collection of articles

Celebrating India ( published by Nivasini Publishers)

6:30:00 PM

When a book makes you cry with the first thing you read, you do not just read the book, you live every feeling in it. And that's exactly what happened with me.  Always in the habit of reading a story collection in random order , I randonly opened some page and starting reading. As the article ended, I was choked. thats how I began my journey with "Celebrating India"

The book is divided into different sections - Memories , Poetry , Short Stories and lastly the travelogues.

The book begins with an excerpt from "The Elephant , the tiger and the cellphone" by Shashi Tharoor. I had always admired Shashi in his interviews and some of the talk videos I saw on youtube. But this essay titled as Invention of India was perfect picture on what makes us a nation and how we break our own rules of segregation. How no single factor alone can be attributed to bind us as a nation and yet we stand strong and proud. We are worth celebrating, so says and convinces Shashi.

Memories has some of the most heartfelt accounts of people from across nation, across various social backgrounds. It is like sitting in the lap of your grandmother and hearing her tales. floating in nostalgia and misty eyed look of happiness , the memories are a gem to read.

The poetry section has renowned names like of Gulzar and Deepti Naval , a few of my old friends from orkut poetry community and a lot of new names. But what I loved most was the variety of themes , emotions , views and ideas spread in the poems.

Land of many colors - land of many tales - land of many voices

And the poetry section so beautifully covers them all.

Short stories offered me an insight into minds of people inhabiting here.

The last I read was travelogue section since I never been much of a fan of such posts. But here i must admit I was wrong.  Every article under this section is like being in a cinema and watching images unfold.

The book also has 5 color pictures included and not to mention beautiful choices those are !

As the book aptly states on the cover :

Imagine Color
Imagine Excitment
Imagine Hundreds Of Dialects
Imagine Celebration
Imagine India
We live in a country filled with a Paradox, Love,Fusion,Tradition,Opinions,Laughter and Empathy.
For us, India means more than a piece of land.it is where we are rooted.
We have heard fictional tales of different pieces of land. we have had our own tales of memories.
This collection bring to you stories/poetry/photographs/sketches where the spirit of india is celebrated.

Here are short stories, poems and memories from different people across the country, India. The initiative, a non-profit one is to rejuvenate the spirit of India that we’ve lived and loved.


Pages : 150
Price : 200

Rating : Are you kidding ? 5/5 stars for this !

You can order the book from here : http://www.dialabook.in/books/celebrating-india_1_27295.html

Fiction

If You Love Someone - Harimohan Paruvu

11:15:00 AM


Image Source: buybooksindia.com
If You Love Someone: Fiction


Author(s): Harimohan Paruvu, a Civil Engineer with an MBA, worked as a marketing professional and a banker for 12 years before deciding to write fiction full time. A first class cricketer, he represented Hyderabad in the Ranji Trophy and is the author of the first novel in cricket in Indian English writing – The Men Within  A Cricketing Tale (Now being made into a movie).
Image Source: harimohan.com
Harimohan is also a Motivational Speaker, Attitudinal Coach, Workshop Facilitator and Management Consultant. If you love someone…” is his second novel.
For more information, please visit www.harimohan.com or email him at harimohanp@gmail.com 

Best Seller(s):  The Men  Within  A Cricketing Tale and If you love someone…

Synopsis: A promise made thirty years ago comes haunting Meghna Mathur, the chairperson of a wealthy Trust, a week before she turns fifty. She, a 20 year old ambitious, middle class girl with immense faith in the capitalist system and Aditya, a rich rebel with strong, communist leanings, meet at an inter-collegiate debating competition and spend three perfect days together. Whatever happens later, they promise to meet again on her fiftieth birthday.
Meghna’s life and career had had ups and downs – marriage, success, betrayal, children – and a growing dissatisfaction. Was the old Meghna still alive? Had she lost her ‘self’ somewhere along the way?
Here was an opportunity to find out. By keeping the tryst with the one who had brought out the best in her all those years ago.
Will the magic happen again? Will the Sun rise at Sunset again?
Dedicated to: To all the women of the world, who I believe truly possess the capacity to love and give unconditionally.
Excerpt:
Dawn moved in softly, tapped the tiring night on the shoulder, and took over its turn. It started painting the darkness with bashful colors that spread noiselessly across the eastern skies; orchestrated musical notes of falling dew, of excitable birds, of rustling leaves. It freed the breeze from its nocturnal chains, allowing it to caress a drowsy life, cajoling it to wake up.
The night had passed.
Its work done, dawn receded from the path of the Emperor as he prepared to enter. Darkness and despair would be dispelled. A new day, a new life.
That is where it all began.
MSM SpeaksI was suggested this book by a friend who said that I might like it. I was skeptical with the title since I could not risk another reading experience of a choppy written work. But believe me when I say, the cover, of which I didn’t think much about, was one of the most relevant covers I have seen in a while. And the dedication made me smile. From the first chapter itself, I realized that the writer knows his game and is not groping for temporary limelight. Lovely beginning.
Story is about Meghna, who is now turning fifty and learns through the glorious years of her life, living and bringing up (her husband) a man who is completely emotionally dependent on her fiery strength and attitude, that it is finally time to go back to check on a promise made to her by someone like her equally eccentric and mysterious - her Aditya. Fulfilling all her duties as a wife, a mother, a business woman and a constant wall to everyone, Meghna needs her own secret passion back. She decides to go back to the beach where she saw Aditya rise and fall. In Goa.

Meghna and Aditya's first connection is at their inter-college debating competition where Meghna is for the Capitalists and Aditya against them. The heat - both intellectually and physically is immense and turbulent, irresistible. Eventually, Meghna dares herself to follow Aditya and they create a connection so fragile and magical, it alters the meaning of their very being. The way Mr. Mohan handled this young love relationship, removed any scope for calling it "young puppy love". It was mature and adventurous. 

The biggest danger of any such writing style is that it can go horribly wrong when it comes to dealing with nuances of a relationship long forgotten. Mr. Mohan sketches Meghna's tryst with Aditya, during her adolescent years and encounters with him, indirectly beautifully. There is no sappy romantic interlude introduced and writer does not forget the practicality required. This not only makes the story telling more realistic; it also leaves an impact lasting for a long time. The ending is surprising and I actually felt fear trickle down my spine for the first time. I had goosebumps. This is not your usual sweet, sappy romance. It has a touch of Paulo Coelho's writing style as well as Murakami's spinning story telling. MSM Recommends.

My Rating: 4.5/5


If you love someoneIndialog Publications Pvt. Ltd.
                                   Published in January 2010
ISBN 81-8443-032-9
195/- INR

4 star

Banquet On The Dead by Sharath Komarraju

8:50:00 AM



Kauveramma loved life. She was terrified of water. So why was her body found floating gruesomely, hair fanned out, limbs outspread, in the well of the family compound?  Her sons, daughter, grandchildren—some of them resident, others far-flung—assemble at her death with expressions ranging from composed or confused to those of outright maniacal grief.
Things don’t quite fit, and one of them demands an investigation into the mysterious drowning.  Enter a policeman, Inspector Valmiki Nagarajan, and a charming rogue, Hamid Pasha. The latter is an elderly Muslim and a reformed criminal. He and the policeman regard each other with reluctant admiration and gruff affection. The duo interrogates each member of the family and staff in turn, unearthing secrets of their past, and calculating the degrees of their love, hatred or loyalty to Kauveramma and each other.  As it happens, everyone had something to gain from Kauveramma’s banishment from their lives…



When I first read about the book, I kind of liked the plot. I had imagined a laid back setting , lot of relatives and hence lot of secrets layered within the folds of household gossip.

I am glad to say, I wasn't wrong. Moreover I was delighted to see all these fit into this book so picture perfectly. Its a commendable job to make the lady , her three sons , a daughter , and the extended family with such clearity that you could almost imagine them to be moving in front of you. Thats when you get really immersed in the book I feel.

I totally loved the character of Hamid Pasha and together with Nagrajan , the duo does look like tailored for each other pair. I almost wished there were more books involving both of them , a series sort maybe *wishful thinking*


Like each family , Kauveramma's family members are neither good nor bad. Every one has their own issues to deal and Life hasn't really been kind to all. They are people like us - selfish yet caring , kind yet wishful , angry yet restrained. But of course some one did cross the limits and ended up killing the lady who was a mother figure to even the servants of the home. why would some one who is so scared from even showering , go near the well and end up drowning in the same ? Why would some one commit the crime in broad daylight and in presence of people working nearby ? The timeline of events as described by the residents match for some but not all. The proceedings of the day are as routine as different for the day Kauveramma died.

The author has made sure to thicken the plot as much as trying to provide the clues with every person's account of the day and otherwise. Add to this Hamid's charm and easy  going approach to all the facts presented to him , one does get hooked to the book instantly. but as the curtain falls and Hamid gathers everyone one last time to bring forth the murderer , I feel something missing. The "how" was revealed well but the "why" wasn't convincing. I needed a bit more to believe that the people involved in the crime did think and plan it all. when and how of the plan was as important for me as the execution itself.

Overall , this is one of the most enjoyed crime book from an Indian author for me this year.
It reminded me of the Byomkesh bakshi stories I had read some months back and partly gave the feeling of watching a series unfold.

Rating : 4/5

Other details :

Pages : 276
Price : 168 ( at homeshop18.com )

==
This is an author requested review. Thank you Sharath for sending such an interesting read to me. I have already added your other book to my wishlist :D


Freelancer

The Racketeer - John Grisham

1:43:00 PM


THE RACKETEER

ISBN - 978-1-444-75720-0
FIRST PUBLISHED - 2012
PAGES - 386
PUBLISHER - Hachette
GENRE - Legal Thriller
BINDING - Paperback
SOURCE - Publishers

AUTHOR - John Grisham

BEST-SELLERS - The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Confession

SYNOPSIS - [From the back cover]

Given the importance of what they do, and the controversies that often surround them, and the violent people they sometimes confront, it is remarkable that in the history of the USA only four active federal judges have been murdered.

Judge Raymond Fawcett just became number five.

His body was found in the small basement of a lakeside cabin he had built himself and frequently used on weekends. When he did not show up for a trial on Monday morning, his law clerks panicked, called the FBI, and in due course the agents found the crime scene. There was no forced entry, no struggle, just two dead bodies - Judge Fawcett and his young secretary.

I did not know Judge Fawcett, but I know who killed him, and why.

I am a lawyer, and I am in prison.

Its a long story.

FL Speak - Ever since the book arrived a couple of weeks ago, I've been itching to read it. Anyone would. I mean have you read the synopsis and did you see the gorgeous cover art? But as luck would have it, I was otherwise engaged with social life (which is surprisingly, still a part of me)

The Racketeer starts big and throughout the entire book it never drops a notch! When Malcolm Bannister finds himself in prison serving a ten year sentence for a crime he did not commit, he thought it was a mistake that would soon be rectified. Five years in prison later, Malcolm desperately wants to be free.

When a hotshot judge gets himself murdered, Malcolm knew his time for resurrection has arrived. He knows the killer and after reading about how inept the FBI was getting at finding the killer, Malcolm offers his services provided he is a freedom and gets witness protection.

And when two hundred odd pages into the book and you find the killer in custody, you realise that something's gotta give. C'mon, we are reading John Grisham. There is no way this is going to end the way it is heading. And know what? You're right. The story just took a whole new direction. When you've read Grisham before, you realise that nothing is over until the last pages. So, I knew that there was some real goose cooking and I also guessed what would happen next. But the 'why' of the story dragged me to the last page. That's his power. That's how he writes. And until Grisham decides, you move on. And when you realise what's happening, its like this! 


Malcolm Bannister is free, with a new name, a new face and a new life. And when the killer swears vengeance and Malcolm's cover at Witness Protection is blown, Mr. Bannister decides to flee from everyone. And from there onwards, the race is on. Its The Bourne Identity meets Ocean's Eleven. 

I swear I loved Bannister. Till the last chapter, I had no idea why he was doing what he was doing. I just knew that it was awesome. John Grisham just keeps getting better and better with each book.

Pick this up, if you're looking for an action-filled legal thriller. [There is very, very less courtroom action though] But its a helluva novel. You can't put it down and you've no idea where you're headed.

My Rating - 4/5 stars

PRICE - INR 350/-

Freelancer

Rapture - Lauren Kate

6:11:00 PM


RAPTURE

Book 4 of Fallen

ISBN - 978-0-385-61812-0
FIRST PUBLISHED - 2012
PAGES - 448
PUBLISHERS - Random House
GENRE - Young Adult
BINDING - Paperback
SOURCE - Publishers

AUTHOR - Lauren Kate

BEST-SELLERS - Fallen, Torment

SYNOPSIS - [From the back cover]

THE SKY IS DARK WITH WINGS....
And time is running out for Luce and Daniel.

In order to stop Lucifer from erasing the past, they must find the place where the Fall began. Only Luce can break the curse, and it is her choice alone that will decide all of their fates.

But as Dark Forces gather, great sacrifices will have to be made in this final, epic struggle...

In the fight for Luce, and for love,
who will win?

QUOTES - 

The past is important for all the information and wisdom it holds. But you can get lost in it. You've got to learn to keep the knowledge of the past with you as you pursue the present. 
“Inspiration is an excuse for doing something you already want to do.” 
“I want you to know that I would do it all again. I will choose you every time.” 
“Heartbreak is its own form of amnesia.” 

FL Speak - First of all, I made a huge mistake by asking Random House to send me this book. Not because I don't like this genre much, but because I should have researched first before saying yes to this. This is BOOK 4 of a series and I haven't read the first three!!

So Google came to my rescue thankfully and after reading a couple of reviews of the earlier books and then re-reading them again, I was ready to start my own journey with Luce and Daniel.

For some unknown naive idiots like me, who jumped into this without reading the other three, here's a gist of what I unravelled. Earth is full of mortals (obviously!) and there are also some thousands and thousands of fallen angels. Daniel is one such. And he is racing against time to stop Lucifer (once a fallen angel) from erasing history. Him and Luce. Luce, who is pretty important but keeps mooning about Daniel all the bleddy time is the key to the whole thing. Somehow. 

Lucifer is already hurtling down THE FALL. [its a dimension thingy. You fall from Heaven and you land on earth. And it takes roughly about nine days. Think of it as the Transporter Room of Star trek. Instead of "beam me up" its "beam me down" but in slow motion]

So 9 days is all Daniel, Luce, Gabbe, Arianne, Cam and a few got to save the world. To do that, they need to find 3 relics which will take them to the site of the original Fall and that's where the final showdown happens. As they split up to search for the relics, they're tested by THE ELDERS [Evil bitches] and then there are THE OUTCASTS [who were angels that neither Heaven nor Hell wanted] and then some.

As I said earlier, Luce is important. And Luce is not just Luce. She is also the reincarnation of various "herself" in different times. And apparently, in all her lives, she loved Daniel and somehow they found a way to each other. And Lucinda is desperate to break the curse this time around. One major thing that irritated me was the fact that LUCE can never stop gushing about Daniel and how handsome he is or how strong his arms/wings are! I'm a romantic too but jeez! It gets funnier when every time Luce falls into a trap or in a bad situation, her love for Daniel and vice versa gets her out of it. HELLO!!!!

Friendship, sacrifices, love, louvvve....and a lot of LOVEEEEEE are all you get in this book. Also the plot is getting predictable. However, there is a huge surprise when Lucinda finally breaks free from all the imaginary shackles she has on herself.

Despite that major annoying fact, the book kinda grows on you. You've some good action packed scenes (until the moment the love thingy comes) and some good comic banter. However, the climax was as anti-climatic as it could get. BULL! Fans of this series might love this book as a whole, even I'm okay with it. But since its my first last book, my opinion should be taken as a general context.

My Rating - 3.5/5 stars

4 stars

Shades of Love ( Anthology of stories edited by Ankit Mittal)

12:00:00 AM

Reviewed by Nimue, Yatin and UCV



UCV Says - 


The last time I read an anthology was during my BA days, when hours would be spent trying to thrash a Keating or a Chekov into submitting all interpretations of their work in the Lit. class. I think it was the nostalgia that prompted me to accept a review copy of 'Shades of Love', despite my professed fatigue of reading Indian English writing. Also, the endless intrigue of love pushed me further. Thankfully, it wasn't a bad pick.

Edited by Ankit Mittal (who needs to find a better proofreader, considering the number of errors I spotted), 'Shades of Love' is a collection of short love stories by Indian authors, known and unknown. Some names I was familiar with; Sachin Garg, Naman Kapur, Aastha Atray Banan and Rohit Gore among them. The other new names, were as good, if not better, than the published crop. Mittal needs to be credited for making mostly poignant choices, reflecting indeed the many shades of love in this anthology. However, some stories are entirely forgettable.

I shall recall, here, the most unforgettable ones.

'A Pop Tart's Psychotic Love Story' by Aastha Atray Banan with its 'LOOK AT ME!' title, also has the meat to go with it. We have the story of a girl, unable to forget the lover who has ditched her, pushed to the threshold of madness. She will do what it takes to have him back, even if it means to kill him or his present girlfriend. When she finally walks up to the ex's house, all guns blazing, she is met with a rather unexpected turn of events...

'A Hero Greater Than Shahrukh Khan' by Rohit Gore has a cheesy title (Gore has a penchant for those), but is deserving of mention because of its tenderness. Caught in Mumbai's infamous deluge, an underdog becomes his family's hero; winning love at the cost of his life.

'Stolen' by Naman Kapur is a sharp little story about love between two equals - in crime and in bed. A pickpocket zooms into a target, sparks fly, and the one out to steal is stolen from. Fun.

Apart from these, 'The Remedy' by Sachin Garg, and 'She Called It, Kikugasane' by Tushar Rai are also fair reads.

However, Durjoy Datta's 'The English Teacher' is the most remarkable and shocking story of the whole lot, about an obsessive love, and that's all I am going to say about it for fear of ruining it for a reader. If you need a reason to buy this book, buy it for Datta's story. Yes, ignore the horrible paper quality of the book, ignore the lame stories, even ignore the choice of font on the book cover. Read Datta's story and ask Grapevine India to rope him in to write a novel that would stick to a reader's mind forever.

Rating - 2.5/5

Nimue Says -


Short stories never disappoint me *much*. I feel even a  single gem that stays with you forever , makes a book worthy.Shades of Love is of 25 short stories but shades of love are many in each story.The book cover is a real beauty with definitely many shades of red and pink in it ( goes with the book name :D )



There are stories for all age groups ( since love has no age right ! ) , settings and moods.
Love happens all the time. Every one has a love story to share and the ones listed here are some really unique ones. A married man finds love right before he dies , two people find love when they are not even searching for it. A wife tries to understand infidelity , a lady returns beyond death to her love , a girl re thinks her decision to marry on her wedding day. Each plot is different , each mood is different. Every emotion and character living it is different. and yet , you find yourself relating to so many of them even in bits and pieces. some of the stories impressed a lot with unique plot , some with poetic writing and some  for just showing love in impossible shade maybe.I dint like a few stories that sort of sounded predictable to me. Also the writing was bit not as good as some others. But then, that's the beauty of a story collection. 


I am always a biased reader when it comes to story collection. Though I will not point out the ones I didn't like , I damn sure tell you of the ones I liked. The one story that totally caught me into its web of words and images was "She called it,Kikugasane". I have read and retold it to my best friend and  every time I can feel the power and magical feeling of Love surrounding me as I finish this.


As Ankit Mittal says , "There are always stories to tell and interpretations to extract." , This book sure will take you to a journey of exploration of not just the words but feelings in your life.


Having said all this about the stories and the writing , I want to add that the pages of the book I received were a let down. The beautiful cover doesn't open into crisp fresh pages but to dull grey ones. I personally didn't like that though I did enjoy reading the book.


Rating : 4/5



Yatin Speaks -


Shades Of Love dropped in this afternoon. It is a collection of short stories edited by Ankit Mittal and Grapevine Publisher's first anthology. Honestly, I am not a person who likes reading short stories. I have tried reading them a couple of times but by the time my interest starts developing in a story, it ends. But, with Shades Of Love, the case was different. I read each and every story. Though, I skipped 4 stories because I couldn't relate to them.

The title of the book is so apt because the book shows some 25 shades of love through 25 different stories. Every story is unique in its own way. There is infidelity, psycho behaviour, secret love, lust, dark desires, genuine love, lost love and many other shades. Also, I would want to point out the forward of this book written by the editor, Ankit Mittal. It says, "Love is the most complex, perplexing, phenomenon one can ever encounter, spanning the most insipid to dark emotions known to man" and this line comes true through this book.

It would be unfair of me to my favourite story from the whole collection because every story represents a different character of love. I am impressed with the way new budding writers are coming in and Grapevine is giving them platform. Though, honestly, I was a bit disappointed when the book started with a man and woman making out. But, towards the end, the story took such a turn that left me aghast. The list of people whose stories have been published in the book is as follows

All and all, Shades Of Love is a book that you would want to pick up if you want to see the different extremes of the most complex term known to the mankind, LOVE. Try it out. You might like it.




Publisher: Grapevine 
ISBN: 9789381841143 
Pages: 240
Editor: Ankit Mittal

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When we started ALOP, we had a vision. After 15 months of doing what we do best, we've decided to take this to a whole new level with a whole lot of new possibilities.

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Amaryllis

When The Snow Melts by Vinod Joseph

11:09:00 PM

My library has seen a flood of thrillers/crime novels finding their way in and stuffing themselves on every last inch of space available on any shelf. The latest entry, sigh, belongs to the same genre. However, a saving grace of all these books have been, that they have taken me through different terrains, different sub genres of thriller-writing. While the last thriller I reviewed was a medical mystery, and the book I am reviewing for this post had the promise of being an exciting spy novel - and exciting is only an understatement for what Vinod Joseph's book, 'When The Snow Melts' turned out to be.

It is easy to give views on a piece of writing when as a reader, you are friendly with the subject matter contained there in. However, my knowledge of spy-activities and intelligence sharing is limited to Bond movies and Ludlum novels - which is a fair knowledge, I feel. However, no novel have I read which explores fictional topographies constructed out of intelligence activities carried out by Indian or Pakistans spies. Yes, I have seen Ek Tha Tiger, but please - stop! To even mention that overtly (ridiculously) romanticized tale in the review of When The Snow Melts is to do injustice to the great fun and thrill I experienced while reading this novel. In long, I came across a book which I just HAD to finish in one reading. Two readings, spread over 2 days, is what it eventually took. I would not say it is the greatest spy-fiction ever written by an Indian, the novel does have its lackadaisical moments, but overall, I can already let it out - this review will sing strong praises of the author Vinod Joseph.

A little about the storyline before that. Ritwik Kumaris a veteran intelligence agent, who is working with Intelligence Assessment Group in London - a global terror fighting establishment where intelligence reports from across frontiers are pooled in to make the combat against terror outfits more cohesive and efficient. However, Ritwik is not quite the quintessential, invincible, extremely smart spy, who is all committed to the task of searching out Osama Bin Laden from his hideout in the hills of Afghanistan (well, that is what it was assumed for a long time, isn't it?) or purging the ISI, and the whole world, from fanatics and fundamentalists promoting violence in the name of religion. Ritwik is an alcoholic and gambler, snowed under debt, who defects over to nothing less than the al Qaeda! And from their begins the tale of finding his place in the midst of their ideological impositions, feeling titillations of a possible but forbidden love and saving not only himself, but his love interest from the way of fatal harm.

Honestly, the reader will be quite clear after reading the first fifty pages what the eventual outcome of Ritwik's adventures in Al Qaeda-land will be, but the journey is truly worthwile. Vinod Joseph's novel is a treat for readers who like to get into the author's mind and attempt to stay a pace ahead of his narrative. A wee bit unfortunate is the fact that as a reader, I did win this race against the author many a times, but there were moments of unexpected revelations, which kept me on the edge and even made me shiver for a nanosecond perhaps. The glimpse that one gets into the world of diplomacy, intelligence-sharing, terrorists and fanatics in this book is quiet valuable. What is excellent is also the fact that the sub-plot of a love story is cleverly woven into the larger script, and not once does it overpower the actual genre-allegiance  of this book - When The Snow Melts remains an interesting spy thriller, giving you something to chew on till the last page. Easy and intelligent use of language make the reading experience better.

I did wonder, at the end, what relevance did the title have to the story line, except for that there was a lot of snow was present everywhere in the description. A title always gives the promise of meaning, and if, in that case, melting of snow is similar to clearing of mist, then, well, okay. There were a few breathtaking turns at the end in the story, but I would maintain, the larger picture was devoid of any mist. On that note, I would conclude this review, by awarding it 3 on 5 stars. Good read, and strongly recommended to everyone who likes this genre

Book title - When The Snow Melts
Author - Vinod Joseph
Source - Review copy provided by the author
Publisher - Amaryllis

Year of Publication - 2012
Genre - Thriller/Spy Fictionn
Price - Rs. 195
Pages - 202

4 star

Zombiestan by Manik dhar

2:50:00 PM

 Zombiestan was a fresh change from all the romance / drama I have r ead in the last month. Not entirely the kind of fantasy fiction or thriller I am used to but still a page turner. It has all the ingredients you love in a fictional story on war and survival - action sequences , chases , escapes , brave decisions , tactics of war and combat , a young hero , a hope , a seasoned soldier , a heroine and a caring (grand)mother figure.

And oh, the sacrifices and the price you pay when you don the hat of becoming a hero.

Mayukh is the big guy Pete (of micky mouse clubhouse sort) for the 3 year old abhi and his sister swati. Having lost his parents to the zombie attack , mayukh had the company of old preoffesor Hina and US army soldier David (who witnessed this zombie fever begin and spread from Afghanistan) before he met swati and the kid. Abhi is the only ray of hope humans can think about while the zombies bite and infect any one they come across. This book is the journey of these unlikely survivors together from delhi to ladhak and the hurdles they come across.

Even in darkest hour there is always a hope , always a ray of light to pull you through. Humans can change yet humanity lives on in many ways. the book is a work of imagination and belief that if some day we are faced with such hell on earth, there would be people to help each other. Like David says , "watching out for the guy next to you". And that is what keeps these people moving ahead inspite of all challenges.

Manik's writing is fast yet easy to follow. The characters almost beleivable so you feel the connect with their feelings. The little flashes or insights into the person's life make you have a general idea of familarity with them. Not only zombies are the dreaded enemy but the greedy and selfish human beings too. The Zombiestan is a bleak world to even imagine living but with love , once can find roots even in the most depressing places. Life is about finding your purpose and doing it well till the very end. Also glad for the fact that the book sticks to the action plot and does not go much into the romance. I always have this trouble when I have to pass the book to my brother to read.

Though I feel, the creation of zombies and their intentions should have been a little more clear to me. Except that one doubt / curiosity in my head , I was satisfied with the way book ended.

David is my favorite character in the book and I did feel a little sad at the thought of losing him in the storyline.

Rating : 4/5

Definite recco for people who like action books.

Manik dhar, You are an author I would be looking forward to read again.
:)

Other Details :
Pages: 248
Price: INR 199
Publisher: Duckbill Books

==
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Fantasy

Winter's Heart - Robert Jordan

11:50:00 PM

 

WINTER'S HEART

Book 9 of 'Wheel of Time'

Read about the previous books HERE

ISBN - 9780812575583
FIRST PUBLISHED - 2000
PAGES - 780
GENRE - Epic Fantasy
BINDING - Paperback

AUTHOR - Robert Jordan

BEST-SELLERS - The Eye of the World, The Dragon Reborn, The Shadow Rising

SYNOPSIS - [From GOODREADS]

The eagerly awaited sequel to The Path of Daggers, the New York Times#1 bestseller that swept the nation like a firestorm.
Rand, with Min, is on the run, and Cadsuane, in Carhien, is trying to figure out where he is headed.
Mazrim Taim, the leader of the Black Tower, is revealed to be a liar. Faile, with her companions, is a prisoner of Sevanna's Sept.
With Elyas Machera, Berelain, the Prophet, and an "army" of disparate forces, Perrin is moving through country rife with bandits and roving Seanchan.
In Ebou Dar, the Seanchan princess known as Daughter of the Nine Moons arrives. In Tar Valon, the schemers and counter-schemers in Elaida's White Tower are shaken to the core when the rebels appear suddenly outside the walls.

QUOTES - 

A man who trusts everyone is a fool, and a man who trusts no one is a fool. We are all fools, if we live long enough.
  • Lews Therin Telamon


I thought I could build, I was wrong. We are not builders, not you, or I, or the other one. We are destroyers. Destroyers.
  • Lews Therin Telamon to Rand


You can never know everything, and part of what you know is always wrong. Perhaps even the most important part. A portion of wisdom lies in knowing that. A portion of courage lies in going on anyway.
  • Lan Mandragoran


FL Speak - This is one of the better books. Not as best as the first few but its a great book in terms of the plot.

A lot happens. And when I say a lot, its mega-lot. New readers, who do not know Mr. Jordan or heard of Wheel of Time or didn't read my last few reviews, but somehow found their eyes reading these very words, STOP! There is no point reading on. New fans of Wheel of Time, who is yet to read this book but is much more excited and can't contain themselves, STOP! [believe me, I've been there] This review contains spoilers. Rest, read on.

After the terrific first five novels and the "other three" after that, Winter's Heart is one of the best of the lot. Why?? Because, whatever we missed in the last 3 books or lamented on the lack of "IT", well it's here. Not to mention that Mat Cauthon is back.

Lets get over the boring bits first. I'm jumbling up the scenes in which they occur okay. I will talk about all major happenings but in a random order and without giving out the climax or climaxes. So, Perrin is out searching for his wife, Faile, after the know-it-all lady manages to get herself kidnapped. 


Rand, the Dragon Reborn is finally confronted by the 3 girls he's in love with. Apparently, Elayne, Min and Aviendha all feel they can share him. *cough* *cough* [lucky bastard] Also, he's own team of perfect Asha'man are not as perfect as it seems. Specially since a couple of them tried to kill him! Now Rand is in turn hunting them. Elayne is managing her throne in Andor. She's Queen now and she believes she can accomplish everything. Nynaeve and Birgitte and a whole lot of Kinswomen accompany her. Its downright outrageous to notice that how almost all the women (correction, all of them!) behave like 5 year olds most of the time. I get it, women are complex Mr. Jordan. 

Last we heard of Egwene, she was still on the way to the White Tower with her army. Her chapters I look forward to. Aes Sedai's are always fun to read about. (mostly

But the best news is, Mat is back. Mat is back under the care of Tylin (hahahaha, I hope you remember her tying him up in laces hahahaha) right under the noses of the Seanchan army camped there. And here's one of the twists. The DAUGHTER OF THE NINE MOONS, whom Mat is prophesied to marry, is the daughter of the Empress of the Seanchan. (Yeah, beat that!) And Mat manages to kidnap her and whisk her away!!!


Boy, the book just got better. And the last 100 pages will blow your mind. Hint?? It includes Rand and something about saidin and lots and lots of the Forsaken and a huge battle. Yes, you need to read it.

Loved the book. I missed lots of other plotlines as well. The prologue itself is 88 pages!! The Children of the Light are making their own plans for judgement day and in the meanwhile, The Dark One grows in strength.

Everyone complaining about how Jordan's writing has been declining can finally heave a sigh of relief. Although this book has not reached its peak yet, the next one will definitely be better. Especially after reading the climax on this one. Rand Al'Thor's worries has just increased tenfold.

PROPHECY - 


The Seals that hold back the night shall weaken,and in the heart of winter shall winter’s heart be born,amid the wailings of lamentation and the gnashing of teeth,for winter’s heart shall ride a black horse, and the name of it is Death.


As the plow breaks the earth shall he break the lives of men,and all that was shall be consumed in the fire of his eyes.The trumpets of war shall sound at his footsteps, the ravens feed at his voice,and he shall wear a crown of swords. 

My Rating - 3.5/5 stars

PRICE - INR 350/- 
Mordero daghain pas duente cuebiyari

Andre Agassi

Open - Andre Agassi

11:50:00 AM


Open, though its a popular book about world's best tennis player but I first got to hear about it from Delhi Book Club's Facebook group. The book's cover as you can see features Andre Agassi. His eyes look as if they are dying to tell hundreds of stories and he does that in his autobiography. I got this book as a birthday gift from one of my twitter friends, Renu ( @Thodi_c_crazy ) with two other books, thanks to Uread.com ! :P 

Open opens with a shocking fact about Agassi, that he actually hated tennis, why ? Well, you would know about it in the first 2 chapters of the book. It was a heart breaking fact for me. I remember, when he used to play, my dad used to stick to TV during the matches and he used to pray Agassi's style of playing tennis like anything also when he got retired, dad stopped watching tennis! :) 
The book opens with Agassi gearing up for the last match of his career. In extreme pain and myriad of thoughts occupying his mind, his journey from his hotel room to the court, he explains it with such intricate details that you are instantly hooked to the book. His style of writing and the way he has expressed what used to feel in those times makes you feel sad about him. Though, I like one of the quote from the book which I would like to share here 

"Stop Thinking and Start Doing, If You Are Thinking Too Much, You Are Not Doing Anything"

 which is the rule I follow in my own life. I don't think much. I believe in doing and learning ! :) 

Also, the book teaches you a lot about life. Agassi, despite of  hating the game of tennis, seeing its highs and lows, still marvels at it. That is something I really admire about him. His rage, his attitude and his thought process is something that is forever etched on my mind after reading this. Extremely focussed in his own way, fighting with his mind and heart constantly, he achieved what his father had always wanted. I really don't know how to put this across, but I think one must read this book just to understand that how is it like hating something that you do for a living and still excel at it. 

Agassi's journey with people around him and how he treasured and dealt with them is something to look out for. The way his brother supported him, his mother, always calm and composed took care of him, his friend Perri, his coaches, his opponents and many other people, he has given all the details about each and every one of them. I absolutely loved this book and I might read it again in future. Also, I have made a pact with myself that weekends would be kept for biographies and autobiographies. They teach you a lot and give you thousands of thoughts to introspect on. Open is a MUST READ for all those people who love tennis and Andre Agassi. Pick this book as soon as possible.

Book Source : Personal Copy
Publisher : Harper Collins
Genre : Autobiography
ISBN : 978-0-00-741679-0 

alop admin

Giveaway Winners

7:57:00 AM

Uh hello folks,

I just realized that none of you knew that the Giveaway winners were announced 36 hours ago. And I apologize for not writing a post. The winners are announced on the widget included in the giveaway post. 

Nevertheless, our 2 winners are :

Nimue and Pulkit

Congrats!!!!! You know the drill. Choose one book, send us the mail.

Also, a very, very special prize to a certain 10-year old gorgeous, who managed to blow every other competitor away. Congrats Anindita

NOTE!
Some of you do NOT even take the rules properly. 

eg. When the widget says, SHARE the link and paste the shared link in the given space, please do THAT. Else we are unable to double check your entry. I had to disallow a couple of you.

Brandon Sanderson

The Alloy of Law - Brandon Sanderson

11:30:00 PM


THE ALLOY OF LAW

A Mistborn novel

ISBN - 978-0-7653-6854-6
FIRST PUBLISHED - 2011
PAGES - 392
GENRE - Fantasy
BINDING - Paperback

AUTHOR - Brandon Sanderson

BEST-SELLERS - the Mistborn trilogy, The Way of Kings, Warbreaker, Elantris

SYNOPSIS - [From the back cover]

In the three hundred years since the events of the Mistborn trilogy, science and technology have marched on. Scadrial is on the verge of modernity, with railroads, electric lighting, and even the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.

Yet even with these advances, the magics if Allomancy and Feruchemy continue to play a role in the reborn world. Out in the frontier lands known as the Roughs, they are crucial tools for those attempting to establish order and justice.

One is Waxillium Ladrian, a rare Twiborn who can Push on metals with his Allomancy and use Feruchemy to become lighter or heavier at will. After twenty years in the Roughs, Wax must now put away his guns and assume the duties incumbent upon the head of a noble house - until he learns the hard way that the mansions and elegant tree-lined streets of the city can be even more dangerous than the dusty plains of the Roughs.

EXCERPT - 

So, Wax,” Wayne butted in. “Where did you say that bloke was who had my hat?
I told you that he got away after I shot him.
I was hoping he’d dropped my hat, you know. Getting shot makes people drop stuff.
Waxillium sighed. “He still had it on when he left, I’m afraid.
Wayne started cursing.
Wayne,” Marasi said. “It’s only a hat.”
Only a hat?” he asked, aghast.
Wayne’s a little attached to that hat,” Waxillium said. “He thinks it’s lucky.”
It is lucky. I ain’t never died while wearing that hat.” 


FL Speak - If you know me very well, then you know how much I'm going to talk about this book.

Ladies and Gentlemen, its Brandon Sanderson. And I've read "all" his books. And if you've read the Mistborn trilogy or my review of the same here, well, you'll need to stop whatever you're doing right now and focus on me. *uses the Jedi mind control technique on you*

Mistborn is over. If you've just discovered this trilogy and can't get over what happened in the end, and feel the loss of leaving the world of Scadrial behind, there is still hope for you. For the rest of you, welcome back. Although "The Alloy of Law" is still not a Mistborn novel, it IS a Mistborn novel. *see what I did there?*

Its been Three-frigging-Hundred since the events of the Mistborn finale. Kelsier is long gone. And Vin and Elend are now almost a myth or legends (whichever way you see it) Societies have advanced, Science is making rapid progress, there's motor cars and electricity, the old ways are dying out. But there are still Allomancers about.

Quick Flashback : Remember what an Allomancer is? Ofcourse! For the naive, they are people who consumes metals which allows them to do some astounding work. A mistborn who can consume STEEL can push on metals, allowing him to leap, almost-fly, run at break-neck speeds. A mistborn  who consumes pewter can increase his physical attributes. He can make himself stronger, faster, tougher. Someone who can consume cadmium can slow down time. There are lots, I don't need to go on. Read the damn books. Starting from the original trilogy. 

Also to note, a person can consume all the metals and he can just die. An allomancer can burn the metal in his stomach. A coinshot burns steel, he won't be able to burn iron even if he chugged it down his throat with brandy. 

Now, to the book. 300 years later, Allomancers still live and society has progressed. A certain Waxillium Ladrian is a Twinborn {someone who can use metals with his Allomancy and use Feruchemy to change his weight} and he's our Indiana Jones-esque Sherriff of the Roughs. But when he's summoned to the city to fulfil his calling (which is to be a noble, aaarghhh), Wax decides to hang his boots. But a lawman can take off his badge, but he can never take off his sense of duty.

Enter his old pal Wayne. The fun starts here. Wax and Wayne receive news the shipments of Aluminum keep disappearing. Aluminum is fatal to Allomancers *don't roll your eyes, read the books* And when the bandits attack a wedding Wax was attending and kidnaps his almost-fiance, Wax decides to trade his darned-title-he-never-wanted-in-the-first-place for his pistols. And Wax, the ex-lawman goes hunting with Wayne and a certain pretty lady *snickers*

Things get a little too tough when the bad guy they face is almost immortal. And when the truth behind the real reason of hostages become clear, Wax realizes that this war has not even begun. And if he needs to get to the bottom of it, he has to come on top versus the immortal. (which is looking ridiculous at the moment)

Side Notes/
Another #&$%*@&^@&% book from Sanderson. (here the $#$%$! represents praise that I can't seem to put it in words.

If you've read Sanderson before, you know what to expect. A terrific story, a lot of action, some awesome banter and hilarious conversations and an exceptional magical system. New readers of Sanderson, will not feel left out in this book, as this is not a continuation, nor a new first book. It is a standalone. 

But, I would still suggest you to read Mistborn. This magical system was first started THERE!!! I miss copperclouds, tineyes, pewterarms, coinshots, rioters, lurchers *heh! feeling outta your depth again. Go read the books*

To say that Brandon is my favorite author at the moment, would be an understatement. He has incredible imagination! To think that he wrote Mistborn, Elantris, Stormlight Archive, Warbreaker with all different magical systems just blows me away. How is he doing what he is doing??? Oh and there might be two separate trilogies in the world of Mistborn hundreds of years apart. He's also writing for his 10-book epic "Stormlight Archive" and he just finished Robert Jordan's final book "A Memory of Light" which is coming out in Jan, next year *can't wait-can't wait-can't wait*

If you don't love his writing, you probably shouldn't even talk to me.

My Rating - 5/5 stars

PRICE - 350/- INR

P.S| I miss Vin :(