Monday, September 15, 2014

The Other Side by Faraaz Kazi and Vivek Banerjee

Name of the Book :The Other Side
Author: Faraaz Kazi, Vivek Banerjee
Publisher: DigiImprint Solutions
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,063 Paid in Kindle Store 
No. of Pages:209 pgs.

Disclaimer: I got this book from the Publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.


"A slow rasping sound made me turn. I jumped back, the cell phone leaving my hands and smashing against the concrete floor. Someone was seated on the chair, rocking back and forth. Through the fallen light, I could see those hands placed on the arms of the chair, two gruesome wrinkled limbs with ugly boils plastered over the black skin. The red bangles on its wrists shone in my eyes, momentarily blinding me. That thing and I call it a thing because I could sense it wasn't human as no human could have such a hideous form, as vile an existence as the one seated opposite to my horrified self."

From a honeymoon in the hill that goes horribly wrong to an obsessed lover who wants his first love in life and in death; From a mentally deranged man who collects body parts of various women to stitch together his dream girl to a skeptic who enters a mansion of horrors to win a bet and much more, this book is filled with scenarios that are guaranteed to give you goosebumps and sleepless nights.

'The Other Side' is a collection of thirteen tales of the paranormal; a world that our eyes refuse to see, our ears deny hearing and our senses ignore the feel of. This is a book for someone who is brave enough to take up this invitation to journey through uncharted waters along with the authors, who were inspired by some bizarre experiences to pen down this work where the lines of reality have been blurred by the footsteps of imagination.

Each story takes you on a tour de force of unadulterated horror and draws upon the deepest fear in the human mind- the fear of the UNKNOWN!


The Horror Genre has always fascinated me. The sense of timing, the sense of invoking the fear factor in the reader's inward eye -all should be timed perfectly. One can say it is the other side of Comedy. So did Faraaz and Vivek achieve this? To some extend yes. As with all anthologies - some are hits and some are misses. But one thing I can guarantee you - there is no lack of  factor FEAR  in any of the stories.

The stories have been woven from old wives tales to the modern scenario. Beautifully done. In Bangla, there is a collection of stories - Takurma'r Jhuli.. (Bag of stories of Gandma) and these stories literally took me to my childhood when I would hear my Dadu narrating these kinds of stories having shaakchinni et al. (daayen or banshee can be called the cousins of this breed :D)

Some stories like the Fateful Night and Lady in the Pub were predictable, but worth reading. Anyone who has seen the Zee horror show can predict the outcome. Well, that could also mean you all won't admit having seen that "mind gobbling" show and thus cannot predict the end. **(whispering," psst.. I have seen every damn episode so could predict the end. Thank you Mr. Ramsay!)

Stories like Long Weekend touched my heart. More than fear, it was the feeling of sadness that engulfed me. Very well executed.

Few stories like The Man Who Knew No Fear, Mark of the Beast, Mystery Lake and Mother's Love were very ambiguous. No. I think the right word would be 'arty' at the cost of looking like a bimbo, it took me some time to understand them. They had many hidden layers and for a short, horror story, it deviates the readers from the fear factor.

Strangers in the Night puts my dream of cross country hitchhiking to the can. Don't say I didn't warn you, but again the ending was one with a twist and even with my Phd. from Ramsay University I could not predict it. Betcha you can't too.

The Muse comes Calling is superb! A must read for all writers.. You all will start writing HEA ..:D

Red Bangle is another story which touched my heart. From a woman's point of view, this story is a must for all ladies. Thank you Faraaz and Vivek for writing this and showing your respect for women. Now all we have to do now is to turn it into a reality every time a Vinay strikes!

Unfulfilled Desire is a well written and a page turner. The twist specially was unexpected. I found one thing about all the stories in this anthology. The way the words flowed, interweaving each story with each other. All are different, yet the voice in all the stories stand out as one. Considering the fact, that two writers have come together to write this - it is really commendable.



As I have said some stories really touched the heart and a few flew over my head. In order to create the surreal ambiance and to keep the fear factor for part II of the story, it left the readers feeling a bit dissatisfied. Maybe as a reader, I want all the loose ends tied.  But I suppose we get the same feeling when we watch an Evil Death or Nightmare On Elm Street. A good read for horror lovers ! Don't miss it out.

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Cephrael’s Hand by Melissa McPhail

Cephrael’s Hand by Melissa McPhail 


"All things are composed of patterns..." And within the pattern of the realm of Alorin, three strands must cross:
In Alorin... three hundred years after the genocidal Adept Wars, the realm is dying, and the blessed Adept race dies with it. One man holds the secret to reverting this decline: Bjorn van Gelderan, a dangerous and enigmatic man whose shocking betrayal three centuries past earned him a traitor's brand. It is the Adept Vestal Raine D'Lacourte's mission to learn what Bjorn knows in the hope of salvaging his race. But first he'll have to find him.
In the kingdom of Dannym... the young Prince Ean val Lorian faces a tenuous future as the last living heir to the coveted Eagle Throne. When his blood-brother is slain during a failed assassination, Ean embarks on a desperate hunt for the man responsible. Yet his advisors have their own agendas, and his quest for vengeance leads him ever deeper into a sinuous plot masterminded by a mysterious and powerful man, the one they call First Lord.
In the Nadori desert...tormented by the missing pieces of his life, a soldier named Trell heads off to uncover the truth of his shadowed past. But when disaster places him in the debt of Wildlings sworn to the First Lord, Trell begins to suspect a deadlier, darker secret motivating them. Honor-bound to serve the First Lord in return for his life, Trell continues on his appointed path, yet each day unveils new and stranger secrets that eventually call into question everything he knows.

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My Review
This Book is like a roller-coaster ride. Character shifts, scene shifts and above all the plot surges forward in an amazing momentum Definatlely not a dull ride but yes... Keep some aspirins by your side table. :) How do I write a synopsis with multiple characters without giving up the story. The story is basically in 3 parts.

1) The first part deals with the declining race of realm of Alorin. Raine D'Lacourte is given the responsibility to save the nation from doom. He can but only with the help of Bjorn Van Gelderan. But there is only one problem. Bjorn is a traitor....

2) In the Kingdome of Dannym, Prince Ean suffered the loss of his blood brother in an attack. Where the shadows are more powerful than man and where no one knows who your real enemy is, into that land Ean forges to take revenge for the death of his loved ones. 

3)The third character is Trell, without any past. He cannot understand why the priest of the temple wants to save him from attacks. What is his destiny? Why is he important? He only knows one thing.. his life is never safe till the First Lord is after him...

Melissa has interwoven the characters to create Cephrael's Hand. A job well done indeed. 

The story is very detailed and intrinsic. For a 600 + page it is quite interesting. I read it in one day. So now you understand the aspirin bit :P. There are some problems I faced as a reader. Too many secondary characters and they are detailed. As a reader, I would love to stick to the main characters. Second problems were the names- both of places and characters. But looking at the genre, this is to be expected. But yes, they are a mouthful. There were times I wanted to keep it aside since I wanted to know what happens to Ean or Trell but a well lined up chars stopped me from reaching them. But the execution of the story cannot be questioned - it is well woven to keep you at an edge. 
About the author:

Melissa McPhail is a classically trained pianist, violinist and composer, a Vinyasa yoga instructor, and an avid Fantasy reader. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, their twin daughters and two very large cats.
Connect with Melissa on her 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Cover Reveal : The Runaway Bridegroom by Sundari Venkatraman

Cover Reveal: 
Sundari Venkatraman

Sneak Peek

Chanda Maheshwari’s family is shaken when her thirteen-year-old bridegroom Veerendra runs away immediately after the wedding. The eight-year-old child doesn’t even understand the impact on her life. Unable to face their neighbours and friends, the Maheshwaris move from their village to Jaipur and begin a new life in the city.

Fourteen years later, Chanda is studying in a Delhi College. She takes up a temporary job at RS Software Pvt. Ltd. and falls head-over-heels for the boss of the operation. But what about  Ranveer Singh? Is he interested in her?

Ranveer’s secretary Shikha is desperate to make him fall for her. All she wants is life-long security with a rich man. But it’s nerd Abhimanyu who keeps getting in the way. Abhi is Ranveer’s second-in-command and Shikha isn’t keen on him as she’s eyeing the main chance. 

When Ranveer appears to show interest in Chanda, she’s faced with a new problem. Astrologer Vidyasagar insists that she would get back with her husband Veerendra. Does anyone want to know if she wants to do that? 

Chanda feels torn between the man she has fallen for and the family values that have been instilled in her. Will she ever find happiness? 

About the Author

Even as a kid, Sundari Venkatraman absolutely loved the 'lived happily ever after' syndrome as she grew up reading all the fairy tales she could lay her hands on, Phantom comics, Mandrake comics and the like. It was always about good triumphing over evil and a happy end. Soon, into her teens, she switched her attention from fairy tales to Mills & Boon. While she loved reading both of these, she kept visualising what would have happened if there were similar situations happening in India; to a local hero and heroine.

Her imagination took flight and she always lived in a rosy cocoon of romance over the years. Then came the writing - a true bolt out of the blue! She could never string two sentences together. While her spoken English had always been excellent - thanks to her Grandpa - she could not write to save her life. She was bad at writing essays in both school and college. Later, when it was time to teach her kids, she could manage everything from Science to Mathematics and History & Geography.

When it came to writing compositions, her kids found her of no help at all. All this changed suddenly one fine day in the year 2000. She had just quit her job at a school's office and did not know what to do with her life. She was saturated with simply reading books. That's when she got home one evening after her walk and took some sheets of paper and began writing. It was like watching a movie that was running in her head - all those years of visualising Indian heroes and heroines needed an outlet and had to be put into words. That's how her first novel, The Malhotra Bride, took shape.

While she felt discouraged when publishing did not happen, it was her husband who kept encouraging her not to give up. There was no looking back after that. While publishing took a long time happening, Sundari continued to write novels and then short stories. Her luck turned when Indireads approached her to write for them and Double Jeopardy was born.

Now it’s all about self-publishing her books on Amazon. Her first self-published book is The Malhotra Bride (2nd Edition) in February 2014. Then came Meghna in June 2014. And now it's time to unveil The Runaway Bridegroom, all set to release on September 13, 2014.

Are you ready????????????













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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Where Even Present Is Ancient: Benaras by Maitreyee B. Chowdhury

The Blurb

Where Even the Present is Ancient: Benaras is a book that seeks to tell the little stories that make us who we are. The author believes that Benaras resides in all of us Indians, in some beautiful often-unknown way. The author is the Sutradhar, in that she attempts to connect an India that many do not realize exists, in that it is everybody’s story. Radha, Krishna, Ganga, Benaras and Me are all characters in this deluge of poems.

This attempt at telling the story of the ancient, of love and of faith is to instil the confidence that poetry exists in all of us, everywhere, all that is needed is to smell its fragrance.

To those outside India, the book does not seek to be a representation of what India is or was, but a whiff of what it also can be. It is an attempt to ask people to see the little stories that govern all of our lives, stories that we often don’t see, but those that are important.

The audience for this book might be strewn across the globe, for faith is not religion-centric, it is people- centric and often without dimensions.

In poetry there is no beginning, no middle, nor no end. Like faith it is everywhere, it is omnipresent. The book affords no answers, nor no questions, but if you listen and read carefully you will see new things, a new beauty perhaps, one that has been silent so long.



I am reading Maitreyee B Chowdhury poetry for the first time. I started reading it without any pre-conceived notion, without any expectation. Living in the USA, I have always stayed away from any projection of India as a poverty stricken country. A dried up tap with a child's woeful eyes staring at you or a farmer's wife looking dolefully at the drought struck field. I wanted to always project young India, happy India, rich India to the outside world  Some of you might cringe at my statement and even call me a daft to live in a fool's paradise, but always projecting India as a sad place is becoming demeaning to me as an Indian living abroad.. [I can see the bricks coming my way :P]

But Maitreyee gave me a reality check. Am I happy about it? No. 

I have been to Benares as a child. I remember the morning chants, those hollow eyes of the Rishi's- ash smeared and now I know the glazed look, which then depicted isolation and now depicts Hashish. I remember a small girl dressed as Durga who instilled in me an emotion of jealousy, for she was looking so pretty and so important blessing others. Today I feel sorry for her plight. 

Maitreyee has brought out the pathos of Benares in every line. She depicts Benares as she sees it, - hears it. The chants, men as somnambulists roaming in the streets -either lost in their faith or submerged in the world of Hashish. 

He is the Sadhu 
whom no one owns… 
Not even himself- 

Another picture that rises vividly in her poetry is that of the Lingam. Shiva's eternal power. Maitreyee has woven lines, subtle yet passionate when she mentions the hold Shiva has over the worshippers. In a few of her poems, Shiva is worshipped as the image created by us humans-

I met Shiva today, 
walking on the road. 
Loincloth and expression complete. 

While in some lines the sensuality of Shiva is so well depicted that one is stuck at the thoughts of the poetess- her sense of realization that what is so quietly omnipresent in Benares cannot be ignored. 

A story, 
For every road. 
I see Shiva in every corner, 
Strong, erect and enormous. 

The third aspect is Ganga. Our holy river? Depicting her as a woman, a representation of fertility, a carrier of all our sins. I don't know why, but whenever I read these lines the song of Bhupen Hazarika's 'Ganga Bhehti ho Kyon" hummed in my heart. The feeling was surreal. Thank you Maitreyee for that. 

Lastly, the people of Benares, the culture; and above all the constant hammering of faith which will make even a non- believer stop and take notice. The way Hinduism is depicted in Benares is nowhere else. One thing that did strike me while reading all the poems... Am I supposed to envy the brilliant, cultural life of Benares or feel sorry for those who have to constantly smell the burning flesh? 

Like Maitreyee has so aptly said :

I’m trying to meet Benaras, 
the one that is written in the books, 
photographed and talked about- 
I try to hear her, 

So am I ! 

About the Author


Maitreyee B Chowdhury is a web columnist and creative writer. She is author of Reflections on My India, a book of Indian traditions and spirituality in parts. Maitreyee is also author of Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen- Bengali Cinema’s First Couple and Ichhe Holo Tai, a bilingual muti media presentation of poetry. Maitreyee is featured amongst other Indian writers such as Gulzar, Shashi Tharoor and Deepti Naval in an anthology of Indian writers Celebrating India.

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Trouble Has A New Name by Adite Banerjie

Trouble Has A New Name 
by Adite Banerjie

The Blurb

“Will you pretend to be my fiancĂ© for the next few days?” 

Recently-single model Rayna Dutt does not feel like flying to her friend’s big fat Indian wedding. But she does - and when a mix up with room allocations forces her to share a luxury villa on Emerald Isle with the gorgeous owner of the hotel - Neel Arora - and best man at the wedding, things begin to look up.

Until Rayna’s ex turns up with a new girl on his arm! 

Hitting the panic button, Rayna searches for a solution. Surely Neel wouldn’t mind being her fake fiancĂ©…? In an instant the attraction they share is fever pitch, but when scandal comes calling, Rayna soon finds herself in more trouble than she can handle!

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She is Rayna Dutt. A Supermodel, dusky beauty and dumped....
Dumped? Now that is what caught my attention the moment I started reading this book by Adite Banerjie. Instead of taking a bottle of depression pills, Rayna is all fired up to face the world.. It is in this mood, she rushes to her friend's wedding and on her way meets....

Neel Arora. A handsome hotelier in an exotic location. Neel is already fed up with Rayna.She is late for the scheduled flight, but seeing her arrive aristocratically- in her pink flip flops, makes him do a double take...

The Bonding ....
Lord Kama worked overtime and made Rayna and Neel end up in one room in the exotic resort.Can you imagine going to a hotel room alone and in the backyard, an Adonis, comes out of the swimming pool, with a gleaming, semi-naked torso? I tell you, some gals have all the luck! And to rub salt in the wound, they ended up sharing the room because the hotel was full. Hummmph!

The Backstory....
Rayna was already nursing a broken heart. The wedding was supposed to be a diversion, a sanctuary to mend her broken heart. She had been dumped by a lecher named Sid Verma. He was such a cad that he did not have the guts to confront her and tell it on her face. Rather, he chooses a coward's way out by sending an SMS. Who does that? *jaw dropping. So when she meets Neel, she was not in a very good zone. Added to that Sid arrives at the wedding with a new girlfriend in tow. 

Rayna knew one thing.. She could not look weak in front of him. She asks Neel to pose as her fiance. He refuses and then much to her amazement, he comes to her rescue when she needs him the most. (Atta boy!!) So, now that her face is saved - she decides to fall in love with Neel !...... Only to see him leaving her too....

Why??? Look up for the buying links pls :P


The five stars are not for Rayna or Adite.. but for Neel. Such a humane hero.We have seen heroes doing things for his gal, or rescuing his girl. The macho kind, The kind kind, the alpha hero and the beta hero. But Neel is real. Someone we ladies always hope to meet one day. A compassionate man, a passionate lover and above all a man who knows what he wants in life.I loved the way he is shown to struggle and then come up in life. It is not that I expect all heroes to rise from poverty, but I could relate to Neel's struggle and applaud his victory. Adite has not only made us fall in love with Neel, but has also made us understand her character deep down. Both Neel and Rayna. A hero and a heroine... above the rest, yet with all flaws which many of us have. Adite has just shown us how they have risen above their stature and why they deserve to be her protags

Meet the Author

The Author's Thoughts

Adite Banerjie has been writing professionally ever since she graduated from college. After an exciting and fulfilling career as a business journalist, she turned to freelance writing, crunched numbers and wrote reports about consumer behavior and social development issues. Somewhere along the way she got on to the screenwriting bandwagon and wrote scripts for documentaries and spec screenplays for feature films. She was hired by a filmmaker to write a feature script based on a true story. When she penned her first romantic short story she won the 2012 Harlequin Passions Aspiring Authors Contest. Two of her books, The Indian Tycoon's Marriage Deal and Trouble Has a New Name have been published by Harlequin India. And she is currently under contract to write two more for the same publisher. She lives in Greater Noida, on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, with her writer husband. She loves to connect with readers and writers.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Choices by Ruchira Khanna

Choices by Ruchira Khanna

The Blurb
Leonardo is a young man who is standing on a crossroad of life, facing choices. One road leads to a high stress career that brings in big bucks; the other is a chance to make a real difference in lives of others. He has a few questions, questions that all of us have faced when facing choices that can change our lives. Does fate make a man, or do his desires? Do ambitions and desires actually lead a person to true happiness and fulfillment, or does providence and life changing events actually show a person the true path to follow? 

‘Choices’ raises these questions, and attempts to answer them. It is a slice-of-life, a book written from the heart.(


While reading this story the lines of W.H Davies's Leisure fleetingly passed through my mind 
WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?
Ruchira Khanna has done a lot of soul searching before writing this book is evident in the concept of the story. She has created the characters based on choices... how they chose life. It is evident that our momentary decisions affect our lives. But what about those of others? This question has always hovered in mind and now I get the opportunity to even present the same to the readers. Are our Choices our own? Does it not affect the lives of others too?

For instance, what would have happened if Albert had left his job? Would he have lived? Would Leonardo get his dream job? Would Amelia still be a happily married woman? Albert's choice not only made him unhappy, but also his family. His temperamental outbursts were changing the whole happy family scenario. But did Albert or Amelia understand that? Could they have changed anything? 

This is where our 'Choices' become important. As  parents, when we have responsibilities, should we not plan our lives such? Ruchira has created a simple family life of Amelia, Albert and Leonardo. A small, happy family ripped apart with Choices made by them. 



The philosophy of the story is very deep. You need to pause many a times to understand the hidden layers in the life of Leonardo. Why is he like that? Initially, he was portrayed as highly ambitious- a go getter. Slowly life's choices tempers him down. 

There are few things that could have been different in this story:
1. Tighter Editing. Editing some of the unwanted scenes.
2. Focusing on Leonardo from the beginning of the story. Not that I don't like Mateo but Leonardo is cuter :)
3. The First Person Narration. Grammatically NOTHING wrong with it. In fact, there are no grammar flaws. But when you write in first person, the POV shifts a lot for the reader to keep up with. The POV is not of the author. but that of the characters playing the part. So, should I sympathise with Amelia's pain after the death of Albert or should I understand the pain of Leonardo? My loyalty gets questioned and as a reader - I would love to be loyal to ONE character in the story. 

After saying so much there is one special mention which I feel I must do. The death scene of Albert. The description done by Ruchira Khanna is too good. You will feal the pain and the fear of the person at that point of time. But again as I have mentioned. The first person narration did not allow me to feel the pain for long. I suppose a blessing in disguise?

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Meet the Author
Choices: A Novel talks about how we all come to crossroads in our respective lives, and then the impact it makes by a choice we make. A biochemist by profession made a mere choice of enrolling myself into a technical writing course. Now, little did I know that this small decision would take me on a path to creative writing and eventually publishing a novel. This novel, Choices helps answer many questions about man's ambitions and desires and how is it a road towards happiness and contentment that could eventually become your destiny. This is a "slice-of-life" genre thus, impacting all humans who have made a choice sometime or the other in this lifetime!
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