Thursday, January 29, 2015

Voices Old & New : A review



BOOK TITLE: Voices, Old & New
ISBN: 978-1-927826-70-6
AUTHORS:  Naheed Hassan (Editor), Sabahat Muhammad (Editor), John Sequeira, Karthik L., Komal Singh, Maria Perry Mohan, Neelesh Inamdar, Roshan Radhakrishnan , Ruchi Singh, Sanjay Madhavan, Shivani Shourie, Sid Balachandran, Ada Wiam , Sonia Rao, Varsha Pillai, Viba, Adiana Ray, Anamika GK, Aniesha Brahma, Diganta Sarkar, Dola Basu Singh, Farida Rahman, Jaspreet Soni
GENRE: Fiction/ Short Stories / Mixed Genres.
NUMBER OF PAGES: 252
FORMAT: Digital/ PDF
SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone
REVIEW BY: Dhivya Balaji
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Indireads sent me a review copy, I thank of Indireads for it!
SUMMARY:
          ‘Voices, Old & New’ is a fantastic collection of short stories featuring the very best submissions from Indireads’ 2nd Short Story Competition 2014. It is available for purchase on Amazon, and is also available for free, as a thank-you gift, for a limited time, to all new and existing subscribers of the Indireads newsletter.
REVIEW:
          For the first time ever, a Summary of the book doesn’t gloss up or exaggerate the contents. ‘Voices, Old & New’ is exactly what it promises to be – a fantastic collection of short stories. There can be no other explanation for it. Never has a book of short stories impressed me so much as this one! The language and the editing – complete with the grammar, are perfect, and it is a real treat to read such beautifully written stories. Easily, this tops ALL the Indireads books I have read so far.
          Now for the review – how do I write the reviews for the book of short stories that requires special attention and special mentions for each and every story? Do I elaborate on the minute details of every story and write a review that is as long as the book? Or write a review of stories that affected me specially? For the sake of brevity in the review, I have decided to choose the few stories that affected me the most. These are not necessarily the most popular or this doesn’t mean the other stories are in any way lesser – these are the stories that left a lasting imprint in the mind of THIS reviewer.
Boomerang – well, fitting twist, excellent start to an amazing book, though it is dark! Brings out the perils of online chatting and what might come out of it – with an unusual twist. Ruchi Singh, ma’am, hats off!
Revenge – how can short phrases make a story so complete? I was initially left searching for the rest of the story before I realised that this is the perfect ‘short story’. *smile emoticon*
A Slave to Thee – Okay, this was the story that ‘totally’ threw me off guard. The most quirky of this set, in my opinion! And so is the ending. John Sequeira, please give us more such stories!
Prejudice – another gem. It talks about a doctor who gets her opinion corrected by a common girl, twice. A real treat!
The Ballet Lesson – Reverence. Ray-vay-rahnss. (You have to read the story to get this reference!)
The Message – paranormal at its best.
Between Him and Her – Forbidden but still enticing. The extreme gentleness of unattainable love!
Meeting By Arrangement – serendipity. That is the best word to describe this story.
Only You – ‘Promise’ will become the new ‘Always’ to some Harry Potter fans reading this story!
SPECIAL MENTION:
v To author Farida Rahman for giving some thought provoking stories! I really loved reading them.
v To Sabahat Muhammad – for an excellent cover design! I have never seen a more fitting cover for a book!
WHAT I LIKED: Everything – almost.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: As is expected, there are some stories I feel are lacking in certain elements. But even those stories have that charm. So no real complaints!
VERDICT: Don’t miss it! Go for it, definitely.
RATING: 4.5/5
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
          (Each story in this book has the ‘about the author’ section after it. They are as much a treat to read as the book itself!)
EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Digital
PRICE: Rs. 186, (Currently free for Indireads subscribers!)
BOOK LINKS:


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Blog Tour: Hey Dad! Meet my mom...

Welcome to the ‘BLOG TOUR’ of this Jan-Feb’s most anticipated book title ‘Hey Dad! Meet My Mom… (HDM3)’. The book has successfully created a lot of hype in the market and that’s why the creator’s of HDM3 has decided to giveaway some free copies.
Just 3 steps and you’ll stand a chance to win an ‘Autographed’ copy of HDM3 for free. Isn’t it exciting?

What to do?
Step 1 – ‘Like’ our page (Stay updated with the world of HDM3 by being a part of the ever growing family of ours.) Page link, https://www.facebook.com/heydadmeetmymom

Step 2 – ‘Share’ about the ‘blog tour’ on facebook by copying this text.

“#HDM3 - STAND A CHANCE TO WIN A COPY OF ‘HEY DAD! MEET MY MOM…’ BY VISITING THE PAGE’S LINK AND FOLLOWING THE ‘BLOG TOUR’. (https://www.facebook.com/heydadmeetmymom)”   

Step 3 – What do you think about the title of the book, ‘Hey Dad! Meet My Mom…’? Be it anything, we want your opinion, your truest opinion over the title of our book. Answer in the comment section.

That’s it. If you successfully complete the above three steps, you will be lucky enough to get the book at your doorsteps.

Some Important Points to Remember:-
  • This competition is only for the Indian residents.
  • The results of the competition will be announced on 29th January, 2015 on the book’s page (That’s why we request you to please keep on checking on the fb’s page of HDM3).
  • Don’t forget to use the Hash Tag (#HDM3) while posting about the blog tour on fb timeline of yours; it will help us to track your participation. Without the hash tag your participation will be cancelled.

ABOUT THE BOOK:-

From childhood, the world in which we live, teaches us to bury our ‘bad’ past somewhere deep inside us, so deep, that even we can’t dig it back and after that just move on.

What happens when a 10 year old child, who claims to be your future son, comes to you to help you find a perfect match for his mother? What happens when eventually you start to doubt on his intentions? What happens when a girl starts to turn your dreams into nightmares? What happens when your ‘Future son’ starts to haunt you? What happens when your FUTURE starts to bleed in your PRESENT through your PAST?
‘Hey Dad! Meet My Mom!!!’ is nothing less than a roller coaster ride of comedy, fear, love and don't forget to expect the unexpected!

SURPRISE COMPETITON:-

Now here’s the surprise factor, as you have opened this blog and had read the post till the end, we would like to offer you a great chance to GRAB A PACK OF 4 BOOKS (including Bestsellers of Sudeep Nagarkar, Durjoy Datta etc.)

This will be rewarded to all those participants whose ‘Facebook shares (Step 2 in the previous contest) successfully receives more than 50 likes.’ So do not wait further and start showcasing your ‘Social Media’ strength and stand a chance of winning 5 (4+1) books.



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Daughter By Court Order by Ratna Vira : A Review


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BOOK TITLE: Daughter By Court Order
ISBN: 8172345216
AUTHOR: Ratna Vira
GENRE: Fiction
NUMBER OF PAGES: 372
FORMAT: Paperback
SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone
REVIEW BY: Shree Janani
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy from Fingerprint! Publishers. Thank you guys!

SUMMARY : A seemingly innocent remark over an innocuous cup of tea. Aranya discovers that her family has been fighting a decade-long legal battle over her grandfather’s expansive estate, all the while not only keeping her in the dark, but also keeping her very existence out of the court’s knowledge!
A cesspool of emotions, half-truths, betrayals, and the unspooling of long buried dirty family secrets threaten to overpower Aranya and disrupt what modicum of peace and balance she has in her life as a single mother of two children. At the centre of this storm is the one woman who, ever since the day Aranya was born, has had nothing but curses and abuses for her; who has deliberately kept her name out of the court; who has wished her dead for every day of her life; who refuses to now remember her birth. The woman who is her mother. Her own mother.

This is the story of a woman fighting against power, money, deceit, and treachery for her right to be recognised as a daughter. A daughter by court order . . .

REVIEW:

A summary that promises the tale of an unwanted daughter and tackling the social stigma of gender inequality is sure to catch the eyes for avid readers. Add the writers’ background (her parents are renowned journalists) to the summary, the book is sure to create a wave. Throw in some brilliant promotional plans by the publishers and la! We have a best seller. That’s this book is a nutshell.

Our protagonist, Aranya is the quintessential unwanted female child loathed by her own mother, mistreated by her brother and let down by her father. Thanks to unconditional love from her grandparents and aunts, she manages to grow into a confident adult who can stand up for herself in-spite of her own mother plotting against her. She goes onto to win a court battle against her mother who categorically denies that she has a daughter (Thus the title).

Characterisation: Majority of the characters barring a few were well penned. The story line aided the characterisation, for, the subject requires not just protagonists, but the supporting characters as well to pack a punch.  The only character that required a lot more depth was that of Aranya’s husband. His characterisation was rather shallow and didn’t quite do justice to the whole story line. Aranya’s kids desrve a special mention. It is easy to show multitudes in an adult’s character. Showing variance and making a child character emote is not an easy task. The writer sure aced it!

Narration & Story line: The theme of gender inequality requires a compulsive narration. Especially when the protagonist’s own mum is portrayed as a misogynist who spews venom on her own daughter, the writer is forced to an arduous position to cook up something truly compulsive. This writer managed to put forth a compelling story. The narration did have some fair share of slips but that could be overlooked, for, the crux of the story was narrated well enough.

There are two ways of emoting: Active (Shouting out, using brash words) and passive (Silent tears, sad smile!). The writer has portrayed both ways with such perfection that even a novice reader can distinguish between all sorts of emotions. In such stories laden with sadness, writers by enlarge tend to get sadness, pain and anger all confused. This writer managed to create distinction between the three most over abused emotion.
Language: Needless to say that the off spring of a journalist and a highly educated economist can’t possibly mess up with language. The writer’s knowledge of the language aided in delivering all the right emotions that a given situation requires. It is pleasantly and mildly shocking that the writer is a rookie.

To sum it up, in a country that worships mothers, a tale of neglect and hatred with a compelling narration is bound to become a best-seller.

VERDICT: Must read. The plight of a daughter can’t be portrayed better than this

RATING: 4.5 on 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ratna Vira holds a masters degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science, as well as a masters in English Literature from St Stephen’s College, University of Delhi. She also holds an MBA.

She is the daughter of senior journalist, Nalini Singh, and SPN Singh.

Ratna juggles her corporate career with her writing and love of art. She lives in Gurgaon with her daughter and son, where she is at work on her second novel.

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Paperback & Digital

PRICE: Rs.180.50 (Digital)

BOOK LINKS: http://www.amazon.in/Daughter-Court-Order-Ratna-Vira-ebook/dp/B00LBEQAC6/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Other Side Of The Table by Dr.Madhumita Mukherjee : A Review


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BOOK TITLE: The Other Side Of The Table
ISBN: 9788172344474
GENRE: Fiction
NUMBER OF PAGES: 240
FORMAT: Paperback
SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone
REVIEW BY: Shree Janani
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy from Fingerprint! Publishers in exchange for a honest review. Thank you guys!

SUMMARY : Circa 1990.
A world drawn and woven with words. 
A bond punctuated by absence and distance...
Two continents. Two cities. Two people.
And letters. Hundreds of them.
Over years. Across oceans. Between hearts.
Between Abhi, who is training to be a neurosurgeon in London, and Uma, who is just stepping into the world of medicine in Kolkata. 
As they ink their emotions onto paper, their lives get chronicled in this subtly nuanced conversation through letters ... letters about dreams, desires, heartbreaks, and longings... about a proverbial good life falling apart, about a failed marriage, a visceral loss, and about a dream that threatens social expectations...
Letters that talk. And don't. Letters about this and that. Letters about everything...
Letters with a story you would never expect
REVIEW:
Yet another book that is written as a collation of letters! Is writing a story in the form of letters the latest fad?! Some writers weave exceptionally cohesive stories in spite of writing in a format that by default renders the story incoherent and there are the others, who are fascinated by the concept of “letter narration” and fail miserably at it.  Uma and Abhi inadvertently end up being each other’s punching bag.
This book/writer belongs to the neither category. Uma and Abhi exchange a series of letters until Uma finally lands in Abhi’s doorstep. The letters are about mundane things to their lives’ most important events.
The book opened with a great momentum, the letters back and forth seemed utterly fascinating. Unfortunately, there came a point when the narration got utterly boring and the story line began to slack. The pace had dropped so low that a novice reader would probably chuck the book midway. On the other hand, a seasoned reader would be patient enough to wait for the momentum to pick up.  This is one such book that requires its readers to wait patiently for the pace to pick up.
The other major disadvantage of such a book would obviously be the story line itself - Unless the protagonists exchange chronicles of murder or some topic which could be classified as borderline explosive, narrating mundane emotions would certainly backfire. That is precisely what happened with this book. The writer promised an array of intense emotions in her summery, but ended up writing a bland story which lacked finesse to produce that emotional bang. Normally a story line containing a miscarriage, a brain tumour and a failed marriage (not in that particular order) would evoke a sea of emotions even from a seasoned reader who has probably shed more tears over characters than in real life people. This book managed to just skim through all those heavy emotions instead of creating a wave.
The writing isn’t stellar either. The letters at time became a bit incoherent but the writer somehow managed to veer them back to track post an incoherent thread. This steering back tends to create a zigzag effect on the readers making them unsure of how to rate the book.
The characterisation is rather commendable. The writer has managed to show various shades of the protagonists in-spite of all those discoloured emotions she ended up with. The writer sure needs to be lauded for her effort to portray gender inequality prevalent amongst doctors. In fact, it was rather surprising to read that even such a critical profession suffers from the common evil of gender inequality. Hats off to the writer for bringing to light the stigma attached to a female surgeon. It is rather apparent that the writer might have had such an experience first-hand given that she is doctor herself.
In a nutshell, this book requires the patience of a season reader just for the discrimination thread of the story.
VERDICT: Not for people with a patience range of a teaspoon.
RATING: 3 on 5
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Madhumita Mukherjee grew up in Delhi and did her medical education from Calcutta National Medical College. She has been living and working in England since 2001 as a Paediatrician. She has a special affinity for epistolary novels as well as novels written as journals and diaries like 'Diary of a Provincial Lady' by E.M. Delafield, and 'I Capture the Castle' by Dodie Smith. Besides these, she takes special interest in novels with medical themes such as 'A Country Doctor's Notebook' by Mikhail Bulgakov. Her message to the readers as a doctor is to never take health for granted.
EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Paperback, Digital
PRICE: Rs.160 (Paperback)

BOOK LINKS: http://www.amazon.in/Other-Side-Table-Madhumita-Mukherjee-ebook/dp/B00BD2PL6W/ref=dp_kinw_strp_1

Friday, January 16, 2015

Hidden Passion by Summerita Rhayne : A Review

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BOOK TITLE: Hidden Passion
ISBN: B00RBUM0EG
AUTHOR: Summerita Rhayne
GENRE: Fiction - Romance
NUMBER OF PAGES: 145
FORMAT: Digital
SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone
REVIEW BY: Shree Janani
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK:  I got the opportunity to read this book as a beta reader! Thanks Summerita for choosing me to beta read and also for taking my suggestions with a good spirit!
SUMMARY : Rukmani, the youngest of her family, has always had her way and she thinks she would too when the question of her marriage arises. But when she expresses her wishes, her world comes crumbling down because aristocratic affairs seem to matter more than her heart. Who can she run to but the strongest ruler of the region, Deveshwaraya?  Devesh finds himself torn between duty and desire. He is drawn to her yet being with her jeopardizes everything he has worked for. When even protecting her invites trouble, how can he let his heart become involved? 

Hidden Passion – the story of a princess daring to reach out for her heart’s desire.

REVIEW:
I had the opportunity of beta reading this short and sprightly read. Our protagonist Rukmani, the princess falls for the quintessential “oh-so-hot” Devesh, who became the prime from being a humble farmer. When she suggests marriage both her family and Devesh initially balk away for Devesh cannot afford to have a rebellion due to this alliance. His desire and sense of duty clash with each other and though he desperately wants Rukmani, he is hesitant to take the ultimate step initially.
The story is truly what the summary promises – the story of a princess daring (translates to running away from home) to reach out for her heart’s desire.
When analysed based on the flexibility of the extent the writer takes up the suggestions of the beta readers, Summerita scores admirably. The difference between the initial draft and the changed story is remarkable. Certain parts of the story were added, and these gave the story's characters some much needed depth. It is a joy to read the changed version of the book and enjoy those parts that were added as a results of opinions being valued.
Most of the books involving a period theme tend to be borderline pukish-erotic. Thankfully this writer avoided that route. The chemistry between Rukmani and Devesh was crackling and perfect. In fact, it was a bit overpowering and left a lasting impression. So much so that I remember those parts in the best clarity weeks after reading the book.
The story had all the essential elements such as tragedy, romance and action in the right quantity making it a short yet delightful read.
To sum it up, the story line, the narration and emotions were packaged to produce a neat, short and sweet romance novel.
VERDICT: Why not?! Go for it!
RATING: 4 on 5
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Summerita Rhayne writes sensual romance with emotional conflict. She took up writing when she was in her late thirties and hasn't looked back since. She first got published in 2013 and has won contests with Harlequin and Harper Collins India. Writing, she finds, is the only way to deal with the numerous story ideas bubbling in her brain which pop up more rapidly than her keyboard can do justice to. Especially when writing time is in short supply while juggling it with a job and the demands of a family. However, her pet belief is that a story and its characters have a life of their own and will find a way to make the writer pen them down. What else can one do when cerebrally confronted with the sizzling interaction of two Alpha characters? 

She prefers to call her books sweet and sensual to denote the slowly deepening relationship between the characters.

She loves winding down with music, movies and social networking.
EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Digital
PRICE: Rs. 63

BOOK LINKS:
http://www.amazon.in/gp/product/B00RBUM0EG/ref=cm_cr_ryp_prd_ttl_sol_0