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Posts from — December 2015

Book Review: The Bestseller She Wrote by Ravi Subramanian

 


Title: The Bestseller She Wrote
Author: Ravi Subramanian
Paperback: 391 pages
Publisher: Westland (October 28th 2015)
Genre: Romance
Read: Paperback
Stars: ***/5
Buy On: Amazon India | Amazon US | Flipkart

 

Summary:

(Goodreads)

He was a bestseller She wanted him to make her one.

Paperback king, Aditya Kapoor life is straight out of a modern man’s fantasy. His literary stardom is perfectly balanced by a loving wife and a spectacular career. With everything he touches turning to gold, Aditya is on a winning streak.

Shreya Kaushik is a student with a heart full of ambition. Young, beautiful and reckless, Shreya speaks her mind and obsessively chases after what she wants. And what she wants is to be a bestselling author.

What happens when their worlds collide? Is it possible to love two people at the same time? Can real ambition come in the way of blind passion? Can trust once broken, be regained?

Master storyteller Ravi Subramanian, delves into the glitzy world of bestsellers and uncovers a risky dalliance between a superstar novelist and his alluring protege.

The Bestseller She Wrote is a combustible cocktail of love, betrayal and redemption.

 

My Review:

Note: Thanks BlogAdda and Ravi Subramanian for offering me this book to read and review :)

Cover: Bright and Conspicuous

Paper and font: Easy on the eyes!

Readability, language: Easy on the mind!

Why did I choose this book: I was offered this book by Blogadda. Since this was a deviation from Subramanian’s standard writing fare, it caught my fancy.

Shreya wants to be a bestselling author and she will do anything it takes to get that, even destroy a marriage as she comes between Maya and Aditya. But will Bestselling Author Aditya Kapoor be used and abused or can he save his marriage. Shreya can get all she wants without this destruction so why is she doing this? The answers the climax. 😉

The end justifies the title; it’s appropriate and it caught my interest. The cover is bright and conspicuous, it’s one you can’t ignore. As for the blurb, it’s succinct and simple.

I haven’t come across a plot quite like this one before, a story of blind ambition and it’s repercussions, while also dealing with betrayal. At a lot of points I found myself thinking I knew what would come next but Subramanian surprised me repeatedly.

Set in present day Mumbai, the author has woven the city well in his story and the city is always present in the shadows. He has also woven in a lot of pot-shots and truths about the publishing industry. There were a lot of places where I found myself laughing when I made the connection to real life and many a place I was shaking my head at the sad publishing truths.

The book has a large character set, but they all play important roles in the story and take it forward. Aditya, Maya and Shreya are sketched well. I found myself doing exactly what the author wanted, feeling for Maya, hating Shreya while admiring her guts and feeling both love and hate for Aditya. The only character who left me disturbed was Sanjay, his involvement has me still confused; I can’t find them but there seem to be loose-ends there.

The story is well laid out, though the pace slows down a bit and gets draggy toward the end. Almost as if the author was implementing his advice from the book on words per book. The story builds up well toward the climax and takes you by surprise. All loops are tied up though the Sanjay threads are a little twisted and knotted up for me, his plot didn’t sit too well in the jigsaw for me.

I enjoyed Subramanian’s style of writing, his snide remarks and tongue-in-cheek sense of humour. His Hinglish (which I particularly loved) is simple and easy to read and I didn’t once have to reach out for a dictionary, which was refreshingly nice!

Not just a story of blind ambition and betrayal, The Bestseller She Wrote is also the current state of India’s publishing industry – from author antics to emotional blackmail, Facebook fiascos to newspaper scandals, anything goes and it’s all in the book. For YA and above. Recommended if you are looking for a fast mindless read!

Buy On: Amazon India | Amazon US | Flipkart

About the Author:

Ravi Subramanian is an alumnus of IIM Bangalore and author of seven previous commercial novels. Having been a banker himself, he has a unique insight into the industry he writes about.
Ravi lives in Mumbai with his wife, Dharini and daughter Anusha.

Author Links:
WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook

😛 Compulsory Text: I am reviewing ‘The Bestseller She Wrote’ by Ravi Subramanian as a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

 

December 29, 2015   No Comments

So Long Buddha, Run Free My Child

The Buddha Welcome #BuddhaTheWise

Buddha – The Wise One
11 Sept. 2004 – 22 Dec. 2015

Che and I decided early in our relationship not to have babies but like a lot of other parents we landed up with an unplanned baby. Unplanned she may have been but she was never unwanted, and we enjoyed her so much, we had 5 more in 5 years. Yep, we’re really bad at family planning. 😉

Two nights ago I lost my first born, my oldest son. Words seem inadequate to describe what I am feeling. There is a blankness, a numbness, an emptiness that is yet to set-in that I know will leave behind a void never to be filled.

Buddha came into our lives late in his and our lives, he was 6 then. I still remember that day when Che looked at me with puppy-eyes and asked if we could bring home another dog. I remember telling him that I’d first like to see the dog.

So, Che whisked me off to Windward Kennels to get me to meet the dog he was already in love with; to convince me to take him home. I still remember my first impression of Buddha – a timid dog who took time to warm up to strangers, a guy who rather be left alone than be in the thick of things and yet so beautiful both inside and out.

Buddha The Quiet One #BuddhaTheWise

I thought he would be easy, a cake walk for me that would also be an excellent calming influence on the two young nut-cracks we had. I was proven so wrong!

As the months rolled by Buddha transformed, he still retained his quiet introspective self but he also started to display a boisterous self who joined in the games, the play, the charges to the door and the barking howling matches.

He came into his own and stopped backing off, he started to take dogs head-on. Clear about what he wanted, what he liked and disliked, he now didn’t hesitate to put the dogs in their place. And as the months rolled by I fell in love with him, more and then some more.

Buddha was a dog no one who met him would forget. He made an impression, an impression all his own, an imprint unique to just him. But he had his quirks – he was terrified of crackers and loud noises, had a dislike for too much excitement, pee’d slow and long, and had a mouth so foul-smelling that you’d never forget a kiss from him, that is if you hadn’t died of the aroma. 😀

A couple of years ago when he had been diagnosed with an enlarged heart and arthritis, I started to worry but Buddha’s love for life made the problems look like they didn’t exist. He fought his way through it all with help from various people who loved him and stayed active right up to the end.

On The Road to Recovery #BuddhaTheWise

When his heart started to act up a couple of weeks ago, he valiantly held on while I fretted. He loved his walks and demanded them, and I, had to give in and take him in spite of my misgivings. On his last day, he walked well, ate heartily, showered me with time and attention and refused to leave my side.

And when he went, he went just as quietly as he had come in 5 years ago. A gentle presence by my side that slipped away before I knew it. He gave us 5 glorious years that we will relive forever. He was Buddha, through and though, aptly named for he had learned all the secrets of the universe and he held them all in himself.

I lost a son two nights ago, my oldest, the first born and I will never be whole again. I’m not a mother of human babies and I don’t know the pain of losing a child but what I do know is that words aren’t enough to describe my grief, no balm is soothing enough for this chasm I have in my heart, no amount of tears can wash away this pain I am feeling.

You will be missed Buddha and yet I know you will always be with me, as that little hole in my heart that will be filled again only when we are reunited. Run free my child, I hope you get your very own hammock up there. xxx

 

That should have been the end of this monologue but there are people I must thank for him and his life before I close. Preeti – a big thank you for sharing Buddha with us, Devisri – for kicking me into getting his diet right, Dr. Pavan, Dr. Ramesh, Dr. Ajitesh & Dr. Girish at Cessna Lifeline and Dr. Shiv Prasad his homeopathy doctor with the magic sugar pills – for keeping him medically healthy, and the brat pack for keeping him happy. Special thanks to Anithra, Chaitanya and Mom & Nanisaheb for being there always, even at the end and for his first toast.

December 24, 2015   4 Comments

Book Review: The Starriest Summer by Adelle Yeung

 


Title: The Starriest Summer
Author: Adelle Yeung
Paperback: 377 pages
Publisher: Indigo Platinum Press (December 1st 2015)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Contemporary
Read: eBook
Stars: ***/5
Buy On: Amazon India | Amazon US

 

Summary:

(Goodreads)

Fifteen-year-old Michelle saves the world on a daily basis…with her trusty video game controller, of course! Naturally, she jumps at the chance to play an experimental virtual reality game.

The beautiful fantasy world of Starrs? Check. The power to mold matter? Check. No reset button? Wait, she didn’t sign up for this!

Turns out Starrs is really real, and to make matters worse, Michelle’s interference awakens the Cycle of the Six Moons, a series of devastating trials that will devour the universe.

Fighting the apocalypse was way easier when danger stayed on the other side of the screen, but Michelle finds a secret weapon in her new-found powers. She uses them to rescue the crown prince of a powerful magic kingdom from their sworn enemies, a technologically-advanced cult that strives to eradicate magical blood.

Michelle starts to fall for Prince Jayse, the only one who believes Michelle to be a savior rather than a curse. But not even video games could prepare her for what the cult has in store for them…

 

My Review:

Note: Thanks Adelle Yeung and YA Bound Book Tours for offering me this book to read and review :)

Cover: Eye-catchy!

Paper and font: Easy on the eyes!

Readability, language: Simple on the mind.

Why did I choose this book: I love watching Che play story based video games, so a book based on getting sucked into a game just had to be read!

Michelle gets pulled into a different world when she starts to play a virtual reality game. Only this isn’t a game but is real and Michelle’s arriving in this world has set of a chain of events that could end the world. She has to team up and save the world.

The title The Starriest Summer is appropriate considering the book is predominantly set in the Starrs world. The cover is attractive and caught my eye. I couldn’t make much sense of the characters on the cover initially but looking at the cover after completing the book makes it all clear. The blurb is enticing and got me interested.

I’ve never come across a plot like this before so it was a refreshing find. I really like the idea of falling into a video game and becoming an actual part of the game. The plot is clear, as in Michelle has to save the Starrs World but the whole thing about the Cycle of the Six Moons was complicated and I’m still confused about it.

The world of Starrs has been created well and I found it very believable. Yeung’s descriptions of the terrain made it easy to visualise the world as I read the book. It almost felt like watching someone play a story-based video game.

The main character is Michelle but she is supported by a bunch of primary, secondary and tertiary characters. The characters are well fleshed out and described rather in detail too but somehow some things just felt odd for me in my head. Some characteristics and even clothes just didn’t suit the characters I had drawn up in my head. That said, I must add that Michelle felt real with her fears and hang-ups. Getting pulled into the game doesn’t make her a superhero and I liked that.

The story follows a three act structure and is split into 3 parts, with the conflict clear in the first few pages. The flow of the story is good and so is the pace, I found myself wanting to read constantly to know what would happen next. But the pace is also constant and there is no build up to climax, it doesn’t feel like a climax, but that might be because it is to be a series?

The language used is simple and easy to read but I think the book could have done with one more proofread. I found quite a few grammatical errors and missing letters. At some points it just felt very childish too, the dialogues were just too cheesy, even if said by teenagers.

Overall I enjoyed the book and definitely recommend it if you are a Young Adult and into video games and that kind of fantasy.

Buy On: Amazon India | Amazon US

About the Author:

Adelle Yeung is the author of The Cycle of the Six Moons trilogy, a young adult fantasy adventure. She is also a voice-over artist who can’t go a day without a cup of tea. When she’s not writing or recording, she enjoys sewing costumes, baking sweets, and escaping on video game adventures.
She lives in California with a cat that dreams of eating the pet bird.

Author Links:
WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook

 

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

December 18, 2015   3 Comments

Indian Reads… #1: My First Ever Author Interview with Nina Sengupta

Indian Reads… #1: Talking with Nina Sengupta about her book ‘Edible Weeds and Naturally Growing Plants in Auroville’

This is a whole bunch of firsts, my first author interview, my first colouring book, the first colouring book from India,.. to name a few.

I set out with a lot of nervousness, I’d never interviewed someone before and this was to be over a telephone call. And what after the interview, I’ve not ever used editing software, how was I going to finish this. But baby steps I told myself and the result was so much fun.

I’ve enjoyed this so much I think I’m going to this again. Putting together questions, talking to Nina about her book and publishing experience, learning iMovie and actually using it, was an adventure and here’s the result.

Please do give it a listen and tell me what you think in comments? :)

In this interview Nina talks about –

– her life in Auroville
– why she choose the theme of weeds
– creating a colouring book
– her journey from an idea to publication
– themes and next books in the series

You can buy Nina’s book at www.Auroville.com

My Review of Edible Weeds and Naturally Growing Plants in Auroville

December 10, 2015   4 Comments

Book Review: Edible Weeds and Naturally Growing Plants in Auroville by Nina Sengupta

Edible Weeds and Naturally Growing Plants in Auroville by Nina Sengupta

Title: Edible Weeds and Naturally Growing Plants in Auroville
Author: Nina Sengupta
Paperback: 44 pages
Publisher: SAIIER (2015)
Stars: ****/5
Buy On: Auroville.com

Note: Thanks Nina Sengupta and SAIIER for offering me this book to read and review :)

With all the talk going on about colouring books and their benefits for adults, I just had to get one for myself, so when I came across Nina’s book I jumped at it. It also helped that it’s topic was of interest to me.

Published by SAIIER or Sri Aurobindo International Institute of Educational Research the ‘Edible Weeds and Naturally Growing Plants in Auroville’ by Nina Sengupta is my first taste of an adult colouring book. (The book though states on the cover that it’s a collection of botanical drawings both for adults and young.)

The cover is made of rich red textured paper that feels good and holds well when handing the book. The front cover has a simple illustration that stands out for its ease on the eye and yet it’s whiteness immediately invites you to colour in. The back cover lists some of the benefits of colouring books and gives an introduction to why Sengupta put together this book. It also states that this is likely to be the first colouring book from India.

The size of a large note book ‘Edible Weeds and Naturally Growing Plants in Auroville’ has 22 pages that include 40 drawings to colour in. The drawing pages are smooth and a pristine white that helps in showing off colours as they are. The book is hand-bound neatly and that adds a certain character to the book. It also helps the book open and spread well for colouring.

Hand Bound Colouring books

The theme of this book which is part one in a tri-series is edible weeds and plants around around Auroville. The illustrations are botanical drawings drawn to scale with the scales included in the images. The botanical name and various other common names are listed at the bottom of each page. Sengupta says she has been slightly partial to lesser known plants in her choosing for this book; I agree for there were just a couple that I knew but that leaves a lot of new ones to learn about. :)

Instructions for use listed at the beginning of the book talks about the plants, their details, scales, uses, etc. There is some colouring help given but I’d have liked to know more about painting mediums that could have been used. The paper seems thick though and the kind you could use water colours on but I’ve only used colour pencils until now. No idea what would happen with alcohol based markers. The coloured insert included with the book at the end gives visual cues if you want to see what the actual colours are, it also gives more details about the plant and it’s uses.

Coloured Insert in colouring book

The drawings are well laid out one on each page with a lot of white space around. There is also a mix of the easy and the intricate in each drawing that makes for some challenge but isn’t daunting. As a collection of edible weeds this isn’t just a colouring book but also resource to be kept handy for garden enthusiasts.

Since this book is at it’s core a colouring book and it’s my first colouring book, I was very interested to see how the relaxation bit would pan out. As a study and to make the book a collectible for me, I decided to ask friends to colour a page each. I talked with them as they coloured about their choices of colour, method and how they felt.

Colours and friends

I’ve gotten three friends until now to sit down and colour a page each. Interestingly all three choose to ignore the colour insert and used colours of their own choice. Two out of three were parents with some recent experience of colouring but even the single one who hadn’t coloured in ages tried out colour combinations and shading. And each one of them attested to the fun they had and the relaxation they felt after they were done. I coloured in one page myself and can now vouch for all those feelings too. :)

In summary, ‘Edible Weeds and Naturally Growing Plants in Auroville’ by Nina Sengupta is a worthy buy, not only for the hours of fun and relaxation you’ll get while colouring but also for the knowledge and resources given in the book for future reference. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

Click here to buy a copy of Nina Sengupta’s Edible Weeds and Naturally Growing Plants in Auroville.

Note: Since this was the first time ever that I was reviewing a colouring book, I sought inspiration and guidance through Google and found Lucy’s blog which was so helpful. If you like colouring books please do check out Colouring In The Midst of Madness for more reviews and insight into how Lucy uses colouring books and craft to help her cope with her severe anxiety disorder.

 

My Interview with Nina Sengupta

 

Interview with Nina Sengupta

In the interview Nina talks about her book, her journey from an idea to being published, her love for weeds, and more.

December 1, 2015   No Comments