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Saturday, October 12, 2019

Book Review #141 :The Worst Daughter Ever: Aarti V Raman


The black sheep of the Chakrapani clan is coming home... Lasya ‘LJ’ Raghavan is a spectacularly single, unsuccessful playwright with an estranged family, crippling debt, and a dead-end job. When the family matriarch Chandralekha Chakrapani dies, LJ has to face the family that considers her an epic failure… Especially her father, who has taken a vow of silence against her; her cousin sister, Ahalya, who blames LJ for destroying her marriage; and Bridezilla Kiki whose wedding has been cancelled. Adding to the family drama is Banjeet ‘Ben’ Dewar, her grandmother's lawyer who keeps showing up whenever LJ falls apart. Ben is everything LJ is looking for in a man, except Ahalya is interested in Ben too! Can LJ be selfish once more when the last time nearly destroyed her family? More importantly, can LJ’s family forgive her when she is the ‘worst daughter ever’? Written in the style of bestselling Indian rom-coms, The Worst Daughter Ever explores love, loss, friendship, family, redemption and forgiveness in a funny, emotional, coming-of-age tale.

My Take:

A beautiful story that talks about family,self esteem, misunderstandings, love and hatred. Takes us back to time when our cousins were our best friends. We never needed anyone outside the family to know what we feel. Reading this made me nostalgic and I started missing my cousins who always were there around when we needed them the most.

Lasya (LJ) is a author who has been unsuccessfully dabbing my hats and failing miserably. Her life is in shambles with her family out casting her, so called boyfriend dumping her for a receptionist,weight issues,a job that drives her to the wall and a house that is more of a liability now than an asset. Add to this back home a lawyer she's attracted to and wonders if she has a future with, the only glitch being even Ahalya is attracted to making a love triangle.

With hell bent in proving herself a success she gets a call that she would have to come home as the matriarch of the Charkapani clan is no more. Time for her to face the people who have outcast her and labelled her the black sheep. Her cousin Kiki whose wedding is postponed who's on a verge of a  nervous breakdown.Her cousin Ahalya who holds her responsible for her broken marriage and her financial condition, her father who's has broken all ties with her thanks to Ahalya.  Atharva her ever supportive brother who stands by her and shields her all the time .Will she be able to stand up for herself? Will she find love? Can all the misunderstandings/ accusations be cleared?

I loved the way the characters are developed, they sound realistic and believable and the back story to all the cousins justifies their behavior. Although everything is from LJ's point of view you can still relate to all of them.A typical South Indian family set against the picturesque Munnar, a will that ensures that the family has to stay together till the final rites complete. The sibling rivalries, sibling loyalties, love and hatred are something we all experience with our families.

The writing is simple, narration smooth and paced right. We can visualize the madness as they unfold as we read making it more entertaining. Delve in the madness of the Chakrapani clan and enjoy reading.

5/5 for this gem of a book.Thoroughly enjoyed and loved.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Book Review # 140 The Girl With Blue Eyes: Vaiibhav Nigam


It was love-at-first-sight for Armaan when he saw Tanisha. Despite being exact opposites of each other, they manage to keep their relationship alive. Unfortunately, things do not go as planned and they develop compatibility issues. In an unexpected turn of events, he comes upon an accident. Though he survives, the faint memory of a striking face with blue eyes flashed right before he collapsed and the accident haunts him forever. Months later, Armaan has a chance to encounter with the same 'Girl with blue eyes' and unknowingly, he is lured into an affair he can't deny! While he makes all the attempts to hide this from Tanisha, things start to get out-of-control as he is now in a dual relationship. As events unfold, he realizes this mysterious 'Girl with blue eyes’ comes with a lot of surprises. Must this 'Girl with Blue eyes' rake up his ordinary world? Deeply seductive and irresistibly compelling, 'The girl with blue eyes’ is an incredible page-turner that keeps the reader hooked.

My Take:

Armaan falls head over heels in love with the demure Tanisha the first time he sees her. As different as chalk and cheese personalities they slowly progress and eventually Tanisha too falls in love but thanks to her past she is shy of coming closer. Although Armaan is understanding his friends moving fast ahead ina relation in a much lesser time triggers his behavior and what follows is a ugly confrontation after which Armaan has an accident.

Rutvi a girl with blue eyes is exact opposite to Tanisha and the one Armaan remembers from the accident. Her bold and sassy avatar attracts him and what follows is a whirlwind romance. But now Armaan is with both Tanisha and Rutvi. He is in love with both.What will he do?Whom will he choose? Is Rutvi what she looks like? Or does she have an agenda? What is Tanisha's reaction to this double timing of Armaan? Read the book to find out.

A mystic love story. A different one and hold the attention of the reader easily . With neat etched characters and building the story the book captures your imagination. The mystery factor is beautifully incorporated in this. It keeps you hooked and anxious till the end. I liked the way the suspense is maintained till the end and the layers added to the mystery character.Also the way the story bind them together for a logical fitting conclusion.

I would rate this 4/5.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Book Review# 139 Ahalaya's Awakening


I searched all these years for myself—and I only found Ahalya, the woman I was supposed to be born as: unblemished, without any faults. I had no hala in me, no sin, no crime, no guilt. What I had done was to respond to the call of life within me…’
Ahalya. Created by Brahma; married to one of the greatest rishis of all time; desired by the king of gods, Indra. A woman maligned and cursed.
But who was Ahalya? What did she want? Did she have ambitions and desires?
In this sparkling retelling of the well-known legend, bestselling author Kavita KanĂ© draws out the voice of a character that lacked one—even before she was turned to stone. Tracing her journey from a precocious child, to a studious and sheltered princess, to the loving wife of Rishi Gautam, Ahalya’s Awakening delves into the mind of a woman who yearns to control her own destiny. In her tale lies the story of every woman, even today.

My Take:

Kavita has a flair for writing heart touching stories about the lesser known epic characters. Characters that have never been given their due, almost faded. Kavita becomes their voice and narrates a heart touching yet riveting tale.

Ahalya the daughter of King Mudgal and  fiesty queen Nalayanti is created by Brahma as one of his best creations. Better than the celestial Apsaras, Ahalaya is beauty with brains Although she has a hunger for learning and becmoing a scholar, her parents also like the world are fascinated by her beauty than brains Indra also makes an entry here by helping her brother Divokar in a war and is fascinated and crazy about her.His lust for her is more prominent although Ahalaya has rejected his proposal and advances..Her quest for becoming a scholar takes her to the great Gautam Rishi. Taking shelter in the Ashram and learning from the guru she falls in love with him and vice versa.

After her return her parents plan her swayamvar by setting an almost impossible condition which co incidentally Gautam Rishi fulfills and they get married. Indra who goes crazy hearing this confronts as he always feels only he could have won. Left rejected he seeks solance in the arms of Sachi (daughter of the Asura King) and they get married.

But Indra is never over Ahalaya and his lust is again a display when hey meet years later at her brother (Divokars marriage) Again rebuked by Ahalaya and made fun by his own wife he goes green. Meanwhile with children and the Ashram Ahalaya gets busy and slowly her quest to study remains in the back seat. Frustrated, hurt and questioning her individuality and her dwindling relatiosnhip with Gautam Rishi, Ahalaya seeks answers which her husband avoids.

Her coming face to face with Indra happens again and this time because of her need for love and lonliness she inspite of knowing that it is Indra in disguise of Gautam Rishi she gives in. Her confrontation with her husband and the Indra Gautam Rishis faceoff makes a great read.

Ahalaya is written well with some bold and thought provoking points that the author has raised. Men do get forgived easily and it is always the women who has to abide by the rules. The language used is simple and strong enough to drive the point home.

5/5 for this. Highly recommended for all womens and mens out there.

Monday, September 09, 2019

Book Review # 138 The Runaway Bridegroom: Sundari Venkatraman

Eight-year-old Chanda Maheshwari and thirteen-year-old Veerendra Singh Choudhry are married as per custom. But when the bridegroom runs away immediately after the wedding, the Maheshwari family’s world comes crashing down. They move to Jaipur to begin a new life in the city.
Fourteen years later, as a management student in Delhi, Chanda takes up a temporary job at RS Software Pvt. Ltd and finds herself falling head-over-heels for her boss, Ranveer Singh. But, for all her feelings, Chanda is still a married woman. Meanwhile, Ranveer’s secretary, Shikha, is determined to win him for herself. Even though his second-in-command, Abhimanyu, keeps getting in the way, she keeps a steady eye on the main prize. So when Ranveer starts to show an interest in Chanda, Shikha is furious. Back in Jaipur, an astrologer predicts that Chanda’s errant husband will soon make an appearance.
A secret childhood marriage, a vindictive secretary and unwelcome cosmic predictions—how much can Chanda deal with? And does anyone care about what she wants? Torn between the man she loves and the claim a missing husband still has on her, will Chanda ever find happiness?

My Take:

Love stories is a genre which gives limited imagination and scope for experimentation is what I felt. And normally they have villians, misunderstandings, fights ,arguments other than romance,passion. But Sundari has managed to break the barriers and write a love story that engrosses you ,connects with you. A love story that is supported by the family and has a role for all the family members. There is no negativity. The story is mesmerizing and stand out for the geniuinity.

Chanda has had a child marriage of few hours only to be left by the bridegroom. He runs away which leaves the families in lurch. Her family shifts to Jaipur unable to face the turmoil and hoping the change of place helps Chanda move on.

Ranveer runs away from his marriage hours after getting married as he doesn't believe in  marriage and is naive. Works hard, foster parents and education he builds his own software company and successful. Reluctant to visit back and face the music he tries to move on. Still the guilt is somewhere in his heart of what he did to his family and bride of few hours.

Shika, his secretary is ambitious and her dream is to marry someone rich. Her turbulent past experiences leave her bitter and cynical. Her only aim is to marry Ranveer. Her character is written well. I liked the way her role shapes up and doesn't end bitter.

Years later they both come face to face unknown of each others identity and fall in love. But both have a past to confront and resolve. You can connect with their turmoil especially Chanda's who is always worried that her childhood husband would make an appearance and she would have to live with him. What would be their reaction when they realise they were made for each other and binded by marriage then? Will Chanda accept Ranveer after all what has happened? Read the book to find out.

The story is weaved intricately with all characters given importance and the family plays an important role, a rare quality in these days love stories.

5/5 for this beautiful love story. Looking forward for the love stories of the brothers.

Saturday, September 07, 2019

Book Review # 137 The Speaking Stone : Ratnadip Acharya


Mumbai, December 2016: A young man found an ancient-looking piece of stone with strange images and Sanskrit inscriptions. A quest to know the origin of the stone brought him to the distant part of the country. Chandannagar, December 2016: A young vivacious historian woman read an old book on a century-old secret story about a little known part of the country. Her curiosity got the better of her as the book disappeared mysteriously before she could complete it. She reached a sleepy quaint state of the country to satiate her curiosity. Eventually they both met and their search began from the city museum to a far-flung rock mountain which revealed a century-old story of a seductive danseuse, her enigmatic lover, a string of her admirers, a painter with a photographic memory, a bird that could speak in many voices, a benevolent king and a gruesome conspiracy. And the most important clue to decode the final secret was with the missing part of The Speaking Stone But in the process of unearthing old secrets their lives were also in danger… To know more read... The Speaking Stone

My Take:

A beautifully crafted book. The research and the depth of the thinking is very prominently highlighted. Jumping from the busy Mumbai to Chandannagar to Tiripura to Unakoti this one is simply unputdownable.

Saikat chances upon a stone with a seller and on a whim buys the half stone. The stone has depictions of Shiva, Parvati, Ganesha and  a beautiful lady and a few Sanskrit words written.Curiosity piqued he starts observing it carefully and tries locating the place where these could be found. A few descriptions from the seller and he decides to solve the mystery by finding the other stone which has the remaining set of clues.

Shuvashini is interested in history and culture and wishes to do her PhD in the same. But after being snubbed by the mentor and determined to prove her wrong she visits the library and picks a book on Rajmala.Only to not find it the next day. She starts reading about Tripura and decides to visit the city for more research.

When they both meet and start exploring the city and musuem they get more clues and set for an adventure of finding the treasure. But there are people who have found them suspicious and are on their trail .The adventure begins . Will they be able to crack the mystery? Or it gets lost forever? Read to find out.

The story jumps between the past and present and yet maintains the rhythm which is commendable. The narration is smooth with minute detailing taken care of. The author has finesse.The story is fast paced with lots of twists and turns that keep you engaged till the end. All the characters are intelligently created and brought together to get the bigger picture.Elements of history, fantasy,mystery, thrill and suspense are well balanced.

Pick this and enjoy the mystery unveil. Waiting for the next one.

I would rate this 4.7/5 .

Friday, August 30, 2019

Book Review # 136 The Last Love Letter : Kulpreet Yadav


CAN YOU FORGET YOUR TRUE LOVE?Akash is devastated when his wife Nisha dies of cancer, leaving him all alone to raise their fouryear- old daughter, Sara. He finds it impossible to deal with the void in his life, and coping with the demands of being a single parent makes the situation worse. The crisis affects his professional life as well, which, too, takes an unexpected turn.
Subah is a painter who started hating men ever since she was dumped by her boyfriend for another woman. She runs an NGO that helps women whose lives have been ruined by abusive men.
When Akash meets Subah their lives change forever, but Akash is ridden with guilt as he finds himself getting closer to Subah. Can he be in love with two women at the same time? The Last Love Letter explores the contours of broken relationships and the meaning of commitment in modern India. The book discovers that love is neither about control nor surrender but a blessing that can only be experienced by listening to the heart.

My Take:

Pain, a 4 letter word that makes or breaks a relation. People come together because of pain and vice versa. The author here has used this emotion well to write a very intricate love story. Falling in love is easy but staying in love is difficult. Also when you lose someone close moving on is painful but also important to get with life.

Akash and Nisha have a whirlwind romance and get married. They have a beautiful daughter Sara. But things fall apart when Nisha succumbs to cancer and Akash left alone to parent Sara. Akash is unable to cope up with the loss and the last letter that Nisha has written to him .The letter is the connect between him and Nisha which he keeps alive by reading everyday. It acts as a solance to his otherwise turbulent life.

Subah is an painter, with a past that makes her vary of men and values her independence and space.She also runs an NGO for abusive women and helps them settle down. But a failed relation and her being observant of a bad relation between her parents makes her cynical about love and relationships.

What happens when they both cross paths? Will they be able to connect? Will they give each other a chance or just stay with their pasts and remain scared to move ahead? Read the book to find out.

The characters are developed well, their background, insecurities and experiences in life touch the right chord. The story is different as the intention of the relation was never to fall in love . It happens in a process and takes time. The narration is simple and flows neat. A matured way of handling a love story. Also the other factors like being lonely, insecurities, friendship are woven beautifully.

I would rate this 4.5/5.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Book Review # 135 KaalKoot : S Venkatesh


*KaalKoot brings together a forgotten Himalayan legend, an internationalconspiracy and nail-biting suspense in a gripping thriller. * January 1944 - Holed up in a Himalayan hideout, freedom fighter Manohar Rai has to take a chilling decision – one that could mean life or death for millions of people. His only hope is a mysterious young man, who goes into hiding hours before Manohar is shot dead in cold blood.

June 2018 - A forgotten legend from the upper reaches of the Himalayas is rearing its ominous head. The world will be brought to its knees. KaalKoot will strike again.

Only three people have a clue about the horrors that are about the unfold. The only hope for survival lies buried deep in the remotest corner of Himalayas. But a terrible fate awaits those who seek it. Is it already too late? Is KaalKoot – the primordial plague – unstoppable?

My Take:

The story of churning of nectar episode by the Devas and Asuras is well known. The famous Samudra Manthan episode which generated a posion so powerful that Lord Shiva kept in his throat which gave him another name "Neelkant" as his throat turned blue due to the poison. The poison which  has the power to destruct mankind is rearing its ugly head once again. The secret that lied buried for ages is on a brink to destroy and change the face of the earth and the antidote that can stop this mayhem is treasured somewhere safe in the Himalayas.

Set against the Pre Independence and Modern Era with a liberal reference to history ,mystery and science, the book has all elements blended together beautifully to come together as a story.

Prof Bani, is interested in history of mankind and Vedic scriptures the one his Guru Manohar Rai guarded with his life which later was safely crypted by Yogyaveer with complex Verses only which can save the mankind.Prof Bani and Prof Bavdekar are trying to join the dots and find out more about the secret.

Damini of ACG (Anti Conspiracy Group) gets infromation about the Korean Terrorist Ji Hoon Kim being in Mumbai who managed to slip and chasing him leads her to Prof Bani and Sameer.

Sameer is confused about his life and choices he made in his career. He has a strained relationship with his father. His dream is to do something different. His girlfriend goes missing and his trace for her brings him together with Prof Bani and Damini.

With encrypted information and realization of the terror to be unleashed leads them to seek answers. Will they solve the mystery? Will Kalkoot destuct the mankind? Read to find the answers.

One of the best reads of this year. Hats off to the author for being able to visualize and develop a story like this. The book starts on a little slow note but as the story progresses it just blows your mind. The backdrop of each character is developed with minute detailing and finesse. The book keeps you on the edge till the end. I was in awe and left speechless. The aura of the book is so strong that you might not be able to come out of it even after the book is done with. The mystery and the narration is water tight and well maintained.

I would rate this 5/5.

Book Review #141 :The Worst Daughter Ever: Aarti V Raman

Blurb: The black sheep of the Chakrapani clan is coming home... Lasya ‘LJ’ Raghavan is a spectacularly single, unsuccessful playwrig...