The Cries of the Butterfly by Rajeev Roy

The Cries of the Butterfly by Rajeev Roy

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romance, Realistic Fiction

Rating:5/5

I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. My views are not influenced or have any bias for the writer or publisher.

I don’t know where to begin with to review this masterpiece. In the beginning I was skeptical about the story since the title seemed to be fragile. I was expecting floodgates of tears with a melodrama rolling. Nothing could have prepared me for the onslaught of emotions that I faced while turning each page. Each page compelled me to read further. It was with a dejected heart that I kept the book down when it ended, wanting to read more.

This is not just a family saga, but an emotional journey of several characters whose lives are intertwined with each other. Each story is unique and heart rendering. The characters are all believable and at times you would find yourself associating some nature traits with someone you know.

The author does a marvelous job of giving an introduction to the backdrop of the novel. The prologue though a long one creates a perfect setting for the book. Yet I am stuck looking for words to praise the work that deserves an applause.

The story is a chain upon chain of stories of the main characters. Its hard to decide where one ends and the other begins. To giveaway the crucial links would mean unraveling the pleasures hidden in the stories. The novel is set in New Halcyon, which is a sovereign city-state in the North Pacific Ocean.

The novel is in essence the story of three butterflies :Wolf Butcher, Savannah and an innocent child, Robin. It is their cries or rather their silent cries that forms the crux of the novel. Wolf butcher is a famous actor and also the youngest member of the Butcher family, who rule New Halcyon. He is deeply in love with Savannah, a beautiful woman with a sordid past. His life takes a dive when in a flash he loses all that he holds precious; his family and his beloved daughter. Robin and Savannah become his lifeline and reason to resuscitate to life again.

Life had other plans for him. Just when he feels that he can settle down, he is thrown into a tumultuous ride of his life where he needs to choose between Savannah and Robin. What ensues after that will keep readers on the edge. Just when you think you can predict the next events, the author lands with an unpredictable twist leaving you out of air.

It is love story, a family saga, a story of parental love, of friendship, of forgiveness and an all encompassing love. This book will definitely restore your faith and belief in the goodness of the human heart. The author leaves no page upturned in giving a glimpse of the inner workings of the characters. Be it their pain, their sorrow, their fears, their passion or simply their cries. Each emotion is reflected and makes way into your heart. You will cry out aloud in pain with them , rejoice in their happiness, coil in fear with them and feel one with them.

PS.: Be sure you carry tissues. This will make you cry in pain, with happiness, in fear and in grief. A must recommend for all.

Sydney and Emma and the Untold Tales of Snailsville by Nikki Jordan

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Rating: 2.5/5

Genre: Children’s Fiction, Animal Fiction, Fantasy

There was a lot of expectation from the book given the lovely illustrations which immediately catch the eye. But I was disappointed in the execution of the story which otherwise could have been a delightful read.

The book starts with an introduction to Snailsville, an imaginary land inhabited by snails and other animals like ants, cockroaches, spiders, birds, etc. The land is interspersed with crystals, each with unique power of its own. These crystals help the inhabitants in times of distress, yet another provides healing power. If not for the cute illustrations that are simply adorable, I would not have kept reading. There are too many descriptions about the land and the characters which inhabit it. The descriptions could have been avoided and instead merged with the main story. It would have read better and not disrupt an otherwise nice story. The descriptions about the various crystals, their power and the various character descriptions at the start make reading tedious.

Had the author begun with story and then added details in between, I guess it would have read better. Being a book meant for children it lacks the quality to hold on to their attention which gets diverted easily. The story is well defined and the characters too are lively and captivating. The rendition of the whole story fails to attract as a complete package.

Plot: Snailsville is a fictional land, inhabited by all types of birds, animals and insects. They live together in perfect harmony and are synchronized with their inner self. They work together in perfect symmetry with nature, without disturbing its balance. Each creature has a role assigned and he/she executes the same with perfection. The main plot revolves around Sydney and Emma, two snails who have acquired the age to meet their soulmates. Both fall in love with each other and their union is celebrated by one and all. Things get disrupted when the tides change and the land gets flooded. All the animals join hands to help each other, big or small, irrespective of size. Together they brace against the tides and come together hand in glove to rebuild their community.

The story beautifully exhibits the values of kindness, compassion, courage, empathy, strength of character, willpower and the strength of being one as a community.

A good read for children if descriptions can be skipped.

I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. My views are not influenced or have any bias for the writer or publisher.

Second chance: Kavita Bhatnagar

I received an ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review of the book. My views are not influenced by the author or publisher and are completely unbiased.

It is rather rare in today’s time that a gem like this gets written. Simply put, most authors do not like the truth of life because it does not sell in commercial writing. Usually the plots have a feel good factor and some hot steamy scenes to ppe up the X factor. But here is this book which describes life just the way it is. Unfair, but you learn to live around it.

The plot begins with the main protagonist Ragini ending her divorce proceedings. She is supported by her elder sister, Kamini, who remains her pillar of strength and sanity throughout the book. Ragini is just 26 years old. A banker with a good settled job and looks to die for. But that does not make for a happy life now does it?? She was married to Kadamb, her senior in college. Nothing is what it seems like and her world of love comes crumbling down when faced with money minded in-laws who saw their daughter-in-law as a money vending machine. This however does not diminish her hopes in finding love and the quest for a right partner. The tragedy does not make her bitter and she is rather determined to remarry. What ensues further makes up the rest of the book.

Ragini registers herself in one the matrimonial sites for divorced people. Seeking her second chance, she looks for a prospective profile. Through this profile search, author Kavita has done a fabulous role of commenting on the treatment/behaviour a divorced woman is met with by the society, especially males. She is seen as desperate and readily available for a fling since she is divorced. The reason for divorce is never looked up as a woman who is divorced is always wrong. In other words, bold and fast(cheap morale) women get divorced, and not women from respectable homes. Men are never questioned, rather they are sympathised with mostly.

Kavita Bhatnagar also highlights the callous nature of these matrimonial sites where any one can register themselves and send requests to profile, at times conning women with romance scam into phone sex and so on. Each prospective suitor that fails is a commentary on the men in Indian society. They are progressive only for namesake and if it suits their conditions and needs. If a woman agrees to meet you or takes the initiative to call then she is taken as forward and an invitation for casual sex. But is it??? Just because she happens to be confident in herself and knows her mind she is looked down as available as a person of loose character. All through her struggles to find the right person, her sister Kamini and her friend Mia stand by her always. This shows female solidarity and emphasizes the point of uplifting each other rather than putting down our own people with trivial comments and gossip. The contrast in various characters sets to highlight how our Indian society functions. Women mostly have peripheral roles and these are filtered down to sons from their own parents. Unless men are taught to behave at homes, women will never have the freedom and stand they deserve.

The writing style is crisp and there is not a dull moment in the book. The plot is not linear in progression so the reader does not get bored. It makes you emotionally invested so might feel drained after reading the book. A good look on the society, this book covers several themes intertwined with each other: search for love and acceptance, self doubt after divorce, societal conditioning, family ties, and our patriarchal society. Men would find it difficult to digest. Yet I would say everyone should read to understand the difficulties a divorced woman faces while stepping out into the Indian society. It seems she is marked with the Scarlet Letter.

Whispered Wishes: Sue Lilley

Genre: Romance, Contemporary fiction, Adult fiction, Explicit

Rating: 3/5

This book is a complete reality show bundled into a book. It contains all the right elements in perfect measures: romance, drama, suspense, etc.

The story begins with Olivia coming to Havenwood Village during a blizzard. Not much is provided as means of background to the character or her life. She lands in the village as a result of her mistakes, which let me tell you are many. The blizzard causes her car to hit a crater which punctures her tire. From here the book gains momentum. She goes to Havenwood Tavern and is looked after by Donna. Olivia runs into Nathan Swift, a billionaire in hiding. I wouldn’t divulge into details as it would spoil the fun of reading. The story moves to disclose the lives of these characters and how they get intertwined with each other.

A kidnapping turns the lives of all the characters into a whirlwind. Characters from the past surface up causing Olivia and Nathan to become distant. New twists and turns make it an interesting read and will keep you engaged. There is love and gentleness for those looking for a romantic read. The book also speaks of family, friendship, generosity, love, parental love and relationships.

The drawbacks I felt was that not enough time was given to develop characters and they seem rushed. The events in the book are not fully examined neither given full treatment. The writing if crisp but rushed as if in a hurry to reach the end. Several characters seem incomplete and their development unfair as they are not vindicated and are shown in only one shade.

It is a sweet read for anyone who has a taste for family sagas and drama. A one time read for me, but yes, pleasurable.

I received an ARC of the book in exchange of an honest review. My views are unbiased and have no influence by the author or publisher.

The Best Week That Never Happened: Dallas Woodburn

Genre: Romance, Young Adult, Explicit

Rating: 4.5/5

I kept putting off writing this review because I knew that by the end I would have a stack of tissues wet with my tears. Dallas’ debut novel has every flavor to make it a bestseller. I was drawn to the book by the blurb which was mysterious and yet gave away the main premise. “What if, when you died, you got to relive The Best Week of Your Life – but you died too soon, and The Best Week of Your Life hadn’t happened yet?”.

I knew that the book was going to be a heart-breaker and most probably leave me with puffy eyes and dullness. Braving this knowledge, I read the book and was sucked deep into it. I read the book in one sitting. On my second reading, I found myself pausing to avoid tears and the dull ache that arose due to the circumstances the characters find themselves in.

I knew from page one that this book would break my heart into shreds and that it might even drain me emotionally. The thought was always at the back of my mind while reading. It was like knowing you are about to get cut, but not sure when the knife will hit you.

The book is about childhood friends, Kai and Tegan. Kai and Tegan are best friends which strengthens over a period of time and develops into love which both fear to admit. Fate plays a cruel game and the lovers find their way back to each other after a tragic accident strikes Tegan. The book then further explore this relationship where they both confess their love to each other despite their fears and anxieties. Isn’t this the same in real life too? We fear that we will lose a person if we admit our true feelings. Often regretting too late, thinking “what if?”

Their relationship is dealt with masterfully. It sneaks upon you without a shadow. You will be engulfed in their love and be an active participant with them. I won’t reveal the story because it will ruin the pleasure of reading.

You will be aware of the bitter truth, but it will still kill you when Kai and Tegan discover the devastating truth for themselves. You wish you could hug and console them. Holding back the tears is very difficult when reading this book – it will make you cry with love, with pain, with joy and in revelation. Each page is laced with so much emotion that one wonders how the author managed to capture it all.

This is a great debut novel; I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend everyone read the book at least once. It’s not just a book about friendship or family or romance. It is also about giving life a second chance and to attempt to live beyond fear. There are important life lessons that one can take away. We don’t know which hour will be our last, and this should not stop us from living our best lives. There are beautiful words that can be etched into our minds.

We can also see that a lot of reading and research has gone into writing the novel, as evident by the Hawaiian-based myths and legends that are interspersed throughout the book.

The Best Week that Never Happened is heartrendingly beautiful. Words seemed to flow with a mind of their own before I even framed them. Such is the beauty and power of this magnificent novel. No book has touched me this way after reading it for quite some time. This book is a rare gem that will make you appreciate everything and everyone that you have in your life. Come, close your eyes, learn to trust, and fall in love all over again.

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. My views about the work are not influenced or biased towards the author or publisher.

Kurt Vonnegut’s Eight Rules for Writing a Short Story

Wonderful tips

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Kurt Vonnegut, one of the most influential writers of this century, passed down a simple list of rules for writing a short story, though I think they can be applied to longer narratives as well.

He did say that Flannery O’Connor broke all his rules except the first and that great writers tend to do that, but I believe his famous eight rules can provide a skeleton to writing fiction.

And I think that this is what’s really important in art. A foundation. Simply by reading or following rules, or by taking creative writing courses, but it’s also crucial for the artist to make his own decisions. The moment rules start feeling like a cage, you should escape. It’s like strolling through a garden and picking the flowers you like. If you absorb too much or if you simply follow rules (someone else is choosing what flowers you should pick)…

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Coffee Shop Girl: Chris Waddington

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Genre: Romantic Fiction, Contemporary Romance(Explicit)

Rating: 4/5

To be honest, I was very skeptical about going forward with my reading. What drew me towards the book was the title and the cover. One word is apt for both: alluring. This book is not your run of the mill love story, where two people meet, fall in love and, despite circumstances, unite. No, a warning for the mushy romance readers, this book is not meant for you. It takes grit to read, to be able to envisage the happenings since they feel so real.

The novel delves deep into the lives of three people: Ben, Farah and Alessia. Although we only get to meet Ben and Alessia. Farah is introduced to the readers through means of recapitulation from Ben about his love life. He recaps his life with her, the love, the attraction, and the hopeless circumstances. Ben works at the post office at the stamps section and is a writer in his free time. He writes books for children and has a few self-published. He writes on his laptop in his spare time in a coffee shop, Costa. On his way to fame, he is penning a love story between a sprout and a carrot named Henry and Olivia respectively. We catch glimpses of the story which the author shares through Ben (some novel way, I loved it!).

The twist is just around the corner when Alessia enters the coffee shop, clinking on her stilettos. Time stands still for Ben. She’s the stranger next to him. Both engage in casual talk which draws them together via an unseen bond. They both experience a pull which neither can deny. Though a pro at relationships, having had his fair share of failures, Ben is scared of approaching Alessia as he feels she is out of his league. Alessia is a diva who makes heads turn with her mere presence. Her outer facade belies the vulnerable interior and the turmoil which she guards behind her eyes. Several meetings later, they forge a friendship on the tenterhooks of crossing the border of love. Without realising it, both fall in love and admit the same. But all is not hunky-dory and the author doesn’t give you an all-is-well ending. That needs to be read.

The book is an excellent read from the POV of a male, which is a rarity when it comes to romance. Hence it was fresh breath as well as a revelation. The author does not curtain emotions and shows how men are perceived to be strong and heartless, whereas they battle their own demons when in a relationship. Lets cut them some slack. The novel is a beautiful telling of the human emotions of love, search for identity, the falsehood of duty and how at times it can destroy a person. It will provide you with valid lessons on life, and words that will stay long after you’ve finished the book. Beautiful quotes, a crisp yet smooth writing style, humor, romance and perfect editing make this book a pleasure read.

I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. My views are not influenced or have any bias for the writer or publisher.

April: Poetry Month 2019

April is celebrated as the National Poetry Month in all schools worldwide. So I thought what a better way to bring children closer to books than Poetry Month.  I organized the ‘Book Spine Poetry Contest’ for students of grade X. It was celebrated with a bang. The students had a fun time writing poems based on the guidelines given to them. During the library period, each class was divided into a team of 4-5 students. They were then asked to write down a poem of not less than 4 lines using only book titles. The activity sheet with instructions for the same was handed to each team. The rules were relaxed for some who found it a bit difficult to construct a poem on titles only. They were given the liberty to add a few words to make a comprehensive and meaningful poem. The activity was thoroughly enjoyed by the students and the enthusiasm was palpable that students were already looking forward to another week, another activity.

The poems that were written were not only intriguing but yet times were very reflective and introspective.

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Tale of The Winter Lands: J.D. Bass

I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. My views are not influenced or have any bias for the writer or publisher.

Don’t be mislead by the title. I picked up the book thinking that it must a collection of short stories about winter and its many wonders. The book, however, was nothing like I imagined it to be. It not only speaks of winter and its wonders but also shares some important lessons about the essence of human goodness.

Many of us in our innocent days of childhood must have written earnest letters to Santa Claus requesting him to bring a special gift. With the passage of time, life starts to erode the dreams and innocence that childhood holds. We become engrossed in daily affairs and only look forward to excelling in the rat race. This book very subtly yet powerfully emphasizes that there is innate goodness within each of us if only we would believe in it.

Plot: Victoria is a 26-year-old living in New York. She still believes in the goodness of heart and Santa Claus. She even writes a letter to him though she never posts them and keeps them hidden fearing being ridiculed by friends and family. Things get interesting when after an enigmatic encounter with Flash on Columbus Day at the ice skating rink she gets invited to her cousin’s wedding in Italy. Everything seems to be going smoothly and according to plan. But things take an unexpected turn when Victoria finds herself in the middle nowhere instead of Europe. She meets special people in Winter Wonder Land and visits new places. The land tests her belief in mankind, yet at the same time rekindles hope in the goodness of the human heart.

Little did she expect that she would be entrusted with a task that will test her personality and her spirit. To complete her task she has to prove that the spirit of Christmas which is love and giving is very much alive inside people. The responsibility handed down to her puts her into a fix as she cannot disclose the task to family and friends. The journey to find a man who disappeared twenty years ago leads Victoria to engage in things that she otherwise would have second thoughts in doing. She finds her spirit rise and discovers her true self. At the same time, she rekindles past relationships which she thought were dead.

This is a story of love, emotions, family bonding,

giving and receiving, and most of all the true spirit of Christmas.

A beautiful read and highly recommended for anyone who wishes to ride into a magic land where there are people who are pure in heart, where the goodness inside is appreciated and cherished. I felt sad when the book was finished since the crisp writing style and the development of the plot is such that it leaves you wanting to read more. Never a dull moment, but do keep tissues handy if you are soft-hearted since many scenes would tug at the strings of your heart. A marvelous read indeed.

 

Also on: https://reedsy.com/discovery/book/tale-of-the-winter-lands-j-d-bass

Beneath the surface: B.K. Stubblefield

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I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. My views are not influenced or have any bias for the writer or publisher.

Over the years I have read many books. It’s a rarity that a book takes me through varied emotions, leaving me exhausted yet happy at the end. This is one of those books that leaves you sad that it finished. I wanted the story to go on and on.

‘Beneath The Surface’, is aptly titled since what lies beneath the surface of the book is a riveting story about a mystery that gets entangled with a love story and an adorable dog. This book will have you in its grip from page one. Even though I have not read the first book of the series, this book can be read as a standalone too. Each page holds you captive and you find it impossible to put the book down.

Plot: Ryan Collins is a fashion photographer who leads a highly successful life surrounded by beautiful women. Emily is an illustrator. The story begins with Emily having inherited a mansion from her deceased Aunt Millie. Both were close to each other. Emily chanced to drop upon a mystery her aunt had been trying to unravel. The mystery turned out to be a deadly drug racket with some famous names involved. This leads to unexpected events that embroil Emily into a mesh of occurrences.

Emily becomes a witness to a drug crime in her town. It was something her aunt had been trying to unravel. The risks mount against Emily when she is asked to testify. Her life is endangered and an accident brings her together with Ryan, who happens to rescue her. Soon the two fall in love but their past haunts them both and keeps them from admitting their true feelings.

Both have demons they need to defeat in order to discover their true self. More so in the case of Ryan. He is fully aware of what he wants but the diabolic past chains him down, preventing him to go for what he needs. He needs to confront his past, accept it and move on for his relationship to move.

B. K. Stubblefield has done a marvelous job of incorporating human emotions as they happen in real life. Nothing of what you read seems fictional. It can be seen as something that can happen around us, making it all the more relate-able. The characters are not linear, rather rounded with each having different shades that surface as the situations change. Each character is well written and has a distinct personality that stays with you. The romance is not mushy but will make you feel warm and light-hearted. The love story sees its own ups and downs as does every relationship.

The book does not disappoint but surely needs editing and spelling check. B. K. Stubblefield is an author you need to watch out for. For readers looking for a complete novel with emotions, suspense, thriller, romance and all, then definitely grab this book.

Also on: https://reedsy.com/discovery/book/beneath-the-surface-birgit-stubblefield