Monday, 15 December 2014

Inspire by Cora Carmack

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Inspire Teaser 3About INSPIRE: Kalliope lives with one purpose. To inspire. As an immortal muse, she doesn’t have any other choice. It’s part of how she was made. Musicians, artists, actors—they use her to advance their art, and she uses them to survive. She moves from one artist to the next, never staying long enough to get attached. But all she wants is a different life— a normal one. She’s spent thousands of years living lie after lie, and now she’s ready for something real. Sweet, sexy, and steady, Wilder Bell feels more real than anything else in her long existence. And most importantly… he’s not an artist. He doesn’t want her for her ability. But she can’t turn off the way she influences people, not even to save a man she might love. Because in small doses, she can help make something beautiful, but her ability has just as much capacity to destroy as it does to create. The longer she stays, the more obsessed Wilder will become. It’s happened before, and it never turns out well for the mortal. Her presence may inspire genius. But it breeds madness, too.   Excerpt: I can feel Wilder’s breath against my lips. More than that, I can see it. The sun has set and the temperature has dropped, and air fogs between us. There’s something about actually seeing it, like our lips are touching, we are touching, despite the distance between. And as we sway from side to side, my heart gradually begins to pick up speed. The strains of guitar music flowing out from the restaurant are nearly indecipherable over the heavy heartbeat in my ears. But Wilder must hear it. His hands are strong on my body, guiding my movements, and I’m practically clay in his palms. We dance, eyes on eyes, lips nearly on lips, and there is lightning beneath my skin each time his body brushes against mine in a new way. His touch is firm, but gentle, never pushing or pressuring, though I can tell from the dark look in his eyes that he’s just as affected as I am. The music shifts, building to a crescendo, and he spins us. My chest pushes tight against his, and I bite back a gasp. I don’t know if it’s the cold or him or some combination of both, but the tips of my breasts are painfully tight. Just the pressure of my bra is enough to rub them raw. I remember the night at his apartment, the way he’d taken his time learning my body. I think of the heat of his mouth on my skin, and the memory alone is enough to make me shiver and clench. He’s back to being business, grown-up Wilder tonight in his button down and glasses. Only now that I know him, it doesn’t seem like such a stark difference. He is neither the straight-laced man nor the tattooed bad boy. Or perhaps he’s both. Regardless of what he’s wearing, Wilder is caring and loyal and strong and so sexy that I’m having trouble remembering why I shouldn’t push him into the backseat of his SUV and crawl on top of him.

   HeadshotAbout Cora Carmack: Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She's done a multitude of things in her life-- boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.      

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Losing Touch by Sandra Hunter

After Indian Independence Arjun brings his family to London, but hopes of a better life rapidly dissipate. His wife Sunila spends all day longing for a nice tea service, his son suddenly hates anything Indian, and his daughter, well, that’s a whole other problem. As he struggles to enforce the values he grew up with, his family eagerly embraces the new. But when Arjun’s right leg suddenly fails him, his sense of imbalance is more than external. Diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, he is forced to question his youthful impatience and careless cruelty to his family, until he learns, ultimately, to love them despite — or because of — their flaws. In a series of tender and touching glimpses into the shared life of a married couple, Sandra Hunter creates strikingly sympathetic characters — ones that remind us of our own shortfalls, successes, hypocrisies, and humanity.

Excerpt When the body no longer operates, the self disappears. He feels this diminishing, a gradual receding of who he is, what he likes how he dresses, where he goes. And he can go nowhere. A short trip to the back window and he is tired enough to have to rest for a while on the sofa before he makes the trip back to the safety of his amchair. He longs to walk with his grandson by the seashore and go searching for treasure. Let’s dig for gold, Sami. And he would slyly drop in a few polished pennies so that Sami shouts with delight.


Sandra Hunter’s fiction has been published in a number of literary magazines and received awards including the 2014 H.E. Francis Fiction Award, 2012 Cobalt Fiction Prize, 2011 Arthur Edelstein Short Fiction Prize and three Pushcart Prize nominations. Her debut novel, Losing Touch, was released in July (OneWorld Publications). She lives in Simi Valley, CA, with her husband and daughter, and is always on the look out for the perfect gluten-free cupcake.

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Twitter: @sandrajhunter

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Book Review -- Losing Touch by Sandra Hunter

Losing TouchLosing Touch by Sandra Hunter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was provided with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Losing Touch by Sandra Hunter is a strongly emotional tale centered around the post-Independence cultural shuffling and the emigration frenzy of India and Indians, told through the lives of the Kulkani family. When the Kulkani family loses one of the brothers in a terminal degenerative spinular muscular dystrophy, Arjun Kulkani leaves India for England in the second half of the 20th century, his mind full of anticipatory fascination for what he believes to be an ideal life - a life amidst the green pastures and solemn castles of England. The seemingly dull and grey life in London gives him a jolt and he finds the monotony repulsive. To add to his internal crisis, he finds that he is losing touch - literally and figuratively. He begins to experience the initial signs of the deadly disease that shook his family by taking his brother away. Having conformed to what he believes is the stereotyped image of an Indian family man, trying to discipline his wife and children through more harsher means than just words, he finds them turning more and more indiffierent and aloof after having set foot in England. As he faces as existential crisis and tries to reach out to his wife and children for an emotional connect, he finds them cold. As the disease progresses, his wife tends to him dutifully, nevertheless stays emotionally distant from him, having lost faith in any form of mental togetherness, thanks to her husband's cruel ways back in their homeland. There are things that happen, as they happen to any family over generations - affairs, infatuations, heart breaks, marriages, break-ups, a grand child.

This isn't a conclusive book - not something where someone can expect the book to have a beginning and an end... It's more of a glance through a scope lens at the lives of a household, across years. And I absolutely loved the book for the very reason! While Hunter shows us that life revolves around a lot of greys, that while one takes things for granted, they also repent about it later, I applaud the fact that Hunter hasn't really justified any of Arjun's flaws. His misplaced attraction for a sister-in-law, the detachment from his family, his bewilderment at the conflict between the England he imagined and what he sees, are all handled very well, not condoning him for the wrong things. Sunila's character, although not the centre point, is very powerful and plays the perfect foil for Arjun's emotional turbulence.

Hunter's writing is enticing, almost like walking through a painting. The narrative is breathtaking and poetic. The final scene talking of Arjun relating with his grand-child is completely heart-wrenching. This is a brilliant piece of an emotional drama and I highly recommend it to everyone!

My rating for this book: 5 stars

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An Impossible Dilemma by Netta Newbound

Title: An Impossible Dilemma
Author: Netta Newbound
Genre: Thriller
Local vets Victoria and Jonathan Lyons seem to have everything—a perfect marriage, a beautiful five-year-old daughter, Emily, and a successful business. Until they discover Emily has a rare and fatal illness.
Early trials show that a temporary fix would be to transplant a hormone from a living donor. However in the trials; the donors had died within twenty four hours. They have no choice but to accept their daughter is going to die.
When Jonathan is suddenly killed in a farming accident, Victoria turns to her sick father-in-law, Frank, for help.  A series of events present Victoria and Frank with a situation that, although illegal, could help save Emily.
Will they take it?

Author Bio

Netta Newbound, originally from Manchester, England, now lives in New Zealand with her husband Paul and their boxer dog Alfie. She has three grown-up children and two delicious grandchildren.


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Book Review -- An Impossible Dilemma by Netta Newbound

An Impossible DilemmaAn Impossible Dilemma by Netta Newbound
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was provided with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Whoa! That's how I felt after I finished reading "An Impossible Dilema" - the powerful novel from Newbound that brings forth a multitude of emotions within the reader. The story goes around Victoria and Jonathan Lyons, a vet couple settled in a seemingly successful marriage and life. Disaster strikes when they learn that their much-adored 5-yr-old is down with a terminal illness. The legal route of medicine and donor transplant fail them. To add to her woes, Jonathan's untimely and cruel death leaves Victoria all alone, picking up the broken pieces of what was once a happy family. With only an ailing father-in-law to her aid, Victoria decides to take law and the science into her own hands. Does she succeed at saving her daughter, or does she succumb to the evils of life, is what the book takes us through.

At the outset, I need to warn that the book is way too strong for a casual read. If you're someone who abhors reading about rape and sexual violence, or if reading about medical and scientific details of death and the body can make you squirm, I suggest you stay away from this book. That said, the author's brilliance in handling a very complicated plot is commendable. Although there are many interwoven layers of emotional stress, family drama, scientific battles and legal righteousness, the plot doesn't steer away from the central line - where does a mother stop when it's a question of saving her child? Nowhere! With the numerous suspense twists and turns, there is not much scope left in the plot to present a detailed sketch of the characterisation of Victoria, but whatever little scope there was, the author has made use of it well.

With a nail-biting storyline, the book is an excellent emotional thriller! Newbound shows a lot of promise in her debut novel and I'm looking forward to reading a lot more of her work.

I highly recommend this book to strong-hearted thriller lovers.

My rating for this book: 4 stars

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