Review: Beaten by Bhagath! by S V Divaakar

September 30, 2013

 Title: Beaten by Bhagath!
Author: S V Divvaakar
Publication date: January 1, 2012
Publisher: Leadstart Corp
Genre:  Indian Fiction
Rating: 
Goodreads | Amazon
‘I’m sure you can do a much better job than Bhagath!’
When BB hears these inspiring words from his sexy lady boss, his staid life as a successful analyst in an MNC goes into a tailspin.
Bitten by the ego bug and smitten by her, BB sets off on his quest to write a book that’s better than India’s greatest writer Dr.Bhagath’s blockbusters. Nothing unusual about this for BB, who likes a good fight. Except that he and Bhagath had been classmates and friends at college. 
What follows is a roller-coaster voyage of the debutant author and his book, with all its twists and cul-de-sacs. Brushes with publishers, celebrities, retailers, book chains, and competition with the alliances among giants, mark the challenger’s journey, upping the stakes at every stage. 

Will BB catch up with his famous friend? 
What will their encounter be like? 

Written from inside the ring, ‘Beaten by Bhagath’ is a gripping tale ...the first-ever about the unseen side of the wonderland of Indian fiction.
I admit I didn't have very high hopes for this book, what with it hinting at a certain very popular author right from the blurb. But when I began reading Beaten by Bhagath!, I found myself pleasantly surprised.

Beaten by Bhagath! is the story of an aspiring writing who's written his first book after some prodding and with the incentive to beat his ex classmate and friend, Dr. Bhagath, who is now known as 'India's Greatest Writer'. But the actual struggle is yet to begin, as he finds out when he starts looking for a publisher for his book.

Book Blitz: Kinetic by S. K. Anthony

September 27, 2013


 Title: Kinetic (The Luminaries #1)
Author: Laurie Gray
Publication date: September 20, 2013
Publisher: CreateSpace
Genre:  New Adult, Urban Fantasy
Being strong is one thing. Being an unlimited source of power is quite another.

Genetically altered by the Organization, Annie Fox takes down criminals CIA-style with her luminary strength. With nothing to mend but her broken heart, she is relentlessly pursued by her boss Derek Lake. Just when Annie is about to give him a chance, her ex-husband unexpectedly comes out of hiding.

A wanted man, Nick Logan is a cold-hearted murderer who is considered enemy number one, and orders are clear: kill on contact. He is more powerful than ever and threatens the lives of those she holds most dear. His plan? Get his hands on Annie and use her Kinetic energy to destroy them all. When Annie finds herself with an opportunity to end him, she pauses, horrified by the scars covering the face she once loved. A split second that will cost her everything…

EXCERPT
I knew what I had to do. Orders were clear… KILL ON CONTACT.

The thing is, it was Nick.

Before I knew what I was doing, I'd released my hold. He got up and rubbed his mouth.

“What did I tell you about giving second chances?”

“You won’t hurt me,” I said.

“Honey, you are so wrong! I wouldn’t even blink an eye, no pun intended,” he smiled. “Next time you won’t be so lucky. If you ever get the chance again, take it.” He shoved me down and gave me a hard kick in the ass. He started to leave but turned instead, his smile still plastered across his scarred face. “If you can.”

I watched him leave and took a deep breath. I had to give this some thought. I wondered if there was any excuse I could come up with that the Organization would believe. I was going to be in so much trouble. And it was possible they would even strip my abilities away. Although my job could be mentally exhausting, I knew that, deep down, I couldn’t give up what made me, me. I was a badass, I liked using my extensive training to bring down the bad guys of the world, and what had I just done? I'd let the worst of them walk away. I came into this Organization to serve a purpose, and I had never regretted it. Until now.

Nick had taken advantage of all the knowledge he’d gained when he was part of the Org. He was guilty of kidnapping, attacking government buildings, killing a lot of people, and was considered enemy number one for all Luminaries. But while I had no respect left for him, I couldn’t hate him. Not like the rest of them did. This was the man with whom I had exchanged wedding vows, the man who was once my whole world, and he had to be taken down. But he still had enough power over me that I'd let him go. Stupid heart. I never wanted to be one of those girls again, the ones who live for love or die for it. No, love no longer had any place in my empty chest.

The problem was, I'd found my heart staring at me through one eye, and I'd lost my shit.

About The Author
S. K. Anthony is a writer, a reader and a make-stuff-up-er who lives in New York with her husband and toddler twins. She is a wine connoisseur, which just really means she knows she loves it, and a caffeine addict. When she isn’t busy with her family she finds herself being transported into the world of imagination. Well, either that or running away from spiders…she is convinced they are out to get her!
Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Blog Tour: Maybe I Will by Laurie Gray

September 20, 2013

Title: Maybe I Will
Author: Laurie Gray
Publication date: March 15, 2013
Publisher: Luminis Books
Genre: YA, Realistic Fiction
Rating:
Amazon | Goodreads
It's not about sex.

It's about how one secret act of violence changes everything--how best friends can desert you when you need them most, how nobody understands. It's about the drinking and stealing and lying and wondering who you can trust. It's about parents and teachers, police officers and counselors--all the people who are supposed to help you, but who may not even believe you.

It's about how suddenly all of your hopes and dreams can vanish, and you can find yourself all alone, with nothing and no one. Your only choice is to end it all or to start over... and all you can think is Maybe I Will.

Author Laurie Gray presents a compelling picture of the realities of sexual assault in Maybe I Will, drawing on her years of experience as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, dealing with crimes against children. The twist in the story is that we never know for sure if the victim is a boy or a girl, and we realize that it doesn't matter, because it's not about sex.
Dear Sandy,

It feels weird to be writing a letter to someone whose gender I do not know. But you know what? I'm going ahead anyways, because gender notwithstanding, I feel I somehow 'connected' to you on some level while I was reading your story. Does that sound bizarre? Well, maybe it is (it is, I know), but that did happen, so... yeah.

And in case you were wondering, Maybe I Will is truly ambiguous regarding your gender. Since I was inclined to think of you as a girl, I purposely adjusted my mind to look at you as a guy. And it still fit. Perfectly. Even the end, when you take into account the day and age we are living in.

Being a bookish person myself, I loved watching you use Shakespeare in your own life. Honestly, I've always been kind of intimidated by The Bard, and though I've read the works that are a requisite for anyone who can respectfully call themselves a lover of literature, I've never gotten what all the hype was about a few of his works. But after seeing them in your eyes, it painted a whole new picture for me.

Speaking of literature, dude (and although by dictionary speak, 'dude' is actually gender specific, I use it for everyone :D), your poetry is great! Not convoluted, it sounded like just another teenager trying to speak to another person, which just drove the message home that much harder.

I used the word 'connected' earlier. Did that sound presumptuous? (because it sounded that way to me) Let me explain myself. There is no way I can even begin to imagine everything that you have gone through, but there were parts of you that I could relate to, especially your poetry and your love for literature and drama. The following verses were my favourite among all your works in the book, because it's something I find myself experiencing increasingly often of late.

I have this feeling.
Somewhere in the universe there must be a word.
A word attached solely to this feeling alone.
A word that I could say, that you would hear,
Allowing us both to understand.

If such a word exists, it eludes me.

I’ve considered creating the word myself ...
but how would I explain its meaning to you?

Most books I've read on this subject take place after the act itself, so we dont get to see the immediate effects such violence has on a person. Readers will get a very raw image after reading your account of what happened, despite how rapidly it takes place, but I think that's probably necessary. For us to be able to deal with the consequences in a manner suiting the enormity of the violence, we have to be able to understand it, and I think accounts such as yours will open our eyes to the brutality that is felt.

Shanika sounds like a great friend. I'd love to hear more about her, if you're planning to write anything anytime. I certainly didn't expect Cassie or Troy (especially Troy) to behave they way they did, but I guess that's one great thing about difficult times. It puts friendships to the test and only the ones who emerge unscathed from it and your true friends.

The book reminded me a lot of Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak. But where Speak has an almost ethereal quality to it (which works wonders for Speak), Maybe I Will comes across as straightforward and grounded.

Maybe I Will ended in a positive note. I'm hoping that was a glimpse into your future, or rather, present, and you've healed now and come through as a stronger human being.

Keep strong.

And Kudos!

Fahima
INTERVIEW WITH LAURIE GRAY

Laurie gray, the author of Maybe I Will, dropped by by for a visit and offered to answer some questions. Yay! Find below my interview with her.

Q: I know you probably get asked this question a lot, but... Where did you get your inspiration for Maybe I Will from?
It started as two completely separate ideas that somehow merged into one. The first one was the poem “My Character”  in Chapter 13, which I actually wrote when I was in high school, but shared with my writers group back in 2006. As we talked about the poem, one of my writer friends said she thought there was enough there for a novel. I started reading The Complete Works of Shakespeare and thinking about character and how an unexpected trauma can affect our character.  At the same time I was working as a deputy prosecuting attorney assigned to juvenile sex offenses and our local drug court and I found myself asking whether I would handle a case differently if the defendant/victim’s gender were reversed. I started thinking about gender bias in our society and how we judge people differently and have different expectations for people based on their gender. Rather than writing about gender, it occurred to me to write in the first person without ever identifying the main character’s gender and just let people see for themselves if Sandy’s gender mattered to them.


Q: What made you take the unique approach towards Maybe I Will, in which the gender of the victim is not mentioned?
As I was developing the two ideas above, I started thinking about gender bias in our society and how we judge people differently and have different expectations for people based on their gender. Rather than writing about gender, it occurred to me to write in the first person without ever identifying the main character’s gender and just let people see for themselves if Sandy’s gender mattered to them. From the very beginning, I knew my main character was both male and female and played all scenes and dialogues through for both as I was writing.


Q: Tell us a bit about your writing routine.
I tend to wake up early and write before anyone else is up. But I tell my husband that I’m always working, even when it looks like I’m just reading, sleeping or doing nothing, I’m always thinking about my characters and developing new ideas. I carry a little spiral notebook with me everywhere so I can jot things down whenever I’m feeling suddenly inspired. I keep a journal for whatever novel I’m working on at the time, but most of my actual writing is done at my computer at home while everyone else is asleep or at work and school.


Q: From your bio, its apparent that you've worked in the field of child centric social work for a long time... Did any of the incidents you've come across influence the writing of this story? Or did any of them find they're way into the story?
My work as a prosecutor and teacher definitely played an important role in this story. From the Socratic questions posed by Mr. Conaway and the sexual assault itself to abusing alcohol as a numbing and coping mechanism. On the one hand the story is depressingly realistic, on the other I think it’s encouraging for teens to know that no matter what happens you can find a way through it.


Q: Today, there are a lot of support systems in place for victims of abuse. Do you think they are enough or is there room for improvement?
There are some excellent support groups for victims, but society as a whole still has a tendency to blame the victims and try to minimize the effects of sexual assault. We need support groups that also educate the general public and raise our awareness of what sexual assault is and how to deal with it.


Okay, now for the fun stuff!

Q: Favourite TV show and movie?
My favorite TV show would be the old M*A*S*H reruns and my favorite movie is “My Cousin Vinny.”


Q: Milk or dark chocolate?
Dark. No contest.


Q: Favourite author and book(s)?
My favorite book growing up was A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle. (You may recall that Sandy was a boy in that book). My current favorite young adult author is John Green. I’ve read and loved every one of his books and just wish he would learn to write and publish as fast as I can read. My all-time favorite author is probably Barbara Kingsolver. I listened to the her audiobooks “The Lacuna” and “Flight Behavior” and especially enjoyed the fact that they were read by her.


Q: Vampires or werewolves (of you are a part of that debate, that is)?
You won’t find me in any undead camp. I do like Greek Mythology, though, and that is an important part of my next book, Just Myrto, which Luminis Books has slated for release next spring.


Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me and connect me with your readers. It’s been a pleasure to join you at I Read, Ergo I Write!

PRIZES!
About the prizes:

Who doesn't love prizes? You could win either of two $25 Amazon gift cards, an autographed copy of Maybe I Will by Laurie Gray Aloha, Mozart by Waimea Williams, or an autographed copy of its tour mate, Aloha, Mozart by Waimea Williams. Here's what you need to do...
  1. Enter the Rafflecopter contest
  2. Leave a comment on my blog.
That's it! One random commenter during this tour will win a $25 gift card. Visit more blogs for more chances to win--the full list of participating bloggers can be found here. The other $25 gift card and the 3 autographed books will be given out via Rafflecopter. You can find the contest entry form linked below or on the official Luminis Duo tour page via Novel Publicity. Good luck!
Luminis Books was launched in January, 2010 by husband and wife team Tracy Richardson and Chris Katsaropoulos with a mission to publish thought-provoking literary fiction for children and adults. We publish what we love: Meaningful Books That Entertain. Our award-winning books engage and inform readers and explore a wide range of topics from love and relationships, teen sexual assault and homelessness to string theory, consciousness, and the Universal Energy Field. Luminis Books is a proudly independent publisher located in Carmel, IN. Learn more at www.luminisbooks.com.  

Learn more about Maybe I Will's tour mate HERE.

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

September 7, 2013

Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publication date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Genre: New Adult
Source: Publisher (via NetGalley)
Rating:
Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
Earlier this year, there was a flurry of excitement in the book world after the release of Rainbow Rowell's YA debut, Eleanor & Park. A few months later, the author has done it again with her second NA/YA novel, Fangirl, and this time around, the buzz started long before the official release of the book.

The past year has seen a tremendous increase in the number of books under the New Adult genre. For the most part, the only thing that removes them from Young Adult fiction is that they're more explicit - both in way of expletives and sexual content. Rainbow Rowell (and thank God for her!) gives us another perspective to the genre. Mature, but clean. I recently started a book, in whose preface the author essentially stated that a book without sex had 'nothing' in it. Well, Author Who Shall Not Be Named, I present you Rainbow Rowell. In a charmed union of inspired characters and marvelous writing, Rowell brings to us another book that we will not forget easily.