Hired Bride – Noelle Adams

I prefer reading books the traditional way; by flipping page after page of sumptuous words oozing emotions. Hired Bride, the first book in the Beaufort Brides series, came to me through Kindle, a medium that I’ve struggled to accept because of my snobby attitude and preference to paper books. My book challenge for this year is 52 books in 52 weeks. Thus, I was determined to read no matter the medium or genre.

hired-bride
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The Girl He Left Behind – Shilpa Suraj

My association with a Mills & Boon novel began when I was 8 or 9. My sister, a voracious bookworm, always had her abnormally large nose stuck between the pages of some or the other book. The covers of these books were fascinating; a shirtless, muscular man with his strong arms around the delicate frame of a semi-naked woman. In India, we have more watered down versions of these books and their covers; a fair (which is important), thin, and well-dressed maiden touching a fair (again, important), well-built gentleman. This is why I stay away from these books.

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Our female protagonist is Sia Sharma, a successful editor at a huge publishing house. I know it’s huge because size really matters. Mr. Knight in Tight Clothes is Ryan Mathur, a self-made success story waiting to be replicated by gullible readers. Ryan, being an emotional wreck with a really dark secret dumps Sia one day, without giving her a chance to ask follow-up questions. This would, obviously, taper the number of pages so we are left with feeling “What the front door?”

Six years on, Sia is divorced from an abusive douchebag and is blissfully enjoying her singlehood while still pining for Ryan. Conveniently, he’s hired by Sia’s agency to create a marketing campaign for Nisha Malik, an author who is, like every other female character in the novel, attracted to Ryan. Seeing her true love (obviously) brings out Sia’s suppressed feelings. Now, it’s up to her to decide whether she’ll listen to her heart and let him back into her life or her head and keep it at “just friends”.

The protagonists are young and highly successful, the former being the demographic of its intended group of readers. To show that Sia is more than a sculpted enchantress; the author has her change a tyre and refuse help offered by Ryan’s friend, Adarsh. Thus, we are assured she is a “beauty with brains”. Besides a hot bod, Ryan is blessed with only 2 emotions, anger and confusion.

Supporting characters only appear when the scene calls for it. They have no role other than to be at the protagonists’ beck and call. To be fair, they are not boring. Ryan’s parents are dramatic, Sia’s are more easy-going, Minty is sympathetic, Nisha is brazen, and Adarsh is happy-go-lucky.

Misunderstandings that crop up are not tactfully handled. Rather than being a conversation, it becomes a scene with one person talking and the other person either leaving or the scene ending. And due to this, it becomes more of a “will they, won’t they” scenario. Their emotions do not justify their actions. For example, why didn’t Ryan tell Sia the real reason he’s breaking up with her? They’ve been friends since school. Doesn’t she deserve a little more information than some vague non-reply and an escape for 6 years? They break up, and chapter 2, it’s 6 years later. Ekta Kapoor would have approved.

The writing is simple and easy to understand though it is often burdened by its innumerable clichés which put you at the centre of a Bollywood movie script.

Let me list the clichés that this novel has.

  • Leads who would have definitely won Miss World and Mr. Universe based on their descriptions.
  • A female friend of the female lead who understands every emotion of the leads.
  • Goofy man Friday of the male lead. Always arguing with female lead’s best friend.
  • The protagonist has a heart of gold as she regularly visits an old age home.
  • Sympathetic parent.
  • An evil or abusive ex.
  • Almost kisses.
  • Saying “This is a mistake” or “That was a mistake” right after a kiss.
  • A family conflict that takes up way more dramatic ingredients than is required.
  • Cunning female anti-lead who has the hots for Mr. Drop Dead Gorgeous.
  • Catching a lead in a compromising position with the cunning vamp.
  • Sex that’s so passionate and orgasmic in words that will put many erotic fiction writers to shame.

Ironically, there’s a line in the book that says, “Clichés are clichés for a reason. They work.” In India, they work all the time. Many authors seem to benefit from them.

Indian readers who love a good romantic drama will thoroughly enjoy this book. It has all the makings of a nice love story with a pinch of conflict and a whole lot of emotions.

Genre: Romance.

Overall Experience: Satisfactory.

New Year Resolution

First of all, I would like to wish everyone a happy new year. I hope this year we live with tolerance, happiness, peace, and satisfaction. My year has started off on a slow note, nothing great, nothing not-great; just slow. But like everyone I too have made resolutions (or rather, a resolution); and that is – to read more.

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Movie Review: Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

ZNMDMovie: Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

Year of Release: 2011

Language: Hindi/English

Starring: Farhan Akhtar, Hrithik Roshan, Abhay Deol, Katrina Kaif, and Kalki Koechlin.

Who doesn’t love to travel? Every one of us dreams of going to some exotic location to get rid of life’s tensions. And what better inspiration to rev up than good ol’ movies. This movie is a reboot of Dil Chahta Hai with an international twist. What’s common between Dil Chahta Hai and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara? Let us see.

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Movie Review: Chashme Buddoor (1981)

Chashme_Buddoor (17-01-2014)

Movie: Chashme Buddoor

Year of Release: 1981

Language: Hindi

Starring: Farooq Shaikh, Deepti Naval, Rakesh Bedi, Ravi Baswani and Saeed Jaffrey.

Every now and then, Bollywood creates magic (not that it has created any recently). It weaves a story so simple and beautiful that it’s hard to believe considering the bag of hammers that it is churning out today. But those were the days where the hero was not the muscular, steroid-loaded, 6-/8-pack, macho man that we see on-screen today. The hero was the common man. The ladylove was not the sexy seductress whose brain cells were merely used to support and shape her head; she was the girl-next-door.

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Movie Review: Matrubhoomi – A Nation Without Women

matribhumiMovieMatrubhoomi – A Nation Without Women

Year of Release: 2003

Language: Hindi

Starring: Tulip Joshi and Sushanth Singh.

A few weeks ago at the Cannes Film Festival Mallika Sherawat said something that shook the very foundation of India. She said, “India is a regressive nation to women“. People from all walks and drives of India were livid. “How dare she insult India?” “She’s a has-been. A wannabe”. Blah! blah! blah! “India is the beacon of hope for women where rapes and other horrific crimes against women are passé”. Popular actress and former Miss World Priyanka Chopra openly expressed her displeasure at Mallika. But what Priyanka and others don’t understand is that Mallika Sherawat had openly stated a fact. Something that neither Miss Worlds Priyanka Chopra or Aishwarya Rai (Indian media’s strong women apparently) have the courage to say.

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Book Challenge: Read A Trilogy

In my last post, I mentioned that I’m on the verge of completing another book challenge. I’ve done it. I’ve read the Shiva trilogy. And here’s my review.

The Shiva trilogy by Amish Tripathi, in a nutshell, is a quest to find evil and destroy it. It is the journey of a man from humanity to divinity.

Book 1: The Immortals of Meluha

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The journey begins. A Tibetan tribesman, Shiva, is brought to Meluha along with his tribe. Meluha is a land where the rules of God and duty to the country are followed to the T. Loyalty, patriotism and courtesy flow like rivers. After he consumes the Somras, a healing potion, Shiva becomes the famous Neelkanth or the one with the blue throat. Accepting his destiny as the one chosen to destroy evil, he embarks on a mission to fight for the Suryavanshi Meluhans who believe evil lurks in the form of the Chandravanshis and the Nagas.

Book 2: The Secret of the Nagas

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Shiva moves from the near-perfect Meluha to the more chaotic Ayodhya, the land of the Chandravanshis. He finds out that the Chandravanshis are not evil but just different from the Suryavanshis. So maybe the evil out there is just the Nagas.

The Nagas are people with deformities who are ostracized from Meluhan society. They are considered evil. But are they really? Shiva uncovers the shocking truth of the Nagas and discovers that evil is closer to home than he believed.

Book 3: The Oath of the Vayuputras     

The_Oath_of_the_VayuputrasAfter the discovery of evil, Shiva now decides to destroy evil and restore order. But it is easier said than done. He has to fight the very people who believed in him. He learns that evil has a significant control on people and has misled them.

The war against evil has begun. The war between humanity and ignorance. The war that may lead to Shiva losing his soul and those dear to him.

 
Review:

  • The Pros:
  1. The story is a nice take on the legend of Shiva. It’s perspective shows the human side of a man who becomes divine through his deeds.
  2. Most of the characters are strong and well-developed. Even minor characters have strong back stories.
  3. The writing is simple.

The Cons:

  1. Meanings of words are thrown in every sentence that makes use of the word. Example: Pitratulya means “like a father”. Whenever the word is used it is followed by its meaning in the same or following paragraph. The author could have saved a few pages without this constant meaning-explaining paragraphs.
  2. Unlike the first two books, The Oath of the Vayuputras is a misleading title. There is actually no “oath” or anything. The Vayuputras have hardly 50 pages in the book.
  3. Like a movie, the bad guys always make big mistakes. When the good guy makes one, there’s an easy, alternative solution. I wanted Shiva himself to fail at times. But he doesn’t. It would have been nice to know that even the good guys fail sometimes.
  4. My main complaint lies in the third book. 565 pages filled with a lot of meaningless conversation about the same entity, Evil. Rather than finish the story in a tight climax, the author drags the story to fill empty pages.

The Immortals of Meluha and the Secret of the Nagas succeed in their narration due to the unfolding of what evil really is. Once it is out in the open, the Oath of the Vayuputras fails to capture the essence of the books that made the reader want more of Shiva’s story.

I would definitely recommend this trilogy. But if you find your interest waning, I wouldn’t blame you. To each his own. Read it and judge for yourself.