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 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.
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. 

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Book Review: The Story of Us

Book: The Story of Us
Author: Megha Rao
Publisher: Juggernaut
Format: eBook (Read in Juggernaut App)
Genre: Fiction | Romance
Pages: 242
Price: 120 INR


All Harsh has to find his lost love is a diary she has left behind and a few mysterious letters. When he does succeed in his mission, the truth is almost too difficult to bear.

My Rating:

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

My Review:

Intense, heartbreaking and touching!

"The Story of Us" is the 1st book that I read on Juggernaut App. First of all, I am really impressed with the Juggernaut App. It is so easy to read a book on the App. You can easily highlight the quotes and sections that you like while reading. You can also interact with the author directly from the App.

Now coming back to the book, after a long time, I have read a beautiful story on Unrequited Love. The author has painted the pain of an unrequited lover with the most intense emotions. There are certain dialogues in the book that totally tugged at the strings of my heart.

The story begins with Raksha, the protagonist of the book who notices Harsh in London. Raksha moved away from Harsh to London after they had a break up. She was shocked to find Harsh, but soon she gets to know that Harsh has come to London because he was looking for Haritha's diary, which was with Raksha.

As the story progresses, we get to know that Haritha is missing. Harsh tries his best to find her along with Raksha. The only clues they have are some letters that Haritha keeps sending and her old diary.

The story moves between past and present as Raksha narrates about her relationship with Harsh which was a bumpy ride. One day it was good and the other day it was stormy with shouting and crying. We get to know that Haritha was Harsh's first love. After they broke up due to Haritha's conservative parents, Harsh started dating plenty of girls. He was unable to love any other girl because his feelings for Haritha did not change. He went into a relationship with Raksha because she was the most beautiful girl in his college.

Although Raksha loved Harsha truly, all he gave her in return was an abusive and tormenting relationship. After some point of time, Raksha moved away from Harsh. However, when Harsh asked for her help in finding Haritha, she could not say no because she was still madly in love with him.

Finally, when Raksha and Harsh finds Haritha, both of their lives completely change. To know why and how they finally find Haritha, you have to read the book.

Here are some lines of the book that I really liked:

With or without him, I was going to be unhappy. Seven years had passed, and I was still stuck in the same boat with no wind in my sails.

We were made to fall apart. And then fall back together again. That was how we were portrayed. The mismatched couple.

If you can love him, you can also love someone else. All it shows is that you are capable of love. He's not the one. And he's proved it a million times. Move on or it'll only ruin you.

I'd been drowning, but where had he gone after promising me that he wouldn't let me drown?

The best thing about this book is the way the author had given life to the three characters. You can actually feel for the characters. I also liked the way the book ended, in a very realistic manner. It was not a forced happy ending. The narration is great and the book is very fast paced. I completed it in a day.

For me, it is a 4.5 out of 5 because of the author's brilliant portrayal of heartbreak and pain. Highly recommended! 

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.