Sunday, February 28, 2016

Book Review :: ‘Right Fit Wrong Shoe’ by Varsha Dixit


Note: This review is part of 'The Book Club' blog tour.
Genre: Romance
Publishers: Rupa Publications
Blurb 
Right Fit Wrong Shoe, begins at a point where all love stories end. The tale weaves around Nandini and all that is important to her, with two contenders gunning for the top spot; Aditya Sarin and Sneha Verma.

Aditya Sarin, the man Nandini is madly in love with, yet compelled, for some unsolved reason to shun.  Aditya, on his part, in the past declared Nandini to be a ‘millennium bhehenji (conservative girl)’ and ‘lassi (yoghurt drink) in a wine glass’. Yet he fell for her  . . . hard! However, some mysterious episode caused the lovers to, acrimoniously, part. 

Now, Aditya is back in Kanpur,  all his guns blazing (the real and the imagined), determined to devastate her life. Fortunately for the readers, and unfotunately for Aditya, Nandini is determined not to‘bite the dust’ oh so quietly. Wonder, in the battle royal, who wins or who loses it all?

Sneha Verma, the other contender, is Nandini’s BFF, that one friend who knows us better than we do. The one we trust more than Stayfree or Clearasil. Sneha maybe headstrong, hammer fisted and stern mouthed, but for Nandini, she will willingly stand in the path of imminent lightning bolt or a nasty tornado, even if it’s named Aditya Sarin. In standard X, Sneha took Nandini under her wing and that equation hasn't changed much. Sneha, a recent wife and even more recent mom, appears to be fighting some unknown demons of her own.

Right Fit Wrong Shoe, observes and opinionates the society, affected and amused. It fleetingly touches on issues; fleeting as watching discourses (courtesy Astha Channel), is trendier and quicker, than reading them. 

The book is an AAA (anytime, anywhere, anyone) read. It promises to make your day better, and a bad one not any worse. 

My Review
‘Right Fit Wrong Shoe’ is a mix of typical 80’s M&B’s and Bollywood masala movies with beautiful, smart protagonists. Which is perfectly fine, since the blurb indicates the same and the cover I must say complements the blurb.

The story opens with lovely Nandini receiving the news of the takeover of her company by handsome Aditya, with whom she shares a history. She dreads meeting him. Man on a mission, Aditya makes her life miserable the moment he arrives in the city. It was cute to see him adversely affected by her presence and even jealous of other men paying attention to her.

The story oscillates between present times and flashbacks, telling us about the falling in love, the repercussions of the misunderstanding between the two and finally the culprit twist. 

While Nandini’s character is perfect, handsome Aditya, at 30+ comes across a little childish and not in control. He is shown to be angry with her to the point of throwing things and bashing up people. Ideal families, a bosom friend, an aunty-type secretary and an alleged rapist complete the cast.

Humor is a very individualistic taste. The story did make me laugh at places with the Bollywood dialogues and abbreviations. But it seemed that the author had tried too hard to inject humor in each sentence, which seemed a little contrived. Too many (analogies, explanations in brackets) worked like speed-bumps for immersion.

My peeve with the book is the language errors and punctuation, the fault mainly lies with the editing. I felt I was drowning in the exclamation marks, semi-colons and question marks. With so many punctuations it seemed all the characters are hopping in excitement around me. It ended in tiring me out. I think the editors should have moderated and proofread better.

I have read ‘Only Wheat And Not White’ by Varsha Dixit and liked it a lot. This one is probably her first or second book and it falls short due to high expectations set by ‘Only Wheat Not White’.

A breezy read, if you are a die-hard Bollywood fan.



Thursday, February 25, 2016

Cover Reveal :: 'An Autograph For Anjali' by Sundari Venkatraman



Releasing on March 7, 2016

Cover Reveal:

AN AUTOGRAPH FOR ANJALI

#AAFA : a Romantic Suspense

by 

Sundari Venkatraman

Sneak Peek

     Jayant Mathur is found murdered in his bed, shot at point-blank range with his own revolver. Though she’s extremely disturbed by his death, Jayant’s wife Anjali is way more upset about something else. Who stands to gain by killing the multi-millionaire businessman?

     Parth Bhardwaj is a friend and neighbour of the Mathurs. Parth is an author who goes by a pseudonym. He appears more than a friend to Anjali; while he’s also on good terms with her son Arjun who lives and studies in the UK. What role does he play in Anjali’s life? Jayant’s relatives are curious to know.

     Jayant’s brother-in-law Rana is convinced that Parth and Anjali are the murderers. But Inspector Phadke has his own doubts about this theory. In comes Samrat, the private detective who appears as quiet as a mouse. Will he be able to find the murderer?

     Will Anjali find happiness and peace? 




About the author


An Autograph For Anjali is the sixth book authored by Sundari Venkatraman. This book is a romantic suspense. Other published novels by the author are The Malhotra Bride, Meghna, The Runaway Bridegroom and The Madras Affair – all romances. She has also published a collection of romantic short stories called Matches Made In Heaven. All of Sundari Venkatraman's books have been on Amazon Top 100 Bestsellers in India, USA, UK & Australia, many times over. 

Sundari Venkatraman would love to hear from you @



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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Spotlight On:: 'Last Vacation' by Sarah Elle Emm

About the Book:


Seven days have passed since Naples real estate agent Megan MacKenna has heard from her twin sister, Madeline, who was vacationing on the beautiful, Caribbean island of St. Croix. Though authorities are not convinced there is a case to solve, Megan knows with all of her heart something happened to Maddy. When Megan receives a direct warning to leave the island or end up like her sister, she turns to the only person who has taken her seriously since she arrived, Gabe, a breakfast cook at a local diner. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Valentine's Day Special Offer


This Valentines Day is very special for me as on this day last year my debut novel Take 2 was released. As a new entrant into the fiction writing world the year was a steep learning curve for me. Though I have learnt a lot in field of publishing but marketing (blowing your own trumpet) has been a tad difficult for me. But after listening to famous Ashwin Sanghi, who says 

'जो दिखता है,  वो बिकता है' (whatever is visible, sells), 

I have applied whatever tactics I could to make the book visible to the prospective readers.


The response has been overwhelming with my book amongst Amazon Top 100 in Asian Drama category for the past five months in three regions US, UK and India. Romance is one category where the competition is tough. The best feeling is when someone unknown leaves a positive review on Amazon or Goodreads.


So now on this first anniversary of my book's publication, Take 2 is on sale and discount for my esteemed readers. Do check out various discount offers for both eBook and paperback. Its Free for Kindle Unlimited readers.

Love is in the air, peeps!!








Monday, February 8, 2016

Book Review :: ’There’s Something About You’ by Yashodhara Lal

Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Romance?
Blurb
This is not your typical boy-meets-girl story. Okay, they do meet, but there are some complications. 

Trish is twenty-eight. She’s unemployed, overweight, single and snarky. She knows all that. And if one more person – just one more person – tries to fix her, she might explode. Sahil is thirty-five. He has superpowers. Well, kind of. He seems to think so, anyway. He’s also hot (okay, in a geeky kind of way, but still). And he plays the guitar, helps the underprivileged and talks about his feelings. Aren’t guys like that supposed to exist only in fantasies? 

When Trish and Sahil meet, magic happens. Real magic, you know, like fireworks, electricity, that sort of thing. But here’s the problem. Trish doesn’t want anyone in her life. She has enough to deal with – dependent parents, flaky neighbours, bitchy editors, the works. And yet, Sahil is determined to be in her life.


My Review:
‘There’s Something About You’ is about Trish, who is fat, caustic and honest. The story focuses on her life transformation from who she is, and what she becomes as she faces some hard times; courtesy her snooty elite bosses, nagging-mother, a neighbor cum friend and sort of boyfriend.

Now in a Romance genre novel, why did I mention the boyfriend at the end? Because that’s where he comes—during the tenth chapter and even after that he has been given minimal footage (please allow me to use this word). TSAY is about Trish. Period.

My peeve comes from the fact that the blurb and the cover indicate its a romance where the magic happens. But sadly for me it doesn’t. Sahil’s character is underdeveloped for a romance novel and there is no major conflict between the two.

If I take the above factor away from the equation, it’s a well written contemporary woman fiction. Trish becoming a freelance columnist is definitely interesting and I enjoyed her subtle wit and sarcastic answers. I also enjoyed the way she sorted herself even after learning about the terrible truth about her childhood.


Overall a nice one time read, if you discount the romance part. :-)







About The Author:
Yashodhara Lal's USP is in taking the ordinary and making it hilarious. She graduated from IIM-Bangalore in 2002 and has over 12 years of experience in the Marketing Domain across two large corporations in FMCG and media. She lives in Gurgaon with her husband Vijay, and the three small children they call Peanut, Pickle and Papad - all of whom never fail to provide her with material for her entertaining blog at http://www.yashodharalal.com. 

'Just Married, Please Excuse' is her first book. 'Sorting Out Sid' is her latest work of fiction.



Sunday, February 7, 2016

Spotlight :: 'Voyagers Into The Unknown' by Ruchira Khanna



Voyagers Into the Unknown 
by 
Ruchira Khanna

Blurb 
In the historic Indian town of Agra, you can find a very unusual tour company, which is owned by a charming young man named Raj. Although Raj's official job is to show off the historical landmarks of Agra, including the legendary Taj-Mahal, his true mission is to heal the souls of his broken "birds," as he affectionately refers to his tour participants. His business operates purely upon word-of-mouth referrals, ensuring that all of his tour members arrive in Agra with their hearts in their hands, ready for the spiritual growth and cleansing that Raj is known to provide. Healing the hearts of the spiritually damaged can be a difficult job, and in this particular tale, Raj finds himself faced with his most challenging tour group yet. First, there is Ira, a stunningly gorgeous but fragile young woman on the brink of suicide. Next, we meet Darci and Lennard, a couple on the verge of divorce. Then there is Carl, an irritable, antisocial workaholic who has burned all of his bridges. Lastly, we meet Asha, an elderly widow who still yearns for the company and comfort of her late husband. When disaster strikes the tour group, everything is thrown into jeopardy, including lives, relationships, and Raj's very reputation as a tour guide. Raj must find a way to lift the spirits of these five special travelers, even in the face of death and despair. Venture into the unknown and discover how Raj Touristry heals the brokenhearted, one soul at a time.


Monday, February 1, 2016

Get To Know Author Falguni Kothari

Today on ILF we have talented Falguni Kothari, who is a multi-genre author. She has written two romances, and as we talk to her she is promoting her mythological saga 'Soul Warrior' which is the first one in a three book series. Going by the list of her future projects it seems we are going to get entertained in various other genres as well. Over to the interview...


ILF: Tell us something about yourself and how you began writing?
Falguni: I grew up in Mumbai with absolutely zero ambition - workwise. I’d always imagined myself as an academic. I love reading all kinds of material. I’m one of those annoying creatures who actually enjoys learning…even studying. So, when I was young, and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’d say an astrophysicist or a researcher in a lab. In other words, a more or less sedentary person who gets paid to read and impart her vast vats of knowledge. But surprisingly, I’d never considered writing as a career. I’d actually detested writing in school – esp. the insipid writing in an ICSE school where creativity was choked and only comprehension and grammar were considered. I wasn’t terrible at school writing, just not motivated. Anyway, writing school essays and drama scripts is a far cry from novel writing, isn’t it?

Fast forward many years, a marriage, two kids and a move to the US…

A point came in my life where my daily routine was so pointless that my mom sat me down and shouted at me. She told me to stop hiding behind my homemaker persona and take charge of my intellect, which according to her had been atrophying behind the kitchen counter and kitty parties. Now, that was a wake-up call. I started looking for things to do, settled on getting my interrupted education back on track again, and looked at online courses I could take to earn my degree. I fatefully stumbled across a 6-week writing course on “Romance Writing Secrets.” I took it. Loved it. And I haven’t stopped writing since. 

ILF: What or who is the inspiration behind your writing?
Falguni: Many things and many people inspire me: 
My love for books and the people who craft them. 
My mother and her relentless energy.
My brilliantly mathematical father who flunked 10th grade. (ILF muses: Oh wow!)
Social issues, psychological issues, mythology, religion, history…everything except politics inspires me.

ILF: Tell us in detail about Soul Warrior. Your favorite character in the book.
Falguni: Soul Warrior is an urban fantasy novel based in the cultural myths of India. It’s the first book in the Age of Kali series, and its protagonists are Karna and Draupadi, two central characters from the ancient Indian epic, the Mahabharata, who were perfect for each other but legend did not bring them together. The myth-geek in me couldn’t resist tinkering with the idea that Karna and Draupadi deserve an epic love story and I just had to pen “Marvel’s Thor with an epic Indian star cast, and a dash of Bollywood drama.”

Draupadi isn’t my only favorite character, but she the one I want to talk about. In legend, Draupadi is a passive-aggressive woman. She had ambition: to help her father get his revenge. She knew her mind and her politics and helped her husbands get out if sticky spots on several occasions. Her station in life and her gender did not allow her to be loud, so she manipulated quietly.

In Soul Warrior, I’ve begun her character where mythology left it – a strong but wronged woman – but by the end of the book, she’s no longer passive. And that is because the man she is with in this book allows her to be as bad-ass as she wishes. It’s something I’ve always deduced her legendary character had craved – a man who understood her completely – but never realized. (ILF muses: This really sounds intriguing)

ILF: Any future writing projects in the works? If so, tell us about it, and any pertinent dates to go with it.
Falguni: Always future writing projects. ☺ I have a women’s fiction novel coming out in May 2016 called My Last Love Story. It’s about a fate-battered woman who learns to love life again at the insistence of her dying husband. The novel is a departure from my previous books in that it’s written in 1st person POV and is slightly melancholy in narrative. I’m very proud of this work, and hope many good things for it.

And…I am currently writing a romantic suspense novel (TMCRA – I will reveal the title in due course) based on the sex trade in Mumbai. The female protagonist will be familiar to those readers who have read my contemporary romances. And as a treat to them, I have the characters of Wordfreak and the Beast make an appearance in TMCRA.

ILF: That would be really interesting for your fans, to read about their favorite characters again. Any hidden talents or crazy facts about you?
Falguni: It’s not hidden that I’m a dancer. I used to be a Kathak dancer, and now I have a ball (literally and figuratively) in my ballroom and Latin dance class. There’s just something about spinning about to music that frees my mind and stress-levels.

Crazy fact: I make my dance partner/ coach set samba, swing and rumba steps to Bollywood music. Doing samba on Sheila Ki Jawaani is crazy fun!

ILF: Indeed. Thanks Falguni for those lovely insights on your writing and projects. Wishing you all the best!!


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Blurb

Fight fate, or succumb to destiny? 
In the dark Age of Kali, the Soul Warrior alone stands guard over the Human Realm, protecting its denizens from evil-willed asuras or demons. When a trick of fate appoints him guru to a motley crew of godlings, he agrees to train them as demon hunters against his better judgment. Suddenly, Lord Karna is not only battling the usual asuras with sinister agendas, but also rebellious students and a fault-ridden past. 

Spanning the cosmic realms of mythic India, here is a tale of a band of supernatural warriors who come together over a singular purpose: the salvation of Karna’s secret child. 

Buy @

Kuru Kshetra Battlefield. 

Day 17 of the Great Kuru War, seven thousand five hundred years ago.

Death is hot. 

That surprises me. I’d imagined death as cold and brutal. Merciless. But in truth, death is hot as blood, and constant like a heartbeat. 

Thrum. Thrum. Thrum. My lifeblood ebbs to the rhythm. My head ripped from its torso by Anjalika, the arrow of death that burns even now with the energy of the sun. Struck from behind like some novice. Felled in battle by that lily-livered usurper the Heavens smile upon—Prince Arjun. Brother Arjun. 

What have I done?
I harness the thought. Cease all reflection and wrench free of my mortal body. I soar up, up into the gloaming, snapping the ties that tether me to life. Dead, I have no use for ties. 

“A matter of perspective, Karna, O son of my godsire.” The unearthly words strum through the air, and I quiver like a plucked bowstring, overcome as much by the voice as its blasphemous claim. “Bonds of devotion nourish the soul, brother.” 

There is that word again. Brother. Unpleasant laughter wells up in me. Alive, I am abandoned, denied my birthright—Celestial or royal. Death, it seems, changes everything. 

A bright, nebulous light brings forth Lord Yama, the God of Death, atop his divine mount. His elephantine thighs ripple beneath a silken dhoti, ochre and crimson of color, as he guides the mammoth water buffalo to a halt. An iron medallion sways against the God’s powerful cerulean torso, its center stone an ethereal blood orange. 

Hypnotic. Pulsing with life. I am drawn to the stone. 

“Piteous waste,” Lord Yama mutters, surveying the carnage of war far below us. 

I trace the trajectory of his gaze and behold the battered remains of my army drenched in the evidence of its mortality. Is it true? Have we died in vain? 

Words form inside me and I will them out. “Shall we go, my lord?”

 “Ha! Impatient to be judged, are you? Anxious to have your fate revealed?” asks the Judge of the Hell Realm. His red-black eyes burn with intelligence and compassion in a blue-tinged face that is long and lean and hard. “Rest easy, brother-warrior. You are not bound for the Great Courtroom.” 

Not bound for Hell? Where then? Fear has eluded me for so long that I take a moment to recognize it. A hollow-bellied feeling it is, as annoying as a bone stuck in my throat. 

“My lord, I have done bad deeds…terrible deeds in my life. I have waged wars, this horrendous bloodshed, and all because my pride could not—would not abide rejection. I have sinned. I must atone for my actions.”

Lord Yama smiles in a way I do not like. “You have redeemed yourself admirably, Karna. You forfeited your life for the greater good today. The deed far outweighs any misguided ones. Be at peace, brother, and enjoy the fruits of your karma.” 

There is but one place to enjoy such fruits—the Higher Worlds. 

I’d rather burn in Hell for eternity. I say so. “I won’t live amongst the Celestials.” Coexisting with the very souls who’ve spurned me is unthinkable. Watching her—for she would surely reside in Heaven soon—will be eternal torture. 

Yama shakes his head, the horns on his crown slashing to and fro. “I thought you might say that. Relax. Your destiny lies elsewhere.”

 “Am I to be reborn then? Am I to begin a new life, and forget the past?” Pain, sharp as a blade, lances through me at the thought. Forget my past? My family? Even her? Was that my punishment? To forget all that made me human?
It must be so. For have I not betrayed them as surely as I’ve betrayed my prince regent? 

“Human rebirth is not your destiny, either. You are chosen, brother. Your war skills are needed for a higher purpose.” The God slips off his mount, his garments rustling in agitation. “This unjust war has pushed the Cosmos to the vortex of a cataclysm. Tomorrow, the Kuru War will end. Fearing its outcome, the Celestials rolled the Die of Fate and have unwittingly bestowed on Demon Kali untold powers.” Lord Yama bares his fangs in disgust at the foolish gamble. “Imagine the havoc that asura and his minions will wreak on the weak if left unchecked. The Human Realm must be safeguarded during Kali’s dark reign.”

 I can imagine the horror only too well as I have battled with evil all my life. But I am done with wars. I am done with defeat. I won’t waste another lifetime fighting. 

“With due respect, my lord, I am not the man for this task.”

 “You are not a man at all,” Yama thunders, fists shaking. “You are the son of Surya, the Sun God. Accept that you are no ordinary soul.”

 I say nothing. I think nothing. I feel something but I squash it down. 

Lord Yama’s thick black brows draw together. “Demon Kali will try to pervade every particle of good that exists in the Cosmos, beginning with the corruptible Human Realm. Once he obliterates all of humanity, he’ll set his sights on the Celestials. Kali will not stop until he’s destroyed our way of life. But you can stop him. You are light to his darkness. Do you understand now why you had to betray him? Your beloved humans need you, Karna. I need you. Our father believes in you. Claim your rightful place in the Cosmos.”

 Impatiently, Lord Yama removes the iron medallion from his neck and holds it out. The vermillion sunstone glows as if its soul is on fire. Nay! It is my soul that is on fire. 
Indescribable energy curls through me. I gasp, though not in pain. I shudder and feel myself grow large, grow hot. Was this rebirth? 

I am strong, full-bodied and lethal once more. Then I roar as light bursts forth from my very core and I throb with glorious, blinding power. When I come to myself, my world has changed again. Bubbles of color shimmer all around me: cobalt and saffron, azure and rose. By karma! They are souls. Infinite floating souls.

“Behold the spectrum of life: the worthy, the notorious, the righteous and the sinners.” The God of Death’s soul was a worthy sapphire blue with a tinge of silver. “Your duty, should you choose to accept the office of the Soul Warrior, is to hunt down the red-souled asuras and crush them. Whatever you decide, I wish you a long and successful Celestial existence, Karna,” Yama booms out and vanishes into the purpling sky.

The parley has stunned me. The world of color holds me in thrall. I was dead. Yet, now I am not. A new path lies before me. Unwanted, unwelcome, I insist on principle. I close my eyes. Open them to stare at the medallion cupped in my hand—a golden-hued hand at once familiar and not—and know myself for a fool. I do want this. It’s what I am. 

Bastard-born. Rebel. Son. Husband. Father. Warlord. And protector. I fist the talisman, buoyed by its concrete warmth. This is who I am. 

I am the Soul Warrior.



About the Author  
Falguni Kothari is a New York-based hybrid author, and an amateur Latin and Ballroom dance silver medalist with a semi-professional background in Indian Classical dance. She writes in a variety of genres sewn together by the colorful and cultural threads of her South Asian heritage and expat experiences. She is published in India in contemporary fiction with global e-book availability, and launches her mythic fantasy series, the Age of Kali, with SOUL WARRIOR. When not writing, dancing or being a domestic goddess, she fools around on all manner of social media, and loves to connect with readers.




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