Saturday, October 31, 2009

Day 328 - The Bargain

The Bargain
Mary Jo Putney

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone, (revised from TheWould-Be Widow)

Release Date: October 1999

Publisher: NAL/Signet

Pages: 384

Author Site:

My Rating: 3.75/5

Source: From

Synopsis [from]:

First published as The Would-Be Widow in 1989, this intoxicating Regency has been rewritten by Mary Jo Putney to give the story and characters greater depth. Now titled The Bargain, it will charm readers old and new with its unlikely and outrageous romance...

To keep her fortune, a beautiful heiress impulsively weds a penniless officer dying of wounds received at Waterloo. But when the blasted man hasn't the grace to die, she suddenly finds herself with a healthy, vibrant husband who wants to renegotiate the terms of their bargain--and ultimately possess the heart of his bewildered bride...


I've only read one other book by Mary Jo Putney, STOLEN MAGIC, and I really enjoyed it. I went to Putney's back list and chose THE BARGAIN because it sounded good! It was first published as THE WOULD-BE WIDOW in 1989 and came out ten years later extended and revamped...

The heroine of the story is Lady Jocelyn Kendal who has a deadline to meet. If she fails to marry before her twenty-five birthday she will lose her inheritance to her uncle and wicked aunt-by-marriage according to her father's will. Not that Jocelyn really needs to money...but she refuses to let her Aunt Elvira get her greedy hands on the inheritance. And Jocelyn is really only interested in one man despite the many men who have tried to woo her. But there's no way she can convince the Duke of Canover to marry her in the 4 weeks before her birthday. Besides, he never seems interested in commitment or single women for that matter, but that doesn't stop Jocelyn's feelings for him.

While visiting a friend recuperating at the Military Hospital she realizes she may have come across the answer to her prayers. Major David Lancaster has been fatally wounded and is coming up on his last days. He isn't really afraid to die, he's more worried about his sister's well being and future. So after Jocelyn learns of this she sees an opportunity that she simply can't pass up.

The two decide to marry despite the reaction of those closest to them including David's sister Sally and Jocelyn's beloved aunt. In exchange for the marriage Jocelyn agrees to give money to Sally every year, enough to have Sally living very luxuriously. But Sally is rebellious at the idea. She cares about her brother more than anything and is determined for him to live despite this horrid arrangement. She seeks out the help of an eccentric surgeon who actually performs a very risky but successful surgery. With David no longer dieing, Jocelyn finds her marriage of convenience turning into one of inconvenience.

THE BARGAIN was sweet and impossible to put down. I haven't read the original version but I know I enjoyed this revamped story. Jocelyn is kind at heart and very strong-willed. I found her frustrtating at times though. Although she has some deeply buried emotional issues from her past, I still find it hard to accept that she just refuses to acknowledge her growing feelings for David as the marriage progresses. David is everything a proper hero should be; kind, brave, loyal, unselfish. And yet, Jocelyn only wants him as a friend or an adoptive brother! I wanted to shake her sometimes. But we all have issues so I didn't fault her for problems.

I basically enjoyed how the story flowed. There was even a secondary romance between David's sister Sally and the surgeon, Ian. It was subtle at first and even though it became a bit predictable at the end, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Sally and the doctor find their HEA. I'll definitely be getting my hands on more of Putney's books soon. And I think any romance fan will enjoy THE BARGAIN =)

Day 328 - Just Wanted...

... to wish everyone

Be safe <3 !!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Day 325 - Waiting on Wednesday [34]


Francesca Rivabuona is fifty and exhausted by the monotony of her life. Stuck in a stale marriage with grown children who have long since fled the coop, and desperate to escape the endless cycle of Upper East Side dinner parties and charity luncheons, she jumps at the chance to write an article about Buenos Aires for a glossy travel magazine.

Francesca is instantly captivated by Buenos Aires's palpable rhythm. She explores the city with her new friends -- a group of tango dancers who give her an insider's scoop into the best Buenos Aires has to offer -- and rediscovers the sense of passion and excitement she thought she had relinquished forever.As Francesca learns to master the sensual movements of tango dancing, she begins to let down her guard -- on the dance floor, in the bedroom, and in her personal life. Embarking on a steamy love affair with Argentina's most famous plastic surgeon, she knows that she has been irrevocably transformed by the pulsing, erotic thrill of life in Argentina.

At once a tale of a middle-aged woman taking a stand against the disappointments of her life and a sexy, fast-paced, entertaining novel about the ecstasy of tango dancing, It Takes Two reads like a soulful tango: irresistible, exotic, and sensual.


Reason: Gotta say the cover made me check it out. It sounds like it could be a really entertaining read, don't you think?

Cover Discussion: Totally loving the leg shot && the cute shoes =) Makes me want to learn to tango, okay not really but I do enjoy the cover.

It Takes Two will be released November 3rd!

What are you waiting on this week?
To see more books that are being waited for click here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Day 324 - Teaser Tuesday [32]

Teaser Tuesdays asks you to:

-Grab your current read
-Let the book fall open to a random page.
-Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12
-You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
-Please avoid spoilers!


"You belong to a cult? I realized too late that while I sounded surprised, I shouldn't have.
"As it turns out, I'm in need of a healthy female sacrifce. I'd planned on luring her into trusting me first, but if you're ready now..."
Any smile left on my face slid away. "You're not impressing me."(27)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Day 323 - It's Monday!

It's Monday! What are you reading this week?, hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog, is a weekly event to list the books completed last week, the books currently being read, and the books to be finished this week.

Books Gobbled Last Week:
The Bargain :: Mary Jo Putney
Cleopatra's Daughter :: Michelle Moran

Gobbling Down This Week:
Hush, Hush :: Becca Fitzpatrick
Kissing Games of the World :: Sandi Kahn Shelton

-Reviews for THE BARGAIN and CLEOPATRA'S DAUGHTER should be up this week so I hope you'll stick around for those.

-Don't forget to check out my giveaways on my sidebar with more coming soon!!

Day 323 - WIN Legacy


I'm giving away my ARC of Legacy by Cayla Kluver!

To Enter:

-Comment that you'd like the book and PLEASE leave your email address. (I'm afraid I won't be counting your entry if you fail to do so, sorry)

For Extra Entries:

+2-Become a follower/subscriber!! (If you already are one, hugs to you, let me know and you get these!)
+1-Comment on my review! (<---- click the link) +1-Follow me on twitter!! (Button located on my right sidebar - please leave your @name so I can verify)
+1-Link back to this giveaway. (Must provide link!)

=Total # of possible entries: 6

Giveaway ends November 9th and the winner will be announced the following day on the 10th. Only US entries please.

Day 323 - The Blue Pen Winner

The winner of e-book formatted The Blue Pen by Lisa Rusczyk is...

Alita from

Congrats & I hope you enjoy the book! Thanks again to all those who entered =)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Day 322 - Book Arrivals


From PaperbackSwap:

The Darkest Night :: Gena Showalter
(Book two in the Lords of the Underworld series)

His powers -- Inhuman
His passion -- Beyond immortal . . .
All her life, Ashlyn Darrow has been tormented by voices from the past. To end the nightmare, she has come to Budapest seeking help from men rumored to have supernatural abilities, not knowing she'll be swept into the arms of Maddox, their most dangerous member -- a man trapped in a hell of his own. Neither can resist the instant hunger than calms their torments . . . and ignites an irresistible passion. But every heated touch and burning kiss will edge them closer to destruction -- and a soul-shattering test of love . . .


From Contests/Giveaways & Misc:

Covet: A Novel of the Fallen Angels :: J.R. Ward
(Thanks so much Leontine!!)

Redemption isn't a word Jim Heron knows much about--his specialty is revenge, and to him, sin is all relative. But everything changes when he becomes a fallen angel and is charged with saving the souls of seven people from the seven deadly sins. And failure is not an option. Vin diPietro long ago sold his soul to his business, and he's good with that--until fate intervenes in the form of a tough-talking, Harley-riding, self-professed savior. But then he meets a woman who will make him question his destiny, his sanity, and his heart--and he has to work with a fallen angel to win her over and redeem his own soul.

On the Edge :: Ilona Andrews
(Thank you Book Pushers!!)

The Broken is a place where people shop at Wal-Mart and magic is nothing more than a fairy tale.
The Weird is a realm where blueblood aristocrats rule and the strength of your magic can change your destiny.
Rose Drayton lives on the Edge, the place between both worlds. A perilous existence indeed, made even more so by a flood of magic-hungry creatures bent on absolute destruction.

Kissing Games of the World :: Sandi Kahn Shelton
(Recieved for review)

If there's one point that Jamie McClintock and Nate Goddard can agree upon, it's that love is overrated. Jamie doesn't have time for it. Nate doesn't need it. And they certainly don't want it from each other.
Jamie, a struggling free-spirited artist, is a devoted single mother who hasn't been in a serious relationship since her boyfriend abandoned her after their son was born. Nate, a charismatic jet-setting salesman, is widowed and estranged from his father and five-year-old son, Christopher. Jamie would rather glue glitter to pinecones than go out on a date. Nate spends most of his nights wooing his clients. Then one afternoon Nate's father drops dead of a heart attack. In that moment, their highly guarded worlds collide.
When Nate shows up at his childhood home to settle the estate and reclaim his son, he discovers that Jamie has been living in the Connecticut farmhouse as his father's roommate. Mistrustful of each other's motives, Nate and Jamie bicker about everything from children's nicknames to Jamie's fashion choices to Nate's home renovation methods. It doesn't help that Christopher prefers Jamie to his absentee father.
after the funeral, Nate and Jamie begin to see each other in a more forgiving light. Nate, traveling to sales conferences all over the country with a sullen Christopher in tow, learns he can't breeze his way through single parenthood. Jamie, who has moved back in with her sister, wonders at the wisdom of her unconventional choices as a woman with a child to support. And both begin to realize they don't know as much about love as they thought. Still wounded by past heartbreak and sorrow, can they learn to trust each other and open their hearts?

Hummingbirds :: Joshue Gaylord
(From GoodReads First Reads Program)

A wonderfully compelling debut novel about the intertwining - and darkly surprising - relationships between the teachers and students at an all-girls prep school Spend a year at the Carmine-Casey School for Girls, an elite prep school on Manhattan's Upper East Side: the year when the intimate private school community becomes tempestuous and dangerously incestuous as the rivalries and secrets of teachers and students intersect and eventually collide.
In the world of students, popular and coquettish Dixie Doyle, with her ironic pigtails, battles to wrest attention away from the smart and disdainful Liz Warren, who spends her time writing and directing plays based on the Oresteia. In the world of teachers, the adored Leo Binhammer struggles to share his territory with Ted Hughes, the charming new English teacher who threatens to usurp Binhammer's status as the department's only male teacher and owner of the girls' hearts. When a secret is revealed between them, Binhammer grows increasingly fascinated by the man he has determined is out to get him.
As seasons change and tensions mount, the girls long for entry into the adult world, toying with their premature powers of flirtation. Meanwhile, the deceptive innocence of the adolescent world - complete with plaid skirts and scented highlighters - becomes a trap into which the flailing teachers fall. By the end of the year the line between maturity and youth begins to blur, and the question on the final exam is: Who are the adults and who are the children?


So I'm retarded and swapped the 2nd book in the Lords of the Underworld series lol. I'll have to pick up the 1st before I start that one. Hope everyone had a productive and book-filled week!!

Happy Reading!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Day 321 - WIN The Sari Shop Widow


I'm giving away my gently read, autographed, copy of The Sari Shop Widow by Shobhan Bantwal.

To Enter:

-Comment that you'd like the book and PLEASE leave your email address. (I'm afraid I won't be counting your entry if you fail to do so, sorry)

For Extra Entries:

+2-Become a follower/subscriber!! (If you already are one, hugs to you, let me know and you get these!)
+1-Follow me on twitter!! (Button located on my right sidebar - please leave your @name so I can verify)
+1- Comment on my review! (<---- click the link)
+1- Comment on the interview! (<----click the link)

=Total # of possible entries: 6

Giveaway ends November 7th and the winner will be announced the following day on the 8th. Only US entries please.

Day 321 - Legacy [ARC Review]

Cayla Kluver

Series or Stand Alone: The Legacy Series, Book One

Release Date: August 2009

Publisher: AmazonEncore

Pages: 464

My Rating: 4/5

Synopsis [from]:

As a dark rivalry between two kingdoms threatens to erupt into war, a willful princess must decide between duty and desire.

Obligated to wed her father's choice in successor to the throne, seventeen-year-old Princess Alera of Hytanica believes that she is being forced into the worst of all possible fates - a marriage to the arrogant and hot-tempered Steldor. When the attractive and mysterious Narian arrives from enemy lands bearing secrets and different ideas about women's roles in the world, Alera's private desires threaten to destroy the kingdom. The discovery of Narian's shocking past plunges Alera into a shadowy world of palace intrigue and ancient blood feuds, leaving her unsure of what to believe in, or whom to trust.

Legacy introduces novelist Cayla Kluver. Marked by sharp dialogue and dramatic complexity that belie the writer's age, this memorable page-turner brings a fresh, new sensibility to age-old questions of duty and inheritance, and a young heroine's quest to find her own voice.


I was really hesitant about starting this book. It's a pretty hefty one and I was nervous that I wouldn't like it and I'd have to make myself finish it. And then I start the book and I'm like "Hmm, this isn't too bad" all the while waiting for the book to go downhill... It never did! Kluver's writing and the story itself grabbed me and wouldn't let me go until I finished the book.

So the author was 14 when she wrote LEGACY and while that's extremely interesting I don't feel her age really deterred her from writing a good book. I myself enjoyed the descriptive passages and the character development. Cayla Kluver created a brand new world that isn't necessarily filled with magic but is written with poise and thoughtful detail. I'm quite impressed with what Cayla has come up with and I'm excited to see the later installments in the series.

LEGACY is a novel about many different things. First off we have two enemy Kingdoms: Hytanica and Cokyri. Many years ago during the war, Cokyri started kidnapping the first-born boys from the people of Hytanica. Within a week, all but one of the tiny bodies were found at the gates of Hytanica. Cokyri then mysteriously withdraws from the war leaving Hytanica to mourn the deaths of the babies and wonder what Cokryi had in store for them.

Fast forward to seventeen-year-old Princess Alera. She is the Hytanican King's daughter and is scheduled to be married by her eighteenth birthday so her father can step down from the throne. Alera is approached by a few suitors but no one can compare to her father's number one choice for future King of Hytanica: Lord Steldor. Steldor is egotistical but devishily handsome and Alera has strongly disliked him for as long as she can remember. Everyone in Hytanica seems to agree that he should be the next King. But Alera can't imgaine being his Queen for the rest of her life... She'd much rather marry for love. But who could she possibly choose that her father would approve of?

This is where things start to get interesting when a Cokryian boy a year or two younger than Alera shows up in Hytanica. Narian seems to be the last of the first-born boys taking during the war. His appearance causes a whirlwind of chaos as the Elite Guard, the King, and even Alera try to figure out why he is in Hytanica. Has he returned to his rightful home? Or is Narian part of some plot to hurt the King? To make matters worse, Narian and Alera become quite close and Alera's heart becomes torn between duty and love...

So there's much more to the story than what I've included and overall it's completely enjoyable and satisfying. I think one of my favorite parts about reading LEGACY was something that had nothing to do with words at all... At the beginning of each chapter, there is a small illustration that has something to do with what the reader will encounter in the upcoming pages. The illustrations are simple yet beautifully detailed and I found it unique and just a lovely addition to the story.

ALLEGIANCE, the second book in the series, doesn't yet have a release date but I will definitely be getting a copy when it finally does come out. If you like what you hear about LEGACY be sure to check back soon for a giveaway of my ARC copy. I really hate to part with it but I'd rather have the finished product on my shelf.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Day 320 - The Tear Collector Winner

Really great turnout for The Tear Collector! I hope the people that didn't win will still pick the book up and give it a try. I had 28 entrants with 126 entries!!

Congratulations to...

Jill from
The O.W.L

I've emailed you already and you have until Monday, October 26th to email me back.

Day 320 - Friday Finds [15]

**Hosted by MizB, click here to see more Friday Finds

I usually add a lot of books on my TBR list throughout the week. This is just a small glimpse into the ones that were added on recently.

Please let me know your thoughts on a book you've read from the list. Or tell me about a good book you've found this week.

My Finds This Week:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Day 319 - From the Desk of... Shobhan Bantwal!

On the role of books and writing in her life and what led her to become an author:

Growing up in a small town in India in the 1950s and 60s, books were the only entertainment for my sisters and me. There was no television in those days and radio catered strictly to adults with serious news, music, and cricket commentaries for sports buffs. As a result, children had no other source of entertainment other than playing with friends and reading.

In our town we had a small library-cum-bookstore called Oliver’s that was a cramped room filled with books. Membership at the library cost a monthly fee for each member. My girlfriends, sisters, and I used to frequent Oliver’s all through our summer vacations. Copies of books were limited and everyone was scrambling around to read popular books while they were put on a waiting list.

My mother, who was married off at the age of 15 in an old-fashioned arranged marriage, was an avid reader and instilled the love of reading in every one of her five daughters. For that and for giving us a wonderful education in the English language I will always be grateful. Without that I could never have become an author.

I was a late bloomer – a 50-year old empty-nester, when I took up creative writing as an interesting hobby to ward off the loneliness of my weekday evenings while my husband worked on an out-of-state engineering project Monday through Friday. As my non-fiction articles and short stories began to gain attention, honours and awards, my ambitions started to grow. Why not write novels and become a published author, I asked myself. And thus began my quest for a literary agent and a publisher.

Finding a reputable agent and later a publisher was not an easy task, as every fiction author knows, but it was a challenge and therefore worth pursuing. After three published books, I have come to realize how much commitment in terms of time, money, effort, and perseverance it takes to become a published fiction author. But despite the tumultuous nature of the journey, it has its rewards. Every letter I receive from a reader who enjoys my books makes it a worthwhile adventure.

THE SARI SHOP WIDOW is available at all U.S. and Canadian bookstores and online booksellers.

To contact me or learn more about my books, author events, book trailer video, recipes, short stories, and sign up for my newsletter, visit my website

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Day 318 - Waiting on Wednesday [33]


Once, Max dreamed of a career, a home, a loving family. Now all she wants is freedom...and revenge. A witch named Giselle transformed Max into a warrior with extraordinary strength, speed, and endurance. Bound by spellcraft, Max has no choice but to fight as Giselle's personal magic weapon -- a Shadowblade -- and she's lethally good at it. But her skills are about to be put to the test as they never have before....

The ancient Guardians of the earth are preparing to unleash widespread destruction on the mortal world, and they want the witches to help them. If the witches refuse, their covens will be destroyed, including Horngate, the place Max has grudgingly come to think of as home. Max thinks she can find a way to help Horngate stand against the Guardians, but doing so will mean forging dangerous alliances -- including one with a rival witch's Shadowblade, who is as drawn to Max as she is to him -- and standing with the witch she despises. Max will have to choose between the old life she still dreams of and the warrior she has become, and take her place on the side of right -- if she survives long enough to figure out which side that is....


Reason: I've heard amazing things about Diana and her books. I have yet to read anything by her but have many of her books on my TBR list. I also haven't had enough witchy-type books in my diet. I think it's time to rectify that with this book, it definitely sounds like a winner!

Cover Discussion: Hot & Fierce, gotta love it =)

Bitter Night will be released October 27th!

What are you waiting on this week?
To see more books that are being waited for click

Day 318 - The Sari Shop Widow

The Sari Shop Widow
Shobhan Bantwal

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Release Date: September 2009

Pages: 352

My Rating: 3.75/5

Synopsis [from]:

Pungent curry…sweet fried onions…incense…colorful beads…lush fabrics. Shobhan Bantwal’s compelling new novel is set on the streets of Edison, New Jersey’s Little India, where a young businesswoman rediscovers the magic of love and family…

Since becoming a widow at age twenty-seven, Anjali Kapadia has devoted herself to transforming her parents' sari shop into a chic boutique, brimming with exquisite jewelry and clothing. Now, ten years later, it stands out like a proud maharani amid Edison’s bustling Little India. But when Anjali learns the shop is on the brink of bankruptcy, she feels her world unraveling…

To the rescue comes Anjali’s wealthy, dictatorial Uncle Jeevan and his business partner, Rishi Shah—a mysterious Londoner, complete with British accent, cool gray eyes, and skin so fair it makes it hard to believe he’s Indian. Rishi’s cool, foreign demeanor triggers distrust in Anjali and her mother. But for Anjali, he also stirs something else, a powerful attraction she hasn’t felt in a decade. And the feeling is mutual…

Love disappointed Anjali once before and she’s vowed to live without it—though Rishi is slowly melting her resolve and, as the shop regains its footing, gaining her trust. But when a secret from Rishi’s past is revealed, Anjali must turn to her family and her strong cultural upbringing to guide her in finding the truth…


Anjali is a strong woman faced with a serious dilemma. She co-owns a sari shop in a small Indian enclave in New Jersey with her beloved parents that is about to go bankrupt. After a breakdown from her husband's death ten years ago, she picked herself up and poured her devotion into the shop. Anjali refuses to see it go under after everything she has put into it. Thirty-seven and living with her parents hasn't stopped Anjali from having her own life either. It's a life she keeps a secret from her parents and readers will find that her reasons are very understandable.

When her rich and intimidating uncle comes all the way from India to help her and her family, Anjali must find a way to cope with the thought that outsiders may be coming in to take over what is rightfully hers. Her anger and frustration are crystal clear and comes right out of the pages and grabs the reader's attention. Anjali is a totally real character with strong family values, a woman you can definitely find out in the real world.

The turn around of the Silk & Sapphires is only the background of Anjali's development as a character. However, that part of the story fascinated me the most. It was beautifully detailed and I wanted nothing more than to jump into the book to watch as the new sari boutique was born. Shobhan says in her interview that if she were filthy rich, Anjali's boutique would be her dream boutique she'd want to work on. It was fun to read about and a perfect backdrop to the story.

The romance between Anjali and her uncle's business partner is a reluctant one at first. I was totally captivated by their relationship as it grew though. Rishi is patient and kind but has secrets of his own. To further the idea of the modern independent woman, Anjali wants nothing to do with outside help. It's when her carefully erected wall starts to crumble that the reader catches their first glimpse of just how vulnerable she really is.

THE SARI SHOP WIDOW was such a delightful and easy read. I enjoyed every moment of it. From the rich culture to characters that were easy to relate to, I think this book will find a place in every one's heart! There are so many genres woven into the novel that I found myself easily breezing through the pages of Anjali's story. Shobhan created such a wonderful atmosphere with exciting and down-to-earth characters. I'm eager to read some of her other books.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Day 317 - Teaser Tuesday [31]

Teaser Tuesdays asks you to:

-Grab your current read
-Let the book fall open to a random page.
-Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12
-You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
-Please avoid spoilers!


"The idea that his "wife" cared enough to send for him made David look so happy that Sally didn't attempt to correct his misapprehension. Instead, she vowed that Lady Jocelyn would make him feel welcome if Sally had to hold a pistol to her head." (66)

The Bargain :: Mary Jo Putney

Day 317 - Q&A with Author Shobhan Bantwal

I'm very pleased to bring you all an interview I did with Shobhan Bantwal, author of The Sari Shop Widow (along with The Forbidden Daughter & The Dowry Bride). I had such a great time immersing myself in a new culture without feeling overwhelmed. Shobhan is a wonderful storyteller =)


A lil background info before we go on:

Shobhan Bantwal was born and raised in India and came to the United States as a young bride in an arranged marriage. She has published short fiction in literary magazines and articles in a number of publications. Writing plays in her mother tongue (Indian language—Konkani) and performing on stage at Indian-American conventions are some of her hobbies. She lives in New Jersey with her husband. Shobhan loves to hear from her readers.

You can find out more about her and her books here:


Me: I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed The Sari Shop Widow. Can you describe it for those who haven’t heard of it?

Shobhan: Thank you so much for the kind words about THE SARI SHOP WIDOW. Set on the streets of Edison, New Jersey, it tells the story of a young businesswoman who rediscovers the magic of love, family, and her roots as she fights to save her failing sari boutique. This is a book about the Indian-American immigrant experience and the joys and challenges that come with it. I call my writing “Bollywood in a Book.”

Me: What do you think the hardest part of writing The Sari Shop Widow was for you?

Shobhan: The hardest part was creating the right amount of conflict in my protagonist, Anjali Kapadia’s mind. She is a second-generation Indian-American and like all children born to conservative immigrant parents, she straddles two diverse cultures. Meeting the expectations of both and trying to fit into both is a serious challenge for young women like Anjali. She wants to be her own woman and yet she is mindful of her parents’ delicate sensibilities. Since I was a first-generation immigrant, I didn’t have those same issues, but I watched my daughter struggle with them. I had to put myself in her shoes to be able to create the battling emotions experienced by Anjali.

Me: I must say I really enjoyed your characters. Are they based on people in your life? What about Anjali – your main character? Can you see any of yourself in her?

Shobhan: None of my characters are based on people in real life. However, some of their personality traits are similar to mine and my daughter’s. Usha Kapadia, Anjali’s mother often thinks and behaves like me and Anjali’s demeanor sometimes reminds me of my daughter’s. My heroes at times say and do things that my husband does. I believe unconsciously every author puts a little bit of herself and/or someone she knows into her characters.

Me: I had such a great time reading about Silk & Sapphires – Anjali’s boutique. I literally wanted to jump in the book to see the store! Is it based on a place you’ve visited before?

Shobhan: The enclave called Little India, which is the backdrop for THE SARI SHOP WIDOW, is an actual Indian-American community in Edison, New Jersey. I have described it in my book in as much detail as possible. Nonetheless, none of the stores are anything like Silk & Sapphires. It is my dream store, something I would love to build and own (if I were filthy rich) so I decided to make it my protagonist’s dream store. As an author, it was my chance to indulge in my creative imagination and live vicariously through Anjali.

Me: Which of your books was your most favorite to write and why?

Shobhan: I don’t have a favorite book as such. Each book is something I immerse myself in while I’m writing it. One thing I can say is I fall in love with every one of my heroes and I’m loath to let go of them when the story ends. But I must admit my favorite protagonist is Megha, the heroine of my debut book, THE DOWRY BRIDE, perhaps because she is such a contrast to me. She is sweet and trusting and guileless, everything that I’m not but would have liked to be. Also, the photo on the cover of THE DOWRY BRIDE is of my daughter dressed as an Indian bride.

Me: What was your dream job as a child?

Shobhan: For some insane reason I thought it would be fun to be a lawyer when I was a teenager, perhaps because I loved to argue a point to death. But as I grew up I decided it was a dull profession with no redeeming qualities. I ended up majoring in sociology in college. Today I’m a full-time bureaucrat in a government agency. Writing, especially fiction, was never on my occupational radar at any time, until I hit 50. That is precisely why I call my writing career a “menopausal epiphany.”

Me: If you could write a book about absolutely anything with any author who would you choose? What would the book be about?

Shobhan: If I could write a cookbook in partnership with someone like Lydia Bastianich of Lydia’s Table or a romance with Nora Roberts, I’d absolutely jump at the chance. Both those ladies are awesome and tops in their respective fields. I love Lydia’s cookery show and I adore Nora’s books. I’d be honored and delighted to do either one.

Me: Are you currently working on a new project?

Shobhan: A fourth novel is slated for publication in 2010 by my publisher, Kensington Publishing. I’m brainstorming with my editor over some ideas, so by the end of this year I should have something solid to start work on. After that project, I don’t have anything cooking. My karma will take me to whatever destination it chooses.

Me: Thank you so much for taking the time out to answer some of my questions, Shobhan. It really was a pleasure reading The Sari Shop Widow and I’m definitely going to check out your other books.

Shobhan: The pleasure is all mine. I love talking about my books and my culture, and you have tapped into both with this interview. So I should be the one to thank you for hosting me on your popular blog. I sincerely hope you will read my other books and enjoy them just as much as THE SARI SHOP WIDOW.

The book trailer for this book and others, plus more information is available on all my writing, my photo gallery, and recipes at my website:


Make sure to check back tomorrow for my review. Shobhan will be stopping by again on Thursday for a guest post and keep your eyes peeled for a giveaway =)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Day 316 - From the Desk of...

... author
Lee Moylan!

Well it's the Halloween season and a perfect time to talk about horror! I've gotten many questions regarding Once Upon a Nightmare and decided to address the most common ones today.

One of them is why did I write a story about a serial killer and another is why so graphic? I didn't need more than a moment to answer. I'd known the reasons long before they'd asked.

As I said in my interview, this book was inspired by a nightmare. It was a nightmare probably born out of all the books I've read on serial killers, but this dream completely terrified me. I wanted to get it out, to purge myself of it, so I started to write... Turning this "bad" dream into something "good" seemed like the thing to do.

So why a book on serial killers? Well that was the basis of the dream, and since I'd always wanted to work in forensics, read countless books on the subject, it only made sense that my first story should be based on something I had years of untapped information on.

From the time I was a child and overheard newscasters reporting about murders, read about them in newspapers, I was horrified. To know there were real people out there taking pleasure from others' pain disturbed me beyond words. It was a concept I just could not comprehend. I can't witness an animal suffering, let alone a person. And so I started to read... And read... And what I found out disturbed me even more.

That brings me to the second question - why so graphic. The non-fiction books I've read don't spare any details... Some read like graphic police reports. Most fiction doesn't even come close. The reader never gets the true evil of these people, the true horrors of their crimes.

When I wrote this story, I wanted the reader to feel those scenes. To be put in the shoes of the victim no matter how uncomfortable it made them. I wanted them to go somewhere they don't normally go, some place dark. And come out more wise.

Ignorance, I believe, benefits no one.

So that is the reason behind Once Upon a Nightmare. I hope my readers leave with more than just icy chills!

Happy Halloween!


I was fascinated when I first found out that this story was so personally connected to Lee. If you haven't picked up a copy of ONCE UPON A NIGHTMARE I definitely think you should, and just in time for Halloween. You won't be disappointed! If you haven't already, check out my review!

Thank you so much Lee, it was a blast working with you =)

Day 316 - It's Monday!

It's Monday! What are you reading this week?, hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog, is a weekly event to list the books completed last week, the books currently being read, and the books to be finished this week.

Books Gobbled Last Week:
Legacy :: Cayla Kluver

Gobbling Down This Week:
The Bargain :: Mary Jo Putney
Cleopatra's Daughter :: Michelle Moran

-Another book that took me a week to read. *sigh* I'm so slow sometimes. Stay tuned for the review - I really enjoyed it though =)
-Stay tuned this week for my review of THE SARI SHOP WIDOW that I finished earlier this month. There will be an interview with the author along with a guest post, might even be a giveaway - so definitely stick around.
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