Monday, July 28, 2014

Only A Dream by Jazz Singh : A Review

BOOK TITLE: Only A Dream
ISBN: 978-1-927826-09-6
AUTHOR: Jazz Singh
GENRE: Fiction
REVIEW BY: Dhivya Balaji
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: I thank Naheed of Indireads for offering this book to us for review.
          Rhea can’t believe her ex-flame Varun has shown up in her life again as her new boss! He was her first love, the man she gave herself to body and soul, thinking they would be together forever. But then, without warning or explanation, he dumped her and she was left with broken dreams and a broken heart.
          Now he wants Rhea in his life again and won’t take no for an answer. But the hurt and humiliation of the past still rankle and Rhea is not ready to forgive and forget.
          Can Varun convince her that his promises are for real? Should Rhea believe him?
          Only A Dream had an interesting summary, enough to pique the interest of a casual reader. And it was a decently written tale of friendship, love and a woman’s pain of being cheated. Rhea is a successful employee of a large chain of hotels. She is efficient, understanding and pleasing. The story opens with Rhea meeting Varun, a handsome rich business tycoon who is now buying the hotel she was working for. But Rhea and Varun have a past.
          Rhea is still not able to get over the pain of having loved Varun a few years back and getting cheated by him. The relationship is portrayed as a slow build up and with a very strong foundation as Rhea befriends not only Varun but also his two childhood buddies, both of whom stand by Rhea when Varun decides to drop his commitment to Rhea (with all the mushy promises and steamy scenes included) and marry someone else where he went to study abroad.
          Understandably, Rhea is shattered and detests anything to do with Varun. But she manages to keep a straight face and a professional demeanour even when he comes back into her life a few years later. Rhea appears to have moved on to better things but still unable to reach any success in the love/relationship department. Varun, on his part, seems very persuasive and for reasons of his own, wants Rhea back into his life.
          The story has an underlying suspense about the credibility of Varun’s character and the real reason for him to marry another woman when he seemed so committed to Rhea. There is also the small confusion and disbelief when all of Varun’s friends and even his parents, who were equally shocked in his marriage, now supporting him. Rhea manages to maintain a cold, stiff veneer but finds herself falling for Varun all over again, her only problem being his marital status.
          The plot is fairly simple, with only the confusion being the true nature of the lead man. The characters are written with a bit of confusion and seem too liberal to suit Indian sensibilities sometimes, (but maybe that is the reviewer’s opinion) the lead woman, though is portrayed extremely well. Her cold demeanour at first, her belief in love, her shock, and her inability to hide her obvious concern for the only man she loved are extremely relatable (even if it makes the character humanly weak). The plot has no holes and the climax is predictable (and therein lies the thrill of the genre).
          Read this story if you have a nice, warm summer afternoon with the intention of a reading a short book that provides just the right amount of suspense, drama, romance, steamy scenes and an added dose of ‘it all ends well’ feel.
          Character of Rhea, The characters of friends.
          The predictable climax, and the sudden disclosure of the knot of suspense. It felt like a slight letdown after all the anticipation.
          Read this book both for the story and the fun quotient. Jazz Singh never keeps a moment dull in this book!
          Jazz Singh loves to travel and takes every opportunity she gets to see a new place. She has done many things in her life from training behavioural skills to working in the world of fashion. She believes life is all about trying the untried and her curiosity has had her rappel down a mountain face and zip-fly across deep valleys.
          She believes there is no age for love; it can happen anytime. While she loves reading, there is no favourite genre, she goes through phases and can move from philosophy, to spiritual books, to science fiction and then on to historical dramas. Writing romance has been a dream. Putting to paper the myriad love stories around is something she loves doing.

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Digital (mobi, ePub, PDF)
PRICE: Rs. 150 for Kindle edition

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Contract by Zeenat Mahal : A Review

BOOK TITLE: The Contract *terms and conditions apply*
ISBN: 978-1-927826-15-7
AUTHOR: Zeenat Mahal
GENRE: Fiction/ Romance
FORMAT: Digital
REVIEW BY: Dhivya Balaji
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: I thank Naheed of Indireads for the digital copy provided in exchange for an honest review.
          “…We’ll get married, but I’ll pay you a monthly salary to behave and appear for all practical purposes as my wife…If you agree, the marriage vows can be taken on the phone on Saturday, since I have an hour free in the morning.”

          Shahira, a young, divorced mother of a seven-year-old son, wants nothing to do with men ever again. But circumstances have forced her hand, and Hussain’s unusual proposition leaves her secretly relieved. As per their contract, she’ll have his name, will be paid to look after his ailing mother and motherless daughter and will be left well alone by him. Perfect!

          Until her new husband decides to stop playing by the rules.

          Hussain is suave and rich. He is nobody’s fool…and is not about to be bested by the ex-schoolteacher he is married to. He has Shahira in his sights and she has to have all her wits about her in order to hold him at arm’s length
          Shahira, 30, is a single mother of an only boy, just out of an abusive marriage. She is a prim school teacher and takes a liking to Natasha, a motherless child who has an insanely rich, but very busy father Hussain, who has no time for his family. The child is in the protection of her grandmother, who also takes a liking to Shahira and insists that she marry her son and be a mother to her granddaughter.
          Shahira is shocked, both by the proposal, and the irate call she receives from Hussain who considers her to be a charming gold digger, wherein he warns her to stay away from his family. A sudden change of heart (not revealed why here) causes both of them to enter into a marriage of convenience, with a contract that specifies Shahira must take care of the daughter and the son and there will be no relationship between both of them. Shahira negotiates with the insanely rich man for the sake of securing a future for her son. (There is nothing indecent here)
          The marriage takes place over phone and Shahira moves into the new house with her son and lives a happy life with her mother in law and new daughter. She is happy as long as Hussain is not around and is comfortable. But clever planning by her mother in law brings Hussain into the house and he begins to fall for her since he first lays his eyes upon her. The scenes written are very visual, practical. Hussain’s ego is piqued by this woman who seems not to care for him and seems to be carefree and happy around everyone except him.
          He does everything in his power to contradict her and try to understand her. Just to peeve her, he takes her along with the children to a trip to Europe. He starts loving her for all her character quirks and her gentle, caring nature. He wants her to reciprocate. But Shahira is wary of all men and never wants to trust another man to the level of commitment that is required for a marriage.
          Whether or not Hussain wins her confidence and her heart forms the rest of the plot, which is simple in its brilliance. The characters and their emotions are clean, gentle and the story itself is short and relatable. Shahira manages to enrapture the readers in her simplicity and depth of character. Hussain shines in his suave, and adorably cunning (yes, it is not an oxymoron) methods to win Shahira over.
          Read this story for the brilliant language, portrayal of emotions and strong female character (that is an indireads norm, I guess). A very enjoyable, short read.
          The whole story, and the characters of both Shahira and Hussain, and the intimidating (yes, it is a joke) mother.
          Certain parts could have been edited better (would be understood when the story is read)
          Definitely a read worth for both a rainy and sunny evening!
RATING: 4.4/5
          Zeenat Mahal (@zeenat4indireads) is an avid reader and has been writing for as long as she can remember. She has an MPhil in English literature from Government College Lahore and is currently doing an MFA in creative writing from Kingston University London. She won a BBC short story competition in 2001 and has been a regular contributor to local newspapers.

          Zeenat has eclectic tastes and an insatiable desire to learn. Her romances are a heady mix of the traditional and the contemporary, old world values face the challenges of a shrinking globe that impinge upon and help shape South Asian sensibilities.
          The Contract is Zeenat’s second published novella. Currently she is working on a literary novel with elements of magical realism, while continuing to write romances. She can be contacted on her FB page

          Zeenat currently lives in Kingston Upon Thames with her fabulous sons.
PRICE: Rs. 175 for Kindle edition.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pink Champagne by Madhuri Iyer : A Review

BOOK TITLE: Pink Champagne
ISBN: 978-1-927826-05-8
AUTHOR: Madhuri Iyer
GENRE: Fiction - Indirom
FORMAT: Digital
REVIEW BY: Dhivya Balaji
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: I thank Naheed Hassan of Indireads for giving us a chance to review this book!
When rookie banker Tanya Sen heads out to New York City to start her dream job, she bumps into her dream guy instead! But suave and sophisticated Arjun Mehta is already taken – engaged, and soon-to-be-married, to socialite Lily. Her claws dig deep, and she isn’t planning on letting go anytime soon.

Enter Indu Ben, Arjun’s widowed mother, who has a premonition that Tanya, not Lily, is the one who will become her bahu. Arjun is forced, against his will, to help Tanya out. He introduces her to new friends, rental condos and pink champagne.

With the wedding looming up ahead, Arjun finds himself spending way too much time with an attractive young lady who is not his fiancée. Caught between commitment and attraction, will businessman Arjun follow his head or his heart?
          A short Indirom Novella seemed like a good break from the rather heavy books that are currently on my reading list. And with special thanks to Naheed of Indireads, I started reading the first of the many titles that he sent to us for review. Pink Champagne seemed quite the ‘bubbly’ (pun intended) sort of book that could break the serious readers’ block. And break, it did!
          A young girl from India, Tanya, goes to New York from Toronto to work for a bank. On her way to the Big Apple, (she travels in a bus) she gets down and the usual slip, miss and fall occur. She is saved from total embarrassment by the grace of one Greek Adonis, Arjun. She feels red because of her fall and his amusement correspondingly.
          Hoping to forget the one off incident, she moves to her new job. It was then that she realises that she has his phone. On their second meeting (to give back the phone of course) Tanya scolds herself. She seems to be falling for him romantically. It is then that she learns that he is engaged to be married. In what surely looks like a heartbreak romance, she pines for him and he for her. His overbearing fiancée seems a far cry from the silent, soft natured Tanya.
          In the big city as two friends, they meet each other often and finally, they realise the inevitable and they fall in love with each other. Whether Tanya ends up with him or his best friend Karsh, who also happens to be her moral support forms the rest of the story.
          The plot of the story is ‘man meets woman’ romance. And the characters are breezy, fun and casual. The story is short but includes all the essential details. The writing is descriptive and clear with simple, short words. The whole book is a breezy read and there are no poignant or sad moments. Go for this novella if you like a light romance with a happy ending.
WHAT I LIKED: The writing style, the choice of words.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: A little more depth to the story would have been better.
VERDICT: Expect a short breezy romance novella with a happy ending, and you will get your expectations fulfilled.
RATING: 4/5 (It meets your expectations from a simple romance novella)
          Madhuri Iyer is an award-winning advertising copywriter with a 25-year career in the advertising profession in Mumbai, Delhi, Muscat, Dubai, and Toronto. She has worked for agencies like FCB Ulka, Everest Saatchi, McCaan, and Lowe Lintas. Madhuri is a Partner at Indus Eye, a media and advertising consultancy based in Toronto and enjoys her work as a creative consultant.
          She has also holds a certificate in screenplay writing from Toronto. Subsequently, Madhuri chose to extend her writing skills into the publishing space by editing a series of four health and fitness books for the Times of India group and Penguin India.
          Pink Champagne, developed exclusively for Indireads, is her first work of fiction. Another two book print deal is on the cards with an established Indian publishing house

PRICE: Rs. 89 for Kindle edition

Sunday, July 20, 2014


** CHECK OUT THE HUGE GIVEAWAY TOO -  $200 in Gift Cards! **


Some codes are best left secret.
What if I told you there existed a bible code. Not just any bible code but one capable of turning the Book of Genesis into the most technologically advanced epics ever told; would you believe me. Well thanks to one of the Cold War’s best kept secret, such a code does exist.
The Talon Project is an original bible code discovered by the world’s best and foremost scientist. This unique code turns the Book of Genesis and other ancient creation stories into the most technologically advanced epic ever conceived.
Not everybody is happy with the project going public. Will you believe in the code!


A Secret code that exists since biblical times. a code so ancient but capable of helping produce the most technologically advanced weapons and make the country who has the code a superpower. Detective Michael Cohen receives a different kind of request from an ex FBI agent. When he heeds to that request, he finds himself constantly followed and indirectly threatened at turns. When he learns from the grand old man about the Project Talon, he looks into it with skepticism and disbelief. But he gets a chance to meet the legendary but shadowy character who claims to have solved the code. What this person requests Michael to do forms the rest of the story.

This feels slightly sudden in the ending. There are a lot of loose ends that need to be explained. The story is a short 42 pages and feels like an extended prologue, but an interesting one at that. There is enough build up to create an anticipation as to what the story will be like. The reader is actually left searching for the remaining pages in the book. The writing is good and the story is creating enough anticipation to keep the reader engrossed. But without the explanatory (expected to be so) second part, this is like a tantalizing preview that hides more than it shows. Not as an individual book in itself.

Purchase Children of the Gods

About The Author

Darryl's Website / Facebook / Twitter
Darryl Olsen is a writer who lives in Sydney, he was educated on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales and after leaving school joined the Australian Regular Army. Darryl Olsen now writes part time, and when he is not finishing off his latest novel, you can catch Darryl at the gym lifting heavy weights, but still avoiding all forms of leg work.
Darryl Olsen is the author of the Purgatory series with the first title, Purgatory, Soldiers of Misfortune- now available. Stay tuned for the second novel titled, "Purgatory Origins" He also wrote "Children of the Gods-The Talon Project."


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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Adventures with Ragweed by Linda Lou Crosby : Book Tour!

Adventures with Ragweed
By Linda Lou Crosby
Genre: YA, Short Stories, Adventure


‘Adventures with Ragweed’ is a collection of humorous short stories filled with adventure and family themes. Ragweed is a tribute to the whimsical part of each of us. Follow this young teen and her best friend, Marney as they travel to Mexico for a fishing trip where the family is to shoot a pilot for a television show instead find themselves in an unexpected sea storm. Laugh out loud as Ragweed takes on the tennis elite at the country club or attempts to rearrange their perfectly cut lawns. Always one to learn new things, this young freckled face gal with the unruly blonde hair builds a float, rides a horse and grows a garden. Each task done with her own unique vies of the world. These stories are meant to entertain. It's difficult to narrow it down to one specific genre as the book is a collection of short stories suitable for young adults as well as for an older crowd with a sense of humor. Family Relationships, Friendships, Essays and Humor are categories all presented within the pages of this book. May you enjoy each tale as much as Ragweed enjoyed living the adventures.

          ‘Adventures with Ragweed’ is an entertaining collection of short stories about the adventures of Ragweed, a young girl. As the title says, the stories are more about travelling with Ragweed as she goes off on one harebrained scheme after another, rather than reading them as stories. Ragweed is a young girl born to rich parents and living in an insanely big house. She has one friend who goes with her in every idea she has. Ragweed manages to make a mess everywhere she goes, and in every plan she has. The stories are more about finding fun in reading more than making sense of the plans or scoffing at the ideas. Have a fun ride with Ragweed as she embarks on one adventure after next and tries to think up of beautiful ideas that turn into catastrophes.
          The story synopsis gave me an idea of what to expect. The language is lucid, clear and easily understandable. The author has a sense of humour and it takes a lot of effort to write from a child’s eyes. And Ragweed is an image of every child and a wonderful childhood. Frying eggs on the sidewalk, and cleaning it from water fountain, winning in tennis by default, making a huge float of a Trojan Horse out of bits and pieces, trying to help clean up the house by using clothes detergent to wash dishes, ragweed does everything you would expect a highly active child to do… Don’t expect a very great path breaking novel. The book is light, clearly written and fun to read. It is short and brief. Read it for a child’s innocence, if nothing else.

Rating: 3.8/5


Linda Lou Crosby is a video producer, storyteller and former professional athlete. Like Ragweed, she has a unique approach to life. Ragweed is a part of herself she wanted to share with others. Linda Lou has a great sense of humor and likes to laugh and make others laugh too.

She currently lives with her husband in Montana and California where on clear days you can find her fishing, hunting or hiking.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Metamorphing by Kunal Pancholi : A Review

BOOK TITLE: Metamorphing
ISBN: 9789383562992
AUTHOR: Kunal Pancholi
GENRE: Suspense/ Thriller/ Paranormal
FORMAT: Paperback
SERIES / STANDALONE: Metamorphing #1
REVIEW BY: Dhivya Balaji
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: This review is a part of Readers Cosmos review program.
To get free books log on to
28TH APRIL, 2000: Flight No. 9x4876 bound to Srinagar has crash landed into the Everest Base camp. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the flight mysteriously went off the radar for few minutes and missed its landing. All passengers are feared dead… except for three bodies that are yet to be recovered.
8TH DECEMBER, 2050: This, without doubt is the most gruesome murder in recent times. Early this morning, an unidentified woman was found mutilated at the western gates of the abandoned Victoria Terminus Station in Mumbai. Authorities report her head was … well … semi-decapitated and she was drained of all her blood. The shocking part - the crime scene was devoid of any signs of blood spatter…
ROHAN: He was shorter than the shortest girl in school; he had to be ahead in the game!
RUDRA: A man without a past, coaxed into a murder investigation; will he ever grasp the true nature of the crime?

A thrilling tale about two men bound by an untraceable yet undeniable fate - One running away from his past, another unaware of his own.
          Metamorphing – The word that was not a word by itself. One word titles do not often manage to capture the imagination of the reader but this one did. I picked up the book feeling thoroughly confused, questioning my own spelling skills (wasn’t it metamorphosing we were talking about?) but the book does justice to the ‘misspelling’. It is not about metamorphosing as a whole.
          With just the right amount of piqued curiosity and apprehension about the proficiency of the author’s language, (Sorry to Mr. Kunal Pancholi – please read the next sentence) I took up this book. But thankfully, I was proven wrong on all my doubts and apprehensions about this book. Breaking the suspense, the language is brilliant, easy, with no technical jargon and fluid enough to read.
          The story is about two men, and it progresses in alternating chapters. One man, Rudra, wakes up from an accident in 2050, his memories washed away. He is asked to be a private detective by a woman whose son is wrongly accused of murder. Rudra takes up the assignment assuming that he had been a detective in his life before his memories got washed away.
          The alternating chapters chronicle the life of Rohan, the shortest guy in his class, trying to find love, and living the life of a normal youngster at the millennium year. His lady love Gina, his friend since childhood reciprocates his interest and life is going great guns for him. But a plane crash during a tour from which he is the lone survivor changes his life forever. He comes back five years after everyone presumed him dead and Gina has remarried, only his parents are still in wait for him.
          The tale progresses with Rudra’s investigation on one end and Rohan’s second lease of life on the other end. Both are equally well written and somehow the feeling that they will coincide is overwhelming for the reader. Some such stories about shape shifting and the paranormal tend to be shoddily scripted or preposterous. But metamorphing is believable, acceptable and clear in its concepts.
          The characters are well etched and each scene has a bearing over the progress of the story. The premise is unique and though not unheard of, definitely new and refreshing. The plot is built with suspense until the penultimate page and the twist at the end is brilliantly crafted. There are certain loopholes obvious to the reader. But by the time you come to the end of the story you forget the questions you had!
WHAT I LIKED: The language, plot and the story.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: There are certain loopholes that could have been avoided
VERDICT: Go for it! You won’t regret reading this book.
RATING: 4.3/5
(For a change, in his own words)
I graduated from SRCC Delhi in 2001. A college best known to churn out the most formidable of CAs, I realised I wasn't cut out for it. An odd banking job for couple years and I managed to get into NMIMS Mumbai for an MBA (2004-2006).

In my professional career since then, I have worked with banks (2 banks across 4 years), co-founded READO - an audio book publishing company and did a marketing stint with a film production company in Mumbai.

Currently I head the function of sales & marketing at a technology start-up. I live in Chennai with my wife, parents, sister and grand-mom.

I like watching movies, Mystery / crime shows are my favourite pastime on TV and I love south Indian cuisine.
PRICE: Rs.223 for Paperback

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Monday, July 14, 2014

International Authors' Day : Giveaway

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Readers' Muse is proud to be a part of International Authors' Day Blog Hop hosted by Debdatta Sahay of b00k r3vi3w Tours. It’s a day (or a few days) to celebrate indie writers. This new yearly event is from Monday, July 14th to Friday, July 18th.

So what’s so special about reading? There are countless other apparently “Interesting” activities out there to “kill time “. Why pick up a book, snuggle into a corner and ready away? Why really?

Only a true reader will know the answer to that question! But beware; don’t dare ask them that on the face for they might as well throw a punch at you! (I would if asked:-P)

A Reader lives a hundred lives and dies a thousand deaths.  There can’t possibly be a better way to enjoy life than reading away beautiful books tucked in a corner. The smell of an old book can give you a high way better than alcohol can! The journey through a sea of emotions can never be unnerving for a reader for the book takes equal care of the reader though leaving them a changed and wise individual.
The journey of a reader through various books can’t possibly be described in words for the journey is a nothing short of a complex web of imagination woven by gifted souls sent by god himself in the form of a writers.

There is no poor writer or  good writer. Words can be twisted in N ways thereby producing different results. It all just depends on how beautifully a human can weave a tale by playing with words. Some fail to deliver that “perfect punch” while some do an astoundingly good job.

Wishing all such gifted souls An Happy International Authors’ Day!

To add some bling to this celebration, we are hosting a double giveaway.

Enter away to win a digital copy of Hamlet’s Ghost by Jane Tara (Open Internationally) & a Paperback copy of The Counterfeit Priest by Paul Cross (Open to Indian Residents ONLY)

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