Monday, March 16, 2020

#684 : Love, Marriage, and Other Disasters by Shilpa Suraj - Cover Reveal

~ Cover Reveal ~
Love, Marriage, and Other Disasters
by Shilpa Suraj

About the Book:

She believes in love, family and…squiggles!

Alisha Rana is not your typical single desi girl. For one, she is on the wrong side of 30.  For another, she is divorced. And last but definitely not least, she is still, gasp, a virgin!

Alisha doesn’t want much. But what she does want is that elusive thing all women search for – A man who gets her…but a man who gets her hot! She calls it “feeling the squiggle.”

Enter Dr. Vivaan Kapoor, cute, hot, squiggle-worthy. The younger brother of her cousin's prospective groom, he’s got the squiggle factor in spades. The only catch? He's never been married and is years younger than Alisha. Basically, completely off-limits.

And then there is Arjun. Widowed, older than her by the right number of years and a genuinely nice guy. He's Vivaan’s cousin and a so-called perfect match for Alisha. The problem is, Alisha’s squiggle-o-meter refuses to budge for him.

What will Alisha choose? A lifetime together with the 'right' man or a chance at happiness with the 'wrong' one?

About Shilpa Suraj:

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.

Shilpa on the Web:


Friday, March 13, 2020

#683 : Murder in the Chowdhury Palace by Sharmishtha Shenoy - Cover Reveal

~ Cover Reveal ~
Murder in the Chowdhury Palace
by Sharmishtha Shenoy

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

The trees were denser beyond the pond on the northern side, and the area was unkempt and full of thorny bushes and nettles.  Debu remarked, ‘Not many people venture into the northern part of the woods from this point because the haunted house is less than a mile from here. So this part of the estate is in a rather wild state.’
‘Yes, I can see that nature has completely taken over this part. But still, let’s go there.’ I said excitedly.
‘Some other day…,’ Debu murmured. His face was slightly pale.
‘Debu! You really seem to believe in these ghosts and all that nonsense…,’ I said rather incredulously.
‘No… no… of course not!’ Debu exclaimed.
‘Then prove it! Let’s go and visit the house.’
‘Look… it won’t be very safe. The walls are crumbling, and I am sure that bats have made their home there.’
‘Please, Debu, let’s go, I have never seen a haunted house,’ I said, cajolingly. I gripped his hand and almost dragged him towards the house.
We came upon the abandoned temple first. The plaster was coming off the walls, and the aerial roots of a huge banyan tree had encroached upon the temple and gone in through the walls causing rainwater to leak into the walls and damage them further. The house was located a further quarter kilometer away.
There was a strange, sinister silence all around. Even the birds did not twitter in this part of the woods. The house with its closed shutters and peeling walls was a one-storey medium-sized building. It was dark and uninviting, steeped in shadow due to the jungle of trees that had flourished around it. Darkness echoed and folded upon itself. I walked resolutely to the main door, only to find it locked. 
‘Where is the key to this door?’
‘I don’t think anybody has it.’
I was in a naughty mood. ‘Then let’s break it open. I really want to see what’s inside.’ 
In spite of Debu’s protests, I picked up a heavy rock and hit the rusty lock with it. The lock broke easily.
We stepped inside a large hall. It was full of cobwebs and broken dilapidated furniture. Suddenly, a bat swept past my face. I let out a startled cry and drew back. I would have fallen to the ground had Debu not caught me.
‘Let’s get out of here. You shouldn’t be so adventurous in your present condition. The baby might get hurt,’ he said in a quavering voice. 
‘Oh come on... please Debu…let’s explore a bit more.’
I went further in and switched on the torch of my mobile to see better. At the center of the hall, were the remains of a havan done a long time back. The bricks used for the havan were blackened, charred and crumbling with spiders spinning their webs over the layers of dust. There was a portrait of Shankar Dakat and another of a woman on a wooden platform near which the havan had been performed.
‘This is, of course, Shankar Dakat’s portrait. And this must be Kadambari…,’ I said. ‘Who painted this?’ The painting of Kadambari mesmerized me. She was little more than a young girl in a green sari, worn without a blouse in the traditional fashion. Her big eyes were strangely life-like and sad and her long, thick, curly hair cascaded down her bare shoulders like a cloud.
‘I don’t know who painted this, nor do I care. Let’s go, Durga. I feel really uncomfortable here.’ Debu said a little impatiently. I started coughing because of the dirt. ‘Durga, you know you are allergic to dust. Come away now. I don’t want our baby to get hurt.’ He clutched my hand in a death grip, and almost dragged me out of the house.
The fear in his voice was contagious. Also, to be honest, the life-like painting had spooked me. We hurried back towards the pond. As we almost ran back and neared our home, there was a shout from the ground-floor east-wing balcony. It was Kanak. She shouted, ‘Who goes there?’

About Sharmishtha Shenoy:

Sharmishtha Shenoy is the author of the Vikram Rana Mystery series. The books under the series are “Vikram Rana Investigates,” “A Season for Dying,” “Behind the Scenes” and “Fatal Fallout”. She has also published a book of short stories, “Quirky Tales.”
Her short stories have been published in efiction magazine and Woman’s era. She loves writing murder mysteries, the kind of books that she likes to read. Her favorite authors are Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie. She also likes the work of Satyajit Ray – especially the Feluda Series. 
Before starting to write, she had been an IT professional and had worked in TCS, Satyam, Infosys, and Microsoft. 
She is a big foodie and enjoys Biriyani (both Hyderabadi and Awadhi versions) and rasgullas like most Bengalis. She is also a lusty singer of the bathroom singing variety.
Though she is happily married to Mr. Shenoy in real life, in her fantasy world she is wedded to her creation Vikram Rana.  You can get to her blog by typing the word “Sharmishtha Rana” into Google. No, seriously, try it.
She was born in Calcutta. She is an M Tech from the University of Reading, Great Britain and had received a 100% British Government Scholarship to study there. She lives in Hyderabad.

Sharmishtha on the Web:


Wednesday, March 4, 2020

#682 : A Sweet Deal by Andaleeb Wajid : Review

Opening a tastefully decorated little pastry shop/cafe in an idyllic small village in Italy has been my dream for a while now. I realized that my dream had a real low probability of becoming a reality due to various obvious reasons (obvious if you know me). I decided to make do by reading feel good romances with such a setting to do away with the feel of longing, this book fit the bill perfectly minus the Italy setting though.

Rumana, the protagonist, along with her friend Neharika quit their jobs and invested their savings to open their dream cafe. While they are struggling with the operation due to the fact that aren't experienced enough to run a business, a highly qualified chef opens a similar shop next door. Sparks fly and you know what it all leads to.

The narration, the setting and the characterization, all were perfect. The book was such a perfect feel good romance. However, I was not comfortable with the tense of the book. Thankfully the story was too good which compensate for my struggle with the tense of narration. One colossal mistake I did though was reading this book all the time I was hungry. Made me crave for all the pastries described. Such realistic descriptions of pastries!

The story does have a bit of everything for everyone. A good read!

You can buy the book on Amazon here!

Sunday, March 1, 2020

#681 : Most beautiful stadiums to visit if you love football

Football is that sport which everyone loves to play and watch too. There is hardly any person in the world who doesn't like football, especially when it is played in beautiful football playgrounds. The lush green compounds soothe your eyes. So, it is a must to visit once in a lifetime. The loudness of the surroundings and greenery of compounds give your heart a perfect sound.

So is the case in cricket stadiums, fans are always rooting for their team to win the matches. They also cheer for their favourite players on and off the field.By off the field we mean fantasy games and betting sites. If you also love betting on cricket, then you can explore the review of 10 Cric and bet on your favourite team and players.Anyway here are some of the most beautiful stadiums in the world that you must visit if you love football.

1.     Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain

The Camp Nou stadium is amongst Europe's largest stadiums. The most significant football sensations like Lionel Messi, Ronaldinho, Johan Cruyff, and Diego Maradona played in this beautiful stadium. It's not just an ordinary football playground as it also has the cultural identity of the club's activities, which also encourages a special feeling in this stadium.
2. The Bombonera Football Stadium

The Bombonera or Boca stadium receives the welcome of many legendary football players of their time. It is amongst those stadiums which shout louder with positive vibes, passion, and excitement from the stands. So, without having any doubt, visiting this stadium is a must for receiving its beauty and love.

3.   San Siro, Milan, Italy

Milan is the city of risotto and, of course, the town of the great San Siro football stadium. It generates the most exciting atmosphere during play. The genuinely magnificent stadium hosted many popular football home games like FC Internazionale Milano and AC Milan. In the past decades, the football stadium also received the strongest competitors of the European teams. Visiting this beautiful stadium gives an enjoyable experience.

4. Azteca Stadium, Mexico 

The stadium also got its fame by the name Coloso de Santa Ursula. This beautiful stadium records the historical game of "The game of Century" in 1970, where Germany got defeated by Italy in the semi-final of the FIFA World Cup. Also, the stadium attracts with its extraordinary beauty a lot. The beautiful combination of past games and events where Maradona and Pele lift their trophy for last time is a must to explore.

5. Wembley, London, England 

The Wembley stadium is established on the old Wembley's ashes. The stadium is enormous and still receives a lot of things about football play. It is amongst the second-largest stadium after the Camp Nou stadium of Barcelona.

Despite the young age of Wembley stadium, it still holds the most comprehensive football games like League cup, FA cup, and also community shield finals.

Furthermore, it is also a famous stadium due to the dominant English National Team of football during 2017-18. The stadium also hosted many home games of the Tottenham Hotspur FC. Thus, visiting the stadium gives you memories to remind for a lifetime. 

6. Maracanã Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 

Maracanã may be amongst the most famous football stadiums in the world. Still, there are not much people who remember that the official game of this stadium is the Estadio Jornalista Mario Filho. Perhaps this game goes down in history with the name Maracanaço. Once it came to an end, the Jules Rimet (president of FIFA) said all things were planned.

The beautiful stadium also received its dignity for the historical event where the triple whistle of referee freezes the moment with silence in the stadium, and around ten people seized with a heart attack.

7. Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany

The beautiful and vibrant Allianz stadium has remained the stadium for TSV 1860 München and FC Bayern München from 2005 to 2017. Allianz Stadium is famous for its unique and incredible features than that of regular football stadiums. The incredible 2,760 diamond cutting shape of cushions beautifully covering the outer wall of the football stadium gives it a unique and comprehensive look.
Combining, it forms the most famous and also the world's biggest membrane cladding, which is beautifully covering the area of around 66,500m². Another thing that makes it unique is its colour-changing design that changes colour according to the team playing on the ground. For instance: it turns into the red for FC Bayern München, white for the Germany national Football team and Blue for the TSV 1860 München.
 Final words
So, these are amongst the most beautiful and famous football stadiums in the world. If you love football, then visiting these beautiful football grounds is a must to explore their beauty with terrifying historical records.