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Friday 30 June 2017

Book Review: Breathing Two Worlds by Ruchira Khanna

About the Book:

Neena Arya, a Delhi-born goes abroad for

further studies and decides to settle down there. Determined to be a 'somebody'
from a 'nobody' she blends with the Americans via the accent and their
mannerisms while having a live-in relationship with her European boyfriend,
Adan Somoza.
When illness hits home, Neena rushes to

meet her ailing dad. Tragedy strikes and amidst the mingling with relatives and
friends, she finds herself suffocated with the two different cultures that she
has been breathing since she moved to the United States. How will she strike a
balance between both the cultures as she continues to support her widowed
mother? Will she be able to do justice to her personal and professional life
after the loss?

Amidst the adjusting she bonds with an
ally and learns about ties beyond blood. On what grounds will she be able to
form an invisible thread that she has longed for since childhood?

Breathing Two Worlds ventures into
cultures and ethnicity allowing Neena to ponder upon her foundation and


Book Trailer: 

About the Author

Ruchira Khanna, a biochemist turned
writer, left her homeland of India to study in America, where she obtained her
Master’s degree in Biochemistry from SJSU and a degree in Technical Writing
from UC Berkeley.
After finishing her studies, Ruchira

worked as a biochemist at a Silicon Valley startup for five years. After the
birth of her son, Ruchira took a job as a technical writer, so that she could
work from home. Soon, she began doing freelance writing work as well.

Her love of writing grew and she started

working on her own books. After four years of freelancing, Ruchira published
her first book, a fiction novel for adults called Choices.

Then came the children’s book The

Adventures of Alex and Angelo: The Mystery of the Missing Iguana. She got a
thumb’s up review from Kirkus Reviews

In January 2016, she has published her

second fictional novel Voyagers into the Unknown. It talks about the quest for
happiness as the heavy hearted tourists travel miles from different parts of
the world to Raj Touristry in Agra, India. Return to their respective home with
a healed heart. This book talks about their journey!

In Breathing Two Worlds, Ruchira talks

about ethnicity and cultures, and helps to strike a balance via a fiction-drama
novel as her characters breathe two worlds.

In addition to writing books, she is a

holistic healer associated with Stanford Healing Partners and also maintains a
blog of daily mantras on Blogspot, called Abracabadra. Ruchira currently
resides in California with her family.


her on:
Website Blog

My Review (3.5/5)

The book had me at its idea. The metaphoric title seems just apt, and someone who relocates to another continent/country can very well relate to the conundrum. The story follows the journey of Neena Arya as she adapts to the professional lifestyle and embraces the work culture of a new culture while still keeping herself grounded to her roots.
This dilemma is as old as time, or at least time since travel was invented. But the point is the story was simple, lucid and easy. It is a quick read too, and the occasional quirks of India and the clashes of the culture are an entertaining element.
The millennial generation will have these lives over and over again, in different forms, so the story makes a whole lot of sense. The interactions between the family members of the protagonist and her boyfriend were warm and cordial, which was a welcome departure from the cliche.

At some point I may have thought that this theme has now been beaten to death and something more crispy is worth exploration, but the story, due to its simplicity, made me finish it till the end. If for nothing else, for the metaphor!

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Wednesday 7 June 2017

Book Review: Minced Bits by Maneevak

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Author's Ink Publications (2017)
  • Language: English

My Review: 

Precision is the order of the day. Brevity is a trait to be revered. Succinct descriptions and crisp endings are attractive to a reader pressed for time.
Haikus are all the rage.
It is the era of nano tales and micro tales and flash fiction.

And with that point in mind, as the book blurb says too, "In this fast paced world where no one seems to have time to read a book with a precious tale, here's an anthology of micro tales for all types of readers. In a few words these tales will feed your soul in the modern way.", the book acts like a Social media page on paper: A Terribly Tiny Tale, or a Scribbled Stories.

A lot of the micro tales have been laced with that wit that makes it endearing to the reader. For instance, the book begins and ends with these tales, respectively:

My mind suffered from indigestion, writing was the only antacid available for me. And thus began my pen, spilling ink...


And my pen pauses, the indigestion I talked about is cured. 

It is this sort of attention to words and thoughtful messages that make such a book worth reading. There are many tales that have a surprising twist, leaving the reader emotionally evoked.
That said, there are an equal number of stories that are predictable too. There's an equal number of witticisms that seem forced as there are the ones that appear fluid.
The best micro-tales are the ones that end in a cliffhanger. But even the ones with a natural conclusion are sweet and palatable.

She told everybody, except me, that she loved me 
I told everybody except her that I loved her.
Both spent sleepless nights thinking about each other,
Until a cupid helped us.

What makes this a good read, is the fact that after an overdose of this genre on social media, it was surprisingly refreshing to read this on paper.

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Kritika's bookshelf: read

Angels & Demons
The Story of My Life
The Hunger Games
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
A Tale of Two Cities
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
Sense and Sensibility
A Christmas Carol
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
The Time Machine
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
The Da Vinci Code

Kritika Narula's favorite books »


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