Unsettled by Neelima Vinod

 

UnsettImageled is a novella by Neelima Vinod, the book was sent to me as a review copy by Indireads. Thank you Naheed for the book. It is a story of a couple, Divya and Raghav, and a Yakshi.

The Blurb:

The hundred-room house is a rich tapestry of memories and hidden secrets, a dark, forbidding place, rumoured to be haunted by a vengeful Yakshi. Propelled by a desire to save their marriage, Divya and Raghav journey to the haunted mansion in search of the mythical Scrolls of Love.

Written five hundred years ago by the banished court poet Shankara, they are fabled to have the power to heal and reignite lost love. Is this just a legend, or are the couple heading towards a chilling destiny?

The story:

Divya Nambisan, a media professional, a Keralite is married to Raghav Pandit, an architect and a Maharashtrian for five years. She likes classical to his traditional. Anu is Raghav’s friend since childhood, through college to adulthood, they were even about to get married when he happens to meet Divya at a pub and ends up marrying her. One day, Divya sees them together and becomes suspicious of Raghav and starts prying and gets fed up.

She then meets a marriage counsellor, Dr Ray, at the behest of her friend, Emily and goes for a counselling session. He understands that she wants to put her suspicions to rest and Raghav wants the marriage to work and motivates her to bring Raghav for a session. He sends them both in search of scrolls written by Shankara Shastry, an ancient poet, in Cherakad, Divya’s ancestral village. Divya has heard the story of the big hundred-roomed house near her grandmother’s house in the village from her grandmother and also knows about the Yakshi, Thathri, and that the house is cursed.

Intertwined is the story of Thathri, the Yakshi and also the story of Shankara, the poet. Will they succeed in getting the scrolls from the Yakshi or will the Yakshi win?

 The review:

The book is beautifully written, with both poetry and prose complementing each other.  The characters are life-like and Divya is a normal human being with reasonable emotions.

The story is mostly about Shankara Shastry and the Yaksh and Divya and Raghav are characters put in to bring the main story out.

Overall, a nice, eerie read.

Book Source: Review Copy from Indireads

Publisher: Indireads

Format: ebook

Only a Dream by Jazz Singh

ImageOnly a dream by Jazz Singh: Another Indireads Novella! Thank you, Naheed for introducing Indireads.

The Blurb

Rhea is successful, accomplished and perfectly content in the comfortable little niche she has carved out for herself. She’s moved on from the heartbreak of her past, and hasn’t looked back in years. When Varun comes waltzing into her life again, however, Rhea is unprepared for the rush of memories that upset her neat little life. Nor is she able to push back her broken dreams, and learn to trust again.

Varun wants her back, but it looks like an uphill task, at best…

The story:

Rhea Kochar works part-time at Educomp, a company that helped students with admissions to universities abroad as a means to earn some extra money while studying Mass Communications at Jamia Milia Islamia. She meets Varun Suri, when he applies for Hotel management course in Switzerland. They become friends, she starts hanging out with him and his friends, Ajay and Kirpal and they become the best buddies. Eventually, Rhea and Varun fall in love and have the blessings of both the families but one day, she comes to know that he is married. She is heart-broken but she immerses herself in her work.

Now, six years later, Rhea leads the event management team at The Timeout and Varun, the chairman and managing director of Eastmec, checks into the hotel and wants to negotiate a deal for the property. Rhea resigns and keeps the relationship professional and Varun wants her to listen to him and start off where they left.

Will Rhea fall for his charms?

The review:

The story is simple, short and sweet. The author had created very realistic characters and the relationships have been portrayed well. The feelings of the characters have been described beautifully.

I enjoyed the book and am looking forward to another book by the same author.

Book Source: Bought

Publisher: Indireads

Format: ebook

A Scandalous Proposition by MM George

True to their reputation, Indireads books are a must read. A ScandalImageous Proposition by MM George is one such novella from Indireads. I could not resist ordering the book and reading it as soon as I could download it. It is the story of Mira Talwar and Ranbir Dewan.

Book Blurb

“What is your price, Mira?”
“You’ll never be able to afford it!”

Feisty, small-town girl Mira Talwar is just finding her feet in Delhi when she encounters the hottest bachelor in the country, Ranbir Dewan. The sparks flying between them sizzle with sexual tension, but when Ranbir puts a scandalous proposition before her, she turns him down spiritedly.

However, thrown together by unhappy coincidence, Mira is finding it hard to resist Ranbir’s attentions. And he isn’t the kind to give up easily…

The story:

Mira Talwar moves to Delhi from Meerut with her mother and younger sister, Reema after their father’s death. To support her family, she takes up a job in a cafeteria and her sister, as a salesgirl. Her boss, Ranbir Dewan, is arrogant and autocratic; who thinks that everything/ everyone has a price. He asks her to become his mistress and she refuses. Then, he calls her to a café, accuses her sister of trying to ensnare his brother, Tarun, and suggests that Reema becomes their grandmother’s companion, for Tarun’s sake and both the sisters move into the Dewan Kutir.

Will Reema win her way into the Dewan family and will Mira succumb to her boss’s demand? Read on…

My take:

An excellent read, I could not keep it down till I finished it. Ranbir is much more real than the Mills & Boon heroes we used to read about when in college and Mira, she is the real middle-class girl next door. The book is well written and the flow is good. The realtionships between family members as well as between the characters have been well depicted. The author has nicely described the feelings of the characters.

A must read if you are into romance, and it is well worth a try it even if you are not into it.

Would someone make a film out of it, please?

Book Source: Bought

Publisher: Indireads

Format: ebook

A Newlywed’s Adventures in Married Land by Shweta Ganesh Kumar

A Newlywed’s Adventures in Married Land by Shweta Ganesh Kumar is the story of our Alice, newly married Mythili and her adventures in Manila, her wonderland. I received the book as a review copy from Indireads.  Thank You Naheed for the book.

The blurb:a-newlyweds-adventures

“Dependent!!?”

Mythili has just moved to the Philippines to be with the love of her life and new husband, Siddharth. From being a hard-as-nails reporter who covered crime stories of the goriest kind, Mythili is now just a ‘dependent’. On top of that, unemployment, encounters with expat-wives and culture shock leave her feeling like she has fallen down a rabbit hole.st moved to the Philippines to be w

Mythili and Siddharth slowly come to realize that being newlywed in a foreign country is very different from being passionately in love, long-distance. Will this

real life Alice find her way out of her own little Wonderland, or will the Red Queen take her head?

The review:

Mythili, a successful crime reporter, works for a newspaper in Bangalore. She meets Siddharth, they date each other, maintain a long-distance relationship and get married. One week after her wedding, she takes a nineteen hour long flight to the Philippines with her new husband, where he works in a call centre. She is shocked to hear the immigration officer mention her as a dependent.

Siddharth’s Indian circle of friends. “Desi gang”,  invites them over. She has nothing in common with the wives and gives them nicknames based on stereotypical context like Mother Hen, Fakeena, Maami, Enthucutlet, bones and Budhha girl. They are self assured and mature and she feels like a ten year old playing house-house.

Siddharth has night shifts and she starts to maintain his time, watches television at night and surfs the net for jobs which are non-existent. She has no work, feels guilty of enjoying her free time, gets lost in the maze of unemployment and announces on Facebook that she is on a sabbatical. She gets a chance and her interviewer cannot recall the interview because he suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder. She starts blogging regularly and an editor wants to make her blog a weekly column, ‘Random Rants of a Bored Housewife’.

I loved the way the book starts with a prologue, the wedding of Kirti, Mythili’s sister and now, worldly wise Mythili advising her, “Kirti, it’s the start of a journey and…”. After the wedding is over, Mythili comes to her room, picks up her favourite book, Alice in Wonderland, and goes back three years, when she was a newlywed. The author has related the aspects of Mythili’s life to parts in Alice in Wonderland. I actually read Alice after this. The author has started the chapters with lines from the book. The chapters have names like ‘Paint the roses red’.

The book is hilarious at times and sad at times especially when Mythili is upset and Siddharth empathises with her but does not want her to know that he is upset because he is her pillar of strength.

I am eagerly waiting for a sequel to this book.

Book Source: Review copy from Indireads

Publisher: Indireads

Format: Ebook

Yours accidentally by Madhur Nevatia

YImageours accidentally is an ebook by Madhur Nevatia published by none other that Indireads. It is the story of Gautam and Sameera.

The blurb:

On a wet, monsoon-ravaged Mumbai night, Gautam—a young and handsome investment banker—meets with an accident. Fate brings Sameera—gorgeous, rich, independent and fashionable—into his life. The attraction is electrifying, but is eclipsed by a previous meeting that didn’t go so well. Their journey starts in an unromantic doctor’s room and ends in Goa, with its pristine beaches and moonlit nights.

While he struggles to comprehend the strength of his emotions for Sameera, she struggles to tame the demons of her past. What could have happened to scar her so deeply?

Is Gautam’s love strong enough to win over Sameera’s past?

The characters:

Gautam, the only child of his parents, belongs to a business family of Delhi and is an investment banker in Mumbai, which he joined after his IIT and IIM qualifications. He is a winner, came first in class, teacher’s favourite, artful debater, fastest bowler and the captain of the school cricket team. Sanjay is his best buddy.

Sameera Mathur, only child of her parents, is a physiotherapist in Mumbai. Tanya is her best friend and confidante since childhood.

The story:

Gautam comes to Delhi to attend Sanjay’s engagement to Tanya and happens to see Sameera at trying to adjust herself and her luggage in a taxi at the Delhi airport- he names her, Miss Congeniality. They meet each other at the venue and rub each other the wrong way: he calls her Ice Maiden, snooty Sameera and she calls him boorish and ill-mannered. She irritates him.

Engagement over, they head back to their respective places. As fate would have it, Gautam meets with an accident, breaks his bones and sprains and the physiotherapist he is referred to none other than Sameera. He wants to know her better but she wants to maintain a distance because of her past.

The review:

It is a very well written book: a simple story with a simple plot. The characters are lifelike and while I was reading the story, it felt more of a narration that reading, as if someone was telling me their story. The author has described the feelings of both the characters. The language is simple and easy to follow.

Highly recommended.

Book Source: Bought

Publisher: Indireads

Book Type: ebook

Love Across Borders by Indireads

ImageLove Across Borders: stories of love, connection and friendship that transcends the physical divide is a collection of twelve short stories by Indian and Pakistani writers– an initiative by Indireads. The book has been edited by Naheed Hassan and Sabahat Muhammad. The introduction of the book summarises the motivation behind the book.

That 70s Babe by Mamun M Adil is the story of an Indian girl and a Pakistani boy (who is one of her many admirers). As I was reading the story, I felt that I knew who the lady was and suddenly the name popped up, leaving me gaping. Serendipity by Yamini Vasudevan is about how a novelist looking for a good story meets a lady at Starbucks and she tells him an amazing story with a little secret hidden somewhere. One Stupid Comment by Shuch Kalra and Sabahat Muhammad is about a treaty to unite two tribes together. Anjum by Andy Paula is about how a young Pakistani bride teaches a young Indian bride. Dressed to kill by Parul Tyagi is about Sejal and Saleema, two brides-to-be bonding over their wedding lehengas at Chandni Chowk. Best Friends forever by Naheed Hassan and Shweta Ganesh Kumar, Lost and Found by Nidhi Shendurnikar Tere and The Long Interval by Zaffar Junejo are about old friends uniting on Facebook. Twelve months by Pervin Saket is about a Pakistani daughter-in-law who visits the home of her late husband in India every year. An Unlikely Romeo by MM George is the story of the struggle of a young Pakistani lady in UK. The Old Willow by Adriana Ray is about two boys, an Indian and a Pakistani, who meet in a pub in US. Remnants of a Rainy Day by Mamun M Adil is the story of an umbrella hanging by the entrance of the apartment of a Pakistani man which reminds him of a rainy evening around a decade ago.

The cover has been beautifully designed by Sabahat Muhammad depicting the colours of the flags of both the countries. Each story is unique and is followed by a brief description of the author.

I liked the book very much and the book actually made me realize that apart from the political line dividing the two countries, we are similar to each other.

A must read. Highly recommended.

The book is available free on the Indireads website, in all the formats, and is easily downloadable. So all you need to do is create an account and download the book.

Book Source: Free ebook available on the Indireads website

Publisher: Indireads

Book Type: Ebook

Love’s Labor by Andy Paula

loves-laborLove’s Labor by Andy Paula is the simple but complicated story of Piali Roy and Sathya Nair.

The blurb:

Piali Roy has had enough. Between her beloved father, a rigid traditionalist who refuses to accept anyone from outside their caste and community, and the ‘unsuitable’ Sathya, who is madly in love with her and won’t back down in his quest to get her, Piali is ready to jump off a mountain top without a parachute.

So, she’s left home, and the small town of Jampot, and is trying to find peace in a remote hill station. It looks like her past is about to catch up with her, though…

The characters:

Piali Roy lives in small town of Jamshedpur with her conservative parents and a younger brother. Her father is against intercaste marriages. She works in the school as an English teacher.

Sathya Nair, is the Chairman’s son, an animation artist, back in Jamshedpur to take over the reins of the family business.

The story:

Piali and Sathya go to Panchgani for a teacher’s camp with Piali as the team lead and Sathya as the treasurer. And they fall in love, even though Sathya is engaged to Vinitha, the daughter of his family friend and the school’s headmistress.

He wants to marry her and she cannot marry him because of her conservative family, she being a Bengali and he, a Malayali. She is from a middle class family and he, from the rich. His parents think that she is after his money but seeing her, decide otherwise. He wants them to elope and she wants to get married with her parents’ consent.

To prove himself, he moves to Hyderabad and takes up a job. Piali resigns from her job in Jampot and moves to Mussoorie, thus running way from everyone. Only her mother knows about it and Sathya tracks her down.

My take:

A light read. I finished the book in one sitting and enjoyed it. The characters are very realistic and the plot is interesting. What makes it all the more interesting is that the book starts with Sathya tracking her down and the story being in flashback. The book ends suddenly but I was expecting a little more.

Highly recommended.

Book Source: Review copy from Indireads

Piublisher: Indireads

Book Type: Ebook

Girl From Fatehpur by Sarita Varma

girl-from-fatehpur

Girl From Fatehpur by Sarita Varma is the story of Sanjana, a simple girl from Fathepur, now working in Mumbai.

The Blurb:

“I love you Rajan,” she had blurted out, hands clenched tightly at her sides.

“Sana, you are only a kid…you will soon forget all this. Besides, don’t you also love Shahrukh Khan?”

A decade has gone by and Sanjana, now a highflying professional in Mumbai, thought she was over her childhood crush on the enigmatic Rajan. Back in her hometown Fatehpur for a family wedding, she bumps into him; he’s still enigmatic and the sparks are still there. Just when things begin to heat up, though, in walks Krish, a colleague from Mumbai, who seems to be very possessive of Sanjana…

The Story:

Sanjana, Sana, is born and brought up in Fatehpur by her doting family of parents, grandparents and Uncles and aunts. They are a very close knit family and she is very close to her cousins and can share her innermost feelings with them especially Devika. Rajan is their neighbor and a close friend of her cousin. When she is fifteen and he nineteen, she confesses her love to him just before he is leaving for the US for his engineering degree.

Now, ten years later, she has not been to Fatehpur since the tragic death of her parents in a car crash four years ago and is working in Mumbai. Zoya is her colleague and flatmate and she can bare herself to her. Krish Chauhan is the Team Leader and has proposed marriage to her and she is not sure of herself and wants time.

She finds the perfect opportunity for a break with her cousin, Renee, getting married in Fatehpur. On the way to Fatehpur, she meets Rajan and they slowly come back to the familiarity of their teenager years and get involved in the wedding preparations. They make a good team. And suddenly, Krish reaches Fatehpur as the cousin of the groom. Krish is like arubber ball, undeflatable. She is all the more confused.

How does Sanjana fair in the love triangle? Read the book to find out.

My take: 

I loved the way the author has developed the characters and described their feelings. The language and flow are good and the story is very sweet. She has described the joint family culture in India and also the feelings of the characters.

The book leaves a sweet taste in the mouth and a smile on the lips. An unputdownable book.

A must read, definitely.

Book Source: Review copy from Indireads

Publisher: Indireads

Book Type: ebook

The contract by Zeenat Mahal

ImageThe contract by Zeenat Mahal is the story of Shahira and Hussain set in Pakistan.

Book Blurb:

“…I’ll pay you a monthly salary to behave and appear for all practical purposes as my wife…If you agree, the marriage vows can be taken on the phone on Saturday, since I have an hour free in the morning.”

Circumstances have forced the young divorcée, Shahira, to accept Hussain’s unusual proposition. As per their contract, she’ll have his name, will be paid to look after his ailing mother and motherless daughter and will be left well alone by him. Perfect!

Until her new husband decides to stop playing by the rules…

The story:

Shahira, a thirty year divorcee stays with her eight year old son and works as a teacher. She is good friends with her student, Natasha and her grandmother, Salma. Salma suggests that she marries Hussain, Natasha’s father, a businessman and a widower. Both Shahira and Hussain do not want a second marriage, but on Salma’s insistence they enter a marriage contract: A marriage of convenience, a business transaction. The marriage is solemnized over a conference call. She does not like him and he thinks her to be a black widow spider, but his mother was determined to play fairy godmother to Shahira’s Cinderella.

What happens next, read to find out.

The book has been written very well and the characters are very well developed. The relationship between the characters has been very well portrayed. I enjoyed the book a lot.

Book Source: Review Copy from Indireads

Publisher: Indireads

Format: Ebook

Haveli by Zeenat Mahal

18137948I received the book Haveli by Zeenat Mahal from Indireads as a review copy. I would like to thank Naheed Hassan of Indireads for sending me the book to review. Haveli is the story of Chandni. The story is set in 1971 in Pakistan.

 Book Blurb

Abandoned by her father, C. is brought up by her domineering, intractable grandmother, whom she privately refers to as ‘The Broad’. Raised in the closed environs of a haveli in Jalalabad, C. is rebellious, quick-witted and a self-proclaimed cynic.

So, when The Broad presents her with the ‘suitable’ Taimur as a possible husband, C. isn’t too happy with the arrangement, no matter how gorgeous ‘Alpha Male’ may be. As it happens, the feeling is mutual. Or is it?

And when C.’s long lost father enters the scene, things get really complicated…

The Story:

Chandni, daughter of Zainab and Shah Jehan (referred to as Nameless), is the granddaughter of Zaitoon Begum, the widow of the last Nawab of Jalalabad. She lives with her grandmother in Gulaab Mahal, calls her Bi Amma and refers to her as “The Broad”. She has been homeschooled by the best tutors.

Zafar is her half-brother, trained to be lawyer, works in the only law firm in Jalalabad, which belongs to Rtd. Colonel Farhat Ullah. Zafar wants to marry the Colonel’s daughter, Mahnoor.

Ali or Baba is a friend of her late mother’s and she has a special relationship with him. He reminds her of Santa, visiting them twice a year and bringing her presents like chocolates and heels. She finds him jovial and funny and loves him with all her heart.

She has a crush on Kunwar Rohail Khanzada, whom she has wanted to since she was ten. He is widowed with a thirteen year old daughter, who is a good friend of Chandni’s. She tries to dress up provocatively to attract his attention.

Her grandmother wants her to marry Taimur, Ali’s son. She hates him and names him Alpha Male. He sees through her and tells her that if she plays hard to get, for which he would help her, maybe, Kunwar would fall for her. She throws literary insults at him and calls him names of various fictional characters like Uriah Heep, Rumpelstiltskin amongst others. But he tells her that eventually, she would marry him.

Suddenly her father arrives on the scene and tells her that he has come back for her and wants her to marry the man of his choice. everyone feels that he has an ulterior motive but not Chandni.

Would Chandni marry Taimur or the man her father wants to marry? You must read to find out.

The characters are well developed and the plot is interesting. There is drama, emotions, humour and suspense all rolled into one story. The book is humourous and the names that Chandni gives to people are actually very funny.  I finished it off in one sitting as the book is short, crisp and unputdownable.

Highly recommended.

Book Source: Review Copy from Indireads

Publisher: Indireads