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.








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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.

               

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Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Beautiful and moving stories (Book Review - Sujit Banerjee's Rukhsat The Departure)


Title: Rukhsat The Departure
Author: Sujit Banerjee
Genre: Short Story Collection

The stories of Sujit Banerjee's Rukhsat have a chord of melancholy running through them. The kind that pulls your heartstrings and keeps you engrossed even as you feel the pain of the characters.
This feeling is aptly conveyed by the title 'Rukhsat' and the cover of this book.

The language of Rukhsat is such that there are details and yet there doesn't seem to be one unnecessary word. 
There are times when one reads descriptions which are vivid, yet they don't gel well with the story. Not in these stories though.
In case of Rukhsat, the details are written in a manner that they keep you hooked. 
The words flow smoothly. They tell the story, but they don't stand out. And that is the way it should be.

"The wind howled and a door slammed somewhere. The candle flickered and died out. I cursed and turned to fumble for the match box overturning the glass of drink. In the dark I groped for the letters, scooping them up to avoid getting them soaked. I yelled at Kishen and he ran into the room holding the chimney candle – its flame steadier than me. He left the room shutting the door and a hush descended – a kind of quiet flush. I poured a stiff drink and looked at the watch. It was ten past nine – past my dinner time. Kishen only served dinner when I asked him to. I took a sip and picking up a knife – slit open the first envelope to extract a thin sheet of paper – just a page."

The stories are told in a unhurried fashion. They are not slow.
You must know people who narrate stories in a way that they would give small details, and linger on, and yet hold the attention of everyone.
That is what I mean. There are details that you love reading about, and at the same time you are tapping your foot impatiently wanting to know what happens next.

There is pain and longing in these gems. And at times, hope.
There are surprises and twists too... a lingering mystery.
There are stories which are so painful you cringe, others that leave you with a very dim ray of hope (against hope),
The author manages to surprise you as the story ends. In a couple of the stories, I kind of guessed the right ending. But more often than not, I had no idea where the story would lead.

Some of the stories are very simple, truly. And yet so very moving.

The author can even make you feel compassion for an insensible, insensitive, nagging woman.

"Six years back he had gone to Bombay for a conference and had fallen in love with a girl. Few months later he confessed. The very next day Chitra bought two tickets to Bombay and dragging him by the scruff of his neck, landed in Bombay to confront the girl and her family. The girl might have taken the humiliation quietly had Chitra not made the mistake of berating her parents. She stood up from where she was sitting and spoke for ten minutes without a pause. When she finished, Chitra had her face buried in her palms, her husband was staring at his feet and the dog was snarling at them ominously. Her parents pretended they were elsewhere. Before booting them out, she told them she would keep the child."

Some stories are of ordinary, everyday struggles. Some are of incidents of exceptional pain or torment. The common thread amongst the stories is that they move you. They make you pause as you feel the ache of the characters, as you wish that things could be different. Yes, that's how engrossed you feel in the world of Rukhsat.

Besides writing poignant stories, the author writes moving dedication and acknowledgments too.
"...to those who shared their stories and left a little bit of themselves with me, inside of me."



The fact that these stories are the author’s take from A to Z challenge is inspiring and awe-striking. Coming out with such perfection from blogging must take a lot of passion and discipline.


These stories are interlinked, yet are complete stories in themselves. They are connected, because you’ll find characters from one story in another, thus adding more detail to the story, giving more insight.

The characters you get a glimpse of in one story become the central character in another, getting you to see the same story from another perspective, with more details.
The beauty of this is that not once did I feel that a story is not complete in itself. But once I read the 'add-on' story, and I go back to read the first one again, the horizon of 'complete' has expanded, it seems.
I am being vague and abstract and I can't think of another way to explain it.
The author describes it perfectly in the Preface. He says about his stories -
"Here are twenty-six of them, some standing alone, and some chatting up with their long lost friends."

The stories of Rukhsat are beautiful. Beautiful... I thought of looking for another word to replace this cliché, but I choose not to. After all, there is a touching simplicity in the words of Sujit Banerjee.


*  *  *

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 
Where a story stops, another one begins. The thing with them is, they never walk alone. They always walk with a group of friends. Each reaches its own climax. Then with a final gasp of mortality and despair, fade away. No, they never die, they multiply. To the extent that the original gets lost and new ones are born. Over and over again. Yes, they get lost. No, they never die. They live on, permanently etched in the book of time. And from there, we borrow them and bring them alive. Again. And again. Here are twenty six of them, some standing alone and some chatting up with their long lost friends. When they depart, they leave a lingering fragrance of nostalgia and curiosity. What happened then?

Twenty-six alphabets, twenty-six names, and twenty-six short stories. Each exploring one unique emotion, taking you into the dark recess of the mind. Some frothy and most of them dark. Most standing alone and some facing a mirror, where the same story comes alive in two different ways, through two different protagonist . Meet myriad characters - from the single-minded prostitute to the man on the railways station bereft of any memory; a woman desperate for a biological child to a dead man's trial. Meet a jealous lover with a twisted brain and a gay man's memory of a one-night encounter. Meet twenty-six such characters arrested and sentenced for life inside the pages of a book. Each one leaving an indelible mark on your soul.

Buy @
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*  *  *
Excerpt

Abhimanyu – In the Beginning

I felt the poison of anger raging around me, inside me, pulsating like an entity; anger at the one who betrayed and the one who took advantage of this betrayal. The anger of not being able to stop both. Then the flash of knife and the flowing blood, shimmering in the flames of the torches inside the chamber. Screams followed by hushed voices; bodies being dragged down a flight of stairs. The sound of digging and burying. Later, ruins all around as empires fell and one intrigue chased another through time while swords sliced and arrows whiz past, seeking hearts. Who was I and what was all this about? Why were most of the images that flitted through my head always dark and tinged with red? Rarely, very rarely were they warm and loving. So rarely were they, ever like the sun shining on a cold and shivering memory.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Born to Bengali parents in Lucknow, I grew up in Patna where I finished my post-graduation in Psychology and ended up becoming a tour operator instead of a Psychologist! Which was 
good since a Bengali born in UP and reared in Bihar does not make a great Psychologist! Am I now glad to be in tourism? It has taken me all over the world including places you would have never heard of. Eh? How about Tlacotalpan? It’s in Mexico.

Destiny had other plans as well so I became a reluctant healer. A crazy Shaman in Mexico set the ball rolling and it has rolled all the way to Delhi. Today I both heal as well as read Tarot cards. My wife thinks I am mad. My friends think I am weird. I guess I am both. 

My first story was published in a magazine when I was seventeen. The Editor made such a hash of it that I stopped sending out my stories but I continued writing. Then I broke my heart and started writing poems; first in Hindi and then in English. All personal collection. They still remain personal. I do shudder when I read some of them! Then the short stories came back and written over two years - now is a collection.

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Eiffel Tower - Haiku

Base of the Eiffel Tower - Image Source

his eyes travel
all the way up
metallic beauty

Beauty
forged from metal
Is this new age?

New age
Travel with the times
She whispered

©Nimi Arora

The Eiffel Tower - Image Source


Prompt by and Shared with -
Carpe Diem#969 France
http://chevrefeuillescarpediem.blogspot.in/2016/06/carpe-diem-969-france.html

Monday, 6 June 2016

Manneken Pis - Haiku

forever
I make you smile
my relief!

©Nimi Arora


Manneken Pis dressed as the mayor of Brussels
Image Source - Wikipedia (By ADLB - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0)
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Desire that overcomes pain of the past (Book Review - Summerita Rhayne's More Than Just Desire)


Title: More Than Just Desire
Author: Summerita Rhayne
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Summerita Rhayne's More Than Just Desire is an emotionally charged story of Arfaaz, a director in Film Industry, and Piya, a famous actress. So, obviously, the story is in the backdrop of Bollywood.

Arfaaz and Piya are kindred soul, with heart rendering experiences in their past. Although they have been married for years and lived together for the first six months of their married life, they don’t know each other.
They both have their secrets that they could never share with each other.

As More Than Just Desire starts, Piya is returning to Mumbai after having spent three years in Boston. She’s returning to the limelight of the life of Bollywood. She’s returning to the city where Arfaaz lives. She believes she can get back to the limelight, and severe her ties with Arfaaz.

Piya is back to come to terms with herself. With so many things that she loved and hated. The author has described her turmoil nicely.

What Piya hadn’t expected was Arfaaz’s insistence to her that she compensates for ‘having made a complete fool of him’.

Is there another reason for Arfaaz’s condition? Why did Piya really leave?

It is, as these questions are answered, that one gets involved in this tale.
There are many truths to their past, many layers to their feelings that are unraveled through this book of pain and passion.

Through the course of More Than Just Desire, the story of moves pretty effortlessly from past to present giving us glimpses of the past of the two, before the met each other and while they were together.
Certain incidents do seem as if they are a little hurried over. There are emotions which I feel I would have preferred to have relished more.

It took me a little while to understand what makes Piya the way she is. There are many contradictions about her that gave rather mixed signals to me as a reader.
But once I got to know her and Arfaaz, their story made for a good, engrossing read of sexual tension, emotional struggles, and the need to keep secrets.

The most intriguing thing about this story is that the two characters are unapologetically imperfect and the author makes you relate to them through her words.
It is a book that I will recommend to lovers of romance.

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



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BLURB


The Bollywood diva who ran away

Piya walked out of an explosive situation three years ago. She married Arfaaz for security but left him facing chaos she created. Now she's back in Bollywood and searching for the crown she gave up when she ran away. In the competitive world of starry glamour, the only way she can begin her career anew is to trash the past and get a divorce.

The man who wants her atonement

Arfaaz is determined to get his revenge on Piya for making a farce of their marriage and leaving him to face the mudslinging. He forces her to keep up the appearances and stay with him so she can play the loving wife and repent on her sins. But Piya drives him crazy with her antics. On the top of that, the attraction between them sizzles and threatens to make him forget reason.

A passionate conflict

Piya knows she has lessons to learn but she cannot let this man enter her heart. There is too much to risk and she cannot afford to forget the real reason she has come back. Success is her mantra and her worship. She can be faithful to only her goal...




Prologue

The limo slid through wrought iron gates and came to a stop in front of the entrance of the huge house designed like an ultra modern Italian villa.

‘I’m not getting out here. I’ve booked a room and I want to go to my hotel.’ She averted her gaze and stared straight ahead as Arfaaz held the door open. 

For answer, he paused. An inhalation expanded his chest, drawing her unwilling gaze. He’d discarded the ridiculous narrow jacket and the white dress shirt drew taut against his pectorals, sending something threatening and alien coiling through her. 

The next moment he’d swooped down and picked her up, taking advantage of her inattention. 

His hands went under her as he gathered her in his arms as easily as he would a bird in his hand. She had to duck her head to escape the side of the car and then he was slamming the door shut with a foot kick. 

‘How dare you!’ She flailed at him furiously, pent-up frustration escaping. ‘Let me go. Now!’

He was warm, too much so. She found her throat clogging for some unknown reason. 

Before she could react anymore, he let her slide down, but she was struggling and squirming so much, she lost her balance and fell, smack against his body. 

He stepped back as though she burned him and mortification swept over her skin at the implied rejection.  

‘You can’t force me to do what you want!’ she bit out, breathless from effort. 

‘I’ll get what I need to know out of you anyway I can.’

‘What do you want to know? Why am I here? Okay, I’ll tell you. It’s to lay down this ghost between us. This meaningless tie...’ She made a gesture to denote contempt and tipped up her chin at him. ‘I want a divorce, Arfaaz. And I want it as quickly as possible.’

‘Very well.’ The soft agreement dropped in the silence with thunderous force, like a rock thudding down from the mountain. ‘Don’t doubt it, Piya. You’ll get it.’


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR 


 Summerita Rhayne writes contemporary and historical romance with lots of emotional conflict. She first got published in 2013 and has won contests with prestigious publishers such as Harlequin and Harper Collins India. She firmly believes if the inspiration is strong enough, the story characters will find a way to make the writer pen them down, even when writing time is in short supply. When cerebrally confronted with the sizzling interaction of two Alpha characters, the only way to get peace is write their book!

At heart, she's a family person and even though she loves her medical teaching profession, she happily becomes a homemaker when not at work. She loves winding down with music, romcoms, cricket (strictly watching only) and social networking.

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