Friday, May 20, 2016

Book Review: False Ceilings by Amit Sharma

Title: False Ceilings
Author: Amit Sharma
Publisher: Lifi Publications Pvt. Ltd.
Genre: Fiction
Date:  2016
Price: Rs.295
Pages: 256

The story begins with a scientific touch, the “if else” statement in science as Aryan tries to work on his research project. Little did he know that it would be the question around which his life will majorly revolve, as is everybody’s in his family. To a scientific mind there couldn’t be a better beginning to a mystery than this.  A dormant curse traverses through generations into a family for generations. It is like a deadly disease, latent mostly, which doesn’t get detected yet when comes out upon the next one to inherit, it takes you with itself.

The writer has chosen a different style of storytelling wherein he has divided all the characters as if they were the piece of a puzzle and jumbled them up, telling each ones story one by one in a random order. It therefore gives even readers otherwise impatient with reading novels a good one to start it. It is an amazing trick if the characters were lesser. I almost gave up at a point where he then started connecting the dots.  The story is beautifully written and that makes up for the reader’s patience as you savor each written word woven into the tale. Overall it is a good story made beautiful by the writing and mysterious by a well-crafted strategy.

Just last month I reviewed a book from Lifi Publications and was so disappointed at the shabby work done with it that I couldn't help but mention faults in the editing and polishing process. It so happens that the next book I pick up (this one) from the same publishers turns out to be so good that it has a strong chance of being my top ten reads of the year. I am amazed at how the same publishers can deliver such diverse qualities when it comes to writing. If that happens can you trust a publisher when you pick up a book, especially when we pick debut writing? Thoughts anyone?

Rating: 4/5. A highly recommended read. Amit Sharma delivers an amazing debut. Looking forward to more from the author.

About the Author: Having studied M.Tech in Computer Science from Kurukshetra University, Amit Sharma is currently working as a Software Engineer in Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) for last ten years. His wife is a teacher and they are blessed with a daughter who is in her terrible twos.

You Raise Me Up by Arjun Hemmady

Title: You Raise Me Up
Author: Arjun Hemmady
Publisher: Leadstart Publishing (Frog Books)
Genre: Fiction
Date:  2015
Price: Rs.325
Pages: 364

Aalok meets Priyanka on a flight and then begins a cascade of events. He begins to feel special again, something he hadn’t felt in a very long time and begins to do things he hasn’t done in a long time either. Priyanka on the other hand has recently shifted to Mumbai and has no friends but him. The frequency of meetings increase and Aalok finds himself despite his best efforts going into uncharted territories. While there is a lot unsolved and to be answered before he can. Will his experiences in life let him do so? Can he leave the shadows of the dark night and walk towards the brighter sunrise or the shadows of his past continue to engulf him? Will he and Priyanka achieve new heights together? To know more read the book.

The book is a short and cool story of everyday people like you and me, with our problems, limitations, fear and confusions. The characters are people whom you can relate to and that makes the story come to life. The writing is simple and easy to understand, the flow maintained at a uniform pace therefore it doesn’t turn dull at any point. It depicts scenarios and situations we all have been in sometimes or the other and represents a very realistic, twenty first century take on them. The book is a quick read despite 364 pages, as the font size is large and clear plus the sentences short.  Though there were a few points in the story which I did not agree with but in every situation different people have a different take.

Read it for a fun light read.

Rating: 3/5.

About The Author: Born on 5th April 1989, Arjun Hemmady completed his schooling from St. Mary’s ICSE (Mazgaon) and College from RA Podar College of Commerce and Economics. He is pursuing his Chartered Accountancy from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI). His past times include writing, reading books, and watching movies. He works in a manufacturing company.

Grab a copy now!!! http://www.flipkart.com/you-raise-me-up-english/p/itmebvzfjyhugfhk?pid=9789352013883&al=wjJsaXS8lGUG4sDpKZwQEsldugMWZuE7mxWx381qOwQ4ulqJdmhpi%2FSLhu75QfZuMsdDf9xvpSg%3D&ref=L%3A7489012114322835911&srno=p_1&otracker=from-search

Sunday, May 1, 2016

You are the Best Wife By Ajay K Pandey

Title: You are  the Best Wife
Author: Ajay K Pandey
Publisher: Srishti Publishers
Genre: Fiction
Date:  2015
Price: Rs.149
Pages: 250

Love is a bizarre emotion. It cannot be confined to a definition of a few words in a line.  It is of many kinds, has various shades and is expressed in multiple ways. While emperor’s dedicate their lives and the life of many of their people in building a perfect monument, a symbolic of perfection of their love and a picturesque mark of their beautiful beloved; there are a few common looking people around us who do something much more difficult than that “to carry on without the one” and accomplishing what they left undone. Such is the inspirational, real life story of Ajay and Bhavna entitled - You Are The Best Wife.

They begin with as a regular college boy infatuated with his adorable classmate turning into a regular couple. The book is the journey of these two people, their coming together as one and the good/bitter moments that is their life. The story progresses from the carefree campus lives to convincing parents for an impossible wedding and as that happens not just the story and the couple but even the writing matures. This evolution of a person from a carefree boy into a responsible householder reflected in the written word, to me was the USP of the book as far as the writing is concerned. Though one knows the inevitable end, each section of the book retains the peculiar essence it has to, it has drama, comedy, family, romance and the right essence of each where needed. In writing a memoir such as this its extremely difficult to make each part unique in itself and while doing so also deliver the story as a whole which is a sum of its parts, the puzzle of the ship of Thesus seems beautifully solved. 

Since Ajay is the one telling it, it is skewed towards Bhavna’s influence in his life and shaping him as a person, which gives it the honest flavour of being in love.  The story is emotionally extremely overwhelming (I cried for the entire day I read it), so advice is to read it when you are alone, especially the last part. I thank the author for sharing his story with us through this book that makes me believe that good people and true love does exist, we haven’t become materialistic robots altogether.

Leave the Bollywood movies and the filmy romance; get a taste of real life - love story. Grab a copy of this book today.

Rating: 3.5/5. Recommended Read. 

    About the Author: 

Ajay K Pandey grew up in the modest NTPC township of Rihand Nagar with big dreams. He studied Engineering in Electronics at the IERT (Allahabad) and MBA at IIMM (Pune) before taking up a job in corporate firm. He is currently working with Cognizant, Pune. He grew up with a dream of becoming a teacher, but destiny landed him in the IT field.
Travelling, trekking and reading novels are his hobbies. Travelling to different places has taught him about different cultures and people, and makes him wonder how despite all the differences, there is a bond that unites them. Trekking always inspires him to deal with challenges like a sport. Reading is perhaps what makes him feel alive.

You are the Best Wife is his debut book based on his life events and lessons.


The book is available for free if you have Kindle Unlimited subscription.






Sunday, April 17, 2016

Book Review: The Ribbon Trap by Shine Syamaladevi

Title: The Ribbon Trap
Author: Shine Syamaladevi
Publisher: Lifi Publication
Genre: Fiction
Date:  2016
Price: Rs.295
Pages: 271

The ribbon trap on its surface looks like a story of a normal young lad Krishnaprem in love with a girl at school. However, what begins with childhood infatuation turns into very strong love. The prologue on the lines of the books title lays the theme of it not being one simple love story. The writer begins the book with a sub- plot that sets a very high expectation from the story ahead, despite the writing being mediocre, however he isn't completely able to justify and encash on this subplot with things ending rather randomly.

The story at this stage is still interesting enough to keeping the confused reader hooked, moves on different tracks from intense love to a mystery with the hint of the thriller. The beginning and the end of the book is where the story is at its strongest, the writer in between tried to serve too many flavors in one dish and failed miserably.

The flavor still enjoyable but could have been a great story if the sub plots that started brilliantly were done justice to, the writing style was tedious to say the least. Also the spelling mistakes were persistent. It speaks a lot of the quality of editing where I am confident not much efforts were made to improvise upon a manuscript that had very good potential. I blame the editor more than the writer. This sort of a book coming from Lifi publication is a huge shock. Did their editor leave the job?

Thus the ribbon trap is a good story if you consider only the overall plot keeping the shortcomings in writing aside for a minute. This book falls into the median of a large number of books by Indian writers where the story is very strong but could have been much better with grilling improvements from the publishing house or the agent. The writer certainly has better potential considering the good plots he can weave, provided if the learning curve of improving upon the writing style gains amplitude and stressing again with a better set of supporting editorial team. 

Rating : 2 stars on 5. 

About The Author: Shine Syamaladevi was born in a small village in Kerala. An avid reader and daydreamer since childhood, he believes passionate dreams really come true. The journeys around the nation on various official appointments added fuel to his passion, eventually resulting in his first book.

Book Review: The Devil and the Deadly Peace-Tales of Khaga by Sindhura Chamala

Title: The Devil and the Deadly Peace-Tales of Khaga
Author: Sindhura Chamala
Publisher: Kiwi Books
Genre: Fiction
Date:  2016
Price: Rs.249
Pages: 196
This story begins with death of the king of Jalika, a strategic monarch who makes the best of the neutral , in between location of its kingdom from two rival nations  described as the first and the second nations , by encouraging trade over war. As the kingdoms benefit under his leadership and the war lasting for decades between them dies, courtesy his strategies there is peace. This is however just on the surface and needs to be constantly maintained, like the temperature of boiling lava beneath the earth. A peace event is therefore proposed to ensure prosperity but alas! just a few days before, the king passes away. Nobody in his family is a perfect heir to the throne or even keenly interested. 

On the other hand as his council and chief minister smell dirty in his death and the question hangs before the secret brotherhood the king formed, a devil comes into scene. The devil claims to have a pact with the king which should be carried out, no matter what. Nobody knows the identity of this unknown character, but like its name it exists only in shadows. There are many questions unanswered and complexities increase as one after another ministers and representatives from the two nations arrive at Jalika, to sign the treaty. The power center needs to be re-established and the peace maintained. Even a small event can reignite the demon of war between the two kingdoms and all could go in vain. Was the king killed? Who is the devil? Can the peace events happen in peace or at all? Will the war start again and who wants war?

As serpents of the past creep and crawl into the minds of the people wanting answers and peace, Jalika stands uncertain hoping for a maintained peace. The story moves into the attackers weaving an unravel-able web of code that is so difficult to detect, let alone decipher.

The Devil and the deadly peace is a story where all you can think of characters in fiction come to life. To begin with the book cover is attractive but given the story it could have been much better if it was a map or a creation of how the landscape setting of the story was. Surprisingly there is no map either in the book which is a huge set back as everything is set to the readers imagination and a lot of text which could never match the essence and speed of a visual map in creating the image.

The story has a lot of variables and that's how the author keeps the reader engaged and away from the real plot. The writing has a lot of narration for the smallest event happening and that should be cut down a little as most of it can be imagined by the reader. A crisper writing here would be helpful, particularly critical in this genre.

The storyline has some exceptional merits like the code being used but if the writer developed it at a depth to a level where stalwarts like Dan Brown write, this could have been easily one of the best books coming out from the country this year. 

Despite the short comings the story keeps you engaged and thinking till the last page. Sindhura's mind weaves great plots and I shall be waiting for more from her.

Rating: 3/5. Recommended.

About The Author: Sindhura has a bachelor's degree in Information Systems from BITS Pilani Goa Campus. She works as a Software Professional in Bangalore. Away from work, you can find her reading or writing with a cup of tea nearby. 

You can find more about her and her works on her website.


Grab a copy now!!! http://www.amazon.in/gp/product/B01CDOF618/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?ie=UTF8&btkr=1

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Book Review: Operation India One by Shiv Kumar

Title: Operation India One
Author: Shiv Kumar
Publisher: Om Books International
Genre: Fiction
Date:  2015
Price: Rs. 295
Pages: 349

The story is set in the back drop of a remote village of Bihar called Bhagatpur which is infiltrated by a naxal Organisation MAF. It begins with their leader being arrested in an arms deal in Delhi. The clues attached to the case gives police too many leads to get to its still operating strong center held by second in command of MAF forces - Charulata. As the police begins investigation a lot of people get involved importantly the head of the company wanting to construct a power plant in the region, Rohit Kumar.

The rights of the people are voiced and supported by two contrasting groups, the MAF and the non-violent group lead by Nisha, via her NGO Nayi Soch Nayi Disha (NS2) who has taken upon herself to use education as a weapon and free people in the non-violent Gandhian way. While the scars of her father's death trying to do the same thing trouble her as his killer is unknown; popular assumption is it was the MAF as there ideals collided. However she still believes in education being the light in which all is clear and continues to walk on the path. 

The writer has written the story in four parts dividing the 350 page book into sections which helps the reader understand the story better. Parts 1 and 4 have the fastest pace, part 3 one cannot complain however part 2 could have been made better with the lead characters not being completely eliminated from them. However the overall pace of the story is well maintained and the authors attention to detail is amazing. The maps in the later part of the story to ensure the reader just doesn't get a cursory but a more imaginable view when needed just ices the baked cake of perfection and detailing, which tells a lot about the dedication into making nothing less than a perfect book.

The story apart from solving the mystery around the events is just not suspense but a lot of self reflection as the characters are forced by ground reality to question obvious beliefs that one has and gaining perspective by being at the ground zero. This transformation in their thoughts influencing the course of their lives and the story then becomes the center stage with the reader also beginning to decide his/ her stance on the problem and attempting to solve the same. The amalgamation of both the genre of story telling sets this book apart from any you have read.

The emergence of strong leading female characters, each with a different kind of strength is like an extra serving for its rare. The only thing missing in this otherwise great story is a hint of romance which never came and some background self correction that each of the lead female characters should have had for the others before the abrupt climax which would have made its acceptance better.

It's a perfect movie script and the writers simplistic yet detailed writing makes it come to life, producers and directors grab this one! If you liked the movie Madras Cafe this is the book you should start reading.

Rating: 3.5/5. Recommended Read.

About the author: Shiv Kumar is working as commercial tax officer in Government of Bihar(India). Previously he had worked as an engineer in BHEL(A government of India Undertaking) for nine years. He has travelled extensively throughout India during the course of his work.
He is deeply passionate about reading and writing and most prefers subjects which provide an insight into issues concerning contemporary Indian social reality. Other genres he is fond of are travel writing, thriller and crime fiction. 

He lives in Patna with his wife, Sarika, and daughter, Lavanya, and can be contacted at shiv5180@gmail.com



Friday, April 1, 2016

The first Tweeter of #Tweet your books cover - Shuchi Singh Kalra Author of I Am Big So What!?

A couple of days ago we started this activity on twitter for writers to #tweet their books cover with #TweetYourBooksCover. For those who know how much I love aesthetic book covers this is no news. The activity went well and keeping up with the promise to retweet the best book covers and to write the story behind the creation of the best amongst the best, here we are with the first feature of the book "I am Big so What!?" by Shuchi Singh Kalra. We thank her for her enthusiastic participation as hers was not only the first book we likes but luckily for us her cover was the first response too, and what a great one to begin with, don't you think?


Author: Shuchi Singh Kalra
Cover design: Sunil Kumar
Editor: Surina Jain


So coming to the book I’m Big, So What!?  which interested us both by the title and cover we decided to get into the creation of the cover that reflects what the book is all about with the author Shuchi. Here is what she has to say about it....

"I’m Big, So What!? is a romantic comedy and the story of Roli, a young woman who is plus-sized and proud of it.

The creative design team at Fingerprint publishers works with the editor and the author to come up with the appropriate cover for the book. I am Big. So What!? was definitely not an easy one to design. Not so much for the actual design, but finding the perfect images – something that would make the cover attractive as well as capture the essence of the protagonist.

Roli’s weight does not affect how she perceives herself. She is confident and we wanted the title font and size to convey that message. The big/bold title font is used to convey the strong message - So What! 

She is smart, spunky and stylish, an attitude which is amply reflected in the body language of the model on the cover.

Pink and green have been used in the background, and the colours are a combination of soft and bold representing all aspects of a woman. The little motifs represent the femininity in Roli’s spirit, even though she is strong and at times, even tempestuous.
  
Through Roli, the reader gets to explore the social and emotional hurdles that a plus-sized person goes through on a day-to-day basis – some of these can be humorous, while some can be downright heartbreaking. As a protagonist and narrator, Roli is highly relatable and “real”. Even though she does not meet the society’s standard of what is defined as beautiful, she is not shaky or insecure. That is not to say that she doesn’t have her moments to self-doubt, but the way tides over them and holds her own ground is what makes her remarkable."

In recent times where Indian cinema and television has hardly evolved as we still have our heroines draped in sarees doubling as the house maid as opposed to confident and career oriented women characters who hold center stage in the west; it is a huge relief that writers such as Shuchi are breaking the norm with representing what a woman truly is, which is not just her body. They say a pen creates history and to contribute to this era where women are trying hard to regain their right as in equal by all means, writers its your turn to create a reality out of fiction by creating realistic characters. Are you willing to take up the challenge?

Thank you Shuchi once again and we look forward to more from your desk. 

You can also tweet your books cover to @readers_cosmos with #TweetYourBooksCover to be a part of this fun-filled activity and get featured if we like it. Till then...Happy Writing.