Book Review | Because Its Love by Kishore Nanda

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Title: Because Its Love
Author: Kishore Nanda
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Notion Press

Publishing date: 14th May, 2019
Pages: 404

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

*Book received from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

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Synopsis:

Family

Abhiram, a HIV infected old man, is abandoned by his family due to fear of the infection spreading to them. Broken, Abhiram adopts Devika, a prostitute, Adithya, a gay man and Karthik, a mentally retarded child. They become one family, breaking all the rules of society.

Friendship

Karan, a money–chaser and believer of time is money, finds out that he is about to die at any moment due to his intestine cancer. He becomes friends with an 11-year-old blind boy, Aryan. He changes Karan’s life, becomes his wingman to help him find love and teaches him about the real meaning of time.

Romantic

Aarav, a book author, is in the quest of a dying girl to become part of his manipulative marketing strategy. When he finds Ananya, a cancer patient, he learns about the true meaning of happiness.

Canophilia

Rajesh, a hedonist, finds a missing dog and she teaches him the real values of a relationship.

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My Take:

This book follows four different stories that all tie together with the common theme of love albeit different forms of the said emotion. When I read the synopsis, I was intrigued. Each story has so much going on just in the two line description itself, that I figured this book was going to be a complete ride, and it sure was.

When I started the book, I had to put it down for a few days because there were so many errors in the book. It felt like it was never edited. A few days later, I picked it back up and decided to complete it and that was a good decision because all four stories are such beautiful stories that as I read more and more of them, I noticed less and less of the errors – instead all I focused on was, what was happening to the characters.

This rarely happens, even a single mistake bugs me. So, you know a story is good if I can finish reading it through a bad editing job. The way all the stories follow each other and still don’t get muddled up is great. At first, I wasn’t quite sure that the style was a smart choice. All the stories take place simultaneously, you read a chapter from each story then the next chapter from each story, and the cycle goes on. I thought it was going to get confusing, instead it did a good job of holding up the excitement for each story.

My favourite has to be Abhiram’s story which is tagged under Family. Actually the sequence of what story I found best is the exact sequence the synopsis is written in – Family, Friendship, Romantic, and then Canophilia.

The character development is a major factor of the book, and that you can see happening in each of the characters, you can see the development throughout the story. The pace at which the characters learn and grow is well done.

The writing style needs to be worked upon. While the scene behind the character is described which the character can’t even see, someone extending their hand out for a handshake isn’t even mentioned and the next thing you know the characters are shaking hands. It’s the little details that make the scene. No description of the irrelevant building might do no harm to the story but no description of non-verbal cues will. Some of the dialogues seemed a little too unreal at times but then again at places it felt deliberate.

All in all, the message and stories are great. If you can get past the errors (my phone and laptop keep correcting the ‘its’ in the title to ‘it’s’ so you can imagine) then you will definitely enjoy it. There’s a lot happening – every big issue is covered. Every story is based on a big emotional formula that sells and every story has subplots that are again safe and sure to work emotional storylines.

I see potential in Kishore to be a great story teller based on the four stories he has managed to sell me even after the book being filled with what are usually “deal breakers” for me. So, that’s saying something. I am glad I didn’t give up on this book and definitely will encourage people to pick it up. One of my friends has already asked to borrow it despite him being of the same “no errors in the book” kind of a person and us rereading the first 21 pages (first chapter of Aarav’s story and 2 pages from the 1st chapter of Rajesh’s story) I had read and given up after and us going into a bout of frustrated laughter so yay to the author.

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Why would I pick it up?

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Four stories that pull on your heart strings – yes please!

Buy this book- Because Its Love by Kishore Nanda (Amazon)

Get to know Kishore Nanda more – Read an interview with him here.

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Watch my detailed review –

Book review | 8: The Game is On by Swapnil Khamkar

8: The Game is On

 

Title: 8: The Game is On
Author: Swapnil Khamkar
Genre: Fiction, Historical fiction, Mystery- Thriller
Publisher: Srishti Publications

Publishing date: 10th December, 2017
Pages: 160

My Rating: 2.5/5 stars

 

*Book received from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*


Synopsis:

History holds a lot in its pages. But till when can truth be hidden?
Neel is a cop investigating the mysterious death of a famous film director. In the middle of a divorce case with his wife Avantika and amidst thoughts of resigning from his job, will he be able to find the culprit?
A five-hundred-year old sunken ship belonging to Vasco da Gama is discovered off the coast in Oman. It is well known that the ship sank with thousands of artefacts in it. Out of them, eight artefacts are missing in specific. Do they have some connection with the film director’s death?
Neel tries to unearth the truth behind the missing artefacts to find clues to questions nobody else can answer. Join Neel as he tries to find the truth behind 8! 1 ship; 2 deaths; 3 cops; 400 murders; 500 years; 60 days; 7 countries; 8 artefacts – Let the adventure begin!


My Take:

8! 1 ship; 2 deaths; 3 cops; 400 murders; 500 years; 60 days; 7 countries; 8 artefacts – Let the adventure begin!

This line was what sold me to the book. There’s so much scope in that one line. When I picked it up, I braced myself for a thrilling ride but the book wasn’t that.

The author was in great touch with the baseline of the story, the history part was well researched and smartly inserted in the story. Although the book could have done wonders only following this story line, I don’t know why Neel and Avantika’s stupid marital problems were added. In 1/3rd of the book, it turned from a decent thriller to a crappy romance story. Being cops them acting this way was so unwarranted, even after being in the same profession if this is how they react to situations and if this is what almost fails their marriage then God help their relationship.

Because of their story being introduced, the main story took a back seat. Where 3-4 pages were needed to find the first artifact, the last was found in a paragraph of 3 lines. Also, Raghu, their senior, sends Avantika with Neel and Jay (sidekick) to help their relationship. Excuse me? This is an international issue where you already have an incompetent officer (Neel) and you add his love interest, who by the way does nothing for the case, she either keeps making coffee or keeps romancing Neel in a real cringy way.

Neel was tried to be portrayed as this naturally talented officer who is really good at his job but the way he is written, he instead comes across as a really mean and arrogant person, who is incompetent but tries to hide it by talking people down and taking credit for their work.

The first story of the director is left hanging in order to pursue the artifacts storyline then that is forgotten because of Neel and Avantika (if you could not figure out, they frustrated me because they took a lot away from a story that could otherwise have been really good) and then we are again introduced to the first story line as a conclusion after rushing through the second one.

The climax was really anticlimactic, it seemed more of the TV series CID style. There were a lot of editing mistakes as well and then I looked at the name of the publishing company. I don’t know why but all the books that I have read from this publishing company are riddled with mistakes.

The idea and research that went behind it is really great, which is why I would love to read more from the author. You can see that he really has a great vision, this being his debut novel I feel the pressure to add romance to make it sell-able actually backfired.


Why would I pick it up?

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For a quick dose of history and a short read.

Buy this book-

Amazon

 

Book Review | Red States by Anthony P. Jones

Red States Book Cover

Title: Red States
Author: Anthony P. Jones
Genre: Fiction, Action, Thriller
Publisher: Brown Bag Books LLC

Publishing date: 12th December, 2018
Pages: 325

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars

*e-Manuscript received from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*


Synopsis:

Final Book Cover - Red States

A Triad Boss, who has grown board with the day-to-day activities of building his criminal empire decides to launch an initiative that will make him the best-known person in the world— he plans to overthrow the United States government.

As the largest “Snake Header” in China, his plan involves planting people in the US and providing them with citizenship paperwork, then having them vote in hand selected candidates, who will gradually assume power.

Two CIA agents are sent to China to investigate the Snake Headers, who dump more illegal immigrants in the US than any other country. They stumble on the Triad Boss’ plan, which involves underworld figures from Russia and Mexico. After learning of a meeting bringing together the underworld figures, the CIA agents rally a group of commandos to take the group down all at once.

Things go terribly wrong and the Triad Boss escapes with his delegation. Spared by the failed attempt to arrest them, the Triad Boss falls back to a secondary plan— he has fireworks destined for the Fourth of July celebration in the US filled with Abrin, a poison seventy-five times more potent than Rison.

Abrin is lethal in any form and the dust particles falling from the unsuspecting fireworks will wipe out seventy five percent of the exposed people. Wind carrying the Abrin will continue to spread the effect to water supplies, particulate that will be inhaled or simply reach any mucous membrane spreading death.

Learning about the Abrin at the last moment, the CIA agents implore the President to stop all fireworks displays in the US. They work to find the Triad Boss in order to prevent any secondary attacks. They are unable to prevent all the fireworks displays. The President sets up triage units to treat the affected, while the CIA agents round up the delegation one-by-one.


My Take:

Red States is a thrilling, action packed story. The way this story is written is sure to hold a reader’s attention. The balance of information and action is the thing that makes this book a page turner. There’s no information dump even though there is a lot of information in this book, it is smartly sprinkled in between the action scenes, not making any one part of the book over bearing.

The characters all have their own quirks and are really interesting to read about, even the side characters have their back stories described, in parts they get the front seat and we see their emotions play out. With this big of an operation, there are sure to be casualties but the one with one of the agents driving out to take a closer look at what was going on when he wasn’t supposed to and then getting caught and brutally beat up had me at the edge of my seat asking why did he go, he didn’t have to, why did he die… His partner didn’t know him well but because he was her partner, her getting emotional and wanting revenge yet keeping her cool and working by orders had me moved.

This book makes you go through a lot of emotions, if you can feel for the side characters too then the book definitely is well written.

The concept of the storyline was very interesting. It was easy to read and understand. Even if you are not into political or action stuff this can still be a very enjoyable read because it doesn’t use jargon, the way of explaining how things work is really simple. Straight forward language and easy flow of the book breaks the complex structures into an entertaining read.

The pace is perfect, neither too fast nor too slow. Considering it is an action story, I thought it would be fast paced but because of the amount of information about border crossing and Abrin and CIA and gangs the pace that it goes in is more suitable to the story. No scene goes on for too long, they keep moving on from one segment of the story to another. The characters and their personalities lacked a bit of intensity but it some how played out well for the story.

The end isn’t your perfect puppies and rainbows either, like the team comes in and saves the day. They do save the day but not without minor casualties and that gives it a more real touch than if everything was left completely unscathed.

All in all, I will definitely recommend giving this book a try.


Why would I pick it up?

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For the interesting story line and a laid back read. 🙂

Buy this book

Red States

Watch my review –

Read an interview with the author (Anthony P. Jones) here

Book Review | Lovely Revolution by Saras Singh

Title: Lovely Revolution
Author: Saras Singh
Genre: Fiction, Romance
Publisher: K S Designers

Publishing date: 2018
Pages: 218

My Rating: 3/5 stars

 

*Book received from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*


Synopsis:

This was the beginning of the 21st century. A boy lived in a culture rich district called Unnao in the states of Uttar Pradesh. He fought for justice, honour and rights—not only his but others too. And he loved a girl who is the daughter of a corrupt politician from his town. The boy wanted to marry the girl and proposed to her many times, but the girl was not sure and she reserved her reply for future. In the course of time, the boy became a powerful campaigner and developed associations with a political party led by some honest people in the country. Then there came the assembly elections in their state. Now the girl put a proposal before the boy. She could marry him if he supported her father, campaigned for him and won him the elections. Now the boy got stuck between his love and principles. Which way he went?


My Take:

This book is an easy read for beginners. It gives out great wisdom for the youth. Encouraging them to be the change if they want the change, fighting for what is right even if that means going against people who are close to you, choosing happiness over social construct, etc.

It also touches the subject of making a career in what makes you happy rather than what’s expected of you. Even though there are lots of good teachings in this book, it also portrays a toxic relationship.

The two leads, Rajeev and Neha, are frustrating at times. Neha is basic, manipulative, has no depth as a character, and uses Rajeev as if he is a commodity while on the other hand, Rajeev bases his entire life around Neha. Rajeev does not take no for an answer, in fact, despite Neha being clear multiple times that she wasn’t interested, he keeps calling her my girl, girlfriend, and them stopping communication is breaking up to him.

Both of them are toxic but both towards Rajeev. Rajeev manipulates himself to do what Neha wants thinking about love and Neha manipulates Rajeev to do what she wants.

Despite this, whenever there were major things on the line, whenever there was a question of his principles, Rajeev chose his principles, that made me respect him.

The writing had some issues as well, such as articles being used where not required, wrong use of articles, hindi to english direct translations, switching of words, wrong words, etc.

There are a lot of scenes that will remind you of Bollywood, Neha asking him to uproot his life for her, asking him to support her father if he wanted to marry her, her cousin and his men beating up Rajeev, his dramatic proposal, the scene at Neha’s wedding, etc.

So, if you are someone who enjoys Bollywood movies or wants to read something light that also teaches something then this is the book for you!

This book needs a few revisions and a thorough edit. Despite this fact, it is an enjoyable read.

Watch more of what I think in my review video- 


Why would I pick it up?

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To read something light that at the same time preaches something useful!


Buy this book- https://amzn.to/2KBZ6qA

Book Review | Velvet by Sacha Lanvin

Velvet

Title: Velvet
Author: Sacha Lanvin
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: Self Published

Publishing date:
Pages: 73

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

 

*eBook received from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*


Synopsis:

Young women are being murdered in France, and it’s up to the talented Commissaire Laurent Lefevre to put a stop to the increasing violence.

In a fast-paced game of cat and mouse the respected Lefevre must match wits against serial killer Lucas Ivan whose nefarious acts terrify the countryside.
While battling his own demons, Lefevre manages to hunt down the cunning Ivan and deliver him to the justice system. Satisfied that the reign of terror is over, the hero retreats from public life to rest and mourn his own painful losses.

But he hasn’t heard the last from Lucas Ivan.

During a deadly freak accident on Christmas Eve the killer escapes from prison, and the exhausted Lefevre must find the courage and strength to try and end Ivan’s bloody career once and for all.


My Take:

I love mystery/thrillers so there was no reason I was going to pass this one up. Although this follows one of the classic storylines of a retired or on vacation famous detective solving the case, this book sure has a lot more going for it. 😀

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The best thing about the book was the actual mystery, the actual case and how everything fell into place. Even though it was obvious to me who the killer was since the person was introduced, which was almost at the beginning; (not going to give that away, read the book 😛 ) the “why” was what kept me hooked in.

In just 73 pages the author managed to put in layer upon layer of twists while also letting the characters have their own stories. I would have loved for this to have been a full fledged novel rather than a novella because after I put it down, I was left wanting for more.

At first I thought that the story would somehow revolve around the Commissaire Laurent Lefevre and the serial killer Lucas Evans because the synopsis talks about them majorly but they are just the beginning tone of the book. I feel that the synopsis doesn’t do justice to the story because the story is much more than that and focuses on entirely a different case. The synopsis seems to be about a complete different book because the story the summary revolves around is not the focus of the book, actually nothing is mentioned about the actual story.

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I do believe that more pages would have done wonders for this book. The author had a different (in a good way) story line, an unique way of murders, interesting and strong characters, nice element of mystery but lacked in plot development. If there were more pages the book could have teased the reader about the killer without giving the killer away. The coincidence or whatever it was that helped seemed a little too obvious.

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The investigation itself wrapped very fast towards the end so it seemed rushed. Many things were unanswered.

For eg-The killer murders one of the victims in the bathroom and the door was locked from the inside and there were on other exits in the bathroom. The victim’s daughter was home. How did the killer get in and how did he get out of the bathroom, why didn’t the victim make any noise? Nothing is answered.

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First murder

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Second murder

It started out being detailed with the first murder and then the amount of details kept decreasing, eventually some of the murders were just mentioned in passing as the book neared the end, the amount

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One of the murders in the end.

of details given in the first murder was leading me to believe this was going to be the only murder, some time was spent even on the victims family, the second murder followed close suite with the details but then there were no detailed descriptions of the other ones. I do believe that the book started out as a novel hence the good amount of details in the beginning but somewhere in the process the author decided to turn it into a novella and cut back on details hence cutting out the actual strength of the story.

The motive of the murder is the only answer you get but you are left with tons of investigative questions. The wrap up should have included how the killer got access to all the victims.

The writing style is good, I liked how the details were worked into the sentence rather than describing the props and then mentioning the scenes.

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Screenshot_2018-09-18-09-14-18-1The book requires a bit more editing, there were a few spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Like: pause for pulse, what is if something had happened for what is something happened, we for we do to, grief for grieve, swarms for swam, etc.

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The story has something very good going for it, few extra pages, a little proofreading, a little plot development, and a lot of answering can make it a 5 star.


Why would I pick it up?

Image result for detective reading gif cartoonFor a good mystery book that is a quick read.

Book Review | Chennai To Chicago: Memoir of a software engineer by Sriram Ramakrishnan

Chennai To Chicago: Memoir of a software engineer

Title: Chennai To Chicago: Memoir of a software engineer
Author: Sriram Ramakrishnan
Genre: Memoir, Non Fiction
Publisher: Self published

Publishing date: 15th July, 2018
Pages: 308

My Rating: 2.5/5 stars

 

*eBook received from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*


Synonsis:

Is there anything permanent at all? Anything that I can lean on to in this world? What is life? What am I doing here? Growing up in the 90’s in India, hearing people going to “States” as software engineers, I wondered why people were so crazy about America. Without the internet or the zillion TV channels we have today, I had my own fantasies on “States”. Thanks to a Doordarshan Tamil drama in the 90’s, “Marriage in Washington”, I remember as a teenager sitting in front of the Television religiously every week with a yearning in my throat, “I should go to America someday”. I didn’t know how that would happen, I had not even traveled in an Air Conditioned compartment in a train. But I knew, someday, I will go to America. And that someday arrived in the form of an admit in a US university with 100% scholarship and a monthly stipend. That began my wonderful “coming of age” experiences in the next 10 years of my life, with numerous travels, tribulations and life-changing experiences.


My Take:

This book had potential, it really did. Did it reach its potential? Sadly no.

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This book was more than okay and less than good. The plot is good but the execution is poor.

As you can see from the synopsis, this is author’s travel and soul searching story. When I read the synopsis I wanted to read it, considering I am an engineer and couldn’t care less about it, I felt I could relate to it somehow.

The first half is boring because of how it is written and it doesn’t help with the theme of the soul searching motive of the book, it is just marginally linked to it to have spent that much time spent on it. It feels like page filler at some points. The second half is much much better. The story does progress from being dry to attention grabbing but the problem is that the main baseline of the plot is rushed through. The author uses majority of the book to explain he said, she said, I said, this happened followed by that happened; it is more of telling than showing.

After pages of unnecessary details when I did get to the reason I picked up this book, it seemed like it was going to get better and for a moment it did but then it dipped back to the original, not as bad though.

I feel like the wrong parts of the story have been written in detail, I would have loved to read more about Sriram’s soul searching journey, about the places he went and people he met. The places are mentioned in such quick successions that one cannot appreciate the teachings the places gave the author. Some of it seem forced to make it sound more enlightening, that might be because of the unpolished writing.

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This book is in some serious need of editing and proof reading. To me, if the book is riddled with tons to grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and has lack of punctuation, it automatically makes the experience of reading frustrating. After the first two chapters I just put the book down because I couldn’t go on.

11.2

The starting chapters have lots of conversations and dialogues are one of the most difficult things to write, so it didn’t do the book any favor. Whenever there was a conversation, none of the lines began with a capital letter throughout the book, it had a lot of “yeahs” and was wearing me out.

After few days I picked it back up, reached the part where he struggled with his jobs, that part was really interesting to read about and picked up its pace but it felt more like a diary/journal entry than a memoir.

There are few specific things that kind of bothered me, kind of didn’t like-

  • The chapter on love where you have 2-3 boring conversations (like the example) between Sriram and Madhuri and they clearly are only friends and he talks about how she created a storm in his life by entering his life when she goes back to India and he fails to express his love. In the book Madhuri seems really bland.

1.4

1.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Him talking about how popular he was, center of attention and things like that when referring to his past life but the book did not give that vibe and it just felt out of place in places.
  • This line about using Pounds and Miles:

1.10
1.14and then him contradicting himself by using the terms.

Now, 1.15he can be pardoned from his own statement because he actually lives in the West but it did make me laugh. 😛

  • The over usage of “Atithi devo bhava.”In the final part, the actual story part, every event is reasoned with “Atithi devo bhava” when in reality most of the stuff is normal for a lot of people to do so it seemed to me like seeing-a-sign-because-you-want-to-see-one-where-it-isn’t case.

For eg- someone waits with him for half an hour to help him haul a bus at night, Atithi devo bhava… someone takes him to hotels to get him a room on his motorbike, Atithi devo bhava. It can be that but why it doesn’t seem that deep to me is because this is what decent human beings do without caring much about the deep implications. Like the instance when I walked a lady to an auto stand because she was new here, talked to the person, she was going to visit, on the phone, conveyed it to the driver, explained to her at what landmark to get off but on the other hand I don’t like people in my personal space. Atithi or not I want most of them out of my house. Locals help because you are in an unfamiliar place and need help most of the time which loosely would translate to helping guests but not as strong as it is portrayed. Now, I also get that everyone sees things differently but the book isn’t convincing of what its view point is.

Questioning who are these people, why are they helping and concluding every episode with “Atithi devo bhava” is a bit too much and as I said before if it was explored more it wouldn’t have seemed so, because it was rushed, the repetitiveness showed.

  • Another one is the word “bliss.” Every experience that the author experienced is worded with bliss, a quick synonyms search on Google provides with replacement words to spice the text up.
  • Literal translations: (went near her aka the guy was getting close to the girl, who was going behind her aka the guy was courting the girl)
    1.8

 

1.9

 

 

 

  • Places where grammatical errors did take away the limelight from really good paragraphs:1.11

1.12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some noteworthy lines from the book- 

1.3

1.71.13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.16

 

 

 

In summary, if the book is well edited, the content is prioritized, and some parts are rewritten then it can do really well. Only the potential stops it from being a 2 star to me.


Why would I pick it up?

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For what the book could have been.