Saturday, 27 September 2014

Book Review: Whisper of the Worms

Book Title: Whisper of the Worms
Author: Marcardian
Publication: Cactus Publishers
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 317
Price: 240



‘Philosophical, Practical and Insightful.’ - Whisper of the Worms!

First look at the title and you'll get a feel that you are about to undertake a journey in to the world of worms or something like that. But it's not the way it looks. The title and cover are deceptive. Though the book is a piece of fiction with fictional characters. the author has borrowed everything from reality.

‘Whisper of the Worms’ has freshness written all over it. The story is a far cry from chic-lit romances and is a poignant tale of a cancer patient who, during the final days of his life, faces harassment from investigating bureaus for corporate criminal proceedings he has not done.

What I like best about this book is the blending and wonderful portrayal of the philosophy of life all within a bank culture. The gist of the novel lies in its portrayal of a present connecting with its past. No book has explained carrot and sticks in banking industry better. 

The narration is beautiful, since the protagonist is a simple, truthful and innocent person, untouched and uninfluenced by the corruption around him. His character has been beautifully penned.

We never really understand the pain and frustration of people who work in banks, government jobs and when they complain about not getting their due promotions or a junior being allowed to go up the ladder. It was only upon reading this book one can sympathize from the heart all the agony of the stick, carrot and donkey system. Banking industry people can relate to the book easily. 

The author needs to be really appreciated for seeing through the system of working in organizations and he does it with a lot of satirical wit that can cut through the skin so to say. The Kerala backdrop is nicely described.

The flashbacks are introduced at just the right moments. Their beauty lies in the fact that while not all of them might take the story forward, they always succeed in throwing light on the character himself.

The author has refrained from giving the protagonist a physical description, making him a kind of Everyman that could just as easily be one of us.

The story is emotional and heart warming. I liked the way the son and father’s relationship is weaved in the fiction. Despite slow in pace and narration, the book of 317 pages has a beautiful story and with an insertion of a story of vicious corporate banking world. The book is not a predictive.

Many people have suffered injustice at one point of time in their lives -  being made scapegoat just to make way for the corrupt ones. "Whisper of the Worms" brings out a tale of one such injustice and the inside of the banking industry.

The author has created a beautiful imaginary world and a corporate set up and a scandal which goes way too deep beyond anybody's imagination. He is not just intelligent with an excellent command over writing but possesses deep insightful eyes that brilliantly amalgamate the world of reality and fiction.

The author makes another brilliant move towards the climax and simply checkmates you when he lends a refreshing touch to the subjects of death and after-life.

It is, undoubtedly, one of the finest books to have emerged in recent times and deserves to earn the spotlight it has been kept bereft of. The whole story is essentially based on human reaction, emotional experience and complex and frustrated humanity.

P.S: The book sold excellently among banking fraternity in India. Recently Shri P K Sarkar, President of All India Bank Officers Confederation (AIBOC) garlanded him for the splendid work.


Ratings - 4/5

The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Liebster Award IV


Yet again (4th time, Yay!), I have been nominated by Vinitha Dileep for the Liebster Award. You can visit her here: http://vinithadileep.wordpress.com/

Blogging has always been a nice experience for me - to share what you ponder, raise your concern over what bothers you and get appreciation in return.  People motivate me to write. I feel so happy, honored & privileged to have been nominated. Thank you Vinitha, I’m delighted to accept this award!

Liebster rules:
The Liebster Award is intended to promote love and spread blogging goodness amongst upcoming bloggers. The name is German in origin and means “sweetest” “dearest” etc. and sort of operates like a chain email.

Here are the rules of the award:
1] Link back to the blogger who nominated you.
2]Answer the 11 questions given to you by the blogger who nominated you.
3] Nominate 11 other bloggers with less than 200 followers.
4]Go to the blogs you nominated and notify them of your nomination.
5] Give your nominees 11 questions to answer.

My answers to Vinitha's questions:
1. What is the meaning of your name?
Aayesha means 'she-who-lives' or one who is full of life. The name of Prophet Muhammad's wife was Aayesha; the name also means the moon goddess personified. 

2. Do you have a guilty pleasure? What is it?
> Yes, I do! Practicing the perfect 'look-of-the-day' in front of the mirror! :P
> Romantic love novels - I can spend my entire day reading romance!
> Eating junk food!

3. What do you like to do other than reading and writing?
I like studying and knowing more about things, but that doesn't make me a nerd. I love hanging out and travelling to new places too.

4. Which is your favorite book?
Ah! The one I can't wait to hold! My first book as a contributing author - 'The Second Life'!

5. What is your favorite quote?
A recent favorite - "Be an encourager, the world has plenty of critics already!"

6. Is there anyone (real or fictional) who has influenced you in your life so far?
I think everyday many things or people can influence you. My biggest influence always have been my parents; but then influence ka kya hai!? A mere falling apple influenced Newton! :D

7. Happiness is weekends!

8. What do you think you are, an introvert or an extrovert?
Introvert who can be modified to extrovert ;)

9. I love myself!

10. How many blog posts have you published so far?
It becomes 146 with this thanksgiving post!

11. Do you think there is life after death? Explain.
This subject is usually addressed with goofy speculation, close-minded stubbornness, or outright fear. However, I live in today without bothering about tomorrow! I take each day as it comes. I believe rather than worrying if there's life after death, we should bring 'life' to our present!  Even science doesn't give a satisfying answer to this! So better live a meaningful today! :)

Great questions, Vinitha! Loved answering them, discovered a bit of myself while I answered them! :D
This time I'm not nominating anyone. I have already done it thrice for all the talented bloggers I knew!
Thank you once again, Vinitha!


Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Book Review: Fraudster

Author: RV Raman
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Hachette India
ISBN: 978-93-5009-800-4
Price: Rs 250/-


Fraudster. By far, the best thriller by an Indian writer. Books like these will help raise the bar for Indian writing.

An absorbing read that doesn't resort to sensationalism to retain the reader's interest. Good plot, good language and crisply written.

A tight plot and racy action took me hurtling towards a tense climax. Insight into the top echelons of corporate India and the banking industry was an added bonus. Believe me, it's a mean, murky world. 

Mr. Raman has done justice to the readers expectations and his awesome writing skills keep you glued to the story. 

Raman weaves a web of deceit which is quite gripping. The reader from the early chapters can get an idea of what is happening and as the story progresses is prepared to see what's coming. From the very beginning, it is clear that Fraudster is a thriller of the highest level.

The author hides all the clues to the perpetrator right out in the open and it is for the readers to pick up the hints. The author takes us for a ride throughout the book right till the climax. The characters are well fleshed out and very distinctive from each other. Each character has something to add to the story.

The author narrates the story with a certain flair that compliments the plot and helps build the grit of the story. Raman's background in financial circles has certainly helped him in terms of being authentic, and some of the procedures are certainly enlightening to lead. At the same time, one does not need to have any in-depth knowledge of financial terms to be able to follow the plot.

The amazing part about the novel is its interesting plot and how complicated technical aspects are described in a simple manner.

The book cover having a silhouette against the backdrop of a skyline is captivating!

RV Raman knows what he is writing about. He knows when to use what and how to play with it to strengthen the characters and the plot of his book. He has tried to simplify everything for a reader who is not from the banking world.

A very gritty, realistic and interesting mystery that is a must read for all mystery lovers.

P.S: This review is for Writersmelon (http://www.writersmelon.com/)
Ratings - 4.5/5

Saturday, 20 September 2014

The Second Life : An Anthology of 25 Life Changing Stories

If you want to put pen to paper and see what unfolds, it’s time to awaken to your identity as a writer. The greatest rewards of writing exist as you see your stories published, your characters being cherished by people.

As I unearth my voice in 'In The Classroom of Life' in an anthology called The Second Life, I feel nostalgic as I walk the lane when I first started blogging. It was so random that I'm myself amazed where it has landed me now! The journey has been enjoyable and so fruitful. Being a part of The Second Life, An Anthology of 25 Life Changing Stories makes me feel proud to have followed my passion.



Blurb:
"There comes a moment in your life when you feel terribly vulnerable, helpless without any hope and faith, and alas you forget the fact - your helplessness can never leave you irreparably shattered. Trust me, sometimes at this very moment, 'newness' from nowhere will intervene in your life and change everything. Just everything. That newness brings in front of you a more inspirational and exciting journey known as THE SECOND LIFE."



The Write India team selected 25 life changing stories that will inspire you, after a nationwide hunt for inspiring stories. The editor is bestselling author Bhavya Kaushik and it is compiled by Prakash Kumar.

Our book celebrates new beginnings! You raze the old to raise the new. Always remember, the beginning of compunction is beginning of the second life.

Along with me, there are 24 more contributing authors:

1. Aathira Jim- ‘I am Sita’
2. Aayesha Hakim- ‘In the Classroom of Life’
3. Abhik Chakraborty- ‘The hug of Ishwar and Allah’
4. Anirootha K R- ‘Everything happens for a reason’
5. Archana Mishra- ‘The Blanket’
6. Deepti Menon- ‘Jasmine at the doorstep’
7. Garima Behal- ‘Thank you, Samar’
8. J. Alchem- ‘The Highway man’
9. Madhurima Halder- ‘The girl with a glass of cocktail’
10. Nalini Chandran- ‘Faith can move mountains’
11. Neha Somani- ‘The Long Winding Corridor’
12. Preethi Venugopal – ‘The Arabian Dream’
13. Preeti Singh- ‘A mother’s miracle’
14. Prity S Pujari- ‘Love is for beginners’
15. Renuka Vishwanathan- ‘When love has gone’
16. Saral Joshi- ‘Yes!’
17. Shrruti Patole Clarence- ‘A daughter’s diary’
18. Shruti Fatehpuria- ‘Wildrose and Snowflake’
19. Shubham Singh- ‘That kid in the corner’
20. Shubhi Mehrotra- ‘A piece of paper’
21. Smriti Mahale- ‘Through her eyes’
22. Somya Singh- ‘Joy to the world’
23. Sunanya Pal- ‘Khushboo- the fragrance of Kindness’
24. Swagnikaa Roy- ”Aurora”
25. Trippayar Sahasranaman Priyaa- ‘A thing of beauty’


Pre-Order Now: bit.ly/TheSecondLife-Amazon 
FB page: https://www.facebook.com/TheSecondLifeAnthology
Post your Order ID on Event Page https://www.facebook.com/events/1500863643486555/ and win free goodies! You might just win goodies and gift hampers from Write India Publishers.

Thank You Team Write India Publishers, Atul Purohit, Bhavya Kaushik and Prakash Kumar for this dream come true. Congratulations to all the Contributing authors!

P.S: The official book launch of 'The Second Life' (An anthology of 25 Life Changing Stories) on 12th October at -
Kitab Khana, Flora Fountain,
Somaiya Bhavan Ground Floor,
45/47 MG Road, Fort, Mumbai.
Timings: 11am to 1pm, will be launched by award winning author Preeti Singh.

Also you can find 'The Second Life' at Goodreads.com 
Reviews: "25 Poignant Breath Refreshments. Destiny Do Ring Twice" - Youth24x7.com

Happy Reading!


Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Book Review: Café Latte

Author: Amit Shankar
Format: Paperback
Published: August 2014
Publisher: Vitasta Pub


Anthologies attract me. They give  a quick read in a short span of time and empower us in a special way.  

‘Café Latte’ by Amit Shankar is a collection of eighteen short stories from different genres of life. Each story has a different theme. A refreshing book after a long time! The cover sets the context of what lies ahead - dark and profound. Beautifully crafted, each story is like a gem. You can debate about the intensity of colors and shades but what you can’t is how artistically the author has articulated life in its various shades. 

Amit explores human relationships, life, death and all that happens around us in daily life. As you cross each page, you interpret life more better and it takes a great story teller to do that to you.

The reason behind my interest for Cafe Latte was its tagline "18 unusual short stories" and the catchy cover design. Each story is unusual and is a perfect blend of emotions. 

You get a glimpse of many lives, many revelations, and many stories around us. We hardly notice people around us but the circumstances cited in the book are a reality. Precisely, this book nudges us to come out of our unconsciousness resulting from lack of interest in our surroundings, and presents an opportunity to observe life more.

I appreciate Amit for his acute perception of reality and his observation power as a writer. The book shows what Amit is really capable of and he writes with skill and manages to make you feel the emotions of his characters in a deep manner.

The compelling stories change the way you look at life. This honest attempt of exploring relatively unusual and unexplored human emotions and situations makes this book really powerful in terms of its story telling with utter conviction. 

The fact that this is an anthology featuring a single author, the reader does get an insight into the variety of topics that he can handle. And just for this, Café Latte is worth a read. This book gives one a straight message to think beyond the usual and comprehend the meaning of uncommon, unwanted and uncustomary experiences.

Ratings - 4/5

Buy here from Flipkart: www.tinyurl.com/cafelattebyamit

P.S: This review is for The Bookaholics

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Book Review: The Devil's Gate


The Devil's Gate: An Impossible Journey by Deepak Kripal is a debut fiction/ thriller. It is a story about animals, sensible ones, who can talk, listen and understand each other. The theme of story is - Sidelined by Man, Animals turned to Demons.

Overall The Devil's Gate: An Impossible Journey by Deepak Kripal is quite interesting to read. I loved the sense of humour he has put in the book, the situations, the twists, and the characters are spot on!

This book is a masterpiece of writing. Writer not only carries you along the journey of his imaginary creatures but in between gives you the feel of a different world nobody would like to go in, but you just cannot stop unveiling the truth.

The plot of the story is so different and refreshing that after a few pages, one feels a sort of addiction to the story and you just can't stop after that. The mystery unravels beautifully and the shock climax is just icing on the cake.

When I started reading the book, I was wondering why a cat and a dog is chosen as the protagonists. But the questions are also answered in the second half of the book. Weird though it may sound, ‘The Devil’s Gate: An Impossible Journey’ is relevant.

Though the story has animals and demons as its central characters, the main focus is on the fight of good against evil. The book also makes one realize that though good will ultimately prevail over evil, it is impossible to eradicate evil from its root.

The story also highlights the plight of the animals and nature due to rapid urbanization of the earth by man. This is a story of courage and commitment. A thriller no doubt, the plot also has an element of love hidden in it, love that surfaces in trying times. The vividness of the descriptions is also commendable.

The language is simple, engaging and lucid. The narrative is fast paced and flows freely and smoothly. One can visualize the scenes as the story progresses.

The characters central to the theme are well etched with all their imperfections. There are quotes in between which leave you inspired!

It takes courage to write on concepts and notions which rarely catch the fancy of other writers. Even if one does choose to settle down to an ‘unheard-of’ theme, it takes even more courage to put it into words and deliver to the readers, exactly what it had intended to deliver in the first place. In that regard, the effort and the skill of this debut author must be applauded generously, for indeed, he has made a point and has successfully made the readers see, what he had intended them to see.

What I liked the best in the book was the underlying message that becomes the foundation stone of the book. Along with its unique evils and demons, the book is surely meant to lure children and teens. I also liked the surprise which awaited the reader at the turn of every chapter, here, I must say, that the end was very unpredictable and kept getting more and more mysterious as the pages flipped by. Overall a good read, I recommend this book to fantasy lovers, especially young children and teenagers.

There are places where long descriptions make the things a little boring (especially in the second half); but overall it all relies on tight writing.

The last two pages confirms that the story doesn’t end here. Seems the solved one is just a part of the problem, the main problem stills hangs on the head. Yes, we are talking about the next part or sequel of the book for sure.

Overall, a nice and gripping thriller. The book is appealing for the children as well. It would be interesting to see its response by children.

Ratings: 3.5/5

P.S: This post is for Write Tribe. See here for more details: http://writetribe.com/the-devils-gate/



Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Book Review: Kingdom Come

Book: Kingdom Come
Author: Aarti V Raman
Publisher: Harlequin
Pages: 311
Price: Rs 299


The cover art is appealing and the title is very unique. Both these things catch the attention of the reader.

The story has been amazingly penned. I loved every single character in the book, even the bad guys. Congratulations Aarti V. Raman! You have a way with words.

Set mainly in the breathtakingly beautiful Kashmir Valley, but also travelling to England, Central America (Mexico), Ladakh and Tibet, the protagonists' journey is far from simple. The characterization is noteworthy and the author gives us people who are complicated and flawed with their own share of mistakes and wrong decisions but still they are able to win our hearts and connect with us due to their actions which speak of their inherent goodness. It is the supporting characters that come across as more real and add depth to the story.

Kingdom Come could have been a typical story in many ways. Terrorism and Kashmir, or a man and a woman falling in love while fighting for survival against a dangerous adversary aren't new plot lines. It could easily have been the usual angst-filled love story were it not for the characters, the research behind the plot, and the plot twists.

Overall, the book is well paced, and it doesn't have any obviously gaping holes in it. Raman has researched the elements of her story well, providing realistic descriptions of places and situations, especially the ins and outs of the military operations.

Emotions are Aarti V Raman' thing! She depicts them well, and makes you ache with unshed tears; exult with happiness; or tremble with fear or loathing.

The description of army procedures or the life saving procedures employed by the army gives us an insight into the minds of these brave men and women who risk their lives daily so that others can live free and safely. The poignant and heart breaking reality of the families who send their sons, daughters, brothers, husbands etc. to serve their country is also beautifully painted in the book. After reading the book, I have a renewed respect for the army and the people who work day and night to keep us safe.

The way the author has narrated the whole story is admirable for a debut work. The words are chosen so brilliantly that they give this story the perfect atmosphere needed. From choosing the names to framing the characters, everything has been done so well that readers can easily visualize everything.

Spy thrillers are one of the best genres to read. This book has – a solid and tense plot, formidable protagonists, noxious villains, gut wrenching fight sequences and a shocking climax. The constant dose of romance makes the narrative juicy when it begins to get dry. The constant tension between the protagonists has been well presented. The building up of their restrained yet passionate relationship is well done. 

In conclusion, Kingdom Come is a commendable effort, although there is much scope for improvement. I think some good editing could have pruned a lot of it and brought a steady flow and brevity to the book. The plot, the characters, the zealous love story, and the intense emotions are well worth a try and if you are a fan of romance fictions, “Kingdom Come” shouldn’t be missed.

Highly recommended.
Ratings - 4/5

This post is for http://writetribe.com/kingdom-come/