Jaipur Lit Fest: MAHARANI JINDAN KAUR: THE REBEL QUEEN Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and Priya Atwal and Navtej Sarna in conversation

Having read The Last Queen by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, I was intrigued and interested to know what went into writing her character and story.

As a part of the Jaipur Lit Fest (which is currently on-going virtually), we were treated to an interesting conversation among Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Priya Atwal and Navtej Sarna.

Each one of them have written books based on the Sikh Empire and thus have touched upon or focused on Maharani Jindan’s life as well.

Keeping this in mind, here are some interesting snippets from the conversation that stayed with me.

(The points have been reworded and are not told exactly as the authors said it)

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  • When asked about how Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and Navtej Sarna chose to structure their respective books, here’s what they had to say:

Navtej ji says that he chose to stick to the facts. Having done his research, he wrote about Maharaja Dalip Singh (the son of Rani Jindan) with aa keen eye for detail and a choice to keep it as close to the facts as possible. He did not want to deviate much from this.

Author Chitra on the other hand chose to be a little more creative. Having done extensive research, she chose to focus more on the growth of her characters, their feelings, Maharani Jindan’s romance with the Maharaja and so on. She chose to be more creative about some aspects, breathing life into these complex characters, showing us how they came to be in the situations they were and how they dealt with it. Chitra mam chose to also bring in the interactions of the other Queens with Maharani Jindan and to showcase the ups and downs within the confines of the Zenana.

  • A question from Chitra mam to Navtej ji: How were the narrators chosen in his book?

Navtej ji explained that he chose to use characters for his narratives based on the timeline of the story. For the initial years, the story was told from Mangala’s point of view. He felt that she would be best suited to tell the story of Maharaja Dalip Singh’s early years. This is followed by the story being told from Dalip Sing’s point of view. After this we move on to the period when he spent time with the British and some of the story is then told from Logan’s point of view. Navtej ji also chose to add some points of view from Maharaj Dalip Singh’s valet, the British spy who kept an eye on Dalip Singh’s activities in Europe and so on.

For me, this sounds like a very interesting way to frame the basis of the a book/story and speaks to the planning that went into the writing of his book.

  • In conclusion, a common question that went out to both Chita mam and Priya Atwal was about the lasting image or impression that Rani Jindan has left on them. How they see her from their perspectives.

Chitra mam: According to her, in spite of everything she may have done, her greatest achievement was in turning things around for Dalip Singh when he seemed to have gone off course. Without knowing better and having embraced the British was of life, Dalip Singh was leading a rather happy life when his mother tried to remind him of his roots and his birthright.

Maharani Jindan was a complex and flawed human being. In the end, she loved Punjab and her son and she definitely chose to fight until the very end.

Priya Atwal: As a historian, she chose to take a more diplomatic stand. She agreed with Chita mam’s assessment of Rani Jindan’s character and called her inspiring.

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In all this 30 minute conversation was enlightening and inspiring. A good chance for readers to know what goes on in an author’s mind when they write and how they formulate their plots. I truly enjoyed the session and hope to attend more.

Top Ten Tuesday – 26/01/2021

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This weeks topic is New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2020

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This is quite an interesting prompt. I did read a lot of New-to-Me authors in 2020! I think most of the books on my list would fit the criteria, so I will mention some of the authors whose books left a lasting impression! I have also included tidbits about the books I read by the author and why I liked them.

I have not provided any direct links to connect with the author, but have included review links to the books I have read by the authors. Here goes…..

  • Smita Bhattacharya – I was introduced to the books by the author through her latest cozy-mystery Who Threw Draco Down the Chimney? This book follows Darya Nandkarni, an amateur detective who seems to stumble into the middle of a mystery everywhere she goes! I thoroughly enjoyed the author’s style of writing and loved connecting with her whether it was about the books she wrote, the ones she is reading or the places she has visited!

 

  • Shatrujeet Nath – author of the amazing Vikramaditya Veergatha series. A four book mythological fiction series that will take the reader on a magical journey filled with so many twists and a some strong messages woven in. This series is truly worth the read and I highly recommend it.

 

  • Ben Gartner – author of the children’s book The Eye of Ra and the upcoming book Sol Invictus, Ben takes the readers on a journey through history filled with adventure and wonder! A truly magnificent way of engaging children and adults alike!

 

  • Ellie Midwood – I discovered her books through NetGalley and read the latest one, The Violinist of Auschwitz. I was blown away by the depth in the story and writing. Ellie truly has a gift of taking the reader to a different world and bringing historical events to life.

 

  • Natasha Murray – Her latest book, 58 Farm End is a romantic suspense novel that will keep the reader hooked until the very end. I truly enjoyed this book and how Natasha brought her characters to life.

 

  • Verity Bright – I found her books through NetGalley and enjoyed the investigative journey with Lady Eleanor in Murder in the Snow. It is another cozy mystery that I read last year and am happy to add Verity to my list of authors read and to read!

 

  • Karen M. McManus – I read her book, Two Can Keep a Secret and found it to be quite different and engaging. I truly enjoyed the book and look forward to reading more by her. (Note: This is one book I read in 2020 but am yet to post a review for. I have included the Goodreads link to the book)

 

  • Kiersten White – I heard a lot about author Kiersten White and decided to give her books a read! The first one I read was The Guinevere Deception, Book 1 in The Camelot Rising series. I really liked the author’s take on the story and the fact that the book is told from Guinevere’s perspective. This brings a rather neat spin to a well-known tale and makes it all the more engaging while reading it!

 

  • Nina Walker – I had been following the author on Instagram for some time before I discovered her books. I started off reading Prism, Book 1 in The Color Alchemist series and progressed from there. As a fan of fantasy fiction and anything related to magic in general, I really enjoyed reading about the world she created and how the author brought this world to life!

 

  • Daniela Sacerdoti – Once again I discovered the author through NetGalley while looking for books in the historical fiction genre. I read quite a lot of books in this genre last year. I enjoyed The Lost Village, a brilliant tale of love, loss, betrayal and the effect of secrets.

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I think I will stop this list here. Feel free to share your thoughts on these authors, their books or just your recommendations in general! I would love to discover more authors and support them in any way that I can!

Books to Read (TBR list) – January 2021

Hello All,

I am not normally in the habit of planning ahead with the books I read. I tend to read purely based on my mood and of course based on Blog Tour deadlines (if I have signed up or committed to an author).

However, this year, I decided to make some changes to the way I read, review and blog! Having signed up for so many different kinds of reading challenges, I am trying to be better organized (if I can manage it :P).

In this post, I have made a tentative list of books that I plan to read in January.

Here goes…. Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts, feedback or recommendations!

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  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1)

 

Genre: Fantasy Fiction

Having heard and read so much about this book, I bought it and downloaded it on my kindle in the hopes of joining everyone on this journey!

I am happy to say that it has finally been pulled out of the back of my long list of books on my kindle reader and is in progress! I hope to finish it soon!

 

 

  • Bricktown Boys by Pete Fanning

Bricktown Boys

 

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction

Release date: 12th Jan 2021

I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I was intrigued by the concept and also enjoy reading MGLit!

 

 

  • The Conspiracy at Meru (Vikramaditya Veeragatha #2) by Shatrujeet Nath

The Conspiracy at Meru (Vikramaditya Veergatha, #2)

 

Genre: Mythology, Fiction

This is the second book in the series and the plot is starting to thicken! I am looking forward to reading the book!

 

 

 

  • Meet me in Bombay by Jenny Ashcroft

 

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Release date: 19th Jan 2021

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and am planning to read it before it’s release date this month!

The book sounded quite interesting and with references to Bombay, the story intrigued me more. I am from India and I would love to see how the author has portrayed the place in her story.

 

  • The Newlyweds by Arianne Richmonde

 

Genre: Mystery and Thriller

Release date: 19th Jan 2021

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and am planning to read it before it’s release date this month!

Having read so many fantasy fiction and historical fiction novels recently, I felt it was time to go back to some good old fashioned mysteries! Et voila, this book was available and it is on the verge of release! There is no better time to read it!

 

  • The Wraith’s Memory by Whitney R. Rines

The Wraith's Memory (Between Gods and Mortals Book II)

 

Genre: Fantasy fiction

I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

 

 

  • The Sigil by Shakail Kanish

The Sigil: A Novel - Part I

 

Genre: LGBTQ+ Dark Urban Fantasy

Release date: 4th March 2021

I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I was intrigued by the concept of the book and am looking forward to reading it!

 

 

  • Pawns Gambit by Rob J. Hayes

Pawn's Gambit (A Mortal Techniques novel)

 

Genre: Fantasy Fiction

Release date: 26th Jan 2021

I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Round-up 2020 – Books with a lasting impact!

Hey guys!

As you might have observed, I have been doing round-up posts with a focus on genres read this year.

However, in this post, I wanted to focus on books that left an impact on me that lasted well after finishing the book. This year, I discovered a lot of new books spread across various genres, but a few were just amazing! These books gave me something to think about, brought out a lot of emotions or just sent me on a wonderful adventure filled with fun and learning!

Click on the book image to read my review of the book

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Historical Fiction

The Violinist of Auschwitz The Lost Village

Fantasy Fiction

A Heart So Fierce and Broken (The Cursebreaker Series) Finale (Caraval, #3) A ​Sky Beyond the Storm (An Ember in the Ashes, #4)

Middle Grade Fiction

 Sol Invictus (The Eye of Ra, #2)

General/Contemporary Fiction

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Do share your thoughts in case you have read the above books. If you have recommendations for such reads, please leave a comment so that I can add the book to my ever growing TBR pile!

Round-up 2020 – Romance novels!

Having read a whole lot of books this year, I have decided to do a sum up of the different genres and list my favorite books among those read in 2020!

These posts will help me with the final round-up of favorite books read in 2020 at the end of the year (in another 15 days! :D)

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In this post, I am summarizing the list of Romance novels that I read and enjoyed this year! They are not listed in any particular order and I truly enjoyed all of them. It is interesting to note that I have read many books by the same authors this year and a lot are continuation books in series.

I have provided summaries or snippets from my reviews of the books. To read the complete review, you can click on the book title.

Read on to get to know some of the books I read this year!

 

Return to Virgin River (Virgin River #19) by Robyn Carr

The famous Virgin River series, this book’s release happened around the time of the season 2 premier of the TV series on Netflix. The series has gained quite a viewership and I must say that I have enjoyed watching the series just as much as reading the books.

Return to Virgin River (Virgin River, #19)

The story is well-written and a simple read. The book can be finished in one sitting depending on the reader’s time. A wonderful heart-felt story, this will tug at the reader’s heartstrings and take us on an emotional rollercoaster. Once again Robyn Carr brings us happiness and nostalgia all in one neat package!

 

Sunrise on Half Moon Bay by Robyn Carr

Sunrise on Half Moon Bay

Sunrise on Half Moon Bay follows the lives of two sisters, born twenty years apart and with a very weak relationship save for the common link that is their parents.

The story is well-written and though it gets a little monotonous, the message is wonderful and heartfelt! This is a wonderful story to read at your leisure and it has all the right elements of a family story filled with love and romance.

 

Summer at Hope Haven (Dune Island #1) by Kristin Harper

Summer at Hope Haven (Dune Island #1)

The book introduces us to Emily, the main protagonist dealing with the loss of her family in a terrible accident and a broken engagement. To get away, Emily comes down to Hope Haven, to stay at the house her family vacationed at every summer.

The story is quite enjoyable and as Emily becomes stronger and accepts her life, the secrets, the people at Dune Island, she also starts to consider opening herself up to love. This is a great read for all the romance fans out there!

 

Aunt Ivy’s Cottage by Kristin Harper

This book is another simple beach read that can be read in one sitting, but will tug at the heart-strings much more than the previous book did. This story explores the concepts loss and the importance of family and support.

Overall this is a pleasant read albeit sad at times and is worth picking up for all fans of Romance out there!

 

Ten Days with a Duke by Erica Ridley

Ten Days with a Duke is a heart-warming romance with a strong, independent female character, Olivia and the hero, Elijah,  who prefers horticulture and has been in love with Olivia for years.

This book is a pleasant and quick read set in the time of Christmas in a rather picturesque village! It is indeed the season of love!

 

Forever Your Duke (12 Dukes of Christmas #12) by Erica Ridley

Forever Your Duke (12 Dukes of Christmas,#12)

The final book in the 12 Dukes of Christmas Series, Forever Your Duke is short and simply gorgeous! The basic theme of the story is to follow your heart inspite of Duty. This is a quick read which I thoroughly enjoyed.

A Christmas time romance read, this book is wonderful for a quick break from a busy day with a nice mug of coffee or hot chocolate!

 

Prejudice Meets Pride (Meet Your Match #1) by Rachael Anderson

Prejudice Meets Pride (Meet Your Match, #1)

This is a lovely book of self-discovery, family, parenting and of finding love in the most unlikely of places and in the unlikeliest person. This is a wonderfully light read and the characters are delightful though a little unrealistic at times. But sometimes, all a reader wants is a perfect ending and happiness! This story delivers it all!

 

Wrong Place, Right Time by E.B. Roshan

Wrong place, right time follows the lives of Anna Belko and Boris Merkovich as they navigate a war torn world. Set in the make-believe world of Sevia, the author has done a wonderful job of bringing this world to life.

This story is worth the read especially since it has all the elements of romance mixed with suspense making it an emotional ride in a very short time!

 

Lucy’s Last Chance by Elle Sweet

The author keeps the story and the pace simple and straightforward. However, even though some parts of the story may become predictable, the reader is sure to enjoy this book!

I definitely enjoyed reading about Lucy and how she learns to trust again, how she learns to forgive and move on. Her strength and tenacity are inspiring.

 

Rescuing Lord Inglewood (Inglewood #1) by Sally Britton

Rescuing Lord Inglewood (Inglewood #1)

A pleasant read, Rescuing Lord Inglewood follows Esther Fox as she navigates high society in the absence of her older brother and is forced to marry his best friend, the Earl of Inglewood to preserve her reputation. What ensues is a series of events that could either bring the two together or force them further apart.

The story is well-written and a quick and enjoyable read! This is a must read for fans of romance.

Round-up 2020 – Mysteries and thrillers!

Having read a whole lot of books this year, I have decided to do a sum up of the different genres and list my favorite books among those read in 2020!

These posts will help me with the final round-up of favorite books read in 2020 at the end of the year (in another 15 days! :D)

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In this post, I am summarizing the books read in the mystery and thriller genre. Honestly, I haven’t read much in this genre this year, and it is possible to link some of the YA fiction that I have read in this. But, I have chosen to stick to old fashioned mysteries that make us think and investigate along with the main characters.

Who Threw Draco Down the Chimney? by Smita Bhattacharya

Who Threw Draco Down the Chimney? (Darya Nandkarni's Misadventures #3)

This is the third book in the series based on the eccentric character of Darya Nandkarni. Darya is a an accidental and amateur detective who seems to find her way towards mysteries or do they find her? That is a question for the reader to ponder!

Who Threw Draco Down the Chimney? is a very well-crafted mystery filled with the right amount of intrigue in a wonderful setting.

Smita handles the story and characters very well, with detailed descriptions and a steady pace that takes the reader until the very end. The story can be read as a stand-alone one even though there are some minor references to cases that Darya solved previously and to her family.

This is a must read for everyone who enjoys mysteries set in unique places and with wonderful twists and turns!

 

The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty

The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty

The Last Anniversary is a compelling read!

The author has paid strong attention to details while handling the mystery as well as the characters and this makes the story that much more enjoyable. I strongly recommend this book and I hope that everyone enjoys it as much as I did!

 

58 Farm End by Natasha Murray

58 Farm End

58 Farm End is a fast paced mystery thriller that introduces the reader to the Bridgewaters and Hearns. The plot is well thought out and the characters are easy to relate to.

Some parts of the mystery are so unexpected that this makes for an interesting read! The ending is unexpected and I like how this book leads on to the next one!

A well-written murder mystery, this book is a must read for all!

 

Murder at the Lakeside Library by Holly Danvers

Murder at the Lakeside Library follows Rain, the protagonist as she arrives at her family’s log cabin in Lofty Pines. Dealing with personal loss, Rain is emotionally unstable, but feels that this break will do her good. I particularly enjoyed the twist in the story at the end and this redeemed some of the story for me. I would recommend this as a cozy mystery which is simple to read and enjoy!

 

Two Murders Too Many by Bluette Matthey

Two Murders Too Many

The story follows Charlie Simmons as he investigates the unexpected spree of crime and murder in a small midwest town. The story is very well written with a myriad of characters each with their own quirks.

The ending is definitely a little unexpected and it is quite interesting to watch as Charlie works through each clue one by one to reach a conclusion! The book is well worth the read!

 

The Guilty Die Twice: A Legal Thriller by Don Hartshorn

The Guilty Die Twice: A Legal Thriller

The premise of the book intrigued me and thus I picked it up to read. The story follows estranged lawyer brother’s Travis and Jake Lynch as they navigate their separate worlds, having parted ways ten years ago. The story is told from each of their perspectives interspersed with flashbacks to the incident from ten years ago.

Though it takes some effort to get through, the book is definitely worth a one time read.

 

Winter of the Wolf by Martha Hunt Handler

Winter of the Wolf by Martha Hunt Handler

This book follows the life of Bean (yes, this is a very unusual name for a person and I was surprised with it. I thought it was a nickname.) as she navigates life post her brother’s death. We are given glimpses into the lives of the family members before Sam’s death and of course how they each cope after it.

I enjoyed the references to animals and how the author weaves the story around people’s belief systems without sounding like she is preaching. This book is well worth the read especially to admire the bonds of friendship and family that forms the backbone of the plot.

 

I would love to know what you all think about these books, so don’t hesitate to share your thoughts on this post! In addition, I am open to book recommendations in this genre, so do stop by and comment!

Book Release: Love in C Minor by Mindy Michele

Love in C Minor RD

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Seventeen-year-old Reagan seems like the perfect small-town girl. Dubbed a saint by her older brother, Lincoln, she serves the community, makes straight A’s, attends church, spends her summers working with special needs children, and is a piano playing prodigy.

When you’re the daughter of the mayor and the police chief in a sleepy Kansas town, toeing the line is easier than the alternative.

That is, until her brother’s best friend changes the rules.

Reagan’s been subject to Ridley’s antics her entire life. Growing up, he tormented and teased her, but he kept his distance—until now. When Ridley breaks a promise, late night phone calls and secret rendezvous in the haystacks quickly transform into a reckless, all-consuming love.

Some promises are meant to be broken. Some secrets will not be contained, and sometimes the consequences we render are more than we can bear.

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We’re pretty awesome! We both write books. We both live in the Carolina’s (Mindy in South, Michele in North). We like singing in the car, eating white cheddar popcorn, and going on road trips together. You’ll find us sharing a table at a few book signings each year. We have a love of romance, New York, anything sweet, and great books.

Together we’ve written four novels and one novella, with many more in the works. We’re currently working on the Backroads Duet.

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Help search for the Funniest Books!

Strap in!  It’s going to be a hilarious ride!

Starting on February 1st, Your Laugh Line begins its official search to find the funniest books written in 2017.  It’s like a quest for the Holy Grail (Monty Python or otherwise) but more important!  Our hope is that this book is so funny that it will end all war.

Okay.  Maybe not.

But we are looking for the best, hilarious books written last year.

The contest has two components. One is a Reader’s Choice Award. Readers can log onto https://yourlaughline.com/vote and enter the author and book of their choice. The author who receives the most reader votes will win $250 and an assortment of promotional help from Your Laugh Line.

The other component is an adjudicated contest for books submitted by authors and/or their publishers.  The form is available at https://yourlaughline.com/laugh-line-humorous-book-awards.  The cost to enter the competition is $20 per book. Those books will be judged by a panel of expert book reviewers. The winning author will receive $500, plus an assortment of promotional help from Your Laugh Line.

Authors can enter the competition between February 1st and April 30th.  Reader’s Choice voting runs from February 2nd to August 15th.  Books making it past the first round will be announced on July 1, second round list on August 1, and the final winner on September 1. Honorable mentions will be made for category-specific books.

Author or reader – come and help us find last year’s funniest book!

About Your Laugh Line

Your Laugh Line was created to help funny authors find an audience who appreciates funny books. Knowing the power of laughter to help alleviate stress, to provide the necessary mental distraction to give the brain a break, and to make people feel silly, Your Laugh Line is committed to making the world a better place through humorous books.

www.yourlaughline.com

Book Blitz: Love, Murder and Mayhem – an Anthology edited by Russ Colchamiro

~ Book Blitz ~
Love, Murder & Mayhem
 
About the Book
Love science fiction stories that all include elements ofLove, Murder & Mayhem?
 
Then welcome to the latest anthology from Crazy 8 Press! This amazing collection from 15 all-star authors will delight you with superheros and supervillains. AIs, off-worlders, and space cruisers. We’ve also got private eyes, sleep surrogates, time travelers, aliens and monsters—and one DuckBob!
 
With tales ranging from wild and wacky to dark and gritty to heartbreaking and fun, take the deadly leap with authors Meriah Crawford, Paige Daniels, Peter David, Mary Fan, Michael Jan Friedman, Robert Greenberger, Glenn Hauman Paul Kupperberg, Karissa Laurel, Kelly Meding, Aaron Rosenberg, Hildy Silverman, Lois Spangler, Patrick Thomas, and editor Russ
Colchamiro.

 
You’ll never look at Love, Murder & Mayhem the same way again—and that’s just the way we like it.
 
 
About the Editor:
Russ Colchamiro is the author of the rollicking space adventure, Crossline, the hilarious sci-fi backpacking comedy series, Finders Keepers, Genius de Milo, and Astropalooza, and is editor of the new anthology, Love, Murder & Mayhem, all with Crazy 8 Press.
Russ lives in New Jersey with his wife, two children, and crazy dog, Simon, who may in fact be an alien himself. Russ has also contributed to several other anthologies, including Tales of the Crimson Keep, Pangaea, and Altered States of the Union, and TV Gods 2. He is now at work on a top-secret project, and a Finders Keepers spin-off.
As a matter of full disclosure, readers should not be surprised if Russ spontaneously teleports in a blast of white light followed by screaming fluorescent color and the feeling of being sucked through a tornado. It’s just how he gets around — windier than the bus, for sure, but much quicker.