An Arranged match by Sundari Venkatraman

41Pa5NnKo_LAn Arranged match is Sundari Venkatraman’s latest book in the romantic Shorts series. It is story of Ritu, who wants to get married to someone she loves and not someone chosen by her parents.

The blurb:

Ritu simply hates the idea of an arranged match while her parents insist that she go home to Pushkar to meet the prospective groom they have chosen for her.

Yash is equally reluctant to marry a woman that his parents have chosen for him. But his mother simply refuses to listen to his arguments, citing the reason that he is already past thirty and it was time that he settled down with a wife.

With great reluctance, they go to the Mumbai airport to catch a flight to Jaipur—Yash to his home there and Ritu to take a connecting bus to Pushkar.

A powerful attraction sizzles between the two the moment they literally bang their heads. The two become inseparable over the next twenty-four hours.

But what about the arranged match that was awaiting each of them in turn at the end of their journey? How were they going to escape their prospective life partners?

*A shorter version of this story was published before in the anthology Matches Made in Heaven.

The story:

Twenty five year old Ritu, a girl from Pushkar, a small town in Rajasthan, works as a sales manager at an MNC in Mumbai far away from her hometown in order to ensure that she could keep her parents off her back. One day she receives an email from her father telling her to come home to meet the prospective groom and his parents. She has to convince them that arranged marriage is not for her.

Thirty one year old Yashvardhan Singh, the second son of the royal family of Jaipur, lives between Mumbai and Jaipur managing multiple family businesses. He does not like the idea of being tied to an arranged marriage and would rather wait for the day he would fall in love. His mother calls him and tells him to come home and accompany them to meet the prospective bride.

Ritu and Yash meet at the Mumbai airport and ………….

My take:       

A simple story written in simple English. Though the story has been written in a short story format, the author has managed to create the characters in detail.

I loved the story and enjoyed reading it

 

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My Red Knight by Preethi Venugopala

41qPmDrS_uL._SY346_I borrowed Preethi Venugopala’s latest book My Red Knight from the Kindle Unlimited library. At the beginning, in the author’s note, the author mentions that ‘this love story is loosely based on the story of Job Charnock, traditionally regarded as the founder of the city of Kolkata’ and ‘the inspiration of this story comes from the book ‘The White Mughals’ by William Dalrymple’. She has used the book to talk about the social custom of Sati which was prevalent in India.

The blurb:

The colonial era in India was a period of disaster and darkness. The British looted India indiscriminately and drained our natural resources to Britain.

Yet, like everything, there were sparks of light and love even during those difficult times. This is one such story. About Leela and her brave knight, John.

Leela had always loved John. But for her, even such a thought was forbidden. He was a British Officer and she belonged to an Indian noble family in Calcutta. She is married off to a nobleman whom she cannot love.

Will John know about her love?

What is written in Leela’s destiny?

A Short Love Story based in the Colonial Era which highlights one of the most barbaric customs that existed in pre-independence India.

The story:

The story is set in Calcutta, India in 1722.

Leela, lost her mother at childbirth and is brought up by her father. The daughter of a rich noble family of Calcutta, Leela, sees Major Sir John Winston, who had inherited the baronetcy from his father, when comes to visit her father, an expert in the English language, a trusted translator for both the royals and the British officers. He is five or six years older than her and at 13, she falls in love with him and also adopts a love, a craze for his native tongue, English. Her father is modern enough to allow her to sit with him when he has discussions with John, until one day her stepmother accuses her father and tells him about a gossip about him and Leela.

And she is married off to Rabindra, a man she hated at first sight and fortunately for her, was that he was indifferent. And a year after their marriage, he dies and she has to become his Sati.

My take:

The story has been written in first person from the point of view of Leela, the protagonist. And starts with Leela being made the Sati and her thoughts as she is preparing herself to die.

At the beginning, it took me sometime to understand Leela’s thoughts, on her deathbed. But once I was two pages into the book, I was hooked to it.

She has developed the characters and also expressed their feelings in the few pages of the book.

Loved the book immensely.

 

The Wooing of the Shrew (The Thakore Royals Book 3) by Sundari Venkatraman

41GHUHhhnnLThe Wooing of the Shrew (The Thakore Royals Book 3) by Sundari Venkatraman is the final book in the Thakore Royals Series.

The Blurb:

Dayanita Thakore was a prickly princess who didn’t care for the idea of any man getting close to her… until Prince Harshvardhan Singh Gaekwad turns up in her life.

Sparks fly even at their first meeting when the Princess of Udaipur clashes with the Prince of Baroda.

He falls in love with the fiery princess while she fights her attraction to him tooth and nail.
He woos her, beguiles her, cherishes her…

…while the princess feels that maybe he couldn’t love such a tempestuous woman such as herself.

But before they could cross the great divide and get to know each other, something happens, something terrible that might just blow their lives apart.

The story:

Twenty six year old Princess Dayanita Thakore of Udaipur, after completing her masters in English at the University of Georgia, is doing a course in screenplay writing at Los Angeles Film Academy. She is a princess with an attitude. She has not found a man she really likes, either they were intelligent or they were good looking, she does not know of any man who was both, not taking into account her father and brothers.

Twenty nine year old Prince Harshvardhan Singh Gaekwad from Baroda is very close to his sister, Sitara Devi, who is older to him by six years. Their parents are no more and the siblings are very close. Sitara Devi is a divorcee and manages all the things that need to be done at the palace and Harshvardhan is a popular Bollywood Film Star.

Harshvardhan arrives in LA to address the students of LAFA and is attracted to the pincess with an attitude. He asks her out and she decides that it would be for the best if she stood him up.

But he manages to woo her and they even start dating each other, when there is a misunderstanding and Dayanita leaves him.

My take:

The cover is beautiful and the story has a link with the two previous books of the series and glimpses of the characters of the Udaipur royal family including Dayanita’s grandmother.

I loved the story. The characters are likable and the descriptions are detailed. I loved the chemistry between the characters. The sibling relationship between Harsh and Sitara has been beautifully portrayed. I also loved the relationship between Harsh and Dayanita’s brothers.

If you love romances and if you are crazy about royal romances like me – this book is for you.

Psst……I can see a sequel coming with Sitara Devi’s story.

Scholastic Encyclopaedia of Dinosaurs

51A2Apk9UhL._AC_US436_QL65_.jpgI received the book, Scholastic Encyclopaedia of Dinosaurs as a review copy from the publisher Scholastic and I am thankful to them for the book. It is one book that will keep the kids glued to it.

The blurb:

Introduces the readers to the intriguing world of Dinosaurs. The book contains pictures and information about the newly discovered Indian Dinosaurs. A captivating book to let one know where these creatures lived and what they looked like.

My take:

The book begins with the beginning of life on earth, followed by what dinosaurs are and how they are classified. It explains the origin and extinction of dinosaurs in a simple manner and describes various types of dinosaurs and their habitat. The pronunciation of the dinosaurs has been explained just below the name of the dinosaur. The illustrations are beautiful and various facts have been explained in pictorial manner, I loved the small picture in each description which compares the height of a dinosaur in relation to that of a human being. The facts have been given in the form of Dino Data making it easy to see at one go. There is an adequate amount of description that helps one to distinguish between a dinosaur and another. It is written in simple language and has a glossary explaining various words that have been used in the Encyclopaedia. It gives a deeper insight into the life of these mysterious creatures for young readers and helps one understand the various evolutions along the way. And the best part is that there are five Indian dinosaurs in the book too.

An excellent book for young kids. Will make a wonderful gift.

DISCLAIMER: I received the book as a review copy from the publisher, Scholastic, in exchange for an honest review. I have not received any monetary compensation for the same.

 

 

The leader by PG Van

51bYisPYo2L._SY346_.jpgThe leader by PG Van is another book that I loved. It is the story of the Mumbai mafia, and the author has given a human side to it in this book.

The blurb:

Vishwa hasn’t been to Mumbai in almost a decade and wasn’t planning on staying for more than a day. When his stay gets extended due to unexpected reasons, he doesn’t fight the situation but eases into it. One of the reason’s being Komal, the woman who was part of his ‘Unexpected’.

When Vishwa’s past life that he walked away from, finds him, he has no choice but to embrace it. He needs to be a cold, hard and an utterly ruthless ruler to protect the ones who he cares about, even if he has to sell his soul to the devil.

Komal never expected her future to be tangled with the darkness of her past, just when she thought her life seemed to be good. Vishwa promises to be her protector but can she get herself to trust him?

The story:

Vishwa Sengupta did not want to have anything to do with his family and had visited them ten years ago for his mother’s and brother’s funeral. He is 28 and has been living in the US since high school, and lives and works in Las Vegas. He is the CEO of his company based in the US. Goutham Nanda, his childhood friend and Jeyani Gill, his best friend in US also work with him.

Komal had lost her parents when she was small and was looked after by her grandmother. But after her death, Komal’s uncle sold her to a goon. Komal could not go to college and had to take up a job right after school and now works in the criminal investigation department at Seth Securities. She does not have anyone to call family and the only people she considered family are Damini and six year old Zoya. She has never been to a wedding and the three of them are there to attend a wedding in their finery when an accident occurs.

Vishwa, in India for some work, is the victim and is rescued by Komal, who introduces herself to the doctor as his wife, and his treatment begins. Vishwa was supposed to return but decided to stay back after the accident. He knows what Komal had been through and his goal was to make her life better. He marries her because the calmness he feels around her was what he felt before his family was shattered, the happiness that existed before his mother and brother were brutally killed.

My take:

PGs books are all the same- Unputdownable. They keep the readers awake long into the night as they really want to know what happens next. This book is no exception. It is fast based and written in simple English. The descriptions are detailed.

The characters are as different as they could be, a girl who has been sold to a goon and the boy, who has disowned his family. But this is just the beginning. Vishwa wants to keep no stone unturned to keep Komal happy while hiding his real identity from her.

There is romance, there is bloodshed, there is spying and there is jealousy. The twists keep coming and the reader is on a roller-coaster. You just don’t know what will come up next. I simply loved the book and finished it in two sittings.

Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar

Ahimsa_cover_hires.jpgI received the book Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar as a review copy from the publisher, Scholastic. This book is the story of 10-year-old Anjali whose mother leaves the family to become a freedom fighter.

The blurb:

Can one girl make a difference in the destiny of a nation? It is 1942 and 10-year-old Anjali’s mother has joined India’s freedom struggle. Anjali gets unwillingly involved in the turmoil. She has to give up her biases against the Dalit community, or the so-called untouchables, and sacrifice her foreign-made clothes for khadi. When her world turns upside down, will Anjali be able to overcome her internal struggles and summon the courage needed to complete her mother’s social reform work? Inspired by her great-grandmother’s experience working with Gandhi, Supriya Kelkar brings to life the stories of the unsung heroes of India’s War of Independence.

The story:

Ten year old Anjali lives in pre partition India. The British are ruling India and their official treat Indians as inferior to them. This is also the time when Gandhiji is leading the non-violent protests all over the country.

Anjali lives in a society that is divided on the basis of caste system. She belongs to the higher caste, the Brahmins, and this entitles her to a beautiful house and beautiful clothes. Her mother works for a British Official, Captain Brent in the British Army and when she stops going for work, the feisty young girl presumes that he has hurt her. Anjali decides to avenge her. This leads to an act of vandalism for which she is caught.

Anjali has a great love for her lehenga cholis and when her mother tells her that she is joining the freedom struggle, Anjali is horrified. She cannot bear to think of her mother risking her life and she, herself, does not want to give up her expensive lehenga cholis for the homespun khadi.

But along the way, as Indians fight for their freedom, Anjali comes to realise that khadi isn’t so bad after all. And maybe, just maybe, sacrificing her privilege is worth it to be a part of the revolution.

My take:

The cover is beautiful. The plot is the freedom struggle from the perspective of Anjali, the ten year old girl. The scenes have been described in detail.

The author has woven a beautiful tale, combining Indian history with the story of a feisty young girl determined to prove her point. Anjali is a likable girl, and I loved her throughout the book. Hats off to the author on such a marvellous, well crafted middle grade book.

This book is recommended for young and old alike. A beautifully written debut. Will look forward to more books from the author.

DISCLAIMER: I received the book as a review copy from the publisher, SCHOLASTIC, in exchange for an honest review. I have not received any monetary compensation for the same.

 

RSVP by Ruchira Khanna

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I received the book RSVP by Ruchira Khanna as a review copy from the author. This book is not about the romantic love but about things that we take for granted in life. And when things change, we look for a scapegoat. The author has beautifully narrated the tale of Jay Sethi and how life changes for him twice. It is one book that made me realise a lot of things.

The blurb:

Jay Sethi, an Indian-born American, has lived with the consequences of a torn family since a teenager. After facing the effects of unrequited love and unpaid credit card bills, he settles in a small town in California from where he embarks on a cruise with his canine best friend, Yogi. He is shipwrecked and washed ashore on an island that would be nothing short of fantasy to others. There he realizes the impact of love and a lack of attachment, and through the work of a local, he is given the opportunity to visit his past.

Will Jay be able to relieve his hiccup of years?

Will the broken bridges and the seemingly permanent goodbyes remain that way?

RSVP: A novel explores the lines between reality and illusion and the significance of family.

The story:

Jay Sethi lived in India with his parents and grandparents. He was ten when his parents adopted his cousin, eleven year old Gina, who had lost her parents to a fatal car accident. And Jay and Gina have practically grown up as siblings, been each other’s best pals, had seen adversities but refuse to pour their heart out. He was very close to his dad and his dad deserted them, had given up everything, gone to the mountains and lives in solitude.

Now at 27, Jay is running his café, Got T in California, for three years having quit his corporate job, taken a loan and going back to his grass roots to get his stability because his legs were trembling due to his breakup with his fiancée Sasha  and the credit pile-up. He was bruised wickedly and all he wanted was stability and love. Jay is uncomfortable in close relationships and does not have friends except his dog and his customers.

His dog Yogi, a two year old beagle, is his best friend and for him Jay is his dad, his caretaker and Yogi is obliged to take care of him whenever the opportunity arises.

Gina Mehra, Jay’s cousin had left the town two years ago to pursue her studies in Kingston City, Jamaica despite constant no’s from his mother and their grandparents. Now she is back and her study subject for her masters is Jay. And now that she is here, Jay wants to tick off another item on his bucket list and go for a week long cruise on the Pacific. And he wants to take Yogi with him.

And he and Yogi are shipwrecked and reach and island of 30 inhabitants where nobody speaks English except Mack, and he becomes his saviour.

My take:

The cover reminded me of The Life of Pi but I loved this book more.

A beautifully written story of things we take for granted and once we do not get them we look for scapegoats.

The characters are relatable and the relationships between them is realistic. Be that between Jay and Yogi, Jay and Gina, Jay and his customers, Jay and the mysterious woman who comes for her routine food at a fixed time and even that between Jay and his mother (sometimes I felt for his mother and sometimes for him). I loved his café and could imagine myself sitting there with a cup of jay’s special tea.

The quotes at the beginning of each chapter were very apt for the particular chapter.

This book got me thinking and also thanking. One line in chapter eight kept me on the edge of the seat. You will have to read the book to see which.

A book that is a definite must read for all ages above 14 (because the little ones would not understand the depth of the book, but they would also love Yogi and his antics).

My question: will there be a sequel??

DISCLAIMER: I received the book as a review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. I have not received any monetary compensation for the same.