Friday, December 8, 2023

A Bookish Q & A Post 2023


Photo: Unsplash

I found this interesting bookish questions post (by Pratibha) on Twitter, and picked a few questions to answer. Here it goes...

Top 3 books read in 2023

Simsim by Geet Chaturvedi, translated by Anita Gopalan

Cobalt Blue by Sachin Kundalkar, translated by Jerry Pinto

Woman to Woman by Madhulika Liddle

I'd like to mention a horror novel, 'Let Him In’ by William Friend.

Favourite romance 2023

None, actually. And I'm surprised. Re-read my two favourite romance books (I'll mention later).

Best mystery/thriller 2023

The Boy from the Sea by HL Macfarlane

Rereads 2023


Love Virtually and Every Seventh Wave (the sequel).

An adaptation done right

Jaane Jahan (The Devotion of Suspect X)

Favourite new author 2023

They're not new but I experienced their writing for the first time. 

Madhulika Liddle

Arunava Sinha

Jerry Pinto

Books that more people need to read


Woman to Woman

Books you didn't finish in 2023

'Deewaar Mein Ek Khidki Rehti Thi' by Vinod Kumar Shukla. It's a Sahitya Academy winning book so I can't say much. I was so looking forward to it, but I couldn't wrap my mind around what was happening. A unique, well loved book that didn't work for me.

Most read genres 2023

Nothing specific. Literary fiction, maybe. Also, I re-explored horror this year, and I wasn't disappointed.

Books that was not worth the hype:

I am very impatient when it comes to reading. I have left many unanimously loved, immensely popular books unfinished, but I won't say they weren't worth the hype. To each their own. They didn't work for me.

Best translation read in 2023


Translator: Anita Gopalan

Cobalt Blue

Translator: Jerry Pinto

Greatest Bengali Stories Ever Told Translator: Arunava Sinha

Last book you read in 2023

The last two books didn't work for me, so let it be. I'm reading two books ―Aapka Banti by Mannu Bhandari & Shake the Bottle by Ashapurna Debi (translated by Arunava Sinha). I'm unbelievably slow these days.

Now, your turn!

Written for Bookish League hosted by Ritu

Sharing with Blogchatter

Friday, November 3, 2023

My Favourite Slow-Burn Love Stories

I'm very fond of delightful love stories. But, I believe, romance novels can be really boring if not handled well (involves many factors). One of the things that really pisses me off is 'insta love' or love at first sight. Maybe because I don't believe in the theory of love at first sight. I like to see the protagonists growing in a beautiful relationship; to see them fictional characters falling in love. 

If you ask me about my favourite fictional characters falling in love, I'd say Leo and Emmi from Love Virtually by Daniel Glattauer (and Every Seventh Wave, the sequel). They are epistolary novels (written in the form of emails). And Me Before You.

But I have mentioned these books way too many times, so I am offering a fresh list. Four slow burn love stories that I read and loved in the last 2-3 years.

Twice in a Lifetime by Melissa Baron 

Isla unexpectedly receives a text from a stranger, Ewan, who claims to be her husband. Obviously a wrong number, she thinks, she's not even married. But then he shares some solid proofs that indicate he might be his future husband who has lost her and is now reaching out to her to save her.

So when she meets him for the first time, she knows he is the one, but Ewan doesn't know as yet.

It's speculative fiction, an endearing love story. Unique, imaginative and so engrossing. It deals with mental health in a very sensitive manner. I loved it, I wish I could re-read it like I was reading it for the first time.

My Name is Anton by Catherine Ryan Hyde

It’s 1965, and life has taken a turn for eighteen-year-old Anton Addison-Rice. Nearly a year after his brother died in a tragic accident, Anton is still wounded—physically and emotionally. Alone for the holidays, he catches a glimpse of his neighbor Edith across the street one evening and realizes that she’s in danger.

Anton is determined to help Edith leave her abusive marriage. Frightened and fifteen years Anton’s senior, Edith is slow to trust. But when she needs a safe place to stay, she lets down her guard, and over the course of ten days an unlikely friendship grows. 

"'I love you so much it scares me sometimes. I’ll think how much I love you and for a minute it’s hard to breathe.'

'Welcome to my side of the fence,' he said."

A pure, poignant, unique and heartwarming love story. Too good to be true, maybe, but I absolutely don't mind! Beautiful writing. My full review.

Love at First by Kate Clayborn

Blurb: Sixteen years ago, a teenaged Will Sterling saw—or rather, heard—the girl of his dreams. Standing beneath an apartment building balcony, he shared a perfect moment with a lovely, warm-voiced stranger. It’s a memory that’s never faded, though he’s put so much of his past behind him. Now an unexpected inheritance has brought Will back to that same address, where he plans to offload his new property and get back to his regular life as an overworked doctor. Instead, he encounters a woman, two balconies above, who’s uncannily familiar…

'and he couldn’t just hear the grin in her voice; it was like he could feel it, like she had her mouth pressed right against his chest.'

It's so sweet and heartwarming. It's so funny and so sad, at times. And I loved Will and Nora (especially Will). And their endearing conversations.

The Meeting Point by Olivia Lara

What if the Lift driver who finds your cheating boyfriend's phone holds the directions to true love?

'Who are you and why do you have my boyfriend's phone?'

'He left it in my car. You must be the blonde in the red dress? I'm the Lift driver who dropped you two off earlier.'

And with these words, the life of the brunette and t-shirt wearing Maya Maas is turned upside down. Having planned to surprise her boyfriend, she finds herself single and stranded in an unknown city on her birthday.

We don't meet the male protagonist for a long time, but he is connected through texts and that's so entertaining, the chats. I love the protagonists and their conversation. Both as a reader and a writer, I felt deeply connected. So much that the book travelled with me to my kitchen, and it doesn't happen often. I love the settings: the lovely locations, the cafe, beach, cottages…

The ending was a bit rushed, as I was expecting a deeper conversation and moments. Nevertheless, it was lovely, lovely read. 

If you are reading this post, please leave a comment and share yoir favourites. Would love to know.

Written for Bookish League hosted by Ritu

Blogchatter Bloghop's prompt: 'Your two favourite fictional characters falling in love'

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Writers of Blogchatter Anthology Part 2


So, here's the second part where I'm introducing you to the writers of The Blogchatter Book of Thrillers (that I am part of), published by Readomania. Also, let me tell you a little about the featured stories as they appear. Request you to check the first part HERE.

One Night by Tarang Sinha: It's about a young, depressed boy who happens to be wandering at night when he meets a mysterious girl in a weird situation. 

Tarang Sinha is a bilingual writer, translator and self taught artist. Her stories and articles have been published in various magazines like Good Housekeeping India, Child India, New Woman, Women's Era and The Hindu. She writes for a popular radio show Yaadon Ka Idiot Box with Neelesh Misra.

Twitter | Instagram

The Dactyist by Anushree Saha: A chilling and gory narrative about a collector who has an unusual interest in the fingerprints of her victims. What's her motive? What's her background story? Delve deep into the psyche of our protagonist to uncover the killer mindset. 

Anushree Saha aka My Word Bubble, is a blogger, book reviewer, freelance writer and social media strategist. She has worked with renowned brands, authors and publishers. She is also a Black belt in Taekwondo martial arts. Her poetry book- Duende (Dwen-day) talks about various social issues. Her poems have been previously published in anthologies such as Carnations, Beyond Life, Anika and Little Love notes. More on her Blog | Instagram

Black by Dr Alpna Das Sharma: What do the desert, the dark night skies, a wandering girl, a handful of scattered beads and an abandoned well have in common? Black is an unconventional revenge story unfolding  in a backdrop of abuse, gender discrimination and social stigmas.

Alpna is a doctor by profession, trained in dermatology, but a poet at heart. She enjoys delving into the deep recesses of the human mind and expressing many unspoken emotions through her words. More on Facebook | Instagram

A Husband's Guide to Set a Wife Right by Rahul Vishnoi: A husband, convinced his wife is cheating on him, wants to punish by branding her with a shovel dipped in boiling oil. But tables turn, as they always do in a good thriller.

Rahul Vishnoi is a bookworm who devours anything fun to read. He loves travelling as much as reading. It's this habit of reading that inculcated the desire to jump to the other side of the paper. More on his Website | Instagram

The Silver Anklet by Harshita Nanda: About the story: this story is about love and betrayal with a dash of supernatural elements.

Harshita Nanda is an avid reader and a lover of the written word. An ex- 1997 batch BITSian. She has three self-published books to her name, and her stories have a home in many anthologies. More on her blog | Twitter | Instagram

What Runs in Our Blood by Roshan Radhakrishnan: it combines genres in a very unique way, starting off as a historical fiction tale exploring caste equations in Kerala centuries ago before taking an absolutely unexpected turn in the final act.

Dr Roshan is an Anaesthesiologist. He has over 24 short stories published in print and was a winner in both Season 1 & 2 of Write India, India's Largest Short Story Contest. More on his blog | Twitter

Hartoli's Duty by Suchita Agarwal: Hartoli's Duty is about Hartoli who ferries dead people from one shore of the river to another. The people he receives have committed the sin of silence and it is his duty to ensure they sing before they reach the next stop in their journey. He has been doing his duty diligently until his latest charge Brahaspath enters his realm and changes everything.

Suchita Agarwal has a Masters in International Business and is Head of Operations at Blogchatter. She writes fiction and essays regularly on her blog She has self-published 3 ebooks: 23 Letters of Love (a poem collection), The Gunslinger (a western novella) and Happy Endings (an anthology). Reading and desserts are her one true love. More on her Blog | Twitter 

Thank you for reading! Hope you find The Blogchatter Book of Thrillers interesting and add it to your TBR list, read it and like it. We will wait for your feedback.

Friday, October 13, 2023

Writers of Blogchatter Anthology Part 1


In my last post, I shared about this really cool Blogchatter (a wonderful community for writers and readers) anthology that I'm part of. It's called The Blogchatter Book of Thrillers, published by Readomania. If you enjoy thrillers or mysterious stories, you will like it. You can get it HERE or HERE.

Today, I'm happy to introduce the talented writers of this anthology! Also, let me tell you a little about the stories (as they appear in the book).

Against the Windowpane by Dr. Rehana Sultan: This story is about a young doctor's struggle to save her child against the evils she couldn't escape. It deals with the everyday lives of doctors and the harassment they go through.

Rehana is an Assistant professor in the dept of general and laparoscopic surgery in Pondicherry. She has been previously published in an anthology by Swipe publications. More on her blog | Instagram

The Last Rasam by Anuradha Shetty: This story is about Raghuram, a ten year old boy who is anxiously waiting for India to be a free country so his sister who is hiding in the attic can come out to live freely. The story is all about how freedom is different for each one of us. 

Anuradha Shetty is a business management graduate, Life Coach, Career Coach, and content writer who has been a firm believer that words are empowering. She has self-published two books 'We are all a Little Broken' on Amazon Kindle and 'Falling  Down' on BlogChatter. More on her Blog | Twitter

The Secrets of Nandini Rutuja by Roma Gupta Sinha: A tale of a reclusive and aggressive teenager who loves lizards. She has lost both her parents and has for long confined herself to a room with zero human contact. She only communicates with lizards and surely hides some dark secrets. Read this thriller and delve into Nandini’s world to fathom the dark truth.

Roma is a versatile blogger and author of seven published books in different genres. She has been felicitated with numerous awards for her candid thought-provoking writings and her quantum of work, including the coveted 'Woman of the Year 2015', ‘Planet's Pride Award 2018' and ‘Sahityakosh Samman 2021’. She is also the founder of Endometriosis Awareness and Support Group India. More on her blog | Instagram | Twitter

Memory's Missing Piece by Kajal Kapur: Reva recovers from a coma and she discovers a strange aberration, an unexpected occurrence that can blow the reputation of the hospital. It takes DSP Akash Mathur and ASP Medha Bisht to solve the puzzle. Justice for Reva is more than a mere arrest.

Kajal is an Entrepreneur, a writer and a Happiness Coach. She leads a team at Penmancy, an enterprise dedicated to providing a launchpad for aspiring authors. As a fiction writer she has contributed to numerous esteemed international and national anthologies, and her published articles have found place in various international and national online magazines and digital platforms. More on Instagram | Facebook

What Tomorrow Holds by Deepti Menon: It tells the saga of a young girl who is brought into a family and made to slave for them. What happens when she finds true love is the crux of this thriller short story.

Deepti Menon is a thriller writer who has also published books in genres like non-fiction, poetry, biography and children’s literature. She has also participated in around twenty-five anthologies where her story appears with those of myriad other writers as well. More on her Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook Page

The Encounter by Chinmayee Sahu: What happens when Ramakant finds out a dangerous truth? Is it too late to realise it? Does he pay a price for doing his duty? 

Chinmayee Gayatree Sahu, currently a Government Employee, is passionate about reading and loves to pen down her emotions.  She aims to keep writing quality articles and stories that can engage her readers and give them wings of imagination. She has authored three books so far. Five Petals, a collection of short stories; Heartfelt Symphonies, a poetry book; Traces & Memoirs: Stories of You and Me, collection of twenty-six short stories are available on Amazon and Flipkart. More on her Website | Twitter | Instagram 

Fragments of Yesterday by Huma Masood: It is about a young woman who loses her memory in an accident that nearly kills her. Desperate for answers, she visits a doctor at the local hospital, where she runs into her past. What will she find?

Huma Masood is a seasoned stock market trader, a published poet, and a storyteller. Her work has been featured in blogs, ezines, and anthologies. 

More on her website | Instagram

The Fields by Nirmiti Narain: It's about a scary scarecrow stationed at a field, watching the glowing crops and eagerly waiting for his beloved, but then something unexpected happens…

Nirmiti is currently a sales leader at Google with 12 years of experience across diverse corporate conglomerates like Tata and Zomato. Writing has been her passion since childhood. 

Hope you find the blurbs intriguing. Stay tuned; I'll post the second part soon. Here's the second part.

Thursday, October 5, 2023

The Blogchatter Book of Thrillers

This is my first post for Bookish League, a blog hop hosted by Ritu. As the name suggests, it's all about bookish things. You can her bookish post (and find other links HERE)

So, I thought to start with a cool anthology of thrillers that I am part of.

Excited and thankful to be published in this thrilling anthology published by Readomania in association with Blogchatter. You can purchase this book HERE or HERE

Or if you are a book reviewer, you can request a review copy HERE


What goes on in the minds of people on the threshold of doing something drastic? A woman convinced there's a presence at her window that only she can see; a collector who has an unusual interest in fingerprints of her victims; an unsettled man blaming everything on his wife; a low-caste child trying to make sense of India's freedom; a haunted guest house room and the ghost that goes away; a reclusive and aggressive teenager who loves lizards—the stories explore times long ago, realms we never knew existed, the deep recesses of the human mind, and fears that become aggressions. The Blogchatter Book of Thrillers features 15 thrilling stories from Blogchatter's community writers—these tales will chill, scare and stay in your head and heart. 

Featured Authors: Rehana Sultana, Anuradha Shetty, Roma Gupta Sinha, Kajal Kapur, Deepti Menon, Chinmayee Sahu, Huma Masood, Nirmiti Narain, Tarang Sinha, Anushree Saha, Dr Alpna Das Sharma, Rahul Vishnoi, Harshita Nanda, Roshan Radhakrishnan, Suchita Agarwal

Here's a glimpse of its launch in Banaras.

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Being an Intuitive Writer/Painter

Recently, I came across a word called paracosm.

A paracosm is a detailed imaginary world created inside one's mind. This fantasy world may involve humans, animals, and things that exist in reality; or it may also contain entities that are entirely imaginary, alien, and otherworldly.

So, basically our mind is a paracosm. And it reminds me of another word called 'Jouska', which means 'a hypothetical conversation that you compulsively play out in your head.'

If you are a writer or artist, then you'd find it familiar. We have an always-occupied mind. 

Sometimes these scene plays and conversations are so vivid that they feel like complete stories that you write inside your head. I have written many stories like this and that's probably the reason that I have turned into an intuitive writer. Some scene or photo flashes in my mind and I just start writing. Sometimes it's microfiction, sometimes a flash piece. 

And then, one day, when I was reading Flatshare, I suddenly felt like writing an epistolary story, and then I did (in Hindi). And then one night, a strange thought came to my mind, and my fingers itched to write that implausible story, and I did (Hindi). 

And it has kind of become my tendency. No matter how much I (try to) plan the plot, I eventually end up doing my own thing. And it's fun! And I'm writing too many 'ands'.

The same goes for my painting. I begin painting without any planning or image in mind. 

In fact, all my posts for Blogchatter's Half Marathon (This post is the 10th and last post for Half Marathon) are intuitive. I didn't plan my posts. 

Thus, I completed the Half Marathon. :)

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Rain in My Heart by Edgar Lee Masters: My Hindi Translation

Rain in My Heart by Edgar Lee Masters.

My Hindi translation

मेरे मन में एक धीमी-धीमी सी बारिश है,
कुछ यूं, जैसे कोई तक़लीफ़ में सुकून ढूंढता हो।
और बाहर, छत पर, बारिश की बूंदों में सराबोर,
गौरेया चहचहा रही है।

बारिश जो मेरे ज़ेहन में है; बारिश जो छत पर है;
और वो याद जो धूसर, शांत आसमां तले सोई है,
किसी भी यादगार दिन का ख़्वाब लेकर नहीं आयी।

मुझे राहत नहीं चाहिए, ना सुनहरे बादल, ना ही मद्धिम बयार।
बस ऐसे ही दिन चाहिए, तब तक, जब तक कि मेरा मन तुम्हें खो देने के ग़म से सुलह ना कर ले।

मैं तुम्हें कभी नहीं देख पाऊंगी...
तुम्हें उस तरह जानने की, जैसे कि तुम थे,
हर उम्मीद फिसलती जा रही है।
मैं ―जो खुद बदल चुकी हूँ ―
उस बदली हुई सूरत को कभी नहीं ढ़ूंढ पाऊंगी
जिस चेहरे से मैंने कभी इतना प्यारा किया था।

This post is part of Blogchatter Half Marathon