Monday Recommends and Nail Art: Blue Bar and Sweaters

I had the privilege of reading the ARC (advance reader copy) of The Blue Bar by Damyanti Biswas.

“Couldn’t be as good as You Beneath Your Skin,” (her previous novel) I thought. I was wrong. It’s aMAZing.

I’m a cozy mystery kinda gal, and these are the kind of books I immediately put down when I see words like “gritty” and “visceral”. But I’ve been reading Damyanti’s short stories since I was pointed to her during an early April A-to-Z Challenge, when she chose to write a flash fiction for each letter of the alphabet.

Here’s a page with links to her online publications. I have it pinned to my browser so I can access it quickly, easily, and repeatedly.

She’s irresistibly brilliant, sensitive, immersive, and goes straight through your brain to your heart.


The Blue Bar pulls you into a world you don’t want to inhabit, but makes you care so much for the characters you can’t abandon them. Everything about this novel is complex yet crystal clear, from the characters to the motivations to the underworld connections to the plot. It isn’t often (outside of Charles Dickens) that I get attached to minor characters, but there are minor characters in The Blue Bar that I want to take to have tea (or something stronger) and a long chat.

I’ve seen other reviewers complain about the unfamiliar names: They should have heard me the first time I tried to pronounce “Aloysius” or “Penelope”.

Highly recommended.

From the sublime to the banal, here are my nails for this week:

The base color is Maniology’s Latte. The medium brown stamping is with Maniology’s Caramel, and the dark brown is Maniology’s Annato Clay. The red is Maniology’s (now let’s not always see the same hands) Fireside. I used a matte topper this time, because it felt more cozy. The plates are: MoYou London’s Hipster Collection – 06 for the plaid and Maniology’s MXM042 for the sweater.




I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Monday Recommends and Nail Art: Blue Bar and Sweaters

  1. Dan Antion

    January 16, 2023 at 7:22am

    I am 100% with you on this post, Marian. I also started following Damyanti during that A-to-Z run of short fiction, and I’ve been amazed ever since. Cool nails!

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  2. Damyanti Biswas

    January 16, 2023 at 5:29pm

    OMG thanks so much Marian. You’ve been an absolute pleasure to know for the entire decade we’ve been friends, and your support has meant so much. Thanks for this, and for showing up for the event yesterday. I was very moved.

    And those nails are stunning!!

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      January 18, 2023 at 10:46am

      I feel so fortunate to have “met” you during the A-to-Z challenge. You blew me away from the first story. I enjoyed interacting with you at the meeting so much, I told Sara to call me back from her out of town trip when she called during your session. 😀

      And the nails are easy, although plaid usually gives me fits.

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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