Book review: Cold Truth by Nikhil Pradhan

Author: Nikhil Pradhan

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publication date: 5 September. 2018

Book length: 220 pages

Format: Paperback

Synopsis:

When ten-year-old Sakshi goes missing from East Delhi, almost no one, including the police, seems too concerned. Not until a curious journalist begins to ask questions. Soon, she cracks open a can of worms, and what started as an innocuous investigation into corruption and systemic apathy begins to reek of a larger and terrifying conspiracy, as chilling secrets and long-dead skeletons tumble out. Pieced together using police reports, detailed interviews, leaked emails, WhatsApp conversations and much more, this extraordinary debut takes you from the bylanes of Delhi and the communist bunkers of Russia to the frozen grounds of Antarctica, following a trail that will leave you questioning what is real and what isn’t.

Rating: 3.5/5

Review:

I would like to thank the publisher for sending me the book in exchange of am honest and unbiased review.

Cold Truth by Nikhil Pradhan is criminal fiction based on the mysterious disappearance of ten-year-old Sakshi from East Delhi and the complete ignorance of the police. When famous author, Gayatri Lama hears about the case and learns how she is the seventh minor missing in East Delhi this year, she takes special interest in the case and decides to make it her next book’s subject. Deciding upon this she keeps no stone unturned to get deeper into the mess only to figure out the case to be simply another large trafficking racket case but much kore horrifying and gruesome. Through her secret networks she gets in touch with a man, Abhay who starts working along with her to crack the mystery. They find out from Sakshi’s father that she has a rare form of diabetes, Type 2 Mellitus and that he had received a call few weeks before Sakshi’s disappearance, supposedly from the CDSA saying that she could be the potential recipient of an experimental drug treatment. Upon further digging Lama and Abhay learn about an experiment – Project Starfish and their informations suggest the project to have been originated from Russia and so Abhay travels there to directly understand the matter. The story continues with their adventure filled with pain, horror, struggle and lack of time towards the truth.

I dug a little to know whether any project with the same name exists and I found this,

“Based in Tampa, FL, Project Starfish is a non-profit 501c3 international organization that collaborates with healthcare providers in Southern India to provide both general medical care to rural populations, currently focusing on sustainable diabetic screening and treatment clinics.” – The terrifying realistic effect of the book and facts actually made me once again check to make sure the book is a “fiction”.

Highly intriguing and extremely, rather unnervingly detailed in the whole process involving different secretive departments and their patterns, Cold Truth gives an insight the whole process of it’s journey towards uncovering the truth. The way the book has been presented is intelligent and something fresh. The evidential and questionable touch on non-fiction deliberately to give the fiction a more “realistic” touch is interesting and intensive. What turned out to be a bit off about the book was the gradual ending with last part to be carried on by Abhay. The suspense of the whole book ends up into something very carelessly and inadequately described, far fetched. The touch of reality is completely rubbed of with the distasteful and prolonging stench of unmanageable fiction. I highly enjoyed the book throughout the whole journey with just the final revelation and ending to be dissatisfactory. However, I also think that it is my personal opinion and may vary from reader to reader. I would differently recommend it for a short and thrilling read.

About the Author:

Nikhil Pradhan is from Gangtok, Sikkim, but has worked and lived in different cities across India. He has worked in technology journalism and in advertising with Ogilvy. Cold Truth is his first book.

Book review: The Woman Who Saw The Future by Amit Sharma

Author: Amit Sharma

Publisher: Readomania

Publication date: 17 November.2017

Book length: 276 pages

Format: Paperback

Language: English

Synopsis:

Sapna Vaid has lived with a unique power for a decade; a power that turned her from a timid, wide-eyed, college-going girl into the most influential and powerful Goddess on Earth. Sapna can see the future and saves thousands of people around the world every year through her record-breaking, popular show ‘Lucky People’. The show had given Sapna’s life a meaning and gives her the courage to sleep every night, where death and blood await her in her dreams. Even though the world is at her feet, the power costs Sapna her personal life. Broken relationships and separation from her son bring her unbearable pain. Her parents and the thousands of prayers that come her way every year are her only solace, her only reason to live. When a blinding hatred leads to a desperate act of revenge, a single misuse of her great power triggers a reversal of her fortunes. Sapna begins to lose her ability to see the future.

Rating: 3.5/5

Review:

I am thankful to the author for sending me the book in exchange of an honest and unbiased review.

The Cassandra metaphor (variously labelled the Cassandra “syndrome”, “complex”, “phenomenon”, “predicament”, “dilemma”, or “curse”) occurs when valid warnings or concerns are dismissed or disbelieved.

The term originates in Greek mythology. Cassandra was a daughter of Priam, the King of Troy. Struck by her beauty, Apollo provided her with the gift of prophecy, but when Cassandra refused Apollo’s romantic advances, he placed a curse ensuring that nobody would believe her warnings. Cassandra was left with the knowledge of future events, but could neither alter these events nor convince others of the validity of her predictions.

The metaphor has been applied in a variety of contexts such as psychology, environmentalism, politics, science, cinema, the corporate world, and in philosophy, and has been in circulation since at least 1949 when French philosopher Gaston Bachelard coined the term ‘Cassandra Complex’ to refer to a belief that things could be known in advance.

The main character of the book The Woman Who Saw The Future, Sapna went through this similar condition from the time after her brother, Vikrant’s death, but in a more gruesome and spine chilling manner. She saw people dying in her dreams. Real people, in real places and though she, her parents and her boyfriend Saahil dismissed the first dream to be just a bad one with no special significance, the originality and her descriptive recollection of all of it followed by the news of her nightmare actually coming true started tormenting her.

The story is based on the life of worldwide sensation Sapna Vaid, the one who throughout her life saved uncountable lives both in and outside India through her detailed prophecies, the most powerful and loving Goddess of the whole world. Her death had come as a shock to the whole world, the saviour of all died buried under rubbles because of earthquake, pregnant with an unknown man’s child. It is ironic how her name fits perfectly to her special gift or curse (for with every great power comes unimaginable responsibility). Sapna, the word means “dream”. She was like a soothing dream, a beautiful presence of jolliness who in her middle-class days or rather “unpopular” days picked up fights wherever she thought someone was wrong and Saahil had to make sure she escaped without harm. She was a little bubbly soul who though missed her brother always kept writing diaries to him, loved her parents and Saahil with all her heart, and planned on having a normal, happy life until suddenly her dreams start running amok. She couldn’t keep her sanity seeing people mercilessly dying in front of her while she had to be someone present even in her absence and witness every bloodcurdling detail of it. If that was not enough, to later find out either through internet or news about the realistic occurrences of her dreams started almost killing her. But how was anyone supposes to believe all these? Her parents themselves are not ever sure of it’s truthfulness and effectiveness. It is pityingly laughable how a name had really become someone’s identity. A name given to a person is like physically creating the existence and applicability of a word, in this case – Sapna. But she end with a life completely dependent on her dreams, haunted and destroyed by them. The story is a sort of revelation of the long hidden, dark truth of the world’s lost treasure, their goddess through the words of all the people close to her. I do not wish to disclose further content of the book for I do not wish to give away spoiler. It is absolutely necessary for the story of a book to remain quite unknown to anyone reading reviews. Reviews are only to provide the effect of the book on that reader and that being expressed in words is a review.

So as far as it goes, I really loved the storyline and how the author has managed to cleanly and distinctively arrange the perspectives of each of the primary characters. While the repetition of “you know” during Sapna’s mother’s narration made me feel disturbed at times, it also pointed out the flaws and stress of both old age and extreme pressure of the aftermath of her disclosure, which made it more realistic. The extremity of Sapna’s fame seems a bit far fetched, mostly due to the mention of realistically existing high power of different countries and also of gruesome real calamities and devastating incidents. It’s unnerving how the story fitted inside it too much to portray calmly. The book itself throughout had excitement stitched into it’s crispy pages. The real events have been carefully arranged into the book’s timelines so delicately that you might even think if there was a story of such a woman really present at that time or not. Well researched, carefully and thoroughly thought out, this book is a very entertaining, short read which gives quite a number of details on Greek mythology, enough for those who do not have a knowledge on the subject would be triggered to dig in more. Also the book bring to light various philosophical and literary ideas and extracts. It is fascinating for it gives an in sight to the author’s own interests in the subjects. If you are interested in a short read with multiple characters, glimpses of greek mythology, extract from well known philosophers and literary pieces, the inability of science to make sense of everything with their logic, this one is for you. I would definitely recommend people to read at least once.

About the Author:

Amit Sharma is an IT slave (read professional) since the last twelve years. He lives with his family in NCR but his work does take him to foreign lands. His wife was a teacher till she gave it up because of sheer exhaustion of answering questions of their four-year-old daughter all day.

His first fiction book, False Ceilings, a family saga spanning one hundred and thirty years, was published by Lifi Publications in 2016. The book garnered many good reviews on Amazon and Goodreads and critical acclaim. Amit’s hobbies include reading, watching world cinema, travelling, digging into various cuisines, cooking, listening to music, painting, blogging, making his daughter laugh and helping his wife with her unnecessary and prolonged shopping.

Book Review : The Skylarks’ War

Author: Hilary McKay

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Book

Publication date: 20 September. 2018

Book length: 320 pages

Format: Paperback

Language: English

Synopsis:

Shortlisted for the Costa Children’s Book Award 2018. Clarry and her older brother Peter live for their summers in Cornwall, staying with their grandparents and running free with their charismatic cousin, Rupert. But normal life resumes each September – boarding school for Peter and Rupert, and a boring life for Clarry at home with her absent father, as the shadow of a terrible war looms ever closer. When Rupert goes off to fight at the front, Clarry feels their skylark summers are finally slipping away from them. Can their family survive this fearful war?The Skylarks’ War is a beautiful story following the loves and losses of a family growing up against the harsh backdrop of World War 1, from the award-winning Hilary McKay.

Rating: 5/5

Review:

Mostly known for her children’s books, British writer Hilary McKay has set forward a completely, intriguingly heartwarming work, last year, marking the centenary of the end of the First World War. The Skylarks’ War is based primarily on a tolerably cold, motherless house in Plymouth. The house’s “father” was Mr. Penrose who was not much fond of children, including that of his own and with the birth of his second child, Clarry followed by his wife, Janey’s death only three days later, he discards the responsibilities of parenthood of both his newborn daughter and three year old son, Peter on the hands of their Grandmother. The woman “already had one unrequested child living with her, her not-quite-seven-year-old grandson Rupert, whose parents were in India.” Leaving her husband to look after the boy in their home in Cornwall, she found it completely uncalled for and tiring, the very fact that even after her children had grown up enough to have married and have children themselves, were incapable of looking after their own families forcing their old aged parents to waste away their life long struggle for a leisured retirement. The story slowly and gradually develops from there to the growing up of the three children under the blanket of their wanton summer days in Cornwall. With time and breakout of war all there lives undergo tremendous change with Rupert joining the army, Clarry finding education for women to be necessary and fighting hard against her father’s will go get admitted into Oxford University. Peter’s first and forever friend from boarding school, Simon, gradually starts filling in the empty spaces in Clarry’s aloneness in her house and later she becomes friends for life with Simon’s sister Venessa, who leaves school to learn medicine in order to aid in the War. Suddenly Simon, unannounced, joins the army as well. Why? Clarry wonders. He was never meant for war. With everything and everyone going out her reach, Clarry’s world comes crashing down when she one day receives a telegram from the War titled to the family of Rupert, “Missing. Presumed dead.” But she is not one to lose hope. She sets out to look for him. Where will she start? How is she even going to find a man at a time where men often died without being recognised by anyone ever. Men rot at No Man’s Land. How is she even serious about looking for him? Will she find him alive?

The storyline is extremely engrossing and emotionally charging. No one has ever escaped from hearing about the horrors of the World War, all the lives that have been lost, the bloody dance of powerful countries, claiming lives of soldiers in the assurance of honour and patriotism. The plot is well arranged with a few yet prominent imageries. The characters are wholesomely developed with perspectives of different sphere of life on their own, given that fact that the story is based on the events of Clarry’s life. The book also brings to light the journey of a girl, who from the beginning knew only to be in the kitchen or sew, into a woman of dreams and knowledge, with a desire to earn her own independence and respect.

The bird Skylark has been for long monopolised poetic idolatry–a privilege they enjoyed solely on account of it’s pre-eminence as song bird. In P.B.Shelley’s “To a Skylark”, the poem begins with –

“Hail to thee, blithe Spirit!

Bird thou never wert,

That from Heaven, or near it,

Pourest thy full heart

In profuse strains of unpremeditated art”.

Shelley has converted the bird or, specifically, the bird’s song into a symbol of happiness. The singing bird is personified as a “blithe” or happy spirit in the first line of the poem. For as long as one can trace down Skylark throughout the history of literary usage, it had always been marked as the sign of hope, joy, transcendence and positivity. We see the an important appearance of skylark in Chapter 27 of the book “The Skylark’s War” with the soldiers finding it strange that they “could hear skylarks over the fields.” The soldiers found the existence of such poetic elements in between war to be highly unlikely and mishap. The very idea of the beautiful representation of poetry and innocence of childhood brought in by the skylarks confuses the patriots of land who were willing to kill and get killed in the name of patriotism and duty. But “in fact the birds had been there for centuries”. These creature are the carriers of songs. They know nothing of war, they are unaware of the horrifying shift in human advancement and policies. They had been there centuries before, they come back still today. They do not need to disrupt their lives, kill or create havoc. They have no nation to protect. Another thing created unrest between the soldiers. The very fact that the skylarks sang to every soldier “in the language of their homes” – in English, in French, in Dutches and more puzzlingly, on the other side of the trenches, they sang in German. The skylarks cannot differentiate between battling forces, they do not choose this side or that. The skylarks bring back pieces of the long left homes of the soldiers in their throats and spread out the familiarity of home everywhere. They are the parts of the men’s careless, joyous youth when there was no war, there were no killing, the men were all home, with their families, inside secure homes. It also shows the corruption of the innocence of youth through the painful journey of war. When they were supposed to enjoy their short periods of youth, soaking under the sun and listening to the songs of the Skylarks, they are here, in the fields filled with death and premonitions of many more with Skylarks approaching them, trying to fill in the very little the birds can of the remnants of youth. Also the character of Rupert highly represents that one curious skylark, who tired from being restricted, stuffed inside lifeless, meaningless pressure of education without leaving a quiet moment of leisure. He feels as if his wings have been crippled. He wishes to fly, to discover, to really go out there into the world and make something out of life. He finds this escape to be the War, at first unaware of its gruesomeness. His soft, innocent Skylark dream has been replaced by horrific massacre. His life, thoughts and feelings are all at war and there is no escape until the War itself finally ends and he keeps himself alive till the end.

It gave me immense satisfaction to be able to read the book. The way the author brought the story to an unfinished yet fulfilling ending brought blissful containment to me as a reader. The relationship between Clarry and Rupert has been so beautiful concluded that nothing else seems to have been a better ending. Throughout the story, how Clarry capably maintained her primary character of delicate curiosity and unbounded love for people she once starts to like. She seems to even find excuses to forgive her father’s irresponsible awkwardness. She keeps on fighting for what she thinks is right and does not lose faith on Rupert even after him not communicating with her for a long period of time. I look forward to reading more works of Hilary McKay in future for the only book of her’s that I have read has filled me with immense respect and gratitude for such writers who still keep alive the essence of literature.

About the author:

Hilary McKay (born 12 June 1959is a British writer of children’s books. For her first novel, The Exiles, she won the 1992 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, a once-in-a-lifetime book award judged by a panel of British children’s writers.

#review A Quest of Spring

Author: Monica Mujumdar Dixit

Publisher: Notion Press, Inc.

Publication date: 8 Sep 2017

Language: English

Book length: 402 pages

Genre: Fiction

Book description:

Raehan and Amolika come from two very different worlds. And for the time that their worlds overlap and stick to one path, life seems beautiful. Between projects at college and hanging out with friends, the two of them come to a startling revelation that involves a bond of love between them.

Unbeknownst to the both of them, there lies a leviathan of espionage that eventually consumes the bond they share, driving them apart by force.

Sixteen years pass, when fate decides to rekindle their bond – only this time, the challenges are exacerbated by the unresolved baggage of the past. Do the two of them find each other? Does the dull, grey, long-standing spell of winter rise to give way to spring?

Rating: 3.5/5

Review:

I received a physical copy of this book in exchange of an honest and unbiased review.

Let me begin by saying how surprised I am every time I pick up a debut novel. The mind of these rising new authors always fascinate me and author Monica Majumdar Dixit is not exception.

The main characters – Amolika, Raehan and Vikram have been penned down with quite different personalities, views and approach to life. Amolika, the most important character or rather the protagonist, is a strong willed and ambitious woman with certain moments of pain, guilt, self blames yet standing tall with her head high to fight for everything she loves and cares about. What I loved was the author’s skill to beautiful wind the story through tremendously conflicting phases. She has this capability of providing the reader with a visual effectiveness. The more I read, the more I found myself living through the whole story.

Through Amolika’s love for Reahan, the author accurately points out the effect of society as also the permanent effect on Amolika on having once lost her parents in terror attack while they were touring the Valley, being raised by her paternal uncle, Brigadier Bhaskar Nath. The injection of effect of society points out the severity and constricted rigidity of our social structure. The story develops from there passionately yet somehow cautiously to the relationship between Amolika and Vikram.

Raehan is introduced first into the story as Amolika’s mission appointed by her grandfather. Charming, yet shy with a political background, he gradually starts liking her. The time period revolves around 1997. The present time of narration is the year 2014 where Amolika reappears as a jouralist who is sent to India to Cover elections and Reahan emerges as the CM.

The story is very neat with well descriptive plot and easy language. It basically begins as a college love story which for some reasons went wrong leading to separation between Amolika and Reahan. Raehan gets married to Nazzia and has twins whereas Amolika get marriedd to Vikram. Yet the story doesn’t just end here, a series of turmoils take place with an eventual happy ending. Amman and Adile are presented as the most lovivg and understanding children who take their parent’s separation as a positive one and help their parents as much as possible.

The positively, hope and overcoming of challenges as presented in the book are quite a refreshing and heart warming in the present time where people are often found as lost cases, with broken hopes. Quite an interesting, intriguing and engrossing story.

Hoping to read more of the author’s future works.

About the Author:

Monica Mujumdar Dixit was born in Raipur and did her schooling in Bhopal and Mumbai. She went onto graduate in Commerce from the Mithibai College in Mumbai and completed her LLB degree from the prestigious ILS College, Pune. She is a lawyer by profession and has practiced at the High Court of Bombay, Nagpur bench, and also worked as a Legal Analyst with a publishing house, publishing law journals. She loves cricket, is an avid reader and also blogs movie reviews. She lives in Nagpur with her husband Rohit and daughter, Aahana. This is her debut novel.

#review Sing, Unburied, Sing

Author : Jesmyn Ward

Publisher : Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Publication date : 1 Oct, 2017

Book length : 304 pages

Language : English

Genre : Fiction

Synopsis :

Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. His mother, Leonie, is in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is black and her children’s father is white. Embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances, she wants to be a better mother, but can’t put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use. When the children’s father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary, a journey rife with danger and promise.

Rating : 5/5

Review :

I am thankful to the publishers for sending me this book in exchange of an honest and unbiased review.

Sing, Unburied, Sing is a book which brings in a hurricane of emotions into the reader’s mind. One time it’s sad, then hurtful, pitying, happy, longing, lone, faith, failure, jealousy and what not. It truly reflects the naked, undressed parts of a human soul. It twists and turns every inch of one’s sanity. It challenges human behaviour, duty, responsibility, ideals and most importantly, delicate choices. It boldly points out racism at it’s truest form.

Leonie, mother of two, like every other mother is expected to love her children and put their necessities first. But she is in no way near to that. In fact, it is clearly seen that she is a heavy drug addict and only finds comfort in her husband, sharing news that you all love to either of the children. It may be because of the fact that after the early death of her only brother, Given, a gruesome murder and the absence of justice done to him because of him being just another black boy killed while trying to outsmart a white guy, showed her how meaningless and utterly painful it was to take care of a little life only to one day see all of it crashing down. Whenever she looks at her children, the only feature that seems to be hers is their black skin, the one always looked down upon. Her only bliss is when she is high on drugs and can see Given.

Jojo on the other hand, finds it difficult to acknowledge his mother who never shows any signs of being one. He has grown up being looked after by his maternal grandparents while his paternal ones never seemed to love him nor his little sister. As long as he could remember, he has been taking care of the tiny human and being a constant helping hand to his Pop who would tell his storied from the time in jail. Jojo was fascinated by the tales and was always keen to know more about that one particular boy there, Richie. He always wanted to know what happened to the boy at last but was never given a proper answer until the time on his trip to Michael’s jail when only he seemed to notice Richie.

All these encounters with ghosts, both by the son and mother, seemed quite odd to me at first, since the rest of the story was very much realistic. Then it struck me that they probably saw the ghosts because they had a sort of special bonding with the ones long dead. To explain clearly, since Leonie had never really grieved or come to an understanding with Given’s death, a fragment of her mind always displayed him in front of her. She always found him when her senses were too numb to differentiate between reality and imagination. Whereas, Jojo always had this urge to know the last of Richie but since he never found the answer, the boy hovered around in his mind and thus when they came closer to the jail, his subconsciousness projected a mind formed appearance of Richie.

Then one might ask, why is there the mention of Richie’s thoughts in the book? It may be just Pop and Jojo’s minds stitching together the last pieces of Richie from their minds.

I might be wrong. I might someday find another explanation to it. I might just be overthinking. But then again everyone is allowed to interpret stories in their own way, right?

An intriguing, engrossing, unforgettable story painted all over with profound thoughts, harsh reality and heart wrenching pain.

I would recommend each and every book lover to read this absolutely amazing book at least once in a lifetime.

#review Murder in Paharganj

D61212C5-E16F-4A99-B94D-CDFD16D9F2F8.jpegAuthor : Kulpreet Yadav

Publisher : Bloomsbury India

Publication date : 10 Oct, 2017

Book length : 278 pages

Language : English

Genre : Fiction/ Thriller

367B8836-AC0C-4E74-9921-7374593211E6Synopsis :

On a cold December morning, a white woman is found murdered in a cheap hotel in Paharganj, New Delhi.

Vicks Menon, an out-of-work journalist, is tipped off by the hotel’s receptionist and is the first to arrive at the crime scene, where he discovers a lead. It’s the bus ticket used by the dead woman two days earlier. But Vicks is battling personal trouble. He has no money, an alcohol problem, and a nearly broken relationship with Tonya, his estranged live-in partner, a clinical psychologist who specializes in profiling hardened criminals.
Moving in and out of the shadows, Vicks pushes his investigation harder as it takes him from Udaipur to Bangkok. On his side, for resources, he has a nameless intelligence operative, and to read minds, a lover who is beginning to trust him again. But above all, his instinct to stay inches ahead of death will be the key to his survival.
If Vicks lives, this is one story that will change his life forever.

37F97D06-2DC9-4C22-8DD6-F74E5D0C93FA.jpegRating : 4.5/5

Review :

Thanks to the publishers for sending me the book in exchange of an honest and unbiased review.

AE15FAC9-2990-4ABD-9AB3-9B676CD4ACD2“THE DEAD WOMAN lay face-up on the bed, her hands at her side.” The very first line of the book is enough to grab the attention of a reader. I, like so many other bibliophiles, have read a large number of story books because of which I have come to notice there are three types of thrillers :

  • The one which creates an atmosphere of thrill and excitement from the very beginning of the book and continues the same till the very end.
  • The one which though seems exciting in the beginning, loses its spark somewhere in the middle without a certainty of bringing it back while nearing the end.
  • The one which although doesn’t seem much of a deal or thrill suddenly punches excitement right into the reader leaving one wanting more.

This book falls in the first category. The very beginning pumps up curiosity over the questions – Who is the dead woman? Why was she killed? And we all know this very well, Curiosity is a boon. It feeds the hunger to know more and more. Murder in Paharganj never gave me a chance to put it down except the times when I really needed to do the necessary daily life things, you know and attending college. The most important characteristic feature of the book is how it highlights present Indian conditions where people are afraid to have faith and belief in the police. It shows how politicians take advantage of the lack of information of common people to insert false ideals and fear in the name of betterment. The book fearlessly points out how due to the ill behaviour of some policemen both in the outside world and also in their own homes, the policemen who try their best to restore justice face mistrust and anger from the common mass.

Everytime I read a good book I am left fascinated by the fact how an author has the power to influence readers through words. We, the commoners, are kept in dark of the clever and dangerous happenings of the ruling powers. We can barely understand the up and down occuping deep inside the country while the only unresting effects brushing our senses are given the name of necessities in the path of  development. This book goes into the depth of these curious, unimaginable, dangerous happening through the eyes and mind of a crime journalist, fired by his boss because of his overpowering habit of drinking. The      urge of getting back both the job and his love who left him tired of his alcoholism, as soon as he gets the wind of a crime taking he runs to the location before the police. He moves fast and hungrily towards the  truth but he ends up inside the Vortex thus he runs for both his life and story. Will he finally be able to locate the killer? What is this Vortex? Will he be able to finally get out of it?  

I am very satisfied with Tonya’s character. Being the girlfriend of the main man of the book, her identity is not stuck to that alone. She was a clinical psychologist working part time at the government run all India Institute of medical science. She has been described as an independent, intelligent, witty and extraordinary woman. She is tough and soft at the very same time. Though talented she is not a flawless human and this fact probably makes the reader understand the realistic character of a human, irrespective of man or woman.

Jamie, on the other hand represents a very important role I believe. It is not unknown to any corner of rhe world how Islam is on several occasions referred to as a violent region and that they promote terrorism and mass killing. What I personally believer and the book also suggests is that it’s not essentially Islam which spreads terror but the powers working underneath it in the name of justice and faith. Young muslims are often misguided by power hungry, wrathful leaders and corrupted believers of region who instead of truly unearthing the fertile riches of a region, it’s wisdom and knowledge, concentrate on destruction and filthy ideals. Jamie i.e, Jalaluddin was one of those young people with passion and patriotism boiling in his veins, blindly believe that whatever his boss would make him believe. He took up different identities in different places just to fulfil his missions. He had become a blind worshipper of preached Islamic faith. He was from Iran has, hiding in India, working on a mission which required him to make Siri Bing fall in love with him only to realise soon the team self was falling in love to. I find it difficult to express the numerical number of emotions that arise with me when I try to understand the gym. This is the author’s extraordinary skill to have painted over canvas of words, a story so bold, so strong, so painful, so aggressive and so realistic.

There is still some more to the story some more to say but I fear the more I speak, the more I might reveal that the contents of the book. This book is something that should be read throughly, thoroughly and one I would not want to give spoilers of.

The storyline is realistic, extraordinary, thrilling, impacting and powerful. The book was very fast pacing. The power of storytelling of the author had that were mesmerising visionary effect. It was as if the fictional characters have been transformed into real life characters. While reading the book I could feel myself going deeper and deeper into it and I could clearly see myself living and experiencing it all, I could see Vicks running here and there for his life, his report, dodging the stalkers, fighting his fear and alcoholism . I could see the dead woman’s body lying still on the bed staring at the ceiling as if she would wake up just the next moment. I could see Tonya’s stress, tension, love for Vicks. The book was a nerve wrecking, mind-boggling, heart pumping experience for me. The suspense the book created with every stepping stone was exciting. It made my heart skip a bit everytime I learned a new fact about the story.

Would I recommend you to read it? Absolutely! Obviously! Like just go and read it now!! I am looking forward to reads more of Vicks Menon’s thrilling adventures in the risky and exciting profession of being a crime journalist. 

4A7DE948-1E60-4FB7-AF35-9812603530B6.jpeg

#review Equations of a Being

img_2159Author : Ashutosh Gupta

Publisher : Notion Press

Publication date : August 8th 2017

Book length :  170 pages

Language : English

Synopsis :

If you have a penchant for both reason and abstractness, this intriguing piece of literature shouldn’t be missed. Equations of a Being beautifully coalesces the author’s thought pieces pertaining to the existential spectrum. Never has there been a book that blended emotions, intellect, and imagination so seamlessly, to celebrate a being in totality.

The author depicts his artistic persuasion, the enriched and disintegrated fragments of his existence, and the conclusions based on his interactions with the physical and abstract elements of life in a compelling and unbridled manner.

It’s a book for the ages that will let you trace the complete trajectory of a being and realize that a being has been and will always be a convergence of his tryst with abstractness, his acceptance of vulnerability, and his surge for virtuosity. (

Rating : 4/5

Review : 

I received the book from the author in exchange of an honest and unbiased review.

 “As long as I am writing, I am on the verge of homecoming.”

This is the first line from the author’s book : Equations of a Being- A being who gathered Moss. This is book of a very different genre than what I usually read in daily basis. This book is something which is based on my personal studies of Literature. Though I have never officially taken up the title of a writer, I indulge in writing a lot. So this book has a special value for me. The extract of the book I stated about perfectly describes the mind of every writer. I believe writers do not write just for the sake of it. To a writer who had long suffered, writing is a way of healing. To a writer who has never been able to speak out in front of anyone, writing is a open platform where there are thousands of people ready to lend an ear. To a writer who has never been able to express the overflowing thoughts of the mind, writing is a way of expression where thoughts form shapes. And to every write, tired, drained, depressed and lost in the innumerable turmoils of life,writing is like a safe shelter, it is the verge of homecoming, a path of escape, a quite, peaceful vacation from the extreme pressure of this too-busy world.

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“Time and life don’t fight like warriors on a battlefield. They turn into seducers and each of them seduces to make us forget the other.”

How very true these words are! They say time and tides waits for none. They say life is too short to not enjoy every second of it like there’s no tomorrow. It’s as if existence has become a silent and continuous argument between how to manage time and how to truly live every moment of life. Nowadays, people have become so busy with their works and accomplishments, they slowly and gradually forget the actual meaning of LIVING. They act like machines, going on and on doing exactly what they are supposed to do in order to survive. Then again there are some who try to fight time, they get addicted to not just surviving but making the most of this little life. As the author stated, time and life never fight each other to overpower each other’s existence in humans. They pull us into their seductive charms, quietly and delicately. When time takes over a mind, it lures one to forget the meaning of LIFE. It makes one forget what it means to silently enjoy a steaming cup of coffee staring at the vast stretching sky. When life takes over, it makes one forget the ever moving time, the change of every hour.

“All virtuous ideas deserve the honor of a beautiful language, just like an anonymous beggar deserves true cremation rites upon his death.”

We, humans, are complex creatures whose minds are homes to numerous thoughts and ideas. Throughout our lives we watch, notice, experience different things and our minds and ideals change accordingly – either for the good or bad. The thoughts which are as bold, truthful, honest and CLEAN as the warm blood that flows through our veins deserve to be given the beautiful form of language. It deserves to be penned down in words that when read makes the dormant volcano of a human mind boil and pour out thoughts of sincere beauty. The writer beautifully compares this act of absolute importance to an act of pure humanity. An anonymous beggar sitting curled up in the corner of that busy street  begs for just another day, another chance to live. The by-passers hold every breath the beggar takes in their hands yet they seem not to realize that. Every human, where rich or poor, deserves a proper cremation after death. Though the beggar’s death becomes inevitable, he has the right to receive a proper funeral.

I have so many thoughts based on this book but I feel the scarcity of words to pen them down completely. I have tried as much as I could and as long as the writer does not point out the exact meaning, the works are always open to interpretations.  I feel the scarcity of words to pen them down completely. I have tried as much as I could and as long as the writer does not point out the exact meaning, the works are always open to interpretations.

The book comprises of more and more of such deep thoughts and ideas. One thing I have realized; in this long path of reading numerous books, understanding and experiencing different phases of life and filling pages after pages with my thoughts, a writer had this constant struggle going inside his/her head to try to pen down the experiences and thoughts of the mind yet being unable to find enough words to describe them. That perhaps can better be called as a writer’s agony. I am fascinated by the writer’s thoughts and ideas. The book covers topics of every possible human thoughts and situations. He starts with the path of being an artist, he points out how he fed his thoughts and art to nourish and enrich them. He focuses on life, man and women, their differences, their interdependence, their equality, feminism. He then shifts his flow of thoughts to God, faith, beliefs and worship. At last he comes to the most complex question of life – existence. We all have our own versions to describe it.

What I personally felt about the book is that it is very enlightening and not one of those devouring reads. It needs time to sink in. Not all readers understand every kind of a read. Not every reader can feel every possible kind of a writing. So I suggest that if you are really into deep, spiritual, enlightening, literary reads, this one is a must read. But if  it’s only the interesting, thrilling story you love, this one is not for you. This book is sort of a healing for a lost, distressed soul, a home to the unrest mind. The quality of a book depends on the mindset of the reader. Some might find it be rather a complex, heavy read while some may find it feeding the hungry soul with words of great beauty and deep meanings.

 

 

#review Served with Love

9789352644032Author : Priyanka Menon

Publisher : Harlequin

Publication date : 15 May, 2017

Book length : 176 pages

Language : English

Genre : Fiction/ Romance

img_2253Synopsis :

Abhimanyu Dev, orphaned early and brought up by a doting grandfather, has his life chalked out. He is forty-two years old and single, and intends to stay that way. And he runs a hotel with all the care he might have devoted to a home. In walks Pakhi, taking charge of the hotel kitchen. A guardian to her niece Abhithi, Pakhi is passionate and opinionated, and focused on the little girl and on work. Abhi and Pakhi rarely see eye to eye. Sparks fly and tempers fray. Yet there are two things that bind them – gourmet meals and their love for Abhithi. The little girl’s affection and innocence draw Abhi out of his shell in a manner he had not anticipated. As for Pakhi, her niece is the very centre of her life. When Abhithi is kidnapped, it brings Abhi and Pakhi together as they follow her trail to Mumbai. Will they find Abhithi and each other in time? Served with Love is a mature romance for a new age.

Rating : 3.5/5

img_2005Review :

I received a copy from the publishers in exchange of an honest and unbiased review.

As soon as my eyes rested on the book, it’s chocolaty sweet cover and delicious title “Served with Love” gave me that I-should-have-brought-a-pastry-to-eat-while-reading-this-one feeling. Okay it sounds quite strange . . . But guys!! It’s so damn true. Like I couldn’t find anything more suitable to describe it!! The cover gives off that spicy, sweet and bitter vibe of the story-line.

The only reason of me describing so much of the cover is because it sits perfectly in the story. The story has a sweet atmosphere while deep beneath it lies the bitterness of sad incidents and losses. It has that spicy chemistry between the lead characters – Abhimanyu and Pakhi, a prosperous head chef and his sous chef. However we have a supporting actress here!! Pakhi’s little niece, Abhithi, an adorable little human who is a ball of happiness and dearest to her aunt. Together the trio set out on delicious adventures intertwined with the delicate strings of pure love, raw emotions and thrilling trails of life. The never ending love of an aunt is challenged when Pakhi’s past barges into their lives, threatening to take away Abhithi from her and she starts doubting herself as a worthy guardian for the child.

What I loved about the book was the bond between an aunt and niece, the journey of a selfless love. The success of an Indian woman is what attracts me the most. The way how Pakhi portrays a working woman is important. Pakhi is a human who does not stand ill behaviour, who loves her niece more than anything, who is knowledgeable, self-dependent, loving, caring, bright and happy. She has the aura in her that attracts the reader to want to know more about her, to want to be like her.

Abhimanyu on the other hand perfectly plays the role of a stubborn, hot headed, professional guy who believes love is not for him. Whereas, deep within, he is a passionate, food loving, caring and responsible guy.

Abhithi is a little bright soul who binds the two adults together. Though she has been snatched away from her parents through a fatal accident, has been scared forever, Abhithi never forgets to smile. She is a surviving example of hope, happiness, delight and innocence.

Altogether, if you ask me for a recommendation of a light, sweet and bitter read, the one you can enjoy on a rainy day, sitting alone in the balcony over a cup of tea, I would definitely say, “Why don’t you try reading Served with Love?”

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About the Author :

priyanka menon

Priyanka Menon is a romance writer and spoken word poet. Her love for romance novels goes back almost two decades, when she was gifted her first romance novel for clearing her 10th board exams. Priyanka has come a long way since then, having finally written her first book, The One That Got Away (Harlequin). She credits her writing powers to red velvet pastries and white chocolate mochas at Starbucks. This is her second novel. When she is not penning love stories or writing poetry, Priyanka teaches advertising to college students. You can write to her at priyankamenon.author@gmail.com

#review Awaken

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Author : Ashok K. Banker

Publisher : Pan Macmillan

Publication date : 13 September 2017

Book length : 192 pages

Language : English

Genre : Fiction / Fantasy

img_2151Synopsis :

The Haters are coming to destroy all life on Earth. It is not a question of if, but when.

The Brahmaand has already rung the warning bell and the awakening of the Preservers has begun. Kiara unexpectedly finds her skin covered with golden fur and her sense of smell extraordinarily enhanced; Saumya is suddenly able to go from Ahmedabad to New York in just a step; and Sia’s songs have the power to do things she had never imagined possible.

First in the thrilling Shakti Trilogy set in contemporary India, Ashok Banker’s action-packed and brilliantly imagined Awaken introduces our unlikely heroes who must discover and harness their superpowers before they can protect and preserve the Earth from the wrath of a menacing alien invasion.

Rating : 3/5

img_0967Review :

I received this book from the publishers in exchange of an honest and unbiased review.

Before I start taking about the insides of the book, I would like to share how I read all through the book in a day. So the past week of my days was marked by helping parents and idling around. It so happened that our house needed some repair and fresh coats of paint. Thus resulting in me and my parents shifting things from one room to another and then enjoy leisure hours. Then I though why not read something cause that’s the only thing I love doing. I picked up Awaken from my shelf and started reading. Oh boy! what a fast read it was. I finished reading it within an hour or two and was left with the urge to read the next part of it. This wanting is what is expecting from the first book of a series.

Now, back to the inside of the book. The story is penned in three separate parts – the lives of three Indian girls, Kiara, Saumya and Sia. Three different stories that come together at the end.

Kaira, was like any other girl, enjoying her youth and secretly in love with her geeky friend. All was NORMAL except the fact that her mother had passed away leaving with her some little fragments of memories, remembrance of caring touch, and long nights of missing. If that was not enough to take, she one morning wakes up to herself being covered in fur from head to toe and she seems to have no clue what made this happen. Incidents occur one after another. And before she understand what might possibly be happening, she is torn apart from her father, her only family, her crush, dearest friend. What might have happened?

Saumya’s house never felt like home to her. She never could find that comfortable air to breathe in while inside those four walls. Her parents made it quite unbearable for her for she could always hear resentment in their voices while referring to the fact that their only child is a girl. In present time, there are still some regions all over the world where the birth of a girl child is not acceptable. Though every nation has taken every possible step to prevent that, human behavior cannot be changed so easily. In a group of 10 people there are always that secret and unknown no.which do not agree into having a girl child. It’s both hurtful and an insult to humanity. Saumya’s part of story shows that dark side of humans. Then again, one day suddenly, with all her frustrations building up inside and a ever long desire to run away to New York, she found herself lifted from Ahmedabad and placed in New York. She soon realized she had the ability to travel from one place to another in just a few seconds just by imagining the place to reach. She found her little secret method of escaping from her house at times of pain and distress. However, not every happy time leads to a happy ending. As she found herself trapped inside her parents’ house with a strange looking man, all of them anxious of her new powers. The circumstances resulted in her having to run away from them all. What made her run for her life? How did she end up with her powers? Who was the strange looking man? What happened to her in the end? Was she successful in running away?

Sia, a beautiful character indeed, has a unique power of her own, the one she nurtures everyday silently without any expectations of acknowledgement – the power to sing, an ability so strong that she finds peace and a sort of completion of self. However, her life is not as alluring as it seems to be. There are several parts of her being that face hardship. The author also through her portrays the amount of trouble a North-East Indian has to face, adding up to the fact that she is from the Naga clan. The author boldly points out the deadly, cruel and unjustified torture over them. And Sia rises as the hero, unaware of her own ability, just with the desire to sing. When she and her friends fall in the hands of torture, the only thing he can think of doing is singing to ease the pain, her song suddenly appears to be inaudible to the normal human eye and destroys every single soldier who were attacking them unfairly. She bedazzled herself and the others over such supernatural incidents for neither of them had any clue what was happening or what might have led to this. Where from did Sia gain such power? What happened when she began to sing? Did her mother know about it all?

All these questions having put forward to you, is my approach in trying to make you understand how very interesting the book is and how thrilling the answers are. All these three women have a want for independence in them. The book, though is easily present to be a fantasy, has meanings far important and eye opening, lying deep within. The book points out the present society, the ever revolutionary youth and their evolutionary minds. The book pokes a finger at the corruption of power, the lack of understanding, the period of identity crisis of the criticized youth.

The fantasy that the writer weaves with his clean and understandable way of story telling is fascinating, intriguing, emotional and has a depth of sense and responsibility. Although I do not fancy the other two girls much, Sia is a very different person as portrait-ed in the book. When I say I do not fancy the other two much, it’s not because their part of story lacked the air of importance but due to the fact that they lacked their own depth of personality. They did not present themselves as strong characters or truly passionate about something of their own. Sia, though had to face struggle, she always had one passion, that of music and she never forgot to hold onto it. To revolt against the world in the name of gaining independence and wanting their thoughts to be heard is something very different from holding onto something you have faith in and show your independence through your works and speech.

This was my first read by Ashok K. Banker and I am looking forward to reading the next book of the series coming out sometime at the end of this very year.

 

#review You Never Know

img_1990Author : Akash Verma

Publisher : Penguin Random House India

Publication date : 18 Sep, 2017

Book length : 240 pages 

Language: English

Genre : Fiction/ Romance

 

Synopsis :
There will be times when you feel you have the best relationship, ever There will be times when it will be the worst that has happened to you There will be times when you know you are getting into something terrible; something that will not stop till it destroys you And yet . . . You will be pulled into it so inextricably, unstoppably . . . Dhruv knew Anuradha was his true love. So, despite being married with kids, he still went ahead with their affair. He hid it from his wife and his colleagues. He told lies so he could be with her-it was that amazing! But he couldn’t save himself from the dark secret she was keeping. It pulled him into a vortex of danger so deep that he lost all he had. It happened to him and if you think it can’t happen to you-think again.


Rating : 4/5

Review :

The first time I read the blurb, the book gave me that Savdhan India (Beware India) feels. It’s a show which airs negative incidents happening all over India, acted out by different actors to make India aware of the different ways some people can burn down your peaceful, happy life while some can save and at the end of the show the narrator gives a speech on how to stay alert and prevent such incidents. Well, I do not fancy watching such shows but my mom is prone to watching them mainly because I stay long hours outside and watching this she gives me lectures on how to stay safe. Though I scold her for building high tension watching all these, she is a sweetheart.

Now, back to the story. When I first started reading the story, I realized one thing. I was finding the whole idea of falling in love with your own office’s junior while till then you were happily married to a super talented and caring wife, once your girlfriend, and have two children, a little bit disturbing. All right . . . Not little, very much disturbing. But then again I cannot possibly blame the author for thinking of such a story because it happens all the time and is so true.


The story is about how Dhruv, happily married to his once girlfriend – Shalini, falls in love with this new girl in office, Anuradha. From the first moment he saw her he found himself getting drawn towards her; he knew for sure, she was his true love. He fell deeper and deeper into the dark and dangerous game of extra marital affair. He always had this feeling of Anuradha being sad at times. Soon he came to know the reason – her boyfriend had committed suicide, living her all alone and lovelorn. Dhruv couldn’t help but get closer & closer to her. They end up making love and then when problems dawn into his life. If lying to his “beloved” wife and children wasn’t enough, he is blackmailed to bring a secret video which is believed to be with Anuradha. All these leads to Dhruv ending up in the place where Sid, Anuradha’s dead boyfriend, had committed suicide and then he learns of a spine chilling secret which changes their relationship forever. 

Who were the blackmailers? What video were they looking for? Why did Dhruv end up in Sid’s suicide site? What was the secret Dhruv came to know? What happened to their relationship? Lastly, why did he do such injustice to Shalini? 

To uncover all these questions, all you have to do is pick up the book. 

I must say I enjoyed every bit of the book. Though it was disturbing and frustrating at times, I couldn’t just put it down. I had to read on and on till I reached the very end. This whole idea about finding “true love” seems very thoughtful. Maybe Anuradha was that other half of his incomplete wholeness which he had never noticed till meeting her. Maybe that’s why he felt so complete when with her. Then again, was it right? No. To lie to Shalini, to keep her in dark, to make himself understand that he loves both the women, it sounds wrong. Dhruv sounds like that idiotic guy who is bound with his wife out of long familiarity and responsibilities while he is in love with another woman. I would have loved if the author had given a further insight to Shalini’s character and how she understood whatever was happening and how she felt about it. I liked the ending but then again it seems Dhruv was that desperate guy who though showed he felt guilty towards his wife, he really was not at all that much sorry and till the very end all he could think about was Anuradha. 


The writing pattern is skillful and form of story telling, very much attention grabbing. The writer has the great ability to give visual effects to the reader.

I received a copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

About the Author :


Akash Verma is an entrepreneur. He is the co-founder of two internet start-ups in the fashion and food sectors. Prior to this, he was in the corporate sector, in organizations such as Coca-Cola, Big FM and Red FM. His work has taken him across the country and he uses this experience to give context to his stories. He has authored three books till now: It Happened That Night, Three Times Loser and A Broken Man. Akash is currently based out of Gurgaon, India. He is also interested cinema, literature, history and travel.