Review: It Must’ve Been Something He Wrote || Nikita Deshpande

Author : Nikita Deshpande
Genre : Contemporary Romance
No. of Pages : 272
Publisher : Hachette India
My Rating : ★★★★ / 5

synopsis

When obsessive book-lover (ahem, book snob) Amruta – Ruta – Adarkar arrives in Delhi to work as a marketing executive for Parker-Hailey’s Publishing, she learns that the world of books is not as cozy as she’d imagined. Her eccentric taskmaster of a boss expects marketing miracles to happen on shoestring budgets and in record time, and surviving the job (and the city) means she’ll have to master the local art of jugaad really fast. Worst of all, she’s stuck being a publicist for Jishnu Guha, protein-shake lover, serial selfie-taker, and bestselling author of seven cheesy romance novels, the kind she wouldn’t be caught dead reading.

As Ruta struggles between work and life in a new city, she finds, much to her annoyance, that she needs Jishnu’s help more than she cares to admit. But with her own parents getting a divorce, can Ruta dare to fall in love, especially with someone who’s so impossibly different?

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What drew me to this book was that it was set in the world of publishing, because which bookworm doesn’t like to read about something / anything related to the publishing world? Another was that the heroine is just the type I can relate to and like to read about: a clueless millennial struggling to make her mark in the world. Suffice to say I wasn’t disappointed. I got all of this and more. I loved the humour in this book; really, there was something to elicit a chuckle in every page. The writing style was so breezy and easy to follow. I loved how Ruta is not only a book-snob but also highly opinionated about EVERYTHING! #relatable 😀

Sample this quote here ↓ She’s taking a jab at a Marathi wedding ritual that lets the groom’s family rename the bride (wtf????? but really I’m not surprised at all considering how patriarchal most of our wedding rituals are *eyeroll*)

Because marriage in our culture is akin to buying a puppy at a pet shop and saying, “I am your new owner, and I shall call you Fluffy”

I enjoyed how Ruta’s personality shines through her interactions with her aunt, her best friend Jyo and her cousins. I love how hard she tried to make her cousin rethink her life decisions. She is idealistic, but not without flaws. Jish even calls her out on her bullshit once or twice.

Now, I’m not a big romance reader at all and I truly appreciated the minimal amount of romance in this book. Most of the fluff is in the latter part of the book and even my bottomless, black hole of a heart declared it cUTE!!😍

Based on the blurb, I imagined Jish to be more of an assholey, I-let-the-fame-get-to-my-head sort of person. But guess what!! yes well done, you guessed it. He wasn’t. Under his carefully made-for-camera personality, there’s this big-hearted, genuine fella. The kind of guy who would come without question if you called at 3 AM. I super-enjoyed the conversations between Jish and Ruta and how they help bring out the best in each other and in turn bring out the fuzzies in the readers!

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This was a quick and breezy read for most part and I don’t have complaints, except that the pacing seemed to lag a little once we’re two-thirds into the book. Or may be it just felt that way because Jish disappeared in that part of the book, I don’t know. 😅

I’d be lying if I said the book-snob in me didn’t ever-so-slightly cringe at the use of regional-accented English in some places, although I think it was done to show the reader the kind of language Jish employs in his books and how it explains their appeal ’cause so many people speak that way as well.

That brings me to my last point: there are some, not many, but some Hindi phrases used throughout the book and I would have liked a footnote with the meaning added wherever needed. Not that they were hard to understand, given the context but I don’t want to feel like I’m missing out on some inside joke every time there’s a Hindi phrase. This is not the first book I’m noticing this trend in – remember having the same problem with Glitter and Gloss (my review)

There’s an appeal to the authors and publishers: please include footnotes for any language other than English, just to be safe (not all of us know elvish OR Hindi😂) it would help capture a wider readerbase too.

Would ya look at that, I have rambled on too much as usual! Here’s a TL;DR: basically this was a cute, entertaining read and I definitely recommend. Look forward to more books from Nikita Deshpande!

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Do you like romance novels and to what degree? let me know! I’d say the romance in this book was my threshold, can’t handle more than that. 😂

~ Mathangi

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Review: Glitter and Gloss || Vibha Batra

Author : Vibha Batra
Genre : Contemporary Romance
No. of Pages : 184
Publisher : Bloomsbury India
My Rating : ★★★ out of 5

Synopsis :

Misha is a make up artist who, after a series of mishaps and twists and turns, falls madly in love with Akshay who reciprocates her love with ardour. The only hitch in this perfect romance is her prospective sister-in-law who thinks Misha is everything a Bahu shouldn’t be: garrulous, geeky, gawky, gainfully employed (especially the last bit). The questions is will Misha win Didi (and the Kha-Pee Panchayat) over with her Stepford Wife Act? Will she continue to be the poster child for the inherent evils of the Bahu Brigade? Or will she learn to ‘lau’ herself before the whole world and its wife can do the same?

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Misha, the protagonist of the book, could not have been more relatable. I’d call her the millennial-next-door: a self-deprecatingly funny, hyper person with self-esteem issues and struggling to carve her own niche in her professional life. I definitely saw a bit of myself in her. When she meets the charming Akshay, she definitely dreams of a whirlwind romance, but what she could not have dreamt of was dealing with his possessive and over-bearing elder sister. That’s the problem with Indian marriages: you gotta charm the pants off the entire family!

As if that isn’t bad enough, what does one to do when your would-be in-laws expect you to change your entire *self* in order to be accepted into their *honourable* family?
To Misha’s credit, she tries her hardest to dodge some bullets and take some head-on. What follows is a comedy of errors that is equal parts entertaining and engrossing.

I really liked that Misha’s professional side isn’t glossed over either: there is a lot of details on the kind of products she uses and I, a total make-up noob, found it informative.

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My only gripe was that the narrative was peppered with colloquial Hindi phrases which I could not follow, on account of not knowing the language. I get the feeling this book would have been a lot funnier to me had I understood all of that.
Annnnd as cute as Misha and Akshay’s romance was, it was all a bit too insta-lovey for my liking. I get why it was rushed through though, for Akshay was merely a third wheel in the action between didi and Misha. 😀

Glitter and Gloss is a refreshingly cute, hilarious read and I’d recommend this if you’re struggling with a reading slump; this book is guaranteed to pull you right out of it.

Thanks a tonne to the author for entrusting me with a copy of her book in exchange for an honest review. 🙂

Happy Reading!

~ Mathangi

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Review : The Hating Game || Sally Thorne

Author : Sally Thorne
Genre : Contemporary Romance
No. of Pages : 384
Publisher : HarperCollins

Synopsis : Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.

Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.


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As you may have gathered from the blurb, this book’s a rom-com based on the famous – dare I say overused – Hate To Love trope. I usually prefer my Rom-coms in the form of movies (just cause they don’t take too much time to finish), but I quite enjoyed reading The Hating Game!

Lucy “shortcake” Hutton and Josh “hunk” Templeman work in the same office as a result of a recent conglomeration of both their previously separate organisations.

Josh is your typical-made-in-the-laboratory-simmered-to-perfection-book-boyfriend-hero. And I say that in a nice way, okay? He’s ridiculously tall, in perfect shape, always brooding, a workaholic but also a big ol’ softie at heart.

Lucy is the exact opposite – very short, very cute and bubbly, likes to wear red lipstick and bright clothes. She smiles at everyone and is chipper all the time (I really don’t understand how she does that, btw)

The ray of sunshine Josh is, he inadvertently starts the ‘staring game’ when he doesn’t return Lucy’s bright smile during their first meet. He stares at everyone and basically never smiles. Lucy is baffled, also irritated and a little intrigued. She plays along, stares at him at every chance she gets. You could probably guess what happens next.

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Even though the whole book revolves around these two – Josh and Lucy – in their office setting, we get details about their parents and their background and stuff which made the characters seem well-rounded. We are told why Josh is the way he is and we get to hear about Lucy’s childhood and her zootopia parents (Ok Lucy’s parents have a strawberry farm, she’s an adored child who dreams big dreams and comes to the big city to pursue them – all this sounded very much like Judy Hopps from Zootopia, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head)

The base premise and the events that follow are pretty trope-y (like caring for the other person while sick, forced love triangle to induce jealousy etc) but the writing saved the book – at least for me. The writing is cute and sometimes cheek-hurting hilarious! There were many laugh out loud moments, sample this :

Josh : Want a phone book to sit on? How’d you get so small?

Lucy : I shrank in the wash

(I am so stealing that line!)

Lucy may seem like the happy-go-lucky cute heroine but she can be fierce when she wants to be, like the part where she defends Josh to his family when he couldn’t stand up for himself, that was pretty good.

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Josh and Lucy’s attraction to each other, for most part, was just physical. The whole book is just two extremely attractive people caught up in an ever-expanding bubble of sexual tension which threatens to explode at any moment now (but doesn’t until the very end; it’s a torturous slow-burn) Yes, they talked and stuff, they weren’t just making out all the time (there’s even cheesy/cute stuff like where he paints his walls the colour of Lucy’s eyes. Really. Her eye-color. SMH) Even then, from a reader’s PoV, I felt like their whole ‘relationship’ was built on pure physical attraction.

I keep mentioning the word ‘cute’ but be warned, the ‘cuteness’ can get a bit overwhelming sometimes.

I think we should have had at least a couple of chapters from Josh’s point of view, that was really lacking.

The cover. Did they really not see how uninspiring and insipid the cover design is? I don’t feel like reading the book when I see it. (Yes, I am judging the book by its cover, because let’s be honest, it’s what we do right?)

Despite all my criticisms, I am giving this 4 stars because this was very well done for a debut novel and I did enjoy reading The Hating Game. 🙂

My Rating : ★★★★ out of 5.

~ Mathangi.

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