Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: A sensual cocktail with the signature style of Sundari Venkatraman


The Floundering Author

By Sundari Venkatraman

Rating: 4 stars

Format Kindle

Read the blurb on Goodreads and grab a copy on Amazon India. Connect with the author on Facebook and Twitter.

Introduction:

A cocktail of love, sex, and aspirations lends a youthful charm and appeal to Sundari Venkatraman’s Floundering Author serving as contemporary, jazzy, and best seller stuff at the same time. The premise is unique as she unpeels delicately the complexities faced by the modern generation and intense love coupled with passion not only explored but hitting an octane level. The author surely knows the pulse of India’s youth, a growing generation swearing by rom-com, popcorn, and Netflix yet never shy in exploring career and relationships where passion reigns supreme.

Narration:

Jai and Ishika meet in the unlikeliest fashion at a publishing house and it doesn’t take long for romance to sparkle between the love birds. A compelling narration gently touching flirting where romance takes precedence over and set against the backdrop of Mussoorie serving as the perfect template.

 “Sudden gasp escaping the female lip at the sight of red silver of sun rising above a mountain from far across.” The description sinks effortlessly and beautifully in the narration, building sensual tension makes for the sheer contrast, and the gradient sun speedily into the sky from deep red to burnt orange and brilliant yellow. The novel moves beautifully and gathers steam with the characterization, intonation, lyrical image painted, and intimacy. There is beauty in every word making it a kaleidoscope experience for readers.

What stands out in the book is intimacy and the author raises the bar higher, the whipped intensity growing manifold in sync with conversations in the setting making the sexual tension palpable. “If I can’t have the real woman, I could of her, right?” Jay says. The sex scenes are done effortlessly and in a delicate manner where the author has injected novelty and taking the characters on a high that perhaps very few writers would dare going or none have gone. Yet, the scenes are strung aesthetically and move swiftly bringing the raw emotions alive.  

The Floundering Author is not limited to the delectable sex and intimacy but narrates the struggle of Jai as the author and Ishika, facing sexual harassment at work from her shameless boss, lending a sense of realism to the tale.

What’s a love story without its fair share of conflict? The merit of the book is that it doesn’t rely on cliché to create a void among its characters and smartly moves away from the predictability factor. Jai is yet to make his mark and the reluctance in meeting Ishika’s parents breed conflict between both. The void is created through the reluctance of Jai to take it ahead and the tears flowing into Ishika’s eyes lends credibility to the subtlety of the act resembling a film scene and drama stuff on stage.

Sundari Venkatraman downplays the usual high voltage drama that happens when lovers meet parents and to the contrary, the latter cajole their daughter to understand where the guy is coming from. The narration is done sensitively and shows rightfully that parents need not be evil to love and like in films and books, the former has been painted too negatively. Kudos to the writer for not falling into this cliché.

Author Sundari Venkatraman. Image credit: Facebook.

There is no death of novelty right from having a novel inside a novel as the author brings the constant struggle of a newbie writer with publishing houses to take him on board. One gets a sense of what lies behind after penning the first book and giving a peek into life after that, right from marketing to publishing and distribution on what makes a book sell. Quite a jungle of sort! Sundari Venkatraman is the right person educating the readers on charges at leading bookshops and of course Kindle as the next big thing which democratized reading, albeit, e-books within reach.  

The Floundering Author wrung out the issue of passion vs money, sadly misplaced in our society on how choosing a creative field such as writing a book, acting or films is regarded with disdain and still not considered as a career.

What’s Not!

The Floundering Author has a multitude of characters with huge potential and to the exception of Jai’s brother Dev, Chahaat, Gulshan, Deepshika, Shobha, Mahesh and Anya come as a blink-and-miss. Take Mahesh as the harasser for instance and the character perhaps could have been fleshed out as the antagonist in making things difficult for the pair but suddenly disappears. 

Final Words:

The Floundering Author has minor flaws but is one of the fastest-paced and edgy romantic thrillers I’ve read in recent times and arguably one of the best works of Sundari Venkatraman. There is no hypocrisy and one of the rare times where an author has explored sexuality with depth, taking intimacy into places and novelty making it refreshing. As I say, the novel belongs to the young generation and cannot be missed for anything for it has all the ingredients whether love, struggle, dreams, and aspirations.

Love

V

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Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: all the best baby


Book Review: all the best, baby

Author: Karan Singh Surana

Rating: Two and a half stars

“It’s better to kill the misunderstanding before the misunderstanding kills the relationships.”

Displaying ATTB_3_2.jpg

Introduction:

There has been countless tales of campus romance on the Indian market during the past decade since Chetan Bhagat’s Five Point Someone..has changed the way we look at literature or Hinglish for that matter. There are a bevy of authors spurning the tale of love, romance and break up. What makes the authors tick is the connection they make with the audience who identify with the journey, characters, emotions and the entire premise. I believe that romance in college is here to stay and what makes the journey worthwhile is how you narrate your story. When Karan Singh Surana contacted me for the review of ‘all the Best baby’, I willfully agreed since it’s my favorite genre. All The Best Baby takes off on a very interesting and rather unique premise, a long distance love story between two protagonists belonging to two different castes. It’s all about romance. Has the book been able to garner the interest and engross the readers from start-to-finish? Let’s sit and dissect.

Blurb:

Sahil Surana had just found his true love, Natasha , when his parents started looking for a bride. In order to foresee a future together he takes a random decision to pursue M.Tech, far away from Kolkata. In the University he comes face-to-face with tainted souls and is embraced in the company of phenomenal friends leading to all kinds of reality checks and compelling episodes. Amidst all the fun and romance, Natasha breaks up with Sahil, not once but twice! Will justice be served at the University? Do Sahil and Natasha cease to exist? There is only one way to find out…

Amazon India

Narration:

The novel is set in Noida at Orion Campus that could have been a hip and happening college in urban India. all the best baby is the love story of Sahil Surana, a Marwari Jain and Natasha Singh, Bihari Rajput who are in a difficult and complex long distance relationship. To complicate matters, the protagonists are aware of the caste differences that their respective families doggedly pursue. The problem lies in the fact that it takes a long time for the story to hit the cudgel and reaches the momentum only towards the end. A little too late, I’d argue. There is no denying the fact that when the momentum is reached, it’s fantastic with the entry of the villainous Girish Uncle, hell bent to destroy the relationship or the point when Sahil and Natasha break up. The author deserves credit for pulling it off towards the end when one can feel the pain of Sahil. However, it affects the flow of the story, right from getting acquainted with Sahil, Natasha and the side kicks in hostel or college.

However, Karan Singh Surana manages to injects humor with the girls insisting, ‘Humko toh peeni peeni hai’ which is cute or Sahil teaching Julesh, the Bihari character a lesson with ‘Ka ho Julesh Bhai, ka kaarat ho aaj kal.’ One will identify with the sequences during the memorable college and hostel days which seems like yesterday only. The parting of the college friends, Sahil, Sneha and Upasna tears the heart when one realized that college life is over and feels that life has stopped abrupt, not knowing whether we will ever meet the ones we carved life time memories with. It bears an long lasting impact on us. Moreover, the graphic illustration of the hostel room is quite a novel concept in a book.

Minuses:

The relationship between Sahil and Natasha should have been explored better in tapping the nuances of the individuals and at times, I feel that Natasha is an invisible girl, making a blink-and-eye appearance. For instance, occasional break up, conflict and pain should have been further explored to keep it engrossing. While the character G is at times hilarious, it does fail with inference to the 12-feet penis or the character Pankaj made a scape goat on his fixation for porn and intercourse. It appears forced.

All said and done, Karan Singh Surana ‘all the best baby’ carries an underlying message of patience, reaffirming the belief in love-don’t we all breathe in this magical feeling-and echoes the caste hypocrisy which is rampant in society. The book which is semi-fictional is filled with good intentions and the concluding note gives the impression that a sequel is on the way.Hope, he picks the thread from there and don’t lose the momentum that has been set towards the climax. Though, I have come up with a honest appraisal of what didn’t work in the narration, the climax is tight and weaved in an engrossing way. Hope the author will keep the pace in the second coming and win more hearts than he did in his first outing. His pen has potential in telling a beautiful love story and exploring the emotional expression as showcased in parts of the novel. ‘all the best baby’ is a one time read, if you lap rom-com and campus novels.

You can encourage the author by following the page of ‘All the best, Baby.’ and connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted in Book Reviews

The (In) Eligible Bachelors is kick ass, power packed one liners


Book Review: The (In) Eligible Bachelors

Publisher: Rupa

Price: Rs 195

Author: Ruchita Misra

Rating: Four and a half

Author Ruchita Mishra posing with her rom-com, The (In) Eligible Bachelors. Image credit: Google India
Author Ruchita Mishra posing with her rom-com, The (In) Eligible Bachelors.
Image credit: Google India

Verdict:

What makes a Rom-Com stand in the market is its unique narrative style, mass & youthful appeal and crazy one liners as we laugh our heart out till our last breath..oops! last page.  Ruchita Misra’s The (In) Eligible Bachelors standout among the lot due to the writer’s unique quirky narrative style, breezy dialogue baazi that remains the forte of the book and pops out of nowhere.

In one word: The (In) Eligible Bachelor is one rom-com that one can call compelling, spellbinding, adding a dash of fun and freshness to your otherwise boring existence that will irritate the shit out of you as you enter the world of Kasturi and her wanna-be suitors. Brace yourself: This one has laughs and lots of it, a Saas-Bahu kinda Mom, irritating suitors and, humorous fest and bundle of friendship. The (In) Eligible Bachelors make rom-coms not only the flavor of the season but shows that new age authors, imbibed with a distinctive voice, tongue-in-cheek dialogues and unique style makes the genre an ongoing romance that will never fade into oblivion.

Blurb:

Arranged marriages are complicated things. So are mothers. And so are relationships. Kasturi Shukla is a fresh MBA graduate with a great job in hand. She is also geeky and single at twenty four. The biggest sore spot in Kasturi’s life is her dominating, arranged marriage obsessed mother now hell bent on getting her married at the earliest. Does Kasturi find love in one of the rather weird but IIT or IIM boys that Mum manages to ‘shortlist’? Or perhaps she can follow her wildly beating heart that seems to be set on the Greek God incarnate that her boss, Rajeev sir, is? With office buddies Ananya and Varun by her side, the hilariously fumbling Kasturi embarks on a rip roaring journey to find Mr Right. 

Narrative:

Ruchita provides a witty take on the old-age traditional ‘arranged marriage’ business in our society where girls are supposed to be packed off to the groom’s house. The best thing about The (In) Eligible Bachelor is the quick pace at the which the story evolves and incidents drawn in the book is handled in a superbly competent manner that it will tickle your funny bones and is deeply engrossing and engaging, as you will ask for more and more.  It’s Kasturi’s diary where her Mom plays match-maker to irritate her as she sits on a fence, in a serious attempt to thwart all the suitors, weirdos and despos, whom she could have killed.

Ruchita Misra has a natural gift to narrate the story and episodes, with a funny bone that will make you chortle and in one word, Kick ass. The terrific one-liners will stay with you forever as The (In) Eligible Bachelor reminds you that it’s the story of the girl-next-door. Like a good B-World pot boiler, the book has all the ingredients of a 100 crore blockbuster as we enter the world of Kasturi, her crush, weird colleagues that become her best friends.

Ruchita is at her mushy best with terrific one liners, ‘So unlike Kajol in DDLJ,my marriage has not been fixed by babuji…Will I marry Pita-ji..What if Pita-ji thinks that I am perpetually zitty and if he marries me we will have kids who have zits all over their faces even when they are in their mid 20s?”

Hilarious is thy name and you never recover from splits when the Ruchita fire the next wit crack right on your face, ” As I pirouetted, my heels cracked and I  crashed full body into Dolly…..the stench that engulfed me, dispelled any doubts that I might have had about the origins of the yellow fluid.”

 

Did I say suspense in a rom-com? Don’t make straight face as Ruchita punches a pack with lovely and delightful, heart pounding suspense that will make you gush. The world of Kasturi has no pretense and, despite the efforts to live a normal mango-la life, the irritating mom, not so eligible bachelors and the man in her life, are hell bent to make her life a racy adventure. Ruchita has an exquisite taste for funny situation that will violently shake the most boring souls out of their sleep. How bout this, “I fumbled for words. And, why the hell I was behaving like a gaon ki sharmeeli gori?”

Minuses:

Frankly speaking, I couldn’t find dark spots in The (In) Eligible Bachelors. Lemme try harder! Okay, the end appears a tad predictable with late drama unfurling itself, courtesy the villains, sweet turn sour hero or the sugary sweet guy. But, that’s it. Otherwise, the author’s knack and talent of roller coaster ride and funny  one-liners bolster the adage, ‘To err (once) is humane.’

The (In) Eligible Bachelors offers a dash of freshness and madness in one of the most favorite genres which the young generation will identify with and dialogues, characters seems to be drawn from our daily lives and conversations. Ruchita Misra is a novel writer that will be a household name and youth icon in the future. Move over Chetan Bhagat. When is the sequel, Ruchita?!

Disclaimer: The book has been published in 2011 and I came across The (In) Eligible Bachelors in 2014 which I enjoyed like mint ice cream, that I couldn’t hold myself to put a review. It’s my personal review and I have no understanding with the author to review her book.

With Love

V

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Perfect Groom, is relatable and sensitive portrayal of relationships


Book Review: The Perfect Groom

Author: Sumeetha Manikandan

Publisher: Indireads

Price: $ 2.99/Rs 175

Rating: Three Stars

The author, Sumeetha Manikanan was gracious to mail me a copy of The Perfect Groom when I made an e-mail request for review.

About the author:

Sumeetha Manikandan, a freelance content writer is an English literature graduate with a journalism and mass communication diploma. Married to film director K.S. Manikandan, she lives in Mylapore, Chennai with her five-year-old daughter. (http://www.indireads.com/my-journey-to-the-perfect-groom) Find more about her on https://www.facebook.com/Sumeetha.Manikandan.Author

Blurb:

Nithya is married un (happily) to Ashok and settled in United States of America, faraway from her irritating in-laws, who think that she is happy to have a husband like Ashok. Ashok and Nithya lives separate lives under one single roof and, everything, seems to work in opposite ways until Ashok mom’s visit which compels them to put a facade of happily married couple. One fine day, Nithya meets her childhood friend, Vasu, whom has a soft corner for her. Will Vasu be the one who will give Nithya the freedom she secretly longs for? Will Ashok and Nithya come in the open and be truthful about their lives?  It’s for you to find out.

Narration

Human relations are complex, isn’t it? There are slew of books,exploring, the very facet of human relationships and, Sumeetha Manikandan does just that through the stroke of pen where a slew of different relationships are tackled, husband-wife, daughter-sister, mother-sister and friendship between two women in The Perfect Groom. It would be an aberration to term The Perfect Groom, as a rom-com since it falls in a different genre of relationships.

To her credit, Sumitha explores the condition of women, poverty and the right to be loved in a competent manner. It’s the world of Nithya and her surrounding. She is portrayed as a brave woman, who knows exactly what she wants but is confused at times due to the fear of society. The different characters living in India and USA are very well sketched and defined.

However, the book reveals to be a stunning winner towards the end where we see the real Ashok to a certain extent and Nithya emerges as a strong woman who knows her mind. The relationship between Nithya and her mother is beautifully described and one feels witnessing the vivid description of two characters coming alive and true to themselves. The conflict between Nithya and her in-laws is a sheer delight. Sumeetha comes out as winner by beautifully describing the South Indian setting which stems out of the background like a real life character.

What’s not?

1. At some point, the book loses its grip on characters who appears and disappears. How I wish the relationship between Ashok and Nithya could have been given an extra zing in the start?!

2. The marriage between Shekhar and Nithya is on tenterhooks which is quite visible in the start. Perhaps, the author should have covered this part as the story evolves, though she successfully builds up the suspense and cleverly sustains the interest.

Verdict:

The Perfect Groom is a light read, interspersed, with the right dose of emotions, human sensitivity and beautifully captures the complexity in relationship and condition of women. What goes in favor of the book is the suspense thread that has been successfully gathered as one is tempting to ask when the real scene is unfolding. The author should be credited for making the suspense work in the most efficient and competent manner. Towards the end, the author grapples with another sensitive issue that emerges as the soul of the book which the readers will empathize with. I call the book, a winner that manage to hold its own despite minuses that may have gathered on and off. Moreover, The Perfect Groom conveys a message: Follow your heart and unhappiness is damaging in a relationship. What’s more, the character, Nithya is relatable and believable as she is the girl whom you’ll meet at the malls or on the busy streets. A commendable effort worth your money.

V

 

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Myriad Hues is a real gem that will caress heart and soul


myriad hues

Book Review

Myriad Hues is a journey, a real gem that will caress your heart and soul

Rating: Four Stars

Genre: Poetry

Author: Rachna Gupta

Release Date: March 7

Pages: 68

Publisher: Partridge Publishing (Author Solution)

Price: 250

What’s poetry if it doesn’t touch your sensitive skin, read, thought, heart and soul? The expression of inter-woven words and outpouring of emotions where silence of meandering minds is not an option as we delve on small joys, unrequited love, plight faced by women, poverty, conversation with God, innocence and wandering soul.

The Book, Myriad Hues by Pune-based Rachna Gupta weaves a collection of poems based on her observation about life, living and non-living entities as she delves on the fallacy, tribulations and joy that is showered in the surrounding. Like the legerdemain bearing the imprint of a magician, Gupta conjures tricks with thoughts weaved in a fashion that will touch your heart and even non-believers in love, God or existence will not be left unmoved. The book goads spasm of tears in your eyes as you will question the unfairness of a life where human existence may be a bane and where poverty is not a crime in a society where affluence and pessimism concatenate as two sides of the same coin. The collection of poems will haunt you in your sleep as you will have no choice but to reflect on the thing called life and what it takes to evolve in society.

The author combines the beauty of human life with tragedy where she concurs that poverty can never admonish priceless joy that culminates with the birth of a child and what it takes is a small smile or gently act to bring joy to an innocent soul. I would love to quote from ‘One Cold Winter’ where a small gesture can bind hearts together:

Suddenly I hear a loud scream…. screams increase in intensity

…..a little girl emerges,

She then begins talking and tells me about her new sister.

She seems happy, but in a strange sort of way.

I turn around again and feel something or someone tug at my multicolored pashmina shawl.

I take it off and wrap it around the frail, cold child.

I can hear muted voices from the house and soon her laughter fills the little home.

I know what I gave them was nothing; but I also know that that night they would all share that blanket – even if it covered only a part of their bodies!

Author Rachna Gupta.
Author Rachna Gupta.

One Cold Winter is one poem that gently caresses the soul as Rachna Gupta takes us to a world surrounded by innocent hearts, unaware of the ruthless world where wealth rules. One Cold Winter is a world introduces children as the elder sister grows in maturity, provoked by poverty, as our heart sink for the baby born in the humble surrounding. The poem about human life will remain with us forever.

This is one among many. Rachna Gupta takes us to the world of an embryo longing for love as tears wells down the cheek thinking of women who are still considered second class citizens who has no say in the patriarchal existence. In the poem, ‘The Mistake’, the author tells the tale of a moving and unborn child, pleading to live and love. The author takes us to another journey in ‘The Revenge’ where she plays a tribute to every daughter in the world whose souls are destroyed by the heinous thought called rape. The poem will not touch but jar your soul as you reflect on the plight of innocent women as one, is tempted to ask, whether hanging of rapists is closure. Rachna Gupta leaves the question open to her readers’ interpretation.

Rachna Gupta takes you on a journey about human identity, bleeding of the heart when one is separated from the home land and unconditional love, among many facets of existence. As a lover of beautiful and exquisite poetry, you cannot afford to ignore this gem called ‘Myriad Hues’ that will remain with you forever. The only complain that I have against the author is that the book could have been longer than the odd-68 pages as the reader is transported in the world of Rachna Gupta and don’t want to get back to leave this universe. Hope the author will come up with a second edition to ‘Myriad Hues’ very soon.

The author, Rachna Gupta, can be contacted on myriadhues14@gmail.com and you can click on the link for more information on http://www.myriadhues.com/

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Double Jeopardy, sensitive-cum-sassy portrayal of love


Book Review: Double Jeopardy

Author: Sundari Venkatraman

Publisher: Indireads

Price:

Rating: Three and half Stars

Double Jeopardy

Thank You Note:

I stumbled on the love triangle Double Jeopardy authored by Sundari Venkatraman on writetribe.com and filled up the request form to the author. Ms Venkatraman replied instantly and gave me the voucher to download the book on Indi Reads. Thanks Ma’am for the book and big thank you to Indi Reads and writetribe.com.

Blurb

Sanya last saw the twins, Arth and Ansh Sharma, when she was ten years old. Now, all grown up, she has come looking for gentle Arth, the twin she has loved ever since she can remember. But instead, she is confronted with fiery Ansh, who is hell-bent making on making her fall to his charms right from the day she lands in Mumbai. What will she do? Will she fall for Ansh or Arth or both twins will engage in a battle for Sanya?

courtesy: http://www.indireads.com/books/double-jeopardy

Verdict:

Rom-com is the flavor of the season and many authors are flocking the market with their uninhibited take on sex, sensuality and new age romance. What distinguishes Sundari Venkatraman take on this new age romance is that the novel is not restricted to candy floss or mushy stuffs neither it is all bout’ sex. In one sentence: Sassy twin love story with a twist that will hold your breath. The book  efficiently explores the complexity of human relationships, yearning for a partner and the sensitive portrayal of what goes inside the mind of a young woman, what she craves for-lust, love, sex- and what her heart wants. Love is an oxymoron, somebody truly said. Yeah! I am not apologetic that I enjoy reading well etched tales of sensuality, sexuality and eroticism. The author has beautifully described the sex scenes in a dignified, crisp and passionate way.The book will touch your heart and make you re-think on the traditional concept of love if you have a sensitive heart.

Narration

The narration is crisp, well etched and full of twists and turns. One can only expect this from a seasoned writer with a keen eye on minutest details and attention to sketch the main characters. The best thing is that it is a love triangle where the author delves deep into the three main characters, distinct from each other, yet appealing. Moreover, the sensitive portrayal of the immature but soft heart of a young woman with a conflicting perspective on childhood love, sensuality and sex constitute the forte of the book.The heart and mind that is the crux of desire of a young woman has been fully explored and given a sensitive touch. Sundari Venkatraman brings the twist in a gradual but beautiful way that makes the reader feel the ‘smooth transition’ that he or she has never been away and makes Sanya, Arth and Ansh part of their lives.

Extracts that will make your heart dance and swing: 

Red bloomed in Sanya’s cheeks. Should she, shouldn’t she? Ansh waited patiently for her to give him an answer while his body strained to make her his. Sanya looked at his handsome face. She had learnt so much about this man since she had arrived here…. Her hesitation melted away. She could not deny that today, if she ever wanted to make love with any man, it would be Ansh,

What’s not?

1. Perhaps, a lil more drama could have been added to add spice to the story and brings high voltage stuffs.

2. The book ends in a rather abrupt fashion and the action takes place a tad too fast in the end. The characters in love could have been given more space to interact.

Final words

All said and done, Double Jeopardy is  a superb read and can be  re-adapted as a big screen adaptation and it shouldn’t be missed for sensitive portrayal of human relations, intimacy and love. Great work Sundari Venkatraman for hitting the right chord with  the youth.

About the author

sundari

Sundari Venkatraman believes that books should transport one into a world of wonder. She has tried drawing, painting, tailoring, embroidery, knitting, gardening and an umpteen other things before she discovered WRITING. A voracious reader, she is a fan of Georgette Heyer, Julie Garwood, Janet Dailey and Penny Jordan. Jeffrey Archer truly inspires her and a hot favorite is JK Rowling.

‘Double Jeopardy’ is her first novella. Contact Sundari at http://www.facebook.com/AuthorSundariVenkatraman

More on the author on http://www.indireads.com/a-thirteen-year-dream-realized

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Done with Men is refreshing, crisp and wacky


Book Review Done With Men by Shuchi Singh Kalra

Genre: Chick lit/Rom-com

Publisher: Indirom novella by IndiReads

Stars: Three and a half

Author Suchi Singh Kalra
Author Shuchi Singh Kalra

Write Tribe is hosting the book review, ‘Done With Men’ by Shuchi Singh Kalra and I came across the free book through our dear friend, Shilpa Garg (http://shilpaagarg.com) who directed me to IndiReads where I downloaded the PDF version for free. IndiReads latest offering is a  beautiful rose that springs in the beautiful garden where exquisite flowers, unique in appeal and freshness, bloom. Being a self confessed and ardent fan of rom-com, Done with Men is something I was looking forward to read and I was not disappointed.

My Verdict: Light reading, fresh in appeal, crisp and fun writing. Author Shuchi Singh Kalra should be credited for making the characters and situations in the novel believable. She has a way with words that keeps the reader glued and the imaginary world, through the sheer quality of her writing, makes the notion of romance exciting and thrilling experience. One can’t help but feel that we are living the life of the main characters in the setting.  She perfectly describes the notion of romance in a quirky tale where the main character is easy-going and lambasting men in a funny way after a string of disastrous relationship and harmless sex-capades. Don’t we all go through relationship shits and vent it out?

Kudos for coming up with a simple plot, beautifully woven and coupled with romance, love, friendship and, of course, a neurotic heart. What you need is a beautiful and carefree heart to enjoy the novel. Everything ends on a good note like a good movie. I give her three and a half stars for churning out a likeable plot in the form of  ‘Done With Men.’

BLURB

Kairavi Krishna (Kay) is an enthusiastic travel journo with a famous travel mag in Mumbai who is assigned the new year coverage story in Goa. Like people her age, she is done with men after a string of relationship fuck ups (read assholes, mama’s boy, obsessed bf, Don Juan and what’s not? The one who run away with her money) and not to mention casual sex on the pristine and sinful beach in Mauritius. She get set with bestie Baani to Goa, not without a promise to stay away from the dreaded M for Men.

Image downloaded from smashwords.com
Image downloaded from smashwords.com

What Goa does to her on New Year eve is for you to find out? How she lands in hospital after the vodka dose, ex boy friend angle and she is saved in time before she indulges in a lesbian encounter to hit back at someone, looming in the blue water in Goa. She frequents a hospital where she meets the uber charming Dr Vivian D’Mello which she learns to hate. Will she finally find love in the young doc or he’ll turn to be one among them. That’s for you to find out and not for me, to tell you. Haha!!

Narration:

What makes the book stand out is the cleverly etched plot and narrative. What makes a narrative super duper fun is the intelligently churned out  dialogues that make you laugh your heart out. Done With Men can be your story and the best thing that the narrative speaks the language of the heart.Once you identify with the audience, half the battle is won. I broke into splinters of laughter and the dialogues are an absolute killer. It made my day as a reader and visualized Goa through the eyes of Kay. Her Goa! Her encounters in a life that is so often unpredictable. Now, who wouldn’t want to live such an unpredictable adventure, full of  fun?

The tongue-in-cheek and wacky dialogues remains the forte of this chick lit outing that perfectly fits the premise of the book. One will revel in stuffs like, ‘Drugged out putterfish…..I wasn’t a stuttering bimbo like I made myself….I’m not harmful at all.’ I mean, it’s completely crazy and insane but it’s something the young generation or for that matter, anyone with a young mind, will identify with. Kalra speaks the language of love in an effortless manner and witty is thy word to describe her writing that flows in a refreshing and endearing way.

Done With Men is filmy and mushy stuff that we love to read and I’m not committing a sacrilege or cinematic offense to say that shez a bit like the Imtiaz Ali of our movies. No! I haven’t gone mad or putterfishy, neither I’m on drugs. Don’t believe me!! Check out the mad stuffs ‘I was not in love with the idea of being in love..and every time, it was my lofty idea of love that let me down’ or the reference to Jeniffer Paige Song, ‘Am I a sucker for love?’ That’s the best thing bout’ rom-com and chick-lit literature..we are all suckers for rom-com love. The author also scripted sex encounter in a competently bold way and this is one of the reason that makes the novella stand out in its own genre among the crowd.

Minuses! Any takers?

Come on! I hate drawing attention on loopholes in a book I love reading. I mean, no novel can be perfect? Well! It works!!! May be the scripting of Kalra’s fall in the start happens too swiftly that it gives readers little time to capture the whole thing. Ahem! Ahem!! Why does the moronic boyfriend needs to make a come back time and again. Finally! Yea! I have an issue with that. the end happens too fast and quite simplistic with the jealousy angle that never was..made the mad Kay quite paranoid.

Done With Men by Shuchi Singh Kalra is a must read and is refreshingly beautiful in its novel take on love, romance and all that matters. It feels very poetic to enjoy the book and it’s something one would find even more endearing on a print copy rather than PDF. Aha! Thanks Write Tribe! Thanks Shilpa Garg! Many thanks  IndiReads and Shuchi Singh Kalra for this one. It can only make hopeless romantics like me looking for love and making it so believable in our search for the big L-Word. Yeah! I am a man and absolutely gushes over chick-lit and rom-com. It’s my genre and love it! Totally! It’s my plate. What you waiting for? Go and Grab a copy.

In response to Write Tribe entry for the book review, ‘Done With Men’ by Shuchi Singh Kalra and for the love of rom-coms/chick lit, I’ve gone cuckoo and mad at midnight. So, linking my review for the book on writetribe.com.

V

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Asuras-Tales of the Vanquished


Book Review: Asuras-Tales of the Vanquished, The Story of Ravana and His People

Author: Anand Neelakantan

Price: Rs 250/ 12 USD

Released by Platinum Press

504 Pages

Rating: Three and a half stars

asuras

The story of, Ravana-King of Lanka, has always fascinated me and it’s the story of a man known as the demon king who comes across as a myth that many religious, conservative people simple refuse to decode. So, who is Ravana? Is he the man we simply love to loath and hate for being the destroyer? Is he really an evil man?

I laid my hands on the book to learn more about the most powerful face of Lanka, slain by Rama and whose death is celebrated by followers of Rama in India and continents where Hindus have migrated. I have a confession to make: I have always been an ardent admirer of Ravana for his grand intellect and wisdom as well as the fact that he represented the voice of  the oppressed caste, Asuras, in India. My first question was and remains: Is Ravana really the man he is made to be or there is something more to him?

Blurb:

““I am a non-entity – invisible, powerless and negligible. No epics will ever be written about me. I have suffered both Ravana and Rama – the hero and the villain or the villain and the hero. When the stories of great men are told, my voice maybe too feeble to be heard.”

The ancient Asura empire lay shattered into many warring petty kingdoms reeling under the heel of the Devas. In desperation, the Asuras look up to a young saviour – Ravana. Believing that a better world awaits them under Ravana, common men like Bhadra decide to follow the young leader. With a will of iron and a fiery ambition to succeed, Ravana leads his people from victory to victory and carves out a vast empire from the Devas. But even when Ravana succeeds spectacularly, the poor Asuras find that nothing much has changed from them. It is then that Ravana, by one action, changes the history of the world.

Asura-Tale of the Vanquished is narrated from the perspective of Ravana and the character Bhadra where we are brought back to an era where the caste system was rampant and exploitation was rife in India. The author has done a good job in keeping the narration crisp where issues such as  caste, exploitation, friendship, treachery and war gather steam in a world where Ayodhya meet Lanka. Neelakantan keeps the narration alive where the readers get a taste of the caste system and where reference is made to the prevailing political and economic system, albeit. corruption and the big class divide. The book also deals with the complexity of Ravana as a human being with emphasis on his strengths and weaknesses. The book deals effectively in portraying Ravana’s mired relationship with his wife and children.

Neelakantan avoids the pitfall that many books centered around myths, Gods and Goddesses fall in by painting a perfect and flawless picture of  idolized characters. Thumps up to the author for avoiding the danger and dealing effectively with the story by giving a human face to the likes of Ravana, Bhadra, Ram and Sita. Full credit goes to the author for painting Ravana as strong human face and who is trapped in the complexity of his own persona.

The author keeps the style and structure simple where readers are told the other side of the story about Ravana and his people-caste system, war and political scenario as well as exploitation. The author also succeeds in painting the image of Rama, who is far from being Maryada Purushottam (perfect husband), a weak figure in the classic Ramayana that glorifies him. The book ends on a good note and despite the fact that Ravana is slewed in the war, he emerges as the winner-he smiles in defeat.

What doesn’t work?

Neelakantan courage should be lauded in depicting the relationship between Ravana and Sita as father and daughter. Sadly, there is a lack of proper characterization and face off between Sita and Ravana. The classic clash between both characters seems to be transported straight from Valmiki’s Ramayana and Neelakantan’s Ravana. The author should have worked more on dialogues between Ravana and Sita which would have constituted the forte of the book. Moreover, the narration by Bhadra is crisp at the start but it gets repetitive as the book evolves and reaches monotony  in the middle and the end of the book. In terms of language, there are certain mistakes which the author has ignored in terms of grammar and typos which could have been avoided in a book like Asura.

On the whole, Asura-Tales of the Vanquished is a honest effort where the pieces are gathered and interwoven in an effective manner to give us the perspective of Ravana, King of Lanka. There is no such thing as good vs evil and it’s only our perspective that matter. Thee best thing is Neelakantan’s social message for equality and caste-less society that breaks unity and deterr growth of human being as equal entities. Asura is a clever take on the ugly capitalist-cum-patriarchal society that has exploited human beings and which has degenerated into conflicts and human tragedy. Matters to -ponder on! Neelakanthan’s Asura-Tale of the Vanquished is a must read and, despite drawing on mythological figures from the dark past, is a light read that deftly tells us the story of Ravana that has been lost in silence or, may be, suppression of nations. I don’t know. Make sure you grab a copy and enjoy the journey of Ravana with an open mind.

With Love

V

 

 

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Love Me in the End by Sonia Kundra Singh


Book Review: Love Me in the End is time pass read but full of cliche

Candy floss rom-com is flooding the Indian market and makes for quick read during our train journey and sitting in the coffee shop. Indian authors are churning rom-com that can be picked on the road stalls or bookshop, for that matter, where a love story coupled with drama are weaved. Author Sonia Kundra Singh comes with ‘Love Me in the End-Are perfect matches still made in heaven?’ Verdict: It’s a time pass read where boy meets girl in the most untoward situation,  learning to hate each other in the start and eventually fall in love. Make no mistake, there is nothing extraordinary in the novel and it tends to drag at some point where the situation tends to bore you. However, it is a fun read where everything leads to a happy ending.

Love Me in the End

Blurb:

Armaan and Ria find themselves in a marriage of convenience spearheaded by parents on both sides who are business partners. It is an arranged sort of marriage with rude and impulsive Ria while Armaan hates being tied to a girl he never met before. They fight each other despite the physically attraction. Finally, Armaan falls for Ria and it’s for you to know whether the latter is able to convince his lady love.

What’s On?

The character, Ria, is a rebel of sort who knows her mind exactly. Speak about the young but fierce, independent woman who finds herself in a catch-22 situation.  Well! Nothing new, you would be tempted to say. But, Ria’s character is well defined and Sonia Kundra Singh has painted a gutsy picture of the female character with whom many teenagers would identify with.  Love Me in the End is a fun read, something lapped by thousands in India and across the globe where they find themselves in a shitty world of grown-ups who think that everything can be imposed on young adults. As I said, the novel is time pass and destined for teenagers and young adults. It is a fun-filled novel and where adequate ground has been covered to describe conflicts between the young lovers. If you like candy floss romance, the novel is your thing.

What’s Not?

The novel gets dragged unnecessarily in repeated narratives which becomes dull at some point or the other. One feels stuck in conflicts taking place in the lives of the main protagonists who feel that the whole world are dead against them. At times, the plot is lost as the characters become totally clueless and the novel moves at snail pace. What makes matters worse is the introduction of two new characters, the ex-es of Armaan and Ria which are so ill-defined and cliche of sort. It doesn’t help the novel at all and fails to add to the fun element that makes a rom-com stand out. Moreover, Armaan and Ria split and are reunited in a situation that is the least interesting. Clearly, the author should have come up with a better situation leading to their split and reunion.

Final Remarks:

Despite the minus and a plot gone wrong, Love Me in the End is a time pass read that one could finish in a day or two. Grab the book only if you swear by rom-com and want to break away from the hum drum of your life. On the whole, I am giving the novel two and half stars for its half-baked plot. For sure, it has its fun moments, lust has been very well emphasized and, most importantly, targeted at the young generation.

V

 

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Stilettos in the Newsroom by Rashmi Kumar


Book: Stilettos in the Newsroom

Author: Rashmi Kumar

Publisher: Rupa& Co

Price: Rs 95

stilettos

Life in a News Room sounds crazy, right? It makes you go particularly mad and gaga when you are new bie who just joined a newspaper and, trust me, you are everybody’s punching bag. This is what Rashmi Kumar tries to decode in her book, ”Stilettos in the Newsroom’. Chick-lit? Why not? Me! A guy reading a rom-com chit lit..well! I loove such books and they are my life.

After reading the first three chapters of the book, I was like, What the fuck and it’s my reality in the newsroom.’ How can my reality can be so close to the character in Rashmi Kumar’s book? My initial, struggling days coupled with fucking up stories as a sub-editor where two stories with different headlines, of course, went on different pages or a brief is run as a story and making a headline going mad with less spacing and adding extra S for saving on Quark Express, the software many newspapers and magazines use. I was like it’s my reality how come it’s so close to my life. I mean, I should be writing this book.

I just reminded myself that I am supposed to do a book review and not share my journalistic experience spanning over three years on the blog space. Well! Rashmi Kumar’s book is something many of us, young journalists, will find an echo with and it’s so fucking close to our reality as media people, hunting for stories, conflicts with sub-editors and vice versa on why we cut stories to make them fit on the page. Rashmi’s writing style is eloquant, downright funny and once you hold this book within your fingers, you will find it difficult to put it down. The character ‘Radhika Kanetkar’ will make you laugh as you share her world, dreaded bosses and the one with the sign of  the devil wearing the Prada and, unabashedly, showing her sex appeal in the newsroom.

If you think that Radhika’s world is just about journalism and its rules, well, think again? It’s about love, relationships and the diaries of a young mind  in a catch 22 situation among an entangled web of writing professionals. Who says, we have it easy in journalism? For sure, we are young guns but we have a tough life as we are as good as our last story or job. Rashmi Kumar is successful in create funny situations that will make you laugh your asses off and she has a way in describing intimate scenes in a simple and deft manner. Stilettos in the Newsroom is something you cannot afford to miss for its dash of humor, relationships fuck up, travails in the newsroom, fighting, squabble with an irritating colleague, friendship, love and what’s not!

What distinguishes Rashmi’s style from others is that she has a unique chatty style to narrate the life of Radhika Kanetkar. Truly, it’s a simple read that will give echo to the life of budding, struggling journalist who find themselves in this bubbly world of  Radhika Kanetkar.

Any minusses from Stilettos in the Newsroom? Well, I loved reading it but the climax came a bit too abrupt and how I wish the novel would have been a bit longer with spicy details in the life of a reporter. Also, it is not necessarily a chick lit with a picture of red Stilettos on the cover which may make alpha males like me stay away but once, you lay your hands on the book, it is a complete page turner.

The book released in 2010 and I read it few days before the end of 2013 which was a quick read, owing to the fact that Stilettos is less than 175 pages. I can find an uncanny resemblance to my life as a reporter and how I fucked up initially. Well! Radhika’s story is my story. I’ve been so influenced by Rashmi Kumar’s novel that I have decided to write an e-novel for the blog this year and tell my story as a sub-editor and reporter. First time, a chick-lit has been an inspiration and I am not ashamed to say so. If you haven’t read Stilettos in the Newsroom and looking for light-hearted humor and quick read, Stilettos is for you. Hope you enjoy the read and you’ll find lotsa hatke journalism rules for the souls.

Concluding Note:

The character Radhika started off in journalism at 27 while I started at 28. She fucked up on headlines, running same stories on different pages and I did the same. Well, the HR has nicely forgotten that he called me to join and was made to wait for the whole day while Radhika’s first day..read the book. I am amazed how many journalists share the same destiny and this novel is a kinda lil bible of fun for me.

Cheerz

V