Thursday, October 27, 2016

Skyfire by Aroon Raman

Skyfire features Syed Hassan , Meenakshi and Chandrashekahr from Aroon's previous book "the shadow throne" which also was a crime thriller from the way it finds mention it in the current one :)

Skyfire is a story of manipulation of weather and kidnapping of random kids from Delhi that gets noticed when one of Hassan's protegee disappears and the police come asking for him pertaining to a fake robbery case. While Hassan ( whose cover is of ACP but is actually is one of India's top secret service agent ) is stuck with issues of national security , his friends Meena and Chandar are left to do some poking and thinking on their own about the disappearance and the weird clues that the boy Gopal has left behind. The story felt like watching a movie where in you have a feel for the bad guy right from beginning but you are curious to know how it all unfolds. As the story progressed , I kind of felt compelled to finish it but there was a sense of disappointment too for the events became a little too difficult to accept on face value. It sure felt like an old movie where the villain needs an audience for all that he has been trying to do from years.

There are few twists and sequences that I liked more than the rest and the portrayal of how mistrust and miscommunication can be so dangerous in today's world is something so dreadful and shocking. Skyfire is engaging and fast paced, so much that I took barely 60 hours to finish. A new form of weapon , an intelligently researched theme but a little too stretched plot frankly.

My rating : 3/5

Monday, October 17, 2016

When love finds you Yashodhara Lal

Things aren't hopeless. You're acting helpless... If you are feeling the way you are, it's because you simply haven't made the right decisions... You know what you are supposed to do. You just haven't decided to do it yet.. 

An year back I had the chance to read Yashodhara's book There's something about you and based on that I was as excited to read her latest book as I was a little prepared to be disappointed by romance not being my cup of tea in general. I must say , Yashodhara knows how to create realistic , relevant and some very endearing love stories.

The book was a pretty fast and easy read for me and  as much I could understand what was really going on with Natasha , the badass "Hitler" boss in the work front , I found her a little too much to like or dislike all through the book. The past story  and the things or people she left behind in pursuit of success , paled a little as they were touched upon very rare or very late. Still ,the author managed to present a very clear picture of a single woman trying to break the glass ceiling in her office by hard work and focus on her work. Of course , it is never enough for her previous or the new boss as things take a shocking turn for her.

There are quite a few other characters in the plot and I felt they have been underutilized in the book. I would have liked knowing more and seeing them more in the life of Natasha. There are a few technical references which were not very clear to me. Yet the book kept me hooked. I loved Nikhil and her daughter's bonding and characters very much. with them , Natasha was almost comfortable and casual in her talks. Otherwise , I felt the dialogues a little stretched.

Overall , a good fun read for a lazy romantic afternoon.

My Rating : 3.5/5

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Mornings After by Tharun James Jimani

"You are doing it out of love , you say, and they're concerned for you out of lov,and I hear a lot of talk about love but how do you even know they love you if everything they know about your adult life is a wildly fabricated lie ?"

Mornings After is the kind of book that will either interest you immediately or may take a few pages , but this is such a relevant book if you want to understand or know about what goes in the head of a random person walking around. Some days we are like Sonya , the rebel of the family yet so rooted for approvals from friends and her mother that she is part contradictory , part independent. Some days we want to be like Thomas , yet scared to be that reckless , without anchorage. In a way , Sonya and Thomas together are so predictable yet an enigma for themselves. There are numerous moments and ways they hurt and heal each other and when they finally part , it feels like a betrayal that was waiting to happen.

The author has revolved the story timeline around the Nirbhaya rape incident and has very accurately captured the ways it affected the general population of India - some remained unmoved , some showed online support but very few were vocal and did something about it. The juxtaposition of that incident  on the discussions and incidents in every woman's life are quite a scene. For a moment , i felt the same fear and anger as Sonya when she thought of the night of the incident. The story moves forward without many bumps but it is the writing at times that is uneven. Some thoughts of the author are without context at times or a little disjointed in the course of story. Yet , these are tied in the very end efficiently.

I liked this book in-spite of the time  I took to complete this.This book made me think of some of my friends in parts and sometimes made me wonder about the hypocrisy of each one of us on any given day.

My rating : 4/5

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Untamed by Laxmi Hariharan

Untamed , the story of Leena opens with her travelling to the temple of Hugging saint to seek answers about herself. She is the only hybrid human in the city which confuses her about the way the city has kept itself pure blood since the great Tsunami. We see snippets of the background story through her thoughts and conversation with a fellow old passenger but what makes this an interesting read is the way her emotions and feelings are described so real. The clashes of two spirits inside her and the tragic guilt that she harbors in her heart makes Leena so much vulnerable yet there is a strength humming in her very existence. 

I picked Untamed to begin with as I liked the plot. This short read though left me wanting for more. Hence I am going to pick Feral next since that seems to be the choice by many readers and the author too. Each book in the Many Lives universe is a stand alone in the series hence I would try to finish rest of the books too.

This was a good sample of Laxmi's writing and her master-ship on this genre. 

Many Live Series - 

Feral (Maya's story)
Taken (Jai's story. Jai is Ruby and Vik's son. Mikhail is introduced in Taken)
UnTamed (Leana origin 's story. Leana is Maya's daughter)
Redemption (coming soon) Leana and Mikhail's story

Buy Laxmi's here

My rating : 4/5

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Agniputr by Vadhan

Last year I read Shatru by Vadhan and I fell in love with the character. So when I got the chance to review this book , I was hoping I would be entertained same way. From the moment I started the book , I was hooked. This book was a great help in curing my reading block.

Agniputr is a weapon , the only way to get rid of the demon that has been invoked in the earth's realm by a tantrik. Born out of blood of Surya family, it can only be contained by heir of the same clan, who now is a lawyer far away from home , busy seducing women and earning money. The first attempt to destroy it is ruined by treachery but it does manage to control and hide it from evil eyes. But now , it grows stronger and it is bidding time to unleash all its power and destroy all life on the planet. Using a greedy politician's resources and mind , the tantrik is back to the castle where it all started. The plot is not as simple as it appears in the skeletal structure. As soon as you think the story is on predictable path , the author brings a beautiful twist . The end was supposed to be smooth and easily drawn about but the tables turn there too. How much I hate to wait for next part !

Lovers of thrillers / sci fiction or fantasy will equally like this book. There is a good research done on setting the scientific explanations of some of the phenomenon whether related or not in the larger scheme. Spirituality / ancient wisdom is slowly being proven right by science and we can not ignore it now. The book binds both together beautifully.

My rating : 5/5  

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Faster , Smarter , Higher by Utkarsh Rai

This book reached me after I had gone through a rough phase at work and the first thing I thought while reading this was , how much years have I put myself behind by not noticing all these things around me. This simple written , well organized book should be made into mandatory reading every time you jump the professional ladder and to prepare yourself for the same.

The book is divided into sections - one for each player in the office, starting with yourself. You , the manager , the team , the colleagues , the manager's friends and lastly the manager's boss - the book has advice on tackling all of these and of any attitude or ethics.  Each chapter ends with quote from different business leaders and whether you read the book in a flow or random topics , the quotes fit well every where. Reading this book resolved some of my queries that I was hoping to voice out some day to my boss or to ask my mentor without looking stupid. Thanks to this book , I now have some more relevant content to fill the gaps when I am in a face to face meeting with anyone in office. I specially benefited a lot from the first section since it taught me how I was not using my own skills and networks in optimum way.

I sure need to re read the book in some months , just to make sure I am on the right track in m professional journey. A very good book for starting to work on oneself , to change and to aspire for a successful and happy time at work.

My rating : 4/5

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Speaking Ghost of Rajpur by Priyonkar Dasgupta

The moment I saw the cover , I felt certain eagerness to read this book and my eagerness was rewarded enough in the opening chapters -  vacations with cousin and his friends , one of them trying to fit in with the rest , the tales one has heard and the feelings of reality being tad better ! The little town of Rajpur was so picturesque that I felt transported to the very roads these kids walked and planned their adventures. This is the story of 5 guys - 3 of them cousins and two friends of the eldest one Joy. The book has probably all the elements that make this a good book to read on lazy summer afternoons when you are not allowed to step out. This had the charm and feel of my favorite series - the famous five without a pet and any girl. There are video game parlors , the fairs , the picnic , the thrill of new discoveries , forbidden pleasures and the close knit warmth of a small town and their kids.

While i loved the lazy town , the descriptions that probably took me back to my childhood home an summers , after a point it felt too stretched and i wanted the story to move forward a bit faster. More so , I felt that the title of the book gave me too much hopes and i so much waited to find a ghost or an actual mystery in there. The end was a little surprise but then it fizzled out for me a little too fast.

Overall, I liked the book but this one definitely tested my patience !

My rating : 3/5

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Glitter and Gloss by Vibha Batra

I read and liked Vibha's last book a lot, which I just realized never got the review post I had planned to do about it. When Vibha asked me to read and review her new book, I was glad for the opportunity since I trust very few Indian authors to make me like a chick-lit / romance book.

Glitter and Gloss actually has a glittering cover in golden sparkle that so reminded me of my school art projects. Misha is an independent , careless and spirited make up artist who dreams of love and brides equally. She is very good at her job , which is her only purpose and dream till she meets Akshay , the rich sexy businessman , the one who is so unlike her past failed relationships that it is hard for her bestie to believe. Add in the house friend of Misha -  the perfect friend and roommate worth living with a guy for.

The book is fun , very easy to like and to believe. The situations are mostly real , the conversations free flowing , characters well drawn and for once if you do not at all question the chances of such a couple , you will enjoy the book. This story feels so true and one can relate to most of the drama of a working girl trying to manage her job and family ; both hers and the guy's family efficiently , to constantly seek approvals from others about your life choices and how one can be so blinded by self criticism that we sometimes hurt those who love us.

Though I would have liked to read a little more about the work Misha does or look at her taking a responsible stand for herself but in all , this book is perfect for a lazy evening or late night reading binge !

My rating : 3.5/5

Friday, August 26, 2016

What Lies Between Us by Nayomi Munaweera

Some books trap you with just the cover. Then you read a random story , totally not unrelated and bamn! The tone is set. This book will entice you into flipping pages , dreading what you will read and trying to find some reason to excuse the narrator. Perhaps you will find those reasons , perhaps it will take time to sink in.

The author's first book has been on my list from a long time and reading this made me wonder why I did not pick it up already. The book starts with the unnamed narrator in prison , telling in hints she has done a crime that people will not forget and forgive easily. But first people need to kNow her whole story from the beginning, and that she tells. The broken narratives , like flashes work so beautifully here to both move the story and to keep up the tension in the plot. The happy and sad mix of events do not at any time let the knowledge slip from you that the end will not be good.

This is one of the books that make reading worthy habit , it makes waking up early in morning to finish the book a good decision. The author really cracks open the psychology of unhealthy childhood , the love denied and the way past creeps into your head and ruins the present. Without saying further , i will just say this is a brilliant book and a much brilliant author.

My rating : 5/5