The divorce papers by Susan Rieger

The Divorce PapersThe Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have always loved epistolary novels, and jumped at the opportunity to review one. The premise was exciting : what happens behind the scenes of a high-profile divorce case. The book told only in the form of memos, letters  and emails is an extremely erudite piece of writing with references to literature , movies and the performing arts. I didn’t know that Shakespeare died on his birthday! (23rd April).

Having seen the ugly repercussions of divorces of a few friends , I was curious about the nitty-gritties of negotiation and divorce settlement. The book offers a generous peep into all those areas.It was interesting going through the memos and the paperwork that gets generated during a divorce. However , I just found the book too long (over five hundred pages).Somehow the exchange between Sophie (the divorce lawyer, who also happens to be one of the lead characters)and her friend, Maggie was just too boring.

The book had too many memos and lawyerly papers containing barely understandable legalese, that I found myself skipping a few of them because it was just so tiring wading through all those jargon-filled pages. Thankfully , the most relevant passages were highlighted ,and I found myself skipping the document and reading just those highlighted parts. Maybe the reason I couldn’t connect too much with the characters was that the book was too long. Best character was  Mia , whose random acts of meanness towards the husband was quirky and funny.

Overall , a  clever decent read , if the size of the book doesn’t deter you.

View all my reviews

Thank you Crown publishing for sending me this book to read and review. 

Cut like Wound by Anita Nair

Cut Like WoundCut Like Wound by Anita Nair
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Its not a classic who-dun-it, but Anita’s words bring alive a side of Bangalore that not many of us would know.The pace is a little slow , but  atmospheric, making it an an extremely clever book to spend time with. Though Inspector Gowda is no heart-throb, Anita has chiselled his character well.Lots of research has gone into the making of this book , and it shows. But a word of caution: do not pick this book up because you liked Ladies Coupe and be willing to give a slow police procedural book a chance, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much you end up liking the book.

Overall,Literary popular fiction(the book reads like literary fiction in bits , and like popular fiction sometimes) for people who don’t mind slow murder mysteries.  

View all my reviews

My Writing Process blog Tour : Meet two fabulous writers!


I started interacting with Roopa Menon, author of  Pyar aur Poetry over Goodreads. I jumped at the idea of reading her novella and  my first e-book( yeah, I am a dinosaur  like that) as I had heard great things about the book. My interest was piqued and 30,000 or so words later, I realised that I thoroughly enjoyed reading her book! 
Catch some of the lovely reviews her book has got here http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18138065-pyar-aur-poetry
She blogs at http://sylviaramblings.wordpress.com/. Do drop by her space to read about her writing process J  
The questions:
1)      What am I working on?
I have five different manuscripts in different levels of completion. The  one closest to completion is a mystery novel. Hopefully, it should be done in the next two months. The next project would be to complete all the other pending manuscripts J  
2)       How does my work differ from others of its genre?
My first book Seven Across was a romance novella and the second one , The Crossover Year was a chick-lit novel. Though, I don’t really like slotting my books into a particular genre, I do acknowledge the fact that the slotting helps readers discern whether they’d want to read the book or not. I have been  told that both my books have protagonists who are strong and  relatable, and that I have been able to infuse humour into the narratives. I think I am just another writer itching to tell stories that are floating in my head.
3)      Why do I write what I do?
The Crossover Year was born out of my own frustration at being in a dead-end job that I really didn’t enjoy. However, the plot line is purely fictional. I can never think of participating in a Homemaker contest or watching a silly saas-bahu serial. Seven Across was written when I was having trouble getting The Crossover Year published and Ramya ( Seven across’s protagonist) is actually very similar to Anu (The Crossover Year’s protagonist) in many ways. They come from the same backgrounds and think pretty much in the same way. I have been playing around with other genres as well in the past few years, yet women’s fiction is something that I will always be interested in , both in writing and reading . I am also itching to write a book involving fantasy and paranormal elements.
  4)      How does my writing process work?
I  always start with a detailed plot outline( which keeps changing) before I start writing. With the first two books , I wrote the first draft with not many changes, but increasingly I find that the concept of first draft doesn’t hold any meaning to me. I keep reviewing what I have written and make changes as I keep writing. For the book I am writing currently ,I have already gone over the first 15k words around four or five times. My protagonists have changed drastically, but I am satisfied with the current iteration and will probably re-write it only at a later point.   
Thanks for tagging me, Roopa . Now a bit about  the two lovely writers I am tagging..
Privy Trifles aka Namrata  is a lovely girl who blogs at http://www.privytrifles.co.in/ and has published short stories in three interesting anthologies by talented writers . She is an I-banker by profession and a certified bibliophile.She is also a dancer and wears many hats.   
Time’s lost Atlas from Half-baked bean publishing.

With 12 stories encompassing 12 major events of the last decade, this anthology is a concoction of tragedy, romance, mystery and thriller, brewed to perfection to ensure a nail biting experience.


This book collects twenty five chosen stories with an act of kindness worth telling.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18688084-25-strokes-of-kindness

Buy it on Amazon.in http://bit.ly/1oe9JkW
Stories for your valentine
Beautiful heart touching stories of the winners of the Red Romance contest 2013

Wishing you loads of success and looking forward to your full-length novel. And also to reading your books 🙂 
 https://www.facebook.com/privy.trifles
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Kirti Jayakumar is a bundle of energy and a multi-tasker par excellence. She is a lawyer , writer , UN volunteer, social-media marketer, co-founder of http://www.redelephantfoundation.org and does many more interesting things that makes my head whirl. Girl, where do you find time for all these things?  She blogs at http://www.kirthijayakumar.blogspot.in/  
Her latest offering is a book of short stories called Stories of Hope.  
Stories of Hope is a collection of short stories. Each tale narrates the journey of a thin red line of hope that fights through adversity. Right from the heart of Nazi Germany in the thick of the holocaust to the collapse of the regime in Egypt in 2011, from the story of hunger in the core of Africa to the tale of Palestine’s recognition as a state, there are stories that celebrate the resilience of the Human Spirit. Stories of Hope is a celebration of Hope and a celebration of the undying human spirit of resilience.  
She’s co-authored another book called Love Me Mama


There’s a strong and well-proven link between parental favoritism and the abuse suffered by the unfavored child. Love Me Mama: The Unfavored Child will resonate with parents and adults around the world. This book is a story of an unfavored child called Victoria. Vicky suffered because of the favoritism her mother showed among her four children, discriminating against Vicky. The difficulties of life led Vicky to build a wall of defense around her. The book takes you through the life that Vicky faced before she emerged successful.
Buy your copy here

Looking forward to reading your books, Kirti. Wishing you oodles of luck and more hours in a day to do all the other things you want to 🙂 
Passing on the baton to both of you now and looking forward to discovering more writers 🙂  

Stay tuned for more author profiles.. If you’d like to be featured ,write in to me and we’ll work something out!  

Pyar aur poetry by Roopa Menon








Book name : Pyar Aur poetry 
Genre: Romance 
Publisher : Indireads 
Copy source : Author 
Rating : 3.5 ***

Synopsis from Goodreads 

College beauty Arundhati Basu would rather stick her head in the proverbial oven than host this year’s Founder’s Day event with tongue-tied nerd, Nikhil Menon. Compared to the brilliant but elusive poet, D. G. Beckett, Nikhil is a green toad.

As Arundhati gets to know him, however, she finds herself oddly drawn to the shy geek, and he, in turn, grows in confidence as he spends more time with her. His hopes for a lasting relationship with Arundhati seemed to be within his reach.

If only she could forget D. G. Beckett!(less)

My review 


Sweet and intelligent , Pyar aur poetry isn’t one of those novels where the hero and heroine fall in love/lust- quarrel at the drop of a hat- patch up again-they live happily ever after. The protagonists , Arundathi and Nikhil have been conceived thoughtfully and are as different as chalk and cheese.Yet they share the love for words and literature. Arundathi’s snobbish attitude towards all things ‘Indian’ is the perfect foil for the very grounded Nikhil. What I also appreciated about the book was that the basis of the duo’s love is not infatuation or something superficial , but something deeper and more substantial – love for words and a respect that is born out of something more than just physical attraction.

At the core of the book is the question Nikhil raises – Why isn’t Indian writing considered on par with the Western literature? Why do people relate to scones, rather than the bhakarwadi? In a lot of ways Arundathi is a metaphor for a lot of Indian readers who are snobbish about their reading preferences.Wish there were more Nikhils in the real world to help them realise the value of Indian writers. I really liked Nikhil’s grandma’s character- what a bindass grandmom to have! Being a novella, one can easily finish the book in a few hours.Roopa writes beautifully and has a lovely command over the language. 


Overall , an intelligent enjoyable read with characters you can relate to.


About the author

Roopa Menon is a dreamer. Ever since she could remember she has been dreaming and imagining stories, conversations and characters. Her earliest memory is of leaving cups of cream for elves and pixies in her house. This was based on one of her most favourite books of the time- Enid Blyton’s Book of Fairies. She was 5 years old.
As for writing, it just happened to her one day. Is that possible?

Roopa Menon believes that she has some stories that she would like to tell. And some of them perhaps only she can.Pyar Aur Poetry is her first published work of fiction since 2001. It is, as she would like to call it, “a tapestry of youthful quests, longings, and arrogance.” Loosely based on her college experience in India she has ensured that she has remained faithful to fiction and her imagination. 


Bookshelf’d part 2 – Peek into Ridhi’s personal collection

Ridhi Malhotra blogs at http://randomrings.wordpress.com/ and is a super sweet person. She is a book lover and has some reading quirks as well that are oh-so-endearing! The sweetest ones are that she picks up bookmarks of the same colour as the cover  of the book  and that she starts reading the last chapter of the book and progresses to the beginning. She jokingly says , ” What if I die in between , I should know how the book ends.” Delightful , right? Here’s a pic of Ridhi’s prized collection.

I spy  Jane D Suza’s The spy who lost her head which was a rip-roaring fun  read.

Do drop by her blog and read some of her lovely posts.

Do you want to flaunt your book shelves? Aye? Mail me at writetobedazzled@gmail.com

Bookshelf’d Part 1 : A tour into Anuja’s book-space

The happiest thing for a book addict is to see a well-populated book shelf , bulging under the weight of crisp and shiny new books. Anuja’s book shelves made me salivate ,the minute I took one look at the photos she shared with me.  This is Part one of a series where I’ll take you into personal  libraries of fellow book lovers. Anuja is a medical student with a serious book addiction( her shelves are a testimonial to that) .She is a warm , sweet girl who blogs at http://thegalwiththefairydust.wordpress.com  and doesn’t like pretentious literature( which is so rare in people who read as much as she does) . She once prepared a database of all the books with even the ISBNand says that her shelves look so neat because of her OCD ;0

She also takes some amazing photographs , so do drop by her page and spread some love. Would you like to show your shelves off ? Drop me a mail at writetobedazzled@gmail.com and we can talk books, pet book peeves and such other bookish stuff 🙂  

Without much ado let me show you Anuja’s shelves..

Anuja is interested in Astrology and Astronomy.  
Sophie Kinsellas sitting smug along with Nora Roberts and Cecilia Aherns. Anuja says she started getting drawn to Ireland after she started reading the Irish Witch series by Nora R.  
Pot boilers rubbing shoulders with Mr Puzo’s and Ms Rand’s gems : now this is true socialism 🙂
Ah, bliss…  

Love how she’s arranged the books by authors..
Shameless plug-  my two babies sitting on top of the shelf 🙂 
Some authors I haven’t read – but everything looks so appetizing! 
    Yay! Wodehouse..
Eclectic reader!
Want me to feature your shelves next? Write in. Till then keep smiling 🙂 

"Expected a little more fire in the book!" says Sarada Sukhavanan

Technically , the first I-didn’t-like-the-book review is up on Goodreads.  The barometer was that it would have to be from someone I didn’t know personally and it wouldn’t talk about a single redeeming feature of the book.  People who know you are never 100% honest when it comes to such endeavours, and often end up saying luke-warmy-I-loved-it  thingees ( which btw are fun to read on a day when you are feeling like the world is out to get you ).
Strangely, I didn’t feel like I was the worst writer on earth when I read the review – just disappointed that someone had been disappointed after parting with hard-earned cash. I just left a message saying I would do better in the next book. Infact , I am motivated to do better in the next book 🙂 I know we can’t please everyone and that reviews are never to be taken too seriously , but I want to take this seriously because I really want to be a better writer- both for my sake as well as my reader’s.

Anyway,here’s the review( and several others that have come in since the last time I posted)..


“It is still a mystery if Anu found her way to do what she loved to, was becoming an entrepreneur her discovery into life or her passion for books? The book started off with a storyline where in Anu would find her inner calling or what she is passionate about doing, but I felt the end was not powerful enough or resonate what she actually wanted to do. Expected a little more fire in the book !.” 

Review by Sarada Sukhavanan on Goodreads 
Rating : 3/5 
****

“An easily flowing narrative of Sri Anu Prabha, a Chennai-based married girl who is uncertain about what she is doing with her life and decides to do something about it and finally does it. 

After Indian writing in English came of age a few years back, South Indian writing in English is coming to the fore with the works of authors like Bhargavi. It is certainly interesting to read works with familiar locales, regional sentiments and local slang.

A very insightful book in which the protagonist expresses herself very honestly. I could relate very well with Anu and her experiences. 

Sometimes humorous, sometimes serious and sometimes very deeply philosophical, the book makes me want to read more of the author.

Waiting for more…” 

Review by Menaka Sankaralingam on Goodreads 
Rating : 4/5 

***
The book has been written in first person and that makes it all the more relatable. I loved the gift voucher she receives from her husband, actually a very novel idea. Her checklist for a Tam-Brahm wedding was very fascinating and important.
The only negative I felt was use of abbreviations, some understandable and some not.
If you want to enjoy and laugh on a leisurely weekend, this is the book for you.
Review by Arti of Metro Reader. Read the entire review here 
and on Goodreads. 
Rating : 4/5 




Siddharth Krishnan’s review..


An easy going, modern age book telling the story from the perspective of a 29 year old, married Chennai girl, this book will make you smile and agree at various junctures. The book actually ends up covering a lot of issues in a short span and you begin to wonder how the Author has woven all of them together. But must appreciate the author’s efforts to keep the reader hooked on though honestly I skipped the whole serial story sequence. If you are reading the Kindle edition , you might end up getting irritated with the formatting though I am not sure if it is the fault of Amazon or the Author. Please confirm.
Bottomline – Definitely read once material and will definitely pick up the next book by this author.

rating : 4/5
rated on : Goodreads

Review from Otee..

Posted on : Goodreads
Rating : ****/5

Disclaimer: this isn’t a proper review – it is a presentation of jumbled thoughts that I had about the book in no specific order (though I tried to organize it somewhat). It might resemble a badly organized bullet point presentation.

Overview: I’ve read “The Crossover Year” and enjoyed every bit of it.

The story is about the life of Sri Anu Prabha at that point in time when a girl heading towards discovering her life’s purpose.

The story narrated in first person, describes the events and dilemmas that one comes across in the course of their life.

It is authentic in the situations described, the dilemmas faced and the insights that one has in life, that it is relatable by any reader.

The pace though sedate is gripping enough to keep one absorbed throughout the book.

There are no exhilarating highs nor depressing lows in the book.

It is a humorous and a semi-light read.

It is difficult to assign a specific genre to it; it is much more than “chick-lit” and is not heavy on introspection to be classified as “contemporary literature” and certainly not “Romance”. It can perhaps be classified as a “coming of age” story.

The writing style and the language is, as usual, very good.
This is the 2nd book of Bhargavi’s that I’m reading and I can state authoritatively that it is miles better than the first book – Seven Across.

I’m putting down this book of Bhargavi’s as “Promising” and strongly recommend buying it – you won’t regret it.

Good luck with the launch Bhargavi.

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!