Thursday, 20 October 2016

When love finds you by Yashodhara Lal: a review

Yashodhara Lal has been known to be one of the most quirky writers of today's time. Starting from her first book to her latest, When love finds you, the authoress has done her best in making all her books worth the time that we spend in reading it. So when I found her latest and switched over to the blurb, I couldn't help but give in to the temptation of reading this book. The cover of the book tells a lot about the book and thus, I had to see what the blurb says.

According to the blurb- Natasha is a badass boss. Just how badass? She can make a grown man cry, whip a team into shape, meet her targets- and she won't take any bullshit, period. Of course, getting the job done is never enough for a woman in a man's world. When it's time for her promotion, she's passed over for Rishabh- a smarmy rake who apparently has 'people skills'. He knows just how to push her buttons and it's driving her up the wall. Then there's the very desirable Nikhil, whose quiet self-assurance and distracting dimple only seem to complicate things at the office. With a crotchety old neighbour, an unrelenting friend and a tumultuous family history in the mix, Natasha is suddenly beginning to find that everything she's ignored in the pursuit of success is coming back to haunt her. But don't worry. She's bringing her A- game. She always does.

Now, having read the blurb I am sure that you are having the same thoughts as I am. Aren't you? A fun read with a sassy female boss and male characters who might be drool worthy but there are many layers to it. I had the same idea with the book. So I had to pick up the book and surf through the chapters.

The first chapter had it all. The introduction of the main protagonist, the kind of a person she is, her ambitions etc and as the book progressed, this went on higher and higher. With every chapter we get to know Natasha and her life. Everything was fine but then enter Rishabh. The man who is desired by most women in the office other than her, the person with super 'people skills' is a wonder to read. Being a girl I totally understood what Rishabh is all about. And of course, then there is Nikhil.

Since I have already named the 3 most important characters, let me come to the description that has been put forth for them. Natasha, being the main protagonist was given 100% attention. Rishabh was given 70% attention and what I felt was even though Nikhil was given a lot of attention, again around 70%, still his character was underdeveloped. Similar to Natasha, Nikhil has a lot of curves in his life and thus what I felt was, he could've been developed with a lot more time than was given to him.

There are many other characters in the book and one of my favorites was Mrs.Chopra, about whom you really need to find out from the book. Coming to the story. Well, I have a lot to say about it. The story was well thought of and a good one time read over a cup of cuppa but what I felt lacking was the portrayal of the moral of the story. Of course the story has a moral and that is there in the last line of the book (That doesn't mean you'll read the last line first) but I somehow had a lot of expectations from the portrayal of the story which didn't happen.

The way the story has been written was nice and I really liked the narration. If I have to speak about the cons, I would want to say that this book wants to say and promises a lot but somewhere down the line, fails to deliver. Having said that, no. I'm not disappointed with the book but then I'm not satisfied either. But being a reader who reads a lot, I expected at least a bit more from the book which I found missing. No grammatical errors and a smooth ride makes this book worth the time it takes to finish. For me, expecting so much more from the authoress with the next book, this book was 3.5 out of 5.

PS- This book was given to me as a part of the Flipkart Book reviews programme.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

The Guardians of the Halahala by Shatrujeet Nath: a review

When for the first time I heard about the book, I was caught at the first mention of "The Vikramaditya Veergatha series" because never before had I ever read a book that had such a character. Book 1 of the series, called The Guardians of the Halahala by Shatrujeet Nath was the one I picked up first. I knew that no matter what, I had to read the book and so I went on to see how the cover looks like and then, the blurb of the book. I would be true here, being a book buff, I am a bit choosy when it comes to mythological books but this blurb added to my interest in reading the book. So before I tell you my take on the book, take a look at the blurb.

According to the back cover- The deadly Halahala, the all devouring poison churned from the depths of the White Lake by the devas and asuras, was swallowed by Shiva to save the universe from extinction. But was the Halahala truly destroyed? A small portion still remains- a weapon powerful enough to guarantee victory to whoever possess it. And both asuras and devas, locked in battle for surpremac, will stop at nothing to claim it. As the forces of Devaloka and Patala, led by Indra and Shukracharya, plot to posses the Halahala, Shiva turns to mankind to guard it from their murderous clutches. It is now up to Samrat Vikramaditya and his Council of Nine to quell the supernatural hordes- and prevent the universe from tumbling into chaos! A sweeping tale of honour and courage in the face of infinite danger, greed and deceit, The guardians of the Halahala is a fantastical journey into a time of myth and legend.

When I first had the book in my hand I was mesmerized by the cover of the book. Now the book has 2 covers. The latest one is yellow but the one I had is purple with undertones of pink in it and that made it all the more interesting. What is needed for a book lover rather than a great cover of a book? Might sound very odd but yes, I do judge a book by its over at times and it is very few times that I am proven wrong. Now, the book. I started with the author's note and the author had my attention in the first paragraph. The way that it has been written was simple yet so catching that any non book lover would also like to know what the author actually wants to tell his readers.

Coming to the book, I wouldn't speak of the characters much. Because for that I would really love to read the complete series (book 2 is already waiting for me) and then comment so for now, I would stick to the narration and the story. To begin with, the concept is very interesting. The churning of the waters and then the Halahala. Everyone of us who has been into mythology know at least about the churning of the river and if a lot of more myths are added then it would make for a great story.

I would love to mention here that even though it is a book which has its own target audience, there will be no problem if any reader of any age group reads this book. It has every element that makes a book read worthy and now I know that why there are so many people around me who admire the way Shatrujeet Nath writes.

Slowly and steadily I am becoming a mythology person and all thanks to writers like Shatrujeet Nath that I am loving this genre more and more. The way the narration has been done is intricate. I loved the way the web of emotions and characteristics have been developed in every character of the book.

Even though the main characters seem to be Samrat Vikramaditya and his Council of Nine, there are many more who are sure to capture your attention as readers and trust me, many did for me. There are nail biting sequences of war inside the book and that makes it all the more worthwhile. The story is so well told that it can well be used as a script for a bollywood blockbuster movie and trust me, I would be the first one to book a ticket if there is a movie on it. I would like to give it to the author for writing such a precisely written mythological book which will be loved by all.

Coming to the cons of the book, there are not many. To speak of it I guess the beginning takes a bit of its sweet time to adjust to the readers but that's the same with most books of the genre. Then, there are too many things happening at a very fast pace and so the reader would have to be always on their toes and at the edge of their seats. I would've loved more of the book but wait. Isn't it the reason why I waited for such a long time to read the book? So that I could read book 2 immediately. All having said and done, this book is a 4.5 out of 5 for me. I'm so looking forward to the next book of the series.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Zulfiqar (the film): a review

Shoshti morning. Heavy rain. Almost cancelled plans. Sadness because I couldn't wear the Saree I was hoping to wear, couldn't stop me and two of my girl friends from visiting the nearest multiplex to watch a movie which I'm sure I'll be remembering forever. I'll start with the trailer of the movie. A top star cast and a very interesting concept grabbed many eyeballs since its release. Then, the songs that were released caught my attention. Finally, Shakespeare had me. I would be frank here, even though it might sound cliched but my whole career was shaped by Shakespeare. It was in Class 5 or Class 6 that I got introduced to Shakespeare and I couldn't let go. Julius Caesar has always been one of my favorites and most read plays by the man and Antony and Cleopatra has always been a close part of the list.

The film started with a bang and I completely forgot whatever was happening around me. Prosenjit Chatterjee as Zulfiqar (Caesar), Koushik Sen as Bashir (Brutus), Jisshu Sengupta as Kashinath (Cassius), Dev Adhikary as Marcus and Parambrata Chattopadhyay as Tony (Mark Antony), Nusrat Jahan as Rani (Cleopatra) were ON POINT. And ofcourse, there has to be special mentions for Paoli Dam, Rahul Arunoday Banerjee and Ankush. Who would've believed that Jisshu could be a villain? The list of characters is endless and so will be my list of praises. The mix of two famous plays were seamless and so was the whole execution.

I didn't expect such beauty in the film. Speaking of the characters, I was a bit apprehensive of Dev and his performance and trust me on this, he hit it out of the park and I guess no one could do it better than him. As I read another review of the film on my social media, "This is Dev's rebirth" and rightfully so. He still needs a brush of acting skills but he also needs good films his way. You wouldn't know it until you watch it. It feels odd to say this but the chemistry between Marcus and Tony was splendidly shown.

Now, the execution. Any Shakespeare lover would adore the way Mr. Mukherjee as dealt with the subjects. The Julius Caesar part was so on point. Every single detail was kept in mind. Now, I have a problem with these movie retellings and that is usually people aren't true to the central plot or even if they are, it seems like we know the story and there's nothing more to add there. But here, it seems like it's a poetry in motion. There wasn't even one moment where you would feel bored or you would feel that the story is known. Every moment of the film is an experience.

Much like most Srijit Mukherjee films, the special appearance by him called for a loud hooting from the audience and so did various parts of the film. Not to forget, a grand ovation after the film ended. As I was leaving the hall I overheard so many people talking to themselves how they would want to watch the film again and hey! Even I want to.

Now, the music. This is one album that has been on the most listened charts for a long time and I guess I don't know anyone who isn't humming Ghawrbari. Every track of the film adds to the film in its own way and has its own meaning. How I wish there were a song or two more but who doesn't want the most of all things good? As I type this I'm listening to my favorite track from the film, Ami aajkal bhalo aachi.

Speaking of the cons of the film, there were NONE. I'm so glad to see that those two plays by Shakespeare which have been literally by hearted by me has been executed well to the T. Voice modulations to poetry, acting to execution, Zulfiqar which is basically the sword of Prophet Muhammad, slices like a sword.

I would end this post by saying one line- Srijit Mukherjee is Kolkata's Shakespeare! I so wish Srijit makes more retellings in the future. And yes, treasure Zulfiqar.

And finally, "Et Tu, Brute?"

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Untamed by Laxmi Hariharan: a review

The second book that I have read of the authoress, Untamed by Laxmi Hariharan is wonderful in more ways than one. We might've read many types of stories and most of them coming of age ones but one that merges itself with being a many lives story us the first in its lot. I got attracted to the book the first time I read the authoress and the cover of the book helped me like the book more. Here's the blurb of the book.

According to the blurb- Leana Iyeroy, the first hybrid in her family, only ever wanted to be 100% human. An unexpected encounter with the Hugging Saint of Bombay forces Leana face the wolf inside her. A shifter, coming of age story, UnTamed was originally published as part of the UnCommon Bodies Anthology and is a standalone story in the Many lives series.

After reading Feral, I had a lot of expectations from the book and I wasn't really disappointed. The cover had me at first glance and so did the blurb. It seemed a very typical Laxmi Hariharan book from her Many Lives stories series and rightfully so. The book starts in the year 2070 just as all the other books of the series which gives us a glimpse of the lives of hybrids and an imaginary Bombay. The book started on a very high note and that brings a punch to the story.

Then the story goes on and it speeds through the whole book. A novella of around 25 pages or so makes this book a 10 minute read to say the max. I will talk about the writing style of the authoress. She has this habit if enchanting her audience with the way she writes and so did this book.

The characters that she worked with and the way she has described the book gives in the much needed feel of the book and that surely brings in a lot about the book. Leana was a very vulnerable yet strong character to work with and I was looking forward to see what the authoress does with her and I'll have to give it to the authoress to make her so lively.

Now, speaking of the cons of the book. Well, for the people who have read Feral, this book might as well be a disappointed because the effect that the characters of Feral had is missing somewhere in this book. Here, the authoress has speeded through the book like anything and somewhere down the line the readers might get lost in what happens after what and when. Truthfully, I did. On one hand when it feels good when an author makes you re-read certain parts of the book to get the essence but when it's a novella and that too one that's so speedy then re-reading it might feel awkward. I would really want to read a more detailed and developed book from the authoress.

All in all, the book is a wonderful one time read but I'll caution you- please read slowly. While I loved feral and keeping in mind that this is a standalone book, I would like to rate this book 3.75 out of 5.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Skyfire by Aroon Raman: the cover reveal

Aroon Raman is a Bengaluru-based serial entrepreneur and author. He ran his family companies for many years, winning critical acclaim for developing scientific talent at the grassroots. After successfully divesting both ventures, he now divides his time between consulting for corporates, non-profits, writing and travel. He is the author of the national bestsellers The Shadow Throne (2012) and The Treasure of Kafur (2013). He regularly contributes columns to Outlook magazine and other publications. He can be reached at www.aroonraman.com.


About the book

May 2012. India is hit by a series of freak weather disturbances and startling epidemics
that threaten to bring the country to its knees. At the same time, children are disappearing from the slums in the capital and nobody seems to care. Stumbling upon these strange and seemingly unrelated incidents, journalist Chandrasekhar, historian Meenakshi Pirzada and intelligence operative Syed Ali Hassan start upon a trail that leads them into the drawing rooms of Delhi’s glittering high society before reaching a terrifying climax in Bhutan, where they come face-to-face with a force of unspeakable power and evil.

It is my pleasure to reveal the first look of Bestselling author Aroon Raman’s third novel, Skyfire, which is a heart-stopping thriller that will chill you to the bone. 
Published under the banner of Pan MacMillan, you can watch the book video trailer here - 

The book would be released on the mid week of October'16.