Tuesday, 15 October 2013

State of the Heart - Review

AUTHOR: Nelton D'Souza
ISBN: 978-93-83271-32-0
GENRE: Anthology of Short Stories


This collection celebrates the 3 aspects every human being enjoys - relationships, love and life. You may see them in different lights but they're as interconnected as can get. These stories are about people, not the ones you see and meet often but the ones who are connected more to life, the ones you didn't think could be so interesting. In short, it could be a story about you or someone like you. 

These stories are recommended across all ages and sections of society. They're long enough to be a good company when you need it the most and short enough not to bore you.


This book came as a surprise to me, not because the author himself gave me the copy of the book but because the author is a friend of mine. Having read his blogs and loved them. My anticipation for the book began, when roughly six months ago Nelton started campaigning for it. I started imagining what kind of stories might be in store, would they be different to the writer I know et al. I don't think I've ever waited so anxiously for a book ever before. And it gives me immense happiness to his efforts, dreams and hard work paying off, it reflects in the pages of the book.

Love and relationships is the central theme of this books and it is clearly reflected in the cover of the book. The cover image and the name made me smile instantly, how could it not? A big heart with several small emotions that bind everything together.   

This book is made up of several short stories, stories that have a long lasting impact. They touch the heart leaving an imprint. There is happiness, there is grief and umpteen untold emotions. Some stories made me imagine, some made me connect to them. The book is a fresh and unconventional, each painting a different sentiment like watercolor on canvas. 

They say, every story is common someone somewhere has lived it. What makes a difference is the way it is written. This book has that, the characters start forming in mind with each line and you get engrossed in it. It charms you completely as you are able to relate to it. The language used is not heavy and easy to understand.   

For a debut author, this is a very beautifully written novel. There are some instances where you feel maybe something could be modified a bit but maybe it is just a personal perspective. On the weaker end, there are some grammatical and typo errors that could have been avoiding while editing. Yet in some ways, this is a good book with lots of wisdom in store.    

PRICE: Rs. 199
BINDING: Paperback
PAGES: 146

This is an author-requested review, given for a review copy of the book

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Me Before You - Review

AUTHOR: Jojo Moyes
ISBN: 978-07-181578-38
GENRE: Romance


Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.


There are some stories that touch the very soul; this is one of those stories. By the end of it I had tears streaming down my face. And it took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that it’s over. It made me emotional and though my life bears no resemblance to the story I felt connected. Also though the genre says this is a romance novel, this is much more than romance.

Louisa ‘Lou’ Clark is a regular girl living an ordinary life in a small town with her parents and grandfather. Having recently lost her job at a small cafĂ© and being hard pressed at money she lands a job as the care taker of a quadriplegic Will Traynor. The story follows the bonding of Lou and Will. The various medical and emotional issues that Will faces and how Lou handles them, sometimes effectively sometimes otherwise.

The author has researched brilliantly on quadriplegia, the complexities of being in that state coupled with the emotional and mental condition. There is a lot of depth in the story, it is not just about a paralyzed person but even the other supporting characters that of the parents, sibling, friends and lovers. The story chalks out wonderfully with a different perspective of every personality. Some stories force you to contemplate, this is one of them. It not only makes you think it stirs your heart, makes you smile and even clenches you tightly with the sentiments.

Saying that it is not beautiful or it didn’t touch my heart would be an understatement. I was so moved by the plot that even now when I’m writing this review, the scenes are playing in my mind like a movie. I felt like I was living with Lou and Will, experiencing the desires and even the deep sated loneliness.

The story is enigmatic, not in the mysterious way but in a life changing manner. There is a profound sadness the kind that is so powerful enough it shakes you completely. When I read the story at first I felt it is a depressing one but on further realization it dawned on me, it makes you emotionally vulnerable. It is more of relatable intricate plot albeit a painful one.

The one thing that is best about it is love that spills from it. People generally these days have a notion love is just about physical relationship, in short materialistic. This story explores love in a different dimension. Friendship, care, companionship these are the feelings that truly make or break a relationship. The constant courage being to be for one and other, till death do us part is explored beautifully. It is much more than romance.

There is a lot to say, but then some things are best experienced. This is a story where you are bound to laugh with the characters in their times of happiness and also you’re so moved in times of grief that you can’t help but cry.

This story in a way talks about the writer, the way she writes. She wins you totally. It is easy to write happy stories but to write painful ones requires a great deal more. Me Before You, in simple words is an intensely emotional and a heart touching story.

Do not miss this one!

RATING: 9.8/10
PRICE: Rs.693
BINDING: Paperback
PAGES: 480

Monday, 7 October 2013

Love, Peace & Happiness - Review

AUTHOR: Rituraj Verma
ISBN: 978-93-81836-34-7
GENRE: Anthology of short stories


Each story centers on the life of an urban middle class character caught in a set of circumstances beyond his or her control. A hindu girl living in with a muslim boy is suddenly in the glare of global media in a reality TV show, a divorced cynical man faces the prospects of committing himself to a prostitute, a highly talented small town girl must chose between life and death. All must resolve the conflicts within their beliefs. 


It was a normal day; everything was the same with the same old routine when I got a mail from the author himself asking me to review his book on the other blog that I managed. I was astonished but nevertheless accepted the offer. 

The cover was the very first thing that impressed me, it was the perfect culmination of the title and though it was simple it held you, the same cannot be said about the title. This novel is a collection of several short stories. Every story has a different theme yet the core genre is maintained throughout. The book comprises of a total of nine different stories each circulating around the relationships, way of living, trials and tribulations that the normal person faces. How these factors are responsible for impacting the various spheres of life and most importantly relationship. 

What is good about this book is that it is nicely written, the characters as well as the circumstances are relatable. The people in the story are real because everyone is different and everyone experiences things differently. There were instances when I felt like questioning the protagonist and even the author, really can someone be so very like this. At that moment I got my answer, “What is meat for one is poison for another!” truly you and I even if we face similar issues we deal with them in our own different manner. And with this concept in mind, the author introduced the concept of alternate ending. This is a very unique idea but personally I did not like it much, reason being simple you read for pleasure for seeking answers to the untold questions. But what if, the story itself leaves you in a dilemma and you end up complicating everything around. This being said, when you actually are able to relate to the character and the circumstances completely. 

For me as a reader who takes in everything this was not a one setting read, it took me a maximum of two days. This happened because I kept on thinking is an alternative end better or was this perfect? The one best thing about this novel is that the stories are not dragged beyond a point, where the reader eventually starts losing interest. The stories keep you engaged and you feel like exploring it. It was like a psyche analysis thing for me, getting to know the characters deeply and relating to them. Though this is not a self help or a healing book, it helps you.

Being a first time author this book was a good attempt to explore love and relationships in another light. Yet there are times when you feel something is missing, maybe it is just because the writing is a bit messed up and rushed up, which could have been avoided. Anyways, it is a simple book that focuses on the current contemporary lifestyle and urban issues, a bit philosophical too which in a way forces you to contemplate in a good way.

Given a choice, would I recommend this book to a friend? Yes, I would.   

RATING: 6/10
PRICE: Rs. 145
BINDING: Paperback
PAGES: 223

The Bankster -Review

This review was originally written on my first and only blog "Clandestine Rendezvous" as a part of the BlogAdda book review program. But due to some personal reasons I have shut down the blog. Hence, this review has been taken down from there and put up here.

AUTHOR: Ravi Subramanian
ISBN:  978-81-291-2048-9
GENRE:  Fiction, Financial Crime


Bankers build their careers on trust, or so everyone thinks, till a series of murders threatens to destroy the reputation that Greater Boston Global Bank has built over the years. Who is behind these killings, and what is their motive? Is the banker at GB2 fast turning into a bankster?Or was he always one?


This is the very first time I'm reading the author and I agree with The Wall Street Journal that rightly calls him the John Grisham of Banking. Winner of the Golden Quill’s Readers Awards he’s none other than Ravi Subramanian and he is back with another crime thriller.

The backdrop is again a banking environment for which the author is famous for, but what sets this novel apart is the concept of two parallel series going along with the main plot. The prelude begins in Angola where a secret CIA agent Joseph Braganza plans to exchange military weapons for uncut blood diamonds. Following this the plot suddenly changes and you land in an entirely different setting. Devikulam, Kerala where an old man fights for justice with his wife and son; with an added twist of a nuclear attack some years later that is somehow all interlinked.

The story sets in almost more than a decade later in the Greater Boston Global Bank (GB2) opening with Vikram Bhal the flamboyant and shrewd Head of Retail Banking GB2 and Tanuja, the Head HR in a conversation. As the story progresses you realize Vikram is not only cunning but also dual and manipulative in every sense and Tanuja isn’t far behind. The plot focuses on the Bandra branch of the bank where everything is not as it seems and no one can trust another; double crosses, deceit and looks rule. Apart from the little issues and corruption life at the bank is pretty normal until accidents and suicides of employees start happening all of a sudden. What seem as regular deaths all happening at once due to some personal reason or external affairs are coined as murders by an ex-employee. Karan Punjabi a financial editor at the Times of India and an ex-employee of the GB2 firmly believes there is a much greater mystery behind the sudden deaths of the employees. Also they all are linked to Bandra branch one way of the other and thus starts the journey of unraveling the mystery with the help of the CEO.

The plot keeps on shifting to Devikulam, Kerala where the old man fights the government to be transparent about the nuclear power plant project in the vicinity and back to GB2 Mumbai. At times it gets difficult to relate where all this is heading. Personally, I had to leaf backward through pages to read about a certain character again. At that point, there is loss of focus and one keeps on thinking how all of this is interconnected, as there are no interconnections but the story just moves along in a parallel fashion.

The good thing is that at the end all the queries, the parallel story backdrop all is answered and there is no loose string which one can question. Another strong point of the novel is the writer’s ability to maintain the mystery till the very end. The climax keeps you on your toes and you yourself get involved.

For people who love corporate thrillers and even for those like me who have recently started liking thriller, this is a must read. The Bankster is not only well researched and presented but also incorporates the conventional corporate lifestyle.

I enjoyed reading it and I hope you too will love it. The 358 pages don’t look much once you begin reading; at least I read the book in one go.

Happy Reading Folks !

RATING:  8.7/10
PRICE:  Rs.250
BINDING:  Paperback
PAGES: 358

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

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Nineteen Eighty-Four: A Totalitarian Future Society

ISBN: 978-0-452-28423-4 
GENRE: Dystopian, Political Fiction, Social Science Fiction


Nobody heard what Big Brother was saying. It was merely a few words of encouragement, the sort of words that are uttered in the din of battle, not distinguishable individually but restoring confidence by the fact of being spoken. Then the face of Big Brother faded away again, and instead the three slogans of the Party stood out in bold capitals: 

War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength.

Published in 1949 and set in the imaginary future, Nineteen Eighty-Four is one of the most brilliant satires on totalitarianism and the power-hungry. The world is divided into three countries: Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia.

The story is set in London, Oceania an illusory world that is far from the best. It is one of the three intercontinental super-states formed after the global war. The state of Oceania is run by a Party led by Big Brother, where privacy is a long lost cause and not only an individual’s behavior but also thoughts censored.
Several struggled against the pervasive Big Brother who dictated the lives of people but none were ever successful under the rightful eye of the Party.

The story unfolds depicting the life of Winston Smith the main protagonist, a member of the outer party who is repulsed with the oppressed and controlled life in Oceania and longs to join the Brotherhood, a supposed group of rebels with a basic intent of overthrowing the Party. Winston is quiet a thinker who hopes for the Party’s downfall and maintains a diary that holds his thoughts and ideas yet living a slow and safe life working as an editor in the Ministry of Truth. During this course of time, he meets and falls in love with Julia and an illicit affair brews in the background. O’Brien is the final protagonist, a faithful member of the inner party who poses as one amongst the Brotherhood luring Winston to join in, indirectly setting a trap for him and Julia to fall and give into the government.

The book focuses on the journey of Winston Smith, his belief and his dreams in an attempt to escape the clutches of Big Brother and the Party and also from a society that has robbed one’s free will.

On a whole the book is descriptive and informative and warns of the horrifying dangers that man himself may create in his quest for power.

Orwell's main goal in writing this novel was to warn of the serious dangers totalitarianism poses to society and the startling degree to which such an authoritarian reign can acquire and maintain.

At the end, we are left with a feeling that freedom comes with a price, though it is not always achieved. Although the plot is a terrifying and disturbing at times, it is one of the best portrayals of a dystopian world. Nineteen Eighty-Four rightly deserves accolade, not only for its diverse outlook and thinking that makes one seek and question not just the government but also oneself.

RATING: 10/10

PRICE: Rs. 134
BINDING: Paperback

P.S: This is one of my favorite novel and so the very first review. Also the opinion at the end is what I felt about the novel.