May 03, 2018

Book Review: Let's Have Coffee by Parul Mittal

Let’s Have Coffee
Author: Parul Mittal
Publisher: Rupa Publishers
Rating: 3/5

If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.
~Margaret Thatcher

Love is incredible yet confusing. What lies ahead in the path of love is a deep unfathomable chasm! When in love you cannot decide what is right or wrong. But you can definitely decide who should enter and who should exit your life. ‘Let’s Have Coffee’ is a mushy love tale filled with desire, ambition, desperation and happenstance. It revolves around Meha and Samir and their internal conflicts.

Boiterous and wild, Meha is a wedding planner who aspires to become famous and become as rich as Croesus but nothing goes as planned in her life. Her constant battle with her mind and the crooked lines of her destiny force her to make erratic decisions which she regrets later. Snazzy and suave, Samir is an engineer turned into a freelance photographer. He dreads the idea of marriage but believes in the concept of ‘Friends with Benefits’. While numerous bimbos drool over his personality, he savours each moment and believes in living life to the fullest. Meha and Samir are opposites- not only in terms of likes and beliefs but also in terms of physical appearance. But isn’t it true that opposites attract?

When they first meet, their exes become a medium of introduction for them. Love blossoms and ends up in a one-night stand. Five years later, they meet again just like the protagonists met on the sets of ‘Na tum Jaano Na Hum’- arms in arms, blaming the circumstances and the creator. Love blossoms again. With a little twist here and there, the book concludes with a happily ever-after. This is the gist of the plot. It is more like serving old wine in a new bottle.

The flow of the story is as smooth as silk. I finished reading it in merely 3.5 hours. No doubt it is a breezy read, but still the language is a major problem. Written in present simple tense, the author has goofed up the tenses so much so that the comprehension becomes difficult. The latter part of the story is fine but the initial 4-5 chapters have copious mistakes.

This book is another of ‘Chetan Bhagat’s’ type with Hinglish used as a means to enhance emotions and inclusion of intimate scenes just to spice up the content. Though the authoress has definitely worked hard in the field of plotting and arranging every event sequentially, yet I found something amiss. I felt I had read stories that began when the protagonists had alcohol and the stories that narrated how confusing love is. It was all very clich├ęd.

The cover is subtle but the title is ambiguous. I like the way the authoress has played with the words throughout the story. Some ideas are admirable but some seem directly plagiarized from Bollywood movies. Yes, the book offers an insight on how the young generation plays around with the concept of relationships but it was nothing that we don’t know already.

Overall, ‘Let’s Have Coffee’ offers brewed romance that can be enjoyed with a steaming cup of coffee!

Best wishes to the author!

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Book Courtesy: Rupa Publishers

April 18, 2018

Book Review: Race Course Road by Seema Goswami

Race Course Road
Author: Seema Goswami
Publisher: Aleph Books
Rating: 4/5

Power is contagious; power is venom. Once this silent poison gets into the system of any human, it deteriorates the ability to think and annihilates any humanity that is left within. ‘Race Course Road’ is a political thriller that reeks of hatred and deception. With distinctly etched characters, the novel is riveting and interesting. The book will be a good read for the ones who are politically well informed.

“Race Course Road” offers a miscellany of emotions ranging from love to hatred. The story elicits the conflict between Karan Pratap Singh and Asha Devi, who are bonded by blood that is not strong enough to withstand the tension between them. 

Read the complete review here.

April 13, 2018

Book Review: The Truths and Lies of Ella Black by Emily Barr

The Truths and Lies of Ella Black
Author: Emily Barr
Publisher: Penguin
Rating: 3.5/5

The human mind is like a huge pile of marbles on top of a waffle- order and chaos on the same plate. The dualistic nature of the human psyche is very evident. Our aim is to get the marbles merge with the waffle and taste good on the same plate. To simplify the same metaphorical expression it would be right to say that the gentle side and the diabolical side constitute one mind. It becomes our ultimate goal to balance these two.

‘The Truths and Lies of Ella Black’ is a story that pushes the boundaries of fiction genre. The different threads that weave through this book to create a close-knit and enthralling plot are incredible. Part coming-of-age, part psychodynamics of Delusion or Possession Syndrome, part family conflict/ breakdown and part background mystery, The Truths and Lies of Ella Black has it all. Ella Black is haunted by her bad side, which she calls as ‘Bella Black’. Unable to resurrect her true identity, she is mostly down in the dumps. Her savage and unlikeable-self takes turns and showcases us the rebellious and violent Bella. But before the character becomes unlikeable, Ella takes charge and pulls herself out from the mess. The first part of the story describes how Ella strives to live in a fool’s paradise by concealing her emotional and mental trauma. The first half lacks significant action but the latter half amplifies it significantly including the introduction of characters like Christian, Alex and Jasmine who are all projected in the good light.

With succinct descriptions and strong narration, the author scaffolds the characters in a way that they have several layers. Each layer is peeled off as the story progresses. We see so many sides of Ella Black herself- she is timid, she is rebellious, she is gentle and in love, she is violent, she is ambivalent about her own parents, she is impulsive and so on. As the character of Ella develops, the story digresses from the usual course. At times I found instances which did not connect well with the storyline like Ella meeting Ana Paula and Julia. Too many cooks spoil the broth and here these strangers behave like fleeting memories. It becomes difficult to remember their names at one point.

The idea is strong; it talks about how a seventeen-year-old behaves when she finds out something devastating about her past. She lets Bella take full control. Here we realize that the suspense thread of the unsolved conflict is expertly plotted. The dual nature of the protagonist has been flawlessly executed. However, the climax left me dissatisfied. Where on one hand the turmoil seemed genuine, the quest to stay hidden from everyone is illusory.

Overall, the book has an intriguing blurb that passes the muster and serves as a good appetizer. Reading is a breeze owing to fine font and print. There are places where commas have been skipped. But that doesn’t count as a major drawback. I would recommend everyone to read at least one book from the author because her writing style is very different from what we all read daily.

Best Wishes to the author!

Buy this book form Amazon.