Bhanu Pratap Singh

Someday .. with or without you by Bhanu Pratap Singh

11:52:00 AM


Someday.. from the cover and the blurb looks like to be a usual love story , perhaps a love triangle too. But fortunately this one is bit more than that. The book opens in a parallel track of two different people , in different years narrating their version of events. There is an obvious overlap but for most part , the story moves on its own pace and hooking the reader to this heady mix of past , present and the characters in the book. The book is almost an accurate version of relationships , tangled emotions and messed up ego of the current generation. You will see a part of some one known in the characters described , without judgement of course.

The story has some loopholes , a little too much cheesiness at times but perhaps I have heard equally weird tales in reality so I could accept certain events as it is and move on. I do have a certain disregard for the kisses and making out scenes but only once did I feel the scene was out of flow. Rest of the story is pretty engaging and quite believable in its premise. What totally made this book a worthy read was the point where the past and present overlap and we see Dave go back to face his past , the consequences of his one mistake in order to sort out his present love story. There the things get too interesting for me. That is when I actually smiled and gave an imaginary thumbs up to the author for this story.

The book has its own flaws , it is not too refined at places and seem like any other indian fiction we come across. But it has the potential to make you forgive those flaws by the time you finish the book.

My rating : 3.5 / 5

Do give this one a try. You will not regret reading this.  

Fantasy

Assassin's Apprentice - Robin Hobb

1:45:00 AM



ASSASSIN'S APPRENTICE

Book 1 of "Farseer Trilogy"

ISBN : 9780006480099
FIRST PUBLISHED : March 1996
PAGES : 480
GENRE : Fantasy
PUBLISHER : Voyager

AUTHOR : Robin Hobb

SYNOPSIS : (From Goodreads)

In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma.

Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chivalry Farseer, is a royal bastard, cast out into the world, friendless and lonely. Only his magical link with animals - the old art known as the Wit - gives him solace and companionship. But the Wit, if used too often, is a perilous magic, and one abhorred by the nobility.


So when Fitz is finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and embrace a new life of weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly, as he trains to become a royal assassin.

QUOTES :

  • When you cut pieces out of the truth to avoid looking like a fool you end up looking like a moron instead.
  • Don’t do what you can’t undo, until you’ve considered what you can’t do once you’ve done it.
  • Nothing takes the heart out of a man more than the expectation of failure.
  • We left. Walking uphill and into the wind. That suddenly seemed a metaphor for my whole life.

FL SPEAK :

Robin Hobb had been on my list for far too long. So when I picked up this book today, I promised myself to savour every word slowly. That didn't happen. I couldn't stop turning over pages. 

This is a phenomenal beginning to a trilogy. The beauty lies in its simplicity. There's no overlying complex magical system. What this book offers is a simple clichéd tale of a bastard unrecognised and ditched. As most fantasy tales go, this is a coming of age grand story of one Fitz. Court intrigue, bondings and assassinations. Fantasy books often has a wider story arc which teaches you loyalty, bravery and a sense of kinship. This book was nothing less. If you're a fan of Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time" and Tad Williams "Memory, Sorrow and Thorn", you'd love this one. 

Without going into spoilers, this book is everything that you'd find in any coming of age setting. Young love, greater duty, conflict of emotions, a sense of independency as well as all those figths you always wished you found in such a novel. Robin Hobb decided to give Fitz a tough life and she didn't look back. More often than not, it felt Fitz was more of a puppet to be played along instead of living like every other teenager would. But then, bastards always have had a tough life. 


There are lots of areas for growth. Character wise as well as the story. This is just the beginning. Whatever adventures lie ahead, it will be fun to read about Fitz again.

My Rating : 5/5 (I've been told I'm generous with my ratings)

Freelancer

Me Before You - Jojo Moyes

6:55:00 AM


ME BEFORE YOU

Book 1 of "Me Before You"

ISBN :  9780670026609
FIRST PUBLISHED : 2012
PAGES : 369
GENRE : Romance
PUBLISHER : Viking

AUTHOR : Jojo Moyes

SYNOPSIS : (from the back cover)

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.


QUOTES : 

  • “...I told him a story of two people. Two people who shouldn't have met, and who didn't like each other much when they did, but who found they were the only two people in the world who could possibly have understood each other.”
  • “Push yourself. Don't Settle. Just live well. Just LIVE.”
  • “I will never, ever regret the things I've done. Because most days, all you have are places in your memory that you can go to.”


FL SPEAK :

Contrary to the very suggestive title, the cursive writing giving it some more emphasis, this is not a love story. Indeed I've read better love stories and I've read better stories about love in other non romance books.

I repeat, this is not a love story.

This is the story of Lou and Will. A story, shove the love aside. A beautiful story. The blurb of the book already gives you an idea what's to be expected. Sadly, there's nothing else. Yes, Lou enters his life like a burst of colours. Yeah, no. She gets a job as a care giver to William. Now before you lot scream spoiler, let me tell you this happens in the first ten pages so you can kindly fuck off now.

Lou is dangerously plain. When I say plain, I mean without any ambition in life. Will is a has been who has done (almost) everything before that ill-fated accident. Naturally, they bond. Who wouldn't bond with someone who's their polar opposite? *looks around*

What the readers and Lou don't know is that Will is also extremely determined. Basically, even though the story is realistic and beautifully written, it still failed to keep me constantly captivated. It is more of a TFIOS meets the Bucket List. It also failed to make me cry. That almost never happens. I bawl at everything. I cry like the Niagara falls had an orgasm and blame it on the sudden sandstorm in my room. This worried me. Other reviews suggested me to keep loads of tissues ready.

I'm giving this a 4 because it's a good story.
I picked it up and I finished it and I moved on to the next one.

Should you read this?
Yes, it's in the news.
Is it worth your time?
Yes unless there's food or sex involved.
Will I watch the movie?
For the love of mother of dragons, Yes.
 


excerpt

Excerpt-Lazlo's Revenge

12:00:00 AM

Excerpt –Chapter 1: Bukovina


August 1914
Czernovitz, Bukovina
Austro-Hungarian Empire

Miklos Floznik

I approached the first houses, gasping for breath, horrified to see the destruction being wrought by round upon round of artillery fusillades. There was no cover to be found. Dazed, I continued running, desperately trying to save myself. I passed perhaps a dozen or more homes laid nearly flat. Mutilated bodies lying all about and the wounded wailing like nothing I had ever heard. As I neared the outskirts of the city, the shelling began again as suddenly as it had stopped. Cannonade pounded in the distance. The earth trembled ferociously at my feet. Turning a corner behind what still stood of the only remaining wall of a large stone building, another round of explosions pounded the city as I leaped down into a now-exposed basement filled with debris from the collapsed upper floors—only one wall and half another standing. Hope drained from me. Each deafening blast shook my senses, sending shards of glass and cracking timbers high into the air with a sickening burst.

Darkness fell quickly in the gloomy gray of dark as I slipped over a broken wall of stones and fell into the pit of the decimated structure. I pushed tightly into a corner of what was once someone’s home, protected from the drenching rain by a small portion of what remained of a badly damaged wall hanging precariously overhead—a welcome but uncertain shelter in the midst of chaos. I pushed tightly back against the cold stone walls on either side, finding as much safety as possible against a new round of explosions that pounded above and around. Each blast shook the skeletal rubble of the house, wrenching stone and wood from tenuous perches and sending more flying debris into the desolate hole that would be their final resting place . . . and perhaps mine as well. I was trapped—I couldn’t move for fear of being crushed in that dreadful place or being shelled to death outside. I pulled my knees to my chin…all I could think to do was pray…and as I prayed…tears came but did not assuage my fear.

Mercifully, with the darkness, silence also descended—even warriors need their rest. Only screams of the wounded and desperate pleas of survivors who searched frantically through the rubble for lost loved ones pierced the cold, wet, bleak night. Soon, darkness also shrouded them in silence, all but the woeful cries of the dying calling out miserably in their hopeless plight—my hopelessness too, I thought. In my corner hideaway, I could see nothing but the black of night illuminated only by the flickering dance of fires burning what remained. I knew without seeing that only rubble lay before me, and there was no hope to be found.

Bombardment of the trenches and the city paved the way for the Russian ground troops, armored cars pulling cannons, and the dreaded Cossack horsemen. I knew they would come—surely, by morning they would come. Everything in their path would be destroyed, everyone who resisted would be killed, and all others would be taken prisoner. There was no doubt. It was their way— what Colonel Eduard Fischer and the Hungarian Army had come to Bukovina to prevent, what I bravely thought we could accomplish was lost. I had not even seen a Russian, but I knew there was no hope of saving anyone. The Kingdom of Bukovina was doomed, and surely none of Austria-Hungary would be safe. With the Hungarian Army defeated and the stronghold city of Czernovitz overrun, no one remained to save us. Even Colonel Fischer might be dead, leaving no leader to stand boldly and hold the remnant together.

In the barren darkness, my youthful excitement as a proud Hungarian soldier on a mission to save the Kingdom of Bukovina, and ultimately the empire, suddenly struck me as a foolish notion. Wearing my uniform once made me very proud, but now I was only frightened and angry. My comrades and I were assured that victory would quickly prevail, but war and death tragically became very real, fearful, foreboding, and final. I questioned myself: Was I a coward to run? Do I really know what bravery is? Do I really know what all these good people are dying for? Do I know what this war is all about? Do I even care about Jews? After all, these people in Bukovina are Jews, many of them. Are they worth the death of so many fresh, hopeful young Hungarian and Austrian men? Are they worth my life?

My head swirled with doubts. My heart ached for answers I didn’t have. Life became too real, too fast. My tortured mind flashed back to the wretched face of the too-young boy, dead in the trench, and the unknown soldier whose bloated corpse had lifted my escape. I sat in my wretched corner and questioned why I had come to such a place—why anyone would engage in such brutality.

Was this worth it…for them…for us…for anyone?

After being drenched for nearly all of three days, the rain finally stopped. The choking smell of charred remains of buildings, gunpowder, and the rotting dead hung heavily in the air. I wished for the rain again, to dilute the ghastly stench. Time slipped slowly by. The dying must have passed through death’s mercy in the eerie silence and the wounded attended to, for as I listened—no sound. Strange, I thought, that in the midst of all this evil, there should be silence. I knew it could not last. Fear grabbed my throat again. My impulse was to get up and go, take action, do something, anything, but my mind held me back—there was nowhere to go, no escape, no hope. The Russian Cossacks would be here by morning—nothing to do but hide and wait, then fight to my death, to salvage whatever honor there might be in resisting.

Below the woeful mute of night, I crouched and cowered. Shivering in fear, my mind drifted back to happier days in Budapest when, as a young boy, I…

Just then!

Something fell on the far side of the rubble, sounding as if it came from behind the largest pile of debris—perhaps another dislodged stone. I leaned forward to hear and peered vainly into the darkness as my heart leaped in my chest and immense fear gripped me. The worst of my thoughts seized me—the Russians were coming in the night and rooting out survivors! Desperate, I slowly reached to my side, and silently drew out my pistol. Another sound. Someone was moving, and not more than ten meters from me.

I raised my pistol and aimed in the direction of the sounds, I was prepared to shoot anything on sight, at any slight movement—my hands trembled against the trigger. A faint light appeared, flickering behind the rubble, like the light of a small candle casting a very large, daunting shadow around me, barely visible as it slowly danced in the eerie candlelight, nearly scaring the life out of me as my finger tightened on the cold trigger.

Crying—quiet, sorrowful weeping—as if the person hidden by the pile of debris knew she had to be very quiet but could not help herself…clearly a woman, perhaps a very young woman, maybe just a girl. I was still…very still…and listened for perhaps fifteen or even twenty minutes, until the light wavered and died. The soft whimpering continued for a long, long time in the fearful dark that kept me huddled closely against the walls of my corner as though I wished to disappear in its grasp. I would wait. By the dim light of morning, I would see who my companion in that hellacious hole might be. Though I resisted, sometime later I dozed, exhausted, dreamily wishing for the safety of my home in Budapest.

I woke to the constant patter of a dreary rain as the breaking dawn cast a ghastly glow over the destruction strewn around and about me. My eyes fixed toward the sound and the light of a few hours earlier; I listened but…only quiet and stillness…no sound but the steady falling rain.

 -nikhimenon

*special arrangement with the author


Historical Fiction

Introducing Lazlo’s Revenge by Glen Thomas Hierlmeier

7:50:00 AM


Glen Thomas Hierlmeier’s latest historical romance novel, Lazlo’s Revenge, is the story of one woman’s adventure throughout Europe to uncover her parents’ pasts.  Stories of romance, war, and traumas both physical and emotional are unearthed as she traces their footsteps back to the major sites of World Wars I and II.

Lazlo’s Revenge follows Maxine “Max” Fischer, a writer and Swiss war correspondent, whose parents (Hank and Roberta Fischer, the main characters from Hierlmeier’s previous book, Honor and Innocence) lived through the tragedies of the Great World Wars. 

Max sets out on an adventure throughout Europe to uncover her parents’ pasts and see the very places where they survived on their odyssey to escape danger and death. Stories of romance, war, and traumas are unearthed as she traces their footsteps back to the major sites of World Wars I and II.  

During her journey, Max becomes fascinated by the people who influenced her parents' lives. She follows the life and times of Lazlo Floznik, the man who saved her parents and helped them escape catastrophe in Europe by seeking out refuge beyond the reach of the security forces that sought to imprison them.  The years leading up to World War I, the time between the wars, and the experiences of World War II reveal their secrets as Max explores her family roots, in this deeply emotional story tied together by Lazlo’s intense story of love, and that of his father, Miklos, before him.  

Praise:

Any reader who enjoys historical fiction, romance, war stories, and stories with action and adventure, should definitely give Lazlo's Revenge a read. I am pleased to be able to recommend this book to any such reader. I am also looking forward to reading more from the promising author, Glen Hierlmeier, as soon as I possibly can!” – 4 Stars, Reviewed by Tracy A. Fischer for Readers’ Favorite

“With deft skill often found in good fiction, Heirlmeier masterfully creates a sweeping epic anchored by strong characters. The accurate and poignant historical references are sure to delight any historical reader.” – 4 Stars, Red City Review


About the Author:

Glen Thomas Hierlmeieris a graduate of the United Sates Air Force Academy, and has an MBA from The University of Wisconsin. He served in the U.S. Air Force, where he helped develop the Manned Orbiting Laboratory and the F-15 Eagle fighter aircraft, and gained a deep interest in world affairs and warfare.

He subsequently completed a career as a banker and real estate executive, serving as President and CEO of various companies for over thirty years before retiring in 2009.

Glen enjoys writing historical fiction and has published three other books including Thoughts From Yesterday: Moments to RememberWe Had to Live: We Had No Choice..., and Honor and Innocence: Against the Tides of War, the prequel to Lazlo’s Revenge. His latest novel, Lazlo’s Revengewas released in July 2016 from Xlibris publishing.For more information, visit: http://www.booksbyglenthomas.com/.


Readers can connect with Glen Thomas Hierlmeieron FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

-nikhimenon


author interview

Interview:Author Nilesh Rathod

2:42:00 PM

Image Courtesy-http://www.nileshrathod.in/

The other day, we interviewed the multi-talented Nilesh Rathod, the author of the recently released 'Destiny of Shattered Dreams'.


       Can you tell us something about yourself?
-          Born in Bangalore, brought up in Pune… I pursued my graduation in commerce and I ama Chartered Financial Analyst by education.I co-founded Ensemble Infrastructure India Limited in the year 2002 which, now employs over 2000 personnel. It has successfully delivered thousands of contracts including offices, hotels, hospitals and retail spaces.

·        Rupa has published many best-selling authors from Chetan Bhagat to Ravi Subramanian. Can you tell us briefly about your experience with your publisher?
-          They’ve been extremely co-operative and it has been an amazing experience working with Rupa.

          These days there are many desi authors writing in English.What do you think is your biggest USP when compared to your contemporaries?
-          English has been a primary language for Indians since the British era. However, of late the spread of language a lot of new authors are emerging and some of them have transcended borders when it comes to their quality of writing. Authors like Jhumpa Lahiri, Amitav Ghosh bring pride to us.
Writing is a creative art and doesn’t often need to follow a USP. In my opinion most genuine authors who know their trait simply write and their USP’s are cultivated by readers’ responses. Destiny of Shattered Dreams is a story of a middle class boy who pursues his dreams and gets caught in the embroil of modern day politics. The story is his take away of life as we live it today.

            When do you write and have you ever experienced writer's block?
-          I am going through one. I wrote my first novel within a month of starting to pen it, I spent double that time to just write the headers for the sub-plots, but once I got to writing, I was done within a month. I am a lazy researcher too; on the contrary research beyond a point is a road block to creativity. My first way to deal with a writer's block is to take a break, may be a day or two or even a week. I keep thinking and re-thinking about the scenarios without really penning them down. If I do get a break through, I start again. Reading another book or two within that break can help erase the block sometimes. And if nothing works, I simply force my way through the story, it might read bland or may sound timid when you do that, but remember it’s a small part of the story and there is always an edit option.

           Apart from writing,what are your other hobbies?
-          I love to read books..!

c   Amitav Ghosh,Salman Rushdie,Chetan  Bhagat;who is your favorite among these three Indian writers? Which one do you think is his best work till date?
-          Salman Rushdie..! MidNights Children is the best I feel

·   Indian Writing in English has truly come of age. What is your take on the future of the English language Fiction market in India?
-          India is a country that widely uses the language while, fiction books are pure entertainers. It shall evolve with time and grow further with increasing competition.   
     
    We are also living in an era when every author blogger wants to be a published author.Do you think this as a healthy trend?
-          Ya... Why not..? If there writing styles are better than the existing ones, I definitely think it’s worth giving a shot.

     Okay, one last question.I know it’s a little dumb to ask this,but still... You want to be remembered as a bestselling author or as an award winning one?
-          For now I’d want to be a bestseller. Maybe when the next book hits the market, I’d aim at becoming an award winning writer J But, more than anything else I’m happy to see my novel being loved by the readers..

 -nikhimenon