About the Book:
What if someone you loved… was murdered? How far would you go to bring a killer to justice?
Orphaned in her childhood, Durga has always longed for wealth, security and, above all, a sense of belonging. She finds it all when she marries Debnarayan Chowdhury, heir to an immense, multi-crore estate. But the Chowdhury family has been under a curse that dates back to the British era. The first-born of each generation dies young, purportedly killed by the spirit of Kadambari, a young woman murdered by the notorious Shankar Dakat, the founder of the Chowdhury family and their Zamindari. When her father-in-law Birendranath dies unexpectedly, Durga and Debnarayan come down to the ancestral home in Kakdihi, a small village near Kolkata. The moment Durga enters her new palatial home, she crosses a threshold of terror. She loses her husband within a month of her marriage and finds herself a widow in a house full of strangers. Are Debnarayan’s and Birendranath’s deaths accidental? Everyone in her new family and the neighborhood appear to be friendly. Most of them have a motive to kill her. A well-meaning neighbor tells her, ‘Run from this place. You have no friends here.’ Is she, the current owner of the estate, now on the murderer’s radar?
Read an Excerpt from Murder in the Chowdhury Palace
About Sharmishtha Shenoy:
Sharmishtha on the Web:
Author: Annie Darling
No. of pages: 400 (according to my Kindle reader)
I was sold at the title of this book, and the name of the author. Like, fully sold.
It was the obvious choice for the February prompt of the #ReadingWithMuffy reading challenge, hosted by the very awesome Shalini on her blog. (The prompt for February was A book that has the words ‘Love’, ‘Kiss’, or ‘Hug’ in the title.
Unobviously, this one turned out to such a disappointment. Such. A. Disappointment.
Disclaimer: This review may read a little disjointed to you, because it is taking some effort to translate my thoughts into something coherent.
I haven’t read any of Annie Darling’s other books, so I don’t know if this is her writing style, but I thought it was very mundane. And yet it was not. True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop is funny, dry, like a slow roller coaster that also stops very frequently for an adventure junkie’s liking. (I hope this gives you a fair idea of why my thoughts lack structure.) The best thing about this book is the story behind its title, which I am dying to tell you, but I won’t because, like I said, it is the best thing about this one.
The narrative is difficult to keep track of; it is easy to get lost in the narrative, in a way where you don’t know what is happening and why it is happening, and in most places, I wasn’t even bothered to find my way back. The descriptions are exaggerated. It gets funny in places, like really funny, and warm, but most of it is dry. That said, the funny and warm is good enough to give this book one chance on a Sunday afternoon, when you want your brain cells to not do a thing, not be excited about a thing. Because this one does not really evoke any strong emotions. It is just…something happening.
To give the author her due, the characters are good. It is easy to like Verity; she is an introvert and everything that goes on in her mind was so on point, so relatable to the introvert in me. Perhaps for the first time, but I didn’t like a hero in a romance so much. Johnny is like a child who has lost his way, knows that he has lost his way, but refuses to go back. I admit that while it is endearing at one point, it is difficult to be so patient with him.
That’s all for this one. Read it; you might like it.
There’s romances that hold the excitement, the newness of first love. And there’s romances that hold the hope of a second chance. Something Old, Something New is one of the best books I’ve read in the latter category.
SOSN is a collection of novellas by 7 seasoned and very, very brilliant authors: Aarti V Raman, Andaleeb Wajid, Shilpa Suraj, Devika Fernando, Preethi Venugopala, Ruchi Singh, and Neil D’Silva. I’ve read most of their previous works, and not one of them has been anything short of a page-turner. The novellas in this collection are in the same vein.
If romances can be predictable, then second chance romances can be even more predictable. Especially for someone like me, who’s been a voracious romance reader, the Mills & Boon kind, all her life. SOSN, however, does brilliantly as it surpasses expectations. Each story is nothing less than a breath of fresh air.
SOSN, obviously, is a perfect read when you are craving for feel-good romance, because they are short reads, and they are short reads that are very well-written. More than that, though, if one is an aspiring author, this collection is exemplary of brilliant writing.
While every story is beautiful and aww-inspiring, and it is difficult to pick a favorite, I’d like to make a special mention of Neil D’Silva’s novella. Neil D’Silva is a well known and expert author of horrors, and I haven’t read much of his work because I cannot stomach horror. (I’ve read some of his short stories and excerpts on Facebook, from which I know his expertise as a writer.) In his story in this collection, he combines romance with his preferred genre so so so well, tell me if your jaw does not drop in the end.
A definite recommendation, whether or not you are a romance buff.
Something Old, Something New
– A DRA Production
Blood Red Love by Neil D’Silva
When beauty becomes the beast…is love enough to save her?
Read an Excerpt from Blood Red Love
First Prize – A Kindle
Second Prize – 6 Months Kindle Unlimited Subscription
The first prompt for the #ReadingWithMuffy challenge, Of Boops, Bleps, and Borks, (hosted by Shalini on her blog) was to read a book with a dog on the cover or in the title of the book, or with a dog as the protagonist. While she’s got some amazing recommendations in her post here, my choice was the first dog that came to mind when I heard ‘dog’: Timmy.
If you’ve grown up on a literary diet that comprised of a lot of Enid Blyton, you’ll know and probably adore Timmy, Georgina’s dog. (I know, I know, she prefers to be called George, but hey, Georgina is such a pretty name!)
And here’s my review of the book I chose for this prompt: Five Have a Mystery to Solve.
Whispering Island – another mysterious place, with a million stories sorrounding it . . . Is it haunted? The Five are intrigued, but scared, too. Are they brave enough to go there and find out.
At 148 pages, and given the size of the book, Five Have a Mystery to Solve is a quick read. I was able to read it in two days, with a normal, packed-as-usual schedule, where I can read for about 1-1.5 hours in a day.
Like all of the Famous Five books I’ve read till now (I’ve read very little of Enid Blyton’s other works, something I intend to correct this year), this one is rich in visualization—especially when it comes to food—and language. The twists and turns are surprising and all of it together make this book a decent read, even a page turner.
In India, Bollywood is a religion in itself. And, it wouldn’t be wrong to say, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, and Aamir Khan are the holy trinity. In their individual personalities, these three megastars embody everything Bollywood stands for.
And KHANtastic by Sanjukta Nandy is an incredible compilation of episodes that show how well-written a script by the Universe their lives are. I had goosebumps when I read that all three of them were born in the same year, just months apart. Not just that, the coincidences extend far beyond, and you might want to read the book to live them in their full effect.
Full points to Sanjukta Nandy to such well thought out compilation; she’s been amazing in knowing where exactly to break an episode and how much to reveal at one time. If you are a fan of even one of these megastars, this book is the probably the most perfect thing to show you that their backgrounds were far from how seemingly perfect their lives today are. Not just that, without being preachy, Sanjukta gives excellent insight into their determination, their dedication towards their dreams. If that does not inspire to you to work on achieving yours, I’m not sure what will.
Thank you, Rupa Publications, for offering me a review copy of this KHANtastic book!
I’ve always had a strange and strong fascination with December, and Christmas. It’s such a wonderful time, filled with so many wonderful things: Christmas, the winters, a combined celebration of the end of one year and the beginning of another, Secret Santa. My most favorite out of all things December, however, is all books that are centered around a winters and/or Christmas theme.Before I begin what this post is about, a shoutout to Vidhya Thakkar for organizing this blog train; I wouldn’t have written this post otherwise, certainly not this year.
Here’s my list of 5 Christmasy and/or Wintery books that I think you can consider for putting up on your list too:
The Christmas She Always Wanted by Stella Bagwell (Mills & Boon)
I bought The Christmas She Always Wanted in the November of 2009, and since then I read it at least once every year, definitely around Christmas time. This book is super super special; it isn’t just my first Mills & Boon, it is also my most favorite Christmas tradition.
Blurb (taken as is from Goodreads): Angie Malone left Christmas wishes to her daughter. After all, nothing could fix the broken heart Angie had had since Jubal Jamison married another woman. She had never seen Jubal again…not even to say she was carrying his child.But now a miracle might happen for Angie and her little girl. With Jubal hired as the vet for the Sandbur Ranch, there was a chance for father and daughter to find each other. And with Christmas just around the corner, perhaps Jubal and Angie could finally forgive the past – and become the family they’d always wanted to be…
Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle
I read Let It Snow only a few months back, and I looovvvveeeee it! It isn’t all nice and warm and Christmasy, it is also very brilliantly written.
Blurb (taken as is from Goodreads): It’s Christmas Eve and Gracetown has been buried by snow. But the weather is more than just an inconvenience. When one girl unexpectedly steps off a stranded train, she sets off a series of life-changing events.
Soon fourteen pumped-up cheerleaders will descend on the local Waffle House, the Duke’s DVD night will be rudely interrupted for a Twister mission, and a lovesick barista will determine the fate of a single teacup pig …As the three stories collide, strangers cross paths and romance blossoms with heart-warming consequences.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J K Rowling
Why this one is on the list, is pretty obvious, isn’t it?! Why specifically this book? Because such exciting new beginnings, that’s why. For me, books 1 and 2 of Harry Potter will always be better than the rest of the series because they are the start of something so so fabulous, and also well-written.
Blurb (taken as is from Goodreads): Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.Though Harry’s first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it’s his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.
Winter Stories by Enid Blyton
I am yet to read this one, even though its been a while since I bought it. But the cover is so pleasing to look at, just having it on my shelf is such a feel-good thing. This year, of course, I’ve managed to pull it on my immediate TBR and I cannot wait for a cold winter night to devour this one.
Blurb (As taken from Goodreads): Snuggle down with this heartwarming collection of classic tales, celebrating the magic and excitement of winter. These fun, entertaining stories are ideal for newly confident readers and are the perfect length for reading aloud at bedtime or in the classroom. It’s an ideal stocking-filler too!
Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
This one, again, is on my immediate TBR, simply because I’ve just bought it. But I am pretty confident that I’ll like it, because Sophie Kinsella and Becky Bloomwood are quite the combination you need to have the perfect winter, and a perfect Christmas in this case.
Blurb (As taken from Goodreads): Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) adores Christmas. It’s always the same – Mum and Dad hosting, carols playing, Mum pretending she made the Christmas pudding, and the next-door neighbours coming round for sherry in their terrible festive jumpers.And now it’s even easier with online bargain-shopping sites – if you spend enough you even get free delivery. Sorted!But this year looks set to be different. Unable to resist the draw of craft beer and smashed avocado, Becky’s parents are moving to ultra-trendy Shoreditch and have asked Becky if she’ll host Christmas this year. What could possibly go wrong? With sister Jess demanding a vegan turkey, husband Luke determined that he just wants aftershave again, and little Minnie insisting on a very specific picnic hamper – surely Becky can manage all this, as well as the surprise appearance of an old boyfriend and his pushy new girlfriend, whose motives are far from clear . . .
And that is all from my side. But let’s not stop here; tell me about your favorite seasons and which books you like to read in your favorite season in the comments below, maybe?
This post is part of #DecemberDelights by Vidhya Thakkar and Rupa Publishers should not be repurposed, republished or used otherwise. The content herein is owned by the blogger. Hosts are not responsible for any infringement caused.”
The book’s blurb makes you want to read the book asap. What it does not tell you is to have patience.
5 pages into the book and I was ready it to DNF it. In the beginning, the narrative is more philosophical than story-based. However, DNFing doesn’t come easy to me. So, I read along.
I’m partly glad I did, because the narrative changes to a story soon after, and it starts to get intriguing too. Characters started coming in and I wanted to see how the story takes shape.
It proceeds well, in terms of the narrative. It is insightful and interspersed with life lessons, some of which left me in awe of the author’s life observation skills. Which is really the book’s USP. It isn’t difficult to guess that the author has lived a life and had done his best to understand it at every twist and turn, and even otherwise.
However, it falls flat when it comes to the prose. Heavy words, long sentences are used to present convoluted thoughts; a single thought, in quite a few places, is rephrased and told several times over. This, for me, was particularly hard to get by, because I couldn’t establish a stream of thought around the narrative.
I’d say, if you are a reader with patience, try this one out. It isn’t easy to make a dent in this one, but with the author’s life lessons, it might just be worth it.
If there is one thing I can say from all the books I’ve spent reading is: A good mystery can pull you out from the deepest of reading slumps. I struggled through two books all of June and I haven’t finished them yet. A Will to Kill was exactly what the doctor prescribed.
A Will to Kill by R V Raman is (seemingly) the first book in the author’s Athreya’s series. (I was hoping it would be this, because Athreya comes across as an interesting character!)
An ageing and wheelchair-bound Bhaskar Fernandez has finally reclaimed his family property after a bitter legal battle, and now wants to reunite his aggrieved relatives. So, he invites them to his remote Greybrooke Manor in the misty Nilgiris – a mansion that has played host to several sudden deaths; a colonial edifice that stands alone in a valley that is said to be haunted by the ghost of an Englishman.
But Bhaskar has other, more practical problems to deal with. He knows that his guests expect to gain by his death. To safeguard himself against violence, he writes two conflicting wills. Which one of them comes into force will depend on how he dies.
Into this tinderbox, he brings Harith Athreya, a seasoned investigator. When a landslide occurs, temporarily isolating them and resulting in a murder, Athreya finds that murder is not the only thing the mist conceals.
Quite an interesting book by several standards. It is well-written and well thought out. What really stood out for me was how subtle the book is: in terms of its language, characters, the plot, the narrative, and so on.
So many characters but the story transitions seamlessly; I wasn’t confused between any of the secondary or tertiary characters, and I think that is quite an achievement. The narrative keeps you hooked, except for a few places where it seems to drag, or rather not move ahead.
The other thing that I think could have worked on was the amount of repetition of accounts. It came to a point where I’d proceed without reading chunks of content because it is something that’s already been said. Apart from that though, amazing writing skills, certainly.
Once an editor, always a cautious reader! I couldn’t help but spot a few typos that I personally thought were too obvious not to be taken care of.
But in the end, it all comes together decently. The story takes quite a few unconventional turns and that is what has the potential to keep the reader going. The character sketches are on point too, as is all the description of the location. In all, just a little bit of patience and you have a page turner on your hands.
If mysteries are your game of choice, no harm in picking this one up.
I got a copy of this book HarperCollins India in exchange of an honest review. The views herein are my own and there has been no monetary transaction involved.