If You Only Knew Me by Divyata Rajaram

I received the book If You Only Knew Me by Divyata Rajaram as a review copy from the publisher as a part d909d-ifheonlyknewmeof the blog tour by The Book Club.

The blurb:

If You Only Knew Me is a story of friendship, passion and intrigue set in Dubai, arguably one of the world’s most exciting cities to live in. Rupali, Anjali, Dipika, Sakina and Monica are five NRI women whose lives are glitzy and exciting as they flirt with high society within the charmed social circles frequented by the Dubai expat community. Beautiful homes, designer clothes, shoes, fast cars and a lifestyle that is envied by all, there is very little these women have not attained. Together they have also woven the closest of friendships and must rely on each other to stay on top. Appearances are deceptive, though, and often the people you think you know the best, harbor secrets too dangerous to be shared. When tragedy befalls, the investigation that follows opens an ugly box of secrets that will test their friendship and find them struggling to make sense of the madness and deception surrounding them. Who can they really trust anymore? How far must they go in their fight for survival? How long will their friendship last once the masks have dropped and none can pretend any longer?

The story:

In Dubai, you never got what you saw. It was all a mirage.

Rupali Jahangir is a celebrated diva, married to Rohit, a suave business tycoon. Rohit was the risk taker, the proverbial devil in disguise, snagging impossible contracts, hobnobbing with the rich and famous and leaving his stamp of charm wherever he went. Dubai has loved Rohit Jahangir ever since he had moved there over twenty years ago from Mumbai, to set up his talent scouting agency, Raaga Star.

Rupali feels blessed to have her lifelines in Dubai, her friends like family are Anjali Sen, Dipika Luthra, Sakina Chaudhary and Monica Kapur, all having moved to Dubai around the same time and initially lived in the same area. They had shared their expat woes of settling in the city and making it a home away from home. Things had changed over time but the connection between them was still very strong.

Dipika Luthra, 36, has never married, has no love interests, no career and no apparent hobbies. She is obsessed with malls, shopping and the various discounts being offered at various outlets. Though she claims to be a writer, her friends know that she had never written anything in her lifetime. At night, she transformed into the night club queen. An enigma to most people who knew her, Dipika was endearing enough for her friends to love her without reservation.

Anjali Sen, editor of the Dubai Glam (DG), the most ardently followed fashion magazine in Dubai, is a tall striking girl with short cropped hair. Everything about her screams style: her minimal accessories, avant-garde clothes and the cheerful spunky attitude. Sharp witted with a great sense of humor, Anjali had studied and worked in fashion journalism all her life. She loves shocking people and the media loved her and wrote about her all the time.

Sakina Chaudhry perfected in making other people feel like losers. A smart woman, acutely incisive in her assessment of people and human nature, Sakina had a Masters in Psychology. She had quit her hotel job eventually and followed her husband, Adil, a successful banker with a large global bank, to Dubai. Dedicated and committed to work and family, Adil is described by people as rock solid and dependable. Boring was a word that had crossed Sakina’s mind more than once during their fifteen-year-long marriage.

Monica , 42, a petite, pretty lady with rimless glasses, had met the group through Anjali and they had all hit it off immediately. She is a lifestyle coach and has made a brilliant business of it in Dubai. Rakesh, her boyfriend of six years, adores her and supports her completely. Monica glowed with health and happiness and most people unhesitatingly admitted Monica was beautiful, both physically and mentally.

Adil and Rohit have an easygoing friendship, and Adil trusts Rohit to manage things. And all the girls and their spouses/ partners also meet together frequently.

And then, one evening, at a ‘do’ organized by Anjali at one of the hotels, tragedy strikes and police has to be called to investigate the matter.

My take:

The author takes the reader from a simple story of friendship of five girls to a thriller full of suspense and lot many other things. She has described the characters in detail making it easy for the reader to picturise them. She has also described Dubai in detail with all its malls and other places.

The story is simple and interesting and moves at a fast pace and the reader is compelled to read it without keeping the book down as he/she wants to know WHODUNNIT?

Enjoyed the book.

DISCLAIMER: I received the book as a review copy from The Book Club in exchange for an honest review. I have not received any monetary compensation for the same.

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Race Course Road by Seema Goswami

51oIBfOkAFL._SX334_BO1_204_203_200_I received Race Course Road by Seema Goswami as a review copy from the publisher, Aleph Book Company . I would like to thank the publisher for a copy of the book.

This book is an out and out political thriller.

The blurb:

Set largely in the Prime Minister’s official residence, the Race Course Road complex, Race Course Road revolves around the aftermath of the assassination of a sitting Prime Minister and the battle for succession that ensues within his family, with the elder son and heir, Karan Pratap Singh, trying to fight off the challenge presented by his charismatic half-sister, Asha Devi.

As the search for the murderer continues, sex scandals surface, revelations about dodgy arms deals rock India and rival TV anchors shout and spar even as the country undertakes one of its most bitterly-contested general elections ever. Who will get to live in Race Course Road once the votes have been counted? Who will get to rule India for the next five years? Who will be the new Prime Minister of India? Read the ultimate insider’s political thriller to find out.

The story:

The story begins with the Prime Minster of India, Birendra Pratap Singh, addressing a rally and as he is making way back to his car, he goes and shakes hands with the fans and suddenly collapses. The Prime Minister is dead and his son, Karan Pratap Singh is made the interim Prime Minister. And then the elections are announced. There are many contenders for the post, not only from the main political party LJP but also from the opposition.

What happens in the general elections? Read the book.

My take:

An out and out political thriller, this book gives the reader a perspective of how the political parties, politicians and the media play a role in our country.

The characters have been developed in detail, are realistic, relatable and the conversations between the characters are very natural. The author has portrayed the softer side of the politicians, when they are family people like all of us.

The story has everything: assassination, power and what comes with it, intra familial conflict, TV debates, media competition, sibling rivalry, political families and what goes on in them, how people protect their public images, family politics.

The author has made the book relatable by adding real events that have happened in India. The language is simple and the narration is done well.

A book that is an unputdownable page turner.

DISCLAIMER: I received the book as a review copy from the publisher, Aleph Book Company, in exchange for an honest review. I have not received any monetary compensation for the same.

 

 

 

 

 

The Bodyguard: A Romantic Suspense Novel by Ruchi Singh

e7803-ruchicoverThe Bodyguard: A Romantic Suspense Novel is Ruchi Singh’s latest book. She has written it all, romance, short stories and now a romantic suspense. This book is available on Kindle Unlimited for free, so grab it.

The blurb:

Someone wants Vikramaditya Seth Jr. dead.

He refuses the Z+ security option offered by the government. With too many variables trust is hard to come by…

Esha Sinha prepares for her first assignment outside of active-army service, oblivious to that fact that she has to baby-sit a man who has no respect for rules or protocol—a man who is headstrong, workaholic and a tenacious flirt. As the attraction between Vikram and Esha simmers and sizzles, another attempt is made on his life.

The killer is resourceful and determined.

The motive is unclear and perplexing.

Will they be able to nab the assassin before he gets to Vikram?

The story:

Vikramaditya Seth Jr. took command of Seth industries after the death of his father. A prodigy, with an exceptional high IQ and command over no less than four languages, he is a brilliant strategist with a far sighted vision. His mother and his ex-wife feel that he is moody, short tempered and over bearing. He is divorced and mistrusts women, but his mother wants him to reconcile with his ex-wife, Urvi, an actress.

Nikhil Mahajan is his security in charge, right hand man, loyal friend, fierce body guard, and dedicated chauffer- all in one. Nikhil and Vikram met years ago on a trek and Vikram had saved his life and Nikhil has been loyal since. He had closed his private investigation agency and joined Vikram.

Major Esha Sinha, NSG trained, Black Cat commando, decorated ex-army officer is a crack-shot with a diploma in clinical psychology. She has two siblings and her family is only interested in her pay check. Once engaged to her colleague, Samar, she has a broken engagement behind her.

Vikram’s life is in danger and he has refused Z+ security. An assassin, with one and only mission – Seth Jr., has been following Vikram for years, watching and waiting and his only hitch is Vikram’s unpredictable routine. He even attempts shooting Vikram at Delhi Golf Club injuring his friend instead. And Esha is there and her actions save Vikram, but she becomes a suspect and is picked up for interrogation.

Then Nikhil appoints Esha as Vikram’s bodyguard in disguise. Vikram has qualms of having a lady bodyguard but for Esha, Vikram is an assignment for two months, a monetary transaction, the financial ticket to her sister’s wedding.

My take:

I loved the plot and the way the author has blended suspense and romance together. Both the elements are well balanced and the story just flows. The characters including secondary characters are well etched. The descriptions of the scenes are detailed. I loved the relationship between Nikhil and Vikram and that between Esha and Nikhil, I loved the way he calls her Xena.

The date, time and place of the scenes are mentioned at the beginning of the chapter and the reader keeps getting more and more involved with ‘What Happens Next?’ The point of view of even the negative character has been given, in italics.

This book is an unputdownable page-turner.

 

Small is Big: A collection of 100 micro tales by Rafaa Dalvi

95884-smallisbigI received Small is Big: A collection of 100 micro tales by Rafaa Dalvi as a review copy from the author as a part of the blog tour hosted by The Book Club. I am thankful to the author as well as The Book Club for the same. This book is a collection of 100 tales belonging to different genres.

The blurb:

Have you always wanted to read more, but you could never finish that one book?

You kept putting it off, hoping you would find some free time, only to find out that months or even years went by and you saw little progress.

That’s about to change!

With Small is Big, Rafaa Dalvi has created a potpourri of 100 diverse micro tales (140 characters or less) that will provide you a rich experience in easy-to-digest fragments and urge you to read one page after another before you finally finish the book.

And the best part is that there’s a story for everyone, including YOU!
If you’re a romantic at heart, this micro tale is for you-
She kissed his cheek as he smiled back. Nothing had changed much since two decades.
Her husband called her.
She hid the photo in the closet.
If you love happy endings, this micro tale is for you-
You rested on my lap, opened yourself before me and shared your fantasies with me.
Then the stories ended and you turned back into a book.
If you ever had a tough time fitting in, this micro tale is for you-
Nerd. Not anymore. A new college. A new identity.
Math. First lecture. Finished my test first.
Teacher graded me aloud- 20/20. I had failed.
If you are a big fan of word play, this micro tale is for you-
They’re lying in bed.
“You’re the one,” he says; he’s lying.
“I never doubted it,” she says; she’s lying.
They’re lying in bed.
And if you like thrillers, this micro tale is for you-
There were two of us and one vacant position.
He would die for this job and I would kill for it.
No wonder it worked out just fine for me.
In fact, there are 100 such small tales that will have a big impact on you.
My take:

Expressing yourself or your emotions in limited number of words is an art. I always have an added respect for writers of short stores.

But this is exemplary, less than 140 words.

Stories so short that you read a tale, introspect it and then move on to the next. That’s what I did, read them, tasted them and digested them. And one more thing, I have actually bookmarked the ones that I liked, so that I can read them again and again.

The author has touched upon various emotions like love, satire, crime, suspense….. also the tales have been arranged alphabetically. Some are cute and some are sad. To tell you the truth, there were some I did not understand. There were some that I could relate to, Zoom being one of them (I know all of you would…)

Some tales made me think, what would happen next?

A must read!

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 Historian and the Hunter by Zeenat Mahal

the_historian_and_the_hunter__new_.jpgThe Historian and the Hunter by Zeenat Mahal is the latest book by the author. I was fortunate enough to receive a review copy from her.  When I read the name of the story, I felt that the male lead would be the hunter and the female lead, the historian. But what I did not know that both  would be girls and twin sisters.

The Blurb:

Laila and Shirin are ordinary girls living in the old city of Lahore just like millions of others…except they live in the red-light district area, and they’re identical twins. Also they hunt monsters no-one knows exist…okay so, maybe not quite like millions of other girls…

The story:

They have telepathy, or the twin thing.

They are opposites. But, they are identical twins, born into a family that kills monsters.

Laila and Shirin lost their parents when they were young and all they have as family is Emir pehalwan, Madam Ara and the Begum. Their parents were the first Hunters to have been killed in centuries, 15 years ago and their great aunt, the Begum says that the monsters have been showing up since then. Emir is their foster father in everyway except a formal declaration. They had been practically raised by Madam Ara, who was their solace and escape from Council duties. Begum, the Supreme Seat of the Secret Council of Lahore, which had thirteen members, men and women of different ages and backgrounds to maintain a balance.

Shirin Mirza never took Laila’s work seriously nor did she respect the work of the historian. Laila knows Shirin loves her and fears losing her. Shirin had her Saiban and Laila had her books.

Shirin is outdoorsy and physical and Laila, a scholar and a recluse. One is a historian, a bookworm, reads diaries and spends most of her time in a library. Shirin is Saiyyad, the Hunter of the Secret Council- an organization sworn to protect the vulnerable, hunts for Nau-Guzzahs, churails, jinns, demons and monsters. She is the hunter. She calls Emir, her Saiban.

Laila isn’t brave, she prefers books and solitude. She is afraid of people and that is the reason she stayed with books in underground rooms. She reads about werewolves, shamanism and alchemy. She loves stories, books are her world and that is how she learned about the Words of Power. Her curiosity and devotion had led to much discovery. By the time she was 10, Laila knew all the secret passageways of the city. She has been dreaming of the wolf for the past three years.

Nothing trumps the Historian, her twin sister is the Hunter. Her foster father is her Saiban and her foster mother is the madam who manages the eyes and ears of the Council.

A new Council member, an archeologist, Shahmeer Sikander is surprised that he has been selected though he lacks the ancestry and pedigree the Council usually look for.

Sardar Rustam Ali Khan, nephew of an old friend of Emir, is the leader of his clan. He is introduced by the Begum as one of the secret weapons of The Council.

My take:

I have usually associated Zeenat Mahal with romantic stories but this one is different. The story is interesting, and begins with Saiyyad hunting for a Nau-Guzzah. And then there are council meetings and secret passage ways. There are doors and keys. There are some diaries hidden by Lockwood from the Council. And then there is also the story of Ranjeet Singh.

There is a story within the story, which moves in parallel to the main story and both the stories are linked. But neither story overshadows the other.

The language is simple, it would have been more meaningful if the author had given the meanings of terms like saiban, Nau-guzzah and other terms which are not so commonly used.

Though the story moves slowly in the beginning, it gains momentum as it progresses and then the book becomes unputdownable.

The characters of Laila and Shirin have been developed very well. But I found myself wanting to know more about Shahmeer and Rustam.

Enjoyed reading the story.

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

 

 

Juni Dagger: Murders in Meraupatnam by Arjun Chandra Kathpalia

51aRsKAIadL._SX354_BO1_204_203_200_.jpgI received the book Juni Dagger: Murders in Meraupatnam by Arjun Chandra Kathpalia as a review copy. I would like to thank the publisher for the book. The book is a mystery and has been written by a sixteen year old boy.

The blurb:

When the residents of Meraupatnam’s posh Dormeth Lane start getting picked off by mysterious snipers, the mayor has no choice but to call in the celebrated detective Juni Dagger. With the aid of his assistant, Monroe and a stranger-turned-ally, Cameron, Dagger must trace the links between the murders and find the mastermind, a mysterious man who goes by the name Veron.

Interspersed with his sleuthing, are Dagger’s culinary adventures, which often throw up clues to his case. Soon, Dagger discovers that Veron is now targeting him and his desire to be rid of the detective can only be matched by Dagger’s desire to enjoy a good meal (or two or three!).

Perfect for readers who like their mystery with a generous side of comedy, Juni Dagger is sure to leave you wanting more, both from the detective, and your meals.

The story:

27 year old Juni Dagger is an investigator, and one of world’s best detectives. When the small, sleepy town of Meraupatnam in the Indian sub-continent witnesses serial sniper killings and the police are not able to even start digging the case, Juni is pressed into the case by the Mayor of the town. Juni does not have an assistant, he prefers to take and drop assistants with cases, is more of a lone wolf and does not prefer attachment of any sort. He likes to take things easy, he is in no hurry to plunge into the case. He loves food and does not believe in coincidences.

When Juni reaches Meraupatnam he meets eccentric Mr Crow, a widely acclaimed cards player and defeats him. Then he meets the Mayor who briefs him on the case and assigns a local person, Monroe, as his assistant. At the first instance, Juni asks Monroe to get him food. Monroe thinks he is an extremely eccentric and whimsical person.

They try to decipher the clues, the deaths continue and sometimes they foil the plans. During one of these episodes, he meets Cameron, a Ninja and a trained assassin to kill and make it look like an accident, who uses Ninja equipment like a shruiken. As they have the same plan they decide to work together.

Time progresses, clues come, clues go, and suddenly one day, Juni has a Eureka moment and suddenly everything starts falling into place like a jigsaw puzzle

My take:

The story is a murder mystery plot set in a small town setting. The author has created the characters with a lot of details and the characters were realistic and also relatable. The author has described the town of Meraupatnam in detail and I was actually looking for a town of the same name on the internet. It was only then I realized that the town is a figment of the author’s imagination.

The language is simple and the humour is palpable. The author has used the plot of a murder mystery with all the possible elements like suspense, secret codes, clues, snipers, letters, riddles and twists and turns.

Once I was 20 pages into the book, it was very difficult for me to keep the book down. The book is fast paced.

All through the book, I never felt that the book was the debut work of a teenager.

A must read for everyone.

DISCLAIMER: I received the book as a review copy from the publisher. I have not received any monetary compensation for the same.

The Laundry Girl by Yamini Pustake Bhalerao

the_laundry_girl_300_rgb_1501123577_380x570.jpgI received The Laundry Girl by Yamini Pustake Bhalerao as a review copy from the author. The debut novel of the author is an ebook exclusive to Juggernautapp and website. I have read her previous book, Operation Superstar, which was a collection of short stories on the Juggernaut App.

This book is the story of Indira, a girl who heads a detective agency. Her team comprises of Spence, a hacker; Nadia, a chartered accountant; Laxmi, an ex-assistant of a private detective and Bhavesh, the go-to person for anything and everything. Bhavesh was her first partner and we had met him in Operation Superstar, the first book.

The Blurb:

Indira can make your worst and most embarrassing problems go away. She is a fixer, private investigator, thief and lethal street fighter rolled into one deadly package. She is pressured by a very powerful client to take up a case she doesn’t want to. The very case has lead to her involvement in the death of three people.

And now that she is the next target of a dangerous assassin, it turns out that only she can help herself. Can The Laundry Girl overcome the demons of her own past as a convict, and come out alive at the end of this case? Or will this case lead to her end?

The story:

The book begins with Yamini on a case of the CEO of a company, Trista Pharmaceuticals, who is being blackmailed by his PA. She solves the case with the help of her team in a fast-track mode. But little does she know that the case would almost cost her her life.

My take:

It is an interesting book which showcases the journey of the detective. Her past, her family and why she is what she is. The book has been written in simple english and the characters have been created with a lot of effort. The book is fast paced and has been beautifully written.

I was so caught up with the book that I was reading the book till 4am even though I had to get up at 530am the next day to go to work and actually had to have a cup of strong black coffee to take me through the day.

Initially, I thought, the case is over, now she would move on to the next one, so this is also a collection of short stories like the previous one, but little did I know that what I was about to read next would keep me glued till the end.

I enjoyed the book immensely.

And am eagerly awaiting the next one in the series…..

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.