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