2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 28,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Advertisements

Book Blitz: The Fire Trilogy by Devika Fernando

Check out the contest alert below

BOOK ONE : PLAYING WITH FIRE 
 
If you’re playing with fire, prepare to get burned – or to fall in love.
Sparks fly when Felicia and Joshua meet. Discovering her inner fire and unleashing unimaginable powers makes her realize that all her life, she has been hiding her true self. When buildings burn and people are in danger, the tempting game of playing with fire becomes serious. Will their love and desperate struggle for control save her life, or will the fire magic turn itself against its mistress?
BOOK TWO : DANCING WITH FIRE
 
When a fire witch and an ice wizard flee to Iceland to build a new life, they never expect the one thing that could tear them apart – Kyle, adding his own magic into the mix. Felicia starts questioning everything they have. She is torn between the man who loves her but is her polar opposite, and the man who attracts her but means nothing but trouble.
As if her confusing emotions weren’t enough, Felicia finds her life turned upside down when a terrifying natural disaster threatens the end of the country and the entire world.
Will she be able to control her gift and play the part that is expected of her? Will she give in to temptation or will she save the world?
BUY @
BOOK THREE : LIVING WITH FIRE
 
When a fire witch and an ice wizard flee to Iceland to build a new life, they never expect the one thing that could tear them apart – Kyle, adding his own magic into the mix. Felicia starts questioning everything they have. She is torn between the man who loves her but is her polar opposite, and the man who attracts her but means nothing but trouble.
As if her confusing emotions weren’t enough, Felicia finds her life turned upside down when a terrifying natural disaster threatens the end of the country and the entire world.
Will she be able to control her gift and play the part that is expected of her? Will she give in to temptation or will she save the world?
BUY @
AN EXCERPT – FROM LIVING WITH FIRE

 
Joshua was gaping at her, his mouth opening and closing silently like a fish out of water. There was a sudden increase in icy coldness, and he froze into a statue, his face now expressionless and his eyes drawn and unfathomable as always when he was deeply distressed or too emotional for his own good.“Can you hear yourself? You sound like some fatalistic, maniacal sect member or the leader of a dangerously foolish occult movement,” he said with that unnerving, neutral calm of his.

To cover up the disappointment and hurt and anger at his reaction, Felicia threw her head back and laughed coldly, mirthlessly. She tossed her hair over one shoulder, stood up straight and stared into his eyes.

“Thanks for the suggestion. I think I’d rather like that. An occult movement revolving around the power of fire. I’ll be the terrifying fire goddess ruling mercilessly, with everyone falling at their feet and offering me their heart on a platter. I’ll make the world burn until it puts the sun to shame. Want to stick around and watch, snowman?”

As soon as the words had left her mouth, she wanted to take them back. What had she just said? This wasn’t her, this wasn’t normal, this wasn’t right! This was her Joshua she was wounding and repelling…and yet, she would not take the words back. Didn’t she have every right to behave like this?

The choice is yours. Rise and shine. Go out and rule!

The voice inside her mind was so powerful she half thought she had spoken the words out loud.

Beside her, Kyle was cackling and clapping his hands, and her fire dragon was turning cartwheels a little ahead. There was so much heat around her, inside her. It needed out.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 
 
Almost as soon as Devika Fernando could write, she imagined stories and poems. After finishing her education in Germany and returning to her roots in Sri Lanka, she got a chance to turn her passion into her profession. Having lived in Germany and in Sri Lanka with her husband has made her experience the best (and the worst) of two totally different worlds – something that influences her writing. Her trademark is writing sweet and sensual, deeply emotional romance stories where the characters actually fall in love instead of merely falling in lust.
What she loves most about being an author is the chance to create new worlds and send her protagonists on a journey full of ups and downs that will leave them changed. She draws inspiration from everyone and everything in life. Besides being a romance novel author, Devika is a faithful servant to all the cats and dogs she has adopted. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or thinking about writing.
Contest Alert !!!
 
STALK HER @
               

 

This Tour is Hosted by 

 

‘The Bestseller She Wrote’ by Ravi Subramanian

41OMsGXJHML._SX338_BO1,204,203,200_I have always liked Ravi Subramanian’s books because of their pace, and when I got a chance to review ‘The Bestseller She Wrote’ by Ravi Subramanian as a part of Blogadda’s Book Review programme, I was thrilled.  And to top it all, I received a signed copy of the book. I would like to thank the author and Blogadda for the same.

The Blurb:

Paperback king, Aditya Kapoor’s life is straight out of a modern man’s fantasy. His literary stardom is perfectly balanced by a loving wife and a spectacular career. With everything he touches turning to gold, Aditya is on a winning streak.

Shreya Kaushik is a student with a heart full of ambition. Young, beautiful, and reckless, Shreya speaks her mind and obsessively chases after what she wants. And what she wants is to be a bestselling author.

What happens when their worlds collide? Is it possible to love two people at the same time? Can real ambition come in the way of blind passion? Can trust once broken, be regained?

Master storyteller Ravi Subramanian, delves into the glitzy world of bestsellers and uncovers a risky dalliance between a superstar novelist and his alluring protégé.

The Bestseller She Wrote is a combustible cocktail of love, betrayal and redemption.

The story:

Aditya Kapoor, an IIM Bengaluru alumnus is now a successful banker in as well as a bestseller author. His books have been made into movies and he is at IIM to give a guest lecture on his writing. His wife, Maya, his batch mate from IIM days, works in a school and for an NGO and they have a son, Aryan.

It is during the guest lecture that one girl in the audience, Shreya Kaushik, a student at IIM, makes comments on his using the word, product, for a ‘book’ which she says cannot be labelled as a product. She then apologises to him on email lest she loses the award. She wants to become a bestselling author and feels that Aditya may be the one person who can help her achieve this.

Aditya, possibly going through midlife crisis, falls in the trap. He gets her hired and also placed under him. They start having an affair and then Maya comes to know of the affair and throws him out of the house. He moves in with Sanjay, his friend from IIM days and also his colleague.

Circumstances make Aditya realize his mistake but it is too late, because Shreya decides to file charges. Then suddenly, there is a twist in the tale.

My take:

The cover of the book is an instant Pick me up. The language is simple and the pace is good. The book has been written in such a way that the reader wants to read more and more of it before he can put the book down. I finished the whole book of 391 pages in one day flat. The characters are well defined and relatable. The twists and turns in the story make it all the more interesting.

The author has not tried to mask who he is describing when he says that Aditya met his wife in IIM and then they both were working with different backs before they shifted to Mumbai. Some other characters in the book have an uncanny resemblance, either by the names or descriptions to well-known people.

He has also described in detail about the process of writing a book, right from the manuscript to the launch of published book including the ways to advertise it. This is something that would definitely help a lot of aspiring authors.

Personally for me, I do not like reading about extra marital affairs, so that was one thing that I did not like in the book. And the other thing that I do not like is taking shortcuts, which Shreya did to become a bestseller author. Other than that the book was nice. Because what worked for me was “All’s well that ends well.”

The book moves at a slow pace for the first 300 odd pages and the author tries to wrap up everything in the last 50 pages.

As the blurb mentions, the book is actually a combustible cocktail of love, betrayal and redemption. It is actually a fast paced page turner that can be read at least once.

Book Source: Blodadda

Publisher: Westland

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from BLOGADDA in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.

I am reviewing ‘The Bestseller She Wrote’ by Ravi Subramanian as a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

 

The Madras Affair by Sundari Venkatraman

a9f75-tma

I received the book The Madras Affair by Sundari Venkatraman from the author herself. It is a contemporary romance set in Chennai, and is the story of Sangita and Gautam.

The Blurb:

Sangita Sinclair was not always this successful & passionate lady, heading the NGO “Penn Urimai” for downtrodden, abused and homeless women….
When Sangita catches the eye of Gautam Sinclair she is a simple, homely girl; utterly unaware of her charms & capabilities. She has the devil’s own time in overcoming her inhibitions, hesitation, and her family’s orthodox and outdated rules before recognising her love for Gautam.

Will Gautam be able to solve Sangita’s Dilemma or will she be forever trapped in her past?

The Story:

Sangita, widowed at 20, now 25, is the mother of five year old Sandeep. She stays with her parents and works as a receptionist in a hospital in Chennai. Her parents and younger brother are very conservative and do not treat her well, constantly commenting on her status at every possible opportunity. Her elder brother, Raghavan and his wife, Rekha support her.

Gautam Sinclair, 30, Professor of English at Loyola College stays with his grandparents while his parents and family stay abroad. His family is very broad minded.

One day, Gautam walks into the hospital with a broken arm and Sangita has to guide him to the concerned doctor. He is attracted to her at the first instance and makes no qualms about it. He even proposes marriage to her, but she refuses because of her family. But go-getter Gautam does not take a no for an answer.

The book begins fourteen years later, when Sangita is the head of Penn Urimai – an NGO for downtrodden, homeless and abused women. The entire story moves in flashback.

My take:

Though the plot is simple, the author has beautifully portrayed the story in a simple, easily understandable language. The characters have been developed well and even the supportive characters are not mere names but have been given important roles in the story. The flow is good and the book is fast paced. The author has approached writing the flashback in a different manner. There are many Sangita’s in the society today who need to be brought into the mainstream today and the author has beautifully touched the social issue of widow remarriage in the story.

Highly recommended if you love romance and even if you don’t.

Book Source: The Author

Publisher: Readomania

Disclaimer: I received a free e-copy of the book from the author in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.

The Hidden Husband by Shikha Khanduja Kaul

0f70b-hiddenhusbandI received Hidden Husband by Shikha Kaul from the author as I had won it in the Tornado Giveaway 2, a competition organized by the Book Club. I would like to thank the author and the Book Club for the same. It is the debut book of the author and the story of Aisha Saluja.

The Blurb:

Aisha is trapped in her own secret which makes her life hell. Her love for Raghav is true. But hailing from two very different cultures is the basis of their continued friction. Aisha is a Punjabi girl from Gurgaon and Raghav a Bihari from Ranchi. Raghav’s family will certainly not accept a girl from outside their community. And yet, he continues giving her false hopes through his efforts and promises. And then they take a step which entangles her life further. Will she manage to come out of this quandary or must she continue to live in her self-created web? Explore her journey that makes her realise the atrocities being committed on women in the Indian society and the tough decisions she must take, keeping her most loved ones oblivious to everything happening in her life.

The characters:

Aisha Saluja, lives in Gurgaon with her family and works in an MNC in the HR division. Piyali is her best friend since childhood and she shares everything with her.

Raghav Mishra, from Ranchi, belongs to a conservative family from Bihar.

Sameer Sachdeva, Aisha’s classmate since class 4, when he was a lanky boy with oiled hair, has had a crush on Aisha since school days. He now works for BBC and lives in London.

The Story:

Four years ago, Aisha met Raghav when he had come for a job interview to her company and over time they become friends and later they confess their love for each other. She convinces her parents but he is unable to do so.  They decide to go in for a secretive court marriage without telling both the sets of parents and take Piyali and a colleague, Sachin into confidence.

Now, one day, when Aisha is avoiding going home and enters a bookshop in a mall, she stumbles on to Sameer who is on a month long vacation to India. They sit down over coffee and Sameer asks her about her life, she beats around the bush and comes home and talks to Piyali over it and starts reminiscing what happened four years ago.

Sameer still wants to marry her but she is married to Raghav.

What will she do???

My take:

The cover is beautiful and the book mark matching with the book was the cherry on the cake. The end I expected after reading the blurb of the book was completely different from the end of the book.

The book has been divided into six parts, a prologue and an epilogue. There are no chapters, but each part representing a different phase in Aisha’s life. The first four parts are the part and the next two are the present and future.

The language is simple and the story has been written in such a way that the reader is glued to the book and the twists and turns in the plot make it all the more interesting. The Epilogue was Wow!!

The characters are very well developed and are very life like.

I even loved the conversation Aisha has with God. I also loved it when Piyali calls Raghav a virus.

The author has also touched some social issues and some recent incidents.

The book made me smile, it made me cry and it also made me feel for the characters at the same time.

A must read, but you can skip certain parts like the details of her marriage, if you are in a hurry to see what happens at the end.

fb40c-book2b14

The Divine Command (Comeback Warrior Trilogy, #1) by Saranya Umakanthan

51qVGlotqdL._SX336_BO1,204,203,200_I received The Divine Command (Comeback Warrior Trilogy, #1) by  Saranya Umakanthan as a gift from the author.

The Blurb:

The divine command was from Lord Shiva. So Shaktipurians would do anything to safeguard the ‘Taal-Patras’ — the ultimate secrets compiled onto palm-leaves by the yogis that contained everything! Yes, all the do’s and don’ts from making of the elixir to reviving the dead!

This task was headed by their beloved warrior Indrajith. But destiny brutally destroyed their plans! Their toughest braveheart was to perish in a bloody dual. This ill-fated episode prompted the rise of the nefarious king of Narakdesh — Asurshasak!
Desperate, Shaktipurians recited the revival slokas on the dead grave of their only hope…
Would Indrajith emerge and come back stronger than before? And if he comes back, who is waiting for him now with a pole arm in her hands and protruding teeth?
With black-magic obstacles barring his way, the comeback warrior — Suraj Sena is shaken when the conspirator rips off the mask! But traitors never go unpunished!

The story:

1815 AD:

King Vishnu Chopra-I creates Shaktipur, a town to fulfil Lord Shiva’s commands. Lord Shiva and Siddhik Yogi have entrusted him to safeguard the Taal-Patras. Indrajith Varma, the king’s chief warrior is the devoted guardian of the enigmatic Taal-Patras.  The princess of Shaktipur, Deepali, is in love with Indrajith, and the love is one sided. The one faced Rudraksha key given by Lord Shiva to help her father in the safekeeping task is missing. Everybody suspects it is the Asura.

Deepali writes a letter to Indrajith declaring her love for him only to be told by the Asurshasak that he loves her. She dies in the process of saving Indrajith and he dies alongside her. Asurshasak also dies and as per customs the three of them are buried.

One night, the temple priest coming back to life, the Rudraksha saves him as he had held it in his fist, and becoming a lion. He also sees that the Rudraksha splits into two-half is swallowed by Asur and half falls on Indrajith’s coffin. He reports the incident to the king who comes back to the graveyard to pray for Indrajith’s rebirth and is killed by Asurshasak in the process. His wife, the queen gives him reincarnation a boon which would protect him till his is 25.

300 years later:

The story then moves to three towns, Shaktipur, Narakdesh and Bhujapur. The Himalayas is the barrier between Shaktipur and Narakdesh. The people of Shaktipur are tortures off and on by the demons of Narakdesh.

In Bhujapur, lives 20 year old Suraj Sena with his family. Diya and Varun are his best friends. The Asuras know that he Indrajith’s rebirth and are out to harass him. There are ghosts in caves, snake in banana, mobile phone calls with the picture of a tooth that kill pets, walking into the golden swirl, mazes, voodoo demons, dwarf ghost, illusions and many more adventures that keep me glued to the book because, I really was eager to know what happens next?

Will Suraj win the battle or will he also succumb like Indrajith?

Who is behind all this, his mother, Ritupara or someone else?

My take:

The book is very well written. The narration is excellent; the events just move along and keep the reader guessing. It is hard to believe that it is the debut work of the author. The story kept me occupied and I found it hard to keep the book down. Once I was so engrossed, that I almost missed my station. The characters have been developed and described very well.  The author has taken the characters from present to past without even changing their appearance which was new to me.

Waiting eagerly for the next one in the series.

Book Source: The author

Disclamer: the views are all mine with no influence from the author.

 

 

Book Blitz:More Than Just Desire by Summerita Rhayne

 

Preorder @ Amazon.com

Use the #MTJD and #Bollywooddivastory to spread the word

More Than Just Desire 
by Summerita Rhayne
 
Blurb 
 

 

The Bollywood diva who regrets nothing…
Piya walked out of an explosive situation three years ago. Now she’s back in Bollywood and wants to regain the crown that she left behind when she ran away from Arfaaz. It seems everyone who used to idolize her has forgotten her. In the competitive world of starry glamour, the only way she can restart her career is trash the past and make some waves.
The man who wants her atonement..
Arfaaz is determined to get his revenge on Piya for making a farce of their marriage and then leaving him to face the mudslinging. He forces her to keep up the appearances and stay with him so she can play the loving wife and repent on her sins. But he finds Piya isn’t so easy to handle. She drives him crazy with her antics. On the top of that the attraction between them sizzles and threatens to make him forget reason.
Conflict clashes with desire..
No matter how intense the passion between them gets, their ways are bound to diverge. Piya knows she cannot let this man find a way into her heart. There is too much to risk and she cannot afford to forget the real reason she has come back. Success is the only mantra she knows and really, all Arfaaz wants is revenge…
Pre-Order Now 
 
EXCERPT 
‘You’ll divorce me?’ The sense of anticlimax she felt annoyed her. Why wouldn’t he, for God’s sake? She’d been far from an ideal partner. No man wanted a three year estranged wife surely? Or why would he allow her to remain away for so long?

For no logical reason, the knowledge had a sharp edge, stabbing her insides deeply.

Arfaaz’s gaze was fixed on the flush deepening on her cheeks. The colour of anger…or joy at getting her freedom?

It had been a mistake to pick her up in his arms, to give in to the urge to subdue that stubborn defiance. Three years since he’d touched her, yet her bones felt as delicate under his hands as the night he’d gripped her shoulders in anger. Evoking the same remorse one might feel for handling a bird badly.

She had worn a metal colored dress that night. He could still feel the slithery fabric beneath his fingers. Another of her risqué dresses, with deceptively demure full sleeves while the shocker was the back. Which was missing. He had never objected to what she wore, though primitive instincts protested. She had a media image to maintain. He hadn’t wanted to act the possessive husband.

A mistake, he thought again. Even the brief brush of her body against his had lit a spark that reminded him of how possessive he’d wanted to be.

She had taken enough advantage of him. The grim thought rose from a host of emotions. He’d suffered, he’d been fooled, he’d been dumped. Was he going to take it all and let her go as easy as pie?

‘If you want a divorce, you’ll have to do a small favour for me first,’ he told her.

‘Favour?’

‘Something which is important to me. Then you’ll be free to go.’

‘I will?’

He shrugged, letting her make what she could out of it.

‘Anyway, we can’t stand here and talk it out. Come inside. We’ll discuss it over dinner.’

‘Yes, divorce must be one of the prime discussable topics for dinnertime conversation,’ she said waspishly.

‘For everything spectacular Piya the topnotch actress has done, this must be the downslide indeed. To tamely sit across her husband and rationally chat over the break-up of her marriage,’ he jibed harshly.

‘However, I think it’s time for you to take a step down from the pedestal.’

 

 
Meet Summerita Rhayne 

Summerita Rhayne loves to write sensual and emotional romance. There’s no knowing when some quirky – or sometimes even not so quirky – happening in daily life might trigger her right brain and then she’s off craving a new story. She loves writing characters who learn and grow and find their way out of their troubles and emotional hang-ups. Hot, sensual heroes and sassy but sweet heroines mostly fit the bill in her stories. She also believes that a touch of humor never goes amiss in a book.

 

She divides her time between family, job and writing – and loves winding down with music, movies and the internet!
Stalk Her
            
This Tour is Hosted by