Leo

Romantic Bouncers, by Ram Vignesh

12:44:00 PM

I've read books where cricket and the genre are mixed, and not come out well. The impression that Ram Vignesh's Romantic Bouncers gave from the blurb was that it would be worth the read. It promised not just a story in the cricketing world, but also a romance and a thriller. A small part of me still wondered if mixing so many aspects would muddle the story and the impact that it makes.

Rabin is an aspiring cricketer. His dream is to be part of the Indian National team. As is the dream of his best friend Sarath. But they know that's not going to be easy. The romance angle brings in Kristina, who studies in the same college. Any aspiration of such levels usually has an antagonist. That is his father. And such a dream will also a silent supporter, who is Bharaga. The story follows the aspiration of Rabin, and the journey towards that, while bringing twists and other characters into and around that.

The mix of so many things - romance, mystery, family drama, cricket etc. - would usually be a bit difficult to read, and to be honest, at times, it does feel like that, but the narration is steady, in a simple language, and doesn't make that feeling last long. I liked the characters what Ram Vignesh brings, especially the silent supporter Bharaga and of course Rabin, the main protagonist. It has enough essence to keep the reader engaged.

I'm slightly miffed that though characters were introduced well, two of them did not quite appeal to me. Kristina's character in the book doesn't work that well, and probably because she's shown as dead first, and then the reader taken back in time. And, though I cannot tell why exactly, the character of Hoariest Bung didn't quite make an impression on me either.

The novel is not one that everyone will enjoy, but it's worth trying. I'm looking forward to more from Ram Vignesh, and will see if I can procure a copy of his earlier book.

Reviewed by Vinay Leo R. for the author, who gave a copy of the Book
(Review dated 31/12/15 to match as per my marking on Goodreads).

Mainak Dhar

Chronicler of the Undead by Mainak Dhar

11:18:00 AM

Author:Mainak Dhar
Title:Chronicler of the Undead
Westland Books
178+Pages
review copy via writersmelon


                   I'm a huge fan of Horror films.But when it comes to books,I try to avoid them as far as possible.Somehow,I feel that the 'scare factor' is lost when it's read.I had tried reading a couple of Stephen King novels a couple of years back ,but couldn't finish them as the 'horror element' didn't work for me at all.So,when this new book by Mainak Dhar came to me for review from writers melon,I was a bit apprehensive initially to pick it up as it belonged to the horror genre.Anyways,I decided to give it a try as it wasn't a very lengthy book.
                   Mainak Dhar is one of the few Indian authors who writes Horror fiction(well,I've done my bit of research on him by now).Set in the backdrop of  a Zombie apocalypse,'Chronicler of the Undead' is a horror tale laced with humour.The hero/narator is an army man- turned -writer who is the last man surviving after the ZA.He is staying in an isolated mansion on top of a hill and is currently running out of food and water.With zombies roaming around in the streets,his survival instincts are put to test.However he chronicles his day to day activities and his struggles for survival in his journal.

                            There aren't many characters in this book apart from the protagonist,the Zombies and the 'gentlemen' whom he encounters.Pretty soon he realizes that it's not only the 'Morekos' whom he has to fight with.The book is essentially about the hero's fights for survival and has traces of movies like 'I am Legend'.

                The book didn't 'scare' me that much but with it's twists and turns,it did manage to surprise me a few times.The language used is pretty simple and conversational without any literary pretensions.It has got a nice suspense towards the end and at less than two hundred pages,this is the kind of book which can be finished in just one setting.On the downside,'Chronicler..' is definitely not everyone's cup of tea and if you are looking for a breezy romantic tale for your weekend reading,this is just not the book for you.

Verdict-On the whole,the book is an entertaining read.I'm giving it a 3 out of 5.

-nikhimenon

Children book

The Teddy Who Ran Away, by Preethi Venugopala

11:24:00 AM

This is a book with a single story written for tiny tots, an experiment in writing in the genre by the author who wrote this for her child.

The book, kind of like Baby's Day Out, is a Teddy's Day Out. Teddy, the Teddy Bear, like Hobbes, seems alive yet bored with life at home, and decides to run away. The story follows the adventures he has in the little time that he spends in the world outside.

Knowing that it is for small children, the author has kept away from big complicated words and made it very short and simple chapters. It's a fun bed time story which I am quite sure a child will love, and of course, it has a happy ending too.

I think what a child would love more is to have pictures, and not just at the beginning of each chapter. If the book is illustrated more, it would delight a child, as at that age, they find pictures more appealing than words, and also, it'd help to learn.

I rate it 4 stars.

nikhimenon

The Best Seller She Wrote by Ravi Subramanian

4:12:00 PM

Ravi Subramanian
Westland
2015
295 INR
Review copy via blogadda


                    Ravi Subramanian is one of the few Indian authors whom I love reading. Almost all his published works till date have been fast paced banking thrillers. 'The Best Seller She Wrote' is his first attempt at romantic intrigue and after finishing this book in just one sitting,I can confidently say that his attempt change over diversion is only moderately successful.The book has it's moments for sure but it has it's own share of flaws as well.

                   Aditya Kapoor is the king of mass market paperbacks.His career as a banking professional is equally successful.His wife is the georgeous,superbly talented,IIM educated Maya who is into social work.Kapoor chances upon Shreya Kaushik during one of his usual interactive sessions with the college students and what starts off as a bitter relationship soon transforms into fanship and eventually(and quite expectedly) to love. 

                   Coming to the positives,the language used is quite simple and conversational.There are enough twists and turns happening at regular intervals making the readers hooked to the proceedings.Though at the heart of it, the book is nothing but a typical bollywoodish cliched triangular love tale, it's the setting and the intelligent execution by Ravi which makes this work an okay read. Ravi Subramanian has tried to touch upon (albeit topically) some of the unethical practices prevailing in the Indian publishing Industry. Aditya Kapoor's character(the IIM trained 'rockstar banker-turned-author', guess who!) is quite well written and the reader can feel the pain and tension which he was going through.There aren't too many unnecessary supporting characters(this book review is sounding more like a movie review,I know,but then,this novel is also more like the screenplay of a Bollywood blockbuster!) but the few which are there are pivotal in taking the story forward.The tale feels semi-autobiographical at times.There are references to real-life authors(Ashwin Sanghi,James patterson,Wendy Doniger and Ravi Subramanian himself) and personalities(Nita Ambani,Nirav Sanghavi of blogadda) incidents.

                  On the downside,the book suffers from pacing issues at times. At 390+ pages,'The best seller...' is quite lengthy and somewhere towards the middle,it drags a bit. Another issue which I have with this work is regarding the 'sex scenes'. The sex scenes are quite graphic and badly written.As one of the characters in this book herself says,Sex scenes if badly written are a big turn off.The book cover also is not that much appealing and only managed to give a mushy feel to it.The character of Shreya is a bit confusing.You never get to know whether she was actually in love with Aditya or was it only her ulterior motive which drove her into the tumultuous relationship with Kapoor.There aren't too many unnecessary supporting characters(this book review is sounding more like a movie review,I know,but then,this novel is also more like the screenplay of a Bollywood blockbuster!) but the few which are there are pivotal in taking the story forward.The romance(Aditya-Shreya) is half baked and apart from the poorly written sex scenes there is nothing much which depicts the intensity of Aditya's liking/love towards Shreya.    

                Even if you don't enjoy reading this book,you will have a good time trying to figure out the real-life inspiration behind many of the characters and incidents featured in this book(Ramesh Karia,Kiwi books).

Verdict-To sum it up,Ravi Subramanian has tried to do a Ravinder Singh(I'm not a big fan of Singh either) with 'The Best Seller...'.The book might end up in the best seller list,but for me it's just average stuff.I'm giving a 2.5 out of 5.

I am reviewing ‘The Bestseller She Wrote’ by Ravi Subramanian as a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

fantasy fiction

#BookReview : Faith of the Nine by Sachin Dev

2:25:00 AM

In my previous review I talked of trilogies and how some ate easy to remember 'cause not much happens. Then there are books like this where so much happens and is developed in such circles that the key players are etched in your head.

Its man's nature to forget Gods and instead create facades in his name to serve the selfish interests. And it always comes down to miracle babies and the harsh realizations for all. Faith of the nine has a similar plot plus few characters whose destiny is linked to this boy.

The author is well read, visual and articulates each scenario in Details. The book reflects our past and preSent in a subtle way as much as it is a quest for truth - be it the characters in this book or yourself. The events and places somehow remind one of our roots. Like memories or stories heard long back and now being played out.

What i loved in the story is that there are no loopholes or shortcuts. The action sequences and the mystique is flawless and used well. The book is much engaging and is a treat to read for anyone who likes fantasy books. Even otherwise , this is an entertaining one for all.

Am eagerly awaiting the next part.

My rating : 4/5


Comeback warrior trilogy

#Bookreview : Divine command by Saranya Umakanthan

12:57:00 AM




There are fantasy books and then there are trilogies. Problem with trilogies is that one has to remember what goes on in each part. Atleast that will not be much of a problem in this series. The plot is fairly simple to begin with- a hero dies fighting the asur god who is in possession of a rudra key that revives him more powerful than before. One half of same ,combined with mantras by the king makes way for the hero to be born someday with blessings and a goal to save the secret mantras and kill the asur king.

And after this, we gradually come to know more of both nations , the present tensions  since the comeback warrior is brought up in some remote city and is unaware of the legacy. But he is the typical good guy who is courageous , kind and intelligent enough to face any adversity.

One scene after another , the plot is a bunch of cliches though the writing lifts itslef in places. Some one who is an avid reader would be able to easily predict many of the twists. The comeback warrior's attitude is kind f so laid back - good or bad , he just acceots things as they come. There is not much convincing about his actions sometimes. The book is kind of YA and is more suitable for young teens and beginners. In that respect, i appreciate that the language is very simple and easy to follow. There is kind of innocence in the characters. I did not enjoy this much but I would reccomend it to some of my younger cousins.

My rating : 2.5/5 

Aniesha Brahma

When Our Worlds Collide by Aniesha Brahma

10:14:00 AM





I have always admired Aniesha's books. For some unexplained reason,they remind me of my younger dreamy self. And then there is the poems she weaves into the stories. Like icing on a fresh yummy cake :D

One night last week,I started reading this book just to get it started so I would finish it next day. 2 hours later, i had finished the book and had such a huge smile on my face.

This is a story of Akriti ,Zyan and some more people who are a part of their world. Akriti and Zyan are as different in approach to life as much they are similar in interests and understanding of life. But this book is not about the plot but more about how Aniesha has treated it with her words and understanding of characters. There is this whole range of love and friendship saga that we all go through and sometimes we do realize its neither the end or the beginning of either. It is a ride life offers us at times and one should just enjoy it.

Aniesha is one of the few authors who really write YA in true sense. The way the changing emotions and trends are captured in this novella is brilliant. The book size is perfect , flow of the story too. This is a book for readers of all ages and taste.

My rating : 4/5

Buy When Our Worlds Collide (General Press) here