Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Poetic Book Tours: The Jane and Bertha in Me by Rita Maria Martinez

The Jane and Bertha in Me by Rita Maria Martinez


Synopsis of the book:

This spring marks the bicentennial of Charlotte Brontë’s birth. In her ambitious and timely debut, The Jane and Bertha in Me, Rita Maria Martinez celebrates Brontë’s classic novel Jane Eyre. Through wildly inventive, beautifully crafted persona poems, Martinez re-imagines Jane Eyre’s cast of characters in contemporary contexts, from Jane as an Avon saleslady to Bertha as a Stepford wife. These lively, fun, poignant poems prove that Jane Eyre’s fictional universe is just as relevant today as it was so many years ago. The Jane and Bertha in Me is a must-read for any lover of Brontë’s work.

My views:

Poetry is not easy to review. Mostly because, it is pretty personal. 


Jane Eyre is one of my all time favourite novels. And taking each of its characters  in the contemporary context is really very touching. The eternal feelings do not die out. The language is so beautiful that I paused a few times to savour those. The poems are as timeless and memorable as the novel. The poet has done full justice to the characters. The images she creates stays in our mind long after we finish reading the poems. I am a fan of Charlotte Bronte but one can enjoy the poems without even knowing anything about Jane Eyre or the author. The poet is so talented and imaginative. I wish I had the print copy. To simply hold it to my heart.....


I recommend......


.Author bio:

Rita Maria Martinez is a Cuban-American poet from Miami, Florida. Her writing has been published in journals

including the Notre Dame Review, Ploughshares, MiPOesias, and 2River View. She authored the chapbook Jane-in-the-Box, published by March Street Press in 2008. Her poetry also appears in the textbook Three Genres: The Writing of Fiction/Literary Nonfiction, Poetry and Drama, published by Prentice Hall; and in the anthology Burnt Sugar, Caña Quemada: Contemporary Cuban Poetry in English and Spanish, published by Simon & Schuster. Martinez has been a featured author at the Miami Book Fair International; at the Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach, Florida; and at the Palabra Pura reading series sponsored by the Guild Literary Complex in Chicago. She earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from Florida International University.

Tour Stops:
April 4: Musings of a Bookish Kitty (interview)
April 10: Emma Eden Ramos (review)
April 12: Everything Distils Into Reading (review)
April 15: Book Dilettante (review)
April 16: Suko’s Notebook (review)
April 18: True Book Addict (review)
April 22: Jorie Loves a Story (review)
April 25: Diary of an Eccentric (review)
April 26: Unabridged Chick (review)
April 27: Pretty Purple Polka Dots (review)
April 28: Impressions in Ink (review)
April 30: Create With Joy (review)

https://poeticbooktours.wordpress.com/2016/03/03/the-jane-and-bertha-in-me-by-rita-maria-martinez-blog-tour-april-1-april-30/

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

iRead Book Tour: Review of Hidden Chamber of Death by Hawk MacKinney and Pre-written author interview

 Hidden Chamber of Death by Hawk MacKinney

Book Description:

Hidden Chamber of Death is a compelling tale of intrigue, murder, deception and suspense that leads retired Navy SEAL/part-time private investigator Craige Ingram in search of the connection between seemingly random murders and a banking conspiracy.

​Working with the local homicide investigator, who just happens to be a former Navy buddy, Craige Ingram's attempts to protect a lonely widow and solve the case before another person dies are only thwarted by a psychotic killer whose motivation is based on pure depraved pleasure. In this first book of the MOCCASIN HOLLOW MYSTERY SERIES, the instincts and skills Ingram and his buddy acquired as Navy SEALS are tested to their limits.

My review:

One can't really review a mystery novel if the suspense is to be kept hidden. I liked Craige Ingram, the private investigator. He used to be with the the Navy SEAL. He finds some link between banking conspiracy and random murders. And he has to protect a widow too, in the midst of it all...

He finds old Navy links to solve the murders. And the way he goes about it keeps us totally engrossed. I quite liked the characterizations and the flow. And the tang made it pretty interesting...
I am a lover oof Crime Fiction and this is a good one....

I am definitely going for the next in the series....

Hawk MacKinney/ iRead Book Tour/Feb 29-Mar 11
Pre-written author interview

Where do you write?
Anywhere the mood/moment strikes me. It’s more notes, portraits of setting or character, clothes, bling or the lack of it. Snapshots of vignettes, settings during travel, in a crowded restaurant/airport/grocery store…people watching, but mostly in my man-cave study.

Do you write every day?
Writing is done most every day. There can be interruptions; it’s to be expected. Minor intrusions occur in any household, but the drive to tell stories knocks on my brain with a compulsive regularity.

In today’s tech savvy world, most writers use a computer or laptop. Have you ever written parts of your book on paper?
Whether pencil & paper or keyboard & monitor…they’re only tools. It’s what we do with them that matter. All first drafts are hand-scribbled hardcopy on whatever is at hand. Editing…as much as 10-15 edits/manuscript…is where the computer-tool comes to be most handy.

If you’re a mom writer, how do you balance your time?
Mom or dad doesn’t matter. Time demands are only that. Mom or dad-writer or both can’t buy time. It must be balanced…from patching roofs, gardening, grocery shopping, preparing meals, etc, etc. Tudor Queen Elizabeth I said it very well, “All my possessions for a moment of time.”

Do you have other profession(s) besides writing?
Yes, from teacher to explorer to the military that’s reflected in my serial protagonist(s), Craige Ingram in the Moccasin Hollow Mystery Series & Eklam a’Qoc in the sci-fi series, The Cairns of Sainctuarie.

Any hobbies?
Definitely. Amateur archeology, nonfiction history, bird watching…fortunately this latter has come by accident. The birds of the southeast lowlands arrive regularly just beyond the windows of my sunroom.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Poetic Book Tours: Paradise Drive by Rebecca Foust


Foust has won the 2015 American Literary Review Creative Writing Award for Fiction judged by Garth Greenwell and the 2015 James Heart Poetry Prize judged by Jane Hirshfield. 



MEET PILGRIM

on-the-wane, children grown and gone.
Who, voice-trained from birth in desire,
wakes one morning wanting—nothing—
in 
Foust has won the 2015 American Literary Review Creative Writing Award for Fiction judged by Garth Greenwell and the 2015 James Heart Poetry Prize judged by Jane Hirshfield. the way of things. Wanting some not-thing
not quite not-seen. Her dreams
—Macy’s-parade-balloon-sized dreams—
now lie, a tangle of downed silk and line.
Waist-deep in bright ruin, she labors to sing,
wondering if wanting is, after all, all
there is. Somewhere far away old ice recedes;
somewhere new wars combust. Here, rain is rare
and Pilgrim sings her scales to the dust.
House of no children, guest room of no guest;
no god or guide, a broken song. Her quest.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Title: Paradise Drive
Author: Rebecca Foust
ISBN: 9781941209165
Publisher: Press 53/2015
Pages: 114

I have a deep seated love for Sonnets. I have written a lot. Reading Rebecca Foust was a pleasure. Her sonnets deal with the 21st Century issues. Very contemporary and hits the gut. The Pilgrim's journey has just begun. The quest, the questions, the path and how to define oneself in this modern era....

Contemplating the sonnets, one can hear the music, understand the irony, the humour, the perception.

She covers terrorism, autism, divorce, birth, war, drugs.....I never could think of Sonnets in the modern context. There I was sitting, reading the sonnets, and thinking about that eternal search of truth the poet has tried to find for herself and for us, the reader. There is darkness, yet there is light. In many ways, I could identify myself with The Pilgrim.....

Filled with vivid imagery, descriptions, sensuality, deep thoughts, the language is simply beautiful. The references are very meaningful and give us great insights into each of the sonnets.

I recommend this book to those who love sonnets, poetry and also those who try to experiment in their reading...



Saturday, November 28, 2015

Saturday Snapshot: Saree updates contd.....

28 more days to drape sarees to complete 100! Hope I am able to do it!

26/11/2015

72/100



After my dad passed away in 2002, Maa lost all interest in buying anything for herself. I and my SILs get her sarees all the time and she drapes those. Her siblings too gift her lots of sarees. Mostly they gift her Sambalpuris as they all live in Odisha. 

In the beginning of Nov, I and maa had visited Utkalika. She loved this saree as soon as she saw it and bought it. After 13 long years she bought a saree for herself. She did the fall and piko too, all by herself. Draped it for Diwali. 

Today, I borrowed it from her and draped it with this woollen blouse which also belongs to her. I don't know if it looks good or not but I was nicely warmed the whole time I was in school. Accessorised with Silver earrings from Fabindia.....

New saree, new memories.....all so good.......




20/11/2015

71/100


My love for Sambalpuri ikats comes from my maa. She owns a lot of such stuff and she has gifted me a lot of the stuff......sarees, dress materials, dupattas and handkerchiefs. 

I have seldom looked for ikats from other states. My world started with Sambalpuris and I was happily going about it. It is not that I did not own pochampallis or patolas. I just did not think much about those. 

Then came this saree pact. I got to know about it from one of my close friends who lives in Florida. He sent me a link about this in late April. And the rest they say is history! Ally Matthan and Anju Maudgal Kadam brought in that change which maa hadn't been able to do. I got out all my sarees and hers as well, bought a lot too and started draping those with mixing and matching blouses. 

Learnt about weaves, about different kind of drapes, and most important made friends through this pact. I also met a few saree pacters who became friends for life. Need I say more?

Bonding through sarees......now that is amazing in this day and age of so called convenient wear....

My jeans and capris are languishing.....

Today I draped maa's saree. An Art silk gifted to her by my second SIL. The pallu and border have peacock motifs. And body has hand embroidery. I am wearing the matching blouse of this saree. Very unusual for me.

Accessorized with cane earrings bought from Dilli Haat...






19/11/2015

70/100


Yesterday my FB account was temporarily locked just after posting 69/100. For no reason whatsoever. I sent them numerous mails via support Inbox but did not get an reply. I submitted an ID to get my account unlocked. I was thinking it would take a few days but my account was available to me after a few hours. Those few hours were horrible.

We are so dependent on social media....For a while I thought it was lost to me forever. I had posted about it yesterday. Today, what do I see? Someone commenting that Facebook must have got tired seeing my never ending posts. Do I need such people as friends? 

I have already lost a blog to cyber space. I can't even begin to tell you what I went through. I had subscribed to my own blog in Google Reader. And therefore, could retrieve my posts but I lost all comments, links, contacts etc. I had to rebuild all that from my google reader subscriptions. I used to back up my blog quite regularly but nowadays I don't do it.

This saree must be 25+ years old when I was studying. Yellow Printed Silk, soft and easy to wear. I had bought it from U P Handlooms. I have matched a Magenta handloom blouse from Nalli. Accessorized with my regular gold jewellery.....






18/11/2015

69/100

#100sareepact #oldnewsaree

I will keep away from ikats for sometime.  I am going to take out different kind of sarees. I do have a few of those although I gravitate towards Sambalpuri ikats.


This saree is Cotton handloom from Nalli with pretty border and buties all over the body.  Half and half, grey and oilve green. It was a gift from my youngest SIL, a few years back. I draped it today without a fall! Matched it with a readymade Kalamkari blouse. Accessorised with my gold jewellery....


17/11/2015

68/100

#100sareepact

Delhi Govt had declared a holiday for Chhatt Puja today. As usual I was in my disreputable capris, faded tee and also had oiled my hair.

I asked my mom if she would like to visit the Trade Fair in Pragati Maidan. I wanted to take her in Business hours when there is less crowd. She was not  keen. I asked if we shd go to Moments Mall in Kirti Nagar. She agreed.

Now I got out a saree and she was like...are you mad? I told her either I was going in the clothes I was wearing or drape a saree. So here I am draping this Sambalpuri ikat I had bought for mom for Mother's Day this year. Paired it with a magenta handloom blouse from Nalli. I made a jooda so that my hair does not look chipku chipku...sticky.

I draped this Sambalpuri Ikat which I had bought for Maa for Mother's Day this year. Paired it with a Magenta handloom blouse from Nalli. Maa to draped a Sambalpuri Ikat. I am yet to drape that...


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

PICT/PBP tour : Angels Sing to Rest by Chrinda Jones

Synopsis: 


"Angels Sing to Rest" begins where "Darkness Knows Me" left off: after the investigation into the death of the Deep Ellum Killer, Levi Devereux. 


Detective Sergeant Olivia Gates returns from a two-month suspension, to find her team has gained a new member, her ex-husband is being released from prison, and a 10-year-old street kid has been murdered on her patch of South Dallas. 


Her ex she can deal with, even when he drags their young son into the mix or so she thinks. The murdered boy with the crushed chest, isn't so easily handled and weighs heavily on her as more street kids are killed with an unimaginable sadistic flare and no discernible motive. 


If the continuing body count wasn't stressful enough, Olivia's falling out with long time friend and colleague, Doctor Will Green, threatens any hope Olivia had for more than a friendship with the good doctor. 


Drugs, gaming, prostitution and sadistic murders lead Gates and her team on a trek through the seamy underbelly of living rough on the streets of downtown Dallas.



Genre: Crime 
Published by: Wing and a Prayer Publishing 
Publication Date: Sept 4, 2015 
Number of Pages: 206 
ISBN: 978-0-9898442-1-5 
Series: Olivia Gates and Will Green Crime Series, Book 2 
Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Goodreads 


My Review:


Angels Sing To Rest is book 2 in the Will Green and Olivia Gates crime series. It is supposed to be stand alone but one should read the first one in the series to understand the characters better. If you ignore that character aspect then you can enjoy it as the way it is.

The story is a bit gruesome with oo much killings at some places but I did enjoy it. I was totally involved in the novel after I got the hang of it. I had to go back and forth in the beginning but that did not detract me from finishing it.


The relationship between Will and Olivia was complex and but it only enhanced the reading. You can't really reveal much in a Crime Fiction novel. You either like it or you don't. I did. I love such Crime fiction which keeps me on my toes. 

Such a page turner...Crime Fiction lovers ought to pick it up!



Read an excerpt:


Chapter One

Vincent Rocha knew he hit her hard, but at the time he figured she deserved it. He paid her good money to do what he wanted and by God she was going to do what he wanted. He checked for a pulse at the side of her neck when she lay flaccid on the bed for too long. There was nothing. He didn’t think he hit her hard enough to kill her.

That he killed this woman with his own hands didn’t panic him. She wasn’t his first dead prostitute and she wasn’t likely to be his last. If he thought of prostitutes as human the whole scene might have played out differently. Her kind provide a service. They make themselves available to him and others like him to use up and throw away. His father told him it was the order of things. He believed him.
Vincent rolled the woman over so he didn’t have to look at her face and untied the scarf from her neck. He threw the silk bed sheets over her naked body, not out of any sense of propriety — he purely despised the look of her, with her dyed red hair and stubble covered legs. Experience taught him that her kind was always ready — for cost, a few extra twenties and a bottle — to do what the higher priced call girls wouldn’t.

He went to his closet to cover his own nakedness with a robe and picked up the phone beside the bed. He dialed. When someone finally answered, it was his second in command. “Martin, come to the loft and drive the van. I have some garbage for you to pick up.” Vincent purposefully hung up before Martin could ask questions and went to the utility room for the thick plastic drip sheet and masking tape the remodeling company left behind.

He returned to splay the drip sheet on the floor at the foot of the bed. When he pushed the body off the mattress, it made a sickening thud as it hit the floor, reminding him of a large tuna hitting the deck of a fishing boat. He rolled her up in the plastic, securing the bundle with masking tape. Vincent walked away leaving her in the middle of the room for his lackey.

He tilted his head toward his chest and opened the dressing gown, sniffing for the odor that nauseated him. She left her sex scent on him. The strong odor made him involuntarily gag. He covered himself again and entered the bathroom to shower off what remained of her humanity.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Saturday Snapshot: Festivals and Sarees go hand in hand

Nov 11, 2015

DIWALI

67/100

#100sareepact #giftoflove

My saree, a gift from Upma Bedi ma'am. Maroon Cotton with a purple gold border. Paired it with a gold brocade blouse and gold jewellery.

Maa is draping a Sambalpuri cotton. I had gifted it to her for mother's day this year. Of course, I will drape it too....

Lots of stories but who is gonna read those on Diwali?! 

Have a safe Diwali, friends....



Nov 10, 2015

66/100

#100sareepact 

Come any festival, I miss my eldest brother. He is one of those forgetful and serious persons. However, with abundance of love and goodies. When he was studying in IIT, Delhi, he used to save from his scholarship and give it me. Even when he went to IIT, Madras for M.Tech, he made sure I had funds! 

It was kind of unwritten pact that none of us would tell our parents about it. When he started working, it was like bonanza for me! He was not much for shopping but if I asked him to accompany me, he did that with immense patience. 

Fast forward......he got married......and I got a SIL who has continued the tradition. She gifts me all kinds of stuff although my brother still dolls out money to me. Not that I need any of it. It is not about gifts any more. It is about caring, sharing and affection. 

I still argue with my brother and at times we don't even speak to each other. But I know, he is always there to listen to me. I am hot-headed and impulsive. He is cool and calm.
I call him at all odd hours if I am upset and he simply listens to me. Only after I get it all, out, he slowly demolishes my anger by his rationality. 

In this materialistic world, it is siblings bond that only matters. Everything else is zilch. I am grateful that I have three siblings. Wouldn't trade that for anything. My bonus is, I got three sisters too, via them...what more do I wish for?

Oh, I forget! Three nieces and two nephews.....

Now, why I miss my eldest brother on festivals? Because, he made sure all of us got together. Now.....it doesn't happen that way....

Today, we had lunch at my youngest brother's place. 

I had draped a saree to school. I did not change that. A yellow saree with thin red gold border and somewhat ikat aanchal. Paired it with a mix and match blouse bought locally. Saree was a gift from my second SIL long time back. I drape this saree once a year. Accessorised with gold hoops.....




Nov 07, 2015

65/100

#100sareepact

Kick start to the festive season and parties galore!

Well, yesterday it was two saree day! Nip in the air makes one reach out for silks. And it was wedding reception of a colleague's son.

Delhi is known for its bling and I own only one blingy lehenga saree, which is a big no no!

So here I am draped in a traditional silk. Gold orange Khandua pata from Odisha. This saree changes colour under different lights. Sometimes gold, sometimes orangish yellow and in rare times, a bit purplish too. One of my earlier purchases, I love it. I lost count of the times I have draped it. Paired with a mix and match blouse and pearl accessories....

My colleagues were draped in sarees and looked good!

Let's come to the food part......so many choices....and all so yummy. I gorged and gorged. In fact, every one did that.....

Who else is inviting me next?!



Nov 07, 2015

64/100

#100sareepact

Middle child......one who is left alone most of the times, one who is more independent than the older and the youngest one. Technically I share that spot with my second brother. Although years apart, we had more in common in our childhood years.

According to my mom, he always wished for a sister and when I was born, he seldom left my side. I have faint memories of following him about. He was my champion, my hero. It continued till he passed out from school and got into IIT. And suddenly, he was in hostel!

As it happens with everyone, we drifted apart after that. I still looked up at him when he used to come back in holidays. But now I was the sister who pestered him and no teenager likes that!

By the time I had passed out from school, he was married.....and......I got busy with higher my studies.....

The closeness did come back.....after his daughter got married.....I realized I had always missed that. With him, I am again the little girl who followed him around, and he, my champion.

Brothers feel the same way as sisters. But they are not as demonstrative as us. I ought to know. I have three of them! In my next posts, I will talk about my other two brothers.....

It is a saree post after all. So here I go.....

Mysore silk, beige with gold black border. It belonged to my younger SIL. One fine day, she gave this undraped saree to my mom. Now mom draped it only once. I landed up with it. I have paired it with a two by two rubia blouse. I do have an Ikat blouse perfect for the saree but couldn't find it! Accessorised with bronze danglers from Odisha....




Nov 03, 2015

63/100

#100sareepact

National Museum has always fascinated me. I have visited it pretty often.

When I was in college, I had heard about the Art Appreciation course offered by National Museum. I always wanted to do it. Somehow all through my college and Univ days, it did not materialise.

When I started teaching, I didn't give it much thought. However, it was there in the back of my mind. One day, I was conversing with one of my colleagues, Nity Sharma and I told her about this wish about doing the Art Appreciation course, somd day.

It was July 2007. She told me that her husband was the registrar of National Museum and admissions were open for the batch starting in Aug. At her behest, I went the same day, filled the form, deposited the fees and voila, started attending the course from August. It was once a week, every Thursday, at 5 30 pm. It went on till mid Dec.

I had to submit four assignments too, which I enjoyed doing. I learnt about Indian art.......ancient, mediaeval and modern, Japanese, Chinese, European and lot more. 

We were also served tea and snacks each day. Best part was meeting people from all walks of society, students, journalists, foreigners, politicians etc. I still have last lasting friendship with some.

Well, now I have Certificate in Art Appreciation from National Museum. It sounds good, doesn't it?!

My saree? Maheshwari cotton with Bagh block prints. I had bought it for maa but it came back to me. I have paired it with a Gold bordered maroon handloom blouse bought from Nalli.

Hope all appreciate the art of my saree and the blouse.....:P




Nov 02, 2015

62/100

#100sareepact

Pre-Diwali week, the time when one is on a house cleaning spree, shopping spree and what not!

We must not forget the lights. I get so nostalgic when I put up the lights. My dad used to put together the holders for the zero watt bulbs of all hues and colours. I was the one who helped him. He used to sit at one place and I was the one handing him wires cut to the right length as specified by him, the holders, the pliers, the screw driver etc etc.

Or we worked simultaneously. I, with one set of wires and holders and he with another. Each year we would get those wired stuff and check out the holders.

Only then we put those lights up. Next step was checking the bulbs. The first Diwali, after he passed away in May 2002, I couldn't stay at home. I and mom went to Bhubaneswar.

However, from 2003 till date, I and mom put up those very same wired holders after checking those the same as before. And we talk of dad. His quirks, idiosyncrasies etc. He loved Diwali. He was very enthusiastic about fireworks and all.

We no longer buy crackers but we ensure to put up the lights, diyas and prepare a lot of sweets. Gifting is part and parcel of the festival. And it continues.

Coming back, my saree is a printed Kashmiri silk bought in a sale. Paired with a red Ikat blouse. I like the off white and red 




Oct 29, 2015

61/100

#100sareepact 

Not on a mood to write anything. Life is not so good. But this too shall pass.

This is a heavy art silk saree from Pune. I love the multi coloured border and aanchal. It does not slip and is pretty easily draped. Paired with my purple handloom blouse.

Needed to boost my moral by draping this saree. Not that it happened...



Posting for Saturday Snapshot, hosted by Melinda of West Metro Mommy