01 December, 2015

City of Gold by Carolyn Arnold - Book Spot light

Here is my book spot light on an #Adventure read today!

City of Gold by Carolyn Arnold

CITY OF GOLD large banner640

by Carolyn Arnold

City of Gold
(Matthew Connor Adventure Series Book 1)

Hardcover: 314 pages
Publisher: Hibbert & Stiles Publishing Inc (November 27, 2015)
ISBN-13: 978-1988064666


Action-adventure books for the mystery lover. In this series, modern-day archaeologist and adventurer Matthew Connor travels the globe with his two closest friends to unearth treasure and discover legends the world has all but forgotten. Indiana Jones meets the twenty-first century.

Finding the Inca’s lost City of Gold would be the discovery of a lifetime. But failing could mean her death...

Archaeologist Matthew Connor and his friends Cal and Robyn are finally home after a dangerous retrieval expedition in India. While they succeeded in obtaining the priceless Pandu artifact they sought, it almost cost them their lives. Still, Matthew is ready for the next adventure. Yet when new intel surfaces indicating the possible location of the legendary City of Gold, Matthew is hesitant to embark on the quest.

Not only is the evidence questionable but it means looking for the lost city of Paititi far away from where other explorers have concentrated their efforts. As appealing as making the discovery would be, it’s just too risky. But when Cal’s girlfriend, Sophie, is abducted by Matthew’s old nemesis who is dead-set on acquiring the Pandu statue, Matthew may be forced into action. Saving Sophie’s life means either breaking into the Royal Ontario Museum to steal the relic or offering up something no one in his or her right mind can refuse--the City of Gold.

Now Matthew and his two closest friends have to find a city and a treasure that have been lost for centuries. And they only have seven days to do it. As they race against the clock, they quickly discover that the streets they seek aren’t actually paved with gold, but with blood.

Carolyn Author Photo 2013 Color


CAROLYN ARNOLD is an International best-selling and award-winning author of the Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher, and McKinley Mystery series. She is the only author with POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT.™

Carolyn was born in a small town, but that doesn’t keep her from dreaming big. And on par with her large dreams is her overactive imagination that conjures up killers and cases to solve. She currently lives in a city near Toronto with her husband and two beagles, Max and Chelsea. She is also a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

Connect with CAROLYN ARNOLD Online:

Website - http://carolynarnold.net/

Twitter - https://twitter.com/Carolyn_Arnold

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCarolynArnold

And don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter for up-to-date information on release and special offers at http://carolynarnold.net/newsletters.

Purchase Links

Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA Amazon AU

Barnes & Noble Apple iBooks Kobo

Until next time,

29 November, 2015

Larry Saves the Prairie by Matt Bergels - [Book review]

Book Details: 
Title: Larry Saves the Prairie
Author: Matt Bergels
Illlustrated by: Rob Peters
Genre: Children's fiction
Publishers: Merry Dissonance Press (September 1, 2015)

Source: A free e-book copy through Reading addiction virtual tours

Through the voices of Annabelle and Angus, discover what almost happened to wildlife on the Kansas prairie. When Larry receives a letter that says he must destroy the prairie dogs on his land, he and some of his neighbours join together to make certain that all wildlife remain unharmed. Not only were black-tailed prairie dogs at risk of destruction but the already-endangered black-footed ferrets were at risk of becoming extinct. 

In Larry Saves the Prairie, with the help of Annabelle and Angus, you'll discover what it means to be a true hero, and most especially, what it took to save prairie wildlife in Kansas.

Purchase links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1LYtkfg 
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1FytiOw

My Review:

This is my first children's e-book. I have a 5 year old kid and I planned to read this to him by showing illustrations. Story is about Larry, who saved the Prairie and the wild life living there. It talks about the importance of wild life in keeping our eco-system  balanced. 

Two black tailed prairie dogs - Angus and Annabelle narrate the story on how Larry saved the wild life. There was a tradition of poisoning the Prairie to kill wild animals. Larry fights against this killing of animals in Prairie and explains the benefits of wild animals in our ecosystem. This story tells us the importance of preserving wild life. As the author mentions, it's based on the real story of Mr.Larry Haverfield. 

Illustrations are appealing for children and good. But, this is not for year old kid as terms are quite difficult to explain for that age group. It might be good for 7 to 10 years old. 

My Rating: 3/5
I would recommend this to children in the age group of around 6 to 7 years old.

About the Author:

Matt Bergles is a Colorado native who grew up in Pueblo, Colorado. He earned a bachelor's degree in social science from CSU-Pueblo, his master's degree in U.S. history, and a Ph.D. in public affairs at CU Denver, as well as a certificate in alternative dispute resolution. 

Matt currently teaches at a K-8 private school in Denver, where he has witnessed firsthand young, inner-city kids' curiosity and love of animals and nature, observing that every time they are asked what community service project or charitable cause they'd like to be involved with, most K-3 students pick something related to domestic animals or wildlife. This natural love and curiosity led Matt to write Larry Saves the Prairie for young children.

Matt is an independent researcher and advocate for wildlife conservation, especially conservation of prairie habitat. Matt lives in Denver with his wife, Kate, two children, Luke and Mary, and dog Samuel. He is a volunteer coach, a private pilot, and has helped teach his teenage son to fly.

Contact Information Website: http://www.mattbergles.com/

PS: I have received this free review copy from the author through Reading addiction book tours and this is my honest opinion.

Until next time,

Also, linking this to Literacy Musings hosted by Mary here

26 November, 2015

Gratitude list - Nov 2015

November has been a busy month too like October. Not many ups and downs, but a few things are changing in my personal and professional lives. We celebrated Diwali, one of the most enjoyable festival that I love. I could opt to review many more interesting books this month too. 

Here is my quick Gratitude list for this month:

1. Diya Painting: Oh.. I loved this new found hobby. Me and my kid bought many clay diyas(lamps) and painted different patterns. Read my post on diya painting here.

2. New responsibilities in professional life: It is going to be busy for next few months and I am loving it. I think, I haven't mentioned earlier, software testing is my passion.

3. Books: This is going to be fun! I reviewed 2 books already and 2 more are yet to be reviewed. As I mentioned earlier, I am getting books almost daily that I have won in Tornado Giveaway :-)   Here is one book on #WomensFiction that I loved recently. 

4. Religious Intolerance: I am reading a lot about increasing religious intolerance in India, but I am grateful that I haven't experienced any even though I have many friends and colleagues from different religions.

5. Blog Hop: Hosted my first blog hop about Diwali Celebration! It's good to read about the different traditions around Diwali.

6. Book Roundup: I have started a new feature called Book Roundup in my blog for every month. It is interesting to remember all the nice books that I read/ came across every month and write about them. 

I know, it will be good to have a list of 5 or 10, but I have to end it at 6. I mentioned, right? It's a quick list.

Happy Thanksgiving day!

Until next time,

Linking this to Laurel's Gratitude linkup for November.

Michael's Mystery by Linze Brandon - Book Spot Light

Are you interested in #fantasy and #mystery? 
Today's spotlight is on Michael's Mystery by Linze Brandon.

*** BOOK  TOUR ***

It was time for the Lords of the High Council to step in when the Grandmaster of Kryane is accused of murdering his own people. They had little choice but to prevent the collapse of the whole magicians order, so they sent Michael to investigate the allegations.

The people of the desert planet were an enigma, but none more than Andesine, the healer assigned to assist Michael. Why did she report the Grandmaster? Was she involved, or was there something more sinister going on?

The more people they interrogated the more they suspected that nothing was as it seemed. Not the murders, nor the Grandmasters' motive as everyone thought.

Unable to resist the growing attraction between them, Michael and Andesine learn that they had to trust each other with their own secrets, and risking any future they might have.

Time and again the High Lords had to step in to prevent chaos on Kryane, but time was running out for Michael and Andesine. They had to get a new Grandmaster in place before the Kryane Order collapsed completely. And they had to find the who the true culprit was.

Fortunate to escape an attack from this monster once, they were risking the lives of many others in the process. Before the High Lords could formulate a plan, Michael and Andesine were captured, leaving the High Lords helpless to prevent it.

Kidnapped and imprisoned, Andesine was confronted with the realisation that if they were to survive their ordeal, it was up to her and her long suppressed powers. But as a healer she saved lives, would she be able to destroy the monster before he forces her to unleash her power to destroy the future of mankind?

About the Author:
Teaching herself to read before she went to school, it was the start of her life long love affair with books. Trained as an engineer, Linzé has worked as an export consultant and is presently a project manager. Although she still loves to read, she also enjoys counted stitch embroidery, archery, tai chi, fly fishing, painting, her husband's medal winning photographs and watching Manchester United play.

She counts both novels and short stories to her publishing credit. Her fourth novel, Waiting for Adrian, is planned for publication early in 2016. Her story, The Vernal Equinox, was a finalist in a sci-fi flash-fiction competition in 2015.

Linzé Brandon lives in Pretoria, South Africa, with her engineer husband and German Shepherds who are convinced that the world revolves only around them.

Follow Linzé Online:

Check Out the other Tour Stops:

Until next time,

25 November, 2015

The Thread that binds by Alice Hayes - [Book review]

Book Details:

Title: The Thread that binds
Author: Alice Hayes
Genre: Fiction, Women's fiction, Contemporary fiction
Source: A free review copy from author through iread tours


Sherice is a new mother, a sonographer, quilter, and wife; an overworked young woman whose elderly mother is slipping away from her.

Sylvie is a newlywed and recent immigrant, unemployed and virtually penniless. Her husband’s paycheck can’t even cover prenatal care, let alone a baby, and her due date is only drawing nearer…

Joanne’s unconventional pregnancy turns her world upside down, redefining her career and relationships, and even bringing to the surface long-buried demons from her past.

Payton is seventeen, pregnant, and on the run. She flees to her uncle in Georgia with the hope of making a fresh start, but discovers making it on her own is harder than she could ever have imagined.

 Gloria is trapped in an unhappy marriage; in love with someone else. Her life is falling apart. With a baby on the way, would it be selfish to flee?

 Five women, once strangers, form bonds. Set in modern day Georgia, this is the story of friendship that blossoms in the land of country music, sweet tea, and secrets kept locked tight behind closed doors. Moving, funny, and at times heartbreaking, The Thread That Binds is a lesson in empathy, strength, and the beauty of love.

Buy the book : Amazon

My Review:

I like reading #Womensfiction and that made me choose this book for review. I am glad that I picked up this one. As blurb mentions, the story covers  lives of 5 different women, their problems,  their friendship and how brilliantly the author connects these stories together. 

I liked the way the author has chosen or portrayed each character.
For ex: Payton symbolizes a teenage girl and Sherice represents a matured individual. Joanne's character is very much different, whereas, we empathize Sylvie for her immigration problems. Gloria is a mystery initially and we gradually understand her.

The story is narrated in the perspective of each woman in every chapter. So this seems interesting to read, as we understand how each character feels or what go throughs in her mind while facing the difficult situation. 

I loved Payton. She is a teenage girl, gets pregnant and her parents send her out of the house. I loved the way she understands the situation, tries to maintain a good relationship with Joanne, works in her uncle Marty's office, makes friends and finds happiness in her own way. 

The Narration is gripping. I didn't like to pause in the middle while reading, enjoyed the flow and was guessing on how these characters will be connected and help each other. I would recommend this to every woman who loves to read a story which is nearer to reality and covers a range of emotions. 

Few lines from the book about the true love and missing the loved one :

IF YOU WANT TO know whether someone is the love of your life, you only needlook at the way that they make you feel when they are not around. Anyone can come along and make sparks fly; any handsome face can make your heart flutter for a few seconds or a few minutes or even a few hours. When a man loves you, the time you spend together will feel all too short, and you would rather spend a minute with him than live another hour without. If a man is the love of your life, you will know it by what happens to you when he is not around: when he is on a business trip; or at work; or visiting family somewhere.

First, of course, there is the pain. The pain that comes with loving someone whoisn’t there is unlike anything else. At times, it is almost a sweet, enticing kind ofpain: when you feel the pang of their absence, it only reminds you of what you have, of how deep and beautiful and powerful your love is. You might even smile. Other times, it is the worst thing you have ever felt. You may find yourself cuddling close to a pillow at night, wishing it were him. You may take out their photograph and just stop to stare for a little while. You will be reminded of them at every turn. A song on the radio, a show on television, a special place where you once made memories: all of these things will bring them back to the front of your mind. In everything that you do, the love of your life follows you, reminding you not only that he exists, but of your love. After all, who but the love of your life could spring to your mind just by hearing a certain song? If they are not the love of your life, why do you see them everywhere that you turn?

My Rating: 5/5
I couldn't see any reason to give a lesser rating than this :-)

About the Author:

Originally from Winchester, England, Alice’s plans to read law at a British university were disrupted when she fell deeply in love with Georgia, USA, while studying abroad. After moving all over Georgia, Alice has finally settled in Athens and has no plans to go anywhere else.

She is a single mother to a three-year-old girl and a 65 lb hound dog. She likes coffee, wine, and anything edible with the words ‘salted caramel’ in its description.

 At the time of publication, Alice is a 24-year-old history student working full time in a law office, and writing fiction at every stolen moment. She hasn’t slept in approximately two years. Her first published novel, The Thread That Binds won third place in World's Best Story contest.

Connect with the author: Website Twitter

Alice’s Interview on World’s Best Story


Win 1 of 5 copies of The Thread That Binds (choice of print or ebook) (USA & Canada)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

PS: Received this book for free through iread tours in exchange of an honest review. This is my unbiased opinion.

Until next time,

24 November, 2015

Seeking Redemption by Madhu Vajpayee - [Book review]

Book Details:
Title: Seeking Redemption
Author: Madhu Vajpayee
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
Publishers: Half Baked Beans
No. of pages: 176
Source: Free Advanced review copy from book r3vi3 tours

The story of a girl Meera, who is unwittingly drawn into a conflict from where she finds it difficult to emerge unscathed. It's her journey from being a simple, medical graduate belonging to a middle-class family to the uncharted territories of corruption and caste based politics. Her path is crossed by the two men, both compelling yet completely contrasting characters, who are forever going to change her life. If it is Aman who can challenge her ideals and defy her resolves, and makes her the person she finally becomes, it is Abhay's sublime love which enables her to go through the vicissitudes of life. It's also the story of her loss as well as the triumph against her own demons to find her true self.

My review:
This is the story of Meera, an aspiring doctor and her turbulences in life because of poverty, corruption, caste reservation and politics around her.

People who grew up in India can easily relate to this story. I feel pity for Meera and many students like her who couldn't do higher studies in spite of their intellect because of the reservation system that prevailed in our country for so many years. I have even personally seen/ met many friends who tried to crack MBBS/ PG entrance exams, but couldn't get a seat even with a higher score as their seat is reserved for someone with a caste reservation with a very low score. The story also talks about moral values through different characters. It depicts human emotions effectively.

One thing that I didn't like about this book is that it becomes very preachy at some points. I understand, that building a story with this kind of concept is not easy. But, the reader might lose interest in the middle and may want to flip through the pages.The narration could have been made more interesting.

Few lines from the book I felt, worth sharing:

“Our birth might not ensure to which class we belong, but our deeds certainly do.”
"A poor person is just a poor person. He doesnt need to be categorized to any caste or religion or race or gender to be designated as poor. Sir, hunger, pain and suffering transcend any of these manmade divisions of the society. Just because someone is born in a particular class, religion or caste doesnt make him anything more or less than a human being. He is a human being first, after which any other label follows."
Overall, it is a good read.

My Rating: 3/5

Buy book here: Flipkart

About the Author:
Dr. Madhu Vajpayee - the writer was born somewhere in those hospital corridors where she has spent the last two decades of her life. Witnessing life at such close quarters pushed her to capture its enigma in her words and slowly it became her passion. After writing several scientific papers and chapters in books, this book is the beginning of her journey into the literary world.
Having done her graduation, MBBS from King Georges Medical University (KGMU), Lucknow she went ahead to pursue her post graduation, MD from AIIMS, New Delhi. She was a consultant at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi and was associated with management of patients living with HIV/AIDS. She is now settled in Melbourne, Australia with her family, where she is devoting most of her time to writing, the passion that she couldn't pursue earlier because of the demands of the medical profession and commitment it requires.

When not creating stories, Madhu enjoys reading and traveling.

Contact the Author:

Reviews for the Book:

It was a perfect book and can motivate one. ~ Nidhi Author on Goodreads

Wonderful book. Clearly highlights the current problems faced in India as a result of reservation! ~ Nikhil Dave on Goodreads

It is one of the amazing fiction I have read in the near past. Highly recommended. Cocktail of Corruption, politics and love. ~ Akshay_Tripathi on Amazon

What Madhu does well with this story is to highlight many factors that need change. She brings out facets like reservation. She talks about the more rigid mindset of an Indian family ~ Vinay Leo @ Bookworm's Musings

Until next time,

PS: Received a free review copy from author through book r3vi3w tours and this is my honest opinion.

20 November, 2015

Shanthi & the Magic Mandala by F T Camargo - Author Interview

I am very excited to interview the author of the book 'Shanthi & the magic Mandala' in my blog post today. 

About the Book

Shanti and the Magic Mandala is an adventure in which fantasy and reality are mingled. The book tells the story of six teenagers, from different religious and cultural origins and different parts of the world, who are mystically recruited to form two groups - one in the Northern Hemisphere, and one in the Southern. They eventually gather in Peru, and through a single alliance, begin a frantic chase for the sacred object that can stop the black magician's final plan.


About the author

F. T. Camargo is an Italian Brazilian living in Sao Paulo, Brazil. An award winning architect and author, he also studied Arts and Media and has a post degree in Economics and MBA in e-commerce. He is a vegetarian because of his love for all animals and has been deeply involved in causes for their protection and freedom. He is a world traveler adventurer, outdoor sports lover, speaks 4 languages and has published a travel book “Rio, Maravilha!”
For many years he has been practicing yoga and meditation and studying the Kabbalah. His exploration of spiritual teachings motivated a commitment to self-development which in turn created a new path and goal in life. Shanti and the Magic Mandala was born from his inner journey.

Here is the Author interview:

1.Fantasy+religion is a great combination. Why did you select this genre? Any inspiration behind it?

I have always dreamed of becoming a writer. Over the past 4 years while doing meditation I have asked for a new direction in my life and I had an insight during meditation that I could share my experiences through writing.  

As a young boy up till now I've always enjoyed reading fantasy and adventure books and I was a fan of Tintin, the French adventurer boy. Also a fan of Julius Verne, and mysteries and thrillers like Agatha Christie. Bringing all these memories to the present, I wanted to write an exciting adventure and fantasy book for young readers, which could also bring important concepts into the story, such as spirituality, compassion, human rights, animal protection. All these things mean a great deal to me. I was an architect and that also helped me write my book, for example, the way I can see and analyze the environment around the world.

2. Did you have to do a lot of research for this book?

I did a huge research and I have personally visited all the places I have mentioned in the book, and also I studied about all the esoteric, religious and spiritual aspects which are in the book.

3.Shanthi & The magic Mandala won many awards and accolades? How does it feel to be a successful author?

I’m very glad to be able to inspire the readers’ lives, bringing tolerance, compassion and freedom for their lives.

Thanks for your time Camargo :-)

Until next time,

18 November, 2015

My writing process

This week's prompt in 'Write or Die Wednesdays' hosted by Mia and Shelly is The writing process. 

An interesting prompt, isn't it? I have written around 270 posts in my blog so far and this post make me remember the process or ritual that I follow whenever I publish something in my blog.

I have to begin with how I get an idea/ topic for the post. I get ideas from random ways - an inspiration from a book, an article in a news paper, some social issue, Discussion with friends/ colleagues, lesson learnt from parenting, inspired by some blog post of lovely bloggers in the blogging communities I am member of or simply the itch to write :-) After deciding on the topic, I will think whether this benefits or interests any of my readers. Few posts, I write just because I want to share something about the topic, whereas, few posts, I mention my opinion and want to know my reader's thoughts on the topic.

I don't spend much time on writing my post. I quickly write as my thoughts flow. I prefer to complete my post without stopping in the middle. I at most take 10 to 15 mins to complete writing. Time is precious and I don't get more time daily to spend on my blog. So, if I have to write regularly, I have to be quick. I read my entire post at least twice to correct my spelling and grammar mistakes. I think on making the narration interesting and friendly and change my post accordingly. I am yet to learn more on making my narration interesting.

Then, I search for the images that suit my post. Sometimes, I use the pictures taken from my camera and sometimes, I add pictures from Google/ Flickr which are labelled for non-commercial reuse. If I have to prepare my own design, I design it in pic monkey / Canva and get the pictures from there. I will re-check if my post title is fine or misleading.

I add proper tags/ labels, proper search description and verify preview once for formatting changes. If everything is fine, I publish it immediately or schedule it for later.

So, that's about my writing process. I am very eager to learn about my other blogger friends' writing process. Please share your points too..

Linking this to #Mondaymusings hosted by Corinne from everydaygyaan and Writetribe.

Until next time,

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