Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin

Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin

Review by Shwetha H S

Genre: Chick lit, Romance, Drama.
Imprint: St. Martin’s Griffin, New York.
ISBN: 978-0-312-32119-2

Though Emily Giffin has written many novels, her more famous work is Something Borrowed. It was not only a bestseller, but all was made into a major movie with minor changes to the storyline and characters.

Rachel has turned thirty and is still single contrary to her dreams and hopes of being settled by this age with someone who loves her and whom she loves in return. Her best friend Darcy is getting married in a few months. The fiancé is Rachel’s classmate and friend Dexter. In inebriated state and in absence of Darcy, Dexter and Rachel have sex and try to forget it later only to find out that they both like each other. Rachel is surprised to find out Dexter has always liked her but was discouraged by her own indifferent and casual behaviour towards him. Now that they both know the truth and love each other, the only obstacle in the path is Darcy who wants everything her way and likes to put up a show for everything everywhere. Dexter hinders from breaking the engagement but also doesn’t leave Rachel to be on her own. On consultation and persuasion of her good friends Hillary and Ethan, Rachel decides to leave Dexter to be his coward self and goes to meet Ethan in London as she is also fed up of being Darcy’s sidekick since childhood. What does Dexter do now? Does Rachel’s life change in London? Does Darcy turn out to be a better person or stay the shallow ever? Read the book to catch up on the lives of these friends.

Something Borrowed dwells on the ethics of friendship, moral dilemma and seeking happiness for self. It does feel dragged at places but it can be justified as it helps in showing the reader the mindset of Rachel. Since the story is both in book and movie forms, the comparison can be made. There are minor changes in the movie compared to the book. For example, in the book Darcy is dark haired and is wearing a red dress for Rachel’s birthday party, but in the movie she is blonde and is wearing a white dress. In the movie, the characters Hillary and Ethan are merged in one character that is Ethan. In the book Ethan is already in London as the story begins, but in the movie he moves to London later. Nevertheless, both book and movie are good. But for the first time, being a reader, I felt the movie was better than the book. Go for either of the forms of storytelling. You will like Something Borrowed.

Loose Strings by Dr. Dale A Grove

Loose Strings by Dr. Dale A Grove

Review by Shwetha H S

What would have happened if many of our eminent scientists had not died or deviated from their scientific aims in their lives? Humanity would have technologically developed, but not sure for good or bad. In another universe, a world called Regnus is highly developed, so developed that its citizens are at the dead end of any kind of technological development because they have exhausted themselves in every possibility. To stay as the most developed world of theirs as well as neighbouring universes, the History Security Officers are assigned the tasks of distracting scientists of different worlds and hindering them from reaching their goals. On one such mission, Regnus’ History Security Officer Rakena meets Dr. Wolfe Sterling, who is trying to save science on Earth. What happens to the history science on Earth? Does Rakena succeed in altering Earth’s scientific history? Will Dr. Wolfe Sterling resist the alien beauty’s ventures?

Loose Strings has a good storyline with multiple time travelling and travelling between universes, complex ideas of physics which you don’t need to understand in depth to enjoy the story. Since all the characters are humans and similar to humans, the reader doesn’t have to think about the complexities of the alien anatomy. But the problem is there are so many characters; even the supporting characters have their own supporting characters and storylines. The story is fast paced, but there are times when there are abrupt shifts from one scene to another, or a character doing something which wasn’t actually necessary or called for. But the only point that becomes difficult to accept is the element of God in the Sci-Fi novel. It almost becomes like preaching Christianity to the readers with the help of aliens. Dr. Dale A Grove lets the readers down when he starts talking about God.

Except for the God part, the novel must be for its unique time travel and multiverse travel story. Sci-Fi lovers will enjoy this if they ignore the sudden inclusion of the Almighty.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Review by Shwetha H S

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë has all the ingredients to keep you reading without putting the book down; action, drama, romance, sorrow and your every other commonplace emotion. But what it lacks is a protagonist. One might argue that Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff are the protagonists, but when read and re-read Wuthering Heights you will know it has none. What this novel has is an anti-hero in Heathcliff. There are many other characters surrounding him, but no matter what one argues, they are all the supporting characters to Heathcliff. Catherine Earnshaw is a hot-headed bitch, who doesn’t make sense most of the time and doesn’t know what to do with her life. Edgar Linton, her husband, appears to be a grumbling young man, but in the later part of the story stands strong to protect his family. Isabella Linton ruins everything for everyone. Hindley Earnshaw falls prey to the anti-hero’s plots. Heathcliff’s scheme of revenge destroys the families of Earnshaw and Linton. The second generation characters that appear in the story are far better than their parents. Catherine Linton, if you really want a heroine for this story, is far removed from her mother and behaves like a human. Linton, son of Heathcliff and Isabella, is a pest and you will feel like killing him because he is so pathetic and would die anyway. Hareton Earnshaw, son of Hindley, is a surprise and you will love him with all your heart irrespective of his personality. And then there are Ellen Dean, our very own Nelly, and Mr. Lockwood who keep the story going.

A few points that don’t go well with the reader are that during narration, Ellen Dean gives the precise account of dialogues that take place between the conversationalists. Those dialogues were exchanged years and years ago. Using Ellen Dean to narrate the story is okay, but her exact recollection of the dialogues doesn’t go down very well.

There are no unnecessary characters to desperately try and keep the story interesting; the story is more than enough. Watch out for Heathcliff’s anguish and treachery. You will have to fight your urge to protect others from the bastard.

The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith

The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith

Review by Shwetha H S

It has been years since Prince Charming rescued Princess Snow White. Don’t you want to know what she has been up to? David Meredith tells you what our naive princess has been up to in her happily ever after in a life after marrying Prince Charming in this story based on the fairy tale by Grimm brothers. Hang in there because this is not just a mere extension of a fairy tale.

Snow White is not a princess anymore. She is a queen now. With her husband, King Charming dead and her daughter Raven’s wedding nearing, Queen Snow White is indifferent to everything is lost without her loving husband. In a bid to get out of the depression, the Queen decides to take a stroll in her own castle and absentmindedly ends up in her tormenting but dead stepmother Lady Arglist’s chamber. There she finds the famed Mirror on the Wall. Contrary to the popular belief, or our understanding from the original Snow White tale, the mirror is not an ally of the villain and is just a reflector of truth.

The mirror shows and tells Snow White what she has been denying for all those years and tries to make her see the light. It makes Snow White realise when and why she actually started hating her stepmother, the strength she had to brace against Lady Arglist’s abuses, the helpless determination to escape from her tormentor, how she was saved by her dwarves and her prince, how her husband made a lady out of a girl, how her husband helped her in the matters of court, how she had found the long lost courage to stand for herself in the absence of her husband against usurpers, love and devotion of her husband displayed vividly on the verge of her death and escape from it, and love and admiration of her Raven proven when King Charming dies unexpectedly. Through all this, the mirror makes Queen Snow White understand that she and her husband lived wonderful years together, she was perfectly capable of taking care of herself, her daughter and her kingdom, and she was no more and damsel in distress.

Through this story based on a fairy tale, the author David Meredith conveys the message that girls should stop acting damsel in distress and waiting for their Prince Charming, and instead should stand tall and charm their way to their life goals. This is a story worth reading because it tells you what happens after the mythical “happily-ever-after” and even Snow White had a life like us.

Barking Madness by Ryan Hill

Barking Madness by Ryan Hill

Review by Vijaya Raghava

Barking madness is quintessentially a young adult story that has romance, lust, jealousy, vengeance, werewolves, murder, thrill and its share of flaws.

The story is told from the point of view of its two main characters – Rose and Mike. Rose moves to a small town and is among the “hottest” girls in her school. Everyone in the school fantasizes about her. Mike also has a crush on her but is too shy to speak to girls. Within no time Rose meets a handsome hunk and falls in love with him. They go out partying and on one night they are attacked by a Werewolf. The hunk is killed while Rose, though bitten by the wolf, escapes death as Mike saves her just in time. Over the next few months a string of people close to Rose are killed. Further, the dead start speaking to Rose and haunt her. She is further haunted by a masked man whom she has never met. With each death, Rose slips deeper into a depression. Mike gets a few chances to get close to Rose and tries to help her with her issues even while dealing with his own problems. Do these deaths have anything to do with Rose and the Werewolf? Or are they just a figment of her imagination. Or is there something more to all this madness?

Most of the characters in the story are teenagers and you can relate to them. That said, you can’t help but think that a bit more effort could have been put into developing the lead characters as most of the story revolves around them. You find Rose sobbing through most part of the story and after a while you start wondering if she deserves to be the lead character. Most things fall in place for her because she is “hot”. There are not many dimensions to Mike’s character as well. The support characters seem convincing and they come and go as and when the plot requires.

The plot gathers pace slowly and explodes with gore with the first few murders and keeps the reader intrigued for a while. However, the middle chapters seem like a bit of a drag with too many repetitive events and offer very little in terms of freshness to the plot. The tempo picks up towards the climax and there is a new twist to the plot. The author tries to mix up things a bit towards the end but the end result seems a bit underwhelming and leaves many questions unanswered even if you factor in the revelations at the end.

I definitely feel that the book is a bit lenghty and can be condensed a bit. I wouldn’t mind recommending the book in its condensed form.

Cape May by Holly Caster

Cape May by Holly Caster

Review by Shwetha H S

When we hear about a love story, we usually think it must be of another romance novel with young beautiful people. We are so used to them that we never think that even older people can have love life. We seldom come across love stories which have senior citizens as protagonists. Luckily we have Cape May by Holly Caster. Absolutely no young or teenage characters in this book. Also this story has very few characters, so that you don’t get confused with one another.

So, what is the story about? It is about an elderly woman, Joanna Matthews, who is about to turn sixty and is not happy with her life. She has a steady job and a loving and supportive husband, Brian, but she feels unaccomplished. She plans on quitting her job to start a bed and breakfast, so she goes to Cape May in search of a good property to go ahead with her plan. Her normal and in-control life turns upside down when she meets Michael. What happens next? I am not telling any more.

Cape May is not your usual love story with raging hormones, raunchy making outs and mindless sex. This shows you what goes on in the lives of older people, the issues they face and their problems. You won’t feel even a little bit uneasy while reading this novel. You will fall in love with one of the characters for sure.

Pluviophile by Aarohi Brar

Review by Shwetha H S

Pluviophile is a love story that would make you cuddle. You know it is going to be what you are thinking on your mind, but how is the question that keeps you reading it till the end. This love story with quite a few twists and turns as well as a fitting title is a perfect read during this monsoon.

What is exceptional about this story is the way it is narrated; two people narrating their point of view of the same story without clashing with each other is not only unique, but also saves people from exaggerating on the other’s point of view. This kind of narration reminds me of Jhumpa Lahiri’s story of Hema and Kaushik in her book of short stories called Unaccustomed Earth. Another plus point is fewer characters; it doesn’t burden your brain to remember to many characters and what they do. The number of characters is so less that you can count them on your fingers.

The one and only thing that is bothering me about Juliet’s emotions depicted in this story is how she can get involved with Derek while she is newly widowed, still genuinely mourning the death of her beloved husband, find out who Derek is and again go back to mourning about her dead husband. Let’s just blame it on her vulnerable situation. Apart from this, every other character is relatable. Pluviophile won’t disappoint you.

The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald

Review by Shwetha H S

One of the famous novels of all time, The Great Gatsby perfectly depicts mankind’s need of pomp and show. It shows the bare and unravelled nature of human mind in the behaviour of each character. It also manages to convince the reader to question the priorities of love and prestige in their society. Narrator is a third person as well as he is in the story. It is a recount of a phase in his life. With very few characters, the story line is simple and is not confusing; no beating around the bush to extend the story. Though it is written in a different era, this story is still applicable in current time.