08 August, 2020

Truly Madly Crazily in Love by Esha Pandey - Book Blitz

 


~ Book Blitz ~

Truly Madly Crazily in Love by Esha Pandey 




About the Book: 
What happens when you can't let your first love go? What happens when you keep hoping that the one that got away, will be yours again...forever?
Sue is short, vivacious and dreamy. Viv is tall, spirited and focussed. Dressed to the nines on School Social, she bewitches him. He kisses her. She kisses him back. They fall in love. But the kiss that should have sealed their love, becomes their undoing.
Sue is truly, madly and crazily in love with him. There is no one like Viv. She pines for him, but he can't be hers. Days go by and she is still head over heals in love with him.
When she finally lets him go and is ready to start over, he walks into her life again.
Hearts are broken. Promises are shattered. Lives are wrecked. Love is tested.
In a tale transcending time, Sue and Viv weave a story of love like none other. Will hope, trust and love win the test of time? From Lucknow, to Delhi to London, will Sue finally have her happily ever after? Read this sweet romance to find out.


Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon


Read an Excerpt from Truly Madly Crazily in Love by Esha Pandey


Sukirti lingered on at the gate a bit longer than necessary. She wondered if her mother had noticed how she was lost in her thoughts when she walked in. She certainly didn’t comment on it. Sukirti went directly to her room. She had never experienced the kind of rush she felt with Vaibhav. When she was pressed to him on impact because of the speed breaker, it was as if her whole body had exploded. She was tingling wherever her body had touched his. She knew this was different than anything she had ever known. She remembered her elder cousin Garima telling her about her boyfriend and how he made her feel. At that time, she had not thought it was possible to feel like you were on fire. That day, she understood.

Was she developing a crush on Vaibhav?


About the Author:


Esha Pandey, is an author and a police officer. She made her debut as an author with her book I Will Meet You There, a collection of short stories.
Esha is an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the 2010 batch. She has a Masters in International Relations and Masters of Philosophy in American Studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. Before becoming a civil servant, she dabbled with the idea of being a journalist and worked with Times of India as a copyeditor. She has won a United Nations FPA Award for Excellence for the “Best Short Story”.
Esha has kept her passion for writing alive through her tough assignments in policing because writing is music for her soul. Her TDH hero is her partner for life, her husband Rajiv, who supports her in all her endeavors. When she is not doing either, policing or writing, she is busy dealing with her two bundles of naughtiness, her sons. 


Esha on the Web:
Twitter * Facebook * Instagram


Until Next time,

06 August, 2020

A Colorful Dino #WordlessWednesday




Until next time, 

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


26 July, 2020

The Crown - Ponni's Beloved Volume 4: An English Translation by Sumeetha Manikandan - [Book Review]

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Read Book Reviews of Part 1Part 2, and Part 3

Book Details:


Title : The Crown - Ponni's Beloved Volume 4: An English Translation by Sumeetha Manikandan
Author: English Translation by Sumeetha Manikandan, Tamil original version by Kaliki Krishnamurthy
Genre : Historical Fiction
Print Length : 314 pages



Blurb:


Kalki Krishnamurthy’s Ponniyin Selvan is a masterpiece that has enthralled generations of Tamil readers. Many authors have written phenomenal books in Tamil literature after Kalki Krishnamurthy, but Ponniyin Selvan remains the most popular, widely-read novel. It has just the right mixture of all things that makes an epic – political intrigue, conspiracy, betrayal, huge dollops of romance, infidelity, seduction, passion, alluring women, unrequited love, sacrifice, and pure love.

Purchase Link:



My Review:

Part 4 of Ponni's beloved is fast-paced. More story is covered in this part and readers get to know the inner intentions of characters. Characterization is always a plus in all the parts of the story. 

I like that we get to see more of the deaf and mute woman and learn details about her past. It's good to read more about Crown Prince Aditya and the enchantress Nandini. The story has enough twists and interesting turns. I liked part 1 and Part 4 than other parts. I am eagerly waiting to read the next part and the climax. 

In a few places, I can find some typos. Editing might have taken care of those. 

My Rating: 4.5/5


About the Author:


Sumeetha Manikandan, a freelance content writer is an English literature graduate with a journalism and mass communication diploma. She lives in Chennai with her husband and daughter. After a decade long career in dotcom industry, she started working as a freelance writer from home. She wrote her debut novel, 'The Perfect Groom' as a script for a serial, which she converted into a novella for Indireads.




15 July, 2020

Gratitude List for Jun 2020 #GratitudeCircle

While I am writing this post, the USA hits 35 lakhs cases of COVID -19 with 60k cases per day. India is also racing with 7 lakhs cases in 4th place. 

Now, this is certain that it takes more time than expected for the pandemic to reduce its' impact. We all should be planning about staying home for some more time, wearing masks, washing our hands often, reducing grocery and outside trips until unless necessary. 

Instead of worrying about the Corona Virus or the economy and jobs, we can feel grateful for the roof on our heads and good health. I think we all need HOPE that things can get better. Let's hang on with Hope, everything will be fine soon.


My Gratitude List for June 2020:


Birthday :


It's my birthday month. I celebrate the birthday with cakes, and candles even after crossing 30 years, thanks to my family :-) But, that was a busy day with office calls in the middle of cake cutting (fun due to Working from home :p).

Birthday



Travel :


This month, again the COVID cases are on the rise, but June was the month where we saw some fewer cases. Fortunately, We could visit some beautiful places around which were less crowded.

One such drive is 'Skyline Drive' in Canon city. Check this video, By the way, I started my new Youtube channel to post travel videos. Do subscribe if you like.

Youtube Channel - Colorado Family Vacation






We also visited 'Lookout Mountain', another scenic drive near Denver.

Work:


I am grateful to have a job in these uncertain times. I am thankful as I could also learn and improve myself in technical skills.  

I changed the timings of office calls, carved out some time for Yoga in between calls, and also could cook healthy breakfast in between office work. So, I am adjusting to the new normal and using it to my benefit.

Health :


I am grateful to God for my health. June has been very good health-wise. I tried some different healthy recipes and slept nicely for more than 8.5 hrs a day. 

I could start Yoga again and make it regular in my routine life. I have to see how long I can continue my Yoga in the mornings.

I thought it's difficult to write a gratitude list during social distancing when there isn't not much to enjoy life outdoors, but shouldn't we be grateful for simple things in life like food, job, health, and availability of essentials?

Be thankful, Be Kind, and more than ever, have hope.

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Gratitude List


Until next time,
 




Linking this post to #GratitudeCircle hosted by Vidya Sury.



24 June, 2020

The Summer blooms #WordlessWednesday

I couldn't resist sharing these blooms from our home garden 💗





Until next time, 

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



21 June, 2020

New Mexico - Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

“Some links may be affiliate links. We may get paid if you buy something or take action after clicking one of these”


In our 4 day - New Mexico Road trip, Kasha Katuwe Tent rocks were a highlight of the trip. Kasha-Katuwe which means white cliffs got the status of National Monument in 2001. 

The unique cone-shaped rocks formed by the layers of volcanic ash and rocks by pyroclastic flow from the volcano of Jemez springs are beautiful to watch/hike. This eruption that occurred 6 to 7 million years ago caused the slot canyon and tent rocks. 

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Kasha - Katuwe Tent rocks National Monument, New Mexico



Read our previous travelogues of New Mexico trip - 


Day 1 - White Sands National Park
Day 2 - Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Day 3 - Roswell and Bandelier National Monument


Know before you go!


Kasha-Katuwe tent rocks national monument is open all days (8 AM to 4PM) and can be reached from Santa fe through exit 264 off I-25 and through NM-16 onto NM -22. There are directions and signboards throughout the route. The entry is $5 per vehicle.

The parking is limited, so it's better to reach early. Restrooms are available at the starting of the trails. Bring plenty of water and carry snacks as nothing is available inside. The monument is closed to dogs excluding service animals.

It's summer! So, don't forget these travel essentials!









Trails


There are 2 trails - Cave loop trail (1.2 miles) and Slot canyon trail (1.5 miles). You can find the kasha katuwe tent rock trail maps at the trailhead.

The cave loop trail is an easy family hike that will take us to one viewpoint to see tent rocks from nearer.

The slot canyon trail is a bit difficult but completely worth it. It goes through a narrow slot canyon gaining the elevation of steep 630 ft. It gives amazing views of tent rocks and also of the Sangre de Cristo and Jemez mountains. 


The First view from the trail 


Hiking with Kids

We hiked Slot canyon trail with kids (5 and 8-yr olds). The initial trail is flat and easy. The narrow slot canyon is beautiful with sun rays entering in between. 




We went there in early February and in many places, it is slippery with water and melting snow. The trail is neither paved nor marked properly. But, Since many people are hiking, we followed them. 






Kids enjoyed the photos in the slot canyon. Then, the trail gains some elevation and we get the first view of cone-shaped rocks from top. An amazing place to take photos. If it's not slippery, the trail might not have been difficult with kids. In summer, it might be easy.


The cone from nearer

Slot Canyon


The next part of the trail climbs up still high and some more amazing views of the tent rocks. 



Rewarding Views!





We returned from the slot canyon trail and continued through the cave loop trail. This passed through good views of canyon and rocks and then through a small cave. 


Cave


So, though a bit difficult with kids, we managed by stopping multiple times, drinking water, and having snacks on the way.

We started our return journey around noon and stopped by Cochiti lake on the way. We also bought some souvenirs at the Cochiti pueblo gift shop and information center near the dam.


Cochiti lake


We started back to Colorado Springs after that and reached by the night. You can read my previous travelogue on Santa Fe. It's a beautiful town and a must-visit. Since we already visited Santa Fe, we didn't stop again. 

We passed through an 1852 style restaurant on the way back. That was awesome!





How did you like our New Mexico Travelogue? Do let me know in the comments.

Until next time,





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New Mexico - Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument



16 June, 2020

The Grandmaster & Other Short Stories by Chinmaya Desai - [Book Review]

“Some links may be affiliate links. We may get paid if you buy something or take action after clicking one of these”

Book Details:


Title : The Grandmaster & Other Short Stories
Author: Chinmaya Desai
Genre : Short story collection, Fiction
Print Length : 134 pages
Source : A Kindle copy




Blurb:


Never judge a book by its cover…you will be surprised by what lies within!

A Chess Grandmaster is accused of losing a World Championship game intentionally… A middle-class sexagenarian from Nagpur receives a surprise visit from an old friend… A lady will go to any extent to get an ingredient for her recipe… A Mayan explorer in 498 AD encounters a storm and drifts to ancient India… A Brigadier plans to surprise a civilian with a war memento… A politician wants to save the beautiful Seria Valley from an unscrupulous builder… A jet-setting banker gets into a verbal duel with a woman during a plane journey…

Debutant author Chinmaya Desai delves into the lives of “ordinary” people and answers some extraordinary questions. Through his lucid and captivating writing, he brings to the fore how there is always something more than what meets the eye.

The Grandmaster & other short stories is a selection of fictional tales that provide a glimpse of life’s different facets and oddities. It is these experiences that make our journey interesting, colorful, and ends where you least expected it to. Explore these fast-paced tales, with a twist that will keep you turning pages till you reach the end…


Purchase Link:


Amazon 




My Review:


This is a beautiful collection of 17 short stories. The good thing about this book is the selection of stories. I felt, each story to be unique and simple to understand.


The Grandmaster


I loved this title story of the book. Simple with a twist and good characters.

These lines of analogy between an organization and chess are awesome.

"He likened chess to an organization, the eight pawns or soldiers like factory workers – toiling day and night; the two bishops or camels like the sales force, crisscrossing the country to hard-sell products; the two rooks or elephants like audit, accounting and finance – moving only straight, but firm in their dealing; the knights or horses like innovators – jumping two and half steps at a time with new ideas; the king like a Chairman – slow, steady and surefooted and finally, the queen like the CEO – aggressive, but in control of each and every one!"

The carrots

I loved this story for its simplicity. I agree that faith heals.
The quotes below each story are very good.

Professor Parimal

Another good story with emotions. I agree with how we judge people without knowing them.

The hounds of Bhaskar villas

The funny narrative brings a smile. Also, it makes us understand the everyday tidbits of the upper-middle-class lives in the city.

The Inspiration

It's a beautiful story though a fiction. It is really an inspiration to know about the people who protect our country against all odds. When compared to their efforts, everything else looks simple and easy to achieve.

The Mathematician

This is a work of imagination but well implemented. It shows the importance of Indians discovering zero in the number system.

The politician

A good story with unexpected turns.

Husband's guilt

I loved these lines and it is exactly how marriages are set in India. I didn't enjoy the story though.

"Stars, planets, almanacs, caste, sub-caste, age, height, weight, complexion, educational qualifications, salary (boy), cooking skills (girl), family history, references, wavelengths and many other variables had been matched in an attempt to ensure a happy and a bright future for the couple."
This is super fun to read. Check these lines 😃


"They started dining out almost every weekend and planned small weekend trips at least once in three months; each experience meticulously entered into the vast online realms of Facebook with the diligence of an Immigration official."
"Their savings, like the Mumbai flamingos, migrated south and their waistlines, like the Arctic penguins, migrated north."

Mother's love

This story didn't click with me, but these lines are fun and great at the end of the story about plagiarism.

“I wrote several letters to my sweetheart. I forgot to sign them. She has now married the postman.”


Taskmaster G 

This is a story that proves something good might happen when you least expect it.


The woman in the yellow saree

This is a casual story with food for thought. I agree that the biggest problem women face is getting respect from their own family members and society.

Female foeticide, rape, and eve-teasing continue to hurt women still in places like Rajasthan. 

What might have been better?


There are some spelling mistakes in the book which I thought might have been avoided by editing. I didn't like a few stories but it completely depends on individual taste.

My Rating: 4/5


Until next time,






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Zooming on #WordlessWednesday





Until next time, 

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


13 June, 2020

Gratitude List for May 2020 #GratitudeCircle

May continued to be 'New' Normal. Work from home, loads of office work, struggling with helping kids in e-learning, no option to travel and relax due to Covid etc., But, we are learning a few things due to Covid as family, and focusing on a few important things of our life. So, All is not bad.


There are many things to be grateful for :



  •  Kids had their summer holidays started and thus, rest for us as we need not support their e-learning 
  • Could improve my health and focus on home-cooked healthy meals
  • Could reduce office stress by implementing a few methods
  • Could, at last, make online dance classes work well 
  • Could sleep for more time and relax a bit





Here is my Gratitude List for May 2020:



1. Improvement in health


I did a lot of changes in my lifestyle and diet to focus on my health. The good news is that I could see some improvement. I am sleeping more nowadays, reduced morning office calls, increased the intake of grains, vegetables, and fruits in my diet, and took things slow.

I haven't put any targets to complete any tasks for my blog/dance school/office work. I just went with the flow and did whatever I can without working hard.

I am usually more ambitious and tend to jump into multiple tasks at a time. I am trying to change this which will reduce my stress. So far, it's great.


2. One outing after a long break


Due to COVID, we couldn't travel at all for a few months. But, in the last month, we went hiking in our town itself. Colorado Springs is a nice place as we have many beautiful options to hike around our area.




We practiced social distancing, wore masks, carried sanitizer, didn't use public restrooms etc.,
Redrock canyon open space is a good place to hike on a warm day. There is a lake with geese swimming in groups. 2 hrs of our time were spent leisurely after a long time.




We also could go for evening walks in the last month as Summer just started and the weather is great here for walking. We walked only inside our apartment and kids enjoyed their bikes.


3. Researching and trying new healthy recipes


I am grateful to my Yoga teacher and of course the Google search that I am able to learn many new healthy recipes that can easily be made. I hate cooking, so whatever it is that I try, it has to be simple and quick. I don't like to spend much time in my kitchen.




Fortunately, I learned to make millet soup, minestrone soup, lemon rice with foxtail millets, tasty veg salads, healthy smoothies, and a lot. So, the last month had seen a big spike in my learning curve of healthy cooking. I am excited to continue my learning.


4. Art and Dance


I couldn't draw much in May as I said, I am not forcing myself on any task these days. I do only when it's possible and don't stress if I couldn't do it at all. I could draw my first Mandala.




I could make some dance videos for students and I could take online dance classes to my satisfaction now. Researched some tips on taking online zoom dance classes and seems like it is working. But, it cannot compare with direct Dance classes where it was easy for me to correct student's mistakes.


5. Blogging and Books


I could participate in a blog link up for creative writing prompt - Red Roses

I could read 2 parts of my favorite historical fiction 'Ponni's beloved' - An English translation of famous Tamil novel (Ponniyan Selvan) and here are the reviews of Part 2 and Part 3. Try to read these books if you love historical fiction.





After 2 months, I could write our travelogue of the New Mexico trip - Roswell and Bandelier National Monument. I got an opportunity to write a sponsored post as well in May.

So, overall it's a great month for me. Since summer is here, the weather will be great and we can have more outdoor time in June. Hoping for a good month with some travel if possible.

How was your May? Did you get used to the new Normal?

Let me know in the comments.

Until next time,









Linking this to #GratitudeCircle hosted by Vidya Sury.



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01 June, 2020

I'm a Gigolo by Andrew Segal - [Book Review]

“Some links may be affiliate links. We may get paid if you buy something or take action after clicking one of these”


Book Details:


Title: I'm a Gigolo 
Author: Andrew Segal
Book one - The Aberration Series of short stories
Genre : 
Short Story, Crime thriller & Romantic suspense
Publisher : Happy London Press (Expected Publication: July 1st, 2020)
Source : A digital Advanced Review copy from RABT Book tours



Blurb:


I am a Gigolo

He’s gorgeous, cool and slick. Small wonder those wealthy American dames are falling over themselves to taste his flirtatious skills, just where it counts. Seduction is the name of his game, and he knows how to keep
a secret. 


Trouble is, our Gigolo is also a mischief maker, a man with a mission - to make a killing. So he’s got a secret of his own. But, can he keep it that way?

Deliciously sensual, with a touch macabre, the opening tale, I am a gigolo contains ten startlingly original and provocative short stories, that you’ll need to be brave to read at bedtime.

Purchase Link:





My Review :

I love short stories, but this genre is a bit new to me. Erotic and Horror.

I loved most of the stories and all are having the perfect narration which is gripping throughout. Most of them have unpredictable endings.

 I glued to the book when I read a few stories and couldn't put it down until finishing the story. Some are average, too gory, and not that impressive. Whereas some are unique in their storyline and characters. 

Here are a few stories that I loved:


I'm a Gigolo

This title story is erotic and humorous too. I love the climax.

Killing me slowly

This is an interesting read with cunning plots and again, climax wins my heart.

Rosenfeld's ghost

This story is amazing and thrilling.  I couldn't put down without finishing it. Completely unpredictable.

Death zone, Everest

It's interesting with the gripping narrative throughout.

End game


The mind games and some unexpected behaviors. Yes, interesting and not predictable. 

Beads of Blood

Another unpredictable climax. A different take on abusive relationships and mindsets.

The book cover is ok, and the title is good as I'm a Gigolo is a unique story that stands out in the book.


My Rating : 4.5/ 5



About the Author:


My inspirations have come from real people, events, or situations that have presented themselves. Titles like, I am a Contract Killer, I am a Gigolo, Death Zone, License to Kill, are all based on my own life experiences, questions asked, incidents occurring.


Let me be reassuring, thus-far, nobody has been murdered on my watch. But the notion gave rise to the impetus to write my first murder mystery, The Lyme Regis Murders. Could I make the jump after years of writing macabre short stories to a full-length drama? That familiar beating in the gut, said, ‘Yes, try it. Give it a go.’

And so to that cozy coastal town where nothing untoward ever happens. Or perhaps it does. The author seeks to shatter notions, change people’s perceptions, spoil long-held views. That was my intention in entering into the world of crime thrillers. I’ve found that ‘nice’ people are not always what they seem. The helpless can be transformed into the most dangerous, the most dangerous become the most harmless. It’s all up to the writer and what they’re hoping to achieve. 

For me, there have been 10 children’s books, 4 books of short stories and so far, three novels, with a fourth in the mixer.

Whilst a short story might be written with a flurry of adrenalin in the space of a few hours, a book will need more than just a flash of creativity. It will need perseverance, discipline, and dogged determination.
But then, isn’t that what is required of every ambition?

Contact Links

Author Links
Website
Facebook

Until next time,

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