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, 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 Food and Drink, My Bibliothèque, Romance

{ Book Review } – Alphabet Soup for Lovers by Anita Nair!

Alphabet Soup for Lovers is not a collection of recipes. Nor is it a riveting tale of two ill-fated lovers who get together after a long struggle, sacrifices or a display of strong character. For me, Alphabet Soup for Lovers felt like tucking in a bowl of warm, ghee laced khichdi, occasionally biting into a whole peppercorn or a piece of mango pickle accompanied by a rather limp, oil soaked papad which should have brought it some texture and flavours into the khichdi but ended up rather being a nuisance.

Book 4 / 36 – Alphabet Soup for Lovers by Anita Nair is not a collection of recipes. Nor is it a riveting tale of two ill-fated lovers who get together after a long struggle, sacrifices or a display of strong character. For me, Alphabet Soup for Lovers felt like tucking into a bowl of warm, ghee laced khichdi, occasionally biting into a whole peppercorn or a piece of mango pickle accompanied by a rather limp, oil soaked papad which should have brought it some texture and flavours into the khichdi but ended up rather being a nuisance. The story begins with the narrator and my favourite character in the book, Komathi, expressing her frustration at not being able to pick up the English Alphabet. She is an old retainer of the female protagonist, Lena, who lives in the idyllic Nilgiris and is described to be in a sort of an emotionless relationship with her husband KK. In contrast, the Komathi's character is very well etched. And the food metaphors that she uses are endearing. She decides to associate each letter with a fruit, vegetable or dish. That way she will never forget it. As she winds her way through alphabets, she is mostly an impassive witness to the illicit attraction that springs up between Lena and Shoola Pani. As she goes through this beautiful journey from A for Arisi Appalam, choosing the humble Appalam over her granddaughter's A for Apple and makes her way to the calm and soothing end with Z for Zigarthanda ( I know, it starts with J but Komathi chooses Jigarthanda for Z ) her back story unravels revealing a surprise, an unrequited love, and explains why her thoughts are what they are. What I did not like was how hollow the rest of the characters and the stories sound in the book. I found them dull because nothing explains why a character behaves the way she/he behaves. Not their thoughts, not their words and neither a third person assesment of their behaviour, like Komathi's thoughts about them explains the story development. Looks like the author didn't heed Komathi's advice and fried the Arisi Appalams in smoking hot oil, leaving the Appalam uncooked on the inside and sticking to the reader's teeth. Detailed review on the blog, link in bio!

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