Archive for July, 2018

Yoddha 

July 31, 2018

Book : Yoddha : The Dynasty of Samudragupta

Author: Rajat Pillai

Rating: 4 / 5

Synopsis

AD 379. The Gupta dynasty is stepping into its golden age
But the past holds many dark secrets… After long and bloody wars, Samrat Samudragupta sits on the pinnacle of an empire. yet, close to his throne are hearts filled with revenge, scheming to bring him down.

Into this gathering storm arrives Chandragupta, the king’s long-lost son. As he settles into his new life devastating family secrets surface, old wounds are reopened and Chandra can no longer trust anyone – least of all those closest to him. Bizarre and sinister incidents abound as palace conspiracies unravel plunging Rajgriha into a pit of chaos.

Will the son pay for the sins of his father?

Yoddha: The Dynasty of Samudragupta unfolds the murky loves and lies of one of the most illustrious clans in history.

Review

It is AD 379, Samudragupta is the king of Magadha. His army has just won a war against the Sakas and Kushanas. The king feels tired and dejected even though victory has been his. Harishena and Tilabhatt are his trusted advisors. An amber eyed stranger follows the king he has plans to assassinate Samudragupta.  Inspite of the advice from his counselors,the king leaves for Prayag dressed as a commoner. In the village of Varunapura we meet Priyamvadha and her son Chandragupta.Chandra knows Samudragupta as his uncle , not as the king or as his father. The story takes us through the events that happened between the war and the Golden Age of the India under the Gupta Empire.

Why is Chandragupta living in a village?

Who wants to kill the King?

Will the Assassin be successful?

Read to find out.

I have always been a bad history student so I confused with the Chandragupta in the story with Chanakya’s Chandragupta. Finally Wikipedia told me that they belong to two different dynasties. This story is about the Gupta Dynasty, I do remember studying about the Golden age during the Gupta rule and of Samudragupta but don’t remember reading about his son , Chandragupta.
I found the starting a bit slow, mostly because I wasn’t familiar with the names and was confused as mentioned above, but later the book became fast paced and interesting. I love thrillers so I enjoyed the thriller set in a historical environment. As i didn’t know the original story , I loved the edge of the seat suspense. The story talks about politics and the things people do for power.My favorite character was Madhavasena, Chandragupta’s childhood friend.

Recommended for readers of historical fiction

 

Malayali Readathon 

July 24, 2018

I’m from Kerala, one of the states of South India, and the language spoken there  is Malayalam. I studied in a English medium school where speaking in Malayalam was not encouraged and you could take a malayalam book out of the library only after you have read 10 English books (I did take one though). I’m more comfortable reading and writing in English rather than Malayalam so I have read very few malayalam books.

My dad was an avid reader so we had few of the classics  at home and mom used to give recommendations,then we had novels of Basheer to study in school, that sums my experience with Malayalam novels. Only recently, I discovered that malayalam books are available in Kindle and I decided to try them out. Rereading Pathumma’s goat this year was a great experience. I love Basheer’s writing. Last week I read The poison of love by K R meera and I want to read more of her.

So to rediscover malayalam books I’m planning a readathon of Malayalam /translated Malayalam books next month( Aug 2018). I googled and searched in goodreads and finally made this list. Please join if you find it interesting. I’m planning to do short reviews on Instagram and if time permits long reviews here

My TBR

Recommendations

 

Comment below if you would like to join

 

Girls’ Night out 

July 23, 2018

Book : Girls’ Night Out

Author: Liz Fenton, Lisa Steinke

Rating: 4 / 5

Synopsis

For estranged friends Ashley, Natalie, and Lauren, it’s time to heal the old wounds between them. Where better to repair those severed ties than on a girls’ getaway to the beautiful paradise of Tulum, Mexico? But even after they’re reunited, no one is being completely honest about the past or the secrets they’re hiding. When Ashley disappears on their girls’ night out, Natalie and Lauren have to try to piece together their hazy memories to figure out what could have happened to her, while also reconciling their feelings of guilt over their last moments together.

Was Ashley with the man she’d met only days before? Did she pack up and leave? Was she kidnapped? Or worse—could Natalie or Lauren have snapped under the weight of her own lies?

As the clock ticks, hour by hour, Natalie and Lauren’s search rushes headlong into growing suspicion and dread. Maybe their secrets run deeper and more dangerous than one of them is willing—or too afraid—to admit.

Review

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher(Lake Union Publishing) for the ARC

Three friends Natalie, Ashley and Lauren are on a trip to Tulum, Mexico in an attempt to reconnect their friendship. The book starts off with their last day on the trip, when Natalie wakes up alone on the beach with no memories of last night. She and Lauren are not able to find Ashley. The story interweaves between past 3 days at the hotel and the present search for Ashley. There are some things left unsaid between the friends which don’t allow them to reconnect properly. The last thing Natalie remembers is leaving with Ashley and Marco, a guy Ash flirts with.

What happened to Ashley?

What are the issues between Lauren,Ashley and  Natalie?

Who is Marco?

I loved the air of intrigue in the book, the search for Ashley kept me at the edge of my seat. The characters and their flaws were realistic. In a group of three friends, one always feels left out, if you have ever been in a such a group you can relate easily to the characters. I don’t know if I have a favorite character. Ashley was little bossy, even though it was hard to like her i still wanted to know what happened to her. Lauren was still recovering from Geoff ‘s death,but she still was not able to forgive Ashley. Natalie  was finding hard to find a work life balance, I could feel her frustration through the book. The ending was a tad disappointing as I was expecting a twist.

 

Dahan 

July 16, 2018

Book : Dahan

Author: Suchitra Bhattacharya

Rating: 5 / 5

Synopsis

One evening, when the city-jungle is teeming with life, Romita, a young housewife is molested by four young men near a crowded Metro Station. No one intervenes except Jhinuk Sarkar, a schoolteacher, Suchitra Bhattacharya’s award winning novel, now made into a thought provoking film by Rituparno Ghosh, Dahan is the story of two women’s search for justice in a man’s world. Romita’s humiliating street encounter compels her to question the fragile nature of her relationship with her husband, Palash, Jhinuk’s bravery sparks off family tensions and power games with Tunir, her fiance. Dahan, which means to brun, is the eternal anguish of every women who dares to step otuside the narrow path specified for her by society. It is a novel about ourselves — of our times.

Review

Romita and Palash,  the couple are returning home after an outing, they decide to take the metro home.  In another part of town Jhinuk Sarkar, a school teacher is at a get together with friends. For the journey back home, she decides in favor of the metro instead of the bus. In the crowded metro when  Romita gets molested by few ruffians and Palash is held captive by another, Jhinuk comes to the rescue, when none of the  other people lift a finger to help. Jhinuk  takes them to the police station to lodge a complaint. What happens next forms the crux of the story.

It was easy to connect to both women. You could feel their pain. Romita who doesn’t understand how everything is her fault and Jhinuk who doesn’t understand why even her loved ones are against her fighting for a cause. They fight for  justice in a world ruled by men and money.  I loved Jhinuk grandmother and her views on the society. The male characters were frustrating, i hated both Palash and Tunir, for not standing up for the women they are “supposed” to love and cherish.

This book was published almost 12 years ago, but still the content is relevant to the current society. People shirk from protesting against lawlessness fearing the repercussions. When a woman is molested it is always her fault first, and if she goes to police to register a report, it becomes an unforgivable crime. The families who pretend to have a modern outlook still don’t feel that a woman has a right to fight for her dignity. If a woman does protest against the  patriarchal society, she is considered aggressive, manly. She is humiliated and called a slut just to discredit her testimony.
The Kindle  edition has some spelling and grammar mistakes, but the subject matter makes you forget that

Favourite Quotes

“What does that prove, my dear child ? It’s normal to watch lawlessness quietly? It’s normal to be spineless? Or, that it is normal to commit a crime ?”

“You mean woman’s physical purity has no real value? There is value if we males want it.There’s no value when we dont”

“You will easily understand how men have granted you ‘freedom’ step by step over the years”

About the author

Her writing focuses on contemporary social issues. She is a perceptive observer of the changing urban milieu and her writing closely examines the contemporary Bengali middle class. Crisis in human relationships and the changing values of the present era along with degeneration of the moral fibre of the society in the backdrop of globalisation and consumerism are depicted in her prose. Exploitations and sufferings of women regardless of their social or economic identities find a distinct voice in her writing. While she is famous for her writing on women’s issues, she does not consider herself as a feminist. She took up many odd jobs in her early youth and finally joined the public service which she left in 2004 to become a fulltime writer. Her long career is reflected in many of her stories and novels.

Over the past two decades, Suchitra has written about 24 novels and a large number of short stories in different leading Bangla literary magazines. Some of her acclaimed novels are Kachher Manush (Close to Me), Dahan (The Burning), Kacher Dewal(The Wall Of Glass), Hemonter Pakhi(Bird of Autumn), Neel GhurniAleek Shukh(Heavenly happiness), Gabhir Ashukh (A Grave Illness), Uro Megh(Flying Cloud), Chhera TaarAlochhaya(Shadows Of Light), Anyo Basanto(Another Spring), ParabasPalabar Path NeiAami RaikishoriRangin Pritibi and Jalchhobi among others. Her novels and short stories have been translated into many Indian languages such as Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Oriya, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi and English. She also writes novels and short stories for children. Her novel Dahan was made into a movie by famous Bengali director, Rituparno Ghosh.

 

So Glad to Meet You

July 14, 2018

Book : So Glad to Meet You

Author: Lisa Super

Rating: 3 / 5

Synopsis

Seventeen-year-old Daphne Bowman, a bookish drama nerd in public school, might never have crossed paths with Oliver, the popular, outgoing mascot for his private school’s football team, but one event has bound them inextricably. Daphne’s older sister, Emily, and Oliver’s older brother, Jason, who were high school sweethearts, committed suicide together seven years earlier.

When Daphne uncovers Emily and Jason’s bucket list—a list comprised of their “Top Ten” places to visit before they die—she knows she has to tell someone. The one person who might actually get what she’s going through and who might not think it’s silly that she wants to complete the list, is also someone she’s never spoken to—Oliver Pagano. Throwing caution to the wind, Daphne sends Oliver a Facebook message that will come to change the course of both of their senior years—and maybe their entire lives.

Tackling grief with a wry voice and an unflinching eye, So Glad to Meet You tells the story of two people who, in searching for what they’ve lost, end up finding what they never knew they needed—each other.

Review

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher(Diversion Books) for the review copy

Daphne turns 18 this year, her sister Emily and boyfriend Jason took their own life when they were 17,seven years ago. She comes across Emily and Jason’s bucket list and decides to fulfill them with the help of Oliver, Jason’s brother. Two families affected by the same tragedy, one keeps living in the memories , one wipes the memories out of existence. Both sets of parents don’t understand Daphne or Oliver. They feel lost in the shadows of Emily and Jason.

Will the bucket list give them closure?

Why did Emily and Jason suicide?

Read to find out

I enjoyed reading this. This was a different concept but, I felt the story concentrated more on the romance rather than grief. It was easy to connect to both the main characters. It does talk about the impact suicide causes on the loved ones of the victim. The story is narrated in third person , but the POV changes between Oliver and Daphne, it was good to hear both sides of the story. I loved Daphne’s friend Janine, who was a lesbian

Favourite Quotes

“Isn’t that what love is though? Except it’s the opposite. Instead of darkness,  you don’t look past the light in the other person. You don’t focus on the bad, the weakness, the imperfections. You see what you want to see” 

Obsessed 

July 11, 2018

Book : Obsessed

Author: Ruchi Kokcha

Rating: 2.5 / 5

Synopsis

Investigative journalist Avik has finally found the one case that could bring him glory. Or death. As the mystery behind millionaire Kalki Rajput’s murder grows thicker, Avik is forced to risk it all to bring out the truth that has eluded many before him. If only he could uncover what the victim’s daughter had witnessed. Of course, that would mean diving into the depths of her madness. He had thought he could resurface with the truth. Now he will count himself lucky if he makes it out alive. And sane.

Review

The book starts off with Avik being approached by his editor to write a story on the death of  Kalki Rajput, the millionaire . No one knows how Kalki Rajput died except her daughter Ananki, who had been institutionalized. Assuming that this story would give the big break in his career, Avik takes it up. However this involved breaking up with his girlfriend and going back to Delhi from Mumbai.In Delhi , Avik meets his childhood friend, Khyati who is a psychology student. Khyati agrees to help him uncover the mystery that is Ananki, but as they  delve deeper Avik becomes obsessed.
How did Kalki Rajput die?

Is Ananki insane?

Will Avik be able to reveal the mystery?

Read to find out.

The first thing that attracted me to this book was its cover and title. I love that the author uses unique names instead of the usual run of the mill ones. I wasn’t much interested in the book even after first three chapters. Ananki is the only thing that made me read, I wanted to know her story. I didn’t like Avik at all, I felt he was creepy. The story talks about relevant issues like mental illness and depression. Parents don’t understand that children don’t need expensive toys, they want their attention and love. Nothing can replace the time parents spend with their children. The story had few twists but most of them were predictable. I had great expectations but this book didn’t meet them.

About the author

Ruchi Kokcha is a poet and passionate reader with a Masters in English literature from Delhi University. She has taught creative writing in Hong Kong. Obsessed is her debut novel.

Crime Beyond 22 Yards

July 8, 2018

Book : Crime Beyond 22 yards

Author: Sourabh Mukherjee

Rating: 3.5 /5

Synopsis

During the summer of 2000, Delhi Police brought allegations of match-fixing against the South African skipper Hansie Cronje. Though he denied the allegations to start with, Cronje later went on to reveal shocking truths. The confessions of a bookie in India then went on to shake the foundations of valour and gallantry that the game of cricket stands for. Before long, the scandal spread its tentacles all over the world. Crime Beyond 22 Yardsis a fast-paced reality thriller that throws light on the biggest international scandal in the game of cricket, how heroes turned overnight into villains, and how there was tragic redemption at the end of this sordid saga

Review

Thanks to Writers Melon and the publisher( Srishthi Publishers) for the review copy

I was a huge cricket fan in my childhood. My Grandpa and my brother were huge fans so that is how I fell in love with the game. There have been so many days when I have prayed for a win. There were matches which elate you and matches which destroy you. I knew the names of all the players of the Indian Cricket team and some of the other teams too by heart.But then came the bookie Scandal in 2000, when we came to know that there was match fixing involved. People whom we had worshipped, put on a pedestal had betrayed us. In India, where cricket is considered a religion, this was a huge blow to the fans.
It is a short fast paced read. The facts have been well researched and follows the bookie Scandal chronologically. It starts with the arrest of the South African captain, Hans Cronje in 2000 for match fixing. Though he initially denied the accusations later he confessed that he was introduced to Mukesh Gupta,the bookie by Mohammed Azharuddin , the Indian Captain. The fingers point to Azharuddin, Kapil Dev,Ajay Jadeja and Nayan Mongia. Thus started the witch hunt against the accused Indian Cricketers.  I felt that the book ended abruptly and i wanted more details. The book lacks depth ,it skims through the main points. I found it interesting but i expected more

Recommended for cricket fans

About the author

Sourabh Mukherjee is the bestselling author of two psychological thriller novels ‘The Colours of Passion: Unravelling Dark Secrets behind the Limelight’ (Readomania, Aug 2017) and ‘In the Shadows of Death: A Detective Agni Mitra Thriller’ (Srishti, Dec 2015), as well as ‘Romance Shorts’ (2016), a collection of dark-romance short stories.

He was a recipient of the Golden Pen Award in the Monsoon Romance Contest 2014 for his story ‘The Girl of My Monsoons’ organized by Sulekha.com and judged by an eminent panel of literary luminaries.

An Electronics and Telecommunications Engineer from Jadavpur University, Kolkata, in his day-job, Sourabh works in a senior leadership position in a technology consulting multi-national. Author of several publications on emerging trends in business and technology, Sourabh speaks regularly in various national and global conferences and technology summits. He sits in the Industry Advisory Boards of a number of reputed Engineering and Technology institutions.

A keen observer of human behaviour and cultural diversities, Sourabh loves travelling and has travelled across USA and various countries in Europe and Asia. An avid reader of fiction, Sourabh is equally passionate about photography, movies and music.