Friday, 17 November 2017

Book Spotlight: Love Sutra: Secret to Happily Ever After by Urvashi Pahwa

Urvashi Pahwa's debut book "Love Sutra: Secret to Happily Ever After" uncovers the secrets of happily ever after through a couple of interesting short stories. 


About the Book

What happens AFTER falling in love? Is there a happily ever after or love fades away?
It is hard to find love but even harder to keep it strong. Sometimes, little things that we overlook matter a lot. 
Through a series of short stories, uncover the secrets of happily ever after. Take a ride into the lives of these five couples and explore how easy it is to keep dating forever.
•Casanova's Lover - A girl falls for a Casanova. Her heart was bound to be broken but will she ever find love again?
•The Rich Wife - She can buy whatever she likes, but all she needs is time from her husband. Is it her fault or her husband's? 
• Love Birds - Young hearts meet in college and start living together but more they get to know each other, more they start fighting on silly things. And then they found a way to solve this forever. 
•Miss Belligerent - Her husband was an entrepreneur. As a few challenges popped up, she clutched her claws on him, making his life miserable. How would he escape the situation?
•Mr. Always Right - He considered himself superior to his wife, and did not value her opinions, crushing her self - respect. Will she ever stand up for herself or will she keep enduring it?

Grab your copy of the eBook HERE

If you enjoy reading books on love and relationships, you might like it. The review of the book will be posted on the blog soon. 

You can connect with the author on







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Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Book Review: You Never Know

Book: You Never Know
Author: Akash Verma
Publisher: Penguin Metro Reads
Genre: Fiction|Romantic Thriller
Pages: 216
Price: 175 INR

Blurb:

There will be times when you feel you have the best relationship, ever 
There will be times when it will be the worst that has happened to you 
There will be times when you know you are getting into something terrible; something that will not stop till it destroys you 
And yet . . . 
You will be pulled into it so inextricably, unstoppably . . . 

Dhruv knew Anuradha was his true love. So, despite being married with kids, he still went ahead with their affair. He hid it from his wife and his colleagues. He told lies so he could be with her-it was that amazing! But he couldn't save himself from the dark secret she was keeping. It pulled him into a vortex of danger so deep that he lost all he had. It happened to him and if you think it can't happen to you-think again.

A romantic thriller where all the characters are shades of grey!

"You Never Know" is a romantic thriller that also delves on human psychology with subtlety. The book starts with a very interesting Japanese proverb that says:

"You have three faces
The first face, you show to the world
The second face, you show to your close friends, your family
The third face, you don't show to anyone
It's the truest reflection of who you are."

This quote sums up the book. The main characters, Dhruv and Anuradha are neither completely white nor completely black. Both of them have shades of grey and that's what makes the story worth reading. Dhruv, despite being a married man with two kids cannot help falling in love with Anuradha. He lives a dual life, keeping one separate from another. Anuradha, whose boyfriend Sid had committed suicide a few days before their engagement cannot help falling in love with Dhruv despite knowing he is married. Although at first she doesn't care about his marriage, jealousy and insecurity soon get the better of her.

Both the characters are skilled at keeping secrets and living dual lives. Dhruv conceals his steamy affair with Aruradha from his wife, Shalini for as long as he can. Anuradha conceals the truth of Sid's identity and death from everyone. She tells a fraction of the story to Dhruv when her past threatens to destroy Dhruv's family. However, it's only at the end that we finally get to know the truth about Sid's death. 

The characters of Dhruv and Anuradha are interesting. The author has done a good job in sketching these two characters. They will keep the readers invested in the book, but the mystery is not jaw-dropping. People who read a lot of thrillers might guess it midway. The cover of the book is so brilliant that I expected the mystery to be something very dark and shocking. The final revelation was startling, but not something that will linger long after the book ends. Most of the scenes in the book are set in the office and therefore, are quite mundane, apart from the conversations between Dhruv and Anuradha.

The writing is lucid. The first person narration of the three characters: Dhruv, Anuradha, and Sid make it a very engrossing read. Readers will be tempted to turn the pages to know what Anuradha is hiding. Recommended to thriller buffs. I am going with 3 stars.


   

'I received a copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.'



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Monday, 2 October 2017

Book Review: A Window To Her Dreams

Book: A Window To Her Dreams
Author: Harshali Singh
Publisher: Readomania
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 320
Price: 299 INR

Blurb:

Aruna, a young divorcee, marries Bhuvan, an averagely successful young man. Both make promises of ever after with preconceived expectations—hers, freedom from a judgmental society and validation of herself and his, unconditional love and partnership.

Despite their best intentions, life plays rogue.

On the one hand, Aruna’s learned conditioning, developed as a result of her past, keeps coming in the way of their married normalcy and on the other, Bhuvan cannot fathom the signs of her distress.

Their good intentions are tried at every step until the day when Aruna’s past revisits her. Bhuvan’s silences, Aruna’s distrust and the resurrection of her troublesome past lead to a downward spiral in their life that shakes Aruna to the core.

As she stands on the precipice of a second failed marriage, Aruna tries one last time to take control of her life, something she had willingly surrendered last time.
Does she succeed in saving her marriage? Or is she held back by her own apprehensions, choosing to stay victim?
 


A poignant story that will make you introspect about your own choices

"A Window To Her Dreams" is the story of a young divorcee, Aruna who decides to marry Bhuvan for her own selfish reasons. Although she is not ready for a marriage after a failed marriage that had bruised her physically, emotionally and psychologically, she decides to marry Bhuvan because the tag of a divorced woman chokes her and she wants a respite from the prying eyes of society by marrying a man who will love and respect her. 

But if the foundation of a marriage is weak, can it sustain long? 

Can a broken person dare to love again? 

Can a relationship that starts with dishonesty, flower with the passage of time? 

Is it easy to forget the past and move on? 

Is it possible to trust again, after your trust has been shattered in the most ruthless manner?

These are the questions that the author, Harshali Singh has dealt with, in the book with deftness. I really liked the way the author has sketched a few scenes where Aruna's dilemma is palpable. She understands the depth of Bhuvan's love, but a certain voice in her stops her from accepting his love and being transparent with him. But as the saying goes, love and only love can heal the most broken soul. 

However, there are many characters in the book. And the author has added a subplot for almost each of the characters which distracted me from Aruna and Bhuvan's story. Although I liked some of the characters like Aruna's mother, Uma and her sister, Charu, some of the characters and their stories weakened my interest in the book, at times. I loved the prologue where the haveli narrates the story of the people living in it, but in some chapters, the haveli's narration seemed unnecessary. 

The book is beautifully written, with a good vocabulary. Some of the lines are so well written that it was a treat reading them. 

"There has to be a special name to this pain...the pang that squeezes a mother's heart at the sight of her despondent child. Is there ever an end to it or do mothers die with this ache? Is it universal or is it only mothers who are cursed to feel this deep agony" (Chapter 1)

It is not a fast paced book as I mentioned that there are so many characters and their stories in it. The cover does complete justice to the book. I will recommend it to the ones who enjoy reading women's fiction. Aruna's story and choices will definitely make you introspect about your own choices. 

I am going with 3.5



'I received a copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.'















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Thursday, 24 August 2017

Book Review: The Wise Man Said

Book : The Wise Man Said
Author: Priya Kumar
Publisher: Books That Inspire
Genre: Fiction | Spirituality
Pages: 180
Price: 299 INR

Blurb:

Sammy is an 80 year old billionaire, who finds himself at the peak of his success built on a mountain of sacrifices. He decides to participate in a life he missed to live. Eleven months in a year he leaves behind his identity and money and allows his curiosity and his willingness to experience anything—death even, to take him on life changing adventures and experiences across the world. Loaded with wisdom, surprise, humor and an eagerness to embrace life, The Wise Man Said is a collection of twelve such adventures of Sammy, where his journey becomes his greatest achievement—a life well lived.

A book that can change your life!

I have read Priya Kumar's "Calling" which is a beautiful book on spirituality and about understanding the calling of your heart. Therefore, when I was approached to review "The Wise Man Said", I was extremely happy. I had high expectations from the book and I am glad to announce that the book was beyond my expectations. 

After reading "The Wise Man Said", I will say that Priya Kumar reminds me of Paulo Coelho. Her wise words can change something very deep within you. The best thing about her writing is that she derives the extraordinary things from the simplest of circumstances and narrates it in such a lucid way that it touches the right chords. 

"The Wise Man Said" starts with Naina, an established writer who is on a writer's block. She had been delaying the submission of her manuscript for six months. When her editor gives her a deadline of 24 hours to submit the story, she feels overwhelmed as she doesn't have a story to tell. She is lost in her life and feels clueless about penning a new story.

She goes for a walk and meets an eighty-year-old man, Sammy. His white robe and red Nike shoes make him look endearing. Naina gets bewitched by the old man's wisdom as they start chatting. She starts finding her own self as she talks to Sammy. Naina dozes off on the meadow after some time and when she opens her eyes, the old man is nowhere to be seen. However, he leaves his brown leather book on which the word "Wanderer" is engraved. 

We read the wise man, Sammy's book along with Naina. There are 12 chapters in the book which are basically Sammy's experiences as he travels the world. But, what was truly remarkable in those 12 chapters were Sammy's perception about the experience in hindsight. Each chapter has a section called "What I missed seeing then" after each experience where I read some of the best words of wisdom.

The book taught me to use the power of hindsight. When you are going through a bad or challenging experience, you might wish for the experience to end and never remember it. 

But, what if, you thought about that experience later and can see something beautiful that can be learned from it? If you write about your experiences, your hindsight can bring a karmical liberating conclusion to even the most difficult days. 

All the chapters in the book are thought-provoking and taught me something about life. My favorite chapters are "I am skipping now", "Come find me", "The lost purpose", "The Man God" and "The future that wasn't."

There are so many brilliant quotes in the book that it's hard to choose the best among them. Here are some quotes from the book:

1. "All answers are within, O' Dear One. You can travel the world twice over, you will not find the answers outside, you carry them with you, everywhere you go."

2. What we take for granted no longer serves us-our lives included.

3. Your soulmate is not necessarily your lover. Soulmates always find each other. You will know when you do.

4. Purpose leaves clues. The fact that you are alive is a clue to your purpose. 

5. Leave notes of faith for people. Leave notes of hope for people. It will make your own suffering worth it if someone else can be saved from it."

I can definitely go back to "The Wise Man Said" again and again. If you are looking for a book that can change your life in a positive way, you must pick this one. 

I am going with 5 stars. 




I got a review copy from the author for an honest review. The opinions are my own.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Book Review: ABCs of Horror

Book: ABCs of Horror
Author: Anmol Rawat
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Fiction|Horror
Pages: 150
Price: 49 INR

Blurb:

You have been warned: This book is cursed.

ABCs of Horror is a collection of ghastly tales that binds different forms of terrors together in a riveting narrative, which feels as real as the entity sitting right behind you when you are home alone, getting freaked out by even a gust of air.

There is a dreadful treasure here for every reader: haunted houses, rise of the Devil, paranormal sightings, Voodoo, and much more. The author has put together promising stories for every alphabet that are guaranteed to scare you out of your wits and question the presence of the supernatural.

Pick up the book as the night crawls by for feeling those chills creeping up your skin and your heart beating out of your chest.


My Review:

ABCs of Horror is a collection of 26 short stories on horror. The author has written these stories during the A-Z blogging challenge in the month of April and therefore, there are 26 chapters on the 26 alphabets. 

Writing 26 different short stories on horror is definitely a challenging task and the author has brilliantly succeeded in it because all the stories are different from each other. Not for a second, the stories seemed repetitive or bland. All the stories have some shocking twist at the end, which kept me on my toes. I couldn't predict the ending in most of the stories.

In this collection, Anmol has written stories not only on ghosts and evil spirits but also on Voodoo practice, the rise of the devil, black magic, witchcraft, mutation and monsters. I read 2-3 stories per day so that I could savor them one at a time. My favorites from this collection are "Circle of Life", "In lieu of", "Killer Doll", "Planchette", "Sinister" and "Yours Forever".

In "Yours Forever", we can see how the effect of black magic stays even after death. The ending of this story gave me goosebumps. "Killer Doll" was scary. The way the author has narrated the incidents gave me chills while reading the story. I remember after reading this story, I was looking at my soft toys with suspicion. 

"Planchette" is another gem of this collection. The ending is absolutely shocking. "Circle of Life" and "Sinister" had the horror element ingrained from the very beginning. "In lieu of" is another favorite from this collection. It starts as a simple story about a married couple who have shifted to a new house, but the ending will surely startle you.

The narration of the book is fast paced and the writing style is praiseworthy. Readers can easily visualize the setting while reading the stories. Special mention to Pikakshi Manchanda for the crisp editing that made the book a fabulous reading experience. 

I also liked the way the author has finished the book. The last story "Zapped In" is about a bunch of friends who get a book, the first page of which it is written, "The Book Is Cursed". A very clever way to end the book, must say!

I am going with 4.5 and would recommend this book to everyone who loves thrillers and horrors. Trust me, you will love the reading experience. Read it on your Kindle at night and thank me later.  


Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Book Review: The Fragrance of True Love

Book: The Fragrance of True Love
Author: Roma Gupta Sinha
Publisher: Self-published during Blog chatter's eBook Carnival, 2017
Genre: Fiction| Romance
Pages: 58
Price: 96 INR

Blurb:

Priyam, an avid writer, is a girl who is haunted by her traumatic past but is determined to stay positive and works extremely hard to give herself and her family a happy and comfortable life. However, she is a lone traveller in her journey and she likes it that way. She has built strong walls around herself so that none can hurt her bruised heart ever again. But what happens when true love knocks at her door? Is she able to fight her inner demons and embrace life or she perishes unable to do away with her agonising past? Dive in to find out how Meer enters her heart in softest steps and what destiny has in store for the lovely duo.


My Review:

After a long time, I read a very innocent and pure love story. I believe this is the strength of the Roma's 2nd book "The Fragrance of True Love". If you are a person who believes in true love, you will surely feel the fragrance of true love wrapping you while you are reading the book. As I am fond of love stories, I cherished reading this book. I had a smile pasted on my face all the time when I was reading the book. 

"The Fragrance of True Love" is the love story of Priyam and Meer. They meet in college and fall in love. But Priyam's dark, painful past restrains her from embracing her feelings whole heartedly. She fights with her feelings as memories of her painful past haunts her. But J.S Park has rightly said "Real love doesn't meet you at your best. It meets you in your mess." That is how Meer's love helps Priyam to rise above her messy heart and painful memories. 

On the other hand, Meer who looks very sorted starts believing that he is a victim of ill-luck when he couldn't get a job in the campus placements. When he writes a letter to her saying his bad luck will pull her back, she promptly says that there is no Priyam without Meer. The way Priyam and Meer support each other in each other's ups and downs will surely touch the heart of readers. After all, love is all about not leaving your beloved's hand during adverse conditions, but rather holding it even tighter.

There are many touching moments in the book like their short vacation to Nainital where Meer gifted Priyam a multi-colored anklet with the alphabets PRIYAMEER, the first time when Priyam saw Meer in Skype when he is Australia and for a moment she gets so emotional that she forgets that they are on the internet and the first time when Priyam meets Meer's Dad. 

The book is all about how true love can heal the deepest wounds. It is all about how beautiful, patient and understanding true love can be. Here are some lovely lines from the book:

Holding her breath, your Princess waits here my Prince Charming
With the power of your kindness and love, wash away her pain
Lift her up in your arms and take her forever to your magical castle
Where only smiles and laughter rock your lives' cradle.

On the flip side, there are some editing errors, mostly typos that can hamper the pace of reading. Apart from that, if you are looking for a sweet and innocent love story, this book is the right pick. I am going with 4 stars. Make your monsoons romantic with this dose of romance from Roma. 


Thursday, 22 June 2017

Book Review: The Tree with a Thousand Apples


Book: The Tree with a thousand apples
Author: Sanchit Gupta
Publisher: Niyogi Books
Pages: 283
Price: 350 INR
Genre: Fiction | Thriller

Blurb:

Inspired by true events, this riveting narrative traces the lives of Safeena Malik, Deewan Bhat and Bilal Ahanagar, three childhood friends who grow up in an atmosphere of peace and amity in Srinagar, Kashmir, until the night of 20 January 1990 changes it all. 

While Deewan is forced to flee from his home, Safeena’s mother becomes ‘collateral damage’ and Bilal has to embrace a wretched life of poverty and fear. The place they called paradise becomes a battleground and their friendship struggles when fate forces them to choose sides against their will. 

Twenty years later destiny brings them to a crossroads again, when they no longer know what is right and what is wrong. While both compassion and injustice have the power to transform lives, will the three friends now choose to become sinful criminals or pacifist saints?The Tree with a Thousand Apples is a universal story of cultures, belongingness, revenge and atonement. The stylized layered format, fast-paced narration and suspenseful storytelling makes for a powerful, gripping read

My Rating:

Plot: 4.75/5
Writing Style: 4/5
Character Sketch: 4.5/5

My Review:

There are some books that drown you so deep within them that you feel you can see the characters in front of you. You feel you are a part of their life. You start empathizing with the characters and root for them to emerge victorious in the end. When I finished reading "The Tree with a thousand apples", I sat like a statue for about fifteen minutes, lost in thoughts. My mood was sombre as I thought about Bilal, Safeena and Deewan. It took me an hour to collect myself and write this review. 

The strongest love and friendship is the one that sacrifices with a peaceful smile. This book is a heart-wrenching and beautiful tale of friendship amidst a battlefield called Kashmir. Deewan, Safeena and Bilal are childhood friends, living in the beautiful city of Srinagar. They love each other so much that they won't even think twice before taking the blame for someone else's mistake. They can bear anything to save each other. As Bilal says "For us, Deewan Bhai, whatever it takes."

As the peaceful city of Srinagar converts into a ruthless battlefield where Muslims and Hindus start killing each other without any mercy, the lives of the three friends change drastically. On one fateful night, Deewan had to flee from Srinagar with his family. He doesn't get a chance to bid adieu to Bilal. 

Deewan loses his brother and later his mother that night. His arm gets amputated. Safeena loses her mother while her father tries to save Deewan's family. Bilal watches his sister molested and killed by the officers in the name of inquiry. One thing common with the three friends is that all of them loses their dear ones. All of them suffers at the hands of fate. While Deewan and Safeena do not think of revenge, Bilal avenges his sister's death. 

Many, many years later, Deewan gets an email from Bilal, pleading to save Safeena from walking in the wrong path and becoming another Bilal. Deewan returns back to his hometown after twenty years to save Safeena.

But how far does he succeed? What happens to the lives of the three friends? Who is the ultimate hero? Whose friendship and love is the purest of all? 

As you will complete the book, you will get all the answers. The quote with which the author starts the book "If the criminal was once a saint and a saint was once a criminal, then who is the criminal and who is the saint?" was ringing in my mind when I finished reading the book. 

The author has painted Kashmir beautifully in the book by mentioning about Kashmiri culture and Kashmiri cuisine. He has shown how the paradise turned into a battlefield suddenly, robbing the innocence of three kids and putting their friendship to test. The apple tree in the backyard of Deewan's house stands as a metaphor of their friendship. 

The narration of the book is mostly fast-paced. Only at few places, I found the pace dropping a little. There are a few typos in the book, but they can be overlooked because of the gripping plot. All the characters are beautifully sketched. The characters have a lot of depth and intensity. The ending is something that will stay with the readers after closing the book. Full points to the author for the heartwrenching ending!

I will go with 4.5 and would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a good read. You won't be disappointed for sure!




'I received a copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.'