Saturday, September 29, 2018

Book Review - We Could Be Beautiful by Swan Huntley

"We could be beautiful" by Swan Huntley came to us almost 2 years back in form of a review copy. The book went through 2 of our teammates but they were not able to make a bond with the book. According to them something about Catherine (lead character) didn't let them enjoy the story. That statement made me curious so I checked reviews by other book lovers, and I found it common in 2 out of 5 reviews. But the book is a book, I thought of giving one last chance and decide whether to put it under DNF or not. Luckily I was able to finish the book



Book Blurb
Catherine West has spent her entire life surrounded by beautiful things. She owns an immaculate Manhattan apartment, she collects fine art, she buys exquisite handbags and clothing, and she constantly redecorates her home. And yet, despite all this, she still feels empty. She sees her personal trainer, she gets weekly massages, and occasionally she visits her mother and sister on the Upper East Side, but after two broken engagements and boyfriends who wanted only her money, she is haunted by the fear that she’ll never have a family of her own. One night, at an art opening, Catherine meets William Stockton, a handsome man who shares her impeccable taste and love of beauty. He is educated, elegant, and even has a personal connection—his parents and Catherine’s parents were friends years ago. But as he and Catherine grow closer, she begins to encounter strange signs, and her mother, Elizabeth (now suffering from Alzheimer’s), seems to have only bad memories of William as a boy. In Elizabeth’s old diary she finds an unnerving letter from a former nanny that cryptically reads: “We cannot trust anyone…” Is William lying about his past? And if so, is Catherine willing to sacrifice their beautiful life in order to find the truth? Featuring a fascinating heroine who longs for answers but is blinded by her own privilege, We Could Be Beautiful is a glittering, seductive, utterly surprising story of love, money, greed, and family.
The story goes like this our protagonist Catherine was in her early forties and recently went through a breakup. Her boyfriend left her for an elder woman for money. Again Catherine herself was getting 80K $ cheque monthly from inheritance (trust). She owned a small time shop which she visits once in a while. The majority of her time spent in the leisure of shopping and self-maintenance. She hardly cared for less-fortunate people but she considered herself miserable. The ray of hope appeared in her life as a new guy entered her life. She started planning her future with him. She found something fishie about him, but she ignored it. Whether her call to ignore his dark side would affect her life or not. Check the book to know more.

I hope I haven't revealed much. Now coming to my view, Catherine character is portrayed as a confused woman who is in her forties but feels like twenties, priorities in her life were missing. The book is a part thriller, part drama, part romance, and slight suspense. You need a taste to like this book.

I would like to point out I selected this book by just cover and title. I didn't check the blurb. I was under impression that book was self-help.

Talking about ratings
  1. Cover - 5/5
  2. Concept - 3/5
  3. Characters - 3/5
  4. Overall - 3/5
The book can be found at Amazon India and Amazon USA
Reviews from other readers can be found at GoodReads

"Tarikshir - The Awakening" - A Mythological, Historical, Fantasy Fiction by Khayaal Patel

I have first seen this book's cover reveal by Westland and I got curious about it. At that time, "Tarikshir - The Awakening" by Khayaal Patel was just released and all I could find on the internet was blurb of the book. Still, I betted on my gut feeling and selection of Westland publishers. And once again I was proven right. The book was a roller coaster ride of multiple genre touches.


Book Blurb
A small princely state in Rajasthan is the last bastion of resistance against the might of the British Empire. While unrest surrounding the sudden death of the king of Devangarh grows, young prince Rudra Pratap Chauhan prepares to ascend the throne.
But the kingdom is in turmoil. The Devangarh army is outnumbered and the British forces are closing in. To make matters worse, Rudra discovers the king’s death may not have been accidental after all. The strange appearance and disappearance of a mysterious hooded stranger and a series of ritualistic murders in which the bodies have been drained of blood, spread panic across the realm.
As Rudra struggles to manage his new responsibilities and investigate his father’s death, dark secrets will be uncovered that will disrupt life as he knows it.
The story goes like this after the war of Ramayana, Hanumana had hidden certain secrets and had entrusted the security of human (against supernaturals) to a certain group of people. During Britisher's era in India, a powerful Rajput Kingdom Devgrah was threaten by Britishers' to subjugate to Queen. The current king of Devgrah (being a proud Rajput) kept freedom above everything. His son, Rudra - Yuwaraja, had recently finished his training and he wanted to impress his father. Our protagonist is Rudra. When peace talks didn't work out with Britishers', the inevitable war knocked their doors. In the chaos of war, Rudra's father was found dead. The surrounding facts and the gut-feeling told Rudra that death cannot be natural. He started working on the clue found around his father's death site. But things he uncovered were far sinister than just death of his father - an evil Tarikshir is waiting to be unveiled.

I hope I haven't revealed much. Now coming to what we got from the story. Khayaal Patel has done a wonderful job here. You will find thriller, horror, mystery, suspense, mythology, and action. The story started with mythological fiction tone, then shifted to historical fiction mode, then after it kept switching between mystery, action, and fantasies. The book is written for almost all age groups. Even middle grader can enjoy it. The language usage is simple. The flow of the story is straight. You don't have to switch timelines to understand it. You can see the clear thought process of the author the way he has visualized the plot.

The only weakness I found was super fast pace, maybe that is needed for said genre. Baring few things here and there, overall characterization and storytelling made the book a sure-shot page turner. India needs such light reads which can maintain tempo and interest of readers throughout the story. You will love this book if you have enjoyed Indian Mytho-Histo-fictions.

A fun fact - You can find zombies in the story.

Coming to ratings
  1. Cover - 4/5
  2. Concept - 4.5/5
  3. Characters - 4/5
  4. Overall - 4/5
The book can be found at Amazon and Flipkart
Reviews from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Book Review - A Place Called Schugara

In a bookworm's life, there are occasions when reading a book take considerable time and effort equivalent to finishing 2-3 lighter reads. But we take that book as a challenge and pursue the book page after page till we reach the back cover. "A Place Called Schugara" is one such read. Schugara has taken almost 8-10 days of my time, but I don’t have a single ounce of regret. The time was well worth investing. It is a great read: funny, sad, thought-provoking. It is a book to savor and ponder.  



"A Place Called Schugara” is a multi-story of contemporary fiction with a central theme having to do with "Mabouhey" an island in the Caribbean. The author introduces multiple characters;  each character receives enough canvas and each is more than a protagonist of a conventional novella.  There are five main characters who are each discussed in detail: a businessman in search of peace, a bookshop owner in search of treasure, an insurance company investigator in search of a lost/dead businessman, a priest exiled to Mabouhey as punishment for his disobedience,  and,  finally,  a native woman called Marguerite. Each character's story is written in a completely different style. You could visualize 4-5 novella out of this book.

Each character is deeply crafted with physical, emotional and mental details.  The reader feels that he or she is reading an entirely different book when reading the chapters having to do with the character Travers than those dealing with the character Joe. The story has multi-faceted topics--from spiritual peace to sexual relationships (don't worry--nothing erotic) to contemporary social issues.

Some good points about the book:
  • You can imagine things as they are happening.
  • Poems and quotes are catchy.
  • The spiritual portion is really enlightening
  • Author has touched many real-world concerns through characters
  • Easy language usage
  • Extraordinary character built-up
  • The author's questioning of the American imperium and money-obsessed culture of the late Twentieth Century and early Twenty-First Century 
Points of improvements:
  • Length - As I already said, this may be a problem to some.  Others may find its vast scope compelling.
  • Flow direction and Subject focus - Author should become more specific. In a few places, characters or details go so specific that I felt them out of context.
Instances/events I especially liked 
  • Sarcastic talk of Joe Roger, and, in particular,  his repartee with his ex-wife
  • Zero Washington Roosevelt Lincoln's interview with a correspondent
  • The antics of the tourists from Chicago their first night in the Caribbean
A Place Called Schugara has everything you want from a perfect story. It will make you laugh. It will make you cry. It will make you think.

Yes, it has a wide scope and broad view, but the larger font and double-spacing as it is formatted on the page makes it friendly to the eye as well as the mind. This is a book to take to the beach, to the airport, to treasure, and to read again in years to come. Ratings
  1. Cover - 3/5
  2. Content - 3.5/5 
  3. Characters - 4.5/5
  4. Concept - 4/5
  5. Overall - 3.75/5
The book can be found at Amazon USA and Amazon India
Reviews from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Master your Emotions to Achieve Success - The Mind Game by Devika Das - A Book Review

There are two major reasons why I landed on "The Mind Game" by Devika Das.
  • I found the name of the book really interesting. I would say a major reason for selection.
  • You call it the subtitle or intro line. "Master your emotions to achieve success" (another line was written on top of the book cover) was the second thing. I am a highly emotional person and most of the time my emotions are all over the place. I wanted to try this book to cope up with my emotional swings.

Book blurb
“Happiness, stress, ecstasy or depression, it’s all a mind game. As long as our mind is under our control, everything else is. That’s what The Mind Game is all about. It is not an average self-help book that preaches life-enhancing methodologies based on complex science or long philosophical verses. The book’s genius lies in its simplicity. It offers quick, actionable and instantly applicable tips that will help readers lead better lives, instantly.”
Coming to the content, I loved the way the book is segmented. There are total five section and each section covering its own chapters. Let me give you a gist of these sections
  1. Emotions - This section covers basic questions like what emotions are, how to face them, how to control them and how to protect them.
  2. Analysing people - This section covers how we can understand others and how to understand their verbal and nonverbal communication.
  3. Simplicity and communication - Talks about the importance of simplicity and effective communication.
  4. Happiness - This section covers meditation, spirituality. It also touches stress and depression related issues.
  5. Anger issue - This section covers how to tame our biggest foe anger.
  6. Happy workplace - Though I am still studying, this section explained to me how a good working environment can affect one's life.
The book is easy to read and neatly written. The book has mentions of a psychologist like Sigmund Freud, Eduard Spranger which I found really interesting as to know that whatever is written is coming from a right place. Another great thing about this book which makes it different from other psychology and self-help book is that the author has put short stories in between to make us understand the concept better.

This book can be helpful to give you emotional balance and peacefulness. The book is also helpful to channel your emotions in a positive way so you won't hurt yourself or others by the rage of emotions, and also to find peace in the stressful environment of the workplace.

The book enlightens the issue of spirituality, most of the millennials these days aren't in touch with there spirituality which makes their emotional rage go haywire, the book has some points to get in touch with your spirituality that I liked.

So all and all if you are having an emotional issue, stress problem, workplace problem or just want to read a fun self-help book than The Mind Game is the best choice.

Ratings
  1. Cover - 3.5/5
  2. Content - 4/5
  3. Concept - 4/5
  4. Overall - 4/5
The book can be found at Amazon and Flipkart
Reviews from other readers can be found at GoodReads

We would like to thank Vidhya Thakkar to provide us the book in exchange of the honest review.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Book Review - Hungry Gods - A Horrific Crime - An Unthinkable Revenge by Richa Lakhera

I checked the blurb and cover of "Hungry Gods" by Richa Lakhera a few months back but I found it too bold for my taste, so I didn't approach it. But the book was discussed much in my social network and praise reached almost every day. On a special recommendation from author Kulpreet Yadav, I decided to give it a try. And finally, I got my hands on this dark tale of love, lust, and revenge.


Book Blurb
Beaten and brutally raped, her body is never found. However, the killers make one mistake. They leave a witness, a witness who has nothing to live for except revenge. And when he crosses the boundaries of time to make the guilty pay, a whole lot of dark characters come to light. There is Valentine, the superstar brand ambassador who sells anything for a price; there is Medici, a pharmaceutical company fraudulently manufacturing banned drugs; there is the perverted and sinister minded Dr Ranga and there is Este, the prostitute whose dark secret will blow up a daughter’s sanity. So, is there another murder waiting to happen? Will Police Inspector Dorab Silva be able to connect the clues to prevent another crime? Will these gods of greed be exposed? And yes, you will be surprised by who you will find there, finally. Deeply unsettling, Hungry Gods takes a hard look at greed for wealth and power.
The blurb is not at all exaggerating, the violence, sexual content, and description is really off the limits for anyone below 18 a strict adult genre. Frankly speaking, I have not read the story as dark and gruesome before. The nearest one was "The Unconquerable" by Shivish. But that was just 25% of this story.

Talking about the plot, a pharmaceutical giant Medici's was about to launch some new lines of drugs. The company had acquired mastery of marketing. Their products (no matter how much criticised by media or other pharma) were working well in the market. But things were not as simple, dark past of company (and some the high profile people) had started tracing them. Mysterious death with strange inhumane nature came into the light. The first death led to another and chain of events set in place.

The content of the book shows deep research and character mapping. It took me around 25-30 pages to grasp the nerve of the story. And almost 70-80 pages to accept the incidents described in the book.

So, call it a mystery or a revenge tale it is something you read once in a while. I heard sacred games is one such dark tale, if that's true then this one is 10 times stronger story.

Ratings
  1. Cover - 4.5/5
  2. Concept - 3.5/5
  3. Characters - 4/5
  4. Overall - 4/5
The book can be found at Amazon and Flipkart
Reviews from other readers can be found at GoodReads

We would like to thank team Book Rocket to provide us the book in exchange of the honest review.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Book Review “Sniper’s Eye" by Mainak Dhar

An aerial view of Mumbai from a Sniper’s perspective in cover and colophon abstracting a romantic date gone murderously wrong (pun intended), I initially read a few pages from this book while talking to a Netflix customer care, who seemed to blame all the software bugs as license problems (sigh!!!). Instead I ended up ditching the call and finishing the book (one more page and then I am done).


Book Blurb
I was out on a date. Everything was perfect… Till that shot… a high-calibre one, no apparent sound. And, the man in front of me fell. A rifle with a suppressor? A sniper in the middle of a Mumbai mall? As the body count mounted, I was soon sucked deeper into the chaos unleashed by that shot. To survive and save those whom I care about, I have to become the man I left behind. I have no choice but to tap into a bloody past that has put me on the terror kill list. I may also have no option but to join hands with the sniper terrorising Mumbai. The problem is that the man has sworn to kill me. In a world where the young and poor kill and die in conflicts started by the old and rich, I and my unlikely companion finally discover the thin line that separates a mere killer from a hero. This is our story…
Sniper’s Eye” starts with a mall shooting and centres around Aditya Ghosh whose date with Zoya turns a disaster. Things slowly spiral out of control as he is supposed to corporate with the sniper himself as along with him several army men and their families become victim of terrorist attacks or sniping. 

The book is written in first person narrative. The thrill and grip are maintained throughout the books as the reader moves from one page to another. The chapters are well placed, and connected. The use of simple language aids the plot as the readers can actually focus on the story and keeps them occupied. The action and fight sequences are well described and add to the flavour of the thrill that the story keeps.

Aaditya Ghosh portrays the main protagonist superbly. He is a man of action, perfectly practical in times of trouble, doesn’t lose his cool, and keeps his demons of past at bay. Aman Karzai portrays his grey shaded character perfectly. Zoya, Ravi, Rekha and Phadke support the plot nicely. Personally I felt that the character of Sai could had been given more presence or maybe given more depth. The Stan Lee sort of cameo of Mainak Dhar as M.K. Dhar works acts as an easter egg and works for the entertainment of readers. Suffice it to say that no character is overused

Overall, the author delivers us a story which serves as the perfect thriller. Inspite of its familiar plot, the book successfully captures the readers interest and delivers.

Overall Verdict:- The perfect thriller

For Mainak Dhar’s enticing and engrossing thriller, my overall rating would be 4.5/5.

The book can be found at Amazon
Reviews from other readers can be found at GoodReads

We would like to thank WritersMelon for providing us the review copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Review of 03:02 - An Action Thriller by Mainak Dhar 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

A Must-Read for the Movie Buff - The Legends of Bollywood by Raaj Grover

I am not a movie buff but reading books in and around Bollywood has created a bug in my mind, which will always attract to more books of the said genre. This is my third book after "Khwabon Ka Safar" and "In a Cult of Their Own". The first book was about the production houses & studios which started movies in India. The second book was about some extraordinary movies which may not work well in cinemas but able to generate fan followings for generations to come. So now it is the turn of actual people who made this worked, which are actors and directors. The Legends of Bollywood - Tales of madness, mischief & mayhem by Raaj Grover.


Book Blurb
Before the overly dramatic movies with technologically enhanced backgrounds, simpler times existed. A compulsively readable collection of memoirs and stories of Bollywood’s who’s who, The Legends of Bollywood includes enthralling stories of the stars of the yesteryear.

From Amitabh Bachchan’s first screen test to Badruddin Jamaluddin Kazi’s baptism into Johnny Walker, and from Dharmendra’s journey from a tractor driver to a legendary actor to Dimple Kapadia’s iconic comeback into the industry, this book includes everything that’s good, bad, and fabulous in Bollywood. With never-before-seen pictures, it is a sensational book that narrates the tales behind celebrated births and lamented deaths, secret romances and controversial moments, booming films and unforeseen flops.
Penned by a man who was a constant witness to these moments, these stories have been pulled from the archives of his myriad memories.
Raaj Grover was the production-in-charge of the prestigious Ajanta Arts in Mumbai, which was owned by Sunil Dutt. Grover was an integral part of the Dutt family. During his days in the film industry, he also dabbled in filmmaking. A poet at heart, he is known for his witty take on life and his joie de vivre. He currently lives in the USA.
"The Legend of Bollywood" has covered some of the most renowned personalities of the Indian Cinema. 24 stories/personalities in just 240 pages may seem an injustice to these legends, But the author has focused on limited areas. The author has a direct-indirect official or personal connection with most of these celebrities. So he has shared some personal incidents with us which we rarely come to know from main-stream media. I have finished the book in less than 5 sittings and not a single moment of boredness.

Stories I personally liked (or I can say characters whose incidents I personally liked are)
  • Dharmendra - Specially incidents about the guest visit to his house.
  • Dilipkumar - His struggle as fruit wallah
  • Kapoors - Story of Chintu (Rishi Kapoor) taking money from Rajendranath
Frankly speaking, you will find many such instances which can give you laugh or wow moments. The good part is most of the chapters finished in 10-20 pages limits, which make no boring part of the star story. Just like Raj Kumar Hirani movies only entertainment nothing else. 

Talking about ratings
  1. Content - 4/5
  2. Cover - 4.5/5
  3. Overall - 4.5/5
The book can be found at Amazon and Flipkart
Reviews from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Friday, September 14, 2018

Book Review of a Sci-fi - Extinction 6 by Hosein Kouros-Mehr

Extinction 6 is my second book by Hosein Kouros. His previous book "Project Bodi" was a completely different genre book for me. Based on the futuristic world the book was fictional self-help on Awakening of the subconscious mind. I was already accustomed to Hosein's writing style. So when I saw ARC of "Extinction 6" I didn't think twice. I simply added to my Kindle shelf. Frankly speaking, I haven't even checked the blurb of the book, while adding it.


Book Blurb
By mid century, Arctic oil drilling accelerates global warming and triggers famine and world war. A team of scientists launches Project Titan to reverse climate change and end fossil fuel addiction. Without a radical solution, humanity faces catastrophe.
Earth’s sixth mass extinction is underway. One hope remains.
Coming to the story part, surprisingly story still has 2 out of 3 main characters of Project Bodi. And yes again story shows Google's existence in the year 2066. Being an innovation savvy and leaders in AI google was surviving in the world full of uncertainty and wars. The developers of Google Smart VIssion Glass, Beth and Andrew were facing completely new challenges. Beth sensed 6th Mass Extinction (which we humans have brought to themselves mercilessly) was just a decade away. Human's addiction towards fossil fuels and gas had already impacted the world. Majority of the polar ice had melted and sea levels were increasing faster than ever. Though Human started colonizing mars the war on earth and space is taking the toll. The only option that Beth could see was clean energy, which she was hoping to generate through fusion (a technique used by Sun). But things were not as straight as last time. Beth and her team were up against war-mongers and profit-witted called Manos. He understood the only language called money. A shrewd businessman and political lobbyist wanted to take over Google and its culture.

Coming to good points
  • Author has maintained a similar narration style as of Project Bodi, which is easy to follow and to the point
  • The way the author has imagined the end of the world kind of situation. Flooded cities, damped infrastructures, food situation etc.
  • Sci-fi concepts around fusion and hope for the next part
  • Language usage is easy to 12+ to any age. 
Coming to points of improvements
  • With the harsh situation that he has mentioned, I don't think more than 25% of current people would survive. So numbers can be re-aligned.
  • The speed at which things happened. Price hikes or down and all gave an impression of simulation.
  • The climax was a way to fast. It could have been slowed down a little bit.
  • Apart from these found few technical glitches but discussing them here will give away spoilers.
Well for a hardcore sci-fi lover, these points are nothing but ignorable instances. Overall a wonderful fast-tracked sci-fi futuristic book.

Ratings
  1. Cover - 3.5/5
  2. Concept - 4/5
  3. Content - 4/5
  4. Overall - 4/5
The book can be found at Amazon India and Amazon USA
Reviews from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Ascendance by Sadhna Shanker

A simple but wavy work of art cover depicting man and woman in front of a purple advanced city and a colophon having a dialog just enough to get you interested; it had been some time since I read sci-fi and "Ascendance" seemed like an ideal candidate.


Book Blurb
The location is a planet in outer space inhabited by antagonistic species.
The night Seeni died, the fault line reappeared. The existing equilibrium between men and women, the antagonistic species that inhabit Elone began to crumble. If a clash happens, how long would it last? What would remain? Who? How many? Were they heading for a time like the last days on Earth?
As each side regroups along the Fence, Maya, a woman’s consciousness from twenty-third century Earth, reveals the past intertwined existence of men and women. Would knowledge of their shared past change the course for the future?
Delving into ideas of divergence, immortality and consequent new social constructs, Ascendance is set in a world that represents a possible and not a dystopian future.
“Ascendance” is a futuristic tale that speaks of a possible scenario where Men and Women no longer need each other and have left Earth to live on another planet Elone. They live separately on different sides of a wall which has been erected as a result of two major battles, ignoring each others’ existence, till one woman goes missing near the wall and Men become target of suspicion, which leads to war like chaos on both the sides.

The novel is written in third person narrative and in switching perspective of Men and Women in alternate chapters. Be it cloning, AI systems, advanced medical science, mode of travel or even the houses, the author has seamlessly captured the lifestyle of the characters. Use of alternate terms like ‘Zac’ for planet years or ‘nex’ for death sets the proper tone of a science fiction, as to how the world transitioned from one planet/perspective to other. However, too much time is taken to set the plot, and there are times when it drags. Men seem more like dwarves, more advanced in weaponry and a little aggressive by nature. Women are more like as elves, comparatively more technically advanced in rest of the fields than men, less aggressive of the two, but more mature in taking decisions. Every now and then its highlighted that men and women are essentially the same, but it fails to be properly captured in essence of this book.

As far as characters go, Maya plays her part flawlessly as a woman’s consciousness. But alas, the same cannot be said for rest of the characters, who fail to leave a lasting impression. Aryan has limited presence and executes his role aptly. Ime and Iwe stick around but again do not leave the desired impact as they could had. By the time Radul and Ultor start to make an impact, its nearly the end of the book leaving a huge gap for their potential. Personally, I felt no characters except these two had traits that set them unique other than their circumstances (with the exception of Maya and Aryan).

The story line has a lot of potential but lacks the gripping element. “Maya’s story” is a well written chapter. The world of Women is captured superbly, but personally I felt that more effort could had been made on getting insight of the Men’s world.

For Sadhna Shanker’s well attempted sci-fi which imbibes some well-thought philosophy as well, my overall rating would be 3/5.

Overall Verdict:- Good concept but lacks the gripping element

The book can be found at Amazon and Flipkart
Reviews from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Book Review - 54 Reasons Why Parents Suck! and Phew Swati & Swaraa Lodha

Actually, we select our set of review copies on our own. "54 Reasons Why Parents Suck! and Phew" by Dr. Swati Lodha and Swaraa Lodha was selected by Vishnu. But when I checked his book received the post on Instagram, I pinged him to give me chance to review the book. Though he wanted to read it himself, he gave it to me.


Book Blurb
The book is a tongue in cheek take on things parents should and should not do. It talks about various beliefs, behaviour and biases held by most parents that make them annoying and difficult. So, all you parents out there—be a good sport, pick up this book and see for yourself the heart of a teenager. 54 Reasons Why Parents Suck and Phew! will leave you with one big reason to understand your child, all over again.
Coming to my review part, I picked up this book because of its really interesting title "54 Reasons Why Parents Suck". I am a millennial, and my views about everything differ from my parent's view; which creates a hell lot of conflict between us. And I thought it's the story of every millennial so it was obvious for me to pick up this book. I found that the book can give good insights to both the party.

The book is really well written with day to day examples. It covers topics like
  • What children try to say to parents
  • Things parents sometimes don't understand about a modern generation
  • How parents try to be cool but end up embarrassing the child
What I really found interesting was that the book was written by a mother-daughter duo. So it is obvious that you will get inputs from both sides. You will get both of their views. It also narrates the dos and donts for parents as well as a child.

I recommend this book to every teenager and every parent trying to figure out what goes wrong and why.

Ratings
  1. Cover : - 3/5
  2. Content : - 3.5/5
  3. Character : -3/5
  4. Concept : - 3.5/5
  5. Overall : - 3.5/5
The book can be found at Amazon and Flipkart
Reviews from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Book Review - Seductive Affair by Rishabh Puri

The moment I laid my eyes upon "Seductive Affair" by Rishabh Puri I made up my mind to read it. I was so into it that I have finished this book in just 2 days.


Book Blurb
Prisha Khatri is a regular college graduate, focused on her career, desperate to finally move out of her parents’ house… and freshly dumped by her successful fiancé. When she lands a job at a prestigious media house, she’s glad to have something to take her mind off her heartbreak.
What she doesn’t expect is to be landed on a business trip with a famously fiery reporter Rajesh Lagheri. He’s travelling to a business conference for a story, and doesn’t seem impressed by her involvement. But as soon as they’re out of the office, things change, and it becomes clear that there is more to Rajesh’s trip than meets the eye. 
As Prisha is drawn into the story he’s trying to hide from their editor, their hunt for the story grows more intense, and she finds herself growing closer to Rajesh. As their chemistry threatens to overwhelm them and Prisha is pulled deeper into the Seductive Affair, she must decide what matters most to her – matters of the head, or of the heart.
The story is basically about forbidden love of Parish and Rajesh. Parish had a bad breakup. She was in a new job where she met a fellow journalist Rajesh. Rajesh was an overly attractive handsome hunk, with whom Parish was deeply attracted. They both went to trip for work together where all the inevitable things happened.

This book has a really goofy and young adult book kinda vibes. Being a young adult I possibly read every love story, so how can I not read this one. And it had not disappointed me

This book has everything to make a love story legendary. Past tragedy, Romance, a little bit of girl being badass, a crazily handsome hero and a cherry on the cake, a fairytale ending.

I recommend this book to every teenager and young adult searching for love stories to read, the older readers won't like it as much as the millennials but all and all its a good love story.

Ratings
  1. Cover : - 3/5
  2. Content : - 3/5
  3. Character : -3/5
  4. Concept : - 3/5
  5. Overall : - 3.5/5
The book can be found at Amazon and Flipkart
Reviews from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Book Review - The Friend by Teresa Driscoll

I usually ask others to read books from different countries and origins. But my own practice lacks that determination. I would try to avoid foreign authors may be due to my comfort zone with Indian authors. Not just that once in a while when I take books of the said category my mind went through a hell lot of tantrums. It makes me feel "I am not getting it Vishnu. Don't read more". But then my heart pursue it till my mind able to cope up with narration style. "The Friend" by Teresa Driscoll was one such experience for me. Until I reached the milestone of 70 pages my mind has tried all possible distraction to leave the book but I persisted.


Book Blurb
On a train with her husband, miles from home and their four-year-old son, Ben, Sophie receives a chilling phone call. Two boys are in hospital after a tragic accident. One of them is Ben.

She thought she could trust Emma, her new friend, to look after her little boy. After all, Emma’s a kindred spirit—someone Sophie was sure she could bare her soul to, despite the village rumours. But Sophie can’t shake the feeling that she’s made an unforgivable mistake and now her whole family is in danger.
Because how well does she know Emma, really? Should she have trusted her at all?
Time is running out. Powerless to help her child, still hours from home, Sophie is about to discover the truth. And her life will never be the same.
The friend is the story of a countryside town called Tedbury. The protagonist of our story is Sophie. The author has divided suspense into two parallels. In current time Sophie got a call that her son along with another kid was admitted to the hospital. She was on the train when she received the news. During the long train journey, she recalled how she ended up in this situation. So what she recalled? There comes our mysterious character called Emma. A new lady in Tedbury who became Sophie's best friend from the day one. The lady whom disliked by his husband and closed friends but she didn't listen to. It is her (Emma's) past that is bothering current of Sophies's life. A suspense that makes you go through the book.

Coming to writing style, it is a completely different experience for me. I am not kidding when I said I struggle to overcome the benchmark of 70 pages. the book is intermingled with past-present, character-emotion, story-fillers. The books not for beginners. You need to read it with full concentration. Coming to language portion, it is easy to follow. Characterization is brilliant and plots it also excellent. Only weak nerve it the narration style, if you can catch it you will love the book. I fumble for the first 3rd and that has affected my experience overall.

Talking about ratings
  1. Cover - 4/5
  2. Characters - 4/5
  3. Content - 3/5
  4. Concept - 3/5
  5. Overall - 3/5
The book can be found at Amazon and Flipkart
Reviews from other readers can be found at GoodReads

We would like to thank Writers'Melon for providing us the copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Meet Kartik & Ravi - Discussion about their latest book - DareDreamers

Welcome back, Kartik and Ravi you both on our blog. Last time we had a discussion for "The Quest of Sparrows", we had wonderful insights about you and the book. So today we met again for another book "DareDreamers: which is published/released just 2 weeks back. Before we proceed to questions and answers we would like to congratulate you two to be able to crack back-to-back two books' publication with India's one of the leading publishing house (Rupa Books). For our readers who have not checked Ravi & Kartik's book posts follow the links

We will skip basic questions which were covered in the previous interview this time as our readers can always back to the previous post. Let's start with your synergy.

1) I have not read many books by multiple authors, so I am not sure how they cope up with writing. Can you tell us how did you brew idea and then make a story around it as a team? I mean to say is it like one of you is good with words and another with ideas? Do share it with us.
Kartik: We both like walking and walking together is where the genesis of most of our ideas happen. Five years ago, I was struggling with worries about leaving my investment banking job thinking if I had abandoned the race midway or if I had chickened out. We were discussing how I ended up doing investment banking and wasn't sure if it was a true calling. That's when we realized that there's a huge parallel in dad's life when he quit his cushy government job back in the day. It was almost like history was repeating itself and it felt like a coincidence worth writing about. The idea that we wanted to write about was one of choosing your battles and fighting only the ones that mean something to you so that you have the passion and perseverance needed to overcome obstacles. We thought of Rasiq, an amalgamation of Ravi and Kartik, on one of those walks.
It's true that dad is more of an idea machine, a term that I like to use for him. While we were writing the book, he was coming up with one rescue idea every single day! And when you read the book you'll see how nail-biting those are, while being scientifically accurate. He researches a lot for developing those ideas and then writes it out.
Ravi: To add to what Kartik said, we come up with most of these ideas together. Our discussions are like major brainstorming ideas. One of us will share a premature idea and then we both keep bouncing it around till it becomes something beautiful and worth writing about. It doesn't matter whose brainwave it is in the beginning because in the end it's collaboratively produced.
I might be better at coming up with new ideas, but I think Kartik has a better way with the words. The way he fleshes out scenes writes dialogues and very analytically keeps reviewing the plot for loopholes and inconsistencies is mind-boggling. He lives in the world of the characters we are developing and that helps him see them and their actions with an amazing clarity. When we are stuck with some scene, he finds a way forward for the plot more often than not. He says that the characters tell him where to go next!

2) Talking about research around the book "QoS" was more of spiritual fiction, where in this book you have done good research which is visible in character traits? So can you share with us where did you get inspiration from for these characters and plot?
Ravi: I get a lot of my inspiration from characters from people I see around. I like observing people and how they behave. My characters pick up traits from a variety of my observations and interactions. But for the scenes, specifically the rescue missions - the research landed in my lap. With increased global warming or just the nature of our life now, there are too many freak accidents happening around us all the time. Those news reports drew my attention. At the same time, start-ups were coming up for everything - from ordering your groceries to cabs to service men. It made me wonder why not a start-up for saving lives too?
Kartik: My research for the characters is currently very inward looking. I am at a stage where I am finding possibilities of my own behavior through introspection. When I think back over incidents, I love creating scenarios - what would have happened if I had done this, or done that. And then I use it for my characters. That kind of gives my characters a core that is similar to my own but brings in variety from the choices they make. For the scenes and the plot, my research was around physics to make the scenes more real! Also, I spoke to a lot of my friends who are doing their own start-ups to understand how to build business pitches, how investor and client meetings go, etc.
3) I am just giving a hypothetical case. If your book is adapted for a movie/series, can you imagine who would be playing our superheroes role? I need Bollywood names, please.
We would love to see Rajkumar Rao as Rasiq. He's from Delhi and we really like his movies. The intensity and research he brings to his characters are amazing. I also think that he taps into a character's deepest motivations and channelizes them in his acting. We are both huge fans of Rishi Kapoor, so casting him as Rasiq's dad would be perfect. We think Priyanka Chopra would be a good Natasha - she was amazing in the Mary Kom biopic. Aditya Roy Kapoor with curly hair and specs seems like a perfect choice for Nick. For Halka, Rana Daggubati could be a good choice. And perhaps, Vicky Kaushal as Arjun.
4) You made a drastic jump in a genre, from spiritual to entertaining thriller what are you planning next?
Thank you! We are working on a couple of science fiction ideas right now. Hopefully, that'll be our next book. But it's very likely that we are completely absorbed by an idea and write a different book. There's been some demand for a sequel to DareDreamers too. If the response is good, we might do that too!
5) Do share links for our readers.

Youtube Channel: Book Launch Video on our youtube channel

Monday, September 3, 2018

Murder at the Grand Raj Palace - Baby Ganesh Agency - By Vaseem Khan

If a reader is a fan of fast pace novels and if he still loves a medium or slow placed story then mark my word such tales are worth reading. Same is my experience with Vaseem Khan. He is my favorite detective genre author. His stories and concept are unique. "The Baby Ganesh Detective Agency" concept is just awesome. This is my 3rd read in series after "The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra" and "The Perplexing Theft of the Jewel in the Crown", though I have missed "The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star", I was able to cope up this part very easily. I bet you guys can easily start with any part without feeling lost.


Book Blurb
In the enchanting new Baby Ganesh Agency novel, Inspector Chopra and his elephant sidekick go undercover to investigate a murder at Mumbai's grandest hotel.
For a century the iconic Grand Raj Palace Hotel has welcomed the world's elite. From film stars to foreign dignitaries, anyone who is anyone stays at the Grand Raj.
The last thing the venerable old hotel needs is a murder...
When American billionaire Hollis Burbank is found dead - the day after buying India's most expensive painting - the authorities are keen to label it a suicide. But the man in charge of the investigation is not so sure. Chopra is called in - and discovers a hotel full of people with a reason to want Burbank dead.
Accompanied by his sidekick, baby elephant Ganesha, Chopra navigates his way through the palatial building, a journey that leads him steadily to a killer, and into the heart of darkness
Coming to the story part, "Murder at the Grand Raj Palace" revolves around a high profile murder at a high profile event at a high profile location. Fun apart, an American Billionaire was found dead after he bought a multi-million dollar painting at India's grand Art Exhibition in India's most notable hotel. Just like his earlier cases, inspector (I would say Detective) Chopra entered in the case by his ex-colleague from the force. But seniors in the force didn't want to mess things up and were trying to close the case on the name of suicide. The moment Chopra visited the crime scene he was sure that things were not to be taken at face value. With his potent case solving style and fieldwork, he started revealing dark chapters of the victim. As usual, apart from this case, one thing or another kept happening in Chopra's life. In this part, he was just a few days from his marriage anniversary when he took the case. Poppy (his wife) was expecting a grand celebration, landed in the hotel with Irfan and Ganesh. Her entry had also encouraged another incident and Poppy took charge to solve the case (not murder one). Read the book to know more,.

While reading the book whole setup and scenes came into my mind as if watching a movie or series. I wish rights for the same would be sold or series starts soon. So the next time I read I can visualize Chopra and Poppy.

Coming to my personal observations
  • Awesome narration style
  • Easy language
  • Funfilled incidents and nail-biting suspense
  • Single-themed multiple cases
Talking about ratings
  1. Cover - 5/5/
  2. Characters - 4.5/5
  3. Concept - 4.5//5
  4. Overall - 4.5/5
The book can be found at Amazon and Flipkart
Reviews from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Book Review - The Peshwa: The Lion and The Stallion by Ram Sivasankaran

I have bought the kindle copy of "The Peshwa: The Lion and the Stallion" almost 2 years back on 14th July 2016, but copy stayed in my kindle shelf due to unavoidable circumstances called To-Be-Read. We even interviewed Ram Sivasankaran (the author of the book) last year (March 2017), still, we forgot to read the book. But a few weeks back I found this guy giving me scary looks on my Kindle shelf. At last, I took it under "Currently reading". And then it brought hell lot of guilty for me, not to read this book early. Usually, I keep 4-5 books under "Currently Reading " shelf and read them parallelly. But after reading the first few chapters of the book, it made a place in "Currently Only Reading" category. Very few books in the last 2 years were able to become the contender of the category. Though it took me some time to post the review.


Book Blurb
It is the 18th century and despite the dominant Mughal rule, the Maratha Confederacy has established itself as a force to be reckoned with in the Indian Subcontinent. The fragile peace between the two powers is threatened when Balaji Vishvanath Bhat, Peshwa of the Confederacy, foils the plans of Nizam Ul Mulk of the Mughal Empire, and asserts the power of the Marathas. However, little does the Peshwa know that he has dealt the Nizam an unintended wound—one with roots in his mysterious past and one that he would seek to avenge till his last breath. 

When the Peshwa surrenders his life to a terminal illness dark clouds gather over the Confederacy as it is threatened by a Mughal invasion as well as an internal rebellion. 
All the while a passive spectator, the Peshwa’s son, Bajirao Bhat, now needs to rise beyond the grief of his father’s passing, his scant military and administrative experience, and his intense love for his wife and newborn son to rescue everything he holds dear. Will the young man be able to protect the Confederacy from internal strife and crush the armies of the Empire all while battling inner demons? Will he live up to his title of Peshwa?
"The Peshwa" is written around Maratha Confederacy. Peshwa was the title given to Prime Minister (Second to the Chatrapathi - King of Maratha) The protagonist of our story is Bajirao Bhat, son of Peshwa Vishwanath Balajirao Bhat. Balajirao's cunning and clever strategies had made Marathas independent and strong. He was able to relieve Raj Mata (Sahu's Mother) from the clutches of Moghals without shredding single drop of blood. Balaji Vishwanath wanted his son to succeed the title of Peshwa after him and he had trained Rao well for the tasks. But every road has some turns, things were never smooth for Rao after Balaji Vishwanath's death. Moghul self-appointed Vajir Nizam had broken the peace treaties. Treachery of his own people was his biggest threat after he became Peshwa himself. Read the book to know more.

The book is written in 3rd person perspective. The author has a unique narration style. Description and storyline were merged so well that I hardly find a para unnecessary. Starting from prologue to epilogue I was equally engrossed in the story. Language usage is easy to moderate level. You will easily glue to the book and will enjoy it for sure.

This is for movie buffs. I have seen Bhansali's Bajirao Mastani. This book is far better than the movie and this part is kind of prequel to the movie. I was visualizing Ranbeer Singh as Bajirao and Priyanka Chopra as Kashibai. Just for information, the movie contains only one incident of the book (which is also showed differently) actual movie starts where this part ends, I am not sure whether Ram will add Mastani into the story or not.

Talking about ratings
  1. Cover - 4/5
  2. Content-  4/5
  3. Characte5rs - 4.5/5 (for Nizam & Bajirao)
  4. Overall - 4/5 
The book can be found at Amazon and Flipkart
Reviews from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Book Review - 100 Greatest Sportspersons by Kalyani Mookherji

Recently I have started liking real-life short incidents, stories or events about celebrities, businessmen, brands etc. The beauty of this genre is you have freedom of reading book at your liking, your sequence and added benefits of skipping few chapters without affecting overall interest. "100 Greatest Sportspersons" has none such chapters though. The book is worth read for any age group.


Book Blurb
‘Faster, higher, stronger’ is the Olympic motto. But very often the real achievement of a sportsperson is more than breaking and setting records; it is as often about overcoming personal setbacks, changing cultural mind-sets and fighting gender stereotypes. This book brings together 100 such personalities from mid-twentieth century onwards who have not only excelled in their individual fields but more importantly, chartered a new course for others to follow. Through their lives, these men and women have given us a message of inspiration and hope—inspiration to remain committed to our passion and hope that anything is possible if we work hard enough and persevere
As suggested by the title the book contains brief of each sports person's career. The flow of the stories are simple: introductory para, birth & initial upbringing para, followed by their entry into the professional career and their achievements. The final 1-2 paras contain the incidents related to their retirement, awards-accolades and after retirement life. For each player, some unique traits are incidents given at the end of the chapter, which is indeed informative.

Talking about some good points
  • Language usage is damn easy. You can easily read it without many difficulties.
  • The narration style is straightforward. You won't feel bored. And by chance, any character's story won't interest you much you can always skip it.
  • Author has not restricted players from a particular game or country. It is selected based on their persona.
  • It can boost your General Knowledge by 100+ sports/player related facts for sure
  • You can gift this book to almost any age group. Any person above 2nd grade can easily read this book
Some points of improvements
  • Many stories lack life-changing experiences. I mean such high-level celebrities usually have some traits which can be useful as a learning for readers. 
  • Stories seem too short. I felt some of the players didn't get equal canvas. Well, I think the author has to decide so I am not emphasizing on the point.
Stories/chapters I personally liked are - Dhyan Chand, Bille Jean King, Eddy Merckx, Garfield Sobers, Zinedine Zidane, Sachin Tendulkar (How Can I not add him to the list)

Ratings
  1. Cover - 4.5/5 (I loved collage and sketches)
  2. Concept - 3.5/5
  3. Content - 3/5
  4. Overall - 3.5/5
The book can be found at Amazon and Flipkart
Reviews from other readers can be found at GoodReads

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