Sunday, July 27, 2014

Dead in a Mumbai Minute (Reema Ray#2) by Madhumita Bhattacharya

Reema Ray is a rare combination of beauty and brains. She is a brilliant sleuth who had once impressed the eccentric security professional Shayak Gupta. Reema is given a case in Mumbai – a murder case, of an Ashutosh Dhingre, a former assistant of the Bollywood superstar Kimaaya Kapoor, whose fame is on the decline. Ashutosh was found dead in Kimaaya’s private island. The suspects happen to be the house guests and Kimaaya herself. Reema also learns that Kimaaya was in a relationship with Shayak in the past. Shayak keeps disappearing very often and Reema finds this very unusual. This case is assigned to Reema by the firm Titanium, where Shayak works in. How is all this intertwined? Does Shayak have anything to do with the murder? Will Reema be able solve the case of the year? Find out the answers and more in this page-turner mystery novel.

My review :
Crime fiction is one of my favorite genre to read. Having a female protagonist is all the more fun . Reema Ray is new to the city but not at all to solving mysteries.  Being objective, relentless and able to  use all her resources to the best is what brought her to Mumbai. She has been awarded the biggest case of not just her career but more so for the firm she is a part of and the man who brought her to Mumbai - Shayak. The case at hand looks tricky cause of the people involved - bollywood star , Rich businessman and another guy high on not just costliest wines. A double murder throws a lot of possibilities and questions into the mix and so does Shayak's mysterious absence and lose ends from previous dealings.

I liked the characters of the book for being not single dimensional and rather fitting seamlessly to the plot. Situations are well described and nothing seems far fetched in the plot. The surprise elements and the layers of the mystery are well in place till the very end where you suddenly are able to guess the person behind the murders. But then Madhumita plays a last card and leaves the master planner hidden. She leaves questions for next book and so am hooked.

I am infact going to pick up the first book soon to know more about Reema.

Rating : 4/5

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Deliberate Sinner by Bhavna Arora

Title-The Deliberate Sinner
Author-Bhavna Arora
Source-blogadda book review program

       I will be lying if I say that I hate reading chick-lit s.Infact, I love well written,hilarious works belonging to the afore said genre.I feel they are the ideal choice for a light read.Had just finished quite a  heavy book and naturally, I thought it would be foolish of me to waste  the opportunity to review this new (supposedly chick-lit) book listed in the blogadda book review program.So,I am here reviewing the debut work of Bhavana Arora, 'The Deliberate Sinner'.

Plot-First things first.The book offers what you expects out of it.There are lots of passionate love making scenes and a heavy dose of infidelity with the sex scenes quite decently written.The plot is something like this-Rihana fell for Veer not knowing how insensitive and self centered he actually was.Only after becoming her wife,she got to know the 'real' Veer.The poor thing wants to get out of her 'failed' marriage but is unable to do so,thanks to the 'familial pressures' and 'goodwill' of her parents.Unable to cope up with the familial pressures and the accompanying mental and emotional trauma of a bad relationship,Rihana takes a drastic step in life.'TDS' is more or less a life sketch of Rihana and her attempts to stay relevant in this society which is largely male dominated.

Characters:The protagonist is Rihana,a rich,modern,independent woman with 'progressive thoughts'.Her husband is Veer,an ambitious,dominating,and sexually hyperactive person who is a bit too self-centred.Then,there is Raj ,Rihana's friend and 'true love'.Though the characters aren't too many,the basic problem is that none of them have been developed well.I found it difficult to empathize with Rihana who comes across as  too 'confused' and impulsive.Many of her actions appeared irrational and I still don't know what made her stick to Veer for such a long time.The same is the case with the two men in the story,Veer and Raj (though Veer gets a slightly better treatment,I don't know why 'Raj' has been treated so shabbily by the author).Somewhere towards the middle of the book,Raj disappears only to appear later for a brief period and that too in the most cliched of the situations.

The Writing-One of the good things about Bhavana's writing is it's rawness.It is lacking the faintest hint of literary pretension which is a good thing,considering the target audience of this book.Since the language and  writing have been been kept deliberately simple,the reader is never over burdened with heavy duty lines and 'philosophical' insights.

The good things about 'TDS'- The attention grabbing cover.One of the prime reasons for me showing an interest in reviewing this work was it's 'attractive' cover! The book has it's heart in the right place and the issues which it discusses (hypocrisy,gender bias,marital rape;to name a few) are quite relevant in the present times.There are a couple of thought provoking,intelligent lines are placed well in the narrative.'TDS' is not a very 'heavy' or over-long book.At just about 168 pages,Bhavana wraps up the story without stretching it too much.

The not-so-good things-The plot itself is quite cliched (it's actually,'Balaji Telefilms' material).C'mmon,haven't we seen(and read) all these things before?The underdeveloped characters and un-intentionally funny behaviour of their's (in more than a couple of situations) is not helping the book in any way.If you aren't very comfortable reading graphic sex scenes,then this one is definitely not your cup of tea!

Verdict-The Deliberate Sinner is an okay read.I'm giving it a 2.5/5  

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books! 


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Metamorphing by Kunal Pancholi

28THAPRIL, 2000: Flight No. 9x4876 bound to Srinagar has crash landed into the Everest Base camp. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the flight mysteriously went off the radar for few minutes and missed its landing. All passengers are feared dead… except for three bodies that are yet to be recovered. 
 8THDECEMBER, 2050:This, without doubt is the most gruesome murder in recent times. Early this morning, an unidentified woman was found mutilated at the western gates of the abandoned Victoria Terminus Station in Mumbai. Authorities report her head was … well … semi-decapitated and she was drained of all her blood. The shocking part - the crime scene was devoid of any signs of blood spatter… 
 ROHAN: He was shorter than the shortest girl in school; he had to be ahead in the game! 
RUDRA:A man without a past, coaxed into a murder investigation; will he ever grasp the true nature of the crime? 
A thrilling tale about two men bound by an untraceable yet undeniable fate - One running away from his past, another unaware of his own.

My views: A book that opens to a scene of a guy who has lost his memory has presented a mystery before the plot reveals itself. Add to it , a murder mystery and another guy who mysteriously re appears after 5 years with unexplainable powers. Can it get any better ? It does. Kunal Pancholi makes it better with adding to this mix set of events that take the story forward and maintain the awe of the characters in all ways. 

While Rudra struggles with his past , he gets involved in a murder investigation on which life of an innocent guy depends. He has no clue except a gut feeling to go on with what he finds and observes around. A man trying not to know his past as much as deciding his future. 

Rohan should be happy to return alive from a crash where no one survived but he returns too late perhaps. His love has married some one and the world no longer interests him. Joining a course on criminology keeps him intrigued as well provides him another shot at life and relationship. 

But sometime, the choices we make are too hard to comprehend. Even after the consequences take us back.

This is a brilliant tale of how people are bound as much by fate as choices. A wonderfully written sci-fiction / fantasy fiction from Kunal. 

PS : I hope and guess there is another book about these characters because the last chapter opened a whole lot of scenarios and questions for me.

Rating : 4/5 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Unsettled by Neelima Vinod

The hundred-room house is a rich tapestry of memories and hidden secrets, a dark, forbidding place, rumoured to be haunted by a vengeful Yakshi. Propelled by a desire to save their marriage, Divya and Raghav journey to the haunted mansion in search of the mythical Scrolls of Love.
Written five hundred years ago by the banished court poet Shankara, they are fabled to have the power to heal and reignite lost love. Is this just a legend, or are the couple heading towards a chilling destiny?

Folklore & grandma's tales - don't we all loved them as kids. what if one of them is true and you can never escape its shadow ? What if the closure to the characters of the story is the key to your oown marital bliss ?

The longing of a Yakshi and the words of a young poet who lost all his poems and thoughts to this passionately possessive creature make for a great story of love , obsession , power and the final freedom that some times comes not from lovers but from others who pine with us.

I loved the writing of the book. The poetry mixed in the narration is lovely and so refreshing. the take the story forward and also give it a haunting voice. Long after you finish the book , you will feel the beauty of the mansion and the pleasures love can get.

More than that , it also gives a glimpse into modern relationships which often develop cracks due to lack of communication.

All in all , an engaging read.  I give this 4/5 rating.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Love's Labour by Andy Paula

Image Source

LOVE'S LABOR: General Fiction, IndiRom

AUTHOR (Bio from Indireads): Andy Paula has been a corporate trainer, traveler, voracious reader and a blogger, who decided one day to never crush other dreams of publishing books, when she reviewed them and decided to tweak her own work. She also writes a food, travel and thoughts blog called Food Stall, Yatra and  iThink 

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“I want to talk to you after lunch,” Piali’s plea sounded more like an order.
“Yes ma’am.” Sathya did not sound surprised, at least he did not show that he was. Piali quickly finished her lunch and other chores and headed towards the door.

Don’t be foolish, Pia. You’ve met him just two days ago. Let him go away thinking you’re a smart woman, not a nervous teenager. Why did her inner voice have to start talking at the wrong time? Damn. I’ve already made a fool of myself, lemme just go ahead with it. No, Piali Roy, you’ll stop right here, right now. This man is engaged to be married.

“At your command, Your Highness.” Sathya had caught up with her and was waiting for her to speak. Piali’s throat was dry. Collecting herself quickly, she put her chin up to face the man. Sathya Nair should never know the effect he had on her.

“I wanted to talk to you about the skit.”
“The skit? I don’t believe it.” Sathya shook his head incredulously.

MSM Speaks: One of the best things about Indireads novels is that most of them create a hopeful end, at least the ones I have read. Love’s-Labor is no exception to a happy ending tale. It is a heady mix of Bollywood romance with a heavy dose of realistic tadka. The story features Piali,  a school teacher, who is not merely your average order-following woman. She is beautiful, smart and has her head on her shoulders. Plus the son of the Chairman of the school is smitten by her. Sathya, a man of integrity and personality, never thought he would be finding the love of his in a teacher who was at his school. Their chemistry is undeniable and the world is noticing it. 

The real challenge is to convince Piali's parents, the very strict Mr. Roy and his wife, Piali's mother, who is understanding but does not want to hurt her husband either, after all it is the question of alliance between a Bengali and a South Indian family. The journey of Piali and Sathya to marriage is filled with ups and downs and how they overcome it, is worth a read! Little cheesy in some places, and a little filmy in others, Love's Labor is a romantic reader's delight!

You can get the e-book for Love's Labor HERE at Indireads.

Lost in Pattaya by Kishore Modak

It is every dad’s nightmare – his little girl goes missing. For Palash, the sorrow compounds from the incessant replaying of the critical minutes when his ‘Daddy-eye’ faltered, distracted by his own weakness, substance abuse. The loss and the ensuing search sends him spiraling into a divorce and the loss of a steady corporate job. Scouring for his little girl in the brothels of Pattaya he is ensnared in the web of mafia that runs the sex trade of Thailand. When he eventually finds her, will he be able to build back a wasted lifetime, or, is it too late for rescue, for him and his child?

There are books that charm you with the plot, and some with the way the author writes. Kishore Modak wins my vote partially for both reasons. When I first picked the book, the blurb made me think this would be a little predictable plot - the child being lost in the lanes of drugs and sex and a father's journey of recovering her out of the darkness. But i was still hopeful of a good read since i liked Modak's previous book. Am glad to say, I was wrong. The book offers a lot more than you would imagine the story to be.
Lost in Pattaya starts with the father character writing about his life, from the moment of losing his daughter to reaching the hospital where he lies awaiting death. the opening is not linear , but like any person narrating his life , it criss crosses between events and characters and finally smoothing out to the chronological order. The point where he sees his daughter first time after abduction is totally unexpected. And from there , the book takes on a new flight or should I say , a new dive into the world of sex , drugs and revenge. The characters in the book are almost believable and their imperfections have a space for principles and prayers in an amusing way. Fear and forgiveness goes hand in hand most days though we fail to consider it that way. The book might not be liked by few for the fact its based on the sex trade and the people associated with it. Or for the fact , no one likes to read and accept how this trade is so much a part of the society and often bearing so much violence. These instances , though few in the book, did make me cringe or sad. But the curiosity to know what happens to the daughter, kept me hooked to the book. A worthy read. I liked being proven wrong to say the plot was predictable. Rating : 3.5/5

PS : I love the cover.

If you loved reading the review, you can buy the book from one of the following sources :

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Piyush Jha's Anti-Social Network

Title:Anti-Social Network
Author:Piyush Jha
Published by: Rupa
Price:INR 195/-
Source:the talespensieve book review program

                             'Anti-Social Network' is the third book in Piyush Jha's 'Mumbaistaan' series featuring the maverik cop,'Inspector Virkar'.Set in Mumbai,the book is an edge- of the-seat thriller (well,almost!) with ample doses of twists and turns happening at regular intervals.

Plot and Characters: In the opening scene itself,we are introduced to the protagonist,the no nonsense Inspector Virkar.He is seen chasing an informer-turned- extortionist Usman Teacher which inturn sets the tone of the book.Though the cop is unsuccesful in nabbing the criminal,his possible suspension is averted thanks to the gruesome serial killings which is rocking the city of Mumbai.The victims are twenty something students from the suburbs of Mumbai who don't seem to be related to each other in anyway.Joining Virkar in the investigation is the petite psychologist,Naina for whom the Cop develops a liking quite (un)expectedly.As the mystery unfolds,the computer challenged policeman realizes that things cannot be the same ever again.Apart from Usman,Virkar and Naina the book has another important character in Richard,a Computer geek and an expert hacker.There are atleast a dozen suspects/peripheral characters acting as the crucial links between Virkar and the principal antagonist(s).

Language and Writing:Blame it on the author's background,the writing is too filmi at times with scant regard for grammar and language.The English is pretty basic and there are quite a number of grammatical errors and typos in this edition('navel' becomes 'naval').But the book is definitely a fast read.At 192 pages, 'ASN' is crisply edited and competently executed.It quite often reads like the screenplay of the next big Bollywood pot-boiler.It is infact this fast paced narrative which covers up for the gaping plot holes and the illogical sequences in the story.Though the graphic descriptions of murders may repulse a few readers,those of you who are big fans of those western crime thrillers will probably find the violence in ''ASN' to be of the kindergarten variety.

Cover Design,Formatting and Overall design:The book cover is quite well designed eventhough it looks quite similar to the author's previous work,'The Compass Box Killer'.The formatting and overall design are also quite apt for a book of this genre.The Book is quite handy with about 44 chapters,each one of them only a couple of pages long.
What I liked the most about the book
1.The scenes between Virkar and Naina
2.The pacing and innovative premise of the book

What I didn’t like-
1.The plot is too generic and the characters aren't well etched out-We have the serial killer who knocks off seemingly random people in the most brutal ways.Though the book starts off by describing the killer and his/her acts in detail,by the time the story reaches half time(yeah,the review is als becoming very filmi) he/she loses importance.On the other hand,even though he is there in every chapter,the reader gets to know very little about the book's protagonist Virkar.Agreed,he is a very intelligent,beer loving cop.But then how is he as an individual?his family?his traits?(I haven't read the first two books,may be I should read them to know more about the hero!)
2.The final revelation/twist was sort of predictable.C'mmon,we have seen similar similar ones so many times in movies!
Verdict:Though built on a wafer thin plot,'ASN' manages to entertain the non-discerning reader to a very large extend.Full credits to the author for achieving that.But even having said so,I must admit that had a little more thought gone into this work,it would have easily become one of the finest desi crime thrillers of all time.I'm giving a three out of five for this latest thriller from Piyush Jha.

The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.


If you've enjoyed the review, you can buy the book from the following sources below.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The bluest Marble by Vipin Kumar

Aditya is known as Ram Kumar 125 a name given to amnesiac patients in a Mental Hospital . He doesn t have amnesia; he just doesn t want to go back to the world he knew before. His inmates include: UT the brilliant former CEO, Rajesh software engineer and Jacky Doctor in theoretical physics. Amongst these crazies Ram Kumar 125 discovers himself, the true Aditya, and the secret of happiness. He finds the mysterious and precious bluest marble he has been unconsciously looking for all his life. With portraits that both touch and disturb, corporate politics, Mumbai night life, Dalal Street, lower-middle-class Delhi and psychological illness , The Bluest Marble is a sensitive exploration of young urban aspirations and angst in the age of economic turmoil.

My Views:  Most insane men utter the sanest of thoughts, so we have read or heard often. This story gives it a new light. Insanity also masks the brilliance of a person that could destroy him otherwise.

Aditya Kymar decides to end his life once he is termed a loser by all those whom he loves. He fails and ends up in the psychiatric ward of a hospital pretending he has no memory of his past. But is it really the best way to sort your life ? To shut yourself from the world ? The book begins with Aditya telling his story of rise , fall and then finding peace for himself , away from family and friends. The urban life portrayed is as true as it is for every other person living in metropolitan cities. It is not a life but a checklist to cover - money , promotion , house , marriage , making parents proud etc etc ..

But what is new here is the way Aditya realizes that being happy is more important than making or keeping people happy. The point where for a second he realizes that probably his ex girlfriend was right in asking him to seek his happiness, is like a statement. Being happy is not selfish. But people's expectations from us or vice versa is selfish.

It was part scary , part sad how Aditya reaches the point of not wanting to return home.

But even with such relatable tale , there were sone things that bothered me. One is the dialogue between Aditya and his bike. I understand we all talk to our stuff but a response is creepy. Also , while the first part of the book is detailed , I found the ending little rushed. I wanted to read more about UT. To know how Aditya managed to have a fresh start. Little more perhaps.

Overall , i liked the book. Will definitely look forward to reading the next book by Vipin.

Rating : 3.5/5

If you've enjoyed the review, you can buy the book from the sources below

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Giveaway winners !

We thought this would be fun. But it was much better ! We loved your answers ( will soon publish all in a separate post) , but what really made our eyes shine and fCes curl into a biiig smile are these -

Ankit said :

The desert is calm and the sun is rising again. I was
brought here by an error of judgement against my
will. This is not the reality I expected when they
told me I am being sent for a vacation. This reality
is sadly the truth till an apocalypse hit the earth in
ten days. The humans are dying in the cities and I
am here, trying to survive ten more days till this
world is just an empty space in the map of our
universe. A distant nebula has exploded and the
supernova will impact earth. In short, the world
ends in ten days.

Now the history as we know it is being told to us
only through the portals of books. The ancient
renaissance helped a great deal in saving the ancient
literature. And here I am in this desert holding a
copy of "The Swerve" which I just brought off
Flipkart before a small meteor hit the Bangalore city
with such vital force that now all that's left in that
city is dust from collision. Before the elders decided
to teleport me to this desert by cheating the laws
of time and space.

The swerve is story of Poggio Bracciolini who made
a great discovery. In an abbey in Germany he came
across a manuscript of a long-lost classical poem.
The discovery of that poem was also the start of
renaissance. The subject in that book believed that
the gods did not concern themselves with mortal
affairs. He didn't create this universe, which was
composed of particles as we see in the space today.
When I read this book before I realised that these
atoms that formed the universe moved perpetually
and randomly through a void. And they from a direct
course, and strike against each other. Life is one
result of this swerve, as atoms assemble
themselves into forms that enable us to see and
breathe. At some point our atoms will break free
and move on in their eternal course through the void
which only meant there was no afterlife, no reward
for being nice. That the ideas of Heaven and
universe is just man made. As a result human beings
should not fear death at all. And yet as this universe
is shrinking to death I see humans praying
everywhere. If only all this foolish earthlings could
understand how this book is written. Anyways, I am
lost in this desert and with this book in my hand, I
don't fear death. Death is just the road to awe. I
intend to live this beautiful life with the help of
literature by my side. The very own literature that
saved me when I was alone. The very book that
explained to me not to fear this apocalypse but to
just embrace it. TheSe atoms have decided to break
free and travel through the void to form another

I have decided to wrap this book and keep it safe.
Even if this universe is lost, I hope this book can
travel trough all voids of space and time and reach
the hands of readers from the other side of this
galaxy. In this ten days, spent out of my world, I can
feel another person, that feeling is much better
than I have ever felt. My mind is so darkened from
this feeling
and that part of me is so much greater than reality.
The reality that will be history in next ten days. If
only books could live forever. Yes, if only...

Dhiraj said :
Book would be 'The Blah Story' by Nigel Tommy with
just over 7,300 pages, it increases more chance of survival

(We had to google this title to confirm it was no joke ! Smart choice Dhiraj )

Winners , please email us and confirm the email id to which you want us to send the voucher details !


Rest of you , we will have another giveaway soon. Keep reading and keep in touch with us. 

Review: Kingdom Above the Cloud by Maggie Platt

What if the nine Fruit of the Spirit and the Seven Deadly Sins were locked in a battle for control?   Abandoned as infants, Tovi ...