Tell a Thousand Lies – Book Review

Kirtida Gautam sent me ‘Tell a Thousand Lies’ as a gift on Rasana Atreya’s birthday. This novel is Rasana’s debut novel. A self-published author who turned down traditional publishing offers, isn’t that interesting? There is more via the book, though!
Genre – Coming of Age
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First Impression – I should say, I loved the cover. In fact, all her novel covers are pick-worthy. I love the titles as well.
Overall Impression – Worth reading. Though the cover image and title mislead me as a reader that the novel might travel along the lines of an ugly looking girl turning all the more beautiful for her husband to fall head over heels, Rasana does the magic. She changed every single detail that might run in the reader’s mind. It was as if Rasana held a microscope watching what the reader might think after every chapter, and deliberately changed every single detail that gives a sweet shock.
What did I love about the book? 1) The narration – she is a poem. So detailed and creative descriptions that I kept smiling without a choice. 2) I love reading old-school type novels, and this book just satisfied my thirst. Am done with the book that are too modern for my type. As a South Indian, I was able to relate a lot to the book. The places, the issues, and thought process of a south Indian village girl was crystal clear are near perfect. 3) The character pullamma – a dark girl, but I bet, as you read she will look all the more beautiful!
Rating: 4/5
Wow Factors: 1) Srikar’s character – it would make any fall in love with. I was afraid that the happy living part might mess when I kept reading. 2) The exact details of issues by a girl who is taller and darker than expected, the witch stereotypes, the play of those in villages to attain their post – so real.
Frown Factors: 1) Lengthier, could have been a bit crispier. It gave it a more of serial feel than a novel. 2) A few cliched characters here and there
Grab a copy of the book here – Amazon

What’s Your Story – Book Review

The author of the book is Sankalp kohli, a recent acquaintance. He sent me a copy in exchange of a honest review.
Genre – Self-help
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First Impression: The title of the book is a question to its reader and the book guides one to find an answer. The cover suits the book and it is crispier than expected.
Overall Impression: Book talks about storytelling. The concept by itself is explained via stories that hold the reader’s attention. Simple examples and narration is one major plus of this short and crispy book.
Rating: 2.5/5
Wow Factors: 1) Narration 2) lucid language and style
Frown Factors: 1) The book doesn’t leave an impact as such; it was too crispy in a way that leaves no room for thoughts. 2) If the book is narrated better as a 100 page book, it would have served the purpose.

The Plot Book

“When Regina was driving, the rain picked speed. She turned on the windshield wipers. All of a sudden, she saw a person standing on the road with a knife. – Her eyes welled up when he blurted out that he wants to marry her – Adopt a baby as she couldn’t conceive a baby..” He flipped the pages of the diary, reading the phrases in every rectangle and connected through numbers like a flow chart.
“What’s this big fat diary all about?” he asked quizzically.
“My plot book, all my scribbling and readings are put together.” I said and gave him coffee that he asked for.
“Too good! Mind-blowing! Wow…! You know? This is nice. What do you call it? Hobby, or passion, or just an interest in writing? Whatever it may be, it is so nice, a nice part of you!” he exclaimed.
I pulled my plot book from his hand, threw it behind me and adjusted to sit comfortably to start a conversation. It went on for hours. I love these ever interesting topics that we discuss. Anything and everything around the world takes its own part in our conversation. From my pet squirrel to the recently read book, from a mutual friend’s love story to another’s divorce, from a smile to frown to love and hate, just everything!
“They are seeking for you, right? Give that person this plot book. If he says wow, marry him. Else, a big no.” He said, trying hard to balance on one leg wearing his right leg’s socks.
He climbed down, two steps at a time. He stopped and looked up at me, I waved my hand with a smile, but his facial expression hinted that he is about to tell something. My brows knit asking ‘what.’
“If at all you missed, I did say ‘wow’ when I read your plot book,” He said and ran down the rest of the steps before I could even bat my eyes.
I went inside smiling, picked my plot book and flipped till I reached the empty page and wrote ‘He said wow,’ and knocked my head for being such a mean writer.

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The Girl on the Train

Bought this book because of my Thriller reading spree. I won a copy.
Genre – Thriller
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First Impression: A novel that doesn’t fall under the usual size. The most interesting blurb that would make any pick the book. Best cover as well.
Overall Impression: Not really happy with the ‘Gone Girl’ comparison. Individually the book is a good read for once; I might not read it again. I would vote for the narration and style that the author has handled. Girly enough that any woman would relate to, it was more like a woman spitting every thought via words on a paper. The tangles in her mind, the disturbances, are all well portrayed.
What did I love about the book? – Less count of characters, a screaming confusion throughout that makes one read. I don’t know if men would like it or enjoy the way that a woman would do.
Rating: 3/5
Wow Factors: 1) Narration 2) Tangling mental map of woman portrayed very well 3) Storyline – to an extent
Frown Factors: 1) It was difficult for me to switch between the three woman characters. I had Rachel in mind when I read Meghan/Anna and had a tough time to direct my mind. 2) Rachel’s character – It was difficult to analyse her given the details, whether it was a mental illness that she is battling with or just being a plain alcoholic is left unexplored.
Grab a copy here – Amazon
Angel of the Dark by Sidney Sheldon. Read the blurb and grabbed a copy from Amazon. Been reading SS since school and, of course, a hardcore fan.
Genre – Thriller as usual
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First Impression – Can any complaint about the book cover, title or blurb? One of its kind!
Overall Impression – His formula and mind games are always the best. One can just not decipher his thought process; it was a sheer spine-chilling read. Though, I have seen a few movies that were adapted and altered from this books; still the book was a relish.
What did I love about the book? I love the story; it had a proper start, the similar confusion crimes, proper investigation details, and finally filtering the culprit behind the crimes.
Wow factors 1) Geography followed throughout the book, there are multiple places, and they were followed diligently 2) Sidney’s way of connecting the open threads at the end to ensure the no-nonsense and no-loophole finish 3) Language – Simple and up to his mark.
Frown factors 1) More dramatic than realistic – a few parts were exaggerated and much far from possibility. 2) Investigations could have been detailed better 3) the relationship between Frankie and Sophia was not clear which should have been for the strength that the characters carry throughout. 3) Using the same old first name – last name changes to confuse the readers from figuring out the person.
Grab its copy here – Amazon

A Minute to Death

A minute to Death – Ganga Bharani. A very good friend and well-wisher of mine. We discuss a lot on writing, improvising, reading and marketing. So here is a review of her second book. The first would follow shortly.
The novel falls under “Thriller” genre. It is about two similar reports on a case which looks like an assembled suicide but actually murders. The story revolves around the investigation, the revelations and the murderer in the most interesting way.
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First Impression – Intriguing title, and not so interesting but an apt cover, I would say. A blurb that would interest any writer to pick.
Overall Impression – A very good attempt. It would convince any occasional reader or those who don’t read hardcore thrillers day in and out.
What did I love about the book? The book is indeed a page turner that nudges you to read. You just can’t leave the book and mind your business, as you’re pulled and process in it already. You’ve got to read to find the ‘who’ factor. A very neat job! Kudos to the author. The final crime scene was written really well. Intentionally avoiding spoilers here.
Rating: 4/5
Wow Factors: 1) Minute details about the social media invasion and how well it can be used when it comes to investigation 2) Well-defined plot and characters 3) Good twists and turns, the mind game was interesting indeed
Frown factors: 1) though the story is based in Chennai, the names used were not typical. Similar names like Riya, Riyaz were a turn-off. 2) Editing – not up to the mark 3) Riya’s character was not well defined and the geography details were not followed properly.
My opinion: An awesome evening read. Worth the time and money!
 Waiting for its sequel
Grab a copy of the book here – Amazon

That Non-refundable Smile

Nov 2nd, 2015
Her eyes gleamed and widened like a well-fed fat fish.
Awww! She exclaimed like the beauty contest winners.
“For me?” she asked, raising her brows that drew beautiful crinkles like beach waves on her forehead.
I stood rooted and when she smiled again looking at my eyes, I regained my consciousness. “OMG, that was a giant wheel ride,”I thought.
She pursed her lips to control the excitement and blush, but lucky me, her cheeks turned red that signaled the joy.
“Yeah, for whom else? you think I have another woman in my life,” I asked her with a chuckle.
“Umm,” she faked a frown and took the elegant pink box from my hands.
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I saw the reflection of the bangles in her hands through her black grape pupils. It looked the best; I wanted to click a picture of her eyes through a DSLR. Stylori will steal the picture paying me much; I thought like the typical miser that I have been, all my life.
“Try it,”I told her.
“Ha.. haa.., okay,” that kind of annotation one could die for. I thought, how did I miss seeing this happiness. Oh, I guess this is the first gift am giving her after one year of marriage life. Poor lady!
She frowned and furrowed. “Errr. Ewww.,” she whimpered.
“Wha.. what?” I asked.
“Its not fitting me,” She frowned.
“OMG! I am so sorry. I thought it will fit you, this was the last piece available, actually.” I said. Good, keep going, you’re acting well, I told myself.
“I will try using the soap, It would let the bangle slid in,” she tried to move.
“but.. if.. it doesn’t fit even then, I can’t return at ease. Stylori takes returns but without any change to the original. Just in case, if anything happens to the bangle.. you know..” I dragged but managed not to show that am desperate to return it.
“Hmmm,” she exhaled and handed the bangles. The disappointment was a tough pill to swallow. “Get me some coffee,” I told to distract her.

I logged into my WordPress and narrated the exuberance in the most poetic way. One of the best narrations ever, I thought to myself. I should win this, 5000 INR is a big deal, I thought.

“This entry is a part of the Stylori – jewellery from the Heart contest organized in partnership with the Chennai Bloggers Club,” I completed my post with this sentence.

“Coffee!” she said and stretched her hand. I took the coffee mug and looked at her plain hands, the only time I saw them accessorized was during our wedding.

Take a bow, why don’t you form a cheapskate club. How can you just do this?” the angel within spoke as usual, this time I stumbled to turn a deaf ear.

I am not a poet, I have to experience to write something,” I tried to convince myself. “But, you can’t disappoint someone. You ordered something with a motive to participate in a content. Don’t misuse the easy refund policy, I bet you’ll regret when you win the contest.” the angel continued

Before I could change my mind, I clicked the next tab and navigated from the refund to the exchange page, selected 2.8 the right size of her bangles. They will ship in a day, she will be happy. Let me not disclose, I thought.

Sometimes, it’s worth it, I thought.

Nov 29th, 2015

“Yaayyy,” I heard her screaming with joy.
When she clapped hard wearing those tingling bangles for the first time. I lost myself in the crowd.
“How do you feel winning the contest Vishnu?” the emcee asked.
“Contest? No, I just wrote what I saw,” I looked back at my wife and penned a poem in mind. This time it was real, my inner angel smiled with all heart.

cbc

Hidden Husband – Book Review

Shikha Kaul – An acquaintance, and she sent me a copy for review.
The novel falls under “Romance” and “Women fiction” genre. The novel is titled “Hidden husband” that gives the hint of the high concept of the story. Yes, it is about a girl from the girl’s POV about a marriage that the world never gets to know. What happens to the marriage? The hidden husband? What they do further? Why the marriage has to be hidden? Are all answered in the book.

First Impression – Apt title, a beautiful cover, and a job-done-well blurb. Giving away what it should. A book that a woman would pick when crossed.
Overall Impression – The book has lot to say. Undoubtedly, a good read. The book is from a girl’s POV, so what more you expect? Yes, it has all the Scribblings that a girl does in her mind like crazy. Aisha – her first love, her first marriage, her first sexual encounter with her first husband who did wait for it without plunging before the knot, the heartbreak et al.
What did I love about the book? The high concept is simple. However, the book has a good count of humanity related giveaways. The looped in concepts were good, it didn’t feel unnecessary. Dialogues were good. I loved a few dialogues personally.
He was the darkest, yet the brightest side of me
The number of the skeletons in my closet was increasing a marriage, a husband and now a divorce
Rating: 4/5
 Wow Factors: 1) Good concept 2) The neat exploration of what actually happens to a girl’s mind 3) Vocabulary – simple and stylish, except for a few words were not placed right. A slight tinge of stuffing. 3) Dialogues were handled well; I loved a few personally. Ex: the vows violation that the author explains throughout. 4) The second half of the book
Frown factors: 1) Descriptions and detailing, the book is about 240 pages that had more details about certain parts. If cut short, the story would have been a racy and awe-inspiring read. The first half was dragged much which slowed down my reading process; it was not page turning until you hit the third part of the story. 2) Though other parts were detailed more than required, the pain of abortion and the guilt of not expressing about the hidden husband could have been explored even better.
My opinion: A woman would love this book, and a guy will get to understand the pulse of a woman with this book.
To the Author: I loved the book. I would suggest cutting down the descriptions and detailing and let the reader imagine or understand by themselves.
Grab a copy of the book here – Amazon

The Bestseller She Wrote – Book Review

A bestseller book by a bestseller about a bestseller. I have not read any of Ravi Subramanian’s previous books, ‘The Bestseller she wrote,’ is the first. Heard a lot about him and his books, bought a copy at crosswords, Chennai.
The book falls under ‘Romance’ and ‘Thriller’ genre. The book is about a girl name Shreya who aspires to become an author when she gets a chance to befriend Aditya, bestselling author of India, the aspiration catches fire. Soon, the manuscript goes to print, and their friendship turns into an affair. What happens next? What Aditya’s wife Maya does? Whether Aditya resolves the issues or not, is the story’s polished glimpse, but yes the book has lots more that I am not going to reveal.
I have my reasons to buy this book. 1) I am writer 2) I am a published author 3) I suffered similar heartbreak as of Maya and survived the same storm – So am a bit of Shreya, Adithya, and much more of Maya.
First Impression: Beautiful cover, intriguing title, and I love the quality of westland publishers. So no wonder that I picked a copy. I loved the blurb; it was inviting me to read.
Overall Impression: A very well-written story. The book is about 400 pages and for the first 150 odd pages, it’s subtle and slow romance.
Unlike other novels where the first day the protagonists smile at each other and the next day they make out, ‘The Bestseller She Wrote’ gives away much to read. The intensity and adequate give and take between the two involved are very well portrayed. Though slow, Ravi Subramanian sir wins here. Next, you just keep reading the book and the story has already pulled to the thrilling area without the reader’s consciousness. Suddenly, I felt like ‘Hey, I was reading something romantic yar, now it is taking a turn’, and the fabric he wove with his trickiness proves that he is born with a pen that writes thrillers. Writers/Authors will like this book for sure with the nuances of the publishing world being revealed here and there, brings a smile for sure.
What did I love about the book? – Maya’s character, well-woven with poise and elegance. Shreya’s character – powerful is the word. When Aditya stumbles between the two, the book gives away an important message, so as not to mess with a woman. Be it with the loyal or betrayer. The twist was good and the slight touch of the evidence that a reader fails to notice initially, but when brought back lets one raise their brows to the hairline.
Rating – 4/5
Wow Factors: 1) The characters are given enough life 2) Style carried throughout 3) How Aditya gets to find the motive behind and the details were powerful, especially the confronting part before the book launch. All at once, it gushed out like a Tsunami taking the reader on an unexpected ride.
Frown Factors: 1) Cliched moments and characterizations. Shreya’s childhood pointed for being what she is, Maya’s sickness that leads to Aditya’s realization, Doing something for the society in the end sounded normal. Could have been better. It makes me question what if Maya is normal, won’t Aditya come back?  2) A bestselling author taking a real long time to understand being used was a turnoff, since infidelity plays a role, it could have been twisted even better as a give & take policy. Letting Aditya turn a fool questions his intelligence and stator 3) The reason that Shreya blurts for her act weighs less, really less. Throughout the story, though illegal and infidel, her mind, and heart wanted to live her life with Aditya. She even wanted to marry him, but the sudden twist for a reason so feeble didn’t convince me as a reader. 4) The TOI prompt from this book, kept off the guessing game in the first half of the book. I knew what was coming.
Having said that, I did enjoy the book regardless of the above frown pointers.
Grab a copy of the novel here –  Amazon