Posted in Fiction, My Bibliothèque, Romance

{ Book Review } – The Ingredients of Love by Nicolas Barreau!

The Ingredients of LoveThe Ingredients of Love by Nicolas Barreau

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this book in the week before I watched the movie Bareilly Ki Barfi. The movie is only loosely based on / inspired by the book, borrowing only the basic plot. Everything else is quite different, with the Parisian flavor being quite dominant in the book while the movie is charmingly Desi.

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Posted in Fiction, My Bibliothèque, Thriller

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier!

My Cousin RachelMy Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My Cousin Rachel is not a straightforward story of whodunit if you ask me. Yes, it is tightly knit, full of suspense and ambiguity and everything about Cousin Rachel screams guilty. But, it doesn’t take a straight path. It is an old fashioned mystery and I was partly charmed by the elegant and yet strange backdrop of an English Estate. If you have watched Downton Abbey, you would know what I mean at once. Rachel is a character whose entire persona is shrouded in black. There is a sinister, creepy feeling about Du Maurier’s Rachel that gives you a tingling sensation every time she appears in the book. I do not know the answer to most basic question of this story, and while it would be a blatant lie to say that I don’t care about the answer, the truth is that it was far more fascinating to watch her in action, peep from behind the door of her boudoir than to actually know if she killed her husband. The reader knows that Rachel is no saint and yet, you don’t want to put the noose over her head just yet. The feverish curiosity that du Maurier’s writing invoked in me rendered me pretty much incapable of playing detective. I had sort of surrendered myself to become a mere witness to the series of events without becoming the judge. I read the whole book with a mixture of burning curiosity and a paralyzing helplessness.

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Posted in Fiction, My Bibliothèque

{ Book Review } – The Sari Shop by Rupa Bajwa !

The Sari ShopThe Sari Shop by Rupa Bajwa

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Sari Shop by Rupa Bajwa is the story that brings out the contrast between several strata of our society which cohabitate the Indian Cities but are as unlike each other as it would be possible to be. It begins the apparently insignificant Sevak Sari House in the main Bazaar of Amritsar. It follows the eyes and the ears of Ramchand, a lowly salesman at the shop who seems to be a misfit in not only his world but everyone else’s too. He is mostly invisible to everyone, it’s almost as if he doesn’t exist and, like all the other salesmen who man the counters in these tiny shops, blending seamlessly into the walls with customers’ eye moving from one shelf to another shelf, one counter to another counter, scarcely paying any attention to him.

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Posted in Fiction, My Bibliothèque, Romance, Women's Fiction

{ Book Review } – Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge

Jane of Austin: A Novel of Sweet Tea and SensibilityJane of Austin: A Novel of Sweet Tea and Sensibility by Hillary Manton Lodge

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jane of Austin is a wonderful, contemporary spin on Jane Austin classic ‘Sense and Sensibility’.Jane and Celia Woodward find themselves uprooted from their recently settles lives running a tea shop in San Francisco due to unforeseen circumstances. In the aftermath of their father’s business scandal, they again face a sad prospect of disturbing their barely settled lives and are forced to move to Austin, Texas. The duo packs up their kid sister Margot and Jane’s tea plants, determined to start over yet again. They do so grudgingly, but the developments in their lives are not all smooth, When Jane meets and falls for up-and-coming musician Sean Willis, the relationship between the sisters’ strains which is surprising considering how they have held on to each other all these difficult years. Also attracted to Jane is retired Marine Captain Callum Beckett. Callum never meant to leave the military, but he holds back his feelings because of his disability and also certain personal circumstances, he is bitter about his return not just because of his scars from the war but also the scars of his past.

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Posted in Fiction, My Bibliothèque, Romance

{ Book Review } – A Man called Ove by Fredrik Backman !

A Man Called OveA Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Call Ove ( pronounced as a soft ‘ooh’ + ‘ve’ as in vegetarian, it tried my best but I am not so good with Swedish pronunciation ) a curmudgeon, a grumbler, or a Grinch, but I bet he will have you loving him like your own loved one by the end of this book. Because he is the Grinch with a “large” heart (both literally as well as metaphorically). This book is full of dry humour and dull prose for most of the part, both of which I stay away from when I select books. I know it is not a very good analogy, but the prose in the book reminds me of Ikea furniture, straight lines, right angles and simple form. It is most definitely not an easy book to start. You might want to give up after a couple of chapters, but if you persist, you are in for a treat. Midway in the book, the curmudgeon will stop appearing irritating to you, I promise. Instead, he becomes someone you are scared of turning into as you grow old. And by then, it will make you hug your loved ones tighter, that’s guaranteed.

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Posted in Fiction, My Bibliothèque, Mythology, Women's Fiction

{ Book Review } – The Rise of Sivagami by Anand Neelakantan !

The Rise of Sivagami (Baahubali: Before the Beginning, Book 1)The Rise of Sivagami by Anand Neelakantan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Have you come across books which are pure temptation? I mean, I knew that the book I was then reading, A Man called Ove, was a much better book in all respect, but somehow, was rendered helpless against the lure of this one. 😬 I am a Bahubali fan, not a supremely crazy one, but a fan nonetheless. So, I bought this after a brief wait. The miser than I am, I usual don’t buy new releases, but then it was Bahubali. I started the book with the misconception that it would start at the birth of Sivagami, and merge with the story at the beginning of the movie. A little later I learnt that is a part of trilogy that maps the kingdom of Mahishmathi, as a extension of the Bahubali universe. The story begins with a young Sivagami and you suddenly notice all the streaks of the character in the movie. ( Although I admit, I just kept seeing an image of Ramya, younger, I don’t think I can separate that from the character, just yet ). From a childhood where she witnesses her father being awarded a death sentence for treason, to a teenaged orphan, the transition is subtle and natural. However, she is not the fundamental character of the book.

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Posted in Fiction, My Bibliothèque, Women's Fiction

{ Book Review ) – Ladies Coupé by Anita Nair !

I find rating books in stars a little difficult these days. Probably because I don’t have a clearly etched benchmark of what a 5-star rated book should be like. It happened that way with this book. This is my second book by Anita Nair, the first being Alphabet Soup for Lovers. Parts of this book were brilliant, especially the initial 150 pages or so. It begins with Akhilandeswari, a 45-year-old, single woman who works as an income tax clerk, buys a one-way ticket to Kanyakumari. When she steps into the Coupé ( this Coupé thing itself sounds so romantic and beautifully fictional because I have never travelled by a Coupe ), she meets and talks to six women, all from different walks of life, and listens to their life stories as narrated by them. In parallel, her thoughts take us through how she has become what she has become.

(10/36 of 2017 ) FR – Ladies Coupé by Anita Nair. I find rating books in stars a little difficult these days. Probably because I don't have a clearly etched benchmark of what a 5-star rated book should be like. It happened that way with this book. Parts of this book were brilliant, especially the initial 150 pages or so. It begins with Akhilandeswari, a 45 year old, single woman who works as an income tax clerk, buys a one way ticket to Kanyakumari. When she steps into the Coupé ( this Coupé thing itself sounds so romantic and beautifully fictional because I have never travelled by a Coupe ), she meets and talks to six women, all from different walks of life, and listens to their life stories as narrated by them. In parallel, her thoughts take us through how she has become what she has become. Her childhood and the part which describes a weekend from when her Appa was alive is the part of the book I didn't want to move on from. I silently judged her mother, just like Akhila did, from dissolving her existence in the pool that was nothing but her husband. I am not particularly impressed with the characters of Akhila's family, but they are quite realistic. But some parts of the book are magical. It is probably the hapless romantic in me but it was like I stood on the other side of the curtain of steam that rose from a mound of white, glistening grains of rice her mother served her father on a plantain leaf, every Sunday. Here I quote the author: "Piping Hot, fragrant with the alchemy of steam, spices and Amma's devotion to the man who, for her sake and the children's', lunched on curd rice and a slice of lime pickle, six days a week and never complained." A few paragraphs later, I am smiling in approval as Amma makes fried, succulent, half moon Kathirikai Bajjis for Tiffin but doesn't mix filter coffee decoction until she has the Kesari ready to serve. [ Continued in the comment below ]

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