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review 2020-03-16 19:17
Recipe for Persuasion
Recipe for Persuasion - Sonali Dev

Please not that I received this via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review. 


Trigger warnings: Rape 


I loved the first book in this series so much. Sonali Dev did a great job with retelling Pride and Prejudice and with her next re-telling I went, oh no. No. No. This book was too all over the place. Reading the description you think you would be focused on the heroine (Ashna Raje) and the hero (Rico Silva) but nope, we also get into Ashna's mother's life prior to her marrying Ashna's father. I ended up being more fascinated about her life than what went on with Ashna. No one was developed very well due to the flopping back and forth. And honestly, I didn't like the final resolution with Ashna. I still don't think she's passionate about being a chef. I wish that she had acknowledged that and did something else. FYI, the book does quote Persuasion, but even my favorite line ever in the history of literature was enough to save this book. 


"Recipe for Persuasion" follows Ashna Raje. Ashna is running her late father's business, "Curried Dreams." Too bad the business is about to fail. Unable to cook anything besides her father's recipes, Ashna is not able to do much in the kitchen. When her sous chef quits she doesn't know what she will do. When her cousins nag her to do a celebrity cooking show, she thinks she may have figured out how to save her father's restaurant. 


Rico Silvia is recovering from a career ending sports injury. He is celebrating his best friend's upcoming wedding. During that, he starts to realize that his latest relationship ended because he didn't let himself fall in love. And he realizes he didn't because of his first love who turned him away. When Rico hears about Ashna being in a celebrity cooking show, he makes sure that he appears on the show as her partner. 


The third character in this book is Ashna's mother, Shobi. Shobi was married to the former prince (Bram Raje). We slowly find out how awful the marriage was and how Shobi's life turned out the way it did. She wants to get closer to Ashna, but doesn't know how. 


I have to say that Ashna bored me and got on my nerves. She blindly ignores everything she knows about her father and then somehow gets a realization about things. Girl you should have been woke up. We find out that she used to love sports (just like her mother) until she didn't and why. I wish that Dev had did a bit something different with her in regards to the ending.

Rico was a head scratcher. I honestly didn't get why he was into Ashna at all. I think that's the biggest problem I had. Dev writes them as teenagers, but there's nothing there. I saw zero chemistry between them as teens to make them be this decades long love story that just had to get together. I was also perplexed about some of Rico's past, but Dev doesn't delve into it enough. Heck she barely delves into Ashna's all the way through. We just hear things piecemail.

Shobi's backstory was more developed, which pushed me to thinking that this book should have been her story more than Ashna's. It would have set up nicely with a Persuasion type setting. Heck maybe even set it up to be retelling of Mansfield Park. Parts of the book would have worked for that maybe. I don't know. I was just frustrated and saddened when we get the full storyline here. 


We get prior characters showing up in this one which was nice, but I found myself caring more about them than Ashna.


The writing was solid, the story was not. The flow was awful. Juggling through characters, different time periods and then the present day was too much. 

The ending tied things up in a much too tidy bow to be believed. 

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text 2020-03-16 17:25
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
Recipe for Persuasion - Sonali Dev

Woof. I did not like this. I loved Persuasion and this was not good. I think the biggest issue that Dev had this following now only Rico and Ashna. But also Ashna's mother, her aunt, and then the books jumps back and forth to different timelines for all of the characters.

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review 2019-08-03 21:59
A Bollywood Affair
A Bollywood Affair - Sonali Dev

Mili and Virat were married. Mili just happened to be 4 and Virat was 12. Virat's mom takes him and his brother Samir away to the city to live to escape their grandfather (you guessed right- he is an abusive asshole!). Virat and family go on with their lives, believing the marriage null and void. On the other hand, Mili and her grandmother continue to wait for Virat to acknowledge they exist.
Mili's main goal in live is to be a good, loving, and the best ever wife. I thought she was in love with being in love. How can you love someone you met when you were 4 (once) and never, ever saw them again? Yeah, no. While I admired Mili (going to the US for a couple of semesters), I was also frustrated with her. I thought she was a little too nice and trusting at times. The clumsy heroine trope was well satisfied too. I mean if she tripped/fell one more time my eyes would have been stuck in the back of my head.
Now Samir. Virat's 1/2 brother. I hated him. Now, in my books, I don't have to love the hero at first. It's okay if I dislike/hate at first because as the story goes on, I usually grow to at least like them. Samir was a disappointment because I didn't like him by the end of this book. Samir was the type of guy who dated and dated a lot. Women were purely things that he put his dick in. How dare the person you are having sex with confess FEELINGS for you! The nerve! Without knowing Mili she is a "sick bitch," and a "gold digging opportunist." Then of course they meet, he has doubts, realizes he was a fucking asshole (I wish) etc. I didn't like that he wasn't truthful to her before they were intimate.
I thought the end of the book was rushed. I did like Samir's family. I liked Virat, his wife Rima, and his mom. I liked the secondary story involving Sara.
I did enjoy this book (kind of) and would another one by author to see if all her heroines/hero are similar.
Ripped Bodice Bingo- takes place in multiple countries (would also work for road trip)

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review 2019-05-11 22:30
Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev
Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors - Sonali Dev

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The truth was, he was right about many things—things she could change, like how she treated people. He was also wrong about a few—things she could not change, like who she was. 

In this start to the Rajes series, Sonali Dev gives us an emotional look into a royal Indian family that migrated to America. The title gives a clue that Ms. Dev took inspiration from Jane Austen, Trisha is our arrogant still waters run deep Mr. Darcy while DJ is our making some snap judgments Elizabeth. There is also a villainous Wickham character, older sister (already married) worried about her beau wanting someone else, sick younger sister, mother pressuring children to get married, and other little takings that Pride and Prejudice readers will recognize. It's all inspired by and not based on and I loved how Dev put her spin on the tale. 

It had been fifteen years. Fifteen years since Trisha had been shut out of her brother’s political career, the family’s most precious dream. 

The beginning focuses on Trisha, a young brilliant brain surgeon, and the dynamics she has with her family. Her family is rather large but I never felt overwhelmed with characters, Dev is amazing at weaving sibling, parent, cousin, and grandparent relationships into the fabric of the story. We learn how Trisha feels like an outcast in her family because of how a friendship (Julia Wickham) ended up hurting her brother Yash, a US District Attorney gearing up to make a run at California Governor. I can't even put into words how Dev expertly touches on and relays all those complicated family feelings; you'll get sucked in believing the Rajes are a real family and probably personally connect with some of their issues. 

“Looks like we’re stuck together for the sake of our sisters.” He pulled the door shut, put the car in gear, and shot off around the looping driveway, watching her disappear in his rearview mirror. She didn’t look any happier at the prospect than he was. 

DJ comes into the story with the opposite of a meet-cute with Trisha, leaving him to believe she's an arrogant snob. He also turns out to be the older brother of Emma, a patient of Trisha's. Emma has a brain tumor that other doctors have said is inoperable, but Trisha has developed a way to remove it, however, it would leave Emma, an artist, blind. Emma wants to refuse the surgery and DJ is mad that Trisha won't heavily push her. They are forced to spend more time together when, because of his friendship with one of Trisha's cousins, leads to him catering for her brother Yash's campaign fundraiser. Further complicating matters is Trisha's past enemy, Julia, snaking around DJ and Emma. 

My sister is not live tissue. But DJ Caine was wrong. That’s precisely what Emma had to be to her, because Trisha knew exactly what to do with misbehaving live tissue. 

Trisha is harder to warm up to right away, she is a bit arrogant but Dev deftly draws out her character through showing how she grew up, the dynamics, her guilt, her love for her family, and the very essence of what makes Trisha such a brilliant surgeon. Her character is a master class in giving what people need from you while still staying true to your core and finding someone who understands and loves you because and despite it all. It takes a little longer to get to DJ but Dev gives him as much depth and breadth to his character as Trisha. His background, parent's situation, racial and class divisions, relationship with surrogate mother, and being responsible for Emma at a young age, breath life into his thoughts, feelings, actions, and motivations. 

The romance is all at once the background and motivation for the story, family dynamics steal the show often enough but without those dynamics driving the story, the romance would not flourish and feel as complete the way it does. Their relationship is very biting at first but as Dev peels back the layers on Trisha and Dev, it becomes clear how they are talking at cross purposes to each other and you begin to root for these two to clear up misunderstandings and give into what their hearts are trying to tell them. 

As I said earlier, there is no way to touch on all the characters and threads that make this such an enriching full story. I don't know if it is a term but this read like literary romance, Dev beautifully began a woven tapestry of the Raje family. I've called Dev a “lip quivering” author and while the emotions can be quite raw at times, there is always an underlining hopefulness to her writing that makes me believe that love will win in the end. I'm utterly invested in the Raje family and can't wait for the next in the series.

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text 2019-05-09 18:47
Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors - Sonali Dev

Why were men such complicated beasts anyway? Relationships felt like full-time babysitting jobs crossed with high-level code cracking.


Dev is a "lip quivering" author, can't read her books in public because of the striking emotion.

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