Friday, January 31, 2020

Book Review - Lipstick by Vish Dhamija

My teammate had reviewed "The Heist Artis" by Vish Dhamija. And he had recommended me to read Vish's work. Before the release of Lipstick, I have seen a feed that the series (Rita Ferreira) was soon gonna be adopted. So when Lipstick's picture came to my social feed I was very excited to read it. I know I had reservations because. I haven't read the first two books of the series Bhendi Bazaar & Doosra. But I have done many times in the past which did with this book and that was to go ahead of this one at least. Now after reading this, I am sure in the near future I will read the first two books as well.


Those who want to directly read this part, don't worry I have done it. And I found 90-95% content independent of previous installments. The only relation you may miss will be crew around Rita & their ongoing challenges which were discussed in previous parts. Crime is completely new. So just grab your chair and read this book.

Well, Lipstick is focused on a serial killer who left no trail of the crime except the red lipstick mark. Rita was called on the case when already their incidents happened. Rita and her team also found case tricky as finding clues was difficult. But every case has its own story so a job for Rita was to catch the killer before toll on innocent (or not) people's lives reached high. On the other hand, Killer got a good stage, I would stage. Those who have read serial killer books knew how important the role of the killer's background. The justification was visible in the book.

Good points
1) Suspense & thrill 
2) Easy language usage
3) Character buildup (I didn't feel that I was missing anything)
4) Medium length

Points of improvements
1) Pace - through the medium pace at places it became too slow
2) Gray conclusion of Killer's past
3) Some repeated conversation between investigators were slowing the pace

Still a nice read worth 3.5 out of 5.

Book links - GoodReadsAmazon & Flipkart

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Book Review - Victims for Sale by Nish Amarnath

If I feel that chasing mythologies or romance is too much for time being, I take refuge in crime thrillers. Recently I had read too many mythologies and wanted to change the pattern. That is when Vandana from Vinfluencers recommended,  "Victims for Sale". The title was interesting and I found the cover scary enough to boost my enthusiasm. The book reached my hands within 3 days and here I am to share my thoughts about the book.


You might read the title twice as I have done. Yes, it is correct, the title indeed is  ‘Victims for Sale’! And if you give it a second thought, you may realize what the title refers to. It probably has something to do with exploitation. The protagonist of our story is Sandy, an Indian girl from a protective family, who wanted to pursue higher studies in London. Her family reluctantly agreed on the condition that she stayed in London with a protective family. Sandy selected the place of Sawant's. When she moved into the house, she started getting creepy feelings. Events that unveiled thereafter were far more sinister than she could have ever bargained for! She found the Sawants were in some way associated with human trafficking. And she just could not go out and declare to the world about the clandestine incidents that were going on. She used her courage and wits to resolve issues that could make a huge difference to vulnerable women and children. Read the book to know more.

Coming to the author’s writing style, I found the pace medium. The author has taken the time to develop characters. Similarly, thrill and suspense also emerged as the story progressed. I like the way the author has avoided mainstream action.  Sandy has been shown as a human with her own weaknesses when it comes to fighting. It is only by using her intelligence combined with an element of luck that she could work resolve the complex issues that are brought out in the book.  One complaint I have is about the way the author has rushed the climax. 

I would give 3.5 out of 5 stars to the book.

Book links - Goodreads, Amazon

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Review of a middle-grade Book - Leatherback and the Strange Place by Shubhra Shah

I was checking the latest book releases on WritersMelon when my 5-year-old saw my mobile screen. The book on screen was "Leatherback and the Strange place". The cover was more than enough to give him the message that the book was his style. He doesn't know much about genres but he can judge what kind of books are meant for kids. He convinced me to go for it. I would like to thank WritersMelon for providing us a review copy in an exchange for an honest review. To my surprise book was taken by my kid and he put it in his collection of storybooks which he called "My Collect-action". He made me read it every night before he sleeps and that's how this short & sweet book which can be read in 2-3 sittings extended for more than a week.


The story is around the family of Sarah and Neel. Sarah had decided to help Tanya to take care of her turtle Leatherback. You may say turtle is the semi protagonist of our story. Unlike his current master Tanya's family, that of Sarah seems distant on the first look. Leatherback found out glitches in the relationship between Sarah's parents. Neel, Sarah's younger brother, lost the ability to speak (not physically though) at age of 5 due to mental trauma in an accident. On another hand, Sarah stuttered while speaking. The arrival of Leatherback can be called good as well as bed omen. As at first, Sara fought against a bully in Spelling competition by defeating her own weakness. But on another side when they reached home they found their mom was kidnapped. Would Leatherback and other pets of the colony help Sara's family to solve this case? Read the book to know more.

Apart from the middle-grade preferable story, the book provides color pages, connect the dots and other interesting activities that kids love. The language is age-appropriate, wherever the author has used the difficult words she has given meaning with usage for kids to learn. The book contains interesting facts about animals & nature. In an, all a must-read or must gift material to kids.

Do buy for your kids if they love to read.

I will give 4.5 out of 5 to this book.

Book links Goodreads, Amazon & Flipkart

Friday, January 24, 2020

Book Review - House of Stars by Keya Ghosh

It was more than 2 months since I touched a love story. When "House of Stars" by Keya Ghosh came in front of me, I simply couldn't avoid it. I read the blurb and it reminded me old movie Andaaz (starring Anil Kapoor, Karishma Kapoor & Juhi Chawla). It has also increased my interest as the book was not a normal rom-com but a combination of action and romance.


The protagonist of our story is Kabir and Diya. Kabir had a feeling for Diya and want to express his feelings to Diya. He had poured his feeling in a letter and had decided to give Diya that letter. He followed her to a mall and about to give her a letter when a tragedy to place. A group of terrorist shoe attacks was failed, entered the mall and took people as hostages. They put forward their demand and to speed up the process they swore to kill a lone person every hour. Amid all this chaos, Kabir wanted to reach Diya to give her letter (in between both characters remembered their own secrets). Unfortunately, Kabir was selected by terrorist got next kill. Read the book to know more.

Good points
  • A fast-paced read
  • A pure Bollywood movie content
  • A good read for any age group
  • Mixed drama
  • Nice cover 
  • Different concept
Points of improvement
  • POV of both had repeated points
  • The climax could have been better
Having said that a good read for beginners and romance lovers.

I will give 3 out of 5 to the book.

Book links Goodreads, Amazon & Flipkart

Thursday, January 23, 2020

A Book Review - Chase Your Life Dreams by Alka Dixit

For a fiction lover like me, nonfiction always throws challenges. Especially self-help becomes heavy for us. That's why I have become choosy in selecting self-help. I try to take books with good examples and proper exercises. I loathe theories and fundas. I selected "Chase your life Dreams" after proper research and checking reviews of fellow bloggers. They claimed a book full of examples and charts, and such nonfictions always catch my attention. 


As I mentioned just now, the author Alka has divided the content into small chapters. Every topic is properly described. And to keep readers' attention intact, she has highlighted bullet points. Short stories accompanying these chapters keep interest quotient high. Alka has shared multiple experiences from her life, which give you proper examples of what she is trying to say. And at the end of each chapter, you will find an exercise to rewind the topic. In short, properly planned and engaging content awaits its readers.

In today's competitive world you will find hell lot of negativity around us. Alka has strictly asked readers to stay away from this negativity. To cling to positivity to sail your life's ship is one of the major learning from the book. Overall a short read. Lucid flow & easy language made the book an ideal pick for beginners. The regular readers may find it slightly below their expectations, but I still found it better than the so-called self-help being sold by some bestselling authors.

I will give 3.5 out of 5 to this book.

Book links - Goodreads, Amazon and Flipkart

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Ramayana: The Game of Life - Radiate Confidence by Shubha Vilas - a Book Review

I have read all parts of "Ramayana - The Game of Life" by Shubha Vilas. There is a charm in Shubha Vilas's writing. His books can be read multiple ways
1) If you ignore footnotes and chapter's summary, you have a religious read. Consider it as a compact Valmiki Ramayana in English with the proper story flow
2) If you read only chapter summaries, you have anecdotes of successful personal, professional & spiritual life.
3) If you read the whole book, you have a complete combo of learning with entertainment. Well for me 3rd is the case. And instead of just reading I try to digest it. That's why I take more time to read his books.


Radiate Confidence has covered Sundarkand, the portion where Hanumana takes center stage. It contains details of Hanumana's adventures into Lanka. As most of us know what all happens during this visit, How Hanumana met Vibhishana, How he gave assurance to Devi Sita, and how he set Lanka on fire, so I am not giving more details.  All these stories along with deep behavioral analysis of each character are covered in this book.

I have already provided general facts and marvel of Shubha Vilas, so not repeating it again. It is easy to read, learn from and apply in life. Just for information, If you are close followers of Shubha Vilas books you will find that this same the Game Of Life series was being promoted with different titles for first 3 volumes, with 4th volumes author had rebranded woke series with different title & covers. Well, I liked both concepts. Coming to the ratings nothing below 5 is justified for this book as well as series.

Book links - GoodreadsAmazon & Flipkart

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Finale of Asoka Trilogy - the Nemesis of Kalinga by Shreyas Bhave

I have read 3 books by Shreyas Bhave in the last 3 years. Two of them were the first two parts from Asoka Trilogy. And I must say he has created not-to-put-down series. The way he has described two parallels one for Chandragupta & another for Ashoka has made the series jaw-dropping. And perfect jugglery between two parallels makes you stick to the book till the last page.


The part two ended up at high tempo with Asoka & Chandragupta acclaimed the throne of Magadha. And Chanakya fueled both of them to become Chakravartin (emperor). But in both parallels, something went not as per Chanakya's plan. Malayketu met Amatya Rakshasha & Radhagupta was found alive with Devi in Kalinga. Where Chandragupta was more obedient to Chanakya, Asoka was subdued under alcohol & sexual pleasure. And during those trying times many of the allies (friends) were attacked by Chanakya. Was that a part of a larger game of Chanakya or was he trying to take absolute control in his hands? Such questions were cleared as the story progressed. Do read the book to know more about twists & turns.

As always writing style of Shreyas is smooth & fluid. You won't be stuck on a page as the story won't allow you to do so. The way Shreyas takes you from one peak moment of the story to another parallel you cannot put the book down. The length of the story is apt for the finale. Overall a nice read and satisfied climax for the trilogy.

I will give 4 out 5 to the Nemesis of Kalinga. 

And 4.5 out of 5 to Asoka Trilogy.

Book links - Goodreads, Amazon & Flipkart

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Book Review - Kali Yuga The Ascension

Being a fan of mythification I don't lose the chance of reading or reviewing one, no matter how overloaded I am. In one such week, I got a recommendation from my acquaintance from the publishing industry, the book cover and blurb were interesting enough to accept the book. Three days back I planned to make a schedule for the second half of the month's read when I checked blurb again to decide the exact date of reading for this book. But one thing led to another and I ended up reading 3 chapters in 15 minutes. I put aside the schedule and took "Kali Yuga The Ascension"  under the current read.



"Kaliyuga" is a unique mix of fantasy, mythology & sci-fi. I am not sure in which basket I should put the book. The mace - Gada shown on the cover picture is kind of core theme of the story. This Gada is Mahashakti Gada, last used by Anjaneya, last avatar of Lord Rudra. When Anjaneya left the physical realm he left responsibilities of securing Gada & train next avatar on lord Parshurama. The story started with a celebration of Anjaneyautsav that brings all 5 major clans together where they do a friendly match between warriors. Bheema is one of the central characters who wanted to claim the title of Anjaneya by lifting mighty Gada (though righteously). His father Vajra was also having high expectations from Bheema. But Rangbhoomi was opened for other candidates as well. During this time of celebration, the chances of an attack from the army of Rahu & Ketu posed a bigger threat, which had put Anjaneyasena on high alert. On top of that, Vajra & his wife were expecting another child (Dheeish), and people around had great hope from that child as well. Do read the book to know what happened during Utsav.

I haven't repeated blurb by giving the name of clans & history of Gada. I have given minimal glimpses of the story and concealed spoilers at the best. Coming to the writing style, it is a smooth fast-paced story with easy language usage. An ideal read for fantasy lovers. Even a Beginner can enjoy the book.

Characters of the book are well planned. I would say the author could have used less number of characters or tribes for a short book like this. Having said that, I don't mean you will find unnecessary characters in the story. A mix of mythology, fantasy & sci-fi is unique and will give you full throttle reading experience. Just don't miss it.

I will give 4 out of 5 to this book.

Book links - Goodreads, Amazon

Sunday, January 12, 2020

HARAPPA: Curse of the Blood River by Vineet Bajpai

I have been seeing this book on the Internet for the last 4 years. I was yearning to read it so badly. We were not able to get our hands on this book series earlier. And if we had bought these books, we might have to postpone reading due to a long list of review requests. Recently we have declined multiple requests as we are being choosy now. So now I am getting enough time for reading. This means I can take long-awaited books, and Harappa is the front runner in the queue.


The story of Harappa runs in two parallel. One in current time 2017 and another in 1700 BC (of course in Harappa metropolis). So it would be obvious we will have two protagonists. The protagonist of the current time is Vidyut and Harappa's time is Vivasan Pujari. Both are considered and worshiped as half-human & half god. In 1700 BC when Vivasan was about to become a head priest one of the highest titles of Aryavarta, a sinister plan was being hatched by the wife of Vivasan's brother-in-law's wife. Things became sinister as plan rolled into the action. To add the complexity in the situation river Saraswati (called Maa Saaraa by people of Harappa) was coming to Harappa with never heard of the flood. In recent times, Vidyut a well established digital age entrepreneur got a call from Purohit Ji (a person who had raised Vidyut). Vidyut went to Kashi to meet his dying grandfather Dwarka Shashtri Ji. This incident rolled the dies for a great war. And dark forces came into the action. Read the book to know more.

I am glad I got a chance to read this book. The book has matched my expectations exactly. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Starting from the first page to the last one I kept swiping pages (I was reading on Kindle so - swiping) Writing style is a mix of action, thriller, suspense, drama & fantasy. All these ingredients were mixed with historical facts to make a perfect Indian recipe. Well, I don't mind agreeing with the author's Idea of British propaganda of holding back Indian history, possibilities are high that this might have happened. This has created a bug of curiosity in me to check any literature or documentary available on these controversies or not.

Coming to plot visualization, Vineet has done a fantastic job. He has knitted wonderful characters in both timelines around a plot to grip his readers. As I have read in social media rights for the movie production for this series are sold and maybe Hritik Roshan will play the lead role. I am anticipating that we can see tall, muscular Hritik as Vivasan & Vidyut.

A perfect read for vacation, holiday, work or any free time. Because if you read it while work is going on, you may not be able to concentrate on your work properly. :)

Ratings
1. Cover - 3.5/5
2. Concept - 5/5
3. Content - 4.5/5
4. Characters - 4.75/5
5. Overall - 5/5

Book links - Goodreads, Amazon & Flipkart

Friday, January 10, 2020

Book Review - Saraswati's Intelligence - The Kishkindha Chronicles 1

We bookworms are unpredictable, at the time we wanted to read a certain book so much that we spent too much time & money after a book. And some of those books didn't get a chance to get read by us for the next few months or years. One such book was "Saraswati's Intelligence". I had this book for almost 3-4 years, the book belongs to one of my favorite genres of Indian Mythological / Historical fiction. But somehow it reached a place called shelved. Once it reached there I didn't see it till last summer. With guilt feeling, I promised the book that it will be finished by winters. Luckily when I got my Kindle Unlimited membership, it was one of the books that got my interest. As I was having hardcopy but not able to give proper justice, I decided to finish it on Kindle. And now I regret why I have not read it earlier.


You may have read many versions of Ramayana, in some, you will find Ram as a hero where in some you will find Ravana as a hero. You may have read books dedicated to Hanumana, Sugriva or even Vali. But Saraswati has brought a completely new perspective. The story started with Kishkindha (shown as the whole Bharat Varsha) kingdom, which was dominated by Animals, mainly Monkeys, Elephants, etc. They have their languages and can communicate with other animals. Remember there is no sign of men when the story started. Hanuman is our protagonist, who belonged to one of the strongest monkey clan in Kishkindha. His father Kesari was king & Riksharaja (mother of Vali & Sugriva) was queen. All these clans were strictly following Param Dharma, which was broken when Sugreeva met an accident. Laws were so strict that even the son of Queen or King couldn't be barred from it. They went to a Rishi (again a Monkey race) called Vishwamitra, who took them towards north from where Vishwamitra found some troubling signs. He took the help of Elephant clan and reached the point which could have been the root cause of these signs. What they found was so violent & ruthless that they had to break their years of the vow of nonviolence. Read the book to know more.

Talking about the pace, the book started at a slow pace. Later on, it shifted to a medium pace. The pace increased during the war. Later on, it was adjusted back to medium. The book started with cryptic ways, an accident of Sugreeva & usage of "Aparachara" was confusing initially. Later on, it got cleared. I advise you to have patience and keep faith in the story, it will reveal you confusing portions. It happened to me. But I am so awestruck by the imagination of the author that I kept turning pages after pages. The book is full of wonderful life-changing, motivation quotations, conversation & examples. The way animal and their harmony are showed it make us think about what we are doing on the earth in the name of living.

I would say all mythological book lovers must read this book at least once. I don't want to give away the biggest secret but read it and know who is the biggest threat to nature in ancient times & even in the current era.

Rating wise
  1. Cover - 5/5
  2. Concept - 5/5
  3. Characters - 4/5
  4. Content - 4/5
  5. Overall - 4/5
Book links - Goodreads, Amazon & Flipkart

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Book review - Kaalkoot by S. Venkatesh

Many of the book bloggers have praised "Kaalkoot" and I was fascinated by the readership that attracted it has attracted. Unfortunately, I was not able to get a review copy of the book. Well, we were not disappointed as we had our hands full of other books. Last month when we got Kindle Unlimited, we started with our longlist wishlist of books, Kaalkoot was in top position and we read it in the first month of our KU. Yes, it is not a review read but rather a choice read.


I am not sure which part of the plot should I give as any of them can be a spoiler. To give my reader crux, I can say that the Indian Intelligence force (anti-conspiracy group) came to know multiple underground warlords/dictators/ganglords were visited in India. So ACG asked one of their best resources, Damini, to chase the trail, she is one of the protagonists of the story. On another side somewhere in Kolkata, a professor received a call from a guy who just returned from Himalayan Trek. This professor along with his friend are looking for a long lost treasure (hidden by a mysterious person a few decades back). Multiple assassinations and kidnapping happened in a short time, which had brought another protagonist, Sam, whose girlfriend was also kidnapped. Will these two protagonists able to find out how things were linked? Check out the book to know more about what is Kaalkoot and a hidden secret.

The plot design is just great, starting from the first page to the last page I was in a rollercoaster of thrill, suspense & excitement. The tempo of the pace & excitement was not gone down even for a moment. I just gulped down the book in 3 days (I was damn busy in those 3 days still got time). If I had been traveling or got free time, I would have finished it in half a day. The language used is easy to follow and good for most of the age group. Linking of clues, plots & characters were fantastic. Though few bits here and there, it was a complete combo of delight. I recommend this book to every action/thriller reader. Timing in climax and results were somewhat ambiguous but I cannot discuss here.

Talking about ratings
  1. Cover - 4/5
  2. Concept - 3.5/5
  3. Character - 3.75/5
  4. Content - 4/5
  5. Overall - 3.75/5
Book links - Goodreads, Amazon & Flipkart

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Book Review - Made in China by Parinda Joshi

We have watched "Made in China" before reading the book. I know for a bookworm like us the ritual is a book first then Adaption (movie/series). You may not believe that's the only reason we haven't watched Game of throne. The only exception is Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Coming. Back to MIC, here book was released after the movie so even if we wanted we had to wait for the book to release. So we went ahead. Before we move ahead I would like to congratulate Parinda Joshi for converting her book in the movie especially in India where movies are adapted from everywhere except books. 


Book Blurb
Raghu Mehta is a desperate man. His handicraft imports business has unexpectedly collapsed and cash is drying out quickly, his wife thinks he is a loser and society considers him irrelevant. Meanwhile, his closest friends and family all seem to be running flourishing businesses and living luxurious lives in Surat, the diamond capital of India.
A trip to China to scout for a new consumer goods business offers a glimmer of hope. But Raghu instead gets sucked into the black-market trade in the back alleys of Beijing. Everything about this new opportunity goes against his god-fearing, vegetarian, middle-class mindset - can he quash his natural instincts to make a success of it?
Darkly comical, 'Made in China' is a soul-stirring and thrilling entrepreneurial journey of a man willing to do anything he can to make it big.
The book covers the story of Raghu who was of never die attitude. The entrepreneurship was flowing in his blood, even after multiple failed ideas, he dreamed of one successful click. He got his chance when he went to China, during that time he met a true inspirational angel investor. He came back to India with an idea, but his idea required an expert. That where Doctor Vardhi came into the story and rest is a funny journey to the last page. Read the book to know more.

What we saw lacking in the movie was covered in the book. My thirst to know more about Raghu was satisfied. 

The writing style was simple. I found the flow of the story sluggish at places. The character of Raghu took a major platform then comes Vardhi & Radhu's wife. A combination of black humor and reality have created a good entertainment.

I will give 4/5 to "Made in China".

Book Links - Goodreads, Amazon & Flipkart

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