January 15, 2018

Book Review: Pinto has an Idea by Rajeev Saxena

Pinto has an Idea
Author: Rajeev Saxena
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishers
Rating: 3.5/5

‘Life is long if you know how to use it’ and for Pinto aka Rajat this forms the footing for his prosperity. ‘Pinto has an Idea’ is about realizing self-worth and fighting the odds to prove your identity. Set in the Indian backdrop, this is not a love story. Pinto always has a bee in his bonnet and strives to challenge his mind and unleash its true potential. We get the first glimpse of his brilliance when he juggles frogs during his adolescence. Well-informed and pragmatic, Pinto is a character that inspires the readers. Though he is made to go through the mill initially, he leaves no stone unturned to come up trumps.

Describing the whirlpool of emotions, this book is a potboiler. The story portrays the dilemma a scientist faces when it comes to the matters of the heart and relationships. A perfectly eked out character of the protagonists shows the author’s prowess in developing and presenting a protagonist who connects well with the readers. Fluid narration and uncomplicated language make this book an easy read. Also, I liked the flow; the story’s fast pace intrigued and allured me into completing it in one go.  

The cover of the book is superb and editing has been done with a fine-tooth comb. However, I felt the story lacked originality; I could reminiscence many characters that were moulded into one (Sheldon Cooper, a neophyte in the matters of love; Arvind Kejriwal, an IITian who sets out on a quest to salvage the country from malfeasance; and Mohan from the movie ‘Swades’, a man who decides to change the fate of his city come hell or high water).

The plot is gripping and the lucid narration acts like a cherry on the cake. There are no monotonous lengthy descriptions; the setting of the scenes is relatable and gives the readers ample opportunity to experience every moment. But I missed the use of good vocabulary. Overall, this book presents old wine in a new bottle but the bottle is nicely packaged!

Best wishes to the author!

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January 12, 2018

Book Review: Juni Dagger by Arjun Chandra Kathpalia

Juni Dagger
Author: Arjun Chandra Kathpalia
Publisher: Rupa Publishers
Rating: 4/5

Thriller novellas are rare enough but thriller novellas with a tinge of humour that offer moments of genuine laughter are rarer still. ‘Juni Dagger’ comes in a complete package- with an amalgamation of thrill, suspense and light humour. Wittingly written, this book describes the adventures of Juni Dagger, a semi-professional connoisseur of food and a professional detective. Along with his team, he set out on a journey to hunt down a serial killer. His love and respect for food is something to fall for. How beautifully the author has drawn out the connection between the two!

With real characters and by giving the sidekicks equal importance, the plot turns out to be intriguing and entertaining as well. Juni Dagger acts as the cornerstone of the story. With exemplary vocabulary and intelligent mind-mapping of events, the author has done a fabulous job.

The story is new and the writing is impressive. With simple yet impactful language, the author has successfully reached out to the hearts of the readers. The storyline is strong and the characterization of Juni further adds on to the advantage.

Best wishes to the author!

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January 10, 2018

Book Review: Icebergs in Paradise by Sayan Basak

Icebergs in Paradise
Author: Sayan Basak
Publisher: Woven Words Publishers

“Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.” ‘Icebergs in Paradise’ serves experience, learning and the emotions involved- hot on the platter.The book is a collection of poems which give a chance to the readers to introspect and reflect on their way of living.

Reading the title I assumed the icebergs to denote the obstacles in our paradise called life, but when I scanned the blurb, I was left completely baffled. Neither does the blurb give a fair idea of what exactly is the theme of the book nor does it maintain a balance in content organization. The poems reek of emotions but the idea is unclear. Even though the vocabulary is crisp, yet the poems failed to strike the right chord.

The blurb is a stark reminder that the editing has been overlooked. For an instance, check the sentence structure: ‘Some of us swim in the overflowing of the wine glass of life’. Even the cover fails to attract the eye.

Overall, the poems do to abide by a particular theme but individually they are quite meaningful and use euphemism to highlight the harsh reality.

Best wishes to the poet!

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Book Review: River Rule by Ameeta Davis

Author: Ameeta Davis
Publisher: Amazon Asia-Pacific Holdings Private Limited
Rating: 3/5

“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

‘River Rule’ is a complete pot-boiler! This novella focuses on the life of Una and her diabolical present. Set in the urban village of Uttrakhand (Khamosh Valley), the story explores the relationship shared between Una and her friend, Avi. Their bond is has a scaffolding of trust and mutual gratitude; they can count on each other and stand with each other through the thick and thin. Their never-ending quest to live safely and peacefully amidst the forest is something that inspires and also helps us recount the importance of friendship.

The story begins on a grim note as the protagonist meets with an accident only to realize that it is all a figment of her screwball imagination. But Una is not crazy, for she knows that something is not right. From the moment she enters the valley, bizarre things start happening. Moreover, when her father abandons her on the strange land, she struggles to cope with the situation. But Avi comes to her rescue and becomes her backbone.

The lucid narrative style of the author makes this an interesting read. At times, the explication becomes too long and extra descriptive. Even though the authoress has succeeded in meticulously portraying the emotional turmoil of the characters, the meek character sketch of the characters nullifies the impact. The characters appear as mere caricatures. The vocabulary is exemplary, yet I could spot minute errors (like the use of incorrect past participle of sit in this sentence- Una glanced down to where her dad was sat~ should have been seated). ‘Sat’ is used in conventional or local dialect but the standard English does not allow the use of this form of the verb.

I liked the cover. Though it is very simple, yet speaks volumes. The plot serves as a delight for the ones who like reading fantasy thrillers. The story also exposes us to some of the stereotypes and social barriers like the friendship between opposite genders and cultural boundaries that restrict a person from being mindful.

Overall, ‘River Rule’ is a refreshing story that will not only intrigue you but also keep you on the edge of your seat.

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January 07, 2018

This New Year Let's Do Something Different

The new year is here- all gift wrapped and ready to be painted in blue and pink! And like every year most of us would have already made a determined resolution to follow. But within two months we will be back to square one using the clich├ęd proverb as an excuse- promises are made to be broken. Well, this year let us all make a different kind of resolution- let us pledge to abide by three basic rules to succeed and follow them throughout the year. If this works out in our favour, we can continue next year too. If not, at least we will be glad that we kept one of our promises.


Right Effort or right diligence is the sixth part of the Eight-fold path of Buddhism. To be able to hold all the aces in your pocket, one need to cherry pick opportunities and take long strides in the right direction. Here, Intention plays a major role. Very rarely we are faced with difficult choices where it becomes important to consult others for opinions. 

All other times we are well versed in what we have to do. The only thing that skips our mind is the right intention with which we should do anything. Right intention is not only to give up harmlessness and ill-will but also to be attentive to our purpose of doing something because our intention forms our reality. This brings us to the second most important thing:


'Right Mindfulness' is the seventh part of the Eight-fold Path of Buddhism which emphasizes on having the awareness of thoughts, feelings, surrounding environment and all the bodily sensations. When we are aware of what is happening to us and with us, it becomes easy for the mind to take decisions and prevent us from hemming and hawing. Being attentive not only helps collect one’s thoughts but also helps in coming to grips with the problem or situation. Paying attention to what might happen and how might that help you can eventually help in shaping the intention.


The last but not the least is Purpose. Everything has a purpose. You wake up to go to work; you use the toilet to empty your stomach; you eat to remain energized during the day; you continue working in the hamster wheel only to earn a living and then using the money to live your dream. 

Even the smallest thing that you do during the day has a purpose, be it small or big. Even Picasso believed that the purpose of art is to wash off the dust of the daily life off our souls. It is not difficult to not know the motive of your actions; it takes a genuine thought and a silent moment to analyse and introspect.

So, this year let us break free from the usual and make an attempt to become a responsible and good human being by developing the awareness to have the right intention for a meaningful purpose. 

Wishing you all a very happy, prosperous and euphoric New Year 2018!

January 05, 2018

Book Review: Asia Reborn by Prasenjit K. Basu

Author: Prasenjit K. Basu
Publisher: Aleph Book Company
Rating: 3/5

The colonization that led to globalization is not only limited to India. There have been many Asian countries that have been victimized by the British, the Dutch and the French. Their migration to these nations gave rise to ethnic conflicts and outflow of the nation’s finances resulting in the decline of the overall growth. As Indians, we consider all the thoughts close to home but seldom do we get a chance to learn about the struggles and the development of other nations.

‘Asia Reborn’ is a comprehensive book that describes the culture, heritage and the history of the Asian Continent. With this book, the author’s scrupulous prowess in projecting the true reason behind declining literacy and life expectancy rates is highlighted. Divided into numerous chapters, each chapter is a treasury of wisdom that was not imparted to us during our school days.

This non-fiction book describes the major historical events that have shaped our present and will keep haunting our growth for the forthcoming years.

Overall, a very interesting book that caters to the interest of the ones interested in reading about the colonization, globalization and development of the Asian Continent.

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Book Review: The Devil's Prayer by Luke Gracias

The Devil’s Prayer
Author: Luke Gracias
Publisher: Australian eBook Publisher
Rating: 4.5/5

Strength does not come from physical capability but from the indomitable will. ‘The Devil’s Prayer’ is an absolute pot-boiler that has elements of consternation, hatred and dread. It reeks of archival fiction and forces the mind to brainstorm and leaves one with bated breath. With unambiguous narration and entrenched storyline, the author’s research and prior knowledge come into the light and it is worth the acknowledgement.

The story begins on a grim note with a sudden death of Sister Benedictine, who also happens to be the protagonist’s mother, Denise Russo. While the church mourns the death, Denise, though abhorrent to her mother’s cowardice, Siobhan decides to peel the layers of dust and get to the bottom of the truth. The day of the funeral brings along a piece of information that shapes the destiny of our main characters. The priest, who introduces himself as Father Jakub, hands over Siobhan’s mother’s bible that has a secret message locked within the wrinkled parchment pages.

A series of minor events lead Siobhan to Zamora where she is constantly on pins and needles. Being followed and attacked by strangers leaves her exasperated and apprehensive. But soon she gets her hands on her mother’s secret diary that has all the answers- why she left her girls six years ago and what happened to/with her. As the daunting yet pragmatic story of Denise unfurls, the readers can feel the jitters in their body. The actual horror begins then because we get to know about the Devil’s Prayer, a part of which lies hidden in that confession book.

The story paces with excruciating twists and turns and Siobhan’s battle with the dark energy occupies the stage. The description of events and the historical citation is heavy. For the ones who are not well versed in the primaeval supernatural rituals, the information might beat one’s brain out. But patience and active reading will help.

The climax leaves behind some unanswered questions and is not on par with my expectations. However, the plot impressed me. This is the first time I got a chance to read horror fiction and it turned out to be a great experience.

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