Still Loved…Still Missed! : The Myriad Hues of Souls by Mridula

still loved.jpgI received the book Still Loved…Still Missed! : The Myriad Hues of Souls by Mridula as a review copy from the author. And am thankful to her for the same.

The blurb:

“Still loved…Still missed! The myriad hues of souls” is a collection of 14 short stories and a poem. These stories span characters and emotional states with canny details that touch the depths of your soul. Picturing the complexities of love, misery and mystery, the stories try to gnaw your heart like never before.

What does a flower teach us we often fail to see?

“The belly is an ungrateful wretch.” Is it true?

Once Tasha obtains a treasure in her garden, what happens next?

Ever wondered about the sparseness and illusions in life?

Does death put an end to true love?

Have all the ascetics won over their emotions?

With the power of simple language, this book transports the readers to a world scarcely thought of in our bustling lives. The allegories maintain an intense rhythm of life prompting the readers to perceive things from a unique angle.
“A whole bookful to make you think, cry, think again and move on.”

My take:

This book is a collection of 14 short stories and poem written in simple language. These stories have been written from the perspective of humans, animals and different things. These stories are about sepals, a bamboo coracle, a mother, a girl who wanted to be a paraglider, a person who loves the fall season, about a person who should not get distracted while crossing a pass, a sanyaasin, a little girl who is close to her grandmother, a story of two friends and hunger, a person who writes to his departed wife about their daughter’s wedding, a lady who is a nature lover and who gave up the fortunes to be an environmentalist and about a person who won the award offered by multinational company and still is not happy and another story about an old person who has a hate-love relationship with the winter night. The poem is beautiful and needs to be read to enjoy the beauty.

All stories have different theme and can be read easily, one story at a time. Almost all these stories are short and all carry a deep meaning. The language is simple and all the stories have beautifully developed characters. Some stories really touched my heart and there some stories which I felt it could be developed into longer ones. The author’s inside into a lot many things has been beautifully depicted in the book. I hope to read more stories from this author.

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.

Loving you Twice (Jasmine Villa Book 2) by Andaleeb Wajid

510o3QJz6qL._SY346_.jpgLoving you Twice (Jasmine Villa Book 2) by Andaleeb Wajid is the second book of The Jasmine Villa Series and can be read as a standalone. This book is the story of Ana and Luqman.

The blurb:

Ana Hasan has never given much thought to love and is focused on her new job. She keeps her feelings closely guarded and is good at pretending that everything is fine, even when it isn’t. When she finds herself seated next to Luqman Ahmed on an international flight, she knows why has avoided men like him all her life. But she also remembers everything that had drawn him to her the previous times she met him.

Luqman is tired of travelling for his job and is seriously considering relocating to the US. But his plans go awry when he’s seated next to his friend Ayub’s sister-in-law Ana. He considers himself lucky to get some time talking to pretty Ana whose eyes have always captivated him from the moment he met her for the first time.

It isn’t too long until they discover their feelings for each other but Luqman is travelling to the US and by the time he returns, their lives are thrown far apart and brought dangerously close at the same time. Will they be able to get back their love for each other again? Will they survive the double whammy that fate has planned for them?

Loving you Twice is the second romance in the Jasmine Villa series by Andaleeb Wajid, author of acclaimed novels such as More than Just Biryani, My Brother’s Wedding, The Crunch Factor and House of Screams.

The story:

Ana Hasan works as a behavioural counsellor at an international school and has been selected to represent her school at a conference in Kuala Lumpur. Her older sister, Tehzeeb, now happily married with a six-month old baby, convinces their father to allow her to go for the conference. As it is her first flight, Ana is nervous. And she is surprised to see Luqman, her brother-in-law’s best friend come and occupy the seat next to her, and he helps her overcome her fear of flying and they get talking.

Luqman is the youngest of three brothers and is the black sheep of the family as he works as a software developer with a top IT firm in Bangalore, while his older brothers are in property business. He is going to San Francisco on a three-week project.

One day, Ana’s father says that there is a proposal for Ana from Farhaan, who happens to be Luqman’s oldest brother. Ana is the good one, the one with moral compass, the grounded one and she decides to marry him for her father’s happiness and put Luqman out of her mind. Meeting Ana for the fourth time, Luqman is struck by her decisiveness, clarity and beauty.

And once he comes to know of the impending wedding, he takes the next flight back to Bangalore but fate has something else in store. Luqman meets with an accident and has short term memory loss.

My take:

The story takes off right after the first book in the series. The characters from the previous two books make regular appearances in the story and I could feel the continuity between the two books. More so, because I binge read the series in three days.

As with all her books, the characters are realistic and relatable and even the secondary characters have important roles to play. The scenes are well described, and so are the emotions. There is love, romance, friendship and drama. The language is simple and easy to follow. And the story is fast paced and that makes the book unputdownable.

 

 

One Way to Love (Jasmine Villa Series Book 1) by Andaleeb Wajid

510U0vwhr1L.jpgOne Way to Love (Jasmine Villa Series Book 1) by Andaleeb Wajid is one book that I borrowed from the Kindle Unlimited Library. This the first book in the Jasmine Villa series.

The blurb:

Tehzeeb Hasan lives in the quaint Jasmine Villa in Bangalore with her father Yusuf and her sisters Ana and Athiya. Their rundown little house is no villa but Tehzeeb loves it dearly. Not too keen on marriage, she hopes to work for a few more years in an NGO before her father succumbs to one of the many inevitable proposals sent by nosy aunties. A chance meeting with an old friend Yusuf brings home, results in a marriage proposal for Tehzeeb who is reluctant and wary.

Young, handsome architect Ayub Ahmed is one of the most eligible bachelors of the city and he is not interested in getting married either, until he meets beautiful Tehzeeb. Their vastly different backgrounds do not matter until after they get married and Tehzeeb realises that she’s expected to be a perfect bahu, dressed in flowy ghagras, and wearing jewellery at all times. Stifled by the numerous vapid parties she attends with her mother-in-law, she yearns to break free.

Will Tehzeeb go too far in her quest for her own identity amidst the well-coiffed ladies who lunch? Will her love be enough to overcome the sense of betrayal Ayub feels over her actions? Tehzeeb and Ayub’s story, One Way to Love is the first in the Jasmine Villa series, a romance novel series by Andaleeb Wajid.

The story:

Tehzeeb Hassan lives with her father and younger sisters, Ana and Athiya in Bangalore. Their father, an accountant, bought the house ‘Jasmine Villa’ decades ago with the intention of demolishing this house and making a new one but this was not to be as the land was under dispute and also the expenses on lawyers and their mother’s illness. They lost their mother a six years ago when they were 16, 15 and 14 years old respectively. The sisters are very close and share everything with each other.

Tehzeeb works as an accountant for an NGO and her sisters are still in college.  One day, their father’s college friend comes home with a proposal that Tehzeeb marries his son, Ayub Ahmed, an architect. She is not interested in getting married immediately because she wants to continue working and helping people but her father tells her that this proposal is better than those he is fending off for quite some tome and that she should give him a chance. The girls are surprised at this sudden proposal from a stranger and Tehzeeb decides to see for herself and decide whether there is some problem with Ayub.

Ayub Ahmed, 28, is being forced by his father to hire his friend’s daughter as his assistant and has set up a meeting with her at a coffee shop so that Ayub can see whether the girl is qualified and suitable for the job. And Ayub and Tehzeeb meet at a coffee shop and agree to marriage after an initial confusion.

Ayub is surprised at his father’s choice of bride. Tehzeeb’s family is not as rich as they are, his mother has no idea and his father is already planning the wedding dates. But his father has his reasons which he reveals to Ayub and they keep it a secret between them. Tehzeeb is scared, she likes Ayub’s sister, but his mother is different.

My take:

Usually, a book on romance finishes when the lead pair confesses their love to each other and then everything ends happily ever after with an epilogue in some book. But this love story is different. Her, a girl and boy meet, they fall in love, they get married and the love story and family life move in parallel.

I loved the characters, Tehzeeb, for her independence and Ayub, for his understanding. They are realistic and we meet people like them often. The bond between the sisters and their conversations have been depicted well. I loved Ana’s practicality and Athiya’s boldness. The feelings of both the characters have been described and I loved it when Ayub realises his love for Tehzeeb before she realises it herself. The scenes have been described in detail and the chemistry between the lead characters sizzles.

The author’s writing style is simple and the story moves at a fast pace. The story has everything, family, friendship, love, drama, misunderstanding.

This the first book in the Jasmine Villa series. The best part is that we can read them as standalone as well. I binge read the three books of the series and was not a bit disappointed.

 

 

 

A Useful Death by Sriram Chellapilla

51-3vvr7-QL._SX318_BO1,204,203,200_I received the book A Useful Death by Sriram Chellapilla as a review copy from Writer’s Melon and am thankful to them for the same.

The blurb:

Aspiring actress Priya is dead. It’s a suicide, and rumour has it that Anil, son of politician and former Telugu-movie superstar Mohan Krishna, drove her to it. Just another film-industry scandal? Or something bigger, much bigger?

Partha, hired by Mohan Krishna’s family to handle the crisis, thinks so. Why won’t such a powerful father defend his son, Partha wonders. Is there an intra-family war? Whose interests are playing out in the media and on social media? Is a political game afoot or is this all connected to Mohan Krishna’s own dubious past? And why are student unions getting involved?

Even as Partha and his associates, Seema and Harish, confront the ethics of being involved in a war with no heroes, they are drawn into a dangerous hunt. They must negotiate a tangled and vicious world to answer one question: a young woman is dead—to whom is her death useful?

The story:

An aspiring actress Priya is dead and the police that it is a suicide as there is no forced entry. And the media is in a frenzy. All this before her debut movie is released. The police also realise that her laptop and smartphone are also missing. And the primary suspect is Anil, the only son of Telugu industry’s biggest Superstar, Mohan Krishna, who is about to enter politics. Anil is suspected because Priya was supposed to start opposite Anil in their debut movie which was shelved before it went on the sets.

Inspector Pratap is on the job. Sirisha, Priya’s friend, who discovered the body is questioned. Junior Artistes Association and National People’s Party have started protests.

And Anil’s family want Partha Rao to help. Partha and his crisis management associates, Seema and Harish start the investigation and the conspiracy unfolds.

My take:

This is one book which actually kept me guessing for a long time. There were many moments when I felt that I should keep it down, but then something would come up and I would continue with it. Initially, it is very slow, it took me three days to reach page 100, and then it picks up pace and the twists begin. The narration is in the form of a script with detailed descriptions of scenes, characters and action, and sometimes I felt that I was watching a movie, especially the action sequences. Some descriptions could have been lesser. The characters are very well-developed and their back stories have also been mentioned.

The book gives an insight into the film industry and what new actors go through.  The story has all the ingredients to make it unputdownable: suspense, murder/ suicide, politics, film industry, suspects, clues, university students, protests, money and power. The language is simple and the twists and turns are unpredictable.

I loved the book and would definitely like to read more from the author.

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

 

A marriage diary by P V Apoorva

4158LLaYjDL.jpgA marriage diary by P V Apoorva is the story of Priyanka and Karan, who have an arranged marriage and is set in Hyderabad and Delhi.

The blurb:

Priyanka knew Karan was the one when he held her hand and told her not to be nervous.
Karan knew Priyanka was the one when she stole his heart with her honesty and shy smiles.
And the rest as they say is history. But six months into the marriage, Priyanka receives a call asking her for Ambika Sahay’s guardian.

Was it just a case of miscommunication? Or was Karan hiding something from Priyanka? Who was Ambika? Was Karan cheating on her with another woman? Did she really know her husband? Was Priyanka hasty in her decision to get married to Karan?
Read A Marriage Diary to find out more…

The story:

Karan Malhotra, who works at a software firm, Zeta Tech as a team leader is asked by his father to meet Priyanka Khanna, senior Customer Support Representative with Bank Corp in Hyderabad for matrimonial purpose. And as they both meet, they decide they want to get married to each other.

And six months after their wedding, Priyanka receives a call asking her for Ambika Sahay’s guardian. She asks Karan about it and he answers her very casually.

And things go from bad to worse and Priyanka comes ack to Delhi.

My take:

This is a simple story of a married couple and their misunderstandings. The characters are relatable and their conversations realistic. I sympathised with Priya and felt for Karan too. One thing that comes out is that most of the misunderstandings occur because of miscommunication or no communication. The language is simple but I felt that the story could have been a bit shorted. To present the story as a diary, the author has mentioned the place, date and time at the beginning of each chapter.

 

 

Lost and found : an almost love story by Rubina Kochar

51H15SN+nkL.jpgLost and found : an almost love story is Rubina Kochar’s first book. This book is the story of a girl from Banaras, Shefali Tiwari.

The blurb:

Small town girl, Shefali Tiwari had all the ingredients for success in the corporate world – intelligence, talent, attitude and good looks. Except one. Patience. She wanted to get there NOW!

So she stashed her moral values in a drawer and climbed the corporate ladder leaps and bounds. Life was a dream come true until one eventful night. Now, she’s hated by all and doomed to a social and professional death.

But, in the no-moon night of her life, there is a twinkling star, a secret admirer.

Who is this guy?

Why does he stand by her?

Will his faith help her discover a life free from past, a life full of happiness and most importantly, love?

The story:

Shefali Tiwari, an MBA from Banaras, had come to Gurgaon a few years ago determined to forge her own path. Chai is her happy place and Masala chai her drug, which takes her back to her childhood. Raised by her environmentalist parents in the era where disposables were the new fad and the war against plastic was new, she takes her cup along when she goes out and asks the server to use it. This is her first job and she is happy climbing the ladder of success more than one rung at a time and cannot be happier. Her beauty is her pride, her confidence and her weapon. She has been promoted to Project Manager recently while her colleagues are only Assistant Analysts. And with that she has reached an exclusive club. But not for long.

Celebrating her promotion with her colleagues, she gets drunk and starts talking about everyone, talking about their deepest secrets, without realizing that someone is recording it and posting it on social media. And the next day, when her hangover is over, she does not know where to go. And to make matters worse, her boss, one of those about whom she has spoken in her drunken state, gives her a next to impossible project- some sort of merger and acquisition deal between two tech giants who were once bitter competitors with an impossible team- her best friend turned enemy, Ritu; Ritu’s boyfriend, Madhav; Sachin, the one who made the video; Rishi, who liked her once and Disha, the girl in dungarees.

But every cloud has a silver lining. Shefali has Anush, an intern, who ha been posted under her and who is her only friend in office., She also has an unknown stalker, someone who writes notes to her, sends her messages, but does not come forward. Shefali pins the notes on a board in the living room where she can see them all the time. They are written on premium stationery in beautiful and confident strokes and are perfect messages. They help her persist, keep her sane, and she does not know who is sending them. But still she finds herself falling in love with him.

My take:

This book is not a typical love story. It is a story of someone who comes back from being at the lowest in her life. This story has friendship, romance, family relationships, office politics and romance. The characters are realistic and well developed. The secondary characters are also given their due importance. And the story is such that it could happen to anyone in this cold cut-throat world. The language is simple and the suspense makes the book unputdownable. The author has even discussed social issues and the negative aspect of social media in this book.

I loved this message in the book, “No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and never give up”.

An excellent debut. I am looking forward to the next book by her.

 

It was always you by Andaleeb Wajid

41NATTeXBTL.jpgAndaleeb Wajid’s latest book It was always you is a standalone love story. Set in Bangalore, this is the story of Naima Ali and Uzair Ahmed.

The blurb:

Love can strike anytime, anywhere. It never comes with a warning.

Pretty, self-absorbed, self-proclaimed princess of her father’s world, Naima Ali is having the wedding of her dreams. A destination wedding, a handsome successful fiancé, a trousseau that any girl would kill to have and a father who indulgently lets her have her way – what more could a girl want? Turns out, Naima Ali’s heart wants what she cannot have.

Uzair Ahmed.

From childhood friend to her father’s assistant, Uzair has seen several ups and downs in his life. He’s been working hard for Naima’s father, making life for everyone easy and even organising the dream wedding in Maldives. All the while, quietly ignoring the way his heart skips a beat whenever he sees Naima. She’s the bride. She’s getting married in a month. And he’s organising it. He can’t possibly be in love with her.

Tell that to his heart.

The story:

Naima Ali, 24, is young, reckless and beautiful, but she is also foolish, childish and arrogant. She is engaged to Khalil, an arranged match proposed by a common friend, the CEO of a tech start up. She wants a dream wedding and her father is leaving no stone unturned to make her happy, much to the disappointment of her mother and her older brother, Nayaz.

Uzair Ahmed, 27, has been her friend since they were kids when his family used to visit from Mysore. Both their fathers were friends. And then his father made some risky investments and they lost their house and their business. Uzair and his older brother tried to manage and then Uzair left Mysore and came to Bangalore. Four years ago, Naima’s father hired him as his Personal Assistant, but still treated him as his friend’s son. Uzair sends his salary home to support his parents and also saves some money because he wants to set up his own business someday.

Naima was in third year of college when Uzair joined her father and he has seen her through breakups and boyfriends, crying sessions and also chaperoned her when she went out with Khalil. And now, he is in-charge of her wedding arrangements, but he finds himself in love with her………..

My take:

The cover of the book is beautiful, an instant pick me up and the story is beautiful. The characters have been beautifully etched and are believable. The language is simple and the book has been narrated in first person when it comes to Naima and in third person, when it comes to other characters. The scenes have been described in such a way that I could actually visualise a lot of them. The twists and turns keep the suspense alive and once I started the book, I just could not keep it down.

The story has friendship which has been presented in the form of Naima and her friends, also between Naima and Uzair; sibling love between Uzair and his brother; Naima’s brother’s hatred for her; Uzair’s loyalty for Naima’s family; and Naima’s father affection for her. There is also family drama and a story of second chances (will there be a story on this…).

I loved the book and would really recommend it to all lovers of romance with a warning that the book is definitely unputdownable.