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


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.

Indian Bloggers

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


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. 

Indian Bloggers

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


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 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.
Indian Bloggers

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Baar Baar Dekho: An offbeat movie with a new concept

Baar Baar Dekho makes you think "Are you valuing your present?" or "Are you running after your future, letting the present moment slip away from your hands?"

The movie begins with the song "Kho Gaye hum Kahan" where we see Jai (Sidharth Malhotra) and Diya (Katrina Kaif) growing up together. The childhood sweethearts have a blissful life. Jai is a mathematician, whereas Diya is an artist. Diya is clearly the driver in their relationship who is governed by her heart. Jai, on the other hand cannot think anything beyond logic and believes that life is a set of calculations.

Although Jai admits that he and Diya are like an old married couple who know everything about each other, he feels uneasy when Diya proposes him for marriage. Although he says yes to marriage, his focus is only on his career. He is so engrossed in his future that he fails to see Diya's unconditional love for him. It eventually results in a fight between the couple on the night of Sangeet.

Jai sleeps that night and his whole life is drastically changed. How? The director shows the audience that Jai wakes up in various time periods of his life. At first, he wakes up in Thailand, where they have gone for their honeymoon. The audience is as clueless as Jai and cannot figure out what actually is happening.

In the same manner, Jai wakes up on the day he becomes a father. Then, he wakes up on the day when he is having a divorce. The pattern continues till the time Jai understands the value of living in the present, valuing relationships and the importance of work-life balance. Once he realizes it, the time travel stops and he wakes up in the present.

Now, what exactly happened with Jai? Was it a dream? Was it his subconscious mind that made him realize his mistake? Was he really travelling in time? Director, Nitya Mehra has left it to the audience to figure out.

Baar Baar Dekho is an offbeat movie with a new concept. The beginning of the second half  is a little boring which can test your patience, but the last few minutes of the movie touches the right chords. The movie will linger even after you leave the theater, The message of the movie is strong and relatable in today's context. It is not the big gestures, but the tiny, little things that you do for your loved ones on a regular basis which has the maximum impact in your life.

Sidharth Malhotra manages to pull off the complex role with panache. Katrina Kaif is good in some scenes, but she falls flat in many emotional scenes. Debutante director, Nitya Mehra has done an outstanding job in her first movie. The movie, however, lacked depth. Had it been a little more intense, it could have grasped the hearts of the audience better.

However, with a good dose of comedy, great chemistry between the lead pair, a powerful message and enchanting music, Baar Baar Dekho is a great one time watch. I will go with a 3 and a half stars.

Indian Bloggers

Monday, 5 September 2016

Book Review: Take One More Chance

Book: Take One More Chance
Author: Shriya Garg
Publisher: Juggernaut
Format: eBook (Read in Juggernaut App)
Genre: Fiction | Romance
Pages: 426
Price: 60 INR {Currently featured in Rs 10 books in the App}


When Naina is set the daunting task  of finding her Mr. Right, her siblings and best friends offer to help. But after sending every man she meets to the hospital, she finds herself falling for the one she cannot stand. This is the intriguing and hilarious story of Naina Kashyap and her arch enemy.

My Rating:

Plot: 3.5/5
Narration: 4/5
Character Sketch: 4.5/5

My Review:

"Take one more chance" is a delightful story of a 26 year old girl who tries to find her Mr Right desperately as her parents have given her a deadline of six months to find a man for herself. If she fails in that, she has to go with the choice of her parents. 

Naina is a headstrong girl who doesn't want to marry. She detests the concept of arrange marriage and therefore decides to find a man for herself. In one of the chapters, she says, 

"The idea of two people vowing to spend the rest of their lives together without knowing each other is as absurd as all women being mandated to wear a burqa in public. We shouldn't merely aim at entangling in matrimony and increasing the already high population of our country"

She is a successful corporate professional, a writer by hobby and teaches underprivileged children in her leisure. She is intelligent, unafraid to voice her opinions and has a very compassionate heart. She shares a great bond with her siblings and her best friend who arrange a couple of dates for her. However, as written by fate, all of those dates turn into a big disaster.

The funniest thing is that each and every guy who goes on a date with Naina somehow gets injured in the date and lands straight in the hospital. In the meanwhile, she meets Aditya, boy friend of her best friend, Vandana. For both of them, it was hate at first sight. However, with the passage of time, Vandana breaks up with Aditya as they lacked chemistry and Aditya discovers that he finds the headstrong Naina very interesting.

Amidst plenty of heated arguments, putting each other in trouble, anger and fights, both of them become great friends and start liking each other. But will Naina admit that she has fallen in love with her arch enemy and her best friend's ex boyfriend?

Sprinkled with hilarious situations, funny dialogues and some adorable moments, this book is a delightful romantic comedy that you would like to sit with on a lazy weekend. The fast paced narration is another bonus.

The characters, especially Naina and Aditya will make you fall in love with them. The novel could have been a slightly little crisper, but overall it is a charmer. I give it a 4 stars.

Recommended to all romcom lovers!

You can buy the book from the Juggernaut App which is available in both Android and iPhone.

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