Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Review: The Escaped Moments by Jaasindah R Mir

When life offers you nothing you need to dig deep and dig hard to find the best for yourself. There are times when you are down and out and support is scarce then you become your own support. Author Jaasindah R Mir in her book "The Escaped Moments" gives a young girl wings to fly and be on her own. So will this perspective to life work? Let's find out. 

Aatirah Rohail Kazi, a fifteen-year-old small town girl of Kashmir, has only seen the grey shades of childhood since her mother died. There are a lot of things Aatirah hates about her life: her cruel step-mother, her dad and her moronic step brother. For the past five years Aatirah has hidden her troubles from everyone. It's only when she finds Mysha at a social networking site, she confides into her. But now things are getting complicated: Mysha wants Aatirah to solve a complex love triangle between Mysha, Sahir and Tamanna. To top it all off, Aatirah has taken to smoking out of stress . Would Aatirah be successful at grabbing the freedom of her heart by opening up to a distant person or does the desire of having a friend to confide into have a bigger price to pay?

First look at the title and the cover and one can see a lit of grief in the eyes of the girl who adorns the cover. The title is quite out of the league but keeps the book's sanctity alive. The blurb talks about a girl and her tirades with life at a very young age. The blurb manages to leave subtle hints as what to expect from the book. 

The story is of Aatirah, a young girl living in Kashmir. Her family torn apart and she leading a life of a complete slave in her house. Her constant exchanges with her step mother and a disapproving father. Life is not as easy as she imagines and gradually it dawns upon her. With time she tries to seek solace from different facets of life and in it she gets involved completely. So will Aatirah be able to sustain the test of time? Will life be any merrier outside the four walls of her house? Where will she find inner peace and happiness? What will happen of her in time? That's what the story is all about. 

The story has a parallel imagination where it tries to differentiate between the mind and heart anomalies. The conflicts between the two pretty interesting and giving life to the young character. The innocence and fear partaking in grooming the girl throughout the book. Her constant measures to find happiness and seek solace and uncover various facets of life never going unnoticed. The narration lends a mesmerizing touch to the entire story. The added enigma being the brave decisions and lack of confidence at times in tandem. The young girl growing apart constantly and covering the societal dilemmas in a crude way. The ups and downs of her life is an engagement in itself. 

The downside of the story is its sluggish approach at times and taking away the charm from the story. The dull moments sometimes burdening the story and hampering the progress. A few more candles of hope could have been lightened up in the story. 

All in all the story has a mix of youth and adult perspective to a lot of things. The story taking deep plunge into the minds of a conflicted soul and steering away the thoughts of fear and negativity. The good and bad following the girl like a shadow. The book manages to steal quite a few moments from the readers. The entire set up a perfect scenario for a young life. A little more liveliness could have done wonders. A story with vivid approach to life. 


3 OUT OF 5  

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Review: The Hidden Letters by Purba Chakraborty

What's there to be expressed in love it has to be and what's there to be hidden stays buried forever. Man is not known to be the best when it comes to burying deep dark secrets but few things do manage to avoid the public glare. Author Purba Chakraborty in her latest book " The Hidden Letters" tries to touch lives through her characters and her story. So how much she succeeds in pulling off the book? Let's find out. 

She is a successful author, a loving wife and the worlds best mom. Her doctor husband dotes on her, her teenage daughter idolizes her and her readers yearn for her writing. Shouldn't all that respect and love make her happy?
Yet, she is devoid of inner peace. In the wee hours of the night, her slumber is disturbed by horrifying nightmares. All her harmony is abducted and lost amidst the bunch of hidden letters kept in her cupboard. Those letters were written long back by her cousin, presently a patient at a mental asylum in Kolkata.
Haunted by her inner demons and tired by the long-time secrecy, she decides to put end to her misery by surrendering to her husband and daughter, The hidden letters. Will she lose her husbands love and daughters respect? Can she forgive herself for her own selfishness which rendered her cousins fate malignant?

First look at the title and the cover and one gets mesmerized for sure. The pain in the eyes of the lady on the cover says it all. The title mysterious but directs the emotions towards sadness and yet allows the readers to maintain calm. The blurb talks about few people and how their lives are entwined to each other. It's a blurb which gives space to the author to vent out the exact emotions which she wants the readers to feel. A well constituted blurb for the book. 

The story revolves around three people namely Nishith, Anaya and Varsha. All of three of them lived in a happy world until the bubble bursts and it oozes pain for some while happiness for the others. Life takes a drastic turn for all three of them and they are headed for a showdown in the near future but someone wants it to turn around the other way. So will life turn out to be bitter for the three of them? What has emotions to offer them in their respective state of affairs? Will they be able to keep everything in check? That's what the story is all about. 

When the closet of the past opens a lot of secrets tumble out. It might be positive or negative but it teaches people to live with it. Sometimes you need to live for the other that is what the book teaches you all the time. The involvement of three people in each others lives is not an eyewash as it sheds light on understanding, solidarity, loyalty, the bond of friendship and above all love and care for each other. The book breaks the barriers and outstretches its hands in the directions of hope and despair at the same time. There is a sense of joy along with copious amount of sorrow which has been given enough space in entire story. The book manages to hold the definition of love true in disbeliever's eyes and show the difference between what's true and what's a myth in love with great command. The improvisation on certain elements of love throughout the book is also noteworthy and praiseworthy. 

The downside of the book is couple of mistakes in describing events which if one is in a flow vanishes without a trace. Apart from that there's no other mistake in the book. 

All in all the story binds the readers and characters together. If it talks love, it talks in detail, if sorrow is there it delves deep and if it;s about hope and helplessness it says it all with it's immaculate descriptions. A story which pulls out all stops to let the readers sink in the travesties of life. It covers the dark as well as the sun shine and opens and ends with great resolute. A story capable of touching lives and bring smile on your face and tears in your eyes. All credits to be given to the authors to carve a sensitive piece of work with utmost delicacy. The story exploits love and hate to the hilt which adds to its beauty. A befitting piece of fiction. 


4 OUT OF 5   

Monday, August 11, 2014

Review: Emotions Unplugged by Vishal Anand

Short stories have gained an uncanny popularity in the past one year and it continues to revive the trend by giving it a concrete term "anthology". Solo efforts and collaborative collections have paved way to the market to capture the eager eyes of the readers. Author Vishal Anand in his debut attempt "Emotions Unplugged" tries to gather his experiences and deliver an anthology of his own. So does it works for him? Let's find out. 

The fifteen stories in Emotions Unplugged tell of ordinary people finding themselves in new situations – coping with divorce, financial ruin, realizing the importance of your grandparents, and falling love with a complete stranger. The author also deals with social issues, such as divorces and remarriage, deterioration of politics, vulnerability to commit crimes, and the caste system prevalent in India.This book is an autobiography of sorts in which the stories reflect the author’s personal experiences. The book comprises of stories, such as The Veiled Girl, in which Vinit, the protagonist, falls in love with a veiled girl while travelling in Delhi metro to reach his office every day. In A Day before My Divorce, Diksha travels through the streets of Mumbai a day before her divorce. Emotions Unplugged comprises of poignant and heart-warming stories which will make for an ideal read.

First look at the title and the cover and it gives your expectations wings. The unique idea of the cover images gels well with the title and gives it a gentle touch. The blurb giving slight glimpses from some stories in the book and leaving rest for the readers to read and decipher. 

Story No. 1:

The story of a young couple who have hit a rough patch and it all comes down to a circle when they try to make it work. It's a nice story with a touch of realism and the insensitivity and growing frustrations among people. It starts on a bright note but doesn't manages to pull off anything out of the blues.

Story No. 2:

The story revolves around an old man and some etiquettes which one need to learn about. The story is pretty simple in narration and opens up to teach a lesson. It's a nice flower plucked out of a bunch. 

Story No. 3:

It's a story of young girl, her miseries and the acts of selflessness and fear which sometimes leads you to good or either bad. The story turns out to be heart warming and then slowly nudges along towards a better finish but fails to inspire a neat end. The story with lot of emotions. 

Story No. 4: 

The story is about a bond and the commitment towards it. The story touches hearts in a simple manner and manages to capture the best of a relationship with good command. It's a subtle change that binds it together till the end. 

Story No. 5: 

The past can never be left out and it always comes back to reminds us about our fond and faded memories. The story starts and ends on a positive note with a lot of hope. But the entire sequence of event doesn't manages to pull off anything extraordinary out of the bag. An average narration.

Story No. 6: 

It's not your good deeds that speak for you but the sins you committed make you suffer. The story is about one such suffering. The story starts off well, chugs off fine, gives a nice revelation and then fades away in the end which looks pale and abrupt. 

Story No. 7:

An eye opener is always necessary when it concerns your knowledge. This is where your self belief and experience comes handy. It's a travelogue story and manages to highlight the disparity between the people of our country. It captures the problematic side of the story but it doesn't gives a polished look with too little to savour about other characters in the story. 

Story No. 8: 

Chivalry is not dead and it never will be. There will be always that one man in your life who will showcase the traits of a man. The story starts and ends on a high and keeps the humanity alive and the past differences aside. A good narrative. 

Story No. 9:

Revenge is strange and it comes from the unexpected quarters. The story runs on the revenge lines but with copious amount of suspense and then delivers the right punch at the right time. It's a good story.

Story No. 10: 

Humanity is a trait which comes naturally to a person. The story revolves on the lines of humanity and does manages to cover a fair distance in removing the divide of religion from the minds of the people. The story comes out with a good message for the readers. 

Story No. 11: 

For there is hate, there is love too. For there is filth, there is some cleanliness too. The story comes in phases of past, present and an uncertain future and manages to reveal the dark side of a soul. It does shines later and captures hearts with the act of selflessness. 

Story No. 12: 

All it takes wings and a flight upwards to reach your goal and achieve your dreams. Equality has always been a major issue in our society and this stigma still prevails in few parts. But the story clears out some air and gives wings to the dreams and hopes to the hopeless and the support which one needs from their near and dear ones. It's a very good narrative. 

Story No. 13:

Sometimes in life some unsaid words can create misunderstandings and in turn cause you a grief of a lifetime. The story captures the essence of friendship and stalemates and makes it look like an everyday affair with positivity and hope to go along. It's not a sparkling story but it's not bad either.

Story No. 14: 

There are few in the world who do care about women and their existence on the face of this earth. It's a sham there are many who still snub the idea. But this story keeps that womanhood alive and leaves a grave mark on the mind of the readers. It keeps the hopes alive for a girl who becomes a saviour for another girl and creates a world of love and care. It's the best story of the lot. 

Story No. 15: 

For what you do wrong to people it always comes back to haunt you some or the other time in life. The story turns out to be one such revenge seekers and covering the journey from rich to the pauper. It's a good old story but there's not much to ponder or striking about it. 

15 stories and most of them picked up from the everyday occurrences of life. The language has been kept simple and the narration has a see saw tempo which suits the flaring tempers or the calm minds of the readers. The book does manages to unplug many emotions and captures vivid colours of life with it's extensive coverage on various subjects. From the darker recesses to light of hope there's a story for everyone to read and enjoy. Special mentions for stories 11, 12 and 14 which turn around the tide for the book in the second half and keeps the spirit alive. 

The downside of the book is it's pale first half where the stories turn out to be party spoiler. A few of them with abrupt endings not giving a befitting end and bereaving the book of it's charm. Grammatical mistakes too occupy the book, not in large numbers but still could have been avoided. The spark fading in the veils of simplicity at times also adds to lacklustre deliverance of few narratives. 

All in all the book tries to bring out the best for readers of all kinds. The forefront being the wide variety of emotions displayed by the living souls towards one another. On one hand it keeps the spirit of humanism alive and on the other it gives preferences to humanity. The duller approach sometimes not working in few of them and making it pale. It's a nice anthology which adopts and strives hard to capture it all in one go. 


3 OUT OF 5

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Review: The Mayan Secrets by Clive Cussler & Thomas Perry (Fargo Adventures, #5)

History has a bearing and with time a lot of things known to our ancestors have fallen prey to hoarders or looters or in the worst case being under the protection of nature. A lot many of them buried deep down from the prying eyes of man. Author Clive Cussler & Thomas Perry in the latest of the Fargo Series "The Mayan Secrets" try their hands on taking readers for a spin on a Mayan trail. So does the idea clicks? Let's find out. 

Husband and wife team Sam and Remi Fargo are in Mexico, when they come upon an astonishing discovery-the skeleton of a man clutching an ancient sealed pot and within the pot, a Mayan book, larger than anyone has ever seen.
The book contains astonishing information about the Mayans, their cities and about mankind itself. The secrets are so powerful that some would do anything to possess them-as the Fargo's are about to find out. Before their adventure is done, many people will die for that book-and Sam and Remi may just be among them.

First look at the title and the cover and readers can easily guess the genre. The word adventure is pretty much evident on the cover. The title itself pointing it towards history and adventure mixed together in one. The blurb talks about the favourite character of the series and their latest adventures in the Mayan land. The blurb pretty much is successful in concealing a lot of surprises in store for the readers. 

The story starts off from Mexico where a volcano has hit and Sam & Remi Fargo out of humanity reach a small town to help people out. But when they stumble across a corpse holding a secret buried in the womb of the volcano things change pretty quickly around them. They find themselves on the move as a wealthy woman Sarah Allersby is on their tail to capture what she thinks deserves a rightful place in her house. But Sam & Remi Fargo will try to protect history and it's secrets till their last breath. So it's a race against time to uncover the Mayans and their legacy and prevent it from falling in the wrong hands. That's what the story is all about. 

There are a lot of elements which make this book a pleasure to read. It takes off like a plane, steady and turbulent once in air and then gradually gains momentum. It promises action, adventure and history and delivers upon it during the entire sequence of events. The action slick and engaging all throughout. The farthest corners of the world and the riches of a lost civilization unfurled in a serene manner in front of the readers eyes. There is curiosity as what next is going to happen in the book which helps it in sustaining the prying eyes of voracious readers. 

The book falters relatively in the second half where it becomes more of adventure than a discovery. The sore part that it gives up unceremoniously on the cards which are held close to the chest and becomes fairly predictable. History left out in the backdrop and action taking a lot of time. Many other unwanted incidents and mafia angle making it a dragged book. The promise to hold on to a perfect delivery fades as it inches towards the end. The antagonist not that scary in demeanour as one would have expected. 

All in all the book manages to combine history and adventure and scores full marks in that department. Barring the constant battle to protect history there are lots of small pickets of history served to the readers and get to see spotlight on one of the most talked about civilizations. Capitalization on certain curious elements does falters but it doesn't fades without a fight. It's a fresh experience to be in the midst of action and the past with Fargo's at helm. A cocktail served well but with a bitter-sweet experience. 


3 OUT OF 5