Saturday, August 31, 2013

Review: First You Plz by Nisha B Thakur

Some stories are best left incomplete. This is true in case of many love stories. It depends upon the choices you make or the decisions you take while you undergo this lovely experience. Author Nisha B Thakur in her debut book "First You Plz" tries to capture one such love story through the eyes of Avanti. So is this love story different from the others? Let's find out.

First You Plz is a tale of immature girl, Avanti. It is a story of her struggle as she deals with worries of first love. Her journey from realization of the sweet feeling she experiences these days is called Love- her First Love. It is a tale of her secretly nurtured dream and her silent prayer that he will propose her in a very romantic way. It is a tale of her desire that she wants him to say those three magical words to her first.Although he hasn't shown much interest in her. Still in her heart she keeps on praying, first you plz…It is Avanti’s journey of ups and downs of her first love and how she exhibits immaturity as she deals with anxieties of her first love.

First look at the title and you get to know that it's talking about a love story. It's one of those modern day titles which tries to attract the readers. The cover image though there is none but there is a boy proposing a girl which makes the theme of the book a lot clearer. The cover could have been much better. The blurb talks about a girl and her first love experiences. It's a good blurb and can be easily related to the title of the book. 

The story revolves around Avanti as she sets out from her house to pursue management degree along with her best friends Meenakshi & Rachna. There she falls in love at the first sight with Aakash. After that it becomes a one sided affair as she comes to know of Aakash's relationship with the other girl. But she becomes obsessed about him and in order to gain his attention tries a lot of ideas in order to make Aakash the love of her life. It's a series of misunderstandings, unspoken nothings and understanding and ultimately time will tell whether Avanti gets her first love or not. 

The story is a breezy affair with small chapters. It captures the essence of friendship, jealousy and one sided love very beautifully. The chirpiness of the girls is evident all throughout the book. The immaturity in Avanti's character is one plus to look out for in the book. 

The downside of the book is the story which is pretty straightforward and not much to offer in terms of details. The book feels incomplete most of the times as things happen too quickly and out of the blues. The end is a dull one to the story. It's the same old college romance in the making with the whole story revolving around only 4 characters. Friends have got too much importance over the main protagonist Aakash which shadows Aakash character quite a lot of times in the book. 

The book will disappoint readers even though it's a love story as it's not any different from the plethora of books which are present in the market today. The story lacks that wow factor needed to entice the audience in picking up and reading a book. 


2 OUT OF 5. 

P.S: I thank "Infinite Literary Authors" for providing me a review copy of the book. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Review: Whisper Of The Worms by Marcardian

Many people have suffered injustice at one point of time in their lives. Some of them have been made scapegoat just to make way for the corrupt ones. Those who have sacrificed themselves have led a life of struggle. Author Marcardian in his book "Whisper of the Worms" brings out a tale of one such injustice and the inside of the banking industry. So does it live up to the expectations? Let's find out. 

A crow eyed peep in to the backyard of a banking organization.
An unusual portrayal of the life and times of an ordinary mortal and his subdued fight for survival.
A moving story of the commercialized people in an imaginary country called Marcardia, portrayed through their psyche and polity, makes one think, laugh, and get emotionally choked...
Listen to the Whisper of the worms to hear the muffed wail of the humans on the run, lured by the carrot, forced by the stick..... 

First look at the title and you'll get a feel that you are about to undertake a journey in to the world of worms or something like that. But it's not the way it looks. The title is deceptive. The cover image too points out at the same but it again has the deceptiveness. The blurb is a contrast of what the title and the image suggests. It talks about a peek into the banking industry. The blurb is good but the title and cover image could have been different. It won't make the reader feel connected. 

The story is about Thobais Mathai who stays in USA and has been detected with cancer and he wants to hide it from him family members and others too. He wants to go back to his country and meet his old mother and relive his childhood once again before his time is up on this planet. But he is in for a shock when he lands in Marcardia when his passport is seized and a pending case comes in to the light which has been filed by his previous company "Smile Bank" where he was employed 20 years. He tries to decipher the puzzling story and write off the false allegations against him. But is he really innocent or has he been made the scapegoat for his hard work and diligence? That is the story all about. 

The story is emotional, it touches your heart. It's slow in pace and narration. The author has created a beautiful imaginary world and a corporate set up and a scandal which goes way too deep beyond anybody's imagination. The book is deceptive right from the start. till the end. It's not a breezy story at all and readers have to spend a lot of time in grasping a lot of information about what goes in the banking industry. The reality and the face of the banking industry has been portrayed very well. It's not predictable which is a plus point of the story. 

The downside in the story is it's title and cover image which doesn't suits the story at all. Only the last few pages towards the end can be related to it which simply won't make any sense at all. The book goes in to a sleep mode quite often with too many imaginary places and long conversations with people.  The end of the book could have been better. 

Overall it's a good representation of the injustice which one undergoes in the banking industry. But the book is not an easy read and very slow with it's pace and build up which might not turn off many. Patience is the key to read this book or else it'll churn out every bit of your mind. Banking industry people can relate to the book easily. 


3 OUT OF 5.

The book was received as part of the "Reviewers Programme" on "The Tales Pensieve".

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Review: The Disappearance of Tejas Sharma and Other Hauntings by Manish Mahajan

Horror is a genre which can make even bravest of the men look like a fool. Forces which are at work called ghosts though don't have a physical existence but spiritually they are powerful enough to stir up a human being to give shudders and unnerving thoughts. Author Manish Mahajan in his debut book "The Disappearance of Tejas Sharma and other Hauntings" has penned down an anthology of horror stories in order to catch the attention of the reader. So are the stories scary enough? Let's find out. 

The Disappearance of Tejas Sharma and Other Hauntings is an anthology of a dozen ghost stories set in India, meant for an audience with a penchant for the supernatural. The steps spiraled down into the pitch darkness of the wells gaping mouth. He could see the reflection of the moon as his iris adjusted to the dim milky illumination inside. Step by step, he climbed down the well holding on to its lichen-laden, cold stone wall with his hands. He was only halfway down when he heard the sound he had dreaded the most-of ripples on water. Something meant to come out of the water. Slowly, very slowly, a figure in the shape of a woman emerged from the water...

First look at the cover and title and you are in for a treat. The title is scary, the cover image enough to give shudders in the night and the background effect is an icing on the cake. It's not for the weak hearts. The blurb doesn't talks much except for giving out the most important detail that it's an anthology and an excerpt from the book. In order to keep the suspense and thrill to the maximum the blurb will suffice the needs of the reader. 

It's an anthology of 12 ghost stories in all and all of them are from India and from various places. Each story tries to entice the reader in to a confusion, dilemma and fears of what going to happen next. I'll give a brief review of each of the stories. 

Story No. 1: 

It's the most unusual story of the book with a very powerful ghostly presence in the form of a tree and an equally effective narration. It is not a lengthy story but has enough to stir up human emotions for quite sometime. 

Story No. 2: 

This is one of the stories which will leave the readers dazed and confused towards the end. It'll look all normal until the main suspense is unraveled and readers might be all confused for a moment or two after reading it. It's a very good ghost story. 

Story No. 3: 

It's related to a real life event and will revive the inner fears of a man towards something abandoned and put to use again. It's quite predictable and can be related easily to many other stories but it has good narration to instill fear in the reader's mind. 

Story No. 4:

This story has a lot of similarity with Edgar Allan Poe's movie "The Raven" where the imagination of ghost story writer will come true and events around him will happen in the exact sequence. It might not be able to catch the reader's attention entirely. But there's a catch in the end which is enough to make it spooky. 

Story No. 5: 

This is one of the best story of the entire lot. The mystery behind the photograph and how it gets solved ultimately or remains unsolved is the best part about the story. It's eerie enough to work up any human being. 

Story No. 6:

This story is quite confusing and it fails to generate a charm with it's plot. 

Story No. 7:

One of the most unusual ones in the book. This one simply will confuse the readers with it's title and then the events happening in the story will leave you mesmerized with it's spot on ghost presence and witty narration. It's one of the longer stories in the book. 

Story No. 8: 

This story starts off from a typical graveyard scene but what happens while reading through it is difficult to grasp and catch easily. Readers might not be able to catch the exact idea in one go that what makes it interesting. 

Story No. 9:

This story is also the title of the book and one the most confusing ones in the entire book. It might not make any sense but there's a hint of strong deliverance of the plight of a helpless man which makes it more enticing with each and every word. It leaves a question mark in the mind of the readers which is a positive sign for a ghost story. 

Story No. 10: 

It's a story which is based on a deja vu kind of an effect. It's confusing but it's not that powerful enough to spark a great deal of interest among the readers. 

Story No. 11: 

When sometimes you try to get to the bottom of a unsolved mystery it leaves frustration and helplessness in your mind. This is what this story is all about. It starts from the present and goes back into the past where it showcases the power of a ghost who is out to take revenge of their sufferings. It's horrific and it's unbelievable too. 

Story No. 12:

The old time setup of the story, the myths and the legends of a haunted place and old ghost tale and an adventure from the present which goes horribly wrong and calls for the falling of a cruel and justice for the poor is the best out of all the stories. It's powerful deliverance with words and an equally gripping and gut wrenching drama and revenge is the perfect recipe and a befitting end to the anthology. 

It's a perfect package to satiate the hunger pangs of a horror fanatic and enough to send chills down the spine of a new timer. It has all the depth and strength be it's narration , plot and the title to make the readers dance to it's tunes. Beware as you don't know what might creep up next in the book. Expect the unexpected with the turn of each page. 


4 OUT OF 5.  

P.S: I thank "Infinite Literary Authors" for providing me a review copy of the book.  

Review: Lady You're Not A Man by Apurva Purohit

Motivational & Inspirational books are available everywhere in the market today. But something to motivate women is a rarity. A few days back I went through one of them. Now here again we have something for the women to cherish about. Author Apurva Purohit in her book "Lady You're Not A Man" tries to take the women for a ride of their lives. So is she successful in putting through the right message? Let's find out. 

Todays woman wants to make a success of both family and career and is unwilling to compromise on either. But the burden of coping with deadlines, recalcitrant children, lazy husbands, difficult bosses and equally difficult in-laws can be daunting, even overwhelming. In this book, Apurva Purohit, CEO of Radio City 91.1 FM, shows how women can accept, adapt and achieve their way to the highest rung in every arena. Through real-life stories and funny anecdotes, she provides pithy tips on a multitude of topics: from training husbands to training interns, from the right attitude to getting it right with kids, from dealing with household crises to office emergencies, from building a reputation to paving ones way to the top. Warm, witty and empathetic, Lady, Youre Not a Man! is a must-read for every woman on the quest for work-home balance and determined to succeed in her career and live a happy and fulfilling life.

First look at the cover and title and it's assured that women are going to love the book. The cover image has been designed very well with different facets of a woman depicted to perfection. The blurb gives ample hints that it's going to be a paradise for working women. An eye opener. It has been narrated by the author from her own vast pool of experience. The blurb is more than enough to go with the theme and the title of the book. 

The story. It's not a story. It's about women, their experiences, life and their professional fronts and how to handle and manage it in adverse times. The author has gone great lengths in describing the entire ordeal with a fluid narration and an impeccable ease. The beauty of the book lies in the examples generated out of everyday life of a person. Each chapter is a pure bliss to read. It's not only for women. There are a few things for the opposite gender to read and get their facts updated. It's a book which will help change a lot of perceptions among women and men both. 

There are no downsides in the book. Faults are hard to find in it. 

It's a pleasure experience to go through a life of a working woman and relate it to real life. It's a book made for women who want to live and lead life queen size. It's accurate and right till the end there ain't a single minute a reader who won't enjoy the book to the core. The book is for the masses and all types of classes to enjoy. It's enough to motivate a woman to relive the best moments of her life to the fullest. It's not hard to understand. All the thoughts and points are within your grasp and creates a wave of excitement when a reader goes through it. 

The book comes with a very good message with it: 

It's all in your hands. You either grab the opportunity and carve out a beautiful future or forfeit and sit back and repent later at the loss. 


5 OUT OF 5. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Review: Stilettos In The Newsroom by Rashmi Kumar

I as a reader has not come across books which talk about professions on a great length or a book which is entirely dedicated on showcasing the bright and dark sides of a profession. Author Rashmi Kumar in her book "Stilettos In The Newsroom" has tried to showcase the various aspects of press and newsrooms and put together a story for the same. So has she nailed it to perfection or the book falters? Let's find out. 

A racy and lively account of a bubbly 28-year-old journalist Stilettos in the Newsroom unravels itself through the eyes of Radhika Kanetkar right from the time she took her first step into the newsroom, got her first story, made bloopers and handled pressures to meet deadlines. In the midst of all this, Radhika experiences a journey of triumph, anguish, jealousy and of course finds her true love Sameer.

A very shiny and a girlish feel to the cover and the title makes it little odd for the opposite gender to pick up the book in the first glance. But as the book's blurb speaks about journalism & newsrooms and press field so the title and the cover gel well with the theme of the book. It gives a corporate feel to it with both the title and the cover image. The blurb is probably the shortest a reader can ever come across but gives enough hints about the story when it talks about Radhika Kanetkar & her professional and personal life. A line or two more would have done wonders to the blurb. 

The story is about Radhika Kanetkar and her first hand experience in the field of journalism. The picture as presented is not rosy and she has to fight her way out of work pressure, jealousy, bossy attitude, mistakes and an ability to commit blunders and break down emotionally most of the times. She hits off well with Sameer & Rajat in a chance meeting and then from there on it's no hold barred when it comes to love as she slogs her way out at work front and takes decisions for herself which don't go down too well with others. So does all the changes work for her at the professional front or she succumbs and fizzles out with time and what happens to her love story? This is what it's all about in the book. 

The story is very light, entertaining and the professional drama unfolding in the office and narrated through Radhika's eyes is wonderful to read. Her rise to success and her not so easy journey is sure to watch out for in the book. The rules written at the end of each chapter can be applied to various places in real life too. It gives a fair bit of glimpse as to what goes on in a newsroom and what it's all about in a press arena. The narration and editing are top notch with no errors at all. 

The downside of the book is the love story which becomes stagnant at one point of time in the book. Either it should have been given a fair bit of coverage in the book or could have been skipped all together. A chapter in particular i.e no. 25 feels absolutely out of place and could have been placed in the last. The depths required to explore a profession at it's fullest lacks too at times. 

Though the book lacks an extensive insight about press and it's aspects but the witty and humorous way to present it works in the favor of the book. It's a readable story because of it's quickness and covering the tiniest details of a profession in a fun manner. It might lack the depth but it certainly makes up for it with the easy going plot and a different theme of the book.


3 OUT OF 5. 

Review: Trapped In Love Again by Yogesh Achtani

Unusual is a word I have used quite a few times in my book reviews. Some books tend to do that to you. Even though the expression is repetitive but the idea gets different every time. Author Yogesh Achtani in his debut book " Trapped In Love Again" will take the readers through an unusual journey of love and sacrifices and friendship. What's in store for the readers let's try to find out. 

Miserable and dejected, Sameer lights up a cigarette despite Arnav's warning about the ill effects of smoking including impotency. He just wants to blow his worries in smoke. Who's bothered of impotency when you can't even manage to get a girlfriend? Arnav alias Mac is a 'happy go lucky guy' pursuing his graduation in Pune. Fresh into college, he feels a splurge of energy gushing through him on seeing the free life. With emotions running high, Cupid strikes the very first day of college and for Arnav, it's love at first sight with Sally. Despite hitting off well from day one, their relationship isn't a smooth ride. Trapped in Love, Arnav finds himself in lurch after being ditched by Sally and finds succor in his new friends, Sameer, Atul and Ronit. Sameer has a penchant for Sally's friend Aspree but just like Arnav's case, it's a one sided affair. Thus just as him, his new friends too are a bunch of losers in the field of love. All their attempts to woo their beloveds fail in quick succession. The turning point comes when they embark upon a social service camp to a village under the aegis of NSS. Now what would be their future plan? Would they continue to woo their beloveds or would they work for a social cause for the village? Will Arnav's one sided love story continue, or he would be Trapped in Love Again.

First look at the cover and it'll give the readers the feel of a typical modern day love story with an attractive title, bright colors and a funny cover image. The blurb talks about few people and the turning points in their lives and what all happens in the entire journey with clarity. The blurb holds up to the expectations and in respect to the title and theme of the story.

The story revolves around a young group of boys and girls namely Arnav, Ronit, Sameer, Atul & Aspree, Smita & Sally. Love strikes on the very first day as Arnav falls for Sally's beauty and from there on a love story starts to gather momentum but with a few speed breakers in the process. Few misunderstandings lead to an end of their love and from there on a NSS camp is arranged for the students and the boys try too woo back their love. But fate has something else in store for them as Arnav falls in love once again but this time it's Kiran and others too fell in a proper line and clean up their act in the process. But is the end result in their favor? This is what the story is all about. 

It's a fluent story. It has love, misunderstandings, sensitivity, friendship, naughtiness & not to forget desperation of the young souls. The book has more to it than meets the eye. The first half is a usual college love story but later on the story changes track but still holding the love angle and moving along smoothly. Characters, their visualization and the sensitive village matters have been sketched to perfection. Love too is not lost as the story moves into a serious zone in the second half of the book. 

The downside is the first half where it might not be able to spark much interest as there is not much difference in the plot of the story compared to the other books. Few words had to be taken care of properly like Maushi & Advisees. It's Mausi & Adivasi. 

The book is a clean and a clear attempt to portray love and it's course and some real life problems too which haunt few parts of our country with a different touch to it. It's light on reading but it's heavy on sensitivity of the subject and makes the readers move along with it very well till the end. It's a story with lots to offer. 

One thing this book highlights the best is: 

"Love knows no age, caste or any other barrier. If it is bound to happen and blossom between two people, it will for sure. No force on earth can act as a roadblock in it."


3 OUT OF 5.  

Monday, August 26, 2013

Review: Those Pricey Thakur Girls by Anuja Chauhan

Contemporary novels are not a common sight nowadays in book stores. They have a different kind of a feel and appeal to them. It's not like a regular romantic story or a college type love story. Author Anuja Chauhan in her third novel "Those Price Thakur Girls" tries to sketch a story based on an old type of a setup. So is she successful in her latest venture? Let's try to figure it out. 

In a sprawling bungalow on New Delhis posh Hailey Road, Justice Laxmi Narayan Thakur and his wife Mamta spend their days watching anxiously over their five beautiful (but troublesome) alphabetically named daughters.
Anjini, married but an incorrigible flirt; Binodini, very worried about her childrens hissa in the family property; Chandrakanta, who eloped with a foreigner on the eve of her wedding; Eshwari, who is just a little too popular at Modern School, Barakhamba Road; and the Judges favourite (though fathers shouldnt have favourites): the quietly fiery Debjani, champion of all the stray animals on Hailey Road, who reads the English news on DD and clashes constantly with crusading journalist Dylan Singh Shekhawat, he of shining professional credentials but tarnished personal reputation, crushingly dismissive of her state-sponsored propaganda, but always seeking her out with half-sarcastic, half-intrigued dark eyes. 
Spot-on funny and toe-curlingly sexy, Those Pricey Thakur Girls is rom-com specialist Anuja Chauhan writing at her sparkling best. 

 First look at the cover and title and the reader will be absolutely mesmerized by it's premium feel. A modern girl with a grumpy cat are part of the cover image which go hand in hand with the title to perfection. The blurb talks about a judge, his wife and his 5 daughters and about Shekhawat's too. Not much has been let out for the people to imagine in the blurb. It's a good ploy to conceal the actual taste of the story. It works in the favor of the book. 

The story revolves around Justice L.N Thakur, his wife Mamta and their 5 troublesome daughters named alphabetically. Each one of them having a story of their own. The story primarily focuses on Debjani, Thakur Saheb's 4th daughter who is undergoing a dosh according to astrology and suddenly grabs a lot of attention with her stint with a leading news channel. Shekhwats are very close friend of the Thakur's and surprisingly are a mixed breed of Christians & Rajputs and their eldest son Dylan Singh Shekhawat is primarily smittem by Debjani and her antics. It's an unusual love story between the two young guns targeting each other's lives and putting on line their careers. What will they achieve out of this in the end is to be found out in the story. 

The contemporary setup, the premium Delhi feel, rich and demanding and snobbish girls, concerned and open minded parents, equally important friend circle, a love story, some career problems and attitude problems are the main central idea of the story. This is where it scores heavily. The characters, their plights, fears, concerns and drama in a humorous manner are the positives of the book. Be it Debjani's attitude, or an every crying Chachi Ji, strict Judge Saheb, young Eshwari, Dylan's advances they all are a primary ingredient in making the entire plot quite different from what the readers usually see in the books. The choice of words and narration make it an absorbing story. The arguments, conversations and confusions and old school romance are a thing to watch out for in the entire story. The story gets quite intense and the anti-Sikh agenda has been handled well in the story. 

The loose ends in the story involve the first 100 odd pages which are spent in nothing at all. The story's pace is a cause of concern most of the times and it wavers quite a lot of times from Debjani to Eshwari which makes it lose the charm. The anti-Sikh towards the end eclipses Dylan & Debjani's love story. The chapter length should have been kept shorter keeping in mind the story's intensity. Humor a promised element is scarce in the story. 

Readers can read the book for it's old school romance feel, a different and absorbing narration style and a touch of class and arrogance in the characters which makes the title apt for the story. It might give a dragged feeling at times but it hold on well towards the end and makes up for all the slowness at the start of the story. It's not an easy book to go through but if read carefully it can make your money worth too. 


3 OUT OF 5. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Review: Sale of Souls by Vidyadhara

Not many books are found in the bookstores highlighting issues related to people. Many powerful resources over the time have tried to use brute and force to tilt the odds in their favor. A lot of innocent lives have been consumed in the struggle too. Author Vidyadhara in his novel "Sale of Souls" brings to light a very important issue which has now become a mass problem for many residing in rural areas. So has the author done justice to the entire problem? Let's find out. 

Sale of Souls is a remarkable love story of two village youngsters in the backdrop of land acquisition where the gullible villagers are fighting to retain the ancestral village. Roshni, a young advocate, joins the poor villagers to fight the powerful lobby of industrialists and politicians. Samar trying for a peaceful solution to all the issues in the village with his approach of 'sustainable development' finds himself in love with his junior. The story is set in a remote village on the coast of Canara, known for its beautiful environment and bio-diversity, which is earmarked for land acquisition. The story revolves around the sensitive issue of conflict of the poverty vs. development vs. the environment.

First look at the cover and the title and the readers expectations will be a notch higher from the book. A perfect title for a serious issue and the cover image depicting the same in the background to perfection. The blurb is short and sweet highlighting issues like land acquisition and a love story too. The blurb could have been a little more clearer and the main issue could have been projected a lot better in the blurb. 

The story starts from a small village Alige where Samar a professor in Govt. Arts & Science college Marwar comes back home to find out that the government has decided to acquire their land for an industrial project and snatch away the only source of means and livelihood of the poor people by uprooting them from their roots citing it as the beneficial for the villagers. Samar along with Roshni an advocate and Roshni's father launch a massive movement in order to stop the injustice against them. It's a hard and long battle in order to gain their freedom from the clutches of some power hungry people and tyranny of the government. Will they be successful in it. That is the story all about. 

A powerful theme, an effective title and perfect presentation of the plight of the villagers using land acquisition as a medium. The central theme of the story is land acquisition and all the injustice happening because of it. The issues regarding the land acquisition have been highlighted to perfection. Non cooperation of govt. officials, helpless people, money minded businessmen and corrupt politicians are the flavor in the entire story. Fluid narration and a sudden turn of events keep the readers interested all the time. 

The downside of the story is it's tagline and blurb. When the entire book is based on land acquisition and the other problems love story angle wasn't required. Love story is a non existent factor in the story except for a few glimpses of it. The tagline misleads and rather it's inappropriate to term it as a love story. A epilogue could have done justice to the book. The story went nowhere in the second half where Aloma's part suddenly cropped out of nowhere. The end of the book could have been handled in a better manner. 

A book which is good in presentation, highlights an issue very well  and handles the sensitive topic to perfection. Perhaps deeming it as a love story is a major mistake committed. It could have worked wonders sans a love story angle too. Read the book for it's realism and connection of the events to the reality. 


3 OUT OF 5. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Review: The Homing Pigeons by Sid Bahri

Romance always has a unique element to it. Either it makes you or it breaks you. Some love stories are there to be lived forever while some just fizzle out with time. Author Sid Bahri in his debut novel "The Homing Pigeons" has tried his hand out in narrating one such love story. So is this love story strong enough to engage the readers? Let's find out. 

In the middle of the catastrophic 2008 recession, Aditya, a jobless, penniless man meets an attractive stranger in a bar. Little does he know that his life will change forever.
When Radhika, a young, rich widow, marries off her stepdaughter, little does she know that the freedom she has yearned for is not exactly how she had envisioned it.
They say homing pigeons always come back to their mate, no matter where you leave them on the face of this earth. The Homing Pigeons is the story of love between these two unsuspecting characters as it is of lust, greed, separations, prejudices and crumbling spines.

One look at the title and you'll fall in love with it's uniqueness. The cover image with a lot of pigeons flying in different directions gives a peaceful element to it. The author scores positive marks in terms of cover and title. The blurb talks about two people and their lives which are intertwined some way or the other. The blurb is not a sparkling one but it's decent enough to engage a reader. 

The story has two parallel plots in it. It talks about two people and their lives at the same time. Aditya & Radhika. Aditya a man who has just lost his job, has an unconcerned wife and a pathetic life. Radhika who keeps aside all her values and marries off a rich man only to find herself unsatisfied and thoughts of her past clouting her mind all the time. Both of them have a past. A past in which they were together and then were torn apart. So what is their fate and destiny in the end? Whether they'll be able to get back together again. That's what it is all about. 

Plain, simple and a fluid narration. Two parallel plots running from future in to the past through out the book is commendable. It's the thought process of both the protagonist which is very striking. Their love for each other, the differences, their lives without each other and then their destiny's role in shaping their lives is the central and a very engaging theme of the book. The story is like the calm before a major event or catastrophe. There's prolonged silence before the sudden burst of emotions which again captures the entire scenario beautifully. The title can be very well related to the lives of the protagonists at the end of the book. 

The downside of the book is it's predictable. Recession as a backdrop could have been toned down to an extent. It takes up a lot of part in the book and the past thought process too which makes it dull at times. 

The story with an unique title and a roller coaster love story with a struggling present and a bleak future sets the tone for a very fine readable book. It's high on emotions, desperation, helplessness, love and life's endless woes. It's slow, it's easy to read in one single motion but it'll take time to settle down on your nerves. It has to be enjoyed slowly but surely. 

It'll be apt to seal off the review with a quote:

"There is no love without a length and breadth of struggle for it." 


4 OUT OF 5. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Review: The Virgins by Siddharth Tripathi

There ain't many books which talk about urban life of a particular city. Most of the novels contain glimpses of a certain city. Author Siddharth Tripathi in his debut novel "The Virgins" has tried to highlight a certain city and what all happens in it. So has he been successful in doing that? Let's check it out. 

How does one become a man?Three young boys are about to find out.
With six unmarried sisters and a perennially drunk father, Pinku, a 19-year-old school dropout, has only one dream left to marry the plump girl who caught him stealing flowerpots. His friend and confidant, 17-year-old Bhandu, is not faring any better his parents are divorcing, his father has abandoned him, and the American tourist he is infatuated with doesnt even know that he exists. Bhandu and Pinku seek solace in the distracting shenanigans of their friend Guggi a pampered rich brat who can do anything for a thrill. Guggis reckless hedonism lands the threesome in a series of sexpot escapades each adventure weirder than the one before.
But their seemingly innocuous joyride is about to end.
With their Class 12 exams around the corner, Guggi, restless to leave a mark, takes over the schools notorious protection racket in a violent coup. The fallout drags the trio into a murky world of heartbreak, betrayal and bloody vengeance...

  • Funny, action packed and tragicomic coming-of-age story about three friends who live in Varanasi
  • Easy-to-read, fast paced writing
  • Strong backdrop of Uttar Pradeshs student mafia and protection racket

The cover page of the book is funny with three different people and a sentence each dedicated to them. The title is more of an erotic fiction title which you might not relate to the story at all. The blurb talks about three boys and Varanasi where whole lot of action is going to take place. Considering the backdrop and three bullet points the blurb will impress the readers a lot. 

The story is about three young people Pinku, Bhandu & Guggi who with their notorious and casual attitude become a nuisance for people and for many others. Their not so successful endeavors around their colony and their messed up family lives and mingling up with ruffians and local goons brings a lot of headache for all of them throughout the story. It's about the survival of the fittest among the three overcoming all the odds and numerous other problems. 

This is the first time Varanasi has become highlight in a book and full points to the author for that. The entire characterization and narration has been planned well keeping in mind the accent and the dialect of the city. The narration of the story is fluid and pacy. Author has tried his best to highlight few of the on going problems in the city like the student mafia and misuse of power through this novel which covers a major chunk in the story. The experiences of young blood and their not so good understanding in certain matters makes the book readable at times. 

The problem arises with the no. of characters and the randomness of the events happening around the trio. Some of the events don't make sense at all and plot loses its charm quite sometimes during the entire novel. The theme is confusing too because it highlights at a humor fiction but turns out to be a serious one in the end. Humor is scarce. Events like Stamp Theft, Joy's story etc. are a turn off because it doesn't adds up to the charm of the book. The book should have been shorter by a 100 pages to make sense of the entire plot and concept. 

It's a written Ranjhana. The readers who have watched the movie can relate the book to it very well but the grip on the plot is fairly loose and it becomes a monotonous narration at a certain point. The student mafia and family problems are sure to be read but rest of the plot seems to be out of sorts making it a mixed book. The title of the book confuses too. You might laugh a bit, you might get engrossed for sometime but in the end you'll get bored with the randomness of the plot. 


2 OUT OF 5.    

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Review: Oh Shit Not Again by Mandar Kokate

Humor at the expense of someone is never easy. It's not easy for an author to capture the emotions and make a reader laugh about it. Author Mandar Kokate in his novel "Oh Shit Not Again" has made one such attempt to make readers laugh on something. So is he successful in tickling the people's ribs with his book or it's just a sham? Let's find out. 

The story begins with the protagonist Raj moving to a new locality. Soon he makes friends with a group of youngsters- Andy, Sam, Seema, and Arti. Together they set out to enjoy life. While doing so, they get mixed up with issues, some funny, some drastic in nature- having affairs with married women, getting caught while watching porn, getting worried about being chased by the gun-toting husband of a secret lover, and getting entangled in a murder mystery.
As the events unravel, the protagonist finds himself caught in a mesh of confusion. Will he escape the series of intrigues he is caught in?

The cover has fingerprints all over it in different colors. The title is yet one more of those attempts to get the reader's attention. The blurb is a usual one talking about Raj and his few friends and few issues they encounter in the entire journey. It ain't a very compelling blurb but it can be related to the title. 

The story revolves around Raj who shifts to a posh locality and befriends Sam and his accomplices. He develops a crush on Arti and gradually it transforms into love. But there are other problems to address too. He finds himself in neck deep issues with his young blood and impulsive actions the cause of it most of the times. An affair with a neighborhood aunty Sejal, a parallel love affair with Arti, his not so helpful friend Sam and the messed up pair of Andy & Seema and not to forget the bold & the beautiful Neha make it a headache and a thrilling ride for him. Whether he makes it through to the end is the story all about. 

A simple plain narration with an attempt to add humor in some everyday events. The story is there yet not there. It's based on an everyday concept out of which few events might bring a smile on your face. Tragedies make up most part of the book and Sejal is a character to watch out for in the entire book. 

The plot ain't a humorous one. A lot of things don't work in favor of the novel. Some serious issues have been dealt very casually. The second half of the story is more tragedy and no humor. Laughable parts are very few in the novel which doesn't justifies it's genre. 

It could have been a better attempt at writing a story revolving around friends and their problems. But with the main theme lacking in the entire book it becomes more of a sad book towards the end. It fails to live up to the potential of making you laugh time and again except for few bits and pieces. 


2 OUT OF 5. 

Review: Nine: Curse of the Kalingans by Shobha Nihalani

Historical Fiction has caught the eye of many authors off late. History mixed with present day life and some interesting and thrilling events have become the new flavor in the current scenario. Ashwin Sanghi and his books are the biggest proof of it. Author Shobha Nihalani in her second offering has chosen one such theme to make some headway in the reader's mind. So has justice been meted out to the book or it's just a fantasy tale? Let's check it out. 

Nine: Curse Of The Kalingan (Book - 1) is a modern tale which has been brought out by the author from the depths of ancient history. The Kalinga war, fought by Emperor Ashoka, took place in 261 B.C. The war brought enormous destruction, death, and devastation. This was the war which brought about a profound change in the most famous Mauryan Emperor. The war shattered the Emperor, who then converted to Buddhism and pledged never to wage a war again.
The society of the ‘Nine’, founded by Ashoka, protected their knowledge and power fiercely, and kept this wealth of wisdom a closely guarded secret. This secret could prove to be very dangerous for mankind if it were to be placed in the wrong hands. In order to ensure peace, these secrets were handed down the generations. It is believed that these secrets still exist, and their keepers and protectors live normal lives as preachers, teachers, and scientists.
Unfortunately, Ashoka’s desire to keep the peace of the land is about to be shattered. The war of Kalinga also gave rise to an angry spirit, the spirit of one killed brutally in the war. This spirit is bent on avenging the Kalinga Empire. His intention is to rule the world and to change its destiny, and for this he needs the hidden knowledge, the power of the Nine.
The story then unfolds in the present with the spirit possessing a young man, Jeremy, in order to complete this task. This possessed man then sets out to kill each of the Nine. Three of the nine are dead, and the rest of the members disappear. Only three people can now stop this dangerous spirit, Tara, the chosen Trinity nurse, Akash, a DJ, and Zubin, a forensic expert. These are the three who are chosen to protect and carry forward the secrets of the Nine.
As they reside in different parts of the world, they decide to travel to Tibet. There, they meet a Dutch woman, Lise, who knows the secret locations of the nine ancient texts that have to be brought to the hidden kingdom in Tibet. In Tibet, a monk enlightens them about their powers and how they can use them to defeat the Kalingan spirit. Then unfolds their dangerous and thrilling journey, their fight against this deadly spirit to protect the secrets of the Nine and to save the world from destruction.

First look at the cover and it gives glimpses of something grueling and edgy in terms of the story. The title has been embossed on the page like an ancient carving which is a plus point for a historical fiction. The blurb tells a historical tale and there on it's effects on the modern day world. It's a lengthy blurb but enough to provide insights about the book. All the aspects be it title, blurb and cover have been taken care of very well considering the genre of the book. 

The story starts off from the past with glimpses of the great Kalingan-Mauryan war. A Kalingan spirit before dying chooses revenge in modern day to restore glory to the Kalingan clan. Then the story moves in to the present day where Nine a secret society found by Ashoka thousands of years ago to keep the wealth of wisdom as a secret has been compromised by the returning Kalingan spirit in a human form. Three members have been compromised out of Nine and three young people DJ Akash, Tara & Zubin have been chosen to inherit the knowledge and save the world from a catastrophe. The story spilling over three continents and with lot of mystic elements and powers rallying behind it is about whether they are successful in deflecting off the threat or they succumb to the rising power of the evil spirit. 

It's a fast paced historical fiction thriller. It has glimpses of the past, it has magic, it has secrets, it has naive young men and women and it has an evil which makes the plot a lot more interesting. The pace is furious at times and many a things will happen in the blink of an eye. The shift from the past to the present has been handled well by the author. The story doesn't goes off track anywhere during it's entire course of narration. The blend of history, present & fiction has made the plot a formidable offering for the readers. 

The book can be liked for the antagonist's journey. It can be liked for it's connection with the past. It can be liked for unlikely heroes of the plot and it can be liked for it's absorbing plot and theme set in different stages of time. 

There are no faults in the book.Editing is at the best in the book.  Some scientific explanations and spiritual lessons might put off a few while reading the book. But it all makes sense in the story. 

It's a story with brute force and thrilling narration which makes the readers heads turn. It will make you jump out of your seat, it'll make you anxious and with all the thrills and high octane drama spilling over three continents it'll give you a satisfaction of going through the entire experience. As the book suggests a part two is on offering too for unquenched thirst of the readers. 


4 OUT OF 5. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Review: Tall Man Small Shadow by Vipin Behari Goyal

Many of us have read books which have an unusual theme. They go deep in to a subject and try to explain the bits and pieces of it. Author Vipin Behri Goyal in his debut book "Tall Man Small Shadow" has chosen a path which not many stray on to narrate a tale. So is he successful in justifying his own plot? Let's find out. 

It is my debut English novel based on existentialism. Salil loves a shadow which transforms into many characters to reveal the secrets of life. Aalya, his neighbor, is doing research in English literature. Her guide Seema is a childless lesbian. Paul, husband of Seema, is a drama director. I am the protagonist, who coins philosophies for day to day events and my wife Sulekha is the second protagonist who makes coincidences happen with her artful manipulations. Read on to learn what happens when.... 

First look on the cover and the title and the readers will get a feel of something spooky coming. But the title is very well aligned with the cover image. The author has chosen to kept is simple yet deceptive. The blurb talks about few people and the events of their day to day life with the author itself at helm with his wife to explain the existence of the book. The blurb though not very sparkling in terms of appearance but has some things which will throw the reader's thought process off course. It's intriguing for a curious mind. 

The story revolves around a man, his wife Sulekha, their daughter Aalya and their neighbor Salil. Old age is catching up with the narrator and his wife and they want the best for their daughter. A daughter who knows her limits, has not done anything out of the blue, cares about her parents and is obedient and shy. Salil their neighbor is a recluse who prefers to stay with himself till he sees Aalya at his doorstep. Love culminates between them and takes a lot of time to get hang of things. Meanwhile Aalya and her guide cum mentor Seema who is in a non existent kind of relationship with husband Paul is drawn towards Aalya. It's reciprocated with equal force and it changes the whole perception of Aalya and gives a new dimension to her life. Will Aalya & Salil come together? Will Seema stop herself? What will Aalya's parents do to see their child settled? These are the questions that will be answered in the book. 

It's a fluid story with no pauses and if's and buts in narration. It takes time to get hang of things in the book. But once Aalya comes in the picture the story is on a roll. The everyday events and the delicate subjects of our society have been touched with utmost importance. All the characters have played an important part in the story and contributed to the existence of the book. The elders narrating the whole story and the later on revelations of the mother are a highlight of the whole book. 

Faults are hard to find in the book. There are hardly any except for the pace which won't suit some people's reading style. 

If you are serious about understanding the approach of a human being towards their life each and everyday then this is the book to look out for. From the mother child relationship to the care and to the fatal attraction towards the same gender and in the end concealing all other things to keep each other happy have been covered with command in the book. It's not a regular love story but it has enough to excite a young or an adult mind. 


4 OUT OF 5. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Let's Fall In Love Once Again!!

You and I were certain
but there was a hint of restrain.
Forget all the sorrows and pain
Come on let's fall in love again

Don't let our efforts go down in drain
because I'm here to entertain
You don't need to explain
come on let's fall in love again. 

I don't want you to overstrain
hold my hand in this endless rain.
The looks on your face were plain
come on let's fall in love again.

Together we should remain
our love will sustain without any stain
Your love for me will not go in vain
come on let's fall in love again.

Review: She Fell (Fail) In Love Once Again by Ramesh Tehlani

Indian literary industry has undergone a sea change with many authors coming up. Authors who chose to change the style and content of the book and go bolder. Some genres which have experienced this trend prominently are love and relationships. Some of them have shown the brighter side of love while some have went on to explore the darker shades of love. Author Ramesh Tehlani in his debut book "She Fell (Fail) In Love Once Again" chooses the dark over dawn. So is he successful in his attempt or not? That will be answered in this review. 

She Fell (Fail) In Love? Once Again? is a real life tale of Shreeti Sharma, young girl, working with private bank in small town Ajmer. In search of Mr. Right, she met some people in journey of life and fell in love with them.In expectations of long life bond, she received betrayal with life changing lessons and experiences about Pain, Pleasure, Sex, Spirituality, Social Rules, Ethics, Personal Development, Office Politics etc. After many experiences of failure and betrayal, now she fell in love?once again. This time, will she get long lasting love or will she fail in love, again?In her journey of search she learnt life-changing concepts like:
  • Why Extra Marital Affairs are not wrong...
  • Why Physical Relations without marriage are not wrong...
  • Why women gives sex for love and men gives love for sex...
  • How pain gives pleasure?
  • How to face office politics and recession?
  • How one can increase his/her value in job and society by using ?Quiwam Theory? and ?Why Apple is costlier than Potato Theory??
  • And other new aspects of life?

Somebody has rightly said that sometimes a book cover is enough to entice a reader in picking up a book. This one is surely up in that list. The title is a charming one. It has that feel of double meaning to it which gives it an extra edge. The blurb points out towards a real story involving Shreeti Sharma where is in her search for Mr. Right. The points highlighted are a reason enough to enjoy the story. 

The story is about Shreet Sharma and her life. A life which wasn't destined to be easy by any means be it love, job, personal matters, family matters, friends, relationships etc. Her life hit a lot of rough patches and she stumbles and keeps getting back up again. In the end is she able to set things right for herself is one big question which will be answered in the story. 

This is a story where a girl single handedly from her childhood through her teens and till her late 20's make many heads spin and many lives toss around courtesy her destiny and rash decisions. She is the perfect recipe of failure. Biggest of them all failure in love time and again which is also the title of the book. At one point of time readers might forgot the no. of times she was in and out of a relationship. She is a perfect modern day recipe of a girl who goes awry with her decisions and her life and her past keeps coming back to haunt her. You can experience love, office politics, sex, failures etc. all through Shreeti's eyes. The story is quite different from the usual recipe. It has loads of spicy flavor with little bit of sweetness too. Things have been spiced up at the right places in the book for the readers. 

Poems are worth reading throughout the book. The story commands absolute attention with it's fluid narration and small yet intriguing chapters. Shreeti Sharma and her life are a perfect example of a young blood caught on the wrong foot and inability to think clearly in crunch situations. Her helplessness, her plight, her failures and her misery and little happiness are a perfect blend to weave a story around her. 

The major downside of the book is editing. Spelling mistakes, spacing errors and incomplete words in the poems and at some places in the book make it difficult sometimes. Its not Jahar, it's Zeher. It's not Kismet, it's Kismat. Its not Phoolo, it's Phoolon etc. Mistakes like these in Hindi words written in English require a lot of attention. Spacing error seems to be the specialty of Notion Press. I have read couple of books from their stable but the same mistake has been repeated in this one too. Other than that the plot is flawless. 

It's the story for the masses and all the classes.The book is bold but in the right sense. The author right from the cover page and entire theme has nailed it to perfection. Be it the multiple relationships, office & problems, family matters etc. no issue has been left out and given equal importance right through out the book. It'll act as a right dose for girls who are young and yet to experience the world and it's goods and bads in their lives. It's definitely worth the readers time. 


4 OUT OF 5.