Recently, I received more five-star reviews for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, and I wanted to share them. This book is the first one in the Renegade Series. It tells the story of a family from north Alabama, and how the Civil War impacts them. Thank you so much for the reviews!
This is a beautiful story of a family’s sacrifices and struggles as they stand up to a belief and their country. While we, as readers, encounter all the perils of the war, some ugly truths also surface, that make us question about the many facts and legends associated with the Civil War.
This book is a historical fiction centered around the Civil War. Not for the weak hearted. The POV in this is from the south so keep that in mind. Not for everyone but a good read. Great job to the author.
When Inaya Khan is told she’s meeting a boy for marriage, the last thing she expects is for beetroot juice to play spoilsport. As CEO of Ixora Skincare, Inaya has achieved money, fame and power all at the age of twenty-seven. But to her mother, the only labels that apply to her are overweight and unmarried.
A CEO himself, but of a struggling startup, Ayaz Ahmed has no time or energy to even think of marriage. Until his mother shows him Inaya’s picture and he’s instantly smitten. Despite a disastrous start that included beetroot juice spewage, multiple suitors for Inaya’s hand and judgy onlookers, Inaya and Ayaz are instinctively drawn to each other.
Until Ayaz finds out that his company is being taken over by none other than his prospective bride-to-be. Ayaz may be smitten but he isn’t stupid. And he most certainly isn’t letting Inaya take his precious company from him.
Can love find a way to survive in the heart of business deals, mergers and acquisitions? Or will this bad girl have to go rogue to bring her own ‘Ranveer Singh’ home?
Keeping my face as blank as possible, I sat down and tried my best not to sit too close to him. He sat down as well, a smile on his face, looking sheepish because my mother and his family were looking at us keenly.
‘Sameena, there’s someone I wanted you to meet,’ Ammi said to his mother and taking the hint, both his parents got up and walked away with Ammi, leaving the two of us alone at the table. We weren’t alone per se, because there were so many people around but I still felt my stomach tie up in knots.
Whenever I was in Bangalore, a part of me forgot that I was the CEO of a successful company and not just my parents’ daughter. I had spoken to thousands of men probably, men who worked for me, men whom I had interviewed for jobs at my company, vendors and marketers, and other CEOs. But here, all that was swept away as I became Naseem and Aftab Khan’s younger daughter. Their younger unmarried daughter.
Straightening my back, I turned to him, really hoping there wouldn’t be another disaster like the one that had nearly ruined my dress. I briefly wondered where Ayaz was. Maybe he’d been embarrassed enough to leave.
I put him out of my mind and turned to the man I was sitting with. He looked at me appraisingly, his eyes resting on my shoulders and then glancing down my bare arms. Women were wearing short, strapless dresses here at the party. This was nothing compared to that. I gritted my teeth, thinking that if he was going to shame me for my outfit, I was going to throw this…this…I picked up the glass of juice on the table and sniffed it slightly and then nearly gagged. It was beetroot juice.
About the Author:
Andaleeb Wajid is a hybrid author, having published 40 novels in the past 14 years. Andaleeb enjoys writing in a number of different genres such as young adult, romance, and horror. Andaleeb’s recent novels All Drama No Queen and Mirror, Mirror were published by Penguin Random House and Duckbill respectively in 2021. Andaleeb’s romance trilogy Jasmine Villa Series is being published by Westland in February 2023. She has an upcoming YA horror novel with Harper Collins later in 2023.
Author/singer/songwriter JDR Hawkins writes novels and articles for newspapers, magazines, e-zines and blogs about the Civil War from the Confederate perspective. Her RENEGADE Series is rapidly winning multiple awards; the initial volume is this exceptional book – A BEAUTIFUL GLITTERING LIE. This series, now four books in number, relate the story of a family from northern Alabama who experience immeasurable pain when their lives are dramatically changed by the war. At this particular time in our history, when questions are being raised about the validity of statues and memorabilia of the Civil War, creating heated discussions and confrontations, this book offers a fresh view of the Civil War from the Southern, and Confederate, stance. For a more complete picture of that historical event, Hawkins has created a fictional revisit to that mid 1800s time and her writing is inviting, from the first lines: “Oh, look! Here he comes!” Jenny exclaimed. The crowd exploded with cheers. David looked over to where she was pointing, his hazel eyes squinting in the bright sunshine. An elegant black lacquered carriage drawn by six white horses pulled up to the steps of the regal Greek revival-style state building. Eight musicians burst into “Dixie’s Land.” A slender, steely middle-aged gentleman stepped out of the carriage and was escorted by military personnel to a waiting platform, where he took his seat. “He looks sickly to me,” remarked David’s father, Hiram…’ Approaching her novel from the family standpoint allows everyone entry to better understand the Confederate vantage.
With that sense of presence, the plot progresses as follows: ‘In the spring of 1861, a country once united is fractured by war. Half of America fights for the Confederate cause; the other, for unification. Rebel forces have already seized Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines, a new Confederate president has been elected, and the Constitution has been revised. In north Alabama, a farmer and father of three decides to enlist. For Hiram Summers, it is the end of everything he has ever known. After Hiram travels to Virginia with the Fourth Alabama Infantry Regiment, he is quickly thrust into combat. His son, David, who must stay behind, searches for adventure at home by traipsing to Huntsville with his best friend, Jake Kimball, to scrutinize invading Yankees. Meanwhile, Caroline – Hiram’s wife and David’s mother – struggles to keep up with the farm as her world revolves around the letters she receives from her husband, whom she misses dearly. As Hiram and his son discover the true meaning of war, they soon realize that their choices have torn their family apart. The naïveté of a young country is tested, a father sacrifices everything to defend his home, and a young man longs for adventure – regardless of the perilous cost.’
This is a timely novel that will hopefully add new dimensions of thinking about the Civil War and its persistent scars.
I recently received several new reviews for my latest novel, Double-Edged Sword. This book is the fourth in the Renegade Series, and has already reached The #1 spot on Amazon. I’d like to share some of these reviews with you. Thanks so much for the awesome reviews, and for your continuing support!
Double-Edged Sword: A Novel of Reconstruction Book Four of the Renegade Series by J.D.R. Hawkins is a story that shows how a man can be changed after war. The quality of the novel is undoubtedly great. I liked how characters were developed and how the main character’s change was shown. I also enjoyed the dialogues, which seem quite accurate with real life. I recommend reading it.
Double-edged sword by J.D.R. Hawkins is an astounding story filled with remarkable character experiences and intense adversities. The troubles and conflicts brought on by the result of combat run deep. Instability and turmoil are triggered though violent behavior and suffering. It was rather fascinating learning about the life of soldiers following war, and the author does a great job of capturing genuine emotion. This is a very thought-provoking book that I would highly recommend.
Double-Edged Sword: A Novel of Reconstruction Book Four of the Renegade Series by author J.D.R. Hawkins is an enjoyable read that can be a very good stand alone – so, if you haven’t read the previous ones, you would be able to understand this one. The scenery, the description of characters and the dialogues are well created, making the reader immerse in the story easily. I would totally recommend reading it.
Orphaned at a young age, scraping together a life below the poverty line, Karam Bakshi has only ever wanted one thing. Success. With unrelenting focus and backbreaking effort, he has carved out the life of his dreams. And then he saw her and forgot that he had goals or a plan or even something as basic as ideas.
Shikha Sachdev, only daughter to a mining magnate and jilted fiancée to one of the most powerful men in the country, has never wanted for anything. And then she met him and realised that until that moment, she never had wanted anything. Not like she wanted him.
When passion collides with reason, when the heart goes to war with the brain, and old scabs rip open under the onslaught of new wounds, there is nowhere to hide, nowhere to run, and only one option left; gamble with everything you’ve got. Win and reach for a lifetime of happiness or lose and you lose everything, including your very sense of self.
Can Karam and Shikha ever find common ground? Or are they destined to orbit each other like the most tortured star-crossed lovers of eternity?
Karam stiffened at the sweet voice and the even sweeter sentiment it oozed. He didn’t do sweet. He turned slowly to face her.
“Slumming again, Princess?”
Anger flared on those perfect features, but she composed herself a second later. You had to admire that level of control. She would have made the perfect politician’s wife. Kanak, on the other hand…a reluctant laugh huffed out of him.
“Why are you like this?” she asked now, her tone bored but her eyes alive with something he recognised all too well. The same emotion thrummed through his veins, heating his blood and kickstarting his heart.
He took a sip from his flask, a deliberately long one. He wanted to smack his lips, the gesture as pointed as it was obscene, when she stepped closer to him.
“You didn’t reply to my last message.” The soft words only stoked the heat.
“Didn’t have time.” The words were a low snarl in response.
She cocked her head, those pretty hazel eyes seeing right through him and to the lonely, angry, always hungry boy he’d been and apparently, never outgrown. The boy who’d longed for a better life, for a full stomach, for a night without being whipped or beaten, for an affectionate touch, for someone, anyone really, to love him.
A boy who’d thought he’d deserved better. A boy who’d wanted something pretty, something special in his life. A boy who’d dirtied and ruined everything he’d held in his hands. Including this woman.
He’d kissed her. And she’d lost everything. Her rich, powerful fiancé had ended their engagement, her family had shunned her, humiliated by her actions and her business had lost investors. Apparently, they’d been backing the woman who was going to marry Aakash Thakkar. Not someone who’d kiss an alley rat like him.
“Go inside,” he told her softly.
But when did she ever listen to him?
“No,” she said, equally softly, stepping forward and into his space.
“You really need to find a rich, pretty boy to practice this shit with, Princess.” The words were hoarse, his chest starting to heave.
“But I don’t want to,” she murmured, her fingers pushing the hair back from his forehead, running through the strands. She gripped the back of his neck, the contact feeling like a brand on his skin.
“What do you want?” His hand fisted around his flask even as the other one gripped her hip, the skin soft and satiny under his callused palm. Her saree pallu whispered down one shoulder and slipped to the ground but neither of them noticed, their eyes only on each other.
“What. Do. You. Want?” The words were dragged from him.
“You, Karam. Always you.”
This time when she kissed him, he didn’t just go up in flames. He swore he’d burn the world down for a chance to do this again. And again.
About the Author:
A published author with Harlequin India – Mills & Boon India Collection and Juggernaut, Shilpa Suraj’s books have hit both the Hot New Releases and Bestseller lists on Amazon. Her next novel, tentatively titled ‘Wrong,’ has been contracted by Rupa Publications and will release later this year. She is also part of the Flipped Anthology by Harper Collins and had an audiobook book Insta Reddy release with Storytel.
She is, amongst other things, currently working on ‘Frazzled and Fabulous,’ a humorous, true-to-life parenting story that is part memoir and part nonfiction.
An avid reader with a passion for creative writing and storytelling saw her participating in writing competitions at school and dabbling in copy writing for an ad agency as a teenager. Twenty years in the corporate space, including a stint in Corporate Communications for Google, India, and a spell at entrepreneurship all hold her in good stead for her multiple current roles of author, mother and Head of Human Resources & Public Relations at an architecture and interior design firm.
The American Civil War has come to an end. David Summers, a Confederate cavalryman, goes back to Alabama with his new wife, Anna, to settle down there after serving in the war. Upon returning, he is aware of the profound impact that the war has had, not only on himself but also on his homeland. As a result of being confronted with the difficulties of transition, he acquires the skills necessary to negotiate both his new reality and the agony and trauma of his past. Additionally, he is compelled to face off with his adversaries, one of whom is Stephen Montgomery. Their deep-seated animosity for one another will inevitably lead to a violent altercation, during which David will be taken into custody. Even though he was a member of the Confederacy in the past, do you think the jury will believe his side of the story? Or will he be executed by hanging for his crime?
Double-Edged Sword: A Novel of Reconstruction Book Four of the Renegade Series by award-winning author J.D.R. Hawkins is a well-written and researched historical drama about the immediate aftermath of the American Civil War and the difficult years that came to be known as the Reconstruction era. Highly recommended for fans of historical fiction and a well-deserved five stars from me.
One wrong choice on the eve of her wedding has left Ananya married to one brother and in love with THE OTHER…
Ananya Saxena is the good girl who has always done the right thing. She is a dutiful wife, faithful daughter-in-law, fierce champion of the law. Except, in her heart was another phrase—reckless lover. An impossible choice for a good Indian girl. Duty had Ananya marry her best friend only to end up with a bitter, vengeful husband. Arvin Saxena is now a cripple, both physically and emotionally, after his wife’s confession the day before they were to be married. So, Arvin’s never-ending pain finds release only in hurting her. What he doesn’t know is that her secret sin was loving Arnav Saxena.
Arnav turned his back on all of them when she discarded him and married his younger brother.
When he is forced to return, it sets Ananya on a collision course with fate and she chooses desire over duty to embark on an affair with Arnav. For a brief glorious time, they have it all.
But soon, Ananya is faced with yet another life-changing decision when adultery, bankruptcy and a web of lies bring her to a crossroads. The dutiful wife or the defiant lover… who does she choose to be? And does she really even have a choice?
There was a special place in hell for men who were in love with another man’s wife. Arnav contemplated the fifteen-year-old scotch in the crystal glass in front of him. It helped fan the
flames of the hellfire in his gut. It didn’t stop his gaze from being drawn to the back of her dress. The outfit shimmered like silver smoke over her lithe body. He could see her husband’s hand resting possessively on her exposed back, a thumb gently gliding over her creamy, unblemished skin.
He clenched his glass and gulped down almost half of its contents, savouring the burning trail it left inside him. It did nothing for the guilt that was his constant companion, but it numbed the pain that clawed through him, be it only for a moment.
She laughed. It was a tinkling burst of sound that cut through the quiet murmur of the sophisticated, high society crowd that had gathered for the charity event. A few tendrils of her hair escaped the complicated hairdo her glorious waist-length mane was caught up in and flirted with the
nape of her neck.
Cursing, he pushed back from the table. He needed a smoke and he didn’t care if the world thought it was rude of him to walk out right now. As he made his way through the throng, a part of him registered the way she leaned against her husband and murmured something into his ear. Turning towards her, he
gave her an indulgent smile that spoke volumes about their relationship.
Oh yes, there was a special place in hell for men who loved another man’s wife. He breathed, crawled and existed in that abyss, for he didn’t just love another man’s wife, he loved his brother’s wife. Amidst the scum that grew in the filthy gutter of the deepest, darkest bowels of hell, he was the slime you scraped off the bottom of your shoe. He lived and breathed guilt, remorse and gut-searing pain. She was his friend, his passion, his endless torment, his curse. And yet, he loved her.
About the Author:
Shilpa Suraj wears many hats – corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.
An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.
Pranay Oza is excited about his life’s new phase – COLLEGE. And soon enough, life offers him much more than he imagined. Falling in live with a college senior and the love being reciprocated through anonymous love notes was like a dreamy sequence from a romantic movie come true.
But then was this love or bait?
It is college election time too and stakes are high for all the aspirants for the President’s post. It is the last chance for all of them to prove themselves capable of moving into pro- fessional politics.
But can a fresher Pranay Oza be critical to the elections?
At this age, decisions are driven by passion and consequences can be life changing
It was four minutes to midnight. Pranay climbed up the wall with the support of the tree trunk and took a pause to look around. There was no one to be seen, it was all silent and so he jumped on the other side as quietly as he could. He steadied himself and looked around again. Finding no sign of any movement, he quickly rushed towards the narrow pathway leading to the stairs, the one he had seen Amrita take the other night.
He quietly started climbing up the stairs. For once, he was happy the hostels rarely replaced a fused bulb on the stairways. It was not a dark night and the half-moon brightened the stairs enough for a cautious climb. His heart was racing fast, not knowing what to expect. He wanted to be quick but silent. “Why am I here? What do I want? Well, it’s a bit too late to think about it now.” But he firmly believed he was expected to be here at this hour.
As he reached the foyer, half way up to the first floor, he heard a creak. He froze in fear and almost stopped breathing to maintain absolute silence. The creak sounded like a door or window closed or maybe opened. He waited and tried to listen hard. But it was all very quiet apart from his drumming heart and his soft breath. The music from the common room remained faint. He concluded it should be one of the windows moving due to the wind.
He climbed up further and reached another small foyer.
There are two doors now, one to his left and one to his right. “It should be the one on the left,” he thought. It was a guess based on what he had seen the other night. He looked for room number but there was none, neither on the other door.
‘Left it is’ he decided. He took a deep breath and steadied himself. Still not sure what to expect, he took a step forward to lightly knock on the door. But as his knuckle touched the door for the first tap, the door creaked.
The door was open. Indeed! He was expected! His breath was still shallow, his anxiety level still high and his heart still pounding. He slowly pushed the door open. It was dark inside and his eyes took a few moments to adjust. The window on the wall to his right was open, the curtains were drawn and the moonlight was filtering in from the borders. There was another glass window on the opposite wall the room which was closed. The light coming in from this window was just enough to create an outline of the bed underneath. It seemed there was no one on the bed. The rest of the room was dark.
He took a step into the room and straightened himself up.
The room was eerily quiet and he could not see Amrita around. Was she shy and hiding from him? On second thoughts he wondered ‘Am I even in the correct room?’
Varun holds a Bachelors degree in Engineering from MS university, Baroda. Additionally, he holds double Masters in Business from Symbiosis, Pune and HEC Paris.
After working in India & France, Varun currently lives in Bahrain with his wife and two daughters. He loves reading and this is his first rendezvous with writing.
When Aisha Rajput, the queen of raves and celebrity after-parties, is asked to plan a hospital fundraiser, she’s convinced the sun finally rose from the west. And yet, she is determined to blow this brief out of the water for it is her one chance at redemption.
Seven years ago, she shattered Dr Kabir Pradhan’s heart with a deliberate, conscious act of betrayal. The least she can do to make up for it is to save his hospital.
Aisha is the woman who loved him and broke him. The last thing Kabir needs is for her to do it all over again with his hospital. He doesn’t want her, he doesn’t need her, and he certainly won’t tolerate her. Or so he tells himself.
When the hospital board leaves them with no choice but to work together, the stage is set for fireworks.
When the heartache of the past collides with the irresistible desire of the present, the future looks to be in jeopardy. Unless the Bad Girl goes Good and saves the day.
But can she?
And does Kabir even want her to, for like it or not, his heart has always belonged to the Bad Girl, hasn’t it?
The Rajmata of Bannor looked positively hunted as she stared at me.
“She said she’s on her way, beta. I’m sure she will be here soon.”
My brow creased in confusion.
“Who is on her way? I thought we were meeting to discuss how to raise money for the new NICU.”
“We are! But you can’t raise funds without a proper fundraiser. And if anyone can organise a superhit, blockbuster event for you, it is she,” declared Her Highness.
What was the old lady smoking? We weren’t a Bollywood production house. Usha Kiran was a hospital with a reputation for quality healthcare. The manic gleam in her eyes made me very nervous, especially when she started throwing around words like superhit and blockbuster.
“She?” I asked carefully.
“Kabir, you can’t pull off such a big event all by yourself. You need an event manager.”
No. What I needed was for these old farts to get their heads out of their asses and come up with a plan to counter Her Highness’s schemes.
“Your Highness, we’re trying to collect funds, and I’m not sure how blowing up a huge chunk of money on a grand party is going to help us do that.”
The other members of the board nodded in agreement. The very thought of wasting money on a fundraiser made them turn ashen.
She shook her head in disappointment.
“Beta, sometimes you have to spend money to earn more.”
“Well, we don’t have much, to begin with, and I don’t think I can authorise such an expense when I could use the money to buy new ventilators,” I said apologetically.
I knew she meant well, but she needed a dose of reality. There was nothing glamorous about what we were trying to do here. We needed state-of-the-art incubators, ventilators with CPAP machines, as well as a well-trained NICU staff, all of which cost money.
“What if the board doesn’t have to spend a single penny? I will donate the money you need to organise the event,” she replied craftily.
“With due respect, Your Highness, why would you do that?”
She banged on the floor with the end of her walking stick.
“Because it is time to try something new. The world is full of people who have more money than they can spend in this lifetime. And some of them are even willing to share that wealth. You just need to know how to approach them. As for the ones that don’t want to part with their wealth, you need to know exactly how to lure and skin them,” said Her Highness, with relish.
Were we still talking about raising money? I had a feeling there was a ruthless serial killer lurking under that silk-clad grandmotherly exterior. I sighed as I resigned myself to an uncomfortable meeting with the event manager. But I would hear her out before I showed her the door. It was the least I could do.
I looked at my watch pointedly and nodded.
“Fine. Let’s see what this wizard of yours has in mind.”
There was a sharp knock at the door, and it swung open.
“I hope I’m not too old for one of your lollipops, Doctor Uncle,” called a voice that I hadn’t heard for years.
And yet, it hit me with the same force as it had seven years ago.
Her Highness rose to welcome her, but I stayed frozen in my seat, unable to do anything but stare at that familiar face. Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! What the fuck was Aisha Rajput doing here?
She walked into the room and greeted Her Highness with a warm hug.
“Now, where’s my favourite man?” she cooed, pulling away from the Rajmata of Bannor.
I clenched my jaw and stood up slowly to my full height as she turned towards me. When she spotted me, she swayed in place as if she had been dealt a body blow. I shot her a frosty smile that made her turn pale.
“Well, if it isn’t the OG Bad Girl,” I drawled.”
About the Author:
Alisha Kay writes funny, exciting and steamy stories, with spunky heroines who can rescue themselves, and hot, woke heroes who find such independence irresistible.
The first book in The Devgarh Royals series, The Maharaja’s Fake Fiancée, won the grand prize at the Amazon KDP Pen to Publish Contest 2020.