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review SPOILER ALERT! 2014-11-14 07:04
Fade into Red by Reshma K. Barshikar

Thanks to the authoress Reshma K Barshikar for having sent across the book in exchange for an honest review. I have been waiting to review this ever since I started reading.

It is a lovely book based on the life story of an independent woman who is passionate about art history and is a banker by profession. She thinks her life is just perfect with the perfect job and the perfect set of people around, until she embarks on a journey which takes her to Tuscany for a deal as part of her job but it completely changes her life for good. This book gives you a Devil wears Prada or a Sophie Kinsella book feeling which is again reassured by the cover page of the book which is lovely and it also has a handsome hero in it.

The story is about Ayra who is sent to Tuscany to help a client buy a vineyard in Tuscany  and she leaves to Tuscany the same day she gets engaged to her childhood friend Karthik who is a very endearing character in the book. For quite a while I thought the climax made me sympathize with Karthik. There she guides the Malhotras in checking with various vineyards along with Ishaan Malhotra who is the main head honcho in this vineyard acquiring stint and Celio, the expert in wine making process. The descriptions in Tuscany about the nature as well as the wine making process is probably the best and my personal favorite parts of the book. I had never thought that it would get me really interested in the whole wine-making process, but I was totally glued when these things were described in the book. It also compelled me to google so much about wine. The authoress has really done a fine job here.

Then the story of course deals a bit about finding the true calling, friendship, following one’s passion, office politics and stuff which was quite predictable. But at the end, it was totally a surprise for me that Ayra didn’t choose to go with Ishaan but there is a hint of possibility in that last sentence which can give an opening to a sequel to follows this(Barshikar, are you listening?!!!!). It is quite difficult to choose a particular genre for it like romance, woman fiction. So I would put it into Chick-Lit. Yes, it falls in that category. There are many endearing supporting characters in the book of whom Narina was my personal favorite being Ayra’s best and ever-willing-to-help friend. Her parents, Aunt Ramya, Celio, Kartik all these characters bring out the best in the story.

I would give it a three out of five stars and would recommend it to all those who are fans of this genre. Its a fairly familiar themed novel yet delicious just like the vanilla icecream. If Reshma K Barshikar chooses to write a sequel to this one, I definitely don’t mind relishing it too :)

Source: loadstoread.wordpress.com/2014/11/14/fade-into-red-by-reshma-k-barshikar
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review 2014-11-14 05:34
The Half Mother by Shahnaz Bashir

I’m writing a long pending review and I wanted to write this as soon as possible so that the flavor of the book still lingers in my brain. I got this book as a giveaway on Goodreads and I was quite amazed with the speed with which it was delivered just after two weeks of the winners’ announcement. After reading this book, I’m glad that my expectations from the book weren’t shattered. Probably this is the best book I have received so far among the freebies for first-reads.

The author from Kashmir speaks for the million innocent Kashmiris who would have faced the atrocities in the hands of Kashmiri militants while their government has been a silent puppet in the hands of the militants. This is told in the form of Haleema’s story who loses both the men in her life to these heinous acts by the militants.

Haleema is a woman who has divorced her husband and is staying with her father Ab Jaan and her son Imran leading a very normal life until it changes all at once when the militants began occupying the beautiful land and begin making it as a land of mass destruction with weapons and bankers everywhere. They behead all those who protest against them or question them and thye do so public so that nobody dares repeating it again. Haleema loses her father Ab Jaan who gets killed by the militants and one day she loses her son as they come and ask about him and Imran never returns.

Then follows the frantic search of the mother to find her son or rather the search for an answer if her son is alive or not. Through various contacts in media and government officials she goes to the media, various jails, military offices and enquires in vain turning her an orphan. And the descriptions of her search and emotions and everything that Bashir describes, reader can feel it coming straight from  the heart. The various descriptions of Kashmir in the eyes of the author, and tiny details like the walls of Haleema’s house are so picturesquely described. I’m sure my review will not make nay justice to the book. One has to read it to fell it.

The various stages of life in Haleema like youth, adulthood, orphan, her stages of emotions like happiness, sadness, loneliness, horror, discomfort, helplessness, faith, strength, hope are described beautifully and readers get to experience all in this book. The remotest idea I had of the situation in Kashmir was only what I had seen in the movie Roja but this book expanded my knowledge about the beautiful land but its band conditions. The only qualms I had about the book was the overuse of Indian words which were quite unfamiliar and the absence of an Appendix at the end to give the meanings. At times I was left to imagine the meaning and context and I would have definitely liked a reference to go with these words. Otherwise I can truly say Shahnaz Bashir is a very promising author to look for.

Thanks Bashir for bringing the story of missing people to the world which would have otherwise been buried only in Kashmir. All the while in the book I was hoping Haleema find Imran so that she may never get to be lonely. My prayers to all those real Haleemas. Rating a book like this is injustice but I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Hence I’m giving it a 4 out of 5 stars.

Source: loadstoread.wordpress.com/2014/11/06/the-half-mother-by-shahnaz-bashir
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review 2014-10-16 14:52
Arranged Marriage: Stories by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Arranged Marriage: Stories - Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Sometimes it so happens that when you read too many books from the same author, you begin to easily feel too comfortable with the theme and you can end up even predicting the end and can easily sniff what is happening after having just read a few pages. I had the same feeling with this book. After having read atleast four books prior to reading Arranged Marriage, I was not quite impressed with the theme and emotions as there was nothing new and fresh and it was the same glorified versions of tyrannical husbands holding captive of women, women trying hard to struggle after having left India as immigrants, women confined to the kitchen trying to bail out Indian curries reminiscing their hay days when they would have delicious Indian cuisine at their hometown Calcutta. I badly need to read something different from authors like Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Amulya Malladi and Jhumpa Lahiri. Am I asking for more?

Arranged Marriage is a collection of short stories written to speak the conditions of Indian women who have been married off in an arranged manner by their parents and who are trying really hard to adapt to the new family conditions or even immigrant experiences(Yes, a million times you see them reminiscing the curries and Bengalicuisine memories) and their whole life depends on tending to their husband’s and childrens’ needs. I believe these experiences of traditional tyrannical husbands and conventional suffering housewives may have happened around 50s and 60s and they don’t seem real at all. We have progressed and gone farther upto the Mars It is actually hard to digest the fact that the person who wrote The Palace Of Illusions has not tried to cover the nice things about arranged marriages like adapting to the other side of culture, the bonding between strangers who become partners. This book could have been much better had it not been for cliches in the stories.

I would like to highlight the fact that there are two-three stories with strong women characters but what happens to them later is left for the readers to imagine. I liked the two stories particularly-one of the woman whose husband runs a supermarket and the other is that of a girl wanting to adopt a son. They were different. Also there is a story here is ditto as the book by the same author Sisters Of My Heartand this part is exactly annoying that the story also ends on the same lines. For a new reader of Divakaruni’s may find it gripping and a page turner, but for me it was a very sore book. And for the same reason I may probably not pick up another book by her for the next one year atleast.

I will give it a generous two out of five stars for the writing. If you really want to read a book of this author, my hands up to The Palace Of Illusions. It is far far away from that gem

Source: loadstoread.wordpress.com/2014/10/16/arranged-marriage-by-chitrabanerjee-divakaruni
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review 2014-09-23 05:58
Like it happened yesterday by Ravinder Singh

This is the third book written by Ravinder Singh of I Too Had A Love Story fame. Though this was a very famous book, the second book Can Love Happen Twice? was equally sore. The third book not a part of the above series is varied in theme. It talks more about childhood days and makes you feel nostalgic.

Ravinder, a Sikh from Punjab who was brought up in Burla talks of his childhood days in Burla, a town in Orissa where his father used to work in a Gurudwara and Ravinder's family stayed in a small house provided to his father in the Gurudwara compound and Ravinder's life completely revolved around Burla, the Gurudwara compound, his tuition and school.  He talks of his parents' sacrifices to strive to get good education for their children since it was a privilege they themselves were not equipped with. Rest of the chapters follows his high school days in Sambalpur, his first crush, first movie, new set of friends, school's annual day celebrations, the competition for the board exams and somewhere through his description even the reader feels a sense of nostalgia. Through this book, the author doesn't try to give a moral to ponder over. He is just writing a chronicle of various childhood days so that reader is taken back to his old memories.

Just two words to describe this book: honest and simple. For that alone, I think one should read this book. Somewhere between the chapters and the descriptions we can relate to what Ravinder talks when he takes you through his childhood and teenager days. Each one of us must have felt the same during the first movie in a theatre experience and the excitement of school day participation. While one may be able to relate to first crush on a teacher, some may be able to relate to rat race during board exams while some other reader may relate to the curiosity of reproduction process in human beings that one experiences during growing up days. There is no complex setup or use of ingenious words and it is brazingly simple to read. Something that regular readers may not like as there is nothing creatively great about the book but beginners can definitely start with this book. It is a book of hardly 216 pages one can finish in one sitting.

I'm going with 2 out of 5 starts for this one plainly for its simplicity and honesty. It is a one time read and beginners may like it and others may take it up if they have nothing else to read.

Rating: 2/5(It was ok)

Source: loadstoread.wordpress.com/2014/09/20/like-it-happened-yesterday-by-ravinder-singh
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review 2014-08-21 18:14
The Unwanted Shadow by Bhaskarrya Deka

Title : The Unwanted Shadow
Author : Bhaskarrya Deka

I won this book as a part of giveaway on Goodreads and I’m happy to be reviewing it. This book is written by a young debutante author and considering that Mr. Deka has done quite a good job.

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It is a very short book of roughly about 170 pages and can be read in one goal. The theme of the book changes from fiction to thriller to psychology to murder mystery all too fast. I am personally not a fan of these shifting genres and I would like it if they are part of different books and not stuffed all into one.

The book starts of with the story of Mohan who is from a small town in Assam who dreams big of going to Delhi for his further studies. The first half of the book is quite slow paced defining the intricate details of Mohan’s parents and siblings. Later it describes his student life and love story woven around the college premises and this doesn’t contribute much to the larger scheme of things. Also he meets his wife and then everything moves on frequently when suddenly there is a murder and Mohan moves to prison. The prison life is described in detail here. Yes! The theme keeps shifting like crazy and then Mohan is put into an infirmary where again lives of mentally affected people are given. There are two murders in the story. The intention behind the first one is quite convincing. But the second one was a little too much to digest. The plot failed to impress me in that part.

The cover page looks quite interesting and in the course of the story you realize the importance of two people in the book and the title seems just apt. If a Bollywood movie can be made out of this book, I can totally imagine Salman Khan playing such a kind of saviour like role. But for a debutante author, I appreciate him taking the plunnge to describe issue like child abuse in his first novel. The language used in the book is better than most of the IIT, IIM pass-out authors and you can surely spare a day for readng this out. I would give it a 3 on 5 stars for the effort of the author in his first book.

Rating: 3/5(You can surely give it a chance but you won’t miss out on anything if you skip it.)

Source: loadstoread.wordpress.com/2014/08/21/the-unwanted-shadow-by-bhaskarrya-deka
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