Monday, May 26, 2014

The Love Diet by Shonali Subherwal

Title: The Love Diet
Author: Shonali Subherwal
Category: Health & Fitness
Publisher: Random House
Date: 2014
Price: Rs. 250
Pages: 256

Snapshot:  This book is about how the diet you consume affects the person you are and in turn your actions and how you can modulate it and in turn everything in your microcosm by organizing your diet.

The Review:  First of all I wasn't impressed with the books cover page however thankfully that was where it ended. the author being a nutritionist has quiet methodically written the cook. She begins with the classification of attributes as per Macrobiotics into Yin &Yang. She goes to further explain attraction through these attributes. 

The author describes then how age, marriage, relationship status, hormonal level, needs and sex when examined minutely can be affected by food. She has then further gone to explain how to boost Yin and Yang with food and has provided recipes of what constitutes The Indian Love Diet for her.

 Positives: What I loved in the book was the scientific and methodical manner of putting forward the facts. The case studies described add an extra pound to the understanding of cause and effect of diet. The best part of the book was the chart with Indian food, since most dietitians usually recommend foods that are available either in tier one cities only or are difficult to be consumed when one has a difficult schedule. The topping on the ice-cream is the recipe for balanced, healthy preparation of these consumables. 

Negatives: None

The Verdict:  This book was much needed by the calorie conscious generation of today who is workaholic and professional at the same time. It will certainly be the best investment you made. Read, follow and apply it in your life. 4 stars on 5. 

About Shonali Sabherwal
Shonali Sabherwal is an Indian celebrity dietitian. She is a graduate of The Kushi Institute and is the only practising Counsellor and Macrobiotics chef in India from the institute.
She guides people to achieve physical beauty and health through a highly developed and unique diet course which she designs to their needs through her online counselling enterprise, soulfood. She has also written The Beauty Diet.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Supertraits of Superstars by Priyanka Sinha Jha

Title: Supertraits of Superstars
Author: Priyanka Sinha Jha
Category: Self help
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Date: 2014
Price: Rs. 195
Pages: 200

Snapshot:  This book is all about the best traits of the best bollywood stars you see on the screen today.

The Review:  All around the world movie actors are the most popular, however in India they are not just loved and adored but some of them are also worshiped. In a country like ours the best way to reach the masses is through these stars. I found a connect with the author right at the second page of the introduction session where she describes her need for inspiration and quotes my favourite lines, a mantra that helped me rise above everything and make me believe in my potential even in failure "you are never given a wish without also being granted the capability of making it come true, you may have to work for it though" from Illusions by Richard Bach. 

The actors covered are the ones mentioned on the cover page. The author begins with one major trait she felt is the "supertrait" of the star, followed by other traits she has found admiring and has with examples quoted how they helped them achieve the success and live the lives of their dreams. 

Initially I was a bit skeptical about the choices she made in selecting these stars as bollywood has success stories greater than the ones mentioned, but as I complete the book, which I read at an extremely slow pace, one actor per day, I realized that the choice is only appropriate as these are the stars the generation of today is familiar with. Each time I completed one chapter I was energised, motivated and admired the actor even more for they certainly taught me something.

Bollywood is not an easy game and some of the most difficult career choices where the percentage of success is extremely rare. While this book doesn't teach you "how to make it big in bollywood" as that depends on multiple factors, It certainly teaches you the important qualities to be good at whatever you do. While you cant change who you are, be it any industry imbibing some of these qualities will certainly bring a change in you, and when in bad situations think what your favourite star would have done, that would make your journey easier. An inspiring read indeed.

The Review:
Positives: A must read book to keep by your bedside to read whenever your confidence quotient drops.

Negatives: None in the writing, though the cover page could have had the sketches of these stars which are inside. Also some sketches like those of Vidya Balan, Katrina Kaif, Aamir Khan and Salman Khan are not alike.

The Verdict:  Highly recommended. Looking forward to many more volumes, progressing retrogressively through the decades up till the first makers of Indian cinema, especially stalwarts like Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Shekhar Kapoor, Dev Anand, Sunil Dutt , Sanjeev Kumar, Jaya Bachchan....the list is endless. It would be also great if she comes up with an all womens section and life post motherhood in an industry where women last only as long as their looks do, and the stories of some like Madhuri Dixit come back with a big bang.

4 stars on 5.

About The Author: Priyanka Sinha Jha is an Indian journalist and author. She has written on a wide range of subjects starting from celebrities, films, to business. She is currently working as an editor with Screen, an entertainment weekly.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

It Had To Be You By Anuj Tiwari

Title: It Had to Be You
Author: Anuj Tiwari
Category: Romance
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Date: 2014
Price: Rs. 140
Pages: 198

Snapshot: What if you don’t get what you want from your life? Do you learn to live life with its terms and conditions?
Anuj, a young professional, is just getting by from day to day when the beautiful and vivacious Pakhi walks into his life and turns it upside down. Love blossoms and Anuj is convinced that she is the one for him. But when all is going well akhi leaves unexpectedly, and shatters Anuj’s faith in love and hay endings.

To shake off his depression and restart his life, he heads to Mumbai where he meets new people- the stunning Meera; rom-com specialist Vishal; the man of reasons, Rahim Chacha; and the lovely Anushka. With their help, he begins to put his past behind, but fate intervenes. Will Anuj be able to find the answers he desperately seeks and finally find a closure? Or does life have other plans?

It Had to Be You is a story that, in its simplicity, shows us the importance of love, life, family and friendship.

Review: The cover picture, title, blurb and then one look at the contents will lure the readers to pick Anuj Tiwari’s second book- It Had to Be You. The day I received the book and laid my eyes on it, I wondered if I will end up experiencing a Karan Johar’s movie with the ingredients like love, life, family and friendships. Technically, it had the similar sugar and spices but modified and presented in a very sensitive and poetic way.

The author has forenamed his protagonist with his own name as Anuj. The story starts with Anuj leaving for Mumbai for a job with a long lingering pain for his love Pakhi who disappeared from his life abruptly. The city and new office welcomes him in understanding the life and games of IT Industry that run inside those swanky buildings along with his bunch of new caring and affectionate friends. However, amidst everything, Anuj cannot get over his love- Pakhi. While trying to unlock the missing locks about Pakhi, he bumps into Rahim chacha, a generous kind hearted person who helps Anuj to enlighten the torch of life with his precious teachings. And finally, his journey ends when he meets Pakhi but soon life takes a turn leaving him all alone once again. Needless to mention, the last pages are strongly gripping and captivating with the intensity of his relationship as well as the beautiful memoir of Pakhi.

The first half of the book contains an extra winding and stretching about the IT industry which might hold importance in real but I believe the author could have pruned it to minimum and kept the story very crispThe character of Payal was a chilling treat of infidelity but the author has left a question mark as to why she did it.

Also, I would like to appreciate the author for creating and evolving a simple character like Rahim chacha with profound inspirational thoughts that bloated the warm genuine feel of humanity. Rahim chacha’s entry was nice and his logic of ‘a spoon of extra sugar’ curved my lips for a sweet smile. The character of Anushka was very endearing and amiable. I just love her quick funny and witty replies. The characters of vivacious Meera, zany Vishal and charming Kavya were apt, short and sweet.

By the time I finished reading, I had a mixed and gentle lukewarm feeling about Anuj and Pakhi’s story. The second half had a complete sweep with depth, emotions and ache injected to robust the tragedy in Anuj’s life.

The writing style is lucid and some poems are really sweet and romantic but at times I found it interfering and dwindling with the flow of the story.

Positives: From love life to office life, from friends to In-laws, the book has a mix of sugar and spices that might hit a chord with Gen-X.

Negatives: An extra dose of poems and unnecessary filling of pages regarding lives of few characters could have been snipped.

Verdict: I would go for 3.5 stars out of 5 keeping it in a light romantic inspirational read shelf.

About the Author: Anuj Tiwari is the author of the bestselling novel Journey of Two Hearts, a motivational speaker and an IT professional. His books are based on real life incidents that he jotted down over the years. He gives lectures at colleges and universities, and lives in Mumbai.


This book has been reviewed by Shaily Bhargava who is an avid reader, freelance writer, amateur photographer and a trait curious soul addicted to tea and coffee. Some of her short stories are published in online literary magazines of repute.

We thank Rupa Publications for a review copy.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Find_Love.Com by Neeta Iyer

Title: Find_Love.Com
Author: Neeta Iyer
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Date: 2013
Price: Rs. 199
Pages: 208

Snapshot:  This book is a take on finding your love via arranged marriage, facilitated via.com's by means of fiction.

The Review:   This is the story of a groom hunt for Swati Kannan , a slim, talll ,fair 29 year old via "arranged setting". Though the titlke of the book says .com newspapers adds and traditional connection via family also happens in the story. In a humorous manner the author has tried to bring out the problems with the system, the confusions, the minute yet not very strong interactions mostly one sided, and a lot of intuition all fading before the hunt for the most perfect bride who comes with a lot of dowry of course.

The book does highlight the problems of arranged marriage and the confusion one faces as choosing a guy for a life partner in one setting is pressure. The character mainly depends on her intuition above everything which she refers to as "ghanti bajna" seemingly inspired from SRK/Yash Raj movies. Though even practically speaking that is the only way in such settings. 

Positives:  The writing is crisp and editing brilliant. The book does have a good sense of wit as the lead character even amongst great turmoil describes every event with a great sense of humour. It also brushes upon important expectations from the Indian bride like great looks, good culinary skills, huge bags of dowry, and the list is endless, seems everyone needs a superwoman. 

Negatives:  The story was difficult to believe with the central character being tall, fair (of course Indian wanna be bride has to be fair) and beautiful. With a girl anyone can easily fall for, somethings never come into the lime light. Even if you for a second gave benefit of doubt to this character and her single status despite of being an RJ, there comes a chapter when a  celebrity singer flirts with her and she for a little while falls for him. Now isn't that an everyday thing for an RJ? I suppose so. 

The worst heartbreak comes in the end, when she doesn't find her love through a .com which ruins it for the reader. On the other hand the role played by her best friend and advisor, who actually goes through confusions and reaches to even the most bizarre of explanations about guys while screening them to me seemed more convincing. 

The Verdict: Good only for a light read. 2 stars on 5.

About The Author: Neeta Iyer is Music lover. Corporate ace. Travel fiend. Social junkie. Trendy. Full of life. With her debut novel Find_Love.com, Neeta adds to this elastic list her new facet of a writer.

I thank the author Neeta Iyer for a copy.