Book Review : It’s Never Too Late

Image Courtesy: Flipkart

Image Courtesy: Flipkart

Blurb View:

In a nation where most women are taught to be submissive at every stage in life, Maya stands out. In a society that finds fault in women for heinous crimes like rape, Maya stands up. Maya and Rajat fall in love while they study at IIT Kanpur, their daughter Sejal only makes the bond stronger even after years of marriage. Life is almost perfect when two petty criminals decide to make her fairy tale life a tale of horror and fear with their intention of molesting her. Will she be able to fight her fate while Rajat is away and save herself and her five-year-old? Will she be able to undo all stereotypes and face the male-dominated society after that fateful night? Will Rajat stand up with her as she decides to battle her fears and take the culprits to their just punishment? Its Never Too Late is a story of every woman who decides to fight her fears and even destiny of every human who chooses the right over the easy of every wife who shoulders all responsibilities of the house and of every mother who is unwavering in her resolve to ensure that her daughter grows up in a safer world.

Review:

Rape. Molestation. Sexual Abuse. Attack. These are the words each woman in India dreads today. Increasing cases every day, rather every hour, creep into our TV channels and newspapers. Every woman is livid each time they go out on the streets. But danger doesn’t lurk only on the streets, it can inch it’s way inside your house too. That’s what happens with Maya, the protagonist of It’s Never Too Late.

In this post-Romance-genre era of Indian Literature, we have a book that touches the most relevant issue in India these days. What does a woman do when she’s alone and attacked inside her own house? How does she protect herself and her daughter? How does she overcome her fear? In the book, Maya has a loving husband Rajat and a pretty little daughter Sejal. She’s a happy woman, bound within the wings of her wonderful family. Snippets from her life are framed into scenes and described to the readers – from her student self at IIT to the wife and mother that she becomes later.

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Book Review : The Caretaker

Blurb View:

Image Courtesy: Flipkart

Image Courtesy: Flipkart

A compelling thriller that introduces a new hero for our times: Ranjit Singh, former captain in the Indian Army, illegal immigrant in the heart of white America and caretaker to the rich and famous.

One harsh winter, Ranjit illegally moves his family into an empty, luxurious vacation home belonging to an African-American Senator. Ensconced in the house, he tries to forget his brief affair with Anna, the Senators wife, and focuses on providing for his family. But one night, their idyll is shattered when mysterious armed men break into the house, searching for an antique porcelain doll. Forced to flee, Ranjit is hunted by unknown forces and gets drawn into the Senators shadowy world. To save his family and solve the mystery of the doll, he must join forces with Anna, who has her own dark secrets. As he battles to save his family, Ranjit’s painful past resurfaces and he must finally confront the hidden event that destroyed his career in the Army and forced him to leave India.

Tightly plotted, action-packed, smart and surprisingly moving, The Caretaker takes us from the desperate world of migrant workers to the elite African-American community of Martha’s Vineyard and a secret high-altitude war between India and Pakistan.

Review: 

I have always proclaimed how I love thrillers. They take me to another world, where every moment is pumped by adrenaline rush. The chases, hideouts, clues, investigations, even murders make me happy. Not many thrillers are doing the round in the Indian Literary Circle these days, they still are dominated by the Romance genre. Themed thrillers are also gaining momentum gradually – banks, media, police, even Bollywood!

In this hiatus, The Caretaker is compelling. It has a setup that I’m vaguely familiar with – not the Martha’s Vineyard part, but the one about immigrants in the US of A. Many Indians, despite having legal visas would grasp the dilemma and fear of Ranjit Singh, the protagonist. An ex-military, he escapes with his family from India to Boston for shelter. You have to read the book to know why, since that is the parallel plot. Stifled in a grocery store run by his wife’s relative, Ranjit moves to Martha’s Vineyard for greener pastures (not literally!). He and his daughter like the quaint coastal tourist spot for the rich.

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Book Review : I am Life

Image Courtesy: Flipkart

Image Courtesy: Flipkart

Blurb View:

An edgy modern-day fable that takes you on a mystical journey with life.

You are from India the land of three hundred and thirty million Gods and you say you dont believe in even one of them? I think its time to go home, Sid. Andreas words have been echoing in my head since last night when she poured another round of scotch. I entered God in the Google search bar and of all the places, it directed me to India a place where I had buried my childhood dream eleven years ago and moved to New York. I waived God away when I got to New York and to be honest, I didnt need Him either. Until now.

Lifes always been a bitch but this time its gone too far. I want my money and my company back and I will find God one way or the other to get my answers. Ive boarded the flight. Hop on and yes, carry some scotch along.

See you on the other side.

Cheers,

Sid: Siddharth Khanna

Review:

There aren’t many Indian books in this genre yet, hence the comparisons have adhered to Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. In case you haven’t noticed, this book is a ‘Philosophical/Spiritual’ Fiction. The genre should have been popular considering the vast spiritual resources in India, but it hasn’t. Perhaps because it is quite difficult to write about life in a simple manner. Shraddha Soni has performed the task pretty well in her debut book, I am Life.

Titled simply with a beautiful cover (which explains itself later), the book is set at a slim less-than-200 pages. It might seem an easy read from the blurb and volume, but it isn’t. Shraddha raises questions, provides problems and long-drawn solutions at the climax with an earnest seriousness. The book begins with Siddharth Khanna, a successful businessman from New York suddenly discovering his world upside down with an impending divorce and loss of everything he assumed to own. The beginning is in a casual way that draws the readers’ attention without sounding too heavy.

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Book Review : An Incurable Insanity

Image Courtesy: Google

Image Courtesy: Google

Blurb View:

Her heart fluttered when she heard the sound of the key turn in the lock. She quickly adjusted her maroon silk sari with the yellow border, the one that had caught his eye, and waited eagerly for his footsteps. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven… Yes, exactly seven steps before he stopped, hesitated for a few moments, then removed his shoes one by one and arranged them neatly side by side on the shoe rack. She smiled. He had been mindful of taking his shoes off every day now. “I am not used to it, but I will if you want me to. It’s probably a good thing to do anyway.” As he settled down, he would pick up the TV remote and, without looking at her, would say in his smooth baritone, “So how did you spend your day, anything interesting?” Shaan Ahuja found himself bowing to tradition and agreeing to an arranged marriage to the beautiful Ruhi Sharma. He went through the motions but had no intention of carrying through on his vows. His last foray into matters of the heart with an American girl had left him scarred and unwilling to try again. Thoroughly disillusioned and disgruntled he wasted no time in making his intentions clear to Ruhi on their wedding night. But, he was completely unprepared for what his new wife had in mind.

Review: 

Just when I had thought I had enough of Romance novels in 2013, another one came to me as the first book to be reviewed in 2014. I don’t know if it is coincidence or serendipity that the more I wanted to run away from Romance genre, it keeps coming back to me to usher the new year together. I’m not sure which genre the others have put this book into, but when I read it to the entirety, I would definitely term is as a Romance novel.

Author Simi K. Rao had me into a little surprise when her first chapter introduced the protagonists as Punajbis. Now, I’m strictly not a racist/provincial here, but being a writer myself, I know that most authors stick to their comfort zone in their debut books. Simi has managed to inculcate the perfect Punjabi flavour to her protagonists. The story is a racy, passionate, fierce, often violent, and completely on-the-edge romance. It is that kind of romance which most people are afraid of since its a little too much to handle.

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Author Interview : Aniesha Brahma

This one’s for all young readers and for the ones who love romance. Who doesn’t like to read a novel romance novel? A good debut is something to cherish for, especially when it comes from a (then) college student.

Image Courtesy: Google

Image Courtesy: Google

Brief blurb:

Eight years ago, she was the teenager he would use to get out of boring parties. But now, he is stunned to see her grown up.

He decides to delay his marriage by getting into a false engagement with her. Then he falls in love with someone else and she forces him to move on. He comes back to her, but she’s determined not to take him back…

Join Tanveer ‘Veer’ Bhattacharya and Larissa ‘Jasmine’ Chakraborty as they embark on a journey which questions relationships, friendships and makes one wonder… how long would it take for love to eventually find a way?

Here’s Aniesha Brahma, the author of The Secret Proposal live and candid for you. Read my review of the book here.

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Conversation:

  1. Image Courtesy: Author

    Image Courtesy: Author

    Welcome, Aniesha. It’s a pleasure having you here for a little chat.

Thank you, Priyanka di. 🙂  I’ve been looking forward to this interview!

  1. How does it feel being a published author at a not-so-ripe age of 22?

I signed the contract when I was 22. I turned 23 by the time the book hit the markets and it was a little overwhelming….all through my MA days, I wanted to be published before I passed out of University. I drove almost anyone who was close to me during those days up the wall…with my endless talk about the book. As for how I feel…it feels really good. But I know I still have miles to go.

  1. What made you write about Tanveer and Larissa? Who are they in real life? Why did you particularly choose them for your book?

Tanveer is based partly on my friend’s childhood crush and mine too. They’re different people. We sat and swapped stories about childhood crushes…I was impressed she had a crush for eight long years and yet did nothing about it. My crush too provided the background for Tanveer…but his character was based on someone I’d seen from close quarters. Someone who has loved taking me for a ride on every single opportunity he got.

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Book Review : The Storm in my Mind…

Image Courtesy: Google

Image Courtesy: Google

Blurb View:

“When Aryan Roy stepped into college life to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a successful engineer, little did he know that he was in for a journey of a lifetime, Anushka and Kaira turn his sojourn into a memorable one – in both good and not-so-good senses.”

The Storm in my Mind… is a collective narrative of events, habits, stereotypes and idiosyncrasies revolving around the contemporary society of Kolkata. It is a story of love as much as it is of hatred, passion, friendship, trust, misunderstandings, nostalgia and love for his city. It is the story of Aryan, his Kolkata and his mellowing heart that makes confessions of the times he has seen.

Review:

The cover. Oh, yes. It instills nostalgia into misty-eyed Calcuttans. I had, like a seasoned Bengali reader, expected helluva book from a fellow Calcuttan (or Kolkatan as they call themselves these days). But, I’m royally disappointed yet again.

Ayaan Basu had promised in the book promotions that it is going to be a great one involving the city. The first doubt which crept into me was the volume of the book. It appeared quite lean to be classified into an engaging read. But who knows, the times they-are-a-changin’ and it could well have been interesting. I braced myself up for a journey with Aryan Roy, the  protagonist, through a phase in his life. It became stressful after a few pages as the writing is quite incoherent. The sweet bonding between consecutive sentences and paragraphs is missing. It seems as if Aryan was captivated and asked to blurt out few details about his high school and college days.

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Book Review : The Vague Woman’s Handbook

Blurb View: 

Image Source: Self

Image Source: Self

At twenty-two, Sharmila Chatterjee has just married her sweetheart of a few years, Abhimanyu Mishra, a somewhat eccentric if handsome, twenty-three-and-a-half-year-old with obscure academic interests and a small fellowship that never arrives in time. They start a household in a tiny rented flat, fending for themselves in the big, bad and very snooty world of south Delhi, with penny-pinching landlords, some romance, and a lot of anxiety.

At fifty-two, Indira Sen is not sure just how she meandered to where she finds herself now. A senior government officer and single mother, she lives with her daughter and three opinionated old people in a rambling house, drives a battered car, and has a history of credit-card-induced-shopaholism. 

The Vague Woman’s Handbook is a story told with equal parts of humour, hysteria ad tenderness, about the sparkling friendship between two women as they hurtle through life and its mini-crises while trading secrets in the art of survival.

Review:

There are a few books which attract you in the first few pages, the words take you under their wings, make a comfortable nest for you to snuggle in and read away. I wasn’t sure if this book was a chick-lit by the cover and blurb, something told me it will be better than that. It did make my journey much better, though. I was transported into a world of vague women whom we encounter closely in our daily lives.

Who are vague women and why did the author write a handbook about them? These women often reside inside us, for a brief period or for a lifetime. They are absent-minded, geographically and directionally challenged, emotional and stubborn people. Now that pretty much sums up nearly most of us. Being somewhat vague myself, I started enjoying the author’s perspectives on the protagonists. The book is about two women, Mil and Indira, as briefed in the blurb. They are like chalk and cheese in their appearances and lifestyles, and yet they share a lot of similar traits which allow them to bond with each other.

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Book Review : The Secret Proposal

Image Courtesy: Google

Image Courtesy: Google

Blurb View:

Eight years ago, she was the teenager he would use to get out of boring parties. But now, he is stunned to see her grown up.

He decides to delay his marriage by getting into a false engagement with her. Then he falls in love with someone else and she forces him to move on. He comes back to her, but she’s determined not to take him back. Will she ever get over her unrequited love for him?

Would a grand gesture from him make her believe otherwise?

And how do you know that your knight in shining armour has been standing right next to you?

Join Tanveer ‘Veer’ Bhattacharya and Larissa ‘Jasmine’ Chakraborty as they embark on a journey which questions relationships, friendships and makes one wonder… how long would it take for love to eventually find a way?

Review:

To be very honest, what attracted me to this novel is definitely not the cover, which seemed pretty teenage at first look. Ah well, its a fairy tale, which then justifies the dreamy cover. What lured me was the unusual fusion of the protagonist names. Surely, very few people in my generation are called Tanveer Bhattacharya or Larissa Chakraborty. A quick look at the author bio revealed her student status and I was interested to know about the Veers and Jasmines of the second decade into this millennium.

The story begins interestingly as the blurb promises. Tanveer and Larissa meet after eight years and rediscover their so-called acquaintance. It is a complex story, then. Both the protagonists fall in and out of love with each other. The characterization is easy, though the situation might seem complex to some of the readers.

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Book Review : A Degree in Death

Image Courtesy: Google

Image Courtesy: Google

Blurb View:

The midnight murder of a student in the sleepy town of Dehradun rouses everyone with suspicion and alarm. Violence is incomprehensible in this institute located at the foothills of the Himalayas. With no clues or suspects, the police are unable to catch the killer. 

Professor Shantanu Bose, an eminent nano-expert and Dean of Research and Development, is deeply troubled at this havoc caused to his institute. Determined to bring back the peaceful academic environment of the campus, he begins his own investigation. 
Fear mounts as more bodies are discovered one after the other. Soon the professor finds himself in grave danger. as he realizes he is being stalked and his every move is being observed. Yet. he persists with his inquiry and discovers that the truth is more startling than what anyone could have imagined. 

Review:

Murder mysteries are something I adore. I kind of dream about them even when I’m reading other stories. It is as if I want a murder to happen in almost every book. Alas, all the authors don’t oblige me. Ruby Gupta did, though. She has killed more than one person in her book and I’m fairly happy with that. She has recreated a traditional murder mystery, one where you bump into dead bodies, suspects and nail-biting situations. Well, not exactly the last trait in this book, you have the other ones.

The stage is set in Dehradun, which I have heard is as picturesque as it could be. Imagine a science and technology institute set amidst serene hills and misty valleys. The author has managed to weave a good plot which will keep you busy till the end. As the blurb suggests, the book begins with the midnight murder of a student. What follows is havoc and chaos among the other students and faculty as well. An interested and inquisitive professor starts his investigation alongside the police and the author follows his trail diligently.

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The Serpentine Kiss

Circa 1975, Bombay…

James had invited me to a party at his place. He said it was a debut party for someone. Since I was not alone in Bombay anymore, I decided to take my new friend Marie to his party as a plus one. We reached his place at Parel on the particular evening. Marie was more excited than me as she was about to meet James for the first time. A man servant ushered us inside the huge duplex apartment. I had come here twice before, though I doubt if he had recognized me. He led us directly to the floor above where I had never been in my earlier visits. As we entered the hall through an unusually bolted door, it felt as if we had stepped into a different world altogether. It was an extremely strange and eerie hall for a debut party. The entire room was lined with cages as far as I could see. They had live snakes. And frogs. And baby alligators. The hall was dark except for soothing matted lights above each cage. I wasn’t absolutely dumbstruck, knowing James, but I surely had forgotten about Marie. As soon as I spotted James under the light of a cobra cage, I turned to Marie for an introduction. But she had vanished into thin air.

Image Courtesy: Google

Image Courtesy: Google

***

I was confused as to what astonished me more: The weird debut party by James? Or the disappearance of Marie? It was dark, but I could gauge at least thirty more people in the hall. Marie could have sneaked into the other side, though it was more likely for her to have fainted by this time. I had not revealed to her till now that James was a reptile supplier for the Hindi movies. She was crazy about movies and the tall heroes prancing around trees. I had just mentioned to her that James worked in those movies and she was ready to come to the party with me. Marie was actually a distant cousin of mine. I had stayed with her and Aunt Lily for a month in their tiny flat in Colaba when I arrived from Calcutta six months ago. As of now, six months later, Marie was my only friend in Bombay though I had known James since childhood.

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