Sunday, March 11, 2018

Book Review: The Temple Bar Woman by Sujata Parashar

The Temple Bar Woman is Sujata Parashar's fourth novel. First for all, I'd like to say that it's very thoughtful of the author to choose this theme. It covers several social issues.

The title of this book is intriguing (the author is known for choosing interesting titles). Also, even though the book is published by a lesser known publisher (Vishwakarma Publications --- at least I haven't heard of this publisher), the book (page, layout, font) looks good & professional. Unlike other books, it has a cast table in the beginning.

The Temple Bar Woman tells the story of an educated and courageous woman Radha aka Rani aka Radhika Chaudhary who after being brutally tortured, ends up at an upscale brothel called 'Temple Bar'.

Rakshit Singh, a young politician and a single parent, is intrigued by Radha's behaviour and wants to know more about her and her past. He comes to know that Radha was found near Temple Bar in a distressed condition, and has lost her memory. He decides to help her and hires her (of course, after spending a lot of money) as her daughter's governess. What Rakshit does not know is that Radha is using him to avenge herself against the man who destroyed her life. 

The writing is neat, however I felt the book needs another round of proofreading as there are some noticeable writing/editing errors like misplaced words, commas & missing quotation marks. 

Descriptions are good especially Temple Bar descriptions. The good thing about this book is that even though it's predictable, I wanted to read it; wanted to know how? However, I couldn't resist wondering if the author could've made this story a little less predictable (And more shocking). The book has been told in omniscient point of view, sometimes shifting point of view. I usually do not like it, but the author has managed it well.

But when I reached the last section of the story, my thoughts about the book started to change. It felt rushed. There is so much 'telling'. I couldn't help thinking 'what is this & why?' The end of the book almost betrayed my eagerness to know the 'how' and the time I invested in this story. Last section of the story is utterly implausible (For example --- role of a prominent character, Mala in the last section).

The interconnected prologue (lengthy) and the epilogue are totally meaningless. And sadly, in the end, the character Rakshit who is so nice, looks like a stupid. 

Overall, for me, it was an average read. I liked reading the first part, but, I believe, the end of a story is very important. You must feel a sense of satisfaction when you finish a story. Don't you think so? However, you can pick this book for a thoughtful theme and strong women characters. 

I received this book from Writer's Melon for an unbiased review.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Cover Reveal: The Bodyguard by Ruchi Singh

Book --- The Bodyguard
Author --- Ruchi Singh


Someone wants Vikramaditya Seth Jr. dead. 

He refuses the Z+ security option offered by the government. With too many variables, trust is hard to come by…

Esha Sinha prepares for her first assignment outside of active-army service, oblivious to the fact that she has to baby-sit a man who has no respect for rules or protocol—a man who is headstrong, a workaholic and a tenacious flirt. As the attraction between Vikram and Esha simmers and sizzles, another attempt is made on his life.  

The killer is resourceful and determined. 

The motive is unclear and perplexing.

Will they be able to nab the assassin before he gets to Vikram?

About the Author:

Winner of TOI WriteIndia Season 1, Ruchi Singh is a novelist, and writes in two genres; romance and romantic thriller. 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. 

You can get in touch with the author on her: 

                                                                           Facebook Page

Now, I find The Bodyguard really interesting because of this truly empowered female protagonist! Also, I loved the author's previous novel, Jugnu (Also, Take 2); really liked her stories, the characters and her storytelling skills.

So are you ready?


We Promote So That You Can Write

Linking it HERE! Visit to meet other lovely book bloggers!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Author's Interview: In Conversation With Rupa Bhullar

1. Hello. Welcome to my blog. Please tell us about yourself and your writing journey.

Thank you, Tarang. Pleasure to be a part of it.

I grew up in India and relocated to US in the year 2000. I currently live with my family in New Jersey. My field of education has extensively been business and finance and I serve as the director of finance at a technology corporation. 

Writing, for me, was a rather late discovery. At a certain stage in my life, I found myself on a similar quest to find true meaning, fulfillment and happiness as opposed to mere achievement of goals and superficial pleasures. At that point, for the very first time, I turned towards books that were insightful and sparked questions that enabled me to view the same things from a different perspective. As a result of what I read, my thinking expanded, I started to have thoughts that would come randomly drifting my way in the most bizarre situations - perfectly composed. 

As I stated to capture these, inspiration started flowing in from all directions – mundane life, ordinary people, exciting travel, vivid imagination. Pretty much everything became a medium for me to explore this story that started piecing itself together. Now the story was alive and beating in my heart so the next step - it wanted to be told. I often tried to quiet it down and even dismiss it, but it was relentless. Eventually, a trip to Jodhpur and Imtiaz Ali’s Tamasha really prompted me into action.

2. Why do you write? Was it a dream you've nurtured always? 

Writing is like quenching a thirst, sort of a compelling urge that demands its fulfillment. 

When a thought or an idea comes to me, it starts to knock louder and louder until I pay attention and hear what its trying to say. For me, it is as much a journey of exploration as it is a process of gratification. 

I did not grow up reading books, so far from a dream I nurtured, this has been the most contrary and intriguing discovery of my life. But once I made that journey and discovered my love, I knew this would be something I would spend my life in company of.

3. What inspired you write The Indigo Sun?

The Indigo Sun is inspired from life in general and to a great degree my own journey. At some point in life many of us find ourselves at the place we have been walking towards, where we are told lies the promise of happiness. In reality however, very few end up finding meaning in what they see there. Most are left feeling disillusioned and empty, questioning where to from here? 

The Indigo Sun is a journey that starts at a similar place and backtracks to the source of happiness through the means of travel, relationships, experiences and reconnecting. It is life’s philosophy captured through Maya’s journey.

4. How did you choose this beautiful title for your book? Do you think title plays an important role to make a book catchy? 

One of the defining moments for this book was a trip to Jodhpur. This place left me greatly inspired and I could feel fragments of my story alive and thriving in all that surrounded me. It was this sense of belonging for the story that led me to borrow the title from Jodhpur- known as the Sun city and the Indigo city. I decided to call it ‘The Indigo Sun’. 

I believe a title carries the responsibility of containing the entire book in a few words. It has to be catchy for sure but when it is also relevant, it opens the right doors for the story to be told. It is certainly as important as the story if not more.

5. What’s your pattern of writing? Do you plan before writing or just go with the flow? 

My writings are very spontaneous. I never plan when I will write or what I will write about. It is an absolute surrender, whenever inspiration strikes, and wherever the story leads. It is a very exciting process when I open my laptop as I have no idea who I will end up meeting today or where I will end up going. Writing becomes quite an adventure and I look forward to it. 

What is also exciting is that the writer is not always in command of the story or the characters. They seem to have a mind of their own. The story then becomes a delightful dance where you suggest, and they accept, or they lead, and you follow. It’s fascinating. With the writing of a book though, I wrote whenever I found time which was mostly Fridays through Sundays. As a writer, I do feel that my writing needs to be rooted in some level of reality, an experience I have had, a place I have visited, a life incident I’ve heard. I certainly don’t belong in the space of writers who can spin fantasy worlds out of thin air. 

6. Interesting! Would you like to talk about your upcoming projects?

Absolutely. I’m planning to start my next book which would be a complex maze of human relationships and emotions. It should be a lighter and faster paced read. Set somewhere in US, Italy, Calcutta and Lucknow, this story will have flashbacks into 50s from now. Modern day relationships, present day commitments and everything that falls within the spectrum of love, life and marriage. It will be a love story at heart but not in a stereotypical sense. I am very excited about this one.

7. Sounds intriguing! Looking forward. Okay, as a writer, what you think ruins a story? 

Attachment to your own writing. Writing a book is always a learning curve but my most important takeaway from my first book is the ability to distance ‘your’ writing from ‘the’ story. It’s not what you think that’s important but what the story demands and as an author, the discipline to hit the delete key is as critical as the writing process.

8. Is there any particular genre you find difficult to write? If yes, which one?

I find myself challenged at writing about all else but what comes most naturally to me which is life, love, relationships and everything that makes us human. Writing in that sense is just an extension of who I am. I will experiment within this space, but I don ‘t see myself writing a mystery or a thriller for the life of me.

9. Getting traditionally published is every author’s dream. How was your journey of getting published by a big publishing house like Rupa? 

Certainly, it is. The journey for me was exceptionally smooth and I feel very fortunate. During a meeting with Mr. Kapish Mehra, I earnestly brought forward that while I could delegate my work skills to anyone. What I could not delegate was my experience of life and my perspective on it. Only I could tell this story the way it needed to be told. Being a visionary that he is, he encouraged me to write and the rest as they say is history. The entire team at Rupa from the editorial to design to marketing has collaborated to make this book what it is today. I’m a very small part of it and could not have done this alone.

10. Your favourite Book – Author – Genre? 

The Alchemist. Paulo Coelho. Philosophy

11. Any words of encouragement for aspiring writers who crave and struggle to get into the ‘published author world’?
When someone asks me how I did it, I say either I was too naive, very hopeful or completely deluded to think this could ever be. But it happened. All I would say is believe in yourself and in the power of stories that want to be told. Don’t overthink, don’t second guess, just keep writing. It need not be perfect, it need not be unique, it just needs to be yours and that makes all difference. 

It's a pleasure to have you here on my blog. Thank you for your time. I wish you all the very best!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Seize The Day!

The shadow of past
Overpowering future
Still and stiff present

New day arrives with
Renewed hopes and promises
Learn to seize the day!

When you try to make your day better, it means that you have moved on and learnt from your past (That's really important), and you are focusing on a better future as your tomorrow, to some extent, depends on today's efforts. So, yes. Seize the day!

Sharing with Poets United (Theme --- Carpe Diem)
                      Haiku My Heart 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Book Review: The Paradise Flycatcher by Deepak Dalal

Author: Deepak Dalal
Illustrator: Krishna Bala Shenoy
No. of Pages: 128
Age group: 8 to 13 Years
Publisher: Penguin India

The Paradise Flycatcher by Deepak Dalal is, of course, a children's book. I am someone who used to read comics and children's book even in her college days. My best friend (and many others) used to laugh at me whenever she heard me talking about comic characters with little children.

It's been a very long time since I read a children's book! My first review copy in this genre is here.

It's a colourful book with lots of beautiful pictures --- apt for children. 

It's a suspense/mystery; an adventurous story about finding a squirrel (of rare species), Shikhar, and rescuing him from a terrible human trap. Of course, the Paradise Flycatcher, the exotic, breathtakingly beautiful Bird, plays a key role.

There's a very kind girl, Mitalee who truly loves Shikhar (she calls him Snowdrop), and wants him back anyhow! There's a boy called Maitreya, a foe turned friend, who helps her in this journey. And, there are lots of lovely birds who act as scouts to solve the mystery!

The writing is neat and easy to understand. At the same time, children can learn new, interesting words. Also, the story is educational in many ways as it teaches a lot of things without being preachy. 

What does The Paradise Flycatcher teach?

To be strong when difficulties hit you. Whimpering never helps. You must keep trying.

'This isn't the time for weakness. Your best friend, Shikhar, would never behave like this! If it were the other way round and you were missing, he would be scurrying everywhere and searching for you instead of crying. So, stop this moaning and help us.'

To be kind. And to accept your mistakes.

Maitreya: I made mistakes.
Mitalee: Choosing wrong friends for starters.
Maitreya: That I did.
Mitalee: And, injuring a squirrel.
Maitreya: Don't remind me. That was the most shameful deed of my life. Still haunts me.
Mitalee: It should. It was a terrible thing you did.

Greed Never Pays.

Also, there are some subtle lessons on names of rivers and different species of exotic birds!

Certainly an engaging and thrilling read for your children. Not just children, even parents can enjoy reading this. So, it's perfect for buddy-reading with your kid.

I felt that the end could have been a little softer for Chintu, the not-so-nice boy in the story. A sense of realization is very important. And, it could have been another lesson for kids and parents as well.

A delightful book!

I received the book from the publisher for an unbiased review.

Sharing with Chatty Blogs

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Book Review: The Woman Who Saw The Future by Amit Sharma

Dreams fascinate me. And, I mostly remember my dreams. I think this is the main reason I felt connected to this theme and found it intriguing.

The Woman Who Saw The Future by Amit Sharma (Readomania) is an uncanny story of a woman called Sapna. Sapna is a normal college going girl who suddenly develops a super-power --- power of seeing future/deaths in her dreams that is making her insane. Then, a television show, Lucky People, comes her way that transforms her life. She finds solace by saving people who are supposed to die by revealing her dreams on the show. She becomes a worldwide sensation, the most powerful woman of this world. People start thinking that she is the messenger of God and start worshiping her.

But, things don't remain perfect for long time. One misuse of her powers, and things upend. A certain part of her personality turns murky. What happens when the world knows about her ugly truth? What about her personal life? You will have to read this book to know the answers (so many other answers), and I can assure you won't be disappointed.

The Woman Who Saw The Future is Amit Sharma's second book, and his writing is neat. The book is cleverly-crafted, I'd say. There are so many well-placed questions, they float in your mind and you want to know the answers.

The story has been told from every significant points of view, and here the story drags a little, sometimes. I didn't want to know about Om-Anupama's love story. We knew that they were engaged and that was enough. Also, there are some pages where Sapna talks about trivial things, maybe not trivial from her perspective, but as a reader, those things didn't matter. Stretched narration, for this kind of (intriguing) plot, made me impatient. 

And, I really wished that Kalpana hadn't said 'You know' all the time. I understand that some people have this terrible habit of saying this frequently, so it would have been okay if the author has used it in the dialogues. But use of 'you know' frequently in the narration really annoyed me!

The characters are nicely sketched. I liked the character of Kalpana and Saahil. There's a certain kind of charm and innocence in Sapna-Saahil relationship. But,the turning point of their relationship seemed a little implausible to me.

I loved the concluding scene.

But, ignoring all these minor glitches, I would say that you must pick this book if you're looking for a different, well-written story. I'd like to congratulate the author for conceptualizing this 'imaginative' theme and managing to make it really intriguing and engrossing.

I received this book from The Book Club for an unbiased review.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Book Review: Fear is the Key by Juggi Bhasin

I'm not a fan of crime thrillers but I enjoy it when it has psychological elements in it. Basically, I have (recently) developed a keen interest in Psychological Thrillers.

Fear is the Key by Juggi Bhasin (Penguin Random House India) is a psychological (crime) mystery. It's about Rahul Abhyankar, a fairly successful businessman, his greatest supporter Suhel and his fiance, Simone.

One controversy and everything jumbles in Rahul's company --- Yummimages. Rahul throws a party in his house to calm things down. Also, Suhel and Simone --- two most important people in Rahul's life --- are at loggerheads over the unexpected controversy. Rahul badly wants to get things right for he can't choose between his childhood best friend and his love of life.

The party is in full swing, things seem under control, and suddenly Simone is nowhere to be seen. Rahul gets a bad feeling about Simone's disappearance. When all the investigations seem to fail, Rahul takes the command; tries to find the suspects and connect the dots.

What happens next? Where is Simone? Is she alive? Who is the culprit? You will have to read this book to know the answers.

'A bitter winter wind blowing outside spoke to me. There was no one else. And then it struck me. She might have truly disappeared! Sometimes, you get a sense of these things . . .'

The story starts well. Some odd incidents that Simone experiences before her disappearance create intrigue (but they remain unexplained). That eerie feeling that Rahul gets as some weird voices, visions and familiar smells disturb him right after Simone's disappearance has been described well.

But then, the story sags in the middle. The annoying investigator seems to be doing nothing. There are so many characters, so many points of view that I got confused. It gets complicated, and I was not able to connect the dots. However, I can't say they were unnecessary characters as I believe crime thrillers require a number of characters. 

Thankfully, the story picks up and gets really gripping towards the end. The end --- the disclosure is something that you can't predict easily. And, as a reader, it was a good thing for me. 

The writing is neat and main characters are well-crafted, however, there are no strong female characters except Simone, but she has apparently nothing to do in the story. I liked the character of Tanya, the psychologist and her interaction with Rahul. 

One thing that I really disliked was several erotic elements. A particular reaction in an official meeting seemed totally unrealistic and odd. Plus, I did not like the character of Fredo and Janki. I thought these elements were completely unnecessary.

Overall, it was an interesting read. If you enjoy reading crime fiction, if you like psychological elements in a story, you can pick this book.

I received this book from Writer's Melon for an unbiased review.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Book Review: The Indigo Sun by Rupa Bhullar

'Home—neither a place you live in, nor a place you arrive at. It’s where you belong, and ultimately return—a return to the beginning, a return within.'  

(From Goodreads book description)

The Indigo Sun by Rupa Bhullar (Rupa Publications) has many positives --- it has got fabulous reviews. The cover is gorgeous! It has a catchy title, and above all, good writing.

The Indigo Sun tells the story of Maya, an NRI, who visits her home-town after a long time. Set in Rajasthan, it tells about Maya's loss, self-discovery as she meets different people in this new journey of her life. There's a little boy, Ananda, a mystic gypsy woman, Leela, and a reputed entrepreneur, Veer. They all together embark on an inspiring journey, helping each other to evolve.

The book is rich, in terms of descriptions --- descriptions of beautiful surroundings, the heritage, the culture, the gist of life. They create nice imagery. Also, the messages/lessons (about life) that Maya receives are insightful.

Sharing some quotes ---

'You plan too much and live too little.'

'The greatest comfort is found in hearts filled with love, not rooms filled with luxuries.'

'The deepest realizations and true awakenings emerge from our darkest moments and greatest challenges.'

But, there's a thing. Despite all these positives, the book didn't really work for me. I'd tell you why.

Mainly for two reasons ---

1. The book is very slow. No, don't get me wrong. I like descriptions, they are important but they must take the story forward. And here, at times, I felt that story was not going anywhere.

2. And then, dialogues. They are preachy, sometimes, 1.5 page long without any breather. Ananda's dialogues are too mature for a little boy. It was tiring and it disturbed the flow of reading.

Because of these two reasons, this book turned out to be an okay read for me, like an insightful account of self-realization and transformation.

But, we have different reading preferences, right? If you like descriptive writing, if you like reading inspirational stories with thoughtful quotes, pick this book. You will like it.

I received this book from the publisher for an unbiased review.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Newbie Writers! 5 Things You Must Do.

'I am a writer. An author.'

Yes, I am. But, it took me long to tell that (unapologetically) to people when they asked, 'What do you do? or Do you work?' People don't really consider writing as a proper job especially when you work from home, but now I don't really care. In fact, I feel good when I say, 'I'm a writer.' These days, some people look impressed and ask what do I write.

So, first of all, let me tell you what do I write. I am a freelance writer and author of We Will Meet Again, a mature love story. I write for magazines and my writings have appeared in magazines like Woman's Era, New Woman, Good Housekeeping India, Child India and Alive.

Being a writer is exciting because you constantly play with beautiful thoughts and vivid imagination. But, it's tough at the same time because it's a constant learning process (but, learning is beautiful, isn't it?) and you will have to work hard, face rejections and criticism.

So, if you are still reading this post, I assume you're a new writer. You love to write. Want to get published. So, here, I am offering you a few writing suggestions. Something that I have learned in these years. However, I strongly believe that there's only One rule for anything you want to do --- Rule that works for you! 

So here it goes ---

Write. Your prime job is to write. Writer's block is a myth. Try to write daily even if it's just 300 words. However, it's perfectly normal if you don't feel like writing at times. You can do these writing related things instead. 

Read. Read extensively. Not just for entertainment but to study. For a writer, reading good books is vital. It can be a learning experience. However, don't regret reading not-so-good books for they teach you 'what not to do.'

Do Not Rush To Get Published. I understand that getting published is every writer's dream. But being published means bringing yourself to the public domain. So, before you do that, polish your writing. Learn. Practice. Recently, someone asked me on Twitter that 'Will it be right to just write with writing/editing errors. Do publications/editors go through rectifications to make it interesting?'

Yes, they do! But, it's certainly not a good idea to send a piece full of errors. Editors don't like it. So work on your writing and writing style first.

Also, never hit send before revising 2-3 times. Revising and careful editing are the essence of writing. I re-wrote my manuscript (made major changes and re-worked on my writing style) after I realized it was not good enough to be published.

Do not try to make your writing impressive by using complicated and flowery language. Writing lyrical prose doesn't mean you should ruin the readability and relatability of your writing. Simple (and error-free) is beautiful!

Do Not Give Up! This would be the most significant part of your writing journey. Don't let discouraging people diminish your enthusiasm. Don't get disheartened by the rejections (Sometimes, series of rejections). Believe in yourself. 'You' know your craft better. Don't hesitate to experiment. People may laugh at you in the beginning but if you work hard, polish your writing, you will have the last laugh.

That's all from my side. Now, it's your turn. Share what you have learned/what worked for you.

Writing this post for Blog Chatter Weekly Blogging Exercise

Prompt for this week – Advice you’d give a newbie blogger / writer / entrepreneur