31 March, 2017

My Gratitude List - March 2017

It's been a long time that I wrote a gratitude list, but I can't let this good habit slip. 

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What a simple and meaningful quote. Whatever we are dealing with -good or bad and whatever our circumstances are, there is always something to be grateful for if we see closely. 

This month has been normal for me. Not many good things or not many bad. Let me list down a few things that I am thankful for.

1. Driving a 4 wheeler
After many unsuccessful attempts in India, I could learn to drive a 4-wheeler in the US. It's a great feeling. I am very desperate to drive on my own so that I can take my kids to library and shopping. I am yet to get a license, but I am confident to get it soon.

2. Less reading and more craftwork
I couldn't read much this month as I was afraid that I am adding more stress to my eyes because of a lot of e-copies that I am getting for review. I had my eye test done and fortunately, everything is good. Still, I asked the doctor hundred times if it's ok to read 3 books a month or read one hour daily.You know me, how important reading is to my life :-)

My elder one has spring vacation for one week and so I could spend more time with him on some simple crafts - paper butterflies and paper plate hens. Those came well. We tried Origami too, but we need to practice a lot.

3. It's spring here!
At last, it's spring here. I hoped to spend a lot of time outdoors and take long walks enjoying more sunshine, but we experienced 2 snow storms after 2 long weeks of sunny days. Even though we couldn't experience more sunny days, we utilized those days for cycling and walking. I am hopeful for more evening walks and outdoor plays with children. 
pc: www.pixabay.com

So, that's my quick gratitude list for the month of March. Do you also feel thankful for anything this month? Let me know in comments. 

Until next time,

Linking this to #GratitudeCircle hosted by Vidya Sury.

27 March, 2017

Evanthia's Gift by Effie Kammenou - Book Spot Light

Women’s fiction/ contemporary romance

Date Published: August 7, 2015

In the year 1956, Anastacia Fotopoulos finds herself pregnant and betrayed, fleeing from a bad marriage. With the love and support of her dear friends Stavros and Soula Papadakis, Ana is able to face the challenges of single motherhood. Left with emotional wounds, she resists her growing affection for Alexandros Giannakos, an old acquaintance. But his persistence and unconditional love for Ana and her child is eventually rewarded and his love is returned. In a misguided, but well-intentioned effort to protect the ones they love, both Ana and Alex keep secrets - ones that could threaten the delicate balance of their family.

The story continues in the 1970’s as Dean and Demi Papadakis, and Sophia Giannakos attempt to negotiate between two cultures. Now Greek-American teenagers, Sophia and Dean, who have shared a special connection since childhood, become lovers. Sophia is shattered when Dean rebels against the pressure his father places on him to uphold his Greek heritage and hides his feelings for her. When he pulls away from his family, culture and ultimately his love for her, Sophia is left with no choice but to find a life different from the one she’d hoped for.

EVANTHIA’S GIFT is a multigenerational love story spanning fifty years and crossing two continents, chronicling the lives that unify two families.

Women's Fiction

Date Published – January 7, 2016

Book Two in The Gift Saga: The continuation of Evanthia’s Gift…

In 1961, five little girls moved into a suburban neighborhood and became inseparable, lifelong friends. They called themselves the ‘Honey Hill Girls,’ named after the street on which they lived. As teenagers they shared one another’s ambitions and dreams, secrets and heartaches. Now, more than thirty years later, they remain devoted and loyal, supporting each other through triumphs and sorrows.

Evanthia's Gift follows the life of Sophia Giannakos. In Waiting for Aegina the saga continues from the perspectives of Sophia and her friends as the story drifts back and forth in time, filling in the gaps as the women grow to adulthood.

Naive teenage ideals are later challenged by harsh realities, as each of their lives takes unexpected turns. Now nearing their fiftieth year, Sophia, Demi, Amy, Mindy and Donna stand together through life-altering obstacles while they try to regain the lighthearted optimism of their youth.

About the Author

Effie Kammenou is a believer that it is never too late to chase your dreams, follow your heart or change your career. She is proof of that. At one time, long ago, she'd thought that, by her age, she would have had an Oscar in her hand after a successful career as an actor. Instead, she worked in the optical field for 40 years and is the proud mother of two accomplished young women.

Her debut novel, Evanthia’s Gift, is a women’s fiction multigenerational love story and family saga, influenced by her Greek heritage, and the many real life accounts that have been passed down. She continues to pick her father’s brain for stories of his family’s life in Lesvos, Greece, and their journey to America. Her interview with him was published in a nationally circulated magazine.

Evanthia’s Gift: Book One in The Gift Saga was a 2016 award finalist in the Readers Favorite Awards in the Women’s Fiction category. Waiting for Aegina: Book Two in The Gift Saga is Kammenou’s latest release.

Effie Kammenou is a first generation Greek-American who lives on Long Island with her husband and two daughters. When she’s not writing, or posting recipes on her food blog, cheffieskitchen.wordpress.com, you can find her cooking for her family and friends.

As an avid cook and baker, a skill she learned from watching her Athenian mother, she incorporated traditional Greek family recipes throughout the books.

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater Arts from Hofstra University.

Contact Information

Website: (foodblog) https://cheffieskitchen.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EffieKammenou/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EffieKammenou/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cheffieskitchen/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14204724.Effie_Kammenou

Purchase Links

Amazon: Evanthia’s Gift - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B013MG484M/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_1lTFxbE4PRKJ3

Waiting For Aegina - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MT6KLN4/ref=nav_timeline_asin?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

Landing page for both books –

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_2_14?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=effie+kammenou&sprefix=effie+kammenou%2Caps%2C139&crid=1JRUTXFZ5K2HJ

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/evanthias-gift-effie-kammenou/1122620438?ean=9780692471838

Until next time,

19 March, 2017

A Way back into Love by Veronica Thatcher - Book Spot Light

Title: A Way Back into Love
Author: Veronica Thatcher
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Notion Press

Nothing is perfect. Life is messy. Relationships are complex. Outcomes, uncertain. People, irrational. But love…well, that makes everything complicated. And when you are caught in a tangled web of secrets, lies, and complex affairs, someone is bound to get burned.

Emily Stevens is a spunky, spirited college girl whose life gets turned upside-down when she realizes she's in love with her best friend of fifteen years, Derek Thorpe. As Emily prepares to confess her feelings to Derek, something happens one night which changes her life forever. Five years later, Emily finds herself in Boston, alone and heartbroken. Will she ever be able to forget the past? And what will she find when she returns home...to the man she left behind?


                eBooks -https://www.amazon.in/dp/B06WRR5FN3


Author Bio:
Veronica Thatcher is an exciting new contemporary romance author. Ever since she was very young, she’s dreamed of becoming a doctor when she grew up. While still forging ahead with that, majoring in pre-med in college, she unwittingly stumbled upon a new dream—becoming a published author. Some may call her an introvert or a wallflower, but she has always found she could express herself better in written, rather than spoken, words. However, never in her wildest dreams had she envisioned she would pursue writing as a prospective career, not just a hobby. Her love for writing goes hand-in-hand with her love for a good romance novel—whether it be a feel-good, sweet romance or a dark, suspenseful one. When she’s not studying, reading, or writing, she is usually found blasting her favourite songs, sometimes singing and dancing along to them.  She dabbles in a number of activities, including painting, karate, singing and dancing. She is a huge chocoholic – probably the biggest – and she is an ice-cream junkie too. She considers herself technologically handicapped forever and has no shame in admitting that. She also deems chocolates her boyfriend, Patrick Dempsey the love of her life, and Friends her life!

Her first book, A Way Back Into Love, is slated for release in February 2017, and she hopes readers will enjoy it as much as she enjoyed writing it. You can reach Veronica through Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Wattpad and Gmail.

Author Links:


Emily stepped back from him and shook her head. “Oh, you know damn well what I mean. You know what, Derek? I’m done having this conversation with you. I’m so done with this conversation and I’m so done with you,” Emily spat out angrily before brushing past him.

“Emily, wait,” Derek said, catching her by her arm. “Where are you going?”

Emily spun around and gave him a bitter look before looking down at his hand gripping her arm. “Leave my arm,” she said in a low yet threatening voice, “And why do you care where I’m going? It’s none of your business.”

Derek didn’t leave her arm in spite of her warning and said, “Em, you’ve had too many drinks. You can’t drive in this condition. I’ll drop you home.”

Emily jerked her arm free from his grasp and replied in a bitter voice, “Thank you, but no. I’m perfectly capable of getting myself home on my own. I don’t need you to drop me home. Do you get it, Derek Thorpe? I DON’T NEED YOU!” Emily yelled the last words, causing a few people to look their way.

Until next time,

07 March, 2017

India by Debra Schoenberger - [Book Review] and A GiveAway

Book Description:

I have always been fascinated by the sheer beauty and diversity in Indian culture. "Sensory overload in a glance" is an apt description of a country that is always in movement. To be able to stand still in the middle of all that movement allows me to really "see" her people and absorb the flow of life from birth to death.

From learning how to make yellow ink from cow urine to watching funeral pyres burn in Varanasi, I realized that I would have to spend a lifetime here to grasp the immense value of her art, stunning architecture, fascinating food and love of all that is beautiful.

Buy the book:   Amazon   Blurb   iTunes   Website

Add on goodreads

My Review 
This is my first photo book review. I love photography and I am from India, so I chose this book to see India through a photographer's eyes. 

The photos range from smiling portraits of people to landscapes to crowded streets to common households and slums. These photos show not only the beautiful architecture but also clumsy areas and streets. Debra also covered a few photos of people from different religions. I loved the pic of a tourist taking Taj mahal from his phone. Pictures like Dhobhighat(a place where clothes are hanged after laundry for drying), a boy purchasing something in a grocery, a Muslim lady waiting outside a shop, a woman holding her husband on a bike etc., show the everyday life of people in India. I also loved the photos of the serene Ganga river in the dawn, some forts, Arti in Varanasi, Akshardham temple etc., 

One thing which is unique about this book is Debra, unlike other photographers didn't strive to show only good about India and its culture, but she also focused on normal people like street performers, shopkeepers, people stuck in traffic, busy roads etc., India is very diverse in cultures, traditions, religions and languages. An attempt to capture the essence of the country in one book itself is a brave concept to think about. Debra also mentioned the list of places where she has taken photos marked on a map at the end of the book. This of course, helps people who are not aware of India. 

I loved this book but I felt, it would have been great if there are captions to each photo or 2 sentences about the photo. I also felt some of the images seemed repeated, they might not be same but same lake/ river in different angles or photos of flower shops which are alike etc.,  

Overall, a good book that I would recommend to any photographer or someone who wants to see the everyday India.

My Rating: 4/5

PS:I have received this book through iread tours and this is my honest opinion on the book.

Author's Bio:

Debra Schoenberger aka #girlwithcamera

"My dad always carried a camera under the seat of his car and was constantly taking pictures. I think that his example, together with pouring over National Geographic magazines as a child fuelled my curiosity for the world around me.

I am a documentary photographer and street photography is my passion. Some of my images have been chosen by National Geographic as editor's favourites and are on display in the National Geographic museum in Washington, DC.  I also have an off-kilter sense of humour so I'm always looking for the unusual.

​Connect with the author:    Website ~  Facebook ​~ Instagram ~  Pinterest

Book Trailer:

Win one $25 Amazon gift card (international) - 5 other winners will receive one copy of INDIA (choice ePUB or PDF) (ends April 1, 2017)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Until next time,

Linking this to Mary's LMMLinkup

All that glitters by Liza Trevino - [Book Review]

Book Details:
Title: All That Glitters - A Tale of Sex, Drugs and Hollywood Dreams
Author: Liza Treviño
Genre: Women’s Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Koehler Books 
Published Date: March 1, 2017
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1633933083
ISBN-13: 978-1633933088

Book Links:

Alexandria Moreno—clever, sexy, ambitious and, at times, self-destructive. She blazes a path from Texas to Los Angeles at the dawn of the 1980s to make her dreams of becoming an A-list Hollywood film director come true. She and her best friend arrive in Los Angeles with little more than hope and the determination to make it big. Alex, a beauty as dark and mysterious as her scarred heart, stands at the bottom of the Hollywood mountain looking up, fighting for her chance to climb to the top. Will her quest to live fast and take no prisoners on her way to success destroy her in the end?

All That Glitters is a women’s fiction Jackie Collins-type saga that introduces a strong, driven Latina heroine at the center of a rags-to-riches story spanning a decade of action. Along the way, Alexandria walks the fine line separating ambition and self-destruction, and discovers that some sacrifices will cost her everything.

My Review:
The movie industry is a real enigma. Along with success , celebrity status and posh lifestyle, the actors go through a lot of abuse, bias, cheating and crushed relationships. First of all, it is so hard to be determined and achieve success and especially for a woman in direction category, it is not an ordinary feat. This is the story of Alex Morano who leaves her home town to Los Angeles with a determination to direct a movie. She has to do some odd jobs until she finds a job as personal secretary to Big D where she gets exposure to the actual work done behind the reels and get to network with stars and other crew. 

With her reckless behavior, hard work and determination, she surely stands out with her work. But, when she achieves everything that she wants to, how does she feel? Is the journey, learning and hardships worth to get the celebrity status? Why is she not happy even after winning an Oscar? You have to read her journey to know more and understand her feelings.

I don't have any negative point to say. The book is real with Alex's experiences and struggles that move us and empathize her. The writing style is casual and easy to follow.  The cover of the book is apt and the title is perfectly suited for the story.  The characterization is good. 

My Rating: 4.5/5

PS: I have received this ebook from the author through book r3vi3w tours and this is my honest opinion on the book.

Author Bio:

Liza Treviño hails from Texas, spending many of her formative years on the I-35 corridor of San Antonio, Austin and Dallas.  In pursuit of adventure and a Ph.D., Liza moved to Los Angeles where she compiled a collection of short-term, low-level Hollywood jobs like script girl, producer assistant and production assistant.  Her time as a Hollywood Jane-of-all-trades gave her an insider's view to a world most only see from the outside, providing the inspiration for creating a new breed of Latina heroine.

Catch Up with Liza Treviño on her Website

What early readers are saying:

"Treviño tells her story with wit, intelligence, and an undercurrent of sadness at the plight women face to make a name for themselves as human beings instead of strictly as women. Treviño may have cloaked her ideas in entertaining vignettes and snappy dialogue, but underneath is a bite that stays with you."
— Jonathan Marcantoni, author and publisher of La Casita Grande Press.

"Liza has a way of taking you with her as she tells this very compelling story. She draws readers in with her as she describes scenes and characters with colorful detail and vivid imagination. This story is a testament to it's title: it really glitters!"
—Reesha Goral, author, The Servant Boy

"With distant echoes of Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls in the background, Alexandria Moreno, the protagonist of All that Glitters, chases after the allure of Hollywood, all the time substituting pills, booze and sex for genuine happiness. It is only after she reaches success that she has an awakening leading her to realize the emptiness of her aspiration, and finally accepting true love. Kudos to Liza Treviño for giving us this unique image of the New Latina! I urge reading All that Glitters. You won’t regret it."

—Graciela Limón, author

Until next time,

05 March, 2017

A book for oreo by Caralee - [Book Review]

Book details:

Title: A book for Oreo
Author: Caralee A Jardine 
Genre: non fiction, pets, cats, Christian living
Publisher: Caralee Jardine 
Length of the book: 122 pages
Source : A free e-review copy from the Author through onlinebookreview.org 
This book is OnlineBookClub.org Book of the Day

Every now and then you meet someone and instantly know they are special. This is an amazing love story of a cat named Oreo and the woman he picked to be his mom. Oreo was famous for getting into mischief and compromising situations. You will laugh at his antics and keep wondering what he will do next!

My Review:

I am not a lover of animals, so I wasn't sure if I would love this book before I started reading the book. This is my first book about pets, especially cats.

This is the story of the Author and her love for her pet Oreo. As if the cat has chosen Caralee as the owner, it grabs the hand of her from the cage begging her to take with her in Humane society. Even though Caralee's apartment will not allow pets, she cannot keep her thoughts away from Oreo. Oreo being a nice abused cat from her previous owner, Caralee feels it is her responsibility to adopt her. She takes the help of her aunt Natalie and adopts Oreo and brings the cat home to her apartment against her apartment leasing agreement. Thus their journey of togetherness continues making them inseparable. 

The writing style of the Author is very easy to follow and the words carry empathy and love. The author's intention to share her relationship with Oreo and spread love in this world is commendable. The title of the book is perfect and the cover compliments the same. The Author also shared some beautiful pictures of herself and her family with Oreo. As per the book, it seems like other family members like Natalie also love pets, which is great. It is lovely to see how they take their pets Daisy and Oreo for camping along with them. It was surprising that Oreo is strong and makes friendship with Daisy even though Daisy is a dog. 

This book makes us realize that some bonds are bound to happen and some relationships stay alive our whole life. This is a quick read as it is only 122 pages. I would highly recommend this book to pet lovers. 

Even though the book is great, I felt boring to read a few chapters as  it is monotonous and there are not many other characters and twists and turns to make it interesting to continue reading. 

I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars

I give this rating as the author's writing style is friendly as if talking to a friend and the story emphasizes on love to Oreo who is such a sweet pet that any owner would love to have. I also realized, pets also can become a part of our family if treated with love and care. Moreover, they will be more loyal than family or friends.

Purchase link:

About the Author:

Caralee Jardine was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. She has been in retail management for the past 25yrs and is currently running her family's outdoor power equipment business. From the time she was born she loved animals so its no surprise her first book would be about her most precious cat, Oreo. Since Oreo's passing she has adopted 2 more kittens, Gizmo and Bandit. Caralee is also a huge Mickey Mouse fan. Her favorite quotes from Walt Disney are "If you can dream it you can do it." and "Its kind of fun to do the impossible."

Until next time,

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