Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Review: Scarred for Life, Healed Forever by Ashwati Menon

History is a witness to unusual. From sightings of aliens to supernatural powers it's all debated and speculated upon. Concrete answers have been nil. Author Ashwati Menon in her novel "Scarred for Life, Healed Forever" plans to challenge the limits of human abilities and deliver something strange. So does this strange idea works with the readers? Let's find out. 

What are these strange visions? What is wrong with her head? Why does she gets strange feelings before any accident? Nishtha Vaidya is a survivor of a terrible natural calamity. Not only does she live on with survivors guilt, her mind is still there, on the ill-fated day and she could never come out of it. Just when things are beginning to settle slowly in the safe and cozy life in vibrant lifestyle of Gujarat - Nishtha is getting strange visions and headaches. Life is taking her back two years in time and she finds she is running around the state, saving different and unknown lives from mortal peril. Will Nishtha get answers to the mind blogging questions? Will Nishtha be able to pay tribute to her friends whom she lost? Has her untold love story got anything to do with it?

First look at the title and the cover and the the lone illusion image of a girl leaves some confusing impressions. It works in the author's favor. The title is too shrouded with mystery and there's not much to be deciphered. The blurb talks about a girl and her life's unusual occurrences which leaves her mystified. The blurb asks a number of questions which created an element of doubt in the mind of the readers. Few questions in the context of the story leave generous hints which is a blooper. 

The story is set in Ahmadabad where Nishtha Vaidya is leading an abnormally sane life. Her constant vigil against the past events is futile as it comes back to haunt her in capacity. Her strength to handle the entire sequence is wane. She feeds off on the support of her family and friends yet there are few unexplained ideas in her life. So what is it she battles with? Will she be able to launch herself forward? Will life give her another chance to be normal again? That's what the story is all about. 

The story has an idea which is not spoken or read of at great lengths. The story is set with chain of events which is not an everyday affair. The path of unknown is the pillar of the strength of the book. 

The downside of the book is it's grammatical exposure. It turns out to be a party spoiler as the command is lost with numerous mistakes in the book. The story is hampered continuously and there's not much to work upon. The idea too is delivered with start and stops and the entire chain of events never sets in a single motion. The story turns out to be too clumsy and short to give a strong finish to the book. 

All in all the story required a lot of patience and growth. It fails to excite the reader. The idea is appealing but the construction of the book is appalling. There is a story and a bright idea, yet it fades into the sands of darkness with failed attempts to revive it. The bright spot paled with the rough edges. A story with potential but average deliverance. 


2 OUT OF 5   

Friday, December 26, 2014

Review: Private L.A by James Patterson & Mark Sullivan (Private, #7)

Some authors have earned their livelihood by carving out series after series. James Patterson has done so by giving readers numerous characters to work on and read and share their lives with. In his latest series Private along with Mark Sullivan he takes trip down to Los Angeles with the book titled "Private L.A" on an adventure which will make or break the entire scenario. So has he been able to pull it off? Let's find out. 

Jack Morgan is having a bad week. His twin brother is up on a murder charge and determined to frame him for the crime, and one of Jack's clients has just called to report the burnt bodies of four surfers on his beach.But what seems like a random mugging gone wrong soon reveals something far worse - a killer calling themselves No Prisoners is holding the city to ransom. And there's more bad news: Hollywood's golden couple, Thom and Jennifer Harlow, have been kidnapped, along with their adopted children.It looks like the whole world is about to discover whether Private are really as good as they say they are.

First look at the title and the cover and a reader gets a feeling called "similarity". The cover's no different from the other books in the series and it becomes monotonous and boring. The title too carries on the legacy with only the city names being switched with the others. The blurb is a short and sweet ride and talks about the latest exploits of Private and Jack Morgan. It serves the purpose of not dishing out too many details. . 

The story is set off in Los Angeles where Private is amidst action. A no holds barred maniac is at large in the city leaving deadlines and no clues. On the other hand, the powerful celebrity couple is found missing from their ranch along with their children, again leaving behind no clues. So two cases at hand and Jack Morgan and his troops are working over time. So will they be able to throw some light on the happenings? Will it be a tough nut to crack? Are things related to each other? Will Private reach the end or will somebody else scoop the entire scenario? That's what the story is all about. 

The two different story idea running parallel to each other is a famous concept, though repetitive yet offers two different dimensions to the book. On one hand, there is psychopath cum murder mystery and on the other suspense,drama,lure and wealth is involved. The story deals with two the aspects in a healthy manner. The narration is a breeze. 

The downside of the book is the unfolding time of the story line. It moves away from the track and keeps faltering in to the personal zones of the Private. As a teamwork, the book fails but as an individual effort it excels. The characters blossom alone which is not the hallmark of the story. Parts of the story are completely in effective. Capitalization is the area where the book fails to provide a fresh perspective to the readers. 

All in all the book marks the sad free fall of the series. Stories are true but the arrangement fizzles out too soon. The idea to keep the team alive doesn't works and it falls flat. The assortment of ideas thrown at the readers is also a fallacy and there is no come back whatsoever as the book becomes predictable towards the end. A powerful resurgence is what it lacks. An average story telling from the master story teller. 


2 OUT OF 5

Friday, December 12, 2014

Review: It Happens for a Reason by Preeti Shenoy

Life's always been a turmoil. It even exceeds your expectations at a certain juncture. Not that you are left with a lot of choices but the chaos and drama always helps you build your present and future in tune with the society. For those who choose to defy the norms, they are subjected to intense scruitny, but if you have the will to get over all of it then there's no stopping. Author Preeti Shenoy in her latest book "It Happens for a Reason" goes all out to reason society and it's very roots which are a mere puppet of indiscretions and sometimes total loss of basic moralities. So has she been able to dig out the dirt and clean it up for the readers? Let's find out. 

When Vipasha, Vee to friends, eighteen and single, makes the decision to have her baby, she does more than give up her promising modeling career. She ends up cutting ties with her family and with Ankush, the man she thought she was in love with. Fast-forward sixteen years and she now has two unusual careers - she runs a dog-boarding facility and is a gym instructor. Aryan thinks she is the coolest mom in the world and hopes she will one day find her Prince Charming - exactly what her best friend Suchi has in mind for her. But Vee secretly has a thing for Saurabh, the quirky vet.
Then, out of the blue, Ankush comes back into their life.
But can a decision that was taken at eighteen - more in the throes of lust than love-be the basis of a lifelong relationship? Is there a future for Ankush and Vee? Vee, Aryan and Ankush are in for the ride of their lives. No seat belts, full speed and a very bumpy road ahead.

First look at the title and the cover and one can feel like a bollywood swansong. Though the cover doesn't quite agrees with the story but still it manages to hold the fort. The title it indeed a subject worth pondering which gives a faint idea as to what is coming in the book but it's a far distant one from hinting the obvious. The blurb talks about two people and how lives suddenly throws you out of gear and then it's all up to them to gather the bits and pieces. There is too much depth in the blurb which is not a great sign and it gives out a bit more than it should have. 

The story is of young Vipasha who belongs filthy rich parents, but what they lack in as parents thry try to cover up with riches. With certain incidents marking the life of the young girl, she is all herself to explore and at the mercy of the world. Her world completely changes with the hasty entry and exit of Ankush, the only love of his life and she is left to fend for herself in this big bad world. With few friends and support by her side it's now all up to Vipasha to take her life in her strides? But how painful is it going to be? Will her decisions let her carry on with a sense of security or will it be a dreadful end to the little and innocent soul? Will there be Ankush or will he shriek away from his responsibility? Will life ever be the same again? That's what the story is all about. 

There's life and there's more to it than meets the eye. The monotonous and constant question which hangs in air "what will happen next" is a perfect way to describe the entire story. It's picked up from the lives of some people who suffer in stoic silence and some who chose to defy and go ahead with their plans. There is a mutual character involvement and a grave understanding, as if everyone speaks for themselves. Right from the toddler to the elder they all have a role to play and the author keeps them in the loop to take story in the positive strides. There's a certain unnerving calm and a silent wave of emotions which engulf the entire story. Be it love or friendship or any other relationship known to mankind it offers you all in a platter and serves the right recipe to hold on to it. 

The only downside of the book is Ankush's character needed some more leverage. He remains invisible for a very long period. The author could have given a little more voice to his character rather than keeping him out of the loop for a longer period of time. 

All in all the book offers a clean perspective as to what life is and how it can manage to make a weak soul go strong and a strong soul go awry. From the impulsive teen till the mature soul it has a lot to give every reader. The book doesn't wanders out of his steads rather sticks to the basics and carve out an illustrious and pulsating experience. It will not knock you out cold but rather lend a helping hand to face rather the most adverse and cumbersome of the situations in life. After all it's a book which "has happened for a reason" and it's up to you to unfold the layers and be a part of it. An unsettling yet settling story. 


4 OUT OF 5  

Review: The Hunters by Chris Kuzneski (Hunters, #1)

There are some stories lost in time and along with them there are some treasures too. These treasures have long been in the nature's lap and been protected in a way. Author Chris Kuzneski in his latest series Hunters brings forth one such tale through the medium of the book "The Hunters". So is this tale relishing and rollicking? Let's find out.

The first in a brand new series from the international bestseller Chris Kuzneski - "If you seek, they will find" The Hunters: a team of renegades - an ex-military leader, a historian, a computer whiz, a weapons expert and a thief - financed by a billionaire philanthropist are tasked with finding the world's most legendary treasures. The Mission: recover a vast Romanian treasure that was stolen by the Russians nearly a century ago. Fearing a Germany victory in World War 1, the Romanian government signed a deal to guarantee the safety of the country's most valuable artifacts until after the war. In 1916 two treasure trains full of gold and the most precious objects of the Romanian state - paintings, jewelry from the Royal family, ancient Dacien artifacts - were sent to the underground vaults in the Kremlin only to be lost to the Romanian people forever as Russia severed all diplomatic relations with the country and scattered the treasure to its outlying regions. With a haul valued at over 3.5 billion dollars, everyone wants to claim the vast treasure but its location has remained a mystery, until now. Can the Hunters succeed where all others have failed?

First look at the title and the cover and the cover fails to excite the reader. The title reeks of adventure and the tagline adds to the special effects conjured up. The blurb talks about the brand new series and how a team is assembled to undertake a mission. The blurb could have been kept more precise as it tends to divulge a bit more than what it should have. 

The story is set in ancient Transylvania where Romania's most prized treasure has gone missing. Many pursuers and historians have floundered rich opportunities in pursuit of a mythical tale, yet it eludes everyone. The legends and folklore adding to the dilemma. Then comes into the picture, Jack Cobb and his team of highly trained people who have been hired a rich Frenchman to attain the impossible. So will it be a cakewalk for a man of Cobb's stature? Will it become a nightmare for his and his team? Will the team ever be able to find the lock and key and put it together? That's what the story is all about. 

The story triggers off ancient sentiments in a way that is protrudes old wounds of a long forgotten treasure. The book is well researched and story woven with the blend of fiction so as to make an exciting prospect. The adventure thriller promises a lot of action and some mystery along the way and hold true in it's initial outburst. 

The downside of the book is that it loses momentum and turns out to be pretty monotonous with only minimal references to the adventure. It becomes more of a personal vendetta and a cat-mouse game which serves no purpose at all. The new characters fail to effuse any life into the book and by the end it becomes predictable and finishes off on a sour note. The guns and rail engines have been given too much of an importance which takes away the charm from the original story. 

What promises to be a grand affair turns out to be a pale and hollow effort. The book with a gripping story line would have made a memorable outing but to the contrary it bends to the constant interference and  falters hard and fast. The story could have opened an entirely new world to the readers but instead it becomes a monotonous personal rambling of Jack and co. There are only few moments to savor but rather than that it's all a futile exercise. An average story. 


2 OUT OF 5 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Review: The Symbol by Varun Gautam

Sometimes in life there comes a moment when you feel completely lost. The things which should have gone your way spiral out of control and that is where you whiff defeat and desperation. Author Varun Gautam in his book "The Symbol" tries to measure the hard strides of life through a microscopic and mythical view. So is he successful in creating that aura? Let's find out.  

A perfectly written script goes awry when Arjun encounters the unexpected. His belief in occult injustice solidifies when he, on one hand, fails to clear the much coveted IMS entrance exam and on the other hand, his friend Mohan gets more than what he deserved in life. Unable to cope up with this unfairness, he becomes directionless. With no way forward and some strained relations, he reaches the peak of monotony in his life and has nowhere to draw his inspiration from. One day suddenly he gets hold of a device called The Symbol which promises to solve all his problems.
Can The Symbol help him come out of his woes?
Will he be able to rise above the so called injustice and prove his mettle?
It is a journey that takes a peek into finding a new perspective and chartering inspiration from unknown territories, where none was thought to have existed.

First look at the title and the cover and a reader can get lost in the maze of symbols and encrypted writings. So much so for the cover even the title hints at what is going to be part of the book. The blurb talks about a young boy who struggles to get hold of his life and how journey of his life takes turns to lend him a hand of solace and despair. A good blurb with only a limited view to get an idea of the story. 

The story is of Arjun, who is young and reckless and is headed nowhere. His life is surrounded with goals and burdens which never seem to ease out. But then a chance comes by and it all comes down to a circle when everything with him goes upswing and he tries to catch hold of it. So will he really be able to turn it around? Will life offer a homecoming to Arjun? That's what the story is all about. 

The crisp narration and very few glimpses of a nice story are the only saviors of the story. Simple narration can also be added to the already lost glory. 

The downside of the book is it's ever dull and faltering story line. Time and again the author relies on world cup excerpts to give story an edge, but it fails to ignite passion and it fells flat. The branch of some respite snaps as it takes a monotonous shape and the failure and struggles turn out to be dud affair by the end of the book. There is no purpose in the first half as most of it is lost in booze and unnecessary jealousy. Character driven story is completely amiss. 

All in all the book is a pale offering and fails to savor the excite the reader. It tries to turn around the lost cause by offering a different touch, but that is where it all goes pale. The story could have lent a more meaningful purpose as the outlook looks completely misleading and strangely there is no befitting finish to it either. A very average book. 


2 OUT OF 5

Monday, December 8, 2014

Review: Strange Shores by Arnaldur Indridason (Detective Erlendur, #11)

For once there is an eerie the way stories have been stirred up in the name of fiction. Cold blooded scenes have partly overtaken the conventional murder scheme of things and replicated the same success of their elder sibling. Author Arnaldur Indridason in his Erlendur detective series book "Strange Shores" takes things forward and keeps the detective in the loop. So has he been able to weave the exact same magic like the other books? Let's find out. 

A young woman walks into the frozen fjords of Iceland, never to be seen again. But Matthildur leaves in her wake rumors of lies, betrayal and revenge.Decades later, somewhere in the same wilderness, Detective Erlendur is on the hunt. He is looking for Matthildur but also for a long-lost brother, whose disappearance in a snow-storm when they were children has colored his entire life. He is looking for answers.Slowly, the past begins to surrender its secrets. But as Erlendur uncovers a story about the limits of human endurance, he realizes that many people would prefer their crimes to stay buried.

First look at the title and the cover and one can fall for the strange alienated concept. The lone man, the falling snow is a perfect set up to lure the readers in to reading the book. The title carries the eerie of what's bound to occur and gives a few goosebumps. The blurb has been kept ultra short and talks about people going missing in a small town of Iceland. It's pretty much a statement as to what one wants to find out in the book and how the author has led up to all this. 

The story is set off in Iceland, where in a small town long back in 1942 a grave storm swept away a lady and a small child. But the lady Matthildur becomes a mystery as the after talk never dies down. Detective Erlendur lands up in the town and goes out of the way to uncover the truth behind the missing lady. So will he really be able to hit pay dirt or is it all a rumor? What is there to be seen yet it cannot catch the eye of the detective? What will be the end result in the end, the emotions stirred up or a lost cause? That's what the story is all about. 

It's a story beyond imagination. Once it shakes off the initial sluggishness it takes turns to deliver drama, suspense and off all the things curious characters in the book. There are some baffling aspects which keeps the story in tune with the entire prospect. The ease with which the book delivers the complex of the things is what makes it a compulsive page turner. The book takes pride in delivering action in the most soft manner yet it hits hard and lets you swallow done the impact of it. The long list of characters manage a viable presence in the book and from the lowliest of the peasants to the the most obscure of the residents of the town they all leave a grave impact and give some handful to the story. 

The only downside of the book is it's parallel slow ever evolving past which couldn't quite sync in and leave a spellbinding effect of any sorts. It thus manages to stall the progress and throw the readers off trail and becomes quite an eye sore in the story. 

All in all the book promises to be an exciting prospect. It banks on simplicity with complexity and hitherto hits the sweet spot. It is sluggish but the pace grants the author to imagine and leave a desirous and delirious impact on the mind of the readers. There is a hint of emotion too which plays with the mind and the soul yet pries open a different side to the story. It's a picture perfect story. 


4 OUT OF 5  

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Review: The Bootlegger by Clive Cussler & Justin Scott (Isaac Bell, #7)

Sea adventures leave a trail of history behind. It's always been a mystifying and exciting exercise and in old times it was a richer bounty than any other thing in the world. Author Clive Cussler in his latest Isaac Bell series book "The Bootlegger" takes it forward and turns back time for the readers to relish. So is it really going to ring any alarm bells? Let's find out. 

Joseph Van Dorn is hot on the trail of a rum-running vessel when he is shot and nearly killed. His lifelong friend Isaac Bell swears that he will bring the bootleggers to justice in his place. However the only witness to the shooting is brutally murdered and Bell begins to understand that this is no mere anti-Prohibition agenda. It reaches into the heart of the Bolsheviks themselves and involves some of their greatest assassins and hit men in a grand scheme to topple the US government.

First look at the title and the cover and it truly amazes as if a tragic piece of art. The title is notorious and the sounds of it rings alarms in the mind. The blurb talks about the return of Isaac Bell at helm and a new adversary on the other side. It's a short and a sweet blurb giving out no information and keeping readers engaged. 

The story is of 1920's when prohibition and bootlegging is at large. Amidst the chaos Van Dorn is shot in a furious gun battle in the sea and it's up to Isaac Bell now to get hold of the entire situation. So how will he go around this one or will he find it tough to crack? Will he be able to catch the men who shot Van Dorn? Will he be able to put a lid on bootlegging or will he get booted out in the process? That's what the entire story is about. 

It's a classic setup and a classical style of action. The dialogue delivery too is old style and inspired from the ruffians and sea mafia of early 1900's. The story has some punch in it with the kind of chord it tries to touch and has a newer prospect to it. There is horde of action and drama and it's an all out war which manages to turn heads. The chaos is chaotic and makes things unpleasant but for the readers it's cherry on the top. There is a strong showdown and it all happens in a bold and daring manner in the story. 

The story lacks the initial slow start and happens to jump on things bit too soon. Also it manages to leave out the clear purpose and revolves around side tracks which causes it to stumble a lot many times. The character list is quite large and becomes unmanageable and you cannot keep track of it after a point of time. A little modern touch to the entire story could have worked wonders but that's where it keeps getting dragged and boring and eventually fizzles out. 

All in all the book tries to lend a hand to the adventure with great care. It has few elements which an adventure demands but the clarity has been forgotten in the entire book. The book revolves in circles and springs up few surprises but then it washes away like a harangued soul. It's old and classical but there is nothing fresh to keep it alive and kicking till the end. A story with a lot of potential but not getting justified in the end. 


2 OUT OF 5

Friday, November 28, 2014

Review: Personal by Lee Child (Jack Reacher, #19)

When you reach at the pinnacle there is very little left to do. But times are always testing and there are some blind spots in life when don't know what's going to be thrown back at you. Author Lee Child in his latest book "Personal" takes the journey of Jack Reacher forward in a quest to satiate some personal vendetta. So is it going to be really personal? Let's find out. 

Jack Reacher has had enough with the army, but the army isn’t quite finished with him yet. When a long-range shot threatens the safety of the French President, Jack is pulled back into service. This time, he serves the State Department and the CIA. However, he faces an expert marksman whose work looks oddly familiar. How could anyone make a shot at a distance of three-fourths of a mile from the target? To make matters worse for America, the bullet is one of theirs and the gunman is an ex-convict with 15 years of prison time behind him: John Kott. Jack must once again track down the man he put away years before. This time, the stakes are higher. Jack continues to be haunted by memories of a woman he couldn’t save. He is teamed up with a young analyst named Casey Nice, and he begins to feel like the situation is repeating itself. However, he is desperate to keep it from happening this time. This time, he tells himself, the killer made it personal.

First look at the title and the cover and the man walking in the distance on an empty road is always an eerie sign. The title in short tries to tell us something but keeps it hidden from the prying eyes. The blurb talks about Reacher and his latest exploits which is a bit more than it should have been. 

The story is back to square one as Reacher is on the move and on an instinct he is back among action when he finds his calling on an assignment he least expects to be involved in. But with some past involved and a certain favor to be returned Jack Reacher is all set to catch the master assassin who is a bit out of the reach as of now. So will Reacher find it easy or will his nemesis prove to be a tough nut? Will it be a game to finish or Reacher will be tamed? That's what the story is all about. 

The story as all Reacher series has to offer gets on with action,suspense and drama and an uncanny ability to produce goods out of nothing. The adversary, the care free attitude of Reacher and the intensity of the situation it all grabs headlines and tries to capture the minds and heart of the readers. The story has some surprises up its sleeves and does manages to deliver them in right proportions. The newer approach to the story is always appreciable and keeps it clean,easy to read and more to relate to. 

The downside of the book is it finds its adversary in the backdrop for a very lengthy period of time. The adversary doesn't has a personality or personal indulgence which pales the book for a certain period of time. Also the sidekicks involved from the opposite side play too much of a role leaving nothing for a one to one showdown of Reacher and the nemesis. A definitive end to the story also lacks and fails to pack a punch to a promising endeavor. 

All in all the book promises old style action as expected from the story line but fails to provide an extra edge to the newer idea. The book moves in circles but doesn't capitalizes on what one expects it to be an outright thriller. For the marquee delivery it has certain charm but it fades with time. It won't leave a lasting impression but it won't fail you as a reader completely either. A sweet-bitter affair. 


3 OUT OF 5  

Review: Your Dreams are Mine Now by Ravinder Singh

Everyone has a dream. Dream to do something big, a dream to change the society and a dream to give the world something for which you will be remembered. Is it that easy to live a dream? The answer is no it isn't. Author Ravinder Singh in his latest book " Your Dreams are Mine Now" sets on a trail from where there is no coming back. It's not a journey that gets easier any day or anytime soon. So how well the author has traveled into this less traversed path? Let's find out.

Your Dreams are Mine Now explores the romantic relationship between Rupali and Arjun. They are complete opposites and have nothing in common when it comes to their interests and priorities in life. Rupali is a small town girl and an idealist, whereas Arjun is a Delhi guy with keen interest in youth politics. A major scandal on the college campus brings them together and somewhere along the line they fall in love with each other. Set against the backdrop of heavy campus politics in Delhi University, Your Dreams are Mine Now will make for an engaging and riveting read for those who enjoy love stories.

First look at the title and the cover and a reader will deem to fall in love with it. An exquisite dreamy sequence awaits a reader and the title is a proof to it. The blurb talks about two people and their whirlwind life which will unfold in many ways. The blurb is a witness to what you can expect as a reader and leaves a lot to imagination. 

The story is set in D.U where Rupali has arrived from Patna to relieve her dream. As time flies she gets to know the inner delicacies of matters in the campus. A chance meeting with Arjun sets tone to a blossoming friendship cum love but with it comes an unknown destination which will engulf her and embrace her like her own child. The politics and love walk hand in hand and try to become a dominant force. So will Rupali be able sustain it? Will Arjun be present by her side all this while or will she walk alone on this treacherous path? Only time will tell. 

The story uses it's strong suit i.e love to perfection. The delicacy with which the emotions are handled is plain joy to read. It revolves around budding campus life, the excitement along with it is a thing to which a young collegiate can relate to. The D.U setup adds to all the love and friendship drama and makes it a worthwhile structuring. The book also has a political agenda somewhere in it which gets a voice in the first half and is carried on with a purpose. It lends a tone of harsh reality and sets the stakes high in this embroiled scenario. The end becomes the USP of the book as it unwinds some not so distant memories. 

The book fails to capitalize on the political angle and fizzles out with time. The strong portrayal of an antagonist and carrying forward the agenda is what should have happened which is completely amiss in the story. The pompous start pales in the second half where it turns into a love story and loses its purpose entirely.   

All in all the book is not able to create a balance between love and politics. Love thus gains an upper hand and politics becomes a mere footnote in this saga. The book turns out to be decent on aspects of love and emotion but what it promises it fails to deliver in entirety. As a love story it offers you the similar college romance which can be enjoyed to but it comes with striking similarities, on the other hand the word to which no one relates to as much i.e politics is a distant entity and turns out to be half baked effort. A decent but not so strong deliverance. 


3 OUT OF 5

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Review: Lost in Pattaya by Kishore Modak

How many of us believe in something and give it all to hold on to it. It can be a person or a thing. It's never easy to lose it and get it back. Author Kishore Modak in his book "Lost in Pattaya" manages to lay hands on a sensitive issue and tries to shed light on it by tightening the noose and working overtime on it. So has he been successful in delivering a master stroke? Let's find out. 

For Palash, the sorrow compounds from the incessant replaying of the critical minutes when his ‘Daddy-eye’ faltered, distracted by his own weakness, substance abuse. The loss and the ensuing search sends him spiraling into a divorce and the loss of a steady corporate job. Scouring for his little girl in the brothels of Pattaya he is ensnared in the web of mafia that runs the sex trade of Thailand. When he eventually finds her, will he be able to build back a wasted lifetime, or, is it too late for rescue, for him and his child?

First look at the title and the story and the grieving face is an eye catcher. It definitely looks grim and the title adds to the effects. The blurb talks about a man and his mission to save his daughter from the clutches of the evil. There is a hint as to what is there in the book but the rest it's all bleak and unclear which is a good sign. 

The story starts off in Pattaya where Palash loses her daughter on the streets. He is junkie and a drug addict and insane. His wife blames him, his work suffers and he loses all hope. But he is not ready to accept the inevitable yet. Somewhere a hope flickers in his heart and he sets off again to the land where he might end up meeting her daughter or she might have lost her identity already. With no help by his side he is all alone and it's up to him to turn the tide in his favor. So will he be able to do it? Will he be able to go back and correct it all? Will life ever be the same again? That's what the story is all about. 

The story is a slow turner and rakes up a lot of time to catch a whiff of air and gain momentum. It certainly keeps the suspense and drama at it's bay and manages to throw readers attention on multiple subjects. The story is presented in a descriptive manner which itself drives and builds up curiosity and take it to the hilt. There are moments of anxiety and moments to cherish because it's like searching for a needle in a haystack. The characters have been executed well and the word jugglery produces magic. There are dark shades to it and it only adds to the feel of the entire outlook. 

The book gets diverted in the second half and loses it's shine and fails to sustain the momentum. It gives away too soon and pales towards the end. The plot moving away from the straight line and wavering in circles and giving angles which don't deem fit in the entire scenario. There's a desire to see it through to the very end but it all gets jumbled up in the personal quest. The suddenness of few events in the story is out of the place and could have been given a long narrative handle. 

All in all the book has a blend of both good and bad and with the good trying to force the issue it still manages to outscore the bad 51-49. There are times when it looks for a befitting finish but the capitalization on a great start becomes an issue and from there on it gets dragged along on a rough and unsteady path. But the glorious parts of the book are there to be cherished and savored and its all in there to be felt emotions,drama,suspense and a broken soul. A good and grave mix of cheer and sorrows. 


3 OUT OF 5   


Review: Nine: Vengeance of the Warrior by Shobha Nihalani (Nine, #2)

Fantasy always has that lasting effect on the mind. It creates an aura of awe and inspiration and leads is to believe in the fiction. It all becomes real in front of the eyes as it mesmerizes and captures it all even with the tiniest of thoughts or long prose. Author Shobha Nihalani in her second book of the Nine trilogy "Nine: Vengeance of the Warrior" brings back the age of barbarism mingled with modern day fears and some good old fantasy. So has she been able to provide an all conquering story? Let's find out. 

All future is defined by the past.
And therefore, the end is only the beginning.
After burying the vicious Kalingan warrior, Akash, Tara and Zubin are continuing their lives as before, hiding the fact that they are a part of King Ashoka's exalted Nine and that each of them has powers meant to be used for the benefit of mankind, when needed.
Except, things are not as quiet as they seem to be.
The Kalingan warrior has risen once again angrier and more vengeful. And this time he knows each one of them. If they don't destroy him now, they will be hunted down and the world will be battling its worst, most terrifying chemical warfare yet.
This second book in the Nine trilogy will change the way you look at time and space.

First look at the title and the cover and the exhilarating look gives a great feel to it. The title itself speaks volumes of what is bound to be part of the book. The blurb is short and sweet but it gives away the important scenario of the story which should have been completely avoided at all costs.  

The story starts off from where the first part of the book as the Kalingan spirit has returned to earth more deadly and filled with rage and revenge. But the Nine are weary and they are banking on their Three's past experience to finish it off once and for all. But the path is not so easy this time. The determination of the Kalingan with the quench to conquer and rule the world is insatiable and it will only rest till the time it doesn't destroys the legacy of Ashoka. So who will prevail in this all out war? Will it be the evil or will the good will prevail once again? That's what the story is all about. 

The story is set off in a similar motion as it was in the first part of the book. It expectantly has a lot of action and a very strong antagonist and given the challenge and the methods to achieve the desired destiny it manages to pull off quite a few heart pounding scenes in the story. There is a good old battle with a lot of fantasy and angst that will help the readers move along with excitement and curiosity. 

The book clearly lacks a great story line as all the action and pent up emotions goes waste. It's predictable nature gives it away all and the deadlock becomes too monotonous and exaggerated. Not to forget the character build up and the time taken to provide appropriate momentum snatches away crucial points away from the story. The lackluster end also doesn't adds up to the entire cause and what could have been a vengeful story turns out to be a pauper in the end. 

All in all what promise lay hold by the first book fails to ignite the same passion in the second. The story is way too much straightforward and messed up and not laced with hard hitting pointers. The individual ramblings of the characters is a huge sore and eats up a lot of the main chunk. It could have been a vengeful revenge but the lack of proper approach fails it all and leaves it absolute shambles. 


2 OUT OF 5    

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Review: Marry Me, Stranger by Novoneel Chakraborty

There have been times in life when a person encounters something extraordinary and life sets to take a turn be it good or bad. The implications are many but the scuffle to reach the end just plays down the entire thought process. Author Novoneel Chakraborty in his latest book "Marry Me, Stranger" ties you up with a story which will get on your nerves and gives you jitters. So has he been able to create that eerie magic? Let's find out. 

Marry Me, Stranger follows the life of a young and independent girl, Rivanah Bannerjee, living by herself in Mumbai. She has loving parents, adorable boyfriend and an amazing job. But there is just one problem – her life is in danger! Someone has been stalking her, watching her every move and trying to manipulate and control her just about perfect life. She initially thinks that it is a harmless admirer, but soon things start to get ugly. Who is this stranger? Marry Me, Stranger is a racy, spine chilling thriller with some mind-numbing revelations.

First look at the title and the cover and it might lure the readers into believing that it's an outright love story. But then there's more to it that meets the eye. The ring is the catch which has been designed in such a way that it acts as handcuff or a chain too. That's the first element of mystery. But the cover is still quite pale. The blurb is precise and it works on the formula of giving out very less which is a striking aspect. 

The story is set in Mumbai where Rivanah Bannerjee a young girl from Kolkata arrives for a job. Her journey is in splits when she encounters an obnoxious development which lets itself lose on her mind and soul. Its presence so dreary that Rivanah is not able to contemplate her next move or channel her thought process. What is that lurks in the dark and tries to instill fear in her mind? What Mumbai has to offer to Rivanah, peace or chaos? Will it ever be the same again for her? That's what the story is all about. 

The story is a classic romantic thriller which works overtime and feeds on the fears and element of uncertainty of the characters. The story is a breezy affair yet it provokes the readers and challenges the mind to be on your toes all the time. There's an air of gloom and there's sadistic pleasure yet there's happiness too which is the hallmark of the entire hoopla. The story doesn't dies down, in fact it drags the readers along a dark path which is illuminated only when required. It's soul stirring story.The uncanny knack of the author to pick up and assemble a befitting cast and story line works wonders for the book. 

The couple of downsides which are encountered in the book are some annoying spacing issues and the sexual encounters which have just gone a little overboard. The sexual excitement could have been suppressed to a minimum. 

All in all it's a heart stopping thriller which has a dark and a bright side to it. It spreads fear,gloom,cheers and smile in palpable amounts. It stops at nothing to toy with the mind of the readers and makes you believe in every word,every line and every character. The quandary in which the author leaves the readers towards the end hints at something big planned for the next part of the story. It's a legalized way to create doubts in your mind and deliver a book so magnetic that you won't be able to rest until its ultimate destination. A pure entertainer. 


4 OUT OF 5  

Review: Hackster by Sankalp Kohli & Paritosh Yadav

Technology has swallowed our lives like a lump of rice and made us dependent on its know-how's. Though it's a man-made affair it still has managed to spiral out of control. Authors Sankalp Kohli & Paritosh Yadav in their latest venture "Hackster" have tried to put together a technology inspired thriller to woo the readers. So will they be able win the battle of wits? Let's find out. 

What happened when people lost faith in the system? One stood up and opened the doors of a revolution. 
History has it that such men have the power to bring a nation to a standstill.Revelations of the past have shattered Vikram and left him in extreme agony. Fueled by the universe of vibrations and his father’s legacy, he must now trigger a digital revolution that will leave India leaderless. A special unit, CIST has been set up by the President to take on the growing cyber threats. Led by Arjun, CIST tracks down its target, but soon finds itself helpless in the kaleidoscope of cyber war.The Kingmaker of Indian politics shivers at the sight of the upcoming war. Who is right? Who is wrong? Who will reach the kill switch first?

First look at the title and the cover and one can see thriller written all over it. The cover looks good but not rock solid. A touch reality was required to it. The title just says a bit too much about the book. The blurb talks about the system and the nuisances of it. The blurb has few important insights about the story which could have been completely avoided. 

The story is set off in Mumbai where techie Vikram Singh Bedi is a hapless victim of the corrupt system. He seeks vengeance not old fashioned but something revolutionary. On the other hand a special task force CIST is on its toes to stop the waging war and bring things back to normalcy. But it's not easy. So in the world of tech. and internet  who will win back peace and who will have the upper hand? Only time will tell. 

The story is a wave of fresh air in the midst of some blooming genres. A critical catch is the blend of technology and thrill which adds spice to the story. Drama and emotions run high and all kinds of action is over loaded in the story. The unrelenting pace and the cat and mouse approach adds excitement to it. There's a whiff of "needle in a hay stack" kind of situation which sets it apart. 

The downside of the book is a weak and almost obscure antagonist. The sudden ness of events not matching up and let it drift into an awkward zone. The lack of punch and the obvious finish down marks the entire set up. 

All in all the book comes out as a presentable package. Though it loses out on some critical points but still keeps the sanctity of a tech. thriller alive. It's a change and that too a positive one. It breaks the monotony and goes on to justify its presence among the readers. A good attempt. 


3 OUT OF 5

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Review: Before I Go to Sleep by SJ Watson

Science it seems has not been able to decipher one of the most baffling mysteries i.e human mind. Our mind is a complex subject with endless possibilities. There are few answers but not all of them come up as satisfactory explanation. Author SJ Watson in his book "Before I Go To Sleep" raises questions once again about human mind. So what holds the book? Let's find out.

'As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I'm still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me...' 
Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love — all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.
Welcome to Christine's life.

First look at the title and the cover and one cannot comprehend as to what the book wants to tell us. The cover image are few shocked and intense faces so it's not a hunky dory story it seems. The blurb talks about Christine and her anamolies which make her suffer everyday and devours on her helplessness. The blurb has been kept precise so as for the readers to assemble the jumbled pieces. 

The story is set off in London where Christine wakes up everyday with no memories from the past. Her doting husband Ben with his patience and grit stands by his wife to help her overcome Amnesia. But a silent storm brews inside her as with the help of a journal and Dr. Nash Christine sets out to uncover her past and secure her present. So what lays in the past that continues to evade her memories? Who's on her side and who's the enemy? It's all there in the mind but to be found out. 

A pretty old subject of Amnesia has been put forth by the author but the deliverance is a bit different. The questionable and repetitive aspects of the story drives and thrives the plot. The silent chaos and the overpowering helplessness feeds and allures the brightest of the minds. The intrigue and suspense combined produces a gem of a story and the startling revelations keeps the progress aggressive and interesting. 

The only downside of the book it fails to provide an exciting end to the book up to an extent. Few guest appearances in the book feel a little incomplete and out of place and time. 

All in all if you are strong hearted then you can willfully fall into the trap. The book weaves a series of webs from where there is no easy way out. In time it numbs the mind and make you succumb to its harsh realities. It's a daring story with a degree of eerie and the calm which is enough to cause turbulence in many innocent lives. A picture perfect affair. 


4 OUT OF 5

Review: Gods Kings and Slaves by R.Venketesh

There were glorious days in Indian history when coffers overflew with wealth and kingdoms were at peace. But there was a silent storm brewing in Delhi and Madurai where there were rifts and conflicts within and ambitions and reputations were at stake. Author R.Venketesh in his book "Gods Kings & Slaves" takes history to a new and an unconquered level when two mighty powerhouses of India rode their destiny and only one could come out unscathed. So what new touch the author has given to the already glorifying tale? Let's find out.   

War is coming... An ancient kingdom will meet a devastating new enemy.
Peninsular India, fourteenth century. The Pandyan empire is at its peak, its enemies subdued and its people at peace. Having left behind his step-brother Sundar in the race to the throne, Crown Prince Veera Pandyan is set to rule from Madurai, reputed to be the richest city in the subcontinent. But invisible fractures within the kingdom threaten to destroy it, and a new enemy approaches, swifter than anyone can imagine.
In Delhi, Sultan Alauddin Khilji’s trusted general, the eunuch Malik Kafur, has trained his eyes on the distant south, fabled for its riches. A slave captured by the Khiljis, Kafur is renowned for his ambition and cunning. None, not even the mighty Mongols, have defeated him – no empire can withstand the trail of destruction he leaves in his wake. And all he wants is to see Madurai on its knees, its wealth pillaged, its temples destroyed.
As an ancient city combust in flames of treachery, blood, lust and revenge, brother will battle brother, ambition will triumph over love, slaves will rise to rule, cities will be razed to dust, and the victor will be immortalized in history..

First look at the title and the cover and there's glory written all over it. Along with it comes massacre and brutality. The cover is a picture perfect idea and the title complements it well. The blurb takes about the Pandyan Empire and Malik Kafur in tandem. The blurb should have been kept short and sans tag line. 

The story is set in Southern India when it was ruled by the powerful Pandyans but the greed of the throne mars it's two brothers. Politics, jealousy, coup and the whim to stop at nothing threatens it's existence from inside. There's rise of Khiljis in Delhi but their meticulous rise is the brainchild of Malik Kafur. So what will happen when two mighty powers will collide? How are their fates entwined? What will become of Madurai and who  will be the real victor and glorified for the generations to come? That's what the story is all about. 

The journey from Delhi to Madurai is a thorny one and the author has left no stone unturned to make it more defining and brutalizing. The power play, the struggle to rise, the meteoric rise to the throne, the pomp of kingdoms and not to forget the individual destinies which will bear the flag and witness it all is an uncanny remark on the judgment of the people of that time. It manages to capture the entire scenario with ease and succumbs to nothing. The dictating tone and the mellowed speck to it leaves the readers in daze. 

The only downside of the book is it's hurried finish and not able to give Malik Kafur a befitting finish. It could have been easily extended and readers could have been enlightened more about the aftermath of Khilji dynasty when Kafur rose to the throne. 

It's a heart stopping affair as every page bears a seal as to what everybody went through when gods kings and slaves they all were in power together. It's a cumulative affair and the book manages to give equal importance to all. There is no mistaking that it was not for one but it was for all. A grand affair with an apt storyline. 


4 OUT OF 5

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Review: Digs Dogs & Drama by Rachna Singh

Humor is one dose of medicine which with time has able to distinguish the good from the bad. It has led by example and done at the expense of the others or your own. Author Rachna Singh in her latest book "Digs Dogs & Drama" takes humor to a new level so as to establish an immediate connect with the readers. So is she successful in achieving the same? Let's find out. 

The neighbour’s dog. The dramatic ultrasound scan. The wedding reception. Aloo parathas versus curd rice. 
100% shuddh Indian.

Events. Happenings. Experiences. Just day-to-day stuff. 

Traffic Jam? Angry boss? Ruined Haircut? Power cut? Need instant cheering up? Any chapter will do. 

Rasam? Burger? Rangoli? Bollywood action? Want a desi smile? 

Start from anywhere in this book. 

You won’t be able to put it down.

First look at the cover and the title and one can feel amused with the title but the cover looks plain and uninspiring. A more creative imagery could have lent a sparkling shine to the book. The blurb is short excerpts from the book and there's not much to decipher on that forefront. It leaves some hints as what to expect from the book though. 

The book is a series of 46 short stories each laced with different elements of humor and wit and the everyday life of an average man acting as a source of inspiration. 

There's a certain charm to the stories when you hop from one to another. It's a blend of sarcasm and humor mixed with witty shots at life and then churning out a larger than life scenario. It communicates and connects with the readers on different levels and has fair share of laughs and falls. The tone is decent and the narration simple with no over the top representation. 

The only folly of the book is it's punctured act in few stories where it fails to create an amicable atmosphere. The story number could have been toned down easily so as to strengthen the basic element on which it works. Dull moments are there which at times creates a rift in the emotions felt by the otherwise humorous take. 

All in all there's the fun and charm element which carries the book. Hopes lift high as one tends to go on with the flow. The book doesn't comes out as a perfect runner but a few stumbles doesn't harms it's purpose i.e to keep things easy and make it a laugh riot. It all comes from the experience and wit of the author's pen. It's a harmless ride with a rhythm of its own.


3 OUT OF 5