BOOK REVIEW: VANARA THE LEGEND OF BAALI, SUGREEVA AND TARA

Book: Vanara-The Legend of Baali, Sugreeva and Tara

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Author: Anand Neelakantan

Genre: Mythological Fiction

Published by: Penguin Books

Number of pages: 309 pages

My Rating: 4/5

MY REVIEW: I was provided with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

I was happy to read and review this book as I enjoy reading mythology, especially Hindu mythology. Also, it made a refreshing change from the recent novels that I have read.

Before I started reading the book, I realised that I did not know much about Baali or Sugreeva beyond what stories I had read based on the Ramayana. I knew practically nothing about Tara.

The book begins with a detailed introduction by the author who shares various stories about the births of Baali and Sugreeva. The author also explains how myths and stories have evolved over generations.

The story begins with Baali and Sugreeva, the two brothers being raised in the ashram of Sage Gautama. As the brothers belong to the tribe of the Vanaras or the Vana Naras, they are shunned as monkeys and made to do the menial work of the ashram.

Sugreeva witnesses Ahalya, the wife of Sage Gautama, committing adultery with Lord Indra, which sparks off a series of incidents that force the brothers to run away from the ashram and seek refuge in the forest.

The brothers wish to reunite with their tribe, the Vana Naras but are not easily accepted by the tribe. It is only the eunuch Riksarajas, who takes in the brothers and becomes an adoptive father to them. He takes them to Mahabali, the Asura emperor to study.

Meanwhile, an interesting love triangle starts between the brothers and Tara, the beautiful daughter of Sushena, the Vaidya of the Vana Naras. This tension between the three of them continues throughout the story.

Baali with the help of Sugreeva and Tara establishes the city of Kishkinda and attempts to restore the pride of the Vana Naras.

The circumstances that lead to the rift between the brothers which results in Sugreeva seeking out Rama and Lakshmana and Baali’s death, are extremely fascinating to read.

The characters in the story are portrayed wonderfully: Baali as the alpha male, Sugreeva as the younger brother with a sly streak, Tara who is an extremely capable woman and even Hanuman, Ravana, Rama and Lakshmana.

Do read the book if you enjoy reading mythology. I recommend ‘Vanara-The Legend of Baali, Sugreeva and Tara’ to readers as enjoyable, interesting and informative.

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BOOK REVIEW: INELIGIBLE

Book: Ineligible

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Author: Bijaya Kumar Mishra

Genre: Romance Fiction

Published by: Invincible Publishers

Number of pages: 173 pages

My Rating: 3.5/5

MY REVIEW: I received a copy of “Ineligible” by Bijaya Kumar Mishra in exchange for an honest review.

Saahil and Varsha are very much in love and want to get married. However, in true Bollywood fashion, Saahil is a penniless, unemployed orphan while Varsha comes from a very wealthy family.

To take the comparison to Bollywood further, Varsha’s brother Dev sets down conditions for Saahil if he wants to marry Varsha: he must own a house, a car, have a monthly income of one lakh rupees and a bank balance of ten lakh rupees!

Saahil starts rushing to meet these impossible targets. On the other hand Dev fixes Varsha’s marriage to a stranger, making the situation even more difficult for Saahil and Varsha.

Saahil learns lots of lessons on his journey to earn money. Varsha ably assists him in achieving his targets. They are also aided by an assortment of friends and people they meet who become their friends.

Whether Saahil achieves his target and whether the love story has a happy ending, is obviously part of the suspense of the story and should not be revealed by me!

“Ineligible” is a fun filled and quirky romance that will certainly appeal to readers who love that particular genre.

BOOK REVIEW: VOLCANIC MOMENTS

Book: Volcanic Moments

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Author: Mona Mohanty

Genre: Fiction, Short Stories

Published by: Authors Press

Number of pages: 144 pages

My Rating: 4/5

MY REVIEW: I was provided with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

It is very difficult for me to review this book without giving away the plot, but I will try to do so.

The book comprises of 25 short stories. There is no common theme running through the book except for the fact that each story has a twist in the tale. I found myself racing through each story eagerly waiting for the climax.

The stories in the book are as diverse as a landlord desperate for tenants to a strange ill-fated tattoo and a girl who has lost her mother in childhood to a successful but childless doctor couple.

No reader will be bored reading this book. I recommend this book as interesting and riveting.

BOOK REVIEW: THE SUM OF ALL MY PARTS

Book: The Sum of all my Parts

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Author: Andaleeb Wajid

Genre: Fiction

Published by: Amaryllis

Number of pages: 287 pages

My Rating: 5/5

MY REVIEW: I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The story is about Mariam, an elderly lady living in Vellore, who is teaching four young women how to crochet.

Though Mariam is extremely critical at times about the crochet work of her four pupils, at the same time, she develops a fondness for each one of them.

The four young women are: Nimra, who is bullied constantly by her stepmother, Arifa, whose husband is away in Dubai, Amreen who is unable to get pregnant and Shaista who is going through an unwanted pregnancy.

In and around the design of each crochet pattern, each young woman’s story, along with her emotions and frustrations are depicted. Mariam, also has her own fascinating love story that she shares with her four pupils.

Mariam’s love story is told in an extremely interesting manner in the form of flashbacks.

All the women try to find a solution to their individual problems while creating an elaborate crochet pattern on a bedspread for Mariam’s granddaughter Faiza.

The author has woven a compelling tale and has beautifully depicted each character and her emotions.

I highly recommend “The Sum of All My Parts”, as a highly enthralling and interesting tale that will touch the heart of every reader!

BOOK REVIEW: TIDES DON’T CROSS

Book: Tides Don’t Cross

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Author: Simar Malhotra

Genre: Romance Fiction

Published by: Rupa Publications

Number of pages: 250 pages

My Rating: 4.5/5

MY REVIEW: I received a copy of “Tides Don’t Cross” by Simar Malhotra in exchange for an honest review.

The story is about two sisters, who have completely opposite personalities. Mrinalini, the older sister, has always let herself be bullied and controlled by their domineering mother Neelam Siritya. Neelam has brought up her daughters singlehandedly after her husband’s death and wants nothing but the best for her daughters. While Mrinalini goes along with what her mother says, Rukhmani, the younger sister is a rebel who lives life on her own terms.

Mrinalini lets her mother dominate her into a “suitable” marriage with Surya. She also enters into motherhood though she is not ready for the same. Rukhmani, who is studying in New York, decides to study in Paris for a semester. There she meets Ayaan, a fellow Indian, who is in Paris for the same reason.

Rukhmani and Ayaan fall in love in the City of Love but their relationship ends when they both move back to the US for their studies and careers. In the meantime, Mrinalini finds herself suddenly widowed and a single mother to Rohan.

Mrinalini meets Ayaan without knowing who he is and slowly but surely they become good friends. Will Mrinalini and Ayaan fall in love with each other? Or will Rukhmani and Ayaan be able to reignite their lost love? The reader will have to read the book to find that out.

I really loved the way Ayaan’s character has been depicted, he comes across as a wonderful human being. I only wish that Mrinalini’s character was less wimpy and Rukhmani’s character was less brash.

“Tides Don’t Cross” is an extremely interesting romance that is worth reading.

BOOK REVIEW: JUST MISSED!

Book: Just Missed

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Author: Himanshu Bhatia

Genre: Romance Fiction

Published by: Petals Publishers

Number of pages: 230 pages

My Rating: 3.5/5

MY REVIEW: I received a copy of “Just Missed” by Himanshu Bhatia in exchange for an honest review.

This story is told by Siddharth Gupta. He meets Shreya for the purpose of an arranged marriage and falls in love with her intelligence and beauty. Shreya also, appears to be interested in meeting and talking to Siddharth or Sid, as he is known as.

When Shreya goes on a vacation to Thailand, she meets Shivam, whom she first dismisses as a no-good flirt. However, she slowly sees that Shivam is actually a good person.

As Shreya and Shivam grow closer to each other, Sid’s importance in Shreya’s life starts to decrease. However, Sid is unaware of this and starts planning his engagement and wedding to Shreya. Their respective families are also in favour of this.

After many romantic moments and gestures, Shreya and Shivam realise that they have fallen in love with each other. But is it too late for them? What about Sid’s feelings for Shreya? Can love overcome the practicalities of an arranged marriage?

“Just Missed” is a romance that will certainly appeal to readers who love that particular genre.

BOOK REVIEW: WEDDING PICKLE: FULL OF SPICE!

Book: Wedding PickletempImageForSave

Author: Neha Sharma

Genre: Romance Fiction

Published by:

Number of pages: 263 pages

My Rating: 4/5

MY REVIEW: The author Neha Sharma was kind enough to send me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed reading this book as it beautifully depicts the problems faced by young women in India today when they have to go through an arranged marriage.

Avni is a young woman living in Delhi, who loves her work and her independence. She is pressured by her parents to “meet” this great guy from Norway, Ansh.

Avni meets Ansh and finds him nice enough but at first she is unable to have romantic feelings about him. However, she does get engaged to him and all the engagement and wedding planning starts to take place. Still, Avni is afraid of losing her independence.

Every person in India can relate to the descriptions given about the chaos that takes place whenever there is a family function.

Does Avni finally marry Ansh? Is she able to overcome her fears and commit to him? As I cannot give away the plot, everyone will have to read the book to find out.

I recommend this book to readers as it is a realistic and relatable story. The book “Wedding Pickle” can be ordered on Amazon.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Neha Sharma is a writer and blogger who resides in Norway. She can be followed on Instagram @novelistneha