Book Review: Brinda -The Extraordinary Story of An Indian Girl (Femme Fatale) by Deepthi Ayyagari

Author: Deepthi Ayyagari
Release Date: 20th May 2019
Genre: Women Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 144
Publisher: 
Blurb:
‘Brinda’ will draw you in bit-by-bit to experience an extraordinary story; for there will always be secret-lives we will never know about, but are free to glimpse through the ‘reel’.
This is Brinda’s story–she was thrown into the local MLA’s house for servitude by the intertwining of her poor family’s greed and a quirk of fate. As she began a new chapter in her life with great anticipation of a financially secure future, fate held darker challenges for her to overcome.
The MLA’s son, Virender, was prying on her blossoming youth. She knew she was sought, and she knew she was bought. As Payal, her only friend in the palatial bungalow plotted her escape, she was not sure if she should go–they both knew some dark and tightly held secrets of the house, and she knew the implications of an escape for herself, and more so, for Payal.
Will Brinda leave or stay on to be exploited? Knowing what could shape out of even the slightest slip, will Brinda take the plunge, or will she resign herself to her fate and wait for what’s in store?
In this intriguing plot filled with choosing between two equally hazardous courses, what does Brinda choose? And what will be the outcome of that choice?
WHAT SHOULD BE ONE’S STAND WHEN DOOM AWAITS IN THE ONLY TWO DIRECTIONS TO TAKE?

REVIEW

★★★★

Brinda -The Extraordinary Story of An Indian Girl (Femme Fatale) by Deepthi Ayyagari is a beautifully written and well-plotted story about a girl named Brinda who has to go through a lot before emerging as a much stronger variant of herself. This story was both, compelling as well as endearing.

The writing, as I mentioned, was good, the characterisation was on point and the story was paced evenly, overall making it a strong read. This is my 3rd book by the author and so far the best one by her, so I was very glad I read this book.

What I loved most about this book was that it offers something that our society needs desperately these days – women empowerment without the pretention of feminism. I have nothing against feminists and feminism whatsoever, but I do have a problem with pseudo-feminists who, by the masses, corrupt the entire movement altogether. I believe in an egalitarian society so I am always in favour of women empowerment and this book is all about showcasing the strength of women. And that is where it scores the brownie points. All this while keeping in mind that the book didn’t feel like it was written with any kind of agenda in mind.

I’d recommend this book to all women’s fiction readers and to everyone who enjoys reading contemporary fiction in general. This book would also make a good read for both feminists as well as the feminazis 😉

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: The Choices We Make by Karma Brown

Author: Karma Brown
Release Date: 12th July 2016
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Series:
Edition: e-book
Pages: 316
Publisher: Mira
Blurb:
Hannah and Kate became friends in the fifth grade, when Hannah hit a boy for looking up Kate’s skirt with a mirror. While they’ve been close as sisters ever since, Hannah can’t help but feel envious of the little family Kate and her husband, David, have created—complete with two perfect little girls.She and Ben have been trying for years to have a baby, so when they receive the news that she will likely never get pregnant, Hannah’s heartbreak is overwhelming. But just as they begin to tentatively explore the other options, it’s Kate’s turn to do the rescuing. Not only does she offer to be Hannah’s surrogate, but Kate is willing to use her own eggs to do so.Full of renewed hope, excitement and gratitude, these two families embark on an incredible journey toward parenthood…until a devastating tragedy puts everything these women have worked toward at risk of falling apart. Poignant and refreshingly honest, The Choices We Make is a powerful tale of two mothers, one incredible friendship and the risks we take to make our dreams come true.

Review

★★★★+1/2

The Choices We Make by Karma Brown is a beautiful, heart-warming and very memorable read about friendships, husband-wife relationships and the unpredictability of life.

This book is one of those books that always stays with the reader. I believe Contemporary Women’s Fiction as a genre has a lot of potential and when the books in this genre are paired with excellent writing, a strong and unyielding plotline and powerful and believable characters, they transform into magic. This book had all these things and so much more. I loved the dialogues in this book a lot because they were good and as a result, each and every conversation felt real. For me, this was the strongest aspect fo this book.

The second best thing about this book was the writing – clean, crisp and clear. As a result, the book felt like a very easy and quick read (something that I always appreciate.) The writing had a very smooth air about it and flowed beautifully complementing this beautiful story. The pacing was spot-on and the tension perfect.

I was totally blown away when the main turning point of the story came; I was left gasping for breath, literally. I did not expect it and it totally broke my heart. It took me a while to digest what actually happened and all the while I kept wishing for it to somehow get undone, but then when it did not, I found myself struggling to grasp what was actually happening just like the characters in the novel. I mean, one thing you know you love a character and then the next thing you know something very bad has happened to them and you totally did not see it coming (I’m remembering Ned Stark’s execution in the first book itself… god! it still hurts!) After having read a lot of books you come to a point where hardly anything surprises you. But this book made me feel emotions I forgot having felt for a long time. This book made me feel like a first time reader who got involved in a book so much that even after having finished the book I am not able to forget the characters.

I’m cutting back 1/2 a star because the author left me sleepless for a couple of nights with such a tragic ending (I hate you for it, Karma Brown, but I love you for writing this book!) I’m sure as hell reading other books by the author. And I’d recommend it to all the readers who have a hunger for really good stories but won’t mind reading about issues related to surrogacy or pregnancy.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and NetGalley

ARC Review: How To Walk Away By Katherine Centre

Author: Katherine Center
Release Date: 15th May 2018
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Series:  
Edition: E-book
Pages: 320
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Blurb:
From the author of Happiness for Beginners comes an unforgettable love story about finding joy even in the darkest of circumstances.
Margaret Jacobsen is just about to step into the bright future she’s worked for so hard and so long: a new dream job, a fiancé she adores, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in a brief, tumultuous moment.
In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Maggie must confront the unthinkable. First there is her fiancé, Chip, who wallows in self-pity while simultaneously expecting to be forgiven. Then, there’s her sister Kit, who shows up after pulling a three-year vanishing act. Finally, there’s Ian, her physical therapist, the one the nurses said was too tough for her. Ian, who won’t let her give in to her pity, and who sees her like no one has seen her before. Sometimes the last thing you want is the one thing you need. Sometimes we all need someone to catch us when we fall. And sometimes love can find us in the least likely place we would ever expect.
How to Walk Away is Katherine Center at her very best—a masterpiece of a novel that is both hopeful and hilarious; truthful and wise; tender and brave.

Praise for How to Walk Away:

“A heartbreak of a novel that celebrates resilience and strength.” —Jill Santopolo, bestselling author of The Light We Lost

“If you just read one book this year,
read How to Walk Away.” —Nina George, New York Times bestselling author of The Little Paris Bookshop

“Warm, witty, and wonderfully observed.” —Emily Giffin, New York Times bestselling author of First Comes Love“Sympathetic and refreshing!” —Elinor Lipman, bestselling author of The Family Man

“I can’t think of a blurb good enough for this novel…poignant, funny, heartbreaking.” —Jenny Lawson, bestselling author ofFuriously Happy

Review

★★★★+1/2

How To Walk Away by Katherine Center is a beautiful book about loss, love, courage and hope that has a lot to offer to its readers apart from an exceptional story.

I am so glad that I read this book! It is a really, really good book and has taught me a lot of things about forgiveness – which definitely doesn’t come easy, loss – which does hurt a lot, and hope – which, even though difficult to hold onto, can turn around one’s life.

This book had a delightful mixture of a well thought-out storyline, a string of not only believable and realistic but also very relatable characters, very engaging yet simple writing with an exceptional sense of humour and an excellent ending.

What I really loved about this book was that the author didn’t sugarcoat things, she put things forward the way they are in real life, but she did it so without being overdramatic. I generally shy away from reading books with illness/medical situations because most of the authors present the pain in such horrific (sometimes honest, sometimes not) details and the overall experiences, more often than not, leaves a very bitter taste in my mouth. That said, if done right, these books are nothing short of magic because they have a lot of lessons and takeaways along with a good story (which, as a reader, is always the main thing for me.) For example, I loved John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars, but I didn’t really like Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything.

I’d recommend this book not only to all the contemporary fiction readers but to anyone and everyone who wants to read a really, really good book.

this review is also posted on Goodreads, Netgalley and Amazon

Book Review: Krishnaa : Queen Bee of No. 8 West Iyen Street by Radhika Giridhara And Vidya Nagaraj

Author: Radhika Giridharan and Vidya Nagaraj
Release Date: 12th December 2017
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Indian Literature, Historical Fiction
Series:
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 302
Publisher: Notion Press
Blurb:
When a marriage proposal from a much married 30 year old Raghavenrda for 12 year old Krishnaa comes knocking on the door of Gundappa Chowltry, life takes on a dramatic turn for Krishnaa. An official bride-seeing ceremony and a quick peek at the bridegroom  seals things  and  before long Krishnaa finds herself embarking on her new journey with her new husband-a man she barely knows, to the temple town of Kumbakonam. What lies in store for Krishnaa in her new house as Raghavendra’s second wife? Where is Raghavendra’s first wife?  Are Krishnaa’s dreams and desires fulfilled? What cards are dealt to Krishnaa by the hands of destiny?While tracing Krishnaa’s life journey from 1904 to the modern times, the book captures the soul of the Indian Joint family system, the customs and traditions, the love and laughter and the ever green human values. Set in the picturesque temple town of Kumbakonam, on the banks of river Cauvery, amidst the majestic Gopurams of Chakrapani and Sarangapani temples, the story of Krishnaa unfolds in all its colourful glory.

Review

★★★+1/2

Krishnaa: Queen Bee Of No.8 West Iyen Street by Radhika Giridharan and Vidya Nagaraj is a very interesting take on marriage, in general, and the Indian joint-family system and its quirks.

This book was a welcome change from the western books I read, and as a bonus, it had a good story that was equal parts interesting and entertaining. I enjoyed reading this book a lot and I felt the joy that I always feel while watching Rajshee films (which are famous Bollywood movies based on Indian joint-families and are about Indian traditions and belief-system.)

The characterization was great, the writing was good and overall the book was a quick and easy read. The story had quite a few turns that made it very enjoyable and the authors’ ability to not go melodramatic over issues like child-marriage and second marriage is really commendable.

Overall, it was a nice read and if you are an Indian or an Indian culture enthusiast, then you should definitely consider reading this book.

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this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon