Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Touched With Fire by Chistoper Datta

TWF Giveaway

Tight3Dducky

Ellen Craft is property

In this case, of her half-sister Debra, to whom she was given as a wedding gift. The illegitimate daughter of a Georgia plantation owner and a house slave, she learned to hate her own image, which so closely resembled that of her “father:” the same wiry build, the same blue eyes, and the same pale—indeed, lily-white—skin.

Ellen lives a solitary life until she falls, unexpectedly, in love with a dark-skinned slave named William Craft, and together they devise a plan to run North. Ellie will pose as a gentleman planter bound for Philadelphia accompanied by his “boy” Will. They make it as far as Baltimore when Will is turned back, and Ellie has no choice but continue. With no way of knowing if he is dead or alive, she resolves to make a second journey—South again. And so Elijah Craft enlists with the 125th Ohio Volunteers of the Union Army: she will literally fight her way back to her husband.

Eli/Ellie’s journey is the story of an extraordinary individual and an abiding love, but also of the corrosive effects of slavery, and of a nation at a watershed moment.

Author: Christopher Datta

Genre: Historical/Women's/African American Fiction

Kindle - Nook - Smashwords - PAPERBACK

Review:


This story is is an unusual tale of courage and inspiration. A tale of a woman’s fight  to get her husband back. Ellie is a black woman. Only no one could make it out. She is a product of her mother being raped by her biological father. So, was her grandma before that by the master who had enslaved her. Thus, Thus, her skin color was white though her she was still considered from the black ancestory. But, her fate was that of a slave and just because she was beautiful, she lived in the constant fear of being raped by the white men. She is still a slave in her own father's house-looking after her sister and taking care of the house as a slave should. Her own father feels no shame in using her like that and did not have any inclination to free her to live a life of freedom.

. The family didn’t understand her anger, her loathe at her lifestyle. She too had the right to study, choose a profession, marry and live with the person she wanted to live with. But, the constant fear of slavery always hung above her head. After her marriage to Will, she always feared that she might be sold to a higher bidder when her ‘so called’ family needed more money’. Same would be the fate of the children born in slavery. Ellie had already decided that she would never have children till her dream of becoming free did not come true.

Her father did not love her, And never wanted her welfare. In fact, the day her half sister got married- she was presented as the dowry for her sister. Ellie might have continued this life had not the gnawing dream that one day she would be free always troubled her.

One day, she decided to try her luck out. Instead of living the life that she was born in, Ellie dressed up like a white man and decided to travel to Philadephia where slavery was not there.  Her husband accompanied her – posing as her slave.. Christopher Datta has done a fabulous job in describing Ellie’s journey from Georgia to Philadelphia as a white gentleman. The adventures she encounters and also the people she meets. But, no one suspects that she was not a man but a woman.

The adventures of Ellie as a man does not end here. At the end of the journey Will could not accompany her – since the law had come into being that no slave would leave the region without the paperwork being shown. Ellie could not show any papers to the authorities as she didn’t have any. Thus at the insistence of her husband   she had to travel further on.

After Ellie gets separated from Will, the circumstances becomes such that she is forced to join the Army. The Army at that time, was fighting to abolish slavery, which Ellie wholeheartedly joined since she too had this burning desire in her to free her people from this slavery. She joins as a young soldier dressed in a man's garb. The other’s find her a bit strange, but they all wholeheartedly accept her. She finds some binding friendships in the Army- Al and Joe.

Six years of battle changes Ellie a lot..Her anger drives her to fight like a man. There are many instances in this battle when she thinks like a man. It was not only a fight against slavery but also a fight each day to maintain her feminist qualities and not to deviate from her goals in life. Will she be able to survive this war? And to return home to free her husband, Will? To find out the answers pick up your copy of Touched by Fire by Christopher Datta.

Rating


Reasoning
I found this story very unusual. It is not only a story of slavery and desperation but also of bravery. To survive in the US Army dressed as a man, and her colleagues never came to know that she was a woman is itself a big feat. There are many nail biting instances in the story. Every moment I thought that now she will be caught – she rose like the Phoenix from the ashes and faced a new challenge with equal boldness. Ellie is not the typical heroine kind of girl – she has many faults too. Judgemental, selfish and to some extent lost only in her own problems. But that is what made her humane. Just like you and me.

The most unusual thing about this story which I found is that Ellie has been addressed not only as a she but also as a he.

From the point when Ellie becomes Eli – the author continuously describes her as a He, just to prove that this is what she trains herself to think.. Maybe, if she herself would have even thought  of  herself as a female, she would not have been able to survive six years pretending to be a man in the US Army. 

I could go on and on in this review regarding Ellie - I am so impressed with her. But, I leave it to you readers to form an opinion about Ellie and find out whether it is justified to immortalize her.

 But why the 4 stars? It would have been much better if this story would have just been a fiction and not a suggested biography. Of course, this is my personal opinion and you as a reader might differ.

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Review Event Schedule:
Date Blog
21-Apr My Devotional Thoughts
21-Apr Deal Sharing Aunt
22-Apr Jelly Side Up - Promo Only
22-Apr Our Wolves Den
23-Apr rubina ramesh
23-Apr The Mama Games
24-Apr My Writer's Cramp
24-Apr The World As I See It
25-Apr I am indeed
25-Apr Rachel Delane
26-Apr Rick And Eileen Bremner
26-Apr Author Interrupted
27-Apr Anna Tan
27-Apr Pete Waugh
28-Apr Alexa B
28-Apr Michelle Willms

About the Author:

Chris1Born in Washington, DC Chris Datta, Foreign Service officer, has been on numerous battlefields for his job and country. He has seen mass graves, brought war criminals to justice and in this new chapter, Datta brings readers a stunning historical account of the American Civil War with Touched with Fire. His attention to detail is superb, and his experiences abroad have given him ample stories to tell for years to come.

His action packed life has taken him across the world from the United States to Liberia and Southern Sudan. Not only serving in active war zones but often battling tropical diseases, Datta has nurtured his fascination with civil conflict by diving into the history books and historical records of America’s past. His research is meticulous, and his attention to detail creates vivid pictures of the past.

Follow Chris on his website for updates about new releases and upcoming events: http://touchedwithfire.org

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

India Was One by An Indian






Blurb

…Suddenly, he saw something shiny at the bottom of the abyss. He squinted his eyes to see what it was. He ran back to his binoculars and turned them to see what it was. Sharp barbed wires that separated the two mountains came into focus. He had come as far as he could in his country. But she was standing in another country.
He was in South India and she was in North India…
Have you ever imagined India being divided into two countries? What happens to the millions of Indians who are from South India but are now residing in North India? Kaahi & Jai were two such people who got trapped in this situation. Everything was going smoothly for them and suddenly, their world turned upside down.
How will they get together? Will India become one again?
Take an exciting journey with them from their college days in Mumbai to their life in the US and back to India when they find out that India is divided.

Buy@

Review


It was an interesting start. A couple, obviously in love and married, hiding in the jungle and unable to meet each other.  Jai and Kaahi – the two lovebirds. This is not only a love story where a  young girl meets a young boy in college. The teasings, the friendships and the young love are portrayed beautifully by the Author. I was with them in the canteen, teasing and being teased by my mates. Bullied by the college bully and taking a stand. I witnessed the young love budding between Jai and Kaahi. Cheered when the parents agreed to their marriage, even though Kaahi was Gujrati and Jai was originally from Karnataka. They met in college and fell in love. No parent’s opposition (as now more and more parents are becoming more open minded regarding inter-caste marriages, though some of you might be giving me the ‘meh’ look! ) and no villains in this love story. So, what is the conflict? Where lies the problem? What is the story?

The author has really taken the reader for a ride with this one. We travel to US as this couple settles down in  a new environment. Are they compatible with each other? Very. A lovely and understanding relationship has been portrayed here. The US culture as a neo Desi sees it, the welcome by our fellow Indians, introduction to the folds of Indian culture layered between the US lifestyle has been highlighted beautifully. The festivals that are celebrated only on weekends, the Indian groceries which we Indians rush to find the first thing we step on foreign soil and those yummy Potlucks. Those intercultural potlucks which many Indians will not witness in India. Such is the rich culture of Indians abroad. Why? No idea! Maybe remember we are Indians – not Bengalis, Gujarati, Punjabi, Kannadiga or Tamilian. Nor Hindu, Muslim or Christian. Anyways, this is not a lecture on Bharat ek hai. :)

So again the question arises what is the problem? While the author went at a steady pace regarding the life of Kaahi and Jai, a sudden twist came in the form of war. Not a war in the USA but something which forced them to leave US and return to India – separately. Now India is no more the same as it used to be when they had left for USA. India is divided into North India and South India. (The thought itself if so damn scary!). Kaahi has to go to North India, while Jai took a flight for South India. Will they ever meet? And will India ever become one again?….. For that you have to read this unusual story.

What Liked..

1. The author has handled the different religions and customs of India very well.

2. He has kept some part of the conversation in vernacular languages. It is not only a story, but also a way of life represented by an Indian to the future generations.

3. You won’t find just a story line here, but the author takes many diversions and explains the culture of not only India but also Europe and the USA. A good mixture of entertainment and education.

4. The sudden twist in the story, you might not be prepared for. If this ever happens in India, what would many of us do, What would our kids, who are products of inter-caste marriage  do? Though provoking. Isn’t it?

5. That one incident (which we Indians still dread today) made me relive those moments I sat crying in front of the television.

Must also comment on the artwork by Darshini. Superb sketches!!!
Rating 

This is the rating for the story. I am not following in damn rules for this book. One star for the illustrations and also for the concept. The out of the box thinking. I will not deny that a bit tighter editing would have made be happier, but hey, some thoughts are worth the stars…… and this is self published and the author has taken the pain to get it edited professionally. Moreover, now in Bangalore, Sapna book store is proudly displaying this book on their shelves. So, dear Bangloreans, do go and check this out.

For the concept and illustrations [1 star... sorry don't have a pic for that. ]


Total Rating 



Reasoning

1. The story was so intriguing that there were moments I really did not want to divert from the story.

2. I knew that India will be divided. But the life story of Jai and Kaahi went on for some time. With every turn of the page, I expected that it would happen now, but always another incident took over. Not good for my BP!!! 

3. The second part of the story was damn interesting (it had some real nail biting moments). It should have been longer than the first part.

Would I recommend this book. Definitely. It is thought provoking, it brings out an incident which all Indians will relate to. For NRI’s it has some  ‘chitti ayee hai vatan se chitti aye hai wala’ moment. It is also something we should let our kids read. A clean romance while I won’t call it religious, but rather lingual intolerance as the background. I found a strong message in this story. Till we are one –no harm can come to us. But when we divide…… read what happens. Actually, hats off to the writer just for re-creating that moment and giving us the opportunity to say our silent thanks to all those involved. Do read this book.. You won’t regret it !




About The Author 

imange: google image
The Author calls himself An Indian. I have no pics of him. So the best one I could think of I have put it up. But the Author does have something to say to every Indian out there....

Dear Readers,

I wanted to tell a story peppering it with Indian languages and narrating my experiences, inter-weaving them with some imaginary tale. When I mentioned this idea to my wife, her very first question was, "who is your target-audience?" That made me "think outside the box". After reading the book, you'll agree that there is no target-audience. I'd say - 10+, any sex, from any country, any ethnicity, any religion - is the intended audience.

When I wanted to tell a story, I wanted to "lull" the reader into thinking that they are just reading a travelogue. Making them wonder where (if at all anywhere) the story is going. Is it just another boring experience written by a NRI? AND THEN BOOM. It hits you. Suddenly, along with the characters, the reader's dream-world shatters.

This book is broken up in 3 parts. And it is intentional. Let me explain why.

The first part is about the Indian culture. Most Indians (in India) already know it. But what about NRIs? They may find it nostalgic. And what about their kids. They may have a better understanding about their roots and culture. And the non-Indian find it very fascinating. 

The second part is about life in the US. Readers who are in the US may find it a bit like a travelogue. However, others may find it very interesting. Those who can't be here get a glimpse into the US life of an Indian (and the US life in general).

The third part is for everyone. 

Hence, you'll notice that different people react differently to this book. There is something for everyone.

I hope this helps you.

Thank you,
An Indian
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Monday, April 21, 2014

Tails of Sweetbrier by Deanie Humphrys-Dunne




Blurb

This is a true story about a little girl who dreams of becoming a champion horseback rider. Deanie was born with a handicap, which made walking difficult. What does her dad do when the doctors say she would never be able to walk? He decides to teach her to ride horses. Will she give up when things don’t go well? What happens when she falls off her horse? Even if she prevails, she will need just the right horse so they can become a winning team. This inspirational story will show you that nothing is impossible if you don’t quit.

Buy@

Review

A Disclaimer: I won't be rating this story. It's not my place to rate such a tale of reality. Of determination and bravery. 

Tales of SweetBrier is an autobiographical non-fiction.. A story of Deannie Dunne, the writer herself. 

Born with cerebral palsy, it was declared by the doctors that she would not be able to walk properly - ever. Instead of giving up, her dad decided on that day that Miss. Deannie would be a horsewoman.

This starts a story of grit and determination of Deannie's ride to success. It was instilled in her from childhood that the Humphreys never gives up. She herself was a staunch follower of this motto.

There were a number of times she would fall down, only to get up and ride again. During the course of her training, she underwent surgeries too. She could not ride for a year. But as soon as her father declared that her legs were stronger, she was back on the saddle – this round gathering acclaims as she jumped over the posts and won many shows.

Deannie’s love for horses is evident in every line she writes. She understands them and as a reader what I understand is that the horses are therapeutic for her. They are not only her love but also her identity. Her synchronization, her body language and the way she personifies a horse, I can’t imagine her in any other role to play –but that of an equestrian.

Dear Ms. Dunnie,

When you asked me to review your book, you never told me it was autobiographical.. I took it up, thinking it was just another book written by a horse lover, will manage a quick read because horses have always interested me. What took my breath away were, those were those goosebump moments, when you fell off your horse and got up again. The way you understand your riding partner. This is one story I would like my little girl and boy to read. Whenever they are down in life, this is one of those stories which would make them face the future with determination and without angst of what had gone wrong.

A special mention for your Dad. You’re one lucky girl! God bless the man who not only motivated you to get up and ride but also for penning such a wonderful story for the future generations. 

It was a pleasure and honor to read your story.

Yours truly,
Rubina Ramesh

PS. My mom too had the same maxim in life. [spoiler alert!!!] ….. Aspirin!! 



About The Author 

Deanie Humphrys-Dunne is a children’s book author with four books published at this time: Tails of Sweetbrier, Charlie the Horse, (now on Kindle) Charlene the Star, and Charlene the Star and Hattie’s Heroes (now on Kindle).  All of her books offer positive messages for children. Her sister, Holly Humphrys-Bajaj, beautifully illustrates her books. She and Holly are currently working on their fifth book together, Charlene the Star and Bentley Bulldog.

Tails of Sweetbrier is an inspirational autobiography about a little girl whose one desire was to become a champion equestrian, in spite of her handicap. Tails of Sweetbrier will show children that anything is possible if you persevere.  This book was chosen “Most Inspirational” by the staff of the Pawling Book Cove in 2009. Tails of Sweetbrier is now published in a second edition. Deanie’s other books, Charlie the Horse, and Charlene the Star, and Charlene the Star and Hattie’s Heroes, are amusing, fictional tales, which contain important life lessons. 

Deanie is a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature.  She has been featured on several author websites. She has been interviewed several times by renowned, award winning author, Claire Power Murphy on Claire’s program, called “improve Every Year, on www.womensradio.com. Her last interview with Claire, “Building character Through Children’s Stories” received top billing. Deanie has just been selected as “Author of the Year” by author/reviewer, Geri Ahearn in 2013.

Deanie has recently received the following blogging award nominations: Liebster Award (2), Shine On Award, Sunshine Award, Dragons Loyalty Award, Very Inspiring Blogging Award,  the Super Sweet Award and the Sisterhood of the World Blogging Award nomination, and the I’m a Member of the Wordpress.com Family Award.  She’s most grateful to everyone who nominated her. Deanie was recently interviewed on www.thechildrensauthorshow.com  by host, Don McCauley. You may listen to the interview by clicking on the title of her book, “Tails of Sweetbrier.”

Deanie enjoys watching equestrian events, and figure skating competitions, music and singing, spending with her family, and their dog, Elliott. She is also an avid Yankee fan.


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Some of The books by Ms. Dunne



Friday, April 18, 2014

Done With Men by Shuchi Kalra


Done With Men by Shuchi Singh Kalra


The Blurb

Travel journo, Kairavi Krishna (Kay) has had it with men. After a series of disasters (losers, philanderers, leeches, mama's boys and possessive psychos), she is all too tempted to walk out on the prospect of ever finding love. Accompanied by her best friend and flat-mate Baani, she sets off for Goa, hoping to get away from her miserable love life and vowing to stay clear of the male species. 

Goa however, has a host of surprises in store for her. Ricky, her pesky ex-boyfriend, is busy painting the town red with his hot new girlfriend. Now what is poor Kay to do other than overdose on vodka, smoke pot, get an outrageous tattoo and fall off the hotel balcony? She wakes up in the hospital to the tender ministrations of Dr.Vivian D'Mello--young, suave and handsome as hell. Will Kay stick to her guns or will she fall for his ridiculously sexy charms? And what's up with the mixed signals he's giving out?

Buy @
           
Watch it


Review

Meet  Kairavi…

A modern girl in modern India. Independent to the core. No family problems. In fact, she is the offspring of a pair of doting and loving parents. She has only one problem. Falling for the wrong guy, casual sex and booze.( okay make that three). As her friend Baani aptly says, ‘you are in love with the concept of falling in love.’ But do I as a reader like her? If it was my daughter – no. But, if it was me…. Yes. :)

And why not? She brings out a feeling of freedom in every girl. Till now all the romances highlight the Casanova image in a guy. When girls do it, it takes a different dimension. But not with Kairavi. A true representation of the Bold and the Beautiful in the Indian scenario. 

Coming to beauty, she is not a raving beauty. Unruly hair, slightly on the plump side, five two, big bums and small breasts. But she makes it all up with her darling Thought Bubble. (Shuchi, that is bloody hilarious, by the way. ) Kairavi is fun, she is a magnet for trouble and unexpected situations.

Meet Vivian….
Our handsome doc in Goa. (Psst… and he is single and handsome in Goa? ) He starts with a macho image of being the rough and tough doc. It notches up to be the perfect friend and lover for Kairavi eventually…. Till a fiance does not appear in the scenario. Again a wrong man for poor Kay? (Nahiiiiiiiiiiin………..)

The Love Story?
What would you call a story where the heroine meets the hero, bruised and broken bones and in an unusual….ahem…..attire?(Shuchi, they really sell that? *imagine my jaws hanging out) ‘Done with Men, is not just a title of the story, it is a feeling of betrayal and hurt, young Kairavi feels after a string of wrong men and disillusionment in love. 

When she meets Dr. Vivian in the hospital, his arrogance irritates her. But as they say, when you are hard to get, you are desired more. So, she wants him. She finds a friend in him and slowly falls in love with him, even though he was exactly the type whom she found in the ‘not happening’ category. So will she be able to keep him? Or will the tattoo…. Done with men….  be a part of her life forever?

What I liked….
The boldness in the story. Yes, it happens in our India. High time we stop and accept that ‘good girl’ does not mean black framed specs, oily hair and going to bed -alone, by eleven. ‘Good girl’ also does not mean, ambitious, tough, prudish and a go getter. ‘Good girl’ can be anyone. Slightly naughty, humorous, making mistakes and rising again. Lost, searching for love and taking her duties seriously. Being a friend in times of need even though expecting  a lot from her friends in return. ‘Good girls’ can be like Kairavi too.

Rating …


Reasoning….

The only point I couldn’t relate to was why Kairavi had to let go of Vivian. If it was not considered a spoiler, I would have put the line here. But it was just ‘that one line’ which takes away the punch from that scene. (Hint: When Vivian goes to buy the ring with his fiancé…….)

Would I recommend this book….Definitely. 

Just when you feel that you need a laugh, a cheer – this story will do that for you. Thank you Shuchi for writing this and making me laugh loudly at 3 a.m. At this rate, I would need the tattoo soon. :)





Meet the author


The Author's Thoughts

Shuchi Singh Kalra is a writer, editor and blogger based in India. She has been writing since 2005, and has freelanced with popular magazines such as Femina.in, Good Housekeeping, Home Review, Parent & Child, Vista, Investors India, Dogs & Pups, Women's Era and Time 'N' Style among many others. her short stories have found a place in anthologies such as Love Across Borders and New Asian Writing's upcoming collection (to be published in 2014).

Shuchi is also the owner of Pixie Dust Writing Studio, a writing and editing firm that services a global clientele, and the Indian Freelance Writers Blog. She currently lives a nomadic life with a fauji husband and a livewire toddler. 

Done With Men is her first book.
     
  
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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Cover Reveal Blitz: Thea’s Fate by Sasha Summers


April 10, 2014
HTML







Thea's Fate 
(A Loves of Olympus Novella)
by Sasha Summers

Blurb:

Can love prevail?
Greece works to rebuild after the Persian invasion, her people struggle to rebuild a new life. 
But not all have peace.
The people of Athens look to Ariston of Rhoads for guidance, yet his heart is heavy. He lives and breathes, in agony—clinging to memories of his cherished lost wife. He’s done what she asked of him, but finds no purpose now that she’s gone.
Young Spiridion grows strong and hearty, but he’s haunted. A secret presses upon Spiridion day and night. A secret that would doubtless send Ariston back to Hades, robbing the boy of the man he now calls father.
 And Thea? Thea honors the final promise she made to her most beloved mistress… Medusa.




Release Date:

May 6, 2014



A Free A Loves of Olympus Novella



About the Author

Sasha is part gypsy. Her passions have always been storytelling, Hollywood, history, and travel. It’s no surprise that her books include a little of each. Her first play, ‘Greek Gods and Goddesses’ was written for her Girl Scout troupe. She’s been writing ever since. She loves getting lost in the worlds and characters she creates; even if she frequently forgets to run the dishwasher or wash socks when she’s doing so. Luckily, her four brilliant children and hero-inspiring hubby are super understanding and supportive.




You can stalk, I mean find Sasha here

          



Oh, Did you know that Sasha has a Street Team? She does! If you love/like her books and want to help support her join the Street Team. What would you have to do if you join? Let's see...



1.) Have Fun

2.) Meet other people with common interest

3.) You get first dibs on info, snippets, excerpts and even get to review in advance!!

4.) Your input! We might ask you to name her next cowboy! LOL

5.) There will be missions where we ask you to share links and information, but we provide you with all the info so it's easy as pie. Or cake! What ever you prefer!



So if you want to support Sasha, ask to join her Street Team here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/456419371077920/







Presented By:


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

G for Gayatri

Image: Google Image
Name of the Flower:
Gerbera Daisy

Symbolic Meaning:
You are the sunshine of my life

Name of the Girl
Gayatri

Her Association with the Flower
She considered him the sunshine in her life

Gayatri inhaled the whiff of the blooms from the bouquet of red roses mixed with gerbera daisies the office boy had laid in front of her. So, Raj did remember their first anniversary and had pretended amnesia in the morning! A smile played at the corners of her mouth, as her slim fingers caressed the soft blooms.

"Look at her! Blushing and smiling," Rewa's teasing voice cut through her reverie as a fresh wave of shyness overcame her.

"Stop it, Rewa," she tried to keep her voice stern but failed. This new recruit had won her heart from the day she had first arrived. "Today I am planning to go home early. Can you manage the meeting with our clients from Hyderabad?"

"Of course, Ma’m,' Rewa looked offended, but the twinkle in her eyes told another story. Shaking her head at Rewa's dramatics, Gayatri continued to finish the details for the upcoming project. But her heart was not in it. Would Raj love the surprise? Few more hours of waiting before she told her husband the secret she was harboring inside her body –a secret they had created together.

By two o’clock, she wrapped up her work and headed home. Excitement bubbled inside her as she anticipated the different reactions from Raj. Would he be excited or scared upon hearing this news? This would be a major change in their lives. Were they ready for it? She took a deep breath, her palms unconsciously rubbing her flat stomach, as she stared out at the bustling street of midday Mumbai. She knew Raj would be at home today. His secretary had already informed her when she called earlier. She smiled at the thought of him planning a surprise for her. Too bad, she was going to beat him to that.

The cab halted in front of her building and not bothering to take back the change, she rushed in. Her fingers tapped on her purse consistently as she waited for the lift to take her to the ninth floor. Her hands stilled for a second, before inserting her key in the lock, as a faint sound of music could be heard. Her Raj was at home and by the sound of music it looked as if he was in a happy mood. She couldn't have asked for more.

Soft music wafted from the bedroom. Surprised that he would be napping this hour, she opened her sandals near the door and went towards the bedroom.

IT WAS MIDNIGHT WHEN REWA GOT A CALL FROM A VERY HYSTERICAL GAYATRI. Rewa rushed to Gayatri’s house. It took all her gentleness to calm her boss.

“I..I ..never knew,” Gayatri sobbed.

“How is this possible? You have dated him for six months before he proposed to you.”

“Yes.. and he was always so gentle and so loving. Then why?” Gayatri’s pitiable sob touched Rewa’s heart, but she too did not have an answer. How do you explain to a wife of one year, that her life was never real. Her husband was gay, and had married her to keep his real sexual orientation a secret from society, just to make his mom happy.

That night in Rewa’s diary:

21st June, 2007

Dear Diary,

Should I blame Raj? Or should I blame his mother? To be Gay is not the crime. To be Gay and hiding it from society is not a crime either. A gay marrying a woman is like a smokescreen and that is definitely a bloody crime. Remind me Dear Diary, that if tomorrow as a mother, I ever face this situation, let me be brave enough not to ruin another woman’s life.

Rewa stared long at the Gerbera flower. Few hours earlier, it had represent love. As it silently got pressed between the pages, it unfurled to Rewa an new world of betrayal.



 This post is for The A-Z Challenge . A special thank you to  Arlee Bird for bringing this to us. :)

Check the Letter A for Anamika story here ....
Check the Letter B for Bela story here ....
Check the Letter C for Chandni story here ....
Check the Letter D for Deepa story here ....
Check the Letter E for Esha story here ....
Check the Letter F for Freda story here...





Monday, April 7, 2014

Butterfly Season by Natasha Ahmed




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.

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Review

Rumi, a young woman in her thirties, visits her younger sister, Juveria in Loughton, Uk from Pakistan. Rumi has sacrificed a major chunk of her life to look after her ailing mother. This had given Juveria the freedom to marry and settle down.

Rumi did not begrudge Juveria her happiness, but now after the death of their Mom, Rumi wants to live a life with the freedom she so desired. Her desire takes the shape of Ahad whom she meets at her friend's house. Friendship turns into 'attraction' (the hot, molten kind) and they give in to their desires. (Be ready to feel the heat !!)

Rumi’s relatives expect that since her mom is dead, she should complacently marry any guy her relatives decide for her. Strangely, the support she had expected from her younger sister is cloaked under Juveria's need to follow the norms of the society.

On one hand, Ahad seems to be commitment phobic and since Rumi enters into this relationship knowing the consequences, she couldn't blame Ahad for not wanting to give this relationship a name. On one hand, Rumi faces a broken relationship and on the other hand the stigma of a live-in-relationship, portrays Rumi as a girl of the modern society caught between the matters of the heart and the unspoken, stringent commandments of our society.

Rating

Reasoning
The thoughts of all Asian women are echoed in the words of Rumi. A woman should be sacrificing, a woman should comply when the society demands and the woman should first think of others before she thinks of herself is a maxim which I have always questioned. All these cumulative thoughts of a woman make the character of Rumi, beautifully etched by Natasha Ahmed, very relatable.

The scene that profoundly touched my heart was when Juveria's main objection to the relationship between Rumi and Ahad was based on her own in-law's viewpoint.

Log kya kahenge’is one sentence that is engraved in our tender minds from the time we shed our diapers. As much as I'm trying to control the feminist in me, since I do want men of our society to read this novella, but I cannot help applauding Natasha's bold character Rumi and mentally kicking Juveria for representing all the bipolar norms of our society.

Would I recommend this book – Definitely. Though I'm not propaganding the subject touched in this novella and I might turn into another Juveria in the near future but the stringencies and the hypocrisies that has been present in our society for so long makes Butterfly Season a compelling novel to read. The love story between Rumi and Ahad is cute, passionate and very emotional. ( And of course, the chemistry between them will give you a toe curling moment :D)

About The Author 

Natasha Ahmed is a pen name. In real life, Natasha is a graphic designer, a businesswoman and occasionally writes art and book reviews for publications within Pakistan. She created the pen name to avoid awkward questions of morality and religion (since her book advocates sexual freedom for women) from her close but extremely large family.

She works in a small office at home, not far from Sea View, Karachi. From a tiny window, she can see the Arabian Sea sparkling in the distance, and small fishing boats trawl up and down the water throughout the day. When she’s not writing books, she’s dreaming of setting sail towards the horizon and never looking back. Great adventure, she believes, starts with great daring.


Butterfly Season is her first novella, though not, she hopes, her last.


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