Saturday, July 26, 2014

#82 : The Elephants' Choice by M L Eaton : A Review

BOOK TITLE: The Elephant’s Choice
FORMAT: Paperback
REVIEW BY: Dhivya Balaji & Shree Janani Sundararajan
          The author sent us both TWO copies because this story has a special back story (see end of Review for that!)
          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.
          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!
          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!
          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

#81 : Hamlet's Ghost by Jane Tara : A Review


BOOK TITLE: Hamlet’s Ghost


AUTHOR: Jane Tara

GENRE: Fiction – Paranormal Romance


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.


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.


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.


PRICE: Rs.233.55


Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse

Sunday, July 20, 2014

#80 : A Silent Prayer by Samreen Ahsan : A Review


BOOK TITLE: A Silent Prayer

ISBN: 1491720379

AUTHOR:Samreen Ahsan

GENRE:  Fiction - Romance


FORMAT:  Digital ( Epub)

SERIES / STANDALONE:   Series ( A Prayer Series #1)

REVIEW BY:  Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK:  The Writer sent us the book in exchange for an honest review. We thank her for the same.

SUMARRY: Adam Gibson is a young and powerful Toronto millionaire. Despite his many blessings, he is an atheist, though he has an altruistic soul. He denies there is a God--until he meets a beautiful stranger in a place that does not exist for anyone but him. 

Rania Ahmed strongly believes in God, but has lost hope she will ever find her soul mate. Endowed with hypnotic beauty and cursed by a brutal past, Rania has no idea she has cast a spell on Adam, who has never received more from a woman than physical pleasure. As Adam slowly discovers the true meaning of love from Rania, he begins to face his demons and reconsider his beliefs. He learns to love, forgive and repent. But as Adam grows closer to Rania, a series of strange, unexplained events threatens to drive them apart. To keep her from being destroyed by her past, he must persuade her to trust him with her deepest secrets.

In this spiritual romance, an atheist embarks on a path of enlightenment with a tormented soul who may just have the power to change everything he has ever believed to be true.

“ Never judge a book its cover”  warned my fellow bibliophiles.  They conveniently forgot about the summary part. I normally pick a book based on the summary. This book’s summary particularly didn’t stand out. In fact, the whole millionaire and simpleton story line sorted reminded me of the Fifty Shades of Grey series. In fact I was a little apprehensive and  considered writing back to writer apologizing for not reading her book. Thankfully I did no such blunder, for I would have missed such a beautiful series.

The book was everything I didn’t expect. Our protagonist Rania has big baggage that prevents her from finding love. Enter Adam Gibson who falls heads over heels in love with her but is unable to spell it out for he is afraid that he’ll lose that one best friend in Raina, a relationship that he has never experienced. She is his light at the end of the tunnel.
The relationship between Raina and Adam develops so beautifully that I truly began to envy Raina. In fact, there were many parts in the book where the line between reality and fantasy blurred for me. Of course, men like Adam are almost extinct! Something tells me the character of Adam is the writer’s fantasy of the perfect man. I would be unfair if I don’t mention about Raina. Raina is the quintessentially perfect woman for me. Soft in the core like a flower but hard like a diamond when needed. The whole process of converting an Atheist to a believer is narrated so beautifully that I am sure any Atheist would seriously consider turning into a believer after reading this book.

Initially when I picked up the book, I found the tense of the narration a bit unsettling. I am not exactly a fan of present continuous tense. Alas! As the story line progressed I could find no flaws with the writing or the story line or the characterisation. The  story line totally got me hooked that tenses didn’t matter anymore. This book is the closest to “ THE PERFECT” romance I’ve ever read (I can’t boast to be an avid romance reader). The high point of is the way it ended. It simply left hungry and wanting for more. In fact, I was so desperate I wrote to the writer almost within minutes of finishing this book. I have never been so desperate to read a romance (Only Harry Potter managed to evoke that true sense of despair in me till date).

Overall, this is one beautiful book well written with truly mind-blowing emotions portrayed so realistically. I can finally boast of knowing what it is like to enjoy a true, pure and unadulterated romance.

VERDICT:  Please don’t miss it! MUST READ.
RATING: 4.9 on 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: History, art and literature are her passions. She  loves digging out information about prophecies, divine miracles and paranormal events that are mentioned in history and holy books, that don’t sound possible in today's modern world.

Since childhood,she has been into reading and writing—and yes, it can’t happen without imagination, which luckily has no boundaries. Dance and music are also pastimes she enjoys, as well as reading romance fiction. she loves to travel and explore historical cities. 

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Digital, Paperback

PRICE: Rs.118.30 (Kindle)


Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse

Sunday, July 13, 2014

#79 : When Hari Met His Saali by Harsh Warrdhan : A Review


BOOK TITLE: When Hari Met His Saali

ISBN: 9789351064497

AUTHOR: Harsh Warrdhan

GENRE: Fiction - Romancehttp://www.HQNindia.comhttp




REVIEW BY: Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK:  Review copy from PRPundit in exchange for a honest review. Thank you Vasudha Deepak Rao (from PR Pundit)


The only magical thing missing from her life… happened to her sister!
His idea of romance is that it is unnecessary.

Tia was in love with her career and her lifestyle in America. And she was madly in love with Hari. But where was the romance she craved?

Simi was the young girl left behind in a small town in India who hadn’t seen her sister for years. She was a dreamer. But what did she really want out of life?

And then there was Hari. Straight-forward and uncomplicated, it felt like nothing he did was ever good enough for Tia. But didn’t every man want an ambitious and successful wife no matter how demanding they were?

Theirs was a love story that was never going to be conventional. But what happened to Hari and Tia was something that nobody would have predicted.

Mix two sisters with bad history between them and one clueless man, to form one whacky triangle, and you get a cautionary lesson in how you should be careful of what you wish for in the name of love?

Set in Los Angeles and Nagpur, India, ‘When Hari Met His Saali’ is a funny, fresh, and outrageous look at young people and their dreams, longings, aches and heartbreaks. It is a fascinating take on the grand idea of love and the reality of romance. In a breezy, humorous narrative anchored around a magical twist, the story of Tia, Simi and Hari unfolds from romantic comedy into a climax full of suspense

Another tempting romance!! Looks like my “Romance reading spree” will never end thanks to endless romance books from them. This is my second from Harlequin who are famous for their romance.

The summary assured me of one thing – Humour. And I truly got that. The story is about Tia , the diehard romantic and Hari, the doffer who didn’t believe in romance at all and their love story. Enter Simmi, tia’s sister and the “perfect” (pun intended) love story goes for a toss.

Here I was expecting for a conventional twist in the triangle and the writer bowled a googly by putting in the most unimaginable twist ever possible. I truly went ROFL there! (er…the book is set in US of A!)

The story line began quite well emphasizing how Tia & Hari where this quintessentially mismatched couple in love. They were opposites of each other so much so that it made wonder how could they possibly be in love with each other. The writer narrated one fact beautifully, you needn’t be similar to love each other,  you just need to accept that the love of your life is different. 

But as the story line progressed , I found it quite boring until Simmi came along. But after that big twist midway (I am not giving out that one! Poor guy the writer!) the story again became boring until the climax where Hari get married. Even the climax was a bit predictable.

I felt that the writer was in a great hurry to finish off the book and give all the characters a closure. Some character (mentioning which one would ruin the surprise twist midway) didn’t really require a closure.

The writing was clean sans usage of fancy words. But for the first time, I am reading a romance novel written by a man. To compare a man’s writing with that of a woman wouldn’t do justice to either of the sex. But then that comparison is inevitable, I felt men ( or at least this man, the writer) tend to be a bit cheesy. I know that’s thick coming from a woman (:-p) But hey! Every one has their opinions I have mine!

The cover deserves a mention. It looks quite comincal! The cover along with summary sure tends to give out a fact that the book is sure to be comical which it obviously was!

To sum it up, the story was comical, the characterisations were great but somehow I felt something missing or may be the climax was a bit messed up?!! Can’t put my finger on it exactly!

VERDICT: Why not! Light cheesy read with good humor!

RATING: 3 on 5


PRICE: Rs.201


Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse


Saturday, July 12, 2014

#78 : Bootie And The Beast by Falguni Kothari : A Review


BOOK TITLE: Bootie and the Beast

ISBN: 9351065065

AUTHOR: Falguni Kothari

GENRE: Fiction -Romance


FORMAT: Digital - Epub


REVIEW BY: Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy as a part of b00k r3vi3w book Tour.

SUMMARY : Fairytales don't end with True Love's Kiss, they begin with one...

Diya Mathur (aka Beauty), celebrated supermodel and Party Princess of India, is adored by everyone. She works hard, plays hard, and has the biggest shoe fetish on the planet. But after she purchases one baby bootie, Diya's reputation is in ruins. There's only one place to escape the rumours - Texas, under the protection of her lifelong friend, and secret love, Krish Menon (aka the Beast).

Financial whizz-kid, CFO and entrepreneur, Krish is a brooding workaholic with a charisma that still brings Beauty Mathur to her knees. He has no idea, of course! They've shared a bond since childhood - a special friendship that thrives on sparring, teasing and goading - but with Diya back in his life and under his roof, Krish's latent desire for her explodes. And when he finally admits to the secret that has never allowed him to commit to any woman - especially Diya - everything changes. Krish might finally realise how much he wants his Beauty. But he won't get her until Diya has tamed her Beast

I’ve been on this Romance reading spree catching up on all the romance that I missed. As a result of that “catching up” I signed up promptly for this tour expecting a truly beautiful romance.

Our protagonist, “Bootie” Diya Mathur is this supermodel with killer looks sans the brains. She is this typical all brawns no brains type who falls for the geek “Beast” Krish Mathur.  That pretty much summarises the story for me. Oh Wait? I forgot something. Yeah I forgot that “Finding each other” part – The crux of this story (Or of any other romance novel for the matter).  That crucial “finding each other part” went by so quickly, that it just seemed like a small blip on the radar. In sense, yes the “process” of “finding each other” was written quite elaborately , but then the “final step” of the whole process looked like it was written in a hurry. A weenie bit drag there would have made the trick.

The whole Bootie-Beast love story seemed very superficial. It sort of lacked that depth and conviction for. I am no seasoned romance reader, but for person who reads a lot of books, I can surely tell when a story line isn’t convincing enough. 

In spite of the lack of a “convincing” story line, one major plus that I found with this book was the writing. It’s simple and had all “dramatic” ingredients for a romance novel. The characterisation of Diya made just roll my eyes. In sense, she was being such a bitch (oops! I can’t help but swear!) to a nice guy.  That, I believe is a victory for the writer. 

I truly wonder why the book failed to impress me in spite of having strong, well written characters. 

To sum it up, the story is an average romance with characters standing out vying all the attention when the story should be doing that. 

VERDICT: Light read not be taken too seriously. 

RATING: 3 on 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A Mumbaikar at heart, Falguni Kothari lives in New York with her family and a sweet as chocolate Maltese named Truffles. She loathes cooking and flying and holds a fervent hope that teleportation become a viable travel option within her lifetime.

When she is not playing Domestic Goddess, Soccer Mom or Canine Companion, she is found embroiled in some or other scandal—sorry, creating stories—on her ever-faithful laptop. She loves tales of all kinds and is partial to sassy ones with happy-ever-after endings.
EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Digital & Paperback.

PRICE: Rs. 124 (Paperback) 


Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse