Friday, June 16, 2017

Coffee Date - A Review

Coffee Date - As an ardent coffee lover, the cover very much appealed me. It's a cup and saucer with coffee beans spilled about. Also, the cover has a brown shade, making it all the more inviting. 'FROM THE UNDISPUTED KING OF ROMANCE ON BLOG-O-SPHERE' - something that read like the author was a writing champion made my curiosity brim with anticipation. In the back cover, the beans continue to spill and as if to spill the beans, some of the cute keywords from the story are added in stylish font. My brownie points to the cover well done.



Coming to the first chapter of the book, like the aroma of freshly prepared coffee, it starts off on a breezy note. It is a love story between the characters Siddhartha Abhimanyu and Isha Reddy. It starts like a fairytale. Siddhartha, whom everyone calls Sid, is a romantic by nature. IT Professional with a six figure salary, ardent lover of Nicholas Sparks's books, and a naturally romantic poet who is on the verge of writing his first book 'Coffee Date'. Need I say more? And Isha, is like the Bollywood type heroine. She has big dreams about directing movies and is quite charming and has a mind of her own. The efforts that the author has taken to make the couple perfect for each other is laudable.

This is a story centered on Isha and Sid, yes, but there are a mélange of characters that stand in our hearts even after the book has been long read. There's Sid's most faithful friend Diwa, Viki, donning the same role on Isha's side. 'The Bugs' Sahana and Niharika are Sid's office colleagues. Even though Sid's boss Reena has quite a trivial role to play in the story, she comes off as domineering yet understanding. This shows that Saravana Kumar Murugan has developed even his trivial characters in a believable way. Some more points to Gryffindor!

However, as the story progresses, there are some lines which I thought could have been framed in a better way. For a good story, I don't mind about the type-set, but there were some missing commas and full-stops which kind of made it difficult to follow. That doesn't point at the author, but at the editorial team. They could have done a better job.

But nevertheless, the storytelling was right from the heart. The author seems to have the prowess to touch a reader's heart. Like his character, the author also has instilled some romantic poetry in the book that comes off like a swift breeze from The Marina. The narration is fresh and new. Usually I don't read romance, but I thought I'd give this book a try, and it turned out to be a good experience. Saravana Kumar Murugan has a natural flair for romance-fiction.

I am not delving into the details of the story itself, but if you have a penchant for romance and a light read, then this book is definitely for you.

And Surprise! The author has intelligently placed a twist in the tail of the book. He promises a sequel called 'Believe In Miracles'. The story-line again, is inviting and more powerful. I wish him good luck with the sequel.

Verdict: A Good Debut


My Rating: 

Book Details:

Title: Coffee Date
Author: Saravana Kumar Murugan
Genre: Romance-Fiction
Type: Paperback
Publisher: IndiAuthor
Pages: 150
Year of Publication: 2017
Price: 143 INR
Buy Paperback: Amazon 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Confessions on an Island by Ayan Pal - book review


The cover
A beautifully woven story within a perfectly wound cover. The woman’s face against the scenic background on the front cover, gives one, the exotic feel of the island even before one ventures into the book. The title with all its majesty, speaks for how powerful a story lies beneath it. The back cover has an interesting blurb of the story.
The blurb
An abducted woman trapped on an island is given a chance to escape, provided she tells stories emerging from the stories that her intriguing abductor tells her. Clueless about why she is being forced to participate in a game of Russian Matryoshka Dolls, the woman, a bestselling author, decides to play along. And therein begins a thrilling tale narrated by an island.
Of a man and a woman consumed by the power of their imagination and truth, even as the stakes are gradually raised. Soon the only way out is in- into the past, heart and mind. The island is ready to confess. Are you ready for the truth?
About the author
Ayan Pal is a Kolkata-based IT professional and author who has received several accolades in his career so far. These include the honor of his book being a record holder in the Limca Book of Records, the title of ‘Distinguished Toastmaster’ from Toastmasters International for demonstrating outstanding communication and leadership skills, and a ‘Brandon Hall Award’ considered as the ‘Academy Awards’ by Learning, Talent and Business Executives worldwide.
He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from VTU, Karnataka and has completed a course in Education Technology from SDSU, California.
As an author, he is known for his acclaimed short stories in the Amazon bestsellers Chronicles of Urban Nomads, 21 Tales to Tell and When they spoke. He has contributed to India’s first composite novel, Crossed and Knotted, Upper Cut, Her Story, Rudraksha, Arranged to Love, Tonight’s the Night and Long Story Short. He is a columnist of lifestyle magazine ThnkMkt and blogger at Open Road Review.
Passionate about public speaking, Ayan also loves reading, creative writing, watching and reviewing films, listening to music, and binge watching his favourite TV shows. Confessions on an Island is his debut novel.
The plot
A man, a woman and an island are the components of the happening story. A bestselling author is abducted by an anonymous man to a secluded island. Unlike usual abductions, the motive here is not money. He claims it to be an act of redemption. The woman, on the other hand, is totally oblivious to what he has in mind, while going through the tormenting pain of abuse and finally giving up her futile efforts, as she realizes there’s no escape but to abide by.
As he pulls her into the game of Russian Matryoshka Dolls, she easily gives in, being a storyteller herself. The woman spins tales out of her imagination, intending to convey her feelings through them. At a certain point, she understands that his stories are nothing but who they are and what made them end up here. The game goes on and the truth gradually unveils with each story. When the known and the unknown switch places, impulse gets into action, leaving them with an end that is irreversible at any cost.
The execution
It is the tale of two people with twisted pasts of rough childhood, broken relationships, lost love, betrayal and death. One event leads to another, resulting in the need to avenge the loss. Life or death- the fate of the woman is just a few stories ahead of her.
Travelling through the book is almost like playing a memory game, except the cards are stories which the reader not only correlates with the subsequent ones, but also enjoys them together as well as separately. Once all are the cards of the past are dealt, the result is in the hands of fate to be revealed.
The narration
The very beginning of the story surpasses the threshold of curiosity. To peak the interest, there are two narrators, the woman and the island while the man is what the reader’s mind comes up with, after hearing to what the narrators and the emerging stories have to say.  The author also adds spice to the stories within stories, with sex and sexuality as a reflection of what the characters are composed of. The narration is so fantastic that the thrill bar is raised a notch higher with each chapter. The icing on the cake is the climax which is completely unpredictable by any chance.
Conclusion
With all the dynamic stories, mysteries, brilliant execution and turbulent narration, the book turns out to be a power-packed psychological thriller.On the whole, Confessions on an Island is one of a kind and deserves to be a celebrated number under Indian-writing.
Rating
Blurb: 5/5
Description: 5/5
Writing style: 5/5
Excerpt: 5/5
Book cover: 5/5
Overall rating: 5/5
Book details:
Title: CONFESSIONS ON AN ISLAND
Author: Ayan Pal
Genre: Thriller
Type: Paperback
Publisher: Readomania
Language: English
Pages: 190
Year of publication: 2016
Price: 200 INR
Buy paperback: Amazon


Shadow in the mirror by Deepti Menon - book review

Introduction
The book had my intrigue greatly stirred, well before I got to lay my hands on it. Who won’t be curious to know what a novel that underwent twelve years of incubation by the author known for her eerie stories, has to offer?
The blurb
It all begins with a death. Nita, a pregnant woman falling from her balcony, becomes the string that unravels the plot. Her death casts a shadow over many lives; her heartbroken father, her husband, and Vinny, a young journalist, drawn in by the whiff of foul play and murder.
What follows are stories within stories, eras and worlds colliding with each other, leaving behind splintered relationships, and mesmerizing slices of lives that appear to be drawn together and driven apart by the whimsical threads of destiny.
As events cast their shadows ahead to link the stories of Vinny, Kavita, Roma, Krish, and Nita in an unrelenting knot, a journey starts to uncover the truth. What is the secret that links Nita’s death to the other characters? Will Vinny be able to unravel the mystery?
From intimate diary entries and letters, to bantering over a meal, and sharing memories while spring-cleaning, this novel de-familiarizes the ordinary, presenting a kaleidoscope of our own pasts, broken edges and pulsating hearts.
About the author
Deepti Menon is the author of two books, Arms and the Woman and Deeparadhana. She has worked as a journalist with several publications, and is now a freelance editor. Short stories with deft twists and tongue-in-cheek articles that tickle the funny bone are her forte. Deepti lives with her family in Chennai.
The cover
The cold stare from the icy blue medium of the front cover promises to thrill the life out of anybody who dares to look into those blue eyes. Little did I know about the mysteries that were waiting for me to delve deep into the concealment.
The back cover has the blurb of the story and an interesting note about the author.

The book quality
The book has the best quality cover and the paper quality is too good to keep the fingers off the pages. The font as well as the line spacing is absolutely flawless.
The plot
The plot encompasses the journey of many lives with a death being the conjecture that turns them topsy-turvy. Vinny, a young journalist, is disturbed after stumbling upon the death of a pregnant young woman, which potentially makes a good crumb for her story. When she’s confused about the mess that she got herself into, a shadow figure leaves her with a strange note at her door step, letting her know the next move. The question, what seems like a jigsaw puzzle, is thrown in front of Vinny, with the answer being Nita’s death. Now, the job is hers to put the pieces together by raising the right queries at the right places.
The execution
The puzzle has three domains of different lives, that fall in place as the story progresses, leaving us with three people in the end, who share the cause and effects of the mysterious death.
 The first domain encircles Madhav, Sonia, their precious daughter, Nita and her loving husband, Krish. Their lives have been pretty much like anybody else’s with the usual ups and downs, happiest as well as darkest moments, except Nita being nurtured in a cocoon of wealth, which paves way for her uninvited troubles. Their servant-maid Rosy charms the readers with her cute snippets of wisdom.
The second domain with Vaishali and her best friend Kavita, which initially seems a little off-track, is surprisingly well-connected to the key happenings of the story, in the most interesting fashion. The unexpected turn of events in the two women’s lives turns the story of a different set of people topsy-turvy.
The third domain consists of Sudha, her husband Eshwar, their children Vinny and Shamu, Vinny’s best friend Roma and her family. This is the loveliest of the three domains. Sudha’s life as an army wife, Vinny growing up together with Roma and how their lives take entirely different roads only to meet at a crucial intersection, such a masterfully penned chunk.
The narration
The narration is exceptional that it doesn’t feel like actually reading a book. It is as if listening to the author herself. Perfect number of characters with the comprehensive description of each character paints an unblemished picture of the story in the readers’ mind.
Unlike most other thrillers, the description of the happening scenes sends chills down the spine even without the mention of blood and gore. The first chapter virtually got me hurtling down from the twelfth storey, enthralling my head with dying Nita’s thought process.
Initially many a guess arises within the readers’ mind which is typical of an ideal thriller. The revelation towards the end is almost like placing the final piece of the jigsaw puzzle.
A steady yet gripping pace is maintained throughout, rendering the book un-put-down-able. Besides proving to be an engaging thriller, the book puts the readers in peace with an exciting end.
Conclusion
The book keeps all its promises by entertaining the readers with a brand-new experience in the thriller-mystery combo. Put in a nut-shell, Shadow in the Mirror is one of a kind and deserves to be a celebrated number under Indian-writing.
Rating
Blurb: 5/5
Description: 4.5/5
Writing style: 5/5
Excerpt: 5/5
Book cover: 5/5
Overall rating: 5/5
Book details:
Title: SHADOW IN THE MIRROR
Author: Deepti Menon
Genre: Thriller
Type: Paperback and ebook.
Publisher: Readomania
Language: English
Pages: 206
Year of publication: 2016
Price: 225 INR
Buy paperback:
http://www.amazon.in/Shadow-Mirror-Thrilling-Quest-Redemption/dp/9385854143
Buy Kindle edition:
India - https://www.amazon.in/dp/B01M4JL112
USA - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M4JL112
Canada - https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01M4JL112
UK - https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01M4JL112
Australia - https://www.amazon.au/dp/B01M4JL112







Saturday, September 3, 2016

சுமித்ரா - புத்தக விமர்சனம்



முன்னுரை:
சென்னையில் நடந்த புத்தகக் கண்காட்சியில் வம்சி பதிப்பகத்தின் கடையில் ‘இறுதியாத்திரை’ என்னும் நூலைத் தோழி வாங்கிய பொழுது அங்கிருந்தவரின் பரிந்துரையின் பேரில் இந்நூலை வாங்க நேர்ந்தது. வாங்கி இரண்டு மாதங்கள் ஆகிய நிலையில், தற்செயலாகக் கண்ணில் பட்ட சுமித்ரா, என் கரம் பற்றினாள்.  வாசிக்கத் தொடங்கினேன்.

தமிழ் மொழியின் மீது இயல்பாக எனக்கிருக்கும் பிணைப்பா அல்லது வெகு நாட்களாய் ஆங்கில நூல்கள் படித்த களைப்பா எனத் தெரியவில்லை. தொடக்கத்திலேயே இந்நூல் சற்றே மனதிற்கு நெருக்கமான ஒன்றாகத் திகழப் போகிறதென்ற உள்ளுணர்வு ஏற்பட்டது.

அறிமுகம்:

மாபெரும் எழுத்தாளரும், நாவலாசிரியருமான கல்பட்டா நாராயணன் அவர்களின் படைப்பான ’இத்ரமாத்ரம்’ என்னும் நூலின் மொழிபெயர்க்கப் பட்ட வடிவமே ‘சுமித்ரா’. தமிழில் மொழிபெயர்த்து வெளியிட்டிருப்பவர் எழுத்தாளர் திருமதி. கே.வி.ஷைலஜா அவர்கள்.

இவ்விரு எழுத்தாளர்களைப் பற்றிய குறிப்பைப் புத்தகத்தின் முன்னுரையில் காணலாம்.

அட்டைப்படம் மற்றும் உள்படங்கள்

வடிவமைத்தவர் : ஓவியர் சீனிவாசன்.




கரையும் ஒரு பெண்ணுருவமும் அதைச் சுற்றிச் சிதறிக் கிடக்கும் சிறு வட்டங்கள் கொண்ட அட்டைப்படம், கதையின் பயணத்தினூடே வாசகர்க்கு ஏற்படும் உணர்ச்சிப்பெருக்கின் சித்தரிப்பாய் அமைந்திருக்கிறது.

காலத்தின் வேகத்தால் உடலும் உயிருமாய் இந்த உலகத்தை விட்டுக் கரையும் சுமித்ராவின் பெண்ணுருவம் மரணத்தின் வினைமுற்று. எல்லாம் முடிந்த பின் சுமித்ரா வடிவ வெறுமை நிரந்தரமாய் இருந்துவிடுகிறது. கரைந்து போகும் புகை தன் அடையாளமாய்க் கரிய துகள்களை விட்டுச்செல்வது போல், மறைந்துபோன சுமித்ராவின் நினைவுகள், சிதறிக்கிடக்கும் சிறு வட்டங்களாய்த் தங்கி விடுகின்றன.

முகவுரை:

வாழ்க்கையின் வேஷம்’ என்னும் தலைப்பில் இந்நூலுக்குப் பிரபல எழுத்தாளரான எஸ். இராமகிருஷ்ணன் எழுதியிருக்கும் எழில் மிகுந்த முகவுரை, மறைத்து வைத்த மல்லிகைத் தோட்டத்தைக் காட்டிக் கொடுக்கும் மணம். முகவுரை படிக்கும் பழக்கம் உள்ளவர்கள் கொடுத்துவைத்தவர்கள்.

கதையின் சாரம்:

சுமித்ரா இறந்துவிட்டாள். அத்தனை அந்நிய மரணங்களைப் போலவும் அவளது மரணமும் மிகவும் சாதாரணமாகவே இருக்கிறது. துக்க வீட்டின் ஓலமும், விரைத்துக் கிடக்கும் பிரேதமும் வாசகர் மனதில் பெரிதாக எந்த ஒரு சலனத்தையும் ஏற்படுத்தி விடவில்லை.

உயிரற்றுக்கிடக்கும் சுமித்ராவின்பால் வாசகர்க்கு ஏதொரு உணர்வுமில்லை. மரணத்தின் சந்நதியில், தன் வாழ்வில் சந்தித்த மனிதர்களின் நினைவுகளாய்ப் பிறப்பெடுக்கும் சுமித்ராவே வாசகர் மனதில் வலம் வருபவள்.

கள்ளங்கபடமற்ற குழந்தைப்பருவம், கதைபேசிச் சிரிக்கும் தோழமை, பணிச்சியிடம் காட்டும் பரிவு, மாற்றான் பிள்ளையிடம் காட்டும் அன்பு, முதியோரிடம் கொண்ட மரியாதை, சிறுபிள்ளையின் வெகுளித்தனம், கணவன் மேல் கொண்ட காதல், காதல் சிறிதுமற்ற இடத்தில் தலைதூக்கும் காமம், குறைகளனைத்தையும் மறந்து மனிதரை மனிதராய் மதிக்கும் பெருந்தன்மை எனப் பன்முகம் கொண்டவள் நாம் காணும் சுமித்ரா.

படித்ததில் பிடித்தது:
ü         
       கதைக்களம் கேரள மாநிலத்தின் வயநாடு என்னும் பகுதியில் அமைக்கப்பட்டிருக்கிறது. இயற்கை எழில் கொஞ்சும் வயநாட்டின் கல்பட்டா நகரத்தைக் கண்முன்னே கொண்டுவருகின்றன ஆசிரியரின் எழுத்துகள்.

சுமித்ராவின் அன்பிற்குப் பாத்திரமான பழங்கலம், வழியெல்லாம் வளர்ந்திருக்கும் தென்னை மரங்கள், அஃறிணையான போதிலும் கதையிலே ஒரு அங்கமாய் மாறிவிட்ட காப்பிச் செடிகள் என வாசகர்தம் மனக்கண்ணில் எழுத்துகளால் வரையப்படுகிறது ஓர் உயிரோவியம்.

கதை முடிந்த பின்னரும் நெஞ்சில் நீங்காது ஒட்டிக்கொள்கிறது வயநாட்டின் மண்வாசம்.

ü         சாதி வேறுபாடு; வேறுபாடின்மை, பெண்கல்வி, ஆண்-பெண் உறவு, காமத்தின் பெண்பக்கம், பெண்விடுதலை எனச் சமூகக் கண்ணோட்டம் நிறைந்த பல விடயங்களைப் பலவிதமான பரிமாணங்களில் மிகவும் அமைதியுடனும், நேர்த்தியுடனும் கதையின் போக்கில் இலைமறை காயாகக் குறிப்பிட்டிருப்பது அருமை.
ü        
         இந்நூலுடனான பயணத்தின் போது தமிழில் மிகச்சிறந்த எழுத்தாளரான சுஜாதா அவர்களின் படைப்பான ‘ஸ்ரீரங்கத்து தேவதைகள்’ என் நினைவிற்கு வந்தது. பல்வேறு நிலைகளில் இவ்விரு நூல்கலுக்கிடையில் உள்ள ஒற்றுமையும் அதன் சிறப்பம்சமும் என்னை வியப்பில் ஆழ்த்தின.

        ஸ்ரீரங்கத்து தேவதைகள்.
                         சுமித்ரா.
வாழ்க்கைப் பயணம்
மரணத்தின் சந்நதி
ஒரு மனிதனின் வாழ்வில் அவன் சந்திக்கும் மனிதர்கள் அவன் மீது ஏற்படுத்தும் தாக்கம், அவன் நினைவுகள் மூலம் கதையாய் வடிவெடுக்கின்றது.
ஒரு பெண் தன் வாழ்நாளில் சந்திக்கும் நபர்கள், சந்தித்த சூழ்நிலைகள், அப்போது ஒரு பெண்ணாய் அவர்கள் மீது அவள் கொண்ட தாக்கம் இவையனைத்தும் அவள் மரணத்தின் போது அம்மனிதர்களின் எண்ண அலைகளாகக் கதையாகி இருக்கிறது.
கதைக்களம்: ஸ்ரீரங்கம், தமிழ்நாடு.
கதைக்களம்: வயநாடு, கேரளா.
















முடிவுரை:

மரணம் என்பது மனிதத்தைத் தாண்டியதோர் மர்மம். வேடிக்கையாக, அந்த மர்மமே சில நேரங்களில் நெடுங்காலமாய் மனதை அரித்துக் கொண்டிருக்கும் கேள்விகளுக்கு விடையாய் அமைகிறது.

முதல் பக்கத்தில் இறந்துகிடக்கும் சுமித்ரா, கடைசி பக்கத்தில் சாகாவரம் பெற்று வாசகர் மனதில் நீங்கா இடம் பெறுகிறாள்.

விமர்சகர் - கோ. ஸ்ரீமதி.    



Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Goodbye Girl - Book Review

The Cover:

It is apparent that a lot of time has been invested in designing the cover. It is predominantly and if I am right, deliberately coloured red with two shades, the top half lighter and the bottom half darker. There are some speckles of the darker colour (like blood), starting at the top and finally forming a pool covering the 'girl in a school uniform holding a gun'. Hats off to the cover-designer. It is very ingeniously crafted, giving a little sneak-peek to the reader that this is not going to be a run-of-the-mill kind of a story, it is gruesome and involves a lot of gore.



The Blurb:

Today I am 18.
I have decided to give myself a birthday gift - JUSTICE
My enemies are rich, power and dangerous.
If I want to be alive, I'll have to kill them before they kill me.
I do not care if I die in the process.
At least I will die knowing that I am not a victim anymore.
I am a survivor.
I am going to open a real world, scarier than fiction.

Will you walk with me?
Because if it can happen to me, it can happen to you too

This is a powerful blurb, isn't it? It tells us more about the story. An 18 year old girl, wanting to kill powerful and destructive people while many in the country are trying to find a boyfriend. Jokes apart, it gives us some information furthermore about the story. She is a victim, she is a survivor, she is tough, she has nothing to lose, and that she has went through a lot of pain to take such a drastic decision.

My Take:

It is a thick book about 400+ pages. I haven't read a thick book that is written by an Indian author. I open the book, and the first thing I find before the story starts is a quote from the epic, Mahabharat. It reads thus:

To save a family, abandon a man
To save the village, abandon a family
To save the country, abandon a village
To save the soul, abandon the earth.

This got me hooked. Excited, I started reading the preface. It was told from the perspective of a five year old girl which put down my excitement. It was a slow start for a thriller. But the pulse raised from chapter two. The girl who is now eighteen, is handcuffed and is in Bangkok, and she has no idea as to how she ends up there. From there, the pulse doesn't reduce. The book follows the first person perspective throughout the story. It is hard to believe that this was a debut, because the author seems to know how to keep a reader guessing which I think is the most important thing that needs to be kept in mind as a storyteller; to make the reader turn the page. That I think the author has got it. She has carefully presented the story to the reader by juggling between the past and present, slowly unraveling the main motive behind the girl's drastic decision. The protagonist, I must say, goes through a lot. Some descriptions are so vivid that it makes the reader go to the place and visualize the amount of pain that the protagonist goes through for no fault of hers. It is bound to leave an unprepared reader teary-eyed. There is a phase in the book which I'd like to call it the depression phase. It comes sometime around in the second half of the book. If the book is compared to a man, it would be fair to say that the book suffered a mid-life crisis that would just break any heart. Having said that the people who inflicted pain upon her are powerful, vicious and disastrous, she is undeterred. She has nothing to lose now, and gets ready for the suicidal feat. On the way through her journey, she meets a guy who goes by the name of Balu, which isn't technically his real name. The author has handled the romance between the two in an unorthodox way, which is good. We don't need girl-victim-finding a helper-falls in love with him right away kind of stories anymore, thanks to the movies that has dusted and tampered with these type of stories. But Sheeja handles it brilliantly. Though the protagonist is eighteen, she acts mature, and at times immature. The way their romance progresses is gradual. And that being said, the people the girl meets whilst pursuing her seemingly implausible feat, pave way to make it possible. She doesn't straight away return back and pull the trigger at the people responsible for the state she was in, it doesn't work that way. She trains a lot, and so much hard that shows how determined she is to go about the plan. Does the formulated plan work out for the best? That forms the rest of the story. The author has portrayed the book in the most realistic manner possible. She has enunciated the fact that life isn't kiss-the-frog-marry-a king-be a queen kind of fairy tale.

Now for the cons. Though the book is definitely a page-turner, the language used could have been a little better. The way things were put could have been conveyed in a better manner, like the ending of the book. The reader gets to know what the author tries to say; it has been left open-ended, which is a brilliant way to end a novel, but having said all that, it could have been written in a much better way.

Ratings:
Cover: 5/5
Blurb: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Narration: 3.5/5
Flow: 4/5
Climax: 3.5/5
Overall: 4.25/5

Conclusion:
Overall, it was a fantastic read. It makes the reader go through a turmoil of emotions. This was indeed the most different revenge story that I have read till date and I'd like to thank the author for the experience and wish her best for her future ventures.


Verdict:

A Powerful Debut


Book Details:

Title: Goodbye Girl
Author: Sheeja Jose
Genre: Thriller
Type: Paperback
Publisher: Whitewall Publishers
Language: English
Pages: 413
Year of Publication: 2015
Price: 299 INR
Buy Paperback: Amazon|Flipkart

About the Reviewer:

Aravind Sampath is a voracious reader and an occasional writer. He is currently pursuing his final year in Mechanical Engineering at Chennai Institute of Technology. He has been a part of three anthologies namely, The Chronicles of Urban Nomads, As a Beginner for a Beginning, and A Little Chorus of Love : Love through Ages. His favourite authors to read are R. K. Narayan and Jeffrey Archer.  Besides writing, he is a passionate singer who is the lead singer of the band, The Progressive Monks, which will soon release their debut album.







Friday, July 22, 2016

Review: Let The Game Begin by Sandeep Sharma


The Blurb:

Two kingdoms, Chaturanga and Sarprakt, separated by a mystic mountain range are at war with each other since ages. Chaturanga, ruled by King Viratha, is soon bestowed with a dynamic heir, and the whole kingdom is drowned in rituals and festivity. On the other side, Sarprakt is executing a cruel conspiracy. King Viratha, crippled by the conspiracy, urges the mysterious man of the mountain to devise a method to recreate the conspiracy and that gave birth to 'The Game of Chess'.
****
Serial killings shock the nation as the police are rendered clueless. The killer leaves behind a trail of chess pieces with a strange message. Random people are murdered. Connoisseurs of different fields - History, Chess and the Security forces - have united as the next intended victim is the most powerful person of the country. How is Chess involved in the whole scenario? How will they find a man who died 4000 years ago? Can a person defy the laws of nature? Does history really repeat itself? Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

About the Author: 

Sandeep Sharma (23), made his debut in the writing industry with ‘Hey Dad! Meet my mom’, the book which is still a hot topic of discussion amongst readers. He is currently working on his start-up venture named ‘Author Paradise’ that works for the benefit of Authors to provide them well-organized online & offline publicity. By education, he is a civil engineer who graduated from JSS Academy of Technical Education, Noida.

He is very passionate about writing and has been writing short stories for his personal blog since 6 years and they were published various times. He has also co-founded 'The Author's Blog', a platform that tries to bridge the gap between authors and readers. He is an avid reader and loves to review books on his blog. He is a well-known reviewer in the literary world. 


The Cover:

The cover is very creative and perfectly suits the story. A very apt, pictorial representation of the plot. A great advantage to the book as it lures the reader into reading it. An effort potent enough to peek the readers’ interest. The upper half of the front cover being a pact getting burnt and the lower half with a chess board bearing the majestic black queen, effortlessly tells what one is going to deal with until one gets through the game. The back cover has the blurb of the story and an interesting note about the author.

The Book Quality:

The book has the best quality cover and the paper quality is so good that anybody who holds the book, would definitely want to read it. The font as well as the line spacing is absolutely flawless.

The Plot:

To put in a nutshell, ‘HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF’ The plot is amazingly built with cruel conspiracies and mysteries of immortality of the past, in unison with blood chilling serial murders of totally unrelated people in the present, with messages left for the investigating crew. The tension gears up when one of the VIPs of the country is suspected to be the next victim. The reader is put to a complete awe for the plot when the investigating crew is actually pulled into the game. The idea of incorporating the game of chess within the plot and the way it is brought out is a class apart.

The Narration:

Perfect number of characters and the well-established connection between them makes it easy for the readers to stay in track. The author has carried the story in a pace appropriate for the plot to be well absorbed. A gripping and a page-turning narration. A combination of an unusual plot and a thrilling narration with a tinge of fantasy renders the book un-put-down-able. The speed gets constantly raised with each chapter. It is a real torture to find that the book is a cliffhanger. An epilogue to the sequel would have eased up the tension a bit.

The Execution:

The story of the past is not just the usual rivalry between two kingdoms followed by the war waged between them at the end of which the heir of the lost kingdom survives and plans to take revenge. The inspiring part is that the real war starts where the battle is lost. The immortal character at first appears to be the key to the answers but leaves the readers in pure shock when it develops into the biggest question.
After a certain point, the suspicion keeps shifting from one character to the other, which is a brilliant way to keep up the thrill. The simultaneous revelation of the past and the present events in alternate chapters adds to the intrigue and expectation as to what’s going to happen next.

The Groundwork:

The plot requires a tremendous amount of research about the game chess as it dates back to its origin. The author has also hinted about the art of wood carving which was greatly explored during the mogul period.
The language:
Simple and elegant language makes it easy to follow the story. At the same time, the language is slightly bland that it hampers the intensity of the plot. The language would add to the magnitude of the story if strengthened with powerful vocabulary.

Suggestions for the sequel:

1. Standard of the language can be improved.
2. A detailed description of the characters before-hand, paints a better picture.
3. A table of contents would be helpful.

Conclusion:

On the whole, it was an awesome read where the reader travels through a virtual world of conspiracies and unexpected turn of events. Good luck with the sequel, Mr. Sandeep Sharma. Awaiting ‘Let The Game Begin – Part 2’.

Rating:
Blurb: 5/5
Description: 4/5
Writing Style: 4/5
Excerpt: 5/5
Book Cover: 5/5
Overall Rating: 5/5

Book Details:

Title: Let The Game Begin
Author: Sandeep Sharma
Genre: Thriller
Type: Paperback
Publisher: Inspire India Publishers
Language: English
Pages: 165
Year of Publication: 2016
Price: 165 INR

Buy Paperback: Amazon

About the reviewer:
 Srimathi Gopalakrishnan, a pre-final year Medical student at ESIC MC & PGIMSR, Chennai. She is a voracious reader and a decent writer (Tamil and English). The pleasure of literature lies in reading and the joy lies in assimilating and processing it, which is very well brought out by reviewing and discussing books. Her favorite genres are Romance and thrillers. Besides reviewing books she writes poems, stories and essays and is an articulate artist.


Monday, July 6, 2015

The Inevitable talks about the inevitable.




The Inevitable. It's hard to believe that it is the author's debut. Ashay has a flair for short stories and poems. It comes out easily and effortlessly. The last author that I read who was efficient at writing both prose and poetry with such ease was J. R. R. Tolkien. I am not comparing here, but the author of this book is clearly at par.

The author's cleverness can be seen by his choice of the title. I was awed when I turned the last page of the book, not by the story/poem, but that was when I realized how intricate and choicest of titles this was. I turned back the pages and read the titles of the stories and poems to recollect what I had read and quickly sized up the whole book. The book talks about life, death, day, night, love, hatred, happiness, sorrow, accidents, eventuality,  laughter, cries, starvation, hunger, anger, violence, peace, et al. And what a surprise when I realized. Everything that the author had dealt with in the book is 'inevitable'. 

 The author, I believe has a special love for the beverages, coffee and tea.

About the author:

The connoisseur of all things suave, Ashay Abbhi enjoys poetry, reading, sufism, music, and is a die-hard fan of The Godfather. He currently works as a Research Analyst. Ashay wields the pen every now and then when his muse visits him, dabbing with a bit of poetry and prose. He is a volunteer with the Red Elephant Foundation, and writes op-ed styled articles for many international outlets on contemporary energy issues and surrounding geopolitical angles. Given a chance, Ashay would like to spend the rest of his life in a house with a tin roof and an unending supply of tea, amongst the hills where it rains all year around, except in winter when it snows.

And now for a little sneak-peek.

This book, it is more like a sandwich. Two poems are the bread and a story in the stuffing, or you can relish it by having two stories as the bread and a poem for stuffing. And yes, it is delicious. Every poem alternates a story.

The book opens with a poem. It is untitled, but the untitled poem voices the power of imagination, a power that knows no bounds. A powerful way to begin the book.

The Ninth Cross:

As we flick the page, there's another poem titled the ninth cross. The end of the poem sent shivers down my spine. The ninth cross. What is it? A plus? Or an X? Cross can also be used to represent a street. But what is that ninth cross Ashay wants you to know about? That's a surprise that he has cleverly placed it in the last line. 

The Yellow Wall:

Here, we travel to a mystical city that is covered in milk-white. Every house, every temple, to cut it short, everything in that village is dipped in white. Everything, but one yellow wall. A traveler visits this wonder village more out of curiosity and there he hears a tale about the yellow wall. The narration is fast-paced and creates a sense of eeriness as each word is read, and makes the reader cling on to the story until the very last word that conveys a beautiful message.

The Search for Love:

An absolutely interesting and a different take, I would say. The search for love is a poem in which the author has brought in all the entities of something that people are obsessed with and unified them. This poem, I would say is one of the best in the book.

Love for Tea:

This is a moving story of a couple who settled in a tea plantation and has an obsession towards tea. The narration is intriguing and the story moves at a very steady pace. The author has ended the story on a quirky note. There were great descriptions about the scenery and the plantation. The setting was fresh and enchanting.

Five Cups of Tea:

With this poem, Ashay continued to mesmerize me with his awe-inspiring poetry writing skills, describing a day from morning to night, and at the same time dealing with life and death is certainly not an easy feat and he has done that quite effortlessly. Kudos to that. 

Coffee at Midnight:

The protagonist stays at a hotel, and he has a weird habit of having coffee at midnight. Everyday, exactly when the clock strikes 12, he has his coffee. He buys it from a coffee-wallah, but then, one day, the turn of unexpected events is inevitable. The pace in the narration does not slow down. And again, the quirky side of the author perks up towards the end of the story.

I'll Take You Away:

This poem is sure to give the reader hope, even if he has had his deepest fall. It talks of nothing but positivity. There is an inevitable flow of words from the book to the reader's heart that is sure to ease any pain and rejuvenate the hopeless. Two words to tell about this poem, Hope Prevails.

The Night it Rained:

The author takes us away to witness the plight faced by the people living on platforms without proper shelter and clothing and how the condition worsens when the adversities of weather takes toll. And still, at the end of the day, hope lingers.

A Day:

This is an intense poem of how one manages to fight through a day. This is perfectly cut into different parts of the day with various different feelings. The author's caliber at poetry can be seen in this poem.

Just Another Day:

Ashay has managed to create a perfect village, a village devoid of violence. A day starts like just another day with peaceful people moving about. Something happens and the whole village goes berserk, and what starts like just another day does not end as just another day. The narration is gripping enough to devour all the contents of the story in one go in the end only to gasp at the twist.

The Moonlit Shore:

This is another poem that leaves the reader with a heavy heart. Ashay definitely has a way when dealing with emotions and especially puts his skill to great use when he writes poems. This poem talks about life and death.

Living to Die:

This is yes, one of the best stories in the book. It starts with the protagonist searching for food to satiate his hunger, and his hunt takes forever. Along the way, he meets a woman. In the end, he learns how opposite both of their lives are. 

Departed from Life:

The name of the poem is quite evident for the readers to guess what this deals with. Recounting the past, living in the present, having lost the future, the soul is in a dilemma to which it would never find an answer. A brilliant take by Ashay.

Kalimpong:

This story is the longest in the book and as per my opinion, the best. The story revolves around a Gorkha. There are vivid descriptions about the brutalities, the war and the violence that follows. No wonder that the author is an ardent fan of Mario Puzo. The gorkha loses something that is most precious to him, does something that finally sets him in peace. The story is rocket-paced and the end made me have goosebumps. 

A Sight Travels:

A sight travels observing the world. It starts its journey as a 'life unravels' and travels until 'death unravels' itself. The poem is touching and covers a different aspect of life and death. Perhaps that is the beauty of the book. Nothing is redundant.

Darkness:

This tale is wedged between light and dark. The protagonist is fearful towards the dark and longs for the light. But it is inevitable that he has to face the worst of  fears. This story has a narrative that would open up the core of the heart of the reader. Though circumstances plunge him into darkness, life has to go on.

Endless Wait...:

This poem has a deep meaning having 'wait' as the keyword. The author has put forth insightful thoughts on what we are waiting for. In the end he has asked a question, a query that is worth asking and worth to be answered.

The New Year's Eve:

This is quite an interesting story. What happens when a person has not celebrated new year's eve for so long a time and suddenly the turn of events end up in him celebrating it after all? Or did he, really? The twist comes along as a surprise.

Living Dead:

This poem takes the reader a walk down the memory lane to the cherished past, and makes us stumble on the present, and gives insights about the future which is true and meaningful. The words are carefully chosen to leave an impact on the reader's heart.

Bashir Bhai Gadi Dega Kya?

Bhashir bhai, will you give me your watch? This is one of the most interesting stories in the book with fast-paced narration. The protagonist will be pursued by someone who asks the aforesaid question, 'Bashir bhai, will you give me your watch?' But he is not Bashir Bhai nor does he know who Bashir bhai is. While being pursued, he doesn't understand head or tail of what was happening, and suddenly he gets to know who Bashir bhai is. This story conveys a very deep meaning.


Sometimes...:

This poem bombards us with a good number of 'why' questions that is sure enough to make most of us think. While we wonder why indeed, the author himself has answered it. The best answers I would say. And if one is able to follow it, peace will sustain in the world, else, 'it would definitely cease'

The Escape:

The quirkiest side of Ashay piqued while writing this story, I guess. This is a story of a person who finds himself arrested for a grave crime. And then, he recounts the earlier events when he visits Lusaka and embarks on a journey to Somalia where finds himself in the clutches of a gang lord. While the story goes action packed, it takes the most unexpected turn and reveals the quirkiest side of Ashay, as I had said earlier. '

Part of the Game:

'It's all part of the game...' as is said in one of the lines of this hope-raising poem. It talks about the ups and downs that we face in life and how one must take it. The reader is sure to get energized after reading this piece of splendid art.

The Ashes of Bad Writers:

As one can see, the name in itself increases the curiosity of the reader especially when the book is on the verge of ending. This is a story of a teenager who likes nothing other than books. He craves for good books and would savour its warmth for weeks, and then another, the pile keeps adding and he is content. But he couldn't stand bad writing. After he reads a very disgusting story, he decides to take on the 'bad writers'. And down the line, he decides to try his hand at writing. 

Peace:

Peace did not come into play until before the last page of the book, and that is when I realized the author's positivity towards life. As I read the tales and poetry in the pages before, it was dealt with all the aforementioned inevitable factors of life, all but peace. I had a feeling that something was missing and this last poem perfectly fitted the jig-saw and my respect for the author increased manifold as he seems to think that by the end of the road, or if God-willing before that, peace is also inevitable.


Verdict: Ashay Abbhi clinches gold.

Rating:



Book Details:

Title: The Inevitable
Author: Ashay Abbhi
Genre: Fiction
Type: Paperback
Publisher: Maitreya
Language: English
Pages: 88
Year of Publication: 2015
Price: 200 INR
Buy Paperback: Amazon |

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