Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Bestseller She Wrote

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Title: The Bestseller She Wrote
Author: Ravi Subramanian
Genre: Romance, Indian, Fiction
Pages: 392
Publisher: Westland
ISBN-13: 9789385152382

Rating: 4/5

I saw this book at Crossword last month and wanted to get my hands on it right then. But I had four unread books on my shelf already and I decided to take care of those first before indulging myself again. When I was selected for reviewing the very same book by Blogadda, I knew the book was destined to be mine. Thanks to Blogadda for sending me an author signed copy; it adds that special touch to the book.

The title of the book had me curious for two reasons. Firstly, because it sounds similar to Murder, She Wrote which I enjoyed immensely back in the day. Secondly, I always dream of penning a bestseller myself, wishing it saw the light of day. Hence, the title was catchy enough to hook the curious reader in me and I dived straight in, within minutes of its arrival.

The story opens with Aditya, a bestselling author and banker, returning to his alma mater IIM-B to deliver a speech. He encounters an embarrassing situation with Shreya, a student and a wannabe author, who doesn’t seem to agree to his marketing style for his books. Thus begins their illicit but passionate relationship. Aditya loves his wife, Maya, and their son, Aryan, but finds the fling with Shreya too exciting to let go. Aditya convinces his college friend and colleague, Sanjay, to hire Shreya into his team so that they can be together. Meanwhile, after persistent requests from Shreya, Aditya helps her with the manuscript of her debut novel and also promises to do whatever he can to launch her. All is well until Maya is aware of the situation and that is when all hell breaks loose. With his marriage on the rocks and Maya fatally ill, Aditya is sucked into a whirlwind of troubles that threaten not only his career as a banker but also as an author. Whether Maya survives and forgives Aditya or whether Aditya chooses Shreya over Maya, is for the readers to find out. Let me just add here that there is a surprising twist right at the end of the story!

I never reveal much of the story in my reviews as I believe that it kills the curiosity for the readers. But trust me, for this book, it is necessary. Unlike some books, The Bestseller She Wrote is realistic without being too emotional or dramatic. The story line is modern, the narration smooth and the writing so convincing that readers fall in love with the characters. Aditya, the protagonist, is one such example. One totally empathises with him during the story. And the way he redeems himself towards the end is smart and heart touching at the same time. As said earlier, the end has a stunning revelation in a situation that reminds me of Hercule Poirot stories. You’ll know what I mean once you’ve read the book.

Well, what else can I say? The proof to how good the book was probably lies in the fact that I finished it in seven hours flat. And that’s not something that I do every time. I am absolutely floored! In my honest opinion, I think it is the style of writing rather than the story itself that makes this book so great.  Mr. Ravi Subramanian has smashed the bestseller list with this one, I believe! It is a bestseller alright, that he wrote!

To sum it all up, The Bestseller She Wrote is exciting, unputdownable and a must have in everyone’s book shelf. Grab a copy if you haven’t already while I get back to reading it for the second time!

*** I am reviewing ‘The Bestseller She Wrote’ by Ravi Subramanian as a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books! ***

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Times LitFest Delhi, 2015

Well, what can I say? It's the season of literary festivals! The Times LitFest Delhi is nearing and I hope Delhiites and others are preparing for an amazing three days there. The festival kick starts on the 28th of November and continues till the 30th. To get complimentary invites, just whatsapp your name and email id to 8006371000.

Click here for the schedule and other information.

So, are you game?

Monday, November 9, 2015

A Very Happy Diwali to You!

'Tis the season when family and friends are together, when good takes over evil, when gifts of love are exchanged and when lights fade away the darkness in our lives. Be grateful for everything you have and spread love.

Wishing you all a very HAPPY DIWALI !

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Bangalore Literature Festival 2015 - Registrations Open!

Attention all literature geeks! Registrations for BLF 2015 are now open. Click on this link to register.

Register Here

See you all at Namma Bengaluru!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Manhattan Mango

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Title: Manhattan Mango
Author: Madhuri Iyer
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 280
Publisher: Fingerprint Publishing
ISBN-13: 9788172345129

Rating: 4/5

This book was on my to-read list for a long time. The title caught my eye for two reasons. Firstly, it was about Manhattan. Secondly, the "mango" in the tittle suggested that it would be a sweet Indian-ish story. I was sold! I had to finish the books that I had already started, so I waited. The summary of the book enticed me enough and I knew this was going to be one good read. 

The story is about the lives of three friends. Neel, Shankar and Shri  live and work in Manhattan who have shared a beautiful friendship right from their college days back in India. They are the Indians but love the American way of life. One rainy day they meet Shefali, who is from an affluent family and she joins the group. Soon Shefali and Neel are a pair. Vivian, a Chinese girl, is Shankar's colleague whom he begins dating. The addition of the girls to the "Ganpat Gang" results in them becoming close knit buddies. On the other hand, Shri has a secret that he rather not speak of but it is only matter of time when the beans are spilled. Shankar's mother and grandmother arrive from India and when they find out about Vivian, all hell breaks loose. Shefali and Neel call is quits due to Neel's weakness for women, followed by some pretty nasty implications for Neel. Meanwhile, Shri's parents push him to get married and after some thinking and re thinking, he decides to tell them the truth. A couple of characters like Ryan and Dr. Natasha enter the story to add to the drama. That brings us to the climax of the story where there is a heap of trouble to be sorted. 

I know I haven't really revealed details but consider it crucial and would want to find out on your own while reading. The bottom line of the story is friendship and it is beautifully expressed by the author. Realistic events that we all can easily relate to, the Indianess of it all, the confusions and frustrations of the twenties something people, everything is believable. The writing is simple and the narration flowy. Nothing too complicated but keeps you hooked on till the very end. When I turned the last page, I was like, "wow! That was a good one!" Altogether, a breezy read.

I would sum it all up in three words. Smooth, engaging and unputdownable. 

World's Best Boyfriend

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Title: World's Best Boyfriend
Author: Durjoy Dutta
Genre: Fiction, Romance
Pages: 296
Publisher: Penguin Metro Reads
ISBN-13: 9780143424635

Rating: 3.5/5

Durjoy Dutta has authored many books, all in the romance genre. This is the first time I read his book. The crux of the story is right there in the title. See the word "worst" scratched and "best" written instead? That pretty much sums up the entire story.

To quote from the book - "Hate is a four letter word and so is love. And, sometimes people can't tell the difference." Aranya and Dhruv begin as friends. He looks past her vitiligo condition and accepts her whereas she tries to fill in the gaping void of loneliness in his life. Moving on wards as lovers in school, an unexpected incident breaks them apart. The incident brings out the helplessness in them but turns out rather nasty and destroys their relationship. So much so, that they hate each other, unforgivably. It leaves Dhruv brash and brazen whereas Aranya strives to excel in her academics to subdue her physical imperfections. When they meet again in college, all they want to do is hurt and turn the other to dust. But their "hate" relationship takes a turn when Dhruv, unexpectedly, saves Aranya from being caught during examinations and also when Professor Raghuvir (the college casanova), comes into the picture with Aranya.

I hate giving out spoilers, especially for readers who are yet to read the book. Not that its a big mystery what happens in the end. So, all I'm going to say is that the story has a few of those heart melting and heart wrenching moments. The narrative is really smooth and engaging, for a sweet story line as this. The story contains romance, drama, hatred, tears. Everything a romantic story should have. The author has beautifully woven the story with expressions and some of them are quite interesting. Tugs at your heartstrings and makes you think about matters of the heart.

Overall, I liked the book. It is a light, romantic read. It is one of those books that do not overflow with tangling emotions. Recommended for everyone. The young can relate to the mixed feelings and romance whereas the old can let out a deep sigh and reminisce the romantic experiences from college days!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Bestseller She Wrote - Ravi Subramanian's new book!

Ravi Subramanian's new book The Bestseller She Wrote is up for pre order on Click on the image or the link below to place your order!
Pre Order here

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Bangalore Literature Festival 2015

The dates of this year's Bangalore Literature Festival have been announced. It will be held on the 4th, 5th and 6th of December, 2015. So all you bookworms out there, block your dates.

Here's a link to their Facebook page for you to keep track of future updates.
BLF Facebook Page

And this is the link to their website:
Bangalore Literature Festival

Looking forward to a great opportunity!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Write India by TOI

Have you heard about the Write India initiative by Times of India yet? If not, then let me tell you that it is a fantastic opportunity for aspiring writers to have their stories read and selected by some of the celebrated authors of today, and get published. The contest is for 11 months. One short story will be selected each month as the winning story and at the end of the contest, they would be published by TOI! Isn't that just awesome?!?

I have submitted my story for Chetan Bhagat's preface. It seemed doable at first but boy, was it tough! It took me days just to create the story line and more days to edit it! But I must say, it was an exciting challenge. Eagerly awaiting the next one.

The contest begins on the 7th of every month and closes on the 30th of the same month. So, visit the website, follow it on twitter to keep a tab on the updates.

For more details on this initiative, click here.

Happy Writing!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Scion Of Ikshvaku - Ram Chandra Series #1

Title: Scion Of Ikshvaku
Author: Amish Tripathi
Genre: History, Indian Mythology
Pages: 376
Publisher: Westland Limited
ISBN-13: 9789385152146

Rating: 3.2/5

It is no surprise that this was a long awaited book. After taking the book world by storm, Amish presents his first book in his next series. Scion of Ikshvakuis the first book in the Ram Chandra series. I pre ordered the book from and got an author signed copy with a metal bookmark. 

It is Ramayana in Amish's words. That said, readers who are familiar with his work would eagerly be expecting some new information or a new outlook to an old but important epic. Yes, it does have a few instances which  is not a part of our regular Ramayana, but overall it is the same story that we know. The story begins with the rule of King Dashrath and the battle of Karachapa. From here, Amish takes us through Ram's birth, his education at the gurukul along with his brothers, his marriage to Sita and his exile. The book ends with Raavan kidnapping Sita and flying away in his pushpak vimaan.

First impression. Not that exciting a book. I mean, at times it felt as though Amish was in a hurry to finish the story. There isn't much detailing this time as compared to his first book The Immortals of Meluhawhere the extensive specifications about Shiva's relationship with Sati was absolutely great. It stayed on with the readers till his next books came out. But this time, Sita was hurriedly married off to Ram and suddenly she was as understanding and loving as a wife could be, minus the romance, of course! Also, the part where Ram leaves for his exile isn't described as is expected of Amish, at least in my opinion.

Looks like this book is not an attention grabber like the Shiva Trilogy wasprobably because it is a story known to us all. You see, now that Amish has a reputation to live up to, expectations are obviously high. Nevertheless, the story telling is anything but dull. Although, almost half of the story is done with in the first installment, I'm guessing the author has other details he wants to shed light on in his forthcoming books. Hopefully something that takes us by surprise. The pace of the story and narration were both smooth as butter and one can finish the book in one day simply because it isn't boring. Character description is good but the elaboration is missing this time.

I cannot forget the adrenaline rush after I finished The Immortals of Meluha. I just had to get the next book. Scion of Ikshvaku may not be as absorbing but having faith in the author, I continue to wait for his next book. Fingers crossed!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Silent Scream

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Rating: 4/5

This is my first review of a non-fiction book. The author, Siddartha Garg, approached me very kindly for a review and when I was informed that the book dealt with the rising incidents of sexual assaults in children, I decided to read and review it. So here goes.

The book begins with Harshita's story and how she was brutally molested and scarred for life. There are several other stories of children of various ages across different cities in India to show the many ways children are subject to this atrocity. The book also contains an interview of a psychiatrist and child counselor who describes why and how these crimes take place. A detailed account of the types of sexual abuses and the kind of perpetrators that are involved are mentioned. Apart from recognizing the signs of danger, the book also describes how and where these perpetrators originate from, whom you should be careful of, the reason behind such crimes, the repercussions of the same on children and lastly, but most importantly, what we, as parents, as teachers should teach our kids regarding this kind of abuse. Also included are the names and other details of various organisations working towards helping children overcome the trauma related to sexual abuse. Many tips for parents and children, especially teenagers, are provided to inform them on how to be alert and safe.

The author also suggests that parents start talking about sex education at the earliest. That way, our children will be aware when such wrong acts happen with or around them.

It is certainly disturbing when we read about such incidents in newspapers but sometimes we try to avoid taking our children into confidence and talking to them about this. Although it is difficult, the truth is that only parents possess the magic of creating a secure surrounding, making children aware and guiding them to lead a safe life. If any child had gone through this kind of abuse, the parents have the power to bring them out of this trauma through their unconditional love and care and also by bringing the criminals to light. To keep quiet and hide for the fear of shame in society is something parents should never do, the author stresses on this point.

As a parent, I was shocked when I read some of the stories, they seemed almost unbelievable. But the book acts as a guide for parents and kids alike so I would be keeping this one with me until my kids get a little older. Hats off to the author and all those who helped him create awareness about sexual abuse in children. We parents could certainly use more books like these.

A big thumbs up from me! Definitely recommended.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Ramayana - The Game of Life : Shattered Dreams

Rating: 3.5/5

Title: Ramayana - The Game of Life : Shattered Dreams
Author: Shubha Vilas
Genre: History, Indian, Mythology
Pages: 402
Publisher: JAICO
ISBN-13: 9788184955316

Reading and reviewing books are exciting enough for a bookworm like me but when you receive a book from the Blogadda book review team, imagine the  delirium! Ramayana - The Game of Life : Shattered Dreams is the second book in the series, the first one being Ramayana - The Game of Life : Rise of the Sun Prince. I haven't read the first one but nevertheless it doesn't impair the continuity and allows the reader to enjoy it like an individual book. 

The story begins as Dasaratha, the king of Ayodhya, finds himself in midst of nightmares and is restless. He is eager to make Rama, the eldest of his sons, his successor for the throne. Soon, the festivities begin but in the meantime Dasaratha's favourite queen hatches a plot to snatch the glory away from him and make her son, Bharatha, king instead. A promise made by Dasaratha to his wife Kaikeyi in a moment of pure ecstasy, has cost him very dearly; such that the consequences would change the course of history. 

Rama, the dutiful son and brother, cannot even remotely imagine to hurt his father and thus agrees to the condition of being banished from his home, the city of Ayodhya, for 14 years. The father who stood proudly besides his beloved son was now ashamed of what his callous deed had brought upon his kingdom. When Rama prepares to leave for exile, his wife Sita, follows him saying that Ayodhya will be an equivalent to a forest anyway without him. Lakshmana, Rama's brother, also pleads to accompany them. The book ends with the trio, Rama, Sita and Lakshmana heading towards the Dandakarnaya forest leaving their home behind.

So many of us claim to know the Ramayana but personally, after reading this book I realized that there are so many tiny details that we have accepted at face value. Sometimes we never ask questions or aren't curious to find out what the real reason behind a ritual/observance is. Despite that, they are followed even today. This book throws light on so many such small but relevant questions that we have obviously overlooked. For example, how did Dasaratha get his name? Why did Bharatha refuse to take up the throne? Believe me, there is so much more to what we already know. It made me wonder if I really do know anything about Indian mythology and culture after all. So many mysteries buried under thousands of years of ignorance and neglect are yet to be revealed. 

The style of writing is precise and interesting, especially for today's readers. The way this epic has been presented is truly appreciable. I must say, it is a challenge to keep the readers hooked on to one book, that too a series. The author, Shubha Vilas, has exceeded expectations beautifully. 

We all know that Lord Rama was known for his nobleness, fair judgement and was a template as to how a son, brother and king should live. Maybe we can't follow all that he did but there are some guidelines in the book which we can apply to our lives to enhance it. Along the story, there are footnotes that correspond to events that take place that 
are truly enlightening. As I said, these are pearls of wisdom at the bottom of every page. A very useful tool for us and the younger generation. Its a sure shot way to inculcate some mythology in them! At the end of it all, it was an illuminating experience, at least for me.

Highly recommended!

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Be Careful What You Wish For - The Clifton Chronicles #4

Rating: 3/5

Title: Be Careful What You Wish For
Author: Jeffrey Archer
Genre: Fiction, Drama
Pages: 400
Publisher: Pan Macmillan India
ISBN-13: 9781447265092

Although a little delayed, this review was deemed to be put up as this book is the fourth installment in the Clifton Chronicle series. Lets get to the review.

The previous book had left us all in the dark when Sebastian and Bruno get involved in an accident and one of 
them dies. The story takes off from here as Major Alex Fisher, a pawn of the Argentinean smuggler, Don Pedro, is conveniently placed among the Board of Directors of the Barrington Shipping Company. Although Emma Clifton doesn't concur, the Board decides to go ahead with the investment in the luxury passenger liner, MV Buckingham. With the future of the company at stake, the construction of the ship commences in Belfast. Meanwhile Jessica, Emma's and Harry's adopted daughter, wins a scholarship and joins the Slade Academy of Arts where she falls in love with a Clive Bingham. But on her wedding day something terrible happens, which I will not be revealing here. The story continues hereafter with twists and turns covered in revenge and conspiracy. The story ends with another cliffhanger. Emma Clifton or Alex Fisher, which one of the two will be the next Chairman of the Board?

Well, this book was not as interesting as its predecessors, to be frank. The plot seemed insipid and too confusing with so many things happening simultaneously, lacking engrossing details. To think that the readers have waited  a whole year for such an installment, lets you down. It is well written but the plot is up in tangles leaving the confused reader to sort it out. I lost interest mid way trying to keep track of the story. The most disappointing out of all the books till date in this series, I must say.

I also read somewhere that there are now going to be seven books in this series as to what was previously, five. I figure it is going to be one long story, and I'm not exactly sure how to remember the characters and events throughout the waiting period. I don't know how exciting that sounds to you readers but all I can hope for is that it is worth the wait. Mr. Archer, we sincerely hope that you don't want us to take the title of this book in the literate sense! Hoping for a better sequel. Fingers crossed!

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