Friday, 24 June 2016

A flash of lighting - Tan Renga

a flash of lightning—
passing through the darkness
a night heron’s scream             
© Basho
a shiver through the spine
Adventure behind closed doors © Nimi

Friday, 17 June 2016

ancient cottage - tan renga

The plum blossoms gone, 
They look older than they are,
Ancient cottage eaves.
                   
© Ryokan Taigu (1758-1831)



Backpack rests in a corner
Voyager's restful shade                    © Nimi Arora


Prompt by and Shared with-
http://chevrefeuillescarpediem.blogspot.in/2016/06/carpe-diem-tan-renga-challenge-102-plum.html




the little mermaid - haiku

The Little Mermaid statue inCopenhagen, Denmark
(Image Source)

My home - 
Sea or your loving eyes?
...my long wait


©Nimi Arora

Prompt by and Shared with-
http://chevrefeuillescarpediem.blogspot.in/2016/06/carpe-diem-975-denmark.html

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Written in the Stars... (Book Review - Falguni Kothari's My Last Love Story)

Title: My Last Love Story
Author: Falguni Kothari


My Last Love Story starts as a tragic tale of romance. 
Nirvaan, Simeen's husband is dying of cancer. As the book starts, she is trying to conceive through IVF. 
Not something, she wants to do, but Nirvaan has agreed to another round of cancer treatment if she agrees to try to have a baby.
"He'd bartered for immortality through our child."

Nirvaan's gregarious attitude is heartening, and at times, exasperating.
"...when one was about to lose his life, he had to choose whether to laugh or cry about it."

As the 'third Musketeer' of their group, Zayaan is introduced soon after, there are intense, disconcerting undertones.

My Last Love Story is a story of complex, moving, unconventional relationships. Relationships that are honest, but circumstances have added layers of mystery to them.

We discover the truth of the shared past of the three friends through the course of the book. 
Falguni Kothari's words convey the emotions superbly, with a knack for telling the story a little at a time. The author puts in interesting details that give make you relate to the characters... such as, Nirvaan's Titanic Wish List.

Rumi's verses shine through... our feelings are ageless, aren't they?

This book is also about Simeen's relationship with God. As she's struggling through the difficult, confusing times, she's also struggling with her faith (or lack of it). This struggle adds impact to the story.

"While I might believe in a Supreme Being or a god of some sort, His refusal to actively eradicate the evils in this world made Him a largely suspect entity in mine-not to stress on the extremely unjust and personal grudge He had against me."

I have read Soul Warrior by Falguni Kothari before this and I admired the author's writing flair. More so after reading this book.

"No one would realize I'd stopped being brave. With care and precision, I'd placed those dominoes around me. But, now, they were falling."

My Last Love Story is not what I expect out of a typical romantic story. 
It is about love that is so strong that it finds culmination despite the difficult path it may have to follow. And it is a story that has you aching for each one of them to have a happy ending even though you know it is not possible.

I am sure it is obvious by now that I loved My Last Love Story. This story had me interested from the very first page... till the very last.
It is a must-read for lovers of romance. Give it a try if you love emotional dramas too. As I said, it is not a typical love story.

*  *  *
The italicized text in quotation marks are quotes from the book.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


*  *  *

About the Book
Perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes’s, Me Before You, My Last Love Story is a heartbreakingly romantic tale about the complexities of trauma and whether love can right a wrong.

I, Simeen Desai, am tired of making lemonade with the lemons life has handed me.

Love is meant to heal wounds.
Love was meant to make my world sparkle and spin.
Love has ripped my life apart and shattered my soul. 

I love my husband, and he loves me.
But Nirvaan is dying.
I love my husband. I want to make him happy.
But he is asking for the impossible. 

I don’t want a baby.
I don’t want to make nice with Zayaan.
I don’t want another chance at another love story. 




Book Links


Excerpt


Dear Readers, thank you for coming along on the My Last Love Story Blog Tour. Here’s an excerpt to enjoy.

ONE

“Love is a dish best served naked.”
As a child, those oft-quoted words of my father would have me rolling my eyes and pretending to gag at what I’d imagined was my parents’ precursor to a certain physical act. 
At thirty, I’d long ago realized that getting naked wasn’t a euphemism for sex. 
Neither was love.
It wasn’t my father wording the meme just now but my husband. Nirvaan considered himself a great wit, a New Age philosopher. On the best of days, he was, much like Daddy had been. On the worst days, he was my tormentor. 
“What do you think, Dr. Archer? Interesting enough tagline for a vlog? What about ‘Baby in a Petri Dish’?” Nirvaan persisted in eliciting a response from the doctor and/or me for his ad hoc comedy, which we’d been ignoring for several minutes now.
I wanted to glare at him, beg him to shut up, or demand that he wait in the doctor’s office like he should’ve done, like a normal husband would have. Khodai knows why he’d insisted on holding my hand through this preliminary checkup. Nothing of import would happen today—if it did at all. But I couldn’t perform any such communication, not with my eyes and mouth squeezed shut while I suffered through a series of uncomfortable twinges along my nether regions. 
I lay flat on my back on a spongy clinic bed sheeted with paper already wrinkled and half torn. Legs drawn up and spread apart, my heels dug punishingly into cold iron stirrups to allow my gynecologist’s clever fingers to reach inside my womb and check if everything was A-OK in there. We’d already funneled through the Pap test and stomach and chest checks. Like them, this test, too, was going swell in light of Dr. Archer’s approving happy hums. 
“Excellent, Mrs. Desai. All parts are where they should be,” he joked only as a doctor could.
I shuddered out the breath I’d been holding, as the feeling of being stretched left my body. Nirvaan squeezed my hand and planted a smacking kiss on my forehead. I opened my eyes and focused on his beaming upside-down ones. His eyelids barely grew lashes anymore—I’d counted twenty-seven in total just last week—the effect of years of chemotherapy. For a second, my gaze blurred, my heart wavered, and I almost cried. 
What are we doing, Nirvaan? What in Khodai’s name were we starting?
Nirvaan stroked my hair, his pitch-black pupils steady and knowing and oh-so stubborn. Then, his face rose to the stark white ceiling, and all I saw was the green-and-blue mesh of his gingham shirt—the overlapping threads, the crisscross weaves, a pattern without end. 
Life is what you make it, child. It was another one of my father’s truisms.
Swallowing the questions twirling on my tongue, I refocused my mind on why we were here. I’d promised Nirvaan we’d try for a baby if he agreed to another round of cancer-blasting treatments. I’d bartered for a few more months of my husband’s life. He’d bartered for immortality through our child.
Dr. Archer rolled away from between my legs to the computer station. He snapped off and disposed of the latex gloves. Then, he began typing notes in near-soundless staccato clicks. Though the examination was finished, I knew better than to sit up until he gave me leave. I’d been here before, done this before—two years ago when Nirvaan had been in remission and the idea of having a baby had wormed its way into his head. We’d tried the most basic procedures then, whatever our medical coverage had allowed. We hadn’t been desperate yet to use our own money, which we shouldn’t be touching even now. We needed every penny we had for emergencies and alternative treatments, but try budging my husband once he’d made up his mind.
“I’m a businessman, Simi. I only pour money into a sure thing,” he rebuked when I argued.
I brought my legs together, manufacturing what poise and modesty I could, and pulled the sea-green hospital gown bunched beneath my bottom across my half-naked body. I refused to look at my husband as I wriggled about, positive his expression would be pregnant with irony, if not fully smirking. And kudos to him for not jumping in to help me like I would have. 
The tables had turned on us today. For the past five years, it’d been Nirvaan thrashing about on hospital beds, trying in vain to find relief and comfort, modesty or release. Nirvaan had been poked, prodded, sliced, and bled as he battled aggressive non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I’d been the stoic spectator, the supportive wife, the incompetent nurse, the ineffectual lover. 
And now? What role would I play now?
As always, thinking about our life left me feeling even more naked than I was in the open-fronted robe. I turned my face to the wall, my eyes stinging, as fear and frustration bubbled to the surface. Flesh-toned posters of laughing babies, pregnant mothers, and love-struck fathers hung from the bluish walls. Side by side were the more educative ones of human anatomy, vivisected and whole. The test-tube-like exam room of Monterey Bay Fertility Clinic was decorated in true California beach colors—sea-foam walls, sandy floors, pearl-pink curtains, and furniture—bringing the outdoors in. If the decor was meant to be homey, it wasn’t having such an effect on me. This room, like this town and even this country, was not my natural habitat, and I felt out of my element in it. 
I’d lived in California for seven years now, ever since my marriage, and I still didn’t think of it as home, not like Nirvaan did. Home for me was India. And no matter the dark memories it held, home would always be Surat.
“All done.” Dr. Archer pushed the computer trolley away and stood up. “You can get dressed, Mrs. Desai. Take your time. Use whatever supplies you need. We’ll wait for you in my office,” he said, smiling. 
Finally, I can cover myself, I thought. Gooseflesh had erupted across my skin due to the near frigid clinic temperatures doctors tortured their patients with—like a patient didn’t have enough to suffer already. Medical facilities maintained cool indoor temperatures to deter inveterate germs from contaminating the premises and so its vast flotilla of equipment didn’t fry. I knew that. But knowing it still didn’t inspire any warm feelings in me for the “throng of professional sadists with a god complex.” I quoted my husband there. 
Nirvaan captured my attention with a pat on my head. “See you soon, baby,” he said, following the doctor out of the room. 
I scooted off the bed as soon as the door shut behind them. My hair tumbled down my face and shoulders at my jerky movements. I smoothed it back with shaking hands. Long, wavy, and a deep chestnut shade, my hair was my crowning glory, my one and only feature that was lush and arresting. Nirvaan loved my hair. I wasn’t to cut it or even braid it in his presence, and so it often got hopelessly knotted. 
I shrugged off the clinic gown, balled it up, and placed it on the bed. I wiped myself again and again with antiseptic wipes, baby wipes, and paper towels until the tissues came away stain-free. I didn’t feel light-headed. I didn’t allow myself to freak. I concentrated on the flow of my breaths and the pounding of my heart until they both slowed to normal. 
It was okay. I was not walking out with a gift-wrapped baby in tow. Not today. No reason to freak out.
I reached for my clothes and slipped on my underwear. They were beige with tiny white hearts on them—Victoria’s Secret lingerie Nirvaan had leered and whistled at this morning. 
Such a silly man. Typical Nirvaan, I corrected, twisting my lips. 
Even after dressing in red-wash jeans and a full-sleeved sweater, I shivered. My womb still felt invaded and odd. As I stepped into my red patent leather pumps, an unused Petri dish sitting on the workstation countertop caught my eye. 
The trigger for Nirvaan’s impromptu comedy, perhaps? 
Despite major misgivings about the Hitleresque direction my life had taken, humor got the better of me, and I grinned. 
Silly, silly Nirvaan. Baby in a Petri dish, indeed.


About the Author


Falguni Kothari is an internationally bestselling hybrid author and an amateur Latin and Ballroom dance silver medalist with a background in Indian Classical dance. She writes in a variety of genres sewn together by the colorful threads of her South Asian heritage and expat experiences. When not writing or dancing, she fools around on all manner of social media, and loves to connect with her readers. My Last Love Story is her fourth novel.








Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*  *  *

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Tales of Sunshine by Sundari Venkatraman





BOOK BLITZ

TALES OF SUNSHINE
(A collection of short stories)
by
Sundari Venkatraman



Blurb

TALES OF SUNSHINE is a collection of ten short stories that bring hope.
“A Ray of Sunshine” is about young Raj who’s terribly upset when many people in his team lose their jobs. But is he able to do anything about it?
“A Promise Given” is about Sachin, the poor, rich, young man; and the pregnant Aparna.
“Life Goes out of Control” is the story where Preeti, an only child, is a bone of contention between her parents.
Rakesh Nath has slogged throughout his life to become rich, to suffer a massive heart attack at 57. Read “Rakesh Nath’s Recovery” to find out more...
“Exam Fever” is about Renu and her anxious mother, Maya. Renu wants to play truant from studies while Maya is terribly worried about her daughter’s exams.
“Until Death us do Part” is the story of Rekha, the 35-year-old COO of an MNC. She finds love or does she?
Ansh adores his grandfather. But his mother Anu is scared of her son spending time with the Alzheimer patient in “Is Grandpa Home?”
The “Daydreaming Mercenary” is Reema. She blows up her sister Rita’s hard-earned money. But are things what they actually seem?
“Breaking Free from the Mould” is the most difficult thing as a human. With so much pressure from his Grandma, will Aarush pursue his calling?

“The Elephant in the Room” is in the first person where the poor Nandita talks about her friendship (?) with the rich Shruti.

Grab your copy @


About the author


Tales of Sunshine is the seventh book authored by Sundari Venkatraman. This book is an anthology of human interest stories. Other published novels by the author are The Malhotra Bride, Meghna, The Runaway Bridegroom, The Madras Affair and An Autograph for Anjali—all romances. She also has a collection of romantic short stories called Matches Made in Heaven. All of Sundari Venkatraman’s books have been on Amazon Top 100 Bestsellers in India, USA, UK & Australia many times over.

Stalk her @




Other books by the author


                                                           
This Tour is Hosted by 




We Promote So That You Can Write 



Saturday, 11 June 2016

Very well-written and entertaining... (Book Review - Pamela Fagan Hutchins' Hell to Pay)

Title: Hell to Pay
(What Doesn't Kill You, #7, An Emily Romantic Mystery)
Author: Pamela Fagan Hutchins


Hell to Pay starts with a party to celebrate the engagement of Phil and Nadine. The two are friends of Emily and her boss/fiancé Jack.

This is the second book of this series that I read. The first one was Heaven to Betsy. Heaven to Betsy is when Jack and Emily meet. The chemistry between the two was great, and there was hope of a relationship. I miss a couple of books and the two are engaged to be married.
I really have to read the ones I missed.
Anyway, back to the party that Hell to Pay starts with. Interestingly, Heaven to Betsy starts with a party too. But that party was of a very different flavour.

The party of Hell to Pay has Emily happy, relaxed and 'at home', or so it seems when the book begins.

Jack is a criminal attorney, Emily works in his office, and Hell to Pay is a Romantic Thriller.
So, the thrill begins when Phil's friend, Denis is murdered and Phil is the prime suspect.

Betsy, the girl that Emily had rescued in Heaven to Betsy, is staying with a foster family while Emily and Jack are waiting for their adoption request of Betsy to be approved.
The foster family is a member of a suspicious religious group 'Mighty is His Word'.

What I found common is the novelty of Pamela Fagan Hutchins' writing style.
When she describes an individual, she doesn't use the oft-used clichés.

"Her vanilla hair sported a generous dollop of dark chocolate roots, which was pretty funny to me since she had a body shaped like a cone. A waffle cone. A waffle cone with sparkly sprinkles from the spinning ball overhead."

Some characters from the previous book like Wallace Gray come back and feel like old acquaintances.

Emily has got braces to get a gap in her teeth.
"I can't believe you got those braces. You look fourteen."
A small detail that has stayed on with me. The author is great at weaving in these small details in the narrative. These do not feel forced or repetitive, rather add a charm to the story.

Just as the previous book I read, Hell to Pay is also written as a first person narrative from Emily's point of view. 

When someone shouts that a doctor is needed outside and everyone starts to go out to see what's happening, the author writes Emily's thoughts as -
"Despite the fact that it is statistically unlikely that everyone in the room was a doctor, the crowd moved as one toward the door, with me in it."
And I smile.

Then there is the fact that Emily doesn't 'take the Lord's name in vain or say the F-word'. As a result, she comes up with a number of creative abusive words and phrases that are downright funny. 
Mother of Pearl, Mother truckers, Son of a biscuit... and many more.

Dennis' murder mystery, Betsy's adoption, Emily's uncertainty about Jack's feelings towards her, the surprising change in the relationship of her own parents, and as expected her daring, never-back-off attitude make for a very interesting, unputdownable read.

Hell to Pay is a very well-written, entertaining read. Highly recommended from my side.


*  *  *

The italicized text in quotation marks are quotes from the book.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.




*  *  *

Blurb 

USA Best Book Award-Winning Series, Cross Genre Fiction.
Third book in the Emily series, a spin-off from Katie & Annalise.

Big-haired paralegal and former rodeo queen Emily thinks she’s got her life back on track. Her adoption of Betsy seems like a done deal, her parents have reunited, and she’s engaged to her sexy boss Jack. Then client Phil Escalante’s childhood buddy Dennis drops dead, face first into a penis cake at the adult novelty store Phil owns with his fiancée Nadine, one of Emily’s best friends. The cops charge Phil with murder right on the heels of his acquittal in a trail for burglarizing the Mighty is His Word church offices. Emily’s nemesis ADA Melinda Stafford claims her witness overheard Phil fighting with Dennis over a woman, right about the time Phil falls into a diabetic coma, leaving Nadine shaken and terrified. Meanwhile Betsy’s ultra-religious foster parents apply to adopt her and Jack starts acting weird and evasive. Emily feels like a calf out of a chute, pulled between the ropes of the header and the heeler, as she fights to help Phil and Nadine without losing Betsy and Jack.



She says her first book came out in 2012 and that her latest, Hell to Pay, is the seventh book in the series. The books all have ties to Texas, with “an interrelated cast of kick-ass female protagonists.” She says the novel's heroine (“a former rodeo queen turned paralegal”) returns to her home town in west Texas and discovers an extremist cult has set up shop and is terrorizing the local townsfolk.

Read a Teaser 

Chapter One Excerpt

Disco lights whirled around me, or was it the room? My inner party animal had atrophied, not that I’d ever been a real heavyweight. If it wasn’t for the fantastic people-watching—and the fact that this was the celebration party for the burglary acquittal of our firm’s client Phil Escalante the day before, and his engagement to Nadine, one of my best friends in Amarillo—I've bagged this shindig. Instead, there I was with tendrils of fake smoke floating past my face, ten

feet from a DJ dressed in a black latex fetish costume and spiked dog collar and A tall woman maybe ten years older than me appeared out of the low lights and sidled up to me, engulfing me in the odor of cigarettes. Her vanilla hair sported a generous dollop of dark chocolate roots, which was pretty funny to me since she had a body shaped like a cone. A waffle cone. A waffle cone with sparkly sprinkles from the spinning ball overhead. Behind her trailed a paunchy man of roughly her height. His eyes had locked on me in a way that made my skin crawl with leeches that weren’t there.

Rick James’s “Super Freak” ended. The silence in the cavernous L-shaped room was immediate and complete, but short-lived. A clamor of voices from the one-hundred- or-so guests resumed, their voices echoing off the bare walls and “Hey, Foxy Loxy,” the man mouthed at me. Or did he? Surely not. It was hard to tell with the lights playing tricks on my eyes.

The woman spoke past me. “You and your wife got any plans later?” Her bellow seemed to fill the room to its farthest corners, even with all the other voices. I winced and shrank under the eyes that shifted our way.

Not Jack, though. The horse rancher cum criminal attorney was nothing if not unflappable. His topaz eyes twinkled. “Emily’s not my wife.” 

The man surged toward Jack. “You’re not together?”

“I’m his fiancée,” I said through my recently tightened braces and painfully rubber-banded teeth, leaving out “and he’s my boss.” I waved my big, fat teardrop-shaped diamond at him to accentuate my point, then I pinched Jack’s arm where my hand was looped through its crook. I’d capitulated to the mouth gear when my childhood orthodontist saw the gap between my front teeth and insisted needed Invisalign then, filled my mouth with metal instead. Payback for never wearing my retainer, I guess.

The man and woman looked at each other and nodded. She asked, “Care to join us? We’ve got a room at a no-tell hotel nearby.”

Jack’s whole body shook and I didn’t dare look at him. I was a sucker for his laugh. In fact, I was a sucker for everything about him, from his lived-in boots to his permanent tan to his Apache cheekbones. Before either of us could think of an appropriate response, Phil interrupted.

“Millie, Pete, leave my poor friends alone.” He clapped a hand on my shoulder and gently pushed me aside to clap his other onto Jack’s. “They’re not swingers. And this isn’t a swingers social. I’m out of the business.”

The space between Millie’s eyebrows narrowed and puckered as drops of

light rained down on her face. “It’s a free country, ain’t it?”



Grab your Copy @

*  *  *
ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Pamela Fagan Hutchins writes overly long emails, best-selling, award-winning mysteries (WINNER USA Best Book Award, Fiction: Cross Genre, Finalist) and hilarious nonfiction. The Houston Press named her as one of Houston's Top 10 Authors (2014).

She is a recovering attorney and investigator who resides deep in the heart of Nowheresville, Texas and in the frozen north of Wyoming. Pamela has a passion for great writing and smart authorpreneurship as well as long hikes with her hunky husband and pack of rescue dogs, traveling in the Bookmobile, and her Keurig. Visit her at http://pamelafaganhutchins.com or drop her a note pamela at pamelahutchins dot com. 

And if you would like her to visit your book club, women’s group, writer’s group, or library, all you have to do is ask.

               

Follow us # +Pinterest





Win Another Book of  Pamela Fagan Hutchins

USA Bestseller Author of Cross Genre




Win a copy of Earth To Emily by taking part in this Rafflecopter

a Rafflecopter giveaway




This Tour is Hosted by 


We Promote So That You Can Write 



*  *  *















Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...