29 January, 2017

#SpecialFeature :: #Interview with Paromita Goswami, #Author of Grow Up Messy!



*** Special Feature - January 2017 ***

Quick Recap:

About the Author:

Paromita Goswami is a writer and storyteller by passion and a rebel by choice. She says the world is full of stories and as a writer she loves to pen them down. Her work is not genre specific. From literary fiction to children book to upcoming paranormal thriller and women fiction Paromita Goswami‘s books offer the variety of life to her readers. Besides writing, she is also the founder of reading club that enhances book reading habit in children. She lives in central India with her family.

Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads



An Interview with the Author

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
I always wanted to be a storyteller. As a child when I used to listen to stories from my Daddy and Ma I would always wonder, “How beautifully they have narrated the simple story. I had heard it so many times yet it sounded new every time. There was always a Raja, a Rakshya and the captive princess who did nothing other sleep.” 
When a little older I started telling Ghost stories to my friends. We were in our pre-teens then. It was such a fun to see them chewing their fingernails throughout.

What inspires you to write?
Frankly, I started writing to overcome my boredom.  Back then there was no cable T.V where we lived and watching television was allowed only for about an hour or so before going to bed after dinner. There was plenty of time during school holidays or after exams and absolutely nothing to do. Firstly, due to the climate as it was chilly cold outside during winters and secondly, the ongoing ethnic clashes compelled us to stay put at home most of the time.  That’s how I started writing stories. Adventure stories or detective stories mostly that allowed me to do whatever I wanted to do without any inhibition. I found my window in my writing – the world that was mine and there were no restrictions imposed upon. I felt free as ever. 

What kind of research goes into your book?
For me, writing is inspired by real life incidents. The reader would easily say yes I have met that character in my life or that incident did happen back then. So my plots need thorough research. The place, the people, the dialect, the tradition everything has to be at par. 

What are you working on at the moment?
I have two books at hand right now. One is THE CLOCKMAKER a paranormal thriller based on jungle assaults. This is part of my upcoming Jungle Series. 
Second, is the sequel of GROW UP MESSY!  THE SIBLING SAGA. 

How did you come up with the idea for your current story? 
The recently released book GROW UP MESSY! is children Ebook. The reading level is Middle school and above. My son cannot think of a world without Television, mobile, and the internet. However, he too loves to have fun outdoor most of the time with his friends which are not always possible as nowadays children are running to tuition classes during evening hours or enrolled into some activities. So the character Messy was born in an era when there was no TV.  Messy did what she enjoyed most even when there was no one around to play with. She never waited for anything or anyone to make things happen for her. She did it on her own, Good or Bad, it never mattered to her.  

Please share three interesting facts about the characters in your book.
When Misry, akka, Messy showed up in my thoughts,  she was a naughty rebellious adorably cute little thing. Her innocence was her biggest asset that won hearts even when she messed up things. I had no trouble writing with her in mind as she was her natural self – a child.
Anurag , Misry’s father was just like any other loving father with an only exception that his work demanded more attention to his duties as an armed force officer than a family man or a father.  The book shares many incidents when Anurag and Misry spent time together in their own world or when Anurag was hard enough to discipline her when it was needed. 
Misry’s mother, Madhavi, a typical Bengali housewife who loved cooking best Bengali cuisine for her family. However, many times she had to face situations due to Misry’s demand for food.  That’s how a mother and a child relation is. A mother will never fail to please her child’s demands whereas the child will always enjoy food from outside.

Name three things that you believe are important to character development?
As a reader, I enjoy the book more when the character develops eventually like peeling off an onion you can say. One layer after the other. Just as you can’t know about a person in just one meeting.  To know them better you have to spend time with them. The same, I think, should go for character development also. Sometimes when almost a couple of pages is used for character sketching I lose my interest as a reader. Leave them natural. Let them think, act and make mistakes. That’s how a character is developed in a story. More than narrating, use of body language or maybe the thought process of the character can help more in developing the character. For example, a character is introvert and the author just mention it, I won’t connect with that as a reader. However, if the same thing is narrated through an action or maybe a flashback a reader can visualize the character better. 

Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so what helps you to get over it?
I am currently going through that phase. Yes, that’s writer’s block. I have so much to write but for some reasons I am unable to do that. But then it's natural. All I have to do is take my mind off it and I can hit back again. At present, I am devoting my time to reading books and watching movies. You never know what clicks and the plot flow through the keyboard once more.

What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?
As I have already said, for me writing is my window through which I can see what I want to see. The world that is different from my present scenario. So I enjoy every process of it. Be it research, drafting, rewrites or editing I thoroughly enjoy all of it. It's like a classroom for me and I am learning new things every day. Even now when I am taking this interview I am learning something new.

Do you know the ending of your books before you finish writing them?
It would be false if I say NO. Actually, it is always the other way round that my thinking process starts. The everyday activities in my life are my inspiration. Even a small thing can strike me for years and in my mind, I would be weaving the story for months until it becomes so much unbearable to keep thinking about it anymore.  I had to pen it down. A rough draft first in my notepad that will obviously have the ending and then finally I start writing my first draft. 

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?
The best advice as a writer I got from a reader in Australia. She had won my book Shamsuddin’s Grave in a giveaway contest. It is my first book and I was pretty nervous as to how people will take me as an author. It is very important because a book is a journey and if one enjoys it they will always come back to you. So this lady said, 
“Very little would I change, because it immerses me deeper into a culturally rich text that exposes you to the traditions, religious differences, difficulties and so much more of the people of India. It's written as if I were sitting with a friend who was retelling to me a story. That I love!” 
But she faced lots of problem with the dialect in the book which was the local language used in dialogues. She suggested I should have a glossary in my book so that readers don’t have to google each word to understand the meaning.  Since I have the habit of writing dialogues so with my second book Grow Up Messy! I had the glossary section in the end.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
I believe everybody has a story to tell.  So it is never too late to start. And the best part is getting a buddy writer with whom you can share your excerpts or ideas. That will always motivate you to write more. Nowadays there are many writing groups on facebook for example WRIMO. They not only offer buddy writer but also tips on quality writing. One can join any of such groups and start writing their masterpiece.

Anything else that you would like to share with your readers?
All I want to say I am blessed to have you guys in my life.  Thank you for encouraging me to write more.



About the Book:


Childhood is considered to be the best time of one’s life. What if you get a chance to live it once more with a five-year-old? 


Misry, a naughty five-year-old girl, lives with her parents in a B.S.F border outpost near Indo-Bangladesh border. But with no schools and friends she feels very lonely. She tries to befriend some local village kids. But they find her incompetent in their rural antics. 

They nickname her Messy as most of the time she messes up their plan. Can Misry really be a part of the gang? 

Set in the early eighties, join Misry in the adventures of her life.


Amazon * Nook * Kobo



Giveaway:
3 Kindle Copies of Grow Up Messy! Open Internationally.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

25 January, 2017

#Interview with Tonya Kappes, #Author A Ghostly Reunion

A Ghostly Reunion

by Tonya Kappes

on Tour January 16 - February 17, 2017

Synopsis:

A Ghostly Reunion by Tonya Kappes

A Ghostly Reunion

Proprietor of the Eternal Slumber Funeral Home, Emma Lee can see, hear, and talk to ghosts of murdered folks. And when her high school nemesis is found dead, Jade Lee Peel is the same old mean girl—trying to come between Emma Lee and her hot boyfriend, Sheriff Jack Henry Ross, all over again.
There’s only one way for Emma Lee to be free of the trash-talking ghost—solve the murder so the former prom queen can cross over.
But the last thing Jade Lee wants is to leave the town where she had her glory days. And the more Emma Lee investigates on her own, the more complicated Miss Popularity turns out to be. Now Emma Lee will have to work extra closely with her hunky lawman to get to the twisty truth.


Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery, Paranormal
Published by: HarperCollins / Witness
Publication Date: December 27th 2016
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 006246695X (ISBN13: 9780062466952)
Series: Ghostly Southern Mysteries #5
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

An Interview with the Author:

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?

It wasn't until I'd had two college degrees, one master's degree, four small boys, two dogs and my husband did I even think about it. I was in my mid-thirties and hosting my book club. Like most readers, I'd gone to the bookstore and picked up ten books because I couldn't decide what book to suggest for book club. My husband noticed my spending on books had surpassed my spending on shoes. He picked up one of those ten books before my friends arrived and actually read a few pages. Now...he's not a reader. He sat the book down and said that I could tell a better story than the written words in that book. I laughed him off. Hours later I was telling one of my many stories to my book club friends and one of them said that I should write a book. 

Ahem. 

That got my attention. Two people told me that in a few hours. That's when the idea of actually sitting down to write a book started to fester within me. The very next day I started handwriting my very first novel under an Oak tree at my son's pee-wee football practice. 

What inspires you to write?

My readers. They really do. I set out to write ONE book. After I started getting mail telling me that I helped them escape from the reality of life, it touched me in ways I never knew. I'm very connected to my readers. I even host my own reader mystery weekend on a real train every October. They keep me going.

How did you come up with the idea for your current story? 

A Ghostly Reunion is the fifth book in my Ghostly Southern Mystery Series. When I started thinking about a new series, I wanted to pick an amateur sleuth that wasn't the typical cozy mystery crafty sleuth. Growing up, a friend's family owned the local funeral home and we'd play in there. I got to thinking about how funny a mystery based around an undertaker would be and it was, as we say in the south, all she wrote!

Are there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day?

Of course! They would probably blow up if I took them out of that box, but I just can't do away with them. I look at them as stepping stones to the success I've had so far. They are sorta like stretch marks....

Tell us about your writing process.

I let an idea fester in my head for a few days and start writing down ideas in a notebook. Once I feel like I've got a good idea, I will sit down and write a synopsis. From that synopsis, I start to write the book from beginning to end.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?

My favorite scene is when Emma Lee's sister comes to visit her in the end. They've had a very rocky relationship and it's sorta shocking to my readers. 

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?

Every character I write about has some part of me. 

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?

Write the next one. Move on from the one you just finished and start the next one.


Read an Excerpt:

Sexy isn’t a firm fanny in a thong, ladies.”
Hettie Bell didn’t seem so sexy in her hot pink leggings and matching top as she gasped for breath in her downward dog position in the middle of Sleepy Hollow, Kentucky. Her butt stuck straight up in the air, right there on display for everyone to see. Her black, chin-length bob was falling out of the small ponytail on both sides and her bangs hung down in her eyes.
“Sexy is confidence and self-acceptance. It’s exactly what yoga provides.”
Hettie Bell curled up on her tiptoes with her palms planted on one of the mats she provided for us. The rickety old floor of the gazebo, in the middle of the town square, groaned as we all tried to mimic her pose. “Yes!” Beulah Paige Bellefry hollered out like we were in the first pew of the Sleepy Hollow Baptist Church getting a good Bible beating from Pastor Brown himself.
“Amen to a good pose!”
Beulah continued to adjust her feet and hands each time she started to slip. If she wasn’t a bit overweight, I’d say it was her eighties silk sweat suit that was slicker than cat’s guts giving her problems. Or it could’ve been those pearls around her wrist, neck and ears weighing her down. Beulah never took off those pearls. She said pearls were a staple for a Southern gal.
“You said it, sister,” Mary Anna Hardy gasped. She teetered side to side, nearly knocking into Granny. Her sweat left streaks down her makeup. Who on earth got up this early and put makeup on to do yoga? Mary Anna Hardy, that’s who.
“God help us!”
“That’s it.”
I pushed back off my heels and crossed my legs, staring at all the Auxiliary women’s derrieres at my eye level.
“I’m here to do some relaxing, not Sunday school.”
Sleepy Hollow was smack-dab in the middle of the Bible Belt and if God wasn’t thrown in our conversations, then we weren’t breathing. But the last thing I wanted to think about was my butt stuck up to the high heavens and everyone up in the Great Beyond looking down upon me.

Author Bio:

Tonya KappesTonya Kappes has written more than fifteen novels and four novellas, all of which have graced numerous bestseller lists including USA Today. Best known for stories charged with emotion and humor and filled with flawed characters, her novels have garnered reader praise and glowing critical reviews. She lives with her husband, two very spoiled schnauzers, and one ex-stray cat in northern Kentucky. Now that her boys are teenagers, Tonya writes full-time but can be found at all of her guys’ high school games with a pencil and paper in hand.

Catch Up with Tonya Kappes on her Website, Twitter, & Facebook

 

Tour Participants:

 

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Tonya Kappes and Witness Impulse. There will be 1 US winner of one PRINTED set of The Ghostly Southern Mysteries #1-5 by Tonya Kappes. The giveaway begins on January 15th and runs through February 18th, 2017.
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For a Chance to win a Kindle ENTER HERE!



Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

23 January, 2017

#BookReview :: The Rose & the Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn #2) by Renee Ahdieh

The darker the sky, the brighter the stars.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.

Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.


The Rose & the Dagger brings back Shahrzad & Khalid back to their readers.

In this installment Shahrzad is back with her family and friends while they gather forces to attack and kill Khalid. With a war brewing and Shazi discovering more about her own magic, she has more on her plate than she can handle. With the curse to be broken and a war to be stopped, Shazi needs to use her charms, wit and magic shrewdly in order to emerge victorious. Stuck between choosing her family and her one true love will her warring heart manage to survive the journey ahead?

Shahrzad is a brave, as strong, as stubborn and as honest as ever. I really love reading about strong female characters. The fact that it is this kickass heroine that comes to the rescue of the prince also helps. Khalid is not a hapless Prince, but he is strong and powerful. He realizes what his limits are and when he needs help. His character really grows and matures in this book. Together Shahrzad and Khalid make for a couple who would make you believe in love. The supporting characters – Despina, Jalal, Tariq, Rajput, all play their parts admirably. There’s a lot more magic involved in this book than the glimpse we got in book one. The only thing that stops me from rating this book a five star is the ending which was bittersweet but a bit rushed, I feel.

If you have read The Wrath & the Dawn, then book will meet all of your expectations. For those of you who are YA/Fantasy lovers and haven’t picked this duology yet, GO READ IT NOW!




22 January, 2017

#SpecialFeature :: #GuestPost - How much transparency is needed for our Armed forces? by Paromita Goswami



*** Special Feature - January 2017 ***


About the Author:

Paromita Goswami is a writer and storyteller by passion and a rebel by choice. She says the world is full of stories and as a writer she loves to pen them down. Her work is not genre specific. From literary fiction to children book to upcoming paranormal thriller and women fiction Paromita Goswami‘s books offer the variety of life to her readers. Besides writing, she is also the founder of reading club that enhances book reading habit in children. She lives in central India with her family.

Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads




How much transparency is needed for our Armed forces?

When I wrote the book Grow Up Messy! I mentioned in details about the life of personnel working in Border Security Force. My chest always swells with pride whenever I read the scenes in the book. My father worked in B.S.F and hence I was brought up in that environment. It really helped me in shaping me up as a responsible citizen of my country. I have a special corner in my heart for the people in the armed forces. There was a time when I too wanted to join the uniform cadets however, I was destined to do something else. We will talk about it later.

The recent video of a B.S.F jawan that went viral on the internet and that which has really shaken the faith in the olive and khaki uniforms has really hurt me too. The video was about the quality of the cooked meal supplied to the Jawans at the border. It showed burned Rotis, Dal, without Tadka and all. And in my book, I have a complete chapter how Misry loved the Langar ka Tadka Dal. 


Here is the excerpt:

Misry relished food prepared in the langar. First, the food had a manly touch unlike her mother cooking at home, which meant more oil, more spices and “Tadka”. And second, the food was cooked in huge chulha unlike the L.P.G gas cylinder at home and so the food had a different aroma and taste to it.

The Jawans had a special liking for Misry. Her presence and innocent questions reminded them of their children back at home, whom they missed very much. They loved to have her around and treated her like one of their children.

One of the cooks had also made a small bench and table for her to sit and eat with the rest of the platoon. The Head Cook knew about Misry’s love for langar food so he separated a small portion for her and added his special spices to it.


If I have to believe this video then I must say it was never so bad earlier. However, I understand things have changed over the years. The Jawans might be too stressed out defending the peace for our country just as we do while meeting our deadlines. Has life really changed so much? In the Video, Teg Bahadur has blamed his senior officers for selling off the ration that is distributed to them by the government. Can this really happen? Can someone even think of making money in this manner? If it were true then can that person be really termed as a patriot serving the armed forces to serve the nation? I don’t think so.  Such traitors need not be in any armed forces. 

Every officer has a big responsibly of motivating his men so that they remain stress-free while standing in the first line of defense.  Every grudge of a Jawan,  no matter how small it maybe, is first dealt with these officers. It is his duty to see that his men are well taken care of unless of course, he is a victim of this bad practice too. 

Not all officers are corrupt but those who are, they are really putting the lives of civilians at a big risk. And eventually the security of the country. I have only one question for them –What good is your money earned by corrupt means if the nation does not survive. Of course, India is very strong for this handful of corrupt people for we are the people of the country that has a big history of legends and no one can shake that trust off us be it money or fame. 

However,  I do feel there should be more transparency in our armed forces too. With the growing technology, everything is visible now like this viral video. So why not make our procuring system and recruitment in the armed forces more transparent. Let the Jawans know how well they are being treated.

Another Video is of a CRPF Jawan who questions the facilities enjoyed by the paramilitary and the Central Armed police Force. When the risk is same then why not the facility. Let the parameters for selection be the same in both the forces. Earlier, when the Central Armed Police Force was established its main duty of line was restricted to only certain areas just like the B.S.F. 

After Chinese aggression in 1962 in India B.S.F was established on 1st December 1965, to safeguard the international land and water borders of the country only. However, over the years their line of duty has changed. The B.S.F personnel is now doing all kinds of other duties besides guarding the international border. So why have their facilities not changed? 

My book Grow Up Messy! is dedicated to BSF fathers who crave to watch their child grow.

No child would love to see their father so much in pain due to food condition or due to the lack of facilities. It is at a time when the men working in the forces should be heard. 


About the Book:


Childhood is considered to be the best time of one’s life. What if you get a chance to live it once more with a five-year-old? 


Misry, a naughty five-year-old girl, lives with her parents in a B.S.F border outpost near Indo-Bangladesh border. But with no schools and friends she feels very lonely. She tries to befriend some local village kids. But they find her incompetent in their rural antics. 

They nickname her Messy as most of the time she messes up their plan. Can Misry really be a part of the gang? 

Set in the early eighties, join Misry in the adventures of her life.


Amazon * Nook * Kobo



Giveaway:
3 Kindle Copies of Grow Up Messy! Open Internationally.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

21 January, 2017

#BookReview :: Starlet's Web (The Starlet #1) by Carla J. Hanna

I'm actress Liana Marie Michael. I won an Oscar at 17 but whatever. Celebrity is what it is: marketing a product. I'm part of a tight-knit group. I keep to myself and don't complain about my life. I've been happy until lately.

Evan dumping me leveled me. Matthew shocked me. I knew he couldn't hurt me with my bodyguard so near, but his eyes...so I have trust issues. Dating super-hot Byron didn't help clear the confusion either. I'm torn between going to church on Sunday and making a living from pop culture.

But experience builds perspective. My days of shutting up needed to end. First, I told Manuel. Then I told my mom. It turned out awesome until I learned the truth.

Now I'm screwed. Totally. Let's face it: Hollywood's web entangles everyone.

Goodreads I Amazon


Liana Marie Michael is an actress who has won an Oscar by the age of seventeen. One would think that she is living the dream life of so many youngsters with fame and money dogging her steps. But up closer, her life is a nightmare where every action is for show or for publicity. Even her break up with her Hollywood boyfriend is a publicity stunt. No matter how much she wishes and tries to lead a normal life, things always go the other way for her. The only people who care about her truly seems to be her father, step mother and Manuel. Will she be able to break free of the golden shackles that she so desperately wants?

Liana had my sympathy from the very beginning. It is very clear that all she wants is a normal teenage life while she is being pushed to the limelight for every little thing. Not only is she being treated like a ‘product’ that needs to be marketed just right, but also there are very few people around her whom she can trust to have her best interests at heart. Her situation invites sympathy instantly but it is her character and personality that invites the readers to really feel for her. One thing I must admit though, is that I totally was lost on the romance angle. There were so many exes and prospects that it confused me for a while about who was who. And while I love the friendship turning into love trope, the chemistry between Liana and Manuel just didn’t convince me.

There are secrets (especially the one Liana’s mom has been keeping) and drama unfolding through the pages of this book. It is quite entertaining with the way the author has narrated Liana’s story to us. It is simple and easy to get into.






20 January, 2017

#BookReview :: Skyfire by Aroon Raman



May 2012. India is hit by a series of freak weather disturbances and startling epidemics that threaten to bring the country to its knees. At the same time, children are disappearing from the slums in the capital and nobody seems to care. 

Stumbling upon these strange and seemingly unrelated incidents, journalist Chandrasekhar, historian Meenakshi Pirzada and intelligence operative Syed Ali Hassan start upon a trail that leads them into the drawing rooms of Delhi’s glittering high society before reaching a terrifying climax in Bhutan, where they come face-to-face with a force of unspeakable power and evil. 


Goodreads I Amazon



In Skyfire Meenakshi, Syed Ali and Chandrasekar take on a journey to follow up with seemingly unrelated events. On one hand, we have freak weather conditions; From acid rain to fiery hot winds to random lightning flashes that causes skin burns and diseases. On the other hand, we have random children going missing from the slums, yet nobody seems to care much. Growing from The Shadow Throne, Meenakshi, Chandrasekar and Syed Ali take on an adventure like never before. They are up against a power that almost seems like is omnipresent. Can they take on or have they chewed off more than they bargained for?

The author’s take on the characters is interesting. This is the second time I am reading about them (I think I missed one book in the series) and I find them growing within the boundaries of the plot. The author gives us just enough information to be able to connect with the characters and hold back just enough to make us curious enough to pick up book after book. There’s enough drama in the protagonists’ lives to give them the credibility of being real. His treatment of the plot has that similarity with the character development. Just enough information is provided at the right moments to keep you hooked to the book. The author seems to have done quite a bit of research about his settings as his descriptions brought the various backdrops to life. 

All these complimented with a good pace made this book quite an interesting and entertaining read. I did like The Shadow Throne better but that in no way reflects on this book as it has enough action and drama to hold its own.


Review Copy received from Pan Macmillan India

#BookReview :: The Monsoon Murders by Karan Parmanandka

Dishonourably dismissed from the police force, Roy has been condemned to a life of obscurity. The twist in the tale comes with the murder of a well-known man in the Mumbai finance circle. Roy is hired by the self made tycoon Jayesh Kumar to probe the case. While Roy is excited at the chance at redemption, he fails to understand why he became the chosen one.

What looks at first an open and shut case, quite rapidly evolves into a tale of deceit and revenge. Roy must take care not to fall for the suspect, and not to see things as they appear. As his personal life gets tied to the success of the case, the question becomes, not whether he can have faith in strangers, but whether he can trust his friends.

Inspired from real life cases, The Monsoon Murders is a fast-paced detective novel, taking the Indian crime fiction genre to mysterious depths. 

Goodreads I Amazon


Roy is a forensic expert who was discharged from his service. That is when he starts his private investigation agency. At first, he handles mostly petty cases till he is approached to solve a murder case. This case could make his career as it is not only a high-profile case, but also involves his previous employers. At a glance, it is an open and shut case which points towards the victim’s sister as the perpetrator. But Roy isn’t someone to take the case at its face value, instead he launches his own investigation which leads him to think that may be not everything is as straight forward as it seems. Will he be able to solve the case?

The Monsoon Murders has everything that one expects from a murder mystery; it has trills and twists with ample amount of excitement. The author has narrated the story in a perfect pace to keep the readers engaged from the very beginning. The characters compliment the story by adding useful parts to it. I enjoyed the character of Roy, the protagonist. He seems like a well-balanced character with equal amounts of intelligence and street-smarts. His past adds to the many shades of his characters and help solidify his position in the story.

I am not sure if a romantic angle was needed to the story or not. Also, there were some very clichéd moments in the story. The only other flaw of the book is its poor editing. Otherwise this is certainly worth at least a one-time read. 


Review Copy received from Shrishti Publishers



18 January, 2017

#BookReview :: Penumbra by Bhaskar Chattopadhyay

In the middle of one of the worst storms to hit the city, a mysterious letter arrives for Prakash Ray, an out-of-luck journalist, inviting him to a quaint, suburban bungalow, to celebrate the 60th birthday of an uncle he has never heard of . . . 

As Prakash reaches the venue, he is introduced to a motley group of people, all gathered there for the old man’s big day: his son, his reticent brother, a dignified middle-aged lady who once owned the bungalow, a listless lawyer who manages his legal affairs, a mild-mannered young man who works as his secretary, his beautiful, young biographer, and his mysterious friend, who has never lost a game of chess to him. As the storm lashes on through the night, one of the people in the bungalow is murdered! In a game of cat and mouse that follows, Prakash soon finds out that under the surface of apparent warmth and friendliness, nothing is as it seems and that the bungalow holds one shocking secret after another! In a bid to save his own life, Prakash hunts for the truth, which lies in a mysterious penumbra of shadows and lights, covered in a sheath of deceit and guile, only to realize that the worst is yet to come!


Prakash Ray arrives at a suburban bungalow to attend the 60th birthday party of an uncle he has not heard about before. It was a stormy night and the gathering consisted of an assorted group of people. Mr. Rajendra Mukherjee, a retired artist and author, and his wife Anita are the host of the party. Also gathered are: Rajendra’s son, his brother, his secretary, his biographer and his friend. As the party progresses, the stormy situation cuts off all connection to the outside world and two murders take place. The gathered people are then stuck with each other in the house with suspicions floating around regarding everybody.

The blurb of the book really attracted me and it kind of reminded me of an Agatha Christie story. So, I started with the book as soon as I could. The author has done a great job with the setting of the story. Everything seemed to kind of come alive through the pages. The varied characters add to the story in a way that makes it more interesting. There’s the element of ‘Whodunnit’ and it impossible not to play the guessing game while reading the book. The clues and twists are spread through the book keeping the pages turning. As a result, I finished reading this book in one sitting. The only drawback of the book is that the setting is not very new. I have read quite a few books with similar backdrops and as such it gave me a sense of deja-vu once or twice and kept comparing it to the other books.

Overall, it was quite an enjoyable read. If you love mystery/Thrillers, do give this one a try.


Review Copy received from Fingerprint Publishing




17 January, 2017

#BookReview :: Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama, Jonathan Lloyd-Davies (Translator)


For five days in January 1989, the parents of a seven-year-old Tokyo schoolgirl sat and listened to the demands of their daughter's kidnapper. They would never learn his identity. They would never see their daughter again.

For the fourteen years that followed, the Japanese public listened to the police's apologies. They would never forget the botched investigation that became known as 'Six Four'. They would never forgive the authorities their failure.

For one week in late 2002, the press officer attached to the police department in question confronted an anomaly in the case. He could never imagine what he would uncover. He would never have looked if he'd known what he would find.


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‘Six Four’ is the code name for an abduction case that happened in 1968. Young Shoko was kidnapped and her parents received a ransom call. Over the duration of seven days the police and the parents worked together to bring Shoko home. The parents even paid the ransom money, yet the girl was never returned or found. The case remains open and people never let the law officials forget their failure in the case. In 2002, Yoshinobu Mikami, a cop, visits the girl's father with an agenda of his own. With his own daughter on the run and a new kidnapping case with a ransom call happening, Yoshinobu is attracted to this old case. As he discovers a certain incongruity in the case, he digs further. What he discovers surprises him, but can he solve this case and bring his own daughter back home at the same time?

The blurb somehow reminded me of Keigo Higashino’s books. In some ways, the long drawn out case does have a similarity to his books as does the detail oriented treatment of the novel. But that is where the similarities end and Hideo Yokoyama holds his own with this book.

The plot is multi layered with multiple angles that it can be looked at from. For instance, there is the old case of Shoko, the new kidnapping case and the case of Ayumi, Mikami’s daughter. As things unfold there are layers of secrets and twists that are uncovered keeping the readers busy guessing what turn the novel may take next. There is a plethora of characters involved and they are developed well in order to assimilate with the plot.

The book, along with telling us of a mystery, also tells us a lot about the Japanese culture and police procedure. The only thing that irked me a bit was the pace. But telling a story in detail can do that to the pacing. As such when I finished reading the book, I found myself pretty happy to have had the patience in the beginning. It is after all a big book.

Recommended to Mystery lovers.


Review Copy received from Hachette India


16 January, 2017

#BookReview :: Wake Me Up by Justin Bog

A small college town's populace is tied, complicitly, to the brutal, bullying, attack of a teenage boy by four of his classmates. Soon, heated rumors of a possible hate crime surface. Injustice is a hungry beast.

AN ADULTEROUS FATHER IS HAUNTED BY HIS PAST -- HIS WIFE LIVES HER LIFE IN A RIGID SHELL -- THEIR SON, UNTETHERED, DISCOVERS THE SECRET THEY SHARE WITH DEEPIKA, A VISITOR TO THEIR TOWN FROM NORTHERN INDIA.

"I see all of these people. They're living and breathing and acting on their basest impulses. I lay in a coma. They live. I hover over all of them, all at once. I can see my body, motionless, wired up, adrift. And I can find out why this happened. This is my story and I won't remember any of it when--if--I wake up. But I'll try to remember--I'll try damn hard."

MIDDLETON, MONTANA --OCTOBER 2004--AN ELECTION YEAR


While Chris Bullet remains unresponsive in a coma, his skull shattered, he floats above dire circumstance. In this phantom state, compelled to witness his past once more, the family's darkest secrets, hidden over generations, will be aired.


Ever since I discovered Justin Bog’s books via a Blog Tour company, I have really enjoyed his works. Though it may seem like an impossible task, he outdoes his previous books almost every single time. Wake Me Up was just as amazing as I had expected it to be.

Set in a fictional town ‘Wake Me Up’ tells the story of a fifteen year old boy and those around him. As a victim to a vicious hate crime involving bullies, Chris lands up in the hospital with a head injury. As he lies there in coma, trying not to succumb to the injuries, his life and of those around him unravels slowly. The main characters involved in the story are Chris’s parents and their friend Deepika. As the story unfolds, secrets are revealed and we see the best and worst of everyone.

The author weaves an interesting story where the characters and the plot complement each other completely. The characters were complex yet, made intimate to the readers with the buildup and the attention that each of them were given. Some characters were easy to like and empathize with throughout the book. Certain characters frustrated me and made me want to just physically shake them till they saw the light. It is a sign of how well the author has fleshed out his characters to bring out such emotions from the reader. The plot on the other hand is not a straightforward thing either. It has its own layers that peel off till we get to the core.

What surprises me is the author’s grasp of human psyche and the way his imagination works around it. The psychological side of his stories really gets me every time. The author’s language and narrative not only matches the strength of the plot and the characters, but they work towards taking the book to another level.

This was a roller coaster journey that I have taken on twice already, and like Bog’s other books, it is always on my re-read list.


Review Copy received from the Author

15 January, 2017

#SpecialFeature :: Read an #Excerpt from Grow Up Messy!? by Paromita Goswami



*** Special Feature - January 2017 ***


About the Author:

Paromita Goswami is a writer and storyteller by passion and a rebel by choice. She says the world is full of stories and as a writer she loves to pen them down. Her work is not genre specific. From literary fiction to children book to upcoming paranormal thriller and women fiction Paromita Goswami‘s books offer the variety of life to her readers. Besides writing, she is also the founder of reading club that enhances book reading habit in children. She lives in central India with her family.

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Read an Excerpt from Grow Up Messy!?

Misry opened her eyes to a different world, a world of cozy living among nature with numerous trees making up the view from the small windows in the room. She was sleeping on a huge bamboo bed, big enough to fit in four or five adults. Sounds of different animals reached her ears. She jumped out of her bed and her feet touched the mud flooring. She had never seen that before. The previous night due to no electricity she didn’t get time to inspect the surroundings. But in the broad daylight everything here seemed so different.
Rather unusual too because she could now see two girls with the same face peeping inside from two different windows of the room. She turned to Madhavi who was unpacking her bag.
“Ma who are those girls, peeping in?” asked Misry.
“Dia and Ria, your cousins.”
“But they look alike?”
“That’s because they are identical twins.”
“What are identical twins?”
“When God makes two people from the same mould, they become identical twins.”
Misry started thinking of the mould. She had seen Ma use moulds to bake cookies. They all looked the same. She looked back at the girls and asked her mother again.
But how will I know who is who?”
“Even I am confused. You should ask Raju. He will tell you.”
Misry looked back at the girls. Their frocks were same, their chappals were same and so was their pony tail. Misry was surprised.
The girls finally came over to her.
“So you are Messy! Raju told us about you. You don’t know swimming and cannot climb trees,” they sang in chorus.
“Who says? I have learnt it now. You want to see?” Misry answered confidently.
“No. Ma will beat us. Girls should not climb trees. You can hurt your limbs. And those scratch marks will remain forever. Even on your Wedding Day,” said the girls.
Misry shrugged, “But who is getting married now?”
“Why, don’t you want to get married one day like Pallavi Pishi?” they asked.
“Yes but she is so big. And why do you call her Pishi. She is Mashi.” Misry corrected them.
“Jah! Father’s sister is Pishi and mother’s sister is Mashi. Our father is your mother’s brother. So your mother is our Pishi too.”
“Good! I am learning new things here. So, what are your names?”
“Dia Ria,” they replied in chorus.
“But who is who. You both look same to me.”
The girls laughed. “Everyone says so but you know we have lots of difference. I am Dia, the elder one. I love chocolates, can hold my breath for longer time, can make good sketches and love dogs.”
“And I am Ria, the younger one. I love hot and spicy food, reading comics, singing and cats.”
“That’s fine, but you look same. How will I know who is who?” asked Misry, still confused.
“We will tell you the secret. Ria has a mole on her right hand. Other than that it is very difficult to say who is who. Even Bapi gets confused sometimes.”
“I also have a secret,”Misry whispered, “Ma is getting me a Talking Doll very soon. I think it will be my lookalike.”
“A talking doll! Wow! We have never seen one before. Will you let us play with it?”
“Hmm. Okay! But you will be in my team always.”
The girls nodded.
“You have to cross your heart and swear.”
“We cross our heart and swear we are in your team,” said the twins, in unison, as they moved their right hands over their chest in a criss-cross fashion.
“Great! You can now play with the Talking Doll whenever you want.”
“Yeahhh! But when is Pishi bringing the talking doll for you?”
“Very soon, she had said. I will ask again.”
“Fine you can play with our doll till then but it is just a simple doll and can’t talk.”
“That’s okay!”


About the Book:


Childhood is considered to be the best time of one’s life. What if you get a chance to live it once more with a five-year-old? 


Misry, a naughty five-year-old girl, lives with her parents in a B.S.F border outpost near Indo-Bangladesh border. But with no schools and friends she feels very lonely. She tries to befriend some local village kids. But they find her incompetent in their rural antics. 

They nickname her Messy as most of the time she messes up their plan. Can Misry really be a part of the gang? 

Set in the early eighties, join Misry in the adventures of her life.


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Giveaway:
3 Kindle Copies of Grow Up Messy! Open Internationally.



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13 January, 2017

#BookReview :: Now and Forever by Simi K. Rao

Can Shaan and Ruhi face their biggest fears and unite together? Shaan and Ruhi Ahuja, very much in love Indian newlyweds, discover each other in Simi K. Rao’s Now and Forever—the sassy and sexy sequel to Inconvenient Relations. After getting the scare of their lives while traveling in the Grand Canyon, Shaan and Ruhi go back home to one dilemma after another. Shaan’s job is in jeopardy, and one of Ruhi’s closest friends, Sunshine, needs her. How will Shaan and Ruhi handle life’s hurdles, while still trying to get to know each other as husband and wife? Will they be able to forsake all others and consolidate their relationship? 



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Inconvenient Relations for me was a light and breezy read. So, when Now and Forever released, the reason I wanted to read this book was to see how Shaan and Ruhi’s ‘happily ever after’ worked out.

After the initial hiccup in their not so conventional marriage, Shaan and Ruhi are just about to settle in their life of wedded bliss. Life however has plans for them… They are soon faced with troubles that one could hardly see coming. Yet as they face them together, their relationship is tested again as they both grow and mature through these hurdles. From a career crisis to a friend’s crisis, this couple faces reality of life – together!

Ruhi is a character I liked from the word go. It is good to see that she not only retains her feisty nature but actually matures a bit over time too. Shaan on the other hand remains to mature into his shoes when this book begins. There are times when you want to throttle both these characters yet sigh when you realize how they truly complement each other in places where it really matters. As the story progresses, we see the characters discover more about not only themselves and but also about each other and their love and respect only grows with time. It is easy to believe that this relationship would last the tests of time as they really work on it. I enjoyed this book more than Inconvenient Relations for two reasons. One, I think the relationship of the book is really tested here. Second, I feel the characters really grow and develop more than in the first book.

This is quite an entertaining sequel from the author.


Review Copy received from the Author



12 January, 2017

#CoverReveal :: Chameleon by Zoe Kalo


~ Cover Reveal ~
Chameleon by Zoe Kalo

Genre: YA/Gothic/Ghost/Multicultural
Word Count: 55,000 
Release Date: February 2017

Premise:
Kicked out of school, 17-year old Paloma finds herself in an isolated convent in the tropical forests of 1970s Puerto Rico, where she must overcome her psychosis in order to help a spirit and unveil a killer.



Blurb:
An isolated convent, a supernatural presence, a dark secret…

17-year-old Paloma only wanted to hold a séance to contact her dead father. She never thought she would be kicked out of school and end up in an isolated convent. Now, all she wants is to be left alone. But slowly, she develops a bond with a group of girls: kind-hearted Maria, insolent Silvy, pathological liar Adelita, and their charismatic leader Rubia. When, yet again, Paloma holds a séance in the hope of contacting her father, she awakens an entity that has been dormant for years. And then, the body count begins. Someone doesn’t want the secret out…


Are the ghost and Paloma’s suspicions real—or only part of her growing paranoia and delusions?


About the Author:
A certified bookworm, Zoe Kalo has always been obsessed with books and reading. Reading led to writing—compulsively. No surprise that at 16, she wrote her first novel, which her classmates read and passed around secretly. The pleasure of writing and sharing her fantasy worlds has stayed with her, so now she wants to pass her stories to you with no secrecy—but with lots of mystery…
A daughter of adventurous expats, she’s had the good fortune of living on 3 continents, learning 4 languages, and experiencing a multicultural life. Currently, she’s working on a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature, which she balances between writing, taking care of her clowder of cats, and searching for the perfect bottle of pinot noir.

Connect with Zoe Kalo on the web: www.ZoeKalo.com / Facebook / Twitter




11 January, 2017

#BookReview :: The Tantric Curse by Anupama Garg


On an amavasya night, eight-year-old Rhea mysteriously lands at the doors of Shaktidham, a Tantric house of worship, in a trance. Realizing that she is blessed with unusual faculties, the guru of Shaktidham, Satya, chooses her as a disciple over his own son, Krishnam, to carry on his lineage, a privilege previously bestowed only to males. But the lineage has been cursed for generations, and it is up to Rhea to either break the curse or perish in the attempt.

Will she succeed in her endeavour? Will her love for Krishnam become an obstacle in her path? The Tantric Curse, an unusual story set in the world of Tantra that aims to dispel most of the myths about the practice, will keep you spellbound till the very last page.


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Rhea is an orphan who is taken in by Satya Guru who runs Shaktidham, a house of Tantra. It is soon discovered that Rhea has some powers of her own. As she grows up under the guidance of Satya Guru, she cannot help but fall in love with her Guru’s son, Krishnam. But as her life would have it, Satya choses her to succeed him and Krishnam leaves the country. On one hand Rhea’s love for Krishnam only increases with time and on the other hand she bears the burden of the curse that has affected generations. Being the first woman in charge, will she be able to break the curse? 

Rhea is an amazing protagonist. She is a strong individual who tackles things as they are thrown at her. Her character really shines through as she develops from an eight year old orphan to a grown and matured woman. The author has done a great job in fleshing out her character. Satya, Krishnam, Vishnukant, Neel and Netra are all characters that add to the story. While Satya’s character is also central to the story, others are there in a supporting role. In any case, all of these characters have been developed well too. 

The plot was quite simple and I guess the author’s agenda with this book was to put forward the concept of Tantra to common people and remove any misconceptions about it. Tantrics are shown as normal people with normal lives. They live their lives as the rest of us do only that they practice Tantra which is a combination of science and spirituality. But that is where the book failed me. On one hand I found the plot to be simplistic and on the other hand once I finished reading the book, I am not sure I really understand Tantra completely either, only the very basics. Otherwise the characters and the author’s expert narrative makes this book quite a page turner.


Review Copy received from the Author