covens, the symbols, and rituals. The team of inspectors doesn't look smart but they are easy going and good at their job. Even though the team couldn't find out who might be the culprit till the end and though they are clueless without any evidence, they form a great strategy to attack the enemy at the right time. 

I loved Sheehan, Stewart, Allen, Serena and Mc Bride. All characters are near to real life and the conversations are casual. I enjoyed the mystery in the story. The book cover is a plus.

I didn't like the initial few pages as I felt bored that there is not much progress in the story. 

My Rating: 4.5/5

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

About the Author:
Because of a childhood disease that required a liver transplant late in life, Brian O'Hare, MA, Ph.D., took early retirement in 1998 from his post as Assistant Director of a large regional college. He now enjoys full health, plays golf, and travels. He is the author of several academic works, two memoirs, and three award winning fiction novels. The Coven Murders is the third of Crimson Cloak's award-winning Inspector Sheehan Mysteries Series. Look for the first two, The Doom Murders and The 11.05 Murders [Crimson Cloak Publishing.com]

Until next time,







This post is written as part of a blog train #letsblogwithpri hosted by Prisha. Thanks to Kapila for introducing me to this blog train. I would love to introduce Kanika to the blog train. Kanika is a mom of 2 girls , a blogger who also tries her hands on baking and gardening.  Read her posts.





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Prisha Lalwani
Mummasaurus.com
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30 May, 2019

Gratitude list for April 2019 #GratitudeCircle

I am late again to write my gratitude list for last month. This month is a bit busy, that's the reason.

April is mostly dedicated to dance performances and I could complete only one book which was a wonderful read. We went on a fabulous family vacation for 4 days which was relaxing.

Here are a few things that I am grateful for last month:

1. Dance performances

In April, I performed twice. I did both solo and group performances. I feel grateful to my parents and to my Guru for imparting me this skill.

I am not very experienced at choreography but I attempted a group choreography of classical dance this time. My choreography came out well but of course, there is a scope for improvement and I will work on that in the future.




2. Family Vacation
As we have always wanted to, we could go on a road trip covering 1200 miles in 3 days and 4 nights. We also enjoyed the beautiful scenery of Utah.

My travelogues are below:


Utah Vacation Plan with Kids

Day 1 - Arches National Park and Canyonlands National park

Day 2 - Monument Valley Park and Four Corners National monument

Day 2 - Mesa Verde National Park


Day 3 - Pagosa Springs and Crestone
I am grateful to my husband for understanding me so well. I am thankful to God that we could pull off this trip successfully with a 4 yr old without any problems.

The Delicate Arch trail was tough but with proper planning and multiple stops, we could make it to the top and see the Arch which is on Utah's License plate. We thoroughly enjoyed the dirt road ride in Monument Valley Park.




3. The Book Of Hidden Things

Last month, I could complete only this book. This is very interesting but I couldn't find time to finish it in one go, I had to read bits and pieces for many days. 



I loved the book, thus, the rating 5/5. Read my review here. I am grateful to the access to the local library here with great books and the free library card.

This gratitude list is not big but the most satisfying one. What are you grateful for this month / last month? Do let me know in comments.

Until next time,









Linking this to #GratitudeCircle hosted by Vidya Sury. 



29 May, 2019

Lake and mountains #wordlesswednesday

This lake is serene!



Linking this to #wordlesswednesday hosted by Natasha and Esha.

Until next time,





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