Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Thriller - Caged by Onaiza Khan

Onaiza Khan when she first sent me friend request on GoodReads, I thought she must be a book-lover like me. But I didn't expected a cute looking girl (she looks not more than 15 in below picture) could have bundle books / movies / series and can make a good story out of it.

Yes, I am talking about book 'Caged'. When she first sent me book for unbiased review, I checked book details on GoodReads and also did google about author. And what I found was amazing. it's not a selfpublish book but Onaiza was winner of the story peak contest.

Blurb of the book
"Keep your mind right, put your body in action and let your spirit guide you.”
These are the words keeping her sane after her husband kidnaps her, tearing her away from her life in India and keeping her captive in Northern Canada.
But after three months with only a servant, a television and the screams of another captive keeping her company, she begins to lose touch with reality - even forgetting her own name.
I her struggle to escape, she discovers an inner strength and powers previously unknown realigning her past, present and future. 
Story started with a girl who was locked by her husband directly after their marriage. She has already spent 3 months in that room. She had all the luxury in that room, but her world was confined in that room. She hated her husband for this betrayal. Surprisingly she didn't remember few substaintial parts of her life like her name, family members' names, phone numbers. She recently started hearing screams of another captive that her husband brought. Whenever she didn't comply with her husband, she will hear another guys screams. And she was feeling guilty about it. During this period few strange things started taking place. Her husband started being nice to her, she got first series of 'the Lost', she found lock of library (inside her room) was open. Things became more and more mysterious. (Book and story is short so I don't want to spoil it)

If you read it further you will find Onaiza was influensed by Heroes series. But to keep reader interested author has kept adding twist and turns after every few pages (though many of them were obvious for me). There were few flaws in plot specially at end. I felt Onaiza has not given proper justice to climax which could have been better. But overall a good book. Talking about ratings:
  1. Cover - 4 / 5 
  2. Language - 3.5 / 5 
  3. Story Line - 3.5 / 5 (Simple and expected at times)
  4. Concept - 3 / 5 (Combination of supernature series)
  5. Characters - 3 / 5
  6. Overall - 3.5 / 5
Book can be found at - Amazon
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Colorful Notions The RoadTrippers 1.0

After reading "Monkeys, Motorcycles, and Misadventures" I started linking adventure & travelling books. "Colorful Notion: The RoadTrippers 1.0" was able to create similar impact on my. The moment I got my hands on the book I went through first few pages of the book and author Mohit Goyal has done splendid job by placing road-trip plan on 3rd page itself, which has increased my interest even further. 

Blurb of the book (which I found little bit boring)
Would you give up your high-paying job and comfortable personal life to drive ten thousand km across India? Just for fun! Three twenty-somethings dare to do just that! While the two guys take turns to drive, the girl gives voice-over as they record their entire journey on a handycam.
Ab, Sasha and Unnati are ordinary youngsters, rendered special by the feat they accomplish. As they recount their adventures, I crave to live their journey all the more. They look at each other with a glint in their eyes, as if refurbishing those memories, as they narrate their spooky time at Bhangarh Fort, strange escapades at Wagah Border and Sundarbans, car breakdowns, wild animals, near-death experiences and highway robbers! It's nothing less than crazy.
I doubted if I'd ever have the gumption to create such experiences. So I did the next best thing - I penned a book about them, and their roadtrip.
Story started with Abhay. A guy suffered emotionally because of his parents divorce. His best friend Shashank was the only person whom he considered family. Shashank a foodie fat guy who is settled in his family business was bored of his monotonous life. Only color in Shashank's life was his girlfriend Unnati. Abhay made a plan of road trip. A crazy road trip, starting from Delhi to North - West - South - East India, covering more than 25 locations & more than 10000 thousands KM. Abhay convinced both Shashank as well as Unnati's family for the trip. Their concept kicked off and got finance from main-stream media house production. Through out their trip their bonds deepen and became each other support. They even had self-realisation experience. 
Following would be the high light point of the book:
  • Book was written in Bollywood style (someone can make movie out of it)
  • As I said Bollywood style, I found it lacking in trip detailing due to over-concentration on drama
  • At place story was witty and can make you laugh
  • Best parts of book were : Bhangarh fort, Wagah Border, Hyderabad, Sundarbuns, Bodhigaya, Agra-Delhi Highway
Talking about ratings:
  1. Cover - 4 / 5 (0.5 less for boring blurb)
  2. Language - 3.5 / 5 (Smooth for given genre)
  3. Story Line - 3 / 5 (Marks deducted specially for less detailing of trip)
  4. Concept - 4.5 / 5
  5. Characters - 4 / 5
  6. Overall - 4 / 5
Book can be found at - Amazon
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

I won a review copy from The Tales Pensieve as part of Reviewers Programme. Register on #TTP for lots of #book fun and activities.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Courting Injustice: The Nirbhaya Case and Its Aftermath

Its not quality of the book, but the reader's mindset that matters to appreciate book and authors effort behind book. "Courting Injustice - The Nirbhaya Case and it's Aftermath" is one such book. Topic of the book and seriousness of it's content was too much for me to finish the book.

Blurb of the book -
In this partnership between so-called equals, which can be compared to a polyandrous marriage. The Supreme Court is the woman and Parliament and the Executive her two husbands, one more loutish that the other, depending on your point of view. ........................ The time has come. It cannot continue to remain 'business as usual'. There will be justice for Nirbhaya. Our 'brave heart' will also bring justice and relief to all her sisters and possibly, even to the rest of us. (I have skipped very length blurb, you can refer any of the page as mentioned at bottom to check complete blurb)
Author has started book with case of Nirbhaya. He mentioned what had happened on that day. And how it could have been avoided if system was followed religiously. In next few chapters author mentioned other serious crimes against women (irrespective of their age). There was need or urgency to take some action against such crime. Author then explained how seriously people and government took it. Committee were formed to look into the matter and prepare a report with proper legal suggestions. From there author took us deep into those reports and listed following few things.
  • How rigorously study was conducted? - Interview of various victims and road dwellers who have seen such crimes on day-to-day bases
  • Which all new crimes (against women) came under umbrella of new law?
  • Penalties were reconsidered for each crime.
Author also pointed out how previously gender neutral definitions of rape crime were changed to female specific rape crime.

In parallel to this book I was reading 'How to choose your lawyer and win your case' by same author. Language and explanation in the book was completely different than this book. I had high hopes for simpler & lighter content and may be that was the reason I might have left book unfinished.

I don't want to rate this book individually as I haven't finished it. But overall I can give 3/5 star.

Book can be found at - Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

I won a review copy from The Tales Pensieve as part of Reviewers Programme. Register on #TTP for lots of #book fun and activities.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

How to Choose a Lawyer And Win Your Case

I have rarely finished self-help book, but Rajesh Talwar has changed it for me. 'How to Choose a Lawyer - And Wind Your Case' was written with such an easy language (not talking about English) with help of examples I was not just able to finish it, but I devoured it in 3 sittings. Big achievement for me.

Talking about blurb of the book
If you wish to win a legal case, a part of the story is about engaging the right lawyer and handling him well. This book explains in an easy-to-understand style how to choose the right lawyer and how to improve the odds of winning your case. When to file a case... and when not to do so What does winning a case really mean When not filing a case can be 'winning' a case When compromising with the other side is a win-win case How you can help your lawyer win your case What to look for in a lawyer - and how to find one How best to utilise your lawyer's skills - and how much to pay him What you can expect from your lawyer - and what you shouldn't Professional rules of conduct every lawyer is bound to adhere to A lawyer's duties to his clients How to avoid unscrupulous lawyers Simply written and with examples of some high-profile contemporary cases, this book will be a big help for anyone caught up in litigation.
Author has properly discussed following points in this book
  • When will we need a lawyer?
  • What are roles of a lawyer?
  • What should be the qualification of lawyer?
  • How to choose a lawyer?
  • Types of lawyer and their requirement in system
  • When to fight a case and when not to?
  • What are dos and don'ts when your case is going in court?
  • Payment settlement with lawyer.
  • Where to complain about lawyer and how?
I would say author has given more importance to "what not to do" over "what to do". Book was written with keeping normal people in mind. Author has tried his best to explain with example where he has quoted lines from law book. It's really an informative and helpful book.

Talking about ratings:
  • Cover - 4 / 5
  • Language - 4 / 5 (Specially for examples and explanations)
  • Content - 3.5 / 5 
  • Helpfulness - 4 / 5 (Adding it for self-help category)
  • Overall - 3.5 / 5
Book can be found at - Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

I won a review copy from The Tales Pensieve as part of Reviewers Programme. Register on #TTP for lots of #book fun and activities.

Monday, November 14, 2016

A Play on AIDS by Rajesh Talwar

High Fidelity Transmission - A term used in Sexually Transmitted Diseases, where usually one person from couple get disease from other due to high faith in other person. Rajesh Talwar has given a suitable title for a play addressing common issues around AIDS.

Blurb of the play -
Raju, a young college student visits Delhi’s red light area with a friend to celebrate his examination results. Soon after his visit he gets involved in a relationship with Ulfat who teaches at his college. Ulfat is trapped in a bad marriage with Hoover, a lawyer who has recently joined hands with his doctor friend Falooda to set up an NGO that will work on AIDS related issues.
Unknown to Raju, he has contracted AIDS and he passes it on to Ulfat. When Hoover learns of his wife’s infidelity he throws her out of the house. She moves into Raju's small studio flat. They seek advice from Elisabeth, a nun who distributes condoms in the red light area. As a result of her help they go to visit Dr Falooda’s clinic to try to obtain anti-retroviral drugs free of cost. Meanwhile, Hoover and Falooda are in search of patients on whom to test a so-called AIDS vaccine as the behest of an American doctor, Dr Carlos, who promises them introductions to funding agencies.
A work of imagination, the play nevertheless reflects realities of the AIDS situation in a country that today has the highest number of HIV positive persons
I think blurb has rightly collected story line. So I am not focusing on that. Author has given good shape to characters, and narrated each scene really well. Things that pointed out by author
  • How faith on partner or luck can change your life? - Raju tried his luck at red light area while Ulfat had faith on Raju's innocence.
  • How AIDS related donations are manipulated? - Hoover and Dr Falooda were just an example.
  • How people are exploiting HIV/AIDS patience on name on anti-retroviral drugs?
  • What ground work is actually happening in field of AIDS?
Things that can improve
  • As usual author lack in naming appropriately characters in story
  • Some time line were vague. (Sync between two plots timeline were mismatch, not as important though)
Overall I would say a good read. Talking about ratings:
  1. Cover - 3 / 5
  2. Language - 4 / 5 
  3. Story Line - 3 / 5 (I found some mismatch in timeline)
  4. Characters - 3 / 5 (Names of the characters could have been better)
  5. Overall - 3.5 / 5
Book can be found at - Amazon
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

I won a review copy from The Tales Pensieve as part of Reviewers Programme. Register on #TTP for lots of #book fun and activities.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Scars Do Heal by Shilpa Menon

My wife got Scars do Heal by Shilpa Menon almost six months back and she declined to read the book. And frankly speaking, somehow title and cover didn't look appealing enough to start it. I was expecting age old boring love story. Well it is a love story but not boring though. Surprisingly it was a smooth and fast one.

Synopsis of the book:
Sonal Kapoor is a reserved, hardworking entrepreneur running a florist boutique in London. She fights a paradoxical battle between her responsibilities at work and her only family there - her mother. And caught in between these is a story of Sonal's past - a terrible event that got her to flee India. Scars from her troubled past continues to manifest in multitude of ways, reminding her constantly about that horrific event.
Serendipity happens when Dr. Ryan Percy enters her life and Sonal is challenged in ways she had never imagined. Ryan turns out as everything from Sonal's quintessential definition of the man of her dreams - BUT, Ryan too comes to the party with his own baggage from the past. A pivotal piece in the jigsaw of their lives appears to be missing. Could their puzzling lives be ever completed by each other? Do they complete or destroy each other? 
Story in my words :
Sonal Kapoor, a successfull professional became rape victim. She left her India and settled in London. After six to seven years of psychological and business struggle she reach to a kind of stable life. Story started a this point though. (don't worry her past is revealed in first 3-4 chapters only). Sonal has made her mind of not getting into anykind of relationship with men. Dr Percy entered into her life with new hope.

With help of Sonal's mom and other friends Percy became Sonal friend. They started meeting on various occasions. But Sonal's past was stopping her to get relationship to next level. During this period her mother get heart attack and Percy took care Sonal and her mother. Sonal open up to Percy during this phase. They fell for each other. From this point onwards, Percy showed her unconditional love which heal her fear and anxiety. 

Book was written in Bollywood (Karan Johar or Aditya Chopara) movie style. But for a change is was better efforts for romance genre specially as debut work. Talking about ratings:
  1. Cover - 3 / 5
  2. Language - 3 / 5 
  3. Story Line - 3.5 / 5
  4. Characters - 3.5 / 5
  5. Overall - 3.5 / 5
Book can be found at - Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Bearded Prince by Rajesh Talwar

The Bearded Prince made me feel like watching Disney's animation movies. Those movie stories were age old, short and simple, but they always stick you till end. Rajesh Talwar has tried to create similar short stories in fantasy land of Fadidad.

Blurb of the book goes like this
After much persuasion, Princess Roopali, ‘the beautiful one’, agrees to have a swayamvara. This is an ancient Indian ceremony in which an unmarried girl who has come of age chooses a husband from among several suitors. According to the tradition, at the end of the ceremony, the princess is required to place a marigold garland around the neck of the prince she has decided to marry. She is happy to meet with all the princes who will attend the ceremony, and are keen to be chosen by her. She explains to her parents, the king and queen that she does not, however, wish to meet anyone with a beard. Over the past few years there have been a string of armed robberies by a gang of tough-looking bearded thugs. The princess has come to dislike beards. Her father, the king, explains to her that it would be discourteous for them not to extend an invitation to any eligible prince, but he would be surprised if any of them still sported a beard. Will Princess Roopali find the prince of her dreams? A delightful tale set in Ancient India the story provides a window into an exotic culture and will appeal to children from all age groups – particularly those from the ages of five to one hundred.
As blurb mentioned, a beautiful princess Roopali. She was artist by nature. She likes to paint portrait which shows positivity. She lives with limited staff and with her dog 'Jhumroo'. Her parents convince her to marry to provide heir to kingdom as she was the only child of the king. Grand 'Swayamvara' was arranged for the same. Princess has thought about the qualities of gonna-be husband, the must thing she wanted in his partner was he should should not have beard. (As per story, few bearded looters have spread violence and chaos in her and neighbouring kingdoms. Everyone was staying away from bearded person.) During Swayamvara, Roopali met with 15 different princes and at the end decided to marry a bearded prince.

One can gift this book to kids for some moral learning. Only thing I didn't like was the name author used for characters and kingdoms. Names were very childish and make you feel like someone have just made out without thinking twice. Overall, I would say its a good night time story for kids.

Talking about ratings:
  1. Cover - 3 / 5
  2. Language - 2 / 5 (Easy for kids as well)
  3. Story Line - 3 / 5
  4. Characters - 3 / 5 
  5. Overall - 3 / 5
Book can be found at - Amazon
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

I won a review copy from The Tales Pensieve as part of Reviewers Programme. Register on #TTP for lots of #book fun and activities.