Category Archives: Book Reviews

Among the Stars – Book Review

Dhasa Sathya’s debut with his collection of short stories. He is an acquaintance, and we are just 100+ kilometers away. We met at an event, As we share the same mother tongue, it was good to catch up and share our thoughts. And I bought his book where we had all our books displayed. However, the review is honest and we are better enemies than friends with the difference of opinions about vocabulary, so trust me the review is not biased.
The novel is a collection of short stories written by Dhasa Sathya, different genres, and themes, but he loops each story. Independently, the stories make sense as well and if you read with the flow, again it sounds fine.

It starts off where the father narrates a story to his son. The first two stories are perfumed which sophisticated words, but then the other stories had pedestrian words, my anticipation of dictionary usage was fooled. Most reviews already spoke much about the vocabulary. I just thought, if this book is not perfumed with vocabulary, it would sound just like another anthology with short stories from writers. One part of me says the stories demand the vocabulary for its level of stories have something in store to analyze and understand. An excellent start for Sathya.
First Impression – I remember asking him to change the title as its published already, he was stubborn and it did help. The cover – am not much satisfied, but yeah, it suits the novel on the whole. Blurb could have been better.
Overall Impression – I personally love moral stories and those who makes one think. Definitely a superb read, nice surprises and on par with excellence. I don’t buy short story collections as such, as being more of a novel person. This book is an exception, I actually liked it more than any other short story collections I have read so far.
What did I love about the book? – The sentence structure and thought process of the author. He structures a simple observation in a breathtaking manner. Some examples:
  • May be we are blanketed in a cocoon of darkness and the stars are pinpricks through which the light from the outside shines – The one sentence I will always think of when I look at the sky, I loved this description.
  • I lit a cigarette to my mouth and inhaled hard. I could feel my body relaxing as the nicotine spread through my blood stream.
  • Most monsters roam among us, hidden beneath the mask of humans
  • The flowers adorned the neat braid of the young man the next minute, adding to her radiant beauty.
  • A transparent cloud of smoke – His definition of a ghost, made me smile.
The book also reminded me non-detail readings, where I am used to checking for the number of pages before I start the story.
Rating: 4.5 / 5
Wow Factors: 1) Thought process 2) Simple and powerful stories 3) Font and font size changes used for transition – though it took me 2 stories to understand the change, then I got the pace.
Frown Factors: 1) The use of names – mostly it’s ‘Sanjay’ it was hard to change the avatar of Sanjay for every 5 to 10 pages. Also in the second story all 4 character names were similar starting with the letter ‘S’ and it literally pissed me off to understand who is what. 2) He started off with a story about telling stories and within stories comes another story, it was clumsy in a few places. I felt instead of a father-son narration if he had attempted something different, it would have worked much much better.
My opinion: “The block”, “Free as a bird”, “Into Oblivion”, “The Lone Soldier” are my personal favorites. I loved the book overall.
To the author: Fantastic is a mediocrity, and even your own vocabulary has no word to express appreciation. I love the thought process and the writer specs of yours, I look forward to your next work. You have right proportion of out of the box thinking, way of writing, grammar and vocabulary, and sentence structure, am sure that you’ll go places if your manuscript hits the right publishers.
Grab a copy of the book here- Amazon

Voices of the silent creek

Vikkas Arun Pareek’s debut novel. He sent a request using the book review form on my blog to get his book reviewed. The author sent me the eBook of his novel in exchange for an honest review, and here you go!

The novel falls under “general fiction” and “Women fiction” genre. His writing reminded Sudha Murthy’s style and even the story for that matter. A disturbing read, about the issues and nuisance that women faced and are still facing at the rural villages based in India. It swirls around three women and how they get related at one point, what happens to each of them?

The story is about Shanti, the heart-wrenching issues that she faces hit the readers hard. While her younger sister sports braveness. In a village where a Woman is looked upon as sex objects and are used only for branching the family further, giving no importance to her career, passion, life or feelings. What happens to them is the story.

First Impression – Good title and cover. Not attractive enough to pick if I cross on a store. The blurb could have been much better.

Overall Impression – A good read to know the other side of the life. As a modern young woman, I have heard a few stories about the issues the villages sport but the story tore the inhibitions and threw light on what it is, a brave attempt and a convincing book on the issues.

What did I love about the book? – Simplicity and the brutal awakening.

Rating: 3/5

Wow Factors: 1) Depth of emotions 2) Raw facts 3) Lucid 4) Proper connect and flow throughout without any loopholes

Frown Factors: 1) The start talks a lot about the girl having issues with her monthly periods. I hope the author was confused with Puberty and this, so the initial start was clumsy 2) Grammatical errors 3) Story seems stuffed in the middle

My opinion: A good attempt.

To the author: Good start, please research more before you start. Add more clarity, and use better words to express the emotions.
Grab a copy of the book here – Amazon and Kindle Unlimited

One Tequila, 2 Tequilas – Book Review

Supriya Parulekar’s fifth novel published by Gargi publishers. The title of the book swirled through social networking sites and was running at the back of my mind. Three days back, I was tagged by a fellow reviewer to download the book as it was on promotions as a free giveaway.
The novel falls under “Romance”, and also, slightly on par with “Chick-lit” and “soft-erotica” genre. A fiction that reminds you Bollywood masti movies of Kangana Renault and Kareena Kapoor. A thoroughly enjoyable, filmy novel that I loved reading.
The story of Kosha, the boisterous and passionate young lady who falls in love with an unexpected person. She is a wildlife photographer who always risks her life for passion and strolls by life’s calling. How and with whom she falls in love? What happens to her love story? Happy ending? – read the novel to know more.
First Impression – The best title and unrivaled cover. Suits the theme, is so ‘pickable’, and I would also say the book is unputdownable. The blurb is again the best of its kind.
Overall Impression: Very cute indeed, a light read for a nice evening. Tempts to read more. I loved the characters of the protagonists. Kosha and Siddharth. Their love making scenes were so passionate and deep. The author succeeds, leafing the right element at the right place.
What did I love about the book? – The conversations between Siddharth and Kosha. The grandma’s character was written well. Descriptions were good.
Rating: 4/5
Wow Factors: 1) Simple and styling language. Perfumed with befitting words throughout. 2) Defined characters 3) The passionate love making scenes were handled very well
Frown Factors: 1) Usage of too many adverbs and adjectives to express the character/event. Sometimes it suits, but many a times it sounds dumped 2) Predictable scenes and climax. Nevertheless, I loved it – given the genre it fits. 3) A bit of a drag, if the book is crisped would have been a compelling read
My opinion: I would suggest this book for aspiring authors who find it difficult to fish the right word to express a feeling. A very light and warm read, women would enjoy more than men.
To the author: Loved your novel and the way you express microscopic details, for example: “She signed on the dotted lines” Would love to see a more crispy and guess-gaming books from you. All the best.
Grab a copy of the novel here – Amazon

First love matters…so does the Second – Book Review

First love matters so does the Second is Vishal Sha’s debut novel. I won this book through his giveaway, and I started off with nil expectations as I don’t know much about the novel or the author. Except that, I am connected through social networks.

The novella falls under ‘Romance’ and ‘Lit-Lad’ genre. A fiction that takes you through school and college days kindling memories. A college-goer will relate and love this book.

The story revolves around Vishal, his friends, his love interest, and family. The author walks you through a few years of the protagonist life.

First Impression: A catchy title and a beautiful cover, a novel that would grab your attention.

Overall Impression: A decent trial, and a warm read. It is light and sweet that you can read through over a cup of coffee. It goes easy on the reader, no room to fiddle around or no flabbergasting moments. I also loved the chapter titles; that curves a smile.

What did I love about the book? – Few phrases and dialogues were very cute and sweet to read. Example:

How was I supposed to know the value of cot 45 on the first day in Class 10th? I didn‘t even know the full table of 18.

I was just noticing her lips, occasionally touching each other. I couldn‘t help smiling.

but I guess when you are dying, everybody‘s attitude towards you changes.

Rating: 3/5

Wow Factor: 1) Nice dialogues and phrases that are witty 2) Simple language and vocabulary to read without having to check a dictionary.
3) Pain was well described

Frown Factors: 1) Grammatical errors 2) Lengthy sentences, descriptions, and timelines that were not necessary. Example: He called me at 6:15 AM and he came home by 7:15 AM kinds were not at all required. I will blame the editor for this. 3) The author used caps locks here and there to show the emotion, but I am against this. He should have picked right words to showcase the emotions

My opinion: Good not great, a gentle read that will take one back to their good old days.

To the author: Time to indulge with good books. Read more, it’s time to step from your comfort zone and explore other genres and authors except for CB and DD.

Grab a copy of the novel here –  amazon

I See You – Book Review

I See You is Aindrila Roy’s debut novel. I have read her excerpts and having known her for quite some time, I know she is entering the literature industry with a bang and yes, she did it. I am still hindering and quivering and am writing this review right away so please excuse the spoilers.

The novel is a horror genre book, and this is my first horror read. There are movies not as scary as it seems to be, background score and music they bang make it scarier. So I picked the book with a nebulous idea on how a read can scare me? Trust me, I lost my wits. I couldn’t shut my eyes as the story is running in my mind, and the story terrified me to bits.

The story is a revenge of a girl. What she does to him? How she quenches her thirst for vengeance ? Who came for help and what happened to them? – is the story that will shake your core.

First Impression – The Title “I See You” and the smoky cover doesn’t scare you at its first pick, but once you’re done reading am sure it will scare you when you walk past your bookshelf. An Apt title and the best cover, I loved the blurb though I picked a dictionary to understand. Blame my vocabulary!

Overall Impression – Andy (that’s how I call her) just nailed it. She wanted to scare her readers, and she has done it with ease. Impeccable work, the narrative pulls you to the edge of the seat and tortures you to complete the read disturbing your day to day life. The first message I sent her when I was through 30% is ‘I hate you‘ that’s how she scared me.

What did I love about the book? – ‘Everything, every little thing.’ I loved the crispy dialogues. When the person over phone asks “am I clear” the other responds “Crystal” – can it be any better? Very crispy, neat, meaty and right. Needless to mention the awesome editing by Neil and Varun of Pen Paper Coffee.

Ratings: 5/5

Wow Factors: 1) As mentioned before, the dialogues and phrases, few samples below: (Am Sorry Andy, I loved these, bang me later for these spoilers!)

The icy tentacles of terror grasped his heart, squeezing it inch by inch, robbing his breath in the process

It was enough to tilt Liam’s world on its axis

“… was his bed, covered with a rumpled sheet and a blanket laying bunched at the foot.”

2) Vocabulary and choice of words: Impeccable! It was a treat to read, I should thank a fellow reviewer Komal who pointed out the sophisticated words throughout and hence, I picked a Kindle version to ensure that it eases my search. Few words like “Raspy, papery, girth, eke, nymph” were picture perfect. It added enough flavor that the world she built and the story demanded it all. Justice was done to be precise.

3) She fit in the pieces of puzzles in the right place. There comes a point where Lily’s action pins doubt, but then the author has cleverly inserted a leaflet to elaborate her character in advance. A clear and concise detailing that map of what each person would do and what their character is. Special kudos! I loved this trick. Way to go Andy!

Frown Factors: 1) The story is so interesting that few words that were way out of the league for me to understand made me frown and feel aargh. Example: Perfunctory, harrumphed, sinewy, olfactory and there are words for which Kindle threw up stating “No meaning found.”

2) The chapter “Fateful Encounter” ends with an astonishing element, which could have waited until the next chapter that would have hammered the reader’s skull. The actions following the broken-egg surprise element were skimmed. If another edition rolls out, I  request the author to screw the nuts of this chapter.

3) The ending was a rush – I felt suffocated. All of it was answered in here. It felt like someone read the book till 90% and questioned why these happened for which the last chapter was used as an answer paper. It could have been a bit slow, but maybe, it would have resulted in a looser story. The author knows it better!

My opinion: I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The best read of my recent times. I didn’t sleep last night and answered every screech I heard given the impact.

Thoughts: Stephen King’s quotation says, “There are books full of great writing that don’t have very good stories. Read sometimes for the story. Don’t be like the book snobs who won’t do that. Read sometimes for the words – the language. Don’t be like the play-it-safer that won’t do that. But when you find a book that has both a good story and good words, treasure that book” – I treasure this book. Period.

To the author: Best entry Andy, I loved the read. Expecting a lot more from you! Sheer work of 7 years paid off well. As I know that you started off as a romantic flick and over the days it turned sinister. I would like to see a thorough romantic novel from you.

Grab a copy of the novel here – Kindle version or Paperback – India

When I See Your Face – Book Review

When I See Your Face is Devika Fernando’s romance novel. I read “Saved in Srilanka” first as I won a giveaway by the author. I started this book with enough anticipation for a good read, and I must say am not disappointed at all. I loved reading every alphabet of the book, to cut the long story short. Devika Fernando has the best style of writing romance and the way she writes make us all fall in love with the novel.

The story is about a woman falling in love for the second time with another person having gone through a hard hitting past. The story yet again proves the capability of pain and love, and a burning passion that will outlive everything else. It is more of a ‘chick-lit’ & ‘Romance’ Genre.

First Impression: I was not happy with the cover, I thought the cover speaks nothing of what’s inside the story. The cover and title are not as catchy as the story is, which makes the novel not pick worthy if found in a store. Luckily, it is Kindle publishing, and I know the pulse of Devika as I read one other novel. I just wish she ensures to present a good cover next time.

Overall Impression: Am amazed totally and awe-struck with the minute and tiny little microscopic writing that just brings out sheer love from within. A woman in love would enjoy this book more. Utterly cute and lovely.

My review: The book is sweeter than one can ever explain. It is a woman’s world in short, the descriptions and details are totally close to my heart. Hand-picked words that serve the purpose, I marked the beautiful sentences I crossed to read it all again. Few phrases where Cathy flinches at the touch of his hand, the way she feels when Mark stands close, the way she sits on the couch and every other detail is written right from the heart. I lived Cathy’s life, and I loved to see myself as Cathy at the back of my mind. I have not read any other book that details the warmth and delicacy of a kiss so well and genuinely. Devika does it at ease; she is worth a million bucks for this work.

What did I love about the book? The microscopic details of Cathy’s feelings. The success of a woman who went through hell and were ready to face the world. The sternness that a woman would portray when all she wants is to prove to the world.

Ratings: 4.5/5

Wow Factor: 1) The simple story and strength of emotions handles. 2) Vocabulary – The best words that fulfill the puzzle all at once

Frown Factor: 1) The cover 2) I missed aunt Grindle in the end who played a major role – nevertheless, that’s what I felt and has nothing to do with the story.

My opinion: Woman’s world – read this book and you’ll find yourself in Devika’s world. You see your face in the book. Never miss this lovely book, I promise soul-stirring feel throughout the book. The book will make you feel the way you would when a newborn holds your finger tight.

Thoughts: Would love to see paperbacks and full-fledged novels from Devika.

To the author: I will read all your novels diligently, and I bow literally.

Grab a copy, and find more details about the author and her upcoming novels in here – www.devikafernando.com/

Bound in Love – Book Review

Bound in Love is a collection of short stories written and published by Neil D’silva, and this is his third book. His first book Maya’s New Husband is still in the best sellers list of Amazon and also his second, The Evil Eye and the Charm was one among the top selling. Both these books fall under the Horror genre and ‘Bound in Love’ is his first take on Love presented as collection of short stories.
The stories are ‘coming of age’ kind of love stories, a read that demands you to forget the duets and running around the trees kind and understand how as humans we started abusing the term ‘Love’
First Impression: The cover drapes the genre but plays peek-a-boo with the reader, it doesn’t reveal much of what is inside.
Overall Impression: Few stories were very good and eye-opening, a few were normal and a few below average. I am not sure whether this is the resultant of expectations or having read MNH and Evil Charm. I strongly feel ‘Horror’ is his best take.
My review in short on the stories without spoilers:
1)    No Chocolate For You! – I didn’t enjoy the read, the theme and climax were obvious. It covers child abuse.
2)    The Shoe that Didn’t Fit – It was a good one, unconventional and unexpected climax. A few flaws and questions pop up while reading, maybe, as a short story it makes enough sense.
3)    No Greater Charm – According to me, this is the best story of all eight. I loved reading it.
4)    The Other Face of Love – A clichéd story about mother-son relationship, a theme that’s covered enough and I have read similar stories.
5)    At the Next Stop – A cute read I would say, it was not narrating a story actually. It felt different at the end. Not really impressive.
6)    New Wine, Old Bottle – The 2nd best story of the collection
7)    The Lion and the Queen – This was the cherry on cake kind. The ‘Wow’ factor of the whole book. A very well-written story with thumping emotions and raw factors hitting the reader’s brain. Though a few scenes lead to the obvious next, this is the best of the lot.
The other three short stories following these are already published through other means.
What did I love about the book? – Vocabulary – I felt Neil has hand-picked words to bring out the right emotion. Thankfully, kindle helped me with the meaning. I have them all marked, few words were rich and added the right flavor to story without a need to beat around the bush. It pushes the bar a step above his first two novels.
Ratings: 3.75 / 5
Wow factor: 1) the stories are beyond love – It has more depth than any other recent love stories. It is not warm but raw.  2) Few stories have amusing theme
Frown factor: 1) Few stories were a drag, could have been short and I felt 1 or 2 didn’t convey much. 2) Few idioms and phrases were difficult to comprehend, some prefixing details would have been a better shot.  I pinged the Author to get the details, not sure how many are blessed enough alike. 3) I felt a few words were beyond the level of generic readers to understand, could have been simplified.
My opinion: A travel companion, a good vocabulary ride, entertaining themes like Kingdom, Cinema and Circus Company to read. Don’t give it a miss.
Thoughts: I would like to hear from a reader who didn’t read his first two books. I think my review is biased based on my reads of his previous work.
To The Author: I expect more ‘horror’ and ‘thrillers’ from you. Theme choices were good, definitely not your best book, but yes good for a reader’s shelf. MNH will always be my favorite.
For More details about Neil and his books, along with links to grab a copy: http://neildsilva.com/