Monday, July 28, 2014

Only A Dream by Jazz Singh : A Review


BOOK TITLE: Only A Dream
ISBN: 978-1-927826-09-6
AUTHOR: Jazz Singh
GENRE: Fiction
NUMBER OF PAGES: 73
FORMAT: Digital/PDF
SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone
REVIEW BY: Dhivya Balaji
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: I thank Naheed of Indireads for offering this book to us for review.
SUMMARY:
          Rhea can’t believe her ex-flame Varun has shown up in her life again as her new boss! He was her first love, the man she gave herself to body and soul, thinking they would be together forever. But then, without warning or explanation, he dumped her and she was left with broken dreams and a broken heart.
          Now he wants Rhea in his life again and won’t take no for an answer. But the hurt and humiliation of the past still rankle and Rhea is not ready to forgive and forget.
          Can Varun convince her that his promises are for real? Should Rhea believe him?
REVIEW:
          Only A Dream had an interesting summary, enough to pique the interest of a casual reader. And it was a decently written tale of friendship, love and a woman’s pain of being cheated. Rhea is a successful employee of a large chain of hotels. She is efficient, understanding and pleasing. The story opens with Rhea meeting Varun, a handsome rich business tycoon who is now buying the hotel she was working for. But Rhea and Varun have a past.
          Rhea is still not able to get over the pain of having loved Varun a few years back and getting cheated by him. The relationship is portrayed as a slow build up and with a very strong foundation as Rhea befriends not only Varun but also his two childhood buddies, both of whom stand by Rhea when Varun decides to drop his commitment to Rhea (with all the mushy promises and steamy scenes included) and marry someone else where he went to study abroad.
          Understandably, Rhea is shattered and detests anything to do with Varun. But she manages to keep a straight face and a professional demeanour even when he comes back into her life a few years later. Rhea appears to have moved on to better things but still unable to reach any success in the love/relationship department. Varun, on his part, seems very persuasive and for reasons of his own, wants Rhea back into his life.
          The story has an underlying suspense about the credibility of Varun’s character and the real reason for him to marry another woman when he seemed so committed to Rhea. There is also the small confusion and disbelief when all of Varun’s friends and even his parents, who were equally shocked in his marriage, now supporting him. Rhea manages to maintain a cold, stiff veneer but finds herself falling for Varun all over again, her only problem being his marital status.
          The plot is fairly simple, with only the confusion being the true nature of the lead man. The characters are written with a bit of confusion and seem too liberal to suit Indian sensibilities sometimes, (but maybe that is the reviewer’s opinion) the lead woman, though is portrayed extremely well. Her cold demeanour at first, her belief in love, her shock, and her inability to hide her obvious concern for the only man she loved are extremely relatable (even if it makes the character humanly weak). The plot has no holes and the climax is predictable (and therein lies the thrill of the genre).
          Read this story if you have a nice, warm summer afternoon with the intention of a reading a short book that provides just the right amount of suspense, drama, romance, steamy scenes and an added dose of ‘it all ends well’ feel.
WHAT I LIKED:
          Character of Rhea, The characters of friends.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER:
          The predictable climax, and the sudden disclosure of the knot of suspense. It felt like a slight letdown after all the anticipation.
VERDICT:
          Read this book both for the story and the fun quotient. Jazz Singh never keeps a moment dull in this book!
RATING:
          3.8/5
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
          Jazz Singh loves to travel and takes every opportunity she gets to see a new place. She has done many things in her life from training behavioural skills to working in the world of fashion. She believes life is all about trying the untried and her curiosity has had her rappel down a mountain face and zip-fly across deep valleys.
          She believes there is no age for love; it can happen anytime. While she loves reading, there is no favourite genre, she goes through phases and can move from philosophy, to spiritual books, to science fiction and then on to historical dramas. Writing romance has been a dream. Putting to paper the myriad love stories around is something she loves doing.

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Digital (mobi, ePub, PDF)
PRICE: Rs. 150 for Kindle edition


Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Contract by Zeenat Mahal : A Review



BOOK TITLE: The Contract *terms and conditions apply*
ISBN: 978-1-927826-15-7
AUTHOR: Zeenat Mahal
GENRE: Fiction/ Romance
NUMBER OF PAGES: 96
FORMAT: Digital
SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone
REVIEW BY: Dhivya Balaji
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: I thank Naheed of Indireads for the digital copy provided in exchange for an honest review.
SUMMARY:
          “…We’ll get married, but I’ll pay you a monthly salary to behave and appear for all practical purposes as my wife…If you agree, the marriage vows can be taken on the phone on Saturday, since I have an hour free in the morning.”

          Shahira, a young, divorced mother of a seven-year-old son, wants nothing to do with men ever again. But circumstances have forced her hand, and Hussain’s unusual proposition leaves her secretly relieved. As per their contract, she’ll have his name, will be paid to look after his ailing mother and motherless daughter and will be left well alone by him. Perfect!

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

          Hussain is suave and rich. He is nobody’s fool…and is not about to be bested by the ex-schoolteacher he is married to. He has Shahira in his sights and she has to have all her wits about her in order to hold him at arm’s length
REVIEW:
          Shahira, 30, is a single mother of an only boy, just out of an abusive marriage. She is a prim school teacher and takes a liking to Natasha, a motherless child who has an insanely rich, but very busy father Hussain, who has no time for his family. The child is in the protection of her grandmother, who also takes a liking to Shahira and insists that she marry her son and be a mother to her granddaughter.
          Shahira is shocked, both by the proposal, and the irate call she receives from Hussain who considers her to be a charming gold digger, wherein he warns her to stay away from his family. A sudden change of heart (not revealed why here) causes both of them to enter into a marriage of convenience, with a contract that specifies Shahira must take care of the daughter and the son and there will be no relationship between both of them. Shahira negotiates with the insanely rich man for the sake of securing a future for her son. (There is nothing indecent here)
          The marriage takes place over phone and Shahira moves into the new house with her son and lives a happy life with her mother in law and new daughter. She is happy as long as Hussain is not around and is comfortable. But clever planning by her mother in law brings Hussain into the house and he begins to fall for her since he first lays his eyes upon her. The scenes written are very visual, practical. Hussain’s ego is piqued by this woman who seems not to care for him and seems to be carefree and happy around everyone except him.
          He does everything in his power to contradict her and try to understand her. Just to peeve her, he takes her along with the children to a trip to Europe. He starts loving her for all her character quirks and her gentle, caring nature. He wants her to reciprocate. But Shahira is wary of all men and never wants to trust another man to the level of commitment that is required for a marriage.
          Whether or not Hussain wins her confidence and her heart forms the rest of the plot, which is simple in its brilliance. The characters and their emotions are clean, gentle and the story itself is short and relatable. Shahira manages to enrapture the readers in her simplicity and depth of character. Hussain shines in his suave, and adorably cunning (yes, it is not an oxymoron) methods to win Shahira over.
          Read this story for the brilliant language, portrayal of emotions and strong female character (that is an indireads norm, I guess). A very enjoyable, short read.
WHAT I LIKED:
          The whole story, and the characters of both Shahira and Hussain, and the intimidating (yes, it is a joke) mother.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER:
          Certain parts could have been edited better (would be understood when the story is read)
VERDICT:
          Definitely a read worth for both a rainy and sunny evening!
RATING: 4.4/5
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
          Zeenat Mahal (@zeenat4indireads) is an avid reader and has been writing for as long as she can remember. She has an MPhil in English literature from Government College Lahore and is currently doing an MFA in creative writing from Kingston University London. She won a BBC short story competition in 2001 and has been a regular contributor to local newspapers.

          Zeenat has eclectic tastes and an insatiable desire to learn. Her romances are a heady mix of the traditional and the contemporary, old world values face the challenges of a shrinking globe that impinge upon and help shape South Asian sensibilities.
         
          The Contract is Zeenat’s second published novella. Currently she is working on a literary novel with elements of magical realism, while continuing to write romances. She can be contacted on her FB page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zeenat-Mahal.

          Zeenat currently lives in Kingston Upon Thames with her fabulous sons.
EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Digital
PRICE: Rs. 175 for Kindle edition.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Elephants' Choice by M L Eaton : A Review



BOOK TITLE: The Elephant’s Choice
ASIN: B00KXHP9JW
AUTHOR: M L Eaton
NUMBER OF PAGES: 88
FORMAT: Paperback
SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone
REVIEW BY: Dhivya Balaji & Shree Janani Sundararajan
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK:
          The author sent us both TWO copies because this story has a special back story (see end of Review for that!)
SUMMARY:
          Reminiscent of ‘The Secret Garden’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett, at times sad and poignant but always enthralling and exhilarating, this is a story that captures the wonders of India as seen through the eyes and imagination of a young English girl.
          Although this story is written with adult readers in mind, it is also suitable for children.
          It is 1954 and Melanie is six years old.
          With her parents, she moves to Bombay, (now Mumbai) India, where her father has been posted to undertake a Civil Engineering project. Lonely, anxious and unsettled, she finds it difficult to find her place in a country so different from England.
          But before long, entranced by the emotive beauty of her surroundings, she unexpectedly wins the trust and affection of a young elephant and her loneliness is banished.
REVIEW:
          How accurate in your description can you be if you are describing events that happened when you were six years old?
          How very descriptive can your words be to make even native people of the country you were describing begin to see their country in a new light?
          How clear can your visuals be in defining one of the largest mammals that is not a part of your country?
          If you read this book, you will find out the most accurate, descriptive and clear accounts ever written about life in India in the 1950s. M L Eaton, not native to India, manages to talk about both India and Elephants with such finesse. She talks about the state of India immediately after partition. The narrative is in the form of a memoir. It is written from the eyes of Melanie, a six year old girl.
          Daughter of a British Officer, Melanie makes a move from Karachi to Bombay. She had grown up in England hearing stories about an elephant in England. Once in Bombay, Melanie sees the majestic elephant and immediately takes a liking to it. Along with her able nanny Lakshmi, Melanie visits the local park everyday and befriends Nelly an elephant. How big a role the elephants play in Melanie’s growing up and how well she communicates with their elephants forms the rest of the story.
          The language is trademark Eaton style, brilliant, very descriptive and literally takes you to the scene. The memoir style of writing is poignant and beautiful. The story is enjoyable both to native Indian and non – Indian readers. The characters are simple and deeply etched in memory. The story can be read by children and adults alike, and the cover design is pleasing and brings out the essence of the story.
          Read this story if you enjoy descriptive language and stories which do not touch upon obscure topics like romance, crime and the sensational. It is like a gentle lullaby and leaves you with a sweet after taste. Go for it!
SPECIAL NOTE:
          This story holds a special meaning for both of us from Readers’ Muse because, it was, actually, a small conversation between us and the author that started this. In the author’s own words, a picture sent by Janani, of a majestic temple elephant walking down a busy street was what triggered the author’s memories of elephants and India in the 1950s.
          This book also happens to have our names in the dedication page and we take this opportunity to offer our humble thanks to the author for her magnanimous gesture. Thank You Marion, from both of us!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
          Retired from legal practice and semi-retired from holistic therapy - although she still teaches Reiki and other workshops - Marion lives close to the sea in the beautiful East Sussex countryside with a long-suffering husband, a lazy saluki and an urge to write into the small hours.
EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Paperback, Digital
PRICE: Rs. 99 for Kindle Edition


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Hamlet's Ghost by Jane Tara : A Review

                                                   22385254


BOOK TITLE: Hamlet’s Ghost

ISBN: B00KID48C0

AUTHOR: Jane Tara

GENRE: Fiction – Paranormal Romance

NUMBER OF PAGES: 273

FORMAT: Digital

SERIES / STANDALONE: Series (Shakespeare Sisters series #3)

REVIEW BY: Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Patrick sent us a copy in exchange for a honest review.  We thank him for the same.

SUMMARY:

Rhiannon Dee, a gorgeous witch, moves to a country town to reopen a theatre and finds herself torn between the man who owns it, and his father who haunts it.

Kip Daniels has been haunting the Hamlet Majestic for thirty dull years, ever since the stage roof collapsed on him during what was meant to be his piece de resistance: his performance of Hamlet. All he really wants is to get to the end of the play, but that won't happen while the theatre stands abandoned and boarded up. He's resigned himself to an endless limbo ... until Rhiannon Dee moves to town to bring the theatre back to life.

Rhi has fled a failed life in New York. She can't find work as an actress. She's overshadowed by her mother who has a hit TV show about witchcraft. Rhi is sick of being seen as a witch and intends to turn her back on the craft. But she quickly discovers she can't escape her gifts, especially when she needs to use them to help one very sexy but sad ghost cross over. Surrounded by new friends and supportive townsfolk, Rhi breathes new life into the Hamlet Majestic, and helps Kip accept his death.

Hamlet's Ghost is a story about those moments in life that define us, and how to truly move forward we must find peace with the past.

REVIEW:

Having read Jane’s previous books I pretty much know what to expect. Her writing is something that I am extremely comfortable with.  Her books will make you think effortlessly and make you feel good about yourself after you finish it.

Rhi, our strong willed protagonist has fled New York to make a living herself on her own. She settles down in a small town of Hamlet and rents the local theatre to turn it into a full fledged theatre only to find it haunted by an adorable ghost.

Like her previous books, our protagonist and other female characters are the strong at heart yet soft and vulnerable. In fact such characters are inspirational when you are down in dumps.

The writing as could be expected from Jane, was beautiful sans the overdo of the drama element that one can expect in a paranormal romance. Her characters as always speaks volumes. Though I felt with this book ,the female characters completely dominated the whole show. I really couldn’t connect much with the male characters. For instance, our adorable ghost who died mid way during his masterpiece act is the crux of the story whom I couldn’t really connect to. This can possibly because the female characters were rather strong and powerful so much so that they shadowed the male characters.

One seemingly positive attribute in Jane’s story lines is the closure that she gives to all her characters. They all get some closure of sorts. Right from the sidekicks who don’t actually influence the story line to the main characters, they “ ALL” get a closure of sorts. I am not a big fan of closures. Some things are better off without a closure.

My weenie- tiny complaint would be that the story was majorly predictable with few minor truly surprising twists.

VERDICT: Light breezy feel good supernatural read! Go ahead give it a go!

RATING: 3 on 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jane is from Bondi, Sydney. She has traveled extensively and has lived in Tokyo, London, Vienna, New York and various parts of Australia. Her first book Forecast was first published in 2007 by Dorchester, but they went out of business .So FORECAST was re-released in May. And the long-awaited sequel, TROUBLE BREWING has also just been published. She has over twenty children’s picture books published in Asia, and has written travel articles for many publications worldwide. She has transformed her “itchy feet” into ITCHEE FEET, which publishes travel books for kids.

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Digital

PRICE: Rs.233.55


BOOK LINKS: http://www.amazon.in/gp/product/B00KID48C0/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=goodreads_in-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00KID48C0&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pink Champagne by Madhuri Iyer : A Review



BOOK TITLE: Pink Champagne
ISBN: 978-1-927826-05-8
AUTHOR: Madhuri Iyer
GENRE: Fiction - Indirom
NUMBER OF PAGES: 80
FORMAT: Digital
SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone
REVIEW BY: Dhivya Balaji
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: I thank Naheed Hassan of Indireads for giving us a chance to review this book!
SUMMARY:
When rookie banker Tanya Sen heads out to New York City to start her dream job, she bumps into her dream guy instead! But suave and sophisticated Arjun Mehta is already taken – engaged, and soon-to-be-married, to socialite Lily. Her claws dig deep, and she isn’t planning on letting go anytime soon.

Enter Indu Ben, Arjun’s widowed mother, who has a premonition that Tanya, not Lily, is the one who will become her bahu. Arjun is forced, against his will, to help Tanya out. He introduces her to new friends, rental condos and pink champagne.

With the wedding looming up ahead, Arjun finds himself spending way too much time with an attractive young lady who is not his fiancée. Caught between commitment and attraction, will businessman Arjun follow his head or his heart?
REVIEW:
          A short Indirom Novella seemed like a good break from the rather heavy books that are currently on my reading list. And with special thanks to Naheed of Indireads, I started reading the first of the many titles that he sent to us for review. Pink Champagne seemed quite the ‘bubbly’ (pun intended) sort of book that could break the serious readers’ block. And break, it did!
          A young girl from India, Tanya, goes to New York from Toronto to work for a bank. On her way to the Big Apple, (she travels in a bus) she gets down and the usual slip, miss and fall occur. She is saved from total embarrassment by the grace of one Greek Adonis, Arjun. She feels red because of her fall and his amusement correspondingly.
          Hoping to forget the one off incident, she moves to her new job. It was then that she realises that she has his phone. On their second meeting (to give back the phone of course) Tanya scolds herself. She seems to be falling for him romantically. It is then that she learns that he is engaged to be married. In what surely looks like a heartbreak romance, she pines for him and he for her. His overbearing fiancée seems a far cry from the silent, soft natured Tanya.
          In the big city as two friends, they meet each other often and finally, they realise the inevitable and they fall in love with each other. Whether Tanya ends up with him or his best friend Karsh, who also happens to be her moral support forms the rest of the story.
          The plot of the story is ‘man meets woman’ romance. And the characters are breezy, fun and casual. The story is short but includes all the essential details. The writing is descriptive and clear with simple, short words. The whole book is a breezy read and there are no poignant or sad moments. Go for this novella if you like a light romance with a happy ending.
WHAT I LIKED: The writing style, the choice of words.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: A little more depth to the story would have been better.
VERDICT: Expect a short breezy romance novella with a happy ending, and you will get your expectations fulfilled.
RATING: 4/5 (It meets your expectations from a simple romance novella)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
          Madhuri Iyer is an award-winning advertising copywriter with a 25-year career in the advertising profession in Mumbai, Delhi, Muscat, Dubai, and Toronto. She has worked for agencies like FCB Ulka, Everest Saatchi, McCaan, and Lowe Lintas. Madhuri is a Partner at Indus Eye, a media and advertising consultancy based in Toronto and enjoys her work as a creative consultant.
         
          She has also holds a certificate in screenplay writing from Toronto. Subsequently, Madhuri chose to extend her writing skills into the publishing space by editing a series of four health and fitness books for the Times of India group and Penguin India.
         
          Pink Champagne, developed exclusively for Indireads, is her first work of fiction. Another two book print deal is on the cards with an established Indian publishing house

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Digital
PRICE: Rs. 89 for Kindle edition