Friday, 9 December 2016

Book: Secrets, Sins & Struggles - Stories of Women, Betrayal and Manipulation

#BookReviews

Read Review Policy Here


Title: Secrets, Sins & Struggles
Author: Kamini Kusum
Publisher: Zorba Books
Pages: 211
Price: Rs. 199
My Rating: 3/5

Blurb:
"This collection of tales about the lives and loves of five women traces their long, eventful journeys. 
Meet Pooja, a teenager forced into the flesh trade but determined to escape and get justice. 
Shrawani who dreams of becoming a bureaucrat despite all the trials life throws her way. 
Avni who is torn between her childhood friend and her brand-new boyfriend. 
Harsha who is trapped in a loveless arranged marriage while still being haunted by thoughts of her forsaken lover. 
Geshna who falls head over heels for a high school sweetheart only to find her own life shrinking to accommodate his. 

These stories are about the odds stacked against these women in their paths to love and success, and their hope that the next turn that they make will be the one that leads them to the happiness they are longing for. "

Review:
Now this is the first collection of novellas that I have read and it took me just a couple of hours to finish them. The benefit of reading a collection - you don't get bored and before you know it, next story begins.
More or less equally divided, this books contains 5 stories and each revolves around a certain issue faced by women. However honestly, although issues faced are different but it primarily centers around one theme - "How women are stupid enough to trust so easily and how (most) men take advantage of it". I am thankful to God as I cannot relate to any single story mentioned in the book but reading through I felt really bad for all the girls out there who actually have faced or are facing such problems.

Talking about and rating each story:
  1. Brothel to Assembly: Story of Pooja. It is a heart-touching story of flesh trade. If I were the author I wouldn't have kept this first but I know why she did it. It is the best one out of five. It is really sad and pitiful. As I read it, I felt the pain that Pooja felt and how miserable she was.  I really liked the ending but I would have liked it better if vengeance was served... it was missing. My rating to this story - 4/5
  2. Love, Corporate and Custody:  Story of Geshna. It is a story of love and loss. It clearly states that when a girl devotes herself truly to a guy, she will do anything for him. Same happens with Geshna. It is well written story which narrates her devotion, admiration and true love for her boyfriend. And how he reciprocates in not so expected manner. My rating to this story - 3.5/5
  3. Madam Bureaucrat: Story of Shrawani. Oh I disliked this story... I wish author could have added a better one because this, well this was weird and I really wonder if girls are so-so-so stupid ever (I guess some are. Sigh!). It is one where an ambitious girl is manipulated and is stupid enough to not see the pattern (despite her intelligent friend repeatedly reminding her). My rating to this story - 1.5/5
  4. Sin: Story of Harsha. This story proves that all girls are not angels and all men are not mean. Opposite is also true. In here Harsha finds the best husband any girl can ask for (she actually gets even better) yet she engages herself in extra-marital affair. Well, we all know what is the tragic climax of such affairs! While reading you just wonder how can a woman be so mean and dumb? And all girls would wish to have a husband like hers. What he did in this story is just commendable and more or less impossible... read the story to know more. My rating to this story - 3/5
  5. That Rave Party Night: Story of Avni. Another average story in the book but still better than the third. Avni, a naive girl from a small town falls for a hunk and potentially becomes a prey to sexual predators in a Rave party. What I liked about this story is how she takes revenge. My rating to this story is 2.5/5
Overall it is a decent book and given it is the debut book of the author, I would say she has done a commendable job.
Characters in each story are well written and connected. There are no grammatical errors in the book, which for a change was pleasant.  And except for 4th, each story followed a smooth pattern, in 4th it actually ended slight abruptly. 

My rating to the book overall is 3/5...

You can grab the copy here.



Love & Cheers


Sunday, 4 December 2016

Book - My Blind Father: A book that redefines child psychology

#BookReviews

Read Review Policy Here

Title: My Blind Father
Author: 
Publisher: Kalamos Publishers
Pages: 139
Price: Rs. 125
My Rating: 3.5/5

Blurb:
A story teaching the nation... This story will take you into the depths of child psychology to understand the child, to help the child, to provide them an environment where then can grow to their best potentials. From the beginning of civilization, we are growing by ignoring child. Because it is very easy to ignore a child, you can tell them to shut up. You can force them to sit silently, so we forget how to understand a child. Your world is perfectly well without understanding a child. But now you can see the results. Ignoring a child, disrespecting the freedom of a child is producing criminals in the society. Now we need to understand a child to make our society crimeless. This book is to help everyone to understand the child. To make our civilization more civilized.

Review:
My blind father is a story of a father-son relationship and how it evolves overtime. Firstly, child psychology is not my cup of tea as it bothers me but this book was completely different. It redefines child psychology and takes it a new level.

The story is about a child Om, who first steps into school when he is nine years old. Given he is not bound to Indian educational system, he is way ahead in terms of understanding life and maturity level. What I liked was how he sees world from a complete different lens and how some genuine people really appreciate this lens.

As I started reading this book, I was completely hooked. There are very few books of which you want to read every single word and in the beginning it was one of them. Certain narrations are brilliant and at places it could be a good guide for parents. For example on morning walks, author has brilliantly written why children hate to wake up early. 
Small kids used to ask their parents to go on morning walks with them, but then parents didn’t allow them. Their reason is obvious; safety, but after a few years, when they started enjoying sleeping in and their laziness, then the parents dragged them out, physically and mentally, to go out for a morning walk. The child, then gets angry and his anger is reasonable; he was forced to do something. That innocent child was simply enjoying his sleep, and now you forced him to do something. You dragged him out of something which he has been enjoying for years. Of course, he will be against it, whatever it is. Doesn’t matter how beautiful, how refreshing and how healthy it is.

The writing style is also good, author has done good job in making the book interactive. You feel like he is actually reading it aloud to you.

What I didn't like about the book is the small mistakes here and there. Unfortunately our computers don't tell us when we misspell some words like 'keens' instead of 'knees'. LOL!

At places I also felt like that certain narrations were not required, but hey, it was author's choice and he must have thought it through. Also, certain narrations were not closed right in the flow, which I felt weird.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of the book but second half I felt dragged. Maybe it was because I was reading continuously and it got overwhelming. It got 'too much' but still I finished it and mostly liked it to the end. 

My rating to this book is 3.5/5.

You can grab your copy here.



Love & Cheers

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Book: Ashvamedha - Ultimate Climax That Will Surprise You And Will Shock You...

#Ashvamedha  #BookReview

Indian Bloggers
Read Review Policy Here


Title: Ashvamedha: The Game of Power
Author: Aparna Singh
Publisher: Shrishti Publishers
Pages: 227
Price: Rs. 137
My Rating: 4.5/5

Blurb:
"You have to dethrone a powerful man to become the most powerful. I was itching to defeat the single most powerful person, but there wasn't any. I was left with only one choice — to create one."

Little does Ashwin Jamwal know that the last twenty-five years of his life have been controlled by a master manipulator, who wanted to make him the most powerful man on earth, though for a reason! Ashwin steps up to take oath as the youngest Prime Minister of India and is unknowingly thrown into a vortex of power and authority as the entire world is threatened by a faceless enemy — Hades.

The world starts to look up to Ashwin as the savior, but he was just a pawn, reared only to be sacrificed in the end.


A story of greed, lies, deceptions, manipulations and corruption, Ashvamedha is a thriller revolving around the infamous game of power in a maddening bid to seek absolute control.

Review:
I am not a fan of politics but ever since our new PM took office my perspective has changed. And I am glad it did else I would have missed on reading this book.

Written with precision and vivid details, Ashvamedha is a promising book with very good story line. From start to end I was hooked to it and really liked every aspect that was narrated.

The plots and twist are beautifully written and one can never guess who this 'Hades' is... The suspense will keep you on your toes and you wont be able to put down the book despite the late hours.

In terms of writing it is rather matured and well connected. The characters are decently described and linked. I didn't see any random characters appearing (which can be a turn off) and even if they did, they were introduced.

The dialogues at places are rather good. To quote one here:
"We know what is right or wrong. What we should do and what not. We have an angel on one shoulder and devil sitting on the other. Sadly, the devil is louder. But when we go to bed at night and all voices fade, we hear our heartbeat"

The only issue with the book is some minor grammatical/spelling mistakes which, going with the flow, seemed weird. Also there is over-use of complicated words. I am sure this could have been avoided but apart from these it is a pretty fine read.

My rating for the book is 4.5/5 and I would recommend this to everyone who likes to read drama, thrill with political background.

You can grab your copy here.

The review copy of this book was shared with me by Author Paradise

Love and Cheers


Thursday, 24 November 2016

Book - Strangers with Known Faces - Murder, Mystery and Dangerous Endeavours

#BookReviews


Indian Bloggers

Read Review Policy Here

Title: Strangers with Known Faces
Author: Gautam Dutta
Publisher: Invicible Publishers
Pages: 257
Price: Rs. 185
My Rating: 4/5

Blurb:
Rajat, Meenakshi, Sadaaf, Amol, and Shanaya are five University students with nothing in common- who should never have met in the first place. They meet after winning a lucky draw- the prize of which was to take part in a puzzle game. Though the game was engrossing, they were unable to solve the puzzle in the stipulated time. However, this lead to the beginning of a deep friendship between them. Their friendship blossomed. But ego and misunderstanding led to an acrimonious break up. They meet again- two decades later- when Shanaya is murdered, and the other four are suspects. The four soon realize that in spite of being estranged for so many years, there were unknown ties that bound them- ties of treachery, deceit, and subterfuge. Ties that have led them to come together in circumstances that no one could have foreseen. And the game that they had left incomplete two decades back has to be played yet again - on a much bigger canvas. Now they have to trust each other, clear their names, and get to the bottom of the mystery, which threatens not only their lives and relationships, but also the fabric of democratic India. As their travels and travails continue, they discover hitherto unknown facets of the people around them, as well as their own selves. Can they succeed in resolving the puzzle this time? Or is history doomed to repeat itself? As hidden aspects of the human personality are revealed, they realize that no one is what he or she appears to be. For the world comprises of 'Strangers With Known Faces'.

Review:
Overall the book is pretty good however I am not sure why it is listed under Romance... It is not a romance novel instead it is a crime/thriller/mystery kind of book.

The current time zone in book is 2030, and the story jumps between our present and 2030.
The plot revolves around 5 characters who meet accidentally through a lucky draw system and then are bonded for life. The story revolves around Rajat, Meenakshi, Sadaaf, Amol, and Shanaya where primary focus is on Rajat and other characters are given due importance respectively.

They become good friends in University but breakup due to various circumstances. After two decades they are at the peak of their careers when Shanaya is mysteriously murdered and somehow remaining four are the primary suspects. Apart from these four another name that keeps on popping up is a name of International organization. Now it is upon these four to prove their innocence and find the culprit.

What I really liked about the book is its plot. It is very well written and it has various twists. The author has made a good attempt in gelling past and present together and you can actually feel the necessity of solving the mystery. Given the book is rather long (comparatively), you just can't wait to reach the end.

Additionally I also liked the entanglement of various characters and plot lines. Every thing seem so fragmented and all over the place initially but as we reach the climax it just makes sense - something like you see in so many movies.

Also the writing style of the author is mature. You can sense that a good quality book and writing is in your hands. Entire book is broken down in many small chapters. By looking at them it might feel too much but they actually make sense when you read. 

What I didn't like about the book is editing. Yes, it always is the first point I make when I read the book. Initially it is less but as the book the progresses so does the mistakes. I would highly recommend a good proof read as it is pretty good book.

Another thing that I didn't like is various additional characters that were added randomly. I understand characters are needed but it is the duty of the author to introduce each one and not just bombard the reader with new names. 

Also, certain aspects were dragged out which made me forget the original essence. I forgot certain characters as they popped up a few chapters later. Re-intro (one liner) in such cases could have been good. Especially the flashback of Rajat was a little to dragged... it could have been shortened.  

Lastly the climax, honestly it didn't do justice. I felt that author devoted his everything to the entire story and then was left with nothing in the end - LOL! I felt the importance of the foreign organization that was (kind of) involved was ignored completely in the end, also the eventual coup was a little too much. I don't think that it is ever possible or say probable but I would still say kudos to author for a vivid attempt.

My overall rating to the book is 4/5. You should give it a try, it is tad on heavier side (not weight but content wise) but it is worth a read.

You can buy a copy here.


The review copy of this book was shared with me by Kalamos Literary Services

Love & Cheers

Sunday, 20 November 2016

BookOkay.com – A good site for books price comparison

#Random

With so many books available online and so many websites offering lucrative deals, it becomes crucial to check out which website is offering what deal. However, most of us directly go to ‘amazon.in’ and make the purchase and many times it doesn’t even strike us that there might be any other place that could be offering a better deal. BookOkay.com is one of those websites which collects data from various sites and gives us a comprehensive picture.

I looked up the site and used it on multiple occasions and realized that where it is very useful, just like any other site, it has its pros and cons. 


To start with Pros:
  1. The site is very simple and easy to navigate
  2. It compares many sites like:
    • Amazon.com
    • Rediff.com
    • Flipkart.com
    • Snapdeal.com 
    • Infibeam.com
  3. It is very quick, the moment you enter a detail, it gives results in seconds. It also pulls up ‘goodreads’ rating which is very useful
  4. It has sorting option where default sort is at price (Selling price + Delivery charges) which enables user to quickly understand the best available price. Other sort options are Seller, Availability etc.
  5. All books are sorted under various heads which makes search of books relatively easy. Following are the current heads:
    • Self Help
    • Competitive Exams
    • Philosophy
    • Computers & Internet
    • Family & Relationship
    • Academic & Professional
    • Literature & Fiction
Coming to Cons:
  1. Not all books are listed, I feel it has more of western authors in comparison to Indian. I looked up many books that I have recently read but found none. I am sure owner of the site is working on updating the list
  2. The ‘search’ section doesn’t work best.  Example: a simple search of ‘Harry Potter’ doesn’t yield essential 7 parts of the series, instead it pulls up various other books and you have to browse through pages to find required book. Also if the book is not listed it throws many unnecessary suggestions  and same is the case with ISBN number-which is kind of weird as every book’s ISBN is unique
  3. Under various heads of the books, Literature & Fiction is very wide and it doesn’t give a clear list of preferred genre. Owners should break various heads like Literature & Fiction into various genres like Romance, Crime etc. for easy access
  4. The genre definition of book is missing in ‘about the book’ section. Many people prefer to buy certain genres and owners of websites should add that as well 
  5. There is a complete catalogue of books listing available but it is labeled as [1-500] instead of genre or alphabetical order which makes it useless. Additionally it is very slow to load

Overall it is a pretty good initiative and once the list is thoroughly updated it would be extremely useful for all book lovers as we can decide which site is offering the best deal and save our precious money :)

Going forward, for each book that I buy, I am going to first look it up at BookOkay.com and then buy at the best price available. I would recommend everyone to do so as well – what do you say, would you do it?
Sample of Search

PS: The review was requested by the owner of the website.

Love & Cheers