Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Book Review: Scorpio Superstar by Sundari Venkatraman


Name of the Book:  Scorpio Superstar ( Written In the Stars, Book 1)
Author: Sundari Venkatraman
Star Rating: 5 stars 
Goodreads: Read the Blurb here 

I will start with a special mention for the cover. Absolutely love it. Great work Designer of Sundari Venkatraman.

The Story: 

Ranjini maintains the site for the superstar Chandrakanth, Chandru for short. But she had never met him and when she does,  the stars conspire to make him fall in love with her. While the superstar is head over heels in love with the dusky beauty,  she is unable to stop being in awe of him.

With the consent of her parents, they marry, much to the disappointment of Chandru's periamma (aunt). Throw in an ex here and the two ladies make every possible effort to make Ranjini's life a living hell.

The story flows through the passion between Ranjini and Chandru as they fight against those whom they had once cared for.

Love at first sight
Most of Ms. Venkatraman's stories make the protags fall in love instantly. Though I missed that slight tug in my heart but the passion that grows between Chandru and Ranjini will start a fire in a reader's heart. With every scene, Chandru grew in Ranjini's heart. It was a slow fire which got started due to Chandru attraction for Ranjini and her being awestruck with his stardom persona and then slowly understanding, love and respect are roped in.

The old school of thought vs the new thoughts
While Periamma represents the old school of thoughts where girls are not allowed to work etc, Ranjini becomes an epitome of why a girl should work.  A thought that is very well penned in this book. She didn't need to work, she had everything and yet she felt the need to retain her own identity.

The transition..

It was not easy for Ranjini to accept the life of a superstar's bride. With new makeovers came the jealousy of Chandru's ex. But instead of flying into rages of jealousy herself Ranjini handled them very well.  I think it's the positive attitude in this story which made me finish it off in one sitting.



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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Book Review: Just Me, the Sink & The Pot by Sudesna Ghosh


Name of the Book:  Just Me, the Sink & The Pot
Author: Sudesna Ghosh
Star Rating: 4 stars 
Goodreads: Read the Blurb here 


Every fat child's woe which in the later year turns into a psychological problem. People in their 'positive modes' forget that not everything is a joke. I have heard so many stories of fat kids, fat woman, and fat men. I personally feel it's the fat women who are worst hit.

A shame and an abomination that slowly weakens the will power of a woman. Either they fight back or they hide in their weeping holes where no one can see them. And the worst part is - no one cares. For fatness is not a disease according to many, but a lazy living,  an indulgent lifestyle.

Ms. Ghosh's Pamela is one such character whose life is dominated by her fear of being fat.  Where self-acceptance is more important than waiting for other's approval.  I love the way her guilt, her fear of eating has been portrayed.

What other's will think if one eats? Superbly done.

The continuous bullying, the continuous fear culminated into Pamela fainting one day. My heart went out for the little girl who was afraid to eat, afraid to buy clothes, lest they don't fit. I hate those do gooders who are always ready to advise on how to lose weight. Seriously. Every person's life is different - physically, psychologically. But standing on a pedestrian after losing a few kilos is really not the way to advice fat people. That leads to more depression.

I almost felt sad when the book ended abruptly.

Ms. Ghosh has understood the psyche of a fat kid and the way she has used humor with making the story reach the heart of the readers is very commendable. I am looking forward to reading more books from her.

The only issue I have with this book - is the book cover.


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Monday, September 11, 2017

Book Review: The Casanova's Wife by Sundari Venkatraman


Name of the Book:  The Casanova's Wife 
Author: Sundari Venkatraman
Star Rating: 5 stars 
Goodreads: Read the Blurb here 


The love story between Bharath and Dia is a bold one as the title of the book, which is part of the series, MARRIAGES MADE IN INDIA, suggests.

The first chapter itself starts with a lovemaking scene between Bharath and Dia. For a moment I wondered if this is the ending to a new beginning? Both the characters are on the same page, making love, so what will the story be about? After marriage blues? As usual Ms. Venkatraman has managed to shock me with her portrayal of love. The bold side of love which India is still experimenting upon. You know what surprises me. Our first reaction to such stories. 'It does not happen', 'good girls don't have one night stands'  'a girl who is having sex for the first time has to marry that boy'.

Taboos. Every day we are dealing with taboos and god forbid, if anyone has dared to question this - they come across as non-literary writers. Bull*@$^.

This book is for a mature audience who knows how kids are conceived.  Those who have read Moll Flanders by Daphne Du Maurier will know that the portrayal of boldness in a woman is not something that is new. Dia is a girl of modern times who think career and family, both are important. When she meets Bharath, they both feel the attraction which leads them to spend a night together. The next morning Dia is not a weeping willow but accepts it as one beautiful memory.

Then comes the realization part - Bharath realizes that he has let go of the woman he has fallen in love with. He searches for her but he couldn't find her. Destiny plays a role and a few years later, Dia is brought in front of him as his father's friend's daughter. Will they be able to forget the past and move towards a new beginning is a beautiful tale told by Sundari Venkatraman.

The subject matter though bold has been handled very aesthetically. Dia has not been shown as a shrinking violet and for that I am happy. Bharath though called a heart breaker has many softer layers - especially the one that comes out when he is surrounded by his family members.

The writing is very cinematic and you will see the Sooraj Barjatiya movie being played in front of you as you scroll through your Kindle. A must read for all romance lovers.

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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Book Review: 31 Miles by Vinita Bakshi


Name of the Book:  31 Miles 
Author: Vinita Bakshi 
Star Rating: 4 stars 
Goodreads: Read the Blurb here 

After a long time, I'm putting down my thoughts regarding my latest read. Recently, most of the books I read, I have had no inclination to review. No author is a bad writer but not all books can evoke that emotion in you - the one that makes you want to cry, smile or even throw the book in anger.

I dwelled on this book for a long time for writing a review for this one was tough. I am still not sure how I feel about the ending. The ending startled me so much that the beginning of the saga became inconsequent.  Have you seen those movies where the secondary character would take more screen space and leave a mark that is remembered more than those done by the main hero? Akshay Khanna in Dil Chahta Hai is a perfect example of this. In this story, the ending mystified me as to what exactly happened and the whole story suddenly shifted to another dimension.

The prologue should have warned me about the ending, but it failed to do so. Somewhere I got lost in the lives of Mansa, Abhijit and Rajan and lost track of the prologue as I moved ahead along with the protagonists.

Mansa, from a well-to-do family, is a housewife with loads of unfulfilled dreams. Unlike many of her counterparts, she gets a chance to fulfill her dreams when she joins a cooking class. Somewhere along these lines, I drew the picture of Sridevi in English Vinglish. But while Sridevi was more insecure in the beginning, Mansa has a very strong personality of her own. She meets many new people and new thoughts are born in her mind.  And just when you feel that someone is waiting for her amidst that group of students, she finds love outside her marriage. She meets Rajan online.

Rajan is no stranger to her though he remains an absolute stranger to the readers throughout the story. From what I knew of him through his chats was that he was rude, selfish and mysterious. There was also a moment when I questioned the title of the book – 31 Miles. 31 miles that could have changed Mansa’s life drastically. So this title couldn't have been more appropriate. I waited along with her to see if those miles will be crossed. Would she dare to cross?

Being a woman, a married one at that, I don’t blame Mansa at all. It takes a lot of guts to face that inner, unsatisfied part, of one’s life. As a reader, I can’t judge right or wrong but it excited me to see the course of action Mansa would take. What is that point in a marriage that challenges a woman to take a bold step? Her husband Abhijit is a nice guy. An ordinary guy who like so many husbands takes his wife for granted.  She has a beautiful daughter with whom she has a wonderful relationship. So what is it that makes Mansa take that step? Boredom? Adventure? Or just fate?

The writing style of Ms. Bakshi is engaging. Somewhere along the lines, Mansa’s voice becomes the voice of many middle-aged women, trudging through their lives without knowing what they want and living for the pleasure of their family. Mansa was the rebel to the age old custom.

Coming back to the ending of the book, my only concern is that Rajan is a part of the Kaal Chakra. Why is he not a tangible character? Why does he not get a physical form for the readers? What would have happened in those 31 miles for him to become such an intrinsic part of Mansa’s life?

What makes it more shocking was that hint of paranormal at the end. A genre shifting within a series?

Interesting!
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Monday, September 4, 2017

Book Blitz: The Untold Story by Ridhi Drolia






Print Length: 109 pages
Publication Date: June 26, 2017
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
Genre: Romance 





Love comes in different forms. But in all its forms, it comes with various challenges. Only those who can combat those challenges are true lovers.



The Untold Story is the tale of Vihaan and Riaa. Vihaan falls for Riaa’s charms at first sight and brings to her life crazy adventures and madness. They soon emerge as two hearts with one soul and their intimate fantasies begin to unravel in exotic places.



Their bond experience more downs than ups. These unexpected twists and turns bring Vihaan and Riaa closer and their romantic tale turn into one of lifetime bonding.



The story takes a drastic turn after the lovely couple is blessed with a baby boy. It should be a joyous moment, but instead, haunting memories of Vihaan’s own childhood break out as a fresh wound in his mind.



Read the novel to know what could make a father unhappy in the happiest moment of his life and how he combats his fear. 


It would be great if you can add this book to your TBR






In the author's own words:

"The passion of writing is deep rooted in my blood. 

After completing my Global Business Management certification from Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, I joined hands with a few of my friends to start my first venture. 

Post my stint with the venture, I engaged myself in my lovely family life and now I present to you the author in me."


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Monday, August 28, 2017

Book Blitz: SNOWBOUND by Olivier Lafont


Having read all of Olivier Lafont's book, I am waiting to ready this Teenage Fantasy Novel. His way of writing is peppy and to the point. Characters are always well fleshed out and somewhere a reader starts connecting with the characters.




Print Length: 339 pages
Publication Date: May 18, 2017
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
Genre: Young Adult Adventure/Fantasy 







Christmas is dying.



The last Santa Claus had triplets who each inherited a portion of his father’s power, and that split is now tearing apart the soul of Christmas.



Niccolo Vecchio, the eldest, has fortified the North Pole into a citadel of ice and metal.



Santini, the middle brother, is in hiding somewhere in the Mediterranean.



The youngest brother, Niccolo Piccolo, is raising legions to reclaim his inheritance.



Two of the triplets will have to renounce their claim in the next forty-eight hours, or this Christmas will be the last one ever.



And it’s up to Adam, underachieving teenager sub-ordinaire, and his brand new jock bully Zach to make that happen…


It would be great if you can add this book to your TBR






Olivier Lafont is a French author, screenplay writer, and actor. His novel ‘Warrior’ was published by Penguin Random House, and was shortlisted for the Tibor Jones South Asia Prize. He has just released his new contemporary romance novel 'Sweet Revenge' exclusively on Kindle. 'Purgatory: The Gun of God' is a fantasy novelette published in South Africa. 

Lafont has written a number of feature film scripts before. The first film he wrote opened at the Toronto Film Festival and went on to win seven awards at film festivals worldwide. 

As an actor Lafont has acted in Hollywood and Indian films, in TV serials, and in over 80 television commercials. He acted in ‘3 Idiots’, one of India's all-time blockbuster hits, the critically-acclaimed ‘Guzaarish’, and the Lifetime film ‘Baby Sellers’, amongst other films. 

Lafont graduated with two degrees in acting and writing from Colgate University, USA, with academic distinction.

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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Book Blitz: THE CASANOVA'S WIFE by Sundari Venkatraman




One of the most daring writers of Romance I know of. She can carry a social message and yet make the naughty self of any reader come out. Accused for her simplistic writing, yet she has made her way to the hearts of many readers. So much so that even our indie boss, Amazon, was forced to acknowledge her growing popularity. I feel honored to present her book, The Casanova's Wife on my blog. Review coming up soon. 

check out the schedule of the tour here


THE CASANOVA'S WIFE
(Marriages Made in India Book #4)
by
Sundari Venkatraman




Blurb

Bharat is the elder of the Maheshwari twins. Being a super model, he travels from Jaipur to Mumbai to Delhi, modelling for high-end brands and playing show stopper during fashion shows. Clothes, jewellery, glares, briefs – you name it and Bharat Maheshwari models for it. 

Dia Mathur is a management trainee based in Mumbai. She’s surprised to find herself at an after event party hosted by a major fashion label, thanks to her best friend. That’s where she meets Bharat, completely unaware of his claim to fame. 

Sparks sizzle and they get together instantaneously. But things fall apart when Dia realises that Bharat is quite the Casanova and might not make for a life partner. She disappears from his life...

...to surface again two years later, at no place other than his family’s drawing room in Jaipur. Will the Casanova turn a new leaf? Or will Dia have to play second, third or fourth fiddle to every gorgeous model who comes into his life?

Read Book #4 from MARRIAGES MADE IN INDIA series to find out more about The Casanova’s Wife.

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also available on #KindleUnlimited

*Also available in paperback format in some countries

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About the author



Sundari Venkatraman is an indie author who has 16 titles to her name, all Top 100 Bestsellers on Amazon India, Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada and Amazon Australia in both romance as well as Asian Drama categories. Her latest hot romances have all been on #1Bestseller slot in Amazon India for over a month.

Even as a kid, Sundari absolutely loved the ‘lived happily ever after’ syndrome as she grew up reading all the fairy tales she could lay her hands on, Phantom comics, Mandrake comics and the like. It was always about good triumphing over evil and a happy end. 

Soon, into her teens, Sundari switched her attention from fairy tales to Mills & Boon. While she loved reading both of these, she kept visualising what would have happened if there were similar situations happening in India; to a local hero and heroine. Her imagination took flight and she always lived in a rosy cocoon of romance over the years. 

Then came the writing – a true bolt out of the blue! And Sundari Venkatraman has never looked back.

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Book Blitz: JUST ME, THE SINK & THE POT by Sudesna Ghosh


I had always thought that this was my secret. This shame of not being able to wear what I want. This shame of seeing a tinge of laughter in the eyes of a few so called friends when they greeted me, their eyes invariably landing at my midsection. Letting go after your child's birth is one of the biggest problems Indian Women face. Especially the lazy ones. We come up with many excuses as to why we shouldn't exercise post pregnancy - the biggest lies we live are:

1) We don't have time. 
2) It affects breastfeeding 
3) I am too tired. It must be hormonal. 

Sudesna's book has triggered many memories within me - enough to write a few posts and to take up fitness as one of the major schedules in my day. In fact, planning to blog it also. Don't know if I will have the guts to do it, but it's a thought that has been building in mind after reading this book. Review coming up. 


JUST ME, THE SINK & THE POT
by
Sudesna Ghosh



Blurb

Meet Pamela, an overweight girl who's looking back at her school days. From longing for a Valentine to dealing with a sibling who hates her, Pamela has a lot to deal with. She even has a special bunch of friends at home who she can turn to - but they aren't the kind of friends you'd expect. Life sucks when you're fat. Can Pamela ever be happy?

Read an excerpt of the book here...


One day a classmate asked me, “Where is your lunch?” I told her that I had already had it and went back to my fake laughter and smiles. The others chatted and laughed while they ate from their tiffin boxes. Some brought samosas or ice cream from outside the gate. My hunger pangs got worse as I saw all the food and smelt the delicious odours around me.

The ice cream cart was run by a sweet old man who knew me since I’d started school. He would ask me some days, “Child, you don’t want your favourite orange stick?” I would say no thank you and smile before running away from him and his cart. One day he seemed to be desperate to make me have an ice cream. “Child! Come here and have an ice cream. You don’t have to pay me,” he called out. I smiled, turned around and went to hide in an empty classroom. Two minutes later, I shrieked; the old man had found me. He was carrying a dripping ice cream for me. I started laughing. Then I started running away from him. The old man started running after me!


My classmates were shocked. The sports teacher was happy to see me run for the first time – I had never run before because fat moves when you run. Everybody would laugh. The lunch break ended with me accepting the mostly melted orange stick from the kind ice cream man. We were too tired to talk about the whole event. But it did make me a bit popular that year, with the school Yearbook including the story and a picture of me running away from a 6 feet tall man holding an ice cream.

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About the author



Sudesna (Sue) Ghosh is a writer based in Kolkata. She was born in the United States and moved to India when she was 9. After completing high school there, she went back to the US for her higher education at the University of Rochester. She has also penned What Would I Tell Her @ 13 and News Now, along with several short stories. When Sudesna isn’t writing, she tries to do her bit for animal welfare.
       

                          


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Saturday, August 26, 2017

Book Blitz: The Wrong Turn by Sanya Chopra and Namita Roy Ghose

 

I am getting very curious about this book. Next on my list definitely. I had heard a lot of stories about Netaji from my Dadu. The controversy behind Netaji's death always fascinated me. Some say he died in a plane crash while some have given evidence that he was still alive till a few years back, living the life of an ascetic. I don't know the truth but anything that gives me a peek into the life of our Netaji, I am a willing fan. 

THE WRONG TURN:
Love and Betrayal in the Time of Netaji
by
Sanjay Chopra & Namita Roy Ghose



Blurb

1944, Kohima — a small, sleepy town in northeast India. Subhash Chandra Bose and his Indian National Army (INA) along with the Japanese, are on the brink of bringing the Empire to its knees and forcing the British out of India. But, inexplicably, the tables turn. The INA’s advance is thwarted and the victory march to Delhi is halted. Seventy years later, the British admit that the Battle of Kohima was the greatest battle they had ever fought. Even more so than the battles of Waterloo and Dunkirk. Was it then that old Indian curse — betrayal? Someone from within Netaji’s own ranks? Were there forces other than the British, waiting in the shadows closer to home, who stood to gain even more from the INA’s defeat? Or was it just love that irrevocably altered the course of India’s destiny? The Wrong Turn: Love and Betrayal in the Time of Netaji, is a sweeping tale of passion set against the freedom struggle. Debraj, the rakish playboy and scion of a distinguished Calcutta family, and Nishonko, the fiery revolutionary sworn to the cause of the INA, must not only fight their common enemy, but also for the love of Aditi, the rebel with the healing touch. A haunting tale of love, friendship and betrayal of an entire nation, The Wrong Turn veers inexorably towards a poignant redemption.

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About the authors


The Wrong Turn is a story that traverses the cities of Calcutta, Singapore, Rangoon and Kohima caught up in the blaze of the Second World War. It is about the clash of four desperate forces as they come together in Kohima to vie for the brightest jewel in the crown -- India. Victory will come to those who possess not just the coldest steel but even colder hearts.”

SANJAY CHOPRA is an airline pilot and author of two collections of short stories.  Said and Done and Tailspin stories . He believes that his  office forty thousand feet in the sky and his travels provide him with a view that fuels his vivid storytelling that cuts a wide arc through time and space.

His stories have won the Invisible Ink, the Millennium writers and Southport awards in the UK and USA. In the words of his readers, ‘He is a storyteller like those of the old days, yet his stories are as modern as tomorrow.

He lives in Mumbai with his wife Tisca Chopra, an actress and he is currently working on a film script and a web series. 




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This was a story waiting to be told. So much about Netaji was smoke and mirrors, partial views foisted on us by the British and other vested interests. Here was a man who was a personal hero, who was part of the lore of my childhood. And here was a chance to set the narrative straight - through the lens of a very human yet universal story of love.


During a school project on ‘The most memorable day of my life’, NAMITA ROY GHOSE wrote about a Russian girl on the day WW2 ended. She got her first rejection slip from the teacher for making things up. Ever since, Namita has established her storytelling skills through her scriptwriting, screenplays poetry, fiction, legendary advertising campaigns, and as a renowned advertising film director. A Creative Director with HTA, she left after 13 years to start her own film company, White Light, one of India’s top ad film outfits. A social activist, she is the founder of Vanashakti, an NGO that works to protect the environment. Namita has done pro bono work on issues like domestic violence, child welfare, sexual harassment and forest preservation. She is an avid traveller, a photographer, foodie and teacher.

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   Praise for the book


Vidya Balan "I like historical fiction. This one is just gripping, racing along like a thriller. I am sure people will love it and I wish Namita and Sanjay all the best for the book".

Shekhar Gupta: “Gripping reading. This is one writer duo with story-telling imagination and uncluttered turn of phrase”.

Jug Suraiya: “A sweeping saga of war, love and betrayal, set at a climactic point of India’s fight for freedom”.

Lord Meghnad Desai: “An absorbing and indeed thrilling story of one of the most crucial events in India’s history”.


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