Snakes in the Meadows by Ayaz Kohli

41wFjzmlAVL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgI received the book Snakes in the Meadows by Ayaz Kohli as a review copy from the publisher Rupa Publications and am thankful to them for the same.

The blurb:

Jammu and Kashmir, 1987. In the hilly village of Pathri Aali, where legends appear true, Aslam and Ashwar, two young lovers, dream of marriage and of good things of life. But that is not to be. Unable to cope, Aslam leaves Pathri Aali forever. Years later, as men migrate to Saudi Arabia for employment, Pathri Aali is populated mostly by women and children. Soon they realize the mujahedeen, who guise themselves as their liberators, are the worst perpetrators, and misery seems inescapable. Ashwar refuses to be cowed down by this reign of terror and is determined not to let it devastate the once-peaceful village. The only one she can bank on is Aslam—and she calls out to him across the distance of time and space, to return and live up to the legends of their village. Snakes in the meadows is a saga of the onset of militancy, and the suffering and the resilience of Pir Panjal—the ‘and’ of Jammu and Kashmir.

My take:

The author has portrayed the story of Kashmir before and during militancy and talked about what the people of the beautiful state have gone through. He has also talked about militancy and how it all came about. But between all that there is a love story of Aslam and Ashwar, a love story in which Aslam cannot come to terms with a lot of things that are happening in life and runs away to Mumbai. There is also the story of people moving to Saudi Arabia to earn money for their families.

Written in a simple language, this tale is soul stirring and touches somewhere deep.

I loved the book and am looking forward to more books from the author.

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

 

 

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About that Summer by Sudha Nair

51CNVsB9uuL.jpgI received the book About that Summer by Sudha Nair as a review copy from the author and am thankful to her for the same.it is the third book in the Menon Women series, but can be read as a standalone too. This story is also set in Bangalore.

The blurb:

A sweet and spicy summer story sure to put a smile on your face…

Meet Ria – All of 20, a mature, strong, independent young woman. Neha’s daughter, now all grown up from the little girl in pigtails, we met in The Wedding Tamasha & Priyamvada and Co. She’s looking forward to an uneventful, lazy summer back home from college – but will her wish come true?

Sid is recovering from a nasty break-up. He wants to get away from all the negativity back home, and decides a family vacation is just what he needs. Or is it?

Then, of course, there’s Neha – Ria’s mother. A widow, an entrepreneur, a teacher, and a mother, among other things, this gutsy fireball of an achiever is confident and ready to take on a whole lot more. Will the universe continue to conspire to keep her and Prithvi apart?

Summer sparks fly! Romance is in the air…

But will the drama of the jealous ex-lover, the scheming starlet, the backstabber, the resentful childhood friend, be too much for our quirky, yet very close-knit Menon family?

Will Ria find the storybook romance she’s been missing all of her life?

Will Sid be able to overcome the ghosts of his past, and claim the girl of his dreams?

>>>Read this fun, breezy, and light tale to find out – with lots of happy glimpses into the lives of characters from the prequels and the further unfolding of lives of the Menon sisters, Shweta and Neha.

The story:

Ria had lost her father to a massive cardiac arrest when she was thirteen. She now lives with her mother, Neha and is very close to her grandparents and her aunt, Shweta. Not to mention Prithvi, their neighbour whom she loves like she used to love her father. Prithvi had gifted her Pompom, a dog, for her thirteenth birthday and Pom is a family member too. She is studying in college at Pune and looks forward to spending her summer vacations with her mother and Prithvi.

But that is not to be. Neha has invited guests over just the day after Ria came home for summer vacations and Prithvi is busy getting his home in Kerala renovated. Neha’s guests are her school friend, Sushma, of whom Ria had never heard of and her daughter Tanya, a model who had enrolled for one of Neha’s acting workshop.

Sushma and Tanya arrive and Sidharth, Sid, Sushma’s son, accompanies them to Bangalore as he has to appear for an interview. And Ria takes an instant dislike to Tanya, because she does not like Pom and also to Sid because he looks too sure of himself.

Ria enjoys reading and watching movies as solitary activities and is happier keeping to herself. She has only one friend in college, Alisha and the girls have done their third year internship with a design firm prepare a report for their submission.

Sid works for a marketing research company in Mumbai and wants a job change. His ex-girlfriend Gayatri Gopalakrishnan, Gigi, Tanya’s best friend’s sister, left him six months ago but now wants to come back. And he does not want to go back.

Sid’s sensitive and friendly nature brings Sid and Ria close and Ria starts falling I love with him, but Tanya’s interferes with everything that concerns Sid and tells Ria that it is nothing but a holiday fling for Sid.

And then…….

My take:

I loved the story and the way it has been narrated. There are two love stories in one. The characters have been developed in detail and I could actually relate to them. I loved the part when Ria would compare certain acts to the books she had read. Most of the characters had roles to play in the story be it the jealous ex-girlfriend or the other members of the Menon family. the relationships between the characters have been described beautifully, I actually loved how Ria and Prithvi got along so well with each other. The scenes have been described in detail and the conversations between the characters have been described in detail and I actually loved them. My favourite part of the book was when Ria is sitting on the stairs and crying and Sid is telling her stories.
I could go on and on, but then this would spoil the book for you.

Overall, a well written book. The language is simple and the story is fast paced and enjoyable.
Which Menon girl is next……

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.

My Perfect Fake Boyfriend by Sudesna Ghosh

41-z5wMWMfL.jpgI received the book My Perfect Fake Boyfriend by Sudesna Ghosh as a review copy from the author and am thankful to her for the same. This book is the story of 35 year old single woman, Sushmita Ray.

The blurb:

Sush is a 30 plus single woman. She’s dealing with negative body image after her last boyfriend dumped her for gaining weight. Single and not ready to mingle, her parents put her in a tough spot when they ask her to come to a cousin’s wedding with a romantic partner – even if it’s a fake romantic partner. Sush is sick of relatives asking her intrusive questions about her singlehood since she’s past ‘marriageable age’ so she decides to make her parents happy and get the nosy relatives off her back this once.
Sush hasn’t spent any time with men after the fat shaming ex left her, so she can only think of the last man she interacted with – Arjun Chatterjee.

When she asks Arjun to be her fake boyfriend for a few days, he agrees immediately. They spend quality time together, making Sush wonder why she was stupid enough to let this amazing man get away earlier.

After some family drama, Sush and Arjun find themselves on a two-day getaway near the city. At The Village, Sush is apprehensive about being close to Arjun because she is constantly worried about her dimpled thighs and bulging stomach. And Arjun Chatterjee is smart, handsome and perfect in every way so she doesn’t feel confident enough when she’s with him.

And then there’s a nasty surprise waiting for them.

Even in the midst of craziness, Sush realises that her fake boyfriend is too good to be true. So now what?

The story:

Thirty five year old single girl Sushmita Ray is in a soup. Her mother’s favourite sister’s son is getting married and Sush has to accompany her parents to all the four function which would be held in a five star hotel. But that is not all, as she has crossed the marriageable age and there would be nosy relatives, her mother suggests that she bring a boyfriend to the wedding to keep the relatives off her back.

What would Sush do? She does not have a boyfriend since she broke up. And so her friend suggests that she call up Arjun Chatterjee, from their Mumbai branch, to pose as her fake boyfriend, because she had gone on two dates with him and they would be comfortable around each other. And much to her surprise, Arjun agrees.

And she is attracted to him and even confesses to loving him, but….

Don’t worry Arjun is already in love with her and that is why he agreed to in the first place. It is something else.

My take:

I love Sudesna’s characters mainly because they are to realistic that we meet similar people in our daily lives. In this book too, the characters are realistic and relatable. I could actually feel for Sushmita, what with the pressure from her parents and relatives. Arjun is so ideal that I kept praying, I hope there is a happy ending. The author has described the feelings of both the characters. The language is simple and the story is fast paced.

I finished this book in one sitting. A perfect book after a hectic day.

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.

Give Your Heart a Break by Anuj Tiwari

51AEscT3jxL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_I received the book Give Your Heart a Break by Anuj Tiwari as a review copy from the publisher Rupa Publications and am thankful to them for the same.

The blurb:

When is it enough, really enough?

In love, never! In abuse, forever.

Written flawlessly with tenderness and fury, heartbreak and acceptance, Give Your Heart a Break is the story of Addya, a flamboyant, confident woman, leading a carefree life. That is, until the day she gets married, and her life suddenly takes a turn for the worse. Caught in a steadily deteriorating relationship, Addya is stretched to her limits as she tries to cope. Through it all, she has her brother Agastya standing by her side like a rock, vowing to avenge his sister.

Will Addya be able to survive unscathed? Will Agastya succeed in seeking justice? Or will he succumb to the wounds of his past? Can the love of his life, Tarjani, provide him succour? Inspired by a true story, this is an incredible tale of abuse and vulnerability, of the exhilaration of romance, of an unshakeable sibling bond that is at once unique and universal. Above all, this is Anuj Tiwari’s unsparing account of love and loss, capturing the grit and courage of a woman trapped in a loveless relationship.

My take:

As I started the book, I was a bit confused as to where are Addya and Agastya, about whom I was reading in the blurb. But then the come as a part of the flashback and the whole story moves in flashback and at the end we come to the present day. I liked this concept.

This book is not only about romance, it is about love, the love between cousins, the love between siblings and the love between friends. This book is about relationships. The characters are relatable and realistic and have been developed well. The relationships between the characters has been portrayed beautifully. I liked the way the author has depicted the relationships in the book.

There are certain dialogues in the book that were familiar, and the author’s sense of humour is also reflected in the book.

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

Her Prince Charming by Sundari Venkatraman

8dcea-herprincecharming-amazoncoverI received Her Prince Charming by Sundari Venkatraman as a review copy from the author and am thankful to her for the same.

The blurb:

It’s instantaneous attraction when Tanuja Bhatia from Delhi meets Raj Malhotra from Bombay at the Bombay Central Station.

The mutual attraction soon blossoms into love over the next couple of meetings.

Tanuja and her simple father fail to see the crisis brewing in their own home. Her not-so-nice stepmother Gurinder is totally against the idea of Tanuja meeting her Prince Charming which would make her step-sister Harpreet seriously envious. By the way, Harpreet’s main aim in life is to simply make her half-sister miserable.

While Raj’s parents and Tanuja’s father try to arrange a marriage between the two with a help of a mutual friend, the evil stepmother comes up with a plan of her own—to marry her stepdaughter off to Sonu, a good-for-nothing idiot.

Can Her Prince Charming lift Tanuja out of this life of drudgery and boredom and give her the happiness she deserves?

The story:

Tanuja Bhatia was not even one when her mother passed away due to post partum illness and was only two when her father remarried. Her stepmother, Gurinder and her half sisters, Harpreet and Jaspreet were like Cinderella’s stepmother and stepsisters, only thinking of themselves selfishly and treating Tanuja like a cook. But this is where, Tanuja drew the line. She was only eleven when she started handling the kitchen single handedly, and never let that added responsibility compromise with her studies. Bhoomi, her best friend, philosopher and guide from the days the girls met at a public school in Delhi in class 7, is her confidante.

21 year old Raj Malhotra, the younger son of Namita and Khushwant Malhotra, moves to Bombay to set up his own business. His father and older brother, Shantanu, manage the family business in Delhi while his elder sister is happily married in the US.

5 years later, in 1975, Bhoomi’s mother tries to play the matchmaker and proposes Tanuja’s name to her very good friend Mrs Malhotra. The Mahotras meet 19 year old Tanuja on the sly and like her for Raj. But when the proposal reaches the Bhatia household, Gurinder puts her foot down because she does not want to lose her cook and Mr Bhatia keeps both the horoscopes in the cupboard deciding to look at them later.

The Bhatias travel to Delhi and the travel agency which is providing them the vehicle to travel to Mahabaleshwar belongs to Raj and as luck would have it, the designated driver does not come and Raj ferries the family to Mahabaleshwar, and Tanuja and Raj are attracted to each other.

My take:

The cover is beautiful, and depicts the seventies. There are matadors and telephones with dials. The descriptions of the characters, scenes and dialogues also related to the same time period. The characters are well developed and relatable. The story has been written very beautifully in a simple, easily understandable language. I finished the book in one sitting. I loved the book immensely and feel that this is the best book written by her. A must, must read.

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

 

Excerpt: HER PRINCE CHARMING (Prequel to The Malhotra Bride) by Sundari Venkatraman

 

 

HER PRINCE CHARMING
(Prequel to The Malhotra Bride)
by
Sundari Venkatraman
 
 
BLURB
 
It’s instantaneous attraction when Tanuja Bhatia from Delhi meets Raj Malhotra from Bombay at the Bombay Central Station.
 
The mutual attraction soon blossoms into love over the next couple of meetings. 
 
Tanuja and her simple father fail to see the crisis brewing in their own home. Her not-so-nice stepmother Gurinder is totally against the idea of Tanuja meeting her Prince Charming which would make her step-sister Harpreet seriously envious. By the way, Harpreet’s main aim in life is to simply make her half-sister miserable. 
 
While Raj’s parents and Tanuja’s father try to arrange a marriage between the two with a help of a mutual friend, the evil stepmother comes up with a plan of her own—to marry her stepdaughter off to Sonu, a good-for-nothing idiot. 
 
Can Her Prince Charming lift Tanuja out of this life of drudgery and boredom and give her the happiness she deserves?
 
*A prequel to THE MALHOTRA BRIDE, this book is also available in paperback in India.
 
Read an Excerpt:
Tanuja stood at the entrance to
the bogie, guarding the luggage as the train slowed down to enter Bombay
Central Station, excitement in her heart as her eyes devoured the sights. It
had been a long time since the Bhatia family had gone on a holiday, all
together. It had always been her stepmother and her half-sisters who went on
bi-annual trips, leaving Tanuja and her father at home. But, of course, both of
them appreciated the peaceful times while the other three were gone. In fact,
Tanuja considered those interludes the best holidays ever.

Just before the train stopped,
she caught sight of a tall man in pristine white trousers and half-shirt, holding
a placard which read, ‘Talveer Bhatia’. Her charcoal black eyes went wide when
they met the dark brown of the man’s bold gaze, a soft blush tainting her
cheeks before she turned away to address her father who was standing behind the
three suitcases. “Papa, the car driver’s here, I think. See that man over
there,” she pointed a slim index finger in the direction of the man as her
father craned his neck to look out, “he’s holding a cardboard placard with your
name on it.”

Talveer nodded his head at his eldest
daughter, a soft smile on his tired face. “Let’s get the luggage out,” he said,
watching Tanuja get off on to the platform. The father-daughter duo shook their
heads at the porters who offered to take their luggage as Talveer handed the
suitcases one-by-one to Tanuja.

“Have you got all the suitcases
out?” asked Gurinder in her usual harsh voice, a frown on her face as she
glared at her step-daughter and husband.

“Yes, aunty,” said Tanuja, taking
the large bag that Gurinder was holding in her hands, before helping her out of
the train.

Harpreet and Jaspreet giggled as
they watched their plump mother struggle to step down onto the platform, not
bothering to help her. They each held a tote bag carrying their make-up
articles and other fancy stuff which they naively believed were absolute
necessities in Bombay.

Talveer lifted his head to see
Raj Malhotra walking in their direction with the placard, waving to him. “I’m
Talveer Bhatia. Are you the driver who has come to pick us up from Malhotra
Cabs?”

“Yes sir. My name is Raj,” said
Raj, shaking Talveer’s hand, forgetting that drivers may be considered too
menial to shake hands with customers who hired cars from their company, his
gaze taking in the family of five even as it lingered for a few seconds longer on
Tanuja’s beautiful face.

Gurinder glared at him. “You are
the driver who will be driving us to Mahabaleshwar?”

Haanji ma’am.”
Apni aukat mein raho. What’s with the shaking hands? Can’t you do a
namaste? Kyunji,” as she frowningly glanced at her husband, “can’t you tell
the man that instead of shaking his hand?”
Tanuja felt highly embarrassed by
Gurinder’s harsh words. What was wrong if the man had shaken her father’s hand?
Why did her stepmother have to shout for such a trivial thing?
Before her father could open his
mouth, the driver said, “I’m sorry, ma’am. Please forgive me. It won’t happen
again.” 
Gurinder looked the man up and
down before ordering, “
Chalo, take
all the suitcases and let’s go to the waiting room.”
Without asking a question, Raj lifted
two heavy suitcases in both his hands before turning in the direction of the
first-class waiting room. Tanuja bent down to take the third one, giving him a
shy nod, a small smile touching her lips. Her mouth had the appearance of a
rosebud to the man who walked ahead of her.
It took the Bhatia family about
an hour to get ready. Raj waited patiently as he read the day’s newspaper
before Talveer walked out from the men’s waiting room. Tanuja was the first to
get ready and she also walked out to the platform on seeing her father. She
couldn’t help being fascinated by the handsome driver as she studied him from
the corner of her eyes from time to time, not saying anything while she watched
her father chat with him.
“I am also from Delhi, Talveerji,” said Raj, answering the other man
when asked.
Talveer smiled widely. “I did
wonder about the accent,” he said, patting the younger man on his shoulder.
They chatted some more about
their hometown but mainly in Hindi. “If you are educated, how come you are
working as a driver?” There was curiosity in Talveer’s dark gaze as he looked
up at the driver who towered over him by many inches.
Raj was careful enough to speak
English exactly the way his drivers spoke. Shrugging, he said, “I am setting up
my own business.” Okay, it was a slight variation from the truth as his garment
factory was already set up and running smoothly. But he couldn’t very well tell
the client that. “In the meanwhile, this is a good way to make money, without
having to work under someone.” It was with difficulty that he managed to keep
his gaze on Talveer Bhatia and not let it stray to the young woman who, he
presumed, must be the man’s daughter. She was simply too beautiful for words.
Talveer nodded his head
vigorously, thoroughly approving of the other man’s sentiments. “So what
business are you setting up?”
“Manufacturing of garments,
Talveer
ji.” No, he had no plans to
tell them the magnitude of his business, that he had invested almost ten lakh
rupees and only twenty percent of the total had been raised through a bank
loan. The rest was entirely from his own savings. Raj had slogged from the day
he arrived in Bombay five years ago. He had refused to use his father’s money
and had earned his own money starting from scratch. He had led a comfortable
life but it wasn’t half as luxurious as the one he was used to at his home in
Delhi. He had converted all the leftover money to gold. When he began
purchasing gold in 1971, six months after he moved to Bombay, the price for ten
grams had been less than Rs. 200. Over the last five years, the price had risen
dramatically to Rs. 540. He had also persuaded his father to buy small
bungalows in Mahabaleshwar and Matheran.
So, at the age of twenty-six,
where a lot of young boys are still whiling away their time, Raj had set up his
very own garment unit. And there was also the flat that he had purchased in
Matunga, where he lived now.
Talveer nodded, even as his eyes
kept turning towards the women’s waiting room, wondering about his wife and
daughters. He looked at his eldest born and said, “Tanu, why don’t you go and
find out if everyone is ready?”
Theek hai, Papa,” said Tanuja in a soft voice before walking
towards the waiting room, her steps dragging. As if the three of them would
care.
“Madam, it would be nice if you
could tell them that we have to travel for eight hours before reaching our
destination.” Raj called out to Tanuja’s retreating back.
She stopped in her tracks,
wondering if she had heard right. Had he called her ‘madam’? She turned around
with a smile, her cheeks dimpling when her gaze caught his dark one, a dark
wing-shaped eyebrow raised in query. “Were you talking to me?”
Ji! It will take us eight hours to reach Mahabaleshwar,” said Raj,
looking into her black gaze and rapidly found himself drowning in them, unable
to stop the answering smile on his face.
Why was he addressing her as if
she was fifty years old? Tanuja realised that she didn’t like it at all. But
then, she didn’t want to say anything in front of her father. She nodded her
head before turning away from him to continue towards the waiting room door.
After ensuring her father’s gaze
was turned away from him, Raj looked at her retreating figure encased in a
salwar kameez which faithfully hugged
her slender body. She could have passed off for an
apsara from heaven, he thought. 
Grab your copy @
 
 
About the author
 
 
Sundari Venkatraman is an indie author who has 42 titles (38 books and 4 collections) to her name, all Top 100 Bestsellers on Amazon India, Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada and Amazon Australia in both romance as well as Asian Drama categories. Her latest hot romances have all been on #1 Bestseller slot in Amazon India for over a month.
 
Even as a kid, Sundari absolutely loved the ‘lived happily ever after’ syndrome as she grew up reading all the fairy tales she could lay her hands on, Phantom comics, Mandrake comics and the like. It was always about good triumphing over evil and a happy end. 
 
Soon, into her teens, Sundari switched her attention from fairy tales to Mills & Boon. While she loved reading both of these, she kept visualising what would have happened if there were similar situations happening in India; to a local hero and heroine. Her imagination took flight and she always lived in a rosy cocoon of romance over the years. 
 
Then came the writing – a true bolt out of the blue! And Sundari Venkatraman has never looked back.

Click here to check out all the titles by the author…

You can stalk her @
        

This Tour is Hosted by 

We Promote So That You Can Write 

 
 

 

Spotlight: HER PRINCE CHARMING (Prequel to The Malhotra Bride) by Sundari Venkatraman

 

 

HER PRINCE CHARMING
(Prequel to The Malhotra Bride)
by
Sundari Venkatraman
 
 
BLURB
 
It’s instantaneous attraction when Tanuja Bhatia from Delhi meets Raj Malhotra from Bombay at the Bombay Central Station.
 
The mutual attraction soon blossoms into love over the next couple of meetings. 
 
Tanuja and her simple father fail to see the crisis brewing in their own home. Her not-so-nice stepmother Gurinder is totally against the idea of Tanuja meeting her Prince Charming which would make her step-sister Harpreet seriously envious. By the way, Harpreet’s main aim in life is to simply make her half-sister miserable. 
 
While Raj’s parents and Tanuja’s father try to arrange a marriage between the two with a help of a mutual friend, the evil stepmother comes up with a plan of her own—to marry her stepdaughter off to Sonu, a good-for-nothing idiot. 
 
Can Her Prince Charming lift Tanuja out of this life of drudgery and boredom and give her the happiness she deserves?
 
*A prequel to THE MALHOTRA BRIDE, this book is also available in paperback in India.
 
Grab your copy @
 
 
About the author
 
 
Sundari Venkatraman is an indie author who has 42 titles (38 books and 4 collections) to her name, all Top 100 Bestsellers on Amazon India, Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada and Amazon Australia in both romance as well as Asian Drama categories. Her latest hot romances have all been on #1 Bestseller slot in Amazon India for over a month.
 
Even as a kid, Sundari absolutely loved the ‘lived happily ever after’ syndrome as she grew up reading all the fairy tales she could lay her hands on, Phantom comics, Mandrake comics and the like. It was always about good triumphing over evil and a happy end. 
 
Soon, into her teens, Sundari switched her attention from fairy tales to Mills & Boon. While she loved reading both of these, she kept visualising what would have happened if there were similar situations happening in India; to a local hero and heroine. Her imagination took flight and she always lived in a rosy cocoon of romance over the years. 
 
Then came the writing – a true bolt out of the blue! And Sundari Venkatraman has never looked back.

Click here to check out all the titles by the author…

You can stalk her @
        

This Tour is Hosted by 

We Promote So That You Can Write