Sunday, October 19, 2014

An Isolated Incident by Soniah Kamal : A Review


An Isolated Incident

BOOK TITLE: An Isolated Incident

ISBN: 9788172345327

AUTHOR: Soniah Kamal

GENRE: Fiction

NUMBER OF PAGES:  400

FORMAT: Paperback

SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone

REVIEW BY: Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review Copy from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. We thank Fingerprint Publishing for the same.

SUMMARY: Zari Zoon, a vivacious girl from Kashmir, is looking forward to marrying her fiance when tragedy strikes. Next thing she know, she is on a plane to America to stay with distant relatives who have offered to give her a temporary home to help her stitch back the tatters of her life.

Billy Nabi, fiercely tender-hearted, longs to help Zari but the choices he makes will jeopardise them all.
An Isolated Incident is a story of haunting memories and yearnings of a home lost, of a faith continuously tested and questioned and of a love that blossoms against all odds

REVIEW:

 I’ve always regretted not visiting Kashmir when I had the opportunity to do so. My dad resided in Jammu for quite some time and used to describe its endless beauty. He obviously left out the ugly injustice being served to this beautiful place. Since then, I’ve had this fascination with Jammu & Kashmir. Of course, I always knew that beneath the beauty lies a state marred by wars and ridden with unspeakable sorrow. Having never read a proper literature account associated with J&K, I was more than eager to read this book.

The story is a about a simple Kashmiri girl Zari who loses her family and undergoes a major trauma. She then relocates to USA under the ruse of pursing her education. Her life changes dramatically after Billy comes to her rescue. But then, Billy has his own share of emotional baggage in the form of a burdening past to handle. I can’t possibly elaborate more about the story for I would be depriving the reader of a life changing experience.

The narration is filled with raw emotions. It’s been long since a book affected me in such a way. Reading a tale of unspeakable and horrendous injustice experienced by a woman left me choking with unspeakable sorrow. Zari’s narration seemed so realistic that I truly wondered if this story wasn’t a figment of imagination.

I really wouldn’t believe that this writer is actually a rookie to Lit Business.  The narration, the plot and portrayal of emotions were almost perfect. If at all I had to find a flaw, it would be with Billy’s story line. I could connect with his feeling of  lost identity, but his decision to flee USA didn’t pack a punch for me as it normally should. This could be attributed to a slight slack in narration in that part of the story.

The characterization was perfect and all the characters had so many facets that at one point I wondered if they were actually modeled after real people.  Again, if I really had to find a negative with characterization, it would be with that of Zari’s. A trauma obviously changes a person’s character. I couldn’t understand much of Zari’s character before that “life altering” incident. 

The cover deserves a special mention. It clearly depicts the beauty of Kashmir but in shades of Brown, which obviously signifies the struggle and injustice. 

This book changed my perception of Kashmiris and made me understand why they would actually want a separate country.

The book also re-emphasized a lesson that my parents drilled in me. Love and compassion are the ultimate medicine to any trauma.

VERDICT: A must read for all who whine about the injustice of life. Definitely not for the faint hearted.

RATING: 4.9 on 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Soniah Kamal was born in Karachi and grew up in London-Jeddah-Lahore and resides in the US where she has called myriad States home. At present she lives in Georgia where Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone with the Wind, Flannery O’ Connor kept pet peacocks and Alice Walker set The Color Purple. Soniah has a BA in Philosophy from St. John’s College where she received the Susan B. Irene Award and is earning an MFA from Georgia State University where she is the 2014 Paul Bowles Fellow in Fiction. Soniah's work is published or forthcoming in the Rumpus, Huffington Post, xoJane, Bengal Lights, Sugar Mule, various anthologies and more. She enjoys long strolls around koi ponds, doodling forests of curlicues. She cannot resist the drumbeat of a dhol and her talisman is a globe in any shape of size. Her favorite activity is time traveling through books. Soniah has shared her life with a sandy dog, a silky cat, two ginuea pigs, one long haired and one short haired, frogs as big as thumbnails, and a multitude of budgies and betta fish red, blue, green and yellow.

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Paperback

PRICE: Rs.200 (Papeback)


BOOK LINKS: http://www.amazon.in/Isolated-Incident-Soniah-Kamal/dp/8172345321/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1413654192&sr=1-1&keywords=9788172345327

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Love Lasts Forever : Only if you don't marry your love By Vikrant Khanna : A Review


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BOOK TITLE: Love Lasts Forever

ISBN: 938266517X

AUTHOR: Vikrant Khanna

GENRE: Fiction -Romance

NUMBER OF PAGES: 248

FORMAT: Paperback

SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone

REVIEW BY: Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK:  This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program and Blog Tours.  To get free books log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com"

SUMMARY :

So you think your love can last forever…?

Get married! Eighteen-year-old Ronit falls madly in love with Aisha the moment he meets her at his graduation day from a naval college. He believes he has found his perfect soul mate, and come what may, his love for her will last forever.

Seven years later, he gets married to her. Big mistake! A week later, he completely hates her and believes she has turned into a
devil.

But his perception about love and life change when he hears the poignant love story of Shekhar, his Captain, on a ship that later gets hijacked by the pirates of Somalia.

As they are left fighting for their lives; they confront if love truly can last forever…? Or does it get too late

REVIEW:

This book has been doing rounds in Facebook like forever. I always wondered how a book with that title and tag line got famous. The title and the tag line ticked me off : Love lasts forever – Only if you don’t marry your love. That statement misleading and sort of contradicts the summary. Curiosity got the better of me and I signed up for me as soon as this book came up for review from Readers Cosmos. Thankfully, after I finished reading the book, the title was justified( though it turned out to be a bit ironical).

The book back summary is rather well phrased which saves reviewers like me from the explaining what the story is all about without divulging the plot. Our protagonist is a sea farer who narrates the story partially while being captured by pirates of Somalia. The narration switches between his past, present and that of his captain’s past. There is always a factor of risk with time bound and character bound switch in narratives. I’ve read books by writers who messed up with emotions by switching timelines in the narration leaving me with a blinding headache. Thankfully, this writer sure got the switch bang on.

I felt Captain Shekar’s story was rather well written when compared to that of our protagonist’s story. This could be attributed to a fact that the writer actually completed Shekar’s story after a prolonged gap in the narrative.

Being a short fuse, I was almost prepared to throw this book out of nearest window during that part of the story when Ronit believes it’s his entire wife’s fault that their relationship has gone kaput after wedding. Why does the wife always have to “adjust” with the tantrums thrown by her SIL/MIL? Why can’t the husband actually understand that the poor girl has left her home and needs time adapting? That episode where our protagonist’s love walks out and he doesn’t really care was well written (which obviously is the reason behind “throw-the-book-out” feeling). I concluded that the writer was just another chauvinist who vented his feelings through his writing only to realise I was an absolute fool for the climax of the story blew me away (er…..I can’t tell why for that would give away the story!).

Amongst all the positives, the one thing that didn’t really impress me was the whole kidnapping drama. I couldn’t really connect with all the emotion that a person might actually undergo while being kidnapped at gun point by pirates.

The writing was simple and clean conveying all emotions intended but sort of slacked during with whole kidnapping scenario. I finished reading the book flat in day for the narration kept me hooked.

VERDICT: Intense emotions, addictive narration, why not?!

RATING: 4.3 on 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A sailor by profession and a writer by passion.

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Paperback, Digital

PRICE: Rs.114


BOOK LINKS: http://www.amazon.in/Love-Lasts-Forever-Only-marry-ebook/dp/B00LK1UZ94/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

P.S. Here is a video that features the writer! Enjoy listening.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Under My Skin (Bistro La Bohème Book 2) by Alix Nichols : A Review

BOOK TITLE: Under My Skin (Bistro La Bohème Book 2)


ISBN: 1500502537

AUTHOR: Alix Nichols

GENRE: Fiction - Romance

NUMBER OF PAGES: 180

FORMAT: Digital

SERIES / STANDALONE: Bistro La Bohème Book 2

REVIEW BY: Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review Copy as a part of NjKinny book tours

SUMMARY : "UNDER MY SKIN" - a delightful Parisian version of "Four Weddings and a Funeral" - will entertain you with a gripping story, endearing characters and sizzling romance.

Feisty bartender Jeanne and geek-turned-hottie Mat embark on an emotional and sensual roller coaster, as their paths cross at an engagement party, a baptism and a wedding... not counting all the other times they "accidentally" run into each other. 

UNDER MY SKIN is the second novel in the Bistro La Bohème series. It can be read as a standalone

REVIEW:

Having read the previous book in the series I quite knew what to expect from the writer. The story line is more or less like an extension of her first book or what Americans term as a “spin off”.

The protagonist of this book in the series, Jeane didn’t play  much of a role apart from being portrayed as Leena’s friend who has a taste for “wrong sort of man” and has this “gothic” addiction. Apparently she is a changed woman in this edition. Of course, we need a suitable hero for our “reinvented” protagonist. Enter Mat, the geek who couldn’t garner a second look from our protagonist in the previous book. He suddenly “grows” in to this ‘oh-so-desirable-hunk’ (apparently a “later bloomer” in our writer’s words). They are virtually like Tom & Jerry only to end up being heads over heels in love with each other.

To me, the story line seemed to be almost the mirror of her previous book. May be that can be attributed to the recurring theme of ‘does he love me? Does he love me not?’. To a seasoned reader with an insatiable appetite for unpredictable twists this book proved to be a through disappointment. I couldn’t help but draw similarities between Leena & Rob’s story and that of Jeane’s and Mat’s. Though the latter was a less intense and uncomplicated when juxtaposed with that of Leena’s & Rob’s story, the similarities were simply too much.

Much to my disappointment, the writer didn’t describe the backdrop of the story much. In sense, the whole Paris charm was missing. Moreover, I strongly believe Paris would be the perfect backdrop of an Intense romance unlike this story.

In spite of the above mentioned shortcomings, the book still turned out to be a nice light summer sort of read.

VERDICT: Not bad. Not good.


RATING: 3 on 5

Under My Skin by Alix Nichols



~Praise for Alix Nichols' books~

"All the hallmarks of a good romance, and a lovely Parisian setting in the form of the quirky La Bohème cafe and its circle of patrons."  -- 5 stars, The Midwest Book Review

"Fans of new adult and romance will devour this debut to the Bistro la Bohème series. Rob and Lena's story is such a hoot to read that most won't want it to end." -- 4 stars (Compelling), RT Book Reviews

"Stunning, beautifully written romance" -- 5 stars, Amazon reviewer

 Under My Skin by Alix Nichols
~About the Book~
Title: Under My Skin (Bistro La Boheme #2)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 11

Blurb:
UNDER MY SKIN is the second novel in the addictive BISTRO LA BOHEME series. This delightful Parisian version of "Four Weddings and a Funeral" will entertain you with a gripping story, endearing characters and sizzling romance.

A tall well-dressed guy entered the bistro, dripping rain and hotness. He stopped by the door and surveyed the room searching for someone, his gaze lingering on the females...until it met Jeanne's. He beamed and walked toward her, his eyes trained on her and full of warmth. Did he know her? Was she supposed to know him?


Feisty bartender Jeanne and geek-turned-hottie Mat embark on an emotional and sensual roller coaster, as their paths cross at an engagement party, a baptism and a wedding... not counting all the other times they "accidentally" run into each other.


And miserably fail to behave with propriety.


But Mat is an ambitious politician running for mayor of his hometown and going steady with an exquisite woman. He knows exactly where he wants to be five years from now.


Falling for Jeanne all over again is definitely NOT part of his plan.

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22827080-under-my-skin?from_search=true



~My Review~
<place ur review here>

~Buying Links~
Amazon: Paperback | Kindle

If you'd like to read Book 1 in the BISTRO LA BOHEME series, now is the time! WHAT IF IT'S LOVE? is on sale for $0.99 on October 11 - 16 (75% off): Amazon | Amazon IN


~Meet the Author~
I am an avid reader of chick lit, romance and fantasy, caffeine addict and a badge-wearing Mr. Darcy/Colin Firth fan. 

I released my first book at the age of six. It had six postcard-size pages stitched together and bound in velvet paper. The book was titled "Eliza and Robert" and had atrocious mistakes in every single word. Some words were written in mirror image. Unintentionally. I remember being immensely proud of my creation. 

Turns out there's a remarkable constancy to my life: decades later, I still love the name Robert and the genre romance. As for my spelling and grammar, they are only marginally better than at age six (thank God for editors!). 

I live and work in Paris, France. When not writing, I read romance (what else?) and spend time with my family. 

Follow Alix Nichols:

~Bistro La Boheme Series~
Book 0.5You're the One by Alix Nichols
Buy from: Amazon | Amazon IN
Book 1What If It's Love? by Alix Nichols
Buy From: Amazon | Amazon IN
Book 2Under My Skin by Alix Nichols
Buy From: Amazon

~Giveaway 1~
Win $15 Amazon GC!
Open Worldwide.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

~Giveaway 2~
Win 2 Print copies of Under My Skin
https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/108619-under-my-skin


~Tour Organizer~

Njkinny Tours & Promotions

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Beginning With Forever by Lan LLP : A Review


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BOOK TITLE: Beginning With Forever

ISBN: B00IGDJNSS

AUTHOR: Lan LLP

GENRE: Fiction - Romance

NUMBER OF PAGES: 486

FORMAT: Digital  - Epub

SERIES / STANDALONE:  Series – Forever #1

REVIEW BY: Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK:  Review Copy as a part of NJKinny book tours.

SUMMARY : “Carson, I’m freely offering myself to you right now. Please,” I plead fearlessly. I’m shameless and not above begging for him to take my body. Who is this sex-craved woman anyways? 

“Sweetness, you’re making it very difficult for me to resist you, to control myself.” He lowers himself intimately close to graze his soft, moist lips on my forehead, bridge of my nose and then intensely over my lips. The urgency of his need for me is translated through his kisses. Biting down firmly on his lower lip, it appears that he’s forcing the strength of his will to remain tame. Our eye contact is broken when he seals his shut to blind the temptation lying underneath his body. His hands grip the sheets desperately, clawing and then fisting. I think this is his last hope of hanging onto his dignity. “Goodnight Lily, only offer your body to me when you believe it in your heart,” he murmurs and rolls off of me. Lying flat on his back, he attempts to steady his labored breathing. 

Love isn’t easy to forget even if you’re determined to never feel it again. It has a way of finding you when all hope is gone, resurfacing tender emotions you’ve buried deep in your core because the pain of acknowledging them is too much for you to handle. 

Carson Bradley, CEO of a powerful pharmaceutical corporation is rich beyond boundaries with a missing soul. His heart faded away fifteen years ago with the death of his first love. He strives every day for the sake of his cancer research because he’s determined to eradicate cancer forever. 

Lillian Ly is a humble, young medical student whose kind and generous heart is as vast as the universe. Being raised poor by a single parent; she matured quickly and respected the sacrifices her mother made for her. Lillian’s determination leads her down a stringent five-year path with no room for love. 

When their paths cross at an unlikely place thousands of miles away from home, they both realize that fate has brought them together, and Carson will never let anything or anyone tear them apart. He knows how desolate life is without love and refuses to return to that dark place ever again. 

Lillian enters Carson’s world with the purest intention of loving him with all her heart, but discovers that his volatile world will alter her uncomplicated life indefinitely. Regardless of what obstacles are thrown in their path, Lillian and Carson will endure them all to hold onto their forever from the beginning to the end. 

REVIEW:
When this book came up for the review with a promise of love story between a simple girl and millionaire I envisioned a yet another 50 Shades of Grey in making. But then, the promise of explosive romance made me sign up.

No offense but I almost regret the decision to sign up. My English teachers always insisted that when I critique a book or a movie, I start off with the positives. So, here are the positives (which frankly aren’t much)

1.    The plot was racy in spite of having uncanny similarities to 50 Shades book. Bianca’s revenge & Richard’s revelation we just well written.
2.    The part where Carson insists that Lillian think more than twice before offering her virginity was well written – Teaches a  very sensible lesson.
3.    The supernatural twist towards the end of the book was a rather unexpected twist well executed.
4.    The story managed to end on a high note that obviously would leave any reader wanting more (Oob-viously NOT ME!)

And now to what was repulsive for me. The protagonist, Lillian is initially portrayed to be a sensible Med student initially. But when she meets Carson her sensibility goes for a toss. Yet her character apparently “stays” sensible.

There wasn’t just enough of the courtship for me. The immense beauty of subtle courtship before an explosive romance is like eating a Choco Lava cake with a spongy outer and a gooey inner (Oops! I relate things better with food).

Carson and Lilly couldn’t have their hands off each other. Carson was portrayed as this obsessed boyfriend who almost kept spying on his girlfriend.   This sort of reminded me of 50 Shades of Grey (Yeah I a managed to read that one book in the series).

It might appear that the positives are more when compared to the negatives I described. But the magnitude matters.

VERDICT: Can be missed

RATING: 2.5 on 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (In her Own Words!) : Over a year ago, I decided to pick up a pen and jotted down the first sentence of my vivid imagination. Those initial words were the seeds that grew into my romance book, “Beginning with Forever.” With all my heart, I wrote, rewrote, edited, re-edited and now, I’m finally ready to share it with all of you. My one and only aspiration for this book is to have readers embrace my story and characters with their heart. If I can make someone laugh till their gut hurts, hate the villain with vengeance, cry till their eyes dry out, fall in love all over again, and drool over the hero or feel any other emotions, than I’ve succeeded my goal.

I’m the sappiest person in the world when it comes to romance. I believe in love at first sight, Prince Charming or in my book, Mr. Hot Billionaire, and happy endings. In my heart, every women deserves all three, and they will when they lose themselves in my books. Your fantasy can become a reality with just the flip of a page, so come join me.

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Kindle

PRICE: Rs.246


BOOK LINKS: http://www.amazon.in/dp/B00IGDJNSS/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb