Review : The Love Song of Maya K and other stories by Shuma Raha

A collection of short stories by Shuma Raha , The Love Song of Maya K is a snapshot of modern India.

Set in Kolkata and Delhi, the stories are a potrayal of Urban India , where the generations are caught up in climbing up the social ladder as well as succeeding in their professional lives. Love and betrayal go hand in hand with fantasies and sexuality.

Powerful stories with well etched characters are the strong point of this book. Some of the stories however end abruptly and can leave the reader quite confused.

The stories are relatable despite being dark and could be about anyone. Raha’s writing is commendable and would appeal to anyone who likes their stories detailed and incidents drawn out.


Zoya ๐Ÿ˜˜

My Rating : 3/5

Author : Shuma Raha

Publisher : Niyogi Books

Pages : 216

Link to buy the book –


Review : Trust me not by Ankita Verma Dutta

Reeva has been given a prestigious position in a top PR company, which she can never refuse.

Shalini , an activist, joins the same company and turns to Reeva for help to expose a real estate scam.

Caught in this unexpected mess and a possible love triangle between Nihaal , a colleague ; Kunaal Kabi, the enigmatic Vice President of the company she works in and herself , Reeva is trapped.

A political thunderstorm will ensue, questions will be raised and powerful people will have to answer.

The fast paced book , penned by Ankita Verma Dutta is gripping. The characters are well etched, mysterious and enjoyable.

The well researched book with it’s crisp narration can easily open the eyes of readers to the dire situation of politics across the country. Embroiled in it’s own corruption , the government and political parties fool the public and we as a nation aren’t asking the right questions or focusing on the right issues.

With crime, thrill , romance and mystery thrown in, the author’s debut novel is a dish of many flavours and quite delicious.


Zoya ๐Ÿ˜˜

My Rating – 4/5 stars

Author – Ankita Verma Dutta

Publisher – Jaico Publishing House

Pages – 384

Link to buy the book –

Review: One Rotten Apple and other stories by Vandana Kumari Jena

Women are stereotyped into being simple, kind and compassionate creatures. More often than not, it is contrary to reality. One Rotten Apple and other stories by Vandana Kumari Jena is a collection of short stories, where each story explores a different facet of a woman’s character.

The stories depict the vulnerability of women as well as their strengths. It shows the multilayered lives they lead and the shades of grey which paint their complex characters.

Driven by love, a woman is willing to be a terrorist, unwanted by her husband after giving birth to a mentally retarded child, a mother smothers her own child to death.

Adultery, murder, rape, motherhood,terrorism, lust, sexuality, the trials of women and their responses have been explored and brought to life by Jena.
The women in Jena’s stories are real, complex creatures, strong with a steely ferocity. The grey of these of women being celebrated. You cannot question their actions, only accept them. Would you do the same thing if you were placed in a similar situation? Would you act differently? One Rotten Apple has stories that will resonate with all and be enjoyed by all genders.

The stories are multilayered and textured, the endings unexpected. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for characters with spine and persona.


Zoya ๐Ÿ˜˜

My Rating : 4.5/5

Author : Vandana Kumari Jena

Publisher : Niyogi Books

Pages : 216

Link to buy the book :

Review : You Cannot Have All The Answers and Other Stories by Deepa Agarwal

A collection of fifteen short stories, You Cannot Have all the Answers by Deepa Agarwal, is a glimpse into the conflicting emotions that define human condition.

The stories touch sensitive topics like the partition in ‘The Cradle Song’ and the floods which struck the country in ‘The Phalanx’ ; in subtle and silent ways, emphasising distress in measured quantities where people have somehow managed to live with the pain. Where it has become such an important part of their daily life that it is almost unnoticed.

Each story portrays characters that seek answers to a variety of existential questions.

As readers we ask the same questions and we realize that we really cannot have all the answers.

Deepa Agarwal’s book is well written and mellifluous. Simplicity mingles with a florid vocabulary easily and gives rise to a rhythmic storytelling often not found among Indian authors.

If the gorgeousness of the cover wasn’t enough to make you splurge on the book, it has fifteen different stories, each dealing with a different topic such as youth, history, partition, childhood, family relations, society , trauma and sexuality.


Zoya ๐Ÿ˜˜

My Rating : 3.5 / 5

Author : Deepa Agarwal

Publisher : Niyogi Books

Pages : 188

Link to buy the book :

Review : A Closetful of Skeletons by Tanushree Podder

Ramola, a movie star who ruled the industry for over a decade has called up five men from her colorful past to Ramsar on her birthday.

Though the men are in shock to hear from her after so long, they are intrigued with the invitation.

Everything is all fun and games, till Ramola announces that her tell all memoir will soon be published. The book will be an honest account documenting her life in all it’s glittery and gory details.

The director who gave her many hits, the minister, the gangster, the husband, the superstar are all in danger of their secrets being spilled.

Soon after, Ramola’s dead body is found and Ramsar has its first murder to solve.

A Closetful of Skeletons is a vivid description of the glossy world of stardom, which is mostly all gloss and little matter.

Behind all that shiny glitter is a world that rejoices in it’s own muck. Podder has balanced the glamour world of movies with the raw beauty of Ramsar, a hill station away from the eyes of tourists, ensconced in the lap of nature.

Her heroine Ramola is not the woman who can be victimised. She is brutal and beautiful and ambitious.

She is killed.

The novel unfolds at it’s own pace, littered with the background stories of each man and the roles they played in her life.

Armed with a florid vocabulary and different characters, A Closetful of Skeletons is the book you would want to settle with in a weekend because who doesn’t like some killers to catch on Saturday nights.


Zoya ๐Ÿ˜˜

My Rating : 3/5

Author : Tanushree Podder

Publisher : HarperCollins

Pages : 296

Link to buy the book :

Review : The Bitter Pill Social Club by Rohan Dahiya

Racy, sassy, sexy and not for the faint hearted , the savage Kocchars are a force to reckon with. These South Delhi folks burn and fire. Wars are fought in Prada and Sabyasachi, words are swords and used to maim and kill.

Their Instagram worthy lives are all glitter and gloss. They are messed up, happy to be rich enough to afford their own drugs. Coke and alcohol give them solace and parties are an escape. Money is never an issue , the rich brats have what they want, even before knowing they want it.

Though the book can be confusing at times, Rohan Dahiya’s insights into these sparkling worlds of Swarovski crystals that can shatter anytime, is on point.

Brought up in the presence or absence of fucked up parents, the Kochhar kids are each a different level of fucked-up-ness.

Filthy rich with mildly good intentions, the Kochhars are a cowardly lot who practice escapism like professionals.

Comedy, confusion and entertainment a galore, The Bitter Pill Social Club is filled with quirky characters and messed grown ups.

Embroiled in the mess of their lives, and thrown together because of a wedding, can the Kochhar brood manage not to murder each other?


Zoya ๐Ÿ˜˜

My Rating – 3.5/5

Publisher – Bloomsbury India

Author – Rohan Dahiya

Pages – 314

ISBN – 978-93-87457-66-9

Link to buy the book –

Bloomsbury India Blog Tour

Fine Saturday afternoons made finer by book mail. One that was also gift wrapped to reveal this absolutely stunning book.

The GORGEOUS cover of The Bitter Pill Social Club is everything a cover should be.

Sassy, Sexy and Savage, describe this black and pink beauty best.

I am just dying to delve in this book which promises to be super entertaining.

Title – The Bitter Pill Social Club

Author – Rohan Dahiya

Publisher – Bloomsbury India

Pages – 314

Publication Date – April 28th ,2018



Zoya ๐Ÿ˜˜


Witness the private life of the worldโ€™s most beautiful animals.

You know exactly who they are. The ones who walk right past club lines, who get what they want before they ask for it. Itโ€™s a familiar cast: the centre of attention, the shameless flirt, the loudmouth, the narcissistic writer. Youโ€™ve seen them all. Youโ€™ve felt their Gucci-anointed aura. Laughing and dancing. Kissing the wrong people at the wrong time. Swaying to their own beat. Going out every night theyโ€™re sad. Finding solace in the crowd in a city paved with mildly good intentions and cocaine lines. A city of smooth talkers, armchair activists, and the rich brats of Instagram. A place to talk pop spirituality and purple prose in connoisseur-only jazz clubs.

The Bitter Pill Social Club takes a look at the lives of the Kochhar family, who find themselves drifting apart in the city of djinns, gins, and fake friends wrapped up in cigarette smoke. As one of their own gears up to tie the knot, three siblings come home to the neurotic parents who raised them. Meanwhile the parents face the family patriarchโ€™s constant judgment. Divorce, disappointment, and disasters ensue as the entitled Kochhar brood dodges old lovers and marriage proposals.

Link to buy the book –

Mango People in Banana Republic by Vishak Shakti

A book that’s got it’s heart in the right places.

Having said that let me elaborate.

It’s the same story that Indian authors have fed us over the years. Guy in corporate job, hates his life, wants to escape, one fine day calls its quits.

But Ravi is not the average protagonist, he is one with an anal fistula and so he withdraws all his savings which is a hefty sum of seventy four lakh rupees and burns it all down. The technical jargon is detailed and gets to one sometimes though probably people who are acquainted with it my enjoy those parts.

Mango People in Banana Republic wins with it’s satire. The cynical Ravi with his sarcasm and his confusions is relatable, messy as well as adorable. The quirky title and cover are added perks.

After quitting his plush job, Ravi finds himself back in his hometown Vidarbha where farmers are dying from famine. His life takes him to the jungles of Dandakaranya, the hub of Maoists. Embroiled in the Maoist movement, a sympathiser or enemy of state, Ravi is certainly lost.

Searching for his personal identity is not as easy as it sounds. Set against the backdrop of a country struggling with the new and old, the rich and poor, the good the bad, Mango People in Banana Republic highlights all that is wrong with this country and more.

What I really love about the book is it’s tryst with spirituality, though seemingly far fetched to the normal mind is certainly true or atleast has been.

Shakti’s effort in trying to bring awareness among the readers about these massive differences that exist in our country is appreciable. He acknowledges the problems that we as a nation face ; and that is really important because most of us don’t know that it is existing. We are too busy leading our infinitesimally small lives without ever trying to bring about some change or to make a difference in the lives of others.

Well, sorry for the unrelated rant but I kind of get carried away sometimes.

Happy reading.


Zoya ๐Ÿ˜˜

My Rating : 3.5/5
Author : Vishak Shakti
Publisher : The Write Place
Pages : 248

Link to buy the book –

Jukebox by Writersmelon

Pages- 183

Publisher- Readomania

ISBN- 9789385854330

The Jukebox by Writers Melon is a collection of short stories by budding writers in India.
Each story has a different tale to tell and will leave the readers in awe. It is an amazing read with a diversity of stories and gives us an insight into the complex psychological emotions that a human being goes through.

The language is very simple and there is a mellifluous flow in all stories. The 15 short stories in the book, all of then have a different element and keeps the reader hooked and ensures that you’ll be thinking about it even after the book is complete. The stories are well edited and the presentation is brilliant. It is a good read and I recommend this book to people who want something different to read.



Rating – 4/5

The Temple Bar Woman by Sujata Parashar

Pages : 240

Publisher : Vishwakarma Publications

ISBN : 9789386455420

The Temple Bar Woman by Sujata Parashar is a story about Radha, a school teacher, brutally gang raped by three men.
She later finds herself in Temple Bar, a brothel run by Habiba Bi. Radha manages to befriend Rakshit Singh, a politician and enters in the field of politics. With the help of Habiba Bi, a brillantly written character, she plans to take revenge on Vikram Singh, a politician, Shekhar and Manu who had raped her.

Radha has been depicted as a strong, fearless and brave woman who stands up against injustice and her wrongdoers. There are some dialogues which are very well written, powerful and hard hitting.

This novel presents to the readers the harsh reality of the society, and how we as a society have failed to accept rape survivors and sex workers. We get to see plight and ill treatment that women in our society get.

Though this book deals with a very strong yet sensitive topic, its predictablity from the very start makes it lose its essence.

The book has a few loopholes which could be fixed along with some editing errors. Character development is inept and small details are overlooked.

However the attempt of the author to highlight the lives of rape victims is praiseworthy as very few people find the courage to steer into such sensitive and important territory.

It’s a story that needed to be told and needs to be read, particularly in the light of recent events where rapes are escalating at an alarming rate. No one is being spared from the atrocity of the beasts who find it a merry sport to ruin the lives of girls, their families, the nation and traumatise them forever. Girls live in terror, wary of stepping out after dark, always feeling cowered when they see someone looking at them not innocently, adjusting their clothes and sending silent prayers to whatever God that protects us to keep protecting us.


Zoya ๐Ÿ˜˜

My Rating -3/5 stars

Link to buy the book :