Category Archives: Books

BOOK REVIEW : The 365 Days

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TITLE: The 365 Days
AUTHOR: Nikhil Ramteke
PUBLISHER: Write India Publishers
GENRE: Fiction

THE BOOK

 

The 365 Days

 
 
BLURB

This is a story that falls through the crevices of pitiless anonymity, yet miraculously waits to be told.

Shijukutty, a Malayali fisherman, leaves his tiny hamlet of abject poverty in the coastal village of Vizhinjam on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala, that picturesque vignette of searing beauty on the south-western coast of India.

Shiju, like millions of other Malayalis, seeks his destiny in Dubai, that gleaming global hub of fortune on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf. What unfolds is a stirring story of distilled hardship, exploitation, identity, and friendship, and the heartbreaking choices Shiju is often forced to make.

So what he sees is not what he experiences when he lands in a world of glimmering towers, fast-paced life, and unabashed opulence. For what he was not prepared for was the dark underbelly of Dubai beyond the shimmering mirage.

Shiju’s life is no more the same. But he holds his ground, drawing on ancient instincts of his seafaring ancestry. As things settle down around him, he is inexorably pulled into the canyon of recession…

Will Shiju be able to hold on to his dreams? Will he able to pull out himself from the whirlpool? Will he survive against all odds? Will he redeem himself?

The 365 Days weaves a captivating tale about the countless Indians and other South-East Asian migrant labourers, who, in seeking to forge their destinies on that gleaming promontory of dreams, end up colliding with forces beyond their reckoning.

Nikhil Ramteke unfolds an extraordinary saga about Indian expatriates, their struggles, their alienation, and their dreams. The 365 Days is more than a story of a year in Shijukutty’s life.
 

REVIEW

 

STORY-LINE:- A simple plot told from the point of the protagonist a simple and humble soul, a fisherman, ‘The 365 Days’ is the saga of a major chunk of Indians working in the Middle- East. The fact that the story is nothing but the truth makes it endearing and at the same time opens our eyes to the untold miseries suffered by those who go there with high hopes only to find their dreams shattered.

There is a saying in Malayalam, “ ikkare nilkumbol akkare paccha,” meaning the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Same is the case with us Indians who believe that those working beyond our shores are well- off just because we happen to see their family suddenly lap in luxury, build multi-storeyed houses, go in for the latest gadgets, etc., etc. But how many of us are aware of the sweat, the tears and the toil that has gone into the ‘sudden rise in their stature.’

Shijukutty’s story also reveals another truth that is staring the face of all immigrants to the lands beyond our shores, the truth that one day they may have to return home, to unemployment and worse still debt not repaid. Some may have money to tide over a few months but the majority may return to a life worse than hell. Shijukutty was lucky that he had a loving wife who valued him above the money he sent home. Not all are that lucky. When dreams fall apart, palaces crumble like a pack of cards; relationships are bound to be the first casualty more so in today’s world where money rules and selfishness overpowers love.

There are dreams, there is truth. There is love, there is deceit. There is enmity; there is a sense of hopelessness. In fact ‘The 365 Days’ holds in its bosom a wide range of emotions. It is a saga of dreams unfulfilled, a saga of lives tossed to fend for themselves in the desert sand, a saga of tears and turmoil. It is a saga of the helpless immigrant trying to make a better living by making many a sacrifice only to find that his trials and tribulations are never ending. The light at the end of the tunnel is far from sight.

CHARACTERIZATION: – The characters are well- developed with all their imperfections. One can easily relate to the emotions, the actions and reactions of each one of them. They are not only relatable but reflect the various shades of human emotions naturally. While Shijukutty represents hope, Thavamani represents despair. Jabbar chettan comes across as a seasoned veteran who yearns for the love and care of his beloved ones, Chacko is the cynical one. In short the labour camp is a world in its own, a world where people of different shades, different virtues, different vice are thrown together, a place where people struggle to survive yet often do not lose that one attribute called humanity. You can be sure that there will be at least that one being that you can depend upon to give you a shoulder to weep upon.

LANGUAGE: – Simple and easy. No hard nuts to crack by way of unnecessary jargon. This is a great relief.

STYLE:- Fine.

PACE: – This is the only point I had a problem with. Too much of unnecessary detail at places slowed down the pace at times.

EDITING:- Needs to be tightened at places.

VERDICT

A well- researched book within which life in the coastal belt of Kerala is captured beautifully and the Malayalam dialogues, etc. are spot on. I’ll give the book a 3 on a scale of 5.


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BUYING LINKS

amazon.in II pustakmandi


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THE AUTHOR

NIKHIL RAMTEKE

Born & brought up in Nagpur Maharashtra, Nikhil Ramteke is an M-Tech in Chemical Technology and is currently working as a Production Manager in a leading multinational FMCG giant -IFFCO, since 8 years. A multi-faceted personality, Nikhil Ramteke is a qualified painter, nominated photographer & an avid traveller. The 365 days is his debut novel.

Want to know more about him?

To connect via fb click HERE

To connect via twitter clickHERE

#BookReview: 1857 Dust of Ages Vol 1: A Forgotten Tale

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TITLE: 1857 Dust of Ages Vol 1: A Forgotten Tale
AUTHOR: Vandana Shanker
PUBLISHER: Amazon- Asia Pacific
GENRE: Fiction ( Historical)

THE BOOK

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1857. The rebellion erupts in India. Despite its attempts to stay aloof, NAVGARH, a small town near Delhi, is drawn into the conflagration. And at its heart are Princess Meera and Captain Richard Smith, with their strange alliance made for the throne of Navgarh.

2016, Shiv Sahai, a young Indian art historian and Ruth Aiken, a British scholar discover an excerpt from the journal of an anonymous British soldier, searching for his wife in the chaos of 1857 Delhi. As they begin investigating the scandal, they become aware of the vague rumours that are told in the bylanes of Navgarh – about a princess who married a British soldier to save her kingdom

MY TAKE

The story a short read, told in two different timelines is well-spun and riveting from the word ‘go.’ There is history, romance, intrigue and rebellion but……… the end is abrupt, meaning the reader will have to wait for the sequel to know more of the protagonists, their strange alliance, the fate of Navgarh, the result of Shiv Sahai’s research, etc., etc.

The character of Shiv Sahai and Ruth Aiken the Indian and British Scholars are well fleshed out. While Shiv comes across as one not easy to comprehend and a person who fiercely guards his secrets, Ruth is shrewd.

One gets only a glimpse into the characters of Meera and Captain Richard Smith the protagonists of the story of the strange alliance. Hence it’s premature to comment on them.

The language is simple, crisp and lucid while the style of narration and pace are perfect.

VERDICT

A simple read, one that’s sure to arouse your curiosity and leave you hungry to gorge on the sequel, 1857 Dust of Ages Vol 1: A Forgotten Tale scores a 3 on 5 from me.


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BUYING LINKS

amazon.in II amazon.com

#Spotlight : Her Secret Husband by Sundari Venkatraman

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HER SECRET HUSBAND
(Marriages Made in Heaven Book #3)
by
Sundari Venkatraman


Blurb

The Maheshwaris are back, a little secretly this time!

What do you do if you find a man who looks like chocolate, speaks like warm syrup, looks at you like you were the most precious cake ever created, and he can bake too? You marry him, even if in secret.

Ruma Malhotra falls head over heels and a little more in love with Lakshman Maheshwari, but her parents insist that she marry a rich businessman of their choice. When Ruma’s only option is to marry Lakshman in secret, she is left torn between her love for her parents and her passion for Lakshman. Is a secret marriage the solution or will it lead the way to a public disappointment?

Lakshman Maheshwari falls in love with Ruma Malhotra the first time he sets his eyes on her in Ranveer’s office. Will he agree to marry Ruma in secret even if it means betraying his parents?

Psst… Those who have read THE MALHOTRA BRIDE might be happy to reconnect with Sunita & Akshay Malhotra in this one. 

*MARRIAGES MADE IN INDIA is a five-novella series that revolves around the characters you have met in The Runaway Bridegroom.


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Read an excerpt from #HSH
“What’s up?” he asked, trying to keep the situation light.
She winked at him. “Shouldn’t I be asking that question?” she asked, looking pointedly down at his lower body.
Reacting to her flirtation, his manhood immediately sprang to action, making Lakshman swear. “Cut that out, Ruma,” he growled, sidestepping her as she would’ve wrapped her arms around him. “I need a shower,” he insisted, not meeting her eyes. He went into the bathroom and locked himself in. The place smelled of Ruma. Cursing, Lakshman stood under the cold shower to tame his libido. She looked like she meant business. How could he convince her to wait till they got married? He dried himself with the towel that was on a rack, glaring at the mirror. He needed a shave. But no, they weren’t going to make love, so it didn’t really matter. Just then he realised that he would have to step out in the towel as his clothes were in the wardrobe. Swearing again, Lakshman walked into the bedroom.
“Laki,” called out Ruma, eyeing him avidly. Fascinated, she got up from the bed and walked up to him. He appeared like a Greek God with his chiselled body that was still damp from the shower. 
She stood close to him and raised her left hand to caress his rough cheek. Her right hand was hooked into his towel as if she was going to pull it off him any second. Lakshman clamped his hand on hers, his fingers holding the towel firmly. “No!”
“Huh?!” She looked deeply into his eyes, her brown gaze like melted cocoa, inviting him to make love to her. Her mouth was pouted deliciously, glistening wetly, begging for a kiss. Lakshman groaned deep in his throat, letting go of her hand to wrap his arms around her. He placed his lips on hers, sucking her upper lip. She tasted as sweet as honey, driving him crazy. His right hand moved down the curve of her hip to touch a thigh. He traced the curve, working his way under her nightshirt to encounter her bare bottom.
“Ruma.” He deliberately removed his hands off her and raised his head to look at her.
She stared back at him with slumberous eyes. “What?” A small frown puckered her forehead.
“We’ll make love after we get married,” he declared.
“What if I don’t agree?”
“I’ll have to beg, right?” he grinned weakly. “Please, my love. You know your parents won’t agree to a marriage between us. Doesn’t it make sense to wait until after the event?”
“What if I want you desperately?” She nuzzled his neck, her teeth taking a sharp nip.
Lakshman groaned again, his arms crushing her to his chest. “Do you love me or just lust after my body?”
“Can’t I do both?” 



Grab your copy @

About the author


Her Secret Husband is the tenth book authored by Sundari Venkatraman. This is a hot romance and is Book #3 of the 5-novella series titled Marriages Made in India. Book #1 of the series is The Smitten Husband & Book #2 is His Drunken Wife. 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 shorts called Matches Made in Heaven; and a collection of human interest stories called Tales of Sunshine. All of Sundari Venkatraman’s books are on Amazon Top 100 Bestsellers in India, USA, UK, Canada & Australia under both #romance & #drama categories.

Books by the author


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#Spotlight: Doppelganger by Prateek Yadav

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THE DOPPELGANGER
by
Prateek Yadav


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The perfect plan for the perfect heist-a team of con-men, foolproof disguise and a painting worth millions, nothing could have gone wrong. But something did… A man fnds himself on a bus to Manali with nothing but some cash and severe memory loss . Embarking on a frantic hunt for his identity, he begins to discover that his presence in Manali isn’t an accident. The closer he gets to the truth, the more elusive it becomes. Ghosts from his past haunt him as he finds himself trapped between his doppelganger, the police, a sadistic gangster and his own dwindling sanity. The journey of the search for his identity ends up being a race for survival.

Grab  your copy @

Amazon India | Flipkart

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About the author


Prateek Yadav was born and raised in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. He graduated in economics at IIT Kanpur, and is currently working at Cognizant, Bangalore. He is an avid fiction reader with a keen inclination towards mystery and thrillers. Besides writing he also enjoys sketching and painting. The Doppelganger is his first published novel. 

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#BookReview : A Walk in the Rain

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TITLE: A Walk in the Rain
AUTHOR: Udai Yadla
PUBLISHER: Partridge Publishing India
GENRE: Fiction (Romance)

THE BOOK

walk

BLURB

Love is elixir that keeps you alive. Love is poison that kills you. Unreciprocated love keeps you alive but kills every day.

Heartbroken Sunny lives a reclusive life, trapped in the past, living in his memories. He has no complaints about his life but refuses to embrace the present.

Saloni is a prostitute who is desperate to earn money by any means. She does not care about exploiting others to fulfil her purpose.

Fate unites the loner and the prostitute to embark on a life changing journey of retribution and self discovery.

Lovelorn Sunny turns misogynistic after Sandy, the only girl he loved walks away from his life, unannounced. He suffers painful solitude for almost two decades with the relentless haunting of her thoughts. A distressed friend Imran, vows to change his life forever. A surprise planned for his birthday turns into a tragedy that claims the life of his dear friend, triggering a series of unbelievable events. As Imran gets killed by a stranger, Sunny’s calm life suddenly turns into a turbulent storm. With nothing left to live for, vengeance becomes his ultimate mission. His reluctant alliance with a prostitute to trace the killer sets him onto a nerve racking adventure of life and death.

Both are bound to a common goal with different motives but destiny has its own motive. A walk in the rain is an intricate tale of intense emotions, driven by hair raising twists and turns.

MY TAKE

STORY-LINE/ PLOT: Interesting, intriguing and engaging. Yet somewhere in the middle I knew what to expect. Hence I’ll not categorize this book under the mystery genre. Instead I’ve put it under the romance genre because a major part of it goes to showcase the budding love between the protagonist and his lost love Sandy.

There are twists, heartburns and of course a bit of violence. But hold on. This violence has got nothing to do with the protagonist’s love life. Instead it is connected with something entirely different. But then I’ll leave it to you to find out. 🙂

CHARACTERIZATION: Characters are well fleshed out. Each one is complex by nature. But then it is their life events that have made them what they are. To understand them one has to understand the underlying emotions that are slowly exposed as one progresses with the story. Each one acts his/ her part well and that in itself is a plus point. It helps one to relate to their actions and reactions.

LANGUAGE , PACE & STYLE: Language is simple .Pace is perfect and the style needs a bit of fine- tuning.

THEN WHAT DID NOT CLICK?

EDITING: Needs to be tightened. Typos and grammatical errors took away a bit of the sheen.

VERDICT

The book is an enjoyable read filled with action, romance and a little suspense. It’s one that you can pick up on a lazy afternoon. I’ll give it a 3 on a scale of 5.


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BUYING LINKS

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BOOK BLITZ: THWARTED ESCAPE by Lopamudra Banerjee

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THWARTED ESCAPE
An Immigrant’s Wayward Journey

by

Lopamudra Banerjee



Blurb


How far can one truly go away from his/her ancestral roots, filial ties and the claustrophobic grip of traditions and the reminiscence of an emotionally fraught childhood and puberty? The book begins with this particular quest, and it is this quest which gains momentum as a woman seeks the essence of herself-identity ten thousand miles away from her Bengali hometown.

 

With the lens of a time-traveler, her narrative journey encompasses her first sexual abuse, her first tryst with death, austerity, the strangeness of rituals, the inexplicable feelings of puberty and also her surrendering to love, procreation, motherhood. In herself-chosen exile in the US, she discovers that deep within; her ancestral roots are also the wellspring of her psychological, spiritual existence. In the process, she keeps on oscillating between assimilating and disintegrating, which forms the core of her journey. 

Order your copy @

Amazon.com               Amazon.in                Flipkart


About the Author

Lopamudra Banerjee is a writer, poet, editor and translator, currently based in Dallas, USA. She is the co-editor of Defiant Dreams: Tales of Everyday Divas, published by Readomania in collaboration with Incredible Women of India. She has also been the Creative Editor of Incredible Women of India and Deputy editor of the e-zine Learning & Creativity.

Thwarted Escape, her debut nonfiction novel/memoir has been First Place Category Winner at the Journey Awards 2014 hosted by Chanticleer Reviews and Media LLC, USA. Her literary works have appeared at numerous literary journals and anthologies (print and online), both in India and the US. Her poetry, fiction and nonfiction and also translation works are regularly published in Setu, the international bilingual journal, Cafe Dissensus, Different Truths, Readomania.com and other publications. She has received the Reuel International Award 2016 for her English translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s novella Nastanirh (The Broken Home) instituted by The Significant League, a renowned literature group in Facebook.


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#BOOK REVIEW: The Doppelgänger

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TITLE: The Doppelgänger
AUTHOR: Prateek Yadav
PUBISHER: Aksamala
GENRE:Fiction (Thriller)

THE BOOK

dop

BLURB

The perfect plan for the perfect heist-a team of con-men, foolproof disguise and a painting worth millions, nothing could have gone wrong. But something did…

A man fnds himself on a bus to Manali with nothing but some cash and severe memory loss .

Embarking on a frantic hunt for his identity, he begins to discover that his presence in Manali isn’t an accident. The closer he gets to the truth, the more elusive it becomes. Ghosts from his past haunt him as he finds himself trapped between his doppelganger, the police, a sadistic gangster and his own dwindling sanity.

The journey of the search for his identity ends up being a race for survival.

MY TAKE

STORY-LINE/ PLOT: Interesting, intriguing and engaging, The Doppelgänger has all the elements required to make a psychological thriller connect with its readers. There are places where one gets confused/ wonders where the story is leading to. But then I guess it’s all a part of creating a web to ensnare the reader pull him/ her to the core of the story and keep him/ her hooked till the end.

There are twists and turns that keep one guessing the true identity of the protagonist, his motives, his enemies and his past. Just when one believes that one has solved the puzzle, one comes across a missing piece that makes the puzzle more complicated. In short, this is one book where it’s best to have patience and wait till the end to get one’s answers.

CHARACTERIZATION: The characters being mysterious, one can’t say exactly who is what. But then again this adds to the suspense that the author has set out to create. The confusion, frustration and helplessness of the protagonist on not knowing his true identity is one we can all relate to. His character is well fleshed out.

LANGUAGE, PACE AND STYLE: The language is simple, the pace is perfect and the style is one that suits me.

VERDICT

A book that’s sure to keep the reader guessing and engaged till the end, I’ll give The Doppelgänger
a 4 on a scale of 5.


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BUYING LINKS

amazon.in // flipkart

#Spotlight : Walk in the Rain by Udai Yalda

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A WALK IN THE RAIN
by 
Udai Yadla


Blurb

Love is elixir that keeps you alive. Love is poison that kills you. Unreciprocated love keeps you alive but kills every day.

Heartbroken Sunny lives a reclusive life, trapped in the past, living in his memories. He has no complaints about his life but refuses to embrace the present.

Saloni is a prostitute who is desperate to earn money by any means. She does not care about exploiting others to fulfill her purpose.

Fate unites the loner and the prostitute to embark on a life changing journey of retribution and self discovery.

Lovelorn Sunny turns misogynistic after Sandy, the only girl he loved walks away from his life, unannounced. He suffers painful solitude for almost two decades with the relentless haunting of her thoughts. A distressed friend Imran, vows to change his life forever. A surprise planned for his birthday turns into a tragedy that claims the life of his dear friend, triggering a series of unbelievable events. As Imran gets killed by a stranger, Sunny’s calm life suddenly turns into a turbulent storm. With nothing left to live for, vengeance becomes his ultimate mission. His reluctant alliance with a prostitute to trace the killer sets him onto a nerve racking adventure of life and death.

Both are bound to a common goal with different motives but destiny has its own motive. A walk in the rain is an intricate tale of intense emotions, driven by hair raising twists and turns.

Read an excerpt from the book…
Surya woke up to the symphonic pattering of the incessant rain drops on his bedroom window panes. He dragged himself to the window in a hypnopompic daze and sat on a chair beside. He pushed opened the window and stared outside to witness the magic of the tender rain. It, actually, was a magical sight.
The tiny specks of rain slapping the leaves of the trees and the leaves swaying to the tune of the rain droplets
 The fresh sprouts of the fluorescent green leaves peeking out through the nodes of the branches
Chirping of the sparrows sheltered in their nests
The fragrant aroma of the rain permeating the cool breeze
And the cool breeze seeping in through the window, forcing him to fetal position, gently caressing him
It was magical indeed. The ringing of his phone at the table near him attempted to disturb his dreamy experience. He silenced it without even looking at it and continued to enjoy the blissful beauty of the pluvial charm. There was a mystic bond between the two. He sat at the window, silently staring at the rain as if he was deciphering a coded message. The ringing of his phone interrupted him again. He didn’t ignore the call this time. He shrugged in exasperation as he picked the phone. His frustration vanished when he knew who was calling. He smiled as he looked at the calling number.
“Hey Sunny boy… What took you so long?” screamed a voice at the other end, as he attended the call.
He had a close circle of very few friends, who call him Sunny. Others didn’t know his nickname. He maintained formal relationship with the rest from his old friends circle. He had to move away from the window to make the call as the sound of the rain was a disturbance to the caller. He had a short call with his friend, desperate to go back to his private conversation with the rain.
When he returned, he observed that the pattering of the rain drops had ceased its long and continuous endeavor. Sunny dropped his phone on the table and looked at the clock.
‘Damn it… The rain tricked me once again.” He was late to his office.
He rushed to the bathroom and finished his daily chores in record time. Skipping his breakfast, which had almost become a habit for him, he wore a pant and shirt, carelessly picked from his modest wardrobe. He didn’t even look at the mirror to check how he looked. He didn’t care.
As he rushed out snatching his bag from the shelf, he made an abrupt stop at the window. He stared at the droplets clinging on the window pane as he slowly walked up to the window. He then connected the droplets form the word ‘SANDY’ on the pane and his lips curved into a smile on his bushy bearded face without his knowledge, which he noticed in the reflection on the window pane.

  Grab your copy @

Amazon.in | Amazon.com 
Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com.au |
Amazon.ca

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About the author




Udai Yadla is a passionate author and poet. Mechanical engineer by education, Software engineer by profession, Writer by passion. Owing to his job, he travelled to various cities, socializing with people of different cultures. He cultivated interest in learning more about people, which perhaps enticed him into the study of human psychology. His interest in psychology is evident in his writings. His first book ‘A walk in the rain’ is widely appreciated equally by critics and peers. He has been nominated for Forbes India Celebrity 100 List. He is the most sought after author among young breed of authors. He is currently working on his next novel, which is a psychological thriller.

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Book Blitz : A Way Back Into Love by Veronica Thatcher

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Blurb

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? 

Grab your copy @

About the author


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. 

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#GuestPost : Rubina Ramesh Speaking

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Hello friends,

Today I’m hosting Ms. Rubina Ramesh, Author of

9b3ae-knittedtalescover find

First a short intro. to the lady herself:

rubina-1

A voracious reader, writer, blogger, book reviewer and marketer, Rubina Ramesh is the founder of The Book Club, an online book publicity group. Her first literary work was published in her school magazine at the age of eight.

Rubina is at present settled in the desert state of USA, Arizona and is active on twitter

Rubina blogs at www.rubinaramesh.com/

Just click on Knitted Tales and Finding The Angel to know about her writings, readers opinion and buying links.

My query: “What makes or mars a piece of writing?

Rubina:

Hi Geeta,

A tough question indeed. 🙂 As a storyteller, my mind functions in a different way but as a reviewer, my eyes searches for different quotients in a story. Sadly, my two alter egos are not friends. 😛 I envy those whose inner editors stay awake while they write. I, for one, need to kill it.

Before I answer your question, I have one for you. Would you love a story with a beautiful language and no soul or a soulful story with grammatical errors? As far as I know you, neither. They are like two sides of the same coin that makes the coin useful. But strangely, for many, difficult to achieve. (This is where one always needs a good editor.)

Many of us concentrate so much on the ‘artistic language’ or on the ‘show and tell’ syndrome that they forget one important thing – the journey of the protagonist who actually carries the soul of the writer along with her or him. For me, that is very important. That instant connection I should have with a character – whether as a writer or as a reader, I need that connection or reading a story is very tough for me. You should either love a character or hate a character – but never let a reader ignore your character. If you do that, you’ve lost a reader. So for me before language, before construction of the story- the soul of the author should be present in the story. Stories anyone can write while the soul only a few can share with the readers.

“My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.” — Ayn Rand

When I had read this line in during my school days, it stayed with me for a long time. I started noting little incidents in life. I thought if I had honesty in my writing, I will be half a decent writer if not a famous one. But then one stranger wrote to me after reading my article in a local publication. According to him, I wrote well but there was no drama or the word he used was ‘punch’ in my stories. I was just 8 years old. I didn’t know what punch was. But I understood one thing – writing about your life is a diary but when you fictionalize those incidents and make them larger than life – they become a fiction. And Geeta, that is not wrong. A person who is spending $2.99 for my books- they would want to forget their problems for a few hours and walk in a make belief world a writer has created. I have created. Even the biographies need to be larger than life projections. Or why would I want to know about anyone’s daily life – I have one of my own, thank you 🙂 And this is the very reason why we need a soul in every story.

And I wind up :

Rubina you are spot on. A story without a soul is as good as deadwood. Looking forward to reading more from your desk.

Thanks a lot.


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