Book Review: The Family Gathering by Robyn Carr

I was provided with a review copy by Little Bird Publicity in exchange for an honest review. Read on to know what I thought of the book.

About the Book:

The Family Gathering (Sullivan's Crossing #3)

Having left the military, Dakota Jones is at a crossroads in his life. With his elder brother and youngest sister happily settled in Sullivan’s Crossing, he shows up hoping to clear his head before moving on to his next adventure. But, like every visitor to the Crossing, he’s immediately drawn to the down-to-earth people and the seemingly simple way of life.

Dakota is unprepared for how quickly things get complicated. As a newcomer, he is on everyone’s radar—especially the single women in town. While he enjoys the attention at first, he’s really only attracted to the one woman who isn’t interested. And spending quality time with his siblings is eye-opening. As he gets to know them, he also gets to know himself and what he truly wants.

When all the Jones siblings gather for a family wedding, the four adults are drawn together for the first time in a way they never were as children. As they struggle to accept each other, warts and all, the true nature and strength of their bond is tested. But all of them come to realize that your family are the people who see you for who you really are and love you anyway. And for Dakota, that truth allows him to find the home and family he’s always wanted.

My Thoughts:

The Family Gathering is the third book in the Sullivan’s Crossing series. It focuses on Dakota, bringing out his story and relationship with his siblings. As complicated as his life has been, we are given glimpses into the past of the siblings’ which helps us understand their personalities. The romance that develops slowly between Dakota and Sid, seems to change both of them slowly, forcing Sid to start trusting again.

The story consists of a number of mini plots, focussing on each of the siblings and their lives at that moment. This takes away the focus from the main plot and reduces the impact of the whole story. Though the characters are developed, some of their personality traits come off as annoying, like how Dakota is initially rather cocky and arrogant and then miraculously he changes. Though the story is a decent read in the romance genre, there seems to be too much happening with no specific plot line being given more importance. Somewhere along the way, we find that Dakota is on a path of self-discovery and understanding, developing a better relationship with his siblings and making the effort to understand them and just be there for them.

I found the book to be alright, not exceptional, but a light read that helps to pass the time.

Book Review: Silver Hollow by Jennifer Silverwood

 


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Silver Hollow
(Borderlands Saga #1)
By Jennifer Silverwood
Urban Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 429 pages
May 31st 2018 by SilverWoodSketches

“I shouldn’t have to tell you this isn’t a fairy story…”

After her parents’ car crash ten years before, Amie Wentworth trusts books more than people. She may be a writer, but she believes in reality over fiction. She ignores the unexplained mysteries surrounding her, never mind the dreams of a past life, or the fact she can fry technology with a touch. Not even a timely invitation from her long-lost uncle in England gives Amie incentive for anything other than ire.

Until she is stabbed in an alley and brought back to life by a handsome stranger. Soon Amie is dragged into the very sort of tale she is used to selling. To make matters worse, the man who saved her life keeps turning up and her would-be-murderer is still at large.

After crossing the Atlantic to her father’s homeland, she discovers a world beyond imagining. Silver Hollow is a place of ancient traditions and supernatural dangers, where everything is the opposite of what it seems and few escape sane. Faced with an impossible choice, Amie is forced to confront a deadly family legacy while remembering a life she soon wishes to forget.

**Previously published in 2012. This NEW EDITION has been FULLY REVISED AND EXPANDED. The original novel is now no longer available.**

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About the Author

Jennifer Silverwood was raised deep in the heart of Texas and has been spinning yarns a mile high since childhood. In her spare time she reads and writes and tries to sustain her wanderlust, whether it’s the Carpathian Mountains in Transylvania, the highlands of Ecuador or a road trip to the next town. Always on the lookout for her next adventure, in print or reality, she dreams of one day proving to the masses that everything really is better in Texas. She is the author of two series—Heaven’s Edge and Wylder Tales—and the stand-alone titles Stay and Silver Hollow.

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Tour Schedule

May 21st:
Launch
It’s All About the Romance
Red Pillows
Paulette’s Papers
Reading for the Stars and Moon
May 22nd:
Min Reads and Reviews
Rockin’ Book Reviews
May 23rd:
Hearts & Scribbles
E-Romance News
May 24th:
Mythical Books
The Cozy Reading Corner
K. D. Jones: Epic Fantasy Author
May 25th:
An Indie Adventure
Colorimetry
May 28th:
Jorie Loves A Story
Wishful Endings
May 29th:
Singing Librarian Books
Bri’s Book Nook
May 30th:
Nicole’s Book Musings
Becky on Books
May 31st:
Locks, Hooks and Books
What’s Beyond Forks?
June 1st:
Stacking My Book Shelves!
Ms. J Mentions…
Teatime and Books
Bookworm Lisa
June 2nd: Grand Finale

Tour Giveaway

PRIZE PACK #1: 1 winner will receive new Silver Hollow swag, themed bookmarks, stickers, bookish themed tote, and B&N Illustrated Hardcover Editions of Grimm’s Fairy Tales and The Story of King Arthur & His Knights (US only)

PRIZE PACK #2: 1 winner will receive signed swag (mainly Silver Hollow and Wylder Tales), ebooks of the Wylder Tales Collection, and a free voucher for Bound Beauty to be published later in 2018 (open internationally)

ENDS: June 6th

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My Thoughts:

Silver Hollow is the first in a series that introduces the reader to Amie and a world of magic. This story is well-written and completely UN-put-down able. In fact, I managed to get through this story in a day!

The story follows Amie as she struggles to cope with the death of her parents. She has her best friends and their family to support her as she moves on to become a writer. After ten years, she is once again forced to think of the long-lost uncle who tried to contact her on the day of her parents funeral. What follows is a tale of discovery, finding oneself, acceptance, and finding love. This well-crafted story introduces us to so many characters with whom we cannot help but fall in love. There is so much to learn and love, so much to know, that as a reader you will be left yearning for more.

The bond Amie develops with her uncle and with the man who saved her life, as well as with the various people she meets is both heart-warming and heart-wrenching. How much can you trust a person? How well can you know someone? As secrets are revealed and memories of a past life come to the surface, Amie is faced with decisions that could shape her life and who she is. She discovers the truth about her parents, her friends and this alters her perception of who she is. I especially enjoyed the many references made to some characters of legends like King Arthur, Merlin, Titania and many others. This is a world filled with magic and non-magic, a place where for a long time secrets have been buried. Amie is destined to either fill the void and save everyone or destroy it once and for all.

The story is sprinkled with romance and witty comments, many light-hearted moments that are sure to bring a smile to the readers lips. It is definitely worth the read and is a book that I would recommend in the fantasy-romance section now.

Book Review : Drift Stumble Fall by M. Jonathan Lee

I received a copy of this book from Hideaway Fall, a publishing house based out of UK. This is the second book by author M. Jonathan Lee, that I have had the pleasure to read.

About the Book:

Drift Stumble Fall

The author of five novels, M Jonathan Lee is a tireless mental health awareness campaigner, working closely with organisations including Mind, Time to Change and Rethink and blogs regularly for Huffington Post. Having personally experienced anxiety and depression during his life, Jonathan draws on his experiences to inform his writing.

Richard feels trapped in his hectic life of commitment and responsibility. From the daily mayhem of having young children, an exhausted wife and pushy in-laws who frequently outstay their welcome, Richards existence fills him with panic and resentment. The only place he can escape the dark cloud descending upon him is the bathroom, where he hides for hours on end, door locked, wondering how on earth he can escape.

Often staring out of his window, Richard enviously observes the tranquil life of Bill, his neighbour living in the bungalow across the road. From the outside, Bills world appears filled with comfort and peace. Yet underneath the apparent domestic bliss of both lives are lies, secrets, imperfections, sadness and suffering far greater than either could have imagined. Beneath the surface, a family tragedy has left Bill frozen in time and unable to move on. As he waits for a daughter who may never return, Bill watches Richards bustling family life and yearns for the joy it brings. As the two men watch each other from afar, it soon becomes apparent that other peoples lives are not always what they seem.

My Thoughts:

All out lives, we human beings, yearn for what we do not have or what others have. We do not stop to appreciate and be happy with what we already have. This behaviour is one thing that seems to contribute to our general state of mental unhappiness. Drift Stumble Fall introduces to us two men and their families. Spread over the course of a few days, the reader is given a brief glimpse into their pasts, as we follow their present routines and lifestyles. A very well-written novel, this acts as a mirror into our lives today and forces the reader to introspect and think about how we are handling our lives.

We meet Richard, who seems to have it all, a lovely wife, two kids, a steady job, and yet, he feels trapped and suffocated with his current choices. The story is set over a few days when there is heavy snowfall that prevents Richard from going out to his job, adding a little more to his sense of feeling trapped. With the idea to get away and start afresh taking shape in his mind, Richard is forced to endure a few days of being snowed in with his family and in-laws around as he lays out his plans to run away. As he looks out of the window at the neighbour’s house, we see a sense of yearning for the simple stress-free life seemingly led by the old couple in the house across. We also meet Richard’s family, his wife who comes across as annoying but is someone who loves him in her own way, his children and his in-laws.

Similarly, we meet Bill, an old man and his wife, who for the past thirty years have been waiting for news of or a sign from their eldest daughter who simply walked out of the house one night and never returned. The only other person in their life is their youngest daughter’s husband, a charming young man who comes in to keep an eye on them and take care of them. Bill is seen constantly looking out of their living room window, sometimes staring out to Richard’s house, a look of longing for the life he sees there, of children, grandchildren, a house filled with people and life.

Everything is not always as it seems and there is definitely more to every story than meets the eye. These are brought out in this story as each man yearns for the other’s life, assuming that it is better. The story is well developed and the characters are easy to relate to. The story starts out slow, introducing us to Richard and his monotonous life and then pulls you in as it progresses. Be prepared to come face to face with the emotions of the characters which in many ways seem to mirror ours and reflect what most of us have thought at some point. As the snow settles, so does the story, with some sad endings and other happier ones. A realization that not all is happy and great on every side dawns on the characters and mainly Richard as he discovers the truth about his neighbours and their life. He is also forced to re-think his plan of running away as he starts to understand that he may not want to give up this life after all.

Drift Stumble Fall is worth every moment spent reading it and in my opinion, it is a must read. It is confusing and sad, with moments of happiness sprinkled about, it is realistic and it brings out the true nature of our minds and our ways of life.

Book Release: Love in C Minor by Mindy Michele

Love in C Minor RD

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Seventeen-year-old Reagan seems like the perfect small-town girl. Dubbed a saint by her older brother, Lincoln, she serves the community, makes straight A’s, attends church, spends her summers working with special needs children, and is a piano playing prodigy.

When you’re the daughter of the mayor and the police chief in a sleepy Kansas town, toeing the line is easier than the alternative.

That is, until her brother’s best friend changes the rules.

Reagan’s been subject to Ridley’s antics her entire life. Growing up, he tormented and teased her, but he kept his distance—until now. When Ridley breaks a promise, late night phone calls and secret rendezvous in the haystacks quickly transform into a reckless, all-consuming love.

Some promises are meant to be broken. Some secrets will not be contained, and sometimes the consequences we render are more than we can bear.

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We’re pretty awesome! We both write books. We both live in the Carolina’s (Mindy in South, Michele in North). We like singing in the car, eating white cheddar popcorn, and going on road trips together. You’ll find us sharing a table at a few book signings each year. We have a love of romance, New York, anything sweet, and great books.

Together we’ve written four novels and one novella, with many more in the works. We’re currently working on the Backroads Duet.

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Book Review: The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

About the Book:

The Light Between Oceans

AFTER FOUR HARROWING YEARS ON THE WESTERN FRONT, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel.

Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby. Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

My Thoughts:

Both heart-warming and heart-wrenching, The Light Between Oceans tells a tale of love, hope, sorrow and how decisions taken affect lives. The story follows Tom Sherbourne’s life as he spends time as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, an island off the coast. Having given up any hope of finding love and peace, Tom is pleasantly surprised to find that Isabel is not only interested in him, but would love to marry him and move to Janus Rock with him.

As the story unfolds, we are first introduced to life on Janus, away from the rest of the world. The beauty of the place and the peace are something to only be wondered about. At first I found it a little difficult to get into the book, but as it progressed, I became engrossed in the lives of our characters and their journey. The author describes in detail the anguish that wrenches through Isabel during her miscarriages, and the emptiness she feels at this loss. This sets the path towards understanding what drives the couple to take certain decisions. At the base of it all is unconditional and deep love.

The child, Lucy/Grace is lively and charming, bringing light to the world and lives of the people she touches. She finds herself torn between the parents who adopt her and her own mother. The strength of the child and how she grows are wonderful to read about. The questions of right and wrong come up as the story unfolds and the truth behind who Lucy’s parents are comes to light. It is all a grey area and the author brings out the actions of people in desperate situations, and shows us how grief comes in many forms. For Isabel it is a result of her miscarriages and stillbirth. For Hannah, it is the loss of her husband and child with no idea of whether they are dead or alive. For Tom, it is the horrors of the war that he has seen that are never far from his mind. Everyone’s idea of redemption is different and we see how each person’s decision affects so many other lives.

As the story progresses, it becomes darker and darker, forcing the reader on an emotional roller coaster until the very end. Who will stand by your side in times of need and who will turn their backs to you? What is the meaning of family. A must read, this story shows us the nature of people when forced into situations and how they act even against people they once knew very well. This story is compelling and gripping until the very last page and I would not be surprised if the reader sheds a tear at some point.

Book Blitz: Preordained by David L. Wallace

 New Release
~ Preordained by David L. Wallace ~
 
About the Book:
In the vein of Seven & The Devil’s Advocate, Art Somers is a detective tracking a serial killer in Murrells Inlet, S.C., a small-town, coastal community with deeply held spiritual and supernatural belief systems. He
discovers while chasing down clues to ID the culprit that the killer has always had his family on his target list.

 Things begin to unravel and materialize around and within him, calling into question his long held religious and paranormal beliefs. On the verge of apprehending the killer, he learns an irrefutable truth: Abraham,
the father of faith, had to choose to either sacrifice his son or disobey a direct order from God; he must now make a choice – sacrifice his soul to save his son.

Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon * Kobo * Barnes & Noble * iTunes
Early Reviews:
“An expertly plotted and executed mystery, shot through with the supernatural…builds suspense effortlessly, hurtling towards a riveting conclusion.” – Clarion Review
“Original and engaging…full of plot twists, surprises, and a substantial dash of the supernatural.” – Publisher’s Weekly BookLife Prize in Fiction
“A gripping detective story with biblical undertones…aptly blends the horror and crime genres.” – Kirkus Reviews

 Chapter 1

From his crouched position in the woods of rural Georgetown County, South Carolina, and under the echo of his heavy breathing in the night air, he watched his favorite family’s movements inside their small brown home.
After much thought about the impression his outfit would make, he’d decided it was festive enough for the occasion. The complete ensemble consisted of a red and black head mask, aligned perfectly to the holes for his eyes, nose, and mouth and a form-fitting, black bodysuit with white wings painted on the back.
For years, he’d contemplated a befitting name for himself and finally settled on Star of David killer. He liked the way the alias reverberated in his head. It revealed a lot. It concealed everything. It hinted at his purpose and yet – it withheld the true essence of his aspirations, keeping them covered in a shroud of secrecy. He hoped an insightful reporter would have an epiphany and bestow that nickname on him. It was far more interesting than the one his parents had given him at birth. He breathed deep and exhaled slowly, taking in the ambience of the moment. He flexed his muscles. It was time to initiate the events that would lead everyone to recognize him by his self-appointed moniker.
He clenched and released his toes on each of his hospital footie–covered feet. Through the sheer curtains of the dimly lit dwelling, he watched the boy pick up the used plates from the table, which signaled the parents and their twelve-year-old son had finished their dinner. He knew them well. He’d cased their dwelling for years, observing every nuance of their behavior. He sat flushed as he watched them for the last time, shivering from time to time from the thrill of the thought of what he was about to do.
The music of the bullfrogs kept him company, along with the thought that all he’d longed for, all that he was meant to be, was about to be on full display on the world stage in a matter of hours. Like Heinz ketchup, he’d been waiting in anticipation for a long time for this moment.
He glanced at the scavengers in the clear sky above him, each casting its shadow across the moon as it circled. They were his favorite creatures—the redheaded, black-feathered, and partially white-winged turkey vultures of the Carolina skies. His outfit mimicked theirs. The birds squawked in the sky, seeming to know his plan for that evening. They’d followed his vehicle from his home until he’d parked, and now they circled directly above him. He could feel their hunger and impatience.
The boy walked outside his home and scraped the remains of their dinner plates into a slop bucket on the back porch. He picked up the hog’s food and headed out to the pigpen, which was located near the backend of their yard.
The Star of David killer watched the boy make his evening trek on pigeon-toed feet that turned inward with each step. Ever since the infant pigs were born, the boy fed the adult male hog an extra feeding at night to prevent him from dining on his offspring. That’s right, the daddy hog actually ate his own children. What a disgusting breed of animal. The overhead undertakers began to shriek and shrill as the boy moved across his lawn, their voices echoing in the night.
The boy jumped at their sound and looked to the skies. He stared into the woods directly below them.
The Star of David killer remained as still as a stone as the kid’s gaze seemed to linger on him for a moment. The last thing he needed was for  he boy to detect his presence and yell out for his daddy. The papa of the family had an itchy twelve-gauge finger that he didn’t want to deal  with that evening.
Seemingly satisfied, the boy stopped searching the woods and continued his walk. The Star of David Killer glanced overhead at the vultures,  angry with them for almost giving away his position. For their carelessness, they wouldn’t be feeding on his handiwork that evening, and if they didn’t atone for their misstep, they wouldn’t partake in any of the festivities on his planned itinerary.
This was the first night—the evening of his coming-out party and the kickoff of his personal pilgrimage. It was the acknowledgment that the presence within him, who had compelled him to plan and now execute the initial steps of his mission, had chosen the right vehicle for the job.
He felt something biting him on his lower legs. Glancing down, he saw by the light of the rear porch that ants were advancing up his calves. He remained silent and didn’t move, not wanting to sound the alarm that he was out there in the dark. A small green garden snake slithered out of the brush toward him. He stepped on it and crushed its head.
The grunting male hog reveled in the slop the boy had dumped into his pen. The female hog stood to the side with her five remaining piglets cowering under her.
The killer frowned at the stench of the hogs. It wasn’t the last smell he wanted on his mind before he began his body of work. To get past it, he closed his eyes and thought of the fragrances inside the boy’s family home, smells that he knew all too well. He’d spent many nights there while they slept, enjoying their scents, with his favorites being the individual smell of each of their worn clothing. The laundry room was a treasure trove of delights. Each of the family members left their own unique and enjoyable stains in their underwear. He’d gotten to know
the other families in just as much detail, meticulously taking in their routines and schedules, getting to know every nuance of each of them.
He removed his bladefrom his waistband and watched Rueben, his first victim, as he rinsed out the slop bucket with a water hose attached to the rear of his home. He squeezed the black-handled blade. The paring knife felt perfect in his hand, after having gone through an exhaustive testing process to find the right cutting instrument—one with just the right shape and size for optimal carving control against a moving body. He’d practiced his skills with it for many hours, initially on cantaloupes, cucumbers, and other fruits and vegetables, until he’d graduated to successful tests on small gerbils, kittens, and puppies he’d purchased at various pet stores.
Finally, the lights went out in the shack. It was time. As usual, Rueben’s parents were more than likely already fast asleep. Rueben, on the other hand, should be wide-awake in his darkened room, surfing Internet porn sites by the light of his laptop. The little fella loved to look at online pussy, but he wouldn’t live long enough to enjoy any.
As the final step of his preparation process, he extracted a bottle of removable glue from the front waistband of his outfit and placed another coat over his hands. It was an additional layer to guard against him leaving fingerprints behind, but he knew he didn’t need to worry on that score. Over the past year, he’d used razor blades every month to remove the top layer of skin on each of his fingertips, making them as smooth as a baby’s ass.
He had no fingerprints.
He could’ve easily used gloves, but he wanted to touch them, to feel his prey with his bare hands. He blew on the glue until it dried. Satisfied, he stood, stretched his legs and approached Rueben’s home on silent feet.
He hadn’t troubled himself to brush the ants from his lower torso. The stinging sensation of their bites would serve as a reminder that before that evening, he was once human.
 
 
About the Author:
 
 
Before publishing his debut novel in 2016, he served over 27 years as an information technology professional working initially for the US Navy, and then the Department of the Navy and various fortune companies. He’s a UCLA writing program alumnus who writes mystery thrillers and children stories. He has three wonderful kids who he enjoys immensely. Writing is his passion and his goal with each story is to capture the imagination in the opening pages and keep it engaged to the story’s riveting conclusion.
 

 

Contact the Author:
Website * Facebook * Twitter

Book Blitz: Then the Doorbell Rang by Capri Jalota

About the Book:

One fine morning, Jane wakes up and stands upon the ledge of her 18th floor flat in Dubai Marina. Till a few years back, she was everything that would make anyone jealous – beautiful, rich and successful. But then the wheels of time turned. Today, she is miserable and lonely. Would she get over a deception? Can she forgive herself for deserting a friend? Would she ever find true love? Will karma get the better of her or will life give her another chance to correct the wrongs?

Then the Doorbell Rang is about Jane’s roller-coaster journey as she explores the mystical phenomenon called Life.

Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon

 

Fun Facts about the Author:

• The plot of his novel came in Dubai when a friend randomly pointed at a balcony and said “That is the balcony from which the lady jumped” – referring to an incident which had happened few days back
• Demonetization made this book a reality: Capri had left his job with a view of becoming an entrepreneur. He wrote part-time initially as he had been working on this plot for more than 2 years. But with demonetization happening within few months of his leaving the job, he decided to shift his focus to full-time writing and that’s how this book became a reality
• Capri is an avid coin collector and has over 1200 coins in his collection from over 100 countries
• Capri loves to take up new challenges and explore new cities and cultures: During his professional career spanning 12 years, Capri has worked with three organizations, stayed in 7 different cities across three countries
• Capri loves snakes – he wishes to own a snake farm one day. In fact, one of his goals before he turns 50 is get trained as a professional snake catcher
• Capri was never into writing – he was so bad at writing that once his boss made him write an email repeatedly as he didn’t find it good enough – it wasn’t accepted even after 10 drafts. It hurt Capri so bad deep within that he almost made his life goal to be good at writing

About the Author:

In July 2016, when Capri’s career was at an all-time high, he quit his job and decided to pursue one of his under-40 goals and that was to pen a novel. His first novel – “Then the doorbell rang”, which is in fiction genre, has been published by Leadstart Publishing. His book has been released on Amazon and has received great responses.
Capri’s philosophy in life is simple – Plan your life rather than follow a plan. Whilst this might sound contradictory, if you re-read the statement you would be able to understand the subtle difference. Planning is a continuous process whilst a plan is a static one. At different points in one’s life, one must be able to revisit his life and re-sync it with life’s changed priorities and circumstances.
And to be successful, it is very important to be passionate about what you do. “Passion is elixir for the soul” is something he truly believes in. This coupled with the right mentoring leads to an assured success.
Capri is keen to share his perspectives with the world through his writings and talks.

Goodreads * Amazon

In Association with Author’s Channel

 

 

Book Blitz: Transit Lounge by Sunil Mishra

About the Book:

“Transit Lounge” is a contemporary book consisting of short incidents, observations and reflections while travelling to 30 countries across six different continents during the last 15 years.

The book is a personal account of travels to places in Africa, South America, Asia, Europe, USA, Australia and New Zealand.

It was interesting to observe all these different cultures and people from an Indian perspective. The book is a compilation of small incidents and events during such travels; it includes losing an air ticket, dealing with difficult custom officials or getting mugged in a prime location in a foreign country.

Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon

Snippets from Sunil’s travel:

I remember visiting Croatia some time in 2005. It is a small but very beautiful country in Eastern Europe. It could be a must see place for people who enjoy the nature’s beauty.

Plitvice lake that I visited consists of multiple lakes surrounded by mountain and a good amount of plantation. It covers a large trekking area covering the lakes, mountains and the trees.

The lakes are interspersed with numerous waterfalls that make it a great natural sight. The color of the lakes change based on the sunlight, amount of minerals and vegetation around it. Some of these sights are picture perfect in true sense.

Invader in one country is a hero in another.
This statue of Henry Havelock at Trafalgar Square, London reads :-
To Major General Sir Henry Havelock KCB and his brave companions in arms during the campaign in India 1857. “Soldiers! Your labours, your privations, your sufferings and your valour, will not be forgotten by a grateful country.” H. Havelock

About the Author:

Sunil is a software professional with over two decades of experience in the field of banking technology. Currently he is working with Infosys and has earlier worked with McKinsey, Accenture and I-flex solutions. As part of work he travelled to more than 30 countries across six continents. This constituted the basis of his current book.

Sunil is an MBA from IIM-Lucknow and holds a B.Tech from IIT(ISM), Dhanbad. He completed his schooling in Bokaro Steel City.

Contact the Author:
Facebook * Twitter * LinkedIn * Instagram

Book Promo: Hiding by Jenny Morton Potts

About the Book:

 
A gripping psychological thriller with chilling twists, from a unique new voice.
Keller Baye and Rebecca Brown live on different sides of the Atlantic. Until she falls in love with him, Rebecca knows nothing of Keller. But he’s known about her for a very long time, and now he wants to destroy her.
This is the story of two families. One living under the threat of execution in North Carolina. The other caught up in a dark mystery in the Scottish Highlands. The families’ paths are destined to cross. But why? And can anything save them when that happens?
 
Book Links:
 
Read an Excerpt:
 
Chapter 1
Killer Road
April 2007
They died, Rebecca Brown’s mum and dad. They were killed on a road with a big reputation. Rebecca could only imagine it. She was hundreds of miles from the scene of the crash when it happened. When she thought of that road, she pictured it covered in ice, black ice, since the accident took place on a bitter December night. The A42, was the road’s alphanumeric name. The Killer Road, they called it back then in the papers. The Killer Road has struck again! The headlines came into Rebecca’s mind like a voice, like Vincent Price, as if the road arched up into vertical life, a tarmac monster stalking its victims.
Rebecca Brown was four years old when she became an orphan, alongside her sister, Colette, and her brother, Austen. Rebecca was the youngest. She couldn’t even remember the moment she was told. What had they said? ‘Mummy and Daddy have had a terrible accident, dear. In the car.’ At the time, she knew little more than the fact. They were gone. They’d been there all the days of her life, and then they were not. Of the circumstances and detail, she knew next to nothing. Perhaps Rebecca hadn’t thought to ask questions. Perhaps there was little more to say to a child so young. As Rebecca grew, though, so did her thirst for knowledge. But it seemed that, even if there had been a window of opportunity to make her enquiries, that window got bricked up years ago. There was a solid wall now between Rebecca Brown and the truth.
Julia and Stephen, her parents had been called. ‘Julia and Stephen,’ Rebecca liked to say aloud when she was alone in her garret bedroom. She could barely remember them but she thought they sounded really nice. She was sure that they were kind people, with ready smiles and lovely clean clothes.
It was their grandparents who raised the Brown children. It was the Grands who took the youngsters into their care at Taransay, a red sandstone mansion in the north of Scotland. Taransay was only partially restored. It had vast, austere rooms and draughty, wood-panelled corridors; a real Amityville Horror of a home, scary even on a cornflower sky summer’s day, and a weird contrast to the heavenly Highland surroundings. They lived high up on a plateau that could have been made for a view. There was an imposing tree-lined driveway and the steading, as Rebecca’s grandfather Ralph liked to call it, overlooked the magnificent Morar Sands. The golden beach met the Atlantic Ocean which unfurled itself like ruffled navy silk on the calmest of days, but the fierce ones were just as precious to Rebecca, as she stood at her dormer window looking out across the sea’s tossing and turning. She loved it best when the gods got angry down there in the depths and rose up, throwing the spray right at her face.
The land surrounding Taransay was mostly meadow, with the churn and splat of their cattle’s hooves and excretions. Their cowhand, Murdo Hendry, tended the animals. They had mostly Friesians but some Jerseys whose milk was creamier with more butterfat. And they had five Swedish Reds, the strongest and healthiest of the herd, and Rebecca’s personal favourites. They sold their high quality milk to a premium ice cream manufacturer but the income from such a small herd fell considerably short of supporting the Brown clan.
Murdo also tended a half acre of vegetable patch which their grandmother Primmy was inclined to call ‘the potager’. She was often found to use French substitutes for every day words. Austen told his younger sisters that this habit of their grandmother’s was part of her general denial and dislike of where they had ended up. He claimed that her French references were a deliberate barrier to assimilation. Primrose Anctillious Brown described herself as English to the core and it had not been her choice to relocate to Scotland.
The henhouse was Rebecca’s domain. They had a couple of dozen hybrid laying hens which produced far more than they could ever eat, so they supplied their excess to Moss Mills Nursing Home which made them all feel they were doing their bit for the community. However, the Browns were utterly insular and rarely met the community. It was Murdo Hendry – himself a man of very few words – who delivered the eggs.
The perimeter of their land was marked with stone dyke walls, upon which Rebecca could balance, even on the windiest of days. She was certain that this was a skill which would be good for something.
In many ways, the Browns were living in paradise, albeit a rather unpredictable one weather-wise. The blot on the landscape was really the house which was such a strange hulking abode. There was barely a smooth exterior surface. The builder had lumped on every possible feature: turrets, balconies, oriels, buttresses, corbels and a dozen chimneys. And all of the downstairs windows had metal bars fitted on the outside. Not the pretty ones you get in Spain, but the kind you get in gaol. Taransay looked more like a Rhenish correctional facility than a family home. No, this abode was not for the faint-hearted and yet the bereaved children were brought to its huge oak door, for re-settlement; like little refugees with their suitcases and their sorrow.
The rambling, shambling, freezing house was often cited as the reason that guests could not join them. They had moved into the sprawling mansion after the accident, so that there would be room for all of them. And there certainly was. A small regiment would have found it spacious. The house was only partly restored and some years into their tenure, it had become obvious that not only would Taransay never be finished whilst under their guardianship but that nobody had the slightest ambition to try.
About the Author:
Jenny Morton Potts was born in a smart, dull suburb of Glasgow where the only regular excitement was burglary. Attended a smart, dull school where the only regular excitement was the strap. Worked in smart, dull sales and marketing jobs until realising she was living someone else’s life. Escaped to Gascony to make gîtes. Knee deep in cement and pregnant, Jenny was happy. Then autism and a distracted spine surgeon who wanted to talk about The Da Vinci Code, wiped out the order. Returned to wonderful England – and unlikely ever to leave again – Jenny, with assistance from loyal hound, walked and swam her way back to manageable health. Jenny would like to see the Northern Lights but worries that’s the best bit and should be saved till last. Very happily, and gratefully, partnered for 28 years, she ought to mention, and living with inspirational child in Thaxted, Essex.
 
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Book Review: Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

About the Book:

Exit West

Nadia and Saeed are two ordinary young people, attempting to do an extraordinary thing—to fall in love—in a world turned upside down. Theirs will be a love story but also a story about how we live now and how we might live tomorrow, of a world in crisis and two human beings travelling through it. Civil war has come to the city which Nadia and Saeed call home. Before long they will need to leave their motherland behind—when the streets are no longer useable and the unknown is safer than the known. They will join the great outpouring of people fleeing a collapsing city, hoping against hope, looking for their place in the world . . .

My Thoughts:

Exit West is an absolute masterpiece, that is well crafted and inspires the reader to think about some rather important topics.

I had  the pleasure of listening to Mohsin speak about the book and his ideas at Shakespeare and Co., Paris in January 2018. This was quite an eye opener and helped put the story in perspective. It became easier to understand the plot and what the author wanted to convey.

The story is well-written and the simplest plot line is the story of Nadia and Saeed who find love in an unnamed war torn country. Told through their experiences, Exit West explores how the world around us is dynamic and always changing. Along with this, the people in this world are also changing, both physically and in personality, as a result of their experiences. The choices a person makes or is forced to make, contribute to shaping who they are. This is articulated very well by the author.

The author uses imagery to bring into context the use of “doors” to travel to different places. As an example, we can relate our use of technology as a way of going into another world or sequence, that is quite different from the current reality. Another subtle focus is on the concept of migration and the refugee status in countries. The author brings out the idea that everyone, even if they do not move from the current place where they live, can be considered to be migrants since the world around them is always changing. People move to find shelter and a safer place to live, the basic things that we need to lead a simple life.

As the story progresses, we follow our lead characters as they take a trip through many such doors. Their experiences and adventures seek to shape the story and the messages brought out. At times I found it difficult to relate to Nadia and Saeed. They were lacking in character depth and some parts of the story didn’t work for me. However, I found the concept of the story quite intriguing and I think that it is definitely worth a read! The book has received a lot of praise and it is well deserved.