Death in Colaba Bay by Ambika Subramanium

I received Death in Colaba Bay by Ambica Subramanium as a review copy from Rupa Publications and I am thankful to them for the same.

The blurb:

Death in Colaba Bay is a thrilling tale of Victorian Bombay, a city where dreams are realized, and nightmares are lived. Bombay 1898. In the bustling and modern port city of Bombay—home to great wealth and great deprivation is ever present. Three young girls go missing from a prominent ‘native’ school in the city. Their families are frantic with worry. Tara Bai, a young widow and heiress, with strong social connection, is an alumnus of the school. Intrigued and alarmed by the case, at the behest of the school founder and principal, she agrees to help the grieving parents. Arun Rao, a young and promising police officer, is assigned to the case. His track record of solving complex crimes has led to his transfer to the Bombay police, from Poona. Soon, one of the missing girls is found dead on the shores of Colaba. The current crime has uncanny similarities to older cases from central India involving the royal family of Jaiwar. A chance encounter at the home of one of the victims brings Tara and Arun together and they join hands to unmask a murderer who has already struck once and will not hesitate to kill again.

The story:

When three girls of a school go missing in Bombay in the late 1890s, Inspector Arun Rao is transferred to Bombay from Poona to solve the case.

At the same time, a rich widow, Tara Bai, an ex-student of the school, decides to help the school. 

My take:

The story is set in the late 1890s in Bombay and the author has done well by creating that feel, with tongas, messengers and even the attire of the characters and the way they are addressed. There are many characters and initially, I was a bit confused with the names, but as the story moved on, I was fully involved. The characters have been etched well and heir descriptions are such that they could be easily visualised. The story also talks about the construction of many buildings which are now a part of Colaba in Mumbai. 

The way the inspector correlates the case to another old one, and how in those times, they would collect the data from the libraries, adds an interesting feature in the story. The story is fast paced, only one week long, and is well written. I loved the twists and the turns. 

A must, must read with a warning that this book is unputdownable. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I have not received any monetary compensation for the same.

Bovine Tricks by Seelie Kay

 

About the Book:

Lady Annabelle Trask is missing. Unfortunately, MISix doesn’t know if they’re looking for a woman, a cow, or something in between!

Is it real or is it fantasy? That’s the question MISix Agent Mathilda Honoria Spencer struggles with on her latest assignment. Tasked with discovering the whereabouts of Lady Annabelle Trask, Tillie is thrust into the world of Hucows and other human animals. It’s a world that raises serious questions about sexual fetishes, intentional physical enhancements, and even pornography, but in the end, Tillie has only one mission—to rescue and return Lady Annabelle to the Queen. However, as she and her partner, Agent Abdul Ali, attempt to find Lady Annabelle and keep her out of the clutches of terrorists bent on destroying the monarchy, they must also wrestle with their feelings for each other. Can they draw the line between their duty to the Crown and their relationship with one another? Or must they embark on separate paths to continue to serve the Queen?

Book Links:
Goodreads * XtasyBooks

Read an Excerpt from Bovine Tricks

Tillie’s face reddened. Suddenly, she felt quite queasy. She started to speak, but her superior held up his hand. 

“There’s more. This is a human-animal auction. It is not limited to Hucows. There will be Hupigs, Huhorses, and maybe even, Husheep. Fortunately, you are to focus on the cows. That is where we believe Lady Annabelle will be found.”

Tillie gazed at him. “What if she isn’t there? What if she has changed…er, species?”

“I suggest you cross that bridge when you come to it.”

“And what am I to do if I find Lady Annabelle? How do I extract her?”

“You purchase her at the auction. You have been given sufficient funds to bid up to one million Euros.”

Tillie’s eyes grew wide. “Criminy. That much?” 

Lord Ryder nodded. “These cows are well-trained and well-treated. The females are pampered—weekly manicures, hair treatments, and such. A happy cow is a happy milker, as they say.”

Tillie’s eyes widened. “Lady Annabelle could be there willingly? She is not necessarily a captive, forced be a Hucow?”

“Exactly. And that is our dilemma. While the Queen hopes that she is there willingly, several factors are at play. Lady Annabelle may have freely joined a farm to become a Hucow, or she may just have danced on the wild side and somehow wound up at auction. In the alternative, she may have been kidnapped and forced to become a Hucow, or she may have been forced and now enjoys the lifestyle. There are all sorts of reasons she could be there and all sorts of reasons she prefers to stay. Our only mission is to get her out.”

Tillie frowned. “Why would they put her up for auction? Isn’t that a way to get rid of unproductive or uncooperative cows?”

“Not necessarily. Some farms simply raise and train Hucows, then sell them. Given their going rate, it is a lucrative business. A great way to supplement the income from a regular farm. Human cows bring much more lucre than actual farm-raised cows.”

Tillie sighed. “For just one day, I would like to forget that there is a whole lot of people engaged in activities that far surpass my imagination.”

Lord Ryder’s mouth curved up into a wry smile. “Then we would be out of a job.”

Tillie tapped her jaw, considering. “You know, this might be a better job for the Yanks. They are a kinky bunch. I believe there was a recent study that found them to be the kinkiest country in the world.”

Lord Ryder snorted. “If you were the Queen, would you want that bunch of kinksters to know your relatives are participating in like behavior? Why their intelligence services would find a way to use it against us for decades.” He shook his head. “No. This we do alone.”

About Seelie Kay:

Award-winning author Seelie Kay writes about lawyers in love, sometimes with a dash of kink.

Writing under a nom de plume, the former lawyer and journalist draws her stories from more than 30 years in the legal world. Seelie’s wicked pen has resulted in nineteen works of fiction, including the new paranormal romance series Donovan Trait, as well the erotic romance Kinky Briefs series and The Feisty Lawyers romantic suspense series. She also authored The Last Christmas, The Garage Dweller, A Touchdown to Remember, The President’s Wife, The President’s Daughter, Seizing Hope, The White House Wedding, and participated in the romance anthology Pieces of Us.

When not spinning romantic tales, Seelie ghostwrites nonfiction for lawyers and other professionals. Currently, she resides in a bucolic exurb outside Milwaukee, WI, where she enjoys opera, the Green Bay Packers, gourmet cooking, organic gardening, and an occasional bottle of red wine. 

Seelie is an MS warrior and ruthlessly battles the disease on a daily basis. Her message to those diagnosed with MS: Never give up. You define MS, it does not define you!

Seelie on the Web:
Website * Blog * Twitter * Facebook * Instagram * Author’s Amazon Page

Mira by Sudesna Ghosh

I received Mira by Sudesna Ghosh as a review copy from the author and am thankful to her for the same.

The blurb:

Mira wants freedom. She’s been stuck in a bad domestic situation for a few years but she’s finally ready to hit the restart button. When Mira begins a new life, she learns to live for herself. Things get complicated when she finds love in the most unexpected of places.

The story:

Mira was barely out of college when her parents got her married to Anuj, because her father liked the match. She has been a trophy wife for five years hiding her scars and aches behind concealers.

One day, she decides to walk out of Anuj’s home because she cannot tolerate the abuse any longer. And when she reaches her paternal home, he mother understands her plight, but she does not get any support from her father. So she has no choice but to find another shelter….

My take:

Mira is someone we have all met in our lives, at least one, though the abuse may be of a different kind, mental and not physical. And there would be many Anuj’s also, trying to dominate their wives in one way or the other.

The author has portrayed the characters in such a way that they felt realistic and their emotions true. Many of us have also gone through, “who will look after you when we are gone?”, but the way the author has shown Mira’s transformation and her inner strength in the story is just beautiful.

The language is simple and the story is not too long, can be finished in one sitting, but what the story portrays remains for a long, long time.

DISCLAIMER: I received a free e-book from the author in exchange for an honst review. I have not received any monetary compensation for the same.

Dare to be a Duchess by Sapna Bhog

He’s a powerful duke. She’s his uncle’s ward. They have forever been at war, until one night, one masquerade, and one kiss…

Lara Ramsay is no stranger to scandal. As the orphaned daughter of a British colonel and his beloved Indian wife, whispers follow her everywhere. Not even the protection of the formidable Duke of Wolverton, a man she can’t stand, keeps the gossips at bay.
The audacious Lara has driven Tristan Wentworth, The Duke of Wolverton, to distraction since the day his uncle took her in—and he’s quite certain doing so is her favorite pastime. After catching her and his younger sister at a salacious masquerade, he’s had enough scandal and issues a marriage ultimatum: find a husband within six months or one will be chosen for her.
Unfortunately, no one in the ton appeals to her. Except, perhaps, the duke himself. The battle of wills has only just begun, and when Lara kisses him, their fate is sealed.
Sometimes even the most proper duke needs to break the rules to win the heart of the woman he loves…

Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon.in * Amazon.com

Quotes from Dare to be a Duchess:

“Here, right at this moment, I’m giving you an ultimatum: Find someone from the ton to marry in the next six months or I will choose someone for you.” – Duke of Wolverton

“Well then the plan is simple, ‘Divide and Rule.’” – Lara Ramsay

“You’ll be surprised that a gentleman with the best intentions can behave like a rake when faced with temptation.” – Duke of Wolverton

“I think, Wolf, that you go on and on about my undesirability and my unattractiveness as a way to convince yourself more than me. The fact is that you kissed me because I am desirable and I am very attractive indeed.” – Lara Ramsay.

“You know very well that I’m accepted in the ton, albeit grudgingly, thanks only to you. No man wants to marry me, and I don’t want to marry any of those men.” – Lara Ramsay.

Read an Excerpt from Dare to be a Duchess:

Wolf crossed his arms and glared at Lara. Despite being at fault, she was as unrepentant as ever. Her absolute nonchalance drove him mad, always.

“It is my concern. Getting into trouble is second nature to you, so I’d be lying if I said that it gave me any pleasure to be the one to help you out.” Wolf scowled at her. “Paxton is not a fool. He only has to think closely as to whose identity I would desperately want to protect and then remember your dark hair and he will come up with your name. You truly have no sense at all.”

“Well then you shouldn’t have bothered coming to my aid,” Lara retorted. “I could have handled the situation perfectly well by myself.”

Wolf put his hands on his hips. “And how may I ask would you have done that?”

“I’ve heard that a well planted knee on a delicate part of a man’s anatomy would normally do the trick.”

His eyebrows shot up. “You’re crazy to think that you could have deterred Paxton that easily.”

Lara merely stared at him, her head held high, further fueling his temper.

“What, nothing to say?” he snapped. “Which brings me back to my first question. What in the world are you doing here in this depraved place?”

Lara continued to watch him with those deep blue eyes, her lips set in a mutinous line. Her lack of response irked him even more.

“Answer me,” Wolf demanded, his tone sharp.

She met his gaze head on. “We had no inkling this place would be so bad. And nothing untoward has occurred, so stop shouting at me.”

“Unbelievable,” he growled. “Do you know how bad this place can be for two innocent girls like yourselves? Behind their masks and costumes, the men here have only one thing on their minds when they look at you, and you, as usual, don’t care that you could be completely ruined if discovered, let alone taken advantage of, in this den of vice. You are wild and irresponsible and you give no thought to your actions or the consequences thereof. And you

brought Anne here? Just because you don’t care about your reputation doesn’t mean you can play fast and loose with hers.”

Lara’s eyes blazed with fury. “Anne is not a child. She is a grown woman who has a mind of her own.”

“And that is justification for you to come here?” Wolf countered.

“I, too, have a mind of my own,” she shot back. “And I do not appreciate you telling me what I can and cannot do.”

His nostrils flared. He was the Duke of Wolverton, one of the most powerful men in England. No one defied him. And yet this one woman stood against him at every turn. Why couldn’t she understand the potential danger for her or Anne here?

About the Author:
Sapna Bhog is an author from India who writes contemporary and historical romance novels. As a self-proclaimed die-hard romantic, her books are filled with swoon-worthy heroes and feisty heroines who clash all the time, but do get their happy ever after. Sapna has always surrounded herself with books and when she is not writing she is reading. Originally from Dubai, she now lives in Western India with her husband, kids and a Siberian Husky. Sapna gave up a successful IT career and took a foray into writing and has never looked back since. Her favourite pastimes are reading, writing, traveling and shopping—not necessarily in that order. She loves to hear from readers.

Sapna on the Web:
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The Millionaire Quartet Reunion by Aarti V Raman

I received the Millionaire Quartet Reunion by Aarti V Raman as a review copy from the author and am thankful to her for the same.

The Blurb:

Four incredibly hot millionaires, a reunion, and a… wedding!

Finally, the Millionaire Foe Quartet Complete Collection is here. Featuring all four couples of the Millionaire Foe Quartet and an exclusive novella – Reunion.

Corporate heiress Aaliya is forced to choose between the man she has to marry and the brooding bad boy who stole her heart when she was a young girl. But Jamie has vengeance on his mind, which leaves Aaliya In Love With Her Millionaire Foe

Kahini is trapped in a nightmare of never-ending, menial jobs and vicious loans sharks circling her on the beaches of Goa. When her dead brother’s best friend Ansh swoops in to rescue her, she owes the one man she swore to hate forever! Now, this songbird is In Debt To Her Millionaire Foe when her heart wants so much more with the bad boy hotelier.

Shruti only wants to own her Asian dessert fusion cafe… Unfortunately, she has to stand up to the powerful Jones-Tarrant clan to make her dream come true. Even more unfortunate is the deal she makes with New York’s bad boy Mason which includes her pretending to be Engaged To Her Millionaire Foe

Crusader and divorcee Barry gives all Menons a bad name in her small town, so she flees to Thailand to celebrate her birthday. She gets more than she bargained for when she spends an unforgettable night with the hottest man! Worst. Idea. Ever. Because, that man, Jordan, stands in the way of building a women’s shelter… And he is trying his hardest to convince her to stay In Bed With Her Millionaire Foe.

Also, featuring a special novella – Reunion – where you get to meet the beloved Foes and their other halves as they gather for a memorable weekend and a.. surprise wedding?
The Millionaire Foe Quartet Complete Collection is a boxset of standalone but interconnected steamy romances set around the world and an extended happy ever after in the exclusive Reunion novella.

My take:

The Reunion novella brings together all the four couples and Mrs Coomi together. Some are married and some are engaged. The characters from other books also make an appearance in this book.

I felt that this book was something that the series needed because in the four books, we met the characters from the other books in the series but not as much. But here, in the reunion novella, the interpersonal relationships between the four couples was something that completes the series.

I loved the characters and having known their stories in the four books, it was fun to see where all of them landed and how they fared. The language is simple and the story moves from couple to couple.

I enjoyed the series and meeting these millionaires and their partners. Though reading this novella completed the series, but I felt sad that the series had ended. But somewhere I feel we would be meeting these characters in her other books as well.

DISCLAIMER: I received a free ebook from the author in exchange of an honest review. I have not received any monetary compensation for the same.