Matches made in Heaven by Sundari Venkatraman

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When you receive an email from one of your favourite authors, one you know will not disappoint you, telling you that she has a book of short stories which she has just released, and asking you whether you would like to review it, how do you react?

Why did I start with such a big sentence? Because, Sundari Venkatraman, the author of books like, The Malhotra Bride, Meghna and The runaway bridegroom, sent me a message asking me if I would like to review her latest book, an anthology of thirteen love stories, Matches made in Heaven. I have reviewed the book story by story as reviewing a book with short stores is a tall job and I would not have been doing justice to the stories I would have missed to mention. So here is an attempt to review a book with thirteen short stories. At the outset, I would like to thank Sundari for writing this book and also for sending it to me.

About the book:

The book starts with a foreword by Milan Vohra, the first Indian Mills and Boon author.

The first story, Groomnapped, is the story of Ameya, the only son of the local millionaire of Paliganj in Patna, who is in in love with Surekha, the eldest of three daughters of a poor family. While his parents expected a big dowry, her parents were planning to pawn their house for a small one. Ameya contacts his best friend Vivek, a journalist in Mumbai, and they make a brilliant plan.

The second story ‘Beauty is but skin deep’ is a story about twenty two year old Simran who comes to her mother’s best friend’s house in Delhi from Mumbai because her father had hurt her confidence with his lack of love and insensitivity. And then Nitin walks into his home, meets his houseguest, Simran and thinks change.

The third story in the book is ‘An Arranged Match’, the story of Ritu, who wants a love marriage, but her parents are holding a gun to her head. At the Mumbai airport, on the way home, she meets Yash and they travel on the same flight to Jaipur. She goes on to Pushkar the next day and he goes home only to find that his parents want him to meet the Choudharys in Pushkar for matrimonial purpose. He agrees only to reject the Choudhary girl and surprise Ritu and what does he get in the bargain.

The fourth story in this book is Red Rose Dating Agency. Ritika, who runs a dating agency, is in a dilemma about finding a date for Sadashiv Prasad , a nerd who comes looking for a date.

The fifth story of the book is Chahti hoon tumhe, a story about Jahnavi, an actress who meets Rehaan, a rich businessman who meet at a Derby. He woos her with flowers and treats. Rehaan was an easy conversationalist and Jahnavi felt very comfortable with him. Then suddenly the newspaper changes it all.

Soulmates, the sixth story in the book, is the story of seventeen year old Soumya who elopes with Shekhar much against her father’s wishes.

The seventh story is ‘madeinheaven.com’. Menka is twenty four years old and her parents are hunting high and low for a groom for two years and have not been successful yet. Menka hasn’t liked even one proposal that had come across and there had been a few hundreds. And then her parents start browsing a new website and Menka fills up the ‘requisite’ details and posts her photo on the website for her father’s sake.

The eighth story is ‘Rahat Mili’, a story of an Indian boy, Sid, who meets Rahat, a girl from Pakistan at the New York University college campus and they start getting acquainted with each other. They became close over the next few days and move in together. And, one night, calls her Meenu.

In ‘Reema’s Matchmakers’, the ninth story, Prisha, a divorcee with a son is invited by Reema of Reema’s Matchmakers to attend a party where she meets Arjun, a single parent with a little daughter. He also has no plans to get married again. They become friends and the kids like each other’s company.

The tenth story is ‘The reluctant bride’. It is the story of Krish and Tanya who get married, she, because her parents have left her with no choice but to get marries and he, because he loves her.

‘Shweta ka Swayamwar’ is the eleventh story. Shweta, a well-known fashion model is contacted by a TV channel to star in a reality show, where a swayamwar would be conducted on TV and the channel would attract a good TRP as Shweta has quite a bit of fan following. She agrees to it but is worried if the man-in-her-life who had flown out of the country comes back in her life and shows interest. After a lot of short-listing, the show goes on line.

Pappa’s girl, the twelfth story is story of a rich girl whose father does not find any boyfriend good enough for his daughter and sees through them.  Until, Shyam comes along.

The last story of the book is a mythological love story, ‘Love Match for Velan’. Even I did not know that Velan is till I read this story. I thought, wow, lucky person, has a peacock for a pet.

My take:

I loved the stories and the characters. The stories are set in various locations across the country and the heroines in almost all of them are tall. The best part is that they are 3-5 pages long and each story can be finished in one sitting. The author has described some of the scenes well and I could actually visualize them. Each story has been written with a lot of research and some of them can actually be converted into books.

A must read.

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Wrong, for the right reasons by Ritu Lalit

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unnamedI received ‘Wrong, for the Right Reasons’ by Ritu Lalit as a review copy from the Book Club and would like to thank Rubina of the Book Club.

This is the story of Shyamoli, a young divorced woman with two small children, Ketaki, her daughter and Samar, her son. She has gone back to her parents after her divorce. Her mother wants her to go back and patch up with her husband but her father understands. Her brother, Varun, stays in Australia with his family and she stays in his house. The Iyers are close family friends, though her mother and Mrs Iyer can’t stop fighting. Uma, the Iyers’ daughter, was her best friend in school till class tenth when their mothers fought and she became Shyamoli’s frenemy.

Having never worked after marriage to Manav, all she does for a living is write articles which sometimes are accepted and sometimes rejected. Slowly, she picks the reins of the family and starts out on her own from writing articles to baking.

My take:

The story actually flows from one page to another, though the book is divided into parts and the chapters do not have numbers but begin with a quote in bold letters (a new concept). The author has written the book in first person from Shyamoli’s perspective, as if she is telling her day to day story. The author has depicted the conversations between the characters very naturally as they happen in our day to day lives.  It is an interesting story with realistic characters. The relationships between the characters have been depicted very beautifully. Shyamoli has been depicted as a strong woman but Ketaki is the icing on the cake. The book is funny at times and sometimes I felt for Shyamoli, how her own mother could be so insensitive to her. The story kept me up till late in the night and could not put it down even though my eyes were not ready to open and it was the first thing I picked up when I got up in the morning.

Loved the book.

Book Source: The Book Club

32 Seconds by Johanna K. Pitcairn

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I received 32 Seconds by Johanna K. Pitcairn as a part of the b00k r3vi3w Tours and would like to thank Debdatta for the book. Assigning the book to a particular genre is quite a difficult task.

32 seconds is the story of a girl, Julie Jones, a teenager in high school, who has relocated to Los Angeles two years ago after her father won a movie lottery and had dreams of having a better lifestyle. She meets a rich brat, Mark, who dumps her and she hits him and his girlfriend and escapes. She realizes that the credit cards are blocked when she goes to buy fuel and thinks of stealing. She spots a dollar store, and seeing it devoid of cameras, she steals. As she exits the dollar store, she meets an old lady who tells her that she knows everything about her and offers her a chocolate. Though Julie is skeptical about eating the chocolate, she knows that she has nothing to lose and eats it up only to reach the “Underworld”. She is surprised when she finds that the people she meets there all know about her and she goes back in time.

My take:

The author has created Julie, a character whose several shades are there among many of us and then made her meet her conscience. The story has a very different concept and has been written from Julie’s point of view. The language is simple and once Julie enters the underworld, the story moves fast as new characters keep creeping in. I loved the way she has named Julie’s car, Bubbles.

Book Source:B00k r3vi3ws