Friday, November 20, 2020

Review: Lost Girls Go Everywhere by Azzurra Nox

Lost Girls Go Everywhere on Goodreads 


Where do lost girls go? Everywhere.

In an attempt to find a place to call home, a heart to call their own, lost girls have traveled far and wide in search of the ever-elusive, "happy ending" to an often tormented tale. These emotional vignettes cast a light into the search that spans years and ever-changing cities.

Where do lost girls belong when they meander through life as outcasts not quite fitting in? This is a journey of self-discovery, a road map of heartbreak, and the struggle to hold a tiny grain of light when darkness is all that surrounds you.

Release date: October 6th 2020
Published by: Twisted Wing Productions
Page numbers: 135


Author Azzurra Nox's captivating, dark and unique storytelling and extremely flawless writing have always mesmerised me. Her work is always meticulous, savvy and breathtaking. Trust me when I say this because I have read her Doll Parts, Cut Here, My American Nightmare and Bleed Like Me. Her book that I read itself was enough for me to jump onto the next ones, so naturally when Azzurra told me about her latest, Lost Girls Go Everywhere, I knew I had to read it without even knowing what it was about. 

Lost Girls Go Everywhere is a collection of Azzurra's graceful and resplendent poetry and her very grievous and genuine prose. I have said this in the past, and I will say it again: I don't quite know how to review poetry. Sometimes I even find it hard to read, let alone understand. But in the case of Azzurra... Wow! I was left feeling speechless at the sheer paragon of her words. Each and very poem was so well written, unflawed and made me both love and hate the word "love". Some of my absolutely favourite poems from the collection are: First Date, Ageism is Fascism, Love Lost to Routine, Beautiful, A Danger to Herself and Others, The Lessons We're Taught, Nobody's Wife, I'm Not Okay, Flirting With Death, Mother of Art, The Quitter and One Day. 

I know that seems like more than half the poems in the collection, so you're able to imagine just how astonishing the poems are. And if you thought the poems would take you into a deep spiral of thoughts and feelings, wait till you read the prose. Each and very story took with it a piece of my heart and carved a place in it. While most people might immediately say that Azzurra's stories are all about hating men, THEY ARE NOT. They are stories that you and I have both experienced but will probably never be able to express in such exquisite words. Whether it's first crush, lustre vulnerability, pleasure, enjoyment, heartache or heartbreak, Azzurra Nox has you covered. There is literally everything and so much more in this collection. 

As always, I would highly recommend this and every other book by the author simply because dark, deep, deadly, dangerous and dainty is a rare, attractive and hypnotic combination that you have to read in order to experience. Do you know all those memes that go... Sex is great, but have you? Well I'll just say that sex might be great, but have you read an Azzurra Nox book? If you haven't, what are you waiting for? 

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

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Review- Olive Beans by Reeti Kalia

Olive Beans on Goodreads


Olive Beans is a collection of short stories inspired by real-life events. The stories unfold in a café. Maya, the café owner narrates them with deep compassion as she accidentally stumbles upon them. The stories are heartwarming and heartbreaking all at the same time. They make a compelling narrative as they are nuanced with a range of emotions. The stories are sure to stir the reader and make it a one-sitting reading delight.

Release date: 2020
Published by: Evincepub Publishing
Page numbers: 150


Author Reeti Kalia's Olive Beans is a collection of short stories that center around the café of the same name as the book title and its lovely owner Maya who is an army wife. The main theme of the collection is love and how it creates the magical, purest bonds between people from literally all walks of life.

Olive Beans is packed with delightful stories about love lost and found and in some cases, just the feeling of love was enough to make the story stand out. Some of the stories were very heart-touching in the sense that they portrayed how each and very one of us has so much going on than what meets the eye. Some of the stories could have been longer with more details, but then it wouldn't be a short story, would it?

Every story ends with the recipe of a dessert mentioned in the story which was mouth-watering. Another aspect I really appreciated about this book is that for a lover of desserts but a non-baker like me, I was honestly quite impressed by the simplicity of the ingredients and methods of the deserts, which has me tempted to try making one or two on my own. 

Overall, Olive Beans does its work of keeping the reader engaged, curious and content with its crisp, well written, simple and precise stories which make this one a quick, interesting, entertaining and pleasing read, which is perfect for the weekend or for when you want to lose yourself in another world. I would not have picked this one on my own, so I'm thankful the author sent me a copy as this was a nice read.

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

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Review- Smörgåsbord of Musings by Rathnakumar Raghunath

 Smörgåsbord of Musings on Goodreads

                                                                 BOOK SUMMARY:

Smörgåsbord of Musings is a collection of poems, anecdotes and random thoughts expressed from the points of view of different people - men, women, non-binary persons, kids, teenagers, adults - all going through different things in life. People living happy lives, some not-so-happy lives, people in love, hopeless romantics, people dealing with heartbreak, the ones who believe life is better with a bit of whimsy, this book, hopefully, has a little something that resonates with everybody, lets the reader find the silver lining when needed and discover the joie de vivre even when times are hard.

Release date: October 27th 2020
Published by: Goya Publishing
Page numbers: 233


To be honest, the reason I decided to read Smörgåsbord of Musings is because the author Rathnakumar Raghunath is a friend of one of my closest friend and favourite person, Aditi, so I was a 100% sure that the book and the person behind it would both be inspiring and incredible. While we started interacting with each other, I realised Rathna is a genuinely kind, supportive and just an overall splendid human, which made me extremely curious about his book. Reading a book written by someone you know is always a challenge because somewhere, there is that slight pressure of being truthful and nice. I knew I would like Rathna's book because I liked the person behind it, but I had no idea that reading the book would made me appreciate and look up to the person even more. 

Smörgåsbord of Musings is a collection of a variety of stuff written by Rathna. Now I always say that I love books that make me feel- what it is that they make me feel, doesn't matter, as long as I feel something, you know? This collection had me go from ah to oh to aw to ugh to what not in a matter of some 200+ pages, and I love when a single book makes me experience the plethora of human emotions. Rathna's writing was simply awe-inspiring. He has presented the world with an exquisite collection of his writing that is so relatable, it will take the reader on a journey of their own life. Trust me, each and every part of the book made me feel belonged in the sense that it gave me a sense of comfort knowing that there is something that I have been through that is put down so terrifically in words by someone who has been through the same. It's just so magical, isn't it, how simple words connect us?

I had told Rathna that I wanted time to devour his book. I had actually meant to say savour because I wanted to feel each and every page. I got so hooked on to the author's writing though, that I ended up devouring it anyway, in less than 3 hours! This is one book I know I will keep going back to. With all my favourite parts marked with a post-it... that's the one sign for me that what I'm reading is not just going to stay with me, but that I will go back to it for that same sense of belonging, comfort and oneness that I felt while reading it. If your book makes me run to grab my sticky notes and makes my review seem endless, your writing just made me experience euphoria, so thank you, dear writer. 

A book like Smörgåsbord of Musings is a rare masterpiece that encompasses the profuseness and richness of feelings and an assortment of themes- touching on literally each and every one of them. The one and only downside to this book was that I wish there were more handwritten works. There was one and it was enthralling to read something in the writing of the writer- there's always something very charming about it that makes the reader connect with the writer in a personal way. Another negative I have is that the adorable bookmark I got out for this book was of no use as the book was unputdownable. 

I don't suppose I have done justice to the book with my words, but hey, I tried. As someone who has been following Rathna for quite some time now, I know it in my heart that he has written this with all his heart and it shows. His book is literally him in all his sincere, grand and simply majestic glory. I often get asked for book recommendations and I find myself getting confused as to what book to recommend to someone without really knowing what they like. There are books that make the reader happy, sad, anxious, depressed, angry, elated and just a basketful of emotions. But they have to pick different books to feel one or two of these. With Smörgåsbord of Musings, the reader will feel all of these and I know that henceforth, I will recommend it to everyone whether they ask me for recommendations or not. This book is like a one time investment for it explores the vastness of human emotions and experiences in one single read. 

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

Buy the book: AMAZON

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Review: Bitten by Love by Vijaya S


ANU is young, simple and carefree, gearing up for her first job at Oasis Ltd. She gets paired with ABHI, a mature and an unassuming boy, in her first assignment with the Indian IT giant. Little does she know that the pairing is not a mere coincidence, but a plan by destiny. Abhi does not have any inkling that the beautiful girl he was smitten by at a traffic signal, would end up as his pair programmer for whom he would eventually be ready to give up everything in life.
What will happen when Anu’s protective family gets to know about their love?
Will Abhi keep up the promise he makes to Anu’s family?
How will Anu cope with this drastic change in Abhi’s priorities?
Come, fall and rise in love as Bitten by Love takes you through an exhilarating and heart touching journey of friendships and love, driven by destiny, hope and determination.

Release date: September 14th 2020
Published by: Srishti Publishers
Page numbers: 224


As someone who does not normally read or enjoy romances, I must say that I was slightly sceptical about picking up Vijaya Sandireddy's Bitten By Love, but I thought I should give it a go and see how it turns out. Turns out, the book is fast paced, emotional, funny in some places and overall a good read that for a change, had me wanting to know more about the story. 

Bitten By Love is the story of Anu and Abhi who meet as colleagues and eventually fall in love. The way Vijaya showed the progress and growth of their relationship was beautiful. It wasn't the whole "oh boom- we  in love", nor was it a slow burn romance. The relationship progressed quietly steadily from colleagues to friends to lovers and the overall characters and story were well balanced. 

With any romance set in an Indian household, family plays a very important role. In this aspect as well as the workplace front, the book had a very 2 States vibe to it, which was good because that's a story I enjoyed. Anu being the youngest in the family is protected, cared for the most as teased by her family, which was very relatable. Abhi's family was refreshing to see as he is brought up by a single mother, without any siblings. 

I don't have much else to say other than the fact that this book was a genuinely good read. I won't be reading it again for sure, but I know that the story will stay with me for it had both the innocent and pure aspect of love coupled with the heartbreaking and taxing part of it. Pick this book up as your weekend read, and you're bound to have an enjoyable time. 

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

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Review: The Diary of My Love by Deesha Sangani

 The Diary of My Love on Goodreads


Anushkaa is young, dynamic and deeply passionate, with her goals clearly set out. Fresh out of college, she has just stepped into the corporate world, chasing her dreams. Life seems perfect.

Ayush meets Anushkaa on her first day at work, and feels a spark of liking rush through him. Torn between his heart and mind, he is sure he is smitten by her magical charm. A chance conversation with Anushkaa evokes emotions he hasn’t felt in years. She seems to be perfect.

But does a perfect life exist?

When they meet again four years later, their hearts are broken and their will to love is lost. They heal each other’s hearts and help each other achieve their dreams. Finally, when they start living for themselves and each other, life plays a cruel card.

Anushkaa’s diary is her only true companion, holding within the pages the secret that nobody else will ever know. Join Ayush and Anushkaa on this rollercoaster of emotions, and take a peek into the secret Anushkaa has buried in The Diary of My Love.

Release date: October 12th 2020
Published by: Srishti Publishers and Distributors
Page numbers: 176


The plot of The Diary of My Love sounded very intriguing to me, especially the whole "life plays a cruel card" part. Call me morbid, but I love such stuff because you know what? It's reality. Anyway, that single line was the reason I requested a copy of the book for review and I am not kidding when I say that I don't remember the last time I read a book so fast. 

The Diary of My Love is the story of Anushkaa- right from her college days to her training days to her work and love life. I found Anushkaa's character to be very relatable as she was mature for her age, well balanced and knew exactly what she had to do to get what she wanted and for her own peace of mind. Problematic protagonists are my favourite, but it was refreshing to read about one who was trying her all to be physically and mentally fit. I could connect with Anushkaa on a whole new level, which helped me understand and appreciate her better. 

Aside from a few little things in the author's writing here and there- like the repetition of words and thoughts in one single paragraph and a slight disarray of the timeline- I found it to be uncomplicated. Deesha Sangani has written a very good story about experiences that we have all been through, especially the incidents recounted from Anushkaa's college life took me back to my own college days which left me feeling both nostalgic and surreal. 

One thing author Deesha Sangani did really well was portray Anushkaa's emotions and family in the most realistic matter. We all go through our share of ups and downs in life and not all of us find it easy to express ourselves in both happy and sad situations. The author did it very beautifully. It was the complicated story of a simple girl who believed in the world around her and most importantly, in herself. 

As I am writing this review, I realise that I haven't said much about the plot, but that's the beauty of it. I would rather the reader discover this relatable, heartbreaking and beautiful story on their own. I finished this book in two days which shows how engrossing and good it was. If you ever want to get a peek into your own mind and all the emotional baggage we carry with us, do pick up this book. 

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

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Book Blitz- Bewitched by Ruchi Singh

About the Book:

The eternal dance of attraction, lust and love has been going on since time immemorial.

The divine apsara Menaka descends to Earth at Indra’s behest to distract the sage Vishwamitra from the penance that would bring him unimaginable powers. Menaka succeeds in bewitching Vishwamitra, but her actions are destined to have dire consequences for both.

Eons later, their story is set to repeat itself.

Poorva has always played by society’s rules and ideas of decorum. But what happens when her own loved ones betray her in the worst way imaginable? Does she still have to remain bound by their rules?

Rudra plays with power and people like they are pieces on a chessboard. He has no qualms about indulging his desires, be it money or women, but is determined not to be bound by either.

What happens when these two diametrically opposite souls are brought together by fate?

In the game of power, lust, greed and betrayal, some win and some lose. But are there any winners or losers in the game of love?

Like Menaka and Vishwamitra, are Poorva and Rudra too destined to see their story end in tragedy? Or will the divine power prevail?

Standalone novel from the author of #Bestseller 'The Bodyguard' - Undercover Series #1

Read an Excerpt from Bewitched

The seat had remained vacant, and it reminded her of the premiere night and Samar’s friend… no, Rudra Pratap Maurya. 
Well, he was something. Full of confidence and a little too forward, which normally was the result of being born with a silver spoon. Who would know that better than she? But she wasn’t brash, quite the opposite. Would she be meeting him again today? She might. The thought incited a flutter in her heart. 
Twice during her performance in the last month, she had experienced the same kind of flutter and was reminded of him. Why? She shouldn’t be thinking about another man. She had no right.
A loud noise in the living room brought her out of her troubled thoughts. Mansi was bustling around in the suite and must have dropped something. She would be busy packing their things. They had been living here for more than a month and it was almost like shifting house. 
With a stifled yawn, Poorva got out of bed. Mansi was ready with her morning cup of tea when she came out of her bedroom. 
“He is a womanizer, and from a gangster family to boot!” Mansi declared.
Poorva frowned and picked up the cup. “Who?”
“Rudra Pratap Maurya, or RPM as he is called in his circles. I googled him. His grandfather was rumored to be a don in Mumbai, involved in arms, drugs, and the like.”
“And this man RPM… though he doesn’t have anything illegal under his name,” Mansi went on as if she hadn’t heard her, “…last year he had hooked up with three different women.”
“Why are you telling me all this?”
“He is after you.”
“Mansi, come on!” Poorva sat in the balcony chair and yawned again.
“I saw him at the party and then yesterday, he was spinning a yarn about being there at the parking lot just like that. He must have been at the show last night. He has this glint in his eyes, full of lust when he looks at you.”
“Lust! Only?” She laughed at Mansi’s dramatic exaggeration, “Thank you. I’ll be on my guard if I meet him again.”
“If? You are meeting him in an hour.”
Amused, Poorva looked at her with raised eyebrows.
“I’ll not take this month’s salary if he is not present at today’s brunch.”
Poorva’s phone pinged bringing the bizarre conversation to an end.

About the Author:
Author of Amazon Bestseller Romantic Thriller 'The Bodyguard', Ruchi Singh is an IT Professional & Novelist, writing stories under Romance & Suspense Genre. She is a bilingual author and writes in both English & Hindi.

Winner of TOI WriteIndia Season 1, Ruchi also publishes romantic short reads under 'Hearts & Hots' collection, besides being a contributing author to many anthologies.
A voracious reader, she loves everything—from classics to memoirs to editorials to chick-lit, but her favourite genre is ‘romantic thriller’. Besides writing and reading, her other interests include dabbling with Indian classical dance forms.

Contact the Author:

Saturday, November 07, 2020

Review- Girl Next Door by Arpit Vageria


After that terrible night fifteen years ago, Ishaan had vowed to never
return to his hometown. But when has destiny been so kind to our
When Ishaan thought life was at its best, the world was hit by a deadly
pandemic. India went under complete lockdown, and he unwillingly
ended up at a house he once called home.
He isn’t prepared to stay in Bhopal for an entire month. That too
with the father he doesn’t relate to anymore, an elder brother who
broke his trust, and a mother who didn’t stand for him all those
years ago. He is figuring out what to do, when he fell in love with
The Girl Next Door.
Ruhi is a well-known choreographer and the chief minister’s daughter,
back home for the lockdown. As much as people were staying away
from each other, Ishaan’s and Ruhi’s hearts were coming closer to beat as one - in the 90’s way.
Their love was breathing the 1990s in 2020.
Will this lockdown teach Ishaan to love once again? Will he learn the true meaning of forgiveness?
Will his love story be eclipsed by the life-threatening pandemic?
This extraordinary story of love will melt your heart and make you believe in the power of true love.

Release date: September 14th 2020
Published by: Srishti Publishers & Distributors 
Page numbers: 216


Although the author has quite a few books in his name, Girl Next Door was the first book of Arpit Vageria that I read. There are two reasons why I was attracted to the book. I had watched Srishti Publisher and Distributor's Arup Bose interview Arpit and I found the author's personality to be quite energetic, positive and cheerful and so I was naturally inquisitive to know all about his book. Even though I do not read romances, I was drawn to the lockdown love story as I was quite curious to read about the worldwide lockdown in fiction. 

While we have all read heaps and heaps of articles and studies about the Coronavirus, and we have seen videos of stuff people were up to all over the world during the lockdown, we haven't read it much in fiction yet. Although the name of the virus and everything related to it was changed, it was quite refreshing to read about the memories created during the lockdown in a typical desi household. We all have some or the other interesting story to tell from the time, and the author managed to do it quite well. Most of the things going around the main characters' neighbourhood were relatable and brought back memories from the lockdown. 

The story of Girl Next Door was your typical filmy, entertaining story with loads of drama which sometimes got on my nerves because of how unrealistic it seemed. While the romance between the main characters Ishaan and Ruhi made me nostalgic as it brought back memories from the 90s, I felt it lacked depth at times due the lack of glimpses into their actual bonding. That is understandable though, because most Indian romances focus more on family than the actual romance. I would have honestly loved a few more deep talks that Ishaan and Ruhi must have (hopefully) shared. 

All the side characters in the book from Ishaan and Ruhi's families to their friends and neighbours were very well portrayed and developed. This story is all about being apart for years and how the virus was actually a blessing in disguise for both individuals and the wonderful planet we inhabit by making both better. Making mistakes, accepting them, forgiving those involved and yourself in the process... author Arpit Vageria portrayed it all amazingly well in his simple writing and captivating storytelling. 

Overall, quite an adorable romance and although at times over dramatic, this was still a wonderful story that will bring back memories from your childhood, from the lockdown and will leave you both smiling and heartbroken by the end. The biggest advantage is that it's also a quick paced read, so do give it a go! 

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