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Book Reviews by Mohur

Discussion in 'Book Lovers' started by Mohur, Mar 14, 2012.

  1. Mohur

    Mohur Gold IL'ite

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    Emotions Unplugged by Vishal Anand

    In, ‘A day before my divorce’ two people decide to spend some time together before their divorce is finalized. It has a taste of romance in it and Diksha and Virain feel quite real.
    In ‘Theft’ we meet Gauri who steals some money from her master’s locker and runs away. This story has a very important message that highlights the fact that nobody is born a thief.
    In ‘Granny's Last Gift of Love’ Samar gets a surprise. This is an emotional one that will touch your heart. ‘The First Love’ explores the age old funda of a school boy with a crush. It lacked the depth and quality of the other short stories in the book.
    ‘The Improbable Truth’ gives us a look into Madhu’s life – the past and the present. This story has a kind of ‘draw your own conclusions’ sort of feel that made it interesting.
    ‘A Country with 27 Other Countries’ is about a foreigner’s experience in our country. This is a well narrated story.
    ‘After College’ is about how a girl’s life changes once she finishes college and gets married. A woman’s perspective is captured well in this story.
    In ‘And God said yes’ the issue of caste system is captured well through a woman and her experiences.
    ‘The Veiled Girl’ tells us the story of Vinit who falls for a girl while commuting in Delhi Metro.


    There are a couple of more stories in the book aside from those mentioned above. Overall, there are fifteen stories in the book. Each story is unique and offers something different to its reader. So no matter what the readers’ preferences are, they will find at least one story that they will surely love. Though I have to admit that one or two of them felt like old stuff in new packaging. For me it was ‘A Country with 27 Other Countries’ that takes the top spot in the book.


    The best part of this book is the fact that the author being a man has captured women’s perspective really well. He has not only explored some of the issues of women in our society but also given us a look into the minds of some of them. Also, he has shared some messages through each and every story. It is upto the readers to decide how much they would like to take away from the book. The level of depth in most of the stories is admirable and the author has dealt us just enough emotions and sensitivity.


    The writing style of the author and his language is simple and the book could do with another round at the editor’s table. It is his narration style that takes the stories up a notch. Another thing that I just have to comment upon are the titles of the story. The titles are too simple and mostly giveaway what the story is about.


    Overall, this is a good attempt by a first time author. He holds some promise and I will be watching out for more from him.
     
  2. Mohur

    Mohur Gold IL'ite

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    Letters from an Indian Summer by Siddharth Dasgupta

    What can a photographer from India and an Artist of French origin have in common? Well, there’s their flighty nature, love for travelling and a bunch of letters!


    When Arjun Bedi and Genevieve Casta meet for the first time in the beautiful Kathmandu, they hit it off almost instantly. As they part ways, they keep in touch through letters. But as time passes, their letter writing declines and then comes their meeting in Pune. They both feel the attraction that has been brewing over time, yet their individual pasts keep them apart. Will these wandering souls finally find a home, and would it be with each other?


    The first thing about this book that stands out is its language. Right from page one, you know this is not going to be one of those commercially successful novels that sell masala plot and sex in name of literature. Once you realise that, it is impossible to not keep turning the pages until the very end. Siddharth Dasgupta has a very matured and grand sense of language that has the wow factor without feeling heavy. Then there are the two characters of Arjun and Genevieve who are endearing, flawed and very real. They are so different, yet so similar to each other. It could not have been easy to portray the characters with all their imperfections, yet make them so loveable. Another factor in this book is the detailed descriptions of places. The author must be well-travelled to have captured so many details about so many different places. It cannot be the result of research – the vivid descriptions help paint a clear picture of the places in the readers’ minds.


    This is a rather refreshing IWE book that I recommend to all fiction lovers.
     
  3. Mohur

    Mohur Gold IL'ite

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    Equilibrium (The Avaasya Trilogy, #1) by Paras Joshi

    Welcome to the future of our world.


    Set in faraway future, Equilibrium is the story of Arya, a teenaged orphan who is good at picking any and all locks. When a job lands him in the midst of a high security government vault, life as he knew it changes for good. As the fight between good and evil / light versus dark wages on, Arya not only gets entangled in it, he is in the smack middle of it. Now the question is whether Arya will succeed or is the apocalypse imminent?


    Paras Joshi has created a wonderful new world in his debut novel Equilibrium. The book is quite appealing right from the very first chapter. A lot of imagination and thought has gone into the world building. The concept of Saatvikalok, Tamisra and Maayukhare are intriguing. The plot is quite unique that kind of mixes fantasy with action and thrills. It has a good premise and a lot of promise. Little bit of details here and there, provided by the author, makes it more interesting and keeps your glued to the pages. The protagonist Arya is intriguing and highly loveable. I enjoyed cheering for him through the pages as his character grew into something more than I ever expected.


    The book ended with a lot of unanswered questions. I guess that this being the first part of a trilogy, it is only natural that the author would leave us with questions to ensure that we pick up the next book. For me, it is going to be a looooooong wait to see if my guesses are right or not. I will surely be picking up the second book in the series… In the meanwhile, why don’t you guys pick this one up?
     
  4. Mohur

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    Someone Like Her (K2 Team #2) by Sandra Owens

    Someone Like Her introduces Maria and Jake to us. Maria has a history, but she has never let that rule her life. She is smart and independent and pretty decent girl. When she goes in search of her father, Maria lands in some trouble. Who does she turn to in the hour of need? Of course to Jake. Jake, is an ex-Navy SEAL who now works in a firm headed by Maria’s brother. They have been attracted to each other for a time now, but with Maria’s brother warning Jake off, none of them have ever done anything about it. Now, away from her brother and in some dangerous situation, will Jake and Maria finally give in to their attraction? And will Maria ever find some closure?


    I liked Maria right off the bat. What is not to like about her. She is a lively girl who has seen tough times, yet hasn’t let it ruin her life. She is outgoing and independent, yet not foolish enough to not know when to ask for help. She doesn’t just sit back and let the ‘hero’ do all the kick-ass stuff. Jake on the other hand is a hottie ex-Navy SEAL – Again, what’s not to like? Okay, he may be a player… but when it is time he is ready to settle with someone. The plot is pretty simple and straightforward. No big surprises. It is the chemistry between the characters, the author’s narration style and her simple language that keeps you hooked on to the pages.


    I have not read the first book in the series. And while these can be read as standalones, I strongly suggest that you read it in order because after reading book two first, I now have some ideas about what may have happened in the first instalment.
     
  5. Mohur

    Mohur Gold IL'ite

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    The Zodiac Legacy: Convergence (Zodiac #1) by Stan Lee, Stuart Moore, Andie Tong

    Steven, as a Chinese American kid in America, has always felt like a misfit. Now on a trip to China, he feels even more so, especially when his friends assume that being of Chinese decent, he can read everything in Chinese. He also has some parental issues, who always seem to be busy with their work and have no tie for him. On a class trip to a museum, Steven accidentally gets embroiled is Maxwell’s plan to take over the world with all the zodiac powers. Steven lands up getting the Tiger power and an ally in Jasmine. Will Steven and Jasmine be able to find the others with Zodiac powers before Maxwell and stop his master plan?


    The first thing that catches a reader’s attention in this book is the pictures that are sprinkled throughout the book. Even in my e-ARC copy, they seemed attractive. I am sure that they would be more so in the print copies. The second thing about this book is its plot that has a very interesting Premise. Twelve supernatural powers are unleashed on this world and each related to a Chinese Zodiac symbol - one man in pursuit of controlling them all while others band together to stop him. While the plot and the pictures were complimentary to each other, there were instances when certain things felt too easy and convenient for the characters. Talking about characters, there are quite a few and mostly from varied backgrounds and cultures. This added to the flavor of the story. However, most characters felt one dimensional and lacked the depth and growth that I like to see.


    The narration style of the author is simple and dainty. It is easy to get into the story and continue with it. There are lots of action and drama infused into the plot to keep it going. A faster pace would have been welcomed but it is okay as it is.


    Overall, this book makes for a light and interesting read.
     
  6. Mohur

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    Inked by Eric Smith

    Caenum lives in a world where the in tattoos control their life. Once a person turns 18, they get their magical tattoos that decide their profession and hence control their lives. No matter what they like and desire, they are destined to follow what their ink decides for them. Those who do not get inked and remain unmarked, are shunned from the society and are hunted by the Citadel. Caenum’s date of getting inked is fast approaching and he doesn’t know his own mind and is reluctant to get tattooed. He plans to run away, but a chance encounter with the scribe who is supposed to mark him changes his life forever. On the run from the Citadel, Caenum is accompanied by Dreya, his childhood friend and love interest, and Kenzi. This unlikely group is up for the most terrifying and amazing adventures.


    The book has a really interesting premise – magical ink tattoos controlling the fate of people and a powerful and controlling Citadel. Then there are groups of people who have been shunned or runaways from the society who make a living for themselves under the radar of the Citadel. People who are oppressed are bound to revolt, but how will that revolution rise and what will be its fate?


    There are a number of characters in the book that play important roles. Our protagonists – Caenum and Dreya are very likeable as is their blossoming romance. I like the fact that they are childhood friends who are taking baby steps with their relationship. However, I found the father and son reunion and their interaction really disappointing. It lacked serious emotions. Caenum, while loveable most of the times, can be stubborn and thick headed. Kenzi is a hot-headed person who can be impulsive. Dreya seems to be the most balanced person among the three. I would have loved to see a bit more growth in Caenum’s character.


    The language and the narrative style of the author is simple. It will appeal to a lot of youngsters. The plot and its characters compliment each other and there is a lot of action and drama to keep the reader involved in the book.


    Overall, it is an above average book that could have been better. I will be picking up the next book in the instalment with hopes of seeing Caenum develop and flourish.
     
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  7. Mohur

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    Revival by Stephen King

    It had been quite sometime since I picked up a Stephen King novel… I know it is quite shameful, but the last time I was on a Stephen King Reading spree and wanted a break from them. So Hachette India sent me this book just in time for me to get back to reading King.


    Revival tells us the story of a new minister and his wife in a small town. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, transforms the local church and touches the life of all those around them, including that of Jamie Morton, the narrator of the story. Jamie and Jacobs shared a special bond that is broken when at the turn of events, Jacobs mocks all religious beliefs and is banished from the town… Jamie grows up to live a nomadic lifestyle and gets addicted to drugs. Years later the two meet and their bond mends itself beyond what it ever was.


    Knowing Stephen King, one can always expect certain things from his book and he delivers every single time. Revival is no different on this front.


    The characters were well fleshed out and developed throughout the story. A reader will feel that they really know each character well enough and know how the relationships work. Both Jamie and Jacobs have been introduced well and developed even better and the relationship between them is smooth and so is its transitions. They feel real and complex at the same time. The plot is just amazing in true King style. There are enough twists and atrocious turns and I have long since stopped trying to predict his plotlines.


    This is one hell of a indulging, scary, disturbing and just simply mind blowing book.
     
  8. Mohur

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    When by Victoria Laurie

    Maddie Fynn is your average teenager with a special gift. She can see numbers associated with each and every person. It was her father’s death that alerted her of the fact that the numbers that she sees are the death dates of that individual. Following her father’s death, her mother goes on a downward spiral and becomes an alcoholic. She uses Maddie’s gift to have sessions with people and warn them off for some extra cash. However, Maddie only knows the dates and not the how and why of it… So when a recent client goes missing on the predicted date, Maddie becomes a suspect in the case. How will she clear her name and will she be able to find out what really happened?


    It was easy to like Maddie as the shy teenager from a broken home. I liked her and her best friend Stubby quite a bit in the beginning. Their interactions are always interesting. However as the novel progressed, I was a bit irritated by their stupidity over and over again. I mean, I do expect teenagers to make mistakes, but not like they do. It is like they never really learn. Then there are the law enforcement officials who are just so informal and hilarious that it was difficult to take them seriously. Law enforcement officers should be figures that one can respect and look up to… while these people were certainly likeable, they didn’t inspire much trust in me that they would be able to solve the case. Maddie was surely a better bet. The certain depth that the characters of a mystery novel should posses was clearly missing and it took away some of the good feeling about the book.


    The plot is something new for me. I do not know if there are similar books out there or not, but I actually loved the plot. The concept that Maddie can see the date of the death of a person, but not how is very interesting. Plus there is enough action and drama to keep a reader glued to the pages. Also, the author has narrated Maddie’s story in simple language with a smooth flow. The narrative style is easy going and as such it is easy to get into this book.


    This book had great potential that was not fully utilized. But still an entertaining read.
     
  9. Mohur

    Mohur Gold IL'ite

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    The Nidhi Kapoor Story by Saurabh Garg

    As Nidhi Kapoor, a star in her own rights in the film industry, is about to start shooting for her much anticipated movie, weird things start happening around her. Her pets are found mauled over, her film set goes up in flames and a threatening letter is found at her home. This being a high profile case, ACP Prakash Mohile is roped in to lead the investigation. Rujuta Singh is a photojournalist who gets embroiled in the case as she was working closely with the ACP. Stakes are high, but will Prakash and Rujuta be able to apprehend the perpetrator in time to save Nidhi Kapoor’s life?


    The glitz and glamour of the film industry is always enticing and there are always more to the stars than meets the eye. But Nidhi Kapoor’s family has secrets rooted deep in their past that are now coming back to haunt them. While the plot is not very extraordinary, it is very interesting. Characters and narrative style compliment the plot and as a result it emerges as above average. There are a number of characters that play a major role in the story and I liked them all for being really well developed and their many facets. I liked Prakash for his efficiency and reserved nature. I liked Rujuta for her natural inquisitiveness and I like Tarana for her many ideas. However, I failed to like the character of Nidhi Kapoor herself. But the best part of the story was its narratives. The author did not show his hand all at once and let things unfold at crucial times. It was well paced and full of unfolding drama that kept my interest in the book intact.


    While my overall experience was quite good, I felt that some things were left unsaid that could have been included for the reader’s information. Also, while there was enough told about the characters, I would have liked to know a little bit more background on some of them.
     
  10. Mohur

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    Sherlock Holmes, The Missing Years: Japan by Vasudev Murthy

    After Ted Riccardi, Donald Thomas and my favourite Anthony Horowitz’s adaptations of Sherlock Holmes, Vasudev Murthy is the fourth author whose version of Sherlock Holmes I have picked up. I have been disappointed before and have even enjoyed the other versions of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. But still I did not know what to expect from this book when I picked it up… Should I have expected something close to the original or something totally different? Well, now that I have read this book, I can hopefully give you some ideas about what to expect from Vasudev Murthy’s version.


    The book, as the title suggests, picks up from after the incident at the Reichenbach Falls and goes on to recount the stories from the time when Sherlock Holmes was deemed to be dead. The setting of the book is mainly based in the handful countries of the Asian subcontinent. It spans over a number of countries and a number of mysteries. While the author has stuck real close to A.C.D with his characterization of Holmes and Watson, the mystery part felt a bit below par there. Don’t get me wrong, they are just fine, and we do get to see Sherlock use his considerable skills and deductive prowess. It is just that they were nothing as grand as one would expect, especially since Moriarty is involved.


    The author seems to have great knowledge of, or has at least done considerable amount of research into, the Japanese culture. He has infused a great deal of Asian culture into the story that we have not yet seen from any version of Sherlock Holmes. Also, Vasudev Murty has presented the novel is a very easy to get into narrative style with the exact right amount of details. His descriptions help the reader picturise each setting. The best part of the book still remains the fact that the character of Holmes and Watson and their voices remain uncannily close to the original.


    A good, entertaining book that has ensured the fact that I will be looking out for more from this author.
     

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