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Review: Till the End of Forever

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Till the End of Forever by Vivaksh Singh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The scars of childhood chase you till death. Child is the father of man. Sigmund Freud said that in his psychoanalysis that the repressed memories and childhood trauma shape our life. Can two broken people become whole when they meet?


Ayaan is an atheist who likes to chase his dreams. His mother was killed by his father for being involved in tantric rituals. That damaged his psyche and turned him against God. Avani is an orphan who come in his contact through common friend. The boy meets girl and they fall in love. But Ayaan’s friend Livleen’s sister Luv is brutally murdered. His drunkard father Joban accuses Ayaan of her murder. He has to leave from there and later on another girl accuses him of molestation.

The story tries to cover many bases. One is atheism to which many chapters are devoted. Some arguments are forceful. The love story of Ayaan and Avani is rocky. The story moves from India to Venice and to…

Review: Not Worth Living

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Not Worth Living by Shreyan Laha
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Science fiction and mystery are a good combination sometimes. There is a mystery of rape and assault on a girl. And on the other hand, there is a story of a distant planet Isthenope.

Ishita Singh goes to a prestigious Saint Pierce’s college for studies. There she make many friends but a creep from her past stalks her. One day she is kidnapped and raped brutally. Narayan is the police officer in charge of the investigation. On Isthenope a girl Shweta wakes up with throbbing pain in forehead. There she meets Alexander a past secret service agent.

The story has two parallel tracks where one is on earth and other one is fantasy. The tracks do not intersect (or maybe towards the end). Mumbai story is like a thriller whereas the Isthenope story is more like a romance. Rape is a blot on humanity and the horrors of that is brought out.

There are many inconsistencies in the story. Editing could have been better. 3/ 5 stars.




V…

Review: The Blue Moon Day: Five Men's Magical Discovery enroute Life

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The Blue Moon Day: Five Men's Magical Discovery enroute Life by Santhosh Sivaraj
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Everyone wants to be happy. But what is true happiness only a few knows. Even if they know they chase other things. We want happiness but we do things which are not related to it. There are many self help books and it is one of them. This is in fictional format though.

The message is given through five stories. Sankaran goes to an old age home but his true calling is stories. Vivi is trapped in a job and then he is physically trapped. Abi (Abhinav) is ashamed because of his fat and he kept on studying. His real calling was food. Deepak and Priya marry and then grow apart. Prabha has a terminal disease. A mysterious Stanger comes in their lives and teach them how to find true happiness.

The book has some beautiful messages like:
1. Once the body starts to feel the emotions, it starts to dictate life decisions.
2. Ordinary people in extraordinary situations reveal their …

Review: Tikri’s Fiasco

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Tikri’s Fiasco by Rishav
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Blurb

A story to honour the oblivious individuals who live a life of shadow. Tikris' Fiasco is a story about an imaginary world that comprises of Kasht Desert and a small island, the Seculars. Tikran, a prominent country on the lands of Kasht that comprised of Tikri tribe, has spread terrorism throughout and plans to destroy large parts of the Kasht with help of a small neighboring country, Alistan. Other two prominent countries in the Kasht Desert, the Briewsel and the Sindhustan align together to destroy Tikran's plan. The story is about the combined workings of different spying agencies of the Kasht and would take you on a roller coaster of events that eventually defeat the Tikris' plan.

Review

The book tells story of imaginary countries but by name and there deeds we can find out which is which. I found that unnecessary because it took out the please out of reading. Instead the author should have given a disclai…

Review: Checkmate

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Checkmate by Varun T.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

According to Oxford dictionary Checkmate is “A position in which a player's king is directly attacked by an opponent's piece or pawn and has no possible move to escape the check. The attacking player thus wins the game.”

This is the second book of author which I read. First was the “The last chai”. This is markedly better than the last one. The characters are repeated from the last book and some are new additions. Though it is not necessary to read the book in order but it is recommended.

The story moves far and wide n the globe. India, china, USA, Israel, middle east, Japan, North Korea etc all are involved in in capacity or other. USA and North Korea are on a brink of a nuclear war. Dalai Lama, supreme leader of Tibet has endorsed China and this is a huge setback to India. How will the Indian PM, Doshi tackle this?

The book has some interesting theories and details of espionage and media. The expanse is as big as possib…

Review: The Coin

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The Coin by Sandeep Sharma
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Blurb of the book:

“Who likes Sudden death?” That's the only question he used to ask before killing his prey.
Random people are being abducted from the capital city, Delhi and are being killed mercilessly. Before killing, the murderer is reciting them a story, a story about a 9-year-old child who saw the brutal side of the world at a very young age. All the stories are being recorded for the Police department to see. Raunak Upadhyay, the Police inspector who is handling the case, links the style of serial killing to the case he solved years ago. But the murderer of that case is in jail then who is following the footsteps? Does the murderer want to convey something?
Whose story is being recited? Why is the murderer taking personal interest in Raunak?
Is there any other side of this coin or both the faces are just the same?
Welcome to the Brutal world!

Review:

“Silence of the lambs” inspired many books and movies. Serial k…

Interview of Radhika Nathan author of “A time to Burnish”

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A brief bio of Radhika taken from Goodreads:


Radhika Nathan is a juggler, a meanderer and a rolling stone. She believes in the miracle of words and the rain. Her favourite pastimes include reading, listening to podcasts and gazing at monsoon clouds. Her taste in books is eclectic ranging from anthropology to old fashioned murder mysteries, and if pushed she would name Jane Austen as her favourite author for her believable, eternal characters. Travel is something she enjoys and has been to more than a dozen countries- for the love of meeting new people and discovering new cultures. 
Radhika writes for her fascination of human beings, intrigued by their archetypal & atypical behaviour and the differences & similarities in all of us. Writing is a means that forces her to think and re-examine a point of view or a preconceived notion. ‘I grow as a person as I write’, she says and quotes ‘A well written sentence [a rare occurrence] is like soul chocolate.Radhika, believes in a spiritu…

Review: Chanakya Neeti: With Complete Sutras

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Chanakya Neeti: With Complete Sutras by Chanakya
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


“Peoples happiness should be King’s happiness. Welfare of people is King’s welfare. For a king, there is no task which is only individualistic and pleasurable to him only. It is king’s utmost duty to look after progress and welfare of people of his country.”

Kautilya (also known as Chanakya aka Vishnugupt, c. 350-275 BCE) was an Indian statesman and philosopher, chief advisor and Prime Minister of the Indian Emperor Chandragupta, the first ruler of the Mauryan Empire. Kautilya belonged to the Brahmin caste (the priestly class), he was originally from Northern India and a professor of political science and economics at the University of Taxila. He was fully knowledgeable concerning the Vedas literature and it is also believed that he might have had some knowledge of Zoroastrianism. He mentored Chandra Gupta Maura (a Shudra Low caste person) to become king. With Chandra Gupta he repelled the invasion of Greeks …

Review: Carthick's Unfairy Tales

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Carthick's Unfairy Tales by T F Carthick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“You think fairy tales are only for girls? Here's a hint - ask yourself who wrote them. I assure you, it wasn't just the women. It's the great male fantasy - all it takes is one dance to know that she's the one. All it takes is the sound of her song from the tower, or a look at her sleeping face. And right away you know - this is the girl in your head, sleeping or dancing or singing in front of you. Yes, girls want their princes, but boys want their princesses just as much. And they don't want a very long courtships. They want to know immediately.”
― David Levithan, Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

As the quote suggest fairy tales are not so innocent after all. These have implied sinister meanings below the pretty façade. Carthick tried to bring to surface these implied meanings in his book.

This book is an attempt to see the classic tales from the hidden perspective. Then they are n…

Review: A Time To Burnish

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A Time To Burnish by Radhika Nathan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“India is not, as people keep calling it, an underdeveloped country, but rather, in the context of its history and cultural heritage, a highly developed one in an advanced state of decay.”
― Shashi Tharoor

India is a poor country having a rich cultural heritage. We are the oldest civilization. The diversity in cultures and rulers across the ages and width and breadth of the country the legacy is huge. We have temples, caves, palaces, idols and much much more in terms of historical legacy. This book is story of one such idol. Nataraja the dancing Shiva’s idol of Chola empire times is at the centre of the book.

There are three main characters in the book. Josh and Tom are brothers and Vidya is a friend of Tom’s. Tom is affable and makes fired easily. He is studious and devotes time to ancient artefacts. In an unfortunate accident he became wheelchair bound. Vidya is his online friend. They know each other very well an…

Review: Tied to Deceit

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Tied to Deceit by Neena H. Brar
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“God has given you one face and you give yourself another.” Hamlet by Shakespeare.

Tied to deceit is a whodunit primarily. The strength of a good murder mystery that you should not know about the identity of the killer till the last scene. The conflict in story comes from the weaknesses of human character. Here this book works big time. Unsuccessful marriages, greed, philandering and blackmail: you name it and it has it all.

Dr Rajinder Bhardwaj and his wife Gayatri are a highly respected upper class couple in a small town Sanover. Dr Bhardwaj runs a hospital and has ancestral wealth too. His brother had exogamous marrige for love and was disowned by their father. His nephew Rudra has no such moral dilemma and he is ambitious. He works for him and dreams of inheriting his vast wealth one day and Dr Rajinder is issueless. Dr Rajinder’s is an unhappy marriage in reality but Gayatri gives it an appearance of happy one. S…

Review: And So Can You!

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And So Can You! by Dr Roopleen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dr Roopleen is an eye surgeon among other things. She is an accomplished writer. So why she wrote this book? Because she wanted to read it and it was unwritten. Many books on achievers have been written but none on doctors. So, to fill the vacuum she wrote this book about 17 doctors.

These are chosen from many special fields and across the country. Everyone has different story and background but one thing common: love for medical profession and desire to serve others.

Dr Sundaram Natarajan (never say die) was born to a doctor and raised in a village. He was a cry baby in childhood. He joined Madras Medical college. He believes in four Ps for success- passion, perfection, precision and perseverance.

Dr Anita Panda (resilience) was born in a remote village of Orissa. She read scriptures and mythology in childhood. She joined PG at AIIMS. Her being the woman was never a handicap for her though she has to overcome the dogma…

Review: Ramayana: The Game of Life – Book 4: Stand Strong

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Ramayana: The Game of Life – Book 4: Stand Strong by Shubha Vilas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“...the secret of the Great Stories is that they have no secrets. The Great Stories are the ones you have heard and want to hear again. The ones you can enter anywhere and inhabit comfortably. They don’t deceive you with thrills and trick endings. They don’t surprise you with the unforeseen. They are as familiar as the house you live in. Or the smell of your lover’s skin. You know how they end, yet you listen as though you don’t. In the way that although you know that one day you will die, you live as though you won’t. In the Great Stories you know who lives, who dies, who finds love, who doesn’t. And yet you want to know again.

That is their mystery and their magic.”
― Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

The Ramayana is the greatest epic ever told (at least one of those). This is my second book of this series. The first book I read was “The Stolen Hope”. I liked that immensely revie…

Review: Then The Doorbell Rang

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Then The Doorbell Rang by Capri Jalota
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Death and disease are inseparable part of life. One cannot escape from these. Death, divorce, disease, bomb blasts are the theme of this book. Not a very happy and fun book to read.

I thought it to be a mystery thriller kind of book going by the title. It seemed the doorbell rang and some psycho killer enters to slash. Nothing of that kind here. So stay away if you want that.

Jane is an only child of an Indian doctor father and European mother. He goes abroad for study and falls in love with her mom. They marry young and then move to Dubai. As happens they fell out of love and her mother leave his father. Jane stays back with him. She marries Uday after only one week romance and then he dies in an accident. How she copes and what all happens is crux of it.

The book was a mixed bag for me. It was sad. Told from first person’s POV. Then there is Uday’s diary. He had a girlfriend Radha whom he cannot marry due to fam…

Review: My Watch

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My Watch by Mark Twain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is funny for the period when it was written. Now a days it’s the time of use and throw. So there are no repair shops of anything. People don’t bother for that.

The watch is like our life maybe. The more we try to fix it the worse it becomes.

It is a funny story. Nice read.


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Review: 65 Colours of Rainbow

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65 Colours of Rainbow by Smit Kapila
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Smit Kapila is an Electronics engineer who works in an MNC.
A declaration first: I am also an engineer so I have a soft corner for engineers. However I don’t work in an MNC but most of my friends do.

Life in the fast corporate world can be tense and boring most of the time. So it helps to have a sense of humour. The purpose of the book is to find fun in normal workplace situations. This is not a full blown novel or even short stories. These are stories culled from daily office goof ups, banter, pranks and foolish episodes.

There are sixty five tales. These are like LAPREK (LAGHU PREM KATHA) of Ravish Kumar. The only difference is that these are not romantic but fun stories. So these can be called LAHAK (Laghu Hasya Katha).

The situations are everyday office happenings with which any corporate employee can identify. Like writing abuses (good words ahem) in mail and using reply all. So all girls vanish from group.

Review: Disgrace

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Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this book on recommendation of Jenny Arora. It was a difficult book which she forewarned.

The story started with a college professor who has sexual relations with her student (way younger than her). If it was consensual or forced it is never revealed. He is not apologetic and says he is guilty without proclaiming what it is. He is expelled from college and goes to stays with his daughter. She maybe a Lesbian (almost certain). One fine day she is raped while he is locked in the bathroom. After that she becomes depressed and doesn’t talk to him.

The book is in a different country where there are different standards of morality. So I am in no position to judge. Than another difficulty is the Coetzee is a Nobel Laureate (a brief net search told me that he won it in 2003). So I can’t just dismiss it just any frustrated book.

The book makes you sick and depressed. The professor is a depraved sex addict who can go to any leng…

Review: Disgrace

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Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this book on recommendation of Jenny Arora. It was a difficult book which she forewarned.

The story started with a college professor who has sexual relations with her student (way younger than her). If it was consensual or forced it is never revealed. He is not apologetic and says he is guilty without proclaiming what it is. He is expelled from college and goes to stays with his daughter. She maybe a Lesbian (almost certain). One fine day she is raped while he is locked in the bathroom. After that she becomes depressed and doesn’t talk to him.

The book is in a different country where there are different standards of morality. So I am in no position to judge. Than another difficulty is the Coetzee is a Nobel Laureate (a brief net search told me that he won it in 2003). So I can’t just dismiss it just any frustrated book.

The book makes you sick and depressed. The professor is a depraved sex addict who can go to any leng…

Review: The Emerald Circle

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The Emerald Circle by L. Rosenman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Imagine the horror if your child is kidnapped and taken to an undisclosed location. It is kind of a fortress where they are trained to be abused.

Lynn and Joe daughter is kidnapped and taken to a fortress. She is totally broken and vows to get her back. She goes undercover and enter the fort as a prostitute (yes they do that). She has to take hormones and keep track of her Menstrual cycle. There a person named Jaspeth helps her. Her husband Joe is trying from outside to get them freed. Will they be successful?

The premise of book is interesting but it is improbable. It seems like very old but who knows. There might be some secret organisations like that who in name of research does all kind of shady things. This is a onetime read but the editing could have been tighter.

3/5 stars.


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Review: Serial Termination: A Chilling Dark Serial Killer Crime Thriller

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Serial Termination: A Chilling Dark Serial Killer Crime Thriller by Arnon Edelstein
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Serial killer novels have some unique problems. First and foremost is there is no clear connection between the psychopath and his/ her victims. S/he can strike anywhere on anyone.

a body of young woman is found. Detective Dorit and Moti are assigned to the case. First this looks like an isolated case but soon other bodies start piling up. One thing common amongst them is that they recently has abortions. Dorit and Moti falls in love and when Dorit is also abducted, Moti is devastated. Can he stop the killer before it is too late?

Arnon Edelstein is a criminologist whose interests focus on the connection between immigration and crime, and how that relationship crosses generations. The book is a fast pacy thriller. The love angle is not soppy and the professionalism is maintained. The book tells that a psychopath lacks emotion and he is not necessarily violent. They ca…

Review: Leave Me Alone

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Leave Me Alone by Orit Yogev
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Being obese can be living hell for many. If you don’t feel comfortable in your own skin because the world tell you that it is not acceptable, life can be miserable. Apart from physical problems it has mental and emotional aspects too.

Orit Yogev is a Clinical psychologist who has treated hundreds of adults, teenagers, and children who suffer from morbid obesity. I get a peek into the mind and heart of the fat. This may not be a physical thing only. Fat people are fat because there is an emotional void inside them which they try to fill by eating incessantly. The abuse can be sexual or any other which manifest in the form of obesity. Orit stresses on addressing the underlying symptoms and the fat goes away automatically.

A very helpful book for all the people who is fighting this demon of obesity. 4/ 5 stars.


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Review: Kedesha: A Timeless Tale of a Love Priestess

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Kedesha: A Timeless Tale of a Love Priestess by Ohad Pele Ezrahi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kedesha is erotic and sometimes links erotica to spirituality. The ancient temples have sex slaves who are elevated to the level of goddesses. She blessed her for becoming a temple,for having become a kedesha, a scared prostitute. Their bodies became a temple. This is somewhat similar to Indian Devdasi system.

The story alternates between ancient times and modern one. Story starts with Yehoash having sex with his wife Eglah. She a priest’s daughter and married him just to get an heir. She despise having sex with him and he is sexually frustrated. In modern times we have an American returned lady Tara who needs to face her demons. She meets Yoni a Shamanic sexual healer. He is married (in Shamanic way) to Hagar and has a very open marriage. She gives her Yoni (vagina) massage and then she becomes liberated.

The book alternate chapters are ancient and modern times. It has historical inform…

Review: Transit Lounge

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Transit Lounge by Sunil Mishra
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The world is a wonderful place. There are countless cultures, customs, dialects and ways of life. There is no one right or wrong way. This book gives as a glimpse of the diversity around the globe.

This is a travelogue and written as a non fiction mode. Sunil Mishra is fortunate to be a software engineer, which allowed him to circumvent the globe for his work. Africa is amazing and so is Middle East. Iran I liked in in particular as they are so anti American and they have an equivalent of almost all American products.

US of A has got the detailed mention. I liked the analysis of American way of life and Sunil’s theory about rise of Trump. The X=X+1 hypothesis is wonderful and funny for Indian immigrants as he keeps thinking to return to India next year.


The horrible service at UK hotels is appalling. Eastern Europe is so dull and it seems time has frozen there.


The book is written in simple English a la Chetan Bhagat sty…

Review: Prithviraj Chauhan: The Emperor of Hearts

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Prithviraj Chauhan: The Emperor of Hearts by Anuja Chandramouli
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Prithviraj was the last Hindu ruler of India before Muhammad Ghori established the Muslim rule in India. There are many myths associated with him. Chanderbardai, the court poet wrote “Prithviraj Raso” which project him as a legend. This book is not a copy of Bardai’s work.


The book does not start with Prithvi as a king. That comes much later maybe after half the book is done. This shows his father and uncle and how he grew up from a kid. There is palace intrigue, wars, assassinations and his training. His uncle Kanha is not ambitious and is happy to serve his brother. There are rumors that Prithvi is his son as he is very handsome unlike his ugly father. He saves a girl named Yogita from bandit like thugs and brings her to his palace. They fall in love only to grow apart. Then there is attacks from Shabuddin Ghori and famous battles.


The book is pretty thick and cannot be finished in one …

International Women's Day

In India women is either a goddess or a doormat. We worship her as Goddess Durga and in the form of mother. But when it comes to real life ours is a patriarchal society. It is a paradox. We kill her in womb or treat her as a slave in our homes.
During International Women's Year in 1975, the United Nations began celebrating International Women's Day on 8 March. This is to affirm the principle of equality between women and men.
Equality is all we need. She is neither worse nor better than men. She is equal to men and we have to ensure equality of opportunity for her. But sometimes the second wave feminism takes things to extreme and that is also counterproductive for equality of sexes. There are a plethora of laws to protect women from Dowry, domestic violence and workplace sexual harassment. These all are necessary but sometimes these are misused.
Somewhere the balance is missing. The law sometimes is misused and other times it does not reach the intended beneficiaries. Both cas…

My worst nightmare

Aayush was in 8th standard. He was fond of toys like every kid. But he was from a lower middle class family so his father could not afford many fancy toys. His father felt necessary to spend on his education whatever limited means he had. Amit came to his house one day. “Aayush come I want to show you something” Amit said. Amit was friend of his and from a financially well off family. Aayush went with him and Amit showed him a brand new football. It was beautiful beyond words for him. “Can I hold it, Amit!” “Why not”. Aayush took it in his hands and he had no words to describe the feeling. He had no metaphor for it. But one fine day he will have it.

Time passed and both of them went their separate ways. Aayush completed his MBA from IIMA and got a handsome package. He met Ramya during MBA and both of them married. Ramya was into books and one day she was reading Hindi novel “Sati Maiya ka Chaura”. “How can you read such thick books? I get head ache after five minutes dear” Aayush asked Ra…