Category Archives: Book Reviews

Yes, My Accent Is Real: and Some Other Things I Haven’t Told You by Kunal Nayyar

accentrealBook Name: Yes, My Accent Is Real: and Some Other Things I Haven’t Told You

Author: Kunal Nayyar

Pages: 272

Genre: Memoir

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Format: Kindle eBook

 

My words: Boy, you never had a dull moment, did you Kunal? A year out of your life is equal to 10 of mine. And we are of the same age! (Oh just believe me!)

I’ll be honest. I bought the book only because I like the character Raj on Big bang (so, that paid off quiet well! Congratulations!)….and also because Kunal is actually funny when he appears on talk shows. And the fact that he is an Indian like I am doesn’t really cut it. Not really. I don’t go buying books written by every Indian author. Or it really did cut it..maybe a little. The point is, I loved the book.

Reading the book was like going through a kaleidoscope of events while randomly choosing some to dig a little deeper, feel the before and after emotions. I like the fact that Kunal has not portrayed the book as a memoir or an inspiring life story. Or the story of an underdog.. nor is it portrayed as a story of a guy who has had to face obstacles and difficult hardships in life to achieve what he has. No. And yet, I liked the book. Very much so. Why? Because of what I take away from the selective excerpts from his life that are presented in this book. It’s the story of just another guy – a common man just like you or me – that is the unique thing about the book and of course his journey towards being a not-so-common man. His life experiences are just like ours and hold your attention till the end like it was you living them; with an extra spice of humour added in just the right proportions. He has included personal stories that you can relate to in the most natural way. The story about his dad in “Dinners with Dad” and the one about his connection with his brother were heart touching.

What I found endearing in Kunal’s story is the process in which he has evolved over time by virtue of his experiences and relationships in life. So essentially, he does not just lay around his stories, the events of his life for the reader to draw conclusions from. He takes amazing initiatives to put forth his
thoughts on the matter then and his thoughts on the matter now. He doesn’t always come across looking good, he’s quick to point out his own shortcomings and how he’s trying to be a better person following that. And that’s all one can vie to be in life – a better person. By pointing out his immature reaction on being constantly rejected for the lead part and how he channelised his inner demons into a ‘carpe diem’ moment just emphasises the evolving part. And one can surely respect someone who
can admit to all the crap that one does in life and moves on by accepting and correcting his way through all that.

Another plus point of the book is that Kunal has a unique way of storytelling interjected with witty one liners which make you crackle as you read. The book does have wisecracks splattered through the pages, but it surely doesn’t make the book a literary achievement in humour writing. But this manner of not forcing the humour or sarcasm into the book worked very well for me. The language used in this book is a simple, down-to-earth with easy narration that just make me feel satisfied that he is not trying to oversell himself. He is just being himself. He is just placing himself as he is all with triumphs and errs. That takes courage. Also, what is courageous is that he has a great self-deprecating sense of humor. It is not very easy to pull off and sometimes can be very off-putting. However, Kunal carries it off with aplomb and comes across as a very evolved person. Behind the character of a guy with selective mutism is actually a person who is kind, warm, romantic, intellectual and sometimes even the boy next door. A boy next door with incredible sensibilities and considerate enough to be a close friend. (In fact, I think he won’t mind one more rakhi to his 19 😉 )

A simple book by a simple guy with a simple message.

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One lavender ribbon by Heather Burch

lavenderribbonBook NameOne Lavender Ribbon

Author: Heather Burch

Pages: 336

Genre: Contemporary+historical fiction

My Rating: 5 out of 5

Format: Kindle eBook

Book Blurb: Can a stack of long-hidden love letters from a WWII war hero inspire a heartbroken woman to love again
Reeling from a bitter divorce, Adrienne Carter abandons Chicago and retreats to the sun, sand, and beauty of Southern Florida, throwing herself into the restoration of a dilapidated old Victorian beach house. Early into the renovations, she discovers a tin box hidden away in the attic that reveals the emotional letters from a WWII paratrooper to a young woman who lived in the house more than a half-century earlier. The old letters—incredibly poetic and romantic—transcend time, and they arouse in Adrienne a curiosity that leads her to track down the writer of the letters. William “Pops” Bryant is now an old man living in a nearby town with his handsome but overprotective grandson, Will. As Adrienne begins to unravel the secrets of the letters (and the Bryants), she finds herself not yet willing to give up entirely on love.

My Words: – A young divorced woman, fleeing from a loveless, abusive marriage with an emotionally controlling husband and trying to finding her foot in life and in a new place. Seeking peace in her turmoil-ridden heart which is on the verge of losing hope in love.

– A retired 81-year old World warII veteran, braver than most but humble, living with his grandson he adores, and tries to take care of, remembers being jilted, back when he returned from war to reunite with his beloved.

– A young bank manager, abandoned by his parents feels un-loved and neglected by them, brings his grandfather in his house to care for him. Overprotective about his grandfather and willing to do anything for him, he doesn’t trust in new relationships as his existing relationships never taught him to place his heart in anybody else.

– A younger sister who never married is the one left to tie history to now using one lavender ribbon. She’s a strong woman of her time who bakes cookies for the homeless children and inspires women of today to search deep within themselves for the faith to keep believing in love.

This is one of the best contemporary, historical fiction books I have ever read. I read this book earlier when it had come out, but thought of writing a review for it only now. It is a story of love, forgiveness and second chances. The writing is superb and heart-breaking. Two love stories from the historical past and the contemporary present are beautifully knotted and tied together with a simple lavender ribbon and felt nothing but real. There are several different sub-stories involved and the author blends them seamlessly.

The main story revolves around Adrienne who discovers a tin box hidden away in the attic of her new house, that reveals the emotional letters from a WWII paratrooper to a young woman who lived in the house more than a half-century earlier. Her curiosity to find the couple in the letters and return the letters to them leads her to William “Pops” Bryant – the World War II paratrooper and Will Bryant, his grandson. World War stories are usually a huge no-no for me, but I was deeply moved when reading about Pop’s experiences in this book, it sounded so true to life. The story connects all three generations, when things are not always as they appear. Each generation learns from the other.

The author has developed the characters really very well. She gave them all of the human flaws, so that even when they committed acts that didn’t sit well with you, she had made them so human, you could forgive them. Which is quite a difficult task for a writer. Also, although you could predict some of this storyline, it didn’t detract from the thread – it still was a good story… it was touching, well written and never over-reaching in its sentiment, just enough to leave you misty eyed once or twice.

This is a feel good book because it shows how it is never too late to live your life to the fullest, to let go of the past, and to take risks. Heather Burch took the history that shaped the families we are today and wove it into the life happening now for Adrienne in a flawless, seamless fabric so beautiful it is beyond compare. The words and phrases in the book were so beautifully conveyed and exquisite in their descriptions of the emotions and surroundings. It is an excellently written love story with believable and poignant characters and a twisting plot.

One lavender ribbon – that ties in the destinies of 4 different people……Beautifully written. Evocative, compelling, and very sigh-worthy. I highly recommend this book. 5 out of 5.

My favourite quotes from the book:

“Closing up a wound that’s not ready will only poison the whole body. Wounds have to heal in their own time. They have to breathe.”

“The grieving process is different for everyone. The very thing that might bring peace to one person might bring despair to another.”

“Even though the past may be painful, it’s okay to remember it. That’s how we heal.”

“And he wasn’t sure why today it seemed so important, but he had learned not to question motives. If the heart needed to take that journey, it simply did. And today, his heart had needed to.”

“Where have all the poets gone? Rhyme with passion left unsung, Even now my heart it yearns, Until my poet prince returns.’ ”

“Well, everyone can’t lead an exciting life. Some of us just have to work hard, be honest and persistent.”

“Death is not an anomaly. Life—life is the anomaly. And what a glorious gift it is.”

Star Promise (Wishes #5) by G.J. Walker-Smith

starpromiseBook NameStar Promise (Wishes #5)

Author: G.J.Walker-Smith

Pages: 397

Genre: Contemporary

My Rating: 5 out of 5

Format: Kindle eBook

Goodreads’s words: After three blissful years of living in Pipers Cove, Adam and Charli head back to the bright lights of New York. Taking on a position at a Manhattan gallery turns out to be Charli’s dream job, but just a few weeks after starting at his father’s firm, Adam realises that practising law is his worst nightmare. Biding his time is the plan. Charli has wanderlust in her soul and he’s hopeful that sooner or later, she’ll want to go home. Riding it out isn’t hard. They’re as close as they’ve ever been and every spare minute is spent hanging out with their precious little girl. Life is good – until it’s not. When fate throws them one nasty curveball after another, Charli’s confidence is shattered and her heart is broken. After weeks of trying to make sense of the grief she’s feeling, both realise she’s out of her depth. Getting out of Dodge is Charli’s preferred MO and she doesn’t disappoint, finally deciding that it’s time to leave New York. Returning to Pipers Cove is not the quick fix they were hoping for. Some things just can’t be mended, and the way she deals with that is going to change everything

My Words: La La Land is back! And I couldn’t come down from cloud nine ever since I started reading Star promise. This is one my most favourite series starting with Saving Wishes and I am sad it has come to an end – a befitting end – but an end nonetheless. Sigh! Before I start missing Adam and Charli and Bridge, I want to highlight that this book is the sweet icing on the cake of the Wishes series. It was utterly sweet, enchanting, sometimes troublesome, heartwarming and provides a surreal kind of sanctum. I can imagine myself sitting on the beaches of Tasmania watching the high waves trying to drown the setting sun. That kind of sanctum..I have to say here, though, that I have never been to Tasmania or any part of Australia for that matter and yet I am saying the above words. Continue reading

Wish you were Italian by Kristin Rae

wishitalianBook Name: Wish you were Italian

Author: Kristin Rae

Pages: 323

Genre: YA Contemporary

My Rating: 3 out of 5

Format: Hardcover checked out from the local library

Goodreads’ words: Pippa has always wanted to go to Italy … but not by herself. And certainly not to sit in art school the entire summer learning about dead guys’ paintings. When she steps off the plane in Rome, she realizes that traveling solo gives her the freedom to do whatever she wants. So it’s arrivederci, boring art program and ciao, hot Italian guys!Charming, daring, and romantic, Bruno is just the Italian Pippa’s looking for—except she keeps running into cute American archeology student Darren everywhere she goes. Pippa may be determined to fall in love with an Italian guy … but the electricity she feels with Darren says her heart might have other plans. Can Pippa figure out her feelings before her parents discover she left the program and—even worse—she loses her chance at love?

My Words: Wish You Were Italian was a cute, breezy read for the most part. If you want to be transported to the beautiful views of Italy and indulge in a little wishful, sweet romance, Wish You Were Italian might be a good book to pick up. While I wasn’t completely enamoured with the story, I will say that several aspects were done quite well, including the descriptions of Italy and the romance (for the most part). Continue reading

Paper Towns by John Green

papertownsBook NamePaper Towns

Author: John Green

Pages: 305

Genre: YA fiction

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Format: Paper-back checked out from the local library

Book Blurb: Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life–dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge–he follows. After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues–and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.

My Words: I was in two minds, literally, while reading this book of John Green. My philosophical mind which craved more life lessons that I have come to expect from John Green’s books and my psychological mind that is, in simple words – a normal, everyday 30-something who loves love stories, big bang theory and the Gilmore girls!
So my philosophical mind looks forward to the enlightening that awaits Q on his journey to find Margo – much like Santiago from The Alchemist; whereas my psychological mind is frustrated with Q for going after a girl who ignores him for 9 years except for that one fun-filled night when she takes him gallivanting across town executing revenge plans on her enemies(not to mention about her being the most shallow and selfish character in the book)! As can be seen from my introductory ranting, I have mixed feelings about this book, however much I may be in love with John Green.

I have to get this off my chest after reading this book and after I have ignored it in the last 3 books:
1. Margo and Quentin are exactly the same people as Colin and Katherine and Miles and Alaska. Quentin/Colin/Miles is this very thoughtful, somewhat nerdy young man who is on the cusp of reaching out and grabbing life by the strings however he can. I have to agree though, that Gus and Hazel are slightly different characters than above mentioned. Continue reading

Isla and the happily ever after by Stephanie Perkins

islaBook Name: Isla and the happily ever after

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Pages: 352

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Format: Paper back checked out from the local library

Goodreads’ WordsHopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart. Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, Étienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.

My Words: I loved Anna and the French Kiss. For me Lola and the Boy Next Door was okayish…But overall Stephanie Perkins has not disappointed me. I wasn’t expecting this one to be any different. And of course I was right, in most places. While Anna is still my favorite, Isla plays a very close second.

Perkins’ characters and writing style are genuine, whimsical, funny, raw in places, and sweet. Her characters have all been interesting and have also all had some development to them as each story unfolds. Isla and the Happily Ever After was no different. There was much to love in the setting and in the characters and story. There was some heartbreak, some points where the characters really had to face themselves and come to terms with who they were and who they wanted to be and decide what they would choose. There were parts that deeply touched me and others that made me frustrated and upset. Continue reading

Love letters to the dead by Ava Dellaira

lovelettersdeadBook Name: Love letters to the dead

Author: Ava Dellaira

Pages: 327

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

My Rating: 4 out of 5

Format: Hard-cover checked out from the local library

Book blurb: It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more — though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was — lovely and amazing and deeply flawed — can she begin to discover her own path

My words: This is another book in letter format in which the story is narrated by the letter writer through letters. Only in this case, the letters are addressed to dead people, as the name suggests, mostly celebrities from the music world or Hollywood personalities. I had mixed feelings while reading this book. Sometimes it felt too puerile and dramatic while at other times, the raw honesty hinting at the reality of the characters and the situation tugged at my heart to read further. Continue reading