26 February, 2018

#BookReview :: Charlatans by Robin Cook

Noah Rothauser is the new super chief resident at Boston Memorial Hospital. Housing state-of-the-art medical facilities, it’s always been Noah’s dream to work for such an esteemed institution. But the pressures of the role become all too clear when a seemingly routine operation results in the tragic death of an otherwise healthy man. With potential malpractice suspected it falls to the newly appointed surgical doctor to investigate what happened. Questioning those involved uncovers bitter feuds within the hospital’s surgical staff when Dr. William Mason, the egotistical, world-class surgeon who performed the operation, is quick to blame staff anaeshtetist Dr. Ava London for the disastrous outcome. However Dr. London, along with the nursing staff, point the finger at the surgeon. When two more anaesthesia-related deaths occur, Noah is forced to look closer at the impressively competent, charming, yet mysterious Dr. London, and he quickly realizes there’s far more to her than meets the eye. With his own job and integrity coming into jeopardy, Noah must decide which doctor is at fault and who he can believe – before any more lives are lost . . .

When a routine surgery results in death, fingers are pointed in every direction. It falls on Dr. Noah Rothauser, the new super chief resident to investigate the incident. Dr. William Mason was quick to point the finger at the anesthetist Dr. Ava London while the nursing staff blames the surgeon. When there are similar deaths in the hospital, the stakes are raised higher. But it is really difficult to pin point the perpetrator with so many misdirection and lies. Will Noah be able to pin down the one at fault or will he fail and lose his job?

I love Robin Cook and consider him the best in medical thriller category. He did not fail to deliver with this book. With each character carefully developed, it is interesting to see the whole drama play out. The relationship dynamics at the Boston Memorial Hospital is just off the charts. There is so much going on between the characters in there that it is fun to be on the ‘sidelines’ but I do not think I would survive that life for even a day! The plot is interesting, partly due to the plethora of characters and partly because of the whodunit element in it. Dr. Noah’s character, as the protagonist, is not the most interesting one in the book. Yet the way he works through the book to figure out the mystery was remarkable.

I did have a big problem with the book though. The author has taken his narrative to a whole new level with regards to details. For instance the first death took about 25-30 odd pages at the very beginning. As the result it gave the book a very slow start where as the reader we know what is going to happen… yet the pages felt more of a drag than a buildup. It happened several times through the book and as a result I put it down a number of times.

This is certainly not one of the best by the author but still quite good.

Review Copy received from Pan Macmillan India

24 February, 2018

#BookReview :: South of Main Street by Robert Gately

Henry Wolff regularly climbs out of his upstairs bedroom window. The neighbors think it strange that a grown man enjoys a Tarzan like swing from the roof, but then again, they all think Henry is a little strange. Recently widowed, Henry is an emotionally challenged father being sued by his daughter for financial control of the estate. Henry must prove he is normal - not an easy thing to do when you are not. Henry is different, not quite normal, not quite special. Rumors explaining his behavior run from PTSD in Vietnam to losing his son to SIDS. But Henry has a special gift. In a town divided by the have and have-nots, Henry alone can inspire and touch even the most jaded lost soul. But when tragedy strikes, can he unite his own family?

Goodreads * Amazon

It rarely that an author intrigues me with his review request pitch. Robert Gately approached me with a simple mail that had me accept his review request that was hilariously endearing. I did not pay much attention to the book blurb before accepting a review copy just because his pitch mail was so good, that I was kind of sure that I would enjoy no matter what story he tells.

South of Main Street is the story of Henry Wolff, a man who is often tagged as odd. He has some strange tendencies and most people think that he hasn’t been right in the head for a while now. Whether it is PTSD or whether it is the loss of his dear ones – no one can be sure, but that doesn’t stop the rumour mills. His daughter suing him for the control of the estate is just another peg on the pole. Will Henry be able to bring his family and his community together?

Henry is simply an adorable soul. Irrespective of his oddities, his jewel of a heart can win over most people. He can inspire people. He can touch the lives around him and change them forever. It was really a great experience to make the acquaintance of this character, however fictional. Robin, Sharon and other secondary characters in the book have been developed well. So well in fact that as a reader, I was outraged by Sharon’s cunning but selfish actions. 

The plot’s beauty lies in its simplicity and the way the author has decided to narrate the story. It feels like something that you know and are comfortable with. Though the author has narrated the story in a light-hearted manner, because it exposes human psyche not in a glorious manner, the book has darker shades to it. As a result, I wasn’t really happy with the neatly wrapped up ending. I was expecting a different ending – certainly a messier one because life is messy.

Pick this book up if you enjoy reading about the nitty-gritties of not so common people.

Review Copy received from the Author

22 February, 2018

Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha #1) by Tomi Adeyemi

Magic can burn, turn tides, light the darkness and bring back the dead.
But magic is gone.
So one girl must bring it back!

Book 1 in the Legacy of Orisha Trilogy
by Tomi Adeyemi

Available on pre-order @Amazon.in

Fantasy Fiction - Young Adult| Rs 399 | Paperback | ISBN 9781509871353 | March 2018

Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut Children of Blood and Bone.

They killed my mother. They took our magic. They tried to bury us. Now we rise.

Zélie remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. When different clans ruled – Burners igniting flames, Tiders beckoning waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoning forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, anyone with powers was targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope. Only a few people remain with the power to use magic, and they must remain hidden.

Zélie is one such person. Now she has a chance to bring back magic to her people and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must learn to harness her powers and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where strange creatures prowl, and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to come to terms with the strength of her magic – and her growing feelings for an enemy.

The movie of Children of Blood and Bone is in development at Fox 2000/Temple Hill Productions with the incredible Karen Rosenfelt and Wyck Godfrey (Twilight, Maze Runner, The Fault In Our Stars) producing it.

‘Infused with rich mythology of west Africa, Adeyemi’s lush world-building and consummate plotting breathes new life into a YA fantasy epic. Themes of oppression and racism resonate all too strongly in today’s political climate. The cliffhanger ending may leave some readers reeling but, rest assured, this is first in a trilogy.’ Fiona Noble, Observer

Tomi Adeyemi is a Nigerian-American writer and creative writing coach based in San Diego, California. After graduating Harvard University with an honours degree in English literature, she studied West African mythology and culture in Salvador, Brazil. When not writing novels or watching Scandal, Tomi teaches and blogs about creative writing on her website, named one of the 101 best websites for writers by Writer's Digest. Children of Blood and Bone is her debut novel.

21 February, 2018

#BookReview :: The Vengeance of Indra (Vikramaditya Veergatha #3) by Shatrujeet Nath


In their greed to possess the deadly Halahala, the devas and the asuras have employed every dirty trick against Vikramaditya and his Council of Nine. But the humans are still standing, bloodied but unbowed.

When the wily Shukracharya discovers the secret to breaking the Council’s unity and strength, he forges an unlikely alliance with his arch-enemy, Indra, to set a deceitful plan in motion.

As cracks emerge between the councilors and their king, ghosts from the past threaten to ruin Vikramaditya and Kalidasa’s friendship, signaling the beginning of an eclipse that will cast a long shadow over all that Vikramaditya holds dear. And into this shadow steps Indra, bearing an old grudge – and a devastating new weapon.

How much longer before the Guardians of the Halahala finally fall apart?

I have been eagerly waiting for the release of this book. In fact, this book was one of my most anticipated books of 2018. I read the book in one sitting, staying up till 3:30am!

Shatrujeet Nath returns with the third book in the series after a gap of almost a year and a half. (*** Still grumbling about the wait ***) But boy does he return with a bang! He doesn’t wait to get right into it and the Prologue is a hook that is sure to get any reader’s attention. 

The book picks up from soon after where ‘The Conspiracy of Meru’ left off. The kingdom is still reeling from the after effects of the attacks. There’s a restlessness growing among its people while Vikramaditya is faced with questions at every end. The effect of Kalidasa’s action has left a mark on Vikramaditya and his councilors; especially on Vararuchi and Shanku. Ghatakapara has some troubles of his own. Shoorasena’s plotting continues as King Harihara tries to face up to his dilemma and Chandravardhan tries to come to a decision. There is a lot happening in the human realms, but the unscrupulous scheming on the part of the Devas and the Asuras continue as well…

The book answers a couple of questions, but raises so many more. Compared to ‘The Conspiracy of Meru’, this book has less action. But it makes up by putting out all the moves and counter moves that each party has planned. It offers a lot of drama and politics to keep the readers engaged and involved in the story by nudging them to try and guess what exactly each character is up to. Each sub plot has something to offer – it is up to the readers to connect the dots where they can. The twists that the author came up with were ingenious and almost had me fooled. The book also offers a closer look at a few characters in a way that may change things for the readers. There are certain scenes in the book that are so well done that it almost blew my mind. I wish I could tell you more details about those incidents without giving out spoilers.

The stage is now set for the finale in “The Wrath of Hellfires” and I am so ready for it. I can feel how epic it is going to be from the way the story has built up so far.

To round up my review, I would like to recommend this series to every mytho-fiction and fantasy lovers out there. I really cannot say it enough – if you haven’t read this series yet, you are missing out on a LOT.

Review Copy received from Jaico Books

19 February, 2018

#BookReview :: Sadia by Colleen Nelson

Three female Muslim teenagers must decide how far they are willing to go to defend their beliefs when faced with the pressures of life.

Thirteen-year-old Sadia is Muslim and passionate about one thing: basketball. When her teacher announces tryouts for this year’s co-ed team, she jumps at the opportunity. Her talent speaks for itself. Her head scarf, on the other hand, is a problem. Surrounded by her classmates and a new friend, Syrian refugee Amira, Sadia learns about standing up for herself and fighting for what is right.

Written from Sadia’s point of view, the book examines how three female Muslim teenagers experience life. Sadia wants to maintain her Muslim identity and refuses to remove her head covering at a basketball tournament; Amira is a Syrian refugee, reeling from the trauma she experienced when she fled her home; and Nazreen is ready to eschew her Muslim heritage to fit in with the popular crowd at school.

This is the story of Sadia, Nazreen and Amira. Sadia and Amira are Syrian Muslims, while Nazreen is an Egyptian Muslim who have all found their way to Canada. Sadia and Nazreen have been in Canada for a while and they have had the time to adjust to the ways of life there. Amira, on the other hand, is new to Canada and has a lot of hurdles to cross before she can settle in. The language barrier is just one example. The book explores the barriers and conflicts that these girls face.

Frankly, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the book. On one hand, the blurb of the book indicated that it would be informative about the cultural differences. On the other hand, I wasn’t really sure if the Canadian Author would be able to do justice to the protagonist’s characters. I actually checked out the author’s Goodreads profile and website to see if she had any related experience. Only thing I could connect is that she has been a teacher for about a decade and so may have had interactions with Muslim girls as her students.

The author has done a good job with her portrayal of Sadia, Nazreen and Amira. At least I feel so because the characters felt very real to me. First is Amira, a Syrian refugee. I could understand, if not relate, to her homesickness as she was forced to leave her country. Leaving Syria and moving to Canada was not a choice that she or her family consciously made. Sadia on the other hand, had moved to Canada before the borders were locked down. She sees it as a blessing in a form. I admired her conviction and faith. Nazreen confused me though. I kind of understood the peer pressure she had trouble handling. What I did not understand was her attitude towards Sadia. Was she just jealous that she did not have the same faith or conviction? Or was she just indifferent and used Sadia when needed?

The characters and the narrative style of the author really hold the book together. The book is easy to get into and it is easy to like the protagonists for what they are because of the author’s narrative style. The voices in the book rang true. The plot was weak though. For most parts, there weren’t any major conflicts and the minor conflicts that were depicted were handled pretty easily. At times it felt like the author was looking for easy resolution rather than fleshing the plot. Also, real life is much more difficult and messier than this.

Review Copy received from NetGalley

17 February, 2018

#CoverReveal :: Corridors of Time by Vinay Krishnan

Corridors of Time tracks the story of a sensitive young man who grows from carefree childhood to eventful manhood - one who stumbles before learning to stride through those dark and dense passages.
Set in Bangalore - a city of paradoxes. of gardens and garbage heaps. of technology and traffic snarls. of friendly people and failing infrastructure. when bungalows had gardens and pavements were meant for pedestrians. this is a narrative of the human spirit.
Rohan, an idealistic young sports lover experiences rejection, dark dejection and isolation and hurtles down the path to self destruction.
Shyla, attractive and successful is everything his heart yearns for and his body desires, except, she is married!
Chandrika, simple and devoted fails to understand the man she loves.
The shuklas long for justice denied by the system.
And khalid fears nothing and no one ...anymore.

About the Author:

Vinay Krishnan describes himself as a ‘complete Bangalorean’. A student of Clarence High School, he graduated in Humanities from St Joseph’s College. Earning a diploma in Business Administration, he began his career at Usha International Ltd and rose to a position of Senior Sales manager. Vinay has now set up a construction firm of his own. He also writes and devotes his time to an NGO assisting people with disability. The city of his dreams, Bangalore, where he stays with his wife and daughter, continues to inspire and exasperate him. He can be reached at – vinaykrshnn@yahoo.com.

Praises for the Book:

The book is simple in style and content, for often it is this simplicity that bewilders and rouses
~ Shri S . Rajendra Babu, Former Chief Justice of India

The book has excellent literary craftsmanship, passion humour and adventure. Highly recommended.
~ Mr. Namboodiri, former Asst. Editor, Deccan Herald

This charming book about old Bangalore is written in a racy easy-to-read style.
~ Deccan Herald, Bangalore.

This Cover Reveal is brought to you by Author's Channel in association with b00k r3vi3ws

13 February, 2018

#CoverReveal :: Finding Her Way: An Indian Girl's dilemma by Ruchi Vasudeva

What does marriage mean for an Indian girl? Whether she marries for love or by arrangement, she’s forced to obey unreasonable demands. But she also wants to live her life on her own terms.
Avni is such a girl. When the man she loves and cares for wholeheartedly, throws her a curve ball, she chooses to walk away. What comes next for Avni?


About the Author:
Ruchi Vasudeva became an author in 2013 after winning a contest held by Harlequin, now under Harper Collins India. She is a doctor by profession and a family person at heart. She likes to write romantic stories about emotional growth and human dilemmas, Keep in touch with her at twitter @Ruchi_Vasudeva or via the link below. She loves to hear from her readers.

Contact her at HERE

10 February, 2018

#Interview with Nish Amarnath, #Author of Victims for Sale

About the Author:
Born in New Delhi, Nish Amarnath grew up in many different places including Calcutta, Bangalore, Chennai and Lagos, Nigeria. She debuted as an author at eighteen with The Voyage to Excellence, a critically acclaimed business biography. She has received honours for her short stories from Scholastic and Infosys, and the President of India's Silver Medallion. Nish was managing editor at Euromoney Institutional Investor and a senior journalist at S&P Global, formerly McGraw Hill Financial, where she was nominated for the Alerian Awards [AMMYS] in 2017. She previously led a public diplomacy mandate for the UK Government on behalf of an affiliate of French multinational, Publicis Groupe. Her articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Street, International Business Times, India Today, The Hindu, The New Indian Express and Times of India’s city supplements, among others. She holds post-graduate degrees in media communications and journalism from The London School of Economics and Political Science and Columbia University, where she was a James W. Robins reporting fellow. Her enterprise story, ‘Citi and its Scuffle with the Watchdogs’, originally a Master’s thesis for Columbia University reviewed by Sylvia Nasar, author of A Beautiful Mind and Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius, was published separately as a book in 2014. A former Londoner, she now lives in New York City.

Contact the Author:
Website * BlogFacebook * Twitter * Instagram

An Interview:

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
I have enjoyed different worlds, words and characters for as long as I can remember. My father used to tell me stories everyday—convincing and compelling stories that he made up on the spur of the moment, just for me. 
As a child, I enjoyed telling stories as much as I loved reading or listening to them. And that realization came about a few years after a first prize that I received for a kindergarten story recitation competition, where I told the tale of Rabindranath Tagore’s Malancha, while in Bangalore. 
I became increasingly more fascinated with different worlds and alternate realities when I began reading Enid Blyton as I grew older. And some of the stories I penned down, at eight and nine, were possibly reproduced or altered versions of the Magic Faraway Tree series! 
However, the trauma of nearly losing my mother, and my own near-death experience a year later in 1996 were really the catalysts for the birth of my vision as a writer. That kind of self-realization or intuitive sense, back then, guided me towards a path where I began writing for national English-language dailies such as The Hindu and The New Indian Express at the age of12, even as I voraciously read between classes, and experimented with writing novels and short stories.  

What inspires you to write?
I believe that what is real and infinite is the world within each of us. And the external world mirrors what each of us feels within. In the realm of fiction, I have enjoyed traveling to alternate realities and creating new characters in new worlds that I can guide, shape and sculpt into a reality that could be more vivid and more real than the reality we are socially conditioned to believe in. This could perhaps be construed as a form of escapism, which is mostly intrinsic to human nature. The process of writing helps channel that escapism into a passage that eventually transmutes darkness to light. Writing is also a tool to remind ourselves that we are each on a unique journey, which we can best experience when we are the truest version of ourselves. The characters that I portray in my novels and short stories are young women and men who seek to do just that; they take up the challenge of playing with fire.

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
My current book, VICTIMS FOR SALE, grew out of my experiences as a freelance journalist. I spoke to people whose experiences and perspectives drove home a realization that the topic of concern which I was investigating, was in fact very real, more widespread than imagined, and under-reported in the media as a critical human rights issue, at the time. VICTIMS FOR SALE has seen several incarnations since 2006, when I first began writing it. But, the essence of the story, and the voice of the characters have remained unswervingly the same.

Are there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day?
Those would be school-setting novels I wrote as a kid. I remember that I wrote quite a few such school-setting novels based on a lead character as part of a series, with each novel in the series taking place when the character in question was in the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh Grade and so on—up until the Tenth grade! Those novels were mostly based on evolving relationships between young people coming of age, and the sense of alienation that the lead character experiences as she discovers her own identity and sexuality.  I had successfully completed a few novels as part of that series, and I wrote them in no particular order. But others in that series were either half-done or remained in my head. All of those were hand-written on notebooks, which are probably in a loft back in India. I wouldn’t be caught dead reading any of them now! But, on hindsight, I realize that this school-setting novel series—and tons of books I read across multiple genres—gave me solid grounding as a fiction writer, novelist and a woman who now believes that there is a place for everyone in the world.

Tell us about your writing process.
I believe in good, compelling and relatable yet unique stories with a strong and gripping plot. So, that’s usually the starting point.  Once I feel that I have a good story in place, I set out to determine the setting and the right character(s) to lead such a story. Then I move on to the stage of developing a core plot for the story in question. What follows is a broad sequence of events that will support the plot and bring the characters to life.
I usually prefer penning down plots and synopses before starting to write. When I do start writing, I work on the story, scene by scene, and I determine my progress based on how far each scene has gone in terms of nurturing the narrative. I do visualize each scene as I write. 
Writing also involves extensive research because I enjoy writing stories infused with a blend of ‘what could be’ within starkly real settings. That kind of research involves ethnography, oral history and long conversations/ interviews that provide insights into the life worlds or lived experiences of subjects who represent at many levels the characters that we are writing about.
I believe in editing scenes as and when I write them, as this saves on a lot of editing work in the later stages. 

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
My most favorite scene from ‘VICTIMS FOR SALE’ is essentially one of suspense, and elaborating on it could involve giving the suspense away! Broadly speaking, my favorite scenes from this thriller are those which build up the momentum and then conclude abruptly, leaving the reader wanting for more, urging readers to miss their stops on the Metro (if it comes to that!) as they plow through the next scene or next chapter to figure out what is going on!  My favorite scenes are also those which bring out the key components of ‘Sandy’ as a character, as an ambitious small-town South Indian girl who finds her feet in London and rediscovers herself even as she is pulled into the nucleus of a massive racket in the UK.  

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?
One of the other characters, Keisha Douglas who is a BBC producer and Sandy’s sort-of boss, also carries components of the leadership style I have myself adopted at work as a boss/ mentor. Keisha, or KiKi as she is affectionately called, is a thorough professional and a tough-as-steel journalist with a no-nonsense yet collaborative and participative approach to leading activities. She is also innocent, childlike and vulnerable—qualities that will reveal themselves only to those who are able to connect with her at a deeper level. And, to some extent, their shared idealism is what brings Sandy and Keisha closer to each other. 

What is your most interesting writing quirk?
I was almost always called ‘the daydreamer’ at school and that’s a nickname that stuck until I moved to London in the mid-2000s. I tend to live in the worlds that I’ve created even when I’m not writing! It will take a lot to pull me out of that space. 
I also tend to surprise myself with my own writing. There have been moments when my writing has led me away from scenes and event sequences I had carefully planned and laid out. And, in some of those cases, the newer narrative seems like an offshoot of an unheard voice from the sky, where all of the details, which have never occurred to me before, just fell into place!  

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
As a child, I have been a voracious reader to the point of driving peers and authority figures to despair. I have read between classes, during free periods, into the night, during mealtimes, snack times, in moving cars, and nearly all the time! 
My reading mania—one that would last for more than a decade—began with Enid Blyton, so she is probably one of the key authors who made her mark on my lifeblood as a writer. 
Among all of the authors I have read, I have most enjoyed Mary Higgins Clark, Erich Segal, J.K Rowling and more recently, Gillian Flynn and Janice Pariat. 
However, one of my most favourite books isn’t by any of these authors. And that is The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman, who has also been a journalist. I wish he wrote more fiction!
Finally, I believe in striking a fine balance between the pace of my story, the twists and turns in the plot and the gamut of emotions that the characters in question go through. 

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?
The best piece of advice I have received is from a close friend from the London School of Economics who is an academician and who writes himself. And he had recently told me how important it is to be aware of my own voice as a writer, and to be more connected to myself in order to be able to write.
Another piece of advice is from Janice Pariat, who has said that it is the story that counts and how best that story can be told, rather than an excessive focus on specific genres. 

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
My first piece of advice is patience and endurance. Writing, much like the academic field, can be like an ocean that you swim in with no end in sight. You have got to have enough passion for it, and all that comes along with it. That said, your journey as a writer can be more rewarding if you drop all your masks and evolve as the truest version of yourself.
Finally, the importance of reading can never be discounted. When I say reading, I don’t mean just reading books. It is paramount to read anything and everything. This includes novels across genres, non-fiction books, biographies, op-eds, columns, articles, news pegs, research papers, monographs and more.  Reading that way exposes you to the diversity of narrative styles and helps expand your vocabulary and your understanding of which word is most appropriate to use in what context. 
Not to mention, it broadens your perspective and takes you to distant cities, countries and locales in seconds. 
What would be the Dream Cast for you book if it was to be turned into a movie?
The best leading lady for ‘Sandy’ of VICTIMS FOR SALE would be Priyanka Chopra. And my literary agent is excited at that prospect, too! 

If you were to be stranded on the famous deserted island, what three things would you carry?
A book, a bottle of wine and my Macbook! 

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?
I haven’t had much free time for a while. But, when I do, I enjoy singing and painting. I’m trained in (Hindustani) classical music and I appreciate music in general, so having multiple hobbies helps! I also love traveling, exploring artifacts, hanging out in bookstores, strolling by the sea, driving long distances for no good reason, and swimming when I’m not in London or New York! Prague and Berlin are some of my most favourite travel and research destinations.  

Can you share with us something off your bucket list?
We are more than our achievements and credentials, so I believe in going with the flow and seeing where life takes me. For now, developments, as they are unraveling, seem to be leading me on a path to being a writer and teller of stories beyond what I’ve seen (as a journalist) in the newsrooms. 

Tell us three fun facts about yourself.
1) I was earlier known publicly as Nischinta Amarnath. My byline has changed to Nish Amarnath.
2) I have a fetish for scarves/stoles and finger-rings.
3) I spent some portion of my childhood in Nigeria. 

What do you have in store next for your readers?
There are four titles on the pipeline that I am in talks for. My most immediate—and ongoing—novel is ‘Twin Flame.’ Twin Flame is a timeless saga of spiritual awakening, enduring love, unyielding compromise and indomitable courage in the face of immense adversity.
Some of the future titles include ‘Bitch on Wheels’ and a financial thriller set in New York and Washington, D.C.
‘Bitch on Wheels’ is the story of a woman who moves to Delhi to join a public relations firm and finds herself in a power struggle with one of South Asia’s most successful image icons. The financial thriller that I am in talks for is the story of a naïve, young news editor who becomes a target in a kabuki play that could topple the U.S. government. 
Regardless of the settings of my stories, my protagonists are usually either Indian or have roots in India. And my voice as a writer is that of an Indian woman who has lived, traveled and worked in multiple cities.  
Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
Try to stay true to yourself and stand up for that truth. No matter how hard that can be at times, you will create your own legacy. And read all that you can grab your hands on. Encourage others, especially younger people, to read. Appreciate good stories. If you’re feeling sheepish that you’re buying books ever other week (rather than getting them on Kindle), don’t be! There is a certain charm in holding a book in your hands. 

About the Book:

Sandy Raman, stringer for the BBC, lives as a paying guest with the Sawants, a regular, quiet, Indian family. Or so she thought. Until she woke up to a woman with a knife … and a dark secret. It is only after she runs a sting operation on a home for the differently abled that Sandy makes a connection between an institute acting as a front for something sinister and the strange family she lives with. Chasing the truth up a trail of brutal murders, Sandy must evade the grasping clutches of a thriving sex racket and expose the predators before her time runs out.

Amazon * Sapna Online

09 February, 2018

#Interview with Tanushree Podder, #Author of A Closetful of Skeletons

About the Author:
Born at New Delhi, she worked in the corporate sector for eight long years before Tanushree quit the rat race to wield her pen and found her calling. 
A well know travel writer and novelist, she is also known for the hundreds of ‘Middles’ that entertained readers of almost all English dailies in the country for over a decade. Tanushree is passionate about travelling and writing. If the lady is not packing her bags to zip around the world, she is sure to be found tapping the keys of her computer. 
With five successful novels, a dozen best selling nonfiction titles and few hundred travel tales under her belt, she is all set to launch into yet another voyage with words. 
She lives with her husband at Pune.

Contact the Author:
Website * Twitter * Goodreads

An Interview:

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
I began narrating stories to my siblings when I was in the VIth. Recalling the rapt expression on their faces, I can say that the stories were quite interesting. That was the start of my journey. However, serious writing began only during my college years. 

What inspires you to write?
Writing is my oxygen.  Writing is a compulsion for me. I enjoy the process of turning an idea into a book, regardless of the outcome .  The appreciation of readers is an inspiration, of course.

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
For a long time, I have wanted to write a murder mystery because I love reading detective fiction. Agatha Christie is one of my favourite authors.  The idea of writing the current story germinated when I read a news report about a murder that took place in a small town.

Are there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day?
Yes, there are a couple stories that lie unfinished, in my drawer.  Both of them are three fourth done and I want to work on them at leisure.  They will see the light of the day, eventually, when I am ready to get them published.

Tell us about your writing process.
The writing process begins with the germination of an idea. I spend some time, working over the story in my mind, before I start writing. I imagine the characters, their traits, the setting and the way the story will progress. Once that is clear in my mind, I start keying the story into the computer. Thereafter, begins the lengthy process of drafting, redrafting, writing, editing and re-editing the story, before it is presented to the publisher.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
My favourite scene in the book is when Ramola, the film star, makes an announcement that she was publishing her memoirs. The scene offered ample opportunity for dramatization. The reactions of the people as she makes the announcement at her birthday party, created an interesting canvas of emotions.

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?
Hahaha! Not in this book. Some of the other books have carried a couple of my quirks, but I am not about to reveal them.

What is your most interesting writing quirk?
My desk has to face a window. It is distracting, of course. The time I spend gazing out of the window is often more than the time I spend working. Also, I can't work if someone is hovering near me. 

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
Like most writers, I read a lot. As for my favourite authors, I have many. PG Wodehouse, Agatha Christie, Jane Austen and Amitav Ghosh are just a few of them.  I don't know if they have influenced my writing style.  

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?
Develop your own style of writing, don't ape anyone. That was the advice given by my mother, who was an avid reader.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
Perseverance and hard work along with dollops of positive attitude are a must for anyone wanting to wade into the troubled waters of writing. Do your best and be prepared for the worst.

If you were to be stranded on the famous deserted island, what three things would you carry?
A pen, notebook and my phone.

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?
I am a nomad at heart and need no reason to go on a trip. The run of mill destinations are not my cup, and I don't have a favourite place. Any place that offers me sanctuary from crowd and noise, is my kind of place.

Can you share with us something off your bucket list?
There are quite a few items in my bucket list, which seems to be getting longer by the day. Hmmm, let me see. Visiting South Shetland Islands in the Antarctic is one of the items in the list.   

Tell us three fun facts about yourself.
I am clueless about the current crop of filmstars. A couple of years ago, I sat next to a prominent star without knowing who she was. When bored, I can switch off at a party. I am quite absentminded. Once, I introduced myself twice to the same set of people at a party.

What do you have in store next for your readers?
Another murder mystery.

About the Book:
Five men are on their way to a hill station, where Ramola, a fading movie star, waits for them to make an announcement that will change their lives forever. Ramola withdrew from the public eye at the peak of her stardom. Now, surrounded by retired couples spending their twilight years gardening and gossiping, her life is idyllic. Or at least it was, till the night of her birthday party, when she announces that her tell-all memoir will soon be published. The book, documenting her rise to fame, puts each of her ex-lovers' careers in jeopardy. As each desperate man tries to save himself, Ramola is drawn back into the very web of lies and deception she'd left behind. By the time the party is over, Ramola's neighbour, retired army officer and amateur sleuth, Colonel Arjun H. Acharya, has found his first murder to solve. A Closetful of Skeletons reels you into a cosy world of fresh mountain air, long-drawn bridge games and bloody murder.

Goodreads * Amazon

07 February, 2018

Romance Rewind - Loving a Wild Stranger By Kelli A. Wilkins

Romance Rewind - Loving a Wild Stranger 
By Kelli A. Wilkins

Hi everyone,

Believe it or not, it’s been a year since I released my historical/pioneer romance, Loving a Wild Stranger. I’m happy to report that the book has received several great reviews. This full-length novel is set in the Michigan Territory and blends adventure with a sensual love story.

Here’s the summary, two reviews, an excerpt, and few links to learn more about the book:

A woman running from her past… straight into the arms of an untamed man

In a moment of desperation, Kathleen Stanton flees her pampered life in Kingston, New York and ends up stranded in a small town in the Michigan Territory. Out of money and forced to rely on her instincts, she impersonates a handsome stranger’s mail-order bride. 

Committed to her deception, Kathleen calls herself Michelle and starts her new life with Luther in an isolated cabin in the wilderness. Luther can’t believe his luck when his beautiful bride arrives, but something doesn’t feel right about his new wife. Michelle has terrifying nightmares involving a man named Roger and is reluctant to talk about where she came from. 

Luther’s friend, Redfeather visits and tries to convince Luther to send Michelle back east. Distrusting Michelle, he warns Luther that his bride is not what she seems. But Luther is in love with Michelle, and he is harboring a secret of his own—one that might force Michelle to reject him when she learns the truth.

Michelle falls in love with Luther and adapts to her new way of life. Together, they face off against brutal townspeople and overcome harsh living conditions. When they finally give in to their desires and agree to become a proper man and wife, a dark figure from Michelle’s past resurfaces and threatens to destroy everything. 

Publisher’s Weekly says:
“Wilkins (Trust with Hearts) has created a wonderfully sweet romance. The fantastic tension between the two characters as they grapple with their sudden newlywed status and the awkwardness that comes with marrying a perfect stranger keeps this story emotional and realistic as they fall in love. The story flows nicely and does not rush the romance. Wilkins keeps readers interested with strong, complex characters. Fans of pioneer romances will enjoy this one.”
Read the full review here: https://www.publishersweekly.com/ASINB01N6M551H 

Long & Short Romances says:
“4 Stars! This book has the potential to be made into a movie. This book took over my life. I ignored everyone and everything. The writing style made the entire book come to life as if I were there. The plot was really great. Nothing was going to interrupt my time with Luther. I envied the heroine, Michele. Loving a Wild Stranger reminded me of the 1970s T.V. show, “Grizzly Adams” – one of my favorite childhood television shows.
The writing style made the entire book come to life as if I were there. It was clever how Ms. Wilkins incorporated many plot threads and weaved them all together. I recommend this book and will be keeping it on my keeper shelf! I would recommend reading Loving a Wild Stranger while relaxing by a lake!”
Read the full review here: https://www.amazon.com/Loving-Wild-Stranger-Historical-Romance-ebook/dp/B01N6M551H/

An excerpt:
Kathleen’s knees shook as she strode down the sidewalk toward the livery. She had to get out of the store before there was trouble. She felt sorry for that man, Luther. He’d seemed nice enough when he gave her back her glove. 
The coach waited near the livery, and her trunks still sat on the sidewalk. She had some time left. What should she do? She didn’t dare get back on the coach, but this town was awful and she didn’t want to stay here. Perhaps she could throw herself on the mercy of the church. There had to be one somewhere and the reverend would take her in. Or would he? 
Kathleen crossed the street and entered the livery. A round-faced man slouching behind the counter straightened up. 
“You must be from the stage,” he said, gazing at the front of her dress. 
She folded her arms across her bosom and looked him square in the eye. “How did you know?” she asked, her voice dripping with sarcasm. 
“Because I’ve been with all the women in town and you ain’t one of ’em. You Clyde’s new girl? I’d pay two dollars for a night with you.” He winked. 
“How dare you! I’m looking for the church.” 
The man spit a stream of tobacco juice on the floor next to her brown boots. “We ain’t got a church. If you ain’t the new whore, then what are you doin’ here?” 
She spotted the newspaper the man had open on the counter in front of him. An advertisement for wedding lace gave her an idea. “I’m a mail-order bride.” 
“That so?” He scowled. “Who’s the lucky man?” 
Kathleen twisted her skirts and tried to stall for time. “There’s a problem with the papers you see…” 
She glanced out the window. The driver stood near the coach, scratching his head. A second later, she heard the familiar clomp of boots on the sidewalk. This was her one chance. It had to work. She had always trusted her instincts, and now she could only think of one answer. Her gut told her to take the risk. “Luther’s his name and—” 
“Luther?” The liveryman’s eyes widened. “Well, you’re in the right place.” He arched an eyebrow. “You sure it’s Luther?” 
She nodded as the coach pulled away. All hope of escape left town in a swirl of dust. Her trunks lay abandoned on the sidewalk. There was no going back now. This man thought she was a mail-order bride. She tried to remember what she’d read about them. It sounded simple, a man sent money to a company and they sent a wife. 
She tensed as the livery door opened. 
“Hey, Karl. I pulled the wagon—” Luther stopped as he spotted her. 
She averted her gaze and smoothed her skirts, suddenly ashamed of her appearance. What man would accept her unwashed and dusty? 
The liveryman laughed. “Hell, Luther, looks like ya got more than you thought goin’ home with ya.” 
“What’s that mean?” 
Kathleen closed her eyes. What had she done? This wasn’t a game anymore. 
“Seems your wife came special delivery on the coach.” 
“My what?” 


Order your copy of Loving a Wild Stranger here:
Amazon * B&N * Kobo

Feel free to repost & share this blog (and links) with your social media friends!
Happy Reading,
Kelli A. Wilkins

About the Author:
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 95 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books. Her romances span many genres and heat levels. 
In 2016 Kelli is re-releasing her romances previously published by Amber Quill Press. Visit her website and blog for a full title list, book summaries, and other information as it becomes available.
Her writing book, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction is a fun and informative non-fiction guide based on her 15 years of experience as a writer. It’s filled with writing exercises and helpful tips all authors can use.

If you like to be scared, check out Kelli’s horror ebooks: Dead Til Dawn and Kropsy’s Curse.

Kelli posts on her Facebook Author Page and Twitter. She also writes a weekly Blog
Visit her Website to learn more about all of her writings, read book excerpts, reviews, and more. Readers can sign up for her newsletter HERE.

Catch Up with Kelli:

06 February, 2018

#Interview with Sudipto Das, #Author of The Aryabhata Clan

About the Author:
The Bangalore-based Sudipto Das shot to literary fame with his debut novel, The Ekkos Clan, a historical, research-based mystery that released in 2013. Following the success of his first book, Das has launched his second novel The Aryabhata Clan in December 2017. An alumnus of IIT Kharagpur, Das’ life experiences are manifold: his family left Bangladesh during the horrific riots and he heard many of the strife-torn stories during his growing up years in Calcutta, which had a profound influence on his first book. A veteran in the semi-conductor industry and a successful entrepreneur, Das always had a natural inclination towards the creative arts: an accomplished violinist, he founded the music band Kohal in 2007. However, his first love was always writing, which gave him creative satisfaction like no other art form could. 
His literary journey began with The Ekkos Clan, that received much critical acclaim. The book was deeply rooted in ancient Indian history, linguistic paleontology, astronomy, archaeology, and the Rig Veda. The dawn of the new year sees the release of the sequel to his first book; it is based on the mathematician Aryabhata. The plot revolves around the Islamic State spreading its tentacles in India, gradually infiltrating the politics, media, academics space, spearheaded by a young physicist from Bangladesh. And it's all up to the beautiful and spirited 20-year old Kubha to save her country from the impending apocalypse.
The co-founder of two successful start-ups and the General Secretary of Sarathi Socio Cultural Trust, Das is all set to enthrall millions of readers with a book replete with twists and turns, a true mark of a writer in complete control of his prolific craft.

An Interview with the Author:

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
I have been writing since the 90s, when I was a student at IIt KGP. I thought of writing a novel in 2008. 

What inspires you to write?
The urge to do something that might outlive me, something that would make someone happy, something that would inspire someone.

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
Wanted to write something about the contemporary issues like the ISIS, the religious fundamentalism, shallow politics, the role of media and the intellectuals in misguiding the society etc. Again, as I was writing a sequel to my previous novel - The Ekkos Clan, languages, history and related things must play a big role as the historical background. While doing my research on various things I suddenly stumbled upon Aryabhatiya, the book written by Aryabhata and I realized that all the above things could be joined together to make a story.

Are there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day?
Yes, the second book I wrote is yet to the light of the day - it's called Prembajar, which I co-authored with Aparajita Dutta. It's about lesbianism and parallel sexuality.

Tell us about your writing process.
I read more than I write. And I generally write in the nights, after 10pm, till I can remain awake. I give my drafts to my friends to read and I take their feedback very seriously. Then I rewrite the entire thing many times before giving the manuscript to an editor. I also get it critiqued by a few professional reviewers and I incorporate their feedback too. That's why the final version comes into being.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
The favorite scenes are the ones where Parush reminisce Kubha, in bits and pieces, during the 2-3 days he is running around in search of Kubha, who has been kidnapped. The scenes are very poignant and unfurls various dimensions in the personalities of both the characters.

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?
Yes, Kratu & Parush both have bits and pieces of me. Kratu's character was developed more in my previous novel The Ekkos Clan and Parush's in my yet to be published novel. Both the characters derive heavily from my experiences during my college life, especially in IIT KGP. In The Aryabhata Clan though, neither of the characters are of that age - they are both in their late 40's now and don't have much similarities to me now. 

What is your most interesting writing quirk?
At times, I'm stuck with a single line for days. I just don't figure out even a single word which could be used next. I give up writing and watch movies or listen to music for days.

Do you read? Who are your favorite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
I read everything under the sun. Jeffry Archer is one of my favorites. I wonder how he writes pages after pages which keep me hooked. I like Amitav Ghosh, Jhumpa Lahiri and Khaled Hosseini a lot and I subconsciously emulate all of them, perhaps because they all write about very regional nuances for a much wider audience, something that I too tend to do. I like classics also, - Tagore, Kalidasa, Keats have the most impact on me. I like ancient books like Rig Veda and Upanishads also.

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

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
Read read read

What would be the Dream Cast for you book if it was to be turned into a movie?
Afsar: Angelina Jolie, Parush: Irfan Khan, Kubha: Anne Hathaway, Kratu: Amir Khan, Shamsur Ali: Paresh Rawal

If you were to be stranded on the famous deserted island, what three things would you carry?
My violin - to play my favorite songs, my kindle - to read my favorite books, my laptop - to write

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?
Reading & writing, listening & composing music, watching movies. Any new place helps me in unwinding.

Can you share with us something off your bucket list?
Many: Spending a week anywhere in the world, just writing; Given my love for music, stranded on an island with Shreya Ghoshal & Sunidhi Chauhan; Writing a book which would inspire at least a 100 people to become authors; setting the entire Kalidasa's Meghaduta to music; My startup Insilico going IPO by 2020.

Tell us three fun facts about yourself.
I'm obsessed with food - the first thing I look out for at a new place is the best place serving good chicken.
My distinctive accent - once someone felt I speak a rare dialect of Hindi
My nickname – Alu

What do you have in store next for your readers?
Prembajar, I've already talked about.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
I would like my readers to send me their frank feedback and I promise I'll improve in my next novel.

About the Book:
The Aryabhata Clan is set in 2010, nearly two decades after The Ekkos Clan that unfolded in the 1990s. The Islamic State is spreading its tentacles in India, slowly making forays into the spheres of academia, media and politics. The mastermind Shamsur Ali, is a physicist from Bangladesh who wants to destabilize India by creating a sort of apocalypse. And it's all up to the beautiful and spirited 20-year-old Kubha to prevent this at any cost.
The thrust of the novel centers around a diabolical plan to legitimize the demolition of one of the most prominent historical structures in India. Afsar Fareedi, a linguistic paleontologist and main protagonist of The Ekkos Clan, catches the fraud. Amid all this mayhem, there are three gruesome murders, including that of her father, to perhaps eliminate all traces of a carpet, which Afsar discovers, has a lot hidden in its mysterious motifs, and which incidentally her father had a hand in making. And at the center of all this is a verse composed by the eccentric mathematician, Aryabhata, 1500 years ago.

Goodreads * Amazon