Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Review: Baaz by Anuja Chauhan


Published May 1st 2017 by HarperCollins

Goodreads Synopsis


Why do they call you Baaz? 
It means falcon, he replies solemnly. Or bird of prey. Because I swoop down on the enemy planes just like a Baaz would. 
Then he grins. The grey eyes sparkle.
It s also short for bastard. 

1971. The USSR-backed India-Mukti Bahini alliance is on the brink of war against the America-aided Pakistani forces. As the Cold War threatens to turn red hot, handsome, laughing Ishaan Faujdaar, a farm boy from Chakkahera, Haryana, is elated to be in the IAF, flying the Gnat, a tiny fighter plane nicknamed Sabre Slayer for the devastation it has wrecked in the ranks of Pakistan s F-86 Sabre Squadrons. 

Flanked by his buddies Raks, a MiG-21 Fighter, Maddy, a transport pilot who flies a Caribou, and fellow Gnatties Jana, Gana and Mana, Shaanu has nothing on his mind but glory and adventure until he encounters Tehmina Dadyseth, famed bathing beauty and sister of a dead fauji, who makes him question the very concept of nationalism and whose eyes fill with disillusioned scorn whenever people wax eloquent about patriotism and war... 

Pulsating with love, laughter and courage, Baaz is Anuja Chauhan's tribute to our men in uniform.

My Review



Rating: 3.5/5 stars


“Hai, Baaz Faujdaar is just so cute, yaar!’
‘You ought to see him in his flight overalls, then,’ says a ribald auntyji. ‘The way that G-suit locks around his waist and thighs but leaves all the vital bits uncovered … uff tabaahi!”

How aptly the salivating auntyji describes Ishaan 'Baaz' Faujdaar- tabaahi indeed! 

Anuja Chauhan is my favourite chick-lit author for a reason. None of the other authors I've read in the genre can create more deliciously sexy characters like she can. She manages to turn the most mundane stuff into something totally droolworthy. Her heroes aren't invincible six pack wielding gods who can do no wrong and her heroines aren't perfect little princesses who look resemble Aphrodite. What makes her characters so appealing is how real they are. She manages to make ordinary men in kurta pyjama from freakin' nowhere in bloody Haryana appear positively edible. Her heroines are flawed creatures who make bad decisions and then scramble about to correct them. But they are just sooo enchantingly real! She compels her readers to care for her characters, be it the protagonists or any of the side characters as well. They cry, you cry. They're happy, you're ecstatic. 

And the romance!! Oh god, the romance. It's ....there's no other word for it really... perfect! With just the right amount of flirtatious banter, sexual tension, drama and angst. The plot of course resembles a cheesy, masala bollywood flick through and through. It's almost a guilty pleasure- the fact that I adore it that much. 

Baaz is the story of Ishaan 'Baaz' Faujdaar, a 5'6 (yes, he's short) dashing, cocky, young fighter pilot from Chakkahera in Haryana. He's a total family guy, the laadla of his numerous little siblings, although he does have a skewed relationship with his foul tempered step father. His love for adventure and the rapid dhak-dhakking of his heart when he does something particularly adrenaline inducing is what prompts him to join the Indian Air Force. The female protagonist of the story, Tehmina 'Tinka' Dadyseth, nicknamed Tinka because of her tall lanky figure is an army brat herself. She is a pacifist and is staunchly against the concept of war and the warped concept of patriotism that brings about these wars. The fates of the two collide during the time the USSR-aided Indian-Mukti-Bahini alliance is on the brink of war with the America-aided Pakistani forces. 

The story was a whirlwind of debonair men in uniform (cue lustful sighs), hilarious situations, action packed fight sequences, toe curling romance, lots of drama and enough masala to put a steaming plate of Delhi's famous paav bhaaji to shame. The colourful menagerie of side characters like Tinka's fiesty aunt or Baaz's loudmouthed besties Raka and Maddy were downright adorable. 

Why then, did I knock 1.5 star off my rating, you ask? Giving away the reason would be impossible without giving out spoilers. Let's just say that the ending left a lot to be desired. It felt forced and unnecessary and was a total anticlimax. 

But apart from that little grievance, this little book made me smile from ear to ear, actually snort out loud in a few places and fall in love all over again. 

Highly recommended for all the chick-lit lovers out there! 



Sunday, January 29, 2017

Review: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover


“Just because we didn’t end up on the same wave, doesn’t mean we aren’t still a part of the same ocean.” 

Published August 2nd 2016 by Atria Books

GOODREADS SYNOPSIS


SOMETIMES THE ONE WHO LOVES YOU IS THE ONE WHO HURTS YOU THE MOST

Lily hasn't always had it easy, but that's never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She's come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up - she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily's life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He's also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle's complete aversion to relationships is disturbing.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan - her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.

This book contains graphic scenes and very sensitive subject matter.

MY REVIEW


“There is no such thing as bad people. We’re all just people who sometimes do bad things.” 


Umm... I have some conflicted views regarding this book. I just can't seem to make up my mind about how much of this book I actually liked. It showed up in my Goodreads feed when it won the annual award for the best Romance novel and many of the reviewers whose taste in books match my own were raving about it. So I thought, Yeah! I should give this one a try! I went into it with some inhibitions since I'm not the biggest Colleen Hoover fan. Though her stories read very easily and the flow she establishes is flawless, they aren't as plot rich or character driven as I like. 

So, the things I liked about the book were:

1. The theme. After reading the blurb I was kind of expecting a love triangle. But the book was about an important topic and sent out a powerful message. I would have liked to say something else about this, but I can't really do that without giving away spoilers. And I, like several other reviewers, believe that going into this book blind would probably make the reader enjoy the book more. 

2. I liked all the characters in the book. Even the ...ahem... negative ones, though there is no negative character per-say. There are just normal people who are caught in bad situations. And Hoover writes their emotional turmoil very beautifully. There were instances in the book when I nearly cried at their misery, primarily because no one was at fault and because the situations described in the book were very real situations that probably happen every day in multiple households. 

3. The flow of the story. Yes. Like I mentioned before, it's the best thing about this author. Once I start a book, the words flow so easily that it's impossible to put it down. 

“He pulls back to look down at me and when he sees my tears, he brings his hands up to my cheeks. “In the future... if by some miracle you ever find yourself in the position to fall in love again... fall in love with me.”

4. The part about Lily's diary entries which she addressed to Ellen Degeneres. This was a fun and quirky habit that I loved. 

Now, the things that I didn't like:

1. Insta everything. Ugh. I hate when authors do this. Ryle and Lily meet at a rooftop one night and ZAP! Instant attraction! He tells her that he wants to fuck her and she's breathless with desire for him. **pulls a meh face** And what was with all of Ryle's creepy behaviour? Was it supposed to be sexy? Well, it wasn't. And if it wasn't enough that there was insta love, there was also insta friendship! Lily and Issa meet and BAM! They are instant BFFs. 

2. The part of the book where everything was sickeningly perfect and everybody was deliriously happy. Seriously, it was very fake and irritating. 

I might also be a little put off by the ending, even though in retrospect it was perfect. But I was just hoping so strongly for everything to be all right. But then again, that's life. :-( And the world is not a wish granting factory. 

All in all, an okay one time read. 




Friday, January 27, 2017

Review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch


Published July 26th 2016 by Crown

“If there are infinite worlds, how do I find the one that is uniquely, specifically mine?” 

GOODREADS SYNOPSIS


“Are you happy with your life?” 

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. 

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. 

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.” 

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

From the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.

MY REVIEW


“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.” 


Oh. My. God.

This was me throughout the book, right from the very first chapter. 



And this was me near the end. 


Dark Matter is so artfully written, the plot so amazingly crafted; there really is not much scope for dislike at all. It was a total nail biting page turner from start to finish. And there's this sense of doom and paranoia that the author creates, that was palpable throughout the book. I was constantly at the edge of my seat, clutching my iPad with shaking fingers, almost afraid to find out what was to happen next.

And it made me feel oh-so-small, like an insignificant little blot compared to the infiniteness of the universe (or in this case, the 'multiverse'). The book begins with our MC, poor Jason Dessen, being abducted and tossed into an alternate reality that is nothing like his own. It's a topsy turvy place where he's a legendary genius but without his beloved family. And this is where shit hits the fan. Teemed up with an unlikely ally, Jason tried to make it back home- a job that is much more difficult than it sounds. The author writes Jason's rage, helplessness and determinedness very beautifully. I was moved by his suffering, by the very idea that he couldn't reach home, that he was trapped amidst infinite possibilities, unable to figure out which one is his.

The author has also written all the scientific explanations very thoughtfully. Everything makes sense and nothing is out of place. It is neither too abstract nor too detailed, but just the right amount. I also loved the entire concept of people being the sum total of their choices and the choices they might have made. 

“We're more than the sum total of our choices, that all the paths we might have taken factor somehow into the math of our identity.” 

The entire idea of an infinite reality tree, sprouting new branches every time a person is confronted with multiple choices was mind bogglingly awesome. Then there was also the irresistible but extremely questionable idea of having a clean slate. If somehow you could switch realities, having seen the consequences of an apparently wrong choice, would you? Or is it better to live with your choices and learn? That was a real toughie! And it led to me having sympathy for the negative characters in the book too, because regret is a very tangible thing, and I totally got where the crazy desperation was coming from. 

This book was scientific, mysterious and emotional rollercoaster and it rendered me breathless with it's pace and intensity. Highly recommended for everyone! 

And one last quote perhaps?

“It's a troubling paradox -I have total control, but only to the extent I have control over myself.” 

**slinks away to contemplate life, universe and everything.**