Every year, CBC Books enlists the help of established writers and editors from across Canada to read the thousands of entries submitted to our prizes. This year, Sonya Lalli was honoured to take part as one of the readers.
Readers compile the longlist, which is then given to a jury who chooses a shortlist.
You can meet the readers for the 2023 CBC Short Story Prize by clicking here.
You can see the books chosen for the 2023 CBC Short Story longlist here.
The shortlist will be announced on April 12 and then the winner will be revealed on April 18.
Kirkus Reviews recently reviewed Jasmine and Jake Rock the Boat and here’s a snippet from that review:
As well as finding romance, Jasmine learns that there’s a middle ground between isolating herself from family conventions and fully embracing Punjabi traditions. She can have it all—and on her own terms.
A modern romance with the perfect mix of emotional growth and meddling aunties.
For Catapult’s Romance Week series, I wrote about a writing exercise on how to strengthen the romantic subplots in your work.
Subplots are a time-tested way to elevate your romance novel. These secondary storylines, which will likely involve one or both of your main characters, create obstacles they must fight to overcome, or help with your story’s pacing by adding comedy, tension, or reprieves. They can force your protagonists to make difficult choices and confront their pasts, and even add nuance by advancing your story’s overall themes or tropes.
To read the full article, visit Catapult’s website here.
Whether it’s Valentine’s Day or not, if you’re in the mood for love and romance, this list of South Asian books, including Grown-Up Pose and A Holly Jolly Diwali, make perfect gifts for your special someone.
Sonya Lalli’s novel is more than just romantic fiction. It looks at the issues that can exist within marriage, family dynamics, gender roles and parental relationships. … It’s a coming-of-age story that emphasises that life is a series of ups and downs, no matter what stage you’re at in life.
To read the full review and see the rest of the books on the list, click here.
Great review of Jasmine and Jake Rock the Boat in the latest LIbrary Journal:
An enemies-to-lovers romance full of humor and heart. Readers will fall in love with Jasmine, Jake, and the cast of aunties, uncles, and friends who help them along the way in Lalli’s latest
You can read the full review on Library Journal’s site.
No matter what kind of year you’ve had, everyone has room for some holiday heart-warmers. The Globe and Mail recently shared some of their favourite comforting reads from this year, including A Holly Jolly Diwali. To check out the full list, click here.
Niki has always done the right thing – until everything in her life goes spectacularly wrong. Laid off from her tech job, she books a last-minute ticket to her best friend’s wedding in Mumbai, where – via an impromptu trip to the beaches of Goa – she finds self-confidence, a cute indie musician and, of course, the real meaning of Diwali. Light-filled and gently humorous, this one beats any Hallmark movie.
The Globe and Mail
It’s getting cold in the FOLD’s corner of the world, and they’ve decided to warm up with some delightful romance reads for December. This month’s FOLD Challenge is all about romance featuring characters of faith, including A Holly Jolly Diwali.
When Niki and Sam join Diya, her husband and their friends on a group honeymoon, their connection grows deeper. Free-spirited Sam helps Niki get in touch with her passionate and creative side, and with her Indian roots. When she gets a new job offer back home, Niki must decide what she wants out of the next chapter of her life—to cling to the straight and narrow like always, or to take a leap of faith and live the kind of bold life the old Niki never would have dreamed of.
Check out all these wonderful recommendations on FOLD’s website here.
Publisher’s Weekly recently published a starred review of Jasmine and Jake Rock the Boat!
Jasmine’s looking for a partner, not just another lover, but to get her happy ending she must both reconnect with her roots and stop caring what others think of her. Lalli brings the cruise to vivid life, with exiting excursions along the way and plenty of meddling aunties on board. This ought to make some waves.
To read the full review, visit the Publisher’s Weekly website.
BookRiot has put together a fantastic list of romcom books perfect to keep your holidays warm and cozy, including A Holly Jolly Diwali!
“A Holly Jolly Diwali is a delightful holiday romantic comedy that sees type-A data analyst Niki Randhawa discover her fun side after being laid off and realizing that being practical and responsible isn’t working out for her like she thought it would. And so she books a last-minute trip to Mumbai for her friend Diya’s wedding and arrives in India just in time to celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights. There, she meets Sameer Mukherji, a free-spirited London musician who helps Diya get in touch with her creative side as well as her Indian roots.”
To check out all the romantic books on the list, visit BookRiot’s site here.
A Holly Jolly Diwali was recently included in a group of book recommendations that are perfect for the holidays.
“Niki is someone many readers can relate to: Being caught between doing what we want to do and what we think we should do. She’s spent almost her whole life choosing the latter and her life has been, well, not terrible, but not great either. It’s just been fine. So when she starts doing the things she wants, she sees how life can be—and it’s better than just “fine.”
In addition to the romance, it was fun to read a holiday romance that wasn’t about Christmas. As a romance lover, I appreciate seeing the subgenre branch out and introduce readers to a culture and holiday they maybe didn’t know much about before. I hadn’t known much about Diwali before this, and really enjoyed reading about the traditions here and seeing how people celebrate this holiday.”
To read the whole article and check out the other recommendations, visit the Northwest Asian Weekly here.