Book Review – A Reckless Soul by Elizabeth Cole

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Blurb:

A seductive agent, a disillusioned lord, and a web of deceit only they can untangle…

Sophie Bertrand is skilled in acting, espionage, and the subtle art of seduction. An independent spirit, she fought her way from rough streets to the top secret circle of spies known as the Zodiac. Her newest assignment is one of her most delicate yet: hunt down a traitor within Britain’s own government. But there’s a catch…this time she can’t work alone.

Bruce Allander has a title, honor, wealth…but he’d trade it all to restore his family. The Zodiac gives him a chance for justice in a world that’s already taken too much from him. Now he finds himself close to this captivating Frenchwoman–possibly too close. Sophie defies all his expectations, yet in her he senses a kindred soul.

Passion draws the two together, but a web of betrayals threatens to tear them apart. To survive, they have to trust each other. They have to be a little reckless…

 

Review:

 

Elizabeth Cole has created such a beautiful world in this book that I fell in love with it almost as soon as I started reading. The regency era as well as erstwhile England, both the settings have been thoroughly researched and well developed.

I was drawn into the book from the very first page when I found out that Sophie is not a typical 1800’s heroine. She is a skilled actress/spy and is not afraid to use either her brains or body. Similarly, Bruce is a lord but not at all afraid of getting his hands dirty. Every character has been dealt with love in this book, not just the main ones. The chemistry between the protagonists is sizzling and there are many emotional as well as ‘naughty’ scenes strewn across the book that makes it a very captivating read.

Each chapter has something new to offer to the reader, whether it be a piece of information or a new layer of a character revealed. The scenes are painted very well and I must say that the ‘victim’s ball’ was truly the icing on the cake. Suddenly the already-beautiful book cover was made much more enchanting!

This is a captivating as well as an emotional read and I would highly recommend A Reckless Soul to the lovers of historical Romance all across the globe. I give it 5 stars!

Received the book from author in exchange of an honest review.

 

Book Review – Savage Summer by Ruth Bainbridge

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“When life gives you lemons … be sure to spit the pits out of that lemonade you’re making. Otherwise you’ll choke.” – Curt Savage


The past year has not been a good one for Curt Savage. Depressed over the death of a loved one, he’s gone into hiding, becoming entirely too comfortable with saying that he’s in the Witness Protection Program. But the urge to find that elusive killer puts his MIA status on hold. With the help of his new buddy Mike, he delves into the murky world of tracking down a killer — and uncovering who poisoned a neighbor’s dog. 

SAVAGE SUMMER is the first in the Curt Savage mystery series. Going from former cop to private dick, he represents a new kind of detective—the reluctant kind. As his best bud Mike puts it, “Private investigation just got Savage.”

Buy at :  Amazon

Review : 

Savage Summer is a fast paced mystery/thriller, so interesting that I finished it in a single sitting.

The author has created great characters. I liked that there are only a few characters in this book and that each one has been developed really well. There isn’t a single character that I didn’t identify with at some point or other.

All good thrillers guarantee fast-paced, nerve-racking moments and this is no exception. Add to it Curt Savages satiric sense of humor and you have a perfect summer read.

The only disappointment (and it’s a huge one) I had from the book is the absence of a sense of closure. Now I understand that this is just the first novel in a series and the BIG reveal about who killed Savage’s girl would be solved only at the end. However, I’d have liked to see some resolution to the night-prowler case. Three mysteries have been touched upon in this novel and not a single one of them have been solved. If I’d known this previously, I’d have picked this up to read only after all books were released!

 

Excerpt :

The phone jarred me out of the fantasy. I awoke suddenly, shielding the light that assaulted my eyes. The odor of Ruthie’s perfume was everywhere.

“Ruth?” I called out. Disoriented, I reached out to her side of the bed, expecting her to be there. It took me several more seconds to realize that she was dead.

“Hello,” I started. The gravel in my throat demanded that I clear it once or twice.

“I’m responding to the ad about Ruth Warwick’s murder.”

Those words officially woke me up. More effective than any cup of coffee, the voice synthesizer disguised the caller’s identity, but the point was that someone had finally phoned. Ever since I’d been dispensed with as a suspect, I’d placed small pennysaver ads in papers published in both Pennsylvania and Ruthie’s home state of Connecticut. Somebody knew something, but I hoped this wasn’t some clown trying to get the reward money from punking my ass.

“Yes, go ahead. I’m listening,” I replied as I ran for a pen and paper. I wanted to be ready, but all I heard was static and heavy breathing. I guessed that it was “all about the money” time. In a second, they’d be asking for the details of how to collect. I figured I’d beat them to that particular punch. “Look, if you’re worried about the reward, the $10,000 will be released when it leads to the arrest of the person, or persons, responsible.”

“I don’t care about the money. There are bigger things going on.”

“What? What do you mean? What things?”

“In due time, Savage.”

“You know my name? How—“

“Inconsequential, don’t you think? Right now, all I can say is this—Ruth was having an affair.”

The click of the receiver on the other end told me the call was concluded. Shocked by the accusation, I stared at the phone, still in my hand. In a million years, I’d never expected a call like that. I collapsed in a chair, trying to think things through. I concluded it had to be a joke perpetrated by someone that thought I hadn’t suffered enough. I slammed the phone back into its stand and took my shower. My stomach was in knots. I was upset that someone was trying to put things in my head about the woman I still loved.

 

Author – Ruth Bainbridge

Born in the idyllic, sleepy town of Ithaca, NY, Ruth Bainbridge has been a lover of mysteries for her entire life.

Ever since a child, she has consumed detective stories at regular intervals, becoming enamored with all the superstars of crime. She loved nothing more than to match wits with the likes of Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Thomas Pitt, Lord Peter Wimsey, Richard Jury and Edward X Delaney, becoming inspired by their brilliance. Hoping to emulate her writing idol’s achievements in dreaming up such characters, she started composing her own short stories.

However, life interfered with her plans of becoming the next hopeful to try a life of crime—on paper at least. Devoting herself to her marriage and the raising of four children, the empty nest syndrome gave her the impetus to return to her first love—murder.

SAVAGE SUMMER is Ms. Bainbridge’s debut novel. It introduces Curtis Owen Savage into the world of ink and fury. Savage is engaged and about to be married when the brutal murder of his fiancée sends the world crashing down around him. Depressed, he isolates himself to better deal with the pain, but his beloved Ruthie won’t leave him alone. Haunting him with her presence, he becomes obsessed with finding her killer, and making him pay for taking her away.

With the help of a quirky friend and an old colleague, he takes his first steps, but the poisoning of a next door neighbor’s dog lands him his first case—and into a new profession. Hired as a private detective, he navigates through a complex series of clues to discover why someone attempted to kill the black Pomeranian. In the midst of trying to track down the motive, he receives his first anonymous phone call from a phantom who insists he knows secrets about his fiancé’s death. Dubbing the caller Dr. Shadows, the tidbits scattered become the breadcrumbs that lead Savage down a dark rabbit hole that was never meant to be discovered.

Her next planned project is MURDER MOST FOWL. Alex “Trout” Matthews, is a former NYC detective. Now retired, he moves to the town of PortsmithIdaho so he can focus on his one passion—fishing. But as Ruth puts it, “Murder rarely leaves an inquisitive mind alone for long.” He soon finds himself pulled back in the stream of things and knee-deep in mystery.

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Book Review – The Madras Mangler by Usha Narayanan

The Madras Mangler by Usha Narayanan

 

The REVIEW: 

Usha Narayanan has done a great job with The Madras Mangler. The title itself is so clever that it was enough for me to take up the book which the author lovingly provided in exchange of an honest review.

It is a fast paced thriller with new twists and turns every few pages. The serial killer is of course the main plot but there is a sub plot for each of the friends which, I believe, is the secret to the pacey read. Every few pages we are caught up with the history of the girls, someone is fleeing their past and taking up an imaginary identity whereas someone is running and hiding from a rapist. Cyber criminals and plain-old goons run amok in the college and create enough trouble for the girls that they take the threat of the killer too lightly until one of them disappears.

Since the novel is setup in Chennai, we see a lot of references to local hangouts, colleges, streets and rivers which lends a local flavor and authenticity to the story.

The author is able to maintain the suspense halfway through the book for me. She heightens the suspense when the serial killer takes his first victim from the Padmaja college however, being a devour-er of mysteries and thrillers, I could guess the killer as soon as the killer chooses his next victim. This might be a case of concern for fellow thriller readers. Otherwise there’s no taking away the fact that the author has done a good job with The Madras Mangler.

 

The Blurb

 

Five pretty girls from around the country, enjoying college life in Chennai, chasing their own dreams. Until a psychopath comes to town, killing girls and dumping their bodies in the rivers. The killer is smart, dangerous and very angry. Just like Vir Pradyumna, ace criminologist from New York, who is fighting his own demons from the past. Ruthless politicians, bumbling cops, beer barons and cyber criminals run amuck. The killer snatches a girl whom Vir has sworn to protect. A Hollywood action crew and the crowds at the India-Australia cricket one-dayer get sucked into the relentless buildup to a nail-biting climax. Will Vir be in time to stop the maniac and save the girl?

 

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Meet the Author

 

 

Be crazy, be creative. That’s been my mantra as a writer and a creative director ― in advertising, radio, corpcomm and web-writing. I turned up the craziness a notch by becoming a novelist, with the freedom to write exactly what I wanted. I started a romcom, changed it into a thriller and sweated and slogged to get the pieces to work together. Research, cliffhangers, suspense, clues, red herrings ― my brain was in a tizzy for days and months.

Done, dusted off, dispatched. A few rejections, heartbreak. A contract from Leadstart, bliss. Creating a spooky book trailer with images and music I bought online. A tweak here and there, with my editor. Poring over images for the cover. Suggesting the artist turn ‘The’ in the title sideways. The book comes out on Flipkart and Amazon first. And after some nail-biting suspense, in bookstores. Organised a launch with Suhasini Maniratnam and Rudra Krishna. Great media reviews. Lovely, wonderful blogger friends. I love being an author J

 

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Book Review – Come Home Again by Nana Malone

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About the Book:

Anything can be fixed with a little Duct Tape and sass…

At least that’s what celebrity fixer, Delilah Donovan, used to think. She prides herself on being able to handle anything. But when she’s asked to fix the new CEO of Synth Games, she never dreams she’ll come face to face with the only man to ever break her heart.

The past can’t always be fixed…

When a friend calls in a long ago favor, reformed hacker, Nate Williams, worries that his shady past will come back to haunt him. As acting CEO of Synth Games, he needs to make the world believe he’s CEO material. Too bad the one person who can help him is the one woman he had to leave behind.

Will Nate bury his demons for good or will his past dictate his future? Can Delilah rise to this challenge or will Nate shatter her heart…again.

 

Buy Links:

Amazon   /   Barnes & Noble

 

Review:

  • Second Chance Romance at it’s best – Life has given the protagonists of this novel, Delilah and Nate, a second chance at finding their love – with each other. When they were kids, Delilah loved Nate. He did too, only Lila didn’t know about it. Nate has to leave their home and never come back; It’s his only way of ensuring that no harm comes to Lila and her family. But she doesn’t know that either. She wonders where    ( and how ) Nate could be and if he left because of her. After years of separation they come face to face at a client meeting and Delilah has been giving the task of launching him as the interim CEO. The author has skilfully handled both the past as well as the present of both these characters and the conflict is SO strong that I just HAD to finish this novel in one sitting, even if that meant puffy eyes the next day!
  • Great Characters – Delilah is one strong, gutsy and feisty heroine. Not afraid of speaking her mind. Takes intelligent decisions normally but not when it comes to her love life. Made me want to scream at her at times to make her see some sense. But that’s what great characters are all about, isn’t it? Nate is sexy, a go-getter and has a shady past. What a deadly combination! He sets his mind to Lila but whenever it’s really important, he somehow manages to push her away. Aaarghh! And Ross? The slimy sneaky villain? Just plain hated him. How about Lila’s Boss? Hmmm..I have yet to make up my mind as to who I hate more. The author has created believable characters just like people who exist in the real world.
  • Great Chemistry  – And I’m not only talking about Nate and Lila. Of course their chemistry is great. Toe-tingling great. I’m talking about the friends. Willow and Chase. Willow is the BEST BFF one could hope for and Lila was definitely lucky in that department. Chase proved to be a good friend too for Nate. Don’t we all need such people in our lives?
  • More scope in the sub-plots – Nate’s brother and the cyber attack subplots not fully explored IMO. There was scope there for upping the conflict. However, that may be just me. It’s a great read as it is and highly recommended.

 

About the Author:

USA Today Best Seller and iTunes Breakout Books author, Nana Malone’s love of all things romance and adventure started with a tattered romantic suspense she borrowed from her cousin.

 It was a sultry summer afternoon in Ghana, and Nana was a precocious thirteen. She’s been in love with kick butt heroines ever since. With her overactive imagination, and channeling her inner Buffy, it was only a matter a time before she started creating her own characters.

 While she waits for her chance at a job as a ninja assassin, in the meantime Nana works out her drama, passion and sass with fictional characters every bit as sassy and kick butt as she thinks she is.

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Excerpt:

“I’m a compulsive gambler. I’ll be heading to an upstate rehab facility tomorrow. My interim CEO has a month to convince the board that he has the chops, or I’ll lose my company to one of the vultures on the board.”
What? Delilah clamped her jaw tight to keep it from hanging open. He was worth half a billion dollars. She slid a gaze to Jake, but he nodded at her, encouragingly. When she finally was in control again, she asked. “My first question is, how long will you be in rehab?”
Chase met her gaze directly. “Sixty days inpatient, then a thirty day outpatient.”
“What prompted the need to check yourself in?”
He hesitated, but she prompted. “If we’re to protect your interests, I need to know what I’ll have to deal with. What prompted the rehab?”
He sighed, and for the first time, she realized how weary he looked, as if he’d been up all night. “Last night, some associates of a bookie thought it would be nice to tune me up.” His glance shifted to the man at the window.
“Why?”
“I’d been a week late with a payment of half a million dollars.”
Delilah blinked. Why would he owe anyone that kind of money? She cleared her throat. “And this bookie, who is he? Is this an establishment that will come out and attempt to tarnish your reputation?”
A frown marred his handsome face. “A back room game in the city. Invite only. Hole in the wall place. He won’t be going public with anything. It’s not in his interest to do so.”
Jake piped in. “They’ve been paid in full and will not come after you in the future?”
Chase shook his head. “No. I’m covered. But I understand your job will be difficult. Synth is already drawing a lot of media coverage because of the release of the new game.”
Delilah sat forward. “It’s timed with the movie release, right?”
Chase nodded. “Yes. Normally this wouldn’t be such a big deal, but the game and movie combined are projected to do a hundred million in the first week of release.”
Jake nodded enthusiastically. “We’re on it, Chase. We know how important this is.”
Delilah quickly made a note for Willow before looking back up. “We’ll do what we can to keep your recent run-in out of the news. We’ll populate some misdirecting stories if anything should arise. In the meantime, we’ll also start to draft the releases about your temporary step down. They’ll go to the majors. We should also plan for your return and the interviews following. We’ll want the important morning shows and outlets, like Anderson Cooper and Piers Morgan. I have a contact at Oprah’s Network too. We’ll see if we can get you on one of her shows.”
Quickly and efficiently she went through the plan for keeping his recent run-in with meaty fists out of the media. She also ran through the plan of communication to the public and shareholders. Of course, every part of the plan boiled down to the final most important piece. “And what do you plan to do about your company while you’re away?” She glanced briefly to Lachlan.
Chase leaned forward. “We’ve called an emergency board meeting for tonight. I can suggest a replacement, and the board will choose. With the voting members present, it should be no problem making sure it goes my way. The crux is, in another thirty days, the board can keep or replace.” He glanced around. “It is in my best interest if the CEO I pick stays.”
Delilah studied the man seated next to Chase. Lachlan Murphy was great CEO material. Honestly, this job would be a walk in the park with him. There wouldn’t be much to do. “I assume you’ll be stepping in as Mr. Channing’s CEO, Mr. Murphy?”
Lachlan’s eyes widened. “Me? Uh, no. And call me Lach. There would be a conflict of interest with my other business interests. I will only be acting in an advisory capacity, that’s all.”
Jake frowned. “I don’t understand. Who will be your replacement?”
Chase gave them a sheepish smile. “I’d hoped he’d be here by now. He was taking care of a quality assurance problem with one of our games. He’ll be here shortly.”
Delilah chewed her bottom lip. What were the chances that whoever Chase had picked would be as easy to mold and work with as Lachlan Murphy? She slid a glance at Jake. His lips were pressed into a thin line.
She licked her lips. “Okay, then. What will we need to know? Where will we need to focus my attention? What’s his background, what are his strengths?”
Chase and Lach exchanged a quick glance. Lachlan spoke first. “He’s loyal.”
Chase continued. “He actually designed a good portion of our games, so he’s familiar with the technology.”
Delilah read between the lines. Games programmer usually meant awkward nerd type. She’d have to roll up her sleeves on this one. “What else?”
“He has an MBA, he’s smart, and he’ll keep my company afloat.”
Delilah studied Chase carefully, unsure how to get the honest truth out of both men. They were giving her the guy’s resume not the overall feel of him. She sat back and asked, “What are we missing here? What is it you don’t want to tell us? We need to know what deep dark skeletons we’re going to have to incinerate so the public never finds them. Or at least doesn’t find them until you’re back in your rightful seat and your profit margins are up.”
Chase squirmed in his seat. Lachlan wouldn’t meet her gaze and suddenly seemed to find his phone very interesting. Abruptly, Chase sat straighter. “Looks like he’s here. You can ask him yourself.”
Through the opaque glass of the conference room, a tall figure loomed at the door. Broad shoulders. There was an air of confidence about him. She could work with that, but even as she stood, the fine hairs on her arms stood at attention.
When the door swung open, Delilah catalogued him in an instant. She caught sight of his Nike Air Force Ones first, then dark jeans. His hands were big. Like they were made for playing basketball, not coding video games. But they were unadorned with jewelry. His leather jacket was expensive, well made and well worn. He didn’t wear it for fashion, rather for necessity. Under it, he wore a black T-shirt that stretched over a well-defined chest.
Oh hell yes. She could certainly work with this.
Her long dormant libido woke up and stretched languorously. It wasn’t until she managed to drag her eyes from his defined pectorals that her brain stuttered. A shadow of blond hair dusted his chin and strong jaw. Longish blond hair curled at his nape. Lips shaped like a bow with a fuller lower lip. High cheekbones. A slightly crooked nose that had been broken at least once. Deep-set, aquamarine eyes framed by thick, sooty lashes.
A face she knew well. One that had haunted her for seven years.
All air whooshed from her lungs as if she’d been hit in the solar plexus.
Chase’s voice sounded like a distant echo. “Jake, Miss Donovan. Allow me to introduce you to Nathanial Williams. He’ll be stepping in as CEO while I’m gone.”
Oh. Hell. No. Her heart hammered, and her lungs refused to operate properly. This is not happening to me. Not him. Anyone but him.
Her gaze collided with the man she’d thought she once loved, and her stomach pitched. The last time she’d seen Nate was her sixteenth birthday. The night he’d betrayed her family and broken her heart.

 

Book Review : Winter’s Embrace by Kathleen Ball

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Blurb:

 

Ten years ago Winter’s heart was broken beyond repair by Stone McCoy. Now she is a travel agent ready to lead an Alaskan Cruise and to her surprise Stone McCoy is on her tour.  A long ago phone call shattered her trust and her self-confidence. She never planned to see Stone again.
While at college, Stone McCoy woke up, after a fraternity party, to find a girl in his bed. Weeks later she told him she’s pregnant. Calling Winter to break things off was the worst night of his life. Now he’s hoping for a second chance at happiness.
The chemistry is electrifying but old issues lead these two on a merry chase. Can they put old hurts aside and begin again? Join Rancher Stone McCoy and Winter Gavin as they try to find happiness from Alaska to Texas and finally on his Montana Ranch.
Ten years ago Rancher Stone McCoy broke Winter Gavin’s heart. Now he turns up hoping for another chance. Will one too many surprises shy Winter away?

 

 

Review:

 

Oh the excitement of a western romance! The sexy cowboys and the innocent, lovable yet fiery heroines? What’s not to love, right? Right! Kathleen Ball captures the very essence of a second-chance western romance with Winter’s embrace.
All the character’s are well-rounded and nicely developed not only the main leads. I was rooting for Winter and Stone all the way and hoped they would look past their stubbornness about having ‘ the talk ‘ and finally realize how much they loved each other. Rachel was like the BEST daughter anyone could ever get! She was so cute and lovable! I normally like a closure to the story and hate open-ended ones but I loved this one mainly because there is a sense of closure, of finality even though the story has been left open. I did notice few typos here and there and that may have dampened the otherwise 5 starts experience a little. Ball has a very distinct writing style and it comes across in this attempt. I would give this 4 stars and I’m sure to recommend this western romance to everybody.
Excerpt:  

Snow, glistening snow, blinding snow, blizzard, or flurries; Winter didn’t care. It was still cold and in abundance. It’d been a long week since Christmas and Stone hadn’t given her one kind word. He acted as though he was mad at the world and every time she tried to talk to him, he’d invent a reason why it wasn’t a good time to talk. Perhaps it was payback for her refusal to talk things out with him before Christmas. It hurt that he didn’t completely trust her with Rachael anymore, for whatever reason.

It was time to move into the foreman’s house, her house. It was for the best. All the tension between her and Stone wasn’t good for Rachael and maybe it would improve his disposition.

Reluctantly she turned away from the window when she heard Stone clear his throat. Why did he still have to be so damn sexy? “I was just about to pack.”

“Where is Rachael?” Stone stared at her intently, making her uncomfortable.

“Building a snowman with Crabby. You do know he’s anything but crabby don’t you?”

Stone gave her a boyish grin. “That’s the fun of it. Besides he likes his name.”

“I’ll go out and help them. I wasn’t sure if she was allowed to be alone with Crabby, but he insisted that it was fine. I should have asked you but—”

“It’s fine, Winter.” He walked toward her slowly, leaving her nowhere to run.

“All the same, I think—”

“That’s the problem. You think too much. I want you to smile, and I want to see your beautiful eyes light up when you see me. You don’t do that anymore.”

“What? You hardly have time to say hello to me. Why should I smile at you? I don’t understand why you would say it’s fine. Nothing is fine around here. You don’t trust me with Rachael—”

“I’m sorry about that whole conversation. I was in a mood and I didn’t mean it.”

“Well, thank you for that.”

He reached for her hand. “That’s it? The coldness in your voice surprises me. You know I love you.”

Pulling her hand away, she shook her head. “My coldness surprises you? You haven’t talked to me in a week and I don’t know what to think.”

“You’re just running away from me, from us. How can you not know that I love you?”

Her jaw dropped and she instantly closed it. “Love isn’t just words, it’s actions, too. If you’ll excuse me I want to make sure Rachael is warm enough.”

Stone frowned as she scooted around him.

She didn’t know what to say. Thinking too much? He wasn’t trying to understand her at all. She started to put on her boots when the door opened, letting in a blast of winter cold. There stood Rachael, her cheeks apple red and her clothes caked with snow.

“Oh my, did Crabby make you into a snowman?”

“The bad snow did this.” Rachael laughed.

“Here, let me help you.” Winter closed the door and started with Rachael’s snow stiffened hat. It took a while as she worked her way downward until finally Rachael’s frozen socks were off. She ushered her daughter toward the fireplace.

“Sit here and I’ll make you some hot chocolate.”

Rachael sat in the big chair by the fireplace and smiled when Winter put a quilt over her. “I like hot chocolate and pie.”

“Me too, with pie.” Stone grinned at the two of them.

“Well I guess I can make some for you too.” Winter walked toward the kitchen. Damn her traitorous heart. She longed for that man, but every time she saw him was one more lash against her heart. A reluctant apology and declaration of love didn’t erase his behavior

toward her all week. Trust wasn’t just telling the truth, it was being able to know that every argument wasn’t Armageddon.

She searched the cabinets and couldn’t find the hot chocolate. “I don’t see the mix for the hot cocoa.”

Rachael rolled her eyes and laughed. “You scratch it with milk.”

“Here, let me help you.” Stone stood at her side before she had a chance to respond. He reached around her, trapping her against the counter. He gave her a long look, swooped down, and kissed her.

Winter tried to jump back but there was no place for her to go. He smelled of leather and pine. He smelled of horses and pure, white snow. His full lips looked inviting and before she knew it, she had her tongue in his mouth, exploring it, and enjoying it too much. Pushing against his chest, she broke the kiss.

Her body trembled and when she looked up at him, he gave her a sexy, knowing smile. Her body betrayed her and she knew the sooner she got out of this house the better. Most of all she needed to get a hold of herself.

Stone stepped back a bit, though not far enough and she could feel his heat wash over her, but she tried to pretend he had no effect. “How…how do you make it? Milk of course but what else?”

Watching, she tried to concentrate on what Stone was teaching her, but she couldn’t focus. The tingling of her body put her on high alert.

“I’m going to move into the other house today.”

Stone stopped stirring the milk. He frowned and opened his mouth as if to say something. Instead, he closed it and shrugged. He poured the hot chocolate into mugs and left hers on the counter.

Meet The Author:
KathleenBall

Sexy Cowboys and the women that love them…Finalist in the 2012 RONE Awards. Top pick, 5 star series from the Romance Review. Kathleen Ball writes contemporary western romance with great emotion and memorable characters. Her books are award winners and have appeared on best sellers lists including Amazon’s Best Sellers List. There’s something about a cowboy.

Dawson Ranch Series— Alice’s Story, Texas Haven, Ryelee’s Cowboy
Lasso Springs Series- – Callie’s Heart, Lone Star Joy and Stetson’s Storm
Cowboy Season’s Series — Summer’s Desire, Autumn’s Hope, Winter’s Embrace

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Twitter: @kballauthor

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Book Review – The Revenge Of Kaivalya by Sumana Khan

REVIEW:

The Revenge Of Kaivalya opens with the story of Kencha, a forest dweller who tags cobras in the Western Ghats, when he dies under mysterious circumstances with some words branded on his skin in an ancient Kannada script. On the other hand, in modern-day Bangalore, young Neel wakes up from a nightmare and a sickening smell of charred flesh and realizes he has wet his bed. I felt the first pang of fear when I realized that the smell was not just in the nightmare; Neel’s servants and his friend VJ felt it too! Then comes Shivaranjini of the Kudala Sangama estate who ventures into the deepest parts of the Sakleshpura forest and comes back with a pendant. She soon experiences a devastating seizure and emerges with a dangerous new personality. Though she has a history of panic attacks, this one reads different; it’s almost like a possession!

Right from the first chapter, the author captured my interest as the story kept moving at a fast pace. Many simultaneous threads in this one but all culminate to a single point of contact – Kaivalya, who has risen from the dead on the eve of the Tsunami to seek revenge from someone. But who is that someone? It couldn’t be Kencha since he was the first one to fall as a victim. Is it Neel who saw her in the nightmare? Or is it Shivaranjini whose body the enraged soul has possessed? And the most important question of all – who is Kaivalya and why does she want revenge? You must pick up the book my dear friends to know the answers to these questions and believe me, you won’t be disappointed.

The author used immaculate language in this book and painted the scene in front of my eyes. I consider any story that can evoke an emotional reaction from the reader to be brilliant and The Revenge Of Kaivalya does just that. I devour horror and thriller stories and there’s not much I haven’t seen done but this book left my pulse racing and the fear factor was a definite turn-on. Not only did I read the story, I smelt the charred flesh, listened to the deafening silence or the howling winds and claps of thunder and tasted the rice idli with melting butter on top. The author has been successful in evoking all my senses as a reader and that’s brilliant.

The book does seem a little bit slack towards the middle and perhaps a bit more wordy than usual but the language is fresh and flowing and leaves a strong impression. The climax, however, left me a bit disillusioned. Without giving away any spoilers let me just say that I’d have liked it better if the protagonists had got rid of the spirit themselves without ‘divine intervention’.

Overall, This is a must-pickup-to-read book if you love the paranormal genre or if you are just looking to get a little (or a lot) spooked. I thoroughly enjoyed the book think that this is a brilliant effort for a debutante.

Disclaimer: This book was provided by the author in exchange of an honest review.

 

The Revenge of Kaivalya by Sumana Khan

 

 

 

The Blurb

 

Deep within the womb-like forests of the Western Ghats, an entity manifests itself at the malevolent moment when the ocean rises to devour hundreds of thousands. Kencha, an unwitting witness to Its birth, is soon found dead – his body branded with a strange message written in HaLegannada, an ancient version of modern Kannada. Even as Dhruv Kaveriappa, Chief Conservator of Forests – Hassan division investigates Kencha’s death, he senses an unseen danger in the forests of Kukke, Bisle and Sakleshpura. Animals drop dead; plants wither away and just as he feared, the forest claims its first victim. Shivaranjini, on vacation in Sakleshpura, suffers a devastating tonic-clonic seizure moments after she returns from a visit to the forest. Soon, she begins to exhibit a bizarre personality disorder. Perhaps there is an outbreak of an unknown rabies-like disease? Or, as ridiculous as it seems, could it be a case of tantric witchcraft? 

 

The truth unfolds in a dizzying maelstrom of events – a truth far too terrifying to comprehend…

 

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Meet the author

 

 

The Author’s Thoughts

 

In the early stages of my manuscript, I knew the title of my novel had to be the name of the principal character. And it could not be just any name. It had to fit into the storyline – from a time perspective, as well as setting the atmosphere. It had to sound ancient and also define the character. Tall order!

As I read up on the history of Vijayanagara, I hoped to come across a good, strong name…but history, largely, is about men and their wars and conquests. I hoped to select a name from our puranas. But nothing clicked. What about our stotras? Maybe the lalitha sahasranama? Or ashtalakshmi stotra? One evening I sat mulling on ‘Kausalya’…thanks to the most famous line ‘Kausalya supraja Rama purva sandhya pravarthathe’ from the Suprabhata 🙂 I went to bed with that line in my head.

The next morning, somehow, ‘Kausalya’ had transformed to ‘Kaivalya’. I did not remember coming across the name in any of my previous research. Curious, I looked up what ‘Kaivalya’ stood for. And was fascinated.   Read More ……..

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Book Review – Unsettled by Neelima Vinod

unsettled

Title : Unsettled

Author : Neelima Vinod

Publisher : Indireads

ISBN : 978-1-927826-07-2

Cover Illustration : Madhiya Qureshi

 

Book Blurb :

The hundred-room house is a rich tapestry of memories and hidden secrets, a dark, forbidding place, rumoured to be haunted by a vengeful Yakshi. Propelled by a desire to save their marriage, Divya and Raghav journey to the haunted mansion in search of the mythical Scrolls of Love.

Written five hundred years ago by the banished court poet Shankara, they are fabled to have the power to heal and reignite lost love. Is this just a legend, or are the couple heading towards a chilling destiny?

 

Review :

Unsettled is a tale of love. True love that makes people face the impossible as well as the dark unrequited love that makes them haunt a place forever.

 

Divya suspects her husband Raghav of cheating on her with his childhood friend. Plagued by vivid dreams and determined to save her marriage, she consults Dr. Ray, a notable therapist suggested by her friend Emily. When he suggests that they visit her village Cherakad in search of the Scrolls of Love which will help bring love back into their marriage, Raghav, though reluctant, agrees. But not all is as easy as it seems. The Scrolls of Love is hidden somewhere in the hundred-roomed Big House and is fiercely guarded by a Yakshi, Thathri. Will they be able to get it or will they fall prey to the Yakshi? Will they be successful in salvaging their marriage? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

 

What captured my interest from the very beginning is the absolutely beautiful lyrical quality of the prose. I enjoyed the narration so much that I just HAD to look up the author’s blog! Each page is a play on emotions, especially the scenes of Thathri and the poet Shankara. The plot is engaging  with two threads running simultaneously, the marriage problems of our contemporary couple and the unrequited love of Thathri. It’s surely a page turner with beautiful verses strewn in between and cliffhanger moments. Both the female characters have been sketched vividly by the author but IMO the male characters would’ve benefited with a li’l more attention.

 

Overall, It’s a short and sweet read, and recommended for anyone who loves beautiful prose. Believe me, you won’t be disappointed. Neelima Vinod is surely an author to watch out for!

 

Disclaimer: Received the e-book from the author in exchange of an honest review.

 

Book Review – Don’s Wife by Vinod Pande

Don’s Wife is the debut novel of Director-turned-Author Vinod Pande of Ek Baar Phir, Yeh Nazdeekiyan and Sins fame. The movies were far ahead of their time and stirred up many Hornets’ nests so I was expecting nothing less from the book. I wasn’t disappointed. This is a story of love as well as crime, revenge as well as retribution, a tale of hope and honor and tragedies.

Kamini belongs to a middle class family but falls in love with Harsh who is the son of a much feared and respected underworld don. When Kamini’s parents disagree to the match, she is won over by her father-in-law with his selfless love and cute antics. Their fate takes a disastrous turn when The Don is murdered and Harsh has to step in his shoes and flee the country, leaving behind Kamini with a newborn. Disillusioned by Harsh’s numerous affairs, Kamini starts on her chosen path of social service and politics and carves her own niche among the people. Loneliness gets the better of her though and she falls in love with her bodyguard – Jayant. Will she chose Harsh or Jayant? Will Harsh come to know of her affair? Who murdered her? Pick up the book to find answers to these questions, dear reader.

Great characters make a great book. Kamini is strong, affectionate, lively as well as levelheaded but she goes out stealthily in the night for a rendezvous with her lover. Harsh loves the scholarly life as much as he does the one of a don. Even though he loves Kamini, he still sleeps around. Jayant is loyal and rational, but falls in love with his benefactor’s wife. All the characters in this book have shades of grey as happens in real life too. The book unfolds just like a movie and has very strong visualizations in some places. This story is not high and dry; lots of emotions in this one. There are passionate lovemaking as well as action-packed crime scenes as there are scenes that force you to think.

Editing would have made this book great. Imagine while reading a thought provoking scene you suddenly come across Dr, ‘Jackyll’ and Mr. Hyde! Or when the bodyguard is introduced as an officer from the Indian Navy ‘SEALS’! I couldn’t help but guffaw. Poor editing certainly takes away from the pleasure of reading and I hope Mr. Pande will hire a good editor for the second edition of this book as well as for his next effort. After all, editing makes good writing great. Even though the start of the book is pacey and intriguing, it loses out somewhat towards the middle due to a lot of backstory ‘dump’.

I did enjoy the book and my best wishes with Mr. Pande for Don’s wife.


The Blurb
 
Lethality of beauty and inner radiance brutally felled, after several dastardly attempts on her life in different cities of the world, Kamini, the firebrand leader of the emerging new party, the icon of the youth, the idol of the world of glitter and glamour, the revered social reformer, the enigmatic wife of the dreaded underworld Don Harsh Jadhav, assassinated by unidentified gunmen at the unlikeliest of places, right at the front door in the porch of her own house. With mere two mortal shots, death had snatched her from life and what a life! She could launch a million ships, both with her beauty and her exceptional brilliance. A fulsome life but a born rebel. Defiantly left all this to marry a man she loved, a man, she was to learn rather late in the day, was the son of one of the most feared mobsters in the country. A woman who went beyond, beyond the societal mores in her passionate relationships. Then, then the world did not remain the same. A saga began. A saga of revenge and hope, of aspirations and betrayals, of human tragedies and triumphs. A story of tall men and even taller women where heroes are not only heroes and villains are not only villains. Story of Kamini, more powerful in death than even in life
 
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Meet the Author
Vinod Pande is a producer, writer, editor and award winning director whose body of work includes films such as Ek Baar Phir (1979), Yeh Nazdikeeyan (1982) and Sins (2005) among many others. He has also made popular TV shows such as Airhostess (1985-86) and Reporter (1992-97). He worked as programming head for Sahara TV (1997-2000). “The Don’s Wife” marks his debut as a published author. 

 

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Book Review – The Malhotra Bride by Sundari Venkatraman

The Malhotra Bride

Title : The Malhotra Bride
Author : Sundari Venkatraman
Publisher: Flaming Sun; 2 edition (February 11, 2014)
ASIN: B00IE4R20U

The Malhotra Bride is Author Sundari Venkatraman’s second novel, the first being Double Jeopardy. With this novel the author has forayed into the self-publishing world and I wish her lots of luck and hope she’ll sell lots of copies.

Suneeta is a beautiful and lively girl who wants to chase her dreams of becoming an interior designer so when her parents ‘fix’ her marriage with the most eligible bachelor in town – Akshay Malhotra of the Malhotra Garments, she hatches a plan to get rid of the prospective groom. Even though Akshay is quite smitten by Suneeta and is ready to allow her the freedom she desires, she doesn’t relent and sends Akshay packing. But when she comes to know that her very strict parents are planning to hold a ‘swayamvar’ for her, she hesitatingly signs a ‘contract’ with Akshay to be his bride. Whether she becomes the Malhotra Bride or not is for you to read and find out my dear readers.

The novella was a light and breezy read and I finished it in a single sitting of 3-4 hours. Yes, that’s how engaging and interesting the story is! I couldn’t keep the book down and was compelled by Suneeta and Akshay to turn page after page. The first thing that attracts me to a book are the characters and I found beautifully sketched-out and real characters in this one. Starting with the strict Gokul Rishi to the understanding Grandpa Ratan to The Malhotras, all were interesting as well as believable. I think, of all the characters in this novella, Grandpa Ratan (or dadaji as he is fondly called), steals the show! Sundari has a strong voice and it comes across in the narration. The plot is full of unexpected twists and this makes the book un-putdownable. I did wish though that the conflict were more intense. The ‘contract’ was not used to it’s full potential. I wondered to myself what if both sets of parents had found out about it? And then, what if Grandpa Ratan had found out about it? It would have made the climax more nail-biting. But well, that’s just me and the author has done a fab job with the book so no, this doesn’t take anything away from the book.

I would recommend this book as a quick weekend read to all Romance lovers of the world. Yes, the world because some of the rituals described in the book are very visual and I’m sure everyone will enjoy them.

Book Review – Tuki’s Grand Salon Chase by Parul Sharma

Tuki’s Grand Salon chase is a Chick Lit by Parul Sharma of the Bringing up Vasu: That First Year fame. Tuki is a talented hairstylist who is working steadily and diligently towards The Plan of her life, opening her own Salon Blues. When catastrophe strikes she realizes that she has nothing to fall back on; she doesn’t have a Plan B. She escapes to Goa and tries to pick up the pieces of the Jigsaw puzzle called Life. This is a heartwarming story of dreams, love and friendship in Tuki’s life.

The starting of the book is fairly interesting as I immediately wanted to know the reason why somebody will be screaming like a banshee inside an upmarket Salon like The Factory. The intriguing start, however, was lost on the numerous characters I was immediately heaped with starting with the minions to the senior stylists. I kept going back to read who was who and If the book cover hadn’t told me that the protagonist should be someone called Tuki, I would have missed her appearance altogether. It took the fun element out of the story but things soon picked up as the characters became more well-rounded, interesting (and few).

Tuki as the protagonist of the novel is a well-sketched out character. While I loved her empathy levels and her fierce sense of pride, I sometimes wished she would stand up for her rights or speak her mind. I understood, of course, that nobody is perfect and this makes reading the story more fun when we root for the characters, when we plead to them to stop doing something obviously stupid or when we cheer them on to go do it. Of course I was urging Tuki to see through the facades people (like Renee or Sweety Bhabhi) put up and urging her to speak her mind to her love interest. The men in the story were absolutely delectable too starting with the eccentric writer Bijoy to the neighborly and well-meaning Faraaz as well as the sexy and suave Arvind. Even though I wanted Tuki and Arvind to pair up, I couldn’t help but feel sad about Faraaz too. Even peculiar Bioy and formidable Paromita were well-liked characters. After reading the book I can confidently say that I love ALL the characters in this book.

The story itself was full of twists and turns and there wasn’t a dull moment. As soon as I thought I was on familiar ground, Parul Sharma would fling a twist at me and I was left wondering “what next?” Tuki’s grand Salon chase is a wonderful read and I would highly recommend it to lovers of this genre.

 

Tuki’s Grand Salon Chase by Parul Sharma

 

The Blurb
 
AFor most hairstylists, the move from the dingy Lovely Beauty Parlour to the upmarket Nancy’s Factory would be reward enough. Gifted, young Tuki though has her sights set on a bigger prize – her own salon! Her well-laid plans start going awry as soon as the striking tattooist Faraaz joins Nancy’s Factory. Tuki needs to handle Faraaz’s advances, figure out the mystery behind the disappearance of the elderly, eccentric, brilliant writer Bijoy Dutta and rescue the multilayered Sweety Bhabhi from destitution.
 
Finding herself at the heart of one storm too many, Tuki decides to run away from the leafy lanes of Bandra to the old-world Portugese villas of Goa. In the comforting embrace of the village Aldona, she finds herself struggling with her rather untimely attraction to her enigmatic neighbour, the charming Arvind and sharing house with Bijoy, haunted as he is by the ghosts of his past.
 
Armed with nothing but a pair of scissors and the jigsaw pieces of her broken dream, Tuki has to navigate through Mumbai, Goa and London to find out if the universe is conspiring to make her or break her.
 
Tuki’s Grand Salon Chase is her heartwarming tale of finding love and hope in the unlikeliest of places.
 
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tuki

 

Meet the Author

 

 

Parul Sharma grew up in the small towns of Uttar Pradesh. This was fortunate because it ensured that she ran into some rather quirky characters pretty early on in life. Once done with schooling, she made the rather dubious choice of studying Economics, a sentiment with which Economics agreed, no doubt. This made way for a degree from Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad where many inspiring cups of tea were consumed, among other things. 



She has worked with the corporate sector for several years in companies such as Genesis Burson-Marsteller (New Delhi), Arvind Brands Ltd (Bangalore) and Indian Market Research Bureau (Mumbai) in marketing communications and qualitative market research, but she also writes novels. 



The bestselling Bringing Up Vasu: That First Year was her first book and described the travails of Mira, a young, first-time mother. Her second novel was By The Watercooler – the story of Mini and Tanya, young women who find that the corporate ladder is actually a greasy pole. All her books have been published by Westland. She has also contributed stories to the Chicken Soup For The Soul series and to Femina.



Parul lives in Mumbai with her husband, two children and sometimes, if she’s lucky, Kittu, the street cat. 



Parul is passionate about animals and their welfare and would like to open an animal shelter in the future. 

 
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