She Walks, She Leads


Title: She Walks, She Leads – Women Who Inspire India She Walks, She Leads
Author: Gunjan Jain
Publisher: Penguin Random House India
ISBN: 978-0-670-08885-0
Number of Pages: 556
Price [INR] : 799
Genre: Non-Fiction

The climb to the top in any field can be pretty tough – for anyone. But for women, this journey to the topmost positions of power and influence can be all the more challenging.

Today, we see women achieving success in every sphere of life and in some aspects they are more successful than men. While, we may recognize these women for their success and celebrate their achievements too, but how many of us know their sacrifices, the hurdles they crossed, and the battles they continue to fight and what it takes to reach where they are today. And She Walks, She Leads, does just that!

She Walks, She Leads, is an anthology of biographies of 24 women who are pioneers in their field. These are the women who overcame the barriers of patriarchy, broke the stereotypes, moved out of their comfort zones to make life meaningful not only for themselves but for others too and took the road less traveled and made it big.

The 24 women featured in the book are from various fields and are listed in six categories …

  • Altruism and Other Interests : Nita Ambani, Parmeshwar Godrej, Sudha Murty, Yasmeen Premji and Rajshree Birla
  • Corporate, Banking and Law : Indra Nooyi, Zia Mody, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Swati Piramal, Chanda Kochhar, Naina Lal Kidwai and Anu Aga
  • Fashion, Arts & Empowerment : Anamika Khanna, Ritu Kumar and Jyotsna Darda
  • Media : Shobhana Bhartia and Indu Jain
  • Sports : Sania Mirza, Saina Nehwal and Mary Kom
  • Entertainment : Priyanka Chopra, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Shabana Azmi and Mira Nair

Though we may know a bit about these successful women through their media mentions, but through her extensive interviews with these 24 pioneering women, Gunjan has shared with us all aspects of their journey. She Walks, She Leads not only celebrates the accomplishments of these women, but also gives us a peek into their childhood and its fond memories,  family and relationships, their aspirations and passion, leadership and philanthropy, along with the ups and downs of their journey. We also get to know that apart from their talent and skills, what is it that makes them best in their chosen field and how do they manage donning so many hats successfully and comfortably.

The author has also interviewed the spouses, family  and friends of these 24 women. As many as 130 contributors shared personal stories, insights and their perspective of these women.

All the life stories of these super achievers make for a very fascinating and an inspiring read.

As one reads the conversations of the author with these successful women, we realize that each one’s story is unique with its own set of triumphs and tribulations, but there are some success values that are common to all of them. Gunjan has listed these life lessons and success mantras as…

  • Swim against the tide
  • Get out of your comfort zone
  • Stay positive
  • Never be complacent
  • Be an eternal student
  • Mentor and be mentored
  • Cultivate a social conscience
  • Strike a balance

She Walks, She Leads, also has coloured and black & white photographs of all the women from their different phases of life, which adds to the charm of this book. The 550 page hardbound book has an attractive cover.  The writing in the book is simple and the extensive research done by the author is commendable.

She Walks, She Leads, is a perfect bedside table book to learn life and leadership lessons and seek inspiration from these legends of our times.  A recommended read!

The Calling

Title: The Calling – Unleash Your True Self The Calling
Author: Priya Kumar
Publisher: Books That Inspire
ISBN: 978-93-5258-970-8
Number of Pages: 150
Price [INR] : 299
Genre: Self Help / Motivation

Stuck in the daily grind of life… doing the same old stuff, day after day… the feeling of disillusionment, frustration and self doubt…Do these depict the story of your life? If your answer is a yes, then this book is for you!

The Calling is story of Arjun, a Marketing Head of a company who is busy chasing organizational goals but with a lot of pent-up frustration inside him.  His personal life is on the rocks too with a divorce knocking his door.

A sadhu saves him from a frightening near death experience and tells him to stop running and follow the dream that he had abandoned. The sadhu tells him to unravel a purple thread tied to a tree behind the Hemkund Sahib and redeem his Karma. Overwhelmed with the accident and the sadhu’s words, Arjun starts on his spiritual journey to the Hemkund Sahib. Accompanying him in this challenging expedition is porter Chandu and his donkeys. This journey is not an easy one, as at every turn the mountains holds secrets and tests that urge Arjun to evolve into the person he had denied to be – himself. Pretences, falsities, confusions and untruths fall apart as Arjun is forced to confront the mess he had created in his life.

Arjun’s journey started off as an opportunity to escape reality, but it turned out to be an opportunity to escape from the dwindling spiral of self-created misery. It is a journey that transforms him forever and is the one that turns his life around too.

The Calling is a story that most of us can relate to, for most of us are corporate executives busy chasing goals, living life in the fast lane and having an unhealthy work-life balance. The Calling is a wake-up call to abandon the rat race and find the purpose of your life.

The Calling is an incredibly well written book and engaging from the very beginning. The book is a gold mine of profound philosophical thoughts and words of wisdom. These wise words and thoughts are presented in simple words and do not sound preachy at any point of time and are an inherent part of the story.

Some of the wise words that made me think and ponder on are…

  • When two people disagree, they both stay there. None of them go anywhere by virtue of that disagreement. And in going nowhere, they become a liability in that relationship.
  • Sometimes we are so annoyed with people close to us that we don’t heed them at the times they are correct. We continually hold their idiosyncrasies against them and deprive ourselves of the value that they could add to our lives.
  • If someone occupies your space, he or she occupies it for a reason. And that reason must serve you, him or her and the world at large.
  • The world will change. But why did you change by becoming frustrated with the world’s doing what it is supposed to do – change? Let the world change, but don’t let your state of positivity change.
  • When I asked him how long it would take to get there, he answered, “It depends upon the purpose of your journey.”
  • To sit in your space and your world and do nothing in it is a disgrace to the intelligence that you are bestowed with. It is a disgrace to the spiritual force that is inherent to you. Your role in the world is to take charge, to take responsibility for your role in your environment and of what happens in it.

The Calling is truly an invigorating, stimulating, and a mind-expanding read. And that it has a good deal of light humour adds to its appeal. This is a book for everyone as with its wise words, it will not only help to ponder on life and the direction in which it is going  but also to look within and also to find out one’s true calling in life.

The Calling is totally worth your time. Do check it out.

The Tantric Curse

Title: The Tantric Curse The Tantric Curse
Author: Anupama Garg
Publisher: Rupa Publications
ISBN: 978-81-291-3752-4
Number of Pages: 271
Price [INR] : 295
Genre: Fiction 

Tantra is a field which is surrounded by intrigue and mysticism. Tantric rituals and practices are riddled with a lot of myths and pre-conceived notions. When I came across The Tantric Curse which is written by Anupama Garg who has been trained by Baba Batuk Nath, a renowned Tantric, I knew that I had to read this book. And that was because, I believed that a book written by a practicing Tantric will shed light on this ancient science of Tantra.

The Tantric Curse is a love story with the backdrop of Tantra and Tantrics.

An eight year old Rhea mysteriously reaches Shaktidham, a Tantric house of worship. She has an unusual power to foresee the future. The Guru of this sadhanasthal, Satya recognizes her special abilities and raises her as her own daughter along with his son Krishnam. Satya trains her in the field of Tantra, to carry on his lineage, a privilege previously bestowed only to males.

But the lineage has been cursed for generations, and it is up to Rhea to either break the curse or perish in the attempt. Will she succeed in her endeavour? Will her love for Krishnam become an obstacle in her path? Well, you need to read the book to find that.

The Tantric Curse brings to light that Tantrics are regular people who lead normal lives like all of us. They study in regular schools and colleges , have regular jobs and regular friends with whom they party, have affairs or one night stands or wear fashionable clothes and enjoy their drinks too. The only difference is that they have attained enlightenment and liberation through sadhana  or dedication to the Goddess.

The Tantric Curse, also dispels some myths about the Tantric practice. Just like in the field of medicine there are qualified doctors and quacks, similarly Tantra has been exploited and misrepresented by many too.

Other insightful aspects shared in the book are about the significance of Amavasya or the night of new moon and that Om is the complete mantra. It was interesting to read about the practice of touching someone’s feet. Touching an elder’s feet is not only a sign of reverence and respect but also receiving a fraction of his energy as a blessing. The book also shares information on the various chakras of our body and that in Tantra, how the power is used is very crucial. Several conversations in the book make you reflect and ponder on various aspects of life and its circumstances.

While, all this information is interesting and insightful, I found the progression of the story a bit patchy at times. There were a lot of unexplained or vague or trivial scenes in the story. Dr Vishnukant’s  part seemed liked a forced entry and why Rhea continued to live with him despite she not wanting to be a part of his advances was something I could not comprehend. Also, the real aspect of Tantra, how it is practiced and how one attains these mystical powers is not touched upon. Since the author is a practicing Tantric, so guess that raised the expectations. The story is not about the Tantric curse either, because the curse part comes up only towards the very end. So, though the book kept me engaged all throughout, but a feeling of dissatisfaction crept in as I finished reading the last page. I know, it could be just me.

The language is simple and lucid and reads well.

If you are looking to read a love story based on an unconventional theme and gain some insights about Tantra, then you must go for The Tantric Curse.

No Safe Zone

Title: No Safe Zone No Safe Zone
Author: Adite Banerjie
Publisher: Harlequin
ISBN: 978-93-5177-775-5
Number of Pages: 176
Price [INR] : 199
Genre: Romance

I have read Adite’s earlier romance novel Trouble Has a New Name which is a chick-lit and a romance that makes you sigh dreamily! Though I had read this book some 2 years ago, I am still smiling on remembering some smart and witty acronyms in the book and RBILs or The Rayna Book of Immutable Laws. So, when I got an opportunity to read No Safe Zone, which is Adite’s third book, I grabbed it immediately.

No Safe Zone is a romantic suspense and is the story of Qiara Rana and Kabir Shorey. Qiara works for an NGO in London which runs into some trouble. Qiara comes to Delhi , a city she had vowed never to return to. She is in Delhi to track down their NGOs biggest sponsor who seemed to have disappeared from the face of the earth. She needed some answers real fast but finds herself in a situation which is way beyond her wildest dreams and her worst nightmares.

Kabir works for an Intelligence Agency and is working on tracing a dubious businessman and his links to a ring of women traffickers in Europe. Amidst a murder and a gunman on the loose, Qiara and Kabir’s paths cross again. Qiara turns to Kabir for help, the man who stood her up ten years ago. Past and present collide in a deadly plot of crime and greed that moves from the cosmopolitan streets of Delhi to the bazaars and villages of Rajasthan. Their romance blossoms once again as they investigate and explore the horrifying crime of human trafficking.

No Safe Zone is not just a mushy romance but has all the ingredients of a ingredients of a Bollywood masala potboiler. There’s a murder and intrigue, cold-blooded crime bosses and their ruthless crimes, kidnappings and chases too. Though the story is predictable, but there are so many twists and turns, along with suspense and drama that the reader in me was enthralled and engaged till the very end. And that’s a big plus.

I liked the novel theme and the beautiful account of Rajasthan in the story. No Safe Zone also sheds light on the horrifying and lesser known crime of baby bazaars where children/infants being bought and sold like goods for adoption or child trafficking. Of course, the romance is sizzling hot!

In all, No Safe Zone is a fast paced engaging and a well written story with a dash of romance and thrilling intrigue too. Check it out for a delightful reading experience.

Rightfully Wrong, Wrongfully Right

Title: Rightfully Wrong Wrongfully Right Rightfully Wrong Wrongfully Right
Author: Varsha Dixit
Publisher: Rupa Publications
ISBN: 978-81-291-4197-2
Number of Pages: 262
Price [INR] : 195
Genre: Fiction

Gayatri, a rich, spoiled diva, is fighting to establish herself even as her tyrant father pushes her into a life not of her choice. Viraj is a genius and a con who shuns society and its hypocrisies.

Gayatri sees Viraj only as a means to an end. For Viraj, Gayatri is the epitome of all that he despises. So when their paths cross, it is a battle of feisty wills and desire.

From the best-selling author of Right Fit Wrong Shoe and Wrong Means Right End comes Rightfully Wrong Wrongfully Right. All the unforgettable characters of the earlier two bestsellers make a comeback in this unforgettable story of hurt, hearts and hope

Will Gayatri and Viraj prove to be each other’s salvation or annihilation? This is a tumultuous journey of two Wrongs who might just make everything Right!

I have read Varsha’s earlier book Only Wheat Not White last year and quite liked her writing style. So, without a second thought, I picked her latest book Rightfully Wrong, Wrongfully Right.  It pulled me in right from the first chapter and I finished reading it one evening during a train journey.

If you are looking for perfect hero or heroine – you will not find them in this book. Both Gayatri and Viraj have very evident character faults, but as the story progresses, one gets a glimpse of their real personalities.  They are absolutely two different individuals from different backgrounds who meet and start off on a wrong foot. The build up between Gayatri and Viraj is by no means rushed and it adds to the intensity of the book! I kept turning the pages in anticipation of ‘Will they? Won’t they? But how?’

I loved the banter between Sneha and Nandini, it was laugh out loud in so many places. Although it was a bit over the top at times. Yes, even the secondary characters in the book have a prominent role in the story.

The story’s fast pace and well-developed characters make this book a fun and easy read. The titles of the chapters are interesting and apt viz The Crazy mad Scientist, Desperado, Country Wants to Know, Pimp I am, I am Dismissed to name a few.

Towards the end, when one is keen to know ‘How they are getting back together?’, the spotlight is on the life stories of secondary characters and that was mildly annoying.

Though the characters of this book were part of Varsha’s earlier two books Right Fit Wrong Shoe and Wrong Means Right End , which I have not read, Rightfully Wrong, Wrongfully Right works perfectly well as a standalone novel.

As I read the last sentence, I had a goofy smile on my face and let out a little sigh of satisfied pleasure.

Rightfully Wrong, Wrongfully Right is a light, fun, breezy and romantic read to dip your feet into. Go on and pick it up!

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Destiny Decides

Title: Destiny Decides Destiny Decides
Author: P.G. Van
ASIN: B0162HL6V6
Number of Pages: 390
Price [INR]: 147 (Kindle)
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Almost a decade of pain pent up inside her, Sameera manages to lead a simple life with her older sister as her roommate. She wonders if she would have lasting happiness in her life as every time she finds happiness it is yanked away from her before she realizes it.
Nick was her best friend in high school and is now back in her life after all these years and it is very clear that he wants more than just friendship. He expresses his need for her very early on shaking up Sameera’s quiet world.

Will Sameera learn to stop bracing herself for the next big tragedy and learn to accept that she was destined to meet Nick?

Is Nick the pillar of strength for Sameera to work through her challenges and internal conflicts?

Can she trust the guy she had known many years ago? Nick is not a high school kid anymore; He is a successful businessman that leads a life of extreme luxuries. Nick seemed to know everything about her? How? She steps out of her comfort zone for Nick but can she hang on to him. Is Nick the guy that she was destined to meet or is he going to cause her another heart break?

Take Sameera’s journey in this passionate love story as she discovers the meaning of true love and realizes the power of destiny.

Every now and then, I like to indulge in reading romance novels. Yes, I enjoy them as a guilty pleasure from time to time. When I read the blurb of Destiny Decides, I was quick to pick it up.

Destiny Decides is a blend of romance, love, friendship, family and a bit of suspense. It is sweet and romantic, hot and sizzling too.  It’s about best friends in school who part ways due to life and its circumstances and reunite again as soul mates years later.

The story is simple and moves effortlessly and held my interest for most of the time. The writing style of the author is good and shows a lot of promise. Reading Nick’s dialogues, reminded me of an old friend and that brought a smile every time! So thank you, PG Van for some smiles. I liked the camaraderie shared between two sisters and their relationship with their parents.

What did not work for me… Towards the middle of the novel, the story dragged on a bit. Perhaps that was because I kept wishing for more story development that kept getting overshadowed by an overdose of sex scenes.

I guess, the book is written with international audience in mind, for the basic and simple Indian traditions are explained in details. In the book, father’s mother is referred as ‘Nani’ when she should be called ‘Dadi’. (My mom and my grandma were still best friends in spite of the fact that the man who was the reason for their relation was no longer around)

Destiny Decides is the first book in The Pure Destiny Series. So the story in Destiny Decides rightfully ends on a mysterious note which may be elaborated in the second installment of the series.

Check out Destiny Decides if you are looking for a sizzling romance.

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Vikram Rana Investigates

Title: Vikram Rana Investigates : Tales of Murder and Deception in Hyderabad
Author: Sharmishtha Shenoy Vikram Rana Investigates
Number of Pages: 161
Price [INR]: 99 (Kindle)
Genre: Crime, Thriller & Mystery

Vikram Rana Murder Mysteries are set in Hyderabad…
The Mysterious Affair of the Lohia Mansion

When the glamourous socialite Richa Lohia is poisoned in her mansion in Jubilee Hills, her brother-in-law hires his mate, ex-cop Vikram Rana, to solve this murder. This is Vikram’s first case and he, along with Inspector Gopi Reddy, must solve the case even if they face opposition from the richest and powerful family in Hyderabad, who would stop at nothing to defend themselves.

The Sonia Sinha Case

When property developer Krishna Dhavala is stabbed to death in Necklace Road, everyone suspects Mrs. Dhavala to be the murderer of her alcoholic and abusive husband. But is that really the case? Vikram Rana and Inspector Reddy have a tough time uncovering the murderer and Vikram himself almost dies trying to solve this case. Experience the mystery along with the duo as they fight their way through the maze of lies, deceit and greed.

For me, it all started with Nancy Drew, Famous Five, Hardy Boys and then later with Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes. Yes, I love the intrigue and the thrills, the puzzling problems and the edge of the seat experience that the thrillers and murder mysteries provide us with. When I got the opportunity to read a murder mystery set in our very own country, I grabbed it immediately.

Vikram Rana Investigates: Tales of Murder and Deception in Hyderabad is a collection of two murder mysteries. Vikram Rana is an ex-police officer turned investigator.  The murder of a business tycoon’s wife is his first case which he gets through his friend and brother-in-law of the deceased.  As Vikram moves ahead with his investigation, the plot gets complex with plenty of suspects from the family. The family dynamics in the Lohia clan are interesting and every person in the family has the needle of suspicion pointing towards them. And that made for some good twists and turns which kept the reader in me engaged.

In the second story, a rogue builder, Krishna Dhavala is brutally murdered in his car. As Vikram is close on the heels of the culprit, the killer goes on to kill two more people to cover his tracks. And it gets murkier with more secrets tumbling out. Vikram along with Inspector Reddy from the Police department finally nab the killer in style.

The story progresses smoothly with a steady pace. The climax is not a nail biting finish but nevertheless, the intrigue has been sufficiently built and that makes you turn the pages one after the other.  I liked the way Sharmishtha shared about the hangouts, places and food of Hyderabad in the story.

I like humor and sarcasm  in relationships but the one shared between Vikram and his wife became a bit tiresome to read for me. His wife truly annoyed me. I found a few instances a tad unbelievable in the story, like Vikram’s meteorical rise to fame, his insightful dreams, Richa’s (the murdered woman) brother-in-law and sister-in-law going to the pub and work respectively the very next day of the murder, or keeping the extra bottle of Nyquil (medicine) in the storeroom, errors in event timeline etc. The book has some minor editing glitches.

Overall, Vikram Rana Investigates : Tales of Murder and Deception in Hyderabad is a nice debut work.WithCircleWhite (1)

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Shamsuddin’s Grave

Title: Shamsuddin’s Grave Shamsuddin's Grave– The Story of a Homeless
Author: Paromita Goswami
Publisher: Patridge Indiahing Pvt Ltd
ISBN: 978-1-4828-4394-1
Number of Pages: 282
Price: 450 [INR]
Genre: Fiction

Latika’s wrecked personal front leaves her completely shattered. So when her ailing father reveals his desire to go back home, she doesn’t think twice and moves to her hometown. She joins an NGO and comes across a teenager rape victim. Much against her TL, Debjyoti’s wish she sets out to trace the girl with Shamsuddin’s help. Will she succeed or end up in big trouble?

Shamsuddin, a daily labourer, somehow manages to thrive in the city. Meanwhile, flood devastates his house in the village. His family takes refuge in a relative’s place where his wife has a tough time resisting to the advances of her brother-in-law. Can Shamsuddin arrange for an accommodation before it is too late?

Set in Guwahati amid the backdrop of flood and ethnic turmoil, “Shamsuddin’s Grave”, is the story of migration towards big cities for a better life

They say the best inspiration comes from real life. Shamsuddin’s Grave, a debut novel by Paromita Goswami is inspired from a real life story.

Shamsuddin, a farmer from a small village in Assam loses his land due to the yearly floods in Brahmaputra river. It was hard for him to make ends meet, so he moves to Guwahati with big dreams. But his big-city dreams are shattered by the realities of daily existence and in doing so he loses the trust of his family. As he struggles and wades through life, he comes across Snehlata who gives him shelter in her barn and Latika, who has recently moved from Delhi and is licking some old wounds. Latika works for an NGO and Shamsuddin helps her in bringing about the much needed change in the lives of underprivileged.  Despite being disowned by his own family and despite the never ending struggle, Shamsuddin  does not lose hope of having his own house and unite his family once again.

Shamsuddin’s Grave is a powerful and an eye-opener of a story. It brings to the fore the struggles and hardships of the illegal migrants from Bangladesh. Though they have been living in India for generations, but all their lives they just work to meet the needs of their families. They do not know of the current affairs of the country and do not exist in government records.

What touched me while reading this book is that it is based on a true life story. Someone has lived through all these trials and tribulations day in and day out and yet he never got any support, not from his family and not from the government or the media. Kudos to the author for raising social awareness about the people who migrated to India before and after Indo-Bangladesh partition and took shelter in the then undivided Bengal, however their present and future is murky and uncertain, still.

The book also delves into unconditional support and true relationships, empty nest syndrome, loneliness, human trafficking, plight of illegal immigrants, floods, social divide etc.

Flawed by the gamut of human failings, the characters are real and well etched out. The writing is simple and lucid, though the scourge of typos and limp editing afflicts this book.

I believe the title of a book sets the tone of the story and creates an expectation in the reader. While the book started off with Shamsuddin and his life but soon it became Latika’s story with Shamsuddin just being a secondary character. Also, there were many sub-plots that overshadowed the main story. Shamsuddin re-enters the story towards the end. So, I wondered about the aptness of the title and it somewhat dampened my reading experience.

The ending has a twist and is intense, heartrending and poignant too.  Despite some minor hiccups, Shamsuddin’s Grave is a worthy read.

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The Not People

Title: The Not People The Not People
Author: Sonara
Publisher: Leadstart Publishing Pvt Ltd
ISBN: 978-93-52016-01-3
Number of Pages: 258
Price: 250 [INR]
Genre: Fiction

‘The Not People’ is an odyssey of faith, a plunge of deep belief into the heart of the ones who have ever dared to love unconditionally. When Parineeta decides to call it quits, her relationship with beau Atharv, with whom she had voyaged through unnumbered experiences in an ordinary life, she was sure as hell about never wanting to see him ever again, even if that meant smothering her core voice that screamed out to love and endure.

Winds of change begin gushing only after a protracted length of time; almost close to a decade since their separation. She is now not so youthful anymore and Atharv’s status is unknown to her. Will she give in to her heart’s calling and set out to seek her only love? Would her intentions be bestowed by blessings from above? Will it ever rain again, as it had when she had returned once, to meet her dying mother? Are Parineeta and Atharv really, just ordinary people or Not…?

I read a lot of books and once in a while I come across books that are just difficult to get through. The reasons could be many, including the slow or predictable story or flowery language or poor grammar or weird word choices or it’s plain boring …

The Not People was one such book that I struggled to read. The book failed to capture my attention from the word go. It could be just me, but the complex language of the book simply overwhelmed me. It was hard as hell, and sometimes I forgot the plot even while I was reading. 

I read for pleasure (among other things), but if it becomes arduous and takes a lot more effort and in this case looking up a dictionary after every other line,  then it’s not my cup of tea. On second thoughts, if I had read the Kindle edition of this book, it would had been better, but still that would have broken the continuity and joy of reading.

Because I do not prefer to leave a book unread half way no matter how difficult it might be, I finished reading the book.

The No People is Parineeta’s story who  visits her ailing mother with Atharv, her live-in partner. It’s an emotionally challenging time for Parineeta and Atharv supports and help her cope with the tragedy. Before moving to their new home in Ooty, they travel to a lot of places and reflect on their childhood memories. As they settle in their new home, tsunami hits Southern India and their Man Friday is affected by it. The duo set out to help the victims and their families. A small incident makes Parineeta leave Atharv. She moves into an ashram where she meets Rudra and Dhrishya. The story jumps a few years ahead and the Guruma at the ashram asks Parineeta to get back to her life with Atharv. 8 years later, she meets Atharv and “neither questioned each other about anything else. They just knew.”

What I liked about this book is their travel to places like Jaipur, Udaipur Surat… I enjoyed the sights, the places, the food which were so realistically presented. Even the shops at the midway, Behror on the Delhi-Jaipur highway has been described precisely the way they are.  Thumbs up for that.

What didn’t work for me, other than the Gordian language that is… The part of the story till tsunami is covered till chapter 8 (The book has 10 chapters in all!). And it is only in the last 2 chapters that the duo separate and meet. Interestingly, the blurb of the book talks about only these two last chapters.  The pace of the book is excruciatingly slow. There are many dialogues in Hindi and Tamil which are immediately translated in English.  Somehow that hampered the flow of reading especially while reading the Hindi dialogues. Also the conversations between the characters is pretty unrealistic.

The book leaves a lot of things unsaid and had a lot of things that made no sense at all.

To sum it up, I am afraid, The No People did not work for me! 

Kaleidoscope of Hopes

Title: Kaleidoscope of Hopes web KOH
Author: Devika Fernando
Number of Pages: 289
Price [INR]: 231 (Kindle)
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Nadia’s life story  reads like Cinderella the backward way, going not from rags to riches but from riches to rags. Her life is a mess. She has to go through a lot of hurt and pain and is struggling to make ends meet. To add to her woes, a new boss arrives at work who is sharp as a knife and handsome as hell. Lucas is strict at work and to lead the company to success, he is prepared to let heads roll. Nadia is worried about being handed the pink slip.

To complicate her situation further, Nadia finds that Lucas is her next door neighbour. Lucas has a 5-year old daughter, Melody. When he finds that Melody and Nadia are getting along well, he proposes a business arrangement. He suggests that Nadia should become Melody’s companion. Since Nadia is desperate for money, she agrees to his proposition.

In this whole bargain, they didn’t realize that close proximity at work and home would change the equation between them. Sweet hopes bloom again, but both are burdened by their sad past. Should they both give a second chance at love?

When I See Your Face  was the first book that I had read written by Devika and I quite liked it. When I got the opportunity to read Kaleidoscope of Hopes written by her, I grabbed it with both hands. Oh boy! Reading Kaleidoscope of Hopes was one hell of an exciting, exhilarating and emotional rollercoaster ride.

Devika brings her characters to life with vivid descriptions, and believable dialogues and situations. Both Nadia and Lucas came across as realistic for the most part. The story is filled with moments where they keep getting thrown together and are put into situations that force their feelings for each other to the surface. Despite their attraction for each other, both have good reasons for refusing to acknowledge it… their past and emotion charged issues among other things. I really enjoyed the chemistry and slow burn romance between them and was completely sucked in and rooting for them.

For most part of the story, I was wondering about their past which kept coming in their present. Devika was successful in keeping the reader in me engaged and interested as the mystery of their past was revealed gradually. The storyline has a bit of a twist at the end to heighten the action and suspense.

Kaleidoscope of Hopes is a beautiful feel-good romance that you’ll love curling up with. Go for it.

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