Tag Archives: romance

The Great Godden, by Meg Rosoff: A Magnificent Tale

Today I am sharing my thoughts on THE GREAT GODDEN, by Meg Rosoff, a stunning story of family, love, and betrayal, set during one long summer.

A definite must-read for fans of CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, and SWIMMING IN THE DARK!

The Great Godden, by Meg Rosoff

(This blog post may contain affiliate links. That means I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links. It does NOT COST you EXTRA)

(This blog post also contains a review copthat was sent to me by publishers. However, all opinions expressed are my own and in no way influenced by external parties)

synopsis

Everyone talks about falling in love like it’s the most miraculous, life-changing thing in the world. Something happens, they say, and you know.

That’s what happened when I met Kit Godden. I looked into his eyes and I knew. Only everyone else knew too. Everyone else felt exactly the same way.

This is the story of one family, one dreamy summer – the summer when everything changes. In a holiday house by the sea, our watchful narrator sees everything, including many things they shouldn’t, as their brother and sisters, parents and older cousins fill hot days with wine and games and planning a wedding. Enter two brothers – irresistible, charming, languidly sexy Kit and surly, silent Hugo. Suddenly there’s a serpent in this paradise – and the consequences will be devastating.

From Meg Rosoff, bestselling author of the iconic novel How I Live Now, comes a lyrical and quintessential coming-of-age tale – a summer book that’s as heady, timeless and irresistible as Bonjour Tristesse and The Greengage Summer.

my review

One of the best new literary fiction of contemporary times, THE GREAT GODDEN is a beautiful story of a summer set by the sea, a summer that leaves devastating scars on the people of this family.

The Great Godden and The Great Gatsby

I loved how reminiscent it was of THE GREAT GATSBY. The title even, for that matter, felt like wordplay on this modern tale. Very much like how Jay Gatsby has put Daisy Buchanan on a pedestal and made this huge illusion of her, so much about the charming and enigmatic Kit Godden is all about illusions, all smokes and mirrors.

The characters

I loved the way the author let us know about the characters, all these players in the play, bit by bit. The relationships that bind them all are also explored in nuances. I believe that THE GREAT GODDEN is as much a study in human psychology as it was a tale of a family in the throes of summer before school starts again. While it wasn’t that strong on the psychology point, there were certain shades of it and I often wondered about why the characters did what they did. In the end, you are left to wonder, who is the ‘Great Godden’ – Kit or Hugo.

Verdict!

Overall, I loved this book and I definitely will be going back to it again! I recommend all to pick it up again and again! A definite 5/5 stars!

Check it out on:

Goodreads
Amazon
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Temporary Wife Temptation: A modern-day romance!

Temporary Wife Temptation
Temporary Wife Temptation

This was a modern-day marriage-of-convenience story that was a beautiful combination of tradition, romance and family values. I love how the author has given an Eastern twist to it – since most of the stories that follow this trope are set in the western world. I feel that when it comes to the Eastern side of the world, it just gets a lot more complicated. We have a family to deal with, we have extended family to deal with and so on.

I loved how these characters were well rounded. Apart from the budding romance, there are also the subplots – mostly the hurdles the two characters are trying to overcome. Garrett and Natalie are two people who are goal-oriented and know what they want. Garrett was the perfect alpha male – he was so encouraging and applauded Natalie’s business acumen.

Check it out on Goodreads!

I also loved that he was not the obsessive possessive lover that seems to be the equation nowadays. The way they blossomed was great – both as a couple as well as individually. The power imbalance, however, surprisingly was not much of a deterrent in their relationship and I huffed in satisfaction at that. Also, the sexual build-up was great although they did seem to have instant chemistry.

Check it out on Amazon!

However, one thing that I did not particularly like was how each chapter would begin suddenly. There was no thread of continuity there and I would have appreciated it if there were. However, it was a quick and interesting love story! I rated it  4/5 stars!

My experience with the graphic novel

With reference to Pumpkinheads and Vyasa

Vyasa and Pumpkinheads
Vyasa and Pumpkinheads

I finally started reading the graphic novel from 2019 and it honestly has been a great journey so far. In my 5th semester, I decided to pursue a Visual Studies elective. I was lucky enough to have a great teacher under whom I explored this genre and saw what fun it is!

Graphic novel: Pumpkinheads

I recently picked up Pumpkin Heads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks and it was my first graphic novel of the year. To be very honest, I was suffering from a terrible reading slump and so I wanted to read something fun and not very intense. That is the reason why I decided to pick up Pumpkinheads, about which my bestie Gayatri had been raving about from the time she read it. and I really enjoyed it. It certainly helped me get over my slump.

Check out the book on Goodreads and Amazon!

However, on that very note, it span over the time period of just a few hours. It is not a book with a lot of depth, so if that is what you are expecting it to be, you might be disappointed. I found it be a fun and flirty read. Moreover, it has great LGBT representation and it definitely broke free of the generic stereotypes of boys and girls. Lastly, I was blown away by the amazing art. The predominant colours were that of orange, burnt ochre, and all the autumn colours, which made the book an art piece to feast on. I certainly enjoyed every bit of it. It was a 3.75 star read for me.

Vyasa and Pumpkinheads: a glimpse
Vyasa and Pumpkinheads: a glimpse

Graphic novel: Vyasa

After that I was so in love with pictures that can take over your imagination, that I decided to go after another graphic novel and this time, I picked up Vyasa. This book is on the Indian epic Mahabharata, a personal favourite. The story is by Sibaji Bandyopadhyay and the art is by Sankha Banerjee. The way this book was written was amazing. I loved the recurrent jumps in time and the overall framing structure that combined the stories within the story. However, it was only the first part and I was left dangling.

Now I am eagerly waiting for the sequel to Vyasa: The Beginning. The art in this book is stunning as well and I was spellbound throughout. The fact that I finally have pictures that can accompany the stories I, and we all, grew up with, was a wonder in itself. I absolutely loved this book and I rated it 4.5 star read for me.

Check out the book on Goodreads and Amazon!

Check out similarly themed books: Upon a Burning Throne, What if it’s you?, etc.

A Ticklish Affair

A Ticklish Affair is a short story collection that revolves around quite a few different themes and is quite ticklish to read!

A Ticklish Affair is a short story collection that revolves around quite a few different themes and is quite ticklish to read!

About A Ticklish Affair

A man is blackmailed for a past he never had, and an unrequited love story binds two lovers.
A man waits for his lover, only to be killed at her hands, and a girl takes back her life from her tormentor.
From the bestselling authors of The Peacock Feather comes another delightful offering, A Ticklish Affair, and Other Stories. 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.

A fabulous read!

A collection of ten short stories, A Ticklish Affair was quite an interesting read. I loved it for the variety it gave to me as a reader. All the various stories covered different themes and as such gave important life lessons through them. Despite the vibe that the title of the book gives it, that of a collection of love stories, the stories are all focusing on different main plots. However, what binds them all together is the conglomeration of basic and universal human emotions like love, faith, hope, self-respect, hatred, the thirst for revenge, etc.

The language was simple and yet very beautiful, and as such, it was easy to read. Moreover, the imagery present was realistic as well. The narrative style used by the author is great and the stories easily suck you in. I really enjoyed these stories and would definitely recommend you pick up this book.

A Ticklish Affair gets 4/5 stars from me!

Disclaimer: I received a review copy from the publishers in return for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Amazon Goodreads

Some other reviews you might like: Mr. Eashwar’s Daughter, The Broken Amoretti, The Printed Letter Bookshop etc.

The Broken Amoretti, by Sudipto Das and Aparajita Dutta, 2019

Title: The Broken Amoretti

Author: Sudipto Das, Aparajita Dutta

Publisher: Olive Turtle, in imprint of Niyogi Books

Genre: Romance

Format: Paperback

Language: English

No. of pages: 296

Synopsis:

“Unusually bold narrative… Almost lyrical in nature” Times of India

To begin afresh, after her broken marriage, Saoli returns to India and starts living in Prembajar at the house her grandfather had bought from Bitasta’s father. While cleaning the house, Saoli comes across an old diary, perhaps belonging to Bitasta’s mother, Panchali. The diary has a very cryptic poem written in dactylic hexameter, the archaic meter of the ancient Greek epics. Aware of the fact that Sairandhri didn’t let her son, Parush, marry Bitasta, even though Sairandhri and Bitasta’s mother were the best of friends, Saoli gets in touch with the reckless Parush, recently accused in a high-profile IP theft case in the US. As Parush tells Saoli about his heedless and shattered life, his unrequited love affair with Bitasta, his lifelong hatred for his mother, and his topsy-turvy corporate career in the US, Saoli unearths the darkest secrets 
hidden in the cryptic poem for so long. 

Why didn’t Sairandhri want Parush to marry Bitasta? Why was Bitasta the only person she wished to see on her death-bed? Why had she been nothing more than a beautiful but lifeless mural at home? The cryptic poem has the answers. 

Join Saoli and Parush in their journey to decode the past and discover their real identities, where love can never be chained by stereotypes. It’s time to set love free!

My review:

I received a review copy from a PR agency in return for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

So I had no idea this book would contain so many Greek references when I picked it up. Anyway, The Broke Amoretti is a story told through Saoli’s perspective, a woman who has recently separated from her husband and has settled as a lecturer at IIT Kharagpur. She meets Parushni in a seminar and the story begins from then on. Parush and Bitasta had a famous romance although Parush’s mother Sairandhri never let him marry the woman he loved, despite the fact that Bitasta’s mother Panchali was her bosom friend. It had always remained a mystery and as Saoli tries to decipher the meaning of the enigmatic poem she finds in Panchali’s diary, we come to know more about this story.

The character of Saoli was with multiple layers – she is suffering after that separation from her husband. She is a brilliant scholar, and she is also a kind friend. However, at times I found that her reactions to things that were not actually right (in terms of literature) was contemptuous and I am not sure that I something I appreciate in people, to be honest.

Moreover, Bitasta was not a likeable character for me. It seemed as if she had a chip on her shoulder and I did not like the way her behaved with Parush. It was just too complicated for me.

The most important themes shown here is the LGBTQ spectrum of love and relationship, especially in India. Parushni and Saoli in fact have a common theme in their papers – lesbianism, back when they first met. This theme itself runs and weaves so many events together in the story, it proves to be an important one not just in societal aspects but in terms to the story as well.

There is an inclusion of Greek mythology throughout the book. For instance, Rikshi and Kalyani are compared to Artemis and Callisto. The juxtaposition of Greek mythology against Tagore, Kalidasa’s stories and poems abounded the book. While I appreciate the authors’ attempts at this inclusion, I am not sure if they gelled well, although they did seem to, superficially. Another thing I did not like was that there were too many characters and their interrelationships were too complex for me to remember.

However, the writing style is lovely. Literary allusions are always welcome to read about and I enjoyed them very much. The inclusion of various subplots and doing away with the Unity of action was well done.

Verdict:

I rate this book 3.5/5 stars.

About the reviewer:

Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc.  She can be contacted at nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com .

Mr. Eashwar’s Daughter , by Debeshi Gooptu, 2019

Title: Mr. Eashwar’s Daughter

Author: Debeshi Gooptu

Publisher: Juggernaut Books

Published on: May, 2019

Genre: Contemporary fiction/romance/classic retelling

Format: E-book

Language: English

No. of pages: 229

Recommended for: for fans of Jane Austen

Synopsis:

A modern retelling of Jane Austen’s classic novel, Persuasion. Eight years ago, family pride and an obstinate father had forced Anamika Eashwar to let go of the love of her life. Now he’s back again, a decorated captain of the Indian Navy. Will life offer her a second chance?

My review:                                 

I really enjoyed reading Mr. Eashwar’s Daughter. It is the perfect modern day Jane Austen retelling with a heroine who is just as dear and relatable. Often ignored and overlooked this is a love story spanning years and oh my god, I love it.

Being an Indian retelling, the element of the family is just as important. When it comes to Anamika’s character, I couldn’t help but feel that she is somewhat of a pushover. However, in regards to this protagonist, this is also a bildungsroman novel, where at the end, Anamika asserts her own self and her own identity and sheds all inhibitions, and also finds love in the process.

Verdict:

I rate this book a solid 4/5 stars!

About the reviewer:

Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc.  She can be contacted at nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com .

Tied Hearts: Lust, Love, Longing and Rajveer, by Vikram Singh, 2018

Title: Tied Hearts: Lust, Love, Longing and Rajveer

Author: Vikram Singh

Publisher: Partridge Publishing India

Genre: LGBTQ+ / Romance/ Contemporary

Format: Paperback

Language: English

No. of pages: 200

Synopsis:

After Veer begs a handsome stranger to give him a lift to the Gateway of India in Mumbai on New Years Eve, he inadvertently leaves his cell phone in the mans car. Moments after the clock strikes midnight, Veer calls his phone and is relieved when the driver answers. After they agree to meet the next day, neither has any idea that fate has just intervened in both of their lives. Veer is a graduate student pursuing his MBA. Raj is a native of Amritsar. Although the two men are vastly different in terms of their family backgrounds, values, thought processes, and beliefs, it is not long before they fall in love. Still, no matter how hard he tries, Veer cannot shrug the apprehension that haunts him from within. No one has a simple love story and neither do they. But when one of the men takes the other for granted, their bond is jeopardized. Will anything or anyone be able to save it before it is too late? In this romance, two Indians intertwined in a web of forbidden love must attempt to overcome several obstacles in order to move forward in their relationship. 

My review:

I received a review copy from the author in return for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Tied Hearts was an enjoyable read. With a gradual and steady buildup, the author is able to portray that love is love. Writing about a homosexual love story is not easy in India – after all, like the character Ranjit from Mahesh Dattani’s On a Muggy Night in Mumbai, it is impossible to be both “Indian and gay”. I applaud the author for daring to write on this still precarious topic.

The plot has been well constructed and the characterization on point. The romance between Veer and Raj is just like any other romance with a heterosexual couple and the author simply wants to say that it does not matter if a boy loves a girl or if he even loves another boy, but that their love is what matters. Love does not see any race, colour, creed or gender. A person’s sexuality is in no way a factor to determine who he/she falls in love with.

The social constructs surrounding the two men are very realistic thus making this story more relatable. With mentions of their differing family backgrounds, values, thought processes, and beliefs, the author brings in various aspects of a person’s life that determine the way he acts in society and his personality.

The concept of the ‘forbidden’ is seen in this book as well as the concept of the ‘other’, and the poet does this through the two protagonists – Veer and Raj, who just because of their ‘not-normal’ lifestyle, normal implying the majority of the heterosexual subjects in the book. I think this work was really well done.

Verdict:

I really enjoyed reading this book. I rate it a 4/5 stars.

About the reviewer:

Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc.  She can be contacted at nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com .

The Gentleman Sinner, by Jodi Ellen Malpes, 2019

Title: The Gentleman Sinner

Author: Jodi Ellen Malpas

Publisher: Forever (Grand Central Publishing)

Genre: Romance

Format: E-arc

Language: English

Synopsis:

An all-the-feels novel of fierce love overcoming a dark past from the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling THIS MAN series.

Izzy White knows of the darkness in this world. After all, she escaped it long ago. Determined not to let her past beat her, Izzy has a secure, stable life with a job she loves in nursing. But one act of kindness will completely upend everything she’s so carefully built-putting her right back in the crosshairs of danger she’s been so desperate to avoid.

When Theo Kane shows up like a knight in shining armor, Izzy can’t help thinking she’s been saved from one threat and exposed to another. His imposing physique, the harsh lines of his face, and the wariness of everyone who comes close are just a few clues to Theo Kane’s notorious reputation. The man is positively terrifying. But with Izzy, he’s tender and a complete gentleman, and her fascination with the mysterious beast of a man becomes too powerful for her to walk away.

As Theo’s demons come to light, running becomes even more impossible. And yet staying together could doom them both.

My review:

I received a review copy from the publishers in return for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

I think that the book will prove to be a great read. It is a romance book, yes, but I reckon that it will not be just that. From the brief portion that I did read, I could easily infer that the author will also deal with a number of issues through the characters. There is a lot of potential with the story, but mind you, it has the usual innocent girl- dominant hero trope that some do not like. Keeping aside that matter however, it also seems that the plot will ensure the development of the protagonists thus delivering us great character arcs. I am also curious to know how the author will bring about the main conflict and then lead to the climax.

Verdict:

I think that the novel has great potential and from what l have read, I rate it a 4/5 stars!

About the reviewer:

Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc.  She can be contacted at nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com .

Until Love Sets Us Apart, by Aditya Nighhot, 2018

Title: Until Love Sets Us Apart

Author: Aditya Nighhot

Publisher: Fingerprint! Publishing

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format: Paperback

Language: English

No. of pages: 232

Synopsis:

Aisha and Rohit are like chalk and cheese. While Rohit is completely aimless and imperfect, Aisha is focused and a perfectionist. Just two opposites. But don’t they say opposites attract?
He loves her . . . She loves him. Their wedding is on the cards but their love is put to the test when an unforeseen incident hits their lives. 
Can loving somebody immensely set you apart?
Can everything just change in the blink of an eye?
Inspired from real-life incidents, this ‘Best Romance Book of the Year’ award winning novel is a heart-wrenching tale of true love, friendship and destiny. And a young author’s quest to find out what exactly happened . . .

My review:

Until Love Sets Us Apart is a contemporary romance book with various shades of true love, friendship, destiny as well as darker shades of harassment, murders, rape etc.

While the book really begins on a light note – with a new life in a new college, it soon moves forward to more grisly situations. The author uses the flashback method to tell the journey and it provides an enrapturing story.

The cruel twist at the end really shocks the readers. It really explains why the story begins as it did with the just as cruel murders. While the author clearly states that he does not condone taking the law unto one’s hands, we cannot deny that there are many who do so. Again, there are many who would support this kind of thing and many others too who will not. Well, each to his own – but I believe that taking up the legal actions especially when one is not qualified to do so, is not justified.

The issue of rape is another significant theme in the novel and the way the author includes it in the story is heart-wrenching. Nonetheless, this sad and terrible thing is something quite common in our society despite the various measures taken up to stop it. I applaud the author for wrenching away the readers’ la vie en rose attitude and thus replacing the rose colored glasses with real ones that throw light on the much more darker and grim situations in life.

The plot is well planned out; the characters are also well rounded. However, what really challenged my reading is that I could predict what would happen and that, unfortunately dampened my reading experience.

Verdict:

It was an enjoyable and a book with depth. I rate it a 3/5 stars.

About the author:

Aditya Nighhot is pursuing his MBBS degree from a renowned college in Pune. He is a professional photographer, an avid reader and fond of music. As a twenty-year-old student, he feels that he can connect to the emotions of the youth and express this through his books. With social messages being the crux of his books, his writing has proved to be a boon to his audience; as a result, he has been interviewed by various radio stations. 
Aditya’s debut novel U n Me . . . It’s Complicated!!! was originally written as a hobby with limited copies printed for friends, family and a few readers. But the positive reviews he received encouraged him to write another novel. His book Until Love Sets Us Apart, previously titled In the Blink of an Eye, won the “Best Romance Book of the Year” Award and has inspired him to write more. He is currently working on his next novel.
Aditya enjoys interacting with his readers via his book and social media and always responds promptly. Connect with him on social media. 

About the reviewer:

Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc.  She can be contacted at nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com .

Right From the Start… She Stole His Heart, by Prachi Gupta and Sanchit Garg, 2018

Title: Right From the Start… She Stole His Heart

Author: Prachi Gupta and Sanchit Garg

Publisher: Finger Print Publishers

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format: Paperback

Language: English

No. of pages: 223

Synopsis:

Who says best friends can’t be cruel, they are angels with horns.
Radhika Gupta has always lived a peaceful life. Until she enters college and befriends a few crazy people. Nishi, the short and confident girl who soon becomes her best friend; Siddharth, the crazy, happy-go-lucky guy, always desperate for a girlfriend; Sameer, the college hunk and Manas, who is simple, shy and secretive.
While Siddharth has challenged Nishi that he would find a girlfriend for himself before she can find a boyfriend, Radhika’s life is turned upside down by Sameer’s proposal. For he is the guy she never wants to go out with, while he is determined to date her.
Following a series of amusing events, endless proposals and accidental cupids, who will end up with whom? Will the love stories have a happy ending or will they be doomed?
Witty and riveting, Right From the Start She Stole His Heart is a pacy romantic comedy. It will make you believe in the fact that opposites attract each other.

My review:

Right from the Start… She Stole his heart is a contemporary romance novel with elements of family, romance, comedy, and friendship as well as more serious shades of reality and its contrariness to hopes.  

When I first picked up this book, I did not expect to have the ending it did. In that, I really applaud the author for the unexpected ending. While a few may disagree, I am really satisfied with the ending. Are you intrigued to know what the ending is? In that case, do make sure to pick up the book.

The characters were well fleshed out and seemed very real. It is very easy to imagine that friends like them are ones we also have in college or school. Siddharth is the real fun element in the book and it was hilarious reading about him going about trying to get a girlfriend for himself. We all know a guy like that. Or a girl, even! Nonetheless, he is a truly good friend to her and I liked him. His bickering with Nishi in fact reminded me of the many fights I have with my own brother and made me laugh hard. Nishi is another well rounded character and seems quite mature except when she is in one of her fights with Siddharth. Sameer and Manas also provide a great background to this friendship and give depth to it as well.

The plot seemed a bit common to most contemporary romances. But nonetheless, it was entertaining to the reader. The cover is also pretty cool and goes along with the theme. The title of the book is a bit long and does also cover the essence of the book. It was a fun read overall. I finished the book in just one day and it was very entertaining.

Verdict:

I rate it 3/5 stars.

About the author:

She is a bestselling author of Novel, Accidentally Cupid. Written 3 novels in the span of 2 years, she left her job as a project manager to explore different career opportunities. It was the freedom of a freelance job which gave her the time to explore her talents and entered into writing. She now works as an editor and has started reviewing books on request. She is born and brought up in Ghaziabad

About the reviewer:

Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc.  She can be contacted at nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com .

Ping, by Rashi Dubey, 2018

Title: Ping

Author: Rashi Dubey

Publisher: Half Baked Beans

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format: Paperback

Language: English

No. of pages: 146

Synopsis:

Fasten your seat belts, and get ready for a high voltage roller-coaster ride!!!

Era of Yahoo chats, 2004. Riddhi desires nothing more than an average life. but a ‘Ping’ from Aarush changes the course of her life. Although both are poles apart, yet unknowingly seeking one common thing – ‘their life path’. And the journey begins with falling in love.

But will they make it to the end? Are two highly incompatible individuals capable of filling the gaps in each other’s imperfect lives to make it perfect? Is being in love much more than ‘forever togetherness’? Can love help you realize and fulfil your innermost desires?

Begin your ride with ‘Ping!’ to know more.

My review:

I got a free review copy from the publishers in return for an honest review.

Like the name of the book suggests, a great portion of the book is shown through messages – after all, it is set in a time when there was no Whatsapp, or Snapchat. In this regard the book is very nostalgic for all the 80s and 90s kids. Being a 90s kid myself, it also induced nostalgia in me. But now, gone are the days when we had to wait for emails to contact people and some were still using letters as a means.

Set in those times, the book also perfectly portrays the problems Riddhi and Aarush have to face as they get tangled up in the crazy web of love. Ping is set in 2004, an era of Yahoo chats. Our protagonist Riddhi is a college going girl, who simply wants an average life. But a Ping from our male protagonist changes the course of their life. From being acquaintances to good friends, to falling in love, Riddhi and Aarush have a rollercoaster ride forward.

This book also addresses the issue of long-distance relationship and how to tackle it. It is inevitable that they get frustrated at times, but Riddhi and Aarush overcome that and their love only remains strong. When the time comes for them to get married, of course life interferes. Read the book is you would like to know what happens – will they make it to the end? Are two highly incompatible individuals capable of filling the gaps in each other’s imperfect lives to make it perfect? Is being in love much more than ‘forever togetherness’? Can love help you realize and fulfil your innermost desires?

The author uses a simple language and everyone can understand it. However I found that the beginning was a bit boring because it use the same concept that is also available in so many more books. Perhaps including a twist may have been helpful in capturing the reader’s attention. Some parts were also stretched thing and unnecessarily elongated the narrative. The story become predictable towards the middle and that really affected my reading. I think that the plot overall, is quite common.

Verdict:

It was a good read but there is scope for development. I rate it 2/5 stars.

About the author:

Rashi Dubey is a software engineer by qualification, but her heart lies in reading and writing. She was brought up in India, in the city of Uttar Pradesh known as Aligarh. Currently, she is residing in Gurgaon with her husband and a five-year-old son. 

Apart from being a passionate reader and writer, she also enjoys travelling to new places, enjoys solitude, and loves trying different cuisines. She loves listening to fast beats and grooving on them. 

She has following books in her name as follows:

‘What Will People Think?’
‘The Heart Affair: A short story’
‘Ping!’

You can contact her at rashi.dubey811@gmail.com

About the reviewer:

Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc.  She can be contacted at nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com .

Honey and the Moon, by Samini Kusum, 2018

Title: Honey and the Moon

Author: Kamini Kusum

Publisher: Redgrab Books & Anybook

Genre: Contemporary/feminist

Format: Paperback

Language: English

No. of pages: 152

Recommended for: New Adult and above

Synopsis:

A novel to set your heart on fire! Love, lust, career, ambition, drive for success, failure, marriage, infidelity. Honey and the moon is the story of an ambitious career woman – Srishti. A woman who doesn’t blink to participate in a man’s world, but a woman who is also equally needy inside for a man to be there to support and love her. Conflicts of career success, relationship highs and lows and even infidelity enter Shrishti’s journey as she finds love, finds success, loses them and tries to find them again. Shrishti has courage to deal with life. But will she finally have it all drawn together in her maverick heart? Her story is a racy kaleidoscope of non-conformity and adventure. 

My review:

  1. Srishti, the protagonist is shown as a bold and self-assertive woman who is not afraid to live life on her own terms.
  2. Her characteristics were well pondered over by the author definitely and her journey throughout the book was interesting to read.
  3. The author has been able to include some very good and round characters in the book, albeit, her exploration of them is left wanting.
  4. Contrarily, some points have been elongated too much, and this stretching out has made the narrative seem boring at times.
  5. The pace at times, goes to fast and this makes the relativity quite less for the reader.
  6. The beginning was a bit slow but if you just go through with it, the pace picks up considerably.
  7. However, the book turned out not like I expected it. Where I was expecting a contemporary feminist story, the story turned out to be too mainstream for my taste.
  8. The protagonist’s search for love and a suitable man was not likeable for me. But I cannot disregard the societal norms and reasoning that the author has portrayed in the book – so realistically.
  9. The book definitely had a lot of potential but the execution has been left wanting.
  10. Certain mistakes can be corrected through a round of editing and grammar checks.
  11. The language overall is quite simply and can be understood by beginners.
  12. The cover, I feel, does not do justice to the book. It can be better. Also, the page quality can be so much better.

Verdict:

I rate this book a 3.5/5 stars.

About the author:

Author of “Honey And The Moon”, “A New Dawn” and “Secrets,Sins and Struggles”. Loves food, travel and yoga!

About the reviewer:

Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc.  She can be contacted at nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com .

Shadows of the Night, by Priyanka Lal, 2019

Title: Shadows of the Night

Author: Priyanka Lal

Publisher: Redgrab Books & Anybook

Genre: Short stories

Format: Paperback

Language:  English

No. of pages: 160

Recommended for: YA and above

My review:

Shadows of the Night is a collection of short stories by Priyanka Lal, all of which has been inspired by someone or the other in the author’s life.

The stories are:

  1. Love at Sixteen
  2. The Goan Chase
  3. Twist of Fate
  4. Shadows of the Night
  5. Two can Play
  6. Things…. That Happen by Chance
  7. Celebration of Loss
  8. Language of Love
  9. Wishes and Sighs
  10. Life is to Live
  11. Death do us Part
  12. The Last Wish and a New Beginning
  13. Does Love Last Forever

The stories are a wild collection of horror, romance, first-love, new beginnings, human resilience etc. I really enjoyed reading them all but the first one was definitely my favourite.

The language used is very simple so even beginners can read it. The narration was easy-going as well. I could not put the book down once I started reading honestly.

However, the editing can be worked on. As well as the book cover, for I do not think this cover did the book justice.

Verdict:

It was an enjoyable overall read. I rate it a 3/5 stars.

About the reviewer:

Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc.  She can be contacted at nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com .

The Matchmaker’s List by Sonya Lalli, 22nd January 2019

The Matchmaker’s List by Sonya Lalli

Title: The Matchmaker’s List

Author: Sonya Lalli

Publisher: Berkley, imprint of Penguin Random House

Genre: Romantic comedy

Format: Paperback

Language: English

No. of pages: 329

Recommended for: Romance genre lovers.

Synopsis:

One devoted modern girl + a meddlesome, traditional grandmother = a heartwarming multicultural romantic comedy about finding love where you least expect it.
Raina Anand may have finally given in to family pressure and agreed to let her grandmother play matchmaker, but that doesn’t mean she has to like it–or that she has to play by the rules. Nani always took Raina’s side when she tried to push past the traditional expectations of their tight-knit Indian-immigrant community, but now she’s ambushing Raina with a list of suitable bachelors. Is it too much to ask for a little space? Besides, what Nani doesn’t know won’t hurt her…
As Raina’s life spirals into a parade of Nani-approved bachelors and disastrous blind dates, she must find a way out of this modern-day arranged-marriage trap without shattering her beloved grandmother’s dreams. 

My review:

ARC provided by the Berkley publishers in exchange for an honest review.

The Matchmaker’s List was my first read of 2019 and it proved to be a really enjoyable and short read. I finished it in one day itself, in just around a couple of sittings.

Considering the fact that The Matchmaker’s List is a debut for the author Sonya Lalli, it ended up being one of the most enjoyable reads I have had this month, and I have already read around 10 so far.

The romance in this novel was so very realistic and as an Indian I really could relate to it. Raina Anand is your everyday individual with Indian roots and seeing the familial aspect that comes with all Indian families, I really loved it. As a character, she was very relatable – she is your average late-twenties girl, with her career in focus and with no intention of getting hitched. However, the certain heartache that comes with a returning flame is something many of us can relate to again. Her relations with her friends and her grandmother were adorable to read through and moreover, the dynamics of the relationship (or rather, the “non-existential” one) with her mother again, is one that has been created with quite the bit of careful interweaving of emotions. The author has been able to make Raina a very round character in this regard – and that is why she is so relatable to the reader as well.

The grandmother (nani) was also a very interesting character. Although I was very pissed off with her at times, for her meddlesome behaviour as she tried to control one aspect of Raina’s life (what she considered the most important aspect, mind you), her ability to accept and be there or her granddaughter when the time came – is very important. She is shown as a very caring and reformative woman, especially, after what she considers her failure in raising Raina’s mother- Manavi. The other characters – Asher, Dev, Shay, Depesh, Serena, Manavi (of whom I would have loved to read more), etc., were also well made.

The themes of friendship, love and relationships, family, etc were again, very much intertwined, so much so that one thing easily led to the other. Everything was related and the flow was consistent throughout. Homosexuality and its understanding and acceptance is also a key theme in this novel. Talking about the flow, the pacing of the story was just as good. The narrative was kept interesting until the very end.

However, what I would like to highlight is that The Matchmaker’s List is not just a romance or a chick-lit novel. There is quite some angst and emotion involved which one might consider dark, if they go in thinking it a mere rom-com read.

The writing style is also very smooth and reads like butter. The romance element is one of my favourite in the book, apart from the relationship that Raina has with her own self. Her growth as an individual, especially as the story progresses is remarkable and worth reading about. In one way, it still is a coming-of-age story with self-acceptance an underlying but just as important, theme.

The author has done a great job with this debut. Entertaining, intense and a very fun to read story, overall.

Verdict:

I rate it a 4/5 stars!

About the reviewer:

Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc.  She can be contacted at nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com .

Forever Disguised (The Angelheart Saga II), Annie Woods, 2018

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Title: Forever Disguised (The Angelheart Sage II)
Author: Annie Woods
Publisher: Pegasus Elliot Mackenzie Publishers
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Pages: 322
 
Synopsis:
Erica Lindell would give anything to turn back time. To get a second chance to make the right decisions. To undo the devastating mistake that ruined everything.
Left heartbroken after the loss of the love of her life, Sasha aka Prince Alexandre, Erica has to find a way to pick up the pieces of her shattered heart and live with the consequences of her actions. But finding the strength to go on with her life is not all she has to contend with. Soon, Erica finds herself in the midst of the evil feuding behind the attack on Sasha and she has to fight to protect herself and all that is near and dear to her.
Amongst all of the confusion, pain and hurt, Tyler proposes a solution that may solve all of her problems. But will Erica go through with Tyler’s crazy scheme?
The much-anticipated second book of the Angelheart Saga Trilogy is another enchanting, heart-wrenching story about the mistakes made in the name of love, full of drama, passion and surprising twists.
 
My review:
In Forever Disguised, the sequel to First Came Forever, we see Erica coping with her loss mostly. It is again, a roller-coaster ride and the pace doesn’t wane – the author has been excellent in preventing that.
I finished reading First Came Forever in literally 6 hours, I think – just a day, and I took two days for the sequel. If I didn’t have a test, I’d have probably finished it in a day as well. This is a wonderful series. So far only these two books have been out and I have no doubt that the third will be out soon; or at least I hope it’s soon. I’m going crazy with the wait. This series has everything – there is romance, friendships, family, and the effects of differentiating views and fights among friends, family, lovers and so on.
The love, the hate, the drama, the revenge, the fairy-tale was on point. What really makes the reader stick to these books is I think how realistic and thus relatable the author has made the story. It is as if one is seeing the events take place in front of her! The themes really grab on to the characters, and their actions, and through their actions and reactions, the reader as well.
The pace of the story was well-timed. The structure, the narrative style was also balanced and could keep the reader laugh, cry and smile at appropriate times (and howl with sorrow as well!) The character development is amazingly apt and again, well-paced. Nothing is rushed, and we see the characters evolve at a natural pace. The plot development again was really well done too.
Finding grammatical or even punctuation errors is often enough to put off the reader, and I am glad I never came across any. The editors have done a good job with it.
I wished to know what happened at the end and yet I wished for the story to never end – such is the power of this author. And now that I’m done with both, I can only cross my fingers and hope that the third will be released soon!
Verdict:
I really really enjoyed this book and can now only fangirl over it as I desperately wait for the next in the series to come out soon! I rate this a 4.5/5 stars.
 

Love is for life and beyond, Yashwant Kanodia, 2018

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Title: Love is for Life and Beyond
Author: Yashwant Kanodia
Publisher: Srishti Publishers and Distributors
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Pages: 212
Synopsis:
“Love is like a storm. It hits you without a warning and it affects you till your last breath.”
Nikhil is relishing a perfect life – a family that loves him beyond measure, a dream that he is sure to fulfill and the love of his life Shanaya. The day he thinks life couldn’t have been better, it unravels its plots one by one, cracking the very foundation of his perfect life and breaking his heart into a million pieces.
Just when he decides to give up, he crosses paths with Ridhima – a girl with a stained fate, who finds in him her fulfillment.
Will Nikhil forget his first love, whom he promised to love for life and beyond?
Love is for Life and Beyond is a story of love, destiny, and dreams, which will wobble your perceptions about love and will coax you to taste the holiness of love.
In an era where love can be just a swipe away, can true love find its way back?
 My review:
Shanaya as a character is very immature and irritating. And I found Nikhil to be a very immature person as well. And very impractical at some point because for instance, this guy refuses to go to a very good university since his mother is diagnosed with stage I breast cancer. She undergoes a successful operation for this though, mind you. And in the words of Nikhil, he would rather “spend the entire life with [his] family”. He is too dramatic at times, and although the plot was pretty good, these characters made it impossible to read through the story. I will not be wrong when I admit that these two characters literally spoiled the plot. Both of them were so illogical and impulsive at times, and super dramatic, I hated them.
The poems included in page 160 and 188, which Shanaya sends as a text message and then as an email to our male protagonist was actually nice. However, at a point I felt that Nikhil had a very fatalistic viewpoint and a stark either black-or-white view on life. He seems to not take into consideration at all, that life has unexpectedly multiple shades of grey at times as well.
Nonetheless, the themes explored on love, friendship, the betrayal aspect of a relationship as well as family dynamics. The pace was also well-adopted and carried the story forward without any jerks. The grammar and editing was also done well and it was good overall.
 Verdict:
I quite enjoyed this book except that the protagonists made me want to tear out my hair at times. I rate this a 3/5 stars.

Just Missed, Himanshu Bhatia, 2017

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Title: Just Missed
Author: Himanshu Bhatia
Publisher: Petals Publishers
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Pages: 232
Synopsis:
While we try to arrange marriages by matching horoscopes and compatibilities, we forget at times that “marriages are made in heaven”. We all love to say that Bollywood romantic movies are silly, and that they go overboard in their depiction of love, we actually secretly fantasize to be characters in them. Siddharth Gupta (lovingly called Sid) is an ISB alumnus, who is an ambitious perfectionist. He wants to go up the corporate ladder at a faster pace than his age, and is doing pretty well. In his matrimonial search, Sid meets Shreya Malhotra, who herself is an IIM graduate and very career oriented. He finds Shreya the epitome of the “Beauty with Brains” tag and develops a crush on her almost instantly. Shreya and Sid are going steady towards what looks like a ‘soon to be married’ state, but when has life been that simple! On her way to Bangkok for her friend’s bachelorette party, Shreya meets Shivam Malhotra, an IITian, with a living flirting tiger inside him. While Shivam’s cheesy lines ignite hatred in Shreya, it’s only the beginning of a story that doesn’t end in Thailand. “Just Married Missed!” is the journey of a practical arranged crush, chased by crazy filmy love.
My review:
In this portrayal of an almost Bollywood style of an Indian love story, we see the typical interference of the family when it comes to matters of love between two individuals. For instance, we have our female protagonist Shreya who is torn between her husband-to-be Siddharth and her friend Shivam. This confusion is written so realistically and as a reader we could feel the dilemma she was in, unknowingly in the beginning whereas it became starkly clear. The Indian match-making online business is portrayed is a really funny way and this book aptly described it. The author has been truly able to put into words the hectic surrounding of a typical big-fat Indian wedding which is even enough to make the groom get cold feet.  Although predictable, the plot and the way of writing was really engaging and keeps the author hooked on until the end.
Shreya’s character along with the subsequent character growth is remarkably well written and developed. It all seems natural which many an author fails to do. Shivam and Siddharth serve as foils to each other and also to Shreya because we see her panicky as well as affection, and friendliness towards them and how it morphs into something else later on.
Verdict:
Just Missed was a delightfully easy to read book, almost like a movie. The family drama makes it very realistic. It was a really enjoyable read overall. Definitely recommend. I rate it 4/5 stars.

Because I Love You, Dr. Pradip Chauhan, 2018


Title: Because I Love You
Author: Dr. Pradip Chauhan
Publisher: Anjuman Prakashan
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Pages: 192
Synopsis:
A grave smile on her face tried to hide the pain, she had decided to let feel him only beautiful moments she lived. Radha covered Kanaji’s head with her chunari, he closed eyes and submitted his body when she gently guided his head to her heart. He felt losing control over all his senses and could not feel himself when his head was on her heart. She closed eyes and let Kanaji enter herself; he felt soft, delicate and beautiful. He felt her silky hairs on his head; he felt being loved, being pampered by father, being scolded my mother. Girlish play with friends, affection of father and feeling like princess in father’s arm. But Kanaji did not want to feel only beautiful moments of her life, he invaded further; she did not know when he overpowered and reached the painful memory she had been hiding since days. Will Kanaji keep his promise after knowing truth?
My review:
Because I Love You, as a romantic novel was very much revolving around the classic fairytales, but not necessarily in a bad manner. At certain points, it were very philosophical musings that the author had decided to insert in. Nonetheless, the overall effect was quite pleasant.
The protagonists Radha and Naren immortalize the classic star-crossed lovers’ trope. As expected, there are a lot of differences between them and yet they do meet and fall in love.
Apart from the love angle, the author has explored the tribal regions of Gujarat where the story begins. The themes of love versus reality and expectations are something that every average human faces at least once in their lives and the author has tried and succeeded in putting it into words into a fictional story, that too.
Using a realistic methodology proves pleasant for the reader as it is already a flowing narrative, quite compelling that can grip the reader’s mind. The writing style was pretty easy and simple, as was the language aspect overall. The research done was also apt!
I did find a few errors which could have been avoided had the editing part been done more accurately and in a focused manner- for both grammatical as well as printing errors. The cover page also needs some work so that it can be more attractive; after all, we are more prone to judging a book by its cover, truth be told. I got the book as a part of the review program in Outset. https://rakhijayashankar.blogspot.in
Verdict:
This was actually a very wonderful read. The author has put in some real hard work and it clearly shines through. I also definitely recommend this book to all, you will surely not be disappointed. I rate the content a 4/5 stars!

Seductive Affair, Rishabh Puri, 2018

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Publishers: Srishti Publishers and Distributors
Genre: Romance
Synopsis:
Prisha Khatri is a regular college graduate, focused on her career, desperate to finally move out of her parents’ house… and freshly dumped by her successful fiancé. When she lands a job at a prestigious media house, she’s glad to have something to take her mind off her heartbreak.
What she doesn’t expect is to be landed on a business trip with a famously fiery reporter Rajesh Lagheri. He’s travelling to a business conference for a story, and doesn’t seem impressed by her involvement. But as soon as they’re out of the office, things change, and it becomes clear that there is more to Rajesh’s trip than meets the eye.
As Prisha is drawn into the story he’s trying to hide from their editor, their hunt for the story grows more intense, and she finds herself growing closer to Rajesh. As their chemistry threatens to overwhelm them and Prisha is pulled deeper into the Seductive Affair, she must decide what matters most to her – matters of the head, or of the heart.
My review:
Seductive Affairs was the second book I read in August and I have not been disappointed. Now there have been many negative reviews regarding this one, but I would like to point out that although it wasn’t a serious read, Seductive Affairs was a perfect romance book. I love the fact that it was kept short without any parts that dragged unnecessarily, and a very Mills and Boon-esque vibe.
The plot was pretty simple and the way the author went about it was great too. I found the pacing well-proportioned and subsequently, the flow of the whole story was very pleasant. It is to be noted however that Seductive Affair is quite literally a light read- a mindless one. It’s very easy-peasy and hardly evokes any strong emotions in the reader. This is the type of book that would do well as s slump-reliever.
The characters were also very well made; I found Prisha a true woman of the world- she’s not willing to be suppressed in the face of an ultimatum to either choose the guy or her dream. I found her to be an independent and amazing girl- worth being an idol. Rajesh was also worth admiring- his drive and determination show that hard work with passion truly leads you to the past of success. The cover was also very alluring and I do believe that it portrayed something very much related to the title of the book. The synopsis shown was also very good!
Verdict:
I rate this book 3/5 stars. It was a truly fun read.

My Love is Away From Mortality, Vansh Arora, 2018

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Publishers: Kalamos Literary Services
Synopsis:
What will you do if the love you nurtured with utmost care walks into the territory of evilness?
TheManav, an atypical sleepyhead cares about nothing but his sleep. Life is good for him as long as he is in the premises of his bedroom.
Aditi, a pro-level pessimist boasts her proficiency in envisioning worst possible consequences of every situation.
After bumping in to each other, the course on which their life was previously treading begins to witness a complete transformation. The tender age pushes them to believe what they shared was more than a mere comradeship. They try to repel the feeling at first, but it intensifies to such an extent that both of them end up getting swallowed by it.
However, they must keep an out for the lurking danger as there is a person who is on the quest to bereave them of something which will certainly put their and whole world’s fate in jeopardy.
How will their destiny unfold?
My Review:
The plot was pretty well prepared by the author even though I felt that it was being unnecessarily dragged at some points. The themes of friendship, love and other emotions such as apathy, anger, faith etc., showcased the humane factor and made the story more relatable as well as the characters themselves. The little snippets of the horror story also lent quite the mystery to the whole book, and I think we will only know more about the entire story in the sequel. The twist at the end was something I did not expect at all!
The characters were somehow very likable to me. To be truthful, I wasn’t entirely fond of either Manav or Aditi as I am completely opposite to what they are, but then as the story slowly progressed, I did start to accept them as human beings and like them too. The other characters were also complex in their own ways, especially Kusha. Without revealing much, I shall just say that you’re in for a ride! The blurb was also a plus point as it attracted me for sure. And that’s why I decided to give it a chance.
My verdict:
I rate this story a 3/5 stars and look forward to the sequel.

When Broken Hearts Meet, Arushi Vats, 2018

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Publishers: Notion press
Genre: Fiction/Contemporary/Romance
Synopsis:
Avanti meets Suhaas. They become friends. Avanti is a conflicted girl, shattered in the tussle between her past and present and Suhaas is the typical prince charming who has two sides, one which he keeps to himself and the other which he shows to everyone. As their story proceeds ahead, both of them begin to feel affinity for each other. But deep in the realms of their hearts dwells chaos that occurs because of their past relationships. Avanti and Suhaas’s friends make efforts to unite them as they know that they love each other. Eventually, it’s up to Suhaas if he will confess his love or not but the important question arises here is, will Avanti find the courage to leave behind her tumultuous past and embrace her love story?
My review:
The story is basically of two people who try to overcome various hurdles in their love for each other. That being said, the plot was pretty well developed, however, the author’s approach to it can be changed. The twists and turns introduced were pretty fair although some bits were overly dramatized and the pace was abrupt all the while.
Now, I honestly didn’t like the protagonist- Avanti; she was just too weak and spineless and also too confused all the time. Moreover, she hardly takes a stand for herself. She is also too negative and stubborn, and that too not in a good way either. The pace of her budding relationship is also too fast with Suhaas, who for that matter, was a pretty petty and immature boy himself. The author would have done well to have invested some more time building the foundation of their relationship. The friends of Avanti as well seemed to be too interfering and considering their age, too inappropriate.
The editing could have gone better and I just had to drag myself in the second half of the book. But that’s a personal opinion. Although this is a book I won’t be picking up again, I would recommend light romance lovers to go for it.
Verdict:
I rate this a 2/5 stars for the plot, and the intricate twists and turns added by the author, especially the ending. The author definitely has the capacity to produce better works than this in the future.

Child of Paradise: Listen to your dreams, Pratibha R DH, 2017

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Publisher: Flugel Publishing House
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Pages: 340
Blurb:
Life takes an unexpected turn when Tia meets the boy whom she secretly had a crush on all through her school years. Not only does Ron steal her heart but he seems equally besotted in a true blue sense of the word. Tia’s friends who had always known about her infatuation are more than thrilled as Ron is absolutely a girl’s dream come true – a stunner with a heart of gold.
Everything seemed just so perfect and it looked like the universe finally heard her wishes…if not for one person who didn’t want her to be with Ron. And it was none other than the person Tia loved most in the world – Rianna, her sister. The bizzare part of it all was that Rianna was no longer alive! Tia was continuously haunted by dreams of her sister who kept warning her off Ron.
Her sister’s case being closed off by the police as suicide was something that had left Tia deeply perturbed even years after her passing away. As Tia follows her instincts and tries to solve the mystery surrounding her sister’s death she comes up with evidence that might just open up a can of worms and shatter her whole family.
Will she be able to fulfil her sister’s last wish? Will she make the right choice between love and justice? This story is a journey of corporate ambition, greed, lust and betrayal. A paranormal crime novel that will take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions and family drama while at the same time leave you twitching to unearth the mystery of a death, unresolved.
My Review:
Child of Paradise was quite an interesting read and I have never read a paranormal crime fiction of this type before. The author has obviously done quite a lot of research before writing this book and it is evident from the first chapter itself- from the medical stuff to the psychic/spiritual ones. That was commendable in itself.
The plot of the novel has been well laid out and it is clear from the different twists and turns we come across as we keep on flipping the pages. Different forms of the novel such as an epistolary, a bildungsroman, and also, of course, social novel, could be seen. The framing devices, though a few, used by the author through the use of the emails, text messages and letters, works really well and binds the story together. We also see the mental growth of not only the protagonist but also of the dead sister herself. The social aspects that the reader brought in through the different conversations, meetings in the story as well as the work lifestyle were very well portrayed, keeping in mind the real situation in India. The themes of love- familial, platonic as well as romantic; friendship, and mystery were very well planned out. The writing was beautiful and very well edited and I hardly found even a single grammar/editing error. The way of writing was also very relatable and the author could incite laughter from me as I read the funny interactions among the characters in the novel. The events are also very nostalgic at parts without being monotonous.
The characters were well formed and the author has taken pains to make them as believable as possible- they are round, displaying a number of emotions for a number of various situations around various people. The relatability that the reader can share with the characters in the book is very high as well. The author has also subtly invoked the image of the independent women, one that I love.
The one thing that I didn’t like was the introduction of so many characters because it made me very confused. Frankly, I was lucky since I always sort of take notes or make family trees when I read a book. The cover was nice in a simple sort of way, but there is much scope for it, especially the spine of the book. I honestly have no other issue beyond these.
Verdict:
This book was a great read, and I really enjoyed it a lot. Definitely recommend for fans of thrillers, mystery and romance books. Would rate it as a 13+ book and I personally shall be picking up again. I rate this a 5/5 stars.

Raw Silk, Anne Mather, 1994

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Publishers: Mills and Boon Limited.
Synopsis:
Virgin or wanton…?
Oliver Lee is a man with a shadowed past. He is suspicious of everything and everyone…so when he meets Fliss, he thinks her innocence is an act. Fliss may be innocent, but when Oliver’s around she can’t help behaving as if she is a woman of the world. Fliss is tempted to throw caution to the winds, because life with Oliver seems to offer such exciting possibilities. The passion he inspires in Fliss is just like raw silk–beautiful, unique and desirable. But like raw silk, it is fragile…. Only love will help it survive.
My review:
As far as a Mills and Boon goes, I believe this one was pretty well constructed. The author has nicely embedded an intricacy through the mystery element in what is otherwise a bland plot line. I think this is the one thing that actually kept me stuck till the end.
Fliss as a character is not someone I admired; I found her too weak-willed and without a spine. And her reaction whenever Oliver was near was too overrated; I know certain things have to be a bit overrated in any romance novel but this, I believe, was just too much. I did enjoy Oliver’s character as well as Rose Chen’s. They were both powerful personalities worth admiring.
Verdict:
I rate this a 2/5 stars. It’s not something I’ll pick up anytime soon!

Not Worth Living For, Shreyan Laha, 2018

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Publishers: B!gfoot Publications
Synopsis:
Ishita Singh, a student of St. Pierce’s College, Mumbai was living a pretty normal life with her group of friends, a caring senior and scarily enough, a creep who followed her. Shweta wakes up in the unknown planet of Isthenope and sets out with Alexander Ishutin, a former spy of the RSV, to discover more about the unknown planet which was built for a future civilization. Underlying the lives of the two in completely different worlds, there lies a dark secret which was partially blacked out in some corner of Shweta’s memory and unknown to Ishita. Will they ever come to know about the secret or will it be so chilling that it won’t be worth living for?
My review:
I quite enjoyed this novel and would like to describe it as a utopian novel, along with elements of fantasy and adventure. It definitely keeps you hooked.
In terms of the plotline, the events were very well related to each other and one can see that the author has given a lot of attention to detail and planning. The outlandish elements as well as interesting to read and well-crafted. The space-time differences between the chapters were also very well maintained I feel like. Written in the third-person perspective, the language used is quite simple and easy to understand for non-native English speakers, even people not having English as their second language. The transitions in between the two worlds are amazing and gradual- not at all sudden and disjointed.
The characters were also very real and easy to connect to. You feel as if they are close to you as you read through. I found the flabbergasted Shweta a very interesting character- as she wakes up in Isthenope- a world far away from our solar system. Her romance with Alexander also blossoms beautifully and gradually. Ishita, on the other hand, tries to build her new life in Mumbai as she enrolls in an esteemed college. Her love story with Vivek, her classmate is also cute and wonderful to read- making one feel nostalgic about their own college days. Towards the end, you just cannot help but question Ishita’ sanity. And for the record, I hate Jay.
The themes of rape, the role of media in social life as well as of the police, were well explored. The overall story kept me hooked throughout, except for some parts in the middle. In terms of the cover, I think it could have been much better and I think that it matched with neither the story nor the title.
Verdict:
I enjoyed the book but I wouldn’t read it more than this once. I rate it a 3/5 stars.

Till the end of forever, Vivaksh Singh, 2018

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Publishers: Srishti Publishers & Distributors
Synopsis:
The past is always mysterious. It neither leaves completely, nor stays fully. Who would know it better than Ayaan. He was its victim. And so was Avani. When these two crumbled souls met, they realized in their togetherness that only a broken piece can complete another. Together, they start fighting the pain of their past, feeling the bliss of the present and appreciating their lives.
But just when they thought things were perfect, life played its cards.
Ayaan, who was trying to put life’s pieces together, broke down when he was held responsible for a closed one’s murder.
And Avani… well, her life was going to take such sharp turns that she would crave for death.
Alas, this was just the beginning of what destiny had planned for them!
Will Avani wait for the scars to heal or will she fight with her bruised soul? Why does the truth keep going deeper as she chases it?
Deeply sensitive and brutally thrilling, Till The End Of Forever is a romantic thriller that takes a dig in the dark sides of god, nature of human pain, power of selfless care, and proves how true love can make you live till the end of forever.
My Review:
Till the End of Forever was a read that I was very excited about. However, I have to say that it was too hyped.
It begins with a vacation when two girls- Luvleen and Avani plan to spend it with Luvleen’s family. We are also introduced to Livleen, who is Luvleen’s brother and also a friend of Ayaan, our male protagonist. Avani and Ayaan connect over the mutual feeling of pain and loss, finding friendship and solace in each other. Both of them have had various painful experiences in their past and it had greatly affected the way they were.
Ayaan as a character was quite likable in the beginning when he gives his speeches which are quite interesting, I have to admit. But later on, his whole aura seems to degenerate. The ending is left very unclear. Avani, on the other hand, seems like a very impulsive and irresponsible person- she decides to go to Venice with a person she has just literally met and then, later on, does not say anything even when she believes that her partner is a potential rapist. These sorts of shifts seem very sudden and unexpected.
One thing I did not like was how unspecific the writer was with the dialogues. I understand that the element of mystery was tried to be brought in through here, but it only results in confusion. I feel that the continuous change in the points-of-view was not only very sudden but also unexpected and unheralded and as a result greatly decreased the quality of the story.
The entire plotline, the first half specifically, was very rushed, I feel like, without giving any definite conclusions to the scenes. The editing and proofreading in this regard could have been done in a much better manner. There were also several grammatical mistakes and other inaccuracies that just didn’t add up.
My verdict:
With more proofreading and editing this could have been a good read, however, seeing how it is, I rate it a 2/5 stars.

Flying Without Wings, Rishabh Puri, 2017

Publishers: HarperCollins Publishers India and Black Ink

Synopsis:

For Milli Bajwa, life is at a stand-still. Grounded in the Chandigarh airport where she works day after day, she watches flights leaving for destinations she knows she’ll never visit. Loveless and luckless, she would rather bury her nose in a book than face her grim reality. And then, on a whim, she swipes right on a new dating app, and finds the man of her dreams – someone who can sweep her off her feet and teach her how to fly. But the mysterious and charming Karan Singhania has secrets of his own, and a heart damaged in more ways than one. This is the story of two people about to find out how far they’re willing to go for the promise of true love.

Review:

I’d like to begin by saying that most Indian romances are too stereotypical and too lovey-dovey for my taste. They have so far never been able to overcome the love I have for my Mills&Boons. However, Flying without Wings was an exquisite read and I truly loved it with all my heart.

In terms of the plotline, I found it truly very believable and the common trope of poor-girl-meets-rich-boy had its very own twist making it a very enjoyable read. It also explored the various other aspects of life apart from love- like addiction, loss, friendship, family etc. and these themes were well written and portrayed in the actions of the characters. Milli and Karan are the protagonists of this novel and as we see their evolutions throughout the story, we can understand the different needs and wishes that drive people. Both of them are so different from each other in terms of their job, their salaries, their familial backgrounds and their ways of life. And yet, the one thing that pulls them together is the realization that despite their busy schedules, they are such lonely souls. I must admit that Rahull was not a favourite of mine and yet I found him very relatable- he shows his own shades of grey as a human.

The characters, though few, were very believable in all their true colours- with their feelings of grief, love, etc. The fact that they were shown as all-round characters also help a lot in this sense. For instance, it’s not just the search for love that drives the people, unlike in so many Indian rom-coms; they have their own careers thus managing all the various facet of life. In terms of the editing and grammar, I was delighted not to have found any errors as they are so common in most Indian romance novels.

Some things that didn’t add up made me a bit discomfited, however. For instance, the fact that despite the lower-middle class household portrayed (or even third-class, one could say), Milli seems to have a sedan. It was a bit difficult to digest that considering the fact that they hardly had any money to repair the sink when it broke. Moreover, I was wondering if opiates aren’t costly since the mother seems to be popping them like candy, along with her alcohol addiction as well. These were a few inaccuracies that just didn’t add up at all.

Verdict:

I rate this book a 4/5 stars and recommend it to, all those who are ‘suckers’ for romance- a must read.

Bitter Betrayal, Penny Jordan, 1989

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Before I begin, I would like to state how very lucky I consider myself to have found out about BookChor, and if you haven’t, let me tell you-you are missing out on the best steal deals on books that there ever have been.
I bought Bitter Betrayals from BookChor for less than 100INR, and I am very glad of it. Mills and Boon’s books have been my guilty pleasure, ever since I started reading them at 17. I like that they are quite lighthearted and fluffy to read- often short enough to complete in one seating. Bitter Betrayal is one such book.
I think the author has very tragically described how rejection can change a person like we see in our protagonist Jenneth. This brings to light also the bitter side of the real world- something one does not always see in books of this genre. The various issues or themes, this brought up were very thought-provoking- trust, self-esteem, friendship, and of course love. The author has also brought in the real-life issue of sex- sexual relationships without the entanglements of love, especially in Eleanor. This perhaps will help to slowly dispel the “virgin” concept, so much prevalent in the Mills and Boon series, especially of the 20th century. Brotherly/familial love and concern is also another theme seen here- we have Nick and Kit, and then Angelina, all of whose love for Jenneth is clearly seen in the book.
Apart from the characters, I saw a few irregularities in the plot. The whole way that the marriage came about- the reason, which everyone had so easily accepted, seemed too far-fetched to me. It felt like the author was trying to just get Jenneth and Luke, her male counterpart, to tie the knot, in any way that was possible. Like in most Mills and Boon books, the man is always arrogant and dominating, and Bitter Betrayal is no exception. However, we were given glimpses into Luke’s point of view at times, and I found it a refreshing take.
I have read a Mills and Boon after a long time and truly enjoyed it. However, it was a light read nonetheless- something I picked up one night when I couldn’t sleep. As such, I rate it a 3/5.