Category Archives: Book Reviews

Shadow in the Mirror – Book Review

Shadow in the Mirror – Book Review
I’d like to start the review with a few lines from the book:
Page 108: “For hours she would write, and rewrite every word, polishing it till it shone, pruning and recreating, and when the last word was penned down, she felt a deep sense of satisfaction that none of her articles had ever given her.”
That precisely describes what the author – Deepti Menon does.
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Shadow in the mirror, a thriller – For about 200 pages, the author keeps your mind busy! A book that’s worth your time and money.
The novel is about Nita – a pregnant woman who falls from the balcony and dies. Soon, Vinny – the journalist receives a hint that it is not a suicide but murder. What happens next? How the find the murderer and the reason is the story. The story spans from the 1950s to 1990s, and the chapters are leafed in a nonlinear fashion.
The novel starts with the suicide/murder and takes off introducing other characters and how they are involved in the life of Nita and the death.
Characters – Nita, Vinny, Krish, Kavita, Roma and a few others. Each character is different; each character has a motivation. Down the line, when I was immersed in other characters, slightly I was confused, though.
The plot and conflict — An excellent plot that’s written well. I loved the way the author handled the plot and the conflicts planned.
The pacing is surprising slow but still keeps you hooked throughout.
The setting and the world building goes way back to 1950s and my mind created a big old bungalow with antique sets. I was teleported!
The best part is the dialogues, very crisp and snappy. Very intriguing. The one-page poems here and there were placed so right.
The craft – The author has done a fabulous job. I loved reading the novel, for an Indian writer who is looking at opportunities to read good books to improve oneself – this book is such a treat. Every single sentence is crafted with acute care, each and every word is included to make sense. The author and the editor have done a good job. I would suggest this book to upcoming writers; lot’s to learn from Deepti.
Overall – I loved reading this book. The plot and the way the author has written the book are commendable. I’m looking forward to reading more from the author.
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Free amazon gift card worth 500 INR

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My friends’ list on Facebook is a real crazy mix, listing out a few:
  • Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious authors/writers
  • Voracious readers
  • Friends who love what I write and personally comment
  • A few who genuinely appreciate
  • A group of Grammar Nazis ( A few who care to correct, and many who would love to grammar shame the other/ who think it gives them a crown)
  • A few readers who don’t read but love to buy/borrow/take books and post pictures of the book online calling it bookstagram
  • A few who claim that reading is like breathing, they can’t live without books, etc..
One category that pisses me off — the wannabe writers/authors!
According to me, a writer should first give REASONS to buy their book, not JUST gift cards or money.
I read because I seek information, it takes me off from the real-life troubles; I like to improve my skills and vocabulary, it improves my imagination/creativity, etc..
I don’t buy a book because it is free of cost, or because I know the author (sometimes, yes, if I am aware that he/she is a good writer)
I don’t want to read or rather, I don’t want anyone to read a bad book or a poorly written book. I don’t want a book that would drag my knowledge down. A few wannabe writers only want fame, they write some bad college-hookup story, a boy meet girl – girl meet boy story with poor words and bad grammar.  
I focus on being a trusted writer. I write micro-tales, short stories, thoughts, blog posts, etc.. eventually, even if people don’t read my book per se, they at least get to know and trust me as an author.
Let me give a sample messenger ping from an author I know — “Grab a copy of my book that’s on Amazon, the book is only 225 INR, and you know what? Am giving you a gift voucher worth 200 INR, you’re spending only 25 INR. Buy Now!” — I find this crazy, how can I buy a book just because it is just 25 INR? I’d be spending at least 3-4 hours reading it, is my time worth just 25 INR? No!
How about writing a good book, interacting with the writers/authors/readers with the genre, plot line, a few quotes from the book and asking them to politely choose the book if they are interested? Why don’t you hook me as a reader with what the book has in store for me?
I find it funny when the authors post their Amazon link and say “Grab a copy,” “Irresistible offer,” “Just buy now!” etc.. It sounds like a person who wants to get married yelling “Am good at sex, marry me!” , “Am an excellent lover, fix the marriage date,” — Insane, I tell you!
No offense my wannabe authors – but, please, focus on becoming a good writer than a famous author. Focus on genuine reviews and interacting with readers than paying 500 INR for each fake review, the minute you say 400+ 5 star reviews on Goodreads – we know it all! Be an author who has a story to tell and not someone who has 20,000 INR to get fake reviews. Be genuine, you’re not fooling the readers, you’re fooling yourself. Give gift vouchers, market your book as much as you can, bring the word out, etc.. but be genuine. Give your readers a reason to read, then provide them with a gift card, will you?
Writers/Authors — Work on your skills, improve your grammar, read more books, learn new words and how to use them, interact with readers, write a good story — the book will sell well. It will take time, years together. But, as I always say, the view from the summit is damn worth it!
P.S – Sorry that I used this title and image. I would like this post to be read by many wannabe writers, authors, readers, book reviewers, etc.. to change their notion a bit.

Secretly yours – Book Review

I’ve not read any of Vikram Khanna’s previous books and hence, I thought I’d read one. The book is published by Penguin Books Limited and thats the only reason I picked this book. The title was not attractive, I didn’t like the cover as well but one thing that caught my attention was the blurb. I read this book with some basic expectations, but, surprisingly, the book didn’t satisfy the reader in me.
The plot was just another love story of a teenager built with a USP that the guy is capable of mind-reading. What I thought with the blurb and what the book offered was entirely different. There were obvious loopholes in the novel throughout, right from the murder parts to the age of the characters, there were mismatches from page one. The characters and the motivation behind each were not fleshed properly, a bit clumsy here. Could have been better though! 30295759
A penguin published book with editing flaws, mistakes, language, sentence structure errors etc.. So, it was disappointing!
Though cliched, a few parts were smile worthy and dialogues were good enough. Some parts were philosophical though. Not a great read, wouldn’t have picked if not for Penguin.
The sensitive topics should have been handled even better. Overall, I felt that a good plot was clumsified with cliched details.

Scarlet Nights by Mayur Patel – Book Review

First Impression: The title, cover, and the blurb is an instant attraction indeed. Pick-worthy novel with a winning plot. I love psychological thrillers and was so excited to read this book.
The story revolves around Malvika, just another Mumbai based businesswoman who is happy with her life. And, then Margrita happens! Read the novel to know more, because, I seldom spill spoilers.
Scarlet nights is a well-knitted novel, the alignment of scenes-chapters and the twin thread running along is commendable. A nail-biting experience precisely!  Author Mayur has done a great job with respect to the story which demands some brave attempts.
Wow Factors: 
  • Plot
  • Language, and diction
  • Editor has done a good job indeed
  • Fast-paced and well-knit chapters
Rating: 4/5
P.S I received a complimentary e-copy in exchange for a honest review.
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A Thousand Unspoken Words: Book Review

A book that I received some months back, I apologize for the late review. Genre being romance, I expected a girl-meet-boy, fall in love, fight, and get back on track types. Paulami Duttagupta presents a different shade of Romance novel which acutely states “Dude, you’ve read shit. This is romance. Now read on!” A Thousand Unspoken Words does talk a lot, a ride indeed.
The novel feeds my ego because the protogonist Tilottama falls in love with a writer. A writer named Musafir whom she had never met in life but just read his words. Musafir is not just another writer, he bleeds the issues and ends up running away. The way she talks about the author and his words are soothing and I felt so good about that. It is a dream for any author. So, the author Paulami gains a star from me for the setting and characters in here.
The story is based with a strong nerve lined on social and politcal issues which is different and is not dealt much on any romance genre.The characters are etched – Tilottama and Musafir (Riddhimaan) are fleshed beautifully. Both characters are strong and the motivation of their role is very well used. Other characters also look real to me. No hazel eyes, and curly hair type descriptions which makes the novel all the more real.
Language, grammar, diction were good. A decent novel to read. A bit of “tell” than “show” which didn’t really affect my reading spree.
Paulomi is indeed one author whom I expect to do well in the Indian Authors with this novel marking her on par.
If you like reading a novel that’s good and not just girl meet boy story – grab a copy.

 

6 Degrees – Game of Blogs: Book Review

I adore bloggers turned writers; I follow many a bloggers and adore a few. When I first heard about Blogadda and their #CelebrateBlogging campaign, I was thrilled. To know that Blogadda throws a few characters to them asking to knit a story as a team, judges being dignitaries like Ravi Subramanian Sir and Ashwin Sanghi, and to add more spice a few participants are bloggers whom I follow religiously quickened my interest to read this book. And, when Blogadda posted a call for reviews; I grabbed the opportunity. Click here to read about the birth of the concept.

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I don’t want to compare the 3 stories, so am reviewing each one by one.
  1. The Awakening – A sci-fi fiction in a matter of 150 pages. The opening scene was normal, nothing different from usual fiction but the end of the chapter is a good twist which makes you want to read more. At the end of each chapter there is a plot twist knit, and it was interesting. Good characters and detailed motivation behind each. Overall a good story! I follow Preethi Venugopala and she is one of the team members, so my expectations wrt The quality of writing, language, and diction are on par and commendable
Frown factors: The novel “Shows” than “Tell” – very descriptive. The pacing was not levelled; the chapters are slow from the beginning and at the end it picks speed, could have been done better types. The hype that the end of each chapter created didn’t justify the end of the novel.
  1. Entangled Lives – An exotic murder mystery. Very well-done! One of the best reads this year as I love mystery thrillers. The investigation part was handled properly without amiss. Interesting plot twists, one after the other. A real page-turner indeed. Loved the experience of reading this work. Kudos to the team! Am a fan of Srilakshmi’s lovebytes and I follow Sneha, good job! A fast paced novella with fleshy character traits and motivation. One cannot skim through this story; it has a lot of details in every line.
Frown factors: The world-building was a bit confusing in the middle.
  1. Missing – A journey within – The blurb talks about a child gone missing, I was afraid if that would fall under the lines of many thrillers I’ve read so far, surprisingly, it is not. A beautiful tale around LGBT and a man getting raped. The emotions are handled well, a very nice story around the plot with good conflicts knit throughout. Kudos to the team for working on this theme.
Frown factors: The guy’s interest towards another guy, and discovering his sexual orientation was not dealt properly.
Rating: 4/5
I received this book from blogadda for a video and blog review.

The Girl I used to be – April Henry

I was surfing through Goodreads and stumbled upon this book. The cover image was extremely attractive, and I loved the title next. The blurb was super interesting – The novel is about a girl named “Ariel” – her mom was killed and her father is the suspect, but after 14 years they find the jawbone of her father near the same place where her mom was killed and the murder case is re-opened. So if it was not her father, who else? Is the story!
The book was not within my usual budget, so I moved on surfing through a few other books. For 2-3 days the blurb, the cover, and the title kept running in my mind and then, I decided to give it a try.
This book kills you slowly, the pace is slow-medium without a change until you reach 80% of the novel. The story is beautiful – this is just an understatement. The novel deals with quite a lot of details.

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What I loved about the book?
Remorse – The deep regret and extreme guilt of Ariel and the folks around when they learn that her father is not the real murderer is just amazing. The pain is dealt so beautifully! For people who thoroughly hated someone for a reason so wrong, when they learn and wriggle around for taking such a bad decision was indeed knit right.
Olivia – The small girl “Ariel” the protagonist who is actually “Olivia” goes to a foster home post her parent’s death. We all travel along with her from her POV. A deep, strong and unshakeable character indeed!
Scenes – The scene where Olivia recollects how her mom fell down when she was killed, the scene where she walks into her home after fourteen years and recollects the window where she’d hide herself behind the curtains, her foster home memories, and many more were so touching and killed me slowly.
Diction – Fantastic!
A few lines from the novel:
“The air is filled with the trills and chirps of birds, punctuated with the occasional caw of a blue jay.”
The scene where Olivia recollects and explains her mom getting killed by someone – “Her arms slice through the air, windmilling as they do when we put on music and dance in the living room.” … “Then I know it’s raining blood, pock-marking the snow”
Why would I recommend this book?
  • Because the book is something more than what I first thought it would be
  • I love the diction, vocabulary, microscopic details, and sentence structures
  • This novel helps to understand how to knit a slow mystery novel that’s enticing
April Henry is in the list of my favorite authors now, and I bought 2 of her novels now. Would read and review soon!
 

Hell to Pay (What Doesn’t Kill You, #7)

First Impression: Interesting title, simple cover design and a blurb that took me three reads to get the glitch. I kick started reading to quench my diction thirst, and yes, it paid off.
Overall Impression: A romantic mystery is indeed one of the hardest, because there are times where I read a few of those sorts where I skipped romance parts and read only the mystery. I always felt that romance in a mystery is speed breakers, but Pamela proved me wrong aligning the scenes on par with excellence.
What did I love about this book?
  • Expect the unexpected type of a story that intrigued me instantly
  • As I said, the diction peppered
  • Strong plot, pace so right and characters so believable
  • Humor trials did work out really well
There are no frown factors as such; I just loved the novel’s pace. It worked out so wonderfully, though initially it is tough to get the glitch, Pamela has done a great job with this novel so that it makes sense even as a standalone. Any who reads this book would want to read the previous set of the series, just like me.
Am just holding enough from spilling the beans about the mystery, it is indeed a must read and I would give 4/5 ratings for this nail-biting novel.

A Road Not Traveled : Book Review

First Impression:
The blurb of this novel was so good that I wanted to try this book, it was on a different lane altogether. The cover so good, and title pretty attractive just makes one flip the pages right away.
Overall Impression:
I was terrified with the choice of names in the beginning, it is pretty unusual for an Indie author to pick names that are not familiar in this region. The author just bags ratings because the concept he deals in this novel is amusing, different, and new. The author’s vision, creativity, and uniqueness would amaze the readers in the first go.

 

What did I like in the book?
  • Concept
  • The underlined motivating and inspiring vision knitted through
  • Humor peppered that makes us giggle at places
  • Characters were fleshed out enough, and just enough that would suit the novel. It was not over done unlike a few novels that I have read. Thanks to Alchem
  • It deals a lot of emotions throughout
Frown Factors:
  • Editing was good, but could have been much better. Grammatical errors and redundant words were disturbing the flow to an extent, but yes, pretty negligible though
Rating: 4/5

Wrong Means Right Ends : Book Review

First Impression: The cover of the novel conveys a confused pair in a trouble, and that matches the blurb. The blurb prompts a question, asking us to read to know what they lead does to get rid of a confusing complication that mushroomed.
Overall Impression: There are different characters, each of a kind which is properly fleshed out in this novel.  This novel makes room for romance and the author has used the space pretty well. A tinge of humor is peppered throughout to lighten the novel, and I would say it did work.
What did I like?
  • This book has fewer errors when compared to the previous release of the author.
  • I was worried about the regional language used in the previous book, and in this book, it has reduced to an extent. Makes the book a better read!
  • Lucid language used throughout – makes it a good read!
Frown Factors:
  • Predictable enough, that makes the reader skim than read
  • Reality takes a miss at some points and drama creeps in
Overall a decent read!
Rating: 3/5