Cover reveal: Love, Marriage, and Other Disasters by Shilpa Suraj

~ Cover Reveal ~
Love, Marriage, and Other Disasters
by Shilpa Suraj

 

About the Book:

She believes in love, family and…squiggles!

Alisha Rana is not your typical single desi girl. For one, she is on the wrong side of 30.  For another, she is divorced. And last but definitely not least, she is still, gasp, a virgin!
Alisha doesn’t want much. But what she does want is that elusive thing all women search for – A man who gets her…but a man who gets her hot! She calls it “feeling the squiggle.”
Enter Dr. Vivaan Kapoor, cute, hot, squiggle-worthy. The younger brother of her cousin’s prospective groom, he’s got the squiggle factor in spades. The only catch? He’s never been married and is years younger than Alisha. Basically, completely off-limits.
And then there is Arjun. Widowed, older than her by the right number of years and a genuinely nice guy. He’s Vivaan’s cousin and a so-called perfect match for Alisha. The problem is, Alisha’s squiggle-o-meter refuses to budge for him.
What will Alisha choose? A lifetime together with the ‘right’ man or a chance at happiness with the ‘wrong’ one?

About Shilpa Suraj:

 

Shilpa Suraj wears many hats – corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.

An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.

Shilpa on the Web:

 

 

 

Cover reveal: Murder in the Chowdhury Palace by Sharmishtha Shenoy

~ Cover Reveal ~
Murder in the Chowdhury Palace
by Sharmishtha Shenoy

 

 



About the Book:

What if someone you loved… was murdered? How far would you go to bring a killer to justice?

Orphaned in her childhood, Durga has always longed for wealth, security and, above all, a sense of belonging. She finds it all when she marries Debnarayan Chowdhury, heir to an immense, multi-crore estate. But the Chowdhury family has been under a curse that dates back to the British era. The first-born of each generation dies young, purportedly killed by the spirit of Kadambari, a young woman murdered by the notorious Shankar Dakat, the founder of the Chowdhury family and their Zamindari. When her father-in-law Birendranath dies unexpectedly, Durga and Debnarayan come down to the ancestral home in Kakdihi, a small village near Kolkata. The moment Durga enters her new palatial home, she crosses a threshold of terror. She loses her husband within a month of her marriage and finds herself a widow in a house full of strangers. Are Debnarayan’s and Birendranath’s deaths accidental? Everyone in her new family and the neighborhood appear to be friendly. Most of them have a motive to kill her. A well-meaning neighbor tells her, ‘Run from this place. You have no friends here.’ Is she, the current owner of the estate, now on the murderer’s radar?

Read an Excerpt from Murder in the Chowdhury Palace

The trees were denser beyond the pond on the northern side, and the area was unkempt and full of thorny bushes and nettles.  Debu remarked, ‘Not many people venture into the northern part of the woods from this point because the haunted house is less than a mile from here. So this part of the estate is in a rather wild state.’
‘Yes, I can see that nature has completely taken over this part. But still, let’s go there.’ I said excitedly.
‘Some other day…,’ Debu murmured. His face was slightly pale.
‘Debu! You really seem to believe in these ghosts and all that nonsense…,’ I said rather incredulously.
‘No… no… of course not!’ Debu exclaimed.
‘Then prove it! Let’s go and visit the house.’
‘Look… it won’t be very safe. The walls are crumbling, and I am sure that bats have made their home there.’
‘Please, Debu, let’s go, I have never seen a haunted house,’ I said, cajolingly. I gripped his hand and almost dragged him towards the house.
We came upon the abandoned temple first. The plaster was coming off the walls, and the aerial roots of a huge banyan tree had encroached upon the temple and gone in through the walls causing rainwater to leak into the walls and damage them further. The house was located a further quarter kilometer away.
There was a strange, sinister silence all around. Even the birds did not twitter in this part of the woods. The house with its closed shutters and peeling walls was a one-storey medium-sized building. It was dark and uninviting, steeped in shadow due to the jungle of trees that had flourished around it. Darkness echoed and folded upon itself. I walked resolutely to the main door, only to find it locked.
‘Where is the key to this door?’
‘I don’t think anybody has it.’
I was in a naughty mood. ‘Then let’s break it open. I really want to see what’s inside.’
In spite of Debu’s protests, I picked up a heavy rock and hit the rusty lock with it. The lock broke easily.
We stepped inside a large hall. It was full of cobwebs and broken dilapidated furniture. Suddenly, a bat swept past my face. I let out a startled cry and drew back. I would have fallen to the ground had Debu not caught me.
‘Let’s get out of here. You shouldn’t be so adventurous in your present condition. The baby might get hurt,’ he said in a quavering voice.
‘Oh come on… please Debu…let’s explore a bit more.’
I went further in and switched on the torch of my mobile to see better. At the center of the hall, were the remains of a havan done a long time back. The bricks used for the havan were blackened, charred and crumbling with spiders spinning their webs over the layers of dust. There was a portrait of Shankar Dakat and another of a woman on a wooden platform near which the havan had been performed.
‘This is, of course, Shankar Dakat’s portrait. And this must be Kadambari…,’ I said. ‘Who painted this?’ The painting of Kadambari mesmerized me. She was little more than a young girl in a green sari, worn without a blouse in the traditional fashion. Her big eyes were strangely life-like and sad and her long, thick, curly hair cascaded down her bare shoulders like a cloud.
‘I don’t know who painted this, nor do I care. Let’s go, Durga. I feel really uncomfortable here.’ Debu said a little impatiently. I started coughing because of the dirt. ‘Durga, you know you are allergic to dust. Come away now. I don’t want our baby to get hurt.’ He clutched my hand in a death grip, and almost dragged me out of the house.
The fear in his voice was contagious. Also, to be honest, the life-like painting had spooked me. We hurried back towards the pond. As we almost ran back and neared our home, there was a shout from the ground-floor east-wing balcony. It was Kanak. She shouted, ‘Who goes there?’

About Sharmishtha Shenoy:

Sharmishtha Shenoy is the author of the Vikram Rana Mystery series. The books under the series are “Vikram Rana Investigates,” “A Season for Dying,” “Behind the Scenes” and “Fatal Fallout”. She has also published a book of short stories, “Quirky Tales.”
Her short stories have been published in efiction magazine and Woman’s era. She loves writing murder mysteries, the kind of books that she likes to read. Her favorite authors are Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie. She also likes the work of Satyajit Ray – especially the Feluda Series.
Before starting to write, she had been an IT professional and had worked in TCS, Satyam, Infosys, and Microsoft.
She is a big foodie and enjoys Biriyani (both Hyderabadi and Awadhi versions) and rasgullas like most Bengalis. She is also a lusty singer of the bathroom singing variety.
Though she is happily married to Mr. Shenoy in real life, in her fantasy world she is wedded to her creation Vikram Rana.  You can get to her blog by typing the word “Sharmishtha Rana” into Google. No, seriously, try it.
She was born in Calcutta. She is an M Tech from the University of Reading, Great Britain and had received a 100% British Government Scholarship to study there. She lives in Hyderabad.

Sharmishtha on the Web:

 

The bad Sheenan Twin, Trey’s story: The Kidnapped Christmas Bride by Jane Porter

sheenan3‘The Kidnapped Christmas Bride’ by Jane Porter is the third book in the Sheenan Series. This is the third book of the Sheenan series and the story of childhood sweethearts, Trey Sheenan and McKenna Douglas.

The blurb:

All he wants is a Christmas memory…

Trey Sheenan has cultivated his reputation as Marietta’s resident bad boy, until one day he lets things go too far and he loses everything—his freedom, his fiance McKenna Douglas, and his infant son.

McKenna has loved Trey since they were kids, but she’s had enough. When Trey is sent away for five years, McKenna is determined to do what’s right for her and baby TJ, which means putting her mistakes—namely Trey—behind her, and move on.

When Trey is released early, he returns to Marietta determined to beg McKenna’s forgiveness and become the father TJ needs him to be, only to discover that he’s too late. McKenna’s marrying local insurance agent Lawrence Joplin in a candlelight Christmas wedding.

Or is she?

Once again, Trey risks everything, but this time it’s for love….and the memory of one perfect Christmas together as a family.

The story:

Trey Sheenan, the bad twin, is back early from the Deer Lodge, a correctional facility and wants to do things right. As a collateral, he has lost his high school sweetheart, McKenna Douglas and their five year old son, TJ, as McKenna is getting married to a local insurance agent, Lawrence, because he can give them security. And her brothers, Quinn and Rory, support this decision of hers.

So when his twin, Trey, tells him that McKenna is getting married on the very next day, he reaches the church in his truck and interrupts the wedding ceremony in front of the guests. And that is not all, TJ wants to go with him and McKenna has no choice but to accompany them. And she allows Trey to spend Christmas with his son.

He wants to win them back and start afresh but what about her….

My take:

Set in Marietta, Montana, this story is simple. The scenes are described in detail and that makes the story all the more beautiful. The language is simple and the story has been narrated well. The characters are relatable, and interesting. They have been developed in detail and characters from the other books in this series also keep popping up here and there.

 

 

The second Sheenan, Troy: The Tycoon’s Kiss by Jane Porter

sheenan 2I picked up loved The Tycoon’s Kiss by Jane Porter from BookBub and I must say I do not regret reading this one. And the best part is that I binge read the entire series of six books in a week.

The blurb:

If anyone can make her feel like the belle of the ball, it’s him.

Taylor Harris – Marietta, Montana’s new librarian–is the quiet type who likes her glamour between the pages, but not in her own life. When she’s pushed into attending the formal Valentine Ball with Marietta’s Most Eligible Bachelor, Troy Sheenan, Taylor can’t imagine a worse pairing. What in the world would she have in common with a wealthy playboy like Troy?

Technology tycoon Troy is forced by business concerns to return to his hometown and take the town librarian to the Valentine Ball… what he doesn’t expect is that Taylor is even less excited about the prospect than he is! Intrigued by the only woman in town who wouldn’t be thrilled to take his arm at the big event, he’s determined that she will not just agree to be his date… but she’s going to like it. Can Taylor turn a cold shoulder to Troy’s heart-melting charms, or is this about to be Marietta’s hottest Valentine’s Ball yet?

The story:

This story is set in Marietta, a small town in Montana.

26 year old Taylor Harris is Marietta’s new librarian. Books are her life and her passion. She has been a book lover her entire life and she loves to curl up with books, get lost in the story and read until early hours of the morning, and never get enough sleep. She graduated with a Master’s in Library Science and moved to Montana six months ago alongwith her brother, Doug, from Hopesville and thought she could support her brother with her work as she felt that she did not need a man or a husband to provide. But then he got into trouble and it was difficult ever since. She also realises that if you are from Marietta, there are different sets of rules than if you are new to the town and Judge McCorkle had handled the sentencing of her brother very impersonally because she was not from the town. She is an introvert and does not find parties interesting.

Troy Sheenan, 36, the ‘good’ Sheenan twin, technology tycoon, venture capitalist, named Marietta’s most Eligible Bachelor by the Copper Mountain Courier several years ago. Troy is brilliant and ambitious, loyal to his family, and has a secret soft spot for historical buildings, small towns and brainy book girls. He has been in California since he left for college at eighteen, and earned his double major in electrical engineering and computer science. With his father dying, and shuttling between California and Montana to oversee the renovations of the Graff Hotel during the last couple of years, he is accustomed to travel.

Jane Weiss, the Director of Chambers of Commerce, Taylor’s best friend in Marietta, has plans for her. Jane has told Troy Sheenan that Taylor would accompany him as his date for the ball as he is hosting the ball at the hotel as a personal expense, so Jane thinks that she owes it to him that he has a date. But Taylor does not want to go to the ball with Troy. Even though, she has a free ticket to the Valentine Ball for being on the Wedding Giveaway Committee and reads about balls in her Regency Romances and there is nothing in her begging to go to the ball.

So when she tells Troy that she does not want to go with him, he is intrigued when she refused to accompany him as his date. He was impressed by her resume, appreciated her experience and knowledge of modern library science, and had a say in appointing her the librarian. Taylor would never fall for someone like Troy Sheenan again, after she had fallen for a Mr Charming in graduate school and that had broken her heart, damaged her confidence and self-esteem. She had vowed she would never go down that destructive, confusing path again.

And so Troy decides to woo her  and take her to the ball.

My take:

This is the first book I have read by this author and loved every moment of it. The book has a feel good effect that lingers much after I finished the book. The story is set in Marietta, Montana as the other books of the series and many more by her, and the characters and locations between this books are linked. I loved how the author has developed the characters and how the characters from the other books make an appearance in this one as well.

I liked the characters and not just Troy and Taylor but all the other characters as well. the plot is interesting and simple and I felt drawn into the story as it moved, so much so that I read the book thrice. The emotions of the characters have been described in detail and that adds to the beauty of the book.

The language is simple and the book made me laugh and also made me cry. I felt for Doug and Taylor and how badly they were treated and I also loved how the people around Marietta welcomed them with open arms.

I loved it and have binge read the entire series and other books written by the author and set in Marietta/ Montana and loved them all. What works for these books is the continuity, the depth of the characters and the feel of the town.

Looking forward to read more from the author.

DISCLAIMER: I received a free copy of the book from BookBub, and the review is entirely  mine.

The first of the Sheenans: Christmas at Copper Mountain by Jane Porter

sheenan1Christmas At Copper Mountain is a book that I picked up after I finished the second book in the series, but I would review them in the order in which they have been presented in the series. This book is the story of the oldest Sheenan, Brock Sheenan and Harley Diekerhoff and is the story of second chances.

The blurb:

She’s determined to make Christmas perfect…

After a set-back, Harley Diekerhoff led a quiet life and kept to herself. Taking the temporary job at the Copper Mountain Ranch as widower Brock Sheenan’s housekeeper seemed perfect for her. But her calm cocoon is invaded with the arrival of Brock’s pre-teen twins, Mack and Molly, who’ve never experienced a proper Christmas.
Annoyed at first by Harley’s interference, Brock is secretly pleased she’s changed his tiwns’ world. It doesn’t hurt that he finds Harley incredibly attractive, fierce, smart and passionate. It’s also an added bonus that she’s not afraid to challenge him and get his blood heated! But when sparks fly and the attractions sizzles between them, Harley’s not so sure she can handle something permanent with this dark, taciturn cowboy who doesn’t know how to let her in. Can Brock hold on to her and pray for a Christmas miracle?

The story:

Thirty four year old, Harley Diekerhoff had lost her husband and three children to a freak accident three years ago. This Christmas, she had wanted to get some distance from her family in Central California because she felt she could not stay with her family at this time of happiness. So she had come to Montana to join Brock Sheenan’s Copper Mountain Ranch as a temporary housekeeper because she felt that working at Paradise Valley cattle ranch would give her new memories. Here, she keeps the house in order and gives him and his ranch hands all the required meals on time. She needs the solitude of the Copper Mountain Ranch as the loss of everything she knew, everything she was, had changed her.

Brock Sheenan, the eldest of the Sheenan boys, 39, had spent the last fourteen years raising his eleven year old twins, Molly and Mack, on his own after his wife Amy died when the kids were babies. He does not need people the way others did and he had been specific in his desire for a tidy, professional and disciplined housekeeper and Harley fits the bill to the T.

Harley is happy keeping to herself, preparing the meals and not interacting with Brock until one stormy night, when Brock is away collecting his wayward cattle, the Sheriff comes home with two kids, Brock’s twins, Mack and Molly. And Harley does not know what hit her.

My take:

A beautiful story of two people who are as different as chalk and cheese. Both have loved and lost. The characters are realistic and well developed. The author has even detailed their back stories. The emotions are described in detail and this book made me smile and cry at the same time. The language is simple and the story is fast paced. I finished it in one sitting as I just could not keep it down.

Though this book can be read as a standalone, I read this after the second one, and then binge read the entire series and many more books by the author based in Marietta, Montana. My suggestion would be to binge read the series, back to back, as the characters keep appearing in the books that follow.