Monday, December 30, 2013

Review: The Woman's Code by Binduu Chopra

Since the time human beings have become the supreme force on earth, men have dominated and carved a niche for themselves. But without women nothing was possible. But it has always been a man's dignity to accept a woman's contribution to the society. She has just been a silent spectator and an artist. Author Binduu Chopra in her latest book "The Woman's Code" talks about woman and their lives. So has she pushed the readers towards a new thought process? Let's find out. 

She was not like most of the Indian women we know and read about! She was not someone who wanted to be confined to the kitchen. The wild teenager didn't want to let go her dreams that got buried when she was married at 18. Filled with love, compassion and a desire, she started to weave back the threads at 40. Will she fulfill her dreams? Will she find her freedom? Or will she find the dust on her furniture more important than the poems in her heart? In this intimate & heartfelt story, you will find a woman's fight to take possession of her strength & desire. Its a journey that describes the importance of emotional balance in relationships. Its a journey that describes a woman. Its a journey that describes The Woman's Code.

First look at the title and the cover and the both of them speak volumes about the theme of the book. It's a beautiful cover image and the title just goes hand in hand with it. The blurb gives an idea about what to expect from this novella and it's all based on women. The blurb poses a lot of questions which will be answered in the story but excites the readers up to some extent. 

The story is of Sumi and her life right from the childhood and her parents and then her schooling and then her struggles to keep up with the pace of the life and adjust to new environment because of her father's frequent postings. From the time to make new friends till her college life the insecurities of life and fears inside her and then her strict life and traditional family to go with. The marriage vows and woes and her equation with Kartik and then later on evolving herself for the multiple roles she had in her hand right from being a mother of two children and being a caring wife and a perfect homemaker. Life doesn't gives her exactly what she wants but will things change in the end? How all of this will impact her as a woman? Will she be able to survive this woman's code? That's what the story is all about. 

The story is an insight about a woman's life right from the childhood till her old age and her responsibilities. Her struggles and adjustments and her spirit and zeal to deal with each and everything has been dealt with perfectly. The narration is simple and fluid and a lot of events can be easily connected to the everyday life of a woman. 

The downside of the book is it's less explanatory feature. It could have been done and expanded a lot more and dealt in depth with the woman's issues. Also the end looked quite rough around the edges and felt incomplete. 

The novella is overall a short yet a to the point narration of a woman's ordeal which goes for everyone in real life too. It's not in an expanded form but still holds it's own. It's a nice initiative on the part of the author to provide a fruitful insight of a woman's struggle all throughout her life. 


3 OUT OF 5 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Review: A Soldier's Love Story by Sonia Kundra Singh

Not all love stories are the usual lovey dovey types. Every love story has some or the other aspect to it that makes it stand out among others. Some of the love stories over the time tend to leave an impression on the minds of many. Author Sonia Kundra Singh in her book "A Soldier's Love Story" talks about one such love story in the making. Is it different from the others? Let's find out. 

Can a dreadful past still save a marriage? 
Ranjeet's parents are keen to see him married and after seeing Jasleen's photograph, he finds himself drawn to her. An arranged meeting is decided upon and Jasleen, despite her reservations about getting out of her little haven says 'yes' to the match. He knew she was too young to be a bride but somehow it made sense at the time. Jasleen had her own set of demons to haunt her. Ranjeet seems like a safe bet at the beginning but she just couldn't give herself completely to him. Marriage was a huge step and she wanted to give herself another chance at being a woman. Ranjeet makes the sacrifice and they start leading their lives separately as strangers until a family emergency gets them together. Will they be able to find true love despite their reservations about a future together? 
Will Jasleen start life anew with Ranjeet? 
Or will she choose career over love? Estranged and indifferent, Jasleen and Ranjeet embark on being together for the sake of their family

First look at the title and the cover and readers will be in awe of the cover image. A very strong title in tandem with a beautiful cover image makes very heavy first impressions on the readers. The blurb talks about two people and their lives entwined together and how they manage it. It's a good blurb covering the important aspects of the story and leaving the details out. 

The story revolves around Jasleen a young simple village girl of Mukerian and Ranjeet an army man and son of a rich farmer family of the same village. Their marriage is arranged and Ranjeet is blown away by the beauty of Jasleen. Jasleen not willing to comply agrees to the whims and fancies of her mother but a spate of problems takes away all the charm away from her life. From there on there is a transition which changes her outlook entirely. So is Ranjeet the right man for her? Will both of them be able to survive together? Will their marriage last? What is the end of this story? That's what the story is all about. 

The unusual tag in this story will go along very nicely. The unique setup and the pairing of two contrast characters very appealing for the readers. The story line is very emotional and touches the right chords of the readers. The second half of the story is more engaging and the plight of a simple village girl has been highlighted perfectly. 

The downside of the book are few spelling mistakes in the characters name. The love making intentions could have been cut down a lot in the book. The importance of elders have been found missing in the second half of the book. 

The story very compelling and engaging makes it a reasonable consideration for the readers. The book can be loved for it's heart wrenching tale of girl and emotions of a soldier. The story has to be felt with a lot of passion and devotion. 


3 OUT OF 5

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Review: Terms & Conditions Apply by Divya Prakash Dubey

Hindi books have lost a lot of ground because of the advent of English with time. An anthology in Hindi is a far fetched idea all together. Author Divya Prakash Dubey in his book "Terms & Conditions Apply" has penned down a series of stories which try to life the cover from a lot of things in our day to day lives. So has this idea worked for him? Let's find out. 

There are books that feel like a book while reading, and then there is Terms and Conditions Apply. The simple and lively stories compel you to take a look back at your own life, and remember when you put these incidences at the back of your mind. Its not just a collection of stories and a true incident, but also a reflection of what every one of us has seen sometime or the other, in our lives. The characters come alive, time and again as people we may have met, or as a persona of our own self.
Not too many works in recent years have managed to capture the nuances of ordinary, daily lives as effortlessly and fluently as Terms and Conditions Apply has done. A wonderful assortment of 13 short stories and a true incident, Whether it is highs and lows of a relationship, chaos and bedlam of school life, petty or harmless office gossips, or the buzz of a salon; all stories are strongly steeped in reality and yet they take a superb flight of fancy in the hands of a master craftsman. Rich in imagination, broad in its scope and elegant in its style, Terms and Conditions Apply is arguably one of the best debut works in recent Hindi literature.

First look at the title and the cover and the book will confuse the readers. But once you turn around the pages the actual idea behind the whole book is revealed. The title is unique and different but as it's a Hindi anthology a much more suitable title could have done justice to the book. The blurb contains the idea and the ideology behind the whole book. It's a blurb which suits the anthology and keeps many things under wrap for readers to enjoy later.

Story No. 1:

A story about family issues, misunderstandings and discontent over small-small things. It highlights the plight of the modern day society. It has the essence of sufferings of the modern day couples. It's a good story.

Story No. 2:

This story highlights the state of affairs of a government school and it's teachers. The story is narrated through the medium of a class and it's students. It's a nice story with a touch of reality in it.

Story No. 3:

It's about life of a person and his helping nature which makes him kind of a hero in his colony. It's about how one can do few good things for the others and be proud of it. It's an average story.

Story No. 4:

A story about domestic violence and suspicions. The story has a compelling narration and a very unique idea. It's a very hard hitting story for the readers.

Story No. 5:

A story of a girl's sanctity and image and about misunderstandings and misconceptions about her in the society. An eye opening story and teaching how to respect a women's privacy.

Story No. 6:

A missing person'a story and how somebody's life is torn in this dilemma of love and confusions. It's a very average story with nothing there in to excite the readers.

Story No. 7:

 A crude humor cum emotional story of a man and his antiques. The story has a touch of newness in it and has a nice narration to along with.

Story No. 8:

Another emotional story of two people and how thy end up being each other's support system. But life is not that simple as it looks from outside. Compelling narration and the bitter truth of life has been portrayed perfectly. It covers the sensitivity of relationships very convincingly.

Story No. 9:

A story of two people and their dilemma of whether they are in love or not. But there are a lot more complications than ever imagined. A story of complicated relationships and feelings of people for each other. It's a good story.

Story No. 10:

A story of a man and his diligence towards society. The story is touchy and emotional and a lesson for those who consider helping others as an unholy job.

Story No. 11:

A story of bad influence when a child is in the teens and its repercussions. The story has a simple narration yet a very brave initiative to divert readers attention towards the small things which are usually ignored by many.

Story No. 12:

Another story of crumbling relationships and misunderstandings. It has a regular narration and there is nothing new in the story.

Story No. 13:

An entangled story of so many people living under one roof and how they cope up with pressure and odd situations in their life. It's a good story touching human emotions and exploring the darker sides of human behavior.

Story No. 14:

A very different story of generosity of people and the goodness which still prevails among few in the society. The story is quite different from the others and very unique too.

The anthology has few good stories in it. The narration has been kept simple and to the point. The main highlight of the entire book is it's in Hindi. The stories which are very engaging are story no. 4,5. 11,8,14. The entire concept revolves around the basic human behavior and human reactions towards relationships and issues.

Few stories are not up to the mark in the book and leave a lot to be desired at times. Also the relationship agenda has been highlighted too much so it takes away the freshness away from the book. The English words could have been avoided easily and the book could have been given a much more appropriate title in Hindi.

Overall it's a nice initiative to write an anthology in Hindi. The experience is good enough. It's a mix of some creative and unique narrations plus some average and simple narrations. The readers will get to know a few more things about human psyche with this book.


3 OUT OF 5

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

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Review: Where the Rainbow Ends by Anurag Anand

Thriller is a genre which is experimented with, a lot nowadays. Some of them blow away the readers mind while some just fall flat. Author Anurag Anand in his latest book "Where The Rainbow Ends" has penned down a thriller which will compel the readers to salute the efforts. So has he really wrote a page turner? Let's find out. 
Even the most artistic of imaginings can sometimes seem callow in the face of truth. That which appears may not be and that which lies hidden might just be the stark, naked face of reality.
Rahul had everything going his way a soaring career, a happy family and all else a man his age could yearn for. And then suddenly his life began to crumble all around him, disintegrating element after precious element, leaving him to watch in helpless horror. Where had he gone wrong? Was there still hope for redemption, even a solitary ray that he could cling on to?
Avantika, a pretty, vivacious girl who had come into Rahul's life by pure accident, literally, has suddenly gone missing. Just like that, without as much as a trace. Where is Avantika? Will Rahul be able to find her? Is it her own past that has come back to consume her or is it something even more vicious and sinister?
Shalini, Rahuls first love and a girl accustomed to leading life on her own terms. Hailing from a family that exerts considerable influence in the galleries of politics and power, she certainly has the wherewithal to impact a lot of things. Even lives. Is Shalini fostering a grudge that could displace not one but many lives? Could she be the one behind Avantika's mysterious disappearance?
Where The Rainbow Ends is a racy page - turner that promises to take you on a tempestuous and soul - stirring journey which shall remain with you long after you have put the book down.

First look at the title and the cover and both of them hint at a love story in the making. But that's not true in this case. On the contrary the blurb comes in to the picture and makes it clear that this a a thriller for the readers in the disguise of a love story. The blurb is as compelling as the title and the cover image. 

The story is of two young people Rahul & Shalini who meet by chance and then fell in love with each other. After a long courtship they decide to settle down and convince their parents for it. Rahul from an average family and Shalini from a political household make an unusual pair. Problems start to crop up when Shalini shrugs off her duties after marriage and cracks appear. Life takes a turn when a lot of problems crop up and Rahul is nowhere to go. In the end entry of Avantika in his life turn few things around. What will happen with Shalini? What role Avantika plays in Rahul's life? Will life ever be the same again for everyone. That's what the story is all about. 

The tag of a thriller comes on the behest of a romance cum drama story. It's a unique idea to experiment with and the second half of the book generates a lot of curiosity and excitement. The narration is convincing and appealing for the readers. Surprises galore in the second half of the book. 

The first half is weak and doesn't have anything new to offer in terms of love and drama. First half could have been tightened up more and Avantika's character could have been made more strong in it. The end also becomes predictable and leaves a lot to be desired. 

On the whole a romantic thriller is a good idea but could have been worked upon more in terms of story line. There are moments where readers heart will go up and down but it comes too late to make it an exemplary piece of work. It's a story with a difference to it. 


3 OUT OF 5

Monday, December 23, 2013

Review: Jacob Hills by Ismita Tandon Dhankher

Some professions have a lot of layers hidden beneath the reality. It's like they carry a signboard "none of your business" for the outsiders. Life wherever you go is never easy. Author Ismita Tandon Dhankher in her second novel "Jacob Hills" takes readers for a ride which promises to turn a lot of heads. So has she done it in style? Let's find out. 

An unloved woman is a soft target, anyone can hit her, have her.
It’s just another evening at the Tiller’s Club.
Near the bar, Capt. Rana, the Young Officer undergoing training at the War College stands among his course mates, consciously avoiding his pregnant, Muslim wife, Heena. Rumour has it she had forced him to marry her because of the baby.
Saryu, village belle turned modern babe, drink in hand, chats up a YO. Her husband, Maj. Vikram Singh, shoots angry glances at her. She isn’t bothered; the question is, who will she go home with tonight?
Pam and Gary, the flamboyant Sikh couple, chat merrily with the senior officers, charming as ever. Who’d ever guess that they lead the infamous Key Club, an underground swinger couples’ club.
And in one corner stands the Anglo-Indian wife of Maj. George Chandy, Eva, who finds herself at the heart of a murder mystery when a woman’s bleeding body is discovered at the old church under the black cross. The murdered woman’s body is covered with cigarette burns. A six-year-old girl’s wrist is similarly marked. Another little girl shows signs of severe abuse.
Jacob Hills: an army station that houses the War College where young officers receive training. A world of army officers and genteel conversation, of smart men and graceful women. Set in the 1980s – in an India that was at the cusp of tradition and Westernized modernity – this is the story of the ugliness that lies beneath the garb of Jacob Hills’s beauty and sophistication. An ugliness the Chandys find themselves confronted with. Will they uncover the truth behind the woman’s murder? Will their love survive Jacob Hills?

First look at the title and the cover and readers might confuse it with a ghost story. But this title has a lot more suspense to it. The cover image of a desolated road leaves a pulsating thought in the mind of the readers. The blurb talks about a lot of people and how their lives are connected together. The blurb is very lengthy and could have been shortened up a bit. 

The story is of an army training academy called Jacob Hills where George Chandy arrives with his beautiful wife Eva Chandy. As soon as they settle down Eva gets to taste the whims and fancies of army women from the higher ranked officers. She tries to adjust to the circumstances but soon finds herself embroiled in a mess. Captain Rana a young officer is also at the receiving end of a mess. Col. Tehlan and his wife try to overpower and dominate the hills and their families along with Brigadier Sargam and his wife. But all of them have an other side to themselves which link them up and send the residents of Jacob Hills in a tizzy. So what will happen at the hills? How it looks from outside will it be the same from inside? What goes on behind those glitz and glamour? What is everyone hiding from one another? Will Eva & George be able to survive the ordeal? That's what the story is all about. 

It's indeed a suspense thriller. It takes you for a fun and frolic ride at first with sex and lust the center of attraction in the story but then with a lot of unsolved puzzles leaves the mind in tizzy for sometime. The bright spot of the story is it's confusing and pacy narration. It'll ease out and then again leave you gasping for breath with tantalizing revelations till the end. Both the halves of the story have been penned down with utmost care and the army backdrop serves well to the story line. It's bold and suspenseful. 

The downside of the book is that it becomes a bit predictable towards the end. The end could have been spread out a bit more in order to make it a perfect ending for the story.

Overall the aspect of reading a suspense thriller with an altogether different setup is a wonderful experience. There's sex, there's lust, there's jealousy, there's secret and not to forget the carefree ways of Army men which leads them to obnoxious outcome. It's a riveting tale and the catch lies in reading and mingling with the lives of Army men and their wives on Jacob Hills. 


4 OUT OF 5

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Review: When I Found You, I Found Myself by Sankalp Kohli

How many times in life people come and leave you for good and then again at some point of time you come across them and your feelings are in a dilemma. Author Sankalp Kohli in his second book "When I Found You, I Found Myself" has something to offer which is rarely spoken about. So has he narrated this newer tale convincingly? Let's find out. 

They first met when they were just twelve and then they kept meeting again and again, each time wanting to confess their feelings for each other but it never came to such a pass for Tiya and Aarav. Falling apart and bowing down to the miseries of a broken family and a daunting past, at 24, they decided to move on. But life pulled out one trick after another to bring them back to each other and give one last chance to do what they couldn't do in the past twelve years. A choice had to be made and there was no going back. Could they learn from the echoing footsteps of their parents and speak their heart out or the fear of saying the unsaid killed it once again for them? Did their time to fall in love come or like always, they met, greeted and departed to part forever?

First look at the title and the cover and the title is mesmerizing. The soothing touch of the title is like honey on lips. The cover image is quite dull in comparison to the title. It could have been a much better cover image. The blurb talks about two people and their lives and what is there in offering for them when they go on to lead their lives in their own chosen manner. It's a very good blurb. It's short and precise. 

The story is about Tiya & Aarav. Their friendship in school culminating slowly and steadily through time. But there are a lot of other pleasantries offered to them and they are thrown off track completely. Aaarav tries to move on so does Tiya but life gives them another shot at redemption. But it comes at a price. So will they ever be able to get together? Will Aarav lose Tiya again? Will their be peace? That's what the story is all about. 

The story with it's poetic verses and different narration for both the people makes it a coming of age story. The thought process captured with the help of emotions and turmoils and joys and sorrows makes it a very heavy kind of a book. It tends to dig deeper in to the human emotions and journey of life through various phases. The loss, the gain and love all of them have been synced and woven in to the story perfectly. The slowness of the story and the limited number of characters in the book compels the readers to go through the pages with all the time in the world. 

The downside of the book is the second half which gets duller. The end is abrupt and could have been polished in a better manner.  The book could have had a bit more and an extended end would have made it a perfect novel. 

The book has captured human emotions in a wider aspect and made things tricky at times for the readers. The humming narration and the slowness has to be absorbed. It might get a bit off color towards the end but will hold on to the theme of the story completely. It's a fresh aspect to a love story, but still it ain't a love story.


4 OUT OF 5 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Review: He Loves Me Not by Vrushali Telang

Many times in our lives we are on the crossroads. What to do and what not becomes a question of prestige and image. Life comes to a stand still with all these thoughts hovering our mind. Author Vrushali Telang in her book "He Loves Me Not" goes about portraying some modern day society dilemmas. So has she been able to do it perfectly? Let's find out.  

Childhood sweethearts, good - looking Jimmy Cooper and plain Jane Mehroo Nasarwanji are now 'grown up' twenty - somethings. While Mehroo is loyal and crazy about Jimmy, Jimmy is anything but loyal and crazy about everything else but Mehroo. So while Jimmy charms his way through life naive Mehroo tries every trick in Pizzazz magazine to seduce her man. Will Mehroo come out of her shell and discover her true self ? Will Jimmy look beyond himself? Packed with colourful characters and a racy plot, the forbidden fruit is about two very different people who grow up together, learn about love and discover who they really are.

First look at the cover and the title and readers will understand the central theme of the book. Its based on love and it's dilemmas. The question itself is present in the title. The cover image is very catchy. The blurb talks about a person and his life and people surrounding it. The author has concealed all the important aspects of the story while giving a slight insight about the book. 

The story is about Jimmy and his life. He is a carefree 25 year old jobless fellow who is no good for his father. His love for next door Mehroo is limited to sex. His aims and ambitions are outweighed by his day dreaming. He stumbles across Ritu a high flying socialite who makes him rich overnight and life and priorities suddenly change. But then all is not expected to be the same. So what will happen to Jimmy in the end? Whom does he gets in the end? Where will destiny take him? Let's find out. 

The confused love story and life of a person in this book is the perfect recipe for a modern day setup. The dilemmas, commitments, love and feelings all are in question in the story. The book has a lot of soul in the first half and the middle of the story. The narration is quite pulling. The ups and downs of a person's life and others has been portrayed perfectly in the book. 

The downside is the second half and some characters losing their significance completely towards the end. The story is bit dragged at the end. The haphazard and sudden revelations completely take the charm away from the story at times. The character of Mehroo could have been more compelling in the story. 

The book is a good little mix of dilemmas of life and thoughts. What you want and what you need is the basic question which is being constantly challenged throughout the story. The story has it's moments and will keep the readers engaged for most of the time. It's a good coverage on modern day fears of the young generation. 


3 OUT OF 5  

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Review: The Other Side of the Bed by Bhavya Kaushik

Sometimes life has some unexpected things for us in store. It can be in the form of anything. It can be either joy or sorrow. It all comes and hits us hard. It entirely depends on us how to grapple with the situation. Author Bhavya Kaushik in his book "The Other Side of the Bed" talks about life and it's acceptance. So has he done justice to the issue? Let's find out. 

This is a story which tries to answer the age old question, what to do when someone you love dies; in a contemporary and 1 personal way. Nakul, who lost his beloved wife after only a month of their marriage in a serial bombing attack, found it impossible to continue with his life.He takes a journey in which he interacts with people like him, who have also lost their loved ones in those blasts and decides to help them. Though he didn't realize that in the process of helping them, he was helping himself This is his journey through the five stages of grief -DENIAL, ANGER, BARGAINING, DEPRESSION and ACCEPTANCE, and how he comes out of them with the help of his family and his "Grief-Mates".He thought that he had forever of togetherness with his wife, but he didn't, none of us does. And before it is too late, we should better go out there to our loved ones and tell them how much we love them. Have any of you said it lately to your wife, your husband, your children, your brother, sister or your parents, that "You mean the world to me. You have changed my life. I cannot live without you. I love you..."

First look at the title and the cover and people will be moved by it. The withered flower and the tagline above are enough to jolt the readers completely. The blurb talks about a person and his life after the demise of someone. It's a good blurb but could have been concealed better by omitting a few facts which reveal the story. 

The story revolves around Nakul whose life comes to a stop after the demise of his wife Tamanna in Jaipur bomb blasts. His chance meeting with Devyani leads him up to a situation where they both together try to grapple out of it. Their lives then goes numerous reforms and ultimately they try to shrug off the despair and anger and sadness of their lives and be themselves again. So will they be able to achieve the inevitable? How come they will be able to change each other's lives? Will they ever be able to come out of their grief? That's what the story is all about. 

The narration, the sensitivity and the story line are of top quality in the book. The slow you read it, the more you are able to grasp and get involved in each and every emotion related to the character of the book. The sweet little nothings and the sorrow both are a perfect balance in the story. There's a lot of hidden emotions in the book which have to be explored by the reader. It's a perfect balance of fiction and reality. 

The downside of the book is editing with grammatical mistakes and repetition at one or two places breaking the flow at times. 

The story is a perfect recipe for people and an inspiration for those who have lost their near and dear ones and are not able to come out of that grief. It's a guide to let go of your sadness and live life for the others theory. It's a master story in making with an emotional turmoil and joy on cards for the readers. 


4 OUT OF 5 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Review: The Ekkos Clan by Sudipto Das

History has a lot of secrets hidden in its womb. Sometimes there's more to it than meets the eye. The problems lies in the fact it has been lost with time. Author Sudipto Das in his debut narrative "The Ekkos Clan" takes readers on a ride back in to time where things are not as it seems to be. So has he been able to give a clear picture of our enriched history? Let's find out. 

Someone wants Kratu's whole family dead. Is it personal vendetta or is it because they have access to Kratu's grandmother Kubha's stories, which conceal perilous secrets. The eventful lives of Kubha and her family span a hundred years and encompass turbulent phases of Indian history. From her ancestors, Kubha inherited a basketful of stories. Kratu, a graduate student at Stanford mentions Kubha's stories to Afsar Fareedi, a linguistic palaeontologist, in a casual conversation. Afsar quickly figures out that the - bedtime tales contain rich linguistic fossils and layers of history. Afsar, Kratu and his best friend Tista travel across continents to trace the origin of her stories. Their journey also leads them to discover one of the oldest civilisations of the world. But will their efforts also unearth the causes behind the series of murders.

First look at the title and the cover and people are in for a baffled look. It's completely unpredictable of a title and a cover image. The more you try to decipher it, the more it becomes complicated. The blurb talks about few people and some things from the past. It's a good blurb concealing the original motive of the book. 

The story revolves around Kratu, Tista & Afsar as they happen to get together on a quest accidentally which will lead them to some startling facts from their past and their present. A long list of murders, a mysterious grandmother, few incidents of the past and a long lost culture which is all bonded together is in the making for them. Together they have to decipher history's greatest secret which is hidden beyond their imagination. A story which will span in to continents and countries which have undergone a lot of changes over the time. So where will this accidental quest lead them to? What is the mystery behind all the murders? This is what the story is all about. 

The narration is taxing and the facts exhilarating. The readers will feel short of breath once the book is over. The research done on the subject and molded in to a thriller makes it very gripping and intoxicating. The second half is all the more exciting with lots of mysteries and twists and turns all the way. 

The downside of the book is a very sluggish first half and numerous number of characters in it. The regional aspect in the book is too confusing and could have been kept to toned down. The end is too plain and simple and pretty abrupt. The detailed flow of the book is missing in the first half. 

All in all the historical fiction fans are in for a treat. The book can churn out your mind with it's facts and terminology and coverage of the subject but the narration will leave you bit confused and lost at times. It'll take time to let the book sink in your mind and process the whole logic behind it.The book has given a new dimension to the long lost history. 


3 OUT OF 5  

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Review: Red is for Love, Black is for Kohl by Priyanka Bhardwaj

Nothing is perfect. Neither our life nor us. Everything good or bad happens for a reason. Some leave you happy and some leave you distraught. Author Priyanka Bhardwaj in her debut novel "Red is for Love, Black is for Kohl" has penned down a story of one such life. So has she been able to pen it down perfectly? Let's find out. 

Naina Shergil, a literature student at the University of Delhi, is headstrong, super-smart, ambitious, and like several others her age, juggling so many college activities with her search of the perfect love. Her bland spell of a boyfriend-less routine, is suddenly broken when she bumps into a hot young designer who twists her world sideways. Is their relationship destined for sweetness or just another cruel joke? Who is Aarian Mehra, and why does he always manage to turn up in her life at the worst of times? Meanwhile, her closest friend and roommate Niti, disappears one day, leaving behind a note cautioning Naina to not look for her anywhere. Helpless, Naina pairs up with childhood friend Kritti to return home for a family wedding, save a love marriage, and comes back only to be shocked by a couple of developments. Filled with steamy scenes, bullying, ragging, jealousies, a Goa trip, hard-core partying, bureaucratic problems and the rough and smooth of life and daydreams, Red is for Love... is a ready companion to be savored as much in the Metro as in the Mercedes, and an ode to the joys of being young and fancy-free in dark, dangerous Delhi.

First look at the title and the cover and a lot of things will intrigue the mind of the readers. The title quite unusual for a book but conveying a meaning when one delves deep in to the realms of it. The cover image contains both the colors mentioned in the title probably hinting at something which has to be deciphered by the readers. The blurb talks about a girl and her life. It's a good blurb but could have been cut down a bit more. It reveals a bit more than what was required from it. 

The story revolves around a typical Punjabi girl Naina Shergil whose life is centered on friends, family and other acquaintances. Her bold and never die attitude helps her getting along with many and getting over her past. But when she falls in love again her life comes to a standstill. Her equation with many change and then life takes a drastic turn and in comes Aarian Mehra to fill up the void left by some people in her life. From there on it's tiff between her mind and her thoughts and actions as all of them scuffle to over power her completely. Where will life take Naina? What role Aarian will play in her life? Will she be able to get some clarity? This is what the story is all about. 

Love, drama, emotions,naughtiness, friendship, carefree attitude, typical city set ups, Delhi college life it's all there in the book and in sufficient quantity to entertain and enthrall the readers. A quick first half is followed up by an emotional and curiosity filled second half. There is a certain amount of flair in the narration and takes a cue out of many real life scenarios on the way. The blend of all good and bad in life has been done up to perfection. The poems composed in the book are deep and meaningful. The authenticity of the whole setup leaves a good impression while reading the book. 

The downside of the book is it's slowness in the middle of the story. A bit of emphasis on kohl could have been cut down to make it look more appealing. 

Overall it's a ride which all the readers would love to take up one time with the protagonist Naina. It's an up down story with lots of events happening in and around the book to keep the readers hooked till the end. A few ifs and buts in the middle won't take the charm away instead the curiosity factor will take the readers till the last page and leave you in gasps for a few moments. It's a story of actions and reactions. 


4 OUT OF 5

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Review: A Bowlful of Butterflies by Ritu Lalit

Transition in a person's life is very much visible from the inner to the outer perspective. There are a lot of new aspects added once you pass from one phase of life to the other. Author Ritu Lalit in her book "A Bowlful of Butterflies" talks about one such transition which is very aggressive and demanding. So has she been able to put up a clear picture of that phase? Let's find out. 

A Bowlful of Butterflies is the heart-warming story of three inseparable friends, Chandni, Amrit and Soma, who lead a content yet uneventful life in the sleepy town of Majhi Nagar. However, the arrival of Chandni’s handsome cousin, Jogi, brings to the surface hidden truths that will change their lives forever. Poignantly exploring Chandni’s attraction to her cousin, her jealousy when he falls in love with her best friend and her attempts to deal with her older brother’s sexuality, A Bowlful of Butterflies is a sensitive exploration of the painful transition from girlhood to womanhood.

First look at the title and the cover and you can feel at ease. A very unusual title of the book makes a readers nerves settle down. The cover image could have been done in a much better manner. The blurb talks about a girl and her teenage life and other issues. It's a decent blurb but reveals a bit too much for the readers liking. It could have been kept a bit under the wraps. 

The story is about Chandni a.k.a Chandu and her life with her family and friends. She is in her teens and faces a lot of issues at home and in school. The arrival of Jogi in the scene makes it more difficult as friendship and other relationships goes for a toss. Then an incident in family changes the entire course of life and thinking of everyone and from there on it's a fight for survival for Chandu in this cruel world. Will she be able to hang on to friends and family? Where will her choices lead to? What will her family decide for her? What is her fate? This is what the story is all about. 

It's a teenage drama with all kinds of spice from goof ups to love to friendship to emotional bonds to relationships to family to school to college everything is involved. There is a flavor of perfect teenage setup in the book with the help of young characters. The story is fun in parts and the narration is fluid and simple. 

The downside of the book is friends and many other things prevalent in the first half go absolutely missing in the second half. Some things happen too quickly and all of a sudden. The second half could have been done in a much better manner. The end had to be bit more detailed. 

Overall it's a mixed bag. The story highlights the various aspects of a girl's life from teenage to womanhood. At times it can be related to reality but at times readers can feel the disconnect. It's a roller coaster ride of a girl in her teens. 


3 OUT OF 5

Monday, December 9, 2013

Review: Syahi by Aman Sharma & Nehali Lalwani

Anthologies are a medium in the writing industry which try to capture the heart of the readers with all kinds of emotions packed in one single book. There is no clear outline but it's a surprise for the readers as they turn the pages and get acquainted with something new from different writers. Authors Aman Sharma & Nehali Lalwani have put up an anthology "Syahi" where human emotions and circumstances have been presented in the best form possible for the readers to enjoy and live with. So will this anthology live up to the expectations? Let's find out. 

They say fragrant petals make a beautiful rose which leaves an essence lingering in our hearts.Syahi is one such rose, one such saga of short stories, one such process of ideas beautifully created by 10 artistic, creative and enterprising budding authors. 
With each author tapping their creative self, with each grasping a different genre and each story better than the other, Syahi has been conceived to connect with those, wanting to grasp the best genres in one book.
From a thrilling, page turning story, to a soulful heart rendering tale to a romantic dreamy idea, to emotions in a relationship, Syahi is compiled to introduce you to the power of the pen by few of our talented youth.
Turn the pages of Syahi and indulge in the creative thoughts of our petals Salli, Nehali, Omung, Neoni, Khushi, Shrutee, Apporva, Ayush, Hitakshi and Aman as they drown you in their gripping stories. Feel the essence of each author, each petal, and each story of Syahi as you connect it with your life….and feel it unfolding.
First look at the cover and the various colors depict the various shades and emotions which will be covered in the book. The cover could have been more lively. The title is very suitable for the anthology and gives a very personalized touch to the book. The blurb is rendition of what one can expect from the anthology and what range of emotions is present in the book. It's a very good summation of the anthology. 

Story No. 1:

A story of whirl wind emotions, a buried past and some truths which just need to unfold at the right time. It's a mix of solace and sorrow for the readers. The story could have been much better. Editing at some places takes the charm away from it.

Story No. 2:

The story is an optimism and a door shown to the lovers. It's about embracing the positive and chucking out the negatives. The story is a blend of love and heart. It's a good story.

Story No. 3:

The feeling of deja vu when you realize that everything from the past comes back and hit you hard. The feeling of getting back and let go equally confuses your mind. It's a story of mixed emotions and the harsh reality which one has to accept some day or the other. It's a beautiful story.

Story No. 4:

A single moment can give or snatch away all but when it passes all that is left behind is either pain or joy. This is what the story is talking about here. One of the most captivating stories in the book.

Story No. 5:

A relationship whatever it may be always require love, care and attention from both the sides. One's ignorance always becomes the cause of downfall for the other. The story is about such relationships where everything has to nurtured just like a tiny plant to a fully grown tree. It's a marvelous story.

Story No. 6:

When you sit back and think about few things it becomes difficult to grasp the intensity of it. The story is one such narration where it all happens in a flash and vanishes. It's about ignorance, innocence and sacrifice. It's a story with passion and beautiful outline.

Story No. 7:

It's a story of hatred, revenge and sadness. The story though has some surprises but editing is found wanting at places. Few spelling mistakes makes it clumsy. The plot is a good one.

Story No. 8:

When disaster strikes there is no door or there is no warning for anybody. This is a story of survival and hope. It's a beautiful story based on real life incidents. A lesson for everyone whoever goes through this experience.

Story No. 9:

Pain and suffering are few things which handicaps a person completely. There is no way sometimes to get out of it. The feeling of helplessness churns out every ounce of energy from your body. The story is about brutality, pain and above all the cliched thought process of our society. It's a wonderful narration and an eye opener.

Story No. 10:

It's a story of acceptance and tenderness and how one feels about the other. The actions and reactions. The care and love for somebody. It's a fabulous story of sorrow, love and a cruel past. It sucks out all the emotions out of you as a reader.

Story No. 11:

A story of late realization and it's after effects. It's a story which could not ring something exciting. It could have been much better in many ways. 

Story No. 12: 

A story of realization and living life to the fullest. It's an observational piece of work and has been done justice with in appropriate manner. We can't ask for more from this story. 

Story No. 13: 

It's a plethora of emotions in a person's mind and then fearing for the worst to happen. Sometimes let go is the word in some situations. The story is a good and lovely observation but editing again goes for a toss in this one.   

Story No. 14: 

This is a story of unthinkable happening between the two souls. All may be put to risk but the outcome has to be satisfactory. A thoroughly grasping and gem of a story. 

Story No. 15: 

Some truths are meant to be kept hidden away for good. It's not unethical but at least it keeps the bonds between people as it is. Only with time it can be divulged. It's a story of innocent truth, a chance encounter and then a lifetime of happiness and peace for somebody. It's a very good story. 

Story No. 16: 

Justice is best served when dished out open in front of everybody. But what happens when it's not what we are seeing is the exact picture. It's a mystery which will spin the heads for sometime and then change it's complexion completely. It's a very good story with a unique story line.

It's an anthology built upon various emotions, observations, love, care, sacrifices etc. It ranges from light to intense kind of stories. The stories which will completely captivate the reader's heart are  3,4,5,6,9,10 & 14. 

The weak part of the book is editing which had to be a notch higher as it takes out a lot of charm away. The weak links of the book are stories: 1 and 11. 

The anthology is a thoroughly enjoyable experience for the readers. A major chunk of the book is very mesmerizing and captivating barring few loop holes and some stories. It's an anthology which won't disappoint you on any count. 


3 OUT OF 5

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Review: The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti

When something striking similar to reality is narrated through a book with all the details it becomes a memory. You can associate all the joy and the happiness of the incidents and the events spread across the book with what you hear in the day to day life. Author Michelle Cohen Corasanti in her debut novel "The Almond Tree" talks about life in one such world which lives under the cloud of fear. So is this novel a stepping stone to get them out of their oblivion state? Let's find out. 
Gifted with a mind that continues to impress the elders in his village, Ahmed Hamid struggles with knowing that he can do nothing to save his friends and family. Living on occupied land, his entire village operates in fear of losing their homes, jobs and belongings. But more importantly, they fear losing each other. On Ahmeds twelfth birthday, that fear becomes reality. With his father imprisoned, his familys home and possessions confiscated and his siblings quickly succumbing to hatred in the face of conflict, Ahmed begins an inspiring journey using his intellect to save his poor and dying family. In doing so he reclaims a love for others that was lost through a childhood rife with violence and loss and discovers a new hope for the future. The Almond Tree humanizes a culture and brings characters from a distant land to life. 

First look at the title and the cover and the readers can gauge that something intense and passionate is coming their way through this book. The cover image of a man with those intense looking eyes makes it look very thoughtful. The blurb talks about a man's struggle in the war between two nations. The blurb has been summarized perfectly leaving for the readers to decide and tell in the end what they witnessed in the book. 

The story revolves around young Ahmed Hamid and his war ravaged country Palestine and the growing tension from Israel and amongst this backdrop his will and courage to survive and fight his way out to make a living for himself and his family. His journey from one land to the other and the barrage of issues he faces which leads him to places and people which unexpectedly become part of his life and share their sorrows and joys with him. So will he able to unite the world? What is in store for him and his family? Will their ever be peace between Israel and Palestine? Where is his own life headed to? This is what the story is all about. 

If one word is to be used to describe the novel then it'll be "insightful". Right from the start till the end there's not one single scene which you can't imagine in your head as a reader. The book is brilliant in capturing the depth of emotions and the journey of a young and a naive lad. The family commitment, the sorrows, the joys, the will, the courage, the fear, the love, the sacrifices and the loss of near and dear ones one way or the other makes the book an outstanding piece of work by an author. The fluency in narration makes the book easy to grasp and understand. Every word has a meaning and every phrase has some value of its own in the book. 

The book might tend to go very slow towards the end. It's the only drawback in the whole story. The end could have been tightened up a little bit more. 

Over all the book is a package in itself. It highlights the reality of the two nations who have been at war for a very long time now, the plight of the people and the issues concerning their welfare and status in the society. The book will let you live a time and an era which already has made a very powerful impact on the minds of the people. It'll jolt you out of reverie completely. The book is a classic rewind of two warring nations and it's people. 


4 OUT OF 5

P.S: This book review is a part of "The Readers Cosmos Review Program". To get free books log on to "". 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Review: When Shall We Meet Again by Abhimanyu Rajarajan

Love stories are part and parcel of every man's life. Not all of them reach the desired end which one expects. Author Abhimanyu Rajarajan in his kindle e-book "When Shall We Meet Again" talks about love and it's implications on various people. So is he successful in bringing out a new side of love? Let's find out. 

What happens ?... when a software billionaire finds his company’s attrition rate scaling new heights? …when a programming de-bugger meets his ‘break-up” girl after 5 years? …When a revered Swamiji is asked to become a corporate trainer of an IT company?... when a cheerful flirt proposes to a girl who is yet to recover from a relationship shattered by infidelity?... when a college couple gets into a tent in an inebriated state during picnic? when a software Team leader is physically assaulted by her lover in front of her colleagues? …when a drunkard father meets his estranged daughters after a decade? … …when a pervert manager cajoles a new recruit to his private cottage? …when a doting couple’s aborted child enters the body of a Sadhu? … when a lonely girl is lying in bed fully intoxicated and at the mercy of a famished lecher? What happens?..... Passion, Love, Philosophy, Perversion, Thrill, Drama and Wit …..”When shall we meet again?” has a bit of everything….A IT industry romance thriller with lots of life's philosophy thrown in... 
Naren : A brilliant programming debugger; loved Aarthi at college. As he steps into a new relationship with Lisa at office, he finds his break up love Aarthi coming back again ; And he is in a dilemma 
Aarthi : A young petite girl just out of college ... Joins an IT company to find her past lover there... Caught up in a quandary between the cheerful Prem and the moody Naren.. Whom should she love? 
Lisa : A Software Executive. Loves her colleague Naren and will do anything for her love. Hides her sensitive feelings of love and tries to wear a dominant mask... May be she may have to shed it some time... 
Prem : A Happy Go Lucky guy who falls for the wrong girl and gets it right the second time... Or almost right ...Prem has an uncanny way of winning hearts and breaking his own heart
Narayan : A pervert Manager who is out to seduce the girls ... And when the girls cross his way, he lines up bigger dangers for them ...Even Rape is not beyond his scheme of things 
And with them… 

Aathmananda : A revered Swamiji who becomes a corporate trainer. Expert at transforming lives and making people come out with their deep secrets... But h 
What this book is all about ? 
Excerpts from When Shall We Meet Again ? 

First look at the cover and there are clocks and people around it. It's a kindle edition book so there's no feel to it like a paperback. The blurb talks about a lot of people and their lives. It's a very lengthy description of characters which could have been kept shorter. It's too lengthy even for an e-book. 

The story revolves around Jeevan his company Softbeam and it's employees and their lives. Naren & Aarthi are college lovers and when they happen to see each other once again in the same company a lot goes through their minds. Lisa loves Naren but is never successful in gaining his attention. Narayan is a cunning fellow and has his eyes on all the girls. Prem the new joinee too has a lot of interest in Aarthi but there's a lot in store for him ahead. Then comes Swami Aathmananda who on Jeevan's insistence tries to bring all of them together as a team by holding some sessions in his office. So what is in store for all of them when it all ends? This is what the story is all about. 

The story is about spiritual teaching, fatal attractions, wrong intentions and a lot of ups and downs in personal lives of people. The lessons of life in the book are worth reading. The second half of the story is very exciting with twists and turns in store for the readers. Emotions are well balanced in the book. 

The downside is slow and sluggish first half. The build up and the sudden change in the story towards the end makes it a contrast. Hindi words and spellings are wrong wherever it has been used throughout the book. The book is not able to balance the romance and the thriller angle. There's nothing fresh in the love story. 

The book is a good read but with lots of ifs and buts. The spiritual angle holds the fort but love and thrill doesn't brings anything new to the table. It's not the best of the classic tell tale around but it ain't bad too. 


3 OUT OF 5