ChickLit or Contemporary

Welcome to Day 07 of the #BookReviewBlogChallenge. It is amazing how fast time flew and we are almost at the end of the competition! So, the theme “Time” for today’s challenge ties in quite nicely! ?

Last week’s prompt was any book with 400+ pages and Unidragonfrag won it hands down with her entry of “Worm” – an ebook serial spanning ~7000 pages! Whew! That is longer than the Harry Potter series combined!

365 Days of FB

My entry for today’s theme is “365 Days of F(i)B-Bing” by Nirupama PRV. It is the story of a young techie, Avantika, who dreams of being perceived as cool and successful. To achieve this, she decides to post every day on Facebook, hoping to boost her popularity and create an illusion of fame and acclaim. What happens next is a series of hilarious and interesting twists.

As the fine line between real and virtual blur, her past fabrications close in on Avantika. Can she keep up or lose it all? Do her Facebook frolics triumph or backfire? That is the crux of the story.

  • Title – 365 Days of Fibbing.
  • Author – Nirupama PRV

REVIEW SCORE = 5/5 *****

Challenge Theme

Time = Days! That is the connection I am using to tie between the theme and this book. Often individual days are slow and boring, but time (years and even a lifetime) often just speeds past!

Some of the individual entries in the book, written as a sort of hybrid diary, may not feel catchy, but the overall book is brilliant! By the time you finish this book, you will be motivated to start writing everyday or posting selfies on Instagram just to test out the theory! ?

What I Loved about the Book:

First, the author is a phenomenal storyteller! I could see parts of me in Avantika. The way she reacts is exactly how any 22-year-old would! Isn’t that the goal of every fictional book – to make the reader immerse so deep in the book, they forget it is a mythical world?

Even if you have never worked for the software industry, you will still relate to many scenes in the book, like the interactions between Avantika and her friends, the confusions and aspirations every one has from their first job. If you come from a large family and especially if you are of Asian or Mediterranean origin, the scenes between Avantika and her cousins/family/wedding scenes will feel 100% real.

Also, love the cover!

If you like witty writing or standup comedy, you will love this book. The book is funny without being a comedy or satire. An excellent read if you just want something to perk yourself up. In many ways, this book reminded me bestselling author Nick Spalding, who wrote hits like “Logging off” and “Dumped Actually”. Or a classier, more confident version of “Bridget Jones Diary”!

One special note, this book is not necessarily from the YA (young adults) genre but can be read by teens as well, since the book does not have any censored topics or steamy scenes. It will probably make an excellent Graduation Day gift. Lord knows, with the chaos of the Covid19 pandemic, the class of 2020 could use something to lift their spirits and take their mind off all the mental stress!

Similar Works

  • Books – “Dumped Actually” by Nick Spalding, “Bridget Jones Diary” by Helen Fielding, “Just a Name” by Becky Monson, “Stylist Takes Manhattan” by Rosie Nixon.
  • Movies – Confessions of a Shopaholic,  
  • TV Series – Never Have I ever.
  • Genres – Women’s Humorous Fiction, Urban, Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Coming of Age Fiction, Women & Relationships Humor, Literary Satire, YA Books

Until next time, Adieu and Happy Reading!

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Amazing book – I could not put it down, but then reminded myself that I did not want to end up needing a tech detox (like the hero) and finished it on day 2 ! 🙂 Hilarious, satirical and absolutely adorable! The author has taken a contemporary topic like tech addiction and brought a very fresh look at surviving in the 21st century without the help of modern tech. The romantic angle is delightful without seeming forced!

Highly recommend!

  • Title – Logging Off
  • Author – Nick Spalding

REVIEW SCORE = 5/5 *****

This is another ARC thanks to #NetGalley. I requested the book without even realizing that the author was a bestseller. Happy to report that I went in with minimal expectations, but the book proves why Nick Spalding is so popular!

I will certainly be buying his other books to read in the future! 🙂

As a digital native myself, I totally relate to the panicky feeling at the thought of being completely cut off and having to rely on my “rusty brain” and personal judgement to navigate the world. We’ve almost forgotten the simple joys of life – like taking a joyride to nowhere, sitting in silence without a meditation app or taking a walk in the park to delight in the sounds of nature. This book reminded me to try those more often.

The book is set in the UK, but readers from any country will find it appealing. Giving too much importance to online “influencers” without vetting them, over-reliance on online reviews, GPS map, preferring meetups to talking to plain old friends, etc. The author weaves all these topics into a coherent and entertaining chronicle. Yet, there are scenes to show that technology and hyper-connectivity can have positive outcomes. I appreciate that the author does not take sides in demonizing technology or glorifying it!

Similar Works:

  • Books – “Notes from a Big Country” by Bill Bryson. Other books by Nick Spalding – start with “Checking Out” or “Dumped Actually”.
  • Movies – Late Nights.
  • TV Series – Stand up series by Jim Gaffigan or Amit Tandon.
  • Genres – Humor and Satire, Romantic Comedy, British Humor.

Until the next book, Happy Reading!

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Fun read just perfect for a rainy day, a beach vacation or a lazy weekend (me!) I’ve been to Key West islands, where this story is set. Hence, I totally agree that this gorgeous location is the perfect backdrop for a sudden romance! The story was amazing too, presenting a family drama without making it too sordid or glum. The primary characters were believable, and even the secondary plots between the heroine and her siblings were interesting enough (something I don’t often see in romance novels), that I read the book from cover to cover.

  • Title – Island Affair
  • Author – Priscilla Olivers

REVIEW SCORE = 5/5 *****

This is another ARC thanks to #NetGalley. I requested the book because the cover just called to me, and who doesn’t love an exotic island? Here are some pix from my trip to KeyWest. With such gorgeous vistas, romance is simply humming in the air! ?

Raw, natural pix – the stunning views in KeyWest.

Beaches, greenery and poetic sunrises! Glad the author mentions all these in her book! 🙂

Again, the story was marvelous, and I like that the author put in topics like food disorders, parental pressure and sibling rivalry in the mix. Some books feel like there are too many subplots, but this book had just the right balance and happy endings for all the loose ends.

Lastly, with all the fears and uncertainty from the corona virus pandemic, honestly, we need more books like this which allow readers to escape from our real-life chaos.

Similar Works:

  • Books – “Head over High Heels” by Lila monroe. “The Stylist takes Manhattan” by Rosie Nixon, “Blitzed” by Alexa Martin. Any Betty Neels book.
  • Movies – Legally blonde, Beautician and the Beast, Nights at Rodanthe, When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle.
  • Genres – Contemporary Romance, Multicultural Romance, Beach Reads, Holiday Romance.

Until next time, Happy Reading! 🙂

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Hilarious look at everyday life, for a celebrity writer and actor!

  • Title – Why Not Me?
  • Author – Mindy Kaling

Part memoir, part motivational, its easy to see why this book hit the NY Times bestseller list. As a successful woman of color in an industry that glorifies White, male stereotypes, Mindy is certainly a role model to women and minorities everywhere. Unlike other biographies written by celebrities, she does not use a holier-than-thou, preachy tone. Instead, this book is written in a hilarious, honest and tongue-in-cheek manner that is wonderful to read. And it includes pictures to give you a true behind-the-scene look of the writer studio, sets and her makeup routine.       

REVIEW SCORE = 4.5/5 *****

I loved Mindy in “Late Nights” and know her as the writer/actor from “The Office”. However, I’ve never read any of her other books or seen any episodes of her hit series “The Mindy Project”. I took this book on a recommendation from someone I admire, who has heard Mindy’s interviews, and felt she is an amazing role model whose authenticity and sense of comic timing is brilliant.

I found the book at my local library and admit that the book did not disappoint. The book is not really an autobiography, because it does not chronicle the life of Mindy in detail. It’s more a memoir along the lines of Bill Bryson’s books like “Notes from a Big Country”, or any standup comedy monologues (think Bill Griffin or Amit Tandon) where the speaker is presenting a series of random thoughts and incidents in an extremely hilarious way. Yet, there is an underlying pithy truth and the dialogue forces you to look at seemingly mundane items in a completely new perspective.

The book does not self-aggrandize or preach, and even those who hate self-help books will be chuckling in delight. Mindy is hilarious, yet she manages to imbibe pearls of wisdom in each chapter. I loved the chapter countering the myth of the work-life balance and her stance on “hard work – the thing no one wants to talk about”. A handful of celebrities rise to fame with social media, and suddenly there is an unconscious and damaging pressure to become successful without putting any apparent effort! We almost seem to look down on folks who work themselves to the bone and reach the top of their field.

The only reason I did not give this a 5* rating was that the last chapter about advice to young women should have come much earlier! It’s so beautiful, yet the content was almost relegated to the very end. I was almost planning to skip that chapter, but I am so glad I did not. Felt the chapter deserved to be the second or third, or at least closer to the middle than so far back.

Who will benefit from reading this book?

  • Everyone! If you are a woman of color, you can read it for motivation.
  • If you like standup comedy, you will LOVE this book.
  • If you only want to read books for entertainment, the stories are sure to put a goofy smile on your face! ?

Go ahead, read this book! 100% thumbs up!

Similar Works:

  • Books – “Girl, Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis. “You are a Badass” by “Jen Sincero”.
  • Movies – Late Night, Legally Blonde, Bridget Jones Diary, The Spy Who Dumped Me.
  • TV Series – The Mindy Project, Ugly Betty.
  • Genres – Memoirs, Motivation, Humor, Personal Essays.

Happy Reading!

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Beyond indigo – book review

A lawyer-turned-painter with 3 potential love interests. Now that is NOT a plot you come across very often. I found this book at a sale in my library, and of course I caved in. So much for planning to stay away from new books, until I finish my “to-read list”. Still, no regrets as the book was worth the guilt trip! Yes, my library has an amazing set of books! ?

  • Title – Beyond Indigo
  • Author – Preethi Nair

Review Score – 4.5* out of 5*

In a way the book reminded me of the movie “The Associate” starring Whoopi Goldberg. Add the high-brow society and million-dollar world of arts and paintings, stir in some demanding Asian parents and set the story in suburban London. Voila! A fascinating story that you will want to read from cover to cover.

Even if you don’t like art or paintings, most readers will relate to the heroine’s struggles to follow her dreams, even when it doesn’t seem promising at all. Most of us either don’t know how to go about it or repress it to the RIGHT thing and pursue a stable (aka boring) career that pays the bills, and occasionally some leftover change to dabble in our “hobby”. So any “rags-to-riches” story is always gripping where a protagonist follows their dreams and emerges triumphant against all obstacles.

As an Indian immigrant, I absolutely relate to the quirky behavior of the heroine’s parents and the pressure felt by her to “conform” to her family’s idea of acceptable jobs, life partner and other societal standards. I think all immigrant kids grow up with this duality and the author portrays it beautifully without making disparaging or overdoing the inevitable generational/cultural clashes. I love that she shows respect to the heroine’s dad, a public transport bus-driver. Most immigrants (or even refugees) take menial jobs to provide for their families, irrespective of their status back home. Is it any wonder that such folks pin their lost dreams and aspirations on to the next generation, and become almost obsessed with the kids enjoying a RICH and successful (aka materialistic) life?

Philosophy aside, the story is quite creative – the lengths the heroine goes to hide her painter identity is ridiculously funny. Of course, such deceit would not be possible in today’s world of social media (this book was published in 2004), but despite that minor flaw the book is a captivating read. Still some mysteries like “Marhmellow” do exist, so perhaps the flaw is not such a flaw, after all.

Similar Works:

  • Books – Crazy Rich Asians, Stylist Takes Manhattan.
  • Movies – The Associate (1996), Golmaal (1979), Bareilly ki Barfi (2017)
  • Genres – Drama, urban fiction, women’s fiction, contemporary fiction
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