Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Singer Turned into a Writer - Meet Sydney Kishore Author of Semmanthaka

When I first received Semmanthaka from Zorba Books. I thought author "Syd K" would be some non-Indian. But later I came to know it is a short form of pen name Sydney Kishore. Later I interacted with the author on Facebook and found out that his real name is Sivaram Hariharan. Even Sydney Kishore is the name given to the author.

Today we have Sivaram or Syd Kishore is with us. First of all we would like to congratulate on a wonderful book. It is really a nice read. We really loved your book. The review is published on our blog a few weeks back. 

Coming back to your pen name, can you tell our readers story behind it?
Sydney Kishore is my Stage name when I perform Kishore numbers professionally on stage. Because I lived in Sydney for 14 years... so sydney kishore.
Really interesting! Being Ph.D. and Post Doc in the field of Pharma along with being stage singer, when did you decide to become a writer?
During my Ph.D. days in the USA, I used to blog a lot on various sport newsgroups, reg cricket, hockey, and baseball.  But my first serious writing came in 1998 in Australia when I contributed a short story on cricket betting for the INDIAN LINK newspaper in Sydney. Around the time when I contributed the short story to the INDIAN LINK and it got very good response. And that unleashed a string of short stories to the LINK, all of them which were very well received and published as a collection of 20 short stories. BEES: A Hive of Short Stories.
Wow! That's great. Do you like to read? If yes then can you tell about your passion for reading?
I mostly read nonfiction these days. I’m a research writer, I love to use facts from non-fiction in my fiction books to make them more authentic. In recent years, I’ve become a big fan of writers in this genre like Amitav Ghosh, Rohington Mistry. In fact, I would not call these writers as writers of fiction. I would call them more like writers of faction (fact+fiction). Also, wildlife documentaries inspire me. The episode concerning the lions in my book Semmanthaka was inspired by an outstanding documentary on a coalition of pride males who ruthlessly ruled the Saabi Sands wilds of Southern Africa. From another documentary on leopards, I have used the fact how the big cats alternately freeze and move when stalking their prey from close quarters. Another fact is how lions are sloppy climbers of trees unlike their arboreal cousin: the leopard.
So, what are your ambitions for your writing career?
It was fiction and more importantly wildlife fiction in my early days. But now, I am keen to bring out the glory of our ancient faith and land through my writing, which I hope SEMMANTHAKA will manage to do, in my humble opinion.
Do you have a special time to write?
No.  I write as and when inspiration strikes me which means it happens in spurts. And since I’m a Professor at a Pharmacy College and also a professional musician, my writing is part time for now. But I would love to have the opportunity of becoming a full-time writer/musician.
Is this your debut work? If not so, what have you written?
I have published two short novellas and a novel. I have also published a bunch of well received short stories in the INDIAN LINK newspaper Down Under Australia, a compilation of which I published as a collection of short stories. But I want to keep the focus on my latest work Semmathaka. In a way, SEMMANTHAKA is my debut work because of the exposure and the good reviews it has already received and brought me to the notice of the writing world.
What genre are your books?
Research writing… on wildlife earlier and more on our epics and history now.
Can you describe Semmanthaka in few lines? What’s it about?
It’s about a legendary gem called SEMMANTHAKA aka SYAMANTHAKA which is extolled in the Shreemadh Bhaagavatham text. It is one of the most remarkable story one can ever come across - Lord Krishna is falsely accused of murder and robbery (of the gem), he goes through immense hardship to clear his name. That was the first quest. This novel is the second quest for the jewel in modern times by a trio of characters: Marine Archeologist Dr. Shiva Baalan and Dr. Yogi Yaadav and a professional treasure hunter: Stalin Malhotra.
Can you give us an insight into your main character?
Dr. Shiva Baalan is the typical academic marine archeologist nearing retirement while Dr. Yogi Yaadav is his young and enthusiastic Post-Doctoral Assistant.  Stalin Malhotra is a ruthless go getting billionaire treasure hunter only concerned with the bottom line, bent on increasing his collection.
Where did you get the idea for this book?
From the original story in our sacred texts. These texts are an infinite treasure trove of plots and ideas for any aspiring writer. Not only that, you can interpret and rewrite the same plot in myriad ways.
How much research did you do for this book?
This was knowledge built over the years in various fields as I’m a voracious reader of non-fiction. You need to be a huge eater of non-fiction to write good believable fiction.
Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
Dr. Yogi Yaadav even though he plays second fiddle to Dr. Shiva Baalan.
What was the toughest thing about writing your latest book?
Getting a logical conclusion for which I went back and forth with my editor many times.
Please provide a link to trailer if you have one.

What are you working on at the minute?
Not yet decided. But I will certainly reboot RUMBLE as I have mentioned earlier and get rid of lots of unnecessary matter from that book and keep it centered on the plot. That is certainly on the cards.
What are your thoughts on writing a book series?
If it has to be then it will certainly be a series in the genre concerning our glorious history and ancient faith.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF AND YOUR WORK AND NEVER GIVE UP. I’ve been writing for close to 20 years and it is only now that I have started getting a semblance of recognition through my latest book: SEMMANTHAKA.
Links for your book readers

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Happiness Is All We Want by Ashutosh Mishra

I rarely finish self-help book. Last self-help I finished was "Open-Eyed Meditation" by Shubha Vilas, and I loved it. "Happiness Is All We Want" by Ashutosh Mishra has touched the same level. Not only I liked the book, I started implementing few of the guidelines given in books.

Book blurb
Today, we are leading our lives in mindless pursuit, unable even to articulate what we are pursuing. We are unhappy even after achieving what we desire. Happiness is all we want! suggests that the source of peace and happiness is within us, if we know the secret. the book’s objective is to help us unlock that secret and attain a high level of overall well-being in order to lead a happy and fulfilling life and be the healthiest we can be, mentally and physically. A wide variety of tools and techniques are explained in simple language. Many real life experiences of the author as well as other people are interspersed through the book. Demystifying the spiritual aspect of wellbeing, this book integrates it with your life objectives. You can immensely improve not only the peace and happiness in your life but your beauty and appearance as well.
Talking about book pattern, Ashutosh has divided book into three parts:
  1. Mental Wellbeing
  2. Physical Wellbeing
  3. Spiritual Wellbeing
Each section starts with what is wrong with that state in our life, why we need to work on it. Once need of wellbeing explained, he takes you through various exercises or steps one should take to increase your overall happiness. The author knew the main problem about self-help book, no matter how hard you try, you end up writing boring literature if you forget to add examples and tips. Ashutosh has wonderfully placed following pointers in book to keep readers glued
  1. Wakeup Story - As the name suggested, these stories looks so familiar with our story or some of our near-dear ones. But scariest part would be problem arises to each individual, due to lack of attention.
  2. Happiness Moment - These stories compensate wake-up stories and tell readers benefits of various recommendations by the author.
  3. Tech Traps - These segments were specially given for modernized people who are so engrossed in their tech-gadget world that normal word seems distant to them. 
  4. Smart Well-being Capsule (SWC) - Actual steps that one should take for his or her wellbeing.
  5. Practical Tips - Tips for most of the advises and how to follow them without losing direction
Few positive things that I liked about book
  • The author has kept theories at minimum possible level. All those low tempo points were supported by above mentioned one of five segments.
  • Being an individual and following his own regime, Ashutosh knew his limit. At many points, he recommended expert advice to follow specific task.
Only things that I disliked was font size, it was straining eyes at some points. Author and publisher can look into this for next edition.

Talking about ratings:
  1. Cover - 3.5 / 5 (Could be better)
  2. Concept - 4 / 5
  3. Content - 4 / 5
  4. Overall - 4 / 5
Book can be found at - Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Book Discussion with Chirajit Paul

Reading "The Fragrance of Rose - Beauty, Dignity, Ambition" was a pleasure. The author of the book, Mr Chirajit_Paul is with us to tell us how he created this master-piece. Those who have missed the review check click here.

Can you brief our readers about your educational and professional background?
I am a Chartered Accountant by training, system integration specialist by profession. I started my career in an accounting firm, then I joined the manufacturing industry as a finance executive. Later I got exposed to IT, since then I have doing that. 
What were you like at school/college apart from studies? 
Nothing significant. I loved to paint and I was also pretty good at that. We had painting exhibitions at school where I participated and won appreciation. While I was in college I wrote poetry and few short stories in Bengali. But none of those were serious attempts into that art-form.
Can you tell our readers about your reading habit?
Yes, I read a lot. My favourite authors are Orhan Pamuk and Salman Rushdie. Both of them creates magic with words. I also like Jhumpa Lahiri’s short stories; she can touch very fine emotions.  
Can you tell us about your journey of becoming writer? When did you started writing? And when did that the aspiration became strong enough to bring the writer out?
My first writing as I said was in college, in Bengali. After that many years later in form of a novel, that also was more accidental than planned. After I had self-published my first novel – The Obituary of Salim Nabi, I found people liking the story, which kind of encouraged me to write more. My first novel was accidental which I wrote because I was getting bored sitting in a foreign land alone with nothing to do after office. I was not good at making friends, so I had to do something by myself. Initially I started reading, then writing as well.
What are your ambitions for your writing career? 
I love to write about serious things without compromising on the entertainment factor. I see myself as an issue based author for the thinking reader who also loves to experiment with his subjects and genres. 
How is your day structured to accommodate your writing?
Throughout the day I am usually busy with my day job. I write between 11 pm and 1 am on weekdays and almost the whole of Sunday.
What have you written so far?
The Fragrance of Rose is my second book. It revolves around the subject of sexual harassment at workplace. My first book is The Obituary of Salim Nabi which deals with a sensitive political subject. Both are novels. 
Can you describe your current book in few lines? What’s it about?
The Fragrance of Rose is about a beautiful young woman, Rinita Bose, who encounters sexual harassment at workplace. The story not only talks about how she deals with it, also how she takes advantage of it to further her goals until she realizes that she had fallen into her own trap. It definitely carries a social message. The message goes out to all the working ladies – that you need to speak out and shame the perpetrator of such crimes. If you are not doing that or if you are striking a compromise for any material benefit, you are not only doing a disservice to the society, but also causing a lot of damage to yourself.  
Give us an insight into your main characters. 
Rinita Bose is the protagonist. The story revolves around her. Other main characters are: Chaitali Mukherjee and Mahesh Jha - both her childhood friends, Arindam Mukherjee – her boss at her first job at a 24*7 news channel, Souvik – her colleague at her first job turned friend, Priyanshu Agarwal – Rinita’s boyfriend, Hemant Thapa – Rinita’s friend at her second job at a tea garden in Darjeeling, Vasant Dariyanani – movie producer in Mumbai, Shahid Khan – Rinita’s friend and movie director
Where did you get idea for this book?
The idea came to me from the various stories my wife told me about her own experiences and those of her friends and colleagues at work. She is a journalist and at that time she used to work for a 24*7 news channel. 
How much research did you do for this book?
I did a considerable research on the situation of sexual harassment against women at workplace in India before starting to write.
Who is your favorite character in your book and why? 
The protagonist automatically becomes the favourite character because one writes about him/ her. I also like Shahid Khan’s character. He is a man of principles who has an upright spine.
Who is your least favorite character and why? 
I don’t think an author can ever have a least favourite character. Still as Arindam is the main villain, we can consider him.
What was the most difficult thing about writing your latest book?
As a man to get into the mind of a woman and write from her perspective was the most challenging thing. I wanted to take up this challenge that is why I chose this subject. 
If book was published 6 months before this conversation you can also tell us number of books sold/distributed with critic and overall ratings.I am told by the publisher that it is doing well though exact figures are difficult to get. Amazon and Goodreads reviews suggest that readers have loved it.
What are you working on at the minute?
I am writing a dark comedy which will question our beliefs in god and religion.
What are your thoughts on writing a book series?
I do not like to write about the same subject again and again. Thus, currently I do not have plans of writing a series. I have many fresh ideas which I want to pen down first. If I run out of ideas, I will think of it.  
What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 
I can share what I have learnt the hard way
  • Reading is essential. One cannot improve on writing unless he reads. Read different authors because you will not know whose style you get to like more. If you do not have the time to read through the whole book read the first 100 pages.  
  • You will have to hook the reader within the first 10 pages. So, start with an exciting situation, anything that will force the reader to read further. 
  • Usage of bombastic language puts off the reader rather than impress them. It is better to keep the language simple. At the same time keep in mind that you are creating literature, not reporting for a newspaper. Thus experimentations with words, phrases or style will help.  
  • There is nothing more important than content. Try to write something which has never been written. Who thought that mythological fiction can sell in India? Amish did the experiment and see what he has achieved. 
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
I dedicated this novel to my wife as without her help it would not have been possible for me to write it. I will be happy if this book will raise some awareness and help us to improve the working conditions for women, so that years later when my four year old daughter will enter the professional world, she will find a better and cleaner workplace. Apart from raising awareness on the issue I have pledged the profits from the book to NGOs who are working to support victims of sexual harassment win a legal battle and restore a dignified life.  
Links for your book readers

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Meet The Writer of The Soulmates - Prerna Pujari

At last we got chance to talk to Prerna Pujari, author of "The Soulmates". We reviewed that book almost two months back. Those who missed review can check it here - Review link

Can you tell us about your life in school or college?
'Jack of all trades’ would be the best description of me when I was in school. Singer, dancer, badminton player, I was all, but average in studies. In college I was event management head and a gold medallist. I was liked and approached by many boys, and enjoyed attention of even lecturers in graduation. In the post graduation college, I was a hosteler and I have really enjoyed 'hostel specific’ things a lot. Far away from family, I made many friends and have seen life at its best. Those were the days that made me really strong, and made me learn many lessons too. Those were the best days of life.
Which author inspire you the most?
I read a lot. Nicholas Sparks, Danielle Steel, Chetan Bhagat, Durjoy Datta, Ravinder Singh, E L James, and many more. I read hindi writers also. All novels of Nicholas Sparks are close to my heart. “I too had a love story” by Ravinder Singh, was I think the best novel I have read of an Indian author.
When did you start writing and when did you decide to become a writer?
I first wrote poetry when I was almost fourteen. I decided to become writer in 2013, after my marriage.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Want to establish my name in the list of good Indian writers, but I need to learn a lot for that. Want to reach  maximum number of readers possible.
How is your day structured to accommodate your writing?
No, no time actually. I just write whenever I get an urge. Sometimes I don't write for days. I have felt that I need calm mind to write. When I get into writing something I just write whenever and wherever I get time, even few minutes, I just can't come out of it…office, home, gardens, everywhere….in the midnight, mid day, sometimes for whole day… day structure for writing.
What genre are your books?
I have written many Hindi/Urdu/ English poetry. I also have a blog where I write poems After poetry I began writing short stories. I have written some very small stories on my Facebook page 'The Reader’s love’.  I even like writing my travel experiences as I have travelled a lot. Romance is generally what I write….love in all good and bad forms. I like writing about life. Most of my work is unpublished. I didn't desperately tried to publish it till date. I have written some articles on health and wellness, influenced by my professional skills, in a local newsletter 'Royal Harbinger’. 'The Soulmates’ is my debut novel.
Can you describe your current book in few lines? What’s it about?
It is about relation of a soul that knows no worldly boundaries. It is an off beat love story which does not need a happy ending like getting married and living happily ever after. It wants to say that sometimes our soul finds a friend in someone who is in no relation with you, but a bond of emotions is above everything else. It also touches feelings of motherhood and friendship.
Where did you get idea for this book and how much research did you do for it?
Most of the story is my real life. I haven't done research. I just wrote my heart out.
Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
Arun. While writing I was always in love with this man who is displaying love in the purest form.
Who is your least favorite character and why?
Aakash. I was upset with him as he always used to hide his reality like engagement and marriage plans from Shreya. He betrayed.
What was the toughest thing about writing your latest book?
To express the feelings of Vinay. His character was of an inexpressive husband who does not express his affection for his wife much. I found it hard to express him.
Release date.
7th April, 2017
What are you working on at the minute?
I have written some short fiction after the release of this novel. I want some short stories of me to get a place in some good magazines. Apart from this I have made a sketch of what sort of novel should I write next. Idea is already ticking.
What are your thoughts on writing a book series?
I actually want to write a series but before that I want people to know me as a writer.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Never quit writing just because it gets rejected by traditional publishers, or some magazines, or blogs. It is a part of your journey. Keep on writing...for yourself. And try to reach your audience by whatever means you can either it be a facebook page, your own blog, someone else’s blog, anything.
Links for your book readers

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Meet Dr Sandeep Jatwa Author of Second Chance

Two weeks back we reviewed "Second Chance" by Dr Sandeep Jatwa. Today I got my first chance (🙂) to interview Sandeep.

Sandeep we welcome you to our blog and thank you for giving us the opportunity to have this conversation. Before we go to your book can you tell our readers about your background?
I went to Bright Star school in my hometown-- Dewas (M.P.). I was good in studies. I did my M.B.B.S. from M.G.M. Medical College, Indore and completed my MBBS in 2012. I was normal boy in school, not very naughty and mischievous and not introvert and silent. I talked to everyone. I never took part in singing competition because I knew and still know that I can't sing. Once we (I and my friends) did a play in school and we were winner in that. I enjoyed my school life very much, I had friends, we had endless topics to talk on. College life was good but most of time we had to study. I got some wonderful friends from college too (obviously they are doctors.)
Sandeep, can you tell us about your reading habits?
Yes, I read.  Sidney Sheldon's Masters of the Game, the story of Jamie MacGregor inspired me.  Talking about authors, Dan Brown, Sidney Sheldon, and Stephen King are authors who inspired me a lot.
Talking about writing, when did you start writing? When did you decide to become a writer?
I started writing in 2006. I wrote a novel when I was in First Year of my college. It is yet to be published. I don't know exactly when I decided to become a writer but when I was preparing for Pre-Medical test I read about "regeneration power" and I felt this (regeneration power) can a good story concept. (Regeneration power is power to regenerate lost body part. Most common example of this is tail of lizard. If a man has the power...) I wrote a story in a notebook. It was almost 80 pages of notebook. One day I saw my father watching a Hollywood movie and the main concept of the movie was regeneration power. Then I stopped writing and concentrated on my Pre-Medical test. When I was in Medical College stories began to pop up in my mind.  I wrote when I daydream story in my head. I had to write it down otherwise it would be spinning in my mind until I write it. And when it became a novel I felt to publish it.
What are your ambitions for your writing career? How do you manage time for writing?
I want to keep writing because it gives me satisfaction. I like the silence of night to write. It is slightly difficult for me to get time to write because I have to wake up early in the morning but I manage to write in night until 2 am (then I wake up  groggily in the morning). I don't get time in daytime to write because I treat patients in daytime.
Can you describe your current book in few lines? What’s it about?
You have to face your wrong deeds today or tomorrow. Life can be phenomenal if you understand what is life all about. It is story of a businessman who faces his wrong deeds and understands the life and his life changes for ever.
Give us an insight into your main character(s)
Shekhar Kapoor is a businessman who is insensitive, conceited, and arrogant. He never thinks what other feels for him and what changes his decisions make in other's life. But he is not happy. There is something lacking in his luxurious life. His dead mother or love?
Where did you get idea for this book?
I always feel human must think more about other, their feelings, their sorrow and happiness. I feel we are being insensitive. Feel for other makes your life full of love, and you feel awesome. I feel "blessings" never get wasted.
 How much research did you do for this book?
I read Garud Puran for the book and searched about Near Death Experience. 
Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
Shekhar Kapoor. He is my favorite because he has courage to correct his mistakes, he has courage to face the people he has destroyed.
Who is your least favorite character and why?
I don't think a writer has a least favorite character in his book. Characters may be good or evil but they are his favorites. They are like kids he has nurtured himself.
What was the toughest thing about writing "Second Chance"?
When you get pleasure doing something, there is nothing hard. It was fun. I want to do it my whole life.
Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?

What are you working on at the minute?
I am working on my first novel.
What are your thoughts on writing a book series?rest
The novel  I am working on, is first book of a series.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
First write what you like the most, then re- write it, make it better and repeat the process until you feel satisfied. Then read some books on the basics of novel writing and again write your book then rewrite until you feel satisfied. 
Links for your book readers

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Goan Chase - Take Three Mysteries by Richa

What best can happen to you while traveling from Pune to Mumbai? "Goan Chase: Take Three Mysteries" happened to me. This short mystery plugged me so tightly that I didn't know when Borivali stop came. For its genre, the book has done very good job.

Book blurb
'Leave now or pay the price.'
Jai and his friends, Nirvaan and Ayesha, are super excited to be in Goa for their summer holidays. The three youngsters visit Jai's aunt who lives in a sprawling villa with a private beach.
Just when things appear to be too good to be true, their host narrowly escapes a fatal accident. Much to their distress, 'accidents' continue to occur, putting everybody's lives in danger.
Is there an evil presence in the house? Somebody who wants to harm them? But, why? Jai, Nirvaan, and Ayesha must race against time to solve this mystery before anybody else is harmed.
If that were not enough, they have to battle with their inner demons. Demons that threaten to come in the way of solving the mystery itself. Demons that will only bring them closer to the hunter waiting patiently for the final strike
The story started with three teenagers' vacation trip to Goa. As blurb mentioned, kids were excited about fun filled holidays. Jai along with his classmates Nirvan and Ayesha went to Jai's aunt Ms. Sheila Walia's beach villa to Goa. Sheila had recently shifted to her maternal house in Goa. Vacation started with the grand party held by Ms. Walia. But holiday converted into a thriller when accidents started taking place in and around the house. Locals considered the Villa cursed. Walias had never taken curse seriously. But after those incidents, rumors of an evil presence in the Villa started materializing into the mindset of Jai's family member. Three friends being considered as losers by others wanted to prove themselves. They started inspecting areas around incident sites. Instead of enjoying their stay, detectives trio took more interest in the curse. To know more about the story, check out the book.

The mystery books required an amount of darkness properly placed in the storyline. Richa has inked good amount of murkiness around Villa and few characters to raise few questions in mind and suspicion towards few characters initially. She did a good job by delivering a nice package of thriller, adventure, and suspense in just 100 pages. 

Good points about the book:
  • Fast pace
  • Realistic characters
  • To the point & Steady storyline
  • Suspense and thrill component
I found few things predictable, but I am not sure whether other will feel the same. So I don't want to spoil readers experience.

With Goan Chase, Richa has started an interesting series of "Take Three Mysteries". Main characters or I would say our detective trio are not perfect. Keeping series in mind Richa has created them with different traits. Trio's understanding for each other's strength and weakness helped and will help them in their future series to solve various cases. Prologue for next book in series is already given at the end which made me interested in next book already.

Talking about ratings:
  1. Cover Page : 4 / 5
  2. Characters: 4 / 5
  3. Storyline : 4 / 5
  4. Overall: 4 / 5
Book can be found at Amazon & Flipkart
Reviews from other readers can be found at Goodreads

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Rafflesia: The Banished Princess by Gautam

The first look at "Rafflesia: The Banished Princess" by Gautam gave me an impression of a fantasy genre. And blurb was somewhat unclear of what the story could. 400 pages long book has friction in beginning but smoothens out once you catch the storyline.

Book Blurb
RAFFLESIA The Banished Princess The curtains draw up. Lights are dimmed. The musical is about to begin. As the beautiful princess descends on stage, the mythical creatures from her kingdom come alive. Flickers of brilliant colours blaze across as mesmerizing music pulsates from one corner of the theatre to the other. A fairy tale is about to unfold... As young children, we often come across things that stay in our hearts forever. For Appu, it is a fairy tale about a beautiful princess.He lives with her in a world filled with the magical creatures from her kingdom until the real world beckons. A reluctant Appu steps into it as a striking young man and struggles to find his place. What follows is an evocative tale of love and loss, friendship and betrayal, as the story travels through the snow-peaked mountains of Arunachal to the golden deserts of Jaisalmer, the tulip gardens of Holland to the lush greens of Kerala. Does Appu find what he had set out for? The answer lies in Rafflesia - The Banished Princess because in her story, lay his!

Rafflesia is the story of Apurva Sharma, a shy and undemonstrative boy from a poor family. He spent his entire childhood and teenage in and around Guwahati. Poverty and misery had taken a heavy toll on his family. His family's only hope was Appu and his good grades. Appu considered his struggle and sorrow would ruin others' life. He had even created a wall around him to protect his beliefs. Unable to open up in front of others became his biggest weakness. Even his best friends and his family members were not exceptions. Appu's mother and grandmother always tensed for Appu's wellbeing. Small happiness factor in their family was Rahul, son of Aabir's friend Vikram. Rahul considered Appu's family as his own. The bond between Rahul and Appu was the main theme of the story. The story is divided into various phases of Appu's life. And each part has Rahul in it. Apart from Rahul, each part has a supporting character who understands Appu. Life was cruel towards Appu but at the same time friends he made in his life were a great boon. The irony of the story was the relation between the storyline and the title. "Raffalesia - the Banished Princess" is shown as fairy tale book in the story. And it was Appu's favorite book from childhood, he has collected multiple editions of the book. But his life was nowhere near to fairy tale.

There are ways to portray characters. Gautam has used other characters to portray Appu's personality. Each character has its own importance in the story, barring few extreme side characters. The book is not made for fast-track, entertainment-oriented readers. The story evolved very slowly. The author has taken enough freedom to create the plot around Appu. I admit that it took me more than 100 pages to get grip on story. Though at some point I felt the author could have reduced the number of pages by removing few extreme side characters. I liked the fairy tale of Rafflesia a lot. I wish Gautam can give more emphasis on that and make a small novella for a fantasy genre people like me.

I am not sure whether my copy was advance review copy or not, but I found many formatting errors in the book. 

Talking about ratings:
  1. Cover Page : 4/5 
  2. Characters: 4/5 
  3. Storyline : 3/5 
  4. Content: 3/5 
  5. Overall: 3.5/5 
Book can be found at Amazon & Flipkart
Reviews from other readers can be found at Goodreads

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