September 29, 2017

Book Review: Riding God's Axe by Siva Sadasivan & Kerala- The Divine Destination by Lalitha B.

Riding God’s Axe & Kerala- the Divine Destination
Author: Siva sadasivan & Lalitha Balasubramanian (respectively)

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

I got my hands on these two books as review copies and I am glad I chose them. A treasure of information and perspectives, these books offer immense knowledge and minutiae of God’s own country- Kerala. Written in different narrative styles, each one has a beauty of its own.

Riding God’s Axe
With a plain and non-appealing cover, this book has author’s narratives about his journey by train within the state of Kerala. With long descriptions of feelings and emotions, the content gives the readers a feeling of being physically present and experiencing the same. Lucid and understandable, the vocabulary is not that difficult and time and again typos can be seen. Even the monologues become dreary at times, but still the exquisite descriptions of the magnificent tea estates, lush green carpets and the magnificent mountains win the heart over.

Kerala- The Divine Destination
This book might be savoured by the spiritual neurons that are in the constant urge to resolve the ethos of life. Covering the minutiae of religious places spread across the land of Kerala, it serves as a comprehensive guide for the travelers. Though pictures are amiss, yet the details and the beautiful descriptions of the temples appeal the readers. Not only does this reflect the amount of effort put in by the authoress but also projects her prowess in penning down a travel guide in form of a novella.

I liked the subtle cover too. The language is simple and understandable. I only longed for some nice colourful pictures as that might have enhanced the overall impact of the content.

Buy this book from:

Amazon (Riding God's Axe)
Amazon (Kerala- the Divine Destination)

September 28, 2017

Book Review: Before the Sunset by Lakshmi Menon

Before the Sunset
Author: Lakshmi Menon
Publisher: Notionpress
Rating: 3/5

Love is an uncanny emotion as it is ever evolving. Once in love, the troubles of the world appear minute. But fate has a different plan; it either turns the tables upside down or makes the life a bed of red roses. ‘Before the Sunset’, set in Southern India, is a poignant story of love, trust, and revelations.

Read complete review here

Book Review: Tell Me Your Real Story by Savita Nair

Tell Me Your Real Story
Poet: Savita Nair
Genre: Poetry collection
Publisher: Leadstart Publishers (Virgin Leaf Books)

‘Tell Me Your Real Story’ is a lyrical journey of living, loving, and losing. With this poetry collection, the poetess has thrown light on various aspects of life- it complexities and pleasures. This is a collection of 57 poems. With simple and easy-to-understand language, the poetess has demonstrated her prowess in expressing emotions with influential and impactful words. Weaving enjambment in most of her poems, the poetess focuses on conveying the message rather than maintain a proper rhyme scheme. Hence, most poems end up being a free verse.

Some of the most basic topics have been touched upon in this book and it is delightful to read and relate to the situations. The poetess has done a commendable job in portraying all the emotions of the human mind. However, I wished for a proper and shorter title and a more captivating cover design.

The use of vocabulary and language is simple yet influential. The poetess’ selection of words to describe the emotional turmoil is remarkable. Some of the uncommon topics touched by the poetess are an Average individual, boiling tea, revenge, pride, mean and impolite people around and cautious mind.

The book is a good read because of the simplicity with which the emotions were expressed and fomented.
Best wishes to the poetess!

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Book Review: Principles of Success by Roopleen

Author: Roopleen
Publisher: Macmillan Publications
Rating: 3/5

Success comes to those who strive for it. But I also believe that constant support and guidance are equally important to tread on the right path. Walking through the labyrinth of life, trying to decode every possible problem is like walking through a dark tunnel. The distant light can be seen but the distance is unfathomable. Success is that light; you cannot determine how far it is!

‘Principles of Success’ is a self-help book that streamlines the process involved in attaining success. The authoress has divided the process into 14 steps, namely:

1.   Draft the Blueprint of Your Life
2.   Believe in Yourself
3.   Build Yourself Up
4.   Let Confidence Be Your Hallmark
5.   Never Give Up
6.   Visualizations and Positive Affirmations
7.   The Tripod of Success- Hard Work, Perseverance and Discipline
8.   Identify Your Achilles’ Heel
9.   Skills You Need to Master
10.                     Get Tough With Stress
11.                     Organize Yourself- Declutter Your Life
12.                     Acknowledge and Celebrate Your Success
13.                     Be a Winner
14.                     The X-Factor

Each step has been described in clear and simple language. However, the commonness of the central idea and the availability of content in various forms by various authors might be one of the reasons why the book is not well-received by everyone. Though the presentation and organization have been done skillfully so that it is understandable by a layman also, yet the redundancy of the material acts as a drawback.

With a simple cover but precise blurb, the book looks enticing and is a quick read. The facts shared in the book are the known ones- only that the ink acts as a reminder for the brain. 

Overall, the book has something fruitful to offer and is a light read. Give it a try.

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September 27, 2017

Book Review: Aryaveer by M. J. Williams

Author: Mary J. Williams
Rating: 3/5

We all have heard and read the stories of mythological heroes- the stories that portrayed how a woman’s influence transformed the malevolent hero into a benevolent one. ‘Aryaveer’ is no different. It narrates the story of ‘Aryaveer’ who is trained and taught to be ruthless; who has been asked to shed all inhibitions and walk on the path of blood and hatred and who abides by the laws of honesty and integrity. But his days of terror do not last long, for Meera who is adorned with the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, walks into his life and changes the course of actions.

Meera’s subtle yet evocative personality is something to look up to in the book. The journey of the two occupies major space in the book and the last part is all about contemplating situations, taking decisions and acting accordingly.

With clear narratives, ‘Aryaveer’ does not fail to intrigue the readers. At the same time, it leaves them disheartened too because of lack of action in the book. The language is simple yet impactful. Overall, the story is old and clichéd; it is like serving the old wine in a new bottle.

One-time-read is what I would classify this one as.

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Book Review: Kuttan's Dilemma by Leni Varkey

Kuttan’s Dilemma
Author: Leni Varkey
Rating: 3.5/5

“The town was paper, but the memories were not.”

If you were born in the 90s, then you would remember the mastermind character from one of the favourite comic books- Chacha Chaudhary. Reading during those days was simple, yet effective. Not only did we enjoy the humorous illustrations that depicted Sabu as extra tall and Pinki as extremely mischievous, but also learned our lessons. Though the comics can still be found today, yet the quality is no longer the same. ‘Kuttan’s Dilemma’ comes as a big relief for all the parents who want their children to read about  smart, witty and good characters. This fiction book narrates the story of a young village boy, Kuttan, who finds solace in his soliloquy. He loves to observe and form opinions. Leni Varkey has beautifully crafted the central character and I feel the children will be able to relate to the boy completely.

Area A: Text
The text has been organized in simple sentences. Not only can the children understand the language but also enjoy the pictorial representation of the scenes. The beauty of the book lies in the illustrations, for they add the necessary emphasis on the scenes.

Area B: Illustrations
The cover of the book neatly presents the main agenda of the plot. The catchy and colourful cover with a precise blurb acts as an icing on the cake. Kudos to Rishi Bhardwaj for making the book very interactive through the pictures!

Area C: Characterization
The main character of the story is Kuttan and the most dominant trait that can be identified is his intelligence and honesty. The author of the book has brought in the positivity of the character, which will, in turn, help in shaping up the minds of the young readers.

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September 19, 2017

Five Things I regret Doing This Year

June is past and only three months remain for this year to bid farewell. I think it is the right time to list the five major things I regret doing this year so far. But before you scroll down and start judging me (which you will, owing to the mindset), remember- To err is human: to forgive divine.

1.   Giving up on my book
Pursuing your passion is not an easy task. With a full-time job, it is practically impossible to find the time and devote time to the challenges of the unanticipated. Earlier this year, while battling with the correction deadlines and the lesson preparations, I gave up on my book, hanging it out to dry. Only now I realize that the fracas is never-ending and it will be quite a challenge to resume the writing.

2.   Holding on to the beautiful clothes
It is very difficult for me to get rid of the clothes that become battered. Preserving them till eternity and then ending up not using them ever, is my normal story. Just last week, while cleaning my cupboard, I came across the copious collection of clothes I had and some of them met me for the first time.

3.   Respecting the opinions of others
It is rightly said: ‘Take others’ opinions lightly. Very Lightly’, and I regret not following this earlier. The world is full of meddlesome people and they never miss an opportunity to opine about you. It is okay to ignore people at times and make them realize that their opinion is no longer wanted.

4.   Being sedentary
Like most people, I cherish the idea of sitting at my desk and working. But it is only now that I realize the repercussions of my actions. My job keeps me on my toes and using this as an excuse, I refrain from doing any exercise. But better late than never! It is not a resolution but it is a determined decision- that I will work out at least for 30 minutes each day.

5.   Making fear-driven decisions

Last month, when I finally attended the Blogger’s meet, I overcame my fear of facing new people. Not a very social person, I loathe the idea of attending a gathering full of unknown people. I regret missing the major meets in my city because of all the wrong decisions I made. I am working on my social skills and I hope I can conquer the fear and seize every opportunity to meet new people.

September 12, 2017

Book Review: The Three Psychos by Yash Pawaskar

The Three Psychos

Author: Yash Pawaskar
Publisher: Dimple Publishers
Rating: 3/5

We are dying from overthinking. We are slowly killing ourselves by thinking about everything. Think. Think. Think. You can never trust the human mind anyway. It's a death trap.

~Anthony Hopkins

The human mind is a difficult labyrinth. Once anything goes inside, it is difficult to put that thought aside. ‘The Three Psychos’ is a fictional novel mystery and thrill as its major elements. The book comprises of three different stories having a common link – the human mind. The first story deals with the mental torture the protagonist has to go through because of his deeds in the past; the second story narrates the story of a patient who is under treatment for his mental illness and the third story describes the mindset of an exasperated teenager who is determined to utilize the six bullets in the revolver. The ingenious story-telling and the wise plot-line do the trick and make the story interesting.

The layout, font (size, style), indentation, text alignment and the content presentation is fine. The author has successfully portrayed the emotional turmoil- right from the bright side to the dark one. The stories are divergent in the beginning but the climax forces them to converge at a well-thought juncture. The author has successfully proved that it is our mind that holds the storm by the hair. Given to its power, it takes a lot of courage and will to argue the toss.

The lucid language and the short narration made the reading fast-paced. While reading, the readers will surely experience it in form of a movie because the characters will come to life and the scenes might be imaginable.

The foremost drawback in the book is the layout. With the insufficient information in the blurb, the expectations are set on the lower side of the scale. The cover also fails to impress.
Overall, the book is a result of a well-sought plot.

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September 07, 2017

Book Review: Love Will Find a Way by Anurag Garg

Author: Anurag Garg
Publisher: Penguin Publishers
Rating: 3.5/5

‘Love Will Find a Way’ is the third book with the same title that I got my hands on- the first two penned down by Mr. Ashish Ranjan and Ms. Parul Tyagi respectively, the latter having a more intriguing plot. However, the book by Penguin falls in average category owing to the clichéd plot.

Love is an uncanny emotion as it is ever evolving. But this story is not only about love. It is a complete pot-boiler with appropriate amounts of mystery, thrill, love, romance and regret. The story revolves around Madhav, a creative thinker who likes to pour his thoughts using a pen. The commendable character sketch of this ‘round’ character is worth praising. With an objective atmosphere, the story describes the plethora of pathos in Madhav’s life. But this sadness is not because of his present; his past is what becomes the bane of his life. He can neither focus nor live in peace and thus, he decides to visit Radhika, a psychiatrist. Just like it happened in Dear Zindagi, the therapist falls in love with the client, being well aware of the laws in her profession. Trying to keep an arm’s length and fighting the Cupid, Radhika strives to help Madhav overcome his haunting past. But what happens next is not only predictable but also very simple.

‘Love… will find its way’ is a simple read. The plot of the story is predictable and is not new to the readers. The narration is lucid and easy to comprehend. The dialog delivery is fine. The cover of the book is apt but the title is too common.

The ‘sexual’ element has been stretched way too much in the book. And this is the reason I did not find it interesting. The proofreading has been done minutely and that is one department where Penguin aces the test.

Overall, a good yet simple plot that is enjoyable and interesting.

Best wishes to the author!

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September 06, 2017

Book Review: The Quest of the Sparrows by Kartik Sharma

Author: Kartik Sharma
Publisher: Rupa Publishers
Rating: 3/5

Worldly pleasures are so enticing! Materialistic success is what people depend on these days. And there is little keenness to discover more about oneself. The art of introspection and self-discovery has been around for quite some time; the only problem is that people run away as soon as the philosophical terms decide to enter their lives. Everyone believes that there is no need for them to explore the inner being until there is a clarion call in form of guilt or illness. Who comes to rescue then? Yes, the self-help books.

‘The Quest of the Sparrows’ is a self-help book that illustrates the simple truths of life through a fictitious story. Hard-bitten by their own distressed lives, the three protagonists come together in this beautiful journey of soul-searching and undergo the process of transformation. With storing narratives and seamless plot, the author has put together an impactful story. Nikhil, who resides in London with his family, is living a miserable life owing to the conflicts in the house. He seeks answers that lie only on the path to self-discovery. To atone for the mistakes he has made, he decides to reach out to the ever-famous Guru- Parthiban. In a parallel scene, Sanjeev, a spy who has been given the contract to prove the Guru guilty, finds himself in a dilemma when his heart refuses to believe that Parthiban is blameworthy. When the three characters come face to face with each other, the story picks up the pace and some unplumbed secrets are revealed.

Crafted with intricate care and narrated with immense lucidity, this book is a delightful read. However, the title and the cover of the book fail to quench the intrigue.

“Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction.”

The story doesn’t fail in its agenda of making the readers realize the importance of self-worth and having a pure soul. The author has done a commendable job of maintaining the balance between the roles of all the characters and portraying their lives precisely. The font size, font style, indentation is perfect. But language disguises thought and thus, poor linguistic skills are the reason why this book can blow up in the face of the readers. The ideas have been conveyed too bluntly; it is difficult to associate with the setting and empathize or sympathize with the characters.

Overall, a good effort by the author!
Best wishes!

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Review Copy: Provided by URBR