The Windfall – Book review

Author : Diksha Basu

Publisher : Bloomsbury Publishing India

Pub Date: June 2017

Source : Review copy provided by the Publishers (Thank you!)

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Book Blurb

For the past thirty years, Mr. and Mrs. Jha’s lives have been defined by cramped spaces, cut corners, gossipy neighbors, and the small dramas of stolen yoga pants and stale marriages. They thought they’d settled comfortably into their golden years, pleased with their son’s acceptance into an American business school. But then Mr. Jha comes into an enormous and unexpected sum of money, and moves his wife from their housing complex in East Delhi to the super-rich side of town, where he becomes eager to fit in as a man of status: skinny ties, hired guards, shoe-polishing machines, and all.
The move sets off a chain of events that rock their neighbors, their marriage, and their son, who is struggling to keep a lid on his romantic dilemmas and slipping grades, and brings unintended consequences, ultimately forcing the Jha family to reckon with what really matters

Mr.Jha experiences a lucky windfall when his website brings him a huge sum of money and with it a quick turnaround in his life. Living in the shadows of his Uncle’s house his early days of life are unsuccessful and he manages to buy a small apartment in East Delhi. Mrs.Jha manages the household with her husband’s salary and works for a nonprofit organization helping artisans. Their only son Rupak is sent to one of the rich kids schools in Delhi where he always feels like an outsider.

Now in his fifties, Mr.Jha has his lucky breakthrough and a chance to start over in life. He begins by moving over to a posh neighborhood in Gurgaon, lavishly spending on the house and sending his son to the United States to pursue his MBA.

Rupak is a confused youngster who is still coming to terms with the sudden change in lifestyle and his parents decision to move to Gurgaon. He flunks in studies and has an American girlfriend, who he pictures to have the typical American sitcom character’s life and never pays attention to her in real life.

Mrs.Jha is forever in the middle, not knowing how to embrace the rich life and worries about every unwanted expense her husband makes but always proud of his hard work.

The book follows the life of the Jhas and those around them and how East Delhi meets Gurgaon in a funny way.

Mr.Chopra, the show-off neighbor of the Jhas in Gurgaon, does everything to impress people of his wealth and to prove his status. He takes pride in introducing his 28-year old son who he still supports financially because he simply can.

After the move to Gurgaon, there is a constant battle for status between the Chopras and Jhas to show off and Mr.Jha feels that it is totally necessary to keep up with his neighbors.

The book was so much fun to read and you can easily relate to the characters because we meet these kinda people in real life. The struggle to fit in and keeping up is a contant battle in all our lives and this book was very realistic. Its amusing to read how the rich struggle to spend money, the emphasis here, is on the spend and not on the money 😀 They really can’t figure out how to spend everything they have 😛

The book did put into light in a rather subtle way certain things in our society like the life of a widow, the scrutiny she has to undergo for every penny she spends or even just living her life. Widow remarriage especially a suggestion for online dating sites/matrimony sites for divorced & widows was good. Also, thrown in as a matter of fact was, how Rupak knows all about his father’s work but nothing about his mother’s. The understated sad truth about the majority of married women who give up career to concentrate on family.

Overall, this book was fulfilling and not once I thought it was a typical made for Bollywood kinda script. It was funny and without exaggerations.

My rating is 5/5 stars.

P.S. Hi !!

P.P.S  Sorry for disappearing for a while

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Who Me, Poor – Book review

Author : Gayatri Jayaraman

Publisher : Bloomsbury Publishing India

Pub Date: July 2017

Source : Review copy provided by the Publishers (Thank you!)

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Book Blurb

The characteristics and reasons for urban poverty are manifold and seem to repeat across class structures: migration, culture shock, real estate costs and unrealistic expectations of city life, a lack of financial education, corporate cultures that perpetuate stereotypical workforces, a glamourised entrepreneurial culture that focuses on icons of spending instead of struggle, and economically and politically, the rise of the cashless credit economy and the demise of the thrift economy and its conservative icons.
Who me, Poor?: How India's youth are living in urban poverty to make it big
The book will use the case studies of young Indians, typically in their first or second jobs, migrants to major Indian metros, living in these conditions. The reasons for the poverty they experience are varied, and influenced by the industries they work for, their family backgrounds, other financial obligations, social stratas, and peer groups. There are so far, no studies available for this in India, and is a rising phenomenon in the US where it has been called ‘poverty with no name’. Gayatri’s short piece on the Urban Poor crossed 1.1 million views on Buzzfeed – the highest number for any Indian feature article to date

My Thoughts

Before heading to the review, I should point out that I’m not a big fan of Non-fiction and I have tried to give an honest review as much as possible.

The book is divided into four parts – Who are the Poor, Why do they spend, Brand I, Go for Broke. Each of these sections have several anecdotes and examples that are related to the titles. For example, the first section – ‘who me, poor’ has stories of people struggling to fit in, carve their niche, and in the process spend a lot of money to get attention and to build networks and survive. The story of the fashionista who skipped meals just because she needed money to live in the ‘happening’ place in the city and wear designer clothes shook me. The reason we spend is mostly attributed to the fact that a successful career depends on spending beyond our earnings. I’ve been working for the past 4 years, living away from home and I know what peer pressure, the easy money and the city life can turn you into.

The part about credit cards and EMI’s was like a wakeup call because I’m guilty of buying expensive stuff and paying excessive financial charges. And like me, there will be others, a huge mass of them. I felt like this book was meant for this crowd, (the ones who spend on something that to most parents would look unnecessary) to create an awareness, to make them understand that impressions can be made without the need for spending more than they can afford.

A must read, especially for youngsters who have just started out with their first jobs.

My rating is 3.5/5

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Windfall – Book Review

Author : Jennifer E Smith

Publisher : Pan Macmillan UK

Pub Date: 04 May 2017

Source : Own copy

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Book Blurb :

Let luck find you.

Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes.

At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall.

As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined…and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.

My Thoughts

This book is about finding luck during the unlikeliest of times and how that turn of good fortune affects relationships.

Alice has always been in love with Teddy, but he remains oblivious  of this fact as she fears it will wreck their friendship. She mourns her parents death and has not mentally accepted Leo’s family as her own, especially Leo’s father, her uncle, who is also mourning his brother’s death. She is showered with enough love in her present living situation but she always feels like an outsider, an orphan. I did not like this side of her because she is wasting away her days (years!!) mourning for people who aren’t there and losing the ones who love her.

Coming to Teddy, when you’re a teen and all of a sudden you win millions in a lottery, you are bound to go overboard. That’s what Teddy does when his luck soars on his birthday, when his birthday gift from Alice makes him a millionaire. But his shopping spree and unwanted vacations annoy Alice as she expects him to spend it in a good way, like charity. *eyeroll*

I agree to a certain extent with Alice, but Teddy isn’t a 30-year old, he’s just had a twist in fortune and is allowed to go gaga over his riches. At least for some time. I couldn’t understand why Alice was such a goody-goody.

Some YA books, portray teens in a very intolerant way, and some like this one show characters like Alice as mature beyond their age. I liked Leo’s parents, they were sensible and knew their way around kids, especially the not-handling-Leo-like-a-glass-doll because he’s gay  was super cool.

The book was a tad disappointing with the main characters, and I felt that like this isn’t Jen E Smith’s BEST!.

My rating is 3/5.

Tell Me Three Things – Book Review

Author : Julie Buxbaum

Publisher : Delacorte Press

Pub Date: 05 April 2016

Source : Own copy

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Book Blurb :

Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Tell Me Three ThingsJust when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.

In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?

Julie Buxbaum mixes comedy and tragedy, love and loss, pain and elation, in her debut YA novel filled with characters who will come to feel like friends.

My Thoughts

I love a good contemporary and this book just made it to my favorite list of contemporaries. A dead parent, a gay character, a love triangle – everything i usually get bore of in YA books. But this book was neatly written, nothing too much of all these things, just a little dash of them.

Moodboard

I loved the writing, the way Jessie n SN email/IM each other. The identity was really very obvious and that would have turned me off too usually but not this book.  What can i say, i'm seriously bitten by this one ❤

The one most important thing I loved was… how beautifully they portrayed the loss of a loved one, how each one was dealing with the grief. Not just concentrating on Jessie, but her step mom, her step brother Theo, here dad and finally Ethan (I love that name!!) And how they are trying to mend relationships with one another.

Fav quote:

There's nothing lonelier than a hand on a glass.. Maybe because it's so rarely reciprocated.

Tell me three things:

1)I love this book

2)I'm definitely reading all Julie Buxbaum books

3)My rating is 5/5 😀

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The Return of Damayanti – Book Review

On his second adventure, Bhrigu Mahesh is called to help by a hapless, retired clerk named Nataraj Bhakti, who thinks he is being haunted by the spirit of his dead wife. As he investigates, the mystery deepens and takes a sinister turn. A woman gets brutally murdered, and the great detective faces the challenge to either catch the killer or risk the destruction of many innocent lives.

My Thoughts:

This is the second book in the Bhrigu Mahesh Phd series and I have not read the first book in the series. As i was provided a paperback copy for review, I was given an option to download the first book in the series using a book stub that was provided along with the review package. I was already in short of time, due to a mishap with the Postal 34630759services and I had only a day for reviewing this book so I couldn’t check the first one.

I believe this can be read as a standalone novel, but there is little background story offered for the two main characters of the book.

Bhrigu Mahesh and his friend Sutte are portrayed like Sherlock and Watson, and to a degree Bhrigu is more like Hercule Poirot. While reading the book, my mind went to these fictional heroes because of several similarities in character especially the one I most hate – belittling the companion. When Sutte doesn’t understand Bhrigu’s perception, he never clears it out for his friend and gets irritated at his superficial knowledge.

In this book, the duo are approached by a retired government clerk as he fears that his dead wife’s ghost has returned to haunt him. Bhrigu takes upon the offer of visiting Nataraj Bhakti’s ancestral home to investigate further on the case. Whilst Sutte isn’t happy with the arrangement, as the house in itself looks haunted and basic necessities are a big problem, he settles in after meeting Nataraj’s widowed sister, Savita. Bhrigu keeps observing thinks and when the paranormal activities subsides after his stay, he doesn’t immediately offer his client the cause of the problem but rather returns home. The detective and his friend are rushed back to the village of Krishna Dwar after hearing the news of Savita’s murder. They investigate the murder with the help of local police and identify the murderer by page 300 itself. The rest 140+ pages go on about the person behind the scenes and his influence on the murderer.

Personally I felt the book dragged at places. Instead of introducing the main characters and a little background story on them, there goes a chapter long discussion with Bhrigu’s friend Daisy. Big descriptions that were not needed or repeated could have been edited.

As it is a thriller, readers are bound to be intrigued on the happenings of the story and when a murder is involved, we need a lot of action. Be it the phantom part or the murder investigation, the detective kept most things to himself until the final reveal. So naturally, I started getting bored. After the murderer is revealed, I pretty much got an idea about why he/she was influenced and who had influenced.

The writing was okay but there were too many mistakes like “there parents/her wife/there profile pictures etc. The common mistake was there instead of there.

The book talks about the alpha-male, how women are mistreated still in some rural areas and asking them to fight for their rights, but playing around with the minds of the weaker sex isn’t what I expected.

My rating would be 3/5.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

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The One – Book review

Author : John Marrs

Publisher : Random House UK

Pub Date: 25 May 2017

Source : Own copy

Get your copy from Amazon.in

Book Blurb

How far would you go to find THE ONE?
One simple mouth swab is all it takes. A quick DNA test to find your perfect partner – the one you’re genetically made for.The One
A decade after scientists discover everyone has a gene they share with just one other person, millions have taken the test, desperate to find true love. Now, five more people meet their Match. But even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking – and deadlier – than others…
A psychological thriller with a difference, this is a truly unique novel which is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.

My Thoughts

I will try hard not to include spoilers in my review.

I really liked this book and to my surprise I was not able to guess many things like i usually do while reading a thriller. Actually there’s a killer in this book, but it is revealed in the beginning so that’s not what I meant about guessing. The story actually follows five different people who in some way or the other have registered with the ‘Match Your DNA’ service that promises to find the person’s soulmate by genetic match.

So there are these 5 different narrations all of them told in third person and almost all the chapter gives you a surprise or shock. And in no way I could outguess them. I did , a very few but those were really obvious ones. Just when you think that like you are able to follow the story and predict how its gonna end, there will come another twist 😛

Out of all the five, I liked the serial killer’s story. I was able to guess that one’s ending 😀

There were some typos here and there but the writing was good. I’m not much into descriptive explanations and this book was crisp and didn’t go much into the details unnecessarily. I don’t want to reveal much about the characters but you will enjoy reading about them.

I highly recommend this book if you are looking for one with so many twists and turns.

My rating 5 stars 🙂

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Always and Forever, Lara Jean – Book Review

Author : Jenny Han

Publisher : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Pub Date: 02 May 2017

Source : Own copy

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Book Blurb :

Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the New York Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #3)Times bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You. Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding. But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family-and possibly the boy she loves-behind. When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

My thoughts :

This is the last book of the To all the boys trilogy. You have to read the first two before starting this one.

This book kept me on my edge!!! Throughout the book I kept wondering whether Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky are going to break up. I mean I was ready to break down and melt down into a puddle. Having read other Trilogies of Jenny Han, and remembering what a wreck it made me (I still feel sorry for Reeve Tabatsky from the Burn for Burn trilogy ;_( )

So while i was expecting the worst and was kinda prepared for it, I should say I loved this book. It didnt seem like a fitting  end to a series, the second book was more like it. But still, it felt like a nice long epilogue for what happens next in happily ever after.

It’s all about nostalgia, fear of the future and never leaving loved ones yet at the same time carving your niche!!

Kitty was and will always be my favorite of the Song Sisters, she is smart, witty, has great fashion sense and makes things funnier and happier.

Peter Kavinsky is bae and I loved the way he loves Lara Jean ❤ He is perfectly imperfect, a guy who learns to braid his girlfriend’s hair, who wants to surprise her in the sweetest ways possible but feels down when they turn out otherwise. ‘He is such a boy!”

I never like Margot and this book was the same for me, she is my least favorite Song sister. This journey of Lara Jean’s life is definitely a sweet, funny and cutesy story. And oh my god that ending!

My rating is ofcourse 5 stars 🙂

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