Friday, June 16, 2023

Review- Charcuterie of Thoughts by Rathnakumar Raghunath

 Charcuterie of Thoughts on Goodreads


Charcuterie of Thoughts is Rathnakumar's highly anticipated sophomore collection of poetry. Much like its previous iteration - the bestselling and critically-acclaimed Smörgåsbord of Musings - this book is a concoction made of love, life, laughter, anger, joy, despair, romance, disgust, yearning, pain, wonder, and hope.

It's a tribute to the full spectrum of the human experience, with each poem offering a unique insight into the beauty and complexity of our existence, showcasing the richness of our shared humanity.

In essence, Charcuterie of Thoughts is a celebration of all that makes us human.

Release date: June, 17 2023

Published by: Ukiyoto Publishing

Pages: 239 (Paperback), 217 (Kindle)


Author Rathnakumar Raghunath’s highly anticipated second collection of poetry, Charcuterie of Thoughts, has truly been worth the wait.

The writer created magic with words with his début, Smörgåsbord of Musings. A book that is a warm hug and filled with everything relatable, Smörgåsbord of Musings is an extraordinary marvel that the author gifted the world during Covid, when all we wanted to feel was loved and hopeful, something this book will never fail to provide us, even years down the line. It has indeed found a permanent place not only on the shelves of readers, but in their hearts too.

Coming to Charcuterie of Thoughts, this collection of poetry is reminiscent of Smörgåsbord of Musings in many ways, and yet, stands as a unique, proud and grown up collection all on its own. Just like he did with his debut, Rathnakumar Raghunath has created even more magic and proven that he is the epitome of a writer of our times who is a class part yet one with us, with his new book. If Smörgåsbord of Musings is a warm hug, Charcuterie of Thoughts is like knowing you have an umbrella on a rainy day to protect you from the rain, while being fully aware that it is capable of flying away, out of your hands, at any second, if your grip is not firm. At the same time, however, and most importantly, the book pried that it’s okay to let go of this umbrella sometimes and simply make the most of the rain. It is a reality check about the fragility of life, that sometimes seems like a slap in the face, in a manner that is raw, real and relatable.

While reading any work of art, it is difficult to entirely separate the creator from his creation, and Charcuterie of Thoughts proves that Rathnakumar Raghunath has grown immensely, as a person and as a writer. That growth is something many readers might also have experienced, given the times we live in, which makes the book a true contemporary masterpiece. With the right amount of bitterness, betrayal, cruelty, darkness and disgust, balanced with the right amount of love, hope, loyalty, sweetness, fun, humour and so much more, Charcuterie of Thoughts has something for everyone. It is a well curated, meticulously thought of and immaculately written collection of poetry that speaks to the heart and the mind alike. This book romances you in way that is both loving and dangerous, which takes it to the next level, making it an extraordinary and remarkable work of art. It consumes you in a way that will leave you coming back to it and wanting more.

Rathnakumar Raghunath’s writing is reminiscent of great French poets, but he does what they could never - he puts down what’s on his mind and in his heart, in a manner that is easy to comprehend and easier to relate to. He pays tribute, in the most incredible ways, to everything he is passionate about, and he proves, that above anything else, love will always win, and there is so much peace in simply knowing that. He has the magical ability to make you believe, to convince you to never lose hope, and to simply keep carrying on, experiencing the entire spectrum of human emotion.


BUY THE BOOK: Amazon / Odyssey

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Release Day Blitz- Forever Yours by Andaleeb Wajid, Shilpa Suraj and Alisha Kay


A fake engagement has gotten disturbingly real…

When a pretend engagement ends in a very real combined bachelor/bachelorette weekend in Goa, three couples find their lives going from chaotic to disastrous…

Hatefully Yours by Alisha Kay is the quintessential enemies to lovers story with a very interesting twist.
Aditi and Manan hate each other but love their mutual best friend, Karthik. Planning his bachelor party is a trip to hell sprinkled with accidental kisses that taste of heaven. Past misunderstandings, present attraction, and a future built on hope all tangles together to make this weekend one to remember.

Sinfully Yours by Shilpa Suraj is the story of a one night stand turning into nights that they hope never end.
Sidharth is Bollywood’s biggest hit-turned-overnight-flop. His best friend Sanjana’s bachelorette in Goa is the perfect place for him to hide out and drink his sorrows away. Until he passes out in the arms of the extremely hot pixie who moonlights as a bartender in a shack in Goa. And Dani is left with an armful of drunk movie star who is as messed up as he is hot.

Deceitfully Yours by Andaleeb Wajid is the story of what happens when a fake relationship starts to feel very, very real.
Sanjana and Karthik just wanted their parents to stop talking marriage to them. So, they faked an engagement and now their parents are not talking marriage but planning a wedding instead. When their friends throw them a combined bachelor and bachelorette party, they use the opportunity to plan their breakup. Except behind all well laid plans lies the path to disaster.
Three love stories, three oddball couples, one epic weekend in Goa…
Will they find their heart’s twisted path or focus on the brain’s straight-but-boring one? Will they gamble on their happily-ever-after or choose to leave Goa as they came, single and not ready to mingle?

Book Links:
Goodreads * *

Short Excerpt from Hatefully Yours by Alisha Kay

No! God, no! Not her! Anyone but her.
What the hell was Aditi Kedia doing here?
The minute he asked himself that, Manan could have kicked himself. Of course, she’d be here. She was Karthik’s friend, just as he was, and while Karthik was the smartest guy he knew, he was completely oblivious to the cold vibes between his two best friends. Or maybe he didn’t care. He wouldn’t see anything wrong in inviting both his friends together.
Something else struck him, and the biryani that he’d had for lunch threatened to make a second appearance.
His mother hadn’t told him anything about the girl that Karthik was supposed to marry. Just said that she was a friend of his. Was it Aditi?
Every cell in his body revolted at the idea of Karthik marrying Aditi. He told himself that it was because he didn’t want his friend to be ensnared by the evil little she-devil. It had nothing to do with the way his heart sped up at the very sight of her. Or the very inexplicable impulse that came over him occasionally to kiss her senseless.
Not that he ever gave in to such an impulse. He hated Aditi with all his heart. That’s all there was to it.

Alisha Kay writes funny, exciting and steamy stories, with spunky heroines who can rescue themselves, and hot, woke heroes who find such independence irresistible.
The first book in The Devgarh Royals series, The Maharaja’s Fake Fiancée, won the grand prize at the Amazon KDP Pen to Publish Contest 2020.

Instagram * Twitter

Short Excerpt from Sinfully Yours by Shilpa Suraj

Sid froze, the glass near his lips. “You certainly have a way with words and polite conversation.”
“Really? You are critiquing me on etiquette, Beach Bum?” She responded to someone hailing her from the other end of the bar with a raised hand.
“Listen, I’ve got to go,” she told him. “Work and stuff. You have a good night, okay?”
“Dani, listen.” Sid grabbed her hand before she could rush off. “When do you finish?”
“I finish at two in the morning,” she smiled. “Not exactly an early night.”
“I’ll wait,” he smiled back, something frozen in his chest thawing at the sight of her warm, beaming face. “Could we get something to eat and maybe chat or something?”
“I don’t ‘or something’ with guys I’ve just met,” she grinned.
“I threw up on you. You threw a bucket of water on me. I think we’re past first or even third date pleasantries, don’t you agree?”
Dani threw her head back and laughed, the same loud, warm laugh he remembered. The thawing moved on to melting.
“Alright,” she said. “Stick around. We’ll grab dinner during my break and chat.” She pointed a finger at him. “No ‘or something’.”
Sid grinned. Suddenly, ‘or something’ was all he could think about.

Shilpa Suraj wears many hats - corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.

An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.

Contact the Author:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Newsletter

Short Excerpt from Deceitfully Yours by Andaleeb Wajid

Karthik stared at Sanjana as she stood at the jetty and it almost felt like the rest of the world had faded to nothing. He could see only her, as she stood there, stark against the background of the greyish water. He was still reeling from what his mother had just said about him and Sanjana but he was also trying to look at it realistically. He had been a child then. But surely, there had to be something about her, something that had drawn them together that fateful day when he saw her seated in the garden on his favourite bench.
Fate. It had to be fate, he told himself.

Andaleeb Wajid is the author of 27 published novels and she writes across different genres such as romance, YA and horror. Her horror novel It Waits was shortlisted at Mami Word to Screen 2017 and her Young Adult series, The Tamanna Trilogy has been optioned for screen by a reputed production house. Andaleeb's novel When She Went Away was shortlisted for The Hindu Young World Prize in 2017. Andaleeb is a hybrid author who has self-published more than 10 novels in the past two years.

Andaleeb on the Web:
Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Newsletter

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Release Day Blitz- Whisper a Kiss by Laura Haley-McNeil


He broke a promise to save her life.

Hunter Whitloch’s Wall Street career is on the fast track until he learns about his boss’, Egon Gregory, underhanded dealings. Hunter’s and Egon’s confrontation means Hunter must turn a blind eye or return to Crystal Creek and walk away from a lucrative career and the only woman he’s ever loved⸻Egon’s daughter, Bryce. He won’t let her make a choice between him and her father, so he makes that choice for her.
Bryce watched Hunter walk out of her life and never expected to see him again⸻until he shows up at her father’s funeral. The mystery deepens when Bryce learns her father asked Hunter to return to New York⸻the night her father died. The authorities have ruled Egon’s death a suicide but attempts on her life unearth more questions than answers⸻namely who can she trust? The man who abandoned her a year ago, or her father’s right-hand man who wants to seize control of the company from her?
Hunter has to return to Crystal Creek, but he won’t leave Bryce as bait to someone who wants her dead. But Crystal Creek isn’t the haven he expected, and soon he and Bryce race against the clock to find out what secret died with Egon, and how to endure the pain that has them fighting to protect their hearts and their lives. 

Book Links:
Goodreads * *

Welcome to Crystal Creek!

I love it when it’s time to write another Crystal Creek novel. This series combines so many of my greatest loves. First of all, because it’s set in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. This part of the country is special to me as it’s where my father grew up. 

As children, we spent our summers at my father’s ranch, climbing in the hayloft, hiking in the mountains and riding horses along the trails. No matter how many times I wandered through the woods, I never got tired of being in that beautiful place filled with towering quaking aspen, wild roses, and brilliantly blue columbine. The deer and other animals kept their distance, but showed their curiosity toward these strange humans that moved through their territory.

Curling up in the hayloft with a mystery was the perfect way for me to spend the afternoon, but I also liked to read romances. When I learned I could combine romance and suspense, I knew I had discovered my favorite genre. What could be more exciting than solving a mystery with a powerfully built hero? 

Now I had my favorite genre. I could spend my days on the ranch, ride horses, fall in love with a handsome man, and save the day. 

Bryce and Hunter, the characters in Whisper a Kiss, first appeared in A Ring Around Her Heart, Book 3 of the Crystal Creek Series. Readers wrote me and asked me to write their story. I wanted to know their story, too, and so sat down in front of my computer and started working through outlines. How did Hunter and Bryce meet? Why can’t they be together? What secret is hidden on Bryce’s father’s computer? Who’s determined to make sure Hunter and Bryce never learn that secret? 

The questions kept coming. Now I had to find the answers. Even I didn’t know who had Bryce and Hunter in their crosshairs until the end. My readers worked hard to learn who hated Bryce and Hunter enough to want them dead, but I fooled even them. Through twists and turns I learned the secret so deadly it could cost Hunter and Bryce their lives. 

Follow their tale as they resist love and work at a breathless pace to uncover a deadly secret that could destroy them both.

Come to Crystal Creek. Meet the Whitlochs and learn the secret that could keep Hunter and Bryce apart forever.

About the Author:

A native of California, Laura Haley-McNeil spent her youth studying ballet and piano, though her favorite pastime was curling up with a good book. Without a clue as to how to write a book, she knew one day she would.
After college, she segued into the corporate world, but she never forgot her love for the arts and served on the board of two community orchestras. Finally realizing that the book she’d dreamt of writing wouldn’t write itself, she planted herself in front of her computer. She now immerses herself in the lives and loves of her characters in her romantic suspense and her contemporary romance novels. Many years later, she lived her own romantic novel when she married her piano teacher, the love of her life.
Though she and her husband have left warm California for cooler Colorado, they enjoy the outdoor life of hiking, bicycling, horseback riding and snow skiing. They satisfy their love of music by attending concerts and hanging out with their musician friends, but Laura still catches a few free moments when she can sneak off and read. 

Laura on the Web:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Newsletter

Friday, February 18, 2022

Review- Vicious Traditions


Love. Betrayal. Murder.

A girl's curiosity leads her to a vampire coven.

A lonely driver searches the night for runaway girls with devastating consequences.

An aging actress will do anything to preserve her beauty.

A child's tale about a witch in a forest proves to be more than a simple tale.

VICIOUS TRADITIONS is a collection of short stories about dark and twisted encounters with the supernatural and the unexplained. Sometimes the line between reality and madness is razor thin. You will be lead on a dark and creepy journey where you'll constantly look behind your back. What's that unexpected sound? Is that a shadow or a creature? Delve into the darkness if you dare.

Release date: February 2nd 2022
Published by: Twisted Wing Productions
Page numbers: 353


Another book full of interesting, spine-chilling, gorgeous and absolutely well written short stories by Azzurra Nox, Vicious Traditions is unputdownable and full of surprises in the most positive way possible, because no story is even slightly similar. Azzurra honestly creates magic with the way she writes women centric horror stories that are grotesque, raw, dangerous and easy to read with her brilliant writing and impeccable storytelling.

Every story in this collection takes up a theme that is unique in its own way and has something intriguing to recount and contemplate in terms of the way stuff generally is, in the sense of how there is always a back story behind why someone is the way they are. While each and every story in this collection is worth it, some favourites that stood out are: Baby Teeth, Silent Ivy Hotel, The Invasion, Lake of Sin and Good Sister, Bad Sister. Even these five stories are so different from each other that it doesn’t seem like they’d fit in the same collection, but everything about the entire book is perfect.

A highly recommended if you’re a fan of horror, Vicious Traditions is a quick read that is bound to leave you feeling afraid in the most brilliant way possible. Another gem by the diva that is Azzurra!

*Note: A copy of this book was provided by Azzurra Nox in exchange for an honest review. We thank them.

Review- Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle


A Christmas Eve snowstorm transforms one small town into a romantic haven, the kind you see only in movies. Well, kinda. After all, a cold and wet hike from a stranded train through the middle of nowhere would not normally end with a delicious kiss from a charming stranger. And no one would think that a trip to the Waffle House through four feet of snow would lead to love with an old friend. Or that the way back to true love begins with a painfully early morning shift at Starbucks. Thanks to three of today’s bestselling teen authors—John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle—the magic of the holidays shines on these hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and breathtaking kisses.

Release date: December 2016
Published by: Speak
Page numbers: 353


Let It Snow is a collection of three interwoven shorter stories by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle, that take place during one Christmas that ends up being a lovely experience full of laughter, love and warmth for the characters and the reader alike. While it took me a really, really long time to finish this book, it is impressive how well it has been written, which is not a surprise given the contributors. Each writer brings something unique to their story, making the entire book a superb read.

The first story titled The Jubilee Express by Maureen Johnson was a wonderful story that kicked off the book in a way that left me wanting for more and at the same time, feeling super content with the way the story itself ended. John Green’s A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle, while a beautiful story of friendship and love, was slightly underwhelming given the huge name associated with it. But it was a good story overall, and that’s what matters. The last sorry, Laureen Myracle’s The Patron Saint of Pigs was a cute and coming of age sorry that left me laughing and crying tears of joy.

Overall, this is an amazing collection of three stories set in the freezing cold but that’ll warm your heart, just like your favourite beverage does at the end of a tiring day.

Review- The Last Latte by Dilshan Boange

Release date: 2020
Published by: Darshana
Page numbers: 135


Dilshan is someone I’ve known for years from Twitter. I would read his tweets, shared by my friend Ankita, who recently put us in touch, and when I got to know that Dilshan has a book out, I knew I had to read it. Forever grateful for these two lovely friends, I am also grateful that I got to read this incredible book, which was so well done. I did not know what to expect from this book, but I must say that I was really impressed, so much that it still lingers on my mind because of its wonderful narration.

The Last Latte is the story of two friends, Christy and Steve, who start a great coffee lounge in Colombo, which soon becomes a hit and is visited by not only big names from Sri Lanka, but from all over the world. During the troubled times of the Indo-China war, Sri Lanka is left hanging for life. This was one aspect of the book that really moved me. It was touching and saddening to know how the country was affected, seeing as it often gets left aside in the bigger picture. This book gives an excellent insight into how troubled times affect people, cities and countries.

Christy and Steve meet at Christy’s Caffe Lounge on the same day they opened it, almost 20 years later, when the times are tough. The two friends bond over all the superb memories they have created together which they will cherish for life, while brewing one last cup of the lounge’s popular white chocolate latte. The entire process of preparing this tempting beverage was written in a manner that was neat. While it did seem long, the explanation did not even once seem tiring or monotonous, and Dilshan’s storytelling ability and talent deserve all the credit for that.

Dilshan has mindfully and skillfully written about just one day in more than 120 pages without leaving even a single second for anything to get boring. His simple, neat and brilliant writing coupled with his meticulous narration and the overall gloomy yet comfortable ambiance of this entire book, make it a great read that will leave the reader feeling empty yet fulfilled. The characters seem like you have known them for as long as they have known each other, with just the right number of references to their growing up together and how the bond between the two kept strengthening. Quite reminiscent of that one childhood friendship that will last a lifetime, Christy and Steve will take you down the nostalgic road, which is always a beautiful and sad (in the most positive way) journey.

A book I would highly recommend, check this one out for the writing, narration, lots of laughter and friendship. But above all, check it out to know about the amazing country that is Sri Lanka and its beautiful people, who make you feel at home and welcome, even in fiction. Christy and Steve are literally people you would love to meet one day. A really well done book, this one!

*Note: A copy of this book was provided by Dilshan Boange in exchange for an honest review. We thank them.

Tuesday, November 02, 2021

Review: Les Cicatrices by Rathnakumar Raghunath


Le livre de poésie « Les Cicatrices » parle de ceux qui ont ressenti cette douleur particulière que seul l’amour peut infliger à quelqu'un, et leur cheminement vers la guérison.

Release date: October 27th 2021
Published by: Self-published
Page numbers: 31


Les Cicatrices by Rathnakumar Raghunath is a gorgeous collection of French poetry that is all about giving yourself a reality check every once in a while, sadness, hope and happiness. What takes it to the next level and makes it even better is the multi-talented writer’s French, which as a language is in itself extremely pleasing and poetic, and Rathnakumar’s knowledge of it takes it further ahead, making it even more gorgeous. His writing that is straight from the heart is very touching, comforting and soothing. The stunning cover designed by Reshma Dhanraj deserves a mention and a huge round of applause for the unique purple and the intricate and stunning illustrations. Overall, if you know even some amount of French, give this lovely collection a go for it is simple, pure and simply stunning.