Chetan Bhagat

Book Review: The Girl In Room No 105 by Chetan Bhagat

6:00:00 PM




                   Well, Chetan Bhagats books are like Salman Khan films. They are obviously immune to any kind of reviews or criticism.No matter what you write or think about their works, they will invariably rake in the moola.

              First things first- The girl in Room No 105 (TGIR) is neither a  parody nor a rip off of Ruth Ware's "The Woman in ..."(which was no masterpiece by any stretch of imagination), infact the only similarity between the two works ends with the title. To be very frank, TGIR is far better than Bhagat's last two outings. Though it has all his usual cliches' in place (the loser IIT alumni hero, the ''liberal, super sexy heroine and their chance meeting at the IIT , to name a few ), this one is more of a crime thriller (pretty half baked one at that) with a few genuinely funny conversations thrown in between.

          Our protagonist is Keshav, the loser IIT guy who is now employed with 'Chandan classes', an IIT JEE tuition centre. His best buddy is Saurabh aka Golu who is also his colleague at ''Chandan'.One night, Keshav gets a call from his ex- girl friend inviting him to visit her at her hostel room. Keshav turns up there only to find her murdered.How Keshav along with his Watson (Saurabh) finds the mystery behind her murder is what the book is all about.

        As I mentioned before, TGIR is far better than any of Bhagat's recent works. Chetan has tried his hand in a new genre and has been able to come up with something half decent.The book undoubdtedly is a time pass read with the typical Chetan Bhagat elements in place. But that doesn't mean that it breaks any new grounds as far as the mystery thriller genre is concerned. If Bhagat's earlier protagonists were used to globe trotting for finding his (their) estranged girl friend(s),here Keshav is doing the same for finding her murderer.The suspense is pretty much predictable and the mystery is the 'kindergarten' variety and obviously there isn't much space for sense and logic in Bhagat's universe!

       Coming to the characters, Golu comes aross as a genuinely funny guy and is the sole source of the occassional one-liners in the story.The other characters are Captain Fyaiz and Raghu (Zara's fiance).The writing and language are typical Chetan Bhagat.

Verdict: I'm going with a 2.75 out of 5.The book is a time-pass read for Chetan Bhagat Fans!


-nikhimenon

Book Blitz - When our worlds meet again by Aniesha Brahma

8:46:00 AM

~ Book Blitz ~
When Our Worlds Meet Again by Aniesha Brahma
16th November 2018


About the Book:


Two years after the events of 'When Our Worlds Collide', Zayn and Akriti are now leading extremely different lives. Akriti has come back from her stint at the business school and running her mother's café. Zayn has run into trouble in his PhD program and has come home for a break. While he thinks that things are just as he’d left them two years ago, that is far from the truth. In a last ditch attempt to make Akriti remember the connection they had once shared, Zayn tries to recreate all their memories. But things are never the same when collided worlds meet again. 





Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon

Read an Excerpt:


Prologue
2015.
Akriti was sitting at the cash counter of her mother’s little café going over the expenses for the day. Her headphones were plugged into her ears as she listened to songs on her phone. Her laptop was propelled open in front of her as she made notes on what else needed to be done the next day.
In the two years that she had been gone, the café had not changed at all. Her mother had kept all the renovations that Akriti and her colleagues had done two years ago. The only difference was that now there was a bulletin board next to the chalkboard menu that had been installed just a few weeks ago. On the bulletin board hung a poster that announced that next week’s Poetry Slam would start at 6PM sharp, and Suzanna needed to be contacted for early registration.
Akriti finished her work and shut down her laptop. She looked around the café in grim satisfaction and let out a happy little sigh. The music from her phone suddenly stopped playing. Glancing down she saw that her phone had started buzzing, flashing a number she had not seen on her phone in quite a while.
Debating for a minute, she received the call.
“Hi, Zayn.”

Airports have seen more sincere kisses than weddings it is said. As Zayn Banerjee waited to catch his flight back home, he witnessed one too many couples bidding each other teary eyed goodbyes. It was watching these strangers that he remembered how it had felt two years ago when he had left his home behind in pursuit of higher studies. How he had come to this alien land which had eventually led him to a lot of heartache and misery!
But there had been something good about those two years. There had been someone who had seen past all his imperfections and focused only on the good that was in him. Who had been his friend against all odds and yet, they had fallen out of touch with each other over the course of two years. He wondered if she was still using the same number. He wondered if she still had his number saved.
On an impulse, he pulled out his phone and dialed her number. She answered it on the third ring.
“Hi, Zayn.”
“Akriti.”
He was pleased as punch that she remembered him.
“Did you want something?”
“I am just calling to let you know that I’d be home soon.”
“Oh.”
“Oh? Honestly, I was hoping for a reaction better than oh.”
“Zayn, it’s really late here. Let’s talk when you’re in town?”
“I’ll do you one better. I’ll come see you.”
“Great. Safe flight.”
Then the line went dead. Zayn stared at the phone, wondering if their friendship was lost over the course of time. This wasn’t like the Akriti he remembered.
This wasn’t his Akriti at all.

Akriti hung up the phone feeling utterly drained. Once upon a time this was a source of her happiness but tonight he was a cause of her stress. The last thing she needed was for Zayn to come barging into her life once more.
She remembered all the memories that they had made together two years ago. The time when she’d finally felt okay to let her guard down and just be herself. It seemed to her like it was a lifetime ago. But he’d left. Like everyone else in her life and she had found herself consumed by her loneliness. Going off to business school had only made Akriti revert back to her old self.
That’s a lie they tell you, Akriti thought bitterly to herself, as she put her headphones back on and started listening to music again, time doesn’t heal a damn thing. It just burns the memories into your mind.

About the Author:
Aniesha Brahma knew she wanted to be a writer since she was six years old. She was schooled in Dolna Day School and went on to pursue B.A., M.A., and M.Phil in Comparative Literature from Jadavpur Univeristy. She currently lives in Kolkata, with her family and five pet cats. She is the author of All Signs Lead Back to You, When Our Worlds Collide, The Guitar Girl and The Secret Proposal. She compiled and edited the 10 volumes series, 'Children's Classic Stories' with love and great efforts.

Website * Twitter * Instagram * Facebook




releasedayblitz

Release Day Blitz -The Hidden Children (The Lost Grimoire #1)

11:00:00 PM

~ Release Day Blitz ~
The Hidden Children (The Lost Grimoire #1)
by Reshma K.Barshikar
13th November 2018


About the Book:
‘What price would you pay to be extraordinary? What would you do to speak to a butterfly? 

Shayamukthy cruises through life: shooting hoops, daydreaming and listening to her favourite books. Even moving from the US to India, to a new school, a new culture, hasn't really rattled her. But something isn't right anymore and it begins when 'New Girl' joins the school.

She pulls Shui into a world of magic and wonderment, a world she has been hidden from all her life. What starts as a quest to look for a lost book, hurtles Shui into a world where people live in trees, talk to the dead and speak to butterflies.

But like all power, magic comes at a steep price, and under all things wondrous lie demons waiting to crawl out. The more Shui learns, the more she doubts everything and everyone around her. 

Will she be able to master her powers, or will they devour her and everyone she loves?



Order Your Copy from AMAZON now!

Read an Excerpt:

I think I am ordinary. I lack purpose. Boohoo you think, typical teenager angst. But if I died tomorrow, it wouldn’t impact anyone’s life except my parents’. My friends, on the other hand, they have a life. See them there, yes there, to the right, next to the banyan tree behind the basketball court. You see a slightly pudgy boy and a beautiful girl? The boy’s name is Jai. The girl’s name is Nallini. Both have purpose. Jai wants to write comic books. He wants to be like Neil Gaiman or something, some famous comic-book guy. Nallini wants to be an actress, the next Deepika Padukone – that, and to win next year’s gold medal in Jujitsu.

She has absolutely no problems reconciling the inherent contradictions in both her desires.

I want nothing, need nothing, except something to need. I can’t see past today even to tomorrow; I have a hard enough time figuring out what I am now. I am not from a broken home, unless you count the fact that parts of the building I live in are falling apart. I am not poor, not like Anuki Chabria who got called out of her exam because her parents couldn’t pay her fees. I do not have acne bursting on my face, making me look like a human cheese grater. I am just, well, ordinary. So could you really blame me? Blame me for wanting to be special? Blame me for wanting to be fierce? To be like Storm from the X-Men, or like Beyoncé? When I look back now, at everything that has happened in the last few months, I realise I’m just as much to blame as her. The big question – well, it’s not a big question at all, really, because it’s all rubbish now, because you can’t go back. Even I can’t go back. So the absurd question everyone around me seems to asking is – would I have acted differently, would I rather NOT be the person I am now?

No.

And neither would you. What price wouldn’t you pay to be extraordinary, to ride the wind, to float with unicorns, to be the one chosen...? Because, you see, I’ve gotten into some serious trouble and want to explain myself. I didn’t mean for things to happen. I didn’t mean for someone to die. So I ask you – wouldn’t you have said yes if someone said – ‘Do you want to learn how to speak to a butterfly?’ 


About the Author:
Travel writer and novelist Reshma K Barshikar is an erstwhile Investment Banker who, as she tells it, ‘fell down a rabbit hole and discovered a world outside a fluorescent cubicle.’ As a travel and features writer, she contributes to National Geographic Traveller, Harper’s Bazaar, Grazia, The Sunday Guardian, SilverKris, The Mint Lounge and The Hindu. Fade Into Red, published by Random House India was her debut novel and featured in Amazon Top 10 Bestsellers. She also holds well renowned workshops for young adults at both BDL Museum and Kala Ghoda and is keen to build a strong Young Adult reading and writing community to fill the desperate lack of young adult fiction in the Indian Market. Her new Young Adult novel, The Hidden Children, will be launching at the Vizag Junior Literary Festival. Reshma is from the ISB Class of 2003. She calls both Mumbai and the Nilgiris home. 


Contact the Author:
Website I Facebook I Twitter I Goodreads




contemporary fiction

Review: Goodbye Freddie Mercury

11:15:00 AM

Goodbye Freddie Mercury Goodbye Freddie Mercury by Nadia Akbar
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars



Goodbye Freddie Mercury is sort of coming to senses kind of book. The story narrates the life and thoughts of a section of people living in Lahore with a backdrop setting of the general elections and a new leader emerging. Lahore comes to life in the book and the author has a nostalgic and affectionate way of writing about the life in Lahore and it's various streets and cultural nuances. Thats a delight to read and you feel that city is what rules the story among all the cast and characters. And that is what really keeps the book moving for me. There is a RJ Bugsy who gets involved in politics against his wishes , his friends Omer & Aliya who are on top of the social circles of Lahore and define most of his relationships , the who's who of Urban Lahore politics and military section and then there is the girl Nida who gets involved in this chaos of living this life without a direction or care and it is never a happy ending for all.

 I liked the characters and the conversations. It was almost surreal at times ,making you pause and think back of your youth or look into the futility of all this, but the overall story left me wanting for more , a closure maybe. In the end , all relationships seemed to have no beginning or end,even those that are central to this storyline. The blurb promises some anguish, but there is none or some but masked in alcohol and smoke. The book is entertaining , the lives and the narration of the book almost like one of your own relative's tale and there is a lot of heart and hurt in the book.I enjoyed the wonderful music mentioned in the story and felt the hope to break free of the society one day and be above all this. But only few are able to do it and they are what become legends to be written about and be inspired from, like this book.

View all my reviews

Joel Dicker

Book Review: The 'Truth about Harry Quebert Affair' by Joel Dicker

12:00:00 AM

           
                  The 'Truth about Harry Quebert Affair' by Joel Dicker is undoubtedly one of the most gripping and satisfying books that I have read in the recent past. Though the book is quite lengthy (and often has the pretensions of a literary read) with about 600+ pages, itsn't a drag. Infact, I enjoyed it much more than many of that crime thrillers which went on to become 'international best-sellers'!

                 The book is set in a coastal New Hampshire town ( Somerset). The protagonist, Marcus Goldman, has had a super successful novel and is desperately in need of inspiration for his his next book. He goes to meet his college professor, Harry Quebert,whom he considers as his fatherly figure and also tries to focus on his writing and re-invent himself. But when the body of (the then) fifteen-year-old Nola Kellergan is found 33 years after she went missing and Quebert is accused of her murder, Marcus works to unravel the mystery behind the crime . How Marcus finds out the truth and what happens to his new novel in the due course of the investigation is what this 'big' book is all about.

                Part guru-shishya story, part murder mystery- love triangle, this is the kind of the book that has something in it for everyone. I liked the way Joel Dicker narrated the story with bits about creative writing thrown in between.The setting is quite fresh and there are twists and turns happening at regular intervals. Infact, as I mentioned before, I found find this book more racy and thrilling than any of those books that have come out of the 'pages-turn-by-themselves' Patterson factory.

Verdict: Must Read! I'm giving it a out of 5.

-nikhimenon

crime thriller

Tell No One by Harlan Coben

10:03:00 AM


'Tell No One' reads more like Sidney Sheldon than Harlan Coban . Elizabeth Beck was murdered a good 8 years ago and her husband Dr David Beck has never been able to get over the gruesome incident which happened almost a decade back.Suddenly,a mysterious e-mail lands up in his e-mail and soon, David realizes that his past is back to haunt him once again. With twists and turns happening at regular intervals,'Tell No One' is an absolute page turner!
The 2006 French Thriller was based on this book.

-nikhimenon

crime thriller

Book Review: Coffee House by Lajo Jose

10:00:00 PM


                   
                 
                   Lajo Jose’s Coffee House is a work which aspires to be a new-age crime novel but unfortunately is  heavily influenced by the S.N. Swamy –K Madhu movies of the 90s. (Infact the basic thread itself - of the convicted killer opening up about his innocence a few days before his execution, reminded me of the third film in the CBI series)

                  Benjamin is convicted for multiple homicides and is awaiting execution. A few days before his execution he expresses desire to meet the journalist (Esther) who has been instrumental in his conviction and wants to convince the world of his innocence. Esther who works with a leading Malayalam Magazine, 'Kuleena' (modelled on 'Vanitha' and the Malayala Manorama group) half- heartedly accepts the invite and decides to 're-investigate' the case. How she manages to solve the puzzle and clear Benjamin's name of the murder/murders is what 'CH' is all about.Also aiding her in her journey are Peter Achan ,Sub Inspector Chris and Aparna, the scribe's colleague and best-friend.

                First things first.This debut novel is undoubtedly a quick and easy read (no long, boring prose or pretentious metaphors thrown in just for the sake of it).Even an occassional/newbie reader can finish it off in a couple of hours. Quality work of crime fiction is a rare thing as far as new age Malayalam writing is concerned and hats off to Lijo for trying to revive a long lost genre! As mentioned before, the writing is straight forward, the language used being simple and easy to comprehend even for the lay reader. Lajo also makes some interesting remarks about Kottayam town and pretty much succeeds in making this central Kerala town also a part of the narrative. 

              However the book is not devoid of flaws either. For an ambitious new-age crime thriller, Coffee House is tad too slow and the identity of the true killer is predictable quite early on. A lot of time (and 'pages') are spent on the pointless (and often cringe worthy) banter between Esther and her close buddy Aparna. Believe me, Aparna's ('Amma package') is definitely one of the most annoying characters I have come across (read) in recent times.  

              The characters are too shallow and none of them have been well etched out. There is a passing mention about Benjamin’s family but the author hasn’t really bothered to elaborate on his back story. As a result, the reader never gets to empathise for him. The same lack of detail is evident in the case of Esther’s characterization. Okay, we get to know that she has a liking for a pretty upmarket café in kottayam town (Tonico Café), but apart from that, what does she like actually? And what about her family? The less said about the shaky characterization of Chris (the cop), the better-  the guy seems to be in a very bad mood when we are first introduced to him (and seems to be only interested in settling scores with his bête noire , Esther )  but pretty soon , he is seeing hobnobbing with her and helping with the investigation!- His transformation and change of heart (remember the scribe had caused great humiliation to him in the past with even a molestation case filed against him!) pretty unconvincing and whatever meek justification rendered to it too weak and hard to swallow!

             Also, the romantic track between Benjamin and Jinu has not been worked out well. As a result, like one of the characters himself states at one instance in the book, Benjamin only comes across as a typical stalker for the average reader.

            To give due credit to Lajo, I liked the character of ‘Solly Jacob’ and how her character and her magazine were modeled on 'Vanitha' , but again it’s a shame that she has very little (and quite insignificant) presence in the narrative and in this 220 + page long crime novel.

Towards the end, the author seems to be in a hurry to wrap up the proceedings and before we realize, the climax is up leaving behind room for a possible sequel (and even for a new series featuring Esther!)

So the logical issues which I had with this 'thriller' are listed below-
  • If the case was such an open and shut case right from the beginning, what was that made Esther & co wage a prolonged media battle to implicate and arrest Benjamin?
  • Esther could easily crack the mystery behind the multiple homicides within a span of two days, just based on her intuitions, the 'killer's statements  and a few incidental findings which cropped up during her '3-4 day long' investigation but then, why did the initial investigating officers so easily overlook these same facts during the course of their investigation?Noone seemed to have bothered to even cross check the veracity of the true ‘killer’s initial statements to the police!(they could have atleast verified 'the cell-phone range' thing!)

Looks like the author is keen on making this into the series and also having a film adaptation for this work (as  indicated in the closing chapter) but I genuinely wish he enhances the original source material at hand and make it more taut and racy by adding some more meat into the (future) feature film script.

Verdict: On the whole, Lajo jose’s Coffee House is a decent start for a first time author, but doesn’t qualify as a truly engaging mystery thriller. I sincerely hope that his follow up to this debut work will be much better. I’m giving it a 2.5 out of 5.

-nikhimenon

mystery

QBR: I Found You by Lisa Jewell

9:12:00 PM



        I Found You by Lisa Jewell

RT Rating: 3.8/5

Mystery/Crime Thriller

     450+ pages, Arrow (2016)
The Verdict:'I Found You' is a gripping thriller which is totally worth your time and money.
 
Synopsis:Twenty Year Old Lily is searching for her missing husband.Forty something Alice,mother of three has a starnger living in her house.Teenager Kirsty has a new boy friend.What is the 'link' between these seemingly unrelated women who don't even belong to the same generation? 'I found You' is built on this interesting premise.Set in the fictional town of Ridinghouse bay, this Part Romance and part thriller, manages to old your attention for most part.

The Good:The pacing (though the book is 450 odd pages long,you never 'feel' that it's overlong!) is apt, plotting is clever, the setting is brilliantly atmospheric.The 'mystery' mood has been successfully maintained for most part with the 'connection' between the three principal characters turning out really well.

The Bad:Towards the third act and the climax,the book loses steam; the big reveal (about Kirsty's disappearance) could have been better thought out .

RecommendationsBuy it!

-nikhimenon


Kindly donate to Kerala's Flood relief fund by visiting Kerala CM's official donation linkhttps://donation.cmdrf.kerala.gov.in/

Claire Mackintosh

QBR: I See You By Claire Mackintosh

1:00:00 AM

I See You By Claire Mackintosh

RT Rating: 3.5/5

Psychological Suspense/Crime Thriller

380+ pages, Sphere (2016)
 The Verdict: Innovative re-working of the 'stalker' theme ,Claire Mackintosh delivers the goods in 'I see You'! If you have taken the 'London Tubes' or even the over-head commute, you will defintely find this to be a creepy read!

Synopsis: Forty year old Zoe Walker, mother of two ,finds herself listed in the tabloid ad of an online dating website (about which she has absolutely no clue of !) and soon  discovers that she is not the only one! Detective Kelly Swift is the only one who is convinced of Zoe's story and soon they discover that the other women who are listed in the ad are getting killed one by one!

The Good:The setting, pacing and the climax twist! Will there be a sequel?

The Bad: The 'stalker' theme is getting repetitive.

Recommendations:Buy it!

-nikhimenon


Kindly donate to Kerala's Flood relief fund by visiting Kerala CM's official donation linkhttps://donation.cmdrf.kerala.gov.in/

Anthology

Storywallah - Stories from everyday India ( Anthology)

9:14:00 PM

I have been a fan of Nilesh Mishra's storytelling and stories from the beginning. And as an extension , I have liked his "mandali" too from the stories I have heard in FM, which were written by his mandali members.

With that expectation and memory I picked this book Storywallah. And it was a little disappointing. The depth and the details that one associates with short stories is some what lacking in the stories of the book.

The book has a variety of emotions - friendship , love , loss , pride , sorrow and a little bit of society's thoughts and working shown using characters of the stories.  There are incidences that one will relate to , moments that you feel one with the person in the story but I can perhaps count those stories on my hand.

My favorite story is "the overcoat" where a girl discovers the meaning of true love through other's life. Another story I will remember for a long time is "The seal" but only for the father dialogues in that one. Another gem is "together" for me as that's about true friendship and having to love someone a second time over.

 This book failed to excite me most part or make me feel strongly for rest of character. I understood the emotion but there was nothing to bind me there. Perhaps the book would have been better in hindi language and it's the translation that has taken away the shine from these tales of every day India.

My rating - 3.5/5 

Chic-Lit

QBR: encounters of a fat bride by samah

12:00:00 AM





                             Encounters of a Fat Bride By Samah 

                                   RT Rating: 2.6/5

                              270 Pages, Penguin Metro Reads (2017)

                                     Chic-lit/Romance

     The Verdict: An okay, time-pass light read which offers nothing new!

Synopsis: Madhurima Pandey is a plus sized,twenty something girl.She is quite insecure about herself because of her being over sized.So when the good looking,well educated Harsh agrees to marry her(though his body language suggests otherwise),she has her own share of apprehensions.Does he genuinely like her? Is he marrying her for the sake of it? Is there  some 'hidden agenda' behind his willingness? She can't help ponder over....Will she be able to find the truth?

The Good: the light heartedness of the narrative, the length, some interesting characters like the 'uber cool', tech savvy Grandma (she reminded me of a character in Varun Aggarwal's 'How I braved Anu Aunty....,though!)  

The Bad: pretty generic plot(and characters) which doesn't break any new grounds (if you have read atleast one chick-lit work in life,you can predict the next chapter/scene in the novel), characterisation of Madhurima was too weak (you never 'feel' for her or her emotions), Anu is portrayed as her best friend,but beyond the regular shopping sessions and the occassional 'gyaan', you never get to know the 'real' Anu!

Best Quote-It's not perfect people,but perfect relationships that make fairy tales!

Recommendations: Borrow it! (if you are in the mood to read some 'light' stuff)!

-nikhimenon

crime thriller

QBR: 3 AND A HALF MURDERS BY SALIL DESAI

12:00:00 AM

                               

                              
                                 3 and a Half Murders By Salil Desai

                                     RT Rating: 2.7/5

                               328 Pages, Finger Print Publishing (2017)

                               Crime Thriller/Murder Mystery

           The Verdict: A decent, but over-long crime thriller with an unexpected climax!

Synopsis: Sanjay Doshi has killed his wife Anushka Doshi (who was cheating on him) and has committed suicide.The suspect is her 'lover' Shaunak Sodhi. Can Inspector Saralkar solve the mystery?

The Good:down- to -earth characterisation of Saralkar and his aide Motkar ,no excessive violence and pointless twists, the big reveal in the climax(the identity of the killer)

The Bad: The 'why' of the crime could have been better imagined, the usual cliche's like the fake Godman, the officer's nagging wife,a couple of loose ends(ASI Murgud covering up the 7 year old case quite easily)

Recommendations: Borrow it!

-nikhimenon

Medical Thriller

QBR: Miracle Cure By Harlan Coben

12:30:00 AM

Image:Amazon UK

Miracle Cure By Harlan Coben

RT Rating: 2.6/5

Medical Thriller/Crime Thriller

480 pages, ORION (2013), originally published in 1991 by British American Publishing
 The Verdict: One of Coben's earliest works, Miracle Cure can be read once , if you are a die-hard Coben fan!

Synopsis:Dr Harvey has discovered a perfect cure for HIV.But there is someone trying to sabotage his discovery!

The Good:the 'Medical' aspects are still relevant, has it's moments of suspense

The Bad:Pretty dated work (even Coben himself admits the same), the climax twist was pretty predictable, quite over-long too!

Recommendations:Borrow it!

-nikhimenon

Andrea Camilleri

QBR: Angelica's Smile by Andrea Camilleri

12:00:00 AM


                              Angelica's Smile By Andrea Camilleri

                                           RT Rating: 2.5/5

                               304 Pages, Pan MacMillan(2015)

                               Romance/Police Procedural

       The Verdict: An okayish , half baked romance-police procedural

Synopsis: Vigàta's elite are targeted in a series of brilliantly executed robberies,can Inspector Montalbano solve the mystery?

The Good: Easy Read, fairly good English translation,partly funny

The Bad: the romance was half baked,so was the investigation,ends up neither here nor there

Recommendations:Skip it!

-nikhimenon

crime thriller

QBR: Behind Closed Doors by B A Paris

9:55:00 AM

 For those of you, who are too lazy to go through 'long, boring' book reviews, ALOP hereby presenting the new Quick Book Review (QBR) series (if James Patterson can bring out BOOKSHOTS, why can't we?☺)



                         Behind Closed Doors By B A Paris

                                      RT Rating: 3/5

                            293 Pages, St Martin's Press (2016)

                                    Psychological Thriller

           The Verdict: A fairly good read built on an intriguing premise!

Synopsis: Jack and Grace are the perfect couple and everyone adores them, But are they living a perfect lie?

The Good: The Premise is fresh , Grace's characterisation, emotional nature of the read, focused narration

The Bad: The climax was not entirely convincing!

Recommendations: Borrow it!

-nikhimenon
                      

Fantasy

Veil of the Deserters - Jeff Salyards

11:33:00 AM


Veil of the Deserters
Book 2 of the "Bloodsounder's Arc"

Read about the first book HERE

ISBN - 9781597804905
FIRST PUBLISHED - 2014
PAGES - 464
GENRE - Fantasy
PUBLISHER - Night Shade Publishers

AUTHOR - Jeff Salyards

SYNOPSIS - History, Family and Memory… these are the seeds of destruction.

Bloodsounder's Arc continues as Captain Braylar Killcoin and his retinue continue to sow chaos amongst the political elite of Alespell. Braylar is still poisoned by the memories of those slain by his unholy flail Bloodsounder, and attempts to counter this sickness have proven ineffectual.

The Syldoonian Emperor Cynead has solidified his power base in unprecedented ways, and demands loyalty from all operatives. Braylar and company are recalled to the capital to swear fealty. Braylar must decide if he can trust his sister, Soffjian, with the secret that is killing him. She has powerful memory magics that might be able to save him from Bloodsounder’s effects, but she has political allegiances that are not his own. Arki and others in the company try to get Soffjian and Braylar to trust one another, but politics in the capital prove to be far more complicated and dangerous than even Killcoin could predict.

Deposed emperor Thumarr plots to remove the repressive Cynead, and Braylar and his sister Soffjian lie at the heart of his plans. The distance between "favored shadow agent of the emperor" and "exiled traitor" is an unsurprisingly short road. But it is a road filled with blind twists and unexpected turns. Before the journey is over, Arki will chronicle the true intentions of Emperor Cynead and Soffjian. And old enemies in Alespell may prove to be surprising allies in a conflict no one could have foreseen.

QUOTES - 


“Rumor's the slut you bend over a chair and never see again. Truth's the lady you wed.”

“There always seems to be an 'until'. That is one of life's harsh lessons.”


“It is a ripper. I would be disappointed if it simply nuzzled them and showed its belly for a good rub.”

FL Speak - Book 1 of Bloodsounder's Arc was a gem. It led nowhere, didn't bank on promises to fail and had a cast of ruthless killers you wouldn't want to be stuck with. Without a sound plot, it stood tall as first of the trilogy or even as a standalone.

Book 2, however, doesn't. Whatever sense of lull you were accustomed to (although less truly), this book picks up the pace in action and story line at a break neck speed. To rehash, we have a young scribe, unsullied in warmongering who has been hired to chronicle the deeds of a certain Slydoon company. If book 1 was his trial of fire, book 2 leads him straight to the depths of fiery hell.

The Slydoon have returned to their homes. Homes that are familiar and filled with political betrayals and memory magic. Wars, lots of it, on almost every page to satisfy your thirsting pangs of action and swear words. Veil of the Deserters will take you on a ride to the unknown, literally unknown places that you have not encountered in book 1. Political intrigue, treachery and good ol' betrayal at its finest. I must say the good Captain Killcoin and his Syldoon has grown on me. Arki, not so much, despite his lack for not trying.

An empire awaits. The Syldoon wait. And the schemes and plots twist and turn.

RATING - 5/5

Fantasy

Hymn - Ken Scholes

10:32:00 AM


Hymn
Book 5 of 'Psalms of Isaak

Read about the first 4 books here

ISBN - 9780765321312
FIRST PUBLISHED - 2017
PAGES - 352
GENRE - Fantasy
PUBLISHERS - Tor

AUTHOR - Ken Scholes

SYNOPSIS - Ken Scholes completes his five-book epic that began with his acclaimed first novel Lamentation. The battle for control of The Named Lands has captivated readers for ten years as both characters and readers have learned the true nature of world called Lasthome.

Now the struggle between the Andro-Francine Order of the Named Lands and the Y Zirite Empire has reached a terrible turning point. Believing that his son is dead, Rudolfo has pretended to join with the triumphant Y zirite forces but his plan is to destroy them all with a poison that is targeted only to the enemy.

In Y Zir, Rudolfo's wife Jin Li Tam is fighting a war with her own father which will bring that Empire to ruin.

And on the Moon, Neb, revealed as one of the Younger Gods, takes the power of the Last Home Temple for his own.

FL SpeakWhat a ride it has been.

Hymm marks the end of an era. The conclusion we had been waiting for comes crashing down on the Named Lands blurring the lines between mortals and gods, legends and facts. Suffice to say, this is one of those series that completely swept me away by the sheer audacity of the author's imagination. The only other authors I can think of are Brandon Sanderson (to an extent) and the much under-hyped Adrian Tchaikovsky.

Years of gap between publications aside, Ken Scholes takes the book to a rising crescendo before letting it fall in a final blaze of glory. The stories of Isaak, Neb, Petronus, Rudolfo, Vlad and Jin will forever be etched in my heart if not in the hearts of men of the Named Lands. The Psalms of Isaak is a creative mastermind, craftily combining science fiction into a tale that defines the fantasy genre. Like a master chess player going for the kill, Ken Scholes brings all the players into the game in this final novel and begins a bloodbath that even the Gods can't avoid.

The bad guys turn humane and the good guys turn into monsters and in between are the kin-dragons, flying free again. Oh, what a ride this has been.

A fitting end to a grand tale.

RATING - 5/5 stars

nikhimenon

The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

8:14:00 PM

Pic-amazon.in


                 The  success of The Girl On The Train and Gone Girl inspired many first time writers and scribes to come out with their own versions of it .While some of them have been decent enough (The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena definitely being one ) ,many of them have been damp squibs.Ruth Ware's The Woman In Cabin Number Ten (though pretty formulaic) fortunately belongs to the former category and is undoubtedly a time-pass read.'The Woman'... is Ruth Wares's second novel after the hugely succesful 'In A Dark, Dark Wood'

                The Protagonist is Lo, a woman with anxiety disorder and also with drinking issues  (Rachel,anyone?).She is the resident editor of Velocity,a travel magazine.As her boss is on maternity leave,she is assigned to cover the inaugural voyage of a luxury cruise.While everything is okay in the beginning,she happens to witness a woman being thrown out of her next cabin to the deep blue sea.Though she is pretty sure about what she has witnessed,not everyone is convinced about her version of events-as there has never been an occupant in the next cabin! (cabin number 10)

               The writing is decently paced and devoid of long, unnecessary detailing.As the book cover rightly puts it,'The Woman'.. reads more like an Agatha Christie meeting The Girl On The Train.The setting is pretty much Agatha (too many people locked in a particular set up),but the writing and characters are more like Paula Hawkins'. We have got a (not-that-likeable) flawed heroine who is trying desperately to prove what she has 'witnessed' has not been a product of her deviant mind.

               On the downside, I felt that the blurb gave away too much regarding the story line. It's like, if you have read the blurb, you can pretty much skip the first one fifty pages or so. Also, the suspense is not that unpredictable either (the tail-end twist with that mystery about the money in the account is good though!).On the whole, I am giving this book a 2.9 out of 5.

-nikhimenon


4 stars

Review: Age of Azmoq: The Valantian Imperium by Rajamayyoor Sharma

11:03:00 AM


My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The book blurb was exciting enough to catch my attention when I got the request to read this book. Plus , I am a fan of fantasy fiction so I am always on a lookout for good ones from indian authors. Overall, am really happy with this huge book.

The story opens with introducing us to the narrator and his little village that later becomes the centre of action in the book. The people of the village , the setting and the lifestyle is so amazingly explained in details that you feel like settling in this story. The isolated village sits on a huge reserve if Azmoq , a rare metal that's controlled by the rulers. The story takes our narrator out if his village ,making friends and returning with them to defend his village from the empire's wrath. We meet all characters one by one , know their stories and see them building this team together and learn about how the empire came into being.

What is interesting is that , while there is no clear villains here in terms of black and white , the whole narrative gives you enough questions to think about deeply. The moral delimna of warriors , rulers and even a common man are touched upon in this book.

And now to the things that bothered me - the jump from one person / year to other in the narration. The book is not linear which works well only if the distinctions are clear. I struggled at few places to see whose point of view was the chapter telling and even which year it is on. Second the font is very small. The book is much huge for the 400 pages it has been presented in. Oh yes , now I realize I read 400 amazing pages and did not feel like letting it go ever.

Hope the author works in the second part very soon as I am looking forward to it already.

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