Monday, 14 November 2016

Book Review: All Signs Lead Back to You by Aneisha Brahma





All Signs Lead Back to You by Aniesha Brahma




2013.

As the final bell for the day rang on their last day in school, Diya Rai, had a chill run down her spine. The chill of not knowing what the future holds for her and her high school sweetheart, Ashwin Chowdhury.
So she does a preemptive strike.
She dumps him before he can hurt her.

2015.

Two years later, Ashwin and Diya, cross paths. Each holds grudges, feelings and only one half of the story that completes them.
Told from alternating points of view, through a non-linear timeline, this is the story about
first love, second chances and ALL the SIGNS THAT LEAD BACK TO YOU.




Meet the Characters


Diya Rai – is the protagonist of the story whose actions have always had terrible consequences for those around her. Diya is self-absorbed and never chooses anyone else over her own self. Diya’s troubled past keeps her from letting people into her life. Even though she’s hurt Ashwin she wants him back in her life years later.

Ashwin Chowdhury – is her best friend in school and later on, boyfriend. He is left heartbroken by Diya but when their paths cross later on, he realises he doesn’t want anything to do with her. He lives with his mother and elder brother and hails from a upper middle-class family background.

Nina Gonzales – is Diya’s best friend in college. She and Diya had met during their admissions and had become fast friends with one another. Nina and Ashwin end up competing with one another to see who is really Diya’s best friend!

Rishabh – is the quintessential hot, rich guy that Diya dates in college. He seems to be in love with her, but Diya doesn’t seem to return the same affection towards him. Nina hates his guts.

Trina – is the girl Ashwin is interested in. She goes to the same college as Diya and Nina, and while Diya dislikes her mostly because Ashwin seems to be interested in her, Nina is indifferent to her.



Aniesha Brahma is an author who realized her passion for writing at the tender age of six. She also happens to be the social media manager for BEE Books. Her debut novel, The Secret Proposal (2012) was published by General Press and was followed by When Our Worlds Collide (2015) by the same. She blogs at: www.anieshabrahma.com and runs an online magazine, BUZZ Magazine. She can be contacted at: aniesha.brahma@gmail.com. She lives in Kolkata with her family and her five super adorable cats!













My Review:
This YA story has been inspired from a lot of YA fiction out there, especially Paper Towns. 
This is perhaps why the characters are the best part, with their quirks and histories and differences. 
The story is a light-read and if you are looking for some thought-provoking YA, then this might not be for you. The novel spans across a handful of school and college years of the characters and traces their story as they meet new people, redefine themselves, define their relationships and learn crucial lessons. 
The heartwarming part is how they let go and hold on to friends or support systems. That, for me, is the highlight of the plot. The comebacks and actions of the characters are amusing, but there isn't a particular highlight here. I wish the ends weren't so loosely tied. 
Overall, the book is a fun, fast read. 





Book available here: 



Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Book Review: Deceiving Bella by Cate Beauman


Ethan Cooke Security and their bodyguard team return to action in Deceiving Bella – book eleven in Cate Beauman’s Bodyguards of L.A. County series.

With over 7700 reviews and a 4.4 rating for the entire series, see why the Bodyguards of L.A. County is a multi-award winning series.

Buy It Now!


New to the series? No problem! Each book in the “Bodyguards” series is a stand-alone title. Although reading the books in order is preferred, it is not necessary.  Each title features brand new primary characters and limited overlapping secondary characters.  Don’t hesitate to jump right in!

 
Isabella Colby has always yearned for normalcy. Now that she’s settled in LA, she finally has it. Good friends, a pretty home, and her thriving career as the Palisades’ top skincare specialist are a dream come true. Bella is content until she meets her hunky new neighbor, but her attraction to the blue-eyed cutie is the least of her worries when contacting her long-lost father threatens to destroy her happy life.

Reed McKinley is more than ready to forget the past. His seven-year stint as an NYPD detective nearly got him killed. His wounds have healed and he’s starting over as Ethan Cooke Security’s latest recruit. With sixty-hour workweeks and little time to himself, the last thing on his mind is a relationship. Then he bumps into the gorgeous woman next door.

Reed and Bella become fast friends. Before long, Reed discovers that Bella is keeping dangerous secrets. Bella may have the answers to decades-old questions he’s been searching for. Reed will risk it all to uncover the truth, but he soon realizes that the deeper he digs, the direr the consequences.

About the author:


International bestselling author Cate Beauman is known for her full-length, action-packed romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County. Her novels have been nominated for the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, National Indie Excellence Award, Golden Quill Award, Writers Touch Award, and have been named Readers Favorite Five Star books. In 2015, JUSTICE FOR ABBY was selected as the Readers' Favorite International Book Award Gold Medalist, while SAVING SOPHIE took the Silver Medal. SAVING SOPHIE was also selected as the 2015 Readers Crown Award winner for Romantic Suspense and FALLING FOR SARAH received the silver medal for the 2014 Readers' Favorite Awards.

Cate makes her home in North Carolina with her husband, two boys, and their St. Bernards, Bear and Jack. Currently Cate is working on her twelfth full length romantic suspense novel.



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 My Review:

I'd be lying if I said that this book didn't surprise me at every turn of the page. (Actually swipe of the touchscreen, but you get the emotion). The story has every possible element to infuse it with cliffhangers: buried pasts coming back to haunt, old relations getting revived and new ones being assessed, there's mafia, there's brutality, there's strife for justice and then there's a resurrection of normality. 
The author is done a brilliant job, and the book is flawless in that the characters are well-etched, the plot is finely tuned, and the expressions are raw and real. The reading is seamless, and effortless, and that is one indication of the effort that has gone into writing it. 
The title, as intriguing it is, makes sense early on  in the plot, and the story is unique, unlike any I have read before. A breath of fresh crime-fiction, if you will. Never once was it fanciful, unrealistic or over-the-top. The characters didn't unreasonably turn a new leaf for the sake of a plot twist, and the revelations were life-like. 
I especially loved the dyanamics that the different characters shared with each other: everything was intense, whether the shared history, or the multiple identities, or the tension. 
The pace of the novel is the kind that keeps the reader on their toes.
The author has such a command over the plot and her expressions, that she manages to say a lot by just narrating the stry, leaving bread crumbs as food for thought, for the readers to contemplate. And that is refreshing, because now a days a lot of books over-do expressions, and bog down the plot. 
Here the plot is a champion, and the expressions lead this champion to arenas that spike the intrigue of the reader. 
Definitely a recommendation for ya' all, and definitely a signal for me to hop on to more of the author's works. 


Read an excerpt from Deceiving Bella:

Should we get started?” Bella gestured to the kitchen.
“After you.”
She walked in front of Reed, hurrying to the table to pull out a chair. “Does this work?”
“Yeah, it’s fine.” He sat down. 
She immediately draped him with the black cover, wanting to get to his hair while it was still wet. “So, what are we doing here, exactly?”
“Just a cleanup, especially on my neck.”
“Sure.” She grabbed the sheers and took her place by his side, sliding her fingers though his short hair and stopped. “Oops.”
His shoulders tensed. “What?”
“Just kidding. A little haircutting humor.”
He tilted his head up, meeting her eyes. “A comedian.”
She laughed as he smiled. “I haven’t even started cutting yet.” She gave him a bump. “Try to relax. I promise you’re in good hands.”
“Chop away.” 
“Thanks.” She combed her fingers through his hair once more, using small snips to freshen up his look. Silent seconds ticked by as she breathed in the masculine scent that was Reed. He didn’t seem to wear cologne or use any fancy shampoos, but he smelled good just the same. “So, how was your day?”
“Not too shabby.”
She worked her way around his head, finding his cut a breeze to clean up. He easily could have gone another week without any problems. “What did you do?”
“Worked a little. Boxed.” 
“Fascinating.” 
“I could make up something about stopping a bank robbery in progress or rescuing a cat from a tree.”
She smiled. “The truth is fine, thanks.” 
“What about you?”
“It was pretty much a normal day at the office—a second-session tattoo removal, a microdermabrasion, two stretch mark reductions, the usual stuff.” 
“What’s the tattoo of? The one you’re taking off?”
“A woman’s name. Genevieve. The relationship didn’t work out.”
He winced. “Ouch.”
“Triple ouch. Tattoo removal is not a pain-free procedure, nor is it cheap—and he went pretty ornate with Genevieve. Hopefully next time he’ll pick a woman with a shorter name or abstain from getting himself tatted up altogether.”
He laughed. 
She grinned, loving that sound. Did he have any idea how gorgeous he was when he smiled like that? She picked up the clippers off the table and let her knees rest against his as she leaned in and gently lifted his chin, evening out his sideburns. She swallowed, feeling his breath on her skin and his eyes studying her face. Licking her lips, she met his gaze. “You better hope I get this part right, or you’ll have to tilt your head for the next four days.”
He sent her another one of his pulse-pounding smiles. “You’ll have to help me decide if I should lean more to the left or right.”
Oh, this cutie had the potential to be trouble. Her eyes darted to his mouth mere inches from hers as his five o’clock shadow tormented her sensitized fingers. She took a step back and a steadying breath. It was a good thing they were just friends—currently the only relationship status she was interested in.

Did you enjoy the excerpt?  You can read the first chapter on my website, www.catebeauman.com, or you can finish the whole book with the links below!

Amazon | Kobo | Nook | iBooks


Source of the review copy: b00k r3vi3w tours


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Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination by J.K. Rowling

About the book:


In 2008, J.K. Rowling delivered a deeply affecting commencement speech at Harvard University. Now published for the first time in book form, Very Good Lives offers J.K. Rowling’s words of wisdom for anyone at a turning point in life, asking the profound and provocative questions: How can we embrace failure? And how can we use our imagination to better both ourselves and others?


Drawing from stories of her own post-graduate years, the world-famous author addresses some of life’s most important issues with acuity and emotional force. 
Hardcover, 80 pages
Published April 14th 2015 by Little, Brown and Company


My Review:

Rowling proves it: words can carry a unique magic and save you, in ways you'll never know. When the words are coming directly from her, rest assured!

Of course I finished the book in one sitting, but I cannot put into words how much longer the words have been lingering with me.
The book is actually the commencement speech that Rowling gave and it has set some serious benchmark for a speech.
It speaks to me on so many levels, and fills me with so much hope for everything.
While she retains the humor in her speech, reading the words on paper has a different impact. She touched upon the beautiful, and as she calls it "quixotic" twin themes of failure and imagination.
If you're someone who wants to achieve something, be someone remarkable, you will have a lot of takeaways from her speech.
I will quote some of her points, to make my own point clearer:

1. "Poverty... is not an ennobling experience"
As someone whose story quite literally represents the 'rags to riches' tale, she has described not what it seems or looks like, but actually what it feels like: in poverty, you are a lone ranger, the lack of resources make your life less charming for the world, and it is only in the journey of stepping out of poverty like a diamond from a coal mine that one can find some relief, not before, not after. Certainly not before, when poverty gnaws at your very existence. We romanticize the wrong things.

2. "Talent and intelligence never yet inoculated anyone against the caprice of the Fates"
It is rare to find people who have such an acute understanding and deep awareness of the fact that not everyone is born with a silver spoon. And I guess it only happens when one has been on both the ends herself. Her acute sense of understanding is largely due to the fact that she can say for herself too, that her standing in front of Harvard University's graduating class in no way means she has had it easy. Such a brilliant thing to say to put everyone's fears at peace and hopes ignited.

3. "It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default."
This is one life lesson at least the millennial generation wouldn't forget.

She also expounds on her experiences at Amnesty International and how they played a part in her future actions.

4. " I think the wilfully unimaginative see more monsters. They are often more afraid."
I am personally a strong advocate of the importance of keeping possibilities alive, always knowing that there are teeming opportunities and that there are pursuits galore if you never stop learning and exploring. And so the complacent people, the ones who see only the reality and nothing else, live lives not worth remembering. Leaving legacies is indeed a noble pursuit.

Wise, witty, wonderful, moving, inspirational, sincere: I cannot find the right adjective for the text, and I know I will keep coming back to it, on the rainiest and sunniest of days!





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