Sunday, 27 December 2015

Book Review: What's Your Story: Facts Tell, Stories Sell

Book: What's Your Story: Facts Tell, Stories Sell
Author: Sankalp Kohli
Publisher: General Press
Genre: Non Fiction
Pages: 40
Price: 199 INR (Kindle Edition)

Blurb: Captivating tête-à-têtes... conclusive sales pitch... impressive business plans... successful job interviews... exciting presentations... they all involve people. 
Your triumph or failure, here, is a function of how deep your impact was. 
For a storyteller, creating an impact can be as easy as striking a conservation, but for those unaware of this prowess it can be as difficult as putting a man on moon. 
People around the world have been increasingly using stories to mesmerize and influence their audiences. 
Storytelling is not a science, it's an art. Only and only practice can help you master it. 
'What's Your Story' delves into the world of stories and offers key mantras of storytelling to the readers. 
A must read for budding managers, entrepreneurs, engineers, leaders, authors and CEOs. 
'Next time you want to create an impact? Go ahead, tell a story

My Rating: 3/5

My Review:

"What's Your Story" by Sankalp Kohli can serve as a great dose of motivation for you if you are interested in telling stories to the world, but are unaware of how to do so. If you keep wondering about the benefit and advantage of telling stories, you must read this book. It will surely inspire you and cement your wish of telling stories to the world.

The purpose of this book is to inspire and motivate people who love stories. It can perfectly unleash the storyteller concealed within you. 

The book has 7 chapters, namely Facts Tell, Stories Sell | So, what is a story? | Am I a storyteller? | The Art of Story Telling | Stories Around Us| Storytelling for Budding Managers | The End

With the help of personal experience and in-depth knowledge about the subject, the author has explained how stories are formed and where to hunt for stories. He rightly says that the human mind is able to remember stories, but have the tendency to forget the facts. Therefore, a story that revolves around facts garners a lot of interest.

He also mentions how reading plays a huge role in making one a storyteller. He has explained beautifully the art of storytelling. According to him, the picture one paints should be brighter. A confused or darker picture will repel readers from the story. 

Not only personal experiences, but the author has also stated examples of Steve Jobs and brands who have successfully created a story around their products. According to the author, stories are needed everywhere for success, be it in politics or in business. 

Overall, this non-fiction book is a good read. The wonderful narration is the best thing about this book. Readers would feel that the author is talking to them directly as a friend or a well-wisher. On the flip side, I felt that some of the topics could have been a little more elaborated. The book ends too soon. 

Although I cannot promise if you can learn something important from the book, but I can assure you that you would be motivated for sure.

Indian Bloggers

Monday, 21 December 2015

Book Review: Live-in with a ghost

Book: Live-in with a Ghost
Author: Kritika Sharma
Published: Half Baked Beans
Genre: Fiction/Romance
Pages: 150
Price: 199 INR

Blurb: Jia & Jai have a unique love story where she is human and he is a ghost. They meet during an out-of-body experience after an accident. Although from different worlds, she is simple middle-class journalist and he is a rich playboy, they fall in love instantly. During the adventure of their relation they both go through various exciting events which include tears, laughter, love and even fighting-off goons. Throughout their relation, the only thing Jia fears is what if he wakes up and forgets her. And in the end of the story he does wake up but if he remembers her is yet to be known...

My Rating: 3.75/5

My Review:

There are some books that can take you to a totally different world. You find a way to escape from your problems and chores whenever you bury your nose in such books. Well, Live-in with a Ghost is one such book that can provide you a delightful mini-break.

Let me tell in the beginning that this book is not exactly a ghost story. So don't expect any amount of horror or spine-chilling thrill in it. That doesn't mean that the book is not interesting. In fact, it is one of the most fast-paced, gripping and unique love stories that I have read in recent times.

The story begins with Jia, a journalist who goes into coma after a road accident. During that time, her soul gets out of her body and wanders in the passages of the hospital till she meets a fellow soul, Jai. Jia learns that Jai has been in coma for a long time and his soul is wandering in this way since then. Jia finds Jai extremely attractive and they become friends soon. 

However, owing to Jia's good luck, she gets out of the coma the next day. After waking up, she can see the ghost (spirit) of Jai everywhere. She freaks out on discovering that Jai is a ghost, but Jai reminds her of their out-of-body meeting when she was in coma. From then on, Jai starts living with Jia and a love story starts blooming between the human and the ghost. Only Jia can see, hear and touch Jai, no body else. Jai can see and hear everyone, but can touch only Jia.

The characters of Jia and Jai are beautifully sketched. Both of them are so adorable that readers cannot help but love their unique love story. Apart from some good amount of romance, there is also some great doses of humor at regular intervals in the book. The moment when Jai protects Jia when Vivaan, his playboy friend tries to woo her is wonderfully written. The moments when Jia talks to Jai and people around her think something is wrong, is absolutely hilarious. Overall, the book is a very entertaining read.

On the flip side, there are many editing errors in the book which can hamper the pace of reading. I also felt that the ending was a bit rushed. The epilogue could have been a little longer. 

Apart from these few points, there is no drawback in the book. I had a wonderful time reading it. Kritika has written a very unique, fantasy romance novel that has two very endearing characters, Jia and Jai. This book can be a great stress buster.

Recommended to anyone who wants to read a light-hearted, unique romance novel!


Indian Bloggers

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Book Review: You are the best wife

Book: You are the best wife
Author: Ajay K Pandey
Publisher: Srishti Publishers
Pages: 240
Price: 175 INR

Blurb: This is a true inspiring story of the author and his struggle with life. He struggled in almost every part of his life, but when his life seemed to be falling in place, his beloved wife left him halfway and her last word, ‘You are the best husband.’ gave him the strength to live with. He decided to pull off all her unaccomplished duties and made it a target to thrive for the rest of his life.

Told with frankness and doses of humor this heartwarming tale of a boy and a girl who never gave up on their love in face of the many blows that life deals them ends on a bittersweet and poignant note as Ajay comes to terms with the biggest lesson life has to offer.

‘You are best wife.’ is Author’s story—a story of how he lost his wife, his nerve-wracking and unimaginably terrifying journey through denial, resentment, and depression to, finally, acceptance and forgiveness.

My Rating: 3/5

My Review:

Since it is the true love story of the author, I really have the utmost respect for the author's emotions with which he has penned down the book, in the memory of his loving wife, Bhavna. So, I will try to overlook the drawbacks as much as possible. 

The book starts from the point when the author gets admitted in an engineering college, meets Bhavna and falls in love with her. We get to know their love story that goes through several ups and downs, the way they get married and finally the tragic death of Bhavna that shatters Ajay completely.

The best thing about the book is definitely Bhavna. Her character, her words and her loving nature definitely touched my heart. The positive outlook towards life that Bhavna had will surely inspire plenty of souls. She taught Ajay that life is not about the amount of breaths we take, but the number of moments that take our breath away. She had no regrets in living a short life because she believed that she had spent countless happy moments on the earth with her loved ones.

Here are some beautiful words that Bhavna tells Ajay:

"There are two kinds of personalities. There are those who have everything and still complain as if they have nothing. And there are those who lose everything and act like life has given them everything. Sometimes both these personalities exist in the same soul. Kill the first one, I love the second."

It is Bhavna's beautiful nature that inspired Ajay to find his happiness in helping others after she passed away. It is due to to the same reason that Ajay had written this book, in the memory of Bhavna. In short, Bhavna made Ajay a stronger, a wiser and a better human being in all aspects. That is after all the beauty and magic of love, isn't it?

Now, talking about the story, there is nothing new. The description of the ragging in college can remind readers of Five Point Someone and the part where Bhavna and Ajay were trying hard to convince their family for the inter-caste marriage can remind readers of 2 States. Moreover, the first part of the book contains plenty of Hindi slangs that were not really necessary. 

Had the book been a little more concise and the editing a bit sharper, the book could have been much better. 

If the readers view the book as the journal of the author's life, it will seem to be a nice reading experience. The emotions with which the book is written are authentic and honest. Despite the drawbacks in the writing and the monotony in the story, it is Bhavna's beautiful nature and the author's love for his wife that will linger behind.

Indian Bloggers

Monday, 14 December 2015

Book Review: Ananya: A Bittersweet Journey

Book: Ananya: a bittersweet journey
Author: Shilpa Gupta
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Genre: Fiction (Young Adult Fiction/Contemporary Fiction)
Pages: 208
Price: 195 INR

Blurb: Meet Ananya Sharma, not your regular, teenage girl-next-door. Sure, she loves hanging out with her friends and engaging in whispered confidences at sleepovers, but when it comes to boys, she has competition on her mind rather than romance. 
At school, she is passionate about math and the sciences, 
and completely focussed on cracking the IIT entrance exams. 
But when distraction enters her life in the form of the handsome and charming Rohit, Ananya discovers love, longing and betrayal, all at once. Finding herself pregnant at the age of seventeen, she learns that the world is a very different place once you are on its wrong side. The discovery of the fault lines in 
her parents’ relationship—which until then had seemed perfect to her—further breaks her.

Will Ananya be able to reverse the downward spiral that her life has plunged into and find meaning once again?

My Rating: 3.75/5

My Review: 

Honestly speaking, when I started reading Ananya, I was not completely hooked to the book because the initial chapters mostly contained the daily incidents of a class 11 girl, like her studies, her friends, her teachers and her crush. However, as I gradually turned the pages, I was completely surprised. The book not only picked up momentum, but also touched my heart. This is one book that became better and better with every page. I was slightly sad when the book ended because by that time, I formed a kind of connection with the protagonist of the book, Ananya Sharma.

The book is divided into 3 parts: #1: Incy wincy spider climbed up the water spout. 
                                                     #2: Down came the rain and washed the spider out.
                                                     #3: Out came the sun and dried up all the rain.

In the first part, the author has introduced us to Ananya and her more than perfect life. She is a topper who is aspiring to crack the IIT. She has a wonderful group of friends and is a pampered child of her parents. Her best friend, Moh's brother, Rohit is interested in her and Ananya also has a crush for him. Everything seems rosy in the first part of the book. Although I felt that the pace was slow in the first part, but there were many things that reminded me of my high school days such as the sleepovers and group studies. 

It is the second part when the book becomes an absolute page turner. When Rohit crumples Ananya's trust and leaves her to face the brutal realities of the world, you cannot help but feel sorry for her. The way all her dreams and aspirations tumble down because of trusting the wrong person is poignantly depicted by the author. The author has beautifully described the scars of Ananya, that were not only physical, but also psychological. Shilpa has done an outstanding job in giving life to Ananya. She totally wore the skin of Ananya while penning down this book.

It's said that what happens, happens for a greater good. A tragedy in the life of Ananya made her realize the true calling of her heart, apart from making her wiser and stronger. The third part of the book is like a soothing balm to the heart where Ananya finds light at the end of the dark tunnel. The character of Karuna, psychologist of Ananya is so beautifully sketched that she seems to be the fairy godmother of Ananya. 

The language and narration of the book is beautiful. There were a few editing errors, which can be overlooked. I just wish that the first part of the book was a little more interesting.
However,being a woman, the journey of Ananya touched the innermost chords of my heart. I could feel her agony, her loss and her triumph. 

A very heart touching book which deals with a sensitive subject! Recommended especially to teenage girls and women in their twenties. 

Indian Bloggers

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Book Review: Postcards from Memory

Book: Postcards From Memory
Author: Samir Satam
Publisher: First Step Publishing
Genre: Poetry
Pages: 132
Price: 180 INR

Blurb: Every moment that passes is not coming back. Yes, there might be moments in future, like the one you just experienced. But it's not going to be the same again. The one that was, was one like itself. It cannot be replaced. It's gone... Long gone... Dissolved in this crazy tasting, highly intoxicating drink of life. In an attempt to capture these bits and pieces that keep dissolving to give their distinct flavors to this colorful cocktail, I end up scribbling on my pad. This book is a bouquet of such moments that started with my mindless scribbling and ended up in verses. Sweet, Bitter, Sour, Sublime... Each piece has a taste of its own.

My Rating: 3.5/5

My Review: 

There is a beautiful poetic touch to the title of the book "Postcards from Memory". As poets, we all try to capture moments and preserve them in our poems so that we can look back at them again and again. So in this book, the poet has tried to capture the most memorable and savory moments of his life in a delicate way.

The book is divided into ten sections: Idle Morning| Temptations | Love, lies and a little nostalgia | Ramblings | A point of view | Stolen Moments | Lost Moments | Longing | One for the road | Flirting with Death

I especially loved the poems under the section Idle Morning, Temptations, A point of View, Flirting with Death and Longing. The observation skills of the poet are definitely worth applauding because he has written about everything under the sun. His emotional quotient and simplicity are the added plus points that make this book a soothing read. 

You can find poems on coffee and cakes that will literally make you hungry. There are poems on serious subjects such as global warming and honor killing that will make you think. You will also get to read beautiful, emotional poems on love, life, self-discovery and death.

The language used in the poems is simple and lucid. Therefore, no one will find any difficulty in comprehending the meaning of the poems. There are crisp, short poems as well as longer ones.

Here is a short poem from the collection under the section Longing that can give you an idea of the depth and simplicity of the poet.

Embroidered on her mind is a calm face,
Un-weaving its threads, she weeps in pain,
Pulls at stitches on the surface,
Until the face is completely erased,
Leaving back a faint trace,
Like the violence of an incomplete poem on a poet's page... 

However, on the flip side, there are quite a few poems in the book that could have been much better. There are some incessant long poems that aren't impactful or touching. 

Overall, the book is a mixed bag comprising some very good poems and some average poems. 

If you are fond of poetry, you can go for this book. The wide range of poems will give you a nice reading experience.

Indian Bloggers

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Book Review: A Little Chorus Of Love

Book: A Little Chorus of Love
Genre: Fiction/Romance/Short Story
Compilers: Preethi Venugopala| Anmol Rawat| Tina Basu| Soumyaa Verma
Format: Kindle
Publisher: Anmol Rawat
Pages: 276
Price: 49 INR

Blurb: What is love? The question brews a million different answers. Love is not an entity. It is an emotion that embraces several hues and shades within. 'A Little Chorus of Love – Love through Ages' simply follows the same idea and assembles 24 different writers portraying love in a form they acknowledge the best. 

Immerse yourself into the most powerful emotion with 24 different stories set in different time periods and feel your heart beat for that one special person in your life.

My Rating: 4.5/5

My Review: 

"A Little Chorus of Love" is a bouquet of 24 love stories that will surely mesmerize you and warm your heart. The recent anthologies that I have read usually consist of few very good stories and some average stories. Most of the time, it is a mixed bag of good and not-so-good stories. However, this book is different. I cannot pinpoint even a single story and say that it did not touch my heart.

Yes, all the stories in the book are delightfully beautiful and refreshing. Kudos to the compilers of the book for providing readers with such a wonderful collection of love stories. 

The love stories are of various flavors and therefore, you won't get bored to read the stories one after another. The book starts with Magic of Mask which is a love story of a magician and the ending of it brought tears to my eyes. There are some love stories in the book during the pre-independence era, such as Love through ages and My Red Knight that are beautifully written. 

In the story Timeless love, the author has perfectly depicted how love is stronger than death. In this story, the wife feels the presence of her husband even after years of her husband's death. The story The Recap will warm your heart as you will read the love letters of childhood sweethearts who have spent a lifetime together.I'm all yours is another story about childhood sweethearts and I think it is the sweetest story of this collection. 

There are also some wonderful twilight love stories in the book such as About Time and Beyond Eternity that shows that there is no perfect age for love. There are also some tragic love stories in the book which can make your heart a little heavy. The Eternal Wait is a tragic story where the man doesn't even have an idea about where his beloved is, and yet he keeps waiting for her, year after year with unconditional patience and love. A journey of choice has a tragic ending, but the story will surely touch the innermost chords of your heart. Que Sera Sera, The Partition of Love and Perhaps we could have been also have somber endings. 

I wanna grow old with you has many twists and turns and although it seems that the story will end on a sad note, it has a beautiful, surprising and happy ending. I felt that this is the most romantic story of this collection. When you are by my side is a very soulful story that compels you to think beyond the physical. Prerna is a very different story which has a heartwarming ending. 

All the stories of the book have a unique flavor and that's what makes this book so beautiful. In some stories, the narration is exceptionally beautiful whereas in a few stories, the narration could have been better.

I would like to congratulate all the authors of the book for penning such beautiful, heartwarming love stories. My favorite stories of this collection are I wanna grow old with you, When you are by my side, My Red Knight, The Eternal Wait, Timeless Love and Magic of Mask.

If you are a romantic at heart, then buy a copy of the book right away and let yourself drown in the magic of love once again, 

Recommended to anyone who is fond of love stories. 

Monday, 9 November 2015

November Reads!

I visited my Goodreads profile yesterday and saw that I still have 11 books to read this year to complete my 2015 Reading Challenge of 41 books.

Since I was busy working on my own books, I could not find time to read, especially during September and October. So I have a lot of reading to do before the year ends.

Right now, I am reading 3 books: a fiction, a non-fiction and an anthology of short stories.

The fiction I am reading is John Green's debut novel, "Looking for Alaska" which is a young adult fiction and after completing 150 pages, I am getting a strong feel that this book will shatter my heart into pieces, like John Green's "The Fault in our stars". Dear Mr. Green, why do you need to make your readers cry every time?

The non-fiction that I am reading is Elizabeth Gilbert's "Big Magic~ Creative Living beyond fear" which is about how to live a fulfilling creative life. I have just started reading this book yesterday, but after reading a couple of pages, I can bet that this book is going to hugely inspire me,

The anthology I am currently reading is "A Little Chorus of Love" (Kindle Edition) which is a collection of 24 heart warming love stories. This book is a review copy, unlike the other two books. The best thing about reading this book is that I am getting to read the work of many of my blogger friends.

So, my November started with these 3 beautiful books, which I would be reviewing soon here, in Purba's Library :)

Friday, 6 November 2015

Eat, Pray, Love~ one woman's search for everything!

My best friend gifted me this book on my birthday this year and when I started reading it, I realized that I have earned a new friend, Elizabeth Gilbert. So, I read the book at a slow pace because I was not willing to bid adieu to my friend so early. And when I was not reading it, I used to think about Elizabeth's journey.

Eat, Pray, Love is an autobiography or a travelogue of a woman in her mid thirties, who suffers a horrible divorce which is followed by a heart shattering breakup. Lost and devastated, Elizabeth embarks on a journey to find herself and to seek God. She travels to Italy, India and Indonesia after her publisher makes a deal with her that she has to write a blockbuster book on her journey.

As you leaf through the pages, you get to discover yourself along with Gilbert. You get to understand God along with Gilbert. You get to value your life in a more passionate way, along with Gilbert. The book is not only about the author's self-discovery. It is also your chance to rediscover yourself.

I would suggest especially every woman to read this book. It truly holds the secret of life.

Here's sharing 10 beautiful quotes from this book, that has resonated deeply with me:

1. "Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.” 

2. “You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That's the only thing you should be trying to control.” 

3. “People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life."

4. “To lose balance sometimes for love is part of living a balanced

5. “There’s a crack (or cracks) in everyone…that’s how the light of God gets in.” 

6. "Destiny, I feel, is also a relationship - a play between divine grace and willful self-effort.” 

7. “Smile with face, smile with mind, and good energy will come to you and clean away dirty energy.” 

8. “We don't realize that, somewhere within us all, there does exist a supreme self who is eternally at peace.” 

9. “You’re wishing’ too much, baby. You gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone ought to be.” 

10. “Deep grief sometimes is almost like a specific location, a coordinate on a map of time. When you are standing in that forest of sorrow, you cannot imagine that you could ever find your way to a better place. But if someone can assure you that they themselves have stood in that same place, and now have moved on, sometimes this will bring hope” 

I cannot rate this book, probably because it is so very special to me. When I have started considering the author of the book my dear friend, I hope you can understand how special it is to me. 

Planning to watch the movie "Eat, pray, love" in the weekend! 

You can buy the book here

Monday, 24 August 2015

Book Review: A Minute to Death

Book: A Minute to Death
Author: Ganga Bharani
Publisher: Half Baked Beans Publishing
Price: 175 INR

Blurb: Murder most foul or an open-and-shut case of routine suicide?

Young, vivacious and an aspiring writer, Riya wants nothing more from her longtime crush/boyfriend than to let her in on one of his exciting investigations. After all, what better source material for a book than a real life tragedy?

No-nonsense veteran cop, Rohan picks a case of probable suicide to satisfy Riya’s needs. Little does he know that there is more to this case than meets the eye.

What made the victim hang herself at the break of dawn? What is the secret that her group of friends is hiding? Will Riya be able to salvage a workable plot for her upcoming novel out of this case of seemingly simple suicide?

My Rating: 4/5

My Review:

It is not too easy to write a power packed mystery novel in just 116 pages with enough twists and turns, but author Ganga has skillfully done so. From the very 1st chapter, you would be hooked to the book as like Rohan and Riya, you would also be keen to know whether it's a tragic suicide or a cold-blooded murder. 

The police finds a watch stopped at dot 5am and a Kindle that is put in charge from the suicide spot. The Facebook profile of the victim says that she was all happy and hearty till 11.30 am the last night. Then, why would she commit suicide? As Rohan, a sincere cop tried to find out the reason behind the victim's suicide, another suicide occurs in the exact same pattern which intensifies Rohan's belief that it is a case of murder.

Suspects are plenty, but the result always narrows down to zero, resulting in Rohan's frustration. It's a thrill to accompany Rohan and Riya in the journey where they try to figure out the suicide/murder case. It is Rohan's duty as a cop to do so, whereas Riya, an aspiring writer wants to be a part of the case as it would help her in penning a great crime fiction which would make her a successful author. Both of them try hard to connect the dots between the 2 suicide cases until another suicide occurs. 

The character sketches of Riya and Rohan are done extremely well, especially the character of Riya,  which would surely entertain, amaze and flabbergast the readers. The narration is equally good, which makes the book a page-turner. The length of the book is definitely its plus point as it would compel the reader to finish it in one sitting. 

The best thing about any thriller is definitely its climax or revelation and this is where the author scores a perfect 10 from my side. The way the author has joined the dots and presented it to the reader is mind blowing. 

On the flip side, there are quite a few typos in the book. However, the pace of the book is so fast that it compels you to ignore them. 

If you want to read a short and crisp thriller, if you want to rack your brains a bit in solving a suicide/murder case, if you want to find how obsessive a person can be with his/her passion, then pick "A Minute to Death" right away.  

Recommended highly to all thriller lovers!

Monday, 10 August 2015

Book Review: Simple plane Love

Book: Simple Plane Love
Author: Priyanka Luthra
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Genre: Fiction, Romance
Pages: 186
Price: 195 INR

Blurb: A perfect landing is a mirage, the more you chase it, the more it eludes you…' 
Meet Captain Meera Khanna. As a first officer on an Aeroflot Aviation plane, with a luxurious apartment in the beautiful city of Manila, she seems to have it all. 
Flying to exotic destinations, navigating turbulent flights through typhoons and handling engine failure are all in a day's work. Even when a leg injury forces Meera to take time off her busy schedule, she has the perfect solution - an exciting vacation to Subic Bay with her glamorous best friend Diana, aka Dee. And nothing could have been a better idea, what with the unexpected arrival of her childhood friend, the suave Aditya. 
But when Aditya seems to want more than friendship, it throws Meera off-kilter. Will Meera's perfect life come to an abrupt landing? Or will she find her happily-ever-after? In Simple Plane Love, join Captain Meera on a rollicking adventure, where navigating an aeroplane seems simpler than negotiating the many twists and turns of love.

My Rating: 3.5/5

My Review: 

Simple Plane Love is a simple story of love and friendship. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication and so it is in the case of this book. Although you will find nothing new in the plot of the book, the characters of the book will surely charm you to the core and the author's lucid writing will make you want to read page after page.

It is the story of Captain Meera Khanna, who loves flying more than anything else. She is confident, independent, endearing and fun loving. Her world comprises of her mother and her two best friends, Diana and Aditya. After a leg injury, Meera plans a vacation with her best friend, Diana. Diana meets Aryaman, a navy officer there and Aditya joins the vacation to surprise Meera. From there on, a roller coaster ride of emotions start which ends on a very saccharine note, leaving the readers happy.

It is quite fascinating to read about the life of a female pilot. It won't take long to guess that the book is inspired from the author's own life as the author is a trained commercial pilot. The characters of Diana, Aditya, Aryaman and Mother India (Meera's mom) are very well sketched. The characters are so relatable that you would feel that you have met someone like them in your own life. ( For example, the conversations between Meera and Diana reminded me of my best friend and I couldn't help but smile while reading them). 

Despite the simple and non-complicated plot of the book, you will turn page after page for the characters in the book. Also, the author's narrating style is praiseworthy. 

"I looked up at the sky and saw the moon staring back at me. We had done this often! It was as if I was a part of a love affair between the earth and the moon; the moonlight kissed the earth, making her arch in pleasure, as she melted into the moon's arms, as if this was the only chance they had."

Simple plane love is a simple story that celebrates friendship and love, It once again, makes us nod to the universal statement: Love is Friendship.

If you are looking for a feel good read that is devoid of complexities, then you can pick the book right away, Also, it's not everyday that you come across a lady pilot as the protagonist of a novel.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Book Review: Rise of the grey prince (The Saga of Agni) Book #2

Book: Rise of the Grey Prince (Saga of Agni)
Author: Arka Chakrabarti
Publisher: Srishti Publishers
Genre: Fantasy/Fiction
Pages: 213
Price: 150 INR

Blurb: That cursed night at Nisarga had revealed the true reason behind his father's sacrifice and his own dark past. Each revelation now draws Agni into the sublime world of secrets. With Vrish and Guru Sidak by his side, fighting the daggers from the past and winning over the opponents of the present, somewhere deep down, he knows that his journey has just begun. 
The other scarred prince walks the ashes of his reality. Haunted by the glimpses of truth the same night, Yani had but one choice to survive. His unknowing steps, trapped in cruel games of ancient powers had led him to a truth, a truth which shall mould a good man in the clay of misfortune, hate and lust. 
Such is the world of Gaya and thus shall be the Rise of the Grey Prince the one torn between the darkness of evil and a lone ray of hope.

My Rating: 3.75/5

My Review: 

The Saga of Agni has totally managed to captivate me, the moment I started reading the 1st book of the series "The Secrets of the Dark". The earlier book ended at a very interesting juncture where Agni got to know about the dark secrets of his life.

Read my review of The Secrets of the Dark here

"The Rise of the Grey Prince" is the second book of the series, which started from the place the 1st book ended. Therefore, to read this book, people must read the 1st book else the incidents will fail to make an impact in the reader's mind.

"The Rise of the Grey Prince" is a dark, bewitching thriller with frequent twists and turns. The author has woven the story of Agni with such panache and skill that reading the two books back to back can almost transport you to the fictitious world of Gaya which is full of secrets, prophecies and mysteries. Every single character in this book has a dark mystery within him or her.

Agni, the son of King Arkansas finally reaches the kingdom of Leu located in the Land of the Setting Sun to fulfill his destiny. He meets Lysandra, the Princess of Leu. From there on, the flashback starts and we are taken to the juncture where the first book ended.

The book is all about how Agni manages to reach the Land of the Setting Sun from the Land of the Rising Sun along with his best friend, Vrish and Guru Sidak. The journey is full of adventure and thrills that keeps the reader hooked to the book for example, the place in the book where Guru Sidak cleverly killed Girish and put the blame on Marut.  

Parallel to Agni's journey, we also get to know about how Yani's life unfolds after Agni and he parted ways. Yani, the Prince of Himadri and Agni's childhood friend gets to know about the things that were kept concealed from him. Feeling bruised and battered, he embarks on a fresh, new journey, but unfortunately gets trapped in some ugly games. 

The book ends at a very interesting juncture after Agni met Lysandra. I really cannot wait to read the next book of the series, which I am sure would be more spine chilling and engrossing. 

The only drawback of the book is the several characters included in it, which can confuse the readers. I had to look at the last page of the book which had the character summary many times in the course of reading the book. Apart from this, there is no such flaw in the book. 

The narration is wonderful and the flow of the story is very interesting. The author has done a great job in the 1st 2 books of Saga of Agni and I am looking forward to read the next book of the series.

I recommend the Saga of Agni to all the fantasy thriller lovers. 

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Book Review: The Secrets of the Dark (The Saga of Agni)

Book: The Secrets of the Dark (The Saga of Agni)
Author: Arka Chakrabarti
Publisher: Srishti Publishers
Genre: Fantasy/ Fiction
Pages: 342
Price: 195 INR

Blurb: Is one born with his destiny or does he forge it?
 In the mystical land of Gaya, two prophecies bind the fate of men and empires alike. The Destroyer born from the royal seed on the Land of the Setting Sun shall bring the empires down, or so has been foretold. 
In between the Destroyer and the world stand the Seven Guardians of Gaya, guarding the realm of man. A king, a father, defies the Seven and fate itself to save the last drop of his blood and prince Agni grows in the Land of the Rising Sun, exiled from his own people, unaware of his past. 
Losing the woman he loved most to the shadows in the dark, Agni is thrown into a whirlpool of events that he neither knows, nor understands. His quest for vengeance brings him to the doorstep of a secret that will shatter the very foundation of beliefs of a world. 
Can Agni avert his destiny? Can he uncover the truth about the Seven and the prophecies, now hidden behind a veil of ignorance? 
The secrets of the dark are sometimes so terrible that they are better left unsaid.

My Rating: 4/5

My Review: 

The Secrets of the Dark is the first book in The Saga of Agni series and as eminent from the title, the book deals with innumerable secrets, prophecies, mysteries that would provide you with frequent doses of thrills from page to page.

A great thriller is the one which manages to keep you on your toes and author, Arka Chakrabarti has penned an extremely successful book in this regard. As you turn the pages of the book, the story becomes more and more gripping and you find yourself lost in the fictional land of Gaya, which is divided into two continents: The Land of the Rising Sun and The Land of the Setting Sun. 

The story begins with Agni's birth, the hero of our story who is born in the Land of the Setting Sun in a kingdom called Athena to King Arkansas. According to tradition, a son is never allowed to born in the Land of the Setting Sun as according to a prophecy, the Destroyer would be born in the Land of the Setting Sun and would grow up in the Land of the Rising Sun. Due to this prophecy, no prince is permitted to live as the Abode of the Seven lives in the fear of the emergence of the Destroyer. As you can guess, Agni is that Destroyer, who survives as his father, King Arkansas sacrifices his life to protect Agni from the Abode of Seven. 

This prophecy would surely remind readers of the life of Lord Krishna who was born in one place and allowed to grow up in another, due to a similar prophecy. It can be clearly understood that the author has been highly inspired from mythology and folklore which helped him to weave this intriguing tale. 

Coming back to this tale, Agni grows up in Himadri, which is located in the Land of the Rising Sun under King Adhirath and Briksha, the merchant. Agni's best friend is Vrish, Briksha's son and the love of his life is Malini, Briksha's daughter. His life is filled with bliss and serenity until the day a tragedy occurs, taking away the lives of Briksha and Malini in a flash. Just before Malini closes her eyes forever, she gives a hint to Agni about her killer. And thus, Agni embarks on a difficult journey to find the murderer of Malini and Briksha. 

There are several twists and turns in the book which would leave you speechless. Especially the last few pages of the book are nail biting. The best part of the book is undoubtedly the climax, which leaves the reader thrilled, satisfied and happy. The second best thing are the characters in the book which would stay with you, even after you finish reading the book. The characters of Agni, Vrish, Yani, Lysandra and Prince Drake are brilliantly sketched. The language is lucid and the flow of the story is smooth.

On the flip side, there are times when the pace of the book gets a little slow, especially in the first half of the book but nevertheless the book gains its momentum as it progresses. 

Here are some quotes from the book which I found very impressive:

There is a thin line between right and wrong and sometimes it is blurred. That leaves the one in a predicament.

"When you are facing one enemy, how many are you facing and whom do you need to defeat first?" the voice was ringing in his ears.
"Two, and firstly I must defeat the fear in my heart." whispered Agni to himself and there was a smile on his face.

If you love fantasy and if you are fond of thriller, then this is a perfect book to laze around in the monsoons with a steaming cup of coffee.

P.S. I just started with the next book in the Saga of Agni series, Rise of the Grey Prince. Will post the review soon.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Book Review: Emotions Unplugged

Book: Emotions Unplugged
Author: Vishal Anand
Publisher: Moments Publication
Pages: 157
Price: 88 INR (Paperback) 49 INR (Kindle)

Blurb: Emotions Unplugged is a collection of 15 short stories based on different genres. Diksha travels through the roads of Mumbai a day prior to her divorce with her husband, Virain; Gauri steals the money from her master’s locker and runs to her village; Rizwan works as a laborer in construction sites at Dubai in spite of being the son of a rich man from Bangladesh; Samar gets last gift of love from his grandmother after her death; Patrick believes after visiting a state that he has visited a country, he still had to visit 27 more countries in India; Rajat spends the night in different bars with a friend to meet a lady, Palak; an old lady who believes in her religion and hates Muslims finds an indigestible truth when she visits her daughter’s home; Vinit falls in love with a veiled girl while travelling in Delhi metro to reach his office everyday and a lot more.

Numerous emotions pluck in to bring a thought provoking cocktail. Indeed pen is mightier than sword, and words have potential to bring the change. And surprisingly you never know when it does… 
My Rating: 3.5/5
My Review:  

Emotions Unplugged is an anthology of 15 short stories and every single story is fed highly with emotions. Sometimes, the emotions produce a beautiful symphony of words, whereas at some other times, it fails to produce the perfect melody.

Nevertheless, there are some stories in Emotions Unplugged that are so beautiful, heart touching and profound that they will surely leave an imprint in your heart. 

The first story of the anthology “A day before my divorce” is definitely one of the best stories of the book. The emotions of the to-be-divorced couple Diksha and Virain are beautifully captured in the story. I couldn’t help but admire at the story telling skills of the author when I read this story.

“Let’s turn oldies” is a story that would teach you a deep lesson and make you smile. “Granny’s last gift of love” would fill you up with affection or nostalgia for your loving grandparents. “The first love” beautifully captures all the emotions when our heart starts beating for a stranger. “A country with 27 other countries” carries a very true message that we often fail to see. 

“Theft” is another golden story of this anthology. It tells the story of a poor little girl who falls in a quandary while saving her ailing father. The narration is beautiful.
“Karma returns” is the last story of the anthology that stresses on the saying What goes around, comes around.

The remaining stories of the anthology were mediocre and failed to impress me because the narration was somewhat weak. Though the theme or moral of the stories were good, the impact was somewhat lacking.

However, Emotions Unplugged is a book that everyone will relate to as we all are enslaved by emotions...aren't we? Therefore, if you want to read a couple of short and sweet stories filled with emotions, pick up this book right away.

You can buy the book here