His Runaway Royal Bride

Title: His Runaway Royal BrideHis Runaway Royal Bride
Author: Tanu Jain
Publisher: Harlequin India
ISBN: 978-93-5106-461-9
Number of Pages: 185
Price [INR]: 150
Genre: Romance

When Maharaj Vidyamann Veer Singh of Samogpur’s beautiful young wife vanished three years ago everyone thought she was dead. When Veer discovers she’s actually alive and well he’s determined to bring her back home to do her duty…

Meethi loved Veer passionately, but felt shackled in the role of his wife. When Veer demands her return, she must obey, but being back by his side is heaven and hell. Because, despite their new found happiness, secrets from the past still linger. And Meethi knows that they threaten to destroy everything…

His Runaway Royal Bride is the first book that I have read from the Indian Author Collection of Mills & Boon. I had some apprehensions before reading this book regarding the language and the editing part. And these doubts just flew out of the window, as I started reading the book.

This is a story of a 19 year old girl who gets married to Maharaj Vidyamann Veer Singh of Samogpur. Meethi is a simple commoner who is not able to meet the expected royal code of conduct. She falters and fumbles and is often ridiculed by the royal family. Though she is in love with Veer but the royal life and its protocol suffocates her. So, she decides to end it all by running away from the palace by faking her death.

After three years, Veer tracks her down and brings her back, much against her wishes. Will he be able to really get her back after all these years? Will he be able to know the reason behind her fake death? Will he be able to win her back again? His Runaway Royal Bride answers all this in a riveting and an engaging story which takes the readers on an emotional roller coaster along with  high voltage family drama. The story also has romance with a lot of heat, raw emotions and unbridled passion.

The author has captured Meethi’s emotional upheaval very well and Veer despite being very egoistic and too proud of his family’s name and honour is a true M&B hero. The language is simple and narrative is crisp and engaging. What I also liked about this book is its classy and elegant cover design which is so apt for the story.

Go for His Runaway Royal Bride. Definitely an enjoyable read!

Rating : 3.75 Stars

I, Me, Myself Syndrome

I have a few ‘friends’ on my Facebook profile who are plagued by this syndrome. I don’t think they are aware of this affliction. Because, if they were, they would have taken some remedial actions, but their affliction continues to progress unabated, much to the chagrin of others.

Yes, they are bitten by the selfie bug.

These friends click and upload at least a dozen selfies a day. All they have to do is turn to their good side, look up slightly (of course, the double chin shouldn’t be visible), stretch their arm and simply shoot themselves, of course with their smartphones. selfie

They LOVE to click themselves with a pout, with a smile, with ‘that’ look, with love in their eyes, everywhere… be it in the office, in front of the car or in the car, on the stairs, in the bathroom, in a new dress or just a regular tee. They also like to click themselves with their child in the backseat of the car, or with coffee at Starbucks…  And then just share these pics on social media and wait for the likes and comments from friends to pour or trickle in.

They say that the selfies (in moderation!) may be good for one’s self esteem and/or may uplift the mood, but too many selfies are not good. Some people may just get addicted to taking that perfect selfie and may kill themselves when they fail to do it. Also, one may get distracted by the marketing of themselves through these selfies, and may lose touch with their authentic identities and there could be a struggle to build real relationships.

I don’t know about others, but somehow seeing these selfies day in and day out irk me, somewhat. And then I read about a study from U.K. that confirmed what I had long suspected. The study found that oversharing of Facebook photos is more than just a nuisance, and uploading a hundred selfies per day could very well be damaging to your real-world relationships. And that both excessive photo sharing and sharing photos of a certain type makes almost everyone like you less. This is because people, other than very close friends and relatives, don’t seem to relate well to those who constantly share photos of themselves.

So, what is the cure for this I, Me, Myself syndrome, which is not only harmful for these selfie bugged people but also for their relationships. Well, it is pretty simple, “Stop taking so many damn selfies!”

Linking this to the Write Tribe’s Wednesday prompt, “I, Me, and Myself”

Rapid Fall

Title: Rapid FallRapid Fall
Author: Adiana Ray
Publisher: Indireads Inc.
ISBN: 1927826160
Number of Pages: 94 (Estimated)
Price [INR] : 119
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Type : eBook

Sonia and JD’s tempestuous attraction is as stormy as the rapids at Rishikesh. Not even a dip in icy waters can douse the sparks that fly when they are around each other.

JD’s recent divorce, however, has left him commitment phobic and bitter, and he doesn’t seem to want more than a physical relationship. At heart, Sonia is conservative; can she bring herself to accept a modern ‘live-in’ relationship, or will she push him away with her demands for a commitment?

Rapid Fall is a short and a fast paced love story of JD and Sonia. They meet at a white-water rafting campsite at Rishikesh. They fall in love but realize their love for each other a bit late. Ego and misunderstandings separate them for a while and then good judgement brings them back again.

I liked the plot of the story which is novel and unique. The initial part of the story is set against the backdrop of the rafting expedition at Rishikesh. The challenging and thrilling adventure of navigating the raft on the rough waters of Ganges through different degrees of rapids, brought back memories of my own rafting experiences. And that certainly set my adrenaline soaring.

The story does not have much of twists and turns except for the commitment issues of JD which is understandable. As I finished reading Rapid Fall in less than an hour, one word that reverberated in my head all through the various chapters and even the climax was ‘Abrupt’! Sonia’s crying on JD’s shoulders or the accident or the sparks flying between them and even the climax came in all too suddenly and abruptly. The duo let the differences between them unresolved for six months and then sort them out suddenly in one evening is too farfetched too.

The language and editing is impeccable though. And the title of the story is apt too.

Despite a few shortcomings in the story, Rapid Fall is a short tale of love and all that jazz!

 Buy Rapid Fall @

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Read, Read and Write

Drabble

Recently, a friend mentioned that she was in awe of my reading spree, the various genres of books that I read and that I read an erotica too.

Words fascinate me. I enjoy the different worlds they take me to and this in turn helps me to create my own new worlds. They say, better writers tend to be better readers, and better readers produce better writing. As for reading ‘anything’, Oscar Wilde has aptly said, “the books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.”

So read, read and write is my mantra!

Written for the Write Tribe’s 100 Words Saturday Prompt for  the quote “Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it.
Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window. – William Faulkner

Chapter 6 : The Vulnerables

Team Writers’ Den

writers den

Chapter 1: Mens Rea by Mahesh Sowani
Chapter 2: A Morning Star by Rohini Varun
Chapter 3: The Cursed One by Sreesha Divakaran
Chapter 4: The Vanquished by Aurindam Mukherjee
Chapter 5: The Insurmountable by Vinay Biradar

The story continues…

42% Complete…

JJ tapped her fingers on the table restlessly, as the file transfer continued to take its own sweet time. Her mind took her to the moment she had a chance encounter with Tara that night at News Today office. A casual chat with one of her colleague revealed something weird about Tara. Her curiosity was piqued and she wanted to get to the bottom of it. The search in the desk drawers did not reveal anything, so she looked at her computer.

While she willed the computer to reveal some dark secrets, Tara’s voice jolted her from her thoughts.

“What brings you here at this late hour? And what are you doing on my computer, JJ?”, she had asked. Her voice was smooth, like water calmly flowing over a smooth rock, though there was an icy glint in her eyes.

Beads of sweat trickled down the length of her body, as JJ struggled to stay calm.

“Of course, work. What else?” Did you like the “The Queen of Arabian Sea”?, she asked and hoped that Tara wouldn’t come and stand besides her, as she quickly closed the various open windows in the computer.

Tara was walking towards her desk, when a phone call distracted her. JJ gathered her bag, mouthed a bye and made a dash for the exit. Outside, she heaved a sigh of relief at her luck. Had she been there for a few more seconds, she would have seen Tara turning white into a sheet.

*             *             *              *                 *

Settling with a cup of coffee, she dialled his number. Cyrus picked up her call at the very first ring. Their relationship did not require the horrid nonsense of having to exchange pleasantries, so they got down to business, immediately. The 65 pictures captured by her DJI Phantom Drone were viewed and reviewed back and forth on their respective laptops.

A few pictures made her throw up while he squirmed in his chair. The body of the little girl, Sophia was discovered at a secluded area near railroad tracks. She had been bound, blindfolded, 666-lucisgagged, and stripped naked from the waist down. The child had been brutally tormented and it appeared that death came after hours of torture, having suffered injuries to her vagina and anus as a result of repeated sexual assaults. Something was carved on her forehead. Zooming the picture revealed it to be 666 which was cleverly concealed. It was the mark of the Beast. The blood had dried and blackened and encrusted around the symbol in haphazard patterns on her once beautiful face.

“Who could have done this?”, JJ asked, incredulously.

“The Lucifer’s army is at work. Looks like that the some new “initiates” are inducted in the army, with a baptsim in ‘blood and semen’ to make it all fine!”, explained Cyrus.

As she chewed on this revolting information, he felt the need to elaborate further, “Their rituals are based on the manipulation of energy and consciousness. They believe that blood contains the life-force energy, so drinking human blood is good for their inter-dimensional connection. They prefer young children because they are not contaminated like adults. Sex with corpses fresh or less is hailed as ‘divine’ too. Hard to accept isn’t it?”

“Sickos”, she said vehemently.

“Let’s get it cracking, lady. Will you work with me on this maiden case of mine?” He knew the answer, but he still asked. Was he feeling jittery at the enormity of task and the path that was laid ahead?

*             *             *              *                 *

She woke up from her nightmare with a start. Heart pounding in her ears, she tried to scream.

But when she tried to open her mouth, it was just not happening. Roohi’s nightmares were following her like a shadow. Sitting at the edge of her bed, Shekhar despised himself some more. He hated when his anger turned into tears.

*             *             *              *                 *

Read the next part of the story here by Archana Karkera

Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.

Digs, Dogs and Drama

Title: Digs, Dogs and DramaDigs Dogs and Drama
Author: Rachna Singh
Publisher: White Tarantula
ISBN: 9384180092
Number of Pages: 248
Price [INR]: 240
Genre: Humour

‘Digs, Dogs and Drama’ is a humorous book in the genre of anecdotal humor. It is compiled like a diary of fun: each chapter an independent blob of humor. The neighbor’s dog. The dramatic ultrasound scan.The wedding reception. Alooparathas versus curd rice. 100% shuddh Indian. Events. Happenings. Experiences. Just day-to-day stuff. Traffic Jam?Angry boss? Ruined Haircut? Power cut? Need instant cheering up? Any chapter will do.

Rasam? Burger? Rangoli? Bollywood action? Want a desi smile? Start from anywhere in this book. You won’t be able to put it down.

Digs, Dogs and Drama is a fun and funny view on various experiences drawn from real life, author’s life actually! The 46 short chapters reflect the every day life around her. So, you have anecdotes on PTMs, types of mothers, fashion, foreign travel, dogs, bollywood, weddings, success, U.P. bhaiyas, meetings, and even elevator woes… All these chapters are independent of each other and can be read from anywhere and in any sequence.

The smiles and laughs begin right from the first page of the book, where the author mentions, “No animals or editors were harmed in the making of this book!”Agree with the author when she says that there’s no deep meaningful message from any of the anecdote shared in the book, it is just about smiles and laughter and that you get in plenty when reading Digs, Dogs and Drama.

Some of the chapters are simply hilarious, some are just about ok, while for some chapters, it appeared that she tried too hard to be funny! My absolute favorites are Alumni Meets (could relate to it completely!), Twenty-Five signs that you are a U.P. Bhaiya, Why God made mothers, The Bhaiya guide to Bangalore…

Written in a conversational style, the simple and the fluid narrative, gives the feeling of sharing some fun and interesting time with a good friend. The book moves at a fast pace and the wit, satire and humor amuses you, the anecdotes in the book are the ones that one can relate to completely and all this keeps the reader in you hooked to the book. Another plus point of Digs, Dogs and Drama is its impeccable editing. I know, it is a given in any published work, but we know how the current scenario is!

All in all, Digs, Dogs and Drama is a fun and an entertaining read. I read 4-8 chapters at a given time during  work-breaks or travel and the book managed to give me a lot of smiles and a few good laughs. Go for it for some easy breezy amusing light reading!

Rating : 3.75 Stars

Connect for Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention
It was just another Sunday. The two children were watching television. Their mother was busy cooking brunch for the family in the kitchen. And their grandfather had just returned back from the visit to the local market after buying the weekly vegetables and fruits. After settling with the newspaper and a cup of tea, the grandfather asked the eldest child to call her dad from his room on the first floor. The lil girl obediently rushed upstairs only to return back soon to inform with an innocence that only a 6 year old is capable of, that “Papa, fan se latak kar so rahein hain’’ (Papa is sleeping while hanging from the fan!)

Papa here was a friend’s brother who couldn’t manage the business losses and believed that killing himself would be the best solution for his problems.

Needless to say that his suicide didn’t help anybody. It only compounded the problems. His wife and father were clueless about his business operations, his debts and losses and are struggling at this crossroad of life. This cruel and harsh reality has scarred the children, mentally.

The only thing that could have helped would had been Connectedness! By being communicative with family and friends can help on many levels.

Connectedness is crucial to individuals who may be vulnerable to suicide. Being connected to your loved ones, your community, and the world around you, is key to suicide prevention.

    • Connectedness leads to stronger social ties, lower levels of isolation or loneliness, and more positive relationships. stayconnected
    • These strong, positive relationships can be protective and prevent against suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
    • For youth, attachment to family and organizations in the community increases feelings of belonging, strengthens a sense of identity and personal worth, and expands available supports.
    • Reaching out to those who have become disconnected from others and offering them support and friendship may be a life-saving act.
    • Connectedness can also be understood in terms of clinical care. Mental illness, particularly depression, is an important risk factor for suicide. Seek/provide help from mental heath professionals.

So, please speak up! Talk your heart out. Stay connected and stay positive.

And above all, NEVER GIVE UP… there is always a way out!

Never Lose Hope

SPM

 

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We are blogging for this cause at Write Tribe. Do read and spread the awareness about this initiative. Thank you!

Play With Me

Title: Play With MePlay-with-Me
Author: Ananth
Publisher: Penguin India
ISBN: 978-0-143-42362-1
Number of Pages: 245
Price [INR]: 250
Genre: Fiction

Once in a very blue moon, you are confronted with astonishing beauty.

Sid is a successful photographer in a boutique ad agency. He is single and has everything he wants – a great job, great colleagues and a hassle- free life. But if there is one thing that has eluded him, it is love. Until the gorgeous, free-spirited Cara walks into his life. Sexually obsessed, the two begin a charged affair that disrupts all his notions of love and transforms the way Sid thinks about erotic pleasure. But then something strange happens – Sid finds himself falling in love with another woman.

A book that is a debut novel. An author who is Sr. Vice President at Penguin Books. And the genre that is erotica. All this made Play with Me an interesting, impressive and an intriguing package. With great expectations, I started reading this book. And I finished reading it one sitting of three hours!

The story line is simple with not many twists. But still the author manages to grab your attention with writing that is crisp and clear and a narrative that is smooth and engaging. The witty and humorous dialogues makes you smile. The tenderness and fierceness of the love scenes is very vivid and you can almost feel the passion and the sizzling chemistry. Play with Me is not only just about erotica. It will not touch you deeply but will surely make you think about love and lust and about life and the complexities of relationships too.

Play with Me is definitely an enjoyable, breezy read that will whirl you in a range of emotions right from the very first chapter! The climax disappointed me a bit as I was looking at something conclusive for Sid. But I read in the author’s interview that there will be a sequel. ‘Think of Me’ will pick up where Play with Me left off – as there are incomplete sentences and unresolved relationships. And I cant wait to read ‘Think of Me’.

In short, Play with Me is engaging, enticing and enchanting. Go for it, if you enjoy this genre!

Rating : 4 Stars

Kingdom Come

Title: Kingdom ComeKingdom Come
Author: Aarti V Raman
Publisher: Harlequin
ISBN: 978-93-5106-397-1
Number of Pages: 311
Price [INR]: 299
Genre: Fiction

Krivi Iyer is an embittered former spy and bomb defusal expert with only one regret. That he couldn’t catch The Woodpecker, a dangerous, mentally unstable bomber who ended his partner’s family. He has a second chance to go after his arch enemy with the arrival of Ziya Maarten, the manager of ‘Goonj Business Enterprises’ in Srinagar, Kashmir, who is alleged to be The Woodpecker’s sister.

Except, Ziya is a beautiful distraction and not a terrorist’s sister.

When a tragedy in London tears Ziya’s life apart, she can only rely on Krivi to give her the absolution and vengeance she needs to move on. Between training to be an anti-terrorist squad member and finding The Woodpecker, Ziya uncovers the secrets of Krivi’s tormented past.

But will two tortured souls find the courage to love?

Set against the serene beauty of Kashmir, Ladakh and Tibet, Kingdom Come is a gripping story of death and loss, vengeance and retribution, love and life.

Kingdom Come is more of a romantic thriller. Against the backdrop of bombs blasts and bomb disposal, kidnapping, terrorists is a passionate love story of Krivi and Ziya. Krivi’s past haunts and distresses him. To make peace with his past, he has a mission to complete and Ziya could lead him to his enemy who is the insane Woodpecker. Ziya is unaware of the existence of the Woodpecker and has no clue of Krivi’s past. In the course of time, she falls in love with him. As Krivi lets his past dominate his life, will love enter his life? Will love ever come their way? You need to read Kingdom Come to know all that and much more.

I liked the immaculate research the author has done for the military operations. This made the story-line very realistic and made it all the more credible. The plot of the story is a novel one and the characterization is good. Loved Noor’s character, I wish there was more of her in the story. The pace of the story is good and keeps you engaged. The climax takes you by surprise and is executed well.

Coming to the big dampener! No marks for guessing. It is the editing! The book is poorly edited and lacks proof-reading. Sentences like, “What’s your gut tell you?” or “Now let me the hell go.” take you away from the intense scene that is about to unfold and make you cringe. I wish authors and publishers are vigilant about the quality of their work.

In a nutshell, Kingdom Come is an admirable debut, although there is a room for improvement.

Rating : 3 Stars

Sunflowers for Tina

This post is in memory of Tina Downey who passed away on August 23rd 2014.  She was one of the co-host of the A to Z April Challenge 2014 (of which I was a part too). And I had the pleasure to read some of her very interesting and insightful posts on “It’s Very Swedish…” a train on a cultural journey through Sweden, exploring the differences big and small between American and Swedish culture and her series on College life.

Tina loved her sunflowers.                            Sunflowers 1

Tina, these sunflowers are for you, which reflect your sunny and positive personality! May you rest in peace!

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