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Distant Dreams: Judith Pella and Tracie Peterson

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Set in the Pre-Civil War Virginia in the times of Andrew Jackson’s presidency, Distant Dreams is about unladylike interest of a fifteen year old girl, Carolina, in Railways, and her unrequited love for James, her sister’s betrothed, who shares her passion for railways.  Despite the veneer of a novel about a woman’s ambitions in an era when such things were frowned upon, the novel is really about the romance between James and Carolina that follows the much-beaten path of romantic novels – misunderstandings and over-reactions with a vile business-man dad, and a scheming sister thrown in.

Don’t even think about it.

It’s All In The Planets: Preeti Shenoy

 

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Aniket and Nidhi meet on a train.  Aniket has a hot model girlfriend who doesn’t treat him well and Nidhi’s boyfriend takes her for granted.  Nidhi agrees to be Aniket’s ‘relationship coach’.  From this start, the story follows the most predictable path possible with one twist thrown in for fun.  You know from page one, how is this going to end and Shenoy does little to make the journey worthwhile.  The twist helps a bit but not much.  The writing is ordinary at best and amateurish  when it’s not.  Sometimes, I wonder if any serious editing is done for Indian best-selling authors – or their books just make it to the market as received.  What was up, for instance, with entire stretches of dialogs repeated verbatim from one chapter to the next with a change in POV?  Was the book short of its required length or do the publishers think the reader really really dumb that she has to be told everything twice?

Don’t bother.

Where We Belong: Emily Giffin

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Marian Caldwell is a busy-bee TV producer, with the CEO of the network her boyfriend. Her world suddenly comes apart, when her daughter, who she had given up for adoption when she had her at the age of eighteen, comes looking for her.  It is an interesting premise but the book never takes off after the first thirty pages. It takes the predictable route of Marian breaking-up with her boyfriend, and getting back with her first love, the father of her daughter.  Predictability is not the only problem with the story.  The characters brood over minor issues and midway the book turns completely chic lit – with proms, dresses and boys.  Giffin does a particularly poor job writing from the daughter’s point of view.  Her take on teenage thinking is not particularly insightful.

Don’t bother.