Sunday, 30 September 2018

Hot Toddy by TC Collins: a review

Oh freak! Why did this book end at where it did? Hot Toddy, T.C Collins’s first novel is a narration about LJ and her life. The ups and downs of it. The book has a lot of sex but doesn't that come with the part and parcel of Hollywood? The book had me at first go when I saw the cover. But this book is much beyond sex, Hollywood, the flashy lifestyle.

About the book- Growing up in the heartland of America, LJ didn't learn what the world was really like outside the boundaries of her family farm until she left for college in southern California. She immediately falls head over heels in love with a hot surfer and his sun and surf laid back lifestyle. She picks up modelling and acting gigs to pay down her student loans. After a few unbearable twists of fate, LJ abandons her Midwestern values for the temptations of Hollywood- and that's only the beginning. Caught in the pressure of balancing a lie and reality, and with her seemingly new best friend, Sidney, becoming more viperous at every turn, LJ can no longer escape the fall down the rabbit hole into a dark world of money and power, where sex sells and everything is for sale. Hot Toddy is for every woman who's ever let her foolishness consume her. Part naughty thrill ride, and part serious on coming of age in a time when wealth and celebrity seem to be the only things that matter, Hot Toddy promises to be this Summer’s best read, with belly laughs, engaging women characters, and an unexpected finale that will leave you wanting more.

As I went on to read the book after reading the blurb I kept on wondering what can happen at the end which will leave me wanting more. Well, the answer to that I received and it got me as a reaction to my first line I wrote here. Oh Freak! The book introduces us to LJ, Brody, Sidney and Naomi. The characters whom you love, hate, live throughout the journey of the 329 pages of the book.

The characters are super well written and you feel instantly connected to them. I, for instance, connected the most to LJ because that's how I am. In the situations she faces, I would have behaved the exact same way she did. And I hated Sidney but loved their girl bond. There are parties, drugs, booze and everything a hollywood lifestyle demands in the book. You feel LJ’s journey. Every character got a proper start and a proper end to it which I commend the writer for. Especially since it's her first book.

Coming to the story, the book was a fun ride which left me thinking at a lot of places. Picking up a novel of this genre was easy but justifying what we write is difficult. The writer did a great job with that. At times, as a reader, I wanted to slap sense into some characters. And that's also something that counts as the achievements of the writer. Loved the narration style and the elements underlying in the book. And trust me, you'll have to read the book to find out what exactly am I saying.

If I have to speak of the cons then the first thing I will have to mention is that the book is a very long read. Even though breezy, by the time you reach the end of the book and knowing the end you would wonder that the prior informations and the scenes that were mentioned in a lot of detail were unnecessary. A few scenes could've been skipped or if not skipped then written in a lesser detail. Some characters I believe, should've had a bit more space in the book to make them all the more worthwhile. But having said all of that, you know what's worthwhile!? Waiting for the next part of the book. This one for me was 4 out of 5 and I'm definitely waiting to know more about what happens with LJ next...

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang: a review

The tagline of Helen Hoang's The Kiss Quotient says, “She wanted to learn how to be seductive. He taught her so much more” and trust me when I say this, the whole book is so much more than just what the tagline has to offer. Appearances can be deceptive, there's no two ways about it and this book with different covers for different regions, justifies what the title says and surpasses the expectations of the readers by miles.

About the book- It's high time for Stella Lane to settle down and find a husband- or so her mother tells her. This is no easy task for a wealthy successful woman like Stella, who also happens to have Asperger's. Analyzing Data is easy; handling the awkwardness of one on one dates is hard. To overcome her lack of dating experience, Stella decides to hire a male escort to teach her how to be a good girlfriend. Faced with mounting bills, Michael decides to use his good looks and charm to make extra cash on the side. He has a very firm no repeat customer policy, but he's tempted to bend that rule when Stella approaches him with an unconventional proposal. The more time they spend together, the harder Michael falls for this disarming woman with a beautiful mind, and Stella discovers that love defies logic.

Helmed at a spot at cosmopolitan's 33 books to get excited about in 2018, this book is delightful. To begin with, I love the cover of the book that I have and also all the other covers of the book that I have seen out there. Next, the way the blurb has been written has my heart. The third thing that attracted me to the book was the whole concept of it. An econometrician having Asperger's hiring male escort to teach her how to be a good girlfriend, the whole concept seemed unique.

Coming to the story, well, there is sex. A lot of it. But none of it cringeworthy. These are beautiful written lines that one might want to read again. Perfect fit for the underlying romantic theme of the book, I loved the chemistry both of them shared. To the point that there were situations where I wanted to intervene so that they end up being together. Reading the book with a smile on my face, this was one of the sweetest romantic books I've read in a long time now.

Talking about the concept I will have to mention this that dealing with the main protagonist having Asperger's is a very tricky thing. Many people might find flaw in logic and all that comes along with it. The writer, here, I should commend, on not going so utterly deep into the disease yet letting the disease leave it's marks here and there. It is surely a flaw of the protagonist but it isn't something to pity and the author has shown it wonderfully.

If I have to mention the flaws of the book then I'll have to think hard about it. There aren't many flaws that come to face you while reading the book. The narration is nice, concept is different. Overall I liked it. But. There would've been no harm in stretching a few characters or cutting short a few ones. The family, I believe, should've been talked about more. Teeny weeny details trust me. Because the book is wonderful. Looking forward to reading more from the author, here's 4.75 out of 5 from me. 

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Sniper's Eye by Mainak Dhar: a review

15th September 2016 : that was the day when I wrote a review for Mainak Dhar’s 03:02 and it is 13th September 2018 today when I write for the same author's latest. To begin with, I loved the precision with which he writes. Such coincidences are hard to find. Next, just as I received this book, I HAD TO go back to my bookshelf comprising of more than a thousand books now and find 03:02 and I smiled and flipped through the now yellowed pages of the black beauty back then. Why I mention this? Because, Mainak Dhar’s Sniper's Eye brought back a lot of memories.

About the book- I was out on a date. Everything was perfect… Till that shot .. a high-calibre one, no apparent sound. And, the man in front of me fell. A rifle with a suppressor? A sniper in the middle of a Mumbai mall? As the body count mounted, I was soon sucked deeper into the chaos unleashed by that shot. To survive and save those whom I care about, I have to become the man I left behind. I have no choice but to tap into a bloody past that has put me on the terror kill list. I may also have no option but to join hands with the sniper terrorizing Mumbai. The problem is that the man has sworn to kill me. In a world where the young and poop kill and die in conflicts started by the old and rich, I and my unlikely companion finally discover the thin line that separates a mere killer from a hero. This is our story…

I don't think I have mentioned this earlier but I really am fond of the way the author ends his blurbs with “this is our story”. After sitting for unputdownable 3 hours of the book, I remember the satisfaction I had felt when I had finished the earlier one and now this one remains the same. I smiled and that made me proud of the book. Proud of the fact that the author has managed to keep this consistency over the years. This book was a smaller one to the other, if compared but then, a different story made it all the more worth it.

The protagonist, Aaditya Ghosh instantly became a favorite and I have no clue why I could feel at ease with the character as if I've been knowing him for quite some time now. Also, Aman is someone I know I will remember forever. Set against the backdrop of India Pakistan relationship and politics and power play at the helm, the book was a smooth ride for me. Narration skills on point, as usual, I could visualize every single point of the book quite efficiently. Every character got their closure by the end of the book and the promise of return of a few characters in the next book of the series (oh yes it's a series) made me hopeful for an even better book coming up.

For the cons of the book, well, again as usual, there weren't any. The book was quick and crisp and gave only the information that the book was supposed to give making it a smooth ride, as I have already mentioned. The only critic I had for the book was that, it ended too soon. A few places here and there I wondered what if there was more written in the book? Also, given that I had read 03:02 and loved the cover, this book's cover didn't allure me so much. The cover, if made a tad bit more better, would've done the trick. This goes for 4.5 out of 5 for me, looking forward to the next book of the series. 

Note: This book was sent to me by Writer's Melon in exchange for an honest review. 

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Hope and Sunshine by Debasmita Nath Ghosh: a review

When there's love there is hope. When there's hope there has to be sunshine. And only my closest people would know that I'm saying this from a very personal perspective. Debasmita Nath Ghosh’s debut work, Hope and Sunshine made me go back to a lot of memories. The cover is bright and chirpy and it attracts the readers to the book.

About the book- Naina Grover has an imperfectly perfect life, or is it perfectly imperfect? A Punjabi kudi from Delhi working in the city of joy, Kolkata is joined by her crazy cousin, Arjun and his sober friend Aditya to come of age while at a long-distance relationship which seems to be going nowhere. She knows it's a recipe for disaster but should she let go or not? Should she hope for the best? Hope she will be accepted? Hope she can settle down? Hope she can come to terms with a family secret bothering her for years now? Just hope. Keep hoping? And then, Hope welcomes a ray of sunshine. Naina welcomes you to look at life from her perspective. 'Hop’e on!’

As you might have realized from reading the blurb of the book, this is a happy go lucky story. Or is it? To begin with, I loved the characters. Naina, Arjun, Aditya, Ved. My favorite though, has to be Arjun. His protectiveness for his sister and love for his friend is something that every person should achieve. What makes me love the characters is that the author has sketched them very well. You would feel a part of the story through the character graph throughout the book.

Coming to the story. Well, for a one time read was a very sweet story. I, being an avid reader could guess what's coming and how this book is going to end. But having said that, I would like to commend the writer for weaving out such a story in a beautiful way. I finished this book in 3 hours flat and didn't move an inch while I was reading it. This, should be self explanatory.

I love the books where the title is explained in the story. What I mean is, why this book is titled hope and sunshine is mentioned in the book and that makes me happy. I liked the way the author has written the whole book but I'd like to point out a few flaws. To begin with, there were grammar errors and I expected a bit more crispness in the story. At places, I missed a few details here and there which could've made the scenes more vibrant. I could relate to the book in more ways than one and that is why, probably, this book would remain special. All in all, a sweet debut in the form of this book gets 3.5 out of 5 for me. 

Sunday, 2 September 2018

For the love of Harry by Courtenay Merchant: a review

If there's something that attracts me to a book at first go, after the cover then it has to be the content of the book. When I read a few reviews of Courtenay Merchant’s For the Love of Harry and I saw it is about a father and a son, how could I have missed reading it? Reading it, though, proved to be a very good decision of my life.

About the book- We have all done things we regret, but what if we are responsible for something, we know we could never recover from? How do we and those whose lives that are so brutally invaded, survive such needless and senseless change? For some it is impossible, for others, they just have to live. John Shaw is a single father with a secret, a secret steeped in guilt, which he’s forced to remember every day. Gary Cole is a young successful IT engineer from humble beginnings with the opportunity of a lifetime; one selfish mistake could cost him everything. Having already suffered so much, John loses the only thing that keeps him in touch with reality and life itself. No matter how hard his friends try, John struggles to find a way back.
Gary Cole must start again, but how do you come back from this, how do you live with yourself? Every ounce of his fatherly devotion becomes the unending source of John’s desire for revenge, as he grips obsessively to an irrational memory that he carries with him tirelessly in the physical world. John knows full well his desperate need for revenge could end his very existence. Will he see it through to the end? Can he see it through to the end? Or will a chance encounter help John find a way to put the past behind him? As John and Gary’s worlds collide, can forgiveness ever be an option?

Fathers are the most precious thing that can happen to any child and I can say this in written. Mothers surely give birth but fathers keep both the mother and the child going. Every father can do anything and everything for his children. John Shaw was no different. When I started reading the book there were too many characters to process and it took me a bit of a time to hold on to the character names and getting a complete picture of the situation.

But when I did, there was no looking back. The writing style of the author is such that the incidents of the book remain etched on your mind for a very long time. You can visualize every single thing in the book. The narration was on point and that made this 190 pages book a very smooth read for me. Even now if I close my eyes, I can visualize the scenes from the book.

That set aside, I loved how this book was conceived. The whole idea of the book. How far can a father go when it comes to his child? The topic is a very close to my heart topic and I could feel every ounce of pain felt by John. Having said that, Gary Cole was a character I sympathized with. Ho, after all, can you live your life with the torment of doing something irreversible?

I love the characters of the book and my favorite was Richard (for reasons you would know when you read the book). If I have to speak of the cons of it, I feel that the beginning could've been a bit stronger and the end was a bit predictable for me. For all those moments where I had a lump in my throat while reading this book, looking forward to more from the author, I would give this one 4 out of 5.