Intelligence of Sherlock Holmes and deliberation of Byomkesh Bakshi come together in one character of Penumbra. Many a murder mysteries start on a high note but lose rhythm as they progress. Either the story becomes too predictable or has so many twists that one loses track of original plot. But not Penumbra. Bhaskar Chattopadhyay clearly knows how to balance. After reading Patang (read the review here), I was impatiently waiting for his next book. While Patang’s protagonist was professional and experienced, the character in Penumbra derives his acumen from chess. Superb story, absolutely flawless and gripping writing style and unpredictable climax, is what takes Penumbra beyond awesome by many leaps and bounds.
Tuesday, 20 December 2016
Saturday, 17 December 2016
Sacrifice is a powerful word. And when faced with challenges of basic survival, it seems unreal to think making sacrifices and often leads to obscurity. Pradeep Shrivastava treats the subject very deftly in his maiden novel, Sacrifice-The Road to Obscurity which clearly reflects sensitivity of a person who thinks deeply and intensely. The authors displays a certain characteristic that often reminds you of the ageless classics which are known for their depth and relevance. Sacrifice which is the first part of a trilogy, by standards of a debut novel, offers a lot to the reader in terms of story and thoughtfulness.
Saturday, 10 December 2016
Let me start with a confession. I never thought Twinkle Khanna could write anything sensible (After all, we know her as an bollywood actress who has been featured in movies like Baadshah or Joru ka Ghulam). I even read her columns with a slight prejudice. But I was somehow attracted to this one (and for once, wanted to see what a Bollywood actress could offer in terms of fiction) Also, the fact that her columns and maiden book (Mrs Funnybones) have garnered some rave reviews added to my resolve to pick up Mrs Khanna’s first attempt at fiction- The Legend of Lakhsmi Prasad. And though the similar writing style made the book sound as an extrapolation of her columns, I can’t say I was disappointed with it.
Monday, 28 November 2016
Not everybody wants to be in a sales job. Given a choice, most of those in sales will opt for a non-sales profile hardly understanding the fact that everyone is a salesman. But there are a few who love to sell. Their efforts are more often ignored and considered sheer good luck. However, what remains highly misunderstood is that they love their job(of selling) and their success is a direct outcome of their passion and hardwork. Dr Abhishek Tiwari is one such dynamic individual who has drawn immense praise due to his success in various sales jobs. The selling skills and techniques that he experimented and incorporated in his jobs at various points of time have benefited him with in-depth understanding of the subject. In his maiden book, The Untold Secrets of Sales, Dr Tiwari offers various very simple yet highly effective selling techniques.
Friday, 11 November 2016
Durjoy Dutta is one of the most read Indian authors in romance genre. I had not read any of DD’s books so far but according to the reviews, all his stories are typically woven around young love birds, heartbreaks and tragedies. And that sells like hot cakes for a certain section of the market. So when I decided to pick up his new release, The Girl of My Dreams, I had an idea of what I am going to get. And since I am not a very big fan of this particular genre, I had not had my hopes too high. By those standards, the book turned out ok, albeit a few let-downs.
Saturday, 5 November 2016
What defines a perfect marriage? Man and wife who love each other, who understand each other and do not want to spend even a day without one another. To some of us, that seems like an ideal definition of marriage. But the majority would see a big deficiency in this equation. Being only husband and wife does not qualify as perfect marriage; they are expected to bear a child. Till then, the marriage is not considered complete. Perumal Murugan has beautifully captured this deep-rooted ideology in One Part Woman.
Monday, 3 October 2016
Twelve people with different personalities and attitudes are brought together by a common need. Every day they spend some time together where they get to know each other. In spite of differences and intermittent clashes, some strong bonds of friendships are created during this time. Cabbing all the Way warms your heart and leaves you longing for long lost friends.
Thursday, 8 September 2016
Yay! Its a 5-starer*****
After a long time, came a book that diluted boundaries of real world and the book for me. What started with a mundane and meaningless chase of fancy looking corporate titles soon turned into a super-thrilling roller-coaster ride of unpredictable events. I am amazed and equally annoyed with myself that I missed this author till now. 03:02 has found a new Mainak Dhar fan in me. And I know what I will be reading for the next few months.
Monday, 29 August 2016
Chak Chak chak chak….the sound of the chopper was deafening as it came closer to the glass window of that hotel room on nineteenth floor. She could see the pilot grinning mischievously.
When a plot starts on that note, you can be sure of an interesting storyline ahead. Dangle by renowned author, Sutapa Basu, is an intriguing tale that makes you sit up straight at many junctures and also keeps you glued to the book throughout. Having teased the reader’s adrenaline in the first few pages itself, she makes sure that it is racing all through those 200-odd pages.
Tuesday, 23 August 2016
I have become an absolute Zeenat Mahal fan since I picked up Haveli(Read its review here). Since then I have read The Contract and Twice Upon a Time (a novella couplet with Jazz Singh). And I just couldn’t have enough of Zee Mahal, so I picked up this one. And the magic continued. Adorable characters in a totally lovable, almost fairy tale like, story. Finished this one in a few hours.
Monday, 15 August 2016
The word “unputdownable” was definitely conceived for this book. Because when you start with this one, there is no way you could put this down until the last page. Interestingly, I was turning pages one after the other but as climax came close, I started wishing that this should not end. So when I say this was good, believe me this was. Thrilling, spine-chilling, intelligent- one of the best murder mysteries I have read in a long time.
Thursday, 11 August 2016
Thursday, 28 July 2016
Once in a while, there comes a book that just warms your heart. Nothing thrilling about it. No adrenaline racing. But just pure tender warmth that goes deep within. A Broken Man by Akash Verma is one of those. And all this even when there is nothing totally new in the basic plot. It is the story-telling which makes it amazing.
Tuesday, 19 July 2016
There is a movie Not Without My Daughter. It is about an American woman who marries an Iranian doctor staying in the US. All remains well when they are in the US but situation changes drastically when they move to Iran. The husband becomes abusive overnight and the mother and daughter are trapped in an alien culture that has very little liberty for women. I had watched this movie long back. Also picked up the book after watching the movie (but somehow could not finish it). Obviously, I was moved by the movie. Half of the world was. The portrayal of Betty by Sally Field was pretty convincing. The movie was also successful is building a strong negative reputation of not only Iran but also her husband Dr. Mahmoody and Iranian men in general. And Betty was apparently on a pedestal for being an ideal Mom who could (and did) almost literally move mountains (she claims to cross over very difficult mountain terrain) to get her daughter away from an abusive husband. I was in awe of the movie and Betty. That was till I read Lost Without My Daughter by Sayed Mahmoody, the real husband of Betty Mahmoody.
Sunday, 17 July 2016
What happens when a boxer, caught by his demons from the past, cruelly crushes the opponent in a match that ruins more than one life? Why is this girl reluctant to disclose her identity to anybody? And what happens when both of them meet, each one fighting with their demons from the past? Dancing with Demons is the answer to all these questions. And in the most thrilling and gripping way. I totally loved the story and storytelling.
Tuesday, 12 July 2016
Almost like a fairy-tale, The Contract has all the elements to make you fall in love with it. I had picked up this book because I totally loved another book, Haveli by the same author. And I was not disappointed this time also. The Contract is compact story with loads of underlying romance, flirting, overt displays of disguised likes and dislikes. And I think only few authors can do justice to such tales without sounding lustful or soppy. Zeenat Mahal certainly tops the list.
Saturday, 2 July 2016
There is something intriguing about reading horror tales. Unlike horror visuals where the directors’ imagination is thrown in viewers face to be accepted as is; reading a book based on horror/suspense is different as the reader is left to draw an imagination based on those words. And if the words are strong enough, they will create a pretty vivid mental picture. Wreath and Other Stories does this job very efficiently and you are left to imagine, in your own creative and scary way, as to what is going to happen now.
Thursday, 23 June 2016
Haveli (though the name sounds spooky) is a beautiful tale of a smart and witty Pakistani Punjabi girl who finds herself in odd situation almost all the times. I am not sure you could use “cute” as an adjective for books, but that is exactly what comes to mind when I think about Haveli. After reading murder mysteries and war stories for a long time now, this entertaining story with Bollywood style twists felt refreshing.
Past :- Grace finds a handsome, elegant and wealthy man Jack who promises to be a perfect husband. Even the fact that Grace is primary care giver for her 18 year old Sister Millie, suffering from Downs Syndrome does not budge him from proposing to her.
Present :- Grace and Jack are living in a sprawling mansion in a wealthy neighborhood and entertain guests with sumptuous meals that Grace prepares meticulously. But then one day Millie gives some sleeping pills to Grace and asks her to drug her husband, Jack.
Behind Closed Doors is exciting, thrilling and absolutely unputdownable (clichéd but very true). This dark and twisted tale narrates the horrifying experience happening behind closed doors. The seemingly perfect couple has a secret, a secret that is going to cost lives. Though people are comparing it with Gone Girl, I do not see any direct resemblance here. Except the fact that protagonists in both are stuck in a crazy mind-numbing situation and have to conjure equally twisted solutions. Pick it up in the evening and this one will keep you up at night.
Saturday, 18 June 2016
It is impossible to find somebody who has never has a rough time in a relationship. Husband-wife, mother- daughter, father-son, mother in law-daughter in law- you name any relationship and it has its own share of ups and downs. Bhawna Monga calls them needles. Needles that prick the relationships and lead to pain. But when these needles are tackled sensibly and practically, its becomes easy to remove them and get rid of the pain that they were causing.
Friday, 10 June 2016
Too many cooks spoil the broth is a widely accepted adage. But the general veracity of the statement was challenged by a few bloggers who came together and churned out some really spicy stories. Blogadda put them on a plate- 6 Degrees-Game of Blogs- for the readers to devour.
Monday, 6 June 2016
“The title of the civil war literally defines a war where the participants are the members of the same community but has nothing to do with civility. Small battles are won and lost every day by all sides. But the consistent losers are the people of Syria who must live, sacrifice and die in the horror created by people who claim to be fighting for their best interests.”
Looking into the Sun is honest, touching, thrilling, disturbing-all at the same time. Based on the Syrian conflict, the book will move you to the core. The literature is narrated to capture details about the conflict which makes it easier for a reader not aware of the issue. It also delves deeper in some parts to give a different perspective for the well-informed reader. The author does a good job to make you sit up and think hard about what going on around you in the name of power, religion and politics.
Monday, 16 May 2016
The storyline oscillates between 2060s and pre-independence era and showcases three generations. And it has more than one pivotal character. There is Kanshi Ram and Kusum in the long ago times of early 1900s and there Lipi and Ravi from the futuristic age of 2062. In between, there is Shakuntala, Manohar, Meena, Vinod and Aryan. Each one plays an important part in the plot which is basically the normal household saga of struggle, differences of opinions, tug of war for power and authority with streaks of betrayal and some romance. Every generation has its share of struggle. But there is something that is common between all three generations- a secret that has been hidden in a false ceiling and passed on unwillingly to the next generation.
Sunday, 8 May 2016
I would not be lying if I said that I was hooked on to Hell to Pay from the first chapter itself. Half way through the book, I had already started thinking like Emily. Making the characters seem extremely lively and realistic is just one of the good things about Hell to Pay.
Wednesday, 27 April 2016
10 year old Paige Baker goes camping in one of the most difficult trails in Montana with her parents Doug and Emily Baker. And the she goes missing with her dog, Kobee. What follows is an absolutely thrilling chase to find her in a terrain that boasts of deadly bears and grim weathers. The case gains national interest as FBI is also pooled in to find the lost girl.
Thursday, 14 April 2016
Mia Dennett, a twenty something urban girl, goes missing. After a few months, when she is rescued from her kidnapper, she does not respond to the name Mia but claims that she is Chloe. The doctor finds out that she is Mia/Chloe is pregnant, but she does not remember how that happened. Twisted, eh?
I can’t say I liked this book from the first page. The story is narrated from the perspectives of Mia, Colin, Eve and Gabe. The narration also switches from before the incident and after the incident. So initially, it was difficult to stay interested. But I had a feeling that there was something more in here. And I was right. Somewhere after almost 12-14 switches between “before and after” and putting every character’s perspective in place, I started getting a hang of the plot. And it became slightly interesting.
Tahir: - Suave, professional, dashing and super-confident yet vulnerable at some point. You want to hate him, love him, and sympathize with him…all at the same time.
Samara:- Decent, smart and modest small town girl who wants to focus on career. You fall in love with her right in the beginning.
Against All Rules is a sensuous roller-coaster ride of emotional tug of war between Tahir and Samara. In couple of chapters initially, the story constantly reminded me of Fifty Shades of Grey. But I was about to shrug it off as yet another soppy erotic tale built only upon lust, I was taken in by the deep emotional hurricane brewing in the minds of these characters. The author has done a good job of balancing passion and judgment.
Monday, 21 March 2016
"For the Love of a Son” is a heart-wrenching story of a mother who tries desperately to find her stolen son but is devastated when she actually finds him. Nevertheless, a mother’s forgiving and compassionate heart does not blame the child and hopes for his well-being even if it comes at a price of hating his mother. In this biography of Ms Maryam Khail, Jean Sasson reaches out to the mother in you and when you realize that you would do the same in that situation, somewhere the die-hard feminist within surrenders to the love of a mother. I am glad I read this one.