Friday, October 24, 2014

#95 : The Echoes of Love by Hannah Fielding : A Review


BOOK TITLE: The Echoes of Love

ISBN: 0992671833

AUTHOR: Hannah Fielding

GENRE: Fiction – Romance


FORMAT: Paper back


REVIEW BY: Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: The writer sent us a review copy in exchange for  a honest review

SUMMARY : Set against the breathtaking beauty of Italy, The Echoes of Love is a passionate, heart-breaking romance to ignite the senses and rekindle your belief in the power of love. Seduction, passion and secrets... Venetia Aston-Montagu has escaped to Venice to work in her godmother's architectural practice, putting a lost love behind her. For the past ten years she has built a fortress around her heart, only to find the walls tumbling down one night of the carnival when she is rescued from masked assailants by an enigmatic stranger, Paolo Barone. Drawn to the powerfully seductive Paolo, despite warnings of his Don Juan reputation and rumours that he keeps a mistress, Venetia can't help being caught up in the smouldering passion that ignites between them. When she finds herself assigned to a project at his magnificent home deep in the Tuscan countryside, Venetia not only faces a beautiful young rival but also a sinister count and dark forces in the shadows, determined to come between them. Can Venetia trust that love will triumph, even over her own demons? Or will Paolo's carefully guarded, devastating secret tear them apart forever?


The first line of the summary was just about enough for me to fall for the book. I admit! I am shamelessly attracted to anything Italian – be it the culture or the food. Watching too much of TLC channel left me bewitched and besotted with Italian city so much so that visiting Italy at least once in this life time has become top in my “things to do before I die” list. Also, having worked with Italians professionally, I quite enjoy their culture. 

I had set obnoxiously high standards for this book just because the story was set in Italy. But when the book landed on my door step I did chastise myself for being a hopeless “Italian Romantic”. I almost dreaded that I would come to regret my decision of picking up this book for the book was quite heavy to begin with. It has been ages since I read 400 odd pages paperback copy. Books these days are no longer than 350 pages.  But when I finished reading the book I was truly happy for not missing such a beautiful book.

To start with, the book cover was beautiful. The eye mask and the title of the book is glossily embossed in black against a beautiful cream background thus giving it a rich texture.

Our protagonist, Venetia is a restoration specialist with a traumatic past. The love of her life “left” her and she lost their love child in a freak accident. She escapes from the clutches of her traumatic past and her strict father by moving to Venice to work for her godmother in her architect firm. For some odd reason, Zia (the god mother) reminds me of Meryl Streep from the movie The Devil Wears a Prada. Venetia falls in love with Paolo, the handsome Italian who again has his own share of traumatic past. So do they actually find each other? Obviously yes, they do. But what matters is the narration of the “how”.

The narration was bang on. Italy was described so beautifully that with pages that I turned, my desperation to visit that country increased exponentially. To make matters worse the story was written so beautifully. The beauty of courtship narrated against a back drop of a romantic city is indeed an intoxicating combination. Being a late (like horribly late) bloomer in discovering Love & Romance Literature, this story ended up leaving me with a fluttering heart and a flipping stomach!

The characterisation was perfect and realistic. Due to this, the emotions that the writer tried to convey were eerily realistic. I felt like I was living in the middle of the story. Till date only one book
(or a series maybe….) had managed to do that to me. No prizes for guessing which book.

My only weeny tiny qualm though would be that there was a bit of drag in story – The book would have been better off without that “evil witch girl” in play. And of course, the climax was predictable, though I can’t really put my finger on why I was able to predict it in spites of a gripping tale with very minimal loophole in the plot.

To sum it up, this story is akin to the perfect coffee served in a traditional fashion. Such books are hard to come by in the age of Vending machine quality quicke romance (er….may be like the slurry liquid that my work place’s vending machine serves me in the name of coffee?!)

VERDICT: This book is strictly for people who love to read literature and beautiful romances. If you can’t admire the beauty of courtship and true romance don’t dare touch this book.

RATING: 4.9 on 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: (In her own words!)
I grew up in a rambling house overlooking the Mediterranean. My earliest memories are of listening, enchanted, to fairy stories at the knee of my half-French half-Italian governess Zula. When I was seven we came to an agreement: for each story she told me, I would invent and relate one of my own. That is how my love for story-telling began.

Later, at a convent school, while French nuns endeavoured to teach me grammar, literature and maths, I took to day-dreaming and wrote short romantic stories to satisfy the needs of a fertile imagination. Having no inhibitions, I circulated them around the class, which made me very popular among my peers and less so with the nuns.

After I graduated with a BA in French literature, my international nomadic years commenced. I lived mainly in Switzerland, France and England, where I had friends and family, and during holidays I travelled to Mediterranean countries like Italy, Greece and Spain.

I met my husband in London at a drinks party: it was love at first sight, just like in the romance books that were my constant companions. He brought me to his large Georgian rectory in Kent, surrounded by grounds and forests. After my children were born, between being a mother and running a property business, there was little time for day dreaming, let alone writing. 

Then, once my children had flown the nest, I decided after so many years of yearning to write, write, write it was time to dust off the old manuscripts I’d been tinkering with for a lifetime. 

Today, I am living the dream: I write full time, splitting my time between my homes in Kent and in the South of France, where I dream up romances overlooking breathtaking views of the Mediterranean.

My first novel, Burning Embers, is a vivid, evocative love story set against the backdrop of tempestuous and wild Kenya of the 1970s, reviewed by one newspaper as ‘romance like Hollywood used to make’. My new novel, The Echoes of Love, is a story of passion, betrayal and intrigue set in the romantic and mysterious city of Venice and the beautiful landscape of Tuscany

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Kindle,Hardcover & Paperback

PRICE: Rs.99 (Kindle)


Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse

Sunday, October 19, 2014

#94 : An Isolated Incident by Soniah Kamal : A Review

An Isolated Incident

BOOK TITLE: An Isolated Incident

ISBN: 9788172345327

AUTHOR: Soniah Kamal

GENRE: Fiction


FORMAT: Paperback


REVIEW BY: Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review Copy from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. We thank Fingerprint Publishing for the same.

SUMMARY: Zari Zoon, a vivacious girl from Kashmir, is looking forward to marrying her fiance when tragedy strikes. Next thing she know, she is on a plane to America to stay with distant relatives who have offered to give her a temporary home to help her stitch back the tatters of her life.

Billy Nabi, fiercely tender-hearted, longs to help Zari but the choices he makes will jeopardise them all.
An Isolated Incident is a story of haunting memories and yearnings of a home lost, of a faith continuously tested and questioned and of a love that blossoms against all odds


 I’ve always regretted not visiting Kashmir when I had the opportunity to do so. My dad resided in Jammu for quite some time and used to describe its endless beauty. He obviously left out the ugly injustice being served to this beautiful place. Since then, I’ve had this fascination with Jammu & Kashmir. Of course, I always knew that beneath the beauty lies a state marred by wars and ridden with unspeakable sorrow. Having never read a proper literature account associated with J&K, I was more than eager to read this book.

The story is a about a simple Kashmiri girl Zari who loses her family and undergoes a major trauma. She then relocates to USA under the ruse of pursing her education. Her life changes dramatically after Billy comes to her rescue. But then, Billy has his own share of emotional baggage in the form of a burdening past to handle. I can’t possibly elaborate more about the story for I would be depriving the reader of a life changing experience.

The narration is filled with raw emotions. It’s been long since a book affected me in such a way. Reading a tale of unspeakable and horrendous injustice experienced by a woman left me choking with unspeakable sorrow. Zari’s narration seemed so realistic that I truly wondered if this story wasn’t a figment of imagination.

I really wouldn’t believe that this writer is actually a rookie to Lit Business.  The narration, the plot and portrayal of emotions were almost perfect. If at all I had to find a flaw, it would be with Billy’s story line. I could connect with his feeling of  lost identity, but his decision to flee USA didn’t pack a punch for me as it normally should. This could be attributed to a slight slack in narration in that part of the story.

The characterization was perfect and all the characters had so many facets that at one point I wondered if they were actually modeled after real people.  Again, if I really had to find a negative with characterization, it would be with that of Zari’s. A trauma obviously changes a person’s character. I couldn’t understand much of Zari’s character before that “life altering” incident. 

The cover deserves a special mention. It clearly depicts the beauty of Kashmir but in shades of Brown, which obviously signifies the struggle and injustice. 

This book changed my perception of Kashmiris and made me understand why they would actually want a separate country.

The book also re-emphasized a lesson that my parents drilled in me. Love and compassion are the ultimate medicine to any trauma.

VERDICT: A must read for all who whine about the injustice of life. Definitely not for the faint hearted.

RATING: 4.9 on 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Soniah Kamal was born in Karachi and grew up in London-Jeddah-Lahore and resides in the US where she has called myriad States home. At present she lives in Georgia where Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone with the Wind, Flannery O’ Connor kept pet peacocks and Alice Walker set The Color Purple. Soniah has a BA in Philosophy from St. John’s College where she received the Susan B. Irene Award and is earning an MFA from Georgia State University where she is the 2014 Paul Bowles Fellow in Fiction. Soniah's work is published or forthcoming in the Rumpus, Huffington Post, xoJane, Bengal Lights, Sugar Mule, various anthologies and more. She enjoys long strolls around koi ponds, doodling forests of curlicues. She cannot resist the drumbeat of a dhol and her talisman is a globe in any shape of size. Her favorite activity is time traveling through books. Soniah has shared her life with a sandy dog, a silky cat, two ginuea pigs, one long haired and one short haired, frogs as big as thumbnails, and a multitude of budgies and betta fish red, blue, green and yellow.


PRICE: Rs.200 (Papeback)


Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse

Saturday, October 18, 2014

#93 : Love Lasts Forever : Only if you don't marry your love By Vikrant Khanna : A Review


BOOK TITLE: Love Lasts Forever

ISBN: 938266517X

AUTHOR: Vikrant Khanna

GENRE: Fiction -Romance


FORMAT: Paperback


REVIEW BY: Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK:  This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program and Blog Tours.  To get free books log on to"


So you think your love can last forever…?

Get married! Eighteen-year-old Ronit falls madly in love with Aisha the moment he meets her at his graduation day from a naval college. He believes he has found his perfect soul mate, and come what may, his love for her will last forever.

Seven years later, he gets married to her. Big mistake! A week later, he completely hates her and believes she has turned into a

But his perception about love and life change when he hears the poignant love story of Shekhar, his Captain, on a ship that later gets hijacked by the pirates of Somalia.

As they are left fighting for their lives; they confront if love truly can last forever…? Or does it get too late


This book has been doing rounds in Facebook like forever. I always wondered how a book with that title and tag line got famous. The title and the tag line ticked me off : Love lasts forever – Only if you don’t marry your love. That statement misleading and sort of contradicts the summary. Curiosity got the better of me and I signed up for me as soon as this book came up for review from Readers Cosmos. Thankfully, after I finished reading the book, the title was justified( though it turned out to be a bit ironical).

The book back summary is rather well phrased which saves reviewers like me from the explaining what the story is all about without divulging the plot. Our protagonist is a sea farer who narrates the story partially while being captured by pirates of Somalia. The narration switches between his past, present and that of his captain’s past. There is always a factor of risk with time bound and character bound switch in narratives. I’ve read books by writers who messed up with emotions by switching timelines in the narration leaving me with a blinding headache. Thankfully, this writer sure got the switch bang on.

I felt Captain Shekar’s story was rather well written when compared to that of our protagonist’s story. This could be attributed to a fact that the writer actually completed Shekar’s story after a prolonged gap in the narrative.

Being a short fuse, I was almost prepared to throw this book out of nearest window during that part of the story when Ronit believes it’s his entire wife’s fault that their relationship has gone kaput after wedding. Why does the wife always have to “adjust” with the tantrums thrown by her SIL/MIL? Why can’t the husband actually understand that the poor girl has left her home and needs time adapting? That episode where our protagonist’s love walks out and he doesn’t really care was well written (which obviously is the reason behind “throw-the-book-out” feeling). I concluded that the writer was just another chauvinist who vented his feelings through his writing only to realise I was an absolute fool for the climax of the story blew me away (er…..I can’t tell why for that would give away the story!).

Amongst all the positives, the one thing that didn’t really impress me was the whole kidnapping drama. I couldn’t really connect with all the emotion that a person might actually undergo while being kidnapped at gun point by pirates.

The writing was simple and clean conveying all emotions intended but sort of slacked during with whole kidnapping scenario. I finished reading the book flat in day for the narration kept me hooked.

VERDICT: Intense emotions, addictive narration, why not?!

RATING: 4.3 on 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A sailor by profession and a writer by passion.

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Paperback, Digital

PRICE: Rs.114


P.S. Here is a video that features the writer! Enjoy listening.

Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

#92 : Under My Skin (Bistro La Bohème Book 2) by Alix Nichols : A Review

BOOK TITLE: Under My Skin (Bistro La Bohème Book 2)

ISBN: 1500502537

AUTHOR: Alix Nichols

GENRE: Fiction - Romance


FORMAT: Digital

SERIES / STANDALONE: Bistro La Bohème Book 2

REVIEW BY: Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review Copy as a part of NjKinny book tours

SUMMARY : "UNDER MY SKIN" - a delightful Parisian version of "Four Weddings and a Funeral" - will entertain you with a gripping story, endearing characters and sizzling romance.

Feisty bartender Jeanne and geek-turned-hottie Mat embark on an emotional and sensual roller coaster, as their paths cross at an engagement party, a baptism and a wedding... not counting all the other times they "accidentally" run into each other. 

UNDER MY SKIN is the second novel in the Bistro La Bohème series. It can be read as a standalone


Having read the previous book in the series I quite knew what to expect from the writer. The story line is more or less like an extension of her first book or what Americans term as a “spin off”.

The protagonist of this book in the series, Jeane didn’t play  much of a role apart from being portrayed as Leena’s friend who has a taste for “wrong sort of man” and has this “gothic” addiction. Apparently she is a changed woman in this edition. Of course, we need a suitable hero for our “reinvented” protagonist. Enter Mat, the geek who couldn’t garner a second look from our protagonist in the previous book. He suddenly “grows” in to this ‘oh-so-desirable-hunk’ (apparently a “later bloomer” in our writer’s words). They are virtually like Tom & Jerry only to end up being heads over heels in love with each other.

To me, the story line seemed to be almost the mirror of her previous book. May be that can be attributed to the recurring theme of ‘does he love me? Does he love me not?’. To a seasoned reader with an insatiable appetite for unpredictable twists this book proved to be a through disappointment. I couldn’t help but draw similarities between Leena & Rob’s story and that of Jeane’s and Mat’s. Though the latter was a less intense and uncomplicated when juxtaposed with that of Leena’s & Rob’s story, the similarities were simply too much.

Much to my disappointment, the writer didn’t describe the backdrop of the story much. In sense, the whole Paris charm was missing. Moreover, I strongly believe Paris would be the perfect backdrop of an Intense romance unlike this story.

In spite of the above mentioned shortcomings, the book still turned out to be a nice light summer sort of read.

VERDICT: Not bad. Not good.

RATING: 3 on 5

Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse

Sunday, October 12, 2014

#91 : Beginning With Forever by Lan LLP : A Review


BOOK TITLE: Beginning With Forever



GENRE: Fiction - Romance


FORMAT: Digital  - Epub

SERIES / STANDALONE:  Series – Forever #1

REVIEW BY: Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK:  Review Copy as a part of NJKinny book tours.

SUMMARY :“Carson, I’m freely offering myself to you right now. Please,” I plead fearlessly. I’m shameless and not above begging for him to take my body. Who is this sex-craved woman anyways? 

“Sweetness, you’re making it very difficult for me to resist you, to control myself.” He lowers himself intimately close to graze his soft, moist lips on my forehead, bridge of my nose and then intensely over my lips. The urgency of his need for me is translated through his kisses. Biting down firmly on his lower lip, it appears that he’s forcing the strength of his will to remain tame. Our eye contact is broken when he seals his shut to blind the temptation lying underneath his body. His hands grip the sheets desperately, clawing and then fisting. I think this is his last hope of hanging onto his dignity. “Goodnight Lily, only offer your body to me when you believe it in your heart,” he murmurs and rolls off of me. Lying flat on his back, he attempts to steady his labored breathing. 

Love isn’t easy to forget even if you’re determined to never feel it again. It has a way of finding you when all hope is gone, resurfacing tender emotions you’ve buried deep in your core because the pain of acknowledging them is too much for you to handle. 

Carson Bradley, CEO of a powerful pharmaceutical corporation is rich beyond boundaries with a missing soul. His heart faded away fifteen years ago with the death of his first love. He strives every day for the sake of his cancer research because he’s determined to eradicate cancer forever. 

Lillian Ly is a humble, young medical student whose kind and generous heart is as vast as the universe. Being raised poor by a single parent; she matured quickly and respected the sacrifices her mother made for her. Lillian’s determination leads her down a stringent five-year path with no room for love. 

When their paths cross at an unlikely place thousands of miles away from home, they both realize that fate has brought them together, and Carson will never let anything or anyone tear them apart. He knows how desolate life is without love and refuses to return to that dark place ever again. 

Lillian enters Carson’s world with the purest intention of loving him with all her heart, but discovers that his volatile world will alter her uncomplicated life indefinitely. Regardless of what obstacles are thrown in their path, Lillian and Carson will endure them all to hold onto their forever from the beginning to the end. 

When this book came up for the review with a promise of love story between a simple girl and millionaire I envisioned a yet another 50 Shades of Grey in making. But then, the promise of explosive romance made me sign up.

No offense but I almost regret the decision to sign up. My English teachers always insisted that when I critique a book or a movie, I start off with the positives. So, here are the positives (which frankly aren’t much)

1.    The plot was racy in spite of having uncanny similarities to 50 Shades book. Bianca’s revenge & Richard’s revelation we just well written.
2.    The part where Carson insists that Lillian think more than twice before offering her virginity was well written – Teaches a  very sensible lesson.
3.    The supernatural twist towards the end of the book was a rather unexpected twist well executed.
4.    The story managed to end on a high note that obviously would leave any reader wanting more (Oob-viously NOT ME!)

And now to what was repulsive for me. The protagonist, Lillian is initially portrayed to be a sensible Med student initially. But when she meets Carson her sensibility goes for a toss. Yet her character apparently “stays” sensible.

There wasn’t just enough of the courtship for me. The immense beauty of subtle courtship before an explosive romance is like eating a Choco Lava cake with a spongy outer and a gooey inner (Oops! I relate things better with food).

Carson and Lilly couldn’t have their hands off each other. Carson was portrayed as this obsessed boyfriend who almost kept spying on his girlfriend.   This sort of reminded me of 50 Shades of Grey (Yeah I a managed to read that one book in the series).

It might appear that the positives are more when compared to the negatives I described. But the magnitude matters.

VERDICT: Can be missed

RATING: 2.5 on 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (In her Own Words!) : Over a year ago, I decided to pick up a pen and jotted down the first sentence of my vivid imagination. Those initial words were the seeds that grew into my romance book, “Beginning with Forever.” With all my heart, I wrote, rewrote, edited, re-edited and now, I’m finally ready to share it with all of you. My one and only aspiration for this book is to have readers embrace my story and characters with their heart. If I can make someone laugh till their gut hurts, hate the villain with vengeance, cry till their eyes dry out, fall in love all over again, and drool over the hero or feel any other emotions, than I’ve succeeded my goal.

I’m the sappiest person in the world when it comes to romance. I believe in love at first sight, Prince Charming or in my book, Mr. Hot Billionaire, and happy endings. In my heart, every women deserves all three, and they will when they lose themselves in my books. Your fantasy can become a reality with just the flip of a page, so come join me.


PRICE: Rs.246


Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse

Monday, October 6, 2014

#90 : His Royal Runaway Bride by Tanu Jain : A Review


BOOK TITLE: His Royal Runaway Bride

ISBN: 9789351064619

AUTHOR: Tanu Jain

GENRE: Fiction - Romance


FORMAT: Paperback


REVIEW BY: Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: PRPundit sent us as a review copy in exchange for a honest review. We thank them for the same!

SUMMARY :When Maharaj Vidyamann Veer Singh of Samogpur's beautiful young wife vanished three years ago everyone assumed she was dead. When Veer discovers she's actually alive and well he's determined to bring her back home to do her duty...

Meethi loved Veer passionately but felt shackled in the role of his wife. Will they overcome the obstacles to find happiness in marriage?

 When this book came up for review I simply couldn’t resist it thanks to the beautiful cover. I know it’s a rookie mistake to judge a book by its cover, but these days I think that adage shouldn’t be taken too literally. Of course, the summary also played an integral part in attracting me. A royal love story! Why not!?!

The storyline begins with Maharaj “rescuing” his wife who faked her death. What follows is essentially the account of two people madly  in love with each other finding their lost love. Though the story initially begins with Veer trying to avenge  his bruised ego when he finds out Meethi has faked her own death while he spent days mourning her death.

The part of the story where Veer narrates how he simply obeyed Meethi’s father’s orders left me teary eyed. The whole roller coaster journey of finding love has been well written.

There is not a better feeling than being understood by a person whom you love. The writer brought out that emotion very well. The fact that men need that little push to understand how exactly a woman feels is has been used as the central theme.

My knowledge of this genre – romance is very limited owing to a fact that I spent my entire teenage hating mushy romance and happily skipping all Mills & Boons until I turned 23! I am thankful for not having skipped them completely for I wouldn’t have discovered such a beautiful.
The characterization deserves a special mention. Initially I expected Meethi to be an immature character and Veer to be this utterly irrational Maharaja throwing royal tantrum. After all, they do have a huge age difference. Meethi fumbles with the whole “Royal Behavior” while Veer has impeccable manners which  obviously lead me to arrive at that conclusion. I don’t particularly tolerate such characters (Errr….be it in real life or in books)

 The writer bowled a googly. Both the characters turned out to be the exact opposite of my conculsion.  In fact Veer’s character had layer upon layer of conflict which slowly was peeled out only to reveal a perfect gentleman beneath. The whole process of “peeling out layers” has been well conceived and implemented by the writer.  But then I am not sure if the writer intended to actually do it that way.

The writing was simple and delivered all emotions probably intended by the writer.

My only complaint would be the story line was a bit predictable. As the story line progressed I was able to anticipate a happy ending in the making. But then! What’s a “Royal” love story sans a happy ending?  The story did have its share of drama and clichés but thankfully they weren’t overdone.  

VERDICT: A Sensible read.

RATING: 4 on 5

"And then he kissed her" was the line that would run like a litany through Tanu's mind whenever she sat down to laze and relax. Handsome hunks haunted her imagination, and stunning strong-willed heroines clamored to come out. Tanu knew it was the effect of the countless Mills & Boon novels she'd read over the years (she started in class 8th). She tried scratching the itch and came up with the story of a strong Greek male and a suffering Greek beauty and was sure to be accepted, she thought naively. It was a disaster! The rejection slip opened her eyes to a few pertinent facts. The next work was written straight from the heart with familiar, local settings. An editor who believed in her voice helped guide her and voila!
Strength, kindness, honesty, optimism and love were drilled into her as a child by her parents, and the first Mills & Boon that she read made her realize that these were exactly what romance novels were about. So, writing a romance novel was both emotionally and morally satisfying.
Tanu's interests are wide-ranging. Too wide, she feels at times. She has a doctorate in English literature and occasionally teaches English language and literature. Her other interests include spirituality and reading tarot cards and counseling people. The past couple of years have also ignited an interest in religious scriptures, and Tanu has published a book of Jain short stories for children. She has a hectically busy schedule but plays badminton religiously with a close-knit group of girlfriends, which keeps her mentally and physically fit.
She currently lives in Gwalior, India, with her businessman husband who, for her, incidentally, epitomizes the qualities of a typical Mills & Boon hero. Her daughter and son are proud of her but are embarrassed when she uses their names for the characters in her books.
EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Paperback, Digital

PRICE: Rs.150 (Paperback)


Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse