Sunday, December 6, 2015

Review: The Thomas Berryman Number by James Patterson

Action thrillers are like an ice-cream. You need to be quick with your reflexes to let it from melting. The reader needs to on his toes and his mind should be sharp to catch the details. Author James Patterson in his book " The Thomas Berryman Number" is going to let readers experience a different tell tale. A thrill never sought and action never believed or committed. Will he be able to deliver the goods? Let's find out. 

You are about to read one of the classic novels of suspense by the world's bestselling thriller writer.
It starts with three terrifying murders in the American South. It ends with a relentless and unforgettable manhunt in the North.
In between is the gripping story of a ruthless assassin, the woman he loves, and the beloved leader he is hired to kill.

First look at the cover and the lone running black figure shouts mystery. The title clouded and reeking thrill. The blurb short and sweet, twisted and simple, yet ineffective in capturing the readers imagination. The shortcoming of the book is its failure to give a high octane summation to catch the eye. 

The story is set in America, where three people are found murdered in Nashville. The assassin is missing, the accomplices in a dilapidated state and the biggies of the system as clueless as ever. It is now a cat and mouse game. Thomas Berryman, the charming and evasive assassin, his hits and the last job which will glorify or break his legend. Read out more to find about Thomas Berryman. 

The book has a strong backing in terms of a story line. Three murders, an alluring assassin and number of people involved in the entire scenario. It makes the entire set up as demanding and wanting you want it to be. But there is very less to talk about in terms of positive. The positives end with the initial outburst of the story. 

The demand to churn a thrill in the story takes severe toll. There are major hiccups. The characters are completely out of sync. There are no bases covered when it comes to setting up the story and the momentum is haggard. There are times when the conversations drift into gloominess. The closeness of the accomplices knit vague and pale. The threads come undone by the time the book is done and dusted. The knots loose. The ideas seems convincing but it runs amok and self destructs the entire plot. The feeling of nothingness seeps in the entire story as the dots are never connected when required. 

All in all the book had a lot of potential to make it big. Alas, there is no way it makes a reader feel comfortable. The idea is to capture the hearts, let the hearts flutter but the beat is missed time and again and even a hyped Thomas Berryman fails to generate charm. His character, the story are unimpressive and the ensemble is in shambles. The faith is lost when an action thriller fails miserably. This is that one time. 


1 OUT OF 5

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Review: Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

Life has its own ways to deal with problems or no problems. Sometimes the mind creates few of its own and sometimes there are genuine issues to deal with. The idea is to learn it all step by step, slowly and steadily and earn your place among people. With mutual admiration comes respect and with respect you can win hearts. Author Haruki Murakami in his book "Kafka on the Shore" let his words and characters speak for themselves. The pen flows and out comes life on pages. So how colorful this life is? Let's find out. 

The odd chapters of Kafka On The Shore depict the story of 15-year-old Kafka as he leaves his father's house in search of his sister and mother, and also to escape from an Oedipal curse. Kafka comes across numerous adventures en route until he finds space in a library in Takamatsu. The library is owned by Miss Saeki and Oshima. He spends his time reading at the library when one fine day the police come searching for him. 
The even chapters narrate Nakata's story. He works part-time as a locator of lost cats because of his uncanny talents. The search for one lost cat requires him to travel away from home. He ends up on road where he befriends a truck driver named Hoshino, who gives him a lift in his truck. Soon he becomes attached to Nakata. 
Kafka and Nakata meet each other in the novel. However, when they meet each other it is not just in the physical sense but on a metaphysical level as well. As their odysseys unravel, fishes fall from the skies, and cats talk with people. The reader can find brutal killings, but the killer and victim’s identities remain unknown. The novel has several themes central to it, like the power of music, the connection between the subconscious, mind, and soul, the strength of nature, the influence of an old prophecy. All these combine to weave a dreamlike and elegant masterpiece. The Oedipal undercurrent running in the novel makes Kafka On The Shore the equivalent of a modern Greek tragedy.

First look at the title and the cover and both of it equivalently will catch a reader off their game. The title is not a modern day long eye catchy title and the cover at first is nothing to write home about. But then the book falls into the category where for once the judgment has to based upon the story rather than the cover. The blurb talks about two people Kafka Tamura and Nakata both quite the opposites of each other and how they end up playing pivotal roles in the story. The blurb just manages to give the gist of what is going to be a contemporary definition of life.

The story is set off in Tokyo and a ward respectively. Two people are the driving forces of the story. Nakata and Kafka are two different individuals. Kafka, young and fresh off from the school but not willing to pursue junior high and Nakata on the pinnacle of his life, losing out everything to an incident in his early days. But life has to offer some vividness to both of them and they are just about ready to undertake the journey to experience it all. Two different paths, two different lives and yet their worlds will collide for good. How and when that no one knows? What will happen when their destinies walk on a single path? Is there a way out of it or is it a new start? That's what the story is all about. 

Set off in a world where things never come easy it is a journey to remember. The cherished moments in the story are one too many. From Nakata's innocence and intelligence and Kafka's transition from a boy to a man the story offers you in depth views on how to be yourself in life. The best pleasures of life are derived from serving others and this is what the story is centrally based on. The ups and downs in the melancholic tempos of both individuals is a sight to savor and breathe. Nakata is a world in itself. He is a simplicity personified. His presence in the book leaves an ever lasting impression on the mind. Kafka is a typical lost teenager yet his life is no less than an adventure. He experiences it in a different manner and the story ends up giving him enough leverage to turn him into a star. Both the characters have been ably supported by other people and the figment of imagination runs deep with all of them. 

The story just loses its steam towards the end. A chapter or two or certain portions just got over stretched and the book turn towards a level of nothingness. It could have been avoided. 

All in all there will always be a Nakata or Kafka around you. If there are you just need to channelize them, make them part of the society, love them irrespective of their shortcomings and give them back the respect they deserve in the first place. The story is no less than the teachings of life. The subtle nature of the book and the sublime command on the ideas is another huge plus in the book. Nowhere it gets distorted or moves away from its ultimate goal. The goal to teach something to the readers. It spreads and gathers love and affection. It's a picture perfect blend of what one seeks in life. 


4 OUT OF 5

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Review: All Yours, Stranger by Novoneel Chakraborty

You can ignore it, leave it, not talk about it, push it aside, but you cannot forget it. There's always a story. The story of life which offers you more than what you asked for. It can't be bargained. You wish not to settle for less. But then its never good to be without depths in life. Chinks in the armor. Bludgeoned sense of feeling. Feeling of being lost. Author Novoneel Chakraborty in his latest book " All Yours, Stranger" takes readers for a spin into the life of Rivanah. An ordinary girl with a lot of dreams. But will she be able to catch up with her dreams? Let's find out. 

For those of you who don't know me yet, Im Rivanah Bannerjee, a Kolkatan trying to find her footing in Mumbai. Even though I'm currently in a relationship with a great guy, I cant help but miss my ex-boyfriend despite knowing that he cheated on me. But that's the least of my worries. The stranger has gone missing since the police tried to nab him unsuccessfully. Where is he? What does he want from me? Why did he come into my life in the first place? Will he ever contact me again? These and many more questions continue to torment me every day. I'm desperate for the stranger to come back to me knowing full well that he may destroy me forever. But then that's the sexiest thing I have ever known about someone. With every revelation, it seems the truth is far more twisted than Rivanah can imagine. 

First look at the title and the cover and girl looks totally involved in her own. The book cover is glamorous and the title again revolves around stranger. The story is a continuing affair where it left off in the first part so Rivanah still acts as a protagonist of the story. This time the blurb speaks about her, her life and other events related to her existence. The author has done a commendable job by keeping away the major highlights of the story. Let the reader be the judge whilst reading the story. 

Rivanah has a life now. A life with Danny. But then she has to deal with some other things too. And the stranger's memories still linger on. But the stranger is nowhere to be seen. There is relief and life just goes about it's normal yards. But somewhere down the line her mind is still stuck with Hiya and she wants to gather all about the mysterious classmate of hers. So where will this lead her this time? Will she finally breathe a sigh of relief? Is the stranger present or his omnipresence will be the only thing that will stick to Rivanah? That's what the story is all about. 

Mysterious it is. Yes indeed. Eerie it gets. Yes it does. Real. Very real. Fiction bound into the realistic realms of life. There is that inner craving to get the past out the system, a turmoil which keeps a girl going in a big city far away from family. A lot happened last time but then there was a stranger. This time it's not simpler. Her quest and quench unattributed for. It's like shooting darts in the dark. She's bold now. She wants to play. But the story and her mind tricks her. It's not on her whims and fancies. The story gathers and leaves her back to square one. No way giving a chance to resurrect. The mystery deepens, the hair raising experience just takes a new turn. For good or bad only time will tell. 

The book for now is sans chinks in armor. 

All in all the book is traversing an unknown path. A path with an unpredictable outcome. With Rivanah at helm, numerous outcomes are possible but to get it right, it has to be a waiting game. There are lines of worries, palpable tension in the story, surmounting drama and a crusader hidden behind Rivanah's past, present and future. Which way to go, what to do, why her and what will happen in the end? A lot of questions to be answered. A safe bet, a gripping plot and a mind bending experience. There's no going back once you are on the road to either doomsday or heaven. 


4 OUT OF 5

Monday, July 27, 2015

Review: Immortal in Death by J.D Robb (In Death, #3)

Often in a crime thriller the basics fetch a lot of water in the jug. Even though it is half full it let the cops take the control and score the hits rather than the assailant. Author J.D Robb in his book "Immortal in Death" let traditions continue but circumstances shift a bit. The shift is cataclysmic though. So is the author again at the top of his game?

She was one of the most sought after women in the world. A top model who would stop at nothing to get what she wanted—even another woman's man. And now she was dead, the victim of a brutal murder. Police Lieutenant Eve Dallas put her life on the line to take the case when suspicion fell on her best friend, the other woman in the fatal love triangle. Beneath the facade of glamour, Eve found that the world of high fashion thrived on an all-consuming obsession with youth and fame. One that led from the runway to the dark underworld of New York City where drugs could be found to fulfill any desire—for a price..

Let's find out. First look at the title and the cover and fancy is stripped. The cover looks barred from any over enthusiastic ramifications. The title keeping up with the tradition is a typical In Death with a word exemplifying the book. The blurb is centered around Eve Dallas and her new run in with injustice and crime. A typical blurb sans any major highlights about the story. 

Eve Dallas has finally settled down into a role of a lover and a cop. She is about to be in the nuptial with Roarke yet her mind suffers from the past delusions. On the other hand life is at ease as a cop. But when a chance encounter with a mad model turns into a murder she is at it again like a lifeless zombie. But this time it is more personal as her friend is prime culprit. So for once will Eve be able to choose heart over mind? Will she get ample support for it? Will Mavis come out unscathed out of all this? What is the true story behind the series of murders? Let the story roll in death. 

Eve has changed a great deal since her last few encounters. She has a life and a man to look up to. She is socializing and for once she is not that strict ass cop. But then duty calls and she is back in her mold. As tough it gets for once in her life she has to stay calm and let the mystery talk to her. The crime scenes are not a talking spot, the crime a clean entity and the links too weak and time running out. She has to be couple of steps ahead in the entire fiasco. The story is demanding and it craves for attention and spares none. It cries out for each and every character and let all of them be involved in the gory mishap. The suspense piles up and the drama keeps getting better of each and everyone. It is a death dance. 

The story could have been toned down when it comes to involvement of few characters. Their importance undermined by their fleeting presence. Nothing gives the pleasure when it comes to keeping the readers off trail but at times the story gets boring. 

All in all it's a crime thriller with vendetta, but then it always is. There is little margin for error but then it can cost one too many. The makings of a classic thrill keeps the readers hooked till the very end. It's a chessboard with moves being countered time and again and readers being stumped and thrown off their game completely. The denser it becomes, the messier it gets. There is only one way out of it and Eve Dallas is the only bad ass one to get to the depth of it. An enthralling read. 


4 OUT OF 5 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Review: Ghost Ship By Clive Cussler (NUMA Files, #12)

Naval life is a fantasy. It has a lot about it which goes unsaid. Ships, crew and other aspects which never get highlighted in a day to day life. Author Clive Cussler in his book "Ghost Ship" let readers be part of a voyage which is neither pleasant nor dreamy. So is he able to weave the charm? Let's find out. 

When Kurt Austin is injured attempting to rescue the passengers and crew from a sinking yacht, he wakes with fragmented and conflicted memories. Did he see an old friend and her children drown, or was the yacht abandoned when he came aboard? For reasons he cannot explain, Kurt doesn’t trust either version of his recollection. 
Determined to know the truth, he begins to search for answers, and soon finds himself descending into a shadowy world of state-sponsored cyber crime, and uncovering a pattern of vanishing scientists, suspicious accidents, and a web of human trafficking. With the help of Joe Zavala, he takes on the sinister organization at the heart of this web, facing off with them in locations ranging from Monaco to North Korea to the rugged coasts of Madagascar. But where he will ultimately end up even he could not begin to guess.

First look at the title and the cover and the sinking ship it proof itself that it is no less than an adventure. A story with lots to offer. Title it old classic yet offers nothing new out of the blues. The blurb talks about Kurt Austin and his latest endeavors and the after effects of it.  The blurb could have left out a lot of words which hint at what the story is going to be. 

Kurt Austin is under rehab. Not fit for duty. But when duty calls he responds but this time the game is bigger and messier. Her ex along with her family goes missing in the sea. Presumed dead or not, Austin never let the trail go cold. So how will things look up after digging up? What is going to unfold and what role NUMA will play up in the mess? Who will be more responsible and who will be reckless and off the game? What's going to haunt the hunters and the hunted? Let the story deal about it. 

Kurt Austin and Joe Zavala never rest. They are looking for opportunities to get the scruff by their necks and let it end once and for all. But this time something else seeks them and it's a lot more dangerous. The story never succumbing to theatrics let tricks and spread out action and drama be the driver. It has an unsettled approach, the only settling idea is the characters blending in and the motive of the entire fiasco being ably supported by mysterious people. There's a lot of heavy air surrounding the events which lead up to the hunt and scavenger lay waste to everything which they meet or touch. Sea is always a highly attributed aspect of the story and this time it doesn't disappoints either. In depth knowledge pertaining to naval explorations and wrecks and technicalities makes it a NUMA winner. 

The possible downside of the story is it's full representation of the antagonist. The character sketch far from impressive and at times a shadow moving backstage. More leverage was required to let the balance be even and keeping the scales equally tilted. 

All in all the book is a thorough sea adventure. The story is mystified, the actions petrifying, the results magnifying and the entire idea magnetized. It never fails to catch the rhythm as it switches from one event to another like a breeze. The story flows along on the high tides of action and low tides of drama. The truth and helplessness is an added score to the story. Hardly any weak links and the story let itself talk out of the grand mess. It's a voyage taken under great risk. But a thorough journey for the readers. 


4 OUT OF 5

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Review: Hidden Husband by Shikha Khanduja Kaul

There are few relationships which offer a head to tail fairy tale experience. Some are cut short by society and some by own actions. So what it takes is a combined effort to let it float in the outrage of a storm called society and its people. Author Shikha Khanduja Kaul in her book "Hidden Husband" let the lovers speak for themselves rather than others being judge of it. So has she done it with flair? Let's find out.  

Aisha is trapped in her own secret which makes her life hell. Her love for Raghav is true. But hailing from two very different cultures is the basis of their continued friction. Aisha is a Punjabi girl from Gurgaon and Raghav a Bihari from Ranchi. Raghav's family will certainly not accept a girl from outside their community. And yet, he continues giving her false hopes through his efforts and promises. And then they take a step which entangles her life further. Will she manage to come out of this quandary or must she continue to live in her self-created web? Explore her journey that makes her realize the atrocities being committed on women in the Indian society and the tough decisions she must take, keeping her most loved ones oblivious to everything happening in her life. 

First look at the title and the cover and the humor of the title comes out with that suitcase and the girl holding it. The cover image indeed is thoughtful and reminiscent of the story. The blurb talks about a girl and her plush life turned haywire with some decisions leading her on and leaving behind scars. The blurb certainly keeps the content hidden and intent on showcase for the readers. 

The story is of Aisha who has a plush HR job in a company and is single yet marriageable. But when Raghav a boy from Bihar enters her life it all but takes a great fall. Her emotions keep flickering and love blossoms till the very end result. But things are not so cushy and from there on it's a tussle between Aisha and society and her family and relatives to keep the relationship alive. But what measures will she take to keep the love safe and sound between her and Raghav? Will it last long? What role will Raghav play to give her the comforts? Will it help both of them? That's what the story is all about. 

Love has not fixed face value. For some it can be a fairy tale, for some a sapping experience and for some it becomes the test of time. It makes people adventurous and ambitious. To stay put is no where close to being a primary idea. Being jumpy in love when it comes to commitment and futuristic goals is always a sheer delight as well as plight. The book pry opens the nuances of one such relationship where temper, commitment, values and attitudes are at stake. There is no love lost yet a lot of it is lost in transit from being lovers to permanent partners. The stiff resistance of Aisha is noteworthy. The fact that she wants to turn it around for herself selfishly is indeed a marvel. Existence and sustenance too find place in the story and let the relationship run its course like a roller coaster. 

The downside of the book is its failure to put Raghav in a brighter spot. His role turns into a background artist after the initial mushy encounter and from there on his visibility is gradually lost when required. Few events towards the end have obtained a hurried shape and look very unsettled. The rush to finish the job consumes the best of the story and let mediocre vivid ideas seep in the end. Sameer's character too finds no luck neither he appeals the story and reflects on the outcome substantially. 

All in all with the book offering helplessness which is more of a realistic story with every second girl or a boy it latches on to the approach perfectly. Love story sticks to the old ideas failing to offer any new perspective but the hiccups are rather an eye opener for every relationship to last long. A story with well defined and vivid ideas about love in our society and destructive and constructive attitude of people towards it. A chuckling yet serious affair. 


3 OUT OF 5 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Review: Her Resurrection by Soumyadeep Koley

You kill them, you bully them, tease them, touch them, down trodden them yet they are there to live and live with head held high. They are women. No less than men and not afraid anymore. Yes, they suffer yet someone out there always has a story to tell. To tell the world and men it's not only about you it's about us, together and forever. Complimenting the nature's balance. Author Soumyadeep Koley in his book "Her Resurrection" let a scarred soul be at helm and drive the reins of her life in the direction of her choosing. So how her choices and others collide and materialize? Let's find out. 

What is it like to be an unwanted girl-child in India? What is it like to be sexually harassed at a tender age of five? After being tricked and forced into prostitution, can such a woman fight back to emancipate herself from the unyielding shackles of that life, and intermingle with the ‘society?’ Or would she get lost in the sands of time like the ephemeral existence of a sand dune beset by a sandstorm?

So begins Maya’s story in the picturesque countryside of Maharashtra, where she grows up amidst cruelty and domestic violence, being an unwanted girl-child. Yet, like a lonesome beacon beset by sinister wilderness, she pursues her dreams of reaching the stars with her tiny wings. One night, a twist of fate triggers a series of incidents, when she loses everything she had—even her virginity. 
Severely traumatized after her father’s death, her mother’s imprisonment, and her own gang-rape, Maya finds herself all alone in the streets of Mumbai, with wolves lurking around for raw flesh. She’s weary, but not wary. She has no sense of the fate that awaits her. What follows, would change her life forever, as also yours, as her heart wrenching, yet inspiring story echoes through time.

Inspired by true stories of survivors and real life events, ‘Her Resurrection’ bravely paints an appalling picture of the society. Heartbreaking, hopeful and immensely healing at the same time, this emotional rollercoaster through dreams, tragedy and triumph is a moving tribute to womankind. Are you ready to embark on a transformation journey with Maya?

First look at the title and the cover and a reader's heart goes out for the poor soul. It hits hard when tears streaming down those eyes mean a world to some. The blurb pretty long for a book cuts out the task by highlighting the cruelty and violence administered on girls and women. To put the point across author has used a girl's story to present the hidden facts behind slavery and butchery. 

The story is of Maya who at a very young age is being brutalized and traumatized beyond her imagination. The age of playing dolls left far behind owing to an abusive father and a recluse mother. But she has a will to fight back. Fight she does but fatality is on course to curse her yet again when she comes of age. So how Maya will survive the ordeal or whether she will survive it not? Where will she find solace and what will keep her awake in the horror of darkness? Who will be with her and who will crush her to death? That's what the story is all about. 

It's an eye opener. To shed light on the adversities being faced by women in a society. It's a fight against the butchers. It is a narration of apathy and plight of women who suffer the ordeal sullen and swollen. Battered minds and beaten souls lay the foundation of the brutal encounters of a girl transforming into a woman not on her own whims and fancies but on the tunes of some cruel men. The story is not a story but it's a crusade against the ruptured system and glaring eyes which become judgmental rather than lending support to the helpless. It's a spirited comeback along with multiple roadblocks which really define a woman in modern day dilemma and an age old phenomena. 

The only part which doesn't fits the story appropriately is it let goes other characters without giving them a chance to express themselves. Multiple voices form the firm foundation of a strong rebellion but it  gets lost in the transition of Maya. 

All in all their is no us, no we, no he it's only she who leads from the front. Outcome far from known yet resilience keeps her drift. Adrift she is but teachings and experiences brings her back to reality. A reality far distant from the nuances of fiction. It's not an imagination, it is a presentation of the lack of sense and morality among few who continue to devour and destroy the very existence of women in the society. It's a trance to be in when her cries and smile are at stake. Be with her and get enthralled. 


4 OUT OF 5

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Review: Scion of Ikshvaku By Amish Tripathi (Ram Chandra Series, #1)

There are few stories from the past which have been retold in so many different ways that people even in the deepest darkest corners understand about their existence. Ramayana and Mahabharata are among the very few. Their purpose is to keep alive the sanctity of these people of past and pass it on from one generation to another. Passing on the virtues and path of righteousness and learning of the wise. Author Amish Tripathi in his book "Scion of Ikshvaku" has taken fond of Ramayana and let it be remolded into a passionate affair for the readers. So what does he brings to the table? Let's find out. 

Ram Rajya. The Perfect Land. But perfection has a price. He paid that price.
Ayodhya is weakened by divisions. A terrible war has taken its toll. The damage runs deep. The demon King of Lanka, Raavan, does not impose his rule on the defeated. He, instead, imposes his trade. Money is sucked out of the empire. The Sapt Sindhu people descend into poverty, despondency and corruption. They cry for a leader to lead them out of the morass. Little do they appreciate that the leader is among them. One whom they know. A tortured and ostracised prince. A prince they tried to break. A prince called Ram.
He loves his country, even when his countrymen torment him. He stands alone for the law. His band of brothers, his Sita, and he, against the darkness of chaos.
Will Ram rise above the taint that others heap on him? Will his love for Sita sustain him through his struggle? Will he defeat the demon Lord Raavan who destroyed his childhood? Will he fulfill the destiny of the Vishnu?
Begin an epic journey with Amish's latest- the Ram Chandra Series.

First look at the title and the cover and it looks provoked and anguish. A tout frame, a vimana in the air and forests set up the peculiar image of Ram. The title provides the melody. The blurb narrates the incidents of the past where Ram Rajya was famous in Ayodhya and Sapta Sindhu was powerful. It was ruled by humans and demons. So what changed the course of time is what the blurb is trying to suggest to the readers. 

Ayodhya has been ruled by a wise king. But his wisdom abandons him and he finds himself weakened by demon king Raavan over time. His family wants a heir and soon he finds himself father of four. It's up to Guru Vashishtha to train the young kids into able leaders and ruthless warriors. But among them hides a righteous person. Ram is different from the others and his destiny is marred by birth. So what will it take to change the outlook towards him? How life surrounding him evolve? How will he resurrect himself from the pains of taunts? Will Ram ever be able to prove his worth to his belligerent father? Only the course of time will tell. 

Ramayana along with Mahabharata left some important learnings of life. A person leans on to Ramayana for peace and the correct course of leading life. For the laws of that time are imbibed and reciprocated and passed on from one generation to another. From the hands of wrong till the womb of right it's a journey of peril, pain, anguish and patience. It's a survival guide against adversaries hidden in plain veil or unknown distant enemies. The story is about control on oneself and treatment met out at the hands of commoners and lords. The book revolves around reviving the epic into a fresh lease of literature. Care has been taken to let each and every word speak for itself and let characters stroll around with freedom. Liberal as well as strict in nature it justifies the very existence of Ramayana. Narration is vivid and surreal and is not lost on a reader. 

The downside of the book is its failure to let everybody off the hook. The end looks pale and seems to be hurried upon. A calm demeanor misplaced by the mishaps of story and suddenly giving it a whirlwind approach. The author in the flow has covered a bit too much for the liking and literally covering Ramayana's important incidents like all in one book. For the series to be alive more voice should be lent to people other than Ram. Their existence justifying their essence which is found missing in this part. Retelling the known till the end with very little new is another drawback of the story.

All in all Ramayana has been revived with a mission on hand. It's to connect people to the core of the story, substantiating it's presence and giving fair privilege to all characters. The book marches on the known territories gleefully and yet finds itself wanting in certain areas of fresh lease. There is a certain tempo maintained and that itself gives the book a very settled outlook. The end looks unsettled but there's still scope for amends. The story has been revived, the epic being retold and with bated breath readers await the future parts to see what unfolds. It's a warm start with a cautious approach. The connection is made, only sustenance is the big question in the future. 


3 OUT OF 5

Friday, July 3, 2015

Review: Mistress of Honor by Bhaavna Arora

When life is at stake, there is not much one can ask for. Life of a soldier is put to test every now and then. Their jobs beyond plausible descriptions. What they do is for the country and for the others. Author Bhaavna Arora in her book "Mistress of Honor" let a soldier define a path which will lead to ultimate salvation. What path is it? That's what the readers uncover. 

When Potnis a captain in the Indian Army meets Pansy during the Operation Blue Star he knows he has found the love of his life. Their passionate romance leads them to the altar and blossoms into a beautiful child, Rihana. History repeats itself when Advik, a wayward boy from a broken family, catapults into Rihanas heart, as smoothly as he conquers the skies as an Air Force pilot. What follows is a night of unabashed love, transporting the couple to heavenly bliss. Where will their unbridled love lead them? Will Rihanna remain a mistress to Advik, for whom the love for his country comes first or will she be able to make a place in his heart that is second to none? This heartbreaking saga of love, courage and sacrifice will leave you asking for more.

First look at the title and the cover and the title will catch the eye more than the cover. Cover looks pale when it comes to a very elaborate and threatened title. The blurb talks about two people and how their lives entwine on a roller coaster journey. Let the story do the talking. The blurb talking a bit more than required for the story to leave an impact. 

Potnis is a soldier. A man of duty and action. Pansy a self made woman out to seek peace and justice. But when fate let the two meet, it becomes the story of a lifetime. Together with different ideologies and altogether different attitude towards life, love blossoms and it gives birth to an unusual relationship. Duty, honor and respect it all matters for Potnis and years later it's up to Rihana now to take up the mantle and lead the family name into the deep seas of respect. So will Rihana be able to replicate the love of her family in her own life? How will cupid strike her and will it be enough to woo her? How life will pan out for Potnis and Pansy? That's what the story is all about. 

The story is a solid tribute to a man in uniform. From the day of oath to protect the nation and from playing different roles like a son, a father, a lover, a husband and a true patriot it all counts and matters. The story finds space for it all. The sacrifices suggest a life carved out from the path of thorns. The understanding and respect coming out naturally. Seeking what they believe in is another motto of the story. Calm, calculated and ruthlessness combined together let them lead their lives by example. Giving up comforts and living in the grasp of danger is all what the story tells about through different characters and real life incidents. 

The book fails to replicate the magic of patriotism when it comes to love. It goes through vivid emotions yet stutters and stumbles to enhance the beauty and purity of love. It's more courageous and bold than soft and mellowed. Love is lost in the quotients of reality and even characters living it look out of sorts. More was needed to let love be the talking point but the book banks on other solid characteristics. Rihana could have played a more definitive role with her alliances and allegiances looking dull. 

All in all the book in it's heroic form assumes a more sterner facet. From being on the battlefront or being marred by personal discomforts the story narrates all. It holds on to the little truths of life and let the actions speak for themselves. The words complementing the process. It's a complete tale of valor and glory. Love is a scarce entity and needed more soul. A thorough journey of a soldier, a man and a lover. 


3 OUT OF 5 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Review: Seconds Away by Harlan Coben

At times there are few stories which let a reader devise the path. It can be a quick finish or it can be a subtle approach. Anyways both of them lead to the end. Desirable or undesirable that's the point of question. Author Harlan Coben in his book "Seconds Away" let his characters speak for themselves. How well they handle pressure? Let's find out. 

When tragedy strikes close to home, teenager Mickey Bolitar and his loyal new friends - sharp-witted Ema and the ever-charming Spoon - find themselves at the centre of a murder investigation involving their friend Rachel. Now, not only does Mickey have to continue his quest to uncover the truth about the mysterious death of his father, he also needs to figure out what happened to Rachel - no matter what it takes.
Mickey has always been ready to sacrifice everything to help the people he loves. But how can he protect them when he's not even sure who - or what - he's protecting them from?

First look at the title and the cover and it gives goosebumps. Title sounds something on the lines of race against time. The blurb follows Mickey Bolitar and his friends in a new raging mystery. It doesn't gives out anything that saves the best for the reader. 

The story revolves around Mickey and his friends Ema, Rachel & Spoon. Life's never been kind to Mickey and it's not looking sunny in a new place too. His uncle Myron lends him support but he finds himself in a boiling mystery when Rachel is shot in the head and her mother murdered. From there on it's a cat and mouse game for the police and troubled Mickey to find the killer. So did he play a part in it? Who had the motive? What dangerous game is being played in the shadows? Who can be trusted and who cannot? Time will tell. 

Mickey Bolitar is an instant connect. An ordinary troubled character with tainted and tempered outlook he oozes defeat and purpose. Purpose to find about the past and defeat in setting things right. That's what binds him and the other characters. The sinking ship getting a murder mystery. Together murder and Mickey create menace and mess and lead up to n number of ends. The story hyping it up and building the scene to explode. The narratives switching from usual occurrences to people spoilt for choices, though not many. The suspense element is held on to for a longer period of time. 

The book loses its purpose as too much is revealed too quickly. The sparks also die out with visible lack of enthusiasm in the other characters. The book becomes more me than us. There are times when it traverse into unknown zones and tend to waive off into oblivion. There are no definite or concrete glue to hold the two ends together. It corrupts the inner core of the mystery and leave it brittle and exposed. 

All in all there is a certain love hate connect with the story. Even though it retains most of the element of suspicion it still fails to illicit a passionate finish. Very surreal and circle approach with dull narratives put it in a spot of bother. On a brighter side it is never straight forward and let a reader devour it all. There are no wrong steps only the approach is too measured. More open space was required to let the story blossom under the shades of blood and gore. Guess work keeps going to let the matters sink in to deep pits of nothing and let readers be as sumptuous. A mixed affair. 


3 OUT OF 5

Monday, June 15, 2015

Review: Paradise Lost and Regained by Ratnadip Acharya

Life is a tempting question. It has no fixed answer. It has different perspectives. The one who understands it lives it king size and the one who falters they redeem or perish. Author Ratnadip Acharya in his book "Paradise Lost and Regained" puts life to test for a tender soul and let it uncover of why, what, how and when? So how does it turn out to be for the readers? Let's find out.

Whispered the forest & its trees, ‘Little deer, tell us your story again.’Smiled I & asked, ‘What will you gain hearing it time & again?’Replied the forest at once, ‘It is not just a story of a deer,but of we all—forest, earth, sky, trees, wind and river.It is a testimony to trust, love, hope & couragethat we will all remember for ages.’With a smile, again I began to narrate my story,which breathed my love, fear, success, failure & glory.It spanned from my birth in the forest to human captivity,from where I escaped to explore life’s other possibility.Everywhere and every moment I received help from Nature,& it taught me to experience life from closer.I learnt that the other name of life is Mystery,and that it is beautiful with all its unknown twists and unpredictability.Once I finished my narration, the forest was throbbing with life,there prevailed only peace, silence & joy, and no strife.‘Name your story,’ breathed the forest and every living entity it contained.Thought I for a while and replied...‘Paradise Lost & Regained.

First look at the title and the cover and it looks more of a mythological legend. But one serious glance and the lost deer makes it a little to understand a clear picture about the book. But still it makes for a great innocent image in the night hues. The blurb is poetic and talks about life and it's added myths and realities. So it's hard to catch the exact interpretation but still gives the book a settled outlook. 

The story is of a young deer in a forest and his tryst with life. Even the smallest of offerings have a lot of impact on the tender mind of the deer. At helm not everything is as easy as it looks and not so kind when it comes to full understanding. But this is how you learn to live and survive. So does the deer gets right when it comes to taking baby steps towards the bigger picture? Will it be a tough ride or will it prove to be journey worth while? That's what the story is all about. 

Deer is no different from us. We express they too. We comprehend they too. We feel and understand different facets of life they too. So how does a deer makes a difference? The innocence of the animal and the jungle life makes it much tougher against strangest of the creatures and wildest of the experiences of life. Life is put at helm and the driven around with ease. The book is no maths and is easy to swallow and relate to. The facts thrown and the points put to test are noteworthy. Unexplained facts of life find space too. Joy and sorrow add to the doldrums of the jingle. It's a headstrong game played by a simple living soul with lot to learn and pick up. Implies on humans too. 

The only possible downside of the book is it gets exaggerated when it tends to describe few phenomenons of life. A little short on some random events and the book becomes purposeful. 

All in all, the book reasons and throws everything at a reader and puts them in a spot of bother. Praise for the author to let an animal drive the wheel around and let stutter and shudder and stand up to the cruel and dark aspects of life. Peace spreads over the book. Calmly it touches heart and feel for what one goes through when life offers you just one thing too much. Go back to the roots to discover what it is all about. 


4 OUT OF 5 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Review: Glory in Death by J.D Robb (In Death, #2)

Future is what one contemplates about. But is it completely in our hands to design one? Some things are natural and it always needs a sharp mind and clear insight to be in criminal mind. Author J.D Robb in his book "Glory in Death" let the inner recesses of the mind take control and dictate power. So how successful is it to bring the good and bad on the same page? Let's find out. 

It is 2058, New York City. In a world where technology can reveal the darkest of secrets, there's only one place to hide a crime of passion-in the heart. 
Even in the mid-twenty-first century, during a time when genetic testing usually weeds out any violent hereditary traits before they can take over, murder still happens. The first victim is found lying on a sidewalk in the rain. The second is murdered in her own apartment building. Police Lieutenant Eve Dallas has no problem finding connections between the two crimes. Both victims were beautiful and highly successful women. Their glamorous lives and loves were the talk of the city. And their intimate relations with men of great power and wealth provide Eve with a long list of suspects -- including her own lover, Roarke.

First look at the title and the cover and it bleeds mystery. Cover is nothing we can write home about but title is something which glorifies death. Though there is no glory in sacrifice. The blurb is set in future with Eve Dallas returning at helm. A new case at hand and new enemies around her. The blurb keeps the sanctity of the story alive by giving away nothing. 

The story is set in New York where Eve Dallas is a star cop. She's bad ass yet emotional. Her ever growing fondness for the shady Roarke is a teaser for the media. Speculations are rife about the stormy affair. But when a high profile lawyer is murdered in a shady neighborhood Eve finds her at the wrong end of the deal. With Roarke under scanner and killer at large she's at crossroads. With personal bonds at stake and life coming full circle it becomes difficult for Eve to choose one. But it's the serial killer who is going to be the center of attraction? So who's the killer and with what motive? How Eve will fight off odds? Will she ever be able to lay hands on the killer? That's what the story is all about. 

Eve, when you look at her character sketch you feel helpless and proud at the same time. She's ruthless as a cop but as a human being she is surrounded by fears of past, present and the future. Along with Roarke she is weak, feeble but calm and composed. In a mystery thriller their chemistry works charms on the story. Never letting the reader feel out of place. Passion and relaxation is what it brings to the table. But it's not the romance that twists the tale. The darker element of the book is the mystery which binds the people and their lives together. Scattered, confused yet unpredictable. The story puts forth all the high octane drama and suspense which is required of a thriller. With few surprises thrown as chunks of meat it makes the story more darker and meatier. 

The downside of the book is it's failure to utilize the full potential of a long list of suspects. Fleeting references are not enough to keep them alive and certainly not in the context of the story. They all require breathing space and that is where the story is a bit of a letdown. 

All in all the book provides impetus to the core of the crime set in the future. It's the human persona that gets highlighted even amidst drones and droids. The practical aspect of spine chilling murders is another element which lets the readers dance to its tunes. It all looks plain and simple upfront but the inner sanctum is full of revenge and hatred. It's the fight between a devilish mind and a straight up cop with a twisted personal life. The book enlivens the experience and enhances the murderous quotient of the story. A strength to strength tell tale. 


4 OUT OF 5

Monday, June 8, 2015

Review: One Tequila, 2 Tequilas by Supriya Parulekar

When there is a lot on offer people tend to falter. Even the best of the minds can lie in dark graves when it comes to making decisions. For one mistake can cost lifetime of an opportunity. Author Supriya Parulekar in her book "One Tequila, 2 Tequilas" tries to handle the similar life confusions and live it with her characters and story. How enlightened one feels? Let's find out. 

They were never meant to fall in love!There was a handsome young man and a gorgeous young girl. They were never meant to fall in love!For the girl...there was happily never after!For the boy... he had failed miserably in the matters of heart!Until one day...their paths crossed, fates met!Love happened, just once and forever!

First look at the title and the cover and a reader is going to be pulled into the book. The cover is chic and uber. The title is catchy much more of a phrase. The blurb is a poetic narration and puts two people in the forefront of what appears to be a love story. It manages to save the best for the story. 

The story is of Kosha who is finicky, rebellious and being pulled into a marriage alliance against her wishes. Her groom Harsh Sarabhai, is manipulative and cunning. Siddharth, Harsh's brother is a family person. But when a sudden turn of events changes lives then Siddharth comes forth as the ultimate savior. But whom will he save and from what? What Kosha will do for one last time before she gives in? What Harsh has planned for them all? That's what the story is all about. 

One fleeting glimpse and the story tell tales all. It's a romantic yet chic lit and with a glint of suspense in it. The only possible plus of the story is it's romance. 

The downside of the book outweighs the pros. The book fails to offer any suspense which it tries to nurture through the devious Harsh and his mother. The love story is a monotonous affair offering old ideas and lacking spark and spontaneity. The story tries hard to make it look dramatic but it bites the dust while giving up on fresh perspectives. It tames and pales after some initial force. Predictability is another factor that pulls the story and the book down as a whole most of the times. 

All in all the book lacked from a fresh story line to lively characters to an unpredictable finish. The existence of the book is threatened by a fair competition. It is not able to give anything to hold on to the reader. It is rather an average effort to pull it out of the mud and give it a dreamy canvas. A more plum effort is required by the author to make the story more convincing and wicked at the same time. An average effort. 


2 OUT OF 5

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Review: After All This Time by Nikita Singh

What life offers is one big surprise. Sometimes it comes in the form of surmounting happiness yet sometimes it brings a lot of sorrow to a world of hope. Author Nikita Singh in her latest book "After All This Time" tries to change the notion of society and people themselves who suffer from such deadly sorrows. So how effectively she hits the chord? Let's find out. 

What if you find out it's the end of the road for you? Lavanya gets the shock of her life when she discovers that she's HIV positive. The revelation shakes her out of the monotony that her life has become. It's time for a change. She finally dumps her loser boyfriend, quits her high-paying but extremely demanding job and goes back home to meet her family after nearly seven years. At home she finds a bucket list and she knows it's a sign of what she needs to do. With her is an old neighbor and friend who's just broken off with his girlfriend. Sparks begin to fly! However, what she learns is that you need to really live before you begin to love!

First look at the title and the cover and it looks like more of a dreamy world. The cover is pale and looks more of a formality to the content. The blurb talks about a young girl and her life which has spiraled out of control. The blurb pretty much points out at the idea of what is going to be the meat of the story. 

The story is of Lavanya who has an irritating yet high profile job in the States. Her boss irks her and colleagues shun her. But life is going to get different when accidentally her past demons will present themselves in the present in the form of HIV. So how does she plan to handle it all? Will she return home and confide to her parents? Who is going to be the man of the hour? How Shourya Kapoor her best buddy cum neighbor will act as a mercurial guide? That's what the story is all about. 

Sensitive it becomes when one talks of a person and their suffering, that too coming in the form of a incurable disease. The story is very open at that particular front letting the feeling sink in and let the character blossom under hardships. Is it the end or just the beginning? That's the big question asked and even answered by the end of it. Broken bonds, salvaging of what's left in life and becoming the same old person is a daunting responsibility handled by the book. The tense moments along with dilemmas and confused reactions add to the spice of the story. The tingle is evident in the joys and sorrows all throughout. The darker demons of the past have been dealt with confidence. 

The book fails to garner a high for HIV. It becomes scant and the personal fears and bleak future somehow undermine the sensitivity of the subject. The tenderness of the idea is given wings but only for sometime rather the bucket list concept kills the epic confusion and confrontation of Lavanya, her family and societal stigma. Characters apart from Lavanya and Shaurya do not live up to the potential and faint references only add to their misery. 

All in all a serious push in the right direction is what this book is. Th first step is not always perfect and that's what can be said about the book. On livening up the dreaded life of Lavanya, the book scores all the brownie points but on making it more intense and fearful it fails quite a lot of times. The rise from the ashes is appreciable but the harsh reality is somewhere lost in the midst of avoidance and over indulgence. A mixed affair. 


3 OUT OF 5

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Review: The Last Surge by Pramit Sarkar

Life is nothing short of madness. In the fast forward nature and the tepid pace of life there's very little less to do for ourselves or for other's happiness. Author Pramit Eerie Sarkar in his book "The Last Surge" tries to downplay the hectic nature of life and puts forth the amiss moments of the life and the people surrounding us. Does he succeed in his endeavor? Let's find out. 

"...the day we face each other, she will be sorry; sorry for rendering me emotionally impotent. And that will be my victory." Their blazing courtship was nearing marriage, before fate played its vicious card. Rimi dumped Gabriel and married the choice of her family but Gabriel decided to remain single. Why did Rimi take such a drastic decision? How did Gabriel keep up his single hood? Did they meet again or did fate succeed in keeping them apart? How does Sneha fit into the picture? Crafted with the characteristic flavors of Bengal, THE LAST SURGE brings you the tale of an ace football player turned relationship counselor and what made this protagonist a great brother, a greater father and an even greater romantic.

First look at the title and the cover and a reader is absorbed in the beauty of Kolkata and it's rich heritage. There's very less to talk about the title but it is pretty much on cards with the subject it tends to cater. The blurb talks about few people and how their lives bank upon each other's responses. The blurb keeps the glorious part away and a sneak peak is the best way to pick up the book, 

The story is of Gabriel, Rimi and Gabriel's adopted daughter. Circumstances have not been easy for the father-daughter duo yet Gabriel has been able to fulfill the wishes of her daughter. Meanwhile Rimi has spent a huge chunk of her life wishing and waiting for something to make her come back to the basic sense of freedom and happiness.But it cannot happen so easily. So after so many years what is it that will get them back together? What perspective each one of them has to offer towards life and relationship? Is it worth a shot or distances are the spunk of the destiny? That's what the story is all about. 

First things first, the author with his rich knowledge of English and grammar has given the book a midas touch. There are broken relationships, destiny's call and other melodramatic combinations that bind the story very beautifully. There's a storm and there's moment of lull too. The story occurs in both happiness and sad times and it's worth taking the ride with. The messed up personal lives of each and every character and their inner dilemmas and the hidden expression behind the simplest of things are some of the few ideas which have been touched and given space to. There's a lot of breathing space for everyone in the book and it excels in crispiness and vividness. 

The downside of the book is it's inability to maintain a stoic end. The end looks pretty much awry and offers very little compared to the majority of the story. A whiff of crack appears and takes away the entire charm. Introduction of a new character in the story backfires by all means. A pin point finish was the demand of the story. 

All in all the book with it's fair idea about life and relationships gives a great viewing angle to everything. From the time it sets into the deeper recesses of the characters there is deliberate deliverance of their wounds and gay moments. It motivates a reader to seek peace and solace in the scarred events of life. The story has a shiny new edge to it and looks polished all the way till the end. Barring few hiccups its a recommended book to pick up and spend sometime seeking meaning of life with. 


3 OUT OF 5

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Review: The Devil's Star by Jo Nesbo (Harry Hole, #5)

Sometimes an author needs more than specifics to lure the reader into a world of nothingness. But there's still something to crave or contort about. Author Jo Nesbo in his book "The Devil's Star" let the people crave for more and the more has no immediate end. So has he been able to spin a web of deceits and truths? Let's find out. 

A young woman is murdered in her flat and a tiny red diamond in the shape of a five-pointed star is found behind her eyelid. Detective Harry Hole is assigned to the case, alongside his long-time adversary Tom Waaler and initially wants no part in it.
But Harry is already on his final warning and has little alternative but to drag himself out of his alcoholic stupor when it becomes apparent that Oslo has a serial killer on its hands.

First look at the title and the cover and a reader cannot decipher the major expression on the face of the young man. To an extent there's fear but by and large it's not the exact interpretation of the book or the story. The title is more a religious hoola-hoop but keeps the sanctity of the story alive with a precise blurb. The blurb leaves out nothing for the readers to delve into but enough to keep the hope of light on. 

The story is set in Oslo where murders in different parts of the town have caused havoc. For police it's more than a headache as it's vacation time. Tom Waaler, the best of the cops is assigned to catch the killer. But tagged along with him is the super hero of the Sydney adventure i.e Harry Hole. Drunk and wasted and probably on the last warning it's make and a break situation for Harry. But he wants nothing of it. So how will Waaler and others convince him to take up the mantle one last time? How good will his rapport be with his adversary Waaler? What's in store for Oslo and who's behind this devilish pursuit. What's the story all about? 

The story in simple words is exaggeration and test of patience of the readers. From the word go it expands into past, present and the future and feeds on the worst fears of the reader. Its a blend of at par brilliance of crime plus nocturnal follow ups of the police with no leads. The story will itself lead you to dead ends and bring you back to start all over again. The onerous power to capture the killer and the personal lives and animosities at stake it offers a lot of hidden secrets too. It comes with a baggage of suspense and drama but magnificent deliverance. 

The downside of the book is pretty much distorted connection of Harry's past to the present. It's more of an eye sore and fails to match the wavelength of the crime. It fails to sort out the exact purpose of the presence and never gathers any momentum. It's a tedious repetition of Harry's failed life which lets the story to stray in various directions. 

All in all keep aside the personal belongings there's nothing private in the story. The only agenda is killer and the cops. But it's no easy game and the game is played blind on instincts and helplessness of the victims. At random its the best narration and with specific it becomes tedious and complicated. But there's things for everyone which never lets down anyone till the end. It's one book which will slowly wither away the mind but keep you on course to the end. It's a twisted mystery thriller. 


4 OUT OF 5