Saturday, October 24, 2020

Manmatha Nath Dutt: Translator Extraordinaire by Bibek Debroy

There were three main reasons why I selected "Manmatha Nath Dutt: Translator Extraordinaire" by Bibek Debroy

1. The author Bibek Debroy 

2. Wonderful cover design in a hardcover edition

3. Wanted to read a biography as the last I read was around a year back.

Manmatha Nath Dutt: Translator Extraordinaire by Bibek Debroy

Due to a positive case in the family, reading of the book was delayed. I am happy to share the review now.

As I mentioned, it is a kind of biography, of Manmatha. But the author had not personally met or interviewed Manmatha to write the memoir-style biography. It is more of documentations-based biography, I mean, the author has taken various references and cross-references related to Manmatha and given the shape to this book. Taking just an example of how biography started, the author has taken a reference from Manmatha's grand daughter's autobiography. The tone of the book is neutral, you may feel like following a documentary. The author has tried to stick only and only the professional life of Manmatha. It is like reading a complete work-life journal of a translator. Bibek had taken all major and minor references when Manmatha's is mentioned. 

Coming to the overall feeling, for me, the book is more of historic records than a biography. You will find an exhaustive list of books translated or written by Manmatha. It also covers a list of patronage for some of his major works. The language used in the book is pretty simple. You can easily read it within 1 day of the subject interests you.

Not completely up to my expectations, but I liked to know about this forgotten personality. Overall I will give 2.75 out of 5 to this book.

Book links - Goodreads & Amazon


Monday, October 19, 2020

Book review - Blood & Ash (The Jezebel Files #1) by Deborah Wilde

I was sincerely waiting for Audiobook review copies by Netgalley. I started checking out books within a month of audiobook launch. But my selective choices have delayed my Netgalley audiobook experience by 2 months. The very first book for which I applied and received a review copy in exchange for an honest review was "Blood & Ash" by Deborah Wilde. I could have reviewed the book within 15 days of approval, but a month was wasted as due to some technical issues in the app, I was unable to download the book. For another month, I waited for a technical bug to get resolved, which I was facing in the app. The bug was about forward and backward buttons, these buttons were kept playing chapter from the beginning. Also, the app was forgetful many times where I left last. One more thing I found was that this issue was with a certain set of audiobooks only, and unfortunately, Blood & Ash was one of them. Anyway, I don't want to downrate books because of technical issues.

Blood & Ash (The Jezebel Files #1) by Deborah Wilde

As mentioned in the blurb, the story is portrayed in today's world. But magic is added as a fantasy flavor. The world is having two kinds of people mundane the normal humans, and the Nefesh, human with magical powers. There are separate rules and houses for wizards. The protagonist of our story is Ashira Cohen, a mundane private investigator. All she has in her life are her job as an investigator and her roommate/best friend Priya, a cybersecurity expert, and somewhat space for her mother. Things are changed when she discovers a hidden tattoo on the backside of her body, and she realizes that she can do magic. As if these complexities are not enough, she starts seeing mysterious shadows attacking wizards. She also learns that kids are disappearing from different locations. Read the book to know how things are related. 

Coming to writing style, the author has covered multiple aspects in the book, but my favorite are

1. Badass female protagonist

2. Satirical dialogues

3. Action sequences

4. Suspense behind situations

The character of Ashira is unique. She is intelligent, kind-hearted, too much introspective, less friendly, to the point in nature, and last but not least bad mouth at times. Throughout the book, you will see Ashira's way of seeing her surrounding like you are living through it. Suspense creation in the book was good, but I was expecting more in the climax. 

Anyways a good book series to follow.

I will give 3.75 out of 5 to this book.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Book Review -When Love Came Calling by Preeti Shenoy

"When Love Came Calling" is my 3rd read from Preeti Shenoy, and my expectations from Preeti were matched in this book. I was a little bit skeptical after reading "Wake up, Life is calling". Though the "wake up" was presented as an inspirational book, for me, it was a similar experience that I felt with "Veronica decides to die" by Paulo Coelho. I felt too negative while reading both books. Surprisingly when Love Came Calling was a refreshing, cute, and light read in this pandemic depression.

The protagonist of our story is Arush and Puja. Arush was born and brought up outside India. He was a kind of self-made man who was deciding his life based on his passion. He was selected for a paid assignment to work with an NGO based in Kerala, India. Puja, on other hand, had was a kind of lazy girl who felt her life was not in her hands but her parents. She was not happy with the career path set for her by her parents, at the same time, she didn't want to divert from that path.

When the two met, a bond was created instantaneously. Though both were opposite, their different nature brought them nearer. They wanted to know more about each other. The feeling was mutual, but things were not smooth for them. Puja got up in a mess, and unknown to the depth of the consequences Arush tried to help Puja. Do read the book to know whether Puja was rescued or Puja had to rescue Arush.

Apart from the love story, the book brings us two wonderful things to us,

When Love Came Calling by Preeti Shenoy
1. As author Preeti is herself a Keralite, she has wonderfully described nature's bounty of Kerala, proving the phrase " God's Own Country" true.

2. Preeti has a good control over bringing an inspirational story without leaving the story. You are bound to learn good things by reading the story itself. You cannot disintegrate the invitational discussion from the story. 

Coming to writing, as usual, Preeti has used a simple narration style. The usage of English is easy for any level of readers. The choice of words makes interest intact. This book hardly falls under DNF, I finished it in 3-4 sittings but can be finished in 1-2 sittings as well. 

Overall I will give 4 out of 5.

Book links - Goodreads and Amazon

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Poe Dameron: Free Fall by Alex Segura

 I was checking out available books on Netgalley when I saw an upcoming book from the Star Wars series. I haven't read comics or previous books in the series. My only exposure to Star Wars was 6 movies under the Skywalker saga. I know for Star Wars fan it is a crime but for me, that's the fact. Since 2016 I have reduced my visual content consumption very very low, I am spending maximum free time in reading. So when I saw this book, I thought of taking Star Wars in my reading experiences. Here I am discussing the book "Poe Dameron: Free Fall" by Alex Segura 

Poe Dameron: Free Fall by Alex Segura

Don't get confused between Dameron & Doremon. It's is the first non-cartoon character.

Jokes apart, Poe Dameron is our protagonist. He is living with his father on Yavin 4. Both of Poe's parents had an adventurous life, they have participated in the war against the Empire. His mother, Sarah, wanted Poe to become a pilot like her, but after she died his father wanted Poe to stay close to him. But Poe wanted to travel, to visit new places, and to get an adventure. His rebellious nature made his join a notorious group called spice runner of Kijimi. His good upbringing made him stick to his basic values. But his attachment to Zorri may lead him to danger. Read the book to know more.

Talking about the story built up, I found the plot plan. Expected few more turns but from point, Poe joined spice runner to his capture, things were in bits and part, and before I realize half the book was done. Narration and language usage is simple and to-the-point. Basic knowledge of Star Wars is recommended. Overall a nice content for Star Wars fan. Even non-follower can have a good one-time read.

I will give 3.5 out of 5 to this book.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Book Series Review - 4MK Killer by JD Barker

I have read the first part of "4MK Killer" "The Fourth Monkey" by J D Barker three years back. That time, I have received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. But later on, I missed applying for the second part's "The Fifth to Die" review copy. During the lockdown, I found that a half-year back, I have applied and have received a review copy of "The Sixth Wicked Child". But I couldn't read that last part without reading the 2nd part. So I took the help of Storytel, there I found 2nd part as an audiobook. And finally, I read the 3rd part on Kindle Unlimited. I took 3 different sources for 3 parts: Netgalley, Storytel, and Kindle Unlimited. 

The Fifth to Die by JD Barker

The Sixth Wicked Child by JD Barker

When I read the first part, I was under impression that the 4MK killer was a serial killer like the Dexter series central character. Somehow author has changed that impression in the 2nd part. The 2nd part shows a completely different pattern of a serial killer, it also introduces a new character apart from Anson Bishop. Along with this new character, Anson spread chaos. At the same time, Sam Porter came under FBI radar. The FBI takes over the case from Sam's team and strictly forbade Sam to interfere. But Sam goes against the FBI's wishes and went ahead. By the end of the second part, we came to know about know things turn out completely different. The third part started with the FBI and metro team doubting Sam also behind the 4MK murders. Along with tracking Anson and Sam, Central hospital is supposedly infected with the SARS virus. How will special agent Poole and Sam will sort out things, is the climax for readers. Throughout the series, Anson's diary has provided equal suspense factor. 

The book is written in a very peculiar style, Barker reveals the only fraction of information at a time, leaving rest for future endeavors. This style keeps suspense and thrill intact. The complete series is more than 1600 pages, but I never felt reading so many pages, instead, I felt traveling the journey. Even when I applied for the first part's review copy, it was written that screening rights for the series are sold, but I haven't heard about the production of the same yet. I request to whichever party has got the rights, please work on the series, it would be a great show.

The choice of the word is easy to apprehend and to facilitate smooth gliding through the story. I suggest the book is strictly for the 15+ age group, due to violence.

Overall a must-read for thriller lovers. I will give 5 out 5 to the series and all the books.

Book Review of Popular Indian Fairy Tales by Stuti Gupta

When I selected "Popular Indian Fairy Tales" by Stuti Gupta, I was expecting either panchtantra or mythology-based stories. But I was completely surprised by the stories of the book. Stuti has brought out stories that are not based on both of these genres. She had prepared and presented a fresh way of storytelling.

Popular Indian Fairy Tales by Stuti Gupta

The book contains multiple stories. Few are based on magic, few on wisdom, few based on bravery, but all of them are full of learning. It's not just stories for your kid but a full set of moral values. Literally, after each page author has provided questions that will help you and your kids to linger upon. Let me share with you my experience while narrating stories I was asking these questions to my kid. He was thinking up to his level of understanding. At many places, he was able to separate good from bad, the difference in a situation which was a good experience for both of us. Due to this question-answer process, I couldn't use the book for bedtime stories. Asking questions and expecting answers will keep the child aware and awake, which defeats the purpose of bedtime stories. So I took the book slowly, one or half story at a time. For my kid, it was entertainment with learning.

Regarding language usage, it is plain and simple. The wording was age-appropriate. The selection of stories and characters were also engaging for the age group of 5 to 10. Few activities like the color picture, find the path, connect dots, etc are also provided in between chapters. 

Overall it is a nice concept and deserves 4.25 out of 5 for the age group.

Book links - Goodreads & Amazon

Friday, October 2, 2020

Being Gay by Sandeep Sharma - Book Review

I took up this book because I support the LGBTQ community whole-heartedly, and that everyone has the right to be who they are without any prejudice. I expected a coming-out story like "Simon v/s the homosexual agenda" or "call me by your name" but this book came out with a completely unexpected storyline.

This book is about a guy who has a feminine personality but is still straight. And in his definition, the gay is just another word for Happy. Sahil is an amazing character. His struggles, his morals, his relationship, and everything that he has gone through along with the way he came out even stronger is shown in the book and been inspirational. The book also touches the influence social media have on people's lives both in a positive and negative sense. And how social media cripples creativity. It shows thoughts of a social media star who had become a brand. I know that you're thinking what's social media has to do with a book called being gay, but I won't reveal that you'll find out once you read the book.

Now, if we come to story writing, the begging of the book, where there is a description of naga baba on the bank of river Ganga is attention-grabbing.

The story, in middle, did get a bit haywire, but the end is thrilling, astonishing, and unexpected in a way that you will feel spellbound. 

So my last thoughts about this book are:

It is not what you're expecting from the title. It's definitely worth reading even if you belong or don't belong to the LGBTQ community.

I will give 3.5 out of 5 to this refreshing read.

Book links - Goodreads & Amazon