Book Review: Love a Little Stronger, by Preeti Shenoy

I have read 34 Bubblegums and Candies before, and it was interesting. In a way, this book is like old wine in a new bottle, and some rebranding of course. Right off the bat, I liked the title and the cover art much better.

Continue reading “Book Review: Love a Little Stronger, by Preeti Shenoy”

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Book Review: It’s All In The Planets, by Preeti Shenoy

There are a few books that can be finished very quickly. Light reads that just flows easily and brings a smile. I’ve found Preeti Shenoy’s writing to be such. It’s one of the reasons her fans like her writing too, I feel. I liked the book because of the cover art too. It looked appealing.

Continue reading “Book Review: It’s All In The Planets, by Preeti Shenoy”

Book Review: It Happens for a Reason, by Preeti Shenoy

Preeti Shenoy is one of India’s most popular writers. She’s back with her newest novel, “It Happens For A Reason”. I have read every book of hers, and she has this knack of keeping the readers interested in the tale. I picked up her latest novel hoping that that hadn’t changed.

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The novel tells the story of a single mom, Vee, who supports her son by holding two jobs, one as a gym instructor and other as the owner of a dog-boarding facility. It starts from the day her child is born, goes forward sixteen years in time to the present day, then a flashback to her school/college days when she met her child’s father Ankush, fell in love, became a model etc. We are also introduced to the characters around her life. Her son Aryan, studying in one of the best schools. To him, she’s the most awesome mom. There’s Jamu kaka, who helps her run the dog-boarding facaility Paw-Factor, and her best friend Suchi, who is bent on setting her up with not just someone, but her Prince Charming. And the quirky vet Dr. Saurabh who helps her with the dogs. When Ankush returns, sixteen years after leaving the mother-son duo, all lives in the mix are in for a roller coaster ride.

Each character had something to be liked or hated, they felt real. Vee’s character has strength, to have the baby even at the cost of her career, against the opinions of her family. The strength is also there when she faces problems professionally, later. Her friendly, fun yet strict bond with her son Aryan is also nice to read. The narration keeps the reader engaged and turning the pages, to know what happened before, or happens next. It’s also the “different” aspects like Paw-Factor that help this book stand out.

The flipside of this book is that it goes detailed in some parts, and hurried in others which kind of matter to the plot. I wanted to know more about Ankush, what his life was like away from Vee and Aryan, how he became the successful guy that he had become, instead what happens is that his character lands up sixteen years later, and the story zooms off toward the ending. And most of the characters’ stories are again tied up in a hurried knot with a prologue. The kind-of villainous mother for the lead character got a sense of déjà vu for me, which didn’t sit well.

Be it with the character sketching or the engaging narration, the prologue ending or even the repetitive aspects to the lead character, this definitely reads like a Preeti Shenoy novel. It’s one to be read, perfect for a day journey.


Rated a 7 on 10!
Rated a 7 on 10!

Book Details:
Title: It Happens for a Reason
Series: N/a
Author: Preeti Shenoy
Genre: Fiction
ISBN/ASIN: 9789384030742
Publisher: Westland Books
Price: INR 200

I own a copy of the book. The views expressed here are mine, and unbiased.


(26th December 2014)

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Book Review: 34 Bubblegums and Candies, by Preeti Shenoy

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About the author:
Preeti Shenoy is an author and artist. She believes life is the biggest teacher. She is an avid blogger, whose poetry has also been published. This is her first book.

Cover and blurb:
A very simple cover, with thoughts in candies and intersecting bubbles from two characters… knowing the author from her fiction works, I’d say the stories in this book would have relationships involved for sure. The blurb is actually quite appealing as well.

My thoughts on the book:
After reading this, I’ve read every book that this author has written… three novels, and this book, which is a creative non-fiction. I’ve not loved the other three, but I’ve not hated them either. I’ve been looking to add this to my reading list since a while. Finally, I’ve done so. And you know what? It was beautiful.

34 Bubblegums and Candies are short incidents that the author narrates from her life, or from life. They aren’t very boring or dull; in fact, they are quite simple and easy to read. Like it says in the blurb, some are humorous, and some are moving. I could easily imagine a couple of them being true, and relating them to someone I know, sometimes even my own family. It’s not out and out humor, but it is there in bits and pieces. The pace of each is very smooth and quick, and you can read the book in a couple of hours. This is something I find true to all her published works as well. From the book, you do get something to remember. It becomes fun to remember too.

On the flipside, the editing of the book was mediocre at most. It lets you down there. Sometimes, you want to know more about a character in the story, but the chapter closes then and there. It feels more like short posts than stories. I know and understand that it is true life incidents that she talks of, but I still feel it could have been presented better.

Overall, if you take away just the things that matter, it’s quite inspiring. It shows you life at its best and worst; and with some wit and emotion as well. If you count the editing and look for a better presentation, it falls in expectations a little. Not a lot, but just a tad. I liked it, but I feel it’s an individual’s choice in the end. You might, or might not, like it.


Rated a 7 on 10!
Rated a 7 on 10!

Book Details:
Title: 34 Bubblegums and Candies
Author: Preeti Shenoy
ISBN: 9788188575688
Genre: Creative Non Fiction
Publishers: Srishti Publishers
Price: INR. 100

 


The book was borrowed for reading from the local library. This is not a paid review.
The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.


Shared with Indian Quills Reading Challenge at Tales Pensieve.


(14th Nov, 2013)

Book Review: Life Is What You Make It,by Preeti Shenoy

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About the author:
Preeti Shenoy is an author and artist. She believes life is the biggest teacher. She is an avid blogger, whose poetry has also been published. This book is her second published work.

My thoughts on the book:
So we have the protagonist, Ankita. She’s a 20 something girl who seems to have issues from the past that haunts her present. In the prologue, we start with her sitting on a chair outside the doctor’s office, mulling over how they’ve come a long way to get her treated. Now that start is perfect. It’s that conflict that pushes the story toward an ending, and makes the reader wonder why she’s at a doctor’s office in the first place. But then, in the next paragraph, it appears as if the protagonist is still traveling to the doctor’s office. And we’re taken through a drive. Major confusion here and that doesn’t do the story good.

The story begins as a flashback. We’re shown letters that Ankita sends to Vaibhav and Vaibhav’s reply. As the story moves, we come to know that Ankita’s parents are very old-school (for the lack of a better term) and don’t approve of her being with other guys, even if in a group, or allow her friends who are boys to call her at home. So they begin to sneak around, doing what they can to stay in touch. Guess love is like that.

The story moves to Ankita’s life at college. This part of the story goes well. It’s kind of like settling in, finding new friends, etc. She gets elected into the school’s office bearers group. The campaign part is fun too. The story goes smoothly till the second guy comes into the picture. Abhi, the guy who she meets at an inter-collegiate event, begins to woo her. Now, good for her part that she tries to tell Abhi about Vaibhav and stuff, but if she is really in love, then it feels really strange that she’d start feeling for Abhi so suddenly. Especially with her talking to Vaibhav and pretending all is well all along. Fast forward and Abhi proposes that Ankita stay in the same city and college so their relationship continues, but Ankita refuses because her parents would not understand, and more so because she’s got into the best college in another city. She even refuses to guarantee that she’ll stay in touch with him because she felt it silly. (If she could stay in touch with, and sneak calls with Vaibhav earlier, this casual brush off for someone who was right near to her and who she “loved” felt very out of character.) The events that follow leave a big mark on her, and she leaves the city on a sad note.

From this point, and her new college life for her Masters degree, the turnaround in her character is quite stunning. She becomes very, maybe even too competitive, and starts seeking perfection. She has affections for one of her new classmates, and kisses him. When her academics seem to be going well, her parents find her “love letters” and turn on her. In front of her, they burn the letters. From here, her mind cracks and she begins to lose it. The problems arise and she leaves going to college. Her parents take her to psychiatrists to try and solve her problem, even trying to force her to return to college. She’s taken to NMHI where she finds someone who’s willing to listen to her, understand her problems and help her get past them. And we move to the ending which culminates it all.

What I liked in the story is the simple language and narration. It’s a quick read if you have some time on your hands. It’s inspiring to the extent that it tells you problems are temporary and you can get past them if you believe. Yes, the story does have elements of a love story, but it isn’t completely one.

What I didn’t like in the story is that you are left much confused. The prologue is conflicting, and the characters very shallow. It’s difficult to think that when your daughter is excelling in the field she’s chosen, any parent would react in that cut-throat way to finding a love letter that HAS a date and is known that it’s long back and target their daughter’s mind health, no matter how strict they are. You don’t get to know why Ankita begins to lose her mind suddenly, if it’s one thing or a combination of different things. The title is only justified with an epilogue that happens fifteen years later. You start to think the plot somewhat quarter or half way into it, so knowing what might happen leaves you disappointed, and also makes our feeling of sadness or sympathy with the protagonist less.

Overall, I think this is a one-time read. I can’t for the life of me figure out why the book is as popular as it is. I don’t think it is a bad book, but it’s confusing why it is titled so. It’s a really nice message, I agree, but the story doesn’t bring it out like it needs to.


Rated 5/10
Rated 5/10

Book details:
Title: Life Is What You Make It
Author: Preeti Shenoy
ISBN: 9789380349305
Genre: Romance
Publishers: Srishti Publishers
Price: Rs. 100

 


The book was borrowed for reading from the local library. This is not a paid review.
The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.


Shared with Indian Quills Reading Challenge at Tales Pensieve.


(April 12th, 2013)

Book Review: The Secret Wish List, by Preeti Shenoy

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About the author:
Preeti Shenoy is an author and artist. She believes life is the biggest teacher. She is an avid blogger, whose poetry has also been published. This book is her fourth published work.

My thoughts on the book:
There are some books which can be finished very quickly. They’re not heavy to read, and would keep your interest in the storyline because of that lightness. Preeti Shenoy’s fourth book is quite similar to her third book in that respect, for I found both to be easy-reading. In a time when love stories are coming out dime-a-dozen in the market, we find ourselves wishing for something to pull us in with a different outlook, rather than what has been put before. This book read more like the script of a TV serial than a novel.

Diksha, who looks back at what her life was like when she was 16, and an innocent crush (or was it love) turned into something more. She was not once allowed to speak when her parents admonished her. She was pulled out of the school, and then married when she was young. The story returns to the present, where she’s in a much clichéd “housewife” role, with a child and a husband who’s the quite “traditional” or “old-school” man, and has chained her to many rules while he himself is “career-focused” and not having time for her or her son or even his mother when it comes to that. Diksha begins to break out of her “shell” and encouraged by her cousin Vibha, she makes a wishlist and begins to do things she’s always wanted to do. She reconnects with her old friends, begins to break rules and become outgoing.

What I liked in the book is that the language and the narration are simple and hold you, which is what a good novel should do. The protagonist’s character is well explored and to an extent, we are moved by her sorrows. It’s a refreshing change to see the mother-in-law in a supportive role. The best thing about the book however is the cover page, which is very appealing.

What I didn’t like in the story is predictability. It’s very similar in an overall outlook compared to her previous novel. Once again, the husband of the protagonist is put as the career chasing guy and the woman is the helpless “damsel in distress”. Once again, the past returns to save the future. When a certain phrase comes into the picture, you know exactly where it’s going to end, and yes, it ends that way. I think believability matters a lot at times, and you can’t quite believe the person who encourages you to get out of the shell would then say that you shouldn’t have. What I would have liked is to see the protagonist manage the future on her own. After all, if Diksha can “almost singlehandedly raise her child” without the loving support of her husband for nearly fifteen years, you’d think she can continue to do so without depending on the past, especially with a supportive mother-in-law by her side. Also, I could notice grammatical and typo errors quite often, and definitely more than I find to be dismissive.

Closing thoughts: If you want a light-read to keep you company during a travel of 3 or 4 hours, go ahead. The book won’t let you down. Overall, for me, this is a one-time read.


Rated a 6/10
Rated a 6/10

Book details:
Title: The Secret Wish List
Author: Preeti Shenoy
ISBN: 978-93-82618-18-8
Genre: Romance
Publishers: Westland
Price: Rs. 175

 


The book was borrowed for reading from the local library. This is not a paid review.
The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.


Shared with Indian Quills Reading Challenge at Tales Pensieve.


(March 27th, 2013)