Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Spotlight: Her Secret Husband by Sundari Venkatraman




HER SECRET HUSBAND
(Marriages Made in Heaven Book #3)
by
Sundari Venkatraman




Blurb


The Maheshwaris are back, a little secretly this time!

What do you do if you find a man who looks like chocolate, speaks like warm syrup, looks at you like you were the most precious cake ever created, and he can bake too? You marry him, even if in secret.

Ruma Malhotra falls head over heels and a little more in love with Lakshman Maheshwari, but her parents insist that she marry a rich businessman of their choice. When Ruma's only option is to marry Lakshman in secret, she is left torn between her love for her parents and her passion for Lakshman. Is a secret marriage the solution or will it lead the way to a public disappointment?

Lakshman Maheshwari falls in love with Ruma Malhotra the first time he sets his eyes on her in Ranveer's office. Will he agree to marry Ruma in secret even if it means betraying his parents?

Psst... Those who have read THE MALHOTRA BRIDE might be happy to reconnect with Sunita & Akshay Malhotra in this one. 


*MARRIAGES MADE IN INDIA is a five-novella series that revolves around the characters you have met in The Runaway Bridegroom.




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Read an excerpt from #HSH

“What’s up?” he asked, trying to keep the situation light.
She winked at him. “Shouldn’t I be asking that question?” she asked, looking pointedly down at his lower body.
Reacting to her flirtation, his manhood immediately sprang to action, making Lakshman swear. “Cut that out, Ruma,” he growled, sidestepping her as she would’ve wrapped her arms around him. “I need a shower,” he insisted, not meeting her eyes. He went into the bathroom and locked himself in. The place smelled of Ruma. Cursing, Lakshman stood under the cold shower to tame his libido. She looked like she meant business. How could he convince her to wait till they got married? He dried himself with the towel that was on a rack, glaring at the mirror. He needed a shave. But no, they weren’t going to make love, so it didn’t really matter. Just then he realised that he would have to step out in the towel as his clothes were in the wardrobe. Swearing again, Lakshman walked into the bedroom.
“Laki,” called out Ruma, eyeing him avidly. Fascinated, she got up from the bed and walked up to him. He appeared like a Greek God with his chiselled body that was still damp from the shower. 
She stood close to him and raised her left hand to caress his rough cheek. Her right hand was hooked into his towel as if she was going to pull it off him any second. Lakshman clamped his hand on hers, his fingers holding the towel firmly. “No!”
“Huh?!” She looked deeply into his eyes, her brown gaze like melted cocoa, inviting him to make love to her. Her mouth was pouted deliciously, glistening wetly, begging for a kiss. Lakshman groaned deep in his throat, letting go of her hand to wrap his arms around her. He placed his lips on hers, sucking her upper lip. She tasted as sweet as honey, driving him crazy. His right hand moved down the curve of her hip to touch a thigh. He traced the curve, working his way under her nightshirt to encounter her bare bottom.
“Ruma.” He deliberately removed his hands off her and raised his head to look at her.
She stared back at him with slumberous eyes. “What?” A small frown puckered her forehead.
“We’ll make love after we get married,” he declared.
“What if I don’t agree?”
“I’ll have to beg, right?” he grinned weakly. “Please, my love. You know your parents won’t agree to a marriage between us. Doesn’t it make sense to wait until after the event?”
“What if I want you desperately?” She nuzzled his neck, her teeth taking a sharp nip.
Lakshman groaned again, his arms crushing her to his chest. “Do you love me or just lust after my body?”
“Can’t I do both?” 


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About the author


Her Secret Husband is the tenth book authored by Sundari Venkatraman. This is a hot romance and is Book #3 of the 5-novella series titled Marriages Made in India. Book #1 of the series is The Smitten Husband & Book #2 is His Drunken Wife. Other published novels by the author are The Malhotra Bride, Meghna, The Runaway Bridegroom, The Madras Affair and An Autograph for Anjali—all romances. She also has a collection of romantic shorts called Matches Made in Heaven; and a collection of human interest stories called Tales of Sunshine. All of Sundari Venkatraman’s books are on Amazon Top 100 Bestsellers in India, USA, UK, Canada & Australia under both #romance & #drama categories.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

I’m Not a Betrayer by Sonam Gupta

Name of the Book: I'm Not A Betrayer
Author: Sonam Gupta
Star Rating: 3 stars
Goodreads: Read the Blurb here.

If Sonam Gupta would not have contacted me to give her my honest opinion, I might not have picked up this book.

A few things that go against this book:
1.       The cover suggests a sensuality which I was not sure of. It did not suggest erotica but rather an underdeveloped cover created for sensationalism.

2.       The word count. Just 19 pages.

Still, I took a long time to read this book for the simple matter, I didn't know how to review it. As a woman or as a reader. Many times, a story connects with you yet there are loopholes that stay a long time with you.

Ms. Gupta’s work is more like a conversation. One of those coffee table convos one has with friends. The topic is something which is very much in vogue – marital rape.  Let’s first decide what is marital rape?

“Marital Rape Law and Legal Definition. Marital rape means any unwanted sexual acts by a spouse or ex-spouse that is committed without the other person's consent. Such illegal sexual activity are done using force, threat of force, intimidation, or when a person is unable to consent.”

In the 19 pages, the silent no of Sonam started playing with my mind. Every time I read such stories, I blame the parents. Forcing a girl child to marry just because they want to do their duties. And as parents, why are we so shy about speaking of sex to our children? When will we realize that it is one of the most vital points of a marriage? A girl who is always told to shy away from sex is asked to sleep with a stranger every night without knowing what sex and love are all about. How can we be such hypocrites?

Every time I read these stories, I want to shout out at our so called society that portrays marriage as an achievement. How can marriage be an achievement? It's a phase of life. One that we should transcend to only if our heart and body want it. I chose my marriage. I choose to be married to my husband and I am damn proud that I am a daughter of such parents who never thought I was ‘supposed’ to be married. But when girls like Sonam are ‘provoked’ I hope they know what they are doing and not resort to criminal acts. Here she has been lucky her husband did not rush to the nearest police station. Though I am glad she found her solution to the problem, I also feel as a writer she has not been able to tell her whole story properly. I wish she had taken the help of someone to bring out her story to its full potential.

When did she first say her no? How did her husband react for the first time when she said no? DID SHE EVEN SAY NO? These were the questions that came to my mind every time.

As a topic of the day, I can give this story a 5 star. But since I am a reviewer of books, I can only give this 3 stars. But girls who are ready for marriage in India, please read this book. Learn when to say No and definitely Sex is NOT a taboo topic. Speak up, Girls.


Grab a copy of the book here. 
Also Available on  Kindle Unlimited


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Book Review: These Lines of Mehendi by Sumeetha Manikandan

Name of the Book: These Lines of Mehendi 
Author: Sumeetha Manikandana
Star Rating: 5 stars 
Goodreads: Read the Blurb here 

"A ‘married woman’ is an auspicious creature as far as weddings are concerned. It doesn’t matter if her husband is greedy, selfish, foolish, retarded or if she herself was abused, beaten and miserable.”

And with this note “These Lines of Mehendi by Sumeetha Manikandan” opens the window to our hypocritical society. Have you ever seen the loneliness and desperation etched on the faces of the widows in the streets of Banaras? Young girls can lead a life of desolation and poverty, yet when they try to make something out of their lives, they are shunned by our society. But those same girls can be forced into a life of prostitution and warming the bed of the rich class without anyone pointing their fingers at the men. At that point of time when they are ‘touched’ ‘felt’ and ‘seen’, their inauspicious tags are not questioned by our society. And the saddest part is, we cannot always blame the men for this. Often it’s the woman who causes misery in another woman’s life.

The Story:

Lalitha is a widow. But her being a widow is not her only problem. She became a widow much before the actual death of her husband. Her husband was abusive and had an affair. She had left her husband just a few months after her marriage and years later she gets the news that he has committed suicide. While the reasons are not known to her, her well-settled life again representing the so-called set paradigm of our hypocritical society. Now she is no longer an abused wife but a widow, which according to our society is a fate by far much worse than being abused. Especially in the line of business, Lalitha was in. Brides would not consider having even her shadow as auspicious.

But fate intervenes and Shrikanth enters her life.  A man colored by his past and now he wants only a marriage of convenience. Will the two be able to move on in life forms the nucleus of this short novella by Ms. Manikandan.

What I liked …

Ms. Manikandan has a very soft tone in regaling her stories. You can almost get the feeling of a bonfire night and be listening to tales. Even when the issues are serious, it’s not preachy and weaves in well as a background to the main love story.

Marriage is such a nerve wrecking institution. When you promise your Life to stay with a stranger without knowing where the road is leading to. As a woman, I never guessed how a man would feel, but Ms. Manikandan has brought out the man’s perspective beautifully.  Shrikanth’s jitters, his nervousness, and that slight eagerness to see Lalitha are all showcased with the words the author has painted the scene with.

This story has an old movie charm. Innocence. A southern flavor that will make you instantly feel at home with all the characters in this novel – from Padma, the aunt to Geethamma. Ms. Manikandan has created a lovely feel at home kind of story. The voice used throughout is soft and pulls the reader into the love story of Lalitha and Srikanth. The SMS conversation between the two is heart touching.

Would I recommend it: 

With a lot of family values and in today’s day and age an innocent love story. Romance readers you will find passion can be subtle too.

I had read this book earlier when it was part of a dual collection. Re- reading any novel is actually not my cup of tea but somehow I got sucked into this story and it reads even better than the earlier version.

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Monday, February 13, 2017

Book Blitz: THE DOPPELGANGER by Prateek Yadav


THE DOPPELGANGER
by
Prateek Yadav



BLURB

The perfect plan for the perfect heist-a team of con-men, foolproof disguise and a painting worth millions, nothing could have gone wrong. But something did... A man fnds himself on a bus to Manali with nothing but some cash and severe memory loss . Embarking on a frantic hunt for his identity, he begins to discover that his presence in Manali isn't an accident. The closer he gets to the truth, the more elusive it becomes. Ghosts from his past haunt him as he finds himself trapped between his doppelganger, the police, a sadistic gangster and his own dwindling sanity. The journey of the search for his identity ends up being a race for survival.

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About the author


Prateek Yadav was born and raised in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. He graduated in economics at IIT Kanpur, and is currently working at Cognizant, Bangalore. He is an avid fiction reader with a keen inclination towards mystery and thrillers. Besides writing he also enjoys sketching and painting. The Doppelganger is his first published novel. 

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BOOK REVIEW: THE DOPPELGANGER BY PRATEEK YADAV

Name of the Book: The Doppelganger
Author: Prateek Yadav
Rating: 4 stars
Read the Blur in Goodreads

A Somnambulist

Is a man traveling in a bus with the loss of memory. Not knowing where he came from and where he was going. A piece of newspaper paves his way on the memory lane, showing him the way to a hotel where he has to start working. Clues are scattered here and there which starts making him question his own characteristic. Is he good or is he bad?








The man had mentioned luggage under my seat. I stretched my foot backward, under the seat and sure enough, there was a bag. Was it mine?

A man who does not have anything to lose is one of the most dangerous man.


The Mysterious Element
Is rampant in this story. A reader will have a few nail-biting moments wondering where the story is leading to. Few frustrating moments are inevitable yet it is the very fact that keeps you turning the pages until the end. There are many moments when I almost gave up especially when the doppelgänger factor was highlighted. After the scene of the painting is unraveled, one would think the story is over as it has run out its course of action. Rest assured, nothing is what it seems.

The Villain Effect
Is what puzzled me a lot in the story. Everybody seemed bad, except maybe Robert and the butler. There was a lot of confusion as to where the characters are going. Just when I was sure that Rai was the major bad character of the story, another character enters and takes a story to another direction.

The Gory scenarios
Though the actual mystery of the story was simple enough; yet the crimes that they committed are very gory. The one that was committed in the painting room gave me shudders. The author has created many incidents in the 175 pages to keep the readers jumping from page to page.

The Puzzling Characters
For a short novel, that many characters in this book would sometimes confuse the readers. Of course, this being a thriller, one is supposed to be confused and due to the doppelgänger effect, even the readers would start questioning Who's Who. 

Reason for star rating

1. I kept on guessing who's who throughout the novel.

2. The author has done a good job in creating sympathy for the main villain. There were moments, what's the ending when I did not want him to be caught yet the question would keep on popping up as to how he would redeem himself of crimes of that magnitude.

3. Prakash shouted out ‘hallelujah’ in one of the scenes when he was a street boy. Many street boys of India would know that exclamation.

4. In some of the places, there are few discontinuities in the scenes. For example page number 85, he closed the door and in the next moment, he was on the floor. How did he get there? Did he fall? Stumble or sank in the flow in despair? This is an example of nitpicking :-)

WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK?

Yes, I would. For those who love psychological thrillers, you would have some nail-biting moments in this one. But a fair warning – if at any place you want to play the guessing game here – don't. It will be very frustrating. The Doppelgänger by Prateek Yadav will give you a few nail-biting and thrilling moments – a must for a thriller reader. If you are planning to play the whodunit game, please don't. The ending is unbelievable.

THE LINE THAT STAYED WITH ME:

I was losing my mind. There was no denying that now. The questions, the confusions, the guilt, and the horror had knocked down my feeble dam of sanity. However, it was uncanny how my hand was still steady, rock steady. I had just committed ...
One of the most horrific moments of this novel.

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Friday, February 3, 2017

Book Review: A Walk in the Rain by Udai Yalda

Name of the Book: A Walk in the Rain
Author: Udai Yalda
Rating: 3.5 stars
Read the Blurb on  Goodreads


Udai Yalda makes his debut with the novel named, "A Walk in the Rain'. As I turned the pages, I have no clue why the I suddenly remembered the movie Baaghi. Though the protagonist Sunny has no resemblance to Salman Khan's character in the movie, but the feel of a prostitute running with the guy from the villains, in this case, had a very Bollywood feel. I cannot say that is an original story but the execution wise, yes it's different. There is a certain rawness in this story. Characters are not sugar coated or made larger than life. They are downright normal humans in a bad situation. 

The love story between Sunny and Saloni are not a simple boy meets a girl story. The layers are well formed and the author has brought out the chemistry between the characters well. The emotions are build up between Sunny and Saloni due to them falling in love irrespective of the fact that they hated each other. 

“Sandy Candy.” Now he called louder, which was unmistakable. She couldn’t fool herself this time. After a brief attempt to defy the eventuality, she finally gave in, deciding to embrace her everlasting dream, tantalizing her for some time, testing her endurance. She abruptly stopped, still hesitant to turn around to face him."
You get the picture?

While this being a debut novel, many readers will overlook a few errors but having words oft repeated is regressive to a reader. And the adjectives used in a few places need to be looked into. "Obnoxiously stubborn punk" "obnoxious look" "obnoxious stare" and again "obnoxious look" can seriously be avoided. But nothing a good editor cannot rectify. While this is one downside in the novel the upscale would be an interesting story. Mr. Yalda does know how to tell a story and there is no doubt about that. 

And a sense of humor. A very subtle, mocking sense of humor. 

It was a Nepali kukri knife which he won from a ludomaniac Gurkha during one of his rare gambling successes.

Ludomaniac Gurkha and such odd phrases will definitely bring out a smile in some very serious situation. A lot of action and a fast pace made this book a good read. 

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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Book Review: Soulless by MV Kasi

Name of the Book: Soulless
Author: M.V Kasi
Rating: 5 Stars
Blurb: Goodreads

The title of "Soulless" intrigued me from the moment Ms.Kasi requested a review. Generally, with such titles in the romantic genre, you imagine a heartless hunk for whom the damsel falls for. Women authors are changing the very thinking of the readers as more and more of us are exploring women in different roles for our stories. Soulless is none other than a young girl called Sia. A very young and a pregnant girl. 

The Opening Chapter

Sia Sampanth's love life is as mysterious as her pregnancy. Her love for Ajay and her sympathy is very small when compared to the way she changes his life with the declaration of her pregnancy. And right from the beginning, Ms.Kasi keeps the readers enthralled with the mysterious elements studded throughout the novel.

"YOU ARE PREGNANT, Miss Sampath. Your baby should arrive in about eight and a half months."

Soulless is a great plot and not one character seems out of place or forced into the story to increase the word count. This is a complicated story but the complications are laid interlocked with each other. A story followed by a story. Like a map connecting the past and the future of the characters. Innocence and deception are the two sides of a double-edged sword on which Ajay and Sia have to walk to follow their destiny. Beautifully penned to bring out a lump in the throat of the readers. 

The Story:

Is equally complicated and beautiful. It plays with two emotions of readers mainly, sympathy and incredulity. And as the journey of Sia unfolds- anger. An anger which every human has to feel for an abused child. This novel is packed with social issues. Trust, loss of innocence, growing up as an orphan and many other small nuances which make life a deadly feat one must survive to tell the tale.

Every character of this book is either a friend of Sia or a foe. But the question is who is going to be a friend or foe. Ms. Kasi has brought the different shades of human nature beautifully. A lovely woman Jyotika who is trying to keep her love to herself is not the main character in this story, yet she plays an important part in unfolding many facets of Sia.

Sia has to be mentioned in my review. I just loved her flaws. Her fear is her strength. Her hatred is her weapon and her love is her Achilles' heel. How the three emotions play an important role in her life makes this story very interesting.  

The Ending 
Is Ruthless.  One has to read the book to understand this but if you do, then please don't comment under my post for I can assure you if it was not a spoiler, I would have mentioned it. Ms. Kasi. Well played. 


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