September 30, 2016

Book Review: The Dairy of a Lutyens' Princess by Bindu Dalmia

Author: Bindu Dalmia
Publisher: RUPA Publishers
Rating: 4/5

“She is free in her wildness, she is a wanderess, a drop of free water. She knows nothing of borders and cares nothing for rules or customs. 'Time' for her isn’t something to fight against. Her life flows clean, with passion, like fresh water.”
― Roman Payne

With ‘The diary of a Lutyens’ Princess’ Bindu Dalmia has portrayed many phases of a life of a woman. This novella focuses on the life of Akshra and her battles with self. When asked by her parents to get married at an early age, she finds it difficult to go against the tide. Akshra’s new life with Arnaab makes her come apart at the seams; the love languishes, happiness becomes dry and not much is left for her to expect. But she never gives up.  Her never ending quest to find happiness is something that inspires and also instills in us the faith in ourselves.

The lucid narrative style of the author makes this an interesting read. This is more like diary writing than a story. The organization of the events and balance between the characters is so good that a steady pace can be maintained while reading. At times, the monologues become too long and extra descriptive. When Akshra finds love yet again, she makes sure not to let it go this time. Her choices and her ability to take a stand for herself is what the author has projected perfectly.

The blurb contains the previews by different hot-shots and I did not find that helpful in selecting this book. The cover looks intense and speaks volumes. Also, the editing has been taken care of. The plot serves as a delight for the ones who like reading first person narratives. Overall, a refreshing story that will touch your heart.

Review Copy: provided by RUPA

September 25, 2016

Book Review: The Monsoon Murders by Karan Parmanandka

The Monsoon Murders

Author: Karan Parmanandka
Publisher: Srishti Publishers
Rating: 4.5/5

Suspense, thrill and spine chilling mystery- this is what is offered by the novella ‘The monsoon murders’. An intellectual off-duty cop, an introvert sister and the murder of the brother- the story revolves around this. After months I came across a book which I could not put down before completing it.

With exemplary narration and characterization, the story serves as a delight for mind. The flow is so smooth that all incidents seem related yet divergent; the clues don’t seem like converging. With precise and short chapters and ‘cliffhanger’ endings, reading is fun. The excitement to know ‘what’s next’ is the key element of this book.

Fast paced, strongly woven incidents, balanced characters and justice to the theme- make this book a successful literary feat on the platter.

The character if the cop-Roy, appealed a lot to me, for he relates well with the honest yet disrespected police officers. Just because he thinks that police is barking up the wrong tree, he takes up Arun’s case. And there is too much information to unfold before him. But will the killer be identified before it is too late?

“The less you reveal, the more people can wonder.” “The Monsoon Murders” is a potpourri of mystery, excitement, trauma and amazement, making it a complete thriller package. The cover of the book is apt. The language is expressive and lucid. The author has done a wonderful job in portraying every character. Nowhere in the story does the reader feel bored. The character of Roy has been portrayed as an energetic and firm cop with balanced intelligence and smartness. There some minor editing errors but those can be overlooked when something else catches your attention more. However, the inclusion of Alina's guilt scene seemed awkward; it hampered the good flow of the reading. It was not required. Had that part been left out, the story would have been pulled off really well.

Overall, a page turner novella with reverent imagining and intense and vivid storyline.

                        Review Copy: Courtesy ARUDHA

Book Review: Aasha- The Inspiration by Sandhya Bachche & Sweta Chakraborty

Aasha- the Inspiration
Authors: Sandhya Bachche & Sweta Chakraborty
                                         Rating: 3.5/5

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”
― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“Aasha- the Inspiration” is a book dedicated to all the women who fall weak in the knees when life knocks them down. It elicits the events in the life of Jyoti and how those events made her stronger with time. Time is said to be the medicine for all the problems because it heals the pain. But the truth is that time only relieves the pain but does not eliminate it. Jyoti’s life was not an easy game right from the day she was born. 

Read more here.

September 21, 2016

Book Review: Go Clown by Shatrugna Vadwlas

Go Clown

Author: Shatrugna Vadwlas
Publisher: Author’s Up Front
Rating: 3.5/5

Not everything can be blamed on the society because society is ‘us’. It is all in the mind. The way we perceive things and react to them decides our behavior. But then is it really possible to adjust with people who have already formed an opinion of their own?

Read more here

September 20, 2016

Essay #2 RED

“More than any other colour, red is loaded with action”-Robert Gean

Red is love; red is passion. Red can be anger; red can be danger. A single colour is what red is, yet so powerful and meaningful. Symbolizing the sacred bond of marriage, the red dot on the forehead can make the face stop the clock. Red is celebration- the tomato rain during the Tomatina festival. Red is rage, for the bull behaves like bear with a sore head when it sees it.

Red is taste; it spices up our taste buds. Red are our hair, making us stand out from the rest. Red is our blood, one of the units of survival. Red is also the reason of death. It is fire; it is the primal source of survival. It depicts Greek Gods and is also the colour of Christian crucifixion. It is the colour with varied emotions- embarrassment, shyness, blush, sadness. 

For some, it symbolises national flag too. Red is even soft and gentle like a magnificent rose. Red is the spring; the season to start afresh. Being one of the primary colours, red is intense; red is extreme.

September 19, 2016

Essay #1 Pomegranate

What is life- a labyrinth or a cobweb? Don’t we want to outrun life and emerge victorious? But there is no way out. The different aspects of our life are as essential as are the different seeds of a pomegranate fruit. Just like how they stick together inside a complex and hard exocarp, the events of our life shape our personalities. The more the experience, the solid/ stronger is our personality.

Red, juicy
pomegranate appears glossy- leathery from outside but it is convoluted inside. With a closely knit network of thin skin, the fruit keeps all its seeds protected from the climate. Doesn’t this sound familiar? Isn’t life the same tough- rough crust and the events- the strongly knit seeds? Aren’t we all living cheek by jowl in a temporary camp that aims to strengthen our personality?

But probably we do not understand the complexities so well, for we believe in ‘divided we stand, united we fall’. Probably, we are not like the pomegranate seeds because we do not respect the interests of others and eagerly draw the battle lines. Probably, we need to understand the need for building bridges; learn to see eye to eye with someone.

Book Review: Vizag Blue by Anil CS Rao

Vizag Blue

Author: Anil CS Rao
Rating: 3.5/5

“Different is good”, and that applies to Vizag Blue so well. A graphic novella is what caught my attention. Unlike the usual novellas that come with a package of drama, emotions and thrill, this book not only has a strong story-line but also aids in picturing the events well.

The story throws spotlight on Kalpana’s life and her short moments of zoning out. She is a patient in a mental asylum but there are ‘her moments’ when she finds herself alone with her love interest. When back to the reality, the four walls of the asylum seem to suffocate her.

The animation and graphics are good but not perfect. I did not like the blend of real faces with the anime one. Also, the incorrect grammar, missing words and other errors with the dialogues in the box can put the reader in a black mood.

The conceptualization is creative but without proper refining of the content the books is more like the cake not worth the candle.

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September 17, 2016

Book Review: Punk Sunk Love by Dhirendra Tiwari

Author: Dhirendra Tiwari
Publisher: Srishti Publishers
Rating: 3.5/5

“Punk Sunk Love” revolves around Shammi, a realist and objective person, and Sona, a rare and wonderful woman, who drives Shammi crazy. But the surprise is not yet over, for there is another angle in this plot- Roy and Monica, who are parallel to Shammi and Sona and these four take the story further.

This story is definitely not a teenage love tale. Instead, it has a lot more to it. What happens when all possible doors close and you are left between the devil and the deep blue sea? The period between choosing and finally reaching a verdict is the toughest. The characters of Roy, Shammi, Sona and Monica have been given due weightage and their character leads to contemplation.

The title of the book is appealing, but the cover could have been better. The blurb is apt. The readers are forced to turn the pages of the book to explore the profound emotion and expression. The font size, style, indentation, header-footer are all fine.

The story is fast paced and interesting. The initial few pages are stretched a bit, probably because of the lengthy descriptions. But gradually the readers can keep up with the flow of the story. Today, where everyone is looking for something exciting and thrilling to read, this plot might just end up being the cake not worth the candle.

But the preciseness and conciseness of the chapters do the trick. The climax is compelling. I would like to compliment the author’s ability to think beyond the horizon and come up with a different plot altogether.

Best wishes to the author!

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Book Review: The Fence by multiple authors

The Fence

Author: Multiple authors
Publisher: Half Baked Beans
Rating: 4/5

Life is unpredictable, yet it is possible to connect the threads together and form an opinion. ‘The Fence’ offers a blend of different instances that can leave a lasting impression on one’s heart and soul. With just eight short stories, the authors have proved their potential in writing skills.

‘Illustrado’s eulogy’ is one story that appealed to me a lot. I liked the style of writing and the vocabulary used by the author. With a subtle beginning, the narration acts like a cherry on the cake. ‘The Smartphone’ is another piece with good narration. The story highlights the irony of becoming dependent on a gadget and how it has the potential to destroy one’s life too.

The other stories are fine but predictable. The language and vocabulary use is exemplary and the perfect placement of twists and turns make the minor mistakes seem negligible.

Overall, the book offers a blend of emotions and different perceptions.

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September 14, 2016

Perks of being a teacher #2

There is a lot more to this job (like I said before).  As teachers, we come across different kids- the intelligent ones, the weak ones, the bright ones, the ones with presence of mind, the ones who are good at Math, the ones who like Literature. But we forget that the ‘weak ones’ might be good at dancing, singing or calligraphy or theater. If not these, then those kids might be good at responding to a stimulus that is gentle.

The other day, while I was correcting notebooks, I was caught unawares by the voice of my colleague, who was sitting right next to me. She was probably trying to scold a kid who was playing with the stones on the ground. And the kid’s response was altogether worse. He made a face at the teacher and ran away. Co-incidentally, that kid was in my class.

Generally, I am polite and gentle in my ways when I have to scold him because I had read somewhere that using harsh words can harm the relationship between the teacher and the student. That particular day when I asked him about the morning incident, he did not reply but started crying. “Everybody thinks that I can only do mischief. My classmates don’t play with me as they think I am bad at it. Teachers don’t want to listen to me. Parents don’t have time for me,” is what he said.

I realised that the poor child had been bearing the brunt all this while. And if not for him, it was, definitely, a learning for me.

As teachers, we can help the children run in the mind- boggling race of life. Support and polite tone is what these kids seek; respect and care is what we can give them.

Book Review: Best Manager by Arjun Thiagaraj

Author: Arjun Thiagaraj
Publisher: Author’s Ink Publishers
Rating: 2.5/5

“Language is the garment of thought.”

And I cannot agree more. A thought that is well expressed and well translated, is in itself a language. And books are our source to learn languages. ‘Best Manager’ offers insight into the lives of Sree Venugopal and Veena, the protagonists, who meet in their workplace. The book has a captivating yet subtle cover and an apt title. 

Amidst coy love and competitive world, these two lovers strive to adjust and give their love a chance to blossom. Every child has to bear the brunt of what the parents expect, but it takes a lot of courage and self- confidence to take a stand and voice out one’s opinion.

With too much use of monologue, the book failed to appeal my inquisitive mind. Although, the issues addressed are really very relevant- dowry system per say, yet the lack of editing and proofreading nullifies the positives of the plot. Lines like ‘My neighbor at my flat’, Studying each of her nature’ and ‘What emotion did her last message has created in me?’ have some of the most basic and common grammatical errors. Even the blurb wasn't edited finely. 

Excess of everything is bad and the parts in the book that preach a lot were boring for me. But just like every coin has a other side too, the plot of this book is its strength. With balanced characters, in terms of their personalities, the author has succeeded in transforming this plot into a gripping story.

Best wishes to the author!

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Review Copy: Provided by ARUDHA

September 11, 2016

Book Review: The color of love by Jagdish Joghee

Author: Jagdish Joghee
Publisher: Notionpress
Rating: 3/5

“The way you make an omelet reveals your character.”
― Anthony Bourdain

‘The colour of love’ is a book that has the potential to blow away the cobwebs and enchant the readers with love spell. With an appealing yet somber cover and a precise blurb the book outlook tells the readers exactly what they can expect. The genre is, no doubt, romance.

Sarfaraz, who is born and brought up in a middle class family and has been imbibed with moral values and orthodox customs, is our protagonist. With his flamboyant personality, he can make every girl weak in her knees. His search for true love is what the story focuses on. Meghna, a down-to-earth and humble lady, is our female protagonist. The love birds fall in love only to face the hurdles that lie ahead.

With the increasing number of Romantic genre books in the market, somehow I feel my interest declining. But there are books that leave a strong imprint on your mind. This book failed to do so. Already bored of reading college romance, I could not relate to the plot this time because of redundant ideas and lengthy monologues.

The book, however, addresses a very important issue of inter religion marriages and might serve as an eye-opener for all. Sarfaraz’s struggle to get his love interest and fight all odds like standing up for what his family feels is not right, has been portrayed beautifully. The author has been very thoughtful and has used good vocabulary in depicting the characters of Meghna and Sarfaraz.

Not to forget the simple dialogue delivery and lucid narration, this book will definitely interest those who prefer College/ Teen romance. Somehow I feel that there was no need to include the scenes that described the physical intimacy.

The title of the book could have been better. With predictable plot, the story does not offer anything new. But the author has succeeded in keeping the language simple and lucid. There are typos in the book and they can be spotted time and again.

Best wishes to the author!

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Review Copy: Courtesy ARUDHA

Book Review: Romance Shorts by Sourabh Mukherjee

Romance Shorts

Author: Sourabh Mukherjee
Rating: 3/5

‘Never judge a book by its cover’ is what fits best for this thin book. With less number of pages and simple cover, the book might not seem appealing in the very first look. But wait! There is more to this than expected. The author, with his exemplary vocabulary and conspicuous flair for words, has succeeded in touching the hearts of the readers.

‘Romance shorts’ is a compilation of four short stories that are intriguing as well as cut above the others. It is said the Love always finds its way. But what happens when things do not turn out the way you expect them to? The first story- ‘Nargis through my summers’ is a very good narrative that opens doors of imagination. But somehow the title did not quite match with what the plot had to offer.

‘Mine forever’, although predictable, yet was a streamlined read. The sequence of events in the story was fabulous and the narration was fantastic. The third story ‘Memories’ is, yet again, a very alluring read as the twists and turns have been placed properly. I liked the way the author has placed one predictable and one unpredictable story in the book.

Last but not the least, ‘Love came calling again’ is a story that appeals to your mind and the narration makes it more impactful. But all said and done, the presentation of the book is something that is a total negative. Right from the cover to the font (style and size), nothing has been taken care of. The editing has not been done properly because time and again punctuation errors can be found.

The commendable use of new words and phrases and creativity has made the author successful in knocking the socks of the readers. The plot of each story is twisted and you cannot afford to miss even a single page in order to keep the flow of the story going. The language is simple and clear.

Best wishes to the author!

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Review Copy: Courtest ARUDHA

September 05, 2016

Book Review: Betwixt twists and turns by Mona Mohanty

Betwixt turns and twists
Author: Mona Mohanty
Publisher: Partridge Publishers
Rating: 4/5

Life is unpredictable, yet it is possible to connect the threads together and form an opinion. ‘Betwixt twists and turns’ is an anthology of short stories; the stories are inspired from our day to day lives. It is the minute things that matter the most and if we focus on them instead of making a mountain of a molehill, we can understand life better.

The author has done a fabulous job of narrating stories and keeping them different from each other. None of the stories are related. But still a common thought that hovered in my mind was the exemplary skills of observation and narration.
Penguin and partridge have their names speak for their work. And yes this happened when I had a first look at the book. The title, though raw, yields to the expectations of the readers. The real pleasure lies in reading each story that is not only fast paced but also gripping. The overall concept of the book is nice. But the cover did not appeal to me much. Probably, more colour and a clearer image could have been better.

With exemplary vocabulary and fitted use of twists and turns in the tales, the author has left an indelible impact on my mind. I could not help but mark the nice phrases and new words. Some of my favourite stories are: In my mind’s eye, Lullaby, Spanner in the works and The message trail.

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September 02, 2016

Book Review: In God's Wishlist by Pradipta Panda

In God’s Wishlist
Author: Pradipta Panda
Publisher: Frog Books
Rating: 3/5

Life is like a sandwich!
Birth as one slice,
and death as the other.
What you put in-between
the slices, is up to you.
Is your sandwich tasty or sour?
(As said by Allan Rufus)

Definitely our lives have become sour owing to the treacherous and selfish nature of all of us. How would this sight appeal to God? Yes, this question strikes our brain often but we brush away the thought as it gets over-shadowed by evil priorities. But what if God decides to come down on Earth and workout a better system of living that is not only porous to pure thoughts but also works on the basics of love and trust? ‘In God’s wishlist’ is a fantasy novella that elicits the wishlist maintained by God and how beautifully he plans to implement and execute his plans for a better future of mankind.

This book introduces God as the protagonist of the plot. With the help of simple yet convincing dialogues/ narration, the author has done justice with the theme of the book. The subtle colours on the cover of the book make it seem appealing, but the real pleasure lies in reading and relating to the circumstances and the author’s mindset.

Everyone, at some point of their lives, feels the need to change the society and strive to make it a better place for living. But it really takes courage to stand tall and fight all odds. In this book, the concept of introducing change via the creator is commendable.

But there are several loopholes that might act as a negative for the book- several grammatical errors, incomplete words, and numerous typos.

Overall, the book exposes the readers to a new perspective and comes with an invisible tagline-‘Read at your own risk’.

PS: If you are open to different ideas and varied approaches, then this book must be given a try. 

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