Tag Archives: Multicultural

Review: The Black-Marketer’s Daughter by Suman Mallick

Suman Mallick
Category: Contemporary / Literary Fiction / Multicultural
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Date of Publication: October 13, 2020
Number of Pages: 166 pages

Zuleikha arrives in the US from Lahore, Pakistan, by marriage, having trained as a pianist without ever owning a real piano. Now she finally has one-a wedding present from her husband-but nevertheless finds it difficult to get used to her new role of a suburban middle-class housewife who has an abundance of time to play it.

Haunted by the imaginary worlds of the confiscated contraband books and movies that her father trafficked in to pay for her education and her dowry, and unable to reconcile them with the expectations of the real world of her present, she ends up as the central figure in a scandal that catapults her into the public eye and plays out in equal measures in the local news and in backroom deliberations, all fueled by winds of anti-Muslim hysteria.

The Black-Marketer’s Daughter was a finalist for the Disquiet Open Borders Book Prize, and praised by the jury as a “complicated and compelling story” of our times, with two key cornerstones of the novel being the unsympathetic voice with which Mallick, almost objectively, relays catastrophic and deeply emotional events, and the unsparing eye with which he illuminates the different angles and conflicting interests at work in a complex situation. The cumulative effects, while deliberately unsettling to readers, nevertheless keeps them glued to the pages out of sheer curiosity about what will happen next.



“Mallick offers an impressively realistic depiction of a woman caught between tradition, family, and her own sense of empowerment.” ~ Kirkus Reviews

The Black-Marketer’s Daughter is a key-hole look at a few things: a mismatched marriage, the plight of immigrants in the U.S., the emotional toll of culture shock, and the brutal way Muslim women are treated, especially by men within their own community. Titling it—defining the heroine by her relationship to a man rather than as a woman in her own right—suggests how deeply ingrained that inequality can be.” ~ IndieReader Reviews

The Black-Marketer’s Daughter is the portrait of a woman who endures violence, intimidation, xenophobia and grief, and yet refuses to be called a victim. In this slender novel, Suman Mallick deftly navigates the funhouse maze of immigrant life in contemporary America—around each corner the possibility of a delight, a terror, or a distorted reflection of oneself.” ~ Matthew Valentine, Winner, Montana Prize for Fiction; Lecturer, University of Texas at Austin


The Black-Marketer’s Daughter by Suman Mallick is the type of book that surprised me in every good way imaginable. I purposefully do not read other reviews or blurbs on books that I intend to review so that my viewpoint is entirely my own. It is only after I read the last page and sat for several minutes absorbing the story and my feelings about it that I allowed myself to know more about the book and its author. I was shocked to find out that Mallick was a man.

I know that sounds sexist or something but hear me out. In most books written by men from the perspective of a woman, the woman is usually excessively female in some way. She’s too emotional, too into her looks; name it, she’s got it. But Zuleikha is this beautifully balanced woman who is aware of her surroundings and her previous misconceptions, and makes the most of her situation. Perhaps because of her upbringing with access to “radical” literature and films, she is not your picture perfect Pakistani bride and is unapologetic about it too.

Because the scandal is not mentioned on the back cover, I will not mention it here either. But I want to praise Mallick’s ability to write about difficult situations in a way that is descriptive yet not gratuitous. His writing style is equal parts wonder and wearied, much like the protagonist. Mallick is able to introduce the magic of seeing a place for the first time in one chapter, and then clinically document the life of a housewife in another.

As a pianist myself, I enjoyed every bit of the narrative that discussed instruments, music theory, and the process of becoming a music teacher. Because the cover features a simple drawing of a piano, it made me ponder the symbolism of it. The piano is Zuleikha’s dream, first love, and comforter in the beginning. It is instrumental in the scandal and clearly becomes her path to redemption and the life she wants in the end.

Holding this slim book in my hand, I really do marvel at the depths that were reached. The emotional weight of this book made it read like a tome. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to open their eyes to the immigration experience and to the strength of a woman who comes from a culture that does not celebrate individuality and independence. This might be controversial to say, but if you have never seen the parallels between Christian and Muslim beliefs, this book will definitely bridge that gap.

Suman Mallick received his MFA from Portland State University and is the assistant managing editor of the quarterly literary magazine Under the Gum Tree. He lives in Texas.

or visit the blogs directly:



Hall Ways Blog



The Clueless Gent


Guest Post

Momma on the Rocks





Author Interview

All the Ups and Downs






Texas Book Lover


Author Interview

That’s What She’s Reading



It’s Not All Gravy



Break Book Blog



StoreyBook Reviews


Scrapbook Page

Page Unbound


Author Interview

KayBee’s Book Shelf



by Moonlight



Missus Gonzo

Blog tour services provided by:

1 Comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Lone Star Book Blog Tours

Review & Giveaway: Singapore Fling by Maida Malby

Carpe Diem Chronicles, #2


Contemporary Romance / Multicultural 
Publisher: EOT Publications
Date of Publication: October 21, 2019
Number of Pages: 267

Scroll down for giveaway!

One alluring French-Filipina beauty. One sexy US Air Force officer. One torrid weekend affair. Maddie Duvall should be living it up at her challenging new job in glamorous Singapore. But two months after her wild weekend with Aidan Ryan, she’s still yearning for him. She craves the passion only he can ignite in her.

Aidan’s job takes him around the world, yet he can’t get Maddie out of his mind. When he returns to his assignment in Singapore, he seeks her out with a proposition she can’t turn down.

Intensely enamored with one another, their relationship takes off. But when Aidan’s mission exposes treachery by someone close to Maddie, lines blur and wires get crossed. Can their growing love survive the intrigue?

Singapore Fling is Book 2 of Carpe Diem Chronicles, a series of multicultural contemporary romance novels. The stories celebrate the rich cultures of exotic Southeast Asian islands through languages, food, and festivals.


“This second full-length volume in her Carpe Diem Chronicles is sexy, quick to read, and full of well-rounded, interesting characters. Family ties and female friendship add to the depth of the world and make you want more books.” ~ Catherine Stein, Award-winning Author of How to Seduce a Spy

“This book was great. Everything from the well-rounded characters to the interesting foods and exciting locale drew me in as a reader. I could clearly picture, hear, and smell/taste the story. The plot was perfect and the romance had just the right amount of intrigue and crisis. ~ Danielle Bellwood, Author of Daring (The Candomble Book 1)

“This book is a great deal of fun and the hero and heroine are both likable and realistic people. As usual, Malby’s writing shines best when writing about Singapore, particularly the culture and the FOOD!! ~ Gena Gilliam, Amazon Reviewer

Universal Link



I always feel a tingle when I read something written by a fellow Filipina, but Singapore Fling gave me all kinds of feels because the main character is a mestiza who is very proud of her roots. Up until this point, I have only read one other book where the main character is Filipino. To be completely honest, I wasn’t sure what Madeleine’s ethnic makeup was until several chapters into the book because I refused to read the synopsis. (That’s been my habit lately since I sometimes find that the person writing the blurbs seems to not have even read the book at all.)

I have yet to meet someone who is half French and half Filipino in person, but I can assure you that the combination is probably gorgeous beyond belief. Since Madeleine was raised in the Philippines but could speak French pretty fluently, I found myself wondering if she had a Filipino accent or some interesting combination of the two. Either way, Malby paints a strong woman that I would love to be friends with in real life. I enjoyed all of the characters in this book, but Madeleine was easily my favorite. I loved the things that came out of her mouth almost as much as her inner thoughts. The dialogue in this book is gold.

I like the vocabulary lesson that precedes each chapter. The reader gets to learn Filipino, Hokkien, Singlish, and some other dialects that escape me at the moment. Malby sometimes translates the dialogue spoken in other languages but she often paraphrases or uses context clues to convey their meaning. This works for the most part, but I could point out a few instances where I would have been lost if I had not understood the Filipino language and culture. Readers might need to look up some phrases to get the full meaning at times.

Much like Crazy Rich Asians, the food is its own character in this story and I can’t tell you how much I love it. When I wasn’t reading, I was looking up places in Houston where I might find authentic Singaporean food. Unlike Crazy Rich Asians, this book doesn’t drown you in affluence and gossip. Oh no, you will be completely submerged in molten, hot pools of lust and, if you’re like me, maybe a little concerned that someone might read over your shoulder and be a bit shocked. I’m a super visual reader, so this book had me blushing all sorts of shades. If I had to rate the spiciness of this love story on a scale of 1 to 10, I give it a 15.

If you’re into a more chaste romance, you might need to skim over some of the love scenes in this one. But if you don’t mind getting a bit flustered, the carnal beginnings make way to a very lovely romance. I found the central conflict to be unexpected but very exciting. It’s not your typical boy loses girl and must win girl back. I really enjoyed the intrigue and redemption.

I am curious to read the previous books in this series and definitely look forward to the next installment since it focuses on a chef character. I hope that Malby includes some recipes.


Maida Malby writes, reads, reviews, and lives Romance. Through her multicultural contemporary romance stories, she takes readers on trips to her favorite places in the world and shares her experiences of their rich cultural heritage.She is a member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA), San Antonio Romance Authors (SARA), Cultural, Interracial, Multicultural Special Interest Chapter of the Romance Writers of America (CIMRWA), and several romance book clubs. Her To-Be-Read Mountain and reviews of romance novels are featured on her website.

When not writing, reading, or reviewing books, Maida consults her husband on word selection, debates with her ten-year-old son regarding the Oxford comma, cooks the dishes she features in her stories, procrastibakes using Baileys as her secret yummy ingredient, and watches golf and food shows on TV.



1ST PRIZE (US only)
Kindle Fire 7 + Signed Copy of Singapore Fling
2ND PRIZE (US only)
Signed copies of Boracay Vows and Singapore Fling + charm bracelet
3RD PRIZE (US only)
Signed copy of Singapore Fling + spice paste packets (Hainanese Chicken Rice and Laksa)
4TH PRIZE (international)
 eBooks of all three books in the Carpe Diem Chronicles series
NOVEMBER 12-22, 2019


Top Five
Bonus Post
Author Interview
Guest Post
Scrapbook Page
Guest Post
Click to visit this tour’s page on Lone Star Lit
   blog tour services provided by


Filed under Book Reviews, Giveaway, Lone Star Book Blog Tours