Saturday, December 3, 2016

Songs of Stone by Sujata Sabnis



Neither romance , nor historical fiction as a stand alone interest me much. But something about this book made me pick this one and though i delayed it some days , once i started , it totally was worth the lunches I missed finishing it. Songs of stone is a story of Nilofer and Jagat who are childhood sweethearts , separated by unfortunate events. Nilofer is sent to Jahangir's harem while Jagat plans her escape. The clarity with which Sujata has painted the life of harem and its various nuances is a delight.Love , heartbreak , lust , power play and beneath all this a  longing to belong - all this comes out in the scenes that she created in the book. Absolutely amazing writing and such wonderful details that you can feel a part of some of the outlandish grandeur.

Jagat and Nilofer's love story is inspiring and setting it up in the time when Taj Mahal was being built lends it another level of approval. In so many ways , Taj Mahal though was an expensive burden on the ordinary folks, but such are the things that we need at times to put faith in. In love and its symbols and the epics that are associated to it.  The story and the all the plots in the book seamlessly keep moving forward in time and momentum , never letting my interest waver. The end was where you felt the story was fictionalized and that was some what predictable but still a good closure.

This is one of the best reads for me in the last month. I will surely be checking Sujata's previous books next year. Do read it for the warmth it gives to heart any day.

My rating : 4/5

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Fables from India by Uday Mane




Set in the ancient times , Fables from India is a collection of 22 profound and unheard stories from a country known for storytelling.

"The Race of the limps" is hands down my favorite one from this book. The story of a limp boy who never won any race but neither missed running any one of them is something that really touched me. It is inspiring and has a lovely vibe.

I also liked the story of  a dog who wants to uncurl his tail but then decides to keep it the same way. That story was kind of unique and entertaining.

Rest of the stories had a new plot but most of the messages were quite old. There were few stories that actually felt a revised version of some very famous tales  / anecdotes The writing is simple and the stories might come handy to entertain a child. But it can not hold the attention of an adult , specially one fond of reading.

My rating : 2.5/5

Saturday, November 19, 2016

All Signs Lead Back to You by Aniesha Brahma


Every time Aniesha writes a book / story , I feel so happy knowing that it will heal my soul whenever I decide to read it. Of course , getting a review copy is one of the pleasures that keeps this blog alive. I have read all of her books and one thing that shines about her writing is the way she makes everyday stories special. Not just for the characters, but also for the readers.

It takes so much brilliance to show that there is a love story at every where we look with love and care for the feelings. And if you think teenage romance is so different from the way we love at later age , you do not know love at all. Be at any age , people make stupid mistakes and some brave choices every time there is heart involved. This is a tale of friends and lovers and how we switch between two , 'cause friends can be soulmates too !

Afraid of the future and being hurt , Diya Rai breaks up with Ashwin , hurting him not for the loss of love but more for the friendship that they shared. For both Diya and Ashwin , they were the most suitable person in the whole world - opposites and yet inseparable for the whole time they were together in school. Diya, the sensitive girl with a hurtful past found strength in Ashwin and later in Nina , her new best friend in college. Nina later becomes her strength and guide when Ashwin and Diya meet again , but refuse to have anything to do with each other's life.

I liked Nina and felt Diya was little too stupid for my taste. Ashwin is adorable and charming most times but it is the other two characters that deserved more than being caricatures in this drama.

Overall , A lovely sweet read. Do give it a chance to heal you when you feel low some day.

My rating : 3.5/5

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Deceiving Bella by Cate Beauman

This is the third book by Cate Beauman that has landed in my inbox for a review. While many author's style and books become repetitive , I can not say that for Cate atleast.



First thing , the plot and the thrill was much more in this book than the last two I read. I definitely loved the story in this one. And some how , this was a little away from a perfect characters and setting.

Bella has finally laid to rest , her past and the stigma associated with it. But she can not stay away from trying to locate his father and when she does that , she is not ready for either the truth or the dangers she has knocked the doors of. Reed , after a near death experience walks away from his job and settles in LA to a good job and a house next to Bella. Never did he think that the answers he been seeking all his life would be so close to him yet to hard to get once he is involved with Bella.

The chemistry between the two is very casually built and based on being friends , something that I liked. The other cast in the book is given good space and time to develop and be known to the readers as we close in on the final. The romance is a little off the mark compared to the other books I read but one will totally appreciate the way it is build up and handled in a very natural manner. As both Reed and Bella come to terms with their truths , the feelings expressed are very heartfelt.

I like the "Bodyguards of LA"series and so far , I will readily read the other books that I have missed in the series.

My rating :3.5/5

Monday, November 7, 2016

Blood in the paradise - a tale of an impossible murder by Madhav Mahidhar



Blood in paradise is a difficult book to like and a little difficult to let go too. The best part of the book is in knowing the result , but not the journey to the moment that set the things rolling. I liked the plot a lot , but the writing and editing turned me off. There are some events that are repeatedly told by different voices without adding any new perspective or direction to the story.

Madhumita tried to attempt suicide but is saved by her husband who dies from the same poison. It could be accident , or a planned murder but it will be no less than miracle to prove it in the court. The character development for key persons is done well , even if at misplaced locations in the story.  The court proceedings and the debate / protests that follow this case from the outside are one of the brilliant ideas in the book and I like the author presenting things in that format. Not just the flow is good there , even the arguments are worthy. But at other places , there is a disconnect or a feeling of treating reader as too unaware. That is a tad dragging. I felt the book needs a little trimming.

A good weekend read otherwise.

My rating : 3/5

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Ultra Short Review of Ruchita Misra's 'I Do, Do I?


    Ruchita Misra’s  ‘I Do! Do I?’ is her follow up to her ‘The Ineligible Bachelors’ which apparently became a ‘National Best-Seller’ .The In-eligible Bachelors was an okay work and though it pretended itself to be a satirical take on Indian Marriages, the book was nothing but pure-unadulterated desi chic-lit. ‘I Do! Do I? is kind of a sequel to ‘TIB’ and traces the events happening in Kasturi Shukla’s life after her marriage has been fixed with Dr Purva Dixit. To give credit where it’s due, I sort of enjoyed the first 170+ pages or so (of this 300+ page book), but after that, the book started getting repetitive with the jokes falling flat, the female protagonist behaving more and more stupid and nothing much really happening in the story line.The climax chase and the supposedly hilarious finale is nothing new and is only what we have seen in a dozen rom-com Bollywood flicks.Ruchita’s writing is plain,with a few hilarious one-liners here and there and the book  is clearly aimed at those urban readers who just want to read an over-long, predictable, generic, desi chic-lit. I’m giving it a 2.5 out of 5. It’s not as boring as ‘One Indian Girl’, but not that great either. 

-nikhimenon

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