Everything You Ever Wanted: Book Review and Giveaway

I like memoirs.

I like good storytelling.

I believe that folks who have adopted are pretty darn cool.

This book combines all of it. When I got the opportunity to review it and then host a giveaway, I didn’t hesitate! The last weekend has been very busy with travel, and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to finish the book, but I did!


Jillian Lauren’s third book: Everything You Ever Wanted is releasing today and I recommend it to everyone who is a book lover or a fan of good narration. Then of course, if you are a parent, then yes, you will nod your head at some places, and at some points you will commiserate with her trials and tribulations of parenting, and if you believe in second chances, then you will want to fight and root for her at parts.



The book: Everything You Ever Wanted  is a story about a mother. A college dropout, with a wild and colorful past, who believes and follows her passion of wanting to build a family, come what may. Battling infertility, and following the adoption route, Jillian takes us on a journey that is part tragicomedy and part endearing and part inspirational.

The author comes across as impetuous. The reading and the research are somehow not always internalized enough to make the wisest of decisions under the circumstances, but then again, that’s exactly why the book and the narration and her own character makes for interesting reading. We aren’t all perfect, not all the time, and once we accept that, the characters in nay book (fiction or memoir) are easier to accept, and to understand that people do what they do because they believe in it fair and square and they think that it would take them to a better place.

Adopted or not, a child is solely responsible on the parent, and the parent is solely responsible for all that the kid goes through. So there is inexplicable trauma, tribulations, hardships involved, and even if the child was a natural born, the dilemmas and the problems they are faced with cannot be any differently dealt with. At least I didn’t think so.

It is a hard story but it’s a good read, if that made any sense.

It is not also one of those “happy endings” kind, it’s an ending that has a whole bunch of dots. Things will continue, and they will deal with it as best as they can, and that’s what families do. They deal with whatever comes their way, together.



I do have a free copy of the book to giveaway, so drop me a note in the comments with maybe a Goodreads profile or your own blog review space and one of you lucky ones could get it!

I got a free copy of the book to review.

Unaccustomed Earth {review}

Crossposted here on Goodreads


I loved the short story collection, as evident by my updates (scroll below)

The catch is, her setting never changes. It’s the Bnegalis, the immigrants and the issues and mostly melancholic and sad undertones. It is entirely because of that undertone, that her stories are a miss and hit with readers. It’s the current psyche of the reader that decides if the book works or not. I am reading this the second time, and only a vague recollection of her stories came back to me as I re-read it.

Good stories stay with you. The plot, the characters and the story.
Good writing on the other hand leaves u satiated at that moment and then we are hungry for more.

Her writing is like that. It’s wonderful reading, occasionally verbose than necessary to set the stage, the descriptions and then the character sketching and giving it ground, and they are all important in context. However, even if this was the only book I read continuously, without breaks, I can’t for the life of me remember clearly what her first few stories were. (and I most certainly do not think am old or losing it!)

It’s the journey of story telling that she is good at, and that is nothing to be frowned or looked down upon. She is a good story teller more than the story as such,. and for that, she deserves good credit.

Like most others, I do wish she tries and gets outside of her niche for Bengali characters and stories, and explores emotions and human relationships in other situations and cultures.

The story that stuck with me was of course Hema and Kaushik, for a few personal reasons and also because it was nicely done, the 3 parts, the narration, the ending nd the picking up and the characters which were real and relatable.

Nobody’s Business: was just sad. We’ve known many a fine girl throw herself away at jerks and your heart goes out to Sang and to the narrator.

Only Goodness: was good. I liked how the older sister bore the brunt of the family and the pain of seeing a sibling waste away, and the helplessness of it all. It was an unfortunate ending, but families have a way of falling apart and it was foreseeable, even when folks don’t get that second and third chance.

Choice of Accommodations: now this one wasn’t sketched out that clear. The ending was fuzzy. I am not sure what conclusions could be drawn or where the story was heading in the heads, and some parts were strange and out of character. I couldn’t quite place it.

Hell-Heaven: Now this – this was a good one. It’s easy to see how the story could go where it did. The falling in love with a younger man, to be completely enamored becos life married to a simple, quiet pedantic husband was well,boring. Yes, I could see that happen and such stories do not have happy endings, just a series of dots..

Unaccustomed Earth: I could again see this story. About life, the new leases, the freedom of untethered second chances and the daughter knowing it all and the succinct relief of it all.

Her words and some phrases jump at you.
Most books, stories and words appeal to the reader when one can relate to it.

For now, this read was good for me.




Joyland by Stephen King {Review}

Joyland Book Cover

Review also posted on Goodreads here.


I liked it! I’d actually give it a 3.5. It wasn’t the usual Stephen King thriller though.

It was on occasion an introspective read, written in first person by this young boy who is finding himself in the summer of his Freshman year of college. The story is set in 1974 and it reads well, with trajectories zipping into the present (1990s) and back, trying to connect parts of the stories together, the puzzles.
It took a good 100 pages for the thriller part to sink in. But then the character sketches, the settings and the description of the North Carolina carnival grounds etc took a bit of time to draw and in retrospect it wasn’t too bad a length.

It’s a story about Devin, in his words on how he lost his girlfriend, throwing himself into a hard job that was obviously way more brunch work and physical than what eh deserved. He reads Tolkein, and writes, and edits and we know this through his short statements and how he spends his time away from work. He opens his mind up to learn to forget the tragic loss of his first love, how he makes new friends (for life) with other summer workers, how he earns his way to be become the trusted and favorite worker to his bosses, to the kind of person he is at that age, the maturity and the good heartedness with which eh saves the little girl and how he befriends Mike, and his mother Annie.

Loved the characters more than the actual thriller part. It isn’t his usual bone-chilling scary thing at all, not by a long shot. Great character sketches, vivid storytelling and imagery.

The last 75 pages ran like the wind!

Between The Headlines {review}

Between The HeadlinesBetween The Headlines by Shweta Ganesh Kumar

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

‘Between the headlines’ is an easy simple read. Despite the machinations of the plot, the diverse swinging emotions and the turns the story takes, the author, Shweta Ganesh Kumar has kept the narration going at a pace that’s comfortable, easy to follow and engaging.

The story is that of Sathyabhama, a young aspiring journalist who as any other aspiring career driven youngster goes through the difficulties of realizing the realities of their dreams. She comes into town full of idealistic views on creating a niche for herself, but instead gets rebuffed at different times, which in turn helps her grow. She learns her way around, some by destiny and some by sheer hard work and by failing and trying again, and we find ourselves rooting for her as the story goes along.

The author touches upon drama, emotions and situations in life without stressing too much on any and yet covering each enough to impact the story well. There is romance with her lost-childhood friend, jealous colleague, the unfair higher boss, the understanding immediate superior, the supporting cameramen and more who would groom her through the time.

What particularly fascinated me was the behind the scenes (and much close to the truth as one can get, I’d imagine) take on the TV industry. The ruthlessness with which stories were cut, framed and tweaked to satisfy the ratings and the popular big wigs, both shocked and made sense to me. It was a sad reality that I was introduced to and I hated the situation for what it became to be. There were parts that rung autobiographical, and on going back and reading the blurb on the author, it seemed to all fit in :-)

To me, it was a simple, hard to put down, page-turner. Something that very few Indian authors have managed to bring about. There are colloquial Kannada words, the setting and language is Indian style, something that will take a chapter or two to get used to (only because I have lost touch with reading Indian authors) but it meshes well together.

Shewtha Ganesh is also on Goodreads and blogs here”.

A short quick shoutout to her and the publisher for being gracious enough to mail me a copy of the book across the seven seas for my reading pleasure and review. This review has been long overdue and I have to blame the kids, the husband and my own cranky love affair with fitness and I know am vindicated!
Do grab a copy and read. It’s not your usual cup of tea!

View all my reviews