Thursday, 19 July 2018

Seductive Affair by Rishabh Puri: a review

Okay! When you receive a book titled Seductive Affair there are a lot of things that goes on in your mind. That too, when the book cover suggests that there is a possibility of the whole book revolving around seduction and the game it plays. The blurb, also, does very little in changing the way of thought that the book cover has implanted. Once you start the book, you know what you're up to. Also, the author, Rishabh Puri's bio made me pick up the book against all odds.

About the book- Prisha Khatri is a regular college graduate, focused on her career and freshly dumped by her successful fiance. When she lands a job at a prestigious media house, she's glad to have e something to take her mind off her heartbreak. She lands on a business trip with a famously fiery reporter Rajesh Lagheri. He's travelling to a business conference for a story, and doesn't seem impressed by her involvement. But as soon as they're out of the office, things change, and it becomes clear that there is more to Rajesh's trip than meets the eye. As Prisha is drawn into the story he's trying to hide from their editor, their hunt for the story grows more intense and she finds herself growing closer to Rajesh. As their chemistry threatens to overwhelm them and Prisha is pulled deeper into the Seductive affair, she must decide what matters to her- matters of the head, or of the heart.

Now that I have written what the book blurb has to say, let me get on with how I felt about the book. To start off with, the first few pages of the book promised a lot of punch to the readers. I loved the narration of the story and how it is for all kinds of audience. Also, the descriptions were on point. I liked the way the author described and put forth every situation. It was as if I could visualize the whole thing but then that's that.

The story had nothing substantial to offer, for me. It was an ordinary Mills and boons story which could've been a lot more if added with more punches. Prisha, the female protagonist according to me could've been a stronger character than what is shown. Everything that happens in the story just fell in place at the right time and we all knew what's gonna happen by the end of it. It wasn't an “erotic” novel as such but the few scenes there were was written to perfection.

I couldn't find any such grammatical error in the book and that made it a smooth read for me. It took me one sitting to finish the book and I'm glad it did. The book ends up being a decent one time read not meant for heavy or avid readers. The story had the potential of being much better than what it is now and that disappointed me a bit while reading. That is probably why I am having a bit of a trouble in mentioning more about the book. All in all a nice read, this book was 3 on 5 for me. And I really expect more from the author given his writing and narration skills. 

Monday, 16 July 2018

Half the Night is Gone by Amitabha Bagchi: a review

There are millions of book present in the market and then there is this one book that catches your attention at first glance. Half the Night is Gone by Amitabha Bagchi was one such novel for me. Judge me all that you can but it was the cover of the book that attracted me to it in the first place. Done in shades of blue with a palatial bunglow on the cover, this hardcover book gave me feels right as I held it. The blurb of the book, sealed it's fate- I had to read it.

About the book- The celebrated Hindi novelist Vishwanath is heartbroken by the recent loss of his son in an accidental. The tragedy Spurs him to write a novel set in the household of Lala Motichand. It follows the lives of the wealthy Lala and his three sons: self confident Dinanath, the true heir to Motichand’s mercantile temperament; lonely Diwanchand, uninterested in business and steeped in poetry; and illegitimate Makhan Lal, a Marx loving school teacher kept to the periphery of his father's life. In an illuminating act of self reflection, Vishwanath, the son of a cook for a rich Sethji, also tell the story of the Lala's personal servant, Mange Ram, and his son, Parsadi. Fatherhood, brotherhood and childhood, love, loyalty and poetry, all come to the for as sons and servants await the Lala’s death. By writing about mortality and family, Vishwanath confronts the wreckage of his own life while seeking to make sense of the new India that came into being after Independence. Spellbinding and penetrating, Half the Night is Gone raises questions of religion, literature and society that speaks to our fractured times.

Tragic. Yes! That's the word to describe this labyrinth of human emotions called a book. It is said that books are a way of life and it is rightfully said so, all thanks to this one. I've read a lot of books till date across varied genres but not many that records a family like this. Equally balanced and a wonderful way of storytelling, the author traces the journey of Diwanchand and his story (within the story) to perfection. Starting off with Mange Ram and his association with Lala Motichand, the story takes a wonderful turn throughout the book.

Truths are always bitter and the faster we recognize the fact, the more successful and satisfied we remain. The characters of the story are no special people with special thoughts or powers, they are who you find in real life and that makes the story all the more worth it. I loved the way the narration made this book what it is. It shuttles between Diwanchand's remorseful letters to his loved ones after he received the blow that unsettled him to the core and the story he writes of Lala Motichand and Mange Ram and their families.

The book takes time to grip in and at times the truth of life mentioned in the book might make you feel like closing it but then after a while all these characters make you feel at home and you feel like knowing what is to happen next. I loved the fact that the book is for everyone. Every character has been given their dues and have played their parts to perfection. The questions raised in the story are answered and loose ends tied.

The end brings upon an all knowing smile on your face which is sad as well as sarcastic at the same time. What didn't work for me is the fact that I felt there were to be a few places where the author could've made it better. Whenever one reads a prose of excellence, they expect more and that applauds the writer in many ways than one. For this book, I felt that a few characters could've made better of the space that had been given to them. The way that Vishwanath reflects upon his life through the story he writes is commendable. Kudos to the author for attempting such a bold book. For me, this was 4.75 out of 5. And yes, goes without saying, I'll be waiting for more from the author. Did I mention? I love the cover. 

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Chanakya by Ashok K Banker: a review

I love historical fiction. Whoever knows me, knows this fact about me. So, when I was presented with Ashok K Banker’s latest, titled Chanakya, I couldn't stop myself. We all have grown up listening to the stories of Chanakya (and good Lord, a few days back I, myself read a story of this mighty person) and I couldn't help but read what the book has to say about how Chanakya became Chanakya. One look at the blurb and I knew I had to read this.

About the book- Jurist, war strategist, kingmaker. Master administrator. Author of the Arthashastra. But before the legend, there was the boy: Vishnu Gupta. Pataliputra, capital of the great Nanda empire, is teeming with crime and corruption. Granted unlimited authority by the hedonistic emperor Mahapadma Nanda, evil Mastermind Maha-amatya Kartikeya has the city in a vice like grip. But another name bubbles up through the chaos; there is talk of a young genius, Vishnu Gupta. When the Maha-amatya investigated the rumours, he recognizes a future rival in the boy. He is determined to destroy this competition from the roots- family and all. Vishnu must gather all his wit and his formidable knowledge to protect everything he holds dear. The holy scriptures, his brilliant interpretations of the Vedas and the power of his unmatched mind: these are the only tools he has against the might of the most powerful man in the empire. Epic storyteller Ashok K. Banker imagined the early life and formative years of India's greatest genius, a man whose influence persists down the ages. In this first installment of a thrilling trilogy, he recreated Chanakya's early struggles and triumphs.

In this thrilling journey what catches your attention at first glance is the prodigy Vishnu Gupta is. Let's not call him Chanakya straight away. The thin form of the book made me wonder what could be there in the book and once I finished it, I didn't want it to end. For the umpteenth time, reading about Chanakya made me feel proud. The blurb says it is an imagined story and kudos to the author for writing this down.

Okay! It would be a mistake from my end if I have to actually comment on the author's capabilities because he's just THE BEST but I'll try my level best to emote what I felt. Coming to the storyline, I loved the pace of the story and how every character was formed. Barring Chandra, how I wish I had more of him in this book. Vishnu Gupta has been formed wonderfully and everyone can connect to this prodigy from the time he is mentioned, so much so that I felt like meeting the kid upfront.

Only if it were reality. Now, every single descriptions made in the book were wonderful and that is one of the best parts of the book. Narration done to the point where you can imagine every single thing that is happening in the book. Dialogues on point. The book has everything it was needed to make the readers stand on a cliff and wait for the next part. I loved the cover of the book too. But if I have to speak of the cons then one biggest concern I had for the book was the length. Only if it was a bit more longer than it is. But having said that, I know why the author ended it where he did. Looking forward to the next part of the series and knowing about Vishnu Gupta, this book is 4 on 5 for me as of now. 

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Yours Forever by Nimmu: a review

Love stories: something that I love yet don't find time for reading. Something that makes me feel good. A good love story is hard to find and when I picked up this red beauty by Nimmu titled Yours forever, I didn't know what to expect. Another cliched story? Something underwritten with a lot of potential? I didn't think of anything yet had a lot of questions before starting this red beauty. The blurb of the book made me pick this up earlier than I was thinking of.

About the book- What happens when you fall in love with someone who has vowed to never love again? Sneha’s luck is cursed. What she had anticipated to be a joyous rde into her Residency, turns into the scene from Hell when the man she had done altercation with on her first day, turns out to be her supervisor- Dr. Shiva a.k.a Dr. Hothead a.k.a the Ice King. And just as she thinks life can't get any worse than this, the unthinkable happens. She falls in love with him! From a man she loathes, Shiva turns into the love of her life. But he has had enough of heartbreak to last him a lifetime. Even though enamoured by the endearing and beautiful Sneha, he is still resolved to love no more. As Shiva coldly casts Sneha out of his life, will Sneha meekly listen, never to appear in front of him again? Or will her love manage to melt Shiva’s impenetrable heart? So begins Yours forever, a heart wrenching story about passion, heartbreaks, and love that crosses paths with long buried truths and unexpected tragedies. Battered at every turn, will Shiva and Sneha's love last forever?

Phew! That was a long blurb to type out and the book is that. A lot of emotions packed into one, I immediately could relate to certain feelings of the book. The theme of the book is very realistic and that makes it all the more read-worthy. You fall in love only to be rebuked and then what? While reading the book I'm sure you'll fall for the characters who have made the book what it is.

For me, one of the first things that catches my attention when I read a book HAS TO BE the narration of it. This book by Nimmu scored well on the narration part. There weren't doses of extra dictionary words which would need a lot of thought. Simple words in a simple language makes the book what it is. Next, the way the characters have been written. The whole growth graph of the characters has been wonderful throughout the book.

Sneha and Shiva (oh Shiva I love him) has been very well thought of and their relationship has been shown wonderfully. Rajesh also, turns to be one of my favorite characters. Good part about the book is that, it deals with very few characters are lives the whole story with them. The relationship that Sneha and Mithra share also adds up to the book. No unnecessary drama, to the point storyline. And yes, I cried while reading the book.

Coming to the cons of it, I believe that Rajesh could've had a larger role to play and his book space time was limited to what I call cameo appearances. The story could've had a bit more depth that would make this book all the more better. Also, the ending could've been much better rather than being what it is. The book didn't disappoint me but I expected a lot from it while I was reading it. For me, this book was 3.5 out of 5. Looking forward to more from the author!

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Infin-Eight by Prajeet Budhale: a review

Whenever you're going through a book, you  always do so with the thought that something or the other will be learnt by the end of the book. When you're reading a business or self help book, you're so sure of that fact. Prajeet Budhale’s Infin-Eight gave me the very same feeling just as I held the book. The eight principles for infinite professional success has been mentioned very strongly by the author with extensive examples of situations and activities that provide the same.

About the book- What is worse than not having the ability to bring success in one's own life? It is having the ability and not being able to use it! Infin-Eight is designed as an intensive practical “work with self” guide for professional success. It brings alive the power of your strengths and synchronizes them to your professional goal.

These days I've been reading a lot of non fiction and self help books and this one, undoubtedly has been the most exhaustive. It makes you uncomfortable with the truths and findings mentioned and it also brings your life to a halt, shaking you up to real life. Before I say anything else, I would like to recommend this book to every single person who is a part of any kind of company or business, so that they can make this book a part of their lives.

Now, coming to the book. This one is meant for everyone but as a reader I feel, not everyone would find this book nice. That's because of the pace of the book and the fact that the book would need a lot of thought. It is essential to pick up a paper and pen whenever you're reading the book. The book would give you enough places to scribble down inside the book itself. Treat the book as a guide, if you may because it's meant to be that way.

The author, also a certified coach with experience in leadership for 22 years has put in a life time of experience in 8 principles that give you a path for heading towards infinite success. A very positive and important book in today's time. A few cons I felt about the book was its pace. Only if it were made a bit more quirky and more enriching, I would've rated this a great book. Such wonder of a book should have been made keeping all audience and their favorites of reading in mind. A tell-tale way of saying whatever the book had to say would've made it for everyone to love, not just the businessmen. For me, looking forward to more, this rich with experience book was 3.5 out of 5. 

Saturday, 7 July 2018

From Ideas to Iconic Brands by Giles Lury: a review

We always read books that fall heavily on the scale of fiction to nonfiction. For nonfiction, we mostly feel safe around self help and motivational books and biography or autobiographies. But it is also not uncommon for us to be around everyday objects and places and think about their origin. What if, you have a non-fiction book that speaks to you about the origin of such places and things written in an almost story like format with a moral? Interesting. Isn't it? From Ideas to Iconic Brands by Giles Lury is heavily that very book. It has, as claimed, inspiring stories of 101 amazing brands that changed the world.

About the book- A cross between a business book and a story book, From Ideas to Iconic Brands is a collection of 101 accessible, enjoyable and revealing tales behind the creation of some of the world's greatest brands, including Mercedes, Apple, Disney, KFC, WWF, Guinness world records and Coca-Cola. The stories are arranged into sections covering brand Origins, brand naming and identity, marketing strategy, communication, Innovation, repositioning and renovation, with a moral at the end of every story. For each story, the author has drawn a marketing principle that can be applied to many brand and marketing challenges businesses face today. Packed with compelling anecdotes illustrating how to gain increased visibility, cultivate a loyal following and establish a reputation of being the best in the market, this book provides the reader with a fully equipped Toolbox for building a winning brand!

This book, written by the Executive chairman of The Value Engineers puts forth exactly what is claimed by them. As a contributor to marketing press, the author knows his job. The first thing that I would like to mention when I talk about the book is the fact that the book has been researched thoroughly with backup and a lot of time has been spent in writing and making the book. Collecting 101 stories isn't an easy job and kudos to the author for coming up with this book. The 101 stories in the book are divided into moral worthy ways under specific terms using which they became what they are, since the time they were founded.

The way the narration has been done in the book, doesn't make it seem like a business book at all. It feels like you are reading their own stories and learning something from your own brand. Also, for the reader who doesn't own a business of their own, this book serves as the best general knowledge book which makes you learn (and be able to boast to your friends for knowing) certain things about their favorite brand. Think about a Mercedes or a KFC!

Knowing their inner stories and the stories of how they were founded, you can immediately connect to the brands and that is something great about the book. At 335 pages, this doesn't seem like a huge and daunting book to read and you'll sail through it easily. Another thing that I loved about the book is the fact that after ending the stories there are a few pages that has a list of all the morals of the stories along with the brand name. A perfect read for entrepreneurs, I wouldn't be surprised if they make this book a part of the curriculum extra reads at B-schools any day soon.

The easy way with which the narration has been done makes this book all the more worth it. Lovely illustrations make it a wonder read. If I have to speak about the cons of the book then probably the only con that comes in my mind is the fact that not many Indian known brands are mentioned. While some, not so familiar brands to the Indian audience are mentioned. That apart, I would really recommend this book to the audience who wants to know about these brands and set up their own. Looking forward to more, this book for me is 4 out of 5. 

Sunday, 1 July 2018

What was my fault by Aziz Padiwala: a review

In the midst of all the flashy covers and good looking books, once in a while you come across one which has a title that intrigues you and how! What was my fault by Aziz Padiwala is one such book. The reason I picked this one up was because of the blurb that made me question what was in this book that made it all the more special- as the blurb suggests and trust me, I wasn't disappointed to say the least.

About the book- Set in the year 2014, an experience of a young man in his late twenties who has lost every emotional war in his life. He blames himself and his always on edge. He is losing the last remaining shred of hope of finding true love, when he comes across a girl who changed everything. Suddenly, his entire world turns upside down and his happiness knows no bounds. But like every other aspect of his life, his relationship is twisted in more ways than one. This time, however, he has to decide whether he was to be blamed? Or had there been something else ruining it all along?

There are somethings in the society that has us. We are unable to exactly pinpoint what or even if we do, we can't change that and that's why I say, somethings in the society has us. The lead characters of the story: Farhan and Zoya goes through something similar. Giving no spoilers: I won't say what do they go through. You'll have to yourself go through this gem of a book to know that.

What I can rather say is, the characters are wonderfully etched. You will immediately connect to a person around you (or even yourself) when you read the book. The ups and downs of this limited character book is something that makes this book a very simple yet clever read. The author has done his best at making this book one which is read worthy for all kinds of audience. You can be someone who reads any genre but this book will catch you out of the blue and complete it in one sitting itself.

Another thing that I liked about the book was the simplistic writing. There are very few people who can capture the essence of a book in a few characters while giving everyone their space, something the author has almost mastered. About the cons of the book, I guess a few mistakes here and there and the length of the book was a problem. Also, something that might be a problem for avid readers like me can be the over-use of italics. I guess this book has the potential which could have been great if it was sharpened a little more. The cover, again could've been much better. For me, this was a 3.5 out of 5 waiting for much more from the author. 

PS: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Vinfluencers!