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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Book Review #122 The Curse Of Anuganga : Harini Srinivasan


Blurb:

Circa 403 C.E. In the thriving city of Nandivardhana, lives Shaunaka, a young man who yearns to go to Pataliputra to see the world and make his fortune. But he is forced to join his father's jewelry making business and soon finds himself in the workshop — a job in which his heart clearly did not lie. Thankfully, along comes distraction in the form of two extravagant Weddings — royal nuptials at the palace and another wedding at the extravagant corner house in the Buddhist quarter of the city. This house, known for its opulence and sheer size, is owned by Vinayashura, an affluent trader fabled to have mysteriously deep connection to the royal family. Shaunaka is given the charge to work on the bride's jewellery at the corner house, but instead of the mundane task at hand, a morbid sight awaits — The Trader's wife's bloodcurdling screams bring Shaunaka to Vinayashura's bedroom where he is found murdered and lying in a pool of blood!

My Take:

A unique story. A different time line. History and Fiction is blended beautifully. Set in Circa 403 C.E this one revolves around the mysterious incidents happening in Nandivardhana. A curse is what the story starts with. Are the incidents and the curse related? Who is Anuganga? What is the curse? Read the book to find out.

Shaunaka, son of Vishnuveera , a famous goldsmith although born with the talent and knowledge of the family business, his heart is not in this. He has a curious, analytical and intelligent mind. Amidst royal wedding in palace  and another extravagant wedding in the corner house in the family of mysterious Vinayashura he finds himself in the muddle of complexities. Vinayashura, has some mysterious connections with the Palace family and he is murdered ruthlessly. The first one to witness him lying in pool of blood is Shaunaka. How will he solve this mystery? Who has murdered Vinayashura and why?

The characters are developed well. Especially the female ones are given strong personalities. The queen who makes decisions after the King's death and runs the kingdom efficiently. Tarinika, wife of Vinayashura who has a strong personality and courage to stand for truth and say it loud. The story develops beautifully with mystery angles sprinkled liberally as it progresses. The thread of past and present are weaved intricately.

The end is unexpected, the book holds your attention till the last page as the suspense is built nicely as to why and who does this. The narration is different with use of Sanskrit words which enriches the reading experience.The writing could have been crisp, as in the middle somewhere it loses its pace and sounds dull. Overall a good attempt.

I would rate this 3.8/5.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Book Review # 121 The Secret Of His Turquoise Eyes: Praachi Verma.

Blurb:

Rudra Gautam is a theoretical physicist whose mesmerizing turquoise eyes aren’t just his most impressive feature, but are gifted to visualize the world of electric and magnetic energies around them. He keeps his extraordinary capabilities hidden until his uniqueness is chosen to unravel an abstruse secret. The clues to which are hidden in strangest of places; the directions to which can be obtained only by solving complex codes, that only the most knowledgeable can figure out.

Rudra quickly realizes that he will need the help of Azna Jahe, a Glacial-Geography and Lhasa expert whom he once loved. Their quest takes them on a harrowing journey over the world’s most unforgiving elevations where their innermost fears comes to life. They skim through the layers of increasingly complex ciphers, all while being pursued by a para-human assassin who will stop at nothing to obtain that secret.
But it requires a lot more than just knowledge to unravel that secret; will Rudra be able to cross those barriers to solve it? If so, then will there be any coming back for him?
How far will he go until he realizes that the answer to it lays within him?

My Take:

The book explores a very different journey. Intelligent observations used to draw parallel with life and subconscious mind. A gripping story that stretches over 400 pages holds your attention throughout.The plot is water tight and the writing style simple. The author has made a great attempt to build another world.

Rudra Gautam has captivating turquoise eyes and has a very IQ. In a quest to find out his mission which is triggered by his recurring dreams he sets on a journey to the famous mountain terrain Annapruna. A chance meeting , a mysterious person gives him the powerful Sirius stone, he further ventures out and comes across a powerful book as well named Nibhrta. Now only  his ex girlfriend Azna who's also an Lhasa expert and glacial geography expert, now married is someone he can turn to for help.  As the book can only be decoded with certain conditions and languages they embark the adventurous journey to find answers .

But the hitch is that other than Rudra someone else is also in this race to attain power. Who is it? Will Rudra succeed? Read the book to find out.

The strength for me is no deviation from the plot. The story moves ahead strength to strength and the mystery just adds more power. .The romance angle is kept at a bare minimum and the plot has been given prime importance.

I would rate this 4.4/5 . Waiting and hoping the sequel keeps up to this standard.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Book Review # 120 The Ascent Of Love : Rooprashi


Blurb:

When Taara met Vedant, she fell in love for the first time. However, she could not perceive that a feeling as pure as love can turn into something so toxic for her. 
As she decided to leave her love behind and climb peaks of the world, she knew that the love for the peaks was not hers either. 
As she questions herself and is inept to understand why she is not able to forget her past, her ascent to the peaks was making the difference apparent to her. Something she already knew. 
Had she found a new love, or was love back in an old package to spite her again? Does a difficult mountaineering course in Kashmir prove to be the turning point in her life? Will she be able to complete her 'Ascent of Love' the way she intended to, or will a hailstorm change the plan of her life?

My Take:

Written against the picturesque Kashmir and trekking in the backdrop the author has weaved a love story, a story that we all connect to. Simple and something we keep seeing around us happening all the time.

Taara, an ambitious girl has worked hard to achieve what she has. Falling in love with Vedant, she sees everything and life with tinted glass, not realizing how toxic the relationship is. Losing out friends, social life etc for an ever dominating guy she slowly realizes her self worth and breaks off.

Vedant, a rich guy who is used to have a last word always, falls in love with Taara. But in a relationship he too needs to make sacrifices and cannot curb the rights of the person we love is something he is unaware of. Add to that his habit of drinking and behaving irrational and unreasonable. 

They fall in love, have their happy moments, fights,make up etc. But one day Taara breaks off with Vedant. Cut to present both come face to face on a trekking course. What happens when meet after 5 years of breakup? Why did they breakup? Will cupid strike or have they moved on? Read the book to find.

The story jumps from past and present. The switch could have been smoother. It sounds abrupt at times. A one time read. This one has captured the essence of trekking beautifully. The passion with which the author incorporates the minute details of the mountains and trekking is commendable.

I would rate this 3.7/5.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Book Review # 119 Sin Is The New Love : Abir Mukherjee


Blurb 

Ahi is an aspiring publisher and wishes to make it big someday. When her favourite author’s autobiography lands on her table – which has confessions of his heinous crimes, illegal businesses and few eminent others as his partners in crime – she doesn’t know if it’s real or someone’s trap. It could get her a big breakthrough, but little does she know that it would turn her world upside down completely.

Her morbid curiosity pulls her into the depth of a conspiracy. She finds herself in the centre of various mishaps and murders, as if someone wants to lead the way. Driven by her childhood friend Samim’s encouragement and watched over by the ever so charming ACP Rathore, she has to jeopardize her life to find the brutal truth of her past.

Touching, thrilling and deeply mysterious, Sin is the New Love is the journey of a girl who stumbles upon the truth about her origin while chasing her dream.

My Take 

What happens when you get your favorite author's unpublished script? His personal stories, his unknown life. For someone like Ahi who's a publisher and a avid book reader its a treasure of information. The author is no more. A daughter of ACP she has seen challenges and also thrive for them. So she is looking forward to publish the book for which she needs approval from the Dead authors family.

Being a reclusive one the author Devang Awasthi is famous and yet unknown to the fans. People know and connect through his book. Ahi goes to Delhi from  Kolkata to get a no objection from the family to publish his story.

Samim her childhood friend and business partner supports her decisions to go to Delhi. His role and character is sweet simple and limited.

What happens when she starts being a part of incidents that weave around  her? Is she connected or just coincidence? Suicide or murder? Who? Why? Read the book to find out.

ACP  Abhimanyu Rathore is the one investigating the case and on a hunt for the criminal.
With Ahi's help will he be able to nab the criminal?

The book is pacy, moves strength to strength with proper detailing of scenes, characters and incidents. The story line is strong and the plot watertight. The suspense is maintained well till the end. The climax is a befitting one.

Everyone has layers to their personality, being strong, weak, positive, negative as per situations and are justified well.

I would rate this 4 /5.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Book Review # 118 Narsimha The Mahaavatar Trilogy: Kevin Missal



Blurb:
Narasimha, once a brave soldier, has left the war and lies low as a physician in a village. But a familiar face from his past seeks his help to stop the tyranny of the blind usurper Andhaka. If Narasimha refuses, the world might just end. What will he do? And why did he leave the war in the first place? Prahlad, the interim king of Kashyapuri, is torn between the ideals of his unrighteous father and his love for Lord Vishnu. Whom will he choose? Hiranyakashyap, the ruler of the Asura Empire, wants to avenge the death of his wife. To do that, he must go through the Trials and get the ultimate weapon - the Brahmastra. But the Trials have sent so many others to their death. Can Hiranyakashyap survive? Welcome to the reimagining of the fourth Avatar of Lord Vishnu by bestselling author Kevin Missal.

My Take:

I haven't read the authors previous works and wasn't knowing what to expect. Have been hearing about this book and the novice for me was Narsimha and Prahlad. Now we all know how Holika was asked to kill Prahlad by keep him in her lap and burn him as his father was a Astheist and Prahalad a staunch devotee of Lord Vishnu. How Vishnu took Narsimha's avtaar to protect his devotee is all we know of them.

In one word MIND BLOWING. I hadn't expected so much detailing in plots and subplots. So many characters neatly described and well written. A sign of a good book for is pace and justified characters.The book is a sum of all those. An amalgamation of past and present is done with poise. The narration is strong and the language is simple.

Hiranyakashyap is out there to revenge his wife's death and kill Indra. Indra is a complex character always insecure and never trustworthy. In spite of calling a truce with the Asuras he attacks them when the king is away and kills the queen.

Narsimha, a warrior once. leaves everything behind him and becomes a doctor. He goes into self evaluation mode,feels guilty of the innocent lives taken in the wars he was a part of and leaves his troupe in a mess. Circumstances and time forces him to question his decision and when decides to comeback for the larger good he's asked to prove his worth.Is he really Lord Vishnu's avatar? Will he be able to achieve what he is destined for?

Prahlad a young prince, son of Hiranyakashyap likes to follow the path of peace. Not the one who believes in war and destruction's, he is forced to take tough decisions.Will he find his inner calling? Will he be the Vishnu Bhakt who will start the golden era? Anuhrad his elder brother, kills his own ambitions to become what was expected of him. Was his sacrifice worth all that he had to go through? Did he achieve what he desired?  For all these answers grab a copy now.

A war for the famous and celestial astra is on. Relationships are at stake. Each one has to do their job for the greater good. But is making such choices easy for even Gods? Is power that important? If you even achieve then at what is the price you pay?

I liked the way all the characters and the leads are introduced. All of them have a back story you would connect to and they all are subtly connected to the main story elegantly. The detailing and the way they shape up makes them more human and easy to connect to. They all make mistakes, are emotional, take wrong decisions and suffer.  Even the smaller characters contribute effectively and make their presence felt. The difference between Dharma and Avatar is explained beautifully.

Powerful punchlines are the highlight. Would rate this 4.8/5 . Waiting for the sequel to see how the story shapes up.

A few of my Favorites:

" Everything comes down to money. But then its an empire and every empire runs on dirty money"

"We all have to make choices that define us."

"A man never sees the actions he commit as something evil however wrong they might be".

“If a woman or a man objects and it is still forced on her or him, then it is no longer consensual. It is rape.”

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Book Review # 117 Rewind And Play : Tarun Gautam



Blurb:

Raghav Diwan is living the American dream. A successful career, a comfortable and happy married life. One day, he receives an invitation to an evening get together with his college batch mates. He has not kept in touch with any of them and has no desires to meet them. But the past seems to be calling him. The past wants to reveal something to him. Will he open the door to let his past in. Will he let it change hi future. Will he press, rewind and play.

My Take:

A trip to nostalgia. Get together are always fun. Meeting old friends, reminiscing old days and having a good laugh is what we all live for. Sometimes its not possible in real life so books helps relieve that nostalgia.

The book starts with a super successful Raghav who, within few months is on a downfall. Standing up and taking baby steps takes time especially when the fall is bad. The reunion comes at the same time and Raghav decides to attend the same. What happens when he meets them,spends time with them? Read the book to find out.

The narration is pretty simple. The story dwells more in past than present, talking about old friends,times and the challenges they faced, the pranks they played, the memories they created. Also helps us think how naive and care free we were and how basic our necessities in life are. Suspense element is used beautifully to keep you hooked to the book.

Reading this makes you realize how much you have changed. You connect to the anecdotes and the fun. The book is a collection of fun stories and pranks we play in college. Also very subtly weaved is the angle of mid life crisis. Pick this up if you are stressed, upset and missing friends.

A simple message of when things don't go your way all you need to do is pause,reflect on your past and move ahead with a new zeal is my takeaway from the book.

I would rate this 4/5.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Book Review # 116 Left Untold: Vydehi Paravada

Blurb:

The word "girl" still sends negative vibes across the mindsets. Why should the so called developed society still have gender discrimination? What if a girl is born and brought up with zeal to live her dreams? Why can't a girl have a sensible love story, emotions, dreams and a fruitful career? How would a determined girl succeed in her life?
Yes, every girl does have an untold story in her life. This is a sensible journey of a girl from the womb to the tomb. Every girl expects a soul mate who can fade away her untold story and sinks her life in the ocean of happiness and freedom of thoughts.

Clearing all the diplomatic confusions, this story sails you through the realistic thoughts.


"Few wounds never bleed they just give us pain. And these scars are meant to remind them. Such chronic and desperate scars."

Such a bold and very apt statement. Sums up almost all our feelings.


My Take 

A very interesting take on a girl's life. The way her transition from a girl to a women is explained is commendable. A beautifully crafted tale that every girl would connect to, would argue all the boys/ men to read.  

Lot of untold emotions a girl feels are expressed very boldly. Their efforts to fit in the society, live life on their own terms and carving a niche in the otherwise men dominating society makes it a compelling read. I loved the way the feminism part is explained. It's not that we thrive to challenge everything just that we also are a part of the society as a large and can be the ones making rules.

Its time the old tainted glasses to be removed and see women in a different perspective. Its time the society start answering the questions we pose.  A ode to all the wonderful women who multitask, manage home ,kids, give up their dreams, chase their dreams, lead and make their decisions, follow and accept the choices of their families.

Do read this ladies. It has something we all connect to. I would rate this 5/5 

Book Review #122 The Curse Of Anuganga : Harini Srinivasan

Blurb: Circa 403 C.E. In the thriving city of Nandivardhana, lives Shaunaka, a young man who yearns to go to Pataliputra to see the wo...