Sunday, 27 December 2015

Book Review: What's Your Story: Facts Tell, Stories Sell

Book: What's Your Story: Facts Tell, Stories Sell
Author: Sankalp Kohli
Publisher: General Press
Genre: Non Fiction
Pages: 40
Price: 199 INR (Kindle Edition)

Blurb: Captivating tête-à-têtes... conclusive sales pitch... impressive business plans... successful job interviews... exciting presentations... they all involve people. 
Your triumph or failure, here, is a function of how deep your impact was. 
For a storyteller, creating an impact can be as easy as striking a conservation, but for those unaware of this prowess it can be as difficult as putting a man on moon. 
People around the world have been increasingly using stories to mesmerize and influence their audiences. 
Storytelling is not a science, it's an art. Only and only practice can help you master it. 
'What's Your Story' delves into the world of stories and offers key mantras of storytelling to the readers. 
A must read for budding managers, entrepreneurs, engineers, leaders, authors and CEOs. 
'Next time you want to create an impact? Go ahead, tell a story

My Rating: 3/5

My Review:

"What's Your Story" by Sankalp Kohli can serve as a great dose of motivation for you if you are interested in telling stories to the world, but are unaware of how to do so. If you keep wondering about the benefit and advantage of telling stories, you must read this book. It will surely inspire you and cement your wish of telling stories to the world.

The purpose of this book is to inspire and motivate people who love stories. It can perfectly unleash the storyteller concealed within you. 

The book has 7 chapters, namely Facts Tell, Stories Sell | So, what is a story? | Am I a storyteller? | The Art of Story Telling | Stories Around Us| Storytelling for Budding Managers | The End

With the help of personal experience and in-depth knowledge about the subject, the author has explained how stories are formed and where to hunt for stories. He rightly says that the human mind is able to remember stories, but have the tendency to forget the facts. Therefore, a story that revolves around facts garners a lot of interest.

He also mentions how reading plays a huge role in making one a storyteller. He has explained beautifully the art of storytelling. According to him, the picture one paints should be brighter. A confused or darker picture will repel readers from the story. 

Not only personal experiences, but the author has also stated examples of Steve Jobs and brands who have successfully created a story around their products. According to the author, stories are needed everywhere for success, be it in politics or in business. 

Overall, this non-fiction book is a good read. The wonderful narration is the best thing about this book. Readers would feel that the author is talking to them directly as a friend or a well-wisher. On the flip side, I felt that some of the topics could have been a little more elaborated. The book ends too soon. 

Although I cannot promise if you can learn something important from the book, but I can assure you that you would be motivated for sure.

Indian Bloggers

Monday, 21 December 2015

Book Review: Live-in with a ghost

Book: Live-in with a Ghost
Author: Kritika Sharma
Published: Half Baked Beans
Genre: Fiction/Romance
Pages: 150
Price: 199 INR

Blurb: Jia & Jai have a unique love story where she is human and he is a ghost. They meet during an out-of-body experience after an accident. Although from different worlds, she is simple middle-class journalist and he is a rich playboy, they fall in love instantly. During the adventure of their relation they both go through various exciting events which include tears, laughter, love and even fighting-off goons. Throughout their relation, the only thing Jia fears is what if he wakes up and forgets her. And in the end of the story he does wake up but if he remembers her is yet to be known...

My Rating: 3.75/5

My Review:

There are some books that can take you to a totally different world. You find a way to escape from your problems and chores whenever you bury your nose in such books. Well, Live-in with a Ghost is one such book that can provide you a delightful mini-break.

Let me tell in the beginning that this book is not exactly a ghost story. So don't expect any amount of horror or spine-chilling thrill in it. That doesn't mean that the book is not interesting. In fact, it is one of the most fast-paced, gripping and unique love stories that I have read in recent times.

The story begins with Jia, a journalist who goes into coma after a road accident. During that time, her soul gets out of her body and wanders in the passages of the hospital till she meets a fellow soul, Jai. Jia learns that Jai has been in coma for a long time and his soul is wandering in this way since then. Jia finds Jai extremely attractive and they become friends soon. 

However, owing to Jia's good luck, she gets out of the coma the next day. After waking up, she can see the ghost (spirit) of Jai everywhere. She freaks out on discovering that Jai is a ghost, but Jai reminds her of their out-of-body meeting when she was in coma. From then on, Jai starts living with Jia and a love story starts blooming between the human and the ghost. Only Jia can see, hear and touch Jai, no body else. Jai can see and hear everyone, but can touch only Jia.

The characters of Jia and Jai are beautifully sketched. Both of them are so adorable that readers cannot help but love their unique love story. Apart from some good amount of romance, there is also some great doses of humor at regular intervals in the book. The moment when Jai protects Jia when Vivaan, his playboy friend tries to woo her is wonderfully written. The moments when Jia talks to Jai and people around her think something is wrong, is absolutely hilarious. Overall, the book is a very entertaining read.

On the flip side, there are many editing errors in the book which can hamper the pace of reading. I also felt that the ending was a bit rushed. The epilogue could have been a little longer. 

Apart from these few points, there is no drawback in the book. I had a wonderful time reading it. Kritika has written a very unique, fantasy romance novel that has two very endearing characters, Jia and Jai. This book can be a great stress buster.

Recommended to anyone who wants to read a light-hearted, unique romance novel!


Indian Bloggers

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Book Review: You are the best wife

Book: You are the best wife
Author: Ajay K Pandey
Publisher: Srishti Publishers
Pages: 240
Price: 175 INR

Blurb: This is a true inspiring story of the author and his struggle with life. He struggled in almost every part of his life, but when his life seemed to be falling in place, his beloved wife left him halfway and her last word, ‘You are the best husband.’ gave him the strength to live with. He decided to pull off all her unaccomplished duties and made it a target to thrive for the rest of his life.

Told with frankness and doses of humor this heartwarming tale of a boy and a girl who never gave up on their love in face of the many blows that life deals them ends on a bittersweet and poignant note as Ajay comes to terms with the biggest lesson life has to offer.

‘You are best wife.’ is Author’s story—a story of how he lost his wife, his nerve-wracking and unimaginably terrifying journey through denial, resentment, and depression to, finally, acceptance and forgiveness.

My Rating: 3/5

My Review:

Since it is the true love story of the author, I really have the utmost respect for the author's emotions with which he has penned down the book, in the memory of his loving wife, Bhavna. So, I will try to overlook the drawbacks as much as possible. 

The book starts from the point when the author gets admitted in an engineering college, meets Bhavna and falls in love with her. We get to know their love story that goes through several ups and downs, the way they get married and finally the tragic death of Bhavna that shatters Ajay completely.

The best thing about the book is definitely Bhavna. Her character, her words and her loving nature definitely touched my heart. The positive outlook towards life that Bhavna had will surely inspire plenty of souls. She taught Ajay that life is not about the amount of breaths we take, but the number of moments that take our breath away. She had no regrets in living a short life because she believed that she had spent countless happy moments on the earth with her loved ones.

Here are some beautiful words that Bhavna tells Ajay:

"There are two kinds of personalities. There are those who have everything and still complain as if they have nothing. And there are those who lose everything and act like life has given them everything. Sometimes both these personalities exist in the same soul. Kill the first one, I love the second."

It is Bhavna's beautiful nature that inspired Ajay to find his happiness in helping others after she passed away. It is due to to the same reason that Ajay had written this book, in the memory of Bhavna. In short, Bhavna made Ajay a stronger, a wiser and a better human being in all aspects. That is after all the beauty and magic of love, isn't it?

Now, talking about the story, there is nothing new. The description of the ragging in college can remind readers of Five Point Someone and the part where Bhavna and Ajay were trying hard to convince their family for the inter-caste marriage can remind readers of 2 States. Moreover, the first part of the book contains plenty of Hindi slangs that were not really necessary. 

Had the book been a little more concise and the editing a bit sharper, the book could have been much better. 

If the readers view the book as the journal of the author's life, it will seem to be a nice reading experience. The emotions with which the book is written are authentic and honest. Despite the drawbacks in the writing and the monotony in the story, it is Bhavna's beautiful nature and the author's love for his wife that will linger behind.

Indian Bloggers

Monday, 14 December 2015

Book Review: Ananya: A Bittersweet Journey

Book: Ananya: a bittersweet journey
Author: Shilpa Gupta
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Genre: Fiction (Young Adult Fiction/Contemporary Fiction)
Pages: 208
Price: 195 INR

Blurb: Meet Ananya Sharma, not your regular, teenage girl-next-door. Sure, she loves hanging out with her friends and engaging in whispered confidences at sleepovers, but when it comes to boys, she has competition on her mind rather than romance. 
At school, she is passionate about math and the sciences, 
and completely focussed on cracking the IIT entrance exams. 
But when distraction enters her life in the form of the handsome and charming Rohit, Ananya discovers love, longing and betrayal, all at once. Finding herself pregnant at the age of seventeen, she learns that the world is a very different place once you are on its wrong side. The discovery of the fault lines in 
her parents’ relationship—which until then had seemed perfect to her—further breaks her.

Will Ananya be able to reverse the downward spiral that her life has plunged into and find meaning once again?

My Rating: 3.75/5

My Review: 

Honestly speaking, when I started reading Ananya, I was not completely hooked to the book because the initial chapters mostly contained the daily incidents of a class 11 girl, like her studies, her friends, her teachers and her crush. However, as I gradually turned the pages, I was completely surprised. The book not only picked up momentum, but also touched my heart. This is one book that became better and better with every page. I was slightly sad when the book ended because by that time, I formed a kind of connection with the protagonist of the book, Ananya Sharma.

The book is divided into 3 parts: #1: Incy wincy spider climbed up the water spout. 
                                                     #2: Down came the rain and washed the spider out.
                                                     #3: Out came the sun and dried up all the rain.

In the first part, the author has introduced us to Ananya and her more than perfect life. She is a topper who is aspiring to crack the IIT. She has a wonderful group of friends and is a pampered child of her parents. Her best friend, Moh's brother, Rohit is interested in her and Ananya also has a crush for him. Everything seems rosy in the first part of the book. Although I felt that the pace was slow in the first part, but there were many things that reminded me of my high school days such as the sleepovers and group studies. 

It is the second part when the book becomes an absolute page turner. When Rohit crumples Ananya's trust and leaves her to face the brutal realities of the world, you cannot help but feel sorry for her. The way all her dreams and aspirations tumble down because of trusting the wrong person is poignantly depicted by the author. The author has beautifully described the scars of Ananya, that were not only physical, but also psychological. Shilpa has done an outstanding job in giving life to Ananya. She totally wore the skin of Ananya while penning down this book.

It's said that what happens, happens for a greater good. A tragedy in the life of Ananya made her realize the true calling of her heart, apart from making her wiser and stronger. The third part of the book is like a soothing balm to the heart where Ananya finds light at the end of the dark tunnel. The character of Karuna, psychologist of Ananya is so beautifully sketched that she seems to be the fairy godmother of Ananya. 

The language and narration of the book is beautiful. There were a few editing errors, which can be overlooked. I just wish that the first part of the book was a little more interesting.
However,being a woman, the journey of Ananya touched the innermost chords of my heart. I could feel her agony, her loss and her triumph. 

A very heart touching book which deals with a sensitive subject! Recommended especially to teenage girls and women in their twenties. 

Indian Bloggers

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Book Review: Postcards from Memory

Book: Postcards From Memory
Author: Samir Satam
Publisher: First Step Publishing
Genre: Poetry
Pages: 132
Price: 180 INR

Blurb: Every moment that passes is not coming back. Yes, there might be moments in future, like the one you just experienced. But it's not going to be the same again. The one that was, was one like itself. It cannot be replaced. It's gone... Long gone... Dissolved in this crazy tasting, highly intoxicating drink of life. In an attempt to capture these bits and pieces that keep dissolving to give their distinct flavors to this colorful cocktail, I end up scribbling on my pad. This book is a bouquet of such moments that started with my mindless scribbling and ended up in verses. Sweet, Bitter, Sour, Sublime... Each piece has a taste of its own.

My Rating: 3.5/5

My Review: 

There is a beautiful poetic touch to the title of the book "Postcards from Memory". As poets, we all try to capture moments and preserve them in our poems so that we can look back at them again and again. So in this book, the poet has tried to capture the most memorable and savory moments of his life in a delicate way.

The book is divided into ten sections: Idle Morning| Temptations | Love, lies and a little nostalgia | Ramblings | A point of view | Stolen Moments | Lost Moments | Longing | One for the road | Flirting with Death

I especially loved the poems under the section Idle Morning, Temptations, A point of View, Flirting with Death and Longing. The observation skills of the poet are definitely worth applauding because he has written about everything under the sun. His emotional quotient and simplicity are the added plus points that make this book a soothing read. 

You can find poems on coffee and cakes that will literally make you hungry. There are poems on serious subjects such as global warming and honor killing that will make you think. You will also get to read beautiful, emotional poems on love, life, self-discovery and death.

The language used in the poems is simple and lucid. Therefore, no one will find any difficulty in comprehending the meaning of the poems. There are crisp, short poems as well as longer ones.

Here is a short poem from the collection under the section Longing that can give you an idea of the depth and simplicity of the poet.

Embroidered on her mind is a calm face,
Un-weaving its threads, she weeps in pain,
Pulls at stitches on the surface,
Until the face is completely erased,
Leaving back a faint trace,
Like the violence of an incomplete poem on a poet's page... 

However, on the flip side, there are quite a few poems in the book that could have been much better. There are some incessant long poems that aren't impactful or touching. 

Overall, the book is a mixed bag comprising some very good poems and some average poems. 

If you are fond of poetry, you can go for this book. The wide range of poems will give you a nice reading experience.

Indian Bloggers