E-TBF: THE Book Files : In Love And Free by Jagdish Joghee from Notion Press; Courtesy : Arudhaa Club 

Hello there! 

On TBF today, we have In Love and Free by Jagdish Joghee from Notion Press.

Shruti and Madhan are happily married and have all the luxuries of the world at their feet. Wealth, health, supporting families, booming businesses, beautiful twins and unconditional love. But when on Diwali when Shruti let’s down her guard, leaving behind the love of her husband and family for someone more enticing, she doesn’t know what she is in for. From a stunning dream to a nightmare, she realises that she is very close to losing it all. Will she be able to overcome this temptation and finally be free?
The story was quite interesting considering the fact that it had everything from a Masala bollywood movie. The characterisations were detailed and excellently woven. Ofcourse, if you have seen the Rani and Shahrukh starrer Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna you would obviously relate it to that since from a seemingly normal life erupts distance and dissatisfaction. It confused me why she would do what she did but then I realised that I could only imagine what a human mind can brew up when it is unhappy. 

The continous familial support and the love Madhan has for his wife is not over dramatic or over done. I think any good guy who loved someone too much, would do exactly what he did. 

The writing style was engaging and clean. There was no beating around the bush and it was a perfect romantic thriller with a hint of Masala if not proper melodrama. I liked how the author didn’t paint unrealistic characters or subplots and the story remained true and relatable till the end. 

In terms of an engaging read, it scored well but it was quite predictable too. When you watch a lot of Hindi movies, you often gather an inkling of what might happen next. This was a plain old thriller as opposed to a psychological thriller and would be a great read for anyone willing to ‘read’ a hindi movie. 

All in all, 3.5 out of 5 because there were grammatical glitches and the predictability kind of made the climax a little less explosive as it otherwise would have been!

Disclaimer : I received a copy of the book from Arudhaa Club in exchange for an honest review. 

Until next time! 

E-TBF : The Book Files : Her Last Wish by Ajay K. Pandey from Srishti Publications; Courtesy : Arudhaa Club 

Hello people!

Catching up on those book reviews and so, another one from The Book Files : Her Last Wish by Ajay K. Pandey from Srishti Publications. 

I usually stay away from tear-jerkers and from the blurb of this one, it was quite evident that this was going to be a sob fest. I had never read one by an Indian author and was quite curious to see if this was going to be different or one of those melodramatic, overdone kind of stories. 
Her Last Wish is the story of a couple who are the perfect opposites of each other. On one hand while Vijay Sharma is a self-doubting, timid man, his wife, Aastha is bold, loud and very practical. The story kicks off when Ajay receives a phone call from Aastha’s blood bank and he learns that Aastha is HIV positive. Devastated and destroyed, Her Last Wish is a story about how the couple braves the circumstances and how Vijay does his best to fulfil everyone of his wife’s wishes.

The premise sounded good and I mentally racked up the the tingling of it mirroring P. S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern. I liked how the story was woven in to accommodate the rift between the outsider daughter in law and the parents. What I did not like however was the character of Vijay. He is top whiney, too insecure and too pansy. With a woman who is not only bold and beautiful but also keeping her strength in place even when she knows she is going to die, Vijay was a disappointment of a partner. The story does showcase their love, light moments, emotional turmoil, coming around and realisation but when you have a central character that infuriates you everytime he is mentioned, you know something isn’t right. 

In one particular scene, Vijay’s mother comes to the hospital to see Aastha while she is in the hospital. The scene could have been much more impactful had the sympathy and pity not taken over. There were times when some conversations went on for ages and did not really have to be there. Could have been so much better had the melodrama be toned down. The worst part was that even in the end, through all of Aastha’s efforts, Vijay still was doubtful and whiney. 

Overall, 3 stars out of 5 read for me. It had so much potential to be a 5 but the melodrama marred it.

Disclaimer : I received a copy of the Ebook from Arudhaa Club in exchange of an honest review. 

Until next time! 

E-TBF: The Book Files : City Times and other poems by Vihang A. Naik; Courtesy : Arudhaa Club

Hey there!

I’m back again with a book review for The Book Files and up for review is a poetry book called City Times and other poems by Vihang A. Naik.

The book is separated into 6 segments:

  1. Love Song of a Journeyman
  2. Mirrored Men
  3. The Path of Wisdom
  4. Self Portrait 
  5. At The shore
  6. City Times

Each of the sections describe the troubles related to living a city life. The poems are in free verse and the titles are actually then.woven into the poem right away. I think poetry is not only difficult to write but also as readers, it is a lot more challenging than simply reading a story. It’s difficult therefore to mark what you did and didn’t like for the fear of either sounding too foolish or too superior. In this case, I started off with apprehension since the first few poems neither had the flow of a poem nor were they easy enough to grasp in one go. The poet used so many fragmented and broken verses that it was a little trying to keep a hold of what the poem really was about.

Even though it might make me sound foolish, since this book does have quite a few rave reviews, I had decided to leave it unfinished if the next couple of poems sounded the same. This is when the change came in and things got better. The mid of the second section, Mirrored Men is where this book really picked up. Maybe it was the theme or I had finally found some topics of relatablility but the poems were a lot more connecting than the first section. 

This is not to say that I was totally floored by them all. There were a couple of poems that were better than the others and I would really blame it more on my inadequate knowledge about the connection the poet was trying to make between a simple village life and a city life. I can only imagine the subtle differences and hence, the enjoyment was limited to the boundaries so set by my imagination. 

Overall, it was a good read with a few hits and misses. The broken verses could have been restructured better to give the poems more flow and fluidity. A 3 out of 5 star read for me.

Disclaimer : I was sent e-copy of the book by Arudha Club in exchange of an honest review. 

Until next time!

TBF : The Book Files : The Man Who Wouldn’t Be God by Shashi Warrier from Speaking Tiger Books 

Hello people!

On TBF today, we have The Man Who Wouldn’t Be God by Shashi Warrier from Speaking Tiger Books.

Bala Kamath, once an ace investigative journalist is now a burnt out alcoholic who is barely able to keep his life together, holding on to the brittle strings of his job, marriage and the estranged relationship with his daughter. Faced with expulsion from his position in the company, he is sent off to meet a Godman called Swami Sarvananda, who has been caught in a scandal and accused of rape by a female devotee. A cynic and a skeptic, Bala approaches the situation with an opinionated mind but in the gradual meetings with the Swami, whom he casually calls Prakash, his opinions come undone. When the Swami is arrested, Bala fights on his behalf because his gut feeling tells him that there is more to the picture than he can see. What is the truth? Will Bala be able to uncover the mystery or is the Godman playing him? How will he balance this tumultuous turn of events and his failing family life? 

2017 has been so great so far in terms of books that I have been able to read. This one here has been just another 5 star book. There. I said it. Right in the beginning because it deserves it.

What made me pick this one up from the mountain of books on my TBR was the title and when I read the blurb and found out that it was based on a mystery surrounding a Godman, I knew I had to devour this one first because apparently, suspense and I aren’t good friends.

In India, there are gurus and Godmen who are hailed as Gods and often caught in scandals and scams and come a-falling from their unreachable pedestals. In movies like OMG, Holy Smoke! Etc, books like The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff or even documentaries calling out such practices, I’ve seen outrage, sympathy and even apathy against such people. This unique take of a thriller amidst such a scenario caught my eye and I couldn’t put it down!

When an author picks up a character such as Bala Kamath to be the protagonist and the core narrator of the plot, it can go two ways. It can either shatter the story and completely ruin the whole book or it can give the story the edge and rawness it needs and uplift the whole novel. This one, obviously falls into the latter category. It was the sheer ingenuity of Bala, his temperament, cynicism, skepticism, loud mouthed aggression and down to earth relatablility which  made it an extraordinary read. Just like Bala, I started off with skepticism about Swami Sarvananda and continued to doubt myself, if I was being played and that was what sold the novel to me. I journeyed with him as he fumbled and faltered and unraveled the truth.

Considering the fact that he is an obviously flawed character, his determination to overcome his addiction and rekindle the relationship with his wife and daughter isn’t something that the author used to bank on to push forward the plot. The writing style is eloquent, bold, intimidating and very, very beautifully crafted. Interspersed with themes such as betrayal, fallacy, love and friendships, the author has done a commendable job of introducing them without leaving behind an overpowering taste of melodrama. 

The mystery of whether or not the Swami is a fraud and if Bala is finally able to uncover the truth keeps you glued until the very end. The twists and turns aren’t just there for the shock factor but are instead cleverly woven in without making the plot predictable or boring. 

As I said right in the beginning, this is a hands down 5 star read and is and definite must read for everyone. This is Indian Writing at its glorious best. 

Disclaimer : I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. 

Until next time!

Cheers!

E-TBF : Soulless by M. V. Kasi; Courtesy : The Book Club Blog Tours

The second ebook up for review is something that should have been up last month had I not been silly enough to not check my spam folder. The book I’m talking about is Soulless by M. V. Kasi which I signed up for under TBC Tours.

Often when you are hell bent on revenge, you end up becoming cold hearted and soulless. This is the story of Sia, a proud and bold woman who still suffers from nightmares of an ordeal that she can’t seem to put behind. To her, the only way to move on, would be to avenge the wrongs and finally, let go. 

The book kicked off strong with Sia taking a bold decision to become a mother and inform the father of the child, who is in turn soon to be married to another woman. We see her manipulate Ajay into breaking off his previous relationship to be with Sia and take care of the child that is his responsibility. However, this does leave the reader wondering about the motive behind the manipulation and this is what forms the suspense of the plot. I loved Sia’s sorry-but-not-sorry attitude and even through her aggressive behaviour and manipulation, there were times when all I wanted to do was give her a virtual hug. 

The language is simple yet elegant with a couple of typos here and there. The characterisation of Sia is the best feature of the book. Far from being a perfectly docile good girl, she’s racous, loud and belligerent. She has quite a few layers to her persona that is slowly and gradually unveiled during the progression of the plot. Ajay is a sweetheart and at times you end up feeling bad for him. The cold and hot temperaments of the protagonists makes for a great read and makes you fall for the whole opposites-attract routine. 

Kasi’s writing about child abuse is subtle yet loud. It makes you cringe but in a good way where it banks on realisation and awareness as compared to simply a click-bait topic to keep the story intriguing.

All in all, 4.5 stars to this stunner and I can’t wait to read the sequel. 

I also had the chance to interview her and I can’t thank her enough for sparing her valuable time to answer every question with such detail! Read on to find out more:

  1. The inspiration behind the book.

I don’t really remember the inspiration behind Soulless. I just sat down to start a new book after I had completed That Same Old Love. Initially, it was to be a spin off for the A Match Made In Hell series. But once I had sketched Sia’s character for the same, I had to stop. I kept thinking about her for a very long time. I knew I couldn’t continue in the same vein as my first book. I couldn’t write Sia’s story as a Romantic-Comedy. It took me nearly 6 months to get inside her head and understand her. And once I did, I knew I had to give her a killer story along with an equally awesome complex hero who would complement her. It pushed me out of my comfort zone because I hadn’t actually met someone like Sia in my real life. Everything I learnt about her was through research. There was point when I became a little too obsessed with her character. 🙂

So ultimately, I can say that my inspiration to complete the book was my lead character, Sia.

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  1. What comes first; characters, plot or the ending?

For me, it’s always the characters. Or rather a particular lead character. For example in my first story I knew I was going to choose a female lead who was a bully. And for my second book, I chose an addict as my female lead. And for my third book, my female lead was a workaholic.  When I have a clear picture of them as a person, and what their characteristics are, I begin to spin their story. I add the details of their background, their trials, how they became what they are, and ultimately how did they redeem themselves (if at all) at the end of the story.  And because I am a sucker for a happily-ever-after, the endings are always the same for all my stories. 🙂

 

  1. Advice to new authors or budding writers?

To all my fellow new authors—write what you want to write. And when you finish writing it, question everything you just wrote.

There are times when we tend to fall for what is currently trending or what we think people want to read. But when you write what you actually want to, and about the topics you are personally interested in, it shows in your writing. It might not appeal to the masses, but expect to get a few fan mails, that would let you know how the book was able to connect with those readers and how the story and characters felt real to them. They would thank you genuinely. And all those hours spent on writing, editing and sacrificing personal time would be well worth it. 🙂

 

  1. Is this the forte genre of the author or can we expect stories from different categories in the future?

For now, I’m sticking to contemporary romances set in India. I have a few more compelling characters that are waiting for me to write their story. 🙂 But yes, definitely expect me to write stories of different categories in the future. My personal favorite is Paranormal Romance.

When I began playing with the idea of writing a book (almost seven years ago), I had a paranormal story with heavy doses of Indian mythology in mind. I wrote a part of it and made several notes, but was never able to complete them. After I finish writing my other stories, hopefully I will have enough creativity and imagination to bring that world and the characters to life as well.

 

  1. Your inspiration and favourite writers!

My inspiration for my books is varied. I get inspired by real people and situations around me, or sometimes, I also get inspired by fictional characters or an interesting topic that had caught my attention for a long time. I only hope that I never run out of inspiration. 🙂

Out of the thousands of books I have read and enjoyed over the years, it wouldn’t be fair on my part to pick a favorite author. But one thing I can say is that lately, I have veered more towards Indie authors. I love how they don’t shy away from writing anything that is a taboo and they don’t have to follow any set guidelines to write a story.

AUTHOR BIO:

MV Kasi works for a software company. Though the grilling job takes her time all day, at night she plunges into her curiosity to explore human complexities through psychological exploration through writing. Her fascination lies in observing successful people who are considered “weird”. Her extensive reading has led to her writing books with depth in characterization. She doesn’t wince in writing about sexuality or violence – subtly overlaying it with humourous tones. Currently she resides in Hyderabad, India with her husband and son. 

E-TBF : Ebook Special Book Files : Phoenixes Groomed as Genesis Doves by Jasmine Farrell from Pomegranate Press 

Hi guys!

Today will be e-TBF day, dedicated to only ebook reviews and from now on, will be a special segment that will run every Monday

The Ebook up for review today is Phoenixes Groomed as Genesis Doves by Jasmine Farrell from Pomegranate Press. 

As the name suggests, this is a thought provoking anthology aimed at different hindrances one suffers from societal pressure, peer pressure, overladen responsibilities, the urge and fear to fit in and be accepted and so on. From her struggle as a new poet to crazy dancing with flailing arms, this book has it all. 

The poetess has beautifully woven in her own experiences and lessons that she learnt and how through endurance, perseverance, self love and determination she finally rose through the ashes to become more resilient and confident. All the poems some way or the other leave a note behind, motivating the reader to learn from her words. 

Although all the poems were good, there were some that I liked more and some that I couldn’t relate to. That being said, I think anyone with confidence and self esteem would find it a great source of motivation. It’s written with the target audience of teenagers and adolescents in mind and that’s quite evident not only in the topics but also in the way it is written. Covering topics such as racism, child abuse, acceptance etc in the later poems gave it a much better edge over the starting ones.

There were some slip ups however. There were editorial mistakes and also quite a few grammatical glitches. Some lines were way too long and I would have preferred them broken down which would have helped not only streamline the structure but also help with the reading. 

Overall, 3.5 out of 5 stars for this beautiful compilation! I Will leave you with my most favourite poem from the book:

The R Phoenix Train

There was this obnoxious confidence that coated her sweetly selfless heart.

I admired it from afar.

Head lowered in a book, my eyes snuck glances at her fierce hands,

I’m sure they felt like thirty years of nurturing and forty-five years of self-loving.

I didn’t need to know her to know that she’d been introduced to the secrets of quiet summer

nights and the flinging off of grudges like tightly strapped bras.

She knew magic.

Faery kisses on her nails,

wands tied at the ends of her braids.

Eyes brightly honey hazel, hoisting unspoken syllables that serenade grizzly bears out of

hibernation just to hear her speak.

I listened.

Deeply engaged in freeing her friend without having to cast any spells, she speaks.

She speaks fables we’re all afraid to face.

Lips shining glitter and fantasies, she uttered softly, but sharp enough to hear, “My father

was the first one to break my heart. He was the first person I forgave.”

I didn’t need to know her to know she’d been introduced to the secrets of quiet summer

nights and the flinging off of grudges like tightly strapped bras.

She knew peace.

Spider legs at the corners of her eyes,

shiny laugh lines

quiet wrinkles on her forehead,

she knew the passwords for every troll bridge.

She knew magic.

I didn’t need to know her

to know she burned brightly hundreds

of times

and laughed within her own ashes.

Her giggles were victorious.

Arms flapping rapidly after every sentence she proclaimed of forgiveness, heart ache

and the mystics of time.

She knew magic.

TBF : The Book Files: Turning Back Time by Shravya Gunipudi from Gargi Publishers; Courtesy : World’s DNA 

Hi guys!

For TBF today, the book up for review is Turning Back Time by Shravya Gunipudi from Gargi Publishers. 

Everyone loves to live their life lavishly but Alia knows that a simple luxury is one too many, one they cannot really afford. Besides working a full time job, she also helps around at the old age home. The excessive burdens and responsibilities have turned her into a negative, no-nonsense kind of a girl who finds solace in the senior companions and their stories. This is the story of how a girl turns into a woman, strengthened and emboldened by the many lessons her old friends leave her, some through their words and some, through death. 

I was drawn to the cover of the book even before I had the chance to look at the blurb and find out what the book was about. The protagonist of the book is far from perfect,  another plus point because it was her timid yet aggressive character that made the story come to life. She isn’t your typical too-happy-too-rich-too-content kind of a girl. Instead she’s someone who knows what she wants and doesn’t have and often her tantrums ring true to someone like me, who has been through such a phase way earlier on in life. 

The old age home is her only sanctuary where she feels free to whine and complain, a luxury she knows she cannot afford in the real world. Her senior friends, Girirsh, Hema, Sita and Raman are shown to be as anxious to see her everyday just as she is. They understand her plight but want her to learn from their mistakes and stories to let go and lead a fuller, happier life. 

The writing style is simple and engaging, apt for such a story. The Author has touched quite a few hard subjects such as abuse, discrimination, hatred and of course, love. Through various standpoints and situations, these terse subjects are enough to take you on a roller coaster ride. I loved the way the author took a seemingly distant woman to be the protagonist since this is the marking point of how much she learns, understands and realises by the end of the book. Overall a well deserved 4.5 stars for the unique plot, bravado to write about such topics and taking a different path for a debut novel!

Until next time!

Disclaimer : I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.