Groomnapped by Sundari Venkatraman

51SLvAjpPzL.jpgI received Groomnapped by Sundari Venkatraman as a review copy from the author. And I would like to thank the author for the book. The story is set in a small town in Bihar, India.

The blurb:

The lovely and feisty Surekha is the eldest of three daughters of a carpenter from the wrong side of the tracks. She teaches science and maths in the Bihar Public School.

Ameya is the only son of a millionaire farmer-cum-builder and over and above that, he’s educated too.

They meet and fall in love quite easily, the drawback being the dowry system prevalent in Bihar. With Ameya’s parents expecting a huge dowry and Surekha’s parents having a tough time eking a living out of their humble income, it seems like the match between the two lovers is one made in hell.

Ameya isn’t one to take things lying on his back. But when the parents who adore him otherwise are so set against the marriage, will he be able to make Surekha his?

My take:

Surekha Yadav, 21, the eldest daughter of Liladhar, a carpenter and Lachi, a house help, teaches science and maths to class seven students at a co-ed school in Paliganj. She excels in dancing and can make some extra income with this skill. They need the money as they need to support the education of Radhika and Vaishali, her two younger sisters.

Ameya Verma, 24, the only son of Jagjivan, a rich and powerful landowner, and Daksha, returns home to Paliganj in Bihar, after completing his degree in farming. While his father deals with the development of the city by constructing buildings, Ameya prefers to manage the farms.

Ameya meets Surekha during the preparations to his friend Ratan’s wedding, as she is their choreographer.

For him it is love at first sight. And he plans to woo her and then make her his wife.

Surekha realises that Ameya is too rich and she is from the wrong side of the tracks. So she accepts the fact that this relationship would never end in marriage.

My take:

A sweet love story with well developed characters. The title as well as the prologue made me curious how this groom would be kidnapped. The language is simple and the scenes have been described in detail that I could actually picturise them and felt that they were playing before my eyes.

The writing is simple and fast paced, but I felt that the end could have been elaborated a bit more, it left me wanting, and actually, I can see a sequel coming.

Disclaimer: I received a free e-copy of the book from the author in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.

 

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The globetrotters by Arifa Tehsin

51MhXAxBsvL._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgI received the book the globetrotters by Arifa Tehsin as a reveiew copy from the publisher. Penguin and am thankful to them for the same.

The blurb:

The call of the wild

Hudhud is horrible to everyone. He polishes off his classmates’ lunches, plays cruel pranks on his teachers and troubles innocent creatures. Until his strange new history teacher decides to set him straight.

The lesson? A curse! Now Hudhud must roam the vast earth . . . with-and as-the greatest migratory animals. His goal? To find the answer to all wrongs. And so begins Hudhud’s remarkable journey: as a blue whale calf separated from his mother in the deep; as a trusting caterpillar who befriends a hunting spider; as a competitive caribou on a perilous trek; as an Arctic tern too scared to fly . . . But fly across the world he must, if he hopes to ever return home.

Follow Hudhud on this surreal trip, through the Arctic Ocean and the Sahara Desert, among fragrant flowers and tall grass, and find out all about the inner lives of some majestic animals and the wonders of the wild.

The story:

Hudhud, a Grade Seven student of The Study, a school on the outskirts of Mount Abu is a bully. He plays pranks on the teachers, eats his classmates’ tiffin and terrifies his juniors. And one kid goes missing.

And then the history teacher comes home and tells him that he would be travelling the world with thru dumb migratory animals till he finds the answer. To top it all, he would not remember that he was a human or for that which animal he was before his present form.

And then we see Hudhud, the blue whale calf; Hudhud, the caterpillar; Hudhud, the leatherback turtle; Hudhud, the porcupine caribou and Hudhud, the Arctic turtle. And travel with him.

My take:

The author has used simple language to present the story and by means of the story, she tells us in detail about the migratory animals and their travels. She tells about the blue whale; the transformation of the caterpillar; the Arctic tern; the turtle and the caribou. The twist at the end was the best point in the book.

The sketches are beautiful and the book is thoroughly enjoyable and unputdownable.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.

It’s a Mom Thing: Kickass Parenting by Sathya Ramaganapathy

Its-a-Mom_30.jpgI received the book It’s a Mom Thing: Kickass Parenting by Sathya Ramaganapathy as a review copy from the publisher, Rupa Publications, and am thankful to them for the book.

This book is a beautiful first person account of a mother and her motherhood set in Bangalore. At the outset, the author has mentioned that this book is a tribute, dedicated to all those harassed moms and dads out there fighting the daily battles of parenthood.

The blurb:

It’s a war out there, and the kids are winning. They can download apps on your smartphone with deceptive ease, tell you who the Greek goddess of wisdom is and how to do a back-heel nutmeg (don’t ask). How is one ever to catch up, let alone get the upper hand?

It’s a Mom Thing: Adventures in Parenting presents anecdotes from a mother and offers a light-hearted look at her parenting journey. The main protagonists are the mother, her two cheeky daughters, aged nine and eleven, and her long-suffering husband. Parenting is a veritable minefield in this household. Backchat, bad jokes and mischievous gleams in the eyes, pre-teen hormones and emotional meltdowns (of the parental variety) pop up frequently. Every day is fraught with danger. Revealing the affectionate, yet tumultuous relationship between the mother and her daughters who are growing up fast, the book falls in the parenting humour genre.

My take:

The author has beautifully narrated her experiences with her two daughters aged 9 and 11. There were many instances in the book where I felt that: “Is she talking about me?” or “Are these my kids that she is talking about?”

The book has been divided into four parts: Summer Vacations; First Term; Second Term; Third Term and followed by an email from the school Principal mentioning something about the term. There are twenty three chapters and at the beginning of each chapter, the author has quoted an extract from the conversation in the chapter itself. The names of the chapters give an idea of what the chapter talks about.

She has talked about how her family devours books, how she managed to be a work from home mom, cute anecdotes from the conversations between her kids, their squabbles and also those between the parents and the kids. She compared her childhood to theirs, like we all do. I will not go into further details as I want you to read the book and savour it.

The descriptions are detailed and vivid. The piggy bank from her childhood and her train journeys reminded me of mine. She has an amazing sense of humour which is very visible as to how she manages even stressful situations with kids.

I will not call it a parenting book as she has not advised how to go about the stuff but I would say that this book that must be read by all parents, to see that everything that we go through with our kids, is what all parents go through, have gone through and will go through and to enjoy parenthood till we can because once the kids grow up, we will crave for their company. Believe me, I know of parents who do.

I have even marked the pages which I would give to my kids to read.

A must read book for parents and kids and even grandparents for that matter.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.

 

The Kaafir’s Love by Abhisar Sharma

KL.jpgI received the book The Kaafir’s Love by Abhisar Sharma as a review copy from the publisher, Rupa Publications and would like to thank them for the same.

The story is set in the walled city of Delhi and is about the consequences of a Hindu boy falling in love with a Muslim girl.

The Blurb:

Two dramatic incidents shake up the tenuous peace in an Old Delhi neighbourhood—a terrorist commits suicide in Jama Masjid and an influential trader is shot near the same spot. As simmer comes to boil, age-old antagonisms surface and sharp lines are drawn. Amidst these troubled times, Sameer, a Hindu boy, falls in love with a Muslim girl, Inara. Unaware of the consequences of his love that is considered forbidden, Sameer is dragged down the rabbit hole of intolerance, and as he sinks, he discovers a shocking truth—a truth that shall change many lives forever.

Restless and on the edge, The Kaafir’s Love is volatile and an intense love story set against our troubled and provocative times.

The story:

Twenty year old Sameer Verma, a Hindu boy, lives in a predominantly Muslim neighbourhood in the walled city of India’s capital. His mother, Prabha bai manages his father’s cart for the last five years and he has been working at a Call centre for the past one year, earning his way through his college studies. Nasir is his best friend and the two boys share all their secrets. Imam Zulfiqar Khan has taken care of his education.

Sameer falls in love with Inara, the daughter of a rich trader, Imtiaz Khan, much against the wishes of Nasir. And Imtiaz does all he can to keep the two lovers apart.

Then there is Imran Khan, the Imam’s son, who is ready for bloodshed at the drop of a hat and also the political bigwigs who want to make the best of the situation.

My take:

The story is a simple love story with relatable characters but the twists and turns keep the reader on the edge of the seat. The language is simple and the scenes have been described in great detail, making it easier for the reader to picturise them.

 

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.

Great Textpectations by Ruchi Vadhera

great textpectations.jpgI received the book Great Textpectations by Ruchi Vadhera as a review copy from the publisher and am thankful to them for the book.

The blurb:

Amaya Kapoor is a Delhi-based intellectually inclined thirty-five-year-old single, financially independent and sexually liberated woman, who wants to open a ‘boutique bookstore’ and live life on her own terms—single and content. What happens next?

She comes across Rohan while playing Scrabble online, and they soon get chatting, enjoying each other’s company without the usual baggage face-to-face interactions bring. Using the premise ‘text is the new talk’, the book highlights fun text conversations between them, that are instrumental in connecting their worlds. Amaya and Rohan become an integral part of each other’s lives even before they realize it, and decide to meet. What happens to the virtual relationship when they meet in the real world?

The story:

Thirty five year old Amaya Kapoor lives in Delhi with her parents. She is happily single and independent and has been working in her family publishing business, Amaya Books for ten years. Her younger sister, her closest confidant, Anahita, is happily married and stays in the US. Piya, her closest friend since school days is happily married to Atul, has a yoga and pilates studio. She also has a circle of friends who are all single and they hang out together off and on.

She loves playing online scrabble to unwind and it is during one of the scrabble sessions that she plays against Rohan Kashyap, a 29 year old architect from Mumbai who has opened his own firm, Cutting Edge, about a year ago.

They chat off and on on their phone and then they meet………

My take:

The story is well written and I liked the innovative way of communication. The characters are realistic and well developed. The story is mostly set in Delhi and the author has described the scenes in detail and mention of places like the India Habitat Centre, Hauz Khas village make the story very realistic.

The book is funny at times. And the text chats between the main characters have been written in such a way, aligned right and left that it was easy for me to know who was the writer. I loved the book.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.

Against The Tide: The King and The Concubine by Summerita Rhayne

51AtGIjbFtL.jpgI received the book Against The Tide: The King and The Concubine by Summerita Rhayne as a review copy from the author.

The blurb:

Can a concubine fall in love? 

Lohana knows she cannot even dream of everlasting love. Trained to captivate men for their wealth and proficient in the required arts, a concubine like her is not meant to be a partner for life for anyone and most certainly not for the king. But King Jayatshatru has managed to steal her heart. In the politics of aristocracy, germs of intrigue flourish hidden behind the ornate doors. As love grows stronger, the plotting against her deepens. Will she be able to fight the forces against her? Does she even want to, when dreaming about happiness can lead both the king and her to ultimate ruin?

The story:

Lohana, Ganika Katika’s daughter, is also a Ganika. She is what she is supposed to be, a deliverer of services and not a woman equal, but Raja Jayatshatru treats her with more courtesy than she thinks she merits. She is intelligent, a fact that is appreciated by the king. And a vital bond exists between them, something that is not liked by his mother, the Queen.

In comes her younger sister Yashita…

My take:

The cover is so apt and beautiful.

The author has beautifully portrayed the ancient times with detailed descriptions of scenes and characters. The characters have been etched in detail. Even he secondary characters have a role to play in the story.

The language is simple and the story is fast paced.

I wanted to know more about Jayatshatru’s brother, maybe we will have the next story about him.

Disclaimer: I received a free e-copy of the book from the author in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.

Tied to Deceit by Neena H Brar

9781775158028Tied_to_deceitcover.jpgI received the book ‘Tied to Deceit’ by Neena H Brar as a review copy from the author. Thank you for the book, Neena. It is a murder mystery set in Sanover, Himachal Pradesh, India in 1974.

The blurb:

On a drizzly August morning, the inhabitants of the hill town of Sanover, Himachal Pradesh, wake up to the shocking news of the murder of the exquisite, secretive, malicious, and thoroughly immoral Devika Singh.

As Superintendent of Police Vishwanath Sharma begins to sift through the hidden secrets of Devika Singh’s life, it becomes evident that everyone who knew her seems to have a clear-cut motive for killing her.

Faced with the investigation of a crime that appears to have as many suspects as there are motives, Vishwanath Sharma probes the sinister web spun around a tangle of lies and deception.

The story:

Dr Rajinder Bhardwaj, owner and head physician at Lifeline Hospital in Sanover, Himachal Pradesh and his wife Gayatri have been married for twenty four years. Though they have kept a façade of happy for the world, but actually Gayatri is aware of her husband’s infidelities and ignores his unfaithfulness. One day, she receives a letter and catches him red handed with the receptionist at the hospital, Devika Singh.

As the couple is childless, his nephew Rudra, the son of his estranged brother, also works in the same hospital and is ambitious and greedy.

One morning, Devika is found murdered in her bed. Though, she is one person nobody likes, but no one ever thought that she would be killed.

SP Vishwanath Sharma is the officer responsible to investigate the murder. As he starts his investigation, one person leads to another and the plot thickens. He and his aide, Rawat go from person to person and from place to place to investigate. There are many suspects and the best part is that all of them have a motive to kill her.

My take:

The story is a murder mystery with one clue leading to another and one suspect leading to another. The characters are realistic and well developed. Though there are many of them, each has a role to play in the story.

The scenes and nature have been described in detail. So also the various settings. The language is simple and easy to follow.  Each chapter begins with a quote which gives an idea of the chapter.

The author has tied up the loose ends well and the book feels complete at the end. The chapters are short. The book moves at a slow pace in the beginning but the pace increases at the end.

A little bit of editing would make the story crisper. As a debut author, to write a book that is 390 pages long with minimal mistakes is an achievement.

Loved the book and am looking forward to more from the author.

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

Book buying links:

Amazon India:  https://www.amazon.in/Tied-Deceit-Neena-H-Brar-ebook/dp/B07CZSVFX7/

Amazon US:  https://www.amazon.com/Tied-Deceit-Neena-H-Brar/dp/1775158039/

Amazon UK:   https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tied-Deceit-Neena-H-Brar-ebook/dp/B07CZSVFX7/