Thursday, May 29, 2014

As Life Has No Undo by Abir Mukherjee : A Review

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BOOK TITLE: As Life Has No Undo

ISBN: 1631022636

AUTHOR: Abir Mukherjee

GENRE: Fiction

NUMBER OF PAGES: 301

FORMAT: Paperback

SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone

REVIEW BY: Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: The Publishers – Blackbuck Publishers- sent us a review copy. We thank them for it.

SUMMARY : Campus interviews are around the corner for the final-year students of Burdwan Engineering College. Everyone is busy honing their skills at the last minute except Ankit who wishes to see his parents for the last time. Ankit, a simple boy and mediocre student from a lower middle class Bengali family has only two aims in his life-to become a computer engineer per his parents wish and to spend his entire life with Shreeja, the lady love of his life. Shreeja is pretty, ambitious and career oriented. What happens when Debdeep walks into their lives? Does Ankit have more things to lose than he ever imagined? Have you ever loved someone more than yourself? Have you ever felt the need of a undo button in your life?

REVIEW:
The story line begins with a suicide episode of the protagonist’s roommate. Our protagonist goes back to reminiscence his own life – A life with no undo button. Ankit is this simple and sweet next door Bengali guy to whom all normal humane stuff (like falling in love, heartbreak & disappointment) happens. It is very apparent that the writer is a True Bengali who has passionately described the Bengali Culture. I really loved the whole “ Bengali” part of the story!

Essentially Ankit’s story could be that of any average Indian male’s story. A guy falls in love, the girl breaks his heart by dumping him for his friend and the guy goes on to become a savaging drug addict and cussing the girl only to bounce back as a better person later.

For anyone who simply knows my reading taste and my reviewing style, they’d simply expect me to rant and ravage the book. But hey! I am not that predictable. Plus the writer is a rookie. For a rookie, he sure has done a great job! Good job mate!

The book truly delivered what the summary promised – “the need for an undo button in your life”. What if the protagonist, Ankit hadn’t fallen in love in the first place only? Could that be undone? And that is exactly what the book delivered. Things can’t just be undone. So there! The book wins a big brownie point for just that.

The narration was perfect. Though the story was predictable, the writer managed to keep me hooked thanks to simple writing.

Nevertheless, I also have a fair share of complaints. Shreeja’s characterisation was pathetic. A girl simply won’t love a guy for money and sex. If she did she will obviously have a good reason for it. At the risk of sounding feminist, the writer hit a wrong nerve by portraying Shreeja as an out and out deceiver (Slut would be the term a man would probably use but I prefer being well-mannered). Also, if a girl dumps you, chasing her to make her realise your love seems such a perverted idea. Sometimes, letting go is a better form of love.

Last but not the least, the cover deserves a special mention. Its pretty! Reminds me of my college notebook’s last page filled with unforgettable scribbles.

 To sum it up, the book did have its moments and of course an equal share of lows.  

VERDICT: I wouldn’t go GA-GA over it! Just another read! But hey why not. Go pick it up!

RATING: 3 on 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Abir Mukherjee is an IT professional working as a Tech Lead in MNC. He loves to read and sketch. “ As life has no undo” is his debut novel. He is also a movie freak.

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Paperback

PRICE: Rs.132


BOOK LINKS: http://www.amazon.in/As-Life-Has-No-Undo/dp/1631022636

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Lethal Journey By Kim Cresswell : A Review

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BOOK TITLE: Lethal Journey

ISBN: 9780992084

AUTHOR: Kim Cresswell

GENRE: Fiction -Thriller

NUMBER OF PAGES: 153

FORMAT: Digital         

SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone

REVIEW BY: Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: The writer sent us a review copy. We thank her for it!

SUMMARY :
Manhattan District Attorney, Lauren Taylor, is about to take on the most important case of her career, prosecuting Gino Valdina, acting mob boss of New York's most influential crime syndicate. 

For three decades, Gino Valdina has led New York's Valdina crime family. Since his recent indictment for murder, the leadership of the family is in turmoil, appalled by the death of one of their own, Gino's wife, Madelina. Without the support of the family behind him, Valdina will do anything to save himself. 

But Lauren soon discovers, things aren't always as they seem when she's tossed into a mystery, a deadly conspiracy that reaches far beyond the criminal underworld and a journey into the past makes her a target...and anyone she's ever loved.


REVIEW:

A lady lawyer and mafia – an enticing combination isn’t it? But does this combination ring a bell. It would if you had read “Rage of Angels” by Sidney Sheldon. The summary truly would make you believe that Kim (The writer) is obviously a wannabe Sheldon. But hey never judge a book by its cover. A seasoned reader will never do that unforgivable mistake and I am happy I didn’t either.

The book (or novella?!) was pleasantly surprising. The writer’s education as a lawyer is apparent. But the biggest problem with a lawyer turned writer is that, they tend to overdo the legal explanation part. Most often than not, it backfires and causes a migraine for the poor fellow reading the book. Thankfully, the writer didn’t over do the whole law thing!
The plot was cohesive and well strung. The characterisations were perfect to suit a thriller. Also, the book was fast paced. It took me just about 2 hours to finish it. Madness personified would be term I believe (Oh come on. Fast paced thriller. What else do you expect of me?)

One thing I truly don’t understand – Most legal thrillers predominantly tend to have this “Manhattan” backdrop and an Italian mafia. Sidney sheldon’s books! Mario Puzo’s books! You name it! This story isn’t an exception either. This would probably be my only small complaint about this book. I promised myself never to write a thriller involving mafia & Manhattan if I ever take up writing seriously!

To sum it up, this is the kind of the book that will take on an exceedingly fast ride and apply a sudden brake in the form of an ending. I can’t possibly describe the story or characters more without giving away the plot!

VERDICT: Go for it! It’s worth every penny!

RATING: 4 on 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Trained as a legal assistant, Kim has been a story-teller all her life but took many detours before returning to her first love, writing. Her debut romantic suspense, REFLECTION, has won numerous awards: RomCon's 2014 Readers' Crown Finalist, InD'Tale Magazine's 2014 Rone Award Finalist, UP Authors Fiction Challenge Winner (2013), Silicon Valley's Romance Writers of America (RWA) "Gotcha!" Romantic Suspense Winner (2004) and an Honourable Mention in Calgary's (RWA) The Writer's Voice Contest (2006). LETHAL JOURNEY was a finalist in From the Heart Romance Writers (FTHRW) Golden Gate Contest (2003)and more recently RomCon's 2014 Readers' Crown Finalist in the thriller category. Her action-packed suspense and thrillers have been highly praised by reviewers and readers. As one reviewer said, "Buckle up, hang on tight!"

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Digital & Paperback

PRICE: Rs.130.86

BOOK LINKS: http://www.amazon.in/Lethal-Journey-Kim-Cresswell-ebook/dp/B00H0J6J90

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Second Lives of Honest Men by John Cameron : A Review




BOOK TITLE: The second lives of Honest men
ISBN: 9780993621505
AUTHOR: John R. Cameron
GENRE: Fiction
NUMBER OF PAGES: 340
FORMAT: Digital
SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone
REVIEW BY: Dhivya Balaji
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: We got a copy for review purposes.
SUMMARY:
          On the evening of April 14th, 1865, a flawless duplicate replaced the 16th President an instant prior to his assassination. Two centuries later, Honest Abe opened his eyes to a world in desperate need of guidance.
          THE SECOND LIVES OF HONEST MEN is a prescient vision of where society's dependence on technology could be taking us. It's a character driven story about love, redemption, and hope, with deep philosophical underpinnings related to how we think, feel, and reason in a world where it's ironically easy to feel disconnected
REVIEW:
          The Second Lives of Honest Men is a different kind of book. The concept is new, the story line is new and the presentation is also new. The story is unique in a few aspects. First and foremost being the idea of going back in time and bringing a person from the past into the future to solve the current problems. What happens when the most popular honest man in America’s history, a man better known as ‘Honest Abe’ comes into the future and witnesses the country at its worst?
          The United States of America is under the influence of a corporate vested interest, known as ‘The Company’ that controls people using an augmented reality device called as ‘the interface’. People of the nation are forced to wear the lenses that transmit images, videos and music online, keeping them thoroughly, mindlessly entertained. The population gets used to the numbing entertainment and is lost to the age where every communication is online and easily monitored by The Company.
          In this era, lives an old professor, Jacob Wentworth, who detests the whole concept of interface and refuses to live with it. But he deems himself powerless to fight with the Company and rather lives a resigned life until he sees in Bryce Trent, a student of great capabilities. Bryce Trent is slowly drawn into the professor’s philosophies and gets his own moment of reckoning when he decides to fight the mind numbing interface and destroy what he himself was one of the reasons for creating.
          On the other hand, the power mongers try to suppress this group and ensure that their smooth functioning is not hampered. In a race against time, the professor, his student and an young intern doctor join hands and hatch a plan to overthrow the autocratic Company. If and how they do it forms the rest of the story.
          The summary of the book sounded promising, and the book was only half as much. There are a few gaping logic holes that might have been avoided but since both the story and the premise are new to us, the author is allowed certain liberties in logic. Next comes the continuity, and here are a few noticeable jumps, but none too big to hamper the smooth narrative. The plot makes one conscious of the banes of exponentially growing technology and can be considered an eye opener in modern times, where caution must be exercised in handling technology.
          Sometimes, the book does make one wish that the brave leaders of the past were alive today to lead us into a better, clearer, more positive future environment. Read this book if you want your mind befuddled by how the reach of technology might affect the human populace in the coming years!
WHAT I LIKED: the new premise of the story and the nice concept of bringing back from the past!
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: Certain logic and continuation errors could have been smoothed over!
VERDICT: go for it as a breath of fresh air from the run of the mill books!
RATING: 4/5
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: (In his own words)
          My family often drives me to the brink of madness; not a difficult thing to do, considering how close to the edge I already am. My daughter is a hellion. At the age of five, she’s both bright and bold, obstinate, and pushes every button I have. My wife blames my genetics: “I was never like that,” she claims. I deny it, despite knowing that I was also an uncontrollable child.

          I’m a teacher, but I consider myself a modern philosopher. I’m very worried about the current state of education. I’m concerned about the future, in general. I don’t think we all necessarily need to be alarmists, though I do believe that if you look at the world around you and aren’t a little worried, you and I probably aren’t going to agree on much. (I’ll pretend not to look while you navigate elsewhere. There’s plenty of other entertainment on-line. Crushing Candy, and so forth…)
EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Paperback/Digital/Kindle
PRICE: Rs. 995 for paperback, Rs. 49 for kindle

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Prophecy of Trivine : A Review



BOOK TITLE: The Prophecy of Trivine
ISBN: 9789380619705
AUTHOR:  Tnahsin Garg, Srivatsan Sridharan, Pulkit Gupta
GENRE: Fiction/Sci-Fi
NUMBER OF PAGES:264
FORMAT: Paperback
REVIEW BY: Dhivya Balaji
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: One of the authors contacted us via goodreads and sent us both review copies. We thank him for it.
SUMMARY:
          An emissary of an advanced alien race travels to the Earth to undertake responsibility of an experiment that has gone out of control. The outcome of this fateful experiment, which was conceived millions of years ago by her species, now rests in her hands. As she prepares to deliver her final judgment, she comes across three young men in a sacred forest who change her life forever.

          These three men- a scientist, a hacker and an artist, happen to take refuge in that forest, trying to escape from the oddities of their own unfair lives. Struggling with their dreams and demons, they begin to explore the dark and paranormal behavior of the forest by forging a companionship. From the rare flora and fauna breathing alive on the ground to the deadly wide expanse of the whimsy black sky, everything they find is yet another puzzle unsolved.

          Little did they know that four of them hold in their hands the future of mankind and much beyond imagination, they are connected through an ancient Prophecy that was long lost in the sands of time
REVIEW:
          A sci-fi novel, if written well, always interests me as a reader. They are mostly ‘make or break’ books. They are either good, or they are bad, there is no middle spectrum. The prophecy of Trivine is, thankfully, good. The characters are well written, the language is good, the concept is new and agreeable.
          An advanced alien race that has created life on our earth as project Solar Azure, decides that life must be terminated because humans have become so selfish and retarded as a race. But the stewardess of the project, who sowed the seeds of life on earth, is opposed to this idea and wants to give another chance to the earthlings.
          She herself descends to the earth and lives among the humans silently watching them. But none of this is visible in the first few pages of the story. The story starts with Philip Mascarenhas who is on the run from the police who reaches the forest to escape and runs into Siv, a reclusive scientist. They strike a friendship that is unique. Under different circumstances, they meet Arty, an artist who is an introvert. It is with surprised amusement that the alien who pitted them together watches their progress.
          Though each man has his own secret agenda, they co exist amicably. But one day, Phil happens to come across the eternal’s bracelet and takes it away. This forces the alien to assume a human form and come to their dwelling to take it away. Though she repeatedly wrecks their lives and work, the three men work together through it. What happens when the alien realises that humans, as a race have more compassion than they are credited for, and how their lives are entwined forms the rest of the story.
          The story is clearly written, and the plot is not too tight. The story’s build up is good, and the scenes are clearly written. The screenplay is also good, but where the story falters is, for all the story construction, the ending feels like a letdown. The ending seems like a really sudden, anti climatic end that the reader was left searching for some more pages of the story. It maybe the first of a series, but there still must be a closure for every book. And some side stories feel amateurish, and can only be best felt when the book is read through.
WHAT I LIKED: The concept, the story, the language and the characters with their flaws and feels.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: The ending could have been brushed up, some episodes seem almost like pieces of patronizing advice and could be rephrased.
VERDICT: Go for it, if you want to read a sci-fi story set in modern world that has relatable explanations for what is happening in our world right now.
RATING: 3.9/5
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tnahsin Garg
          Tnahsin was born and brought up in Chandigarh, India where he got a Bachelor's degree in engineering. After that he travelled to United States in search of higher education and adventure, and ended up getting a Master's degree. Currently, he's pursuing a PhD in applied sciences from northern Europe.

          All this while, he has been reading and writing prose and poetry. His first book, of sci-fi/fantasy genre, co-authored with two friends, is titled 'The Prophecy of Trivine'.
          Reading to him is an act of liberation. It helps him in writing, when he chains himself up in words.
Srivatsan Sridharan
          Srivatsan hails from the southern part of India, but has spent a large chunk of his youth in the nation's capital. He studied Computer Science at Thapar University in Punjab and then went on to earn a Masters at Purdue University in the United States. "The Prophecy of Trivine" is his debut sci-fi/fantasy novel that he co-authored with two friends.
          When he's not writing or reading fiction and narrative non-fiction, he can usually be found at his computer, hammering away at his keyboard in his so-called attempt to engineer "revolutionary" software.
          Srivatsan currently lives and works in San Francisco, California.
Pulkit Gupta
          Pulkit is currently living and working in Bangalore, India. He has been writing (or attempting to write) since the age of 9, when he tried to write his first novel. "The Prophecy of Trivine" is his first book, a collaborative Sci-Fi/Fantasy novel released in December 2013.

          He maintains a number of blogs which are in various stages of decay, but some of his poems and short stories can be found on his website (linked to this profile).

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Paperback, Kindle
PRICE: Rs. 200
BOOK LINKS:


Book Tour : Cutlass Anne By H.L.Wampler

Displaying Tour Banner - Cutlass Anne.jpg

H. L. Wampler, a Pittsburgher all her life, has been pushing her way toward the publishing dream for the past five years while raising her twin boys. She also blogs as The Pittsburgh Housewife and contributes to Pittsburgh Sporting News during hockey season.

A bit about Cutlass Anne:

After setting out to save her sister, Anne Crowley finds herself face-to-face with the notorious John Jacks, the son of a ruthless pirate captain. John Jacks thwarts Anne’s every move yet she finds herself attracted to the infuriating pirate. Determined to find her sister, and resist the charming John Jacks, Anne and her band of pirates must search the high seas for clues to finding her missing sister before she’s lost forever.

Wampler is available for interviews and appearances. For booking presentations, media appearances, interviews, and/or book-signings contact hlwampler@gmail.com.

http://hlwampler.com/


Excerpt:
“This is where you’ll be sleeping,” Flynn said, pushing open a small door. 
I peeked inside and was taken aback. The room was no bigger than a closet. The bed was nothing more than a cot with a pathetic little mattress on one side of the room and a miniature writing desk in front of a tiny window. It was dark, drab, and nothing like my room at home. I suddenly had second thoughts about what I was doing.
“Disappointed?” Flynn asked.
“No, it’s fine,” I lied. I was a cabin boy now; I could not expect the luxuries of a governor’s daughter any longer. It was a sacrifice I was willing to make in my journey to find Jane.

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Sita's Curse by Sreemoyee Piu Kundu : A Review



BOOK TITLE: Sita's Curse : The Language of Desire
ISBN: 9789350097809
AUTHOR: Sreemoyee Piu Kundu
GENRE: Fiction
NUMBER OF PAGES: 344
FORMAT: Paperback
SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: This review is a part of Readers’ Cosmos review program.
SUMMARY:
Somewhere, behind closed doors, in her solitary world; somewhere, under the sheets with an indifferent lover; Somewhere, is a woman who will not be denied. Trapped for fifteen years in the stranglehold of a dead marriage and soulless household domesticity, the beautiful, full-bodied and passionate Meera Patel depends on her memories and her flights of fancy to soothe the aches that wrack her body; to quieten an unquenchable need. Until one cataclysmic day in Mumbai, when she finally breaks free... Bold, brazen and defiant, Sitas Curse looks at the hypocrisy of Indian society and tells the compelling story of a middle-class Indian housewife’s urgent need for love, respect, acceptance and sexual fulfillment
REVIEW:
          We got this book as a part of Readers Cosmos review program. The title sounded enticing and somehow connected to mythology. But the book is actually erotic fiction, based on real people. Much as we would like to remind ourselves that we don’t do erotica reviews, this one slipped by the gauntlet due to its title and celebrated author.
          Up front, the book is a first person narrative of Meera Patel, who is a lonely woman. Married at 17 to a man previously unknown (Arranged Marriage) she imagines her life to be one of fulfilment and marital bliss. Learning to enhance her sensuality from the tender age of puberty, Meera is a really expectant, imaginative girl /woman.
          But harsh realities strike in and she finds that life is not always about pleasure and therefore turns to other avenues, looking for satisfaction. An absent, uncaring husband, in laws eliciting various emotions from her, makes Meera go in search of something, anything, to satisfy her life. She goes in search of a swamiji, only to realise that he is a pervert. In search of herself, Meera tries to find outlets for all her frustration, sinking to the level of logging into escort sites that provide her with yousuf, an enigmatic man who changes her life.
          Meera’s trajectory follows the notorious Mumbai floods, which changes the life of many, irrevocably, Meera’s turmoil lost in the millions. Giving away any more details would be to give away the plot, so the story review ends here. But though the plot’s uniqueness is laudable, the story does leave a bad after taste of explicit scenes. Understood that the erotica genre has to have certain scenes in detail, but there is a fine line between exciting and nauseating (I am a fan of neither. Certain things are best left unsaid. This comment is only for allowing the features of the genre the book claims to belong to).
          The plot revolves around a lonely woman searching for an outlet for her frustration. The scene description and writing (though the author’s flair for language is pretty good) makes the reader squirm, evoking nothing positive in the minds of the reader. The author claims that this is based on a real life woman who affected her and to some extent, this is believable. But the book makes the reader flip certain pages to graze over the ‘detailed description’ parts.
          The author, while trying to portray the struggles of a quintessential Indian housewife, has overdone the bits and pieces. The book, though touted as a self discovery journey, should have had other well defined characters than the lead alone. The book is, in one word, the journey of a woman as she tries to find love in sex. It is bold, it chides the hypocrisy, it portrays the struggles of a frustrated woman. But it is far from reality.
WHAT I LIKED: The language, the construct.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: No more comments to be said on the detailed description part of the book. And then there is the inclusion of vernacular words. A few words for nativity are okay. But whole chapters named in regional languages is a definite no.
VERDICT: If you like erotica, and if you want to read to get an insight into the bedroom struggles of a woman who might be your next door neighbour, go for this!
RATING: 2.5/5 (there is no other story except Meera and her frustration. This is the reason for the medium rating).
EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Paperback.
PRICE: Rs. 265 for paperback



This review is part of Readers' cosmos review program.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Happy Endings Book Club by Jane Tara : A Review

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BOOK TITLE: The Happy Endings Book Club

ISBN: 9781760080587

AUTHOR: Jane Tara

GENRE: Fiction – Chic Lit

NUMBER OF PAGES: 182

FORMAT: Digital

SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone

REVIEW BY: Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: The writer sent me a copy. Thank you Jane!


SUMMARY: This Christmas, the women of the Happy Endings Book Club are about to uncover a world of love and magic as they discover how to have their own happy ending or beginning, as they’re often the same thing.

Once a month, seven very different women come together to discuss books. They all love a happy ending, but have lost sight of how to get their own. Paige misses glimpsing the magic in the world. Sadie doesn’t see the beauty inside people. Amanda wonders what she ever saw in her ex husband. Tilda literally can’t see herself. Michi can’t bear looking at her family, while Clementine is blind to what’s right in front of her. And Eva looks for romance in all the wrong places. But things are about to change …Meet the women of the Happy Endings Book Club as they celebrate Christmas, and themselves, in London, Paris, Vienna, New York, Sydney and in love

REVIEW:
Having read Jane’s previous books, I really know what to expect from her and she has once again lived up to my expectations. Jane’s book are those which you might want to read when you are down in the dumps. Especially if you are a woman, it makes you feel good about yourself.

Like her previous books, in this book again the protagonist is a strong willed female. Or should I say the “protagonists” are a bunch of ladies from different walks of life with their own shortcomings and positives. A book club in the nearby bookstore binds these ladies together.  The story is essentially about each character’s life and the difficulties that they face and how they help out each other.

One thing that is commonly found in this genere (Chic Lit) is the presence of this Ultra Male (or some “drool worthy” male) who makes our dear heroine go weak in her knees and then hurts her badly only to come back cajoling. It’s all nice to read, but then isn’t it too monotonous? At times I find such stories repulsive. Thankfully Jane has saved me that trouble by not bringing in such a twist of sorts.

Her characterisation as always speaks volumes about a woman. Women are always judged for expecting a happy ending. Jane has beautifully brought out a fact that a happy ending is always possible though the definition of “happy” might not fit in with our expectations. It’s like expect the unexpected to make you happy.

This book is a total mood lifter filled in with so much of positive energy inspite of the struggle that the characters endure.

My weeny bit complaint would be – I knew what to expect from Jane – A Happy ending.

Overall, I loved the book!

VERDICT: Go for it! Be Happy won’t hurt to have a Happy Ending!

RATING: 4 on 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jane is from Bondi, Sydney. She has traveled extensively and has lived in Tokyo, London, Vienna, New York and various parts of Australia. Her first book Forecast was first published in 2007 by Dorchester, but they went out of business .So FORECAST was re-released in May. And the long-awaited sequel, TROUBLE BREWING has also just been published. She has over twenty children’s picture books published in Asia, and has written travel articles for many publications worldwide. She has transformed her “itchy feet” into ITCHEE FEET, which publishes travel books for kids.

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Digital, Paperback

PRICE: Rs.236

BOOK LINKS: http://www.amazon.in/Happy-Endings-Book-Club-ebook/dp/B00GLFO31U/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399820886&sr=1-1&keywords=The+happy+endings+book+club