Spotlight: The Avalonia Chronicles Book Tour

★.•**•.★★.•**•.★ The Avalonia Chronicles Book Tour ★.•**•.★ ★.•**•.★


About the Book:

16-year-old Aurora Darlington is an orphan. Mistreated by her adopted family and bullied at school, she dreams of running away and being free. But when she is kidnapped and dragged through a portal into a magical world, suddenly her old life doesn’t seem so bad.



Avalonia is a dangerous land ruled by powerful mages and a cruel, selfish queen who will do anything to control all seven kingdoms—including killing anyone who stands in her way. Thrust headlong into this new, magical world, Aurora’s arrival sets plans in motion that threaten to destroy all she holds dear.



With the help of a young fae, a magical pegasus, and a handsome mage, Aurora journeys across Avalonia to learn the truth about her past and unleash the power within herself. Kingdoms collide as a complicated web of political intrigue and ancient magic lead Aurora to unravel a shocking secret that will change her life forever. 



Book Links:

Goodreads I Amazon I Flipkart


World of Avalonia

 







Read an Excerpt:


Chapter 3
Kidnapped
For a second that felt like a
lifetime, everything stopped; I felt like I was floating in nothingness. Then I
blinked, and, when I finally opened my eyes and focused again through the tears,
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
I found myself standing at the
mouth of a small cave situated on a hill and overlooking a quiet, moonlit
valley. On my left, a dark forest stretched out as far as the eye could see,
treetops glistening silver in the light of the full moon. The hills around us
undulated into wildflower-filled meadows that lay sleeping in the dewy night.
Far down in the valley, I could see
a little village, its lights twinkling in the distance. To my right, a
waterfall splashed playfully into a small river that ran down into a lake, next
to which the little village was built. The moon here was fuller and larger than
I had ever seen it, and the night sky was awash with a fantastic array of
glittering stars.
Had I passed through the tapestry?
Where was I?
I looked around, disbelief clouding
my judgment. I was still trying to get my bearings after that strange moment
when I had been inside the tapestry and nowhere at the same time. It gave me a
funny feeling, as though I had been lifted out of my own consciousness and then
put back into my body.
A warm breeze brushed past my face
and played with my hair. Gone were the cloudy grey mist and the cold, nipping
wind of the English countryside. I drew in a sharp breath—the air was crisp and
clear, sweet smelling, and fresh. The moonlit valley was filled with fruit
trees, wildflowers, and rolling meadows.
“How did we come here? Where are
we?” I asked, still confused.
“You really are ignorant,” said
Oblek, glancing at me. “I take it your uncle didn’t tell you anything?”
I shook my head and looked down.
Oblek had tied my hands with a rope he had with him while I was still dazed and
looking around. It was humiliating, and the rough ropes cut into my wrists,
rubbing them raw every time he pulled me forward.
I had to find some way out of this.
And, at the moment, the only thing I could do was discover more about where I
was. Then, when I got an opportunity, I could escape and find my way back up to
the cave on the hill, where we had arrived out of the tapestry.
But then what?
Christopher was probably dead, and
Aunt Arianna would doubtless blame me for everything since I had disappeared at
the same time. I had no idea what to do. I didn’t really want to go back, and,
now that my adoptive parents were dead, I had nothing to return to.
I was starting to panic. I had
nowhere to go, and my mind was imagining an array of horrible outcomes of my
kidnapping. My palms had become sweaty, and my racing heart was thundering in
my chest as I half-walked and half-ran, desperately trying to keep up with
Oblek’s giant strides.
“Why are you doing this?” I pleaded
with my kidnapper.
But Lord Oblek said nothing. He
didn’t even look at me. He just kept walking ahead and dragging me along behind
him, with no more explanations as to what he was planning to do with me.
I was terrified, and I had no idea
if I was going to survive this. But I tried to be brave. Maybe I could talk my
way out of this?
“You do know that this is called
kidnapping?” I said, trying to reason with Oblek.
He didn’t bother to answer.
“What will happen to me now?” I
squeaked, my voice breaking, as I tried not to cry.
“Queen Morgana will decide what is
to be done with you,” said Oblek, finally.
Queen Morgana! The woman from my
dream? It was not possible that this, too, was a coincidence. It must be the
same Morgana, the one who had tried to kill my real mother.
Who the hell was she?
Suddenly all of this seemed
extremely scary. I hoped that I was still dreaming and that there was no way I
had actually traveled through a magical tapestry into some strange land. It all
seemed very exciting in books. But actually being kidnapped and then hauled
around like an animal, traveling deep into a land I knew nothing about, was not
my idea of fun.
I had to get away from this
horrible man, and fast.

 

About the Author:

 

For Farah Oomerbhoy, writing is a passion and reading her solace. She is a firm believer in the fantastic and magical, and often dreams of living in Narnia, Neverland, or the Enchanted Forest.

When she was pregnant with her first child ten years ago, a story popped into her head she could not ignore. “I was at my grandmother’s house, and as I looked at the image of a beautiful forest with a castle in the distance on a tapestry hanging on the wall, I imagined myself being whisked away into another world,” she said. It was at that moment the world of Avalonia, with its powerful mages and fae and the evil Queen Morgana, was born. Farah Oomerbhoy’s debut novel, The Last of the Firedrakes, was released in the summer of 2015.



Farah lives with her husband and three children in their family home in Mumbai, India. She has a Master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Mumbai. Her first novel is The Last of the Firedrakes, Book 1 of the Avalonia Chronicles.

  

Contact Farah:

 

Giveaway:
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Of Bridges Among Us by Neeru Iyer

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I received Of Bridges Among Us by Neeru Iyer as a review copy from the author. It is a compilation of ten short stories almost all of them written in first person from the point of view of a lady.

The Blurb (from Goodreads):

The world of Of Bridges Among Us is inhabited by interesting characters — porn actors weighed down by family values, lesbians coming out to their families, suspicious homemakers, and lunatics in confinement with a love for mangoes — and each person has a unique story to tell.

My take:

There are ten stories in the book and the author has touched upon sensitive issues and described them beautifully.

There is a story of a childless professor who meets a pregnant girl in a bus and they develop a friendship but does she help the girl overcome her problem? There is a story of a girl who stays alone, is a workaholic and a very private person. She has a new neighbor who is an old acquaintance, but does she open up to him? There is a story of a lesbian relationship. There is a story of a little girl bullied by her neighbor who locks her up in a room with his mentally unsound uncle. What happens next????

The Girl by the Fourth Window is the story of one sided love. And then there is a story of a lady who learns about her husband’s affair from neighbors and she discovers that he writes about ‘her’ in his diary. What does she do? In The Reunion, a girl who goes there accompanied by her daughter, feels lost and lonely. Why?? There is a story about a porn star whose parents disowned her when they learnt about her profession. There is a story about a grandmother visiting her grandchild when the latter is ill only to leave after sometime. And then there is a phone call.

My favourite story is the last one ‘She’s not afraid of spiders’ about a child who cannot walk and grows up in an orphanage only to be adopted by a lady. The adoption changes three lives. How? Read and see.

The characters have been developed beautifully and are easy to relate to as they are like some people we meet in our everyday life. They represent different women from different parts of the country. Some of the stories were easy to visualize. The language is simple and the flow is good.

The book has been written very well, it is hard to believe that it her debut book. This book is a must read.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the author in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.

Forbidden Desires by Madhuri Banerjee

51RKXhhTvIL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_I received the book Forbidden Desires by Madhuri Banerjee from the publisher, Rupa Publications, and would like to thank them for the same. This book is the story of four women, Naina, Ayesha, Kavita and Kaajal, who are all different from each other

The Blurb:

‘Why do romantic relationships fade away? Does the magic slowly die? Or do lovers simply wake up one morning realizing they are done? Is it a trick that time plays on happy couples or is it something more profound, an evolution perhaps, of our feelings and our needs?’

Imagine there is a person you know nothing about, who is slowly destroying your marriage. Imagine there is a stranger who enters your life and makes you realize you are living a lie. Imagine there is a love so deep that you need to sacrifice everything you have to save it. Imagine you find out your partner is cheating on you. What will you do?

Naina, Ayesha, Kavita and Kaajal are four women who know nothing about each other and live cocooned in their individual worlds. Until one day, they’re forced to reckon with shocking truths they never imagined! Their desires haunt them, provoke them and make them fight to choose a new path in their lives. Will these women survive their stories of passion, betrayal and pain? Bestselling author and film writer Madhuri Banerjee brings to you a new romantic thriller that interweaves varied stories of women and their passions, to show us how all relationships ultimately crash into each other.

The characters:

Naina: Born and brought up in London to Punjabi Parents. Smart as paint with an Honours degree in English Literature. Uber cool. Supremely sexy. Sparkling brown eyes. Long, dark brown hair. Excellent Cook. When in London, she met Kaushik in a bus. They chatted for hours- it was love at first sight. Parents liked the Bengali boy, soft spoken, family man. Tall, good looking, cultured, studying to be a lawyer. He was perfect.  They get married and life is perfect. They move two Delhi and have two daughters in quick succession.

Ayesha: Slim, Petite and flower like. Oval face. Almond eyes. Long, rich auburn hair. Soft spoken. Demure. Loving. Caring. Perfect housewife. Had an arranged marriage to Varun, an IAS Officer. . Never loved her husband. Has a son. As an IAS Officer’s wife, has to keep up pretenses. Everything has to be picture perfect for her husband to be successful at work. She loves photography. Tarini is her friend from Allahabad, now marries in Delhi to Sanjay, a lawyer.

Kavita: 39, tall, sleek and smart. Delicate fingers. Wavy brown hair. Twinkling eyes, sharp nose. Wears pants and suits. A gynaecologist. No hobbies. Holds a dark secret. Had love marriage to Gaurav Gupta, then a medical representative. Regrets it till date. Has a son. Cannot divorce Gaurav because he is a good father and a good son-in-law. Lives with her husband and son in her mother’s house. She has a younger sister.

Kaajal: 30, Lawyer. Short. Slim. Beautiful. Curly brown hair. Smiling eyes. In a complicated relationship. Loves to shop.

The story:

Now, Naina is more of a housewife, looking after her kids and home. Kaushik is busy building his career. Their relationship is on the backburner. Kaushik has no time for her, comes home after she has slept off, sleeps in the guest room. She wants to open her own restaurant and feels that can wait till the kids require less of her time. Wins Masterchef. Writes a cookbook. Teaches cooking to groups of ladies at her home. All the while her support group is the two sets of grandparents and her friends, the ones she made in Delhi when her first-born started going to school. Until Pinky, her beauty parlour lady, suggests that she teaches cooking to Arjun, a rich man and get paid well.

Ayesha throws lavish parties on Diwali and sees her husband lose at cards but she keeps it all from her parents. She does not get along well with her in-laws. At a party, meets a politician and expresses her view and opinions and he listens to her as Varun never did.

Kavita is a successful gynecologist. She is not happily married but has to keep working to run the house. She goes to a conference and her life changes.

Kaajal starts to have an affair with a married man, confronts his wife but decides not to get married and she feels marriages become boring after a time.

My take:

The story is about 4 married women Naina, Ayesha, Kavita and Kaajal. The women are different and the plot is also different. The author has portrayed them as one of us but I feel what she has written about is not so common in the society these days.

She has introduced the characters differently, some of what I have taken to introduce the characters in my review. The language is simple.

This book is about insecurities, about unfulfilled wishes both at professional and personal level. It is about women trying to find happiness for themselves as individuals.

Go on read the book, but please, please, don’t let the book get on to you or it will make you feel a bit insecure about your own marriage.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the Publisher in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.

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Ramayana: The Game of Life – Book 3 – Stolen Hope by Shubha Vilas

d359fa8e-9ad0-4154-a9b1-00835d3ef9cd.jpgI received Ramayana: The Game of Life – Book 3 – Stolen Hope by Shubha Vilas as a review copy from the author. It is the third book of the series of Ramayana written by the author. This covers the Ramayana from Dandakaranya part of the exile to Sita’s abduction.

The Blurb (from Goodreads):

In the evil labyrinths of Dandakaranya forest, human values are put to test. Rama’s righteousness, Lakshmana’s loyalty and Sita’s endurance reflect our own sense of values and judgment in difficult times. The story unfolds the facets of human life – the conflict and the trickery, the praise and the slander and, above all, the hope and the despair in the eventful forest life of the Exiled Royals.

Stolen Hope is about extreme deception and extreme love. It is about arrogant power and deep devotion. With every twist and turn, Rama, Sita and Lakshmana find themselves robbed of whatever and whoever they value most.

Exploring the dynamics of human relations – between father and son, husband and wife, teacher and disciple – and the complex game of power and greed, Stolen Hope mirrors our own dilemmas in the modern world and teaches us how we must overcome them.
Seek courage when everything, including hope, is stolen.

The story:

Rama and Lakshmana are into exile with Sita when enter Dandakaranya from Chitrakuta. They have a conflict with two demons.  Viradha and Kabandha. They then move to live in Panchavati and are living there for two years when Surpanka sees them and wants to marry Ram herself, then decides to marry Lakshman and ends up getting her ears and nose chopped off. Surpankha comes with her brother and a fourteen thousand demon army for revenge and the army is destroyed by Rama. And then she sends Ravana to take revenge.

The story moves to what we had read when we were young about how Rama goes after the deer Maricha, Lakshman follows and Sita is taken away by a beggar. He meets Shabari while searching for Sita and he then meets Sugriva and the Vanaras.

My take:

The language is simple. The book has been detailed in a way that makes it easy to understand with a lot of words and events explained as footnotes. The author has used boxes to convey some important parts. There are stories narrated by various sages and others within the book which make it interesting, like the story of Agastya.

The author has described many instances in the book including Ravana’s flight to Lanka which I had not read about before.

All in all it is an interesting book, but one thing is for sure, we need to dedicate quite a lot of time to the book to do justice to the author and his research.

Book Source: The author

Publisher:Jaico Books

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the author in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.

Vengeance -A Sting in Every Tale A WRIMO INDIA anthology

Designed by Neil D’Silva
Vengeance –A Sting in Every Tale 
A WRIMO INDIA anthology
Edited by
Sonia Rao 
Disclaimer : All proceeds from the sale of this anthology will be donated to NaNoWriMo
Designed by Sujata Patnaik
Blurb 
A reply to a perceived injustice can take many forms one of which is vengeance. An eye for an eye can only end up making the whole world blind, is what Mahatma Gandhi once said. And it seems to be coming quite true, if latest events world-wide are an indication.
Is there any hope or are we hurtling towards extinction?
Hopefully, the stories will explore some of these questions. But that is on the macro level. It might be easy to look at things objectively, in black and white, when it is other nations involved. Or even other people. We are able to be more forgiving of transgressions when they don’t involve us personally.
But how would one react if they found themselves in the maelstrom of situations that do fall somewhere in the grey area of life? With no definite black and white answers?
How would a jilted lover react in face of infidelity? Or how would a friend avenge the murder of her best friend? Or, is it fair to be punished for a crime that you were not brave enough to prevent?
These and many more questions connected to vengeance have been grappled with in this anthology.

EXCERPT OF FIRST CHAPTER
Bus number 131 whirred away, pulling its own weight unwillingly. It was one of the many buses to pass through the Relief road, a busy road in the old part of Ahmedabad. Shazia had an option, the crowed 88 or the overcrowded 131. She preferred to be 30 minutes before time to board 131. Her choice was motivated by her love for the palindromic 1-3-1. Her undying infatuation with prime numbers was inexplicable.Nineteen year old Shazia loved numbers, and to be more precise, she adored Mathematics in all its form. She also loved the rules, the principles, the working theorems, the equations which tried to make sense of the majestic menagerie of numbers. She was fascinated even by the mere shape of numbers. She did not remember when or even how her romance with Maths began. But in her earliest memories, she preferred practicing her numbers over the alphabet, she remembered that she recited tables better than her nursery rhymes.

She was short and a bit stocky. Also, a couple of shades darker than was acceptable in the marriage market. However, her looks never bothered her, nor did she ever yearn for fairer skin, or thinner body. What she craved was a disheveled mass of hair, for some uncanny resemblance to Einstein, the only pop icon modern science managed to have produced. But her mother plaited her hair, dashing her hopes to ground. She also longed for a pair of spectacles with glasses so thick that it blurred her eyeballs, indicating the wearer’s brilliance. But she, despite getting checked for vision from her mother’s ophthalmologist, was denied the hallowed implement. Thrice.

Shazia valued her bus ride a lot. She had to convince Papa to allow her to commute to her college on her own. She had concealed her indignation about needing her father’s permission for every little trifle, even after being categorised as an adult by the Government of India. Papa consented only after he was told that Noor too would start using the bus if Shazia were to give her company.

Buy @
 
ABOUT THE EDITOR SONIA RAO
 
 
The editor of the Anthology, Sonia Rao (writer-editor-awardwinningblogger) is the NaNoWriMo Municipal Liaison for All-India region. The stories which are part of the anthology are written by Wrimos homed in to Asia::India region. Most of them are also published writers of short fiction and novels.She blogs @ https://soniaraowrites.wordpress.com/ 
Find out more about Wrimo India @
Wrimo India on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/wrimosindia 
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The Brown Sahebs by Anupam Srivastava

The25059969.jpg Brown Sahebs by Anupam Srivastava is one book which I decided to read because of its awesome cover. I would like to thank The Book Club for the book and also the author for sending me an autographed copy of the same.

The blurb:

The Raja of Teekra, a dusty and forgotten kingdom near Lucknow, gets lucky when the British Resident visits him but also brings with him a leading revolutionary. The Raja enters India’s struggle for freedom and is rewarded with a berth in the cabinet of free India. He is shocked to see the ministers and officers living and operating like their imperial masters but is suitably rewarded for his silence. As he begins to enjoy the good life of Lutyens’ Delhi, the British capital which India’s freedom fighters abhorred, he faces only one adversary in his plans—his journalist son Pratap. A novel that will blow you away with its depiction of love, passion, intrigue and betrayal.

The story:

Daulat Singh, the Raja of Teekra, a kingdom near Lucknow, is having sleepless nihts and he is looking for a solution to the problem when suddenly, a messenger brings him a letter which states that the Resident at Lucknow wants to visit the kingdom. The entire kingdom starts preparation of receiving the guests and even 5000 partridges are bought for the Residents shikaar. The Resident arrives with his wife and Vidya Babu, the quintessential leader of the freedom movement and also an Oxford Graduate and a friend of the Resident. During his speech, Vidya ropes in the Raja into the freedom movement much to the dislike of the Resident.

While visiting the temple on the hill, the Raja and the Resident are attacked and Pratap, the prince of Teekra is the prime suspect, and the Raja asks him to leave the kingdom, which Pratap does, only to find that people are also looking out for him to kill him. He goes to meet Malti, only to find she is getting married to Ekka. Then he decides to walk to Delhi and once there, becomes a journalist. The Raja is offered a berth in the cabinet after India becomes independent and he also joins the movement.

India becomes independent and the chaos begins……

My take:

The story is set in the days of the freedom struggle and the prologue sets a good tone for the story, with an account by a newspaper reporter regarding the death of Ekant Baba, the solitude loving sage. And he reads the papers left to him by the sage and the story starts at Teekra, moves on to Delhi and then independence and post-independence.

There are many characters in the story and each has a role to play, be it Kundu, the village singer; Malti, daughter of Raghupati; Ekka, Malti’s suitor; Gopal, Pratap’s companion; Eknath; Kavita, Pratap’s colleague; Shyam Dubey, the editor of the newspaper;

Both the writing and language are simple. The plot kept me guessing and the scenes have been described so well that I was able to picturise quite a few of them.

 

 

Spotlight: THE BROWN SAHEBS BY ANUPAM SRIVASTAVA

 

THE BROWN SAHEBS 
BY 
ANUPAM SRIVASTAVA
Blurb 
The Raja of Teekra, a dusty and forgotten kingdom near Lucknow, gets lucky when the British Resident visits him but also brings with him a leading revolutionary. The Raja enters India’s struggle for freedom and is rewarded with a berth in the cabinet of free India. He is shocked to see the ministers and officers living and operating like their imperial masters but is suitably rewarded for his silence. As he begins to enjoy the good life of Lutyens’ Delhi, the British capital which India’s freedom fighters abhorred, he faces only one adversary in his plans—his journalist son Pratap. A novel that will blow you away with its depiction of love, passion, intrigue and betrayal.
Buy @
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About the Author 
Anupam Srivastava was born in Lucknow, India, where his novel, The Brown Saheb’s first part is set. However, he never lived there as his father and mother, Ashok and Veena Srivastava, lived in different parts of India. However, Anupam spent some of his childhood and most of his vacations in Lucknow where he flew kites and learnt about the craft of pigeon-flying. He went to a boarding school near Delhi, the Motilal Nehru School of Sports, Rai, where he played cricket but earned his college colours at St Stephen’s College, Delhi, in cross-country running. He studied English literature (BA Hons and MA), won the college annual poetry prize while pursuing his MA, and being sure his vocation was writing and journalism, became a journalist with The Times of India in 1993. In 1999, he was awarded the British Chevening scholarship by the British government.
In 1999, he left journalism to work with the United Nations Population Fund in India in communications. Subsequently, Anupam worked with Oxfam India Society, Unicef and other development agencies. The Brown Sahebs is his first novel and tells the story of India not taking off its colonial clothing even as it became a democracy.
Anupam is married to Radhika Srivastava, and they have two children who figure in his children’s novel, A Family Secret.
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