Friday, December 19, 2014

Birth Of A Mother

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Here I am lying sprawled, naked and angry amongst a group of strangers who have no inclination of what I am going through. No, I am not a part of a Satanic ritual, though it felt exactly like that at that point of time. I am here to deliver my first born.

Aren’t I supposed to be ecstatic and have tears like Jaya Prada, the yesteryear actress, who depicted the epitome of motherhood? I had tears – oh ya. I did. Angry tears. How dare they take away my dignity? But then, I was helpless. The kiddo had decided to come out, at that particular moment and then changed his mind. My water had burst and he was not in a comfortable position to be in. Frankly, I didn’t care. Where was ME in all this equation. My MIL and Mom were outside disturbing all the Gods with their auricular prayers, my DH was a nervous wreck- he really chooses his moments to become robotic and the hordes of friends who had come to visit me -to support me, had turned the event into a freaking kitty party. 

The doctors face loomed above me. He really looked like Shakti Kapoor on a raping rampage. His telescopic face was soon joined in by the kind nurse and then the party began. Can you believe they had students in the OT to teach them how to do a C-Section? Can this incident be noted down in the record of motherhood as my contribution to science? I did fall in love with a guinea pig at that moment.

And then he arrived. Everything was quiet at first. The eerie kind of quiet. The anticipated wait for a massive event to take place kind of quiet. The silence was shattered by a shrill, angry wail of the little one. He sounded so angry. Here I was - cut open with my intestines hanging out and he was angry. Bloody MCP!

The doctor was beaming. He could afford to. Another feather in his cap. I just hoped he did not forget to sew me up. I needn't have worried for they were very efficient in this Cheshire Hospital. 

The little bundle was soon handed to me. The Doctor was worse then my MIL. Could he not wait for me to heal before I started my earthly duty? And then I saw him. The tiny face -still covered with gooey slimes. My first thoughts were - he needs a shave! 

Then before I could understand, those tiny eyes opened and stared straight at me. And he winked! Shit.. I am in love.

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Will Movies Stop Being A Family Affair?

It was in the late 1990’s. My Dad came home with movie tickets for the whole family and suddenly there was a big hullabaloo in the house. The elders in my house planned a late night movie. We got very excited as we all sat in my Granddad’s vintage car and got ready to go to the movie. I come from a very small town. Everyone knows everyone in that town. At least they used to in my school days. So, when my granddad would take out that car, everyone knew that the whole Gupta family is going for a family event. The car was hilarious. An iron rod had to be inserted into the engine and rotated for the car to start. More often then not, the whole family was mostly pushing the car with my Granddad proudly steering the wheel. I swear!

So stuffed like a teddy bear, with all our family fitted smugly in that car, we entered the movie hall. We grabbed many small bags of potato chips and some bottles of coke. Samosas and egg roll will find its way to our seats during the interval. Midway of the movie the children in our family were asked to bend their heads down. Don’t be shocked. We were not being attacked. Smita Patil and Amitabh Bachchan decided to have a rain dance and Smita Patil was really looking sexy in the wet, clinging saree. Our older generation got nervous and the way they behaved it felt as if we were on the verge of losing our virginity. So we all bent our head down till the song was not over. 

 Nowadays everything has changed. That scene of the Bollywood flick, which made us behave like hostages,  is a baby in front of the all the boldness that is synonym with Bollywood Flicks. Girls are called items, bed scenes and lip locks are “artistically needed” for that scene. Sexuality is not any more a closed door affair. Smooching on screen has become a norm. According to the our Filmy duniya, they are portraying what our society is all about. I am not moral policing. But when vamps do the ‘item songs’ it is expected but when our heroines do the same it is almost like we are watching fallen stars. We have idolized our heroes and heroines for so long that to see them fall from their pedestal is sad. But fallen they have. The sensuality that Madhubal’s smile had cannot be seen in Katrina’s  chikni chameli number. But vulgarity or in want of a better word, open sensuality is here to stay. The question is – will movies stop being a family affair?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Mother-in-Law Incarnated

I could never understand the love my mom had for serials. Are they not supposed to be a waste of time? Should she not at  go out of the house and meet people or start thinking of working. My mom would always give me a tolerant smile and tell me softly, “This is my survival pill, why do you want me to stop watching them? They are my window to other’s life, something I won’t dare to do in my own life.” I tched and would always make fun of the stupid serials where one day a  man would be married to a woman – only to be divorced the next day. 

Then I got married and lo behold my mother in law was in the same boat. Zealous. Passionate and if you dare to speak to her during the serial – her killer looks won’t spare you. She would be the angry doppleganger of her former self, vomiting venom on any poor unsuspecting soul daring to take her eyes off the idiot box. 

I sweared I would never do that ever again in my life. At that point of time I was working in Aptech, in New Delhi. Newly married and hated my MIL with a zealous fantasy. The feeling was mutual.  I remember the lunch hours I spent in the office regaling my colleagues on the antics of mother in law while watching the serials. Her angry face, her sad face, her fighting for the oppressed bahu face (that my dear, was the most funny one.) 

Then my DH got a transfer to USA. I was so damn excited. Away from the MIL who didn't give me a moment of peace. She wanted to watch her stupid soaps and for that she made me do all the work. So here I was packing happily, while my MIL was shedding a few tears on the departure of the old Saas to her heavenly aboad. 

USA was like a dream come true. Everything was larger than life. Newly married and now issues- was a honeymoon period. But like every fairy tale has a snag, so did mine. I couldn’t work in the USA on my dependent visa. Initially it was fun – doing nothing. Munching Haldiram the whole day, baking chicken nuggets and hogging them and the chocolate mouse ..yummm.. !

Then came the infilteration of silence. I never knew the silence that I had craved for so much could be so deafening. Every single sound from outside had risen in decibel. The honk of a car, the rain pelting on my pane and the crickets were unanimous in their own symphony. Till one day I couldn't take it more and picked up the remote. 

Initially I stuck to a movie or two with a heavy dose of news channel. Who was murdered where, the gory rapes and the political idiosyncracies were more depressing then anything I have ever seen. Oh, I did try to see a few adult porn also and they made me puke. No that was not for me. So the next step was picking up the phone and calling up the Dish channel. Soon the idiot box had a company on the table and I was the proud owner of all the indian channel. I felt closer to home. 

One serial caught my attention – the cute love story between Arnav and Khushi.I watched mesmerized as their love story unfolded from hate to love. The passion palpable. Then my DH dared to come and ask me for food while Arnav was about to declare his love. I was my MIL incarnated !

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Rescued by Love by Shilpa Suraj

Rescued by Love 
Shilpa Suraj

The Blurb
 When Naina Ahuja is kidnapped as hostage days before her father, a Supreme Court Chief Justice, must sentence a terrorist, the stakes are very high. Lt Col Arjun Rathore and his team are the only ones who can be trusted with the mission of saving her. 

During their arduous trek back through the hostile terrain of Ladakh, Arjun and Naina spend days in danger of losing their lives - and their hearts. Back in safety, the real world and its very real problems threaten – as do their own perceptions of the differences between them. 

They must separate – but will life rescue their love?

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She .... 

She is Naina. She is the daughter of the Chief Justice and is a part of the elite society. She has everything money can buy - except a set of loving parents. Trying to teach her parents a  lesson, when she is forced to marry a fatso (weight-ism!!!), she decides to run away. Trouble follows her and she is kidnapped! Not a nice place to be in but if Arjun comes to rescue me, I wouldn't mind for half a day. Only half a day, mind you.... I don't have time to spare. :D

I loooove Naina's character. She is, as described by the writer, 'a ray of sunshine.' Spunky, cute and having a high dose of humor. Being brought up by such parents should have sent her to a mental asylum but thankfully she is not a wilted rose. The girl knows her mind and does not hesitate to speak for herself. 


He is Arjun.  Lt Col Arjun Rathore. Macho as a man can get. He is the one who rescues her and while trekking back home, falls in love with her. But he knows she is out of his league. So when the time to say goodbye comes, he does not hesitate and walks away... leaving her heart broken. 

Arjun is shown as an Alpha male but he has his own weaknesses too. I liked that. Made him more real. His doubts, his fears and his vulnerability in love was very heart touching.

The Story....

The story has all the ingredients to turn it into a Bollywood flick. Hritik and Katreena... (See Til *Til is my inner, nagging conscience.*.. no Salman Khan . I don't believe in nepotism :P)I could almost visualise the movie. The story is very well written. Shilpa Suraj knows how to play with words. She is one of those picturesque writers who will draw an emotion with her word. Naina's sadness became my sadness. Her spurts of laughter was mine and her anger had me want to kill the father. 

I had some aha moments in this book. To quote a few...

"Chuckling softly, Arjun took in her indignant little pixie face. She looked like a ragamuffin with that ragged haircut and grimy face."

"Drawing herself up to the full extent of her 5-feet-nothing, Naina tried for dignity and failed miserably."

Her way of writing is very free flowing. The words are threaded together with an ease. Characters are very well etched though in some instances a bit overboard. There is nothing wrong in that. While using your own imagination you can never go wrong. It is your world, your imagination. I do know fathers like Naina's do exist. The need for a son is so profound in some families that it is not a surprise when girls are treated as such. Sad but true. The less said about the politicians of our country - the better. Our TV serials have also fueled our imagination so I could visualize parents like that. 



The Ladakh journey was beautiful and so was Naina's woking as a hostess and whatever took place there. But the ending could have come a bit sooner. This nulling sense of the star crossed lovers meeting every time and again Destiny playing a hand in driving a wedge after them is fine for 2 rounds - after that a reader would love to peek in the last page to see if it is going to happen or not. 

The character of the father is shown the the worst light. Such a huge ego will not let his daughter go out of the house like that without keeping tabs at least. For it is a sense of possessiveness that drives such men. And when he threatens an opponent  - they won't be mere words.  So maybe the father could have had at least some redeeming emotion for this to be justified?

But one thing I have to say for this novel.... after a long time I did not want to finish a story. I almost felt sad when it was over. 

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Meet the Author

Shilpa was a year and a half when she was first introduced to the world of books. Her mother would park her with a picture book on the floor of the kitchen while she finished her cooking for the day. While it’s no longer the kitchen floor, you can still find her tucked away in a cosy nook somewhere with her nose buried in a book. While books in all genres interest her, it was romance that captured her heart. While racing through every romantic fiction book she could beg, borrow or buy, her over active imagination started to work overtime and weave its own stories. Years in the corporate world followed by a stint of entrepreneurship crystallised her belief that all she really wanted to do was give life to the stories bubbling inside of her. She briefly managed to tear herself away from the world of fiction to find her own personal happily ever after and now spends her time happily focusing on the two loves of her life – family and writing romances. 

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Against All Odds by Jazz Singh

Against All Odds
Jazz Singh 

The Blurb

The first time they collide, he thinks she’s a con artist, she believes he’s an arrogant snob.

It takes several meetings to change their minds about each other, but eventually, Abhimanyu and Sanjana strike up a friendship that seems destined to turn into something more. He’s a rich successful businessman, however, and she’s a small-town girl who doesn’t fit into his glittering world; a fact that Abhimanyu’s mother has taken pains to point out.

Will they ever overcome the odds, or are their lives on parallel tracks, never destined to cross?

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She is Sanjana. A simple middle class girl from Kasauli and working in Delhi. Ambitious and idealistic. Just the type of girl a guy would fall in love with ....

And a guy does fall in love with her. He is Abhimanyu. A rich businessman from the elite society of Delhi. He can have anyone he wants. But he fell in love with the simple girl who had almost come under his car. For whom he felt responsible. But she refused his help. Her spunk, her bravery and her innocence made him fall in love. 

The Story..
He met her and fell in love. The story should finish here but then it will not be a love story. Why ever not - till today I don't understand. But unless a story has a villain - it is not a love story. It is just a story. God bless all the villains of a love story. In this case it is the snobbish mother of Abhimanyu. She does a fantastic job and drives them apart. 

Now again our poor over-worked Destiny Sisters have to work overtime to bring them together. But will his mother ever be able to accept the simple girl from Kasauli or will Sanjana be the cause of rift between the mom and the son? Find out in this short read of Against All Odd by Jazz Singh. 

What I Liked...
The simplicity of the narration. Jazz has a flair of story telling and it shows in the simple way the story progresses. 
Sanjana and Abhimanyu come out as a perfect pair. If Abhimanyu is headstrong and does tend to take things for granted - then Sanjana has the temperament to hold on her own against him. 
The secondary characters all came out well and created the perfect social atmosphere needed in the story.
The Kasauli chapters were very heart touching. A peek inside a simple household where people are bound together by love. 
The editing of this novel makes it a wonderful read. 

The predictability - The part the 'Ring' plays in this story has been told many a times. It is not innovative or nothing new. All hindi movie fans must have seen this story, specially the Vinod Mehra fans, With Jazz Singh's power of story telling I, as a reader did expect more. 
The assumptions - There are some preconceived notions in this story. To quote one line, 'All Indian men were mama’s boys." Nah! 

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Meet the Author

Dear Readers,

Jazz Singh is one of the most elusive writers I have met. So respecting her need for privacy we have not asked her for a profile picture or a writeup. Long back, when I had first interacted with her.. I had asked her the reason behind this. Her answer was... I want to be known for my work. All I can say to that is... She will be...


Rubina Ramesh 

The Book Club

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Unexpectedly Yours by Melody Grace

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Sophie Young has been dreaming about the perfect Christmas in New York ever since she was a kid. But when her boyfriend bails on their romantic trip for two, she finds herself stranded in the city on Christmas Eve, with only a holiday-hating smooth-talking, utterly sexy stranger for company…Rock-star Austin Kelly is fed up with Christmas – he’s more interested in who’s going to be cozying up under the mistletoe. But when his little black book comes up empty, he finds himself on a whirlwind tour of the city with the most unlikely partner in festive fun…The snow is falling, but things are definitely heating up inside. And by the time the clock strikes midnight on New Years Eve, there will be plenty to celebrate with old friends and familiar faces back in Beachwood Bay.


It’s that time of the year again and getting this book to review, when Santa Claus is riding towards us, felt like the holiday season has arrived at my doorsteps :D 

She is Sophie…. 
A girl in love with Matt and with many dreams to fulfill. A girl who still believes in white Christmas and the traditions. The kind of dreams that  Julia Roberts or Sandra Bullock or maybe Jennifer Lopez makes us mortals dream of while romancing Richard Gere or Ralph Fiennes in Manhattan under a mistletoe. But Matt is not someone she had expected him to be and with her broken heart she meets a man who is way beyond her reach… 

He is Austin…..
Stuck in the airport with a missing flight, he misses a holiday with his family. A playboy, Casanova type whose profession makes him the heartthrob of many. He is the lead guitarist of a famous band. When he first sees Sophie, he is stuck my her beauty and a casual acquaintance turns into a boiling, sizzling, Hot romance. 
…. But don’t get your hopes up.. of Austin has a girlfriend tucked in… :O (Some guys have all the luck :P)

What I liked…
Ms. Grace has caught up the holiday mood. I think all the Santa lovers dreams of white Christmas. I know, I still do. And don’t you dare tell me Santa is a myth. Anyway I am closing my ears to such rumors :P
The romance between them has the holiday romance type of feeling without sounding like a one-night-stand. Thankfully Austin does not come out as a rakish or a slime ball. I loved his caring nature. The cookie scene was too cute. 
The story has two POV’s – Sophie’s and Austin’s. It’s kinda nice. It’s nice to think of Romance from a HIS point of view. God only knows what goes in their mind as it is :P but in this case it was a balance of emotion with both of them taking the story further. 

What I did not like…
The conflict in the story is a bit weak. It could have been stronger. There was plenty of scope for that. Wish I could tell more but that would set the sirens of spoiler alert. But many of my questions remained unanswered - Did she ever find out who Austin really was and if so what was her reaction. Yes, he is Dex's friend and they have a band together etc was told, but since he made a huge display of not letting her know, should not the finding too have been given equal importance? But then this is a novella and it is one complain I have with all novellas. The ending is too soon and too sudden. Wish you had thought of this one as a novel Ms. Grace.  Please take it as a compliment :)

I would go for a 3 out of 5 for this one… just because I had not expected the ending to be so soon and so quick… And this is would definitely recommend to all romance lovers… Love, magic and the heat.. all in one package… 

A heart-warming, sexy new stand-alone holiday novella from New York Times bestselling author Melody Grace!

Haven't started reading the Beachwood Bay series yet?  Untouched is free!

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Emerson Ray is trouble. Juliet knows it the minute she lays eyes on Beachwood Bay's resident bad boy. Forced to spend her summer before college in the sleepy beach town, she never expected to crash into the most devastating guy she’s ever met—or for Emerson’s blue eyes to strip through her dark secrets, and make her feel a desire she’s never known. Their connection is undeniable, but Juliet is torn. She knows, once she gives him everything, there’ll be no turning back.
Juliet McKenzie is dangerous. Emerson can tell from the way she blows through all his defences, laying bare the demons he’s carried alone all his life. He’s left a trail of broken hearts and empty beds in his wake, but Juliet is different. Her innocence is intoxicating—and the passion she keeps hidden, just below the surface. He wants to be the only one to set it free, but with every kiss, he’s closer to losing control and doing the one thing he swore he never would: fall in love.
One summer. Two damaged hearts. Their story is only just beginning…
UNTOUCHED is a prequel novella to the USA Today Bestselling UNBROKEN. It also can be read as a stand-alone story.
About Melody Grace 
melody grace

Melody Grace is the New York Times bestselling author of the Beachwood Bay series. A small-town girl turned SoCal beach lover, after spending her life with her nose in a book, she decided it was time she wrote one herself. She loves steamy romance novels, happily-ever-afters, and lusting after fictional menfolk. She is author of USA Today & international bestselling Beachwood Bay series.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Playing With Fire by Devika Fernando

Playing With Fire
Devika Fernando

The Blurb
 If you’re playing with fire, prepare to get burned – or to fall in love.

Sparks fly when Felicia and Joshua meet. Discovering her inner fire and unleashing unimaginable powers makes her realize that all her life, she has been hiding her true self. When buildings burn and people are in danger, the tempting game of playing with fire becomes serious. Will their love and desperate struggle for control save her life, or will the fire magic turn itself against its mistress?

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I will start by shamelessly by quoting the author, Devika Fernando - "Eternal Flame and perpetual Ice." This is exactly what one feels after reading this book. A blow hot and a blow cold kind of feeling. The funny part is after reading about Joshua, you wish the author made him the Fire.. he is so bloody HOT.....

The story….
Felicia was not an ordinary girl. Her fascination with fire made her apart from any normal girl. She kept to herself especially since she had to bear the hatred of her parents for being different. She couldn’t control how she felt, specially when she saw a fire. It was something within her. While a part in her craved for normalcy, yet she knew she was beyond normal. 
Soon she meets Joshua. He understands her. She finds another element bearer in Joshua. But they both are poles apart. While she is fire, he is ice.  Can fire and Ice ever meet?

What I liked…
I found the meeting of Felicia and Joshua very interesting. The author introduced her characters right away and I found my self caught up in Felicia’s life from the beginning.
I just loved the anecdote of little Felicia. It was very heart-touching. Though as a parent I don’t know what I would have done under the given circumstances but the pain and anger of little Felicia was very touching. How she builds her life around her powers is very well etched out. 
Felicia’s character has many shades. Withdrawn to witty, one cannot but not like her. I actually liked the way Fernando has tried to portray the girl-child lurking behind the withdrawn exterior. 

What I did not like …

I would have loved to see more passion in this relationship since she is fire and he is ice. What a deadly combo! But all said and done, Devika Fernando had got her readers omphing after Joshua. 

One question that kept on nagging me throughout the book, is why did Joshua and Felicia have their respective powers. Sad isn’t it? Our human mind keeps on questioning if we see something unusual. Did she belong to some higher form of human race? Or was she born under some particular circumstances? Were their DNA messed up with… these are the questions that kept on haunting me.. Clever Devika  :P.. are they in the next part?

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Meet the Author

Almost as soon as Devika Fernando could write, she imagined stories and poems. After finishing her education in Germany and returning to her roots in Sri Lanka, she got a chance to turn her passion into her profession. Having lived in Germany and in Sri Lanka with her husband has made her experience the best (and the worst) of two totally different worlds – something that influences her writing. Her trademark are sweet, yet deeply emotional romance stories where the characters actually fall in love instead of merely falling in lust. She draws inspiration from everyone and everything in life. Besides being a romance novel author, she works as a self-employed German web content writer, as a translator, and as a faithful servant to all the cats, dogs, fish and birds in her home. What she loves most about being an author is the chance to create new worlds and send her protagonists on a journey full of ups and downs that will leave them changed. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or thinking about writing.

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