Thursday, May 29, 2014

Review: That Autumn in Awadh by Rachna Singh

Inter caste marriages have been subject of scrutiny for a very long time now. While for some it has worked with the consent of the elders but for some it has ended in painful memories. Author Rachna Singh in her book "That Autumn in Awadh" lends a helping hand to love with a version which is bold as well as scary to imagine. So has she been able to support the cause? Let's find out.  

Young, impetuous and drawn to each other like gnats to resin, Samar Solanki and Sara Shergill try furiously to avoid falling in love but slowly succumb. All hell breaks loose as Samars conservative Rajput family swears vendetta, locking Samar away on the eve of their clandestinely-planned wedding. They vow to eliminate Sara, the audacious girl who has dreamt of sullying their pedigreed lineage, from Samars life. Through that lonely autumn in Awadh, bereft of hope, fettered and helpless, the star- crossed lovers cling to the faith they have in each other, as they brave many storms together. This novel about love is peppered, generously, with the authors characteristic droll wit as it traipses through sensational turns of events that keep you absorbed till the very end.

First look at the title and the cover and it's simplicity yet captivating touch gives it a style which cannot be described. The title itself is something which is like a hint of literature. A serious tone to the entire book. The blurb talks about two people and their involvements in love and relationship and how they overcome the obstacles all by themselves. The blurb is good enough to catch the eye of the readers. 

The story is of Samar & Sara. They meet, it's love at first sight and then gradually the pace is set for a relationship which is to be consummated in the form of marriage. But all is not so well on the family front as both of them belong to different castes. In the end it's a fight for survival for both and for their love too. So will Sara & Samar be able to stay together? Will this culminate into marriage? Or will the relationship will die a slow and a painful death? That's what the story is all about. 

The story starts off on a lovely note with the choice of words making it looking extremely readable. The pace is frantic and events occurring in a jiffy sometimes. The whole build up to the plot is good and takes a chunk out of reality and some harsh truths of our society. The book scores heavily when it comes to love and emotions and never ever falls short of expressions. The up and down in the tone of the story is clearly highlighted and left for the readers to savour. The vocabulary is top notch and fluency between the lines is reflected when the thoughts and ideas are expressed. 

The downside of the book is it's hurried second half where the entire plot is based on. The story towards the end could have been given a more detailed outlook and some jiffy incidents could have been given a lot of impetus. The excitement lost in the mix towards the end. 

All in all the book is not a glamour story but has various shades of life and distinct difference in opinions on love has been given a lot of importance. The book has lots of moment to cherish but loses out in the end with a not so cleaned up act. The harsh realities of life has been given enough space in the story and it treats the readers with something which is heard and read of. The book with hopes and sacrifices for many who are in love. 


3 OUT OF 5

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Review: The Avatari by Raghu Srinivasan

History has a strong bearing on our lives. Till this day a lot of secrets which have been long lost have found some serious and some crazy takes. While few have been deciphered but some being shielded from the human eye. Author Raghu Srinivasan in his book "The Avatari" takes the readers on calm yet turbulent journey of a long lost secret which will make it's presence felt in the present. So does the author delivers accordingly? Let's find out. 

A Mythical Kingdom: Legend has it that only those chosen by destiny can gain entry into Shambhala, the mythical kingdom believed to hold the ancient wisdom that humanity will need to resurrect itself from the inevitable apocalypse. They are the Avatari.
An Ancient Artefact: When Henry Ashton, a retired British Army officer settled in the Yorkshire dales, receives a letter from a monk entreating him to prevent a hidden treasure stolen from a Laotian monastery from being misused, he finds himself honour-bound to respond. Assisted by a retired Gurkha Sergeant, a high-strung mathematician from Oxford with a Shambhala fixation of her own and an American mercenary on the CIAs hit list, Ashtons mission leads to an ancient map that dates back to the time of the great Mongol, Kublai Khan.
A Secret that Must Not be Revealed: The group follows the trail, risking the perils of the inhospitable deserts of Ladakh, turmoil in Pakistan and the rugged mountains of Northern Afghanistan, where the Afghan War is at its height. But they are up against a deadly adversary with seemingly unlimited resources, who will stop at nothing to get possession of the ancient secret a secret that, if revealed, could threaten the very fabric of human civilization.

First look at the title and the cover and history has a bearing all over it. The old ruins, the mystic symbols it all overpowers the senses and creates furore in the mind. The title itself is a strong statement towards an unexpected journey for the readers. The blurb has been divided into three parts and all three of them have been interlinked with each other and the past meets the present. Probably few things could have been left to the imagination of the readers. 

The story starts in the present day where retired officer Henry Ashton is embroiled in a controversy to which he is completely ignorant. Something from the past and the distant land of Laos his once refuge has come up and he has been called for to fulfil his promise. He is confused as sudden developments lead him to assemble a team and he undertakes an adventure which will alter the course of history. So will Ashton be able to decipher and bust the myth of Shambhala? Who will prove to be his nemesis? What role some people from distant past will play in this adventure cum exploration? That's what the story is all about. 

An adventure, an exploration, excitement, secrets,history and drama it all makes the book alluring. The strong essence of history and rather one of the less talked aspects of history takes readers for a spin. The story tumbles and toils and sometimes paces along furiously. The whole confusion and hype creating a lot of scope and leaving a lot to be discovered by the readers. The build up to the whole adventure and it's connection from the past adds the flavour of anticipation to the whole idea. 

The downside of the book it's too many character introductions towards the end. The tightened grip let lose in the second half. The plot loses purpose when politics is involved. Action which becomes an overdose towards the end killing the historical relevance of the book. The unfolding of facts too plain and felt incomplete. A befitting end to the book also found wanting. 

All in all the book promised to deliver a lot but failed to sustain the momentum and hype. The mix of action of present day and history of past lost it's touch and went haywire. The book delivers good and curious moments in parts but leaks and bleeds in the second half. Imagination which had to run wild happens to an extent but the adventure turns out to be predictable and not so menacing and eye popping. A book with some good fantasy but not so perfect deliverance. 


3 OUT OF 5

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Review: Sita's Curse: The Language of Desire by Sreemoyee Piu Kundu

Life of a woman is often torn down by men for it's needs. Some women left to fend for themselves while some make out of it but some succumb to the entire doldrums around them. Author Sreemoyee Piu Kundu in her latest book "Sita's Curse: The Language of Desire" takes the readers on a journey where even fiction is every bit of harsh reality which happens every now and then in the society. So has she been able to lend voice to it? Let's find out. 

Meera Patel has struggled under the weight of a dead marriage. Struggling between her own sexual needs and the inexistant affections of her husband, she tries to hide her feelings and desires, managing to survive on her memories and fantasies alone for fifteen years. However, she cannot take the pain of her lusty, sensual body going to waste as her husband refuses to make love to her. She knows her body deserves to be worshipped, and one day in Mumbai, she finds a chance to let that happen. The cataclysm that ensues changes her life forever, and she has to fight off orthodox hypocrites of Indian society if she needs to be happy with herself.

First look at the title and the cover and the readers will not be able to decipher what exactly everything wants to convey. The tagline talks about desire and a woman in black adds up to that effect leaving everything on readers imagination. The title pretty much historical yet modern in it's own way. The blurb is brief and talks about a woman and how her life transforms after marriage. 

The story revolves around a dead weight Mrs. Meera Patel who since her childhood has been weighed down by societal pressure and restrictions. Her desires and decisions taking a back seat. But Meera before marriage and after marriage finds a way to learn the sleazy yet satisfying language of human need i.e lust and it's empowering effect on mind and body. Her transformation from time to time and discovery of new things through experiences and people around her leave her completely rattled. So what will happen to the innocent Meera? Will marriage turn around her fortunes? What role will Mohan and her in laws will play in her cursed or satisfactory life? Will she ever be able to discover her true self  or let go of the past? That's what the story is all about. 

Man is cruel and imposing and with woman he always has been one step ahead in proving his dominance. The transformation of a young girl from a desired woman is explicit yet detailed and realistic. The various lusty encounters, the scarred innocence, the constant frustration, the mix of joy and sorrows not balanced rightly so creates a perfect ambience for a coup and a lot for readers. The mutiny, the sarcasm, the fear and various other emotions supplied in right amount to make the story more desired and path breaking. The erotica blended fluidly and let the readers flow with the double edged sword life of Meera. The sex balanced up and the lingering effect of the entire narration leaves the senses numb at times. Narration as calm as silence before a storm. The presentation is picture perfect. 

The only mistake in the book is when Binal has been misspelt as Bimal couple of times. 

All in all the story traverses a path dangerous and a path well known to the society haggard. The book playing with the minds of the readers and giving oomph and frustration equal importance. The book acts as a source of eye opener for women and men too. The feeling of neglected and care both tended to with motherly touch.  The melting moments in the book creating an ambience of darkness as well a ray of hope. It's a story to be handled and interpreted with caution and gobbled up slowly and steadily. The book is a voice for the voiceless and inspiration for those who have struggled attain freedom from their already botched up lives. The emotions varied yet effective. It's not a story it's a chessboard where every action of the character is accounted for and every move you make is being scrutinized and judged. There are no limits even to the limit in the story. The book has a power of it's own to capture and conquer all that comes in it's way. 


4 OUT OF 5  

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Review: Journey of Two Hearts by Anuj Tiwari

Love is a mistaken emotion. The more you toy with the idea of exploring it the more it sucks you in. It's a boon for some and vain for some. Author Anuj Tiwari in his debut offering "Journey of Two Hearts" traverses on a path which has bring cheers and pain in equal quantities for many. So what difference lies in this story? Let's find out. 

Journey Of Two Hearts! is an autobiographical story made up of 53 short and easy to read chapters that deconstruct love in urban India against the backdrop of a technologically-savvy world.Journey Of Two Hearts! begins with the author’s friend Maddy playing a prank on a girl named Pakhi using Anuj's phone. Anuj is an extrovert who never wants to fall in love. However, the prank leads to Anuj and Pakhi forging a bond of friendship that is strengthened over phone calls and internet chats. After months of conversation through internet, they finally decide to meet and soon realize that Cupid had struck them long back and that they are head-over-heels in love with each other. Their love reaches dizzying heights with no limits, no ends and no expectations whatsoever.Like in other love stories, they come face to face with a few twists and turns that threaten to tear them apart. Soon conflicts and struggles become a common occurrence in their once near-perfect romantic story. In Journey Of Two Hearts!, the protagonist Anuj takes the reader along with him describing the cherished moments that he spent with his beloved Pakhi, his days of hard work in college, his aspirations for the future and about the girl whom he had hopes of marrying someday. In a heartfelt and emotional way he talks about the circumstances that led to him losing the love of his life.The book was initially a diary that the author planned to gift his wife post their wedding. However, as destiny had something else in store for him, he completed writing the diary when he undergoing treatment for depression in a hospital for six months. Journey Of Two Hearts! is the book adaptation of that diary.

First look at the title and the cover and love is written all over it. The cover image could have been done in a better manner as it looks quite pale in comparison to the blurb. The title is also a perfect description of the story. The blurb talks about two people and how their lives shape up when they are in their teens and how it eventually ends up. The blurb is too lengthy and a few lines and rest of it as mystery could have done the trick. 

The story is of Anuj, a young boy who stumbles across Pakhi a young girl and from there on friendship blossoms with a lot of false starts. The journey culminates slowly and steadily as it evolves into friendship, then love and then takes it to a new height. Love makes them inseparable as it prolongs their relationship and make them wary of many new ifs and buts in life. But with time outside interferences and some unexpected problems galore and dent the sanctity of the whole relationship. So will Anuj be able to set right all the wrong? Whose fault is it and will they accept it? Will love turn out to be a saviour in their relationship? What will happen to Anuj & Pakhi's love story? That's what the story is all about. 

A true love story with a lot of complex emotions and truthfulness in itself makes the story readable. The journey is a turmoil and has highs and lows in equal fervour. The book traverses on both positive and negative braces of love with command. The thoughtfulness and innocence in this love story is reflected all throughout till the last page. 

The biggest downside of the book is the editing. Grammatical and spelling errors are an eye sore. The language could have been done up in a better manner. The presentation and the narration lacks excitement and it becomes repetitive soon after. The uniqueness in this whole love story is found wanting and lack of proper character build up and environment adds to the dull finish of the book. 

All in all the story had some moments to cherish and retrieve it from the deeper and darker pits. The story line not very engaging but has emotions scattered a lot in it. The highs and lows will sink the heart of the readers but lack of proper touch up to the whole idea becomes mood spoiler. A book with lot of purpose but lack of freshness and intensity. 


2 OUT OF 5

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Review: Right Here Right Now by Nikita Singh

Life is a mystery. There's no one in this world who can unravel the complications of life. You have to take it how it comes. Author Nikita Singh in her latest book 'Right Here Right Now" emphasizes on importance of life for someone or some people. So has she been able to put her point across? Let's find out. 

Seventeen-year-old Kalindi wakes up in a hospital, little more than a clean slate. She has forgotten everything about her past, and no one knows how this happened. When she meets her parents, her friends and her boyfriend, it feels like she's meeting them for the first time. She doesn't like what she hears about the old life they tell her about, it doesn't feel right. She has no past in her mind, and struggles to come to terms with being a completely new person. Adding to the fire is her fast-approaching final examination, and she remembers nothing of what she studied at school. If she does not regain her memories, she will lose the reward of all her hard work. Even if she does, will she be happy with who she used to be?

First look at the title and the cover and the innocent face and the curious tagline just tries to put it's point across to the readers. The title a big question in itself posed for the readers adds to the curiosity. The blurb talks about a girl and her condition and battle for survival. The blurb tries to hide a lot but still manages to shed some light on the story. A bit mysterious blurb would have made it more alluring. 

The story revolves around Kalindi Mishra who one fine day wakes up in a hospital but is not able to recollect her past. She has troubles in gathering everything around her as she finds help from various quarters but still struggles for survival in the present. Her constant fears and tirades acting as an invisible enemy and her medical condition adding to the entire set of problems. So will she be able to come out of it? Will she be able to recollect her past? What role will others play in her life? What life has in store for Kalindi? That's what the story is all about. 

If life is cruel then face the cruelty with a brave face and live as it comes. Emotions, drama, fear, lows, sorrows, nightmares and joy it all comes to a full circle as the plot traverses a path less travelled. The tell tale is slow yet captivating, fiction yet highly imaginative, unconventional yet mesmerizing. The whole focus on one single character and her dilemma works fine and the curiosity factor is always high in the story. The book deals with various facets of life with ease and the story never bumps off to another track. The small and big parts of other characters add up to the whole story line. 

The only downside of the book is it's feel of incompleteness towards the end. The curiosity from the past and nightmares could have been revealed towards the end for the readers. It didn't add up to be left like this at least for the readers. 

All in all the book is tantamount to the whole idea that life has quite a lot of surprises in store for you good or bad and you should be ready to face them. Lucky are those who get a second chance to live it thoroughly. The book is simple but has greatest of effects on the readers mind. It talks and evolves with every page and livens up with it's emotions. A tale to imagine and relive again and again.Life might be complicated but not the words in the book. A book to be cherished for long.  


4 OUT OF 5  

Monday, May 5, 2014

Review: Spot Girl by Komal Mehta

Most of us are starstruck by the quality of life film stars lead. It's all hunky dory at first and from the outside it shines and glitters like gold. But there's more to it than meets the eye. Like many things in our lives we too are ignorant of what goes inside. Author Komal Mehta in her latest book "Spot Girl" ups the bar of inside story by a take on life a personal and professional relationship in Bollywood. So is there anything to cherish about? Let's find out. 

Jiya is living her greatest dream. Shes the manager cum girl Friday of the country's hottest film star Shezad Khan, She loves her job and she loves her boss.
However, her wonderfully stressful life hits a low when Shezad gets romantically involved with an upcoming actress. She soon finds her picture perfect existence clouded with self-doubt, heartbreak, questionable career choices and total disillusionment.
In a place where everyone pays a price, how far will she go for her love? From Mumbai to Cannes, Spot Girl is the journey of an ordinary girl who ends up finding something real in this fascinating world of make belief.

First look at the title and the cover and the glitz and glamour of Bollywood reflects on it. The cover could have been more vibrant as it looks a little pale. The title justifies it's significance once the reader is done with the story. The blurb pretty much in tandem with everything talks about two people and their lives together. 

The story is of Jiya, a girl who dreamt of being in Bollywood one day ends up as the manager of one of the most popular stars Shezad Khan. Love blossoms inside her heart as she is the perfect manager, perfect partner and a perfect recipe for Shezad Khan. But the arrival of Ayesha an upcoming actress and her closeness to Falak causes an uproar and creates tensions. So will Jiya be able to live her dream? Will Shezad be the man of her dreams? What role will Ayesha & Falak play in her life? That's what the story is all about. 

It's a living dream. The story line and the whole idea works perfectly in giving an insight about the Bollywood and insides. The story is brisk and has a real to reel effect on the reader. It's the reality blended into fiction and molded to suit the taste of the readers. The spoofs and goofs are worth reading and enjoying in the story. The narration is fluent and it never waivers off the track. The whims and fancies of a star and the life of people around them is a very realistic approach to the book. 

The downside of the book is it's lack of excitement and humor which could have done a world of good to the story line. The first half is dull and the end plain and predictable as it all get figured out too soon. The excitement is not up to the mark and leaves a lot to be desired. Curiosity element is found missing too after the initial burst of stardom in the story.  

All in all the story is a tell tale of stars and their tantrums and their managers and others who work for them. The take and the inside story are good but doesn't make up for the lack of something extraordinary. The book is like a dream and has moments of it's own. It's reality with a professional touch but sans any hyped drama. It's a narrative from the collective experiences and the truth as it unfolds in front of the eyes. 


3 OUT OF 5 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Review: Lucifer's Lungi by Nitin Sawant

Life is strange and even stranger are the ways of looking at it. While some find it adventurous but for others it's a tension filled affair. Some are curious while some are cautious. It depends from person to person on how you take it. Author Nitin Sawant in his novella "Lucifer's Lungi" offers life as it comes to the readers and to explore the hidden side of every person. So has he been able to give it a long handle? Let's find out. 

A simpleton village priest's boy who blindly worships and guards a pantheon of Gods and Their traditions...
Strange things happen when their worlds collide!
This is a tale of that turmoil on a lonely night in a jungle, when the ghosts you never knew till a few hours ago are let loose on the ghosts that you always carried within, unknowingly.
Welcome to the unholy clash of beliefs, fears and frailties with unknown Gods and demons. A clash that will test your convictions. A clash that will rabidly claw and unmask your subconscious, leaving you naked and paralyzed in front of your demons - in a climax that is as ambiguous as it is certain...
Welcome to the madness of 'Lucifer's Lungi... where What-You-See-Is-NOT-What-You-Get...

First look at the title and the cover and it'll make readers believe that it's a historical fiction. The cover has been done exceptionally and the entire image lightens up the excitement buds. The title very unusual but funny for a book. The blurb talks about some beliefs and a man's journey which leads to it. The blurb has been kept short and sweet and left for the readers to enjoy in the story. 

The story is of a man who sets out on a journey to unknown destinations every weekend to enjoy nature's gifts. His motive to enjoy life as it is and not to think of what happens next. His adventures lands him up in a completely unknown destination where life has a different meaning altogether. The thought process of the religious factions not completely in tandem with his. Some beliefs which modern day people don't fall prey for. So how this trip will influence his life? What has the village to offer and what the priest and the boy have as a surprise for their guest? That's what the story is all about. 

Travelogue will be an appropriate term for the story. The journey and it's adventures have been carefully picked and put together for the readers. The adventures trying to excite the readers. The book's main story is in the second half where the encounters and beliefs are at a clash and makes it worthwhile. The simple language and narration helps in grasping the whole idea. 

The downside of the book is it's editing. Few mistakes are there in the book. Appropriate spaces could have been given in between paragraphs. The book could have humour as an added element to make it more interesting. The elaboration of few incidents in the first half would have made it more insightful. 

All in all the story has some glimpses of excitement and fun in it. The genre makes a lot of difference to the whole idea and carries the story forward for the readers. The book though short on spice still gives some moments to grasp in. The book is a very light read and can be enjoyed as a personal experience. 


3 OUT OF 5