Saturday, November 30, 2013

#BookReview : Hajar Churashir Maa by Mahasweta Devi

Synopsis (from Wikipedia):


Hajar Churashir Maa (means Mother of 1084) is story of a mother (Sujata) whose son (Brati), corpse number 1084 in the morgue, was brutally killed by the state because of his ideology. The story starts on the eve of Brati's death anniversary when Sujata recollects her son starting from the birth. She meets Brati's close accomplice and tries to justify Brati for his revolutionary mentalities. Throughout the story she is portrayed as a strong woman who fought against the odds. She is advised to forget her son, as people like her son are "cancerous growth on the body of democracy". It's the story of the mother as she relives, years later, the death of her son in the political upheaval that left almost no home untouched. Hajar Churashir Maa portrays the other faces of the human stories that emanated from the restless political adventure of the vibrant Bengal youth, which was ruthlessly cowed by the government.

Review:

I read Bengali literature once in a while, I am not as fluent with reading the fonts, as I am with English. Very recently, I read Hajar Churashir Maa which was remade into a Hindi film with the title Hazaar Chourasi Ki Maa.

The story is about corpse number 1084's mother, Sujata. 1084 was brutally killed by the state, because of his revolutionary activities. Sujata is shocked and remembers her son, his birth, infancy and every small incident. Mahasweta Devi is a difficult author to read. He language, nuances etc are of a higher intellect level, and I had to take my time in finishing this book. 

An interesting plot with complex characters, Mahasweta Devi, who in herself is quite a revolutionary too, as written a top notch book here. I am not stating this fact, this is already accepted and after reading translations of her books, I am agreeing to every word of praise I have heard about her, now that I managed to read her in Bangla, as well. 

A heart-wrenching tale of a mother who has lost her son, her good son whom the state has branded as a cancer to the society, a powerful story with minimal drama, a sneak peak to the Naxalite revolution, misplaced idealism and how the young, generation of urban Bengalis sacrificed themselves.

Rating: *****/5

[This was a personal read.]

Friday, November 29, 2013

#BookReview : Art of Life : Timeless Wisdom from the Gita by J. S. Mishra

On the jacket:

The Bhagavad Gita, popularly known as the Gita, is the Sacred Song of God. In its seven hundred shlokas, the ecstatic joy of devotion, importance of equanimity and the relationship of man with God are described in the most precise poetic language. The Gita, recited by Krishna to Arjuna as an exhortation while war rages around them, subtly raises the question of whether action or renunciation of action is better, and concludes that the path of action is better. At the end, Arjuna declares that his delusions have been destroyed and doubts dispelled, he is convinced to carry out his duty and follow the path of action. The message of the Gita is as relevant to the present day Kurukshetra of daily challenges and opportunities as it was for Arjuna in the great war of the Mahabharata. Art of Life - Timeless Wisdom from the Gita offers a clear understanding of the profound wisdom contained in the Bhagavad Gita, in simple and lucid language.

Review:

About 16 years ago, when my father was battling cancer, his state of mind, more than his health was a mess. He wasn't even 50, his child was still in school and his wife young. To top it all, a worries. My mother, in her numerous attempt to care of him, in every possible way, got him a set of audio cassettes, of Bhagvat Gita, music arranged by V Balsara. I really don't know how much it helped my father, but it helped me a lot, then and in the months to come. For years, I had been looking for those cassettes and if not, similar texts. In Art of Live: Timeless Wisdom from the Gita I found it. 

Neatly divided into 18 chapters and subsequent sub-chapters, this book present the Gita in probably the simplest possible way. The pattern is simple too. Each page has two lines, said by one person, it's English translation and then the explanation. Chapter One begins on the battlefield at Kurukshetra, with Dhritarashtra asking Sanjaya, what did his and Pandu's sons do on the holy land of Kurukshetra. 

The book is a very painstaking attempt to make Gita easy and accessible to everyone who wants to learn from it. The author has selected an assortment of 121 shlokas which are the most important ones and also form the core of our present day lives. The research, hardwork and presentation behind the entire book is evident and definitely worth an applause.

This is a book, one can keep as a guidebook for life. One doesn't need to be a believer of any religion, what is preached here is the same as is preached in every other religious book - how to be a good human being. When times are low, when problems seem bigger than us, when every path seems blocked - it's okay to sit back, breathe and speak to someone learned and gain some wisdom. Art Of Life, I think, is one such tool.

The cover of the book is beautiful, to say the least. Beautiful, and captivating. And calming. To me, every page was an episode, a chapter from life, something to learn from. You read a page and you sit back and think, such is this book. 

Rating: *****/5

[This was a PR request review. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

#BookReview: Delhi Mostly Harmless : One Womans Vision of the City by Elizabeth Chatterjee

On the jacket:

... Nobody who lives there, nobody at all, has much good to say about Delhi. Along with Milton Keynes, Detroit and Purgatory, Delhi is one of the worlds great unloved destinations.

So when Elizabeth Chatterjee makes her way from the cool hum of Oxford to the demented June heat of heat of Delhi to research her PhD, she find herself both baffled and curious about the je ne sais quoi of this city of graveyards and tombstones.

As flanur and sagacious resident, Liz takes us through the serpentine power structures, the idyll, the bullshit peeling layer after layer of the city's skin to reveal its aspirations, its insecurity, its charm and finally its urban dissonance.

Uncannily perceptive, predictive and hysterical, Delhi Mostly Harmless puts a firm finger on the electric pulse of Delhi

Review:

I am not sure where to begin from, if I am to review this book. The book is about a young girl, part Indian, but never lived in India, who comes to live in India. Delhi, to be more specific. She is here to research for her PhD. Now, to an average Indian, this is not very appealing. Foreigners come to India, visit the dirtiest and most shady parts of cities and take back those memories. India might now be Europe, but it definitely is not all sewage and creepy people.

In Delhi Mostly Harmless, Chatterjee initially describes a city (Delhi) which I fail to connect with. There is a section towards the beginning of the book, where the author states that Delhi doesn't hold on to the world map like New York, Paris and London; in fact the city has no dominance with in the country also. Umm ... I disagree. Delhi is pretty dominant within the country, and as much outside the country as India is; it's the capital of the country after all! Though yes, Delhi is one the most unloved destinations of the world.

Moving on with the book, Chatterjee has spoken about her family, it's mixed heritage and how life is for them back home. Rest of the book is about a young girl with an Indian surname, but a face of a foreigner, trying to live in Delhi while she works on her PhD. Now, if we, as Indians would move to Delhi to study, however meager our resources, we would pick areas different from what Chatterjee chose. Why? Simply because our priorities differ, we are not used to roughing it up, however less our means are. So, Chatterjee's experiences are what we would never face, or even heard of.

As of today, Delhi is the most maligned city in the country. Morally, more. Chatterjee's better judgement too warns her against setting foot here, but she does. And then begins a journey, part humorous, of her finding a place to stay and so on.

From an agonizing search for a place to stay, Chatterjee has spoken about it all - from traffic, to weather, to politics, sanitation or lack of it, gender issues, social discrimination, the nation's economy, the good - everything. Oh, and the Indian men. And their stalker tendencies. There are parts where I wished there were more dialogues than a plain report like pattern, but the book builds momentum and becomes interesting.

The sad part was, while she has an Indian surname and part India in her genes, the average Indian will always see her skin colour and think of the dollars and ways to fleece her off them.

Rating: ****/5

[This review is for Random House India. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

#BookReview : Stay Hungry Stay Foolish by Rashmi Bansal

On the jacket:

The inspiring stories of 25 IIM Ahmedabad graduates who chose the rough road of entrepreneurship. They are diverse in age, in outlook and the industries they made a mark in. But they have one thing in common: they believed in the power of their dreams. This book seeks to inspire young graduates to look beyond placements and salaries. To believe in their dreams.

Review:

This book had been lying around at home since quite some time now, my husband had read it and absolutely loved it. He'd been egging me to read this for a while now, so I picked it up one evening and stayed awake most of the night, hogging the chapters, one by one. 

Inspirational? Yes. The collection of real life success stories are sure inspirational. But, it also looks like a project work. Also, while it is marvelous to see how these ppl have moved out of the secure 9to5 job lines and made it large; doesn't mean the rest of the world will. The in thing these days is to quit full time jobs and open startups. Out of 100s, 10 of these actually work enough to pay the founder's bills. Yes, it's their wish and they can chose whatever line of work they wish to. But, see a few famous people, reading about them, shouldn't be the deciding factor to how you earn your living right? I personally know people who use this book as bible, I hope to see them in a future version of this book, some day. 

The book in itself, is an amazing collection of 25 real life short stories of people who have dared to think beyond the obvious and succeeded in their lines of work. However, all of them have degrees from IIMA, I would think a lot of credit goes to the institute to train it's students who can dare to go independent rather than join an already established organisation.

Rating: ***/5

[This is a personal review.]

#BookReview : Five Point Someone: What Not to Do at IIT by Chetan Bhagat

On the jacket:



Set in IIT, in the early '90s, Five Point Someone portrays the lives of the protagonist Hari and his two friends Ryan and Alok. It explores the darker side of IIT, one in which students- having worked for years to make it into the institute-struggle to maintain their grades, keep their friends and have some kind of life outside studies.

Funny, dark and non-stop, Five Point Someone is the story of three friends whose measly five-point something GPAs come in the way of everything-their friendship, their love life, their future. Will they make it?

Review:

Recently, I was visiting my extended family, and was not carrying a book along. I rarely did so. As expected, I found myself getting bored and was cursing myself when I saw Five Point Someone lying about. Now, I had read this book back in 2006 and had quiet liked it. Frankly, whatever opinions we all have about Mr Bhagat, one has to admit, when his first book came, it was quite a fresh breath of air, in the reading circuit. The plot was new, light and something all youth could identify with.

So I read this book again, cover to cover. It was difficult to ignore the fact that Bhagat's books after this one have, despite making a lot of money and movie rights, deteriorated in the terms of writing & story telling. Reading about youngsters in simple language, was a fresh relief back in 2006. Till then, the only Indian authors we were reading, are international award winner level of writers - not everyone can fathom their writings.

Five Point Something is about three friends at IIT and the regular shenanigans. Won't get into the story any further, this book has already been made into a movie.

This is a good book for someone who wants start reading, to begin a reading habit with - if the person is a grown up already.

Rating: ***/5

[This was a personal read.]

#BookReview : Been There Bungled That by Paddy Rangappa

On the jacket:


Jagannath Srinivasan, also referred to as Jags, is a bright albeit, highly confused, upwardly mobile male armed with an enviable IIT+IIM education. He drifts through life in benign auto pilot, easily swayed by things he reads, people he meets, and advice he receives. One day while trying to break into his professors house to submit a late assignment he chances upon a girl who he ultimately marries. 

Armed with a wife, he is let loose to make his mark on the world. Step aboard as Jags goes from one job to another and one country to another with his self-deprecating humour and idiosyncratic view of cultures. Life is infinitely happier when you can laugh at yourself experience it with the lovable Jags as he bungles and stumbles through it. 

Review:

When I read the blurb of this book, my first reaction was, "Oh! Another IIT+IIM story." and to be frank I began reading this book with not much of an interest. But two pages down, and I was quiet enjoying it.

The story is about Tamil boy Jagannath Srinivasan, Jags, from a well to-do nuclear family, and begins when he is doing his engineering from IIT. Rangappa has shown very subtle humour all throughout the book. In fact, on the cover of the book, there is a comment which refers to Rangappa as 'Wodehouse of India'. When I saw that, I actually stared at it with disbelief. No shit, that's no even possible! But no, Rangappa, does have a Wodehouse-ish streak to his writing. Subtle yet impressive takes on how we in India, sign up for courses based on a college's ranking, apply for jobs in offices which are ranked higher and don't really pause to think, what do we want?

The book has many chapters. Many. And that is the first good thing about it. Each chapter is an event and is not more than 2-3 pages. This also ensures that no event is dragged, instead, is crisp and captivating. There are some proof-reading errors, but that doesn't hamper the reading experience, to be frank. The author doesn't stretch the story much over the college or romance bit, which I loved. Jags' life moves one, one chapter at a time, and all through the book, you would either laugh out loud, or have a lop-sided grin on your face. Such is this book.

Rangappa is known to write, he has his own newspaper column. But writing a story is a different ball game altogether, yet it's difficult to fathom that this is his debut book. 

Rating: ****/5

[This review is for Random House India. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

Thursday, November 28, 2013

#BookReview : The Zoya Factor by Anuja Chauhan

On the jacket:



When the younger players in India's cricket team find out that advertising executive Zoya Singh Solanki was born at the very moment India won the World Cup back in 1983, they are intrigued. When having breakfast with her is followed by victories on the field, they are impressed. And when not eating with her results in defeat, they decide she's a lucky charm.

The nation goes a step further.

Amazed at the ragtag team's sudden spurt of victories, it declares her a Goddess.

So when the eccentric IBCC president and his mesmeric, always-exquisitely-attired Swamiji invite Zoya to accompany the team to the tenth ICC World Cup, she has no choice but to agree.

Pursued by international cricket boards on the one hand, wooed by Cola majors on the other, Zoya struggles to stay grounded in the thick of the world cup action. And it doesn't help that she keeps clashing with the erratically brilliant new skipper who tells her flatly that he doesn't believe in luck…

Review:

I had read Chauhan's Battle of Bittora first, and then, Zoya Factor. Set in a completely different background, this book is about Zoya Solanki. A funny, refreshing read, it has a distinct Anuja Chauhan flavour to it.

An advertising exec, Zoya Solanki finds herself in the middle of Cricket and the Indian cricket team. The team believes she is their lucky charm and she is coaxed into accompanying them to a tour in Australia and have breakfast with them everyday, before a match. Everyone loves this, except the skipper, Nikhil Khoda, who feels all this about t lucky charm helping them win matches, is taking away all credits from their hard work. In between, all this, the story is peppered with quintessential middle class Delhi and ad campaigns.

A laugh-riot, this is a far cry from chic-lit. Zoya Factor is a humorous take on life of an ad professional and the Indian cricket team.

Rating: ****/5

[This was a personal read.]

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

#BookReview: The Jadoo of Your Love by S. R. Saha

On the jacket:


In the final year of college, Anurag's life was falling apart he vowed never to see Aditya, his best friend of many years again. Of course, what Aditya did was unpardonable! Not just losing his best friend, Anurag's love Urmi too got married to someone else the day unemployed. Anurag got the job of a flight purser in an airline company. But life has its twists and turns and one never knows where it will take him. Anurag too could have never imagined all that happened thereafter. In this page-turner of a spellbinding novel, every reader would ride the crests and troughs of myriad emotions, love, hate, anger, depression, excitement and joy that fill life's every moment and savor the essence of true love that is mystic and magical.

Review: 

The Jadoo of your Love is about Anurag, a loner, with just one friend Mote. The story begins form his first day at college and majorly about him and his life with Mote and Urmi, his lady love. After college, Anurag starts working as a flight purser. Here come a lot of incidents which don't really lead to anywhere. 

Characters are not really well-defined and the narration is loose. Anurag is shown to set fire in an airplane and now jobless, he is shown to join Ram Gopal Verma, learn about direction and become a director himself. Some events like this, are so absurd in the book, that I was not sure how to react. 

Towards the end of the book, things rush on. Life suddenly becomes simpler for Anurag and he is reunited with Mote and Urmi. The plot is pretty aimless and one doesn't really know what the story is trying to say.

Rating: **/5


[This review is for Srishti Publishers & Distributors. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

#BookReview : Final Cut by Uday Gupt

On the jacket:


Six fast-paced, gripping short stories and a short novella, each with a Final Cut -- a surprising, unexpected and intriguing twist in the last paragraphs. In Hodsons Gold, a quest for the legacy of one of the most colourful characters of the Indian Mutiny of 1857 leads, via a poem in code and a coded poem, straight to a thoroughly startling address in Delhi. Two boys grow up, together after a fashion, in the 1990s and 2000s in Bishnupur, West Bengal and Kolkata, in Friends and their growing up years trigger an international sensation when revealed. Shooting for an improbable 4th Pulitzer Prize, a three-time winner arrives in Kolkatas Red Light district to discover, even more improbably, that It Happens Only in India. After setting up a roaringly successful business and after thirty-seven years, Will Reena? -- readers are asked, in the only short novella in the collection. It turns out, in The Last Supper, that the human models for a painting done over two hundred years ago in Kolkata were keepers of wholly unexpected secrets. On a Buddha Purnima day 2,000 years ago, the holiest day in the Buddhist calendar, a miracle occurs in Sarnath near Varanasi that should, by rights, have been recorded long ago in an immensely better book than this. And finally, in the story that lends its name to this book, magic, religion and celebrities combine in the Kolkata of 2011, to lead to a very different Final Cut.

Review:

I love reading short stories. But, they are the most difficult to write. And very rarely comes a collection of short stories, where each story is brilliant. Final Cut falls in the bracket of a good collection of short stories.

Hodsons' Gold, the first story, begins in 1857 during the sepoy mutiny. And ends decades later. During the raids back in 1857, Hudson, a British officer had looted from the rich in Delhi and hidden the loot, leaving behind a set of clues which cannot be deciphered. Generations of his main aide, Rajab Ali, find to decipher the clues but they cannot. Are they ever able to crack the clue? What do they find?

Friends is a story of friendship between two people - Ganesh, a rich man's son and Shiva, a naxal leader's son. This story is my personal favourite. I have grown up hearing tales from my mother, of how the most brilliant and promising youth from her college in Calcutta, would leave everything and join the Naxals, back in the mid-70s when she was in college. This story began with my memories of Maa's stories, becoming fresh.

In It Happens Only In India, a Pulitzer prize winner, is in India to do a story on the red light area residents of Sonagachi and through it, subsequently, win his fourth Pulitzer. Something happens here, which justifies the title of the story. Interesting, indeed.

The fourth story in the book is a novella. Title Will Reena? is about Sukumar and Reena who have journeyed from rags to riches, and on the morning of Reena's daughter's wedding, she receives a letter from him. Mystified, she wonders why he would write to her when they have spoke to each other several times in a day; in person and over the phone.

Set in Sarnath, the fourth story, Buddha Purnima is about the huge feast that is organised on the eve of Buddha Purnima. All is set, but the grains have not arrived. Chaos strikes, when a young boy mysteriously provides grains! How?

Gupt has take the painting by Johann Zoffany, The Last Supper and created a short story by the same name. The characters/figures in the painting are British officers who have been posted in India at some time or other. Two of them commit suicide. We find out why, in the story.

The last story in the book is of the same title as that of the book itself, Final Cut. It is a story about a failed magician, Arup Sen, who, in the story is about to do his one final act of magic which will give him money and fame beyond his imagination.

All the stories have distinct surprise element and like with all good collections of short stories, you need to take a break away from the book, once you have finished reading one story, and let the plot sink in. The climax in each story comes out from no where and is totally unexpected. Styles of writing vary with each plot. The only thing that could have been better, is probably, a little less time given for the story to build up.

Final Cut doesn't seem like a debut book at all, and has been written with the finesse and precision of a seasoned author. 

Rating: ****.5/5

[This is a PR request review. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

Saturday, November 23, 2013

#BookReview: When You Became My Life by Anshul sharma

On the jacket:


Neevs life is marked with castastrophes after losing his parents and almost everything he owned, he finds refuge with his friend Aadi in Agra. Living with an old friend in a new house, busy with a new job in a new environment revives him, somewhat. And then, life happens. As he bumps into love and tries to keep running away from it, love follows him as Aashi a small-town girl with larger than life aspirations and a novel dream. Neev sets out to fulfil her dream but he has to pay a coast for it. Either love or life. What will he choose to let go? When You Became My Life is a story spun by destiny. It is a story of a young boy who takes it upon himself to defeat all odds and be one with love.

Review:

A regular boy meets girl story with a slightly different touch to it. Stories which involve the plot being divided into different time frames, make for an interesting plot. The narrator is Neev and the other prime characters are Aadi, his friend and Aashi, the love of his life. 

A very nice pattern to the story, however, it could have been given a better treatment. Sharma has included some very interesting instances in the plot. Editing leaves a bit to be desired. Characters are well-defined and the book is a quick read, ideal for when travelling.

Rating: **.5/5

[This review is for Srishti Publishers & Distributors. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

#BookReview : The Shadow Throne by Aroon Raman

On the jacket:


India faces nuclear Armageddon.

A mysterious murder at the Qutub Minar triggers a call to ace journalist Chandrasekhar from his cop acquaintance, Inspector Syed Ali Hassan. The victim is unlike anyone Chandra has ever seen: a white Caucasian male who has all the looks of a throwback to Greek antiquity. Soon after, Hassan calls in to report the case has been taken away from him – in all likelihood by RAW – the Research & Analysis Wing, the uber-agency of Indian intelligence.

What began as a murder enquiry soon morphs into a deadly game of hide-and-seek within the shadowy world of Pakistan’s ISI and India’s RAW; and Chandra, his friend history professor Meenakshi Pirzada and Hassan find themselves in a race against time to avert a sub-continental nuclear holocaust. 

As the action moves to its hair-raising climax among the Hindu Kush Mountains of Afghanistan, Chandra must face up to the fact that Inspector Hassan is not all that he seems …

Review:

The Shadow Throne begins with journalist Chandra, who is reminiscing about his wife, being called to a murder scene at Qutub Minar, by Hassan who is a cop. At the crime scene, further investigations reveal, it was not just some random murder but hints of a nuclear holocaust. What begins as a murder mystery, takes shape of something much more, with ISI and RAW involved, which Chandra with his friend Meenakshi, and Hassan try to get into the root of.

A cult group, which is long dead, is trying to divide Pakistan, and have a new nation of their own. So, they are getting missiles from Afghanistan, to launch them at India and China; which would push Pakistan into a corner, to be bombed over by the US. Pakistan will be destroyed and the cult can form a new country out of it's parts.

The journalist in me, loves mysteries that are solved by journalists, even in books. The Shadow Throne didn't disappoint me one bit. Very fast-paced, the book had my eyes glued and heart beats racing. I was told by a couple of others who had already read the book, that it's unputdownable. And how!

A very tight plot, crisp editing (albeit poor proof-reading, as there are quite a few typos and this can be rectified in the next print), and written with the comfortable ease of being a seasoned author, this book is far cry from what one would expect a debut novel to be. Loved how India and Pakistan, ISI and RAW have been woven into a plot and the way they have been projected. Thrillers are not easy to pen down, and keep the reader captivated is definitely not. Raman has done a very good job in The Shadow Throne. The cover design is interesting too.

Rating: ****/5

[Rating: This is an author request review. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

#BookReview : Teardrop (Teardrop #1) by Lauren Kate

On the jacket:

Never, ever cry... 

Seventeen-year-old Eureka won't let anyone close enough to feel her pain. After her mother was killed in a freak accident, the things she used to love hold no meaning. She wants to escape, but one thing holds her back: Ander, the boy who is everywhere she goes, whose turquoise eyes are like the ocean. And then Eureka uncovers an ancient tale of romance and heartbreak, about a girl who cried an entire continent into the sea. Suddenly her mother's death and Ander's appearance seem connected, and her life takes on dark undercurrents that don't make sense. Can everything you love be washed away?

Review:

The first thing I notice about Teardrop is it's cover, so pretty. And so dreamlike. I never read a book's back jacket before reading it, so seeing it's cover, I had conjured in my mind, a fair tale-ish story. But what I found inside was in stark contrast.

The book is about Eureka, who never cries. She doesn't even shed a drop of tear at her mother's funeral. Her mother and she were together in a car accident; she lived while her mother died. Eureka loses all will to live and wants to end it when she meets Ander. Ander is mysterious in a way, he is always there where she is. Big time stalker. 

Eureka isn't very likeable and there isn't much one gets to know about Ander. Eureka's best friend seemed nice though. A young adult romance, which is highly predictable, not much of a story though it's a thick book. Pretty disappointing. 

Rating: **/5

[This review is for Random House India. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]


#BookReview : Night Film by Marisha Pessl

On the jacket:

A page-turning thriller for readers of Stephen King, Gillian Flynn, and Stieg Larsson, Night Film tells the haunting story of a journalist who becomes obsessed with the mysterious death of a troubled prodigy—the daughter of an iconic, reclusive filmmaker.

On a damp October night, beautiful young Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley’s life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive cult-horror-film director Stanislas Cordova—a man who hasn’t been seen in public for more than thirty years.

For McGrath, another death connected to this seemingly cursed family dynasty seems more than just a coincidence. Though much has been written about Cordova’s dark and unsettling films, very little is known about the man himself.

Driven by revenge, curiosity, and a need for the truth, McGrath, with the aid of two strangers, is drawn deeper and deeper into Cordova’s eerie, hypnotic world.

The last time he got close to exposing the director, McGrath lost his marriage and his career. This time he might lose even more.

Night Film, the gorgeously written, spellbinding new novel by the dazzlingly inventive Marisha Pessl, will hold you in suspense until you turn the final page.

Review:

When I took Night Film in my hand to read, I was overwhelmed by it's size. I flipped through the pages, and even before I started reading, I guessed how detailed it is. From the moment I read the first page to the last, I moved from my place only because I was hungry or had things to do. And during those (almost) three days, I would go around double checking the doors and windows; thankfully my beds are built such that I don't need to check under them.

Horror movie director Stanislas Cordoza's musician daughter Ashley dies under mysterious circumstances. There is a lot of hidden secret and haze, about the Cordoza family. While the police has let go of the case as a suicide, investigative journalist Scott Mc Grath, who has a history with the Cordoza's decides to investigate Ashley's death.

Amazing narration, it will keep your eyes glued to the page you are reading and heart thumping in your mouth. A very well-crafted mystery novel, this will give you the chills and make you go WOW! There are pictures, case files, and notes; the book has every ingredient to pick you up, take you inside it's pages and keep you there until you finish the story. If you love thrillers and mysteries, you simply have to have a read!

Rating: *****/5

[This review is for Random House India. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

#BookReview : Sycamore Row (Jake Brigance #2) by John Grisham

On the jacket:


'Fight them, Mr Brigance. To the bitter end. We must prevail.'

Jake Brigance has never met Seth Hubbard, or indeed even heard of him, until the old man's suicide note names him attorney for his estate. The will is dynamite. Seth has left ninety per cent of his vast, secret fortune to his housemaid.

As the relatives contest the will, and unscrupulous lawyers hasten to benefit, Jake searches for answers to the many questions left by Seth Hubbard's death:

What made him write that last-minute will leaving everything to a poor black woman named Lettie Lang?

Why did he choose to kill himself on the desolate piece of land known as Sycamore Row?

And what was it that Seth and his brother witnessed as children that, in his words, 'no human should ever see'?

In the long-awaited successor to the novel that launched his phenomenal career, John Grisham brings us the powerful sequel to A Time to Kill. As filled with page-turning twists as it is with legal mastery, Sycamore Row proves beyond doubt that John Grisham is in a league of his own.

Review:

I have been a big, big fan of John Grisham since the time I was around 15. His books are the only place where for me, a courtroom is the most exciting place on the earth. However, of late, I was not able to connect with his books,with the Theodore Boon series. With Sycamore Row, my faith in one of my favourite authors just got restored.

Sycamore Row picks up from where The Time To Kill stopped. Most of us have read The Time To Kill quite long back, so it might be a good idea to brush up with what really happened in the book. I know, I needed to. The book begins three years after where ATtK stopped, with Jack Brigance. 

Seth Hubbard kills himself by hanging from a tree and leaves a hand written letter where he wants Jack to defend himself. He leaves a new will, this a hand-written one, where he negates all that was in his proper will which was made 3 years ago, and leaves most of his money to his housekeeper. 

The story takes a bit to develop, but slowly we have a fast past legal thriller in hand. If you are a Grisham fan, you are going to lap this book up and your faith in the author will be restored too. Mine was.

Rating: ****.5/5

[This review is for Hachette India. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

#BookReview: The Himalayan Revelation by Pankaj Misra

On the jacket:


The Himalayan Revelation is a work of fiction but developed using genuine facts from history and modern times. It is a gripping tale of mystery, adventure, romance and international intrigue.

Today Hampi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But around 450 years back, this capital of the magnificent Vijayanagar Empire was brutally plundered and devastated. But before it happened, its masters hid a secret. Centuries later, a young couple chance upon an object that holds a secret much more than Hampi had hidden, in a place 2000 miles far north of Hampi - the Himalayas. The Himalayas have something to tell and when they do - two nations become so desperate to get it that they are ready to go to any lengths, even global annihilation.

What happens next is thrill laced, fast paced adventure. Read the book to find out more...

Review:

Himalayan Revelation is about Gaurav, who is on a vacation in the Himalayas. He goes to Leh wanting to explore monastries and this is where he meets a Chinese tourist Shunyan. While on the first day of his journey, there is a landslide and Gaurav's vehicle loses it's grip on the road. After he gains consciousness, Gaurav finds himself in a monastry where he is being treated by a monk and a Tibetan medicine man.

When he returns back to his city and work, he gets a new project for which he has to head off to Hampi for their project. Hampi used to be the ancient capital of the Vijayanagar Empire. Here, Gaurav and his project partner Natasha find some intricate cravings in an underground room of a temple, which Gaurav finds familiar. And thus begins the roller-coaster ride.

Very well-researched plot, characters are well-defined and there are so many twists & turns in the plot, the author has managed to keep me glued from cover to cover. Easy to read, though the plot is a little long. The transition from past to present was smooth and very well-orchestrated.

Rating: ****/5

[The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.]

Saturday, November 16, 2013

#BookReview: Gods, Kings & Slaves: The Siege of Madurai by R. Venketesh

On the jacket:


War is coming... An ancient kingdom will meet a devastating new enemy. 

Peninsular India, fourteenth century. The Pandyan empire is at its peak, its enemies subdued and its people at peace. Having left behind his step-brother Sundar in the race to the throne, Crown Prince Veera Pandyan is set to rule from Madurai, reputed to be the richest city in the subcontinent. But invisible fractures within the kingdom threaten to destroy it, and a new enemy approaches, swifter than anyone can imagine.

In Delhi, Sultan Alauddin Khilji’s trusted general, the eunuch Malik Kafur, has trained his eyes on the distant south, fabled for its riches. A slave captured by the Khiljis, Kafur is renowned for his ambition and cunning. None, not even the mighty Mongols, have defeated him – no empire can withstand the trail of destruction he leaves in his wake. And all he wants is to see Madurai on its knees, its wealth pillaged, its temples destroyed.

As an ancient city combusts in flames of treachery, bloodlust and revenge, brother will battle brother, ambition will triumph over love, slaves will rise to rule, cities will be razed to dust, and the victor will be immortalized in history...

Review:

I have been reading quite a few books on Indian mythology and history of late, and each one stuns me more than the one I read before it. This is a genre I have started reading recently, and, I am amazed at the scope it has. Gods, Kings & Slaves: The Siege of Madurai is a well-researched, delicately planned plot about the siege of the city of Madurai.

Characters I have not read about, are introduced in this book and for someone who has always found history fascinating, this is a treasure trove. Khilji's general Kafur has his eyes on a kingdom in the south. Cunning that he was, Kafur was ambitious as well. Venkatesh, in his book, helps us understand Kafur better. The book is not something you breeze through, but take slow bites into the pages, reading a bit and recollecting a bit from own memory. It's like wine, you don't just gulp it down your throat. 

A tale of love, lust, ambition, revenge, fallen brotherhood and treachery - Gods, Kings & Slaves is a must read if you are a lover of history, or if Indian history fascinates you even a little bit. It's also a good book, if you want to venture into this genre of books. Very well-scripted, smooth language and good editing, this is a book to keep.

Rating: ****/5

[This review is for Hachette India. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

#BookReview : Local Monsters by Samit Basu

On the jacket:


That first year in a new city is always tough, especially if that city is Delhi. New job, new friends, new problems. Falling in love, dealing with your neighbours, simply surviving. The sitcom life. Its difficult enough for humans. For monsters its far worse. Because a few fangs and horns and supernatural powers really don't equip you to deal with the sheer hostility of the everyday world around you. But they do make you a target. You have secret government agencies, inter dimensional conspiracies and all kinds of other bizarre nonsense to deal with. Everyone you meet wants to kill you or run your life. But you still have to pay the electricity bill in time.

Review:

I won Local Monsters in a contest sponsored by the publishers, over Diwali, on twitter and it arrived yesterday. It's been a while since I read graphic novels and finding one right in front of me, I read it immediately.

I will talk about the art first, because it makes up for 50% of a graphic novel. Brilliant! This was my first Indian graphic novel and I was highly impressed. The art work is apt to situations and dialogues and there is such attention to detail. 

The story is about four youngsters Latha, Bela, Tashi and Indra are the Local Monsters. A fantasy story, of how these four deal with their new life in a new city - Delhi. Quite an interesting take, I enjoyed reading Local Monsters.

Rating: ****/5

[This was a personal read.]

#BookReview : Leading Ladies by Sudha Menon

On the jacket:


Leading Ladies is an inspirational book that follows the journeys of some of India’s most-admired women achievers who have made a difference to society with their stellar work and other pursuits that touch our lives, in more Ways than one. This volume brings alive their unique stories with personal anecdotes that will serve as a beacon for many of us.
While a lot has been written about how these women have achieved success, the book aims to highlight the guiding principles of their lives, the personal and professional beliefs that drive them, the life and management practices that have always stood them in good stead, and the non negotiables that have guided them on their path to success.
What makes the woman professional/ entrepreneur/achiever/leader tick? What is it that drives them? What are the rules by which they play the game? Is there a level playing field for women? Do women need a level playing field? Is there something males can learn from their female colleagues? Are women leaders also from Venus along with the rest of their clan or do they belong to Mars too? These influencers are well-equipped to provide the right insights.
The author borrows from her journalistic experience to elicit a fresh View from some of India's brightest minds; trendsetters who have not just carved a name for themselves in their chosen path, but have become the torch bearers for countless others in urban and rural India who want to follow their dreams, reach their goals, and give back to society.

Review:

Author, Sudha Menon mailed me one day asking if I would like to review Leading Ladies. Now, I have read Legacy and totally treasure it. There was no reason why I wouldn't want to read this book as well, so, obviously, I lapped up to it.

Leading Ladies talks about Naina Lal Kidwai, Amrita Patel, Anu Aga, Vinita Bali, Lila Poonawalla, Kalpana Morparia,Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Mallika Sarabhai, Meher Pudumjee, Priya Paul, PT Usha, Shaheen Mistri, Shikha Sharma, and, Shubha Mudgal. Quite an interesting list, isn't it? Women from varied walks of life - some who struggled for what they achieved, some got it in the platter and still had to prove their worth.

While Kalpana Morparia had always been a career woman, balancing personal and professional life to her best when calamity struck in her life; Anu Aga was literally thrown into managing a company she didn't know much about. Amrita Patel studied to be a Vet and made her mark in a company which only hired men. How did they do this? While some were born with the grit, some had to develop it. 

One thing has been going on in my mind since a while now, and reading Leading Ladies only confirmed it - You *cannot* achieve a lot, without walking the rocky path. If your life is smooth, rest assured, it will be also be mediocre
And if you are a woman, life will be more unfair, there will be more struggles to tackle. Doesn't mean men have any less woes, but a woman has to balance every aspect of her life. Doing such, it's not easy to reach the top. Yet, some have reached there. Though the number is less, the journey has begun. It's for us, the younger lot, to derive inspirations from these women, learn from their lives and build our confidence, strengthen our focus.

Amongst all these businesswomen, Shubha Mudgal's name struck me as odd. I mean, Ms Mudgal is a famous and loved singer, what is her story? But here comes the story. When you have made your name, you would think life would be easy? Doesn't happen that way, no one said life would ever be easy. When she wanted to record and release the biggest rendition of her life, all she got was dismissal. Did she gave up? She gave up on her bank balance instead, to ensure the project lived.

Leading Ladies is a highly inspiration set of real life renditions. And no, this is not only for women to gain inspiration from, men should read it to. I have just passed it on to my husband to read.

Rating: *****/5

[This is an author request review. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

#BookReview: Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth

On the jacket:

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories. 

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love. 

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

Review:

I have not read the first two books of the Divergent series, though I have heard a lot about them - some good and some not so good. However, after having read Allegiant, I simply need to read the first two and then re-read this one, just for the feel of completing the series. 

I read about the first two books in the series, briefly, to get an idea of what I would be reading in Allegiant. I have heard from fans of this series, that this book doesn't hold up to the expectations set by the first two books. But, sorry to disagree, individually, this book blew me over. So much, that my emotions lay scattered out there, for a long while. And by the end of the book, I was drained. 

Carrying on from where book two left, Tris, Tobias, Christina, Uriah, Cara and Tori leave the city to find the truth. But what they discover, is not what they were prepared for. I am a little worried about how much of the plot to delve into or how much to leave out, in this review, but I can be clear about one thing. Allegiant will devastate you to the core, it did that to me!

Rating: ****/5

[This review is for Harper Collins India. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

#AuthorInterview : Clark Prasad

He was born Suraj Prasad and grew up to be a pharmacist who holds a management degree. His alter ego Clark Prasad makes him write brilliant books. I read his book, Baramulla Bomber, as a part of the BlogAdda Review Program and loved it, just a few pages in. A health care management consultant based out of Bengaluru, Prasad wrote because he wanted to be immortalise his name. In conversation with Clark Prasad: 

Congratulations on such a huge success of the book! It was unputdownable from the first few pages itself. How did you manage this!?
Sheer doggedness determination and not taking a no for an answer. Wanted to be immortal and that was the motivation of keep pushing myself.
Did you frame the characters based on your friends and yourself, or built them on a fresh mould? 
Most character were built on fresh mould. But some of the characteristics were developed based my different moods. Some past stories were given shape on how things would have turned, if different chain of events would have happened.
Why this genre? Was writing to get published pre-planned, or you started looking for publishers after you had a draft with you?
I wanted to write something which i would want to read. I felt the need for a thriller of international proportion was missing in the Indian market. Globally the Techno Thrillers genre - Tom Clancy, Matthew Reilley have a great number of readers. I wanted to develop a Techno Thriller with a mythology aspect - so the world's first TMT - Techno Mythology Thriller.
I started looking for publisher after i got the first draft done.
Tell us something about your struggle with getting published. We have a fair idea that it isn’t a cake walk. But how was the real deal for you?
Some 20+ rejections or no call returns. No agent wanted to represent me, or those who talked adviced me wrongly. I waited and ensured the book is edited and flow done, and then self-published it. Within a week Niyogi books came and offered a 3 book contract. In short it was painful.
How and when did you decide to be a published author? Was it always a plan, or did you start thinking on the lines when you thought you had a plot with you.
2009. I started writing after seeing Shawshank Redemption. - the movie changed my life and I wanted to by Andy. The words from the movie - fear holds your prisoner and hope sets you free. I wanted to be free so started writing
I then thought i need to write something big... with a big idea. The idea - How to find peace in Kashmir. And the big question where did Humanity come from?
Any brickbats which really hurt, yet?
Many. The biggest pain, the book not been available across the country in shops. The pain of doing every thing on one's own with no/very low guidance or help.
What next? New genre; or you would want to stick to the current genre?
Same Genre for the next two parts. Part two touches a bit of para-normal also. Post the three books - will do something different.
Who do you read, who are your favourites?
I read thrillers or suspense mostly. Robin Cook, Mathew Riley, James, Rollins, Sir Conan Doyle.
People pass snide remarks saying anyone can be a reader now. True to an extent, because there is a lot of average and below average reading material out there, but one cannot deny that there are some really talented writers. Does this perception affect writers in any way?
Every reader is important and have their choices. My book is a book which only an intellectual mind will understand. No harm... Svastiki trilogy is not for everyone, and i do not know everyone and anyone to read it. If one has a intellectual stimulating mind. A mind which is inquisitive, then the book is for you. Such books are absent in the market now, and i wanted fill this void. 
Is it as easy to be a writer as it seems, with publishing houses mushrooming and more titles on the racks than eyes to read them?
Sholay syndrome.... when Sholay got it - boom - movies with horses needed. Similar there was a time in Hindi cinema when an Heroine needed to be in rain dance/wet sari.... so if book with kissing and sex is doing good - package it like a romantic book and BAM BAM! Publish in such numbers, that it spreads like a virus. Result - numbing of the minds with the same kind of genre coming out.
So its not easy for a write who wants to be something different. 
Any to-dos for wannabe authors?
Keep writing and motivate other writers. Follow your heart, write what you want and not what the market wants. Remember a good book can not only last a generation but civilization. So invest time in a good book, a book which can re-define you. After all, you will die - but your words will live on.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

#BookReview: The Blood Telegram : India's Secret War in East Pakistan by Gary J. Bass

On the jacket:


In 1971, the Pakistani army launched an devastating crackdown on what was then East Pakistan (todays independent Bangladesh), killing thousands of people and sending ten million refugees fleeing into India. The events also sparked the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War. Drawing on recently declassified documents, unheard White House tapes and meticulous investigative reporting, Gary Bass gives us an unprecedented chronicle of the break-up of Pakistan and Indias role in it. This is the path-breaking account of Indias real motives, the build-up to the war and the secret decisions taken by Indira Gandhi and her closest advisers. This book is also the story of how two of the worlds great democracies - India and the United States - dealt with one of the most terrible humanitarian crises of the twentieth century. Gary Bass writes a revealing account of how the Bangladeshis became collateral damage in the great game being played by America and China, with Pakistan as the unlikely power broker. The United States embrace of the military dictatorship in Islamabad would affect geopolitics for decades, beginning a pattern of American anti-democratic engagement in Pakistan that went back far beyond General Musharraf. The Blood Telegram is a revelatory and compelling work, essential reading for anyone interested in the recent history of our region.

Review:

With part of my roots tracing back to East Pakistan, or as we know, Bangladesh, I have always been curious about the country. The part of my family which hails from Bangladesh, had moved to this side, when my grandfather was a pre-teen. So, there isn't much I have heard from tales. I needed some reading material. All I knew, was that people from there infiltrate into our country and our songs.

A well-researched book, written from an outsider's point of view, The Blood Telegram gives us an account of the partition - what led to it, how it happened and what happened after the partition. I have heard of tales of the war, from my mother, an account of those last few days when India had joined in. Her accounts were those of someone living in Calcutta, far from where the war was - still it was sad. 

The Blood Telegram is a depressing account of war, death, people losing everything they had, clamor for power, a description of war hardly spoken about, but a war in which too much was lost and very less gained. Very well-scripted and smooth, don't let the thickness of the book fool you, it is actually quite a quick read, it's so nicely written

Rating: *****/5

[This review is for Random House India. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]


#BookReview: Millionaire by Dayal Madan

On the jacket:


Billions of people, with zillions of dreams. Dreams that say I want to be rich, I want to see my favorite car in the garage of my beach-house, I want to have everything I want. It’s true that money can’t buy happiness, ‘cause it is happiness. But do dreams really turn into reality? Can an ordinary life be deciphered to extra-ordinary?
Bank balance of hundreds of millions, colossal apartment, resplendent black car, and retirement in the early twenties; he had everything. But it all appeared void to him. He was incomplete without his first and very last vish. The happiness couldn't buy him his vish. Can love be ever so strong that it can overshadow all the luxuries? Is the love he lost ever coming back? What about the promises he made? When he had nothing, he wanted everything. When he had everything, he felt nothing. He was Dev Arora, a multi-millionaire.

Review:

One thing special about this book, is that it has been authored by someone who broke barriers and founded his own publishing company. The book has attractive fonts and the pages are number in a different manner - they are in Roman numerals and on the outer, bottom corner of the page, placed vertically.

A college romance, where they are dating, she breaks and later he wins her over. A bit unrealistic and dream-like. The tale is inspiring but kind of falls flat before it sizzles. Dev Arora, the protagonist is a multi-millionaire. He is invited to a college to speak on Valentine's Day. Here he speaks about his own love life and the love of his life. In this he talks about his journey from being a college student to where he is now.

Editing was disappointing and extremely novice. Good editing could have given the story the lift it needed. However, keeping in mind this is the first publication by the publishing house, the path ahead is only upwards and towards the better.

Rating: **.5/5

[This is an author request review. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

#AuthorInterview : Anand Neelakantan

He took a mythological character who has always been promoted as evil and wrong, and presented him to us as another regular person - with his strength and the reasons for his vices. His book ASURA made us fall in love with, and respect Ravana. His new book, AJAYA, which will put the Kauravas in a fresh perspective. Here I am, in conversation with  Anand Neelakantan, one of the top contenders for the Crossword Popular Award 2013 final list of five. 

Congratulation on ASURA being such a raving success. Did you expect it to be so well-received?
It is a dream come true to any author. When I was toiling for 6 years and was doubting about my skills about telling a good story over the pile of rejection letters I used to get, in my wildest imaginations, I had not thought about a success like this.
When you wrote ASURA, not many authors were writing about mythology as there are now. Was this genre a conscious choice?
I wanted to tell the story of Ravana. I did not worry about which genre is popular and which would sell. One cannot write a book depending on the market.
Writing about mythology must involve more research than imagination. Must be very difficult, right? Does it take more to research, than to write, at times?
Yes, it involves more research. I am a trained Engineer and have an analytical mind. Creativity is a bonus. No task is difficult if one has passion for it.
You next book, AJAYA is due for launch on December 1. Please tell your readers a bit about the plot.
Ajaya again is about the power of perspective. What if the defeated have a story to tell. Ajaya looks Mahabharata from the view point of Kauravas and especially the Crown Prince Suydohana (damned as Duryodhana in popular telling) who was cheated out of his inheritance. It will have multiple heroes like Ekalavya, Karna and Aswathama
When we read ASURA, we were introduced to Ravana in a while new light. Would AJAYA do the same for the Kauravas?

I hope so.
Are you already working on another book? As a fan, I am very curious who you would write about after Ravana and the Kauravas?
Ajaya will be published in two parts. On Dec 1st, the first part Roll of the dice will be out. On Aug 15th, 2014, Rise of Kali, the second part of Ajaya series will be out. In 2015, I hope to come up with Amatya, the story of Chanakya’s foe. The research for the same is already on. Another one would involve the Sun temple of Konark as a back ground.
You took someone who has been branded as evil for centuries and made a human out of him. What prompted you to write about this angle?
I believe it is possible only in India and only with the Hindu mythologies because of the open mindedness of Indians. It is not easy to write something that goes against the popular beliefs that have been held dear for the past three or four thousand years. The logic has to be compelling and the research meticulous. I may have shortcomings as a writer, but I hope no one would accuse me of not working hard and putting my heart into my writing. 
Lots of new writers are venturing into writing about mythology/history. What would your advice to them be?
Do not write about mythology or history just because a few books have become successful. Write them if you are passionate about it. Popularity of one particular Genre will come and go, what matters finally is whether you have a story to tell. When I started my research on Asura, everyone told me that one has have to write like Chetan Bhagat to be successful, no one will read mythology these days. Many publishers rejected it saying that mythology would not sell. I did not change my writing style to imitate Chetan Bhagat, because I cannot write like him. Now mythology is in vogue, but it does not stop Ravi Subramanian or Chetan Bhagat still being in best seller list. Every writer is unique and one has to stick to one’s style and do whatever he or she believes in.

A special request from the author to his readers:

Without your support, encouragement and criticism, I would not have had the courage to come up with another book within an year. Asura is in the crossword popular award 2013 final list of five. The competition is tough, with big names of Industry like Amish, Aswhin Sanghi, Ravi Subramanian and Anuja Chauhan in the list. I request all of you to give the vanquished a chance. 
Please vote for Asura and please post the same in your blog/ fb/ twitter by spreading the message 
 
Here is the link : http://goo.gl/nVkgS6

Prelude : (http://www.leadstartcorp.com/ajaya-sample-chapter/)

AJAYA Contest : (http://www.leadstartcorp.com/ajaya-contest/

#BookReview: An Awfully BIG Adventure by Aniesha Brahma

On the jacket: Seventeen-year-old Yoshita Ray has stopped believing in happily ever after and fairy tales ever since her mother aba...