Sunday, November 30, 2014

You're the password to my life by Sudeep Nagarkar (Book Review-3.25*/5)!!!

   Sudeep Nagarkar's latest book- the 5th in his name- You're the Password to My Life has been read by me. Once again I got an opportunity to read his book before the official release. It's always a pleasure to review the book of a popular author like Sudeep Nagarkar. His last book had impressed me a lot and therefore the expectation with this release was at it's zenith. I can't stop praising Sorry You're not my type. One of it's kind book. Talking about this book, it's another one based upon love and relationships, the genre in which Sudeep believes to write time and again. As always, his writing style remains to be simple. He uses easy language and dialogues to make it easy for his target audience of age:15-25 to understand the book without referring a dictionary. 

          The book begins with a prologue that assures a twist somewhere between the story. And then Sudeep narrates a scene through which we are introduced to a wonderful friendship between Virat and Kavya. Later on, Virat falls in love with Mehak. Kavya helps him get in touch with Mehak and engage in a relationship. Virat believes in sharing everything with his friend, Rohan, whom he meets through an online networking site. Aditya (Did the name click?) is a great friend of Rohan who also narrates story from his PoV whenever needed in between. All these characters go through personal experiences in love and friendship. The ties shown between them is wonderfully carried by the author. Once again, Sudeep Nagarkar gives us memorable characters in the form of Virat, Kavya and Rohan. I somewhere felt that Aditya and Mehak couldn't do the magic that was expected from them considering their role in the story.

      Overall, the book couldn't do the same magic as Sudeep's last book but it is surely better than his first 3. The story remains to be very normal in the first half and I wasn't impressed until the twist comes in the life of Kavya. Only after that, book picks up its pace and the story starts creating magic. If not for the climax, I would say Sudeep Nagarkar didn't touch my soul as he generally does with his books. Sudeep saves the book with the wonderful pre-climax and climax. After Kavya's tragedy, I wasn't expecting any other big twist in the book. But author does that and makes me happy. Whatever disappointment I had after first half gets balanced with the last twist in the book that was purely unexpected. I just wish he could have added some WOW moments in the first-half too. 

          I found many typing errors which disappointed me. Considering the writer and the name of the major publishing house associated with this book, a strict proofreading is expected. I also felt somewhere that the author have hurried in completing this book. Personal opinion. Also, the Hindi lyrics aren't an impressive idea to be inserted time and again. It's an English book and even the translation of Hindi songs can do the wonders. Author should work upon this idea next time. I feel that if the book could have been 20-30 pages more, author could have expressed a bit more than he was able to. 

          Summarily, I would say that a wonderful pre-climax and climax is what you should look forward in this new release. The character of Kavya is impressive and the decision taken by Rohan isn't predictable and therefore does not make this book boring and silly at one point of time. Considering how the story was going, I had planned 2.5 stars for it. But the way author takes the story to another level in the end, I would give this book 3.25 stars. Exactly what I gave to Chetan Bhagat's Half Girlfriend. So if you enjoyed that, you will enjoy this too. :-)



Saturday, November 15, 2014

Obsession leads to Destruction, really?

           There are many times when we get obsessed about someone. Either its our neighbour, college hottest boy/girl, someone working with us, sitting on the same bench etc. Obsession always leads to destruction. This is what people say and it is also seen in few examples. But sometimes it leads to a life long relationship or a lesson. But what if you get obsessed about someone you cannot achieve? Like many of us are obsessed by Deepika Padukone these days. Suppose this turns out to be something bigger than just obsession and we start showing madness for her. We crave to meet her some day and tell us how much we think and live about her. Isn't this a sort of destruction? 

          We read in newspapers many a times about the result where obsession takes us. But sometimes its a very sweet experience too. As Reenita Malhotra Hora tells in her book, Operation Mom, regarding the obsession for Ali Zafar that her main protagonist has. Mother keeps telling her daughter to stop this obsession otherwise she will face only sadness all her life. She never understands and thinks that because her mother is from previous generation, she is meaninglessly getting worried about her. Later on, a secret gets revealed and she comes to know that her mother had reached zenith in this game of obsession during her teenage days. And from here, the daughter starts an Operation MOM where she makes sure that she engages her mother with someone to bring life in her so-called life. 

         Though a pop fiction but if you want to know about obsession and how it changes your whole perspective and focus, try reading this beautiful novel which is written in a totally chick-lit essence. 


When you try to set your moms life right, be prepared to have your own life turned upside down Seventeen-year-old Ila Isham has a lot to worry about. Theres the angst of being an Ali Zafar groupie, for one. Then there are the extra layers of fat she has inherited from her part-Punjabi lineage. Add to this parents who have separated, an enthusiastic best friend, Deepali, whose idea of variety means dating three guys at the same time and Aunty Maleeka, her moms best friend, whose good intentions and savvy skills throw up more problems than solutions and Ilas cup of woes runneth over. Her life takes an exciting turn when she decides to hunt for the perfect partner for her mother. With a little help from Deepali, Aunty Maleeka and Dev of the inviting chocolate-pool eyes, Ila will have to brave it all - from and Ok-cupid profiles to handlebar-moustache colonels and middle-aged psychos, if she wants to succeed in her quest.


Friday, November 14, 2014

An Interview with author, Vikas Singal!!!

     As I wrote few days back in one of my reviews that I read an e-book for the first time. It was "And... They Fell in Love" by Vikas Singal. Fortunately, I got an opportunity to interview him and ask few questions I had in mind. It's all here for everyone of you to read and hear what the author has to say about his e-book and future plans.

1. Hello Vikas! We would like to know something about your childhood and background before knowing about how you turned into an author. 

Well, I am brought up in a small town Sri Ganganagar in Rajasthan. I have spent my childhood as one of the most adored child of my family. My parents are quite traditional but they have installed some really good self belief in me. And that have helped me a lot.

2. What triggered you that you suddenly thought of writing these stories and releasing them for all the readers?

It was just another day of my simple life when something happened. I wanted to remember it for life time, so I wrote that incident in a short story format. One of my roommate read it and found it fabulous. That’s how it all started.

3. How did the idea of publishing only the e-Book version of And… They Fell in Love come into your mind? Why didn’t you go for paperback version?

To be honest, I contacted few publishers but the material was not long enough. And the cost of paper version was coming way too high. So I just keep it as an E-Book for now.

4. What exactly did you want to convey through the three stories that you have sincerely written in this book?

If I talk to the point, my answer would be “ Love still exists and few couple are really made for each other”.

5. Are you planning to write any full-fledged novel? Or longer forms of short stories?

Yes, it’s in pipeline. 

6. Why don’t you participate in various Anthology competitions if you are interested in writing Short stories? They can give you better exposure. 

Yes, soon you would see me in one of those anthologies! I am game for it.

7. By when are you publishing your next work? Any idea on what it would be based upon?

I am working on my second book but I am not position to say a definite time line for it. Yes, it would be based on relationships.

8. If you win a major award for your stories, what would you say in the speech? 

Hard one!! I have to prepare it first. But it would end something like this:

Honesty still is the best policy.
Hard work still pays. 
And the Good Guy still gets the best Girl!

The Symbol by Varun Gautam (Book Review 3.75*/5)!!!

    Finishing a novel in one sitting is always an amazing experience. And if the novel turns out to be interesting and compelling,that's cherry on the cake. I picked up Varun Gautam's The Symbol with not much expectations because the cover page and synopsis didn't synchronize well. Also, the name of publisher- Authors Press didn't excite me. But after completing this book, I am mind-blown. As a debut, Varun Gautam has surely hit a boundary on the first ball. I just wish this book is promoted well so that it gets what it deserves- A Bestseller Tag. 

        Varun Gautam's story makes sure that by the time it's half way done, you already start feeling motivated. You will link the events with few unsuccessful times you had. Though the book makes you hate Arjun since his introduction but later on, the way you keep cheering him page by page is what describes the efficiency with which Varun has scripted this story. You want Arjun to succeed. You start seeing yourself in him. You start feeling every emotion that he feels. That's the power of this book- The Symbol.

        Varun's writing style is very simple and his command on language is also commendable. With well-crafted sentences, he manages to make you feel every emotion that he wants to convey through his story. His intention of changing the mindset of people will surely be successful as story leaves its impression on you even after hours you are done reading it. The concept of The Symbol is also managed very well. The author hasn't overdone it. I was quite doubtful about the superstition this book might promote but it is given a new angle by the end of the tale. 
       The quality of publishing is also up to the mark for which I would like to applaud Authors Press. There's one problem- THE MRP OF THE BOOK. Rs. 350 is too much for a pop fiction. It should be brought down to Rs. 150 at most. I also have problem with the cover page. People might restrict themselves from picking this book assuming it to be sci-fi, superstitious or fantasy work. Until the packaging isn't according to the product, the product won't get its due properly. This should be corrected while re-printing the next impression.

           Arjun's character is wonderfully described by the protagonist Dhruv throughout the book. Creating a selfless protagonist like Dhruv who speaks less about himself and more about Arjun is a different angle I have found after a long time. The way love stories are treated satisfies because author does not waste pages in narrating how the love was made and sex was accomplished. Kudos! The character of Arjun's father is something that will surely make you laugh as you might find a friend's father in him. Haha! Rest, all the characters and scenes are treated well. The book should be surely in your shelf if you are feeling down or you think you cannot achieve something just because you failed once. I recommend this book to all the youngsters undoubtedly. I give it 3.75*/5. Amazing stuff!



Thursday, November 13, 2014

Strings of Friendship by Mehul Kaku (Book Review- 2*/5)!!!

      Picked up another book and completed reading in a single sitting. Mehul Kaku's 184-pages novel "Strings of Friendship". I should compliment and pat the author for challenging himself and not only have he written this book but also published and now marketing it. It need guts to singlehandedly make your book reach in the hands of customer. The cover page of the book is surely compelling and you will pick it up to read the story of 4 boys shown jumping in front of a sunset scenario. The publishing quality of the book is also fine. I just wonder why Mehul didn't care to introduce himself in the book. 

         Mehul's writing style is very simple which will be helpful for starters to pick this book and get into reading. I found the writing very normal because of which I also felt that the story-telling lacked that finesse which I usually search in a book. His characterization is wonderful and I should applaud him for making it clear in the mind of readers what his characters are like. I can easily find the characters in the people around me which also shows how this book is inspired hugely by the people around the author. 

         Story starts with a prologue where you find tension bursting between a couple. Later on, the story goes into a flashback where the protagonist remembers his 4 friends from school with whom he learnt having alcohols, caught by a garden-owner, enjoyed sunsets etc. The story starts well but it loses the track after a point of time. Author just told different scenarios of friends but never connected in together in a single plot which could make it easier for you to understand what he is trying to tell you. Just describing the relationship among friends isn't something that can make a story strong and memorable. There should have been some twists and tales.

         Therefore, I again got intrigued in the book when Ali starts telling his whole story. In that particular sub-plot, you will find many different cases which makes you happy that finally this novel is giving you a feel of story-telling. Therefore, I would like to declare that Ali's part is the best in the book and if not for anything, read this book for that particular narration. Later on, Robin's narration of his tale also sounds so mechanical that you could not enjoy it. Why would a friend explain his peers how he built a car? He can simply tell about few challenges. Still, the reaction from his friends after he finishes telling his journey could have stolen the show. But there's no reaction and next chapter begins. 

          Such mistakes in story-telling dissatisfies and you feel the loopholes very obviously. As this is the first attempt of the author, it is understandable and I would like to suggest him to read few books in the genre before scribbling his next one so that he can get an idea on how to embrace few scenes and make them special for readers. Currently, I would like to go with 2 stars out of 5. But starters, good book to start your journey with reading.



Wednesday, November 12, 2014

And.. They Fell in Love! by Vikas Singal (e-Book Review)!!!

       I have never tried reading an e-book still as I find it hard to get along this new technology through which you can not feel the essence of the book but yet, the story is being told. As a reader, one explores any channel through which one can get to read something that he likes. I have not been a great fan of anthologies as I find them quite boring after a time. The only recent anthology that found me interested was Amit Shankar's Cafe Latte. I got to know about this new e-book "And.. They Fell in Love" which comprises of three short stories written by the author, Vikas Singal. The book was available for free download for a day on Amazon which led me towards it. I finished this small and sweet e-book in 30 minutes.

         Considering the cover page and book title, I thought it is going to be another boring romantic attempt by an author who is trying his luck in this world but after reading all the three stories, I can say that this is one of the sober, sweet and nice work I have read in this genre by an Indian. Also, idea of publishing these stories as an e-book is a work of genius because the growing segment of published anthologies is only causing damage to the authors contributing in it. No one is ready to buy those books more than 500 copies. But an e-book is going to be considered if kept at comfortable pricing keeping the target readers in mind.

         The first story named Mr. Right is an amazing start to the book. A very sweet tale of how a girl and a boy meets for the first time for the purpose of marriage. The nervousness between both the protagonists while conversing with each other is wonderfully depicted. You smile throughout the story because of the innocence and sweetness in each and every sentence. The second story names Tanya basically narrates how a girl is been molested by a man and later on saved by a boy who starts adoring her. Their conversation happens and it is also ended happily. A very nice approach to the stories with which writers would have generally played and ended up it with a tragic or horrifying situation. The last story "The Capri Girl" is different from the first two stories as it is based on a train journey. Some notorious while some obvious situations makes it again a wonderful read. I found it at par with the first story. 

          Vikas has surely woven his characters wonderfully after observing few couples or feelings of newly engaged partners. It can be easily noticed from the way stories are narrated. There are few drawbacks that I would like to mention:- Author has kept his stories too short. It's almost equal to a small blog post. I would have loved if each of his story would have been of 5000-words each. He has not been able to present his capability of story telling in the few words that he has chosen to publish. Also it would be a nice challenge for him to see if he can work successfully on little longer stories. As the stories are simple, I missed a sort of drama, masala, romantic conversations, twists, turns, emotions etc which are must in a love story. Summarily, I would say, for Vikas Singal, simplicity is the key of story-telling. 



Sunday, November 2, 2014

Interview with the authoress, Reenita Malhotra Hora!!!

      I read a book some weeks ago named Operation Mom. I enjoyed it enough and also recommended it to some. I got a wonderful opportunity to talk with its authoress, Reenita Malhotra Hora. Now it's your turn to read what she has to say about her latest book. 

1. Hello Reenita mam, before starting, we would like to know when did you realize that you want to be a writer and since when did you take this path of creativity?

I'm not exactly how how to answer that. On one hand I could say that I have always relished the art of story-telling. From the time I was a child, age ten or so, I would write stories and poetry, some of which were published in children's magazines.  I remember making profound statements like “one day I will write books” but to be honest, once life set it, those proclamations fell by the wayside. Or at least for a long long time. It wasn't until I was well into my thirties and running an Ayurvedic business in San Francisco that I  was seized by a desire to write a book on Ayurveda.

2. What has been the reaction of your family after knowing that you wish to be an author and they saw your first book in the bookshelves with your name on the cover page?

I think the person who took the greatest joy in seeing my first ever book, 'Inner Beauty,' was my late grandmother, Pushpa Vij.  Part of this was perhaps because I had dedicated the book to her but more so because she was the link to my by then very late grandfather, Gopal Krishan Vij with whom I had a series of conversations with during my youth – many pertaining to literature and the importance of my writing books. He was my strongest family influence, the reason that I actually took to the pen (yes back then it was a pen, we didn't have computers!) My grandmother was witness to all of this which is why when my first book came out, it struck her more deeply than anyone else.

3. Do tell us something about your latest book “Operation Mom”. It seems to be something different than what is usually published in India’s pulp fiction genre.

Operation Mom explores the story of a Mumbai teen's quest to get her single mother dating again, that too through the online world of wild and wanton weirdoes!
The premise is a little out-of-the-box, I mean typically we have mothers setting up the daughters and not the other way around. And typically the idea of setting up your family member is underscored by the ulterior motive of marriage. This is certainly not the case in Operation Mom.
It is a humorous book. My party line is that appeals to mothers of daughters, daughters of mothers, and anybody who loves humor of dysfunctional family situations.  And all who love Mumbai which is the setting for my young adult world! The story is replete with lots of familiar elements – uniquely Mumbai scenes and setting, outlandish characters  and contemporary Indian young adult life.

4. What has been your intention behind writing this book?

Simply speaking to get people out of their Type A existence and have a laugh or two.  I think that many of us Indians take ourselves too seriously and really need a whack of our funny bone from time to time.
I grew up reading very serious novels, most of them Classic British literature. It wasn't until I moved to the United States many years later that I discovered the American sense of humor – so basic, so subtle and so able to lighten your mood on any given day. And in terms of context, I had the material right here in my life!
And then there is that whole element of predictability and safety in India. Like I said, you don't find stories where the daughter is setting the mother up – usually it happens the other way around. You don't find stories which expose you to a variety of ethnic situations strewn around Mumbai – all ripe for comedic interpretation. That's what I wanted to do. As a Mumbaikar I feel like I have many affinities – to the Punjabi way of life, to the Parsi community, to places like Swati Snacks and Worli Seaface...all these are part of my ordinary world. The great thing about writing fiction is that through it, you can make the ordinary,extraordinary! 

5. How did your relationship with your mother make your work easier while writing this book?

My relationship with my mother is fairly laid back. She definitely played her role of 'Classic Punjabi Mother' during my younger years but as any Punjabi will tell you, the moment you enter into the institution of marriage, the Punjabi mother becomes completely hands-off. My book actually has nothing to do with my own mother but the Punju characteristics definitely carry through, and for anyone familiar with the quirks of this particular community, the anecdotes will resonate.

6. What makes you write chick-lit books without getting skeptical of how will your readers react?

I don't write chick-lit books in particular, or limit my writing to potential reader reactions. Were that the case then all I should be writing are airport bookstore self-help books! I write for the opportunity to share with readers that which currently informs my mood. Sometimes that's humor, sometimes fantasy fiction, sometimes an exploration into battles of good versus evil and other times health, finance, and the eternal question for creating abundance.

7. Have you been obsessive about any pop-star or actor the way your protagonist is mad about Ali Zafar? Till what extent did you go to express your love for your heartthrob star?

Yes! George Michael – the lead singer of Wham! Okay that completely gives away my age :) I was one of many teenage girls in the eighties who was completely obsessed with George Michael to the extent that f ever someone said he was gay, I took it as a personal affront! Determined to meet him in person, I went through lengths to stalk him one summer holiday in England. It took practically all summer for me to track him down and remember this was long before the age of internet or social media, so I really take great pride in my grass roots research skills! I made my way to his father's restaurant and then followed his cat to his house where I had a long chat with his mother who finally pointed me to his management office where I eventually met him. I was 16 or 17 then, obsessive to say the least...or perhaps I should say 'determined,' but this was the one event in my life that propelled me to teenage stardom in pathetic as that sounds! The anecdote has been cut from my life and pasted in Operation Mom, almost verbatim!

8. Suppose “Operation Mom” gets selected by a leading director of Bollywood for adapting it into a movie, whom do you see as the star casts? 

Ooh this is a fun one. Let's see....
Mom – Either Madhuri Dixit or Kajol or Vidya Balan
Ila – Alya Bhatt
Aunty Maleeka – Bipasha Basu
Deepali – Athia Shetty
Pops – Farhan Akhtar or Shahid Kapoor
Dev – Sooraj Pancholi
Minor characters
George Michael as himself
Ali Zafar as himself
Fizz – Boman Irani
Savvy Merchant – Sabira Merchant
Nani – Kirron Kher

            Of course this is practically an all-star cast!

9. If you win a major award for your book someday, what speech would you give? 

Oh my gosh – I can't write out an award acceptance speech here or I might put nazar on my ability to ever win it!  Let's just say that if I do win major award, you will be the first to know and I will make sure to send you photos, speech and all....!

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