A HUNDRED HANDS by @diannenoble1 #Kolkata #India #Travel #TuesdayBookBlog

A Hundred HandsA Hundred Hands by Dianne Noble
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Hundred Hands is a contemporary novel set in Kolkata, India. When Polly’s husband in England is jailed as a paedophile, she can’t face the accusing looks from her local community and runs away to India. After visiting her school friend in Bhubaneswar, Polly travels to Kolkata, thinking that she will do some travelling, but she meets first Liam and then Finlay and her plans change.

Liam is a church aid worker and runs a small school for children, who come each day for free food and lessons. Finlay runs a school too, but he provides a place for the children to sleep too. Polly is drawn to help these children, by a sense of guilt over her husband. Splitting her time between the two schools, Polly teaches English six days a week.

Living conditions are terrible, fumes, poverty, filth, the street kids often feral and they fight for any hugs and attention. Constant smoke and toxic fumes give Polly a chest infection and after a fall out with Finlay she escapes to Amanda for rest and recuperation.

When her six month visa draws to an end Polly is reluctant to leave until a call from home about her Gran has her rushing to her aid, but back in England, Polly can’t settle. The local community now have a change of heart and help raise money and funds for clothes and books for the children back in India and soon Polly is heading back where she feels she belongs.

The author works really hard to fill the reader with the sights, sounds, smells and experiences of the chaos, poverty and ways of life in India. You can almost smell the noxious gases, see the scuttling cockroaches and feel the humidity and dust. A good book to get a real feel for Indian life.

Book Description

When Polly’s husband is jailed for paedophilia, she flees the village where her grandmother raised her and travels to India where she stays with her friend, Amanda.
Polly is appalled by the poverty, and what her husband had done, and her guilt drives her to help the street children of Kolkata. It’s while working she meets other volunteers, Liam and Finlay. Her days are divided between teaching the children and helping with their health needs. But when Liam’s successor refuses to let Polly continue working, she’s devastated to think the children will feel she’s abandoned them.
After a health scare of her own, she discovers her friend, Amanda, is pregnant. Amanda leaves India to have her child. At this time Polly and Finlay fall in love and work together helping the children. Tragedy strikes when one child is found beaten and another dead. Polly feels history repeating itself when Finlay becomes emotionally attached to a young girl.
Can Polly recover from her broken heart and continue to help the children, or will she give up and return home?

About the author

Dianne Noble

Born into a service family Dianne was brought up in Singapore, Cyprus and Yorkshire then went on to marry a Civil Engineer and moved to the Arabian Gulf. Since then, with sons grown and flown, she has continued to wander all over the world, keeping extensive journals of her personal experiences which she uses for her novels. Fifteen different schools and an employment history which includes The British Embassy Bahrain, radio presenter, café proprietor on Penzance seafront, and goods picker in an Argos warehouse, have resulted in rich seams to mine for inspiration.
She has always written, editing the school magazine at an early age, and over the years short stories and letters to magazines were published, but it was only on retirement that her novel Outcast was finished and accepted by Tirgearr. Another book, A Hundred Hands Outstretched, also based in India, is being edited and she is halfway through a third novel, set in Egypt. Her writing is atmospheric, steeped in the smells, sights and sounds of exotic locations. 
She lives – when not travelling – in a small, Leicestershire village. Her favourite destinations – so far – have been India and Russia, with Guatemala a close third.

Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

View all my reviews on Goodreads

 

OUTCAST by @dianneanoble1 #Bookreview #Contemporary #India @Tirgearr

OutcastOutcast by Dianne Noble
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Outcast is a modern contemporary read with two settings: Penzance, Cornwall and Kolkata, India. Rose begins as an overprotective, caring but chaotic café owner. The book opens with her frantic for news of her daughter, due home from a gap year in India, on a plane reported as missing.

However this isn’t where the story heads, Ellie, we discover wasn’t on the plane, she has stayed on to work with children of the Dalits (Untouchables) the lowest caste in India and those shunned by society.

Rose needs to see her daughter, to try to bridge the gap between them, to ask for forgiveness. So she hands over the running of her café to Hannah and rushes to India, with no planning, no injections and no thought as to what she may find. Some might call her brave, others silly, her one thought is to find Ellie.

But Ellie’s not particularly pleased to see her mother, she fears she’ll try to run her life for her again. If Rose wants to spend time with Ellie, then she’ll need to help. Ellie plunges Rose into the poverty, stench, crowds and extreme conditions that the Dalits exist by. Working alongside charities and volunteers who give their time, money and love to those ignored by the authorities.

Along side the story from India, the book gives us chapters from Penzance and the café. Just as the Dalits are the outcasts of society in India, we are shown of outcasts here too. Hannah’s mother Willow is a druggie and homeless, she comes to stay with Hannah, bringing with her trouble. Hannah tries hard to keep the café running to Rose’s standards and keep the customers happy.

Rose is both appalled and consumed by the treatment of different groups in India and how accepting they are of their situation. Another volunteer, Maria sums it up;

“Karma. Endure without complaint and your next life will be better”.

The writing style is very atmospheric, you definitely see, hear, smell, taste as Rose does. The pacing is fast due to an unusual use of extremely short sentences. A technique which left me constantly thinking I needed to catch up and the style is quite exhausting at times. Rose had my admiration, not everyone could be so giving to people in these situations nor expose themselves to the conditions she had to work and live in. An inspiring read.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

View all my reviews on Goodreads

DO NOT WASH HANDS IN PLATES by @BarbTaub #Travel #India #Memoir #Bookreview

Do Not Wash Hands In Plates: Elephant frenzy, parathas, temples, palaces, monkeys...and the kindness of Indian strangersDo Not Wash Hands In Plates: Elephant frenzy, parathas, temples, palaces, monkeys…and the kindness of Indian strangers by Barb Taub
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Do Not Wash Hands In Plates is a fun travel memoir. Three women who have been friends for 35 years, since they roomed together at University decided on a re-union in India. Their aim was to eat their way across the country and slip in a temple viewing or two, plus see some of the vibrant colours and culture this continent has to offer.

Luckily one of them is a “local gal” Jaya lives in India, but Barb and Janine were the ultimate western travellers. With Jaya’s language knowledge, planning, family members spread across India and her negotiating skills, Barb and Janine were treated to some brilliant hospitality and experiences.

I laughed at the image caused by the over-night train to Delhi, where late booking meant top bunks for the friends. Jaya’s constant optimism that “People are Kind in India” was wonderful and opened many doors for the travellers.

They weren’t the only tourists on their trip and they were hampered a little when places were closed down for cleaning and redecoration due to the impending visit of President Obama, but it didn’t stop them for long.

I really enjoyed the tea museum, elephant trip and the textile museum chapters. Plus who couldn’t be excited by all the delightful food they sampled. The book is interspersed with lovely pictures from the trip for the reader to immerse themselves in the people and nation that is India.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Author Interview Rishika Sitlani

Today our guest is Rishika Sitlani author of yesterday’s book “One Chance”, here is a link to the post if you missed it. http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-53V

Rishika S

Let’s find out more about Rishika and her writing.

  1. Where is your home town?

My home town is Pune, in India. I have travelled to Europe and Africa, and have even lived there for some years, but Pune has been my home for most of my years – and will probably continue to be so.

  1. How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing for about eleven years. The first thing I ever wrote was a story that had popped into my head. I would write every night for half an hour – it felt like a creative release. It was just something I would do to give myself satisfaction. I took up writing full time only two and a half years ago. I wrote content and even short stories for others. But towards the end of last year, I decided that I wanted to get into writing full time for myself. That’s how I made the final transition from writer to author.

  1. What is your favourite genre of writing and why?

To be honest – I like writing in multiple genres. When I started writing, I loved writing mystery, thrillers, and romantic suspense. Along the way, I developed an interest in writing contemporary romance too. I’ve also worked on historical fiction and have loved it! For me, the story matters, not the genre. If an idea comes to me in which I believe wholeheartedly, I will write the story. My style may vary slightly to allow for the change in the genre, but I write what feels right and I will still enjoy writing every word.

  1. What was the idea which began your story of “One Chance”?

Without giving away too much, I’d have to say that it was the way the story ends. An image of the end hit me one day and the rest of the story just built itself around that vision.

  1. Can you tell the readers a little about Ava and Ethan Russell and their backgrounds?

Ava and Ethan are bound together through a past that Ava assumes to have left behind. She married Ethan within months of meeting him and they are very much in love. But when she learns the truth about who her husband really is, her trust is completely shattered. She’s left trying to make sense of the lie that had once been everything in which she’d believed.

Ethan too wants to let go of his past, even though he is the reason it comes to haunt them. The only problem is that their past won’t leave them; which leaves Ethan struggling to build a future from the ashes of a past that have burned them both. One Chance looks at Ava’s ability to forgive and Ethan’s ability to love, while the past that connects their families continues to test their abilities.

  1. What is this past that their two families have faced?

As was common in many regions at the time, the families were pitted against each other for land that they refused to share. The greed for the land led to a gruesome and tragic past, one that is tainted with anger, greed, and ego; and one that destroys both families completely through death, hatred, and darkness.

  1. What do you think are Ava and Ethan’s strengths?

Ava’s strength lies in her ability to pick herself up. From the difficult decisions she made as a teenager, to the point when she has to face Ethan’s betrayal, she never shies away from what is required of her. She hurts, yes, but she pushes forward to see the real picture, however painful that might be. She makes an attempt to understand everything in its entirety and that makes her the well-rounded, strong woman that she is.

Ethan’s strength lies in his ability to look beyond himself and be loyal to that in which he believes. That is what gives him his integrity. It isn’t just about his personal gain or loss – he’ll stick by you even if it’s not in his best interest, as long as having him by your side is in your best interest.

Do you think there needs to be more forgiveness in the world today?

In the end, we’re all human beings. People will make mistakes and they will hurt. And as long as this happens, there will be a need for forgiveness; because it is only through forgiveness that we can move forward with our own lives.

   9.  Are you working on another book?

I recently completed and published my second short story in the Kindle store – A Bond Unbroken. After that, I began work on a much larger project – a historical fiction novel. This historical fiction is based in ancient India and follows a fictional story line woven into real events. It talks about political conspiracies, it depicts love and faith, and it shows the best and worst of human desire and belief. While I can’t say when this will be completed, I am looking to publish it by the end of this year or the beginning of the next, at the very latest.

   10. Where can readers find out more about you?

I have a Facebook page where I post updates about my work and discussions. Anyone can follow this page at http://on.fb.me/R4HfLU

I also have a Goodreads author page which can be followed at http://bit.ly/1ga5Hkp

My Amazon author page is available at http://amzn.to/1oOt1h5

You can participate in the various discussions on my Google+ profile at http://bit.ly/1huJ6V2

You can also follow me on Twitter @RishikaSitlani and my personal blog where I post book reviews, discussions, and tips at http://bit.ly/174LsiN

One Chance

 

 

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

 

 

 

Thank you Rishika and Good Luck with your writing.

 

 

Legacy of Darkness by Jane Godman

Legacy of DarknessLegacy of Darkness by Jane Godman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Legacy of Darkness is a Gothic romance from the Harlequin range. It is full of dark secrets, dramatic scenes and has a stunning setting on the rugged Cornish coast. A young Queen Victoria has just taken the throne of England. Uther Jago and his sister Demelza live with their nephew Earl Tynan. They oversee the running of Castle Athal or Tenebris as it is known in the family until Tynan comes of age.

Lucy Alleyne has recently lost her father and has returned to England from India where her father worked for The East India Company. Having used all her money to bring her father’s ashes home, Lucy has found a job as a ladies companion. She is quite shocked and surprised when Demelza rescues her and claims kinship, whisking her away to Cornwall to the family home.

Tenebris holds dark secrets and has been home to centuries of family members who lived with their own dark pasts. Now it hides one last member of the family who lives his own horror. But who should Lucy be most afraid of? Strong, sexy, sensual Uther whose eyes make her want to melt into them. Or Tynan who must be kept at a distance for her safety? And what are the haunting screams and noises which make Lucy lock her bedroom door each night?

This book delivers forbidden fruits from the Gothic period with twists and turns, set in a delightful and favourite part of England.

Legacy of Darkness is currently available as part of The Shivers Line Box set from HarlequinE, released in January and available until the end of March.

Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

shivers

From April Legacy of Darkness will be available to purchase as a single title, and the box set will be disbanded.

The Sequel Echoes of Darkness will feature in the second Shivers box set available from April 2014.

View all my reviews on Goodreads.

Jane will be our guest author on the blog tomorrow, come back and read more about her and her writing.

Romancing September author Swarupa N Ovalekar (Day 11)

It’s Day 11 Of our Romancing September Across the World tour and our guest today is Swarupa N. Ovalekar. We’ll meet here her and then you can catch up with her again over with Stephanie when they talk about writing romance in today’s society.

Swarupa

Let’s find out more about Swarupa and her book “The Blue-Eyed Prince of Natlife”

1) Where is your home town?

I’m from Mumbai (Bombay), India.

 2) When did you start writing? How many romance stories have you written? 

I have always loved writing. But I started writing books in 2008 after my return from Mexico where I had spent nearly nine months, some of them travelling solo across the country. I dedicated a year and a half to my labour of love “MEXICO: A grand voyage through the fascinating land with ancient links to India” and completed it in June 2010. Then in 2012, I converted this epic book into three e-books titled ‘Discovering Mexico’, ‘Mexico: The Country, Its History & The Maya World’, and ‘A Guide To Mexican Cuisine’ and posted the similarities between India and Mexico on my blog “Swarupa’s World” at https://thegr8wall.wordpress.com

In 2011, I started writing my first-ever romance fiction novel ‘The Blue-Eyed Prince Of Natlife’ which I completed within three months. It’s the only romance story I have written till now.

3) In your book, Sara jumps at the chance to work in India, why? 

The female protagonist in my novel, Sara, is an ardent admirer of India. The opportunity to work in Mumbai as an international trainee at the corporate office of one of India’s top multinational companies, Natlife, is like a godsend to her. She’s still recovering from a major setback that she had suffered a few months ago, losing her job as well as her fiancé in a span of two days. She’s eager to get over her troubled past and begin a new life in the faraway country which is so close to her heart.

4) “The Blue-Eyed Prince” deals with a company called NatLife, can you explain what this company sells?

Natlife is one of India’s largest conglomerates with an annual turnover of over US$ 8 billion. Based in Mumbai, it manufactures and distributes nutritional supplements, herbal remedies, and beauty and personal care products. Its direct-selling business operations are widespread across the country and in eighteen other countries including Asia, Europe and North America. Dev Maurya is the charismatic founder chairman of Natlife.

5) Does Sid have any royal background or just princely qualities?

The male protagonist in my novel, Sid, doesn’t come from a royal background. He is the protégé of Natlife’s chairman, Dev Maurya. Although he has beautiful blue eyes, the book is so titled because he’s a favourite or the “blue-eyed prince” in the company.

6) Were there any influences that affected your timing of the intimate scenes for the couple?

I followed the Mills & Boon style of including close intimacy between the couple as the story progresses and hot intense lovemaking towards the end.

7) Did your vast knowledge of Mexico help you to choose the country of origin for Sara?

Right, since I had lived in Mexico, it was very easy for me to develop Sara’s character, portray her Mexican mannerisms and the interactions between with her family. Besides, I was very keen on writing an Indian-Mexican romance story.

8) The country of India has many romantic qualities, would you consider writing another romance with India as it’s base?

Sure. Since I’m an Indian and I know my country and the people well, it’s quite convenient to write about something which is based in India. But still, it all depends upon the story that I have in mind. If it needs to be based in another country, then so be it.

9) On a couple of occasions, characters travel to the Maldives, have you ever been there? If so, what do you love about the islands?

No, I haven’t been to the Maldives. I’d love to…and I can go there anytime I want but it’s such a lovely place that I’d go there only with a “special someone”. I’ve seen and read a lot about the beautiful islands and I guess there’s a lot of romance about the place.

10) What are you currently working on? Will there be a sequel to this book? 

At the moment, I’m not working on any book. As for a sequel to “The Blue-Eyed Prince of Natlife”, I’m not sure of it because the book is more like a Mills & Boon story with a happy ending.

The Blue-Eyed Prince Of NatlifeYou can get a copy of this book here https://thegr8wall.wordpress.com/the-blue-eyed-prince-of-natlife

Thank you Swarupa for being our guest today. If you are interested in any of Swarupa’s books about Mexico they can all be found at her web site https://thegr8wall.wordpress.com

Guest Author Swarupa N. Ovalekar

Please welcome my guest author today, I love reading her blog posts they make me feel like I’m on holiday.

Swarupa

1) Hi Swarupa can you tell us where your home town is?

Hi, I live in Mumbai (or Bombay), India.

2) You’ve written 3 books about Mexico, covering the country, its history and its cuisine, how long did they take to write?

Well, writing the 3 books (“Discovering Mexico”, “Mexico: The Country, Its History & The Maya World”, and “A Guide To Mexican Cuisine”) involved intense research and working endless hours at the computer. It took me over a year and a half to complete this epic labour of love.

3) Your blog posts provide the reader with some wonderful glimpses into the people of Mexico and you have some beautiful pictures, do you take them yourself?

Yes, all the photos on my blog https://thegr8wall.wordpress.com whether on Mexico or otherwise belong to me. I just love clicking photos wherever I go.  It’s one of my favourite hobbies!

4) Is there a favourite part to Mexico for you, for instance the culture, the people or the Mayan history?

I love everything about Mexico! Be it the people, places, culture, cuisine, history, ancient civilizations (and especially the Maya), etc.

5) Do you think the people of Mexico keep their traditions alive? Or are they embracing modern technology and leaving the past behind?

Mexicans like to socialize and place a high value on family and traditional values. I believe that they have struck the right balance between old and the new. While embracing modern technology, they have also retained ancient customs and traditions like the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and the Posadas (‘Inns’).

6) Can you recommend 5 places that a tourist could go to see some of your favourite parts of Mexico?

It’s extremely difficult for me to choose just 5 places because every part of the country has its own unique charm. I have many favourite places but amongst them I would recommend a visit to Mexico City, Guadalajara, Riviera Maya, Merida and San Cristobal de Las Casas.

7) Where can people buy your books? Are they only available as e-books?

My books are available for sale as e-books in PDF format at my blog: https://thegr8wall.wordpress.com and my Facebook Page: https://facebook.com/TheEpicBookMEXICO

It takes just a few minutes to buy them. Select the e-books, pay through PayPal using your credit card, check your email inbox for the links to download the e-books and then download them. A safe, simple and quick medium to buy and read my e-books 🙂

8) Recently you have been posting about India on your blog, how long did you travel around India or have you been on several trips?

You’re right. It’s been a year and a little more than a month since I started my blog. Most of my 80+ posts are about Mexico but I have also written about India and my recent travels within the country. I have travelled almost all over India from the northernmost tip of the country in Ladakh to the southernmost tip in Kanyakumari, to the North East and briefly through the West.

I intend to blog about my trips to “heavenly” Ladakh and the North East which happened just after I had completed my books on Mexico. I‘ve got plenty of lovely photographs of these amazing places to share with my readers.

9) Were there any similarities or differences between Mexico and India that surprised you?

Yes, there are many similarities between Mexico and India in culture, customs and cuisine. The similarities did surprise me a lot considering the fact that the two countries are located at the opposite ends of the world. I have written about the similarities in my blog. Here are the links:

https://thegr8wall.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/similarities-between-the-hindu-the-maya-culture

https://thegr8wall.wordpress.com/2013/03/23/cultural-similarities-between-the-ancient-hindu-indigenous-civilizations-of-the-americas

https://thegr8wall.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/the-sacred-books-of-the-hindu-the-maya

https://thegr8wall.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/similarities-in-ancient-hindu-and-latin-american-architecture

https://thegr8wall.wordpress.com/2013/03/06/the-legend-of-atlantis

https://thegr8wall.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/ancient-indian-navigators

https://thegr8wall.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/the-lost-city-of-the-monkey-god

https://thegr8wall.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/the-hindu-maya-philosophy-of-time

https://thegr8wall.wordpress.com/2012/08/03/similarities-between-mexican-and-indian-cuisine-part1

https://thegr8wall.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/similarities-between-mexican-and-indian-cuisine-part-ii

https://thegr8wall.wordpress.com/2012/08/10/similarities-between-mexican-and-indian-cuisine-part-iii

10) Do you plan to put your Indian experiences into a book?

Not at the moment. Maybe someday in the future I’d write a book “Adventures of Swarupa” covering my Indian experiences 🙂

11) I see you’ve also written a romance “The Blue-Eyed Prince of Natlife”, can you tell us where it is set and what inspired you to write it?

After my 3 books on Mexico, I was eager to write a romance fiction, a popular genre. So I started with “The Blue-Eyed Prince of Natlife”. It’s about a girl from Mexico City who comes to Mumbai to work for an Indian company and falls in love with her boss. Here’s my book trailer which will give you the storyline: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2zL_DZfy_E

And here’s my blog page where you can read the synopsis and the first 5 chapters of the book:

https://thegr8wall.wordpress.com/the-blue-eyed-prince-of-natlife

It’s again an e-book in PDF format available for sale at my blog.

Discovering Mexico

Discovering Mexico:

https://thegr8wall.wordpress.com/about-discovering-mexico

https://facebook.com/TheEpicBookMEXICO

Mexico - The Country, Its History & the Maya World

Mexico: The Country, Its History & The Maya World: https://thegr8wall.wordpress.com/mexico-the-country-its-history-the-maya-world/

https://facebook.com/TheEpicBookMEXICO

A Guide To Mexican Cuisine

A Guide To Mexican Cuisine:

https://thegr8wall.wordpress.com/a-guide-to-mexican-cuisine

https://facebook.com/TheEpicBookMEXICO

The Blue-Eyed Prince Of Natlife

The Blue-Eyed Prince of Natlife:

https://thegr8wall.wordpress.com/the-blue-eyed-prince-of-natlife

Thank you Swarupa, do go over and visit her blog the experience is truly delightful. https://thegr8wall.wordpress.com Even better news, Swarupa is offering free e-copies of “A Guide to Mexican Cuisine” until 11th September, follow her on Twitter, Facebook and send her an e-mail request to mexicobooks@gmail.com

White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

The White TigerThe White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A huge insight into real life India, which is shocking and horrific to the western reader. It shows a nation so different in thinking and behaviour to mine, however there are many other countries around the world where life of the people, especially the poor is very hard. It’s not nice to read about the suffering, we need our eyes opened to issues like those raised in this book. This was the Man Booker prize winner in 2008.

View all my reviews