29 December, 2013

#SpecialFeature :: #Interview with Author Ruchi Vasudeva


Now Presenting:
*** SPECIAL FEATURE - December'13 ***

About the Author
Ruchi Vasudeva is a doctor by profession, a teacher by vocation and, in her own words, an author by destiny. The writing bug has long resided in her and a contest held by Harlequin for Indian authors gave her a golden opportunity to have her dream realized. She debuted in August '13 with her book 'Bollywood Fiancé For A Day'. Her new release 'You Can't Fight A Royal Attraction' is her second book, both being published by Harlequin. She also won a contest for getting a short story published with Harper Collins which will be published in December. She writes romantic fiction with conflicted characters who come into their own in their quest of reaching out for love. She loves to write about spirited heroines getting hurtled out of their daily life as soon as they cross paths with their rather challenging heroes.
She lives with her husband and two kids. When not bent double over the laptop, she might be found with her nose in books or munching nachos at the movies or glued to the telecast of Team India or Chennai Super Kings in action! She likes to take long walks which help in brewing story ideas. 

A Quick Recap of the Posts this Month
1st December : Introducing the Author
8th December : Romantic Heroes Rule

A Chat with the Author

Your Bio says that you are ‘a doctor by profession, a teacher by vocation and an author by destiny.’ So tell us about your journey till you finally threw caution to the wind and decided to write…  
Thanks for hosting me here, Debdatta.
All of these three roles are interwoven in me, so I think. I'm a professor and HOD now and I love explaining my subject. Interacting every year with a new batch of students is extremely fruitful, especially when you see them settling down in the next year. As for writing, it had been a distant goal on the horizon. What actually made me take the plunge was a story that came to me while I was travelling on the bus. In that the main character loses his chance because he procrastinates, thinking of things as 'might be done some time'. That was my view towards writing too and maybe it was my subconscious reaching out at that time. I began to see that like that character I was putting a goal on hold too. So then I decided to write and try to get published.

When and how did you first decide that it was time to take that chance to publish your work?    
While I was struggling to formulate a story, I wrote to my target publisher Harlequin Mills and Boon. They're UK based and I wasn't sure they'll consider work from an Indian author.  In reply, surprisingly I received a printed copy of their guidelines and a personal note from the editorial. Really, who and what could be more encouraging than that! I studied those guidelines by heart. Then I got to know about the Passions contest by Harlequin for Indian authors and it was just fortuitous.

Do you have some unpublished work, written before ‘You Can’t Fight A Royal Attraction’ that is closer to your heart?     
Not one but many but I won't say they are closer to my heart. All stories and characters I've crafted are special to me. I wrote  a total of about nine shorts, novels and partials before my story was selected for Passions lll. I believe it was good practice and helped me find my 'voice' as writers call it.

From conceiving an idea to marketing the book – it’s a long process. Which part of it did you enjoy the most?     
Well, developing an idea is obviously interesting. It's a new germ, you're excited about it. The characters begin to say their piece... Then when you write, you begin to see what will or won't work but the words are adding up so it gives you the sense of exhilaration. Then comes the editing. That is the toughest process because you spend so much time debating over what should go where and if a particular sentence sounds better this or the other way. From then on it gets even tougher because your editor sends revisions. You make lists of changes, scratch your head over how to incorporate them while still keeping the flow of your original writing. As if that wasn't enough,  there are the edits. So you can further delve into sentence re-structure and re-formation. By then you're almost exhausted re-reading the same manuscript. But all this is forgotten when you get the book cover and when finally the book is launched, it packs a wallop of excitement. Add to that sharing with friends and family. Nothing can beat that sense of achievement. Marketing, well I'm still learning the ropes so won't say much except it takes a lot of time which I would like to spend writing. So overall, I'd say writing the book and its launch is the best part for me :)

When you write, do you get into the character and decide the course of events or do you shape them as the plot requires them to be?     
I do have the situation in mind when I start but when characters come on the page, they take over almost completely. Mostly I get surprised as the plot turns out something totally different from the one I vaguely planned.

Why did you choose this particular genre? And as a reader is this your favourite genre?    
Yes, it is. I used to read a lot of Mills and Boon and as I said they were my target publisher starting out.

All writers are readers first… Who and what are your favourites? 
My favourite authors are Georgette Heyer, Agatha Christie and Sidney Sheldon. I love to read Erle Stanley Gardner, P.G. Wodehouse and Sherlock Holmes too. My favourite book is Pride and Prejudice. I think it's the template for all romantic fiction. I read quite a few Harlequin lines as well.

Do you think your favourite authors have also had an influence on your writing style?      
In the initial year, yes, it did quite a lot I think. I used to write like the late Penny Jordan (HMB author) as far as long sentences were concerned. She was the only author I've read who could frame a whole paragraph out of a single sentence and still not confuse the reader. Gradually the habit dropped off on its own.

Ever suffered from writer’s block? What is the best way around it – especially if you are on a deadline?  
I think deadline in itself is the best recourse for a writer's block. At least for me! On occasion one does need to get recharged, so reading and taking walks helps one to get back. But most of the time,  writer's block is nothing but uncharted characters. If your characters are in place, the writing will have momentum.

Some rapid fire questions:
Your favourite movie: 
The Mirror has two faces and in Bollywood, it's Waqt (oldie one)
Your favourite genre of Music: 
Pop...Enrique Iglesias style and melodious Bollywood film songs, especially by Atif Aslam
Your favourite Cuisine:  
Chocolate cake
Your first celebrity Crush: 
My mom used to tell me it was Rishi Kapoor but I don't remember that. Whom I do remember is David Hasselhoff of Knight Rider *smile*
Top thing on your Bucket List: 
To write a book that would sell a million copies *laughs*

Quick Choices: 
Poirot or Ms.Marple: Poirot
Ocean’s 11 or Die Hard: Die Hard
Tea or Coffee: Both but tea in the morning :)
Pizza or Pasta: Both again :)
Dystopian or Fantasy: Neither but if I had to choose then Fantasy

What would you like to say to the people who haven’t read your book yet but are contemplating on whether to pick it up or not?  
Hmm, here goes...have you ever made a bad decision in your life? Have you had your plans upset and no idea of what to do next? In this book, Saira is facing some really bad consequences of her actions and trying to piece back her life. At this time, getting drawn to Rihaan is not a good idea. Especially when he refuses to share his past with her. Will they succeed in fighting this attraction? And what when Rihaan's revelation complicates things even more...? 
So has your curiosity been piqued? Go buy this book then :)

Her Latest Release

Playing with fire. Who says it isn't fun?

The last thing Rihaan needs in his life is to play host to a woman who drives him crazy! Saira is gorgeous, yes, but she’s also wildly infuriating. Yet every time she comes within an inch of him he finds his normally iron-clad control slipping further and further away…


Wanting to protect herself from more heartbreak, Saira knows she should keep her distance from Rihaan —but there’s something about him she just can’t seem to resist… Little does she know that Rihaan is hiding a secret! When it comes to light will it tear them apart —or raise their passion to new, more majestic heights?  





Stalk the Author

Giveaway
Here's your chance to win a copy of Ruchi Vasudeva's book for Yourself! Enter the rafflecopter below to try your luck and 'May the Odds be Ever in Your Favour'
Open to Indian Residents Only!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

26 December, 2013

#BookReview :: The Case of the Love Commandos (Vish Puri #4) by Tarquin Hall

The wonderful fourth outing for Delhi detective Vish Puri.
When Ram and Tulsi fall in love, the young woman's parents are dead set against the union. She's from a high-caste family; he's an Untouchable, from the lowest strata of Indian society. Young Tulsi's father locks her up and promises to hunt down the "loverboy dog." Fortunately, India's Love Commandos, a group of volunteers dedicated to helping mixed-caste couples, come to the rescue. But just after they liberate Tulsi, Ram is mysteriously snatched from his hiding place.
The task of finding him falls to India's "Most Private Investigator". Unfortunately, Vish Puri is not having a good month. He's failed to recover a cache of stolen jewels. His wallet has been stolen and he's having to rely on his infuriating Mummy-ji to get it back. And to top it all, his archrival, suave investigator Hari Kumar, is also trying to locate Ram. To reunite the star-crossed lovers, Puri and his team of operatives must infiltrate Ram's village and navigate the caste politics shaped by millennia-old prejudices.


I was surprised and happy to find out about real life ‘Love Commandos’ on the show ‘Satyameva Jayate’ hosted by Amir Khan. They operate in various parts of the country and helping out couples facing trouble from family and the society.

In Tarquin Hall’s latest, Ram and Tulsi are from completely two different strata of the society and when they fall in love, Tulsi's parents are so much against the relationship that they lock her up and set on hunting down Ram. This is where the Love Commandos makes an entrance to the story as they manage to rescue Tulsi from her home. Unfortunately, they may be a bit too late in getting Tulsi out as they find out that Ram is missing from his hiding place. In the meantime, Vish Puri is looking to break the bad luck mojo that seemed to have taken over his life before his competitor can snatch a win from under his nose by finding Ram before him. But soon the stakes are higher as this story takes a turn from ‘Missing Person Case’ to a murder investigation.

The first thing about this story that helped me warm up to it is the picture perfect portrayal of India’s caste system. Being in the twenty first century, I personally find it ridiculous that people still cling on to this system. I shiver every time I am asked what caste I belong to and wonder when people will start realizing that caste system only serves as a divider and has no positive productivity in our lives or in our society. It is only a negative influence that hinders our development. Vish Puri though, through this story, gives us hope that with time people will come to see it.

The plot started out as fairly simple till a few twists took it to another level of interesting. Mummy-ji, to my delight, plays a bigger role in this book and she was a delight to read about. And how can we talk about Mummy-ji and Vish Puri and not make a mention of the impressive humour woven into the story? Or the mouthwatering foods that get its fair share of limelight? The pace was almost perfect throughout, but veered off a bit towards the end where it seemed to be a bit rushed. Too many cases and too many bad guys to be taken out made things a bit of a chaos – but one that I rather enjoyed.

All in all, it was a good book and keeps up to the expectations that we have from a ‘Vish Puri’ Novel. 


Buy this Book



25 December, 2013

#BookReview :: Merry Christmas, Alex Cross (Alex Cross #19) by James Patterson


It's Christmas Eve, and Detective Alex Cross has been called out to catch someone who's robbing his church's poor box. That mission behind him, Alex returns home to celebrate with Bree, Nana, and the children. The tree-decorating is barely under way before his phone rings again--a horrific hostage situation is quickly spiraling out of control. Away from his own family on the most precious of days, Alex calls upon every ounce of his training, creativity, and daring to save another family. He risks everything--and he may not make it back alive for Christmas dinner.





I love Alex Cross Series… Except for one or two books here and there, Alex Cross always delivers the need for a fix of mystery and action.

After closing his most recent case, Alex Cross gets back home for a family dinner at Christmas. He plans to spend some quality time with his family, only to be called into a hostage situation right in middle of the get together. Bound by duty, Alex heads over to the lawyer’s home where he has taken a senator’s wife and his ex-wife and her new family as hostage. Then there’s also the situation with a known terrorist resurfacing. Alex Cross had done the initial profiling on this terrorist and thus he gets involved in trying to work out why the terrorist had resurfaced again…

The book has all the usual identifiers of a James Patterson Novel. Really short chapters, fast paced action, look into the villain’s mind, lots of red herrings and a justified ending. The characterization was beautiful as ever. I was delighted to read about Alex spending some quality time (well as long as it lasted) with his family. This book was however a bit different in the sense that it being the holiday season, we see Alex in a different light. Of course, Alex has previously missed out on many family occasions due to his work. But this is the first time that we do see Alex reconsidering his career choices against the missed occasions. Against the holiday backdrop, it almost gave us an impression of a different Alex. However, don’t let that fool you into thinking that Alex Cross has gotten soft as he is impeccable as ever in hunting down his targets and solving his cases.

Not a stand-out novel among the other books series but it delivers couple of hours of curious and enjoyable page turning.



Buy this Book

23 December, 2013

#BookReview :: Baramulla Bomber by Clark Prasad

Multiple intelligence agencies are tracking Mansur Haider, a god-fearing aspiring cricketer from Kashmir. His girlfriend, Aahana Yajurvedi, is trying to locate her missing mountaineering team, who vanished after a mysterious earthquake strikes Shaksgam Valley.
Investigating Mansur and the Shaksgam Valley incident is Swedish intelligence officer, Adolf Silfverskiold, whose only relationship to god consists of escorting his girlfriend to Church.
A dual China-Pakistan battlefront scenario facing the Indian Home Minister, Agastya Rathore, whose ancestors carry a prehistoric secret linked to the stars. He is faced with the challenge of finding a lasting solution to the Kashmir crisis.
Which Biblical Weapon was Tested in Shaksgam Valley? Why is Mansur Haider Important? Is There a Solution to the Kashmir Crisis? Can Destiny be Controlled? Does a Cosmic Religion Exist?



The book cover and the blurb promise its reader Science Fiction, Espionage and Thriller. As a mystery/thriller fan that is all that I needed to pick up this one.

Mansur Haider, an aspiring cricketer from Kashmir is being tracked and investigated by multiple takes intelligence agencies. At the same time his girlfriend Aahana is looking into the matter of a team of mountaineers that disappeared after an earthquake that hit Saksgam Valley. These two seemingly parallel incidents are enough to get the readers curious enough to turn the pages of the book. But then lands the Swedish intelligence officer, Adolf, who is looking into both these situations… What follows then revolves around a mysterious weapon, some cricket and some politics set in a multiple locations that build up a story that promises a rollercoaster journey.

The good parts first. The best thing about the book is its plot – interesting and had huge scope. Kudos to the author for coming up with it. There are many facets to it which kept it from becoming monotonous over time. The second thing that I liked was the accompanying diagrams. As voracious readers we are quite used to forming a mental image of everything that we read, but accompanying diagrams of symbols do help it to make it clear and easy to understand and remember. I also enjoyed the build-up of the story that which was rather exciting. Now, am moving on to the not so nice parts of the book. There are a whole lot of characters involved in this story but they were all very bland and uninspiring. If I had to choose one, I would probably say that Adolf was the one I liked out of them but even he is very much a forgettable character once you put down the book. Also, the climax was a rather let down after the build-up that the novel provided.

End of the day, this is a debut novel and as such this can be regarded as a good book. The author still has time to work on his characters in the upcoming two installments of the trilogy. Hopefully he will mature over the time and provide us with more hours of reading pleasure and lovable characters.



Buy this Book


The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.

22 December, 2013

#SpecialFeature :: How research shaped my book, You Can’t Fight A Royal Attraction by Ruchi Vasudeva


Now Presenting:
*** SPECIAL FEATURE - December'13 ***

About the Author
Ruchi Vasudeva is a doctor by profession, a teacher by vocation and, in her own words, an author by destiny. The writing bug has long resided in her and a contest held by Harlequin for Indian authors gave her a golden opportunity to have her dream realized. She debuted in August '13 with her book 'Bollywood Fiancé For A Day'. Her new release 'You Can't Fight A Royal Attraction' is her second book, both being published by Harlequin. She also won a contest for getting a short story published with Harper Collins which will be published in December. She writes romantic fiction with conflicted characters who come into their own in their quest of reaching out for love. She loves to write about spirited heroines getting hurtled out of their daily life as soon as they cross paths with their rather challenging heroes.
She lives with her husband and two kids. When not bent double over the laptop, she might be found with her nose in books or munching nachos at the movies or glued to the telecast of Team India or Chennai Super Kings in action! She likes to take long walks which help in brewing story ideas. 


How research shaped my book, You Can’t Fight A Royal Attraction.

Writers live twice 
                            ~ Natalie Goldberg

Authors are privileged people in that. Maybe it should be said that writers live multiple times or as many times as the characters they write. Stepping into the character’s shoes, living out their emotions in that span, does gain you a new perspective. To make the background of a character, to make the character living and breathing and real to the reader, a writer has to find out lots of things the character might know in her life but which don’t appear in the story. To make the history three dimensional you have to explore a lot especially if you envisage characters who are from a different background from yours. Thus researching is both enlightening and educating.

Researching You Can’t Fight A Royal Attraction was both hard and a lot of fun! I got to know about a lot of fun facts which didn’t have much use in the book. For instance I found interesting info about the traditional Rajasthani cuisine. The cooking is very labour intensive involving such exotic techniques like khad cooking, which involves digging a pit, burying the meat and surrounding it with hot coal. I came to know of Bina Pani ki Roti, chappati without water literally, made with just boora (similar to caster sugar), ghee, milk and flour and decorated with saffron, cardamom seeds and raisins. 

A funny tradition I came to about is that when the son-in-law visited his in-laws for the first time, a live partridge would be enclosed in a box and set at his place with the usual fork, spoon and knife. The moment he opened the box, fffrrr the bird would fly away! Would love to see that live, especially the look on the poor groom’s face! :)

Then I read about polo, how it is a favourite game with British princes and our own royalty and the sad story of Prince of Jodhpur who fell from horseback on the field and nearly got crushed beneath his horse. Next on the list was finding out about traditional Rajasthani musical instruments. Nowadays they are even played at themed Punjabi weddings. There’s the sarangi, popular in the stringed instruments, the surinda, a smaller version of it. The morchang which adds a plaintive, melancholic twang to music. Matkas are a pair of huge earthenware pots used to add boom, their mouths covered with membrane to produced hollow sound. Poongi of the snake charmers have two tubes, one for the notes and the other for the drone. Anyone remember Saif Ali Khan’s ‘poongi baja ke’ song? :)

I came to know about Mewar and Marwar, the two socio-cultural regions of Rajasthan which are located on either side of the mountain range of Aravallis. While Mewar, hilly and spotted with lakes, is located to the east of the Aravaliis, Marwar, mostly desert, is located to the west. The physical terrain on the either side of the Aravaliis is vastly different and this has given rise to the two different regions which have different dialect and culture.

A few funny lines in Mewari that I want to share: Wana pagtia ni waawri literally meaning ‘go to fruitless fields’. It’s a version of ‘Go to hell!’ Might come in handy sometime! *wink*

Thus, I had lots of fun researching. Rajasthan is a state worth a visit, with its rich heritage, a land of varied landscape, colourful attires, soulful music and exquisite architecture. I couldn’t help being drawn to that background while I wrote. 

So do all those things I’ve delved into so finely appear in the book? You'll have to read it to find out :)
Let me know if you’ve been to Rajasthan? Share your experience. How do you feel about researching? Is it a drag? Or do you get lost in the subject and wind up with lots of unused information like me? *smile*

Don’t forget to enter the rafflecopter! Good luck :)

Her Latest Release

Playing with fire. Who says it isn't fun?

The last thing Rihaan needs in his life is to play host to a woman who drives him crazy! Saira is gorgeous, yes, but she’s also wildly infuriating. Yet every time she comes within an inch of him he finds his normally iron-clad control slipping further and further away…


Wanting to protect herself from more heartbreak, Saira knows she should keep her distance from Rihaan —but there’s something about him she just can’t seem to resist… Little does she know that Rihaan is hiding a secret! When it comes to light will it tear them apart —or raise their passion to new, more majestic heights?  





Stalk the Author

Giveaway
Here's your chance to win a copy of Ruchi Vasudeva's book for Yourself! Enter the rafflecopter below to try your luck and 'May the Odds be Ever in Your Favour'
Open to Indian Residents Only!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

20 December, 2013

#BookReview :: The Invisible Code: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery (Bryant & May #10) by Christopher Fowler

When a young woman is found dead in the pews of St. Bride’s Church—alone and showing no apparent signs of trauma—Arthur Bryant assumes this case will go to the Peculiar Crimes Unit, an eccentric team tasked with solving London’s most puzzling murders. Yet the city police take over the investigation, and the PCU is given an even more baffling and bewitching assignment.
Called into headquarters by Oskar Kasavian, the head of Home Office security, Bryant and May are shocked to hear that their longtime adversary now desperately needs their help. Oskar’s wife, Sabira, has been acting strangely for weeks—succumbing to violent mood swings, claiming an evil presence is bringing her harm—and Oskar wants the PCU to find out why. And if there’s any duo that can deduce the method behind her madness, it’s the indomitable Bryant and May.
When a second bizarre death reveals a surprising link between the two women’s cases, Bryant and May set off on a trail of clues from the notorious Bedlam hospital to historic Bletchley Park. And as they are drawn into a world of encrypted codes and symbols, concealed rooms and high-society clubs, they must work quickly to catch a killer who lurks even closer than they think.


The Invisible Code, is the tenth standalone book in the ‘Peculiar Crimes Unit’ Series, but the first one that I got my hands on thanks to Netgalley. It is always better to read the books in a series in order to be able to see the main characters being introduced and their growth over the period, but then it is not always possible. I usually do not mind picking up standalones of a series from here and there – but in this case I so wish I had the chance to read the books in order from the beginning because the protagonists are such characters that make you want to see their journey throughout.

Arthur Bryant and John May are part of a self-sufficient Peculiar Crimes Unit that pick up, yes, peculiar cases that the other departments cannot solve and approach them in their own unique way. They are not the most popular branch around and are always under scrutiny with constant pressure of being shut down. When another peculiar case comes up, Bryant wants a chance to work on it where a woman trying to avoid annoying children, walks into a church and keels over and dies. But the case is beyond their reach and when Oskar Kasavian, the head of Home Office security and long-time adversary of the PCU needs their help with a sensitive issue, Bryant uses the opportunity to leverage his way into the other case as well. Oskar’s wife has been behaving oddly and when another body turns up, the two seemingly unrelated cases suddenly become vital to each other in order to be solved. 

In the era of NCIS/CSI/Person of Interest/Almost Human, where advanced technology plays a crucial role, PCU is almost like a walk back into the black and white era. Unconventional in their ways, according to the current trend anyway, May & Bryant stand out like a sore thumb. But it is also what makes their story much more interesting to read. I absolutely adored Bryant and his quirky nature and May’s people skills more than makes up for Bryant’s lack of it. They are a team - more than a detective and sidekick. The plot is simple yet intricate and consuming. Then there’s the author’s unmatched style of narration that rounds up the story so well.

Awesome and a must read for all Sherlock Holmes & Hercule Poirot fans.


Buy this Book



19 December, 2013

#BookReview :: Slide by Michelle Congdon

After surviving a horrific car accident that claimed the lives of her mother and brother, Evangeline made a promise to herself to never go back to the city filled with the memories of her tragic past. But when her estranged father suddenly falls ill, she has no choice but to return to New York and to the life she spent twelve years trying to avoid.
Since the accident, heiress to the multi-billion dollar Montgomery Empire, Evangeline has always feared the media attention that comes with having the Montgomery name and would immediately give it all up if it meant the chance to bring back her loved ones. Delicate and camera shy, the last person she should have on her mind is a type of guy like Ryan Fox.
Witty, extremely arrogant but undeniably good-looking are only a few words Evangeline can use to describe the New York Yankee’s hot-shot. The notorious bad boy― well-versed at playing the game both on and off the field― isn't fazed about the media circus following his every move and couldn't be anymore different to the quiet, shy girl that she is. So, what does a guy like him see in somebody as messed-up as her? And although everything about Ryan screams trouble with a capital T, why can't Evangeline seem to stay away? It's not until they're away from the cameras that Evangeline begins to see the real man hiding behind the cocky facade- one that's hurt and haunted by a dark and terrible secret.
What will happen once Evangeline finds the courage to reveal what really happened on the evening her mother and brother died? And how will she react when she finally learns the truth about Ryan's chilling past? Will baring their deepest secrets bring them closer together or will it tear them apart and have them sliding into darkness all over again?



My Review

The reason I read romance novels is because they provide a light interlude between my usual mystery / thrillers. They are supposed to be simple and most of the time we already know what's coming... But well, Slide changed all that  for me a bit.

First we meet Evangeline who has eluded the spotlight that comes with her family name and her past by staying away from her hometown. Forced to come back under not so pleasant situation, she just wants a normal life. On the other hand we meet Ryan, star Player (in every sense of that word) who lives his life in the very spotlight that Evangeline has always evaded. But in his case there are ghosts in the cupboard of his past too. When they come together there's only fireworks... Together they fight the demons of their past and handle the side-effects of being in the spotlight.

The first thing that stands out in this story is its characters and their strength. Its two people, equal in every way, finding their way to each other. Its not a story of a charming billionaire coming to the rescue of his very ordinary princess or a next door girl rescuing a dark brooding hero from the shadows of his past. Its a story of two people who are of equal status when it comes to money, power, strength and even baggage. The other thing that I liked about it that Evangeline and Ryan didn't go for the 'Love at first sight' formula. They lusted after each other, but it was with time that they fell for each other. The characters in the book, including the protagonists, were well fleshed out and I just loved Ryan's family and Evangeline's brother. The narration is crisp and has an air of no-nonsense as Michelle dives straight into working the connection between the protagonists.

Its hot and it is fun with the additional advantage of featuring two very strong characters as its lead. If you love reading romance, this book should be next on your reading list.


About the Author

Michelle Congdon resides in Sydney, Australia. She has a Dalmatian named Jett, who to this day continues to hold an 8 year grudge against her after she had to leave him with her parents when she moved to the big city- this only proves animals are much like their owners. Michelle enjoys reading books of all sorts of genre's, watching way too many movies and TV shows (and Disney cartoons), singing out aloud to her favorite hits and going on adventures involving food and travel. Michelle is loud, talks a lot and shares an ever-growing list of fictional husbands with a friend. From when she was a small girl, she has always had an overactive imagination and has tried to put it to good use by sharing her stories with anyone willing to listen.

Blog I Facebook I Twitter I Goodreads


10 Things You May Not Know About Michelle:
- I am left handed, but use my right hand to do most things except to write.
- I can recite Disney’s the Lion King and Aladdin word from word (including the songs).
- I am addicted to video games and wish I had more spare time to play them.
- I won “Aussie of the Month” in primary school but was sick that day, so my sister had to go up in the middle of school assembly and get the award.
- I have a gluten intolerance but I’m always naughty and eat things I shouldn’t. I suffer the consequences every time.
- I am scared of balloons. I can’t pop them. I can’t be near anyone blowing one up. Sometimes I will attempt to blow them up but will only go to half-size.
- I enjoy listening to classical music
- I am very passionate about animals and plants, and struggle to even squash a cockroach.
- I have a strange fear of any kind of electric shocks (including static electricity) and also irons if it is in someone else’s hand and I am near by?!? (Yes, as in the object you use to straighten out your clothes.) I don’t know where either fear originated. What I can say is I cried like a little girl when my friend was messing with me and chasing me around with a small Taser gun. When he realized I was well and truly frightened, he decided to stop. Haha.
- I have a scrapbook and a large corkboard filled with favorite memorabilia that I have collected from my life.


Giveaway
- 1 $10 Amazon Gift Card
- 1 Digital of Slide by Michelle Congdon through Rafflecopter
- 1 Digital of Slide by Michelle Congdon to one Random Commentor

a Rafflecopter giveaway

15 December, 2013

#SpecialFeature : Join in a Chat with Rihaan and Saira, Characters from You Can’t Fight A Royal Attraction


Now Presenting:
*** SPECIAL FEATURE - December'13 ***

About the Author
Ruchi Vasudeva is a doctor by profession, a teacher by vocation and, in her own words, an author by destiny. The writing bug has long resided in her and a contest held by Harlequin for Indian authors gave her a golden opportunity to have her dream realized. She debuted in August '13 with her book 'Bollywood Fiancé For A Day'. Her new release 'You Can't Fight A Royal Attraction' is her second book, both being published by Harlequin. She also won a contest for getting a short story published with Harper Collins which will be published in December. She writes romantic fiction with conflicted characters who come into their own in their quest of reaching out for love. She loves to write about spirited heroines getting hurtled out of their daily life as soon as they cross paths with their rather challenging heroes.
She lives with her husband and two kids. When not bent double over the laptop, she might be found with her nose in books or munching nachos at the movies or glued to the telecast of Team India or Chennai Super Kings in action! She likes to take long walks which help in brewing story ideas. 


A Chat with the Characters from You Can’t Fight A Royal Attraction

Today I have Rihaan and Saira for an interview here at b00k r3vi3ws blog. Thanks, Debdutta, for the center stage and a chance to host my well loved characters. Thanks too, for the nice tea and thoughtfully provided chocolate cake. Looks yummy and so totally hard to resist while I wait for them to arrive. Ah, the wait wasn't long! Here is Saira! 
(Saira walks in.) 

Saira: Hi Ruchi, great to see you.  
Me: Hi Saira, wonderful to see you as well and looking fab as usual. Orange and black, what a nice combo and I love the pleated chiffon skirt! 
Saira: Thank you! Well, you know me (smiles and winks) Clothes are my thing.
Me: Where's Rihaan? Would you like tea while we wait? (Pours and hands her the teacup)
Saira: (accepts) Thanks, I guess it's early for cocktails yet. (grins) Rihaan? He's still working on his story. You know what he's like – well of course you do! You're to blame for his tendency to get lost in the story he's creating. Do you realize how much trouble it is? Last Sunday he walked out of Aragham's birthday party that we were attending at Vishakha's and I had to chase him down to the beach where he was working out his plot twists. And he got me thinking it out too, so we nearly missed the cutting of the cake! 
Me: Oh oh that is bad. But look here, you didn't complain when he acted absentminded the last time he was thinking about his script? (widens eyes innocently)
Saira (Blushes) Now that was...what can I say...kinda cute! And don't make it sound so scandalous because you know it wasn't. It wasn't anything it shouldn't be!  
Me: Mmm, do I sense a note of accusation in that? 
(Rihaan comes in at that moment.) 
Me: Hi Rihaan!
Rihaan (smiles a rakishly attractive smile): Hi Ruchi! (Leans over to peck Saira and takes a seat): I see you’ve started without me? When the man is away, the ladies love to get all chatty! 
Me: Is that even a phrase? I've never heard of it. 
Rihaan: I can create phrases. It's my job after all. Working on words, with words and through words. (Tips imaginary hat in an olde worlde gesture and gives another heart stopping smile.)
Me (in an aside to Saira): I can understand how you fell for him. Oh those sherry eyes! 
Saira: (whispers back.) Pure wine and as heady in their magic. You have put me in trouble, haven't you? (sighs)
Me:I guess I totally have. (Clears throat and says more normally) So shall we start, Rihaan?
Rihaan: All set Ruchi. Though I have trouble understanding why you're interviewing your own characters. You're supposed to know us through and through and inside out. Isn't that how it goes? 
Me: Know you? You particularly? That's something like climbing Mount Abu. You aren't that easy to decipher, my dear Rihaan. Not easy at all. You think it was easy to figure out and write what you were all about? Let me tell you it was like trying to peel the cover from the maize seed or trying to break into a chakravyoh out of the epic Mahabharata or delve into the deepest ocean...!!
Rihaan: I get the picture. (Holds up his hands) My apologies. I really had no idea I was being tough.
Me: Oh I forgave you when you finally began to talk. Anyway the purpose isn't for me to know you but to get you acquainted with the readers.    
Rihaan: Go on then. What do you want to ask? 
Me: How do you feel about getting to know her? 
Rihaan: Well she's, you know, spicy, quirky, fun to be with. It's been a topsy-turvy ride trying to figure out what I felt for her and then it had just begun. But now looking back the uncertainty was all trivial. What matters is now. I feel my life totally changed knowing her. (Looks across at Saira with such feeling that I start to blink emotionally) 
Me: Oh Rihaan! (Dabs eyes.) And Saira? What do you say about your life before Rihaan?
Saira: I was lost, you know. I mean I knew myself and I've stood up for my beliefs. But then a part of me, the loving part, had been through a frightful experience. I'd forgotten how to trust. Even distrusted my own decisions. Meeting Rihaan wasn't problem solving. Far from it. When you're determined not to open your heart and then you find the doors are cracking up... (Smiles back at Rihaan.) Well, suffice to say I led him quite a dance. Yes, I acknowledge it!
Rihaan: She made me dance in more ways than one, it's true. 
Me: And do you agree you've both quite different in temperaments?
Saira: Sometimes we think quite alike. In all the ways that matter anyway. (winks) But yes I do see that at times our wavelengths collide. For instance he's so protective and traditional. But then he comes with surprises that leave me breathless. There's a different side to him too.
Me: Different?
Saira: Ruchi, don't pretend as though you haven't an inkling! You haven't forgotten when he went doing something like kissing me in front of his family?
Me: Yes well, that surprised me too. They're so starched collar too. So Rihaan what do you say to that?
Rihaan: Being nontraditional? (nods towards Saira) She brings that side out in me. 
Me: Ah, so you were all good before she came into the picture. Is that so?
Rihaan: Noo, I don't deny, I have sowed my share of wild oats. Wild parties, late nights. Yes, been there done that. So it wasn't being disapproving of having fun. Or being stuck up in my thinking when I frowned at her. It was just maybe...having remained without fun for quite long, it kind of grew on me like a blanket of creeping moss and I couldn’t shake it off until she came along. 
Me: Awww. Those days are so over. But you had to make some tough decisions, didn't you?  
Rihaan: Yes, this was war against my deep seated emotions. This was something I had to come to terms on my own. So the process happened and...(looks across at Saira)...it was all worthwhile.
Me:*sniff* (Gets misty eyed again)   
Saira: (speaking softly looking at Rihaan) He is used to hiding his feelings. A lot reserved nature so it was difficult trying to figure him out…
Me: I sympathized a lot with her then. Now tell me Rihaan. Why do you keep yourself so closed up? Always with fists shut tight. Totally unrevealing.
Rihaan: It's a thing of past. It all had to do with what happened in my life at a certain time. The shock had subsided but not really worn off. So I'd become used to keeping myself aloof. As I said it's all gone now. Not a part of me any longer. 
Saira: (gasps) That's a lie! Just last week you had something with you and you haven't told me about it at all. It's lying in the bottom drawer. And you locked it. You're still keeping secrets, Rihaan...! 
Me: Oh really? Interesting. Are you?
Rihaan: You think? (cocks an eyebrow at Saira) And you have no idea what it is? 
Saira: None at all. Is that you call being open and sharing? I swear I thought the secrets were all done between us. 
Rihaan: So you want to know what it is. 
Saira and me together: Of course! 
Rihaan: Okay but there's a caveat. It's a sharat. You have to promise you won't yell when you see it. 
Me: (eye roll) Oh not that line again!
Saira: I know from past experience he won't relent so I might as well agree now. (to Rihaan) Okay, I won't. 
Rihaan: Well, I thought I had got a bit too busy working on my latest script so we’d better take off for a few days, so I got us tickets to the Amalfi coast. Thought you’d like to taste some Italian wine. (winks at Saira)
Saira: Oh my God! Oh my Gawd! 
Rihaan: (touches ears gingerly) She never was any good at keeping rules!
Saira: Oh Rihaan! (clasps him around the neck and begins to get teary )

So might as well leave these two love birds, what do you think? So I get up and walk out of there. Tactfully. At the door, I must pause and take your leave. 
'Bye. Hope you enjoyed meeting Rihaan and Saira. Well matched, aren’t they? I'll just take one more fond look at them clinched in embrace and exit the scene.  
So did you like getting to know Rihaan and Saira? What are your impressions of them?
Do you keep secrets? Do you get irritated when someone keeps one? :) Let me know in the comments!


Her Latest Release

Playing with fire. Who says it isn't fun?

The last thing Rihaan needs in his life is to play host to a woman who drives him crazy! Saira is gorgeous, yes, but she’s also wildly infuriating. Yet every time she comes within an inch of him he finds his normally iron-clad control slipping further and further away…


Wanting to protect herself from more heartbreak, Saira knows she should keep her distance from Rihaan —but there’s something about him she just can’t seem to resist… Little does she know that Rihaan is hiding a secret! When it comes to light will it tear them apart —or raise their passion to new, more majestic heights?  





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14 December, 2013

#BookReview :: Cockroaches (Harry Hole #2) by Jo Nesbø

Detective Harry Hole arrives in a steaming hot Bangkok. But it's work, not pleasure. The Norwegian ambassador has been found dead in a seedy motel room, and no witnesses have come forward. The ambassador had close ties to the Norwegian prime minister, and to avoid a scandal Harry is sent there to hush up the case. But he quickly discovers that there is much more going on behind the scenes and very few people willing to talk. When Harry lays hands on some CCTV footage that will help him unravel what happened that night, things only get more complicated. The man who gave him the tape goes missing, and Harry realises that failing to solve a murder case is by no means the only danger in Bangkok.




This book gave me the feeling of having traveled back in time! Yeah well, that is what should happen (doesn’t always do though) when you read the most recent book in the series just before going back to one of the first few. ‘Cockroaches’ is technically the second book in the Harry Hole Series but it has only recently been translated. The last Jo Nesbø book that I have read is Leopard (Harry Hole 8) and so it was both a nuisance and a pleasure to read this one now. A Nuisance because I already have a bit different image of Harry in my mind – the person he is in book 8. Harry is a character who often irritates you but knowing his past, readers’ cut some slack and to find this younger Harry is much more ‘amenable’ (that word is being used relatively and I never thought I would use that word to describe Harry) is certainly a pleasure.

The Norwegian Ambassador to Thailand, Atle Molnes, is found dead in a brothel in a seedy neighborhood on the outskirts of Bangkok. As this news reaches Norway, there is a flurry of discussion and decisions as a result of which Harry is sent to Thailand to investigate the case and help the local authorities there. But what Harry discovers there links Molnes’s death to illicit affairs, drugs and sex trade.

Fast paced, as usual, this book too takes you in its grip early on. The author has done a pretty good job of describing the settings and the situations so as to make it easy for a reader to visualize the story as it progresses – even for someone who knows very little about Thailand like me. There is, again as usual, some violence and lots of unpredictable twists and turns as is now expected from Harry Hole series. But what takes me by surprise every time is the character of Harry himself. He is essentially the same flawed self yet somehow different in every book. However, the climax was sort of a flurry and could have been better. But to be fair, this is one of the initial books by this author and after having read the latter books in the series, I can only say that the author goes on to improve in this matter over his next books.

This book, along with others in the series, is a Must Read for all Mystery/Thriller/Action lovers.


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11 December, 2013

#GuestPost by Jamie Baywood, Author of Getting Rooted in New Zealand

About the author Jamie Baywood:
Jamie Baywood grew up in Petaluma, California. In 2010, she made the most impulsive decision of her life by moving to New Zealand. Getting Rooted in New Zealand is her first book about her experiences living there. Jamie is now married and living her happily ever after in the United Kingdom. She is working on her second book.


Guest Post

It was always my dream to live abroad when I was growing up in California.  I had bad dating experiences in California and read in a New Zealand tour book that the country’s population at 100,000 fewer men than women.  I wanted to have some me time and an adventure. New Zealand seemed like a good place to do so. Although I intended to have a solo adventure I ended up meeting my husband a Scottish man in New Zealand. 

I consider myself an accidental author. I didn’t go to New Zealand with the intentions of writing a book about my experiences there. I had funny experiences that I had trouble believing were true. I wrote the stories down to stay sane. I wrote situations down that were happening around me and shared them with friends. The stories made people laugh so I decided to organize the stories into a book and publish in the hopes to make others laugh too.

One of the first people I meet was Colin Mathura-Jeffree from New Zealand’s Next Top Model. I had no idea who he was or that he was on TV when I meet him. He is friends with my former flatmate. We had a steep staircase that I kept falling down. Colin taught me to walk like a model so I wouldn’t fall down the stairs. 

In New Zealand, I had a lot of culture shock.  One of the most memorable moments was learning the meaning of the Kiwi slang word “rooted.” One night I was brushing my teeth with my flatmate and I said, ‘I’m really excited to live in this house because I have been travelling a lot and I just need to settle down, stop traveling and get rooted’. He was choking on his toothbrush and asked me if I knew what that meant because it had a completely different meaning New Zealand than it does in the States.

I had the opportunity to write and perform for Thomas Sainsbury the most prolific playwright in New Zealand. I performed a monologue about my jobs in the Basement Theatre in Auckland.  The funny thing about that experience was Tom kept me separated from the other performers until it was time to perform. I was under the impression that all the performers were foreigners giving their experiences in New Zealand.  All of the other performers were professional actors telling stories that weren’t their own. At first I was mortified, but the audience seemed to enjoy my “performance,” laughing their way through my monologue. After the shows we would go out and mingle with the audience. People would ask me how long I had been acting. I would tell them, “I wasn’t acting; I have to go to work tomorrow and sit next to the girl wearing her dead dog’s collar around her neck.” 

I love making people laugh more than anything else. I feel very grateful when readers understand my sense of humor. I plan to divide my books by the countries I’ve lived in. My next book will be about attempting to settle in Scotland. 

Getting Rooted in New Zealand:
Craving change and lacking logic, at 26, Jamie, a cute and quirky Californian, impulsively moves to New Zealand to avoid dating after reading that the country's population has 100,000 fewer men. In her journal, she captures a hysterically honest look at herself, her past and her new wonderfully weird world filled with curious characters and slapstick situations in unbelievably bizarre jobs. It takes a zany jaunt to the end of the Earth and a serendipitous meeting with a fellow traveler before Jamie learns what it really means to get rooted.

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