Book Review: Monsoon Masala by Sulagna Chaudhury

This book is un-put-down-able!

The Blurb:

Siddharth Chatterjee – Mr Playboy…high flying career, parties, hot girls and loads of booze. Life can’t get better than this or can it?

Akanksha Dutta – Miss Perfectionist, who has fought against all odds and emerged as a winner, who detests the word “relationship” and wants to live life on her own terms only.

Welcome to Monsoon Masala, the whacky love story about the madness and magic in the lives of two individuals, Akanksha and Siddharth. Multiple times they meet, they ditch and they separate. And then, on 8th June 2004, Venus is in transit for the first time since 1882. Astrologers predict that this “celestial once in a lifetime” event will lead to the making of some great love stories. Does it mean something “surreal” for these 2 strong individuals as well?

Excerpt:

To catch a bus I needed to cross the busy junction at Park Street. He promptly came forward and caught my hand saying that he would help me cross the road. I looked at him and said, ”You know Sid, over the last few years, I have been commuting all by myself. I am not a damsel in distress. I can cross my roads. I think I have more than proved my point on this through my life. Not that I want you to feel bad but you didn’t even stand up as a friend when I needed one desperately, right?

So, don’t do all this, it really doesn’t matter. And please don’t hold my hand ever again.

About The Author:

With over 15 years of experience, Sulagna Chaudhury at present works with a reputed MNC as a client services and sales professional.

She is the owner of a contemporary dance group ”Jhankar Beatz” and in her free time doubles as a MC doing a corporate as well as public shows. Here is a multi-faceted career that also encompasses stints as a lecturer and a banker while living her ”radio” passion and ruling as a popular RJ across cities and radio stations for more than a decade.

She is an active blogger who loves penning her thoughts on diverse topics and proudly lives her mantra of ”Life is all about moments… it is you who decides to make it large.” She currently resides in Bangalore, India, with her husband and her 5 year old daughter.

The Review:

Every love story has its own essence and beauty of the feelings that people in it share. Not all of those stories go smooth and like the ones all of us dream about. Many a times it takes years to realize that there is a love…a strong one which persists behind anger, ignorance and million little fights.

According to me, letting go a sincere love is the biggest loss one can have because not all love is true. After reading ‘Monsoon Masala’ I realized it even better.

The Reviewer’s Heart…

Monsoon Masala by Sulagna Chaudhury is a complete set of adventure and drama with much needed masala for its readers to savor. The story revolves around a very beautiful, diligent, talented and intelligent girl, Akanksha Dutta and equally opposite to her, Siddharth Chatterjee (Sid). The story starts with the childhood days of Akanksha, her little anecdotes and about her family. Then comes an interesting twist when Sid’s childhood days begin. Both of them despite having a childhood together what they share is a complete contrast of each other. If it’s Akanksha, you would want to pat on her back for being an ideal child and if it’s Siddharth’s, you would wish to return to your childhood days to make it awesome like his. The Bengali culture has been beautifully described throughout the book.

Since both of them had the same class and the culture it was quite obvious that traits of Sid was compared to Akanksha. The author has well depicted one of the most common traits found in parents, especially in India. Akanksha is an all-rounder. She is good in studies, well mannered, a winner of AIR (All India Radio) singing competition and to add a cherry on the top, a very pretty girl. Whereas, Sid is smart in everything except for studies. He listens none but his heart. In short, he is a spoiled brat, thanks to his dad for fulfilling all his demands. His favorite past time is irritating Akanksha who has an image of a perfectionist; not out of jealousy but revenge because she be there in his ”everything”, an ideal for all to whom he desperately wants to put out of his life. There is a clash for sure; every time they come across each other.

There is an instance when Sid’s family approach Akanksha’s for match making with Sid’s elder brother. Somehow, it seems wrong to Sid. He feels pained with the fact and convince his brother to reject Akanksha. Sid gets a decent job in Gurgaon. With his good performance at workplace he gets a chance to work in abroad. Sid is sure that he is in love with Akanksha. He writes her a long mail; expressing his desire to be with her. On the other side, Akanksha is getting married to Raghav, a highly educated and well settled. There is a big secret about Raghav that can change Akanksha’s life forever.

Will Akanksha read Sid’s mail? Would Raghav be able to cheat Akanksha and make her life a living hell? or Will Akanksha reject Sid’s proposal? Read Monsoon Masala to find it out.

What I liked?

It was interesting to see how tactfully and naturally the author got into the shoes of Sid and Akanksha and connected the dots neatly. Both of their parts were interesting, equally. Each character was well developed, this shows that the author has given a good time for writing each chapter. The book is well edited. Also, I liked the paperback quality.

What I disliked?

At some point of time the pace of the story became too slow and monotonous. Also, I felt that the book cover could have been better. In the end, like always when I try connecting the book title and the story; this time the duo didn’t work together.

Why should one read this book?

For all those who are planning for a light read or looking for a book which opens a door for you to anticipate the next possibility only to read a twist… then it’s a right book to go for.

Rating:
Blurb: 3/5
Description: 3.5/5
Writing Style: 4/5
Editing: 4/5
Excerpt: 3/5
Book Cover: 2.5/5
Overall Rating: 3.5/5

Book Details:
Title: Monsoon Masala
Author: Sulagna Chaudhury
Genre: Fiction
Type: Paperback
Publisher: Frog Books
Language: English
Pages: 294
Year of Publication: 2015
Price: 275 INR
Buy Paperback: Flipkart | Amazon

Stars… To this light read with unexpected twists I give a 3.5 star rating.

Monsoon Masala is a light read. Those who firmly believe in love should must read. Love makes you do things you had never thought of. A ★★★½ Book! Recommended to all!

This book was given to me by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. I am glad to read and review it. The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced. I have given a 3.5 star rating on Goodreads and FlipKart as I felt nothing less than that would be fair.

Book Review: The Bestseller She Wrote By Ravi Subramanian

This book is un-put-down-able!

The Blurb:

He was a bestseller She wanted him to make her one.

Paperback king, Aditya Kapoor life is straight out of a modern man’s fantasy. His literary stardom is perfectly balanced by a loving wife and a spectacular career.

With everything he touches turning to gold, Aditya is on a winning streak.

Shreya Kaushik is a student with a heart full of ambition. Young, beautiful and reckless, Shreya speaks her mind and obsessively chases after what she wants. And what she wants is to be a bestselling author.

What happens when their worlds collide? Is it possible to love two people at the same time? Can real ambition come in the way of blind passion? Can trust once broken, be regained?

Master storyteller Ravi Subramanian, delves into the glitzy world of bestsellers and uncovers a risky dalliance between a superstar novelist and his alluring protege.

The Bestseller She Wrote is a combustible cocktail of love, betrayal and redemption.

Excerpt:

The whole auditorium resonated with applause. Aditya Kapoor, who had been standing in one corner of the stage, walked up to the podium. Holding the stem of the mic, he pulled it closer to his mouth. The emcee who had been using the microphone earlier was a good ten inches shorter than Aditya’s six-foot-something frame. He cleared his throat, an act which he had rehearsed a number of times in the past and spoke into the microphone: ‘Good Evening.’

His deep baritone could make many a woman go weak in the knees. ‘It feels good to be back after fifteen years,’ Aditya carried on. There was an awed silence in the auditorium. ‘Isn’t it surprising that IIM Bengaluru has never invited me to talk about my professional exploits, something for which this institute trained me, prepared me? Instead, you have given me the honour and privilege of speaking to all of you about what I have achieved by pursuing my passion, my dreams.’

He paused and looked around the room. ‘I am here to speak not about what I have achieved, but about what I have enjoyed. Someone once said, “Find what makes you happy and go for it with all your heart. It will be hard, but I promise it will be worth it.” The fact that I am standing here in front of all of you, talking about my exploits, only goes to show that it is, in fact,’ and he again paused and looked around the room, ‘. . . that it is, in fact, truly worth every single minute that I spent pursuing my dream.’

Aditya continued, ‘When I began writing in 2008, it was for my own self. I became a writer, not only to tell a story but to broaden my own perspective. I don’t know whether readers took away any message from my books or not, but for me, writing was a process which left me intellectually enhanced. It transformed my personality completely.’

There was another round of applause.

A confident orator, Aditya went on to talk about his books, the writing process and getting published. The audience listened to him in rapt attention as he talked about his experiences and how he was able to differentiate himself in a crowded marketplace.

‘Every author puts in a fair bit of effort when he or she writes a book. But not everyone markets it well. Remember the easiest part about writing a book is . . . writing the book. The hard work starts once the book is written. The task of marketing the book and bringing the product to the reader is . . .’

‘Product? Rubbish!’ someone in the gathering exclaimed. The voice was loud enough for at least a few in the room to have heard it. Aditya heard it too. Stopping for just a brief moment, he glanced around before moving on. He had been in such situations before. The person who had made that remark was in the minority and could be ignored.

‘Marketing the book and bringing the product to the reader is a very critical task in the entire product life cycle. If you don’t get the product into the buyers’ consideration subset, how will he or she buy it? Isn’t that what they teach you in your two years at management school? In my case, the book is the product and the readers are our consumers.’

‘Balls!’ This time the voice was louder. It sounded out like a whipcrack. ‘It’s a book for god’s sake, not a product.’

Aditya stopped as heads turned. The sound had come from the right hand corner of the auditorium. If anyone had missed it the first time, they were sure to have heard it now.

From where the sound had emanated, stood two young girls. One of them looked quite embarrassed, which was enough for Aditya to confirm that it was the other one who had spoken.

‘Sorry?’ he questioned, upset at being rudely interrupted. ‘What was that?’ The girl had been a bit too loud. Maybe she didn’t realise it, but now, for him, it was a matter of his fragile male pride.

Neither of the girls responded to Aditya’s question. After what seemed like thirty seconds of uncomfortable silence, the girl who had made the comment stood up. All eyes were on her, including those of the outraged academics sitting in the front row.

‘Pardon me, Mr Kapoor, but a book is not a product,’ she spoke up. Despite her ostensible apology for her impropriety, she didn’t need any coaxing to stand up and speak. ‘A book is an expression of an author’s creativity. Do not demean it by calling it a “product”. We respect you as a good writer, as a successful professional and as a senior from our campus, but that does not mean that anything goes.’

A few whispers went up in the auditorium, gradually escalating into chatter.

‘Young lady,’ Aditya began, the quiver in his voice quite apparent. Camouflaging his thoughts had never been his strength. His face had gone red with anger. He was not going to be shown up by a young kid.

‘You are correct, but only partly. A book is not a product when an author is writing it. At that moment it is a dream. It is the purpose of existence for the author. But the moment you put a price tag on it and place it on a shelf in a bookstore, it becomes a product.’

He looked at the others in the audience and after an intentional pause, added, ‘Otherwise why even bother to sell it? Give it away for free.’

The Review:

I wish I had not written this review…

The Reviewer’s Heart…

“The Bestseller She Wrote”, failed to impress me, especially after the huge expectations I have from the author after reading his previous works. The first impression after reading the blurb was, this book is going to be a good read, but the very thought changed after reading the first chapter. The next few chapters clearly conveyed that Aditya is going to fall for Shreya, despite being a married man and having a lovely son. It did not surprise me, when Aditya kissed Shreya, or Shreya invited Aditya for a “steamy” romance. Well the romance did not appear steamy to me, it was more of a let down.

The chat conversation between the two, the way Shreya played along in the middle chapters were good. The worst part of the book was to make Aditya’s wife suffer from the dreadful disease Ebola and getting cured with the help of Canadian Vaccine. I wonder from when vaccines started curing diseases! Though the climax was bit delayed, still I loved the way the author wrote it.

The story had its own twists and turns, keeping me hooked till the end, but there was no surprise element, at least to me. This book is a quick read. I took three hours to complete the book and one hour to write this review. If you are looking for a quick decent read, then read this book to enjoy the character “Shreya”, whom the author created powerfully.

What I liked?

It was “Shreya” who drove me into the story and kept me hooked till the end. The chat conversation between Aditya and Shreya, the way Shreya played along in the middle chapters, particularly the chapters when she really made Aditya go mad for her, impressed me.

When I read TOI’s prompt from the author, I liked it, and it suited the story well.

What I disliked?

The reader’s heart would tell the story!

Why should one read this book?

If you are looking for a quick decent read, then read this book to enjoy the character “Shreya”, whom the author created powerfully. This book is a perfect script for a Bollywood Movie!

Rating:
Blurb: 3/5
Description: 3/5
Writing Style: 3/5
Editing: 4/5
Excerpt: 2/5
Book Cover: 4/5
Overall Rating: 3/5

Book Details:
Title: The Bestseller She Wrote
Author: Ravi Subramanian
Type: Paperback
Publisher: Westland
Language: English
Pages: 391
Year of Publication: 2015
Price: 295 INR
Buy Paperback: Flipkart | Amazon
Follow on: Facebook | Goodreads
Follow Author on Facebook | Goodreads

Stars… To this not so thrilling read, I give a three-star rating.

The Bestseller She Wrote is a quick read. Perfect Bollywood Material! If you are interested to know the publishing industry and its background with a bit of romance, you are welcome to read this book. A ☆ ☆ ☆ Book! Recommended to all. No second thoughts!

I am reviewing ‘The Bestseller She Wrote’ by Ravi Subramanian as a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books! The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced. I have given a three-star rating on Goodreads, Amazon and FlipKart as I felt nothing less or more than that would be fair.

Book Review: And… They Fell In Love! by Vikas Singal

This is a perfect read to get rid of Monday Blues or Frustrating Fridays.

The Blurb:

These are three short stories or rather scenes where two people meet, know each other a bit and then start a journey together. These short stories do not end; they are the beginning of their love life.

Several times, you wonder, why two people meet for the first time and they feel that their soul search has ended. These stories are written for the people who believe in “someone somewhere is made for you.

Excerpt:

Rajveer was, above all else, a man of tradition. That was how he’d been raised by his orthodox parents. And tradition dictated that his parents would arrange his marriage now that he had reached twenty-nine. Everything had been set up for some time, now all there was left to do; was meet with his future bride.

Her name was Priya and, from what his mother had told him, she was supposedly a nice young woman of twenty-five. While he trusted his mother’s judgment, he couldn’t help but have his doubts born from lack of knowledge. Other than a photo he’d been shown and his parents’ approval, he didn’t know anything else about her.

My Review:

After reading a lot of short stories in the recent past, the thought of reviewing a short story book pushed me back foot in picking up this book for reading. And when I did, very soon, the view changed. The characters started living with me, and within 4000 words Vikas Singal managed to impress me. So here is a confession to make. I fell in love with your writing to an extent to ask you: why did you write very little – only three short stories – not at all fair. Next time, write a book of more than 40,000 words as a gift to me.

For sure, the blurb says what is the book about, so I’m not going to add more. Instead I suggest reading the book and enjoying his work.

The negative points are: paragraph alignment, improper formatting, very less stories (only three). I felt that it could have been done better.

To me, Vikas has done a decent job, and I would like to give the book a three-star rating. (For the book, not for the stories… For the stories, I’ll give FIVE STARS).

Rating:
Blurb: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Writing Style: 4/5
Excerpts: 3/5
Book Cover: 4/5
Overall Rating: 3.4/5

Book Details:
Title: And… They Fell In Love!
Author: Vikas Singal
Genre: Fiction/Romance
Type: eBook
Publisher: Amazon
Language: English
Year of Publication: 2014
Price: 61 Rs.

Buy on Amazon.com: eBook
Follow on: Facebook | Goodreads Book Page | Goodreads Author Page

Three scenes that you will remember forever! This book, And they fell in love, is a decent collection of three short stories rather three scenes that will live with you forever. A ☆ ☆ ☆ Book, A Decent Attempt by a Debut Author, Recommended for all the Romantic Hearts!

This book was given to me for review by Vikas Singal. The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced. I have given a three-star rating on Goodreads and Amazon, as I felt, nothing less than that would be fair.