What Sarita had to say..

Posted on Goodreads.com

At the outset, let’s get one thing out of the way. A love story and numerous scenes featuring physical intimacy have become the staple of the chick-lit genre. I guess one tends to expect them too. But herein lies the strength of the book – it doesn’t have these. The protagonist Anu, is married (she loves the husband very much, so there’s none of the predictable ‘devilishly handsome ex-boyfriend showing up suddenly’ plot point usually employed in such cases).

The Crossover Year is a story about all the changes and transformations that take place in Anu’s life over a year. It also just so happens to be the year she turns 30, but thankfully, the author does not burden the story with too much of that angst. Anu is married to a wonderful man, so all the changes happen mainly in her work and social life. It explores a very real situation of young smart career women trying to cope with life and society when they can no longer be defined by their work. And it’s written effortlessly with just the right balance of humour and insight.

In short, this book is about Anu learning to cope with her job situation, celebrate herself, take chances and trust herself as she explores the unknown beyond the big 3-0.

As a resident myself, I loved the whole ‘Madras’ness of the story, the insights and idiosyncracies that we locals smirk self-effacingly about and outsiders find downmarket or just plain silly. Spencer Plaza. Sandwiches outside Alsa Mall. Tamil mega serials.

Personally, I’m looking forward to Bhargavi’s next book – every female character in this book has the possibility of having a novel of her own. Maybe one friend’s love story, maybe her neighbours life after separation, maybe another friend’s coming out of the closet.

The author has carved a niche where there’s more to chicklit than just love and lust. However, my suggestion to her is that if she’s steering clear of the love-sex-infidelity route, she could consider increasing the stakes to create greater conflict while keeping her unique effervescent writerly voice intact!

"Worth reading ", says Rabab Mirza

A review taken from Flipkart .. glad that Anu was able to make Rabab Mirza laugh and think. Here’s the full review¬†

humorous tale of a girl turning THIRTY !
She is funny , confused , indecisive and she is turning THIRTY ! Sri Anuprabha is the lady in discussion . The story is about Anu trying to find her identity and during this search of what she actually wants to do , she goes through several ups and downs …. The story is sure to make you laugh , smile and wonder . Loved the plot of mango (aam) woman and search for an identity of her own and the hilarious series of events that took place in this search !

P.S – spending Rs.19000 instead of Rs.30000 (on knock offs) , calling it smart ! HAHA !

Worth reading ūüôā

Have you bought the book yet? Its available for Rs. 138 with free shipping in Ebay ( see link on side-bar) 

Book page : https://www.facebook.com/thecrossoveryearbhargavi

2 books are up for grabs on Goodreads. Do participate in the giveaway  here http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/75976-the-crossover-year

Meddling mooli and the Blue legged alien by Asha Nehemiah

Book name : Meddling Mooli and the blue-legged Alien 
Author: Asha Nehemiah ; illustrated by : Sayantan Halder
Genre: Children’s literature
Age group: 7 + yrs
Publisher : Puffin 
Source : Publisher 


Murali Krishnan aka Mooli:  a boy whose meddling ways get him into trouble all the time. Supriya George aka Soups:  a girl who loves reading and has plenty of smart ideas.

They are best friends on a mission.To win a prize on the website WAYOUTS  [World’s As Yet Original Untried Tricks and Stunts]So they try out many untried tricks and stunts. And mess up the house. And trouble their parents. And create ruckus in their neighbourhood. 

But do they eventually win the prize?  

Pick up this easy- to- read book and find out how Meddling Moolie and Soups ‚Äėshoot‚Äô a neighbour, discover a blue-legged alien and have some awesome, super cool adventures.

My thoughts: 
Children’s books have a way of lifting one’s spirits and makes one appreciate the simpler, uncomplicated things in life. Asha Nehemiah’s book is no exception to that rule. This endearing story of Mooli and his friend soups doing crazy stunts to win the WAYOUTS competition is both zany and out-of the box. Mooli’s mother makes cookies for a living and is¬†appearing¬†on the television on a cookery show. But her whip goes missing- is Mooli responsible for this ? The¬†neighbor,¬†Mr. Reddy’s prized Zinias that he was growing for a competition goes missing- again is Mooli ¬†responsible for this? umm.. Maybe. Maybe not ūüėČ
I didn’t realise that Asha was a big name in the world of children’s books when i agreed to review the book , and had my doubts about this one as it is normally not the genre i review. But i needn’t have worried , because Asha story is extremely engaging and fresh. The story ¬†is told in simple words, ¬†which i am sure children will find easy to read and enjoy. Sayantan’s illustrations makes the book more fun than it already is. The¬†characters, be it the naughty Mooli, Soups , Mooli’s parents or the neighbour are¬†extremely¬†believable.¬†¬†But I am sure you’ll fall in love with Mooli more than anyone else for his naughty antics and ideas. Asha packs enough material in the book to whet an inquisitive child’s mind- something that is essential considering the age group ¬†that the book targets.Kudos to her imagination !¬†
I am looking forward to the next book(forthcoming) in this series-  Meddling Mooli and the bully on Wheels. 
Overall, a super book that I’ll recommend to adults and children alike.¬†
My rating: 4/5 

    It’s your move, Wordfreak by Falguni Kothari : Book Review

    Book name : It’s yourmove, wordfreak
    Author : Falgunu Kothari
    Publisher : Rupa
    Genre : Romance
    Other details : Debut novel of the author
    Source of book: Blogadda’s Review program

    Synopsis from Goodreads

    Wordfreak and Worddiva hit it off right from their first online Scrabble game. Playing game after game every night leads to fun and flirty chats and a cerebral attraction so potent that it sizzles the broadband connection between them. The Scrabble-crazy duo cultivate their perfect relationship a virtual one. A bond where the past doesn’t matter and neither do their names. A bond forged by cheesy words and raucous laughs.

    But this simple and uncomplicated equation is shaken when Alisha Menon, parental-divorce survivor and successful divorce lawyer meets Aryan Save-the-Planet Chawla on a blind date. As reality intrudes on their online idyll, the rules of the game change forever. Soon, the two realise that some words cannot be taken lightly. Can the real Wordfreak and Worddiva spell love in capital letters or is the game of life a deal-breaker for them?

    My thoughts: 

    I jumped at the chance to review this book when blogadda put up the announcement simply because I am a scrabble addict. Though I don’t read ¬†romance novels these days and have ‘zero free’ time to read books thanks to the beanie’s ‘non-schedule’ , the prospect of reading a book that revolved around a game that i love and possibly involved a lot of word play excited me. However, the book disappointed me in the respect that it starts from the point where Worddiva aka Alisha Menon and Wordfreak aka Aryan Chawla meet for the first time after getting to know each other through the scrabble games. ¬†

    Alisha is a down to earth , no- nonsense lawyer ¬†and Aryan is a flashy , page-3 gracing ¬†successful architect who builds green homes. Things go smoothly for the duo ¬†after they meet each other and they feel that they’ve found soul mates in each other. Add to these two a zesty Diya (Alisha’s best friend) and some¬†saccharine¬†sweet¬†characters¬†like Uncle Sam( Aryan’s uncle), Nanu (Aryan’s grandma) , MT ( Alisha’s boss) and Alisha’s mommy , and you have a recipe for a cosy romantic,a albeit candy-flossed read.¬†I found the storyline standard M&B fare with loads of sex thrown in liberally.Though I am no prude,I just thought the ‘many’ sexual encounters were just superfluous and unnecessary. Upto 120 odd pages the book was quite simply yawwn. ¬†Especially since beanie had her vaccination and was extremely fussy during this period, i found the book¬†excruciatingly¬†boring and difficult to continue.¬†

    Thankfully, it started gettimg better after that. I started enjoying the book after Alisha and Aryan have a blow out and stop talking to each other.¬†Alisha goes out of her way to get Aryan back. The scene shifts from Mumbai to London where Alisha visits Aryan’s family and gets to know about some of his ‘secrets’.Will they get together or let their mean words get in between them? You’ll have to read the book to figure that out ūüėČ

    ¬†I thought that the main reason why they duo quarrel in the first place was a little to trite and silly. ¬†Especially considering the fact that Alisha is ¬†portrayed¬†as a very practical girl. What I did like about the book is Falguni’s effortless writing that flows very well. The story is contemporary and ¬†could relate to a lot of thoughts and concerns voiced by Aryan and Alisha. ¬†I also liked the way Alisha’s¬†character¬†was drawn out ¬†(more than Aryans). Despite all these positive aspects, the book was just a ‘Good read’ and not an ‘Awesome read’ for me. Pick ¬†it up if you want a breezy read to kill a lazy sunday afternoon.¬†

    My rating : 3/5 

    Thanks to  Blogadda for letting me take a few more days than the normal 7 days to review this book. 
    This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!

    Next post :  Book Review of Meddling Mooli and the Blue legged alien by Asha Nehemiah

    The Reluctant Detective by Kiran Manral

    Kiran Manral‚Äôs debut novel, The Reluctant Detective is a true ‚Äďblue chick-lit. It is the story of Kanan Mehra aka Kay, a thirty-something suburban housewife who, in between her ladies lunches and pedicures pokes her nose into two grisly murders that happen in her locality. Kay is intrigued ( scared of blood and squeamish also), but wants to get to the bottom of the murders.She therefore decides to investigate the murders with her detective friend Runa. If you have read Manral‚Äôs blogs before, you‚Äôll be no stranger to her brand of self-deprecating sophisticated humor. The book has copious amounts of that to keep you in splits, most of the time. Kay‚Äôs antics are funny and her obsession for lipsticks and stilettos and weight is rather amusing. What is also adorable is Kay‚Äôs son‚Äôs( the brat aka Kabir‚Äôs) brat-speak and the responses of her retro-sexual husband. All this works for the book and makes it a fun-filled ride. The humor is definitely not in-your-face- ha- ha- I‚Äôm-rolling-on-the-floor-laughing kinds, but subtle and polished. Manral is great with words and her writing, ergo, rather clever. So all this works for the book.
    What doesn‚Äôt is the fact that there is very little ‚Äúactual‚ÄĚ investigation happening. And whatever little ‚Äúreluctant‚ÄĚ investigation happens is lost between Kay‚Äôs rambling, that one often wonders when she would move on and ‚Äúdo something‚ÄĚ, rather than just say something witty about some really unrelated thing. While I get the point that Kay‚Äôs personality is such that she takes the way she looks seriously and rambles aimlessly (all this makes Kay immensely likeable, mind you!), after a point it just got a little too much for me. Very Becky Bloomwood-ish characterization (and that‚Äôs not such a bad thing ,because Bloomwood happens to be one of the most adored chick-lit heroines).
    Now don‚Äôt get me wrong, I love chick-lits (they happen to be one of my favorite genres), and Manral is one of the few authors who have managed to give her protagonist a strong voice, but because the plot itself is rather slow , it got too tedious for me. Actually, the plot is wafer thin- no twists, no red herrings, no complicated chases. Just tongue-in-cheek humour courtesy Kay‚Äôs monologues. It takes almost 120-odd pages (the book is only 180 pages) for Kay to even start getting involved into the investigation, and even when she does get involved, the cases just get ‚Äúalmost‚ÄĚ solved on their own.
    The writing is supremely funny, though and the wry wit definitely makes the book immensely readable. Kay’s take on the random things like buffets and the behavior of maids was rather refreshing to read.Wish the book had not been marketed at a murder mystery, because if you are going to be reading it in that light , you are going to be disappointed. If you read the book only for the laughs and for Manral’s funny observations, you’ll find yourself enjoying it.
    Recommended to all lovers of Chick-lits. This is definitely a book to curl up with on a Sunday afternoon.
    My rating : 3 stars out of 5.
    This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!

    Zero Percentile -2.0 Missed IIT Kissed Gurgaon by Neeraj Chhibba – Review

    Neeraj Chhibba is out with his second book, Zero percentile-2.0 Missed IIT Kissed Gurgaon. I had reviewed his first book (review here) and had found it racy and perfect Bollywood material. ZP(2) is the sequel to ZP(1) and chronicles the lives of the Pankaj, Motu ,Priya and their friends( Nitin, Arjun, Jaanvee  and San). 
    The book starts with snapshots of the lives of the main characters (all except Pankaj) in 2006, who found a software company called PureConsultants . The company is developing a product called Babe ,which is touted to be a game-changer that will catapult the company into the big league. Each individual in the management has a different problem to grapple with ‚Äď Nitin is afflicted with HIV and has money problems ; Arjun‚Äôs daughter is special and has to deal with problems on his marriage front; Jaanvee is not sure of her feelings San , and Motu and Priya have their own issues . The author takes us through the problems of each individual elaborately. T he first 100-odd pages are a sure damper in terms of pace of the book. I was left wondering what the point was of going into excruciating details of problems some of them faced. Also I thought the issue with Nitin and how he gets ostracized and slammed on news channels because he is afflicted with HIV was just over the top. ¬†Nothing much happens during this period, but ¬†one knows something has gone wrong because of the absence of Pankaj from the narrative.¬†
    Then, the narrative flits back to 1998 and chronicles the events that lead up to the formation of PureConsulants. The pace starts picking up at this point and we get to know why Pankaj was missing from the first part. We  also get to know that Pankaj was one of the co-founders of the company Numerosoft  and then something goes wrong to changes the equation between friends and causes PureConsultants to be born. 
    The third part of the story starts  in November 2008 and PureConsultants goes through an adrenaline-filled hostile takeover bid. Will Motu and his loyalists manage to fight off the takeover bid or will they succumb to the machinations of their secret enemy ? Umm.. You’ll need to read the book to figure that out. 
    Narrative-wise the last part is the most exciting as Neeraj gives a day-wise countdown to the prospective takeover. The writing is choppy and a labored ( especially the first part). The ending also seemed a little too melodramatic and predictable.There are lots of references to the first part and it might make sense for people to read ZP(1) to understand all the dynamics at work.What works the best for the book is the pace and the fact that its a breezy read. Neeraj also explains the workings of a software company, and that makes for interesting reading. That said, I certainly liked ZP(1) better than this one.Overall, an ok read.
     I’ll give it a 3/5 for this one.

    Anita and Me – Book Review

    Book name : Anita and Me
    Author: Meera Syal
    Genre : Fiction (semi-auto-biographical)
    Awards won: 1996 Betty Trask Award ; Shortlisted for Guardin 1996 Fiction Prize
    Publisher: Harper Collins ( Flamingo)
    My rating : 4/5

    Synopsis from Good reads

    The prize-winning coming-of-age novel about a young Indian girl in northern England. Winner of the Betty Trask Award and finalist for the Guardian Fiction Award, Anita and Me, which has been compared to To Kill a Mockingbird, tells the story of Meena, the daughter of the only Punjabi family in the British village of Tollington. With great warmth and humor, Meera Syal brings to life a quirky, spirited 1960s mining town and creates in her protagonist what the Washington Post calls a “female Huck Finn.” The novel follows nine-year-old Meena through a year spiced with pilfered sweets and money, bad words, and compulsive, yet inventive, lies. Anita and Me offers a fresh, sassy look at a childhood caught between two cultures

    What I thought of the book :

    Oh,I loved this book!. The comparison to “To kill a mockingbird” is not misplaced,but the style of writing is different.Anita and Me ishillarious,irreverant,refreshing and poignant at the same time. This semi-autobiographical book by Meera Syal is about a young immigrant girl growing up in a British mining village in the 60’s. Meena (the protagonist) is torn between two cultures: her Punjabi roots and the need to fit into the mainstream Tollington culture. She prefers Fish and Chips to Chappatis ; Christmas to Diwali. The narrative is slow and idyllic ,but is spiced with exceptionally cheeky writing by Meera. Her take on her parent’s friends-the uncles and aunties that visit them and her parent’s relationship with one another is heart-warming and funny at the same time. The way she describes the neighborhood and her neighbors is chuckle-inducing.

    Meena’s life changes when Anita walks into her life.Anita is brassy and in-your-face and everything Meena is not.This is precisely what fascinates Meena and she desperately wants to be Anita’s friend. Meera expertly paints the relationship between the two girls in not just blacks and whites but in shades of grey. Meena and Anita become the best of friends,despite several undercurrents that run between them and Meena finds herself doing uncharacteristic things like lying and stealing. She knows on some level that Anita is bad influence on her,but continues to toe Anita’s line,listening to her whims and fancies.Rest of the story is about what happens between the two girls and other members of their “gang”. Meena learns hard lessons in life about love ,friendship ,bereavement and “grows” up in the process.

    The narrative is not fast-paced,but it felt like every word in that book was there for a purpose . You can find oodles of witticisms thrown liberally in the book .A must read for anyone who likes witty, coming of age stories. I am so glad i picked this book!. My last book was also a coming of age story (The secret life of bees), which I didn’t like too much This book is feisty and spirited,whereas I found secret life of bees needlessly meandering and(a little) boring.

    Anyway,pick up this book- you won’t be disappointed.

    My rating : 4/5

    Teacher Man – Book Review

    Book Name : Teacher Man
    Author : Frank Mc Court
    Genre: Memoir
    My rating:3/5

    I have raved and raved about Frank’s earlier books,Angela’s ashes and Tis’. I find his style of writing irresistible with dollops of self-deprecating wit. It’s really surprising that this slim book took me almost 2 years to finish.Some books are just destined to get read in snatches , I think.

    Synopsis from Goodreads

    The author of Angela’s Ashes and ‘Tis has been winning such superlatives since he broke onto the literary scene as a self-proclaimed “old man.” In this third volume of memoirs, the Pulitzer laureate turns to one of his first loves, teaching. He describes his sometimes-bumpy coming-of-age in the classroom and explains its integral relationship with his writing career. McCourt’s ability to fine-tune even short anecdotes eventually makes readers feel like partners in his apprenticeship

    What I thought of the book:

    I wouldn’t say I loved it.It was entertaining in snatches and Mc Court’s legendary squabbles with the corridors of power at schools gives a lot of scope for humour.Somehow,the book falls flat in stretches and was self-indulgent to the point of irritating me. Let me tell you more about the book. Mc Court reminisces about his teaching career spanning almost 30 years-a career that was spent among pimply teenagers surging with adrenaline in some of the meanest vocational schools in New York.Now,teaching teenagers is one heck of a challenge and more so if they are from some of the shadiest neighborhoods where education really isn’t priority. Traditional methods of teaching English and creative writing would definitely not work with these kids.

    Frank talks of the unorthodox methods of teaching he used like letting a class sing recipes ,taking his students to a potluck picnic (to introduce new gourmet related words in their vocabulary),asking the kids to write excuse letters and many such “fun” things.Oh,how i wish I had a teacher like Frank.Infusing fun into classrooms is a laudable idea ,but at times I really wondered what the point was. Was it just Mc Court’s way of rebelling against the principals and review boards.Teachers have to stick to a teaching plan that is normally filed in beforehand,something Frank didn’t believe in.He freewheeled in his classes and told the students stories of his Irish upbringing and his childhood impoverished conditions.

    Frank has never shied away from exposing his deepest thoughts .In his first book Angela’s ashes ,he barely manages to disguise the contempt he had for his father.In Teacher Man he takes us through his crumbling marriage and how one fine day after teaching hundreds and hundreds of kids for years,he finds himself in a dead-end job and in a rut. His hate-hate relationship with the Catholic church obviously gets mentioned (many, many times) in the book.What did impress me was Frank’s unwavering belief that education was not about letting kids cram pages and pages of literature only to have them vomit it out in the exam,but was about equipping them to find their footing in the world- something Mona lisa smile and The dead Poet’s society also talk about. Whatever Frank was not,he loved his students as individuals and not just as random kids sitting at random desks in a classroom.

    Despite an engaging narrative,the book somehow didn’t work for me in the way his first two books did. Frank just came across as a self-absorbed writer who just wanted to fill the pages of his book. Not as entertaining as his first two books.Maybe,I can’t read books by self-absorbed writers any longer.. Overall,its an okay read. Not earth shattering,but a decent read that delves into the “business of education”. I would recommend it to teachers and people who work with adolescents and would rate it 3/5.

    I am off on vacation for a week and wont be able to read your posts. Have a super week and stay safe ,people.