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