General/Indian Fiction

Guilty by Choice by Shanti Paramashivan

10:22:00 AM


Kiana Shetty is a young, dynamic and beautiful girl who lives in Mumbai with her mother and a younger brother. Like every recent graduate, she dreams of making it big and making it big quickly. But fate may have other plans for her in the form of her own brother: meet Viraj, Kiana's younger brother, who works at a call center but wants to open his own tattoo studio some day and he will do anything to make that happen. While Kiana deals with Viraaj's dreadful secrets, she also has to put up with Abhit, Viraaj's best friend, who won't stop professing his love for her at every opportunity he gets. It looks like the only person she can trust in all this hullaballoo is Sarthak, her best friend and collegue. But for how long?

'Guilty By Choice' is a story about dreams, about love, about friendship, and above all, family. Because in the end, you do it all for the family, right?

Usually I do not read the blurb right before I pick a book ( I read it only when I buy and then forget about it ) But it so happened that I did read the plot before I opened the book and some where I expected a very messy situation and to see how the writer gets Kiana out of it. 

What I got was a build up too long and the end cut short. There were lot of possible angles for the story and none was followed. But instead we get a pretty detailed account of a Mallu wedding, the usual life of  Kiana and the cast in their society , how we fail to recognize worthy friends and more so how idiotically the love story of Kiana and Abhit goes to the stage of mutual acceptance by the end of the book. And then comes the twist which the reader might be waiting from a long time. But before you could settle down with the flow , the book ends. Ok , I would even have made peace with the end if there was not that last page of epilogue !!

Either let me figure or decide things on my own or give me an explanation that makes total sense.
I enjoyed the breezy tale of Kiana and her loved ones but the last page was a little disappointing. 

My rating : 2.5/5


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Jennifer Niven

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

12:49:00 AM

There are books that make you want to wander , to read and learn better quotes from classics 'cause you love how they fit the real life scenarios. You want to travel and dream of adventures and of numerous possibilities you can have if you just let go of your fears and inhibitions ! I can finally say THIS book was all that and more to me.


This is the story of Finch who tries wants to die and probably has gathered stats on each possible way. But then he wants to die in a spectacular way that would appeal only to him. He meets Violet one one of his death-wish moments and both end up saving each other. While Finch might have done it just once in reality, he literally destroys the lost and hopeless empty shell that Violet had become post her sister's death. On the other hand, Violet becomes the reason for all further failed attempts at death by Finch.

This is not the story where you need to bother who lives or die but Finch and Viloet together make you let go of all your inhibitions and question your plans. It is good to make plans but you have to decide what kind of plans you want to make happen and for whom. Finch is broken and it made me cry to see so hard to fix himself for violet, for one more day , for one geography project or perhaps till he finds the perfect way to disappear from everyone's life.

The writing is very elegant and Finch is one hell of a charming character who make you hate him ,pity him and love him equally. His family is lost and unhappy and yet you admire the way they carry on. Violeton the other hand has the perfect life till one accident changes her. From being a guilty survivor to the best friend and lover for Finch and ultimately his savior and memory keeper , she is vulnerable and unique and yet strong in many ways. 

This is a book that I can pick anytime again from random page and still shed a few honest tears. 




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humour

The Amazing Racist by Chhimmi Tenduf-La

10:09:00 PM

Title:The Amazing Racist
Publisher:Hachette India
Author:Chhimmi Tenduf-La
Genre:Romance,Humour
Pages:232+
Price:399/-
Source:blogadda book review program


Plot-Well,the plot is quite wafer thin.Eddie Trusted has got appointed as a teacher in an International School in Srilanka.He falls in love with Menaka Rupasinghe,a Srilankan native and the daughter of Thilak Rupasinghe,the great litigation lawyer and former President’s Counsel.He is infact a terror and obviously,a difficult man to please.Amazing Racist,a 'Meet the Parents/Bewakoofiyan' meets 'Something Something Unakkum Enakkum' kind of story, is all about Eddie's struggles to win over his lady love's no-nonsense dad,Thilak, the 'amazing racist'.

Characters-As mentioned earlier,Eddie is the hero and Menaka is the heroine.But the book is actually about Thilak(the villain of this romantic tale)and his idiosyncracies.Now,don't get me wrong!They are not the only characters in this novel.Chhimmi Tenduf La has made sure that there are a host of quirky and unique peripheral characters in his debut work as an author.For instance,we have Gayan,(Menaka's second cousin and best friend) who doesn't mind asking our hero whether he has a p****s or not,right during their 'first meeting'!Them here are many funny and interesting characters in the narrative,with almost all of them well etched out.

Language and Writing-The language is simple,yet effective! However,'simple' doesn't imply that Chimmi's writing is as bland/mediocre as that of the average 'National Best-Selling desi romance writers'.'The Amazing Racist' is definitely not one among those assembly line romance-dramas which hits the Indian book stores every other week.This one definitely qualifies as an enjoyable light read peppered with sarcasm and satire(the observation about SriLankan roads and pedestrians).I think,we Indians will easily relate to the author's observations as things are pretty much the same,here too!

Book Design,Overall Layout and Print quality-The book scores high in all these departments.The Cover design is also quite good.Obviously,when it's priced at 399 INR/- and brought out by a renowned publishing house like Hachette,what else do you expect?

Remarks-Hilarious and thought provoking,Chhimmi Tenduf-La’s debut novel,’The Amazing Racist’ is an absolute page turner.Though the story line of this book may not be exactly innovative or path-breaking,the debutant writer has more than made good for it with his execution.The book is witty and manages to entertain the reader with it's satirical take on the Srilankan society.
On the downside,the plot is quite generic.Desperate boy-friend trying to woo his potential father-in-law is something which has been tried since ages!Some of the jokes actually fall flat.A little bit of editing in the second part of the book was also needed,I feel. What say,you?

What I liked the most about this book-
1.The overall tone of the book.
2.The author's unpretentious writing style.
3.The genuine LOL moments in the narrative.
4.The well etched out characters and their natural transformation.

What I didn't like-
1.The plot was too simple and pretty familiar.
2.The climax-it could have been better!

Verdict-On the whole,'The Amazing Racist' is a highly entertaining work.This book is much better than the 'Half-Girl Friends' and the 'One Night@Call Centres'!Give it a try,you won't regret it! I'm giving it a good 3.5 out of 5.
This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

-nikhimenon

Historical Fiction

Finders,Keepers by Sapan

12:21:00 AM



Two men are murdered in settings which speak volumes of involvement of some sacred cynicism. A psycho-killer on the loose? Or is this the beginning of something much more grave and dangerous? This is the tale of how Deputy Director, I.B., Shoumik Haldar and celebrated author Ishan Vajpayee exercise their tools of conventional and unconventional deduction to solve the puzzles thrown across by the enemy. Intertwined intensely with the opulent mythological tales and specimens attributing to the rich cultural heritage of this country, the story depicts the resurgence of a dormant historical sect, which attacks the very foundations of one of the most powerful and secret organizations of all times. Spread across the entire Indian subcontinent, read the mystery as it unravels with the duo travelling from one corner to another searching for the signs.

Nimue Says : First thing , such huge book and such research ! Phew !! *Takes a bow*
There is something very sexy about huge fat books and specially ones that you get hooked to immediately. (+ 2 )

So yeah , I started this book on a very good note and expected it to be same till the end. I faced the very first and the biggest glitch in the book pretty soon. And that is abrupt transition of scenes without any indication. Whether it was indenting issue or formatting could have been better , the thing is if one person is opening the door , I do not expect to find the scene moved to other end of the country which of course I shall not realize unless different characters are mentioned. So directly -1 for this. Once you get used to this ( means now you are extra cautious when a new para begins ) , the book and the plot and the execution of the same will blow you ! 

I learned so much about Hindu culture and mythological stories in this one book , not to forget different conspiracies and their ripples in the history that I am both glad and amazed with all the information , the relations and the inferences that the author deduced. The amount of efforts spent in gathering the stories and to make them a part of the flowing plot is so evident in the book that I am much impressed with the author. 

Having said that , I felt the end was a little too dragged though the execution was flawless. A little too overwhelming by the end but very intelligent book.

My Rating : 4/5



"This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program and Blog Tours.  To get free books log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com

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Mythological Fiction

City Of Nine Gates By Pankaj Rajput

11:39:00 PM

Title:City Of Nine Gates
Author:Pankaj Rajput
Publisher:notion press
Price:280
Source:Author
amazon


                         Indian writing in English is going through a very interesting phase.With the debutant writers being brave enough to explore hitherto unexplored genres in desi fiction,there are quite a good number of interesting works of fiction hitting the stores every other week.From the 'Chetan Bhagat' clones to the likes of Anees Saleem and Jeet Thayyil,desi writing has indeed matured for good.This post is about one such gem by a first time author named Pankaj Rajput and it's titled 'City of Nine Gates'.

                         Before going on to the review,I have a small confession to make.Though I had received this book from the author almost 8 weeks back,it took me this long to write and publish the review.No don't get me wrong,the book is not dull or boring by any stretch of imagination.Infact,it's the other way round.This book is quite  unique and it took me a long time to figure out what to write about it for I believe,no review will be able to do justice to this wonderfully crafted work!

                         City of Nine Gates is the story of Gyan,an atheist multi-millionaire who embarks on a journey of self-realization.Gyan during one of his archeological pursuits(he is an historian at heart) stumbles upon an ancient site,a cursed fort/temple.What follows is his realization that the site is actually the crown over an entire City that lies beneath it.He also finds out that he is the 'chosen' one who can liberate the City out of the curse.Joining him in his journey is his friend,Parth.Through Gyan's and Parth's story,the author tries to answer some basic questions about life and existence.

                          The book is written in simple English and is peppered with Sanskrit slokas and Verses which undoubtedly elevates it to an altogether different level.There are some books which on repeated reading appear more meaningful and inspiring.'City of Nine Gates' is one such work and is a recommended read for people of all ages.

                        Though this book is a highly philosophical work,the debutant author has made sure that the reader is never burdened with forced,heavy duty philosophical lines.Infact,Pankaj deserves a pat on his back for putting across his thoughts and concepts in a simple,highly effective manner.The book could have easily become an extremely boring and a pretentious affair,considering it's theme and the core subject.It's the writer's belief in his theme and his conscious decision to tell it in a contemporary setting which has worked wonders for this work.The book lay out,cover design are top notch and kudos to the publisher(notion press)for making this possible at an affordable rate.The book is also free of grammatical errors and typos which is also a great thing,considering it's a self-published work.On the downside,I think if you are looking for a breezy,light read,you can definitely stay away from this 'meaningful' book.

Verdict-On the whole,'City Of Nine Gates' is a unique book.Don't miss it! I'm giving it a out of 5.    

-nikhimenon

Arka chakrabarti

The rise of Grey Prince by Arka Chakrabarti

4:07:00 PM





This is a story of different nations that seem distant and independent in the beginning, but are tied by common prophecy.
This is a tale of prophecies that bind destinies and choices of kings and their closest men and women.
This is a tale of a man Agni who is the one to bear the burden of prophecies and his choices whether he runs or faces his destiny.
Hence the name of series, Saga of Agni.

The story has a well thought plot and enough twists and pace to make you keep reading as long as you can. In fact this is the kind of book that is best read in as few sittings as possible 'cause the reader is bound to get involved in the journey.

The characters are very well sketched and given their own space and roles to justify their presence. There is no single story line that is left untouched as the events unfold in multiple places. I liked the characters of Vrish and Yani the most since they are not just good or bad but are humans.

The title of the sequel is very apt since it traces the rise of two princes - one who was nothing but turns out to be a prince and other who being the prince turns out to be nothing. The story has taken some inspiration from other fantasy fiction stories but they are well modified to be a part of this adventure.

The sequel for me though was bit confusing, bit too short. The pace of the book and the questions that keep arising kept me hooked to the book but also left me wanting more. I guess I was expecting the details and the narration as it is in the first book. This part left me a little disappointed.  Nevertheless, the lovers of fantasy fiction will like this one from the basket of Indian fiction. I am much glad that such tales are being written by and for the Indian readers.

I hope the next part is out soon and the author spends time on building the scenes and not hurrying for the actions. Fantasy books are supposed to be fat after all ;) 

My rating: 4/5 for the series
                   3.5/5 for the book#2

PS : Though the sequel can be read as stand-alone , I personally recommend you to read the books in order. 


"This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program and Blog Tours.  To get free books log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com


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Chick-lit

He Fixed the Match,She Fixed Him by Shikha

12:11:00 AM

Title:He fixed the Match,She Fixed Him
Author:Shikha
Pages: 282+
Source: Publisher
Publisher:Vitasta
Price:175 INR/-
Image:GR
                     I do like reading chick-lit once in a while.Believe me,good works belonging to this genre are genuine fun reads.These days,there is a brand new desi (wannabe) chick-lit  hitting the bookstores every other day! Almost all of them have the same old desperate-oversized girl in the wrong side of twenties-looking for a boy formula but not many of them end up selling more than a few hundred copies! So now,when a new chick-lit work reaches me for review,I think twice before accepting it.This new work by debutant author Shikha,came to me for review a couple of weeks back.Anyways,here I am,reviewing this desi (Mills and Boons inspired) romantic tale!
              I picked up 'He Fixed the Match,She Fixed Him' by first time author Shikha expecting it to be a quick,fun read.Well,the book turned out to be fun in parts,but again,if you are looking for something new in it,you will definitely be disappointed.It's the same old 'brash boy-marries-goody goody girl-only to fall in love with her in the climax- story,served in a new format! 
             So,'HFTM:SFH' tells the tale of Shreya,an ambitious,highly qualified Dilli girl and Kunal, a young entrepeneur.Kunal tricks Shreya into an arranged marriage and how Shreya fights back and make the crooked Kunal fall in line is what this book is all about.As you might have figured it by now,the plot of this book is wafer thin and what makes it work to some extend is the writer's minty cool approach to her debut work.Shikha has made sure that the tale is peppered with entertaining one liners and interesting incidents though one gets the feeling that there were more of them.A little more imaginative plot with interesting  twists might have made this book a far better work.
             Coming to the characters,apart from the protagonists,the book has got a couple of likeable characters in Vineet(Kunal's Cousin) and Jyothsna(his love interest)but it's a pity that the Shikha hasn't bothered to give them more space in the narrative(may be she wanted to focus more on her protagonists!).Anyways,it's a good thing that there aren't too many characters cluttered in the narrative.The book is written in quite plain,conversational English and is not entirely devoid of typos and grammatical errors.The couple of ads (the prominent one being that of a popular matrimony site) which creep up in the narrative also sticks out like a sore thumb.The length of the book is also a big negative(for a wafer thin plot,282 pages is too much)


Verdict-On the whole,'He Fixed the match...' is a passable affair.I'm giving it a 2.6 out of 5.

-nikhimenon

game

Signtist by Arpita Khadria

7:43:00 PM

I am not much fond of game apps on phone or laptop. But there are days when I do not want to read or interact with anyone on social sites while sitting alone in my office or in cab. Many such minutes of mine have seen me go weak and play subway surfer ! And then , I got into puzzles and word games.

Signtist is one such puzzle book that I came across searching for something new to try. It is form of guessing the word based on the assorted letters but the catch is that there are not just the letters of the word but a few extra ones too. Thankfully the order is defined for the sets !!

Sample this :

Here the black dot is the beginning of the Word. Follow the lines and you will see the sequence of words. now based on this , possible options of the alphabets in the words are -

ABC
PQRS
ABC
MNO
DEF
PQRS


One word of each set has to be chosen so that the completewordcan be formed. The books contain the puzzles that are from same category So you have one clue already. The second clue is behind the puzzle page.


For step by step instructions , check on the back of the book.

What I liked about the books was the size which makes it so easy to carry the books in your bag and also that the puzzle clues become tricky as you progress so the excitement is not dull at any moment.

Having said that , the books need a person to a have a good knowledge of the puzzle category or a good memory. Else , not scoring for a few times consecutively can make you feel a little low.

You can also download the Game app from Android Play Store or Apple store if you do not prefer paper and pen like I did below  :D
Am hooked to the puzzles. Going to order all possible versions for me and my mother who is as fond of such books as me. 




My rating : 4/5

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