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


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


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


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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