The Reluctant Debutante by Vibha Batra

51cLWn2qFwL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgI received the book, The Reluctant Debutante by Vibha Batra as a review copy from the author and am thankful to her for the same.

The blurb:

Sanya Grewal’s all set to attend Debutante International – the most glamorous social event of the year – when she ends up fracturing her foot.

She can either forget all about her childhood dream or convince her twin sister Tanya to take her place and bask in reflected glory. Alas! Tanya’s so not interested. Besides, she’s got a secret, one that could tarnish her family’s name and nix their debutante dreams.

Very reluctantly, Tanya agrees to help her sister out and zips off to France. Everything seems to be going well when Tanya’s cover gets blown. Will Tanya make her sister’s dream come true, make her father proud, make friends and maybe even find true love? Or will it all blow up in her face?

The story:

Sanya and Tanya the identical twins, but they are like two sides of the same coin. Sanya is tolerant, speaks things that are politically correct, favourite of  and is an ideal girl. And Tanya is just her opposite. Their father loves Sanya but for some reason, he does not like Tanya. Debutante International (DI) is Sanya Grewal’s childhood dream and whenever she speaks about it, Tanya cannot help but make faces.

And Sanya’s dream comes true as she is selected for the Debutante International. Sanya is all set and they are celebrating when Sanya meets with a freak accident and fractures her leg. And then she cajoles and blackmails Tanya to take her place. Tanya, who is nothing like Sanya, except in looks, cannot replace her. But seeing her pleading, she does not have the heart to refuse her.

And Tanya replaces Sanya at the contest. Will she be caught or will she play her sister’s role to perfection?

My take:

The story is simple and sweet and is a perfect read for the beautiful rainy days. The characters are believable and so is the relationship between them. I loved how Tanya talks about her family, especially her aunt. She has nicknames for everyone and not to miss her inner voice, BBC. Some of the conversations are hilarious. Even the secondary characters have a role to play in the story.

An interesting story which I would recommend to everyone.

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.

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The Monsters Still Lurk by Aruna Nambiar

41Kk47D7yNL._SX317_BO1_204_203_200_.jpgI received the book The Monsters Still Lurk by Aruna Nambiar as a review copy from the publisher and am thankful to them for the same. This book is the story of a middle class family from Kerala who lived in Bombay and Kerala and the story is set in the seventies till the recent times.

The blurb

It is 1991. As Rajiv Gandhi is assassinated and a new government comes to power, setting in motion a process of economic reforms that will transform India, an ordinary family is about to experience detours from the traditional middle-class script of their lives. Over the next quarter century, as the world around them changes in ways unexpected, their lives too wind along uncharted trails, sometimes sunlit, sometimes shadowy and forbidding.

My take:

Set in India, in the cities of Bombay, Kerala, Bangalore and Madras, this story takes the reader through the seventies, eighties, nineties till the present decade. The story has been written in first person from the point of view of Vivek, the narrator, the youngest child of the family.

Their father works in a bank and their mother is a homemaker. The oldest child, Vinod, grows up to be an engineer who moves to the US and marries a ‘foreigner’, the middle one Sudha, marries a doctor and is settled in Chennai and the youngest one, Vivek, the narrator, a civil engineer marries an architect and they settle down in Bangalore.

The story starts from when from the time these three children are kids and live in a flat in Colaba in the seventies till they grow older, have careers, get married and become parents themselves and their parents are old and retired. She has mentioned the events that rocked the decade like Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, recession, to mention a few.

The characters are realistic and relatable and I could actually imagine many scenes, being a seventies kid myself. She has described the  parent-child relationship well and also. The story reflects Indian middle class families through the last five decades.

The language is simple and the story is serious and funny at times. There is humour as well as despair. She has moved back and forth between the past and the present and the first chapter gave me an idea as to where the story would go. But, the monster??

She made me nostalgic, I am also a seventies kid and I could actually remember the Binaca tooth paste charms (mistakenly written as Forhans). The days when we passed out from school and all we could think of becoming was doctor or engineer.

This book is a must read for all the seventies kids and also for the kids of today who seem to take everything for granted.

DISCLAIMER: I received this book as a review copy from the publisher and have not received any monetary compensation for the same. The views expressed are entirely mine.

 

Skill Builder Maths-4 by Sonia Mehta

51pngS+w7uL._SX419_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgI received the book Skill Builder maths 4 as a review copy from the publisher and am thankful to them for the same. This book is the fourth in the series of four books and is meant for 9 year olds.

About the series:

With over 50 activities in each book, The Maths Skill Builders series aims to foster in children the subject skills and twenty-first century skills that are essential for success. These books enable the acquisition of numerical, logical and thinking skills, with kids learning and practicing key skills through play.

The books are broadly aligned to children’s learning levels at school and available at four different levels of complexity, so you can choose the level that best suits your child’s learning stage. The most striking about this series is – Children learn while playing, with skills being practiced through fun activities.

About the book:

This book contains mathematics activities, puzzles and problems to help young learners practise basic arithmetic and hone their logic, reasoning, creative and critical thinking skills. Through fun and challenging scenarios, your child will learn and master mathematics skills that are also applicable in a widerange of everyday contexts. Level 4 is suitable for children aged 9+.

My take:

This book is the fourth in the series and is meant for children who are 9 years and older. The main focus of the book is on number names, factors and multiples, roman numbers, multiple mathematical operations, rounding off, time, factorisation, fractions to decimals, problems of time, profit and loss, shapes, geometry, statistics, areas, Venn Diagram, Sudoku, and many puzzles, games and other activities. This book is an interesting way for the child to revise his/ her concepts.

A must read book for all. Try doing the problems, it will really destress you.

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.

 

A Twist of Fate by Summerita Rhayne

51c+0lSoAsL.jpgI received the book A Twist of Fate by Summerita Rhayne as a review copy from the author and am thankful to her for the same. This is the second book in the King and the Courtesan series.

The blurb:

“I want to find him. And when I find him, I will destroy him.” 

Charulata wants revenge. She seeks to spill the blood of the man who ruined her. He married her and left her after one night. The diktats of her society declare only one place suitable for the woman rejected and deserted by her husband – the abode of the concubines. Charulata faces ruin and lives and breathes for one purpose…the only purpose keeping her alive. How to track Deva – and kill him.

Deva knows he had earned the wrath of this woman. Embittered and devastated, he’s a wounded lion hunting his enemies. Regrets and softer feelings are long gone from his life. He encounters Charulata with all the arrogance of his forebears. Yet the fire of hate is mixed with the fire of attraction between them. Rage and passion have become inseparable…
A Twist of Fate follows the entwining fortunes of Charu and Deva in the post Vedic ancient India. Greed, treachery, and deception feature highly in this story of royal suspense. Can love have a hope of surviving amid such intrigues?

To be a courtesan in ancient India was a fate far worse than slavery. This is the second book written on the theme by the author. Also read Against The Tide, the story of the royal concubine.

The story:

Tikandas and Leelavati are like any other parents. They want their only daughter, Charulata, to be happy. Charu is the younger of the two siblings, she has an older brother Shayamdas, who is married. Charu is multi-talented, cultured in arts, proficient in written language, fine player of veena, unmatched in dance and keeps accounts better than her brother. At the behest of the local purohit, Tikandas, fixes her marriage to a merchant’s son from a neighbouring town. He is happy for his daughter, his favourite child, but he tells his wife that in case he finds the groom unworthy of his daughter, he would send the groom back.

In the meantime, at the groom’s camp, on the day of the wedding, the groom’s father is in a fix. His son, the groom, has hurt his eye and he needs a replacement for the wedding. And he finds Deva, who is running away from the guards who suspect that he has stolen the royal ring, as the replacement.

And thus, Deva and Charu get married. The very next day, the groom’s father wants to take the bride home, and Deva has to leave the scene and he does so after writing to Charu.

And Charu is outcast, loses her parents and is thrown out of home by her brother. She ends up in a brothel. She is determined to seek revenge.

Will she be able to take her revenge?

My take:

The story is set in ancient India, the setting and the descriptions ensure that. So do the language and the characters. The cover is beautiful and so apt.

Charulata’s character has been developed in detail, she can speak her mind at a time when women are not very liberated. She is well educated and she is intelligent. the secondary characters are important and play major roles in the story. There are characters from the previous book in the series.

The descriptions of scenes are detailed and the scenes can be easily picturised. Language used in simple but there are words which are in a dialect which would be more appreciated if a vocabulary can be added to the book.

This book has all the components, love, romance, independence, treachery, impersonation and revenge.

I loved the book and finished it in one day. I feel there is another one in the pipeline….

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.

Skin Deep by Ajay Monga

51LlstqJpcL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgI receive the book Skin Deep by Ajay Monga as a review copy from the publisher, Rupa Publications and am thankful to them for the same. The story is mostly set in Mumbai.

The blurb:

When combined with youth, beauty is a heady concoction. It possesses everyone, and everyone wants to possess it. But can beauty be possessed? A fiery news reporter, Simran went undercover as a contestant in a pageant to expose the dark underbelly of the beauty business. But little did she know that she was being used as a pawn in a much bigger game. A seemingly acquiescent girl, Sania fought against patriarchal forces within her family and community to fulfil her dream of becoming a model. A media baron’s daughter, Sunidhi was at a vantage point in life but she frittered it all away with her entitlement. On the other hand, Shikha, who came from a humble background, used her body as a currency to get ahead. In a world that has commoditized femininity and idealized only one body type, Skin Deep is the story of four girls with diametrically different views about beauty and how their lives get inextricably enmeshed. They all get a rude awakening when a shocking incident reveals how the big bad world of ‘glamour in the buds’ breeds cradle snatchers, who are ready to devour anything. Inspired by true incidents, Skin Deep shines a light on the ugly truth behind the facade of beauty and glamour…

The story:

Twenty five girls, one title, INDIA BEAUTY QUEEN.

How would they get through the days that would lead to the title and who would win?

This story looks deeply into the lives of four girls who are contesting win the title: Simran, Shikha, Sania and Sunidhi.

Simran Thapar is a TV anchor/ news reporter from Mumbai. Her mother lives in New Zealand. She wants to perform a sting operation with the help of her TV Channel, her boyfriend and their boss because she wants to expose the truth behind these contests. Because she hopes to make a mark in investigative journalism someday.

Shikha Azgaonkar from Pune wants to win the title at all costs and is even ready to break the rules. She is the oldest of three sisters and their mother is the sole breadwinner. In order to fulfil all her needs and requirements, she has a boyfriend in every city and she also has Sania.

Sania Ahmed from Aurangabad, belongs to an orthodox Muslim family where girls are not supposed to be outgoing. Her father dotes on her, her mother and younger brother support her, but her older brother and Uncle are against it, so is her Uncle’s son.

Sunidhi Karmakar, 24, is the only daughter of media magnate, Karmakar, the main sponsor of the pageant. She wants to win the contest and tells her father to pull all the strings so that she can win it. Her boyfriend, Jai, covers all her tracks and is always there for her.

My take:

This book uncovers what goes on behind the scenes in the world of glamour. It is divided into two parts, one before and the other after the contest.

The language is simple and easily understandable and the story is fast paced.

Initially, the author introduces the main characters and then the story begins. The characters have been etched in detail and it was easy to imagine them.

Initially, on the road leading up to the contest, things were predictable and simple, but once we reach the post contest phase, the story is on a rollercoaster with unpredictable twists and turns.

But somewhere, there are a few loose ends. I really wanted to know as to what happened to Jai? And more about the relationship between Gaurav and Sania.

Read with caution, once you are done with page 60, you will not be able to put it down.

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.

Skill Builder maths 3 by Sonia Mehta

511laJvDrSL._SX419_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgI received the book Skill Builder maths 3 as a review copy from the publisher and am thankful to them for the same. This book is the third in the series of four books and is meant for 8 year olds.

About the series:

With over 50 activities in each book, The Maths Skill Builders series aims to foster in children the subject skills and twenty-first century skills that are essential for success. These books enable the acquisition of numerical, logical and thinking skills, with kids learning and practicing key skills through play.

The books are broadly aligned to children’s learning levels at school and available at four different levels of complexity, so you can choose the level that best suits your child’s learning stage. The most striking about this series is – Children learn while playing, with skills being practiced through fun activities.

About the book:

This book contains mathematics activities, puzzles and problems to help young learners practise basic arithmetic and hone their logic, reasoning, creative and critical thinking skills. Through fun and challenging scenarios, your child will learn and master mathematics skills that are also applicable in a widerange of everyday contexts. Level 3 is suitable for children aged 8+.

My take:

This book is the third in the series and is meant for children who are 8 years and older. By way of puzzles and other activities, the author has dealt with different concepts like Roman numbers, Origami, basic mathematical operation- as per the level of the child, time, fractions, geometry, graphs, pie charts, fractions and time on number line, money, measurements, nets and grids.

A must read book for all.

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.

Skill Builder Maths Level 2 by Sonia Mehta

51+Alt1qeDL._SX419_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgI received the book Skill Builder maths 2 as a review copy from the publisher and am thankful to them for the same. This book is the second in the series of four books and is meant for 7 year olds.

About the series:

With over 50 activities in each book, The Maths Skill Builders series aims to foster in children the subject skills and twenty-first century skills that are essential for success. These books enable the acquisition of numerical, logical and thinking skills, with kids learning and practicing key skills through play.

The books are broadly aligned to children’s learning levels at school and available at four different levels of complexity, so you can choose the level that best suits your child’s learning stage. The most striking about this series is – Children learn while playing, with skills being practiced through fun activities.

About the book:

This book contains mathematics activities, puzzles and problems to help young learners practise basic arithmetic and hone their logic, reasoning, creative and critical thinking skills. Through fun and challenging scenarios, your child will learn and master mathematics skills that are also applicable in a widerange of everyday contexts. Level 2 is suitable for children aged 7+.

My take:

This book is the second in the series and is meant for children who are 7 years and older. The author has used puzzles, games and other activities, this book is an interesting way for the child to revise the concepts of basic mathematical operations, number names, expanded form, odd-even, ascending- descending order, logical reasoning, time, fractions, geometry and basic statistics like tally marking.

A must read book for all.

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.