Saturday, August 30, 2014

#86 : Manhattan Mango by Madhuri Iyer : A Review


BOOK TITLE: Manhattan Mango

ISBN: 9788172345129

AUTHOR: Madhuri Iyer

GENRE: Fiction


FORMAT: Paperback


REVIEW BY: Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: The publishers sent us a review copy in exchange for a honest review. We thank Fingerprint Publishing for the same.

SUMMARY: Q. What happens when three ambitious, high-achieving, 20-something Mumbaikars become New Yorkers?

A. Madness.
Zipping through life’s ups and downs like a high-speed elevator during rush hour, buddies Shri, Shanks, and Neel hold on to each other, and their sanity, with a bro-hood bonding that chipkos them together, fevicol se.

Neel’s the driven hedge fund guy, with a weakness for scotch and women. Tam Brahm Shanks, a techie, falls for the "wrong” girl. Good Son Shri, a banker, holds a secret he means to take to his grave. Their intertwined lives buzz with high-voltage drama — explosive secrets, super-charged romances, and a-fuse-a-minute meltdowns.

There’s alcohol-fueled passion, Devdas style. Inter-racial hook-ups. Even a fake affair, because money can’t buy the real thing. When their skyscraper-sized dreams are tested, this “desified” saga of friends in Manhattan is like the city’s rapid transit express subway line. You won’t want any stops in between


The summary instantly hit a right note with me. Being a 20 something girl myself struggling to make a career, I could connect with the characters' professional struggle.

The story revolves around three friends, Neel,Shanks and Shri who have stuck to each other through all the ups and downs. Neel is this good looking “almost-playboy” who has a weakness for women of all “type”. I’ve never encountered such a man in real life. Every man sure does have a “type” , but this Neel guy takes the cake, he almost has a thing for anything that looks like a woman.

Shanks reminds me of my own family who would probably eat me alive if I brought home a “ firangi” date but then would eventually accept it. The writer sure has got the typical family life of a Tam-Brahm right.  

Shri’s character essentially takes a backseat until his secret is brought to “streets” by his “ partner”.

Enter a girl, who we would all stereo-typically imagine to toss the group’s lives apart. Thankfully the writer managed to beautifully weave “that girl’s” character sans all the usual love triangle (or quadrangle?) that could be expected. Some big headache saved there.

As the story line progressed lots of characters made their way in. That sort of got me confusing.  Till date the only book (or series of books) that didn’t confuse me in spite of having plenty of characters is obviously.

What I loved most about the book is the way the writer portrayed the everlasting bond of true friendship. When Nikhil's issues with the bottle hits the roof, the two other friends support him while he recovers. 

To sum it up, the writing is compulsive and humorous; the story line is light and heartwarming.

VERDICT: Why not?! Nice light read!

RATING: 4 on 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: She has studied O Levels from the London University and graduated in Applied Art from Sophia Polytech, Mumbai. 

She has worked as an advertising copywriter for agencies in Mumbai, Dubai and Canada, including FCB Ulka, Lintas Lowe, Everest Saatchi, Clarion McCann, and Cossette Canada. Her advertising career had spanned over two decades, culminating in a Creative Director job in Dubai. Presently, she consults for Induseye Inc, as a director. 

In India, she has published work in the non-fiction category. She has written/edited the 

4-WEEK COUNTDOWN DIET for Penguin India, with her own recipes and case studies, in collaboration with fitness expert Namita Jain. She has also edited fitness books for the Times of India Group, including a children’s fitness book and a home exercise instruction manual. 

In the fiction genre she has written a novella, Pink Champagne, for Indireads, an online imprint. Manhattan Mango is her second work of fiction for the Indian and diaspora market.


PRICE: Rs. 175 (Paperback)


Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse

Sunday, August 24, 2014

#85 : Bucket List of a Traveloholic by Sarika Pandit : A Review

Bucket List of a Traveloholic

BOOK TITLE: Bucket List of a Traveloholic

ISBN: 9788172344979

AUTHOR: Sarika Pandit

GENRE: Non Fiction


FORMAT: Paperback


REVIEW BY: Shree janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK:  The publisher sent us a review copy. We thank Fingerprint Publishing for it!

SUMMARY: While her B-School batch mates are busy scrambling for top jobs and grades, a restless Sarika dreams of putting on her running shoes and having all the pages of her passport stamped by the age of thirty.

What follows is a frenzied quest of not just collecting stamps but ticking off items off her ever-expanding bucket list: From learning the local language in Spain to an alcohol trail through Greece; from a tryst with Shakespeare and Jane Austen in the United Kingdom to an encounter with the Vampire in Romania; from straddling the border between two countries in the Middle East to a road trip through Morocco to the Sahara; each experience bringing her just a little closer to reaching that final destination on her passport.

A journey of falling in love with globetrotting--this one promises to be one of the best roller-coaster reading experiences you will have this year


I fell I love with the cover the moment the publisher, Fingerprint Publishing sent us a mail for a review. I’ve always had a thing for travel. Unfortunately for me, I really don’t have the back balance or the time to travel. I travel only through the eyes and words of writers. To me, reading a book which takes me across borders is exhilarating than actually travelling. Naturally my expectations of this book with a beautiful glossy cover were high.

The summary promised me a journey of falling in love with globetrotting. The book exactly didn’t keep its promise up. The writer, Sarika, has this “repetitive” impulse of packing her bags and getting her passport stamped while her peers slog away to make a living. She narrates her travels across the globe.  Each account typically starts with her “reasons” for visiting that particular country and ends with her heading back to Mumbai with a Visa Stamp in her passport and beautiful “ Black & White” pictures (Yeah! in the book it was all black and white!).

I really liked the Jerusalem account of her travel. The writer has beautifully conveyed her emotions of witnessing more than just a cultural difference between two parts of the same city. Religion should never be the reason for war, for all religions preach just the same ideology: the ideology of love. Sadly, humans don’t really get this simple truth. This hard hitting fact was beautifully portrayed by the writer in that Jerusalem account.

The English country and Jane Austen trip left me high and dry. I really can connect with the writer in that part of the travel.  I truly have no words to describe that part of the book , for it was brilliant. I might be exaggerating a bit for I have a soft spot for anything related to English literature.

The chocolate trail account in Brussels made me go stark mad for not pursing my masters in Belgium in spite of having an opportunity to do so. Gosh I missed out on all chocolates! Not liking chocolate is such a sin. Glad the writer turned from a chocolate hater to chocolate tolerant person.

India isn’t exactly the best place for women travelling alone. That account of Kajuraho travel made me hang my head down in shame. Being a regular domestic traveller (Sadly work related), I have been there in similar situation feeling scared and hopeless. Hope this pathetic state improves someday.

In spite of majorly enjoying the book, I couldn’t connect with it for a rather simple reason. I really can’t get why the writer has this impulse to pack her bags and globetrot. I can explain why I have this impulse to pick up a book and read it until I complete it forgetting my daily chores (read sleeping and priming up!).

My other big complaint would be the pictures. Black and white images aren’t any good. Either there should have been color pictures or there shouldn’t have been pictures at all.

To sum it up, I simply envy the writer! Go girl! You rock!

VERDICT: Strictly only for people with an Itchy feet and an impulse to drop everything and pack up to abscond to some absurd place.

RATING: 3 on 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: The SUMMARY Pretty much describes her!

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Kindle & Paperback

PRICE: Rs.213 (Paperback)


Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse

Sunday, August 17, 2014

#84 : What If It's Love? by Alix Nichols : A Review

BOOK TITLE: What if it’s love?

ISBN: B00L3J9Y72

AUTHOR: Alix Nichols

GENRE: Fiction - Romance


FORMAT: Digital

SERIES / STANDALONE: Series (Bistro La Boheme Series #1)

REVIEW BY: Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK:  Review copy as a part of NjKinny Book tour

SUMMARY : Can a Paris bistro heal a broken heart?

Charm, wit and poignancy abound in this gripping contemporary romance.
Introverted heiress Lena moves to Paris to nurse old wounds reopened by her neglectful boyfriend. Enter Rob, a charismatic and handsome Frenchman who waits tables at La Bohème -- a café on Lena’s street -- and has big dreams.
He makes her laugh and forget her insecurities. She stirs something infinitely tender in his soul. Before they know it, they’ve fallen for each other, even though both had good reasons to fight the budding love. But their passionate romance is cut short when she discovers his dirty secret...
WHAT IF IT’S LOVE? is the first book in the “Bistro La Bohème” series.

Is the “Bistro La Bohème” series for you?

If you’ve enjoyed “Amelie” and “Friends” and like smart heroines, sexy heroes, witty dialogue and heart-stopping romance, then give this series a try. It will delight you with an unforgettable cast of imperfect and charming young men and women who work or frequent an ordinary yet special Parisian café. They fall in love, cope with heartbreak and chase their dreams with a passion that makes them endearing even when in the wrong.

Welcome to the Bistro La Bohème! Take a seat by the window, order your café crème and lose yourself in these deeply romantic and heart-warming tales of love, friendship and finding out where you belong. The books are interconnected, with a recurring setting and characters. But each story is self-contained, and you can read it as a stand-alone.


The idea of Paris, open café and a love story seemed so enchanting when I signed up for this review. As a matter of fact I hadn’t even “gotten over” the splendid Woody Allen movie “Mid Night in Paris” while this book came up for review. The beautiful cobbled streets of Paris combined with a slight drizzle felt so exhilarating.  Sadly the book didn’t work any such magic on me.

Our protagonist,Leena, a super-rich language student arrives in Paris after a heartbreak, looking for love. Paris, the city known famously to work its magic on people hoping to find love does work its magic on Lena as well. She does find love in Rob only to lose him for his secret which leaves Leena exhausted emotionally. She bounces back to find love again.

The story was well written and had all the ingredients for that perfect love story.  But unfortunately for me it lacked a little something for me. Paris in this story didn’t quite make an impact like Woody Allen’s movie did.  I felt the streets of Paris could have been described a wee bit better.  

Other thing that sort of ticked me off is this on and off romance between Rob and Leena. Leena was almost this woman who would fall in love at the drop of hat.

In short, it’s a light read.

VERDICT: Not bad. But definitely not for hardcore romance lovers.

RATING: 3.5 on 5

Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse


Sunday, August 10, 2014

#83 : A Prayer Heeded by Samreen Ahsan

A Prayer Heeded: A Prayer Series II

BOOK TITLE: A Prayer Heeded


AUTHOR: Samreen Ahsan

GENRE:  Fiction - Romance


FORMAT: Digital


REVIEW BY: Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK:  After reading the first book, I loved the book so much that I wrote to the writer asking for a review copy of this book as well in exchange for a honest review. Thank you Samreen!

SUMMARY :Adam Gibson is a multimillionaire who is not searching for God--or demons--when he finds love with a beautiful woman. Unfortunately, Rania, the one who has captured his heart, has a tormented past. Adam is unaware of his powers, how God makes sure his each prayer is heeded due to his virtue of charity. Adam knows Rania is still the answer to all his silent prayers. But now only time will tell if her soul is destined to be his once again.
The previous book left me high and dry. The romance between Raina and Adam is the previous book was portrayed truly beautifully, so I knew what to expect in this book. But then this book was everything I didn’t expect. The writer in her mail did warn me that this book was slightly different, but little did I know what I signed up for.

In the previous book, the readers are given glimpses of Raina’s violent past. And here I was expecting a past to be filled with normal “violence”. The story took a paranormal turn there. Paranormal wouldn’t be the apt word – mythical fits better. The whole story line suddenly transformed into a paranormal romance filled with references to Mythical creatures – Jinn or Satan as I’ve known for long.

Having never read much about Muslim culture or practices, this book proved to be an eye-opener for me. Raina’s violent past and her present with Adam has an unfortunate connection to particular obsessed supernatural element. The story is about how Adam breaks that supernatural connection to love Raina with all her heart and soul.
The story proved to be a tear jerker – a syndrome that occurs once in a blue moon to me. To write a book containing references to a particular religion’s spiritual belief without offending practitioners of that religions as well as people from other religion is not easy task. In fact I many writers would steer clear of such delicate subject. This writer has done a brilliant job in that department.  She has explained many beautiful intricacies of the Muslim religion of which I wasn’t aware of. For example, I really didn’t know why Muslim women wear Burqua (Read the book to know why :-P)

There is fine line between romance and eroticism. Many writers tend to unintentionally cross that line. Thankfully for me, this writer managed to stay in that boundary.

To sum it up, this book opened me to a whole new world of a different culture in spite of certain parts of the book reminding me of 50 Shades of Grey.

VERDICT: Must read. Beautiful Story line with deep and rich characters.

RATING: 4.5 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: Paperback, Digital

PRICE: Rs.223 (Kindle)

Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse