Yuvarajakumari Jayshree Singh, princess of Devgarh and Dr Aryan Sharma bicker like cats and dogs. Aryan thinks Jayshree is a spoiled, entitled bratty princess while Jayshree thinks Aryan is a … Continue reading Princess and Prejudice ~ Alisha Kay
“There are more things in heaven and earth, than our philosophies tell us” Hamlet, William Shakespeare Kiran Manral uses the above lines and spins an engrossing story around them. “More … Continue reading More Things In Heaven And Earth ~ Kiran Manral
Midnight’s Star by Shilpa Suraj is the the first book in the Shades of Night series. Midnight’s Star is the story of Dev Arya and Avni Desai. Dev Arya is … Continue reading Midnight’s Star~ Shilpa Suraj
The Kapoor brothers are back and this time it’s Arav’s story. Arav and Disha met in college, where Arav fell in love with Disha. Disha though had ambitions to achieve … Continue reading Love, Scandal and Second Chances (Kapoor Brother Series, Book3) ~ Shilpa Suraj
A well crafted , masterful suspense
“Unloved in Love” is the story of three people,Kiara, Kyle and Karan. Kiara Sen is intelligent, plays the guitar beautifully and has great friends in Saloni and Vinod. She is focussed on what she wants to achieve and is stubborn enough to fight for it. Yet, her mother’s constant criticism and nagging have left her feeling that she is not worthy of love and she suffers from low self-esteem. Kiara decides to start her own venture Bottoms’ Up, with her friend Saloni, fresh out of management school. The decision is partly due to her ambition and also to escape the matrimonial noose Kiara’s mother was insisting on. Kyle Wolf has had his life decided for him by birth. He is supposed to follow his father’s footsteps and take over Wolf Enterprises. He has been ambling along on that path until he meets Kiara and falls in love with her. Coming from a broken home Karan Shergill doesn’t believe in relationships or one-sided love. However, he too gets ensnared by Kiara. Despite all efforts to escape, he is unable to resist her magic.
To tell you the truth, when I first came across the book, I found the title a bit odd. “What do you mean by Unloved in love?” I mused to myself. However, once I started reading, I couldn’t stop myself from turning the pages and finished the book even before I realised! Written from the perspective of the three protagonists, Kiara, Karan and Kyle, you become privy to all their thoughts and emotions as the events unfold. For the same incident, you get to know intimately what each protagonist was thinking, you feel more involved with the characters as compared to a linear narrative. You are aware of each side of the story. The book has wry humour, the heartbreak feels as if your heart is breaking, the romance makes you sigh. This book is messy with emotions as I chuckled, laughed and cried in this book. Even though some might say, the end is predictable, it is not without its twists and turns, keeping you hooked.
The way the author has written the characters makes you root for all three to achieve their happy endings. Kyle, trapped by the expectations of his family and the path laid out for him, wants to break free but lacks the courage to go against his father. Karan, despite his playboy image, is sensitive and caring. His past makes him wary of relationships, which makes it difficult for him to stay and fight for the one woman he falls in love. I have to admit that Kiara was my favourite of the three. Kiara is someone most of us can relate too. She is a woman who is ambitious and yet full of insecurities. She doesn’t know her charm. She is so busy focussing on her supposed shortcomings that she forgets her own value and worth. Kiara, Kyle and Karan are people whom you might meet in real life, imperfect people. All three have their emotional baggage and insecurities, relationships are difficult for all three of them. They want to fight and hold on to their love, yet their self-doubts and lack of trust in their emotions, hold them back.
Only when I finished the book, I realised why the tittle was Unloved In Love. The book makes you believe in perfect endings. It makes you realise the fact that nothing comes easy, the path of love is strewn with ego, insecurities, self-doubt and heartbreak.
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“People have two deaths:the first at the end of their lives, when they go away, and the second at the end of the memory of their lives, when all who remember them are gone. Then a person quits the world completely”Raghu Karnad, Farthest Fields
Photographs of three young men, framed in dull silver frames, stood on tabletops in a house in Madras. The photographs were to remind people of three brothers-in-law, Godrej Mugaseth(Bobby), Kodandera Ganapthy (Ganny) and Manek Dadabhoy. The three joined the largest volunteer army, the Indian Army, to fight in World WarII. Bobby joined Bengal Sappers as an army engineer. Ganny, a doctor, joined the Indian Medical Services and was stationed at Thal. Manek became an officer in the Indian Air Force and was dispatched to North-East Frontier. All three perished in World War II. Ganny from acute bronchitis, Manek’s plane crashed inside the Indian lines on the North-East frontier and Bobby was lost in the jungles of North-East. The three were minor cogs in the war machine and the impact of their death was only felt in their immediate family. Over the years the stories, hidden behind the veil of stoicism, became blurred. Until finally the author’s curiosity was piqued by the photographs in his grandmother’s home and this book was born.
The book starts idyllically with Godrej Mugaseth aka Bobby, enjoying his pampered life as the son of a rich Parsi businessman of Calicut. Blessed with charm and good looks, Bobby moves to Madras to study engineering. Madras becomes the new home of the younger Mugaseths. His elder sister was excommunicated for marrying Gopalaswami Parthsarthi, who joins The Hindu. His other sister, Nugs, the grandmother of the author Raghu Karnad, falls in love and eventually marries a Kodava, Kodandera Ganapthy aka Ganny. His youngest sister, Kosh married Manek Dadabhoy, the dashing young Parsi who took to flying like a duck to water. The threads of war, the struggle for Indian independence and the struggles of the Mugaseths, are all entangled with one another in the book.
Many books have been written about World War II, but the narrative has always overlooked the importance of the soldiers and officers from the Indian sub-continent. The book is a great read to know more about the contribution of the Indian Army to World War II. Many forgotten facts of World WarII come to light, for instance, the fact that even Madras at one point, was at risk from Japanese invasion. The war action shifts from NWFP to Egypt, to Basra and finally culminates in the siege of Kohima. The war scenes are described in great details, with the siege of Kohima getting its due. The so-called “Forgotten Army”, the one which fought on the North-Eastern Frontier of India, is brought into prominence in this book. It brings to the reader the importance and the significance of the Indian Army in helping Great Britain get the upper hand in World War II.
It is an astonishing fact that even though more than two million men and women served the Indian Army, their services during World War are forgotten, even in India. The book lays bare the prejudices against the Indian officers in the Indian Army before the start of World War II, and the Indian officers getting their due after the introduction of the Emergency Commission which gave them equal pay and rank on par with the White Officers. Verghese Kurien and Laksmi Sahgal also make a fleeting appearance in the book.
Non-fiction books based on dry war facts are not what I would pick for myself, but this book is different. Farthest Field has been classified as a non-fiction book, but it is not a scholarly tome, it has a human heart. What makes this book exceptional is that it touches you on a personal level. The human element of the Mugaseth family makes you invested in the story, eager to know more. Bobby Mugaseth gets resurrected as your friend, as he goes gallivanting through his life.
“Death is a field from which no one returns. The second death is the farthest field of all. That was where I found Bobby, trying to cross.”Raghu Karnad, Farthest Fields
Samira Joshi’s family seems to be a regular Indian family. Samira is a grade twelve student planning to do political science in college, her parents work in civil services and her grandmother keeps an eagle eye on Samira. The normality of the family, however, is a facade. Samira’s parents are elite intelligence agents for R&AW, and that is the career path Samira has chosen for herself…she wants to become a spy!
Samira hasn’t had your regular run-of-the-mill childhood. Samira is a Krav Maga champion, who can hack into bank accounts. She can trail people, is excellent in picking pockets or in fact, even in planting suspicious stuff on lecherous old men at airports, etc. In other words, Samira has been given a very good foundation course in becoming a spy by her parents. But suddenly her parents have had a change of heart and don’t want her to become a spy anymore….and predictably Samira rebels.
The deadly cocktail of characters in the book includes a sarcastic no-nonsense Grandmother, can-kill-with-bare hands mother and a snarky, rebellious teenager. Samira’s father appears in the anecdotes as a tough guy who will do his job despite all the odds. Considering it’s a YA novel, I am sure the targeted audience will love Samira for her sassiness and clarity of what she wants to do in her life. With Samira, you have a desi spy to look up to. You can imagine her bringing down villains with the sharp edge of her tongue or a solid Krav Maga kick. Samira’s mother Alka is a force of nature, capable of killing a man with her bare hands. She loves Samira dearly and would do anything to protect her, even if it means being at odds with Samira. I loved Aji, Samira’s grandmother, who has a macabre interest in reading obituaries to find out who amongst her acquaintances has passed on to the eternal garden. Aji wants her family to be normal and doesn’t hesitate in speaking her mind or criticising the way Samira has been brought up by her parents.
The narrative from Samira’s viewpoint is crisp and fast-paced. Samira’s mental descriptions keep you amused (“That woman could smile at the Grim Reaper and he’d turn his scythe on himself“). You are chuckling endlessly while reading the dialogues between Samira and her mother (“Now apologize to Sir about your miserable existence, I mean, attendance“). Aji, Samira’s feisty grandmother keeps things interesting in the mix with her sarcastic comments (“I told you it was a bad idea to tell her all those bedtime stories about Noor Inayat Khan. What was wrong with Cinderella?“).
I was reading a YA book after a very long time and I just raced through it. Unfortunately, this one left me hanging at the end desperate to know more. It ended so soon! I wanted to know more about what happened in Pakistan, about where Samira’s dad was, and the biggest question of them all, does Samira finally succeed in becoming a spy?
Guess will have to wait for “Along Came A Spyder!”
Apeksha Rao is a multi-genre writer from Bangalore.
She is the author of Along came a Spyder which is the story of a seventeen-year old girl who wants to become a spy.
Apeksha has written many short stories based on the same series, The Spyders, which are available on her blog https://apeksharao.in/
Buy this book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B08DM6PZ12
One Girl Many Lives is an anthology of five stories published by Jimpify Publishing. The muse for the stories is a picture of a girl running on the beach. The first two stories, The Lone Flight and Black July are about the loss of an innocent, carefree world. Set in two different times and regions ( Partition in India and Civil War in Sri Lanka), the two stories are about the violent disruption of a familiar world, when the trauma of the past becomes a constant in life. In the story LoveY2K the protagonist looks at the painting of the young girl running on the beach and it makes her re-think priorities of her life. She longs to be as carefree as the girl in the painting. Runaway Princess is a fast-paced thriller with secrets, betrayal, romance and murder. Spaces, set in the year 2135, is about picking up the pieces after the loss of a loved one. It is about love, but more importantly, this story is about hope. It is about daring to dream and having the courage to achieve the dream.
The stories on the surface seem totally dissimilar, and yet the girl running on the beach is the common thread with all the five stories.
When we think of an anthology we think of short stories written by individual authors. One Girl Many Lives, however, is a unique anthology. When you read the preface you will realise the fact that each story is a collaborative work of five authors, all the five stories are written by the five authors one after the other. There is, however, no disconnect in the stories with the writing merging seamlessly to create a single story. A word of appreciation for the authors Ajit, Anshu, Priya, Sona and Jithin as well as the editor Abitha, for achieving a cohesive anthology.
For a book review though, we need to look beyond the peculiarity of five authors of the story and look at the content. This anthology has stories set in different regions, time frames, cultures, etc. The stories travel from India to Sri Lanka to New York to Paris to Arctic Greenland. Their time entwines with history as it jumps from Partition to 1980s to 2000 to the year 2135. The authors have done a good job in creating a book which on the surface seems higgledy-piggledy, but is cohesive underneath. Except for in LoveY2K, there is underlying violence in all the stories. Yet, the stories are also about hope, about making a new life and finding closure. The stories can be read per se or you can consciously keep the inspiration of the girl in mind while reading them.
Out of the five stories, my favourite story was the “The Lone Flight”. Set in the days of partition of India, the story is of Jassi’s escape from Lahore to India. The story starts by describing the idyllic childhood of Jassi which abruptly came crashing down when winds of hatred started flowing during partition. The story is about losing you family and your innocence. Of trying to make sense in a world filled with cruelty and violence. It is also a story of forgiveness and redemption. The story shows us the frailty of humans, of how ordinary people are capable of extreme violence and yet extreme kindness.
While you are reading the book, you can see flashes of the young girl running. She seems to be running through the book, seeing how she is being treated by the authors and the readers. She becomes not only the muse for the authors but also the reader’s companion.
You can buy the book on Amazon by clicking here : https://www.amazon.in/dp/B08BBZSLPL
Access to Prime Day sale, free shipping, great content to watch on television etc. are some of the benefits of buying Amazon Prime membership. What many people are unaware of is that your Prime membership also gives you access to Prime Reading. Prime Reading, like Kindle Unlimited, works as a digital library where you can “borrow” and “return” kindle books. Ten books can be borrowed at a time, same as in Kindle Unlimited. Kindle Unlimited( or KU) differs from Prime Reading as you have to pay an annual subscription for Kindle Unlimited membership. KU also has a larger catalogue of books as compared to Prime Reading. Prime Reading has a catalogue covering almost all genres, though you might have to separate the wheat from the chaff to get the book that you want.
Another misconception that the readers usually have is that for Kindle ebooks you need to have a Kindle to download the books. What you actually need is the Kindle App which can be downloaded on any digital device, whether Android or Apple. Once you have the app you can easily download Kindle books on your device.
In this blog post, I wanted to share with you, the readers, a few of the books which I came across in Prime Reading.
Poonachi-Or The Story Of The Black Goat (Perumal Murugan). This translated classic had been on my radar for quite some time and I was surprised to see it in Prime Reading. The story told from the perspective of the black goat Poonachi, is a mirror to our society and its ills.
Bombay Balchao(Jane Borges)The Goan Catholic heart of Bombay comes alive in this novel. Set in a fictional locality of Cavel, this novel travels through several timelines with the main protagonist Michael Coutinho. There are idiosyncratic characters, love stories, the vagaries of life all thrown into a delightful mix, exactly like Balchao. It’s a book which draws you in with its piquancy.
Tongue-in-cheek(Khyrunissa.A) A delightfully funny book which shows our routine life with all its absurdness. A short read which will leave you chuckling and put you in a good mood.
Roads To Mussorie (Ruskin Bond) Consisting of short essays by Ruskin Bond this book contains his musings on breakfast, travelling, ghosts, cold beer and life in general. Written in his inimitable simple style and wry humour this book makes you pause. It makes you observe your surrounding and give a sigh for the simple pleasures of life.
Fisher Queen’s Dynasty (Kavita Kane) Told from the point of view of Satyavati, the fisher girl who became the queen of Hastinapur by making Devarutt take a terrible vow, this book is for those who are interested in mythological fiction. It is a different viewpoint as the book deals with a character whose actions set off events which eventually led to the Mahabharata.