Thursday, 20 September 2018

Book Review: Sniper's Eye

Book: Sniper's Eye
Author: Mainak Dhar
Publisher: 4 Hour Books
Genre: Fiction | Thriller
Pages: 224
Price: 299 INR

Blurb

I was out on a date. Everything was perfect… Till that shot… a high-calibre one, no apparent sound. And, the man in front of me fell. A rifle with a suppressor? A sniper in the middle of a Mumbai mall? As the body count mounted, I was soon sucked deeper into the chaos unleashed by that shot. To survive and save those whom I care about, I have to become the man I left behind. I have no choice but to tap into a bloody past that has put me on the terror kill list. I may also have no option but to join hands with the sniper terrorising Mumbai. The problem is that the man has sworn to kill me. In a world where the young and poor kill and die in conflicts started by the old and rich, I and my unlikely companion finally discover the thin line that separates a mere killer from a hero. This is our story…

A fast-paced thriller that you can read on a lazy weekend

Sniper's Eye by Mainak Dhar is a fast-paced thriller set in Mumbai. The action thriller throws light on various important issues that you normally don't think about. The life of soldiers in the arms who are exploited by powerful people is shown through the messed up life of Aaditya. The reasons why some people are compelled to become terrorists despite having other plans is shown through the life of the sniper, Aman Karzai. 

The story begins with the protagonist of the book, Aaditya who is on a date with his girlfriend Zoya in a mall in Mumbai. A man falls dead in front of his eyes, killed by a sniper. This incident compels Aaditya to go back to his old life from which he was hiding for years. Now, he has to face his demons and deal with it. 

I loved the scenes between Aaditya and Zoya. Despite knowing Aaditya's past, the way Zoya supports him is very heart touching. The love story of Aaditya and Zoya was a whiff of fragrance in the midst of the serious action-driven plot. The book picks up momentum after 100 pages when it becomes unputdownable. Readers cannot wait to find out who is the mastermind behind the devious plot and the revelation will definitely shock readers. 

Things are not as they seem. The plotline of the book is intelligent and gripping. It establishes the fact that you cannot judge the book by its cover. The epilogue of the book left me a tad emotional. I liked the way the author evoked sympathy for Aman. 

The book is sprinkled with twists and turns. The language is lucid and the narration is fast-paced. On the flip-side, there were some typos in the book. I also felt there were some loose ends. If you love reading thrillers, you should give it a read. I am going with 4 stars. 




The book review is in association with Vinfluencers. Check out the video review on my YouTube Channel.




Sunday, 16 September 2018

Book Review: Into the Great Heart


Book: Into the Great Heart
Author: Kamla K. Kapur
Publisher: Jaico Books
Genre: Religion & Philosophy
Pages:280
Price: 399 INR

Blurb

Into the Great Heart carries forward and concludes the stories of Guru Nanak and Bhai Mardana, his favourite minstrel, from the first volume of the Sikh saga, The Singing Guru. History, legend and fiction merge to populate this book with fascinating personalities from Sikh history. Pivotal to this narrative are forgotten female luminaries such as Guru Nanak’s wife, Mata Sulakhni, his sister, Bebe Nanaki, Bhai Lehna’s wife, Khivi and daughter Amro. Brought to the foreground, their wisdom and insights as they overcome obstacles to spiritual growth embody the basic tenets of Sikhism in everyday living. They enhance Guru Nanak and Bhai Lehna’s tale with their diverse approach to life


A book that fills your heart with an abundance of solace

There are some books that can answer your questions and fill your heart with an abundance of peace. 

What is God?
Where can one find God?
What does one need to do for God realization?
Why do good people suffer?
How to deal with the difficult moments of life?
What is death?
How can you be a yogi while sitting on a throne?

If you have contemplated about at least one of these questions in your life, "Into the Great Heart" by Kamla K. Kapur will definitely provide solace to you. It's a book that has the power to change you, your life, and the way you see the world. 

The book starts with Bhai Lehna meeting Guru Nanak and how their meeting transforms the former in incredible ways. The way Lehna is enthralled with Nanak's understanding of God is beautiful. 

"The sky is the plate; the moon and stars are the lamps and jewels; the forests of sandalwood are the temple incense; all the plants and flowers of the earth are offerings to you, O luminous Beloved, Lord of the Universe, destroyer of fear!"  

Instead of Guru Nanak's sons, Bhai Lehna becomes the successor of Guru Nanak who names him Guru Angad. In the scenes between Guru Nanak and Bhai Lehna, one can see the immense dedication and unflinching faith of a student towards his guru. The way Bhai Lehna surrenders himself to Guru Nanak so that his guru can mould his soul and enlighten him touches the right chords.

The book is sprinkled with stories of Guru Nanak's life shared by Nanak's friend, Mardana and Buddha, a young boy and follower of Nanak. Each of these stories has nuggets of wisdom that one can apply to his or her life. I loved the way death is compared to the wedding with the Lord of the Universe. 

"In that house where the praises of the One are sang and the Doer of all is contemplated and celebrated, pour oil on the threshold for the pre-ordained wedding and sing songs of union with the Beloved. Bless death, which is a wedding. The summons comes for all. Remember the Summoner, and turn your sorrow into praise." 

The character of Guru Nanak's sister, Nanaki touched my heart. Her devotion towards Nanak and her metaphysical experiences were a treat to read. She and Nanak had a connection that was beyond words. Her wisdom, patience, and compassion are beautifully encapsulated in some of the chapters. 

"Within and beyond the whirling, sorrowing, conflicting, noisy circumstances of our lives, at the very center of it," Bebe Nanaki began, "is a holy place which is calm, unruffled, steady, and beyond birth and death. This place, within us, is the truest temple of all, the home of the Beloved, the only place worth making a pilgrimage to. All geographic pilgrimages to manmade places of worship are trivial and meaningless compared with it."

I loved the character of Aziza, a young Muslim girl who faces oppression in her own family. When her freedom gets curbed, she transfers her love and energy to two things: music and God. I loved the friendship of Aziza and Buddha. The scenes between them were innocent, heartfelt and serene. The character of Bhai Lehna's daughter, Amro is equally beautiful. I loved the way she found a balance between her love for Maa Durga and her acceptance of God as formless. She did not abandon one belief for another. She harmoniously blended them with love. 

Although there is so much to learn from the book, the tone of the book is not preachy. With beautiful narration and skilful writing, the author has done a brilliant job with the subject of the book. Highly recommended. I am going with 4.5

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


Thursday, 19 April 2018

Book Review: Letters to my Ex

Book: Letters to my Ex
Author: Nikita Singh
Publisher: HarperCollins India
Genre: Fiction| Romance
Pages: 138
Price: 199 INR

Blurb:

'It feels like I'm on autopilot; I have no control over anything. The pain of losing you is so crippling that I can barely hold pieces of myself together. The slightest nudge could break me. But somehow, my possessed brain knows what I need. It's telling me to stick to my choice, to stay away from you, to open a Word document and bleed on paper, try to throw up all my jumbled thoughts in form of words, collect all disconnected facts, try to make sense of it all.' From the bestselling author of Like a Love Song and Every Time It Rains, a story of heartbreak and things left unsaid...

Letters full of unadulterated emotions, that seemed repetitive at times 

Letters to my Ex by Nikita Singh is an epistolary novel. We get to know the entire story through a collection of letters and online chats. The protagonist of the book, Nidhi starts writing these letters after she called off her engagement with her long-time boyfriend, Abhay. The exact reason why she called off the engagement and broke up with her boyfriend is revealed gradually through the letters. There is a letter or online chat in every month, starting from January to December. 

Although it is difficult to understand and like Nidhi in the initial chapters, we gradually understand her point of view and why she behaves a certain way. Abhay is a more likable character, but Nidhi has many layers to her personality. This is the reason the character of Nidhi fascinated me more than Abhay, who seemed to be a one-tone character. 

The letters are full of unadulterated emotions and at times, they seem repetitive. The author has tried to show the circular thought pattern of Nidhi through the letters. I liked the way the novel begins by generating a suspense around why Nidhi broke her engagement, despite being in love with Abhay.  In the middle, the novel loses the pace and I found myself trying really hard to stay glued to the book. Again in the last thirty pages, it picked up the pace and surprised me with the ending. I really liked how the author chose to end the book. 

There are a few quotes in the book that I really liked:

"You were my anchor in the little storms I seem to face constantly in my life. You grounded me when I was all over the place...I wish you were here."

"The laughter we shared was a good distraction from the pain I was feeling in the pit of my stomach."

"We are worth fighting for. When we come to that, I will always choose fight. But if I choose fight, you cannot choose flight. You cannot run away."


However, I felt "Letters to my Ex" could have been so much better. The novel couldn't totally engross me into the lives of Nidhi and Abhay. Although I tried hard to feel for the characters, I wasn't able to do so. It dealt with a very important question: Can you trust the same person again who broke your trust?

Letters are a great way to express emotions, but I felt a certain restraint here. Instead of the letters being repetitive, I wish they had a lot more depth. Having read Nikita Singh's earlier books, I feel sorry to say that this book couldn't meet my expectations. 

But it is a good one-time read especially for people who are in relationships or have recently broken up. I am going with 3 stars.

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



Buy the book here:

Friday, 13 April 2018

Book Spotlight: Vishwa Prasiddh Vyaktitva


Book Summary

इस विश्व के प्रसिद्ध व्यक्तित्व कौशल, व्यक्तिगत गुणों और अन्य बाहरी कारणों के साथ जुड़े वास्तविक प्रयासों के विशाल कारणों को बंदरगाह है जो एक नेता की पूरी तस्वीर को आकार देने में आवश्यक हैं ।

 यदि हम व्यापार, अर्थशास्त्र, विज्ञान, सामाजिक या राजनीतिक क्षेत्र में प्रसिद्ध नेताओं के जीवन को देखते हैं, तो हम सभी पहलुओं में व्यक्तित्व गुणों, कौशल आदि में कई समानताएं देखेंगे।

 यह पुस्तक एक चित्रण है  इस विश्व के प्रसिद्ध व्यक्तित्वों का  और उनके कौशल,और व्यक्तित्व लक्षणों का जो  उपलब्ध होना चाहिए और मौजूद है, फिर आगे बढ़ते हुए हम देखेंगे की किस तरह विभिन्न किवदंतियों , उनकी विभिन्न शैली और उसके प्रभाव ने पूरी पीढ़ी के दिमाग और आत्मा को आकार दिया।

 अंत में, विभिन्न क्षेत्रों में चयनित नेताओं पर प्रकाश डाला है है जो हमारे जीवन पर  मजबूत प्रभाव डालता है और आकार देता है।

About the author

Ashraf Haggag is a senior executive with nearly three decades of experience in close proximity to the corporate market. His more recent experience has also taken him to every facet of the hospitality industry. 

Haggag has direct experience in many different aspects of business, including sales, marketing, revenue management, and administration. Having worked in Germany, the United States, Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, his global experiences have helped him realize that companies must target new market zones in order to grow and prosper in the international marketplace. He is eager to bring enhanced cross-cultural awareness to today’s business leaders. 



Monday, 12 March 2018

Book Review: Little Maryam

Book: Little Maryam
Author: Hamid Baig
Publisher: Notion Press
Genre: Fiction | Romance
Pages: 285
Price: 160 INR


A story of unconditional love and sacrifice!

"Little Maryam" is a story of unconditional love that will surely move you, especially if you are a romantic at heart. It has all the ingredients to make your eyes moist as you think about how deep a person's love can be. The book rightly demonstrates that sacrifice is the highest form of love. 

The story starts with Saadiq Haider, a renowned gene therapist taking a flight to India. He meets journalist Anne Miller in the flight, who is deeply interested in his personal life. Although Anne's curiosity at first is fuelled by her professional goals, she soon gets deeply invested in Saadiq's story and promises him that she would not write about it. 

During the course of the flight from the US to India, Saadiq tells Anne his love story. Through Saadiq's eyes, both Anne and the readers meet Maryam and get to know their beautiful love story. Saadiq met little 9-year-old Maryam at the age of 14 and they instantly hit it off and became inseparable. After being together for years, they get separated when Saadiq gets jailed and Maryam gets married to someone else. 

After getting out of jail, Saadiq moves on in life with memories of Maryam. He becomes extremely successful, but when he gets to know about Maryam's accident, he immediately takes a flight back to India. After a span of over two decades, Saadiq and Maryam meet, but is it the last meeting or the start of a new journey? Or is it a mirage of unfulfilled dreams and hopes? What is the role of Saadiq in Maryam's life? Is he born to love her? Or is he born to protect her?

The emotions of the two characters portrayed in the book by the author make you feel their pain and happiness. I especially loved the childhood moments of Maryam and Saadiq, which are beautifully written by the author. The innocence and love of the two characters will surely warm your heart. The narration is lucid and the story also maintains a good amount of suspense throughout that makes you want to keep turning the pages. 

However, as the story neared the end, it became a tad melodramatic. Certain elements were thrown into the plot deliberately to make the tragedy look like the greatest love story ever. Certain things seem a little unbelievable and forced, but it helps in making the book a tear-jerker. There are also a few typos which can be overlooked. The book ends beautifully with an excerpt from Saadiq's biography authored by Anne Miller. 

I am going with 4 stars and would like to recommend the book to anyone who wants to read a good romantic fiction. This love story will surely warm your heart and move you. Keep the tissues handy, if you are an emotional person. 


Monday, 19 February 2018

Book Review: You Came Like Hope

Book: You Came Like Hope
Author: Jyoti Arora
Genre: Fiction| Romance
Pages: 165
Price: 235 INR (paperback) | 80 INR (Kindle)

Blurb:

Peehu:
“I heard them mourn my death. I lay in the next room. Motionless, silent, and staring at the ceiling.”

Adih:
“When it comes to a broken person, some of them are expert at blinding you. Spend an entire evening with such a person, but you may still not know how he is crushing inside.”

Uday:
“Who would say no to him? He is smart, intelligent, super handsome, rich, suave and sophisticated. He’s perfect!”

Pooja:
“Pooja gave no explanation. She asked no forgiveness. She just arrived in his home, resenting him for being her husband.”

Arunav:
“He had smiled as if nothing was wrong.
He had behaved as if he still had his dreams and hopes.
He had pretended as if it didn’t hurt.
But it did.”

Does Destiny hold the key to our happiness?
Is it always the feeble that is the victim?
Love can be the embrace of heaven. But what happens when it unleashes hellfire?

Lose yourself in the intense narrative of You Came Like Hope as it unleashes a rollercoaster of emotions, uncovers some bitter truths, challenges widespread prejudices, and forces you to reconsider your beliefs.

A beautiful springtime read~ It will make you feel the beauty of spring after the cold winter

"You came like hope" starts on a very interesting note where Peehu, one of the protagonists of the book is shocked to see her parents mourn her death. From the very first chapter, the author grabbed my interest in the book. 

This book is not a regular love story. It tells the story of two beautiful yet flawed characters: Peehu and Adih. Both of them have been treated unfairly by the society and have been compelled to take refuge in lies, isolation, blaming and self-loathing. They are the embodiment of "hope" in each other's lives...the hope that was not present in their lives before they met each other. 

Author, Jyoti Arora addresses some very important issues in the book that makes it a very beautiful read. Through Adih's story, the author has shown how some women take advantage of being a woman and can spoil an innocent family. The author has shown the hypocrisy and gossiping nature of relatives. Instead of being a support system, relatives can further break a person by spreading gossip and rumors. The author has also thrown light on how some parents end up being partial with their own children, causing inferiority complex in the child that doesn't get enough encouragement. 

There is one more beautiful character in this book: Mani, Adih's niece. She is a patient of Thalassemia. Despite being sick, her zest for life and love for her uncle is heart touching. The way she realizes the unsaid words of her uncle's heart and the way Adih has devoted his entire life to taking care of her will definitely melt the heart of readers. 

The book is also rich in beautiful quotes. Here are some lines from the book that I loved the most:

"We should be careful what we wish for. Because sometimes, a wish fulfilled becomes worse than a curse."

"It is not easy to battle the greatest need of our heart, the need to love and be loved."

"Maybe, he was scared of love. Because with love comes the risk of losing it. With love, comes the risk of getting burnt with it. When love burns, it consumes even the soul."

"Sometimes, a responsibility can be the only glue that keeps a person from falling apart."

"When a decision is made only by mind, it is seldom obeyed by the heart."

The writing is lucid. The author managed to keep the reader on his/her toes in the first half of the book. Although things get predictable in the second half of the book, I did not mind because of the way the author has narrated the story. I am going with 4 stars and would like to recommend the book to anyone who wants to read a beautiful romance. A great read in this spring season!


Monday, 12 February 2018

Book Spotlight: Letters to my Ex by Nikita Singh


Nikita Singh is back with her latest book "Letters to My Ex" scheduled to release on the Valentine's Day. During Valentine's week, we feel romantic and derive a lot of pleasure reading romantic novels. Valentine's Day is the ideal time to rekindle lost love, memories, and incomplete stories. This Valentine's day, Nikita Singh brings a book that is not just about love and romance, but deals with what comes after and in between. Published by Harper Collings, this book seems to be a very promising read.

The book talks about real relationships, how they evolve and sometimes, dissolve due to ego, misunderstandings and other reasons. A romantic read with a difference, this epistolary novel will surely make you think about love and relationships.

When asked about the plot of the book, the author says, "This book is an exchange of letters between two people who have hurt each other, and are trying to recover from the heartbreak and fix their lives. It tends to get intense, and very emotional at times, which I enjoyed writing. As the girl who writes long texts and emails, I'm very excited to see how people will react to it."

If you find the plot of the book relevant and exciting, get yourself a copy of the book. As the book seems to be a roller coaster emotional ride, I am sure a lot of people will enjoy reading it.

About the book

Most love stories have their share of misunderstandings, angry tears and hurdles- only for longing and faith to save the day and make for a happily ever after. 
Most love stories - but not all. Not the ones that end with hearts left broken, their shards lost under the weight of all that is left unsaid. In these powerful yet quiet letters of looking for closure, Nikita Singh explores the what-ifs, whys and what-could-have-beens; words demanding, with grace and dignity and passion, a salve for what only time may heal. 

From the bestselling author of Like a Love Song and Every Time It Rains, here's a story of heartbreak and things left unsaid, articulated through letters, channeling in their nostalgic charm, making for a fitting medium for expression in this novel which is distinct in form and marks the author as a master of her craft. 

Blurb

'It feels like I'm on autopilot; I have no control over anything. The pain of losing you is so crippling that I can barely hold pieces of myself together. The slightest nudge could break me. But somehow, my possessed brain knows what I need. It's telling me to stick to my choice, to stay away from you, to open a Word document and bleed on paper, try to throw up all my jumbled thoughts in form of words, collect all disconnected facts, try to make sense of it all.' From the bestselling author of Like a Love Song and Every Time It Rains, a story of heartbreak and things left unsaid...