Friday, June 22, 2018

#609 : The Soldier Prince (Royals of Stellangård Saga #1) by Aarti V. Raman

Men in uniform  again - been reading back to back books with male protagonists broken emotionally to varying degrees. Throw in a royal twist to the soldier character - a potentially heady cocktail. This is what exactly this story and it's characters were. Alexander Heinrickson is the spare prince of an idyllic and exotic sounding country in Europe. He chooses to abandon royalty and become a soldier after a particularly horrifying incident which changed his life forever. Fast forward to years later - he works in construction, craving a royal life for going back is not really an option for him. Enter our female protagonist - Sasha Ray - Waitress and aspiring teacher who eventually ends up saving his life and getting dragged into a complex web of problems that the royalty of Stellangard faces. 

The characterization is perfect with each incident adding layers and shades to each character. Alexander's sister's character mildly reminds me of the goth princess character - Princess Elanor from The Royals series on E! Channel. However, the similarity stops just there. The story is paced very evenly with byte sized twists and turns which eventually leads to a larger twist. This exactly where the writer kicked ass with her layering techniques. I kind of kept hoping for an ending very similar to what the writer have put in. The visual description of the Stellangard and the fight scenes were narrated vividly. It was such a visual treat to read. 

In spite of the setting of the story being a bit cliched for obvious reasons, it felt great to finish reading this book. More often that not, royal romances tend to be inspired by the most popular royal family - of that of the UK. Thankfully, this story does not draw inspiration from them. In short, this is a great read for lovers of royal romance and thriller. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

#608 : A Hasty Hookup by Varsha Dixit : Review


The idea of an Army man as a protagonist in a romantic book is so enticing. Hooking up with a man in uniform would surely have been every girl's teenage fantasy. For reasons unfathomable, some women are infatuated by emotionally broken men and an army man fits that bill perfectly. Immense trauma of being a part of the war can leave people emotionally broken even if they are trained hard not to be. The writer has probably used this notion to maximum advantage in her story. Gina Bansal, the protagonist of the story is married to the utterly broken and crippled army man Ojas purohit. She fled from her marriage and started a new life in a foreign land, leaving all her close friends and her parents. She finds love (or so she thinks) and decides to come down to India to end her marriage for good. The husband - Ojas, is a bitter man and their past (which is not elaborated in this book) prevents him from co-operating and granting her a divorce. 

The writer has obviously written this book with an intent of making it into a series. However, unlike her books in the previous series (The Right & Wrong series), this book has a perfect cliffhanger ending. Nevertheless, the cliff hanger ending felt slightly deliberate. The characterization is borderline good, but each character needs to be given a wee bit more background. The next book in the series might probably have that as the story is nowhere near complete. The part about the wallflowers - the friends who try to get her divorce done - has a separate book - The Wallflowers. It is recommended to read that if you prefer having the complete background. I was okay with the glimpses of characterization the writer managed to add in this book. I do intend to read that book as this motley group of women sound quite interesting. 

The structuring and writing in general is good, the writer has given out tiny pointers to leave the readers pondering about Ojas & Gina's history which is hopefully going to be elaborated in the next book ( or has probably been done in the prequel, which I have not read). 

One good read if you are looking to start a new series and can wait patiently enough for the next one. The writer has just skimmed the layer of the actual story in this book with plenty of questions left unanswered. Might not be a good idea to start the series now if you are restless and lack patience. 

Do buy the book here - Amazon


Saturday, June 9, 2018

#607 : The Thai-ish Leftover Chappati Noodle : Recpie

Inspired by "Vada Master" Gopalakrishnan Krishnasamy's post on Facebook, I decided to share this recipe of making best use of the boring old leftover chappati. It is such a chore to think of what to cook for the day. Especially if you have a loaded full time job which requires you to commute for an hour a day and work of for 9 hours a day. I normally plan the menu for the week on Sunday ensuring that my fridge is stocked to boot with vegetables and other necessities. 

Roti/Chapathi is one dish I always prepare in excess - a small planning hack I learnt from my mom. Cooking by itself it easy, while the task of planning for it is maddening. Luckily there are few dishes which can be morphed into something else easily. Idly, Roti, Sambar, Rasam are few such dishes that I can think of. 

To Prepare the The Thai-ish Leftover Chappati Noodle, you need,

1. Chappathi - 5 - medium sized
2. Mushroom - 1 Standard packet 
3. Carrot - 1 Medium sized - peeled, cut into cubes and boiled. 
4. Potato - 2 small sized or 1 big sized - diced and boiled. 
5. Tomato - 1 - Chopped to medium sized pieces. 
6. Onion - 1 Big sized - Chopped finely. 
7. Garlic - 3 medium sized pods. 
8. Ginger - 1 medium sized piece - chopped to juliennes
9. Green chilly - 1 - chopped length wise. 
10. Tomato Sauce - 1 Tablespoon
11. Soy Sauce - 1 Tablespoon
12. Chilli Powder - To taste
13. Garam Masala - 2 tsp
14. Peanuts - Fried 
15. Oil - to temper (Mustard & cumin seeds - 1 tsp each) 

Not the best photograph, but yeah, it tasted good!

Do note that this recipe serves two people comfortably! 

Now, to the method 

1. Once you've chopped all the vegetables and boiled whatever needs to be boiled, cut the chappathi length wise with a scissor. It should end up looking like flat noodles minus the texture and length. 

2. In a Kadaai, heat oil and add mustard, let it crackle, add cumin seeds. Leave for a minute and add onions. Saute until slightly brown. 

3. Add garlic and ginger - saute until the raw smell goes off. Now add tomato and saute till it is cooked well. 

4. Now add mushroom and keep stirring it occasionally. Mushroom normally releases water. Wait till the water evaporates to proceed further. 

5. Once the water evaporates a bit, add the other boiled vegetables. Now add salt, the sauces, garam masala, chilli powder and mix well. 

6. Now add the chappathis and mix well. Turn off the flame and add the roasted peanuts. 

Few pointers 

1. Cook this completely in low to medium flame. 
2. Don't let the water evaporate fully. You just need to ensure that the mushroom is cooked. 
3. Chilli can be replaced with chilli sauce. I prefer natural ingredients to sauces. 
4. Tomato sauce is just to add that zing. Can be skipped.