24 January, 2020

A Diary of Crime Stories by Sonia Rao - Book Spotlight





Sonia Rao


• Did or didn’t a 5-year-old boy, who cannot hear or speak, witness a murder? And if he did, how dangerous can it become for him?

• CCTV cameras prove that a robbery was committed by a young analyst. But if she didn’t, then who did it?

• Love brings together hearts, true! But did you know it could destroy lives too?

What is a diary? It can be described as a personal book or even a safe space in which one can record one’s experiences, thoughts and ideas of both one’s outer and inner worlds. What is around us affects us. One aspect of outer world includes crime. This can take many forms: assault of all types, murder, and even fraud. Be it a differently-abled child or a woman undergoing domestic abuse, obsessive love that can lead to fraud and breakup of lifelong friendships or then honour killing - because you are not allowed to decide whom you can love and marry. Be it a modern world, urban or rural, every crime story affects us collectively.

This Diary Of Crime Stories is a collection of 3 gut-wrenching crime-reads that will leave you on the edge of your seat, with their colourful characters and shocking twists & turns, asking for more.

Grab your copy @

Amazon.in | Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk 

About the author

"Sonia Rao is a writer, editor, and award-winning blogger. Her fiction has appeared in many prestigious anthologies such as Voices Old & New and Jest Like That (edited by renowned editor-writer Shinie Anthony).

As NaNoWriMo’s Municipal Liaison for all-India and founder of the Wrimo India group on Facebook, Sonia has motivated thousands of people in India to write a novel every November since 2011. She has also curated and edited the first Wrimo India Anthology, Vengeance—A Sting In Every Tale.

Sonia likes to believe she is ‘high-minded’ but strangely, her fave hobby is thinking up torture devices for those autorickshawallahs who consider the roads to be their personal spittoon. Who knew?"

You can stalk her @

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


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Until next time,

22 January, 2020

Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal

Book details:
Title : Unmarriageable 
Author : Soniah Kamal
Genre : Romance, Fiction 
Print length: 352 pages
Publisher : Ballantine books
Source : A kindle copy from library 

A scandal and vicious rumor concerning the Binat family have destroyed their fortune and prospects for desirable marriages, but Alys, the second and most practical of the five Binat daughters, has found happiness teaching English literature to schoolgirls. Knowing that many of her students won’t make it to graduation before dropping out to marry and have children, Alys teaches them about Jane Austen and her other literary heroes and hopes to inspire the girls to dream of more.

When an invitation arrives to the biggest wedding their small town has seen in years, Mrs. Binat, certain that their luck is about to change, excitedly sets to work preparing her daughters to fish for rich, eligible bachelors. On the first night of the festivities, Alys’s lovely older sister, Jena, catches the eye of Fahad “Bungles” Bingla, the wildly successful—and single—entrepreneur. But Bungles’s friend Valentine Darsee is clearly unimpressed by the Binat family. Alys accidentally overhears his unflattering assessment of her and quickly dismisses him and his snobbish ways. As the days of lavish wedding parties unfold, the Binats wait breathlessly to see if Jena will land a proposal—and Alys begins to realize that Darsee’s brusque manner may be hiding a very different man from the one she saw at first glance.

Told with wry wit and colorful prose, Unmarriageable is a charming update on Jane Austen’s beloved novel and an exhilarating exploration of love, marriage, class, and sisterhood.

My Review:

I haven't read Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. So, eventhough it's a retelling of that novel set up in Pakistan,  it felt like a fresh read.

I always like reading the stories about other cultures and people. This story is about the marriage obsession in the society. The obsession of parents to marry their daughters off earlier to rich families is common even in other countries and cultures. So, I could easily relate to it.

The narration is beautiful with wit and humor. Characterization is deep and very well etched. There are more feminist ideologies expressed through the main lead Alys and her friend Sherry. 

I loved the characters and how each one is unique in their own way. Mr.Binat is an ideal father who tries to marry off his daughters to someone who supports them and encourages their intelligence instead of dominating and suppressing their feelings. Alys is fear less, confident woman with a clarity on what she wants in her life. 

This story brings out the double standards in the society for men and women. It touches upon the problems due to patriarchy and body shaming. Overall , a fantastic read. I

Loved these quotes from the book:

For the truth was that behind every successful Pakistani girl who fulfilled a dream stood a father who allowed her to soar instead of clipping her wings, throwing her into a cage, and passing the keys from himself to brother, husband, son, grandson, and so on. 

“As content as a single girl in this country can be when all anyone ever asks her is why she isn’t married yet, and they tell her she better hurry up before her ovaries die. It’s you men who are lucky. You might be asked about your marriage plans, but everyone leaves you alone the second you mention career. If we women mention career, we’re considered aberrations of nature or barren.” 

There was no dowry in Islam. Rather, the groom was required to give haq mehr, the mandatory monetary gift to the bride,

Do you know what is wrong with you, Laila? All those books you read. You just talk like a book now, with no sense of reality.

They say blood is thicker than water. I say to hell with that. If blood mistreats you, better water. And if friends prove false, no matter, find better or be alone and be your own best friend.”

My Rating: 5/5

About the Author :

Soniah Kamal’s debut novel, An Isolated Incident, was a finalist for the Townsend Prize for Fiction and the Karachi Literature Festival–Embassy of France Prize. Her TEDx Talk is about regrets and second chances. Kamal’s award-winning work has appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Guardian, BuzzFeed, Catapult, and Literary Hub
Until next time,

11 January, 2020

Gild the Weeping Lily by Manjula Variyam - [Book Review]

Book Details:

Title : Gild the Weeping Lily
Author : Manjula Variyam
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Print Length : 227 pages
Source: A free e-review copy from the author


She has been known by many names: Tatkhipa, Tadukhipa, Tadu-Hepa, Kiya. She was a princess of the kingdom of Mitanni, who lived and died more than three thousand years ago. She was the royal consort of Akhenaten, the ‘heretic pharaoh’ of Egypt, who ruled alongside Nefertiti. Her life is shrouded in mystery. It is irrefutable that she existed; yet, although she was the consort of a pharaoh, and was honored very highly, she disappeared from Egypt sometime during the last year of Akhenaten’s reign. 

Her name and images were erased from monuments and replaced by those of Nefertiti’s daughters. Her life and her disappearance have remained elusively mysterious. During her lifetime, relations between Egypt and Mitanni deteriorated.

 After her disappearance, both kingdoms were embroiled in turmoil at the highest levels. Could she have been the cause? Could a woman have changed the course of the history of one of the world’s greatest ancient civilizations?

Purchase Link:

My Review :

I love reading historical fiction, but I rarely get to read good books in this genre. I love to know about strong women in ancient times, their problems and how they could solve the issues in those times. 

This story covers the life of the Mittani princess Tatkhipa from her teenage years to her old age. The story also gives us a glimpse of Mittani culture, land, Egyptian traditions, customs, people, beliefs, etc., It is clear that the author has done a lot of research on this subject and she provides very detailed information on Mittani and Egyptian traditions.

The story is narrated well and captures the emotions and turmoil in Tatkhipa's mind at every stage of her life. I loved the romance and companionship of the Egyptian King and Tatkhipa. Even though fate plays harsh on Tatkhipa's life, at last, she overcomes her fears and takes an important action for her life in the climax. I loved the climax.

I enjoyed the characterization as well. I loved reading the part when Tatkhipa is young and faces the problems with confidence by starting a jewelry business. I would have loved to read more about Queen Tiye. I was disappointed that there is not much conversation or communication between Tatkhipa and Tiye. 

Initially, it was difficult for me to get used to the names mentioned in the story, but it became easy after 3rd chapter or so. The narration and pace are good overall, but at a few places, it seemed confusing on whom the narrator is referring to. 

The book cover is appropriate and the title of the book makes sense when we read the story. 

I would recommend this book to readers who love historical fiction. It is a plus if you are interested in learning more about ancient cultures and people.

My Rating: 4.5/5

PS: I have received a free e-review copy from the author in exchange for a review and this is my honest opinion on the book.

About the Author:

Manjula Variyam lives in Plano, Texas with her family. Her books span many genres: historical fiction, general fiction, children's books, YA fiction, and fantasy. You can contact her at manjula(at)variyam.com.

Until next time,

08 January, 2020

A different tree #ThursdayTreeLove

Found this tree different and unique on the way to Cripple creek,  Colorado.

Until next time,

Linking this post to #ThursdayTreeLove blog hop hosted by Parul.

07 January, 2020

Saved by Love by Shilpa Suraj - Book Spot Light and GiveAway

About the Book:

They meet under impossible circumstances.

She is kidnapped by terrorists blackmailing her father, a Supreme Court Judge. He leads the team sent to rescue her.

Trekking to safety through Ladakh... They are in danger of falling in love. But, Lt. Col. Arjun Rathod knows that Naina Ahuja, engaged to politics' rising star, is not meant for him.

Forever changed by her trauma, Naina walks out of her controlling family and forges a new life.

And then, she meets Arjun again. But this time, he is engaged to someone else.

Can they save their love or is it too late?

Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon * Pustakmandi

Read an Excerpt:

“Miss Ahuja? Naina?”

The almost soundless whisper had Naina’s eyes snapping open in the dark. A hard hand came up to cover her mouth even as a terrified squeak left her lips. A pair of dark, intense eyes in a face streaked with camouflage paint floated into her vision. “I’m here to rescue you. Your father sent me. I need you to stay completely silent when I remove my hand. Can you nod if you understand?”

Keeping her eyes on his strong, reassuring ones, Naina nodded quickly. The stranger waited to make sure she wouldn’t scream, and slowly lifted his hand from her mouth. Slipping a knife out from seemingly nowhere, he cut the rope binding both her hands and feet within seconds and levered her up from her prone position. Helping her to her feet, he watched intently to see if she was steady on her feet. Reassured that she wasn’t going to faint at his feet, Arjun moved quickly to the door and looked out. The guards were still unconscious from the light taps to the back of their heads administered by his teammates, and so far there was no sign of any other movement in the camp. Coming back into the room, he put his lips close to her ear to whisper, “Can you walk?”

Nodding mutely, Naina craned her neck to get a glimpse of his face from this angle. The stranger was so tall that he towered over her by almost a foot. Dressed all in black, with a mini arsenal strapped on to him, he looked like he’d arrived straight from hell. Apparently, the devil was her hero tonight.

About the Author:

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


2 Winners. Signed Paperback copy of Saved by Love & Bookmarks. Open to Indian Residents only.
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Until next time,

04 January, 2020

Word of the year 2020 and some Goals

Happy new year folks! Here comes my first post of 2020.

How did you welcome the new year?

We didn't cut a cake or awake till midnight on 31st December to celebrate. Kids were sick and it was an usual day. Let it be! This didn't dampen my spirits anyways.

Iam excited to write this post and share my word of the year and a few Resolutions/ should I say goals? 

Word of the year is a specific word that I want to focus on in 2020.

Pin it for later!

This year's word would be " Self-Care". 
My word for 2019 was 'Slow down'. I took things slowly in 2019 but I want to focus on me and my health as well this year. This post gives a history of my previous words for each year. 

I want to focus on caring for my health, my body and my mind. Every goal I set this year will be aligned to this word.

Here are some goals:

Personal goals:

  • Yoga atleast thrice a week
  • Having nutritious breakfast at right time every day
  • Sleeping before 10 am
  • Making time for hobbies- especially blogging and painting 
  • Keeping Saturday for myself to relax

Family goals :

  • Focus on cooking healthy meals
  • Helping kids regularly with homework 
  • Watching movies together 
  • Traveling atleast twice a year
  • Making crafts and painting with kids

Professional goals:

  • Improving technical expertise 
  • Being a better leader and role model
  • Work by gut and intuition 
  • No carrying work to home and no thoughts of home at work
  • Maintaining strict work hours without feeling guilty

Travel Goals :

  • Long distance trips atleast twice a year
  • Leisure travels or one day trips atleast 4 per year
So, those are all my goals for the new year. I hope the 20 square (2020) brings good luck to you all. 

Do you believe in the word of the year? Do you set any goals? 
Do let me know in comments.

Until next time, 

Linking this post to WOTY linkup hosted by Corinne from everydaygyaan.

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