Tag Archives: Life

#BookReview – The Callaways : Melody of Love by Terri Deno

The blurb reads,

“Austin Eckhart has spent his life dancing. When he is hired as a dance instructor by Jessica at Sean Callaway’s Ashbury Studios, he is ready to get to work, even though his mind is focused on only one thing: helping out his brother.

Melanie Dover is on the brink of a major pop star career as her alter ego, Melody. Although it isn’t the type of music she loves most, she’s willing to do anything to be in the music industry. With her ambitious father by her side, she’s ready to take on the world—if she could only learn the dance steps to her songs.

When Austin and Mel meet, the sparks that fly are not left to fizzle on the dance floor. But with each of them running towards goals they are not sure of, can their path to love ever align?”

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This was a very quick read. I picked this up when I was looking for something to read over lunch and this one was perfect. It is a short and sweet read.

I loved Mel as a character. She was probably like every other woman here today. Wanting to chase after her dreams and yet not being able to because of circumstances.

I feel we are generally so restricted in our lives. We sacrifice our dreams and somehow come up with justifications for why our dreams should be sacrificed. It shouldn’t be that way for all of us. And that is the core takeaway. That our dreams should take precedent. And that life will sort itself out somehow.

Also, I loved how sweet Austin and Mel’s romance was. Love is unpredictable and it really does not take long to fall in love, especially if it is with the right person. I am one of those people who believe that couples end up together for a reason and everyone has someone who is meant for them. The way Austin and Mel found each other was very sweet.

That being said, the novel for me was too brief. It was too short. I wanted more character development. The dark side that Austin was trying to protect was not too dark and I wanted that to be more developed. I also wanted some more about their romance, and how they discovered each other. Also some more about Mel wanting to break away and follow her dreams.

I liked the attempt at making a fan fiction novel. But then the thing is, I suppose I expected something more about the Callaways to fill into the book. I thought the story should have been a lot longer. I don’t know whether there is a restriction on the word count. But I felt a longer word count would have helped me to feel for the characters a bit more.
I suppose I loved the characters and that’s why I feel a little short changed for getting a shorter novella when I wanted a longer one.

This book made me read into Kindle Worlds and want to write something based on that. I know I write reasonably well and this would be a great challenge for me. I think the Kindle Worlds program is a wonderful program for authors who want to write and push the envelope.

 

My Rating: 2.5/5

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#SuperThriller : Falling for a Stranger (Callaways #3) – Barbara Freethy

The blurb reads,

From #1 NY Times Bestselling Author Barbara Freethy comes the third book in the popular Callaway Series, an emotional and suspenseful novel of love, family and dangerous secrets. 
Ria is as sexy and sultry as a warm tropical night and as beautifully dangerous as the island drinks she serves at the beachside bar on Isla de los Suenos — The Island of Dreams. But Ria is not as carefree as she appears, and the pretense is wearing her down. One night she risks everything to escape from reality.

Drew Callaway is a former Navy pilot and rescue operative looking for his own escape from a life that has seen too much tragedy. Meeting Ria is like embracing the sun, and their single night together is life-changing. But the dream quickly fades when Ria is killed in a tragic accident at sea.

Months later, thousands of miles away from where they first met, Drew sees a woman who looks just like Ria. She claims her name is Tory, and that they’ve never met before, but he can see that she’s in trouble, and he can’t walk away. He’s going to save her whether she wants it or not.

Drew isn’t afraid of a little danger, but can he risk losing his heart to a beautiful stranger?

** FALLING FOR A STRANGER is the third book in the connected family series, The Callaways.

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So this was the third book in the Callaways I was reading. It was interesting to read story upon story and wonder how it must be to have so many siblings.

I’ve never before read an NYT #1 author and this chance I got from Novel Publicity, I completely sapped it up and opted to review all the 8 novels. Albeit during the blog tour,  I ended up reviewing only 2, I have read 6 at the moment and I am on the way to finishing the 7th and the 8th! Phew!!

What I really like about Barbara Freethy’s books is that she involves you in the story completely. You feel a part of the characters lives and you just can’t stop reading. Also, I’m beginning to soften up towards Romantic Suspense and I think that is great for me because I love Suspense as a genre.

So this book picked up on Drew Callaway’s life. He digressed from the usual Callaway line and worked with the Coast Guard. This itself set the book apart because the Callaways are a firefighter family.

So Sean meets this woman, who changes his life in one night. The next day, she is killed in a boat accident. Sean is devastated.

But all is not as it appears. Ria, the woman who stole Drew’s heart, is hiding in San Francisco, from her sister’s druggie brother-in-law. She is harbouring her niece, who she wants to protect from a degenerate life.

What happens when Drew finds Ria in the crowd. Will he stop to finding the one woman who stole his heart? Will Ria’s past catch up with her? What will happen to this love story?

As most of the men in books, Drew is brooding, quiet and keeps to himself. I feel, this isn’t a very good quality for men to have. I mean, I feel men should be allowed the power to express what they feel.

Any way, my feelings about Drew changed as I read through the book. I saw how he changed because of his interactions with Ria and how he wanted to be more cheerful when he was with her. And that was the true power of love. Changing you for the better.

I could feel Ria’s predicament about how she felt so much more grown up than she was because of the difficulties she was facing. I also felt bad for Megan, Ria’s niece. She just wanted to discover a new life for herself and the life she had in San Francisco was so much better than she had. Her naivete endeared me to her.

I felt, mystery wise, this book did not have that great a mystery. It wasn’t that thrilling and page turning. Drew and Ria’s increasing chemistry made me flip through page after page to find out what happened next.

This was a good book and I really jumped straight into the next book right away.

My Rating: 3.5/5

 

#Stellar Beginning – On A Night Like This (Callaways #1) by Barbara Freethy

The blurb reads,

From #1 NY times Bestselling Author, Barbara Freethy, comes a romantic new contemporary series about the Callaways, a big, blended Irish family born to serve and protect.

The second oldest of the Callaway clan, Aiden Callaway veered from the family tradition of urban firefighting and became a smokejumper, never questioning his choice until the job took the life of his friend, Kyle, and left Aiden with injuries and fractured memories. Everyone blames Aiden for what happened, but he doesn’t remember, nor is he sure he wants to remember.

The truth may clear Aiden of blame but destroy Kyle’s reputation and hurt the people he left behind. 
 
 Aiden seeks help from an unlikely partner… 
 
 Sara had always been untouchable, sweet, innocent, his sister’s best friend, and the girl next door. But one reckless night in their youth took their relationship to a new level.

Sara has never forgiven or forgotten the way Aiden brought it crashing down, but she’s no longer that girl with the crazy crush. She’s a woman in search of her own truth. The sparks between Aiden and Sara have been smoldering for a very long time. Sara is afraid to take another chance on a man who broke her heart, and Aiden knows better than anyone how dangerous an intense fire can be.

Check the book out on Barbara’s Website

Check the book out on Amazon

All Callaway Book CoversAs teenagers they weren’t ready for each other. Are they now?

Callaway Print Covers

Check the Book out on Amazon

Right, so I’ve always wanted to read these series romances which talk about one family member at a time. I’ve not had the gift card balance on Amazon or a credit card to make those sort of purchases. And in a way, I’ve felt these books were too expensive for a common reader like me who barely makes money working online.

So when my favorite blog tour company, Novel Publicity, came out with a tour where I could read all the 8 books from a series, I jumped. I quite literally jumped. And I signed up for it.

I didn’t know I would be in for a huge huge ride. I am reading Book 6 as I type this review out and I cannot wait to discover what these others have in store for me.

I’ve always loved Romance and Suspense and I’ve always believed that their combination is potent. There are those books which are predominantly suspense which have a smattering of romance or erotica in them but this series isn’t like that. I can tell you that after having read 5 books with a different mystery and a different suspense being built up concurrently with a romance.

There’s an almost surreal quality to Romance novels in today’s age and time. We work so hard in our daily life and by some stroke, we live extremely stressful lives. Romance as a genre has such an important role in making people wear slightly tinted glasses, even for those 150 odd pages so that they can live a life where there is a HEA (Happily Ever After) involved.

The book starts off with Sara. She’s lived a life as a by-product of her father’s harsh judgement and cynicism. She’s lived her whole life being saddened by this rejection and feeling that her father somehow abdicated his responsibilities but not having enough courage to speak up.

And that strikes so close to home in so many cases. Expectations of doing well are so rife these days that a slight error of judgement can make parents lose their cool. Parenting in these times is hard.

Aiden is the second Callaway who has a slight history with Sara. He rejected her advances as a teenager adding to Sara’s guilt and rejection, damaging her further psychologically.

Sara comes to San Francisco to mend fences with her father and gets caught up in a fire. Aiden is home to get over the guilt of not saving his best friend. He needs answers.

A fire in Aiden’s neighboring house brings these two together. They embark on a journey to find out what secrets Sara’s father had fostered all these years and to find out what really happened in that smokejumping accident which caused Aiden’s best friend, Kyle’s death.

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My thoughts about this novel were that it seemed too conventional, the set up. Two people who came together and then slowly fell in love.

But then I was wrong. I realised I didn’t get anything being cynical about romance. I read the book like how it was, without drawing parallels to my own life and it flew so much better.

I could imagine Sara’s plight because I know how it is to feel like you’ve let someone down and then have the burden of not living up to expectations. That’s why I connected to Sara.

I somehow didn’t manage to connect as much to Aiden. I wanted to know more about his inner demons and his fears but somehow he did not bare himself as much as I would have liked. He felt a little aloof and that is the only place where I felt the book lacked.

When I read through the book, it just seemed like a movie playing right in front of my eyes with drama, love, peace, emotions and fire!!

This book started this series off with a BANG and I couldn’t wait to read what happened next. For the next few days when I read novel after novel, I could feel my life literally coming to a standstill as I ploughed through suspense after suspense to strip one Callaway bare after the other.

My Rating: 4/5

This is the perfect set up for the other 8 books. You can trace the journey of the Callaways and you mostly end up guessing which Callaway is going to be featured next. That’s the best part, moving forward with the book, moving forward with the characters.

Check the book out on Amazon

#GuestPost by Alyson Miers- Author of Suicide is for Mortals

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What is so Special about Vampires?

It used to be that blood-sucking creatures of the night were vicious, predatory (albeit seductive) objects of fear, nothing more. In recent decades, they’ve become more complex. We used to be afraid of vampires, and werewolves, and now everyone wants to date them. Buffy the Vampire Slayer raised us to understand that vampires and demons could be friends to mortals, instead of foes, if they were so determined. While I have not read the Twilight series, I can understand Meyer’s interest in the pathos of vampires and werewolves. These are concepts of dangerous magical creatures who used to be human and now have little choice but to prey on humans.

Suicide is for Mortals by Alyson Miers

My new novel includes vampires but not werewolves. There are various reasons for the omission, which may include that vampires’ condition affects them the same way all month long, and that they pass for human as long as they’re not eating. An important difference between werewolves and vampires is that for the latter, attacking humans is not merely about aggression and compulsion, but about survival. Blood is their food, and what happens when a vampire starves? This is one of the questions that arise in Suicide is for Mortals.

What remains of the people they used to be, and how do they feel about killing and eating people? How were they turned? There is space in the concepts for people to ask to become predatory creatures, but most of the ones we read about were turned against their will. Do they have any agency in the transition from victim of magical assault to nocturnal predator? Do they have little choice in preying on mortal humans like they used to be, or no choice at all? If there is a choice in the matter, how do they figure that out, and how do they exercise what little control they have?

Has a vampire ever tried to kill himself, and if so, what was the result? Even if he does everything right after joining the undead, how happy can he ever be? How do the undead get along with each other? How does the pursuit of pleasure change for those who can’t go out in daylight? What does love mean to those who feed on the blood of people who could have been their neighbors, friends and family?

These are the questions we ask when we write stories about vampires who aren’t villains, or even those who are villains but still have their own stories to tell. These are the paths we want to walk when we read these stories.

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The struggle over these changes surely leads many of the predatory undead to brood and rage against the loss of their humanity, even as the transition makes them more powerful than they could ever have been as mortals. We love the idea of that brooding, tortured soul lurking in our graveyards and dark alleys, don’t we? We’d love to be there to comfort him, and for the most part we don’t want to join him. We’re confident that the gorgeous undead predator would never hurt us, tempting though it may be to sink his fangs into our necks.

My vamps looked over my list of talking points for their condition and told me to pull up a comfy chair and get out some paper and pen, because I had a lot to learn from them. My bewildered newborn Scanlon, his cynical pack leader Andra, and our hardened predator Patrick love to turn my ideas upside down and shake them to see what falls out of their pockets. Nevertheless, they appreciate my willingness to listen to them, and they will be glad to meet you. Patrick will never say so, but Scanlon will be pleased to make your acquaintance.

Of course, my vamps do not hold this novel’s attention undivided in coping with the trials of immortality. The world of After Rezarta also bears ghosts. In the hierarchy of the living and undead, mocking and taunting ghosts is the only thing that lets vampires forget about their condition. Our ghost, Miranda, has a complicated history with the magical community, which makes it all the sweeter for the vamps to find out she’s a “spook.”

I’m not pleased with the way they treat her, but she dealt with much worse in her lifetime. One might think the undead and the spectral would be prepared to band together, but they have in common that they used to be human, and we humans know how gifted we are at exacerbating our divisions and undermining our common interests. Innocent people may well die if those vamps cannot deign to listen to their hated ghost. I will simply have to trust my vamps to do the right thing.

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Spirituality is a Way of Life says Kamla Kapur in a candid interview

We have with us Kamla Kapur, the author of the lovely book The Singing Guru!!! I’m so glad to have caught her for an interview on our blog!

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  1. How did you start writing? 

When I was eleven years old we returned from a family holiday and my father asked me to write about it. That’s how I got started. My first poem was a poem to my journal. My father had always wanted to be a writer, too, and did a lot of it after he retired from the army.

  1. A penny for your thoughts on Spirituality? 

Spirituality is not something apart from life and living but interwoven into it at every step, stage, and moment. It is a way of life, a manner of living, a mindset, a perspective on your social, professional, and personal relations to others and to yourself. It is in how you approach your day, your job, your spouse, your children, friends and strangers, in how you think about your existence on this planet. It is the center from which you live, the heart of your being. It is not something you do only by going to a temple or church on Sundays now and then. It spans all the levels of who you are, from the mundane to the exalted. It’s in the Zen “chop wood, carry water.”

I believe that we have much to learn about this from the Masters. On the turbulent journey of life one often needs guidance. The word ‘guru’ means ‘dispeller of darkness.’ Every tradition has its guides. The prophets of all religions function as gurus who teach us how to live, what to think, how to behave with others. A guide is anyone who has traversed the path before us, knows the terrain, knows where the pitfalls are, can see further than we can, and knows the best course of action in conflicted and confused times. A guide does not want to harm us by constricting or limiting our potential, by setting us apart from others. We can, after we have tried them for their worth on the touchstone of love, trust them. Guidance can come to us from any source, any place, any person, if we supplicate and pray for it. It is never withheld.

 

  1. What are your views on the current religious tensions all over the world?

It is very tragic that humans can be so blind and foolish. Water is water whether you call it water, aqua, l’eau, pani, jal or any of the names for it we have in all the cultures of the world. But we fight with each other because our name for water does not jive with others. The Energy and Power we call God, Allah, Bhagwan, rab, Vishnu etc, etc, is One. Guru Nanak’s definition of a religious person is “one who looks on all as equal.” Brotherhood and sisterhood of all on this planet is Sikhism’s basic tenet.

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I can only surmise that there is so much conflict because there is a deep necessity for violence in our nature. I am not justifying it, but pervasive it is does make you stop and think. You have to take a metaview of these unending phenomena of tension, conflict, war. If the Energy is One, then Creation and Destruction are two aspects of it. In the West these two are polarized but not so in the East. There is a wonderful story from the Indian tradition, from the Mahabharat, in fact, that I have recreated in my book, GANESHA GOES TO LUNCH, called ‘See Him in the Dark,’ on this topic.

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And then there is also the possibility that as we evolve as a species and live up to our name of homo sapiens sapiens, it will decrease. This is certainly my hope.

 

 

 

4. What message do you have for your readers? 

 

The message is interwoven in my books. I prefer to give my message through a story rather than prose.

5. How has your publishing journey been? 

 

Difficult, conflicted, the source of much suffering in my life. In retrospect I can see that it all came from wanting too much too soon. The ego gets all entangled in the fruits of your action instead of the action itself (in this case, writing) and takes you through a hellish journey.

 

But I am at peace now. I just do the work. I am pleased my books have found their audience, even if its just a handful of people.

 

  1. How important is it for indie authors to rely on good quality editors and beta readers? 

 

It depends on how long you have been writing for and how careful you are in your writing. Writing is at least 50% rewriting and constant revision. If you are the kind of writer that is not content with any sentence, paragraph, image, dialogue, or any part of the plot, of if a character seems unintentionally insincere, and keeps working at it till it satisfies, then the need for an editor is far less than if you write in a hurry and are in a toot to get it published. I have always slightly resented editors, although I have benefited from others as well. In general, it is always good to get a second opinion because you can get so caught up in your work as to lose perspective.

 

I believe that Time is the greatest editor of all. If you let something sit for a while you automatically get distance from it and can go back to it with a new, more objective eye. This is one reason why I work on several books at the same time, moving from one to the other after a lapse of time. The book I am completing now, MALINI IN WHIRLWOOD, has been in the making for 40 years! Yes, yes, I know how weird that must sound to young writers in a hurry to get published.

 

I don’t know what you mean by ‘beta’ readers. Do tell me! Here is an interview question for you!

 

 

  1. What more can we expect from your pen

 

I am finishing up Malini in Whirwood, which is the first part of a trilogy; I am half way through the second book in The Sikh Saga Series, The Dancing Guru. I hope to complete the series by the end of my life, if the Universe so wills. There are at least five more volumes in it.

 

Thank you so much Kamla, for taking the time out to spread such lovely wisdom through this interview!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#Book Review- The Singing Guru by Kamla Kapur

The Blurb reads,

From the best-selling author of Ganesha Goes to Lunch and Rumi’s Tales from the Silk Road comes an original novel about the life and travels of Guru Nanak, a musician, enlightened thinker, and one of the most beloved figures in eastern spirituality.

In this fascinating book, Kamla K. Kapur weaves together facts, legends, folktales, myths, and over forty of Guru Nanak’s poems—preserved in the Sikh holy book, the Granth Sahib—to form this captivating depiction of the leader’s life. From being seduced by deadly women to almost getting eaten by cannibals, the exciting account presented in The Singing Guru includes moral tales without being proselytizing. Factual details are intermingled with fantasy to produce a symbolic portrait in which humor and imagination combine to convey a profound and entertaining spiritual narrative.

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I’ve not known much of Sikhism beyond what was taught in school and I’ve always wondered about that faith and religion. I have always known followers of Guru Nanak to be extremely peaceful and embracing of other religions as well as nurturing a strong pride for their own. And I’ve found it admirable.

This book was such an eye opener. Firstly, it is told from the point of view of Mardana. Who is a muslim following Baba Nanak across his spiritual journey.

This book is extremely simple to read. It is also power packed with gems. You want to find out what happens. Mardana is a brilliant narrator and you get lost in his stories. He silently goes about peeling layer over layer from your eyes as he makes you want to embrace a simple and wholesome life.

Indeed the allure of a simple life is very strong. When you’re caught in the never ending cycle of work, money, stress and keeping up appearances, it is but natural that your mind and soul will get depleted.

Somehow, reading such simple books reminds me that there is more to life than a mere desk job. There is more to life than prestige defined by someone sitting miles away from you. And that glamour need not mean that life is fulfilling. And that the grass is always greener on the other side.

This was such a sweet and simple book to read. I will no doubt be reading it again. It demystified one of India’s frontier religions and made me ever so respectful of the followers of this religion. I will be sure to go to a Gurudwara sometime and pray for my soul to find contentment.

My Rating: 5/5

#BookReview – The Conversation by Jeff Cannon

The blurb reads,

The Conversation is an inspired book of growth and self-actualization. It follows the lucid dreams of Modern American Monk, Jeff Cannon, that transpired over five days and nights of awakening while staying on the Greek Island of Ithaca. The conversations of each dream answered many of Jeff’s questions on the nature of existence, the meaning behind the Human Experience, as well as what happens next. The Conversation follows a very powerful law of physics into the world of metaphysics; that in reality energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only change form. The Conversation follows this simple law, to explain the natural order of existence that result in the balance and connectedness we all feel. It answers the questions everyone has about self and spirituality on every level. The result is a book that is simple to understand and easy to read. It is a meditation for the modern world.

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This book started off as being very intriguing. I have been exploring lucid dreaming for quite a while. The author got the inspiration for this book while he was on vacation to Ithaca and the dreams that he had there.

Some of the quotes which I came across, once the lucid dreaming part started were stunning. I feel I need to read them several times because I want to truly imbibe their import. I put out a few as a post earlier but I want to push it ahead nonetheless. Here is an example of one:

“The beautiful classroom to existence is that it can all be seen through the patterns it creates. To find the truth within it do not look to human nature. Simply observe what is around you. When you seek answers in the natural order of the Universe the truth is there waiting before you.”

Such a  beautiful paragraph. I am so stunned with what the author has written. I didn’t think a spiritual book could affect me this much but it has.

What I liked about this book was that each lucid dream was explained as a conversation, between the author and an energy, which found the author and spoke to him. I have often wondered how people came to be in contact with higher energies and I figure it is simply our consciousness deciding to expand itself.

A lot of times the problems that we face in life are those we can easily solve. We just don’t have the correct perspective. Sometimes, we dilly and dally about our choices, giving ourselves the easy way out. Without truly exploring what our mind wants. This book made me want to explore. It made me want to pay attention to higher spiritual powers. It made me want to go on a course to gain higher and spiritual knowledge and wisdom.

It matters a lot to me that this book has come at a time when I need to take some hard decisions about my career and about how to go ahead in life. Pragmatism against what my gut says. Professionalism and the tagline of a job against freelance. And I can’t help but look at the sheer knowledge which has fallen on my lap and wonder, there is definitely some higher power looking over me, to give me this knowledge right when I need it.

The author writes in simple language, which is easy to understand and imbibe. I am going to take my notes and share it with everyone on this blog so that it helps the collective blogsphere at once.

This book can be found on AMAZON

Also, the author is holding a Giveaway and one lucky winner will get a signed copy of The Conversation

Enter in the Giveaway HERE

My Rating: 5/5

5 star

 

 

This book can be found on AMAZON

Also, the author is holding a Giveaway and one lucky winner will get a signed copy of The Conversation

Enter in the Giveaway HERE

#Quotables- The Conversation by Jeff Cannon

“You create the world you live in. That world is simply a mirror of your energy. The energy you send out is the energy you receive. It is why the world you live in is limited. It is the world you allow yourself to be a part of. That is why I am from within you. It is why I am a part of you while still being from without you.”

Jeff Cannon. The Conversation

“A mile is but an inch if you step back far enough. No matter where you go the energy of you is always there. In truth, we are all just moments away from wherever we are going. The true distance is in knowing why we are going there.”

Jeff Cannon. The Conversation

“Each one of us experiences the events of our existence from a unique perspective. Your perspective is different from that of anyone else. No matter how slight the difference, each of our experiences vary. And that minute difference makes all the difference in the universe. Understanding your perspective is the first step to understanding what is reality and what is your reality.

Jeff Cannon. The Conversation

#BookReview: The Big Wide Calm by Rich Marcello

Paige is a rock star. The world just doesn’t know it yet. She’s got the charisma, the drive, and, of course, the mega-musical skills. All she needs is to make her debut album, one that will change the world, inspire revolutions–and make her galactically famous along the way.

When John Bustin, a former semi-famous singer/songwriter offers to record Paige’s album for free, it feels like destiny, like the next step on her way to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Guitar in hand, Paige sets off to John’s recording compound, ready to unfold her future.

But the ever-elusive John, with his mysterious history, and Paige, a big dreamer but naive about her footing in life, clash as much as they coalesce. Before they can change the world through Paige’s music, the improbable duo must learn to work together.

A coming of age story and retrospective, The Big Wide Calm focuses on human nature and the complexities of love through the eyes of young and old on the journey of creating the perfect album.

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This book gave me company while I trudge through the annoying period of healing after an ankle sprain.

I read a lot of reviews about this book and I was quite surprised by the bad reviews, Sometimes people can be so negative online.

Firstly, I didn’t take The Big Wide Calm as anything more than Paige Plant’s debut album. For the simple reason that I had never thought of it as something life changing in terms of philosophy. And it is preferable that you don’t read too much into it.

The book takes you through a journey of how Paige goes about recording her album. Her trials and her thoughts as she makes music and makes it much better than what she had ever made. I found the fact that Paige painted her songs, an interesting twist.

I was drawn into the world of songwriting and music and I could imagine a small haunt somewhere, which was the creative spot for writing music and pushing yourself. Sometimes, we do our best when we are not around the usual hustle and bustle of life.

I felt the relationship between Paige and John was a typical teacher student relationship. I could relate to Paige because I was like her, I was competitive and driven towards my goals. Paige also called her friends by their first letters, especially the men, like a David would be a D and that was a quirk i really enjoyed.

I realised how much an artist has to be motivated, to continuously put out good work, and also how hard they have to work in this overtly competitive world. The twists and turns hooked me in and I was totally involved in the story.

At the risk of giving away too much, I’m not going to talk about some of my favorite bits of the story. I felt that the language sometimes seemed to betray Paige’s age. I felt sometimes, the language was like a teenager. But Paige is a confident and a driven character and I appreciate women who are like that.

I felt the end was brilliant. I felt so complete. Like the author said in his interview, by the time the book was done, I could let the book go. And feel complete. This is what I liked.

It is not strictly a romance novel as I want to promote on my blog, but this book is more about the combined love for yourself and what you do.

My Rating: 4/5

There’s something about letting a piece of Art go, says Author Rich Marcello in a #Candid #Interview

He’s the one whose book was my comfort while I deal with a twisted ankle. His book detailed aRich_Marcello songwriter’s experience while writing and cutting out her debut album.

It took me on a journey and before I review it, I ask him to feature in this blog’s FIRST interview and he readily agrees!

Here’s Rich Marcello with his thoughts on Love, Art, Books and Writing

Q: What is the book’s genre/category?

A:    It’s literary, millennial coming-of-age fiction. Millennial in the sense, that the heroine of The Big Wide Calm, Paige Plant, is a little older (25) than most coming-of-age heroines. Literary in the sense that it deals with a number of philosophical and existential topics.

Q: What events/inspirations led up to you publishing “The Big Wide Calm?

A:        A number of years ago, I decided to write down everything I believe about love—romantic love, platonic love, and love in a broader community. I’m in the process of writing three novels about these different kinds of love. The Big Wide Calm was just published in July of 2014 by Langdon Street Press. The first, The Color of Home, was published in 2013, and the third, The Beauty of the Fall, will be published in 2015.

Q: Is there a common theme or life-lesson in your books?

A:         Yes. Thematically, even though there are different characters in each novel, they are tied together by struggling to truly and deeply learn to love, even when their histories or current obstacles conspire against them.

TBWC_1129Q: I see that you have published two books. What was the biggest challenge you encountered between writing your first book and second book?

A:         For The Big Wide Calm, I wrote very fast. Basically, I caught a creative wave and finished the first draft of the book in three months. Then I edited it for another year. The biggest challenge was literally dropping everything else in my life so I could make room to ride the wave and channel all of my creative energy into the book.  Because I’ve been writing songs, poems, and novels for a long time, I know it’s rare to catch a wave like that, so I made a decision to honor it and drop everything else I was doing. In a way, it was an easy choice, albeit not a practical one.

Q: Looking back at both of your publications, What do you think you did that makes your books stand out above the rest?

A:           I try to infuse my books with a great deal of emotional intimacy. In addition, because I’m also a songwriter and poet, I try to incorporate poetic and song elements into my writing.  Sometimes I’ll spend a couple of hours on a paragraph until I get the words right. The combination of emotional intimacy and poetic writing is what helps the books stand out.
Q: On that note, would you have changed anything that you have done?

A:            No, I’m really proud of both books. Like most writers I know, I could tinker with a book forever. With that said, with both The Big Wide Calm and The Color of Home, I reached a point where I felt the book was done and I let it go. There’s something about letting a piece of art go that is relational. By that I mean the best novels, in my opinion, have the ability to invoke an emotional reaction in a reader that is unique, that is relational. In that sense, even when someone doesn’t like one of my books, as long as they have some emotional reaction to it, I feel it’s serving its purpose.
Q: Besides personal life, where do you draw most of your inspiration from? 

A:          From dreams. I’m a big believer in writing in the morning, and in a way, going from one kind of dreaming (sleep) directly to another (writing fiction). My best writing comes from that dream-like place where I totally inhabit a character and write from their point-of-view.

Q: What can your readers expect from you in the coming years? 

A:          The Beauty of the Fall will be out in 2015. After that, I plan to write for the rest of my life. I figure I have a good ten novels in me.

Q: What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

A:           Write the first pass of any scene quickly, and then rewrite it until it’s sensual enough that the reader feels like he or she is actually there.

Rich_Marcello

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