Tuesday, March 31, 2015

#BookReview: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

On the jacket:

The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.
Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning!

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.


This book arrived home when I was desperately looking for a feel-good book to read. My idea of feel-good here is a book that makes me feel better, the content needn't be feel-good. I had also read rave reviews about All The Bright Places, so obviously had a good amount of expectations peppered with curiosity.

Violet Markey and Theodore Finch's story, this books begins with a line that opens a lot of probabilities to follow in the pages to come - Is today and good day to die? Violet and Finch meet when dealing with major problems of their own and it's only with each other when they can be themselves and deal with all their problems. 

Violet and Finch are opposite yet similar. While she is popular yet a people pleaser; he is brash and goes out of the way to hurt people. Yet, both need saving. It was in an instant that I could identify with both the characters, we either know them or we are one of them. The story is that realistic. Jennifer Niven has done a very fine job in building the characters.

All the Bright Places isn't as happy a story as the title suggests. It broke my heart, to be honest. Beautifully written, this story grips the heart. It has left me in awe, a little heart-broken and sad, yet feeling oh so wonderful. You know how at times something is so sad that you cry buckets, yet you feel good that your cried? That's exactly what this book did to me.  

Rating: *****/5

Saturday, March 21, 2015

#BookReview : Canvas of Dreams by Jaya Siva Murty

On the jacket:

Riya seems to have lost everything—the man she loves to another woman, her husband to death and her soul to fear.  An unexpected meeting with her first love, Ryan, stirs up long repressed feelings but also allows her to move out of the long shadow of the past. Unburdened, she feels free to pursue her dream of opening an art gallery and the handsome and intriguing artist Rehaan. But memories of her marriage refuse to fade away and then suddenly, Ryan shows up in her life again. Now, Riya must find the courage to reconcile her past and present.  For Riya, life is a canvas of dreams. Can she distinguish between reality and fantasy? 


A love story that is far from being a mushy story wrapped in a bubble. Canvas of Dreams is what real love stories are made of - more pain than bliss, more sacrifices than gains. Riya our protaginist loves Ryan but he is not the man she gets to marry. The man she does get to have a marriage with, dies. And she is left a scarred individual trying to get back on her feet, bury her past and release her dream of opening an art gallery.

Riya meets Ryan in Singapore. Ryan who is now married. She knows she still loves him but also that she needs to stay out of his life. Once back in Mumbai, she tries to confront her nightmares and bring a closure to her past. Thing about this book is that Riya is not a character, she is one of us - she is us. We have all had our share of men - some stayed, some damaged us, some healed us.  

The plot has been give a very subtle treatment. As I said, this is not your usual mush. This is a heartwarming tale of a woman and her life.

Rating: ****/5
[This review is for IndiReads. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

#BookReview: The Return of the Butterfly (Social Butterfly #3) by Moni Mohsin

On the jacket:

I tell you the halaats are so bad, so bad that don’t even ask. The Talibans sitting on top of our heads, bombs bursting left, right and centre, drones droning away, load-shedding a hundred hours a day, servants answering back, in-laws trying to upstage you, friends throwing you out of their kitties and on top of that elections ka tamasha. Janoo tau is coming closer and closer to a nervous brake out while Mummy is getting sterile dementia. As for Kulchoo, bhai, don’t even ask.  
But I’ve decided, come what may, I tau am not going to let anyone clamp my style. I’m going to live just as I like—watching my Turkish soaps, going to GTs and weddings, throwing kitty parties, telling everyone everything saaf-saaf and, of course, doing summers in London—voh tau must hai na. And I’m going to do it in my Jimmy Choo ki heels and my sleeveless designer shirts, and my streaked hair and my Prada ki sunglasses. This much I’m telling you all from now only. So tighten your seat belts, okay?


I haven't read the previous books of the series - The Diary of a Social Butterfly and Duty Free, so it took me a while to understand why the protagonist is talking the way she is and who the rest of the characters are.

This is Butterfly's narration of her life and the people in them. Being an Indian who hasn't really met another Pakistani, Butterfly reminds me of housewives in upscale areas of Delhi/Punjab. She considers herself very elite, has to speak in English which is almost always wrong and is a bit of a pea brain. Her wit lies in her language and the way she expresses herself. She uses a lot of Hindi as well as English, however I need to point that the Hindi is not how we write on this side of the familiar. It's only recently that I have become familiar with spellings like tau (we spell it as toh), honay walay (we write hone wale), so if I'd read this before, I would have been a bit bewildered with the text. 

Moving on to Mohsin's writing, it is witty. One could actually envision a dumb, rich housewife being and doing what Butterfly was. Butterfly is most interesting - has her head in the crowd yet likes to have an opinion on everything, even politics. She lives with her husband Janoo and son Kulchoo. She is superficial and believes being rich and good looking is a virtue. The language did turn me off initially but few pages into the book and I realised how deliberate and necessary that was, to build the characters and the scenario. 

I plan to read the first two books of the series now, and then re-read this again. I quite likes Mohsin's style of writing once I got used to it, I'd like to read all of Butterfly's story.

Rating: ***.5/5

[This review is for Random House India. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

Monday, March 9, 2015

Ranbir Kapoor launches cover of Ronnie Screwvala's book Dream With Your Eyes Open

The superstar of Bollywood’ first family, Ranbir Kapoor, launches the book cover of India’s early first-generation entrepreneurs, Ronnie Screwvala  

~Ronnie Screwvala pens his entrepreneurial journey – Dream With Your Eyes Open and   announces the commencement of online bookings~  

28th February 2015, Mumbai: Ronnie Screwvala’s entrepreneurial journey is an inspiration, to say the   least. Founder of one of India’s largest media & entertainment conglomerates, Ronnie Screwvala has   penned a book on his journey, from Cable TV to toothbrushes manufacturing and from Theatre to Media   and Entertainment, Dream with your Eyes Open, which aims to champion entrepreneurship in the   country.  Bollywood’s latest entry to the superstar brigade, Ranbir Kapoor, unveiled the cover of   Screwvala’s book at the event held in the city today.     

“Ronnie is an inspiration for everyone who dare to make their dreams come true. His conviction in an out-  of-the-box film like Barfi made me realize that when belief meets innovation, it creates magic! I am   delighted to launch the cover of his book and look forward to its release. I will definitely be buying the first day, first copy,” said Ranbir Kapoor at the event.     

Speaking about this book, Ronnie Screwvala said, “Dream With Your Eyes Open shares failures and   triumphs, thoughts and anecdotes of my journey. It  
details out my vast experiences and myriad lessons   learned from more than two decades of building some successful (and some not-so-successful)   businesses.  This book is about ‘it can be done’, not ‘I did it’. It’s all possible. Just dream your own dream—and when   you do, dream with your eyes open”       At the event, Ronnie Screwvala also announced that the commencement of the online bookings for   Dream With Your Eyes Open, with the book slated to hit the stands on 2nd April 2015.     Demonstrating an innate ability to merge creativity with commerce, Ronnie Screwvala has been termed   Jack Warner of India by Newsweek, Esquire rated him one of the 75 most influential people of the 21st   Century and Fortune as Asia’s 25 most powerful. He is credited with pioneering Cable TV in India,   building one of the largest toothbrush manufacturing operations – before founding UTV, a media and   entertainment conglomerate spanning Television, Digital, Mobile, Broadcasting, Games and Motion   Pictures, which he divested to The Walt Disney Company in 2012.     Onto his second innings, Ronnie is driven by his interest in championing Entrepreneurship in India, and is   focused on building his next set of ground up businesses in high growth and impact sectors. His more   recent commitment to being a first mover in Sports has made him lend his support to Kabaddi and   Football. He is passionate about social welfare and with his wife Zarina and through their Swades   Foundation has given single-minded focus to empowering one million lives in rural India every 5-6 years   through a unique 360-degree model.

You can buy the book here.

#BookReview : The Shrine of Death by Divya Kumar

On the jacket:  Prabha Sinha, an IT professional in Chennai, is plunged into a murky world of idol theft, murder, and betrayal aft...