Thursday, 24 November 2016

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

#BookReviews


Indian Bloggers

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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

Thursday, 17 November 2016

My 'Jug' - My 'Lifeline'

#DearZindagi

Life is not fair but it does makes up for it... my life made up for all past miseries by giving me the perfect husband i.e. my lifeline.

We met 8 years ago and in few days will complete six years of marriage and I cannot ask for a better partner. He is the sweetest, smartest and kindest person in this whole world and life has been a little too generous for giving him to me.

You won't believe but most days we spend 24 hours together. People in my office know this because we are in same department and everyone is always in aww that how come two people - who are so different that they seem like opposite poles of Earth can gel together so well. My colleagues many times say - "I would rip my hubby's hair if I had to spend so much time with him" or "We would kill each other" or "I need my space" and etc. etc. but for me I am in my perfect space. Any space that doesn't involve him is a void for me and I know for sure he feels the same.

He is one person with whom I can share anything and everything. Many girls complain about their husbands to their mothers but in my case it is opposite. Even if I have a complaint against him, I can talk to him directly and he listens (not that he implements but yes he lets me blabber and ease up my heart). And he does the same... If we have any issues we don’t burden our hearts with them, we just speak and that make us what we are... Best Friends. 
He is one person on whole planet who knows all my secrets, the ones from before marriage as well –shh… some are rather big ones and he is fine with them. If something good or bad happens he is the first person I tell and same is with him, I am the first person he tells and in case we are not able to connect then and there, you should see how restless we get. Haha!
Also, you won’t believe he even knows which all actors I find hot and sexy and he is totally fine with them –and when someone ask him he is like as if she is gonna get him… LOL!

My life is sweet and complete now just because I have the best partner in my life. I can’t believe God has been so kind to me and I hope I never jinx it. Because, as you can imagine, without him, even a moment in my life is impossible and fruitless. And I don’t think I can ever survive.

Yup, that’s my ‘jug’ aka my lifeline aka my soulmate. Who is yours?
PS: I am writing about Jug in my life for the #DearZindagi activity at BlogAdda.

Love & Cheers


Monday, 14 November 2016

Stranger Things - A show worth watching...

#StrangerThings  #TVShows

I had watched this web series few months ago and I can't believe I forgot to write about it... :(

If you are a fan of sci-fi horror shows then it is the one... Honestly I won't call it horror per se but it is a good thriller show that will keep you on your toes.

Created by Duffer brothers, it is a Netflix show that revolves around mysterious disappearances in 1980s in a fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana - USA. There are 8 episodes in first season and second season with 9 episodes is due in 2017.

The story begins with mysterious disappearance of a 12 year old boy named Will Byers. The place 'Hawkins' is considered almost crime-free but ever since his disappearance crime-rate and mysterious activities increases alarmingly. His family, friends and police sheriff try their best to locate the boy but the biggest mystery is - Is he even on same dimension? And who (or What) has taken him? Will they be able to locate him alive? And even if they do, what is the danger they face?

Another twist that comes up in the show is the appearance of a 'strange and mysterious' girl called
'Eleven' who somehow has supernatural powers. She is a runaway (from a top-secret government organization) and meets with friends of Will. She is most incredible character of the show who speaks less and does more. Together they set on journey of finding Will (against the strict instructions of their parents).
The story is engrossing and each episode is thrilling - which reveals new aspect of Will's disappearance. You just can't stop yourself from watching the next episode. Thankfully it is only 8 episodes as it really grows over you and I remember finishing all 8 on a weekend. (Yes, later they haunted me in my sleep).

If you have already watched this show then you know what I mean and just like me, you are waiting for second season. If you have not watched it, you should give it a try... I am sure you will like it.

My rating to the show - 5/5. A must watch for lovers of this genre.

Love & Cheers


Saturday, 12 November 2016

Book - A Knotty Affair - A Story of Unexpected Twists in Life

#AKnottyAffair  #BookReview


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Title: A Knotty Affair
Author: Dhaval Birajdar
Publisher: Leadstart Publishers
Pages: 288
Price: Rs. 165
My Rating: 3.5/5

Blurb:
A Knotty Affair’ is a story about a thirty-year-old software engineer, Viraj Sargaokar. 
Born into a middle class family that lives in the suburbs, he joins a south Bombay college, where he encounters a culture divide between him and his rich classmates, who ridicule him in various ways, making his college life a hell. 
With a father that is a disciplinarian and a professor in the same college, Viraj’s only consolation is his mother. His mother thinks the world of her son and stands by him through all his struggles. 
Viraj is fascinated by a classmate Ruhi, a beautiful good-natured girl, who be-friends him and treats him well, unlike the rest of his classmates. 
Life changes drastically for Viraj, when his honest professor father is accused of bribery and arrested. 
Will Viraj be able to prove his father’s innocence? 
Will Viraj survive the rigours of college life and overcome his shortcomings?

Review:
A Knotty Affair - as the name suggests (or one might assume) is not about an affair between a boy and a girl. Instead it is talking about the affairs in ones life and how it shapes the future. The cover art is also very different - I would love to understand the significance from the author.
Talking about story, it revolves around Viraj, who has been struggling his whole life due to stammering issues. The whole story is about how he copes up with various situations in his life and how the relationships in his life shape him into the person he eventually becomes.

The book is divided into various sections of his life. Author has called them 'defense' not sure why but they are well split. Honestly the blurb doesn't do justice to the story line, his college life is only a small part of the story, rest all revolves around his later years. Which are rather interesting. I liked his involvement with Ruhi and how unexpected twists in life gives him what he desires most.

The characters in the book are partially well narrated. The character of Viraj is very well developed however for others it could be better. Especially for Ruhi, she is the second most important character but her initial narration doesn't do justice.

The writing style is very simple and at times you might feel that it is a little too ordinary, but everyone has their own ways of writing and I respect that. 

Talking about cons, to start with there are a few (not many) grammatical errors.
There is some part of court case in the book (as mentioned in the blurb, Viraj tries to prove his father's innocence). Having judiciary people in my family I know how wrong certain aspects were depicted. So that was a down-side for me. However, given it is a fiction book, anything is possible and we cant complain.
Another downside for me was the end of the book. It is a happy ending but I found it bit abrupt. Happens with most of us but I would have preferred to have a much smoother end. 

Overall, I liked the story and while reading it I didn't feel bored at all. Some parts were rather predictable but one can't help guessing what will come next. 
My rating to the book - 3.5/5 and if you are in need of a quick read, you can buy it from here.

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

Love & Cheers

Saturday, 5 November 2016

A letter to Zindagi - You were harsh but you made it worthwhile...

#DearZindagi  #ShortStory

Dear Zindagi

Growing up you were so harsh... with parents always away, you kept us surrounded with weird relatives who, if I recall properly, didn't give a damn about us. I still remember those days, coming back from school, eating stale cold lunch and then studying in anticipation mom will come back soon. I remember praying to fall sick so that mom will take a day off with me and will be there just for me... well why crib now as all this is in the past. And no matter what happened back then, I am still grateful to you for everything you have given as well. 

To start with I thank you for giving me a baby brother when I was ten. He brought a new sense of purpose in my life. The only reason why I wanted to get back to my home. Thank you for giving me a reason to protect and love someone like I have never loved and protected anyone. You gave me sense of responsibility and maturity.

Later you gave me a good college and lovely friends. You know how I made no friends in school, yes it is a tragic thing but girls were mean there and I am glad I made none. But in college you gave me awesome time where I could be me and made the best of friends with whom I am still in touch and love.

You also gave me a good job, that too at college placement and I still can't believe that I alone got placed. You not only made me do good there but also helped me find the man I truly love and adore. And much to my surprise, he reciprocated the feelings and despite all my flaws and darkness, he is with me for eight years now. Thanks to you I will have him forever and I cherish him everyday of my life.

You also laid down path for me and helped me be a writer. Sadly I not as successful I had dreamed but it is work in progress and I am sure you will work some miracles soon, LOL!

Now when I look back I realize that yes, you have been extremely harsh at times. I could barely make friends or relate to people growing up. You kept me so introvert that even writing this makes me nervous but I am grateful. I am thankful to you for shaping my life in such a way and if ever got a chance, I wont change a bit about you from the past because you made me what I am today. All the distress and the tiresome tests have made me a better person and I am happy. 

Thank you for giving me a happy and content today and hopefully a better future. I am glad to be living the way I have always dreamed of and all thanks to you my Zindagi. Have you turned back on me, I don't know where I would be... 

I believe it is rightfully said, when life takes you through hell, just keep going... you never know where you might end up. Well, I ended up in my self-made heaven,  I hope you give the same to everyone too.



PS:  I am writing a letter to life for the #DearZindagi activity at BlogAdda

Love & Cheers

Friday, 4 November 2016

Book Review Policy

#BookReviews #Policy



My reviews are my honest views however I do respect other authors and publishers.

There are 3 ways I get hold of a book:

  1. I find one appealing and buy it
  2. Someone suggest it to me and grab a copy 
  3. Or, a literary agent or author shares it with me
In either case I try to be as genuine as possible and write my honest views. 
I don't accept books where author expects me to write fake words primarily because I don't want the readers of my blog to get the wrong impression. If I like a book I recommend it, else I don't.

I use 5 point rating system and I rarely give a book below 3. Usually I don't read books that deserve below 3. However at times it does happen and my sincere apologies in advance to the author for lower ratings.

Having said all this, I seriously believe in not insulting anyone in any way. Hence, if any of my words look insulting to you in anyway, please drop me a message at krsharma.1988@gmail.com and I will re-look at my words. Believe me I don't intend to insult anyone and would make sure it is changed.

Well, after reading this, if you still wish to get an honest review and get it publicized on facebook, amazon, twitter, goodreads etc. Please do share your book. I would be happy to read it.

Love & Cheers

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

शून्य - a place to be...

#RandomThoughts  #ShortPoem


संघर्षों से थक कर, कई बार मैं यूं ही खो जाती हूँ 
तब मैं खुद को शून्य में ताकती पाती हूँ 
ज़िन्दगी के हर सफर में हमसफ़र बनता ये शून्य 
इसही में मैं समाती हूँ , और यहीं वक़्त बिताती हूँ 






PS: Written for Indispire Edition 141:Write a post on 0 (Zero). Write anything- humour, short story, haiku, poem, or a memory.








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