Scandalous Again- A Book Review, and a Women’s Day Rant

Scandalous AgainAuthor’s Name: Christina Dodd

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An historical romance novel, I found it at one of the stores. I have always enjoyed Christina Dodd’s brand of romance. She usually mixes that fire of passion and soothing romance quite well. But this book was a bit of disappointment for me, not because it wasn’t well-written, but because I didn’t like the characters. Their qualities felt to me like their vices.

Synopsis

This book starts with the Madeline who just returned from Continent after four years. She comes to know that her father had wagered her and lost her in a gamble. So she, along with her cousin and companion, embarks on a journey to soothe her new  owner. But soon they come to know about The Game of Century, which Madeline thinks her father will attend. In order to save what is left of her fortune(A tiara!), she switches places with her cousin and go to the gambler’s house as a companion.

At the house-party, she meets Gabriel whom she had jilted because he had gambled for the fortune. They both realize that they still love each other, and Madeline sees her mistake.

What I liked

Romance: The chemistry between Gabriel and Madeline is quite good. There were places when I enjoyed reading them together.

What irked me

The Plot Highlights: The plot of the story tries to convince the readers that Madeline was responsible for Gabriel’s younger brother death. Since Gabriel was so lost and forlorn after Madeline left, he didn’t give enough attention to his brother, who lost in gambling and joined navy to avoid confrontation with Gabriel. He finally was buried at the sea. It’s quite a sad story, but as soon as I read this point, I wanted to tear away the pages. Not only Gabriel’s manservant believed it, but by the end, even Madeline was sorry for her actions, and I was like what?!

Gabriel: I might have forgiven him for the above misunderstanding, but he till the end didn’t accepted that he did wrong by gambling. He did realize that Madeline would be angry, but he decided to soothe her with his body. Another what?! point for me. Till the end, I was hoping that he’ll apologize and explain the necessity, but he remained heavy-handed and egoistic throughout. He kept on blaming heroine for being controlling, when he himself wasn’t ready to give up his control.

Overall Opinion

It is a good book. Though not the best of Dodd’s work,  it has everything a historical book should have, but I didn’t enjoy it because of its too heavy handed plot. It in fact made me feel melancholy and induced the rant below.

Ratings

Two Stars

 Thoughts Beyond the Book

This was not supposed to be a rant. But somehow, after reading the book, I couldn’t stop myself from writing this. As I finished this book, I was left wondering that how many times we unnecessarily blame women for every mishappening. This not only include males, but females too.

This is specifically true in Indian cases. Something wrong happens with a child, the first person who is blamed is the mother. A boy commits suicide in despair because his love got rejected, the girl becomes heartless. A man commits crime because to fulfill the material demands of his wife. The houses break due to the uncompromising nature of woman.  Oh, and let us not forget that whole Mahabharata happened because of a woman.

This is not a complaint to anyone—not to the author, neither to my readers. Nor this is a confession. Because I’m guilty of doing this, and I  am also guilty of accepting such blames without any fight. So, no, this is not a grudge as well. It’s just a thought, a consciousness that yes, I have been doing this. Acceptance is the first step towards change, right?

Unsettled: The Search for Love and Meaning

Unsettled Cover

Author’s Name: Neelima Vinod

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I am trying to read more of Indian authors these days. This novella is a step towards that goal. I must say I was tantalized by reading the blurb of the book. I have read a lot of Vampire stories, but never a one set in India. One of the major reason I selected this book was because it showed the paranormal in Indian settings.

Synopsis

Unsettled is a story which mixes past and present. In present Divya’s marriage is crumbling all around her. To salvage her relationship, she goes to a marriage counselor, Dr. Ray, who tells her that solution to her problem lies in the old haunted house of her childhood, whose story still lingers in her dreams. He convinces Raghav and Divya to go to that house, where the legend says that the scroll of love is hidden.

That’s how we move to the story of Tathri, a Yakshi or a vampire seductress who haunts the house and guards those scrolls. As the pages pass, we encounter different faces of Tathri– a lonely woman searching for love, a scorned woman trying to find her lover in words, a daughter worrying her mother, and a female yearning for companionship.

What I liked

Language of the book: This book is so lyrical that without reading the author’s bio, I knew that it’s written by a poet. I won’t say that the book is perfect in every aspect, but then the words are so engrossing that one won’t be too hard-pressed to notice the problems.

I loved many parts of the book, but my absolute favorite was the description of broken marriage in the beginning.

The couple hadn’t said the D word yet. She had written the word down on pieces of paper (then crumpled it up, too schoolgirlish), typed it into an email (then deleted it, in case he forwarded it to Anu), texted it into her mobile (but it looked ridiculous in the confines of the smaller-than-her-palm screen).

Another sentence which stayed in my mind long after finishing the book was

He had read somewhere that when you fall out of love with your spouse, you fall out of love with your house too.

Tathri: I know Yakshis are legends, but until I read the book, I wasn’t aware about the beliefs regarding them. But as I read through the pages, I could see her in a sari, trying to seduce the males to fulfill her needs. The character, in itself, is interesting, and the author’s treatment of her is superb.

What irked me

Loose threads of the story: Even though the story is intriguing, there were a few portions which left me feeling unsatisfied. They were hinted at, but not closed by the end. Like Dr. Ray. I wanted to know what was he, and who he really was, but what I get in the end was only a hint of what he could be! Similarly Tathri’s death in past was left open. I never could really get what made her a Yakshi.

Fast forwarded confrontations:  This might not be everybody’s complaints, but I felt that the scenes between Raghav and Tathri happened too fast. I didn’t get the time to savor their closeness. Even the proximity between Divya and Raghav felt a bit rushed towards the ending.

Overall Opinion

This book could have been better if the plot was tightened a bit, but despite this flaw, it’s a treat to read because of the language and feelings poured in the words. Its words has power to transport a reader into an absolutely different world.

Ratings

Three Stars

 

By My Choice- An Erotic Romance Novella

By My Choice

 

 

Author’s Name: Christine Blackthorn

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Sometimes, one comes across a book just by chance. I saw this little novella promoted somewhere, downloaded it when it was free,  and read it in one of my free hour. I didn’t have much high hopes from it because it said it was a vampire romance, but knowing Christine Blackthorn as an author I decided to give it a try. By the time, I reached the ending, I was at the end of my seat. It’s that good a book.

Synopsis

I thought about writing my own synopsis, but GoodReads’ synopsis does explain the story
 best.

Jennifer Ashton has spent her whole life in one Supernatural court or the other but the realities of what this means are only brought home to her when her best friend is forced to sell her to a vampire, and not any vampire, but one she knows well. Caught in the double betrayal of friendship and love she needs to decide what her life is going to be.

Jennifer is a financial manager, her control over every aspect of her own life complete. She does not allow anything to upset her rationality, no emotion, no sensation, no desire. The only weakness she has accepted is her unlimited loyalty to her best friend, the friend who betrays her by selling her to a competitor. She joins her new master in Paris where she begins to realise that he has as little choice as she does. Can she accept that by giving up everything, by giving him everything, they might both regain their lives?

What I liked

1) Focus on friendship:  There are very few novels which actually manage to keep a childhood friendship between a man and woman true and pure. This story explores the depth of friendship and shows the pain of the betrayal by the best guy friend. The best part was that they remain friends throughout. They don’t go together, not even to try.

2) The World: The world in this book is quite different and very fascinating. Though much of this world is shown in background, it’s still an intriguing world.

What irked me

Three little spelling mistakes: Though they are minute and can be easily missed, they stayed with me because I was reading it on mobile which has smaller screen and more focus. There’s saying my mom used to tell me: Even a small black dot is seen clearly on a perfect white paper. Same is the case with this book I guess.

Overall Opinion

A power-packed vampire story. This book will be a treat to anybody who loves supernatural romance. It has plot which will leave you thirsting for more.

Ratings

Five Stars

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie

ianBook’s Name: The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie

Author’s Name: Jennifer Ashley

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I am Historical Romance fanatic. There was a time when I’d read five historical romance novels a day. I’d go on reading and reading and reading.  This was the first genre I started reading as an adult, and I think it’s a genre which left the deepest impact on me.  I still fall back to the genre whenever I’m too tired of all the other books or life in general. 

Anyway, it’s difficult to surprise me with a Historical Romance, but the hero with Asperger’s Syndrome  did surprise me.

Synopsis

Mad Lord Ian Mackenzie has been in asylum for most of his young life. Sometime later, when he has been released from asylum and have settled in the society, he meets a young Widow, Beth. They fall in lust almost instantly, and Ian manages to woo her into an affair ( an marriage too). But the plot hinges on a murder mystery, and the fact that Ian believes that he gets fits of rages. He doesn’t allow Beth to come too near because she might get burned by these rages.

The best part of the plot was that nobody was actually sure if Ian’s Mad or not– not his brothers, not the world, and not he himself.

What I liked

Ian Mackenzie– An amazing character, and the one who carries the book on his shoulders. He’s one of the few historical character with flaws. He suffers from Asperger’s syndrome and is considered quite mad. I had wondered how the author will manage to show his POV, but that’s also quite well done. The following quote from the book is what I felt when I read his POV.

The trouble with Ian Mackenzie’s questions was that he asked the unanswerable. And yet she should know how to answer—everyone should. But they couldn’t, because everyone simply knew. Everyone except Ian.

Ian Mackenzie- Wait, writing it twice won’t express that I loved him, or will it?

Ian Mackenzie- I am wondering if writing it three times will mean that the hero was absolutely adorable.

Ming Vases– A very different and unique hobby,  collecting Ming vases. Though Ian’s obsession with them feel quite real, I liked it for the way it’s portrayed in the book. I could feel Ian’s desire for the Ming Vase  was like my own desire for a certain book.

What irked me

Love at first sight–  One day, I’ll get the hang of the logic behind the love at first sight, but till then I’ll keep it in the “What Irked Me” list. 

Sequel Characters–  I believe in one set of characters for a book. Unless it’s masterfully handled, when the whole family and their stories are introduced, it distracts me to no end. 

Letters to herself– I’m a person who is in love with letters and diary entries. I don’t find anything more touching than the romance via words. But the diary entries by Beth, the heroine, felt like a filler to me, or may be a way to add in some sex to the story.

Overall Opinion

Despite the above mentioned things I didn’t like, I think one should read the book if only to sample the craziness of Lord Ian Mackenzie. Did I already say that I loved him as a hero?

Rating

Four Stars

Mystery Man

Mystery ManBook’s Name: Mystery Man

Author’s Name: Kristen Ashley

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Sometimes when time gets heavy, I go into random book style. This is one such book I purchased on a random purchase spree. It makes me feel that I wasted my time. It’s not that I don’t love a chicklit, but as I read the book I wanted to go inside the pages of the book and shake some sense in heroine. How could a female be shown as so hairbrained? I’d have given the heroine a pass too, if the story had started making some sense at some point. But sadly, it didn’t.

Synopsis

Gwen, the heroine of the novel, meets a guy in a bar at some point and she hooks up with him for one night. Then the guy started coming to her house in the dead of the night, but she doesn’t even know his name. After one and a half year of such arrangements, her sister gets into trouble dragging Gwen into the world where murder and mayhems are quite common. That’s when she meets two other suitors(admirers?) for her. Then her mystery man shows to protect her.  The story goes on about showing how the three men save her and her sister’s life.

What I liked

This is quite a difficult question to answer.

Humor– I think this was the saving grace of the book. There is some good humor and dialogues in the book. Despite of absurd storyline, I couldn’t help but smile while reading the book.

What irked me

Gwen, the heroine– First of all, you carried on an affair with the man whose name you didn’t know for one and a half year. That I am ready to accept because we all do stupid things in throes of passion. But it must have taken exceptional courage(or heightened ignorance) as that man broke into your house every night to meet you. I understand, passion and all. You even had unprotected sex with that unknown man. I was actually hyperventilating about your health when I read that. But I wanted to beg you to be a bit mature when you refused to ask his actual profession till the end.

Obsession with hunks– I, like any sane woman, like reading about alpha men. But I get serious issues when all three great alpha males fell for the same stupid woman. It takes away my trust in the world. How on the earth are intelligent woman(like me) to snag man?

Baby me no more– I know this goes with the chicklit, but how many times can one call the other person baby. I rolled my eyes everytime I read a “Baby” and then stopped rolling it because my eyes were getting a tic.

The use of Then– There were just too many thens in the story. Then this happened. Then that happened. And then nothing happened.

Overall Opinion

There are many people who actually adore this book. They found the hero swoon worthy and heroine cute. So, probably this book was just not meant for me. Or maybe I wasn’t meant for the book. There are rare times when the books don’t absorb me, and sadly, this was one such time. Hopefully I’ll have better luck with the next book.

Rating

Two Stars