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Hello!! Welcome to my world :) I am a B.E. student and a self declared Bibliophile. Reading has taken its toll on me and now its time I pen something myself ;) Apart from my love for books, I also love sketching, painting, singing and cooking (Well only for the occasional experiments that i make ;)) Of course, now writing top the above list! This blog is a platform for me to share my thoughts. If you like any of my posts, do stop by and leave a comment :)

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Friday, 19 December 2014

Title: Rescued by Love 
Author: Shilpa Suraj
Publisher: Harlequin India Pvt. Ltd.
ISBN: 978-93-5106-495-4
Number of Pages: 184
Price: 150 [INR]
Genre: Romance

The Blurb:

When Naina Ahuja is kidnapped as hostage days before her father, a Supreme Court Chief Justice, must sentence a terrorist, the stakes are very high. Lt Col Arjun Rathore and his team are the only ones who can be trusted with the mission of saving her. 

During their arduous trek back through the hostile terrain of Ladakh, Arjun and Naina spend days in danger of losing their lives - and their hearts. Back in safety, the real world and its very real problems threaten – as do their own perceptions of the differences between them. 

They must separate – but will life rescue their love?


My Review:

Meet Naina Ahuja, strong and determined. She is the daughter of the Supreme Court Chief Justice who runs away from her home to Leh to escape the arranged marriage with 'Fatty'. During her escapade, she is kidnapped by terrorists who demand her father that he release their leader.

Meet Lt. Col. Arjun Rathore, brave and the man of his words. He leads the team of officers who have come to rescue Naina from her captors.

On their journey back home, both fall for each other but fate has different plans and they must part ways. When they meet again, will they be able to reunite or must they part ways again?

The story is amazing with so many twists and turns. Shilpa has done a great job in capturing the attention of readers throughout the story. The story gets interesting with each page and the twists and turns will make you wonder what will happen in the end? I just couldn't put down the book until I finished it.

I loved Naina and Arjun whose characters are portrayed so well that they feel like real persons. It is difficult not to fall in love with Arjun's personality as the story progresses and I was definitely not an exception to his charms! There is perfect balance of humor and excitement in the story to keep the readers interested throughout.

I just loved Shilpa's writing and I definitely look forward to reading more books by her. I recommend this for readers who are love romance.

My Rating4.5/5 stars





Buy @


Meet the Author

Shilpa was a year and a half when she was first introduced to the world of books. Her mother would park her with a picture book on the floor of the kitchen while she finished her cooking for the day. While it’s no longer the kitchen floor, you can still find her tucked away in a cosy nook somewhere with her nose buried in a book. While books in all genres interest her, it was romance that captured her heart. While racing through every romantic fiction book she could beg, borrow or buy, her over active imagination started to work overtime and weave its own stories. Years in the corporate world followed by a stint of entrepreneurship crystallised her belief that all she really wanted to do was give life to the stories bubbling inside of her. She briefly managed to tear herself away from the world of fiction to find her own personal happily ever after and now spends her time happily focusing on the two loves of her life – family and writing romances. 

You can stalk Shilpa Suraj @

                     


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Until the next review,
Keep Reading :)

Love,
Swathi :)

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Title: The Mahabharata Quest 
           - The Alexander Secret
Author: Christopher C. Doyle
Publisher: Westland Ltd.
ISBN: 978-93-84030-59-9
Number of Pages: 358
Price: 295[INR]
Genre: Fiction

Blurb on the Book:

334 B.C.

Alexander the Great begins his conquest of the Persian Empire. But his plans for everlasting glory do not end there and the young king marches towards the Ends of the Earth - the lands of the Indus - on a secret quest. It will lead him to an ancient secret concealed in the myths of the Mahabharata; a secret that is powerful enough to transform him into a god...

PRESENT DAY

In Greece, the ancient tomb of a queen is discovered; a tomb that has been an enigma for over 2000 years. In New Delhi, the Intelligence Bureau discovers unexplained corpses in hidden lab. Vijay Singh and his friends, now members of an elite task force, are sucked into a struggle with a powerful and ruthless enemy. In a deadly race against time, they will need to solve a riddle from antiquity that will lead to encounter shocking secrets from the past; secrets that will reveal mystifying links between ancient history, the Mahabharata and an ancient enemy with diabolical plans for a future that will hold the world at ransom...

My Review:

This book arrived on the day before my exams and it was very difficult to hold back for four days, until my exams were over to start reading the book the book. I love mythological stories and I love mysteries. This book is a perfect combination of both, along with dose of history! Though I wasn't very fond of history during school days, this book didn't fail in captivating my attention through out. Here is what the book is about -

In the past, Alexander The Great had been on a secret quest in order to gain the power of gods. The person who succeeds in finding this 'secret of gods' is supposed to live on forever; a secret that was mentioned in The Mahabharata itself! But something went wrong on this quest and the secret was buried with him, until now! But not anymore!

The story is about a secret hidden in our mythology - The Mahabharata; a secret that can provide human kind with immortality. A group of mysterious people are  trying to put their hands on this secret in an attempt to rule the world. If they succeed in this mission, then there is no stopping them. Will the Intelligence Bureau succeed in stopping them? Or will the world become a slave to those powerful people who belong to a mysterious Order which is as ancient as time?


While reading the story, I felt that the author has done a great job of combining mythology, history and science. It shows that a lot of research has been made for writing this book and the hardwork has paid off well. The story is gripping. There are a lot of elements that keeps one engaged throughout the book - the riddles, the mystery, the anticipation of what might happen next! The plot becomes so believable sometimes that it is difficult to differentiate between reality and fiction.

Though this book is first in the series, it has some references to the author's previous novel - The Mahabharata Secret. The book would be even more interesting if one has read the previous novel, as it gives more insight about the characters and their adventure together. There are some questions left unanswered in this book - like 'What happened to Radha? Will she survive?' or 'Who these mysterious Order people are?' that piques the curiosity and leaves you waiting for an answer. But the wait doesn't end in this book; you have to wait for the next book in the series to find answers for these questions.

Though I liked the book very much, there were some places where I lost interest. Sometimes there are too many scientific terms used and scientific explanations provided which was an overhead transmission for me. Explanation about these terminologies are provided at the end of the book but I still felt that the pace was slowed down when the narration got too much scientific!

Other than a few glitches, the story makes a very interesting read. I finished it in one stretch and now eagerly waiting for the next book in the series. I would recommend this book to anyone who love mystery and mythology.

My Rating3.7/5 stars

Until the next review,
Keep Reading :)

Love,
Swathi :)

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Title: God Is A Gamer
Author: Ravi Subramanian
Publisher: Penguin Books India
ISBN: 9780143421399
Number of Pages: 310
Price: 299 [INR]
Genre: Thriller

Blurb on the Book:

What happens when you cross Gamer, Banker, Politician and Terrorist with virtual money?

From the bestselling author of 'If God was a Banker' comes the first ever bitcoin thriller. God is a Gamer is a world where money means nothing, martyrs are villians, predators are prey, assassination is taught by the ancient Greeks, and nothing is as it seems.

Moving from Washington's Congress to Delhi's finance ministry, the beaches of Goa to the corporate boardrooms of Mumbai, this is Ravi Subramanian's most gripping novel yet.

My Review:

The story starts with the cold blooded assassination of US senator Gillian Tan in Washington. Agent Adrian Scott of FBI is assigned this case and everyone including him clueless as to how the bulletproof car was blown up. Seemingly unrelated events start happening in different parts of the world. Virtual money called bitcoins are used for online transactions. An online company dealing with drugs and illegal activities is extensively using bitcoins to handle their business. FBI is clueless as to who are the owners of this company. A phishing scam in Mumbai leads to loss of crores of rupees to NYIB, the suicide of Malavika, the ex- CEO of NYIB all which seem unrelated in the beginning will start coinciding as the story progresses. 

Initially, it was a little hard for me to keep up with the proceedings. The story is slow paced but one has to understand the workings of financial organization to get a hang of what is going on. The author has provided the readers with enough details whenever necessary, so as to keep the readers engaged without letting them lose interest. Once the story reaches the second half, that is when it becomes even more thrilling. As the different events get connected and the FBI and CBI start connecting the dots, you just cannot put the book down.

When the culprit is announced by the agents in the end, it will leave you shocked because it is exactly what you wouldn't have expected. But even more shocking is the twist in the end; yes, there is one more twist in the end! Well, I can't say much without spoiling the suspense. All I can say is, go pick up the book and find out yourself! You will enjoy reading it.

Some of the lines from the book that I liked:

  • Success is not always measured in terms of dollars earned or turnover. It is measured in terms of the difference you have made to the people around you.
  • Even if you have to quit, it's important to quit on a high. That's when the world will respect you.
  • If you live, you get to fight your battle another day.
  • When you stop chasing the wrong things, you give the right things a chance.
  • Reputation has no insurance.
  • The problem with theorizing on the basis of incomplete facts is that we end up twisting the facts to suit the theory. We should be doing it the other way around.
All in all, the book is a great read. The narration and language are perfect. It will keep readers engaged till the end. I will recommend it for all mystery lovers.

My Rating: 3.5 / 5 Stars

Until the next review,
Keep Reading :)

Love,
Swathi :)

Monday, 13 October 2014

Title: Trouble has a new name
Author: Adite Banerjie
Publisher: Harlequin India Pvt. Ltd.
ISBN: 978-93-5106-513-5
Number of Pages: 187
Price: 150 [INR]
Genre: Romance

Blurb on the Book:

Will you pretend to be my fiance for the next few days?

Recently single model Rayna Dutt does not feel like flying to her friend's big fat Indian wedding. But she does - and when a mix-up with room allocation forces her to share a luxury villa on Emarald Isle with the gorgeous owner of the hotel Neel Arora, best man at the wedding, things begin to look up.

Until Rayna's ex turns up with a new girl on his arm!

Hitting the panic button, Rayna searches for a solution. Surely Neel wouldn't mind being her fake fiance...? In an instant the attraction theyshare is at fever-pitch, but when scandal comes calling Rayna soon finds herself in more trouble than she can handle!

My Review:

I was a fan of Adite's writing after I read her first book - The Indian Tycoon's Marriage Deal. So I naturally had great expectations from this book and I must say Adite didn't disappoint me.

The story begins with Rayna flying to Andaman Islands to attend her best friend's wedding despite her not so happy personal life. She didn't want to ditch Milee on her big day. And so on the way to the Islands, Rayna meets Neel, towards whom she feels an instant attraction. 

The story progresses with Rayna and Neel fighting this pull they feel towards each other while they try to maintain the facade of their fake relationship. The gossips of Agra group, Rayna's ex Sid attending the marriage with his new girl friend, the shoot on the Islands are all bits that spice up the story. Amidst all this, will Rayna and Neel ever realize their love for each other or will they just part ways after Milee's marriage? Read the book and find out. 

Adite has set up a perfect ambience for a romantic story - The exquisite Island, the Indian wedding, celebrities, the relatives, the media people and amidst all this are two people who love each other. I loved Adite's narration and her attention to details. She loves Bollywood a lot and her stories reflect this love.

All in all, the book makes a very good read. If you love Bollywood or if you love romantic stories, then I would suggest you go for this book.

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Until the next review,
Keep Reading :)

Love,


Swathi :)

Sunday, 5 October 2014





Title: Lucifer's Lungi 

Author: Nitin Sawant
Publisher: Fablery
ISBN: 978-81-928937-0-9
Number of Pages: 111
Price: 120 [INR]


Blurb on the Book:

An atheist city-slicker unleashed on a medieval holy village...

A simpleton village priest's boy who blindly worships and guards a pantheon of Gods and Their traditions...


Strange things happen when their worlds collide!


This is a tale of that turmoil on a lonely night in a jungle, when the ghosts you never knew till a few hours ago are let loose on the ghosts that you always carried within, unknowingly.


Welcome to the unholy clash of beliefs, fears and frailties with unknown Gods and demons. A clash that will test your convictions. A clash that will rabidly claw and unmask your subconscious, leaving you naked and paralyzed in front of your demons - in a climax that is as ambiguous as it is certain...


Welcome to the madness of 'Lucifer's Lungi'... where What-You-See-Is-NOT-What-You-Get...

My Review:

I was curious about the story line when I saw the title of the book. While it intrigued me, it gave away nothing about what it holds in store for the readers. It took me 2 hours to complete the book and I must say, it was a very satisfying read.

The protagonist of this book is a software professional who is bored with his mundane life. While trying ways to break free from the monotonous life, he develops a habit of going on weekend trips to new places and thus enjoying the break from his routine at office. On one such trips he ends up in a small village, where the stay becomes no less than an adventure.

While the modern world is embracing science and scientific reasons behind every phenomenon, there are still places where religious myths exist. They are so deep rooted in people's mind that even if you try to correct them, they will never accept the truth. 'Lucifer's Lungi' is about one such incident.

Though short, the story is packed with humor. I loved how the confusion of the protagonist is portrayed clearly, especially when the his mind struggles between accepting the modern thoughts and bracing the myths. It is rightly said that when fear clouds one's mind, their reasoning and judgement turn out weak. 

The narration is crisp and vivid. I felt like I was taking the journey with the protagonist through the jungle. I was experiencing his fears and his confusion. The story leaves you questioning the beliefs you have been believing in blindly all your life. Though the story gets a little boring in some places, the ending makes up for it. It was so gripping that I could feel the tension build up in me as the story was coming to an end. All in all an interesting read.

I'll end this review with my favorite quote from the book:

There's more to fear in the wild, than just wild animals. FEAR YOUR IMAGINATION!

My Rating: 4/5 Stars


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Meet the Publisher 

Fablery Publications is a contemporary publishing start-up based in Bangalore. At Fablery, our focus is on bringing out books that are more in tune with the current reading habits. Our present portfolio includes a psycho-thriller novella “Lucifer’s Lungi”, two graphic novels “Subbu’s Code” and “Ka Kaa” to be launched at Bangalore Comic Con, along with a book adaptation of a National Award winning movie “Ri” and an anthology of historical fiction “Once Upon A Time”.

You can stalk Fablery@
               
                          


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Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Love,
Swathi :)

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Title: Digs, Dogs and Drama
Author: Rachna Singh
Publisher: White Tarantula
ISBN: 9384180092
Number of Pages: 248
Price: 240 [INR]
Genre: Humour

Blurb on the Book:

Digs, Dogs and Drama is a humorous book in the genre of anecdotal humour. It is compiled like a diary of fun: each chapter an independent blob of humour. The neighbour's dog. The dramatic ultrasound scan. The wedding reception. Aloo parathas versus curd rice. 100% shuddh Indian. Events. Happenings. Experiences. Just day-to-day stuff.

Traffic Jam? Angry boss? Ruined Haircut? Power cut? Need instant cheering up? Any chapter will do. Rasam? Burger? Rangoli? Bollywood action? Want a desi smile? Start from anywhere in this book. You won't be able to put it down.

My Review:

Digs, Dogs and Drama is a collection of short stories, each based on day-to-day experiences. What makes this interesting is that these experiences are of the author! With a total of 46 independent chapters, each with a punch of humour, the book can be read in any order.

The author's sense of humour is something I liked a lot. She looks the same world with a different angle, finding humour in mundane activities. The book has stories from Weddings, PTA meetings to dogs, photo shoots and Bollywood! The first dose of humour begins when the author writes "No animals or editors were harmed in the writing of this book" I instantly developed a liking to her sense of humour.

One more plus point was the chapters being short and independent. I used to read them during travelling to and from college and just like that I was done with it. I enjoyed reading it. In some chapters, the humour just flowed easily where in some, it seemed like the author was trying a little hard to make it sound funny. The language is fluid and conversational and engages the reader. It is like reading someone's diary.

All in all, the book makes a good read. Pick it up and enjoy the little anecdotes.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars!

PS: This review is a part of Book review program hosted by Write Tribe.

Until the next review,
Keep Reading :)

Love,
Swathi :)

Monday, 8 September 2014

Title: The Devil's Gate: An Impossible Journey
Author: Deepak Kripal
Publisher: Frog Books
ISBN: 9789383562060
Number of Pages: 248
Price: 175 [INR]
Genre: Thriller

Blurb on the Book:

Sidelined by man, animals turned to demons.

Plundered by humans of their habitats, animals take a drastic step when they decide to send a team of a cat named as Katy and a dog named as Dug, to an invisible island known, as the Island of 'Five Hundred Graves'. The island becomes visible only for a short time on the night of the full moon.

Legend has it that the island is inhabited by the demons. Katy and Dug are supposed to negotiate a deal with the demons, convincing them to allow the animals inhibit the island. Majority of the animal community believe that tinkering with the other world could bring their wrath to the animals. The team is sent to the island nevertheless.

But, can a deal with the dead be materialized?

Are there really demons on the island? Is there any conspiracy involved?

Will Katy and Dug be able to negotiate, or will survival remain their only question in the deadly island?

My Review:

The book is about Katy, the cat and Dug, the dog travelling to a mysterious island to negotiate with the demons. But there is much more to the story than just negotiating with the demons. The island is full of demons fighting to possess a living body, monsters who are designed to kill and mysteries that will demand Katy and her team to display extreme courage, even if it means risking their lives or even death! Will they be able to cross all these hurdles and succeed in their mission?

When I read the blurb, I developed an instant interest in the book as supernatural stories have always been my cup of tea. But I was fairly disappointed, for the first few chapters didn't quite hold my interest. The plot kind of seemed to drag on with too much explanation. And the ending is something that leaves you puzzled. There is no conclusion; only a mystery that hangs in the air even after you finish the novel.

But after the first few chapters, the book became interesting again as the adventures of Katy and Dug begin in the Island of 'Five Hundred Graves'. Once you get over your initial shock of the highly developed intelligence of these animals, you will start enjoying the book to some extent. The plot gets interesting from here. The imagination of the author to think beyond the ordinary is something I liked a lot. Also his ability in providing minor details about this unseen land is also quite appreciable.

There were many quotes which I liked and here are few of them:

  • Playing with danger is a child's play. Real game starts when the danger starts playing with you.
  • When others develop an aversion to your version, you are probably going in the right direction.
  • Bravery without sword is like slavery without lord.
  • Even the smallest creature can cause your downfall if you are driven by power and arrogance rather than by your mind and heart.
All in all, the book was OK with a subtle message about how human ways have forced animals to take the extreme step! I will suggest this book for those who love mild super natural stories, most probably for teens!

My Rating: 3/5 Stars!

Until the next review,
Keep Reading :)

Love,
Swathi :)

Friday, 5 September 2014

India Was One - Book Review

Title: India Was One
Author: An Indian
Publisher: Create Space
ISBN: 1450543332
Number of Pages: 370
Price: $14.95
Genre: Realistic Fiction

Blurb on the Book:

...Suddenly, he saw something shiny at the bottom of the abyss. He squinted his eyes to see what it was. He ran back to his binoculars and turned them to see what it was. Sharp barbed wires that separated the two mountains came into focus. He had come as far as he could in his country. But she was standing in another country.

He was in South India and she was in North India...

Have you ever imagined India being divided into two countries? What happens to the millions of Indians who are from South India but are now residing in North India? Kaahi and Jai were two such people who got trapped in this situation. Everything was going smoothly for them and suddenly, their world turned upside down.

How will they get together? Will India become one again?

Take an exciting journey with them from their college days in Mumbai to their life in the US and back to India when they find out that India is divided.

My Review:

The story is about five college students, whose friendship blooms with regular meet at canteen during breaks. Of these, Jai and Kaahi fall for each other. They get married once they graduate and the story is about their life in India and abroad, where Jai works for his father's company. All is well until the civil unrest breaks out in India, forcing Jai and Kaahi to separate as they have to travel to their own India, now divided into North India and South India! The story advances about how their life changes with this.

The hangouts and the fun moments with friends was something I liked. The book brings out most of the aspects of India like our reaction during a Indo-Pak cricket match. The narration and the set up during these moments is apt. Also the narration about the feelings of Indians when India is divided and they are forced to separate from their dear ones is also something that touches the readers. The terrorist attack and the brave solider's reaction, gives you goosebumps as it reminds you the terrorist attack on Taj!

Though the story was good, there were certain things I didn't like. Especially the extra details provided in every chapter, like a paragraph on Gujrathis, Tamilians etc was something I didn't think was needed. The pace of the story is slow until the chapter when the news of civil unrest in India. After that the story flows effortlessly and it's hard to put down the book. 

I loved the illustrations at the beginning of each chapter. The last chapter is something that gives us a lot to ponder on. What does being an Indian really mean? Is it a religion, custom or a state of mind? This chapter is sets us to thinking.

All in all, the book makes a good read. I would recommend it for those who love to read about India, its culture and traditions.

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars!

Until the next review,
Keep Reading :)

Love,
Swathi :)

Sunday, 31 August 2014



Title: Where Even the Present is Ancient: Benaras
Author: Maitreyee B Chowdhury
Publisher: Leadstart Publishing Pvt Ltd
ISBN: 978-9382473848
Number of Pages: 78
Price: 125 [INR]
Genre: Poetry

Blurb on the Book:

Benaras is a book that seeks to tell the little stories that make us who we are. The author believes that Benaras resides in all of us Indians, in some beautiful often unknown way. The author is the Sutradhar, in that she attempts to connect an India that many do not realize exists, in that it is everybody's story. Radha, Krishna, Ganga, Benaras and Me are all characters in this deluge of poems.

This attempt at telling the story of the ancient, of love and of faith is to instill the confidence that poetry exists in all of us, everywhere, all that is needed is to smell its fragrance.

To those outside India, the book does not seek to be a representation of what India is or was, but a whiff of what it also can be. It is an attempt to ask people to see the little stories that govern all our lives, stories that we often don't see, but those that are important.

The audience for this book might be strewn across the globe, for faith is not religion-centric, it is people-centric and often without dimensions.

In poetry there is no beginning, no middle, nor no end. Like faith it is everywhere, it is omnipresent. The book affords no answers, nor no questions, but if you listen and read carefully you will see new things, a new beauty perhaps, one that has been silent so long.

My Review:

'Where Even the Present is Ancient: Benaras' is a collection of poems by Maitreyee B Chowdhury. When I first saw the cover page of this book, I had no idea what to expect. I just knew that it was something different. So without much delay I flipped to the first poem and there was no stopping from then. I finished reading all the poems within an hour and half.

Benaras is the religious capital of India. It is a place looked upon by us with devotion. But what is the reality? Is it really as holy as it looks for us from a distance? What is the truth? The author had made a commendable job of nudging us towards the reality of this place through her wonderful poetry. 

The book is a collection of short poems, which holds great meaning. The characters in the book are most essentially us. Small, yet thought provoking, these poems will leave a deep impact on us.

Here are a few verses that I loved:

"You haven't lived,
Till you've lost'
He seems to say -
'Most of all Yourself"

This verse if from the poem 'Faceless in Benaras' which is the poem I liked the most in the book.

Verses like 
'Spat some Benaras into his Ganga
       and
'God greets you in his stench,
pure and full of Bacteria'
    gives you a reality check about the condition of Ganga and places in Benaras.

I have never visited Benaras but reading this book, I felt like I was in Benaras, seeing it through author's eye. 

Here are some of my favorite poems:

  • Faceless in Benaras
  • The Stench of Ganga
All in all, the book makes a good read. I recommend it for poetry lovers.

My rating: 4/5 stars!

BUY @

About the Author 

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Maitreyee B Chowdhury is a web columnist and creative writer. She is author of Reflections on My India, a book of Indian traditions and spirituality in parts. Maitreyee is also author of Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen- Bengali Cinema’s First Couple and Ichhe Holo Tai, a bilingual multi media presentation of poetry. Maitreyee is featured amongst other Indian writers such as Gulzar, Shashi Tharoor and Deepti Naval in an anthology of Indian writers Celebrating India.

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Until the next review,
Keep Reading :)

Love,
Swathi :)

Friday, 22 August 2014

Title: Private India 
Authors: Ashwin Sanghi and 
               James Patterson
Publisher: Arrow Books
ISBN: 978-0-099-58639-5
Number of pages: 448
Price: 350 [INR]
Genre: Thriller




Blurb on the Book:

In Mumbai, seemingly unconnected people are dying, strangled in a chilling ritual and with strange objects carefully arranged with corpses.

For Santosh Wagh, head of Private India, the Mumbai branch of the world's finest investigation agency, it's a race against time to stop the killer striking again.

In a city of over thirteen million, he'd have his work cut out at the best of times, but this case has him battling Mumbai's biggest gang lord and a godman who isn't all he seems.

And then he discovers there may be an even greater danger facing Private India. Hidden in the shadows is someone who could destroy the whole organization - along with thousands of innocent Mumbai citizens...

My Review:

When I received this book, I was shocked to see the number of pages! Though I don't mind reading lengthy novels, I had my doubts whether I will be able to finish it off in seven days, owing to my busy schedule. But all I had to do was start reading! And as the line on the cover page says, 'The pages turn themselves' and within three days, I was done reading!

Private India is the Indian branch of the worldwide detective agency Private headed by Jack Morgan. Santosh Wagh is the chief of the Indian branch of Private, who is in a constant battle with his alcohol addiction and wanting to perform his duty well. The book starts with the murder of Dr. Kanya Jaiyen and right from here, the story picks up pace. The story is about a serial killer who is on a killing spree, murdering people, women in particular, who seemingly have nothing in common. The murders happen at such a fast rate, almost two per day, that it leaves the Santosh Wagh and his team bewildered. The only thing in common is all these women are strangled with a yellow scarf. The clues left by the murderer are weird stuffs like dolls, drums, egg shells which seem no where connected! And to add more spice (or horror) to the story, there is also a terrorist group which plans on planting bomb in Mumbai, the city where the entire story is based.

The plot is very good and it leaves you guessing who could be the culprit. And to be honest, I couldn't guess it. Of the two suspense, I could only guess one. The book has everything that you encounter in real life - media which is hungry for news, local gangster who rules the entire city, corrupt officers and people who back stab. Like most thriller novels, the story doesn't revolve just around the main character, which is good. It keeps you engaged right from the beginning till the end. You cannot simply just stop reading! Such is the story line.

But the ending disappointed me a lot! A story which started well, ended with too much drama! It was like a movie scene; things that cannot and do not happen in real life are depicted at the climax! I cannot say much without revealing the mystery. So I will just stop at saying that for a book so well written, the ending could have been better! Also there are few unnecessary explanations and flashbacks given, which could have been omitted to optimize the story.

Few of my favorite lines from the book:
  • Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
  • A smile is a curve that sets everything right.
  • There are always second chances - both in metal and men.
So what is the verdict you would ask. Well though the ending could have been better, the rest of the plot is brilliant. The book definitely makes  a good one-time read! I would suggest it to mystery, crime and thriller fans!

My Rating: 3.5 stars!

Until the next review ,
Keep Reading :)

Love,
Swathi :)

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Title: Ramayana: The Game of Life - 
          Rise of the Sun Prince

Author: Shubha Vilas
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
ISBN: 978-81-8495-530-9
Number of Pages: 217
Price: 250 [INR]
Genre: Mythology

Blurb on the book: 

One of the World's great literary masterpieces, skillfully retold for modern audiences.

Epics like the Ramayana have been recounted infinite times. Is there a need for another chronicle in the presence of so many? How is this one different? And is it relevant to our ever-changing modern lives?

My Review:

There are some stories, which no matter how many times you have read, you find something new each time! Epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata are such stories. I have always been a fan of these. There have been numerous books on the epic Ramayana and many attempts have been made to re-narrate this epic over time. So what could be possibly different about this book? It was with this mindset that I picked up the book, expecting it to be just another story retold. But was I wrong?

The book is not a typical Ramayana story retold! The narration is crisp. As I started reading it, I was totally mesmerized by the story and the effort made by the author to illustrate even the minute details. There are so many details in this book that I wasn't aware of before. The book deals with the story from the time of Rama's birth till His marriage. But there is also a story in the beginning which narrates how this greatest epic of Ramayana came into being. How Rathnakar becomes Valmiki and how his angry curse turns into a beautiful verse of Ramayana.

As it is the story of Ramayana, it is natural to expect the hero of the book to be Rama. But instead of centering the story around Rama, the author has made the sage Vishwamitra as the hero of this book, which is the first of the six book series. Equal importance is given in describing each and every character in the story. The author has managed in providing a different perspective to the story, yet not spoiling the originality of the Ramayana.

The cover page is just awesome. It is attractive and prompts readers to pick it up instantly. The language used is simple yet compelling, which manages to engage the reader's interest throughout. What caught my attention the most are the footnotes that are present in almost every page of the book. The author has become successful in catching the reader's attention and interest by providing insights on various topics that otherwise will go unnoticed. It is said that Ramayana is not just a tale but a way of life. How the inherent wisdom from the tale can be imbibed in our life is effectively described in these footnotes.

Though there are so many quotes that are worth mentioning, the one that I loved the most is

  • Heroic acts may attract a common person, but acts of compassion and kindness attract the heart of great souls.

  • It is not the divine knowledge you possess that makes you divine but what you do with it that does.

Any series can be considered effective when the readers are enthusiastic and look forward for the next book. If you ask me, I say I am definitely looking forward for the second book in the series - Ramayana: The Game of Life - Shattered dreams. I suggest this book for all the readers who are interested in Mythology. Don't think 'Another Ramayana book?' Because when you read the book, you will find it worth it!

My Rating: 5/5 stars!

Until the next review,
Keep Reading :)

Love,
Swathi :)

Monday, 21 July 2014

Title: The Deliberate Sinner    
Author: Bhaavna Arora
Publisher: Srishti Publishers and Distributors
ISBN: 978-93-82665-20-5
Number of Pages: 148
Price: 120 [INR]
Genre: Fiction



Blurb on the book:

Is there an acid test to gauge the success of a relationship?
Is it right to carry on in an unhealthy relationship with no conjugal bliss, or look for an alternate path?

Rihana is an adventurous and free-spirited girl, until she marries Veer, an eligible bachelor who comes from a wealthy family. While they appear 'happily married', their strong personalities are at odds. Veer, for the most part, is insensitive to Rihanna's physical and emotional needs, straining the relationship and leaving her feeling incomplete.

Caught between the devil and the deep sea, Rihana has to now decide whether to walk out of her marriage and be a victim of society's ridicule, or compromise on her physical needs, which for her are the foundation for a healthy marital bond.

Can they work out their differences? Will Veer give her what she desires, or push her to do something desperate and scandalous?

My Review:

The Deliberate Sinner is a story about 21 year old Rihana who is from an affluent family. She is what every guy desires for! When proposed by Veer, a guy from an equally affluent family, Rihana finds herself in confusion. And before she can think through it, her marriage is fixed with Veer by her parents, who are happy to find a 'suitable' groom whose social status matches with theirs!

The story revolves around her marital life. While she finds herself totally unhappy with Veer, she tries everything in her control to make the marriage work and maintain the so called reputation in the society. A husband who is totally indifferent to her and her feelings, a mother who is more afraid of spoiling her image in the society than worrying about her daughter's happiness and a society which just points a finger at the woman in the end and judges her all the time; Rihana tries to live through it all. But how long can she withstand it?

The author has pictured the present chauvinist society in an effective manner. If a guy does something wrong, then the girl is expected to forgive him and move on like nothing happened. A mere sorry is expected to fix everything! But does the same hold for a girl? If a girl does the same mistake, will the male dominant society over look it? Apparently, no! The author has raised questions on many such issues predominant in our present Indian society. 

The protagonist is a daring woman, who knows clearly what she wants from life. She is ready to stand up for herself and fight for her rights. The language used in the novel is simple and effective. The story flows smoothly in the beginning but is a little bit stretched in the middle and then ends suddenly, with Rihana finding solution to all the problems! There are some cliches in the story like Raj's sudden appearance in the end, which could have been rectified. Also, what I didn't understand is Veer's behavior towards Rihana inspite of her being the epitome of beauty as described by the author.

Here are some of the quotes from the book which I loved:

You have to take the problem head on. Either you die, or you kill your enemy; there is no other way.

The day you stop experiencing pain or pleasure, that very day you would cease to exist.

And in the interlude between birth and death, it's your deeds alone that make the story of your life - either remarkably big or abysmally insignificant.

It is always the unseen which is more consequential than the seen.

The book definitely makes a good read. A perfect dosage of reality is given to the story. Despite of what the cover page suggests, the book isn't totally filled with sexuality; which is used only in relevant areas. The author has done a commendable job by writing about a woman's physical and emotional needs precisely without exaggerating much to make it look artificial. I would definitely suggest this book.

Rating: 3.5/5 starts

Until the next review,
Keep Reading :)

Love,
Swathi :)

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