Search This Blog

Powered by Jasper Roberts - Blog
Showing posts with label Book Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Book Reviews. Show all posts

Monday, April 17, 2017

Book Review - Half Pants Full Pants by Anand Suspi


“This is a book about childhood, best enjoyed after you have left it behind.”

What the renowned filmmaker RR Balki has to say about the book:

"After Malgudi Days, I could never imagine that somebody could create another childhood classic for adults to regain their innocence even for a few hours. Suspi’s tales would have made R K Narayan smile. Oh! That beautiful Kannadiga gene!"



'Half Pants Full Pants' by Anand Suspi is an endearing read. It is the author’s debut novel where he recounts his real-life childhood tales from Shimoga, a then sleepy town in the state of Karnataka.

This book was sent to me by paperboatdrinks (Hector Beverages) and was with me for over 2 months before I picked it up to read. Well, as the adage goes – better late than never; I am so glad to have read it. Reading it was such an amazing experience. As I turned pages after pages of this book, I often got transported to my own childhood days and to my own stories. A wave of nostalgia often hit me and I wished if I could relive my childhood again. It is perhaps our lives' biggest irony - when we are kids, all we want to be is grow up and when we do, we wish we could travel back in time and enjoy the pleasures of childhood again.

There are altogether 38 stories in the book – some from the half pant days and other from the full pant days of the author. And each one succeeds in evoking a sense of nostalgia in the readers. In some way of the other most of us – from the pre-internet and gadget-free childhood days, will be able to relate to these real-life childhood tales of the author in some ways or the other.

The first story in the book revolves around a popular idea that did the rounds in my school days too – when a coin in put on railway track and a train passes over it, it turns into magnet! Back then, I didn’t have any mean to check it. The author being the son of a railway employee had the opportunity to find out the truth of the idea first hand. But, instead of a magnet what he got was a 5 paisa badly shaped chapati!



The author has had a fair share of adventures in his childhood. Some of them are exclusive to him – how many of us can boast of driving a train? I guess none of us can boast of that. But, there are so many other anecdotes - on fighting mosquitoes to imagining self to be some sort of detective (most of us must have been thorough that phase after reading famous five books), to climbing trees, saving pocket money, to delving deep into philanthropy, to detesting gourds (same-pinch), and so on. One thing that is sure this book will do to you - it will make your revisit your childhood.

Thank you Anand Suspi for crafting a book of your childhood tales; and thank you paperboats for publishing it so that it could reach the readers.

Highly recommended. You can buy it on Amazon or Flipkart. It makes for a great gift to friends and family.

Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Gods, Demons and People of Kunhimangalam by Sunil Kumar K N ~ A Book Review


This space has been silent and deserted for months now. Well, I have no excuses – it is just that whenever I think about penning down thoughts about a book I read or a recipe I tried, words do not pour out. I think I am going through an extreme case of blogger’s block (or is it writer’s block?). Anyways, so what am I doing here today? Well, I accepted a book review request from Leadstart Publishers and I am going to rant about the same here. I must apologize to them first as I took ages to read and review the book.

The Gods, Demons and People of Kunhimangalam by Sunil Kuman KN is an unusual book for me to pick up – to be frank it is not the kind of genre I frequently read. But, I just wanted to read something different, something intriguing and something that is not run-of-the-mill. Well, I think the book mostly fits the bill – but still there is something missing.

Kunhimangalam is the name of a small village located in the Kannur district of Kerala. The author through his book takes you on a journey by chronicling the various folklore, old tales and historical events associated with the place. Every chapter in the book takes you through a different story – each with its own flavour – some are rich in myths, some tell you about the traditions of the place and some dwell on the historical happenings that shaped its destiny. But, there is a problem in the way things are narrated – I did feel the flow of the book was not smooth and it didn’t connect with the readers as it should. After I was done with one part, I didn’t feel the tenacity to read the next part right away. I do feel if the legends and tales of the place were interwoven with a fictional story, it would have made a more interesting read.

To sum up my opinion on the book - it makes for a good slow read for those who are interested in knowing about the legends and folklore of not-so-popularly-known places in the country. I do admire and commend the author for his choice of premise and the efforts he has made for his debut book.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Metamorphing by Kunal Pancholi

I should have posted the review of this book months ago. But, as fate would have it, it got postponed indefinitely. I received this book as a review copy from the publishers and hence, I have been feeling guilty for not taking out the time to post the review here. Finally, I am penning down my thoughts about it and I am feeling good. 

The 'metamorphing' in the title of the book is essentially 'metamorphosing'. I guess the author used metamorphing' for sheer convenience. 


When I first had a look at the cover of the book - Metamorphing by Kunal Pancholi, I gave me a eerie feeling. The cover depicts a murder site and it says - The Hunt Begins. It had been a while since I read a murder mystery, so I was really looking forward to find out what this book had to offer. Before delving further deeper into the story in the book, I must share what the blurb of the book has to say.


28TH APRIL, 2000: Flight No. 9x4876 bound to Srinagar has crash landed into the Everest Base camp. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the flight mysteriously went off the radar for few minutes and missed its landing. All passengers are feared dead… except for three bodies that are yet to be recovered.


8TH DECEMBER, 2050:This, without doubt is the most gruesome murder in recent times. Early this morning, an unidentified woman was found mutilated at the western gates of the abandoned Victoria Terminus Station in Mumbai. Authorities report her head was … well … semi-decapitated and she was drained of all her blood. The shocking part - the crime scene was devoid of any signs of blood spatter…


ROHAN: I was shorter than the shortest girl in school; I had to be ahead in the game!

RUDRA: "Was I a private detective? What kind of sinister case am I getting into?"


"A thrilling tale about two men bound by an untraceable yet undeniable fate. One running away from his past, another unaware of his own."
 
If you think you have an inkling of what is happening in the book, then you are likely in for some surprise. As is evident there are two main characters of the story - Rohan and Rudra. The story is narrated in first person by these two characters in alternate chapters. That can get quite confusing if not done right, but in this book the author has done a commendable job in maintaining the clarity in the narration. The language used in the book is simple and easy to understand. The two narrations, although completely different seem to complement each other quite well and build the tempo in the story.


I would not want to reveal anything about the story than what is already revealed in the blurb, as that would definitely be a spoiler. I would not be surprised if the author came up with a sequel of the book in future.


This book is a good choice for reading in journeys - it will surely keep boredom at bay.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

5 Soul Searching Short Stories by Shailesh J. Khatri - A Book Review




Quoted from the blurb -

“Five stories with five critical messages on life… Five situations with the protagonist making a decision that changes his life... Five circumstances that show you that life is never fair and yet… one needs to make the critical decision.
Amar, a promising stock analyst, gets the job of his dreams. However, circumstances lead to his failure. What does Amar do?
Uma is looking for the purpose of his life. He wants to give up the luxuries of life to find the truth. Does he eventually succeed?
Ravi loses his job one fine day and befriends those who tell him that the rich should sacrifice for the poor. He believes them. Does he benefit?
Vikas is shocked and annoyed when his parents decide to take him to their native village instead of Switzerland. What does he learn?
Pratap, a gold medalist in law, gets the job of his dreams in a well-known law firm. He faces a trying case. How does he respond?”

I received the book from BecomeShakespeare.com in exchange for an unbiased review.

When I first heard about this title, I expected that this book will be packed with 5 stories told in an extra-ordinary way. The word ‘soul-searching’ in the title of the book is what got my attention. Now, Lets find out if the book live up to my expectations?

Consisting of a bare 115 pages, this book 5 Soul-Searching Short Stories by Shailesh Khatri falls in the type of book that you can finish reading in a short reading session. The plots of the story are such that you can relate to it – they are picked from the everyday happenings in an ordinary man’s life. However, the way the stories are written and narrated doesn’t make the desired impact. There is something lacking in the narration which makes the stories easily forgettable.

All the stories start well and have the capacity to keep the reader’s engaged, but somewhere in between the narration falters. The plots are good, but depth in characterization is lacking. Another minus point was that the stories were quite predictable. So, the reader had nothing to look forward to at the end of a story.

I understand the author has put in a lot of effort in his maiden book. I hope my review will help him in doing away with these drawbacks in his next work.

Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Bluest Marble by Vipin Kumar - A Book Review



Book: The Bluest Marble
Author: Vipin Kumar
Publisher: Become Shakespeare
Price: Rs. 199
Pages: 264
Genre: Fiction

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.

The Bluest Marble by Vipin Kumar is an inspiring novel. It is the story of an ordinary young man who has simple goals in life, but life has other plans for him. As the story unravels the readers get to know about the various facets of his life and personality.

The protagonist of the story is Aditya. He has a good job, good friends, a great bike (he is passionate about it), loving and caring parents. But, as destiny would have slowly things slips away from him – he is fired from his job, his friends desert him and his parents begin to see him as a loser. Aditya doesn't feel there is anything in his life worth living for, so he decides to end his life. And thus begins a new chapter in his life.

Aditya lands up in a mental asylum where he is named as Ram Kumar 125 – a name given to patients suffering from amnesia. Well, Aditya is not amnesiac, but he pretends to be so that he doesn't have to go back to his old life. He makes friends with Rajesh – a software engineer and Jacky who is a Doctor in theoretical physics. Amidst the new surroundings, new home and new friends, Aditya experiences life like never before. He discovers himself, his inner self and his key to happiness. What happens to him in the mental asylum? How he survives there? How he finds the secret to happiness – the bluest marble? You have to read the book to know about the same.

The book is narrated in flashback; the protagonist is telling the story of his life to his girlfriend and would-be wife Jenny.

The first part of the novel dwells on the kind of life urban bachelors working away from home in big cities live. There are various incidents and situations to which readers can relate. The writing style is simple and clear. However, at some point I did feel the narration wavering. I didn't quite relate to the conversations he has with his bike and often found them somewhat creepy. The experiences of the protagonist when he landed up in the mental asylum were the most interesting and intriguing part of the novel. I loved the way he gradually fought with his fears and insecurities and took to life head on.

Overall, it was a great read and inspiring in many ways. One of the things that I would have wanted to read about more is about his friends – Rajesh and Jacky in the mental asylum. If the author ever thinks of writing a sequel to this book – I would love to read how his friends did in life and how Aditya’s life took shape.

Thank you for stopping by. Cheers!




Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Sorry… Again? Can he purge his sins? By Amit Singh


 The Blurb Says:
Sid is the inevitable effect of what a small town upbringing brings to the city life. A self-confessed “unromantic”, somewhere in his simple exterior lies a weak preacher, whose yardsticks of life change radically when the unpredictability of life starts experimenting with him.
Anushka, armed with her unselfconscious beauty and poisons imbued into her life, has declared war on the world of men from a young age.
Their romance, even after her protest, is ignited by a train robbery that becomes unforgettable for reasons other than the robbery, catches the warmth because of an adolescent romance that reaches consummation, but remains within the periphery because of a live-in relationship that is on the verge of break-up.
They fall in love, but somebody is not happy with their relationship. Sid is threatened. Will he rise above his fear this time?
The first time I read the title of the book – it hit me as unusual. It seemed like two titles were joined together to form it. I found it intriguing as well as it signaled that the novel was going to an interesting one. However, I was rather unimpressed with the cover of book. Had it been more cryptic and interesting, it would have been more in sync with the story in the novel.
In the beginning of the book, we find the protagonist stealthily coming out of his office to catch a flight. Why he is being so secret about it is not revealed and it builds up the curiosity of the readers.  Gradually, we know about Sid and his life in bits and pieces. We know about his past and present, his insecurities and fears and about the love of his life – Mallika aka Anushka. But, she has her own demons to fight – the untimely and mysterious death of her mother and the strained relationship with his father doesn’t let her trust anyone. How will she cope with her attraction towards Sid? Will Sid be able to make her trust people again? Can they ever be together given the shady pasts they have. All these are things to know when you read the novel.
It was definitely an interesting read. There were too many things happening to keep the readers engaged. Since, this is the author first book; I appreciate his work and how well he has crafted a complicated story. But there are a few cons that need to be addressed too.
First, is there were quite a few typos. Since, I was reading an e copy of the book, I could not mark them all, but there was one such typo that I remember because I spotted it twice in the novel. The term ‘carrier’ was used instead of ‘career’. I found this mistake quite off putting. I think the editor could have done her job better.
Secondly, I was not very impressed with the characterization of Mallika/Anushka. The way she met Sid for the first time was interesting, but the way she was later portrayed in the novel seemed unbelievable. The transformation we see in her in the novel seemed too drastic for the readers to believe. Other than that, I found the novel well executed.

If you are looking for a book to read on a train journey, this book will fit the bill. It is reasonably fast, intriguing and engaging.

I had received more than 2 months ago and it has been over a month before I finished reading it. But, somehow I was not able to post the review here. My genuine apologies to the author for the inordinate delay.



Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Thugs & A Courtesan by Mukta Singh Zocchi ~ A Book Review


"Meander through 1819 India with Firangia as he covers villages,jungles and small towns while on a journey of romance, devotion, crime and deception. But there is someone always watching over. This is pre-railways India, when merchants travel in caravans, noblemen with escorts and no road is secure.

On his way home after a trade expedition, Firangia's path is crossed by the beautiful Chanda Bai, traveling with a small party of guards. Though a warrior, she wishes to travel under his protection. Should he decline? Read about grandiose ambitions pitted against petty schemes, love and deceit and what in our modern times is termed evil. You will find in this intellectually ambitious, meticulously researched, action-packed historical fiction a broader, age-independent significance."

I received this book from 'Think Why Not'  in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.

When I first read the blurb, I found it quite interesting. The cover of the book also compliments the era in which the story is set. As is evident from title and the blurb of the book, the book talks about thugs, caravans  and courtesans. I found the whole setting of the book quite fascinating and was hoping it to be an exciting and action packed book. However, the book ultimately failed to make a mark for me.

There are a couple of reasons why it didn't work for me. First is the writing style. The common thing about books by debutant authors is that most of them write in a very easy language. But, that is not the case with this one - in fact, it is exactly opposite. The writing is way over the top and a bit too self indulgent. There were many instances when I felt the need to look up the meaning of a particular word. That is not exactly a bad thing, but it did interrupt the flow of the story.

Secondly, the narration of the book is quite slow and most of times the story loses focus. The book is laced with many short stories but, they do not seamlessly blend with the rest of the book. Characterization is also an issue with the book. There are so many characters in the book that it can get confusing at times. But, there
was not a single one that stood out and made a place in my mind.

While the subject of the book is quite interesting, the way it is written doesn't grab the readers attention. I just wish the novel could have been written in a more exciting way.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Me N Her - A Strange Feeling by Rikki Bhartia - A Book Review



I have been meaning to write the review of this book - Me "N" Her by Rikki Bhartia for quite a while now. But, somehow I was unable to word how exactly I felt about this book. I received this book from the author himself, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. The story revolves around Harsh and Jhanvi - it is basically their love story with quite a few twists and turns, but ultimately culminating into an happy ending. When I received the book review request, I did a quick search on what other people wrote about it and when I saw so many good reviews, naturally it piqued my interest and raised my expectations from the book.

But, 50 pages into the book and all my hopes were dashed. At one moment I was contemplating on leaving it midway but, then thought better of it. When I set aside some time to read a book, I want to read a book that is well written, is free from typos and errors and has something new to offer. I can understand if some typos miss the eyes of editor, but what do you make of a book that is full of errors and is written in a language so colloquial that will make wonder if reading it was a good idea at all. The author has written the book with a lot of emotions - that is visible in the writing style, but the I do strongly feel is that it could have been expressed in a much better way.

All the while I was reading this book, I felt as if I was reading a masala Bollywood movie script that is laced with Hindi 'shayaris' and repetitive use of the word 'yaar' in every other dialogue. While some people may like it, they were the biggest turn offs for me while reading the book. The story is also your run-of-the-mill love story and was quite predictable. I realize now that the book doesn't cater to readers like me. If you are a teenager or are about to step into twenties, you may connect with the story. But, for me it seemed like an old love story sold in a new form. The end of the book is such that one can expect a sequel - my only advise to the author is to come up with a book that is better - in terms of the language and story line.

I sincerely hope that the author takes this review in a positive way. I hope my review helps him to do away with the serious drawbacks in his next work. All the best to him.

Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Devil’s Gate – An Impossible Journey by Deepak Kripal – A Book Review




Quoted from the blurb


"Sidelined By Man, Animals Turned To Demons.

 Plundered by humans of their habitats, animals take a drastic step when they decide to send a team of a cat named as Katy and a dog named as Dug, to an invisible island known, as the Island of ‘Five Hundred Graves’. The island becomes visible only for a short time on the night of the full moon.

Legend has it that the island is inhabited by the demons. Katy and Dug are supposed to negotiate a deal with the demons, convincing them to allow the animals inhabit the island. Majority of the animal community believe that tinkering with the other world could bring their wrath to the animals. The team is sent to the island nevertheless.

But can a deal with the dead be materialized?

Are there really demons on the island? Is there any conspiracy involved?

Will Katy and Dug be able to negotiate, or will survival remain their only question in the deadly island?"

This is perhaps one of the very unusual books that I have read in recent times. I was quite curious when I read the blurb – c’mon it is not often that one comes across a book that has animals like cat and dog as the protagonists. It did take some time to get into the book, but once I got the hang of the story there was no looking back. The first time I saw this book, I was not impressed with the cover – a grotesque looking creature rising out of a door was not exactly inviting. But, the story in the book more than made up for it.

As a debut author, the author has done a great job in coming up with a book with such an innovative story line. There is so happening here – there is the mysterious island, the unusual characters of Katy and Dug, demons, monsters, the sophisticated designed Devil’s Gate, the palace of Vanora, Vanora’s curse, the evil Penacus and more. The style of writing is simple and lucid. The suspense builds up gradually and keeps the readers engaged. However, I do think that there were some snags at the editing end as there were quite a number of typos that could have been done away with.

There is an underlying message in the books that speaks of the plight of animals – how humans are constantly destroying their habitats making it difficult for them to live peacefully. I was thinking that it might be horror book, but it really wasn’t. The book is laced with light humor that makes it suitable for readers of all age. In fact, all the time I was reading the book; I could imagine each and every scene in an animated version inside my mind. I can very well imagine it being made into an animated film! I feel it can be great hit among kids.

The end of the book was quite a surprise and it is likely that the author has a sequel in mind. In that case, I will definitely look forward to read it. If you like reading fantasy novels, this can catch your fancy too.

I received a free review copy from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Thank you for stopping by. Cheers!


Monday, June 16, 2014

The Great Indian Democracy by Manivannan K – A Book Review

Twenty-something Vikram rebels against his father and the mediocre life his engineering background has ordained for him by travelling to Delhi to become a stand-up comedian. Only, he is forced to see the serious side of his jokes when circumstances compel him to accept the position of a journalist at The Great Indian Democracy, an upcoming political magazine.

Life drifts along through plagiarized articles and pub-hopping until one day he finds out why he was hired in the first place. And meets Advaita, the annoyingly beautiful intern with whom he falls in love.

I received this book from ‘Pirates’ for an honest and unbiased review of the same.



The first thing I noticed about the book is the cover page – it looked inviting and promising. As Indians, the citizens of the biggest democracy of the world – we are quite aware of what entails a democracy – its plus points, its loop holes and everything else that is associated with it. With the Lok Sabha elections happening in the country, this title seemed quite apt to me to pick up. The blurb had quite raised my expectations and I was hoping that the book will offer me a new way to look at the state of democratic affairs in the country with a good lot of satire and humor.

The book started well, but didn’t quite live up to my expectations in the end. I was hoping that there would be something more substantial on the ‘stand-up comedy’ thing, but it seemed like that it was lost amidst all the other things that were happening in the book. The story line of the book is quite predictable. A lot of unnecessary things fill the pages at times – I couldn’t fathom how the weird description on the categories of girls contributes to the story in any way. Rather, I found it distracting. The writing style is simple which makes reading the book quite effortless. But, doesn’t the story make an impact on it readers? Let us find out.

The character of ‘Vikram’ failed to make an impact on me. Also, I didn’t find the character of Advaita all that interesting. To give the book a political flavour, issues that plagues our democracy are discussed throughout the book – there is nothing new or innovative about them and they are not even written with a new perspective. The only saving grace for the book are the various supporting characters like Ramesh Anna, Sus Cheta, Baldy – Vikram’s Boss, etc. They do lighten the read sometimes and somewhere add to the fun quotient; but, not as much as one would expect. Marketing this book as a comical satire on Indian democracy doesn’t work as the humor promised in the book is pretty much non-existent. If you are picking up this book for the humor it is promising, you are going to be disappointed.

I feel the book could have done better had the title been different and it was marketed differently. It is an easy read and you could pick up if you want a light read in between serious reads. If you don't expect the things the book promises, you might even like it.

Thank you for stopping by. Cheers!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Crossover - Open Heart Verses by Sunil Sandeep


The Crossover – Open Heart Verses by Sunil Sandeep is a book of poems. It is the first time I am going to write about such a book. I love poems but, I seldom read poetry books. But, when I got a review request from BecomeShakespeare.com I obliged.

I took quite a while to read the book and even after I finished it, it took me quite a while to jot down my views about the book. Poetry is a beautiful form of expression. Every poet has his own way and the beauty of poems is that one can interpret it in different ways. As I flipped the pages of the book, I sensed a feeling of melancholy and sadness. Reading through the author’s bio I came to know that the author has seen a lot of ups and downs in his life and that truly reflects in his work. I particularly loved the cover of the book; it is so poetic in its own way and perfectly syncs with the content of the book.

The poems are divided into 3 sections – Dreams, Reality and the Path. The sequence is exactly how we live our lives. We dream, we face the reality and finally we tread on the path to find our inner selves.

Through the different verses, the poet dwells on the listless and void life people live these days, how people hanker after riches, how we ignore the beauty of nature around us, how we choose to ignore the social problems and how we are not doing the things we ought to do. Through his verses, the poet has tried to persuade people to rise above the materialistic pleasures and move towards inner peace and divinity.

I can’t say that I understood each and every poem in the book. Some were quite beyond me to interpret. Nor could I make anything of the pictures that accompanied each poem. There were some poems that touched my heart, were thought provoking and there were others as well whose meaning I couldn’t fathom. But, I believe that is my shortcoming and not the poet’s. If you enjoy good poetry, then you can pick this book up.

To end the review, I quote two of my favorite verses from the book.

‘The path so light
Has to be walked alone
There are no shortcuts
And there are no maps’

‘Light cannot contain darkness
But darkness can contain light
If we are open to destroy all our beliefs
Only then we can reach a greater height’


Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...