29 December 2014

Review #113: Minty by Christina Banach

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Sisters function as safety nets in a chaotic world simply by being there for each other.”
----Carol Saline, a journalist, broadcaster, author and public speaker

Christina Banach, an Scottish author, who simply enthralled our minds and soul with her gripping and enduring debut novel, Minty , which is a dark as well as an intriguing story about two twin sisters, their loss, the importance of family and life beyond death.

Fourteen-year old twins Minty and Jess are inseparable. Maybe they bicker now and then, even crave a bit of space once in a while. But they have a connection. Unbreakable. Steadfast. Nothing can tear them apart. Until a family trip to the coast puts their bond in jeopardy. As Minty tries to rescue her dog from drowning, she ends up fighting for her life. Will Minty survive? If she doesn't, how will Jess cope without her? Only the stormy sea has the answer.

28 December 2014

Review #112: The List by Joanna Bolouri

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We don’t get to pick who we fall in love with, and it doesn’t happen like it should.
----No Strings Attached

Actually that was the underlying story of 32-year old Phoebe Henderson’s solitary life. Phoebe Henderson is the protagonist of Joanna Bolouri’s debut novel, The List, which is an amusing story about a single woman’s crazy sexual adventures.

Phoebe Henderson may be single but she sure doesn't feel fabulous. It's been a year since she found her boyfriend Alex in bed with another woman, and multiple cases of wine and extensive relationship analysis with best friend Lucy have done nothing to help. Faced with a new year but no new love, Phoebe concocts a different kind of resolution.

The List: ten things she's always wanted to do in bed but has never had the chance (or the courage!) to try. A bucket list for between the sheets. One year of pleasure, no strings attached. Simple, right?

Factor in meddlesome colleagues, friends with benefits, getting frisky al fresco and maybe, possibly, true love and Phoebe's got her work cut out for her.

27 December 2014

Let's Take a Look Back- Best Books of 2014 with Some Best Moments!

So it's again that time of year when the time forces us to look back over our shoulder and makes us think about it. But I'm not here to reminiscence about my past or about how I spent this year, instead, I'd like to summarize- summarize things I liked, things I achieved and things I lost and based on that I can resolute for a better new year.
Sounds too emo, isn't it?!! Don't worry,  I'll list out Top 10 books I read this year, along with 10 best things happened to me this year! Now that sounds reasonable! So without wasting a second, let's get down to listing!

10 Best Books That I Read in 2014 + 10 Best Things Happened to Me in 2014

1. The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri:

Jhumpa Lahiri took us on two brother's journey from Kolkata to Rhode Island with her heart-touching story that shows us an unbreakable brotherly bond filled with Naxalite movement, loss, death and love. Most critics and review critically reviewed this book, but this book impacted me a lot and made to look at relationships with a better perspective. Marrying your brother's widow is still considered a sin in our religion, but Lahiri portrayed that sin with ease and perfection thus giving birth to one of the most heart-breaking love stories.

And my year started with (always starts with!) a visit to my pilgrimage- Kolkata International Book Fair 2014. And the fair always end up with a handful of books. And secretly, I always curse myself for spending way out of my budget. The Lowland was definitely one of them! So year begins always on a happy note or rather say with room full of books :-P

2. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

Finally brought this book from an online book store and I was waiting for quite a long time for it's price to come down or for some kind of discount, (PS: I'm not a miser, it's called saving money so that I can buy other books!) Hosseini, being my favorite author, I waited for a year to read his novel. But honestly, I felt like I did the good thing since even after reading And the Mountains Echoed, A Thousand Splendid Suns will always remain my all time favorite Khaled Hosseini book. And just like Lahiri, Hosseini too explored the depths of a brother-sister relationship across the enchanted lands of Afghanistan.

And I got a new job in a new company with a new role along with more responsibilities and with a great set of seniors and work-mates. So it is another thankful event happened to me in 2014.


3. Cell by Robin Cook

2014 presented me with another of my all time favorite author's new novel, Cell, which explored the mobile app technology to cure one's illness or even disease, which ultimately changes the face of modern day medical practices followed by some suspicious deaths. Cook's new medical thriller once again charmed my mind and arrested by soul with his adrenaline-rushing style story-telling.

My first footstep taken on being a reviewer and this was the period when I started getting 3-4 review requests in a month and eventually, my confidence began building up.

4. Elixir by Ted Galdi

Got an opportunity to read Galdi's debut book, Elixir, which gives us hope as Galdi breakthroughs the cure of the most deadly disease of 2014- Ebola with his intriguing YA thriller. Galdi's thrilling narrative style kept me glued till the book's very end and being a debut writer, Galdi outruns the talent of many popular and world famous writers.
Read my review of Elixir here

An incredible book website, named, TripFiction featured me on their monthly newsletter and that was one of the proudest moment of my life.


5. Dark Winter series by John Hennessy

John Hennessy's debut horror series made me an instant fan of his creepy narrative style. Moreover, I was mot a big fan of horror books, but Hennessy's books urged to read more horror instead of literary and contemporary! Dark Winter series is such a series if we read the series even after the 100th time, it'll equally scare you out of your guts similar to the first time.
Read the review of Dark Winter: The Wicca Circle here
Read the review of Dark Winter: Crescent Moon here

Thanks to 2014, I not only found an incredible author, but also found a friend who will always stand by my side through thick-and-thin. Though distance is the one thing that separates us but our love for books and kindness for each other strengthens our bond of friendship every single passing day. Hence, in 2014, I found a great friend as well as a promising and talented author. Thank you John for being a great friend.

6. The Echoes of Love by Hannah Fielding

It is not every day that you get to read a story that will stay with your forever. Meaning those books which will never lose it's essence from your hearts. Hannah Fielding's dark and mystifying love story set across the magical destinations in Europe- one being Venice, will entrance your mind and soul. This is one of the most alluring stories that I read in 2014. and for that I'm really very grateful to the author, since she was the one who gave me the opportunity to read her incredible novel.
Read the review of The Echoes of Love here

My bookshelf started growing out of control and soon my heart is overwhelmed with the warmth and kindness shown by all those authors who helped me build a palace of books in my own room.

7. The Lives of Other by Neel Mukherjee

This book marks my both personal and professional best moment in my life in the year 2014. Firstly, Neel Mukherjee's publisher gave me an opportunity to read the novel just before the Man Booker Event and secondly Mukherjee's family saga bewitched my heart and felt a new found love for my own city- Kolkata. Maybe Mukherjee's ego never made him read my millions of emails about his book whereas the whole world was screaming against his book, still this book touched my heart in thousands of ways. Moreover, I always adore those people who try to imitate Jhumpa Lahiri's literary style. Hence, I feel myself lucky to get a chance to read Mukherjee's Man Book Longlist nominated book, The Lives of Others.
Read the review of The Lives of Others here

8. Little Exiles by Robert Dinsdale

I found another equally interesting and wonderful author who's books, I mean Little Exiles and Gingerbread both enthralled my mind with his engaging stories about illegal child immigration in Australia and another about a boy's relationship with his grandfather living in the deep depth of a Siberian forest.

Read the review of Little Exiles here
Read the review of Gingerbread here

My mind is filled with the idea of starting a book blog. I know it's not anything so new to talk about but for me it is very new and enlightening. Instead I found no courage to start up a blog, all my mind was filled with dejection and negativity and about my lack to keep up with the blog. But on October 2014, I started my very own blog called Book Stop Corner and right now you are reading this very post on my very own blog. I really grateful to those people who supported and encouraged me and for those who are still appreciating the effort that I've put behind this blog. Thank You 2014 and it is one of the best thing that happened to me this year.

9. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Thanks to David Fincher for introducing me with this author. Before 2014 and before all the hype created before Gone Girl movie's release, I never heard of Gillian Flynn. And just before the movie's release, I purchased the book, Gone Girl and watched myself enraptured with Flynn's dark thriller that introduces marriage as the killer. And David Fincher did exact justice to Flynn's gripping novel.Gone Girl changed my perspective about lot of things in life. So thanks to Gillian Flynn for that!
Read the review of Gone Girl here

Another achievement would be that my follower list on my blog started growing like anything. From friends to family to fellow bloggers across the world, they all made it a success. I feel really grateful to all of my followers for being a part of my blog and making it a houseful show. And I can't be enough proud about myself!

10. Dublin in the Rain by Andrew Critchley

2014 introduced me with another promising debut author and I feel myself fortunate enough on finding this author. Critchley's debut novel, Dublin in the Rain makes us think about our inner self and gives birth to a new found passion in our hearts. Andrew Critchley is another friend whose friendship I'll forever cherish. And I feel grateful towards the author for his warmth, support and kindness that he showed for me. Dublin in the Rain falls in the must read criteria and honestly, I never read something so passionate and emotional.
Read the review of Dublin in the Rain here

The party is not over yet! I'll get back here maybe on 1st of January to recapture my 31st night! Don't go away.. another best moment is yet to come.

Voila! It ended on a good note. Since I got to spend my last of 2014 with my cousins who visited India after ages! And I had a great day and for that I'd like to thank my cousins for making the day a bit more memorable.

Snapshots are as follows:

25 December 2014

Review #111: Until Death by Ali Knight

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

”Marriage is like a cage; one sees the birds outside desperate to get in, and those inside equally desperate to get out.”
----Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, one of the most influential philosophers of the French Renaissance

Ali Knight, an English author, arrested our minds and hearts with her latest psychological thriller, Until Death which shows us that how marriage can be the biggest curse or flaw in a person’s life as well as it can be the greatest boon in one’s life.

Marriage is a prison for Kelly. Her controlling and manipulative husband Christos videos her in the house, has her followed and tracks her every move. She may be desperate to leave, but she's not stupid. If she runs, he'll make sure she never sees her children again. Christos has a mistress, Sylvie, keen to pander to his every whim and even keener to step into Kelly's shoes, should she ever vacate them. Kelly thinks it's stalemate for their twisted threesome, but one of Christos's container ships is about to dock in London with a secret cargo that will change all their lives forever. If Kelly is to escape, it will be in a way she never imagined, and people will" get hurt . . .

24 December 2014

Review #110: The Trader of Saigon by Lucy Cruickshanks

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Saigon was an addicted city, and we were the drug: the corruption of children, the mutilation of young men, the prostitution of women, the humiliation of the old, the division of the family, the division of the country--it had all been done in our name. . . . The French city . . . had represented the opium stage of the addiction. With the Americans had begun the heroin phase.
----James Martin Fenton FRSL FRSA an English poet, journalist and literary critic

Lucy Cruickshanks, an English author, enthralled us with her debut novel, The Trader of Saigon set across the exotic yet victimized land of Vietnam. This is a story of three lives entwined together by a unfortunate knot, untwisting which might leave them paralyzed for the rest of their lives.

As a US Army deserter, Alexander is a man without country; stuck in a life he no longer controls and embroiled in the dark business of trading women. His latest victim is Hanh, a poor rural girl living in Hanoi who dreams of escaping the inevitability of an impoverished future and for whom Alexander’s arrival seems like the answer to a prayer. Neither of them has ever met Phuc - a Vietnamese businessman who backed the wrong side in the war and is now unable to pay his financial and political debts to the Party. But his struggles are about to change both their lives.

23 December 2014

Author Q&A Session #15: With Juliet M Sampson

Hello and welcome to another new session of Author Q&A and today I present you the author who captured her reader's hearts with her stories. Juliet M Sampson, is here to talk about book, career, life and passion. Read below to know more about this author.

Read the review of Bon Voyage!

22 December 2014

Review #109: The Ashes of Heaven's Pillar by Kim Rendfeld

My rating:
5 of 5 stars

"The love of a family is life's greatest blessing."
---- Anonymous

Kim Rendfeld, an American author, spun a spectacular historical tale called, The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar , which takes us back to the period when Saxon Wars destructed faith among Saxon pagans and peasants and uprooted millions of families with the war raged on over 30 long years.

772 AD: Charlemagne’s battles in Saxony have left Leova with nothing but her two children, Deorlaf and Sunwynn. Her beloved husband died in combat. Her faith lies shattered in the ashes of the Irminsul, the Pillar of Heaven. The relatives obligated to defend her and her family instead sell them into slavery.

In Francia, Leova is resolved to protect her son and daughter, even if it means sacrificing her own honour. Her determination only grows stronger as Sunwynn blossoms into a beautiful young woman attracting the lust of a cruel master and Deorlaf becomes a headstrong man willing to brave starvation and demons to free his family. Yet Leova’s most difficult dilemma comes in the form of a Frankish friend, Hugh. He saves Deorlaf from a fanatical Saxon and is Sunwynn’s champion - but he is the warrior who slew Leova’s husband.

21 December 2014

Review #108: Raven Black by Ann Cleeves

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

No one knew he had this beautiful creature to visit him.
She was his treasure, the raven in his cage.

----Ann Cleeves, Raven Black

Ann Cleeves, the award-winning British crime author, penned her first book in the Shetland series called, Raven Black , which later went on to win the The Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger in the year 2006. Raven Black cannot be compared to atypical crime novel, instead, this book promises us with a mystery that will only pull us more into its darker side, and also it promises us with one of the finest detectives in the British Literature- DI Jimmy Perez.

It is a cold January morning and Shetland lies buried beneath a deep layer of snow. Trudging home, Fran Hunter's eye is drawn to a vivid splash of colour on the white ground, ravens circling above. It is the strangled body of her teenage neighbour Catherine Ross. As Fran opens her mouth to scream, the ravens continue their deadly dance . . .

The locals on the quiet island stubbornly focus their gaze on one man - loner and simpleton Magnus Tait. But when police insist on opening out the investigation a veil of suspicion and fear is thrown over the entire community. For the first time in years, Catherine's neighbours nervously lock their doors, whilst a killer lives on in their midst.

20 December 2014

Review #107: To Tuscany With Love by Gail Mencini

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

While reading this book, I couldn't stop myself from thinking about Bob Marley’s spectacular words about “friends”:
“The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.”

Gail Mencini, an American author, penned down her debut novel called, To Tuscany with Love , which is all about regrets, past demons, loss and love and mostly about priceless friendships.

Bella Rossini, a vivacious college junior, lands in jail overnight with acquaintances whom she mistakes for friends. Shipped off to Tuscany by her mother, Bella is suddenly thrust into living with seven strangers during one life-altering summer.
Meet Hope, the sturdy and practical girl, steadfast in her loyalty to her boyfriend; Meghan and Karen, identical twins with an eye for fashion and beauty to match; Stillman, haunted by his hard past, and Phillip, an athlete, both fuelled by competition; Lee, by family mandate in pre-med; and Rune, the Hollywood-bound wild child. All add sizzling chemistry and rebellious humour to the mix.
In one whirlwind summer, while uncovering the charms of Italy, they discover both friendship and
love. After their summer together, life – and loss – happens.
Returning to Tuscany 30 years later, their dreams, anger, secrets and disappointments create an
emotional kaleidoscope. Their reunion sends them on a startling collision course that none of them
could have predicted.

Review #106: Niedermayer & Hart by M.J.Johnson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”
----Marie Curie

Similarly, for Jim Latimer, it was no time to fear for the mysteries waiting for him to unravel them in his life. Yes, Jim Latimer, protagonist of Niedermayer and Hart will strike you as a man who is brave yet scared to figure out the truth. M.J.Johnson, the author of this book, stunned our hearts and minds completely with his intense as well as alluring story.

Jim Latimer reads of fellow photographer John Loxton's suicide in a daily newspaper. An old friend offers Jim an opportunity to take over Loxton's next assignment. He enters the orbit of Niedermayer & Hart, porcelain dealers with elegant headquarters in Hove. Jim's friends Ruth and Erich sense something isn't right and try to warn him. He is brought face to face with a terrifying manifestation of evil that had its inception in mediaeval Acre.

A band of unlikely vigilantes takes on an implacable enemy.

This is a story of friendship, courage and steadfastness, taking the reader on more than one journey before it arrives at its conclusion in the Berwyn Mountains of North Wales. More than just a fight for life - these friends are playing for the highest stakes of all.

18 December 2014

Author Q&A Session #14: With Andrew Critchley

Hello and welcome to another new session of Author Q&A and today I present you the debut author who captured his reader's passion and desire with his book, Dublin in the Rain. Andrew Critchley, is here to talk about book, career, life and passion. Read below to know more about this author.

Read the review of Dublin in the Rain 

Review #105: Prosecco Pink by Traci Andrighetti

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Supposing is good, but finding out is better.”
----Mark Twain

Traci Andrighetti, the national bestselling author, is back again with an all-new adventure-cum-mystery in her Franki Amato Mystery series, called, Prosecco Pink .

Synopsis: For Franki Amato, life in New Orleans is anything but "The Big Easy." When she met handsome bank executive Bradley Hartmann, she knew she'd finally found a man she could trust. But she can't say the same for his sexy new secretary, who is about as trustworthy as Mata Hari and every bit as seductive. Meanwhile, Franki's best friend and employer, Veronica Maggio, has named her the lead investigator in the murder of a gorgeous cosmetics CEO who was found lying dead in the master bedroom of a historic plantation home.

17 December 2014

Author Q&A Session #13: With Duncan Jepson

In another new session of Author Q&A, I present you the author who entranced our minds and souls with his skillfully-crafted novels. Duncan Jepson, the best-selling author, has opened up about his life, books, career and choices. Read below to know more about this amazing author.

Read the review of All the Flowers in Shanghai

Review #104: Flesh Wounds by Chris Brookmyre

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Beware the fury of a patient man.”
----John Dryden, an English poet, literary critic, translator, and playwright who became Poet Laureate in 1668.

Christopher Brookmyre, a Scottish best-selling novelist, spun an astounding tale portraying the deepest, darkest corners in the Glasgow crime world in his latest book, Flesh Wounds.

Private investigator Jasmine Sharp's father was murdered before she was born, and her mother went to self-sacrificing lengths in order to shield her from the world in which he moved. Since her mother's death, all she has been able to learn is his first name - and that only through a strange bond she has forged with the man who killed him.

The biggest thug of Glasgow murdered in a car wash inside his own car and the CCTV footage reveals Glen Fallan as the killer. Soon Glen Fallan is behind the bars. So what is the mystery? Sounds like story ends over here. However, this is just the beginning. Jasmine Sharp, the PI of Glasgow, has a history with Glen Fallan and according to her Glen couldn't be the killer. Enter DC Catherine McLeod who investigates the mystery behind Fallan's motive, mostly the mysterious sign left on the dead man's head. So, as McLeod prepares to cover up her past, Jasmine soon plunges into the untold mysteries of her past, thereby venturing into the forbidden lands of Glasgow under world.

Well, this is the first time, I am reading any Brookmyre novel, so I had no idea that Flesh wounds is a part of a series based on Sharp/McLeod/Fallan. However, it was no trouble for me to read Flesh Wounds as a standalone. The author has skillfully bared the stories of Sharp and Fallan's past in flashes just at the right moments. The author tried to show us how past demons can claw us if they are not put to rest at the right times. Both Mc Leod and Sharp are the two strong characters of this book. As the story progressed, the more we get to know about Sharp and McLeod's characters with depth.

The narration is very strong, ultimately gripping! The moment I started reading, I found an inevitable attraction with the narrative style of the author. The author brought out the dark satire underlying in the plot quite brilliantly. The story unfolded in flashbacks. As the investigation progressed, we eventually see the underlying past behind each find. The author laid out the violence intricately and quite vividly.

Since the mystery is based on an untold past misdoings, so there was no mystery, the past itself being the mystery. Both McLeod and Sharp are flawed characters, trying to come to terms with their devastating past, thus unlocking the key behind this murder. Hence, Flesh Wounds is an engaging read that will arrest your mind and soul until its very end.

Verdict: Christopher Brookmyre is one of the best Scottish crime author, so do not give this book a miss.

Courtesy: Thanks to the author, Christopher Brookmyre, for giving me the opportunity to read and review his book. 

Author Info:
Christopher Brookmyre is a Scottish novelist whose novels mix politics, social comment and action with a strong narrative. He has been referred to as a Tartan Noir author. His debut novel was Quite Ugly One Morning, and subsequent works have included One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night, which he said "was just the sort of book he needed to write before he turned 30", and All Fun and Games until Somebody Loses an Eye (2005).
Visit him here 

Book Purchase Links:

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16 December 2014

Review #103: The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“There are moments when even to the sober eye of reason, the world of our sad humanity may assume the semblance of Hell. ”
----Edgar Allan Poe

Keith Donohue, an American best-selling novelist, spun a remarkable story called, The Boy Who Drew Monsters that our sane minds will dare to read it.

Ever since he nearly drowned in the ocean three years earlier, ten-year-old Jack Peter Keenan has been deathly afraid to venture outdoors. Refusing to leave his home in a small coastal town in Maine, Jack Peter spends his time drawing monsters. When those drawings take on a life of their own, no one is safe from the terror they inspire. His mother, Holly, begins to hear strange sounds in the night coming from the ocean, and she seeks answers from the local Catholic priest and his Japanese housekeeper, who fill her head with stories of shipwrecks and ghosts. His father, Tim, wanders the beach, frantically searching for a strange apparition-running wild in the dunes. In addition, the boy’s only friend, Nick, becomes helplessly entangled in the eerie power of the drawings. While those around Jack Peter are haunted by what they think they see, only he knows the truth behind the frightful occurrences as the outside world encroaches upon them all.

Jack Peter Keenan, a 10-year-old Asperger disorder boy, loves to draw, trapped inside his own mind. Three years ago, Jack and his best friend, Nick, nearly drowned and from that time, Jack has become unsocial and never goes out of his house. However, surprisingly, now it seems his drawings are coming to life, especially monsters, and haunting his parents to death. Only Jack holds the key to this strange mystery.

This story is not only about fear and about monsters, but it also focuses on infidelity, trust, relationships, parenthood, sanity and superstitions. I felt mesmerized by Donohue's elegant use of the retrospective voice, which is always questioning its own accuracy, exploring the nature of memory, of the narratives we tell ourselves about ourselves, and others. Well unfortunately, the first part of the story progressed bit slowly, where we get to see Jack's parents getting accustomed with the essence of supernatural around them. This is where we also see how the author developed his characters with depth. Jack's father's issues- his weakness towards Nick's mother, displayed quite sharply, whereas Jack's mother is still in doubt with her mother hood and being a good mother to Jack. The second part moved with great pace and this where the story gathered momentum and I felt myself rooted to the very core of the story. Another disappointment would be the author could not lay out his scary scenes intricately/strikingly. The monster running through the hills or around Jack's house compound did not scare me at all.

The characters were though fictional but sounded very realistic to me, moreover, Donohue has a deep psychological grip on his characters, portraying them as multifaceted, flawed and sympathetic human beings, all achingly vulnerable, wracked by fear, need and guilt. The background that the author painted in his story was completely apt with the mood of the environment. Yes, this is where the author managed to win over my heart. The mood that he set in with his dark narrative style will completely fill your hearts with fear and chill.
The author took us on an imaginative wild ride filled with fear, horror and terror. Since, I do not read much Horror books, I felt Keith Donohue's book to be quite intriguing, scary and edgy.

Verdict: Horror fans do not give it a miss.

Courtesy: I'd like to thank the author, Keith Donohue, for providing me with an ARC of his book. 

Author Info:
Keith Donohue is an American novelist. His acclaimed 2006 novel The Stolen Child, about a changeling, was inspired by the Yeats poem of the same name. His second novel, Angels of Destruction, was published in March 2009.
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he earned his B.A. and M.A. from Duquesne University and his Ph.D. in English from The Catholic University of America.
Currently he is Director of Communications for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the grant-making arm of the U. S. National Archives in Washington, DC. Until 1998 he worked at the National Endowment for the Arts and wrote speeches for chairmen John Frohnmayer and Jane Alexander, and has written articles for the New York Times, Washington Post, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and other newspapers.
Visit him here 

Book Purchase Links:

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Author Q&A Session #12: With Hannah Fielding

Hello & Welcome,
In an all new session of author interview, I present you the author who enchants her readers with her dreamy and mesmerizing love-stories set in some magical destinations of the world. Yes, Hannah Fielding is here to talk about Venice, career, life and more. So without wasting a second, scroll below to know more about this author.

Read the review of  The Echoes of Love

Me: Hello and welcome to my blog, Hannah! You last book, The Echoes of Love, was a huge hit among readers from all over the world. Please tell us about the story behind The Echoes of Love.

Venice itself was my main inspiration. I first visited the city as a young child. Then, as now, I was wide-eyed and enchanted by the beauty of the city. I distinctly remember standing in the main square, the Piazza St Marco, gazing up at the stunning architecture of Saint Mark’s Basilica and feeling I had somehow entered another world – a fairytale world. Then I looked down, at the square itself, which was overrun by hordes of pigeons. There was nothing beautiful about those birds. They were quite spoiling the place. And it struck me then that Venice is a city of two faces: that which the tourists flock to admire, that makes the city the capital of romance, that breathes new life into the imagination and leaves a permanent, inspirational impression. And the other side, the darker side, that which is concealed in what Erica Jong called ‘the city of mirrors, the city of mirages’.
When I returned to the city as an adult, I became quite fascinated by the concept of Venice – what it means to be Venetian; what the city really is beneath the layers of history and grandeur and legend.  Frida Giannini wrote, ‘Venice never quite seems real, but rather an ornate film set suspended on the water.’ I understand this quote – there is something fairytale about the place, and with that comes some reluctance, perhaps, to see the realism beyond.
Venice so captured my imagination that I knew some day I would write a romance novel set in this most elegant and fascinating of cities. But it had to be the right story to fit the place. For me, that meant a story that reflected the two faces of Venice – the mask she wears, and the true form beneath.

Me: Burning Embers and The Echoes of Love – both are epic love stories. Which experience of your life inspired you to write such epic love stories?

A vivid imagination, I think, and a love for the epic stories of literature, of history, of the stage and of the big screen.
As an example, when I was fourteen I holidayed with my family in a cabin in Montazahat the time of an international film and television festival there. My sister, my cousins and I watched with mounting excitement as sleek cars glided through the grounds of the palace, bound for the Hotel Salamlek, where a grand reception was to be held. Hiding in a nearby garden, we watched Hollywood icons emerge from the cars and enter the hotel – be still our pounding hearts!
Determined to see more, we marched up to the front door of the hotel. We were, of course, denied access. But that did not deter us – so eager were we to get a slice of ‘epic Hollywood’ that we climbed in an open window at the back of the building and gate-crashed the party. I met some wonderful actors that day, but one encounter stands out. I went up to a man I didn’t recognize and asked whether he had seen Gardner Mackay, star of Adventures in Paradise, my biggest heartthrob. The tuxedo-clad man responded:
‘What about me?I’m Richard Burton.’
I had no idea who he was, and politely took my leave!

Me: Burning Embers is set in Kenya and The Echoes of Love is set in Venice and Tuscany. So did you travel extensively to these countries for your research work?

Hannah: Absolutely. Researching, for me, is one of the most enjoyable elements of writing. I began traveling when I was a young woman, and a whole world of romance opened up to me then. First came Kenya – wild, colorful, exotic – which became the setting of my debut romance novel, Burning Embers. Time spent in Italy, Spain and Greece provided plenty more wonderful fodder for the imagination, and then there was Switzerland, France, England and Egypt. For The Echoes of Love, I returned to Venice and spent a long weekend walking the streets and drinking in the atmosphere.

Me: How would you describe your journey so far as a successful writer?

Exciting, challenging, inspiring, fulfilling – wonderful!

Me: Tell us one trait of both Coral and Venetia, the two protagonists from your two books, that intrigues you the most.

I think a trait that both Coral and Venetia share is independence. Both are career women who live apart from their families, standing alone in the world. Their independence is an admirable trait, but it is also one that causes them grief: it isolates them, and makes it hard for them to open their lives to love. This is, in many ways, the plight of the modern woman, I think.

Me: Was "being a writer" your one true dream and passion?

Yes! From an early age, thanks to the encouragement of my imaginative governess, supportive and well-read parents, I enjoyed writing poetry and stories. I have never really stopped writing as I grew older, as I have always kept a diary in which I put down not only my feelings but also descriptions of scenes that have captured my imagination and of people I met.
Though I had plenty of stories to write when I first got married and had my children, with running my own business refurbishing rundown cottages and managing my home in the country with its dogs and horses, I had no time to concentrate on my writing. Only when I knew that my children were standing on their own feet did I take up writing seriously. After I had written a couple of books, it was really my husband and my children who pushed me to try to get them published.
My grandmother was a published author of poetry and my father published a book about the history of our family, so writing runs in my veins. I guess I always knew that one day I would follow in those footsteps and forge my own path in that field – a subconscious dream which finally came true.
To quote Anais Nin: “If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write.” I do all that. Writing is my life.

Me: How would you describe your normal writing day?

Hannah: I write every day. I wake up very early, so I get rid of my chores first thing. After my cup of passion fruit tea, in the morning I sit down at my desk at around 9:30 a.m.and work through the day with an hour for lunch. The muse is happy – so long as I have a thesaurus to hand.

Me: Writers are always so busy! How do you unwind after such a long day’s work?

I read: I love reading romantic novels – the thicker the book, the better.
I walk:  I am a loner to some extent, and a dreamer, so the beach calls to me. I live part of the year in the south of France, and I love taking long walks on the beach on a sunny spring day. I gaze at the sparkling Mediterranean sea, with its ever-changing shades of blue under the smiling azure sky, and conjure up romantic stories. In England I walk in the beautiful Kentish countryside, when weather permits; I’m not one for rain and blustery winds!
I cook: I love cooking, using the various produce of our vegetable garden. Jams, chutneys, stuffed vine leaves (dolmadis), stuffed savoury and sweet filo pastry cushions that I serve as nibbles when I entertain, stewed fruit for winter crumbles. The list could go on for ever.
I entertain: I find nothing more satisfying that having friends over; and as I often travel, it’s great to catch up with all the news.

Me: What’s next up your writing sleeve? Please tell us briefly about the story!

Well, I’m going to be re-releasing Burning Embers soon with a new cover, and – very exciting for me – my third novel will be published in the spring. I’m not able to share the synopsis yet, but I can tell you that it’s set in Spain and is very passionate indeed. Readers can follow my blog at www.hannahfielding.net for details of new releases.

Me: Thank you so much for sparing time to have this interview session with me. I can only wish you luck in all your future endeavors.

Thank you, Aditi; it has been my pleasure.

Hannah's Bio:

Hannah Fielding is a novelist, a dreamer, a traveler, a mother, a wife and an incurable romantic. The seeds for her writing career were sown in early childhood, spent in Egypt, when she came to an agreement with her governess Zula: for each fairy story Zula told, Hannah would invent and relate one of her own. Years later – following a degree in French literature, several years of traveling in Europe, falling in love with an Englishman, the arrival of two beautiful children and a career in property development – Hannah decided after so many years of yearning to write that the time was now. Today, she lives the dream: she writes full time, splitting her time between her homes in Kent, England, and the South of France, where she dreams up romances overlooking breathtaking views of the Mediterranean.
Her first novel, Burning Embers, is a vivid, evocative love story set against the backdrop of tempestuous and wild Kenya of the 1970s, reviewed by one newspaper as ‘romance like Hollywood used to make’. Her new novel, The Echoes of Love, is a story of passion, betrayal and intrigue set in the romantic and mysterious city of Venice and the beautiful landscape of Tuscany.

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