Book Reviews

Book Review | Now I Love You, Now I Don’t by Shoma Narayanan

DisclaimerI received a free paperback of this book from Rizwan Khan of Rupa Publications India and I’d like to thank him for the same. The review is my honest opinion about the book and I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.

I’ve read a couple of romance novels by Shoma Narayanan and had liked the easy flow of her writing. I had quite liked how she had paced her stories well; the stories weren’t too fast nor did  they drag. So when I was offered a chance to review Now I Love You, Now I Don’t, I took up the opportunity!

Now I Love You, Now I Don’t is the story of two independent women, Anjali and Zina, who are trying to live their lives on their own terms. The story begins with Zina running away from her wedding, and Anjali getting back with her estranged husband (quite an irony, isn’t it).

Anjali moves with her husband, Sushil, daughter, Gayatri, to a posh locality in Mumbai and does all she can to fit into the lifestyle that is drastically different from the one she is used to in Indore. Zina, meanwhile, is coming to terms with having fallen for a guy, Ishaan, who is too young for her. The women make a lot of choices as they go along in life, some conventional, some unconventional.

There were two more reasons why I chose this book.

One of them was the colorful cover, which I later realized was a very accurate glimpse of the two lead characters of this novel. Here’s an image of the cover, for you to know what I am raving about!

now-i-love-you-now-i-dont_with-watermark

Another one was my craving for a comfort book. I really needed to read a book that I knew was good and was a breezy read; I really was not in for any heavy duty or badly written stuff! This book was a perfect match to all my requirements, and I am glad I picked up this one!

The story moves along well and is peppered with a lot of other characters who come out to be very interesting. Especially, Anjali’s father. You are sure to laugh out loud every time there is a scene involving the man!

The relationship between Anjali and Sushil comes across as very genuine; the way they try to mend their broken relationship is very endearing. What’s also endearing is how Anjali finds a foothold for herself in a strange city, using her skills to establish a career. She makes friends with some unique and slightly weird people, also playing cupid on the way. Add to the mix a teenage daughter who is trying to make her place in a swanky school, and you are in for some entertainment.

Zina’s character is beautiful too, and her relationship with Ishaan can be described as cute. However, I thought I could connect more with Anjali and Sushil than with Zina and Ishaan.

A lovely addition to the reading experience of this book is the letters that Gayatri writes to her grandfather, Anjali’s father. The letters are a beautiful insight into what goes on in the mind of the child when her life changes, even while the adults and their ups and downs take center stage.

My biggest disappointment with this book was the blurb! I thought that the story and the blurb were a little disconnected on one particular bit.

Nonetheless, the book does not disappoint. The story is as colorful as the cover and is well-written in terms of language, vocabulary, and grammar.

My rating:

I’ll give this book a 4/5.

 

Book Reviews

Book Review | The Evil Twin? by P. G. Van

For a very long time, after reading Fifty Shades of Grey, I wasn’t able to decide if erotica was a genre I’d like to read a lot of. I’d read another book a little after I read FSOG and, if I had to describe my experience of reading that book in one word, it was nauseating!

(Personal opinion: Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed were far better in my opinion!)

Decidedly, I stayed away from erotica. Until The Book Club (TBC) came up with this book P. G. Van, Destiny Decides. I don’t remember why I took up this book for review, maybe because of the cover, but I sure remember my experience of reading it. The book was unputdownable and the perfect dose of romance. You can read my review of this book here. The lazy me hasn’t gotten around to reading the sequel yet, but it shall do that too, very soon!!!

So, coming back to The Evil Twin? my choice was already made when TBC sent out review forms for this book. And once again, I wasn’t disappointed.

Before I tell you about what works for this book and what doesn’t, take a look at the absolutely scintillating cover of this book!

the-evil-twin-by-p-g-van_with-watermark

Too hot, isn’t it?!

The Evil Twin? is the story of Vinnie whose chance encounter of a man becomes life-altering for her. Reyan becomes the knight-in-shining armor for Vinnie and her family, and before she knows it, Vinnie is head-over-heels in love with the man who was a handsome stranger only a short while ago. And then, she comes to know that there is more than meets the eye.

In the middle of all this, Vinnie keeps meeting strangers who come up to her and address her Nandini. Who is Nandini and how is she connected to Vinnie? The answer to this question threatens to throw apart all that Vinnie has believed to be true so far.

The story is about how Vinnie comes to terms with the unexpected turn of events in her life.

The story moves at good pace, becoming a page turner soon enough. The mystery angle of the story has been dealt with well, as is the angle of romance and passion. The passion bit wasn’t overdone in any way, and was in fact a welcome change from the seriousness of the other angles.

The twist in the end justifies the title in a way that I hadn’t imagined and this surprise elements definitely makes every second spent reading this book worthwhile.

The secondary characters in the story are well placed too, and have some fun scenes woven around them.

The language and vocabulary used is good but I thought the book could have been edited a little better.

My Rating:

I’m going to give this book a 4/5!

DisclaimerI got a review copy of this book from The Book Club and the author as a part of the blog tour for this book, and I’d like to thank them for the same. The views expressed in this post are solely my own; there has been no monetary transaction involved in this.

Book Reviews · Uncategorized

Book Review: 23 Ways To Make A Girl Fall For You (Cyrus Broacha)

DisclaimerI received a free paperback of this book from Rizwan Khan of Rupa Publications India. The review is my honest opinion about the book and I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.

Click here to read the blurb.

23 ½ Ways To Make A Girl Fall For You is Cyrus Broacha’s latest book. This was the first time I was reading a book by CB (as I am going to address him in the rest of my post) and, while it didn’t seem very relevant for me to read a book on this subject, I wanted to give it a try for three reasons:

  1. It was written by Cyrus Broacha who is known for his humor, wit, and sarcasm.
  2. I was intrigued to know how much CB has really managed to figure out about women.
  3. I was curious about that half way.

That the book will be written and edited well was something I had naturally assumed. Sadly though, the book did not live up to my expectations. To say the least, it is drab and difficult to read. The poor edits and awry language further make for a miserable experience.

The book is a collection of the various letters that CB must have received for the agony aunt column he writes for a leading newspaper. Some of the anecdotes and CB’s funny responses to the equally weird questions were good, some even managing to have me in splits. But I thought, in spite of all this, the book was too dry to make an entertaining read; I had to struggle enough to finish reading it.

In my opinion, there is quite a bit that could have been done to make this book a definite entertainer, a perfect dose of humor at the end of a stressful day. But alas, it wasn’t!

My Rating:

I give this book a 2/5.

Book Reviews

Book Review: Knitted Tales by Rubina Ramesh

Disclaimer: If you’ve bought the book, you will know that I am the proofreader of this very amazing anthology. My review, therefore, is based solely on my opinion of the draft I received from Rubina for proofreading.

Rubina Ramesh is a star by herself in the online book marketing world. A lot of best-selling authors, reviewers, and bloggers will swear by her managerial skills and the diligence with which she conducts blog tours and promotes authors. 

So when Rubina Ramesh decides to come out with one of her own works, there sure is a lot of anticipation and excitement in the air. I’m sure that Rubina must’ve felt this to, for I’ve known first hand how concerned she was about meeting the expectations. 

I’ve told this to her in person already and I’m going to shout it out loud if need be, that Rubina Ramesh take a bow for the fabulous job you’ve done. 

When a book is released, it is the product of the cumulative efforts of a lot of people. Being a proofreader, however, is a marvelous opportunity to assess a writer’s individual ability. When I received Rubina’s draft for proofreading, I was absolutely thrilled. It was a breezy task, reminding me why I love proofreading so much. If you read the acknowledgement, Rubina thanks me for burning the midnight lamp. Let me tell you that her writing and sensible use of vocabulary was the fuel that kept my lamp burning. Rubina’s was one of those projects that I thoroughly enjoyed working on. 

Rubina’s way of storytelling is bound to floor you. Every story in her anthology has an unpredictable end that comes as a blow to the reader, taking you by awe. She hits the nail exactly on spot. She knows where to limit her descriptions, where to elaborate, and at which point should her story take that turn. The vocabulary used is a decent balance of simple and complex, just like how I personally prefer it to be. This one’s a certain page-turner!

Every story in this bouquet has its own charm, be it Betrayal, A Secret in their Closet, or Forgive Me, I Have Sinned. But my personal favorite would be The Missing Staircase. That shift in the way you’ve thought of the story all along that happens at the end is mind-blowing.

My Rating:

I am going to give this book a 5/5.

Book Reviews

Book Review: Cabbing All the Way by Jatin Kuberkar

This book inspired two different thoughts in me. One, in the world that we live in today, anything that saves time and takes away even one of the struggles we deal with everyday is welcomed with open arms. 

Another thing, which I think is the bliss of today’s life, is the strong bonds that develop between strangers-office groups, train groups, gym groups, cab groups are as common as they are endearing.

Jatin takes you on a ride with one such group. The blurb of the book and the cover are both inviting. Jatin’s cab group has twelve people, including him, or twelve minds, as the author prefers to call them, who come together to attempt car pooling as a solution to their exhausting daily commute.

The story is a decent attempt by the author to bring together twelve characters and give each one the same amount of footage; he has done this really well and certainly scores brownie points for it. The story is equally distributed between the twelve characters and, in a way, it is refreshingly different from similar stories belonging to this genre. 

The author’s use of language is good too. He has used some Hyderabad slang here and there, but has also given their English translations/equivalent so that the uninitiated don’t feel left out. 

Another good thing about the story is that it is a short, quick read. It does not unnecessarily drag.
However, there’s one thing that I, as a reader, would’ve liked to see. I would’ve loved to see the author add a little more depth to his characters. Although the story is in first person POV with the author as his namesake, he certainly has done justice in giving space to all his characters. However, I felt that my connect with the rest of characters, as a reader, lacked somewhere. At 150 pages, the story is a short read, so probably adding to it a few more tens would’ve improved the reading experience. 

In all, though, a good debut. If you are looking for a breezy read to accompany that holiday breakfast/brunch or just something that is a companion for your long commute to work, you might want to take a look at this. 

My Rating: I give this one a 3/5. 

Book Reviews

Book Review: Crème Brûlée by Ramona Sen

DisclaimerI received a free paperback of this book from Rizwan Khan of Rupa Publications India and Rizwan, I cannot thank you enough for this absolutely wonderful read. The review is my honest opinion about the book and I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.

The Blurb:

A quintessential Bengali anglophile, Aabir Mookerjee, is back from Oxford and can often be spotted basking in the comfort of colonial clubs or pottering around his restaurant, E&B, whose chocolate mousse has been garnering all the attention.

Troubles begin when The Mad Hatter opens across town and its attractive young proprietress shows a knack for concocting sweetmeats. Meanwhile, Aabir’s mother and the family priest unite to find him a ‘suitable’ bride. His monosyllabic sister won’t help and his incorrigible friend is too much the flagrant Lothario to be depended upon. Soon, the easily disoriented Aabir finds himself swamped by more ladies than he can handle.

Perhaps the only person who can bring things to a head is his dead grandmother, who watches over the family with an eagle eye from her unearthly abode on the coconut tree.

Hugely engaging, with bountiful laughter, read along to know how Aabir fares, even as he inches closer to the best dessert he can get his hands on and a romance he hadn’t bargained for.

Psst: The reader runs the risk of unappeasable hunger pangs, which is not to be held against this lip-smackingly tasty book

My Review:

Creme Brulee, outright, is one of the most comforting, hilarious, and beautifully written books I’ve read in a while now. There have been very few books that have made reading such a pleasure.
I picked up this book because it promised food. The protagonists  Aabir and Kimaya are restaurateurs, their places famous for their desserts.  The blurb isn’t all that distinguishing. Which is why I expected a normal fight-first-fall-in-love-next kind of story.
But the book surprised me in the best possible way and oh-so-pleasantly. The story flows so beautifully, so smoothly, it is easy to get lost into it and leave all wishes of coming out.
Ramona creates a world that is all desserty (I know there isn’t a word like that )and funny.

The book is written in a very ‘polished’ language, if I may say so and floors you like nothing else. There is a plethora of characters but not one that seems out of place. Every single character, from Thakuma to Debjani, from Purohitmoshai to Geeta, from Aatreyee to Tanuja, from Pepper to Lady Mountbatten, and of course Aabir and Kimaya will win over your heart. Every single character has been portrayed so well, written about so well. I loved how Ramona has weaved Aatryee and her monosyllabic conversations into the story. Wonderful! Aabir and Kimaya are your regular people, but the author has woven a charm around them that is hard to escape. It is hard not to fall in love with these characters-Purohitmoshai included!

My favorite characters: Thakuma (one mean spirit this woman, pun intended), Debjani, and of course the odd job boy!!!

This is one splendid book that I’d really really recommend for everybody to read.

My Rating:

Certainly a 5/5 for this one!

 

Book Reviews

Book Review: The Smitten Husband by Sundari Venkatraman

Disclaimer: I got this book as a beta-read copy from the very dear Sundari Venkatraman, and I am thankful for the trust she places in me!

With this yet another gem from the treasure trove of stories she holds, Sundari Venkatraman proves one more time why she is called the Queen of Romance. She weaves magic, love, passion with her words with such intensity that you don’t have an option but to drown into her stories. And you come back feeling happy, hopeful, and, most importantly, comforted.

For me Sundari’s books, especially her Marriages Made in India series, are like the sweet old Rajshri movies, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun and Hum Saath Saath Hain. Read her books when you need that dose of comfort and hope.

Another one of her plusses is that she writes in a way that makes the words read themselves out to you. Flowery prose and creating a mini thesaurus is something that she stays from, which kind of becomes the USP of her stories.

The Smitten Husband is the second book in the MMII series. It is the story of Chanda’s (from The Runaway Bridegroom) eldest brother Ram and Sapna, a young, beautiful, fiercely independent, and strong-headed girl.

The characters are sketched well and are pretty relatable. There is a certain level of idealism that comes through, but it isn’t overpowering.

What I liked most about the story was Sapna’s conviction, which might also come across as her adamancy, that her Prince Charming was going to come in her life in a certain way. So much that Ram’s riches, and of course his charms, aren’t enough to get the girl budging. I found that one thing very different from what I’ve read or seen otherwise.

The story is simple and sweet, and short enough that you could just curl up with it for a few hours and have an enjoyable reading session.

My Rating:

A certain 5/5 for this one.