The fourth book of the Wellington Estate Series: The Wish To Belong by Sunanda Chatterjee

51xiQ-OBQrLI received an ARC of the book The Wish To Belong by Sunanda Chatterjee from the BookSprout and am thankful to them for the same.

The blurb:

Dr. Lily Leoni may have grown up in the exclusive Wellington Estates, but she will always remain the butler’s niece, an outsider looking in. Arjun Dheer seemed like a kindred spirit until he broke her heart. Lily has moved on, but something’s amiss in her new relationship.

On all counts, Arjun Dheer is a savvy businessman and entrepreneur. But a career decision threatens everything he yearns for, and the only way out is marrying the wrong girl. But Arjun has never forgotten Lily.

With their attraction undeniable, but their relationship impossible, can Lily and Arjun forge a way through the chaos of secrets and betrayal to a place of trust and belonging?
Book 4 of the Wellington Estates Series, The Wish to Belong, is a stand-alone romantic saga about second chances, acceptance, and finding love despite all odds.

The story:

Lilibeth Leoni, Lily, an only child, and her mother were abandoned by her unemployed, drunk, gambler father twenty three years ago when she was six. And then when she was seven, she lost her mother in a hit and run and was brought up by her Uncle Anthony. She grew up with the Riley’s family where her uncle Anthony was a butler and they lived in a small outhouse at the back of the property that belonged to the Rileys. She was grateful to the Riley’s for all that they had done for her but her allegiance belonged with Danielle, her best friend since elementary school.

Eight years, when Danielle and Lily were in college, they met Arjun Dheer, from India, who was also one of the students and the three became best friends. Arjun was her college friend and heartthrob with whom she had broken off before she joined medical school saying that she would be busy. This was because she felt that Arjun and Danielle belonged together and Danielle’s happiness meant everything to Lily and she felt that she had to encourage Danielle’s friendship to Arjun because their families were similar. and it was Lily’s responsibility to make sure that Danielle made the right choice. And also because Arjun was never around, he disappeared for days at end, didn’t answer her texts and almost never called.

Arjun Dheer belonged to a rich family in India and his family owned wineries in India. Arjun has a younger sister, a loving mother and a much older and aloof father. All his life, Arjun had tried to impress his father, but it was his sister who was Daddy’s favourite.

After college, Danielle moved to India on a project and Arjun had helped Danielle by getting (temporarily) engaged to her when she was in India to protect  her reputation.

Now, twenty nine year old Dr Lilibeth Leoni is a third year resident in the emergency department of a hospital. She knows the importance of conveying her empathy, her concern, her support to the next of kin of her patients. Her boyfriend, William, is the Chief oncology Fellow at the hospital.

Arjun, now 28, needed to show his father that he was capable, responsible and that he belonged to the family. The feeling of helplessness and inadequacy from Lily’s rejection still haunted him and drove him deeper into his work to justify his life. So, he bought a winery in Temecula, Southern California a few years ago and left his secret life for good, one year ago. Once his new ventures took off, he could finally be rid of his other obligations. And then there is his grandfather’s will which states that all the property would be divided between Arjun and his sister only if they marry an Indian.

Arjun and Lily meet after eight years and they have their questions but they also have the attraction going strong. Arjun was the most thoughtful, most considerate, most caring person she had known and Arjun had loved no one but Lily. Both seemed to have something to prove to the world.

But, She saved lives. He took them. They could never be together.

My take:

I loved the story and read the book thrice and enjoyed it even more each time. There are so many stories within the story and each story has so many layers. As with the other books in the series, this book can be read as a standalone, though characters from the previous books do make their appearances.

I loved the characters and how they have been developed. The author had developed the back stories so well that it justifies how each character behaves and reacts to the situations. Lily’s compassion is so visible, and so is Danielle’s friendship. The relationships and conversations between the characters is very realistic. Arjun’s love for Lily could be felt. The emotions have been described in detail and as with all her books, relationships are the main point in the story. She has described relationships in relation to kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken crockery, by mending the cracks with a mix of lacquer and gold or silver dust resulting in a stunning piece of art.

The language is simple and the plot has been developed in detail. Though the story moves back and forth between the past and the present, I never got lost as the author has mentioned the time at the beginning of the chapters.

A beautifully written book, which has all the elements, friendship, family, relationships, romance, love and even loss. The story made me laugh, cry and smile, sometimes all at the same time.

I loved the book and would definitely recommend it.

Waiting eagerly for the next book of the series, which I think would be the story of Avinash Singhania.

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

A book for everyone:Editing Bootcamp: A Fiction Writer’s Guide to Self-Editing Part 1 (TBC Writer’s Toolkit Book 11) by Dola Basu Singh

editing bootcamp 1I received the book Editing Bootcamp: A Fiction Writer’s Guide to Self-Editing Part 1 (TBC Writer’s Toolkit Book 11) by Dola Basu Singh as a review copy from the author and am thankful to her for the same.

The blurb:

Looking to self-publish on a low budget but can’t compromise on quality?

Want to polish your book before querying an agent?

Are you a newbie fiction editor wanting to learn developmental editing?

Don’t worry, I’ve got your back.

Lots of books teach the craft of writing but not many focus on reworking, polishing, or self-editing. Learning editing skills shouldn’t be restricted to a privileged few. All writers should have access to strategies that can change a crude first draft into a polished work of art.

Editing Bootcamp will demystify the editing process by showing you how to spot and avoid common pitfalls, and correct the mistakes.

Inside you’ll find:

  • Actionable steps for all stages of editing.
  • Seven fiction elements including structure, point of view, characters, dialogue and more.
    •Handy editing checklists.

Take your writing to the next level with this concise how-to guide. Edit yourself into print.

My take:

Though I am not a book author, but when I was reading her book, I felt how we are drawn to a book we are reading if it has a great flow, does not confuse us and keeps us hooked. This is the work of the author, whose name we see on the book cover and also of the unsung hero of the book, the editor, who irons out the creases and what we get is a neat picture.

She has gone into the nitty gritties of editing right from plotting the book to self editing it before sending it off to the editor and publisher. And in today’s time of self-publishing, this is very important. Imagine reading a book that jumps from one place to another. I have read one such book, and unfortunately could not finish it.

This is the first book of a two part series and in this book the author has touched on a few topics like the aim of self-editing, how to spot the elements missing in your writing, common mistakes made, and she says that she aims to demystify the editing process by showing the writers how to spot errors. At the beginning itself the author says that this book is not a how-to writing guide.

In this book, the author has talked about the stages of editing, the types of editing, the process. She talks in detail about the seven major elements of fiction ie structure, point of view, characterisation, plot, setting, dialogue and conflict. At the end of each chapter she has put in a checklist which would be useful to the author.

This book is a must read for every author, whether we write manuscripts, documents, or even reviews. I shall now try to structure my reviews in this manner.

I am looking forward to Book 2 by this author.

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

A book for the strong hearted: The Lion of Kashmir by Siddhartha Gigoo

the lion of KashmirI received the book The Lion of Kashmir by Siddhartha Gigoo as a review copy from the publisher and am thankful to them for the same.

The Blurb:

Commandant Abdul Aziz, Special Forces, Kashmir is a legendary police officer in the valley, albeit not always for good reasons. And then one day he disappears. His daughter, Zooni, a human rights activist has to return home for her missing father. Bizarre events unfold in the ensuing night at a safe house where she’s forced to stay and where she comes face-to-face with the most disturbing truth of her life, and of the lives of her father and half-brother. Through the eyes of the daughter are seen the dilemma and the moral crisis of a legendary police officer torn between his past and present, duty and desertion, loyalty and treachery, and right and wrong. Award-winning author Siddhartha Gigoo’s The Lion of Kashmir is not just a story of a father and daughter’s intrepid struggles in Kashmir, but also the story of present-day Kashmir itself.

My take:

The book gives an account of how a Kashmiri Cop is alienated from the local people because of his profession. This book is the story of Commandant Abdul Aziz of Special Forces, Kashmir and has been divided into three parts: Penumbra’, ‘Umbra’ and ‘The Journal of Abdul Aziz’. The narration is initially from the point of view of Zooni, the daughter of Commandant Aziz, who is a human rights activist in London. The narration is confusing as it keeps moving between the past and the present and between dreams and wakefulness and I found it a bit difficult to distinguish between the two.

This is one book that needs to be read with a lot of concentration so as to get the facts clear.

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

Curse of the Blue Sapphire by Avik Davar

the curse of the blue sapphire.jpgI received the book Curse of the Blue Sapphire by Avik Davar as a review copy from the publisher and am thankful to them for the same.

The blurb:

A woman taxi driver.

Her tumultuous present

And her fearful past.

A rich Delhi socialite dies, leaving behind a peculiar will. To inherit his estate, his wife Gurleen Rambal must confess to an infidelity and name the father of her only son, or face expropriation. But, the gritty and honourable Gurleen spurns the will and loses all her wealth. Even her son deserts her, but not before making her take a huge loan to help him settle abroad.

Down yet defiant, Gurleen begins life afresh as a taxi driver on the streets of Delhi where, not long ago, she was driven around in her Bugatti and Rolls Royce. Just when she thinks the worst is over, fate kicks her down again when she faces manslaughter charges for saving a foreign tourist from a lecherous taxi driver. An unusual friendship between Gurleen and Inspector Chameli Singh gives her a new lease on life. However, hurdles confront her at every turn, for her journey is cursed by the ancient blue sapphire locket that she carries with her at all times. Will the locket with the ancient spell, carried forward from the time of the last Maharajah of Punjab, Duleep Singh, son of Maharajah Ranjit Singh, hold the answers to all her troubles?

The story:

Gurleen grew up in an orphanage in Punjab, looked forward to school, was fascinated by English loved being amidst people. She was petrified by any loud noise. She was brought to Delhi as the companion to the new patron of the orphanage and was married off to her son. And she was in the elite circles of Delhi. Her husband, Vikrant Rambal, had three business lines: Petroleum, sports and urban development. Come 2004 elections, their downfall began. And with Vikrant dying and leaving a lot of debt, and Aryan saying that he wanted her to take a loan so that he could migrate to Canada on a business visa, Gurleen had no choice but to agree.

But fate had more in store for her. Not the one to bend down, Gurleen starts driving a taxi and it is during one such tours that she saves a girl from a driver, and ends up in jail for killing him. There she meets Inspector Chameli Singh and the two become friends. But that is not all. She loses anyone who comes close to her, but whose fault is it??

My take:

I loved the story, actually it is a number of stories in one story. The book has been divided into three parts and the story moves back and forth between the past and the present. The characters are built slowly as the story proceeds and their many layers start coming off. The descriptions are detailed and the author has touch upon many themes by way of this story. The story has diary entries which add to the depth of the book.

I loved Gurleen’s character, she has been shown as a strong woman who takes life as it comes with open arms, never once is she defeated, be it in the US or driving a taxi in Delhi or even in jail. Inspector Chameli is another character I liked, though I would have loved knowing more about her. Vikrant and Visham, the author has touched upon their relationship but we learn more about Vikrant in this book. There are many secondary characters and all of them have important roles to play in the story, be it advocate Raina, Ravi Dhar, Arvind, Kartaar Singh, and even the Japanese.

My favourite part of the book is pages 216 and 217 where Aryan and Vish are going through different sets of documents and I was impressed how the author has correlated the two scenes in tandem.

I finished the book in one day because I just could not keep it down. The moment I would think that things were looking better, there would be a twist and the story would take a different turn.

This is my first book by the author and I look forward to reading more books by him. And a sequel to this book would be more than welcome.

DISCLAIMER: I received a free copy of the book from the Publisher in exchange for a honest review. I have not received any monetary compensation for the same.

 

The Golden Eagle by Deepak Dalal

unnamed5I received The Golden Eagle by Deepak Dalal as a review copy from the publisher and am thankful to them for the same. This book is the fourth book in the Feather Series by the same author but can be read as a stand-alone.

The blurb:

WELCOME TO STORK-PUR,
THE PLACE OF NO RETURN

One moonlit night, when Shikar, the squirrel, asks his favourite doves, Lovey and Dovey, to tell him a story, they recount their time at Stork-pur, a mysterious bird commune they stumble upon during a secret mission.

When taken hostage by a villainous stork, whose dark plans to rule the bird-world, danger lurks in every corner for the doves. Whom should they trust? The talkative green pigeon, the mesmerizing whistling thrush or perhaps the magnificent golden eagle?

Return to the Rose Garden to read this feather-raising adventure, which ends in what the doves dub as ‘the story of all stories’–one that deeply affects Shikar and alters his notions of himself and his origins.

The story:

Shikhar, the squirrel, lives in the Rose Garden and Kabul, the bulbul, cares for her like a mother would. Shikhar is left in the care of the doves, Lovey and Dovey, when Kabul has to go for some work. And asks the doves to tell him a story.

And the story he hears is about Stork-pur, a mysterious place where birds are held slaves.

My take:

This book is the fourth book in the Feather Series and even though I had not read the first three books, I did not find it difficult to relate to the characters. The cover is beautifully designed and the illustrations by Krishna Bala Shenoy have been done very artistically.

The birds and animal characters have been created with great detail and the scenes have been described well. The story has adventure, love, relationships, friendship and above all a message that comes out very clear about caring for others. It also teaches us about self confidence.

The language is simple and the story is fast paced. The twists and turns kept me glued to the book till the very end as I wanted to know what would happen next.

I would recommend this book to both adults and children. Though it is mentioned that the book is for 8+ readers, it can be read aloud to younger lot as well.

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

The Daughter from a Wishing Tree: Unusual Tales about Women in Mythology by Sudha Murthy

unnamed6I received the book The Daughter from a Wishing Tree: Unusual Tales about Women in Mythology by Sudha Murthy as a review copy from the publisher and am thankful them for the same.

The blurb:

Did you know that the Trinity often turned to goddesses to defeat the asuras?

Did you know that the first clone in the world was created by a woman?

The women in Indian mythology might be fewer in number, but their stories of strength and mystery in the pages of ancient texts and epics are many. They slayed demons and protected their devotees fiercely. From Parvati to Ashokasundari and from Bhamati to Mandodari, this collection features enchanting and fearless women who frequently led wars on behalf of the gods, were the backbone of their families and makers of their own destinies.

India’s much-loved and bestselling author Sudha Murty takes you on an empowering journey -through the yarns forgotten in time-abounding with remarkable women who will remind you of the strong female influences in your life.

My take:

I have been reading both short stories and books by the author and all those I have read are mostly related to social issues. This is the first time I am reading mythological tales by the author.

This book has been divided into four parts and is a collection of 24 short stories of the goddesses. All stories talk about strong women. Some stories I had heard and some were completely new. The stories talk about various traditions and customs that are prevalent in various parts of India and how they came to be.

The language is simple and the illustrations are beautiful. I would definitely recommend this book to everyone, be it for your own reading or to read stories to the kids.

It would be very helpful to the Indian readers across the country if these stories are translated to the local language and thus would reach a larger audience.

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 Ticklish Affair by Sunil Kapoor and Sudhir Kapoor

51nZCG0UKRL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgI received the book A Ticklish Affair by Sunil Kapoor and Sudhir Kapoor as a review copy from the publisher and am thankful to them for the same.

The blurb:

A man is blackmailed for a past he never had. An unrequited love story binds two lovers. A man waits for his lover, only to be killed at her hands. A girl takes back her life from her tormentor. From the bestselling authors of the peacock feather comes another delightful offering, ticklish affair. This collection of short stories has all the ingredients of an unputdownable book. Taken from the daily rigmarole of ordinary life, The stories are given extraordinary twists and turns, leading to fascinating climaxes. The dark undertone of ‘blackmail’, the power of belief in ‘Spark of the divine’, the forbidden romance in ‘ticklish affair’ or the eternal power of love in ‘rickshaw faridabadi’, this collection of stories is sure to move readers to tears of sadness and joy at the same time.

My take:

This book is a collection of 10 short stories, written in simple language. The stories
are based on real-life incidents and are intriguing. Each story is different from the other. There is the story of a hard-working young man who has been blackmailed, a story about a girl who has been molested, about poor farmers from Punjab who have been fooled. There are romantic stories as well, of a romance between a girl and a rickshaw puller, an extramarital romance story, and a story about a depressed lover. There is a story about the Godmen, and a story on a poacher. Through these stories, the authors have tried to touch varied issues concerning humans and environment.

The stories have been narrated beautifully. They are different, with different settings, different characters and each story conveys a different message.

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.