The Silk Weaver’s Wife – An intriguing story of two women!

About the Book:

The Silk Weaver's Wife

‘On the way back down the grand staircase to the hall, her eye was caught by a portrait, hanging in a particularly dark corner of a landing. It was of a young woman, seated at an easel; she was painting a silk moth, its eggs nestling on a mulberry leaf.’

1704: Anastasia is desperate to escape her controlling and volatile father and plans to marry in secret. But instead of the life she has dreamed of, she finds herself trapped in Venice, the unwilling wife of a silk weaver.

Despite her circumstances, Anastasia is determined to change her fate…

2017: Millie wants more from her relationship and more from her life. So when her boss Max abruptly ends their affair, she takes the opportunity to write a feature in Italy.

Staying in a gorgeous villa, Millie unexpectedly falls in love with the owner, Lorenzo. Together they begin to unravel an incredible story, threaded through generations of silk weavers.

And Millie finds herself compelled to discover the identity of a mysterious woman in a portrait…

A gorgeously written, richly evocative story, The Silk Weaver’s Wife is perfect for readers who love Kate Morton and Gill Paul.

My thoughts:

The Silk Weavers Wife is a well-written story, set in Italy and which tells of two tales set almost three centuries apart. The story revolves around 2 women, Anastasia and Millie, both strong and well crafted characters, who prove to be an inspiration for all.

Anastasia is brought up to be respectful, proper and do as her father says. Along with her younger sister and mother, they live in constant fear of her Father’s moods and hate. He only ever seems to show his love to his dog and the horses. Anastasia develops an interest in art and secretly tries to pursue the same. When she is taken away from the man she loves and is forced to marry someone her father had made a deal with through his gambling, her life takes a turn for the worse. Forced to lead a life she doesn’t want, she finds solace in her maid, who helps her find a way to escape the abuse and eventually find her way back to the man she loves. However, even this road is not smooth and is filled with learning and a journey of self-discovery, as well as healing. Anastasia travels across Europe and then to London where she learns to improve her art and then to apply it to the finished product of silk weaving.

Jump ahead to the current day scenario and we meet Millie who has come down to Italy to write a feature on Silk Weaving and how it has evolved over time. Ironically, this trip also proves to be one of self-discovery and developing a sense of respect of oneself. She develops a bond with Lorenzo, the owner of the villa where she is staying and his charming daughter. Millie learns to deal with her failed relationship with her boss, a married man, and as she researches more into the subject of her article, she digs up information pertaining to Anastasia.

As connections are made with the past and parallels are drawn, the author takes the reader on an interesting adventure. In many ways, the journey of the silk worm relates to the journeys led by both women they they finally discover who they are meant to be and learn to be content with their lives. The story moves across time as it unravels, going back and forth to give us a complete picture. The characters are well developed and deep, with the supporting characters playing major roles and contributing to this beautiful tale.

An inspiration, this story brings out the strength of women and how the love and support of those around them, helps them achieve wonders!

 

Book Review: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

A Man Called Ove

What I thought about The Man called Ove

‘Men are what they are because of what they do. Not what they say,’ said Ove.

Set in Sweden, this story of your everyday person and the things they face in life is both heart warming and heart breaking at the same time. The author takes us on a journey through Ove’s life, a short duration after his wife dies and while he is contemplating committing suicide to join her. Ove is a grumpy old man, who seems to put people off with his attitude. Little does anyone know that underneath that hard exterior, there is a wonderful man inside!

A perfectionist, Ove expects things to be a certain way, to happen in a certain way. He has a routine and he expects to keep it. When he is suddenly out of a job, he is thrown off center for a while. Add to this the death of the one person who truly understood him and accepted him for who he is and I am sure that you can understand Ove’s state of mind. If not, read on! This book is truly worth it.

We are introduced to an intriguing set of characters who make this story more colorful. Parvaneh, a pregnant lady with two children and a weird husband, seems to take it upon herself to bring Ove out of his shell. As Ove sets out everyday with the idea of killing himself, something happens to prevent it and make him postpone by a day, each day. A stubborn man, Ove has a set way of doing things and he follows the rules. He has come up through sheer hard-work and determination and all theses experiences seem to have shaped him. The entry of his wife into his life proves to add some color into it, but just enough for her to bring out the best in him.

This story shows us all sides of life and how it shapes a person and their attitude. We are shown how Ove has grown and how the people in his life have affected him. The story goes back and forth, thus ensuring that we get all parts of the story. The man called Ove, has a lot to say and a lot to teach us. It’s up to us to understand this and learn. We are also shown a side of him where he has made friends and lost them over something that ideally wouldn’t matter much to us. With a set mind and ideals, Ove is as stubborn as one can be. This story is about how to break out of this and adapt to the changes in the world around you.

The supporting characters in this story are well crafted and seek to bring out different shades of life. They are from different backgrounds, and show us various kinds of lifestyles and thought processes. The children are delightful and it is partially their innocence, coupled with Parvaneh’s bossy nature that seeks to bring Ove out of his shell. As he begins to help people again, frankly speaking, he is forced to, it changes him once more and gives him a new purpose in life.

A well-written novel, the author brings out the truth behind every person’s life, the hardships they face and the ease with which they can handle it when surrounded with people who love and support them. The simplicity of the plot and the depth of the characters make this a brilliant read.

Breathing Two Worlds by Ruchira Khanna

 
About the Book:

Neena Arya, a Delhi-born goes abroad for further studies and decides to settle down there. Determined to be a ‘somebody’ from a ‘nobody’ she blends with the Americans via the accent and their mannerisms while having a live-in relationship with her European boyfriend, Adan Somoza.
When illness hits home, Neena rushes to meet her ailing dad. Tragedy strikes and amidst the mingling with relatives and friends, she finds herself suffocated with the two different cultures that she has been breathing since she moved to the United States. How will she strike a balance between both the cultures as she continues to support her widowed mother? Will she be able to do justice to her personal and professional life after the loss?
 
Amidst the adjusting she bonds with an ally and learns about ties beyond blood. On what grounds will she be able to form an invisible thread that she has longed for since childhood?
 
Breathing Two Worlds ventures into cultures and ethnicity allowing Neena to ponder upon her foundation and priorities.
 
Available on Amazon
 
Book Trailer: 

 
Excerpt:
 
“Oh!” the Mom answered, but could not contain her curiosity with one hand holding the hyper toddler and the other on her hip she could not resist, “You two don’t look like brother-sister, hmmm. So, what is your relationship?” she inquired with a slight smile in a soft voice but without any inhibition. A handful of seniors sitting in the same room observed all the drama and nodded to each other while their fingers were moving on the Tulsi neck beads.
 
Neena rolled her eyes and thought to herself, “Jeez! We Indians are always darn inquisitive.”
Nikhil immediately got up and started walking towards the dining area. This was happening to them for the umpteenth time, and he was noaw tired of clarifying things. He had lived in this country for half a decade now and still he could never understand the fascination Indians had for marriage and children. 
 
Neena was confused at first because it was unlike Nikhil to be so rude. On the contrary, sometimes Neena referred to him on lessons in patience but today it was different. But then she didn’t have a choice; she felt it was rude to walk away from the young mother leaving the conversation unanswered. Moreover given Indian mentality in all possibility, she might even follow them till she had a convincing answer to her question. 
 
 
About the Author:

Ruchira Khanna, a biochemist turned writer, left her homeland of India to study in America, where she obtained her Master’s degree in Biochemistry from SJSU and a degree in Technical Writing from UC Berkeley.
 
After finishing her studies, Ruchira worked as a biochemist at a Silicon Valley startup for five years. After the birth of her son, Ruchira took a job as a technical writer, so that she could work from home. Soon, she began doing freelance writing work as well.
 
Her love of writing grew and she started working on her own books. After four years of freelancing, Ruchira published her first book, a fiction novel for adults called Choices.
 
Then came the children’s book The Adventures of Alex and Angelo: The Mystery of the Missing Iguana. She got a thumb’s up review from Kirkus Reviews.
 
In January 2016, she has published her second fictional novel Voyagers into the Unknown. It talks about the quest for happiness as the heavy hearted tourists travel miles from different parts of the world to Raj Touristry in Agra, India. Return to their respective home with a healed heart. This book talks about their journey!
 
In Breathing Two Worlds, Ruchira talks about ethnicity and cultures, and helps to strike a balance via a fiction-drama novel as her characters breathe two worlds.
 
In addition to writing books, she is a holistic healer associated with Stanford Healing Partners and also maintains a blog of daily mantras on Blogspot, called Abracabadra. Ruchira currently resides in California with her family.
Find her on: Website Blog

 

Check out Serenity Harbor: A Haven Point Novel by RaeAnne Thayne

About the Book:

Serenity Harbor

Computer-tech millionaire Bowie Callahan is about the last person that schoolteacher Katrina Bailey wants to work for. As far as she can see, he’s arrogant, entitled, and not up to the task of caring for his young half brother, Milo. But Kat is, especially if it brings her closer to her goal of adopting an orphaned little girl. And as her kindness and patience work wonders with Milo, she realizes there’s more to sexy, wary Bo than she’d ever realized. Bo never imagined he’d be tasked with caring for a sibling he didn’t know existed. Then again, he never pictured himself impulsively kissing vibrant, compassionate Katrina in the moonlight. Now he’s ready to make her dream of family come true … and hoping there’s room in it for him, too …

My Thoughts:

This is a light hearted romance novel, which brings out the importance of understanding and love. The story follows Katrina, a school teacher who is fighting her own battles to adopt an orphaned girl. In the meantime, she meets Bowie and his younger brother Milo, and the child takes a special liking to her. She takes on a job as his nanny temporarily as she waits for the adoption to fall through. As the story progresses, we get to know more about the principal characters and their lives, who they are, and how they came to be where they are at present.

The plot is simple enough and the characters are pleasing to read about. The story moves quickly and as expected, Katrina and Bowie develop feelings for each other. However, what is different, is how they handle it and react. It’s beautiful to read about characters who put their goals and their people first, showing us their strength and state of mind. The best part of the book is how the author handles Milo and how the child grows into a more open and confident individual.

The story may get a little cliche in some places, but it is to be expected and frankly can be enjoyed as it is! A quick and simple read in the romance genre that most people will enjoy especially as a holiday romance read!

Book Review: Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee

I was provided with a copy of this book by Hideaway Fall publishers in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book:

Broken Branches

‘Family curses don’t exist. Sure, some families seem to suffer more pain than others, but a curse? An actual curse? I don’t think so.’

A family tragedy was the catalyst for Ian Perkins to return to the isolated cottage with his wife and young son. But now they are back, it seems yet more grief might befall the family.

There is still time to act, but that means Ian must face the uncomfortable truth about his past. And in doing so, he must uncover the truth behind the supposed family curse.

My Thoughts:

Wow! This is an intense emotional roller coaster, that will hold your attention until the end. The story is well-written and the beauty of it is that the author doesn’t give away anything until the very end! It proves to be impossible to predict the direction the  story will take and is even more difficult to figure out what is real and what is not! The title of the story becomes clear by the end and is quite apt according to me.

The story follows Ian Perkins as he tries to find out more about his family and it’s history, tracing back along the years while trying to prove the existence of a legendary family curse. The reason behind this need becomes clear only after the reader has completed the book! We are also introduced to Rachel, Ian’s wife who doesn’t believe in the curses’ existence and their adorable son Harry, who seems to have boundless energy. The emotions run deep and the descriptions are vivid, sometimes giving the reader chills at the end of it.

The author sets the tone of the story right from the first page as he describes the cottage, the iconic tree and the various people who have resided in this place. Chapters alternate between the present times and the past, introducing us to various people who were a part of or influenced Ian’s life. The author expertly describes the mental stability of his characters and brings out their thoughts and emotions, thus making it hard for the reader to completely judge until the end.

Hold on to your seats and emotions as you are in for an interesting and thought provoking time with this book! It is worth the read, touching upon some rather pertinent topics related to family, relationships and a persons psyche as a result of tragedy as the truth comes out.

Check out the second book in the Esper Files series: The Sky Cult by Egan Brass

About the Book:

Esper Files: The Sky Cult (Esper Files #2)

After the events of the first book, Freya has joined the Institute – an organization created to help Espers control their powers, and she thought she’d finally found peace.

That is, until Anti-Esper weapons find their way into the hands of The Coalition, a radical group who is determined to kill anyone with powers.
At the same time, the Sky Cult has arisen, claiming that Espers have the right to rule over lowly humans.
The timing couldn’t be worse, as all of this happens three days before Esper Day, the first holiday designed to show that humans and Espers can coexist.

Now Nathan, Freya and the team have to fight both organizations in a race against time before one of the radical groups tips the scales, and plunges the entire world into their own version of Armageddon.

My Thoughts:

 Esper Files: The Sky Cult, picks up where the first book left off with Freya now a part of the institute, learning to control her powers as she tries to help keep the peace along with Nathan. After the end of the last book, we are introduced to some more villains or “the bad guys” as we normally refer to them. Their agenda at first seems quite clear, but as the story progresses, we realize that there is more to the front shown.

The Sky Cult is brought in for a specific purpose, but is that the whole point of this plot? Or is it just a diversion from the main plot line?

These are just some of the questions that may arise, but don’t worry, you’ll get your answers in due time. True to the author’s style of writing, the story is action packed from the beginning, with a lot of things happening, one of the most important being The Esper Day. As preparations go on, we are introduced to a few new characters and the truth about some of the old ones are revealed. The progression is wonderful and the story is fast-paced, ensuring that the reader remains hooked until the very end. Red Cap and The Phantom Thief are interesting characters who add more life to the story and the professor seems to be hiding more secrets than anyone. Nathan, with his ability to abosorb and replicate other Esper’s powers, once again manages to save the day, but at severe cost to his life. There are so many secrets surrounding him and his abilities and the importance Freya now has, that the story is quite intriguing. The concept of Esper’s, and the whole Institute concept reminds me of The X-Men and Professor Xavier!

The story ends with a twist as usual, leaving us with a longing for more and a rough idea of what all can happen next. There seem to be endless possibilities and this makes it even more fun to read!

Dark and sad, Paige Dearth brings out a part of life that many don’t see, in her book When Smiles Fade!

About the Book:

When Smiles Fade

Emma’s father’s coldblooded beatings and the ultimate abuse to which he subjects her, lays the foundation of the person she becomes. As she matures into a resourceful teenager, she is unwilling and unable to stifle her desire for revenge. Reaching her breaking point she can no longer control the impulse to fight back and finally takes matters into her own hands.

Having learned the art of hatred from her father and the mastery of manipulation from her mother, young Emma now sets out to make a better life for herself, leaving the memory of the abused child she had once been behind her. Hardened by the heartless brutality she encounters and the dangerous situations she must overcome in the course of her journey, she faces every challenge that comes her way in her quest for a normal life for herself and for those she loves.

Finally a person emerges from within that guides her toward a better life until she learns of a secret that sets her on the path of ultimate redemption.

 My Thoughts:

What would you do if your only option to survive is to do anything? Would you resort to killing the people who hurt you to protect the ones you love? What does it mean to be hated and hurt? How do you live in a family devoid of the basic emotion that connects them, love and trust? How does your upbringing shape who you ultimately become?

These are the kind of questions that this book raises and answers in some ways. There cannot be a right answer, it’s more of a perspective which the author brings out in a gentle manner. This is required when dealing with topics of abuse and hurt. Paige Dearth introduces us to Emma and her younger sister, who are subject to severe abuse from their father, with a mother who turns the other way through all this. To be frank, it is expected that the children will be traumatized, and that is putting it mildly. These experiences can change a person and the author portrays the same through the protagonist, Emma. She is strong-willed and resourceful while at the same time has a pleasing personality. It becomes difficult to dislike her or condemn her actions when she is after all doing her best to survive.

The people the sisters encounter along the way leave profound impacts on their lives. Some help them and end up becoming life long friends while the others end up somewhere in a ditch, and that’s putting it mildly. Everyone craves normalcy and a mundane life at times and the sisters are no different. However, tragedy seems to strike  so many times, it’s a wonder that they still find reasons to smile. In the end, Emma has the last laugh, but it was worth it all.

The author’s writing is bold and to the point and she doesn’t hold back on her descriptions. There is no stone left unturned in the journey of the sisters and Emma finally learns that you move on – “When smiles fade”! The title is apt and the reader understands this eventually. The story has a lot of smaller plot lines, with each encounter giving us a different glimpse into the characters who support this story and take it forward. The characters are well developed and clearly defined, giving the reader a clear idea of their personalities and at the same time helping us understand how they fit in.

The final question of “Will she find redemption and be happy?” is answered and I really enjoyed the way the story ended. It proved that Emma is a survivor and this is an inspiring thought. There is a lot to learn and understand in this book and I strongly recommend the same to all.

Check out this new and upcoming romance: Serenity Harbor by RaeAnne Thayne

SERENITY HARBOR
FROM NEW YORK TIMES AND USA TODAY BESTSELLER
RAEANNE THAYNE
ON SALE: July 2017

In New York Times and USA Today bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne’s newest book in her wildly popular Haven
Point series, SERENITY HARBOR, one kiss might be enough to change the course of three people’s lives.

Tech millionaire Bowie Callahan is about the last person that schoolteacher Katrina Bailey wants to work for. She’s only back in charming  Haven Point for one month, just to see her sister get married, and then she’s heading back to Colombia here her teaching job, and someone special, are waiting. Not to mention, as far as Kat can see, Bowie is arrogant, entitled and not up to the task of caring for his young half brother, Milo. Milo, who is on the autism spectrum, may have just been dropped in Bo’s lap and sure, Bo is trying to do right by
him, but it’s obvious that Bo’s job takes top priority. Or at least that’s what Kat thinks. So when Bo convinces her to take a temporary, three week nanny position with Milo, Kat is really doing it for the cash, and because Milo is pretty darn sweet. Kat is desperately trying to save enough to help adopt an orphaned little girl back in Colombia and if this short-term job can get her there, then she’s willing to do pretty much anything. But as her kindness and patience work wonders with Milo, she realizes there’s more to sexy, wary Bo than she’d ever realized.
Bo never imagined he’d be tasked with caring for a sibling he didn’t know existed. Then again, he never pictured himself impulsively kissing vibrant, compassionate Katrina in the moonlight, especially when he can’t afford to lose her. She’s the only thing keeping him and Milo together until the new, permanent nanny shows up. But after that kiss, Bo realizes that he might be the one to make Kat’s dream of family come true…and he’s hoping there’s room in it for him, and Milo, too.

About the Author:

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne loves words. Her love affair started as soon as she learned to read, when she used to devour anything she could get her hands on: cereal boxes, encyclopedias, the phone book, you name it! She loves the way words sound, the way they look on the page and the amazing way they can be jumbled together in so many combinations to tell a story.
Her love of reading and writing those words led her to a fifteen-year career in journalism as a newspaper reporter and editor. Through it all, she dreamed of writing the kind of stories she loved best. She sold her first book in 1995 and since then she’s published more than 40 titles. Her books have on many honors, including three RITA® Award nominations from the Romance Writers of America and a Career  Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews. RaeAnne finds inspiration in the rugged northern Utah mountains where she lives with her hero of a husband and their children. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at http://www.raeannethayne.com.

Delve into the depths of mysterious happenings and rebirth in the book When Shadows Turn Dark!

I was provided with a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

When Shadows Turn Dark

by Vidya Anand

Published by Notion Press, March 2016

When Shadows Turn Dark

About the Book:

Anirudh is clouded with the mysteries of a past life, which he relives through his nightmares. Though his logical mind denies it, he sets out to unravel the secrets about the girl in his dreams, Chitrangada, and her brutal death.

His friends, Madhav and Trisha, support him through his inner battle.

In another part of the world, Sanjana and Abhimanyu are happy in their lives, quite unaware that they are also destined to become a part of this cryptic game.

Will Anirudh be able to save himself from slipping completely into the past?

When Shadows Turn Dark is a tale about friendship, love, betrayal and revenge that interweaves the lives of these people.

A tale about the mystical world of rebirth, and much more!

My Thoughts:

I did not enjoy this book much and I had to concentrate hard to get through it. The main plot seems to have come right out of a Bollywood script, with so many similarities that it is not so easy to distinguish which is original and which is not.

Anirudh, the protagonist, has had dreams about the death of a girl named Chitra, his entire life and he doesn’t know why. He doesn’t even know who she is. Sanjana, the descendant of princess Chitrangada, who lived almost 100 years ago, suddenly experiences changes in moods and we have no idea why. Set in a time when everyone has secrets and won’t talk openly, the concept of rebirth is frowned upon. The story draws upon the past to define the present and the decisions of the various characters take the story forward.

The characters are not very interesting or well developed. The reader is not given much to go on and it is quite difficult to relate to the characters. The women are created under the usual stereotypes of gossip, giggles and being bothered about guys more than their work or career. The men are shallow and there is no depth in the character personalities.

The story runs in two parallels, present day, and a story-line from almost 100 years ago, about which the protagonist has been having dreams his entire life. It doesn’t seem as though a lot of research has gone into the career choice of the characters and it’s ironic how they all end up in the same palace that the past refers to. Even though his friend Madhav has been shown as supportive, the characters never really express themselves and the reader doesn’t know what they are really thinking or how they fit into this story.

There is a lot of repetition of points and this acts as a deterrent while reading, making it difficult to concentrate. Also, while bringing together the past and present, and introducing the concept of rebirth, there is no clarity in the plot. When all the characters meet (this is extremely brief), there is no explanation or connection to what they have experienced. It’s just a short connection and then all of a sudden they all go their own ways. This makes the story uninteresting as it ends up flowing without coherence of thought. The story could have been brought out better with a little more explanation and stronger background information.

On the whole, however, the story is simply written and if you’re looking for a quick read that doesn’t need much thought, this is worth a shot.

Book Review: Skyblind by J.R. Fehr

About the Book:

Skyblind

Corwin Medisto is turning 16 and becoming a man, but that’s the furthest thing from his mind. He and his twin sister Taylee have discovered an ancient relic fueled by dark magic that has a mysterious link to their long dead mother. Worse yet, they’ve accidentally activated it.

Desperate to learn the truth of its origins and to break free of its curse, the twins leave home with their childhood friend and embark on a quest that leads them to come face to face with Syyris Sagrado, the god of Day, and discover a forbidden power greater than the forces of Day … and Night.

My Thoughts:

Wow. First off, I absolutely loved this story. Think in terms of a cross between the world Harry Potter and The Lord of The Rings and you have a wonderful new world with an exciting plot.

The story follows the journey of Corwin and his twin sister Taylee. They accidentally activate an old relic that was somehow connected to their mother. When they go in search of their uncle for help, they are caught up in a web of deception and greed. They follow the path and end up at face to face with the god of Day, whom they so ardently worshiped.

The author introduces us to some very strong characters apart from the main brother-sister duo. A mysterious man who calls himself Skyblind, comes to their aid and changes the way they perceive things. Salana, the princess and heir to the throne is portrayed as a strong independent woman who commands respect and is fair. The author subtly brings out what blind faith can do and how it can affect people.

This is not just a quest, or an adventure to stop the bad guys, but also one of self-discovery and understanding the importance of power and how it can be misused. The reader discovers how greed and complacency as well as blind faith can affect the people. It is also very easy to get lost along the way. As the journey progresses, the twins also find out about their parents and their past. Life is not always black and white, there is also grey thrown in with a lot of uncertainty.

This story is filled with adventure and some interesting points of view that the author expresses but doesn’t preach about. It is thought provoking and the story is an enjoyable read!