Thursday, April 30, 2015

#CoverReveal - The Activist and The Capitalist by Vibha Batra

"I’m not drunk – just a litt-le high.”

On a magical moonlit night, Jai and Anusha meet and fall in love. When they meet again however, they discover that Jai is the crass capitalist developing Rasa Vihar, the heritage building that Anusha and her NGO are fighting to protect.


Inevitably they clash, with neither willing to concede to the other. The problem is that although publicly they are enemies, in private, they are wildly attracted to each other. – but when secrets and betrayals enter the equation – things really begin to get out of control.

Will the Activist and the Capitalist ever be able to find common ground?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown.

Author -  Dan Brown

ISBN-13 9780552161268


When world-renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a mysterious symbol — seared into the chest of a murdered physicist — he discovers evidence of the unimaginable: the resurgence of an ancient secret brotherhood known as the Illuminati… the most powerful underground organization ever to walk the earth.

The Illuminati has surfaced from the shadows to carry out the final phase of its legendary vendetta against its most hated enemy… the Catholic Church.

Langdon’s worst fears are confirmed on the eve of the Vatican’s holy conclave, when a messenger of the Illuminati announces he has hidden an unstoppable time bomb at the very heart of Vatican City. With the countdown under way, Langdon jets to Rome to join forces with Vittoria Vetra, a beautiful and mysterious Italian scientist, to assist the Vatican in a desperate bid for survival.

Embarking on a frantic hunt through sealed crypts, dangerous catacombs, deserted cathedrals, and even to the heart of the most secretive vault on earth, Langdon and Vetra follow a 400-year old trail of ancient symbols that snakes across Rome toward the long-forgotten Illuminati lair… a secret location that contains the only hope for Vatican salvation.

An explosive international thriller, Angels & Demons careens from enlightening epiphanies to dark truths as the battle between science and religion turns to war

Words of AT

   This book is quite amazing. It starts when Robert Langdon receives a phone call, informing him to take place in an investigation. He refuses and few minutes later he receives an unwanted photograph of a half-naked man branded on the chest with an anagram. He then agrees to help them what the brand (which is a symbol of an ancient brotherhood) is about. 
                                    Later after some research they receive a threatening call informing that four cardinals are kidnapped and will be killed one an hour in Altars of Science. Robert Langdon tries his best and lays down where are these Altars, by that he discovers a path which most intelligent people failed. And lot after the climax is like a nuclear bomb with greatest unexpected twist.
                             The pace of this book is breathtakingly fast. The parallel story lines add great beauty to this story. The plot itself is the perfectly sculptured, deep research about art and science can be easily seen. Dan Brown links an ancient forgotten brotherhood with most modern particle physics. If you don't know lot about physics and energy TATADA Dan teaches you and brings out intrest in them, if you don't know about art or ancient histories Surprise again! He teaches you about them too! To produce in words.. this is a combo of science, art, deciphering things and all.

MY RATING - 4.7 / 5.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

In Focus: Malice by Keigo Higashino

                  Keigo Higashino's 'The Devotion of Suspect X' and 'Salvation of a Saint' are two beautifully crafted works of crime-fiction.'Malice' is the third work by him which is getting an English translation.Though it came out in Japan, way back in 1996,it's English version got released only in 2014. I bought this work a couple of months back and have just started reading it! But as they often say,it's better late than never,isn't it?


Monday, April 27, 2015

#BookMemory : A memorable BOOK sale !

So from this week , Every Monday I will be sharing one #BookMemory with you – about buying a book , some book gifted / lost or anything about books from my past.  I request you all to send me some of your cherished stories to id :


Last week I saw  below image on FB and it made me remember the day when my best Friend had got his first Credit card delivered. We were having lunch when he told about the card and I asked him to lend me the same for a book sale next day. He being generous for me as ways, readily gave me the card and asked me to buy anything I want using that. So next day , I took an auto to the venue only to realize that the venue was shifted a week back and I forgot to check. So again I took an auto and reached the auditorium where the sale was. My friend had already ditched me , which was no big deal for me as long as I shopped enough books. 2 hours later , I had spent about 1400 bucks on half a  dozen books. Hungry and tired , I left the venue in search for an auto. Now there was a crossing near the venue with 5 roads converging. I am not good with directions and hence , as feared by me , I took the wrong road. There were no streetlights and the bus stand was also deserted much. I had no idea of the whole area so I called up someone to tell me which way to go. Those days , phones did not have maps. One had to login to internet web and then search based on area name which of course I did not know. Finally I walked back 1 km to the sale venue and got a bus to some area that I was familiar with. From there , I took an auto to reach home by 10PM.


I do not know what books I bought that day , nor I have those books now ( that story for some other week ) , but I will never forget that sale week.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Metro Diaries by Namrata

Metro diaries is a collection of love stories - love of the young , the old , the best friends , the strangers too. Love is a universal emotion and so are these stories. Some of the stories make you feel that you know the characters like a dear friend or maybe at times you might see yourself in some of them.

My favorite story was "Thing called love" where I felt the writer showed her best skills in terms of character sketch and plot of the story. Another story I liked was "Love the dreams" which was so beautifully crafted from teenage jealousy evolving over years into a mature and stable relation. There are few other stories that touched my heart , made me flow with the emotions penned by the author for a moment. The book had random verses as introduction to each story which showed the versatility of the author.

What disappointed me about the book was length of some stories. There was just a flash of the events and much details of the emotional state of the cast while I needed more to chew on. I like a story with well crafted background and end. And then lobe stories are not just about the two people involved or the bad exes. There are so many shades and phases of love that were left untouched. The writing style also becomes a little repetitive in some stories.
Overall a good attempt but the author definitely has a lot more to offer.

My rating : 3/5

Soldier & Spice by Aditi Mathur Kumar

Some times, all you need is to know how to laugh at yourself or atleast on the situation you find yourself in. Afterall , without some humor this life would be so damn dull and hard to live through. 

Aditi seems to know better.She knows how to make the readers laugh too on her life as an army wife. From page one , you see the different worlds that are about to collide and have a sense of the cliched situations but nothing will prepare you for the adventure Aditi pens down in the book. This book has people from different cultures and ideas coming together as one family that has to move together if they have to function well and not be bogged down with all the harsh situations they face sooner or later. It also gives us an idea of the life our soldiers live and hownit also affects their families , in both good and not so good ways. The love , friendships and the loyalties portrayed in the book are much endearing and honest too. 

I have been reading Aditi's blog from some time and I always find it as sensible and witty as her first book. This book has all spices sprinkled appropriately throughout the book and some womderful life lessons too. i have laughed insanely while reading this book and would be eagery awaiting her next book.

My rating 5/5

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Title is Untitled by Santhosh Avvannavar

Title is Untitled
Santhosh Avvannavar,Kundan S,Raghunath Baby Are
November 2014
Review copy sent by author

                    'Title is Untitled',what a weird title for an anthology of ?short stories!,when I received the book for review,this was the first thought which came to my mind.But then,after going through the book,I can confidently say that this is one title which totally does justice to the content and the overall mood of this work.The book,which is more like a socio-political commentary on the present day India,dapples with many socially relevant themes like child marriage,suicides,erectile dysfunction,fake degrees and universities,domestic violence,to name a few.The book treats these themes in a mature and responsible manner at the same time without any kind of literary pretensions.
                    The book has got about a dozen stories,each written in the form of a diary of a real life individual.At the end of each chapter,there is a small note which enlightens the reader about the magnitude and gravity of the issue which has been delt with in the corresponding story.The book definitely has got it's heart in the right place and it's the sincerity and honesty in the writing which makes this book worth a read.
                      Having said that,I must also confess that the book doesn't offer much for those who are lookng for literary merit in it.The writing is plain,language pretty mediocre and the stories often read like first drafts of amateur short film scripts!The occassional typos('scared' becomes 'sacred')  and grammatical errors too take the sheen out of the narrative to an extend.But what makes us overlook all these flaws is the honest,genuine content of the book and the noble intention of the authors to make the society aware of these 'evils' through simple,relatable stories.For a self-published work,the lay out and cover design is decently done.
                     The book has definitely got it's heart in the right place and it's undoubtedly more effective than Aamir Khan's emotionally manipulative,so-called 'social-awareness' programme on T.V.(Satyameva Jayathe) in driving home it's point.Santhosh Avvannavar and co,take a bow,you people have definitely succeeded in what you have attempted!

Verdict- 'Title is Untitled' is a very relevant work.I'm giving it a 3 out of 5.


The Guitar Girl by Aniesha Brahma

Its an age of meeting less chatting more, be it whatsapp , gtalk , facebook or the occasional email. The Guitar girl is mostly written as chats , sms , journals and emails. It is anusing to note that indeed all these modes cover the life story of so many people around us.

Guitar girl is the blog name taken up by Rhea to anonymously write songs about her love for Joy who happens to be her brother's best friend. He is the reason that she picks up the guitar again and makes a sincere effort to learn in order to have some connect with Joy who is a musician himself. Then there is Sophie and Arjav , Rhea's best friends , Arjav's elder brother who is the girl's tution teacher too and some other characters who add a little spice to the plot.
The style of writing is casual and fun and almost like any chat conversation would sound. Though given Rhea and Joy's age , the story might need an initial convincing to do for the reader , it takes off quite well after that. I see so many couples around me who think their love life is most troubled and its the end of world and yet there is so much learning this phase brings to them. Though I am much older to experience that I do laugh at such memories from my life. This book made me laug and smile at many places and was a good happy read for the day. Every character has its own shades of grey but it is endearing too. It is good to see how everyone is related to each other's stories. The book almost touches on all scenes and issues that modern teenage faces these days and does a good job.
The writing pattern might put off a few readers and ones who do not enjoy teenage in love sort of stories should give it a try with an open mind.

My rating - 4/5

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Mid Career Crisis by Partha Sarathi Basu

Title:Mid Career Crisis
Author:Partha Sarathi Basu
Publisher:Collins Business
Price:299 INR/-

                 At a time when a brand new self-help book is hitting the book stores on a weekly basis,what's the relevance of yet another one in the same genre?What more will it have to tell that hasn't been old already?My apprehensions when I picked up this book for review were many.I think atleast a few of you who are avid readers of Indian writing will share my feelings.Anyways,I decided to accept this book for review as the offer for review came through writer's melon,who have sent me some wonderful books in the past.I finished the book in two sittings and I'm quite happy that I actually accepted this work for reviewing in the first place.This book is all about MCC and the methods to overcome it.Well,now you will be thinking what in the world is the meaning of MCC! Okay,MCC is nothing other than Mid Career Crisis.Now don't get me wrong,this book neither explains crisis nor defines it.On the other hand,the book  touches upon the myths and effects that cause in us a sense of misery and,thus,a crisis!     

                  The book is basically divided into two parts.In the first part,the author tries to analyze the different stages of mid-career crisis and also throws light into the methods to recognize the crisis ourselves where as in the second,he lets the different leaders,(read successful corporate professionals) share their life experiences with us.Though this book packs in a lot of information in it,the good thing is that it's actually quite short.At 170 pages,MCC is quite a crisply edited work.

                  Partha's writing is effective and never lets down the reader with boring blocks of prose.The language is pretty simple and free of any literary pretensions.The use of relatable real life stories and incidents has helped a grea deal in making this book interesting.Though the 'Avik story' some how reminded me of the 3 Idiots prologue(with a positive twist),the author cannot be blamed as it undoubtedly succeeds in conveying the intended message.Like wise,the friendly reminders( not to settle into our comfort zones and the necessity of retaining our signatures in everything we do),helps in making this book unique and noteworthy.

                 Design and lay out of the book is also competently done.On the whole,Mid Career Crisis is a good work.I'm giving it a 3.5 out of 5.


Friday, April 3, 2015

The Forbidden One by Zaarra Khader

There are stories that begin well and end well, not really happy but you say .. ok well, that was a good ending. Then there are stories that do not feel to be about others, they become a part of you some how. And a few stories look like news or gossip you have to hear subconciously.

The forbidden one is a collection of all such stories. It is a theme - forbidden emotions and situations one experiences some point in our life. My favorite story is "ardaas" which is about the strength a mother has for not just her daughter but also for giving a part of it as legacy to the daughter. It is a very realistic tale of society's ridiculous practices and how one has to sometimes take drastic steps to fight them.
Next I loved reading Youth Undefined , the story about a lady caught between looking younger or acting with grace and pride at her age and position in the household. This one story had the best writing and the feelings were so beautifully described that you felt and understood the psyche of the lady well.
Mango love and Sinful Aspurations were two stories i wanted to love so much but the last lara did not live upto the whole story build up. These two stories actually made me understand what I felt was the problem with this story collection - justification for the events.
The stories do not leave the reader to think and imagine the turmoil of the characters. Some explainations are not needed or maybe I was not convinced with the ending. The stories are good one time read but not many are worth remembering.
Also I feel the cover is a bit misleading. It would hve been better if it showed some story or something generic. This felt like deliberate attempt to catch attention.

I rate this book 3/5

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Last Ten Per cent by TGC Prasad

There are times when you think you know all and what answers can probably a book give you. Then there are times you still read such book hoping that anything good knowing is a lesson for later.
The last 10 percent was an intriguing name for a book. Before starting the book I believed that every company has customer satisfaction on top of its agebda if it has to make money consistently. But what I did not realize was that most ventures would begin with some core values and no matter where the customer comes in picture, it is definitely the last mile that needs everyone to pull up the socks and really go for it. Hence this name of the book that talks about how to achieve customer satisfaction every passing day and how it helped aome of the biggest names be at the position they are.
The book starts with giving examples for both good and bad customer experience and thus teaches by example. It is written in much detailed fashion with enough emphasis on each of the factors being talked about. This might seem a little preachy but remember that repetition often ingrains the lesson in your head and heart.
The book is divided into two main parts - the customer centric culture and second that focuses on leadership and people strategies. Though the first section might interest you only as something to know about customer specific strategies developed and followed by each of the example Brands we read of before. It is heartening to see that it does not take much to please customers but just a little thoughtful ideas from the workers.
The second section is what interested me more. Each of us are either leaders or leader-in-making. We all have been at the position of the front line workers of our company. So it was a good read as to know what you can do to improve, what you are expected to become when you move up the ladder and where does the disconnect happen and how it affects the customer in turn. Be it the service industory or retail shops or manufacturing plants, we all are customers to some and have some customers too. Treat as yoi would like to be treated , is what i learned and taught my team. But perhaps we should learn to treat better than we expect in general. To go that extra mile to make the customers smile and return to us again and again.
I liked this book and even if it was a little difficult to follow and will take me practice, i rate this book 3.5/5

#BookReview: Utrecht Rain by Jonathan Wilkins

My rating: 3.75 of 5 stars Maaike Meijer is attacked in a senseless outbreak of violence at the Dom Tower in Utrecht. Her broth...