ARC Review: Hell! No Saints in Paradise by A.K. Asif

2050, New York.
 
In the aftermath of a gruelling spiritual cleansing quest, Ismael, a Pakistani American student, enters an alliance with spiritual beings who send him on a perilous journey of self-discovery. A non-believer, Ismael must return to Pakistan, now in the grip of a brutal fundamentalist government, and gain the trust of his estranged father, a prominent extremist in the Caliphate. To accomplish this, he must pose as a true believer. Will he survive long enough to infiltrate his father s inner sanctum and complete his mission?
 
Hell! No Saints in Paradise is both biting satire and allegory that takes urban fantasy to dizzying heights.

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ARC Review: Baaz by Anuja Chauhan

1971. The USSR-backed India-Mukti Bahini alliance is on the brink of war against the America-aided Pakistani forces. As the Cold War threatens to turn red hot, handsome, laughing Ishaan Faujdaar, a farm boy from Chakkahera, Haryana, is elated to be in the IAF, flying the Gnat, a tiny fighter plane nicknamed ‘Sabre Slayer’ for the devastation it has wrecked in the ranks of Pakistan’s F-86 Sabre Squadrons.

Flanked by his buddies Raks, a MiG-21 Fighter, Maddy, a transport pilot who flies a Caribou and fellow Gnatties Jana, Gana and Mana, Shaanu has nothing on his mind but glory and adventure – until he encounters Tehmina Dadyseth, famed bathing beauty and sister of a dead fauji, who makes him question the very concept of nationalism and whose eyes fill with disillusioned scorn whenever people wax eloquent about patriotism and war…

Pulsating with love, laughter and courage, Baaz is Anuja Chauhan’s tribute to our men in uniform.

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ARC Review: Maidless in Mumbai by Payal Kapadia

I am on top of things. I have a seriously stuck baby inside me, and a queue of people between my legs. But I am on top of things. 

Career-driven reporter Anu Narain has a plan for everything till motherhood comes along. The baby poops/cries/pisses/ feeds round the clock. Anu loses her mind/ the plot/ the maid. And cabin fever strikes when her mother-in-law and her mother come over to help …

How does Anu become a working mom when her husband is happy playing the shirking dad? And when her house is a railway station where every maid is a passing train? Will Anu use wile and guile to make the maids stay and The Moms leave? Or will she succumb to that strange Indian malaise called maidomania?

Hysterically funny, unapologetically honest, and charming all the way, this is the diary of a maidless Mumbai mom who dreams of only one thing-the perfect maid to live happily forever with.

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ARC Review: Man of Her Match by Sakshama Puri Dhariwal

Kicked off the team for a series of misdemeanours, Indian cricket’s bad boy Vikram Walia finally has a chance at redemption. The only problem: it involves collaborating with his childhood best friend turned sworn enemy, Nidhi Marwah.

Once a tomboy, now a gorgeous, self-assured marketing professional, Nidhi must put aside her personal dislike of Vikram and leverage his unparalleled fame and poster-boy good looks for her latest campaign.

But the ensuing battle of sardonic jibes and veiled slurs only heightens their blazing chemistry. Soon memories of their past fill their present, pulling them back to that fateful day when a heartless act destroyed their friendship.

Can Vikram and Nidhi put their stormy history behind them? Will their partnership have a second innings?

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ARC Review: Remnants of Separation by Aanchal Malhotra

SEVENTY YEARS HAVE PASSED SINCE THE PARTITION, and a momentous event now recedes in memory. Generations have grown up outside the shadow of the communal killings and mass displacement that shaped the contemporary history of the subcontinent.

Despite being born into a family affected by the Divide, artist and oral historian Aanchal Malhotra too had thought little about the Partition until she encountered objects that had once belonged to her ancestors in an Undivided India. A gaz, a ghara, a maang-tikka, a pocketknife, a peacock-shaped bracelet, and a set of kitchen utensils: these were what accompanied her great-grandparents as they fled their homes, and through them she learnt of their migration and life before the Divide. This led her to search for the belongings of other migrants to discover the stories hidden in them.

Remnants of a Separation is a unique attempt to revisit the Partition through such objects carried across the border. These objects absorbed the memory of a time and place, remaining latent and undisturbed for generations. They now speak of their owners pasts and emerge as testaments to the struggle, sacrifice, pain and belonging at an unparalleled moment in history.

A string of pearls gifted by a maharaja, carried from Dalhousie to Lahore, reveals the grandeur of a life that once was. A notebook of poems, brought from Lahore to Kalyan, shows one woman s determination to pursue the written word despite the turmoil around her. A refugee certificate created in Calcutta evokes in a daughter the feelings of displacement her father had experienced on leaving Mymensingh, now in Bangladesh.

Written as a crossover between history and anthropology, Remnants of a Separation tells stories from both sides of the border and is the product of years of painstaking and passionate research. It pieces together an alternative history of the Partition the first and only one told through material memory that makes the event tangible even seven decades later, lest we forget.

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ARC Review: Drift by Amy Murray

I’m not crazy. My mother may have died with everyone believing she was insane, but I refuse to accept that as my fate. Even if I am recalling memories about a life I never lived. A life that includes the mysterious James—a guy I’ve only just met, but feel as if I’ve known all my life. The memories are coming hard and fast, and I’m falling down a rabbit hole with consequences that far exceed anything I could have ever imagined. And now, someone is trying to kill me.

Someone from my past who knows about my visions and is looking for something he believes I took from him. All I have to do is figure out how these memories relate to the present and maybe I’ll survive to live another day.

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ARC Review: No Ordinary Star (No Ordinary Star #1) by M.C. Frank

A soldier is summoned to the North Pole, days before the year changes, told to fix the great Clock for a celebration. He has no idea what to do.
A girl, hunted for the crime of being born, almost dies out on the ice. She is rescued by the last polar bear left alive.
A library waits for them both, a library built over a span of a hundred years, forgotten in the basement of an ice shack.
The world hasn’t known hunger or sickness in hundreds of years. It has also forgotten love and beauty.
The year is 2525.

Inspired by the short stories of Ray Bradbury, this futuristic novel is set in a world where Christmas -among other things- is obsolete and a Clock is what keeps the fragile balance of peace.

Written in three installments, this is the breathtaking and sensual story of how two unlikely people change the world, and each other, one book at a time.

Immerse yourself into the icy cold world of this scorching hot new novel.

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ARC Review: The Tree With A Thousand Apples by Sanchit Gupta

If the criminal was once a saint and the saint was once a criminal, then who is a criminal and who is a saint?

Inspired by true events, this riveting narrative traces the lives of Safeena Malik, Deewan Bhat and Bilal Ahanagar, three childhood friends who grow up in an atmosphere of peace and amity in Srinagar, Kashmir, until the night of 20 January 1990 changes it all.

While Deewan is forced to flee from his home, Safeena’s mother becomes ‘collateral damage’ and Bilal has to embrace a wretched life of poverty and fear. The place they called paradise becomes a battleground and their friendship struggles when fate forces them to choose sides against their will.

Twenty years later destiny brings them to a crossroads again, when they no longer know what is right and what is wrong. While both compassion and injustice have the power to transform lives, will the three friends now choose to become sinful criminals or pacifist saints?The Tree with a Thousand Apples is a universal story of cultures, belongingness, revenge and atonement. The stylized layered format, fast-paced narration and suspenseful storytelling makes for a powerful, gripping read.

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ARC Review: Elusive by L.A. Fiore

I didn’t set out to be a pirate.
Life for me was about surviving the ugliness that people knew existed but didn’t talk about.
I lived in hell.
Then I saw her.
I knew I couldn’t keep her, but for just a little while I had found heaven.
Eight years later, I can’t get her out of my head.
It is a mistake sailing to her island.
It is a mistake reaching out to her.
She doesn’t recognize me. Or maybe she does.
Closure, it is all I’m after.
Then my past comes back to haunt me.
She’s thrust into my ruthless world. An angel.
A romantic who has a journal that leads to a shipwreck and a lost treasure.
She’s wants to find the ending to a love story that is over two hundred years in the making.
I want to help her find it.
I didn’t set out to be a pirate.
I didn’t set out to fall in love with an angel.
I did both anyway.

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ARC Review: The Red by Tiffany Reisz

Mona Lisa St. James made a deathbed promise that she would do anything to save her mother’s art gallery. Unfortunately, not only is The Red painted red, but it’s in the red. She soon realizes she has no choice but to sell it.

Just as she realizes she has no choice but to sell it, a mysterious man comes in after closing time and makes her an offer: He will save The Red if she agrees to submit to him for the period of one year.

The man is handsome, English, and terribly tempting…but surely her mother didn’t mean for Mona to sell herself to a stranger. Then again, she did promise to do anything to save The Red…

The Red is a standalone novel of erotic fantasy from Tiffany Reisz, international bestselling author of The Bourbon Thief and the Original Sinners series.

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