Two winters and 365 days by Anuradha Prasad

ImageThe book Two Winters and 365 days by Dr Anuradha Prasad is the stscan0001ory of Ananya Bhatt. I received an autographed copy from the author herself. Thank you, Dr Anuradha, for the book. As is mentioned in the blurb, the story has all the ingredients in the right proportion: drama, suspense, romance, emotions and adventure.

The blurb:

When Ananya’s life fell apart…… and crumpled at a young age she was helpless………

With the sole intention of supporting her family… she takes up editing an equally crumbling lifestyle magazine AFTER-TEA… not knowing what lay ahead… thus… Ananya’s journey into the mad mad world of the media begins. Though her journey as a professional is replete with adventure, thrill and risks she starts enjoying it …as fate could not steal away her innate talent and an eye for perfection…

But as they say… in the beautiful Bollywood city of Mumbai anything is possible!

….A die hard professional and a ‘construction magnate’ Vicky Arora falls hopelessly in love with simple Ananya…

Though Vicky feels most happy and himself with her…. does she feel the same? Was she ready to look at love again in the eye? Or was life playing a double game with her? Will she fall this time never to get up?

TWO WINTERS AND 365 DAYS is a thrilling story of a journey replete with adventure, hope, romance, and of self discovery…

The characters:

Ananya Bhatt, moves back from the US with her three month old baby daughter, Alia, after the sudden death of her husband, Rahul in an accident. A graduate in English Literature and a star editor of their college magazine, she had received the Best Editor’s inter-collegiate award. Her mother is a retired school teacher and has moved to London permanently to stay with her brother.

Mrs Mishra and Mrs Verma, her neighbours in Mumbai, are generally very sweet and offer help whenever she asks them.

Amanda Miller, Ananya’s best friend from college is a very senior journalist from an outstanding national newspaper and has been recently promoted to an editorial position. She is in a live-in relationship with Siddharth, a banker and they have adopted two kids from a Mumbai orphanage.

Vicky Arora, 28, of Arora & Arora Ltd, an investment banker before he took over the construction business from his father also looks after the magazine of the group. He loves money and believes that it solves most of the problems in the world. He is very rich and also donates to noble causes.

The story:

Three months after shifting to their two-bedroom apartment in Mumbai, Ananya asks Amanda to help her in finding a job and Amanda sends her CV for the post of the senior editor with AFTER TEA, the lifestyle magazine of Arora & Arora Ltd and she gets the job. The magazine is has a meagre clientele and Ananya decides to relaunch it. She has in her team: the sub-editor, Richa; the technical support, Nilesh and the advertising guy, Manish. She knows that this is the ‘beginning of a beginning’ and believes in working from inside out and slogs to make the magazine a success. Her neighbours along with the members of her team from office are a part of her extended family.

My take:

The cover of the book is very beautiful and one look at it, I felt that I need to pick it up and read it. The story is nice and beautifully written. The language is simple and easy to follow. The characters are very well developed and I could actually relate to them. Though there are many characters in the book, it was not confusing.

The book has been written in third person and divided into four parts: Winter; spring; summer and winter. Certain aspects of the book have been extensively researched. The author has mentioned the thoughts in single inverted commas and the dialogues in double inverted commas.

The black and white sketches at the end of a few chapters are nice and very relevant to the chapter. The book is funny at times and sad at times.

The book touches you deeply and the end took my breath away.

I would highly recommend this book everyone who is a romantic at heart.

WARNING: Keep a tissue box handy before you start the book!!! I promise you, You Will Need it.

Book Source: Author

Publisher: Partridge

Dewdrops at dawn by Sahana Sankaran

dewdrops_at_dawn-500x500Dewdrops at dawn by Sahana Sankaran is the story of Sukanya and Sundar set in Coimbatore.

Sukanya Ananthanarayanan, 21, tops her batch in college and is working as an illustrator in a major publishing house, Fine Print Publications. She thinks with her heart and not her head. Her parents had chosen the path of democracy in bringing up her and her brother. She keeps them up to date about the happenings in office.

Sundar Sriram, 31, is the CFO of Sriram Sundaram Associates. Though, he is the only child of his parents, who live in a joint family, he lives in his own flat. He is kind, an attentive listener and a good conversationalist.

Sukanya is given the responsibility to discuss their new project, the ‘Boochu Series’, high quality illustrated children’s books with their funder, Sriram Sundaram Associates. Sundar asks Sukanya to marry him and tells her that he would withdraw the financial support to her firm if she does not do so. She is not in a position to put her own conditions and agrees to marry him, much to her parents’ surprise. They settle down to a comfortable rapport after marriage with a slim thread of friendship and togetherness.

The book launch is a success and his ex-girlfriend comes into the story and Sukanya walks out without leaving a forwarding address, when Sundar is out of station. Will they meet again?

The book is fast paced and well written.

Book Source: Bought

Publisher: Pageturn Publishers

Wooing the Moon by Meera Srikant

wooing the moonWooing the Moon by Meera Srikant is her second book for the Red Romance Series. It is the story of Swarna, aka Swan, the youngest of three siblings. Her brother Navin is two years older and Rajiv is the oldest. Their mother is very strict.

The story starts when Swarna is twelve and they have new neighbours, who have a son, Samarth Soni, who is her brother Navin’s age. They develop a very deep friendship. Arun Chandrashekhar, is Navin’s classmate and the teacher’s pet in school.

Now, Swarna is 25, has joined a company to work on ad campaigns of their products after doing a post-graduation in mass media. She has lots of friends and likes to go out. Arun, after an IIT-IIM degree, is the product manager in the same company where his father is the major shareholder. He is self centred, rich and handsome. Samarth works with a leading software firm and whenever possible, takes her home from work.

The book has been written in first person making it all the more interesting. The flow is good. But the only drawback is the large number of characters makes it a little confusing.

Book Source: Bought

Publisher: Pageturn Publishers

Together 24×7 by Sunita Suresh

ImageTogether 24×7 by Sunita Suresh is the story of Jay and Ria set in Chennai.

Ria Rau, 24, works as a copywriter in SSS Advertisement Agency. She is new in the team there.

Madhav is Ria’s crush since she was 12 and the community’s blue eyed boy. He was the best outgoing student of his school, star athlete, NCC Cadet and the prestigious state rank holder and alumni of the elitist college.  Madhav is pursuing his research project in South America and is engaged to Ria. Jay calls him the ‘Invisible Man’.

Jay is her self-appointed best buddy and values their friendship a lot. He is a year senior at the agency and routinely ate up her lunch. He is developing a new language, ‘Misuri’, a novel way of communication, a global language. Ria wants him to be serious about his work and not fool around.

Sharada, Ria’s friend, has a blog, Masala Mix, where she writes about her friends’ miseries and the best part is that none of her friends know each other.

And then suddenly, one day Jay quits and is not coming back. And six months later, Ria and her three friends open a new endeavour, Idea Box.

I enjoyed reading the book and the mystery in it.

Book Source: Bought

Publisher: Pageturn Publishers

Flipkart’s REPUBLIC DAY Sale

As a routine, every morning after the children have left for school, I go through my email trying to space out the day that is just starting. Does anything need urgent attention or can it wait?

Today there was a surprise in store: Flipkart’s REPUBLIC DAY Sale and the discounts are fabulous especially in the books category:

1.Minimum 26% Off on Books by Indian Authors

2. Buy2, Get 1 Free on Children’s Books

A recommended must checkout.

Happy browsing…..

The sale is on till the 28th only

Polka Dots, Pony Tails and Purple Pouts by Amrita Anand Nayak.

polka-dots-pony-tails-and-purple-pouts-700x700-imadk282hhuqethqPolka Dots, Pony Tails and Purple Pouts is the first book by Amrita Anand Nayak. It is the story of Leena, Tia and Jasmine, who are froomies, friends and roommates. They are from different backgrounds, work in the IT sector in different companies in Pune and share a three bedroom apartment. All the three of them have their separate set of friends with whom they hang out and they like it that way. They spend the tea-time on weekends together while chatting for hours. They are best friends for life. Each of them has a past and it actually goes a long way to explain their actions.

Leena Sharma, pays a daily visit to her father in the old age home. Having been through a tremulous past, she is mature for her age and always falls for mature men older than her. She always wears her hair in a ponytail. She is devoted to her father and is liked by the other elders at the old age home. She falls in love with her very much married new manager and her friends do not approve of the same and support her when she breaks off with him and resigns. She joins a new job and makes friends with Ravi, with whom she can share her thoughts without being emotionally attached, lest she spoils her friendship.

Tia Saxena, is an introvert, loves cooking, has a great sense of fashion, likes most to read and write. She loves blogging, is genuine, honest, affectionate, innocent, polite, kind and talented. Always ahead in fashion, her sixth sense is her fashion sense and she can predict fashion trends. She loves polka dotted dress. Born into a conservative Kayastha family, her parents want her to marry into the same caste, she is more comfortable with girls as friends than boys. She meets Samarth Tokas, Sam, from a conservative Jat family, a software engineer from IIT, ambitious but not a workaholic. They become friends and she is shocked to know that Sam likes her and is relieved to hear from Sam that he has no romantic interest in her. Then they become a couple and thus starts the family drama with parents from both sides opposing.

Jasmine, the daughter of a Bengali Hindu mother and a church priest from Trivandrum, is a serial dater and makes innovative excuses to breakup. No one hates her not even her exes.  She loves the shade purple. She wants to avoid love at all cost. Leena and Tia call her ‘Angel’ Jasmine. She makes friends with a gay bartender, Chris and they hit off very well. Suddenly, she becomes homesick and wants to meet her parents and her godmother. There she meets her ex-boyfriend Jerry Matthews who had ditched her and wants to marry her now.

Three mills and boons rolled into one with stories intertwined. A definite chick-lit, fast paced with well-developed characters, which seem pretty real. The author has described in detail the experiences, the thoughts, the heartbreaks and the emotions of all the three characters very well. She has also mentioned the Khap Panchayat, office romance as well as pregnancy out of wedlock. The relationship and the understanding between the three of them are magical. The names of the chapters give a sneak peek on what the chapter holds. As the story unfolded, I got more and more involved in the lives of the three girls. The story at times is very funny that I was laughing till my sides ached and sometimes very sad.

A nice read definitely.

Book Source: Bought

Publisher: General Press

Teatime for the Firefly by Shona Patel

teatime-for-the-fireflyTeatime for the Firefly is the debut book of Shona Patel and the story is set in Assam and its teagardens at the time of the Second World War. I liked the cover of the book and when I read the blurb of this book, I was transported back there, Having grown up among teagardens in Assam and West Bengal, I get nostalgic whenever I hear anything about tea gardens.

 The Blurb:

Layla Roy has defied the fates. Despite being born under an inauspicious horoscope, she is raised to be educated and independent by her eccentric grandfather, Dadamoshai. And, by cleverly manipulating the hand fortune has dealt her, she has even found love with Manik Deb—a man betrothed to another. All were minor miracles in India that spring of 1943, when young women’s lives were predetermined—if not by the stars, then by centuries of family tradition and social order.

Layla’s life as a newly married woman takes her away from home and into the jungles of Assam, where the world’s finest tea thrives on plantations run by native labor and British efficiency. Fascinated by this culture of whiskey-soaked expats who seem fazed by neither earthquakes nor man-eating leopards, she struggles to find her place among the prickly English wives with whom she is expected to socialize, and the peculiar servants she now finds under her charge.

 But navigating the tea-garden set will hardly be her biggest challenge. Layla’s remote home is not safe from the powerful changes sweeping India on the heels of the Second World War. Their colonial society is at a tipping point, and Layla and Manik find themselves caught in a perilous racial divide that threatens their very lives.

The characters:

Layla Roy, born under an “unlucky star”, where planet Mars is predominant in her Hindu horoscope, is astrologically doomed and fated never to marry. She is never invited to social function like weddings and birth. She loses her parents when she is very small and is brought up by initially by her great aunt and later by her grandfather, Dadamoshai, who gives her an education, and Chaya, their housekeeper. Layla is an obsessive fact finder, well read and intelligent.

Dadamoshai, Layla’s grandfather, also known as Rai Bahadur, an honorary title given to him by the British, is an advocate of English education. He was once the most powerful District Judge in the state of Assam and has now opened a girls’ school which would be inaugurated by Boris Ivanov. He lives in Silchar.

Chaya, their housekeeper, has a disfiguring burn scar as a result of an acid burn which was flung at her because she had fallen in love with a Muslim man. Compassionate Dadamoshai had taken her into his custody, fought a controversial court case and sent many people to jail.

Manik Deb, 23, is a Rhodes Scholar from Oxford, who has joined the civil service. He is already engaged to a rich girl who is Layla’s neighbor (they were engaged when he was only 16).

The story:

On April 7, 1943, the day of the inauguration, everything begins to change for her. She is seventeen, she meets Manik Deb, they become friends, have intelligent discussions and she falls in love with him. Then she comes to know that he has left the Civil Services to accept the job as an Assistant Manager in a tea estate, and his marriage is called off and his family disowns him. She starts training as an Assistant teacher in the girls’ school and also giving private tuitions. His mandatory three years of bachelorhood at the tea estate are over and he asks her grandfather for her hand in marriage, they get married and she moves to Aynakhal, where Manik is posted.

Her married life in the new house at a new place is full of challenges- she has a retinue of servants she has to manage, a decorum was expected of her and Manik in public, the young planters’ wives who she has to associate with and their gossips, the teagarden workers and the responsibility of the management towards them

My thoughts:

The story is written in first person from Layla’s viewpoint and this makes it all the more real and interesting. The author has researched very well and this shows in the way she has described the tea gardens and its facilities, the hardships in the lives of the tea-planters, the process of tea production from plucking to packing, the tea garden management & the dress code of the tea planters.

The characters and the story are very well developed. Words like ‘jackal wedding days’, tea gardens, Rongali Bihu, cattle traps, Planters Club, lahe-lahe, the names of the various tea gardens, clubchits, Chung Bungalow, salted tea, coolie dances & the white painted bricks buried diagonally made me nostalgic. She has beautifully described the earthquake like a giant freight train; I have experienced a 6.8 and believe it feels just like that.

The book has emotions, romance, suspense, adventure, violence, politics, wild animals, and everything you could want in a book. Each chapter has beautifully drawn pattern at the beginning. I enjoyed the book a lot and being there all my life helped me picturise it more. If she could have illustrated with some pictures from her blog, it would have been all the more interesting.

Book Source: Bought

Publisher: Harlequin India

Playing at love by Lakshmi Palecanda

playing at lovePlaying at love by Lakshmi Palecanda is the story of Vinna Mathur and Ranjan Pandey.

Vinna Mathur, works for Vishwa Creations and calls it Writery. She writes scripts for sitcoms and also does megaserial writing. Her father is a doctor with the WHO and her parents live in Nigeria and she has two younger sisters, one lives with her and the other lives in Bangalore.  She has grown up with her male cousins and does not have a boyfriend. Manish Gupta is her aunt’s son and Srija, his wife is her best friend.

In order to write for a soap opera on a bar girl for Devi Creations, she needs to research on the character and gets an opportunity to pay off one such dancer and dance instead. This dance is at the thirtieth birthday party of Ranjan Pandey, CEO of Jeevan Mitra Financials, hosted by his cousin. She calls herself Champa and Ranjan mistakes her to be a call girl and a bar dancer and pays her some money.

She goes to his office to call of his bluff and he introduces her to his family as his fiancée.

An enjoyable and light read.

Book Source: Bought

Publisher: Pageturn Publishers

Dreamcatcher by Supriya Parulekar

ImageDreamcatcher by Supriya Parulekar is the story of Aditya and Ayaana who meet for the first time at Royal Plaza when they were hiding under a table during a drunken brawl. She says that the meeting was under unavoidable circumstances and he considers it to be a perfect romantic setting arranged by God between two strangers. They meet again at The Marriot at the success party of a new movie.

Aditya Kapoor, from Chandigarh, is the demigod of Tinsel town. His fourth and most recent movie has broken all records at the box-office. He has no Godfather and has only his looks and talent to rely on. He loves a challenge. Shantanu Sachdeva is his friend from Chandigarh and is also his secretary.

Ayaana Verma, the daughter of an army officer, works at Pride Events, an upmarket Management Company. She is a workaholic and rarely parties. She shares a flat with a girl, Amita, who works for a movie magazine. On a free day, she loves going to book shops and window shopping. Her purpose to come to Mumbai is to find her sister, Toyoja, two years older to her, had eloped with Vikram Singhania and then had suddenly disappeared. Her friend from work, Shelley, is the only person who knows about it.

Shantanu’s objective is to bring them both together. Shelley tells her friend to capitalize on Aditya’s friendship and enter the world of Bollywood for her sister.

Then, there is Palki, daughter of Krishna Raj Kumar, a Bollywood legend and producer. She is a very talented actor and the dream of every new comer is to work with her because they consider her to be a lucky charm.

Book Source: Bought

Publisher: Pageturn Publishers

Seven Across by Bhargavi Balachandran

seven-across-400x400-imadewn3uufk5s3vSeven Across is Bhargavi Balachandran’s first book. It is the story of a girl from Madurai who moves to Chennai to work in a bank there.

Ramya Seshadri, 23, is the Relationship Manger, Corporate loans in Parragon International Bank at Chennai and has shifted from Madurai. All her boss gives her to read at the beginning were the training manuals. She is the first girl in her family to have completed an MBA and has had a protective upbringing in Madurai. Her father was a manager at a nationalized bank in Madurai. She misses Madurai and writes emails to her friend, Madhu, there detailing her life in Chennai and the bank.

Once she joins the bank, she makes friends with Abhay Patel, who is also her boss; Thomas Cherian, another relationship manager; Arundhati and Shrijit. They hang out together and Ramya also joins them. Arundhati gets her a makeover and she also buys some new clothes and becomes more of a city girl.

Abhay’s father has a diamond business and wanted Abhay to join him after college but Abhay wanted to work on his own. Both Abhay and Ramya love solving crosswords and spend an hour everyday working on it together.  Abhay was promoted before Thomas but still covers up for Thomas and this is not tolerated by Ramya.

Overall, a pleasant read, the characters were well developed and realistic. The cut-throat competition in the banking sector has been described in a very detailed manner, Bhargavi’s indepth knowledge of the banking sector plays a role here.

A cute book.