Thursday, 8 December 2016

Book Review: When Arya Fell Through the Fault


Book: When Arya Fell Through The Fault
Author: Reenita Malhotra Hora
Publisher: Om Books International
Genre: Fiction | Fantasy
Pages: 207
Price: 124 INR

Blurb:

When Arya Fell Through The Fault Is The Magical, Coming-Of-Age Tale Of Arya, A 12-Year-Old Boy From San Francisco, Who Is Ridiculed By Bullies. Anything To Do With His Ethnicity—Food, Traditions Or The Fascinating Mythological Stories He Has Been Raised With, Has Become The Building Block Of Unpleasant School Experiences. 
In The Wake Of An Accident That Confines His Once Vibrant Mother To A Hospital Ward—Kept Alive By Tubes And Machines—Arya Clings To The Only Remnant Of Their Bond: An Old, Battered Copy Of The Ramayana, India’S Ancient Epic Story Of Rama’S Battle Against Demons.
One Night, Arya Falls Through A Fault In The Earth Into The Wild Woods, Where Ravana—The Demon King—Strategises To Destroy His Ramayana—The Last Copy Left—And Threatens To Rewrite History From His Evil Perspective. 
Will Arya Be Able To Save The Story Of Rama, Heal His Mother And Return Home To Tackle The Demons In His Ordinary World?

My Rating

Plot: 3.5/5
Writing Style: 3/5
Character Sketch: 4/5

My Review

"When Arya Fell Through The Fault" is the story of Arya, a twelve year old Indian boy who stays in San Francisco with his parents. His mother, an Ayurvedic doctor packs khichdi for him in lunch every day that results in Arya getting bullied by his classmates who call him a goop eater. 

Arya dislikes his mother for packing khichdi for him in lunch that makes him the subject of jokes. 
Despite the differences with his mother, Arya loves listening to the Ramayana, which his mother reads to him daily. He is enchanted by the bravery of Lord Rama and idolizes to be like him. The bullying doesn't stop at his school. His school fellows insult anything that is related to his ethnicity. 

Life goes in the same pattern for Arya until his mother meets an accident and goes into coma. Arya clings to the old, battered copy of the Ramayana that signifies the bond he had shared with his mother. One night, there is an earthquake and Arya falls through a fault in the earth into some unknown wild woods. 

He learns that it is the land of Ravana who has planned to destroy the old battered copy of the Ramayana so that he can rewrite history. He comes across a group of vanaras and a sage who helps him to understand that only he can save the world from the evil clutches of Ravana. 

Since then, a battle between good and evil starts. Arya soon realizes his inner strengths and his good qualities. He gears up for the battle against evil without any restraints.

While battling with Ravana, he realizes that there is Ravana inside him too. His most important battle is to kill his inner demon (read: Ravana) to restore good within and around him. 

"Staring me in the face was the image of a shattered boy who had never stood up to the demons, but let them control his life." (pg 179)

"When Arya Fell Through the Fault" is an adventurous tale of how a young 12 year old boy manages to fight his inner demons. However, I felt that in the middle of the book, the pace dropped. The narration was good in parts. In some places, it was bland. 

There are some good quotes in the book. Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book:

"Life was a myriad of experiences. Some good, some bad and others that made no sense at all. However over time, even the most nonsensical things would make perfect sense."

I would give the book 3.5 for the adventurous ride and for the beautiful morals embedded in the story.

Highly recommended for children as they will find this book extremely intriguing.




I got a review copy from Word Bite for an honest review. The opinions are my own.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Book Review: Glitter and Gloss

Book: Glitter and Gloss
Author: Vibha Batra
Publisher: Bloomsbury India
Genre: Fiction | Chick lit
Price: 199 INR
Pages: 184

Blurb:

Misha is a make up artist who, after a series of mishaps and twists and turns, falls madly in love with Akshay who reciprocates her love with ardour. The only hitch in this perfect romance is her prospective sister-in-law who thinks Misha is everything a Bahu shouldn’t be: garrulous, geeky, gawky, gainfully employed (especially the last bit). The questions is will Misha win Didi (and the Kha-Pee Panchayat) over with her Stepford Wife Act? Will she continue to be the poster child for the inherent evils of the Bahu Brigade? Or will she learn to ‘lau’ herself before the whole world and its wife can do the same?

My Rating:

Plot: 3/5
Writing Style: 4/5
Character Sketch: 3.5/5

My Review:

"Glitter and Gloss" is the story about a girl called Misha, who suffers from low self-esteem issues which is partly because of a dysfunctional family and partly because she wants to be accepted by everyone. 

Misha lives in Mumbai. Her flatmate is a guy called Sammy, who is one of her best friends. Her other best friend is Poulomi. She works in M.A.C and aspires to be a bridal male-up artist. She meets Akshay Agarwal, the owner of  Agarwal Jewellers in a fashion event and gets attracted to him instantly. 

They meet a couple of times again and realize that they have found their true love. All goes good in their paradise until the elder sister of Akshay enters the scene. Misha tries too hard to impress her and in the process, tells plenty of lies and pretends to be someone she is not. Will Misha accept herself before getting accepted by Didi? This forms the crux of the story.

The plot is simple, but the way the author has narrated the story keeps you entertained till the last page. With some hilarious moments and plenty of funny one-liners, you cannot stop yourself from laughing while reading the book. 

The characters of the book are well sketched too. I loved the way the author has sketched the character of Misha. She is funny, sweet, adorable and at the same time, she is vulnerable. We find her complaining about her imperfect nose or feeling embarrassed because of her mom's boyfriend. In order to get accepted, she doesn't mind saying a hundred lies. In the blinking of eyes, she tells to Didi that Sammy is gay so that Didi doesn't think otherwise about her flatmate.  

The characters of Didi, Poulomi and Sammy are well sketched too. I enjoyed reading the banter between the three friends. However, the character of Akshay was not as well sketched as Misha. I wish there were more layers to his character.

I felt Glitter and Gloss ended too soon, before I wanted it to finish. I wanted to see Misha evolve into a confident lady who loves herself, after she visits the counsellor and understands that she is suffering from low self-esteem issues. However, the book ends too soon before we can see some solid changes in Misha's personality. 

Overall, it is an entertaining weekend read. The novel is fast paced and can be easily read in a few sitting. I am going with 3.5

Recommended to anyone who is looking for a light hearted weekend read. Go for this one as it will make you laugh out loud. 




I got a review copy from the author for an honest review. The opinions are my own.


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Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Book Review: Origins ( Arrkaya #1)

Book: Origins (Arrkaya #1)
Author: Yashas Mahajan
Publisher: Frog Books
Genre: Fantasy | Thriller
Pages: 378
Price: 395 INR

Blurb:

An ominous cloud prevails over the continent of Nyvarda, as a concealed enemy, with most political leaders already under his thumb, and a sinister army of monsters under his command, threatens to destroy Arrkaya, and the precarious balance between the existing powers...

A group of young heroes, hailing from different kingdoms and classes, come together to prepare against this formidable threat, whilst safeguarding the interests of their people and fighting the mistrust among themselves...

On this journey of self-discovery, they finds secrets that will change their lives, and possibly change the entire world...

Time, however is running out, and the enemy is ready to strike...

My Rating:

Plot: 4.5/5
Writing Style: 4/5
Character Sketch: 4/5

My Review:

Origins is the first book of the Arrkaya series. It is a fantasy thriller which takes place in the fictional continent of NyvardaArrkaya and Heligesia are two large kingdoms in this continent. There is the Forest of Death where no one dares to go, which is connected to Dulce Lago. The way the author has shown the continent of Nyvarda through a map is praiseworthy. The map makes the reading interesting and easier. However, the focus is mostly given on the kingdom of Arrkaya and its people. 

In the first few chapters, we are introduced to a number of characters such as Kind Edward, the king of Aarkaya, Prince Edward, Princess  Zeleina, Lord Scar, Duke Byron etc. Among all the characters, the one character that grabs the reader's interest is Scar. We are not told about his origin, but as the story unfolds, we get to know who Scar is. And the revelation is thrilling. 

In the very first chapter, we see that Princess Zeleina and Scar gets attacked by a a group of hooded figures. With investigation, it is found that the enemy is not a group of normal human beings. They are "The Incomplete Ones", mysterious creatures called golem who are made of mud or sand. They have superhuman endurance, absence of blood, emotions and lack the ability to communicate. 

Once the truth is revealed, Kind Edward realizes that Aarkaya is under threat, but he doesn't know how to defeat these enemies. Edward, Scar and Byron come together to prepare against the threat. 
On King Edward's order, Scar leaves for Dulce Lago and Byron leaves for Arzi to talk to Amma Gulizar. 

The rest of the book is about how the characters find secrets and come across truths at every nook and corner of Aarkaya. A portion of the story is narrated by Rafael, the Prince of Heligesia

The thing that I absolutely loved about this book is the suspense and thrill that the author has generated right from the first chapter. The climax of the book is equally thrilling and it just makes the wait for Book 2 difficult. 

The character sketches are impressive. Since there are so many characters in the book, I thought that I won't be able to understand the characters well. But I was wrong. The characters had an individual voice and they were different from each other. I invested in all the characters, be it Scar, Edward, Rafael, Zeleina or Byron. 

The book is 378 pages long and in some places, the pace of the story drops. However, it takes speed again. I think if the book  would have been wrapped up in 300 pages, it would\be better. That's the only drawback I found in the book.

It is difficult to believe that this is the author's debut work. The book is very well edited, with almost no errors. The author surely has good story telling skills.

Here are some lines from the book : 

"Attachment leads to loss, which leads to pain. If I open myself to attachment, I will just have to bear more pain."

"Despite having lost the only woman he had ever loved, he had not lost the love itself. It had stayed with him, and that was the only reason he had survived the thorny and lonely path that had followed."

I would give it 4.25 and would recommend this book to anyone who likes reading a good thriller with a fictional backdrop. 




I got a review copy from the author for an honest review. The opinions are my own.


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Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Book Review: The Rude Tenderness Of Our Hearts

Book: The Rude Tenderness of Our Hearts
Author: Saket Suryesh
Publisher: Partridge India
Genre: Fiction | Short Stories
Pages: 110
Price: 350

Blurb:

Smith studying art at Yale, with a bright future ahead of him. He is not a man of half-measures. What happens when he falls in love? And who does he fall in love with? How much love is too much love? Surprise yourself with Love in Yale.Shiva is a man in mourning, an asocial man, even if great. What will a father do whose daughter falls in love with an ascetic and a warrior? How would she win in love if not by losing herself? Read to find how the story of Shiva and Shailputri ends. Sarthak is a modern man, with a modern family, trapped in the modern world. This day has seen him coming out as an undisputed winner in corporate warfare. He is rushing to meet those he loves- his wife, his daughter. What happens then? Will time bring solace or will he be Betrayed by Time? A soldier is beheaded on India- Pakistan border. His headless body comes back. Will his soul find its salvation in the patriotic reception he gets as a martyr, having served his country? He is an Indian soldier, he could belong to any country. Where is the resolution to the people who die in such conflicts? Are they great men destined for divinity or are they human, all too human, like me and you? Discover a different perspective of territorial conflicts in The Death of Soldier. These and three other stories are placed in different time, different worlds, with nothing but one common thread that runs across them, connecting them is a human heart beating across the book. Surrender to the magic of human heart.

My Rating:

Plot: 3/5
Writing Style: 4/5

My Review:

"The Rude Tenderness Of Our Hearts" is a collection of 7 short stories, each of which has a profound sadness and an air of melancholy concealed in its bosom. I really liked the choice of the title of the book and how it perfectly matches with the stories in the book.

The first story "Love in Yale" is a story of an artist's love for his creation. This story has thrill, longing and sadness in equal proportions. I loved the way the author has narrated the story, describing each and every emotion of the characters in a subtle yet beautiful way. This is one of my favorite stories of this collection. I found the plot unique and the writing unadulterated. 

The next story "Betrayed by Time" is a story of a person who has always been busy with his work, thereby neglecting his family. And just when he decides to rectify his mistake, he is betrayed by time. I have read stories on this theme recently, therefore the plot did not sound very unique to me. 

The third story "Shiv and Shailputri" is a mythological story about the timeless love of Shiv and Parvati. I liked the way the author has sketched the characters of Shiv and Shailputri. This is another favorite story of mine from this collection. The divine and pure love of Shailputri for Shiv is a delight to read. 

"A bloody broken moon" is a heartbreaking story of the helplessness of a poor father. "What Honour" is the story of honor killing which is equally heartbreaking to read. The author poignantly talks about the 2 social issues that are prevalent in our country. 

"A Sad Christmas" is another heart wrenching story on poverty. The last story of the book is "The Death of a Soldier" which is one of my favorite stories of this collection. This story makes us realize how we seldom acknowledge the sacrifices of the soldiers. Inspired from real incidents, this is a sad story of a soldier who gets beheaded while protecting his country. 

Here are some quotes from the book that I liked: 

"In love, we conquer by first surrendering the self"

"Time is so cruel, only love can make it bearable."

"Some nights are very heavy on human soul. Once we live through them, we can look back at them and laugh at our silliness." 

All the stories begin with a few poetic lines from famous poems that enhances the reading experience. The writing style of the author manages to touch the heart, Although I found the plot of some stories very simple, what I liked about every story was the narration. 

However, the turn off for me was the editing mistakes and typos in some stories that affected my reading pace. Typos like leave in place of leaf, by in place of my could not be overlooked. 

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves reading short stories that deal with human emotions. For me, it is a 3.5 out of 5. 


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Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Book Review: The Calling ~ Unleash Your True Self

Book: The Calling ~ Unleash Your True Self
Author: Priya Kumar
Publisher: Books That Inspire
Genre: Fiction | Spirituality
Pages: 150
Price: 125 INR

Blurb:

The Calling is a spiritual adventure. It is an encounter with the truth, the wisdom and the force that is innate to us all. At the brink of a divorce and personal breakdown, Arjun took a trip into the heart of the Himalayas, on the insistence of a sadhu, who predicted that the journey up to Hemkund Sahib would align him to his purpose and change his life forever. At every turn the mountains holds secrets and tests that urge Arjun to evolve into the person he had denied to be - himself. Pretenses, falsities, confusions and untruths fall apart as Arjun is forced to confront the mess he had created in his life. What started off as an opportunity to escape reality, turned out to be an opportunity to escape from the dwindling spiral of self-created misery. Filled with spiritual insights and sprinkled with light humor, this story will help you find your calling, your voice and who knows, even your true self

My Rating:

Plot: 4/5
Writing Style: 4.5/5
Character: 4.5/5

My Review:

There are some books which you can go back to again, from time to time. The Calling is one such book that makes you think, introspect and enlighten you in the process.

It is the story of Arjun who is dejected and unhappy in life because his personal and professional life is in a mess. He is on the brink of a divorce and feels that life has been cruel to him all along. An accident during a work trip makes him come across a Sadhu who saves his life. The sadhu tells Arjun that the journey up to Hemkund Sahib amid the mountains, will change his life. After Arjun gains consciousness, he cannot find any trace of the sadhu who saved his life. However, he decides to go to Hemkund Sahib to see what destiny has in store for him, defying every logic. 

To know exactly what happens when Arjun embarks on the difficult journey up to  Hemkund Sahib, you have to read the book. I can tell that Arjun's journey is beautifully written by the author where there is adventure, challenges and enlightenment. The book is full of spiritual insights, but not for a second, you will find it preachy. 

The narrative is so strong that the spiritual insights that Arjun gains in his journey blends perfectly with the plot. The author has shown Arjun's journey from a confused, chaotic and broken person to a calm and enlightened soul with such panache that it makes an impact on the reader too. There is a scene where Arjun meets his own self during meditation. That scene is so beautifully written that I cannot help admiring the writing skill of the author. 

I started reading "The Calling" at a time when I was facing a personal breakdown. I was inspired, motivated and enlightened by the time I finished reading the book. If you are feeling lost, you might also find a direction of your life by reading this book. 

Out of the many wonderful quotes in the book, I would like to share some of them.

"Regret is to life like termite is to wood. It will eat you up. Confusion is to life like a parasite is to its host. It will consume you."

"Life is predictable. It won't surprise you beyond your karmic contribution to it. The farmer doesn't reap corn by a fluke. He sowed it. His crop is a predictable consequence and so is life."

"Life doesn't test you at your level; life tests you at a level higher that yourself. You don't choose the test. That way you would have the choice to live small. The test is always a step ahead of you, so that in reaching beyond it, you grow beyond yourself."

The author has not used any fancy words. She has kept the writing simple and powerful. I just felt that the ending could have been better. It appeared to me like a sudden happy ending, which makes it a little less realistic. Apart from that, I could not find any flaw in the book.

This is a book that can be read again and again. I would like to rate it 4.5

Highly Recommended!




I got a review copy from the author for an honest review. The opinions are my own.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Book Review: Graffiti

Book: Graffiti
Author: Joanie Pariera
Publisher: Authorhouse
Format: eBook [ Kindle Edition]
Price:  335 INR
Pages: 346

Blurb: Rene thinks all her dreams mean something…well, maybe they do. Vipin thinks his life is over ever since his wife died in a car accident…well, maybe it is. Upasana thinks she has it all figured out. But does she really?

You put the three twenty somethings together, and it results in some absurd and hilarious situations, which the characters themselves believe are truly dramatic.

And then there’s Mark - A man very much in love with Rene. A man who's perhaps secretly writing a code book on 'how to win in love'.
If you're not living this life, you're watching it happen to someone else and punching a wall somewhere going, ""balls!""

Set in India and the USA, 'Graffiti', lampoons a range of social issues, all tightly packed into some highly entertaining fiction. It is a novel about relationships. It's about that beautiful puzzle on the wall...an ever changing puzzle called life.


My Rating:

Plot: 3.5/5
Writing Style: 3/5
Character Sketch: 3/5

My Review:

"Grafitti" is a novel that deals with the life of mainly two characters: Rene and Vipin who are broken, battered and lost. Vipin is in a pathetic condition in Denver after the death of his wife, Pournami in an accident where he survives miraculously. He constantly blames himself for the death of his wife and feels that he had killed her. His friends try to provide some solace, but it doesn't help.

On the other side of the globe, we meet Rene in Bangalore who is trying her best to cope with the fact that her boyfriend, Agni is gay. After Agni went away from her life unannounced, she kept waiting for him selflessly only to come to terms with the bitter reality that shatters her.

Her best friend, Upasana tries to solve her problem, but in the process, confuse her further. And then there is Mark, who had fallen irrevocably in love with her, but decides to take an uncanny path to approach her, which frustrates her. 

A stroke of serendipity makes Vipin and Rene come across each other. Both of them become great friends as they understood each other's condition. They have a significant impact on each other's lives and before Rene comes back to India, they promise to be friends forever.

Now, whether these two lost souls, Rene and Vipin reinvent themselves, dropping their baggage of grief forms the crux of the story. I kept on turning the pages just to know whether these two characters win in the battle of life. 

It was a really nice idea to tell the story of two people who are facing their own demons and showing if they emerge as a winner. However, the problem with the novel is its writing style.

To start with, Vipin's part is written in 1st person and the other parts are written in 3rd person. This hampers the reading pace. Then, there are plenty of unwanted characters in the book due to which the story meanders a lot. At one point, I was unable to understand where the story is going and as a result, my interest to know about the fate of the main characters also dropped.

Rene's character is the best sketched character in the book. The author makes her come alive in front of the reader. I also liked the character of Mark, especially when he says,

"The ability to love deeply is a quality to be treasured, admired and yet it is so underrated"

I enjoyed the book when I was reading the parts of Rene and Mark. I found the character sketch of Vipin slightly unclear.

Overall, Graffiti is a book that I enjoyed reading in parts. I feel it could have been crisper and to the point. That would have reduced the number of pages and made the reading more enjoyable.

If you are feeling lost in life, you can read Graffiti as it will read like your own story. I will go with a 3 stars.




'I received a free copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.' 



Friday, 16 September 2016

Book Review: Metro Diaries 2

Book: Metro Diaries 2
Author: Namrata
Format: Kindle
Genre: Fiction| Short Stories
Pages: 151
Price: 49 INR

BlurbGive life another chance. Laugh a little longer. let go of your past. Hold onto what you love. In short LIVE rather than just exist! 

Some told, some untold, some heard and some unheard - this collection of stories will make you look at life in a different light and make you ponder over its definition of it till now

My Rating:

Plot: 4/5
Narration: 4.5/5

My Review:

Metro Diaries 2 is a collection of 20 life stories that will surely make you think and introspect. Unlike Namrata's first book Metro Diaries which is a collection of love stories, this book reflect the various shades of life, both colorful and grey.

The book starts with the story "Charlatan" which is about a girl who stood up against injustice when she found about the truth of her husband. As I read the first story, I was totally impressed by the author's storytelling skills. The way she has captured the shades of human beings leave you surprised, delighted and sometimes shocked.

When I read the story "The Filch" which is a tale of betrayal by a best friend, I couldn't help but cringe. So real that it almost shakes you, if you have ever gone through a betrayal in your own life.

'The Cursed Existence", "The Plummet" and "The Last Kiss" are heartbreaking tales on the plight of women of our country. 

Namrata doesn't only showcase the dark side of life, but she also delights you with feel-good and heartwarming stories like "Stain of Love", "The Keepsake", "A Pinch of Love" which makes you smile.

My favorite stories from this collection are "Epoch" which is a brilliant story about the healing power of forgiveness, "A Rare Sight" which shows how kindness and empathy can heal the most painful wounds and "My Last Goodbye" which speaks about how sometimes a stranger can redefine the meaning of life for you.

Kudos to the author for such powerful narration that tugs at your heart and for weaving some stories that leave you with an array of thoughts. Here are some quotes from the book that touched my heart:

"Life they say is like a jigsaw puzzle and we are all like those pieces trying to find where we fit in. It is strange, but sometimes a wrong piece shows us the way to our right place."

"Not all journeys of life take you somewhere; some are meant to mislead so that you know what the right path is."

"I had forgotten that I am not like other birds that hide when it rains. I am the eagle who soars above the clouds and still continues to fly high."

"People make memories and then reach a phase where memories make people."

However, Metro Diaries 2 is not totally devoid of blemishes. Though most of the stories touched my heart, there were a few stories that seemed repetitive, trying to convey the same message again and again. There are also a few typos or editing mistakes. 

Barring that, Metro Diaries 2 shine bright and its glimmer reaches straight to your heart. I will go with a 4.25 stars.

Highly recommended! You will cherish the reading experience.





I got a review copy from b00k r3vi3w Tours for an honest review. The opinions are my own.
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