Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Meet Kochery C Shibu - the Author of Faith and the Beloved

Two weeks back we reviewed the book "Faith and the Beloved" by Shibu Kochery. We liked the book and felt that book should be adapted for web series. Those who have missed our reviews do check here.
Blog Review - Blog Post 
Vlog Review - Video Review

Today we have author Shibu with us to discuss more on his book "Faith and the Beloved". Before we go to the book discussion, let me share a brief of his background.

Educational Background
MA English Pune university 1989, MSc defense Studies Chennai University 1998
Interests at school/college apart from studies?
Games Basketball, Hockey, Handball, football
Professional Positions Held
Worked in the Indian Navy and commanded two warships
Worked in hydroelectric projects
Worked with the shipping industry
Reading habits and favorite authors
I am a voracious reader. Stopped reading fiction since 2009 when I started writing Men and Dreams in the Dhaualdhar. I do read across the genres. There are many authors whom I have liked
Let's discuss Shibu's writing career. When did you start writing?
The inspiration started from school days. Being a career soldier, most fo the writing in defense was about strategy, warfare, and tactics and of classified nature. Efforts at writing novels during his service career died within a few pages 
It was whilst working on. A hydroelectric project in the Himalayas that I started writing in 2009. It took four years and 3600 man writing hours to complete the book and another year in editing 
When did you decide to become a writer?
It has been with me since my school days
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
To write more books 
Do you have a special time to write, or how is your day structured to accommodate your writing?
Till date, the writing has been in addition to the work which I do and so mostly they have been in the evenings after working hours and on Sundays and holidays
What have you written before "Faith and the Beloved"?
Men and dreams in the dhauladhar were the first books. I was adjudged the best author of 2019 by Salismania.com 
What genre are your books?
The first book was a combination of classic, thriller, and technical fiction in one. The second book is a crime thriller. 
Now is the time to discuss "Faith and the Beloved". Can you describe your current book in a few lines? What’s it about?
It is about the power of belief and to what extent individuals go to protect their beloved ones 
Where did you get the idea for this book?
Research and reading 
How much research did you do for this book?
The book was researched and written over two years 
What was the most difficult thing about writing your latest book?
Getting the interspersing of the thriller ingredients right 
When was your book released?
May 2020
What are you working on at the minute?
Many ideas churning, nothing firm yet
What are your thoughts on writing a book series?
A thought in the works, but nothing concrete yet
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Observe and write
Links for your book readers

Saturday, July 4, 2020

8 Reasons why a sci-fi lover must read "Rhythm Roger - The Secrets of Electon" by Himanshu Rai

I think during lockdown I saw a post of Himanshu on my timeline mentioning his upcoming book. As Himanshu has published 2-3 books in the romance genre, I presumed it to be a romcom. Later on, I saw an interesting cover reveal post and the title. I was sure that the book would not be a romcom. I kept his handle under notification and then came full cover and the blurb. A sci-fi book for middle grades and above with theme of Telecom Fantasy, a proposition which was unheard of not only in Indian literature but in other geographies as well. I was a bit skeptical initially as previous sci-fi I read by Indian authors were lacking the spark that foreign authors offer. Almost after a month of the release when I was satisfied by reviews from reliable sources I decided to go for the book.

So in brief my reasons for book selection
1) Novel genre 
2) Attractive cover art
3) Blurb
4) Reviews from reliable sources

Coming to the story, our protagonist is Rythem in the human world and the same person with the name Roger in Electon. Rythem was living in the human world known to the fact that he belonged to a secret world Electon. When he reached the age of 25 he went to Electon and found out that he was the son of Queen Anagol. He was informed that he was the future king of V-slots and Noise & D-slots were their enemies. On the very next day of his arrival, he was included in an assignment that took him to a rollercoaster ride with his teammates. He also explored various technologies and tools used in Electon. I hope I haven't share any spoilers. Read the book to know more.

I can give 8 reasons why middle-graders and sci-fi lover will adore "Rhythm Roger - The Secrets of Electon"
1) Out-of-box conceptualization
2) Good linking with physics, physicists & fantasy
3) Characters built around physics concept used in communication & digital world
4) You will find the time-traveling, multiple timelines and what not
5) Three groups to get you engaged and think who is right and who is wrong
6) Easy language usage ideal for kids
7) Age-appropriate content
8) The artwork was given throughout the book, showing places and characters. It helps the reader to visualize clearly.

There are a few points I found confusing related to time travel, but that's not the author's problem. I always find it difficult to digest why one cannot go back to a time (if one can actually time travel) and change things until he is satisfied with end results. I think the book is good enough to have fans & cult following. If marketed and placed well book is capable to capture large readership. I will congratulate and wish luck to Himanshu for bigger success for the book.

Overall I will give 4.5 out 5 to this good book.

Book links Goodreads and Amazon

Friday, June 26, 2020

Shibu is back with "Faith and the Beloved"

In 2016, I had read "Men and Dreams: In the Dhauladhar" by Shibu Kochery. Though the book was only 280 pages in length it was too deep in terms of technical information. I survived that book because of good character and story building. So when I came to know about "Faith and the Beloved", Shibu's latest book, I wanted to make sure that it should not cover lengthy technical information. I read the sample provided by Kindle and once I was certain that the author has given respect to the readers of the first book by avoiding unnecessary technicalities, I bought the book. And trust me 185 pages of "Faith and the Beloved" has more storylines and thrill then 280 pages of "Men and Dreams: In the Dhauladhar" taking twice.

Faith and the Beloved by Shibu Kochery

To give you a brief of the story, a sleeper cell guy called Tony was killed in his apartment, while his wife Naithy was hospitalized due to head injuries. His body was found with two other guys who belonged to the underworld gang. Naithy's daughter Alice was on run from multiple organizations. Prem Rollands a Kalari expert, a hacker, and an intelligent strategist wanted to avenge his brother's encounter and people linked to the case. An underworld gangs were after rare diamonds that were missing from Tony's place. A CBI officer working on the case found a deep history of 10-15 years behind the crime. Are you thrilled to know these pointers? Don't worry I haven't given any spoilers. You will find way more than these points if you read the book.

Coming to the writing style
1) Pace - Fast
2) Language usage - Very easy. Even beginners can enjoy it.
3) Age group - preferably 15+
4) Plot Development - Complex style. Will discuss in the next paragraph
5) Character Building - Details to the core
6) Content Amount - 250% than normal thrillers
7) Cover - So so. Needs more attractive cover.

You might be thinking why I have given just pointers above, but why to waste more words when I can convert the same with just bullet points.

Now coming to what is changed from Dhaulandhar to this book. The author has reduced technicalities drastically. He focuses more on storytelling than engineering/technical discussion. The plot of this book is more interesting as we were unearthing new facts with each chapter. The reason I said the plot is complex is plot is divided between 6-7 major characters. You will get to know only the portion known to that character. You won't get a full picture without reading until the last chapter. The character building is still heavily information-driven, mostly dating back to the character's parents or grandparents' background. I enjoyed the information about the main characters but when too much information about someone meeting your characters just once (like a couple from the Gambia) was actually too much. I feel that could have been avoided.

Overall a wonderful read. One that can make a good visual content of converted in web series or movies. I may take a review on our BookTube channel as it fits our theme.

I will give 4.5 out of 5 to this book.

Book Links - Goodreads and Amazon

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Book Review - 13 Worlds by J.J. Hair

The author J. J. Hair approached me 15 days back to have my feedback about his latest book "13 World's". As the book was available on Amazon Kindle Unlimited, I checked cover, blurb, and a few chapters, I found details interesting. So here I am sharing my feedback after finishing it.

"13 Worlds" is a sci-fi story written around the destruction of 13 planets in different galaxies by a super-intelligent character called Guide & his aid Emperor Malek. These 13 planets' people were about to discover a unique technology of DNA editing which was currently known to Genius. Though the book is merely 100 pages, the story is written in multiple segments. The author has shown 4-5 subplots in such a short storyline connecting the central theme. I don't want to share more about the story to give away spoilers. So to know more do read it.

13 Worlds by J J Hair
13 Worlds by J J Hair

Coming to story development, I found the development bit jumpy, and before a character is matured it was changing. I have read some books where such jumping plots are used, but in the long run, those books give more information. But due to the length of this book that justification was missing. The most interesting subplot I found was actual action in the spaceship crew. I found the ending interesting. It left me thinking about what will happen next, I'll be waiting for the next part.

On an overall note, simple language usage, and fluid writing. Recommended for any age group. 

I found pace extremely fast, which ended up missing information here or there, which regularly sticks the reader till the last page. Another thing that I found lacking is the cover design, it could have been better.

I'll give 3.5 out of 5 to the book.

Book links Goodreads and Amazon.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Book Review - Banker's Game by Ashutosh Mishra

"Banker's Game" is my second read from Ashutosh. Though it is the first fiction from Ashutosh, as the previous one was self-help. As Ashutosh is acquainted with me on Whatsapp, I have seen his posts about this book 3 months previous to its scheduled release. I was very excited to read it. I got it just before lockdown. And during the lockdown, I got myself into BookTube videos which delayed this book's review. But normal life after unlock has brought this book to my hands again.

Banker's Game by Ashutosh Mishra
Banker's Game - Cover Photo

The reason I selected this book was my liking to Ashutosh's previous book. I was expecting indirect self-help content in this book. Another reason was familiarity with the subject and environment. Though I don't have the first-hand experience in financial banking but heard the first-hand experience from many of my classmates, plus the recession of 2008 with Lehman brothers, so I wanted to read what was the situation of bankers in those dire times.

The story revolves around 4 guys whose silhouette is given in the backdrop of the cover. As the blurb suggests Rekha, Amit, Satya, and Nitin are the central characters. All of them are working in a reputed financial bank. The first three are working under Nitin and called by Nitin as schmucks. The plot covers the professional life of these four and partially covers how their work-life affects their personal life. Though they are paying very high, it is like their life is bought by the company and each minute of their lives are owned by their bosses. On top of that things became more troublesome when Lehman brothers scam took the financial market down with it. Read the book to know how our characters fare.

The book talks about the worst work culture practices happening in some Indian establishments. I think people working in financial services might be able to relate to the experience of schmucks. Office politics, sexual exploitations, and back bickering all compiled in one place for the reader.
On the personal front, I was expecting more stories around the tragedy of Lehman brothers but the major portion covers office politics. Maybe I had higher expectations and which were not fulfilled up to the mark.

I will give 3.5 out of 5 to the book.

Book links Goodreads and Amazon

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

The Cliffhangers - a Novel by Sabin Iqbal - a book review

I know I mostly read light books but once in a while, I take challenging work. When I saw cover and blurb of cliffhangers by Sabin Iqbal published by Aleph books, I know the book will belong to a critically acclaimed book world, the ones I read once in a quarter. The topic covered one of the sensitive issues that India faces in the current time.

The Cliffhangers

From the book blurb, I thought the book would be a murder mystery, but it was a completely different material. Though the story was based on a murder mystery, most of the parts cover the cultural and social background of that village/town. I know even I am writing the plot in a mysterious style. Let me give you a clear idea. The Cliffhangers that title mentioned are our 4 core characters, who belonged to a Muslim community. Their village has reached a limit where small mischief from either Hindu or Muslim community can bring violence & riots. Cliffhangers were notorious but not aligned to Muslim radicals that were prevailing in their area. They understood that religion was there the biggest problem in their area. 

The book covers various characters that interacted with Cliffhangers. It shows how each character had affected these teenagers' life in good or bad ways. There was a village where people considered taking a job in gulf countries or marine business was the ultimate goal in life. But cliffhangers wanted to change that same destiny. Read the book to know more.

Coming to the writing style, it is a descriptive narration. The story is not the case mentioned in the blurb but the life of the Cliffhangers. The pace of the story is slow to medium. The author has taken the time to develop characters and sub-characters. The sub-characters kept spawning until the last chapter, which makes you read until the last page. There are multiple sub-stories giving details of those areas and their people. It correctly shows the delicate religious matter that India is facing today.

The books may not be the best choice for beginners. But book lovers will love it. 

I am giving 3.5 out of 5 to the book.

Book Links - Goodreads & Amazon

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Crime Thriller - The Tech by Mark Ravine

After romance, the second most loved genre would be a detective/crime thriller. In the last 6-7 weeks of lockdown, I have devoured a couple of such books. I was out of said genre book when a friend from the publishing industry sent me the blurb of "the Tech by Mark Ravine". I instantly got a liking for the book. I accepted the book in exchange for an honest review. I am glad that I accepted it, because it landed on my list of this year's favorite.

The Tech - Crime Thriller

The story goes something like this. An FBI officer Alexandra, our protagonist, recently shifted to her new office with a recently transferred team. Her first impression when she checked her subordinates' files was that her teammates were either looser or victims. Being a workaholic she joined the office the moment she landed in the city. She solved the first case within 24 hours even before she went to report her boss about her joining office. Surprisingly, various cases kept coming in front of her team. And each case connected with the previous one. Her team kept solving these cases, though Alexandra found their success clouted, as in each case there was some kind of hidden help to them from unknown tips or mishaps. There are more than 7-8 cases to keep the reader engaged. I don't want to reveal much to avoid giving away spoilers.

The book is lengthy, more than 450 pages. Well it is bound to be a lengthy one, because it covers so many cases and linking between these cases. Having said that, you will not find a single page with tempo going down. The author has maintained a speedy pace while maintaining interest quotient. If you want you may read one case per reading, that is how I have taken the book. While reading the book, I was visualizing that a series was playing in front of my eyes. The language used is simple, written for an audience of 14+. The characters who got the maximum stage were Alexandra, Mike, Gabriella, Nancy, AD Khan, Hollywood. Other side characters have also served their purpose. 

The technologies shown around Mike & Aisha were far fetched but gave the feeling of sci-fi along with crime thriller. Another complaint was cover and title. I feel the book can have better cover and title to match its content. 

Talking about ratings
1. Cover - 3.5/5
2. Concept - 4.5/5
3. Content - 4.5/5
4. Characters - 4/5
5. Overall - 4.5/5

Book Links - Goodreads and Amazon