Book Review – Helpline by Uday Mane

 

Helpline

 

by Uday Mane
 

The Review
The book cover and the blurb were the main reasons I picked up The Helpline. The cover artist has done a wonderful job in conveying through the image what the book is all about. The blurb excites the reader and forces them to ask some questions for a start.
As I read The Helpline I started answering my own questions. The story is not only of Samir. The story is of Riya, a sister who loves her brother unconditionally, and devotes many years of her life for his care. The story is of Siddhartha who suffers from Down’s syndrome but is never afraid of the challenges life throws at him and takes them in his stride. It is the story of a true friend, Neha, who stands by her friends in their hour of need. Who doesn’t care what the world says of them but pays heed to her own instincts about them. This is the story of a grandfather who devotes his life to the care of the differently abled, someone who serves as a living example of what he preaches and someone who is remembered long after his death. This is the story of Aslam who has dreams in his eyes of a better future for himself and strives harder and harder each day to educate himself so he can get that goal. It is also the story of Rajesh who is focused and stops at nothing to get to his goal. It is the story of a boy called Samir who is jealous of a girl Riya because she is so perfect and everybody loves her, even his nana. It is the story of a young Samir who falls in love yet makes some grave mistakes. But it is also the story of a writer who is driving down a guilt-ridden path, who takes out a gun every night but has enough courage to keep it back again, a writer who is trying hard to find his true identity and please his dad. Yes, The Helpline is all this and more.
I finished the book in one go. Sent a sleepless night in its pages. There are many places where the Grammar Nazi in me seared it’s head but the emotions in the story soon put it back in it’s place. I believe that if The Helpline were better edited, it could see a lot of success. But I still believe that this book will carve a niche among some readers. It’s different and You have to read it to experience it.

 

The Blurb
 Samir is suicidal. Rachael works for a suicide helpline. Fate connects them through a phone call. And so begins Samir’s story of love, longing, errors, regret and a girl who changed his life. As his story reaches its conclusion, Rachael will know the true reason behind his suicidal tendencies. But this suicide helpline is not any ordinary service. There is more to the mysterious and yet so convincing voice of Rachael. As this new mystery begins to unfold, Samir is going to discover three things: 



What is The Helpline? 

Who is Rachael? 

What is Samir’s own identity? 



Every year, several teenagers in India attempt suicide because of failing relationships, dwindling careers, parental pressure or the competitive world. This story is about one such teenager, his early problems and the hurdles to cope with them. This story is about finding hope in the struggle. This story is about fighting for what you believe in and discovering your true identity. This is not a story about falling in love. This is a story of rising from a failed love story.

 
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Meet the Author

 

Uday Mane was born in Pune and raised in Mumbai. He works as a marketing professional during the day and a storyteller during the night. He is an avid reader, and loves to collect classic books.

The Helpline is his debut novel that was launched in March 2014 at the hands of Padma Shri Paresh Rawal.

 

 
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Book Review – Agony by Kshitij

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Blurb: “A cold lonely life, paralyzed by sickening nightmares; that’s what Kewy, a young Irish teacher, started to experience. And then the abrupt knockings at her door established that the time has come. Things buried in her past, found a way to communicate with her- the dreams, which always receive her at a god forsaken place dwelled with evil and surrounded by death, fear and hopelessness. 
The past was agonizing but the part of her still believes she could erase it. In her quest, Kewy was joined by two concurring beings; both of which found a reason to live, in her struggle. Together the three walked through that dark, disturbed and desolated land. 
And what waited for them in those deadwoods was more than just a plain and ordinary fear…” 

Find it on Amazon

 

Review:

Though it says Horror, Agony is really an occult/supernatural experience. It does have ghost elements in it but as a die hard horror fan, the fear-factor in this novel is more psychological than anything else. There are scenes of cult practices as well as some where people drink blood and stuff, but I didn’t feel it to be too gory. The horror is the right mix between psychology and gore.

 

The main character, Kewy, felt shallow to me in the beginning. She is plagued by nightmares and can’t sleep and must embark on a journey to the place where it started. She convinces one of her students and a potential boyfriend to go on that journey with her, even though she knows how dangerous it can be. Then, she refuses to tell them how it all started till the time they reach the point of no return in an isolated resort in the county. However, it was heartening to see her growing better as a person throughout the story since that is what a story is about, how a character changes due to circumstances. Kewy’s college friends were also a bit of a let down. They all go on a professional escapade but once they reach their destination, nobody is interested in doing the actual work anymore. Kewy’s other friends, Eineen and Kasper were well thought-of and sketched. Especially Eineen came across as a real strong person.

 

The plot is great but the telling of the story is a bit lacking and so the reader has to plod through unnecessary information to reach the actual story. Everything, and I mean everything, has been described to the minutest detail, leaving absolutely nothing to the reader’s imagination, as if the author doesn’t trust the reader to ‘get it’. The language needs professional editing. I wish authors like Kshitij who self publish their novels would first hire the services of a professional editor, especially if it’s a debut since the first impression you make on a reader would carry forward in their minds.

 

I did enjoy reading Agony once I went past the language barrier and I think the plot has the right bit of depth and intrigue. I especially liked the climax and the ending where good wins over evil. I would rate this story 3 out of 5 stars.

 

Book Review – Butterfly Season by Natasha Ahmed

ButterflySeason

Blurb: On her first holiday in six years, Rumi is expecting to relax and unwind. But when she is set up by her long-time friend, she doesn’t shy away from the possibilities. Ahad, a charming, independent, self-made man, captures her imagination, drawing her away from her disapproving sister, Juveria.

Faced with sizzling chemistry and a meeting of the minds, Ahad and Rumi find themselves deep in a relationship that moves forward with growing intensity. But as her desire for the self-assured Ahad grows, Rumi struggles with a decision that will impact the rest of her life.

Confronted by her scandalized sister, a forbidding uncle and a society that frowns on pre-marital intimacy, Rumi has to decide whether to shed her middle-class sensibilities, turning her back on her family, or return to her secluded existence as an unmarried woman in Pakistan.

We follow Rumi from rainy London to a sweltering Karachi, as she tries to take control of her own destiny.

 

Buy Links :  Amazon  /  Indireads

 

Review: Do Pakistani women think (and maybe act) like Indian women when it comes to love or are they different? What do the contemporary Pakistani women feel about pre-marital intimacy? These were just some of the questions that came to my mind when I read the blurb of Butterfly Season. Of course I wanted to know whether our sisters from across the border were really so different from us as sometimes we are led to believe. I’m glad I picked up the book because now I feel that Pakistan and India are not so different after all, at least not where we women are concerned.

Rumi and Ahad, the main characters, are easy to fall in love with. Their romance is fun and frothy & they share a great sexual chemistry. I was relieved that Ahmed didn’t fall in the trap of keeping sex-scenes in the book just to get high sales (as is the case nowadays) since so many books I read that try to talk about a woman’s choices/perspective do. Mahira comes across as a great friend, a friend everyone needs in his/her life, a strong pillar of support. Juveria, though easy to dislike, reminds me of so many women that try to guide all their actions and words according to norms set up by the society in order to please it, but turn up making their lives miserable. Ahmed has been able to create a great mix of characters, all taken from our contemporary society. The men folk needed a bit more work IMHO but the female characters all came out strong.

I liked the little glimpses the author has shown of contemporary Pakistan what with Urdu words strewn in, references to the pop culture, the Junoon-Vital signs debate etc. The author has used beautiful language in Butterfly season for example – “…Love and marriage are not synonymous. Every Pakistani girl knows that already.” There are many such ‘quotable quotes’ strewn across the book. I do wish Ahmed had delved a little deeper into Karachi, which was such an intrinsic part of Rumi. I wished to experience the city through its many colors, smells and sights but I felt something missing. I did identify with the heat though coming from Punjab myself.

Butterfly season is a quick read, hardly a hundred pages long and has some great thought provoking moments. I congratulate the author on talking about such a taboo topic like pre-marital sex and not come up as preachy or condescending. I thoroughly enjoyed Ahmed’s debut novella and would recommend it to Romance lovers all over the world. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars 🙂

 

 

 

Book Review – Scarlet Revenge by Ann McGinnis

 

Scarlet Revenge by Ann McGinnis



The Blurb
 
The FBI doesn’t know what to do with Analyst Caycee Scarlet. She’s brash, brilliant & brutally relentless when tracking a serial killer. But she also has a temper, problems with authority figures and recognizing the chain of command. Things go sideways for Caycee when she uncovers a lead that saves the Omega Killer’s latest victim. Rather than working the system and making nice with her pompous boss, sparks fly and she gets into an altercation with the lead Special Agent on the case, resulting in a transfer to another assignment. Caycee finds herself transferred to an FBI interrogation facility where she assesses the most dangerous of criminals in custody. She struggles to get over the loss of her dream job, but her new boss, handsome Special Agent Gil Graham, may soften the blow. Sparks, of a different variety, fly between the Special Agent and his new Analyst, as they work together to crack the most difficult cases. Just when Caycee’s wounds are healing from her expulsion on the Omega Killer team, she is dragged back into the thick of it. Caycee and her new team are front and center, focused on an interview of a bombing suspect, when Omega comes looking for revenge. His attack wounds her team, leaving Caycee with only one option for help-the devastatingly handsome bombing suspect. It will take all of Caycee’s wits, and a kiss for luck, to stop Omega and save her co-workers.
 
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Review

Scarlet Revenge is the first story in a series of FBI Analyst Caycee Scarlet. I am normally skeptical about picking up the first novel of a series till the time the other books aren’t out but I’m glad I picked this up. This story has a sense of closure, it doesn’t leave too many questions unanswered while keeping the reader interested to read the second book as well. So many authors aren’t able to pull off sequels correctly and I congratulate Ann on doing a fantastic job at this.
Caycee as well as her boss-cum-love interest, Gil, are both likable and relatable characters since both of them possess positive as well as negative shades just like normal human beings. I loved Caycee’s spunk and found it charming that Gil supported her, sometimes even taking a backseat. How many heroes do that, really? The Omega Killer Jeffery, The baseball Bomber Hicks & Ex-Boss Wilkes are the other important characters in this novella. The author has done an excellent job with sketching the characters of Hicks as well as Wilkes whereas I wanted something more from the author regarding The Omega Killer since he was the Main antagonist in this story. I believe he needed a li’l more attention. His methods, his background or why he became what he did was never really discussed. In a serial killer thriller, I would expect these things as a reader. Hicks character, on the other hand, was strong and compelling and I’m glad that there will be more of him in the sequel Scarlet’s Envy. I’m certainly looking forward to it. At the end of the story, Caycee sees someone that looks like Hicks get away from the premises and doesn’t do anything. This is the only point which felt jarring to me since I had made an opinion about Caycee being an upright FBI officer. It made me question her dedication to her profession. Not sure if this concern will be handled in the sequel but I certainly hope so.
I recommend Scarlet Revenge to all Romantic Thriller lovers. I would rate it a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

 

Meet the Author
 
Ann McGinnis writes about characters that let their egos and sense of justice rule their lives, while they protect the public from serial killers and unthinkable crimes. Of course, Ann’s characters always find a way to blow off steam — romantically!
As a writer, Ann comes from the world of action/thrillers and screenwriting. She has two scripts currently in development. A third script, about a spunky FBI analyst, is the basis of “Scarlet Revenge” and the main character Caycee Scarlet. It is the first book in a series, with Book 2 “Scarlet Envy” coming out in September 2014. 


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Book Review – Reach For Your Light by Ces Creatively

Paranormal Romance
   

My Review :

 

Paranormal Romance is one of my favourite genres to read in and that’s the reason I picked up this book. I was disappointed. Clearly, this book is a romance disguising as a Paranormal. In fact, the paranormal factor just appears every 5-6 chapters that also for a paragraph or two in the form of some golden light or a blurry shape. Not much to keep me interested.

More than the paranormal factor though, the biggest disappointment was the grammar and punctuation. I had to mentally correct all the your/you’re, should of/should have as well as put in periods and commas because the sentences read as a teenager’s text messages as I read the book. This definitely hampered my flow while reading and I had problems finishing the book. Since this book was provided by the author in exchange of an honest review, I was obligated to finish reading it. Otherwise I might not have been able to.

The book has a cliffhanger at the end which is always considered good for a series however in this case IMHO not a correct place to end the story because there are just too many questions left unanswered and there is a definite lack of any sense of closure. Normally in a series there is a main plot point and a few sub-plots. Those sub plots are resolved however the main plot is left as a cliffhanger, so that the reader buys the next book. However in this story even the sub-plots are left hanging in the middle.

Another problem I had with this book are the main characters Emma and Jeremy. I had trouble liking both of them. There are other characters in this book though that were perfectly likable and intriguing however, sadly, they were not the protagonists like Denni etc. Emma, while in London, falls for Nic who likes it rough. So much so that she almost begs him to have her. Heartbroken, when she moves from London and meets Jeremy, suddenly she forgets everything about her supposedly broken heart and falls for him. Under Emma’s circumstances (considering the reason for her heartbreak) this sounds impossible. Again, she is hopelessly in love with Jeremy but whenever she feels the presence of her angel (or even sees his car) she feels attracted towards him! Same with Jeremy. He supposedly loves Emma but can never take out a few seconds from his busy schedule to even reply to her texts or return a call. He loves Emma but can’t keep his hands off Mel, his ex. Even though the author has given him a very good reason to pursue Mel, I don’t think it’s enough to kiss her, especially when he was the one to bring up fidelity (and was hurt for so many years due to the lack of it). It’s one thing to create a flawed character but these were unlikable! Finally, the Emma’s angel just mysteriously appears at the end of the book and carries her away when so far he had been pictured as just some light, or a fleeting reflection or at max, his car.

I wish the author will take care of these issues in the next edition of the book.

 

Blurb:

Emma Williams is searching for a new direction. Leaving behind a dead end career and harrowing relationship in London, she makes a fresh start in Bournemouth bonding immediately with flat mate Denzil and enjoying coastal life. 

 

Falling in love with delicious Jeremy White she soon discovers that her new life is not as uncomplicated as she’d hoped. It may look like she has the perfect beach apartment and gorgeous man of her dreams but when visions of a mysterious stranger become reality and manipulating exes are out to cause trouble in paradise, Em just wants to find the truth in a world of deceit. 

 

The Light Direction will take you on a fast-paced roller coaster of hot sex, mind games and supernatural visions that will leave you hungry for more.

 

**Contains explicit adult content. Not suitable for under 18 yrs.**

Meet the Author:

 

Ces Creatively
Ces Creatively is an inspiring mum of three from Poole who loves to spend time at Poole Harbour, Sandbanks Dorset. Juggling being a mum with running graphic design business www.biz-brand-buzz.co.uk, popular website with a book blog www.supportivebusinessmums.co.uk and hand made gifts business www.prettyinspiring.co.uk she miraculously also finds time to write www.the-light-direction.co.uk novel series which she has dedicated to her son in heaven. A tireless champion of small businesses and other authors, Ces has won several awards for supportive innovation and dedicates time every week to promoting others online. In a unique twist, her debut paranormal romance novel The Light Direction – Reach For Your Light features real small businesses and talented creatives.

Book Review – Embers of Light and The Sacred Secret by Abhi

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Title : Embers of Light and The Sacred Secret

Author : Abhi

Publisher : Konark Publishers Pvt. Ltd.

ISBN : 978-93-220-0837-6

Blurb:

They could have heaven but they did not take it. 
The demons were against them and so were angels but that did not scare them. 
Destiny had already ruled against them but they chose to rebel. 
It is the story of five ordinary humans who chose the path of light over and above everything else… even God

A strange Y shaped symbol in the sky, terrified a mysterious alien race living secretly on this planet for centuries, and changed forever the fate of five humans; a Brazilian street fighter, an American cop, a Chinese karate instructor, a Russian environmentalist, and an Indian ad maker. Meanwhile a geek in NYC is amazed to see his dreams growing more and more bizarre each day and met an angel who isn’t conventional in any way. It is best when some secrets remain hidden and some stories remain untold. But is destiny too kind to respect this fact?

Review:

This book grabbed my attention from the very first chapters as five people from all over the world are given an invitation to be in New Delhi at the same day, time and place. My mind started asking questions right after that and didn’t stop throughout the book. Embers of Light and The Sacred Secret is a captivating read to say the least, blending fantasy seamlessly with reality.

The plot of the book is wildly imaginative and even though there is a main plot that will bind all the three books of the trilogy together, there are sub-plots in this book that captured my interest and kept springing surprises at me from every nook and cranny. There are so many twists and turns that even while writing this review I am careful of not giving away any information that might count as a spoiler. Kudos to the author for meticulous plotting!

The story has many characters and the credit goes to the author for sketching them out in detail and giving all of them an important role to play. The five main characters of the story have all been dealt with love, not just the main protagonist. Here, however, the author has faltered a little bit. All the characters are from different parts of the world and they have been given different characteristics and mannerisms however they all speak the same kind of English! I would expect a Brazilian street-fighter to speak little differently than an American cop or a Chinese Karate Instructor and so on but it doesn’t happen. In fact, language is the part where this novel doesn’t meet my expectations as a reader. I would say that poor editing is at fault here. Sometimes the novel tends to be a bit wordy and we see MTI throughout the book. Also, I wish the cover of the book had been bit more classy. It certainly doesn’t do justice to the brilliance of this book! But maybe these ‘not so good’ things can be taken care of in upcoming editions.

The sacred secret is a brilliant read and I’m looking forward to the other two books. I highly recommend this book to fantasy lovers throughout the world and especially to Indian readers who are overwhelmed by all the mythological fiction shoved down their throats! The Sacred Secret is a wonderful respite! I would rate it 4 stars!

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 – 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 : Winter’s Embrace by Kathleen Ball

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WintersEmbrace
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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