Friday, 23 December 2016

Six Minutes of Terror by Nazia Sayed and Sharmeen Hakim: a review

11th of July 2006 was one day that shook everyone and even though back then, all I knew of the incident was faint stuff my mother had told me. Over the years, I went on read more and more about that incident and the many others that happened as such. 10 years and a few months from that date, it is 2016 when I get to see that there’s this book on the same terror attacks that has come up. When I laid my first glance at it, I knew that I had to read it no matter what and I knew this nonfiction title, Six Minutes of Terror by Nazia Sayed and Sharmeen Hakim would be one informative ride. For the ones who are reading this right now, here’s for you the blurb of the book.

According to the blurb- 7/11: the day Mumbai came to a standstill. The Mumbai train bombings on 11 July 2006 were one of the deadliest attacks the city had seen after the 1993 blasts. The terror strike aimed to cripple the city by disrupting its lifeline- the local train network. A series of seven explosions in a span of only sex minutes at seven railway stations rocked the financial capital of India, killing 189 and injuring over 800. Six minutes of terror is the first investigative book that presents a blow by blow account of the events that led to the onslaught. It profiles the people involved in the blasts and describes how the plot was unearthed by the police. Superbly researched with painstaking detail, the book tries to delve into the minds of the home grown terrorists- who wreaked unprecedented havoc and claimed innocent lives- ten years after the horrifying attacks.

I would start my take on the book by taking a note of the authors of the book. While Nazia Sayed had been a crime reporter, Sharmeen is a legal correspondent. When you get to read something written by them about an event that shook the nation, you are sure to find it interesting and worth the time that you spend on the book. Saying that, the authors have chosen a suiting title for the book, six minutes of terror. The title catches the attention along with the eye grabbing front cover. I mention ‘eye grabbing’ because it is seen that a majority of nonfiction titles don’t have such catchy covers.

The book starts with a sketch. Of the trains and the bombings along with the time that the blasts happened. Now this is a very interesting thing because it helps sketch out what the whole idea is and what had actually happened. What I loved about the sketch is that it is perfectly labelled. Then follows a timeline of events that happened from 2001 to 2015 which makes it easier and more interesting to read. For a person (there are very few of them, though) who doesn’t know about the incident, this serves as the perfect book for a complete knowledge on the topic.

Now, the story. Do I have to say about it? I will refrain. What I would rather speak of is the presentation. The way event by event and point of view by point of view the whole book is presented to the readers, they can’t help but be interested about it and they would feel like knowing more about it. The questions, each one of them that might have arisen are answered through the book. The language that it is written is very easy to read and even the layman would be able to read it. Detail is the key and this book proves that to its readers. Somewhere down the book, there are pictures of a few people. Terrorists, blasts, survivors and I would say that this is one thing that would make this book all the more worthwhile. If I have to speak of the cons of the book then I couldn’t find any. For me, this must read is 5 out of 5.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

You are my reason to smile by Arpit Vageria: a review

I remember the first time I had seen the cover of Arpit Vageria's latest, You are my reason to smile and I will not lie if I say that I smiled at the cover. Done in one of my favorite shades of green, the title caught my attention at first glimpse. Having read and liked his last, I couldn't help but get my hands on an early copy of the book.

According to the blurb- Ranbir is a dreamer, he has a well-paying job, but his aspirations are higher. He is a good lover, he adores Adah and can forego any comfort of the world for her sake. But even then, he is not happy. Because his true calling is not in the corporate, it’s in writing. After much deliberation, he takes the plunge and leaves his job to write full-time. While he struggles for balance, Adah also starts keeping herself away. Was she really in love with him and was it just a facade? 
Amidst all this confusion, Pihu Sharma enters his life – his first ever fan, who seems to be head over heels in love with him. While Ranbir’s equation with Adah deteriorates, Pihu leaves behind her luxurious life to shift in with him. Is this the true love Ranbir had been waiting for? Join Ranbir as he makes his way through a world that kills for money and dies for love.

The blurb, written in a typical Arpit Vageria style tells everything about the book but then again, do not judge the book. The book is much more than what the blurb says. And the book is interesting, I guarantee. I would start off by saying that the introduction or rather, the first chapter grips the reader to the T and it is from there that we, as a reader get to be engrossed with Ranbir, the character.

Having said that, coming to the story. The story, as the blurb might seemingly give an idea, sounds something that you might've read but once you are done with the book, this feeling goes away. Slowly and steadily taking place and majorly written from Ranbir's point of view, this book speaks of love. Not only love, of the things that come and go with it. It might seem predictable, probably to an extent it is but the twists are not.

Talking about the characters, even though Ranbir is the major character in the book, I loved his best friend, Lakshya the most. They might just set friendship goals through the book. Adah and Pihu were characters who I'll leave to you as readers, to judge. Given the fact that the protagonist in the book wants to become a full time writer (which I am) this book has a special connect for me.

Now the flaws of the book. Well, with the interesting story line, strong characters and all the elements that the author had, I expected the book to be more tight and yet paced. There were errors in the book which can be forgiven and it doesn't stare at your face. The expectations are superbly high from the author and so even though I'm not disappointed, I won't say that I'm satisfied. The author, in the meanwhile could work on his narration skills a bit more. For me, this book is 3.25 out of 5 expecting so much more from the author from his next.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Dawn at Dusk by Gaurav Sharma: a review

I remember the first time I had seen the cover of the book. It excluded one word from me - "interesting" ! And more than the cover, the title brought forth the exclamation. Soon, Gaurav Sharma's 3rd book Dawn at Dusk was in my hands and I turned to the blurb.

According to the blurb- Yet to go through an ordeal, the millionaire scion Aradhaya is much cossetted only son of Talukdars. Suddenly, his life gets upended when he loses his parents and is deceived by the girl he married. In his attempt to overcome, he falls for Sambhavi, who is a renowned writer and professor, because he sees her as the shadow of his mother. Sambhavi lays her condition. Aradhaya gives up too soon. Distraught, he leaves his house in search of peace and starts a life of a recluse among the people with little means and ambitions until his love for Sambhavi guides and inspired him to do something extraordinary. What does he do? What course does his life take? Does Sambhavi accept him? Let's hear Aradhaya's story.

With such an interesting and calming cover, the blurb acts as a beautiful cherry on the cake. Seemingly a story with a difference and having read the author with his debut, I had a lot of expectations from the book. With the beautiful prologue, you know that you are in for a surprise. As I had always liked about the author, small snippets and couplets adding to the feel of the book makes this book a smooth read.

Coming to the characters, I liked the way the protagonist(s) have been growing with the book progressing. Page by page you see characters being there, establishing their own and making their way in your mind as a reader. That is a feat not many author achieves.

Coming to the story, this was a very unusually usual story line which has been beautifully portrayed. The author has done his best in writing the story. The narration has been done well and it touches the reader. My favorite character though was Meera even though she wasn't really a major character. I would leave it on to you to read the book and tell me which character did you like and which part of the story did you like the most. For me, I liked how the story focused on Aradhaya and progressed how he was throughout the book.

If I have to speak of the cons of the book then I would want to say that the language could've been more lucid which would then attract even laymen to read it at places. Even if I liked the story and the whole concept, there were a few things which for me were missing links and could have been polished. The book had grammatical errors but that is ignorable. I would have to give it to the author for following 2 of his beautifully written books with this one. For me, looking forward to more from the author, this is 3.5 out of 5. 

Friday, 9 December 2016

Befikre: a review

To begin with, I would really like to say what made me think of writing about this movie. Well, to be true it wasn't that I thought of writing about the movie but it was when the National Anthem was played on the inox screen with a majorly full house at 9 AM on a Friday morning where cinegoers were mostly within the age group who love to party and have fun or couples, no one even flinched or batted an eyelid before standing up in respect. EACH AND EVERY ONE stood up. Almost humming Jana Gana Mana with a pin drop silence, I would be wrong if I say that I didn't have a lump in my throat at the respect. It was that moment after sitting down that I thought that this was such a capturable moment.

Then, breaking the trance Labon ka Karobar started playing showing off, in true YRF fashion, the beautiful scenario of the place the shooting has been done. In this case, my favorite place in the whole world- Paris. And how beautifully the camera pans from one place to the other following couples throughout. The loudest hoots I'm sure came from me as the song ended and we see Ranveer Singh (okay! I'm biased), scantily clad (or clad, at all?) and Vaani Kapoor. At that one scene I knew that I'm game for the movie. Around me, everything faded away. The film goes back and forth over a period of a year or so and fast forwards time at time as you are taken through the relationship between Delhi ka launda Dharam Gulati and Paris born, brought up punjabi "chudail" Shyra Gill.

Ranveer in his carefree mode after a series of serious performances delivers a power packed performance and being a blind fan, I missed this part of him. Vaani, in her second (is it?) film is so comfortable and camera friendly that by the end of the film, she had a fan in me. I would be frank here, no matter how blind a fan I am, I was very skeptical about the chemistry that they'll share but to me, they sizzled. Through the picturesque city of Paris, through dares they take their relationship forward.

Okay! I'll give in to this. The story was cliche and even predictable but to me if a story is predictable but still presented well enough, it works for me. It worked for me big time. If there's one thing that I have to mention that had me in the movie was the dance. Oh God the dance! Who knew they dance so well? I'm gonna watch all those videos again. And if I have to specially mention something then it has to be a 1 sec blink and miss of something that made my day. I'll leave it for the people who watch the movie to see and guess what it might be.

Vaani, in her emotional parts could have done better but Singh nails it. One look and his eyes do wonders. I can't still get over a few looks that he gave. The pain, I felt too watching him. Their clothes and look suited them so well. The songs, I am listening to even now. Entertainment to the brim, a paisa vasool movie.

The take back from the movie? Be carefree, love carefree, kiss carefree. Be befikre!

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Amir Khusrau The man in riddles by Ankit Chadha: a review

Amir Khusrau. To begin with, who hasn't heard about him? What if I tell you that you can now know about the life and ideologies of Amir Khusrau from Ankit Chadha's book, Amir Khusrau the man in riddles. The book is short, crisp and yes, no less than magic to hold. It has a book jacket, royal blue in color that perfectly matches the royalty of the person written about. Illustrated and matte to hold. This is another book that I am sure to cherish in my library.

According to the blurb- A riddle is a mystery concealed in words, each a clue you must unravel. In this book, it is also a piece of verse, part of the puzzle that is the fascinating life of Amir Khusrau. Gloriously illustrated, crafted with care and sprinkled with delightful snippets of history, Amir Khusrau’s Book of Riddles is guaranteed to bewilder, inform and entertain children and adults alike. Work your way through the riddles on your own or challenge a friend, or just read on for the answer and a peek into the thoughts of one of this enigmatic poet, mystic and musician.

As you can already guess from the blurb, this book makes the riddles by Amir Khusrau. Through the riddles, the author has beautifully shown the intricacies of the mind of the the legendary poet. You get to see, accompanied by various illustrations what the mystic thought when he went about the serving at the courts.

These riddles are so interesting that they touch the heart of every reader and you will surely want to know what the answer to the riddles are. Go by the riddle and lose yourself among them as you delve deep inside the mind of the great Amir Khusrau. With every riddle is an accompanying illustration and answer along with how it affected the mystic's life which adds more value to your read.

If I have to speak of the cons of the book then the one thing that comes in my mind is the fact that the book is only 20 riddles. I would so want to read more of it and more of what it has to offer in the mind of the mystic. Apart from that, this book might not be for the people who is looking for a proper read. This is more of an experience, must and one time read. A must read for people of all ages. For me, this book is 4.5 out of 5.

PS- This book was given to me as a part of the Flipkart Book Reviews Programme.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Exile by Taslima Nasrin: a review

I remember the moment I received the book. I was sick, lying on my bed the whole day and I couldn’t move an inch. I was home bound and the walls of the room were eating me up. I wanted some breath of fresh air but I had strict instructions to not move from the bed. It was then the bell had rung and Maa received the book. Handing it over to me, she asked me specifically to not start reading it. You think I listened? As I had the book in my hands, my eyes lit up. A picture clicked for Instagram upload and there I was, sniffing, struggling to even keep my eyes open but reading Taslima Nasrin’s memoir- ‘Exile’ translated in English by Maharghya Chakraborty.

According to the blurb- On 22 November 2007, the city of Kolkata came to a rude, screeching halt as a virulent mob of religious fanatics took to the streets. Armed with a fatwa from their ideologies, the mob demanded that Taslima Nasrin leave the city immediately. While the police stood watching, mere dumb witnesses to such hooliganism, a morally, intellectually and politically bankrupt Left Front Government, tottering under the strain of their thirty-year-old backward-looking rule, decided to ban her book and drive her out of the city she has always considered her second home. The inextricable nexus of petty political conspiracies, vote bank politics and minority appeasement saw Taslima being hurriedly shifted, first to Jaipur and then to Delhi, confined to an obscure safe house, and face incessant pressure from senior officials and politicians to leave India. Set against a rising tide of fundamentalism and intolerance, Exile is a moving and shocking chronicle of Taslima Nasrin’s struggled in India over a period of seven months. Dark, provocative and at times surreal, this memoir will resonate powerfully with readers in the present socio-political scenario. 

Thus, I started my journey with Taslima Nasrin’s memoir. A journey that I have had earlier through the books she had written, through the conversations with my mother, friends, family, and newspapers. Through the time when Maa used to read out passages from her books to me in Bengali. A journey that being a Bengali and living a safe life in Kolkata, I could only know through what people told me. As I was a few pages down the book, I fell for the way she writes. Simple, out spoken, up front with whatever she feels, Taslima Nasrin might just be one narrator that touches your heart. The one thing that this book teaches you as a person, as a reader is Patience.

Trust me when I say that there are parts in the book where you would feel like judging the authoress, because those are the parts where the person inside you rises above the reader inside you. But then on the other hand, you would also have places where you would feel like not leaving the book because of the captivating narration being done. Being a Bengali, I know (if not personally) all those people mentioned in this memoir. So it didn’t take much time for me to get acquainted with them and also this very fact made me so much more engrossed in the book. When I say that this book needs patience, what I mean is that this book is a perfect example of learning how to judge, yet not judge; how to understand, yet not understand; how to read.

Taslima Nasrin in this brutally honest memoir lists everything in vivid detail as it was since her exile. Her author biography says that she has been in exile since 1994. Rightfully so. We all have heard about people being in exile. But this book tells us what it actually feels being in an exile. People might not understand a few things or a few decisions taken by Nasrin but that is exactly what it is. The underlying conflict, the emotions and the turmoil that she goes through. Before I started reading the book, I was confined to bed for only one day being sick but as this book progressed, I couldn’t help but feel for the woman who has been living in such conditions in a safe house with captors she knows nothing about, forced to literally leave the country when all she wanted was fresh air.

There were many heart touching parts of the book but what caught me was her part in the safe house when she mentions that there were a bed of ants that made her bed a makeshift house, crawling in and out but none bit her even once. It was, she felt, that they had accepted her more than the world could ever have. I am biased. Yes. Probably, a person not from Kolkata would be the best person to talk about the book but being a girl from Kolkata, how could I not? Ever since I have been reading the book I have been having discussions with friends. Some, who support the banishment, while some, who don’t. Speaking of me, to the person who don’t, I have been supporting it and to the ones who support, I have been not supporting it. Why, if you ask? Because wherever she is, I want her to be safe and I support the rights of literature.

The poems that are there in the book touch you and so do the excerpts of the diary. You might not support things that happened and there are possibilities that you will not get the answers to your questions through the book but being a reader, or above all, being a person, this memoir is a detail into the mind and surroundings of a writer, who was exiled for an indefinite time because she wrote, you should read. As a reader, this book reads super fine in the first half but there’s a portion where there are mainly diary entries which read stretchy in a book to some extent. Having read quite a few memoirs, I expected a bit more material to it. Rating this book would be tough because there are many points that as a person I could not agree to but keeping me as a person aside, as a reader, this book is 4.25 out of 5.

PS- This book was given to me as a part of the Flipkart Book Reviews Programme.

Friday, 2 December 2016

The Conspiracy at Meru by Shatrujeet Nath: a review

The second book of the Vikramaditya Veergatha series, The conspiracy at Meru has been one of the most awaited books since the first book has been released. Left at a cliffhanger, everyone was keen on knowing what happens next and trust me on this, Shatrujeet Nath didn't dissapoint. As I see the cover for the first time and touch the book, the feeling is unexpressable. I quickly turn on to the blurb to see what it has to say about the book.

According to the blurb- Victory is temporary. The battle is eternal. Vikramaditya and his Council of Nine have fought valiantly to repel the rampaging hordes from Devaloka and Patala- but Avanti has been brought to its knees. Ujjayini lies battered; its citizens are scared, and morale is badly shaken. Meanwhile, the barbaric Hunas and Sakas are gathering on the horizon, and cracks are emerging between the allied kingdoms of Sindhuvarta. The only silver lining is that the deadly Halahala is safe. For now. Bent on vengeance, Indra is already scheming to destroy Vikramadirya, while Shukracharya has a plan that can spell the doom for the Guardians of the Halahala. How long can the human army hold out against the ferocity and cunning of the devas and asuras? And will Vikramaditya's love for his queen come in the way of his promise to Shiva?

First things first, even though it is highly suggested for every reader to read the first book of the series first before going to the second book, you would not be disappointed if you start with this one. The map, the index lists everything that you might need for the feel of the book. The excitement and the edge of the seat feeling that hooked you in book 1 is maintained in this book too and trust me when I say this, I read it in one go.

 The mixture of mythology and thriller is something that holds the reader from get one. The author has been known for writing gripping plots and rightfully so. The best part I liked about this book would be the development of the characters. The way things shaped from book 1 to book 2 traces the ever evolving side of the author. As always, the action and adventure packed ride makes this book so much more than we expected.

I won't give in much about the characters again but then I am looking forward to the conclusive part where I'm sure the only thing I'll talk about is the characters. There are very few books with which we connect, this book is one such. What I would love to talk about for now has to be the storyline. Mystery. What does this word stand for you? For me, this series is the ultimate answer to the question. The layering that the author has done is brilliant. You would root for people and would hate people but you are sure to love the book. The end was again, the trademark of the author which I'm sure might make anyone wait eagerly for the next.

Speaking of the cons of the book is tough. What didn't work for me in the book is something what a few new readers might also feel. Since there are multiple characters with names that we aren't used to listening to on a daily basis, it takes a bit time to get used to it. The index helps a lot and it is also suggested to read book 1 and 2 back to back to retain the feel. Apart from that, this series is a must read series and the expectations are higher for the next. This book for me is  4.5 out of 5, waiting for so much more from the author.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Tale O'2 by Biranchi N Acharya: a review

Being a blogger myself, I have immense amount of respect for all other fellow bloggers. Irrespective of the genre they blog for and so when I heard about blogger Biranchi N Acharya coming out with his 2nd book, it had me straight away. I didn't know what to expect from the book but what I knew is that if not anything else, the viewpoints would be superbly expressed there. When I had the book Tale 0'12 in my hands, the first thing I did was turn to the blurb.

According to the blurb- Every life event is a story. In fact every moment of our life is part of a story being happened. We always ignore those because we think stories have no connection to real life happenings. But when we read stories or fictions suddenly we connect ourselves to the story line or some of the characters emotionally or otherwise. That's why stories always fascinate us, entertain us & give us some lessons of life. 'Tale O'12' is a collection of twelve stories inspired from real life events written in a fictional narrative. One would definitely connect to the characters of the stories someway or other because all the stories have something that's related to everyone's life.

Rightfully so. Every story that is mentioned in the book has something or the other that is taken from real life and there's another thing that is very much evident on reading the book is the fact that it is written by a blogger. I'll start with the cover of the book. I like the way the title of the book is written and even though in the long run you might get used to the color of the book, at first glance it is too much to take in. And yes, this color is surely one color that I am fond of.

I love the quality of the book. It feels great to hold and the pages are wonderful. The preface of the book gives in how this book took shape and it is good to read it from the author's point of view. The book consists of 12 stories. Each story has a very strong moral backing it up which makes for great reads. I liked the way those points have been turned into stories that appeal to the masses.

Among the points that has been talked about in the book you get politics, religion and a lot of topics in abundance. The narrative is strong and to the point and makes the impact much needed. With every story you would feel that the characters are around you and that is why you would be able to connect to them.

If I have to speak of the cons of the book then I have a lot to say. To begin with, every point of the book felt like it is written by a blogger and these stories make for super blog posts. There are errors in the book. Grammatical ones. The names of the characters seem out of place, a bit too fictional and the dialogues seem a bit too forced. If all these points can be forgiven, this is a really wonderful attempt and for me this is 3.25 out of 5 looking forward to a refined version of the book in the future and wishing luck to the author.

PS- This book is a part of the BlogAdda Book Reviews Programme.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Colorful notions- the roadtrippers 1.0 by Mohit Goyal: a review

Happy are those who go On a road trip. Super happy are those who go on a road trip with their friends. I love knowing about travel stories and have a lot of traveller buddies. So when I heard about Mohit Goyal's Colorful notions- the roadtrippers 1.0, I couldn't help but get my hands on it. The blurb of the book made me hook to it more. So as I sit and admire the cover of the book which successfully retains the flavor of it, here's the blurb of the book.

Acording to the blurb- Would you give up your high paying job and comfortable personal life to drive ten thousand kilometers across India? Just for fun! Three twenty somethings dare to do just that! While the two boys take turns to drive, the girl gives voice over as they record their entire journey on a handy cam. 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. They look at each other with a glint in their eyes, as if refurbishing those memories while narrating 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 big thing- I penned a book about them, and their roadtrip. Colorful notions is a journey of three young hearts on the Indian terrain and into the inner recesses of their souls, giving a new perspective to relationships, love and life.

To begin with, I would give in to this being a very interesting way of writing the blurb and that surely hooks the readers. Now the cover. Basically in bright blue with sketches of the car and three friends make for a super complementary cover for the book. The book starts off very interestingly and that is why we can carry on with the book.

Having read the whole book now I would say that this book is a traveler's delight. Written in a very on the face narrative, matching the blurb where it really feels like someone is addressing the reader and telling us a story; this book should be read by people who plan on going for a road trip. Coming to the story. The story has it all. Friendship, love, jealousy, food, fun, adventure, horror and comedy. Making this a packed entertainer.

I liked the characters and their formation. They have been well thought of and very similar to real life. The intricacies are well thought of and executed. If I have to speak about the cons of the book then I would say that the book needed finesse. This in its current form is only suitable for the travel loving people but for me, I felt that this could have well been a book for all kinds of readers.

The narration could've been better with plot twists, if possible. Especially since it's fiction. That apart, I don't find any other flaw in the book. Looking forward to more from the author, this book is 3.75 out of 5 for me.

PS-  This book was given to me by The Tales Pensive book reviews  programme.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

It's not about you by Ratna Vira: a review

The first thing that I felt after seeing Ratna Vira’s latest, It's not about you is that this is going to surpass my expectations. I have a certain affinity toward the color black and since the book is a majority black colored book, it had my attention at first glance. I didn't have to think twice before heading toward the blurb of the book which surely added on to what I felt about book.

According to the blurb- Single mother Samaira juggles her corporate job and Aksh, her teenaged son, even as she defies society, disapproving in-laws and her own family. But when Aksh is found battered and beaten at school, she delves deeper only to discover the murky world of bullying, the secret life of teenagers, and the emotional distance between parents and children. In her pursuit of truth and justice, Samaira ends up challenging the power equations of politics, wealth and influence.
It's not about you is an urgent, contemporary tale that celebrates the persistence of the human spirit to fight against all odds.

I'll continue with what I was mentioning about the cover because this would be one cover that I would be cherishing throughout my life no matter how many books I own. After drooling over the cover when I turned the page and started reading the book there was one thing that I loved and that is the quotes at the beginning of each chapter. Quotes by different famous authors made into one makes this book special. The book starts with the author describing Samaira, what she does and how her life is like. In that very chapter she also mentions how the relationship between Samaira and her son, Aksh is. As you read through, this one chapter gives you a lot that the whole book is dependant upon.

Coming to the characters. One of the good things about the book is the characters and their behaviour. I loved how Samaira’s character has been portrayed in the book along with her children and even her husband. The other characters are also wonderfully etched. One of my favorite characters was maasi ji and trust me on this, you need to read the book to know why do I say so. Each character has a specific role to play. I'll come to the cons of the characters in some time.

Now, the story. I have a lot of things to be said about the story. The story promises to be a very gripping one and knowing about the praises for the author, I had a lot of expectations from the book. The story, to me, was a bit shaky. The point that the author wanted to put forth and the concept was very interesting but I wasn't exactly satisfied with the presentation. There are moments in the book that would stay with you for a long time. While there are moments which you would feel could've been more impactful. The secrets, truths about the relationships are given bare in the book and you might feel that they are real. It might even be something that you dare not speak out loud. Somehow I felt that the focus shifted at places or the author lost track but it didn't disappoint.

The narration was done beautifully and I cannot find a fault in that. The book is a smooth ride and the narration does its best in complementing the story but somewhere down the line, for the target audience, some more quirks would've made this story wonderful. Coming to the cons, I would've loved if some characters were given a bit more highlight. Some, I felt, needed closure while some were not needed. The writer has potential and I felt that a bit more finesse can do wonders. All in all, the book is impactful and can make the readers think. A must read, indeed. I would rate it 4 out of 5.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Skyfire by Aroon Raman: a review

You know what’s the first thing that comes in your mind once you see Aroon Raman’s latest book, Skyfire? That one line by Hindustan Times on the cover that says “India’s answer to Robert Ludlum.” And then you know that no matter what, this book is a must read. Privileged at being one of the very first people who could get their hands on the book, I couldn’t stop myself from liking it after I had my eyes on it for the first time. Upon turning the book, the blurb of course made me want to read the book right away. So before turning on what do I have to say about the book, here is the blurb of the book for you to read.

According to the blurb- May 2012. India is hit by a series of freak weather disturbances and startling epidemics that threaten to bring the country to its knees. At the same time, children are disappearing from the slums in the capital and nobody seems to care. Stumbling upon these strange and seemingly unrelated incidents, journalist Chandrasekhar, historian Meenakshi Pirzada and intelligence operative Syed Ali Hassan start upon a trail that leads them into the drawing rooms of Delhi’s glittering high society before reaching a terrifying climax in Bhutan, where they come face to face with a force of unspeakable power and evil. Bestselling author Aroon Raman’s third novel, Skyfire, is a heart stopping thriller that will chill you to the bone.

Now that you’ve read the blurb I am sure that you are thinking what I was when I first read it. I’ll first talk about the characters. Chandrasekhar, Meenakshi, Hassan; the main protagonists of the novel deal with a spine chilling incident that lead them to places that are shown only in films. I loved the way the author has dealt with the characters and has given them the shape and sturd that they much needed. The intricacies of their relationships, the chemistry, the love and the bonding between the trio is so strong that you cannot help but be jealous of them. That apart, there are many other characters in the book who come and go at their respective times and who bring with themselves the much needed twists and turns in the book.

The story. A typical thriller as you might feel from the blurb, this novel is something that you would not even expect it to be. You can feel that from the beginning that this is not an average thriller that you would read on an everyday basis. The way the “freak weather disturbances” and the sightings that have been described in this book is something that I feel is what the author’s speciality. Being the first ever read of the author by me, this book didn’t disappoint me at all. Is this even imaginable that change in weather and missing children can be interrelated (or related at all?) Aroon Raman in this book shows just that and how wonderfully does he do that. I am not giving up much of the story because that would mean saying a lot of things which I don’t want the readers to be left off from reading.

The narration has been done wonderfully but somewhere down the line I felt that the book has been a bit too fast paced and crisp. After one point, even a few set of readers might feel the end was expected. The details have been written and the experience of reading this book is almost equivalent to that of watching a film but hey! Isn’t that supposed to be what a book should be about? There were no grammatical errors in the book and I felt that having said all the good things, this book could’ve been a bit more stretched which it didn’t. Of course, whenever you have a good book in hand, satisfaction cannot be achieved anyhow and we always expect something or the other. For me, expecting and looking forward to more books from the author, this is 4 out of 5.

PS- This book was given to me a part of the Flipkart Book Reviews Programme.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

The Patient Patient by Tushar Rishi: a review

Cancer. A word that has meant a lot to me. Seeing very close family members suffer in this disease and losing on their fight made me feel that I know a bit of the pain that they go through but that was till the time I had read debut author Tushar Rishi’s bio-fiction, The Patient Patient. One of the most important reasons that made me choose the book was the fact that it is the life story of the author. He has been there, as a patient of bone cancer and has emerged as a fighter. The book is about his fight and yet not a non-fiction. While, authors hide under fiction or write non-fiction books, this book seemed so out of the box that I grabbed it at first chance. One look at the cover and the crab that represents cancer caught my eye. I turned over to the blurb.

According to the blurb- Fifteen going on sixteen, defining career choices await Sameer. To B. Tech, or not to B. Tech: that is the question. Until, that is, the lump on his knee is diagnosed as bone cancer and Sameer embarks on a journey he never imagined for himself. But in the whirlwind of hospital visits, doctors, chemotherapy, cannulas, injections, he discovers family, friends, love and hope. Life as he knew it is transformed for him, while he wanders through the narrow corridors of AIIMS, Delhi, trying to search for meaning in what has happened, his place in the universe, his beliefs and above all, himself. Based on the author’s own life, The Patient Patient is not only a young boy’s tale about cancer, it is also a story of the peculiarities of life, and his attempt to handle it with courage, dignity, and humour.

The prologue of the book didn’t have something that would hook you. No. It could have been just another prologue from just another book. But then you turn to the first chapter and after the fun prologue, you get to see the first line that says, “You have Cancer” and all that you can do as a reader is sit straight and be prepared to face what you are going to read in the book that hasn’t even started. Slowly Rishi, in his debut bio fiction goes on writing what he felt when he was diagnosed with cancer. And not only what he felt but also what people around him felt when he was diagnosed. The vivid details written in such a clean way is sure to touch your heart.

I wouldn’t lie; I have read a lot of books that has cancer as a theme but none that were biographical. This book goes deep and by deep I mean, DEEP and the only reason it feels like so is because this book is a very honestly written one. I read books and so if one is written honestly, I can instantly connect to it and this book was one such. With every page you understand what the author (or shall I say, the protagonist) goes through as his fight with this disease increases by the day. As the blurb itself says, this book is not just a young boy’s tale about cancer but it also is a story of life. Every second chapter in this book has something to take back. What I especially loved is the conversations between his uncle and him which were the source of motivation for him as a person and us, as readers. Not just the disease, the book wonderfully captures the family relations. Of what goes through the close ones of the patient, of what their ordeal is. Of how their relationship grows, matures. Of how they are always there, of how they understand.

This attempt is a very bold one and I shall praise Rishi for going on with it. Writing things just as it is, especially with cancer is tough but the thought behind the book is beautiful. The way that Rishi has handled the book and written the story just as it happened and yet in such a way that readers would love it is something that is commendable. There are poems in the book and the poems, as the book progressed, emerged into being beautiful and motivating. Since this is a bio-fiction, I would not say about the story or the protagonists but what I would say is that Rishi has balanced it perfectly. I would comment only on the writing style here. Even though the fact that the author has perfectly balanced every bit of it, as a reader I felt that there were certain parts that lacked the intensity. The flow was smooth and so, a majority of the book you would end up reading with a lump in your throat. It is commendable to see such a young author writing so maturely and so beautifully. 

It is a guarantee that by the end of the book and even after reading the acknowledgements, you would treasure this book and would also want to refer it to the people that you know. If I have to speak of the cons of the book then I would say that even though the book has been handled with a lot of dignity and honesty, I felt that when we are given a book as such, we would expect at least a bit more of the disease than it has been written. Of course the book is about the journey and not the disease but there are parts in the book where the way the disease affects has been written with such passion and at times, there were blank spaces which could’ve been filled. Apart from that, I have no complaints from the book. Because, there is nothing to complain about. For me, rating this book would be tough but keeping all things in mind, this book would be 4.5 out of 5 for me. I would sign off with loads of love and luck to the debut author for writing more poems and books in the near future.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Black Suits You by Novoneel Chakraborty: a review


I am speechless right now. It has been an hour since I finished reading the much awaited book of the season, Novoneel Chakraborty’s 8th, Black Suits You and I can still feel my heart beating louder than it ever had and my parched throat. (Did I mention that I did not even touch water for the past 4 hours that I have been reading this?) His last release, Forget me not Stranger (concluding part of the stranger trilogy) had to face a lot of criticism as much as it garnered the love of a few set of readers. His readers clearly were divided into this fine line but I can give it in writing (quite literally so) that this book would again unite them into being one- lovers. The mysterious cover that came up with a tagline during its teasers “You think you know your partner? Think again” more than makes up everybody’s mind into buying this book and the blurb of the book, adds on to the feeling.

According to the blurb- Twenty-seven-year-old Kiyan Roy is the reclusive author of the bestselling erotica trilogy, Handcuffs. When he appears in public for the first time to promote his books, his readers fall in love with his good looks and wit. However, one of them gets too close. Kiyan is followed and seduced by a mysterious girl who pursues him across cities, book events, hotels, luncheons and media interviews. Soon, he becomes obsessed with her and falls for her charms. As Kiyan gets sucked deeper and deeper into this dark and twisted love affair, he is forced to surrender all control. His life and career slowly begin to unravel as this girl lead him down a dangerous path. But is it already too late to rectify his mistakes? Will the path to desire end in doom? Black Suits You is a gripping, fast-paced and clever psychosexual thriller that will keep you guessing till the end.

And it surely stood by what it promised. This clever psychosexual thriller kept me guessing till the end on the edge of my seat. The book, to begin with, is divided into three parts and as often as I have heard the author exclaiming, this book is also about the 3 Act structure that he believes in. Every act brings with itself different twists, turns, answers, questions and with every act ending, you would be more than eager to know what the next act has in store. Disappoint, it will not. Now that I have told you about the 3 acts that are there in the book, let me speak about the cover.

I agree to the part that probably there would be a lot of people who would be disappointed with the cover at first glance because the title says Black Suits You and the cover is in green but trust me on this, if you have read the book only then would you understand why was it so necessary to be what it is. You open the book and then you see the prologue. As I kept on flipping through the pages and rolling on this roller coaster of a book, I had a smile on my face. Or, was it a smirk? I would never know but what I know right now is the fact that I would love to read this book again. "Clever" would be an understatement when this book would be described because the way this has been written, it undeniably has an essence of Novoneel Chakraborty which was missing in his last book. This book is so many questions and answers, all at the same time.

Coming to the narrative and the story. This book has been written with a lot of sincerity and it shows in the way it has come out. You get to read every feeling that the author has wanted to express through the book. The story has twists. Oh wait, TWISTS. In a very typical Novoneel way, the author leads on the reader to think about something totally else while he ends up writing what he wants to write and the surprise quotient for the reader is unmistakable. The literary device that is used in the story is unique and it also makes sure that the reader keeps glued to the story. Since it is a psycho sexual thriller, the book has sex. A lot of it. And the way that the term "psycho sexual thriller" has been used in the book speak volumes. It plays with your mind and I dare say this here, do not believe what you feel or see in this book. It is wonderful to see a narrative which has used "sex" as a major weapon in the book and has yet remained in its boundary, never treading into the cringe worthy genre.

The characters. Ah, the characters! Kiyan Roy, Kashti and Anaysha. I will not say who my favourite was because all of them were such wonderfully layered that it might spoil all the fun. Such well framed characters are the soul of any novel and Black Suits You works because of them. Without them being what they are, this story would have been incomplete. This story is a very limited character story and the book doesn't have more than 10 characters (it is far lesser in number) which make the book all the more worthwhile. The moments that you spend with these characters make you love them, hate them, be sympathetic towards them and be unsympathetic towards them all at the same time. This book is all that people would want to read from mister bestselling author! Given the different small elements and hints that the author has left at different places of the book, it would really be up to the readers to understand them and feel the roller coaster of the book. Eagerly, I would wait on what you think after reading the book.

Coming to the cons of the book I would want to say that since I have been following the works of the author since book 1, this book lacked the one liner quotes that he is famous for. But having said that, there are enough paragraphs that would suit your status and display pictures. Dangerously treading the lines of a few of his earlier books, this book takes a U turn and brings with itself an essence that is its own. I also didn't like the font in which Black Suits You was written. There weren't any grammatical errors in the book and the flow was well maintained all throughout. The end is something that I loved and that is why, I am requesting you, earnestly- DO NOT READ THE LAST PAGE FIRST. Expectations, fulfilled. Satisfaction, achieved. For me, this book would be 4.75 out of 5.

"You came to me wearing a story,
I stripped you bare, making sense.
You teased me with your naked thoughts,

And we make love, intense..."

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Open Eyed Meditations by Shubha Vilas: a review

Shubha Vilas has always been, to me, an inspiration. I have been reading him for a long time now and his Ramayana series always acts as a breath of fresh air for me every year; especially since it comes with a beautiful message handwritten by the author. This time, when I heard about his latest offering, Open Eyed Meditations, how could I have missed it? With this book, the author has attempted to give us a fresh perspective of things that we face in everyday life and that too with the examples taken up from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The first thing attracted me towards the book (apart from the title) was the blurb.

According to the back cover- Open eyed Meditations is a beautiful compilation of thoughts wherein each meditation takes you on a journey to the past, bringing a secret herb to heal a problem of the present. A true distillation of ancient wisdom tips for modern lives, this unique self-help book uses the wisdom of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata to solve your everyday problems. Beyond the storyline, something deeper is waiting to be discovered from these ancient texts. This book is an attempt to uncover the hidden layer of wealth that is cleverly packaged within the commonly known storylines.

I usually don’t do this but I would like to tell you that the day I received the book, I was very down and I felt like giving up, crying. I received the book and a smile lit my face as I saw the handwritten message written inside the book. It read, “Dear Sharanya, hoping that every page of this book adds new meaning and depth to your life making it a beautiful meditation. With gratitude and love, yours truly.” And I knew then and there that this book is going to be special. The cover of the book is simple and yet very deep. You would surely get a glimpse of what the book is all about with a look at the cover and then there are 64 chapters in the book which would give you practical wisdom for everyday life.

When I completed the book, I knew that this book would become my new go-to book whenever I am down. It has situations pertaining to every part of our life like friendship, work relations, love affairs etc. The strong voice of the author, who is also a lifestyle coach, with his simplistic writing style makes this book a must read for every person. It is wonderful the way the author has written so much in depth and analysed so much about our everyday life and also our epics- Ramayana and Mahabharata.

At no point of the book would you feel bored. It might not be told as a concrete story but the way the references are given, at no point would you feel that this is not a story that is being told in the book. 64 chapters might have freaked you out? Do not be, because these 64 chapters give you teachings of a lifetime. Everyday questions like, quality or quantity? Can the embarrassment be embraced? What is jealousy? Etc is answered in the book with utmost sincerity and you would feel inspired and enlightened by the end of it. I am sure that whenever you are feeling low in your life, you can come back to the book.

It is always difficult for me to find faults with Shubha Vilas’s books and this book is no different. I would also like to commend the author on the point that he has wonderfully maintained his style of writing in this book. Doesn’t it go without saying that I am looking forward to his next book. For me, this self-help book is a 5 on 5. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Black Suits You by Novoneel Chakraborty: a promotional post!

Novoneel Chakraborty is the bestselling author of seven romantic thriller novels. His last novel Forget Me Not, Stranger; the third novel in the Stranger Trilogy debuted at no. 1 on BookScan across India. The second novel in the trilogy, All Yours, Stranger, ranked among the top 5 thriller novels on Amazon India. Novoneel has also written for seven TV shows. Along with his two business partners, Novoneel runs a one-of-a-kind content company Act3 Creations which provides content for films, television and digital media. He lives and works in Mumbai. Black Suits you is his 8th Novel. 

You Think You Know Your Partner? Think Again.
Twenty-seven-year-old Kiyan Roy is the reclusive author of the bestselling erotica trilogy, Handcuffs. When he appears in public for the first time to promote his books, his readers fall in love with his good looks and wit. However, one of them gets too close. Kiyan is followed and seduced by a mysterious girl who pursues him across cities, book events, hotels, luncheons and media interviews. Soon, he becomes obsessed by her and falls for her charms.
As Kiyan gets sucked deeper and deeper into this dark and twisted love affair, he is forced to surrender all control. His life and career slowly begin to unravel as this girl leads him down a dangerous path. But is it already too late to rectify his mistakes? Will the path to desire end in doom? Black Suits You is a gripping, fast-paced and a clever psychosexual thriller that will keep you guessing till the end.

You can order this book from HERE. All pre-orders would be personally signed by the author and do not forget to let me know how did you find the book! 

Thursday, 20 October 2016

When love finds you by Yashodhara Lal: a review

Yashodhara Lal has been known to be one of the most quirky writers of today's time. Starting from her first book to her latest, When love finds you, the authoress has done her best in making all her books worth the time that we spend in reading it. So when I found her latest and switched over to the blurb, I couldn't help but give in to the temptation of reading this book. The cover of the book tells a lot about the book and thus, I had to see what the blurb says.

According to the blurb- Natasha is a badass boss. Just how badass? She can make a grown man cry, whip a team into shape, meet her targets- and she won't take any bullshit, period. Of course, getting the job done is never enough for a woman in a man's world. When it's time for her promotion, she's passed over for Rishabh- a smarmy rake who apparently has 'people skills'. He knows just how to push her buttons and it's driving her up the wall. Then there's the very desirable Nikhil, whose quiet self-assurance and distracting dimple only seem to complicate things at the office. With a crotchety old neighbour, an unrelenting friend and a tumultuous family history in the mix, Natasha is suddenly beginning to find that everything she's ignored in the pursuit of success is coming back to haunt her. But don't worry. She's bringing her A- game. She always does.

Now, having read the blurb I am sure that you are having the same thoughts as I am. Aren't you? A fun read with a sassy female boss and male characters who might be drool worthy but there are many layers to it. I had the same idea with the book. So I had to pick up the book and surf through the chapters.

The first chapter had it all. The introduction of the main protagonist, the kind of a person she is, her ambitions etc and as the book progressed, this went on higher and higher. With every chapter we get to know Natasha and her life. Everything was fine but then enter Rishabh. The man who is desired by most women in the office other than her, the person with super 'people skills' is a wonder to read. Being a girl I totally understood what Rishabh is all about. And of course, then there is Nikhil.

Since I have already named the 3 most important characters, let me come to the description that has been put forth for them. Natasha, being the main protagonist was given 100% attention. Rishabh was given 70% attention and what I felt was even though Nikhil was given a lot of attention, again around 70%, still his character was underdeveloped. Similar to Natasha, Nikhil has a lot of curves in his life and thus what I felt was, he could've been developed with a lot more time than was given to him.

There are many other characters in the book and one of my favorites was Mrs.Chopra, about whom you really need to find out from the book. Coming to the story. Well, I have a lot to say about it. The story was well thought of and a good one time read over a cup of cuppa but what I felt lacking was the portrayal of the moral of the story. Of course the story has a moral and that is there in the last line of the book (That doesn't mean you'll read the last line first) but I somehow had a lot of expectations from the portrayal of the story which didn't happen.

The way the story has been written was nice and I really liked the narration. If I have to speak about the cons, I would want to say that this book wants to say and promises a lot but somewhere down the line, fails to deliver. Having said that, no. I'm not disappointed with the book but then I'm not satisfied either. But being a reader who reads a lot, I expected at least a bit more from the book which I found missing. No grammatical errors and a smooth ride makes this book worth the time it takes to finish. For me, expecting so much more from the authoress with the next book, this book was 3.5 out of 5.

PS- This book was given to me as a part of the Flipkart Book reviews programme.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

The Guardians of the Halahala by Shatrujeet Nath: a review

When for the first time I heard about the book, I was caught at the first mention of "The Vikramaditya Veergatha series" because never before had I ever read a book that had such a character. Book 1 of the series, called The Guardians of the Halahala by Shatrujeet Nath was the one I picked up first. I knew that no matter what, I had to read the book and so I went on to see how the cover looks like and then, the blurb of the book. I would be true here, being a book buff, I am a bit choosy when it comes to mythological books but this blurb added to my interest in reading the book. So before I tell you my take on the book, take a look at the blurb.

According to the back cover- The deadly Halahala, the all devouring poison churned from the depths of the White Lake by the devas and asuras, was swallowed by Shiva to save the universe from extinction. But was the Halahala truly destroyed? A small portion still remains- a weapon powerful enough to guarantee victory to whoever possess it. And both asuras and devas, locked in battle for surpremac, will stop at nothing to claim it. As the forces of Devaloka and Patala, led by Indra and Shukracharya, plot to posses the Halahala, Shiva turns to mankind to guard it from their murderous clutches. It is now up to Samrat Vikramaditya and his Council of Nine to quell the supernatural hordes- and prevent the universe from tumbling into chaos! A sweeping tale of honour and courage in the face of infinite danger, greed and deceit, The guardians of the Halahala is a fantastical journey into a time of myth and legend.

When I first had the book in my hand I was mesmerized by the cover of the book. Now the book has 2 covers. The latest one is yellow but the one I had is purple with undertones of pink in it and that made it all the more interesting. What is needed for a book lover rather than a great cover of a book? Might sound very odd but yes, I do judge a book by its over at times and it is very few times that I am proven wrong. Now, the book. I started with the author's note and the author had my attention in the first paragraph. The way that it has been written was simple yet so catching that any non book lover would also like to know what the author actually wants to tell his readers.

Coming to the book, I wouldn't speak of the characters much. Because for that I would really love to read the complete series (book 2 is already waiting for me) and then comment so for now, I would stick to the narration and the story. To begin with, the concept is very interesting. The churning of the waters and then the Halahala. Everyone of us who has been into mythology know at least about the churning of the river and if a lot of more myths are added then it would make for a great story.

I would love to mention here that even though it is a book which has its own target audience, there will be no problem if any reader of any age group reads this book. It has every element that makes a book read worthy and now I know that why there are so many people around me who admire the way Shatrujeet Nath writes.

Slowly and steadily I am becoming a mythology person and all thanks to writers like Shatrujeet Nath that I am loving this genre more and more. The way the narration has been done is intricate. I loved the way the web of emotions and characteristics have been developed in every character of the book.

Even though the main characters seem to be Samrat Vikramaditya and his Council of Nine, there are many more who are sure to capture your attention as readers and trust me, many did for me. There are nail biting sequences of war inside the book and that makes it all the more worthwhile. The story is so well told that it can well be used as a script for a bollywood blockbuster movie and trust me, I would be the first one to book a ticket if there is a movie on it. I would like to give it to the author for writing such a precisely written mythological book which will be loved by all.

Coming to the cons of the book, there are not many. To speak of it I guess the beginning takes a bit of its sweet time to adjust to the readers but that's the same with most books of the genre. Then, there are too many things happening at a very fast pace and so the reader would have to be always on their toes and at the edge of their seats. I would've loved more of the book but wait. Isn't it the reason why I waited for such a long time to read the book? So that I could read book 2 immediately. All having said and done, this book is a 4.5 out of 5 for me. I'm so looking forward to the next book of the series.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Zulfiqar (the film): a review

Shoshti morning. Heavy rain. Almost cancelled plans. Sadness because I couldn't wear the Saree I was hoping to wear, couldn't stop me and two of my girl friends from visiting the nearest multiplex to watch a movie which I'm sure I'll be remembering forever. I'll start with the trailer of the movie. A top star cast and a very interesting concept grabbed many eyeballs since its release. Then, the songs that were released caught my attention. Finally, Shakespeare had me. I would be frank here, even though it might sound cliched but my whole career was shaped by Shakespeare. It was in Class 5 or Class 6 that I got introduced to Shakespeare and I couldn't let go. Julius Caesar has always been one of my favorites and most read plays by the man and Antony and Cleopatra has always been a close part of the list.

The film started with a bang and I completely forgot whatever was happening around me. Prosenjit Chatterjee as Zulfiqar (Caesar), Koushik Sen as Bashir (Brutus), Jisshu Sengupta as Kashinath (Cassius), Dev Adhikary as Marcus and Parambrata Chattopadhyay as Tony (Mark Antony), Nusrat Jahan as Rani (Cleopatra) were ON POINT. And ofcourse, there has to be special mentions for Paoli Dam, Rahul Arunoday Banerjee and Ankush. Who would've believed that Jisshu could be a villain? The list of characters is endless and so will be my list of praises. The mix of two famous plays were seamless and so was the whole execution.

I didn't expect such beauty in the film. Speaking of the characters, I was a bit apprehensive of Dev and his performance and trust me on this, he hit it out of the park and I guess no one could do it better than him. As I read another review of the film on my social media, "This is Dev's rebirth" and rightfully so. He still needs a brush of acting skills but he also needs good films his way. You wouldn't know it until you watch it. It feels odd to say this but the chemistry between Marcus and Tony was splendidly shown.

Now, the execution. Any Shakespeare lover would adore the way Mr. Mukherjee as dealt with the subjects. The Julius Caesar part was so on point. Every single detail was kept in mind. Now, I have a problem with these movie retellings and that is usually people aren't true to the central plot or even if they are, it seems like we know the story and there's nothing more to add there. But here, it seems like it's a poetry in motion. There wasn't even one moment where you would feel bored or you would feel that the story is known. Every moment of the film is an experience.

Much like most Srijit Mukherjee films, the special appearance by him called for a loud hooting from the audience and so did various parts of the film. Not to forget, a grand ovation after the film ended. As I was leaving the hall I overheard so many people talking to themselves how they would want to watch the film again and hey! Even I want to.

Now, the music. This is one album that has been on the most listened charts for a long time and I guess I don't know anyone who isn't humming Ghawrbari. Every track of the film adds to the film in its own way and has its own meaning. How I wish there were a song or two more but who doesn't want the most of all things good? As I type this I'm listening to my favorite track from the film, Ami aajkal bhalo aachi.

Speaking of the cons of the film, there were NONE. I'm so glad to see that those two plays by Shakespeare which have been literally by hearted by me has been executed well to the T. Voice modulations to poetry, acting to execution, Zulfiqar which is basically the sword of Prophet Muhammad, slices like a sword.

I would end this post by saying one line- Srijit Mukherjee is Kolkata's Shakespeare! I so wish Srijit makes more retellings in the future. And yes, treasure Zulfiqar.

And finally, "Et Tu, Brute?"

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Untamed by Laxmi Hariharan: a review

The second book that I have read of the authoress, Untamed by Laxmi Hariharan is wonderful in more ways than one. We might've read many types of stories and most of them coming of age ones but one that merges itself with being a many lives story us the first in its lot. I got attracted to the book the first time I read the authoress and the cover of the book helped me like the book more. Here's the blurb of the book.

According to the blurb- Leana Iyeroy, the first hybrid in her family, only ever wanted to be 100% human. An unexpected encounter with the Hugging Saint of Bombay forces Leana face the wolf inside her. A shifter, coming of age story, UnTamed was originally published as part of the UnCommon Bodies Anthology and is a standalone story in the Many lives series.

After reading Feral, I had a lot of expectations from the book and I wasn't really disappointed. The cover had me at first glance and so did the blurb. It seemed a very typical Laxmi Hariharan book from her Many Lives stories series and rightfully so. The book starts in the year 2070 just as all the other books of the series which gives us a glimpse of the lives of hybrids and an imaginary Bombay. The book started on a very high note and that brings a punch to the story.

Then the story goes on and it speeds through the whole book. A novella of around 25 pages or so makes this book a 10 minute read to say the max. I will talk about the writing style of the authoress. She has this habit if enchanting her audience with the way she writes and so did this book.

The characters that she worked with and the way she has described the book gives in the much needed feel of the book and that surely brings in a lot about the book. Leana was a very vulnerable yet strong character to work with and I was looking forward to see what the authoress does with her and I'll have to give it to the authoress to make her so lively.

Now, speaking of the cons of the book. Well, for the people who have read Feral, this book might as well be a disappointed because the effect that the characters of Feral had is missing somewhere in this book. Here, the authoress has speeded through the book like anything and somewhere down the line the readers might get lost in what happens after what and when. Truthfully, I did. On one hand when it feels good when an author makes you re-read certain parts of the book to get the essence but when it's a novella and that too one that's so speedy then re-reading it might feel awkward. I would really want to read a more detailed and developed book from the authoress.

All in all, the book is a wonderful one time read but I'll caution you- please read slowly. While I loved feral and keeping in mind that this is a standalone book, I would like to rate this book 3.75 out of 5.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Skyfire by Aroon Raman: the cover reveal

Aroon Raman is a Bengaluru-based serial entrepreneur and author. He ran his family companies for many years, winning critical acclaim for developing scientific talent at the grassroots. After successfully divesting both ventures, he now divides his time between consulting for corporates, non-profits, writing and travel. He is the author of the national bestsellers The Shadow Throne (2012) and The Treasure of Kafur (2013). He regularly contributes columns to Outlook magazine and other publications. He can be reached at

About the book

May 2012. India is hit by a series of freak weather disturbances and startling epidemics
that threaten to bring the country to its knees. At the same time, children are disappearing from the slums in the capital and nobody seems to care. Stumbling upon these strange and seemingly unrelated incidents, journalist Chandrasekhar, historian Meenakshi Pirzada and intelligence operative Syed Ali Hassan start upon a trail that leads them into the drawing rooms of Delhi’s glittering high society before reaching a terrifying climax in Bhutan, where they come face-to-face with a force of unspeakable power and evil.

It is my pleasure to reveal the first look of Bestselling author Aroon Raman’s third novel, Skyfire, which is a heart-stopping thriller that will chill you to the bone. 
Published under the banner of Pan MacMillan, you can watch the book video trailer here - 

The book would be released on the mid week of October'16.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

03:02 by Mainak Dhar: a review

Woah! That is my first reaction after reading the book. Not that I don’t have any other expression to give but because of the fact that this is the best reaction that would express what I am feeling. Usually, I let any book I read sink in before I write a review because that gives me time to clear my head around my first reaction and how I read the whole book but for this book, I couldn’t let that happen for that would ruin what the book did to me. So as soon as I finished the book (which, by the way, I finished in 5 hours and that too including 1 hour of lunch in between because I am a slow eater!) I sat to write the review. Mainak Dhar’s 03:02 is a wonderful book much beyond what it promises to deliver.

According to the blurb- At 03:02 on a Sunday morning, the world as we knew it came to an end. Mumbai suddenly went black- no electricity, no phones, no internet and no working cars. It was as if someone had turned off the master switch of our civilization, turning us back hundreds of years overnight. We learned that it was not just Mumbai, but much of the world that had been impacted. We also learned that it was no accident. A deadly enemy was behind it. An enemy that was now in our midst, seeking to conquer us and destroy our way of life. This is how our war for freedom began. A war that was to be wagged not on the borders or by the Army, but in our homes and streets, with us as the soldiers. This is our story.

 I am grinning as I admit this but it is you who I can admit this to, right? The thing is, I have fallen in love with the cover. The first and the foremost reason of getting this book was the cover. I have a soft spot for black and this cover had me at first glance. The second reason has to be the fact that it is a thriller and the blurb of the book. The whole idea of what is happening or what might happen made me pick this book up. When I held the book in my hands, the different elements of the cover made me more intrigued.

For me, as an extensive reader, now a day, it is tough to find a movie or story that does not seem predictable to me and so this story was a fresh change. Somewhere in the back of the mind even if you have something about the plot, the writing engrosses you so much that you tend to forget that and get absorbed by what the author wants to describe. Another confession coming up! While reading this book, I was so absorbed that my surroundings got hazed out. So when I finally got up, I could almost feel the things happening in the book happening around me.

While having my lunch, I thought about the people in the book. What would happen if such a blackout ever happens to us? As I type this, I still feel spooky. Such is the effect of the book on me. To those who think I am exaggerating, read the book to know. I would wait for your take on it. Now, coming to the characters of the story. I usually have the habit for falling in love with a character by the end of the book but this time I didn’t fall in love with any. No! Before you think that the characters were bad, let me break your thoughts here. I loved the characters and all of them. I rooted for them, urged them on, and cried for them throughout the book. As I have already mentioned, I felt that I was myself there in the scene.

This also gives an idea of how well the author has narrated the book. The twists, turns, emotions are there in every page of the book. As a reader I can say this much that if you are reading this book at a stretch and you take a break, you would be itching to get back to the book. If I have to speak about my favourites of the book it has to be of course Aditya from whose point of view the book has been written. The General, Akif and even Nitesh. The book has its high points and they make you stick to the book. Low points? I don’t think there were many. Oh wait, there weren’t any.

Speaking of the cons of the book, grammar wise and narration wise there weren’t any. But I would like to speak of one complain I have with the book. Even though I totally understand that a love story makes any book all the more relatable but this book had so much going on that was a love story really important? I also understand that the author wanted to concentrate more on the story rather than their love story but since the love story was introduced, couldn’t be there something stronger there? I felt (and that is completely my opinion) that the woman in consideration here lost a solid character after the love story blossomed.

Apart from that, the book kept me at the edge of my seat and is undoubtedly one of the best I have read this year. I never thought I will cry through a thriller book but I did. Through the story, the author has tried to bring in a wonderful moral and message to the readers and I am sure he has successfully put that thought across. The spark lies within each one of us, after all. The real danger mentioned in the book? I am not giving spoilers! For me, this book is a 4.75 out of 5 and I look forward to read more and more from the author. Oh! By the way, even though this doesn’t make much sense or is nowhere related to the book but I am listening to the title track of the film Mirzya on repeat mode as I write this review down (which I have been hooked onto for some unknown reasons) and I have no clue why I can even imagine Aadi as Mirzya.

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