Twelve Hours of Temptation by Shoma Narayanan

Twelve Hours of Temptation by Shoma Narayanan is the story of Melissa and Samir set in Mumbai and Goa.

Melissa D’Cruz, 24, works as a copImageywriter in Mendonca Advetising, an advertising agency, which now is being sold to Maximus Aveising because the owner, Brian, wants to retire and settle down in Goa.

Samir Razdan, 30, is the Corporate Strategy Head of Maximus Advertising and does not get influenced by other people’s opinions.

She is good at noticing things and he is just the opposite. Both of them have one thing in common- a bad past relationship experience.

After the takeover, Melissa needs to go to Goa to attend her first major awards ceremony but she has flight-phobia and does not get a seat on the train she decides to give it a miss. Samir offers her a lift to Goa in his car. They are attracted to each other and Samir suggests she move in with him. She does and the differences between them become obvious and she moves out before he replaces her.

The story is simple, well written and the characters are very life like. The author seems to know the Mumbai, Goa and the route very well because she has actually described it in detail making it easy to visualize. I loved Melissa more because even though she wore her heart on her sleeve, she still was practical enough to hear what her head was telling her to do.

Another Shoma Narayanan Masterpiece.

Book Source: Bought

Publisher: Harlequin India


Lethal Spice by Swati Kaushal

I receivedImage Lethal Spice by Swati Kaushal as a review copy from Hachette India. Thank you so much Shobita, for sending me such a wonderful book. This book is the story of six contestants, three judges and the team of a cookery show and involves a murder/ homicide and the police.

The blurb:

A hundred-year-old stage steeped in tradition.

Six contestants with a world to gain and everything to lose.

Three judges who stand between them and their dreams.

It is October in Shimla. The air is crisp, the mist is rising and the stakes are sky-high as the finalists of India’s No. 1 reality cooking show, Hot Chef, are pitted against each other in a live shoot at the historic Gaiety Theater.

The spices are ground, the fires are lit, the knives have been sharpened… Then things start to go horribly wrong.

As she picks her way through a maze of testimonies and motives, Shimla’s Superintendent of Police, Niki Marwah, is more determined than ever to get to the bottom of a perplexing mystery–a mystery that this time around is dangerously close to her heart.

The story:

14th October 2012, Hot Chef, India’s No 1 reality cooking show is being shot in Shimla, the first ever shoot with a live audience with six contestants from varied backgrounds and three judges. The contestants are Pallavi Aanand, the talented granddaughter of multi-crore Aanand Group of Resorts and Hotels; Leena Dixit, who gave up her seat in an Engineering college to look after her invalid father and siblings; Vicky Gulati, son of doctor parents, a boarding school reprobate, medical –college dropout, self-taught guitarist and amateur chef; Shaqeel Khan, Shaq, had worked his way up in the world, waiting tables in Lucknow’s dhabas to running kitchens at the Gurgaon Taj; Sharon Sen, an avant-garde painter, was the controversial dare-all, bare-all contestant and Dev Nair, son of a family who owned a jewellery store, rejected fifty eight timed in various reality shows. Rajat Tripathi is the host of the show and the judges are Mala Joseph, the winner of the first Hot Chef; Kemaal Kapoor, KK, of Kemaal’s Kebabs and Ashika De, an actress, guest judge for the current episode. SP Niki Marwah gets a call about a poison-gas attack at the Gaiety Theatre and announces that it is a Code Red situation only to find that there is one casualty who died not of inhaling poisonous gas, but ingesting cyanide.

The victim is Mala Joseph, who died on the stage, is it a suicide or a homicide???

The book has been divided into three parts and the mystery moves from Shimla to Madhya Pradesh to Mumbai and then Goa with the contestants. Niki Marwah and her team are investigating.

My take:

The story is fast paced and kept me glued to the book till I finished it. once I was convinced, it was a suicide, the plot would suddenly move towards murder and vice versa.  A very well-written book with well-developed characters. The author has deeply researched the topic. I enjoyed the book a lot and would recommend it to readers who love thrillers.

Book Source: Review copy from Publisher

Publisher: Hachette India

Call of the Dunes by Meera Shivashankar

Image Call of the Dunes by Meera Shivashankar is a story set in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan.

Shalini Singh, half Rajput- half traditional south Indian Iyengar Brahmin, works as a photo journalist for a Mumbai based magazine, News Asia and is sent to Jaisalmer to cover a one-of-its-kind polo tournament.

Suraj Ranveer Pratap Singh, belongs to the Royal family, has lived in London and is in Jaisalmer to take care of his father’s business.

His parents want him to marry a distant cousin but he wants them to give Shalini a chance, but she has a past.

The book has been well written and can be read in one sitting. The descriptions are detailed. Overall, a nice breezy read.

Book Source: Bought

Publisher: Pageturn Publishers

All Eyes on her by Poonam Sharma

51OL7QY3e+L__SL500_AA300_All Eyes on her by Poonam Sharma is one book I just picked up without even looking at the blurb because the cover was very attractive.

This book is the story of Monica Gupta, a Junior Associate in Steel Associates, a law firm in Los Angeles. This law firm caters to the stars and with her new client, Monica is one-part mediator, one-part lawyer, one-part marriage therapist and all celebrity babysitter.  One of the other junior associates, Stephanie, tries to put her down, but she knows how to handle it. As she was the only Indian girl in her high school, she knows how to let the curious stares of people roll off her back. Cassie, who is like a little sister and Jonathan, who is a good ally, are cooperative.

She is engaged to Raj, who works as management consultant. They have practically grown up together and Raj was always there for her whenever she needed him.

Monica herself is a confused personality; she actually does not know what she wants. I felt for Raj, who is very understanding and stands by her even when she is not ready to wear the engagement on her finger and wears it on her chain instead.

The book is hilarious at times and sad at times. It moves back and forth between Monica’s past and present making it a little confusing.

Overall, an OK-OK book. Can be read when you do not have anything else to read.

Book Source: Bought

Publisher: Harlequin India

Castle in the air by Vijayalakshmi Sridhar

ImageCastle in the air by Vijayalakshmi Sridhar is the story of Kavin and Ajay set in Chennai.

Kavin Srikumar, works as a copywriter in a media company and designs publicity materials. She has a very supportive father who lives in Salem. She looks at things one step at a time.

Ajay, the youngest of four siblings, is from Coimbatore where his father has a construction business. He is restless by nature and is not cut out to handle routine jobs. He would begin ventures and when they would be up and running, he would hand over the business and walk away.

Ajay and Kavin meet through a common friend when he is producing a play for one of his venture, Art Mutiny. The friend suggests that Kavin can help him with the ads for the play. They start working as friends and colleagues, fall in love, get engaged and move in as flatmates. Kavin insists that they would get married only after he starts his own venture. They get married, have a son, he moves to Singapore and she back to work. Things are OK till the son is three and they have have conflicts of interest and he takes the baby with him to Singapore leaving Kavin alone.  He wants her to give him another chance and so does she.

I liked the book especially as it talks about the feelings of both the characters. They are made for each other. Kavin helps Ajay find his priorities and sets him on a career and when she is tense, he is grounded.  I found Kavin’s father to be a mature person.

A nice book, easy to read and understand.

Book Source: Bought

Publisher: Pageturn

Love by Design by Sahana Sankaran

Love by Design by Sahana Sankaran is the story of Gautam and Shwetha.

GautaImagem has lost his wife to cancer and is a single parent to his little daughter Shruthi, whom he neglects and has left at the mercy of his m
other. His mother decides to let Gautam take over the reins of his life and his four year old and goes off to the US to be with her daughter. Gautam’s daughter, Shruthi, is not her cheerful self in front of her father- a fact noticed by her teacher, Shwetha, an orphan herself. She empathises with Shruthi. When she meets Gautam in school, he is very rude to her.

The book has been written in a very simple language.  I liked the book very much.

Book Source: Bought

Publisher: Pageturn Publishers


An Atlas of Love

13An Atlas of Love is an anthology of sixteen short love stories by different authors compiled by Rupa Publications and edited by Anuja Chauhan.

The blurb:

Have you ever loved so much that it hurt?

Has love found you even when you didn’t go looking for it?

Can love be timeless, forgiving and everlasting?

Sixteen Romantic Stories which will want to make you fall in love and celebrate romance in its myriad forms.

An Atlas of Love, edited by celebrated bestselling author Anuja Chauhan, is an anthology of romantic shorts that daringly explores the many guises of romance, from its purest form to its darkest depths.

‘Phoenix Mills’ takes you through a young man s anguished quest for love; ‘Post-Coital Cigarette’ makes you flinch at a married man’s interpretation of love; and ‘Jilted’ shows you that love can also be courageous. You will find yourself in the middle of a torrid liaison in ‘The Affair’, revel in the euphoria of budding romance in ‘Just One Glance’ and discover what it means to let go of your loved one in ‘The Impasse’.

Love can also be brutal and unconventional as ‘The Unseen Boundaries of Love’ and ‘Something about Karen’ will show you. But most of all, as ‘Death of a Widower’ and ‘Siddharth’ show, you will see that love is all about hope and taking the leap of faith.

Selected from a nationwide Romance Contest conducted by Rupa Publications, this heart-warming collection of stories urges you to believe that love is eternal…and forever.

 The Review:

This book is a collection of sixteen short stories, selected from a nationwide contest organized by Rupa Publications and the book has been edited by Anuja Chauhan. All the sixteen stories in the book are different from each other and once I started with a story, I would keep the book after I finished the particular story.

There is one story about a man for whom a mall is a permanent fixture, one about a teenage crush which is reciprocated, a story about a man who realizes too late that he loves his wife- this one made me cry and then there is a story of a girl who responds to the lover who jilted her in a very mature way. There is the story of a nineteen year old girl, who set herself on fire because her family was not accepting her love which ends on a different note altogether. A story about how wrong impressions about a person changes the way you look at them, another about all innocent people cannot be trusted, and one about notes in a book in a library. There is a story about a man’s obsession with a girl which changes him into a somebody from a nobody and about how an affair leaves you nowhere. There is a story about a man who wants to be happy and live his life but the society keeps reminding him of his dead wife and that of a man who waits for a lifetime to propose to the love of his life. There is one about a bboy who knew at eight that a particular girl is his mate, a mythological story and also a story about a boy who makes a girl happy by concealing his identity.

It is a very well compiled book, and can be relished more by reading one story at a time. The introduction by Anuja Chauhan is beautiful and makes you want to start reading the book as soon as you can get your hands on it. The introduction by Anuja Chauhan is beautiful and makes you want to start reading the book as soon as you can get your hands on it.

This book reminded me of the stories we read in Woman’s Era when we were young. Some stories left me wanting for more.

I loved the story ‘Mixed Exotica goes to Party’ and felt that this could be made into a novella.

Book Source: Bought

Publisher: Rupa Publications

Treacherous lady by Neelam Saxena Chandra

Treacherous lady by Neelam Saxena Chandra is the story of Rajan and Mohit both of whom have been jilted in the past and are skepticaImagel about new relationships in their life. Mohit is Rajan’s junior at the bank where they both work.  Rajan meets Sulakshana and Mohit meets Varsha, but the past pops up once again.

A simple story, written very well. The characters have been described well. The twist at the end of the book makes it all the more unputdownable.

Book Source: Bought

Publisher: Pageturn Publisher

Second Chances by Rahul Dev

ImageSecond Chances by Rahul Dev is the story of Sameer and Isabella, set in Chennai.

Isabella Nayar, widowed after a year and a half of marriage to her college sweetheart, Amrith, is devastated. She works at CentERPrise, spends her evenings smoking and drinking in pubs and clubs. She lives her life without a purpose, till Sameer comes along.

Sameer Suri, a fashion retailer in the making. David is his best friend. He meets Isabella through David and his fiancée, Sana. She is impressed by his confidence and take-charge manner.

Omar Khan is the only son of Fahad Amjad Ali Khan, one of the most reputed and respected realty magnates of the city. Omar is ‘The Roman’ and is into clubbing and drinking. Isabella meets him when she comes back to Chennai and he introduces her to the world of smoking, drinking and clubbing.

The book is very well written, specially the feelings of both the characters have been described very well and the characters are also well developed. If the lodge mentioned in the book exists in Kodai, would really love to go there.

A nice book with a nice story. Would love to watch it as a movie.

Book Source: Bought

Publisher: Pageturn

The Wedding Dress Diaries by Aimee Carson


The Wedding Dress Diaries by Aimee Carson is a prequel to the new quartet by Harlequin Books. It is a short and sweet story of Parker Robinson and Amber Davis. This was an 88 page bonus in the Kiss edition of Secrets and Saris.

Amber and Parker know each other since childhood when Amber’s mother used to work for his mother. She has spent every summer in the Hamptons with his family as a kid. She and his half sister, Reese, practically grew up together. He is her childhood crush and she wants to marry him since she was 12 and he, 17. He thinks his mother hates him and does not believe in relationships. She believes in happily ever afters.

Now, fifteen years later, Parker works in Homicide and Amber owns her own bridal shop, Amber’s Bridals. They run into each other at Reese’s engagement and he does not recognize her.  She tries to persuade him to attend the wedding and threatens to spill his secrets if he does not do so.

Overall a quick read. It has made me look for the other four books of the quartet.

Book source: Bought

Publisher: Harlequin Kiss